Morning Links

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
  • The answer to the GOP’s woes is . . . Gary Sinise? Look gang, your problem is that you’ve defined yourselves as the party of war, torture, hating gay people, opposing stem cell research, and little else, and you’ve done nothing to distinguish yourselves from the Democrats on spending and the growth of government. Personality isn’t going to get you out of this one. You’ll need some actual ideas. And those are going to be hard to come by if you keep shunning people who actually enjoy learning.
  • Student claims he was suspended from medical school because professor, students took offense at him referring to himself as a “white African-American.” He’s white, originally from Mozambique, and later became a U.S. citizen.
  • Good news! Federal deficit expected to top $1.8 trillion this year, four times last year’s record, and Social Security and Medicare may fail faster, sooner than originally thought.
  • Plugging the holes in forensic science.
  • Man arrested for taking picture of ATM because . . . 9/11.
  • Felony “hacking” conviction for man who used work computer for adult dating service, online porn.
  • Wisconsin appeals court says police can attach a GPS device to your car, track your movements without a search warrant.
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    105 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Josh | 

      So much for Republicans’ disdain for Hollywood.

    2. #2 |  Nando | 

      I just hope that someone puts GPS tracking devices on the Wisconsin Judges’ cars and see what they think of the law after that.

    3. #3 |  Lee | 

      IIRC, a lot of the debt growth is because they included our two wars in the budget. The previous administration ran the wars as off balance sheet items.

      If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will be more than happy to point it out :)

    4. #4 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

      The first thing that sprigs to mind vis the Wisconsin case is; if the cops can do this to a citizen, does the citizen have the right (if he should find the device) of reducing it to scrap with a hammer?

    5. #5 |  thomasblair | 

      The term African-American is defined by the fedgov as:

      A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

      He’s white, so I doubt that this lawsuit will make it very far.

      That doesn’t mean it’s not absolutely retarded that the kid got kicked out of medical school because professors, students, and administrators had a big stick in their collective ass.

      O ye tolerant left!

    6. #6 |  CRNewsom | 

      The ATM picture story scares the bejesus out of me. The comments (at least the ones towards the top) seemed positive, which is a good sign, I think.

      Personally, I would have left, let the rent-a-cop tackle me, pressed charges, and sued, but what he did was good too (try to stick up for himself). I used to be a rent-a-cop (hospital security), the job’s a joke for 75% of the guys doing it, it’s the other 25% that think they’re Buford Pusser you have to worry about.

    7. #7 |  Mike | 

      Well how the federal government defines it seems pretty racist. I could see this going a little further. I can’t think of any other way to describe his origin.

      I actually went to high school with a white-african/american. He was from south africa and I used to wonder if he was applying for african american scholarships. I’ll always remember working at a grocery store and he recognized an accent of a black customer immediately started speaking fluent Zulu. It was such a random coincidence to be amusing.

    8. #8 |  CRNewsom | 

      @#7 Mike: I, too, have some acquaintences from Africa who do not look like your stereotypical african-americans. To call them anything other than african-americans seems racist (or maybe ethnicist, if that’s even a word) to me.

      Here’s a conversation I want to see:

      “No, Mr. Obama, you can’t be Hawaiian, you’re african-american.”
      “But I’m from Hawaii.”
      “That doesn’t matter, it’s all about how you look.”

      /I consider myself native-american due to my heritage, but I look like Hitler’s wet dream (minus the blue eyes)

    9. #9 |  Mattocracy | 

      I don’t give a damn how the federal government classifies people. Group identification may have just cost us a doctor in the long run.

      Taking pictures is a crime now. So no more pics at national parks, monuments, the beach, etc. It’s even bigger crime to resist the stupidity of the arresting officers. The terrorists are winning and the cops are the means to it.

    10. #10 |  Tokin42 | 

      #6,

      It was a great story and well written. I hope he sues REI, Loomis, and the city. The only way to make these assholes behave is to cost them money.

      That said, they should have tased him for being a member of a cult (appletology) and for intentionally going to see a Fall Out Boy concert. (i’m j/k people, mostly, don’t flip out on me)

    11. #11 |  qwints | 

      Something tells me there’s more to the NJ story than the article tells us. I find it hard to believe that his ONE statement in class of being “white, African, American” led to multiple people telling him not to use those words, flyers, vandalism, assault and a suspension.
      I had two classmates in undergrad who fit that description (missionary kid from Nigeria and a South African) and I can’t imagine that reaction towards them. The girl from South Africa had her accent mocked when she moved over here in elementary school, but I don’t think anyone attacked her for using that description which I remember her doing at least once.
      If the school’s reaction was really prompted by that one comment, they’re a bunch of jerks, but I think the more likely scenario is that the student was looking to make trouble over it. Of course, that’s pure conjecture.

    12. #12 |  Mike | 

      #8 Well my kids can certainly have fun with those race forms. They are ~1/2 Irish, 3/16 Mixed Euro (English/German), 1/4 Chinese, and 1/16 Hungarian.

      As it was my father’s father’s father who was hungarian they are stuck with a hungarian last name. They probably should consider themselfs irish if anything, but should technically fill out all survey forms as asian. Naturally they look ‘white’ and somehow got both recessive genes from a grandfather on one side and a greatgrandfather on the other and have big blue eyes.

    13. #13 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      On the ATM: I have to get a uniform (any one will do) so I can be 100% asshole (I’m very close already).

      Tokin and I can agree! Tazer the bastard for going to Fall Out Boy.

      The fact that the government has any policy or program that depends on classifying people by their race is a problem.

    14. #14 |  UCrawford | 

      Radley,

      Gary Sinise? Look gang, your problem is that you’ve defined yourselves as the party of war, torture, hating gay people, opposing stem cell research, and little else, and you’ve done nothing to distinguish yourselves from the Democrats on spending and the growth of government.

