Reason Morning Links: Red Shirts and Black Swans

• Taliban chief Mohammed Omar says he's open to peace negotiations.

• An armed "Restore the Constitution" rally gathers today in Fort Hunt National Park; an unarmed "Second Amendment March" will take place at the same time on the National Mall.

Pew poll: "By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government."

• Red Shirts face Thai troops in a Bangkok business district.

• Wall Street reforms that Goldman Sachs could love.

• The cloud of ash as a black swan.

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  • Bill C||

    In other news Rick Santorum has decided to endorse Rand Paul's opponent. This anti-Man/Dog marriage crusader just doesn't care for us libertarian folk. His opponent also showed up, to effusive praise, on Bill "Drug Czar/Gambling is virtuos for me" Bennett's radio program.

    Rand Paul is opposed by the neo-cons and now the theo-cons too... Donate today!

  • ||

    I'd vote for Rand Paul over Grayson, but what's necessarily wrong with gambling? Bill Bennett never said anything against gambling for anyone, which is unsurprising because he's Catholic. (There are plenty of small towns where Catholics have bingo night, much to the Baptists' disgust.) People trying to make it an issue were either intentionally trying to be unfair or were just ignorant.

    In any case, glad to see that you're agreeing with Palin and Bunning.

  • Vajazzling||

    I thought prior to revealing he had a gambling problem, Bennett spent years preaching the evils of gambling.

  • ||

    I thought prior to revealing he had a gambling problem, Bennett spent years preaching the evils of gambling.

    No, people just assumed he did, because they associated him with other moral scolds. Just happens that Catholic and Baptist moral scolds are different.

  • Bill C||

    Fair point. I can't find out his motives to be cynical I'd suggest a guy like Bennett probably excluded his personal vices on purpose. Most of his critiques of vices as harmful to society could easily be extended to gambling. Washington Monthly does so here...providing some detail as well: http://www.washingtonmonthly.c.....green.html

  • ||

    I read the Washington Monthly article as supporting my argument more than yours. He also has never said anything about drinking in general, not to excess, as the article itself notes:

    When reminded of studies that link heavy gambling to divorce, bankruptcy, domestic abuse, and other family problems he has widely decried, Bennett compared the situation to alcohol.

    "I view it as drinking," Bennett says. "If you can't handle it, don't do it."

    He doesn't have a drinking problem, note.

    Sure, you can be cynical, nothing wrong with that. But it's worth noting that his views are entirely traditional Catholic ones. The Catholic Church is okay with drinking and gambling, although not to excess. That really sets Catholics apart from fundamentalists.

    So his actions are no surprise. I could come up with a lot of reasons why people made a big deal of it-- on the cynical side, trying to get fundies upset at him, on the ignorant side, just assuming that since he was a moral scold that he must be like all the fundie ones that they know, etc.

  • Bill C||

    This just in.. a noun, a verb and 9/11 just added his endorsement to Rand Paul's opponent. Donate @ http://www.randpaul2010.com

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballo.....-paul-hard

  • ||

    So Grayson has Giuliani, Bennett, McConnell, and Cheney, Paul has Forbes, Palin, and Bunning.

    Pretty interesting primary. I haven't seen too much out of bounds, just vigorous policy disagreements. Paul should still be favored, I think.

  • robc||

    Poll last week had hm up 15.

  • robc||

    "him" no "hm". And that is Paul up 15.

  • ||

    Well I just saw an anti-Rand ad last night. Criticizing him that he was against Medicare and was for raising the SS benefits age. So I'm curious how all this will play.

  • ||

    Absolutely curious. The KY Senate primary (and general election afterward) is hugely important, as a contested primary with relatively equal endorsements on both sides. Politicians do what wins. If Rand Paul wins on his platform, it will drag the party in that direction.

    The Indiana Senate battle ought to be getting more attention. Hostettler v. Coats is also interesting.

  • Suki||

    It's Radley's birthday on Facebook. Everybody join and say hi!

    Where is everybody anyway? Down at the Virginia gun picnic?

  • Rich||

    Good morning, Suki!

    I'm glad AY-yah-fyah-lah-YOH-kuul is not a *real* eruption.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    ...and so the waitress says "A 69? Oh, you want the Beef with Broccoli!"

  • ||

    Joel Klein says we are all guilty of "sedition".

    Time's Joe Klein, appearing on the The Chris Matthews Show on Sunday accused Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, of flirting with "seditious" behavior.

    "I did a little bit of research just before this show - it's on this little napkin here. I looked up the definition of sedition which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state. And a lot of these statements, especially the ones coming from people like Glenn Beck and to a certain extent Sarah Palin, rub right up close to being seditious."

    Co-panelist John Heilemann heartily agreed, and cited Rush Limbaugh's references to the "Obama regime" as further evidence.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/j.....-u-s-gover

  • Suki||

    Yes, many associated with the Obama regime have engaged in seditious acts, but it is okay with the new regime.

