Re: Crime Fighters

1

Yeah, however Big Brothery a bunch of surveillance cameras may be, I can't really get worked up into thinking that capturing images of people doing things out in public is a _privacy_ thing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:02 PM
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But there are plenty of times where you might not want a public record of where you've traveled.

My default reaction is the same as yours -- to shrug and say that the benefits are probably worth the costs, but I think there are privacy implications.

OTOH, perhaps if I finally got around to readings The Transparent Society I would be convinced that the appropriate thing to do is make the surveillance databases public.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:06 PM
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1 confuses me. Stories like this make me want to look up abandoned oil rigs.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:08 PM
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And then someone comes up with a simple device to make license plates look on camera like a burning ball of magnesium.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:09 PM
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I can't really get worked up into thinking that capturing images of people doing things out in public is a _privacy_ thing.

So inside of one's own home with the shades drawn is the only time one should have an expectation of privacy?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:15 PM
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I'm generally in favor of "Big Brother" type schemes. Where I'm a civil libertarian is thinking that there should be a lot fewer thing classified as crime. Given the unreasonable current number of "crimes" that makes me apprehensive about these kinds of schemes, but only for pragmatic reasons.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:17 PM
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Privacy law hasn't really caught up with the newfangled concept of the "database" and the current legal answer to 5 is, put very basically, "yes."

My own view is that this kind of technology is both inevitable and on balance a good thing, but we'll obviously have a lot of legal fights over the next few decades about its use. Jack Balkin (see, I don't hate all law professors) is very good on this subject.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:18 PM
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So inside of one's own home with the shades drawn is the only time one should have an expectation of privacy?

With the drug war not even then really.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:19 PM
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5: As long as you have those electronic-blackout drapes.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:20 PM
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the current legal answer to 5 is, put very basically, "yes."

Sure, I realize. I find it kind of icky, personally, but you know, there are bigger problems.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:21 PM
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I do think it would be nice if there was a fundamental right to travel without submitting to identification checks, but my reasons for this are sort of inchoate and possibly not wholly supportable and I don't know that I can defend them meaningfully right this minute.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:23 PM
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No, this all sucks. It's much less useful than they make out and much more expensive.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:29 PM
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5: Yes, that's *exactly* what I said.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:30 PM
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a fundamental right to travel without submitting to identification checks

Public transit.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:30 PM
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...while it remains creepily intrusive.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:30 PM
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I find it sociologically somewhat interesting that computer-oriented people (I don't want to call you a geek, Tweety, and I worry that "hacker" may be long-outmoded slang from the early 1980s) are often supporters for extremely strong privacy rights; it seems antithetical to the rest of the ideology in interesting ways.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:34 PM
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I'm cool with it as soon as the courts affirm that public servants on duty in public spaces - i.e. cops arresting people - have no expectation of privacy, and can be freely recorded by civilians. Until then, I'm not okay with any further expansion of the surveillance state.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:34 PM
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So inside of one's own home with the shades drawn is the only time one should have an expectation of privacy?

Even that's not always enough. Since having kids, I don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy anywhere except a locked bathroom.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:34 PM
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I think 1 is absolutely right in terms of any historic conception of privacy -- if you want something to be private, keep it a secret. And so I get kind of impatient with people talking about things like license plate ID cameras as if they implicated any kind of pre-existing legal expectation of privacy.

But. There's this whole category of things that bother people in a privacy-related way relating to the sort of information that can be easily tracked and collated now and couldn't be in the past, as Halford says in 7. And I'd like some legal protections around that kind of 'database privacy' (someone come up with a better name?) -- consumer tracking on the internet, law enforcement casual panopticonery. I just think that it's something we have to legislate into existence.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:35 PM
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16: See, for a different point of view, the link in 2.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:36 PM
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I should say thanks, Shearer. The posts you've been sending in have been good topics.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:37 PM
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In the United States, unless you're on a military base, 17 is legal already, so I guess you're fine with the cameras.

BTW, 16 wasn't a backdoor way of getting into an argument about the substance of privacy rights; these issues are tough. My gut tells me that people are generally much less worried about privacy invasions in practice than they are when thinking about them in the abstract, and it is certainly inevitable that the future will be full of things like these kinds of license plate scanners.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:37 PM
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13: I'm not sure what the value of my repeating your comments exactly as typed back at you would be. What I was trying to get at was what you meant. If I may impute a sarcastic tone to your response (although that is obviously an extrapolation beyond the actual words you wrote, which were "Yes, that's *exactly* what I said") I take it you think I mischaracterized your meaning, so what did you mean, then?

14: well, mostly, as it currently stands, unless you're going farther than the city limits, and assuming that there is useful public transit wherever you are. But of course that's not a right, it's just how things are now. There have certainly been plenty of plans to check IDs on public transit floated here and there (never mind things like random bag checks in NYC).


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:38 PM
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We do not live in some ideal world where laws make sense and surveillance behavior is open.

The HP spy scandal is a public look at how such records are used: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hewlett-Packard_spying_scandal

HP's board was inept. What happens when people are more competent and willing to go the extra mile to solve their problems?

The article chooses murderers for its cases. About 70% of US convicts are incarcerated for nonviolent crimes. Maybe Sweden can handle this technology, but the US can't.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:38 PM
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On the Database Society front, "Pandora mobile app found to be sending birth date, gender and location information to ad servers".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:40 PM
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22, that's not my understanding, at least in Illinois. Or anywhere else where judges want to look "tough on crime".


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:41 PM
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I think 1 is absolutely right in terms of any historic conception of privacy

Is that true?

The Court ruled that Katz was entitled to Fourth Amendment protection for his conversations and that a physical intrusion into the area he occupied was unnecessary to bring the Amendment into play. "The Fourth Amendment protects people, not places," wrote Justice Potter Stewart for the Court. A concurring opinion by John Marshall Harlan introduced the idea of a 'reasonable' expectation of Fourth Amendment protection.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:41 PM
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23.2 well, I was mostly joking.

On the cameras, I would worry about how long the data is being kept, who has access to it and how that is controlled - can info about a plate be "locked" until there's a reason to look at that plate? for instance - and what systems are in place to verify the authenticity of the data over time (for however long it's supposed to be kept).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:43 PM
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19: law enforcement casual panopticonery

Plays a duller but more effective spy than his brother Sean.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:44 PM
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27: Anything's arguable around the edges, but I'd say that the case you linked stands for the proposition that someone having a phone conversation in a booth isn't 'out in public' -- the acts necessary to listen in on the conversation are an intrusion on a reasonable expectation of privacy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:44 PM
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23: Additionally, with door-to-door surveillance there needn't be explicit ID checks.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:45 PM
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Ugh, I absolutely hate this kind of thing, and how totalizing surveillance is becoming as technology advances. Even those Amber Alert freeway abduction messages freak me out a little bit. I accept that they're a good thing if they help find abductees, but they still bother me. I hate the idea of being watched, and of being asked to watch others and report. (Also, I know this is irrational, but I can't squelch the suspicion that the government uses those billboards for purposes other than finding kidnapped children.)


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:45 PM
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Also, can anyone recommend a good book, if there is one, on the history of privacy rights in the US, dating back at least to Brandeis (or even mostly about pre-1940 stuff)?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:45 PM
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I think 1 is absolutely right in terms of any historic conception of privacy -- if you want something to be private, keep it a secret.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "historic conception", but I find this hard to believe: if I follow you around all day with a video camera and record everywhere you go and everything you do in public, isn't that going to violate your conception of privacy? (I'm not talking 4th Amendment here, of course, and maybe that's all you meant; but the notion that we don't have to even consider privacy implications as long as the surveillance is of public activity seems very wrong to me.)


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:46 PM
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isn't that going to violate your conception of privacy

That sounds like harassment, to me, and would make me nervous, but I'm not clear on what it means to 'violate your conception of privacy'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:48 PM
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I take it you think I mischaracterized your meaning, so what did you mean, then?

I meant that there is little reasonable expectation of privacy in the things one does in full view of anyone who cares to look. Fancypants cameras that identify what you have in your trunk at the same time as they record your license plate would, in my view, transgress a reasonable expectation of privacy. I read your comment in 5 as a hyperbolic mischaracterization of my statement because there was really nothing in comment 1 that suggested I thought you had to bunker down in your house to be entitled to privacy.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:48 PM
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In the United States, unless you're on a military base, [recording cops in public] is legal already, so I guess you're fine with the cameras.

That's so cute that you think so, Halford. Sadly, your views do not seem to be universally held by the nation's cops, prosecutors, or judges.

(Before getting into a fight over this: I know in some states the forces of goodness have fought this battle and won it. But not everywhere, not even close, and even in states where doctrine is clearly on the side of 'you can record cops', that may just mean that you'll be vindicated (but probably not reimbursed!) after a long court battle.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:49 PM
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34/35: don't people basically do this to celebrities? And I get that it's annoying, but no, it doesn't violate their (legal) provacy rights. Although colloquially, it's certainly fair to say it intrudes on their privacy, or even that they (celebrities) have little to no genuine privacy, unless they seclude themselves.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:49 PM
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GAH. All that and I forgot to put in my snarky link.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:50 PM
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Further in response to 34: A better way to put it is while the videotaping is weird, and I think in at least some places restricted by statute, I don't have a right to have everything I do in public treated as secret. If someone is aware of something I did in public, I don't have any particular legal right to keep them from using that information in any otherwise legal way they see fit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:51 PM
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16: "elderly hacker" is fine. In any case, I don't think it really is antithetical to the rest of the ideology, insofar as that's a coherent thing; the central premise, I would say, is something about the power of information and digital technology, and a desire for that information not to be aggregated or restricted in authoritarian, non-consensual ways.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:51 PM
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Continuing on the Brandeis subthread that no one else is on, the "Right to Privacy" article talks about privacy for individuals from prying newspapers and such.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:52 PM
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'database privacy'

Having bothered to track down this comic, it seems relevant to the discussion.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:52 PM
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38, 40: Right, I'm not talking about legal privacy rights. But surely when we're evaluating whether additional surveillance is a good idea or not we can consider things other than whether or not it would survive constitutional challenge. I don't know that this crosses the line, but I don't think you can categorically declare that we can just write off any concern about privacy simply because the surveillance is of public activity. I'd sure feel like someone is violating my privacy if they recorded everything I did in public, and telling me that it's not a violation of my legal rights isn't really an answer to that.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:53 PM
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That gets me back to not being sure what 'violating my privacy' means. I would dislike it if someone did that, and as I said in the second paragraph of 19, I'd like some kind of legislative protection covering this kind of data compilation.

