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Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1303

by hey! (#46772927) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

It's not a "re-examination". It's a butchering.

You say that like it's necessarily a bad thing.

We've got to stop acting as if the Founding Fathers were like Moses descending from Mount Sinai with the Constitution chiseled on a couple of stone tablets. They were brilliant, enlightened men for their day, but the Constitution is not a document of divine inerrancy.

The US Constitution is the COBOL of constitutions. Yes, it was a tremendous intellectual innovation for its time. Yes, it is still being used successfully today. But nobody *today* would write a constitution that way, *even if their intent was exactly the same* as the founders.

For one thing it's full of confusingly pointless ("To promote the Progress of Science") and hoplessly vague ("securing for *limited times*") phraseology that leaves courts wondering exactly what the framers meant, or whether they were just pointlessly editorializing ("A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State").

It's also helplessly out of date. The Constitution was drafted before the existence of mass media and advertising; before photography even. It was the appearance of photography in newspapers that woke people up to the idea that they might have privacy rights that were being threatened. A Constitution written in 1900 would almost certainly have clauses explicitly recognizing a right to individual privacy and empowering the government to protect that right. A Constitution written in 2000 would almost certainly have clauses restricting the government from violating individual privacy.

And then there is slavery, an outright *evil* which is enshrined in the founder's version of the Constitution. That alone should disqualify any claim they may have had to superhuman morality.

So if we take it as given that the US Constitution is not divinely ordained, it's not necessarily a bad thing that the current generation should choose to butcher what the founders established. Would you re-institute slavery? Allow *states* to deprive citizens of liberty and property without due process? Eliminate direct election of senators?

So it's perfectly reasonable to butcher anything in the Constitution when you're proposing an *amendment* to the Constitution. That's the whole point. We should think for ourselves. In doing so, we're actually carrying on the work the framers themselves were doing. Every generation should learn from its predecessors, but think for itself.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 1303

by Valdrax (#46772825) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

The rights protected by the 2nd amendment are rights retained by the people and, in my opinion, are not subject to regulation by states under their powers.

In your opinion. I clearly disagree, finding more agreement with Breyer's dissent in McDonald v. Chicago (2010) that incorporation under the 14th was inappropriate because it is not a fundamental, individual right.

The Second is the only Amendment in the Bill of Rights that explicitly explains the intent behind the right enumerated there -- that the ownership of firearms is intended for the establishment of well functioning militias. That means the right is limited and not fundamental, and the government should have a free hand to regulate so long as that purpose is not thwarted. To hold otherwise is to regulate the militia clause meaningless. I do not think any phrase in the Constitution should be treated so.

If you're implying that the 2nd amendment grants a power to the states then I'd like to understand what structure in the Constitution would give you the impression that anything in the Bill of Rights grants any power to a state.

Well, if you're going to completely disregard the Second, then you must at least look to the Tenth, which held that powers not reserved by the federal government belong to the States or to the people. Note that "the States" is capitalized as a formal term in the same way that "State" is in the Second and in the rest of the Constitution. Once again, this points to the explicit, focused intent of the Amendment to address state and local concerns.

Furthermore, its very clear from the rest of the Constitution that the founders intended the States to still have a large role in the life of their citizens. The structure of the Senate is the clearest expression of that intent, giving an entire house of the legislature over to (originally) state-appointed representatives, balanced between the states.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 1303

by Valdrax (#46770967) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

I say that is a completely different topic and I'm not sure why you brought it up other than to try to be a smart-ass. What you mentioned is not undermining the constitution, and as such, is completely off-topic.

Yes, it is. Any misinterpretation of the constitution is an undermining of its intent and effect, regardless of whether that results in a situation you like or not, and the pure individual right interpretation of the Second Amendment undermines states' rights.

A militia was a force of the proletariat. Every man that was able to take up arms was expected to do so. Therefor, the common man was considered militia and did *not* need to join the army nor any other organization to be considered such.

