Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the specious-reasoning dept

When we criticized the high-stakes legal fight that a Canadian mining company is bringing to Costa Rica, one reader asked what we’d prefer to have seen. The point that a lawsuit is much more civilized than violent conflict resolution is a fair one — but That One Guy won most insightful comment of the week for explaining why the lesser evil is still too evil for our tastes:

I’d expect them to suck it up and act like the adults they pretend to be, not hold a country hostage with massive cash demands unless they cave into what the corporation wants, even if it means violating or ignoring their own laws.

If every court in a country says that what a company is demanding is unrealistic, or would harm those living in the countries, then tough.

If what a company demands would require the relaxing, or effective(with regards to them anyway) repeal of health and safety laws, then a court telling them to take a hike is completely justified in doing so.

You mention ‘what if my retirement money depends on their profits?’, well what about the retirement or safety of the people in the country being threatened? I’d say their rights take priority over yours, given you stand to lose some money, they stand to lose a lot more.

Yes suing is preferable to shooting, but even more preferable is a country being able to enforce their own health and safety laws to protect their citizens, without having to worry about some corporation throwing a childish fit anytime they get told ‘No’, and threatening to sue the country until they do what’s being demanded of them.

Whether you think accusing the US government of fascism is valid criticism, illustrative hyperbole or unnecessary exaggeration, one thing’s for sure: you can get a feel for the level of public trust by how frequently and furiously such accusations fly. When the feds casually seized a reporter’s notes during an unrelated search, silverscarcat won second most insightful comment of the week with an understandably infuriated reply:

Doesn’t matter…

They got the information on her sources. Doesn’t matter if they give back the information, they have what they wanted.

Welcome to the Fascist States of America, forget privacy, accountability and don’t bother reading the Bill of Rights, our government doesn’t care about that stuff and they expect you not to either.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start with an anonymous comment detailing why Verizon’s resistance to restoring services after Hurricane Sandy threatens to do more than just piss off customers:

This is a serious public safety issue

(I spend part of my time training first responders.)

Copper works like nothing else, and it works when everything else is down. I’ve made a call from the second story of a house with 8 feet of water on the first floor. I’ve trained people (in wilderness areas) to find a stream, find a road, find a copper line and follow it to the nearest cabin or farmhouse. It’s the lifeline of last resort when the cell network is dead, the batteries are gone, and the satellite phone was lost in the fire.

Lives depend on it.

And Verizon, rather than spend the money necessary to replace what was lost in Sandy, is LYING to everyone — their customers, the regulators, the state, the feds, everyone — and one day, people are going to die because of those lies…because storms just like Sandy will come again.

It won’t be me, because I’m no longer in the front lines (most of the time). But one of the people I’ve trained, one of the VOLUNTEERS who drives into the teeth of a storm, who runs toward a fire, who jumps into raging waves, who puts their ass on their line for no reason other than they think it’s the right thing to do, is going to die because a call won’t go through…because Verizon won’t put the copper back.

Next, we head to the story of the judge who ruled against portions of NYC’s stop-and-frisk program being booted from the case for supposed bias. All this politicking and power-brokering is starting to sound a bit too much like The Wire for anyone’s comfort. One anonymous commenter did the simple math on the accusation and reminded us just how easy it is to make numbers sound more significant than they are:

’60 percent of her 15 written “search-and-seizure” rulings since she took the bench in 1994 had gone against law enforcement.’

6 for and 9 against shows bias? Seriously? That’s only one case away from 7 vs 8, which is as even as 15 cases can get.

Are judges supposed to rule differently in every other case, just to keep the numbers exactly even?

Over on the funny side, we’ve got a bunch of comments from the already-funny story of Yelp users attempting to sue for wages as though they were unpaid employees. First up, we’ve got Chris ODonnell speculating on the birth of this nonsense:

I presume they hired their lawyer based on Yelp reviews?

In second place, we’ve got bob (that bob? I’m not certain) with plans for the next big class-action:

I hope they succeed, as it will give credence to my lawsuit demanding I get payed for my hard work at farmville. which will, of course, then go after govt farming subsidies.