But short of that, if someone's behavior violates your privacy in a non-legal-rights-violating sense, what happens?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:57 PM
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Basically, I'm less bothered by the panopticon if the people at the controls are subject to inspection. But they are not-- MD took months to decide that it's OK to make a video recording of a nasty traffic stop, and it leans left; IL law is now opposite, i.e., only the police are unrecordable there, as someone else said.

We live in a society that does not value privacy for the hoi polloi; however, security organizations and the wealthy value it very highly for themselves. This disparity makes me nervous.

The very number of people on the no-fly list is a secret, never mind their identities. Using violent criminals to point out the advantage of some policy is not a confidence-builder, not really a way to start a productive conversation.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:57 PM
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The very number of people on the no-fly list is a secret, never mind their identities.

Anyone can find out if they're on the no-fly list. Just buy an airplane ticket and try to go somewhere.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 2:59 PM
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I'm not talking about legal privacy rights

Ah. Yeah, when I said "not a privacy issue," I was speaking of privacy in the legal, 4th Amendment sense. Ergo, Big Brothery, but not a privacy issue. To the extent we're not all talking about the same thing then, this could be a rough discussion.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:00 PM
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47: that's how I found out!


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:00 PM
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Which, admittedly, is so easy that you wonder why the list is a secret. Easy for anyone with criminal intentions, and a royal pain-in-the-ass for any person actually interested in travelling somewhere. So maybe that is the point.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:01 PM
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But short of that, if someone's behavior violates your privacy in a non-legal-rights-violating sense, what happens?

You're upset? You wish it hadn't happened? If possible, you try to prevent it from happening again?

45 is sort of bizarrely legalistic. A spouse who reads your private diary might be violating your privacy, but they're not breaking any laws. That doesn't mean the phrase is meaningless in that context.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:01 PM
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Recording, with a camera, the activities of a person in public is generally not legally prohibited (in the US, other countries have very different rules). Electronic "eavesdropping" -- listening into one side of a conversation -- often is, but the rules on this vary enormously state to state. Of course, the use that you make of the recording can subject you to different kinds of liability -- depending on whether you present the person in a false light, use the likeness in advertising, etc.

But of course Potchkeh is right that can, and does, feel like a privacy invasion in some deeper sense. Generally, the way that this tends to come up in the law for non-celebrities who are recorded in public without consent is either through a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress or (if the image is broadcast) false light or defamation brought as a private figure.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:02 PM
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But short of that, if someone's behavior violates your privacy in a non-legal-rights-violating sense, what happens?

Well, for one thing, you might conclude that the kind of surveillance programs that violate privacy in a non-legal-rights-violating sense are a bad idea, even if they pass constitutional muster. Again, I don't know that this particular thing crosses the line, I just think that the idea that we don't have to even ask "does this violate privacy?" because it's about surveillance of public activity is wrong.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:03 PM
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A spouse who reads your private diary might be violating your privacy, but they're not breaking any laws. That doesn't mean the phrase is meaningless in that context.

No, but that's a context that has very little to do with the privacy implications of license plate scanners.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:03 PM
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52.1 brings up a point I was wondering about: how does the prohibition on eavesdropping apply to people who speak primarily sign language? Do they not have the same right to private communication that hearing people do? Doesn't that violate some law or other?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:04 PM
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53.2 see 48. It may all fit fairly under the label "privacy," but apples, oranges.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:06 PM
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55 -- In California, the relevant staute that bans use of hidden cameras to record conversations also applies to "symbol based" "confidential" communications. Somewhat hilariously, a court used that language to find that the statute barred surreptitious recording of a couple having sex, even though the conversation during sex was not recorded.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:09 PM
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I suspect I've read too many "women in jeopardy" novels, but whenever issues such as these come up my mind defaults to two possible scenarios: men stalking women, and government surveillance of leftist protest groups.


Posted by: JennyRobot | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:09 PM
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57: how poetic of them.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:10 PM
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Wow, and I fucked up the link on my second try, too.

The point is you really need to walk this back, Halford; lw is specifically right about IL and MD, and about two seconds of googling brings up tons of cases from all over. The pattern is basically the same: the cop doesn't really care whether he wins the case; the point is to get that camera out of your hand and delete the picture and intimidate you. Until there's an institutionalized policy of holding cops accountable for this shit, it will continue.

See also cops arresting people from taking pictures of public buildings (and yes, a lot of those results are from the UK, but not remotely all of them).


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:10 PM
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53: Well, for one thing, you might conclude that the kind of surveillance programs that violate privacy in a non-legal-rights-violating sense are a bad idea, even if they pass constitutional muster.

I honestly wasn't meaning to be unnecessarily difficult, I just wasn't following what this bit of the conversation was about. Um, it's a really case-specific question, isn't it? What's described in the article is technology used to do things that would be absolutely fine if they were done in a lower-tech way: if there were a list of stolen-car license plate numbers, or license plates of cars thought to be driven by criminal suspects, distributed to police officers so that they could individually watch out for them, no one would turn a hair.

If that's what they're doing with the license plate cameras, it doesn't seem violative of any reasonable expectation of privacy at all. If they start using it to compile dossiers on people who piss them off, and use them for harassment purposes, that's a problem. I guess, I'm not sure that the break-line between things that are fine with me and things that I object to in this context is well-conceptualized as 'privacy', exactly. But I'll have to think about what I think a better way to describe it would be.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:11 PM
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25: I'm fascinated by this case. I've always assumed that birth date, gender and GPS location information were being shared with advertisers by any application that I use. Do these people assume when they give their phone numbers out after buying something at a store that the store isn't selling that information too?


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:12 PM
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Yes, people less savvy than you exist, LizSpigot.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:15 PM
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A few minutes on youtube watching videos of police reactions to being taped with a camera will quite dramatically reinforce x.trapnel's point. Their outbursts--very commonly including significant physical violence--are often almost unbelievable. ("How can this be real? Wouldn't they be sued/fired/prosecuted?")

I'm sure those videos aren't entirely representative--the more extreme sort of reactions are the ones that are most likely to end up on youtube, especially getting any sort of pageviews. But there are enough of them on there to convince you it's not a few isolated bad apples, either.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:19 PM
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57: I tried searching for the answer but I'm having trouble wading through the articles on signal transmission. What does "symbol based" mean in this context?


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:19 PM
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The article sure makes it sound like the data is being collected and stored with or without probable cause (or whatever you law-people say) and then if something later happens, it gets accessed. It does not sound like they add a plate to the watch list and then start watching for it - all plates are always (already) being watched.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:22 PM
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Well, I mostly deal with the media, which very much has the right (and asserts the right, successfully) to record police officers making arrests. You are probably right that cops often seize cameras from private people trying to record them making arrests, and that's certainly an issue that will be more and more significant as cameras get more ubiquitous --remember how new this is.

It seems clear to me that laws banning recording of an otherwise public arrest (barring active interference in the arrest, of course) are pretty plainly unconstitutional under current law, but of course that's cold comfort if an officer is breaking your cell phone in front of your face. But I'd anticipate this being something where the law will catch up with the abuse in about 10 years.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:23 PM
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I do find it a little surreal when the cashier asks me for my phone number. No thanks! What about your zip code? Uh, sure, why not.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:24 PM
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I guess, I'm not sure that the break-line between things that are fine with me and things that I object to in this context is well-conceptualized as 'privacy', exactly.

Well, but rarely will compiling dossiers on people who piss them off be the official justification, no matter what's going on. I'm not 100% sure where I come down on this, but it certainly seems reasonable to worry about equipping authorities with both the incentive to do the sort of things people might object to and the capability to do them cheaply and easily, especially if most of the same legitimate goals could be achieved without that combination.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:24 PM
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If they start using it to compile dossiers on people who piss them off, and use them for harassment purposes, that's a problem.

I guess the question becomes how inevitable you believe that this sort of abuse becomes once some new monitoring capability is introduced.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:24 PM
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And, further to 67, my view on all of this is heavily influenced by being in California, which has both more developed law and (in many ways) more pro-recording law for newsworthiness purposes than that of many other states.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:27 PM
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61: Sorry, didn't mean to suggest you were being difficult, not at all.

I agree, it's very case-specific. But I also think that adding in automation to a process that would otherwise be unobjectionable can't be brushed off like that. If a cop is looking at the license plate of my passing car and checking whether it's on a list, that's that. With this system, the location of my car (and therefore, presumably, me) at a given time, every time it passes such a camera, is (or could be) in a database somewhere. At some point, the automation gets you to a pretty thorough record of my movements, and some people might consider that to violate their privacy (again, in the "this is bad policy because the feeling of having the police monitor my movements sure feels like an intrusion on something, and I call it 'privacy'" sense, not the "this is a 4th Amendment violation" sense), even if it's not put into a dossier used to harass them.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:27 PM
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This is a getting the genie back into the bottle problem, though, isn't it? The technology sounds as though it's very useful for non-objectionable law enforcement purposes -- it's hard to imagine that, if that is the case (I don't know anything about whether the article's realistic about the technology) that it won't be used.

