Morning Links

Friday, February 12th, 2010
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53 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  SJE | 

    The sexting cop story is an outrage. An 11 year veteran, means he must be at least 30. He is granted probation but a horny or silly teenagers get felony charges.

  2. #2 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

    I say bring cell-phone tracking on: if there’s no expectation of privacy for us then there’s none for government officials, either, which could lead to some interesting discoveries.

  3. #3 |  Nando | 

    Way to ruin my Friday, Radley!

    Now all I can think about is how fucked up it is that a Adult is given probation for the same crime a child is sent to jail for, just because he happened to be a cop.

  4. #4 |  Nando | 

    #2 | PersonFromPorlock | February 12th, 2010 at 12:10 pm
    I say bring cell-phone tracking on: if there’s no expectation of privacy for us then there’s none for government officials, either, which could lead to some interesting discoveries.

    Hmmm, you bring up a good point.

    If there is no expectation of privacy, then these records should be made public FOR ALL CELL PHONES, no exceptions. So, that way we can see where each and every one of our congresscritters have been, and what they are doing. It’ll open up a whole new can of worms.

    But, we all know they will exempt themselves. Sigh!

  5. #5 |  Nick T | 

    The cell phone story is very troubling. To some extent, the government is right in that you do not have an expectation of privacy in your location when you walk down a public street or drive on a highway. You may not even have a privacy interest in whether or not you are entering your home! But, the government knowing your location, or not being prevented from knowing your location, at any and all times DOES clearly start to implicate and violate a whole host of freedoms. That they are apparently relying on the current limits of technology, or the business interests of the companies that hand over this info is hardly a comfort.

    Clearly, technology will improve, and companies will be incentivized to curry favor with government agencies or politicians to store more specific data (which keeps getting easier and cheaper to do).

    The tricky part is that the law likely does not protect your location on a highway, but that also puts us on a slippery slope where the government can argue that your exact location can be pulled up by any bureaucrat on a whim. Drawing the line with the case at hand is proabbly a good start.

  6. #6 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Wait, so now sending sexually-explicit text messages counts as “sexting”? The article, as I read it, suggests that the police officer sent actual text rather than explicit images. I’m pretty sure that even if a 12-year-old did that they couldn’t be pinched for child porn. Of course, I could be wrong…

  7. #7 |  Bob Dole Lives! | 

    I think the cell phone story deserves more then being the 5th bullet point on a post of links. Anyone and everyone should know about this and be very vocal in opposition of it.

  8. #8 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “Just so we’re clear, minors who send explicit photos of themselves to other minors get hit with child porn charges. Cops who send explicit photos of themselves to minors get probation.”

    Shorter version … the State takes care of its own.

    I wonder if sexting had been prevalent when the Clintons were in office, what would have happened if Chelsea had been caught? Maybe we’ll have an experiment in a few years when the Obama daughters hit puberty.

    The issue, as always, is whether one belongs to a favored class. And there is no more favored class than the State.

    On a related note, the drunk-driving hypocrit Riverside County sheriff has resigned, no doubt the conditions of said resignation including collecting a lifetime pension and the ability to be hired at another public agency. Oh, and of course, no charges pending, though we’ll see about that. Or should I say I’ll believe it when I see it.

  9. #9 |  Mattocracy | 

    Law enforcement and politcal office attract criminals. They are very smart criminals. Instead of fighting the establishment, they became the establishment. The best thing for a child molestor or a rapist to do is become a cop, not a preist or boy scout leader.

  10. #10 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I think there’s a distinction between being out in public and the government having a reason to follow your every move. Since when is it proper for the government to be free to track you “just be it can”?

    Personally, I don’t care if there are government cameras covering every square inch of public space on the entire planet. Before they start documenting and creating an ongoing record of your activities, they should have a legitimate law enforcement reason. In other words, there should be suspicion of a crime before they start harvesting information about you from any of their surveillance infrastructure, whether it be cameras, cell phones, email, internet browsing habits, phone records, etc.

    The warrant is the instrument that documents that legitimate interest.

    I don’t dispute that government could have a legit reason to monitor cameras watching for a crime to occur, but that monitoring should be specific to the area and not the person.

