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Yeah. There's some awful theoretical edge cases when interacting with state laws regarding disposal of human remains, but I fully expect the typical and extreme cases to look more like this.

The bigger problem's going to be medical complications -- severe uterine bleeding is rare, but it's not very rare, and it can become life-threatening. Officially, the FDA REMS process is supposed to require patients to have medical support figured out before taking the pill; in practice, it's telehealth. And we're already getting cases where hospitals cite laws that clearly permit care as reasons to turf patients.

While there's charitable explanations (eg, the FDA hasn't really thought about it), the more morbid possibility is that they see even that as just heightening the contradictions. If you're in progressive spaces, these problems sound like every worst combination possible, with no one to blame but anti-abortion advocates.


This discussion only partly overlaps, and @TracingWoodgrains’s real world experience is more relevant than mine, but it may still be worth reading.

I generally don’t recommend pushing yourself into casual sex you don’t want. Yes, you’ll get swamped with ‘dtf’ comments on most dating sites, and there’s a more emphasis on sex early in relations with online dating, but it is absolutely possible to focus on people looking for real relationships and get some genuine interest. You’ll have to handle some rejection, but so do the dtf-spammers.

In the US, I’d point to interest organizations (both explicitly gay, like various Pride orgs, or where there’s just a bunch of people who happen to be gay and out), but I don’t know enough about Kiwi culture to say whether norms are the same there.

Getting more comfortable about sex, both in terms of shyness and in terms of physical comfort, can be valuable. Most people will have some patience for shy folk, and some love the idea of bedding a blushing ‘virgin’, but there’s a lot of ways discomfort with or with talking about stuff can backfire, even with partners who want to take things slow. Nothing’s going to swap for the frisson with a partner, but if you’re used to never ever mentioning anything about your sexuality or interests, there are a lot of spheres where it’s ’normal enough’ that it’ll at least get past the feeling that mentioning top, switch, or bottom is going to have the earth open up under you.

Some similar programs exist in many states and federal law, albeit with a few additional requirements. They have downsides -- they unavoidably attract younger lawyers with less trial experience -- but they're better than not having the programs.

There are increasing efforts to increase pay (eg, see the costs analysis assumptions for the Oregon bulk expansion).

But the money is only one side of the problem: public defense remains extremely unglamorous, unfun, unpleasant, and often unsafe work. Ymeskhout can point to clients who've stalked their public defenders, and it goes up pretty quickly from there.

Oregon Goes To The Purge

The court reaffirmed its provisional class certification of the Custody Class and expanded it statewide. The court then found that Petitioners were likely to succeed on the merits of their Sixth Amendment and due process claims and subsequently “order[ed] that counsel must be provided within seven days of the initial appearance, or within seven days of the withdrawal [of] previously appointed counsel,” and “[f]ailing this, defendants must be released from custody, subject to reasonable conditions imposed by [Oregon] Circuit Court judges.”

Some quick background: the Eight Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees a right "to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence" in some criminal trials at certain stages of the trial. There's a whole lot of complexity of where and how that applies, but for those who can't afford a lawyer of their own, for covered crimes, the state eventually evaluates whether the defendant is indigent, and if so appoints a public defender, eg @ymeshkout. But this is neither glamorous, fun, well-paying, or even particularly safe work, so there is seldom a glut of people jumping up and down to do that job.

In 2019, a group called the Sixth Amendment Center was commissioned by Oregon state to review the public defence office, and their final report was highly critical, highlighting heavy workloads and huge pressures to close cases with as few hours as possible. Public defenders in Oregon began (or more cynically, were, given the 6AC report) lobbying for changes to their maximum caseloads and reimbursements, and while it's not accidental that their solution would have involved getting more pay for less work, this eventually did get a cap on maximum cases and some additional funding, targeting an estimated 30ish full-time employees added to 400 then-present. During COVID, a combination of increased juggling of cases due to the slower pace of concluding trials, varying treatments of different classes of crime, (and interpersonal issues) only added to the matter; case backlogs became the norm, instead of a rare exception.

In this case, the jailed plaintiffs argued that they were facing the court without competent counsel, or being held indefinitely before trial, due to the lack of indigent defense available. In several cases, they were arraigned and/or had bail hearings without having seen a defense lawyer.

And as a result, the federal judiciary will be letting them loose on the streets, with a pinky promise to arrest them harder should they reoffend.

That title isn't entirely fair. While the original district court injunction required jails to free anyone who'd been jailed seven days without an attorney, the order was later revised to exclude those "charged with murder and aggravated murder", or who have their release revoked, or who fired their own attorney. And at least theoretically, non-jail custody is still on the table, such as GPS monitoring or probation check-ins, though the majority opinion's logic about their effectiveness ("The dissent does not explain why any of these standard measures would fail") is not the most compelling.

But with the class certification, this applies to all jailed defendants within the state of Oregon and the court not-so-subtly invites further such preliminary injunctions from other states in the 9th Circuit ("The State of Washington is facing similar problems and consequences"). While the initial class claims 'only' a little over a hundred defendants presently jailed, the injunction itself is prospective, binding all future criminal prosecutions, with the corresponding impact on any police or prosecutor interest in bringing such charges.

