Archive for March, 2010

Midweek Linkorama

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010
  • How fat are the Swiss? So fat, that prostitute are getting defibrillator training in case their clients have heart attacks.
  • This is awesome. Those supposedly exploited Chinese sweatshop workers are using their earnings to start business of their own.
  • Judge Jim Gray on the War on Drugs. Incredible.
  • Finger faces? Finger faces.
  • A sad story of game addiction. I sometimes worry about internet addiction myself. I’d be a lot more productive without the blogosphere. Quitting is something that weighs heavily in my mind at times.
  • I’m sorry. Does this mean Lindsay Lohan is admitting to being a lush?
  • Is the “missing women” problem starting to fade? God, I hope so.
  • Weekend Linkorama

    Sunday, March 7th, 2010
  • How Milton Friedman saved Chile.
  • This is mind-bogglingly dumb. Let’s promote tourism by charging visitors $10 fees!
  • Ah, bipartisanship. When both parties get together to shred the Constitution. I’m done with McCain. And I’ve been done with Lieberman for some time.
  • Scary stuff in Texas.
  • The latest zero tolerance insanity.
  • The Gitmo Nine

    Thursday, March 4th, 2010

    I posted this at the other site, but thought I’d mirror it here.

    Liz Cheney’s group has come out with an ad I find highly disturbing:

    It’s one thing to worry about a conflict of interest in the Justice Department. But this goes a step beyond, tarring any lawyer who works on behalf of terror suspects as essentially a member of Al-Quaeda. As such, it’s pure McCarthysim.

    The attorneys who challenged the Bush administration’s national-security policies saw themselves as fulfilling their legal obligations by fighting an unconstitutional power grab. At heart, this was a disagreement over process: Should people accused of terrorism be afforded the same human rights and due process protections as anyone else in American custody? But rather than portray the dispute as a conflict over what is and isn’t within constitutional bounds, conservatives argue that anyone who opposed the Bush administration’s policies is a traitor set to undermine America’s safety from within the Justice Department.

    “Terrorist sympathizers,” wrote National Review’s Andrew McCarthy in September, “have assumed positions throughout the Obama administration.”

    We can disagree about military commissions, civil trials and the extent of terror suspects’ rights. But when you accuse those with whom you disagree of treason, you’ve crossed a line.

    Even former military prosecutors have expressed views similar to those of the “Gitmo Nine.” Col. Morris Davis (retired) served as the former chief prosecutor for the Guantanamo Bay military commissions and has since argued that they should be abandoned. But initially, when the commissions were formed, he volunteered to be chief defense counsel. “I thought for the good of our system, they needed zealous representation,” says Davis. He dismissed the charge that having represented a detainee indicated “sympathy” for terrorist goals. “I don’t think that anyone, because they signed up to represent a detainee means they’ve signed up with al-Qaeda.”

    Davis later points out that John Adams regarded his zealous defense of the British soldiers responsible for the Boston Massacre as one of the noblest acts of his life (it’s a highlight of both the book and the mini-series). We’ve had no problems with lawyers who defended Nazi war criminals or commie traitors. But let someone advocate for a terror suspect and the world is ending.

    And I want to repeat that: terror suspects. Thanks in part to the efforts of these traitorous lawyers, we’ve found out that many of the “worst of the worst” were, in fact, completely innocent of terrorism. But to the Liz Cheneys of the world, we should lock up and torture anyone who might be a terrorist. We should never even bother to find out if they’re actually, you know, terrorists.

    (And please don’t come back with the bogus stats of those released who have “returned to fight” until you’ve read this and this.)

    If lawyers defended accused child molesters, would Cheney brand them the “Neverland Nine”? Or would she go after Manson’s defense lawyers and claim they want to murder people? Actually, I don’t really want to know the answer to that.

    This is not a trivial thing. When you attack lawyers for arguing a case with which you disagree, you are attacking the rule of law itself.

    Post Scriptum — In other Right Wing Terrorism Dementia news, you should read Matthew Alexander’s dissection of Marc Thiessen’s pro-torture book. Alexander if a former military interrogator who helped get Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. Thiessen is … a form speech writer for Dick Cheney. Read the whole thing. And yes, as long as Liz Cheney and her ilk are wielding influence with the GOP, this issue remains highly relevant).

