Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘drug possession’

  • LewRockwell.com: Three videos of police brutality. Take your pick, they are all horrible: an elderly disabled woman thrown to the ground, a cop pointing a gun at a woman’s head for getting in a car accident, a girl tased through her skull. Never forget: these thugs are not your friends.
  • National Post: Two Canadians are facing charges for desecrating an American flag as part of a bet over last year’s gold medal hockey game in Vancouver. The flag is just a stupid piece of fabric. It is only the false religion of nationalism that makes it anything more. I would encourage everyone to go out and burn five flags tomorrow just to knock the nationalists down.
  • Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com: Best and worst of 2010. I am obviously going to love that Glenn Greenwald is one of his best, but I’m really more excited about seeing the repulsive Michael C. Moynihan of Reason as one of his worst. That a hateful little statist apologist like Moynihan works at Reason is appalling. The rot he has been churning out against WikiLeaks is awful, thus making me quite glad to see LRN.fm drop Reason.tv from their lineup.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the decision to list a teen on the sex offender registry for forcing another teen to accompany him in collecting a debt. Wh-what? How is that a sex crime? Quiet, slave–do not question the wisdom of Leviathan!
  • Glenn Greenwald: What Glenn learned from his campaign of pro-WikiLeaks media appearances. Money quote: “From the start of the WikiLeaks controversy, the most striking aspect for me has been that the ones who are leading the crusade against the transparency brought about by WikiLeaks — the ones most enraged about the leaks and the subversion of government secrecy — have been . . . America’s intrepid Watchdog journalists.”
  • Via Conor Friedersdorf at Sullivan, USA Today: Railways are apparently the next target for the DHS/TSA fascists. The airport racket wasn’t a big enough employment program for fat skinhead knuckle-draggers, so they are going to need to start up unconstitutional and utterly pointless searches at subway stations to create some more jobs for their brethren.
  • NYT: Have you heard of Jamie and Gladys Scott? They had spent 16 years behind bars for an $11 armed robbery. Well, luckily for them, Miss. Governor (and GOP presidential hopeful) Haley Barbour went and said some vaguely racist crap a few weeks ago. Looking to prove he didn’t hate blacks after all, Barbour suspended their sentences, contingent upon one sister giving the other a kidney. I am glad these women have been released from their ridiculous sentences, but that Barbour did this for opportunistic reasons and that there is some sort of caveat attached pisses me off.
  • Western Standard: Highlighting the inspiring story of an incidence of de facto jury nullification in a Montana marijuana possession case. During jury selection, the drug warriors couldn’t find enough potential jurors in the pool willing to even consider locking someone up for having a sixteenth of an ounce. Not like the quantity should really matter, but still awesome.
  • Eugene Volokh: Phillip Greaves, the sick dude who wrote the infamously-banned-on-Amazon book The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure, was recently extradited to Florida to face felony obscenity charges. Undercover cops baited him into sending them a copy of the book. Is Greaves  a sick puppy who should be ostracized by other adults? Probably. But is writing a book reason enough to entrap someone and then lock them up? Hell no.
  • Via Jacob Sullum at Reason, Michael Siegel: the top 10 anti-tobacco lies of the year. Why just talk about the realities of lung cancer when you can make up much worse lies? That seems to be the motto of the anti-smoking zealots. It’s mostly BS about secondhand smoke.
  • The American Conservative: A great parody poster, ridiculing America’s support of all manner of reprehensible regimes.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer: Meet John Harmon, a diabetic who was repeatedly tased and beaten by Hamilton County cops during a groundless DUI stop. Cops suspected Harmon was drunk when really his blood sugar was low. It probably didn’t help that Harmon is black. Now he is suing. Good–punch the cop-bullies in the nose.