  • There's some obvious system failure/'sleepwalking into disaster' problems, here: the opinion jabs at the dissent near its end with "Consistent with the Sixth Amendment, Oregon could solve this problem overnight simply by paying appointed counsel a better wage. It is Oregon, and not the district court, that created this crisis." The dissent points out in turn that yes, Oregon could pay appointed counsel more, and if that would solve things overnight, why not order that instead?

  • ((Because the current plan involves increasing pay and additional hiring of almost five hundred new public defenders over the next 6 years, which would double the public defender full-time staff, while absolutely no one retires, moves away, or leaves public defense. Hilariously optimistic and too late!))

  • But this genuinely is the sorta thing that can be solved, but probably not in any magic wand sorta way. Six years is a pretty unrealistically optimistic pace for the hiring of five hundred public defenders, but if they'd started in 2019 and then put a stricter limit on caseloads, we'd at least be a lot closer to an actual fix, and even recognizing the benefit of hindsight looking back and seeing 'public defense bill with strong bipartisan support derailed over climate change bill that did nothing' is kinda morbid. It's hard to get good numbers on how many public defenders work different classes of cases, or even what classes of cases fall under each category, but it's also hard to believe that there's been a great focus on optimal allocation of present public defense resources.

  • I guess this is someone's idea of solving it? Which points, perhaps, to a more critical problem than even the "sleepwalking into disaster" bit: even if someone else does respond, you might not like their response.

  • There's a little bit to quibble about on the logic of the decision itself, most notably as to whether the delays so far were unreasonable enough to require, or that the court hearings so far 'matter' in a way that the Eight Amendment counts -- it's very far from clear that bail hearings would have looked that different with counsel present, given the defendants. There's a lot to be said about motivations: no small number of the actors here are pretty hard on the 'eliminate cash bail' train, and a few want that as part of "limiting the reliance on the formal criminal justice system for low-level, non-violent offense". I can't find direct calls to Defund the Police by the less reputable orgs involved, but I also haven't exactly gone searching.

  • On the other hand, just because they're bad in other ways, doesn't mean that they're wrong here. There's little to recommend the phrase "The court required Mr. Owens to waive counsel at that hearing in order for the court to consider releasing him". While many of the plaintiffs face potential sentences exceeding their likely time in jail before trial, the mere possibility of pre-trial time served exceeding a sentence -- of 'sentence first, verdict afterwards' -- makes an absolute mockery of the justice system.

  • Even if we were to presume the majority of these jailed plaintiffs guilty (which we're not supposed to do, and there's a slim chance may even be incorrect), there's a bigger problem where thousands of indigent defendants who were released on various bails or supervisory custody already, for court cases that will happen whenever the state gets around to actually having two sides, which means a sizable fraction of those cases probably won't happen. Witnesses will age out or become unavailable or their memories unreliable, doubt increases, chain of custody for physical evidence becomes increasingly tangled, so on. There is actually a federal statutory public interest in a speedy trial, and it's there for a reason.

  • There are even some dumb culture war matters. People following the Trump trial in New York were trying to game theory out timelines approaches for federal appeals and kept getting stuck on Younger abstention. Here, definitionally, all jailed plaintiffs were in the first stages of a state prosecution and thus unable to get relief in a federal court, but the Ninth Circuit has given a delightfully fast answer to that: Younger is already screwed when it's Important, "even assuming all four factors set forth... are met".

There's been an American snafu regarding a Texan politician's kid that is kinda hard to talk about because he's an asshole even by the standards of politicians, but if you put a gun to my head and made me bet whether the kid's on hormone therapy in a year or two... and it's not like the alternative would be just, either.

Last update:

"This is a letter of recommendation that my client, ... Younger, aka Luna, begin the process of becoming a patient of the GENECIS clinic so that she can receive a full psychological assessment for gender dysphoria and potentially take hormone blockers..."

Can police departments launch effective complex investigations, or are they at a structural / organizational disadvantage here?

It varies, a lot, even within a single jurisdiction. I've seen indictments where police clearly spent hundreds of manhours chasing down every possible lead, and others where a slam-dunk case gets dropped cause no one could be arsed to handle all the court forms. Baltimore's probably (hopefully?) the most extreme example, where proximity to DC has gotten the police department a remarkable breadth of camera systems, license plate scanners, open-source intel analysts, and investigatory resources, and even for murders and just for those where the investigation has been publicly disclosed, there's a wide disparity that's clearly unrelated to the strength of the initial leads.

There's a reputation for 'missing white girl' syndrome to drive that, and it's not wrong, but elderly couples or young kids of any race can get sizable attention and interest, and even the prototypical gang banger on gang banger violence can (rarely) if there's something about the incident that drives political or local interest. There's a reputation for corruption driving a lot of that, it's it's not wrong. Baltimore's GTTF scandal was probably known by 10%+ of the force, which is appalling when they were shaking down civilians, and shocking when you remember that they were selling guns to people shooting at other cops.

((Sometimes "who" matters in a different way: I've seen grand theft on small businesses that were probably destined for the 'when we get to it' pile, except the business coordinated with other similar small businesses to demonstrate an interstate pattern with a clear direction and unique identifying characters, and while that 'only' gets the equivalent of a national wanted poster, it gets a lot of highway patrols looking for an easy to way make a big arrest.))

On the flip side, there's a problem with the world where you don't. It's very easy to come up with a plan where there's no witnesses and any physical evidence is destroyed! You end up with massive selection pressures toward the most dangerous criminal behaviors.

