NSA

Reason Morning Links: Tent Cities, Rubber Rooms, and Hemp

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• An NSA whistleblower is indicted for leaking info to the media.

• Foreclosure rates jump.

• A self-governing tent city in Camden, New Jersey, avoids a shutdown.

• New York City plans to close its "rubber rooms" for teachers who don't teach but still draw salaries.

• A student organization at Temple University gets put on probation after inviting the president of a free speech group to give a talk on campus.

• Hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding now must extend visitation rights to same-sex partners.

• A lifesaving $3 technology.

• Jack Herer, RIP.

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  1. Obama makes light of anti-tax protests

    MIAMI (AP) — President Barack Obama says he’s amused by the anti-tax tea party protests that have been taking place around Tax Day.

    Obama told a fundraiser in Miami on Thursday that he’s cut taxes, contrary to claims of protesters.

    He says he’s been a little amused over the past couple of days when people at the rallies complained about taxes.

    Quoting the president: “You would think they’d be saying thank you.”

    http://www.riehlworldview.com/…..sters.html

    You should be saying “thank you”. That pretty much says everything you need to know.

    1. At least he didn’t suggest that we all eat cake.

    2. If I were him I would make light of the Tea Parties as well. As predicted by myself and most everyone else here it’s little more than populist, Republican nonsense. They aren’t interested in smaller government. The vast majority of them will vote Republican in November. Oh, and this: Tea Party folks more concerned about NASA funding/jobs than smaller government and lower taxes.

      1. Well, I guess they could vote Democrat. That would certainly help. And you are about a month behind on your Dem talking point. Tea parties are not all Republican

        “It turns out as well that Tea Partiers aren’t exclusively conservatives or Republicans. The Winston Group has done perhaps the most extensive polling among voters who identify themselves as Tea Partiers, and found that “57 percent of Tea Party members called themselves Republicans, another 28 percent said they were independents, and 13 percent were Democrats. Two-thirds of Tea Party members identify as conservatives but 26 percent say they are moderate and 8 percent described themselves as liberal.”

        http://www.washingtonexaminer……36092.html

        1. Reading comprehension fail, John. I said the vast majority of them (I’d say at least 75%) will vote Republican in November, and said nothing about how they currently self-identify.

          And they do in fact focus on populist, Republican talking points. It’s nonsense, though, because few, if any, Republican politicians will take up the mantle once they are back in power.

          1. Again, so what if they vote Republican? The alternative is to give the Democrats two more years of unchecked power. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. That will show them.

            1. You’re missing the point. The TPs purportedly care about smaller, less intrusive government. But come November, and the year after that, and the year after that, they will vote Republican. And the Republicans they vote for will increase the size and scope of government. This makes the TPers assholes at worst and ignorant at best. If I were Obama I’d make fun of them too.

              1. So your solution is to not vote Republican this November and give the Democrats two more years of unchecked power, as opposed to a divided government. If anyone is an asshole, it is you.

              2. Let’s see. Which party single handily quadrupled the deficit a year ago and just added a new entitlement?

                Why on earth would a TPer vote for a democrat? And all republican politicians are not equal. The TPers are trying to get Crist and McCain thrown out. I don’t attend any rallies, but I’ve long thought that the only way libertarians can obtain power is take over the republican party. Splintering it with another party would only help the social democrats.

                1. Who saud anything about voting for Democrats? Your world is too binary for my tastes. And too head in the sand. Slower growth of government is still growth of government. I have principles. You have a crayola box. And it’s filled with only two colors.

                2. The TPers are trying to get Crist and McCain thrown out.

                  Focusing on McCain to elect big-government, big-spending JD Hayworth is a mistake.

          2. Obama, making republicans every day.

            1. Only if Bush could have made as many Democrats by his first midterm…. I wonder if there would even be an Obama or deficits galore.

              Of course there would! Who am I kidding?

              Split govt worked well with Clinton, only because Republicans were able to stay fiscally responsible then. Something tells me it doesn’t work with the Pelosi’s and the Rangal’s in charge though.

    3. He says he’s been a little amused over the past couple of days when people at the rallies complained about taxes.

      Then he’ll be ROTFL in November.

    4. “You would think they’d be saying thank you.”

      Well, we are saying the ‘k you’ part.

    5. You have to admit he’s got a point. All those people who’ve lost their jobs or been forced to take pay cuts since he took office are paying a lot less in taxes.

      Not sure that they should thank him though.

      1. Tulpa – exactly my thoughts when I heard “The One” on the radio this a.m. Sure is easy to pay less taxes on unemployment benefits than on a salary.

  2. The death toll from a so-called “harmless weed” mounts. I hope this is wake-up call to our at-risk youth.

    1. The only death toll I want to hear about is when you kill yourself.

      1. But juanita invoked teh childrens. She can’t be argued with now.

    2. So, Juanita, you’re saying that teh eeeeevil weed killed the man who was nearly 70 years old, has “been in poor health lately,” and died of a heart attack?

      Uh…. yeah.

    3. It hurts when I pee.

  3. The American Lung Association is a bunch of anti-ecigs jerks

    Great story about the ALA being against e-cigarettes while acknowledging that they are much safer than real cigs.

