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.

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.

Counting US Citizens is Illegal

That’s what California’s Attorney General, Xavier Bacerra (D), says.  The Commerce Department has said the 2020 census form will include a question asking whether the respondent is an American citizen, and Bacerra doesn’t like it.  In the op-ed he co-wrote with California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) for the San Francisco Chronicle, he wrote

Including a citizenship question on the 2020 census is not just a bad idea—it is illegal[]

and he repeated that claim in one of his tweets.

Never mind that there’s plenty of precedent: the Census Bureau asked this question during its decennial census-takings every time from 1820 through 1950, and every year through today on its annual census sampling.

Arms Keeping and Bearing “Reform”

The House passed a bill last December that greatly expands background checks and that mandates concealed-carry reciprocity among the several States.

The Senate should take up that bill without further delay and pass it as well.  With the much broader background checks, there’s no longer any rational argument for opposing concealed-carry reciprocity.

It’s a pipedream, though; there aren’t enough Progressive-Democrat Senators willing to vote for cloture.  The lack of progress is too important to them as a campaign issue.

Agency Fees

These are fees unions in a raft of jurisdictions are allowed to charge non-union members as a condition of those workers’ right to work at all.  Ostensibly, the fees are for the unions’ labor efforts in negotiating wages, benefits, and working conditions for everyone in the workplace.  The Supreme Court is considering a case, Janus v AFSCME, concerning whether such fees are constitutional.

It’s already the case that

Agency fees already are forbidden from paying for advocacy and other political activity.

Constitutions

The Communist Party of China has before it a Constitutional amendment that would abolish term limits for the Presidency of the People’s Republic of China.  The CPC is expected to ratify the amendment, along with a number of others that also will enhance the power and apparent prestige of the incumbent, Xi Jingping.

The CPC is expected to ratify….

It’s interesting that the Chinese people aren’t allowed a voice in the document the CPC uses to subjugate them. This is the contempt for ordinary citizens that the men of the government of the People’s Republic of China will inflict on all the nations over which the PRC gains control.

A Misunderstanding

Ex-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in the emotional aftermath of the Parkland, FL, school shootings, thinks it’s time to discuss the 2nd Amendment.

She’s right, but for the wrong reasons.  She’s right because it’s always time for We the People to discuss our Constitution and every part of it, and not only in the 8th grade Civics classes we all slept through at the time.

She’s wrong, too.

I think it is time to have a conversation about what the right to bear arms means in the modern world.  I don’t understand why civilians need to have access to military weapons. We wouldn’t say you can go out and buy a tank.

Shootings and Schools

One answer to school shootings is to maintain our schools and school grounds as gun free zones and thereby keep our children exposed to the risk of butchery.

Another answer is to have government limit who is allowed to have guns in our nation and determine the purpose for which we’ll be allowed to have them and thereby, in addition to keeping our children exposed to the risk of butchery, exposing our families and ourselves to that risk.

Another answer is to train and arm school personnel.

In Which the New York Times and the BBC Miss Again

It seems the women journalists in the pay of the BBC were being paid significantly less than their male colleagues, to the point that Carrie Gracie, BBC’s China Editor, resigned her position in protest (I’m citing a New York Times report about the BBC.  Why that’s important, rather than citing a BBC report directly, will come clear in a bit).  Gracie has returned to London, still a BBC journalist, but there she’ll be paid the same as her male colleagues.

And how did that equal pay come about, you might ask?

According to “the organization” (presumably a BBC mucky-muck or BBC mucky-muck’s spokesman),

The Supreme Court Gets One Wrong…Maybe

A murderous felon in Alabama was, on conviction in 1994, sentenced to life in prison by his jury, and that sentence was overridden by the presiding judge, who ordered his execution.  The man was scheduled to be executed Thursday, but the Supreme Court has stayed the execution pending its decision on whether to hear the man’s appeal of his execution.

The stay is consistent with the Court’s prior rulings striking State laws that allow judges to overrule juries and to impose death sentences where the juries decided otherwise.  In this regard, I agree: the jury is the proper sentencer where a man’s life is in the balance.