Category: Law

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Storage is One of iPhone’s Biggest Benefits

Oh the irony! I got up yesterday morning planning to write a version of the post you read now, choosing instead to look back at readers’ life-changing tech. The trigger: Motorola starting the New Year with a 64GB Moto X model and my previous day’s personal tech devices wrap-up, which got me to thinking abut smartphone differentiation. Processing power, graphics chips, and the like are passé. Who really cares but a minority of gadget geeks? But storage matters to everyone, and Apple gets it—as iPhone 6 and 6 Plus capacities demonstrate.

My feeds are full of reports this morning about a lawsuit filed against Apple alleging that iOS 8 consumes too much storage and, as such, the company misrepresents the amount available. I would have looked so smart writing yesterday about how much Apple gives that competitors don’t (well, to anyone who like me missed the first reports two days ago). That’s okay, now my analysis has a news hook. The point, for people reading no more than two paragraphs of any story: iPhone 6 capacities outclass competitors, and the problem of operating systems consuming much of available storage isn’t new or exclusive to the fruit-logo company. Just look to Google and Microsoft, for example.

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My Uninsured Life

I am supposed to be sitting in a movie theater watching Interstellar. The plan was in place for months. Instead, I write this post, which is commentary on health insurance in America. The two things are strangely connected, if in this or any other universe such seemingly disparate relationships are random. What’s that saying about a butterfly flapping its wings?

Here’s a nut graph, so you can decide whether to read further or stop here: America’s healthcare system is broken. Free-market forces cannot work. The 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act laid the framework for healthcare monopolies, which nearly 70 years later act like cartels, in defiance of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act. The Affordable Care Act raises healthcare costs, while managing the monopolies rather than eliminating them. As such, the free-market forces that should stimulate competition and drive down prices are stymied. 

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O Canada, What Say You?

What do two forts share in common? Kaci Hickox, the 33 year-old healthcare worker from Fort Worth, Texas, taking refuge in Fort Kent, Maine. Surely you know of the so-called Ebola nurse and the legal scuffle about quarantining her. As an Aroostook County native born about 70 kilometers (okay, I rounded up) southeast of FK and having traveled widely across the Lone Star State, I know something about the character of both regions. Think independent-mindedness times two, which equals “Don’t tell me what to do”.

The simple story: She volunteered in Sierra Leone, where the disease rages. She returned to the wrong state, New Jersey, which put her in isolation. She fled to one of the most rural and remote areas of the Northeast. Maine’s governor demanded voluntary quarantine. She defied it. A federal judge ruled against the Gov. News reporters who couldn’t find Fort Kent with a Google Map ruined the autumn tourist trade by filling up the only hotel. We all wait to see if she stays symptom free through November 10. Pass the popcorn. The suspense is thicker than a horror flick. 

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Single Sourcing Is the Source of News Evil

I am mortified by lazy reporting this morning. I’ve been looking over stories about Verizon requesting a California judge reject Apple’s request to bar numerous Galaxy-branded smartphones or tablets from selling in the United States. I have yet to find one story that cites the original source—Verizon’s filing. They all instead refer to a FOSS Patents blog post. According to the court calendar, a motion hearing is scheduled for October 13 (I looked).

FOSS Patents is not credible-enough source, because its story on this topic, as with others, is generally one person’s perspective. More importantly, in this case, original source material should be available through the court’s PACER system, which is where I assume FOSS got the Verizon filing (I don’t know).

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Editors Shrewdly Handled Gizmodo-iPhone Drama Act II

The toughest challenge for any newsroom is being the story. How should editors report about the news when they’re it, particularly if there are legal matters? That’s exactly Gizmodo‘s situation, following a Friday night police raid of editor Jason Chen’s home. Gizmodo waited until Monday to post about the search and seizure of items from Jason’s home, which included four computers and two servers. Gizmodo has responded tactfully from editorial and legal perspectives.

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Shield Laws Protect Sources

There seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding among many bloggers, journalists and the general public about the purpose of shield laws. They are not meant to protect journalists. The laws exist to protect journalists’ sources. The shield extends to journalists so they can’t be forced to reveal confidential sources or to have information about their sources forcibly seized.

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We Should Do Something

Each year, Kensington, Md., holds an annual Labor Day parade. For pictures I took last year, I held back one of the best: A very young girl sitting next to an American flag. Her facial expression and composition evoked the patriotic sentiments of the day. But her tank top had partially fallen down to reveal a nipple. As much as I liked the image, I kept it from my online collection of the day. I know that out there, scouring the Internet, are pedophiles that get off on pictures of kids.

Millions of people use the internet each day to watch adult pornography which is perfectly legal, and because it’s so popular more and more free porn sites are now available ones like hdsexvideo, unfortunately there are those that use the internet for darker purposes and troll through social media sites looking for pictures of kids. You might think that posting a picture of your kid taking a bath on facebook is completely innocent and to you and many others it is, but there are some out there that if they saw that picture would look at it in the same way as a normal adult would look at a picture of a naked woman or man, you don’t want to think that there are people out there looking at a picture of your kid in a sexual way but unfortunately that’s the hard truth these days.

Today’s New York Times story “Using Nearly Nude Pictures, Child Sex Sites Test Laws” takes a stark look at this dark underworld of online predators. But the predators aren’t just pedophiles. The story looks at the lurid world of child modeling, which pictures skirt the definition of child pornography.

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Immigration Case Study

I am a vocal opponent to the Bush Administration plans to turn illegal immigrants into felons. I got to see another administration’s immigration policy in action today.

I’m out of town on business. On the way from the airport the car driver and I got to talking. He’s from Mexico City and has lived in the US for over 20 years. Looks like, at one time, he was an illegal immigrant. He came here as a tourist and never returned. Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 granted amnesty that allowed this guy to stay in the country and get out of the factory and do better work. 

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I Don't See the Justification

Yesterday’s SouthCoastToday.com story about a student’s investigation by the Department of Homeland Security is breath stopping. Apparently, the “senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung’s tome on Communism called The Little Red Book“. I have to admit that Mao’s communist manifesto wouldn’t be on my reading list, but like this kid I probably would want it for research on a college paper about communism.

Cold War is over, right? The war on terror is against Muslim extremists. Right? Last I checked, Muslim extremism doesn’t have much in common with atheistic communism. So why is a kid filling out a university library book request on communism, “leaving his name, address, phone number, and Social Security number” getting “visited at his parents’ home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security?” And I have to ask: The Feds are monitoring library book requests now?