Shared posts

20 Aug 16:27

REPORT: Perry Grand Juror Was Active Dem Party Delegate During Proceedings... Developing...

REPORT: Perry Grand Juror Was Active Dem Party Delegate During Proceedings... Developing...

(Second column, 1st story, link)

20 Aug 16:03

Student arrested after writing about killing dinosaur with gun...

Student arrested after writing about killing dinosaur with gun...

(Third column, 3rd story, link)

19 Aug 11:31

Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 235 of Matt Ridley’s 2010 book, The Rational Optimist; (I’m re-reading Matt’s book in preparation for a new class that I’m teaching this Fall semester at GMU; the class is entitled “Economics of Sustainability”):

Suppose you had said to my hypothetical family of 1800, eating their gristly stew in front of a log fire, that in two centuries their descendants would need to fetch no logs or water, and carry out no sewage, because water, gas, and a magic form of invisible power called electricity would come into their home through pipes and wires.  They would jump at the chance to have such a home, but they would warily ask ho they could possibly afford it.  Suppose that you then told them that to earn such a home, they need only ensure that father and mother both have to go to work for eight hours in an office, travelling roughly forty minutes each way in a horseless carriage, and that the children need not work at all, but should go to school to be sure of getting such jobs when they start to work at twenty.  They would be more than dumbfounded; they would be delirious with excitement.

18 Aug 18:47

Rikers Teen Inmate Dies in Agony After Officials Ignore Torn Artery for Months

by Robby Soave

RikersFor months, Andy Henriquez, a 19-year-old inmate at Rikers Island in New York City, complained about chest pain to prison guards. Other inmates who could hear the teen's agonized screams pleaded with correctional officers to help him. But the shoddy medical care Henriquez received did nothing to alleviate his symptoms. Eventually, a doctor wrote him a prescription for hand cream.

Hours later, Henriquez was found dead. An autopsy determined that Henriquez had gradually succumbed to a torn aorta—something a hospital could have treated had medical personnel bothered to conduct cardiac examinations.

That's according to a lawsuit filed against Corizon, the healthcare company for Rikers, by Henriquez's mother, Sandra De La Cruz. DNAinfo's Rosa Goldensohn reports:

“I felt desperate. I felt despair, not being able to help my child,” De la Cruz told DNAinfo New York in Spanish from her lawyer's office recently.

“They should have let him leave. They should have taken him to the hospital. If I could have, I would have.”

De la Cruz is one of more than two dozen New Yorkers who have sued Corizon since 2012, accusing the company of negligence in medical care at Rikers and other correctional facilities. ...

Henriquez's death came two years after New York's Commission of Correctionhad already opened an investigation into other state inmates' deaths under Corizon's watch, city records show.

The outcome of that investigation was unclear and the commission declined to say whether it had finished or what it had found.

The guards claimed that they did not hear Henriquez begging for help, but other inmates reported that the COs did indeed hear Henriquez—they merely chose not to do anything about him. In either case, the COs acted improperly, since they were supposed to be checking on Henriquez every 15 minutes. Officers admitted that these required checks did not take placed, according to Goldensohn.

Henriquez entered Rikers at the age of 16. He was charged with being part of a gang that murdered another teenager, though Henriquez was not actually the one who committed the murder, according to the police. His case had not yet gone to trial by the time of his death.

No matter what his crimes were, he deserved better care than this. Even the useless hand cream was poorly administered; the doctor wrote the wrong name on the prescription.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time this year that Rikers made headlines for killing an inmate via neglect.

More from Reason TV on the incarceration of young people below.

16 Aug 14:12

Mom Creates App That Remotely Locks Kids' Phones Until They Call Back...

Mom Creates App That Remotely Locks Kids' Phones Until They Call Back...

(First column, 13th story, link)

16 Aug 03:19

Cops Shoot 19-Year-Old San Jose Woman After Mistaking Power Drill For an Uzi and Nothing Else Will Happen

by Ed Krayewski

Woman brandishing power drill before being shot by copsWhile the mainstream media is trying to fit surveillance video purporting to show Michael Brown robbing a convenience store of some cigars into the various narratives it's been constructing since protests and riots in Ferguson, Missouri, propelled the police shooting of an unarmed Brown into the national news cycle, the regular succession of police, or "officer-involved," shootings continue.

Earlier this week, for example, officers from the Los Angeles Police Department shot and killed a mentally disturbed 25-year-old they said later maybe might have been in a gang. In San Bernardino County, a newspaper employee died in police custody after being tased. Police claim the employed, married, father of five was a suspect in an attempted burglary. It's reported cops are "aggressively" seeking people who may have recorded their interaction with the victim.

And yesterday a 19-year-old woman in San Jose was shot and killed by police after they mistook a power drill she was brandishing for an Uzi. ABC 7 news reports:

San Jose police spokesperson Albert Morales says officers arrived at the scene with caller information that gave them reasonable concern their lives might be at risk. 

"We had a call, somebody with an Uzi, threatening to kill family members -- a very, very serious situation, very dangerous situation for our officers. We had communication with this person. Unfortunately, I guess at some point those communications either broke down or the officers felt threatened in some form or fashion."

Officers who did respond had specialized training to deal with the potential the person may have mental health issues. 

There was no one else in the home outside of which the 19-year-old was shot so it's unclear how the 911 call was so botched. Without media attention, don't expect that call, or much more information, to be released. None of these cases appear to be gaining significant media or community attention, so the stories will remain murky, uncertain. It's likely each one will be ruled justified, with little information being shared before then. The victims appear, or are depicted, as mentally unstable. Cops claim in each case that they felt threatened, and residents are expected to give police the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, the other side insists on counting cops who died because things fell on them or they were involved in accidents as "killed in the line of duty" to push the perception of cops working in a "war zone" not of their own making.

Calls by politicians like Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) that Ferguson be a "turning point" are largely hollow. Cummings voted against an NDAA amendment in June that would've limited transfers of military gear to local police departments, and none of the establishment activists who have attached themselves to the situation in Ferguson seem to be doing anything to focus people's attentions on the systemic problems behind police brutality, starting with the propensity of most fatal police shootings to be ruled justified in a process shrouded in government secrecy and privilege.

We shouldn't have to read these kinds of stories and speculate about what happened, there ought to be a transparent process trusted by the public that can come to an understandable conclusion, whether you end up agreeing or not. Instead, cops and prosecutors act almost like a team during investigations of police shootings—it shouldn't be surprising given that they do operate as a team in pretty much every other part of their jobs. And police generally control the narrative of a shooting, painting themselves in the most positive light possible and victims in the most negative light possible. Without an engaged national media they often get away with it.

