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  • Feb 7th, 2021 @ 8:18am

    I'm seriously asking

    Let me get my biases out. I am aa ols, fat, rich (ostensibly), white, male Republican living in the Deep South. I am a lawyer, but it's been forever since I took a First Amendment class and never since I had a First Amendment case. So . . . I thought the debate/legal status/comparison was whether social media companies should be treated like AT & T back in the olden times. The phone company had no duty to listen to the calls being made to weed out true threats, defamation, etc., because they were a utility (i.e., a platform). It seems social media companies of today wish to "listen in" on the calls/posts made by some people today. Those companies say they have a duty to suppress certain communication. I promise I'm trying to present this as neutrally as possible . . . . So they remove posts they deem unworthy of being communicated. They refuse to provide service to people who communicate messages they think are troublesome or wrong or whatever. Okay. Great. I can accept they have that right as private businesses. However . . . How does this practice distinguish them from a newspaper publisher who publishes false information about people (whether public or private, it matters not)? If they stop being like telephone service providers and start being more like newspapers, why aren't they being sued to hell and back for defamation? If they edit the content then why aren't they legally responsible for the content they allow to pass through their moderation filters? I am not asking this question rhetorically. I'm seeking an honest answer. Of course, I could look it up myself, but I suspect the legal research on this issue would fascinate me enough that I'd lose sleep and/or business if I allowed myself to be distracted by this subject. So, if there's a short answer, someone please help. If no short answer then I will find some time to look myself and maybe report back to the group. Thanks.
  • Sep 8th, 2020 @ 8:20pm

    (untitled comment)

    The 2009 National Academy of Sciences report on forensic science concluded that no current forensic "science" has been validated as being able to individualize, with the rare exception of some forensic DNA. In layman's terms this means that there is no "science" that has been proven scientifically reliable in determining the source of any questioned evidence. It's all junk science!

    There is no proof that everyone has unique fingerprints. The best that can be said about any particular fingerprint is that it does not match any of the fingerprints contained in the databases, and even that is subject to computer error in falsely claiming no matches to other people. With DNA, there are at least statistical models that can tell you how many people could statistically have the same forensic DNA profile. With fingerprints, there is no statistical models that can demonstrate any kind of reliability. In fact, there are several criminal cases where it is strongly suggested that two different people had the same fingerprints (google "Brandon Mayfield Madrid bombing" for one example).

    I could go on for hours about the unreliability in making "matches" between various toolmarks such as firearms or knives, etc. I won't bore you. But, rest assured, ALL forensic science is junk science except certain types of DNA.

  • Apr 24th, 2020 @ 6:18pm

    (untitled comment)

    If a city, county, state or federal government hired private security to arrest everyone attending a Bernie rally (or a Trump rally), would the actions of the private security officers be permissible under the First Amendment? I think it's clear that delegating actions is not the same as absolving responsibility for causeing those actions to occur.

    Public educational institutions stop students from speaking about disfavored topics on their campus through people who are employed by the institutions. Legally speaking, these people are operating as agents of the institution to enforce the will of the institution. The "institution" itself cannot act on its own will because it is inchoate--an ephemeral construct.

    When public institutions want to stop students from speaking about disfavored topics on the internet, they likewise use agents--the employees of Facebook. If those institutions communicated directly with Facebook to identify which topics they wish to disfavor then the institutions are probably in trouble, legally-speaking. If Facebook just took unilateral action based on their reading of campus newspapers, etc., then the institutions are probably okay.

    A government actor, like a public educational institution, cannot ask someone else to do what the government actor could not do on its own.

    It's been too many decades since law school for me, but I think that's the way the First Amendment cookie ought to crumble.

  • Aug 24th, 2019 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Still looking for an honest man

    What an ass. Write your own manifesto. Getting off the grid and avoiding contact with the putrid underbelly of humanity is the exact opposite of what you seem to think it is.

  • Aug 9th, 2019 @ 4:31am

    (untitled comment)

    Police officers are people.

    People who don't follow the law are criminals.

    Ergo, police officers who don't follow the law are criminals.

  • Jul 29th, 2019 @ 5:04pm

    (untitled comment)

    I'd love to know what evidence they secured--just for kicks and giggles. Not that it matters, of course, but I'd to see it printed somewhere officially, "and, they never found even a scintilla of evidence."

  • Jul 25th, 2019 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re:

    And you have just summarized the standard technique law enforcement uses to investigate crimes.

    For the record, the legal concept described above is called "standing." I don't have standing to challenge any evidence found from an illegal search of your home if I am put to trial for a crime in the US. 1

  • Jul 9th, 2019 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re: Liberals never miss a chance to push out the margins of

    You, sir, are daft.

    When I was in the Marine Corps I found for your First Amendment rights to say daft things. I also fought for the other 27 amendments and for the body of the original constitution. I protected it against "all enemies, foreign ir domestic." You are a domestic enemy of the constitution if you believe it shouldn't apply to someone YOU think is guilty. When I got out of the Corps I went to law school so I could continue in my fight as constitution-haters.

    The Framers of our constitution put in place a mechanism for determining guilt, and if that mechanism is oiled and maintained and allowed to run smoothly, then liberty (or life) will only be taken away from the truly guilty. If that mechanism ejects someone because the process compels that ejection, then that process worked as the Framers intended it. If you don't like what the Framers created, start a civil war. Or go somewhere else and found your own country with your own rules. I love my country, and I love my constitution. The difference between you and me is that I believe the constitution applies to everyone; you don't. If we can start deciding who is worthy of constitutional protections and who isn't, then we are well on our way to tyranny. Tyrants will get the benefit of seeing my fighting for the constitution in both methods for which I have been trained.