    What the government is doing these days is claiming ownership of all information that is accessible by anyone besides the person of interest. Then they further claim that it is perfectly legitimate to sift through that information looking for a crime. Combining that kind of automated detection with the fact that it’s almost impossible to get through a day without violating a federal law, you suddenly have an entire population that can be arrested anytime the government so pleases and it will be perfectly legal.

  11. #11 |  Mike T | 

    The wishes of murder victims’ families are no trifling matter. Neither is public safety.

    But neither is the cost of a still-bloated prison population.

    I’m sorry, but is this supposed to be an intelligent argument? You’re going to seriously tell us that Michigan can’t cut its welfare budgets, cut its education budget or even just release all non-violent drug offenders instead of commuting elderly murderers?

    Someone in the legislature needs to get clubbed over the head by the governor if they can’t make room in the budget to house murderers rather than cut some spending in other areas.

  12. #12 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Before they start documenting and creating an ongoing record of your activities, they should have a legitimate law enforcement reason. In other words, there should be suspicion of a crime before they start harvesting information …”

    Tsk, this guy’s clearly wallowing in a pre-9/11 mindset.

  13. #13 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Wait, so now sending sexually-explicit text messages counts as “sexting”? The article, as I read it, suggests that the police officer sent actual text rather than explicit images. I’m pretty sure that even if a 12-year-old did that they couldn’t be pinched for child porn. Of course, I could be wrong…”

    Well remember it could have been ASCII porn, eg: W
    y

  14. #14 |  Jupiter | 

    Mike T, I felt the same way.

    I think a whole lot of money could be saved just by releasing low-level drug offenders who actually pose no threat to society, rather than releasing killers.

  15. #15 |  MikeZ | 

    I’d agree with the clemency thing just being wrong. I have no problems granting clemency to the deserving. However having cost be a factor is over the line. Personally if somebody ever murdered one of my family and the state decided to let the killer go because they didn’t want to pay, I’d hold a bake sale.

  16. #16 |  Michael Chaney | 

    I’m with Mike T on the Michigan thing. First, this is 120 people she’s talking about, which at $30K/year is $3M, hardly anything to write home about. Plus, if they’re elderly, they’re not going to get a job, they have no savings and possibly no family. In other words, the chance that they’ll end up as indigents relying on the state to live is very high. I would like to see an in-depth analysis on how much money this is actually saving.

    Second, we’re talking about murderers who were sentenced to life. I have no problem with that being literal. While safety is one of the main reasons to imprison people, it’s not the only reason. I have no problem with people such as these never seeing the outside of a prison ever again.

    Third, if she *really* wants to save money, then she should get a list of all non-violent drug offenders in state prisons and have a mass commutation of sentences. That would save money, and the younger people can go get a job and contribute to the economy instead of being a drain on it.

    “We don’t have money to lock up old murderers” is just horseshit if you have money to lock up young non-violent victimless criminals.

  17. #17 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #12 Yizmo Gizmo

    Tsk, this guy’s clearly wallowing in a pre-9/11 mindset.

    Haha! There’s a lot to be said for delusion as a means to avoid the stresses of reality.

    My answer to the issue of terrorism surveillance, in the few cases where warrantless data mining might conceivably be a necessary tool, is to make inadmissible in prosecutions for ordinary crimes all evidence discovered by such methods (as well as all derivative discoveries).

    If national security trumps citizen rights, then the government should be happy to give up ordinary criminal prosecution to save the country.

  18. #18 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “If national security trumps citizen rights, then the government should be happy to give up ordinary criminal prosecution to save the country.”

    Precisely, exactly why I’m lobbying for the KSM Omnibus bill.
    All future crimes including thoughtcrimes will be prosecuted in Military Tribunals in
    Guantanamo.

  19. #19 |  J sub D | 

    Just so we’re clear, minors who send explicit photos of themselves to other minors get hit with child porn charges. Cops who send explicit photos of themselves to minors get probation.

    John Edwards was right, there are two Americas. It’s just the divide is different than he campaigned on. There’s government and then there’s us serfs.

  20. #20 |  J sub D | 

    The University of Wisconsin requires all of its students to donate to the local PIRG chapter, as does the University of Oregon, and about a third of the state colleges in New York’s SUNY system.

    Nader, like most politicians, is a hypocritical ****stain.

