Saturday salmagundi

• In Italy, you can be convicted of manslaughter for failing to predict an earthquake. Apart from the general absurdity of Italy’s legal argument, it’s hard to imagine a worse or more dangerous step for undermining both honest science and public safety.

• The Consumerist provides a valuable tool: “A Guide to Figuring Out Executives’ Email Addresses.” Executive Email Carpet Bombs can be very effective — that’s why these addresses are easily accessible to the public.

• Beverly Mann is absolutely right that “The Quiet Fact That Obama Should SHOUT About” is a terrific example of good government serving and protecting the people of America. It’s evidence that Obama is on your side, and that ought to matter to voters. But Mann’s conclusion, that “Obama could put this election away within the next few days with a few clearly-stated, specific facts of this sort” presumes that this election is about facts and truth and reality. If that were the case, he’d have put the election away ages ago.

• The Peace Pastor asks, “Will Texas admit it killed an innocent man?” Answer: No. But it did.

• Promoting democracy: International observers head to Texas to learn how American democracy works. Republican officials threaten them with arrest.

• I would be extremely proud if one day I could claim a list of accomplishments as impressive as those listed in this campaign ad about Matt Varilek. Strangely, this isn’t an ad for Varilek, it’s for the incumbent, South Dakota’s Republican Rep. Krisi Noem. According to Noem and her party, getting a master’s degree, studying in Cambridge, and being hailed internationally as an expert are disgraceful misdeeds that voters should punish.

• Police in Montana say a man was having an affair with his neighbor’s wife, so he lay in wait for the neighbor and shot the unarmed husband three times, killing him in cold blood. And that’s why police won’t be pressing charges.

You’re Not Allowed to Kill Civilians.

• Rudy Giuliani thinks he’s got a “zinger,” saying that if insurance plans are going to cover birth control, then they “should cover Viagra. It’s only fair.” Since insurance plans already do cover Viagra — including plans for those patriarchal Christians railing against birth-control coverage — then Giuliani ought to be demanding coverage for birth control. “It’s only fair,” right, Rudy? Right? … Hello?Rudy?

• Here’s an Obama endorsement from someone who has actually accomplished what no Republican has in my lifetime: balanced the federal budget. Brad DeLong explains “Why I Am Going to Vote Against Mitt Romney, in Case You Were Wondering.”

• This is what the Internet is for: Doktor Zoom takes a literary journey inspired by a tweet from Sen. Grassley. “Assume Deer Dead,” he says, “is literature itself.”

“So we beat on, deer against the traffic, borne back ceaselessly into the past. …”

• Last week, thanks to the greedy little guy ransacking the Indian corn on our porch, I realized for the first time that chipmunks can store food in their cheeks just like hamsters. This week, via It’s Okay To Be Smart, I learn something slightly less adorable about our little friends.

• The mortality rate for human beings is 93.5 percent (so far).

• At Huffington Post, Charles Redfern reads Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism, by David Swartz. “Sider’s ESA narrowly evaded bankruptcy,” Redfern writes, summarizing the first decade of my working life in five words.

• Pastor Chris’ ideas in “Spitballing the Future of the Church” echo some of Scott Paeth’s ideas in his “Church for Freaks” series. Chris, meet Scott. Scott, meet Chris.

It could be bunnies. For Halloween, Kate Nash and band play “Once More With Feeling.” Pretty cool idea and it seemed fun, though “Where Do We Go From Here” is a bit of a downer for ending a set at a rock club.

John Fugelsang: “Limbaugh just called Christie ‘fat & a fool;’ which is like having Rush call you a draft-dodging woman-hating addict bigot.”

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  • hidden_urchin

    Where’s that Picard and Riker double facepalm jpeg. I need it to express the way I feel about the idiots running my state.

    I’ll just say that, as a seventh generation Texan, I was taught that Texans should always treat guests with great courtesy and good hospitality. I guess some people missed that lesson.

  • Tricksterson

    But don’t you see?!?  They weren’t really “election observers”!  They were UN troops!  In their millions!  With black helicopters!  And flying tanks!  With death rays!

  • reynard61

    “But don’t you see?!? They weren’t really ‘election observers’! They were UN troops! In their millions! With black helicopters! And flying tanks! With death rays!”

    And frikkin’ laser beams on their little blue beanies!!!

  • Carstonio

    Heh. Remember that we’re dealing with authoritarianism, a child’s view of authority and rules. These folks subconsciously view UN observers as like babysitters or substitute teachers, or being observed by them as like being on probation.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Remember, Willard Romney, you must not tell lies.

    /Dolores Umbridge

  • Launcifer

    Huh… have to say, I saw the picture of Imelda Staunton and, for one glorious second, thought it was a still from Vera Drake, which seems perversely appropriate to me given elements of Romney’s personal brand of healthcare idiocy. Boy was I miffed when I realised it was from Harry flippin’ Potter.

    Ahem. Rant, you say? Yes, yes, I’ll be right there.

  • Fusina

    The scariest thing is how Stanton and Romney have the same expression on their faces. Only one was acting…

  • Random_Lurker

     No.

    Only one will ADMIT they were acting.

  • Fusina

     True that.

  • LoneWolf343

    Actually, the Italian scientists were convicted because they SPECIFICALLY claimed tha tthere was not an earthquake coming even though they had lots of warning with foreshocks.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_L%27Aquila_earthquake

  • GDwarf

     

    Actually,
    the Italian scientists were convicted because they SPECIFICALLY claimed
    tha tthere was not an earthquake coming even though they had lots of
    warning with foreshocks.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2
    No, what they said was that the minor earthquakes were not, in and of themselves, evidence of a larger one being due soon (which is true). They also said, in the same report, that earthquakes are unpredictable so they couldn’t rule one out and that given the seismic history of the area it needed to improve its building codes.It’s scapegoating, pure and simple. People died, so the Italian “justice” system set out to find someone to blame. The people who wrote the building codes had more political clout, so it was decided that the scientists should be hung out to dry.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     Actually they were convicted because when their report saying all that was summerised by a civil servant in a press conference as there was “no danger ” they didn’t publically correct him.

    http://news.yahoo.com/l-aquila-verdict-judgment-not-against-science-against-230100998.html

    Which is even more ridiculous. I can see doing the civil servant for such inaccuracy but not the rest.