I think the solution is to define and ban abuses, rather than sweat the existence of the technology generally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:28 PM
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55- this is only tangentially related, but there's lots of institutional fighting and conferencing about how to deal with individual privacy in research about signed languages/psychology of deafness, because you can't show the data to anyone ever without showing the participants' faces. You can't blur or block faces without removing a large part important linguistic content.

However, your point about equal rights seems backwards- if recordings with cameras are prohibited, then signers get more privacy than speakers.

Also there's no way (that I know of) for any Big Brother types to automatically detect particular signs so if you have an illegal secret to discuss, you're better off doing it via webcam in ASL. no one will ever catch you then.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:28 PM
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Also, I think that the boundary cases are telephone and financial histories in the US now.
The license-reading technology is basically like cell-phone GPS signals, in that there's a detailed history of the movements of any individual is available to interested parties, which may include anyone willing to pay. Are call logs protected under wiretap laws, or can those be made public under subpeona? Under subscription?

i.e., can a creep buy the GPS traffic of all high school girls nearby over the age of consent?

How public should phone and financial records be? Should there be something like HIPAA for financial records? Even asking the questions makes me sound like a loon, but this is where the technology leads, and very quickly. There are places where openness is the norm (NO, tax forms are public records there-- everybody's tax forms). It's the selective availability of effective privacy that gets to me.

Again, the HP surveillance case linked in 24 is instructive-- these databases are effectively browseable by subscription, the details are public in that case only due to clumsiness.

Pissed at someone? Pay to find out whether they've been visiting a shrink or have a lover. Or just ask, if you have connections. This is reality now.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:30 PM
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Should there be something like HIPAA for financial records?

Yes.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:32 PM
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74: I wonder if that's going to be technologically fixed soon. CGI that would make faces unrecognizable while preserving expressions is certainly available at the movie-studio level (you could make your subjects look like giant blue kitty-people), and while I don't know if it's reasonably doable in an academic context yet, I'd ignorantly guess that it will be soon.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:32 PM
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However, your point about equal rights seems backwards- if recordings with cameras are prohibited, then signers get more privacy than speakers.

I think it's generally the opposite, no? Recordings with cameras are allowed, but surreptitious sound recording (at least, of comprehensible speech) is prohibited.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:32 PM
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Messily, is facial expression and head orientation what you mean?


Posted by: annelid gustator | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:33 PM
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I'm on board with 76. This really is an area where I think specific legislation is necessary. I'd like some HIPPA-like thing about internet-consumer-behavior tracking: really tight regulation on what data can be gathered and sold.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:34 PM
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And when I say HIPPA, I mean HIPAA.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:34 PM
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78 oh right. I missed the "not" in Halford's 52. You're right I am more oppressed.

79 yes, I think so. Various facial expressions (mouth movements, eye gaze, eyebrows, etc) can be contrastive, so you need to know exactly what a large number of facial muscles are doing in order to understand the meaning.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:38 PM
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Also there's no way (that I know of) for any Big Brother types to automatically detect particular signs so if you have an illegal secret to discuss, you're better off doing it via webcam in ASL. no one will ever catch you then.

Not for long.


Posted by: diffuser | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:39 PM
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77: it's sort of available at the movie studio level; it involves a lot of prep work (I think you have to mark the faces with special dots, possibly?) as well as a lot of post-production futzing by animators. Also, if you're doing studies of expression you would neat to have a really high level of fidelity, whereas if Gollum doesn't have quite the right expression you can just tweak it in post.

The obvious solution is to have the videos coded by severe prosopagnosics.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:41 PM
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This seems like a good book. The point about databases needs to be driven home: it's not just that you're recorded out where anyone could see you, but (a) being out now means that someone definitely will see you, not just that in principle some random passerby could observe you, and (b) the entity who will see you will be able to correlate that sighting with much, much more information.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:43 PM
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lw is specifically right about IL and MD

Illegal in MA too.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:45 PM
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define and ban abuses

Proving that narrowly defined abuses actually happened and then working out who ordered them is bound to work well.

Look at how effectively monitored police seizures of drugs and money are, for which there are great regulations.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rampart_scandal

Misbehavior within a system doesn't lend itself to proving that there's an individual wrongdoer, and so doesn't fit well into legal frameworks, I think.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:47 PM
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I'm not sure that the break-line between things that are fine with me and things that I object to in this context is well-conceptualized as 'privacy', exactly.

The thing is, 'privacy' is just not a very coherent concept--especially not as embedded within legal discourse, where it's been stretched for historical reasons to cover certain problems that a more 'philosophical' approach would doubtless have assigned more directly to 'liberty'. Basically, 'privacy' (or rather, the violation thereof) covers a bunch of different sins that don't necessarily have all that much in common.

Dan Solo/ve has written a lot on this. Here's his 'Taxonomy of Privacy'; he also has a book. In his view, there are four main categories of privacy-violations:



  1. Information collection

    • Surveillance

    • Interrogation



  2. Information processing

    • Aggregation

    • Identification

    • Insecurity

    • Secondary use

    • Exclusion



  3. Information dissemination

    • Breach of confidentiality

    • Disclosure

    • Exposure

    • Increased accessibility

    • Blackmail

    • Appropriation

    • Distortion



  4. Invasion

    • Intrusion

    • Decisional interference




Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:50 PM
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Goddamnit, that didn't look nearly so ugly on preview. wtf.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:51 PM
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So, what's the better way of handling the problem?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:51 PM
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How public should phone and financial records be? Should there be something like HIPAA for financial records?

Well, there are already things somewhat like HIPAA for financial records in the US, although with many variations. California has a Right to Financial Privacy Act, as well as a state constitutional right to privacy in bank records which strongly limits disclosure, and there are other states with similar rules. There's a federal statute that requires notice to a bank customer before certain records are provided to law enforcement.

But, of course, there's a lot of legal variance on this within the US. Some of that is due to a patchwork of state regulation, some of it is due to genuinely tough issues. "How public" can mean a lot of different things. Accessible by law enforcement generally? Law enforcement with a warrant? Transferrable by the company that collects the information for commercial purposes? Put on a publicly-accessible database with other identifying information? Without? There really are a lot of issues here.

California bars disclosure of phone records without the customer's consent, and I think most other states do the same.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:52 PM
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Some of that is due to a patchwork of state regulation

Can I incorporate my 'federalism sucks' theory by reference here?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:54 PM
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You could, but if you like statutory or constitutional protection of privacy, and you live in California, federalism is working in your favor.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:55 PM
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If all your relevant records are located in California.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 3:56 PM
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Nosflow's point in 85 is right, but is also the inevitable future. Again, we're going to be living in a world in which there's a lot of surveillance and a lot of information put into databases (and, it should be pointed out, there are a lot of advantages to this); the only real question is what kind of additional protections are you going to place on that world.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 4:02 PM
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Not particularly surprising, perhaps, but this has been a Big Issue in Europe for awhile now. Here's a blog post on the state of play, and potential reforms.

(Also: wikipedia on the EC Data Protection Directive.)


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 4:05 PM
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what's the better way of handling the problem?

Not sure. Openness is the standard answer-- effectively make it much easier for internal investigations to be initiated and made public than currently.

bars disclosure without consent

But consent for commercial purposes can be included in the mouseprint of a phone contract, right?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 4:07 PM
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It seems clear to me that laws banning recording of an otherwise public arrest (barring active interference in the arrest, of course) are pretty plainly unconstitutional under current law, but of course that's cold comfort if an officer is breaking your cell phone in front of your face.

If it's plainly unconstitutional, section 1983 would seem like a pretty solid remedy. Not that I've seen it used in this sort of context, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.


Posted by: ann onimess | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 4:09 PM
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Blame it on the rain.


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 4:11 PM
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BTW, too weak in my google-fu to find it, but didn't gswift have some personal experience with using these automatic license-plate scanners?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 4:35 PM
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But consent for commercial purposes can be included in the mouseprint of a phone contract, right?

Yes and no. The FCC regulates this area. Basically, you have to specifically opt-in to have your phone records used for marketing purposes by third parties. Under current rules, you can't be required to opt-in to sharing information with third parties as a condition of getting phone service or as part of your general phone contract (of course, this opt-in contract can be drafted confusingly or with lots of boilerplate as a rider to the ordinary phone contract).

Also, the phone company can only share call records with third parties contracting with the phone company or "joint venturers" with the phone company, who are using the records for purposes of marketing. These third parties also have a confidentiality obligation as to the phone records. The records can't legally just be sold to the world at large and data farmed. (Obviously, this restriction also provides commercial advantages for the phone companies.).



Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 4:40 PM
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If it's plainly unconstitutional, section 1983 would seem like a pretty solid remedy.

No, I can't see why it wouldn't work, either. I'm sure s1983 suits alone are sufficient incentive to institutionalize real accountability at the police-beat level.

Taking a suggestion from the other thread, I'm going to go spend some quality time at Zooborns (polar bear cub playing with a bucket!) now, because it's that or cry myself to sleep, and I already pencilled in the latter for after the Sox give up 7 runs in the 2nd inning, like last night.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 4:45 PM
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||
I'm running a project at work right now that will employ as my... um... sub-cow-orkers(~?) some 20 people, a goodly fraction of whom general officers while some others are frikkin' political appointees, and we have impossible deadlines, and I DO NOT have the training for this.

HALP.

*Gulp*
|>


Posted by: Salbass Rushdie | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 5:20 PM
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You are probably right that cops often seize cameras from private people trying to record them making arrests, and that's certainly an issue that will be more and more significant as cameras get more ubiquitous --remember how new this is.

