Reason Morning Links: New Taxes for Big Earners, Consumers Spending Again, West Virginia Mine Had Poor Safety Record

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  1. The curse of the “Oldest American” title continues

    Oh yeah? Try winning an Oscar? and see what happens.

  2. The curse of the “American With Highest Percentage Of Body Weight In Cancerous Tumors” title also continues.

  3. At a panel discussion in Washington on Tuesday, Representative Jane Harman, Democrat of California and chairwoman of a House subcommittee on homeland security, called Mr. Awlaki “probably the person, the terrorist, who would be terrorist No. 1 in terms of threat against us.”

    1. It must be a bullet-pointed list of state enemies…everyone on it rotates to the top when the predator drone flies over their head.

      1. Bogeymen grow stale, to keep people afraid mythical threats must be updated and exaggerated.

        1. Nuclear power down. Next up, genetic engineering.

      2. Nobody loves me anymore šŸ™

        1. Oh, honey, that’s simply not true!

          1. Oh, sure. You got the cute one.

            1. Well, he’s not that cute.

              (winks)

              1. And he’s not that into you either.

  4. Obama administration okays the targeted killing of an American citizen in Yemen.

    Send in 007. He’s got a Licence to Kill.

    1. I like the use of British spelling there.

      1. “Kill” is spelled the same way here, Einstein.

  5. Don’t the 5th and 6th amendments apply to all US citizens? How can you assassinate a US citizen without due process?

    1. To be fair, the guy has essentially declared war on the US and its government. One of the consequences of going to war is, the gloves come off and there are no legal protections afforded. Maybe he should’ve thought of that before calling for the violent overthrow of the government.

    2. Just don’t lead ’em so much.

    3. I think those do not apply in national security areas. Not saying I agree, just saying I think that is the rationale.

      1. Nope – the constitutional protections as between U.S. citizens and their government apply no matter where the citizen is.

        More likely, the answer is that he got all the process he was due, based on his actions as a hostile combatant against the U.S. Leastways, that’s my SWAG as to their rationale. Either that, or they just don’t give a flying fuck about the Constitution. I find the latter easier to believe, based on the administration’s actions over the past year or so.

    4. He is (regarded as) a hostile combatant. With that status, he is fair game – that is, you don’t need to arrest and try combatants, but can kill them when the opportunity presents. There really is no way to give due process to combatants before taking action against them, so there it is.

      Should there be some kind of due process before declaring an American citizen a hostile combatant? Traditional categories of crime/due process v. warfighting don’t apply terribly well to insurgencies and non-state conflict. I’m open to ideas, I guess, but I can’t think of anything offhand.

      1. I’m just thinking that the Hutare case seems like a similar situation if you believe what’s been reported…would we be comfortable with the FBI or CIA offing those nuts…if they were in Canada instead of Michigan for instance?

      2. A couple of distinctions:

        (1) There isn’t an active insurgency or any kind of warfighting going on here in the US that the militia nutbars could have been “combatants” in.

        (2) They hadn’t engaged in, or been affiliated with, anyone who engaged in combatant-type activities.

        1. Isn’t planning to kill civilains a combatant-type activity these days?

      3. So, what? We just let the president declare someone to be a hostile combatant and have him offed?
        What could possibly go wrong with that?

        1. Keep it up, bub, and pretty soon we’ll make sure you actually are citizen “nothing” – if you catch my drift.

          Nice life you’ve got there. It would be a shame if something happened to it.

      4. I’m not sure that what he’s being alleged of counts to be a combatant. He’s not engaging in combat. He could be regarded as a traitor, but that requires due process.

    5. Those amendments are not applicable only to US citizens; on non-immigration matters, foreign nationals also must receive due process before punishment for crimes in the US.

      Now, when a person becomes a military target, as the administration claims this slug was, all bets are off. Also, there’s the fact that US courts don’t have jurisdiction in Yemen, so the due process route isn’t exactly open.

      1. “”” Also, there’s the fact that US courts don’t have jurisdiction in Yemen, so the due process route isn’t exactly open.””

        Yemen could prosecute it as a murder, since it was on their soil.

        hahahahahahahahaha.

      2. Those amendments are not applicable only to US citizens; on non-immigration matters, foreign nationals also must receive due process before punishment for crimes in the US.

        As defined by the government in intelligence and other matters, “US persons” includes both all people (lawfully) residing in the US, but also all US citizens throughout the world.

        Unlike other countries, for good and ill, we don’t consider our laws to stop at the water’s edge.

    6. Ask the Justice Dept. They okayed this shit years ago. In the opinion of the .gov, once the determination has been made that you are covered under the existing AUMF which authorizes our current War on Terror, they can send the military after you anywhere in the world. I’d look it up, but I’m lazy. I think Jacob Sullum covered it here a few years ago. It was a blip on most folks radar, but I had asked my legal counsel (aka the wife) the question two days before he posted on it.