    1. Someone might have a happy moment there Pope. And we can’t have that.

      1. John,

        Happy is great. Just make sure you buy the extended indulgence plan before leaving the store.

    2. I just bought a disposable eCig trying it out. It’s not as satisfying (yet) but I plan on giving it a fair shake.

  4. Your morning Godwin:

    They Thought They Were Free
    “What no one seemed to notice,” said a colleague of mine, a philologist, “was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

    “What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

    “This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter….

  5. Hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding now must extend visitation rights to same-sex partners.

    They do that already. The order grants visitation and medical decision-making power to any pre-designated non-family party.

    It’s a fake media payoff to gays who are dumb enough to buy it, but the real benefit goes to Big White Slavery. Or whatever it’s called now.

    1. I had a friend who was in the hospital here in Washington far away from his family. The hospital let me and my wife help him and visit him any time we wanted. And we are not his family. It is a hospital not a prison.

      1. Good for the hospital, it was the right thing to do for sure. Therefore I’m sure you’re happy that now what was right and usually done is now going to be further incentivized, right? Or are you like VA’s Gov. McDonnell who, while deploring discrimination in state hiring based on sexual orientation, fought a law to that effect on the grounds that “noone does such an awful thing today.” If noone does it, and they don’t because it is awful, then having a law to reinforce that can only be a good thing. Right?

        1. It is neither good nor bad. It is just a meaningless SOP to people like you who live in liberal fantasy land.

          1. If it’s meaningless because so obvious why not codify it? If, as you say, it will never be needed, then good. If, however, it’s the right thing to do, and its needed only one time, then if it’s ever needed a remedy is provided. What is the downside to it? It should be all good I would think.

            1. Let’s codify everyone’s right to own a pony MNG. What do you hate ponies?

              1. Well, because everyone does not in fact have a right to ponies. But citizens should have the right to have government benefits applied equally. And step further, I think everyone has a right to not be discriminated against in employment and services re public accomadations. So I’m for codifying that too. Ponies? Love em, but no right to them, though cute strawman…

                1. That right to government benefits doesn’t exist, MNG, so neither those nor ponies should be given to anyone sticking their hand out for them.

                  1. Well, yes, I know you don’t recognize a right to equal protection of the laws. You’re a right leaning guy, and that was kind of my point…

            2. Right… it’s just another brick, that’s all…

        2. Who the fuck is noone?

          1. Don’t you remember Peter Noone? Lead singer of Herman’s Hermits.

      2. The hospital let me and my wife help him and visit him any time we wanted.

        Which is all well and good. And I know that you very much want to believe that this singular personal experience of yours invalidates all the gay whining about this issue, but your experience is only tangential to the issue at hand. Nothing in your description of your experience indicates that it was in any way an adversarial situation, ie there were no actual family members (of the patient) telling the hospital not to let you visit. Also, you didn’t indicate whether your friend was conscious and competent, which also makes a difference.

        Your situation is different from the nightmare that is routinely faced by gay people: a gay patient wants his/her partner to be able to visit and to be able to make decisions on behalf of the patient. Often these people have advance directives, powers of attorney, etc, in place but hospitals often ignore those and defer to blood relatives, even relatives from whom the patient is estranged.

        Also, Washington (either DC or the state) is a far cry from places like Alabama or Virginia.

        1. Nothing in your description of your experience indicates that it was in any way an adversarial situation, ie there were no actual family members (of the patient) telling the hospital not to let you visit. Also, you didn’t indicate whether your friend was conscious and competent, which also makes a difference.

          Nobody wins in an adversarial situation, particularly when the patient is unconscious and/or incompetent. Try to adopt the best general rule you can, but there will always be outrages in that case.

    2. Its a meaningless press release, extending absolutely no rights whatsoever that didn’t exist before. Pure PR fluff. Trust me on this; this is what I do for a living.

      Then why not codify it, MNG asks? I guess if depends on whether you think every single aspect of life should be codified, or only the minimum necessary for a free society. I guess we know where MNG falls out on that question.

      1. Who said every single aspect? We’re talking about discrimination in public accomodations here. Yes, I think that should be codified. If you’re reason for opposing codification is “well, it rarely happens” that’s piss-poor. why not have something on the books to provide a remedy on those rare occasions?

        1. We’re talking about discrimination in public accomodations here.

          No, we’re not. Nice and slow for you, MNG:

          Any person designated by the patient, gay or not, already had full rights of access and decision-making authority, before this announcement.

          It changed nothing, except to codify something that didn’t need codifying.

          There was no discrimination that was remedied by this.

          1. D+, and that only because this issue hasn’t been fully tested in the courts, particularly in places like Virginia.

            So, what exactly is it that you do for a living that gives you special expertise on this?

            1. D+, and that only because this issue hasn’t been fully tested in the courts, particularly in places like Virginia.

              There’s nothing to test. Designated decision-makers identified by the patient are named in documents (healthcare power of attorney, advance directive, they go by different names). You can name anyone you want, regardless of their sexual orientation or relationship to you. If you name your gay partner, then they are your designated decisionmaker. Period. No court review or approval necessary.

              So, what exactly is it that you do for a living that gives you special expertise on this?