  • NYT: Headline: “Abuses Cited in Enforcing China Policy of One Child.” Oh gee whiz, do you think? I don’t really know how you differentiate when the one-child policy is itself just one great instance of abuse. There is a story in this report about a woman carried off to a hospital and sterilized against her will. To the criminals perpetrating these crimes–I don’t often wish violence upon people, but may you end up first against the wall come the revolution.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: A how-to on recording the cops. Not exactly a thriller, but excellent for logistics. The recording front is one of the primary ones on which we are fighting right now.
  • Kevin Carson at Center for a Stateless Society: Headline: “Statism: An Unfalsifiable Religion.” Pointing out the endlessly self-perpetuating loop of statism. I liked this quote: “Market failures are taken as evidence that we need a regulatory state, but regulatory failures are used as a pretext for even more government.”
  • William Grigg at LewRockwell.com: Pausing to remember the horrific story of Derek Hale, executed by cops in 2006. Hale’s widow recently received a settlement from the City of Wilmington, Delaware, but that can scarcely bring back her tased-into-a-stupor, then-shot husband Derek.
  • Daily Anarchist: Ugh…a guy writes about how he no longer hangs out with his non-anarchist friends. I hate this crap. Saying that you don’t want to hang out with non-anarchists is just as collectivist as being a collectivist. People must be treated as individuals.
  • Juan Cole: Top ten myths about Afghanistan. Must-read. Cole just demolishes every one of the plot lines you hear articulated in White House briefings and mainstream reporting. It is an unwinnable war.
  • NYT: Remember the name Qian Yunhui. He began as no hero–a Communist Party apparatchik. But he later fought for his neighbors’ property rights, and this is why he may well have been killed by the regime.
  • NYT: Estonia joins the Euro. Poor Estonians. We’ve covered this story before. At a time when the euro is facing an existential crisis, let there be no doubt that this decision had nothing to do with the good of average Estonians and everything to do with bureaucrats and politicians seeking more goodies from the European Union.
  • Jacob Sullum at Reason: Covering the federal court ruling that NYC can’t force cigarette merchants to put up anti-smoking posters. This is one small victory for private business, but it comes in the midst of a losing war.
  • Via Conor Friedersdorf at Sullivan, The Washington Examiner: When it comes to for-profit colleges, no one wins. You have the colleges themselves fighting to keep their meal-ticket, the 87% of revenue they get from taxpayers. Then you have guys shorting the stocks of for-profit colleges fighting for more onerous regulation of them in Congress, just to make sure they make money on their short. Yuck.
  • The War Nerd Gary Brecher at The eXile: Lessons from the Pashtun. I don’t always love Brecher’s column, but this one was hilarious. Good example: “They still remember Timur in Herat, but they won’t remember us. Not even all the money we spent, because Afghans are not future software billionaires. They’ll spend it on guns or pretty little dancing boys, and it’ll all end up in the form of Muhajir merchant families, or the 32-foot Bayliners sitting in the driveway of some merc’s house in Tracy.”
  • NYT: Those who petition the Russian Orthodox Church to rescind Tolstoy’s excommunication either totally misunderstand his philosophy or just want to make a name for themselves. My guess is the latter. If Tolstoy knew that his great-grandson was campaigning for Putin and begging for the Patriarch to restore Tolstoy to good graces, he would implode.
  • John McWhorter at The New Republic: Fantastic essay on how ending the drug war–and not just on marijuana–would be a tremendous thing for black America. My only concern with McWhorter’s essay is that it’s a bit too pragmatic. The war on drugs should be ended because it is morally wrong, not because it leads to a lot of innocent black men going to jail. If fewer black men go to jail once this great wrong is eliminated from our society, then so much the better.
  • Daniel Larison: Pointing out the uncomfortable truth that Liu Xiaobo is a pretty lame stooge of Western imperialism (read: supported the war in Iraq). This news disappoints me, but like Larison, it does not diminish my belief that Liu Xiaobo should be freed immediately.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: Cornelius Dupree Jr. became the 21st man to be exonerated by DNA evidence…in just one county. He had been in prison since 1980. What a tragedy, 30 years stolen.
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

