09/21/2015 archive

Everthing New Is Old A Moment After It Happens

As you read this , you are reading history. Not in the sense that it is something memorable but in the sense that it has happened. So everything that we do or say, once said or done, is in the past one nanosecond later. Think about that and now apply it to the the Fourth Amendment and warantless searches by law enforcement.   The North Carolina Court of Appeals has now applied that logic to a ruling involving the search of a defendant’s  cell phone records without a warrant (pdf) through the backdoor of warrant that was tangential to the case.

Superior Court Judge Lucy N. Inman signed the order and Detective Mitchell submitted it to AT&T, the cellular phone service provider and holder of the account associated with the phone number. AT&T provided the records of the location of the cell phone tower “hits” or “pings” whenever a call was made to or from the cell phone. AT&T sent emails of the longitude and latitude coordinates of these historical cell tower “hits” to Detective Mitchell every fifteen minutes. Detective Mitchell testified an approximately five- to seven-minute delay occurred between the time the phone “pinged” a cell phone tower and the time AT&T received and calculated the location and sent the latitude and longitude coordinates to him.

Tim Cushing at Techdirt explains how the definition of “historical” has now been twisted to violate a defendant’s civil rights:

The defendant argued that the “real time” tracking of his location violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights (as well as analogous parts of North Carolina’s constitution). The court doesn’t buy these arguments, citing the Stored Communications Act, which allows government entities to obtain certain third party records without a warrant. It says the difference between what’s been considered unconstitutional by several courts — obtaining real-time location information with a tracking device — isn’t what’s happening here.

It argues that because the police didn’t intercept these “records,” everything is above-board, even if the sought “historical” data included two days of “records” that were created after the court order was approved.

Several courts have held the SCA permits a government entity to obtain cell tower site location information from a third-party service provider in situations where the cell tower site location information sought pre-dates the court order and where the cell tower site location information is collected after the date the court order issues. Although the former may technically be considered “historical” while the latter is “prospective” in relation to the date of the court order, both are considered “records” under the SCA. The government entity only receives this information after it has been collected and stored by the third-party service provider.

In plainer English, this means law enforcement entities can seek “historical” records from the “future,” with the mitigating factor being that the records are collected by third parties first. A short delay of a few minutes is enough to call these records “historical” under this interpretation.  [..]

While the majority’s interpretation dilutes the meaning of “historical” by including location data yet to be generated under its warrantless wing, it does point out to possible future problems with the use of Stingray devices. These have often been deployed with the same sort of court orders, but contain the ability to track individual phones in real time. Once more details on these deployments come to light, the courts will be forced to confront a plethora of Fourth Amendment violations — at least if they’re going to remain consistent with this interpretation of “historical.”

Can you hear the sound of the shredder?

I need a vacation from my vacations.

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That desk is my great-grandfather’s.  My road warrior kit is on the right, the keyboard and monitor are part of my semi-permanent installation.  In road mode it all fits in that little case between the waste basket and desk including the power supplies and cords.  My camera bag with 5 batteries and 4 32 Gb Memory cards is hanging off the leaf with the notepad.  The pen is also a smartphone stylus, Moto E, FM Antenna, 2 x 10 hr Earpieces.

This room is haunted.

Not by Chet or even by my Uncle who lived there longer than I did and eventually died there.  Those are his videos in the book case.

Nope.  I haunt it.

I painted it blue like all my rooms and there’s a wall lamp and a plug next to each window and the door (this house is older than I am and I’m 120+).  At the time I arrived the heating was central monoxide so I set up my base on an old kitchen table where the bookcase is today and used the out of sight radiator that didn’t work anyway as a shelf by laying a plank across it.

This is the view from my window.

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My bed is once again where it was, the only place it really fits.  My wingback chair long lawn trashed, rattan Chesterfields instead.

I spent 3 years there, writing poetry for machines.  I’ve done a bunch of that.  It was after my career in shipping and receiving and before my turn as a pump jocky.

When I left it was business, it always is.  I said I’d be back in a month or two.  I’ve been gone over 30 years and it seems like yesterday.

There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: The Rage of the Bankers

Last week the Federal Reserve chose not to raise interest rates. It was the right decision. In fact, I’m among the economists wondering why we’re even thinking about raising rates right now.

But the financial industry’s response may explain what’s going on. You see, the Fed talks a lot to bankers – and bankers reacted to its decision with sheer, unadulterated rage. For those trying to understand the political economy of monetary policy, it was an “Aha!” moment. Suddenly, a lot of what has been puzzling about the discussion makes sense: just follow the money. [..]

It’s true that rates – near zero for the short-term interest rates the Fed controls more or less directly – are very low by historical standards. And it’s interesting to ask why the economy seems to need such low rates. But all the evidence says that it does. Again, if you think that rates are much too low, where’s the inflation?

Yet the Fed has faced constant criticism for its low-rate policy. Why?

New York Times Editorial Board: Use Medicare’s Muscle to Lower Drug Prices

Many of the people most affected by rising drug prices are older patients on Medicare, who often live on modest incomes, are in poor health, and take four or more prescription drugs. One way to reduce drug costs for this population is to reverse the policy set by the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act, which created Medicare’s prescription drug program.

At Republican insistence, that law barred the federal government from negotiating with drug manufacturers. It relied on bargaining by private insurers that manage drug benefits for Medicare patients, like UnitedHealth, Aetna and CVS Caremark, to wring discounts from the drug makers. That wasn’t enough. [..]

