Reason Morning Links: Assange Arrested, Texas Prosecutors Protest Death Penalty Hearing, Obama Reaches Tax Cut Deal With GOP

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  1. Elections have consequences. I would have preferred to have the tax cuts without the unemployment extension. But, Obama won his election to and gets a say. If nothing else the progressive rage and tears over Obama selling them out on this is going to be wonderful.

    1. You don’t want to see unemployment benefits extended? You admit that the economic train wreck that is the economcy is not the fault of most of the people who have lost work and yet you say “screw you guys.”

      Merry Christmas indeed!

      1. I see your point. But, there are a lot of people out there who could get jobs but don’t because it doesn’t pay given their unemployment benefits. That is not good for the economy.

        Also, the deal reeks of how we got into this mess, by compromising to cut taxes and increase spending.

        1. I’m not sure it is even a good thing for people to be pushed back into the labor market with woeful bargaining power when it is in such crappy shape.

          Most of these people have paid into unemployment insurance all of their life. Times like these are what that is for imo.

          I can understand saying it has to be paid for. I heard a GOPer on the other day who asked that the extension be paid for with remaining TARP funds. That sounds fair to me. I’d rather see us bail out working folks suffering from the financial crisis than bankers and brokers…

          1. I do have to admit this much, MNG:

            I have always said that the way out of this crisis was liquidation. In other words, the deflation the Fed is so terrified of has to be allowed to occur.

            And that’s the argument against extended UI benefits. Sure, all of those people going out into the labor pool with no bargaining power would decrease wages. But that’s just part of the liquidation.

            But that argument rings very, very hollow even to me when the political class is doing everything they can to prop up asset prices. If we’re going to have liquidation, we have to have ACTUAL LIQUIDATION. If we’re going to have deflation in wages, we have to have deflation in all other price classes, including the leveraged assets held by da bankers. And if that wipes them all out, too bad.

            1. Sorry to be pedantic, but “devaluing” comes closer to what you mean. It would only last as long as assets or services were overvalued. “Deflation” is a monetary event where the money supply decreases on an ongoing, and continual, basis. There is no way Pauly Krugnuts is going to remove any money other than the messed up $100’s.

              1. It’s a distinction without a difference, really.

                Deflation is a general decline in prices and wages.

                That’s usually caused by a contraction in the money supply, often as a result of the deleveraging that occurs when a boom ends.

                They’re still using every trick in the book to try to prevent a general decline in prices. To do that, but then to turn around and sniff and say, “Well, people should just return to work at lower wages,” is dirty pool, IMO. “The market for thee, but not for me”.

          2. “Most of these people have paid into unemployment insurance all of their life.”

            Show me the unemployment deduction on my pay check.

            1. It is that hidden column counting money your employer spends on your behalf, but you don’t see. Like the employer’s portion of SS taxes. You know, money that would otherwise go to your pocket, but doesn’t because the government knows better.

              1. If payroll taxes didn’t exist, the employer would not likely pay them to the employee.

                1. Some of it probably would go to higher wages. No payroll tax would mean employing people was cheaper so employers could free up some of that savings to use to attract better employees.

                  But yes, it’s unlikely all of it would just be added into your paycheck.

            2. Your employer pays a lot for you that you apparently don’t know about. If your employer included all those deductions as part of your pay you would be making a hell of a lot more money.

              1. Failing that, if they included those deductions on your paycheck, you would see exactly how much of a bite the governments were taking.

          3. “Most of these people have paid into unemployment insurance all of their life. ”

            Most of these programs paid into programs that gave benefits for a certain period of time. Changing that number after the fact is just as unfair as refusing to pay out after the fact. Deals have two sides.

            1. “Most of these people have paid into unemployment insurance all of their life.”

              Which does not mean it’s a good idea to pay them unemployment compensation for the rest of their lives.

              1. At some point it is stupid to continue working. Welfare for all.

          4. “Most of these people have paid into unemployment insurance all of their life. “

            Maybe we should have let them keep their money for a rainy day then. Or, if we don’t trust them to do that, set up a real trust fund (not like the Social Security joke) so that we can use the money they’ve been paying all their lives to pay their unemployment costs.

        2. The “people out there who could get jobs but don’t” actually are people who are healthy enough to work but can’t get a job because there aren’t many.

          Full time jobs that provide enough income to avoid becoming homeless, that is.

      2. Gotta love the appeal to emotion. “It’s Christmas!” It’s always something. Why not call unemployment compensation by its real name: a new, permanent, unfunded welfare program?

        1. “Why not call unemployment compensation by its real name: a new, permanent, unfunded welfare program?”

          Because no one is seriously proposing it be permanent and unfunded or a welfare program? How’s that Scrooge McDuck?

          1. Arguing with you is John’s job. I have spoken.

          2. Well, unemployment benefits are now lasting three years. How long will they need to be extended before they actually are a welfare program? It looks like we’ll be in the same boat next year. Will we extend benefits another year next Christmas too?

            1. It’s a function of how bad the economy is. It makes sense that a social insurance program might be extended during such a time. The problem would be people advocating extension during an upturn.

              1. The problem would be people advocating extension during an upturn.

                Or keeping the extended benefits as a perpetual program.

                1. Which of course is what happened with all depression era programs. It happening again can’t be so out of the realm of possibility right?

                2. Which of course is what happened with all depression era programs. It happening again can’t be so out of the realm of possibility right?

              2. If the economy is still awful next year, you think we should extend unemployment benefits another year? That would be four years of government money to do nothing.

                How long would be too long in your opinion? How long would make it just welfare?

              3. It’s a function of how bad the economy is. It makes sense that a social insurance program might be extended during such a time. The problem would be people advocating extension during an upturn.

                Oh, you mean like Social Security during the Great Depression. Good thing we nipped that in the bud when our economy bounced back during the War production years.

                1. Social Security was always meant to be permanent.

              4. At what point will the economy be “good”? What numbers will allow us to stop extending UI?

              5. It’s a function of how bad the economy is. It makes sense that a social insurance program might be extended during such a time.

                Bullshit,
                They’ll be extended next year and the year after etc.

                Why not just enact a direct payment to everyone in the country. At least then it won’t prevent people from also engaging in productive work.

