W. Vann Hall’s Techdirt Profile


About W. Vann Hall

W. Vann Hall’s Comments comment rss

  • Mar 21st, 2017 @ 9:16pm

    The State of Brotherly Love

    Last week, numerous Mayors and city officials in California and Arizona penned a letter to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson[...].

    "All too many Californians and Nevadans have waited far too long[...]"

    Aw, nice of those Arizonans to be concerned for their northwestern neighbors...

  • Nov 28th, 2016 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Let's assume there's voter fraud

    the Republican party won in a landslide.

    Yes, if by 'in a landslide' you mean 'lost the popular vote by over 2 million' or '[presumably] won the Electoral College by the third-smallest margin in 40 years | the smallest margin in any election not involving George W. Bush in 40 years | the fifth-smallest margin in 100 years.'

  • Nov 28th, 2016 @ 1:08pm


    We do virtually nothing to ensure all voters are legally entitled to vote.

    Tens of thousands of county registrars would respectfully disagree with that assessment.

    Especially as you also reference such nonsense as

    The president himself went on national television to encourage illegal voting. That's not private information, it took no sleuthing to find it, it's quite public and the media yawned.

    True, it takes very little sleuthing to find this claim, which speaks mainly to the obscene amount of influence Fox News has in this country -- and the lavish and simple-minded propensity of right-wing websites to parrot whatever garbage rubs their tummies without even the least pretense of fact-checking. (Personally, before I quoted a source with so well-known a history of spreading bullshit and lies as Fox News, I'd double- or triple-check it, rather than risk damaging my credibility. Of course, if I was, say, breitbart or WND or similar rot and had no credibility left to sully, I guess I wouldn't worry.)

    However, it takes just as little sleuthing to discover this claim was based on a misleadingly edited video aired by Fox. (And, admittedly, to an atypically convoluted reply Obama made to a nearly incoherent question posed by an 'actress and rapper' on an extremely fringe cable channel.) Watching all of the interview -- as it was aired, not as it was hacked to death by Fox -- makes it clear Obama is speaking to U.S. citizens of Latin-American origin.

  • Nov 28th, 2016 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Laughable Postion of Democrats on the Integrity of Voting

    I'm not sure what the Politifact reference is supposed to prove -- other than the GOP was exceedingly successful at gerrymandering districts.

    Funny, you'd think the left-controlled mainstream media would be all over that -- that is, if the mainstream media were truly tools of the left.
  • Jul 10th, 2016 @ 6:51am


  • Jul 6th, 2016 @ 7:01am

    I'm confused...

    ...where in the amended law is "release to one, release to all" codified? All I see is where the previous statute -- which mandated blanket release for any records an agency determines "have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the same records" -- has been amended to include any record requested three or more times. This is based on, admittedly, my skimming of the DOJ's redline of the FOIA, so I may have overlooked something, but the "three request" change is in keeping with my understanding of the bill's provisions.
  • Apr 15th, 2016 @ 7:20am

    an annual read

    ...well, OK, more like every 15 months or so.

    Somewhere out there is a Master's thesis waiting to happen on Stephenson as the new Thomas Pynchon. Central to that narrative is 'Cryptonomicon,' with echoes of both 'Gravity's Rainbow' and 'The Crying of Lot 49.' (Not to mention Pig Bodine reincarnated as Bobby Shaftoe.) I have to disagree, though, with the ending being unsatisfactory -- a little rushed, perhaps (if that's not an absurd thing to say about a 900+ page book), but perhaps any ending would seem to come too soon. It's also the book that triggered the second-highest number of unsolicited comments from strangers in airports -- nearly as many as for 'The Da Vinci Code,' but from a much more interesting group of people.
  • Feb 24th, 2016 @ 11:55am

    Serving Suggestion

    Before posting an obvious joke -- especially a pun -- as a comment, scan through those already there.
  • Dec 18th, 2015 @ 8:50pm

    So, how long before...