      I don’t know about that…maybe a famous actor with unspecified beliefs on policy is exactly what they need right now. I mean, look how well it’s worked out for the GOP in California since they made Schwarzenegger the face of the party out there. :)

      Seriously, though, yes…the Republican party needs a new face. But it needs to be a face that comes with ideas and policy positions attached and while I like Gary Sinise the actor (who also does good work for the USO) I couldn’t tell you a single policy position he holds. I suspect that Nicole Wallace is floating the idea of an actor because of Reagan, but Reagan had some clearly articulated policy positions (even if he didn’t follow through on many of them) that appealed to a lot of people and that’s why he was effective for the party. Sinise, at this point, is just a name.

      Petraeus is probably a more interesting candidate that she floated, only because the man is a pragmatic thinker, but then again I also couldn’t tell you a single policy position he holds mainly because he’s still active military (which means he’s supposed to stay publicly apolitical as long as he’s serving) so it’s definitely premature to be claiming that he’s potentially the future of the GOP. Also, it’s probably more than a little improper on Wallace’s part to be tossing his (and Odierno’s) name out there considering that they are active military in the middle of a war. That’s something else that kind of pissed me off about the GOP when Bush was in office…their eagerness to claim military support for everything they did (especially since it became less and less true the longer Dubya was in office). Our military is statutorally barred from affiliating itself from political viewpoints for very good reasons.

    15. #15 |  Chance | 

      The definition is a little perplexing to me as well, but the racial catagory document goes on to say that the definitions

      “do not establish criteria or qualifications (such as blood quantum levels) that are to be used in determining a particular individual’s racial or ethnic classification; and do not tell an individual who he or she is, or specify how an individual should classify himself or herself. http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/1997standards.html

      So this guy can call himself whatever he wants, according to that website.

      As for the school, I am betting there is more to the story. I’ve met plenty of people who were in trouble for something else, so tried to shift the focus to make themselves look like the victum.

    16. #16 |  MacK | 

      C. S. P. Schofield:
      “The first thing that sprigs to mind vis the Wisconsin case is; if the cops can do this to a citizen, does the citizen have the right (if he should find the device) of reducing it to scrap with a hammer?”

      I was thinking more along the lines of attaching a GPS to a judges vehicle for a week or two then, letting the info of his visits to the porno shops, girlfriends, bookies, whorehouses, and strip clubs leak to the local news outlets.

      After all if it is legal, it is legal for all.

      GPS devices can be bought cheaply these days and attached magnetically to the frame.
      Some systems can be set with real time updates to a computer, so you could conceivably call a news source to be present as someone does something wrong.

    17. #17 |  Chance | 

      Is Petreus a conservative? I doubt he would become a democrat after retiring (the whole Betray-us flap made sure of that), but he always has struck me as very moderate in temperment. That may be my mistaken impression, but if true, the GOP has made it clear moderates aren’t welcome at this time.

    18. #18 |  Collin | 

      The story about the white african-american made me think about a girl I dated in college. She was an exchange student from Spain and had to list her race on schoo forms as White (non-hispanic).

      Sometimes we are a very screwed up country.

    19. #19 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      @#3 Lee: “…a lot of the debt growth is because they included our two wars in the budget.”

      Indeed that explains everything! No need to worry about that debt thingy. Spending is not out of control at all and it is all morally responsible spending. Disregard the insolvency of SS/Medicare. Well run country. TARP what? What is QE?

      Meanwhile our Republican friends are chanting “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.”

      The quicker the $US and the US government fails, the better.

    20. #20 |  PA | 

      I’ll offer a toast to the continuing GOP downward spiral … here’s hoping the party completely collapses… sure, it may mean another 6 years of Democrat control, but maybe a party will emerge that actually believes in liberty and freedom.

    21. #21 |  omar | 

      I pull that “I’m African American” shit all the time. It’s only bit me in the ass a couple of times. Being the mutt I am, I am tend to see the absurdly invented concept or racial identity as something deserving a little lampooning. When the white people think you are arab and the arab people think you are white, and nobody wants to talk about Africa, I think you tend to take others’ identities less than seriously. This leads to some awkward situations, but I think I have the moral high-ground and tend to not let tolerance bullies or intolerance bullies push me around.

      Re: photo dude…
      I hope he sues the police for arresting him for nothing. They never intended to charge him with anything, just to push him around. This is nothing short of kidnapping, and kidnapping is a crime.

    22. #22 |  Zeb | 

      I have always thought African-American was not a very good term the way it is used. It should probably mean descendants of African slaves in America, if it is to have any meaning at all (in which case white Africans and other more recent arrivals (such as the President) would not qualify). As it is, it seems to be used when people are not comfortable just saying “black”. I we want supposed racial categories to correspond to skin color, then just stick to “black” and “white”.

      I wonder what would happen if the student was, say, an Egyptian Arab calling himself “African-American”?

    23. #23 |  scott in phx az | 

      Its my understanding that this graph –

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2009/03/21/GR2009032100104.html

      includes all Bush spending including the 2 wars and Katrina.

      If so that makes the Bush/Republican spending look like the epitome of fiscal restraint.

    24. #24 |  ChrisD | 

      How long before Obama spends enough that people can call Bush “fiscally conervative” without snickering? 4 years? 6?

      This is really the GOP’s only chance: they spend merely outrageously, but the Dems spend like they have a frontal lobe disorder.

    25. #25 |  kyle | 

      I read the Army / Marine Corp COIN manual Petraeus helped bring into existence, and was imagining what would happen if he were president and allowed to operate following those methods in the city of chicago. I’d vote for the book, and anybody that honestly could get their head around it. Too bad it doesn’t make a stand on gays, global warming, abortions, and nationalized health care. Finding and eliminating the underground money earmarks and tracking down just how many people are in on the chicago democrat power trip racket just aren’t the type of thing you can win elections with. Kids, make sure to pay attention in your math, science, and music classes. Mind maps, matrices, and simple listening are good skills to work on. Then you can do rather than just talk about doing.

    26. #26 |  Mattocracy | 

      Omar has a point about the cops. False arrest is the law enforcement’s version of kidnapping. Capture, torment, release…like we are large mouth bass in a fishing tournament.

      If terrorist and cops both hate us ‘civilians’ because we are free. It’s scary that law enforcement has more in common with them than with us.