New? It didn't take 20 years for cops to learn that the right thing to do with a camera pointed at them is to break it. From a game theory standpoint, it's win-win for the cops regardless of the law of the land.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 5:27 PM
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Oh, I'll show you how to fight crime.


Posted by: OPINIONATED BATMAN | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 5:34 PM
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HALP.

Pick out the weakest political appointee, give them an impossible task, and when they fail, shoot them. The rest of the political appointees will be terrified, and the officers will think you a righteous dude.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 5:36 PM
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Per 106, one could always fashion a shiv from a lunch tray and follow the example of the Squirrel Master.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 5:45 PM
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righteous dude


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 5:46 PM
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Thanks for making that explicit, Cameron.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 5:52 PM
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You know there are EZ Pass readers around, charging $0.00 and building logs, away from bridges, tunnels, tollways. You could know what they know if you had an EZ Pass reader reader.

The obvious solution is to create a property right to your information.

Also, do the police have an expectation of accurate data, or what cause do they have if you spam and Düppel them, like a flashmob with bumper stickers of America's Most Wanted's licence plates.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 5:53 PM
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The obvious solution is to create a property right to your information.

That sounds like a horrible idea.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 5:56 PM
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I wouldn't phrase it as a property right, but in some countries people have:

1. a right to access the information the government keeps about them

and

2. a right to request the correction of that information.*

Also, there can be pretty strong protections for the privacy of people whose information might otherwise be revealed in a freedom of information request.

There may even be laws like this somewhere in the US. I'm genuinely not sure - as Halford says, the US is a patchwork.

*Essentially, the government is obligated to change inaccurate information. But in some cases the accuracy of the information is disputed and in the absence of proof, the information might remain unchanged, but with a note recording the dispute.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 6:56 PM
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I already pencilled in the latter for after the Sox give up 7 runs in the 2nd inning, like last night

Buck up, they're only down by two in the sixth. And when they lose, they'll have the worst record in the majors. Not average!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 6:58 PM
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Anyone reduced to tears by the sox must have some salty-ass pillowcases.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 7:08 PM
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103. I agree, shoot one of them to encourage the others. If anyone complains, cite precedent. CNO Roughead approvingly cited Cortes burning his ships, so it seems the flags appreciate history.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 7:10 PM
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Just like you own your likeness, own your other image data too.
Anne Branscomb "Who Owns Information?".


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 7:16 PM
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115: neither pilots nor ground-pounders have great sympathy for hanged admirals.


Posted by: Salbass Rushdie | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 7:19 PM
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Convince the infantry that it is Thermopylae again and that they'll be buried in glory. The aviators, bribe them with golf. The politicals, who knows!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 7:30 PM
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In some contexts, you do have a "property" right to your "information" (although both "property" and "information" here are words that are lumping together an awful lot of different kinds of things).

116 makes no sense to me; you do own certain kinds of information, and your rights to your likeness are a particular set of rights.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 7:31 PM
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Seriously Salbass, it sounds like a royal pain in the ass.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 7:32 PM
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12

No, this all sucks. It's much less useful than they make out and much more expensive.

Even if this is true to some extent today, the technology is constantly getting better and cheaper so I don't think this is a viable argument in the long run.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 7:35 PM
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120: epic, really!


Posted by: Salbass Rushdie | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 7:46 PM
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Sounds like just another gimmick to put poor people who steal $20 in prison for years while wealthy businessmen are allowed to defraud the government and the people with impunity. "Over-policed and under-protected" ain't just a river in Egypt.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 04-12-11 8:21 PM
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121: up to a point, lord Cropper. There will always remain a fundamental gap between collecting data (cheap, easy and getting more so) and interpreting data (hard).


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 12:06 AM
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re: 121

The UK is covered in a network of these cameras. I think Alex's point above is that they've done much less to solve crime than you'd think.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police-enforced_ANPR_in_the_UK

You'll note the mention of car cloning; which is what serious criminals/terrorists could/would do. Cloning has been around a long time, the Red Army Faction used to do it in Germany in the 70s.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 12:38 AM
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121: Yeah, but when that happens, we'll be in the middle of the robot rebellion, so we'll have bigger problems.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 12:44 AM
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So inside of one's own home with the shades drawn is the only time one should have an expectation of privacy?

It cannot be too clearly understood that this is not a free country, and it will be an evil day for the legal profession when it is.

Also, for the benefit of Halford at 22...

Citizens who take it upon themselves to do unusual actions which attract the attention of the police should be careful to bring these actions into one of the recognized categories of crimes and offences, for it is intolerable that the police should be put to the pains of inventing reasons for finding them undesirable.


Posted by: A P Herbert | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:16 AM
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Well, I mostly deal with the media, which very much has the right (and asserts the right, successfully) to record police officers making arrests. You are probably right that cops often seize cameras from private people trying to record them making arrests

Seems like it's more an east coast thing and often the states that have already been mentioned because they have weird surveillance laws.

Also, the media has cameras such that they can do this from a reasonable distance.(scroll down to see my manly arm and a felon in my car ) People on the street tend to try it with a cell phone or a pda and to get a decent recording they get too godamn close. I'm not denying there's shitty things being done by cops on this front. But lots of these cases for interference are a result of people with their head up their ass thinking that free speech entitles them to basically walk into a crime scene.

I don't really have experience with the license plate readers. We only have a couple cars in the fleet with them and we don't have databases and all that. Mostly they're used by the traffic guys. Good way to find a lot of stolen plates, uninsured vehicles, etc.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:20 AM
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Shorter 127.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:49 AM
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128. Do you not have speed cameras, as ttaM points out? Their primary purpose is to identify vehicles breaking the speed limit between two points, but to do that they have to read the plates, so there's no reason they couldn't be used to identify other wanted vehicles, just as, for example, in-store CCTV is primarily to discourage petty theft, but it can come in handy in searching for missing persons.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:54 AM
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Do you not have speed cameras, as ttaM points out?

Pretty much non existent here. State law limits the hell out of them.

http://le.utah.gov/~code/TITLE41/htm/41_06a060800.htm

(2) Photo radar may not be used except:
(a) (i) in school zones; or
(ii) in other areas that have a posted speed limit of 30 miles per hour or less;
(b) when a peace officer is present with the photo radar unit;
(c) when signs are posted on the highway providing notice to a motorist that photo radar may be used;
(d) when use of photo radar by a local highway authority is approved by the local highway authority's governing body; and
(e) when the citation is accompanied by the photograph produced by photo radar.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 2:14 AM
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131. Those limitations don't sound a lot different from the ones we have here, except for the peace officer being present. But there are still tens of thousands of the things. Yes, they're all approved and clearly signposted, and I think you get a copy of the photo if they bust you, but it all goes through on the nod.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 2:24 AM
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131 is very oddly drafted; the "and" in clause (d) implies that all the conditions must apply.

IE you've got to a) be in a school zone or 30 mph zone, b) with a peace officer present, c) with signs up, d) with use approved, and e) send a photo. Is this actually the case? You can't have any speed cameras anywhere outside a 30 mph zone or school zone?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 5:24 AM
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133: That's how I'd read it, which makes sense with gswift's ''limits the hell out of".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 5:34 AM
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No, there's an "or" in the a) subpart (i) to a) subpart(ii). So the restrictions aren't school zone + 30mph + sign +..., but school zone + signs + ... OR 30 mph + sign + ..., right?


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 5:51 AM
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Oh, that is right, I misread what ajay was saying in 133. You need all of (a), (b), (c), (d), and (e), but you can get to (a) by either the school zone or the posted 30 mph zone route.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 5:58 AM
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No, actually, I read ajay right the first time. We're all saying the same thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 5:59 AM
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Indeed, I misread ajay.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:00 AM
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130

Do you not have speed cameras, as ttaM points out? Their primary purpose is to identify vehicles breaking the speed limit between two points, ...

If you mean two points far (miles) apart basically nonexistent here. This could also be done by EZpass but isn't . Americans on the whole don't want speed limits enforced mechanically.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:21 AM
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Those limitations don't sound a lot different from the ones we have here, except for the peace officer being present. But there are still tens of thousands of the things.

That police officer exception is doing a lot of work. How many of them would be operating at any one time if they could only be used when a cop is on location? Plus the under 30mph or school zone thing will mostly limit it to residential roads. Switzerland has the cute system of suddenly reducing the speed limit sharply for a few hundred meters and setting up cameras there. I'm sure it does wonders for local authorities and car insurance profits.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:29 AM
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130: We're willing to pay extra for hand-crafted speeding tickets.

On that table of total US road costs I linked recently, the category of "Highway Law Enforcement and Safety" was $14.6B (~8% of total) relatively equally split between state and local governments.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:32 AM
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I'm sure it does wonders for local authorities and car insurance profits.

Indeed it does, at least in Britain, where similar cases abound. This is why I'm surprised that the tender consciences of Americans who prefer to get their speeding tickets from cops in cars rather than offices are actually allowed to interfere with such a lucrative practice.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:34 AM
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Anyone reduced to tears by the sox must have some salty-ass pillowcases.

And the problem is only made worse by other matters recently discussed.

Kidding.

I'm with Natilo & Martin in 121/3. The data will be there, but only some with have the capacity to (a) use data about others to gain an advantage over those others; (b) protect themselves, whether legally or pratically, against same.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:39 AM
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140-141: insisting on a police officer being present seems horrendously inefficient as a use of police time. But, as you say, American speeders may welcome the personal touch.

