Print Story Rambling #3: the velveeta of music
By aphrael (Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 09:15:41 PM EST) (all tags)
Today's been one of those days where everyone has a problem that should be my first priority, meaning the work I'm actually supposed to get done doesn't. It's annoying; I'm already late for a very important date, and this crap isn't helping at all. (Of course, if I don't help them, they'll be late for their very important dates, so ...)

Inside: politics, music, movie, evidence.

I have a peculiar relationship with my commute. When I'm worried about running late, it tends to stress me out and get me all grumpy and bitchy and calling the other drivers names. Most of the time, it just bores  me; it's gotten old, and even when traffic is heavy, it's not like there's anything unusual going on. But sometimes, when the air is right and the music matches my mood, it can be a time of sublime beauty. Today, alas, was boring.


Last night, J and I spent part of the night cuddling on the couch watching a movie off of his netflix queue. He fell asleep; I only made it about 40 minutes through before giving up on it. For reasons I don't understand, it's one of the bestselling movies in Russian film history. I found it to be a mildly interesting story, but the implementation alternated between being so confusing that I had no clue what was going on (on the one hand) and dreadfully dull (on the other hand). I might be willing to try out the books, but the rest of the movie, and the sequels? Not gonna happen.



It seems the ACLU is suing California over a ballot initiative. This isn't news; someone is always suing California over a ballot initiative. :)

In this particular case, they're suing California over the exact reason I declined to vote for the initiative, which makes me happy - albeit, while I agree with them as a policy matter, I'm not convinced they're right as a matter of law.

The issue is that California passed a ballot measure requiring everyone arrested for a felony (or suspicion of a felony) to have their DNA tested and added to a database. People who are acquitted can ask a judge to remove their data from the database after six months; people who are never charged or never get to trial and don't plead guilty can ask to have their data removed after three years; neither request is automatic and a judge can refuse to comply with it.

That's right: in California, your DNA sample can be stored in a database of known criminals even if you are never charged with a crime. IMO, this is excessive; I'd have no problem with it if the request were automatically granted (or, better, the data automatically removed unless you were convicted) ... but a system which basically lets the data stay there encourages the police to go on a dna collecting expedition by arresting people groundlessly and then dropping charges; and it's needlessly invasive of the privacy of the people involved.

But as a matter of law, I'm unconvinced that it violates the fourth amendment. Allegedly two appeals courts have held that it does, but I'm unable to form the argument.

Politics, part 2:

It's surreal and disturbing watching the antics in Maine from afar. It feels an awful lot like things did here, last year, and my faith in the ability of the people of that state to be better than the people of my state were is waning. :( I really don't want to see another loss here, and i'm getting dispirited enough to think that maybe it's better to stop fighting for a decade, because not fighting doesn't hurt as much as fighting and losing.

Politics, part 3:

The Governor is apparently threatening to veto all 700 bills the Legislature sent him this session if they don't pass a bill he wants involving restructuring the state's water supply system. By tomorrow.

One legislator - who is running for Attorney General - has asked the AG to investigate the Governor for criminal extortion. (Right, because criminalizing this kind of politics doesn't just lead to government by the state courts). Another legislator is threatening to have the legislature impeach the governor if he carries through on his threats.

This just goes to demonstrate (a) the relatively low power of California's governor, (b) the incredibly poor job the governor is doing, and (c) the surreal nature of California politics. There's a great fiddling-while-Rome-burns feel to the whole thing: unemployment is up, particularly in the central valley; the economy is rocky; the housing market has collapsed; the state's budget is in tatters; our prison system is about to be taken over by the feds; the university system is in crisis; the water system is in crisis; and the government is playing games like this? Double-WTF.



Joris Voom (Balance 014 CD):
I first encountered this CD in May when a friend from Coachella passed it along; it's a downtempo trancy form of house music which, while probably undanceable, does a great job of invoking atmosphere, an overwhelming ethereal beat that sinks in and focuses you outward. it's great music for listening to while focusing on something else, whether it be work, of the beauty of the world.

Kyteman (The Hermit Sessions):

Kyteman is a dutch hip-hop group who performs in English, French, and Dutch. In theory, this ought to appeal to me; I loved Jigge Je, for example, and MC Solaar; and there's somethign neat about hip hop in languages I don't speak because it causes me to ignore the lyrics and focus on the sound in a way that I just can't do with anything in English that has lyrics. But ... perhaps it was because i kept getting interrupted, perhaps not: the first listen left me utterly unmoved ... nothing stood out as remarkable one way or another. I'll have to give ti a second try and see how it goes.