Yes, it was made up of the people, but the whole phrase "well-regulated" is not mere puffery. It means a militia in proper and working order, and it explicitly referenced as "being necessary to the security of a free State." The governments of the states have long been held to have the right to regulate arms within that context, and the federal government has the right to regulate firearms that do not have a purpose in a militia. (See US v. Miller (1939) on regulation of sawed-off shotguns.)

Anything not specifically outlawed by the constitution or the state is defaulted to being a right. Therefor, yes, you would have the right to own a gun even if the 2nd amendment didn't exist.

Unless a state passed a law saying that you didn't, by your own statement.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 1303

by Valdrax (#46770779) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

You want to use the phrase "well-regulated militia" as a way of allowing the national government to regulate firearms.

Actually, I view the Second Amendment as a state's right and support the right of the states to regulate arms, seeing at the concept of a militia is directly tied to the state power and not individual power. If a state wants to ban handguns and keep only a professional militia (e.g. the National Guard), that should be their right.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1303

by Valdrax (#46770731) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Larger "ordnance" is not illegal to own or use in the US. One may privately own fighter jets, tanks, cannons, rocket launchers, etc. While there are some restirtions they are hardly banned, and never have been. So what is your point?

Title II weapons are heavily regulated in ways that handguns cannot be, under current standards. The federal government as the power to regulate them -- even the power to outright ban them. The fact that they have not exercised that power is no proof that they don't. Even DC v. Heller (2008), the case that nailed down the notion that firearm ownership was an individual right, upheld the notion that it only applies to certain types of weapons (referring to US v. Miller (1939).

And that's my point. A strict reading of the Second Amendment in no way forbids the government from preventing private citizens from having ordnance. It only guarantees the right to bear arms, not ordnance.

Comment: Re:But what is a militia? (Score 1) 1303

by Valdrax (#46768471) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

All a state would have to do is amend their constitution to proclaim that all their able bodied citizens are members of the state militia for defense of their lives, property, and the state if mustered into action. What can the feds do then?

Not much, if the militia clause is given effect as a state's right instead of an individual one. Then again, there's not much for the citizens to say if a state wanted to define its militia as a purely professional force and outright ban private ownership either under that scenario.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1303

by Valdrax (#46768419) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

The most literal interpretation of that 2nd amendment means I could possess nuclear weapons, bacterial weapons, chemical weapons, and were I wealthy enough, my own tanks, APCs, fighter jets, bombers, etc.

No, in the 18th century there was already a clear separation between man-portable "arms" and larger "ordnance," and all the examples you mention would definitely qualify as ordnance. You *might* be able to make an argument for chemical & biological weapons, but any sane court would by long precedence consider those to be outside of the realm of what a citizen's militia should possess.

Comment: Re:Hypocrisy abounds (Score 1) 719

by hey! (#46765817) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

What's so hilarious is that to most of the commenters here, the Koch Brothers exemplify the absolute evil in the system whilst (and simultaneously) George Soros is merely 'doing the right thing' and 'helping people speak truth to power'.

So in other words, what somebody says is less important than who says it.

Comment: Re:Tyrant: The computer game (Score 1) 719

by hey! (#46765803) Attached to: Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

While sorta fun, those games are not simulations. All you revealed was the program(mer)'s built-in biases and assumptions, rather than any insight about what happens in reality.

That's true of social science research as well. The difference is that social science research has to pass peer review, and stand up to contrary reearch in the literature.

Comment: Re:I have a degree in computer science. (Score 1) 723

by hey! (#46743175) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Sinews (aka "tendons") are bundles of fibrous collagen bound together with an organic glue of proteins and polysaccharides. Sinews can be pounded to extract those collagen fibers, and then those fibers can be spun into cordage of any desired length.

The process is exactly the same as spinning short wool fibers into skeins of yarn, or transforming cotton bolls into cotton thread. The fibers are bundled together and twisted so they lock together and the axis of the resulting cord cuts across the axis of orientation of the fiber, producing a very strong thread. As the fibers are locked together into a thread, you continually add more bundles of fiber to the loose end. You finish by tying off the end of the thread you've created, or twisting the thread into a multi-strand rope.