              6. The argument seems to be that we should incentivize people who’s jobs no longer exist to settle for lower, less skilled jobs that also do not exist.

            2. Three years?? Christ. I need to get fired so I can use that three years to work on my graphic novel idea.

          3. 3 years may end up permanent for some, as their marketable skills atrophy.

          4. 99 weeks plus an additional 60 weeks is damn close to perminent. It’s more than 3 years.

          5. So, let me get this straight – 99 weeks isn’t enough time for these people to get a job? 99 weeks!

            Also, employment insurance is paid in by employers, not employees, unless it’s changed since I paid it. I’d rather have it in the form of higher wages than some crappy “insurance” that doesn’t pay shit.

            1. Seriously, these people could go work for a restaurant or something (but they would make less money and actually have to work. 🙁 Three years of unemployment, I don’t care who you are, you’re obviously either not trying hard enough or you’re applying to jobs way out of your league and think taking less would be shameful. Or if you live in Detroit or somewhere with 20+% unemployment maybe you should pack up and move somewhere where there are more jobs?

              This plan is absolutely typical of horrid bipartisanship. I guess Republicans have so very quickly forgotten that the debt/spending was the primary reason they got elected and have chosen to defer the taxes and accept the spending now for political gain. Typical.

              1. Getting a shitty, low paying restaurant job isn’t as easy as it sounds. And how many restaurant jobs are out there anyway?

                  1. If you’re a kid just out of high school, it’s not that hard (though you’re probably still going to hate the job).

                    If a 40-year-old with a PhD walks into Burger King and doesn’t lie about that fact on his or her application, they’re going to laugh you out of the building.

                    1. I’m a 42-year-old and lied about my PhD to a placement agent who then told me to lie about my MS, but I just landed a mechanic job at a marine diesel shop. Not great pay to start, but waaaaaay more than the zero I was getting before (I quit to relocate, so no unemployment). Plus, great hours and location.

                1. Getting a shitty, low paying restaurant job isn’t as easy as it sounds. And how many restaurant jobs are out there anyway?

                  1. Call the INS and tell them there are illegals working in the back of the restaurant.

                  2. Apply.

                  3. Profit!

                  This will work almost anywhere in the U.S.

      3. Every one I know who is on unemployment (5 people) has been sitting on their ass for the last year or so getting free money. They don’t look for work and are whining that the free money is running out.

        I was denied unemployment because I couldn’t look for work because I lost everything and I lived in the middle of the desert.

        So yeah, fuck those guys.

        1. Talk about an appeal to emotion…

          1. People sitting around laying on their asses collecting welfare isn’t emotion. My envy of such is.

            Still, fuck those guys.

        2. Why didn’t you move somewhere where there were more jobs?

          1. I like the way you think, bud.

            1. It’s a DESERT!! It’s SAND!!! MOVE TO WHERE THE FOOD IS!!!

              Ah yes, good memories.

      4. Unemployment benefits do not come out of thin air. They come from taxes on the people who have managed to retain their job, yet may be struggling themselves. Unemployment benefits also have a negative incentive in that they encourage people who could get a job, albeit doing something “less” than their education warrants (such as a person with a college degree bagging groceries), to not do so, in the hope that if they wait it out on unemployment, they’ll finally manage to land a job back in their education range.

        Welfare reform proved that the incentives present in welfare caused many people who might have found a job didn’t bother to do so. Unemployment benefits are merely a form of welfare. Don’t you think the same negative incentives are present?

        1. It’s a social insurance program. Yes, those getting benefits are supported by those paying them, but the two groups mix quite a bit. Most people who get it paid it at some point, and if you fall below struggling you will get it too.

          Also, many economists who study unemployment (for example Goldsmith at W&L University) think that the opposite of what you describe will happen when people go back into the workforce at a much lower position: it harms their chances to get back to where they were more than if they had sat out.

          1. Maybe their positions were inflated in the first place, then. If you work as a Wal-Mart greeter for a while, and then can’t get back to the position that you already have experience and the supposed education for…you might not be worth the money you were getting before.

          2. The last part of your statement may have some truth to it. I have been “underemployed” for about 15 months now.

            Of course, the flip side is “what the hell were you doing unemployed for 2 years?” Even with employment where it’s at, I’d view someone who just sat around as rather unmotivated, or someone who views jobs as “beneath” him or her – and potentially unwilling to contribute if times get tough at my company.

            1. Try looking for work with a JD. I’ve applied everywhere from taco bell to, when I had my license, the Arizona Attorney Generals office.

              I much rather clean toilets than clean up the shit messes self-justifying piece of shit criminals got themselves into or sending people to prison for bullshit laws.

              1. Yeah, I have a Master’s, I know the feeling.

                Why not specialize in defending drug cases? If I had a JD, that’s where I’d be. It’s not like you’re going to have a shortage of clients anytime soon.

              2. Also, don’t ask Sugarfree for employment advice. Sending out “porn baskets” to potential employers was not a good idea.

                1. Sure… it’s all my fault. I never said it should be “homemade” porn.

                2. I think you might have misinterpreted the Harry & David blurb about fruits and sausages.

              3. Try looking for work with a JD. I’ve applied everywhere from taco bell to, when I had my license, the Arizona Attorney Generals office.

                Not to barge into your business, nor do I condone it, but why don’t you start chasing ambulances? A lawyer should always be able to find someone to sue.

            2. As long as we’re giving personal testimonials, I was a year and a half out of college last January when I decided I’d rather be unemployed than go another day without calling my COO a moron in front of everyone. I had, however, managed to save enough in the 18 months I’d been employed to make it through nearly a year of unemployment without having to take anything from anyone. It sucked, but I did it. When I realized I was gonna have to settle for underemployed, I picked my underemployment strategically enough that I’m confident I’ll be able to parlay it into something as good as I could have hoped for when I get ready to leave this job.

              There are jobs out there, and people who plan can weather the storm for the time it takes to get one. I have no sympathy for these 99er, inevitably soon to be 165er, shitstains. 99 weeks is enough time for anyone who’s trying to find a new way to sustain themselves.

              Cutting them off at Christmas? Maybe they should have spent some of the 52 week since last fucking Christmas trying to find a job.

