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  • Jun 24, 2022 @ 03:11pm

    We can also only hope. . .

    . . . that this is the beginning of the end for Clearview and that the door does hit CEO Hoan Ton-That in the a$$ on the way out. Hard!

  • Jun 18, 2022 @ 04:17am

    Broken or efficient?

    The judicial system is broken at many levels.
    When ever the "system is broken" phrase comes to mind, we would do well to ask ourselves: "Is the system really broken? Or is it just functioning efficiently as it was designed and intended to function?" In this case, that translates into: "Was the system meant to achieve justice, and now it is not doing that? Or was the system designed to keep minorities and other 'undesirables' oppressed, and now it is performing that function quite well?"

  • Jun 17, 2022 @ 05:34am

    Conflict of interest much?

    Averhealth — like others in the field (others who also have the same reliability problems) — utilizes a two-step process for drug testing. The first test involves a saliva sample that it mixed with a reagent that then reacts to chemicals in the saliva to guess what substances (illegal or otherwise) may be present in the person’s body. Averhealth then follows this up with a better test — a mass spectrometer examination of the same sample that is far more accurate.
    Even if they "say" they are using some sort of double-blind procedure to do the secondary mass spectrometer test, just having it done by the same company that does the preliminary swab test is highly suspect. Not only does it allow the distinct possibility that there may be intentional "confirmation" of preliminary positive results, it also makes the chances of unintentional confirmation bias far more likely. Until there are systems and procedures in place for three independent labs to perform completely blind tests on identical samples, none of these chemical tests should be acceptable as evidence of anything. Of course, end the abomination of the immoral, prohibitionist drug war and simply re-legalize basic individual liberty and this problem, as well as a host of others, just goes away.

  • Jun 15, 2022 @ 12:52pm

    Correlation v Causation, again

    Even if there were an increase in crime stats after long overdue bail reform laws were passed, how could it be determined if that increase was a result of the bail reforms, or maybe a result of the cop's telling their non-cop criminal buddies that they will be looking the other way, or possibly a result of some other factor(s), like economics, politics, weather, etc? Controlling for all the possible other causes and confounding factors can be difficult (or sometimes impossible), and typically requires much more data than that obtained from one city on one instance of a change in the law.

  • Jun 15, 2022 @ 07:49am

    They just proved that several good guys with guns are too scared to do anything.
    It seems that your definition of "good guys" is far more expansive than mine.

  • Jun 14, 2022 @ 01:31pm

    The cat is out of the bag

    Knowing the intelligence and response capabilities of Department personnel and where those employees focus their attention will compromise law enforcement purposes by enabling criminals to anticipate weakness in law enforcement procedures and alter their methods of operation in order to avoid detection and apprehension.”
    Criminals have long known that they will likely face little or no resistance from either cops or other citizens if they violently attack a school, church, or most other places, for that matter. If they didn't know this before, they sure do after Parkland and Uvalde. There have been exceptions, of course, to the standard lame responses to violent attacks, but they have been relatively uncommon.

  • Jun 13, 2022 @ 05:58am

    Feature v Bug

    Bad maps means tons of money being thrown at entrenched, giant ISPs for broadband deployments that often fail to materialize.
    For AT&T and their ilk this is clearly a feature, not a bug.
    But these improvements [in broadband data] aren’t expected to arrive until late this year at the earliest. In government time that likely means sometime next year, long after the money spigot has started flowing.
    AT&T: "The quicker we get paid for not getting anything done, the better (for the children, of course)!"

  • Jun 08, 2022 @ 11:33am

    What should AG Paxton do?

    Okay, so, it was just a few weeks ago that a teenager went into an elementary school and killed 21 people, including 19 children. You might think there are important things about that which should draw the attention of the state’s top lawyer.
    And what might those things be? Murder is still illegal, even in Texas, and AG Paxton has already been (as you pointed out) quite busy grandstanding and pandering to his base, which is generally what AGs spend most of their time doing.. I suppose he could launch an investigation into the inaction of the Uvalde cops, but that would really just be more grandstanding, since SCOTUS ruled long ago the police have no legal duty to protect citizens. The investigation would be pointless, and would alienate his base, as well. So that idea is a non-starter. There is not much else Paxton could do that is legitimately within the AG's purview, except maybe look into possible monetary compensation for victims and their families.

  • Jun 08, 2022 @ 07:08am

    Ethics

    If you have, or need, an Ethics Board (or similar) it is prima facie evidence that you do not have any ethics.

  • Jun 07, 2022 @ 12:59pm

    Easy solution!

    It was the engineer who asked, “and how does the drone open the door?”
    Easy solution: Ditch the drones, and turn the insanity up to eleven. Just fill the halls, classrooms, bathrooms, etc with an array of fixed tasers on the walls and ceilings, each associated with a motion detector / proximity sensor (think the lights in the cooler section of the grocery store that turn on as you walk by). Then, when the system is activated by a "panic button" it would tase anyone, anywhere, who dared to move. All of the teachers, administrators, and staff could have a wireless panic button, just like with cars. See? Problem solved! And, as a bonus, Axon gets to sell truckloads of tasers and associated equipment. /s, for those who need this pointed out.

  • Jun 07, 2022 @ 08:58am

    What, exactly, is the differance?

    Arm a teacher with a gun and they’re likely to shoot a child in the crossfire between themselves and an active shooter.
    How is that different from: "Put armed cops in schools and they’re likely to shoot a child in the crossfire between themselves and an active shooter." Particularly given things like this:
    "Cops are civilians with guns who have had minimal training," Eugene O'Donnell, a law professor with John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former police officer told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
    There are countless examples of cop's poor training in the news, as even a cursory Internet search will show.

