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Jan 31, 2013


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I have now heard from two sources (although they may be circular) that the city tried and failed to get a restraining order to stop the distribution of the Yes! article.


There is a form of privacy that arises from being lost in a crowd and while a right to privacy is legally recognized this form of privacy is not.

There is no expectation of privacy in public matters.


Do I have your permission to link to the public information that identifies you—it's not private—or would you prefer to remain obscure?

Peggy Hickle

I think that's a very interesting issue -- which as all interesting issues do, brings up a host of other interesting issues.

I agree that there is no expectation of privacy in public matters -- which to me includes, not just public persona, but we comparatively ordinary folk who choose to express our opinion in public forums. I think sometimes people get fooled into thinking that, in this world of the internet, they are still living private lives.

One of the questions this brings up for me in this post-9/11 world is -- to what degree am I comfortable with the invasion of privacy, others or my own? I don't know that I've been presented with enough scenarios in real life to formulate one answer to that yet. My guess is that my answer may be somewhat fluid.


Peggy, the issue as I see it is not do we have a "right to privacy" outside of our homes, but rather to what extent do we, the people of this community, want the people who work for us to monitor us. Opinions will differ, but I think it's time for us to have the conversation and address the issue. That begins, I think, with understanding what is already underway. Where are we be monitored, when, by whom, what is being collected, how is it being kept and for what purpose? That's why access to the records is so important.

Otherwise, we are just sheep.

Peggy Hickle

I guess you would have to define "people who work for us." I think you mean in the sense of people who are directly paid by taxpayers -- government employees. But that term can also apply in a much broader sense -- the grocery store manager who requires check out staff to ask for your zip code so they can collect demographic information on you, for example.

But yes, I take your point that a discussion should be had about how far government employees should be allowed to go in collecting information to be used against us without our knowledge. Again, though, would my desire to be protected outweigh my desire to protect your civil rights? It's an interesting question. And one that should certainly be asked.


Anonymity is another matter, Roch.

It allows one to retain a degree of privacy while engaging in public matters.

Why does the privacy and/or obscurity of others bother you so? It certainly bothers you when it is your obscurity that is trespassed upon.

Why do you wish to do to others what you do not wish to have done to you?


"It allows one to retain a degree of privacy while engaging in public matters." -- pfrog

"There is no expectation of privacy in public matters." -- pfrog, an hour earlier

You're confused, son. Which is it?


"I guess you would have to define "people who work for us." I think you mean in the sense of people who are directly paid by taxpayers -- government employees. But that term can also apply in a much broader sense -- the grocery store manager who requires check out staff to ask for your zip code so they can collect demographic information on you, for example."

Yes, I mean the public employees. Our government is not some entity apart from us to whose decisions we must yield. It is ours and its actions should reflect how we want it to interact with us. Deciding how to monitor and control how it attempts to monitor and control us is, I think, a worthy exercise of the kind of civic responsibility a democracy demands of us.

While the grocery employee may be "required" to ask for your zip code or phone number, "No thank you," or "I decline" is my default answer and the purchase proceeds unabated. And while I enjoy the discounts of my Harris Teeter VIC card, they think I'm a Mr. Gerhardt who, according to their records, must now be over 100 years old (and still not using those adult diaper coupons they keep spitting out at him).



"There is no expectation of privacy in public matters."
---- observation of court/governmental attitudes

"It allows one to retain a degree of privacy while engaging in public matters."
--- Personal belief acted upon


That you gave up your anonymity does not grant you the expectation that others do the same.

Nor does it give you the right to grouse at the loss of your own obscurity while chiseling away at the obscurity of others.

One might come away with the idea that you believe the only good privacy is Roch privacy.


Poli's anonymity is moot as he posts on Facebook using his real name.


Mm, yeah, okay, polifrog, so what do you think? Secret surveillance of the public by local government a good thing?


Stryder Polifrog ... look it up.

Secret surveillance of the public by local government a good thing?

No. We agree. But your hypocrisy makes you a poor spokesman.

By FAR the Worst person on the internet

Rock101, playing all the hits, all the time. This one goes out to Dave Hoggard from your quick-triggered DJ.


"Secret surveillance of the public by local government a good thing?"

