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Comment Re:Bodes Really Well for a Fair Trial (Score 1) 486

The measure of the crime isn't "did he disclose this information". There are legitimate defenses to the charges, including the illegality of the activities he was exposing. There is also the possibility of jury nullification, which is one of the reasons that we have trial by jury in the first place.

Not that it isn't a steep road. He disclosed way more than just the illegal stuff, so he'd have a hard time making that stick as a blanket protection. But there is an argument to be made.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 4, Insightful) 125

The AG is pretty incoherent here. He's saying that it is illegal gambling, but he's also claiming that it is a problem because the top 1% of players win the lion's share of the money. Well, that'd be the case if there was a great deal of skill involved, rather than relying mostly on luck. Which was the entire point of the "it isn't gambling" position.

Schneiderman probably should have edited his remarks better so he wasn't making the argument for the other side. I suppose prosecutorial immunity extends to mouthing off to the press so he isn't liable for slander and libel.

Comment Re:You're doing it wrong (Score 2) 294

Probably not the pols.... but probably directly targeting the bureaucracy and all of the NGO's and lobbyists sucking at the government teat in Washington. A little good will might go a long way. And if that good will happens to work at the department of commerce or the state department, well, so much the better.

There's a reason the USA came up with Voice of America after all. And it wasn't to change the hearts and minds of politicians and dictators around the world.

Comment Re:You're doing it wrong (Score 2) 294

Let me put it an other "another way".

Let's suppose Fire_Wraith really thinks Jeb Bush sucks a donkey. So he wants to let everyone know that a vote for Jeb is one step toward the end of civilization. Under the constitution and federal election laws, Fire_Wraith can go out to the town square and scream at the top of his lungs on the topic all he wants. He can even publish ads in the newspaper and on TV. Or put up a web page. As much of his time and treasure as he'd like to spend on the issue, he can spend.

In this way it is just like any other issue Fire_Wraith cares about. He could be advocating for parental rights for Transgender divorcees, or anything else his heart desires. The FEC only takes note when he's dealing with a federal election in some way - and he can't coordinate his activities with those campaigns without calling it a contribution and being regulated.

Now, here's the other shoe to drop: What if I think Fire_Wraith is the smartest guy ever and I'm totally on his side. I want to join in his efforts. So I offer to pay for half of his advertizing and help write the ad copy. I'm doing the same thing that he was doing before. So is he. Only now we are doing it together.

Pre Citizen's United we suddenly were running afoul of federal law. Just because we were pooling our resources for common cause.

Even today Fire_Wraith and I would run into difficulties because of campaign laws. It happens all the time, all around the country and it has nothing to do with corporate oligarchies. Let's say instead of Bush, Fire_Wraith and I were worried about something happening in our town and we got together with a bunch of people from the neighborhood to do something about it. We put our heads and wallets together and get a bunch of yard signs printed up. Ooops. We just violated campaign finance laws. We are now a PAC and have to get ourselves all legal and regulated and stuff. So even though we were only able to scrape together $382.78 for the yard signs (and coffee and donuts for the meeting), we are required to file complicated paperwork and collect information for the regulators on all of our contributors and all of our expenditures. Even though this would cost way more than we are spending on our actual political activities, and even though we could barely muster the energy to get the yard signs deployed.

This is what campaign finance laws look like in the real world. Often a group like ours would skate under the radar and not be bothered by regulators. Unless, of course, somebody got their undies in a bunch and decided to do something about it. The example above is based on a real story - I think it was Colorado a few years back. Some neighborhood group was opposed to something the city was doing and tried to oppose it by pooling their resources. The powers on the other side used the levers of government to silence them - audits and subpoenas and prosecutors all drowned the group, costing them many, many times what they were planning to spend on stopping their government.

This can reach extremes when your political opponents happen to work for government as prosecutors or regulators. In this case a prosecutor used his power to silence (and bankrupt) someone who was raising money for the opposing party. Someone who ultimately was found to be operating perfectly legally, but was harassed and silenced for 5 years, using campaign finance laws.

There's a lot to worry about here, not just on the "corporations are evil" front.