      1. The claim is under the AUMF, yes. Justice Scalia (joined by Stevens) said that the AUMF didn’t go far enough to be considered invoking the Suspension Clause (which would be about habeas corpus not killing), but the majority opinion in Hamdi v. Rumsfield disagreed.

    7. “”Don’t the 5th and 6th amendments apply to all US citizens? How can you assassinate a US citizen without due process?””

      The Constitution doesn’t follow you abroad.

      1. The Constitution doesn’t follow you abroad.

        I’m not so sure that is correct. Yes, it does not protect you from other governments, but it does from the U.S. government – i.e., YOUR government. The Constitution does not make an exception for when U.S. citizens are elsewhere.

        1. Some of the Bill of Rights applies to government, not the citizenry. If the Constitution does not stop at the border, it would prevent the government from acting contra abroad.

          1. The Bill of Rights applies to the government’s relationship to the people. If you are a U.S. citizen, the BoR protects that relationship. The U.S. government cannot suddenly treat you differently just because you left the borders of the U.S.

      2. The Constitution doesn’t follow you abroad.

        Justice Scalia begs to differ.

        1. Can you do better than a disenting opinion?

    8. Don’t they apply to all “persons” or “accused”, literally? If the due process restriction was supposed to apply, it would apply even if he was a Yemeni native.

  6. Nyah, nyah nyah, NYAH, nyah!

  7. I’ve decided to live to be 125, so when some dumb reporter asks me to what I attribute my longevity, I cna give him an answer like “Three quarts of bourbon and three hot women every day.”
    When you get to be a certain age, you can do anything you want because it all becomes “cute”.

    1. Amen to that!

    2. Years ago, a French woman was the oldest person in the world. A reporter asked her to describe her view of the world; she replied, “Brief.”

    3. Years ago, a French woman was the oldest person in the world. A reporter asked her to describe her view of the future; she replied, “Brief.”

      1. Damn slow preview…

  8. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sandy Levin, D-Mich., said Obama’s tax plan is fair because middle-income Americans are struggling, while wealthier Americans are not.

    It’s time to be effin’ patriotic.

    1. Wow! People with loads of assets do better during financial downturns than people without?

      Next thing Sander Levin’s going to inform us is that they do better when times are good too.

      1. Not if we have our way in correcting that unfairness as well.

      2. Back off on Sandy. She’s just helping me, you know, spred the wealth around.

      3. Everyone must suffer equally!

      4. I don’t think they’ve compiled the numbers for the latest recession, but every other economic dip (and esp stcok market crashes) in US history tends to reduce income equality:
        http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.c…..re-gilded/

        (BTW, in summer 2009 citing figures from 2007 and implying that they are ‘the state of play’ after all the transpired in late 2008 is rather hacktastic. *especially* when one can easily see the 1990 and 2001 dips, and would have no reason to expect this would be different)

    2. Wealthier americans are not necessarily those with higher incomes.

      In fact, quite often “middle-income Americans” and “wealthier Americans” are the same people.

    1. We’ve seen *much* better, if you catch my grease-dripping drift.

    2. Not to worry. The commentariat will be along soon to reinforce the struggle against the patriarichal bacon snatchers.

      1. You said “snatchers”.

  9. Surely no mine owner would operate his mine in an unsafe manner. I mean, a rational actor would have to assume that his employees and consumers would deal with him better if he acted out of concern for his safety, the incentives would be there. This is why we do not need pesky governmental inspecters and unproductive OSHA laws blah blah blah

    Reality makes yet another incursion into Libertopia, raping it’s woman and beating its Hobbits…

    1. So answer your own snark, where were these guys? Where were the unions?

      1. Where were the unions?

        Good question. If there is one legitimate function of Unions, it is to protect the safety of its members. I was doing some research on a Union my Great Grandfather belonged to that called themselves the Sand Hogs. They dug tunnels for subways and aqueducts in NY around the turn of the century. One of the primary functions of that Union was protecting the safety of its members.

      2. Oh yeah, it’s the fault of the few police on the case when the crime occurs, not the criminal…

        1. Maybe if the unions were actually looking out for their membrs instead of using their position to extract personal gain in the form of political clout and cushy jobs for themselves. The unions are political, they dont give a crap about the workers either.

          1. Yeah, it’s the UNION’S fault for not fighting this jerk owner more and solving the problem.

            Incredible.

    2. That’s why we need bureaucratic government oversight. That sure would have prevented this tragedy.

      If only we had both state and oversight, this shit wouldn’t happen.

      1. Make that
        If only we had both state and federal oversight, this shit wouldn’t happen.

    3. Surely we should actually look at mine safety statistics instead of anecdotes. There is a long-term trend, continued under all Administration, of decreasing mine injuries and fatalities per 100,000 workers.

