James Burkhardt’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Dec 10th, 2018 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: "a majority of them targeting the city's minorities.

    But if you're in a neighborhood that is 90% black and arrests of blacks is 91%, you're going to hear screeches of racism. Even if 100% of the arresting officers are black themselves.

    While likely true, institutional racism is not limited to affecting the white members of the institution. But more pertinently, while extremism in outrage factions is certainly an amazing discussion, its not quite pertinent to the discussion at hand, and only serves to muddle the waters.

    I noted in the second paragraph the demographic crime rate, not merely the population rates, which the AC also noted. I also combined that with the success rate. For simplicity, lets assume only 2 demographics, black and white. If for instance if Blacks in a neighborhood represent 60% of convictions (ignoring any economic factors), and we find that 75% of stop and frisks are black, but only 10% find evidence of a crime, and 30% of stop and frisks of whites find evidence of crimes, there seems to be an unfair level of targeting of blacks in that community. If we add that crime levels are not lower in this area since the policy went into place, its reasons are called into question. This is the way the statistics play with stop and frisk in New York. Its not one statistic. Its a combination of evidence that one demographic is targeted despite a higher likelyhood the stop wont turn anything up.

  • Dec 10th, 2018 @ 9:50am

    Re: "a majority of them targeting the city's minorities."

    Last I saw (at the time of the lawsuit which curtailed stop and frisk), the claim was backed up by demographics that show that despite being the largest single ethnic group, Whites were stopped at least half as frequently per capita.

    If I remember right, the lawsuit also noted that Whites were more likely to be arrested if stopped (likely because of actual suspicion). And that Whites were stopped below the actual demographic crime rate, while minorities were stopped above the demographic crime rate.

    Likelihood of committing a crime is better mapped to income level than ethnicity, eliminating a lot of the variance in between ethnicity. And there are numerous long term self fulfilling cycles when you focus enforcement on those areas, as you note.

  • Dec 7th, 2018 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Affecting billions...

    Poes law I think. This responce was to a comment, not the original article. He was addressing a trollish comment that suggested Mike's supposed corporate apologist stances lead to this very result. Noting that trolls have settled on the insignificance of this blog, he asked a somewhat strawmanish question of the troll, not Techdirt.

  • Dec 7th, 2018 @ 2:14pm


    Im unsure how 'draconian law with ulterior motives that fails in its objective but is wildly destructive to the free flow of ideas' is the end result of 'we should just let these corporations continue expanding their tentacles into every facet of the lives of billions of people, and trust them to self-regulate'.

  • Dec 7th, 2018 @ 11:35am

    Re: But why sanction Iran?

    Its an interesting discussion to have, though a bit tangential. I know we feared nuclear weapon development in the region, and Iran has a terrible human rights record in recent years. Those seem to be the main legitimate drivers of sanctions. I supported the Obama effort to ease sanctions though, but I am ill educated on the topic of current behavior to judge the validity of current sanction levels.

    Of course we now know why republican's fought so hard to keep those sanctions when Obama was renegotiating them - so they could be used as a pretext to kidnap foreign persons as hostages in trade negotiations.

  • Dec 7th, 2018 @ 8:52am

    Re: How...

    1) The advertisements are expressly designed to skirt those rules. Their plain language (i.e. 'up to') uses weasel words to use the letter of the law to skirt the spirit. It is one of the reasons Techdirt notes the FTC is ill-equipped to handle Broadband misdeeds, and the foundation of the arguement for regulators with rule makin authority (and broad principles over strict rules). Without solid evidence of a trend of misrepresenting availible speeds, the FTC would not prevail. And they are already overworked enforcing the rigid inflexable laws companies have learned how to skirt.

    2) with the FTC lacking the ability to intervene, and the FCC lacking authority to regulate sales or advertisements, the broadband speed report, as noted, has lead to most ISP's 'overprovisioning', that is, making sure they beat advertised speeds to avoid providing the evidence the FTC would need. And this is good because a broadband speed report holding ISPs accountable is a much more efficient and cost effective way of solving the issue. See NY AG investigations into Charter trying to misrepresent speeds to the FCC as a way this program was holding companies accountable.

  • Dec 6th, 2018 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re:

    Dammit, I forgot to check the box as well.

  • Dec 6th, 2018 @ 11:15am


    >... Forget the legal aspects of this, how the hell did this not attract enough outrage on social media and national news to force the prosecutors (an elected position) to drop these ridiculous charges?

    That actually highlights my standard response to "why are we only hearing about all this violence now, the world is much more unsafe now". Its hard to get attention drawn to a specific instance of violence. Social media and national news can amplify things, but they have to catch on locally to get enough spread to go viral. And we didn't used to have social media to help bump things locally. But if no one in the local news room decided to make a case of it without the news story it amkes it hard to get a facebook post to circulate widely outside the local area, and it never gets national attention.

    Just like memes or Gangnam style, who knows why certain news goes viral.

  • Dec 6th, 2018 @ 10:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:


  • Dec 6th, 2018 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re:

    Moreover, does he think that the legislature would be fighting the fires themselves? They passed laws. PG&E not turning off power to a section of federal lands in response to residents demanding they not turn off power isn't exactly something CA lawyers or legislators can do anything about. Climate change isn't something they can do something about.

    How were they supposed to be spending their time?

  • Dec 6th, 2018 @ 7:57am

    Re: Odd that there were no gunshots heard...

    He fired so fast the shotspotter thought it was a helicopter.