  • Mrs Grimble

    Actually, the Italian scientists were convicted because they
    SPECIFICALLY claimed tha tthere was not an earthquake coming even though
    they had lots of warning with foreshocks.
     No they didn’t.

  • PollyAmory

    “Italian laboratory technician Giampaolo Giuliani[70] predicted a major earthquake on Italian television a month before,[71][72][73] after measuring increased levels of radonemitted from the ground. He was accused of being alarmist[73] by the Director of the Civil Defence, Guido Bertolaso, and forced to remove his findings from the Internet (old data and descriptions are still online).[74] He was also reported to police a week before the main quake for “causing fear” among the local population when he predicted an earthquake was imminent in Sulmona,[75] about 50 km (31 mi) from L’Aquila, on 30 March, after a 4° quake happened (Sulmona later only suffered minor damages from the 6 April earthquake).[76] Enzo Boschi, the head of the Italian National Geophysics Institute declared:”

    If you’re referring to this, his “prediction” was thoroughly debunked. He predicted an earthquake not in L’Aquila but elsewhere. He had predicted earthquakes before, once even prompting an evacuation of a town, and his predictions never panned out. There were no elevated levels of radon. The guys is a complete and total quack.

    The incident is thoroughly covered in Nate Silver’s book Signal and Noise. 

    (Another thing mentioned by Silver was the fact that foreshocks actually serve as extremely poor predictors of earthquakes. There just isn’t a reliable way to predict earthquakes in the way we predict the weather. The best scientists can do is a probabilistic estimate over a long span of time. Anyone who has claimed to be more specific has so far proven to be full of it. 

  • LoneWolf343

     Silver does earthquake prediction too?

  • PollyAmory

    Earthquakes can’t be predicted in a way that we typically understand the term. In his book, he explains why. The best that can be done is to say that the odds of such-and-such intensity earthquakes in the next ten years is so-and-so. That’s about as precise as it is possible to get. 

  • LoneWolf343

     Well, right, the technical word is “forecast” because it is an estimation of the probability of an event.

  • Cathy W

    So what is the South Dakota GOP’s problem with corn dogs?

  • Tricksterson

    You gotta admit, a dog made out of corn is pretty fucking wierd.

  • Lori

    My fun facts for the day:

    -John Cusack is making a movie about Rush Limbaugh. I have no real desire to John Cusack made up as Rush, but I suspect the script is going to be classic

    -I get to vote against that giant asshat Richard Mourdock. When he was spouting off about pregnancy as God’s little free gift with purchase for rape victims I somehow failed to process the fact that I’ll get to vote against him. He better not win because it will be physically painful to give all my neighbors the side eye.

  • Carstonio

    I’m not quite as fortunate. Sure, I get to vote for a longtime Democratic leader who recently declared support for legalizing same-sex marriage. But the Republican running against him isn’t as bad as Mourdock – he spouts demagogic talking points in a pro forma way, like he’s on a Sunday talk show. Perhaps a side effect of serving as minority leader in a state legislature dominated by Democrats. Even if he did hold hateful ideas about rape, which I doubt, he might realize that voicing them here might make his party even more toxic for independents.

  • Hilary

    Loved the picture.  I always considered Umberidge more evil then Voldemort.  V-man was wacko evil, selfish and insane, but Umbridge could get normal people to do evil things just to keep their jobs. And she wore pink!

    Can I please vote for Matt? From MN – it’s not that far from ND.  I’m not in the right district to vote for Graves, unfortunatly, but I want to apologize to the world for Bachmann nonetheless.

    Hilary

  • Wingedwyrm

    So, Matt Varilek has a higher education, has an international education, has degrees in climatology (which means he’s studied the climate for a friggin’ while), and he has managerial experience.  All of these are bad things.  They make you consider that you might not know as much as he does about foriegn countries, the climate, and the efficacy of cap&trade simply because he’s put more effort into learning about these things.  That’s elitist, that is!

  • Lynn

    Having read the story of the policeman, I have to say it seems a little less clear than the title suggested. 

    Not saying it wasn’t an abuse of SYG, just saying the fact that two 18mo-olds and a woman the husband had been following/calling were on the other side of the door makes a difference to someone who has been through spousal abuse.

    The stories that cover this seem to be framing it as a theft with the woman as the property, which I find kind of gross.

  • Lori

     I think part of the point is that the husband wasn’t on the other side of the door. The door was open, because the boyfriend/homeowner opened it in order to shoot the husband. Instead of going into the house, locking the doors and calling 911 he went into the house, got his gun, opened the door and shot the husband. That’s all we know for sure.

    The woman has, to the best of my knowledge, never accused her husband of abuse. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but it does mean that we can’t assume that it did. This could be a case of a man shooting an out of control abusive husband. It could also be a case of a man knowing that all he had to do was get his girlfriend’s husband in his house and he could murder him to get him out of the way of and get away with it because the law is that broadly drawn and badly worded. The fact that the woman subsequently received a restraining order against the shooter because he was threatening her and her mother (the dead guy’s MIL) has started a drive to change the law leads me to suspect the latter is closer to the truth than the former.

    http://helenair.com/news/state-and-regional/kalispell-woman-gets-restraining-order-against-lover-who-killed-husband/article_0f794c52-1a12-11e2-84c5-001a4bcf887a.html

    That all points to the major problem with these kinds of laws. You as a
    homeowner don’t need to do anything other than say that you felt
    threatened. You don’t need to make any effort to de-escalate, you don’t
    have to call the cops and after you kill someone you don’t have to prove anything except that the person was on your property at the time you
    killed him/her. It’s a situation ripe for abuse.

