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Antone Johnson › Comments

Antone Johnson
Re: NSA spying: FISA court upholds surveillance; LinkedIn files petition; Verizon exec blasts tech firms - http://www.siliconbeat.com/2013...
""The news is curious because [Hoffman told Arrington] that LinkedIn had not had “touchpoints” with the NSA or Prism." I suspect that's because LinkedIn wants permission to loudly proclaim either that the number is ZERO or that (nearly) all of the small number of "national security-related requests" it has received were not under these controversial practices or programs, but rather by customary search warrants and court orders. (Another clue is from Rottenberg's carefully worded "…numbers of national security-related requests, IF ANY.”) The problem with these strict secrecy laws is that they require companies to "neither confirm nor deny," as they say. As I've written before, the only conceivable reason Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Microsoft and now LinkedIn have been asking, pleading, even SUING for the right to disclose these figures is because the number or percentage of NSA/natsec-related data requests they've received is miniscule compared to the total body of requests they receive..." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Snowden Disclosures Finally Hit 12 on a Scale of 1 to 10 - http://www.motherjones.com/node...
"No.  And for that reason the focus should be on keeping that government as transparent and accountable to the people as humanly possible — not on quixotic attempts to confiscate its tools or weapons (however you view them)." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Snowden Disclosures Finally Hit 12 on a Scale of 1 to 10 - http://www.motherjones.com/node...
"Bingo. That horse left the barn long ago. Unilateral disarmament is simply not realistic. To the extent citizens' consciousness has been raised on a serious subject, we need to focus on controlling who holds the power and maximizing their integrity, accountability and transparency. Isn't that the essence of every "good government" movement? My favorite analogy has become police officers carrying guns that could end your life or mine in an instant with the twitch of a finger. Emphasis on COULD. That's not intrinsically evil (well, some may argue it is) — and frankly I'm more comfortable with cops carrying guns than RWNJs. The serious threats come from things like police corruption, brutality, profiling, harassment, intimidation and excessive use of deadly force. We don't cure those ills by confiscating every officer's weapon. We aspire to minimize them through good training, strict policies, thorough investigation whenever an officer-involved shooting occurs, and discipline or even..." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Snowden Disclosures Finally Hit 12 on a Scale of 1 to 10 - http://www.motherjones.com/node...
"Yeah, since this has been going on for *decades*, no doubt we've read of hundreds of cases where hackers and fraudsters have exploited these special government-only loopholes to disastrous effect on regular consumer/citizens.  Oh wait, no we haven't. But then the bad guys only have every incentive in the world to exploit those secret back doors — such as, in the case of financial systems, enriching themselves beyond their wildest dreams while remaining safely offshore.  So that's not much of an incentive to work hard at it or anything.  Besides, we all know those hackers aren't very smart or resourceful or anything. /sarcasm" - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Snowden Disclosures Finally Hit 12 on a Scale of 1 to 10 - http://www.motherjones.com/node...
"Well said." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Snowden Disclosures Finally Hit 12 on a Scale of 1 to 10 - http://www.motherjones.com/node...
""Those who quote historical figures out of context to say something the original speaker never intended may as well just fabricate convenient quotes out of thin air." — Abraham Lincoln" - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: The College-Loan Scandal | Politics News | Rolling Stone - http://www.rollingstone.com/preview...
"Last time I checked, the federal treasury wasn't exactly rolling in dough (to put it mildly). The "hidden tax" logic needs to be taken a step further. Why does the federal government need to wring every spare penny (or billion) out of these programs? For the same reason it's become dependent on every other revenue source: Extremist, government-hating ideologues have hijacked one political party and made a reckless pledge not to raise any taxes, period, resulting in ruinous fiscal gridlock (see "sequester") in Washington. How did we get here? Let me count the ways: (1) War of choice waged in the wrong country on false pretenses, which we were promised would magically finance itself through oil money -- a trillion-plus at this point? A different strain of extremist ideologues (neocons) were behind that misadventure. (2) Deregulation of the financial services industry, fostering systemic corruption and broad-based perverse financial incentives that fueled the housing bubble -- which,..." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: The Guardian Publishes Another Deliberately Shocking Yet Self-Debunking NSA Article - http://thedailybanter.com/2013...
