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Comment: Re:Taxi licenses are crazy expensive (Score 1) 330 330

You miss the point, the state is the one guaranteeing the limited monopoly.

When did the State ever guarantee that they would maintain the medallion program and/or refrain from issuing new medallions? Scarcity of medallions is hardly a natural right, and laws instituting artificial scarcity are subject to change. If anyone over-payed for a medallion under the false assumption that the current state of artificial scarcity was guaranteed to last they have no one but themselves to blame. The only compensation owed here is to those who were unjustly prohibited from operating taxis due to the State's medallion requirements.

Comment: Re:Efficient allocation of capital (Score 1) 228 228

If the amount of labor needed to produce one person's worth of goods and services is less than one person's worth of effort, then you are going to have people sitting around doing nothing.

Fortunately, there is no upper bound on "one person's worth of goods and services". If nothing else, leisure time (i.e. sitting around doing nothing, or at least nothing "productive") is a perfectly legitimate good and can expand to absorb any excess. Every time this has happened in the past, however, people managed to find other things to strive for—goods and services which were previously out of their reach, as well as new goods and services which they now have the leisure time to invent.

Comment: Re:The Majority Still Has Follow the Constitution (Score 5, Insightful) 1083 1083

If they [rights] do not come from God, then they are simply a social construct...

This is where you are wrong. There are formulations of rights which are neither mere social constructs nor based on religion—which is, in the end, just another variety of social construct. My preference is the one based on the legal concept of estoppel, which can be summarized as the logical principle that one cannot rely on incompatible claims within the same argument. For example, one cannot consistently argue that one has the right to act in a certain way toward others while simultaneously claiming that those affected lack the right to reciprocate. Either everyone has the right or no one does. If the right exists then the first party infringed on it and deserves the punishment; if not, then neither the original action nor the response infringes on anyone's rights.

In this case there is the additional complication that "the right to marry" is really referring to a number of different aspects of the law, not simply the right to hold a marriage ceremony and consider oneself married but also power of attorney, visitation rights, joint taxation, common ownership of property, etc. However, the gender of the two parties is irrelevant to all of these legal considerations; there is no reason whatsoever that the law should permit e.g. visitation rights to a couple composed of a male and a female, but deny them to a couple composed of two males or two females.

If certain individuals of a religious persuasion wish to consider homosexuality a sin, fine. They don't have to practice it themselves, or even associate with those who do. But there is certainly nothing in the Bible which would require anyone to deny that the relationship exists, or to refuse such couples equal rights under the law. This ruling is about the law, not religion.

Comment: Re:Better get those lobbyists ready, Comcast (Score 3, Insightful) 98 98

The latency would be ridiculous for most use cases.

Are you sure? A round-trip latency of 13ms to the base station(s) seems fairly reasonable to me. These are Low Earth Orbit satellites with an altitude between 99 and 1,200 miles, not geostationary ones at 22,236 miles; that's 1/18th the distance, and thus latency, of existing satellite Internet providers like WildBlue or HughesNet. At the minimum LEO altitude the latency would be another order of magnitude lower still (around 1ms). Even the high-LEO delay is significantly less than the 20-40ms time to the first router reported by traceroute for my Qwest DSL connection.

The trade-offs of LEO include a requirement for many more satellites for the same coverage, the necessity of hand-offs as the satellites pass overhead, and lower orbital lifetimes / higher fuel consumption due to increased atmospheric drag.

Comment: Re: Hiding behind anonymity (Score 1) 183 183

If you are being interrogated in court you're forced to swear to tell the truth. You're FORCED to do it. And it carries a LOT of weight.

Legal weight, perhaps, under an unjust legal system, but not moral weight; an oath given only under duress is no oath at all. For an oath to be morally binding there must be consent, and there cannot be consent when the oath is coerced. Of course, even worse than the prospect of being punished for violating an oath extracted under duress is that fact that you're being compelled to testify against your will in the first place. Without compulsory testimony, the oath would be voluntary and thus actually mean something.

Comment: Re:Hiding behind anonymity (Score 2) 183 183

Ultimately, the act of nullification requires one to go against the juror's oath.

Serious question: what if you refuse to take the juror's oath? If you'd be punished for refusing then the oath is given under duress and carries no moral weight. If not, then either you can serve on a jury without taking the oath (and thus with no qualms regarding nullification), or else refusing the oath would make a perfect "get out of jury duty free" card.

Comment: Re:Don't try this at home (Score 1) 1032 1032

The rates on your loans are set under the premise that some people will be eligible to discharge in bankruptcy. You've already paid for the privilege so not using it is just a waste. It isn't a moral issue.

On the contrary, it is a moral issue. Quite apart from the basic personal morality of honoring one's word, those who default become part of the statistics used to set the interest rates, so they're still raising the rates for everyone else. Worse, since you can't sign away the ability to discharge the loan in bankruptcy, those who would not attempt to evade repayment of a loan they voluntarily agreed to are penalized along with the rest.