  • Lynn

     Not saying there was or wasn’t abuse in this case, I’m just saying the details presented that lead up to the confrontation at the policeman’s house sound like a stalker ex, which trigger a response in me as an abuse survivor.

    As such, I find the tone of the coverage that it was unquestioningly okay for the husband to have called her demanding to know where she was, followed her car, and then shown up at/trespassed into the house where she and her kids had taken refuge really problematic.

    Telling an abuse survivor that they should have waited until the door was smashed open to act is not the most compelling argument for fixing SYG.

  • Lori

    Telling an abuse survivor that they should have waited until the door
    was smashed open to act is not the most compelling argument for fixing
    SYG.  

    I think we’ve wondered into an alternate story here. There is no evidence that the door would ever have been smashed open by the dead guy. In fact, it couldn’t have been smashed open because it wasn’t closed.

    Writing the law in such a way as to avoid giving a person a no questions asked free shot at killing anyone on their property is not the same thing as telling an abuse survivor that they have to wait until a door is smashed in to act. Even if it was the same thing, it’s not good public policy to say that you can shoot to kill an unarmed person who is on the other side of a locked door and law enforcement can’t even question it.

  • Lynn

     I’m going to clarify one more time and then I’m going to stop:

    I was not creating alternate history. 

    There is a door in the place where I used to live that cracked in half from him trying to break in.  Disconnecting the phones was also pretty common before he went on a rampage.  As such, when someone finally got as far as dialing 911 before the line went out it was his ‘first offense.’

    As far as the news story goes, the fact you had discount my POV before proceeding is why I think this particular case is not a good ‘example’ case to cite to further reform. 

    I actually support striking down SYG. 

    I have a problem with some of the reporting of this case veering into support of the husband to further the cause.

  • Lori

    There is a door in the place where I used to live that cracked in half
    from him trying to break in.  Disconnecting the phones was also pretty
    common before he went on a rampage.  As such, when someone finally got
    as far as dialing 911 before the line went out it was his ‘first
    offense.’  

    I am truly sorry that happened to you and I’m glad that you’re out of that situation.

    As far as the news story goes, the fact you had discount my POV before
    proceeding is why I think this particular case is not a good ‘example’
    case to cite to further reform. 

    I apologize for being dismissive. It was not my intention to discount your POV. I simply don’t think that there’s sufficient evidence of this being an abuse-related case to warrant treating it as an abuse-related case.

    I think press coverage of abuse related issues is generally dismal. I wish someone had done enough reporting to state clearly if abuse was an issue in the Fredenbergs’ marriage. I don’t know if they didn’t because they didn’t think it was important, or if it seemed inconvenient to the story they wanted to tell or if they were trying to respect Heather Fredenberg’s privacy and so reported only what she spoke about publicly.

    Ironically, if the law at the time of the shooting had been less sweeping we’d almost certainly know the answer since the police would have conducted an investigation to determine if the shooting was justified and a past history of abuse would have been considered critical information.

  • WalterC

     

    You don’t need to make any effort to de-escalate, you don’t
    have to
    call the cops and after you kill someone you don’t have to prove
    anything except that the person was on your property at the time you
    killed him/her. It’s a situation ripe for abuse.

    Sometimes, you don’t even have to prove or even allege that they were on your property. Simply being in the wrong place with the wrong skin color can be enough. (Remember, George Zimmerman would not have faced criminal charges or even a full investigation if not for the media uproar in the aftermath of his shooting.) This situation is actually less severe since at least the dead man was on the shooter’s property — that doesn’t make the execution OK but it makes it less bewildering that the confrontation even happened.

  • Lori

    Sometimes, you don’t even have to prove or even allege that they were on
    your property. Simply being in the wrong place with the wrong skin
    color can be enough.  

    Strictly speaking they’re two different laws. Stand your ground laws apply everywhere. The story we’ve been discussing is an application of Montana’s (ridiculously sweeping) version of the castle doctrine, which only applies on one’s home. Of course, Montana also has a SYG law so I guess it would have been equally fine for Harper to kill Fredenberg somewhere else if Harper had had his gun with him. 

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    ” Beverly Mann is absolutely right that “The Quiet Fact That Obama Should SHOUT About” is a terrific example of good government serving and protecting the people of America. ”

    That’s good that those people will not be so agressively hounded by creditors but we need to be less dependent on debt  in both the private and public sphere. If it means accepting smaller tv’s and cars and whatnot then so be it.

    re Brad Delong http://krugman-in-wonderland.blogspot.com/2012/11/maybe-obama-doesnt-believe-in.html


    Maybe Obama Doesn’t Believe in Government, Either”

    “So, Krugman had an explanation as to why FEMA was incompetent in New Orleans. However, now that the Obama administration’s response to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (a Category 1 that quickly weakened into a tropical storm) has been exposed as utterly inept, so far there is silence from the Great Man at Princeton. After all, there is no ideological barrier keeping FEMA from being the Super Agency Krugman has claimed it should be (and allegedly was under Bill Clinton), so why the failure?”

  • Wingedwyrm

    What failure?  What exposure?

    You’re quoting something that seems to assume something not in the public consciousness.  To the majority of Americans, the response to Huricane Sandy seems to be an example of government doing exactly what it should do.

  • Lori

    The clean-up isn’t done yet, in fact there are places that still don’t have power. Therefore government has failed. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by the fact that ConEd is a private company.

  • Lori

     

    Hurricane Sandy (a Category 1 that quickly weakened into a tropical storm)   

    I’m
    probably going to regret making another stab at logic with you, but
    what does the storm’s designation have to do with anything? We don’t
    clean up a storm’s designation, we clean up a storm’s damage. I assume
    you’ve seen the pictures and have some idea what the damage was, so what
    is your point?