  21. #21 |  J sub D | 

    I say bring cell-phone tracking on: if there’s no expectation of privacy for us then there’s none for government officials, either, which could lead to some interesting discoveries.

    You actually think the citizens will be able to avail themselves of the technology?

    That’s so cute.

  22. #22 |  Dave Krueger | 

    This whole sexting thing pisses me off. It seems like every change in technology has to result in an expansion of sex crimes.

    For a country that already imprisons more of its population than any other country, we sure are enthusiastic when it comes to inventing new reasons to lock people up. And this in a country that calls itself “the land of the free”.

  23. #23 |  Growler | 

    If a cop sent my kid a sexually explicit picture, I’d find him and, to use animal shelter terminology, alter him.

  24. #24 |  SJE | 

    “which at $30K/year is $3M, hardly anything to write home about. Plus, if they’re elderly, they’re not going to get a job, they have no savings and possibly no family. In other words, the chance that they’ll end up as indigents relying on the state to live is very high”

    Its not much, true, but its real money/ Even indigent support is cheaper than jail. All govts, esp Michigan, need to do everything they can to control costs. Its the little bit here and there that justifies all the pork.

  25. #25 |  witless chum | 

    Mike T, et al.

    I’ve seen $35,000 as the cost per year to lock someone up in a Michigan state prison. Even if they just get out and go immediately on social security and medicare, that’s probably a net savings. It’s definitely a savings to the state budget, because their care would be shifted partly to the feds. The Freep Editorial doesn’t make it as clear, but a lot of prior talk on this has been about commuting people’s sentences who are pretty much in the process of dying. It costs a lot less for them to die in a hospital than a prison. Dunno where you live, but we’re in pretty bad shape here.

    Yeah, I’d rather have the state legalize (at least) weed and commute all the sentences of non-violent drug offenders (a lot of those in Michigan would be methheads, though, who are a pain with the discarding of their labs in my yard), but this is a good idea, too.

  26. #26 |  hattio | 

    Michael Chaney says;

    “First, this is 120 people she’s talking about, which at $30K/year is $3M, hardly anything to write home about.”

    Where are you getting the $30,000 figure? If that’s the average cost of incarceration, they are probably paying a hell of a lot more. The article specifically mentions that these are the most costly prisoners, being elderly or very sick. Presumably that means that the state is paying all their medical bills, and related costs of having guards go with them for any procedures that cannot be done in the jail, etc.

    Not that I disagree with you about releasing non-violent drug offenders first, it’s just that we should be honest about the savings this provides, which is probably a hell of a lot more.

  27. #27 |  witless chum | 

    “For a country that already imprisons more of its population than any other country, we sure are enthusiastic when it comes to inventing new reasons to lock people up. And this in a country that calls itself “the land of the free”.”

    We also call ourselves the home of the brave and wet our collective pants about terrorists.

  28. #28 |  Aresen | 

    Dave Krueger | February 12th, 2010 at 2:07 pm
    This whole sexting thing pisses me off. It seems like every change in technology has to result in an expansion of sex crimes.

    Yeah. Zog knows what would happen if mind-reading technology was ever developed.

  29. #29 |  Dave Krueger | 

    The dog pictures are great. I like Huskies. They aren’t very good watch dogs but, with their spooky blue eyes and wolf-like coloring they are fun to have around to scare treat or treaters on Halloween.

    And if you have two of them, you can get each one to pull on the opposite end of a tug toy and they will keep each other busy.

  30. #30 |  Michael Chaney | 

    As someone said above, I was a bit off. Apparently it’s now $35K/year/inmate in Michigan, so the savings are $3.5M. Yeah, it’s more than indigent care, but I doubt it’s worth the effort still. As I said, if money’s the issue, non-violent drug offenders are the answer.

  31. #31 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Sorry for the quick followup, but I need to clarify this. A prisoner directly costs the state $35K/year. There’s an indirect cost in that the prisoner is also not contributing to the economy by working, so there’s a double-whammy. The median income is around $30K/year, so the cost to society is effectively twice what a prison costs.

    Given that most non-violent drug offenders are young enough to work, whereas old inmates who are close to death are very unlikely to work, there’s simply no comparison when you look at the whole picture.