139: well, we have two types of speed camera over here on Robot Cop Archipelago; one sort that just takes a photo when it detects anyone going over the limit, and another rarer sort that operates in pairs and detects breaches of the speed limit on average over a stretch of road by timing how long it takes you to get from one to the other. The second sort's the only sort that needs automatic number plate recognition, obviously; it also doesn't require radar (and so might not come under the exemption list that confused everyone so much).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:59 AM
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The UK's in a weird position vis a vis the US on this issue. On the one hand, we have (largely Europe-driven( data privacy laws, and to an increasing degree wider privacy laws, that most Americans can only dream of. On the other hand, we have thrown away privacy related freedoms in the name of law enforcement and anti-terrorism to an extent that horrifies most Americans (and many but not enough Britons). Loads of speed cameras, ubiquitous CCTV, a DNA database of all arrestees (including people who are never convicted) that the government has tried to maintain in the face of repeated ECJ rulings that it is illegal, and of course police who take extreme offence at having their activities recorded and routinely confiscate cameras and tape recorders from public and press alike.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:05 AM
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144

insisting on a police officer being present seems horrendously inefficient as a use of police time. But, as you say, American speeders may welcome the personal touch.

In America there is often a substantial difference between the defacto speed limit and the dejure speed limit. Americans who are used to the defacto limits as enforced by the police don't (for the most part) want to be suddenly subjected to the dejure limits enforced mechanically.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:06 AM
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OT: What do people recommend as the most seamless of the non-Microsoft Office substitutes? Open Office is OK, but I'm wondering if there's something a little better for moving Word & Excel documents back and forth.

N.b. I'll be reinstalling Office shortly, so I'm not looking for something to challenge Bill Gates's hegemonic for the long term, just something to get me through a few weeks.

Also, hi everyone! I've been missing y'all, and I don't even have Di's excuse of being productive.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:14 AM
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In America Britain there is often a substantial difference between the defacto speed limit and the dejure speed limit. Americans Brits who are used to the defacto limits as enforced by the police don't (for the most part) want to be suddenly subjected to the dejure limits enforced mechanically.

But they still are. Because it's never a high enough political priority to affect an election, and the cameras make money.



Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:17 AM
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146 sounds very, well, French.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:21 AM
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147: ^power


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:21 AM
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Is Google Docs not good for conversion? You'd think they'd have thrown plenty of $ / programmer-hours at it.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:24 AM
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G.p. (Good point.) It was kind of annoying last time I tried it, but it's been a while.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:26 AM
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re: 147

Open Office is really quite good, actually. I use it a lot at work when I need to handle unicode and/or csv files as it fucks those up much less badly than Word/Excel. I'm not aware of anything better than Open Office, and Google Docs is definitely not better than Open Office.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:29 AM
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And don't get me started on some of the demented shit I've had to code up to try and get around what Excel does to text.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:30 AM
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Via Ars, apparently SF is considering making

"the following regulations apply for all events and entertainment establishments with capacity for over 100 people.

You must pass through a metal detector to enter the premises.

You will be ID scanned, and your ID will be maintained in a database for at least 15 days, ready to be made available to the police on request.

"High visibility" cameras watch you from the entrance and exit points of the premises. They will keep a recorded database for at least 15 days, one that's also available to the police on request."

Sigh.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:30 AM
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155: they aren't, really.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:33 AM
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151

But they still are. Because it's never a high enough political priority to affect an election, and the cameras make money.

Gas taxes are higher in Britain too I believe. The political balance is different in the US.

Incidentally some of the lax US enforcement is due to state and local politicians who have personally gotten tickets and have been mad enough to push through legal limits on speed enforcement.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:33 AM
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... following up on the link at Ars to the SF Entertainment Commission, I was amused to read the following about the Commission's executive director:

"In all her volunteer work, Jocelyn's agenda is to make the lives of the Bay Area's working musicians healthier, easier, and cheaper."

I'm sure the musicians appreciate Jocelyn's ceaseless struggle to cheapen their lives.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:36 AM
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156: goddamnit, how dare you deprive me of my afternoon outrage?


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:38 AM
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The UK's in a weird position vis a vis the US on this issue.

Our lax gun laws, dental hygiene, edible food, relative sobriety and lack of an alienated, undispersed underclass of second- and third-generation of descendants of immigrants don't make us weird enough?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:43 AM
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I think Shearer's right about the political opposition to speeding enforcement in the US. While it's annoyingly useless in terms of opposing most actual infringements on civil liberties, there's a strong US feeling about keeping the jackbooted thugs of the government from interfering with decent people that you guys don't seem to have in the same way, and speeding enforcement sets that off.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:44 AM
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edible food

People still making jokes about British food ... do they also make jokes about that nice Mr Heath, and buying their first colour telly?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:47 AM
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If I said goodbye to you tonight...


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:50 AM
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I'd like to hear more from Sifu about a vague fundamental right to travel anonymously, which is also the right to reinvention, yeah? Like, if things ever get too bad, you could always get on a plane to some country where no one cares who you used to be, or at least take up residence in some small town in a Carolina and get a large dog and drink a lot of Budweiser on the porch. But if your movements are tracked, then law enforcement/family/angry former coworkers can hunt you down and hold you accountable for any quantity of past shit.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:51 AM
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I had this great moment of confirming UK stereotypes last summer -- we were staying with a co-worker of Buck's, and had lunch in a market in his suburban town. He bought himself a sandwich with some rather tough pork crackling in it, bit into it, got a funny look on his face, and spit a broken tooth into the gutter. (No immediate pain, apparently, which was good -- I wouldn't be telling it as a funny story if he'd been in agony.)

Just coincidence, but if it had been scripted to confirm US stereotypes about UK dentistry, it couldn't have been better.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:52 AM
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re: 165

Shit like that is why we had an empire. Born to eat stone-laden dhal up a mountain.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:53 AM
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There would still be music left to write


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:54 AM
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What else could I do?
I'm so inspired by you!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:56 AM
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166:
A scrimmage in a Border Station,
A canter down some dark defile:
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:56 AM
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Surely not even American dentistry lasts forever? The fillings I got in my teens started to come out when I turned 50.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:57 AM
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170: Americans don't age.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:00 AM
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161: there's a strong US feeling about keeping the jackbooted thugs of the government from interfering with decent people that you guys don't seem to have in the same way, and speeding enforcement sets that off.

My certainly-not-correct-on-the-details stereotype on this (but somewhat backed up by actual experience) is that UK/Western Europe are relatively more comfortable with governments having your data versus corporations, while in the US people are more comfortable with corporations versus the government.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:04 AM
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The fillings I got in my teens have been steadily replaced over the past five to six years by the invisible epoxy fillings, which supposedly last a whole lot longer than the amalgams. I think I now have only one tooth remaining with metal bits in it.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:05 AM
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John war darunter und Jimm war dabei
Und George ist Sergeant geworden.
Doch die Armee, sie fragt keinen,
wer er sei und marschierte hinauf nach dem Norden.

Soldaten wohnen, auf den Kanonen,
Von Cap bis Couch Behar.

Wenn es mal regnete und es begegnete
ihnen 'ne neue Rasse, 'ne braune oder blasse,
dann machen sie vielleicht daraus ihr Beefsteak Tartar.

Easier to chew than stony dhal


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:05 AM
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170: Oh, as I said it's the sort of thing that could happen to anyone.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:07 AM
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164: well, I think that's part of it (and you can maybe see why I think it's sort of unsupportable). It's a pretty visceral thing; if shit's not working out (not necessarily due to past transgressions, just because sometimes shit doesn't work out), you can pick up and look for someplace better. That seems so fundamental to human history that the idea that it's been rendered illegal (or quasi-legal, or controlled) seems unsettling.

But, again: vague, unsupportable, kind of I-read-Edward-Abbey-at-a-vulnerable-moment. I'm not quite going to let go of it, but I'm not sure I could defend it except by reference to the additional hassle it presents for poor minorities, and then I get into "well, also there are much bigger problems" territory.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:07 AM
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He bought himself a sandwich with some rather tough pork crackling in it

I need this sandwich.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:08 AM
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172 is probably correct, although I've never thought deeply about it. Certainly the European stereotype is that the government can to some extent be controlled by voting it out (Britain, Germany); berating its representatives till they give in (France, Spain); or bribing it (Italy, Greece), whereas corporations are completely unanswerable to anybody (since most Europeans don't believe in god) and should never be trusted out of your sight.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:09 AM
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That hasn't happened for the loooooongest time!


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:09 AM
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Whoa, who-o-oa for the longest
For the longest time!
Who-o-oa, for the longest time


Posted by: Pauly Shore | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:12 AM
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177: It appeared to be the best sandwich ever. I was too jetlagged to face a sandwich of that complexity, but it had a good crusty roll, the pork, some cooked apple thing, and I think there was another ingredient that was equally appealing, but I was pretty close to unconscious at the time so I can't remember.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:17 AM
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I think I now have only one tooth remaining with metal bits in it.

I think you have to pay extra for the epoxy jobs under the NHS unless it's a normally visible tooth. All mine are in molars. The last one that came out, the guy gave me a gold crown. "That's one for the archaeologists", he said when he finished.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:19 AM
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176: This really is an interesting issue. I remember realizing that this sort of thing really wasn't possible at all anymore, short of crazy fake-identity-creating schemes, and finding it disturbing. I don't know that I'd think of it as a right, but it's an odd change in human society.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:19 AM
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181. Sounds like a classic hot pork butty, the third thing would have been sage and onion stuffing.

Breakfast of champions.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:21 AM
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re: 184

Yeah, the market in Oxford does 'em. Just like that. Although I usually forgo them for the pork momo, which are delicious.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:24 AM
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It's terribly hard to prevent a private investigator from tracking you down, but it's about as easy as it ever was to cut off contact with your friends and family and move to a new city, and socially speaking, end your old life and start from scratch.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:26 AM
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dental hygiene, edible food

Yes, what ttaM said; also, Britain (like most of Europe) has much better dental health than the US.
http://www.oralhealthatlas.org/uniflip/index.html
see pp 24-5, 38-9.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:26 AM
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That's it, it had stuffing. I've been vaguely regretting having missed that sandwich for eight months now.

