Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: On Freedom

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kit McLean,

    Minor point… Swartz was a co-owner of Reddit – it was co-founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian. They merged with Infogami, Swartz company a year or so later. Not to diminish his role or deeds before or after Reddit and I’m sure to most it seems like a pedantic point.

    I did consider that, but ended up deciding that other people (eg: Wired) had considered it and chosen to still simply describe him as a “co-founder”, so I would too.

    I welcome you making the point though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Kit McLean, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I did consider that, but ended up deciding that other people (eg: Wired) had considered it and chosen to still simply describe him as a “co-founder”, so I would too.

    Ahhh, apologies, I should have known you'd looked at it and made a conscious decision to use co-founder. I haven't seen the Wired coverage, but I would tend to trust their position.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Will de Cleene, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    A drug possession conviction will not prevent you from being admitted as a lawyer.

    The Edge is quite correct. Unlike the lawmakers, the lawyers know what truly matters. Here's the proof from Redmer Yska's excellent history of cannabis, New Zealand Green (1990) pg.141:

    In May 1977, a Christchurch magistrate fined a law student $325 for growing 43 plants. Expressing regret at the effect of a conviction on the student's future, he said "laws could be changed through the force of public opinion but in the meantime the law regarding cannabis has to be observed, even though some might think it absurd (NZ Herald 4th May 1977). He cited "practising solicitors who have been convicted of this offence. There has been no question of their being removed from the Law Society's rolls or any disciplinary action being taken against them." Another magistrate added the following day, "I am aware that there is a feeling within the community that the possession and cultivation of cannabis is not a serious matter. But while I am aware of that feeling, until the law is changed my attitude is directed by the legislation of parliament."

    That was in 19-freaking-77. The magistrate obviously didn't realise how hard it is for government to admit they made a mistake. Meantime, NZ police spent at least one billion dollars maintaining cannabis prohibition in the last decade.

    Raumati • Since Jul 2011 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Will de Cleene,

    NZ police spent at least one billion dollars maintaining cannabis prohibition in the last decade

    Now that should be criminal. What an utter waste of scarce public resources.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16739 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    That's just the police. There's also the courts, the prisons, parole, monitoring and record-keeping. Also, it may be wrong, the police budget is only $1.4 billion per annum, so they'd be using over 7% of their budget on pot.

    If that is right, it's pretty clear who's hooked on the marijuana, eh.

    http://www.corrections.govt.nz/about-us/facts_and_statistics/prisons/ps-July-2013.html

    11.4% of prisoners are in for drugs or "antisocial", excluding people also charged with "more serious" traffic or violence offences.

    51.4% for being "Māori". Well, no, you'd expect some, so only ~40%.

    Since Nov 2006 • 480 posts Report Reply

  • Will de Cleene, in reply to tussock,

    That’s just the police. There’s also the courts, the prisons, parole, monitoring and record-keeping. Also, it may be wrong, the police budget is only $1.4 billion per annum, so they’d be using over 7% of their budget on pot.

    Yes and no. The $1 billion over a decade does not include those areas and more. Instead of tax revenue accruing from cannabis sales, prohibition has sucked huge wads of taxpayer cash out for neglible gain. You'll find that the cannabis budget is closer to 15 percent of the total police budget than 7.

    Raumati • Since Jul 2011 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If so, it was Law School itself telling them the porkies.

    Law Schools don't have much at all to do with admission to the bar, so any advice that students received while at university would be informal/gossip. Law students are a fairly tight bunch so a lot of that goes around.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6201 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Law students are a fairly tight bunch so a lot of that goes around.

    Also, fact checking on the Web was in it's infancy in the early 90s. It's going to be hard to convey to my kids that once upon a time you mostly had to trust people who were specializing in something.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8584 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Law Schools don’t have much at all to do with admission to the bar, so any advice that students received while at university would be informal/gossip.

    Law Schools are asked to comment on the suitability of each of their graduates for admission. I know of one instance around my time, where the Law School opposed admission of a graduate, which was at least initially successful.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    My understanding is that in order to progress their careers prosecutors want big flashy cases which they can be sure of winning. As much to do with the way they are promoted and paid as whether they are decent human beings.

