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Entries from September 2009

A Best (Last?) Shot at PATRIOT Act Reform

September 29th, 2009 · 2 Comments

It’s not getting a lot of pickup, but this Thursday’s markup in the Senate Judiciary Committee really could be the single most significant privacy and surveillance event of the Obama administration. There has to be a vote on the renewal of expiring PATRIOT Act provisions.  Thursday will determine whether the renewal legislation is in the […]

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Tags: Law · Privacy and Surveillance · Self Promotion

Simple, yet brilliant

September 29th, 2009 · 2 Comments

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Tags: Random Cool Link

What V-Po Said

September 27th, 2009 · 5 Comments

I had the same reaction as Virginia Postrel to the claim that an NBC producer sent a brazenly anti-Semitic e-mail to the group Americans for Limited Government. Even if the producer in question harbored such crude sentiments, you don’t get to a position of even minor responsibility at a major media outlet like that without […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media

How Not to Win a Surveillance Reform Fight

September 25th, 2009 · 10 Comments

So it looks as though Al Franken reading the Fourth Amendment to DOJ’s David Kris has blown up on lefty and/or privacy-friendly blogs. Look, I appreciate the sentiment, I really do.  I want to see Senators reciting the Fourth Amendment to representatives of the executive branch every time there’s a hearing.  I want them to […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media · Privacy and Surveillance

Explaining Glenn Beck’s Frog Stunt

September 24th, 2009 · 8 Comments

So, apparently Glenn Beck’s weird little frog stunt (below)—which they claim did not actually involve killing a real frog—seems to have perplexed a lot of people.  I thought it was pretty straightforward, so if you’re among the perplexed: I took the point to be that big, rapid, dramatic change can be more dangerous than seductively […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media

Weirdest Neutrality Argument I’ve Read This Week

September 23rd, 2009 · 11 Comments

Richard Koman at ZDnet on proposed legislation to block FCC net neutrality rules: The amendment is a blatantly unconstitutional attempt to assert Congressional control of an executive function. They try to get around this by controlling “expenditures,” and I certainly don’t know the Supreme Court holdings on such approaches, but it seems to me that […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media · Law · Tech and Tech Policy

Net Neutrality and the Architecture Avoidance Doctrine

September 22nd, 2009 · 6 Comments

If I can amplify a bit on a post at the Cato blog earlier today, I want to clarify that I fully agree some of the ISP behaviors that net neutrality proponents have identified as demanding a regulatory response really are seriously problematic. My point of departure is that I’d rather see if there are […]

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Tags: Law · Tech and Tech Policy

Fun With Commerce Clause Counterfactuals

September 21st, 2009 · 2 Comments

In the context of health care reform, Ilya Somin puts on a brave face and makes the traditional textual case for reading the Commerce Clause as a relatively narrow grant of power to legislate about actual commercial activity occurring across state lines, rather than an infinitely flexible mandate to Do Good so long as some […]

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Tags: Law · Libertarian Theory


September 17th, 2009 · 7 Comments

With several important provisions of the PATRIOT Act up for renewal before the end of the year, I’m incredibly pleased to see that Russ Feingold has introduced the JUSTICE Act, which is a kind of civil libertarian’s fantasy omnibus bill. It not only reins in the worst excesses of two of the three sunsetting provisions, […]

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Tags: Privacy and Surveillance

Arugula Akbar?

September 15th, 2009 · 5 Comments

Thoreau over at Unqualified Offerings writes: In a report on Indonesia, the Economist makes the interesting point that urban Muslims in Indonesia are actually more likely to be drawn to more austere, fundamentalist versions of Islam than their rural counterparts.  The rural Muslims prefer religious practices that blend Islam with elements of Hinduism and indigenous […]

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Tags: Religion · Sociology