      Why do you hate science, MNG?

      1. Er, yeah, and check out how that trend correlates with increased regulation. Gotcha.

        1. MNG, if you can promise me eternal life, I will sign on to your regulatory crusade!

          1. Uh-oh, you forgot to ask for eternal youth.

        2. Ah, so you admit that Reagan, GHWB, and GWB had increased regulation?

          1. Well, they did follow many pre-established regulations.

            1. And did their administrations conduct NO regulatory activities at all during their years in office?

              Why doncha get back to us on that. We’ll wait.

        3. Er, yeah, and check out how that trend correlates with increased regulation.

          It doesn’t correlate.

          The airline industry was deregulated, and fatalities fell much more quickly after deregulation.

          Under heavy regulation, companies often get a safe harbor for accidents. In addition, they know that the government is unlikely to let them go out of business when they’re wards of the state. Regulatory capture occurs, except in MNG’s Regulatopia.

          1. “”The airline industry was deregulated, and fatalities fell much more quickly after deregulation.””

            Do you have any proof that deregulation was the cause?

            Of course, deregulated in this example doesn’t mean without regulation. The FAA still regulates much of what goes on with aircraft.

            One of the biggest reasons for air accidents is pilot error. It often involves failure to follow the rules.

        4. Er, yeah, and check out how that trend correlates with increased technology. Gotcha

        5. OSHA was created in 1971. The Mine Safety and Health Administration was created in 1978. The greatest fall in mine fatalities predates OSHA, and definitely predates the MSHA. Perhaps there’s a minimal line that’s difficult to cross and the free market took care of the low-hanging fruit.

          You can look at statistics from any industry. The long-term trend towards safety is not correlated with regulation at all.

          You would have a better case if you talked about pollution, as opposed to injuries and fatalities. Workers are perfectly motivated to avoid injury and fatalities; it doesn’t have externalities like pollution.

          MNG, why do you hate science and statistics so much?

          1. For the most part, regulation of an industry occurs after technology and the free market has already cleaned up the worst abuses. Partially that’s because you can’t get a law passed in a democracy until both public concern is high enough and the technology exists to deal with cheaply enough that the free market has already started to take action.

            Now, you can make a case that the regulation is necessary to deal with the hardest cases, but you definitely can’t make the case that the trend in safety is correlated with regulation.

            1. “””Now, you can make a case that the regulation is necessary to deal with the hardest cases,””

              Regulations are gear towards preventing future issues, and don’t always work, of course. Sometimes a person has freewill to ignore them.

              “”but you definitely can’t make the case that the trend in safety is correlated with regulation.”””

              Not even with airbag requirements for cars?

              1. With airbags and other inventions of auto safety, the technology and consumer interest came first; the government mandates followed.

          2. Yeah, there was no increasing trend in workplace safety regulation until OHSA passed. It just came out of the blue.

    4. Some occupations are just inherently hazardous.

      There is no way to make mining perfectly safe. Because of this, when there is an accident involving large numbers of fatalities every decade or so, people like MNG jump out of the woodwork to claim that this “proves” that evil mine owners don’t care about safety.

      If the mines are so obviously unsafe, why do miners work there?

      Answer: because the work has historically paid more than other blue collar work. [This was true even when the overall economy was at a much lower state of development and wages for all workers were much lower.]

      I think that the reality of the situation is that mine owners do their best to make mines safe [on a continuum, of course – due to differences in competence and in individual perception of risk, different owners will take different general approaches to safety at different times] while knowing that the mines are not and will never be perfectly safe. Workers demand a wage premium for working in a risky occupation, but make their own individual calculations about whether or not they want to pursue this type of work. And that this is the best outcome that can be attained, whether in a high-regulation or low-regulation environment.

      1. Fluffy, the guy in charge of this mine was a shitbag who was clearly NOT concerned for the safety of his workers. Look at the list of violations during the past year.

        Please don’t provide MNG and his ilk with a caricature of libertarians.

        1. I would have to see the list of “violations” for all mines of similar age nationwide.

          Every mine that has an accident always has “a history of safety violations”. That might be because only mines run by shitbags have accidents – or it may be because every mine everywhere has a “history” of violations.

          1. A cursory look indicates that this mine, like the Spago mine a few years ago, had an above average level of citations per hours worked.

          2. Every business that is covered by OSHA has a history of safety violations; that’s why independent audits are performed. The real questions are about the seriousness of past violations; the time lapse till correction of past violations; and if there is repetition of the same violations over and over again.

          3. The better quesiton is did any of these “violations” contribute to the accident, or are they tangential to the tragedy?

    5. Hello, Shit Facktory!

    6. Let me see if I can sum up your hypothetical:

      * The mine owner is purely driven by greed. He is indifferent about his employee’s safety. Doesn’t give a shit what happens to them, as long as he makes a profit.