  • Jun 07, 2022 @ 04:52am

    Stopping v. preventing in the first place

    Even if you believe people with guns are instrumental to stopping mass shootings (and that any gun control methods would lower this number), the percentage of cases where this happens is extremely low.
    One must also consider the possibility of situations where some would-be mass murderer may have thought something along the lines of: "I would really like to go there and kill all those people, but I won't because I believe quite a few of them are probably armed and would kill me very quickly if I tried." The actual number of such situation is, of course, unknowable. I doubt one could even get a reasonably accurate and statistically probable approximation of this number because the statistics can vary wildly, depending on the definitions of "mass shooting" and "gun free zone." By varying the definitions, one can arrive at whatever answer supports one's preconceived notions or agenda. But one cannot help but notice that quite a few multiple murders occur in places where possessing an effective means of self defense (a firearm) is either completely prohibited or severely restricted. Correlation is clearly not causation (nor prevention, in this hypothetical case), but it does appear that there is sufficient correlation to warrant further investigation.

  • Jun 07, 2022 @ 01:40am

    Mutual Exclusivity

    The crimes people care about, the police don’t.
    Many years ago, when the state college I attended was first required to make an annual report of campus police activity (the campus police were technically state police, the same as the Highway Patrol, the state Bureau of Investigation, etc), the categories of crimes reported and crimes for which arrests were made were mutually exclusive. That is, for all of the categories that crimes were reported (i.e. rape, assault, robbery, theft, etc) no arrests were made, and for all of the categories for crimes where arrests were made (i.e. drug crimes, DUI, vandalism, etc), no crimes were reported. This mutual exclusivity of crimes reported versus arrests made continued for at least the next two years. As I have said before, if it is not fun or profitable, cops don't want to be involved. And if it might be dangerous, cops really don't want to be involved.

  • Jun 06, 2022 @ 10:37am

    A framework??

    What if your contractor said "I'll build you a framework for a house, but beyond that, you are on your own?" Just as with houses, where roofs, floors, walls, door, windows, plumbing, electric, and myriad other things actually matter a great deal, so do the specifics of any law, especially one that tries to address the complexities of privacy in an increasingly interconnected world. Key point in the article: Free speech is generally more important than privacy. But again, this can be very nuanced, with a lot of room for gray areas. Then there is the situation where one person's views on privacy might violate the privacy of others. Ring doorbell cameras and their ilk are a good example of this. Just because one person wants video of everything that happens on their front porch to be available to everyone and their dog, does not mean that the neighbor across the street, whose entire property is also in full view of the camera, wants to allow the same thing. I strongly believe that individuals have a very broad and fundamental right to privacy. When it comes to websites and other commercial entities collecting, selling, or "sharing" PII, the default should be "No! It cannot be required under any circumstances." Opt-in should be at the user's discretion. But even that can get complicated, and beyond that it can be very complicated indeed.

  • Jun 04, 2022 @ 03:41am

    Unless and until...

    ...the cops doing this sort of thing are properly viewed as armed kidnappers and thieves, and then prosecuted and imprisoned accordingly (no QI nonsense allowed), and the members of the various courts who give their stamp of approval are likewise viewed as accessories after the fact, and also likewise prosecuted and imprisoned accordingly, this sort of thing will never end. Constitutional protections, SCOTUS precedent, or even laws, that have no real teeth and can be violated at will without risk of any significant repercussions are just empty words, and not worth the parchment or paper they are written on. The cops and courts learned this long ago. When will the rest of us learn?

  • Jun 03, 2022 @ 11:02am

    Key sentence

    Don’t be evil, say the legislators to the company that long ago retired this motto.
    Asking Google to not be evil is about as nonsensical as asking the Devil himself to not be evil. Collecting as much data as possible and holding it forever is Google's raison d'être, it is the basis of Google's whole business model. Wyden & company, while they may appear well intentioned here, might as well be asking Google to cease to exist. The only thing that stands a chance of stopping this "invasion of privacy as a business model" will be legislation with serious teeth, ie substantial prison terms. That is unlikely to happen, precisely because so many of the government's law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies rely on this global, industrial-scale invasion of privacy.

  • Jun 03, 2022 @ 08:12am

    Hanlon's Razor

    When it comes to government, and especially the law enforcement and legal system parts of government, Hanlon got it exactly backwards.

  • Jun 03, 2022 @ 02:38am

    Not just ignore

    And, every so often, they ignore the presumption of ̶e̶v̶i̶d̶e̶n̶c̶e̶ innocence.
    This is one of the more flagrant examples of prosecutorial ̶m̶i̶s̶c̶o̶n̶d̶u̶c̶t̶ crimes that I have seen recently. Not only did the unnamed prosecutor ignore the presumption of innocence, but that presumption was explicitly said to no longer be true. It is very disappointing that the defense counsel did not immediately object to this glaring and prejudicial lie. It is also disappointing that the jury apparently did not pick up on it either, or, if they did, did not give it any weight. And, as is often the case, all of this took place in a trial that never should have happened to begin with. The arrests were only made, and charges brought, after the defendants rights were violated (4A, unreasonable search and seizure) in furtherance of the senseless, destructive, and immoral War on Drugs.

  • Jun 02, 2022 @ 06:24pm

    The have to publish the decision at some point, or else there is no decision. It is the unnecessary delays that are the issue. Whoever "leaked" the draft basically just eliminated the unnecessary delay in publishing the decision.

  • Jun 02, 2022 @ 04:42pm

    A really big sentence:

    it’s only worth the bits it’s printed with.
    That is probably all it will ever be worth until it is promoted from just "policy" and codified into criminal law, and people start going to prison for violating that law.

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