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HOWTO: Not Get Seated on a Death Penalty Jury

By localroger in Meta
Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 01:28:10 PM EST
Tags: localroger bloviates, death penalty, criminals is stupid (all tags)

I didn't understand. Every time I got the subpoena before I submitted a written letter stating that I was paid by the hour and sole breadwinner of my household. I'd get a message on my answering machine about a week before my due date advising me that I was excused.

This time, the message said "The judge needs to talk to everybody."


America's legal system depends per our constitution on juries of ordinary people, not legal professionals as in some other nations (cough UK cough). And in order to fill this need we have a kind of draft. Voter and more recently driver's license rolls are harvested and every once in awhile the government sends you a friendly notice that you need to do your duty. You know, the kind of friendly notice that contains phrases like FAIL NOT and CONTEMPT OF COURT.

The day before I was ordered to appear my company vice president patted me on the back and advised me not to worry. "These petit juror things usually aren't that big a deal," he said. "Usually get plea bargained at the last minute, and only last a day or two if they do go to trial."

So I arrived to find out the reason my excuse wasn't accepted, as neither was the excuse of the lady on chemotherapy or the lady who is a bona fide employee of the Sherriff's Office on first-name basis with all the court flunkies or the NASA engineer who is a critical member of the Orion team, is that no excuses were accepted at all because this is a death penalty case and the jury will be sequestered for two to three weeks. Going into detail on why this is unacceptable would be bragging, but let me just say that if I was willing to go to places where my cell phone doesn't work for that length of time I'd have seen places like Japan, Kenya, and Madagascar, where my wife went without me.

When I mentioned this (without mentioning anything else about the case) I got an almost universal piece of advice. "Fry him! Guilty!" my coworkers chortled. "They can't seat you if you're convinced he should die." Everyone was sure this would work.

I'm here to say that it wouldn't have, and why, and what I did that did.

I will say one brief word about my civic duty. Throughout this proceeding it was made clear that the usual rules of civil accommodation had been dropped. From top to bottom, THE SYSTEM had decided that this was a life-or-death matter, and that nothing short of a life-or-death excuse would even be considered. Any quaint idea that the social contract works in two directions, with obligations from the government to the citizenry too, were cheerfully and deliberately tossed overboard.

Toward the end of this process (for me) the prosecutor told 50 of us, "Some of you have applied for hardship excuses. We will ask you about those and consider them well. But I am going to say now that how unhappy your boss will be about this will not be considered." He said that to a room full of people whose financial situation he did not know, knowing full well that the laws against firing people for jury duty lost time don't apply to contractors and the self-employed, that plenty of people live paycheck to paycheck, and generally advising us that our problems were not his concern.

Fuck my civic duty. This was war. Legal war, to be sure, but war.

J-Day

The court was used to calling 350 people to form the pool for a big trial, but this was the first capital case most of them had ever worked on and they called 500. Plus no excuses were honored, so we all had to actually show up. The staff and facility were overwhelmed and everything that happened happened late and far overtime.

On Friday we were checked in, filled out an eight page questionnaire about our knowledge of the crime, background, and feelings on the death penalty, and nearly everyone was advised that they would have to return the following week. For this capital case each and every juror would have to be interviewed individually and in private to "pre-qualify" us. It turned out that that took much longer than expected, and some people on the following Monday and Tuesday didn't get home until nine in the evening.

Those of us who had submitted written excuse requests were promised that we would be heard on Friday so that we could get on with our lives, but it was not to be. They did get the people with medical excuses cleared out, but only barely. The rest of us -- those with families, mortgages, small children, or critical jobs -- would have to come back on Wednesday. This was a severe problem for some people who had planned travel or duties who were basically told "tough, cancel it."

On Wednesday, I showed up as requested at 2:00 PM and the final group of 50 of us were showed into the courtroom around 4:45. What happened next will be different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but the important parts probably won't vary much.

Because we were to each be interviewed and those interviews were to be the basis for critical trial stuff, we were placed en masse under oath.

We were shown a little PowerPoint presentation summarizing the crime, what exactly constitutes first degree murder in Louisiana, and standards of guilt and innocence. The prosecuting attorney led this off. He then advised us that in Louisiana a capital case is a two-stage affair; after the jury returns a unanimous guilty verdict they start over from scratch with a new mini-trial to determine whether to sentence life in prison without parole ("a true life sentence") or death by lethal injection, requiring a unanimous decision for death. We were advised that we must find at least one aggravating circumstance to impose death and must consider all mitigating circumstances, and the particulars of what this means in Louisiana were explained.

We were advised that (nod nod wink wink) there were certain conditions which could prevent us from serving. If we were unwilling for some reason to ever vote for the death penalty, or conversely unwilling to vote against it, or if we were already convinced of the defendant's guilt or innocence we could not serve. It was like a little mini instruction manual for anyone who wanted to just go home.

What he did not say was that each and every one of those suggestions was booby trapped. The hint for me, which many would have missed, was a little side point in the defense attorney's following statement: "Not everyone has fully thought out their opinions on the death penalty." Really, I mentally shot back, and that is important just why?

And both attorneys basically said that your job doesn't matter, your obligations don't matter, your livelihood doesn't matter. What matters is what we want and nothing else. And I realized that my reasonable expectation that my excuse request would be given some respect was not operational. I wouldn't have minded so much if they had at least pretended to give a shit about anything other than their precious case but it was very in your face. This is the motherfucking death penalty and you are gonna motherfucking serve on our jury if we want you, motherfucker. You think YOU got problems? Well yes counsellors many of us do, but you have obviously decided to be deaf to that.

Bear in mind the defendant was already serving a life sentence for another conviction. There wasn't even any chance the guy was going to go free. This was all about points, an expensive undertaking for the sole purpose of needling the guy. And for this mothers of young children, school bus drivers, NASA engineers, and yours truly are all told that nothing that is important to us is all that important at all.

The exact process is different from court to court and even more from state to state, but some version of the rest of this happens just about everywhere in the US where the death penalty is available. If you receive a mysteriously unreasonable jury duty subpoena, beware and be prepared.

The Interview

The last of us to be interviewed were the people who had submitted written excuse requests by the deadline as per usual. We were told that our interviews would be about our excuses and our view of the death penalty; if we "passed" we would return on Thursday for the official jury selection in full court.

I had all but been told to my face that my job didn't matter and the first couple of questions pretty much confirmed this. Asked about my hardship excuse, I said:

"I design industrial control systems for a living. I have hundreds, thousands of customers, many infrastructure critical, some government agencies, any of whom could be go down completely for the length of the trial if they had a failure at a bad time and couldn't get hold of me. I don't take vacations longer than a week or so because of this."

"Suppose we allow telephone access, would that help?"

Icicles I tell ya. "Some, but sometimes I can't do it over the phone. I have to drop everything and drive to some place like Lake Charles or Jackson and take care of it myself."

"Right." Big honking icicles. "Tell us about your views on the death penalty."

This is where you either go home or go on.

Strategies

What Mr. Prosecutor didn't mention while outlining all those reasons we couldn't serve is this: The moment you stake out an absolute position, one side wants to send you home but the other desperately wants you on the jury.

These are smart smooth people who not only just interviewed 450 other people, this is what they do for a living and they are good at it. Their job is getting hostile people to say things they don't mean to say under oath. Each side has two attorneys in the room. They have read and pored over all those questionnaires. What exactly did you write on yours five days ago? You're under oath. Do you honestly think these guys who try death penalty cases for a living have never encountered someone who had your same cool plan before, and that they have no strategy to counter it?

Hawk #1: Kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out.

What everyone suggested and seemed to think would be a free ticket home. There is a word for people who think like this in this situation, and that word is "jurors."

As soon as you declare your love of all things lethal to those scum sucking niggers, the defense attorney will lean back and waive his right to ask you any questions. But what you don't realize is that the prosecutor, with whom you think you nominally agree, has just become your nemesis. You want to go home, but he wants to put you in a hotel for three weeks with no TV or internet and a whopping USD$25 per day paycheck in lieu of the one you're not drawing.

I can easily divine what he will ask next. You're sure about that? That seems like an awfully extreme viewpoint. Are you sure there aren't any circumstances where you might favor mercy?

And at this point, full of confidence and braggadocio (about the only way to even try to pull this off) you'd say "sure."

"But what if the defendant was some kid who just got mixed up with the wrong people, and even though he clearly met the criteria for first degree murder (not that hard in Louisiana since it doesn't require "premeditation") he was sincerely remorseful and had apologized to the family and butterflies now grow out of his ass? Would you still see no possibility of voting for life?"

About this point you might realize it was your ass on that platter he is handing you, but it is now too late. If you can carry it out all the way, making yourself look like a heartless monster -- under oath -- then you win. I sincerely believe that none of my RL acquaintances who gave me this cool advice would have been able to do that. As for accomplished online trolls, your skills might translate. Possibly.

