Monday, June 26th, 2017 12:00 am
darkoshi: (Default)
Several news articles were posted to the Yahoo Androgynes list recently about legislative progress on allowing people to get identification documents that specify their gender as "non-binary".

California moves closer to recognizing third gender - ... The state Senate passed a bill that would allow Californians to choose gender non-binary for identifying documents like drivers licenses and birth certificates...

Oregon becomes first state to allow nonbinary on drivers license - ... Beginning July 1, Oregonians will be able to choose "X" for sex Instead of "F" or "M" on their licenses and identification cards...

D.C. to allow gender-neutral driver’s licenses - At the direction of D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, the city’s Department of Motor Vehicles will begin allowing residents to choose a gender-neutral “X” identifier on driver’s licenses and other city identification documents on June 26. ...
on the same day that six members of the D.C. City Council introduced a bill that would enact the gender neutral I.D. policy proposed by the mayor administratively into city law. ...

Activist vying for non-binary birth certificate taking N.L. to court

While reading the first 2 articles, I wondered if it's possible that in the not-too-distant future, I could even get a driver's license here in South Carolina which says non-binary. It seems quite unlikely to happen here, but then again, that's what I thought about gay marriage.

But with the Republicans in control of the federal government, it seems likely that there will be some kind of backlash first. Like a "defense of gender act" which would make it illegal for states to issue IDs with non-binary markers.

When the second article mentioned the California legislation again, it suddenly hit me. I was born in California. If the bill passes, I could conceivably get my birth certificate updated. !!! I wouldn't have to wait for SC to pass such a bill, at least not for my BC.

But then that might present other difficulties. Like, "You can't renew your driver's license (or sign up for XYZ), because we only allow M and F, and your BC says X, which isn't a valid value."

I wonder how non-binary gender IDs will affect things that are segregated into M and F. Obviously, there's the bathroom thing... if a state like NC has a law saying that you have to use the restroom which matches the marker on your DL, and your marker is X, can they legally keep you from using both restrooms? And what about prisons... For a non-binary person who is convicted of a crime, how will they decided whether to send them to a men's or women's penitentiary?

For that matter, what about selective service? That will be a can of worms. Suppose that anyone could get out of the draft by changing their gender marker to X or F, because only males are required to sign up? (I'm against the draft and selective service in the first place - I don't think anyone should be required to join the military, regardless of their sex or gender.) I imagine that they'll eventually change the selective service rules to require everyone to sign up, regardless of gender.

Another problem - what about sporting competitions? Will non-binary people not be allowed to compete in men's or women's competitions? But that's already an issue for trans athletes, even without considering non-binary people.
darkoshi: (Default)
This page on the site: Government Information Requests
states: In the second half of 2016, Apple received between 5,750 and 5,999 National Security Orders.

Apple's Transparency Reports - contain details on the various customer information requests received by Apple from 2013 through 2016. The number of national security orders received by Apple increased from less than 500 in 2013, to between 8500 and 9000 in 2016.

See below for the difference between "National Security Orders/Requests" versus National Security Letters.

In this prior post, I linked to another article which stated: the FBI issued nearly 13,000 NSLs in 2015 alone. But that number must have been way under-estimated. Indeed, one of the below articles indicates that over 48,000 NSLs were sent in 2015.

A Decade-Old Gag Order, Lifted (November 2015):
relying on changes made by the Patriot Act, the FBI began issuing hundreds of NSLs demanding credit reports, banking information, or records relating to Internet activity. Some of the NSLs sought information about terrorism suspects, but most sought information about people who were one, two, three, or more degrees removed from anyone suspected of having done anything wrong. According to the Justice Department’s inspector general, the FBI issued a staggering 143,074 NSLs between 2003 and 2005. And every NSL was accompanied by a categorical and permanent gag order.

That link and this one: Doe v. Holder describe a decade-long court battle to get a single gag order lifted. It mentions some changes made to the laws regarding the gag orders during that time, but I'm not clear on the final outcome. I assume that most other NSL recipients are still under similar gag orders which haven't been changed.

