Monday assorted links


I know I should have been a cop.


"4. Automation is slow, cotton pickers edition."

Yep. A nice example of how robots struggle to handle the arbitrariness of the real world, so the (long, slow, domain-specific) process involves re-engineering and simplifying the world so that the robot can function. In this case it required chemical weed-killers and defoliants, cotton dryers, and genetic engineering / breeding of the plant to be shorter and for all cotton bolls to be ready for harvest at the same time.

Robots may soon (years) replace the 3 remaining workers and reduce some of the requirements of current mechanical harvesting such as simultaneous boll ripening.

The guy trying to create the 'cotton picking bot swarm' estimates that they might be available in as few as 10 years. Does a best case of a decade count as 'very soon'? And, you'll have to excuse me if this sounds pie-in-the-sky. It won't just pick cotton but will have 'attachments' for other crops! And did we mention that it'll be solar powered? And it'll cost only a tiny fraction of what the current technology does?

Well, I do hope it all comes to pass, but I don't think I'll invest my retirement savings in the company.

Probably. Today’s cotton pickers took about 70 years

Farms have been highly mechanized for decades. Farm workers are less than 5% of the labor force in modern economies. Have you ever seen a harvesting operation?

Uhh - I live on a farm. Did you read any of the links? They went from 1000 workers to 3. I noted they may lose the last 3.

5: Now do teachers and students. Age is irrelevant.

It is not legal. Actaully, many teachers have been sentenced to jail time for making sex with students. I would throw away the key.

After high school, it is generally legal, although some universities have policies against it. After high school, it's also legal for bosses and subordinates, coaches and players, landlords and tenants, etc.

I see.

"In 35 states, it’s legal for cops to detain and have sex with someone in their custody.“
How can it be legal to make sex (with a willing or unwilling partner) at work hours? Are DMV workers auhorized to do he same? Were Soviet MVD officers authorized rt the same?

My guess is the claim, while technically true, is basically irrelevant, since you're still going to lose your job even if the other person is willing. If they're unwilling, it's rape, and that's illegal whether you were detained or not.

Makes sense.

It is rape if a prison guard has sex with a female prisoner (at least according to Orange is the New Black), even if the prisoner is willing. My guess is that tehre is not a similar law covering the police, and that this provides cover for police to abuse women in custody. Since it's a he-said she-said situation, the cop can claim the sex was consensual, and it is difficult to prove otherwise. The law defining sex between a guard and a prisoner is written to preclude this possibility. If you legally define all sex between police and people in their custody to be rape, then you avoid this problem.

"If you legally define all sex between police and people in their custody to be rape, then you avoid this problem."

It's amazing that this isn't the default already.

Sex between people not married to one another used to be considered rape as well, even if both were willing.

Typically that situation does not involve one person having the legal right to shoot the other if they run away.

Sex between people who were not married to each other used to be criminal, but I am not aware of any English-speaking nation anywhere where it was considered rape. I have studied enough (Anglo-American) legal history that I would have heard of that.

Wow. What a sorry post. Most do NOT lose their jobs. And the problem with your second point is that the laws do not recognize that consent can NOT be given when under arrest. Hopefully, you don't have children, but try to imagine your 18 year old daughter being pulled over and accused of some offense. The officer says she'll be going to jail unless... If you can't imagine that some significant fraction of "unwilling" 18 year olds will comply with the cop, then I really really hope you never have kids. See, some people view jail with horror and being arrested as being a blot on their family's name (not to mention terrified about their family's reaction to the "scandal"). For them, being forced to decide between two evils, some will make a bad decision in a coercive situation. Who (other than you) would have guessed?


@Li "Hopefully, you don’t have children, ..." " then I really really hope you never have kids."

Maybe his kids are cops, ever considered that possibility? Or perhaps they're capable of putting their own family interests above the need for ideological consistency. I have no problem being a hypocrite if the alternative is being a bad father. Being a good parent and having "correct" political opinions are two entirely different things.

