Morning Links

Friday, June 15th, 2012
  • This USA Today investigation is just mind-blowing. The quotes from DOJ officials are just surreal. There are innocent people in prison, everyone knows it, yet the government won’t work to get them out, due to “procedure.” Just when you think you’ve seen every way the criminal justice system can screw someone over . . .
  • Headline of the day.
  • Government is just another word for the things we do together, like setting up staged drug buys at a concert venue, then arresting the venue’s owner, imprisoning him, and taking his property from himbecause he didn’t do enough to stop the staged drug buys.
  • How your tax dollars helped the Obama administration pay off the auto unions.
  • Hard to even know where to begin with this story.
  • Ten commercials directed by Wes Anderson.
  • Indian skeptic shows that the “miracle water” dripping from a crucifix, which Indian Catholics were drinking, was actually sewage. Naturally, he was arrested for this.
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90 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Other Sean | 

    From that last item: “This is a section in India’s penal code intended to prevent hate speech and should be used against deeply sectarian groups or individuals. The complaints against [miracle debunker] Edamaruku, however, are a grave misuse of these laws.”

    What a relief to those of us who feared that hate speech laws might be designed simply to punish speech people hate.

  2. #2 |  Marty | 

    re the HS kid speaking out about the drug problem in his school- that kid needs a serious ass beating- he’ll grow up to be a mid-level bureaucrat in some govt drug war apparatus, I’m sure.

    I did find it encouraging that the teacher were warning students when the students were being picked for a random drug search, though. Unless the teachers are tipping them off because they’re trying to protect their dealers…

  3. #3 |  A Critic | 

    “We can’t be outcome driven,” said Anne Tompkins, the U.S. attorney in Charlotte. “We’ve got to make sure we follow the law, and people should want us to do that.”

    Anne Tompkins persecuted Bernard Von NotHaus of Liberty Dollar…which means she helped steal 25 copper Ron Paul Liberty Dollars which I am the rightful owner of.

  4. #4 |  Auggie | 

    I know jimmy from Zoe and he really is the nicest concert promoter I ever met and I’ve met a lot of jerks in the business. His mistake was owning the property, which was a beautiful old girls camp set in the ozarks with a pristine stream running through it. So sad, no justice here just blatant theft by the state. Infuriating!

  5. #5 |  Marty | 

    the USA Today article is pretty mind blowing. It should be held up as exhibit A every time some jackass wants some more gun laws.

  6. #6 |  crzyb0b | 

    “How your tax dollars helped the Obama administration pay off the auto unions.”

    The “payoffs” gave superior status in bankruptcy court to the pension funds. Calling this a pay off to the union is ludicrous.

    You want to really complain about “payoffs” you should complain about GOP spending on “defense”, anything the UAW got pales in comparison. e

  7. #7 |  Auggie | 

    “Short of drug testing everybody when they get to school, I don’t know what more we can do,” McCarthy said.

    Then the kids will turn to bath salts or other worse drugs that don’t show up on UA’s

  8. #8 |  nigmalg | 

    “At most,” the Justice Department said in an April court filing , McCullum “has become legally innocent of the charge against him.” In other words, the law may have changed, but the facts of his case didn’t — he did possess the gun, and he had a criminal record — so he isn’t entitled to be released.

    What in the shit is this.

  9. #9 |  Len | 

    The thing about the USA Today investigation, well, the two things, are 1) Fucking assholes in Congress need to learn (they won’t) that they have no authority to pass laws criminalizing gun possession. 2) How base of a human being does one have to be to not say “screw the bureaucracy.” and just get innocent people out?

  10. #10 |  Other Sean | 

    Crzyb0b,

    When you grant someone “superior status in bankruptcy court”, as you put it, that literally means they are more likely to get “paid off” than anyone else on the list of creditors.

    I get that you don’t like the pejorative ring of “pay off”, but those words apply here about as literally as it is possible for any words to apply.

  11. #11 |  Mattocracy | 

    “The “payoffs” gave superior status in bankruptcy court to the pension funds.”

    …And this isn’t a payoff? I think it would be ludicrous to call it anything else considering that preference was shown to one creditor over the others.

  12. #12 |  Radley Balko | 

    The “payoffs” gave superior status in bankruptcy court to the pension funds. Calling this a pay off to the union is ludicrous.

    At the expense of taxpayers and every other creditor. To call that anything other a payoff is ludicrous.

    You want to really complain about “payoffs” you should complain about GOP spending on “defense”, anything the UAW got pales in comparison.

    Weak deflection. I think we should dramatically slash defense spending, too. So what?