  32. #32 |  Mike T | 

    If they want to fix it, they should figure out why it costs $30k/year/felon to house a prisoner. They could probably reduce the cost by severely limiting the caloric intake of prisoners so they stay reasonably healthy, but can’t gain any muscle mass. That would make them easier to manage, which means fewer guards. Arm the existing guards with higher caliber weapons with hollow point rounds. Cut off the AC and heat except during temperature extremes.

  33. #33 |  Aresen | 

    From the comments on the WTC photos:

    ok first thing if you think this was planned your a moron and a idiot you probably voted for barrack cause h dont do anything with terroist attacks we hear about them but nothing happens to them so here is what i have to say 9/11 was not planned no possible way why sacrifice all of them people to demolish a building no scense they could just say hey get out we are tearing down the towers than a quarentine zone would be placed with walls and shields and the busniess next to them would of also been told about it obama had a whole country under him he did not plan this attack from a cave he planned it from a office honestly use common sense unless you have been there over in iraq shut up you know nothing but what you think and what these lieing news folk tell you im not saying this about everyone who voted for barrack but it seems yall have a conspiracy to run this country into the ground terroist attacks have gone up over 75% since hes been in office

    armyofoneforme2002@yahoo.com email
    – James Franklin, U.S.Army, 12/2/2010 15:08

    I sincerely hope he’s lying about being in the US Army.

  34. #34 |  whomever | 

    I’m not sure of the legalities here, but if the objective is to provide cheap/federally subsidized hospice care for murderers, why doesn’t the state open an elder care facility called ‘Graybar Manors’. Since the residents are bedridden and don’t need guards, etc, it should be financially competitive with any other elder care place. If I am the guardian for an elderly relative, I can pick their home, right? So the state just decides to send elderly prisoners to Graybar Manors, which has facility rules suitable for convicts, even if the guard towers and barbed wire aren’t needed.

    Then the only extra cost would be picking up the tab for elderly murderers who have loving families able to provide for them without any subsidies. I expect that is a pretty small set of people.

  35. #35 |  Noel St. John | 

    Thanks again, Radley! I must say that after your initial post, my views went stratospheric. For anyone interested, Snowlapse 2010 Part II is also on Youtube, and I’m working on Snowlapse III: The Melt Off.

  36. #36 |  Mattocracy | 

    #22 | Dave Krueger |
    “For a country that already imprisons more of its population than any other country, we sure are enthusiastic when it comes to inventing new reasons to lock people up. And this in a country that calls itself “the land of the free”.

    #27 | witless chum |
    “We also call ourselves the home of the brave and wet our collective pants about terrorists.”

    Big time thumbs up for you two.

  37. #37 |  SJE | 

    #30 “I doubt it’s worth the effort still” If the governor has to go through all sorts of vetting, asking how will this make me look, etc etc, yes its a lot of money.

    It doesnt have to be that way. The governor could ask: is this an old person, do they seem like they are no longer violent, do they have somewhere to go, etc, and just sign the papers. You could do thousands.

  38. #38 |  Let's Be Free | 

    In the old days at the University of Wisconsin Ralphie sent hot babes around for the purposes of soliticitation, cash for PIRG’s that is. It was fun to play hard to get. Now, not only is UW confiscating the funds, they’re taking away the pleasure of it.

  39. #39 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    if there’s no expectation of privacy for us then there’s none for government officials…

    On Bizzaro World maybe, but here we know there is a different set of rules for our government overlords. Try to remember your place.

  40. #40 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Michigan can’t cut its welfare budgets, cut its education budget or even just release all non-violent drug offenders instead of commuting elderly murderers?

    Follow the votes and you’ll see what can (and cannot) be cut. You were thinking too much like a leader and not a politician.

    Elderly murderers of peasants don’t count to politicians that much. Make no mistake no cop or government official killer will be released.

  41. #41 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    If national security trumps citizen rights…

    I’d argue that is a nation that should cease to exist. In other words, they are securing a nation not worth securing. However; with apologies to Abe Lincoln I believe today’s state would gladly put every citizen to death if it meant securing the state.

  42. #42 |  MikeZ | 

    “Follow the votes and you’ll see what can (and cannot) be cut. You were thinking too much like a leader and not a politician.”

