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  • Jul 29th, 2016 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hillary Is A Lot Smarter Than That.

    I think he's saying that in order to have sufficient majorities for an issue in a sufficient mix of the Senate, the House, the Presidency (by way of the Presidential electorate), and the Supreme Court, the percentage of the total population which you need to have support that issue is probably around 80%.

  • Jul 29th, 2016 @ 7:22am

    Re: And the other shoe drops...

    Actually, I don't read what he said as being a request for Russia to "hack" (or otherwise perform espionage against) any US target.

    What I think he was probably getting at is something like "Hey, we know Hillary's private E-mail servers were insecure, so there's good odds the Russians already hacked it. Hey, Russia, how about you dig into the stuff you got when you did that and see if you can find any of these mails which got deleted on our end?".

    That's still politically inappropriate and potentially despicable, but not nearly the same level of offense (potentially in the criminal sense) as inviting / soliciting espionage.

    (Understand, I do not say this as a Trump supporter; I think he's incredibly dangerous at this point, to the extent that I'm almost looking forward tovoting for Hillary, even though I'd decided back in 2014 that I would vote third-party sooner than do that. I just think we should oppose him for his actual positions, not for whatever positions we can accuse him of holding.)

  • Jul 29th, 2016 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re:

    As I've been saying here often enough recently that I'm starting to sound like a one-note shill even to myself, this is because we have a single-choice first-past-the-post voting system, rather than a ranked-preference Condorcet-compatible system.

    In a single-choice voting system, natural 'market forces' provide inexorable pressure for things to devolve into a two-party setup, due largely to one variation or another of what is called the "spoiler effect". With a properly designed and implemented ranked-preference / ranked-choices voting system, this effect does not exist, and additional parties can much more easily make headway.

    Those already in power were elected by the existing single-choice voting system, so they're already beneficiaries of that system, and switching to a ranked-preference voting system would be more likely than not to decrease their chances of being re-elected - so they have an incentive against reforming voting in that direction. In smaller circles, however - i.e., at the more local levels - there is a better chance of convincing people to implement such... and with the new system in place at those lower levels, it becomes easier to press to implement them at higher ones.

    Thus, the road to the solution here involves campaigning for ranked-preference voting at the state and local level.

  • Jul 27th, 2016 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Cursory review

    Uh, no.

    A political party is what happens when people with compatible political views band together to help make the case to the public that the candidates who support their views are the ones who should be elected.

    The only way this directly ends up at "usurp the will of the people and undermine any form of fair competition" is when you don't have enough different political parties, and so you have people with non-compatible views nevertheless having to band together under the same umbrella.

    ...and that, in turn, inevitably happens under a single-choice first-past-the-post voting system. If you want to change things, the first thing to do is to campaign - at the state and local level - for a switch to a ranked-preference / ranked-choice voting system which satisfies the Condorcet criteria.

  • Jul 24th, 2016 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Re: No sympathy

    If the ruling had been something that would be limited to this case, you would have a point. As it is, however, the stated reasoning used in this ruling seems as if it would inevitably also apply to many other cases - ones where the reasons it's not a significant problem here don't apply.

    I think what's being bemoaned here is the precedent, not the outcome in this specific case.

  • Jul 22nd, 2016 @ 8:36am

    Re: The chewbacca defense?

    Unless I'm misreading things, Steele wasn't asking for the contempt fine to be treated as criminal contempt instead of being treated as civil contempt; he was arguing that the fine was imposed in a way which would qualify it as criminal contempt, even though the standards for criminal contempt had not been met.

  • Jul 21st, 2016 @ 8:17am

    (untitled comment)

    More than halfway through 2016, the top Google search hits for 'Supreme Court electronic filing system' are either about filing systems in lower (e.g., state) courts, or news articles about this same announcement dating from about this same time.

    Is this still officially Coming Soon(TM), or is it effectively dead?

  • Jul 20th, 2016 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re: Delay for Opening Ceremony (possible legit reasons?)

    I think the idea is that "if it's live-streamed when most people aren't home to watch it yet, those people will be spoiled on it by social-media comments from people who are in a position to watch it, before they can get in position to watch the delayed version". Or something like that.

    It's a fairly weak argument, but it at least seems to make internal sense when read that way.

  • Jul 17th, 2016 @ 7:48am

    Re: Incompatible?

    Add on to that, sometime in the last month or so he apparently came out in favor of reinstating the House Un-American Activities Committee, only this time against terrorism (et cetera) rather than against communism.

    This was so close to the point at which he started being considered as a candidate for Donald Trump's VP slot that I honestly don't recall which event I heard about first, much less which actually happened first.

  • Jul 15th, 2016 @ 7:19am

    Re: THe court got it right, it's not troubling at all

    If the problem is the users giving access to third parties - and I agree that that could be considered potentially problematic, especially if it involves handing over usernames and passwords (as is claimed to have been the case here) - then the company and/or the courts should go after the users, not the third parties.

    You might perhaps be able to ding the third parties for having solicited the users to commit a violation, but not for committing the violation themselves.

  • Jul 14th, 2016 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The problem is, in a first-past-the-post electoral system, voting third-party not only is doomed in the long run (because the structure of the system naturally devolves to a two-party system) but improves the odds of whichever of the two existing parties you agree with less.

