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  • May 12th, 2020 @ 9:25am


    I went and checked how things are going with Wink products on Amazon. The one-star reviews have been rolling in. Those I saw were "verified purchase". I'd expect all those folks to have little trouble returning their Amazon purchase. I've returned Amazon stuff for all kinds of reasons. Never had a problem.

    I wonder if Amazon takes notice if they get massive returns on a specific brand. I'd like to think they do but I've been flagging left and right the fake hand sanitizers that are available for sale on Amazon since the shortage of the real stuff began. (By "fake" I mean products that don't conform to FDA requirements.) I have not perceived much concern on Amazon's part. I've seen the stuff I flag being removed but if Amazon really cared the stuff would not be put up in the first place. For sure it would cost Amazon money to pay for real people (not algorithms) to do the work. So I don't know: amazon might see a ton of returns on Wink's stuff and just shrug.

    No clue how it is going to play out for those folks who bought from elsewhere.

    Wink definitely does seem to be in a death spiral. Their yanking on the stick to try to avoid crashing is just making the spiral tighter and faster.

  • Apr 23rd, 2020 @ 4:17am


    He's be gloating that no other president has had so many dead people turn up to hear a president's speech.

  • May 20th, 2019 @ 7:18am

    Re: Because screw everyone else when money's on the line

    Yeah, reading that line I also reacted with the thought "no, no, they have learned".

    The overarching thing they've learned is that despite the fines or settlements they periodically have to pay, the bottom line is that crime does pay.

  • May 16th, 2019 @ 3:38am

    Excuses, excuses...

    More likely DeSantis actually does not want the information released. The NDA happens to be a convenient excuse he can point at.

  • May 14th, 2019 @ 3:52am

    Everything is fine, see...

    Every time something like this happens, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner will create a new exception. The Office claims to have "clarified" but the GDPR is such a mess that I expect they did not "clarify" anything but instead made an ad hoc decree to work around the absurd consequences of their law.

  • Apr 22nd, 2019 @ 4:03am

    Re: 'Your mistake should not be my problem.'

    I'd expect that they can appeal. Though they might get lucky and have the judge vacate the order before it goes to appeal. While reading this article, it seemed to me that I had read good legal analyses of cases where someone asked the court to put the horse back in the barn...

    In the Balian case, a plea agreement that was to be released under seal was accidentally released unsealed. The LA Times was able to get the plea agreement and published an article based on information that should have remained sealed. A judge initially ordered the LA Times to redact their article and stop using the information that should have been sealed but then the same judge vacated his own order days later.

    Ken White wrote about it:

    https://www.popehat.com/2018/07/16/federal-judge-issues-illegitimate-prior-restraint-order-again st-los-angeles-times-in-federal-criminal-case/

    https://www.popehat.com/2018/07/17/federal-court-vaca tes-prior-restraint-order-against-la-times-but-blasts-press-in-attempt-to-justify-it/

    And so did Eugene Volokh:


  • Nov 19th, 2018 @ 10:45am

    Re: Presenting Exhibit A: The WH's own statement.

    There's also the possibility that the WH got excellent legal advice by competent lawyers but decided to ignore this advice.

    It's a scenario that Ken White has brought up over and over again on "All the President's Lawyers". People in power have the ability to buy excellent representation. However, they also tend to nullify the value of the advice they get because they think they know better than their lawyers.
  • Aug 1st, 2018 @ 11:39am

    and the mass media is going batshit crazy, as usual

    My wife likes to watch CBS news... so CBS was on this morning during breakfast. During the coverage of the 3D printed guns case, I had to pause every 5 seconds to correct every bloody thing the reporter was saying.

    CBS is just one example. The rest of the coverage from supposedly "serious" news outlets, aka the mainstream media, was just as bad. I've long known that the MSM almost never handles tech stories correctly, because that's my field. I'd listen to reporters explain things very badly and shake my head. Eventually, I discovered that the same ineptitude extended to just about everything they cover. (Yes, even the weather.) This is particularly aggravating when it comes to politics and the law because the scale at which they misinform the masses is slowly but surely eroding our liberties. The MSM keeps repeating that line about how the First Amendment is subject to some sort of "balancing act" and then the masses believe it, and they act as if it were the law of the land. If they heard it from some "respected" news outlet, it must be true, right? Good grief!

    Demographically, I'm smack dab in the middle of the group of people that outlets like CBS, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, are trying to appeal to, but they do such a terrible job where and when it matters that I cannot support them. I support TechDirt, and sites that explain how it actually is. I do believe that journalism is essential to a robust democracy but I don't believe that CBS, the WP or the NYT are *themselves* essential.
  • Jul 14th, 2018 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Schrodinger's Agent, where the status depends on benefit to THEM

    It is not a free pass for government employees to commit crime.