              General counsel for a hospital system. Practiced healthcare law since around 1993.

      2. I guess if depends on whether you think every single aspect of life should be codified, or only the minimum necessary for a free society.

        So you support repealing the law that says spouses must have hospital access?

    3. Y’all are missing the bigger issue. Just as I lambasted the GOP over the Terri Schiavo fiasco for interfering in what is properly a decision that should be left to the states, I’m going to bitch about The Chosen One using executive fiat to usurp authority that belongs to th3e individual states.

      Like the GOP before them, the Obama fellators will undoubtably applaud this stepping further down the road towards an imperial presidency, forgetting that a Dem will not always be wielding the power.

      1. J sub D
        We’ve disagreed much, but always in a respectful manner. I don’t see you as a left or right leaning libertarian actually, but as a fair libertarian.

        I respectfully submit to you that the difference between this and the case you speak of is that in this case the liberty of the individual (to visit their loved one) is actually increased (in the other case the liberty of the individual, that is to carry out termination of a loved one’s diminished life, was being inhibited).

        But I understand your point.

        1. Hey, I’m a big supporter of gay marriage, it harms the institution not one whit. Larry King on the other hand …

          I’m a big worrywart when I see expansion of executive authority unchallenged by a congress that won’t defend its prerogatives.

        2. the liberty of the individual, that is to carry out termination of a loved one’s diminished life, was being inhibited

          In the absence of clear instructions on the parent of the diminished, I refrain from calling this a clear liberty. Unless you also speak of the liberty of a husband to beat his wife or children.

          It was a simple case of deciding who owned a person, the husband or the parents, and whether any default towards one choice, like not killing, was appropriate.

      2. What, attaching strings to funding from government programs? Granted, once they kill the private insurance industry, those strings will effectively be laws.

        1. Speaking of killing the private insurance industry, a company related to mine (parent or sibling, who the hell knows any more) just issued a press release saying they will no longer sell medical expense insurance because what they did sell, while fine for some people (in that people were buying it of their own free will) does not meet the coverage requirements of ObamaCare. I wonder how many of the company’s staff will be laid off as a result.

          Pelosi: This is a jobs bill.

          Me: Jobs bill, my ass.

      3. The bigger issue is actually self-ownership, and the freedom of association and the freedom to make contracts.

        1. Not really. People already had full rights to all that. The issue was defaults when someone hasn’t made a contract or decision until too late, and the person is now incompetent or unconscious.

          If the person isn’t competent and is unconscious, and has been unclear as to instructions, then it’s a hard case.

          It’s not about self-ownership in that case. It’s really about whether the husband or lover or parents own the unconscious person, like with Terri Schiavo.

  6. OK, so I don’t see anything in the article about NYC closing the rubber rooms that says what is going to happen to teachers waiting for a hearing. I’m guessing since the union was on board with this the teachers will either stay in the class room, or get to sit at home all day instead. Great success!

    1. This is silly. The workers, via the union, negotiated with the employer the following contractual condition: you can’t fire one of us simply because we have been accused of a crime. The employer, being sensible, offers an alternative placement for employees who have been charged but not convicted.

      What is your beef here? Employees should not negotiate in their favor? They should not do it in a coordinated manner? Anyone accused of a crime should be terminated (how many posts on Reason are about people being wrongfully accused of crimes)? Is it contracting you hate, due process, or something else? Or is it just the plain ol’ union hate, the kind that overrides all other sensible thinking in many libertarians?

      1. The contract was bad and one sided and needs to be re-negotiated. NYC schools are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to pay teachers to sit in a room to do nothing. It takes years to fire even a criminal teacher.

        That is a problem. The contract needs to be changed. The fact that it “was negotiated” doesn’t mean that it is a good contract or in anyway in the public interest.

        1. John
          I’m glad to know you are in favor of changing already made contracts because some of the provisions are unfavorable to a party. This will come in handy when we talk about things like Chrysler’s bankruptcy 😉

          1. So I guess if the City of New York signed a contract guaranteeing 100% of all tax revenue to unionized teachers, you think that the next administration would have no right to void that contract? Everyone else in New York would just have to pay high taxes and go without every other government service because a “contract is a contract”.

            This issue shows how awful liberals like you really are. You are willing to sacrifice the needs of poor children in New York so that some Democrat voting union members can get benefits way beyond the norm. If you would tell someone making $10 hour in New York that they have to pay a higher wage tax, or some kid going to public school that they have to get less from their school because we have to pay off the teacher’s union, you really have lost your soul to Liberalism.

            I don’t think you started out in life wanting to be like this. But, sadly, that is what you and most other doctrinaire liberals have become. The needs of the political interests and the politically connected outweighs the common good or the needs of the less fortunate. Modern progressiveism really is a rot on the soul.

            1. Oh my goodness. Do you think if the Board of Directors of a corporation changes, and the management changes, that all the contracts exectuted by previous Boards and management should be voided? They are legal entities capable of making and being held to contracts just like governments. My goodness John, what radical you really are!

              1. if the contract was bankrupting the corporation, the corporation would go to the union and say “hey we can’t sustain this” and the union, seeing that the choice was re-negotiate or loose their jobs, would re-negotiate. It happens all of the time.

