Quotulatiousness

April 17, 2014

Nevada standoff and the rule of law

Filed under: Environment, Law, Liberty, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 07:25

I haven’t been following the situation in Nevada between the armed forces of the Bureau of Land Management and the armed citizenry in support of rancher Cliven Bundy, but while my sympathies normally go toward the individual rather than the state, this case doesn’t appear to be clear-cut (and Bundy is clearly in violation of the law to some degree). Kevin Williamson seems to be in the same general state of mind:

Deserts always feel like my natural habitat, and I am very fond of them. That being said, I have, for my sins, spent a fair amount of time in Clark County, Nev., and it is not the loveliest stretch of desert in these United States, or even in the top twelve. Protecting the pristine beauty of the sun-baked and dust-caked outskirts of Las Vegas and its charismatic fauna from grazing cattle — which the Bureau of Land Management seems to regard as an Old Testament plague — seems to me to be something less than a critical national priority. At the same time, the federal government’s fundamental responsibility, which is defending the physical security of the country, is handled with remarkable nonchalance: Millions upon millions upon millions of people have crossed our borders illegally and continue to reside within them. Cliven Bundy’s cattle are treated as trespassers, and federal agents have been dispatched to rectify that trespass; at the same time, millions of illegal aliens present within our borders are treated as an inevitability that must be accommodated. In practice, our national borders are a joke, but the borders of that arid haven upon which ambles the merry Mojave desert tortoise are sacrosanct.

[...]

The relevant facts are these: 1) Very powerful political interests in Washington insist upon the scrupulous enforcement of environmental laws, and if that diminishes the interests of private property owners, so much the better, in their view. 2) Very powerful political interests in Washington do not wish to see the scrupulous enforcement of immigration laws, and if that undercuts the bottom end of the labor market or boosts Democrats’ long-term chances in Texas, so much the better, in their view.

This isn’t the rule of law. This is the rule of narrow, parochial, self-interested political factions masquerading as the rule of law.

If we are to have the rule of law, then, by all means, let’s have the rule of law: Shut down those federal subsidies and IRS penalties in states that did not create their own exchanges under the Affordable Care Act — the law plainly does not empower the federal government to treat federal exchanges identically to state exchanges. And let’s enforce the ACA’s deadlines with the same scrupulosity with which the IRS enforces its deadlines. Let’s see Lois Lerner and a few hundred IRS employees thrown in the hole for their misappropriation of federal resources, lying to Congress, etc. — and let’s at least look into prosecuting some elected Democrats for suborning those actions. And if you want to get to the real problem with illegal immigration, let’s frog-march a few CEOs, restaurateurs, and small-time contractors off to prison for violating our immigration laws — and they can carry a GM product-safety manager and a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration executive under each arm. Let’s talk about enumerated powers.

H/T to Jon, my former virtual landlord, for the link.

March 14, 2012

EFF reports on most recent legal setback for former owners of Righthaven

Filed under: Law, Liberty, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 11:26

It’s pretty much good news all the way through for bloggers and anyone else who quotes and links to material on the web:

Late Friday, the federal district court in Nevada issued a declaratory judgment that makes is harder for copyright holders to file lawsuits over excerpts of material and burden online forums and their users with nuisance lawsuits.

The judgment — part of the nuisance lawsuit avalanche started by copyright troll Righthaven — found that Democratic Underground did not infringe the copyright in a Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper article when a user of the online political forum posted a five-sentence excerpt, with a link back to the newspaper’s website.

March 8, 2012

The “SteamPunkiest” railcar ever

Filed under: History, Railways, Randomness, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas Russon @ 12:21

A few pictures from RR Picture Archives by Marty Bernard, showing the most Steampunk-appropriate railway vehicle, the McKeen Motor Car. This example is painted in Virginia & Truckee markings:

Click to see full size image at RR Picture Archives

(more…)

November 2, 2011

The decline and fall of Righthaven

Filed under: Law, Liberty, Media, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas Russon @ 08:40

Ars Technica has what should be the final legal chapter in the Righthaven saga:

Looks like it’s time to turn out the lights on Righthaven. The US Marshal for the District of Nevada has just been authorized by a federal court to use “reasonable force” to seize $63,720.80 in cash and/or assets from the Las Vegas copyright troll after Righthaven failed to pay a court judgment from August 15.

Righthaven made a national name for itself by suing mostly small-time bloggers and forum posters over the occasional copied newspaper article, initially going so far as to demand that targeted websites turn over their domain names to Righthaven. The several hundred cases went septic on Righthaven, however, once it became clear that Righthaven didn’t own the copyrights over which it was suing. Righthaven, ailing, was soon buffeted by negative court decisions as a result.

[. . .]

The appeals court has refused to act on Righthaven’s request to delay its August judgment further, and the money was due last Friday. When it didn’t show up, Randazza Legal Group went back to the Nevada District Court to request a Writ of Execution to use the court’s enforcers, the US Marshals, to collect the money. The court clerk issued the writ today, and Righthaven’s $34,045.50 judgment has now ballooned to $63,720.80 with all the additional costs and fees from the delay.

I spoke to Marc Randazza this evening, who tells me, “We’re going to enlist the US Marshal in marking sure this court’s order has some meaning.” He looks forward to heading over to Righthaven’s offices as soon as possible. Should Righthaven not have the cash in its bank accounts, the writ allows Randazza to “identify to the US Marshal or his representative assets that are to be seized to satisfy the judgment/order.”

The degree of threat that Righthaven and other lawfare groups posed to bloggers and anyone else who quoted material on the internet was discussed back in May.

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