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  • Apr 28th, 2017 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hate to say it, that 'Monopoly' Title has some merit...

    I think what he's claiming is that the market in which he's asserting YouTube has a monopoly is not "online video services" but "online video services in which the creators/providers of that video have a meaningful chance of getting paid".

    I.e., that the difference between free-but-you-don't-make-money video services and free-and-you-can-make-money video services is so major as to make them entirely different markets for the purpose of determining monopoly status, and that the only player in the latter space is YouTube.

    I'm not sufficiently familiar with the field to judge these claims, but at least the latter does look a little dubious at first glance.

  • Apr 28th, 2017 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re:

    I understand the reason for the "qualified immunity" doctrine, but it always seems to me as if it creates a bit of a Catch-22 situation.

    First cop does X. Court says "No previous ruling saying you can't do X; qualified immunity." Case does not proceed; no ruling saying "you can't do X" is handed down.

    Second cop does X. Court says "No previous ruling saying you can't do X; qualified immunity." Case does not proceed; no ruling saying "you can't do X" is handed down.

    If you can't get far enough to get a ruling saying "you can't do X" unless someone else has already gotten one, how does the precedent necessary to strip qualified immunity ever get established?

  • Apr 27th, 2017 @ 5:58am

    (untitled comment)

    Specifically, there are cases out there that make it clear that if you're holding a political rally, you have a First Amendment right to exclude those who disagree with you because of your own freedom of association under the First Amendment. The key case here is Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston. Trump's argument here is simply that based on this pretty well accepted view of the law, his campaign, at a private event, has the right to stop protestors from speaking and escort them out of the venue.

    That's interesting.

    My own visceral reaction is "a political rally is not a private event; it's a public gathering", and to reject this conclusion on that basis. I rather suspect that I'm not the only one who thinks of these types of events in this way.

    I can, however, see problems with that statement as a potential rule/ruling, and potential reasons why it could lead to undesirable results. That said, the fact that I can see that doesn't change the initial reaction.

  • Apr 24th, 2017 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: bullshit


    Everyone gets to interpret the law. The only question is whose interpretations are and are not binding.

    Your interpretation of the law, and mine, is overridden (in practice) by that of the executive branch.

    The executive branch's interpretation is overridden (in theory) by that of the judicial branch.

    The judicial branch's interpretation is overridden by that of the legislative branch, in the form of passing new legislation - except in cases where the judicial branch holds that the legislation in question is in conflict with the terms of the Constitution, in which case the judicial branch's interpretation prevails.

  • Apr 23rd, 2017 @ 4:49pm

    Re: Re:

    The way I remember it, part of Microsoft's troubles came in the fact that you *couldn't* entirely remove Internet Explorer, even if you installed another browser and never launched IE at all; it was - and to some extent may well remain, even today - integrated into parts of the underlying graphical shell, as an HTML rendering engine.

    The problem there is that they refused to expose the necessary API surfaces for other people to hook in their own rendering engines in place of the IE one. That may have been reasonable as a security decision (malware hooking in this way could be very bad), but it did result in the can't-remove-IE-from-Windows situation.

    If the Chrome built-in ad blocker is a discrete module, and you can swap in any other API-compatible ad blocker in place of that module - which I think is what is being suggested - then those factors would not seem to apply.

  • Apr 23rd, 2017 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think that's what the "makes me wonder why let rednecks breed without a permit" was saying.

    I think that comment was pointing out that the description "have no education, have what would be considered no future and possibly have no interest in accepting our country or fitting in" sounds like it would apply fairly well to rednecks, or at least to the stereotypical image thereof.

    And if we're not going to let that sort of person come into the country, why should we let the ones who are already here reproduce? Either one increases the number of such people in the country, after all; if the goal is to keep the number of such people down, both actions would seem equally justified. Or unjustified, as the case may be.

  • Apr 23rd, 2017 @ 2:56pm


    We do not need to let people from terror prone countries into our country without proper vetting (which these countries cannot provide us with the needed information to conduct).

    If all the executive order did was say "if you can't get the information you need to properly vet someone, don't let that person in", that would be barely controversial and we wouldn't even be having this conversation. What country they're from has, or should have, nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    The fact that this started out with a list of countries (picked up from an action taken by the Obama administration, at that, rather than devised based on assessing the ability of each country to properly support the vetting process) is a pretty strong indication that it's not even attempting to say any such thing.

  • Apr 23rd, 2017 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: Not enough.

    Actually, I suspect that a large fraction ("majority" is arguable) of those who voted for Donald Trump were actually voting against Hillary Clinton - in other words, that the decade-plus-long demonization campaign against her by the Republican Party proved effective.

  • Apr 23rd, 2017 @ 9:28am

    Re: Gateway drugs

    Unfortunately, I suspect that the courts would (and, in fact, may already) interpret the Commerce Clause to grant the authority to regulate commerce in illegal goods just as much as in legal ones - and the Wickard v. Filburn decision, ruling that growing and consuming your own crops affects the interstate market for those crops, means in effect that the federal government has the authority to regulate all vaguely-commercial activity in this country regardless of where its participants are located.

    Consequences like that are part of why people continue to argue that Wickard v. Filburn was wrongly decided, but it's been established precedent for a long time now, which makes it ever less likely for the Supreme Court to decide to overturn it.

  • Apr 20th, 2017 @ 6:19am

    Re: "A law preventing me from doing something I would never do will be highly detrimental to my ability to do my job!"

    Well, to be fair, this isn't necessarily an entirely inconsistent or hypocritical position.

    The key is that the change in the standard of proof may serve to prohibit both actions which are abusive, and actionss which are not, and may even be important.