    And I know I’m going to regret this, but I can’t help asking—how would you like to see storm clean-up managed? 

  • P J Evans

     Sandy may have been Cat1 but that’s based on wind speed alone. It doesn’t take into account the extent of the storm or the surge that it’s pushing. If those were given categories, Sandy would probably have been rated Cat4 or even Cat5.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     It is not entirely without merit to say that on-paper, Sandy was a much less powerful storm than Katrina (Estimated damages from Sandy, counting non-property damages is roughly half that of the property damage-only cost of Katrina), and that they have simialr levels of perceived-importance has less to do with the storm itself and more to do with the fact that Sandy hit places where being hit by a hurricane is not a regular concern. Places where buildings are taller, cities are denser, and building things at or below sea level was considered a reasonable  idea. (Louisiana has been hit by about 60 hurricanes since 1851. New Jersey has been hit by 3)

    (More cynically, Sandy hit new york, and new york is where the news media industry is centred, so it seemed like a comparatively bigger deal to the people who report the news)

  • P J Evans

     However, Sandy was a thousand miles wide – really, I saw satellite photos  where it went from North Carolina into Canada and from Michigan east across New England. It didn’t put its energy into wind speed, like most hurricanes, it put it into area and surge. The storm surge at the Battery was nearly 14 feet, and even the experts hadn’t expected more than 11.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Emergency_Management_Agency#Criticism

    not the first time FEMA has come under scrutiny since it’s inception in 1979. Remember when they did the fake press conference where they asked each other questions?

    There is a massive volunteer effort in NYC that is being cordinated largely on twitter. 

    The gas shortages are crazy from what I’ve heard. that seems to be the one people are talking about.  I can’t imagine what explanation Delong and co will have for that.

  • Lori

    not the first time FEMA has come under scrutiny since it’s inception in
    1979. Remember when they did the fake press conference where they asked
    each other questions?   

    FEMA is not “under scrutiny” now, accept by hacks with an ax to grind. I can’t believe you brought up something that happened in 1979. WTH is wrong with you?

    There is a massive volunteer effort in NYC that is being cordinated largely on twitter.

    And your point is? Are you trying to say that if FEMA were successful New Yorkers wouldn’t need to do anything for themselves or are you trying to say that the volunteers organizing on Twitter could do everything that’s needed and FEMA should just go home, preferably to disband the agency?

    The gas shortages are crazy from what I’ve heard. that seems to be the
    one people are talking about.  I can’t imagine what explanation Delong
    and co will have for that. 

    You have a very, very limited imagination. It’s not that tough to figure out. “Gas delivery is extremely difficult in heavily damaged areas without power, spread over several states. Also, the supply of gas in this country is controlled by private companies.”

    I know that people are suffering and impatient. I lived through Hurricane Hugo and it’s aftermath and being without power gets to be a major drag really quickly. The folks effected by Sandy are suffering far worse than we did because they’re dealing with cold* and because many of them live in apartments on high enough floors that getting in and out of the house is a major chore with no working elevator, totally impossible for people with physical limitations that prevent them from going up or down stairs.  That said, success or failure is not measured wholly by frustration levels. Progress is being made and we certainly don’t have large groups of people simply abandoned to their fate.

    *On the plus side for them, there are more ways available for them to send and receive information. In the pre-smartphone era we had a hard time getting news and information about what was and was not open, when we might get the power back on and other things we really wanted or needed to know.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Lori- FEMA was founded in 1979. the list I posted is of other stuff

    There is plenty of gas in the surrounding areas. Why isn’t it getting to the people who need it? 

    Ross- It’s getting more coverage because of the press being there. Even within NY Manhattan is getting more coverage than, say, Staten Island. 

  • Lori

     

    Why isn’t it getting to the people who need it?

    I DK, maybe the fact that the areas currently without gas have major damage and no power has something to do with it.

    In this country gas is owned and delivered by private companies. If it was a snap to get gas to people who lack it, and if private enterprise is the answer to all our problems, then why haven’t the companies who own the gas resumed providing it to those who want it? There’s  obviously demand, so why hasn’t the invisible hand snapped its invisible fingers and produced the supply to meet that demand? Could it be that it’s a more difficult logistical issue than you are able to grasp? Or are you thinking that FEMA is preventing this glorious occurrence by having the National Guard shoot company employees on sight or something? Or maybe Obama is blocking gas delivery via the dastardly refusal to allow companies to charge $50/gallon. (Assuming there are anti-gouging rules in place.)

  • Ursula L

    There is plenty of gas in the surrounding areas. Why isn’t it getting to the people who need it? 

    You need clear roads and safe bridges/tunnels to get the gas to the gas stations.

    And you need electricity at the gas stations to run the pumps.  

    Which means that fixing infrastructure, to at least a basic level, has to come before restoring the gasoline supply. 

    Temporary gasoline service can be done by distributing directly from trucks, but it is more expensive and less flexible, and still relies on having clear roads for the trucks to move on.  

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Lori-  Why would there be anti gouging laws in place?  People need gasoline not cheap gasoline. if it was 50 dollars a gallon, or even 5, anyone with a truck full of gas would be there in a heartbeat.  

  • EllieMurasaki

    So it is perfectly all right to charge people whatever you can get for something they absolutely require, and let the ones who can’t pay suffer?
    You heartless–

    *loses words*

  • Ursula L

    Lori-  Why would there be anti gouging laws in place?  People need gasoline not cheap gasoline. if it was 50 dollars a gallon, or even 5, anyone with a truck full of gas would be there in a heartbeat.  

    Because if gasoline is $50 a gallon, a lot of people who need it won’t be able to afford it.  It might as well not be there at all.  Police officers, firefighters, and ambulance workers aren’t paid enough to afford $50 per gallon gas to get to work.  