    27. #27 |  Hamburgler007 | 

      Personally, I would have left, let the rent-a-cop tackle me, pressed charges, and sued

      Well, these security guards fall into the extra stupid category, were armed, and already threatened him, so I’m not sure running would be the most prudent course of action. He can still sue, which would be pretty justifiable given the circumstances. He should probably go a bit further and file a criminal complaint. I don’t know about Washington, but in NY a security guard doesn’t have any more right to arrest than an ordinary citizen, the license just allows them to be hired for that purpose.

    28. #28 |  omar | 

      Mattocracy, it’s not so much the cops are terrorists. It’s more the terrorists wants to be the cops.

    29. #29 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      Good point that if the cops can attach GPS without a warrant, does that mean civilians can do the same without any law being broken. It should be interpretted that way.

      So, go ahead and attach to the judge’s car, cop’s car, or anyone else you want to pester.

      I see nothing wrong with this plan, Wisconsin appeals court!

    30. #30 |  Aresen | 

      The “White African American” story is amusing in the sense that, if you look far enough back, ALL humans are African in origin.

      The white ones just took a 50,000 – 100,000 year detour through the Middle East and Europe.

      ;)

    31. #31 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      http://www.brickhousesecurity.com/slimtrak-realtime-gps-tracking-car-locator.html

      Screw it. I’m getting one and having some fun.

    32. #32 |  Hamburgler007 | 

      hmm quotes still aren’t working for me. The first line of my above post was meant to be quote from #6.

    33. #33 |  Hamburgler007 | 

      #4, no, in fact they could ironically prosecute him for criminal destruction of property. Ironic because the police can tamper with his personal property without retribution. Hell, if he got into an accident and the gps was damaged they would probably have the audacity to bill him for it.

      #29, unfortunately no again. Stalking laws that apply to us civilians don’t apply to police (at least during an official investigation). I do wonder if the officers could be held to the stalking laws if they placed the gps device without an official investigation.

    34. #34 |  The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Lieutenant Dan For President! | 

      […] at least the Republicans are looking outside the box. But as Radley Balko notes, a commitment to ideas might be a little bit more important than papering over your problems […]

    35. #35 |  Tokin42 | 

      #17 | Chance | May 12th, 2009 at 9:17 am …the GOP has made it clear moderates aren’t welcome at this time.

      They nominated McCain. You can’t get anymore moderate or “maverick”-y than that. Let us also keep in mind that specter was able to do and say as he pleased up until his was the instrumental vote passing the stimulus bill. That was the final straw and, really, who could blame them? They were willing to put aside his socially liberal views just not his vote for a massive spending orgy.

    36. #36 |  Kidhandsome | 

      I know it’s not a winner, but I’d argue that by applying the GPS tracker, you have seized my property. It now has a governmental use, and you would be penalized for destroying it.

      Is there not some device I can use to find active GPS. Seems like we might all need one. Driving is a privilege you know.

    37. #37 |  Hamburgler007 | 

      #35, I agree. I read this a few days ago, and can’t remember all the details, but are they allowed to place the gps device on your vehicle without your knowledge (assuming this is a yes), and are you allowed to remove the device and return it to the police (assuming this is a big no).

    38. #38 |  Chris in AL | 

      Just a question that another reader might know…do other countries have this problem? How do they designate the black race in England? Or Germany? Are they African-Germans?

      Is a black person in Poland and African-Pole?

      If a black person is born in Mexico, then moves to the US, is he an African-Mexican-American? Or an Afmexan?

      If a black woman from Chicago gives birth while in Mumbai, is her child and African-American-Indian?

      If the father was a Sioux, is the child and African-American-Native-American-Indian?

      What do they call black people in Africa? How do they describe them differently than white Africans?

    39. #39 |  Steve Verdon | 

      The term African-American is defined by the fedgov as:

      A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa.

      He’s white, so I doubt that this lawsuit will make it very far.

      I don’t think it is about the term, but the harassment and dismissal on grounds that are largely baseless, or at least that is the claim. If I call myself a hippopotamus and then get fired for it, even though I’m doing my job and people are harassing and making fun of me, I’d argue they are violating the company’s established anti-harassment policy and that the company failed to uphold their written policy that they expected me and everyone else to follow. Whether or not the initial claim is true or not is largely irrelevant, at least that is what I’d argue.

    40. #40 |  Les | 

      If so that makes the Bush/Republican spending look like the epitome of fiscal restraint.

      It’s amazing how loyalists use the lowered bar of the opposition to prove they’re better. “Choose us! We’ll waste your money and screw you over less than they will.”

    41. #41 |  Rick H. | 

      I don’t know the particulars of this specific case (didn’t read the article) but I’ve always considered it a ridiculous corruption of language when folks ditch the perfectly communicative term “black” for the inaccurate and patronizing weasel-phrase “African-American.” Words mean things. If you’re merely identifying skin color, grow some balls and don’t make offensive assumptions about peoples’ lineage.

    42. #42 |  JS | 

      Mack #16″After all if it is legal, it is legal for all.”

      Not in America.

    43. #43 |  Marty | 

      the gps article didn’t specify if private citizens can track vehicles… if we can, this has potential!!!

    44. #44 |  omar | 

      @#37 | Chris in AL

      If the father was a Sioux, is the child and African-American-Native-American-Indian?

      Which is why when I try to describe my German/Cherokee/Egyptian born all American southern boy heritage to the keeping track types, they can’t make heads or tails of it. I get “white” or “other”, which is as accurate as anything.

      Interesting on the subject of heritage/race, read Jared Diamond’s book The Third Chimpanzee. The book pretty much dispatched with the idea of race to my satisfaction. Some blond people in the UK have arab genes, and most pacific islanders have genetic contributions from the Dutch, Arabs, Indians, and other Asians. Those contributions generally working on the inside of our bodies are as generally as important as the one making your skin yellow and your nose flat. In addition, genetically, we are one of the lease diverse species on the planet. As Diamond states in the book, there is more genetic diversity in a tribe of 15 chimps than there is in the entire human race of 6 billion.

      If there’s one thing the PC crowd gets right, it’s superficial skin differences don’t matter. You can tell a lot more about a person by what he’s wearing than the color of his skin, and even more so by getting him to open his mouth…and that’s the way it should be.