    If you believe that the "not abusive, but now prohibited anyway" actions are numerous enough and important enough, it's entirely consistent to argue that the change in the standard of proof is effectively throwing the baby out with the bath water, even if you don't want anything to do with the bath water.

    Whether or not you're justified in that belief is another question - but it *is* possible to hold that belief, and if you do, this position would seem to follow naturally.

    (The "then throw out or otherwise rein in that small percentage!" argument is an entirely separate question; I don't have any counters for it, and it seems entirely valid to me.)

  • Apr 19th, 2017 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Nowhere to go BUT down

    6) To clean up page clutter.

    On sites without ads, there is often reasonable use of whitespace, leaving space empty for both visual and "click in the window without triggering anything" reasons.

    On sites with ads, the entire page tends to be cluttered with objects, to the point that frequently even clicking in what looks like empty space will actually trigger a hyperlink to whatever page the ad is pointing to.

    I've started to use "clutter" as a curse word in the past year or two, for unrelated reasons, and the idea holds up just as well on the WWW as it does elsewhere.

  • Apr 18th, 2017 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No - that line is based on a persuasive analysis I ran across last year which explained/argued the ways in which the structural incentives of single-choice first-past-the-post drive inevitably towards a two-party system, purely out of people attempting to vote in their own best interests.

    Unfortunately I don't remember where that analysis was or who presented it, so I can't cite it effectively, and I don't remember its arguments well enough to persuasively present them myself.

  • Apr 18th, 2017 @ 7:56am


    An insecure Internet is a danger to everyone who uses the Internet (and, arguably, even to those who do not).

    Therefore, securing the Internet is the responsibility of everyone who uses the Internet (and, arguably, even of those who do not).

  • Apr 18th, 2017 @ 5:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That just means that Canada hasn't devolved to the natural end-point of a single-choice, first-past-the-post voting system yet. There was a time when America hadn't either, and yet here we are.

    The real problem isn't first-past-the-post itself; it's the spoiler effect, and the perverse voting patterns which it incentivizes. That effect exists under first-past-the-post, and there's no way to eliminate or minimize that fact; the only solution is to switch to a voting system which does not produce that effect.

    (The best-known ranked-choice voting system, known as IRV - the one in which the candidate with the most last-place or fewest first-place votes is eliminated, and then the results are recalculated on the basis of the remaining candidates - doesn't have the same spoiler effect as does FPTP, but does still leave situations in which ranking your preferred candidate a certain way can actually decrease the chance of that candidate winning. A Condorcet system, although much harder to understand, is the most ideal option known as far as perverse incentives goes.)

  • Apr 17th, 2017 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I was going to post something similar, but I ran up against the fact that if you ignore the legal context and look only at the colloquial sense of the term, the events you describe do constitute him winning - or, in other words, "prevailing in" - his fight against Gawker.

    Nothing about that win says that the court will be more likely to rule in his favor in this instance - but nothing about this instance says that the force-the-target-into-bankruptcy tactic won't be just as effective in this case as it was in the previous one, assuming that he has sufficient funds available on his end.

    So that argument turns into arguing over the meaning of the word "prevail", and that type of semantic hairsplitting is not going to convince anybody who doesn't already agree with you.

  • Apr 13th, 2017 @ 5:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    His position seems to be that it's all of the other rules still in place which are giving the monopolies government blessing, and preventing other people from coming in to compete.

    If I undestand matters correctly, he's said that he's in favor of anti-monopoly regulation, but against all other forms of regulation, on (I think) the grounds that all - or at least the overwhelming majority of - other forms of regulation serve to make it harder for people to come into the market and thus give those already in the market a competitive advantage.

    I think that's going too far, personally, but a lot of the specific forms of regulation I think I've seen him mention in the specific market in question (spectrum licenses, pole-access rules, et cetera) do seem to have that effect. It's just that they may also have other, positive effects, which he seems to either ignore or reject out of hand as being obviously outweighed by the fact that they also represent government blessing of the market incumbent.

  • Apr 11th, 2017 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I can't entirely refute that claim, but all I can say is that the only examples of the Crusades being brought up in re modern Christianity that I can think of have all been in terms of pointing out "Christianity isn't pure and innocent either" when people point out atrocities (both current and historical) of Islam. That doesn't read like "blame" to me, although the people on the opposing side in the arguments where I've seen it often seem to have read it that way.

    Maybe it's true that Christianity in its entirety has developed past the point of doing things like that, and maybe it's also true that Islam (in whole or in part) has not - but there was a time when Christianity hadn't either, and it would be no more appropriate for us to declare Islam as a whole hateful and irredeemable for today's actions than it would have been for people to similarly condemn Christianity as a whole for the atrocities of those earlier times.

  • Apr 11th, 2017 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The two major factions (there are not, ultimately, only two "sides") are certainly far too similar in far too many ways.

    They are also certainly not exactly the same, and the differences which do exist are certainly still meaningful.

  • Apr 11th, 2017 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry, that's not how the language works. A republic is a form of government, or a nation (ostensibly) under that form of government; the equivalent noun would be "democracy", not "Democrat".

    The adjective for "republic" is "republican", and the noun for "member of the Republican Party" is "Republican".

    The adjective for "democracy" is "democratic", and the noun for "member of the Democratic Party" is "Democrat".

    The names of the parties are derived from descriptive adjectives which evolved differently over the course of linguistic history, and they take different forms when conjugated. Trying to force otherwise for parallelism is pointless.

  • Apr 11th, 2017 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm so far to the left that Bernie Sanders is to the right of me.

    My father is a pastor, and the most thoroughly Christian person I know of.

    He's even further left than I am.

    (Also... didn't the Christians, you know, engage in the Crusades? Who else would you blame for the Crusades?)

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