The indictment of Gov. Rick Perry (R-Tex.) for trying to force a district attorney charged with drinking and driving out of office is illustrative here. A district attorney who drinks and drives shouldn't be allowed to keep that job, given how often a district attorney prosecutes drunk drivers. And it's rich to see a prosecutor charge a governor with "coercion" for threatening funding if a DA embroiled in a scandal wouldn't resign, when prosecutors coerce defendants into plea deals all the time. Is Perry enjoying widespread support for trying to force a DA that damaged her reputation out of office? Of course not, the DA is a Democrat so a significant amount of Democrats will back her. Her job is to monitor public integrity. It would seem her job should obligate her to resign after being charged with drunk driving. But prosecutors and cops will act in their own self-interest, especially when their jobs are on the line. And so bad actors are incentivized to help each other. Add partisan tribalism into the mix, and you have a recipe for a big old heap of nothing else happening.

14 Aug 22:02

wait for it… wait for it….............. just fucking...

wait for it… wait for it….............. just fucking do it!!1!

14 Aug 19:10

"Don't Shoot!"

by Tyler Durden

Presented with no comment...



h/t @Russian_Market

14 Aug 17:18

Police and Patents of Nobility

by admin

I don't have much to add to all the commentary on the Ferguson killing, except to say that many, many examples of police abuse of power are covered by libertarian blogs --but seldom more widely -- so it is nice to see coverage of such an incident hit the mainstream.

Defenders of police will say that police are mostly good people who do a difficult job and they will mostly be right.  But here is the problem:  In part due to our near fetishization of the police (if you think I exaggerate, come live here in Phoenix with our cult of Joe Arpaio), and in part due to the enormous power of public sector unions, we have made the following mistake:

  • We give police more power than the average citizen.  They can manhandle other people, drag them into captivity, search and take their stuff, etc.
  • We give police less accountability than the average citizen when things go wrong.   It is unusual even to get an investigation of their conduct, such investigations are seldom handled by neutral third parties, and they are given numerous breaks in the process no citizen gets.

The combination of these two can be deadly.

Ken White at Popehat writes to some of this

If you are arrested for shooting someone, the police will use everything in their power — lies, false friendship, fear, coercion — to get you to make a statement immediately. That's because they know that the statement is likely to be useful to the prosecution: either it will incriminate you, or it will lock you into one version of events before you've had an opportunity to speak with an adviser or see the evidence against you. You won't have time to make up a story or conform it to the evidence or get your head straight.

But what if a police officer shoots someone? Oh, that's different. Then police unions and officials push for delays and opportunities to review evidence before any interview of the officer. Last December, after a video showed that a cop lied about his shooting of a suspect, the Dallas Police issued a new policy requiring a 72-hour delay after a shooting before an officer can be interviewed, and an opportunity for the officer to review the videos or witness statements about the incident. Has Dallas changed its policy to offer such courtesies to citizens arrested for crimes? Don't be ridiculous. If you or I shoot someone, the police will not delay our interrogation until it is personally convenient. But if the police shoot someone:

New Mexico State Police, which is investigating the shooting, said such interviews hinge on the schedules of investigators and the police officers they are questioning. Sgt. Damyan Brown, a state police spokesman, said the agency has no set timeline for conducting interviews after officer-involved shootings. The Investigations Bureau schedules the interviews at an “agreeable” time for all parties involved, he said.

Cops and other public servants get special treatment because the whole system connives to let them. Take prosecutorial misconduct. If you are accused of breaking the law, your name will be released. If, on appeal, the court finds that you were wrongfully convicted, your name will still be brandished. But if the prosecutor pursuing you breaks the law and violates your rights, will he or she be named? No, usually not. Even if a United States Supreme Court justice is excoriating you for using race-baiting in your closing, she usually won't name you. Even if the Ninth Circuit — the most liberal federal court in the country — overturns your conviction because the prosecutor withheld exculpatory evidence, they usually won't name the prosecutor.

Also see Kevin Williamson.

14 Aug 15:48

To Avoid More Fergusons, Make Cops Wear Cameras

by Nick Gillespie

I've got a column up at that spells out the best policy to minimize incidents like the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri at the hands of the police:

Each of these incidents has an unmistakable racial dimension—all of the victims were black and all or most of arresting officers were white–that threatens the always tense relationships between law enforcement and African Americans. As important, the circumstances of each death are hotly contested, with the police telling one story and witnesses (if any) offering up very different narratives.

Brown’s death in particular is raising major ongoing protestsprecisely because, contrary to police accounts, witnesses claim that he had his hands up in the air in surrender when he was shot. The result is less trust in police, a situation that raises tensions across the board.

While there is no simple fix to race relations in any part of American life, there is an obvious way to reduce violent law enforcement confrontations while also building trust in cops: Police should be required to use wearable cameras and record their interactions with citizens. These cameras—various models are already on the market—are small and unobtrusive and include safeguards against subsequent manipulation of any recordings.

Read the whole piece here.

As Reason's Ronald Bailey pointed out last year, "Watched cops are polite cops." One study he cites found that wearing cameras by Rialto, California cops reduced use of force incidents by 60 percent and complaints against police by 88 percent.

And as Reason's Paul Detrick learned by talking with former Seattle cop Steve Ward, "Everybody behaves better when they're on video." Ward is the head of Viewvu, a company that makes wearable cameras for law enforcement. Watch that interview now:

14 Aug 15:58

Michael Munger: The "State" As A Unicorn

by admin

Michael Munger has one of the most useful articles I have read in a very long time.  As illustrated by the Venn diagram I posted a while back showing the heavy overlap between the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, we have much more concurrence in the diagnosis of problems than in the prescriptions for solutions.   Munger gets at the heart of why many people go wrong in these prescriptions

When I am discussing the state with my colleagues at Duke, it's not long before I realize that, for them, almost without exception, the State is a unicorn. I come from the Public Choice tradition, which tends to emphasize consequentialist arguments more than natural rights, and so the distinction is particularly important for me. My friends generally dislike politicians, find democracy messy and distasteful, and object to the brutality and coercive excesses of foreign wars, the war on drugs, and the spying of the NSA. 

But their solution is, without exception, to expand the power of "the State." That seems literally insane to me—a non sequitur of such monstrous proportions that I had trouble taking it seriously.

Then I realized that they want a kind of unicorn, a State that has the properties, motivations, knowledge, and abilities that they can imagine for it. When I finally realized that we were talking past each other, I felt kind of dumb. Because essentially this very realization—that people who favor expansion of government imagine a State different from the one possible in the physical world—has been a core part of the argument made by classical liberals for at least three hundred years....

He follows with this useful test

But they may not immediately see why "the State" that they can imagine is a unicorn. So, to help them, I propose what I (immodestly) call "the Munger test."  

  1. Go ahead, make your argument for what you want the State to do, and what you want the State to be in charge of.
  2. Then, go back and look at your statement. Everywhere you said "the State" delete that phrase and replace it with "politicians I actually know, running in electoral systems with voters and interest groups that actually exist."
  3. If you still believe your statement, then we have something to talk about.

