Nicola Lane’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Jun 6th, 2018 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Re: And an unconstitutional search, to boot!

    You are right this isn't like entering a home in London. In london those police officers woiulkd all get arrested! 2 crimes immediately come to mind - Breaking & entering, and Criminal Damage. The homeowner could also sue them for trespass.

    You see in London it is not actually a crime to not answer your door!

    In London the police can only break down your door and enter your property in certain tightly constrained circumstances. Some random person has called the police and said they thought someone was ill is not one of those circumstances.

    So in London I am not going to find the police breaking down my door because I comit the crime of having a shower, being asleep, meditating with my headphones on, or simply not wanting to answer my door to some random stranger.

  • Apr 27th, 2018 @ 1:32pm

    Or perhaps he was simply black . . .

    Perhaps he wasn't an idiot - perhaps he was simply worried that the cop was looking for an excuse to kill him?

    After all Justice Sotomayor has recently cooented "It tells officers that they can shoot first and think later, and it tells the public that palpably unreasonable conduct will go unpunished."

    If he said "no" and then walked away the officer would probably get all scared and shoot him in the back. After all that is much less likley to be considered unreasonable.

  • Nov 10th, 2016 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Already a problem - see the UK

    Unfortunately i do mean insanely complicated!

    It is a low income benefit which is paid out four weekly or in special circumstances weekly, but it is calculated annually. If your income varies too much at the end of the year you can either be hit by an "overpayment" which will reduce your amount next year not just because your income has gone up but also by a further figure to pay back your "overpayment".

    There are also payments that can be made to meet the costs of childcare - but only if the childcare is "Qualifying" and only if the costs are "reasonable".

    Trying to work out how much you are entitled to is almost impossible by hand because of all the different parts of it, taper rates etc - basically you need a computer programme to actually do it.

    Then there are the actual rules - all complicated.

    If you have a job where your earnings are variable, or even worse you are self-employed then it just gets even more complex.

  • Nov 10th, 2016 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re: Already a problem - see the UK

    Tax credits are an insanely complex form of means tested welfare benefit. So if you are claiming based on being single and on a low income you have to let the tax office know if you move in with someone (as you are no longer single)you then might be able to claim as a couple on a low income.

  • Nov 10th, 2016 @ 4:36am

    Already a problem - see the UK

    This is already a problem in the UK - or was, maybe it is being sorted out now.

    There is a welfare benefit called "Tax Credits" I won't explain further as it is feindishly complicated and boring. Anyway one of the groups of people it is paid to is single parents on low/no incomes. "Compliance checking" was outsourced to a company called Concentrix. Basically they would write to some of the recipients with a letter that basically said: "We think you are livng with someone, you have a month to prove to us you aren't or we will stop your tax credits" They didn't tell them who they were supposed to be living with - you had to call them to find out. Then they didn't staff their call center so lots of people couldn't get through, and it appears that a number of the letters didn't get sent out properly.

    Chaos ensues! The reason this is related to this bulk collection of data and computers processing it is this - some of the "people" that others were supposedly living with:

    The local shop - with the name R.S. McColl
    The housing association that they rented their home from - called Joseph Rowntree Foundation
    Former tenants of the home - some of them dead.
    Former partners of women fleeing domestic violence.
    a "new adult" in the home - this was a child who had just turned 18.

    Basically it was the sort of thing that should have been sorted out before threatening letters were sent out, or could have been resolved by a simple 10 minute phone call. s-matter/ -contract

  • Feb 25th, 2015 @ 6:57am

    Random Idea From Brit

    Please forgive me if my knowledge of US law makes this a worse idea than I already think it is!

    On TV shows I usually hear things like "If you cannot afford an attorney one will be provided for you", and I'm sure you must have provisions about providing aid for mentally incapacitated individuals, and surely being detained in a locked storage facility must constitute "arrest" of some sort.

    So how about an argument that the property being confiscated should be entitled to an attorney - after all the property has no assets, the property obviously lacks capacity, and surely it has been "arrested".

    Well I am sure it won't work - but I have spent a few pleasurable moments imagining a TV show where a psychiatrist interviews "Article Consisting of 50,000 Cardboard Boxes More or Less, Each Containing One Pair of Clacker Balls." to determine its mental capacity, then an attorney sitting down with same to ask wwhat its story is.

  • Sep 5th, 2014 @ 7:13am

    (untitled comment) (as Nicola)

    If simply reading teenage fiction about vampires causes an "impressionable" teen into experimenting with the occult - then there are much bigger problems to be addressed than availability of a book!

    Most people can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Most of us would also really like to be able to speak an incantation or wave a magic wand and do things like turn an irritating person into a ferret, or have our homes magically clean themselves, etc. etc. However we accept that is a pleasant daydream, and something to be found firmly in the classification of fiction.

    The tiny amount of people who can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality have a serious mental illness and need help.

    Which leads me to the big problem - Where were the parents/teachers/church leaders when these "impressionable" teens were developing the serious mental illness that led to this sort of delusion?

    Wouldn't a better thing to be focusing on would be making sure that teens with mental health problems actually got help? Then you can leave the rest of to either enjoy or scorn this literature in peace.

  • Aug 22nd, 2014 @ 10:23am

    Think different (as Nicola)

    I feel much safer.

    If there was real danger they would put someone competent in charge.

    So this is actually proof there is no danger - so you should feel safer!