April 03, 2009

Obama Outrageous I

I really hope this Politico story on President Obama's meeting with bankers is wrong in this respect:

“My administration,” the president added, “is the only thing between you and the pitchforks.”

If this is an accurate quote. We are in deep, deep trouble.

The reason that the only thing between bankers and the pitchforks is because the bankers and the rich in general have put their trust in the government at all levels to keep the mob at bay and have fired their private security forces of past days. If the government steps back from that iron clad commitment, it is inevitable that we will return to those days and the return will not be pleasant. It will not be tolerable. It will entirely be the fault of one President Barack Hussein Obama who myopically put mob justice as an option on the table.

God help us all if Politico got it right.

Posted by TMLutas at 05:08 PM

December 07, 2007

Report Your Horny Kids?

The recently passed HR 3791 would mandate that public, open networks register and report an "involved individual" who had viewed child pornography. While reducing child exploitation is a laudable goal, this bill is a badly written attempt at fixing the problem.

IANAL is shorthand for "I am not a lawyer", and I'm not so take this with the appropriate amount of salt. That being said HR3791 seems to require the closure of all home based wireless networks, especially in urban areas where you can be a public provider without even realizing it. Put up an open wifi access point in your college dorm? That would be crazy talk.

What's even worse is when parents have that stereotypical 'gotcha' moment and they catch their kids experimenting with porn. As written currently, there's no well crafted exception for your own kids so the House of Representatives apparently expects parents to report their hormone addled children when they operate an unlocked wireless access point.

I don't think so.

Certain kinds of stupid should not be dealt with by the law but rather by the family. 15 year olds caught by dad (or worse, mom!) looking at inappropriate, even illegal pictures is one of them. It has been traditionally, and should remain, a family prerogative.

By not including a sensible carve out for matters that should be fixed 'in house' so to speak, Rep. Nick Lampson of Texas (D) has managed to uphold his party's reputation as anti-family while crafting a child protection bill. Even in the storied annals of legislative incompetence, this is impressive. Hopefully the Senate will be wiser than the House.

HT: Instapundit

Posted by TMLutas at 07:43 AM

November 27, 2007

Lawsuit Bait

I don't think Glen Reynolds could hint any more strongly if he tried:

IF I WERE A SHAREHOLDER, I THINK I'D COMPLAIN: "Dismal returns for politically themed films in 2007 won’t stop the genre from continuing well into next year."

It's as if they don't care about shareholder returns at all in Hollywood.

It seems patently obvious to me that there's a big payday for a law firm willing to launch a class action lawsuit against Hollywood for pumping money into obvious bombs, year after year, based on political considerations. I tend to agree, though IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Since law professor Reynolds is, I wonder if professional ethics prevent him from saying so straight out.

Well, consider me baited. If I owned stock in Hollywood, I'd sign up for the lawsuit.

Posted by TMLutas at 02:21 PM

December 19, 2005

Why not Sue in FISA Court?

After I wrote my original article it occurred to me that an entirely appropriate response to an unconstitutional secret intelligence search program that got around judicial oversight would be to file suit in the secret FISA court that normally grants these sorts of intelligence tap orders asking for injunctive relief to restore judicial oversight. All the players would have appropriate clearance. There would be no question of harming the war effort by filing the suit as the plaintiff would be one of the members of Congress privy to the information, the judge would have the appropriate clearances and anybody who's certified to appear on the Executive's behalf in front of the FISA court is also going to have the right clearances by definition.

So why didn't the minority leaders of either House of Congress sue? Why didn't either of the ranking committee members of the intelligence committtees do it? That's four Democrat leaders, one of them representing San Francisco, California (possibly the most liberal corner of the 50 states) who all passed on the opportunity to correct things without making a public circus of the correction. None of them did it. Nobody is asking why.

How strange.
How unusual.
It's almost like this is an entirely partisan circus where only Republicans get asked the tough questions.