This leads to loads of fun, believe me. When someone says, "The State should be in charge of hundreds of thousands of heavily armed troops, with the authority to use that coercive power," ask them to take out the unicorn ("The State") and replace it with George W. Bush. How do you like it now?

If someone says, "The State should be able to choose subsidies and taxes to change the incentives people face in deciding what energy sources to use," ask them to remove "The State" and replace it with "senators from states that rely on coal, oil, or corn ethanol for income." Still sound like a good idea?

How about, "The State should make rules for regulating sales of high performance electric cars." Now, the switch: "Representatives from Michigan and other states that produce parts for internal combustion engines should be in charge of regulating Tesla Motors."  Gosh, maybe not …

Hat tip:  Don Boudreaux

I spent most of the Bush years asking Conservatives a similar question -- you may be fine when "your guy" has this power, but would you be happy if Al Gore or Nancy Pelosi had it.  And of course I have spent most of the Obama years asking Liberals whether they would be comfortable if George Bush or Rick Perry had similar powers to what Obama has claimed for himself.  Because they will.

I said something similar here, though less elegantly.  I concluded in part:

Technocratic idealists ALWAYS lose control of the game.  It may feel good at first when the trains start running on time, but the technocrats are soon swept away by the thugs, and the patina of idealism is swept away, and only fascism is left.  Interestingly, the technocrats always cry "our only mistake was letting those other guys take control".  No, the mistake was accepting the right to use force on another man.  Everything after that was inevitable.

14 Aug 03:44

Quotation of the day on picking the taxpayers’ pockets to pick energy losers….

by Mark J. Perry

…. is from Matt Ridley’s article “Renewable energy is not working”:

Over the past ten years the world has invested more than $600 billion in wind power and $700 billion in solar power. Yet the total contribution those two technologies are now making to the world primary energy supply is still less than 2 per cent. Ouch.

If we had spent that sum on research, and steadily replaced coal with gas as a source of electricity, we would have done far more to cut carbon emissions and kept prices low. A new report by Charles Frank of the Brookings Institution has come to the startling conclusion that if you encourage gas to replace coal, you get fewer emissions per dollar spent than if you use wind or solar.

In Mr. Frank’s words: “Solar and wind facilities suffer from a very high capacity cost per megawatt, very low capacity factors and low reliability, which result in low avoided emissions and low avoided energy cost per dollar invested.” In short, we are picking losers.

HT: Warren Smith

14 Aug 01:09

SWAT Team Shows Up In Ferguson, Detains Reporters Live Tweeting Their Actions

by Mike Masnick
We've been debating internally whether or not to cover the mess that is currently going on in Ferguson, Missouri. There has been plenty of attention paid to the protests and the failures by police there -- and we frequently cover problems with police, as well as the militarization of police, which was absolutely on display in Ferguson (if you've been under a rock, police killed an unarmed teenager there last week, leading to protests over the past few days -- and the police have been handling the situation... poorly, to say the least). However, the situation was changing so rapidly, it wasn't entirely clear what to cover. The pictures from Ferguson of a very militarized police force were disturbing, and we've been thinking about writing something on that (and we may still). However, this evening, things got even more ridiculous, as not only did the SWAT team show up, but it then arrested two of the reporters who had been covering the events: Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post. Both had been vital in getting out the story of what was happening on the street.

Here are a few of their tweets (prior to being arrested):

I counted 70+ SWAT officers. Guns trained on crowds. Insanity.

— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 13, 2014

Overkill in #Ferguson. Officer won't answer my question about why this is needed.

— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 13, 2014

This exchange-> RT @AntonioFrench: State Senator asks the #Ferguson police chief if she's going to be gassed again.

— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 13, 2014
And then, soon after those and other tweets, another reporter, Jon Swaine from the Guardian, reported that he saw two reporters detained by police in a McDonalds:

Two reporters just cuffed and put in cop can outside Ferguson McDonald's where @WesleyLowery said he and @ryanjreilly were working

— Jon Swaine (@jonswaine) August 13, 2014
Lowery and Reilly each had live tweeted the police entering the McDonald's, followed by a long silence from their accounts:

Police come into McD where me and @ryanjreilly working. Try to kick everyone out.

— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 13, 2014

SWAT just invade McDonald's where I'm working/recharging. Asked for ID when I took photo.

— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 13, 2014
A fourth reporter on the scene, Matt Pearce of the LA Times, contacted the police chief about the situation, who was apparently surprised at the turn of events and said he'd order them released:

I just called Ferguson police chief to ask about @WesleyLowery and @ryanjreilly, told him what I knew. His response: "Oh, God."

— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 14, 2014

I just talked to the Ferguson chief again about Wes and Ryan. "I told them to release them," he said of the riot command.

— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 14, 2014

Ferguson chief tells me @WesleyLowery and @ryanjreilly's arresters were "probably somebody who didn't know better."

— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) August 14, 2014
Soon after, both Lowery and Reilly tweeted about their experiences, which were not exactly pleasant.

Officers slammed me into a fountain soda machine because I was confused about which door they were asking me to walk out of

— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014

Detained, booked, given answers to no questions. Then just let out

— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014

Also Ryan Reilly of Huff Po. Assaulted and arrested

— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) August 14, 2014

@ryanjreilly and @wesleyLowery have been arrested for "not packing their bags quick enough" at McD's #Ferguson

— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 14, 2014

Unfortunately my last Vine featuring the officer who assaulted me was deleted when other my phone died.

— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) August 14, 2014
I'm sure that we'll have more on this whole thing, but as GideonsTrumpet notes, Lowery and Reilly were technically detained, not arrested, "which is far more insidious" because there's no accountability. No charges to challenge. Nothing. It's just a way to silence the press who were diligently getting the word out there on what they were doing.

There are all sorts of very questionable activities going on in Ferguson, including intimidation and threats against the protestors exercising their right to assembly and free speech. Detaining reporters in the middle of that is just the latest in a long string of "fuck your constitutional rights" by the (very heavily militarized) police down there.

Permalink | Comments | Email This Story

13 Aug 15:43

Yes, "FOIA Denial Officer" Is a Real Job Title in the "Most Transparent Administration in History"

by Katherine Mangu-Ward

The latest from the "most transparent administration in history," a letter in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, signed by Taylor D. August, whose job title at the Department of Education is "FOIA Denial Officer." 


The letter does say that it "may be necessary" to release the requested documents. So that's something, I guess.

Related: Is there a FOIA Approval Officer? Do they hate each other? Do they share an office? I've placed a call to DOE. Will update if I actually get a call back.

Via Morgan Smith's Twitter feed.

13 Aug 12:18

REPORT: Thief calls 911 because victim won't leave her alone...

REPORT: Thief calls 911 because victim won't leave her alone...

