A.M. Links: Judge Rules Obama Immigration Actions Unconstitutional, Senate Approves Tax Break Package, Apple Wins Anti-Trust Suit Over iPod Downloads

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  • Omar of The Wire
    HBO

    A district court judge in Pennsylvania ruled that portions of President Obama's executive actions on immigration are unconstitutional.

  • The Senate confirmed several judicial nominees and sent a package of tax breaks to the White House.
  • After years of drought California needs 11 trillion gallons of water to refill its aquifiers.
  • Federal officials say there's no sign of a plot by the Sony hackers to attack screenings of The Interview.
  • A federal jury sided with Apple in an anti-trust lawsuit over the company's decision to block music downloaded via competitor services from playing on the iPod.
  • Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) says he doesn't see a problem with supporting the Dallas Cowboys. The Jets and Giants play in New Jersey but are called New York teams.
  • The Wire was better than Breaking Bad, according to Complex.

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  1. Federal officials say there’s no sign of a plot by the Sony hackers to attack screenings of The Interview.

    Feds are getting part of the ticket sales?

    1. He’s back everybody.

      Thought you were lost in the dark web for a while there.

      1. Those few days were an early Christmas present to all the would-be firsters out there. And from what I could tell, you squandered it.

        1. Word. *Nobody* was first, ever.

          1. We all wait for FoE to comment before we feel safe commenting. Ergo, the AM/PM Links have been a ghost town in his absence.

            1. He and his sock-puppets normally post 3/4s of the comments, so it just seemed that way.

        2. My gift is just having you back, safe and sound, Fist. And I went and sold my hair to buy you a new watch chain…

          1. And I sold my watch to get Fist an ornamental comb!

            1. *tears, hugs*

              1. I DIDN’T GET EITHER OF THESE PACKAGES YET.

    2. Hello.

      “Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) says he doesn’t see a problem with supporting the Dallas Cowboys.”

      It’s important to be bipartisan.

      1. Well they are America’s Team? amirite?

        1. uhh, that is now the Broncos! DUH!!!

          try to keep up.

          1. America’s most hated team?

          2. Obama wants the Browns to be America’s team.

          3. Americans continually support stupid things. Barack Obama, the Denver Broncos, etc.

            1. I will end you.

              /all hail the better Manning

              1. It’s ok. Should my Chiefs manage to win out and make the playoffs and then proceed to actually win a game or two (unlikely since that hasn’t happened in 21 years), I have no doubt that the referees will be instructed how much the NFL wants Fivehead to get another SB appearance to fail epically at.

                1. your death will be slow and painful…your cries of mercy unheeded.

                  1. It will not be slow and painful and no cries of mercy shall be forthcoming.

                    I know the fix is in, it’s just a matter of which white guy the NFL wants to sell: Manning or Brady. The calls in the games will be reflective of that. The refs will be warned against fist-bumping eachother after fixing the match in order to avoid charges of impropriety this time around though.

                    1. The calls in the fricken KC/Arizona game were so bad I almost gave up on watching the NFL.

    3. For a second there I thought they sent you down to the boiler room without your stapler.

  2. Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) says he doesn’t see a problem with supporting the Dallas Cowboys.

    Texas has how many electoral votes again?

    1. 0 for that piece of shit.

  3. Federal officials say there’s no sign of a plot by the Sony hackers to attack screenings of The Interview.

    Maybe the plot was on Lois Lerner’s hard drive?

  4. The Wire was better than Breaking Bad, according to Complex.

    HBO is going to start running a remastered version of The Wire. Whatever that means.

    1. Apparently they’ve just remastered it in 16:9 HD (widescreen) which implies that it was originally in 4:3 (old-style squarier picture). So wider shots and better overall picture quality.

      1. better overall picture quality.

        Well…depends on your definition of quality. There will be things on screen not intended to be on screen, and things off screen that were not intended to be on screen.

        At least HBO is consulting a creator on this one, so hopefully it won’t suck.

        1. It depends on how they composed the shots. If they envisioned an HD remaster they would have told the cameraman to shoot with that in mind.

          1. Last night TCM showed a promo that was originally shot in 4:3 that was simply cropped at the top and bottom to fit it into 16:9. Cary Grant lost the top of his head, and all the movie titles lost the bottoms of their letters.

        2. Fox did not ruin Buffy by making it widescreen.

          That ship sailed a long time before that.

          It is Buffy’s fault that vampires sparkle now.

      2. I really think it was in widescreen when I watched it (on HBOGO) a few years ago. The reason I say this is because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have continued past the pilot if it was in vulgar 4:3.

        Interestingly, HBO Signature Channel had been showing their old serieseses weeknights (Rome, The Sopranos, Deadwood) but stopped abruptly when that streaming deal was made with Amazon.

        1. I never watched that. I got my info from Wikipedia, so take that as you will. If you really want production details go to IMDB and view the tech specs and discussion fora.

        2. The reason I say this is because I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have continued past the pilot if it was in vulgar 4:3.

          So you don’t watch movies made before 1953?

        3. Rome was Deadwood on the Tiber.

        4. Many, many years ago there was an HBO series (comedy) that used clips from films and television to punctuate the show. The opening credits were of a little kid parked in front of a TV. Anyone recall the name of that show?

          1. Dream On

            1. Thanks!

    2. The Wire was much better than Breaking Bad.

      BB was an entertaining plot with some very amusing characters. The Wire was that, and a whole lot more. Sadly, The Wire also did not require the viewer to suspend his sense of disbelief.

    3. Who cares, Deadwood is better than both.

  5. Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) says he doesn’t see a problem with supporting the Dallas Cowboys. The Jets and Giants play in New Jersey but are called New York teams.