I may think about food more than is strictly reasonable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:26 AM
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lack of an alienated, undispersed underclass of second- and third-generation of descendants of immigrants

Certainly it would be ludicrous to suggest that US inner cities had an alienated, undispersed underclass composed overwhelmingly of descendants of a particular group of immigrants.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:30 AM
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Come on, the bad British food thing is later than stereotypes about Heath. At least through the late 1980s. It's exactly parallel to the "you can't get good coffee in America" and "American beer is like having sex in a canoe; fucking close to water" both of which suddenly, almost magically ceased to be true in approximately 1993.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:40 AM
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My opinion was that Britain had much better fast food than the US, but in the restaurants for dinner, not impressive.

Certainly it would be ludicrous to suggest that US inner cities had an alienated, undispersed underclass composed overwhelmingly of descendants of a particular group of immigrants.

Yeah, but they're like tenth-generation descendants of immigrants. They're assimilated.


Posted by: Cruyptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:42 AM
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re: 190

I think it really dates from the godawful period after WWII, but yeah, there has been a big change in quality since the late 80s/early 90s. That's still twenty years ago, though. And you could always get good food if you knew where.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:43 AM
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183: I feel like there's a corollary in the increasing lack of public space; if you think about a typical city there's almost no place (outside of your own home) where you can be where somebody doesn't have the right to ask you to leave, and there's almost no way to travel where somebody can't legally prevent you from using it. I used to think about it a lot in terms of people who were homeless, that -- just by virtue of not having a home -- they could end up in a situation where basically they were in violation of the law for existing. That always seemed sort of fucked up.

But, again, I'm aware that this is all sort of a simplistic way to think about property and rights and so on. But high school Sifu wishes to speak up for a universal right to be someplace or other.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:45 AM
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Well, sure, if you knew where. The comparison was as a tourist, where in France or Italy you got good food even if you didn't know where.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:45 AM
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191.2: what?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:47 AM
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both of which suddenly, almost magically ceased to be true in approximately 1993.

Clinton introduced quality controls on beer and coffee? I've been misjudging the old bastard.

British food in fact turned the corner in the early 80s, though you could still get some pretty disgusting stuff if you weren't careful. The main drivers were the rise of the Yuppie and murderous competition among Pakistani, Cypriot and Italian restauranteurs. Conventional wisdom is that it's now the fourth best in Europe (i.e. not crazy good, but near the front of the pack), after Italy, France and Spain (Basque and Catalan) in that order. I think British restaurants have got complacent in the last few years, but that's another story.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:49 AM
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189, 191, 195: African Americans.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:49 AM
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Right, but the notion that there is no US inner city minority underclass other than non-immigrant African Americans suggests that Ned is commenting from a time machine located in 1964. Or maybe from Pittsburgh, I guess.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:53 AM
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I thought Pittsburgh's underclass was made of sexy mixed-race lady welders with dreams of a better life?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:57 AM
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Ajay's use of the word 'particular' suggested strongly to me that he was specifically referring to African Americans; I think Ned was just following Ajay's lead.

On the larger issue, do Latino immigrants to the US assimilate faster than South Asian immigrants to the UK? It's hard to tell in NY, because there's always a new population coming in, but I do mostly expect someone third-generation to be quite thoroughly assimilated. I don't have any idea about the similar trend in the UK.

East and South Asian immigrants in the US? I don't have a real feel for trends there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 8:58 AM
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183: but it's an odd change in human society.

Yes, I was thinking about this not long ago while working on our genealogy and trying to track down two different 19th century disappearances/abandonments (my great-grandfather's father and his maternal grandfather).

Although it is interesting how much more personally-identifying info (but less overall information) the US Census collected back then.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:02 AM
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In re food stereotypes, I've had a theory that the North Sea creates a "ring of bad food". Holland, Northern Germany (would you like a fried egg on top of your stewed eel?), England, Scotland all got sucked into some kind of culinary vortex of weird combinations and gross food which globalization is easing them out of.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:02 AM
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(I have trouble with counting immigrant generations. First generation is you were born overseas, second is your parents, and so on? Or is it immigrant generation, first generation born here, second generation born here? That is, given that two of my grandparents immigrated from Ireland, am I second or third generation?)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:03 AM
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200. Can you generalise at that level? Are all Latino/S.Asian communities/individuals comparable?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:05 AM
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the right to reinvention

This has come up also while watching Mad Men. It doesn't seem like Don Draper could pull the same kind of reinvention (/identity takeover) nowadays, and it's interesting to think about when that would last have been feasible. When we talk about 'identity theft' today, we don't mean the same thing that Don did.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:08 AM
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would you like a fried egg on top of your stewed eel

Yes! But I'd rather have smoked eel in a soup with apples. Or deep fried herring that is then lightly pickled. Love that stuff.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:11 AM
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176: I'm way over on the extreme of this general sentiment. I know it's hopeless, but I'd really like to revisit all the legal thinking about public vs. private that took place prior to the invention of recording media like photographs, movies, and the like. I think it is a fundamental error to proceed by analogy with direct perception by witnesses who are physically present. The exposure of public behavior to people who are not physically present is a qualitative change of enormous significance. The audience goes from a limited number of people who are aware of much of the larger context of what is going on to a theoretically infinite number of people presented with only a small select subset of the information. All recording media lie by omission, and that is critically important.

Slightly less hopelessly - I'd like to see a right for anyone recorded on video or audio to have access to the complete recording for the purpose of presenting their side of the story. The lies of omission that are inherent in recording media are often compounded by selective editing, and I'd like to see some mechanism to push back against that.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:11 AM
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I have some confused thoughts about reinvention and redemption that I'll mull over a bit, but it seems to me the two are connected. The ability to lift the burden of past sins is in some sense hampered by the same mechanisms that make reinvention hard.

Act Two of this episode of This American Life captures part of what I'm clumsily getting at.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:16 AM
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207.2: The trajectory of the whole sordid ACORN saga supports the justice of this approach.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:16 AM
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Slightly less hopelessly - I'd like to see a right for anyone recorded on video or audio to have access to the complete recording for the purpose of presenting their side of the story.

I like this.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:20 AM
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On the larger issue, do Latino immigrants to the US assimilate faster than South Asian immigrants to the UK?

In the UK context, you'll have to define "assimilate". Yes, they learn English very fast; no, they don't change their names or start giving their kids non-South Asian names; no, they don't change religion; yes, they tend to intermarry with non-South Asians...

You'll also, as chris points out, have to differentiate between different sorts of Asian; Indian immigrants are generally far more successful than Pakistani or Bangladeshi.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:21 AM
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Right, but the notion that there is no US inner city minority underclass other than non-immigrant African Americans suggests that Ned is commenting from a time machine located in 1964. Or maybe from Pittsburgh, I guess.0

There is, in fact, no Pittsburgh inner city minority underclass other than non-immigrant African Americans.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:22 AM
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yes, they tend to intermarry with non-South Asians...

Except for the middle class Indians who try to impose a "No BMW" rule...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:24 AM
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207.2 sounds good in theory, but in practice would make broadcast media almost infinitely more expensive and cautious, and probably would violate the First Amendment (in the US) in most circumstances. The tort of "false light" was supposed to get at the same concern, and still exists, although it has limited practical use.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:24 AM
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almost infinitely more expensive and cautious? really?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:28 AM
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re: 202

Definitely not true. A lot of indigenous and very old traditional British recipes are excellent. However, what is true is that industrialization bit early and bit hard, so the UK became a very urban, very deracinated place a long time before many places.

Traditional British food isn't odd, or disgusting food combinations, though. And I'd defy you to find anywhere with better raw produce.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:29 AM
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My certainly-not-correct-on-the-details stereotype on this (but somewhat backed up by actual experience) is that UK/Western Europe are relatively more comfortable with governments having your data versus corporations, while in the US people are more comfortable with corporations versus the government.

Worth noting that one of the Wikileaks cable revelations was about how annoyed the US gov't was about the German (classical-liberal) FDP making it harder for governments--both its own and the US gov't--to get access to data. I remember seeing FDP election materials playing up data-privacy-as-civil-lberties-issue (both vs. gov't and corps)--not as much as the Piraten Partei, but noticeably so.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:30 AM
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A couple of people up-thread have said variants that they feel conflicted, but that the loss of privacy has its upsides. I'm having trouble seeing the upsides. The impact on crime would have to be massive, but the London CCTV experience suggests that won't be the case.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:31 AM
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CCTV doesn't magically prevent crime. It may, perhaps, make conviction somewhat easier. I'd expect there are fairly robust criminological stats on this, but maybe not?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:34 AM
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almost infinitely more expensive and cautious? really?

This reminds me of the number theorists' use of 'almost all' to mean 'with finitely many exceptions.'


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:35 AM
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security cameras are certainly a lousy way to make positive IDs of people. I suppose they'd be better for license plates, but I assume that in terms of faces they result in more false IDs than anything else.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:36 AM
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214: I suspected you'd have something interesting to say. I'm quite ignorant of IP law in that typical geek way of knowing mostly the stuff that pisses me off. Sounds like "false light" ought to be beefed up - it gets directly at the issues I think are most important when it comes to recordings.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:36 AM
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Which is to say: perhaps Americans generally care more about government data collection than they do about corporate data collection, but I'm not convinced Americans care much about either, really, so long as you say 'terrorism!'


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:37 AM
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Traditional British food isn't odd, or disgusting food combinations, though.