    Good day, sir.

  • Jun 7th, 2019 @ 6:44pm

    Re: Re: Crowder is an asshole?

    If I were running YouTube then basically everything would be allowed except for hard core pornography.

  • Jun 7th, 2019 @ 6:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Crowder is an asshole?

    Everything btr1701 just said.

  • Jun 7th, 2019 @ 8:51am

    Crowder is an asshole?

    I don't think I've ever seen Crowder's being an asshole. However, he does mock people. I guess the asshole level is higher on my character meter than most people's meter.

    Regardless, you are correct. There is no good answer to these subtle questions. It's probably a good idea for YouTube to remove/block sexual conduct wherein genitalia are displayed. Extreme acts of (actual, physical) violence should probably be age-moderated. Otherwise, everything should be allowed. The suggestion above is apt: if you don't like it, don't watch it.

  • Jun 5th, 2019 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Spelling

    Good lord. I'll get out my Strunk and White and give you a reference. It looks like diagramming sentences has gone out the window in public high schools.

    "Of bars" is a prepositional phrase. Thus, "bars," as the object of the preposition cannot be the subject of the sentence. "There's a couple," is the sentence. A couple of what, one might ask. A couple "of bars." A couple is a single thing, made up of two parts--in this case, two bars.

  • Jun 4th, 2019 @ 1:43am

    Re: Spelling

    There's a couple of bars is correct. The subject of the sentence is the word, "couple." That word is a singular noun. The verb is, "is." That verb is singular. Because the subject and verb agree in number, the sentence is grammatically correct.

  • May 31st, 2019 @ 6:48am

    (untitled comment)

    The whole point of the Fourth Amendment was to guard against the accretion of so much power into the hands of tyrants.

    The only thing stopping any of us from spending tonight behind bars is the unwillingness of a police office to say that we were speeding, or evading him in a motor vehicle, or drunk in public, or engaging in disorderly conduct. Any person, at any time, and at any place (except, perhaps, in one's own home) is subject to being arrested for any reason with the slightest of justification of a law enforcement officer's word that he saw us commit a minor misdemeanor offense in his presence. There is no need for corroboration. There is no need for us to be actually guilty. All it takes is a law enforcement officer's word. How is this any better than the petty tyranny of a maniacal monarch?

    In my state, this includes speeding. If you are speeding, you can go to jail. Crazy world we inhabit.

  • May 10th, 2019 @ 4:11pm

    (untitled comment)

    The purpose of a warrant (among many others) is to be able to show the accused a piece of paper with a judge's signature to demonstrate its legitimacy. A copy of the waarant is to be left with the thing/person searched. Is this possible with an electronic warrant? How long will it be before law enforcement officers start showing suspects something semi-official looking on their own phones or patrol car laptops and claiming that it's a legitimate warrant? Furthermore, when one voluntarily consents to a search afger being shown something semi-official looking, has one now consented to a search for 4th amendment purposes? As a lawyer, I think I would be inclined to advise a client to make the cop tase you, hold you down, cuff you, whatever before they take your blood because if you roll up your sleeve that may negate the question whether it was a legitimate warrant.

  • Apr 26th, 2019 @ 7:13am

    (untitled comment)

    In a different context there is precedent for a non-governmental organization to be considered a state actor. See NCAA v. Tarkanian, 488 U.S. 179 (1988). This is a United States Supreme Court case that says it is possible for a non-state actor to turn into a state actor. However, that was not a First Amendment case.

  • Apr 19th, 2019 @ 6:39pm


    Dan, you must be a second-year law student. Lighten up. Non-lawyers should be forgiven for their lack of indepth knowledge of the obtuse, counter-intuitive body of knowledge that we lawyer types live in. This is one of the best blogs I know, and you shouldn't disparage it over one minor mistake. It is EASY to know what the author intended by using your context clues. C'mon, man. If you think the blogosphere needs actual, pinpoint accuracy (like a legal brief), create one yourself. This literary faux pas is like forgetting the comma after using the word "however." Let it pass in favor of understanding the spirit of the entire post.

  • Mar 25th, 2019 @ 2:45pm


    So, better to lie down and take the bullet in the back of the head for real?

  • Mar 22nd, 2019 @ 10:46am

    (untitled comment)

    A black man, apparently in the District of Columbia, is apparently suspicious by his mere presence. Whatever.

    Forensic evidence is complete and utter bullshit, according to the National Academy of Science. The only exception is DNA evidence, which they concluded is only partially bullshit. If I had a nickel for every time bullshit forensice evidence sent somebody to prison there wouldn't be any nickels left in circulation.

  • Nov 29th, 2017 @ 1:11pm


    Are you out of your ever-loving mind? Let's leave aside how the public suffers from someone transporting drugs (I don't know many drug dealers who force-feed their product to unwilling customers).

    You sounds as if you find it acceptable that the State manufactured evidence against someone. Yes, that person may have been guilty of a crime, but the State manufactured the evidence. Let's think about it. The corrupt cop (a redundancy) took away the evidence that he was guilty of anything illegal. The corrupt cop then placed evidence of another crime where it could be "discovered." And, you're okay with this?

    So, if you ever run a red light, would it be okay if a police officer then placed a shit-ton of cocaine-laced drywall in the back of YOUR vehicle? I mean, you'd be guilty of a crime. It might be a different crime than the one you originally committed. But, hell, planting evidence on criminals is okay, right?

    Your argument that law ENFORCEMENT officers can plant evidence on criminals is specious at best and absolutely ridiculous at worst. I used to be a Republican, too. Come to see the light: the government exists for only reason--to plant its boot across the necks of all of us, one way or another. Our duty is to resist that, not applaud it in some twisted shadenfreude.

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