Newly published FBI request shines light on National Security Letters (November 2015):

In 2007, the Office of the Inspector General reported that the FBI issued approximately 40,000 to 60,000 letters per year. President Obama’s Intelligence Review Group reported more recently in 2013 that the government issued an average of nearly 60 NSLs per day.
Companies can only report NSLs in bands of 1,000, if they're separated from FISA court order requests, or in bands of 250 if reported as a broader "national security request."

The "national security orders" referenced on the page must be the broader category, including FISA requests in addition to NSLs, as they are listed in bands of 250. But the last link below indicates there are less than 2000 FISA request per year, so that doesn't explain the large discrepancy in numbers.

Even the above article implies that in 2013, a total of 365*60 = 25,550 NSLs were issued, while twice as many were issued 6 years prior. I doubt the number would have decreased that much over time, if there were no legal changes governing the issuance of the requests.

US foreign intelligence court did not deny any surveillance requests last year :
The court received 1,457 requests last year [in 2015] on behalf of the National Security Agency and the FBI for authority to intercept communications, including email and phone calls. ... The court did not reject any of the applications in whole or in part, the memo showed.

The total represented a slight uptick from 2014, when the court received 1,379 applications and rejected none.
The memo also stated that 48,642 national security letter (NSL) requests were made in 2015 by the FBI.
The majority of NSL requests, 31,863, made in 2015 sought information on foreigners, regarding a total of 2,053 individuals, the memo stated.

The FBI made 9,418 requests for national security letters in 2015 for information about US citizens and legal immigrants, regarding a total of 3,746 individuals, it showed.

The FBI also made 7,361 NSL requests for only “subscriber information”, typically names, addresses and billing records, of Americans and foreigners regarding 3,347 different people.

no more cross posts

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 11:31 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
The following parts of the newly posted LiveJournal User Agreement concern me:

7.4. User shall be subject to Article 10.2 of the Federal Act of the Russian Federation No. 149-ФЗ if more than three thousand Internet users access the Blog (the Blog’s page) within 24 hours.
7.5. User who posted comments in Blog and User keeping such a Blog shall be jointly and severally liable in respect of such comments.

9.1. By posting Content, User shall:
9.1.3. Mark Content estimated by Russian legislation as inappropriate for children (0 −18) as “adult material” by using Service functions.

9.2. The User may not:
9.2.6. without the Administration’s special permit, use automatic scripts (bots, crawlers etc.) to collect information from the Service and/or to interact with the Service;
9.2.7. post advertising and/or political solicitation materials unless otherwise directly specified in a separate agreement between User and the Administration;
9.2.8 perform any other actions contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation ...

11. Liability
11.1 User shall be liable for breaching the terms and conditions hereof, including the requirements to Registration and Content posting, as well as for violation of applicable laws committed by User, including the laws of the Russian Federation and the laws of User’s residence;

Regarding # 7.4, info in English on that Russian Article 10.2 can be found here:

In skimming that document, much of it seems reasonable. But certain parts of it make me uneasy too.

What most concerns me is that in using LJ, one must now agree to abide by Russian laws. Considering it is owned by a Russian company now, that makes sense. But as an American, I am not likely to know much about Russian laws. I could break those laws without even remotely realizing it. Furthermore, there are certain Russian laws that I have heard about, which I do not want to be bound by. Specifically, their gay propaganda law.

So, henceforth I will not cross-post to LJ anymore. I'm still keeping my account for now, for reading friends' pages and commenting. Eventually I may delete that as well.
darkoshi: (Default)
Got a message on my answering machine with a guy's voice saying they need people for a one-day "focus group" which pays $250, with breakfast and lunch provided. It didn't even sound like a recording, though it probably was. He left a phone number for calling him back.

I've never gotten a message quite like that before, and couldn't tell if it was a scam. Focus Group? What could that be, and why would they pay that much money for it? I've got a job, so I'm not interested, but maybe my mom or niece would be.

So I looked online, and found a Craigslist ad for the same thing. It links to nelsonrecruiting dot com, which seems like a legitimate company for that kind of thing.

While looking up about focus groups, I came across the term "mock jury". I hadn't heard of that before either, so I looked it up. Apparently, if you're rich, not only can you hire a good lawyer to defend you, but your lawyers can hire people to act as mock juries, to find out which arguments are most likely to help them win their case. Sigh.
darkoshi: (Default)
This was my 3rd time being called in for jury duty, but the first time I was actually picked to sit on a jury. The experience was very interesting.