    Wasn’t the whole premise of the article though that the Michigan Governor was finally doing the right thing specifically because as a lame duck she didn’t care about the votes :)

  43. #43 |  Johnny Longtorso | 

    RE: the alcohol blog:

    http://www.moderndrunkardmagazine.com/

  44. #44 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #41 Boyd Durkin

    If national security trumps citizen rights…

    I’d argue that is a nation that should cease to exist.

    I’m not ready to argue a blanket statement like that. For example, we surrender some 4th Amendment rights when we permit ourselves to be scanned for weapons or bombs before entering a government building such as a courthouse. Does the government not have the right to demand that?

    Of course, we also permit ourselves to be scanned for weapons when we board an airplane full of people, but the answer there would be to get the government out of the transportation business and leave the searches up to the airline.

  45. #45 |  Aresen | 

    | Boyd Durkin | February 12th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    if there’s no expectation of privacy for us then there’s none for government officials…

    On Bizzaro World maybe, but here we know there is a different set of rules for our government overlords. Try to remember your place.

    Actually, I have come to believe that we are living in ‘Bizarro World’. We left the sane, normal one behind a few pieces of kryptonite ago.

  46. #46 |  Nick | 

    If a customer is informed when they sign up for a service that the service provider may share data with the government without a warrant then it’s not a 4th amendment issue. But, as David Kramer pointed out on the LRC blog

    Notice how the Department of Injustice’s sharks get around the Fourth Amendment by saying that the phone company’s own records are obviously not the customer’s and, therefore, the phone company can do what it wants with them. Technically, they’re right. My question is this: If I started a phone company and made agreements with my customers that their phone records would be confidential and could not be released to any entity without the their permission, how long do you think it would be before the government tried to shut down my company if I didn’t comply with their request for any of my customers’ records? (Of course, since I would need a government license to even start my company, you can see how easy it would be for the government to pull my license if I didn’t “cooperate” with them.)

    More glaring proof that we’re now in the 2nd year of a third term of the Bush Administration.

  47. #47 |  Jim Collins | 

    So Michigan dumps it’s elderly prisoners to avoid paying their medical expenses for problems caused by aging. I wonder if taking care of their Medicaid paperwork was part of their release proceedures?

  48. #48 |  Marty | 

    I’ve always been attracted to the idea of a class of citizen immune to prosecution (besides the govt!)… I hadn’t really considered the elderly. What I had in mind was the hospice community… There could be a Hospice Assassination Service. Participants could take someone with them when they go and make the world a better place. The payment would take care of their funerals, maybe make things a little easier on their families, strike fear into corrupt govt officials…

  49. #49 |  supercat | 

    //To some extent, the government is right in that you do not have an expectation of privacy in your location when you walk down a public street or drive on a highway. You may not even have a privacy interest in whether or not you are entering your home!//

    Whether or not one has a privacy interest when one is going out and about in public in such fashion as to be visible to anyone nearby, one does have a privacy interest if one chooses to travel in such fashion as to be obscured from outside view (which is perfectly legal), or if one is traveling within an area of private property (such as a farm or corporate campus). Arbitrarily collecting info on people’s whereabouts would imply wanton disregard for whether or not those people were exercising any privacy interest in that information.

  50. #50 |  Marty | 

    #47 | Jim Collins
    ‘So Michigan dumps it’s elderly prisoners to avoid paying their medical expenses for problems caused by aging…’

    It’s a nationwide problem. HMO’s such as CMS run the prisons healthcare. It’s not uncommon for CMS to request that wardens release sick prisoners, so they avoid the expense of surgeries, chemo, etc. Once the prisoner recovers, the medical parole is revoked and they’re back in the joint.

    Google ‘CMS prison death’ for a horrifying education on government-controlled health care…

  51. #51 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

    #21 | J sub D | February 12th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    You actually think the citizens will be able to avail themselves of the technology?

    That’s so cute.

    I’m shocked, shocked! that you have so little faith in our betters.

  52. #52 |  the friendly grizzly | 

    I see a budding industry for cell phone shield bags. They’d be useful for people who do not want to be removing and reinstalling the battery all the time (danger of shorting the contacts on a battery, wearing out the battery door, etc).

  53. #53 |  Tanzit | 

    @ #52

    Budding industry?

    Do you know how easy it would be to make a pocket faraday cage ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage )?

    Hell, just make a tin foil hat for your iPhone and you’re good to go.

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