          3. “Also, many economists who study unemployment (for example Goldsmith at W&L University) think that the opposite of what you describe will happen when people go back into the workforce at a much lower position: it harms their chances to get back to where they were more than if they had sat out.”

            So what? Micro-managing the career paths of individuals is not a core function of the gov’t, last time I checked.

            I’ve encountered way too many career engineers and other professionals that won’t get their hands dirty. I don’t feel sorry in the least for someone who won’t take a step down the ladder in order to make a living.

            I seem to recall protestations from the anti-illegal immigration crowd about how there were plenty of Americans willing to do the dirty jobs a couple of years ago. Where are they now?

          4. Re: MNG,

            It’s a social insurance program [unemployment benefits].

            Liar.

            Yes, those getting benefits are supported by those paying them, but the two groups mix quite a bit.

            I mix quite a bit with my sibblings and friends, that does not mean I have to support all of them on my dime.

            Most people who get it[,] paid it at some point,

            “Ah. Who’s being naive, Kate?”

            If they had “paid it,” the money certainly went somewhere else right afterwards, otherwise the fucking FedGov would not have to put the whole country in hock to pay for the current payments.

            […]and if you fall below struggling you will get it too.

            “We wants it, precious! We wants it!”

            Also, many economists who study unemployment (for example Goldsmith at W&L University) think that the opposite of what you describe will happen when people go back into the workforce at a much lower position: it harms their chances to get back to where they were more than if they had sat out.

            And by making labor that more expensive, they are sudden to have a better position? And if the employers don’t budge, would the FedGov have to extend benefits until the sun goes nova? You really believe those guys that this is just a game of chicken?

            Do you think before you cite these things, MNG?

            1. It’s nonsense like this that makes people think libertarians are horrible people. Sure, you can always find cases of abuse, but in general you’re telling people “sink or swim, assholes! our economic theory says that taking away your vital safety net is the best thing for you!” When you tell people to just buck up and get to work they feel the same way as you do when they tell you to just deal with the TSA machines. Personally, I think providing a basic safety net is a perfectly legitimate function of government, especially in an economic climate which is crappy on a spectacular scale.

              1. If the government totally distorts the market and truly screws the economy all to hell, they had better provide some relief from it.

                I look at all social safety nets and welfare programs as restitution for damages.

              2. Unfortunately, they have to take the money from other people they’ve screwed.

                If they took more of it from the beneficiaries of their schemes, then it wouldn’t be as pernicious.

              3. Since you’re wrong about a safety net being a legitimate responsibility of a Constitutional Republic* that has no outline for one it it’s Constitution, let me explain why libertarians are NOT horrible people.

                We do not oppose private unemployment insurance (AFLAC!) and we don’t advocate the use of force to support others. We don’t oppose charity.

                *A king has subjects for which he is responsible. We are free people, responsible for ourselves.

                1. And all I get is defensive bullshit. I myself am pretty libertarian, but not on this issue I guess. Having some people go past 99 weeks on their unemployment insurance is not going to distort the market worse than if those people are thrown out on the street. What you all need to understand is that people are risk averse and like stability. It’s ok to endure a little inefficiency in order to provide that stability.

                  But it’s nice to know that you all seem to agree that this people who are being cutoff should be told too bad, we’re doing it for you’re own good, and you were welcome to buy your own unemployment insurance. That’s really the way to win hearts and minds.

              4. Re: Thom,

                Personally, I think providing a basic safety net is a perfectly legitimate function of government, especially in an economic climate which is crappy on a spectacular scale.

                HOW much of a safety net? And why would your baseline be any better than someone else’s?

                It’s easy to be good and kindhearted with SOMEONE ELSE’S MONEY.

              5. It’s not a safety net if you live in it, and most people will live in it as long as they can. Studies on the effects of unemployment benefits have proven that people who are ineligible for unemployment find employment way faster than those who are eligible and
                there is a huge upswing in rates of finding employment right before benefits run out, compared to the previous weeks.
                Obviously, people who get money for just lying around tend to prefer that arrangement over the prospect of having to work for it. That’s human nature.

      5. but at this point they are extended, extended benefits. I know that given the opportunity to work or starve, I’d work. But given 99+weeks of decent paid vacation I might tend to be a little more creative with my job search. and frankly, I don’t see why income tax rates have anything to do with this. I guess it’s just business as usual.

      6. If we admit that the economic train wreck is the fault of most people (borrowing beyond their ability to pay back) can we stop those extra UE benefits?

      7. If there is to be no real expiry, then why continue to associate such benefits with employment? I’m sure that’s not what you advocate, but you certainly don’t imply otherwise. If you feel I’m being at all unfair, then by all means, please feel free to state what you feel to be a reasonable time limit.

        The reason I bring it up is that it can easily be argued that there exists a real problem with calling these supports unemployment: some people (real people, known to me) do not understand the system and actually believe that the money they receive is coming directly out of something like an account that they’ve paid into. At least some percentage of such recipients would feel more urgency about finding employment if there were some social stigma attached, even if it were as trivial as a simple renaming of the benefit.

        1. I think that in order to collect unemployment, one should be required to perform 10 hours of community service per week. Seems fair and it would provide an incentive to get a real job.

          1. “10% Unemployment, sure, but I’ve never seen our town so litter-free!”

          2. No one hates the explosion of mandatory “community service” more than the people who run the institutions that get the “free” labor. Most of the time they just make the court-ordered slug paint and repaint a wall for however many hours he’s been sentenced to. I’m not sure who pays for the paint.

          3. a good idea, but I can’t help thinking at some point it just sets up another class of federal employees since once they’re actually doing something for the money, people will assume they have a real job and deserve benefits forever.

      8. You’re saying it’s fair for the working poor who pay taxes to support the non-working middle class in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed?

        The economy being fucked is not the fault of the unemployed (unless they vote R or D), but their failure to lower their expectations and accept a shittier lifestyle that they’ve actually earned is their fault.

        1. Now, now, cynical.

          Don’t you know that every single person unconditionally deserves to continue with the high-water mark of their career forever?

          Don’t you know that retrenching, adjusting attitudes and expectations, and living in the world as they find it is an unnecessary hardship?

          And by the way, you do understand that training for a “job” by going to college on hugely expensive loans is equivalent to actually holding a job for the purposes of these consideration, don’t you.

