Friday Links: Your Government At Work Edition

Rodney Dangerfield Should Have Run For Mayor: Via Marc Randazza, I see that Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup thinks that people petitioning the local government should be compelled by law to show "respect." Mayor Walken alleges that City Attorney Mike Rankin told him that a law requiring that petitions be respectful would pass First Amendment muster. Hey Mayor Walkup — with all respect, you're a douchebag and a moral weakling. And with all respect to Mike Rankin, if he told Mayor Walkup that the respect requirement is constitutional, he's incompetent.

Are You Now, Or Have You Ever Been, A Goth?: Via Free Range Kids, I see that if your kid cuts her finger in shop class (something that happens when messing around with tools, you know), she may be subjected to an inquisition and forced to sign statements guaranteeing that she is not a self-cutter:

They forced this girl to fill out a range of forms stating that she did not cut herself on purpose, and that she would pledge NOT to start cutting herself on purpose in the future.

The Government Knows Best: Via SayUncle, here is a story of a judicial decision about food freedom that is all the more appalling because it is probably a correct exposition of the state of our Wickard v. Filburn law:

“no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a dairy herd;”

“no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow;”

“no, Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice…”

I've Always Thought That Interpretive Dance Was Shovel-Ready: Finally, courtesy of , a story about how stimulus dollars were used. As reflected on, you — the taxpayer — spent $762,372 to create 1.5 jobs doing this:

The PI and her team of technologists, choreographers and artists will work together to define an evolving system that assists in the design and production of interactive dance performances with real-time audience interaction. The Dance.Draw system will enable dancers' motions, tracked via small RF transmitters worn in satin cuffs, to act as input streams that can be flexibly applied as control parameters for interactive visualizations. The system will log dancers' motions and will be able to composite video of the dancers with different visualizations, enabling post-hoc analysis of the choreography and exploration of prospective mappings between the motion and the projected media. This will allow choreographers to explore interactive dance without always having a full cast of dancers present. In addition, it will enable other stakeholders, such as artists and musicians, to experiment offline with their media and adjust how these interplay with the choreography.

Leaving aside the thorny question of the role of the government in the arts, let me ask this: if stimulus money is supposed to create jobs to stimulate the economy, can we really not do better than paying half a million dollars per job?

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Hasdrubal says

    The dance thing actually sounds like a pretty cool widget. But seriously, $750 grand? That sounds pretty high, I bet the guys on Shark Tank wouldn't have gone over $50K for a 50% stake. (Small market and Playstation and Xbox already have similar technologies for home users.)

  2. Rich Rostrom says

    I think you misinterpret the Tucson situation.

    The right of free speech does not include the right to speak whereever and whenever one wants.

    The requirement is for people entering and speaking in a forum organized by the city. The city has (should have, IMO) the power to establish procedures and rules of order for that forum, and exclude anyone who doesn't follow the rules.

    Anyone who doesn't like the rules can orate from a soapbox outside.

    If the rules are onerous or suppressive – that's for the voters to judge;
    it's their forum.

  3. says

    The Tucson situation is likely to need more information. We have no information beyond that the mayor did not like what he heard. Tell us if the speaker was disorderly or excessively long-winded.

    Otherwise, knowing what we do about Arizona, we are likely to presume that the mayor disliked the message, and evicted the speaker on that basis. And, yes, that's content-based regulation, subject to strict scrutiny.