Well, no. Not unless you think there's something weird or disgusting about "fish with potatoes" or "beef in a pie".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:37 AM
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I'm also no first amendment expert but I'm not understanding the perceived violation. (I could gin up arguments about why it might be a violation, but none that get me even close to "probably is".) What's the argument you're thinking of?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:40 AM
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Traditional British food isn't odd, or disgusting food combinations, though.

Jugged hare? Kidneys? Warm beer? Anglicanism? Those weird egg punches that people in Regency novels are always drinking?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:41 AM
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225: I am also puzzled. First Amendment is to do with government-imposed restrictions on speech, right? What's the restriction here?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:42 AM
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Those weird egg punches that people in Regency novels are always drinking?

What's wrong with egg punches?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:43 AM
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To be a little more precise, if someone tapes you and you think it presents you in a harmful and misleading light and you want to see the raw footage, you can obtain what raw footage exists right now by filing a lawsuit and seeking the footage in discovery. Obviously that's a huge pain and slow and expensive and often won't work for a variety of legal reasons, but you can try it. A right to see raw footage before something is broadcast would be incredibly intrusive and is pretty clearly unconstitutional. So would a rule requiring the broadcaster to provide unedited raw footage to all interested parties without asking.

The most plausible rule would be some kind of duty to preserve raw footage combined with a right to request copies of the footage absent a lawsuit. I still think that's a bad idea. For most media broadcasters, that would still be a fairly substantial intrusion, and one that would also be quite easily open to abuse and could of could be used as a tool to harass the press.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:43 AM
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re: 226

Hare and kidneys aren't weird, unless you are from a high-fructose corn syrup and chemical bread sort of culture. Game and offal are traditional basically fucking everywhere -- Italy, France, Spain, et al.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:44 AM
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What's wrong with egg punches?

1. Ask Humpty-Dumpty.

2. Cholesterol.

3. They all have weird names like "dewlap flippy with root ale."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:45 AM
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I have some confused thoughts about reinvention and redemption that I'll mull over a bit, but it seems to me the two are connected.

I wonder whether part of the enduring appeal of the 'born again' narrative, whether in a purely religious form, or in a more secularized (eg: AA and its offshoots) is because it's essentially the only remaining culturally supported way of starting over.

I don't want to give up drinking, and I'm certainly not about to take up religion, but I feel either course would make for much more satisfying and respectable (both self-respect, and that of others) life narrative than is available otherwise.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:46 AM
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Jugged hare?

Basically just a stew.Stews are not weird.

Kidneys?

Really nice.

Warm beer?

Not warm; not even room-temperature; just not refrigerated to within an inch of solidification. Think of it as the same temperature as water out of the tap. Entirely pleasant, and also the only possible way to serve beer pre-invention of refrigeration. 18th century Americans and Germans drank their beer just as warm as Brits.

Those weird egg punches that people in Regency novels are always drinking?

OK, that one I grant you. But it's not as weird as eating cranberry jam with turkey.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:47 AM
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1. Ask Humpty-Dumpty.

Okay, I... what?

2. Cholesterol.

A myth!

3. They all have weird names like "dewlap flippy with root ale."

A "flip" is just any cocktail with egg in it. Are you opposed to cocktails with egg in them generally? Because if so you, sir, are nuts. Cocktails with egg in them rule.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:49 AM
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227, 225 -- depends on the restriction. A legally-enforceable to obtain footage prior to broadcast to present ones own side of the story would, I think, qualify as a prior restraint. A right to obtain raw footage post broadcast but without any showing of malice runs into many of the same first amendment issues that apply to the privacy and defamation torts generally, but there's clearly a potential chilling effect.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:50 AM
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But it's not as weird as eating cranberry jam with turkey.

Oh, it's on now.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:50 AM
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A right to see raw footage before something is broadcast would be incredibly intrusive and is pretty clearly unconstitutional.

Again: why?
Why intrusive? It's film of you. Who is being intruded on here?
Why unconstitutional? Whose speech is being restricted?

The only argument I can really see is that it would be a burden on broadcasters and this would be bad public policy. But that doesn't make it a content-based restriction.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:50 AM
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223: ut I'm not convinced Americans care much about either, really, so long as you say 'terrorism!'

But that's data about potential terrorists, not *me*. I think some of that attitude is due to lack of imagination.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:50 AM
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Those weird egg punches that people in Regency novels are always drinking?

Isn't eggnog a "weird egg punch"? Most Brits certainly think it's really weird. Doesn't mean it's not lovely though.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:51 AM
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237 written before 235.

236: maple syrup on bacon, Flippanter. Your people put maple syrup on bacon. What's next, sirloin and custard?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:53 AM
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240.2: I think your impression of the American appetite for bacon may have been distorted by the Internet.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:55 AM
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241: don't get me started on all the other things Americans do with bacon on the Internet.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:55 AM
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We do love custard, though. Custard and cilantro!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 9:56 AM
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Why intrusive? It's film of you. Who is being intruded on here?
Why unconstitutional? Whose speech is being restricted?

Suppose I'm filming at a protest. I later release a short video showing how the cops were whaling on a buddy of mine. The cop in question demands to see the full unedited footage that I took, because my edited clip shows him in an unfairly bad light.

I can see a lot of reasons why an activist-journalist sort might not want to give the cops the full footage.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:00 AM
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Your people put maple syrup on bacon.

Most of us don't do that on purpose; it just happens to be on the same plate with the pancakes. But maple-cured bacon/sausage, well.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:00 AM
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Toad in the hole is not really quite the furthest thing from sirloin and custard.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:01 AM
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Most of us don't do that on purpose; it just happens to be on the same plate with the pancakes.

It's so cute that you tell yourself that.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:01 AM
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244: I think the proposal was that you would have the right to see all the raw film of yourself. Which would presumably be OK to most activist journalists.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:04 AM
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Most of us don't do that on purpose; it just happens to be on the same plate with the pancakes.

Along the same lines, I suppose, you don't actually put custard on your sirloin, it just happens to be on the same plate as the coconut sponge cake.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:05 AM
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I think the proposal was that you would have the right to see the raw film of yourself putting maple syrup over bacon-in-custard.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:07 AM
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re: 246

Except the yorkshire pudding is a savoury batter, and has no sugar in it, or cream, or eggs or vanilla. But other than that, it's identical.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:07 AM
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Ajay: these issues were settled, for better or worse, in the 1960s, and are handled very differently in the US than in Britain. Speaking very generally, absent a showing of intentional harm, the US first amendment protects media defendants from a range of legal compulsions that have the incidental effect of chilling their ability to report; the first amendment is not limited to direct content-based controls imposed by the government. Figuring out what is and isn't a first amendment issue can be fact specific and complicated, but "hey, I don't see the government imposing a content based restriction" isn't the right way to think about it.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:08 AM
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Except the yorkshire pudding is a savoury batter....

It's so cute that you tell yourself that.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:08 AM
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252: ah, I see. Thanks.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:09 AM
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Warm beer?

My grandfather who worked for a small brewery between 1925 and 1960 said beer should be drunk at the same temperature as you'd drink a good Hock*. Now you might like your best white wine straight out of the freezer, in which case I'm sorry, but...

*In his day a good Hock was something to be savoured, not the teenagers' swill they sold under that name in the 70s.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:09 AM
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253: hey, ttaM may be limited in many respects, but remember that he's Scottish. He knows batter.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:10 AM
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Most of us don't do that on purpose; it just happens to be on the same plate with the pancakes. But maple-cured bacon/sausage, well.

To confuse the British/American dichotomy on this issue, Waitrose sell lovely maple cured streaky bacon.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:11 AM
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In his day a good Hock was something to be savoured

Now you can get that sort of thing for free on the internet.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:11 AM
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The British don't enjoy warm beer. They enjoy room temperature beer, but what you're forgetting is that those rooms are generally fucking freezing.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:13 AM
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256: Speaking of which, is it true that Scots batter and deep-fry naughty children UN relief workers slices of pizza?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:13 AM
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ttaM may be limited in many respects

WTF with limits?

re: 253

What is that supposed to mean? [As non-cantankerously as possible, it IS a savoury batter.]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:14 AM
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260: well, they don't batter it, and the actual deep-frying is more often than not done by Italians, but... yes. It is our Great National Shame and the reason why our life expectancy is so low.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:14 AM
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261.1: joking, ttaM.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:15 AM
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261: That isn't a cricket term? I'm sorry; my knowledge of cricket is based entirely on the stories of P.G. Wodehouse and that episode of The Prisoner with the girl in the white minidress.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:15 AM
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re: 260

They do deep fry it, yeah. Ironically, when I was in Florence a few weeks back I had pizza [cooked in the normal manner] that tasted to exactly like deep fried Scottish pizza that it was genuine Proustian moment.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:16 AM
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re: 263

Heh, I guessed you were. This is where the lack of smileys [on my fake ire] is sometimes an obstacle.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:16 AM
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Cricket explained in three videos and nine minutes: the basics, weird cricket terms, common umpire signals.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:18 AM
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235: yeah, I was envisioning something closer to what you're thinking would be constitutional (though a bad idea) in 229.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:18 AM
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Just to clarify - I'm suggesting people should have access to footage *after* pieces have been broadcast, and not just limited to things that show themselves but including all the footage that provides relevant context. Figuring out the limits of that last bit would be tricky, but not necessarily more so than figuring out the limits of "fair use" as far as I can see.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:25 AM
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cranberry jam with turkey

Is it not classic to eat hare with sour cherries?


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:26 AM
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not as weird as eating cranberry jam with turkey.

