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  • Aug 26th, 2016 @ 6:29am

    (untitled comment)

    Beyond the alleged backing of Trump, there's more to be gained than simply pointing out the media's transparent disdain for the Republican candidate. There are also leaked -- but unreleased -- documents stored on agencies' servers.
    Wasn't the NYT one of the news organizations which received the Snowden documents? Most of which, reportedly, have not been released.

  • Aug 25th, 2016 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Or rather, the shell, which is distinct from the OS - but which Microsoft calls by the same name, and distributes only in lockstep with the OS.

  • Aug 25th, 2016 @ 5:00am

    Re: End FPTP, End electoral college.

    I don't see why it would take a constitutional amendment to change the voting system from single-choice to ranked-preference. (I consider the term "first-past-the-post" to be ambiguous, because it seems to me to be more about how the votes are counted than how they are cast.)

    It would take a constitutional amendment for the federal government to do that, yes - but under the current terms of the constitution as I understand them (and if I've got this wrong, please do point out how), the conduct of elections is left to the states, and the states could switch to ranked-preference just as easily as some of them have switched to a caucus system.

    Which is part of why I maintain that the most effective way of getting this implemented in practice is to campaign for ranked-preference voting at the lower levels - not even just the state level, but (where applicable) also the county, city, and even lower levels.

    It's likely to be easier to convince people to make the switch when you can talk to more of them individually and when more of them already know you outside of the campaign - and once the system is in place and shown to be working at those levels, the example which that provides (and the fact that people will have already experienced it at the lower levels) should make it easier to convince people to put it in at higher levels.

  • Aug 24th, 2016 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Who is lying here?

    Unfortunately, as long as we still have single-choice voting rather than a properly designed and implemented ranked-preference voting system, voting third-party will do nothing but give the major-party candidate with whom you disagree _more_ a better chance of winning.

    (I also don't see any way to effectively implement ranked-preference voting without also doing away with the electoral college, which both serves as a further obstacle to making that switch and might have its own downsides. The fact remains, however, that the switch is a necessary prerequisite for a third party to be truly successful.)

  • Aug 18th, 2016 @ 5:58am


    Even ignoring the aspect of this which John Fenderson addressed, there's still the fact that they are not in fact offering a "discount" compared to their previous pricing.

    Instead, they are charging the same amount as before for the with-tracking service, and more on top of that for the without-tracking service.

    No one gets a discount there; everyone continues to pay at least as much as they used to before this tracking version of the service came along. It's just that you now have the option to pay even more in order to get what you used to get for the basic price.

  • Aug 17th, 2016 @ 8:42am

    Re: Justified or not justified, according to whom?

    I propose the following criteria for determining whether or not a death caused by a police officer is justified:

    * If someone who is not a police officer caused a similar death under similar circumstances, would that killing be considered justified?

    * Had the person who was killed committed an act which would constitute a crime of a type which carries the death penalty?

    If the answer to either question is "yes", then the killing can be considered justified. Otherwise, it must be considered unjustified, and the officer should receive exactly the same sort of treatment as someone who is not a police officer would receive under the same circumstances.

  • Jul 31st, 2016 @ 8:17am

    A hole in the sequence?

    This release covers reports 10, 11, and 12. Reports 1-3 are also available at the ODNI's Tumblr, but the list is still missing reports 4-8.
    What about report 9? Does it fall into one of the above categories, or is there some fourth group not mentioned?

  • Jul 29th, 2016 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hillary Is A Lot Smarter Than That.

    I think he's saying that in order to have sufficient majorities for an issue in a sufficient mix of the Senate, the House, the Presidency (by way of the Presidential electorate), and the Supreme Court, the percentage of the total population which you need to have support that issue is probably around 80%.

  • Jul 29th, 2016 @ 7:22am

    Re: And the other shoe drops...

    Actually, I don't read what he said as being a request for Russia to "hack" (or otherwise perform espionage against) any US target.

    What I think he was probably getting at is something like "Hey, we know Hillary's private E-mail servers were insecure, so there's good odds the Russians already hacked it. Hey, Russia, how about you dig into the stuff you got when you did that and see if you can find any of these mails which got deleted on our end?".

    That's still politically inappropriate and potentially despicable, but not nearly the same level of offense (potentially in the criminal sense) as inviting / soliciting espionage.

    (Understand, I do not say this as a Trump supporter; I think he's incredibly dangerous at this point, to the extent that I'm almost looking forward tovoting for Hillary, even though I'd decided back in 2014 that I would vote third-party sooner than do that. I just think we should oppose him for his actual positions, not for whatever positions we can accuse him of holding.)

  • Jul 29th, 2016 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re:

    As I've been saying here often enough recently that I'm starting to sound like a one-note shill even to myself, this is because we have a single-choice first-past-the-post voting system, rather than a ranked-preference Condorcet-compatible system.

    In a single-choice voting system, natural 'market forces' provide inexorable pressure for things to devolve into a two-party setup, due largely to one variation or another of what is called the "spoiler effect". With a properly designed and implemented ranked-preference / ranked-choices voting system, this effect does not exist, and additional parties can much more easily make headway.

    Those already in power were elected by the existing single-choice voting system, so they're already beneficiaries of that system, and switching to a ranked-preference voting system would be more likely than not to decrease their chances of being re-elected - so they have an incentive against reforming voting in that direction. In smaller circles, however - i.e., at the more local levels - there is a better chance of convincing people to implement such... and with the new system in place at those lower levels, it becomes easier to press to implement them at higher ones.

    Thus, the road to the solution here involves campaigning for ranked-preference voting at the state and local level.