    AND YOU PARK ON A DRIVEWAY AND DRIVE ON A PARKWAY!

    1. So the Cowboys are an Oklahoma team? I can’t keep up w/ this line of analogy

  6. Of course Christie is a Cowboys fan. Of fucking course.

    1. As a Giants fan, that makes me loathe him even more.

      1. As a Giants fan

        Ha Ha!

        1. Yeah, bad year, I know. But I’m not a bandwagon guy.

          1. You’ve won two super bowls in the last decade.

            My Chiefs haven’t been to the Super Bowl since 1970, before my existence.

            Therefore, on the “victim equivalency chart” I’ma black lesbian tranny to your to your upper class white Jewish male.

            1. No one has suffered more than Chiefs fans. The thing that separates Chiefs fans from other fans is their anonymity. The national sports media are all east coast assholes who think any team in a big market that looses much be the worst thing ever. No one outside of KC even knows how badly Chiefs fans have suffered.

              1. I grew up an Oilers fan, and now I have the Texans. I suspect I know a thing or two about suffering.

            2. As a Browns fan I can only dream of being a black lesbian tranny

      2. Cowboys, Jet, Giants…any way I loathe him just the same.

    2. Christie is a cow

      1. Isn’t that racist against Hinduism or something…someway…somehow?

        1. Everything is racist or something, or at least thats what I remember from college.

        2. Racist against cows. Cows are female anyway. Christie is more of a steer. No balls and with that eunuch-like squishiness.

          1. Thanks, Zeb.

      2. Now gimme some milk!

    3. He is a frontrunner who roots for one of the local teams primary rivals, How utterly unsurprising.

  7. Volokh Conspiracy’s Orin Kerr on Judge’s Opinion Striking Obama’s Immigration Policy

    “I just read Judge Schwab’s opinion holding that Obama’s executive action on immigration is unconstitutional, and, well, yikes. I don’t say yikes because of the constitutional argument that Ilya has covered, although I tend to agree with Ilya that this part of the opinion is pretty unpersuasive. Instead, I was astonished by the legal contortions that Judge Schwab undergoes to get to the point that he can rule on Obama’s policy ? and then the way he backs off the implications of his own ruling. Unless I’m just missing something unique to immigration law, it’s an exceedingly strange opinion.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..e-opinion/

    1. C’man. We all have strange opinions from time to time.

    2. This is going to be interesting…

      1. …for example. I believe everyone should get a turn at being the President.

        What can be fairer than that?

  8. “After years of drought California needs 11 trillion gallons of water to refill its aquifiers.”

    Did someone forget to carry the 1?

    1. I’m surprised that California, being California, hasn’t decided to build a bunch of state run desalination plants. You know, for stimulus.

      1. Shovel ready stimulus.

        Use the appropriate term.

        1. You can’t shovel water Rufus. Well, maybe you can up there.

          1. We’re talking about CALIFORNIA AND OBAMA here. YOU CAN SHOVEL WATER.

            /narrows gaze.

            1. You’re Swiss Canadian?

              1. Sure, why not?

                  1. /narrows gaze back.

                    1. If you can take this fondue pot away, young Canadian, before I can close my hand around the handle, then you are truly one of us.

                    2. …on the count of 3….

                    3. *widens gaze in effort at non-conformity and peace-making*

        2. Shovel ready stimulus.

          Unless you’re digging for a pipeline. Then, those jobs don’t count.

      2. Those require power, which means dirty icky powerplants or evil reactors.

        1. Won’t they be powered by the magic of unthinking fealty of the CA voter?

      3. How much energy do desalination plants use? I can’t imagine them to be all that efficient.

        1. Sshh! Don’t spoil it for them.

          Hah! As if a silly, inconsequential thing like science or efficiency would slow them down once they got that in their collective teeth.

        2. Lots, at least if they’re using a distillation process. But then it’s California so they have all that sunlight.

          Also, I’m surprised they haven’t come up with a geothermal combined electric power and desalination plant since the existing geothermal power plants use geothermal heat to turn water into steam to drive the turbines to make the ‘lectricity.

          1. That’s a very interesting idea. Though I imagine all the brine might make maintenance a problem.

            1. Oh, hell yes. Salt water is the worst.

              But I suspect that some smart materials science people could find a way to make lower maintenance plants.

                1. IANAMS but I don’t think plastics are the go-to material for high-pressure steam lines. Any mechanical engineers or materials scientists here?

          2. There is a de-sal plant in Monterey Bay, but I believe it is RO (Reverse Osmosis). I understand that that process is also a power hog when done on that level.

            1. Yeah, getting salt out of solution takes at least a certain amount of energy no matter how you do it.

          3. Here is a concept that might work for CA – the seawater greenhouse. I’m not sure of the power requirements.

        3. The energy will be generated by the wind caused by the high speed rail whooshing by. Win, wind, win!

          1. Yeah, whooshing by is right. LOL.

        4. No problem. The California legislature can repeal the laws of thermodynamics to remedy that problem.

      4. There are one or two being built near San Diego.

        One sticking point is getting environmental approval for the intake pipe. Another is that every time we start getting serious about better water management, we happen to have a rainy winter.

        Surprisingly, desalinization would be a good fit for the landlocked Central Valley where it could be used to reclaim groundwater that has been contaminated by agricultural runoff.

    2. so basically Kalifnornia needs an inch of rain across 500 square miles?

      How much rain?

      1. er, no, my mistake…it would be 100 inches of rain over 500 square miles

        1. So about 0.4 inches over the entire state?

          1. I did the math below: 4 inches.

            11T gallons = 1.1 E13 gallons
            1 gallon = 3.785 liters, so
            ~4.16 E13 liters
            ~4.16 E16 cm^3
            California is ~156K sq. mi. and one mile is 160934.4 cm, so
            1.56 E5 sq. mi. * 1.609344 E5 * 1.609344 E5 = 4.04 E15 cm^2.