But this is the fucking prosecutor who is after you. He is not an online troll. He eats delinquent babies for breakfast and their deadbeat dads for dinner. He has the power of the State behind him to do investigations, locate witnesses, and compel testimony. He can read your body language and have you put in jail if he can prove you lied to him. If you want to bet that you are better at doing what he does than he is, good luck with that.

Hawk #2: I'm sure the fucker's guilty.

Again, the prosecutor is not your friend. You seem to be pretty sure about something that happened seven years ago with no direct witnesses. Are you really, entirely sure that nothing we might present could possibly sway you? Is there something you should be telling us? Because even we aren't that sure. I mean, I'm not even sure what I had for breakfast last Tuesday and you're totally absolutely sure that this guy you've never met -- you've never met him, right? -- killed this person you also never met -- you've never met her, right? -- well that's pretty interesting. Veeeeeery interesting.

Hawk #3: I'm sure the fucker's guilty because he's black.

Sure son, racial tensions in this state go back a long way but surely you can admit that there are some black people who aren't guilty of murder, right? You can't name one good black person, not even one? Why my best friend is black. I'd say you have a pretty miserable attitude, son.

Actually, this might be the safest approach from the hawk side of the fence; pretend to be Bubba and not to trust them niggers an inch and fuck yeah, if one of them offed a white lady then you don't need to hear anything else. That's actually believable if you can pull off the Bubba act. But it's probably safest only if you really hate black people. You're close up in a small room and in person, and these people can smell a lie like a fart in an elevator.

The main problem with hawk strategies is that they pit you against the prosecutor. It's not just that he has more resources in this arena; he can be a lot more dangerous to you personally if you manage to piss him off. The defense attorney can't hint to the cops that you might be worth extra scrutiny or put you on the railroad to the barry barry place should you blow .10 in a DUI check, but the prosecutor can. He's not just a lawyer, he's a lawyer and cop in the same sharkskin.

So let's look at the other side:

Dove #1: I'm sure that sweet lad couldn't have done it.

See Hawk #2, replace "prosecutor" with "defense attorney." Well not exactly but if I need to spell it out, you won't be able to pull it off and will probably get excused anyway because you can't read and write the English language.

Dove #2: It's morally wrong

This is a little better because now it's the prosecutor who will sit out while the defense counsel tries to get you to admit that you could, in fact, vote for death. He doesn't have the resources the prosecutor does and isn't nearly as dangerous to your future if you piss him the hell off. But he'll bring up everything up to and most likely including Hitler to get you to admit that, even just once in awhile, maybe the death penalty isn't such a bad idea.

So you're telling me that if our defendant has killed at least twenty people, all of them horrifically tortured and most of them children, and sold their bodies to the medical school to buy heroin, that you really think we should just feed, clothe, and house him for the next fifty years of his life? You have no problem with that at all? Even if, like Jeffrey Dahmer did, he writes letters from time to time saying how much he likes being a prison bitch? You really think that's better than just sending him to Saint Peter?

or plan B...

Well what about the Army? Wouldn't you agree that we need to defend our country from attacks? That we need police to protect us? That sometimes the only way for them to do that is to kill? Would you say that they should never, ever, for any reason ever kill anybody even if that person has a nuclear bomb and is heading for your hometown?

Dove #3: Don't ask me to do it

Hey, that was some good suggestion the prosecutor gave when he said "Even if you think the death penalty is OK but you're squeamish about voting for it yourself, if you say 'don't make me do it' then we can't use you."

You're sure you'd never kill anybody? Even, say, if your own life were threatened? If, like the victim's family, it was your wife or mother or daughter? You wouldn't feel the slightest urge to avenge yourself? Well while we're at it do you eat meat? What about rats and cockroaches? Do you let them just do whatever they want too?

The problem with the arguments from morality is that they all lead to a slippery slope onto which you can be very easily dragged, especially by someone at their level of the craft of manipulating people. My biggest objection to the DP is just that I think it's a bad idea to give the government the idea that it's a good idea to kill people, but I knew as soon as I realized the DP was my only way out that that would not fly. It would be too easy to turn against me and they didn't, after all, have to get me to say I was in favor of death, only that I'd be willing to consider it.

And from the proportion of excuse seekers who were coming out with instructions to return later, it was clear that not many were getting through the screen.

What I said

"As I said, I design industrial controls for a living. Been doing that for 25 years. And one of the lessons I learned early on was that you never commit a permanent change until the last possible moment. You never do what you can't undo until you have no choice. Because after that if you discover a problem, you can't fix it. And so, to me, the death penalty just looks like an example of bad design."

After this there was a nearly audible whoosh as breath was sucked in and a small pause which seemed to last about a billion years. Then the clerk asked the prosecutor, "Any questions?" He made a wry smile as he shook his head.

The defense counsel looked thoughtful, and then said "Can you testify?"

(And no, it was a joke. A lawyer joke, but I got it. You can't testify if you've been in the jury pool.)

I wasn't taking any chances though. I didn't laugh, and I went on, "I've thought about this a lot." ("Not everyone has fully thought out their opinions on the death penalty," I heard in my head.) "I have this argument a lot with people on the internet and my friends. I have pretty strong opinions on the subject."

They still made me wait outside for a minute while they discussed it, but then they sent me home. I bought a bottle of champaigne on the way home.

Where it might have gone

As some here have pointed out this isn't really a strong criticism of the death penalty, and it's not really my main personal problem with the DP. But the advantage of this argument is that there is no slippery slope. It's pretty hard to argue that once you kill a guy you can say you're sorry and set him free when the Innocence Project comes around and proves, as they do with depressing regularity, that you fucked up.

About the only place the defense could have gone would be to argue deterrence, and in the situation we were in that would have been a very weak argument; I wasn't after all arguing for actual legislation, just that I had feelings strong enough to preclude my own self ever voting for death. And it would have been easy to laugh at the deterrent effect of the DP. "You think some guy who's getting ready to pull the trigger is even thinking of that? If he's not deterred by life without parole he's gonna give it an extra bit of hesitation because of the needle? What a bunch of horsecock. I do, however, worry that the smarter ones might think ahead enough to wipe out all of the witnesses because the penalty is so harsh."

There is also another angle which was in the questionnaire, and might have had something to do with things; I had answered that my attitude to the death penalty would not influence my decision on guilt or innocence. And that's true; given that an admittedly imperfect system had managed to convince me that there is a very great chance you are a monster, and that my only choices are to set you free or fry you, the Bar-B-Que might seem the lesser of the evils. That made it very clear that I was not making a moral argument, which would be subject to slippery slope questions of how bad you'd feel if you got yourself off the jury and then your peers, lacking your perspective, convict and fry the guy. I made it obvious that I trust my peers in the guilt phase of the trial and it doesn't bother me that much if they then go for the red ring. Whatever. I can't get actual engineers to do pretty much uncontroversial things the way I'd like, what are you supposed to do?

The Last Word

One of the bailiffs tending us joking with the lady who worked for the Sherriff's Office said, "Yeah, everyone would love to serve but. It's always the but that gets you." And I know just what he's getting at. There's an assumption that you must pay obeisance to the concept of civic duty before trying to worm your way out of it.

Well fuck that. I would not love to serve on a jury. In normal circumstances I might not do more than the usual boilerplate in the cause of avoiding it, and hold my nose and do a few days to keep myself straight with teh authoritah if that wasn't enough. But I won't pretend I'll like it, because frankly being in a courthouse creeps me right the fuck out. The whole place reeks of Essential Oil of Authoritarianism. I do intellectually recognize that we need some of the functions that the justice system carries out, but I also recognize that about the water department and I don't like being around raw sewerage either.

And in this case, where teh authoritah has pretty much openly declared war on me ... well fuck that.

The funny thing is, one of the things they didn't ask me was just how far I live from the scene of the crime. The answer to that would have been about 100 meters. I didn't remember it because I was eyeball deep in work and not noticing much of anything when it happened, but my wife did. Our neighborhood had been leafleted with a horrific pamphlet begging for information about the murder.

So why didn't I put this potentially excuse-worthy detail in the questionnaire? I didn't remember the victim or defendant by name, it having been seven years since the crime, and the questionnaire erroneously advised that the crime had occurred in Madisonville. Had it accurately said Mandeville, I might have remembered -- there really aren't many murders around here. And anyway, I did put my own address down, which happens to be on one of the streets that is named after the subdivision. The fact that nobody noticed that and moved to clarify it in the interview demonstrates to me that they seriously didn't care.

So if they had put me on the jury, they would have probably had to excuse me and burn an alternate as soon as that came out. And if it didn't come out and I served the whole trial, it would have made for a nearly certain mistrial. So all of that intimidation and ill will turned out to be a complete waste of everyone's time, energy, and money.

Postscript

I wrote this on August 21. I'm only posting it now because all jury pool members remain under a gag order until the trial is over, apparently on the general principle that we might start "rumors" about what is going on.

On August 29, twelve of my peers convicted Dominic Robinson of first degree murder in the matter of following my then neighbor Samantha Jaume home from the local Wal-Mart, demanding the keys to her SUV, then shooting her to death when she couldn't comply because she did not realize she'd dropped the keys in one of her grocery bags. So now I can finally talk about what happened.