  13. #13 |  Len | 

    “Other Sean” and “Mattocracy”, Crzyb0b is only engaging in the old red herring fallacy. This isn’t a problem, not because it’s not really a problem, but because this other thing over here is a problem. See, my guy is not doing anything wrong, because really this guy is doing something wrong. Dishonest people must resort to such fallacies rather than acknowledge wrong on their part.

  14. #14 |  nigmalg | 

    If anyone looks at this UAW situation with the tiniest amount of objectivity, they’ll see the cronyism.

    It was creditor favoritism to fit a philosophical end, and anyone not associated with that group of people got hosed.

  15. #15 |  asg | 

    Read the comments on the USA Today article if you feel like you don’t have quite enough motivation to slit your wrists today.

  16. #16 |  M. Steve | 

    In the reboot of The Divine Comedy, there is an entire circle of Hell dedicated to bureaucrats and apparatchiks like Anne Tompkins.

  17. #17 |  crazybob | 

    Those are pensions for workers, the problem is that unlike the wealthy bondholders, workers don’t have friends at the WSJ to write favorable editorials.

    Of course the part of the story the 1% chooses to ignore is that these pensions were guaranteed by PBGC (all nice and legal), so the taxpayers were on the hook anyway. The deal that kept them with GM is probably much better for the taxpayers than the alternatives – that’s why it was done this way.

  18. #18 |  Other Sean | 

    Crazybob #17,

    I still don’t agree with your opinion there, but that was a much better way of stating it.

    To say that some group deserves a pay off, or that a pay off was inevitable under previously existing circumstances…that’s much more honest than simply denying that a pay off IS a pay off. My compliments.

    (In other news, I’m sure Radley will be psyched to know he and Shika are part of the 1%.)

  19. #19 |  crazybob | 

    So paying previously agreed pension benefits is now a “payoff”?

  20. #20 |  Other Sean | 

    And there go those two steps backwards.

    Shit. I wrote too soon.

  21. #21 |  nigmalg | 

    Crazybob,

    “wealthy bondholders” is bullshit. Go tell that to the members of the working class that enjoyed “secured” GM debt in their 401(k). They tend not to have friends at the WSJ either. I’m in the 99% and you don’t represent me. So stop trying to.

  22. #22 |  crazybob | 

    Arranging the best deal for the taxpayers is a “payoff”?

    My biggest objection of course is that this is posted here because it has the the letters UAW in it, when trillions of “payoffs” to banks and arms merchants, and millions to the shrimp industry in his Ron Paul’s home state, go unremarked.

  23. #23 |  Len | 

    crazybob…what part of this… A bedrock principle of bankruptcy law is that creditors with similar claims priority receive equal treatment. If you owe $1,000 each on two credit cards, in bankruptcy you cannot choose to pay $900 to Citi and only $200 to Chase. Each of the creditors is entitled to an equal percentage recovery.

    In the auto bankruptcies, however, the administration gave the unsecured claims of VEBA [union pension fund] much higher priority than those of other unsecured creditors, such as suppliers and unsecured bondholders.

    and this….. The same thing happened at Chrysler, only to a greater degree. Chrysler’s junior creditors recovered none of their $7 billion in claims. In normal bankruptcy proceedings, the UAW would have also collected nothing. Instead it walked away owning almost half of new Chrysler and a $4.6 billion promissory note earning 9% interest.

    AND THIS!!!…The UAW did accept sharp pay cuts for new hires. But they only made modest concessions for their existing members, like eliminating the much-maligned Jobs Bank that paid workers even when they were laid off.

    As a result, GM still has higher labor costs ($56 an hour) than any of its competitors. Indeed, Steven Rattner, the Obama administration’s former “car czar,” told the Detroit Economic Club last December, “We should have asked the UAW to do a bit more. We did not ask any UAW member to take a cut in their pay.”

    Had bankruptcy brought GM compensation in line with its competitors’ (approximately $47 an hour), we estimate the resulting savings would have increased the value of the taxpayers’ stake in GM by $4.1 billion. This would still leave UAW members making 40% more than the average American manufacturing worker.

    did you not understand (even bother to look at?)?

  24. #24 |  celticdragonchick | 

    I have to agree with crazybob…we were always going to be on the hook for the pension payout (I personally do not have a problem with that, but I know others here start frothing at the mouth whenever a union is mentioned)

  25. #25 |  Other Sean | 

    Crazybob,

    “Arranging the best deal for the taxpayers is a “payoff”?”

    Even you must realize that the best deal for taxpayers would have been to let the auto industry fail altogether.

    It’s one thing to be pro-bailout. I’m sure you have your reasons for that. It’s quite another to pretend the bailout was some universal public good that required no sacrifices from anyone.