            4.16 E16 cm^3 / 4.04 E15 cm^2 = ~10.3 cm.

            1. Well now you’re just making shit up.

              /Amanda Marcotte.

              1. Brilliant, Rufus. Keep that up and we’ll make you an honorary American.

            2. You can’t explain that.

            3. Needs Trigger Warning before Maths!!

            4. Yeah, but it will take more rainfall than that. I don’t know much about California geology, but I’m sure that much less than 100% of rainfall goes to replenishing aquifers. I’m pretty sure that CA water management policies mandate that most rainfall would just run off.

            5. Fucking decimal places! How do they work?

      2. Hey, lighten up, gaijin. It’s not like that site is healthcare.gov or anything.

        1. yeah, thanks. Looks like I picked the wrong day to switch to decaf 😉

          1. Wait until you realize how good a sniff of glue would feel right now.

    3. A quick set of calculations reveals that it requires about 4 inches of rain over every square inch of California to get to 11 trillion gallons.

      1. Can’t they just mandate a law whereby they buy 11 trillion non-plastic bottles of water?

        1. Excellent.

          And just think of the recycling JOBS!

        2. Eleven trillion non-plastic bottles of water on the wall;
          Eleven trillion non-plastic bottles of water;
          Take one down, pass it around,
          Ten trillion, nine hundred ninety-nine billion, nine hundred ninety-nine million, nine hundred ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred ninety-nine non-plastic bottles of water on the wall.

          Repeat until all bottles are taken down.

      2. Yeah, but that would just fill the aquifers, if they didn’t keep getting more rain than they have been they’d be drained back down fairly quickly and more importantly nowhere near all that water would end up in those aquifers.

        A lot of it would get trapped as ground water and then evaporate away

    4. Or maybe not everyone needs a swimming pool. I’m guessing about 85% of socal homes have pools and we’re talking in-ground models here.

      1. And since CA is always concerned about children, and since pools are more dangerous to young children than guns, it’s win-win if they get rid of them.

      2. And maybe it wasn’t a completely great idea to build big cities in the desert.

        Of course, people should build what they want to, but a lot of the cities probably wouldn’t exist as they do without big federal dam projects and such.

        1. It’s not the cities anyway. It’s the agriculture. The farming sector consumes about 80% of California’s water.

          1. Which is incredible given the pools and lawns.

          2. And they would scream bloody murder if they had to pay anywhere near the market value of that water.

      3. It’s closer to 5%.

        1. Is that the proportion of detached houses, or residences in general?

          1. I was estimating residences in general, including apartment buildings with common swimming pools. Southern California is very different in reality than, say, on TV.

  9. A federal jury sided with Apple in an anti-trust lawsuit over the company’s decision to block music downloaded via competitor services from playing on the iPod.

    Just be sure not to embed a hard drive explorer in your next operating system.

  10. It is unclear what impact, if any, the opinion might have other than to rally critics and fuel momentum behind other lawsuits.

    What is auditing Judge Schwab, chopped liver?

  11. After years of drought California needs 11 trillion gallons of water to refill its aquifiers.

    If you break the state into pieces, each new state will need less!

    1. Would the new states still have to do that “If it’s yellow, let it mellow” thing?

  12. After years of drought California needs 11 trillion gallons of water to refill its aquifiers.

    Why don’t those idiots just mint eleven trillion dollar water-coins?

    1. OK, I laughed.

    2. Or one platinum coin thats worth eleven trillion water-coins?

      1. Okay, now you’re just being silly.

  13. Slate’s Resident Conservative Columnist on White Privilege

    “I wonder if the racial self-flagellation of #CrimingWhileWhite is like buying an indulgence. If you engage in ritualized expressions of white guilt, you are free to enjoy your white privilege, comfortable in the knowledge that you are nothing like those ignorant and presumably terrible white people who refuse to do so. I have little patience for this kind of privilege-checking. As Phoebe Maltz Bovy observed back in May, invocations of white privilege are more often than not a way for one privileged person to “win a sensitivity competition” with another privileged person.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/…..ilege.html

    1. I imagine most people are dicks occasionally throughout the course of a day. Why do we need to invent more things to feel bad about?

    2. “win a sensitivity competition” with another privileged person.”

      Sounds about right.

      1. Hey, I’m more sensitive than you, you othering bastard!

    3. Why does the white privilege conversation ignore the ways in which Asian Americans have used their social ties to achieve success, or the yawning chasm that separates upper-middle-income Mormon Californians from impoverished Appalachian whites? The simple answer is that we talk about white privilege as a clumsy way of talking about black exclusion.

      How did something rational get on Slate?

      1. I’d argue that this is exactly what we’re living through right now: If everyone’s wages were growing, and if everyone felt secure enough in their jobs to quit every now and again in search of better opportunities elsewhere, I doubt that we’d be talking quite so much about white privilege. We’d definitely talk about broken schools and mass incarceration and law enforcement policies that disproportionately damage the lives of nonwhites. Yet we might talk about these problems in a more forward-looking way, as formidable obstacles that need to be overcome by all Americans, not just guilty whites.

        I like this guy.

  14. The Wire was better than Breaking Bad, according to Complex.

    I was going to say something about how if they really wanted me to click on it they would make it into a buzzfeed-style list. Then I saw the real headline on the story: “The Wire” vs. “Breaking Bad” | 10 Reasons Why “The Wire” is Better

  15. After years of drought California needs 11 trillion gallons of water to refill its aquifiers.

    But if they collect it and someone pees in it, they’ll just have to collect it all over again.