It was a lawsuit; I was glad it wasn't a criminal case. The trial took 3 days. We went home in the evenings. The first day, we were allowed to leave the courthouse for lunch. The next 2 days, lunch was ordered for us and we weren't allowed out.

I noticed very quickly that the demeanor and style of one of the lawyers appealed to me, and that of the other lawyer was off-putting. I did my best to ignore both feelings, and to pay unbiased attention to the proceedings. The judge seemed laid back and slightly amused, as if he'd been through thousands of similar cases. The lawyers were all obviously trying to do a good job for their clients, and I felt a bit sorry that one side or another would have to lose.

There were 12 jurors and 2 alternates. Of the total, only 2 were men.

We were instructed not to discuss the case with anyone, not even the other jurors, until all the testimony was finished. There was a jury room where we gathered in the mornings, and where we had to go each time the lawyers wanted to discuss/dispute something with the judge during the trial. We'd go into the court room, sit down, listen for a while, then have to get up, go to the jury room to wait, then return to the court room and sit down again. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I didn't count how many times.

At one point, the "cool" lawyer did a nifty thing with his glasses. He had pushed them up on his forehead while shuffling through papers, and then did a quick head movement that snapped the glasses down in place again. I'm not sure if it happened by accident, or if it was a practiced skill.

During the closing arguments, the lawyer who didn't appeal to me made religious references 3 times. First, he picked up the bible which had been used to swear in the witnesses, and talked about some particular moral story in there. I raised my eyebrow at that. Really? Later he mentioned a preacher. At the end, he picked up the bible again, and reminded us of that story again. When the other lawyer gave his rebuttal, he basically said that he didn't care about some story from 2000 years ago (that surprised me too), that we should consider the facts of this case.

I didn't realize it at the time, but a feeling of camaraderie was growing in me in regards to the other jurors and even the court officials. During those many trips to the jury room, as we weren't allowed to discuss the case, the other jurors would chat. One lady especially, told several entertaining stories about her life. When we were finally allowed to debate the case, it was an amicable process, even though voices got loud as opinions were shared. Our decision had to be unanimous, and we eventually came to one.

Back in the courtroom, the foreman handed off our written decision to the judge. The judge flipped through the pages and stared at the last page for a long time. I began to worry that we'd done something wrong; that the judge would declare a mistrial. But he finally handed the sheets to the clerk, who read out the decision, and then it was over.

At the end, I realized that I'd likely never see these people again, and even if I did, I'd probably not recognize them or remember where I knew them from. It made me feel slightly sad. People with whom you've shared a special experience as well as minor hardships. Having to report for duty each day, with the threat of officers coming after you, if you didn't make it there on time. Having to spend time in a small room together. Having to sit quietly in court, paying close attention to everything. Having to tuck* my shirt tail in.

In the hours and days afterward, I wondered if we'd made the right decision. It seemed like we had, based on what was presented to us. But what about the things that hadn't been presented? What about the things we were sent out of the court room, not to hear? The trial being over, I finally did some internet searches to find more information on the case. I found a little, but not much. (Actually, it surprised me that the judge never told us not to do any internet searches before the trial was over - unless he did and I somehow missed it. But I assumed that we shouldn't, and therefore didn't.)

*The first morning, as I was following other potential jurors into the courtroom, a bailiff waved a few guys including me to the side, telling us to tuck our shirt tails in. At first I didn't understand what he had said, but he was also pointing to a sign on the wall which said the same thing. My first reaction was to frown in annoyance, but I went ahead and did it. Maybe the bailiff mistook me for a man, but if the other guys had to do it, it seemed reasonable for me to have to do so as well. Every day after that, I was careful to remember to tuck my shirt in, in the morning. This entailed choosing a shirt which would actually look good tucked in, of which I only have a few. The others are wider and billow at my waist and look ridiculous to me when I tuck them in. But I've just now found this page, which explains the "military tuck" which I'll have to try out.
darkoshi: (Default)
HHS Issues Regulations Banning Trans Health Care Discrimination

Federal Register page with link to PDF (scheduled to be published on 05/18)

It even mentions protections for non-binary identified people.

