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Current Topic: Politics and Law

Boing Boing: Teacher faces 40 years for porn in classroom, blames adware
Topic: Politics and Law 4:52 pm EST, Jan 13, 2007

A 40-year-old substitute teacher faces up to 40 years in prison after being convicted of exposing children to pornography on a computer at the Connecticut middle school where she taught.

Well, this is right fucked. Even if she is guilty 40 years is nonsentical.

Boing Boing: Teacher faces 40 years for porn in classroom, blames adware

TeacherSource | . DOPA Dies on the Vine | PBS
Topic: Politics and Law 2:55 am EST, Jan  6, 2007

The end of 2006 also marks the end of the current congressional session in the House and Senate, closing the door on the Deleting Online Predators Act.

Thank you, U.S. Senate, for demonstrating once again that YOU are THE place for legislators with IQs over 100.

TeacherSource | . DOPA Dies on the Vine | PBS

Dems to the Net: Go to hell
Topic: Politics and Law 4:55 pm EST, Jan  5, 2007

“Radical” changes in Washington always have this Charlie Brown/Lucy-like character (remember Lucy holding the football?): it doesn’t take long before you realize how little really ever changes in DC. The latest example is the Dems and IP issues as they affect the Net. Message to the Net from the newly Democratic House? Go to hell.

This is a followon to Lessig's talk at 23C3 which I haven't found time to watch yet. His apparent anger suggests surprise. I'm not surprised. In this country there is no such thing as the individual as a political force. Political force only happens in numbers. Those numbers can be grass roots "special interest/single issue" voters who are organized and have communicated to representatives that they will vote on their specific issue, or they can be dollars and cents that said representatives can use to market themselves to everyone who isn't an organized special interest voter. The future, with regards to the intellectual renaissance we have the potential to create with our recent advances in communications technology, has neither money nor organized voters, and so it is politically non-existant, regardless of what really smart people might have to say about it. The establishment media industry, on the other hand, has a lot of money. Glenn Reynolds wrote a sharp analysis of their interests here.

On the whole the Republicans aren't better than the Democrats on these issues, but they have a different set of interests they serve, and so they tend to do different kinds of damage. The march toward tyranny has both left and right steps. The shoe is now on the other foot. Don't expect that foot to hurt any less when it is stepping on you.

Dems to the Net: Go to hell

Virgil Goode is still a moron
Topic: Politics and Law 3:47 pm EST, Jan  2, 2007

We are leaving ourselves vulnerable to infiltration by those who want to mold the United States into the image of their religion, rather than working within the Judeo-Christian principles that have made us a beacon for freedom-loving persons around the world.

The GOP must not really like this guy. Otherwise someone would have told him to shut up by now. However, I think their silence on the matter also speaks volumes.

Virgil Goode is still a moron

A Bigot in Congress -
Topic: Politics and Law 1:50 am EST, Dec 22, 2006

BIGOTRY COMES in various guises -- some coded, some closeted, some colossally stupid. The bigotry displayed recently by Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., a Republican who represents a patch of south-central Virginia, falls squarely in the third category.

The letter from Goode seems to be blowing up. The WaPo editorial linked here echos my exact wording. This Boston Herald editorial has an entertaining title, and uncompromising content:

If Virginia voters don’t give the inaptly-named Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. the bum’s rush in the next election they’ll have embarrassed themselves on a national scale.

Goode is already a national embarrassment.

A Bigot in Congress -

The Volokh Conspiracy - Ten Years in Prison for 17-Year-Old Who Had Consensual Oral Sex with 15-Year-Old:
Topic: Politics and Law 2:22 pm EST, Dec 18, 2006

If you are wondering who these criminal sex offenders that legislators are jumping up and down to defend you from are, you might look no further than this case:

Accordingly, while I am very sympathetic to Wilson's argument regarding the injustice of sentencing this promising young man with good grades and no criminal history to ten years in prison without parole and a lifetime registration as a sexual offender because he engaged in consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old victim only two years his junior, this Court is bound by the Legislature's determination that young persons in Wilson's situation are not entitled to the misdemeanor treatment now accorded to identical behavior under OCGA � 16-6-4 (d) (2).

Yes, thats Georgia. And, God forbid this person might use a website when finally released from prison! Won't somebody please save us from these people!!@

The Volokh Conspiracy - Ten Years in Prison for 17-Year-Old Who Had Consensual Oral Sex with 15-Year-Old:

Theater of the Absurd at the TSA
Topic: Politics and Law 9:25 pm EST, Dec 17, 2006

The Sunday NYT features a story on the Christopher Soghoian case [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

For theater on a grand scale, you can’t do better than the audience-participation dramas performed at airports, under the direction of the Transportation Security Administration.

Of course, we never see the actual heart of the security system: the government’s computerized no-fly list, to which our names are compared when we check in for departure. The T.S.A. is much more talented, however, in the theater arts than in the design of secure systems. This becomes all too clear when we see that the agency’s security procedures are unable to withstand the playful testing of a bored computer-science student.

I guess Matt Blaze hasn't had much occasion to be impressed with his charges since he left industry for academia:

"If a grad student can figure it out," he said, "we can assume agents of Al Qaeda can do the same."

Blaze does offer a nod to the FBI, who gave the green light to his paper, Signaling Vulnerabilities in Wiretapping Systems.

Theater of the Absurd at the TSA

Predator Panic
Topic: Politics and Law 2:21 pm EST, Dec 13, 2006

"Protect the children." Over the years that mantra has been applied to countless real and perceived threats. America has scrambled to protect its children from a wide variety of dangers including school shooters, cyberbullying, violent video games, snipers, Satanic Ritual Abuse, pornography, the Internet, and drugs.

Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent protecting children from one threat or other, often with little concern for how expensive or effective the remedies are—or how serious the threat actually is in the first place. So it is with America’s latest panic: sexual predators.

Eventually this predator panic will subside and some new threat will take its place. Expensive, ineffective, and unworkable laws will be left in its wake when the panic passes. And no one is protecting America from that.

Have you seen Little Children?

Predator Panic

Justices Breyer and Scalia Converse on the Constitution | American Constitution Society
Topic: Politics and Law 10:54 am EST, Dec  7, 2006

On December 5, 2006, ACS and the Federalist Society co-sponsored A Conversation on the Constitution: Perspectives from Active Liberty and A Matter of Interpretation with U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia. In this conversation, which was moderated by ABC News Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg the Justices discussed the interpretive methodologies described in their books, and conversed on the Constitution itself. Nine hundred lawyers, law students, judges and journalists attended the event.

Justices Breyer and Scalia Converse on the Constitution | American Constitution Society

The Corporate Origins of Judicial Review
Topic: Politics and Law 10:51 am EST, Dec  7, 2006

It argues that judicial review arose from a longstanding English corporate practice under which a corporation's ordinances were reviewed for repugnancy to the laws of England. This English corporation law subsequently became a transatlantic constitution binding American colonial law by a similar standard of not being repugnant to the laws of England. After the Revolution, this practice of bounded legislation slid inexorably into a constitutional practice, as "the Constitution" replaced "the laws of England." With the Constitution understood to embody the supreme authority of the people, the judiciary would void ordinary legislation repugnant to this supreme law. Over a century later, this practice gained a new name: judicial review.

The Corporate Origins of Judicial Review

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