Posted by TMLutas at 01:57 PM

October 27, 2005

Public Service Printers

Glenn Reynolds asks:

But what I'd really like is a wireless printer that will show up on any laptop in range, and print from any laptop in range, without having to load any software or drivers. That way guests, etc., could use it with a minimum of fuss. I don't think that's even possible with current operating systems. Am I wrong?

Glenn, you're wrong. You can do such a thing for your most likely laptop targets, Mac and Windows OS ones. It's not necessarily a bright idea though. Your only security would consist of the transmission strength of your wireless network. If it were too strong, you could have random strangers printing things to your network. If that's what you want, though, you certainly can do it. Whatever print server you're using would just have to have drivers loaded for all the OS targets you want to support. Computers routinely ask the print server if it has drivers for a strange printer and will load those drivers if they can.

What's really fun is the legal conundrum that you've set up. Setting up a system as a public service like this is supposed to be impossible. Let's say that somebody randomly came up to Glenn Reynold's front door, got a signal, and printed an advertisement on Glenn's printer. Right now, that would be a pretty stiff crime if the printer owner didn't want that print to happen but it would be just fine if the owner was ok about it. There is, however, no recognized way for the guy at the front door to examine the open network and determine whether he can use the network resource or not. You've essentially got a property that isn't posted against trespass but there is no reasonable way to knock on the front door without risking some pretty severe legal penalties.

Posted by TMLutas at 09:24 AM

October 04, 2005

The RNC, Unindicted Coconspirator?

I just read the newest indictment of Tom Delay. I can't say why people are so excited about Tom Delay's indictment when the real news is that the Republican National Committee is essentially named as an undicted coconspirator.

The sentance is absurdly long but essentially breaks down to here is a conspiracy, here are some conspirators, and here is a list of people who committed overt acts in furtherance of the conspiratorial agreement. The key segment is below:

...the defendant, John Dominick Colyandro, the defendant, James Walter Ellis, and the Republican National Committee, did perform an overt act in pursuance of the agreement.

Funny enough, the list of people/groups that did overt acts that furthered the conspiracy does not include Tom Delay. The RNC, by the logic of the indictment, should be viewed as more culpable than Delay.

It is absurd that in this highly charged, cutthroat media environment, nobody seems to be covering this aspect, that a Texas state prosecutor has said that the RNC committed overt acts in furtherance of a felony and essentially is calling it an unindicted coconspirator in money laundering. How the court views the charge is yet to be seen (I suspect this indictment, like the last one, will not last long but we'll see) but that the RNC is named in the indictment but nobody covers it screams absolute media irresponsibility.

Posted by TMLutas at 01:47 PM

September 23, 2005

Sometimes You Don't Want it Back

Thanks (sort of) to Good Morning Silicon Valley I have a nasty image stuck in my head.

Romanians are very inventive...
...even the thieves...
...especially the thieves.

Posted by TMLutas at 02:10 PM

September 15, 2005

Pot Head's Delight

I hold in my hands a box marked Vosges Haute Chocolat. It houses (or housed, more accurately) a Woolloomooloo Bar. Listed ingredients are:
roasted & salted macadamia nuts
Indonesian cocnut
hemp seed
milk chocolate

The hemp seed is the reason the post bears its title. Hemp is a cousin of marijuana and it contains minute (non-intoxicating) quantities of THC, which is what drug tests pick up when they test for marijuana. It's expensive, but not as expensive as a failed drug test for employment.

I wonder when the first lawsuits are going to start to fly for wrongful denial of employment.

Posted by TMLutas at 06:32 PM

July 08, 2005

Useless Sex Offender Registries

Illinois engages in criminal stupidity by putting non-sexual offenders on its sex offender list. The purpose of this registry is to make it easier for parents to protect their children. If you live near an offender, you know to move away, drive him out, or keep special watch on your kids. By polluting the registry with false hits (the "offender" in this case apparently only wanted to chastise a silly girl who darted in front of his car and almost got killed for her carelessness) it renders the list nearly useless and you have to dig through trial transcripts to sort out whether you really should be worried.