It's definitely and definitionally not possible to provide above-average effort for every case; there's far too much uncertainty to triage cases in a QALY-like manner; it's definitely possible to triage cases at all and find deep investigation still valuable.

Should they focus resources on the above capability beyond a small, dedicated "Major Crimes" unit (or some such) or, ought they double or triple down on basic patrol, fast response, and community intel work?

I've mixed feelings.

How effective community-oriented or 'broken windows' theory of policing is controversial, and not just for the normal crimonology versus social justice reasons: even the best evidence in favor has been hard to pull apart from normal economic impacts. But the extent that dangerous criminals routinely grow into violent crime from, act on, and rely on casual disruptive law-breaking make Pealian community-oriented boots-on-roads policing very hard to overlook, and it's just not compatible with the All Available Effort approach.

But in turn the overwhelming majority of successful boots-on-roads efforts come in communities with unsophisticated and disorganized criminals, in cultures not predisposed to escalatory violence. They seldom, if ever, can point to clear successes -- even short of actually reducing broad strokes of crime, even just in getting inroads with the civilian populace -- in low-trust societies.

I think, though, this ultimately missed the deeper question: "can they choose"?

A bloodless focus on the easiest-to-solve crimes will near-unavoidably leave cops focusing on trivial but simple-to-prove laws: it's what Sam Francis wanted to be talking about for anarchotyranny. In extreme cases, the knowledge that police will happily pass out tickets or throw someone in jail for selling lossies, but won't handle a serious theft or assault unless the offender is caught redhanded, is strong motivation to never include or cooperate with police at all. Hyperprioritization of serious crime leads to the mirror problem, where those massive investments chasing hard-to-solve crimes end up wasted not just because the crimes are hard, but because the police quickly looses the community relations, familiarity with the domain, and trial experience necessary to bring a case to conviction.

Sure, they'll take into account the consequences of gender treatments, and they'll try to make sure that patient's "transition goals" are within the realm of physical possibility, but there should be no other limits placed otherwise. It feels like they flipped the table. What I thought was a conversation about the state of medical science turns out to be a fight over who's worldview should prevail.

I think the steelman also includes a number of concerns about a patient's long-term interests and what they'll desire afterward, but yes, for the most part the Blue Tribe medical community position has been much closer to the tumblr/Ozy gender anarchy than to the medical necessity framework for about a decade now.

(and, correspondingly, they've not really struggled with the extent that the mental health component and especially suicide risk was no small part of what permitted under traditional analysis that they're, if unintentionally, rejecting)

That said, while I think you're directionally correct, I will push back on:

This seems to be the only explanation that can make sense out of the whole thing... why they pull the knives out for Lisa Littman and the ROGD hypothesis or Blanchard's categorization of trans people, while remaining unbothered by Dianne Ehrensaft's gender angels and gender Tootsie Roll Pops.

I think there's another plausible explanation: they think, with reason, that Blanchard's autogynophilia theories seems factually wrong, in their common form and any form but their weakest, and that Blanchard (advocates, such as Bailey) seem unwilling to engage seriously with counterexamples.

((Yes, I absolutely see and agree with the irony, here. There's reason you aren't very happy with WPATH sticking fingers in ears about detransitioners, right?))

As a metaphor that I do have deeper insight in, I'll point to other examples of what Bailey et all call Erotic Target Identity Inversion: treatment of fursuiting or feral-focused furries as 'autoanthrozoophilia' and 'autozoophilia', respectively. In this model, furries who fursuit do so solely because they're aroused by being seen as anthros/animals, and that this ties into the feelings of species dysphoria.

That's not just something I made up to strawman the Blanchard/Bailey perspective, but one that Bailey highlighted himself. While the terms are (almost certainly intentionally) a little weird and loaded, there actually are people who fit into the categories that they're trying to describe, and I can even give number of online psuedonyms for people who do things like transformation kink or where otherwise 'being their character' is a good part of the erotic purpose. And I'll admit that while the community isn't always adult-oriented, a lot of it is.

So these theories must be true?

Well, no, because there's more to the actual theory than just its name: each of these theories include some level of predictive analysis, such that the presence of an autogyne or autoanthrophile says something broader about most of all of the remaining community. In Bailey's take, the presence of some number of (bisexual or gynophilic) transwomen who hide arousal from dressing as a woman meant that almost all (bisexual or gynophilic) transwoman claiming a lack of such arousal were just not willing to disclose it. Many advocates for 'autozoophilia' as a theory take this even further, to mean every person, categorically, achieving certain therian practices must also have such a sexual interest first.

Which doesn't seem to be the case in the furry and therian world, and it's not particularly hard to find (common!) exceptions. There's a lot of overlap between therians and furries, but there's definitely non-furry therians, and not all furry therians are in it for the sex. Where there is a sexual component to the fandom interest, some people often just want to get railed by a Space!Roman chubby wolf, rather than imagine themselves as 'being' or becoming one. By contrast, a lot of the various fursuit and therian practices aren't arousing; "fursuit_bowling" unsurprisingly turns up zero examples on e621, therian meditation had a buuunch of weird results and 'get a boner' basically never shows up, and in the modern day mirror-dwellers don't get that sort of response.