  • Suki||

    Perfect case in point, Chris Matthews calling the Bush administration a regime, then claiming he never heard anybody call an administration that before recent usage against Obama.

    Maybe that is a bad example. Even Matthews can't like listening to himself talk that much.

  • ||

    That is a perfect example. And of course the entire baby boom generation (at least the ones in the media) celebrate the anti-war protesters of the 1960s, draft card burning and sit ins and all of that. Imagine if the Tea Parties started burning their social security cards and having sit ins at IRS office, Matthews would want to call out the Army and declare martial law.

  • ||

    And of course the entire baby boom generation (at least the ones in the media) celebrate the anti-war protesters of the 1960s, draft card burning and sit ins and all of that.

    Almost all of the baby boom generation, I only went to anti-war demonstrations becuase that was where the girls were.

  • Rich||

    "I looked up the definition of sedition which is conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of the state."

    Well, *I* looked up the definition of incite which is to move to action, stir up, spur on,
    urge on. Seems like one for the lawyers as to whether Klein is guilty of sedition. Get a grip, Joe!

  • ||

    Palin is not guilty of sedition. But Klein is certainly guilty of being an idiot.

  • ||

    Apparently dissent is only the highest form of patriotism when it's your side doing it.

  • ||

    That sums it up nicely.

  • robc||

    Good thing we got rid of the Sedition Act during the Adams administration.

  • Barack Obama ||

    I can bring it back, though.

  • Zeb||

    Then I guess I am pro-sedition, given that definition.

  • Suki||

    Is the Restore the Constitution rally just handing their opponents more ammunition?

  • Bill Clinton||

    One can only hope

  • Suki||

    That could backfire on you, Bill.

  • Barack Obama||

    One can only hope

    Bill, Bill, ... One can also change.

  • robc||

    Hopefully they are "handing" them the ammunition one shot at a time.

  • ||

    The Iceland volcano is a bigger deal than is being made out. They are saying it could erupt for decades. It could send the world into a much colder spell. When it erupted in 1784, the next winter was so cold the Mississippi froze over in New Orleans.

  • Suki||

    We must do something to stop it. Governments need to buy carbon credits to offset this catastrophe.

  • ||

    No the government needs to flood the market with carbon credits to subsidize the burning of old tires and causing greater global warming.
    [or something like that - it's hard to keep track of the mechanisms of made up markets]

  • Atanarjuat||

    That would suck, especially for citrus and tomato growers in Florida and anyone else whose livelihood relies on warmer weather. Incidentally I was in New Orleans earlier this year and many of the palm trees had brown leaves from the colder than average winter we had.

  • Al Gore||

    THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED!

  • Denier idiot||

    The denialism is settled!

  • Zeb||

    But it would be great for the ski industry and places that rely on winter tourism. All climate change has an up side and a down side.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Like the Schwartz?

    No Sir! I did not see you playing with your dolls again!

  • ||

    Different volcano, John. Different sort of eruption, with different volume of particulates and aerosols and different height of the eruption column.

    In other words, they're not comparable, nor are they expected to be.

  • ||

    But they are saying this could go on for decades

    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....works.html

    And the while the Laki volcano, the one that went in 1783 is not erupting now, it might start to given that we are apparently hitting a peak cycle in activity on the island.

    http://www.businessinsider.com.....hts-2010-4

  • ||

    Yeah, and a 10-mile-wide meteor could strike Earth next week.

  • ||

    And thirty or forty years of major eruptions is just no big deal.

  • ||

    John, in case you didn't get it, what "could" happen is strictly speaking, certainly possible. But so are a lot of things. Anak Krakatau could go tomorrow and screw us all pretty hard. This doesn't mean it's terribly likely under current known conditions.

  • ||

    I would say the fact that the thing is actually erupting now, increases the likelihood of what could happen. It is not like we are talking about Yellowstone or something where nothing is going on right now. Yes, this may be a one off deal. But it may not be to. And the fact that it is happening makes the possibility that it is not a lot higher.

  • Vajazzling||

    I don't ever recall a volcano shutting down Europe's air travel before. This is pretty big.

  • ||

    I rented "Joe Versus the Volcano" yesterday. I'd forgotten how much it sucks. Other than this beautiful scene that almost makes up for Meg Ryan.

  • ||

    That Laki eruption emitted hydrofluoric acid and sulfur dioxide compounds which killed many thousands of people in the British Isles and Europe. Wow.

  • Yeah, But||

    But, other than that, it's still a volcano. And, you know, volcanoes always make things colder. Don't they?

  • Corduroy Rocks||

    I've been thinking about this. The economic effects could be dramatic. It's at least worth considering from a business point of view. What markets will be opened up? Which ones will close?