No different than open surveillance of the public because there is no expectation of privacy for public acts. You have no right to complain about who is watching you do anything in public. That is the essence of a free society unless you desire for others to limit what you can watch in public. Do cops have less "rights" or a lesser public mandate than the media? Paparazzi?

Much ado about nothing. Just some liberals pissed off that the cops ("the Man") might want to know what they are up to in the same way they want to know what the Klan and other hate groups are up to. It's called police work.

Ed actually said it quite well on another thread: "GPD has been watching local and area groups forever".

By FAR the Worst person on the internet

Polifrog nailed it. If someone like Bubba, for instance, wants to remain anonymous in some places but not others, that inconsistency negates any obligation of Roch to honor that anywhere. But if say, Roch chooses to be public in some areas (and boasts about the "courage" in doing so, while labeling those who don't "cowards"), not to mention essentially making a career out of poking his ever-critical nose into monitoring and nitpicking other peoples' shit, yet wants to remain anonymous in certain other venues or to certain other people, then that should of course be honored.



But is it a good thing?

I don't think so for a variety of reasons, not the least of which, is that even the whiff of a secret police is a road best left untraveled.

Another is that I believe additional each visible cop has a positive impact on crime. Undercover cops translate to, both real and sensed, fewer cops on the beat, the result being that crimes that may have been deterred are not.

Imagine the amount of illegal traffic activity surrounding a marked cop as opposed to an unmarked cop. One has a deterrence effect while the other catches criminals that may have otherwise been deterred.

Finally, I don't like the chilling effect secretive law enforcement has on legal assembly and petition.

It may be called police work, but is it a net good? In balance, no.


I think MS13 and other gangs might agree.

Underlying this whole topic, yet evading mention is that at it's core it's about passing judgment on who should be monitored and who shouldn't. As you and FWP+ (my new shorthand for CP) point out, in some cases it is as simple as the standard shifting depending on YOUR (generic) motivations at any given time. Nevermind that the world doesn't revolve around individual motivations, much less the law.

I suspect that gangs don't want to be monitored, yet most of us probably think they should be. Same thing with Al Qaeda, the Klan, Bill Ayers, the Branch Davidian's, etc. But if you think that you or organizations that you support are morally superior, then you might be complaining about undercover surveillance. It becomes wholly subjective and at its core it is antithetical to free speech because it requires an individual determination of what speech and expression is more valuable than others.

Cops don't care about this. They just want to make sure that nobody gets hurt and nothing gets broken. Given the violence surrounding the Occupy movement, it would be negligent for cops to ignore them. The events of November 3, 1979 involved violence by two ideological opposite groups. Over the years, the main criticism of the police was that they didn't do enough to stop the violence on that day. Yet if these same critics had their way now, even less would be done.


Spag, what part of "We aren't there to protect them" do you not understand?


Obviously much more than you understand arguments. You actually support my argument without realizing it.

Ed Cone

Easy there, Brandon. Manti T'eo's girlfriend told me Sam once thought about being a cop.


That was right before I almost joined the military on several occasions because Ed and others made it clear to me that without serving in the military, I had no right to speak on matters concerning the military.

As proof, Ed showed me his esteemed military service record which only added to his already unfathomable list of personal achievements and qualifications that gave him such great wisdom and authority. After seeing that and the efforts to recruit him before he finally relented, I knew I just couldn't compete. Hell, nobody can.

Worst person on the Internet

Yeah, Ed, where does that leave you on the right-to-opine-without-being ridiculed scale? The only thing I've ever heard you claim to be is "an opinion writer, you pompous half-wit". Ever thought about doing anything else? Or does being an opinion writer substitute in all fields of endeavor for formal expertise or experience which others must acquire before their opinions can have the same validity you find in yours?

Ed Cone

What I actually said in the other thread:

Civilian control of the military is a bulwark of the American system, and I think there's general agreement here that the same principle applies to the right of blog commenters without military service records to comment on military issues.

What people are laughing at is the rhetorical cowboy boots donned by a commenter who felt the need to establish his manly bona fides by claiming he thought about joining the military, but it was just too hard.

I should stop bringing it up, it's starting to feel like I'm bullying a guest over an infelicitous comment, but it makes me laugh and, c'mon, the shelf-life on Manti T'eo girlfriend jokes is not infinite.