      * The legislators who drafted the OSHA and state regulations are drawn from a pool of the best and brightest among us. The Federal legislators are perhaps whip-smart Harvard, Yale, and Stanford grads, but acknowledging that they have no experience with mining they carefully chose someone from the mining industry known to have a pure heart to draft the mining regulations.

      * The governmental inspectors are drawn from a pool of the best and brightest among West Virginians. They are highly motivated to do whatever it takes to protect the safety of the workers. They are not influenced in any way by family, commercial, or social ties to West Virginians that work in or own parts of the mining industry.

      * The workers themselves are helpless pawns in the game.

      Does that about sum it up?

    7. Trust me, MNG, this fellow is going to be dealt with. And not just via the government — he’s going to be working to pay the families of the deceased for the rest of his life.

      Libertarians don’t think that everyone always behaves rationally — just that those who don’t will be punished and moved out of the way of the market.

      1. he’s going to be working to pay the families of the deceased for the rest of his life.

        Him, or his insurance company? Or both?

    8. MNG with the straw men, again.

      I don’t believe that libertarians claim that no one makes mistakes, just that the free market punishes mistakes. The company lost 10% of its value as soon as the news of the accident hit.

      1. “”The company lost 10% of its value as soon as the news of the accident hit.””

        On paper?

        This mine had a bad history. There is an arguement for reasonable regulations. Nothing is absent regulation including the lives of private citizens. Reasonable regulations are not perfect, but neither is the free market.

      2. Why do I have a hunch that an insurance company, whose assets would be on the line in this situation, would have much more stringent regulations regarding the operation of the mine?

      3. Would you like a list of major companies which had policies or products that harmed people that are still thriving today?

        1. Would you like a list of major companies which had policies governments or products that harmed people that are still thriving today?

          HURR DURR

        2. You still seem to be suffering under the delusion that libertopia is a place where nothing bad will ever happen.

          2 weeks in the troll penalty box.

    9. Except that OSHA and/or government inspectors don’t seem to have done such a good job here, either. I heard about hundreds of safety violations regarding that mine on the radio this morning.

      But way to use a tragedy to take a cheap shot, MNG. /golfclap

    10. The value of the Massey Energy company fell by nearly $500 million yesterday.

      1. I see others have beaten me to the punch in noting that Massey stockholders are being punished.

        1. With publicly companies, I think it’s fair to say the market punishes the stockholders more than the responsible party(s).

          If the market was just, then the employment market would never give the mine owner a job in mining or management again.

          1. If the mine company has stockholders then are the ones who own the mine, and the drop in stock prices is a signal to them to do something about the corporate officers culpability in this mess.

    11. Spotlight fallacy. This is news because it’s a rare occurance. If it happened all the time, you wouldn’t know it happened if you were outside of WV.

  10. You know we shouldn’t have any regulation for things like mines, we should let the common law tort system take care of that. That would provide incentives to safety.

    And oh, we should neuter the common law tort system via “tort reform.”

    1. Once again, I challenge you to follow your stated beliefs. For the small sacrifice of not being able to come here and be an annoying asshole, you can bring a much larger happiness to a great number of people of this blog.

      What is your bitter shard of hateful joy compared to our mass bliss in your absence?

        1. You can’t vote for yourself under the cover of an alias, MNG.

      1. I absolutely insist that you refer to him by his correct name…MSG…because he gives a large % of the populous hives.

      2. Go the Vulcan route, MNG, that’ll allow you to retain what dignity you have. Above all, you must stay classy.

      3. Nah, let him stay. So what? I’m sure this place has suffered worse trolls. Just remember, that which does not kill you can still really annoy the living shit out of you – but you’ll live through it. Or something like that. My mother always used to tell me that stuff like this is “character building.”

        Come to think of it, though, it seems to me that SF has more than enough – ahem – “character” …

    2. I love it. The world MNG advocates is the one in which the tragedy actually happened, and still he makes fun of a hypothetical.

      1. I was thinking the same thing. What an odd way to highlight the weakness of a position.

    3. It’s great that you can use these deaths as a way to come on H&R and be a smug bitch, and we’re the callous ones. I bet you were wet with glee when you saw this news story; ‘oooh, I get to say libertopia’.

      Oh yeah, and good fucking job regulators and inspectors.

    4. MNG, I certainly hope that you aren’t one of those environmentalists against surface mining, since that’s far safer than underground mining.

      the mean injury rate declined at a 1.69% annual rate, and the mean injury rate for work on the surface is 52.53% lower compared to the rate for work in the underground… the mean fatality rate declined at a 3.17% annual rate, and the rate for work on the surface is 64.3% lower compared to the rate for work in the underground

      But I suppose it’s okay to double the number of dead miners if we’re doing it to avoid that nasty surface mining?