((The first counterargument is that they're all lying, but all I can say there is that I'm not, and for a universal position a single counterexample is fatal. The second counterargument is that some rare outliers exist, but most people are lying, and I'm skeptical: there's none of the medical pragmatic arguments that, and when it comes to embarrassment... I'll avoid some of the more bizarre or detailed points, but for a relatively tame example, I don't think the fursuiter with a nickname of 'pool toy' would be worried about that.))

There's pragmatic reasons these theories are concerning -- non-autogynophile and non-autoanthrophile fursuiters or non-autozoophile therians want neither sexual practices permitted in public nor their non-sexual practices from being restricted -- but even before you get that far there's a certain Someone Is Wrong On The Internet about things. It'd be like some sexologist making weird Pepe Silvia diagrams from people who find motorcyles empowering to talking about how people who change their own oil get off on it: I'm sure it happens somewhere, but no. Just no.

Crap like Keo-Meier/Ehrensaft (in addition to just being creepy) speak badly about the intellectual honesty or commitment to actual outreach to the unconverted: even as someone who's thrown together a list I recognize couldn't be all-inclusive, they're got a muddled mess of ingroup terms without any real inclusive or exclusive meaning.

That's all there is, though. It's not even predictive enough to be wrong.

[giant nitpick below]

They typically can meet the as-written standards of Asylum law, the problem is that those standards were written with a very different intent.

Part of the awkwardness is that they don't, but probably should, at least under progressive assumptions. The federal definition of 'refugee', which asylum requests operate, is :

(A) any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, or

(B) in such special circumstances as the President after appropriate consultation (as defined in section 1157(e) of this title) may specify, any person who is within the country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, within the country in which such person is habitually residing, and who is persecuted or who has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

So fleeing El Salvador because random gangs try to murder people every day because they're not wearing the right tattoos is outside of the definition of asylum. Which is kinda bad as a policy! Even for the central case of "Nazis trying to kill you", it doesn't cover everything (and not just the obvious political exception); modern-day asylum-seekers are jumping through a mess of hard-to-define feelings in front of a judge that has nearly no ability to seriously verify any claims.

As a result, Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1990, which among other things created a new category of Temporary Protected Status, largely focused around the then-present Salvadoran Civil War. These are specifically not refugee status, either under federal or international law, but allowed nonimmigrant aliens to lawfully reside in the United States and maintain work authorizations. But while TPS aliens could theoretically be required to return to their home country after some time, Ramos and difficulty deporting former-TPS holders from the few countries where TPS has ended show the limits of that policy, as does the increasing breadth that Democratic governments are willing to extend TPS for.

But you're only eligible for TPS if you were in the United States before the date that your home country was given TPS. So that's a mess, too.

Archibald Cox was the special prosecutor, and a long-time Kennedy man with a lengthy history as an advocate of progressive thought, who'd then gone into private practice to further what he saw as Kennedy's civil rights and union legacy.

His appointment was weird, given that: the combination of extremely wide power and Being On The Other Team is not normally what you'd expect, given that he was appointed by Nixon's attorney general. The official story is that Elliot Richardson had gone through a list and Cox was the first who could even be persuaded to consider the appointment, at the same time that the (then-Democratic) Senate was threatening to assign a clearly-partisan investigator, but Richardson's role to go after Spiro Agnew gives a lot of space for conspiracy theories.

Mahaffey's Atomic Accidents is a little outdated (2014), but has a small chapter on NuScale, Gen4 Energy (then Hyperion), mPower, and Toshiba's 4S reactors, along with a handful of other also-runs. Most other summaries I've seen tend to be little more than stats breakdowns.

TerraPower is scheduled to be one of the first actually running (2027-2030, if you believe it, which you shouldn't), but it also straddles the line between small reactor and conventionally sized plant, neither modular, and then throws in sodium testbed on top. And I'm really skeptical of molten sodium -- I get the benefits, but the engineering and political problems are vast. Maybe if it's 'really' more of a research/production reactor, with the power a pleasant side effect?

NuScale's VOYGR is certified (kinda, only for the biggest config), and it's the most 'conventional, but smaller' reactor: make a reactor that can handle 100% of decay heat with a complete coolant loop failure, and put a pin it that design. On the downside, they got hit with skyrocketing costs and high uncertainty for demand, and their planned CFPB got 'indefinitely delayed' at the end of last year as a result. Also not a huge fan of the short fuel replacement cycle, at 18 months, both for non-proliferation reasons and because it even with individual modules offset in time, that cuts into the 'proven, reliable baseload' framework that nuclear plants excel at.

eVinci is theoretically promising and I like the combination of a very-small-reactor and some actual manufacturing expertise of previous nuclear plants (uh, forty years ago; they literally had to give up the last couple they tried), along with actually considering a use for all the 'waste' heat, but it's so early in the process that it's hard to say much at all -- history is filled with excellent technical briefings that didn't survive first contact with the NRC. I'd love the idea of a 5MW-scale microreactor that's completely passive, but even if the whole heat pipe system works, I just can't see the NRC letting it live without years of test operations, and even then probably still requiring some daily human oversight.

X-Energy's Xe-100s are planned for a test site in Texas and a (not hugely plausible) Washington State one, no real timeline yet. Abbot is pushing Texas hard, and the manufacturing demand could absolutely benefit from it. They're another one that's clever -- helium-gas-cooled pebble-bed reactor with live refueling capabilities -- but I'm not sure if they're too clever, and in particular the cost (and losses) of helium leave me a little nervous about how financially viable they might be. (Also, absolutely awful name.)

