Uriel-238’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Nov 15th, 2018 @ 2:06pm

    "Keeping firearms out of the hands of angry people"

    We'd save more lives keeping firearms out of the hands of drunk people.

    Here in California, in order to legally handle firearms you have to be sober enough to fly (that is 24 hours since your last drink). It's one of the gun regulations I actually agree with.

    A lot of gun related deaths and injuries are in circumstances complicated by inebriation.

    Regarding angry people, people driving cars get angry all the time without deciding to aggress with their vehicle. I suspect that most gun owners by far can get pissed off without being even tempted to pull out Mrs. Jones.

    And both the legal departments and psych sector are pretty sure that people who shoot others or themselves aren't merely angry.

  • Nov 14th, 2018 @ 6:29pm


    The modern psychiatric sector tries to be self aware regarding how easy it is to interpret ordinary behavior as symptomatic mental disorders. The way that our court systems could indict a ham sandwich our psychology professionals could make a case to have anyone committed, including themselves or each other. And it can be easy to get stuck and forgotten in a mental institution, if no-one is managing your case.

    As such, it's not enough to be crazy to get diagnosis and treatment. If a man hears the voice of God, it's not the place of his doctor to decide he's delusional.What's more important to (assuming caregivers abide by ethics of western medicine) is whether or not those voices interfere with his day-to-day functioning. If not, he's not crazy enough to warrant treatment. If so, it's a problem, even if it really is the voice of God.

    That's the bar for treatment: If a symptom causes dysfunction, and interferes with life, then it's time to get assessed by a psychiatrist. And until then, not.

    And the bar for denying someone their basic rights is if they present a danger to themselves or others. If they do, it's time to take their gun away or do what is necessary to keep them safe. If they don't pose a danger, even if they're clearly truly gone fishing they get to keep their gun collection.

    It can totally be tricky. The patients that come in for fear they're going to do something radical are often the ones that can vent just by talking about it. The ones that ultimately become a gunman or an assailant or a vandal are often quiet or isolated.

    Then there's our president. Clearly a danger to others, but President of the United States is a hard position to assess or commit.

  • Nov 14th, 2018 @ 12:24pm

    Correlation fallacy?

    The suicide rate for New York dipped in the aughts and are on the rise again, even higher now that 1995.

    Most gun violence (by far) comes in the form of suicides.

  • Nov 13th, 2018 @ 8:26pm

    Locking people up costs money.

    Have such issues been raised in the debate in the US?

    Countless times. Voters are often too far removed from the police- / prison-industrial-complex to understand or care about the abuses and cruelties of our prison system (starting with overincarceration, and a high rate of false conviction).

    Some people are making money on the US penal system and it is operating to serve them.

    But judges typically will not get elected without a tough on crime stance, something noted in Oliver's LWT dive into elected judges,

  • Nov 13th, 2018 @ 4:55pm

    The (allegedly) infringing work is more popular.

    Since Stairway makes more money than Taurus it only makes sense that they're trying to finagle how to allow Stairway to stay legal without Spirit's label controlling it.

    The interesting part is if this sets a precedent for future works. I betcha the labels don't want that to happen.

  • Nov 13th, 2018 @ 4:47pm

    elected leaders telling police to shoot less

    Elected leaders like tough on crime policy which comes down to harass / imprison / shoot more poor people.

    Law enforcement doesn't listen to elected officials anyway. And entire counties have been known to ignore both courts and legislature without consequence. The unions assure to minimize the punishment of officers for violence or overreach.

    I'm sure after we got the police to hype down, we established a second justice department to oversee the first and we got officials to hate on poor people a bit less, ours may be a fine happy peaceful nation in which the police don't shoot people so much.

    Get back to me in a few hundred years when you've been able to manage all that.

  • Nov 13th, 2018 @ 12:00pm

    Russian meddling in the 2016 election

    It is amazing to me how the fear seeps through. On the left, yes folks presume Trump totally colluded with Putin to rig the 2016 election (and yes, it's established without Russian meddling Clinton likely would have won), but that's because Trump is behaving as if he was guilty as hell.

    Also we're willing to wait for the report.