(Second column, 29th story, link)

12 Aug 21:17

Clinton Ally: U.S. 'Directly Responsible' for Border Crisis Because Drugs Are Illegal

We are directly responsible” for the ongoing crisis of unaccompanied children illegally entering the U.S., according to former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

“Look the minors that are coming from Central America are not coming for no reason. There is a surge because they are, many of them, if not most of them are refugees from a war. It’s a drug war. It’s a drug war that we are directly implicated in,” Reich told Fusion in an interview published Monday.

Since October more than 62,900 unaccompanied minors have been detained illegally entering the United States. The vast majority of the illegal immigrant minors are from Central America. 

According to the former labor secretary, it is time to consider decriminalization of drugs as a way to confront the drug market.

“What we don’t talk about enough is the connection between that failed policy and all of these kids from Central America who are showing up on our border,” he said in his Fusion interview. “We’ve got to have a   serious discussion in this country about decriminalizing and regulating these drugs rather than making them criminal, creating this black market that is increasingly violent and doing more and more damage in Central America.”

He added that the unaccompanied minors should be allowed to stay in the U.S. if they are found to be “refugees from the Drug War.”

“Those kids who are coming to the United States, if they are refugees from the Drug War, we ought to find out, very quickly have a hearing process to determine whether they are,” he said. “If they are it’s inhumane to sent them back if they’re going to be killed when they go back.” 

12 Aug 11:25

Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from page 50 of the 2006 Liberty Fund edition of Ludwig von Mises’s 1956 volume, The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality:

It was not vain disquisitions about a vague concept of justice that raised the standard of living of the common man in the capitalistic countries to its present height, but the activities of men dubbed as “rugged individualists” and “exploiters.”  The poverty of the backward nations is due to the fact that their policies of expropriation, discriminatory taxation and foreign exchange control prevent the investment of foreign capital while their domestic policies preclude the accumulation of indigenous capital.

All those resisting capitalism on moral grounds as an unfair system are deluded by their failure to comprehend what capital is, how it comes into existence and how it is maintained, and what the benefits are which are derived from its employment in production processes.

11 Aug 20:15

FLASHBACK: Promised No Vacations For Himself...

FLASHBACK: Promised No Vacations For Himself...

(Second column, 18th story, link)
Related stories:
11 Aug 18:00

Sucking the Life Out of Detroit—With a New Sports Stadium

by Jason Keisling

In 1999, William Ford Jr., whose family owns the Detroit Lions, said that a new stadium would "showcase the city's turnaround." In 1997, Michigan Governor John Engler stated that the stadium would symbolize the city's renewal. Over a decade later, the city is now bankrupt. But rather than learning from the past, and despite an overwhelming consensus amongst economists that sports stadium subsidies have no positive effect on an economy, the new Detroit Red Wings arena proposal is being sold as a way to boost the economy and bring Detroit out of bankruptcy. It's pitched as a win-win with no jeopardy to taxpayers. That's at best, a half-truth. For more information about Detroit's crony capitalism problem, click here.

Detroit Redwings Stadium Infographic


The Risky Economics of Sports Stadiums

Pro Sports Stadiums Don't Bolster Local Economies, Scholars Say

General information about the Stadium proposal

Debunking the Economic Case for Sports Stadiums

11 Aug 16:21

Alert: Nanny Bloomberg targets Sheriff David Clarke in Wisconsin; primary is tomorrow

by Michelle Malkin


Anti-gun New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg is dumping gobs of last-minute money into a local sheriff’s race in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s political action committee, Independence USA, has purchased $150,833 in television ads in an effort to defeat Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke and support his opponent Milwaukee police lieutenant Chris Moews.

Another liberal advocacy group, the “Greater Wisconsin Committee,” has poured an additional $400,000 to unseat Clarke.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. is black, tough, Democrat and outspoken in his advocacy of self-defense and the individual right to bear arms.

The progressives of pallor can’t stand him.

The People’s Sheriff needs your support. Ammoland writes:

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke rocked the boat here in SE Wisconsin and nationally when he issued public service announcements in 2013 that encouraged people to take responsibility for their own safety including training to use a firearm in self defense. His public service announcements went viral because while self-defense is only common sense, its extremely rare to get a Law Enforcement official to publicly advocate for the 2nd Amendment and citizens right to carry.

Sheriff Clarke is the first Sheriff to take such a prominent and extremely public stance on the 2nd Amendment. If he wins, other Sheriffs and Law Enforcement around the state AND country will be encouraged to do the same. If he loses, other Sheriffs and Law Enforcement around the state AND country will be afraid to speak out in support of the 2nd Amendment EVEN if they privately support it.

Let’s hope Bloomberg’s gun control-freak meddling goes as well as it did here in my state of Colorado.

The primary is tomorrow. Clarke is standing tall:

“Special interests are spending hundreds of thousands to defeat me,” Clarke said in a statement. “They know when it comes to protecting Milwaukee County residents, I won’t back down. And I won’t let the career politicians in Milwaukee or Madison play games with our budget nor their safety.”

Godspeed, Sheriff Clarke.

11 Aug 15:00

No Clever Innovation Goes Unpunished: Maine Shuts Down Really Awesome Food Boat (UPDATE: Reprieve!)

by Scott Shackford

Not lobster girl. Lobster woman.The Portland (Maine) Press Herald had a fun slice-of-life feature on their hands. They found a woman, Reilly Harvey, who takes a small boat out into the state's waters full of delicious homemade pies and entire lobster dinners to sell to boaters. Here's a quick, mouth-watering description:

The desserts were just the beginning. Harvey's boat, Mainstay, is rigged with a three-burner propane stove set in the stern, and three pots sat waiting for lobster, clams and butter, all of which Harvey had aboard. There were tubs of cauliflower-curry tofu salads with yogurt-lime-cilantro dressing and homemade biscuits that had come out of the oven less than an hour ago. Very deliberately, Harvey tries to make Mainstay look like a boat you'd see on a Venetian canal, loaded down with beautifully arranged wares. She'd succeeded. The vase full of flowers tipped the whole thing over the top. Her new customers couldn't stop gushing. "This is like a Fellini movie," said Peter Polshek, as the dog made a valiant attempt to board.

By now his wife, Nina Hofer, was perched on the gunwale of the Adeline, smiling like the Cheshire cat, her hands clapped together in glee. "Who are you and where are you coming from?" she asked Harvey.

I want one to show up here right now, even though I'm about eight miles from the Pacific Ocean, very, very far away from Harvey. She started her business in 2012, looking for a way to build a stable life for herself in the area. The Press Herald thoroughly profiles her background and tags along as she serves happy boaters thrilled at the opportunity to buy fresh food without having to leave the water.

The day after the story appeared in the newspaper it was over. The state shut her down. There are rules, man! Where are her sinks? She has to have running water! From the Press Herald's follow-up coverage:

"It makes me feel sick to my stomach and sad," said Reilly Harvey, who runs Mainstay Provisions out of an old boat she keeps on Andrews Island. Harvey said she was contacted by a state health inspector and told she must pass health inspection standards for mobile vendors – think food trucks – and get her vintage 22-foot wooden launch, the Mainstay, fitted with sinks and hot and cold running water if she is going to continue to serve hot food.