      9. Pity/common sense and economic reasoning tend to be diverging ideas.

  2. “Obama, Republicans reach deal to preserve Bush-era tax cuts.”

    I’m telling you if Obama were white he would be facing a challenge from the left for terrible deals like this one. It still might happen, but his overwhelming support in the black community I think will prevent it (no Dem candidate will want to alienate that voting bloc).

    1. A letter from a reader posted on instapundit this morning.

      Hmmm,

      * Leaving Gitmo open.
      * No trials for terrorists
      * 30,000-soldier surge in Afghanistan.
      * Extending tax cuts.
      * Re-upping the Patriot Act.

      You know, I didn’t vote for Barack W. Bush, but I’m starting to like the cut of this man’s jib.

      That has got to hurt if you are a liberal.

      1. Scarbough said “he’s doubled down on the war and now accepts tax cuts on the rich and estate tax cuts, this sounds like the kind of platform I used to run on!”

        1. Remember when he campaigned on “not giving Bush a third term [via McCain]”? I guess he wanted to be the one to give Bush a third term.

          1. Heh. “Don’t let McCain give Bush a third term! (Let me do it….)”

      2. Give the man a break, he inherited the Republican’s shitty policies.

        1. And not squandering his inheritance.

        2. We should have upped the estate tax.

        3. And did fuck all to end them. So now, two years later, they’re his policies.

          1. It was a joke. See, instead of inheriting a war or an economy, or something bad that resulted from a policy, I said he inherited the policy itself; that is, he was just continuing what Republicans had been doing. I hate to spell out, but you left me no choice.

      3. Don’t forget fighting to preserve DADT and arguining in favor of assassinating American citizens.

        1. And cracking down on medical mj.

    2. I wondered about this possibility when Obama was elected. I figured he would sell out progressives on the war from the start and would eventually have to sell them out on the economy to. What happens to the Democratic coalition if the stuff white people like crowd torpedoes the first black President via a primary challenge? And if they let Obama get away with it, why does any Democratic politician ever do anything but pay them lip service in the future?

      1. I have to admit there is something incredibly funny about a black president taking the white liberal voting bloc for granted.

        1. Wow, that is beautiful in a sublimely twisted sort of way.

      2. They’ll stick with Obama for two reasons, at least. 1) the replacement would probably lose anyway so why make yourself appear weak? and 2) the Dems have a better chance of taking the House back in 2014 or 2016 if the GOP has all branches. I mean, they don’t do anything good so their only chance is to hope and expect the GOP will hang themselves again. Oh, 3) they get to keep using racism as an argument.

        1. They will, but Kucinich will take 20% in the primaries and win Vermont.

        2. Who the hell do the Republicans have to run against him? Palin, Romney, Huckabee, and Gingrich. Those four are so pathetic that Obama will probably win in ’12.

          1. Romney would skewer Obama. The knock on Romney is that he’s an empty suit with no principles…so how does Obama have an advantage in that department?

            1. Romney doesn’t have any base support due to RomneyCare. D.O.A., as he can’t criticize ObamaCare without becoming a hypocrite.

              Gary Johnson, Mitch Daniels and Chris Christie (and Ron Paul, of course) are the best GOP candidates for libertarians and all are either dark horses or not interested.

              1. One to watch: Pawlenty.

                He held the line on taxes just enough while governing a “blue state” to get conservatives to like him, he’s squishy on environmental issues which appeals to a lot of independents, he makes all the dog-whistle noises about “strong families” to keep evangelicals in his corner, he’s maintained a lot of loyal friendships within the GOP leadership, and (most importantly, from an electability standpoint) he’s very tall and has great hair.

                Huckabee & Palin have more or less taken themselves out of the race. They’re both far better off as charming TV personalities and I think they both know it. Romney’s chances evaporated when the Dems modeled their shitty healthcare plan after his. Gingrich has ALMOST gotten the Tea Party types to forget what an annoying little troll he is, but the rest of the nation still hates him.

                If there were ever a time for a dark horse to ride up from behind, it’s this time around. I’d like to say it could be Gary Johnson, but realistically I would be stunned if he made much of a showing.

  3. “Anti-counterfeiting measures on the new $100 bill stymie even the U.S. Mint”

    They are literally dumping $100B in bills into the furnace. I wonder how many jobs that created.

    1. They’re still not trying hard enough! They should be out there shooting windows!

    2. No, they are not. Look up “literally”, then re-read article if necessary.

      1. What? I thought they were burning sheets of bills. Thus, “literally”.

        1. For now, the unusable bills are stored in the vaults in “cash packs” of four bundles of 4,000 each, with each pack containing 16,000 bills.

          and

          Because officials don’t know how many of the 1.1 billion bills include the flaw, they have to hold them in the massive vaults until they are able to develop a mechanized system that can sort out the usable bills from the defects.

          Sorting such a huge quantity of bills by hand, the officials estimate, could take between 20 and 30 years.

          and

          The defective bills?which could number into the tens of millions, potentially representing billions of dollars in face value?will have to be shredded.

          1. We have how many millions of people getting unemployment benefits right now, who are getting extended for over a year? I think we found the hands needed to count the bills. And the people to bus them all in to their nearest Fed Res building. We found the massive community service project we’ve been looking for!

    3. They should hire some of those unemployed to sort the bills. I guarantee with that many hands, it will take a lot less than 20-30 years.

      1. Wow, if only I had read one comment below. Oh well, that’s at least two people that have the same thought. Must be obvious.

  4. From David Brooks today:
    “Self-control consumes glucose in the brain. For an article in the journal Aggressive Behavior, Nathan DeWall, Timothy Deckman, Matthew Gaillot and Brad Bushman found that research subjects who consumed a glucose beverage behaved less aggressively than subjects who drank a placebo beverage. They found an indirect relationship between diabetes (a disorder marked by low glucose levels) and low self-control. States with high diabetes rates also had high crime rates.”

    Brooks says diabetics are criminals!

    1. Perhaps he is saying that diabetes and aggression are both results of high sugar intake?

    2. If folks would mix alcohol with one of those high-glucose energy drinks, we’d see more responsible drinking.

    3. That bastard!

    4. Are you saying that NutraSweet is a criminal? Well, I suppose that his torturing of the English language could be considered a crime. Except under the current and previous administrations, of course.