    On the right, the impatience for the report is highly suspicious. The attacks on Mueller sound more like efforts to suppress than actual interest in the truth. The right's been parroting Trump's paranoia that Mueller is out to get him rather than determine what happened, who was involved, and if Trumps involvement (even if incidental) rises to the level of High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

    Why would you not want to know this? Because you fear it implicates your godhead in the White House? If he's innocent of collusion or obstructing justice, and you're certain of this, then you have nothing to fear from the investigation. Right?

    In Bob Woodward's Fear the story suggests that Trump thinks he's innocent of wrongdoing and Dowd believes him. But then (SPOILER) it all comes to a climax when Dowd finally realizes that Trump genuinely cannot tell right from wrong. Trump would think he was innocent even if he had (say) hatcheted a man forty times.Ultimately, Dowd makes the argument to Mueller that Trump is incapable of being deposed without lying. He just can't not lie even when under oath. And Dowd realizes he just made (without saying it outright) the argument for diminished responsibility.

    The scary thing about the Mueller report is not that it's going to reveal Trump is a mastermind schemer, but that he is capable of stumbling right into high treason against the United States without ever noticing.

  • Nov 12th, 2018 @ 6:56pm

    The doctors may have a point: Humanity is just stupid.

    Let's say for a moment we restrict the shit out of guns.

    Law enforcement will still have them. And will still suspect everyone of being a criminal and criminally being armed. And will keep shooting us.

    How do we disarm Law Enforcement? We can't even get them to permanently fire their murderers.

    Also, so far, Trump and the GOP controlled minority-elected legislature have done a tone of shit which is illegal, unethical, unpopular or any combination thereof.

    And they're very confident that the rest of us are going to continue to lie down for it, even when we're homeless, starving and dying out. We're just never going to respond w by force period, though we'll complain as loudly as we can as we die out one by one.

    Is that true?

  • Nov 10th, 2018 @ 7:10pm

    Long-winded depressing fiction

    By that phrase, I actually was referring to Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, not Martin, though A Song of Ice and Fire may qualify.

  • Nov 10th, 2018 @ 6:36pm

    Life imitating art.

    Maybe. The notion that Westros went through long winters seemed to conflict with the degree of settlement and establishment of the Seven Kingdoms. If they're used to winters that were six, seven years long, they might still be migratory, packing everything up and moving south for a few years until it gets warm again.

    On Earth, we've occasionally had runs of bad winters thanks to a volcanic eruption half-way across the world. Usually the result was a bad famine that would wipe out half the population and inspire long-winded depressing fiction.

  • Nov 9th, 2018 @ 1:53pm

    US opinion on human rights

    The US has established that even those human rights expressed in the Constitution of the United States are forfeit when the state (or a given high-ranking official) wants them to be, including the right to live.

    So I'd be wary of US opinions long before we got to the essentiality of Internet Service.

  • Nov 9th, 2018 @ 12:08pm

    Posting with a 102° temperature.

    I caught a bug on Wednesday (I think?) and may not have been right in the head (or rather, more so than usual).

    Also, I'm afraid that team-BLU in the US is going to relax too much, and forget the circumstances that got Trump elected in the first place.

    Regarding the topic, I've been arguing for a while the alt-right seems to be a conglomeration of struggling, sexually frustrated young men. Gaming is just one of those things that people are wont to do, and as such it's a place where they can express themselves. Saying gaming leads to indoctrination is like saying wearing pants leads to rampage killing.

    I encountered plenty of extremes playing Left 4 Dead around 2008. But they weren't typical and they were often inebriated. But it wouldn't surprise me that those with like grievances. Most players were just glad to be cleared after getting pinned.

  • Nov 9th, 2018 @ 10:40am

    Not an essential service.

    The UN declared internet access a human right in 2011. On the otherhand, from what I'd figure from our US Senate committees, they resent that we young folk expect libraries and touch-tone.

  • Nov 8th, 2018 @ 2:47pm


    You mean like Lock her up! Lock her up! Lock her up! now directed to Clinton, Feinstein, Pelosi and Jim Acosta.

    Policy for internment is changing from undocumented immigrants toward documented ones, with naturalized citizens in the scope. Yes, we're only slow-walking towards the work camps and the cattle trains, but our plod in that direction has been steady and unchanging. We're going to get there unless there is a drastic change of political clime.

    (Oh yes, and we're still interning kids and refugees by the thousands in 110° heat with insufficient food and water. Without actual oversight.)

    That will be impossible without massive electoral reform.