That licensing would happen through the Division of Environmental Health's inspection program. If she wants to continue to serve desserts, she must pass an additional inspection by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

There are only 3½ weeks left in her season. Unless she is able to comply with the regulations, it is unlikely she'll be able to operate Mainstay Provisions as usual in 2014.

The state requires her to add to her little boat a three-bay sink and a separate hand sink, and must have hot and cold running water and follow the same rules as food trucks. They also complained about her being barefoot in the boat. They've offered to "expedite" her application as soon as she gets one in, though it's unclear in the story how her small boat could meet these requirements. It sounds like she may be done, at least for this summer season.

(Hat tip to Jayel Aheram)

UPDATE: Ira Stoll has alerted me that Harvey has been granted a reprieve, requiring her to have a wash basin, five gallons of water, a food thermometer and a bucket to drain hot water. The permission-based society is so kind!

08 Aug 18:49

Strength and Conditioning in the Aging Athlete

by Squatchy

Guest post written by: Judah Boulet


One day you wake up and you realize your body feels different. Maybe it’s that you cannot do some of the things you used to do anymore, or maybe your body is screaming much louder than it did before while doing the same exact thing. Maybe the nagging aches and pains are more constant than they were in the past. You work hard to eat well and train/exercise to keep your body and mind healthy, but regardless of the steps you take, things are different.

On the interwebs, one can find a countless number of training programs for anybody’s access. Many of these out there are not necessarily written for the common everyday average joe athlete in mind, never mind the common everyday average joe maturing athlete. I get lost with the 40 is the new 30 and such, but adults/athletes in the age range of 35-55 are unique in my mind compared to adults/athletes in their prime. Within this age range, each succinctive step between 35-55, there potentially adds slightly more and more complexities, which may need to be addressed.

As an athlete (or pretend athlete if I want to be realistic about things) over 35, I came to the realization that athletes over 35 need different training focuses than younger athletes. This I feel is regardless of whether training for health and longevity or performance. While performance is an interesting topic, a majority of people choose to train because they find exercise/training fun and rewarding and do so for the fringe benefits of optimal health and hopefully longevity. LIke their lives they also hope to be able to sustain a healthy training regimen as they age. The focus of this article is for those seeking health and longevity in a training program, however, there is much carryover to those seeking performance related goals.

I think it is important to recognize that there is a clear distinction between the actions we may choose to take in order to achieve or maintain some level of performance, and the actions we choose to take which will confer upon us the greatest level of health and longevity. Many master athletes, whether it be Ironmans, CrossFit, Powerlifting, etc.. perform awe inspiring feats of endurance and strength. However, the training they need to do to be competitive may not necessarily be the training one needs to do for optimal health, longevity, and sustainability in a strength and conditioning program, but that is a sacrifice those athletes choose to make. Compared to sitting on the couch eating bonbons and watching Sally Jesse Raphael re-runs (the crowd this article is written for should get that reference), training for a performance related goal is optimal compared to living a sedentary lifestyles, health and longevity wise, however, most of us do not exercise or CrossFIt to be high level performance athletes. Most of us are just looking for a program to get us or keep us in shape, that is fun and exciting. Most of us are just looking for a sustainable program which will help us keep our health. Unfortunately, most of us are average joes and not the outliers of the world who make getting older seem effortless. Those people are my inspiration but not my reality.

Exercise, like medications, is dose dependent, and the ability of the body to deal with the dosage of exercise as one ages, changes. The therapeutic index narrows. Give too little of a drug or exercise, it does not work. Give too much, it’s toxic, give an appropriate dose, and it works great! This is something Dr. James O’Keefe demonstrated by looking at endurance athletes, and his research showed that more was not always better , and exercise and mortality rates correlated to a dose response curve, similar to drugs.

As one ages, there are several key aspects which need to be focused on and maintained.

I believe any strength and conditioning program for an athlete 35 and older should focus on the following. By incorporating these aspects into a sustainable training program now, the progressive benefits seen in the immediate future will also have a lot of carry over to many years down the road, as long as a similar training program is maintained.


  1. Strength and Power:

Rippetoe said it best, stronger people are harder to kill, and more useful in general. Whichever program you follow or gym that you choose to go to, there should be some type of periodized strength and power program built in. While strength gains may be harder to come by, continuing to build strength as well as maintaining strength is extremely important. The stronger you are, ideally the harder it will be to kill you. The stronger you are the faster you will get yourself out of a hospital bed should you ever find yourself there. The stronger you are the less likely you will hit that medic alert button because you have fallen and cannot get up.

While one should focus on building strength, constantly stressing the body with absolute strength tests may not be necessary and ill advised. The ability of the body to handle max effort lifts week in and week out may be extremely stressful, and recovery could be difficult depending on life variables. It is important to make sure the volume and intensity of any strength program is measured appropriately by someone who understands you, your goals, and your life situation. Undulating periodized strength programs I feel have hit the mark in this regard for the aging athlete. Ashman Strength Systems Protocol or the Cube Method are variations of a cyclical undulating periodized system where the volume of maximal efforts between lifts is considered.


  1. Hypertrophy:

Along with general strength there should be some focus on building up lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass you have the more metabolically active tissue you have, ideally the less fat you have, and the hardier you are. You lose muscle when you age, when you are diseased (older you get more likely), and if you are inactive (Get old, get diseased, becoming inactive for a period of time is more likely). The more lean muscle you carry at 40 means the more you will carry when you are 50 and 60 given you focus on staying active and eating a nutrient dense diet. The more muscle mass you have at 60, the better the outcome if you are laid up in a hospital bed for a week or two. Strength work alone will give some hypertrophy, but exercises and/or rep ranges to encourage hypertrophy should be included. In many strength and conditioning programs, including the two I previously mentioned above, hypertrophy ranges are found in the accessory work. With CrossFit, many of the metabolic conditioning work, aka WODs, have higher rep ranges which skirt the hypertrophy range and could be useful in this regard, in conjunction with a strength program.


  1. Kinesthetic Awareness:

While it may not apply yet to a 40 year old athlete, balance is something one loses as they age. The stronger and more powerful you are the more it helps in regard to balance, however, more awareness of our bodies as they travel through time and space is important. It is important to maintain your body’s awareness of the space around it through training. This has a huge carryover in my mind, and the practice of balancing should be incorporated into all training programs for older athletes. Along with the practice of balancing, the incorporation of static holds is something which also should be utilized, as it engages and strengthens the stabilizing muscles of joints, as well as strengthens the connective tissue in our joints. The practice of balancing while walking (on a beam? a fallen tree?), being upside down, getting up from the floor using our hands as well as not using our hands, holding ourselves in a plank, etc, all has tremendous potential to decrease injury, as well as increase longevity in any training program.


