“The problem is not the gathering of info. That is a distraction. The problem--to the extent there is one--is the laws they are using the information to enforce and the treatment of convicts. To the extent that what they seek is comparable to information on the front of an envelope (who it is from, where, who it is going to, where) they should not need a warrant. Only content should require a warrant. I have no problem with procedures to assure that even the envelope info is used for proper purposes, and for significant penalties--primarily job loss and fines--for those who misuse their access.”
“Perhaps this is because criminals use phones in the course of and aftermath of committing nearly every crime in the country and in a country of over 300,000 million people there are a significant number of crimes. Frankly, the "over 1 million" number seems low to me.
Of all the many abuses committed by government, this one bothers me least. Indeed, without details of a particular overreach, I hesitate to call it an "abuse." Frisking people based on what they look like. Locking them up in vast numbers for victimless crimes. Failing to provide prisoners a safe environment, much less opportunities for rehabilitation. Being fairer to some than others. All of these are abuses. Monitoring the existence of communications carried over public airwaves (I think that is the right word) in the course of official duties and in such a manner that the information is used only for official business doesn't bother me at all. There should be a warrant for content.”
Arielifan on Dec 9, 2013 at 19:37:59
“Except that they are using it for content, therefore abuse.
FYI: 300 million not "300,000 million"..”
Rounder on Dec 9, 2013 at 19:32:08
“They're searching without warrants. That's a textbook civil rights violation. Besides that, how can you possibly trust them with this power after they do all the other things you mention in your laundry list (second para.)?”
“"Without her persistence and passion, we would not be here today," said Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
On the one hand, yay. On the other hand, wtf? Why is an amendment to allow convictions to mean something in any way controversial? Is this India?”
ljb860ljb on Dec 7, 2013 at 13:20:36
“Because the military command structure supports those without any blemishes. That means command will whitewash any negative if given a chance. Until command is removed from control over cases such as rape nothing will change, careerists will ensure that continues.
LTC US Army(Retired)”
BoiledPossum on Dec 7, 2013 at 12:25:59
“It's controversial firstly because it's a Democrat proposing it. Secondly, the GOP doesn't think we need anymore laws and in this area in particular. God has arranged it so the whole thing shuts down...down there...when it's legitimate.”
desmoinesdude on Dec 7, 2013 at 12:11:31
“Because the military is renowned for shielding sex assaulters. In many ways, our military is similar to India when it comes to treatment of women in the service.”
“It's a concerning power for prosecutors to have. I know of a case where someone was charged with two felonies. One carried a mandatory minimum of 1 year in prison and the possibility of several years. They were essentially the same offense but the offense that carried the mandatory minimum involved the additional element that the crime occurred at or near a school. There was no question that whatever happened, happened at or near a school. I don't know what the evidence was on the other elements but my sense it involved a significant amount of illegal product, a significant amount of cash, and the testimony of a witness who had purchased product. The accused was allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor possession of some smaller amount of illegal product, without intent to distribute, and not at or near a school. (And guesses on the race, education and socioeconomic status of the defendant?)
The truth is that he was likely guilty of crimes that carried more significant penalties and that there was sufficient evidence from which a jury could have determined that. Why should he have been let off by a prosecutor? I understand--and even support--jury nullification. But if we have a law and evidence that the law was broken, why are we making no effort to apply the law? It does, I think, lead to substantial inequality and lack of respect for law.”
“Good question. I have a vague recollection that there was a story on NPR about this a few years back. I have definitely heard a discussion of this that featured seemingly knowledgeable people speaking non-judgmentally about this as a cultural phenomenon. And no, I have no interest in believing middle eastern folks to be "liars" in the pejorative western sense of the word.”
Bob Morrow on Dec 5, 2013 at 05:14:22
“Thank you for the response AgathaX. I'm an American currently living in Brazil. Here there's a joke that if you need directions you should always ask three Brazilians...and if two of them agree that's the correct way to go. If they all disagree you keep asking people until you get two identical answers.
Not all Brazilians do this, but it does seem fairly widespread. It's not a case where they deliberately 'lie' or feed you false information, rather it's an ingrained desire to be helpful. Many Brazilians would think it impolite not to assist you and try to answer your question, even if they really aren't sure of the answer themselves. It also doesn't extend to other answers. Brazilians as a whole state no more falsehoods than anyone else, it's just socially more important to be seen as attempting to help.”
“Inartfully stated, but he is on to something. There is a cultural component to "truth telling" and middle eastern culture does not place the same importance on truth telling that most western cultures do. (Not sure about other cultures.) Now, I'm a lawyer and good Americans without any tie to the middle east whatsoever lie to me all the time, and don't think a lot of it. But if they are caught in their lie, people will think poorly of them, disbelieve them on other matters, and there can even be legal penalties. My sense is that there is less stigma and fewer consequences in the middle east for people caught in a lie--and perhaps less incentive to do the catching. That does not necessarily mean that they lie more. It would be an interesting thing to study.”
krf1942 on Dec 4, 2013 at 19:28:29
“Your evidence? Never mind, would be more drivel.”