    The use of “tough on crime” prosecutorial cred as an entrée into elected life is rife in the US. As a federal appointee the prosecutor in this case didn’t need to worry about getting re-elected, unlike in the “justice” systems of most states, but she very likely has her eyes on a tilt at an elected role as a state attorney-general or some other office (state or federal). Or she may be angling for a nice judicial appointment where those “tough on crime” creds hold appeal.

    The US system is horribly, horribly broken. That officers of the law and the courts are (in many states) elected is an abomination, in my eyes, and that is compounded by the ways in which the record of a candidate for an office that must be confirmed by the Senate becomes a weapon against them in the eyes of politicians who want punitive sanctions against all convicts.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Really, dysfunctional countries and ungoverned areas like Zimbabwe or Somalia should be at the top of propertarians’ ‘freedom’ lists. You can do anything you like in those places, subject to a small retainer being paid to appropriate cops and warlords.

    Which strongly suggests that they actually did look at more than just property freedoms. Hell, on that ranking NZ is considerably less free than quite a few places because of the RMA (not saying that's in any way a bad thing).
    We also have that dirty, dirty socialised medicine, and quite strong controls on firearms ownership. Looked at purely through the lens of libertard ideology we should be ranking a long way down the list.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Danielle,

    I was just saying on Twitter how much I enjoy posting things like the Crooks and Liars link on Facebook

    Don't do that. Some of them might want to move here!

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Don’t do that. Some of them might want to move here!

    No, you and Rob don't need to worry. I have experience: these links actually have the opposite effect, in that they just piss conservative people off and make them all internally indignant about the USA being the greatest/free-est/whateverest country in the world. It's like those studies which show that when people are confronted with facts which logically rebut their strongly held but indefensible beliefs, the beliefs actually become *more* entrenched. "I don't care what you say, I know I'm right!"

    (My half-sister, who is an absolutely raving born-again Christian and as Republican as they come, *did* actually move here for a year in the mid-eighties because of family stuff but quickly returned to the States - after removing her four children from public school because we taught evolution. I am not kidding.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Back to Aaron Swartz. His death appears to have stimulated something very exciting.

    It seems people's shock at his treatment and death might be enough to change scientific publishing. People were already tired of having their science restricted it seems many are taking this as the moment to end that restriction.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3414 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    That's one hell of a tribute, especially if it leads to the end of paywall-for-profit scientific publishing.

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3909 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Additionally, bare-faced racism, as well as old-fashioned robber baron practices, was and still is a big factor in getting weed criminalised in the first place. All it needed was a mouthpiece to spread the word – in the form of a press baron by the name of William Randolph Hearst.

    I also suspect it's why weed prohibition hasn't yet collapsed under its own weight like booze Prohibition did in the 1930s.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4351 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    (My half-sister, who is an absolutely raving born-again Christian and as Republican as they come, *did* actually move here for a year in the mid-eighties because of family stuff but quickly returned to the States – after removing her four children from public school because we taught evolution. I am not kidding.)

    I have a distant memory of someone bringing their niece to school one day for a visit, and their niece was several months older than them. It was such a curious thing at the time I still remember it. Was that you?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6201 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    Yes, she was a bit older than me! Wow, I forgot that even happened. Thanks for enhancing my terrible memory for childhood events, Kyle. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danielle,

    Do you call her Auntie?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8584 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to BenWilson,

    Does she call me auntie, you mean? She can't currently because she's dead (uh, I don't mean that as flippantly as it sounds, it's just an awkward thing to write), but she didn't when we were kids either. (Of course in Louisiana you do get called "aunt" a lot even if you aren't an aunt, and all older women are "Miss [firstname]" whether married, single, related to you or someone you know from the grocery store, so it can be somewhat confusing at the best of times.)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Danielle,

    O, I understand that from a Maori perspective - I get called Taua at Kai Tahu gatherings, and Whaea at Northern gatherings -correctly, linguistically, I'm neither:
    I'm "Tena koe, e te kaipuraukau-

    but, aue! I'll go with auntie!

    Aunties are an honourable title in all my lines! Kia ora Auntie/taua Danielle!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Islander,

    What I should've emphasised is that all senior titles are totally matters of respect
    -and, that respect extends to kids-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danielle,

    Does she call me auntie, you mean?

    That's what I should have meant.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8584 posts Report Reply

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