Reason Morning Links: Scanners, Smog, and the A-Word


• The president endorses full-body scanners.

• The New Jersey Senate says no to gay marriage.

• The EPA proposes new smog rules.

• A Goldman Sachs shareholder sues the company over excessive executive compensation.

• Malaysian Muslims attack four churches for calling the Christian God "Allah."

NEXT: Friday Funnies

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  1. You will have to wait until next week for my epic rundown of Community Reinvestment Act failure rates.

    1. I look forward to it.

  2. New Jersey Senate Defeats Gay Marriage Bill

    TRENTON ? The State Senate on Thursday rejected a proposal that would have made New Jersey the sixth state in the nation to allow marriages involving same-sex couples.

    Which is it? Gay, same sex, or both? What about heterosexual same-sex unions?

  3. Malaysian Muslims attack four churches for calling the Christian God “Allah.”

    I have often felt the same frustration when people use the phrase “a myriad of…”.

    (And don’t break out the dictionary. I’m aware that JD Salinger convinced the world it was okay.)

    1. Are you holdin’?…Did William Holden come to the party last night? You got Holden Caulfield in there?

  4. Just a reminder, your paychecks will be a little lighter this year. My federal withholding just went up with the first paycheck of 2010. The stimulus tax break is over.

    1. Just My gift to the herd, Nick. After all, the only functions of the private sector are to provide income and spread the cheeks when We apply Our Holy Regulations.

  5. From the Brickbats:

    Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has threatened to seize a Toyota factory if it does not start making more “rustic vehicles.” He says he would turn it over to a Chinese company.

    How does this control work? Does Toyota even have the option of selling their plant to anyone, much less the highest bidder, and telling Chavez to fuck off?

    1. Toyota couldn’t find a buyer for that factory now; who would buy it knowing that Hugo has already bagged and tagged it for the Chinese?

      1. Hugo is just a beefier version of American leftist powermongers, who seize control of automakers via the legislative process instead of with guns and tanks.

      2. The smart company would rig the place with explosives, blow it and beat feet, once ‘Ugo’s other shoe drops.

        1. For sure. I’ve always wondered why companies down there don’t rig all their equipment with computers which will only allow them to work if a code is entered every month/year (especially places like the big oil facilities). If they’re seized, they’ll work for a little while, and then only work when a fee has been paid for the code for the next month/year.

          1. 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42

    2. I’d make a lousy international businessman when dealing with dictators. I’d light that fucker and write it off. Right after I tied the asshole that started the deal to a pole in center of the factory.

      The price you pay for getting in bed with government.

    3. If I’m Toyota and it looks like my plant is going to be taken from me without compensation, well, I’m burning the factory to the ground. And launching a new line of cars globally called “The Unmanly Chavez.” Or whatever adjective would upset him the most.

      1. the Yugo Chavez?

        (it was supposed to go here originally damnit! squirrel!)

        1. Funny, but not insulting enough. The Wangless Chavez?

  6. Human sacrifices ‘on the rise in Uganda’ as witch doctors admit to rituals

    Witch doctors in Uganda have admitted their part in human sacrifice amid concerns that the practice is spreading in the African country.

    One man said he had clients who had captured children and taken their blood and body parts to his shrine, while another confessed to killing at least 70 people including his own son.

    The latter has now given up the ritual and is campaigning to stamp it out, according to BBC News.


    1. The latter has now given up the ritual and is campaigning to stamp it out…

      …from his prison cell, hopefully.

  7. From the Malaysia article, here’s what the Muslim rioters in that country are protesting:

    ‘A Malaysian court had last week overturned a government ban on non-Muslims using the word “Allah” in their literature, allowing Roman Catholic newsletter, the Herald, to use the term to refer to God in the Malay language.

    ‘The judge has since suspended the implementation of the ruling, after the government appealed and the Roman Catholic church agreed to the suspension. . . .

    ‘Muslims in Malaysia argue that the “Allah” is exclusive to Islam, and its use by Christians would confuse Muslims.

    ‘But Catholic church officials say that for Christian indigenous tribes in East Malaysia, who are the main readers of the Herald’s Malay-language edition, “Allah” is the only word they have known for God for decades.’

    1. It’s not just Malaya. Look at the Arab and Mediterranean worlds:

      From Wikipedia’s article on the term ‘Allah’:

      ‘Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word “Allah” to mean “God”. The Christian Arabs of today have no other word for ‘God’ than ‘Allah’. (Even the Arabic-descended Maltese language of Malta, whose population is almost entirely Roman Catholic, uses Alla for ‘God’.)’

      1. I meant Malaysia, not Malaya. Malaya is what the place used to be called.

        But at least the use of “Malaya” hasn’t been banned!

        1. Malaya is still a place, and all these attacks happened in Malaya (as opposed to Sarawak and Sabah, which are the parts of Malaysia outside Malaya).

    2. religion of peace

      I know it’s not all muslims, but for fucks sake that’s like saying you needed all Christians to participate in the Crusades to say Christianity was/is fucked up.

