Maggie’s Saturday Links

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

(Thanks to Radley for the first three items, Jesse Walker for the fourth and Agitatortot David for the fifth.)

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39 Responses to “Maggie’s Saturday Links”

  1. #1 |  Kelly James | 

    Maggie McNeill, blogging on The Agitator!!! Congratulations, Mags! Missed you!

  2. #2 |  Matt | 

    Nice article on NPR, there, though I’d like to see it fleshed out a little more. Though I don’t usually comment on the method by which the state shakes down its citizens for money, it would be a huge improvement from what we have now, though. Think about it:

    The government taxes you based on your income. This means that the government has to keep track of your income, a massive invasion of privacy by itself. You need to write down on a form pretty much everything you do that makes you money. But hey, what if what you do for money is illegal? What if you sell drugs? If you report that you could get arrested! But what about the 5th amendment, that says you can’t be forced to testify against yourself? Guess they don’t care about that amendment too much.
    So you pay taxes on your income. But wait, there’s deductions! See, the government takes too much money from you at first, but then it generously gives some back! And it gives it back in the most convoluted and confusing way it possibly could! There’s a massive industry simply based around finding ways to get you more of that money back, because regular people can’t figure it out. And the experts can’t either: if you go to six places to get your taxes don’e you’ll get six different values on how much you owe. There is now a massive lobby that is completely dedicated to making sure the tax system is as complicated as possible.
    And anyone who even mentions that maybe this system is terrible in every way and that it would be incredibly hard to design a worse system if you tried to do so is crazy and hates the poor, or something.

  3. #3 |  RBS | 

    I enjoyed your story, at some point I’ll read the rest of them. I like the commentator on your blog that completely misses the point. It must be horrible to go through life unable to enjoy a nice bit of fiction because all you see is a chance to take shots at libertarians.

  4. #4 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Cop forcing sex on a hooker.

    Reason number 1001 to legalize the damn profession:
    scenes like this would not even be a possibility.
    It would be interesting to find out how she contacted the cops.
    If she contacted 911 they probably would have shot her. Officer saftey,
    ya know.

  5. #5 |  Tom | 

    I used to buy those kinder eggs all the time at a little german deli near my work, but they are now banned. I guess some politician thought they too dangerous for our own good.

  6. #6 |  Mike H | 

    Two grown men detained and lectured to for buying chocolate fucking Easter eggs. The rest of the world’s children seem capable of eating Kindereggs without choking…have America’s kids gotten so stupid that they’re just swallowing food whole now?

  7. #7 |  Stephen | 

    If you ever encounter a cop and you have a gun in your hand, it seems like the only way to stay alive is to shoot the cop first.

  8. #8 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #1 – Hey there, Baby! You could still comment on my blog, you know! Yeah, Radley has five of us guest blogging here while he works on his new book.

    #3 – Thank you. I’m honestly not sure what that guy’s deal is; he’s 22 years old and seems to imagine himself a comedian. He hasn’t been around long, so one hopes he’ll get with the program soon or at least stop hectoring.

  9. #9 |  Bob | 

    So, in Columbus, Ohio it’s now Police policy to preemptively shoot minorities that may have guns in their hands.

    What’s next? Just shoot anyone who doesn’t automatically place their hands on the yellow circles the instant the police show up?

  10. #10 |  Chuchundra | 

    Here’s a nutshell summary of the NPR article: Let’s cut taxes on the rich, raise taxes on the poor, screw the middle class and crater the housing market. Then we’ll let people smoke all the pot they want so they don’t worry about it too much.

  11. #11 |  Bob | 

    Two men detained for smuggling dangerous contraband candy across Canadian border.

    This is ridiculous. The odds of getting BOTH the egg with the C4 and the egg with the detonator in a single purchase is almost nil. Kids can’t have any fun these days.

  12. #12 |  MPH | 

    I disagree with the economists about a consumption tax. If we’re all supposed to be equal under the law, shouldn’t we also bear the burden equally? The only way to do that is a per person fixed fee. Everyone pays the exact same amount. For those concerned about how the poor will pay their fee, the solution is simple. Allow them to sell their vote to someone else in their district (if you pay more in taxes shouldn’t you have more say in who gets elected?). 50% of people or more already don’t vote, so now they can get something of value for the vote they’re not using.