Dominic was already serving a life sentence for another not so lethal carjacking, but this eliminates any chance for parole. As for the death sentence, Mother Nature had the last laugh. The sequestered jury had to be released for evacuation under the threat of Hurricane Gustav, and a mistrial was declared in the death sentence phase of the trial. Considering that that was pretty much the only reason for holding this circus in the first place I am curious to see if they go through it all again just to needle the asshole.

Under the "crooks is stupid" tag it is worth mentioning that Dom's partner punched the accelerator of the follow-her-home car upon hearing the shot, leaving Dom to hike it out of the Woodridge subdivision on foot just as a whole bunch of white-bread suburban types were returning home from their Independence Day Bar-B-Que's. Made for lots of info for the sketch artist.

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Poll
You, four attorneys, three weeks sequestration. You...
o DO MY DUTY ASSHOLE 23%
o Fry the motherfucker 8%
o Dude's black, he's guilty 8%
o Dude's black, he should fry IF he's guilty 0%
o Death sentence sucks 5%
o I couldn't possibly vote for it 14%
o You can't undo it 2%
o You fascist motherfuckers shouldn't be allowed to kill people 23%
o I can't read or write the English language 11%

Votes: 34
Results | Other Polls

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Display: Sort:
HOWTO: Not Get Seated on a Death Penalty Jury | 149 comments (103 topical, 46 editorial, 0 hidden)
And now, having posted this, (none / 0) (#1)
by rpresser on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 04:41:45 PM EST

you are prime beef for the NEXT death penalty case that comes up (after 3 years or whatever, when you are eligible for the pool again).

------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
Yep (none / 1) (#12)
by localroger on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 07:14:35 PM EST

I haz a plan tho.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
Mishun Accomplished $ (none / 0) (#135)
by localroger on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 08:53:24 PM EST



And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
Isn't it simpler to just go to the audience (3.00 / 2) (#3)
by sausalito on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 04:59:33 PM EST

dressed up as a Trekkie like that woman at the OJ Simpson trial (I think) and ask to swear on the United Federation of Planet constitution instead of the Bible?

That way you prove to be very eccentric and as such mistrusted by both defense and prosecution. It worked for her, I seem to recall.
_____________

GBH - "The whole point is that the App Store acts as a firewall between busy soccer moms and goatse links"

Clearly you killed her. (3.00 / 6) (#4)
by GhostOfTiber on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 05:02:50 PM EST

You didn't notice gunfire in your neighborhood 100 meters away? You were engaged in some kind of "work"? You expect me to believe a guy serving a life sentence in jail is out walking the streets?

SAY HELLO TO HANS REISER FOR ME IN THE BIG HOUSE.

[Nimey's] wife's ass is my cocksheath. - undermyne

thinkers (none / 0) (#5)
by postDigital on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 05:24:53 PM EST

are close to the last persons attorneys want as jurors. They want the people who can be hooked with lures.



I AM AN EXPERT ON EVERYTHING (2.57 / 7) (#6)
by lostincali on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 05:35:34 PM EST

THIS ONE TIME I RAN A COMPUTATIONAL FLUID DYNAMICS SIMULATION ON A CIRCLE. I AM NOW AN EXPERT ON CFD, AS I INDICATE ON MY RESUME. BIG ENGINEERING BUCKS, HERE I COME.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."

this comment is (1.50 / 6) (#16)
by yellow shark on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 08:48:03 PM EST


Text is likely to be stupid.

as determined by the StupidFilter.

[ Parent ]
you are a serious fucking moron. (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by lostincali on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:41:34 PM EST

who else but a moron would require a computer program to tell him whether a comment is stupid or not? you obviously speak english, and you've taken the time to write a reply, so you're not filtering spam or reading an alien language. did you simply not comprehend my comment? do you read at a 6th grade level and need the assistance of others?

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

youre the (1.71 / 7) (#24)
by yellow shark on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 10:43:51 PM EST

dumbest fucking idiot i know...online or off.

I suggest you quit altogether.

you are too easy to troll.

no rly

you are just about as stupid as they come.

challenge ... say something intelligent for once. I might reconsider everything.

I think that is far enough.

[ Parent ]

ha ha stupid comes in so many flavours (none / 1) (#42)
by A Bore on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:59:18 AM EST



[ Parent ]
NOT FAIL NOT (none / 0) (#7)
by Ruston Rustov on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 05:49:58 PM EST


I had had incurable open sores all over my feet for sixteen years. The doctors were powerless to do anything about it. I told my psychiatrist that they were psychosomatic Stigmata - the Stigmata are the wounds Jesus suffered when he was nailed to the cross. Three days later all my sores were gone. -- Michael Crawford
Maybe tomorrow. -- Michael Crawford
As soon as she has her first period, fuck your daughter. -- localroger

Pretty good (none / 0) (#19)
by some nerd on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 09:12:36 PM EST

+1FP if I catch it in vote.

I got called literally 2 days after reaching eligible age, but it was in the middle of exams. I simply phoned and said so, and got excused straight away with no bullshit. Result. I actually wanted to serve, but I suppose the reality would have been dull and/or unpleasant.

--
Home Sweet Home

That was a responsible attitude (none / 1) (#66)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 05:35:23 PM EST

...and typical of how St. Tammany usually operates. There is a list of standard excuses which are supposed to always be accepted, including things like being handicapped and being the mother of young children. Being paid by the hour used to be on the list but they removed it a few years ago, though they continued to accept it (in conjuction with being sole breadwinner) until this time.

This time they cheerfully announced that they were accepting no excuses at all. No sense of civility whatsoever. They'd have made you miss your exams and grades be damned. I know at least one guy either risked contempt of court or cancelled a very important business trip because of the Friday clusterfuck.

Sorry assholes, it's called the social CONTRACT because there are obligations in BOTH DIRECTIONS. If dagummint is going to act like that toward me, they shouldn't get upset when I game their own system right back at them.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

so which side of the social contract do you uphold (2.66 / 3) (#75)
by Delirium on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 06:53:42 PM EST

In what situation would you actually uphold your end of the social contract and serve on a jury, presuming the government did whatever in theory they were supposed to do to accommodate your Very Important Job. If your answer is My Job Is So Important I Can Never Serve, then you aren't upholding your side of the social contract at all, and are in fact one of the reasons the government has to resort to playing hardball to force people to uphold their obligations instead of weaseling out of them (as you successfully did here, despite not really having any plausible claim of hardship).

[ Parent ]
Had they conducted it normally (none / 1) (#113)
by localroger on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 08:09:33 AM EST

There was no warning that this was to be different. Nobody had any expectation that two to three weeks sequestered was a possibility, as that isn't usually what happens; nobody was warned that arrangements might need to be made, and the total contempt about excuses in general were unacceptable.

Really, the whole way it's handled is stupid. They send out the subpoena about 30 days in advance, so if you're flying anywhere you almost certainly already have the ticket. (That too is on the list of automatic excuses, not honored this time.) Give more warning, warn that a long sequestered trial is a possibility, and even if you think I should serve at least be reasonable about the people with even bigger problems than me. In short, treat me like a human being. Is that really so difficult?

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

summary (2.75 / 20) (#25)
by ccdotnet on Fri Sep 05, 2008 at 11:42:46 PM EST

I'm so important, no civic duty is more important than my work.

On this matter of life-or-death, I'm more than happy to trust my less-rational, less-thoughtful peers, to weigh up the evidence and make this choice. Why should I do it? Don't they know how important I am?

I'm so close to living hand-to-mouth, I can't possibly take 2-3 weeks off work, and there's no mechanism at all I can put in place, ahead of time, to allow for this possibility. Sub-contractors, business partners, business alliances - they just can't do what I do, because I'm the best.

I don't believe in the death penalty, but I can't just come out and say it like that. So after giving the issue (how to weasle out of my civic duty) an enormous amount of thought, weighing up the pros and cons of each and every possible reason to be excused, I'll manufacture a unique three paragraph, clever-sounding excuse. Then bask in the warm glow of the silence that follows because I've been so clever.

My clients are also really clever: they leave the uptime of their mission-critical, billion dollar equipment, 100% in the hands of just one person and the unavailability of that one person for mere hours or days, sends them into bankruptcy.

Yep (1.60 / 5) (#28)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 12:10:14 AM EST

See you're well acquainted with the real world ... oh wait, you're being sarcastic aren't you. One day the real world will smack you in the face and then you'll get a clue.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
DP (3.00 / 5) (#30)
by ccdotnet on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 12:59:49 AM EST

Terrific response - really put me in my place.

I just think someone who has thought deeply about the issue (DP), and actually cares about it (one way or the other), would want to be involved, when given the opportunity, rather than moving Heaven and Earth to shirk that responsibility. Your faith in "other people" doing the job properly is surprising.

At worst this is an inconvenience that pops up once every 3 years, for 2-3 weeks? More likely only twice in a lifetime.