"Fundamentally I can't shake the feeling that all this hand-waving is indistinguishable from shrieking that hundreds of thousands of police officers are roaming the streets with loaded guns and could "potentially" end your life or mine at any moment with the twitch of a finger. Well, they "can" in the parlance of many of these articles (in the sense of "have the technical ability to"). Yet we don't see the masses trembling in fear at the prospect, or endure Greenwaldian self-righteous polemics about how police must be disarmed to fend off a repressive, um, "police state." This notwithstanding ample evidence of *actual* abuses and corruption over the course of decades or centuries. How can we tolerate this constant threat of government-imposed violence in our midst? (Think of the children!) The only answer I come up with is that we've grown to trust that *most* law enforcement officers want to do the right thing *most* of the time, and when abuses happen, there will be consequences...." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: The Guardian Publishes Another Deliberately Shocking Yet Self-Debunking NSA Article - http://thedailybanter.com/2013...
"This "self-debunking article" phenomenon bears a striking resemblance to a certain kind of similarly shrill, unethical advertising: "FREE!!! Unicorn with Fairy Dust." Only there's a big fat asterisk next to "free" and a disclaimer that reads "* Free bonus with purchase of $100 or more." That asterisk only exists because without it, another TLA (three-letter agency) of the hated, feared federal government — the FTC — would go after the charlatan guns blazing for false and misleading advertising." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
"I'm a longtime fan of the Mongolian BBQ genre of hole-in-the-wall eatery. I've enjoyed many a good meal in Westwood, Pasadena, Hollywood... hell, even Mountain View. If you went to UCLA you probably…" - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: IRS Chief Confirms Targeting of Tea Party Groups - http://www.volokh.com/2013...
Antone Johnson
Re: IRS Chief Confirms Targeting of Tea Party Groups - http://www.volokh.com/2013...
"It seems foolish to be using search keywords as a proxy for ideological or partisan bias. Frankly, I don't view "Tea Party" and "Progress" as remotely comparable. The former is the proper name for a unique, clearly defined, well-publicized contemporary political movement (as well as an historical event, of course). How many false positives is that search likely to turn up? Go ahead and try Googling "Tea Party" in quotes. By contrast, searching for groups with "Progressive" and similar words in the title is casting a much wider net. The word isn't inherently political, nor is it part of the proper name of any widely known group ("Progressive Party?") to my knowledge. "Progressive" is imbued with political meaning only in certain contexts. Again using Google, the first page of results yields everything from auto insurance to a genre of electronic dance music. Keep going and we find motorcycle suspensions, cooking tools — and yes, a couple advocacy groups. (I suppose it's a sign of the..." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Edward Snowden Took the Job at Booz Allen Just to Collect (and Then Release) US Government Secrets - http://www.volokh.com/2013...
"Helluva price to pay to stoke one's narcissism. The most effective whistleblowing, if you want to call it that, is done Deep Throat style. His identity wasn't confirmed until 30 years later. The irresistible urge to claim credit and gain notoriety — vs. letting the disclosed information speak for itself (with ample assistance from Glenn Greenwald) — is his undoing." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: What the Prism Stories Tell Us About the Press - http://www.volokh.com/2013...
"Actually he's been charged with *leaking* (Section 793) under the Espionage Act, not the act of espionage itself (Section 794). The Washington Post made this unforgivable error in its initial reporting and many others have repeated it — in headlines no less." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: The FISA Court Order Flap: Take a Deep Breath - http://www.volokh.com/2013...
"My main quibble with the uproar is that it's not obvious that merely *obtaining* phone metadata subjects all 314 million Americans to a "search" by Fourth Amendment standards. I expect to go to my grave without ever having a single one of my phone records searched for *anything* by the NSA (or any federal agency) — except perhaps to prove a negative, e.g., as part of a massive automated search for numbers that called Yemen or a number on some list of suspects — for which I'd be happy to "pass" with flying colors, along with about 314 million others, unbeknownst to all of us. How is that fundamentally different from obtaining records showing all U.S. numbers called by Yemenis or terrorist suspects at that time and date — for which I assume probable cause would exist? After all, every call has both an initiator and a recipient. You can get to it from either end, but I suspect obtaining that information from Yemeni authorities would prove challenging (read "impossible"), in situations..." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: The FISA Court Order Flap: Take a Deep Breath - http://www.volokh.com/2013...