Oh man. I am passionate about cranberry sauce.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:32 AM
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re: 270

Not in the UK, I don't think. I think that's more a continental European sort of thing. There are other meat and berry combinations, I think, and obviously pork and apple, but I associate cherries with mainland Europe.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:35 AM
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I don't think I'm remembering the prior restraint doctrine very well. How does your conclusion that a law like togolosh has suggested is unconstitutional mesh with the restrictions on civilian taping of police we were discussing earlier in the thread? Or with something like this proposed Minn. law that makes it illegal to "produce a record which reproduces an image or sound occurring at an animal facility," or to "possess or distribute a record which produces an image or sound occurring at the animal facility"? Those all sound like much more burdensome restrictions on speech than a simple requirement that copies of tapes be turned over the the subjects of those tapes.

(My sense is that the MN law can't suvive a constitutional challenge. But similar laws have been proposed in other states, and I'm really rusty on first amendment doctrines, so I hate to sound too confident.)


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:35 AM
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There are thousands of classic fruit/meat combinations, and there's nothing wrong with eating cranberry jam with turkey. Personally, I think turkey's the dullest meat in the world and I wouldn't care if I never saw it again (I might well change my mind if I tried the wild bird), but slathering with something sweet and sour seems a good way to go if tradition demands that you eat it.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:36 AM
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but not necessarily more so than figuring out the limits of "fair use" as far as I can see.

And that's worked out real well...


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:43 AM
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The link is 273 is really disturbing. Sigh.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:45 AM
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Too busy to really answer 273, but if Toggle's law gave the subject of a broadcast the right to obtain raw footage before a broadcast could be aired (and to prevent the broadcast being aired otherwise) I think that would quite clearly fall within the prior restraint cases and be clealry unconstitutional. Even if you couldn't enjoin the broadcast, but only seek damages afterwards for a failure to provide pre-broadcast raw footage, the chilling effect of mandatory pre-broadcast provision of raw footage is substantial enough to be a clear FA violation (most news footage is shot and broadcast within a day or two). You can play arould with the hypothetical law to get to some more conceivably constitutional ways of creating a similar rule, but there are clear FA implications however you structure it.

Without knowing more, all of the laws described in 273, particularly the MN law, strike me as obviously unconstitutional. The Supreme Court just ruled that you couldn't ban animal crush videos so I don't see, without looking, how the MN law could possibly hold up to scrutiny.

Without looking


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:52 AM
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Wait, who said anything about seeking damages?


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:55 AM
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Without looking

You can't tell that the comment just ends abruptly.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:58 AM
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But it's not as weird as eating cranberry jam with turkey.

Fruit and meat have a long history together! Especially with game, which, I admit, the modern turkey does not much resemble.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 10:59 AM
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Sorry, I really have to run after this, but the proposal described in 269 really could very easily be used by the targets of a media investigation to harass the media; Trapnel's citizen journalist/cop example shows why that's a really bad idea.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 11:02 AM
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Especially with game, which, I admit, the modern turkey does not much resemble.

Luckily, the wild sort is really making a comeback. There was a small flock of wild turkeys--well, four--hanging out in my mother's back yard (western MA) the other day, and my father sees them all the time while biking. Not sure if you can just grab one and eat it. I suppose there are rules about that. Tyranny!


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 11:32 AM
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I think it really dates from the godawful period after WWII.

My (English) housemate says the same thing. Thinks the decades of food rationing took a real toll on British cooking skills.

And I'd defy you to find anywhere with better raw produce.

Fresh raw produce has been pretty stellar in just about every country I've been to, but some countries had much more of it, in quantity and variety, than others. I mean, a fresh picked tomato has been excellent everywhere I've been, some some places I just couldn't get such a thing.

It is hard for me to believe a temperate climate has more varieties of produce available over the whole year than a Mediterranean climate, but if the English are holding on to the classic plums, I would have to concede that edge over the pluots I see so many of here.

Not sure if you can just grab one and eat it.

A roommate reported watching a homeless guy catch very fat ducks at a local park.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 12:57 PM
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Sorry, y'all. Lines 1 and 3 should be italicized.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 12:58 PM
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re: 283

Well, there are certainly some fruits that have quite short growing seasons, but the UK is relatively warm for its latitude [gulf stream], so you'd be surprised. The UK's a lot wetter than the Mediterranean, too, so the growing season for things other than (some) fruit is quite long. Of course there are things where it really is just too cold to grow them -- the UK isn't hoaching with olives, or citrus.

Being an island, the seafood is pretty great, and you could certainly argue that the UK has the best beef and lamb in Europe.

I'm not sure I'd want to defend it as the absolute best ever anywhere, or make any hyperbolic claim like that, but for more or less anything most people like to eat, you can find very good quality local versions of that.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:04 PM
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We hoach with olives and citrus all the time. Sometimes simultaneously. We're openminded like that.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:10 PM
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Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:16 PM
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Wow. That was some masterfully wrong formatting.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:17 PM
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Trying again.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:18 PM
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re: 286

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hoaching


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:22 PM
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I did look it up, and then I made my joke anyway.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:24 PM
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Because I wanted to.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:25 PM
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yorkshire pudding is a savoury batter, and has no sugar in it, or cream, or eggs or vanilla.

Your Yorkshire pudding must suck without milk or eggs. I mean, it's all eggs -- which is what makes it . . . wait for it . . . custardy! But you are correct that it is savo(u)ry.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:32 PM
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Shit, yes, I make it all the time, too. Heh. I know what I meant, even if it's not what I wrote.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:33 PM
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A better Yorkshire pudding is made with a beer batter (instead of the milk). I never had a beer custard yet.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 1:37 PM
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re: 295

I've never tried it with beer, but I usually only use 50% milk (and semi-skimmed at that).


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 2:31 PM
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285: but the UK is relatively warm for its latitude [gulf stream]

"Drive a Hummer, Freeze a Future Brit."

When I first lived in Texas the "Drive 80, Freeze a Yankee" bumper stickers were in vogue. And maybe 85 now.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 3:07 PM
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but if the English are holding on to the classic plums, I would have to concede that edge over the pluots I see so many of here.

Holding on to plums is generally considered a faux pas.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 3:31 PM
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I was looking at a Ventura County, California local newspaper recently, and a sidebar was a to 20 most wanted criminals. I was truct by some of the offenses listed:

4 violation of probation, failing to register 3 violation of probation warrant


Posted by: Econolicious on the beat | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:33 PM
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I was looking at a Ventura County, California local newspaper recently, and a sidebar was a to 20 most wanted criminals. I was truct by some of the offenses listed:

4 violation of probation, failing to register
3 violation of probation warrant


Posted by: Econolicious on the beat | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:34 PM
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I was looking at a Ventura County, California local newspaper recently, and a sidebar was a to 20 most wanted criminals. I was truct by some of the offenses listed:

4 violation of probation, failing to register
3 violation of probation warrant


Posted by: Econolicious on the beat | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:34 PM
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I was looking at a Ventura County, California local newspaper recently, and a sidebar was a to 20 most wanted criminals. I was truct by some of the offenses listed:

4 violation of probation, failing to register
3 violation of probation warrant


Posted by: Econolicious on the beat | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:34 PM
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Truct and truct and truct and truct agin'.


Posted by: Beefo Meaty | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:35 PM
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I was looking at a Ventura County, California local newspaper recently and there was an editorial by a (mostly ex) commenter.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:37 PM
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the decades of food rationing took a real toll on British cooking skills

Not if you ask MFK Fisher. Have you tried her wolf?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 6:51 PM
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I was looking at a Ventura County, California local newspaper recently, and a sidebar was a to 20 most wanted criminals blurb.

I was struck by the common theme of most of the listings. All of list members has some priors, and have not resolved the consequences;
I might have thought SoCal could find some more exciting crimes to use a retrieval criteria for building this list.

Serial killer ? No.
Occasional absconder ? Sure.

Maybe a function of county vs state vs federal lists.


1 failure to appear
2 violation of probation warrants for felony evading
3 violation of probation warrant
4 violation of probation, failing to register
5 has a parole warrant for absconding
6 has a parole warrant for absconding
7 failure to appear warrant for possession of an illegal substance in jail with two strikes
8 2 failure to appear warrants
9 3 violation of probation warrants
10 on parole, and has parole warrant for absconding

( Feel free to re-allocate posts 299-302. Sorry for the Chrome conniptions.)



Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:01 PM
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Fruit and meat have a long history together!

Viz.: the native cuisine of ogged, pbuh. Pomegranates and pheasant, tomatoes and lamb, peaches and beef, oranges and duck...


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:01 PM
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Olives and lamb.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:06 PM
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Ventura County Newspapers: Trending Up with a Bullet today.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:09 PM
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Random capital letters: Also trending up.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:12 PM
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Clicking over to today's headlines in the Ventura County Star, we find this story:

McGrath State Beach in Oxnard, Ventura County's busiest state park and oceanfront campground, will be closing in September for an indefinite amount of time because of lack of funds to fix an aging sewage line.
The park may be closed for years as it needs $500,000 to repair the line and the California State Parks is grappling with up to $22 million in future budget cuts.
It is the first time in California State Parks history that a park could be closed for years because of a relatively simple infrastructure issue, however it likely won't be the last. Parks around the state are plagued by decaying infrastructure, rotting roofs and a host of other problems after years of neglect because of a lack of funds.

The future looks so bright! Thankfully, all problems can be solved by tax cuts.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:18 PM
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This has come up also while watching Mad Men. It doesn't seem like Don Draper could pull the same kind of reinvention (/identity takeover) nowadays, and it's interesting to think about when that would last have been feasible.

[original comment predacted]

I guess a lot of people have probably already applied the saying about American lives and second acts to Don Draper.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:27 PM
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312: Fewer than you'd think, and most seemingly via reference to Hugh Hefner.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:32 PM
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Huh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 04-13-11 7:33 PM
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