      We are lucky in America we don’t have 10 thousand years of direct ownership and defense of this land to deal with. In America, we are (mostly) all immigrants, and have a lot more riding on the ideas and principals of America than the land itself. America would be America if it were on the moon. The same can’t really be said about long established countries defined by ethnicities such as France, China, Egypt, Japan, and just about every other country in the old world. We are a people, not a land. When we colonize Mars, America will be the example of how to organize the damn thing.

    45. #45 |  MacGregory | 

      #4C. S. P. Schofield 
      “…does the citizen have the right (if he should find the device) of reducing it to scrap with a hammer?” I was thinking that at first but then I thought why not be a little more creative.
      Then #16 MacK said
      “I was thinking more along the lines of attaching a GPS to a judges vehicle for a week or two…”
      Or a police car maybe, but that might be a little risky and could potentially get you “patriot acted.”
      How about removing it from your car and attaching it to a stray cat?

    46. #46 |  Mario | 

      Some bright young person needs to develop a low cost device that alerts you to the fact that there is a GPS transmitter attached to your car. The thing to do then is detach it and leave it somewhere where the person who placed it can pick it up.

    47. #47 |  Aresen | 

      #45 | Mario | May 12th, 2009 at 1:13 pm
      Some bright young person needs to develop a low cost device that alerts you to the fact that there is a GPS transmitter attached to your car. The thing to do then is detach it and leave it somewhere where the person who placed it can pick it up.

      Hmmm. Even better, attach it to an Ursus Horribilis in the wild or, if you don’t want the hassle of that, an intercity bus.

    48. #48 |  Chance | 

      “They nominated McCain. You can’t get anymore moderate or “maverick”-y than that.”

      Yeah, actually you could.

    49. #49 |  seeker6079 | 

      What chance said at 47. The “moderate” and “maverick” McCain was largely a media construct, and an assiduously and incestuously maintained one at that. Whether one is GOP or Dem or a huge Ron Paul or Marx fan has nothing to do with the fact that much of the McCain frame is bullshit.

    50. #50 |  Chris in AL | 

      @ 43 Omar

      Well said. We are a melting pot society, descended not just from a variety of other cultures, but specifically from the members of those cultures that had the determination and ambition to risk everything trying to get here. People who are predisposed to sit back, accept their lot in life and whine do not embark on scary journeys to unknown lands to see if they can make something better of themselves. Those people stayed behind, while the doers came over here, or died trying. And that is as true now, down on our Mexican border as it was decades and/or centuries ago. Obviously, I am referring to people who immigrated voluntarily.

      Which is why I find the whole thing about finding the right word for a particular race or group so amusing. On the one hand we are a melting pot that is supposed to celebrate our diversity. Then on the other, there is actually a discussion started about whether a white guy who came to America from South Africa should be allowed to call himself an African-American because we decided that we were going to call all black people, most of whom have never been to Africa, African-Americans. And all just so we can find a way to avoid calling them black, which they are, even though it is ok to call him white, which he is.

      And at what point do we stop sitting around talking about what words we are going to call people so we don’t accidentally refer to them by some phrase that actually describes them as they are, and get around to celebrating the diversity they represent?

      It seems like we are not mature enough as a species to celebrate diversity when we are still stuck arguing about what we are going to ‘call’ everybody. So I am pretty sure we cannot handle a German Cherokee Egyptian American from the South at this time. Remember, we pretty much just decided Tiger Woods was a black guy.

    51. #51 |  BamBam | 

      When we colonize Mars, America will be the example of how to organize the damn thing.

      With states enforcing immoral laws with their hired goons (the police), trampling on common sense and liberty (see REI story above), and collectivism being heralded as “a shining example of how to run a society”? Count me out.

    52. #52 |  Nick T | 

      I don’t disagree with the Wisconsin decision necessarily. The simple fact is you don’t have *4th Amendment* Protection when you walk down the street or when you drive on a public road.

      I am certainly creeped out by the thought of police attaching GPSes to cars, but the 4th Amendment’s history relies entirely on whether or not the searchee has a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” There is no expectation of privacy as to the location of your car except for very rare circumstances.

      Some people who want to limit the 4th Am. say that the standard in general is the reasonableness of the search, and not probable cause. Well the “reasonable search” standard could also be applied expansively and then it might cover this type of activity. In other words, attaching an object to private property is unreasonable where there is no suspicion whatsoever that a crime is being committed. Alas, the right has not been interpretted this way or separate from the privacy expectation, so i think thew court probably got it right and then warned that this should be limited through other proper means.

      Of course, this decision is silent as to whether private citizens can do this to judges or police because the right against unreasonable searches only applies to government conduct.

      Oh and #10 and #13, Fall Out Boy rules! :)

    53. #53 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

      “There is no expectation of privacy as to the location of your car except for very rare circumstances. ”

      Expectation of privacy is commonly used for photography;
      however, sticking an electronic gadget on a car to record
      every place the driver visits is a hell of a lot more intrusive than
      a photograph.

    54. #54 |  Nick T | 

      #52

      That’s simply not true. without context your statement is patently false. If the police take a picture of you in a public place there is absolutely no 4th Amendment protection against that.

      The only way that what you are saying is correct is if the police took photos of something they did not have the right to look at in the first place, or if you are talking about photographs that are later used in ads or tv or something which is, of course, not a 4th Amendment issue.

    55. #55 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

      What damn right do the police have to even touch my car
      without a warrant? It’s my property.

    56. #56 |  Kidhandsome | 

      #54 – There is no such thing as property rights anymore.

    57. #57 |  JS | 

      #54 “There is no such thing as property rights anymore.”

      Exactly! We and everything we have belongs to the state. What a contrast from the founding fathers. I believe its The Federalist Papers number 16 where Madison contends that the whole reason government is instituted among men is to protect their property. Amazing how different it is now.

    58. #58 |  Kyle | 

      Re: ATM Story

      “I’m An Anarchist.”

      No Gods! No masters! No web design standards!