    It’s a moral issue.  You don’t kick people when they’re down.  You might, with a tanker of gas, be able to sell it to those desperate and rich enough for $50 a gallon.  

    But it is better for everyone if you set a $10 gallon limit per customer, favor first responders, emergency vehicles and clean-up crews, and sell for $5 a gallon, so that lots of people get a little, and then can get back to work doing what needs to be done to get things back to normal distribution.  

  • Lori

    People need gasoline not cheap gasoline. if it was 50 dollars a gallon,
    or even 5, anyone with a truck full of gas would be there in a
    heartbeat. 

    First of all, it wouldn’t be there if the roads aren’t passable and safe and there’s no delivery mechanism working.

    Second, I realize that you don’t give a damn about actual people, but it doesn’t do most people any good for there to be gas available that they can’t afford it. You and John Stossel seem to both think that the definition of ‘need” is the same as “able to afford”. This is not the case. You also both seem to think that price gouging is some kind of magic that makes everything better, instead of regular old greed that makes a tiny number of people rich(er), a few rich people more comfortable and leaves everyone else worse off.

    Seriously, your fake concern for people in other countries (just the ones that you believe allow you to score convenient political points, natch) coupled with your total lack of concern for people here is kind of sick.

  • LoneWolf343

    Uh, yeah, that’s the very reason why we need anti-gouging laws. You know, so to prevent robbery via necessarily and unfairly high prices on a necessary product.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick
  • P J Evans

     Teh stoopid, it burns.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Lori- the time they spend in line isn’t free. I would happily pay 10 dollars a gallon to avoid a 4 hour wait, particularly if you know it’s not going to go on forever. That’s 4 hours I can spend at work and/or just not in line. 

    and again, people are waiting in these lines then selling the gas at 200 percent markup. other people don’t have the time.  Reality doesn’t care about price gouging laws. You can drive to any of these places, the roads are passable.

    Get people the gas however you can, pay whatever. People can’t afford to pay ten dollars a gallon all the time but they can for a little while. or they can wait in the line if they prefer.

  • P J Evans

     And I bet you’d complain the whole time, and complain about the price later.
    There’s a reason why we have laws against price gouging and profiteering, and poor wittle you can’t understand why we have them.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    lonewolf- and if those laws help create insane shortages like the ones we’re seeing then what? oh well? easy for you to say

  • Lori

    and if those laws help create insane shortages like the ones we’re seeing then what?

    The storm created the current shortages. Which seem to be pretty much what you’d expect from the level of damage. Have you ever actually lived through a significant natural disaster? You seem to have as many ill-informed ideas about what it’s like, or should be like, as you have about economics and politics in general.

    oh well? easy for you to say

    You saying this to someone else is hilarious.

    Speaking of which—-

    People can’t afford to pay ten dollars a gallon all the time but they can for a little while  

    Your privilege is showing yet again. You need to hem that a little better.

  • Tricksterson

    So, are you in the affected area?

  • LoneWolf343

    Anti-gouging != price-fixing.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Lori – if you wait in line for 4 hours to buy 10 gallons of gas you are essentially paying that much.

    and if you can afford 4 dollars a galllon for gas all the time you can afford ten for a couple days.

    the storm did not create the shortage. There’s plenty of gas in the US and plenty of means to get it there. Theres no reason people in the United States should have to wait in line for gas. I live in Boston which is a couple hours from NYC and I don’t.

  • EllieMurasaki

    In what condition are the roads between Boston (or indeed anywhere that might have spare tankers of gas) and New York?

  • Lori

     

    There’s plenty of gas in the US and plenty of means to get it there.

    So in your world there is only a shortage of something if there is not enough of it anywhere in the world? You have no concept of local shortages. They simply shouldn’t happen. Ever. No matter what local conditions are like. Because why? Magic? Or maybe because “USA Fuck yeah! Americans do not wait in line!” maybe?

     

    I live in Boston which is a couple hours from NYC and I don’t.  

    I swear I don’t know if you’re a troll or if you really believe the stuff you say. If you’re a troll you’re doing a heck of a job.

  • Tapetum

     If he’s not a troll, he’s truly exceptionally dense. It’s not like none of this stuff has happened before, or like the mechanisms are some great mystery.

  • Turcano

     You have been told, TWICE, that the reason that there’s a shortage of fuel in New York is due to major transportation lines have been blocked, and yet you still insist that’s the mean old government causing the fuel shortage by not letting the people who control the finite and dwindling supply of fuel that’s left in the city from taking unfair advantage of the situation. 

    Seriously, are you for real?  Because if so, I’m impressed you’re capable of using a typewriter.

  • MaryKaye

    In 1991 I rode out Hurricane Bob (not a big one, but still impressive) in Woods Hole, at the end of a Cape Code peninsula spur; about four miles from the main body of Cape Cod.  There is one road leading there from the nearest town, Falmouth.  That road was impassable after Bob–downed trees plus water.  Power was out in Woods Hole, and stayed out for five days.  There was no gasoline, because no trucks could get in or out.  The only way people could get in or out was boat (very scary, as the waves stayed high for a long time) or foot/bicycle.  Also, a significant part of the town was flooded 2-3 feet deep.  Many vehicles were flooded and couldn’t move, even if they roads had been cleared.

    This is what hurricanes *do*.  You can reduce the downtime by spending a whole lot extra on cleanup crews–you have to do it in advance, because things like tree-clearing trucks don’t magically appear just because you need them.  That’s about it.

    What does good disaster response consist of?  I can think of a couple of points offhand:

    (1)  Use all the available resources to help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, with priority to those in most danger.
    (2)  Don’t divert resources for profit or politics.  (My city lost a long-term mayor when he was found to have prioritized plowing his street over plowing the thoroughfares during a bad storm.)
    (3)  Tell the truth about what you can/cannot do, about its costs and predicted effectiveness.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    “USA Fuck yeah! Americans do not wait in line!” 

    tell the people who are waiting for hours on end in line that they are being stupid. They are already brawling with each other.