  • Via Strike the Root, Wired: the NSA gets a new set of cartoon snow leopard mascots to recruit kids. Of course, the CIA, National Counterterrorism Center and FBI all already have games aimed at kids. So you can’t market cigarettes to kids, but you can try to get them to become human-hating tool-drones of the American imperialist security apparatus? What a sick country.
  • National Post: An “internationally acclaimed psychiatrist” says there is no evidence Omar Khadr, the boy-turned-man locked up at 15 in Guantanamo Bay in 2002 and held there ever since, is a ‘good kid.’ I. DON’T. CARE. Good kid or not, he has human rights, you bag of pus. And hey, guess what…maybe he would be a much nicer kid if he hadn’t been held without trial and maybe tortured for going on ten years. Burn in hell.
  • Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason: Regulations are Horrible, pt. 500,000–stiffer testing regulations passed on toymakers in the aftermath of a few Mattel recalls were quickly altered to exempt Mattel. Now those same onerous regulations are driving smaller toymakers to grovel before Leviathan and probably go out of business. My God, this is especially sick. Corporations write regulations, guys. Stop thinking they protect you, they only protect their share of the marketplace.
  • Via Liberale et Libertaire, CBS: Alaskan Senate nominee and Sarah Palin buddy Joe Miller makes a mistake and accidentally speaks the truth in saying he wants America’s border to look like East Germany‘s. An estimated 1,100 innocent people died at the Inner German Border, you freak. I hope you lay in bed tortured by their death groans.
  • NYT: From the department of Do You Really Think We are That Stupid, “Coalition Forces Routing Taliban in Key Afghan Region.” If you’re the NYT reporter doing this story, how do you even finish it? How do you keep a straight face listening to the military hacks feeding you this tripe? You’re driving the Taliban out of their caves in one region, whoopee! Guess what, guys…Afghanistan has three things in abundance, AK-47s, poppy seeds, and caves. “We” are not winning this game of whack-a-mole.
  • NYT: An American guard killed an Afghan detainee in a prison near Kandahar. Oh, wouldn’t you know it, he was trying to escape! If you believe that story, I have some primo real estate in Las Vegas to sell you, too.
  • Glenn Greenwald: This is such a classic Greenwald post, haha. Glenn wants us to remember the cruel and unusual prison policies of the Iranians…which happen to look an awful lot like our own at Guantanamo and the black sites worldwide. “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
  • Via Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason, Crispy on the Outside: Did you know Kokomo, Ind. was “saved” by the stimulus? A stimulus that made it possible for Our Father the State to unselfishly charge only $1,000 for a liquor license that normally costs $100,000? Oh Father, what would we do without you to make us lick your boots and pay exorbitant costs to exercise our fundamental rights?
  • Via Brian Doherty at Reason, NYT: Antonio “bile” Musumeci, the producer of the awesome podcast Thinking Liberty, won a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security thugs who arrested him and confiscated his memory card for videotaping a protest outside of a federal courthouse. This is great news for everyone who recognizes the newest front in the war against the state, photography and videotaping.
  • Via the New Humanist, WaPo: a Ugandan tabloid publishes photos of 100 suspected homosexuals and tells readers in their deeply homophobic country to “hang them.” Ideas have consequences, you American evangelicals who went to Uganda and helped draft their anti-gay bill. Four people on the list have already been attacked. All Western countries should offer these people immediate asylum.
  • Der Spiegel: We talk about the rhetorical awfulness of Godwin’s Law a lot, but you can’t understand how ridiculous and hurtful the argumentum ad Hitlerum is until you hear a German discuss it. Dear Glenn Beck, kids singing Obama praise songs and warnings about global warming might be annoying and gross, but they are not on par with the Hitler Youth and death camps. Stop embarrassing yourself.
  • Free Keene: Keene PD shut down (video included) Cub Scouts and homeless shelter volunteers for putting up tables at a festival without licenses. Even though the tables were on private property. If you are a cop who does stuff like this, who are you helping? What are you thinking? Are you thinking?
  • NYT: Know how the GOP keeps talking about deficits? Guess what, they have few specifics on how they want to cut the deficit. It’s hard to have much of a plan when you are running to the left of the Democrats on Medicare and have no intentions of cutting defense. If you vote for these clowns, you have your head on backwards.
  • NYT: So the military is allowing some gays to reenlist now. I hate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and I’m all about equality. My only question is, why do these guys even want to be in the military?
  • National Post: Pointing out the fallacy of people who don’t like Muhammad cartoons saying Islam should be treated “equally.” Hey guys, guess what? This is the West. We have the right to express ourselves. If it hurts your feelings, go back to a Muslim country. Oh, and please stop trying to kill cartoonists.
  • NYT: Headline–“Efforts to Prosecute Blackwater Are Collapsing.” But hey, the Department of Justice tried really hard! Just like they tried really hard to prosecute torturers.
  • Jacob Sullum at Reason: Yet another reason to support Prop 19–blacks are incarcerated for drug crimes at a rate up to twelve times that of whites, even though white use rates are the same or higher. And yet somehow Prop 19 looks less and less likely to pass. Come on, people!
  • Center for a Stateless Society: Lede–“Mexican authorities recently burned 134 tons of marijuana in a display of Drug War success. The flames of the burning goods were a visible statist spectacle casting marijuana and the people who use it as villains, while the smoke from state propaganda conceals the real villain, which is authority.” Amen!
  • NYT: Oh hey, nothing to see here, but Fannie and Freddie might need another $19 billion from taxpayers. $135 billion wasn’t quite enough. But hey, go watch your American Idol and we’ll get back to subsidizing some more mortgages for people who can’t afford them!
  • NYT: This is one of the dumbest pieces I’ve read in a long time–a morbidly obese man whines about the insults and difficulties of traveling whilst fat. He’s been doing it for over twenty years. Here’s an idea, bucko: if you find it so dehumanizing and sad, lose a few pounds. And no, you do not get to be 5’7 285 by being big-boned.
  • Brian Doherty at Reason: Thuggish celebucop Sheriff Lee Baca of L.A. County says he will continue to enforce marijuana laws even if Prop 19 passes. Of course, the L.A. Times is already using this as another reason to vote no on Prop 19 and “avoid controversy.”
  • Lew Rockwell: Engaging in a favorite Misesian past-time, tweaking the nose of the Mont Pelerin Society. I feel bad for the college kids who watch documentaries like Commanding Heights and come away thinking the MPS Friedmanite shills for conventional conservatism are really free marketers. Join Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Property and Freedom Society instead, kids.
  • Kevin Williamson at Exchequer: Profiling a favorite statist tactic, campaigning against budget cuts by putting only the best and most essential programs on the chopping block. But what about the firefighters and the police? Think of the children! Meanwhile, we will think of our pensions, mua ha ha.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: Great article on the State’s cute little asset seizure programs that like to take all sorts of property from suspected criminals and then make it incredibly difficult to get back, even when you end up being innocent. We need it for the common good, slave! Now lick my boots!

