Foolishness of Zero Tolerance

…or of intolerance; the two are interchangeable terms in this context.  This context is the overreaction of school management and local police departments to remarks concerning “threats” to schools.

Gina Gobert’s 12-year-old daughter was detained overnight at a police station in Oakdale, LA, after allegedly talking to schoolmates about a social-media post she said she received that threatened violence against the school.

School management, it seems, decided the girl had received no such threat and turned her over to the police, who decided to charge the child with “terrorizing.”

And this:

Irony Meter

Mine has been getting a workout lately.  It’s pegged again.

Russian lawmakers visited Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the aftermath of the US-UK-French strikes on the center of al-Assad’s chemical weapons production facilities and before the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons “inspects” the site of al-Assad’s chemical attack on women and children that prompted the allied response.  Among other things,

[t]he Syrian president also reportedly accepted an invitation to visit Siberia….

I recall an earlier time of invitations to visit Siberia.

Equal Protection Under Law

Harmeet Dhillon, a trial lawyer and California Republican National Committeewoman, has a tweet up regarding equal protection, San Jose, CA, style:

From the 9th Circuit argument Monday morning in Hernandez v. San Jose—City attorney says SJPD should not be held responsible for forcing Trump supporters to walk through a violent mob, because attending a Trump rally is an inherently dangerous act! Did they ask for it?

Play the video, and listen especially to the exchange between the San Jose lawyer and the judge (you may have to crank up the volume to hear the judge).  San Jose is utterly disingenuous in this case.  Equal protection applies, in SJ, only to SJ-approved groups of people.

Independent Monitor

Recall Special Counselor Robert Mueller’s raid on President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s offices and seizure of Cohen’s records, especially targeting communications between Cohen, the lawyer, and Trump, the client.

Cohen went in to Federal court Friday to try to get the subpoena under which the raid was conducted revoked and the confiscated materials returned.  Some discussion surrounding the events centers on the alleged ability of special monitors—a “taint team”—doing the sorting so as to isolate the privileged communications from the rest of the material sought under the warrant.  Furthermore, this team would, supposedly, conduct its sort before Mueller’s team has gone into the material they seized.

Government Surveillance by Regulation

Loosely related to a nearby post, now it seems the government is getting worried about the size of the “private” capital market, where folks can place investments in enterprises, particularly startups, without having to go through the public—stock—markets and government regulations that are broadly extensive and deeply intrusive.

The boom is transforming how companies grow, concentrating investing in fewer hands and raising concerns about oversight

The linked-to article’s subhead lays out the whole misunderstanding. Government doesn’t need to be in the business of regulating every little thing we do.  We can manage our investments just fine without Government’s “help.”  And we can suffer our own outcomes if we choose badly or fortune moves against us despite our otherwise correct decisions.

AI Surveillance

Police forces around the nation are on the verge of getting Artificial Intelligence assistance in identifying folks of interest to them in real time on our cities’ streets.  The image below and its caption illustrate the thing.

I’m all for assisting the police, especially regarding the subject of that cynically tear-jerking caption.  But this sort of thing needs to be looked at with a very jaundiced eye.  It isn’t too far away from what the People’s Republic of China already is doing in terms of routine surveillance and tracking of everyone.

Democracy

A thought on its underpinnings, from Peter Wilson at the end of his The Heart of Europe: A History of the Holy Roman Empire:

Democratic legitimacy derives from the openness of debate, not the practice of voting.

He’s not far wrong, as comparisons between nations like Russia on the one hand and the United States or Great Britain on the other illustrate.

Too Much Privacy?

That’s actually a serious question.

The firestorm over Facebook Inc’s handling of personal data raises a question for those pondering a regulatory response: is there such a thing as too much privacy?

And

Law-enforcement agencies rely on access to user data as an important tool for tracking criminals or preventing terrorist attacks. As such, they have long argued additional regulation may be harmful to national security.

Unfortunately, no government can be trusted with citizens’ privacy, as the Star Chamber secret FISA court, the FBI leadership (and not just the current or immediately prior crowd—recall J Edgar Hoover), prior DoJ leadership, the Robert Mueller “investigation,” and much more demonstrate.

Suboptimal

A Maryland gerrymandering case, this one brought by the Republican Party, after it lost an election in the newly gerrymandered district, was before the Supreme Court this week.

One of the plaintiffs’ arguments is that the redistricting “violated Republican voters’ free-expression and political-association rights.”

Justice Sam Alito had the correct response to that bit of nonsense:

[I]f understand it, I really don’t see how any legislature will ever be able to redistrict[]

If the Republicans don’t have anything more than whining about losing an election, how can their legitimate gerrymandering complaints be taken seriously?

School Shootings and Gun Control

At a Parkland high school, a thug went in and killed 17 while injuring several more; he was captured elsewhere and after several hours.  At a Maryland school, a thug went in, wounded two, and was killed.

There are some critical differences in the two situations.

The Parkland thug had a semi-automatic rifle, while the Maryland thug had a hand gun.

The Parkland thug obtained his rifle legally, if with some trouble (one potential seller refused the sale, having developed his own suspicions while interacting with the thug).  The Maryland thug obtained his pistol illegally.