    Ellie- the roads are fine. Thats not what is keeping gasoline from getting to people who need it.

    Lori- this isn’t the Soviet Union, the whole mechanism doesn’t break down because this refinery in Philidelphia is offline. bring in the gas fro someplace and else and pay whatever that person is charging. Eventually as more gas stations come back online and/ or more people enter the arket the price will go down. 

    You don’t have people standing in lines with red oil thingies in a first world country.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Bullshit. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/05/business/a-storm-battered-supply-chain-threatens-the-holiday-shopping-season.html–the power lines aren’t all cleared. The fallen trees aren’t all cleared. I’m not even sure the floodwaters are all cleared. The Port Authority’s only just getting reopened so there’s not a hell of a lot of gasoline coming in by tanker boat either. And if people charge fifty dollars a gallon for the gasoline that is getting to New York, then only people who can afford fifty dollars a gallon will get gasoline. Better to charge five dollars a gallon and make sure everyone who needs gasoline gets two gallons; that’ll get them all through a few days, and in a few days the roads will be much clearer and more gasoline will be getting in.

    Yeah, nobody who’s got gasoline will be making an obscene profit off it, but disasters do not exist to be profited from.

  • Lori

    You don’t have people standing in lines with red oil thingies in a first world country. 

    So your position is basically, “USA Fuck yeah! Americans should never wait in line!” You really never have experienced any sort of real emergency or hardship in your life have you? You clearly have no idea how emergencies work.

    It needs to be pointed out that you and your fellow “down with government, taxes are theft at the point of a gun” types are at least partially to blame for how long this takes. If our infrastructure was better we’d have an easier time getting things back online after an emergency. We don’t have better infrastructure in large part due to the fact that some people keep insisting that taxes are the Worst Thine Ever ZOMG! This is wait happens when people refuse to pay for maintenance—-your first world country slips into 2nd or 3rd world status. As long as you’re spouting your glibertarian nonesnse you don’t get to complain about this.

    Also, those “red oil thingies” are called gas cans.

  • Tricksterson

    Did in the 70s although to be fair those shortages were manmade.

  • Syfr0

     Chris Hadrick,  as a native New Yorker who spent days worrying about her parents, (they did make it through okay, thank God), who knows some of the neighborhoods seriously affected, and spent some time in summers on Breezy Point, I would like to invite you to stick something large and barbed, into the orifice of your choice, and rotate it until some sense comes in, or enough blood leaves that no one has to deal with your pestilential stupidity ever again.

  • Lori

     I’m glad your parents are OK.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    ellie- if they don’t make a profit from it they won’t do it. The people who wait in line all day for gas don’t turn around and sell it for what they paid for it, they need to be paid for  standing in line.  If they can’t charge 200% original cost they aren’t going to do it. What is the point of that?

    50 dollars was a random figure not many people are going to pay 50 dollars a gallon for gas even if they have the means. That would be 500 dollars to fill their tank.  I know rich people and they are stingier than I am. 

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2012/11/01/gas_lines_in_new_jersey_the_state_needs_more_price_gouging.html

    Matt Yglesius who I doubt I will ever agree with again even agrees with me. The proof is in the pudding: people are wasting time waiting in lines because of these rules.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Has it seriously never once in your life occurred to you that there are many reasons for people to do things and the possibility of monetary gain is only one of them?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

     No. He has not. Because he is a psychopath who would sell his kids into white slavery if the price were right. SATSQ.

  • P J Evans

     Most of the people I know have a hard time affording one hundred dollars for gas. (In my area, that’s less than 25 gallons.)

    So you can take your price-gouging ways an put them where the sun will never shine on them.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    People like Chris Hadrick remind me painfully of how much of a palm I wish there was to encompass the magnitude of my facepalm.

  • Lori

     People like Chris Hadrick remind me painfully of better uses for a very large palm, starting with a smack upside the back of the head.

  • P J Evans

    I know someone in Hoboken who (as far as I know) still can’t get out because of flooding.

  • Ursula L

    Another logistical problem in addition to transporting fuel to gas stations and getting power to the gas pumps.

    All of the gas stations in the worst-affected areas have been flooded.

    Which means that their underground holding tanks have been flooded.

    Now, most of these stations were (hopefully) drained dry, all the fuel sold, so that people could use it to evacuate.  We don’t need the flooding to have washed fuel out of tanks and into places where it can fuel problematic fires.   But they also have all been subjected to the damage of the storm.

    So you still need each and every underground tank to be pumped dry and examined for any potential leaks and contamination, before it is re-filled and used to sell fuel.

    Sending fuel trucks in too soon, before the holding tanks have been tended to, would be a disaster.  Contaminated fuel, as it is pumped into holding tanks damaged and perhaps partially filled by flooding, so that what is being stored and sold is not fuel, but rather a useless mixture of fuel and flood water.  

    Random fuel trucks selling absurdly-priced fuel that keeps the working-class first responders and code-inspectors trapped away from work because they can’t afford the gas to get to work will only make the problem worse, as more and more time passes between the storm and when the people responsible for getting the gas stations working again can get to work to get things working again.  The longer that goes on, the more that driving becomes a privilege of the rich.  And the worse the quality of our infrastructure for everyone.  

    There *are* anti-price-gouging laws in effect.  I remember a press conference in the last day or two where NJ governor Christie said that these laws would be strictly enforced.  Because what fuel is available needs to be carefully used to get the infrastructure working again, so that we can, again, have enough fuel for ordinary use.  And get it there without the government paying price-gouging rates, just to get fire trucks to put out fires and construction crews getting the roads to the point where we can bring in fuel for everyone.Letting the rich get “ordinary use” because they can afford it while the infrastructure for the general economy is left in ruins is a hideous wrong.  Also, with roads so badly damaged, access is limited.  If that limited access is to be given to fuel trucks, then they *damn well* better be carrying fuel to be used to fix the problems, rather than fuel to be put to more frivolous use.  

