[FoRK] divegeek/uscode · GitHub

Gary Stock gstock at nexcerpt.com
Tue May 29 11:31:07 PDT 2012

Yes about disruptive clowns!  And no, they can't be stopped.  But we 
needn't give them better, more versatile ammunition.

My point was that an out-of-date law can become a similarly stupid 
weapon.  If any version (or any draft, or any markup...), from any point 
in time, no matter how brief, is made available just as printable (and 
legible, thus perhaps credible) as the law now in force, we will be 
swamped by even more clowns, each with a bigger posse.

Some amazing things -- from the worst to the best -- have been proposed 
as statute or amendment, but held that status only briefly.  It's one 
thing to spread a rumor that XYZ may be legal.  It's quite another to 
hand out officially formatted legislative documents (which may have only 
had merit for one day, and been rejected soundly the next).

Smart people can manufacture misleading crap to back ~any~ agenda.  I'd 
prefer not to provide stupid people more official-looking do-it-yourself 


On 5/28/12 5:00 PM, Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo wrote:
> I sympathize with the anecdote and understand that sort of thing is not rare.  But exactly how will your suggestions for watermarking, etc., prevent or even minimize that sort of lunacy?  E.g. showing him the hard evidence of subsequent decisions didn't even slow him down.
> Your suggestion is worthwhile for understanding what is current, for those who wish to.  But it won't deter the clowns like in your anecdote.  For them it's not about the law; it's about the disruption.
>          ...ken...
> --- On Mon, 5/28/12, Gary Stock<gstock at nexcerpt.com>  wrote:
>> From: Gary Stock<gstock at nexcerpt.com>
>> Subject: Re: [FoRK] divegeek/uscode · GitHub
>> To: "Friends of Rohit Khare"<fork at xent.com>
>> Received: Monday, May 28, 2012, 10:59 AM
>> The first and most important goal for /uscode:  ALWAYS
>> force a large
>> "NOT CURRENT" watermark (as unavoidable and undefeatable as
>> possible)
>> beneath  -- and multiple datestamps on (all four
>> corners of) -- any
>> display object that is not ~purely~ current statute, now in
>> force.
>> I have been watching a local township disintegrate
>> politically over the
>> past several months, because one idiot with a grudge found a
>> 30-year old
>> Attorney General opinion that once (long ago) could have
>> been
>> interpreted to mean elected officials were in violation of
>> State law.
>> I personally pointed him to later AG opinions ~reversing~
>> that finding,
>> as well as legislative action explicitly making such
>> activities legal.
>> Still, he clings to the notion that -- since he can print
>> out a 30-year
>> old ruling that the activity "is impermissible" -- he has
>> the law on his
>> side.  And, every few days, he convinces one more idiot
>> that it's
>> somehow still true...
>> GS
>> On 5/27/12 7:49 PM, Damien Morton wrote:
>>> Often laws are constructed as deltas to earlier laws.
>> e.g. section xxxx
>>> supercedes section yyyy, or section xxxx alters section
>> yyyyy by removing
>>> paragraph A and replacing it with paragraph B.
>>> It would be good to have unified flattened and
>> flattened text which
>>> represents the law as-is.
>>> Perhaps a legal microformat for deltas is called for.
>>> On Sun, May 27, 2012 at 7:37 PM, Stephen D.
>> Williams<sdw at lig.net>  
>> wrote:
>>>> Awesome.  The US Congressional bills / laws
>> site, last I looked a year or
>>>> two ago, was a terrible web app example: An opaque
>> database search with no
>>>> way to link to a specific law or version of a law.
>>>> This is far, far better.  Every law and bill
>> at all levels of government
>>>> should be in this.
>>>> And it would be good to encode laws in increasing
>> levels of metadata and
>>>> modeling so that you could at least find every law
>> pertaining to a subject
>>>> combination.
>>>> sdw
>>>> On 5/25/12 2:05 PM, Jeff Bone wrote:
>>>>> Apologies for the naked link.
>> Comments:  English is a shitty programming
>>>>> language, USC is a bug-ridden behemoth legacy
>> system, and much of the
>>>>> action happens elsewhere anyway (e.g.,
>> regulatory apparatus etc.)
>>>>> That said this is a powerful idea.
>>>>> Taken one step further - laws to be encoded in
>> executable descriptions
>>>>> (say, arbitrarily, cf financial instruments /
>> contracts, Python) and you'd
>>>>> have real transformative change.
>> Profiling, bug elimination, absurd
>>>>> complexity reduction through refactoring, open
>> source the whole project w
>>>>> legislators and their dev staffs responsible
>> for pulling changes into trunk
>>>>> based on voting, etc.
>>>>> What are the (fucking!) domain objects,
>> Kenneth?
>>>>> Pipe dream, sure.  Model for replacement
>> when the system finally breaks
>>>>> completely...
>>>>> jb
>>>>> On May 25, 2012, at 15:56, Jeff Bone<jbone at place.org>    wrote:
>>>>>     https://github.com/divegeek/**uscode<https://github.com/divegeek/uscode>
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