  26. #26 |  Dante | 

    RE: USA Today Story & Camp Zoe Story

    U.S. Federal Government = The Real Terrorists.

    Sooner or later, a majority of Americans will realize this. The rest of the world already does.

  27. #27 |  Nipplemancer | 

    Good news Radley! They rescinded their ban on the little girl taking pictures in the cafeteria.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jun/15/school-meals-blogger-council-ban

  28. #28 |  nigmalg | 

    celticdragonchick,

    We could have been responsible enough to give bankruptcy court a chance to lower the burden on taxpayers.

    I pay a significant portion of my income toward my retirement. It’s not secured by other taxpayers; the exception being for the holdings of government debt. I’ve never agreed to bail out bloated pensions on the other side of the country. I can only afford to be responsible for myself. I refuse to subsidize the negligence of any group of people, union or not.

  29. #29 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    And, the comparison to defense spending is just plain off base. We spend too much on it for sure, but at least it’s widely recognized as a legitimate function of the Federal Government. A lot of people however, have a serious problem with the government acting as an insurance agent to backup failed private companies. Oh, and it’s not just the GOP that supports massive defense spending…any politician dependent on voters who’s jobs are derived from large defense contracts will vote for that spending.

  30. #30 |  xenia onatopp | 

    I’m actually semi-aware of Minnechaug High School in Wilbraham, the birthplace of Friendly’s, because it’s here in Western MA; both towns in the regional school district– the other is Hampden– are small, upper-middle-class, suburban-to-rural towns with lily white populations. One of my daughters– the 20-year-old pothead– was on her high-school cross country team and competed in the same league as Minnechaug. I texted her a link to the story this morning for her take on it.

    She confirmed my suspicion that when this dweeb talks about drugs he can only be referring to pot and possibly mushrooms. Since that’s her area of expertise, I have no reason to doubt her. Some kids still drop acid, and ecstasy is still around , but neither one would normally be found in the school, since they’re mainly sold by post-high-school-age young adults, and also are best enjoyed in as non-school-like a setting as possible. On the other hand, taking a few hits between classes or at lunch is no bigger a deal now than it was in the seventies, when I was in high school.

    So, yeah, he thinks the school should crack down harder on pot-smoking, which isn’t even a crime in MA– for three years now it’s an offense for which you can be (but actually won’t be) ticketed. Maybe he just needs a hobby.

  31. #31 |  H. Rearden | 

    I found interesting the excerpt of the Indian Constitution:
    <blockquota)It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform.
    This clause is not defining the role of government, but giving some vague directive to the citizenry. The clause is so vague that two people could evaluate the actions of a third and come to differing opinions on whether on not the action is constitutional. Does the Indian Constitution act as the penal code as well? Are there penalties if an individual does not follow the directives of the constitution? Surely a great number of people do not adhere to the quoted clause in their daily actions, so any prosecution of a person for unconstitutional conduct would be purely political.

    Just further proof of the brilliance of the US Constitution. If only to was adhered to more strictly.

    I wonder if it’s this kind of BS that Justice Ginsberg refers to when she says she’d look to other founding documents if writing a constitution?

  32. #32 |  KRF | 

    Officer being charge for Battery.

    http://www.theindychannel.com/news/31194516/detail.html

  33. #33 |  Mario | 

    “We can’t be outcome driven,” said Anne Tompkins, the U.S. attorney in Charlotte. “We’ve got to make sure we follow the law, and people should want us to do that.”

    Regarding this quote from the USA Today article, someone above already touched on it, but I want to add something. If the government is prosecuting someone, I do want them to be procedure driven. However, if the government knows that an innocent person is wrongly serving time, then, yes, in cases like this I want them to be outcome driven. Call me crazy.

  34. #34 |  Brian | 

    I’m confused. What exactly was the concert promoter supposed to do?

    We know that drug dealers are the most dangerous criminals out there. After all, it takes what, one or two dozen police officers armed with military-grade weaponry just to serve warrants on people suspected of having as little as a few joints.

    What did they expect him to do, confront these hardened and dangerous criminals by himself with no training and no army?

    Or maybe he suspected that the police had everything under control already. You know, since they were the ones doing all of the buying and selling.

  35. #35 |  croaker | 

    @30 I suspect the student making the complaint is a dweeb with acne issues who couldn’t get laid if he pasted a Franklin on his forehead.

  36. #36 |  Bergman | 

    I wonder, given what happened to the concert venue owner, could the feds seize that high school for not doing enough to curb the sale of drugs?

  37. #37 |  celticdragonchick | 

    I refuse to subsidize the negligence of any group of people, union or not.

    How were they negligent? Did they not bargain in their own perceived best interests?