As an aside, I totally agree with you that this type of police action constitutes rape. However, agreeing with you doesn't make me a better parent. Imagining my children in every hypothetical bad situation isn't going to help either, particularly if it distracts from more likely dangers that I might be able to prevent. (Of course, this is yet another thing I'll probably worry about now even if it is extremely unlikely.)

Has this ever happened? Or are you just making up a superficially plausible but probably bogus scenario to support a law that probably doesn't need to exist in the first place?

Ah!, apparently you are only familiar with legal systems such as the old Soviet one in which everything is illegal unless specified legal by law. In the USA, unless it is forbidden by law, it is legal. (This often isn't as black & white as it may seem.) In other words, unless a law exists which specifically makes it illegal to have sex with someone under arrest, it isn't "illegal". Immoral? yes. Unethical? yes. A violation of (police) department or civil service policies? possibly. The USA used to be a country where laws were only enacted when they were justified by need. It seems to be more common today (although I do not have any data on this) that laws are passed as knee-jerk (i.e. stupid and ill considered) reactions to some tragic news story without any analysis of effectiveness or side-effects.

Still, it should be illegal to make sex during working hours. The taxpayer is not paying for cop sex.

Um, well it may be illegal depending upon what kind of government worker we are talking about. The simple answer is if the worker falsifies their time records, that probably is a crime. If the worker has sex while on the job, but doesn't falsify their time records, that isn't a crime (just a fire-able violation of workplace policy). It isn't illegal in the US to goof off at work, unless you then lie about it on some sort of official record, and a lot of government workers are being paid to be a particular place at a particular time, and time reports only reflect that they were present at the specified times, not that they were productive or actually did their job. But that is true in a whole lot of jobs in the Private sector as well. For contractors, it is a whole other question entirely.


A prisoner in custody cannot reasonably consent, given that the officer has legal and physical power over them.
This isn't really that different than saying someone can't consent to sex when they have a knife to their throat. You have to be free of coercion to be able to legally consent. A detainee in custody is completely in the power of the arresting officer.

5. I knew Super Troopers was a documentary ...

Who wants a mustache ride?

I just want a liter of cola.


I know we’re at a libertarian website, and you are free to choose cola, but don’t do it, mskings, just don’t!

We're doing quotes from the movie.

1. Regarding women in Carnatic music, I highly recommend Susheela Raman, particularly her "Salt Rain" album.

Very interesting recommendation. I just checked out some of her videos.

I won't call her a woman "in" carnatic music, but she does borrow significantly from it and show case it in somewhat unusual contexts. This way, perhaps many "lay people" get to see some aspects of carnatic music that they might have otherwise missed.

Especially interesting was this Qawwali-tamil-folksy fusion (I didn't even expect such a thing to exist, that my brain almost exploded): - like carnatic-hindustani type fusions, this too uses a raga common to the traditions, in this case something close to the raga Shivaranjani; what makes it different is that the Tamil song (which most likely is not her composition but from some other devotional album) has a tempo and beat-structure that make it sound very Tamil folksy, so much so that one almost forgets that the raga is very non-Tamil, and in fact a recently borrowed North Indian one.

Carnatic-Hindustani fusions are common, with the carnatic version often being softened down to the Hindustani taste. Here you have such completely different worlds - Qawwali and a kind of "high energy Tamil folk" which is not diluted to suit Hindustani aesthetics as happens often in carnatic-Hindustani fusion.

That said, her dance seems very unaesthetic, and these videos are probably best watched with the eyes closed.

I make no claims about her dancing:).
You obviously know a lot more about Carnatic music than I do - do you have other artists/albums that you would recommend to an untutored ear raised on western music? I'm not surprised, fwiw, that Raman's music is a hybrid....I think her collaborators are mostly English musicians, and she herself was raised in London, IIRC.