  16. The Wire was better than Breaking Bad, according to Reality.

    1. What if I think The Wire was better at some things and Breaking Bad better at others? Should I keep such a scorching hot take off of the internet?

      1. Yes. No Half-Measure.

        1. Deadwood was better than either Breaking Bad or the Wire, because it didn’t have a somewhat lame final season to sort of ruin it at the end.

          Oh yeah, and fuck HBO with a chainsaw for not finishing that show.

          1. I think the blame goes to the writer’s guild for striking.

      2. There can be only one. And if you can’t rank all TV shows in an absolute order of goodness, you are a failure as a human being.

        1. So you agree that Babylon 5 is the greatest tv show ever?

          1. I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen that.

      3. Here is the one feature of Breaking Bad that was better than The Wire.

        1. Oh, I think I’d take Kima. Or some of those Ukrainian whores.

          My one complaint about The Wire (besides the ridiculous fake serial killer plot line in season 5) is that they stopped putting gratuitously titillating nude scenes in after season 3 or so.

    2. I heard about The Wire from Radley Balko. If a show is recommended by Balko, it’s automatically better than anything else.

  17. A federal jury sided with Apple in an anti-trust lawsuit over the company’s decision to block music downloaded via competitor services from playing on the iPod.

    First, fuck Apple.

    Secondly, fuck anyone stupid enough to buy an iPod and then complain, via lawsuit, about the One True Pod’s way of screwing their customers into the Apple compound.

    1. One i-pod is the only Apple product I have ever owned. And I definitely am not an audio geek. So how was it that I bought music via non-Apple sources onto my PC and transferred them to my i-pod? It seemed pretty straightforward when I did it.

      1. I never bought any of their crippled music, so all my music was ripped from CDs, when I had an iPod.

        Once Amazon started selling DRM-less music, I never looked back. To this day, I’ve never bought anything off of iTunes.

    2. I got an iPod when I purchased a car that had an iPod interface controllable from the steering wheel.

      I’ve never downloaded any media content via iTunes, though it annoys the crap out of me that I can’t just treat my iPod like a hard drive, since that’s what it is.

  18. “I think people forget that we’ve lived in the White House for six years,” the first lady told PEOPLE, laughing wryly, along with her husband, at the assumption that the first family has been largely insulated from coming face-to-face with racism.

    Would someone *kindly* explain this? Is the White House a hotbed of racism?

    1. The domestic help staff look down on them.

    2. They don’t call it the White House just because of the paint job.

      1. Oh. …… OHHHHH!

        /Edith Bunker

        1. Stahp! Thank god I’d already swallowed that last sip of coffee.

    3. Apparently the white house is it’s self an entity.

    4. It’s because all opposition to their policies is racist.

    5. It’s still called the “White” House, Rich. Duh.

    6. Spare me.

    7. Would someone *kindly* explain this? Is the White House a hotbed of racism?

      All Republicans are racist and all and any opposition to Obama stems from that racism. All that debate about Obamacare? Racist.

    8. Last Halloween, all these kids in sheets were crawling around…fortunately, the Secret Service was able to take down those Klanspeople.

      1. Actually the only intruder shot by the SS and associated goons was, in fact, black.

        So, there’s that. But, I imagine that the SS agents are too interested in hookers and blow to be hardcore racists.

  19. Am I wrong or is the drought in California not largely man-made?

    1. Global warming Climate change. Duh.

    2. If they will just be patient, rising sea levels will take care of the drought.

    3. Not the drought which people have no direct control over, despite what the enviro-catastrophists say.

      What they are experiencing is not enough water to support their chosen lifestyle – green lawns in an arid climate, swimming pools, movie stars…

        1. [High fives LTC]

          1. *hooo-we’s and shoots at possum with trusty shootin’ iron*

      1. Yeah, I didn’t mean AGW so much as I was referring to agriculture not being PERMITTED to use water for irrigation due to the delta smelt or whatever horseshit the Cali EPA saddles them with…

        1. Well, it’s still a drought even if people aren’t using every bit of available water. It could have less severe effects on farmers without some restrictions that are in place, but that doesn’t make it less a drought.

      2. CA population history:
        1900 – 1,485,053
        1930 – 5,677,251
        1950 – 10,586,223
        1970 – 19,953,134
        1990 – 29,760,021
        2000 – 33,871,648
        2009 – 38,292,687

        People use a lot of water. More people inherently means more water demand. Since CA water resources are not infinite, population increases mean either a reduction in per capita water use or an eventual crisis in aquifers.

        Agriculture also requires a lot of water, and over the past century CA has become the supplier of fruits, nuts, and vegetables to the world.

        Something has got to give. Global CO2 emissions have absolutely nothing to do with it.

    4. Wasn’t there some report recently that concluded it had nothing to do with man-made climate change? I have no idea how one would determine that, but it seems like the catastrophists aren’t pushing a climate change angle with the drought.

  20. http://taxprof.typepad.com/tax…..xpats.html

    Why does Uncle Sam hate American ex-pats?

    Because they’ve abandoned the collective, comrade.

    “It’s time for Congress to carefully analyze Fatca and repeal the law if the costs outweigh the benefits. In any case, Fatca should be immediately modified to ensure that Americans abroad do not face the dilemma of either giving up their U.S. citizenship or not having modern banking services.”

    Fuck your ‘cost/benefit’ analysis. It’s grotesque that any American citizen should lose the ability to bank in the country they live in because the American tax code penalizes foreign banks. I don’t care how much money the U.S. government gets from that, it’s a moral crime.

    1. It is totally disgusting. The feds now assume 24/7 world wide life time jurisdiction over its citizens. You can be prosecuted in federal court for crimes committed outside of US soil that do not involve US citizens as victims. It is fucking horrible.