  1. Mobility-:

Not every joint should be mobile. Some joints help to maintain stability, others need to be mobile through a specific range of motion. Mobilization of the joints which are meant to be mobile through their full ranges of motion is important as it helps prevent injury, from which recovery from takes longer the older you are (Connective tissue injuries as they are heal very slowly). Making sure that the joints which are supposed to maintain stability do so, also is important to prevent injury, and static holds are useful for this. Another key piece to the mobility/stability puzzle in my opinion is making sure there are no muscle imbalances between left and right side. Incorporating unilateral exercises into any training program to address and prevent muscle imbalance is also an important piece of the puzzle. I particularly like kettlebell specific exercises like the turkish get up, kb windmills, single leg deadlifts to work on preventing/fixing left/right muscle imbalances. Many of these exercises are great to incorporate into a warm up regimen or as accessory work.


  1. Aerobic capacity:

Basic aerobic capacity decreases 1% every year after 25. By being physically active you help to slow the age related declines in VO2 max. There are many ways that aerobic capacity can be tackled, and its good to mix up the energy systems being worked. There has been a general trend to focus on interval training at the expense of longer aerobic training, however, I feel it is important to include all modalities of training, and not just focus on glycolytic training for optimal health and longevity. Going for a longer walk, swim, bike ride, etc at an easier pace for a longer period of time (over 30 minutes) is not detrimental but helpful in obtaining optimal health and aerobic capacity, just as incorporating some sprints or HIIT into your training regimen is equally important.

The need for a distinctive training program for older athletes is that these athletes have several variables which younger athletes in their prime do not necessarily need to worry about, or the effects of these variables is in a different light. The first of these variables is physiological. Hormonally, the older one is the more different their natural hormone profiles are from their prime. Hormonal levels are greatly involved with the ability to handle training/exercise as a good stress, and recover from those sessions. While recovery is an important aspect of any training program, regardless of ones age, however, in a Master’s level, it may be even more so. Male hormone (Vitamin T) levels start dropping off after age 30 at a rate of ~1% a year. This drop off, combined with already below normal testosterone levels in the general US population to begin with could be problematic for older male athletes. Females over 35 also have changing hormone levels which could affect their recovery as well.

Another variable as one ages is the number of potential stressors actually changes as you age. Older athletes typically have or are involved in career jobs, have a set number of bills, ie mortgage, car payments, school bills, due each month, marriage concerns, children and concerns revolving around the kids, etc. The more stressors, the greater the effects of these stressors on the ability to handle training as well as the ability to recover. The more stress, the greater effect on hormones, which potentially compounds the effects of age on hormone levels.


Enhancing Longevity and sustainability in training

  1. Sleep: First and foremost, you want to have more optimal hormone levels, recover faster, achieve optimal health, live longer, etc, you need to sleep uninterrupted for 7-8 hours.
  2. Focus on eating a Nutrient Dense Diet of non-processed foods. Perfect place to start is with a Paleo diet, and then use that as a template.
  3. Consumption of enough calories to sustain training levels along with consumption of enough individual macronutrients to sustain the type of training/exercise you are performing (This is an individualized thing based on type of training, fitness goals, etc)
  4. Adaptability! Listen to your body. If you are feeling tired, beat up, etc, take it easy. If you are feeling full of piss and vinegar, get after it. Be able to adapt your training program (individually or through a coach) from day to day based on how you are feeling. A potentially more accurate way to listen to your body with what is going on physiologically with you is through monitoring your Heart Rate Variability (HRV). You need a heart rate monitor which can easily hook up to an app on your smartphone, such as Joel Jamison’s BioForce HRV or iThlete. If your HRV score is Red, and you have a killer session planned, adjustment of your training program for that day is needed. Utilization of a personal coach, whether remotely or in person, is extremely useful in this regard.
  5. Supplement wisely. This also is highly individualized based on training, goals, diet, etc.




Judah Boulet, CSCS, C-ISSN is Owner and Head Coach at No Risk CrossFit/Northern RI Strength and Conditioning, as well as owner of Boulet Health and Performance.  He holds a MS in Pharmacology and Toxicology and spends his days as a High School Science Teacher, evenings as a Strength and Conditioning Coach and moonlights as a college Nutrition Instructor.

11 Aug 09:00

A letter to Hachette's CEO

by (Vox)
Our friends at Amazon requested that those readers and writers who support them write an email to Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch. Amazon has been very good to me over the past few years, both an author and a customer, so I was happy to oblige.
Dear Mr. Pietsch,

As a Hugo-nominated author, a Pocket Books author, and an editor for an independent publishing house in Finland, I would like to encourage you to rethink your position regarding Amazon. I understand that the rapid changes in the industry are affecting your company, often in a negative manner. I also realize that your overhead and your contracts tend to reflect standard industry practices that are no longer in line with the new world of digital publishing.

The fact is, Mr. Pietsch, that the world is changing and Hachette has to change with it. Ebook prices are coming down as per the technology curve. When have you ever known a new technology to come out and gradually become more expensive over time? I don't wish to criticize you or your organization for various attempts to keep the new world at bay, as the important point is not that colluding with other mainstream publishers, trying to protect higher book prices, or using authors as leverage is wrong, or even bad PR, but that such actions are ultimately futile.

The ebook genie will never go back into the bottle. Therefore, the sooner you restructure Hachette to reflect the new realities, which include coming to a reasonable accomodation with Amazon, the more likely it is that your organization will survive these changes.

With regards,
Vox Day
Hachette's position isn't merely economically illiterate, observably hypocritical, and morally wrong, it is untenable. At the moment, Hachette obviously needs Amazon more than Amazon needs Hachette. As for its supporters among the scribbling classes, I think Amazon would do well to teach the authors who are publicly opposed to them a Very Important Lesson by refusing to sell any of their books for six months.

After the initial screeches of outrage died down, I suspect they would all fall in line very quickly. One of the things I like about Amazon is that it is the sort of thing they might actually do; I don't think they'd be afraid to demonstrate to those various loud-mouthed authors just how unimportant they truly are. It's amazing how many writers not only excuse their mainstream publishers for actions that Amazon has not even committed, but fail to realize that selling books is only a small part of Amazon's business these days.

Amazon isn't perfect. What corporation is? But they have been the best thing for authors and the reading public since Mr. Gutenberg first assembled his printing press. And the fact that the dinosaur gatekeepers and their pet authors hate and fear it is a feature, not a bug.

One of the Mad Geniuses, Amanda, adds her two cents on the subject:
[A]ll Amazon did was take a page out of Hatchette’s book and ask its authors to take a stand. Oh the cries of foul that suddenly rose from the interwebs. Within half a hour of reading the email, I was seeing accusations of Amazon acting like a stalker in sending the email to the usual AHDers (Amazon Hater Disorder sufferers) about how evil Amazon was to ask its authors to contact poor, innocent Hatchette. There was even one author claiming that Amazon is not and never will be a friend to authors. All of those had me shaking my head and wondering if these folks had ever really read their contracts with their traditional publisher — several of whom are signed with Hatchette — as well as if they actually knew the meaning of the terms “contract”, “negotiation” and “irony”.