  8. Those Malaysian Muslims are just continuing the stellar public relations reputation of the Islamic religion in general.

  9. Allah Allah oxen free!

    1. *Looks for her explosive panties. And her burka.*

      don’t want to get stoned to death on the way to a suicide bombing.

    1. “The economy is in a rough situation,” Labor Secretary Hilda Solis acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press. She said she thinks companies are reluctant to ramp up hiring because they’re waiting to see what new stimulative steps the government might take to provide relief.

      Wow. She couldn’t have realized the implications of her statement…

      1. And soon, when they ram through their tax increase masquerading as a health care reform bill, it will probably cause unemployment to start rising again, and might even drive a whole bunch of businesses under.

        These morons are apparently too stupid to even realize that you don’t want to raise taxes during a deep recession.

        1. These morons are apparently too stupid to even realize that you don’t want to raise taxes during a deep recession.

          We don’t want to, dammit, we have to!

      2. In case anyone didn’t think Stimulus II: Inflation Boogaloo was being cued up.

  10. In Other News:

    Rudy Giuliani wants to make sure we don’t forget what a fucking loathesome asshole he is.

    1. But he said that if he was in charge, we’d be seeing growth between “nine and eleven” percent.

  11. Hugo Chavez has threatened to seize a Toyota factory if it does not start making more “rustic vehicles.”

    Maybe he can revive Pontiac; those things get so “rustic” you can see right through them.

  12. Moderate Muslim Leaders Take a Stand.
    Anti-radical Muslim resistance spreading to India, Pakistan.


  13. The president endorses full-body scanners.

    I know it is pie-in-the-sky (literally, in this case) to expect the boss class to have to play by the same rules as the rest of us, but it would be nice if BHO and his family (and all their aides, hangers on, facilitators and flunkys) had to submit to the same searches as the rest of us every time they boarded a plane.

    1. He already hijacked the country, how much more harm could he do if he hijacked a plane?

    2. I know it is pie-in-the-sky (literally, in this case)

      I know of no airlines that serve pie. Please to direct me to some?

      1. If you have any taste buds left at all, you wouldn’t want any pie served on a plane.

    3. I want to fuck the pie in the sky,
      even if I must first learn to fly!
      Does it have wings or motors?
      Or a stale crust, old berries or foul odors?
      Bring me this pie to fuck!
      Or point the way, I’ll make my own luck…

    4. Line Sasha and what’s her name up and start the scanning. Lets see how that goes over.

    1. Ah, modern feminism. Never a shortage of massive rationalizations to sooth their very, very furrowed brows.

  14. Where’s our “whale wars” idiots link?

    1. I for one continue to be astounded by the predictive power of South Park Season 13.

      1. POKER FACE

  15. Some days I hate the press so much I could spit.

    Once again, whenever a news article appears where I know something about the subject, the errors and omissions in that article are astounding to me. This forces me to conclude that there are similar errors and omissions in articles where I don’t know a lot about the subject.

    Today’s exhibit: the NYT article about VISA’s debit and credit card fees.


    The Times here writes a three page article about VISA’s practice of not allowing merchants to take VISA debit cards unless they also take VISA credit cards, as well as not allowing merchants to charge extra for using either of their cards.

    The Times has the balls to declare this “anticompetitive” although there are other card issuers, and also “anticonsumer”, although what VISA is doing is protecting their card users from merchants who want to fuck them.

    You know how I know there are deliberate omissions in this article? Because one thing the article really complains about is how people who have combination credit/debit cards choose to use the credit option instead of the debit option, and how this ends up costing the merchants more. But there is no examination of why consumers do this. I do it personally because my bank treats every debit transaction as if I wrote a check, and I only get a certain number of free check transactions a month before I start incurring bank service charges. So by using the credit option, always, I am protecting myself from additional bank service charges. VISA’s exchange rules are therefore directly putting money in my pocket. Not to mention the fact that if I use the credit option, all sorts of additional card user protections against fraud, refusal of returns, insurance, etc. kick in. And the New York Times article mentions none of this. Since it would take two seconds’ worth of thought or research by the journalist to uncover this information [actually, anyone writing a financial services article for a major publication should just know this shit without asking or researching anyway], I am forced to conclude that this information is being deliberately withheld from the article, since the article is positioned as “VISA = Bad for Consumers” and therefore any data point that would explode that argument has to be suppressed. I don’t know what retailer blew what Times editor to get this piece placed, but I do know that the writer is deliberately omitting material facts in order to make sure that the retailers can continue their slander campaign against VISA through the press.

    1. And nearly every NYT reader will eat it up uncritically and repeat the very vague take away of the article to friends and co-workers. And the NYT knows this.

    2. Personally, I have no problem with merchants who charge the 3% credit card fee back to their customers. If the customer doesn’t want to pay it, they can pay cash/write a check, or take their business elsewhere. All part of your freedom to do business as and with who you want.

      I also have no problem with Visa telling merchants they can’t do this. Any merchants who want to are free to stop accepting Visa cards. All part of your freedom, etc.