    59. #59 |  Nick T | 

      #54

      That is a compltely fair question, however it’s simply not answered by the 4th Amendment. It seems inescapable to me that if it were a crime for a private citizen to put an object on a car then it is also a crime for the police to do it. So it’s not necessarily legal and that’s not what the court is saying here.

      Keep in mind in this case the victim of this police abuse was trying to keep the evidence out of his criminal trial. Saying the evidence was obtained by commission of a crime is no argument. Eg even if a robber breaks into your home and then finds the corpses you have stashed in your attic, he can testify at your criminal trial as to what he saw and you can’t stop him. Thats why the court rule dhow it did, even though it cautioned against this being a problematic practice.

    60. #60 |  seeker6079 | 

      Nick T @ 52:
      The more proper analogy is having a camera track you wherever you go.

      The Wisconsin court’s decision highlights a flaw of all our common law legal systems: we can analyze the law so technically and accurately that we lose the vital moral and, yes, emotional frames which can assist in its interpretation. Put bluntly, there is a huge WTF???? difference between a cop knowing where your car is when it is parked on a public street, and an electronic device applied without a warrant to track you wherever you go.

      I’m rather surprised that the privacy right created in Roe v. Wade hasn’t been expanded out more effectively to cover this sort of thing.

    61. #61 |  Tom | 

      Apparently an appeals court in NY ruled just the opposite from the WI court.

      http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/05/12/1731256&art_pos=2

      This issue is heading for the Supreme Court I would bet. Unfortunately I’m not hopeful for the outcome.

    62. #62 |  Tim | 

      @23: That’s not fair. If you’re going to use this to argue D vs. R policy, a better (though more difficult and less direct) comparison would be the D policies for 2009+ against some kind of model of what R policies would have been for 2009+. You can’t compare before-and-after 2009 and attribute it all to the party. It’s nonsense, esp. with Bush’s support of the bailouts on record.

    63. #63 |  Nick T | 

      59
      Well, I do kind of agree with you on that. That’s why I think the “unreasonable searches” clause of the 4th should be viewed expansively to include exactly this type of thing, however 4th amendment jurisprudence is based entirely around an expectation of privacy.

      In other words if you have no expectation of privacy the government can search you in that context to essentially any degree. I would agree with the argument that although you may have no real exp. of priv. when you stand in your window at night with the shades open and the lights on, the police can’t snap 400 photos of you a night because that is just unreasonable. Sadly the 4th amendment has not been expanded this way and its not going to start with an appeals court in WI.

      Roe v. Wade is somewhat apples and oranges because you did have the fundamental privacy right of bodily integrity and medical decisions and the like wrapped up in that one. And “privacy” is probably not the best term when it comes to driving your car down a public street, that’s why I prefer unreasonableness.

    64. #64 |  Hamburgler007 | 

      With respect to the use of gps, I would imagine one could make a 4th amendment argument for unreasonable seizure, as that is essentially what they are doing with the car, and distinguishes it from the practice of physically tracking.

    65. #65 |  Wavemancali | 

      The arrest for trespass in the ATM is completely bogus. Trespass can only be claimed if the person was asked to leave the property and refused. The rent-a-cops specifically told him not to leave, there was therefore no trespass.

      Regarding the GPS tracking. Can I as a private citizen put a GPS tracker on the cop cars? I’d feel a lot safer going out at night knowing where the cops were and these GPS trackers would be just the thing for me.

    66. #66 |  BamBam | 

      In other words if you have no expectation of privacy the government can search you in that context to essentially any degree.

      Unreasonable search AND seizure … you have to consider both parts of the clause. Searching you is SEIZURE, so unreasonable seizure is illegal. Then there’s the rest which says “shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

      The rent-a-cops specifically told him not to leave, there was therefore no trespass.

      The rent-a-cops can say whatever they want, but their words have no authority. Cops can say whatever they want, but they don’t have jurisdiction over private property. The REI store is only under the authority of REI management, so only they can ask you to leave.

    67. #67 |  BamBam | 

      The rent-a-cops specifically told him not to leave, there was therefore no trespass.

      oops, forgot closing tag

      The rent-a-cops can say whatever they want, but their words have no authority. Cops can say whatever they want, but they don’t have jurisdiction over private property. The REI store is only under the authority of REI management, so only they can ask you to leave.

    68. #68 |  BamBam | 

      The rent-a-cops specifically told him not to leave, there was therefore no trespass.

      oops, typo in closing tag!!!

      The rent-a-cops can say whatever they want, but their words have no authority. Cops can say whatever they want, but they don’t have jurisdiction over private property. The REI store is only under the authority of REI management, so only they can ask you to leave.

    69. #69 |  Dave Krueger | 

      From the ATM picture Taker:

      “They never wanted to see the picture or wanted me to delete it. (To me, that says this was never about sensitive information or whatever. It was all about power and exerting it.)”

      Bingo!

    70. #70 |  MacK | 

      The Wisconsin judges did not quite think it through, where the NY judges did. First lets say that cops do GPS you, how long can they do it? Can they do it till you break the law? Everyone breaks some law eventually, hell I got so drunk once I broke the law of gravity, I swear I fell up the stairs.

      NY quote “What the technology yields and records with breathtaking quality and quantity, is a highly detailed profile, not simply of where we go, but by easy inference, of our associations political, religious, amicable and amorous, to name only a few and of the pattern of our professional and avocational pursuits.”

      What they are saying is our privacy is not only what we can keep hidden from sight.

      Think of it this way a cop just can’t follow you around 24/7 for the next 6 months without a warrant (that would be stalking), so what without a warrant would give him a right to know your movements for those 6 months.

    71. #71 |  Anonymo the Great | 

      The GPS story reminded me of this:

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/13/nz_snooping_farce/

    72. #72 |  Maus | 

      “In other words if you have no expectation of privacy the government can search you in that context to essentially any degree.”

      This is a fatally flawed argument. If the State violates your privacy for so many years that you no longer expect the State to act within the laws, you no longer have your Consitutional protections? If you are so paranoid that you think the government intrudes on your private thoughts then you have no expectation of privacy. Does this give the police warrant to criminalize your thoughts?