What pushed me over the edge was a post by another author who admitted to not having received or read the email but, based on what they were seeing form their author friends, Amazon was once again resorting to dirty pool and must be stopped because, duh, Amazon is evil.
They really are proper little Manicheans, aren't they.

Posted by Vox Day.
10 Aug 17:00

Did the Surgeon Leave His Scissors in Your Belly? The Feds Will Help Keep It Under Wraps.

by Jim Epstein

Dr. Giggles (1992)|||Hospital Compare, a federal website aimed at helping patients make more informed choices about where to seek treatment, no longer reports on catastrophic medical errors at the facilities it monitors.

So what sorts of mistakes qualify as "hospital acquired conditions," which were wiped from the consumer website last summer, and as of this month also disappeared from the data sets used by researchers? The list includes cases of surgeons leaving sponges in their patient's abdomens, air embolisms (deadly gas bubbles in the blood stream), and transfusions with the wrong blood type. In agreeing to conceal the information, the Obama administration is bending to the will of the American Hospital Association, the industry's lobbying arm.

David Goldhill, author of the terrific 2013 book Catastrophic Care: How American Health Care Killed My Father--and How We Can Fix It, recently wrote about the data cover up for Time:

Is it somehow unfair that the public knows that one airline – Malaysia Air – flew two of the planes in our most recent commercial aviation tragedies? After all, the exact cause of either catastrophe isn’t yet known, and it’s not clear that Malaysia Air was at fault in either. The airline flies roughly 91,000 flights per year safely; no Malaysian Air flight had been involved in a fatal accident since 1995. Is it really fair to name the airline?

Of course. And yet,

In health care, we still believe that hospitals can kill patients as a result of errors and retain rights to confidentiality. That may help explain why the airline industry grows safer every year, and estimates of deaths from medical errors are now so high they would rank as the third-leading cause of death in America behind only cancer and heart disease.

Read the whole thing.

Give Hospital Compare a whirl. I found the site to be utterly useless in evaluating whether I'd want to be treated at a particular hospital, which isn't much of a surprise given that the federal agency in charge of the site was also responsible for

Certainly the government shouldn't be in the hospital review business, but as David Goldhill pointed out in a recent Reason TV interview conducted by Kmele Foster, the underlying cause of hospital errors is our third-party payer system—patients don't act like discerning consumers because they're not directly on the hook for the cost of their own care.

Watch the interview:

10 Aug 18:21

Missouri Cops Shoot Unarmed Teen, Spark Angry Response from Community, Caught on Video

by Ed Krayewski

Body of Michael Brown, behind crime scene tapePolice in Ferguson, Missouri, shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown while he was going to his grandmother’s house, according to his mother, producing an immediate angry backlash from the community. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports:

[A witness] said she saw the teen, hands in the air, attempt to flee [when police tried to put him in a squad car]. Several shots hit Brown as he ran, Crenshaw said. She complied with a request that she give photos of the scene to authorities…

The shooting sparked a furious backlash.

Further shots were heard as police arrived immediately after the shooting but no one was injured as angry residents screamed obscenities mixed with threats to “kill the police.” More than 60 area police officers responded to the scene.

Louis Head, Brown’s stepfather, held a sign that said: “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!”

Tension flared off and on through the evening. A calm settled over the area after mourners gathered at a prayer circle — watched over by a St. Louis County police officer sitting atop a SWAT vehicle

Brown was scheduled to start college in the fall. Police had no comment on what happened, saying only that they had referred the shooting to county police and that they were “hoping for calm” as the investigation was conducted, advice it seems is rarely heeded by cops when one of their own is shot.

Watch video of cops trying to break up a spontaneous protest after the shooting, via the Post-Dispatch, here.

h/t Mark Sletten

09 Aug 19:00

Jay Austin's Beautiful, Illegal Tiny House

by Todd Krainin

"Jay Austin's Beautiful, Illegal Tiny House," produced by Todd Krainin. About 10 minutes.

Original release date was August 7, 2014 and original writeup is below.

Demand for housing in Washington, D.C., is going through the roof. Over a thousand people move to the nation's capital every month, driving up the cost of housing, and turning the city into a construction zone. Tower cranes rising high above the city streets have become so common, they're just part of the background.

But as fast as the cranes can rise, demand for housing has shot up even faster, making DC among the most expensive cities in the United States. With average home prices at $453 per square foot, it's every bit as expensive as New York City. And the struggles of one homebuilder shows just why the city's shortage looks to continue for a long time.

"I got driven down the tiny house road because of affordability, simplicity, sustainability, and then mobility," says Jay Austin, who designed a custom 140-square-foot house in Washington, D.C. Despite the miniscule size, his "Matchbox" house is stylish, well-built, and it includes all the necessities (if not the luxuries) of life: a bathroom, a shower, a modest kitchen, office space, and a bedroom loft. There's even a hot tub outside.

Clever design elements make the most of minimalism. The Matchbox's high ceilings, skylight, and wide windows make the small space feel modern, uncluttered, and open.

At a cost that ranges from $10,000 to $50,000, tiny homes like the Matchbox could help to ease the shortage of affordable housing in the capital city. Heating and cooling costs are negligible. Rainwater catchment systems help to make the homes self-sustaining. They're an attractive option to the very sort of residents who the city attracts in abundance: single, young professionals without a lot of stuff, who aren't ready to take on a large mortgage.

But tiny houses come with one enormous catch: they're illegal, in violation of several codes in Washington D.C.'s Zoning Ordinance. Among the many requirements in the 34 chapters and 600 pages of code are mandates defining minimum lot size, room sizes, alleyway widths, and "accessory dwelling units" that prevent tiny houses from being anything more than a part-time residence.

That's why Austin and his tiny house-dwelling neighbors at Boneyard Studios don't actually live in their own homes much of the time. To skirt some of the zoning regulations, they've added wheels to their homes, which reclassifies them as trailers – and subjects them to regulation by the Department of Motor Vehicles. But current law still requires them to either move their homes from time to time, or keep permanent residences elsewhere.

The DC Office of Zoning, the Zoning Commission, the Zoning Administrator, the Board of Zoning Adjustment, and the Office of Planning all declined to comment on the laws that prevent citizens from living in tiny houses. But their website offers a clue:

Outdated terms like telegraph office and tenement house still reside in our regulations. Concepts like parking standards and antenna regulations are based on 1950s technology, and new concepts like sustainable development had not even been envisioned.

Complex as it is, the Zoning Ordinance of the District of Columbia was approved in 1958. That's over five decades of cultural change and building innovations, like tiny houses, that the code wasn't designed to address.