Comment: Re:Sunset provisions are good. (Score 1) 69 69

Shouting fire in a theatre is not covered under your right to free speech, as it impinges on the rights of others' safety and security.

It does no such thing. Now, panicking and trampling others in your haste to escape the "fire" does infringe others' rights, but that isn't directly caused by shouting "fire" and would not be justified even if the fire were real. The responsibility for that harm lies squarely with those who panic.

If someone fraudulently claims that there's a fire, and you take justifiable action based on a reasonable belief that they're telling you the truth, then they would be responsible for any harm that results from their fraud. That harm resulted from their choice, not yours. That isn't the case here; panicking and trampling others are not justifiable responses to a fire.

I find it hard to believe that so many people are willing to defend this bizarre ruling, which besides being unjust in its own right was also clearly politically motivated with the specific purpose of circumventing the First Amendment and permitting the suppression of political speech opposed to the draft (Schenck v. United States).

Comment: Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 1) 1094 1094

For an individual business, you're right: you always set your prices to maximize revenues, regardless of costs. For the market as a whole, however, costs obviously do play a part in determining prices. It's an indirect effect; increasing costs drive the marginal producers out of business, which decreases the supply. A decreased supply and no change in effective demand results in higher prices (or shortages). The change in price does not necessarily match the change in cost, however; the extra cost is split between higher prices and decreased profitability for the remaining suppliers, with the ratio depending on price elasticity.

Comment: Re:Buttfucking disabled people for money (Score 1) 124 124

Now the company no longer has to fix the ADA violation and can't get sued for it again?

I'm no lawyer, but I don't see how they could prevent anyone else from suing over the same issue so long as the company remains non-compliant. If you take an action which harms a group of people, you can't make up for it by settling with just one of them; the rest would retain the right to sue for their own portions of the damages. I imagine the same applies to violations of the ADA, even though there is no actual damage on which to base a legitimate lawsuit.

Comment: Re:Voting is a responsibility (Score 1) 258 258

I don't want people who aren't invested enough* to go to a poll to decide policies that affect my life.

I (especially!) don't want the people who are personally invested enough to go to a poll to decide policies that affect my life. The only one with the right to make those decisions is me. The only "voting" system with any moral authority to speak of is Unanimous Consent: every single individual whose person or property is impacted by an action has the right to veto that action.

Comment: Re:Corrects multipath problem. (Score 1) 63 63

Most smartphones do have "real" GPS receivers in addition to Assisted GPS. How long it takes to get an initial GPS fix depends, in part, on how well the device can predict your location, as well as up-to-date knowledge of the satellite orbits; A-GPS takes advantage of cell tower data to provide an approximate starting point for the GPS and a faster way to download the orbital information and thus get a quicker fix. A GPS receiver is still necessary for a precise location, and my Nexus 5, to pick one example, can be set to enable A-GPS or to rely exclusively on the phone's internal GPS.

Comment: Re:Warrant after probable cause established? (Score 1) 270 270

They need a warrant to perform any search or seizure—the warrant is the authorization to perform the search or seizure; you can't have one without the other. It isn't "either the search is 'reasonable' or you have a warrant", applying for a warrant is how you document that the search was reasonable in the first place, by providing probable cause supported by oath or affirmation. A blanket authorization for so-called 'reasonable' searches and/or seizures is just another way of issuing an unconstitutionally broad warrant which fails to document the probable cause or to particularly describe the place to be searched or the persons or things to be seized.

However, you are correct that they probably wouldn't have any trouble getting a warrant after his comments. If you make a credible threat, even if your intent was humorous or sarcastic, you shouldn't act surprised when people take you seriously.

Comment: Re:Just get rid of democracy instead (Score 1) 327 327

Perhaps, just get rid of districts. If someone from across my state represents me better than someone local, then perhaps my appointment should not be limited by borders drawn for an election system that would no longer be in place.

Why even restrict the choice of representative to someone in your state? I'd just let anyone interest in the job apply to serve as a representative, provided they could meet some minimum number of votes nation-wide—perhaps 0.1% of the eligible voting population, so there could be at most 1,000 representatives. In practice it would probably be much less than 1,000, with a few individuals representing the major factions but plenty of room for minority positions. Each eligible voter gets three votes, and thus up to three representatives, which they are given the opportunity to change at regular intervals (e.g. quarterly, or when one of their representatives steps down). The votes are persistent until changed, and can be concentrated or spread out according to the voter's preference. A representative's influence in the House is determined by how many votes he or she currently holds.

This would, of course, be separate from the states' representatives in the Senate, to be appointed by the state legislatures. Popular representation is all well and good, but someone has to look out for the long term. Under my system the House would be able to approve any short-term (discretionary) expenditures unilaterally out of existing savings, but a 2/3 super-majority in the Senate would be required for anything requiring new debt (to include any increase in the money supply), speculation on future revenues, or a commitment of more than a few years. Finally, all laws would be required to maintain the approval of a simple majority in both the House and the Senate or face immediate repeal following a call for a vote.

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