Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Weekend Linkorama

  • I can’t pretend to be surprised that stimulus money is not going to repair the most critical bridges but is going to pork projects. This is what happens when you throw out tons of unaccountable cash out there. I’ve moved past it. Now I’m waiting for the huge scandals connected to the “cash for clunkers” program.
  • Another story from our wonderful drug war. Asset forfeiture laws are probably the most vile laws on our books. If only we had a leadership that cared about criminal justice and civil liberties.
  • 70% of Southern Whites aren’t sure if Obama was born in this country. That sound you heard was the facepalm of this southerner.
  • More indicators that our healthcare system isn’t the disaster we’re told.
  • No, Virginia. You can’t pay for everything with taxes on the rich.
  • Adventures in tasing. I used to like the idea of tasers as a non-lethal force. But it seems they’re (mostly) non-lethality has only encourage ridiculously prolific use.
  • I can’t help but think that the new food safety requirements are going to end up like CPSIA — crippling small farmers in favor of agribusiness.
  • Americans can’t afford healthcare — but apparently they can afford $34 billion of bullshit every year.
  • Pensions? Doomed. This is why I have my money in 403b’s. As bad as they might be, relying on the state is worse.
  • Tuesday Linkorama

  • Your torture link of the day. Scott Horton runs the myths to ground. I wish the torture defenders could make up their minds. Either Bush authorized torture or he didn’t. You can’t, on the one hand, give him credit for keeping the nation safe; and, on the other hand, absolve him of all blame for Abu Ghraib.
  • My friend Cameron destroys the 2012 apocalypse myth.
  • The Obama Administration is pushing against the rule that you stop questioning a suspect after he asks for a lawyer. Remember when Democrats cared about civil liberties? I miss those days. What’s the point of electing Democrats if they’re going to be “tough on crime”?
  • There are two times when a woman can not be held responsible for anything she says. When she’s making a baby and when she’s having one. To threaten to take someone’s child because she said something dumb after labor is just bizarre.
  • Jimmy Carter, a man I try very hard to respect, gets dumb about supporting the assault weapons ban.
  • Moving Day Linkorama

  • More zero tolerance idiocy. Yes, let’s arrest 10-year olds for bringing toy guns to school.
  • It’s the 50th-anniversary of the writing of I, Pencil, one of the most straight-forward explanations of the free market system ever devise.
  • No, Virginia, the government can’t silence anyone who questions their investigations.
  • Utterly appalling.
  • Proving once again that there is nothing more dangerous than good intentions, the laws passed to stop lead-laced Chinese toys from entering the market may bankrupt small toy-makers.
  • Monday Morning Linkorama

  • I generally disagree with almost everything Glenn Greenwald says. But his point on telecom immunity is very well made and highly persuasive. Maybe if the left hadn’t devoted so much effort to defending the ability of lawyers to sue everyone in subpoena distance, we’d pay more attention.
  • I’m going to shit myself laughing if the Republicans nominate a closeted gay man for vice-President.
  • An inspiring must-read about a school valedictorian who is there because of vouchers. Just remember, it’s horrible to give opportunities to smart kids and drain money from the all-important “system”.
  • In another example of how liberals hurt those they want to help, Oregon’s limits on paycheck lending is sending people into the arms of unscrupulous lenders.
  • Weekend Linkorama

  • Mayor Bloomberg wants a gag order on the Constitution. Tell me again why this idiot is bruted about as a Presidential Candidate?
  • A lovely inspiring personal story from Ed Morrissey.
  • No one is going to question the evil of apartheid. But a $400 billion lawsuit against companies that did business in South Africa? I smell a fat contingency fee.
  • Is there hope for education freedom? I’m optimistic.
  • Weekend Linkorama

  • Numbers in the Dark on gun control. I’m used to the gun-grabbers playing fast and loose with the facts, but it’s getting ridiculous.
  • Is Raoul really reforming Cuba? Some doubts.
  • Pure brilliance from Peggy Noonan on Hillary’s refusal to face reality.
  • Man, I hate the sugar companies. They are the biggest reason I could never be in Congress. The first thing I’d do is call in some of the sugar fat cats, show them a picture of a starving kid in the Philippines or the Dominican Republic and ask them to justify their rich subsidies and import restrictions.

    A friend of mine used to live in Hawaii. He moved out because not only were his property taxes high to account for sugar growers being exempt, the smoke from the burning cane was giving his kids asthma. The sugar companies need to be just taken out and shot. It’s an industry completely dependent on government largesse.

  • Yet another example of why I hate Big Education. Anyone who oppose scholarship for poor kids needs to be drawn and quartered.
  • When I grow up, I want to be a duck-billed platypus.
  • Ah, government. They force you to add something to gasoline. And when it pollutes, you pick up the tab.
  • Thursday Morning Linkorama

    Deriving star formation histories while writing NSF grants is thirsty work. So you know what that means.

    The return of LINKORAMA!

  • Monkeys are attacking people in Delhi.
  • We move closer and closer to 1984. Rudy claims Freedom is Authority and the British want an Orwellian exercise hour.
  • If you haven’t read Fareed Zakaria’s latest attempt to inject sanity into the Iran debate, do so:

    The American discussion about Iran has lost all connection to reality. Norman Podhoretz, the neoconservative ideologist whom Bush has consulted on this topic, has written that Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is “like Hitler … a revolutionary whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it in the fullness of time with a new order dominated by Iran and ruled by the religio-political culture of Islamofascism.” For this staggering proposition Podhoretz provides not a scintilla of evidence.