Read Full Post »

  • Jacob Sullum at Reason: U.S. cops arrested 1.66 million people on drug charges last year. More than half of those were for pot, and 90% of the pot arrests were for possession. For possession of an arbitrarily-illegal product! Unless you really like violating fundamental rights, initiating cycles of stunted career development thanks to arrest records and bankrupting the penal system, there’s nothing you can like about these figures.
  • NYT: Missouri judges have the unique option of knowing how much different sentencing options will cost before they hand down sentences. Of course the prosecutors are upset–they’d rather look “tough on crime” than worry about bankrupting the system. My concern with this piece is that it’s all about pragmatism. Here’s an idea: how about judges stop refusing to sentence people who commit victimless “crimes?” How about judges stop handing down excessive sentences for the sake of grandstanding?
  • NYT: in celebration of NYC’s proposed restrictions on outdoor smoking, a NYT reporter approaches random people in parks and asks them to put out their cigarettes. I’m disappointed that people even dignified this jerk with a response, let alone the people who actually did put their smokes out. Are you really going around deeply inhaling smoke wisps from stranger’s cigarettes in a park?
  • Center for a Stateless Society: how the tobacco industry is exploiting “health concerns” to enlist government force on their side in driving e-cigarette competitors out of the market. This is how regulation works, people–big corporations use their lobbyists to help write laws that will drive their lower-budget competitors out of business.
  • The Globe & Mail: Congress is considering passing a disgusting bill that would require importers to have “an American agent with a U.S. address.” Ah yes, what better way to make domestic products seem more appealing than to introduce a new fee on foreign producers! We’re in a recession and this is the crap government is coming up with–crap that will make our dollars buy less.
  • Via Andrew Sullivan, The New Republic: right message, wrong way of expressing it–a gay U.S. soldier writes about the necessity of ending DADT, but not before having a big, fat pity party about how hard it is to be a soldier. I’m sorry your living conditions suck, but could you remind me when it was that you were forcibly conscripted into service? Oh, that’s right–you volunteered and are probably getting paid better by the military than you would in the private sector. Now kindly shut the hell up.
  • NYT: I linked to an article earlier about the Pentagon trying to buy up and destroy all the copies of a book they claim will reveal classified info. It turns out that usually they catch such books earlier and black stuff out before printing. It’s already a gross concept, made even worse by the fact that plenty of the stuff they are censoring isn’t sensitive or secret.
  • Via Jesse Walker at Reason, Montreal Gazette: Faced with a severe taxi shortage, Montreal is talking about deregulating its licensing scheme. Like many big cities, Montreal caps the number of licenses at a very low number, which means that license transfers cost around $200,000, meaning that new cabbies are priced out of the market and have to go to work through pimps dispatching companies. It’s a criminally stupid and unfair system.
  • The Globe & Mail: an elderly Alberta farmer falls and gets stuck inside his combine for a few hours, so now his family hopes this will convince him to retire. Why? This guy sounds awesome. He should be allowed to farm until the day he dies, if that’s what he wants.
  • NYT: the schmuck behind the push for more onerous food safety restrictions in Congress is a guy whose mom died from tainted food. Don’t you love it when people can’t divorce their personal experience from the life of society? Don’t you love it when people then want to legislate that experience upon other people?
  • Moscow Times: a new, weird solution for the Park 51 community center debate. The eccentric former governor of Kalmykia and current president of the international chess federation wants to buy the lot and build a chess center. It is a much more constructive solution than most of the people w ho don’t want the Islamic center built, just an incredibly bizarre one.