                Now the city of New York can tax. So they are not quite to bankruptcy. But, clearly, these contracts are keeping them from long term solvency and the ability to provide a decent education to its children. If you or the Unions cared anything about anything beyond Democratic voter’s and unions’ ability to loot the treasury, you would think about the long term interests of the city and its school children and support changing the contract. But, you are a modern liberal. And that has really corrupted you in a lot of ways. So, you would rather see the people of New York suffer.

                1. ah, the two parties, a la the corporation and the union in your example, CAN always modify their contract, but that’s not what you seem to be calling for. You’re saying one side should be able to unilaterally modify the contract because it is unfavorable to them. Is that what you beleive about contracts generally John?

                  1. If the union refuses to be reasonable, the company goes out of business and everyone loses their jobs. That gives the private sector union a reason to be reasonable. The city of New York is not going anywhere and it always has the ability to tax more. So that means the public employee union has no reason to be reasonable. So what is the city to do?

                    The City has a duty to act in the best interests of its citizens. How can you take the side of the teachers’ over the kids in New York?

                    How do you sleep at night? Seriously. You really have no conscience when it comes to Democratic interests.

                    1. I’m not against the city going to the union and pleading for a modification. And I might advise the union to accept it, for their and others interests. My point is that were this a corporation, and it went to a contractor and pleaded “we have to change this contract we made with you or it will hurt us and our shareholders” you would have different position totally.

                    2. And if the union doesn’t accept it, which they won’t, what then? Basically, you would tell the people and the students of New York to go fuck themselves, a contract is a contract. And that is just a disgraceful answer.

                    3. Actually, the city of NY can declare bankruptcy, decharter and thus void the contract. Then, recharter.

          2. “It takes years to fire even a criminal teacher.”

            Years? I had no idea. Why the wait? Figure out if they’re guilty or not. Step it up. Money’s being wasted.

            1. I believe there is a lengthy appeals process.

            2. Yes “Libertarian Guy” let’s speed up this criminal justice process! Due process is so wasteful when the awesome power of the state is trained at an individual citizen! Surely they are already guilty or the government would not say so, we can trust the government on this.

              Can you please just stop pretending to care about liberty and self-identify as Conservative Guy? It makes things simpler, if only slightly so…

              1. Or…Or…can we please stop feeding the troll so reasonable conversations without chucking moronic oversimplifications at one another? Some of us lurkers are trying to read here.

                1. I believe I left out a “can take place” between “conversations” and “without”. And I used the preview button. Sheesh.

                  1. Well, you’re a lurker, so you have the excuse of not posting often.

              2. Not criminal justice, MNG. They aren’t going to go to jail. They’re either going to get fired or not fired. I have fired people and had them off the property in under 30 minutes for egregious violations of company policy. There doesn’t need to be a years long appeals process.

                1. Not sure how to find or link to it, but Peter Bagge illustrated the firing procces for a teacher about a year ago.

      2. The workers, via the union, negotiated with the employer the following contractual condition: you can’t fire one of us simply because we have been accused of a crime.

        Right, I’d like to find a way to eliminate that condition.

        1. Exactly. But in MNG land that is just hating unions. Only unions and their employees have a right to negotiate in their own interests. Taxpayers do not.

        2. Here is the way that respects freedom to contract: elect representatives who won’t sign contracts with such provisions.

          Besides, you really value due process so little that you think that employees deserve to be fired when they are ACCUSED of a crime? Are you new to Reason? If so you should search their archives for all of the stories on people falsely accused of crimes.

          1. Freedom to contract? The government signed this contract, not free actors. This is truly a “social contract”.

            1. They also signed that contract under the threat of teacher’s striking and shutting down the city’s schools. But to MNG that makes no difference. A contract is a contract. Teacher (as long as they are Democratic voters) count more than anything else.

              1. Oh my lord, the signed the contract under threat from one side to not work.

                So if I tell my employer that he must give me a raise or I will quit then if he gives me that raise there has been no freedom of contract.

                Incredible! Like Israel, unions make libertarians crazeee!

                1. So threatening to shut down the schools, the police or the garbage pickup or other essential services is just like the workers at Chrysler threatening to shut down an auto plant?

                  Come on MNG, you are stuck on stupid on this. When the teachers’ strike thousands of kids miss school that is very hard to make up. If they stay on strike, kids will fall behind maybe by years. The city can’t have that. That puts the teachers, and the cops and the firefighters for that matter, in a disproportional bargaining position. That is why before 1962 and Kennedy’s EO, public employees could not unionize. It made sense for them not to. A city can’t tell its people, “sorry the fire fighters are on strike so fend for yourself”.

                  And further, the unions give millions of dollars in campaign contributions to the government officials. The teacher’s unions own pretty much every school board in the county, especially in the big cities.

                  You have turned into Joe. You will defend the indefensible because you can’t accept that maybe your team might be wrong about something. Any committed liberal who actually cares about the public good, should despise the teacher’s unions. The fact that you don’t and will go to such lengths to defend them, is pretty sad.

                  1. So the government employees should be impressed into service and limited in their freedom to contract because their services are so “essential?”

