Reason Morning Links: Debt, Flu, and Blackwater


• Congress may raise the debt ceiling by as much as $1.8 trillion.

• Blackwater's involvement in CIA operations went much deeper than previously believed.

• Danish police prepare for the Copenhagen climate conference by raiding protesters' rooms and preemptively seizing their property.

• Goldman Sachs responds to public criticism by restructuring its bonuses, though not necessarily in a way that makes a significant difference.

• Tip: You might not want to trust the Federal Trade Commission with your private financial data.

• It's official: Swine flu has been much less destructive than experts expected. Which is good, given that one out of six Americans has had it.

NEXT: Recession For You, Boom Times For Federal Workers

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  1. A bunch of folks i know have had swine flu. They all just walked it off. Yo, fuck media panics.

    1. I am interested in statistics of deaths cause by swine flu vs. regular flu with/without pre-existing conditions. We will then know if we were too quick on the draw.

      1. As I understand the situation, influenza can be deadly and is always something to be concerned about. H1N1 is not the seasonal flu and did reach pandemic status, so it is something extra to be concerned about. The media may have overreacted, but not so much the medical profession and the agencies tracking it.

    2. This remedy, however, does not work for everyone.

      1. That scared the hell out of my 12yr old but when you have one with asthma and your pediatrician says to get the shot….well, my 12yr old came down with something anyway and I was relieved she had both shots.

    3. I’m hearing of doctors diagnosing H1N1 based on symptoms, without doing a test. So I expect the stats to be overinflated.

      1. Your doctor can do a rapid test but they do get a a percentage of false negatives.

        1. The local hospital and their doc in a box walk-in clinic quit testing for h1n1 2 months ago after getting enough cases that they started assuming that if you were sick, you had H1N1.

      2. Once you get any flu, the treatment is always the same, so there’s really no return on a test.

        1. My assumption is that they are still calling these cases swine flu. It’s good for the stats.

        2. I was curious about the study of the use of cholesterol drugs for H1N1


    4. I had it. Not pleasant, but not the sort of thing where I was coughing up blood like the NatGeo special on pandemics I saw while I had it.

      I’m also disheartened to see that “Steven Segal: Lawman” is real and NOT a swine-flu-fever-induced hallucination.

      1. I went to my parents’ house yesterday, and their Fios was out – but luckily my dad had DVRed a shitload of Steven Sagal episodes for our viewing pleasure. I could barely make it through the opening credits. Very special program he’s got there.

          1. LOL. Thanks for that little piece of zen, Art P.O.G.

    5. The real issue with the swine flu is how hard it hits healthy people in certain risk classes. Like pregnant women. It’s even worse fro pregnant men.

      1. For pregnant men. I don’t know what a fro pregnant man is, unless it’s some sort of 70s black thing.

    6. Oh my God! We’re all going to die! Quick, someone do another story on the Swine Flu!

  2. “Congress may raise the debt ceiling by as much as $1.8 trillion.”

    after raising the roof, obama swears they will macareigna in the spending

  3. Goldman Sachs new bonus system is that any employee who manages to increase Goldmans share of government bailouts or government trading schemes like Carbon Trading will get a bigger bonus since having the government steal your profits from the taxpayer is the new economy

  4. When at the end of April Mexico downgraded the fatalities of the original swine flu breakout from 152 to 7, that didn’t get much media attention. The final number of swine flu deaths in Mexico was 56 — the same as roughly three days of drug war.

    “Don’t worry! No need to buy the newspaper for a few months” just doesn’t make a good headline.

  5. Pittsburgh Steelers: losers. Yinz’s tears are so yummy and sweet.

    1. I guess we’ll just have to be content with our 6 Super Bowls for this year.

      1. That’s some pretty hefty loser talk there.

        Wallace and his shitty 1.1 pt. FF performance. The only saving grace was that Rothlisberger scored 11 pts for my opponent, about 15 less than expected.