"That strikes me as the very nature of a well-functioning representative democracy: The American people's dramatically heightened fear of domestic terrorism post-9/11 (for valid reasons) put pressure on legislators to prioritize counter-terrorism efforts at the top of the policy agenda, supplanting other concerns including civil liberties. Although in hindsight it may have been an overreaction, I'd say that reflection of the will of the people was a more faithful exercise of representative democracy than the way sausage is typically made in Washington (i.e., an opaque, byzantine process tainted by horse trading, arm twisting and special interest lobbying). It's also a textbook example of why we have an independent judiciary empowered to exercise judicial review, curbing the excesses of the "tyranny of the majority." And indeed that's exactly what transpired, with some of the more problematic provisions held unconstitutional. In that sense, I'd say the constitutional structure operated..." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: The FISA Court Order Flap: Take a Deep Breath - http://www.volokh.com/2013...
"What is "problematic" about the way the Patriot Act came into being? In substance, I have serious objections to some of its provisions on policy or constitutional grounds. Nevertheless, in terms of process, it passed swiftly by overwhelming majorities on a bipartisan basis in both houses of Congress." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Mega-Trend: Ride-Sharing At Scale Could Be Crazy Massive - http://blog.semilshah.com/2013...
"Good point. So many large vehicles only have one person in them. Also, parking is a huge waste of precious space in places like SF. Two wheels really is the way to go for solo commuters in urban areas (weather permitting). Proud Vespa owner here!" - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Did the Leak of the CIA Operation in Yemen Justify “Very Aggressive Action” to Investigate Its Source? - http://www.volokh.com/2013...
"How is this intimidation? So the government subpoenaed a record of every phone number I called in the past two months. That means it has a record of every phone number I called in the past two months. No more. Is anyone at AP being charged with a crime or investigated as a suspect? Not to my knowledge. They are sources of relevant evidence — or more accurately, the phone company is a source of relevant evidence that their calls generated — to be used in identifying and prosecuting a government employee for felonious misconduct. If intimidation is a motive here, it's other government employees who might be tempted to leak in the future that are being targeted for intimidation — or, in the less pejorative language of criminal law, "deterrence." Journalists hate this for the same reason they get all sanctimonious about going to jail to protect anonymous sources: These sources give them juicy stories to tell that sell papers and win prizes. When is the last time an AP reporter was..." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Did the Leak of the CIA Operation in Yemen Justify “Very Aggressive Action” to Investigate Its Source? - http://www.volokh.com/2013...
"They're not going after AP at all. They're going after the government employee who apparently committed a serious crime by divulging classified information to the AP reporters." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Twitter ‘Hate Map’ shows where racist, homophobic, and offensive tweets originate - http://venturebeat.com/2013...
"My guess about CA is that it fared well primarily because researchers included at least two anti-gay slurs in the mix. That's not widely tolerated in the sprawling coastal metroplexes of the SF Bay Area and LA-SD that comprise 2/3 of the state's population. There's a reason the Village People wrote a gay liberation anthem called "Go West" 35 years ago. If you know California, Humboldt has little in common with (or allegiance to) places like LA or Orange County. It's closer to Oregon both geographically and culturally. It's also in the rural region north of the Bay Area that fares worse in this study than much of the state. Hard to believe the data would be manipulated both to make the state as a whole look artificially good and to make its own area look relatively bad by CA standards. (It would be roughly equivalent to people in Syracuse or Rochester publishing a study making NYC look good.) Greater LA fares surprisingly well for a county of 10 million with a history of infamous..." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Washington Post on United States v. Auernheimer - http://www.volokh.com/2013...
"Setting aside analogies, on which reasonable minds seem to differ, the defendants' process and intent (as evidenced by their words and actions) are dispositive in my view: Discover an apparent security hole. (A truly boneheaded one at that.) Repeat a few times with different parameters to verify that the results are reproducible. Yes! Reproducible results = good practice consistent with scientific method. Congratulations, gentlemen, we've discovered a bona fide vulnerability. We could deliver this news to AT&T as good samaritans, or to the press to publicly shame the company for its sub-standard treatment of consumers' personally identifiable information (likely in violation of its own privacy policy and/or state privacy law), or both. Fair enough; perhaps cause for thanks and a lucrative security consulting engagement! The problem is these guys didn't leave well enough alone. Showing the reporter or AT&T five or 50 or 500 examples would have been ample to make the point. Instead,..." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Wolfgang Puck Express (1/5) - http://www.yelp.com/biz...
