More on violence vs.
Sep 29th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

More on vio­lence vs. coöper­a­tion. Iowa Gov­er­nor Tom Vil­sack, per­haps test­ing a theme for a pos­si­ble 2008 pres­i­den­tial run:bq. Abra­ham Lin­coln once said: “gov­ern­ment should only do what cit­i­zens can not do for them­selves or what cit­i­zens can not do bet­ter.” Kat­ri­na and Rita prove the wis­dom of that approach. Orga­niz­ing mass evac­u­a­tions, res­cu­ing strand­ed home­own­ers, secur­ing aban­doned neigh­bor­hoods, financ­ing long term and tem­po­rary hous­ing, rebuild­ing pub­lic infra­struc­ture, attend­ing to med­ical needs, and avoid­ing future tragedies — those are items that gov­ern­ment must do. Indi­vid­u­als, non-profits, and the pri­vate sec­tor can­not, and should not, han­dle them.To reit­er­ate a theme I blogged about yes­ter­day, the mes­sage here, stripped of pre­ten­sion, is that “vio­lence is supe­ri­or to coöper­a­tion.” Vil­sack believes that humans can­not peace­ful­ly pro­duce infra­struc­ture, health care, or secu­ri­ty, so all of these things must be pro­vid­ed through vio­lence. [Mis­es Eco­nom­ics Blog]

I won­der what (if any­thing) Vil­sack was think­ing when he came up with those exam­ples? He’s some­how man­aged to come up with a series of exam­ples where the gov­ern­ment failed cat­a­stroph­i­cal­ly, and the peo­ple did very well (to the extent that they weren’t stopped from help­ing by the gov­ern­ment).

Jamming Aircraft Navigation Near Nuclear Power Plants .
Sep 29th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Jamming Aircraft Navigation Near Nuclear Power Plants. The German government want to jam aircraft navigation equipment near nuclear power plants.

This certainly could help if terrorists want to fly an airplane into a nuclear power plant, but it feels like a movie-plot threat to me. On the other hand, this could make things significantly worse if an airplane flies near the nuclear power plant by accident. My guess is that the latter happens far more often than the former. [Schneier on Security]

That's an idea that deserves some kind of prize for "silliest false-sense-of-security measure." Perhaps the German government is unaware of it, but around sixty years ago many thousands of pilots managed to fly all the way from Britain to precise locations in Germany without any electronics!

More war crimes from U.S.
Sep 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

More war crimes from U.S. sol­diers. MORE WAR CRIMES BY U.S. SOLDIERS. In vio­la­tion of the Gene­va Con­ven­tion, they’re appar­ent­ly send­ing grue­some pho­tos of Iraqi war dead and wound­ed to be pub­lished on the Inter­net. Their reward: access to ama­teur porn. And appar­ent­ly also the dubi­ous “delight” of writ­ing fun­ny cap­tions about maimed and muti­lat­ed peo­ple — like the cap­tion describ­ing a woman with her leg blown off and her naked crotch vis­i­ble: “Nice puss — bad foot.” The Gene­va Con­ven­tion for­bids dis­play­ing and ridi­cul­ing pho­tos of war dead. Even if it weren’t a war crime, it cer­tain­ly blows away any notion that U.S. sol­diers in Iraq are “hero­ic lib­er­a­tors.” The oth­er day, I ridiculed the idea that abuse of pris­on­ers came from “fail­ure of lead­er­ship.” But you real­ly have to won­der … who’s in charge over there, and how clue­less can the “lead­ers” actu­al­ly be? Bad­mug­gafug­ga post­ed this in the midst of an oth­er­wise innocu­ous and unre­lat­ed thread at TCF. The sto­ry deserves wider atten­tion.

The notion of US sol­diers as hero­ic lib­er­a­tors was dead long before this, I think. I sug­gest that all the sol­diers who sent the pho­tos in ques­tion should be giv­en dis­hon­or­able dis­charges, stripped of their weapons and equip­ment, and kicked out the door–in Iraq. I’m sure the Iraqi peo­ple will give their artis­tic and comedic tal­ents the recep­tion they deserve.