    But the ONLY way we’re going to get government costs under control is to have EVERYONE who can vote have some skin in the game, and any kind of progressive tax, consumption, income, or other, that allows some to pay less than others while still being allowed to vote, will eventually morph into what we have now: a system where the majority pay nothing, and the burden of government is increasingly borne by a smaller and smaller portion of the population.

  13. #13 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    In re the third link: I’ve been wondering how big the people who are murdered by the police tend to be– it would be a huge research project to check (I’m guessing that height and weight might be part of publicly available records).

    I’m starting with the idea that the police claim to feel threatened when they shoot, and that tall/muscular people tend to be scarier. My impression is that people who are murdered by police tend to be average-sized or smaller, but this is only a guess. Anyone have information, or at least a more detailed impression?

  14. #14 |  Other Sean | 


    I was involved in a project that tried answer your question (among many others). The sample we looked at was not very large, about 150 police shootings over a period of several years. Other than the usual racial disparity, there was nothing special about the suspects. Again and again, the description was: black male, 14 – 26, 5’10”, 150 lbs, dreads or cornrows, white t-shirt or hoodie, jeans, Timberlands boots. Just what you’d expect from the average height/weight of the population.

    By the way, it’s extremely frustrating trying to collect information on police shootings, for reasons I’m sure you can guess.

  15. #15 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @10 – Exactly. In practice, consumption taxes countries use hit the poor very hard. It’s pre-Adam Smith, for flip sake.

    And it’s not a “candy” issue, it’s a “toys” issue. Your toys laws are nuts.

  16. #16 |  EH | 

    If we’re all supposed to be equal under the law, shouldn’t we also bear the burden equally?

    David Hume is calling you on the existential white courtesy telephone.

  17. #17 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Other Sean, thanks very much. Is there a link to your study?

  18. #18 |  Fred | 

    The English translation of the Brady bunches response
    To the shootings in Aurora is we must punish the
    90+ million firearm owners who harmed no one yesterday.
    Because if you can’t punish (I.E. take away their civil rights)
    The innocent then who can you punish?

  19. #19 |  DoubleU | 

    Re: Illegal transportation of candy.
    Last night “Smokey and the Bandit” was on TV, if you don’t remember Smokey and the Bandit were paid to ship Coors beer out of Texas and across state lines. It was a crime when the movie was made. It is Coors so part of me wants to say it should still be a crime.

  20. #20 |  Lefty | 

    Saying a prostitute can’t be raped is like saying a taxi driver can’t be carjacked.

  21. #21 |  Jack | 

    @lefty #20

    Excellent! +1000

  22. #22 |  Adam |

  23. #23 |  Terry | 

    A few years back, I was strongly criticized by a commenter on my blog, Roadblock Revelations, that because I was against internal suspicionless Border Patrol checkpoints, I must be in favor of little children choking to death on KInder Eggs that had been banned in the United States.

    The original blog post where these comments were made can be found at:

    And the comment along with my response is reproduced below for your enjoyment:

    “Comment from: The Road Guy [Visitor]

    It’s always fun to watch you fools spew your nonsense. And obviously you did no reasearch on why the egg was confiscated. Let’s take a look: “The children’s candy has been banned in the United States because officials worry small children could choke on the small toy inside of it. The U.S. takes the domestic ban on the chocolate treat very seriously. CBC reports that U.S. border officials have seized more than 25,000 Kinder eggs in 2,000 separate seizures. Mike Milne, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the ban is supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. ‘They have been determined to present … a choking hazard to young children,’ he said.

    But in your myopic world a kid choking on a toy is no big deal. Do you feel kinda foolish, yet? Of course not – you’re all for little kids choking as long as it supports your warped agenda. ”


    and my response….


    “Comment from: Checkpoint USA [Member]

    “It’s always fun to watch you fools spew your nonsense.”