    Post Post Scriptum — And while we’re on the subject: our weak, spineless President just sent another high-ranking AQ member to spend eternity with 72 people debating whether Captain Picard or Captain Kirk was better.

    One Up, One Down

    Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

    Good and bad news out of Texas. On the one hand, young Earth creationist Don McLeroy lost his primary campaign for the board of education seat. On the other hand, moderate Republican Tincy Miller lost her primary and her opponent looks to be a “teach the controversy” creationist.

    On balance, this is good. Removing McLeroy is a huge step. I just hope his replacement is more reasonable.

    SWAT

    Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

    I knew that the documenting of Maryland SWAT raids was going to be upsetting. But even I didn’t expect it to be this bad.

    Over the last six months of 2009, SWAT teams were deployed 804 times in the state of Maryland, or about 4.5 times per day. In Prince George’s County alone, with its 850,000 residents, a SWAT team was deployed about once per day. According to a Baltimore Sun analysis, 94 percent of the state’s SWAT deployments were used to serve search or arrest warrants, leaving just 6 percent in response to the kinds of barricades, bank robberies, hostage takings, and emergency situations for which SWAT teams were originally intended.

    Worse even than those dreary numbers is the fact that more than half of the county’s SWAT deployments were for misdemeanors and nonserious felonies. That means more than 100 times last year Prince George’s County brought state-sanctioned violence to confront people suspected of nonviolent crimes. And that’s just one county in Maryland. These outrageous numbers should provide a long-overdue wake-up call to public officials about how far the pendulum has swung toward institutionalized police brutality against its citizenry, usually in the name of the drug war.

    No one will do anything about it now because no one wants to seem weak on crime. What’s it’s going to take is some kind of high-level tragedy. The minute some rich white person gets gunned down in one of these raids, the politicians will start to pay attention.

    Tuesday Linkorama

    Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
  • Sting. Hypocrite. Note also the story of the Aral Sea. The article blames its destruction on the current Uzbek dictator, but this was mostly the work of the Soviet Union — that wonderful, charming nation whose evil many on the Left (like Sting) were hesitant to acknowledge.
  • The fuck of it is that most bureaucrats won’t see this as unreasonable.
  • A blind painter.
  • Ben Bernanke fires a warning shot across Congress’ bow on the deficit. I am really beginning to wonder if a default and inflation lie in our future. Is anyone in Washington prepared to make hard choices?
  • The latest on wheat rust. This scares me.
  • The war against resistant bacteria continues. This is one of the biggest health crises looming over our heads. My biggest fear of healthcare reform is that it will hamstring the innovation we need to prevent the next plague.
  • I think this take on why liberals and atheists have higher IQs is right. High IQ makes you intellectually wander from the default culture.
  • I love this link on the sound of antique pianos.
  • It’s so true.
  • Hayek Keynes

    Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

    I’ve gone back and forth about posting this on facebook. It is funny if you’re into economics.

    Steroids and Willy

    Monday, March 1st, 2010

    Joe Posnanski has a great post on the lionization of Willie Mays and other pre-steroid players. Apparently having been born before the spread of steroids makes you a better person. Read the whole thing, but this statement really encapsulates the BS:

    Hirsch, in his own words, believes there’s a big difference between steroids and amphetamines — the former, he says, builds muscle mass and enhances performance while the latter “restores energy and allows someone to perform at full strength.” That seems to be the argument.

    This is such unmitigated bullshit that my computer now reeks. Steroids do not enhance muscle mass all by themselves. You have to combine them with workouts and nutrition to get the benefit. And many players claimed that they used steroids for exactly this reason — that it restored them to full strength and energy.

    Indeed, the main benefit of steroids may have been keeping players on the field (until their hulked-up bodies broke down). McGwire, for example, always had high home run rate but couldn’t stay on the field or at full strength.

    MO Money

    Monday, March 1st, 2010

    Missouri is considering a Fair Tax, complete with vote-buying, dependency-creating prebate.

    I hate the income tax as much as anyone. I just moved from a state with no income tax to a state with three. It sucks. But the Fair Tax is just a terrible idea, as I’ve discussed in links you can find by clicking the topic below this post.