Not only do you title the story a "How-To" on evading a civic duty, taking pride in advising other people how to do the same, but you start your story explaining how each and every time you're asked to contribute to the justice system (on a minor or major issue), your reflex action is to seek an excusal.

Let's hope when you're next on a murder charge, those who share your thoughts on the DP haven't all been excused, because they have better things to do.

My work role is similar to yours, just on a smaller scale. I look after a dozen or so sites, totalling only a few hundred people. Not the "hundreds and thousands" you boast. But I'm sure the principles we use are similar: we both aim to build systems (hardware and people) that achieve a reasonable level of self-sufficiency, and a reasonable level of fault-tolerance. So that small problems can be overcome (maybe worked around in your absence), and only the (rare) large issue actually demands your physical presence.

Any system that depends for its routine survival 100% on you (or me) isn't a very good one, is it? Doesn't engineering pride (which you clearly have in spades) demand this not be the case?

If you truly are a unique and irreplaceable cog - shouldn't your clients be actively trying to change this situation?

[ Parent ]

yeah but you're also talking about a guy (3.00 / 5) (#33)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 06:36:52 AM EST

with delusions of grandeur, an inability to admit being wrong, and just generally ailing from some sort of mental disease.

He's also completely full of shit that he's the only guy doing truck scales in the country.  It's absolutely fucking absurd.  He MIGHT (and probably isn't) the only guy doing them for his ratty little company.  I say it's ratty because he's been working there for 20 years yet somehow is getting paid such shit rates to be living paycheck to paycheck?  And he can't get a little time for jury duty?

His stories about how important he is at his job and how great he is constantly contradict themselves and common sense.  Bottom line.

[ Parent ]

Somehow it doesn't surprise me (none / 0) (#39)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:35:27 AM EST

...that a replaceable tool who thinks the only path to advancement is to quit and jump to a higher bidder would think that everyboody else is a similarly replaceable tool.

Dude, I am not the only guy doing truck scales. I am the only guy doing high speed graders with commodity hardware. Two of those are in Alaska. I'm the only guy doing scrapyard data collection on hardware that doesn't cost $7,000+ per station. We just shipped one of those to England. I'm sure you could have lectured me ahead of time about what I would have to do for OIML compliance.

The scale industry is indeed a small pond, but within it I am a very big fish. But it doesn't surprise me that someone who thinks it's fun to come here and act out the way you do might not be able to see the value of that.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

"yeah there are a lot of people doing this (3.00 / 3) (#40)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:46:58 AM EST

"but we're the only ones doing it on cheap hardware with software that constantly fails"

And if you actually have to constantly go onsite to fix your garbage software then you are a failure.  And if you honestly think you're among an elite few who can write embedded or non-embedded software to a strict set of requirements.  That's what every fucking software engineer does. You are decidedly both easily replaced and fully deluded.

[ Parent ]

Tell my employer that. (none / 1) (#43)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:07:12 AM EST

Actually, go past him and tell the manufacturers we represent that. Bestest line ever after I hacked one of their boxen to make it do what it should have been able to do from the factory: "Well Roger, you've been telling us this was possible since 1995 but until we saw that videotape we really didn't believe you."

There really are people out there more talented than you. Your inability to comprehend that kind of makes the point.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

dude (2.50 / 4) (#46)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:26:49 AM EST

You're describing the interaction of almost every engineer with management/vendors everywhere.

I mean holy fuck you can get that exact story out of a dilbert comic you stupid shit.

[ Parent ]

Not quite (3.00 / 4) (#49)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:16:31 AM EST

Look, you don't understand what I do because you have most likely never met anyone who does what I do. I do what isn't possible. When I do it, it works. I have taken out systems that looked very much like the one I replaced them with, but the difference is that mine work reliably. There are people all over the country and in several other countries who have my cell phone number on their speed dial.

You're a commodity. You've admitted as much on many occasions. I am not. Several people at the national level have told me there is nobody else in the USA who can do what I do. Sure there are other good programers -- not as many as you'd say, because my standards for 'good' are pretty unusual, but there are some -- but there aren't any who are in this industry. And it's an industry with a lot of peculiar subtleties. If you just walk in thinking you will own it you will make mistakes. Bad, expensive mistakes. Possibly lethal mistakes.

Next time you eat catfish, think of me because there is about a 90% chance that fillet was classified on a machine I designed. When I put the first of those in in 2002 the president of the north American division of the world leader in that technology called my customer and spent two hours telling him I was a liar and a fraud because they knew the machine I was using couldn't work, because they were the world leaders and they had tried it themselves and failed. I guess it didn't occur to them to try writing 12,000 lines of assembly language code for a platform with no debugger. But when I learned, that's how all computers were. Not many people can do that kind of thing nowadays.

About the time I did that a company called Scanvaegt sent several thousand of their customers a dear john letter that said essentially, "you know that $40,000 sorting machine you bought less than five years ago? It's obsolete and we're not supporting it any more." What was obsolete was the controller, which was based on a 4 MHz 8 bit CPU. I don't blame them for not wanting to support it any more. I do blame them for saying you need to scrap the rest of the machine to update it.

I personally saved a lot of stainless steel from the scrap heap with that project. Today there are still more than 150 of those machines in service with my controller.

Many of them are choke points -- if they go down, the plant must stop until they are repaired. This doesn't happen often and when it does it's usually an obscure electrical or mechanical failure. Mechanical failures in high speed in-motion weighing can be very difficult to sort out. I have to personally visit one of them once or twice a year. And that is just one project in a 20+ year career. Most of what I do isn't quite that spectacular, but all of it is that important.

You might wonder how I'd do in some other industry. I'd guess I'd be pretty exceptional just about anywhere. Back when I was in school I took all the same standardized tests everyone across the country takes. I am reminded of this because my manager was bragging on me to his kids while I was evacuated. And they asked how I did on those tests. And the answer is that I have never scored outside the 99th percentile on one of them. I'm sure I've lost a bit of that edge but one day you'll be 44 too. Hope that works out as well for you as it has for me.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

L O L (3.00 / 3) (#50)
by lostincali on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:35:08 AM EST

3 for making me laugh

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

You're welcome (none / 0) (#52)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:42:01 AM EST

I know IABT but whatever. I got a lot of post evacuation tension to release.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
that was nice (2.40 / 5) (#53)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:53:54 AM EST

"I'm the best person in the universe for doing engineering work"

And acting like you're a super-great specialist because the software endustry has become more broad in the last 20 years is fucking stupid.

And considering the k5 demographic, has it occurred to you that probably most people here did very well on those tests?  Christ you may be able to read a paragraph about a man with a horse and answer correctly about what color that horse was, but critical thinking doesn't come to you at all.

[ Parent ]

Well, not the universe (none / 1) (#54)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 12:01:33 PM EST

...but most likely in the scale industry, yes.

What has happened in the last 20 years is that people have forgotten the fundamentals because they're standing on a 30 story skyscraper of abstraction layers. This is why they are shocked, shocked I tell you, to find that some 16 year old with nothing else to do on his summer vacation found a buffer overrun and wrote an exploit for it that their best engineers missed.

I don't make mistakes like that. And in this particular industry that is particularly well valued.

And yes, I'd guess that most people here are at least two standard deviations out. It's one of the reasons I hang out here. Present company excepted, obviously.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

so let's review (1.50 / 2) (#55)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 12:14:45 PM EST

in an industry which you claim is incredibly small you also claim it's some sort of accomplishment to be regarded

as a software engineer you actually don't like techniques that make engineering software easier, more productive, and have been the goals of people who actually work on software as a tool instead of working a shit job in a niche market.

And you think it's in anyway acceptable and certainly not telling of your failure as a human being that in a room filled with smart people you're the only one crowing about how well you did in elementary school.

You fucking moron.

[ Parent ]

Corrections (none / 0) (#56)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 12:24:25 PM EST

in an industry which you claim is incredibly small you also claim it's some sort of accomplishment to be regarded

It's small compared to some industries. That does not make it small in the abstract, and it's extremely important to a lot of other industries out of proportion to its share of the GDP.

as a software engineer you actually don't like techniques that make engineering software easier, more productive, and have been the goals of people who actually work on software as a tool instead of working a shit job in a niche market.

I don't like techniques that make it easier and faster to write bad software. As for my "shit job in a niche market" at least I don't sit in a cubicle all day. And how often do people call you long distance from Europe asking for advice? Don't bother answering.

And you think it's in anyway acceptable and certainly not telling of your failure as a human being that in a room filled with smart people you're the only one crowing about how well you did in elementary school.

News flash: Lonelyhobo thinks elementary school kids take college admission tests. That is so many kinds of FAIL I can't quite figure out how to enumerate them, but I suppose that's the point.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

you trying too hard (1.50 / 2) (#57)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 12:32:01 PM EST

"Back when I was in school I took all the same standardized tests everyone across the country takes" is exactly what you said.  Trying to twist that to somehow just mean college admissions tests is just you being pathetic again.

