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  • Feb 19th, 2017 @ 7:28am

    (untitled comment)

    Just over a year later: the video at the given link is presently available, and the cited clips are all present, at full length.

    I haven't found any coverage of later developments in this incident or in the takedown's reversal, but apparently it has been dealt with.

  • Feb 19th, 2017 @ 4:27am

    Re: Why were government employees lobbying?

    I suspect their idea was about the free-association rights of the representatives. (Bear with me here.)

    The state university is a facet of the state government, particularly in light of being publicly funded.

    Using a logo of an entity creates an association between oneself and that entity.

    The government, just as much as the rest of society, has a First Amendment right to freedom of association - the right to choose who to associate with, and who to not. (Even if that doesn't hold for the government as a whole, it certainly holds for the representatives of that government.)

    Thus, by granting the student organization permission to use this logo, the state university is creating an association between this organization and the entirety of the state government, including but not limited to the representative in question. (As well as engaging in political speech itself.)


    What's more, being publicly funded, the university must have used public funds in creating the logo and the trademark thereon, and must also use public funds in maintaining that trademark.

    Thus, by using the trademark in political advocacy (even with permission), the students are effectively causing the _government_ and its representatives to engage in political activity in _support_ of their campaign.

    And so by having that permission rescinded under threat of withholding public funds, the government is actually staying _out_ of political speech, while at the same time protecting its representatives' own First Amendment right to freedom of association.

    (Is that logic twisty enough for you?)

  • Feb 19th, 2017 @ 4:12am

    Re: Re: Privatization

    I suspect his(?) position is that if it had been a private university rather than a (public-funds-dependent) public one, it wouldn't have been in a position for the withholding-of-funds pressure to be put on it in the first place, much less have felt the need to succumb to that pressure.

    I'm not sure how independent-of-government-funding many private universities really are, but the idea doesn't seem as inherently backwards as you seem to have read it as being.

  • Feb 18th, 2017 @ 11:54pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    > My only hope is that the current sideshow gets people motivated enough to vote out enough Republicans in 2
    > years to get some form of balance in Congress so he has to fight for the worse stuff.

    My understanding is that this is extremely unlikely, regardless of what level of voter activism there is at that point, simply because of which Congressional districts are up for re-election in that cycle; IIRC (from a source I no longer recall), there is at most exactly one such district which is neither held by a Democrat nor a near-100%-"safe" district for the Republican incumbent.

    It really looks as if the "permanent Republican majority" strategy/initiative, from a decade or two back, of focusing heavily on gerrymandering "safe" districts on a per-state basis may be paying off...

  • Feb 12th, 2017 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Don't why even have even customs checkpoints. Every person in the world has a right to come here and stay.

    Sadly, the Trump brigade (and I wish I had a better term for the group of people I'm thinking of than that, I just haven't been able to think of one) have already been pointing to that as support for the idea of _excluding_ some people.

    Specifically, I've seen it argued that the qualifier "yearning to breathe free" means that only people who come here because they want freedom are covered by that exhortation - usually with the understanding, and often the explanation, that people who want to import the culture of the place they're coming from rather than adopting our culture ("of freedom") aren't coming here because they want freedom.

    The people who argue this usually seem to be the same people raising the specter of sharia law being imposed in (parts of) the USA, and that gets pointed to as an example of importing restrictive native culture rather than adopting freedom-loving American culture.

  • Feb 12th, 2017 @ 6:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 10 steps to Fascism..

    Trump wasn't my first pick, its just that Hilary was my absolute last.

    That's interesting, because Hillary Clinton wasn't my first pick - it's just that, out of those whose names were in the field (at any point over the entire campaign), Donald Trump was my absolute last.

    After the election of Obama, I saw the writing on the wall about Hillary Clinton being the next Democratic nominee for the Presidency, and I decided that I would vote third-party rather than support her - despite the worse-than-useless nature of third-party votes in a first-past-the-post system - no matter how bad the opposing candidate was. (I had considered that for previous campaigns, and decided against it at the time.)