  • Jul 27th, 2016 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Cursory review

    Uh, no.

    A political party is what happens when people with compatible political views band together to help make the case to the public that the candidates who support their views are the ones who should be elected.

    The only way this directly ends up at "usurp the will of the people and undermine any form of fair competition" is when you don't have enough different political parties, and so you have people with non-compatible views nevertheless having to band together under the same umbrella.

    ...and that, in turn, inevitably happens under a single-choice first-past-the-post voting system. If you want to change things, the first thing to do is to campaign - at the state and local level - for a switch to a ranked-preference / ranked-choice voting system which satisfies the Condorcet criteria.

  • Jul 24th, 2016 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Re: No sympathy

    If the ruling had been something that would be limited to this case, you would have a point. As it is, however, the stated reasoning used in this ruling seems as if it would inevitably also apply to many other cases - ones where the reasons it's not a significant problem here don't apply.

    I think what's being bemoaned here is the precedent, not the outcome in this specific case.

  • Jul 22nd, 2016 @ 8:36am

    Re: The chewbacca defense?

    Unless I'm misreading things, Steele wasn't asking for the contempt fine to be treated as criminal contempt instead of being treated as civil contempt; he was arguing that the fine was imposed in a way which would qualify it as criminal contempt, even though the standards for criminal contempt had not been met.

  • Jul 21st, 2016 @ 8:17am

    (untitled comment)

    More than halfway through 2016, the top Google search hits for 'Supreme Court electronic filing system' are either about filing systems in lower (e.g., state) courts, or news articles about this same announcement dating from about this same time.

    Is this still officially Coming Soon(TM), or is it effectively dead?

  • Jul 20th, 2016 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re: Delay for Opening Ceremony (possible legit reasons?)

    I think the idea is that "if it's live-streamed when most people aren't home to watch it yet, those people will be spoiled on it by social-media comments from people who are in a position to watch it, before they can get in position to watch the delayed version". Or something like that.

    It's a fairly weak argument, but it at least seems to make internal sense when read that way.

  • Jul 17th, 2016 @ 7:48am

    Re: Incompatible?

    Add on to that, sometime in the last month or so he apparently came out in favor of reinstating the House Un-American Activities Committee, only this time against terrorism (et cetera) rather than against communism.

    This was so close to the point at which he started being considered as a candidate for Donald Trump's VP slot that I honestly don't recall which event I heard about first, much less which actually happened first.

  • Jul 15th, 2016 @ 7:19am

    Re: THe court got it right, it's not troubling at all

    If the problem is the users giving access to third parties - and I agree that that could be considered potentially problematic, especially if it involves handing over usernames and passwords (as is claimed to have been the case here) - then the company and/or the courts should go after the users, not the third parties.

    You might perhaps be able to ding the third parties for having solicited the users to commit a violation, but not for committing the violation themselves.

  • Jul 14th, 2016 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The problem is, in a first-past-the-post electoral system, voting third-party not only is doomed in the long run (because the structure of the system naturally devolves to a two-party system) but improves the odds of whichever of the two existing parties you agree with less.

    IMO, the first step towards breaking the two-party deadlock is - and has to be - switching away from single-choice first-past-the-post voting to a ranked-choice voting method which satisfies the Condorcet criteria... and the only way we're going to have a chance of getting that implemented is from the bottom up: starting with municipalities and counties, all across the nation, then moving up to the state and eventually the federal level.

    With that done, a candidate who backs possibilities not consistent with the usual partisan extremes will be able to get better traction even among the existing divided-and-partisan electorate, simply because the people who do already agree with such a candidate will be able to do so without "wasting their votes" - and the resulting increased diversity of views in elected politicians will itself serve to help break the ideological echo chambers you're talking about.

  • Jul 10th, 2016 @ 2:11pm

    (untitled comment)

    Reading this a year-and-a-half later, one thing which jumps out at me which hasn't been commented on is the repeated statement that various detainees revealed information "after interrogation".

    Interrogation is the term for the entire process of questioning a detainee and getting answers. The only way for a detainee to provide answers after the conclusion of interrogation is by calling someone back in and volunteering the information. Barring that, if the detainee is still giving answers, interrogation must still be ongoing.

    As such, either the person who chose that phrasing (John McLaughlin?) has repeatedly and consistently misstated the timing of when the answers were given, or that person is using the term "interrogation" as a euphemism for something else. In the latter case, given the context at hand, it seems likely that the "something else" would be what the defenders of the activity don't want to admit is called torture.

    I would have liked to see this little dodge pointed out explicitly, either in rebuttals such as this article, or in discussion with the people who came out with that phrasing...

  • Jul 10th, 2016 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm pretty sure the guy was shot because he attempted to warn the officer about the presence of the gun.

    From the recordings I've heard and the descriptions I've encountered, the officer told the driver to get his ID, and the driver reached for his pocket and said (close paraphrase) "I have a gun".

    The driver almost certainly meant it as in "I'm giving you advance notice, so that you won't freak out if/when you notice the gun, and so that I can also show you my permit for it". He was reaching for his pocket to get out his ID, to show both the requested license and the firearms permit.

    What the officer almost certainly heard it as, however, was a threat: "youre telling me to show you my ID? Well, I have a gun, so tough.". Add in the fact that the driver was reaching for his pocket, and it seems likely that the officer jumped to the conclusion that the driver was going to pull out the gun and try to use it - and, therefore, fired his own gun, in a spirit of self-defense.

    This is a sad scenario, but given the potential mindsets involved, IMO a sadly plausible one.

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