If anyone from europe called me asking me for advice and I answered them I'd be in quite a bit of hot water so yeah, never.  The fact that you're bringing up all this worthless garbage (OMG PEOPLE ACTUALLY CONSULT SENIOR ENGINEERS?  HOLY FUCK MAN THAT'S JUST CRAZY) to make yourself seem important is just sad.

[ Parent ]

LOL (none / 1) (#61)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 02:48:57 PM EST

If anyone from europe called me asking me for advice and I answered them I'd be in quite a bit of hot water so yeah, never.

You know, you have just about convinced me that you really are an adult. An extremely pathetic adult, but yeah.

Your job sucks dude. Nobody thinks you're important or cares about you, and that's why you come here and act like the same must be true of everyone else. 20 years from now you will still be sitting in a cubicle, you won't have any job security, and you probably won't have any retirement either after spending it on the Porsche and hair implants.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

My next Greasemonkey script (3.00 / 3) (#65)
by rpresser on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 05:34:46 PM EST

and/or Stylish style, is going to detect any thread where localroger and lonelyhobo reply to each other more than once each, and either remove it from the page entirely or set it to color:white bgcolor:white.

------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
my next greasemonkey script (1.80 / 5) (#70)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 06:30:24 PM EST

is going to be to reply to every one of your comments with a reminder of how much of a fat loser who needs psych meds to cope with how pathetic his life is

[ Parent ]
FAIL (none / 1) (#136)
by FreakWent on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 10:37:44 PM EST

Some systems just won't accomodate the fancy pants tools and techniques to which you refer.

He's put up and explained what he does and why he thinks it's special.

No you should either show why you are even more special, or why what he does is piss easy.

However, you don't seem to be able to do this.  People should be allowed to be proud, and say "Yes, I can do this better than you."

I can see that in your schooling you learned that postmodernist crap that everyone is special in their own way, and there are no wrong answers, only learning journeys.

[ Parent ]

Good standardized test scores are great. (3.00 / 2) (#67)
by debillitatus on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 05:36:39 PM EST

Actually, I was wondering where you got your degree(s).  

The reason I ask is that I have to say I'm having a hard time reading you:  are you one of those dudes who got a degree from an Ivy League school or similar private institution, and you're all "Ivy League = king = moi" or are you more like a Big Ten/Big Twelve state school kind of guy, and you got a bit of a chip on your shoulder because you know your school is just as good as all the others but the others get the rep and you've got something to prove?

I'm guessing one of these, and I'd like to know if I was right...

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

holy fucking win (none / 0) (#71)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 06:31:55 PM EST



[ Parent ]
btw, he dropped out of college (none / 1) (#72)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 06:32:33 PM EST

meant to put that in the other post

[ Parent ]
ror (none / 1) (#76)
by debillitatus on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 07:53:17 PM EST

Yeah, right, ihbt.  You'll forgive me if I don't take your word for it.  

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

if you honestly make me search (none / 1) (#77)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 08:02:31 PM EST

to prove me right I'm gonna be pissed.

What point would I have in lying about this if it's something that insufferable douche would immediately hold over me being wrong about?

[ Parent ]

Well, I don't know what the point would be (none / 1) (#78)
by debillitatus on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 08:39:27 PM EST

maybe iabt?  Plus lr is going to be hating on you no matter what you do, and I'm guessing you're not going to do (or not do) something because of him.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

well (none / 1) (#80)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:04:58 PM EST

I'm just beginning to think you don't get it at all.

I may pointlessly conjecture to bait roger, but I'm certainly not a liar.  He's posted here before talking about how he dropped out of college.

By the way, I really don't see it likely you're going to get a response to this point of inquiry to LR (though my just saying it may be enough to get him to try to make a liar out of me (although this parenthetical may be enough to counter that)).  

If you do though, you're bound to get an explanation layered in multiple excuses for why he didn't finish college and college is irrelevant and anything else he can do to discredit his failure.  Because one of the few characteristics I actually like about roger is that he's not a liar either.  He may extremely exaggerate his exploits (though I'm not really sure how much of this he's conscious of doing, and I'm not sure how much of it is even his doing), and he may try to talk like an authoritative source about something he really doesn't know shit about, but he's not a liar.  Even on the internet.

Dude is obviously unwilling to admit being wrong out of being shamed, and that sort of behavior is really enough to wonder why.  The only real answer is that he prides himself on always being right and cognitive dissonance kicks in whenever he's wrong.

[ Parent ]

Ok don't get all crazy (none / 1) (#82)
by debillitatus on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:08:07 PM EST

I'm just saying I would be surprised to hear that lr didn't go to college.  And I'm not so much accusing you of lying or anything but just noting that this is k5, we all troll each other mercilessly here.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

no i said he dropped out of college (none / 1) (#85)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:15:28 PM EST

that's what he said.  That implies he went but didn't finish.  It's actually a pretty common thing to happen, especially from the poor socioeconomic background I'm guessing LR came from.  The last statistics I saw put 4/5 children of poor families dropping out of college.

[ Parent ]
o i c (none / 0) (#96)
by debillitatus on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:50:17 PM EST

If what you say is true, that might explain some things.  But I'm still skeptical until I hear one way or the other from him

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

ror (none / 1) (#94)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:47:53 PM EST

You act like an asshole, people are going to naturally deal with you as if you are an asshole.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
No, it's true (3.00 / 2) (#93)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:46:19 PM EST

In the middle of a huge fight with my overprotective parents over the matter of having a girlfriend, I lost my full scholarship by 0.01 grade point. My father was a university physics professor so I had basically been in school my entire life, and at that point I became so disgusted with the whole thing that I decided it was time to get out in the world and do something real.

I am quite happy with the niche I've found and I never saw a reason to go back. In industry I found that much of what I'd been taught was incomplete, irrelevant, or just plain wrong, and that much of what was truly important I'd never been taught.

Some years ago when I was having an argument with my employer over wages (I've subsequently gotten the three largest raises they've ever given anybody, so much for the hobo's theory about jumping ship to get the cash) I was courted by one of our customers. They wanted me badly, but being an international chemical company they had corporate guidelines and the guy trying to hire me advised me to get my degree so I'd be eligible for one of the more lucrative engineering positions.

And at that point I completely lost respect for them and all interest in working for them. I literally said, you know what I can do and you want to hire me, but you can't unless I have the piece of paper? And he kind of shrugged and said yeah, that's how it works. And I said well, good luck with that. I don't do blackmail.

At this point, I don't have to. As the old saw goes, I don't give people shit and I don't take shit from them; I am no longer in the shit business.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

I didn't believe it (none / 1) (#102)
by debillitatus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 12:34:56 AM EST

but I do coming from you.

Well, ok, this actually clears up a lot of things.  I was always somewhat surprised that a man in your position would be so arrogant about his intellectual prowess, but knowing you've not finished school explains that quite well, actually.  I'm not trying to be rude by saying this, and I'm afraid it will come out the wrong way, but I doubt you realize how small your pond really is.  

But aside from that, the story you mention about telling off the guy who was trying to make you a job offer seems to be pretty self-destructive behavior.  Dude is all like, "We'll give you way more money if you just jump through a couple of hoops" and to prove a point you not only refuse to consider the possibility, but you probably said some shit to alienate the guy.  Burning bridges just to prove a point?  That's not rational behavior and is a bit more suited to a fifteen-year-old.  Not to mention, I'm sure your wife is thrilled that you're turning down opportunities for more money; this is something wives tend to have opinions about*.  Moreover, you've made it clear in this diary and elsewhere that you're overworked and underpaid (if you carry a beeper but get paid hourly you are certainly overworked; if you can't afford to take three weeks off of work, you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, that is to say, failing at life).  The smart thing to do in your position may very well be the route which leads to more opportunities, because you're not exactly tearing it up as we speak.  I suspect you're "too smart" to do something so pedestrian, but my honest opinion is that you're probably underselling, and undercutting, yourself.

But I guess it's not so bad, as you're rich in other ways: you're paid in "my boss makes me sound smart in front of some pre-teens".  That's worth $20K / yr easily.

------

* - if I told my wife that I had an opportunity to get a $20K raise doing the same job I do now, and all I had to do was fulfill some bullshit requirements, but I'm not going to do it as a matter of principle, I'd have some Ladies' size 5 Sketchers embedded in my large intestines --- and I'd deserve them there.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

You've swallowed a bit of hobo's bullshit (none / 1) (#112)
by localroger on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 07:59:39 AM EST

I would not make $20K more if I had a degree. My salary is around the middle of what to expect for a salaried engineer in this area. The year I worked 7 days a week for half the year to build the grader I made considerably more than that.

I also was a senior with 96 hours when I quit school, and about a year and a half from graduation. I was the only engineering student that anyone could ever remember actually taking philosophy 1000 instead of Boolean logic for the one course "philosophy" requirement, and I had three other courses I'd taken outside of my curriculum because I found it kind of dry.