      1. Er, I think the US government has always exercised jurisdiction over US citizens, wherever they might be.

        1. If they’ve always claimed jurisdiction, then by definition they assume it now.

          And here I thought you were the one who parsed words.

        2. No, they haven’t. The FATCA provision under discussion dates back all the way to the antediluvian dark ages of 2010.

          Meanwhile, throughout most of history, it was assumed that if you committed a crime in another country against that country’s citizens you were basically under their jurisdiction. If a victim is not an American and you are not in America, there’s no rational reason for you to be tried in federal court.

          1. Being a citizen kind of means falling under the jurisdiction of the nation’s laws. Of course you can be under the physical jurisdiction of another place when you commit a crime there.

            1. The FBI only has jurisdiction outside of the US when they are deputized by that country.

              1. No, they claim worldwide unitary jurisdiction. They go through the motions of getting deputized by the host country so they don’t get arrested by the local LEOs.

                Just as we would look askance at Canadian Mounties rousting someone in Arizona without permission from the feds (or whoever).

                1. Didn’t say they weren’t deputized. Just saying that they aren’t legally allowed to do anything without permission. Basically, every other country is rolling over for the USA.

            2. Except that if that were true, then other countries would be doing the same thing. Since we are the only nation with anything even resembling the FATCA rules, clearly no other country feels that the act of being a citizen gives the government jurisdiction over your foreign bank accounts.

              Since no other country in the history of the planet has ever felt that citizenship gives government this sort of jurisdiction over you, clearly that is not what citizenship ‘kind of means.’

              1. You’re wrong about that, Other countries have laws governing the extraterritorial conduct of their citizens.

                From Israel’s Penal Code: “15. (a) Israeli penal law shall apply to a foreign offence of the category of felony or misdemeanor committed by a person while being – either at the time of or after committing the offence – an Israeli national or resident of Israel; ”

                http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b60a4.html

                1. And from Japan

                  “This Code shall apply to any Japanese national who commits one of the following crimes outside the territory of Japan:”

                  http://www.japaneselawtranslat…..penal+code

              2. clearly no other country feels that the act of being a citizen gives the government jurisdiction over your foreign bank accounts

                Well, no other country does it like the US with taxes. But plenty claim the right to charge their citizens for crimes committed outside of the country. Some even allow charges against non-citizens for things they did in other countries, like when Spain charged Pinochet with crimes against humanity, or whatever it was.

              3. The U.S. government is unique in taxing income earned outside its jurisdiction by its citizens.

                As RC Dean pointed out many years ago, the U.S. has cobbled together a set of exit capital controls in its attempts to plunder as much money from the citizenry as they can get away with.

                In that respect, I am reminded of Turkey’s desperate attempts to prevent my parents from taking their money with them when they emigrated.

                1. I’d rather be subject to U.S. jurisdiction if I’m accused of a murder abroad, than subject to U.S. jurisdiction to the extent of denying banking services without my having been charged with any crime.

                  1. Hmmm…when I put it that way it sounds almost tautological.

                2. no other country feels that the act of being a citizen gives the government jurisdiction over your foreign bank accounts

                  Always follow the money.

          2. This actually started with going after pedophiles.

            Don’t remember when exactly but sometime in the 1990’s they passed a law which allowed the US government to charge you with a crime if you had sex with someone underage in a foreign country (even if they were of legal age for that country) so they could go after sex tour operators.

            1. I remember that. I don’t think the US was the first to do that, though. I seem to remember some European country making a similar law first.

    2. And speaking of abandoning the collective, I’d like to thank Episiarch for his most excellent comment several weeks back about how progs hate anyone who wants to opt out of the collective.

      I used that on another, non-libertarian, forum a while back and I’m still getting likes on that and the occasional butt-hurt response, most recently: “doesn’t sound like you contribute that much anyway” [which the poster had no idea about, of course].

      Thanks, Epi.

      1. “doesn’t sound like you contribute that much anyway”

        Well, do you?

        1. Yes. I’m single, have a good job, don’t receive government handouts, etc. But I’m not about to tell the poster that because the inevitable response would be that I wasn’t paying enough.

          1. Oh, never respond to idiots like that.

            Not worth it.

  21. Obama Administration Changes Rule to Benefit Big Donor to Democrats

    “The Obama administration overturned a ban preventing a wealthy, politically connected Ecuadorean woman from entering the United States after her family gave tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns, according to finance records and government officials.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12…..-news&_r=0

  22. Federal officials say there’s no sign of a plot by the Sony hackers to attack screenings of The Interview.

    Other than, you know, SAYING THEY WOULD.

    1. Come on, L. Who would trust the word of known *criminals*?

    2. I could say I’m going to launch a private shuttle into space tomorrow, but if you determined I had no actual plan or means of doing so, the fact that I said I would is meaningless.

      1. Ah, but is the “determination” *correct*?

      2. Hey Irish!

        If I pay you $15.00 per passenger I book, would you give me the exclusive rights to sell tickets for this space shuttle flight of yours?

      3. Agreed. But hacking the crap out of Sony is evidence that these people are capable of some sort of action already.

        1. “But doing *that* is nothing compared to something something a movie theater!”

        2. I understand that, but hacking emails is a vastly different crime than carrying out actual bombings against movie theaters.

          Here’s the issue: Hacking and calling in bomb *threats* are similar crimes in that they both revolve fucking with people remotely and trying to harm them with your wits.

          Committing an actual attack on a movie theater is in no way a similar crime to that of hacking. It’s a completely different MO. How many groups engage in hacking emails and then graduate to bomb making?