      2. Yeah, enjoy your memories, losers.

          1. Art – give up on those loser Brownies. Join me on the Bengal side and together we shall rule the universe!

            1. I’ll be honest. I’m a die-hard Buckeye fan and Cavaliers fan, but NFL-wise, I front-run whoever is doing better between the Bengals and the Browns. I’ll be rooting for the Bengals in the playoffs, but I truly enjoy it whenever the Browns can pull off a win, particularly against the Stoolers.

              1. Lest anyone judge me, pro football’s the only sport where I’m a frontrunner. Can you blame me for how bad the Bengals and the Browns have been, often at the same time?

              2. Yeah, although I’m a life-long Bengal fan (God, what a thing to fess up to) I admit I was kind of tickled when I heard the score this morning.

                1. I love the Browns and hate them with the hatred of a thousand hateful supernovae at the same time. Being a Browns fan is a nihilistic exercise, very suitable for a libertarian, I think.

                  I’ll confess to having a soft spot for the Bengals since I lived in Cincy for a while as a kid. So quit calling the Browns losers for now, and we can all revel in the Steelers’ suckiness.

                  1. What is this team you speak of? The Browns left Cleveland, many years ago. I think they disbanded.

                    1. Go fuck yourself, P Brooks. May you become a Radley story.

                    2. WARTY HAVE BOO-BOO!

                      STEVE KISS WARTY BOO-BOO

                      THEN RAPE

                      WARTY FEEL BETTER AFTER RAPE

                    3. They became the Ravens, who also beat down the Steelers *this year.*

                      Note that I say this as a non-yinzin’ Steelers fan. A Ravens fan I am not, despite being a free stater (he says without a hint o’ irony). I refuse to root for a team with the fucking state seal of Maryland on their sleeves and field.

                  2. I took up liking the Saints in the late 70s when I lived in southern Ms. and they were the home team. It’s been a long and winding road.

        1. We will. Enjoy winning your Super Bowl last night. Maybe you’ll be able to win another one before 2015.

          1. blah blah blah super bowls blah blah blah history of winning blah blah blah dominance of browns in my lifetime blah blah blah

            Shut up, loser. You suck and may Hines Ward fall down an elevator shaft.

    2. Good, now I can razz Vikings fans since their team lost to the Steelers, who lost to the Raiders, Chiefs, and Browns.

  6. ? Blackwater’s involvement in CIA operations went much deeper than previously believed.

    P.W. Singer, an expert in contracting at the Brookings Institution, said that the types of jobs that have been outsourced in recent years make a mockery of regulations about “inherently governmental” functions.

    Considering one of the editorial positions of reason magazine is that we should privatize the roads*, it shouldn’t generate outrage – or even be relevant – what the division of labor between private contractors, CIA officers, and special forces military members.

    It’s what they did and how they acted that should be the subject of inspection, and as warranted, criticism

    *Drink? an exageration, but you get my point

    1. Agreed. As long as they are subject to the same laws and repercussions as regular soldiers and other gov’t personnel, I don’t see a huge issue.

      Also, according the the article, Blackwater was smart enough to stay away from renditions, the part of the clandestine war that is going to end up with a few CIA scalps on some Senator’s wall.

      1. Soldiers are under the UCMJ, Blackwater was not. US law doesn’t apply to forgein soil. The state department has immunity, and the CIA is pretty much a lawless organization by design.

        What laws would apply to Blackwater?

        Some employees have been charged with crimes but the charges probably won’t stick.

        1. While Blackwater wouldn’t be covered by the UCMJ, they also would not be protected by SOFA agreements. Which means they’re subject to local laws and regulations just like any other American visiting a foreign land.

          1. Blackwater was not subject to Iraqi law because they were given immunity due to working under the State department.

            1. Having said that, immunity aside, local laws should apply to them, in the same way local laws apply to the CIA.

              1. Didn’t mean to imply they should have parity with the CIA concerning the local laws. The CIA is intended to be a mostly lawless organization, Blackwater is not.

