UPDATED:Authority continues to do stupid things, as usual, by bullying people for not being racist

 Train wreck at Montparnasse 1895

Prosecute People for Not Being Racist Anymore
[Via First Draft]

Doc sent this along, and Jesus tits: 

The June issue of the paper went to print with the white space standing in for the letter, and without the word “Redskins” appearing anywhere. And this was when McGee decided to run around campus in his Quixotic attempt to collect all of the copies. This was also when the elder Pirritano made up his mind that the editors of the Playwickian should be prosecuted for their refusal to print his son’s letter.

“This in my opinion also reaches the level of a conspiracy, in any other context except a school environment it would be considered such,” Pirritano said in an email. “I see this as no different than if these students went into another students [sic] locker and stole their phone or any valuable. Theft is theft no matter how you look at it, and they admit conspiring to do such. My statement reflects that view and in my opinion a police investigation should have taken place. It also reflects my personal philosophy that taxpayers should not be on the hook for such acts and I made that known to the public that attended our meetings as well as received comments from the public that they supported such investigation.”

He’s arguing that the paper’s use of school funds is a misappropriation of tax dollars. One problem though: the final issue of the school year, historically, has been paid for by the students themselves. June 2014 was no different.

On July 2, Gayle Spoul, an attorney hired to represent the Playwickian‘s editors, wrote to Michael Levin, an attorney retained by the school district to sort out this issue: “It is inconceivable to me that the District would decide to expend time and ‘funds’ to ‘investigate’ and then potentially prosecute these students, who are simply attempting to stand up for the rights guaranteed them by the Constitution and Pennsylvania law.”

For more background see Doc’s post here


UPDATE: The First Draft post is not the important point. Here is a direct link to the important article.


I really hate this crap and wish that the authoritarian principal here, who has penalized teachers for doing the right thing when he asked them to do the wrong thing, would simply lose his job and have to work at minimum wage for the rest of his life. But I bet he gets a higher paying job in the administration. Because they, being hierarchical authoritarians themselves, have instituted restrictive polices forcing the editors to use words that they feel are racist.

Think about that? Would any school district force the editors of a school paper to use what the students view as racial epithets regarding a minority? Yet here we have a board bullying students to do just that.

And because of the board’s refusal to compromise, all the school district has really done is radicalize the students even more, while wasting a lot of taxpayers money. Last year it was 15-7 regarding the policy. This year the students editors are unanimous.

And expect the school district to pay a lot more as lawsuits are signed. Lawyers told the board to not make this move, explaining the long term legal effects.

Just stupid.

Authoritarians always end up losing against democracy. They always do stupid things by refusing to compromise, even a little. The British were stupid in the Revolution. The South was stupid in the Civil War. Simple, smart compromise would have been so much better.

But authority simply cannot compromise because it sees that as losing its authority. To many authoritarians only maintain their authority by the naked use of power. Which is why they do stupid things. And why they eventually loses when dealing with rapid change.

Because the power of democracy comes from its ability to adapt, to not be bound by the constraints of hierarchy and position, as it finds a wise answer to the damage done by uncompromising authority.

How distributed democracy permitted a team to play top flight soccer

 Soccer 286

Meet the smallest team ever to play in elite European soccer
[Via Quartz]

Barcelona’s soccer team later today will host a match in its legendary stadium, Camp Nou, where the club regularly plays in front of 98,000. Barcelona has won La Liga 22 times and the European Cup four times. Its opponents are much less renowned, though, in their own way, no less remarkable.

The club from Eibar, a small town in the Basque country, is playing in Spain’s top division for the first time ever. Last year, its budget was €3.2 million ($4.1 million), which wouldn’t cover the annual salary of Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s star player. The team’s stadium holds 5,200 and average attendance last year was 2,900—which makes Eibar the smallest team ever in the history of La Liga. It is quite likely that that it is the smallest team ever to play in any of the top divisions of the major European leagues of England, Spain, Italy, and Germany. For example, in England, you have to go two divisions below teams like Manchester United and Chelsea to get to attendances below Eibar’s.


They qualified for the top division but did not have the money. After osing in court, they needed several million dollars to play.

Luckily for them, we now have to the tools for people around the world to support organizations that they like – the team crowdfunded the money.

The plucky team had the lowest budget of the 80 teams in the second division. They have no debt.They are a great example of how to succeed without  needing to spend huge amounts of money.

Yet they won enough games to be promoted up to the top league. So they used that same attitude to ask people from around the world to help.

And they did.

A 90-year-old who has been a member since 1945 bought the share that let the team reach its goal. Now all the names of the shareholders are on a wall in the Eibar stadium, primarily featuring locals but—in a sign of how much this plucky team caught the imagination of soccer fans everywhere—also people from more than 50 countries.

This is how distributed approaches can overcome obstacles to achieve success. we continue to see more of this every day.

All it took to get the paper pubished was a Total Asshole

This Widely Cited Physicist Is A Total Asshole. He Also Doesn’t Exist.
[Via io9]

This Widely Cited Physicist Is A Total Asshole. He Also Doesn't Exist.

Stronzo Bestiale has published research in some of the world’s most esteemed physics journals, and his co-authors are often leading members in their fields. But Stronzo Bestiale, whose name means “total asshole” in Italian, has a secret. He kind of doesn’t exist.


SImply changing the title and adding the made up name resulted in the paper being published after initially being rejected.

I’ll have to try this.