Exemptions and alterations to the code are possible—many are granted every year—but they don't come cheaply. Lisa Sturtevant of the National Housing Conference estimates that typical approvals add up to $50,000 to the cost of a new single-family unit. That's why large, wealthy developers enjoy greater flexibility to build in the city, but tiny house dwellers… not so much.

Fortunately, a comprehensive rewrite of the zoning code has been in the works for much of the last decade. Efforts to allow more affordable housing are underway, although many of these solutions favor large developers. Future plans still forbid tiny houses. Austin estimates that, given the current glacial pace of change among the city's many zoning committees, tiny houses are "many years, if not decades out" from being allowed in the city.

For now, Jay Austin is allowed to build the home of his dreams – he just can't live there. The Matchbox has become a part-time residence and a full-time showpiece. The community of tiny houses at Boneyard Studios are periodically displayed to the public in the hopes of changing a zoning authority that hasn't updated a zoning code in 56 years.

Runs about 10:30

Produced, shot, written, narrated, and edited by Todd Krainin.

Additional music by Lee Rosevere.

Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel to receive notification when new material goes live.

08 Aug 23:37

Bonus Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux
(Don Boudreaux)

… is from David Boaz’s recent post at Cato@Liberty, “Russia Imposes Embargo on Itself“:

The American economist Henry George wrote, “What protection teaches us, is to do to ourselves in time of peace what enemies seek to do to us in time of war.” In Russia, Vladimir Putin started a war and then, in response to mild American and European sanctions, retaliated by imposing greater sanctions—on his own people.


08 Aug 19:07

Hamas Ends Ceasefire. Now What?

by Anthony L. Fisher

Islamic Jihad rocketsHold off on writing your post-mortems for the latest Israel/Hamas war. The ceasefire is officially over after Hamas rockets landed in Israel just before the 72-hour truce expired, followed by dozens of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.

As the conflict slogs into its second month, Israel appears content to meet fire with fire and engage in periodic mini-wars sometimes referred to as "mowing the grass." In these brief but devastating battles, Israel never achieves a clear-cut military victory, but the ability of Hamas to strike Israel is greatly diminished and (they hope) the civilian population of Gaza grows weary of bearing the brunt of the reprisals for Hamas' armed resistance. 

As reported by Haaretz, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri explained their reasoning behind resuming hostilities: 

"We have not yet received a document with the Israeli answer to our demands. Just yesterday, we received a memorandum of understanding from the Egyptian side, and this document did not respond to any of our requests - the airport, the sea port, the buffer zone, the expansion of the fishing area, etc. There was also no explicit mention of the lifting of the siege....We think Israel is dragging its feet. They did not respond to our demands and has not done a thing to show that there is a reason to extend the cease-fire. Now all options are open....However, the door to continued conversations is not closed. The decision to comply with our requirements is in Israeli hands."

With this statement, Hamas essentially admits it has failed to achieve any of its goals. There have been no concessions by Egypt to open it’s border with Gaza, no exchanges of prisoners with Israel, no major Israeli targets were struck by its rockets, and calls for an uprising in the West Bank went unmet.

If digging deep for evidence of even a Pyrrhic victory, Hamas might be proud that their crude rockets reached deeper into Israel than ever before, halting international flights at Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv (for two days) and making air raid sirens and mad dashes to the bomb shelter a daily occurrence for millions of Israelis. But more signficantly, more than 1,600 Gazans are dead, Gaza's infrastructure is devastated, Egypt's military government continues to view Hamas as an enemy, and the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas, is far more likely to be taking the lead in any future long-term negotiations with Israel.

Hussein Ibish writes in The Atlantic:

Hamas also faces the strong possibility of a return to the status quo ante, but perhaps with an even harsher blockade and strangulation by the Israelis. The political perils are enormous. The Gaza public, which may have rallied to Hamas's cause during the actual fighting, could well start asking pointed questions about what so much devastation achieved. At present, Hamas has no answer. If Hamas negotiators do not get a tangible benefit either for the group itself or for the people of Gaza from the Cairo negotiations, the political damage could be considerable. From Hamas’s perspective, that could be mitigated if the PA also emerges from the talks discredited and marginalized. All of this will depend on the diplomatic and political fallout that develops, mainly in Cairo, in the coming weeks.

Hamas remains committed to armed struggle against Israel as its primary tactic. Right now, it almost certainly cannot sustain the public backlash in Gaza and the rest of the Arab world that would result if it resumes full-fledged hostilities now that it has ended the ceasefire. But, equally, it may not be able to live with a reality in which it paid such a high price for no achievement whatsoever. Given that nothing fundamental has changed in the structural relationship between Hamas and Israel, or in Hamas’s ideology and strategy, another round of violence with Israel ultimately may be inevitable.

Foreign Policy reports that the UK, France and Germany have drafted a plan called "Gaza: Supporting a Sustainable Ceasefire," which would primarily rely on U.N. peacekeepers to "cover military and security aspects, such as the dismantling of tunnels between Gaza and Israel, and the lifting of restrictions on movement and access." The document states that the mission "could have a role in monitoring imports of construction and dual use materials allowed in the Gaza Strip, and the re-introduction of the Palestinian Authority."

It is unclear how U.N. peacekeepers working alongside the Palestinian Authority, which lost a brutal civil war with Hamas over control of Gaza in 2007, would be able to "help to prevent a rearming of militant groups in Gaza and military violations, and provide for an effective dismantling of tunnels between Gaza and Israel," considering the U.N. generally sits on the sidelines when bullets start to fly. What is clear is that Hamas is running low on allies, and appears to hope that some more rocket fire will get them the concessions from Egypt and Israel they have failed to get so far. 

08 Aug 18:27

What's Wrong With This Picture?

by Tyler Durden

Looks closer to the location of Sao Paulo...

CNN does it again...



h/t @finansakrobat

08 Aug 18:32

Single Mom with Concealed Carry Permit Faces up to 11.5 Years for 'Honest Mistake' of Bringing Gun into NJ

Philadelphia single mom Shaneen Allen got a concealed carry permit (CCW) and handgun after being the victim of two separate robberies in the past year. After an "honest mistake" in which she drove into New Jersey with the gun in her car, she also received a court date and faces up to 11.5 years in prison for violating NJ gun and ammunition laws.

Fox News reports that Allen was pulled over on October 1 for an "unsafe lane change" after entering NJ and told the officer she had a CCW and a .380 handgun in the vehicle. The handgun was "loaded with hollow-point bullets."

Allen was charged with "unlawful possession of the weapon and possession of hollow-point bullets." She had only owned the gun for one week prior to her arrest and has no criminal record. reports that when Allen appeared in court on August 5 she learned that "she faces a maximum of 11.5 years in prison—ten for the [weapon] possession, 18 months for the bullets." Moreover, the judge in the case "refused Allen the ability to enter into a 'pretrial intervention' program to avoid jail time."

The prosecution offered Allen a "five year... plea bargain with no option for parole for 3.5 years."

Allen is the single mother of two young sons.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at