Oklo's Aurora is a tiny (2-15MW) sodium-cooled fast microreactor. They've not been laughed out of the building by the NRC yet and even have multiple sites planned, but they've had license applications denied using "novel, two-step process" (though things have been going better since). I like the idea of a fully passive sodium reactor more than a pumped-coolant one, but the tiny size and Chemistry Experiment refueling leaves a lot of potential reliability problems.

yep. That's embarrassing. Thanks, fixed.

Would always be good to get a second opinion. In case you don't, the steelman/charitable version is something like:

  • It's tortuous tortious to fire, or refuse to hire, people because of their race/religion/gender/sex.
  • What happens if you don't fire them, just give them specific job requirements that would any reasonable person would refuse (and might even be illegal on its own), because of their r/r/g/s? Well, now that's illegal.
  • What happens if the employer doesn't give them all the worst jobs, just wink-and-nods to other employees to make that employee's life miserable? Well, now that's illegal.
  • What happens if the employer just happens to hire a whole bunch of people who treat certain people like crap, and not respond to it? Well, now that's illegal. (uh, is 'not sufficiently masculine a sex?' Well, it is now.)
  • Okay, what if it's a genuine coincidence, and the employer's actions to punish rude people is just insufficient? Well, now that's illegal. (wait, is 'being rude' the same thing as 'any reasonable person would refuse' to work with? Well, it is now.)
  • Okay, now you've got a different problem. Anything as small as a single person being slightly rude isn't individually tortuous tortious (uh, in theory). These aren't criminal-law illegal in the way that, say, sodomizing someone with a soap bar without their consent might be. Some of them are even (theoretically) protected the other way around: in Damore's case, federal labor law prohibits employers from acting against employees who doing a very broad definition of organizing or arguing over workplace conditions. It's only in summary that these acts can be become tortuous tortious. But the line between grains and a heap only shows up in retrospect. Well, now employers can (and to avoid liability, must) have a neutral anti-discrimination policy that covers wide breadths of conduct, and that will be preemptively legal if it's used to fire someone.

In practice, this means that Google just sent Damore a note that said:

I want to make clear that our decision is based solely on the part of your post that generalizes and advances stereotypes about women versus men. It is not based in any way on the portions of your post that discuss [the Employer’s] programs or trainings, or how [the Employer] can improve its inclusion of differing political views. Those are important points. I also want to be clear that this is not about you expressing yourself on political issues or having political views that are different than others at the company. Having a different political view is absolutely fine. Advancing gender stereotypes is not.

Is this note pretextual? Is there any overlap between the arguments about inclusion of differing views and 'generalizing stereotypes'? Are there any First Amendment considerations? The NLRB can look at all these questions if they want to, but why would they want to here?

But you could imagine a bizarro!Googler who fits Darwin2500's parody, who wrote at length about how women suck and can't think or correctly perform leadership roles, and nothing else, or perhaps only with pretextual mentions of any speech with meaningful content. And while one of those wouldn't be too rough to deal with, a workforce with nothing but that would have a lot of people looking for somewhere else to work. It's not what the 1964 CRA was meant to handle, but it's not like it's bad as a policy.

And that's genuinely a hard problem to solve without either much more honest actors throughout the enforcement schema, or problems like Damore.

He sued over a smorgasbord of different laws and regulations. Google had an agreement with him (and other employees in the lawsuit) to dismiss the case, which prohibited further comment, but it's not clear how much Damore got. His LinkedIn does not look like that of a man with FU-money; rumor is 10k USD, and given the costs of getting the case to that point, that's a pretty rough stretch of the term 'substantial'.

But before that, he submitted an NLRB complaint, and got an answer to that complaint:

An employer’s good-faith efforts to enforce its lawful anti-discrimination or anti-harassment policies must be afforded particular deference in light of the employer’s duty to comply with state and federal EEO laws. Additionally, employers have a strong interest in promoting diversity and encouraging employees across diverse demographic groups to thrive in their workplaces. In furtherance of these legitimate interests, employers must be permitted to “nip in the bud” the kinds of employee conduct that could lead to a “hostile workplace,” rather than waiting until an actionable hostile workplace has been created before taking action.

I mean, I'd love to see TheNybbler's take, but I'll point to "Title VII Religious Freedom in California" here, or less recently, the Damore case under California law -- the very rules that prohibited the discrimination against these people instead were twisted to mandate it. It doesn't matter if there's explicit statutory protections, or SCOTUS caselaw: lower courts and the broader progressive branch will happily look at that obvious contradiction and massive onslaught of cases and happily invite them. The Reinhardt philosophy that SCOTUS can't catch them all is alive and well, and when the worst that happens to the rare losers is that they're temporarily embarrassed, why not roll the dice.

Cfe the recent ATC snafu. It's not just that there's no heads rolling at the top of the pyramid, or that the big civil case is look at "Reply to Motion for Summary Judgment due by 6/26/2025" and actual trial might happen in 2026 if we're lucky.

Shelton Snow's LinkedIn says he's still working as an FAA supervisor!

That's interesting, I just got this notification around June 1 23:00 EDT.