    5. So use the criminal law.

      Treat operating a mine in a negligent manner that leads to deaths as murder. Charge everyone in the chain of management command.

      The problem with regulatory schemes is that they are inherently unjust, because they criminalize conduct that should not be criminal and fail to criminalize conduct that should be criminal.

      If I run an unsafe mine but file all my paperwork on time, regulatory schemes will always put me in the clear.

      If I run a safe mine but fail to file the required paperwork to do so, regulatory schemes say that I am a criminal for doing so.

      This is grossly unfair and unjust to the point of being tyrannical. Sorry.

      “But it’s too hard to do it your way, Fluffy! We have to use prior restraint to keep people safe!”

      Too bad. The difficulty of writing and enforcing just law is no argument against the right of the citizen to demand just law.

      1. But fluffy, why make it criminal to operate the mine negligently, after all, if the workers voluntarily agreed to work at the negligently operated mine, it’s all good. What’s a few dozen dead people compared to all that liberty?

        1. I think you’re missin’ his point there bub.

          1. Shhhh. He’s got a great griefer buzz going. Don’t be a spoiler.

        2. As a former Coal miner I understand that a mine is only as safe as the people working in it. The Mine Operator is not the one mining the coal the workers are. The workers create and work in the unsafe conditions. The 22 year old Electrician who saw exposed wires worked in that condition then, feels like the evil operator was running a unsafe mine. Some worker created the unsafe condition and others worked in it. I have seen Miners do things unsafe and the operator gets the fine. It is against Federal law to create or work in a unsafe condition. Mining is safer and more productive now than ever in America some regs may have helped however, the miners themselves operating in a safe manner is the only way to be really safe.

          1. There’s no way to regulate against all human error. I’ve been on some very strict construction jobs, big ones, and the safety inspector doesn’t give a rats ass who you are, who you know, or how long you’ve been doing it (your job), but accidents still happen, and it’s unfortunate.

        3. I’m sure if the miners knew the mine was negligently operated, they would have raised some objections, MNG.

          1. And government inspections would help them know this, right? Or are all employees under some super-duty to investigate their workplaces in full all the time? The onus is on them?

            1. All working sections of the mine are inspected by a fireboss before a crew arrives and beltlines, and ventilation systems. Yes the fireboss is a employee.

              The onus is on them?
              Yes every moment you are alive in any situation anywhere. The government inspectors can only draw chalk lines.

        4. Well, if the workers signed releases acknowledging the increased risk that resulted from the specific practices at hand, then I suppose that would in fact be OK.

          People are allowed to consent to bondage sex games, even if it increases the risk that they will have heart attacks or what have you. Why can’t they consent to doing crazy shit in mines?

          Always remember – I think playing Russian Roulette should be legal, as long as everyone involved consents. What’s your moral basis for telling me I can’t play Russian Roulette if I feel like it?

          1. I’d actually agree IF there was fully informed consent on both sides. Inspections and such contributes to that.

    6. I’ve always found it alternately puzzling and revealing that compliance with regulatory safety standards is not a defense against tort liability.

      It seems to be an admission that the regulatory system sets inadequate standards. Since setting and enforcing standards is supposed to be its purpose, but those standards are admitted to be inadequate, then what, exactly, is it supposed to be accomplishing?

      1. One word: Jobs.

      2. “””I’ve always found it alternately puzzling and revealing that compliance with regulatory safety standards is not a defense against tort liability.””

        Probably wouldn’t be a good one. The purpose of safety standards is the promotion of a safe working environment. I’ll admit I’m guessing, but I think the standards set the minimum. You could argue you were following the minimum safety standards, but that is like saying, we did the least we could for their safety.

        1. I’ve done some construction work at a Dupont site, and their safety standards are far above and beyond any government regulations.

          1. I think that puts them in a better position to defend a tort action than a company that did the minimum. They probably learned that the hard way.

  11. So you’re admitting tha the world of common law would be now different than it is now?

    What are all these agencies doing?

  12. “It turned rail lines into pretzels,” [Rep.] Rahall [(D-WV)] said. “There seems like there was something awfully wrong to make such a huge explosion.”

    He then added, “If only the company had employed adults instead of miners, this horrible loss of life could have been prevented.”

    1. Wokka Wokka

  13. Why do I consider psychology a science not far removed from with doctoring?

    The two school districts are believed to be the only ones nationwide developing anti-bullying policies for their adult employees, said Gary Namie, who ? with his wife and fellow psychologist, Ruth Namie ? founded the Workplace Bullying Institute in Bellingham, Wash.

    Oh yeah.

    1. witch doctoring.

      I really should start using preview.