Actually I have no objection per se to music being hybrid. One could have heavy carnatic fused with other forms of music. But for reasons I don't get, people don't seem to try that much.

Actually what I would recommend mostly for friendly introduction to carnatic music are certain south Indian movie songs: those of them based on ragas. If you wish I could give specific recommendations. It also depends on how much of an introduction you want, though: for instance, if you want a feel of how various ragas feel different, the obvious thing would be to try a few movie songs in a *particular* raga, followed up with perhaps an actual carnatic piece or two in that raga. Do this for two very different ragas, and you start getting a feel of what a raga is about.

Example: let us say you want to know a bit about the raga Kedaram. I would then recommend the following song (watch with your eyes closed again, perhaps!):

Here is a hard core carnatic piece in that raga (warning, this is pretty heavy carnatic, takes many listenings to digest, and you may not like the singer's voice, though if you can tolerate it the execution is pretty good):

Thanks - I'll give those a try.

1. While women are very prominent among Carnatic instrumentalists, their dominance is even greater among vocalists. Not just among the "star vocalists" of the south, but also in the general practitioner base.

MS Subbulakshmi, ML Vasanthakumari, DK Pattammal, Bombay Jayashree, Sudha Raghunathan, the names are endless.

Among amateur singers, women outnumber men by a very very huge margin. In fact until the 1980s back in the days when middle class south indian women were expected to be housewives for the most part, proficiency in Carnatic music was mandatory atleast in certain communities down south as a selection criteria in the arranged marriage market.

Things have changed in the past 30 years with women entering the job market in massive numbers. Carnatic proficiency doesn't get you ahead in the marriage market any longer.

The author misses out on what may be a very significant female contribution: it is very possible that the shape of many of the deepest modern kritis were given their present form by women belonging to schools such as the Veena Dhanammal one. This means they substantially added embellishments to the earlier outlines of the kritis that they were taught. My belief is that the practice of embellishing earlier kritis and making them progressively more sophisticated with generation (I say belief since I can't verify anything rigorously) culminated in Brinda and Muktha; I haven't heard any carnatic musician whose kriti rendition is anywhere near as ornate: not Seshagopalan, not TMK, certainly not GNB.

Unfortunately, it takes some knowledge to appreciate Brinda and Muktha; I think there is an opportunity for someone to still learn from their recordings and present them in a way that the public can appreciate more easily. Perhaps Sowmya tried, but I doubt she is good as an expositor - she is probably more of a creative personality than a good presenter.

That Buzzfeed article is surprising to include Virginia, where state law forbids anyone from having sex with someone they are not married to - (Along with a vast range of other things not legal in terms of sex, of course - )

Are there any lawyers here who know if state laws making sex outside of marriage a tort would pass constitutional muster? If so, why haven't conservatives pursued this as a way of policing sexuality? I know that I am phrasing this in the way that a liberal would phrase it, but I am asking the question in a genuine, not partisan manner. It seems that conservatives sincerely believe that sex outside of marriage is a bad for society and immoral as well, so I would be surprised that they wouldn't pursue this option if available to them.

Conservatives don't sincerely believe that, obviously. Some of the most religious ones maybe but come on, most conservatives have sex before marriage just like the rest of us.

So the implication is that conservatives don't actually agree on sexual morality, with religious conservatives having what would be characterized as the "conservative" view on this and the less churched conservatives having the "liberal" view, and subsequently conservative politicians don't push too hard on this so as to not blow up the coalition?

Is there any other way to see it?

I haven't had.

P Burgos - an honest question deserves an honest answer. The constitution does not limit state tort law very much as long as something called a "constitutional right" is not "infringed". Each amendment in the constitution is accompanied, from the point of view of courts, by something called a "standard of review" with respect to the laws that are enacted by the government which relate to the limitations on government discussed in that amendment (by contrast to review of "laws", there is little need for constitutional review of "specific rude things that individuals do to each other in courts of law" - if someone sprays water on you with a supersoaker while you are testifying in a tort case, that is not a constitutional issue, it is a criminal - or a 'contempt of court' - issue).