                    If you are a shareholder in that auto plant you face devastating consequence is there a strike. Yet, their contracts should be maintained…

                    1. They are not “impressed into service”, they can leave. Impressing them into service would be grabbing people off the street and forcing them to become cops. The bargain for public employment is simple; the employee gets to work for the government and not worry about his employee going out of business and in return they can’t unionize or demand crazy salaries.

                      Why is that so unreasonable?

                    2. ‘They are not “impressed into service”, they can leave.’

                      Isn’t striking just a temporary form of leaving?

                2. Actually, MNG when it comes to labor law the threat from the one side (the union) is not just to not work it is to prevent anyone else from working and having the legal power to do so.

                  If employers could just tell the union members “fine, you don’t like the terms of this contract, then fuck off and I’ll find people who do” I’d have no problem. But they can’t.

                  1. That is a great point. And if you think it through it shows how unions screw other workers for the benefit of their members. If a company is negotiating with a union and the union demands a salary of “X” but there are employees out there who would take the job for something less than X, those guys who don’t have jobs are getting screwed.

                    1. “And if you think it through it shows how unions screw other workers for the benefit of their members.”

                      Why should unions (collections of individual workers) be so altruistic? Do you have a duty to consider other workers when you negotiate your contract with your employer John? Or is it OK for you to negotiate the best contract for you that you can? On the flip side do you argue that the employer needs to make his contract with the good of other employers and workers in mind?

                      Incredible!

                  2. Is that true Isacc? The Striker Replacement Ban was much discussed but failed to pass in the 90s. I’m open to being disproved.

                    1. Depends on the state. In states with sane labor laws, you can use replacements. In economic juggernauts like Michigan, you can’t.

      3. “Employees should not negotiate in their favor?”

        Of course they should. I understand the NY teachers being human would gladly loot the entire New York treasury if they had the opportunity. But, the people of New York pay a government to stop them from doing that.

      4. What is your beef here? Employees should not negotiate in their favor?

        Yes, government employees should not be allowed to negotiate their contracts or they should not be allowed to participate in the political process. It’s one or the other. The conflict of interest otherwise is too great.

        1. Incredible. This would, of course, apply to every private actor which has a government contract too, right? And everyone who gets a public benefit? Or anyone who benefits from any governmental decision, like having a road built and maintained by their hot dog stand… Think of the conflict of interest!

          Look, just admit you haven’t thought this one through and I’ll drop it too…

      5. One of the controls on overreaching union contracts is that such contracts can lead to bankruptcy, where they will be rewritten or voided.

        That control doesn’t seem to exist at the state level, and may or may not exist at the municipal level.

        So, what control should be substituted for it in these settings?

        1. “So, what control should be substituted for it in these settings?”

          Well, I think such contract-avoidance reliance to be a bad thing, so I’m not sure where we go from here on that…

        2. When a government no longer represents the interests of its people, the principles of liberal democracy grant the demos the right to dissolve that government and institute another in its place.

          If it ever got bad enough to come to that, any contracts the unions had with the City of New York would go away with the city itself as a legal entity. The fledgling phoenix City of New York that followed it would bear its name, but no such burden.

      6. What is your beef here? Employees should not negotiate in their favor?

        One of my beefs is that public employee unions should be illegal.

        1. People who happen to have the government as an employer should not be allowed to coordinate in their bargaining re: employment matters? Incredible. Do you think that contractors should not be able to organize into interest groups? Do you advocate government soldiers to stop, via violence, both kinds of efforts? This is a “libertarian” position?

          1. The raison d’etre for unions is protecting the workers from being exploited by the evil capitalist owners of the means of production. As it relates to public employees this is a non sequitur.

            1. “The raison d’etre for unions is protecting the workers from being exploited by the evil capitalist owners of the means of production. As it relates to public employees this is a non sequitur.”

              Sez you. Really. The raison d’etre is to help workers bargain for better contracts from employes: it matters not if the employer is the government. Again, this is like saying it’s wrong for those with government contracts to organize to lobby government. After all, they always have the ballot box…

          2. As a govt employee myself, I think govt employees should have as much influence over their employers as the taxpayers do: through the ballot box.

            It’s interesting that you think a taxpayer’s ability to vote for the puppet on the left or the puppet on the right once every four years is sufficient for him or her to be bound by contracts negotiated by the winning puppet, but a public employee must have greater influence over the government.

            1. “but a public employee must have greater influence over the government.”

              What greater influence? You mean NEGOTIATING with their employer? Sheesh any taxpayer can organize and let their reps know how they feel about same.

              1. If public employees want to band together and sign petitions begging their representatives to not fire people without five years of process, they’re more than welcome.

          3. “People who happen to have the government as an employer”

            Like I was just standing there and the government made me a employee it just happened.

            1. That’s never happened, except when it has.

              Dude, you got drafted? That sucks.

              1. Draftees can’t form unions anyway, unless bureaucracies have started resorting to the draft when I wasn’t looking.

          4. I’ll let unions voluntarily organize in government when government allows me to voluntarily NOT PAY THEM. Until then, NO!

          5. People who happen to have the government as an employer should not be allowed to coordinate in their bargaining re: employment matters?

