146 stories
·
5 followers

Going offline for a while

4 Comments and 9 Shares

Zillow is threatening to sue me if I don’t delete most of the posts on this blog. Anyone who can see this who can help, please contact

kate@mcmansionhell.com

Read the whole story
aranth
1 day ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
4 public comments
gazuga
5 hours ago
reply
Optimistic prediction: McMansion Hell comes back up within a month thanks to a combination of pro bono legal help and Zillow tasting a hot serving of Streisand Effect; and Kate Wagner's Patreon income surges in the meantime.
Edmonton
chrisrosa
1 day ago
reply
Hey @zillow, pick on someone your own size! @mcmansionhell is doing good work...any lawyers out there that can help?
San Francisco, CA
zwol
5 hours ago
According to https://twitter.com/mcmansionhell/status/879795641643409408 Kate now has a lawyer.
angelchrys
1 day ago
reply
Sadness.
Overland Park, KS
brennen
1 day ago
reply
ffs.
Boulder, CO

The Dangers of Secret Law

2 Shares

Last week, the Department of Justice released 18 new FISC opinions related to Section 702 as part of an EFF FOIA lawsuit. (Of course, they don't mention EFF or the lawsuit. They make it sound as if it was their idea.)

There's probably a lot in these opinions. In one Kafkaesque ruling, a defendant was denied access to the previous court rulings that were used by the court to decide against it:

...in 2014, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) rejected a service provider's request to obtain other FISC opinions that government attorneys had cited and relied on in court filings seeking to compel the provider's cooperation.

[...]

The provider's request came up amid legal briefing by both it and the DOJ concerning its challenge to a 702 order. After the DOJ cited two earlier FISC opinions that were not public at the time -- one from 2014 and another from 2008­ -- the provider asked the court for access to those rulings.

The provider argued that without being able to review the previous FISC rulings, it could not fully understand the court's earlier decisions, much less effectively respond to DOJ's argument. The provider also argued that because attorneys with Top Secret security clearances represented it, they could review the rulings without posing a risk to national security.

The court disagreed in several respects. It found that the court's rules and Section 702 prohibited the documents release. It also rejected the provider's claim that the Constitution's Due Process Clause entitled it to the documents.

This kind of government secrecy is toxic to democracy. National security is important, but we will not survive if we become a country of secret court orders based on secret interpretations of secret law.

Read the whole story
aranth
6 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

2016 GSS Update on the U.S. LGB Population 2.0

1 Share

I’ve been following a couple different data sets that track the size of the LGB(T) population in the United States for a few years. There’s a good amount of evidence that all points in the same direction: those identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and possibly transgender too are all on the rise. Just how large of an increase is subject to a bit of disagreement, but the larger trend is undeniable. Much of the reporting on this shift treats this as a fact that equally blankets the entirety of the U.S. population (or only deals superficially with the really interesting demographic questions concerning the specific groups within the population that account for this change).

In a previous post, I separated the L’s, G’s and B’s because I suspected that more of this shift was accounted for by bisexuals than is often discussed in any critical way (*the GSS does not presently have a question that allows us to separate anyone identifying as transgender or outside the gender binary). Between 2008 and 2016, the proportion of the population identifying as lesbian or gay went from 1.6% to 2.4%. During the same period, those identifying as bisexual jumped from 1.1% to 3.3%. It’s a big shift and it’s even bigger when you look at how pronounced it is among the groups who primarily account for this change: women, people of color, and young people.

The thing about sexual identities though, is that they’re just like other kinds of meaningful identities in that they intersect with other identities in ways that produce different sorts of meanings depending upon what kinds of configurations of identities they happen to be combined with (like age, race, and gender). For instance, as a sexual identity, bisexual is more common than both lesbian and gay combined. But, bisexuality is gendered. Among women, “bisexual” is a more common sexual identity than is “lesbian”; but among men, “gay” is a more common sexual identity than “bisexual”–though this has shifted a bit over the 8 years GSS has been asking questions about sexual orientation. And so too is bisexuality a racialized identity in that the above gendered trend is more true of white and black men than men of other races.