    By the time the 2016 election came along, I was actually looking forward to voting for Hillary Clinton.

    Part of that is because of shifts in her positions on things that matter to me, largely due to the influence of Bernie Sanders - but most of it is simply because it was already clear that Donald Trump is that bad.

    Donald Trump almost singlehandedly converted me from disliking Hillary Clinton enough to throw away my Presidential-election vote by making a statement about the two-party system and the first-past-the-post voting model, to looking forward to voting for her just to help ensure that the abhorrent views he was espousing would not get into power.

    He got into power anyway - largely, I suspect, because of the relentless decade-plus-long demonization campaign against Hillary Clinton - and now we're starting to see the consequences. (And so is he; word is that morale in the White House is low and falling, from the top on down. I rather expected that he would be gravely disappointed by the actual job of the Presidency, if he found himself in it.)

  • Feb 10th, 2017 @ 8:36am

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

    Or outright _implementing_ policies the Republicans had previously pushed for without success - e.g., Obamacare.

  • Feb 10th, 2017 @ 6:11am

    Re: So. It has come to this.

    I'm not sure whether this would be better fit as First Word or as Last Word, but it definitely deserves one of the two.

  • Feb 10th, 2017 @ 5:37am

    Re: Re:

    When only one forum (or set of forums) matters, preventing you from speaking there is effectively the same as preventing you from speaking at all. Thus, the term "silenced" is entirely appropriate.

    In most cases, you have the option to seek or create alternative forums, and make those other forums matter - so "silenced" would not be an appropriate term in those cases. In this case, however, the only forum that matters is the Senate itself, because of its exclusive role in the decision at hand; there is only one forum where the decision will be made, and there is no realistic possibility of transferring that decision elsewhere.

  • Feb 10th, 2017 @ 4:46am

    Re:

    Regrettably, I can't quite bring myself to mark this "insightful", given the cringeworthy use of "their is a que" instead of "there is a queue"...

  • Feb 8th, 2017 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Cheering one asshole when they hate on another...

    Nonsense. Saying that everything is a shade of gray ignores all the wonderful blues, purples, oranges, and greens out there. The world is not a continuum between only two poles.

  • Feb 8th, 2017 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Filing Cabinets

    > Sorry, but Google is pretty much telling us that. They
    > actually say you can search a server, but the data may or
    > may not be there from the time you request the data till
    > the time you search it. They've hidden the pea, and they
    > are telling you they can't find it.

    The difference here is that in a shell game, the pea is only moved when the operator intentionally moves it, and the only reason why the operator does so is to prevent the mark from correctly identifying the location.

    In the case at hand, the data is moved around automatically all the time even without the operator's intervention, and this serves a valid purpose completely unrelated to preventing government from accessing that data.

    > When every indication that if the owner of the pea asks
    > for it, I absolutely assure you that Google will present
    > it to them.

    The difference here is that the owner of the data has the legal right to access that data regardless of jurisdiction, whereas the US government does not have the legal right to access data that is not within US jurisdiction.

    It's not about whether Google can _find_ the data in order to present it; it's about whether the party asking for the data has the legal right to access the data in the location where it is stored.

    The owner has that right no matter where the data is. (Unless the laws of the jurisdiction where the data happens to be disagree with that, but presumably Google would not set up a data center in such a jurisdiction.)

    A government does not have that right unless the data is within the jurisdiction of that government.

  • Feb 5th, 2017 @ 7:27am

    Re:

    I'd guess that the "jointly and severally" is meant to refer to the fact that Twitter is both a single entity (the company) and a collection of entities (the people who make up the company) - i.e., this is an attempt to pull in the actual people behind the decisions she's objecting to, in addition to the company whose name is on those decisions.

  • Feb 1st, 2017 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    >Racism in the USA is as dead as disco. Now, lest you misunderstand, remember that disco is not 100% extinct. There
    > are still a few people around with horrible taste who think it's cool, but that doesn't mean it's not something that everyone knows is a relic of the past. And so it is also with
    > racism.

    That's only true for a very narrow and limited definition of racism.