  38. #38 |  ShelbyC | 

    The Justice Department’s actions in the North Carolina cases aren’t as unreasonable as the article makes them sound. Despite the inapt wording by the US Attorney, presumably the Justice Dept’s view is that the courts’ previous interpretation of the law is the correct one. And the court apparently didn’t make its ruling retroactive, so that’s how it goes.

  39. #39 |  H. Rearden | 

    so that’s how it goes
    You and a bureaucratic douchebag, and unreasonable to boot.

  40. #40 |  H. Rearden | 

    so that’s how it goes
    You andare a bureaucratic douchebag, and unreasonable to boot.

  41. #41 |  Radley Balko | 

    . . . when trillions of “payoffs” to banks and arms merchants, and millions to the shrimp industry in his Ron Paul’s home state, go unremarked.

    What site have you been reading?

  42. #42 |  BamBam | 

    Follow the Missouri land grab over time. I suspect that you will find .gov building things on that land, and some being developed by “private” parties.
    I see this as a workaround to the illegal eminent domain. There’s resistance to eminent domain land grabs, but everyone will support drug war activities!

  43. #43 |  nigmalg | 

    How were they negligent? Did they not bargain in their own perceived best interests?

    They bargained only in their self interest. Their business failed and the issue should have been self correcting. However, their bargaining was protected by the federal government and subsidized by the entire nation.

  44. #44 |  ShelbyC | 

    @HRearden, sure, I’m a douchebag, and your mom’s ugly. But none of this changes the fact that USA today seems to have exagerated the story.

  45. #45 |  Radley Balko | 

    How were they negligent? Did they not bargain in their own perceived best interests?

    Their bargain was with a private company, not with me. And their bargain was contingent on the company’s success. That is generally part of the bargaining process–the union bargains knowing that if they ask for too much, the company will suffer. When the government steps in to bailout the company, while giving the union preference over all other creditors, it skews the balance of future negotiations both in and out of the auto industry. In addition to being unfair and corrupt in and of itself.

    The lack of any union stake in the ultimate bottom line of its employer is also what’s wrong with granting collective bargaining to public service unions, by the way. This is why states like California have a half-trillion dollar unfunded pension liability. The union doesn’t care about the state’s budget. And the politicians who cut the deals won’t be around to deal with the aftermath.

  46. #46 |  Dana Gower | 

    Regardless of how you feel about drug laws, the kid is (most likely) telling the truth. I have actually watched a handler pull a dog off a bookbag while the owner stood sobbing in the hallway outside. At the end, it was announced no drugs had been found. Officials don’t want drugs found in their schools and, in most cases, local law enforcement will follow that line.

  47. #47 |  H. Rearden | 

    ShelbyC – We have a situation where poorly written and interpreted laws leads to incarceration and where the f’ed up situation is recognized by prosecutors who actively resist freeing these persons from jail.

    You say:

    Despite the inapt wording by the US Attorney, presumably the Justice Dept’s view is that the courts’ previous interpretation of the law is the correct one.

    Why do you base your accusation of exaggeration on a presumption? I see nothing in the article that supports this presumption. I read outrageous things like this:

    …although they have agreed in court filings that the men are innocent, they said they must still comply with federal laws that put strict limits on when and how people can challenge their convictions in court.

    Because you want to hide behind the letter of the law instead of seek to right an injustice my description of you stands. I’m glad you embrace it. But it’s obvious that you’ve never met my mother or you wouldn’t make such an outlandish comment, so I’ll just let that one slide.

  48. #48 |  Aresen | 

    Re: The Indian Skeptic being imprisoned for exposing a bogus miracle.

    Remarkable how little the Roman Catholic Church has changed since October 31, 1517.

  49. #49 |  celticdragonchick | 

    The lack of any union stake in the ultimate bottom line of its employer is also what’s wrong with granting collective bargaining to public service unions, by the way. This is why states like California have a half-trillion dollar unfunded pension liability. The union doesn’t care about the state’s budget. And the politicians who cut the deals won’t be around to deal with the aftermath.

    Oh? Employees obviously have trouble if the employer can no longer pay them. In any event, pensions have protections under the law in order to mitigate certain employer shenanigans in the past where bankruptcy was filed under false pretenses in order to fuck over the unions who had negotiated in good faith.

    So…you don’t want to cover busted pensions when a company files for bankruptcy? Are you okay with going back to company buildings burning down like in the bad old days? Massive new claims for food stamps, and elderly retirees being put into public facilities? More crime and social dysfunction? It may not be what you want, but it is, in effect what you are asking for if the past is any guide to what happens when tens of thousands of workers get screwed out of pensions.