  • Apostate Jew||

    Ocean liners.

  • ||

    That Tim Carney piece was completely demolished by (1) Friday's SEC indictment of Goldman and (2) The President's weekly address.

    For better or worse--and I think "for better"--the Democrats really do think of themselves as the enemy of Wall St.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Whatever the SEC indictment turns out to mean in the long run, it's really a separate issue from the subject of the Carney piece, which is about the ways some specific regulations on the table are aligned with Goldman Sachs' interests.

    As for the president's weekly address: I've also heard George W. Bush rail against big government. Rhetoric can be misleading. (Note also that not every firm on Wall Street has identical interests. You can bring the hammer down in ways that benefit some companies at the expense of others. This is especially relevant to discussions of the Volcker Rule.)

  • cynical||

    Democrat voters. Democrat politicians can be judged by their associations and funding.

  • ||

    "By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government."

    I don't know if I can get any less positive about, or more critical of, the government.

    Of course, I've thought that many times before and events have always been wrong.

  • Rich||

    I believe RC is working on a new Iron Law applicable here.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Iron Law (proposed): It can always get worse.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I'd disagree with that one. I don't think it could get any worse than Kampuchea, 1976-1978.

  • cynical||

    You know, I thought that about Bush. I'm pretty sure that once my opinion hits rock bottom, I'll be in a gulag or worse.

  • ||

    Make that

    "Of course, I've thought that many times before and have always been wrong".

    My writing sucks this morning.

  • ed||

    Taliban chief Mohammed Omar says he's open to peace negotiations

    [T]heir military campaign [has] only three objectives: the return of sharia (Islamic law), the expulsion of foreigners and the restoration of security.

    Omar's idea of "peace" is a return to the brutal religious enslavement of Afghanistan. The Taliban are among the worst criminals on Earth. Does the United States owe anything further to the people we helped free from that despicable regime? Who would trust us again if we betrayed them to Mohammed Omar and his gangster fanatics?

  • Cabeza de Vaca||

    Yeah, because the government they have now is so different.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....58049.html

  • DJF||

    “””””Who would trust us again if we betrayed them to Mohammed Omar and his gangster fanatics?”””

    Maybe the US public would trust the US government again if the US government stopped wasting lives and taxpayer money in Afghanistan

  • Warty||

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    Even though that dude's not a time-traveller, he does seem to be some sort of proto-beatnik (or proto-hipster?).

  • Rhywun||

    All the hipsters I've been acquainted with seem to worship that era.

  • ||

    Omar's idea of "peace" is a return to the brutal religious enslavement of Afghanistan. The Taliban are among the worst criminals on Earth. Does the United States owe anything further to the people we helped free from that despicable regime? Who would trust us again if we betrayed them to Mohammed Omar and his gangster fanatics?

    Who gives a shit? How is this the concern of America or American citizens? Afghanistan maintains its hellhole status, our troops return home to where they should be - sounds like a win/win.

  • ed||

    Because when honorable people break something, they have to buy it. You can't pretend we're not there and had nothing to do with the current situation.

  • ||

    I demand my tax dollars stop paying for stupid bullshit like this. Is that not an "honorable" position?

  • ||

    Actually, the Taliban was in charge before we got there. So, returning them to power would be a return to how things were.

    But the bigger issue is that no one should be able to harbor a group that murders 3000 American citizens and then be allowed back into power after a few years of hiding out in Pakistan.

  • ||

    """But the bigger issue is that no one should be able to harbor a group that murders 3000 American citizens and then be allowed back into power after a few years of hiding out in Pakistan.""

    That is the point of being there. But that could be a 1000+ year mission. At some point you have to ask how much is it worth. As long as the Taliban has members, and desire to attain political power, the problem will exist. They live their, time in on their side and it cost them little to operate. Home team has the advantage. Time is not on our side and it costs us a lot to operate on foreign soil.

  • ||

    their = there

  • J_L_B||

    Defense costs has never been a political issue. The question of presence on foreign soil has only had to do with the level of risk to our soldiers. We ran like hell from Somalia and Lebanon after a few high-profile losses, yet, despite the monetary costs, we remain in South Korea, Germany, Cuba, and others because we've suffered no troop losses from actual combat.

  • ||

    At some point, we are going to burn the cities down, raze the buildings, chase the people into the hills, and leave. That's what every army who ever goes into that hellhole ends up doing, because it's so screwed up that it's impossible to govern, and your so-called "allies" screw you over as soon as something better comes along. Why did we think it would go any differently that it ever has with those child-raping barbarians?

  • Tony||

    But the bigger issue is that no one should be able to harbor a group that murders 5000 American citizens and then be allowed back into power after a few years of hiding out in minority party status.

    Yet you're going to vote straight R next time aren't you?

  • ||

    You are a despicable troll Tony.

  • ||

    Along with all the other things he doesn't understand, Tony doesn't know what "murder" means.