While drug prices paid by insurers are usually discounted from the list price, those prices can still be very high. Medicare, with its enormous buying power, could drive costs down more. This is important because the newest, most expensive drugs for high cholesterol, hepatitis C, cancer and other ailments are needed by a large number of the elderly and disabled people enrolled in that program. Those high prices then result in high co-payments and other cost sharing for its beneficiaries.

Robert Reich: Why the Republican Assault on Planned Parenthood Is Morally Wrong and Economically Stupid

The Republican assault on Planned Parenthood is filled with lies and distortions, and may even lead to a government shutdown.

The only thing we can say for sure about it is it’s already harming women’s health.

For distortions, start with presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s contention at last week’s Republican debate that a video shows  “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’ ”

Wrong. In fact, the anti-abortion group that made that shock video added stock footage of a fully-formed fetus in order to make it seem as if that’s what Planned Parenthood intended.

But as Donald Trump has demonstrated with cunning bravado, presidential candidates can say anything these days regardless of the truth and get away with it.

Robert Kuttner: America’s Collapsing Trade Initiatives

Chinese president Xi Jinping will be in Washington this week on an official state visit. President Obama had hoped to impress Xi with an all but sealed trade deal with major Pacific nations called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to demonstrate that America is still a force to be reckoned with in China’s backyard.

But Obama’s trade policy is in tatters. The grand design, created by Obama’s old friend and former Wall Street deal-maker, trade chief Mike Froman, comes in two parts — a grand bargain with Pacific nations aimed at building a U.S.-led trading bloc to contain the influence of China, and an Atlantic agreement to cement economic relations with the European Union.

Both are on the verge of collapse from their own contradictory goals and incoherent logic.

James Powell: If Congress won’t listen to exploited workers, will they listen to the pope?

The pope has denounced the “structurally perverse” global economic system that exploits the poor. His message is about workers like me. I’m the chef at the Senate dining room inside the US Capitol. I work for a UK-based multinational conglomerate that makes billions in profit yet leaves workers around the globe destitute.

I prepare breakfast and lunch for the US senators, several of whom are running to be the next president of the United States. When the pope comes to deliver his message to Congress on 24 September, I hope his words encourage the senators to open their hearts to the suffering of the working poor who serve them every day.

In recent months, my co-workers and I have walked off our jobs several times to protest poverty pay and shared our stories of struggle in these pages. Despite our strikes and our heart-breaking stories, the Senate has not taken any action to help us win living wages and a union. Even worse, the Senate has allowed our company to threaten and try to intimidate us into silence.

John Nichols:  Bernie Sanders Offers GOP Debaters a Tutorial on Democratic Socialism

 Bernie Sanders earned quite a few mentions in the second round of Republican debates, which at the very least offers a measure of the extent to which the senator from Vermont has become a factor in the 2016 presidential race.

Sanders was not generally referred to by name, but his democratic socialism came up frequently enough.

Republicans in both debates on Wednesday night noted the fact the Democratic presidential race has been shaken up by “a socialist”-employing a term that at the Reagan Presidential Library is still considered a choice epithet.

The Breakfast Club (Just Like A Pill)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

President Bill Clinton’s grand jury testimony in the Monica Lewinsky scandal aired on TV; Authors H.G. Wells and Stephen King born; ‘Monday Night Football’ premieres; Actor-comedian Bill Murray born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

You can’t move mountains by whispering at them.


On This Day In History September 21

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 21 is the 264th day of the year (265th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 101 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1780, during the American Revolution, American General Benedict Arnold meets with British Major John Andre to discuss handing over West Point to the British, in return for the promise of a large sum of money and a high position in the British army. The plot was foiled and Arnold, a former American hero, became synonymous with the word “traitor.”

Born in Connecticut, he was a merchant operating ships on the Atlantic Ocean when the war broke out in 1775. After joining the growing army outside Boston, he distinguished himself through acts of cunning and bravery. His actions included the Capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775, successful defensive and delaying tactics despite losing the Battle of Valcour Island on Lake Champlain in 1776, the Battle of Ridgefield, Connecticut (after which he was promoted to major general), operations in relief of the Siege of Fort Stanwix, and key actions during the pivotal Battles of Saratoga in 1777, in which he suffered leg injuries that ended his combat career for several years.

In spite of his successes, Arnold was passed over for promotion by the Continental Congress while other officers claimed credit for some of his accomplishments. Adversaries in military and political circles brought charges of corruption or other malfeasance, but he was acquitted in most formal inquiries. Congress investigated his accounts, and found that he owed it money after he had spent much of his own money on the war effort. Frustrated and bitter, Arnold decided to change sides in 1779, and opened secret negotiations with the British. In July 1780, he sought and obtained command of West Point in order to surrender it to the British. Arnold’s scheme was exposed when American forces captured British Major John André carrying papers that revealed the plot. Upon learning of André’s capture, Arnold fled down the Hudson River to the British sloop-of-war Vulture, narrowly avoiding capture by the forces of George Washington, who had been alerted to the plot.

Arnold received a commission as a brigadier general in the British Army, an annual pension of £360, and a lump sum of over £6,000. He led British forces on raids in Virginia, and against New London and Groton, Connecticut, before the war effectively ended with the American victory at Yorktown. In the winter of 1782, Arnold moved to London with his second wife, Margaret “Peggy” Shippen Arnold. He was well received by King George III and the Tories but frowned upon by the Whigs. In 1787, he entered into mercantile business with his sons Richard and Henry in Saint John, New Brunswick, but returned to London to settle permanently in 1791, where he died ten years later.