                I expect CIA to thumb their noses at local laws, I don’t expect that of Blackwater.

        2. I do agree that different legal regimes for differenet people assigned to do the same things are problematic – I had thought about putting in my original comment.

  7. Danish police prepare for the Copenhagen climate conference by raiding protesters’ rooms and preemptively seizing their property.

  8. I see the random-edit squirrels are on the job this morning.

  9. Pittsburgh Steelers: losers.

    1. That can’t be said enough.

  10. Wow. This is totally awesome; the squirrels leave the italicized quote, and expunge my comment about it.

    Why do you hate me, squirrels?

  11. Tell me about it, is the debt getting crazy or what? I mean really.


    1. The worst part of all is that virtually all of the new debt that is now being accumulated is money being borrowed from foreign countries. We’re essentially putting our entire country into servitude to Asia.

      But it certainly will be fun to watch the Democrats try to blame their need to raise the debt ceiling again on George W. Bush.

  12. Rmember The Runaways? Joan Jett’s band back in the 1970s.Where are they now?

    Singer Cherie Currie lives in California and makes Chainsaw bear art.

    Lead guitarist Lita Ford is recommending giving anal plugs, nipple clamps and urethral sounds (ouch!) as Christmas gifts.

    1. No one went into the lucrative Pennsylvanian fireworks trade?

      1. Combine them into anal plug fireworks.

        1. A Greek Candle?

          1. I would really hate to see a greek candle fight. Where would you hold the trash-can-lid-shield?

    2. And apparently she rapes her husband with a strapon.

    3. Cheesecake shots of the old ladies:

      Lita Ford in assless chaps.

      Cherie Currie with chainsaw.

      1. Are those SFW?

        1. I’d say yes but I don’t know where you work.If you can look at bikini girls definitely yes,SFW.

      2. Back when they were teenagers.
        The Runaways live in Japan

  13. “The estate tax is an unnecessary burden on too many small businesses and family farms. Americans strive to give their children oppurtunities they never had and pass on the legacy of their life’s work. This tax strikes at the heart of this very basic American ideal. That’s why the estate tax needs to be eliminated completely. I could not support a duplicative tax that hinders American citizens’ ability to pass on their earnings to their heirs. I encourage the House and Senate to scrap this plan and search for ways to permanently end this tax.”
    Rep. Bobby Bright, democrat from my home district in Alabama on his vote against extending indefinately at 2009 levels the estate tax under H.R.4154.

  14. I don’t know what a fro pregnant man is, unless it’s some sort of 70s black thing.

    You wouldn’t understand.

  15. Danish police prepare for the Copenhagen climate conference by raiding protesters’ rooms and preemptively seizing their property.

    But . . . but, they are extreamist heritics!

    1. I’m pretty sure the vast majority of protesters in Copenhagen are protesting that the conferees are not going far enough.

      1. Damn, another incorrect knee-jerk reaction on my part.

  16. Congress may raise the debt ceiling by as much as $1.8 trillion.

    That reminds me of this classic. The larger the national debt, the wealthier we are!

    1. Thanks, Warty!

      Truly excellent — all the way through to the civil (on Jan’s part) ending.

      1. Ah ha ha, WTF? Look, Pete Stark, if Stephen Hawking and Richard Feynman could explain their theories to laypersons, don’t you think you could do a little better?

    2. Jan is a hair annoying, but it’s great to watch him and his porn stache own politicians. The Pelosi interview he did is fucking awesome. It’s hilarious that the people he interviewed didn’t know how to debate or argue within a socratic framework.

      1. Seriously, Pete Stark’s ad homs bordered on showing the childish and anti-intellectual nature of US Representatives.

    3. No!! Don’t watch this! My statements were taken out of context!

  17. Already in the Senate, there is growing pressure in both parties for the creation of a novel bipartisan task force empowered to force expedited votes in the next Congress on deficit reduction steps now shunned by lawmakers.