At the time I was pretty immature, because I was only 19. (Yes, I was a college senior. I was at time the only person in the history of the school to test out of calculus based physics.) Working in industry is what finished my education. My father taught college, so if you are thinking there is something I missed because of the three semesters of coursework I never went back to complete, I'd say you are thoroughly mistaken.

As I've explained elsewhere I can actually afford the lost wages; it's the broken promises to my customers that upset me, but the lost wages are the thing the system understands. Or usually does.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

A lot of what you say there makes no sense (2.00 / 2) (#118)
by debillitatus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 12:31:31 PM EST

  • The guy who was offering you a job was telling you that you could make more money.  You turned it down to make a point, and furthermore hit him with some surely insulting comments.  Do you think you came off better after that exchange, once the fleeting feeling of having pwn3d him in h2h verbal battle passed?   You only fucked yourself, chief.

  • I'm not sure you understand why companies pay some people salaries and other people hourly wages.  

  • You know, that's great you tested out of some class, but you know all those people you tested ahead of?  They all graduated, some went to grad school.  And no one remembers who tested ahead of whom in what now, except you.

  • It should be noted that what you so clearly missed by terminating your education with a high-school degree is that you have no sense of what smart really is and what you could aspire to --- you've not been challenged appropriately.  Yes, you're the smartest dude in your peer group. Congratulations, you look smart compared to a small business owner and three middle managers.  Look, every smart kid thinks he is some smart-ass tough guy myself after he's completed the rigors of high school.  Until he is challenged at a higher level, he's a dime a dozen.  You've gone on about testing in the 99th percentile on Stanford-Binet or whatever (putting you in the top three million of the US), but the point is there you're competing against the average person.  That's great and all, but until you've been in a peer group which doesn't correspond to a slice of America, but actually includes smart people, you're not going to know where you really stand.  I think that if you had ever met a real intellectual challenge then your arrogance would have been tempered with a little wisdom and realization how big the world really is and how many smart motherfuckers there are out there.

All of that aside, it occurs to me as I read it that I should probably lay off of you.  My intent all along was to try and give you some perspective, but it's pretty clear I'm spinning my wheels.  You might ask why I care to help, but the thing is I see your track, and I realize that you and I were in a similar situation up to a point in our respective lives until those trajectories diverged, so it's kind of a "there but for the grace of God" thing.  Had I made a few decisions differently I could be where you are now.

It's admirable you've gotten as far as you have with your maturity issues, but overall your situation fills one with a kind of sadness.  You make excuses for your failures, and then you trot out your standardized test scores as some kind of badge of intellect.  I tell you all of this, not to dog on you or anything, but in the hope you'll sort of realize that one could aspire to a lot more, and maybe that you would do so.  

Although I'm probably wasting my breath and time, and in any case my advice is probably worth what you pay for it...  

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

Don't feel sorry for me (3.00 / 2) (#121)
by localroger on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 01:12:41 PM EST

Look, I am where I want to be. What you do not seem to understand is that for some people that might be a rational decision that makes sense.

I did not turn down the job just to make a point, and I didn't insult the guy in the process. I told him I thought it was a stupid corporate requirement since we all knew I could do the job, and he agreed. I declined because it would have required jumping through an expensive and irrelevant hoop. And I'm making about as much today as I would have if I'd jumped, particularly since that would have been a salaried job with no overtime.

I wonder if you realize why white collar employees generally aren't paid overtime? I'll give you a hint: Labor unions. I'm not unionized but the FLSA throws a lot of love my way because of the possibility that I could be. Members of the management classes, not so much. I know people who make nearly twice what I do but who also regularly work 80 hour weeks without overtime; if I worked as much as they do I'd make more money.

I also wonder if from your elitist perspective as a College Person you realize just how crass it sounds that you keep harping on how much money I could be making. Didn't you get the memo, college isn't just about money it's about being taught to think critically? Money is nice but it isn't everything and if you think all I get from my job is the occasional attaboy, you haven't read a word I've written here over the years.

As for knowing what smart people are like and being challenged, my father taught college physics. I didn't know what stupid people were like until I got out of that environment into what I slowly realized was the real world. Your attitude is typical of a kind of self-congratulatory tone I remember all too well. It took me years to unlearn that so I could deal with ordinary people.

And you know what? Ordinary people can be shockingly stupid, but they can also be amazingly smart about practical things. You want to get into a food fight to make me vs. lonelyhobo look like a songbird songfight, walk into a room full of engineers and field service technicians and try to mediate their problem sometime. Try even hiring someone who can do that. Even better, try teaching someone to do that in college.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

ror, "money is not important", (none / 1) (#122)
by debillitatus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 01:36:36 PM EST

until you have to go to a Third World country to fix your tooth.  But your other point is also taken:

Didn't you get the memo, college isn't just about money it's about being taught to think critically?

Ok, fair enough. I don't know why you'd bring this up (??), but I'll concede your point.  Your inability to finish college also contributed to your lack of critical thinking skills.  This lack is certainly not one of your strengths, but now you've pinpointed the cause.  Ok.  Step 2 is fixing it.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

Stop saying things I didn't say (none / 0) (#123)
by localroger on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 01:47:08 PM EST

I did not say money is not important. I said there are things that are more important. For someone with a college education you sure have a real reading comprehension problem.

BTW, considering that I had 96 hours and about 18 months left to go on my degree when I left, do you seriously feel that sticking it out would have made any difference in my personality at all? What I found was that college was reinforcing the idea that I was usually the smartest person in the room rather than teaching me humility. If you think I'm arrogant now you would not have wanted to meet me then.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

All I can say is (none / 1) (#127)
by debillitatus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 02:18:55 PM EST

if you think your failing out of school is evidence that you're the smartest person in the room, then you are even further beyond help than I thought you were three posts ago.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

Debillatus: 3.49 GPA is failing (none / 1) (#128)
by localroger on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 03:40:08 PM EST

*plonk*

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
It was for you, wasn't it? (2.00 / 3) (#129)
by debillitatus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 03:45:54 PM EST

<nt>

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!
[ Parent ]

I agree with your last point (none / 1) (#145)
by schlouse on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 07:26:46 AM EST

It's very difficult to find people fresh out of college with any type of practical leadership skills.  A lot of them just kind of wither and die if you throw them into crazy situations without holding their hand 24/7.  It's like throwing a steak into a shark tank.

I'd say that 3 years of hard, directly relevant professional experience is worth more than a bachelor's degree.  I only say this because I've seen it happen so many times.  You can immediately throw that guy into action, whereas you'd have to endure a 6mo - 1yr incubation period for a fresh college grad.

A lot of the people going after advanced degrees are the type of people that prefer more sheltered environments and who like being told what to do by superiors (professors, deans, department heads).  This is not always true-- it's just an observation based on what I've personally seen.  A lot of the time this type does better in larger, more stratified academia-like environments (IBM, NASA, EPA research labs, Boeing).

You should consider picking up some kind of quasi-relevant certification.  When confronted with some kind of bullshit degree requirement, just list the certification as your degree.  If anyone argues with you, you've already won, because they're talking to you.  Tell them that the college credit plus the certification is above and beyond a bachelor's.  If they question further, make up some bullshit about how you might someday "go back and fill out the paperwork" by using the local university's work-credit program.  Then remark that they're the first to ask about it, and that you can't help but be impressed at their thoroughness.

I guarantee this will go straight past HR.

[ Parent ]

I'll say this for you (none / 1) (#132)
by livus on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 07:49:53 PM EST

you may be pussywhipped (wtf is it to her what choices you make about your career) but at least it's by someone who wears proper shoes.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
told you it was going to be wrapped in excuses (1.50 / 2) (#106)
by lonelyhobo on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 05:25:43 AM EST

let's count them

  1. In the middle of a huge fight with my overprotective parents over the matter of having a girlfriend, I lost my full scholarship by 0.01 grade point.
  2. it was time to get out in the world and do something real (note how he poses a false dilemma at the same time belittling the "choice" he had just gotten thrown out of)
  3. I am quite happy with the niche I've found and I never saw a reason to go back.
  4.  In industry I found that much of what I'd been taught was incomplete,
  5. irrelevant,
  6. or just plain wrong,
  7. and that much of what was truly important I'd never been taught. (notice how he can't be satisfied just saying he started working, he's got to belittle the other option to soothe his sensitive wittle ego)
(blah blah blah, worthless self aggrandizing story)
  1. I don't do blackmail. (notice how he has now made this into "how I'm better than everyone else by not getting a degree")
  2. At this point, I don't have to. (and woohoo! only 20 years to some sort of sufficient income!)

9!  Can the person who guessed 9 in the localroger excuse pool please step forward and claim their prize?

[ Parent ]
inconsistencies (none / 1) (#84)
by ccdotnet on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:15:03 PM EST

His stories about how important he is at his job and how great he is constantly contradict themselves and common sense.

Best summed up by these two lines:

I do what isn't possible. When I do it, it works.

Achieves the impossible, yet vast wealth (and free time) has not followed?

