October 21 roundup

  • “Rightscorp’s Copyright Trolling Phone Script Tells Innocent People They Need To Give Their Computers To Police” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
  • “‘Affordable housing’ policies have made housing less affordable” [Matt Welch, L.A. Times]
  • South Mountain Creamery case: “Lawmakers Call for Return of Cash Seized From Dairy Farmers” [Tony Corvo/Heartland, quotes me, earlier on this structuring forfeiture case]
  • Be prepared to explain your social media trail, like by like: “Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 2035” [Orin Kerr]
  • From Eugene Volokh, what looks very much like a case against assisted suicide, embedded in a query about whether state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs) might cut a legal path to it [Volokh Conspiracy]
  • “The complaint also indicated that the injuries could affect Reid’s ability to secure employment” after Senate exit [Roll Call on Majority Leader’s suit against exercise equipment firm over eye injury]
  • Amazon responds to NYT’s “everyone cries at their desk” hatchet job on its workplace culture [Jay Carney, Medium]


  • The definition of an oxymoron. The New York Times and Facts.

  • amazon’s “response” is a bunch of vague accusations of bad faith, exactly what you might expect from an organization scrambling to do damage-control. “Oh, him, well, he was a criminal and we totally fired him so OBVIOUSLY he’s not telling the truth. We’re not gonna corroborate this with links to actual criminal reports by a third party, just trust us–he’s a bastard.” And a bunch of fluff about how the NYT totally lied about everything. Oh, and responses are turned off; ain’t no backtalk in Amazon-land.

  • For over a decade, I have said that the NYT cannot be relied on in controversies involving race or gender. They may be adding labor to that list.

  • DD has caused me to rethink the Amazon/NYT controversy a bit.

    Amazon claims the distressful peer evaluations are sugarcoated with compliments, but I am put in mind of the officer efficiency reports (OERs) that prevailed in the USAF in the 1980s. Bosses had to rate their subordinates twice yearly on a scale of 1 (abysmal) to 10 (walks on water), with perhaps 40 words to back it up, for perhaps 8 categories of performance and leadership. Anything less than a 10 in *any one* of those categories was considered a “bad” OER that would spoil any chance to promotion and guarantee that one would have to seek civilian employment in the next couple of years.

    Apart from the “bad” OERs, subtle cues in the justification for 10 (“walks on water”) ratings would suggest to the knowledgable whether the highest rating was sincere. If your boss liked you but was a bad writer, hopefully his boss (who had to approve the OER) would help him get it right. (Realizing how ridiculous OER inflation had become, the USAF switched to a new satisfactory/unsatisfactory system around 1990.)

    Might the sugar-coating in Amazon peer evaluations be equally meaningless to those in the know?