      It is an ignorant argument. My expectation of privacy has not a whit to do with whether the police are violating the law by tampering with my property without the grant of a warrant issued on probable cause that such an infringement of my civic sovereignty is warranted. And no, for the dissenters, an appeal to the authority of a simple citizen with a black dress and toy hammer does not cut it either.

      The 4th is plain on this as is the basic concept of property Rights. Only a lawyer can be so mindless as to confuse this issue.

      “I would agree with the argument that although you may have no real exp. of priv. when you stand in your window at night with the shades open and the lights on, the police can’t snap 400 photos of you a night because that is just unreasonable.”

      If you’re in the public view then you’re in the public view. I see nothing wrong with this in general. When they start following you around for days or weeks at a time? When they step onto your property to do so? Warrant time, or it’s as criminal as if you or I did.

    73. #73 |  scott in phx az | 

      As usual, Les just wants to slam somebody as a supposed support of Busch.

      Here was the question by Lee # 3

      “IIRC, a lot of the debt growth is because they included our two wars in the budget. The previous administration ran the wars as off balance sheet items.

      If I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will be more than happy to point it out”

      So I provided a link, with caveat –

      “Its my understanding that this graph –

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/graphic/2009/03/21/GR2009032100104.html

      includes all Bush spending including the 2 wars and Katrina.

      If so that makes the Bush/Republican spending look like the epitome of fiscal restraint.”

      So Les has to jump in with –

      “It’s amazing how loyalists use the lowered bar of the opposition to prove they’re better. “Choose us! We’ll waste your money and screw you over less than they will.”

      Les has NO IDEA whether I’m a Bush “loyalist” (which I most surely am not).

      I’ve seen his style here before. What a jerk.

    74. #74 |  Steve Verdon | 

      Nick T.,

      You keep referencing your own posts with those numbers.

      And regarding this,

      In other words if you have no expectation of privacy the government can search you in that context to essentially any degree.

      IANAL, but I’m thinking no. I have no expectation of privacy while walking down the street. Can the police stop me out of the blue and search me, including body cavity searches?

      I’m driving along and obeying all the laws of the road, yet I have no expectation of privacy. Can the police pull me over and search me and my vehicle?

      I think in both cases the answer is probable cause. If I’m observed doing nothing wrong, then there is no reason to detain me or search me.

      Attaching something to the car on the other hand strikes me as tampering with my property in a way I don’t condone. It is, in effect, a form of trespassing even if my car is on a public street (i.e. I can’t swing my where you car is, dance on the hood and say, tough shit its on a public street).

      How about attaching GPS to a police vehicle. Geese and ganders and all that. I’m sure the cops would be up in arms and using that bullshit wire tapping crap to arrest, intimidate and harass citizens.

    75. #75 |  grainGod | 

      Good news! Federal deficit expected to top $1.8 trillion this year, four times last year’s record, and Social Security and Medicare may fail faster, sooner than originally thought.

      Great sarcasm Radley! Let’s just cut off all Social Security and Medicare benifits now, and let the old people rot like the useless eaters that they are. Damn them for retiring!

    76. #76 |  Random | 

      In the similar story on Slashdot about the GPS story, a Wisconsin lawyer posted saying that the ruling doesn’t really mean much, that there are tons that go through that level of the system every day and the judges are often rubber stamps. If the SUPREME Court rules the same way, then yes, be a little worried, but until then, it’s not really as big a deal as it seems.

    77. #77 |  Aresen | 

      @Random # 76

      You mean the Roberts/Scalia/Thomas Supreme Court?

      If so, I think you’re screwed.

    78. #78 |  Nick T | 

      64 and 66,

      The car has not been “seized”, as in it has not been removed from its owner or taken control of by the police. It’s just being monitored. Any argument that it has been seized would be, though not completely insane, a huge expansion of what seizure means within existing decisions.

      70, the NY court does not seem to use the word privacy. I interpret their argument as in line with my suggested expansion of the “unreasonable searches clause”: that while their may not be normaly recognized privacy, it’s just too big of a search or intrusion for such a little reason that it is unreasonable and thus, unlawful. Think of it this way, that decision does not read as establishing the precedent that there is a privacy expectation in the fact that you park outside of your mistress’s apartment on wednesday nights. Rather it looked at all the information in the aggregate and views that as way too much.

      Also, the police CAN you follow you around for 6 months without a warrant. Or at least, this is not unlawful under the 4th amendment. Perhaps you might be able to press charges for harrassment (“stalking” is usual a crime associated with violating a restraining order) but if that cop sees you commit a crime during that time you will not be at all likely to strike his testimony as derived from an unreasonable search.

      72 You’re taking the argument to an interesting extreme but it’s rather theoretical. While it might be correct in its logic, it does nothing to change the FACT that an expectation of privacy is the primary rubric for determining a violation of ones 4th Am. rights (or whether the 4th Am is even implicated). This is really not up for debate. The actual standard is that their must be both a subjective (the specific person truly believed) and an objective (society is ready to recognize) privacy expectation. Yes I suppose this does allow for the idea that if you didn’t believe your own thoughts were private they would not be protected. Fortunately this has never come up to my knowledge and, again, doesn’t change the juridprudential reality. Also whether something is a criminal act is NOT the same as whether it violates the 4th Am.

      74, your analysis is mechanically incorrect. Even though you are walking down a public street you DO have an expectation of privacy regarding the *contents of your pockets* or (egads) your body cavities. Similarly in a car you have very little expectaton of privacy in the items laying on your back seat but you do if you keep them in your trunk. The analysis is always very truncated and specific. And, as I stated if placing an item on a vehicle is a crime then the cop should be prosecuted but – again – not the same as whether the evidence fromt that criminal should be admitted or supressed under the 4th AM.

      My point is merely that this seems like a mechanically sound decision given the jurisprudence on this issue.

    79. #79 |  FAILED BY SOCIETY (Irish Examiner) | Suicide Girls | 

      […] The Agitator » Blog Archive » Morning Links […]

    80. #80 |  Robz | 

      About the Washington Post graph:

      It’s a debt graph.

      The fiscal year starts on Oct 1.

