28 Aug

NYTimes.com – Man Accused of Stalking via Twitter Claims Free Speech

They certainly rattled Alyce Zeoli, a Buddhist leader based in Maryland. Using an ever-changing series of pseudonyms, the authorities say, Mr. Cassidy published thousands of Twitter posts about Ms. Zeoli. Some were weird horror-movie descriptions of what would befall her; others were more along these lines: “Do the world a favor and go kill yourself. P.S. Have a nice day.”

Those relentless tweets landed Mr. Cassidy in jail on charges of online stalking and placed him at the center of an unusual federal case that asks the question: Is posting a public message on Twitter akin to speaking from an old-fashioned soapbox, or can it also be regarded as a means of direct personal communication, like a letter or phone call?

via NYTimes.com – Man Accused of Stalking via Twitter Claims Free Speech. It’s an interesting case because while Twitter itself is a public medium, the person is directing their messages to a particular person. The better analogy may be while in the pulpit pointing to a particular person and speaking. At that point are you still creating a public message or is it a message directed at one person?

19 Aug

Electronic Frontier Foundation – Open WiFi and Liability for Copyright Infringement: Setting the Record Straight

Last week, TorrentFreak ran an interesting pair of posts offering opposing views on an issue that has become increasingly important with the rise of the copyright trolls: whether a person who runs an open wifi network can be held liable when others use the network for copyright infringement.

The problem with “online debates” like this is they can leave folks with the false impression that there are two equally valid approaches to a legal question. In this case, there aren’t. The truth is that no court has ever found that anyone is liable simply because another user of his or her open wifi committed some legal wrong. Every day cafes, airports, libraries, laundromats, schools and individuals operate open wifi routers, happily sharing their connection with neighbors and passers by. Sometimes people use those connections for bad acts, most of the time they don’t, the world gets a valuable public service, and the open wifi providers are not liable.

via Electronic Frontier Foundation – Open WiFi and Liability for Copyright Infringement: Setting the Record Straight. The line about “online debates” had me giggling.

19 Apr

Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union – Just A Smack On The Ass: A Tale Of Sexual Assault, Vengeance And Nervous Swearing

I’m realistic. I knew they were never going to arrest this guy. But here’s the thing, and the point to this whole long, profane story. I know there are a lot of people who think it wasn’t that big a deal. But the truth of the matter is, what this guy did was sexual assault. "Forcible touching and harassment," if you want to get specific.

Sexual assault doesn’t always necessarily mean something as horrible as rape. And too often street harassment is unreported, and douchebags like this think they can get away with it because the girl is gonna be too embarrassed or too meek to do anything about it. Or they think it’s "just a slap on the ass." And that’s not right, you guys. I don’t know how other women feel about their posteriors, but you don’t very well get to smack the hell out of it willy-nilly because you feel entitled to do so. There will be repercussions.

To the NYPD’s credit, they did follow up, and the detective told me that if I really wanted to press charges, she would help me do that, even if it meant looking through a lot of surveillance tape and looking at lineups and all that stuff. I opted not to, figuring that they had this guy’s description, and if he did it again, he’d be in a lot of trouble. But something tells me he’s not going to. I think I scared him. Or as the detective said, "So you ran up and confronted him and screamed at him in a bank."

"Yep."

"…Awesome."

I know what happened to me could have been a lot, lot worse. But someone doesn’t have to be raped to be humiliated, violated and hurt. Sometimes, all it takes is a smack on the ass.

via Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union – Just A Smack On The Ass: A Tale Of Sexual Assault, Vengeance And Nervous Swearing. Just an awesome story of one woman going and confronting street harassment.

09 Jan

BBC News – Giffords shooting: Suspect Jared Loughner charged

US authorities have charged a 22-year-old man over Saturday’s Arizona shooting in which a congresswoman was seriously wounded and six people died.

Federal prosecutors charged Jared Loughner with trying to assassinate Gabrielle Giffords, 40, and killing two other government officials.

Mr Loughner, who is due to appear in court, could face the death penalty.

Ms Giffords is in a critical condition after being shot in the head at a public meeting in Tucson, Arizona.

via BBC News – Giffords shooting: Suspect Jared Loughner charged. So the aftermath is 6 people dead, including a federal judge, and a nine year old girl, along with 14 injuries including Rep. Giffords. What a tragedy.

27 Jul

BBC News – US border violence: Myth or reality?

In the past two years, more than 5,000 people have been murdered in Juarez as drug-related crime has soared.

A few hundred yards away across the river in El Paso, local authorities have recorded just two murders this year. In 2009 there were 11.

Yet politicians including Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott tend to portray border towns as being pushed to crisis point.

via BBC News – US border violence: Myth or reality?. BBC News on truth versus perception in terms of violence on the border.