            Explain why any of the traditional motivations for unions applies to the government. Even if you had a socialist situation where monopsony held, that would still mean that all the employees could vote on their contracts.

            Do you advocate government soldiers to stop, via violence, both kinds of efforts?

            Hasn’t been necessary in North Carolina or Virginia.

            1. “Explain why any of the traditional motivations for unions applies to the government.”

              Because the government is some people’s employer. That’s it. The traditional rationale for unions is to help employees bargain for better conditions from their employer. Government employees are employees, their employer is the government. Unions exist there for the same reason as in any employee-employer situation.

              Using your logic unions would be unthinkable if the employees were dealing with, say, a cooperative. But surely the employees of a cooperative have just as much reason to negotiate well and in their interest as employees in any other setting. Ditto for government…

              1. I’ll be the consistent libertarian you’re looking for, MNG. Yes, the public employees have a right to peacefully organize just like any other citizens. (1st Amendment)

                The City never should have signed the contract with such ridiculous provisions, but they did. They need to finish their inquiries into all those teachers that are in the rubber rooms, or sitting at home collecting a paycheck or wherever. Get it done ASAP. Then, the next time they negotiate, don’t allow the union to have that benefit. Or call an emergency bargaining session. Whatever is needed to fix this problem. The City should take control of their hiring and firing process and never let this happen again. If the union doesn’t want the new contract, tell them they will not have one, they will all become unemployed, and vouchers will be given to all the students for their new schools which are all privatized. Any quality teacher who would like to earn a living, can work under the new provisions if the private school will have them or go somewhere else to teach.

                If the City doesn’t have the stones to do it, let the taxpayers be on the hook for it ’til Kingdom come. Let all their kids suffer. Maybe every intelligent person in NYC will move quicker than they already are. Let the damn thing die if need be, but no longer should anyone be held hostage by these unions.

      7. Or is it just the plain ol’ union hate, the kind that overrides all other sensible thinking in many libertarians?

        Private unions are fine. Public unions (to be more precise, collective bargaining) are an abomination and should be illegal, the way that they are in Virginia and North Carolina.

  7. http://www.washingtontimes.com…..k-of-ruin/

    What a shock, TARP didn’t actually keep the banks from failing.

  8. Given the secrecy and bureaucracy of the government, the leak of the NSA failures takes me back to a quote I love from the movie “The Pentagon Wars” between a general and the secretary of defense.

    Caspar Weinberger: I take it youve read todays Washington Post,
    referring to, quote, a “high-ranking Pentagon source”?
    Major General Partridge: Yes, indeed. And, like you, I am shocked
    that any officer within the Pentagon would…
    Caspar Weinberger: Leaks within the Pentagon, General, are how I get
    most of my information.
    Major General Partridge: Mr. Secretary, are you suggesting that the
    Pentagon has been less than forthcoming?
    Caspar Weinberger: “Less than forthcoming”? Then perhaps you can
    explain to me why I have to learn from the press, that the man in
    charge of testing the Bradley Fighting Vehicle has been fired!

  9. The Medicare same-sex story is the perfect story imo for delineating the left leaning, actual liberty loving libertarian (disparaged as cosmotarians around here) from the right leaning, authoritarian loving “libertarians.”

    One way to view this is to say, as the latter does, this means an extension of government benefits gathered via coercion, and it is a bad thing. Another, recognized by the former, is to think that equality in the provision of government services trumps the fact of government services (or rather, IF there is to be government services, then they should be equally available).

    By the logic of the right leaning folks everyone should favor laws that make all government benefits white only. After all, it would mean less benefits overall…

      1. It means what it says John.

        People ’round these parts oppose gay marriage because they say it will mean an expansion of government benefits and intrusions. They think this trumps the equality gain, that if there is to be a government service it should apply to all citizens equally.

        Likewise this provision could, and undoubtedly will be, seen as an intrusion on liberty (hospitals being told what to do). Right leaning folks can spin this as a net loss as they value equality so little and “coercion” so highly. That imo is one fundamental difference between the left and right leaning libertarians I know…

        1. That doesn’t make any sense. People oppose gay marriage for the same reason they oppose polygamy or incest, because they don’t think it is marriage. It is not about equality or anything else for the opponents.

          1. John
            You’ve never heard people, on this very site, oppose gay marriage because they think government should not be in the marriage recognizing business and that recognizing gay marriage is a lamentable extension of that?

            I do have that search thing in the right upper corner you know…

            1. Then you point is completely meaningless. The number of people in the country who actually believe that the government should in no way recognize any marriage of any sort is well short of 1%.

              The fact that some of that 1% post on here, doesn’t make it any larger.

              1. John
                You remind me of the people that opposed repeal of sodomy laws on the ground that they are so rarely enforced…

                Are you willing to say here right now those 1% are goofy as all get out?

                1. MNG, you remind me of the people who can’t read. Your convoluted point, whatever it was, only applies to people who think that the government should not recognize any marriage, which is virtually no one.

                  1. It is many posters on this site. Now, can you answer the question? Are such posters correct to oppose extension of gay marriage on the grounds that government should not be in the marriage business?

                    1. I agree with Pip. I don’t know one person on this cite who opposes gay marriage. I guess I don’t read the posts in your head.