Men at Work (Live in Dayton, Aug 5, 1983):

I rarely download bootlegs of concerts from before 1990; the few times I have, the sound quality has been worse tham mediocre, and I've ended up deleting the files off of my hard drive after failing to enjoy them. But my bootleg torrent server recently had a free weekend, and I was interested in the band after seeing some snippets of their performance at the US Festival, so I downloaded it, to check it out.

The sound quality was amazingly good - it would be a good quality today, and for the time, that's nothing short of incredible. It was apparently a recording of a 'westwood radio one rock stars in concert' show, or some such thing, and was probably soundboard mixed with an audience mic.

That said ... while I like some of their songs (Down Under, say, of Who Can It Be Now?), the music of that era often had an appalling softness, a blending of sounds and a softening of the edges, a conscious shaping and processing that squeezed out the velveeta of music; and that applied, alas, to this show. I have this sneaky suspicion that the singers singing the identical songs over a banjo backed by a harmonica would have been more interesting.

Midnight Oil (Live in Geelong, Nov 7, 2002):

I've never had the privilige of seeing Midnight Oil in concert, and the only previous concert rip I've had of them was from their one-off reunion earlier this year, where they rocked the house down with an incredible energy which would not have been sustainable as an every day thing during a long tour, so I wasn't really quite sure what to expect with this. It was sorta wierd; the band was very chatty, and the music seemed less rock-y and more like they were experimenting with adult contemporary elevator music versions of their songs. Still, they did a good job with it. Although I'm still not sure what anyone sees in Redneck Wonderland.



we're talking about the federal rules for impeaching a witness' credibility during cross-examination. The general rule is that if you ask about something you need to have a good-faith basis for believing that it's relevant, and that whatever you are implying about the witness is true; but in some cases, if the witness denies it, you are required to then prove it or run the risk of a mistrial; and for other cases, if the witness denies it, you are not allowed to then prove it.

The simple version of the rules: You can always impeach a witness with evidence of bias, and are required to prove it if they deny it. You can generally impeach with prior inconsistent statements, but if you're going to introduce evidence of the prior inconsistent statement, you have to provide the other side with the opportunity to refute it. You can always impeach by contradiction - that is, showing that something the witness said is inconsistent with some other known fact. You can impeach with evidence of prior convictions if the crime was a felony and the prejudice to the case does not substantially outweigh the probative value of the impeaching evidence ... unless the prior conviction was more than ten years ago, unless there a specific facts which cause the evidence's probative value to substantially outweigh the prejudicial impact. You can call any witness to testify about the reputation of the other witness for truthfulness, or the new witness' personal opinion of the first witness' truthfulness. You can ask the witness about prior conduct which might indicate untruthfulness, but if he lies about it you can't introduce evidence to prove the lie.

The entire evidence code is like this. Isn't it fun? Can I have a flow chart?

< We can work it out. | random TV ramblings >
Rambling #3: the velveeta of music | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
DNA by duxup (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 09:41:28 PM EST
Holy crap yeah that is nasty. It makes you wonder if law enforcement is just looking to DNA matches to make life easier for them. That is kinda scary, I imagine for the non OJ crowd fighting what seems like an accurate DNA match is like arguing with a computer. 
DNA is the new lie detector. by garlic (4.00 / 1) #17 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 01:32:42 PM EST
too much CSI means that DA's can say SCIENCE! in the courtroom and be too likely to be believed, when what the forensic investigator's do is generally not SCIENCE!

[ Parent ]
Yar by duxup (2.00 / 0) #20 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 01:39:02 PM EST
or fingerprints.   All anyone wants to hear is "it is a match" and it seems you're toast.
[ Parent ]
Night Watch and etc. by lm (4.00 / 1) #2 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 04:32:15 AM EST
I watched Night Watch with a group of people. I was the only one who liked it. Even the guy who picked it up and was excited to see it didn't really like it. I've been meaning to get around to watching the sequels.


As far as DNA goes, why would it be different than fingerprints? My understanding is that the powers that be are not allowed to store fingerprints from an arrest that does not end in conviction. I don't see why DNA would be different. But, of course, it could be that I'm misinformed on the status of fingerprint databases.


A few months ago, I connected with an old college acquaintance on Facebook. He was a huge influence on Dayton's underground scene in the late eighties, early nineties. Just this past summer, he passed the Ohio bar. I've not been exposed to his writing prior to law school, but his writing style certainly has elements very similar to yours. I find myself wondering if this is an artifact of going to law school.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Unless they collect crap dna from your fingertips by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 07:50:11 AM EST
(which they don't do), then DNA collection is more invasive than fingerprint collection and less so than a blood draw.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
right by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 09:26:42 AM EST
all the more reason that they shouldn't be more able to keep the stuff than they are with fingerprints.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
IAWTP by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 09:57:38 AM EST
This policestate crap scares me.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
artifact of going to law school by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 07:59:55 AM EST
god, i hope not, as if so i'd have to assume you were saying my writing was inpenetrably dense and used complicated words when simple ones would do. :)
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
I don't think I implied such by lm (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 05:04:15 PM EST
I do not think that what I said in any way implied anything about being impenetrably dense.