      1. I only waterboarded the English language, you oaf.

        1. Mac: Frank, does that waterboard really work?

          Frank: (laughs) You bet your ass! I got Dee English to admit to things she never did!

      2. Not me, David Brooks. I think criminality is a choice and has nothing to do with lazy pancreases.

        1. I think choice can exist with influences or pressures. Indeed many regular patterns in the social world only make sense from that pov.

      3. fuck, Epiu beat me to it.

    5. ohhhhh, So that is why Sugarfree is such a pain in the ass.

      1. Maybe you just need to relax.

        1. touche, my friend. I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy.

    6. Even though Brooks is a dick, low blood sugar does make you rather impulsive. Even angry and violent. When your blood sugar drops, it triggers adrenal glands just like the flight/fight reflex. You become paranoid and twitchy as adrenaline floods your body and rational choices become harder to make.

      Despite my near life-long libertarianism, I only keep a couple of guns that have sentimental value in the house and no ammunition and I have never sought CCW certification.

      1. NutraSweet has created a new class of “going postal”: going “hypoglycemic librarian”. That’s when you beat annoying patrons to death with copies of Harry Potter and A Separate Peace.

        1. I will paper cut a bitch.

          1. I heard you crippled a kid by throwing a copy of a Robert Jordan book at him so hard it broke his back.

            1. Those books could have been half as thick if RJ ever learned to kill a character.

              1. @Brett L
                Hey douche, someone already busted out that Moiraine was not dead when I was in book 5 or so…this blog is a bunch of spoiler jerks.

                If I was on unemployement I could finish the Wheel of Time series.

                1. @CB
                  She lived, too? I quit halfway through the book after whatever book she died in. Fuck. I was talking about the other 6 new characters introduced in every new book.

            2. I did given “Withdrawn and Discarded” a new and disturbing meaning.

            3. SF’s dislocated shoulder was totally worth it.

            4. Is SugarFree even strong enough to pick one of those up?

    7. They found an indirect relationship between diabetes (a disorder marked by low glucose levels) and low self-control.

      “Diabetes mellitus, often simply referred to as diabetes?is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar, either because the body does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced.”[1]

      1. The introduction of artificial insulin, especially at fixed rates compared to varied caloric consumption, often leads to low blood sugar events, especially in Type I diabetics and older Type II who are particularly “brittle” (prone to extreme low blood sugar that doesn’t go through the regular precursor signs of hypoglycemia: sweating, shaking, coldness in the extremities, mania.)

        1. True, dat. The wife is Type I, and she can go through the sugar level crash in under 5 minutes. Scares the crap outta people that have never seen it happen before. Happened once walking out of a Target store. Between exiting the store and getting to the car, she went from seemingly normal to me just about having to carry her (had one of those glucose drinks, but had to sit her down to administer it). Four people that saw it happen were on their phones calling 911, and she was just fine before the first responders arrived.

    8. Brooks is a racist!!! We all know that African-Americans have higher rates of diabetes than Caucasian Americans:

      http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/content.aspx?ID=3017

    9. Brooks says diabetics are criminals!

      What, you’re claiming they aren’t?

  5. Julian Assange is arrested in Britain

    LEAVE JULIAN ALONE!!!

    1. MSNBC just said that the gist of the charge against him is that he was having sex with a woman who was under the impression he was wearing protection and when it ended up that at some point he was not it was no longer consensual!

      WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!

      1. I told you guys the other day this was a Feministing charge.

        1. If a woman says no to unprotected sex and a guy tricks her into thinking he’s protected, but he’s not, that is sex against her will not a Feministing charge.

          1. If a woman has sex with you with you wearing a condom and it breaks, and the next morning the two of you go to have sex again and she says you should wear a condom, and you say “What fucking difference does it make? The one last night broke!” and she says, “Yeah, OK, let’s have sex with no condom this morning!” then no, that’s not sex against her will and YEAH, it is in fact a Feministing charge.

            1. Way to make shit up, Fluffy.

              1. I didn’t make anything up.

                Read the article.

                My statement regarding the decision to have sex without protection the next morning – a decision the woman admits she made – adds some dialogue, but it adds the most plausible dialogue for the situation.

          2. That’s an incredibly stupid interpretation of rape statutes. Once she consents to a particular sex act all bets are off unless she revokes consent.

            I mean, under that interpretation, if a woman says you can only have sex if you smack her butt while you’re doing it, and then you fail to smack it, that constitutes rape.

      2. It seems that “sex without a condom” in Sweden is a crime. Go figure.

        1. That would explain the low birth rate…

      3. He purest of example of he said/she said. She consents to protected sex and it becomes rape after it’s over and she discovers he’s not wearing a condom. They slip off, you know. Especially off Australians, I hear.

        1. And in my experience they break under the enormous pressure of sheathing my girth.

          1. Hmm. I always picture you as the Walmart smiley. Disembodied limbs, no genatalia. That was a joke, right? Don’t ruin this for me.

          2. So you’re fat and the women break when you lie on them? That’s awful!!!!

      4. The version I heard was that the condom broke, and she told him to stop, but he was… um… in the zone. But, while I think that women should be able to withdraw consent, the law has to take into account the altered mental state of someone in the middle of fucking and give you at least a 10 second window to get your shit together before you’re committing a crime (rather than a faux pas).

        1. However, having read more about, it sounds more like women making false allegations to get back at a cheater. Hopefully they both go to prison, but that’s too much to hope for.

      5. Apparently the Swedish term for his crime translates as “sex by surprise.”

    2. Julian Assange is arrested in Britain, threatens to release more classified documents if he is prosecuted.

      In other news, Julian Assange threatens to release more classified document if he is not prosecuted.

      1. Yes, this is a strange form of blackmail. Is he going to doctor some more video too?

        The big question: Where are the documents proving that 9/11 was an inside job?

        [sarcasm] He must be part of the cover-up.

