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Current Topic: Politics and Law

RE: Now We Really ARE Screwed
Topic: Politics and Law 8:21 am EDT, Mar 23, 2009

noteworthy wrote:
Henry Blodget:

If the "TARP bonus" bill the House passed today becomes law, any of the hundreds of thousands of people who work for Citigroup, Bank of America, AIG, and nine other major US corporations will have to fork over 90 cents of every bonus dollar that puts their household income over $250,000.

That's household income, not individual income. If you're married and filing singly, you'll have to surrender anything over $125,000. Indefinitely.

What a load of crap. This person barely understands the bill. There are systemic problems with the system of bonus compensation at these banks. I'm sure there are many nice people who are effected who are not personally responsible for the financial meltdown, but the sympathy plea is just so tone deaf!

Take away the bonuses, and the financial class has no safety net.

Cry me a fucking river!

$250,000 is a decent chunk of change (though, trust me, it doesn't buy that great a lifestyle in New York).

Doesn't buy that great a lifestyle in New York? Thats FIVE TIMES the average annual salary in the city.

If they want to endear the American public to an alternate solution than this 90 percent tax they seriously need to cut this "if I'm not a millionaire how will I ever survive" crap. No one buys that.

RE: Now We Really ARE Screwed

E-borders - the new frontier of oppression
Topic: Politics and Law 8:36 am EDT, Mar 19, 2009

There is a thrill in switching off the mobile, taking the bus to somewhere without CCTV and paying cash for your tea. You and your innocence can spend an afternoon alone together, unseen by officialdom.

That used to be the kind of sentiment you'd read in a science fiction novel. This is a newspaper.

E-borders - the new frontier of oppression

The End of Privacy
Topic: Politics and Law 10:03 am EDT, Mar 13, 2009

Jed Rubenfeld, in the Stanford Law Review:

This Article is about the Fourth Amendment. It is an attempt to recover that amendment’s core meaning and core principles.

By revitalizing the right to be secure, Fourth Amendment law can vindicate its text, recapture its paradigm cases, and find the anchor it requires to stand firm against executive abuse.

Julian Sanchez, on Rubenfeld's essay:

Rubenfeld's essay is not another catalog of privacy threats, but rather a provocative reexamination of the meaning of the Fourth Amendment—one that manages to be simultaneously radical (in the sense of "going to the root"), novel, and plausible in a way I would not have thought possible so late in the game.

Rubenfeld's big apple-to-the-noggin idea is this: mainstream jurisprudence regards the Fourth Amendment as protecting an individual right to "privacy"—which in the late 20th century came to mean the individual's "reasonable expectation of privacy"—with courts tasked with "balancing" this against the competing value of security. This, the good professor argues, is basically backwards: the Fourth Amendment explicitly protects the "security" of our personal lives. Excavating a neglected 17th and 18th century conception of "security" leads to a new reading that both avoids well-known internal problems with the "reasonable expectation" view and helps us grapple with the thorny privacy challenges posed by new technologies.

This new conception of the 4th amendment is potentially very important - In my view the combined effect of the third-party doctrine, which states that what you tell Google you've told the government, and the notion that machines cannot violate your privacy, will enable the rise of a total surveillance society in which everyone is watched by law enforcement all the time. We are very close to the point where the 4th amendment will be an anachronism - a technicality that has very little impact on everyday life - and a radical reconsideration will be necessary in order to re-establish it.

The End of Privacy

As Data Collecting Grows, Privacy Erodes
Topic: Politics and Law 11:11 am EST, Feb 27, 2009

Noam Cohen's friend:

Privacy is serious. It is serious the moment the data gets collected, not the moment it is released.

Echoing my thoughts on Arod. Glad it was said.

As Data Collecting Grows, Privacy Erodes

RE: On the Side of the Angels: An Appreciation of Parties & Partisanship
Topic: Politics and Law 4:26 pm EST, Nov 23, 2008

The ultimate recommendation of this article makes no sense:

Polarization along party lines may be uncomfortable, but the parties now actually stand for something, and it makes more sense than ever to stand with one of them.

It does not follow that you ought to stand by a party simply because parties stand for something. In fact, you cannot stand by either of these parties unless you accept, whole cloth, all or nearly all of the positions that party supports. Most partisans will gladly argue any of their party's positions and eagerly insist that anyone who raises but a moments doubt about any of those positions must surely be a hard line partisan of the opposite variety. Such thinking is not the product of objective consideration of facts nor reality but rather it represents deciding what party one belongs to before deciding what one thinks about politics. Anti-partisanship is a natural counter reaction to the idiotic, peer-pressured, identity groupthink that has all but conquered the American scene.