    3. Dude,

      Bank at Endura Financial Credit Union. I have for 20 years. The have an e-life checking account No minimum ammount and you get 4.5% interest on your balance on the last day of the month. They require one auto deposit and 12 debit purchases per month, which is easy to meet. And there are no limits on how many debit purchases you can make per month.


    4. About a month ago they had a front page–FRONT PAGE–article about sites like freecreditreport.com that charge you fees, after informing you that you will be charged, for using their services. The Times severely underestimates the intelligence and literacy of the common American.

  16. On the whole seizure thing:

    Its a shame Toyota doesn’t just write the factory off, and wreck it on its way out. But I suppose they still have some other interests in Venezuela that they need to protect. . . .

    1. Perhaps some copper mines…

    2. Well, they could invite him to tour the factory, give all the workers a paid vacation day, excuse themselves for a “bathroom break” halfway through the tour, THEN blow it up.

  17. Fluffy-

    Maybe the NYT is just doing some early spade work for a “groundswell” of opposition to Senator What’s-His-Name from South Dakota Creditcardistan, who apparently is first in line for Dodd’s spot on the Senate Banking Committee.

  18. She said she thinks companies are reluctant to ramp up hiring because they’re waiting to see what new stimulative steps the government might take to provide relief.

    Because, in her version of the world, business owners all want a ride on the government gravy train.

    As opposed to just not wanting the rug pulled out from under them.

    1. Unfortunately, there are too many companies that do want to ride the government gravy train. The Northrop-Grumman move (discussed in a later post) to the DC area makes perfect sense from the perspective of a bloated, rent-seeking corporate mastodon.

      1. Of course, any business that makes their hiring decisions based on whether or not there is a government stimulus is run by fools. They are either (a) not making hires that they should based on their situation in the real economy or (b) making hires based on government programs that are notoriously unreliable.

  19. the Yugo Chavez?

    1. +1,000,000,000 (adjusted for devaluation of the Bolivar

  20. I’ve been doing a little “window shopping’ on a gun auction site, lately, and most of those guys charge three or four percent for credit cards; it’s the first time I’ve seen it (a “credit card penalty”) in a long time.

    They all seem to like USPS money orders…

    1. A Shell station where I sometimes get gas started doing the cash/credit price a few months back, with the credit prices being $.07/gallon more.

      I stopped buying my gas there. None of the other nearby stations followed suit and the owner dropped the binary pricing last month. I once again buy gas there.

      I get bumped with the $1/transaction for paying at the pump no matter where I buy. A small price to pay to not have to interact with my fellow man at the very low retail level.

      1. As a side note, that whole “pay at the pump” thing is going to deprive a lot of kids of their first jobs. And it is going to spread as the states* keep pushing up the minimum wage and placing more and more “protect the worker” conditions on employment.

        *I realize some states prohibit “self serve” gas stations (Oregon for one), but that’s just going to hurry on the advent of RoboGasJockey.

        1. Pay at the pump has been widespread for over a decade now, so any effects of that sort would have already played out. Also, most states require that an attendant be present within the station for safety reasons, so it’s not like the gas station can just run pay at the pump with no cashiers there.

          1. The elevator operators union* said something similar about 80 years ago.

            Most places I use “pay at the pump” already make you insert the card before you make the purchase. Cash transactions can be changed to require payment at a machine before fuel is dispensed. Suddenly, there is no need for the cashier.

            *I don’t remember if the elevator operators had their own union or were part of some other union. For some reason, the Teamsters Union comes to mind in this connection.

      2. Maybe I missed it all these years, but what is the $1/transaction charge for paying at the pump? I don’t think I have ever noticed this. Regional maybe?

  21. New EPA rules are crazy. Auto pollution is a solved problem, but EPA still needs to justify its existence, so it keeps ratcheting down its “pollution” standards even though doing so won’t improve anything, but will cost a huge amount of money.

    1. “doing so won’t improve anything, but will cost a huge amount of money.”

      Pray, in what way does this distinguish said program for any other government program?

      1. It doesn’t, but a lot of people still erroneously think that modern cars are the devil’s own pollution machines.

  22. I was rewatching Upstairs Downstairs during the holidays, and it left me thinking about marriage. Say a hundred years ago, marriage was a real trap for a lot of people whatever the reason or sex. We’ve come a long way in regards to it being easier to separate with more freedom to change and escape partners. With all the problems of govt. validated, enforced marriage contracts not to mention using the courts/laws to punish a partner you no longer like, we really need to keep moving in the direction of marriage contracts being meaningless. This is partly out of my ass, but if we can keep weakening marriage despite efforts to the contrary, we can see less force and theft when couples no longer wish to be together. They can and should handle their conjoined business themselves. If you can make and pay for a will, you can handle it. As a gay man, i’m often considered the devil for being against gay marriage, but i don’t really think strengthening the institution of marriage is the right way to go.

    1. Just let the heteros keep destroying it…nice forceless tactic.

  23. Maybe in another hundred years, it’ll be even easier to get out of a marriage than it is now. Which is something to hope for.

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