  • Tony||

    Well, whatever you call sending more troops to die than people died on 9/11 for a pointless exercise in imperialism, I don't like it.

  • J_L_B||

    That's a nice numbers game, playing cost benefit analysis with national defense and human life. That would have had us only fight World War II if we believed Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany would have slaughtered less civilians than the number of troops we lost.

    If TD > PCK, then W = not worth it,
    where
    TD = troop deaths
    PCK = probable civilians killed
    W = war

  • Gus||

    Wall Street suspects Goldman charges 'not coincidental' to financial reform effort

    Wall Street is more than a little suspicious of today’s charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has accused Goldman Sachs of lying to investors about who was really behind junk mortgages securities it sold to clients.

    Barclays banking analyst Roger Freeman comes right out and blasts the SEC effort as “a well-timed, and perhaps not coincidental, effort to sway some on-the-fence Republicans” to get tough on financial reform.

    “Targeting GS, given the flurry of anti-Wall Street press that has centered around that firm, offers the publicity that the administration needs at this critical juncture,” Freeman says in a note to clients today.

    He says Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chris Dodd has targeted a vote on the Senate bill for April 26, “and given the short span of time between now and the end of the month, we are not surprised to see the stepped up support for the bill.”

    http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/.....FSkHea0MqI

  • DJF||

    I am suspicious that the Obama admin will make a big deal of a civil suit against Goldman where in the end Goldman will pay a few billion in fines and a few of its employees will retire with golden parachutes and the government/insider banker relationship will continue. Goldman will just mark it down as a cost of doing business and continue on its way while the politicians and bureaucrats will get their campaign contributions, book deals and places in academia/foundations/boards of directors paid for the Goldman and friends when they retire

  • Solanum||

  • BakedPenguin||

    Is it wrong to hope that guy's beard catches fire and he has 3d degree burns all over his face?

  • ||

    Their survival is proof that God either doesn't exist, or has a sense of humor unlike too many of His followers.

  • ||

    That actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

    Lou
    www.vpn-privacy.us.tc

  • Vajazzling||

    You're losing your edge.

  • Vajazzling||

    First they came for the dog fuckers:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.c.....se17m.html

  • Mr. Hands||

    My spirit lives on...

  • robc||

    Im not sure the Icelandic volcano qualifies as a "black swan". Its not like european volcanic eruptions are that rare. I doubt this is going to be as bad as when it last erupted, in 1870s/80s?

  • ||

    Goldman is lobbying hard on financial regulation, but that doesn't mean they're lobbying "against" regulation. And they certainly shouldn't be considered White House foes: Goldman was Obama's No. 1 corporate source of funds in 2008.

    Maybe somebody should tell Olbermann.

  • ||

    The Red Shirts have no chance.

  • Solanum||

    Welcome back. Rumor has it that you were called down to Taintsville for a sit-down with the Urkobold "Family". Glad to see you made it back alive and hopefully with all of your body parts unwithered.

  • ||

    I am legally and ethically constrained from confirming or denying anything, but I can say that the target of the Urkobold's vitriol, if it existed, wasn't me.

  • Vajazzling||

    People have been toking up in the Cow Palace parking lot for more than 50 years.

    This was the first time it was legal.

    The International Cannabis and Hemp Expo, the first trade show in the United States to allow on-site pot smoking, attracted an estimated 15,000 enthusiasts to Daly City over the weekend. They talked bud, sold products ranging from a $500 water bong to a $19,500 mobile grow house, and discussed how efforts to legalize marijuana would impact their livelihoods.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/.....z0lYdgKBVe

  • ||

    I just assumed Pro Lib was in D C skulking in the shrubbery and waiting for a clear shot at Killinger.

  • ||

    I'm not a violent person, so the answer is no. All I want is my two dollars.

    Two dollars!

  • Vajazzling||

    Iceland better be planting a shit-load of trees.

  • Al Gore||

    Even I know that trees don't grow in ice.

  • ||

    At a meeting held at night deep inside Taliban-controlled territory, the Taliban leaders told this newspaper that their military campaign had only three objectives: the return of sharia (Islamic law) elimination of the last vestiges of religious and political freedom coupled with the enslavement of half the populace, the expulsion of foreigners and the restoration of security.

    He's a fucking piece of shit asshole. That said, if the Afghan people through their government, can't defeat this scum on their own, too bad.

    Bring the troops home!

  • ||

    I like that "restoration of security" bit. Tells you the Taliban is feeling pretty insecure. I wonder, though, if non-Taliban felt more or less secure with gangs of Talibani goons roaming the streets.

  • ||

    All I want is my two dollars.

    Killinger (reportedly) "earned" a paltry $100,000,000.- over the five years he ran WaMu into the ground, so it's unlikely he can afford to pay you.

  • ||

    Two dollars!

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