RE: On the Side of the Angels: An Appreciation of Parties & Partisanship

RE: Changes at
Topic: Politics and Law 9:20 am EST, Nov 11, 2008

noteworthy wrote:
Characterizing this proposal as "bald faced authoritarianism" is a bit over the top. Certainly one can question the necessity for, and appropriateness of, a federally mandated service-learning graduation requirement, but this idea has a long history, and in some school districts such programs are already in place.

To be absolutely clear, my problem begins and end with the use of the word require and what that word implies. There is a difference between encouraging and requiring and that difference matters when you are talking about the coercive use of government power. Lets change contexts to put this in perspective.

Exercise is good for you, right? Everyone ought to exercise every day. We have federal government programs that attempt to encourage exercise. Most high schools and colleges have some sort of fitness requirement for graduation.

So why not create a federal requirement that all Americans exercise? If its good for most people its good for everybody, right? Lets require 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise from each citizen once a day. No exceptions will be made. If you do not perform the required exercise you will be imprisoned for not more than two years and fined not less than $100,000.

Is that unreasonable? If you think the President's fitness challenge is OK but the sort of requirement I'm describing is not, there has to be a line that you'd draw where you would oppose these requirements. Why do you draw that line where you draw it?

You seem to want to have pragmatic reasons for drawing the line. I have structural reasons. I don't oppose a daily federal fitness requirement because I don't think it would be effective. In fact, I DO think it would be effective. I would personally be better off if we had it. I oppose it because I think its antithetical to a free society.

When the government taxes your time and your labor, this is something catagorically different from when it taxes your money. Thats where I draw the line. Its possible that an existential threat to the future of your country can put you in a position where you have no choice but to institute a military draft, but unless you have reached that point, the way I see it, you can either choose to be a free society, or you can choose to force innocent people against their will to give up their time to serve the interests of the state.

Generally speaking, I think the people who support these requirements know that they are antithetical to freedom, and that is why they do not and would not impose them on themselves or their peers. These requirements are generally imposed on minors. The adults who write these laws, enforce these laws, and vote for politicians who support these laws are not saying that they, themselves should be subject to a government requirement that they perform 50 or 100 hours of community service a year.... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]

RE: Changes at

Memeorandum Colors: Visualizing Political Bias with Greasemonkey
Topic: Politics and Law 8:32 am EST, Nov  7, 2008

Andy Baio:

Like the rest of the world, I've been completely obsessed with the presidential election and nonstop news coverage. My drug of choice? Gabe Rivera's Memeorandum, the political sister site of Techmeme, which constantly surfaces the most controversial stories being discussed by political bloggers.

While most political blogs are extremely partisan, their biases aren't immediately obvious to outsiders like me. I wanted to see, at a glance, how conservative or liberal the blogs were without clicking through to every article.

With the help of founder Joshua Schachter, we used a recommendation algorithm to score every blog on Memeorandum based on their linking activity in the last three months. Then I wrote a Greasemonkey script to pull that information out of Google Spreadsheets, and colorize Memeorandum on-the-fly. Left-leaning blogs are blue and right-leaning blogs are red, with darker colors representing strong biases. Check out the screenshot below, and install the Greasemonkey script or standalone Firefox extension to try it yourself.

Memeorandum Colors: Visualizing Political Bias with Greasemonkey

Shifting The Debate: Political Video Barometer
Topic: Politics and Law 9:55 am EDT, Oct 30, 2008

Morningside Analytics discovers and monitors online networks that form around particular ideas and identifies thought leaders with standing in these audiences.

Really cool!

Shifting The Debate: Political Video Barometer

Democrats fight Karen Handel to stay on ballot | Atlanta | News & Views | Feature
Topic: Politics and Law 2:09 am EDT, Oct 27, 2008

For the time being, put aside concerns about Georgia's voter ID law and electronic ballot machines — and start worrying about a whole new set of election shenanigans perpetrated by Republican Secretary of State Karen Handel.

There seems to be a hell of a lot of smoke here.

Democrats fight Karen Handel to stay on ballot | Atlanta | News & Views | Feature

Palin dragging the Republican ticket - Decision '08-
Topic: Politics and Law 8:56 am EDT, Oct 22, 2008

Palin’s qualifications to be president rank as voters’ top concern about McCain’s candidacy...

Hart argues that voters have turned against Palin. The negative opinions of her have “reflected badly on McCain and essentially hurt the ticket dramatically.”

Palin dragging the Republican ticket - Decision '08-

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