      2. There does seem to be more than a little “Hey, look at me!” in all this, doesn’t there?

      3. Surrendering on Pearl Harbor Day was a nice touch too.

  6. Survivor: Kindergarten
    If you live in St. Lucie County, Fla., your tax dollars are hard at work. TCPalm.com, website of the Port St. Lucie News, reports the county school board and teachers union have reached a $350,000 settlement with the mother of Alex Barton, a developmentally disabled child. The school board will pay “the bulk” of the money. Here’s how the tort went down:

    In May 2008, Alex, then 5, returned to his kindergarten classroom at Morningside Elementary after being sent to the principal’s office twice for discipline referrals. His teacher, Wendy Portillo, brought him to the front of the class and asked other students to tell him how his behavior affected them. She then asked the class to vote on whether Alex should stay in the class. Alex, who was in the process of being tested for Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, lost the vote.
    Portillo was fired for her outrageous conduct. Haha, just kidding! It’s a public school, after all. Here’s what actually happened:

    Portillo was given a one-year unpaid suspension by the School Board. She has since served the suspension and returned to teaching in St. Lucie County. Schools Superintendent Michael Lannon originally recommended Portillo be put on an annual contract–Portillo had been tenured–but the board reinstated her tenure.
    The teacher’s lawyer, Allen Sang, “said Portillo wants to move on from here”:

    “She just wants to teach kids,” Sang said. “[Portillo] is just very happy to be back in the classroom doing what she loves to do.”
    At least the story has a happy ending for someone.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/…..TopOpinion

    1. Good to know that we can still taunt Aspys in FL. I’d be worried at the next developer meeting if that wasn’t the case.

    2. I don’t think an otherwise good teacher should be fired for that one mistake. Aspys can be a royal pain in the ass. We were not there, we don’t know how this thing went down, and as John argued with folks like the former CEO of HP people getting second chances is an important thing as it often works out extremely well.

      If it was a regular thing then of course she should go.

      1. If you tell me that Carly Fionina made fun of a retarded kid in front of his class, I will admit she has no business in public life. And that is not just a mistake. That is just being cruel. And I am sure this woman can do some job well. She just shouldn’t be teaching small children.

        1. I think the vote was a bad idea, but not the classroom discussion.

          The entire problem Asperger’s kids have is that they don’t pick up on nonverbal social cues. It requires explicit verbal communication for them to know if they’re behaving incorrectly.

          Having the other kids directly state to the kid that his behavior upset them could have been a very effective way to manage the negative behavior.

          1. Your argument would carry more weight if the child had already been diagnosed as having Asperger’s.

            “Alex, who was in the process of being tested for Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism, lost the vote.”

            1. To me, this is the smoking gun. Was it documented that he was being tested for the syndrome, or were only the parents of the child testing him?

              Also, “Democracy in Action!”

              1. Tyranny of the majority in action!

              2. I’m pretty sure that FL kindegarten teachers don’t possess the expertise to confirm a potential diagnosis and embark on a treatment plan unilateraly. I mean, I love the primary education majors at FSU, but most of them are more sweet than smart.

                1. I love the primary education majors at FSU, but most of them are more sweet than smart.

                  Jesus. I tutored some of the social science education majors when I went there. I may not be the greatest tutor around, but sometimes the dumb is impenetrable.

                2. Not just kindergarten teachers in Florida, though. It always seems like Florida disproportionately represents the number of national news stories about teachers abusing/sleeping with/calling out students. You can’t go 25 minutes on Headline News without one of the talking heads reporting a story about a Florida school.

                  1. In the absence of the diagnosis, there’s even less reason to be mad at the teacher.

                    Then she’s just giving a misbehaving Normal some shit, and those are the breaks if you’re a misbehaving Normal.

        2. Aspergers != retardation, asshole. In fact, there’s a high correlation between people with Aspergers having high-paying jobs in computers, engineering, science, and medicine.

          1. So true! And I suspect most of my English professors were Aspies.

    3. Kindergarten teachers get tenure?

      1. When kindgergarten teachers lose the “intellectual autonomy to investigate the problems and solutions about which they are most passionate,” the terrorists have won.

    4. Portillo had been tenured

      Why does and Elementary school teacher need tenure?

      Did naptime suddenly become highly politicized and controversial?

      1. Not naptime itself, but which side would you have the children lie on during their naps? Are you trying to indoctrinate kids with your left-side propaganda?

  7. In a 144-page report completed in November and released over the weekend, the commission said its lengthy investigation had uncovered “numerous specific examples of open hostility and opposition” within the department’s Civil Rights Division to pursuing cases in which whites were the victims.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com…..white-vic/

    God Holder is an embarrassment.

    1. Yes. Yes, he is.

  8. If I were Obama I would have started talking early this year about a payroll tax cut along with a renewal of the tax cuts for the middle class. I would have tried to argue that the former would be paid for, in the interest of deficet reduction, with letting the tax cuts on millionaires and big estates lapse. I would have then endorsed unemployment extensions but with a “dwindling” amount past 99 (so you get 80% of what you were getting before 99 weeks, then at some point 50%, etc., weaning folks off). I would have paid for this with remaining TARP funds and cut defense spending. I would also push means testing for entitlements explained as saving cherished liberal programs from impending insolvency.

    1. The defense cuts would be explained in connection with more significant troop draw downs in Iraq and Af-Pak.

      1. If you tell me that Carly Fionina made fun of a retarded kid in front of his class, I will admit she has no business in public life. And that is not just a mistake. That is just being cruel. And I am sure this woman can do some job well. She just shouldn’t be teaching small children.

        1. You could interpret what she did as trying to bring to light to the kid the nature of his anti-social activities. It’s not unheard of, though a strategy fraught with problems imo.

          Also, I’m not convinced Aspys=retards.

          1. Also, I’m not convinced Aspys=retards.

            I’m actually going to agree with MNG on this one. We are too quick to classify people as “unhelpable,” that is they are beyond help because of their condition. Too fat, Aspberger’s (not the kind that SugarFree likes), black… these are all categories that deem someone as unable to escape their conditions. I think it’s worse to think of these people as lost causes that need a helping hand up (the general public’s view) than to think of them as regular people in crappy situations.

            1. My cousin was just diagnosed with Aspberger’s (and I wasn’t that surprised). He’s a pain in the ass, especially to his dad, but he’s not a dumb kid. His problem with grades is a motivation one (plus he does all his homework for science and then doesn’t turn them in?).