    Here is the reality. Iran has an economy the size of Finland’s and an annual defense budget of around $4.8 billion. It has not invaded a country since the late 18th century. The United States has a GDP that is 68 times larger and defense expenditures that are 110 times greater. Israel and every Arab country (except Syria and Iraq) are quietly or actively allied against Iran. And yet we are to believe that Tehran is about to overturn the international system and replace it with an Islamo-fascist order? What planet are we on?

  • Christopher Hitchens on Islamofascism is an appropriate term for what we’re dealing with.
  • Rosh Hoshana Linkorama!

    I’m not supposed to think today (not that I do anyway), so I’ll just link to those who do:

  • Radley Balko points out that the Democrats seems to have a better notion of federalism than the GOP. I disagree slightly. Federalism was always a ploy by the Republicans to appeal to strates’ rights conservatives like me. What they really supported was the right of the states . . . to be conservative. And I’m sure the Dems will supports states’ rights . . . as long as the states are liberal. Watch how fast their federalism vanishes when the abortion issue comes up.
  • This story makes you wonder how many of those poor assholes with their pictures on the internet are really innocent. Prostitution is an issue where my views have shifted quite a bit. A few years ago, I was in favor of keeping it illegal. I’ve become convinced that criminalization is a disaster for law enforcement, for the public and especially for women.
  • LA wants to limit fast food restaurants in poor neighborhoods. First of all, I’m sure the rich fast food chains will love the ban on new competitition. And the locked-off market will certainly improve the food choices, since we all know effective monopolies best serve the consumer. Second, is it just me or is there something weird about a city council literally trying to take food out of the mouths of poor people?
  • On the video tape I made for my daughter when she was born, I told her that the world is getting to be a better place all the time. Here’s proof. (HT, Sully). Remember, child mortality is not a product of modern life — it is natural. It was the way things were for millions of years. All your Rousseau-wannabee environmentalist luddite shitheads can stick it. This is the result of rich people doing good things with technology and industry.
    There’s a related link from Sully about how geeks have a better perspective on tragedy. Just wait until the Gates money starts pouring into these efforts.
  • Also via Sully, we find a critique of terrorist logos. Personally, I think the IJMP logo looks it’s having a really bad period.
  • Finally, remember how wire-tapping blew up the terrorist plot in Germany? Um, no. I’m getting sick of this spin from the Bushies. They do this constantly. Make some grand claim to grab headlines, then quietly admit it’s a crock.
  • Thoughts on the surge later tonight.

    Monday Linkorama

  • Explain to me the difference between this and plain old robbery.
  • The administration now thinks the President’s approval ratings are a national security issue. Who knew? They also don’t think FOIA applies to them. If these guys were Democrats, the Right Wing would be screaming.
  • Want to know why our education system is broken? How about $5.4 million to teachers who aren’t working. I have a big post on education coming up. I can’t wait until these idiots are running our healthcare.
  • Is pre-K education a panacea? Nope. I’ve always thought that kids don’t really start learning until they’re about five years old or so. But this isn’t about education; it’s about getting the government into their lives as early as possible.
  • Our budget only grew 3% this year. I love gridlock!
  • The teachers’ union are spending $3 million to stop vouchers. Why are they so afraid of school choice?
  • Friday Linkorama

  • Two military salts speak up on torture.

    It is firmly established in international law that treaties are to be interpreted in “good faith” in accordance with the ordinary meaning of their words and in light of their purpose. It is clear to us that the language in the executive order cannot even arguably be reconciled with America’s clear duty under Common Article 3 to treat all detainees humanely and to avoid any acts of violence against their person.

    To date in the war on terrorism, including the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and all U.S. military personnel killed in action in Afghanistan and Iraq, America’s losses total about 2 percent of the forces we lost in World War II and less than 7 percent of those killed in Vietnam. Yet we did not find it necessary to compromise our honor or abandon our commitment to the rule of law to defeat Nazi Germany or imperial Japan, or to resist communist aggression in Indochina. On the contrary, in Vietnam — where we both proudly served twice — America voluntarily extended the protections of the full Geneva Convention on prisoners of war to Viet Cong guerrillas who, like al-Qaeda, did not even arguably qualify for such protections.

    Geneva is not about the enemy. It’s about us.

  • The hysteria over plastic bags continues unabated.

    Myth: Paper grocery bags are a better environmental choice than plastic bags.

    Fact: Plastic bags use 40% less energy to produce and generate 70% less emissions & 80% less solid waste than paper. (U.S. EPA website,

    Myth: Plastic grocery bags take 1,000 years to decompose in landfills.

    Fact: Today’s landfills are designed to prevent decomposition of anything. Chances are your orange peel, milk carton and even last year’s newspaper won’t breakdown. Research by William Rathje, who runs the Garbage Project, has shown that when excavated from a landfill, newspapers from the 1960s can be intact and readable.

    Really, you don’t need to be a scientist here, just use your common sense. Plastic bags are cheaper because they use less resources.

  • Read an interview with the baby gun man. I liked the YouTube debate. The people aren’t going to let the politicans get away with bullshit the way the media does.
  • Unions are outsourcing picket lines. I always ignore protests. I wish I could say I knew about the rent-a-mobs, but it’s more based on my experience in college watching certain groups of people protest anything with no idea of what they were really protesting.
  • I’m sure a lot of libs are defending Ward Churchill, saying he was fired for his political opinions. Um, no. The man was a serial plagiarist. He gets tenure. I’m staring at unemployment next March.