It appears that legal citations are copyrighted, even though mandated by our legal system

Harvard Law School 

Harvard Law Review Claims Copyright Over Legal Citations; Now Challenged By Public Domain Effort
[Via Techdirt]

If you’re not a copyright geek, you might not be aware of the copyright saga revolving around the Harvard “Bluebook.” The Bluebook is basically the standard for legal citations in the US. It’s technically owned by an organization that is effectively made up of four top law schools. For a variety of reasons, the idea that citations can be covered by copyright is troubling to a lot of folks, but the Harvard Law Review, in particular, has stood by the copyright in The Bluebook (for which it makes a pretty penny each year). Last year, there was a fight over this, best summed up succinctly by Carl Malamud in this short BoingBoing post:

For five years, Professor Frank Bennett, a distinguished legal scholar at Nagoya University School of Law, has been trying to add Bluebook Support to Zotero, the open source citation tool used all over the world.

Professor Bennett asked Harvard Law Review for permission. They said no. He asked again. They said no again. He secured Larry Lessig as his lawyer. They said no to Lessig. I pitched in and got a bunch of angry letters from the most expensive law firm in Boston. Even a flaming headline in Boing Boing wasn’t enough to get the Harvard Law Review off their $2 million/year revenue stream to permit a little bit of innovation.

Frank Bennett finally said the hell with it after asking nicely for 5 years, and has now released Bluebook Zotero. It’s shameful that Bluebook, Inc. couldn’t deal with this situation in a better way.

If you want to dig in, with even more details, you can look here, here or here, with that last one being the original letter that Malamud sent to Harvard, which we’ve also embedded below.


Yes, did you know that actual citations are copyrighted? Gotta love lawyers.

Except that a distributed approach to route around this barrier uncovered something interesting – the 10th edition of these citations, which are mandated by the government to be used, is in the public domain. While published in the late 50s, it means that much of the current edition is based on public domain material, which weakens its copyright.

These istributed democrats are creating an alternative to the legal Bluebook called Baby Blue. This is how they describe the ramifications for the Harvard Law Review:

In short, The Bluebook will soon face a public domain competitor. And when Baby Blue comes to market, The Harvard Law Review Association is likely to face questions regarding why the public – including pro se and indigent litigants – are obliged to pay for access to a resource that is indispensable to all those who seek justice from our courts. The Harvard Law Review Association is likely also to face questions regarding the financial transparency of the current structure.


DEA creating fake social media pages – another reason to lockdown your phone



Drug agency sued over its fake Facebook account
[Via AP]

The Drug Enforcement Administration set up a fake Facebook account using photographs and other personal information it took from the cellphone of a New York woman arrested in a cocaine case in hopes of tricking her friends and associates into revealing incriminating drug secrets.

The Justice Department initially defended the practice in court filings but now says it is reviewing whether the Facebook guise went too far.

Sondra Arquiett’s Facebook account looked as real as any other. It included photos of her posing on the hood of a sleek BMW and a close-up with her young son and niece. She even appeared to write that she missed her boyfriend, who was identified by his nickname.


Yep, they simply created a fake Facebook page using photos from a confiscated phone:

In a court filing in August, the Justice Department contended that while Arquiett didn’t directly authorize Sinnigen to create the fake account, she “implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her cellphone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in … ongoing criminal investigations.”

The photos showed her in sexy, provocative positions as well as including family members  who appear to be underage.So if you ever give the DEA access to your phone, they can use whatever information they find. For anything if they call it an ongoing criminal investigation.

Glad I have an iPhone 6. That way they will have to get a warrant which should spell out exactly what they can and cannot do.

Continuing cracks in authority seen in gaming community

 Ball Fight

Social Justice Warriors and the New Culture War
[Via Boing Boing]

There’s a culture war happening right now. It’s happening in games, in film, in journalism, in television, in fiction, in fandom. It’s happening online, everywhere. And everywhere, sexists, recreational misogynists and bigots are losing.


The world is changing. The balance of power is moving away from authoritarians and we are seeing more aspects of this every day. Distributed approaches have greater abilities to deal successfully with change.

Distributed democracy is a threat to the hegemony that hierarchical authority has enjoyed the last generation.

We see a similar dynamic with many politicians. We see it with many corporations. With climate deniers. With creationists. With anti-vaxxers. We saw it with the reaction of Washington football fans to the presence of Native Americans.

And with many gamers.

They act like stuck pigs when changes impinge on their authority.

They shriek more than they convince. They are unable to have rational conversations. They exalt authority over the distributed democracy of other groups. They act as barriers to entry to the group, determining the purity of all members.

Authority generally creates a binary world – yes/no, with us/against  us. Authoritarian zealots that create communities of exclusion rather than inclusion will have a very hard time over the next few years.

Because, as we see again and again, they are simply unable to deal with change. Hierarchical authority is too brittle.

No traffic. A benefit of Hong Kong protests

Daytime photos capture the eerie quiet of Hong Kong’s central district
[Via Quartz]

A lonely road.

HONG KONG—On any given business day, Hong Kong’s 7.2 million people take 12.4 million journeys on public transport, many of them coming into and out of the area of the city known as Central.

The neighborhood is home to finance giants including Bank of China, HSBC, and Citigroup, as well as the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. It’s also the local headquarters of companies including Rolex and the law firm Clifford Chance, along with the city’s main government buildings and China’s People’s Liberation Army Force.

But since Hong Kong’s mass protests started, a daytime visit to Central or Wan Chai, the two neighborhoods abutting the agitation’s epicenter at Admiralty, has offered up glimpses of a post-apocalyptic Hong Kong. Because protesters have blocked roads and some businesses are keeping employees home, the neighborhoods during the day are eerily empty, with abandoned avenues and overpasses that normally teem with many of Hong Kong’s 18,000 taxis, 163 trams, thousands of buses, and half a million cars.


I expect zombies to come running out at any moment.


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