    3. I think we need to know if these are North Korean hackers or actual hackers that know how to use a computer. I’m not at all afraid of the NORKs ability to harm a movie theater in Upstate NY. And unless the computer hackers that can actually do some damage are using weapons now, I’m not worried about them either. At worst, I assume the power would go out in the middle of the theater, maybe the sprinkler system, or the system won’t accept my credit card at the concession stand.

      1. If the theatre is crowded, maybe they’ll hack into the Fire Control System and set off the alarms?

    4. It is funny how the government refuses to take anyone at their word. Osama Bin Laden spent the entire decade of the 1990s saying he was going to make war on the US. The government assured us “he doesn’t mean it”. The guys who did the Boston Marathon bombings might as well have had a “young Jihadists of America” Facebook page and the government still let them in the country. It is almost like since the government lies about everything, it assumes everyone else does the same.

      1. I think overall it’s probably a good thing for our government not to be alarmist over what every anti-US blowhard in the world might say. To be otherwise would hardly result in less government.

        1. As long as you can judge which blowhard is serious and which is not. Good luck with that.

          1. Don’t you think taking every blowhard seriously would lead to an incredible increase in government action? That’s not something I’m interested in seeing. Most blowhards are just that.

      2. Nobody should ever take government at its word either.

        1. That’s why I would believe actual legit hackers over anything Kim Jong Un says to the media. So, DHS, are these threats from unknown computer geeks, or the NORKs?

      3. The Clinton administration didn’t seem to completely dismiss the threat from Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

        What else do you think should have been done? Serious question.

        I think that Bo is right, you can’t just take every threat as deadly serious. But when you have the CIA and everything, you should be able to figure out which threats are more serious.

        1. But when you have the CIA and everything, you should be able to figure out which threats are more serious.

          See, this is why we need to torture!
          -Cheney

        2. But when you have the CIA and everything, you should be able to figure out which threats are more serious.

          The US tries so hard to do this they overdo it and get worse results. The typical government solution of “throwing more money at it” doesn’t work.

          There’s so much agency territorial pissing going on now that the US would rather manufacture threats than quell actual ones.

    5. Anyone who goes to see a Franco/Rogan bromedy turd deserves to be attacked.

      1. Shut your filthy yap. Seth Rogen is totally hot.

        1. ..I don’t even…

          1. Haven’t you heard of bears?

            (to our gay friends, please excuse me if I’ve got it wrong)

  23. There is a lot of talk in the media about the current generation being the generation of self esteem and everyone gets a trophy. This is an interesting article about how Google has stopped hiring graduates from “top schools”. The media tends to be from the “top schools” and thus focuses on graduates from those places because they are like themselves. Judging from this article the current generation is not overall “generation retard” or “generation self esteem”. Instead, a certain subset of the generation who grew up pampered and went to the top schools fits that description. My experience of the generation in the military, none of whom wen to “top schools” seems to match Google’s.

    http://qz.com/180247/why-googl…..e=fb1205_5

    1. The problem with modern ‘top schools’ is that they don’t actually have any higher standards anymore than good state schools. Grade inflation has made it so that you basically don’t have to do that much work to get good grades, even at Harvard. In fact, when Yale tried to combat grade inflation, a lot of people decided to go to other schools than Yale specifically because they knew they’d be able to get a better grade.

      This results in people who don’t actually learn anything in college. However, people who go to these allegedly ‘top schools’ not only don’t learn any more in college than people at lower tier schools, but they have a sense of entitlement and superiority due to attending an allegedly great university.

      As a result, you get someone who isn’t any better as a worker than someone from a state school, but also has an unmanageable ego.

      1. But the competition to get into the ‘top schools’ is still pretty impressive, the test scores of those that get it are really good.

        1. “Test scores”? How quaint!

          1. From what I understand test scores are still a big deal generally at the elite schools. Have you read Charles Murray’s work on the ‘cognitive elite?’

            1. Charles “Bell Curve” Murray?

              1. Yes, him.

                1. Careful Bo. There’s a strong strain of proggy disdain around here for people who do math without thinking about whether their calculations are PC or not.

            2. Problem is test scores to not reliably indicate superior mental abilities.

              They do indicate that you have some mental ability (you’re not a moron) but they are just as likely to indicate that your parents could afford to send you to $300/hour tutors to train you for the test.

              1. Problem is test scores to not reliably indicate superior mental abilities.

                Based on what metrics? Other tests?

                Or on lifetime income? Because that metric begins trending downward above a standardized IQ score of about 125.

                1. Never mind, I see that you agree with that downthread.

        2. “But the competition to get into the ‘top schools’ is still pretty impressive, the test scores of those that get it are really good.”

          Sure, but those test scores are from the last two years of high school. You then spend four years at college and possibly go to graduate school.

          You could be talking about people who are 7 years removed from the tests they scored well on and have just spent almost a decade learning approximately nothing due to absurd grade inflation.

          ACT scores are a poor measure of future ability as a worker. I’d love to see the difference in productivity between someone who scored, say, a 28 on the ACT and a 34 on the ACT. I’m willing to bet it isn’t much of a difference.

          1. I think scores on standardized tests actually are an impressive correlate to later income in life. See The Bell Curve for example.

            1. They correlate *to a degree* in that someone who scores an 18 on the ACT is simply not smart enough to compete with people who scored towards the high end.

              Once you get towards the high end though, they become vastly less important.

              Moreover, even if test scores were to correlate, that still doesn’t prove people who go to Harvard are better than people who go to a state school. If someone goes to a state school with test scores that could have gotten into Harvard, what is the value added of a Harvard degree versus a University of Minnesota degree?

              People graduate top of their class all the time and then attend state schools. I have seen no evidence that they perform any worse than a Harvard graduate in the same position.