Comment Re:Let me follow the logic (Score 1) 478

Presumably you also dislike all critics because they seek to change the content of your games/movies by pointing out things that suck about them. All criticism is an attack that is trying to ram ideology down your throat.

Face it, you actually hate freedom of speech when people say things you disagree with.

As a true feminist, let me see if I can point out the difference. Posting a takedown of Star Wars Episode 1 that rips it to shreds and belittles everything about it: legitimate exercise of free speech. Even if you love Jar-Jar and midichlorians. Even if they use obscene language and offensive humor.

Petitioning the government to pass new laws outlawing Star Wars or instituting Sci-fi review boards that will monitor and approve the content of such movies: not a legitimate exercise of free speech. Even if you use the language of academics and intellectuals while doing so. (legitimate in this case being a stand-in for "morally acceptable" or "compatible with freedom of speech", not a synonym for "speech that should be banned by the government")

Comment Re:CS Educators? (Score 1) 152

This is precisely what I have seen. Despite a disproportionate amount of money being spent on technology (iPads, electronic whiteboards, computer stations, etc.), almost no effort is being spent on computer science education in most public schools. The "computer classes" are often even more of a redheaded stepchild than music has become. At least music has a centuries old educational tradition and curriculums to go with it. The curriculum for computer science often focuses on opening an application on one of the Macs and editing a document. Maybe at a high school level they'll learn how to put a =sum(a1:a6) formula into an excel spreadsheet.

I have run into a few folks who are valiantly trying to actually educate their students, and the reason I know about the "valiantly" part is because of the rant they'll give after a cocktail or two about the idiot administrator who designed the "curriculum" they have to follow. Even when they accidentally find a competent and motivated teacher, the "I can use power point real good" person at the district office that they put in charge of the curriculum doesn't know enough to even understand what their underling is talking about when he/she tries to improve the curriculum. It really is a big problem.

Comment Re:Record License Plate Number? (Score 4, Interesting) 328

Both the "rock attack" and the cut seatbelt probably occurred when the police arrived. The reporters probably wouldn't exit the vehicle so the cops broke the window and cut the seat belt to pull the driver out. This is a reasonably common police tactic when someone refuses to exit a vehicle.

The reason I doubt it was the security guards is the reporting from the RGJ. They don't report their employee's version - they ask the Sheriff and say he "can't confirm how that damage occurred". So I'd say the police broke the window, probably not with a rock, and then they cut the seatbelt and pulled the driver from the vehicle. At least that is the most plausible version of events.

Comment Re:Was it a Double Blind Test? (Score 2) 210

They don't say if it was double-blind or not, but even if it was just single-blind, that's at least passable science.

I disagree - using the words "sensory laboratory" adds nothing. Neither does the naming of the type of wine glass used for tasting whiskey. The 'triangle test" might at least add something of a protocol, but we are still talking about a very soft end point - a subjective taste test. This is at most an adjunct to a more rigorous examination. And a real taste test would include many other samples and would have the requirement of being reproducible - something that has been called into question repeatedly in the world of wine tasting.

If you were really going to do "science" on this topic, you would be examining the differences in the chemical makeup of the samples. The materials and methods would involve words like "gas-liquid chromatography" and "mass spectrograph" rather than ""Ardbeg 'tulip' shaped glasses".

Comment Re:Long term storage (Score 1) 99

Your "how long until" hypothetical is already in the past. Not only on the internet, but on national broadcast television. There have been plenty of no-knock raids on TV with half-clothed or naked folks being terrorized in their own homes, cowering on the floor at the point of an assault rifle where the raid turned up no evidence of any criminal activity. Sometimes it is even a wrong-address raid. Usually looking for drugs. Sometimes looking for a fugitive.

It is a pretty revealing situation to note that the reaction to this by the most activist civil-liberties types will be "at least they didn't shoot the dog". Violating people's privacy is so far down the list that it doesn't even get a mention when people are fairly frequently getting wounded or killed in these sorts of circumstances. Even the rabid civil liberties folks are more concerned with holding police accountable so that people aren't getting shot in the middle of the night in their own home than they are with the privacy concerns of having the videos they are using for that accountability becoming public in other situations.

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.