23 Jun

NYTimes.com – On Border Violence, Truth Pales Compared to Ideas

It is a connection that those who support stronger enforcement of immigration laws and tighter borders often make: rising crime at the border necessitates tougher enforcement.

But the rate of violent crime at the border, and indeed across Arizona, has been declining, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as has illegal immigration, according to the Border Patrol. While thousands have been killed in Mexico’s drug wars, raising anxiety that the violence will spread to the United States, F.B.I. statistics show that Arizona is relatively safe.

via NYTimes.com – On Border Violence, Truth Pales Compared to Ideas. Once again perception and idealougy trumps facts.

23 May

The El Paso Miracle – Reason Magazine

Numerous studies by independent researchers and government commissions over the past 100 years repeatedly and consistently have found that, in fact, immigrants are less likely to commit crimes or to be behind bars than are the native-born. This is true for the nation as a whole, as well as for cities with large immigrant populations such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Miami, and cities along the U.S.-Mexico border such as San Diego and El Paso.

via The El Paso Miracle – Reason Magazine. Totally goes against most anti–immigration talking points but hey facts are facts.

04 Mar

Brooklyn DA clears ACORN in video scandal – Feministing

The Brooklyn District Attorney's said Monday that ACORN employees caught on tape advising conservative videographers James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles did not commit a crime. That's right, the video that was used as evidence to halt federal funding to ACORN and nearly led to the community organization's collapse doesn't actually contain criminal activity.

via Brooklyn DA clears ACORN in video scandal – Feministing. In case you cared.

11 Mar

My response to Glen Beck’s silly “We surround them”

Glen Beck not too long ago did a silly little thing in which he posted a list of 9 statements and said that if you believe in them to send in a picture for him to do display them or something.

This is my response to the list.

  1. America is good. Right a country is now a person and is good. And that person has never overthrown multiple governments that torture/murder/enslave/eliminate due process all so that they support us and not Russia? And what the heck does good even mean?
  2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. – Please, I don’t believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny but I believe in a man 2,000 yrs ago that someone how died and rose again. And just happens that half of the belief structure of my faith has been written in the past 500 yrs. Or the now 15% who are atheists.
  3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday. Well at least more honest than the last time I cheated on my taxes or the last time I work on personal stuff while on company time.
  4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government. Right, I get to beat my kids, my husband gets to rape me and my daughter, control what my kids think, because I know better than thousands of other people that really having a house that is about to fall apart is good survival instict, oh and teaching my kids that the earth is the center of the universe is what I want to do. We wouldn’t want the government trying to provide for a more just and educated society, much more fun teaching kids to hate and not understand or listen to logic and reason.
  5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it. Except for the president, you know because he is allowed to break the law at will and not be held accountable for it. Oh and the people who help him break the law they get medals. Or if you are rich enough and have a really good reason for doing what you did, then it’s all cool.
  6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results. Except if you are gay, female, black, trans-gender, bisexual, or really just think or act different, then you have no equal freedoms and thus defiantly no equal results. Oh and just because you were raised in a poor school district and thus received a poor education means you should some how magically overcome a limited education expect there are no libraries for you to educate yourself at because:
  7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. Yes they can it’s called taxes, and next time you feel reluctant to pay taxes because you want to hold onto what’s yours we’ll go back to pre-government days and let you fight to hold onto it and see how that works out. I really only want my friends to get the benefits of what I make and I really don’t want to try and help society advance by providing education, or help for people who are less well off than I am, unless they go to one of my pre-approved charities will they will be told they have to believe in God to get a warm bed and meal.
  8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion. – Unless you disagree with me, or with what America does or what the President (unless he’s a Democrat), or you can make stupid jokes about it and call the person fat, ugly, stupid, claim they should fail, etc.
  9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me. Unless they lie their way into a war, torture innocent people, tap my phone and record what I do online and where I travel overseas.
17 Dec

Does a Law Matter If No One Follows It?

Layoffs from Intel

Layoffs from Intel

I read an interesting article about the Republic Windows & Doors factory shut down in the New York Times. The interesting part of the article was when the author talked about how the federal law designed to force companies to notify employers 60 days in advance of any mass layoffs essentially was practically never followed and routinely un-enforced.

What happens when laws aren’t followed? Also what causes that to happen is it the lack of enforcement, are the laws not publicized enough for the company to know to follow these requirements. Or when there enough exceptions in the law that everyone meets the exception?

What happens when laws become ignored, is that anarchy or is that a government with too many laws, or something else? Who do you even complain to when that happens, hopefully not Andrew Jackson.

Just a thought at 1 in the morning.

Flickr photo courtesy of: Josh Bancroft.