    They retaliate..sometimes against their wives and kids but most directly against the company and anything associated with it. And why should they not? If individual want is more imprtant then societal mores, then they are perfectly justified in extracting an eye for an eye…if some strains of anarcho capitalism are followed to their logical conclusions.

    Now, some here may complain that we are therefore being held hostage by the threat of violence. On the contrary, stopping social dysfunction and violence has been a major feature of social policy for the last 130 years both here and in Europe. Part of that has been making sure that people who work get paid fairly and can support their family in adaquate and healthy conditions…since diease, poverty and privation do not really contribute to a healthy state of society.

  50. #50 |  Juice | 

    “It’s been tough,” said Ripley Rand, the U.S. attorney in Greensboro, N.C. “We’ve spent a lot of time talking about issues of fundamental fairness, and what is justice.”

    Yeah, man. When attorneys have to think about issues of fundamental fairness and justice, it gets real tough, man. Real tough.

  51. #51 |  Aresen | 

    Minnechaug High School junior Christopher Steil assails anti-drug efforts, calls drug availability “unbelievable”

    Christopher Steil needs:

    1) To smoke some really good pot.
    2) To get laid.

    # 1) Shouldn’t be difficult.
    # 2) Appears very unlikely.

  52. #52 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    RE: Camp Zoe…

    Disturbing story all around, but THIS was an excellent, excellent observation:

    “Rush Limbaugh’s net worth is estimated to be in excess of $400 million, and his annual income more $30 million. He owns several homes and a number of private aircraft. He was certainly a ripe target for prosecution and “asset forfeiture” – or he would have been, had he been a commoner like Jimmy Tebeau, rather than the politically connected grandson of retired federal Judge Rush Hudson Limbaugh Sr., whose name is affixed to the courthouse where the entertainer’s cousin consummated the theft of Tebeau’s business and property.

    So basically it’s 2012 and the feds still want to fuck with anybody that seems at all “counter cultural.” But Mr. Pill Poppin’ dittos himself got a break. He’s “sick,” after all. Not that Limbaugh deserved prosecution, but still.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could at least pick and choose where we want our tax dollars to go. If we were given this choice, I bet law enforcement would have a lot less money to throw at this ridiculous drug war. Sure there are still hard-core anti-drug people out there, but I don’t think the government is at all “speaking for us” when it engages in this atrocious conduct.

  53. #53 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “A student at Minnechaug Regional High School has written a letter stating that the high school has a drug problem that it is not doing enough to address.”

    What an irritating story. Seems Christopher has gulped down a whole bunch of statist D.A.R.E.-style kool aid. Wait till Christopher goes to college and gets caught with a dime bag. Won’t be so funny if HE gets kicked out of school, incarcerated or shot in the face while making a “furtive” gesture. I don’t know whether too feel sorry for this kid or to call him a sniveling little bitch.

  54. #54 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The “payoffs” gave superior status in bankruptcy court to the pension funds. Calling this a pay off to the union is ludicrous.

    Let me see: “Obama puts Boyd Durkin ahead of all creditors—thus ignoring all bankruptcy procedures. Boyd contributes more money than anyone else to Obama.”

    You’re right. Seems legit, crzyb0b.

  55. #55 |  omar | 

    I have actually watched a handler pull a dog off a bookbag while the owner stood sobbing in the hallway outside. At the end, it was announced no drugs had been found. Officials don’t want drugs found in their schools and, in most cases, local law enforcement will follow that line.

    Is it possible that the kid was scared and the cops only found a lunch?

    I’m sorry, but if you are getting paid walk around schools with a drug dog sniffing bags with the stated purpose of finding drugs, you don’t get a pass for not wanting to find them. If you didn’t want to find drugs, you would quit your evil fucking job.

  56. #56 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    So…you don’t want to cover busted pensions when a company files for bankruptcy?

    That’s called “insurance”. Although Warren Buffet and I disagree on tax policy, we both seem to think there might just be a chance that private businesses can actually supply insurance services. Why, an investor might be able to make a fine living investing in such insurance companies.

  57. #57 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    In defense of Christopher Steil: the kid has a right to expect a school relatively free from drugs since that is what is being promised to him on a daily basis. It is also the subject of numerous actions (such as drug searches). The clowns in charge need to face the music of their failure.

    Kudos to him for saying “Look, fuckers, nothing you do works.”

  58. #58 |  perlhaqr | 

    I have to agree with crazybob…we were always going to be on the hook for the pension payout

    Nonsense. It’s a law passed by congress. Congress can repeal it, too.

    What, you think I’m supposed to care about people who want to use the government to extract money from me? Fuck them. You make a deal with the devil, don’t be surprised when you end up in hell.

