URLs du Jour

2006-01-26

  • A couple of Urban Legends regarding the Department of Homeland Security:

    • Snopes has listed as "Undetermined" the claim that the DHS is "secretly putting restrictions on what customers can remove from safe deposit boxes in case of 'national disaster.'" But they provide a number of reasons to be very skeptical. (Via Kenneth Gregg at Liberty & Power.)

    • Stuart Buck examines reports of "a new federal police force with the power to violate the Bill of Rights." No, it's not the Federal Election Commission; it's the "United States Secret Service Uniformed Division", to be subject to the supervision of the DHS. Stuart provides links to various folks reacting with fear and loathing: Talk Left; Leiter Reports; and the once-sane Paul Craig Roberts (who is reprinted uncritically by Mark Crispin Miller).

      All very disturbing! But Stuart points out that the Secret Service Uniformed Division has existed in form since 1860, and has existed in name since 1977. It's not being given any new powers. The new legislation simply reorganizes the existing US Code.

      An impressive debunking.

  • Speaking of Snopes, I was tickled by one legend there titled "Draft Fear":
    Claim:   The U.S. military will be reinstating the draft by Spring 2005.
    Status:   Probably not.

    Probably not? Oh well, I have problems keeping pages up to date too. (I've dropped them a note, maybe they'll fix it soon.)

  • And speaking of myths—we were, weren't we, sort of?—James Thayer at the Weekly Standard examines recycling, an activity often mandated by laws "based on myth and followed as faith." Especially poignant is the detail that the average Seattle household spends 16 minutes a week recycling:

    And what are those 16 minutes spent doing? Sorting, extracting, rinsing, bundling, and stomping. In Seattle, household batteries can be put into the garbage, but not rechargeable batteries. Plastic soda bottles can be recycled, but not plastic flower pots. Plastic shopping bags go into the recycle bin (bundle them first), but not plastic produce bags or plastic freezer wrap bags. Plastic cottage cheese tubs, yes, but not plastic six-pack rings. Frozen food boxes go into the recycle bin, but not paper plates. Cardboard, sure, but not if a pizza came in it, and make sure to flatten the box. And remove any tape. Cereal boxes, yes, but pull out the liner. Typing paper, of course, but sort out the paper punch holes, as those little dots can't be recycled. Hardback books, okay, but wrestle off the covers. Metal hangers, yes: aluminum foil, no. Tin cans, you bet, but rinse them, and push the lid down into the can. No loose lids can go in the recycle bin. And no confetti.

    So at least it's a fun 16 minutes.

    "Heh. Indeed. Read the whole thing."


Last Modified 2012-10-25 3:24 PM EDT