[ Parent ]

It doesn't automatically follow (none / 0) (#92)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:34:04 PM EST

The Horatio Alger thing is really out of date. And if you think that you're not successful unless you have more money than $ARBITRARY_OTHER_PERSON then you will never feel good about yourself. Which, come to think of it, probably explains a lot about the hobo.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
i dunno if i want to be in a DP situation (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by lostincali on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 07:59:42 AM EST

it's either kinda gay or really, really gay.

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

thanks for reminding me where we are /nt (none / 0) (#83)
by ccdotnet on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:08:43 PM EST



[ Parent ]
You must have missed the part (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:31:46 AM EST

about the woman on chemotherapy, the court employee, and the NASA engineer were being similarly inconvenienced.

I am really fucking tired of authoritarian leaders who think the social contract only works in one direction. If you want me to care about you, you can start by at least pretending to care about me. If you can't even be bothered to pretend, then don't fucking complain when I spit in your eye because you tried to kidnap me for two weeks.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

odd way of looking at it (none / 1) (#62)
by Delirium on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 03:35:26 PM EST

You had the opportunity to keep the government from killing someone, but put two weeks of doing some boring job ahead of that. Sounds pretty pro-authoritarian.

[ Parent ]
Did you even read the article? (none / 0) (#63)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 05:29:21 PM EST

The guy probably killed one of my neighbors. It doesn't put me that much out of countenance if the government kills him. They should keep him from doing it again, and that's one way of fulfilling their responsibility. I'd rather not let them get in the habit of thinking it's OK to kill people but first things first.

There are many, many reasons why nobody in their right mind would want me on a jury. I wouldn't want me on my own jury. What pisses me off so much is that the system had to waste my time and the time of at least 50 other people who shouldn't have been bothered because ITS TEH DETH PENALTY OOOOOOOH.

OTOH I have to admit it would be kind of fun to come out of the whole process and, after the verdict, let the world find out that one of the jurors wrote The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect. Particularly if we voted to needle the guy. How would that play on CNN I wonder.

But really, it's the idea that my covenants and responsibilities are worth nothing next to the needs of the state that totally cheeses me off. St. Tammany is a wealthy suburban parish with a lot of people who have deep responsibilities. The way they handled it was completely irresponsible and stupid.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

you're self-important about your responsibilities (3.00 / 2) (#74)
by Delirium on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 06:49:01 PM EST

And think that other schmucks should have to serve on juries because you're too important, so in any situation you would try to get out of serving at all.

[ Parent ]
I'm self important about my covenants (none / 1) (#100)
by localroger on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 12:00:43 AM EST

I have spent a long time establishing a reputation both for building things that work, and being available to help when things go wrong. I do not take kindly to an arbitrary force saying, with hardly any warning or time to prepare, that I will be made to do something I have promised many people I would never do.

It's not about the lost money; I do get paid well and can afford it. It's about the unavailability for my customers. But that's not coded in the standard forms so I always claimed what the system understands, which is the money it will truthfully cost me. But that's never been my real problem with it, and it is the system's callousness toward other peoples' obligations that really cheeses me off.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

that's true of nearly everyone, though (none / 1) (#105)
by Delirium on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 04:52:14 AM EST

Unless we solely are going to have homeless people on juries or retired playboy millionaires, most people have obligations. Forcing a schoolteacher to miss several weeks of class could negatively impact the education of potentially 150+ students. With a college professor, could do the same plus negatively impact the careers of 5-20 of his graduate students and postdocs, especially if deadlines are looming (as they always are). Obviously single parents are all out. As are people who work for wages. As are programmers whose project is nearing a deadline so whose absence could cause slips, which at places like EA is basically always. Etc.

Basically most people "can't" arbitrarily take a few weeks off, because they have obligations that prevent them from doing so. However, someone must if we are actually to have trial by jury. Hence the compulsion.

[ Parent ]

It could be made much more palatable (none / 1) (#110)
by localroger on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 07:47:47 AM EST

The amount of warning given was totally unacceptable. In fact, one of the people whose excuse was not accepted was a school bus driver. There is currently a shortage of school bus drivers in St. Tammany Parish, and there was nobody to step in and take her job on short notice; there is a time consuming permitting process due to the "think of the children" panic.

Now give people some warning, say you'll be called in three months and that this is a possibility, give plenty of time for extenuating circumstances to be considered, and if you're chosen you've had a reasonable time to put your affairs in order, I wouldn't be so upset. But it was the absolute contempt with which the system treated my obligations that burned any respect I had for its needs.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]

leadership (none / 1) (#81)
by ccdotnet on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 09:07:14 PM EST

You've left me nowhere to go because you've ducked more than addressed my points. But I will say I agree the social contract should be more bidirectional than it is today.

Leadership is difficult. You have to take the first step, you have to put yourself further across the line than the people you're leading. Is it right to say "you're not honouring your end of the social contract, therefore I won't honour my end" (eg: never attending jury duty), or does leadership demand that you hold up your end of the bargain anyway.

If I can use Kyoto as an example. The US can proclaim its positive intentions towards curbing climate change as much as it likes. But saying "we won't sign a CO2 reduction agreement until everyone else does, because it would financially disadvantage us to sign, when some other countries won't" - that's not leadership. Leadership is signing the agreement even though you know others won't.

[ Parent ]

If he was really anti DP (none / 0) (#88)
by livus on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:31:25 PM EST

(and I don't think this article establishes that he is) then the argument that he should take part in a DP trial is a little flawed.

 

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

My take on getting out of death penalty juries (3.00 / 7) (#31)
by MichaelCrawford on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 02:18:25 AM EST

I'd come to court wearing a long, black robe, with the hood obscuring my face, and carrying a scithe. You know - what they used to use for harvesting wheat.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


that would be interesting (3.00 / 8) (#34)
by lonelyhobo on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 06:57:25 AM EST

you're a mentally unstable enough person that maybe you could get away with that

but since you can't spell scythe I really doubt your commitment to this plan

[ Parent ]

hilarity ensues [nt] (none / 0) (#44)
by boxed on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:10:32 AM EST



[ Parent ]
You need to take your pills (3.00 / 1) (#45)
by AlwaysAnonyminated on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:10:57 AM EST

You know, what they use to keep you just barely functional.
---------------------------------------------
Posted from my Droid 2.
[ Parent ]
you should do that. (1.33 / 6) (#58)
by lostincali on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 01:00:09 PM EST

getting held in contempt of court is hilarious!

"The least busy day [at McDonalds] is Monday, and then sales increase throughout the week, I guess as enthusiasm for life dwindles."
[ Parent ]

god is there no end to (1.75 / 4) (#101)
by yellow shark on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 12:24:34 AM EST

your stupid fucking comments?

Then again I suppose you would think it is hilarious since getting ass raped after getting thrown in jail for contempt of court would probably be something you would like.

[ Parent ]

I half thought of getting a FIJA T-shirt (2.66 / 3) (#99)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:56:18 PM EST

...but there's that "contempt of court" thing to worry about. These people do not have a sense of humor.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
HOWTO: Not Get Seated on a Death Penalty Jury (2.90 / 11) (#59)
by BottleRocket on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 02:32:27 PM EST

Step 1
When the lawyer comes around to voir dire you, exclaim, "Free Mumia!"

Step 2
Go home, grateful for the knowledge that you're not as longwinded as localroger.

$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
. ₩ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
Yes I do download [child pornography], but I don't keep it any longer than I need to, so it can yield insight as to how to find more. --MDC
$ . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $
. . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . * . . . . . *
. ₩ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
$ . . . . . $ . . . . . $ . . . . . $
$B R Σ III$

turn the table around ? $ (none / 0) (#79)
by sye on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 08:45:10 PM EST


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
commentary - For a better sye@K5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in

But I have (none / 0) (#98)
by localroger on Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 11:55:23 PM EST

Would you really want me on your jury? I wouldn't, and I say that in all seriousness.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
in all seriousness (none / 0) (#104)
by sye on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 02:49:03 AM EST

I don't really care about your seriousness on my wanting. But if it so happens that you are at my mercy, I shall pardon you to preserve my privilege of meeting you again in a much elevated state of mind.

Death penalty ought to be delivered and fallen on one man with another and with men's hands plus sticks or stones.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
commentary - For a better sye@K5
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
ripple me ~~> ~allthingsgo: gateway to Garden of Perfect Brightess in CNY/BTC/LTC/DRK
rubbing u ~~> ~procrasti: getaway to HE'LL
Hey! at least he was in a stable relationship. - procrasti
enter K5 via Blastar.in
[ Parent ]

that's the question (3.00 / 2) (#107)
by postDigital on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 05:30:17 AM EST

That got me bounced out of the last jury pool I sat on. In Nevada, It's One Day or One jury, and then you're out of the pool of possibles for two years. This rule is the same for Fed and State courts, but their pools are independent.The state uses DMV registration (includes state ID cards), The Fed uses voter rolls.

The last time was State Court, and the prosecutor asked me that question. Coming from an attorney, it cannot be answered truthfully unless the attorney also informs me whether his intention is to win at any cost, or attempt to actually prove guilt/innocence through the establishment of fact. When the prosecutor asked me the question, I asked for clarification. He was surprised by it, and wasn't a happy camper, I'm pretty sure he struck me.