    With all due respect, WTF?

    1. File it under “smoke and mirrors for the rubes”, Rich.

    2. When I read that, I first though it said a “novel bipartisan attack force”. And had images of swat teams bursting into public access television shows to arrest obscure third party candidates.

  18. I think this is a video clip from Stossel’s show last night.

  19. Oslo ‘Save the Children’ concert replaces absent Obama with his cardboard cutout……..wD9CGN8IO0

  20. What laws would apply to Blackwater?

    The one that leaves their burned corpses hanging upside down from the superstructure of a bridge.


  21. Bigfoot in the northwoods? Camera picks up strange image near Remer, MN…..ost_viewed

    1. I happen to know Steve Smith was in Moose Jaw at the time, so no.

    2. Dear Jesus. We can only hope the area’s rape trauma centers are fully staffed.

    3. That is not a real sasquatch. Take my word for it. It isn’t possible to keep an ass that hairy from becoming encrusted with feces.

      1. Every reply to this comment preceding mine was a winner of the highest order.

      2. It’s returning from the spa, so it’s nice and clean.

        It’s really a TMZ cameraman trying to get an interview with Chewbacca.

      3. Brotherben, It could be a sasquatch that likes to have his salad tossed

  22. Oslo ‘Save the Children’ concert replaces absent Obama with his cardboard cutout…

    How could they tell?

    1. No teleprompter.

  23. I contend that 1 in 2 people have had the swine flu. What is my evidence? Why, my own baseless assertion. Philosophy majors might be interested to know that, logically, my assertions backed by no evidence whatsoever and technically as valid as the CDC’s (which are also backed by no evidence whatsoever).

    There is no evidence for the existence of disease-causing viruses. Not only have they stopped testing for “swine flu virus”, but the original test, like all “virus” tests, never tested for viruses but for something called “antibodies”. Antibodies are considered indirect evidence of viruses. But since no disease-causing virus has ever been properly isolated, it is impossible that any indirect evidence could have ever been established.

    The German New Medicine is the truth about medicine. Unless you enjoy suffering, you should teach yourselves about it.…..heory.html

    1. If they can’t design a functional website why would I think they could cure any disease?

  24. mmm. airborne bacon.

  25. It’s official: Swine flu has been much less destructive than experts expected. Which is good, given that one out of six Americans has had it.

    I call bullshit. Neither I, nor anyone I know, nor anyone that anyone I know knows, has had swine flu. I have checked. That’s way too large a sample size for the one in 6 number to be valid. Unless swine flu is the kind of thing that you barely notice being sick with. Which doesn’t live up to it’s reputation either.

    My theory is that the government needed a way to run a large scale test of it’s biological warfare response mechanism, and picked an average, boring, normal flu virus to do it. Hyped it up to simulate what might happen in a bio-weapons attack, and then ran through the response system to see how much of the population would show up for a shot and where the vaccine production might break down.

    1. Does a tin hat come with that theory, or is it an additional purchase?

    2. People weren’t really sick, it was just the effects of turning on the Haarp array. 😉

      1. Didja watch the new Jesse Ventura show about HAARP? I liked in the beginning where they wondered if HAARP was responsible for the tsunami a few years ago. Called it collateral damage and an oopsie moment.

        1. Yes I did see it, I thought it was a pretty good show.

          That would be one hell of an oopsie, but not as bad of an oopsie if we discover how to make a black hole by accident.

    3. I call bullshit on your bullshit. Now I have to get back to my lab to test my new flu virus serum to
      transform geeky, side-boob obsessed, mermaid defiling, Libertarians into clones
      of Gloria Steinem.

  26. Hi this is dasara.
    Hyped it up to simulate what might happen in a bio-weapons attack..

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