            2. My 11 year-old son has Asperger’s. He is extremely bright, reads voraciously (at a 12th grade level), and most adults (and many of his classmates) find him engaging, always truthful (ugghh. . . he cannot understand that sometimes it is better to fib a little), and very sweet. He’s not a “pain in the ass” at all, but perhaps that’s because we actually work with him and have him in various therapy programs. At age 5/6, I do not think he would have been receptive to peers telling him what he was doing wrong. He just would not have understood. Through trial and error and with specific behavior modifications, Aspies really do learn to fit in and understand social situations, but perhaps more on a rote level than anything truly intuitive. I once read that Aspies can be taught to understand non-verbal social cues, etc., the way other kids learn to play the piano. The Autism Consultant in our school district (jokingly) has a quick-test to check for Asperger’s: She simply asks, “How do you feel about Pokemon?” She can always tell by the length and detail of the response :). She says it works on grown Aspies, too, though she might have to substitute D&D or Magic the Gathering.

              1. What if I go into extreme detail about how much I hate Pokemon? Because I can.

                1. I’m sure you can, SF, and with great eloquence! I’m just relieved my son isn’t interested in Bakugan. Because that’s some stupid shit.

    2. I don’t think he has the credibility or political capital anymore. Like Bush, he got rolled by his own party and now nobody respects him. He should have vetoed last year’s budget or one of the other Christmas trees they pushed through in ’09.

      At this point all he can do is negotiate for a couple bones in Republican bills — Like Bush after ’06.

      1. The difference is, it happened to Bush in the middle of his second term, when he was a lame duck anyway. Obama managed to alienate everyone in less than two years.

    3. How about adding a community service requirement after 13 weeks? The longer one accepts unemployment welfare, the more community service hours one does – aide in the county nursing home or county hospital, picking up trash along roadside if able, restocking books at the understaffed library, etc. Leave them enough time to go on interviews and send out resumes but require that the taxpayers derive some benefit from the support given the unemployed.

      P.S. most unemployed have paid in nowhere near what their benefits amount to. The federal uc tax on employers is a max. of $56 per year, and state u.c. (different in every state and employer-experience related) probably maxs out around $500 year.
      Two weeks unemployment checks exhausts what most employees have paid through their employer.

      1. Hahaha you make it sound as though these “community service” areas are not already staffed by union workers. Good luck trying to get unemployed scabs to try and work for “free” while union workers get laid off.

        1. I’m not talking about laying off anyone. Most of these venues have plenty of tasks that volunteer aides could do.

          1. From Brickbats:

            Too Much School Spirit
            Posted on November 4, 2010, 6:00AM

            Budget cuts have forced schools in Petaluma, California, to cut support staff, so parents have volunteered to do things such as answer phones, make copies, and help monitor students before classes. So far, the union that represents support staff has blocked volunteers from coming into Petaluma Junior High School, saying those jobs must be performed by paid employees.

            Now imagine if it’s not parents of schools but unemployed people who are told to work there or lose their benefits. Oh, they’ll “work” but not because they care about the students or school. And it doesn’t matter who is working for free, the unions won’t like it.

            1. So, rather than people who are just trying to help, it will be people who are desperate and have nowhere else to go. Things could get ugly. But, under the circumstances, probably not a bad thing, as long as a lot of people end up in the hospital, especially union thugs.

    4. I would like to see some sort of study that means testing would actually save money on entitlements. To me, it looks like redirecting spending from rich people benefits to federal payroll.

    5. That’s because you are a shameless thief.

    6. If you were Obama, our country would be in even deeper crap than it already is now!

  9. After Green’s attorneys finished questioning Dieter, Fine asked prosecutor Alan Curry if he had any questions.

    “We still respectfully refuse to participate in the proceeding, your honor,” Curry said.

    Later during the hearing, Fine told Curry he expected prosecutors to participate.

    “I have been instructed by my boss, the district attorney, to stand mute for the remainder of the proceedings,” Curry said, adding he meant no disrespect to Fine or others involved in the hearing.

    It’s better that one hundred innocents be executed than one District Attorney lose a case.

    1. If the prosecutors stand mute, doesn’t that mean the judge will have to rule in the defense’s favor? After all, there won’t be any competing evidence.

      Maybe this is some kind of back-door way of helping to get rid of the death penalty, while still appearing to be “tough on crime”.

  10. wtf indeed

  11. He got what he deserved in a sense by hanging out so to speak w women who view such an act as assault.

  12. An official familiar with the situation told CNBC that 1.1 billion of the new bills have been printed, but they are unusable…

    NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

  13. “We’re trying to ensure that only the fittest of notes will enter circulation”

    “Only the fittest of notes.”

    Now, that’s funny!

    1. They obviously weren’t intelligently designed.

  14. http://nolabels.org/blog/thomas-jefferson-and-tsa/

    No labels.org really knows how to bring the stupid. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson would have loved the TSA?

    1. I’ve always thought that. Especially if TJ could be in charge of groping the black women.

      1. Ummmm…Mister Jefferson, what are you doing with that copy of BlackMen Magazine?

        TJ: Mind your own damn, business.

    2. That is some piss-poor argumentation. And that Jefferson quote has nothing to do with endorsing the groping old ladies and kids.

    3. No, they’re arguing that he would have supported people’s right to object to the TSA.

      Now, granted, they didn’t comment on what he would suggest doing to the RapeScan peddlers and the child molesters at the TSA itself (I think it involves a libertarian version of Audrey II). Still, there’s no need to misstate what they said.

  15. Most of these people have paid into unemployment insurance all of their life.

    If that is true, how many of those people have by now received more in benefits than they paid into the system?

    Ponzi strikes again!

    1. As someone who deals with this on a daily basis, the answer is these people pay nowhere near what they receive in return. We’re talking about insurance costs of pennies per pay, per employee. No way does that cover 159 weeks of unemployment.

      Get off your asses and get a job. I don’t care if it is shoveling shit at the local farm. Get your paws off my $$ and start contributing.

    2. Most of these people have paid into unemployment insurance all of their life.

      Really? They were making contributions as toddlers? I doubt that.

      More accurate to say “Most of these people have had contributions to unemployment insurance made by their employers.” Kind of drains that fierce moral urgency out of it, though.

  16. “The Fed’s very unhappy, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is taking a beating unnecessarily,” the person said. “Somebody has to pay for this.”

    Guess who?