                    2. John, I somehow missed where you stated your positive, unqualified support for gay marriage. Giving you an opportunity to state that now.

            2. I’ve never heard anyone oppose gay marriage on this site.

              1. I haven’t. If you notice below I state that I am opposed to gay marriage as defined by government. I am married to a woman and I oppose the government defining and licensing it, also.

                I have absolutely no opposition to gay marriage. I completely oppose the government recognizing all forms of “marriage”.

              2. I do! Oh, wait, I’m not at Fox news???

            3. Oh, you’ve explained yourself a little better. Yes, there are some people who make that argument. It’s hard to tell if the argument is advanced out of libertarian purity or is made disingenuously by somewhat conservative-leaning commenters.

            4. Most people who oppose marriage on those grounds don’t actually use it as a rationalization for discrimination against gay marriage. That is, they still think equal treatment under the current, crappy system is the better of the two realistic options, even if the third option (civil unions for all) is better for both liberty and equality.

        2. I’m “’round these parts”, MNG, and I think government should get out of the business of handing out marriage permission slips altogether.

          Try again.

        3. Umm, generally speaking, “people ’round these parts” are just fine with letting gay people marry.

          Anyway, don’t want to interrupt your debating with John, who is somewhere between a conservative and a libertarian. Go back at it!

    1. You should be arrested for that exercise in torturing logic.

    2. MNG, I have to second John’s WTF. The only thing I can glean from your post is that you think right wingers hate minorities.

      What if Jeb Bush was elected president in 2012 and put in an order that any hospital that took Medicare had to allow permit holders to carry in the hospital. No hospital would be able to strip citizens of their second amendment rights any longer.

      Would you be for that? Or would you protest the government’s use of its purse strings to push a political point?

      1. Since I am a strong supporter of both individual gun owner rights and the government using purse strings to effect change I would applaud such a measure. Look at my past posts over the past few years on those two subjects.

        1. “and the government using purse strings to effect change”

          Why do you need the government to do that? Did your mommy die?

        2. OK forget guns. What if a conservative used the purse strings to reverse this latest exercise? Would you be OK with that abuse of government power because you didn’t like the results, or would you accept it as the inevitable result of losing an election?

          I like the end result in this case. I think it is great that gay partners cannot be barred from visiting in the hospital. I just don’t like the way it was done.

          I disagree with you that using purse strings is a good way to govern. It opens up too many things to abuse. If you love it when your guy does it, don’t complain when the other side gets their hands on the reins of power and use it against you.

    3. This really doesn’t make sense when you think about it. LOL

      Jess
      http://www.whos-watching.es.tc

      1. Even the bot can see you are a Shit Facktory.

    4. You’re trying way too hard this morning, you gaseous fuckbag.

      1. It’s like he tried a test fart early in this post and thought that everything was all good. Then, he decided to push out the rest and sharted.

    5. Another, recognized by the former, is to think that equality in the provision of government services trumps the fact of government services (or rather, IF there is to be government services, then they should be equally available).

      Two problems with this analysis:

      First, the medical services aren’t government services. They are provided by private parties.

      Second, the Medicare “decision” does not change the facts on the ground in any way. The private parties providing health care services (Medicare or not) already extended full rights to any person, gay or not, designated by the patient.

      Why should a libertarian of any stripe be in favor of government by press release, the accumulation of endless diktats, that don’t actually improve anyone’s lot?

    6. “government benefits” = oxymoron.

    7. Why do you think they call it “dope”?

      1. “they”? The only people I’ve ever heard refer to pot as “dope” were ninny-nannys who wouldn’t know a joint if it hit them between the eyes.

    8. I’m no left-leaner or cosmotarian, but I support the action because spousal access is already written into law. I would prefer that none of this be written into law, but as long as spousal access is required by law, it amounts to discrimination against homosexuals and other alternative sexuality practitioners. It also gives the gay marriage pushers a handy talking point, which this order blunts.

    9. From: capitol l’s Completely Useless Dictionary of Political Labels and Other Non Sequiturs

      cosmotarian:

      noun

      1. a person that believes in extending rights and freedoms to everyone, including those that make conservatives feel icky.

  10. By the logic of the right leaning folks everyone should favor laws that make all government benefits white only. After all, it would mean less benefits overall..

    Since I have refused thousands of dollars in government handouts, I would completely support limiting government benefits to any single group you choose, shit-head. Blacks only, “gays” only, you name it. Black-hispanic one armed lesbians would be even better.

    Since I don’t take the filthy lucre, I would be very happy if the groups who did receive it were smaller.

    As for the Medicare same-sex story, why must two men be homosexual to visit each other in the hospital? If my friend is dying I can’t go visit him unless we have fucked each other? Yeah, sounds like Liberty to me.

    1. You can always count on a right leaner to make my point for me, and Gill is a predictable, if confused example I can often count on.

      Gill would happily restrict government benefits to all kinds of groups on the grounds that it would mean an overall reduction benefits, equality values in government be damned.

      So thanks Gill, because now all those people writing WTF have to eat it.

      And Gill, I hate to point out this logic to you, but if the perfect state of logic is any two unrelated men being able to visit each other, and the current state is no two unrelated men being able to visit each other, then a grant of two unrelated men who are lovers being able to visit each other now is a net gain in Liberty (if that is all that matters to you).