Thing is, I loath the thought of sitting on a jury. I do not like this sort of power. At the same time, I firmly believe that the jury system is an essential part of any justice system in a free society. Civics wins out in the end when I am summoned, and always has, except for one time, when I felt that my mother's recent death put me in an improper mental state to be a proper juror. The judge agreed and offered what seemed like sincere condolences.

I'll sit on juries, and freely submit to do so, but doubt I'll ever be allowed to again (I've done it once, when I was young). It's doubtful I would not be challenged when they start asking the jury nullification questions: "No, Your Honour, I cannot truthfully swear that I will only decide fact, and not consider the propriety of the law, as written and applied in this specific case. I respect the law and judicial process, but will not submit up my natural rights as a freeman."

I've never gotten that far, since deciding that jury nullification is indeed a Natural Right and important part of a jury of peers. I believe that this alone will get me expelled from a jury pool. Sad, but true.



[ Parent ]
I'm confused (none / 0) (#108)
by the77x42 on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 05:59:44 AM EST

Isn't the whole point of the prosecution's case to point out that beyond a shadow of a doubt the dude committed the crime? Couldn't he then ask that, given there is no doubt, is it possible you could vote for the death penalty under certain circumstances? If he thinks he can't prove the crime beyond a shadow of a doubt, then what the fuck is he doing as a prosecutor anyway that he can't sway some tea-sipping pretentious designer of industrial controls (whatever the fuck that means)?


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

He actually said (none / 1) (#109)
by localroger on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 07:42:00 AM EST

point-blank, that we will never know with absolute certainty. The actual phrasing is "beyond a reasonable doubt" which leaves a rather uncomfortable amount of wiggle room in some situations.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
Reasonable - not a shadow of a doubt. (none / 0) (#130)
by squigly on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 04:33:36 PM EST

Reasonable doubt.  

It's possible but implausible that the murderer was actually the previously unheard of, unmentioned identical twin brother, who broke in, committed the crime, and vanished, hiding all evidence that he'd been there.  Not reasonable to assume that this might have happened.  

But even if there is not a shadow of a doubt - why is execution the correct response to murder?  Deterrence?  A poor argument without any real evidence.  Prevention of reoffending?  Incarceration should do the same.  Retribution is the only argument that really makes sense, but some of us are with Gandhi who said this sort of things leaves us all blind and toothless.  Once you get into arguments about relative costs of life imprisonment then you're putting a price on someone's life.  

[ Parent ]

stupid me... totally wasn't thinking (none / 0) (#131)
by the77x42 on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 04:52:36 PM EST




"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
HOWTO: Get seated on a death penalty jury (2.33 / 3) (#116)
by it certainly is on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 11:15:37 AM EST

When the letter comes in, insist your job is soooooo fucking important (you design industrial controls? Oh god, I just came! One of only two qualified people in the world? I came again!), that the court system just has to bite and make you attend.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

actully, it was the Whitewater trial... (none / 0) (#134)
by azool on Sun Sep 07, 2008 at 08:43:39 PM EST

Noone would have noticed in L.A. :)

Another Dove line (none / 1) (#137)
by Pseudonym on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 12:59:39 AM EST

It seems to me (I have put some thought to this) that a variant on the Dove line would work. It's this:

The choice is between 1) killing the guy and 2) locking him up and throwing away the key. There is no conceivable circumstance under which option 1 is superior to option 2.

I'm pretty sure there's no slippery slope there if you stick to that line.


sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
The UK system. (3.00 / 6) (#138)
by creature on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:59:14 AM EST

America's legal system depends per our constitution on juries of ordinary people, not legal professionals as in some other nations (cough UK cough).

Erm, what? If anything our system's more equitable. If you get called for jury duty you have to do it, unless you've got a really good excuse (I don't think yours would have flown). You can defer it for pretty much any reason, but you'll have to do it. What would have happened was you'd have been told "OK, you can't do it now, but pick a date in the next year where you can arrange suitable cover."

Once you're called you're put in a pool of about 100-200 people for the courthouse, and about 15 people are called at random for each trial that starts. From there names are pulled out of a hat to decide the 12 people who serve on the jury, and the defence (and maybe the prosecutor) can nix a choice - but they don't get to question you before you're selected.

Your period on the pool lasts for 2 weeks, although if you pull the short straw you'll get a longer case and have to stay around for it. The weekly stipend increases the longer you serve, plus you get a reasonable salary payment (up to about 28K, I think, pegged to what you earn) as well as a daily sustenance allowance and travel allowance. Your employer can't fire you for taking jury duty, but they're not obliged to pay you for the time.

This is not just posture, by the way - about a year ago and a half ago I did jury duty. The jury I served on was made up of as much 'normal people' as you can get - I think I was the most highly educated there (and I've got an undergratuate degree). There were some young people, some old, some middle-aged. Mostly working class, about 50/50 split by gender.

a professional judging class (none / 0) (#139)
by circletimessquare on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 10:04:58 AM EST

at first glance, would seem superior to being judged by random people in the street. they would be more knowledgable about dna, etc.

however, with greater exposure and "education" (ie, indoctrination) also comes an agenda. such that, if you were on trial for murder, a professional judging class would not view your case alone, solely on the merits or lack thereof, but as a string of cases, one something like another, and they would be looking to make a point or send a message that has nothing at all to do with your individual guilt or innocence

it is the same reason why in a democracy we vote, rather than depend upon an aristocracy that imagines itself superior to the common man to pick our leaders

if the uk does not have a jury of your peers chosen at random, then without a doubt, the uk judicial system is inferior to the american system. the uk system inculcates bias and politics in deciding people's guilt and innocence. shame on you uk

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

im sure they're hanging their heads in shame (3.00 / 4) (#140)
by loteck on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 06:55:45 PM EST

you fucking twat
--
"You're in tune to the musical sound of loteck hi-fi, the musical sound that moves right round. Keep on moving ya'll." -Mylakovich
"WHAT AN ETERNAL MOBIUS STRIP OF FELLATIATIC BANALITY THIS IS." -Harry B Otch

[ Parent ]
you mean "you fucking twatstain" (none / 0) (#142)
by circletimessquare on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 10:16:12 AM EST

it carries a more vulgar cachet

learn from the best

xoxoxox


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Neither for/against this article, but I enjoyed it (none / 0) (#141)
by Mystery on Mon Sep 08, 2008 at 07:46:34 PM EST

Assuming all that has been said is true (such as in one of the comments where Roger notes he's in the 99th percentile just.. generally) I would be curious of your opinion on how to redesign the system if it were to go into 2.0.

A lot of the civic structure of the states has held up remarkably well against the ravages of time, but are beginning to show tremendous fracturing and decay through excessive bureaucracy. When software gets to that point, it tends to find competition that overtakes it or the designer starts again from scratch with the newest development packages. Understandably, that is harder to do with a bureaucratic entity on which so many people depend but from an engineering perspective... well, I would love to see a redesign. It would make a good article.
-------------------------
Failure is not an option -- It comes bundled with the software.

Should have given lawyers a copy of MOPI (none / 1) (#143)
by nlscb on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 10:32:40 AM EST

That would have gotten you off in heartbeat.

Pedo-sadists in the jury always lead to a mistrial.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

Wow... MOPI (none / 1) (#144)
by The Amazing Idiot on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 02:58:08 PM EST

I think it's one of the best sci-fi's I've read in years. There's just nothing quite like it, in terms of dystopian futurism and hardcore violence.

I love it.

[ Parent ]

I was so tempted (none / 1) (#146)
by localroger on Sat Sep 13, 2008 at 04:45:43 PM EST

to write the URL in the space reserved for "Is there anything else you should know about me?" but, let's face it, it's a whole building full of cops and I really didn't think that would be necessary.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
Enquiring minds want to know: (none / 0) (#147)
by HackerCracker on Sun Sep 14, 2008 at 11:38:35 PM EST

So just how were you served your summons? If it was by regular old US mail then ROR

Unless you were served by an officer of the court or signed for it (D'oh! registered mail, again, ROR) then you fell for a chump scheme it would seem.

Protip: Prove I was served muthafuckas!

OK, so they could put your mail carrier on the stand and have him swear under oath that he put it in your mailbox, but that still wouldn't prove that you picked it up out of your mailbox and actually saw it.

Yes, it was by USPS (none / 0) (#148)
by localroger on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 11:18:25 PM EST

Small community, though. Hard to deny.

And that is what is so great about the internet. It enables pompous blowhards to connect with other pompous blowhards in a vast circle jerk of pomposity
[ Parent ]
you get paid by the hour... (none / 1) (#149)
by thekubrix on Tue Sep 23, 2008 at 02:05:26 PM EST

and yet have time to write PAGES worth of jibberish

HOWTO: Not Get Seated on a Death Penalty Jury | 149 comments (103 topical, 46 editorial, 0 hidden)
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