Friday, June 04, 2010

The Agitator with more on the Maryland Wiretapping Case

The Agitator, who is the best in the business at uncovering and writing about these matters, provides more on the Maryland Case wherein Anthony Graber was arrested for posting video and audio of his arrest on YouTube.

The best part is here:
The issue is important not just in order to keep law enforcement transparent and accountable, but in that it raises fundamental questions about the nature of individual rights in a free society. The way Marylandofficials are interpreting the state’s wiretapping law, government agents—in this case on-duty cops— have privacy rights in public spaces that ordinary citizens don’t. But state employees acting as state employees don’t have rights. Citizens have rights. Governments and their employees have powers, and only to the extent that those powers have been delegated to them by the people they’re governing.
True dat. (My version of Glenn Reynolds' "indeed")

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Big Beer suffering because of lack of competition?

Good Post about beer and anti-trust over at reason. Why is it that big advertising brewers are losing market share to craft beers?

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Random Happening

I was walking down the sidewalk minding my own business the other day when someone decided to park illegally right near me. I have no problem with people parking illegally (in public streets) so long as it doesn't block someone's access to their private property. Hell, I understand it completely. Parking in Baltimore is a joke (though D.C. is the worst ever).

However, if you do park illegally in front of me, why do you feel the need to get out of the car and ask me if I think you can park there. You already know it's not a valid spot. Is there anything I can tell you that will keep you from getting ticketed or towed. Now if you do get a ticket, somehow it's my fault?

C'mon people.

Why genetically altered food is good.

You know what might save millions of lives in Africa? If we encouraged them to have "Big Farming" and told them that genetically modified crops (that are resistant to common diseases) are good things.

Instead, we tell them to stay small, dump our leftovers in their markets (making farming unprofitable), and other such nonsense. We do that because we have an idealized view of what the simple life should be. I'd prefer it if we made their lives better by giving them a sustainable agricultural economy and stopped the famines that occur throughout the region. Big Farming would do that.

Canada is reassessing its healthcare program

Who knew it would cost so much.


In some ways the Canadian debate is the mirror image of discussions going on in the United States.

Canada, fretting over budget strains, wants to prune its system, while the United States, worrying about an army of uninsured, aims to create a state-backed safety net.

Healthcare in Canada is delivered through a publicly funded system, which covers all "medically necessary" hospital and physician care and curbs the role of private medicine. It ate up about 40 percent of provincial budgets, or some C$183 billion ($174 billion) last year.

Spending has been rising 6 percent a year under a deal that added C$41.3 billion of federal funding over 10 years.

But that deal ends in 2013, and the federal government is unlikely to be as generous in future, especially for one-off projects.

It sure would have been nice if we actually had a debate about the real causes of healthcare failures in the U.S. Instead, we're copying unworkable models - you know, just because.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Malicious Prosecution

Man arrested for filming an encounter with a Maryland Police officer. Watch the video that is linked.

I have 3 basic comments on this:

1. Prosecutorial Abuse - Listen to how incredibly stupid the Harford County Prosecutor Sounds. He states that the victim/arrestee wore a camera to intentionally incite an incident from a police officer so that he could later post a "gotcha" moment on Youtube. However, given that the camera was mounted to his helmet (clearly visible) and that the arresting officer was an off-duty officer in an unmarked vehicle. That explanation seems contrived, stupid and even evil in the sense that it is used to justify arresting someone and charging them with a crime that could net a five-year prison sentence. This is nothing but a charade and ultimately the individual is being charged more because of "contempt of cop" than because he recorded anyone.

2. Is this against the law - The video is correct that Maryland is a 2 party consent state, meaning that both parties must consent to the recording. However, my understanding of the law (without much research - admittedly) is that there is an exception to the law, which requires a reasonable expectation of privacy. The ACLU is correct that this recording occurred on a public road and in public view. However, it is also a depiction of a public official operating in an official capacity to enforce public laws. How can something so public contain a reasonable expectation of privacy? Finally, since the police have, apparently, released the video to the media (granted they blur the face of the officer), aren't they ultimately consenting to having the video and audio played publicly? I mean, if it's so private and potentially harmful, why did the officer and the police department allow the media to access it.

3. This is a bad law anyway - It is amazing how the government is only really concerned about privacy when it comes to criticism of its agencies. Again, this is a public official given way more authority than the average citizen. Why should he have any privacy at all when performing public duties? If I were to go into court and tell the judge that I did not consent to having my testimony recorded, I'd be slapped down pretty quickly and informed that the public proceeding trumps my desire not to be recorded. It's also pretty stupid that the spoken word is given more privacy rights than say - a private e-mail exchange or text or IM. Given the now countless examples we have of police officers lying (and getting busted later on camera), shouldn't we encourage the recording of police officers whenever they engage the public?

Just wanted to update to add this link to Reason's coverage of this story.

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Maryland Police Brutality (and cover-up)

I know I'm late on this, but found it while cleaning out an old e-mail account.

This is transparency?

Obama promised a transparent government. So far, he's more secretive than Bush was. Neither was very good.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hiking and Guns...

Lately I’ve been looking at hiking sections of the Appalachian Trial. The AT organization has some nice materials online. The main PDF guide has a big section on safety. On page 18 they have a paragraph on why, even where legal, you should not carry a gun.

Their logic: “they (guns) could be turned against you or result in an accidental shooting.”

Instead, I should be “wary of strangers”, “dress conservatively” not bring expensive gear, “use trail registers, the notebooks a most shelters”.

Lunacy, I tell you.

Limit your enjoyment and be afraid.

I find this odd since their bear advice is “If you are actually attacked by a bear, you should fight for all you are worth with anything at hand - rocks, stick, fists”.

Sometimes I really have to wonder about people.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Unanswered Questions Submitted to Slate

Some of these questions are pretty funny. Some are good questions.


Friday, December 12, 2008

What Dreams May Come

A Canadian man, apparently unable to find the perfect woman, has done the next best thing — he's built himself one.

Le Trung, a 33-year-old software engineer who lives with his parents in Brampton, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, says he's spent about $20,000 so far on Aiko, a 5-foot-tall female android with clear skin, a slim if shapely figure and a wonderful disposition.