Consider this: between 2008 and 2016, among young people (18-34 years old), those identifying as lesbian or gay went from 2.7% to 3.0%, while those identifying as “bisexual” increased twofold, from 2.6% to 5.3%.  But, look at how this more general change among young people looks when we break it down by gender.
Picture1Looked at this way, bisexuality as a sexual identity has more than doubled in recent years. Among 18-34 year old women in 2016, the GSS found 8% identifying as bisexual.  You have to be careful with GSS data once you start parsing the data too much as the sample sizes decrease substantially once we start breaking things down by more than gender and age. But, just for fun, I wanted to look into how this trend looked when we examined it among different racial groups (GSS only has codes for white, black, and other).Picture1Here, you can see a couple things.  But one of the big stories I see is that “bisexual” identity appears to be particularly absent among Black men in the U.S. And, among young men identifying as a race other than Black or white, bisexuality is a much more common identity than is gay. It’s also true that the proportions of gay and bisexual men in each group appear to jump around year to year.  The general trend follows the larger pattern – toward more sexual minority identities.  But, it’s less straightforward than that when we actually look at the shift among a few specific racial groups within one gender.  Now, look at this trend among women.Picture1
Here, we clearly see the larger trend that “bisexual” appears to be a more common sexual identity than “lesbian.” But, look at Black women in 2016.  In 2016, just shy of one in five Black women between the ages of 18 and 34 identified as lesbian or bisexual (19%) in the GSS sample! And about two thirds of those women are identifying as bisexual (12.4%) rather than as lesbian (6.6%). Similarly, and mirroring the larger trend that “bisexual” is more common among women while “gay” is more popular among men, “lesbian” is a noticeably absent identity among women identifying as a race other than Black or white just as “gay” is less present among men identifying as a race other than Black or white.

Below is all that information in a single chart.  I felt it was a little less intuitive to read in this form. But this is the combined information from the two graphs preceding this if it’s helpful to see it in one chart.Picture1What these shifts mean is a larger question. But it’s one that will require an intersectional lens to interpret. And this matters because bisexuality is a less-discussed sexual identification–so much so that “bi erasure” is used to address the problem of challenging the legitimacy or even existence of this sexual identity. As a sexual identification in the U.S., however, “bisexual” is actually more common than “gay” and “lesbian” identifications combined.

And yet, whether bisexual identifying people will or do see themselves as part of a distinct sexual minority is more of an open question. All of this makes me feel that we need to consider more carefully whether grouping bisexuals with lesbian women and gay men when reporting shifts in the LGB population. Whatever is done, we should care about bisexuality (particularly among women), because this is a sexual identification that is becoming much more common than is sometimes recognized.

_________________________

If you’re interested in these shifts, I recommend examining more than one single survey.  I also have a series of posts on Gallup’s survey tracking shifts in the U.S. LGBT population since 2012 (see here and here for my most recent posts).












Read the whole story
aranth
20 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

pic.twitter.com/DxtIAZlEs2

1 Share

Read the whole story
aranth
32 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

No, Trump Didn't Argue That Protesters Have No Right To Protest or Violated His Rights

1 Share

Donald Trump is no friend of free speech. He promotes ignorance about the First Amendment and has a history of bogus censorious lawsuits.

It is not necessary to make things up to paint him as censorious and uninformed about free speech values.

Yet here we are again.

For the third time I return to Nwanguma v. Trump, a case pending in federal court in Kentucky. The plaintiffs, protesters at a March 1, 2016 rally in Louisville, claim that Trump incited his fans to assault them and eject them violently from the rally, and sued Trump and some of the allegedly violent fans. Previously I lawsplained that no, a federal judge didn't rule that Trump had incited violence, and no, it's very misleading to say that one of the allegedly violent rally-goers sued Trump for inciting him to violence.

What fresh hell now? We get this:

And this:

And, God help us, this:

So, what's really going on? Did Trump actually argue in court that people protesting him violate his First Amendment rights and that they have no right to protest him?

No.

This started when Trump lost a motion to dismiss the case. As I explained before, that ruling doesn't signify a finding that the plaintiffs will prove their case – it means that the plaintiffs successfully asserted facts in their complaint which, if proven true, could support a claim against Trump.

Last week Trump's lawyers filed a fairly unusual and creative motion. Part of the motion asked the judge to reconsider his denial of the motion to dismiss. Motions to reconsider are generally highly disfavored in federal court — it's very rare to win one unless you can show new law or new facts that you couldn't have presented before, because judges don't want to re-litigate and re-argue every point endlessly. But Trump's lawyers also request something much rarer — they want the court to permit an immediate appeal, through a process called certification.

Here's the way it works. Generally speaking, only final judicial decisions that end a case can be appealed. Denying a motion to dismiss doesn't end the case, so it can't be appealed. But a federal judge has the power to certify issues for an immediate appeal — called an interlocutory appeal — if the judge finds that there's a controlling legal question involved (that is, a legal question that may dispose of the case), there's grounds for disagreement about the issue, and resolving it may help resolve the case. Trump's motion — which you can read here — asks the federal judge to certify for interlocutory appeal (1) whether the First Amendment protects Trump's speech as a matter of law based on the allegations in the complaint, and (2) whether the First Amendment allows a claim for negligently inciting violence through speech.