The actual post you made, not so interesting. Is this supposed to even be a response to or defense of the question you sent to start? Or is it just the first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club, and no conviction by a jury could possibly be overt political lawfare?

Possibly. The NYT specifically is a lot more likely to be a bonafide publisher by FEC regs compared to the various Federalist-era papers, and some of the electioneering requirements only apply to 'broadcast' communications, but the disclosure requirements in the statutes did not have such exceptions.

See Buckley v. Valeo. It's a bit of a dogs breakfast of a decision with a ton of balancing tests, or where the government conceded a much more restricted version of the statute on, but on the specific matter a section of the law which mandated disclosure of independent contributions :

Section 434(e) applies to "[e]very person. . . who makes contributions or expenditures." "Contributions" and "expenditures" are defined in parallel provisions in terms of the use of money or other valuable assets "for the purpose of . . . influencing" the nomination or election of candidates for federal office. [Footnote 100] It is the ambiguity of this phrase that poses constitutional problems.

Due process requires that a criminal statute provide adequate notice to a person of ordinary intelligence that his contemplated conduct is illegal, for "no man shall be held criminally responsible for conduct which he could not reasonably understand to be proscribed." United States v. Harriss, 347 U. S. 612, 347 U. S. 617 (1954). See also Papachristou v. City of Jacksonville, 405 U. S. 156 (1972). Where First Amendment rights are involved, an even "greater degree of specificity" is required. Smith v. Goguen, 415 U.S. at 415 U. S. 573. See Grayned v. City of Rockford, 408 U. S. 104, 408 U. S. 109 (1972); Kunz v. New York, 340 U. S. 290 (1951).

There is no legislative history to guide us in determining the scope of the critical phrase "for the purpose of . . . influencing." It appears to have been adopted without comment from earlier disclosure Acts. [Footnote 101] Congress "has voiced its wishes in [most] muted strains," leaving us to draw upon "those common sense assumptions that must be made in determining direction without a compass." Rosado v. Wyman, 397 U. S. 397, 397 U. S. 412 (1970). Where the constitutional requirement of definiteness is at stake, we have the further obligation to construe the statute, if that can be done consistent with the legislature's purpose, to avoid the shoals of vagueness. United States v. Harriss, supra at 347 U. S. 618; United States v. Rumely, 345 U.S. at 345 U. S. 45.

In enacting the legislation under review, Congress addressed broadly the problem of political campaign financing. It wished to promote full disclosure of campaign-oriented spending to insure both the reality and the appearance of the purity and openness of the federal election process. [Footnote 102] Our task is to construe "for the purpose of . . . influencing," incorporated in § 434(e) through the definitions of "contributions" and "expenditures," in a manner that precisely furthers this goal.

In 424 U. S. we discussed what constituted a "contribution" for purposes of the contribution limitations set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 608(b) (1970 ed., Supp. IV). [Footnote 103] We construed that term to include not only contributions made directly or indirectly to a candidate, political party, or campaign committee, and contributions made to other organizations or individuals but earmarked for political purposes, but also all expenditures placed in cooperation with or with the consent of a candidate, his agents, or an authorized committee of the candidate. The definition of "contribution" in § 431(e), for disclosure purposes, parallels the definition in Title 18 almost word for word, and we construe the former provision as we have the latter. So defined, "contributions" have a sufficiently close relationship to the goals of the Act, for they are connected with a candidate or his campaign.

When we attempt to define "expenditure" in a similarly narrow way, we encounter line-drawing problems of the sort we faced in 18 U.S.C. § 608(e)(1) (1970 ed., Supp. IV). Although the phrase, "for the purpose of . . . influencing" an election or nomination, differs from the language used in § 608(e)(1), it shares the same potential for encompassing both issue discussion and advocacy of a political result. [Footnote 104] The general requirement that "political committees" and candidates disclose their expenditures could raise similar vagueness problems, for "political committee" is defined only in terms of amount of annual "contributions" and "expenditures," [Footnote 105] and could be interpreted to reach groups engaged purely in issue discussion. The lower courts have construed the words "political committee" more narrowly. [Footnote 106] To fulfill the purposes of the Act, they need only encompass organizations that are under the control of a candidate or the major purpose of which is the nomination or election of a candidate. Expenditures of candidates and of "political committees," so construed, can be assumed to fall within the core area sought to be addressed by Congress. They are, by definition, campaign-related.

But when the maker of the expenditure is not within these categories -- when it is an individual other than a candidate or a group other than a "political committee" [Footnote 107] -- the relation of the information sought to the purposes of the Act may be too remote. To insure that the reach of § 434(e) is not impermissibly broad, we construe "expenditure" for purposes of that section in the same way we construed the terms of § 608(e) -- to reach only funds used for communications that expressly advocate [Footnote 108] the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate. This reading is directed precisely to that spending that is unambiguously related to the campaign of a particular federal candidate.

Note that these restricted definitions, unlike many other components, were not conceded by the state at previous court hearings, but the result of SCOTUS trimming down the statute to avoid declaring the whole thing unconstitutional.

Definitely not legal as pseudonymous pieces; coordinated works are required to disclose, even in newspapers. I'm moderately confident the law would trigger certain reporting requirements in New York, and probably those would be mandated by federal law for Hamilton, possibly some other writers. Not sure on the journals themselves; we have mixed information on what extent they were bonafide publishers or party outfits.

