Category Archives: Police State

Rapid fire and random thoughts

  • Interesting thoughts on the use of mercenaries to settle third world conflicts (Darfour, the Congo, etc) at Instapundit and Marginal Revolution. I’m a bit queasy about the idea myself, though it’s probably worth trying.
  • Congress asserts amazing immunities for itself. No-knock raids and tear gas are good enough for you and me though.
  • Why do we believe anything sponsored by supposedly independent interest groups, in this case, an epidemic of girls going wild?
  • A nice AJAX primer from Brainjar.
  • Traffic Data in Windows Live Local.
  • The current media created craze is the fight club. I think this article misses out on reasons why it is appealing to techies though. If you’re a programmer, you’re spending all day in your virtual world, and stepping into the ring is about as far away from that as you can get.

Quick round up

Zing!

This why I like the Agitator

Former Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes got it right when he said, “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.”


The Holmes quote is popular with the anti-smoking crowd. But it’s not quite accurate. The Ban the Ban folks always responded to it by saying that given that patronizing smoking bars is strictly voluntary, the proper analogy would be for you to run full speed into my closed fist, then complain when you walk away with a bloody nose.

Frankly, even that is probably giving them too much credit. Given the science on secondhand smoke, you’d have to run into my fist several dozen times per day for about 30 years before you’d even begin to see the first signs of a bloody nose. But of course, as soon as one person out of several thousand did get a bloody nose, you’d start agitating for laws calling for the arrest and imprisonment of people who stand around with close fists, lest some anti-smoking activist accidentally bump into one.

This article had me enraged for about an hour

Really, an hour. Here is money quote

Junk-food suit targets Nickelodeon, Kellogg

“But then they turn on Nickelodeon and see all those enticing junk-food ads,” Carlson said. “Adding insult to injury, we enter the grocery store and see our beloved Nick characters plastered on all those junky snacks and cereals.”

Carlson and another plaintiff, Andrew Leong of Brookline, Massachusetts, spoke at a news conference organized by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

They intend to sue Kellogg and Nickelodeon parent Viacom Inc. in state court in Massachusetts and served the required 30 days’ notice on Wednesday.

“For over 30 years, public health advocates have urged companies to stop marketing junk food to children,” said Susan Linn of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. “Even as rates of childhood obesity have soared, neither Viacom nor Kellogg has listened.”

It’s as if this woman’s children have their own money and do their own grocery shopping. Furthermore, I have it on good authority that children existing before television. Why not just take that away? Why aren’t we calling in some sort of family services on people who can’t control their kids?

And campaign for a commercial free childhood?

The pro-war libertarian quiz

The ever interesting reason magazine posted

How far are you willing to go to win the War on Terror?

These days I’m more for finishing Iraq favorably than pro-war, but I am strongly against just “declaring victory” or “strategic redeployment” without really changing anything.

Recently, here are my answers

  1. Should the National Security Agency or CIA have the ability to monitor domestic phone calls or e-mails without obtaining judicial approval?

    Nope. I think this is an impeachable offense too. The current case (supposedly) only monitored calls that crossed borders, which is legally a different matter, if I’m understanding things correctly.

  2. Should the government have the ability to hold an American citizen without charge, indefinitely, without access to a lawyer, if he is believed to be part of a terrorist cell?

    No. If caught on the battlefield I support stripping them of citizenship (by virtue of them being a foreign army and then treating them as one would a foreigner).

  3. Can you imagine a situation in which the government would be justified in waterboarding an American citizen?

    Yes. This question doesn’t belong here at all. This should be subject to warrants as well, but there are several situations where this could be the right thing to do.

  4. Are there American journalists who should be investigated for possible treason? Should Sedition laws be re-introduced?

    If they committed treason (using the standard definition that is unrelated to journalism) ,then yes. If not, then no. No to sedition laws. FYI – I consider freedom of the press to mean publishing, not protecting confidentiality of sources. They should be able to publish whatever they want, its the cover-ups and withholding information that I don’t consider protected.

  5. Should the CIA be able to legally assassinate people in countries with which the U.S. is not at war?

    Yes

  6. Should anti-terrorism cops be given every single law-enforcement tool available in non-terrorist cases?

    No. I guess this is really asking is if we should have super-cops or not.

  7. Should law enforcement be able to seize the property of a suspected (though not charged) American terrorist, and then sell it?

    No. Absolutely not. Due process of law in all things.

  8. Should the U.S. military be tasked with enforcing domestic crime?

    No. With a possible exception of keeping order in case of natural disasters.

  9. Should there be a national I.D. card, and should it be made available to law enforcement on demand?

    No.

  10. Should a higher percentage of national security-related activities and documents be made classified, and kept from the eyes of the Congress, the courts, and the public?

    No. Anything classified should have an automatic sunset date commensurate to it’s secrecy, but nothing should be indefinite.

8 out of 10.

This is weird and scary

Private industry eavesdropping

The Chicago Police Department is warning officers their cell phone records are available to anyone — for a price. Dozens of online services are selling lists of cell phone calls, raising security concerns among law enforcement and privacy experts.

Criminals can use such records to expose a government informant who regularly calls a law enforcement official.

Suspicious spouses can see if their husband or wife is calling a certain someone a bit too often.

And employers can check whether a worker is regularly calling a psychologist — or a competing company.

I’ve been wondering about this. I wonder how much the media does this as well. There has been very little coverage about cell phone privacy since Gingrich was recorded illegally several years ago. PGP encryption coverage has been curiously non-existent as well.

MARTA at it’s finest

Subway Rider Busted for Selling a Token

Transit police handcuffed and cited a man who sold a $1.75 subway token to another rider who was having trouble with a token vending machine. Transit authority spokeswoman Jocelyn Baker said Friday that the officer “acted within the law” after he spotted Donald Pirone, 42, selling the token Nov. 30 inside the West End subway station

Instead of giving Pirone a warning, the officer decided to handcuff him and give him the misdemeanor citation under a 1992 state law that bars passengers from selling Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority tokens, she said.

via the Agitator.

By all impression Marta would seem to have more employees than riders, but this is just ridiculous.