It's in the course of that motion that Trump's lawyers make arguments now being misconstrued and misleadingly presented.

Trump's First Amendment argument depends, in part, on his (correct) assertion that freedom of association lets a politician control who is allowed to attend a private political rally:

At the threshold, the forum for this speech was a political campaign rally. Like any other private assembly to achieve ideological goals, political campaigns have a core First Amendment right to associate for the purpose of expressing a particular message, which necessarily includes the right to “exclu[de] . . . views [that] [a]re at odds with positions [the campaign] espouse[s].” Hurley v. Irish-Am. Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Grp. of Boston, 515 U.S. 557, 580 (1995). Accordingly, when a campaign has “decided to exclude a message it d[oes] not like” from a campaign rally, “that is enough to invoke [the campaign’s] right as a private speaker to shape its expression” by excluding or expelling demonstrators who express contrary viewpoints. Id. at 574. Of course, protestors have their own First Amendment right to express dissenting views, but they have no right to do so as part of the campaign rally of the political candidates they oppose. Indeed, forcing the “private organizers” of a political rally to accept everyone “who wish[es] to join in with some expressive demonstration of their own” would “violate[] the fundamental rule of protection under the First Amendment, that a speaker has the autonomy to choose the content of his own message.” Id. at 573.

I added the highlight to that quote because it undercuts the spin being given to it. Trump's lawyers are saying "Trump can decide who is allowed to attend his private rally, and protesters have a right to protest him but not at his private rally."

That is the context for the following paragraph:

Here, the Plaintiffs obviously interfered with the Trump campaign’s First Amendment right to “choose the contents of [its] own message,” id., when they attended a Trump campaign rally and began vigorously expressing their disdain for Mr. Trump, including by “h[o]ld[ing] up a sign depicting [Mr.] Trump’s face on the body of a pig,” Compl. ¶ 44. Once that disruption occurred, Mr. Trump and the campaign had every right to expel the protestors from the event. Accordingly, Mr. Trump was not “inciting a riot” but was rather exercising a core First Amendment freedom when he said, “[G]et ’em out of here” and “Don’t hurt ’em.” Id. ¶¶ 32, 34. By holding to the contrary, this Court’s decision effectively transforms Mr. Trump’s protected political speech into an unlawful tortious act. At the very least, reasonable minds can differ as to whether that holding is correct as a matter of First Amendment law.

Note that Trump's lawyers said that protesters were interfering with his exercise of First Amendment rights, not violating his First Amendment rights.

So Trump's completely unremarkable arguments are these:

* Trump has a First Amendment right to speak;
* Trump has a First Amendment right to choose who is allowed at his private rallies;
* Protesters have a First Amendment right to speak, but not to speak at Trump's private rallies;
* It would violate Trump's First Amendment rights to force him to accept protesters at private rallies.

All of that is clearly correct. But it's being reported sloppily, misleadingly, and/or incompetently as "Trump says protesters violate his First Amendment rights" and "Trump says protesters have no right to protest" by people who either don't care about accuracy or are incapable of achieving it on this subject. The motion explicitly says the opposite of that.

Remember: read legal reporting with great skepticism.

Copyright 2016 by the named Popehat author.
Read the whole story
aranth
64 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete

Taking aim at annoying page jumps in Chrome

2 Comments

Have you ever opened a link shared by a friend to an article you were eager to read, scrolled to the second paragraph, and found yourself suddenly back near the top of the page, as if everything had shifted beneath you?

These annoying page jumps typically happen when the website inserts an image or other content above the visible area, pushing down what’s on the screen. With the newest Chrome update, we’re introducing something called scroll anchoring, which locks the content you’re currently looking at to the screen, keeping you in the same spot so you can keep reading. Check out a side-by-side comparison, without and with scroll anchoring:

Scroll anchoring is one of our favorite kinds of features—those that shine when no one notices them. Today we’re preventing an average of almost three “jumps” per pageview, and we’re still getting better. If you’re a web developer or you’d like to learn more, see our technical guide to understand how it works and what it means for your website.

Read the whole story
aranth
77 days ago
reply
YES
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
Ferret
77 days ago
reply
This is basically the pinnacle of civilization. It's all downhill from here, folks.
Next Page of Stories