... by the text of the statutes. The First Amendment raises an absolute ton of legal questions, here, and the question of whether these disclosure, reporting, and 'stand by' requirements are legal gets complicated (albeit generally expressive association, rather than free speech). Many rules have been invalidated by SCOTUS jurisprudence as overly broad, ill-defined, or improperly tailored for how large of a chilling effect on free speech they have. And there is specific precedence on reporting requirements having massive chilling effects.

SteveKirk believes, with fairly credible reason, that the federal and some state governments is working in coordination with various online and meatspace merchants to track the sales of major firearm components, in an attempt to track down people who are manufacturing 3d printed or other self-produced guns.

((And while SteveKirk hasn't said it explicitly, I think the feds probably also are trying to track down likely owners of guns sold in private sales who use them enough to modify or require repairs of major components, for both manufacturing charges and to prepare state efforts trying to 'close' private sales or interstate or unregistered ammunition sales, such as California and New York.))

This is bad enough in the sense that it's not actually illegal in many jurisdictions that it's being covered in, and plausibly unconstitutional even in the states that do ban it, but that's just the surface level problem. If you own a 3d printer and normally-bought guns that you're maintaining without producing any 3d-printed weapons, you might avoid a conviction (or even a trial!) should a bunch of ATF agents break down your door looking for guns, but it won't bring your dog back to life. Same for stuff that 'looks like' silencer material.

There are also bump stock or (more often) pistol brace components that have been retroactively banned, after long periods where the ATF claimed they were legal, in ways quite a lot of gun owners who own these things -- and might put photos that get auto-cloud-uploaded, if they're particularly unlucky -- may not know they have been banned.

I think you're missing a lot of details specific to the case.

Even if an appellate court were to rule that the specific evidence of the plea bargain was inadmissible, the fact that Cohen outlined his actions in detail for the jury with the defense being given an opportunity to cross-examine likely puts this in the harmless error category.

Cohen testified, and was allowed to testify, at length not just on his actions, but that his actions violated federal law, while limiting the ability of the defense to cross-examine on matters of law. The latter is fair; the former is not harmless error.

I'm not familiar with the specific scientier requirements in this case, but as long as the jury was properly instructed of them, an appellate court is loath to contradict their findings.

Yes, if the jury were adequately instructed. The disclaimers here, like the curative instructions, might have been usable for the typical case, but they're woefully incomplete for one here. For the matter of "INTENT TO COMMIT OR CONCEAL ANOTHER CRIME":

For the crime of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, the intent to defraud must include an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof. Under our law, although the People must prove an intent to commit another crime or to aid or conceal the commission thereof, they need not prove that the other crime was in fact committed, aided, or concealed.

Again, I haven't read the full trial transcript, but as long as there was some reasonable basis for which the jury to reach their conclusion, an appellate court isn't going to set aside the verdict.

There's some question about whether they are, but more seriously, the jury instructions did no adequately that jurors needed to find that the intent. Again, see above link.

Cohen plead guilty to a Federal charge. IIRC, there were state charges involved as well, and if his testimony implicated state law violations, the bootstrapping argument is moot.

The state campaign finance challenges were New York election law 17-152, which itself in turn requires an 'unlawful means'; there's no swappero between federal and state campaign finance laws for this conviction.

The underlying crime that the state theorized were some combination of federal campaign finance laws, state laws about false business records, and state tax record laws. If the jury convicted based on state tax record or false business record statutes... well, there are other issues, but it would avoid the federal question. But the judge did not require all jurors to record what theory they signed onto, or even to agree on what underlying theory; if even one juror convicted on the federal campaign finance laws, the issue remains relevant and is a reversible error.

And because the unlawful means must promote or prevent the election of a candidate to be usable for 17-152 (which neither internal business records no state tax records are likely to do), it's very plausible that the jurors convicted on a FECA theory.

The Appellate Division already ruled on the recusal issue, and I doubt the Court of Appeals will take up the issue.

I mean, I doubt the New York Appellate Division or Court of Appeals would take up any issue seriously.

The Wiesselberg thing is moot because the defense didn't protect the record. If they had a problem with the prosecution relying on his statements without calling him they could have called him themselves.

I think it's something more specific to the false tax records theory not having sufficient evidence for a jury to convict, and that Wiesselberg is out of the defense's control (as he's a) in Riker's and b) would almost certainly plead the fifth), but I'll admit it's definitely a less plausible matter and you're right that the defense avoided calling him more because he's a weasel and this would limit his utility in an appeal regardless of whether by strict precedent it 'should' matter.

I have no idea whether Trump personally cutting a check would have avoided legal scrutiny, but the ambiguity doesn't really bother me, because I don't like the idea that someone trying to be President would blatantly hide information from voters. Hell, at least have the foresight to do it before you're actually running so there's no campaign money to speak of.

That might be nice as normative matter, but as a descriptive one, the current sitting President coordinated with a large number of both intelligence agency spooks and tech companies to excise a negative story right before the last election. So there's your first problem.

But the more serious one is that we are supposed to live in a country of law, not a country of whatever laws someone can stretch to cover something kinda if you squint and have a really friendly judge and jury. You are not going to see a sudden outbreak of convictions for blatantly hiding information from voters, nor would any competent lawyer have informed people that it was illegal.