... OCR recognizes that sex stereotypes can include the expectation that individuals consistently identify with only one of two genders (male or female), and that they act in conformity with the gender-related expressions stereotypically associated with that gender. Sex stereotypes can also include a belief that gender can only be binary and thus that individuals cannot have a gender identity other than male or female. OCR recognizes that an individual’s gender identity involves the interrelationship between an individual’s biology, gender, internal sense of self and gender expression related to that perception; thus, the gender identity spectrum includes an array of possible gender identities beyond male and female.
darkoshi: (Default)
I've been thinking of an analogy in regards to how the media announces the presidential election winner before all of the votes have been counted, in fact before all the votes have even been cast.

It's like a sports game is in progress - let's say American football (forgive me if my terminology is off; I don't pay much attention to sports). Suppose Team Hackensack is playing against Team Puckenball. Suppose the game is in the beginning of the fourth quarter, or maybe even in the middle of the third. It's as if, while a player is in the midst of throwing the ball across the field, the loudspeakers blare out, "The game is over! Team Hackensack has won! Congratulations to the Hackensacks!" The spectators jump up, cheering in glee and/or groaning in dismay. Then they start filing out of the stadium. Meanwhile, the players on the field are left standing and scratching their heads, wondering what happened.

I mean, really. Even if one team has a large lead, and the other team has a poor track record, it's standard practice to wait until the game is over, before announcing the results. Even if there's no way that the losing team could possibly win enough points in the time remaining, to gain the lead, the winner isn't announced until the end. The media may say that one team is winning, and is nearly certain to win the overall game. But they don't announce that the game is over before the game is actually over. Whereas, with the presidential elections, they do.


(The below was a comment I posted on another journal, but I originally intended to post about it here on mine.)

I came across the below document, which fascinates me and also disturbs me in how precisely legislative districts are drawn to meet desired criteria. From what I was able to glean from it, there was a lot of redistricting going on in the 1970s and 80s. Somewhen in the 80s or early 90s, the Department of Justice told the SC legislature that it had to create more black-majority districts. This was subsequently done by means of racial gerrymandering. A district court then declared the new districts invalid, as districts should not be drawn on the basis of race, except under certain conditions which were not met.

Smith v. Beasley opinion

"Gerrymandering has been a part of our political system since the word was coined more than 175 years ago. The drawing of district lines for political purposes has often been criticized, but it is not illegal. However, the Supreme Court has determined that gerrymandering which divides voters according to race violates the Equal Protection Clause. In Miller, the Court explained, "When the State assigns voters on the basis of race, it engages in the offensive and demeaning assumption that voters of a particular race, because of their race, 'think alike, share the same political interests, and will prefer the same candidates in the polls.' "

"Constitutional prohibition against dividing or segregating citizens by race applies equally to districting cases, and state's assignment of voters according to race is subject to court's strictest scrutiny under equal protection clause."

"Both the Senate and the House had sophisticated computer equipment that was maintained for the purpose of drawing election district lines. These machines were equipped with software that showed precincts, streets, population and racial composition of all areas based on the 1990 federal census data base. Technicians could show legislators how moving district lines could increase or decrease the racial makeup of a particular district."

(no subject)

Monday, April 28th, 2008 06:07 pm
darkoshi: (Default)
Dang. How did several apparently complete strangers come across my youtube vids already? I didn't think I put anything interesting enough in the titles or descriptions to make them show up high in any searches. Not sure I like this.

This morning, I thought, what if someone I work with came across one of the vids, especially the shirtless one? I didn't like that idea. It's one thing with strangers, or people I've never met in person watching them, but co-workers seemed to be another matter.

Then today at work, I starting thinking, why should it matter? What's the big deal? Why should I feel so affected by society's rules about which body parts it is ok to let other people see, and which body parts it is not ok for. People like Madonna aren't bothered by that sort of thing, so why should I be? It was a somewhat liberating thought.

But now this... having people subscribe to my channel, and for a couple of them, seeing that their favorites appear to be full of vids of scantily clad females... ick. Hmmm. Something to ponder.


Something else I was thinking about. Isn't it strange that in the U.S., it is illegal to pay someone to have sex with you, but it's legal to pay them to have your baby (surrogate mothers)?
At least, it is legal as far as I am aware.