      Unfortunately, I have so far not been able to

      The debt incurred in the first quarter of fiscal year
      2009 was 461 billion, which if multiplied by 4
      is almost exactly equal to the total for the entire
      fiscal year.

      If you want to see spending numbers(for entire fiscal
      years), go to:
      http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/classic.html

    81. #81 |  Robz | 

      Federal Spending:

      Total spending fiscal year 2008: 2,931.2 billion
      Total spending fiscal year 2009: 3,997.8 billion

      About 512 billion of the increase is attributed
      to “Economic affairs n.e.c.” (Drill down into
      “Other Spending”)

    82. #82 |  Robz | 

      “Unfortunately, I have so far not been able to ”

      Story of my life, really.

    83. #83 |  JS | 

      Nick T #78 “The car has not been “seized”, as in it has not been removed from its owner or taken control of by the police. It’s just being monitored. Any argument that it has been seized would be, though not completely insane, a huge expansion of what seizure means within existing decisions.”

      But didn’t unreasonably seize it long enough to plant a tracking device?

    84. #84 |  Tom G | 

      In New York, a case has apparently been decided the other way in regard to GPS tracking devices –

      http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=799375

      lead sentence:
      “A Watervliet man will get a new trial on burglary charges after the state’s top court ruled Tuesday it was wrong for a police investigator to slap a GPS device on the defendant’s van to track his movements without a search warrant.”

    85. #85 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      @Graingod #75:
      SS and Medicare will fail. When they do, people will “rot”. Facing reality will help, but is not a guarantee of a solution without a change.

      There is neither an appetite nor a realistic approach in common discussion to fix this. Instead, it WILL go to full-on crisis mode with “more government” and “more tax money” being the answer. The only question remaining is how they’ll blame capitalism, free enterprise, and general freedom for the crisis. No one in government will be held accountable for mismanaging these funds.

      Propping up SS/Medi will be exactly the same as bailing out a huge Ponzi scheme. It is exactly what the voters deserve.

    86. #86 |  JS | 

      Boyd #84, “Instead, it WILL go to full-on crisis mode with “more government” and “more tax money” being the answer.”

      Brilliant post as usual!

      Sounds like the governing philosophy of both parties now.

    87. #87 |  Nick T | 

      82

      My understanding was that they just went up to the vehicle and stuck this thing on. If they removed it and brought it somewhere to have the item installed then that is a seizure for sure.

      But if they just slapped it on then no, and I assumed those to be the facts in my earlier posts.

    88. #88 |  Bob | 

      #86: Nick T:

      “82

      My understanding was that they just went up to the vehicle and stuck this thing on. If they removed it and brought it somewhere to have the item installed then that is a seizure for sure.

      But if they just slapped it on then no, and I assumed those to be the facts in my earlier posts.”

      That was my understanding as well, but the flaw is that the vehicle is private property, and as such, should need some sort of warrant to be messed with. Any manipulation of your private property should be considered a ‘search’.

    89. #89 |  seeker6079 | 

      Bob at #87 puts his finger on it: there is a clear difference recognized at law by a property / privacy line. The officer talking to me through my open window can look everywhere in my car that’s out in the open; perfectly fair and proper in and of itself. If he reaches in and opens the glove compartment then it’s an illegal search. I fail to see the difference between that situation and our “following me” one: follow me in a car (legal) and touching to facilitate that (illegal).

      There’s something else that is deeply disturbing that had not occurred to me before: a cop following you 24/7 is quite possibly the subject of a harassment action by the citizen; the beeper is far, far likely to stand as such a cause of action. The beeper is thus a police surveillance action which becomes de facto immune from restraint… which is probably one the reason they love it sooooooo much.

    90. #90 |  seeker6079 | 

      typo: far, far less likely

    91. #91 |  supercat | 

      Although a person would not have an expectation of privacy while operating a vehicle on a public right of way, that would not imply that a person could not have an expectation of privacy when operating a vehicle somewhere that is not within sight of a public right of way. Unless the GPS device is designed in such fashion as to avoid collecting data for any position which is not on a public right of way, I would consider the employment of such a device to show wanton disregard for a person’s privacy.

      Further, I’m unclear where the police get any authority to do *anything* to a person’s vehicle without the person’s consent outside of some specific official functions (e.g. placing a parking ticket on the windshield, or towing it when justified). Thus, attachment of the GPS device could be construed as vandalism; the owner of the vehicle, if he discovers the device, should be free to regard it as abandoned property and dispose of it as he sees fit.

    92. #92 |  Aresen | 

      One question that hasn’t been asked:

      If someone finds a GPS tracker that has been planted on his vehicle or person and destroys it, could he be charged with “damaging public property”?

      [Just my paranoia gene kicking in here.]

    93. #93 |  Random | 

      @#77: Actually, what the Wisconsin poster meant was the WI Supreme Court. But considering that from there, the US Supreme Court is just a step away, your point may still apply (or may not, depending on your POV).

    94. #94 |  Bob | 

      #91, Areson:

      “One question that hasn’t been asked:

      If someone finds a GPS tracker that has been planted on his vehicle or person and destroys it, could he be charged with “damaging public property”?

      [Just my paranoia gene kicking in here.]”

      The simple answer would be “Plausible deniability”. If it suddenly wound up, with battery cover broken off (And thus sans batteries) in a storm drain…. there would be no way to prove you had anything to do with it. Assuming, of course… you were smart and clammed up. ” I dunno! Maybe it fell off?”

      On the other hand, if you pulled a GPS out of your car with “Property of teh coppers” written on it… and then destroyed it in a way that could be tracked back to you…. you would be guilty of destruction of Police property. The destruction of the device would be prosecuted on an entirely different path than the fourth amendment issue of placing it to begin with.

    95. #95 |  Lloyd Flack | 

      #93, Bob,
      But is a tracker that they have secretly placed in your car still their property? Or by placing it in your car without your permission have they given it to you? I would think you certainly have a right to remove it and if you have to damage it to do so, then so be it. You also have the right to put it somewhere else either on your own property or on public property. Surely it is in the same legal category as any other bug that anyone places on you.