Police Superintendent Compass retires .
Sep 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Police Super­in­ten­dent Com­pass retires. New Orleans Police Super­in­ten­dent Eddie Com­pass announced his retire­ment at a hasti­ly called press con­fer­ence today. May­or Ray Nagin, who… [Times-Picayune]

bq. “Although this is a sad day for New Orleans, it’s a good day for the Com­pass fam­i­ly,” Nagin said.

Sounds like a vari­a­tion on the rather overused line about “want­i­ng to spend more time with his fam­i­ly.” Well, good rid­dance.

Only the Cows Can Come Home .
Sep 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Only the Cows Can Come Home. The New York Times reports on Rita evac­uees lin­ing up to return: Mr. Reeves has worked in the last year… [Hit and Run]

Pre­dictably, the gov­ern­ment is now inter­fer­ing with attempts to help peo­ple after Rita.

M 7.5, northern Peru .
Sep 26th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

M 7.5, north­ern Peru. Sep­tem­ber 26, 2005 01:55:39 GMT [USGS M>2.5 Earth­quakes]

That’s a fair­ly large earth­quake. I hope it wasn’t near an inhab­it­ed area.

And We Call Them “Terrorists”?
Sep 24th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

And We Call Them “Ter­ror­ists”?. I asked once before: “Is the Unit­ed States a Ter­ror­ist State”? [ Blog]

If any state is, the US is.

Houston and Martial Law .
Sep 23rd, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Hous­ton and Mar­tial Law. As post­ed pre­vi­ous­ly, I evac­u­at­ed from Hous­ton on Wed. before the main exo­dus and night­mar­ish traf­fic snarls start­ed (but feel free to call me a “Rita Refugee”; I won’t be offend­ed). A friend who was trapped there final­ly got out this morn­ing; the road to Waco was final­ly clear, as of ear­ly this a.m., he said. Appar­ent­ly in the mean­time there is some vari­ant of mar­tial law being imposed, as a rel­a­tive still in Hous­ton told me that even though the roads are now open peo­ple are not per­mit­ted to leave their homes–it seems to be a type of mar­tial law called “shel­ter in place”. If you hit the Inter­state now you get arrest­ed. Makes sense–as soon as the roads clear up, you can’t leave–with over 12 hours until the storm hits. By Stephan Kin­sel­la. [ Blog]

The gov­ern­ment real­ly doesn’t like it when peo­ple take care of them­selves in poten­tial­ly dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions.

An Explosive Story .
Sep 22nd, 2005 by Ken Hagler

An Explo­sive Sto­ry. The Bat­tle of Bas­ra, where British troops “res­cued” two out-of-uniform British sol­diers who’d got­ten into a con­tretemps with Iraqi police, gets more fas­ci­nat­ing by the moment. A news item put out by China’s Xin­hua News Agency’s con­tains the fol­low­ing fas­ci­nat­ing para­graph:

‘Two per­sons wear­ing Arab uni­forms opened fire at a police sta­tion in Bas­ra. A police patrol fol­lowed the attack­ers and cap­tured them to dis­cov­er they were two British sol­diers,’ an Inte­ri­or Min­istry… [ Blog]

I used to think that the Iraqis who claimed that a ter­ror­ist bomb­ing was actu­al­ly done by the US were just believ­ing para­noid rumors. Now it’s start­ing to look like they were right after all.

At Least They Didn’t Shoot Him… .
Sep 22nd, 2005 by Ken Hagler

At Least They Didn’t Shoot Him…. This unset­tling account by a Lon­don blog­ger explains how he was stopped by police on the Under­ground for, appar­ent­ly, hav­ing a back­pack and wear­ing a coat they regard­ed as too bulky. They looked through his things, apol­o­gized for the incon­ve­nience… and then arrest­ed him. He was then held for about eight hours while they cart­ed off all the com­put­er equip­ment from his apart­ment. [Hit and Run]

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