    IMO, the first step towards breaking the two-party deadlock is - and has to be - switching away from single-choice first-past-the-post voting to a ranked-choice voting method which satisfies the Condorcet criteria... and the only way we're going to have a chance of getting that implemented is from the bottom up: starting with municipalities and counties, all across the nation, then moving up to the state and eventually the federal level.

    With that done, a candidate who backs possibilities not consistent with the usual partisan extremes will be able to get better traction even among the existing divided-and-partisan electorate, simply because the people who do already agree with such a candidate will be able to do so without "wasting their votes" - and the resulting increased diversity of views in elected politicians will itself serve to help break the ideological echo chambers you're talking about.

  • Jul 10th, 2016 @ 2:11pm

    (untitled comment)

    Reading this a year-and-a-half later, one thing which jumps out at me which hasn't been commented on is the repeated statement that various detainees revealed information "after interrogation".

    Interrogation is the term for the entire process of questioning a detainee and getting answers. The only way for a detainee to provide answers after the conclusion of interrogation is by calling someone back in and volunteering the information. Barring that, if the detainee is still giving answers, interrogation must still be ongoing.

    As such, either the person who chose that phrasing (John McLaughlin?) has repeatedly and consistently misstated the timing of when the answers were given, or that person is using the term "interrogation" as a euphemism for something else. In the latter case, given the context at hand, it seems likely that the "something else" would be what the defenders of the activity don't want to admit is called torture.

    I would have liked to see this little dodge pointed out explicitly, either in rebuttals such as this article, or in discussion with the people who came out with that phrasing...

  • Jul 10th, 2016 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm pretty sure the guy was shot because he attempted to warn the officer about the presence of the gun.

    From the recordings I've heard and the descriptions I've encountered, the officer told the driver to get his ID, and the driver reached for his pocket and said (close paraphrase) "I have a gun".

    The driver almost certainly meant it as in "I'm giving you advance notice, so that you won't freak out if/when you notice the gun, and so that I can also show you my permit for it". He was reaching for his pocket to get out his ID, to show both the requested license and the firearms permit.

    What the officer almost certainly heard it as, however, was a threat: "youre telling me to show you my ID? Well, I have a gun, so tough.". Add in the fact that the driver was reaching for his pocket, and it seems likely that the officer jumped to the conclusion that the driver was going to pull out the gun and try to use it - and, therefore, fired his own gun, in a spirit of self-defense.

    This is a sad scenario, but given the potential mindsets involved, IMO a sadly plausible one.

  • Jul 9th, 2016 @ 4:23am


    I think he was actually using "free" in the sense of "freely available on demand", rather than "free of cost".

  • Jul 7th, 2016 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Stupid and irresponsible...

    Sadly, as long as we remain with a first-past-the-post voting system, voting third-party will only serve to weaken the candidate of the party we disagree less with - whichever one that may be.

    The ideal replacement would be a voting system based on the Condorcet method, but there are several ranked-choice voting systems (in which each voters lists the candidates in order from most preferable to least preferable) which would be far better than what we have now. (And which have the advantage of being easier for the layman to understand at a glance.)

    There's essentially no chance of getting this adopted at the federal level from the start, but if we can get it adopted at the city, county, and (later) state level, we can mitigate the problem at the lower levels - and the more lower-level jurisdictions have that type of voting system already in place, the easier it will become to get it adopted at higher levels.

  • Jul 3rd, 2016 @ 8:37am


    Not to mention: shouldn't the incorrectly-debited payment have created a credit balance on that account?

  • Jun 24th, 2016 @ 10:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I also see it used as an insult by way of the stock phrase "performing monkey" - i.e., someone who does their tricks out of a hope/expectation of being rewarded by The Man ("With The Yellow Hat"?) for it, without knowing or caring about the meanings or consequences of said tricks.

    In the immediate context, it seems at least as likely to me that "monkey" here is a contraction of that type of expression as that it's a racist slur.

  • Jun 24th, 2016 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re: So....

    And if everyone could use whatever radio frequencies they wanted, you would have interference and poor effective signal all over the place, and it would be much harder to do wireless communication effectively at all.

    (That being why those exclusive licenses exist in the first place, of course.)

  • Jun 23rd, 2016 @ 7:21am

    Re: If that's what he's saying it doesn't support his argument.

    Unless the 2009 version is already backdoored, just not publicly so... which may seem unlikely at the moment (for multiple reasons), but which we can't entirely rule out.

    Mind, I'm not saying that this is the case, just looking for ways to parse what he said such that it could make sense and be accurate (even if misleadingly so)...

  • Jun 22nd, 2016 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: Slight Mistake Here

    I actually read him as saying something different even from that.

    When he says that

    US companies dominate the international market as for... as encryption technologies that are available through these various apps
    I read him as saying not that the programs, etc., which people use for encrypted communication, are made in the US, but that the "encryption technologies" which underlie those programs are made in and/or come out of the US.

    And to the extent that worldwide encryption technologies are based on accepted standards, which were standardized in the US (and, in at least some prominent cases, which were developed into standards in cooperation with and/or with input from the NSA), he may even be right.

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