Read Full Post »

  • NYT: Lindsey Graham is a sick, sick puppy. A man equally dough-faced in politics and his own countenance, he has come under fire from the Republican base in his home state of South Carolina for being too liberal. Graham has seen what the Tea Party has done in getting rid of Republicans even more conservative than him this year and can’t hold much hope for his future. That’s what I think is behind his proposal to alter the 14th Amendment and get rid of birthright citizenship. It’s a page stolen from the playbook of “tough on crime” leftists, who knowingly sell out civil liberties and nonviolent criminals in an attempt to not look wimpy. In my mind, this ploy is even worse–the schmuck is talking about altering the Constitution and changing a working citizenship law just to protect his political future. I hope you will have many long years to reflect on your next term in the Senate when you are burning in hell, Lindsey!
  • NYT: Senate passes an immigration bill by unanimous consent that will require increased U.S.-Mexico border security to in part be funded by raising fees on Indian-owned firms that employ Indian immigrant-majority staffs in the U.S. What? It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Chuck Schumer was the guy behind this populist bit of hijacking. Please issue a moral defense of the idea that companies that hire too many Indians should pay for more wasteful security on a border with which they have no concern. I’m waiting.
  • The Independenta British backpacker stands to be freed after serving six years of a ten-year sentence in an Indian jail cell shared with 50 other inmates. His crime? Drug possession. And the best part is that his trial was conducted entirely in Hindi (which  he does not speak) and presented no DNA or fingerprint evidence connecting him to the drugs. It took the guy four years to even get an appeal. The list of conditions he’s picked up in jail: “malaria, dysentery, rat bites, depression, prostatitis and urinary dysfunction.” Another life ruined by the drug war!
  • Der Spiegel: Germany reaches a settlement with the families of Afghan civilians mistakenly killed in a bombing. I find it remarkable that the compensation will be $5000 per family. $5000 goes a long way in Afghanistan, but for us in the West–isn’t it sad that we’ve reached a point at which innocent life is worth only $5000? Do we really want this war tarnishing our souls any longer?
  • Via Andrew Sullivan, Bill Kristol: giving Obama a checklist for reelection. This is one of those, “Oh no…my God, he’s serious!” sort of posts. The checklist Kristol offers: 1. extend tax rates, 2. rescind the Afghanistan withdrawal deadline and 3. oppose the not-really-at Ground Zero mosque. But hey, at least if Obama can get through the next year with that BORING list, Kristol has military action in Iran for him to look forward to. These policies would be bad enough in a vacuum, but it’s like Kristol completely missed the last decade.
  • NYT: Hamid Karzai throws a hissy fit over anti-corruption investigators looking into the dealings of his government cronies. Because that’s what innocent guys who aren’t involved in corruption up to their eyeballs tend to do. But hey, at least it isn’t like American teenagers are dying and dropping bombs on innocent people for the sake of this guy and his dope baron brother. Oh wait….
  • People’s World: article accusing Rand Paul of being a shill for anti-workplace safety coal companies. It’s not very interesting, except for this part: Paul also argued for “local and state” control instead of federal regulation of mining….”The bottom line is I’m not an expert, so don’t give me the power in Washington to be making rules. You live here, and you have to work in the mines.” But miner Tim Miller, a United Mine Workers representative in Madisonville, Ky., saw things differently. “Rand Paul and his deregulation – all he talks about is deregulation and the local authorities having total control over any regulation,” Miller told the Associated Press. “I think that takes us back at least 100 years, back to when 12-year-old kids could work in the coal mines.” Seriously? Rand Paul admitting the limits of his own knowledge and saying that coal regulations probably shouldn’t be made by people in Washington who have never even seen a coal mine rather than local actors who are intimately acquainted with every step of the production process makes him the bad guy? The left can be incredible at times. Here, it is like they are faulting Rand Paul for taking a textbook Hayekian position on information asymmetry rather than being humble enough to defer to the judgment of people who know more than him. Thou art a politician, thou must control!
  • LewRockwell.com: one of those head-scratching articles that keeps LewRockwell.com confined to the fringe, this time railing against a 13-year-old Canadian girl for raising money to boost education for women in Afghanistan. Why publish an article like this one? It’s mainly meanness, and meanness  directed against someone in no position to defend herself. I get the point the author is making against universalist humanitarianism as grist for the mill of “humanitarian” interventionism and imperialism. But using this girl to make your point (along with some low blows against Canada) is stupid. And this is why LewRockwell.com will remain mired where it is.