    96. #96 |  freedomfan | 

      Mario wrote:

      Some bright young person needs to develop a low cost device that alerts you to the fact that there is a GPS transmitter attached to your car. The thing to do then is detach it and leave it somewhere where the person who placed it can pick it up.

      Just send it back to them. Unfortunately, it would probably be unwise to attach a note saying, “The next time I give this back, it will benefit you to have some lube handy.”

    97. #97 |  freedomfan | 

      Just to follow up on that, what would be wise would be to say nothing. At all. Don’t say, “I don’t know how it came off.” Don’t even say, “What warrantless tracking device?”

      The full extent of one’s comment on the location, condition, or final fate of such a device is represented by something akin to, “I have no statement to make on the matter. If you insist on further questions, I will require the presence of an attorney to represent me. Am I free to go?”

    98. #98 |  freedomfan | 

      Nick T wrote:

      Keep in mind in this case the victim of this police abuse was trying to keep the evidence out of his criminal trial. Saying the evidence was obtained by commission of a crime is no argument. Eg even if a robber breaks into your home and then finds the corpses you have stashed in your attic, he can testify at your criminal trial as to what he saw and you can’t stop him. Thats why the court rule dhow it did, even though it cautioned against this being a problematic practice.

      Wait. Are you sure that is true even if the police did something illegal and unauthorized by warrant (or suborned same), the evidence obtained by that illegal act (whose purpose was primarily to gather the evidence; the evidence was not obtained incidentally)? That seems like extraordinarily nasty standard for police work admissible to a court. Then again, that’s pretty much what happened in the Ryan Frederick case…

      I might agree that it isn’t clear this violates the 4th Amendment. But, I disagree with the standard that information that could have been obtained by less technological means (e.g. direct visual surveillance) – even if those means are utterly impractical to use in the real world – means that it is fine without a warrant.

      In addition, that thinking is effectively based on “expectation of piecewise privacy”. That is, it ignores the practical reality that citizens reasonably expect that they might be seen from time to time in their public doings, but that the comprehensive totality of their travels is private because – until recently – there has been no practical means for the state to know all of it. Even though each bit of transit takes place publicly and the target can’t expect not to be seen or followed on an individual errand, he can very reasonably expect that the government isn’t tracking him 24-7 by the use of effectively invisible technology. Technology that his property has (unwillingly and without compensation) been employed to ferry around…

    99. #99 |  Bob | 

      #93, Bob,
      But is a tracker that they have secretly placed in your car still their property? Or by placing it in your car without your permission have they given it to you? I would think you certainly have a right to remove it and if you have to damage it to do so, then so be it. You also have the right to put it somewhere else either on your own property or on public property. Surely it is in the same legal category as any other bug that anyone places on you.

      Line by line:

      “is a tracker that they have secretly placed in your car still their property?”

      Yes. There is no contract giving it to you.

      “I would think you certainly have a right to remove it and if you have to damage it to do so, then so be it.”

      By any rational person’s view? Yes. By the view of a Prosecutor looking to boost their career by appearing pro-law enforcement? No. Who decides which cases get tried? Rational person or the prosecutor? Hmm.

      “Surely it is in the same legal category as any other bug that anyone places on you.”

      Anyone NOT A COP, yes. We all know cops get special treatment in these matters.

      If I found one of these in my car? I would put on gloves, remove it, take out the batteries and toss the whole deal into a storm drain…. then never mention any of that to anyone. Eventually… I would be embroiled in an investigation. That’s when I would start the civil suit. Since a Civil suit does not have the burden of proof a criminal trial does, I would only have to show I was harassed to cash in. The investigation into the lost device alone would provide that.

    100. #100 |  JS | 

      freedomfan “Even though each bit of transit takes place publicly and the target can’t expect not to be seen or followed on an individual errand, he can very reasonably expect that the government isn’t tracking him 24-7 by the use of effectively invisible technology. ”

      And if they don’t take that position then we are ALL in for a whole new world of government surveillance in our lives. I remember reading a book by former DEA agent Mike Levine where he mentioned that they were using technology in the 80’s that allowed them to watch suspects through the TV they had set up in a house. You can imagine where all that could lead to if we accept that its ok for the government to watch us 24/7.

    101. #101 |  dave smith | 

      The answer to the Reps woes is JEFF FLAKE.

      But they are too busy hating gays and immigrants.

    102. #102 |  MacK | 

      Seems to me that if they placed anything on your car, it is now your property.

      #98
      ““is a tracker that they have secretly placed in your car still their property?”

      Yes. There is no contract giving it to you.””

      There is no contract needed for a gift! If a cop sets 30 lbs of pot on your doorstep does that mean that it is now yours so they can kick your door in? The cops considered that pot to belong to Mayor Calvo at that point.

      If Dell sends you a laptop through the mail that you did not order, it is yours as a gift.

      If a mechanic reupholsters your car without permission when you take it in for a tuneup, the upholstery is yours as a gift.

    103. #103 |  Nick T | 

      “citizens reasonably expect that they might be seen from time to time in their public doings, but that the comprehensive totality of their travels is private because – until recently – there has been no practical means for the state to know all of it.”

      That’s a very good argument and seems to be what the NY court was saying though not quite sure if they felt it was a “privacy” issue as much as just an unreasonabel search.

      re: illegal activity by the police, what i said was that *just* because something is obtained by means of a *criminal* act does not *by itself* make that evidence suppressible. Indeed many criminal acts by police will also violate 4th Amendment principles like if the police break into your home, but again, just because it’s a crime dos not make it 4th Amendment bait.

    104. #104 |  Wavemancali | 

      Something I also just thought of. If I own 100 acres of property within the jurisdiction of the police force, at what point would I be rightfully expecting privacy?

      The GPS would still be tracking me 10 acres away from the road. Am I not correct in assuming that I can expect privacy on my own land?

    105. #105 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

      I know this “white african-american” Paolo Serodio.
      I did medical research with him in New York
      and let’s just say “he does not play well with others.”
      If you walked away from your experiment
      it would not work. We finally figured out why.
      People caught on.
      Guy’s a borderline sociopath.
      I’d be on his side here but …I know his character and
      would bet my bottom dollar there was no “assault.”

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