    Not nearly as much fun as listening to paternalistic authoritarian punks like you trying to justify an ever-expanding police state into every facet of our daily lives.

    “And obviously you did no reasearch on why the egg was confiscated.”

    Silly me. And here I thought you were advocating for armed Border Patrol Agents to stop, seize, detain, interrogate & search us absent suspicion for illegal aliens & narcotics no where near the border when in reality you’re advocating for Border Patrol agents to trample our rights to protect us from chocolate eggs….

    “Let’s take a look:”

    Yes, let’s…

    “The children’s candy has been banned in the United States because officials worry small children could choke on the small toy inside of it. The U.S. takes the domestic ban on the chocolate treat very seriously.”

    I’m sure they do. After all, U.S. officials wouldn’t want to piss off Nestle or Cadbury by allowing competition from Ferrero into the country….

    “CBC reports that U.S. border officials have seized more than 25,000 Kinder eggs in 2,000 separate seizures.”

    Golly, 25,000 chocolate eggs have been seized trying to enter the country illegally? I had no idea chocolate eggs wanted in so badly. So tell me, “The Road Guy”, how are the gangs smuggling these eggs into the country? Are they hiding them in the middle of bails of marijuana or do they swallow them in plastic bags while trying to cross at official ports of entry?

    “Mike Milne, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the ban is supported by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. ‘They have been determined to present … a choking hazard to young children,’ he said.”

    A choking hazard? Oh my god! How many children have died from these evil chocolate eggs (that appear to be legal in every other country around the world including our neighbors to the North) over the years….Hmmm, according to wikipedia, it looks like there have been a grand total of 9 deaths worldwide since 1991 attributed to the eggs.

    Now let’s put those numbers in perspective shall we? Annually in the United States there are approximately 4,700 choking deaths associated with foreign objects and 75 choking deaths from food.

    Breaking out the border warriors to protect us from one death worldwide every other year associated with a chocolate egg seems like a misuse of scarce resources don’t you think? Perhaps what the gov’t should really be protecting us from consuming is food in general since food is responsible for so many more choking deaths per year then chocolate eggs with toy surprises.

    Just think, if gov’t was to ban food, it could also solve the country’s obesity problem at the same time. In other words, the gov’t could in effect kill two birds with one egg….How’s that for an efficient use of your tax dollars?

    “But in your myopic world a kid choking on a toy is no big deal.”

    It’s a big deal. Just not one worthy of armed federal agents seizing people absent suspicion along public highways no where near an international border.

    “Do you feel kinda foolish, yet?”

    I don’t feel nearly as foolish as you actually are.

    “Of course not – you’re all for little kids choking as long as it supports your warped agenda.”

    You’ve convinced me of the error of my ways. I now not only support the use of Border Patrol agents & chocolate egg sniffing K9’s against domestic traffic anywhere inside the country except the actual border but also ‘Crackerjack’ swat teams to randomly raid houses across the country looking for stashes of old Cracker Jack boxes with plastic toy surprises inside. After all you can never be too careful these days when going about the serious business of saving us from ourselves….”

  24. #24 |  Mattocracy | 

    I’ve never liked the argument about consumption or flat taxes being hardest on poor people. Everything is harder for poor people. That’s why it sucks to be poor. I’m not heartless and I don’t have disdain for the less fortunate. But the poorer people of this Earth have to pay the same amount for gasoline, the same rates for utilities, the same for everything else in the market place assuming we’re talking about at the same products or services. I don’t understand why taxes should be different. That has never been a valid argument to me.

  25. #25 |  Other Sean | 


    It makes sense IF you assume social equality and aid to the poor are legitimate functions of government. If the state is trying to make rich people less rich or poor people less poor, then a consumption tax would in fact be a serious policy contradiction.

    I don’t happen to agree with the premise but…the logic is internally sound.

  26. #26 |  Christopher Swing | 

    (Update to earlier link)

    They finally released the dashcam in that county councilman Paul Moss getting out of a DUI traffic stop thing, courtesy a phone call to his friend Sheriff Ken Fries.