Bob Morrow on Dec 4, 2013 at 19:23:18
“Your claim is based on WHAT exactly? Wishful thinking?”
LeoTheDog on Dec 4, 2013 at 19:16:42
“Really? As a fellow lawyer, and American of Middle East descent, I find your statement only modestly less offensive than the obviously racist Hunter's.
Exactly where does your "sense" of the reduced stigma/consequences for lying in the M.E. come from?
My sense is that most lawyers are complete jerks who would routinely lie to make a point (and a buck); a sense I have developed from 20 years of dealing with attorneys. Is your experience with Middle Easterners that deep?”
mabinog on Dec 4, 2013 at 19:15:44
“So the practice of rhetoric, spin and propaganda from our politicians is not being dishonest and not accepted?
So the entirety of advertising and marketing from American consumer capitalism is not being dishonest and not accepted?
“There is a cultural element to bigotry and culture has roots in time. I do not imagine that I am so independent minded that I would have had views far out of the mainstream had I lived in another time. Almost none of us would have. And the mainstream until fairly recently is that most folks--even most gay folks, who didn't even acknowledge being gay--did not think of gay marriage in "separate but equal" terms.”
“The "smart guys" of the current era acknowledge that the earth is warming dramatically and that this will have significant consequences. There is division on the speed and extent of the consequences, but "considering how old the earth is," it's going to be fast. A true scientist does not "worr[y]" about the change in climate--at least not with his scientist hat on. Rather, he looks at data and ask questions. A climate scientist is not necessarily a conservationist and may not particularly care if climate change wipes out species--he just wants to be able to forecast the loss and any consequences of that loss to the extent that science and data permit. The problem at the moment is that we are in utterly unchartered territory. There is no precedent for the present set of living creatures inhabiting an earth at the temperatures which are reasonably forecast. The odds are that we will adapt. But there are certainly no guarantees and to the extent that turning down the thermostat is in our hands, one would think there would be some motivation to do that. Unfortunately the fortunes of a few are at stake, and they have full support from the anti-science crowd whose idea of scientific argument consists of one-liners and eye-rolling.”
“I love that he's surprised that one daughter actually takes offense as being viewed as something less than fully equal. Mary needs to wake up and leave these folks in the dust unless and until they want to treat her and her wife as fully valid and equal members of society.”
DJspapa1 on Dec 3, 2013 at 22:41:21
“Mary better not hold her breath waiting on that to happen.”
“You're showing your age, sir. To the extent that the state is involved in sanctioning marriage--and by law the state is, then the state needs to treat all equally. So, if one is a marriage--all are marriage. If one is a civil union, all are. If a church has a different understanding of marriage they are free to follow, but outside of church walls, all are equal.”
jebtry on Dec 4, 2013 at 13:01:12
“I can't believe we need to explain "separate is not equal" and "segregation is BAD" to someone of that age. It seriously boggles the mind.”
“There is no mention of abuse in group homes. I wonder if they were lumped in with foster homes or if there aren't many group homes in Mass. Years ago now I adopted kids who had been in group homes and foster care both. They preferred the group homes. There was a greater degree of professionalism there and the kids never had to compete with a foster parent's biological children for attention. They weren't perfect places, but they had good facilities and--for the most part--people who cared.”
maybesomeday on Dec 6, 2013 at 09:51:52
“Do group homes still exist? I mean your talking the government having to invest in something they keep cutting out of their budgets.”
“Or we could just thank the police for noticing that there was a 13 year old there with an adult male who did not appear to be her parent. I'm not saying they couldn't have done a better job at ascertaining the situation, but in a world where too many people look the other way, this could be viewed as a positive.”
captainhurt on Dec 3, 2013 at 09:43:52
“Police need to apolgize profusely and personally and then compensate generously for abuse of power and bad handling. "sorry" doesnt cut it.”
doorlie on Dec 3, 2013 at 08:28:25
“No excuse for not talking to the two people like civilized human being. None whatsoever.”
speckitis on Dec 3, 2013 at 07:49:11
“Sure, let's detain everyone who looks out of place. You'll sing a different tune when it's your turn to be harassed..... "Show me your papers...."”
“Well, just paying sufficient attention to notice that two cups of coffee are going to impede getting into the car is worth something. My dear, dear life partner who notices so very much, would very likely not notice this. And if he did, would more likely situate himself in the car then reach for the coffee cups, than seat me first. It was nice. They seem to be a good couple. That is all.”
“Most everyone knows when they're having a vegetarian or vegan for dinner and can leave the meats out of the "side" dishes. I make vegetarian stuffing just so I can take leftovers to a friend's house. Oh, and because its yummy.”
“I agree. Get to it cause you're as myopic as they come. Capitalism is not the only system of economics and we already know its a massive failure. Why do you think the government has to bail them out every 20 years? Because its successful?”