    By my analysis, the core idea of racism is the idea that the ill-defined collection of characteristics which we label as "race" is an appropriate basis for categorization.

    _That_ idea is still going strong - and as long as we _think_ in terms of those categories, we will never be free of racism.

    Even if you think that definition is overly broad, there are plenty of other possible definitions in the range between that one and any definition by which racism is "something that everyone knows is a relic of the past".

  • Jan 30th, 2017 @ 7:14am

    Re: Distirubution Rights -- IANAL

    The manufacturer can still sell to whomever they want. They've just contracted to only sell to this one company, for purposes of the US market.

    If someone else wants to start manufacturing it, they aren't prohibited from doing so - it's just that they also have to get separate FDA approval for what they produce, unless they can prove that it's chemically identical to what the existing manufacturer produces.

    That separate-FDA-approval requirement seems like the real root of the problem, in this and similar cases where all applicable patents are expired; it imposes a barrier to entering the market, thus restricting the number of potential competitors.

    There's room to argue that it's necessary from a public-safety perspective, and I'm not entirely sure that that argument doesn't hold up - but the result is highly unfortunate and undesirable.

  • Jan 30th, 2017 @ 4:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I imagine the reasoning is based on the assumption that they didn't get _access_ to the relevant systems, to be able to start creating the relevant accounts, until Inauguration Day - because before that point, Obama was still President, so those systems were still under his authority.

    That assumption makes a certain amount of sense on a superficial level, but gets considerably shakier once you dig beneath the surface and start looking at practicalities rather than partisanship and abstracts.

  • Jan 29th, 2017 @ 5:22am

    Re: Re:

    I think the claim is that claiming that they're "using private email accounts for work related things" is premature, given the short time elapsed so far - i.e., that they haven't had time to transition to non-private accounts yet, and that it's not reasonable to ding someone during the transition period for not having finished the transition. (With the assumption apparently being that the transition period didn't begin until Inauguration Day, rather than beginning the day after Election Day.)

    I'm not at all sure whether that claim holds water, either in terms of what their actions so far show about intent (or lack thereof) to switch away from the private accounts or in terms of whether the transition period is still ongoing, but it's at least not entirely illogical on its face.

  • Jan 29th, 2017 @ 4:57am

    Re: Re:

    Err... what?

    Maybe I'm (badly) misreading the reports on this, but where is Trump threatening to place police departments under federal oversight?

    What I've gotten from the reports on this, including this very article, is that Trump is threatening to crack down on those who accuse police officers of doing bad things, and to defend police officers against all attempts to rein them in.

    Literally _nothing_ about that says "oversight" to me.

  • Jan 29th, 2017 @ 4:52am

    Re: Out of site out of mind

    And it's entirely possible that crime _in Chicago_ is getting worse, and that special action _in Chicago_ is necessary to counter or combat that.

    IIRC, there are a handful of major cities around the nation where crime (especially violent crime) has spiked significantly, enough so to make a visible change in the national averages - but that crime everywhere else is continuing to fall, or at worst is remaining level.

    If Chicago is one of that handful, the anecdotes given would make perfect sense, while still not coming close to justifying action on a national level.

  • Jan 28th, 2017 @ 4:06pm

    Re: Gotta love the classics

    I don't think this is a case of "your privacy isn't violated unless you know you're being watched".

    I think the logic here is that knowing where the cameras are will reveal who the FBI is looking at, that this in turn will reveal that the FBI thinks those people did something worth looking at, and that that revelation - in the absence of enough evidence to bring charges, and especially for people who didn't actually do it after all - is a violation of those people's privacy.

    So by keeping the locations of the cameras the FBI is using to watch these people secret, the FBI is protecting these people from the public opprobrium which would come from its being known that the FBI suspects them of something.

    ...or something like that. The logic is twisted, but _might_ be considered internally sound.

    (It doesn't make the FBI's own surveillance any less of a privacy violation, but this case wasn't about stopping that anyway - so the comparison is between privacy violation by both the FBI and the public, vs. privacy violation by only the FBI.)

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