Let's get the criminal law distinguished from this subject, first. Let us say that I am a District Attorney who wants to prosecute sex outside of marriage. Someone says, why not treat it as a tort? Well, torts are not crimes, and the district attorney has something called prosecutorial discretion and it would be an abuse of prosecutorial discretion to prosecute someone for committing a tort that is not a crime. An abuse of prosecutorial discretion is almost by definition an unconstitutional act (whether or not it is based on a reading or misreading of state law) because it is a per se violation of the due process rights of the victim of the abuse of discretion (there is a fairly complex argument that the Federal Constitution does not have an amendment clearly applying those due process protections in the state context, but that argument has, for all practical purposes, been won by judges who say that the Federal due process amendments do, in fact, apply to the states).

Now let's say that I am an anti-adultery activist and I put an ad in the newspaper seeking clients to file torts with respect to out of wedlock sex, because such out of wedlock sex is classified as a tort in my state . What I need to look at is the exact definition of the tort. If the tort involves simple consensual sex between adults as prima facie proof that one of the partners committed a tort, the question is which one? If it is always the male or the female, the defined tort is unconstitutional because no reasonable person always believes one sex or another is always at fault and the other sex is always not at fault (violates the equal protection amendments). However, if the statute is written in such a way as to, say, equate by duly enacted state law - or even by a delegated regulation written by a state government entity (a bureau, a Board, a commission, et cetera) -certain disparate actions that include sexual relations outside of marriage to (to recapitulate, that equate certain actions to) a previously defined tort, which was never defined in a way that violates equal protection (intentional or negligent infliction of emotional damage is a big one in the old law school textbooks) - say, sexual relations between people who work in a regulated field and people who do not work in that regulated field, or sexual relations with an individual that one reasonably knows is married (which used to be called alienation of affection) - then there is not much of a (federal) constitutional complaint. Those torts are litigated from time to time, more so in some states, less so in others, you can look it up. There are no states, however, where the simple fact of extramarital sex between consenting adults is a contested issue that ever appears on any civil judicial docket; the civil laws are not written in such a way as to allow that.

In short, a state law simply stating that "sex outside of marriage" is a tort would be found to be unconstitutional. "Alienation of affections", which is close, is not unconstitutional, if written in a way that does not involve complications, to the degree that it creates a tort that does not violate equal protection.

Anthony Kennedy would disagree with parts of this comment, but he is not very bright.

correction - "between people who work in a regulated field and people who do not work in that regulated field" should read "people who work in a regulated field and their clients" - psychiatry/medicine is the big one, law is another big one.

Also Anthony Kennedy is quite bright, but not with respect to understanding United States law.

Alienation of affections remains a tort in a few U.S. states. It's rarely but occasionally brought to action, the obstacle being not a constitutional issue but difficulty in demonstrating that more than token damages should be awarded.

Cyrus - absolutely true. A typical 2018 scenario with the facts to constitute a legitimate alienation of affections scenario will almost always, if it is litigated, be played out as a contested divorce settlement, the larger the alienation, the greater the payout to the alienated party - in 1928, things may have played out differently, although even in 1928, most litigants would not have wanted to go public with such a thing.
And, as you alluded to, no litigant has an absolute right to court time in pursuit of token damages. It might not seem fair from the point of view of the potential litigant, but somebody has to pay the heating bills in those courthouses, and to pay the salaries of the judges and the bailiffs and the ladies who work in the cafeteria. And we can't say to a potential litigant that if you pay the heating bill and the paychecks you get your day in court, if you don't, you don't, so pretty much every judge knows how to tell a litigant who is suing just for token damages to go away and to let people with real complaints have their day in court (By contrast, there are a lot of countries where any crime less than murder and its near-equivalents will not be investigated by the police without a monetary contribution from the person who wants the crime investigated. Our system is usually better than that!)
Well, unless the judge wants the litigant suing for token damages to win, or wants the litigant to lose in an embarrassing way (I could give several recent examples of both), or is bored and wants to take on an interesting case, for self-interested reasons. Which is not very judicial, but judges are human, too.

