Unjust Justice

Rev. William Barber has a post over at In These Times about The Fight for a $15 Minimum Wage Is a Fight for Racial Justice. He quotes a loose translation of the beginning of the 10th chapter of Isaiah in support of his argument—

Woe unto those who legislate evil and rob the poor of their rights, who make women and children their prey.

I agree with Rev. Barber that those of us who are better off have an obligation to treat the poor justly and to compassionately care for widows and the fatherless. However, I believe the minimum wage increase he supports will hurt rather than help the poor. Indeed, passing such a law will be legislating an evil.

The general effect of increasing the minimum wage is to price workers with marginal skills out of the labor market. Businesses don’t have bottomless funds from which they pay wages. They can only extract so much revenue from their customers, and that money must be divided among paying for inventory, rent, wages, and other expenses. A minimum wage bill doesn’t make expenses like rent disappear, so a business only has so much it can divide among its workers for payroll. When the law artificially increases each worker’s pay, simple arithmetic shows that fewer workers can be paid before the money is gone. Business that survive will keep their best employees and fire marginal workers. Business that grow will hire fewer workers.

Not every worker who loses his job because of a minimum wage increase will remain unemployed. Some will find work off-the-books in the informal economy, but increasing the minimum wage invariably increase unemployment among our poorest citizens.

We Americans generally believe that everyone has a right to work to support himself and family. Is it just to pass a law artificially pricing poor workers out of the labor market? I don’t think so.

The First Amendment, the Fourth Amendment, Sexual Harassment, and the TSA

There’s nothing new under the sun. This tweet deals with an incident that occurred in 2011.While the fizzled attempt at lawfare wasn’t a government act, the “search” was.

Here is Ms. Alkon’s OC Register Op Ed.

Here is the Tech Dirt post.

UPDATE—Introductory paragraph added. It will be interesting to see how future such incidents play our in the post-Weinstein era.

All Your Data Are Belong to Us

Folks seem to be surprised that personal information provided to the Maryland Obamacare website can be shared with law enforcement and other “appropriate agencies,” whatever that means. They must not have been paying attention to the way the state has been run for years.

The “Free State” is one of the least free, if not the least free, states in the Union. The state government’s disrespect for the rights of the citizens is epic. One recent example was the passage of more patently unconstitutional gun control laws which resulted in a huge surge in gun purchases. Because Maryland requires a State Police background check on top of the federal check, the flood of applications swamped the State Police resources. The 7-day waiting period was taking months. To try to work through the backlog, the State Police began illegally sharing the personal data of purchasers with other agencies so that their unvetted personnel could handle the checks. Oh, and the sharing was via unsecured web links in violation of the state’s own IT standards.

So why should anyone be surprised when Maryland says, “All your data are belong to us”?

A PRISMer of His Own Device

The PRISM surveillance program appears to gibe the NSA access to email, video chat, VoIP conversations, photos, and stored data from the participating companies. Unlike the call metadata collection program (l’affaire Verizon), this program deals with mining the content of online communication.

The European Union has very strict data privacy laws.

U. S. companies doing business with Europeans are required to abide by those laws.

Europe is not amused by PRISM.

We have seen the media reports and we are of course concerned for possible consequences on EU citizens’ privacy. For the moment it is too early to draw any conclusion or to comment further. We will get in contact with our U.S. counterparts to seek more details on these issues.

—Cecilia Malmström, Home Affairs Commissioner,  European Commission

There are real issues about the extent to which U.S. law enforcement agencies can access personal data of UK and other European citizens. Aspects of U.S. law under which companies can be compelled to provide information to U.S. agencies potentially conflict with European data protection law, including the UK’s own Data Protection Act. The ICO has raised this with its European counterparts, and the issue is being considered by the European Commission, who are in discussions with the U.S. Government.

—UK Information Commissioner’s Office

If you lived overseas and you used Gmail or communicated by Skype or synched your files via iCloud, how would you feel about PRISM? Suppose you were a foreign businessman who relied upon information services from a U.S. company; doesn’t PRISM make using such a service a business liability? Why should we expect foreigners to put their data on such a compromised system?

What we should expect is that some countries, as a matter of national security, will begin requiring that data not bound for the U. S. cannot be routed through the U. S. and that data cannot be stored on U. S. servers. That could be the end of American leadership of the Internet.

One of the reasons why our Internet facilities have been used by some many foreigners is the idea that the United States, among all the nations of the world, should be the place where one is protected by the rule of law—and that law includes the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. Folks understand that governments conduct searches, but there’s an expectation that in America searches should require a warrant for the particular things sought.

PRISM is more that a black eye. It has the potential to do lasting damage to the country’s standing as a place ruled by laws rather than a nomenklatura.

Quote of the Day

Behind Winston’s back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilment of the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.