  17. Julian Assange is arrested in Britain, threatens to release more classified documents if he is prosecuted.

    He can be extradited to Sweden, where he will face charges of raping two women because they met each other and knew then the guy had one-nite stands with them. No, really:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..ds-newsxml

    1. An attractive blonde, Sarah was already a well-known ‘radical feminist’.

      How reliable are the two female witnesses?
      Earlier this year, Sarah is reported to have posted a telling entry on her website, which she has since removed. But a copy has been retrieved and widely circulated on the internet.
      Entitled ‘7 Steps to Legal Revenge’, it explains how women can use courts to get their own back on unfaithful lovers.
      Step 7 says: ‘Go to it and keep your goal in sight. Make sure your victim suffers just as you did.’

      1. Well, I like the absurd spectacle of conservatives who typically decry women who abuse rape laws and make false accusations using the BS rape allegations to imply Assange is a horrible monster.

        1. Was either woman ever in contact with Linda Tripp?

    2. Also, both girls were very friendly with him after the fact. The first one threw him a party a few days later and let him stay at her house for the next week. The second one they went out to a nice meal together and she paid for his train ticket. Then the second one contacted the first after having second thoughts and both decided “hey, let’s wage a weak, very public accusation against a controversial guy we claimed to admire greatly and thus end the activism that drew us to him in the first place and made us decide to have consensual relations with him”. Either the first girl is totally brainwashed with super-radical feminist rhetoric that she believes all relations with men are a potential means of trapping them to “fight the patriarchy”, or at least one of them is an agent of some vested interest/government/etc. attempting to trap him on a technicality.

      The funny thing is, in the end, we’re going to see that Wikileaks is not simply Julian Assange and will continue with or without him.

  18. Obama, Republicans reach deal to preserve Bush-era tax cuts.

    One part of the deal gave away money, the other part gave away principles.

    Guess which one is which?

  19. You don’t want to see unemployment benefits extended?

    No, no I don’t.

    *adjusts monocle and tophat, returns to drinking the blood of infants from a gold-rimmed crystal wineglass*

    1. I find that pilsner glasses do a better job of concentrating the flavors more toward the center of the cocktail, providing a smoother, more balanced flavor.

      1. Why, thank you for the tip, Ska! I shall need to try that when we slaughter the next batch of innocents.

  20. The entire problem Asperger’s kids have is that they don’t pick up on nonverbal social cues. It requires explicit verbal communication for them to know if they’re behaving incorrectly.

    They just don’t pick up on *subtle* nonverbal cues. Pinching can still be an effective feedback mechanism. And punching.

  21. Re: MNG,

    You don’t want to see unemployment benefits extended?

    I don’t want to see them at all.

    You [John] admit that the economic train wreck that is the economcy is not the fault of most of the people who have lost work and yet you [John] say “screw you guys.”

    I say it: SCREW YOU GUYS! FUCK YOU! GO FIND A JOB!

    Merry Christmas indeed!

    Merry Christmas to you, too.

    1. And a Merry Christmas to you, Old Mexican! You’re my kind of guy 🙂

  22. Assange was formally charged with “unlawful coercion”. I guess that’s the opposite of “lawful coercion”, which is what the government does everyday.

    1. True. He was also charged with sexual molestation, which the government also does every day in airports around the nation.

  23. I’m glad that the authorities have captured the heartless, murdering Julian Assange, who is clearly the greatest threat to the United States’ national security in the world today.

    However, I will not feel safe personally until I know they’ve shot his dog.

    1. Or bombed his residence with a Predator Drone.

  24. http://dailycaller.com/2010/12…..ir-choice/

    This holiday season, Feministing.com, an “online community for feminists,” is encouraging women to opt out of eyebrow waxing appointments in favor of looking like “Frida,” the girlfriend of Marxist Diego Rivera.

    1. SF has singlehandedly pushed more taffic to that site than they ever could have on their own…he has created a monster.

  25. Good news, everyone! We made billions on Citi!

    *rushes off to peruse “Bridges For Sale” listings in Wall Street Journal*

  26. When I start going soft about extending unemployment benefits, I think about this quote from the movie Vacation:

    Clark: “How can they have nothing for their children?”
    Ellen: “Well, he’s been out of work for close to seven years.”
    Clark: “In seven years, he couldn’t find a job?”
    Ellen: “Cathrine says, he’s been holding out for a management position.”

    Funny, yes. Happening out there? Hell yes.

    1. Christmas Vacation.

      1. Bullshit. I just watched it a week ago.

      2. IMDB – Sorry all knowing Movie Database. Doesn’t change the fact that there are many Cousin Eddie’s out there who would rather sit on their asses looking for “management positions” and collect a check than to take a job that is below them.

      3. Squirrrrrel!

    2. I know that smell. I know that smell.

  27. You know, if the defenders of liberty in the world could just keep their pants on, we’d be a force to be reckoned with.

  28. (This one deserves its own post)

    Re: Thom,

    Having some people go past 99 weeks on their unemployment insurance is not going to distort the market worse than if those people are thrown out on the street.

    Sorry – WRONG. BECAUSE of the extended unemployment payments, the OPPORTUNITY COST of getting a job is MUCH HIGHER than simply staying home scratching your privates while playing CoD:Black Ops. The result is that LABOR IS ARTIFICIALLY OVERPRICED.

    That is a price distortion right there, so don’t tell me it doesn’t happen.

    What you all need to understand is that people are risk averse and like stability.

    No . . . shit.

    It’s ok to endure a little inefficiency in order to provide that stability.

    Ok for whom? You? Who the hell are you?

    But it’s nice to know that you all seem to agree that this people who are being cutoff should be told too bad,

    I can say it:

    TOO BAD!!! GO GET A JOB, YA LAZY BUM!!!!

    you were welcome to buy your own unemployment insurance.

    Or live below your means and place some dough in the rainy-day jar. That’s what our granparents used to do, before the Dark Times… Before the Empire.

    That’s really the way to win hearts and minds.

    Oh, I am not looking for love. Are you? Do it with YOUR OWN FUCKING MONEY!!!!

    It’s easy to be a good and kind-hearted person with SOMEONE ELSE’S HARD-EARNED CASH.

    You bum.

  29. Get a job, you bum bum bum bum.

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