Worst, I haven't been an opinion writer (outside of this blog) for some time now, and it's never been my primary occupation. You seem to have dug up an old retort to one of Sam's periodic discoveries that my opinion column or my personal blog involved my opinion. I spent most of my career as a reporter and editor, and currently am employed as an editor at a consulting firm, but I did think about doing many other things.


"but I did think about doing many other things"

And that's what makes you a badass!

Keep at it! Or not at it!


"That was right before I almost joined the military on several occasions..."

lol @ "almost." This has to be some strange, as-yet-untested form of trolling. No way you typed that with a straight look on your face. Talk about opening yourself up to ridicule...


I can't believe you teach students when you can't even interpret sarcasm.

Someone once said you won't always be young and dumb forever. One hopes.

The problem with Ed's explanation is that I never said that I had some qualifications to speak on military matters or sought sought to establish "manly bona fides" because I almost joined the military on several occasions over the years. That was somebody else's characterization - who probably did neither himself.

Recall the accusation was that I was some kind of candy ass who wasn't qualified to discuss military matters because I never served. I disagree with the premise and so too should the vast majority of people on this blog who never served either. My comment about why I didn't serve was to refute the notion that somehow I was afraid to do so when the truth tells otherwise. So if we are talking about unqualified candy asses, there are a lot more people in line around here way before me. I did more than "think about" on at least three occasions over the course of 25 years and I have the proof to back that up. That doesn't make me any more qualified (and again, I reject that premise anyway), but it does counter the idea that I'm some kind of candy ass chicken hawk.

As far as "rhetorical cowboy boots", I have yet to understand how one arrives at that conclusion based on advocacy against a policy that would lead to more female soldiers being raped and tortured. But I suppose anyone can just make up stuff in the world of make believe. I submit that more accurately describes some of the blustering chest thumping of some resident blowhards who also never served in the military and probably never thought about it either, much less pursued it any way. But because they are liberals, that is okay. They are profoundly qualified to speak on anything from the comfort of their armchair surrounded by the credentials of their military expertise freshly culled from the pages of the New York Times or the last anti-war protest they participated in.

I don't feel the need to prove my "manliness" to anyone and certainly not to the plethora of overly sensitive wimps hiding behind keyboards around here. I'm not the one who raised the subject. The person who did is the most likely candidate to be insecure about such things.


P.S., Prell's diversion into whether I served in the military or not actually IS a straw man argument. It has nothing to do with the discussion taking place, yet he somehow declares victory in the debate simply by the establishment of that point. I.E., my opinion about women serving in combat is wrong because I never served in the military myself. It is a fallacy because the opinion does not require military service for validity. Indeed, it would only take one person who did serve in the military (Hugh for example) to hold the same opinion to invalidate the straw man non-sequitur offered by Prell.

But that is too much logic for a naive high school history teacher to absorb.


"yet he somehow declares victory in the debate simply by the establishment of that point"

lol @ "victory." You take this shit way too seriously, little guy.


Aw, now you hurt my feelings. Excellent rebuttal, though. Very thoughtful and filled with substantive analysis. You are learning well from the other Jedi's of logical thinking and critical analysis around here.

I strongly suggest that in the future you incorporate such classic themes as "Spag is obsessed with Ed", "Spag is at again with his keyboard diarrhea", "Spag is whining", etc. when you need to divert attention away from your paltry argumentative skills and inability to formulate a credible response. "You take this shit way too seriously" is a good start. Nevermind that the people obsessed with this particular story more appropriately fit the bill. Nevermind that Ed posts on this blog every day as do others who comment far more frequently than me. Working the double standard in is the highest achievement on the path to mastery of the Force.

Attacking me has worked very well for others around here when they run out of intelligent arguments, so I'm certain you will score some points in the echo chamber. Meanwhile, there is a real world out there. You'll figure that out when you grow up.

Sorry man, but you aren't anything new.


Prell teaches???

Good lord.


"Prell teaches???

Good lord."

College now, actually, and it's been that way since 2010. Spag isn't all that great at sleuthing, and it's sad that a married man with children spends his evenings trolling us young folks as opposed to spending time with his family, but that may speak to a whole other matter.

I haven't taught at the high school level since GWB was in office.

What do you do for a living, John?