—George Orwell, Nineteen Eight-Four

Which Choice Are You Pro?

All of us are pro-choice to the extent that we believe that we should be free to choose the way we wish. The anarchists among us would agree with that point of view wholeheartedly. Libertarians might moderate that to the extent of limiting choices that affect another person. At the other end of the spectrum, nanny-statists and Progressives would say that choice must be limited by their understanding of what is good for us, by which they really mean the choices they choose.

At the silly end of things, nanny-statists such as Mayor Bloomberg want to take away your right to choose a Big Gulp. They argue that it’s bad for your health and that you’ll be a burden on the healthcare system, yada, yada, yada. At the serious end of things, they want to take away your right to choose to defend yourself with a modern sporting rifle loaded with a normal capacity magazine. They argue that … umm … well, actually they don’t have a logical argument; they just don’t like the idea that you might have a gun. They have to make a stretch to bring some other party’s interest to limit your choices.

OTOH, most Progressives favor a right for a mother to end the life of her child in utero. For those of us who look at the DNA of a child and see a member of our species from conception, it’s clear that an abortion affects an innocent party. Others may disagree about when that child deserves protection, but essentially no one advocates the killing of viable children born alive. The question of when to protect a child’s life is one of those inconvenient questions that many would rather not wrestle with.

That, I think, is the reason for the main stream media’s avoidance of the Gosnell murder cases. It brings that question into focus.

Living Transparently

Some folks blog under a nom de cyber. There’s an old tradition of such pen names—Publius, Poor Richard, etc. Although I have used a nom de plume writing humor for audio industry publications (R. M. S. Watts, B.S.), I blog under my own name.

When I took that decision, I knew that it would have an effect on my privacy. You see, there are only two people alive in the United States named William John Joseph Hoge. I’m WJJH III (Yes, W3JJH, my amateur radio call sign, is a vanity call sign), and my son is serial number IV. It takes very little google-fu to find all sorts of information about me given my two decade long presence on the web. That’s why my address and one of my phone numbers is on the DMCA Contact page. Given the ease of finding my contact info, why not direct people for my convenience?

I knew that trolls would try to spam me, but they’re easily dealt with. What’s amusing is how clever some of them think they are. One used my ham radio call sign shown on the About page to find my address when he could have simply clicked on the DMCA Contact page. Go figure.

Home Addresses

When I look through the search terms that have led some folks to this site, I occasionally find a search for the home address of Brett Kimberlin Lord Voldemort or one of his Death Eater Wannabes. You won’t find that information here, and if you followed a link here looking for it, you need to work on your google-fu.

I won’t voluntarily publish any such information about someone else without that person’s explicit written permission.


If you’re viewing this post on the HOME page, you won’t find my name without doing a bit of clicking around. If you linked directly in to this post, you can look down below and see that it was posted by wjjhoge. If you want to know more about me, there’s a bio on the ABOUT page. If you want to contact me, you can find out how on the DMCA CONTACT page. I don’t blog anonymously on this site.

Some bloggers prefer to remain anonymous. They have their reasons. And some of those reasons are very good ones.

Yes, I lose some of my privacy this way, but I prefer to let folks see me for who I am and my ideas for what they are. I’ve had some minor bother from unhappy readers. It’s never been a real problem. I’ve been harassed in previous circumstances before, and I gave as good as  better than I got.

Indiana Corrects a State Supreme Court Error

Governor Daniels has signed a bill which allows Indiana residents to use force to resist unlawful arrests by public employees, including police officers. The legislation was passed by strong majorities in the House and Senate in response to public uproar after the state Supreme Court ruled last year that residents couldn’t resist officers even during an illegal entry.


This reminds me of some advice a good old boy gave me some years ago. “Boy, beware of strong drink. It can make you shoot at the revenuers–and miss.”

Security Video Backs Sen. Paul

The Tennessean reports:

A security video of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul at a Nashville International Airport checkpoint doesn’t show him being “irate,” as police asserted.

An incident report describes the police response as encountering “a passenger being irate.” But videos released by the Metro Airport Authority late Wednesday show Paul entering the security line at 7:57 a.m. and then alternately sitting and standing in a glass cubicle while being watched by authorities. Paul appears to make a few phone calls as well.


Irritating Web Sites

I often check in with Instapundit looking for interesting links, and the Professor often has links to the NY Post and NY Times. Recently, I’ve found that the NY Post wanted me to use their app when I’m using my iPad or iPhone. I ran a similar problem today with the Times.

I don’t like to have to register in order to visit a web site, and I’ve found a work around for these two sites. They seem to be detecting that I’m running Safari under iOS. When I log in using another browser such as Opera, I’m not diverted away to app sales or registration screens.

Opera isn’t as pretty as Safari, but it works well and is a free download from the App Store.