      1. I think you got it right the first time but a witch doctor put a curse on you for insulting his profession.

  14. In other important news, Deepak Chopra apologizes for meditating so hard that he caused all those earthquakes.

    1. I’m so suing him.

    2. Gotta admire his balls. He’s willing to be lynched by the angry mob of quake victims just to get people to believe in his magic powers.

      1. he has nothing on me

    3. Shiva me timbers!

    4. “”In other important news, Deepak Chopra apologizes for meditating so hard that he caused all those earthquakes.””

      I knew that guy was up to no good.

  15. It’s almost as if MNG has morphed into joe a few months before he disappeared.

    1. Actually, it’s just that he used to seem so….rational when compared to Joe. With the statistical outlier gone, he has been pushed to the margin.

      1. No, he’s gotten worse. I used to enjoy occassionally trading barbs and jokes with MNG, and he used to be able to have some perspective. Now, all he does is make smart-ass remarks about how libertarianism isn’t 100% perfect (although not in those terms, of course)

        He’s become indistinguishable from any other troll, really. If we could only trap him and Underzog on a thread and have them attack each other forever…

        1. Like those two half white/half black dudes on classic Trek?

  16. Yeah I have a feeling the bottom feeding, blood sucking attorneys will be lined up to jump all over that gravy train!

    Lou
    http://www.anon-resources.at.tc

    1. Well played sir.

  17. A March poll by Quinnipiac University in New York found 60% of Americans support raising taxes on those earning more than $250,000, if the money is used to reduce the deficit.

    “What’s that? Oh yes, I fully support using other people’s money to compensate for my own endless and greedy demands and the continual failings of the leaders I elect. Hmm? Oh yeah, especially those assholes who busted their humps to get where they are in life.”

  18. The bullying story is such a disgrace.

    Basically whenever something like the Phoebe Price story happens, a bunch of weak and hypersensitive bitches jump out of the woodwork to try to confuse the issue by erasing the distinction between being bullied by being threatened with violence or subjected to violence, and being “bullied” by the knowledge that people don’t like you or are displeased with you.

    That’s why we end up with absolute nonsense like the claim that teachers are “bullied” if their supervisors yell at them when they fuck up.

    News flash, assholes:

    If someone tells you they’re going to beat the shit out of you after school, and you have to run home and hide to avoid getting a beating, you were “bullied”.

    If someone writes on their Facebook page that they think you’re a bitch, you have been “insulted”. Not “bullied”.

    And if someone yells at you that you’re an incompetent when you fuck up a project or task, you have been “managed”. Not “bullied”.

    1. And if someone yells at you that you’re an incompetent when you fuck up a project or task, you have been “managed”

      I immediately thought of a bystander saying “Yo, you just got managed!”

  19. When I was in school there was none of this “zero tolerance” approach to fighting. It was assumed that if someone was threatening you, shoving you around, etc you had the right to fight back. Maybe our culture really has become pussified, and maybe if kids felt more free to fight back the bullies would be kept more in check

    1. Not a fan of zero tolerance myself, but simply letting the fights play themselves out isn’t a solution either. That would result in the complete dominance of the strong kids over the weak kids. Unfortunately, kids need adult interference to become civilized.

      1. Yeah, and kids don’t just fist fight anymore, they use knives and guns, in some neighborhoods.

        1. They also tend not to fight one on one anymore.

      2. That would result in the complete dominance of the strong kids over the weak kids.

        Not necessarily so. Most bullies pick on those who they know will not do anything to fight back or defend themselves. The minute the bully (who typically is in reality a coward) realizes the little pipsqueak isn’t going to take any of his shit and is not afraid of standing up to him, the bully generally will leave im alone.

    2. “It was assumed that if someone was threatening you, shoving you around, etc you had the right to fight back.”

      Yes. I remember being bullied by a kid in the 8th grade. It ended when I bent him over and brought my knee up hard and fast to his face. Fucked him up good.

  20. If the mines are so obviously unsafe, why do miners work there?

    Evil capitalist mine owners round people up at gunpoint, and force them into the mine. Duh.

    1. because not everyone is really, really, ridiculously good looking

  21. the Workplace Bullying Institute in Bellingham, Wash.

    !!!!

    If those guys need an instructor, I’m available. I’m a notorious workplace bully.

  22. MNG,

    Mine safety is highly regulated. Shockngly, a mine owner who is depraved enough to not care about his workers’ safety is depraved enough to ignore and game safety regulations. Despite spending billions on mine safety regulations, this still happened. The claim is not that getting rid of the regulations would prevent all accidents. The claim is that the regulations, no matter how well intended, do little to prevent accidents. Looked at that way, rather than your libertopia strawman, this accident is an indictment of regulations.

    I would also invite you to look at the number of accident per man hour worked over the last forty years. The rate has remained constant despite forty years os OSHA, which is strong evidence that OSHA is a waste of effort.

    1. “”The claim is that the regulations, no matter how well intended, do little to prevent accidents. “”

      How do you prove that? An accident prevented is not a statistic counted.