  • Glenn Greenwald: assessing Elena Kagan. Greenwald would prefer a justice more “progressive” than Kagan, I would prefer more of an originalist, but we can agree that Kagan will be no friend of civil liberties. Greenwald had one quote that I loved: The reality is — and this has long been clear — that Americans have little respect for, and even less interest in, people who stand for nothing and seem afraid of their own belief system.  Clarity of principle and courage of conviction are almost always more politically appealing than muddled incoherence, calibrated careerism, or muted cowardice. Here’s hoping we never see a candidate so artificial, self-censoring and calculating as Kagan again.
  • South China Morning Post: a Western expat calls for the Hong Kong government to compel all licensed taxis to install GPS devices because this loser has trouble communicating with the cabbies in English. “Boo-hoo, I didn’t get where I was going fast enough, you need to put a gun to the head of private business owners so my feelings don’t get hurt again!” Hey guy–if you don’t like the taxis you’re hailing, then stop hailing cabs or book through a higher-end service. If enough people are like you and get tired of the low English capacity, then taxi companies will respond. Until then, take your force-loving whining back to Australia where they could probably use your help in building the internet firewall they want.
  • Matt Welch at Reason: you’d think the government would have learned not to encourage people who can’t afford to own homes to buy them…but you’d have thought wrong. Even after the property bubble, even after we are encouraging Section 8 renters to rent McMansions in foreclosure-capital-of-the-world Las Vegas, these people still haven’t learned. I don’t know if it’s just that home “ownership” is really that much of an entrenched fetish in Washington or that there’s whole federal agencies and close buddies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would probably be in for significant layoffs if the market scaled back down to where it needs to be and are filled with self-preservation types.
  • Via Andrew Sullivan, Jon Chait at the war-loving New Republic: “surely you can’t mean you only support defensive wars!” Chait is smugly shocked and argues that Joe Klein is over-reacting to the Iraq war in saying that we should only fight defensive wars–that is, wars in which we have been attacked first. What an insane standard for making wars! We can’t let our tanks and planes go to waste like that! Bring on the death!
  • NYT: very interesting article on the Italian economy. It’s interesting that much of Italy’s huge public debt is owned by Italians themselves, not foreign creditors. It doesn’t really matter whose passport they are carrying if they all present their notes at once and demand payment, but it is an interesting point that probably help to explain why Italy had fewer problems with credit rating agencies than Greece, Spain or Ireland earlir this year. My favorite quote: “‘Before World War II, Argentina was rich,’ he says. ‘Even in 1960, the country was twice as rich as Italy.’ Today, he says, you can compare the per capita income of Argentina to that of Romania. ‘Because it didn’t grow. A country could get rich in 1900 just by producing corn and meat, but that is not true today. But it took them 100 years to realize they were becoming poor. And that is what worries me about Italy. We’re not going to starve next week. We are just going to decline, slowly, slowly, and I’m not sure what will turn that around.'”
  • St. Petersburg Times: discussing whether Russia’s current policy course leads to a Soviet future for the country. Things you don’t want to miss include a fascistic drug cop who wants Moscow-area clubs to close at midnight because it would help him fight drugs and the revelation that an anti-red tape/corruption measure designed to cap corrupt inspections of businesses put a temporary dent in bureaucratic salaries is just being replaced by fewer inspections with higher payments.
  • Via Publius at the Western Standard, Maclean’s: analyzing Canada’s stimulus. Publius pulls the particularly egregious case of $25 million ferry terminal for a village of 450 people that will admittedly be used for only a few hours per week. This is a big part of why centrally-planned projects like the ever-popular stimulus are doomed to failure–throwing productive dollars at unproductive, politically beneficial programs the market would never support. Publius wants to make the point that Conservative voters aren’t getting a very conservative deal under Harper. Agreed.
  • LewRockwell.com blog: good post highlighting the recent disclosure that this will be the first year Social Security pays out more than it takes in, or the first year that people might be forced to recognize its insolvency.
  • NYT: public sector pensions are bloated and they’re dragging down governments across the country, but at least public sector retirees recognize the problem and are cooperating. Not! The main guy profiled in the piece is a poor, pitiful 62-year-old who toiled away as a public school math teacher for an insufferable 29 (!) years and thinks the Colorado pension reforms could cost him half a million dollars over the rest of his life. Oh, poor you! Money quote:
  • Taxpayers, whose payments are also helping to restock Colorado’s pension fund, may not be as sympathetic, though. The average retiree in the fund stopped working at the sprightly age of 58 and deposits a check for $2,883 each month. Many of them also got a 3.5 percent annual raise, no matter what inflation was, until the rules changed this year.