              1. I’m not arguing they get something more from Harvard than they would from U Michigan, just that more top scorers go to the former, and scores correlate with measures of success in life rather impressively. Harvard may or may not do much more than Michigan, but the people who went to Harvard are generally smarter to start with.

            2. There is some truth to that. But not everyone with high tests scores goes to a “top school”. What the Google example seems to be showing is the top schools are reducing the value of their students. They are taking smart students and making them into bad employees by pampering them and depriving them of the kinds of life experiences necessary to be a top employee. Meanwhile the smart students who go to the lower ranked schools seem to be getting these kinds of experiences and are thus better prepared.

              1. They are taking smart students and making them into bad employees by pampering them and depriving them of the kinds of life experiences necessary to be a top employee.

                My sister is a PhD working at Harvard Med. (She did not get her PhD there.) Not only does she echo this sentiment, she hates that Harvard mgt doesn’t want to hear it, even though DARPA has told them the same thing multiple times.

                Harvard would gladly shit away all their DARPA money before they would ever consider reigning in their institutional arrogance.

            3. Correlate to higher income != Correlates to higher intellectual ability

        3. According to Stanford Univ., the three people with the highest IQs ever did not even attend a U.S. college.

      2. Like everything, the market has a way of correcting this problem. I am pretty sure Google is a smart company and is no doubt making a good business move here. If that is so, other companies will follow. Gradually the value of high GPA will diminish and the incentive to inflate grades will go away. Schools will have to institute standards or employers will stop hiring their graduates.

        1. unless the employer is .gov?

          1. Not really. They hire mostly veterans these days. They have their own mafia and crony network that doesn’t really relate to the top schools.

            The only places where the top schools still rule is on Wall Street, the Media, Law, and in Congress and politics. Interestingly, those are by far the most dysfunctional institutions in America. Go figure.

            1. i.e., industries where who you know outweighs what you know

              1. i.e., industries where who you know outweighs what you know

                The whole point of going to a top school is social networking.

                1. The whole point of going to a top school is social networking.

                  Without question.

      3. Grade inflation has made it so that you basically don’t have to do that much work to get good grades, even at Harvard.

        Yes, in fact Harvard’s median grade awarded is an A-

        Grade Inflation

        1. Harvard, Lake Wobegon of the Northeast

  24. Time to lay off the doughnuts! Study reveals cops are the most obese workers in America

    Along with firefighters and security guards, nearly 41% of police are obese
    Findings published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine study
    Slimmest workers are economists, scientists and psychologists

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..study.html

    1. Meh. It’s just their way of bonding with The People.

    2. It is interesting firefighters are fat. I thought firefighters had to pass fitness tests and be able to carry people out of fires and shit. A fat firefighter is well on useless I would think.

      1. As the NFL can attest, fat != out of shape.

      2. Firefighters, I believe, rarely have to carry people out of burning buildings.

        I know a lot of firefighters who are volunteers in rural area around my city, and many of their calls are brush fires, ‘someone having trouble breathing’*, etc. Sure, they actually put out structure fires, but rarely do they arrive with people still inside. Mostly they stand back and pour water on it until it’s out.

        Lots of big country boys doing that work. Also, like Rasilio says, many have huge bellies but are strong as bulls. They won’t run very far, but they can haul you out of your house if they have to, I bet.

        *was in a class and the instructor mentioned the problem of chronic “I need a ride to the hospital” customers who use this technique.

        1. You guys both make good points. I assumed that “fat” means actually fat and not just “fat” according some dumb ass government BMI standard.

    3. Gotta fatten the hogs!

    4. I’m ok with fat and lazy. It’s the gorilla juice heads that you really have to worry about.

      1. Yeah but most juicers and guy rats will still be considered obese even if their body fat is under 10%

        Remember, obesity is defined as your height to weight ratio, it is not defined by your fat to muscle ratio or your physical fitness

    5. The fire guys in my town are fit….the cops….well, not so many.

      1. It looks like it is BMI based, and thus not necessarily accurate – with respect to firefighters the ones I’ve seen are just big, burly dudes. The exact type you want to drag you out of a burning building.

    6. The thin [munch munch] blue line.

  25. That was quack thinking! Swimmer dives into frozen lake to rescue duck trapped bottom-up in the ice

    Norwegian Lars Jorun Langoien, 36, spotted the bird in Lake Sognsvann
    He dived into the lake where he broke the ice and grabbed the lifeless duck
    The swimmer performed CPR on the bird at the shore to bring it back to life

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..m-ice.html

    Um…

    1. Rule 34?

    2. Wow. The rest of the story is that an Eagle ate the newly revived duck five minuets after it was released. But hey, Eagle has got to eat.

      1. Why do you think the duck was hiding in the water in the first place?

        1. Yeah. I doubt that really happened, but it is funny to think about. Cute duck though. I would have tried to save him too.

    3. Nice picture of Lars and the duck.

  26. Every LA cop to wear body cameras to ‘help hold officers accountable for misconduct’

    7,000 Los Angeles police officers will have on-body cameras by next summer
    Hollywood director Steven Spielberg is one of the two dozen individuals who contributed $1.35 million for the first 700 cameras
    Los Angeles police commission President Steve Soboroff estimated the cameras would cost roughly $10 million for the first two to three years
    After an outcry over the shooting of an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, resident Barack Obama recommended equipping officers with cameras

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..nduct.html

    1. $1.35 million, Steven????? I know how desperately underfunded government is, but could you send some money to the Institute for Justice, or somewhere else too? Perhaps Nick or Matt should send him a fund raising letter?

      1. Guess I misread that amount, but still……….

    2. resident Barack Obama

      He lives in LA?

      Another reason to not go back.