    Curiously, the audio is /mostly/ missing because of “malfunctioning wireless microphones” that day.

    Those dashcams and mics sure do break at the strangest times.

  27. #27 |  treefroggy | 

    Where did they find these supposedly “libertarian” , “pro-market” economists dim enough to support a carbon tax ? Why not a methane tax on farmers and land-fills, and a thermal and water vapor pollution tax on power generators ? Both methane and water vapor have a greater effect on global warming than C02. And exactly how are they going to make this tax on gasoline not regressive ? Subsidies ? I thought the gist of this list was to remove governmental influence\meddling.

  28. #28 |  Bobby Black | 

    “We have to be able to react in instantaneous fashion,” she said.

    Yeah nice reaction you fucking idiot…Way to use that training and react…no apology, no regret…well I had no time to do anything but kill the first person i saw…and they wonder why we, the people, are ready to explode…they wonder why we hold cops in utter contempt…because they are trigger happy cowards, every single last one of them. All they do is kill people, and they wonder why i woulnd’t piss on a cop if one was on fire…wait…I WOULD piss on a cop if they were on fire, just not the part on fire.

  29. #29 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @24 – On the contrary, they’re generally MORE expensive. Poorer people often don’t have the time to comparison-shop, they often get stuck with expensive utility meters, they can’t afford things which save richer people money.

    The poverty premium is a very well-known issue.

    @25 – Sure, if you think the role of government is to let its citizens starve and reinforce the primacy of corporatism. However, I believe the role of Government is to serve the people and not legal fictions.

  30. #30 |  Windy | 

    Just out of curiosity, Maggie, have you read The Rainbow Cadenza by J. Neil Schulman? In that novel he has created a future where conscription of males for a term in the military is replaced by conscription of females for a term in prostitution (make love, not war). Mr. Schulman is a libertarian science fiction author, he wrote Alongside Night and is now in the midst of production of the movie of that novel, with Kevin Sorbo (what a hunk) as the protagonist. I believe it is supposed to be released this year sometime, providing there are no glitches.

  31. #31 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Windy, it isn’t prostitution in the sense that Maggie is talking about– women are conscripted for a term of being raped.

  32. #32 |  Greg C | 

    About the “Never Call the Cops” story- I actually live right across the road from where that happened. My street is off the road that was closed down. I took particular note of the media calling it “officer-involved shooting” at the time and suspected it would turn out the be something like this. I also hate seeing that FOP Jim Gilbert on the news whenever the police kill someone.

  33. #33 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #30 & #31 – I’ve never read the novel, though it has been mentioned to me. I would have to agree with Nancy that such a situation isn’t true prostitution at all, any more than the Japanese “comfort women” or Roman camp followers were. If the woman isn’t profiting it isn’t whoring; calling a government’s forcible extraction of sexual labor “prostitution” would be like calling taxation a sales transaction.

  34. #34 |  Personanongrata | 

    The Brady Campaign’s response to the Aurora, Colorado murders: guns are bad.

    So if the turd-stain had driven a car and mowed down a crowd of people cars would be bad?

  35. #35 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    That being said, The Rainbow Cadenza is a pretty good solidly libertarian novel, it just isn’t about prostitution.

  36. #36 |  Lefty | 

    – Personanongrata

    there’s a difference between guns and cars. While they’re both dangerous and potentially deadly the gun is intended to be so.

  37. #37 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @36 – Indeed. And let’s face it, not all weapons are equal. Bolt-action rifles and shotguns have substantial uses for hunting, for instance.

  38. #38 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Two grown men detained and lectured to for buying chocolate fucking Easter eggs.

    The Germanophile (is that even a word?) in me feels compelled to point out that Kinder Überraschungseier aren’t Easter eggs. They’re literally “children’s surprise eggs” and they are enjoyed year-round . . . well, they’re enjoyed year-round everywhere except our backwards fucking country.

  39. #39 |  Chocolate Cake Blog | 

    The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency must be having a great time with all that chocolate. They have “seized more than 60,000 Kinder Eggs from travelers’ baggage and international mail shipments in fiscal 2011.”
    Lucky them!