• Art,  Crime,  Gangs,  Government,  Russia

    Thursday link roundup

    • This Agitator post illustrates in perfect detail why it’s not even worth trying anymore. Short version, a noble citizen does soemthing that would save the fovernment 2.2 million dollars and deliver a higher quality. The feds refuse, and take years in doing so. Your tax dollars at sloth.
    • Putin’s Rise to Power
    • – really cool
    • Oil Econ 101 – and oldie but a goodie
    • This little nugget from Marginal Revolution

      In Brazil, they segregate their prisons according to gang membership. No exceptions. Not even for individuals who in fact are not members of any gang.

      How does that work? Easy. Upon being admitted to the prison system, unaffiliated prisoners are required to join a gang.

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  • Atlanta,  Government,  Public Scams

    Your tax dollars at work

    In the form of a brazen retirement scam at the Fulton County Clerks office. Basically the old clerk retires and her successor hires her back at $55 an hour.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution learned through open-records requests and interviews that Hicks is working without a contract, that her new job has no written goals or deadlines and has delivered no tangible work product in six months of employment.

    All this and the roads aren’t fixed.

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  • Government,  Weirdness

    Keeping us safe

    This is something to bear in mind as recent events have brought gun control back onto the discussion list

    Phony fax gives prisoner almost 2 weeks of freedom
    Officials released a prisoner from a state facility after receiving a phony fax that ordered the man be freed, and didn’t catch the mistake for nearly two weeks.

    Timothy Rouse, 19, is charged with beating an elderly western Kentucky man and was at the Kentucky Correctional & Psychiatric Center in La Grange for a mental evaluation. He was released from that facility on April 6 after officials received the fake court order.

    It contained grammatical errors, was not typed on letterhead and was faxed from a local grocery store. The fax falsely claimed that the Kentucky Supreme Court “demanded” Rouse be released.

    Prison officials did not notice that the fax came from a grocery store because policies did not require checking the source of a faxed order, said Greg Taylor, the LaGrange facility’s director.

    “It’s not part of a routine check, but certainly, in hindsight, that would perhaps have caused somebody to ask a question,” he said. He added that misspellings on orders are common.

    The most damning part I suppose is that misspellings on Supreme Court “demands” are common.

    Even if strict gun control is theoretically possible and desirable, it’s got to be administered by someone. And guess who that someone is going to be?

  • Government

    Taxes done

    Surprisingly they were within a few hundred dollars of what I thought they would be, which is not to say what I’m happy with, but at least they’re filed.

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  • Government,  Law

    Your tax dollars at work

    After being hyped for years, the label “The Imperial Presidency” seems to be coming true.

    A Justice Department official will refuse to answer questions during a Senate committee hearing on the firing of eight U.S. attorneys, citing her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself, her lawyer said Monday.

    All of this hubbub for something that the president has the explicit power to do (fire US attorneys), he just can’t look statesmanlike in doing so. Proving once again that the genius of the American political system lies in impeding the politicians, not empowering them.

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  • Government,  Iraq,  Military

    War quote of the moment

    From Marginal Revolution:

    …Thomas Ricks’ says the war on Iraq and subsequent occupation was ill-conceived, incompetently planned and poorly executed. I have no quarrel with that. What dismays me is that anyone expected any different. All wars are full of incompetence, mendacity, fear, and lies. War is big government, authoritarianism, central planning, command and control, and bureaucracy in its most naked form and on the largest scale. The Pentagon is the Post Office with nuclear weapons.

    I’ve always thought that the odds of the government getting some large conspiracy right were much smaller than the odds of them getting some basic assumptions wrong. The complaints of “Bush didn’t get the war planning right” crowd is baffling too. How else was it going to look. In many ways Iraq is much better managed than any of our other wars, only better lit. How else is it going to look?

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  • Government,  Military

    Cool new military stuff

    The Polecat, built by Lockheed Martin, was just unveiled. It’s a high altitude drone of some sort, but the most eye-catching line was

    The company built the plane with $27 million of its own money over an 18-month period.

    A pretty impressive design, for only $27 million, in only 18 months. It’s startling how much the client matters in terms time and cost. Even if you throw out the corruption and overruns (which would be huge), an internal client is much more likely to select only the low-hanging fruit, and put that into the mix.

  • Government,  Politics

    This happened without me

    Rally for national sales tax draws overflow crowd
    About 4,500 raucous tax protesters packed the Gwinnett Convention Center on Wednesday night to hear politicians, musicians and talk show celebrities call for the end of the federal income tax and the creation of a 23 percent national sales tax to replace it.

    I have yet to hear the logic of what gets taxed and what doesn’t, and why the IRS doesn’t morph into some national enforcement arm, but it’s a good trend.

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  • Drug War,  Government

    Two odd things

    1. The fact that Bolivia has elected a president that wants to legalize coca production is receiving very little attention.
    2. The Cisneros Independent Counsel investigation from the Clinton era is finally wrapping up. And they’re not releasing all of the report either. We really need standing ICs to investigate whatever comes up.
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  • Government

    Things that annoy me

    At the moment, it’s the statement “firms connected with the Bush Administration like Haliburton and Bechtel”. Any huge government contractor is connected with the Bush administration, just like they were with Clinton, Bush 41, Reagan, etc. How else would they be huge government contractors if they didn’t put former secretaries of whatever on their boards?

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