  27. Hoping you’ll WANT to be sent to Siberia! Tourism campaign uses bikini-clad women to tempt travellers to Russia’s most isolated region

    Tourism board released these chilly snaps as part of new campaign
    The largely unpopulated region touted as a relaxing remote destination
    Campaign meant to highlight that winter is a time of ‘excitement and fun’

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tra…..-lake.html

    1. Just think how different it would have been for Solzhenitsyn if the gulag guards looked like that.

    2. Siberia is an awesome wilderness. Taking the Trans Siberian Railroad has always been on my bucket list.

      1. THIS is overrated. And can be a little weird if you don’t day for first class. Just sayin. If you do though be sure to have tea. That is the thing to do.

        1. I would certainly take first class. And I could see it being a bit overrated. Notice I haven’t done it. But it still sounds cool.

          The other place I would like to go and actually someday might, is Mongolia. Mongolia is supposed to be like Montana in the 1890s. And you can take a gun there and hunt and such.

    3. Been there!
      It is cold now but in the summer it is hot and humid. Think Minnesota. And the chicks really can be that hot. I have no idea why but basically all slavic/nordic/tartar women seem to be smoking hot.
      Ohh, and Siberia would be a shit ton cooler if you could take your guns. It really is a very cool place and stupid remote…don’t get a paper cut while there.

    4. I’d love to go, but the Russkies make tourism too difficult and expensive. Visa requirements are a major hassle, and China is much more interesting anyway. If you want Russian culture and Siberian temperatures at Chinese prices, go to Harbin.

  28. Spangles the cross-eyed cat gets Christmas makeover: Pet with wonky stare poses in festive outfits

    Proud owner Mary Buchanan adopted him when he was five months old
    Poses for the camera in festive jumper, elf outfit and reindeer headgear
    The five-year-old tabby copes brilliantly with his skewed sight
    Owner is 27-year-old is college student from Spartanburg, South Carolina

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new…..olina.html

    I’ve got a cross-eyed cat. He’s deaf too. But he doesn’t mind. He didn’t hear about it so he doesn’t care.

    1. Spangles the cross-eyed cat gets Christmas makeover

      Next up: Gladly the cross-eyed bear get Easter makeover

  29. “A district court judge in Pennsylvania ruled that portions of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration are unconstitutional.”

    Oh really?!

    You mean some crazy judge still takes Article One, Section 8 seriously?

    He must be one of those Teahadi judges!

    Doesn’t he know that mentioning the Constitution at all is no longer acceptable in polite society?

    1. Sadly, I suspect that at least half of the Reason content providers hope that he ignores and defies this ruling the same way that he ignores and defies everyone who tries to stop his agenda and all the checks and balances in the system.

      1. I don’t think that’s true.

        I called out Welch, anyway, and he responded here in comments. It wasn’t like that at all.

        It’s just like it was for me, like when Obama was going after Libya. I would have supported that–if he’d asked for an authorization from Congress–but I always oppose the president fighting an unconstitutional war.

        But it gets tiring saying that in every single post to an audience that’s largely comprised of libertarians anyway.

        I’m an open borders guy myself, but I oppose what the president did on the grounds that it’s a direct usurpation of Congress’ enumerated powers in Article One, Section 8. That’s just such a long thing to say every time you post something–and the topic is usually broader than just the Constitutional aspects of it.

        Maybe there should be a generally accepted text-entry for some of these things–sort of like a sarcasm font. Maybe if what you’re saying is with the understanding that you’re assuming it’s done in compliance with Article One, Section 8, you put at the end, “A1S8” or something.

        Like Cato’s “Carthago delenda est”.

        1. I agree Ken. The rule of law is more important than getting some half assed easily reversible immigration benefit.

  30. Obama claims folks have mistook him for a valet.

    I wonder if this is like the stories in his memoirs that were lies.

    1. “Pardon me, Boy. Is that the Chattanooga Choo-Choo?”

    2. Pfffttt. Everytime I go to Best Buy, somebody asks me about a product like I work there. Does that make them bigoted against tall white guys?

      1. Maybe you should take off your name tag before you go shopping.

        1. Never thought of that. Shit.

          1. And your blue polo with khaki pants.

    3. They mistook him for someone with marketable skills? How offensive!

    4. The Wise Oracle and Turnip Dancer strike again.

      Jesus me.

    5. The confusion is natural – they saw a guy with a lot of baggage and assumed he was a valet.

    6. But did anyone tell him to go get his shine box?

    7. Pretty sure his closest adviser asked a four-star in full dress uniform to refill her water.

  31. Australia’s gun laws must not be strict enough.

    1. Yeah, if only the victims in the caf? had been unarmed…oh, wait…

  32. This is no surprise, but the head of the Cleveland Police Union is a piece of shit.

    1. Repeat the lie long enough…you know the rest.

      Scum indeed.

  33. Survey: Fair amount of sex while driving among young S.D. motorists

    http://www.startribune.com/lif…..97041.html

    1. You thought texting was distracting!

      Seriously, what is wrong with people?

      1. Bah, there isn’t anything else in SDak to hit while you are getting a hummer.

        If only I could have talked my wife into that option when we were going to the Black Hills. It sure would have made the trip more interesting.

    1. Oh come now Swiss. If the GOP would just work with him he wouldn’t have to (reluctantly and with a heavy heart) use such directives.

      /Burp.

    2. Been saying this for years. Nice to see mainstream news catching up.

      1. this:

        By issuing his directives as “memoranda” rather than executive orders, Obama has downplayed the extent of his executive actions.

  34. The Senate confirmed several judicial nominees and sent a package of tax breaks to the White House.

    Given that this is a lame duck congress, this could be a big deal. Anyone know who these judges are, what their stances on the judicial role are, who voted for them, etc. I can’t seem to find much information.

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