  • Dec 5th, 2018 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re:

    I'd like to take issue with a claim in your comment, namely

    >the $10 million Jury award to the woman who didn't think her McDonalds coffee would be hot being the most obvious.

    That is a very strange way to describe the case. First off, it was 2.9 Million when the jury ruled, however the judge decided the punitive damages were excessive and in the final verdict result was $640,000, a bit less then described.

    She only sued when Mcdonalds refused to pay for medical expenses from 3rd degree burns suffered from Coffee served at temperatures that could cause burns in approximately 2 seconds, and was significantly above what other restaurants served to go coffee at (about 20 degrees). Approximately $20,000 was what she asked for.

    McDonalds had been settling claims for years about its overly hot coffee, paying out claims in excess of $500,000 for similar claims. The cups were often over filled, making the process of adding cream and sugar (while parked) a dangerous one (its part of the reason Starbucks serves with space at the top of its cups, to allow them to be opened without issue).

    She still had to prove damages. The jury established that McDonalds practices rendered them 80% responsible. The granted a $200,000 compensatory damages award (medical, legal, and other damages), which was knocked down to $160,000 (80%)

    However, some torts can carry punitive damages, designed to punish and deter the behavior.

  • Dec 5th, 2018 @ 11:30am

    Re: Re: Re: So what's the "problem"? Less pornography?

    The "This is a parody?" question was directed at another commentor, not the article.

  • Dec 5th, 2018 @ 11:27am


    >Several pieces bewailing that convictions for downloading child pornography gained under a warrant should be thrown out because of a mere Court Rule that hadn't been updated for the internet where actual location of downloader cannot be known in advance.

    >Yeah, you’re gonna have to provide links for that, because you’re either pulling shit out of your ass or exceedingly simplifying things so as to remove important context and make yourself sound superior.

    I think he is referring to the jurisdictional rules that have been occasionally used to shut down CP stings that have been eliminated.

    I would argue that running a child porn distribution site to catch a minority of those who visited rather than shut down the site was a worse crime then the crimes they were prosecuting, and that jurisdictional limits have value to ensure respect for local laws and protections.

    But as Mike said, the troll clearly dislikes Due process and civil liberties.

  • Dec 5th, 2018 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: The suit...

    In fact, shes the only one right now. Tom Wheeler hasn't been replaced since he resigned when Ajit Pai was chosen. But the 'opposition' commissioners still don't generally suggest the majority is embroiled in a conspiracy.

    This actually feels very Wyden-esqe. Ask the questions you already know the answer too, because she has access to the data, to tell everyone there is a fire in all that smoke.

  • Dec 4th, 2018 @ 11:29am

    Re: NOPE! Due to Backpage taken down - BEFORE FOSTA!

    I will be a bit more long winded than Wyrm up there. The article notes that the supporters of the law claim it was successful because of a drop in ads. The article then notes that ad volume is unconnected to FOSTA's passage, but the closure of Backpage prior to passage. While the article then notes a rise in ads, it does not connect them to FOSTA's passage. It rather notes that FOSTA has failed to reduce or eliminate the ad load, which was the supposed goal of FOSTA. It rather connects the ad load increase to a market desire to fill the void left by Backpage, just as you note.

    The article then notes, after highlighting the failure of FOSTA, that FOSTA has created a number of issues, including Deplatforming, an increase in sex trafficking (the internet replaced the role of Pimps to screen clients/protect prostitutes and therefore reduced the ability of Pimps to control and traffic those under them), and a reduction in the ability of law enforcement to identify sex trafficking operations in a timely manner to shut them down before they move. This is what they attribute to FOSTA, not the advertising, but the side effects we are actually seeing.

  • Dec 3rd, 2018 @ 11:34am

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

    I generally don't assume President Trump's ramblings are worthy of becoming common usage. That said, that is a read I had not thought of, given I had forgotten that phrase was used in that manner. So I grant you that point.

  • Dec 3rd, 2018 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Re: IF you're not going to complain that Youtube HAS the data...

    I probably did, but I think the use of 'squashed' will be if not already is one of those lingual malformations that becomes standard - like using decimate instead of devastate.

  • Dec 3rd, 2018 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Gosh, kids: thanks for the admissions!

    Noting that the community doesn't find you insightful or funny does not imply that there is some behind the scenes decision making. Nothing about that statement implies admin action. A dumb AI can count votes, compare Insightful/funny votes to flags (maybe), and make a simple threshold based decision. No need to involve admins.

    You can even see it. The longer after the post goes up your comment comes, the less eyes it gets and the more likely it wont be hidden. In a busy post, you get flagged longer, but eventually the flags stop even as you are still being responded to. You can assume a conspiracy, or recognize that the pattern is explained by a bot that only hides posts that reach some threshold. Its why, despite the number of comments here, your post that just reiterates your previous comments isn't hidden. These posts don't generate a lot of commentary like normal ones.

    Personally, I find your refusal to argue in any form of good faith (arguing against a position blatantly not in evidence) a symptom of trolling. Which is why you get a flag. Happy holidays!

  • Dec 3rd, 2018 @ 8:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except, Most if not all of those articles describe issues of 'lying to a federal official', I.E. obstruction, rather than perjury, a crime committed by lying under oath. While it is possible to trick a person into lying on the stand, it is my understanding that perjury requires that the lie be willful, that is the lie is made with the intent to lie, a required factor missing from obstruction cases. The concern is obstruction in these cases, not perjury.

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