      1. I’ll go further, and say benefits should be restricted to ANYONE. Race, sexual orientation, whatever… makes no difference to me.

        Notch that one up for me, willya, MNG?

      2. And Gill, I hate to point out this logic to you, but if the perfect state of logic is any two unrelated men being able to visit each other, and the current state is no two unrelated men being able to visit each other, then a grant of two unrelated men who are lovers being able to visit each other now is a net gain in Liberty (if that is all that matters to you).

        You simply do not understand the idea of Liberty. Restricting people for any reason is it’s antithesis.

        Saying “it is unfair” and then saying “lets make it less unfair for a select few” doesn’t make it “fair” it only expands the power of government in picking who benefits at the expense of others.

        I don’t oppose same-sex marriage, I oppose marriage, as recognized by government. There is no reason I should gain special status for personal decisions.

        1. a grant of two unrelated men who are lovers being able to visit each other now is a net gain in Liberty

          Lovers or “married” or “civil unions”? If you are simply referring to allowing more people to visit, then yeah, I favor this. On the other hand, if there are any cash benefits involved then taking more from the productive and giving it to more groups based upon government favor, it is not a net increase in Liberty at all.

          There is no such thing as the Liberty to take government benefits.

    2. “gays”

      Really, dude?

      You know, some of us wacky LGBTers are actually libertarians and we really hate the fact that we’re good enough to pay taxes but not good enough to get, you know, equality.

      FFS, this is why liberals view libertarians as republican-lite.

  11. anyone have a link for a DIY version of the suction healer? seems like it could be made pretty easy. my ex got an abscess on her arm and they were going to use a suction device to speed up healing. but it was too painful for her and they wouldn’t provide adequate pain relief, so she didn’t end up getting it.

    1. Try your mouth.

    2. try make magazine’s site. i beleive i read about it there a few weeks back.

  12. On the rubber room story:

    Looking at the usual motivations of the parties involved, I’m guessing that these teachers will simply be put on indefinite vacation rather than having to report to the rubber room.

    The union will sign off on that deal in a heartbeat. And it makes a nasty PR problem go away for the school district. Everybody wins!

    1. Everybody wins except for the taxpayers and the students.

    2. Like you count.

  13. I’m guessing that these teachers will simply be put on indefinite vacation rather than having to report to the rubber room.

    That was my immediate reaction; “We’ve ‘done away’ with the rubber rooms! Yay for us!”

    Meanwhile, the incompetent hacks and child molestors currently twiddling their thumbs in the rubber room will still be on furlough with pay.

  14. a DIY version of the suction healer?

    1. Squirrels done et mah comment!

      Try googling “moxibustion”.

  15. Let’s burn one for Jack Herer today, Reason stoners. RIP.

    1. I quit smoking. Someone out there please burn an extra one for me…

      1. Roger that, BP.

      2. i’m already smoking for three (the wife is preggers) so I cannot abide.

    2. Hey – will you guys stop jacking up the CO2 le…I mean, we’re passing to the left. RIP

  16. I especially love the apparent abitrariness of the college speech punishers. From what facts I’ve been able to gather, looks like a pretty loose non-existent process Temple has – the perfect vaccuum for concerned drones to step into to make decisions to save teh students from themselves.

    Put on probation for not asking for security for a speaker who doesn’t appear to need any. And no checklist or master schedule or process guide to suggest that’s what you should have done. Perfect! Unfortunately (for you), you have violated rules I think should be in place, but aren’t – so you must be punished…

    I kind of forgot about what douchebags college admins can be are since I’ve been out for so long.

    Fuckers.

  17. The horrible Bush Administration complained but prosecuted no leakers.

    But the NYT should be thrilled with this, since they were complaining all the time that the Bush Administration should be pursuing leaks. As though any government would pursue leaks it liked with the same fervor as leaks it didn’t.

  18. Ya know, I sent you dicks an email with a link to a story about police corruption in Camden, NJ, and you cover the “tent city” story?

    First, Here’s much better tent city coverage (pictures too!) Here’s more.

  19. Now, for the article I emailed you about Camden City police corruption:

    Law and disorder: Probe casts dark cloud over city

    … a former Camden police officer admitted in federal court that for more than two years he and four other officers arrested suspects with planted drugs, carried out illegal searches and wrote false arrest reports.

    Get with it guys.

  20. The Temple story is more of a cautionary tale on the perils of endless bureaucracy then it is about restricting free speech.

    I’m a Temple student (on hiatus). I’m also a former member of student leadership. I have firsthand experience with the myriad of ways that Temple Student Activities will screw you over and funnel money back into the school via student organizations, and I can assure you that it was not politically motivated. Frankly, it’s in part because certain employees in the Student Activities Office know their jobs are obsolete, and creating mounds of paperwork and bullshit regulations gives them a small degree of job security.

    I don’t have the energy to rehash all of this shit, but if you’re really curious, I put up a lengthy, tl;dr, in-depth blog post on my own blog: http://drunkenatheist.com/2010…..nizations/

    If you want to get a real idea of the clusterfuck that is Temple, it’s worth reading.

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