flacfs, again

I wrote a piece on a software that exposes a flac file as a virtual file system a few years back, and promised that I would release the code when it was “fit for release.” Left to my own devices, that would never happen. So… someone came across the post and asked about the code. I promised that I would do something about it in a few days. Here it is, warts and all.

“A lawyer should seek the truth”

Mason shook his head.
“Why not?” Drake asked.
“Because,” Mason said, “it isn’t the truth.”
“Don’t be naive,” Drake said. “A lot of criminal lawyers I know don’t pay much attention to the truth. Often when the truth would get a client stuck a good lawyer has to resort to something else.”
“I’m afraid of anything that isn’t the truth.” Mason said. “My client tells me a story that’s almost impossible to believe, but it’s her story. If I, as her attorney, adhere to that story I at least am being true to the ideals of my profession. I may think it’s a lie, but I don’t know it’s a lie.
“If, however, I think up some synthetic story, then I know it’s false and I’m afraid of anything that’s false. A lawyer should seek the truth.”
“But your client’s story, from what I gather about it, can’t be true,” Drake said.
“Then,” Mason said, “it’s up to me to seek out the truth.”

Erle Stanley Gardner, The Case of the Glamorous Ghost

Willful blindness

C. P. Surendran thinks the protest over Rushdie’s aborted India visit is without merit, and that it the invite to him might even be a cunning publicity stunt on the part of the organizers of the lit. festival. He then uses the stale and irrelevant why-didn’t-the-protestors-protest-this-or-that argument to dismiss the legitimacy of the protest. Apparently, unless people who believe in freedom of expression are willing to be beaten up by Sena goons or thick-skulled members of the Hindutva brigade, they cannot earn the privilege to protest Islamic censorship. Better still, die at the hands of the (“idiot[ic]“) terrorists in Kashmir to prove your beliefs/credentials-

The actual test for literature is outside Diggy Palace, far beyond the ramparts of Jaipur Fort and DSC largesse. How about getting off the plane at Srinagar, standing in the town square and reading passages from The Satanic Verses? In the process, some idiot might cut you down with an AK-47, but what could be braver and better than dying for the words you believe in? Or better still, why not sacrifice one’s bleeding, agonised word-hungry soul for the freedom of speech in Kashmir, where if you throw a word at the State, you gets bullets in your mouth in return?

Forget all that Rushdie went through for a moment. Despite the best efforts of a now-dead Iranian lune, he is alive, for now. Theo van Gogh is not. And so many people have faced death threats and have had their lives permanently disrupted for having the temerity to “offend” Islam that glib commentary of this nature on the issue is not just regrettable, but condemnable more so because it recommends self-censorship.

All religion is based on faith in some nebulous, fictional entity. Some people believe in God-by-any-name; others swear by Batman. And offering protection to the “sentiments” of such people is not good jurisprudence, but lunacy.

Greenwald writes about the perennially stamped-upon US Fifth Amendment-

The Indictment is a classic one-side-of-the-story document; even the most mediocre lawyers can paint any picture they want when unchallenged. That’s why the government is not supposed to dole out punishments based on accusatory instruments, but only after those accusations are proved in an adversarial proceeding.

Whatever else is true, those issues should be decided upon a full trial in a court of law, not by government decree. Especially when it comes to Draconian government punishments — destroying businesses, shutting down websites, imprisoning people for life, assassinating them — what distinguishes a tyrannical society from a free one is whether the government is first required to prove guilt in a fair, adversarial proceeding. This is a precept Americans were once taught about why their country was superior, was reflexively understood, and was enshrined as the core political principle: “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” It’s simply not a principle that is believed in any longer, and therefore is not remotely observed.

The Theory of Hurt Sentiments

“Hurt sentiments” are a strange thing. X decides he does not like what Y has written, or said, or done, and then goes to court about it. It’s not as if he was thrashed by Y; more like he thrashed himself and then held Y responsible for his own actions. The idea of libel/slander/defamation, and (nearly) all censorship is based on this ridiculous notion. The Americans are the only people in the world who, thanks to the first-rate minds behind the First Amendment, enjoy some measure of protection under law when it comes to censorship; even they are not immune from persecution for libel. The rest of humanity is at the mercy of lunatics and barbarians.

The comment by a judge of the Delhi HC warning Google and Facebook that the judiciary would “go China” on them unless they get their act together is par for the course as far as India is concerned. Politicians and judges indulge in this behavior only because the majority of people in the country are in favor of such enforcement.

Mencken was right.

Permissible

A comment on IMDb:

I watched Death Sentence while it was playing on TV on the channel FX. I found it almost hilariously disturbing that people were getting shot and dying bloody deaths on screen, but in the meantime mofos were being edited to mother sucker and freaking. And the f word was being changed to heck, and s*** was being changed to shoot. So show as much violence on television as you want, just God forbid you drop an F bomb or show nudity, because you know, THAT will screw kids up. Not people having their brains blown out rather graphically. Then the rest of us get to watch badly dubbed gang members running around with guns screaming “What the ‘heck’ is going on!” Thank you MPAA for keeping America’s children safe from breasts and bad words, but exposing them to more wholesome things like machetes and gang wars.

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