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    Lori- so your solution is no solution. just let people wait for hours and hours in line which means they are 

    1. wasting time and/or

    2. paying someone to wait in line for them which means they pay a 200% markup according to press reports. 

    No matter what people are getting gouged. 

    “the rich”?  Anyone who wants to can buy the more expensive gas. You can go right to the head of the line if you are completely broke other than the money for the gas. You can use it to simply drive to an area that has more gas if you want.

    “Most of the people I know have a hard time affording one hundred dollars for gas.”

    but they have an easy time waiting in line for 4 hours? or paying someone to do it for them? makes no sense.

    “You clearly have no idea how emergencies work”

    There’s no shortage of gas in the United States. There’s no reason for this to be happening. it’s not like a big tanker with all our gas went down and we are waiting for them to pump more and put it on a boat.  

    You can’t just say “It’s a storm there’s no solution” 

    “Yeah, nobody who’s got gasoline will be making an obscene profit off it, but disasters do not exist to be profited from.”

    that’s your opinion not mine. If you don’t want to pay more for gas you don’t have to, don’ take the choice away from others. You should become pro choice

    more to the point: it costs more to provide gas to people in this situation. These gas stations generally don’t have generators and the gas has to come from the truck. gouging would help people prioritize. Only if you REALLY needed it would you come out for it if the price was higher. If you’re hummer has half a tank and you feel like filling it up you would probably not do so in this situation.

  • EllieMurasaki

    If power has not been restored to my area, but I have a generator with which I can keep the heat on in my house provided I feed it a couple gallons of gas, and it is going to be twenty degrees Fahrenheit outdoors and (if I don’t use the generator) indoors, I need gas. Buying gas is not a choice for me; it could be the difference between my family making it through fine and my family all coming down with hypothermia.

    How can that possibly make it okay to charge me whatever dollar figure per gallon you think you can get out of me?

  • Carstonio

     Don’t you get it? The market is really a magical force that rewards the just and punishes the unjust. The market giveth and the market taketh away – blessed be the name of the market.

  • Lori

     

    gouging would help people prioritize. Only if you REALLY needed it would
    you come out for it if the price was higher. 

    I see it’s time for another round of “troll or over-privileged, unfeeling moron?”.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     “gouging would help people prioritize.”

    Totally. The same principle can more generally be applied to any policy that makes access to resources more costly, not just price gouging.

    For example, if we make routine health care really expensive, we help people prioritize their health-care purchases… people who can’t afford both health care and rent, for example, are less likely to clutter the health care system by seeking health care.

    Of course, that will increase the demand on emergency services, since untreated problems will frequently get worse and sometimes lead to epidemics, but the same principle applies: we can make emergency care really expensive, and people who can’t afford it will forego health care even in the case of major illnesses or life-threatening traumas. For example, poor people will be more likely to send ambulances away when they get into car crashes, figuring that their death will be less of a burden on their families than paying for their care would be.

    We can similarly relax regulations on food quality and thereby permit restaurants and food manufacturers to sell tainted food, encouraging people to prioritize their food purchases. Americans eat too much anyway.

    And on and on and on. Why, the potential optimizations are enormous. By comparison, Chris’ proposal is modest.

  • Tricksterson

    Pretty sure he would be on board with all those things.  I know Chris.  Twenty years ago, I  was him.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     I don’t presume to know him (or anyone else here, really), but if he endorses those things I think it’s worthwhile to call attention to that fact.

  • Tapetum

    1. I know of at least one neighborhood in the Boston area that is still blocked off due to wind damage/downed trees/power-lines, and Boston isn’t the hardest hit place by a long shot. So the whole “It doesn’t have anything to do with the state of the roads” is bullshit.

    2. Many of the people waiting in line do not have jobs to go to right this moment. Their places of work are shut down, because they too are damaged, or access can’t be had because of roads, or the subways aren’t running there yet. One of the standard features of emergencies is that there is tons of waiting-around time, even for normally busy people. One of the most striking features of emergencies in my experience is the weird popping back and forth of having to do way too much in no time at all, and having nothing to do and/or nothing to do it with, so you’re just waiting around.

    My brother and sister in-law are smack in the middle of this. Neither of them was going to work last week at all. I believe she started again today, he is still waiting for his office to re-open.  Which at least gives him time to start with the house repairs – though the biggest one is the missing fuse box, blown off the house by the storm. That will take a while, since all the electricians seem to be busy this week for some unfathomable reason. Perhaps it’s government interference?

  • Lori

     

    One of the most striking features of emergencies in my experience is the
    weird popping back and forth of having to do way too much in no time at
    all, and having nothing to do and/or nothing to do it with, so you’re
    just waiting around.   

    It was like this for us after Hugo. We were without power for 4 or 5 days and had a fair bit of damage to the yard, although we were lucky not to have much to the house itself. Day 1 and day 3  were crazy busy and the rest of the time there wasn’t that much to do. Most things were still closed and there were enough downed power lines and trees on the road that it was hard to get around and they were asking people to just stay put as much as possible. I ended up spending most of my time reading while it was light enough.

  • VMink

    Not to add gasoline to the fire but… that totally worthless government that people are talking about? and that awful horrible inefficient FEMA?  They’re bringing free gas to the NY area.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    anyone listen to Democracy Now today? great FEMA bashing.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I refuse to believe that, especially as you’ve shown abominable lack of basic comprehension skills before now.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    http://www.democracynow.org/2012/11/5/after_sandy_occupy_movement_re_emerges
    IKE BURKE: Now, how are the relief efforts that are taking place here different from what we’re seeing with FEMA and the National Guard down the street?