    For one thing, the immunity only applies for things they do as part of their government job. If I'm a grant officer for the National Endowment for the Arts, and break into my neighbors' house, or try to pass forged checks, I'm not immune.

    Moreover, criminal cases are not brought up by private citizens, but by the government. And the government does bring up suits against its own employees who commit crimes while acting as government employees. The presumption is that if the government sues, then it also waives immunity. The immunity is a government prerogative, not a prerogative of the individual employee, so the employee has no say in whether or not immunity is waived.
  • Jul 13th, 2018 @ 6:44am

    Re: Schrodinger's Agent, where the status depends on benefit to THEM

    They are not law enforcement officers, but they were still acting in their role as government employees and thus are shielded from being individually sued. The legal starting point is that you cannot sue the feds or its employees for actions they performed as federal employees. The FTCA opens the door to some claims. For instance if the employee is a LEO, some claims may move forward. But if the employee is not a LEO, then the original starting point is the one that applies: the employee is immune from being sued for actions they took as government employees.

    This being said, I recall in other situations that the court has held that people who are mandated by LEOs to perform actions for LEOs are treated as law enforcement for cases like this one. I recall it came up in some criminal cases where the cops obtained evidence through Geek Squad. One of the question was whether Geek Squad was just an informant, or were they effectively an arm of law enforcement. An informant can give information to law enforcement even if the way the informant got the information would be a civil rights violation if a LEO did it. However, LEOs are not allowed to just contract out things they are not allowed to do. So one of the questions the court considered was whether Geek Squad was just an informant or was in an arrangement with the FBI such that it should be considered to be law enforcement.

    I don't recall how the Geek Squad cases went, but it seems to me whether the TSA's agents must rely on LEOs to arrest people and bring charges is really neither here not there. They are effectively law enforcement.
  • Jun 25th, 2018 @ 4:43am

    (untitled comment)

    These assumptions, if true, would raise reasonable policy concerns. But even if they were valid worries, it doesn't follow that the Supreme Court should be the organ of government to address them, especially not when its doing so threatens to create additional policy concerns of its own.

    The majority decision actually agrees with you. South Dakota v. Wayfair holds that Quill Corp v. North Dakota effectively made the Supreme Court the organ of government that addressed the problem of collecting sale taxes on sales to state residents from out-of-state sellers. The decision in Quill made it so that no legislature in the US could require that out-of-state sellers collect sales taxes. In order to let legislatures decide the question, and not the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court has to overturn its earlier decision. South Dakota v. Wayfair does not mandate that out-of-state sellers collect taxes. It leaves it to the legislatures to decide whether or not out-of-state sellers must collect these taxes. Now the legislatures have to figure it out.

  • Jun 16th, 2018 @ 8:00am


    Yep, that's pretty much it. They do not care one bit whether the bill is well-crafted law or not. They do not care whether it will achieve its stated goals or not. They do not care whether it will be struck down as unconstitutional. It is purely a PR act.

    When they come up for election again, the politicians can list their support for the bill as some sort of accomplishment or proof that they are among the "good guys" because they supported a bill against bad stuff. And in an overwhelming number of cases, the strategy works perfectly. The people hearing the claim will just swallow it whole. The calculation is simple: abuse is bad and this bill is against abuse, therefore the bill is good and the politicians that supported it are good whereas those that opposed it are bad. Never mind that those who opposed it may have opposed it because they saw through the bullshit of the bill, and not because they are in favor of abuse. 99.9999% of voters won't examine the arguments against the bill.
  • May 8th, 2018 @ 7:51am

    Re: Fire the USPTO who approved

    I initially also thought "fire the examiner!" but I don't think firing the examiner is going to accomplish anything substantial. At best, some of us may feel some satisfaction that will surely be crushed as soon as, inevitably, another stupid grant from the USPTO makes the rounds in the news.

    The USPTO is organized so that it benefits from granting bad trademarks. There's no practical downside for them. The incentives for granting bad trademarks and bad patents are structural. The examiner was most likely doing exactly what his bosses wanted him to do. Fire him and he'll be replaced with someone doing exactly the same thing.
  • Feb 21st, 2018 @ 3:39am

    Re: Was he parked in a private drive or out in the street?

    It is not contradictory. I used to live in a community where nobody had a "private drive" but everybody had two assigned parking spots. The roads in the community were maintained by the HOA, and the HOA got to set the parking rules.
  • Feb 16th, 2018 @ 5:26am

    (untitled comment)

    I took the title sarcastically so I was sure that when I read the story it would turn out to be the usual overreaction.

    I was pleasantly surprised.

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