Collagen fiber from sinew is an excellent cordage material, but less available in large quantities than plant fibers. For that reason you don't see sinew ropes. Although such a thing would be physically possible, sinew is a costly material so it is only used in specialized, low volume applications like fishing line and bowstrings.

Primitive people are every bit as smart as engineers who design microchips or airplanes; they just express that ingenuity through materials they can harvest and process themselves.

Comment: Re:I have a degree in computer science. (Score 1) 723

by hey! (#46740091) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

Well, my first choice would be to use surplus and scavenged materials, like polyester or silk. In the long run as these materials become more difficult to find, I'd go for hemp or flax. Just about any fiber can be spun into a workable cordage. Shredded animal sinew yields extremely strong cordage.

Comment: Re:I have a degree in computer science. (Score 1) 723

by hey! (#46739663) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

You can always concoct a situation in a scenario where your skills aren't important.

You're a farmer? Seems like your skills would be useful but wait -- what if the neighboring tribe burns all your crops and steals your seeds?

You're an emergency room physician? How will that help you when bandits club you to death in your sleep?

Comment: Re:I have a degree in computer science. (Score 1) 723

by hey! (#46739605) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

go into "crazy-land" a bit. I'm not saying the historian necessarily has the best answer, but someone who actually has first-hand knowledge and experience with draft animals in large numbers would undoubtedly have a huge amount of insight over a random CS nerd who has never seen a horse.

Agreed, but your hypothetical persons with first-hand knowledge of managing large numbers of draft animals is likely to be in short supply *in the stipulated scenario*.

Seriously -- there's a reason we make jokes about mathematicians or physicists saying, "Assume a spherical cow...." The real world is messy, and unless you already have access to a person who knows almost enough to run the draft army already who can feed you good data to solve the problem in the abstract, I'm not sure your scenario is realistic.

My point is *about* the limitations of simplistic models. In the simplistic model, a computer science major can do computer science -- and nothing else. In the simplistic model you can obtain precisely what you need, which is either a two hundred year-old soldier or a historian who specializes in the logistics of pre-mechanized armies. But chances are *in our scenario* people with precisely such skills will be hard to find as unicorns, and people with CS degrees will be common as muck. So, do you look for a historian, or someone with a degree in a somewhat math-y field who happens to have a little of both common sense and imagination?

This is actually a situation which is less exotic than you might think. When you hire an employee, it's often the case that you've got a round hole to fill and a bin full of square pegs. None of the candidates are exactly what you're looking for, so you have to imagine how the candidates you *do* have might adapt.

I just think real-world scenarios are often quite messy, and until you accumulate enough data to construct an accurate model, your algorithmic solutions are likely to have serious flaws.

Right. And this is different from the pre-apocalyptic use of whatever your academic specialization is, how? You get out of school and you have to apply your ivory tower training in idealized problems to messy real-world problems. Does that mean that the ivory tower training is useless, and that the time would have been better spent just getting real world experience? Of course not.

When my dad had a heart attack, my oldest brother was going into his senior year as civil engineering student. He quit school and got a job selling restaurant and food service equipment. He did very well at it, probably made more money than he would have as a civil engineer. That was mainly his people skills, but his engineering training made him the go-to guy for large projects. You might not think there is such a thing as a large restaurant supply project, but it turns out that if you're opening a new theme park and you've got to figure out how to feed a couple million visitors a year, it's very useful to have an engineer who understands food service.

That's the hallmark of a good engineer. A good engineer doesn't just apply his skills, he finds ways of making his skills applicable.

Umm, you're doing it wrong, if you're waiting to sort until you get the bags in your house. I don't have a computer science degree, but my sorting begins as I put items in my CART.

Please, give me some credit for not being stupid. Anyhow, you're just making my point.

This does not require a CS degree

Never said it did.

FORTRAN rots the brain. -- John McQuillin

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