      Most the time accidents occur regulations, standards, or procedures, were ignored.

      1. How do you prove that[, Mr. President]? An accident A job loss prevented is not a statistic counted.

        Fixed.

      2. Most the time accidents occur regulations, standards, or procedures, were ignored.

        Has anyone every tried to correlate accidents with violations of the regulations that were proximate causes of the accident? And compared that with accidents that occurred even though all the pertinent regulations were followed?

        As noted, (1) many “technical” violations of the regulations can be found at workplaces with no accidents, (2) the vast majority of rules will be irrelevant to any particular accident, and (3) many workplaces have voluntary policies that far exceed regulatory requirements.

        1. Accidents investigations often conclude the reason was rules, or procedures not followed.

  23. MNG,

    Mine safety is highly regulated. Shockngly, a mine owner who is depraved enough to not care about his workers’ safety is depraved enough to ignore and game safety regulations. Despite spending billions on mine safety regulations, this still happened. The claim is not that getting rid of the regulations would prevent all accidents. The claim is that the regulations, no matter how well intended, do little to prevent accidents. Looked at that way, rather than your libertopia strawman, this accident is an indictment of regulations.

    I would also invite you to look at the number of accident per man hour worked over the last forty years. The rate has remained constant despite forty years os OSHA, which is strong evidence that OSHA is a waste of effort.

    1. So it’s the rules that the owner ignored that are at fault. Incredible.

      My point was that libertarians constantly tell me these rules are not needed because, you know, rational mine owners would never blah blah blah.

      And yet they do.

      Just like hey, we don’t need the FDA because no maker of peanut butter would ever put unhealthy peanut butter out there, he would lose his customers and reputation blah blah

      1. So it’s the rules that the owner ignored that are at fault. Incredible.

        MNG, you might want to meditate on the difference between “at fault” and “useless”.

        You might also want to ponder why, if safety regulation is so fabulous, full compliance with it is no defense against liability.

        1. “”You might also want to ponder why, if safety regulation is so fabulous, full compliance with it is no defense against liability.””

          Maybe because the government sets the minimum, and claiming your client did the least he could for his workers safety, probably wouldn’t be a good defense.

      2. I’ve never heard the argument that the FDA is completely unnecessary. I have heard, often, the argument that the FDA should be a private, voluntary certifying authority that drug & food manufacturers are free to use if they choose. In other words, the FDA should operate just like UL.

        After all, it’s such a comfort that the FDA approved thalidomide, ain’t it? And all those people that die every year because of the FDA’s tortuous approval process of drugs proven safe and effective in other countries are so glad the FDA exists.

        1. except the FDA knew Thalidomide was dangerous to women, and tightly controlled its approval. Thalidomide is safe an effective for everyone but pregnant women, btw.

          1. It’s used a treatment for multiple myeloma (among other things, I’m sure).

            1. Thalomid(thalomide) is indicated currently for multiple myeloma and erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL).

        2. They could be a private agency like the bond raters that were getting paid by the companies whom bonds they rated. I mean, nothing could go wrong with such a private sector scheme!

          1. I think I’m sensing a trend with your comments. Why don’t you post a few more times to really clarify and fully develop your position, so that all of the rest of us can fully understand it.

      3. Everytime there is a mine accident, the press trots out all the violations the mine owner allowed to happen, but all mines have violations. What are these violations, and did they contribute to the accident? I don’t know, and I bet no one knows right now. That wont stop reactionairies from drawing the obvious conclusion which they can use to reinforce their already immutable belief in the evils of commerce.

        1. Sure. If somebody dies where I work right now, I’m sure the news will report on the fact that OSHA just investigated us for a workplace safety violation. It won’t be relevant to the death, but they’d report the hell out of that fact to try to make it look like we have a history of safety violations. I’m sure they’d bring up all the other deaths that have occurred at all our facilities, despite the fact that none of them do what we do.

        2. Every workplace is like that. I don’t think there’s a business in America that lives up to all the stated rules and best practices of its field. The difference is that in most of them, if you get something wrong, nobody dies. And frankly, a lot of the time, if you break a rule, it has absolutely no effect, and if you obeyed the rule, you’d be spending a lot of time and effort for zero benefit. All of this has the effect that whenever anything does happen, somebody can point to a rule or best practice or whatever that wasn’t followed, and claim this proves the organization was reckless and careless…what was that that Rand said about “One declares so many things to be a crime”?

          (And on top of that, enforcement is often politically motivated. I have a friend in the restaurant business; he tells me that after the incident with the rats at the KFC, the health inspectors started going nuts handing out violations. Restaurants did not suddenly become a lot dirtier right after the KFC incident, but if you looked at violation count, that’s what you’d think. My friend was telling me that one restaurant got cited for cigarette butts on the ground…at an outdoor cafe in a park.)