Okay, so is the answer to the hypothetical then that yes the Federalist Papers would have been legal but they would have needed to include a "I'm James Madison and I approve this message" style notification?


Would the pseudonymous Federalist Papers have been legal? ... Pseudonymous? Or reporting requirement? Criminal?


McCain-Feingold's (and I think NY law) definitions of electioneering communications are not limited to advertisements. Famously so, given that Citizens United revolved around a case where the FEC both prohibited ads for a movie and simply showing that movie.

There are exceptions for contributions (ie costs) by independent news media reporting bonafide news, but the "stand by your ad" rules, reporting provisions, and time provisions do not have such exceptions, and some of the Federalist newspapers probably would fail the modern independence test (if only because almost all newspapers at the Founding Era were tied heavily to local political parties, or were vanity press). In practice, the FEC almost never takes such charges, because at least some would fail Mills (though Mills was about uncoordinated expenditures, and Hamilton was clearly coordinating them), but the strict text would allow them.

There are some avenues for appeal where a fact is improperly admitted as evidence or testimony, or where a jury makes an improper decision of law, albeit with a fairly high standard of error...

But it doesn't really matter. Trump (probably) can't even file an appeal until after sentencing, and there's zero chance that the New York Court of Appeals will decide the case before November (and might not even hear the case before then), in the likely event that they refuse, it'll be a year or longer for federal courts to get involved, and there are extremely limited grounds where a federal court can bypass state courts.

And while a lot of the errors here are reversible, or even cause to mandate recusal by the judge, they're not severe enough to throw out the case; even a 'victory' just starts the trial over again, and Bragg will not be dropping this case.

I think a lot of the progressive legal sphere is assuming that even if this case is overturned, it'll happen after Georgia/federal documents/whatever gets him, too (or Trump will self-moot sometime), but to anyone that isn't as far buying every charge against Trump as AshLael is, there's a non-trivial chance that Trump will eventually be found not guilty of multiple different cases... in 2025 and 2026. After he's lost the election.

I'm not sure I understand the question? Why would they be impacted by campaign finance laws at all?

While FECA is best-known for its direct contribution limits on candidate-specific communications, much of the point of McCain-Feingold in 2002 was to expand the law's definition of 'electioneering communications' to cover matters that did not target or support a specific politician directly, but also matters like 'issue ads', which focused on topic areas, if usually to highlight a candidate on those matters. In addition to restrictions on when they could run them and how they could fund them, candidates running issues ads (or coordinating with those running issue ads) were required to disclose their participation, known as the "Stand By Your Ad" provision.

This was mostly used where the third-party issue ads explicitly named politicians (such as Citizens United involving a movie about Clinton's history), but the law held a candidate was clearly identified a "specific candidate" where a communication asked to call their representative, even if this resulted in many different 'specific' candidates being involved. And while the Federalist Papers genuinely were more focused on the theoretical foundations, their calls to action and some of the more subtle components would pass this requirement.

The larger length of time between the issuance of the Federalist Papers and the local elections for the convention might have put it outside of the FECA safe harbor timeline, but I'm honestly not sure, and the Stand By Your Ad requirement probably would have applied by its strict text. (In practice, the FEC tends to avoid cases with that clear a First Amendment component, lest they get slapped by SCOTUS again.) And most FECA provisions have a 50k audience requirement and only covered audio and video, which obviously would have been hard to hit in the Founding era.

And, of course, New York law can be much more aggressive than federal law : a New York organization opposing or supporting even specific ballot issues, separate from any specific candidate, must register with the state, report to the state any donations above a certain (low) threshold, and refuse any anonymous contributions. The Federalist Papers would clearly hit that requirement by strict read of the text, though there's both official and unofficial exceptions for organizations whose free speech the ACLU cares about. I think the Federalist Papers could also hit the PAC requirements by a strict read of the text, but I'd have to look through that in more detail to say for sure.

The District Attorney’s press office and its flaks often proclaim that falsification of business records charges are “commonplace” and, indeed, the office’s “bread and butter.” That’s true only if you draw definitional lines so broad as to render them meaningless. Of course the DA charges falsification quite frequently; virtually any fraud case involves some sort of fake documentation.

But when you impose meaningful search parameters, the truth emerges: the charges against Trump are obscure, and nearly entirely unprecedented. In fact, no state prosecutor – in New York, or Wyoming, or anywhere – has ever charged federal election laws as a direct or predicate state crime, against anyone, for anything. None. Ever. Even putting aside the specifics of election law, the Manhattan DA itself almost never brings any case in which falsification of business records is the only charge.](https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/trump-was-convicted-but-prosecutors-contorted-the-law.html)

((It's not clear that the underlying crime was actually the federal campaign finance matter; the jury instructions just reference 17-152, which itself requires "unlawful means", and the judge verbally instructed the jury to pick any combination of FECA, other paperwork record violations, or state tax laws.))

Those surveys tend to back this up: the lightest or attempted theft in this page is still 300 USD in Ramirez, Murray in the multiple thousands, Kirkland for 350k USD(!). I can't find exact numbers for Freeland or Holley, but napkin math puts even a short duration puts it around 200 USD/month and Freeland covering multiple months, and Holley's insurance fraud claims are almost certainly closer to Murray than Ramirez. In this case, the erroneous classification probably increased, rather than decreased, Trump's final tax payment.

Working link at here