    “CATHERINE YEAGER: FEMA down the street, from what I understand, is handing out pieces of paper that tell you to call a phone number to get help. Here, you come, and you get help immediately.We’re going to start organizing and having people come down with their—we’re encouraging people who come down and want to do manpower help, bring your own cleaning supplies. Be your own self-sufficient cleaning person, so that we can start sending you to homes, and you just knock on the door, and you can go in, and you can start cleaning. You don’t have to come here and grab cleaning supplies. You’ve got your own to go out….FEMA is providing cellphone charging down there, but you’ve got to wait in line—I don’t know—for an hour to be able to get your cellphone plugged in, you know? Besides that, I don’t know what they’re doing. You know? I’ve seen some cleanup. There was definitely a lot of the boardwalk that’s been moved. But, you know, nothing that I would—I’m sure is happening on Wall Street or cleanup that’s happening in other parts of Manhattan, you know?”

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yay Occupy. What’s your point? Surely it can’t be anything about FEMA, because your quote is from someone who doesn’t know jack shit about what FEMA’s doing other than rumors, and surely all your opinions are based on facts, not rumors.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That is an incredibly weaksauced, out of context, attempt at FEMA bashing. You should be ashamed of yourself, Chris Hadrick.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    It was elsewhere in the report, I’m not going to post the whole thing.  They were not just the reporters but residents involved in the relief effort. 

    Turcano- transportation lines?? you mean ROADS??  They aren’t blocked

  • EllieMurasaki

    All the power lines are back up? All the trees are moved? All the floodwaters are gone?

    (Aren’t there parts of that area that still haven’t got electricity? That would seem a pretty powerful argument for the power lines, at least, not being out of the way.)

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    two different issues getting confused between rebuilding and gas getting. gas shortage in Philly was caused by downed refinery I believe

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick
  • EllieMurasaki

    Video blocked at work. Somebody who isn’t Chris Hadrick, summarize for me please?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino
  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t get formatting through email notifs anyway. I also don’t get links unless the URL is put straight into the comment, no a href tags. And I did not get any transcript. Try again please?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You must have one helluva email client, because even in my email notifs I can see URLs ‘n stuff.

    The raw URL is : http://www.pastebin.ca/2248958

  • EllieMurasaki

    It’s Gmail. I thought the problem was Disqus. Thanks. And reading it, I have no idea how it supports Chris Hadrick’s point.

  • Lori

    It doesn’t. There are shortages because the terminals have been offline, roads have been impasable and stations have been without power.

    Chris must have gotten all excited because someone mentioned the word “gouging” and missed the fact that said person was not arguing in favor of gouging. He was arguing that $4/gallon isn’t actually gouging, but a market correction in the variance between crude oil prices and gas prices at the pump. This is quite a different argument than “It’s good to allow gougers to help people prioritize, because if people really need it then they’ll have the money.” Maybe the guy used too many big words.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Click Gmail’s “Display Images” option. They’re safe and will not do nasty things.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    it describes slow progress being made. there’s a transcript next to the vid.

    One guy also backs my plan to allow gouging, but even that is only going to make the ordeal a little shorter. They are basically brainstorming. They had a gas station guy in later who was better talking about all the costs. gas stations son’t make a lot of money, they can’t buy 10-20 thousand dollar generators. gas stations make more money fro the junk they sell in the store, kind of like movie theatres.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    here’s the later one if people have the inclination to watch. 

    http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000127323&play=1#eyJ2aWQiOiIzMDAwMTI2NTgxIiwiZW5jVmlkIjoib2R4bVloUzFCV2RxYkhYbHMxZmpXZz09IiwidlRhYiI6InRyYW5zY3JpcHQiLCJ2UGFnZSI6IiIsImdOYXYiOlsiwqBMYXRlc3QgVmlkZW8iXSwiZ1NlY3QiOiJBTEwiLCJnUGFnZSI6IjQiLCJzeW0iOiIiLCJzZWFyY2giOiIifQ==

    this is the later one. He’s saying what happened is everyone got gas before the storm so the stations were low when the storm hit, then there was no way to resupply and the power was out anyway and you can’t pump without the power. Again, these places can’t afford generators.

  • Greenygal

    Actually, at the end of the report the guy starts making basically Chris’s argument:

    “If you did have the ability to gouge, i’ll use that word freely. if you have the ability to raise prices as high as you can you would do two things. first, there is a lot of talk out there about people panicking, topping off their tanks when they really don’t need to, that sort of thing. if you have $6 or $7 gasoline that would end. it also creates an entrepreneurial opportunity to go with a $9,000 tank truck into harrisburg, albany, whatever, load it up, bring it here and sell it and actually make money.  If the spread over the regular price somewhere else is not that high, that opportunity doesn’t exist.  … I still think that this is a short-term thing, we could make it a little shorter if those gouging laws were not in effect.”

    I am not in sympathy with this argument, to put it mildly, but Chris isn’t actually making that bit up.

  • Lori

     Fair enough. I think I must have missed some of the end of the transcript. The formatting was weird and it didn’t want to scroll for me. I thought I had managed to get to the bottom, but apparently not.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    greenygal- in my non defense though, he says gouging will shorten the time people have to scramble for gas but it doesn’t solve the larger problem.  I would actually tend to agree with Lori that it’s a storm, stuff happens. there’s not a lot of hope that they can fortify all this stuff.  Infrastructure is not really out strong suit these days.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    There is a reason why we don’t let the free market run untrammelled, and that’s partly because for all that the price system is a very responsive thing under the right conditions, it is not 100% suitable or applicable in all cases or circumstances and needs to be appropriately curbed sometimes.

  • http://twitter.com/lesterhalfjr Chris Hadrick

    I don’t think it’s saying that. If anything it’s an argument against democracy itself. We all want infrastructure but theres no infrastructure party.