Spag, I did not say you were not qualified to discuss military matters. What you are doing is "defeating" a caricature of my actual argument. I said that you are not qualified to state that a soldier that is too delicate for combat because she is a woman.

Those women, especially the ones already killing men in dangerous places, have a bottomless well of experience to draw from. That makes them, and their Generals and Admirals, "VERY" qualified to make the judgment call that you have such a problem accepting.

You have a right to state your opinion but it seems that your opinion is the product of emotions and attachment to tradition instead of a product of logic and critical thinking.

re Hiding Behind the Keyboard:

I ain't afraid of no man, no matter how many times he thought about doing something badass.


"P.S., Prell's diversion into whether I served in the military or not actually IS a straw man argument." -- Spag

No, that's a red herring.


"No, that's a red herring."

I thought it was cod.


"I said that you are not qualified to state that a soldier that is too delicate for combat because she is a woman."

Except I never said that and that wasn't my argument.

And it is a red herring followed by a straw man. The red herring was introducing an irrelevant argument in the first place, the straw man was then introduced by pretending that I took a position on the red herring that I did not take.


You're really making a lot of progress on the double standard part, Prell. It hasn't dawned on you when you accused me of "trolling us young folks" that most of the people who comment on this board including the host himself are older than me.

But they aren't sad old married with children men trolling the younger folks because....they agree with your politics...

You'll be Obi-Wan before you know it.

David Hoggard

I believe it to have been the rarest of all blog argument techniques:

The False Equivalent Fishy Smelling Red Straw Man.

Well played, sir. Well played.

David Hoggard

After exhaustive diagramming of the argument (I had to use TWO large chalkboards), I find that we may have broken new argumentative ground right here at EdCone.com.

The argument was... believe it or not... a False Equivalent Fishy Smelling DOUBLE STANDARD Red Straw Man.

Someone must alert the media.

WPOTI (application for change to Wahtri Dhyariyah pending)

Before we get too carried away, let's review some standard definitions. From Webster:

1) "fascism": convenient dismissive label for an ideology one doesn't like
2) "straw man": convenient dismissive label for an argument supportive of an ideology one doesn't like
3) "false equivalence": convenient dismissive label for an analogy that exposes the hypocrisy of one's own ideology


"The red herring was introducing an irrelevant argument in the first place, the straw man was then introduced by pretending that I took a position on the red herring that I did not take." -- Spag

A straw herring! I think you are catching on.


It may not be an ideology, but absent the term "fascist" how would you describe a government regulated healthcare industry forced upon all citizens?

The closest alternative I've seen is "corporatism". However, I reject the use of "corporatism" to describe ObamaCare because ObamaCare will kill the industry many argue benefits from ObamaCare, namely, the healthcare insurance industry.

Personally, with a family of 5, I have a choice between purchasing the $20,000/year basic plan (an amount required for insurance Co. profitability) or paying the $2000/ year fine and still have access to insurance being that no denials are allowed by the insurance provider. Two grand a month it will be for me.(BTW, this condition is a fixed and unchanging percentage going forward due to Roberts' ObamaCare decision.)

I would not be alone in making the decision to underpay for insurance. With millions of American citizens coming to the same decision the result will be an unsustainable financial situation for insurance providers, thus the term "corportism" does not apply to ObamaCare, as the insurance companies do not benefit from ObamaCare.

I am only left with fascism to describe ObamaCare, but you seem to reject that term as well.

What term would you use to describe the destructive government control of business that is ObamaCare?


Sorry, the above was intended for WD/WPOTI/CP.


Spag: "Except I never said that and that wasn't my argument."

Now you are equivocating.

F it. You win.


Prove me wrong or make up some excuse to cover the fact that you can't. (Prell, take notes)

Steve Harrison

Argumentum ad ignorantiam, Sam. Unless you meant to do it, in which case it's another red herring. :)

sal leone

I do not think the local police should be spying on people. The job of local Law Enforcement is to enforce laws. The job of spying is that of the CIA, which spies on groups or persons meaning harm to America.

The way I see it, if the City released the information then it is public record. All records in government should be public record because the people pay taxes.

As per the whole Marikay deal, well there should be an investigation. I like to give her a chance to defend herself.


Making up shit that I never said or argued is indeed a red herring.

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