        3. Fact of the matter is mine investigators will always find some violation to report even if it’s very minor. It’s a CYA move on their part, so in the event there is an accident, they can say, “Look, I reported they had safety violations,” even if they had nothing to do with the accident. I’d like to know what the actual violations were. It seems like they weren’t major enough that the mine needed to be shut down until they were fixed.

        4. “”Everytime there is a mine accident, the press trots out all the violations the mine owner allowed to happen, but all mines have violations. “”

          Sure, but 900 of them? If the guy only had a dozen, he wouldn’t appear to be such an asshole.

      4. …these rules are not needed because, you know, rational mine owners would never blah blah blah.

        Precisely. Rational actors would not, despite an absence of “rules”. For the irrational actor, no amount of restriction will suffice.

        I give you the Treaty of Versailles for your consideration…

        1. Clearly, we need to pass legislation requiring everyone to act rationally and making irrational decisions a crime. That’ll fix the root cause, right?

          1. Oh no, better yet let’s do the libertarian thing and ASSUME everyone will act rationally in the long term! That’s bound to work!

            1. Actually, that’s not what libertarians assume.

              Libertarians simply note that if you believe irrationally, you will eventually suffer.

              If you take stupid risks like running an unsafe mine, eventually you will lose everything.

              If you take stupid risks like working in an unsafe mine, eventually you will lose everything.

              You see, it’s not that I assume everyone will be rational and will make good decisions. It’s that I endorse a system where if you make good decisions you prosper and if you make bad decisions the great big mailed fist of reality comes and bashes you on the head.

              Sometimes the harms that come to people are a feature and not a bug, MNG.

              1. mailed fist of reality

                Hey, that’s a great title for a heavy metal CD.

            2. It’s like you’re Alan Vanneman, except you won’t go away.

  24. MNG,

    Mine safety is highly regulated. Shockngly, a mine owner who is depraved enough to not care about his workers’ safety is depraved enough to ignore and game safety regulations. Despite spending billions on mine safety regulations, this still happened. The claim is not that getting rid of the regulations would prevent all accidents. The claim is that the regulations, no matter how well intended, do little to prevent accidents. Looked at that way, rather than your libertopia strawman, this accident is an indictment of regulations.

    I would also invite you to look at the number of accident per man hour worked over the last forty years. The rate has remained constant despite forty years os OSHA, which is strong evidence that OSHA is a waste of effort.

    1. You can say that again…and again.

  25. Where were the canaries?

    1. This canary died of … natural causes.

      — Back into the mine!

    2. The fine people at the Workplace Bullying Institute ran out of gerbils.

  26. So it’s the rules that the owner ignored that are at fault.

    Even for you, this is mindbogglingly stupid and meretricious.

    1. “Even for you, this is mindbogglingly stupid and meretricious.”

      Fixed

  27. No one even knows what caused the explosion yet, but MNG already has it pegged. Early analysis is that this was a massive explosion indicating a massive amount of methane gas. That build up doesn’t sneak up on the miners without them noticing it with all the monitoring equipment.

    What are the Powerball numbers going to be for the next drawing?

    1. No surprise there. Our future awaits us.

    2. Is 7.1% that incredible?

      Then again, I grew up in the 70s.

      1. For 10-year government backed bonds in a reliably advanced country in the E.U., that rate is pretty much off the charts. And some are saying it might go as high as 7.25%. At those rates, Greece will be at critical mass for a default.

  28. Woo! Long-term woo!

    Iain Banks has finished a new Culture novel. But it won’t be out for 10 months.

    1. Way to go, Iain!

      I read an interview with him (which turned out to be the proverbial exception that proves the rule “never read an interview with an author”) in which he showed himself to be pretty much a quasi-Marxist social collectivist. I think he does a fine job of not letting that leak over into his novels, because he realizes that it makes for terrible fiction.

      1. Did you read Transition yet?

      2. Not yet. Its on the list, though. I’ve been catching up on China Mieville and K. J. Parker.

    2. There was a time when I’d get excited at the prospect of a new Culture novel, but after the last few, my expectations are low. (or is it just me?)

  29. So that whole thing from Franklin, liberty vs. safety, is just out the fucking window that quick, huh?

    Wow. Some libertarian blog. The government says–or even genuinely believes something–and it is A O.K.

    Wow. Put a towel around somebody’s head and you can get the most amazing results, even here.

    1. henry, do tell us what kind of due process our soldiers should be required to give before opening fire. Be sure to tell us what the penalties should be for failing to do so.

  30. The curse of the “Oldest American” title continues.

    The real curse is for those tasked with taking care of this eternal biddy! Just ask Prince Charles.

  31. Re: the first bullet

    After reading the first paragraph in the NYT article, I have no problem with the president giving the ok for that.

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