Is the basic issue that outside of alienation of affection (and some issues with certain professions) that it is hard to define who would have standing to sue and how to prove in court that two people have had sex? I guess another way of phrasing this question is why conservatives don’t support religious courts that could impose penalties on people who entered into some sort of covenant with a church to adhere to certain standards of conduct? I know that the idea isn’t particularly American, I just don’t understand why it isn’t an idea embraced by the religious right.

P Burgos - let me explain it this way. Let's say the pastor of a megachurch is told by a member of the church that his (the parishioner's) wife had sex with an employee of the church. The pastor of the megachurch asks the accused if it is true, they generally tell the truth, because they believe it is very bad to lie, and they are fired or asked to resign. Why would the courts have anything to do with it, as long as they are all legally able to consent (of age, not intellectually disabled, and so on)? Let's say the same pastor of the megachurch finds out that his son has had sex with two or three of the married women in the choir. Again, why would the courts have anything to do with it? The pastor tells his son that he cannot have contact with people who worship at the church: if the son says he is going to do so anyway, the pastor takes the extreme step of telling everyone in the church not to have contact with his son. Problem solved with no recourse to the courts, right? Now let's say the pastor of the megachurch lives in the most conservative jurisdiction in the USA (in your terms, the place most friendly to the religious right) and finds out his next door neighbor's wife is having sex with someone not her husband. There is nothing, under American criminal and tort law, that he can really do. The police are not going to issue a warrant for anyone's arrest. And as you said, the two people having sex with each other don't exactly have any standing to complain in court. The pastor can (but to be realistic, almost certainly will not) start some sort of bullying campaign, but that typically only happens in movies produced by people who hate Christianity. In the real world, nothing happens.

In Puritan New England it may have been possible to police the sex lives of individuals to the degree that all adultery was punished when discovered. The Puritans committed other sins to excess, though, and their society has vanished from the face of the earth. Nowhere in the Christian Bible is there an injunction to pastors to seek secular punishment of sinners.

To focus on your phrase "why conservatives don't support religious courts that could impose penalties on people" - I think they almost certainly do, often, although the "religious courts" are not a real thing - whereas "decisions to ostracize people" or "fire them from their church job" or "stop giving them charitable aid" are real things that happen all the time. Secular do-gooders are probably no different, in their organizations. In the non-religious world, penalties are imposed in similar ways. I assume that liberal homeless shelters ban people who constantly proposition others for sex, and I assume that it is harder to find someone to sell you weed if you decide you want to date an attractive young female cop, and I assume that some ultra-liberal young women might - not saying they will, but they might - back out of an arranged date with even a handsome friend of a friend if they know he has participated in a pro-life march. I once heard of someone who was no longer welcome at a bar because he vomited once too often in the sink instead of the toilet, which is where decent people vomit. And at the old folk's home, believe it or not, the old people worry that they will say or do the wrong thing, and be no longer welcome at the canasta table.

Not sure that was a relevant answer, but I tried.

To clarify one point, for the one or two people who have read all this, "nowhere in the Bible is there an injunction to pastors to seek secular punishment of people who sin through adultery" is what I meant to say: "nowhere in the Bible is there an injunction to pastors to seek secular punishment of sinners" is overbroad with respect to the definition of sinners. Obviously we should all seek reasonable and proportionate secular punishment of people who commit crimes. For all practical purposes, adultery between consenting adults is, while a sin, not a crime.