But the real action on that post started later, when a commenter purporting to represent the plaintiffs showed up in the comments and provided a weak and astoundingly poorly-written argument for the validity of the lawsuit. One anonymous commenter offered up the perfect response, giving us our first editor’s choice:

Just checking – by posting here you know you’re not an unpaid Techdirt employee, don’t you?

The last editor’s choice is going to stay on one side of our favorite dichotomy and award an idea but not its expression. In response to the idiotic logic that the occurrence of 9/11 pre-NSA-surveillance justifies the existence of that surveillance, Trevor was reminded of a highly apt (and hilarious) scene from The Simpsons. Full marks for inspiration, but there were a few problems with the details of the “Lion-repellant stick” — so in place of the comment itself, I’ll conclude this week’s post by leaving you all with the actual dialogue:

Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn’t work. It’s just a stupid rock. But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?

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Comments on “Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt”

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out_of_the_blue says:

This is funny 'cause it's just like the whoppers NSA tells:

“But one of the people I’ve trained, one of the VOLUNTEERS who drives into the teeth of a storm, who runs toward a fire, who jumps into raging waves, who puts their ass on their line for no reason other than they think it’s the right thing to do, is going to die because a call won’t go through.”

EXACTLY the hysterical and appeal to emotions all those who pretend to be protecting the public from future threats use: IF YOU DON’T FUND US AND ALLOW US TO SPY WITHOUT LIMIT, PEOPLE WILL DIE!

And therefore it’s funny as “editor’s choice on the insightful side”.

For contrast, here’s funny:

Google’s special invite to Techdirters in San Fran: come down to Smelly Wharf for our party barge! Enjoy steam-punk atmosphere of corrugated steel and all the claustrophobia you can handle! Party like it’s 1899!


Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: This is funny 'cause it's just like the whoppers NSA tells:

OOTB…honest question that I know you will not satisfactorily answer. Why is it that the vast majority of your comments are you being afraid of Google spying on you, but there’s only a small minority of your comments where you acknowledge the spying the NSA does? Why comment so much on Google when government spying is the far worse threat to you?

Brazenly anonymous says:

Re: This is funny 'cause it's just like the whoppers NSA tells:

The difference between the NSAs claims and the claim made here is that Verizon is not fulfilling a promise it made to provide a service relied upon by rescuers. The correct action is to stop relying on the service, but with Verizon being less than up front about the lack of the service the rescuers may have been unable to react properly.

On the other hand, the NSA is demanding capabilities that were never even granted to it, let alone guaranteed to it. Additionally, the NSA will have at least some lead time about changes.

So, while I will state that I disagree with the logic used in the comment on similar grounds to why I disagree with the NSA’s logic, the two are not “exactly” the same.

Brazenly anonymous says:


With regards to the Yelp lawsuit, the law in question uses a very strange definition of the word ’employ’ that could very well give grounds for a suit. The law clearly seems aimed at closing loop-holes that mimic slavery conditions and has stepped far enough in that direction to include a substantial portion of the gray area surrounding the discussion. It then dumps a whole bunch of exemptions into place that more or less completely undermine this stance.

I’d say an update of the relevant law to clarify the employer-employee relationship is necessary, including a way to volunteer for something not directly related to distributing food to the poor (this was the only volunteer exemption I could find that wasn’t related to government programs).

With regards to the comment about Verizon, yes, that they lied about the copper is something that needs correcting. However, you shouldn’t ever be wholly reliant on man-made infrastructure. There are places in the US and certainly plenty of places outside of it where you won’t get cell reception. Even satellite reception can be hard to get in certain areas.

People will die? Not a valid argument unless you can show direct causation or gross negligence as a primary contributor. If we aren’t going to arraign the scared witness for not stepping in to stop the murderer, we can’t hold Verizon accountable for any deaths where better cell reception could have made a difference.

Anonymous Coward says:

You know, it’s been bothering me that Fienstien would go against her constant support of the NSA and the NSA suddenly throws up it’s hands and claims all it’s friends are leaving it. Right before she does that claim about no being so supporting of the NSA any more she puts in a bill to make all the NSA is doing legal. Why?

Well tonight I might have stumbled on the answer to why. It’s political stage show to take attention away from that bill. Why would they need to make legal what they claim is already legal? Maybe because it isn’t?

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