  59. #59 |  celticdragonchick | 

    What, you think I’m supposed to care about people who want to use the government to extract money from me? Fuck them. You make a deal with the devil, don’t be surprised when you end up in hell.

    This is why libertarians can’t have nice things. The whole “fuck everybody else” attitude towards society means most of society returns the contempt.

  60. #60 |  nigmalg | 

    This is why libertarians can’t have nice things. The whole “fuck everybody else” attitude towards society means most of society returns the contempt.

    They can return the contempt all they want. If their hand is in my pocket, I have every right to complain.

  61. #61 |  Len | 

    celticdragonchick, you lack reading comprehension (or intentionally read what you want into others comments).

    perlhaqr did not say “fuck everybody else”, he said fuck those who want to use government (force) to extract (steal) money from others. It’s a very legitimate response to those who intend harm to someone, no matter how prettied up it is with the trappings of legitimacy.

    You are also a little unclear on what “society” is. It is not just a mass of people who live in proximity to each other, society is what occurs through consensual interaction with others, not imposed rules. The word society actually derives from a word meaning ally or friend. Your “society” is some collective where certain special ones get to impose order on everyone for some great end or purpose.

  62. #62 |  RobSmalls | 

    This is why libertarians can’t have nice things. The whole “fuck everybody else” attitude towards society…

    It’s not everybody else – it’s people that use the coercive power of government that can go get fucked. Libertarians tend to value the power of voluntary transfers, which tend to overcome any “fuck everyone else” attitude you ascribe to them, because they have to give and take, compromise, reach an accord to transact.

    No such give and take when the tax man gets involved. I would go so far as to say that if you need the government to point a gun at someone else to fund something you feel is worthy, you’re probably the one with a “fuck everyone else” state of mind.

  63. #63 |  James D | 

    Someone really needs to remind a good portion of this country that you are only guaranteed the “PURSUIT of happiness” …. not just “happiness”.

  64. #64 |  Radley Balko | 

    The whole “fuck everybody else” attitude towards society means most of society returns the contempt.

    Yes, it’s pretty heartless of us libertarians to object to taxpayer subsidies for GM workers barely scraping by on $56/hour in compensation. With guaranteed hours.

    I mean, the poor things even had to scrap the program that continued to pay them those wages when they decided to stop working.

    The horror! I mean, what sort of Christmas presents will their children get this year?

  65. #65 |  Radley Balko | 

    celticdragonchick:

    So the unions get to negotiate outrageous pensions and limousine health plans, and if their demands make labor costs so unsustainable so as to drive their employers into bankruptcy, your argument is that we taxpayers should come bail them out . . . or else they will burn our cities and kill us.

    Jesus. Talk about a sense of entitlement. And keep that in mind next time someone accuses the Tea Party of violent rhetoric.

  66. #66 |  BamBam | 

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/06/international-treaty-negotiated-in-secret-even-hiding-the-terms-from-congressmen-with-every-reason-to-see-them-threatens-to-destroy-national-sovereignty.html

    more Obama transparency; I say Obama only because he campaigned on unprecedented White House transparency

  67. #67 |  Dana Gower | 

    @ #55
    Is it possible that the kid was scared and the cops only found a lunch?

    Possible? Sure. The kid was definitely scared. As for a drug dog finding lunch? Not likely. Drug dogs look for drugs. I’m familiar with the discussions about false alerts on this site, and I’ll readily agree that a dog might alert if his handler wants him to. But put drugs in three backpacks, scatter them across the floor with seven other backpacks, let the dog in (without his handler) and he’ll hit the right three every time. It’s not the dogs that choose not to find drugs.

    @ #57 The clowns in charge need to face the music of their failure.

    The point is, they won’t. Parents will sing their praises for running a school free of drugs — whether it really is or not. The kids know the truth.

  68. #68 |  ShelbyC | 

    @H. Reardon, I say presumably because when the Justice Department brought the cases in the first place, it convinced the courts that the defendants’ conduct was illegal. So the defendants are certainly innocent under one possible interpretation of the law, but they are guilty under another. And unfortunately for them, they are guilty under the interpretation that applies to their case. I don’t see it as being much different than a defendant being convincted under the interpretation of the law in one circuit, and another defendant getting off under a different interpreatation of the same law in a different circuit, except here we are talking about timeframes instead of circuits.

  69. #69 |  Jamie | 

    Yikes. The UAW would have been better off if the pensions had been invested in a separate entity, thus untouchable. It was contractually agreed to, and they could have done that. Live and learn.

    Weak deflection or no, licking Jamie Dimon’s ass the (ahem) whole time doesn’t give me much confidence either. Pick your poison – front-runners and skimmers, or smelly people who make something.