But if you want to assume the worst, I suppose that's your right.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
no, you didn't imply any such thing. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 05:06:41 PM EST
however, since 95% of legal writing is inpenetrably dense and uses complex words when simple words will do, I have to assume that writing style is something one acquires while in law school.

i was making a joke about the poor quality of legal writing: you speculate that my writing style might be an artefact of law school, i recoil in horror because the writing style which is usually an artefact of law school is just hideous.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
I think you're conflating two different things by lm (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 05:15:38 PM EST
One thing being getting published and the sorts of writing one might submit to the court.

The other thing being the stylistic tones one tends to take after attending law schooli

I think those are two different things. If you and the other guy are representative (which you may not be) going though law school confers a certain amount of detachment that results in a writing style where one is more capable of cooly analyzing facts of hand and detaching emotional involvement in a way that allows the reader to understand both.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I read Nightwatch, by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 05:58:35 AM EST
and I have to say that while I found the premise intriguing, I wasn't all that impressed with the book. Certainly not enough to pick up the sequel. I mean, like I say, it wasn't terrible. Just, meh.
The amount of suck that you can put up with can be mind-boggling, but it only really hits you when it then ceases to suck. -- Kellnerin
Interesting by Merekat (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 07:26:08 AM EST
I liked the film a lot (Daywatch as a film is less satisfying) but I liked the books even more. It is the type of twisty I can imagine only  someone having grown up in the eastern bloc writing.

[ Parent ]
DNA by Herring (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 06:09:43 AM EST
The situation in UKia is that they take and keep DNA from anyone arrested for anything and don't throw it away ever. The EU have told the govt to stop doing that. The govt has decided to keep it for a finite time - longer if you were arrested for something very bad. If the person is convicted then I think it's still kept permanently.

A few people have managed to successfully get their records removed, but it's not easy.

The thing that worries me about this is, unsurprisingly, the police. If there is a situation where the police have your DNA as the only match at a crime scene (because you were there at a different time), will they:
a) Keep looking for the real perp
b) Fit you up and tell the court "the DNA evidence proves it"

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

That would never happen. by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 10:34:58 AM EST
Trust us[tm].
[ Parent ]
Tonight's score: by Herring (4.00 / 1) #14 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 10:40:36 AM EST
Guildford 4 - Birmingham 6

Bear in mind that plod is target driven. Arresting someone = points (and what do points make?). They don't get extra for arresting the right person.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Our policy is that it does not happen. by ad hoc (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 11:03:33 AM EST
I mean, it's official policy.
[ Parent ]
they do get extra points by garlic (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 01:35:42 PM EST
if they can get a confession out of the arrestee. Again, no points taken off for getting a false confession.

[ Parent ]
the surreal nature of California politics by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #5 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 07:11:41 AM EST
California is a case study in one of the failure modes of Democracy. In this case, the Proposition system. That, coupled with the redistricting system, seems to have made the state ungovernable. I don't think anyone could do a better job as Governor than Arnie. Which isn't a commentary on his capabilities as much as it is on the system you have out there.

Any system where raising taxes requires a 75% vote in the Legislature, but raising spending only requires 50%, is severely broken. The other way around would be much better.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

67%, not 75%. by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #8 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 07:59:15 AM EST
otherwise, point.

the good news is that we think we've fixed the redistricting problem, although only the first use of the new system will really tell.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
fixed, as in less broken, by garlic (2.00 / 0) #19 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 01:36:43 PM EST
or actually good? gerrymandering irks me.

[ Parent ]
for state legislature by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 02:13:28 PM EST
power to draw districts taken away from the legislature, vested in a board of citizens selected for the purpose through a convoluted process which nobody understands, all members of whom cannot have run for public office in the last decade and promise not to in the next decade.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
what happens if they do run in the next 10? by garlic (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 06:13:51 PM EST
it sounds good...

[ Parent ]
i don't remember. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 06:18:04 PM EST
great quality bootlegs before 1990 by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #10 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 08:53:50 AM EST
if you'd pick the Grateful Dead, you'd have a near unlimited choice. Aside from them, I haven't found much, some Talking Heads, some Springsteen, some Floyd.

Impeach the Governor? by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #16 Fri Oct 09, 2009 at 11:36:15 AM EST
As unpopular as Arnie is, the one entity he is massively more popular than is the state legislature.  I can't imagine impeaching a popularly elected governor would make them friends.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
Rambling #3: the velveeta of music | 26 comments (26 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback