- Seems most of the commentors on this piece don’t understand the concept of the straw that broke the camel’s back.
- A reminder of how fragile the infrastructure of modern communications can be. (And here’s some analysis with links to some conspiracy theorizing.)
- The sad irony in Boris Nemtsov’s murder.
- “Dark Leviathan.” A darkly cynical look at Ross Ulbricht, Silk Road, the Darknet, and what the author believes is the inevitable fate of libertarian ideals. Someone needs to give this article a great fisking.
- F*c*b**k blocks a fundraiser to help a father reunite with his son. (Hint: the reason is G-U-N-S.)
- Kevin D. Williamson has one of the best takes on the death of Leonard Nimoy. But I like the one Ellendra found even better.
Archive for the ‘Government’ Category
- Verizon makes a sadly hilarious response to the FCC’s “Throwback Thursday” decision to apply steam-engine-and-telegraph standards to the Internet. Get another laugh by clicking on the translation.
- Prove your identity to Microsoft or they won’t “allow” you to use their products that you’ve paid for? (H/T cat) The author’s claims about U.S. tech losses thanks to snoopery are right on. Will now be interesting to see how U.S. residents and companies route around the new FCC regulations.
- Beware of being neighborly without a permit.
- Nice infographics show what’s allowed and what’s not in the four places that have now legalized recreational cannabis.
- Jim Bovard’s tribute to Mike McNulty includes full-length versions of Mike’s most important (and heartbreaking) videos. I know nothing so far about how Mike died, but Joseph Baltar, who worked with him, left this comment.
So if you haven’t heard by now (and there’s been surprisingly little coverage), the FCC is about to v*te to regulate the Internet. ‘Cause, you know, the ‘Net is just precisely like the telephone system in the 1930s and now there are all these terrible, terrible unfair things going on like
people not being allowed to express their opinions big traditional media companies triumphing over blogs and social media … well, like something. Whatever it is, the fedgov MUST save us from it!
Not only that, but tomorrow’s big v*te will be on a 300+-page secret plan that you and I (e.g. the alleged beneficiaries of regulation) aren’t even allowed to see.
Despite three of the five FCC v*ters (ah, the magic of democracy!) being Dems, the plan may yet choke. One of the Dems is reportedly just a teensy bit restless about the whole matter. And even if the Big Five v*te themselves the authority, court challenges could drag out for years. But as usual We the Peasants have no say in the situation, one way or the other. (Did I mention ah, democracy!)
Even one of the big forces supposedly looking out for “our” side has gone over to the other side.
And (ah, justice!) they’re already regretting it, despite not quite understanding why. MtK, who sent me the link in that last paragraph noted that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has become the NRA of ‘Net freedom.
You ask for federal regulation? You support federal regulation? Then you’re shocked, simply shocked! when you get federal regulation — and it turns out it benefits the feds more than you? Oh, you pooo widdle baby! Such a surprise! Who could possibly have predicted that?
Oh wait … anybody who’s been standing on the outside watching could have predicted that. Heck, we could have predicted it even before there was such a thing as the Internet to regulate. Because that’s just the way it works.
How is it that only those who so desperately cherish their “seats at the table” during fed dealmaking (and incidentally, we’re talking to you, Mr. Gottlieb, with your notorious seat-at-the-table on Manchin-Toomey, as well as the formerly principled folks at the EFF) are somehow the only ones who can’t see the inevitable result of playing footsie under that table with the fedgov?
SIDENOTE: How is it, also, that the big gov faction always comes up with the good memes? I mean “net neutrality” and “open internet” — what kind of villain could possibly be opposed to those? Being against neutrality and openness would be like hating kittens. Never mind that “neutrality” and “openness” are just verbal Halloween costumes disguising government control. And this has been going on for a long time, clear back to when the noble slogan “one man, one v*te” was used to shift all political power from rural areas to urban centers. How come freedom never gets the good memes?
Too much for just links, too little for one of my blogosauri. Randomish thoughts …
- Surprise, surprise. Yet another fedgov agency is operating a vast, covert, random surveillance program. Hm. Do they still sell those anti-cam sprays and films for our license plates?
- Gottlieb’s CCRKBA endorses Matt Shea’s bill to repeal I-594. And note the ringing anti-background check language! (She says, rolling her eyes.)
- I’m not linking to this CNN op-ed because it’s brilliant. On the contrary, it’s an astonishingly logic-free defense of Obamacare. I’m linking to it because it may contain one of the single most bizarre
justifications of tyrannyoxymorons ever to occupy the mind of a human being. To wit: “The ACA does not allow government to interfere in our lives; it compels government to keep us as safe and healthy as possible.” Admit it, the ability to hold both those thoughts in the same brain is an admirable feat.
- Speaking of admirable, scientists say they’ve figured out how to uncook an egg.
- Data point: not all surrender monkeys are cheese eaters.
- Sweet firearms training story: “Save a life or sneer at an idiot — your choice.” (Actually, though, I don’t know of too many people who would sneer at the woman in this tale. Lots would probably sneer at her firearm, though.)
- “Dear random, shirtless partygoer.” You know those things you always think of saying only after the fact? The ‘Net lets you say them so well.
Deadlining the next couple of days. Entertain each other; you’re very good at that. :-)
My apologies, all you people there on the upper east coast. I hear that the ghastly weather you’re having is our fault. Something to do with this monstrous ridge of high pressure plunging down on us; creates a monster low for you.
Believe me, I was thinking of you this afternoon while I contemplated whether or not I should wear the tee-shirt with a turtleneck or skip the turtleneck for a dog walk. I felt soooooo guilty.