    As for dude who doesn’t like his peers playing with drugs, well, welcome to life. White flight, I guess, ain’t what it used to be. Although I doubt it was then, because it certainly wasn’t 25 years ago, at least in my (then) locale.

  70. #70 |  Personanongrata | 

    •Headline of the day.

    Todays lesson(s) learned: always cook your squid well-done.

  71. #71 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Dana,
    That has not been my experience with parents. A very vocal group of parents at most schools (at least) tend to be harsh critics/skeptics of what the admin is producing. School Board meetings are confrontational more often than not.

  72. #72 |  Jamie | 

    Radley @65:

    The unions made a deal. With management. If you want to worry about this, perhaps sparing a thought to management might be worth one. I, for one, would be in favor of a “most favored nation” clause, wherein any deal agreed to mirrored (in structure, if not amount) management’s compensation. Note that I’m not talking about investors.

    If you want to talk about pitchforks, history isn’t fair, but it is instructive. Humans don’t seem to mind oligarchy until it gets out of whack.

  73. #73 |  Personanongrata | 

    •Indian skeptic shows that the “miracle water” dripping from a crucifix, which Indian Catholics were drinking, was actually sewage. Naturally, he was arrested for this.

    Where is Mike Bloomberg when you need him?

  74. #74 |  Dana Gower | 

    @#70 School Board meetings are confrontational more often than not.

    I’d love to try an experiment. I don’t know how many people who read this site regularly have (or had) school-age kids. I’d like to ask anyone who does (or did) if they ever attended a school board meeting. If so, why? How many other (non-school) people were there?

  75. #75 |  Other Sean | 

    Jamie,

    “The unions made a deal. With management.”

    You might have half a case if this had been first auto industry bailout. But long before 2009, both management and labor in Detroit knew they were playing a game of too-big-to-fail with taxpayers as the only and inevitable source of rescue.

  76. #76 |  Other Sean | 

    Dana #73,

    No kids for me. I’m afraid having some might turn me into one of those former libertarians who seeks to socialize the burdens of parenting by supporting laws he once evaded and despised.

  77. #77 |  StrangeOne | 

    @ Dana #67,

    Here in NC, I believe Durham, they took drug dogs through a high school. Pulled the kids out of class forced them to sit in the hall while they made a big show of searching the lockers.

    The dogs “signaled” on 23 lockers. Not one of them had drugs in it. Now did the dogs actually signal or did the cops just get a list of lockers from the admins and made sure the “right students” got searched? I don’t know, neither do you, nor does anyone else.

    The point is that assuming that the dogs are good at their job, outside of the context of their job, is dangerous business. You state that the dogs can successful find drugs without their handler, but in the real world are they never without their handler. Furthermore has this infallibility on the part of the dogs ever been demonstrated? How often are they tested in a double blind environment? Do their skills deteriorate after 1 year in the field? What about 3, 5, and 7 years?

    This is a problem endemic to police work. How often are radar guns and breathalyzers tested and re-calibrated? In many places, never. All of these things provide police with an air of certainty, we are supposed to rely on the impartiality of the dogs or technology. But the practical result is one of handing the police a dowsing rod and simply allowing them to search, detain, or arrest anyone they point it at.

  78. #78 |  CyniCAl | 

    I think we can assume that celticdragonchick’s recent conspicuous absence means it knows it lost. Back to the statist swamp, I guess.

  79. #79 |  celticdragonchick | 

    or else they will burn our cities and kill us.

    Maybe you need to go back and read the rest of the post I left where I discuss that. History is a convenient tool to understand what large groups of people do when they feel they have been deprived of a lot of compensation. When it comes to labor movements who are already organized and embittered…it may not be pretty.

    You want to play hardball with them, they play hardball back.

    Even if nothing really destructive happens, you still have significant social costs and tax payer costs that YOU CANNOT GET OUT OF PAYING!

    Sorry, but there it is. You defend the pensions, then you pay to put the geezer and his wife in a public funded retirement home with social security. Mutilply that by thousands, and then add in the food stamp and other issues.

    You still pay.

    *shrug*

    If you don’t want to be in a society with a social safety net and where the public comes to your rescue when bad things happen, you can always find another place with different social rules. Beats me. I’m all for going after abusive cops, power drunk judges and wasteful spending. I don’t consider this wasteful in the same way that I don’t think it is wasteful that bank accounts are guarenteed by the government up t a certain amount.

  80. #80 |  Matt | 

    You want to play hardball with them, they play hardball back.

    So, let me get this straight. A private organization (GM) enters into a contract with another private organization (UAW). GM makes promises that it can’t keep to the UAW. Your solution to this is to get a third party to rob individuals unrelated to this of their hard-earned money to fulfill GM’s diamond-encrusted promises to the UAW. And you consider NOT robbing these people (who had nothing to do with the private agreement) to be “playing hardball” and that we should expect retaliation from the parasites that want to rob people via a third party to fatten their own wallets?

    Am I misrepresenting your position here?

  81. #81 |  Other Sean | 

    Matt,

    “…A private organization (GM) enters into a contract with another private organization (UAW)…”

    I of course agree with the main thrust of your comment, but we should never pretend that GM and UAW are private organizations in any meaningful sense. One is a rent-seeking monster kept alive by bailouts, entry barriers, regulatory capture, and various levels of trade protectionism. The other is an extortionist political machine whose only aim is to constantly improve its margin of plunder from the revenues of the first.

    Together they share total ownership of two United States Senators, along with a number of Congressmen.

    There is nothing “private” about either organization.

  82. #82 |  Radley Balko | 

    celticdragonchick:

    So you’re saying that any time any company goes under, or goes bankrupt, taxpayers should step in to fund the employees’ pensions and promised health care benefits?

    Come to think of it, I had some promised 401(k) contributions and student loan help that vanished when the dot-com I was working for in the late 90s went under. Why shouldn’t taxpayers step up and give me what I was promised?

    Should taxpayers also fund the gold-plated retirement packages promised to the executives after they drive a company into the ground?

    Or is it only unions that get the privilege of taxpayer-guaranteed benefits?

  83. #83 |  Mattocracy | 

    Don’t be surprised when taxpayers play hardball and say no fucking way are we flipping the bill for this.

    Seriously, the UAW isn’t being given just enough so it’s members are going to avoid poverty in their old age. They negotiated enormous payouts that weren’t sustainable at all. If this was really about just taking care of people when they retire, they wouldn’t have played their part in bankrupting General Motors.

  84. #84 |  Delta | 

    #52: “‘asset forfeiture’… Wouldn’t it be great if we could at least pick and choose where we want our tax dollars to go. If we were given this choice, I bet law enforcement would have a lot less money to throw at this ridiculous drug war.”

    Of course, asset forfeiture is precisely the police-state’s solution for when the community insufficiently funds them through taxes.

  85. #85 |  Other Sean | 

    Helmut #52,

    As a matter of politics, the more groups which receive asset forfeiture money, the longer the practice of asset forfeiture will continue.

    Let that cash start going to children’s hospitals or widows of combat veterans, and the drug war will never end.

  86. #86 |  seen isle | 

    “Or is it only unions that get the privilege of taxpayer-guaranteed benefits?”

    Definitely not just unions. Corporate America has gotten way more in from taxpayer bailouts than unions could ever hope to.

  87. #87 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #85 Other Sean:
    “Let that cash start going to children’s hospitals or widows of combat veterans, and the drug war will never end.”

    That’s a good point. But let’s keep that on the down low, because there are plenty of drug warriors cynical enough to implement that policy. Shhhh.

  88. #88 |  Other Sean | 

    Don’t worry. Drug warriors receive special conditioning by means of the Ludovico Technique, which makes them suffer extreme physical discomfort whenever they come into contact with any thoughtful commentary on drugs and crime policy.

    The Agitator is safe from their eyes.

  89. #89 |  Dana Gower | 

    @#77 The dogs “signaled” on 23 lockers. Not one of them had drugs in it.

    That’s sort of my point — 23 lockers, no drugs found. There are many possibilities here: The dog(s) just screwed up; some kid came to school that morning, put drugs in his locker, got them out for lunch and the dog alerted on it that afternoon; or, just maybe, there were drugs in at least some of the 23 lockers, the dogs alerted on them and, at the end of the search, “no drugs were found.” I have seen this. This happens.
    As far as the dogs simply wearing out — yes. Some people get upset that a trained dog starts at about $10,000 and then retires in five years, but the point is, they wear out. New, young dogs are brought in.
    You mention radar, etc., but I was talking about dogs. A well-trained drug dog is pretty good at finding drugs. Has anybody verified that? Yes. Some handlers, on the other hand, probably do try too hard to find drugs, or an excuse to find drugs, and the dogs mysteriously alert when there are no drugs. That’s not the dog’s fault.
    And I have noticed there has been, pretty much, a dead silence to my question about school board meetings. That’s because nobody (I know, that’s a little bit of a stretch, but, realistically, nobody) goes to school board meetings.

  90. #90 |  Very good lines - Overlawyered | 

    […] taking his property from him because he didn’t do enough to stop the staged drug buys.” [Radley Balko] […]

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