    ...they get sued by Purdue Pharma?
  • Dec 17th, 2015 @ 1:28pm

    a lousy, albeit workable, approach

    Having spent the past two summers in the town where ZI was born, some 3,500 miles and at least 35 years distant from the place I now call home, I was happy to learn I was not wrong to have left the first moment I could. At the same time, though, I am a bit envious of the connectivity my mother should soon be enjoying, thanks to nDanville's FTTH (which I suspect is actually FTTP) offerings. While it's an approach heavily dependent upon extraordinary funding -- as far as I can tell, the only growth industries still left in Danville are the leveraging of grants and tax credits earmerked for areas of high unemployment and the retail sale of Confederate flags -- the nDanville model did allow the whole public/private controversy to be sidestepped. In brief, the city owns and operates the fiber infrastructure which ISPs and other third parties can use to provide access and services; a portion of each customer's monthly bill is paid to the city for use of its network.

    It's far from a perfect solution. While all of the city's business districts are fiber-ready, to date only the two most affluent residential neighborhoods have been or are being connected. Further, there are undoubtedly economic inefficiencies introduced by the public/private divide. And, of course, the true cost of connectivity has been buried in layers of grants and subsidies.

    Still, starting next month my mother should be able to enjoy 100/25 Mbps service for less than $80 a month -- or cable, internet, and phone for roughly 60% of what she currently pays for all three, plus a 200x increase in bandwidth. All this in a city where, 15 years ago, I could easily monitor my parents' visits to my company's web site as the inbound dial-up rotary only contained 8 ports....
  • Nov 17th, 2015 @ 10:21pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, the statute says it's OK to delete up to three images. Not sure what happens at image number four, and not sure if that's per incident or a rolling lifetime total.
  • Nov 9th, 2015 @ 9:48pm

    Re: Show the pictures...

    You joke -- but I have a housemate who has been held* since her April 17 arrest on child pornography charges.** One of the reasons given for denying her bail was that she supposedly encouraged pedophiles to send her documentation of their crimes. In support of this, the US Attorney cited a "pics or it didn't happen" SMS she sent in response to what she thought was someone trying to BS her....


    * For the last nine weeks, in solitary 23.5 hours a day, thanks to the SFPD's somewhat belated, undeniably overheated press release about her arrest.

    ** I've known her for 14 years -- and the first indication I ever had of her alleged interest in such things was when I stepped from my office into my bedroom to see who could possibly be knocking on the front door at 6:45 in the morning, and found myself staring down the barrel of an FBI Glock.***

    *** I'm a little biased, I suppose, since the feds walked off with my primary work PC and about 3 Tbytes of storage -- including all my backups , natch -- which I have yet to have returned. (For months, I had no idea exactly what they had taken, as they left no inventory. Turns out this was due to a carbon-paper failure, as the recording agent had insertd the carbon upside down, so the list they left amidst all the carnage didn't include anything of mine seized.) The feds claim there was offending material on my PC -- but they can't tell me what, exactly. Other than the possibility I had a copy of "Smart Alec" in a collection of stags and smokers I occasionally used as a VJ, I have no idea what that might be.
  • Nov 9th, 2015 @ 9:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Dumbest Law award

    Yeah, but 18 USC funny-shaped-S 2252 also describes "producing of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct" -- so it doesn't pertain to the vast majority of 'sexting' photographs, anyway.

    Of course, that doesn't prevent people being charged and convicted for possession of images that, strictly speaking, shouldn't be considered in violation.

    It all comes down to intent -- and all-too-often, the supposed intender's word carries the least weight. (In the relatively few cases that actually make it to trial, that is; when faced with [and regularly reminded of] the fed's phenomenally high conviction rate and shown the sentencing guidelines for a category 33 federal offense, many folks end up taking a plea, no matter how strong or weak the prosecution's case may be.
  • Nov 9th, 2015 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In thirty-seven (or thirty-eight, depending on how you count Texas) states, the age of consent is 16 or 17, which means you could have a partner you could legally fuck -- but not photograph.
  • May 31st, 2015 @ 9:03am

    Not just for-pay health journals

    This article from 'JAMA Psychiatry' makes all sort of expansive claims from a tiny, self-selected study group. It illustrates the problem of giving access to a raft of analysis tools but without common-sense training on when and how to use them. (Example: They 'measure' dose effects based on their estimate of 'typical' dose size for a street drug notorious for containing little or none of the purported active ingredient, often in combination with a raft of other substances, times the number of past drug sessions experiences by the participant. *Then* they do the same for an array of other street drugs in order to compare lifetime dosage effects. Oh, for a population all aged 18 to 25.)

  • Nov 7th, 2014 @ 9:07pm

    (untitled comment)

    Even better, Swift herself tweeted a link to the HuffPo article on the mashup, seemingly approvingly:


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