    And if the democrats continue to stay run by corporatist neocons, we're going to have another red wave. Only the new guy may know how to use the surveillance state to hunt down and disappear dissenters.

  • Nov 8th, 2018 @ 1:28pm

    Trump wants ONLY wingmen

    He said as much during the whole Comey affair, that Comey wasn't willing to devote to Trump absolute loyalty and that was the first reason he had to fire Comey.

    Sessions was a wingman, but was cornered under the circumstances in which Comey got fired, as a suspect, Sessions felt he couldn't (in the appearance of good conscience) not recuse himself and appoint an impartial special prosecutor. Trump has a magical superpower of not caring how despicable he looks. And had ever since resented Sessions for not having that superpower, and not having Trumps willingness to do anything to protect Trump.

  • Nov 8th, 2018 @ 12:45pm

    COD Ghosts...

    ...chapter 10 of the Call of Duty franchise clearly had a pro-white-nationalist anti-left slant. But it was really bad. This is despite the couple of levels of playing the attack dog. (No one has, since, followed up with an all-attack-dog game.)

    The eponymous Ghosts were a secret, hyper-patriotic society of ninja-soldiers, trained by their own fathers. It was obviously wish fulfillment for guys who secretly wish they were square-jawed Teutonic champions of justice, patriotism and purity.

    I remember the early game had the player doing things in rapid succession with little instruction, and if he failed to keep up (id est, don't let your little brother get too far ahead) he'd get an arbitrary non-standard game over and have restart at a checkpoint. It was kinda like the laser disc coin-ops like Dragon's Lair in that way, but without a NSGO animation or explanation of why he failed. Most players quit during these sequences.

    And the story involves the US launching and building an orbital weapons platform that can bombard a city with tungsten beams.

    And somehow it was entirely hand-waved how much of an international incident this would create, because America!

    And then it was awful for South American terrorists to hijack it and destroy a few major US cities (who deserved it for for being blue-voting baby-men. Seriously.)

    And then the Ghosts took back the weapons platform, at which point the player gets to annihilate a bunch of South American cities...because America? -- It's not explained how Brazilian or Chilean or Venezuelan urbanites are responsible for terror teams training in their nation's wilds, but the player gets to practice mass murder from space.

    To be fair, I didn't play the game and none of the LPers who did seemed particularly indoctrinated. Rather it commonly felt odd that this US OWP was regarded as a good thing, as was blasting a bunch of cities with it.

    Mind you, again this wasn't some CounterStrike mod, but a chapter of COD. By Activision. This.

    So I'd say we definitely have propaganda games. More often unintentional propaganda games. And they tend to be bad. And they tend to be not very good at indoctrinating players.

  • Nov 8th, 2018 @ 12:11pm

    "these two parties are in cahoots"

    Well, they're bought from the same one-hundred families out of the same pool. According to Prof Larry Lessig this has been going on since the early nineteenth century.

  • Nov 8th, 2018 @ 12:04pm

    "The Mueller investigation...nowhere near Trump in 18 months.""

    If there's no evidence of what didn't happen, there's no reason to halt the ongoing investigation of Russian interference of the 2016 US election by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Especially given that Mueller is not investigating only Trump, but any persons who were involved.

    It's a tall order and it may take a long time.

    And to be fair, unless you have inside information on the Mueller investigation you don't know what Mueller has on President Trump, do you?

    In fact, the only reason for the President to restrict or limit the Mueller investigation would be to stop prosecution of either himself or those he cares about (say, Ivanka). And that would be an overt sign of obstructing justice.

  • Nov 7th, 2018 @ 1:38pm

    Winter Is Coming

    While kings clash and play their games of thrones, no one is paying attention as the Long Summer ends and a winter comes in earnest, farms freeze and people die.

    While administrations clash and play games of politics and populism, no one pays attention as the climate changes, fires break out, hurricaines and typhoons hammer the coasts and droughts dry up the farmlands.

    And people die.

    It seemed like an obvious allegory.

  • Nov 5th, 2018 @ 8:58am

    First Past The Post

    It's a natural problem with one choice per voter, that you only get to choose who to vote against by voting for his most popular opponent.

    The US system is intended to be two-party in that some of the protocols discuss the minority party, but third parties don't get that additional recognition.

    There are alternative voting systems that better support multiple parties, though I'm beginning to think that it's impossible to remove corruption from campaigning and career politics, so a sortition may be our best method of appointing representatives.

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