The police failed, the girls parents failed, the prosecutor failed, the jury failed, and the judge failed to stop this madness. It's just too sad.

HT: Professor Bainbridge

Posted by TMLutas at 08:43 PM

May 08, 2005

Letter to the Paper ILVI

Samizdata has an apologia for Microsoft in its current troubles with the EU. Too many libertarians are unhappy with the anti-trust means that Microsoft is being attacked with and fall into the mistake of defending Microsoft's theft and fraud record.

Defenders of Microsoft misidentify the victims. It's not the customer who spends $120 for Windows XP. It's the small Independent Software Vendor (ISV) who spends $5000 a year on universal MSDN subscriptions in order to program for the Win32 API.

Microsoft sells products to programmers in order to access its supposedly publicly documented API. For many years it publicly represented to said customers that they have a level playing field and its own applications programmers do not have a leg up.

Microsoft lied. It lied repeatedly in a strategic way that tilted the OS playing field for approaching a decade and raked in a huge amount of money based on the network effects of that lie. The proof is that they did an orwellian about face and now deny that they ever made such representations. They did lie and I remember. A lot of computer professionals do. There's precious little money in bringing that history up so most stay quiet and just look for opportunities to extract a small measure of justice by kneecapping MS where possible.

MS is engaging in the same sort of lying today. It includes player application technology in its OS platform and discriminates against its OS development tool customers by denying them a level playing field. That's the essence of the current EU contretemps, properly understood.

Posted by TMLutas at 11:13 AM

May 06, 2005

Admitting Guilt

Lyndie England just got caught trying to have things both ways in her Abu Ghraib trial. She wanted to plead guilty but not really. She entered a plea bargain which demanded that she admit guilt but during the punishment phase of the trial, her defense team repeatedly brought forth witnesses who undercut the idea that she was guilty or that she was responsible for her actions.

The judge, finally having enough, declared a mistrial. More power to him because that means that England now has to renegotiate from a much weakened position. The prosecution can go for the maximum sentence and pull in the previous trial's guilty plea as evidence. The societal purpose of a guilty plea is to trade a reduced sentence for a clear admission of guilt and full information that removes all doubt as to what happened. This isn't the first time that defense lawyers have tried to have their cake and eat it too. This time they got caught. I hope that it'll be the start of a trend.

HT: The Annotated Times

Posted by TMLutas at 08:48 AM

April 30, 2005

Police Murders are More Dangerous to Society

Michael Williams muses on a huge investigation he ran into over a LAX police officer's slaying. He's wondering if all that fuss is worth it. I believe it is.

Criminals generally understand that if they kill a police officer, their chance of making it alive to trial just dropped considerably. Their chance of getting a fair trial went way down as well. Their chance of surviving prison is not too good either. All of these things are simple reality but what is the effect on our society?

Criminals, if they were as unafraid of killing police as they are of killing anybody else, would simply target police with a terror campaign just like they target everybody else. Without police protection, chances are that wide areas of municipalities, even entire municipalities, could realistically be taken over by criminal gangs. Criminals do not do this in the main because they fear the consequences of killing police officers, and rightly so. This reduces the number of times that we have to impose martial law on municipalities because they no longer are able to provide a republican form of government.

The prohibition on police murders puts the criminal class perpetually on defense. That makes their depredations ultimately manageable by local civil authorities. No matter how good a criminal organization becomes, the continued existence of the police spells its eventual doom.

I wonder how often criminals kill police in latin american countries that often slip into martial law. I also wonder if police there impose the same sort of "don't ever kill a cop" rules on the criminal class in their country.

Posted by TMLutas at 04:26 PM

July 23, 2003

Zahra Kazeri update

The prosecutor in charge of the security forces who are accused of beating Zahra Kazeri to death has been put in charge of the investigation.

It's too sad for words really. It's a little early to turn to Iran before Iraq is fully freed from Baathist terror but...

faster please

Posted by TMLutas at 12:24 PM