Map
"CLOSED. Gone. Real shame, too, because it was a reliably good, quick, affordable option when headed off the mountain. :(" - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Seattle's Best Coffee (4/5) - http://www.yelp.com/biz...
Map
"It's Seattle's Best. As with other chains, you know what you're getting: reliably drinkable coffee and espresso drinks, hot or cold. If you're a Third Wave artisanal coffee connoisseur who "cups"…" - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Red-lined Realism: A Corporate Job Ad You Need to See - http://abovethelaw.com/2013...
"Well, on the plus side, you can buy a house in depressed Michigan for $55K. A parking space will cost more than that in many big cities." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: VC funding vs. Crowdfunding - let’s get real - http://informationarbitrage.com/post...
"Interesting commentary, particularly on the subject of "friction." Low friction is great for entrepreneurs, but it also entails minimal due diligence and accountability, creating some nasty incentives and unintended consequences as I wrote at Gust (http://gust.com/angel-investin... ). I'm a cheerleader for all forms of entrepreneurship, and support crowdfunding *products* or creative works (e.g. Kickstarter), but it's hard to envision mom-and-pop *investors* (vs. buyers or donors) being anything other than disappointed with equity crowdfunding. The AngelList guys candidly disclose to investors, "Expect to lose your money." Why would any sane person make that investment? Angels invest because they know with a relatively large sample size, there should be a good positive ROI for the whole portfolio — but you need to make quite a few investments (or have high-quality deal flow coupled with great judgment and/or sheer luck) to get there. I fear that unaccredited retail investors placing..." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: The Pramana Collective: New Tech PR Firm Made Up of Old PR Hands - http://allthingsd.com/2013031...
"Isn't there some irony in using the term "bullshit-free" in a post announcing a group that christened itself The Pramana Collective? Did they take branding lessons from the folks at the PandoDaily School of Obscurely Pretentious Foreign Names? ;) But seriously, it's all about the people. No doubt this talented trio will make an indelible impact on the industry. Look forward to seeing them in action." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: The Academy Awards Are On at 830 On ABC, You're Welcome - Peter Kafka - Media - AllThingsD - http://allthingsd.com/2013022...
"Am I missing something here? The Los Angeles Times posted timely, relevant factual information about the single most newsworthy annual *and local* event in the global entertainment industry — a powerhouse of the local economy, centered in Los Angeles County, employing hundreds of thousands and shaping the English-speaking world's popular culture (for better and for worse) for the past century. So what's the problem? If there's one "respectable" online publication in the world (using Pulitzers as a proxy) that *should* be posting information about a globally influential media event taking place in its own back yard, shouldn't it be the LA Times? Of all people who genuinely care about the Oscar winners in Production Design or Sound Editing, I'd venture to guess 3/4 of them live in the LA Times coverage area. This is nothing like the HuffPo posting about the Super Bowl. Apples and oranges — or perhaps sour grapes?" - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Commentary: It’s time for our own crowdfunding law - http://www.geekwire.com/2013...
"Joe, what a great idea to implement at the state level! I'm on the record* as a strong skeptic regarding equity crowdfunding in general; I think the great paradox is that the more issuer-friendly it is, the more it will attract widespread abuse of investors by snake-oil salesmen. But I would love to be proven wrong, and I can't think of a better way to silence critics than to try it out in a state like Washington and witness its success. *See http://gust.com/angel-investin..." - Antone Johnson
Antone Johnson
Re: Why Did the Justice System Target Aaron Swartz? | Politics News | Rolling Stone - http://www.rollingstone.com/preview...
"Seriously. People exercise so little critical thinking. Put yourself into the business's shoes for a nanosecond: If you ran an online business and lost thousands of dollars because some jackass took it down for a few hours with a DDoS attack as a "free speech" act of "protest", would you be angry? Damn right you would. It's a crime for a reason. We have the freest of free speech in the history of the world at our fingertips, without having to vandalize others' property or attack their livelihoods." - Antone Johnson
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