Anonymous- thanks for the answers. Part of the reason that I am asking these questions are that religious conservatives are starting to question "liberalism," for example see the praise for Patrick Deneen's "Why Liberalism Failed." So since it seems that the usual, non-legal methods of punishing people who deviate from community norms have failed Christians (but not really Mormons or Orthodox Jews, it seems), I am wondering what kind of "post-liberal" institutions, laws, polities, etc. that conservative Christians will seek to create. One idea that popped into my mind is the deference of the Ottoman empire to local, religious courts in a bunch of matters. Since the lower 48 in themselves contain the population and diversity of an empire, it didn't seem like the craziest idea.

#4 The car looks like it weighs 1000 lbs. They had enough guys standing around to pick it up and send it on it's way.

#5 doesn't sound right, -- the ultimate source of this supposed factoid is shall we say unclear.

This is just an example of behavior that shows how much of a herd animal we are. As long as I am not the one the predator singles out, I'm not going to even think about their prey. This translates into "Cops are in tough jobs so they should be given the benefit of the doubt". Last I heard, our justice system was based on giving everybody the benefit of the doubt. What giving the police the "benefit of the doubt" means is that most people pretend (they can't actually be that stupid to really believe this) that the cop's version of events is categorically true and any alternative evidence is either false or "insufficient". I mean, otherwise, who would look after us and protect us from the big bad wolves out there? The sheepdog takes an occasional meal from the herd, as long as it's not me, lets not rock the boat. In other words, as long as the police are seen as protectors rather than predators, they'll be given way too much slack for egregious, bad, and even horrible conduct. It is a job that attracts not only those who want to serve and protect, but also those who want to bully and humiliate. Unfortunately, many of us can't stand the ambiguity, and hold these people - who DO have risky, stressful jobs - on an undeserved (imho) pedestal.

Where I'm from, if a sheep dog takes one from the herd, we put it down.

I'd say we're pack animals, not herd animals.

This kind of slack, for instance:

5. Look at that west coast. All those bad old blue states don't let cops have sex with prisoners.

Hey, maybe *sometimes* having a few more lines of law protects a few more people.

The article is not really accurate

5. There are several people in the comments of that article pointing out that it doesn't appear to be even remotely accurate.

Maybe they should have given some links? Because my quick Google search confirms problems across the country.

Snopes: In short, the original item published by BuzzFeed pertained not to laws “allowing” police officers to rape with impunity, but an absence of laws that explicitly defined any sexual contact between a detainee and officer as non-consensual in many states.

That link was just Tyler signalling.

5. How Buzzfeed comes to conclusions... "But Anna didn’t know that in New York, there is no law specifically stating that it is illegal for police officers or sheriff’s deputies in the field to have sex with someone in their custody."

Pretty sure rape is illegal in New York. I'm pretty sure there is no law in Michigan specifically stating it is illegal for a doctor/trainer in the field to have sex with someone under their care. That didn't stop Nassar from getting a lifetime sentence several times over in jail.

#5: Murder is also illegal when carried out by police officer, but murder convictions are substantially less likely if they're the police.

I don't know what difference making murder specifically illegal for the police does (would do?) to reduce its incidence.

Key difference is that in most U.S. states homicide has no consent defense.

Proggers have this demented fetish with regulation. Every time they hear an instance of something they "feelz iz rong", we must enact legislation that outlaws the precise event. Keeps lawyers employed.

Not every potential problem merits legislation, but I have a hard time seeing the downside of a law prohibiting police officers from having sex with people in their custody, and the upside is quite plausible.

Can we get legislation regarding a vulnerable intern in the Oval Office? Slick Willy anyone? I have a hard time seeing the downside to such a law, and the upside is quite plausible.

First of all, I think reasonable people would agree that there is something unethical about the President having sexual relations with interns in the oval office, if only due to the power dynamics involved.

Secondly, surely you can see the difference between a boss and a junior employee, and a police officer and a prisoner in custody. I mean, the boss doesn't effectively have the right to kill the junior employee if she acts threatening.

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