    Private sector retirees who want their own monthly $2,883 check for life, complete with inflation adjustments, would need an immediate fixed annuity if they don’t have a pension. A 58-year-old male shopping for one from an A-rated insurance company would have to hand over a minimum of $860,000, according to Craig Hemke of Buyapension.com. A woman would need at least $928,000, because of her longer life expectancy.

Read Full Post »

NYT:

“I was a pastor on crack cocaine, sir,” said Mr. Allen, who says he has been sober for 11 years and now identifies himself as the bishop of the International Faith Based Coalition here. “Drugs have no religious preference.”

And while crack cocaine laid him low, Mr. Allen says his first drug of choice was marijuana. So it is that Mr. Allen and a cadre of other black pastors, priests and other religious leaders have bonded together in recent weeks to fight what they see as a potentially devastating blow to their communities: Proposition 19, the California ballot measure that would tax and regulate marijuana.

Don’t you just love these do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do jerks? So just because this guy was personally weak and self-destructive, millions of adults across an entire state should not have the right to put a substance into their bodies? But hey, he knows what’s best for us. He is a minister, after all.

The article is about the middling support for Prop 19, the pot legalization measure that will be on California ballots this fall, among the black community. Why is this story interesting? Because in the 25 largest counties in California, blacks are 7% of the population but account for 20% of the insanely dumb marijuana possession arrests. Racial profiling in drug possession crimes is one of the worst kept secrets in the American criminal justice system, so it doesn’t make much sense support for prop 19 to be so low in the black community.

No matter their color, all pro-freedom Californians should make sure to vote yes on prop 19 this fall.

Read Full Post »