To keep you busy and out of trouble this weekend.
- The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer. Free ebook on conservatives’ (but not just conservatives) attachment to authority. Seems to be well written (by a guy with a sense of humor, too). (H/T Y.B.v.A.)
- Three non-boring and pro-gun law review articles, including the must-read “Gun Owners, Gun Legislation, and Compromise” (pdf) by David Hardy.
Yeah, I didn’t believe it, either, when I read the news on Friday.
Eric Holder — that Eric Holder — delivering a major kneecapping to America’s government-approved highway robbers?
But Radley Balko believes it. So I believe it.
Well, more or less.
No question about it, federal “ownership” of local asset forfeiture cases has enabled forfeiture abuse like nothing else and has done more for police corruption since anything but … well, the drug war itself. (You’ve got to wonder; was there every anyone associated with this scam who truly believed it wouldn’t lead to corruption and injustice?)
Having the feds standing by with open arms to “adopt” local seizures (thus allowing local cop-ops to keep most of their stolen goods for whatever purpose they wished) made state asset forfeiture reforms virtually moot. States would try to divert seized funds to schools or some other purpose, and cops would just make their cases federal and say “&^%$# you!” to their state governments. Then they’d go on grabbing whatever cash or assets they could without ever charging anybody with a crime.
Nice racket if you can pull it off! And for years, cops have.
So if Holder really means it and if it sticks, Friday’s announcement is a very big deal. But sadly not the end of non-criminal asset forfeiture.
In addition to the concerns Balko raises, I can think of a bunch more.
If one AG, on his own say-so, can end such a colossally abusive policy, there’s nothing to stop a future ‘crat from instituting another just like it — or worse. (Ah, the joys of “democracy”!)
It’s possible that those freedom-loving (and property-rights respecting) R’s newly in control of Congress will — in a fit of support-your-local-policeism — re-institute the worst aspects of asset forfeiture, and make it law, not just bureaucratic policy.
Even if the way is now open for meaningful state-level reform, it’s a good bet that not a lot of states will institute real reform (like banning asset forfeiture outside of limited criminal cases). Too often, “reform” has just meant states want to put the stolen cash into state coffers, rather than cop coffers. And while that would take away a lot of the incentive for stealing it in the first place, it’s not enough.
So yeah. There’s a lot that could go wrong here. And where government’s involved, you can bet that what can go wrong will go wrong.
Still … what happened on Friday might be the only good thing Eric Holder has ever done for freedom. So for the moment let’s be of good cheer.
- I’ve been watching the Elio with lots of anticipation though I still can’t decide whether it’s all hype or something gonna-be cool. Might be time to start watching the Local Motors Strati, too. 3D printed car.
- “The Myth of Washington Gun Rights Groups.” a monster take-down of Gottlieb’s newest
sock puppetproxy, the “honorable” Adina Hicks.* (Via Mike V. who asks “where’s her bow tie?”)
- One year after: Colorado and pot are doing well.
- The Obama administration’s idea of cool-and-groovy solidarity: Sweet Baby James Taylor.
- The nanny state picked the wrong family to hassle this time.
- 10 reasons the Mafia is better than the state.” :-) (Via Wendy McElroy)
*The article gets JPFO’s name slightly wrong and says I was an employee when I was always an independent contractor. Minor details, but I couldn’t find a way to contact the author to give him a non-public heads-up. Very good article nevertheless.
For your reading “pleasure.” How a gang of borderland narco cops just loooooved their jobs so much they became major narcotics thieves. And of course used their cop power, cop equipment, and cop cover to do it all.
You kinda get the impression they’d happily do it all again, too.
Vice wars. They corrupt everybody they touch. Always have, always will. Long, but interesting article.
… for the long, idle post-celebration hours ahead.
In The Atlantic James Fallows writes about “The Tragedy of the American Military”. How we can reflexively say, “Thank you for your service” and claim that all soldiers are heroes — precisely because most of us are so removed from the realities of their lives, their missions, and the management of military matters.
The German ‘zine Spiegel Online goes inside the NSA for an educated guess about what types of encryption the NSA has broken, which it’s working on, and which are so far safe from its prying eyes.
Both articles are longish but very worth a read.
Mostly not nooz. :-)
- Think your way to stronger muscles. (No doubt has a lot of applications beyond muscles, too.)
- (Formerly) dying man says adopted stray dog — that he didn’t even want — helped cure his cancer.
- It’s not really news that religious people are happier than us non-religious. Question is, are they happier because of something about their religion or are they happier because they’re the sort of people who don’t poke and prod at every extraordinary claim, the sort who just accept the word of their chosen authority and get on with life?
- Yes, Christmas Eve was quite a time for that embarrassing data dump, wasn’t it, NSA? Kevin D. Williamson has some sharp words about that — before winding toward some very naive and foolish words. (Williamson is frustrating. He’s one of those guys who almost, alllllmost, gets it, then turns away.)
- Shocked. Simply shocked. Guess which political party is “the party of the rich.” (Yeah, you knew, didn’t you? The real question is why will millions of supposedly informed people be genuinely shocked — and in denial — about this?)
I still owe some thanks to some Santas! Right now, I gotta go walk the dogs in the rain, but I will get to that. I think I’ve already thanked the Santas themselves, in person or in email, but I had to guess on matching some of the packages up with their mystery givers. And here I really wasn’t expecting anything for Christmas this year.
Hope Santa was great to you, as well.
Am also reaching the end of my two-months hermitude and need to write a wrapup on that. A wrapup would be easier if I actually knew what I’d accomplished during these months, but surely even a failure to find what I didn’t know I was looking for is … something.