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Comment Re:The treaty says no such thing. (Score 1) 218

Things don't always come down to that. Look at the Cod Wars between Iceland and the UK. Three times Iceland pushed the UK - a nuclear power with hundreds of times its population - back further and further out its shores. The UK had the military ability to crush Iceland like an ant. But Iceland succeeded by combination of making it economically unfeasible for the British to fish Icelandic waters (net cutters, for example) and well-played international geopolitical maneuvering (for example, threatening to give the NATO base at Keflavík to the Soviets if the US didn't exert pressure on the UK, while also successfully positioning itself as a small weak state being bullied by a large powerful one)

Ah, but I'd distinguish on a couple of grounds. First, the UK was trying to encroach on waters already owned; no such ownership claim exists to objects in space. Second, "making it economically unfeasible for the British to fish Icelandic waters (net cutters, for example);" short of shooting down the rockets--which, again, would be in the equivalent of international waters, not territorial--how would you propose a country (and, for that matter, which country--who has the claim of right?) exert such force? Third, "positioning itself as a small weak state being bullied by a large powerful one;" again, how is anybody else being bullied? They're not being robbed of anything to which they have a claim.

Comment Re: Sadly it doesnt fix the problems... (Score 1) 44

Ummm... Don't buy stuff that doesn't do standards?

So what do you buy if zero of the brands in the store near you do standards? Wait until you have $35 of other stuff and then wait another week or two for Super Saver Shipping?

Um...yeah, that's exactly what you do. Aside from the cost of gas and sales tax probably eating your savings on shipping, "gotta have it now" is a privilege for which you have to pay the this case, by getting crappy kit.

Besides which, if you planned your deployment thoroughly, instead of buying it piecemeal, you'd probably be over the $35 threshold anyway.

Comment Re:Morons ... (Score 2) 190

So instead of one case in the court system you want 5 or 6 separate cases clogging up the court system?

Exactly. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8 (d) (2):
(2) Alternative Statements of a Claim or Defense. A party may set out 2 or more statements of a claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in a single count or defense or in separate ones. If a party makes alternative statements, the pleading is sufficient if any one of them is sufficient.

We want/i> to consolidate actions as much as possible.

Comment Re:The wider social context - people distrust scie (Score 1) 173

Forensic analysis methods are not scientifically validated in general. AFAIK any forensic evidence is admissible if the the judge decides so. The general standard is that is sounds plausible.

No. The general standard is the Daubert standard (so named because it arose in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993). The standard is:
        Judge is gatekeeper: Under Rule 702, the task of "gatekeeping", or assuring that scientific expert testimony truly proceeds from "scientific knowledge", rests on the trial judge.
        Relevance and reliability: This requires the trial judge to ensure that the expert's testimony is "relevant to the task at hand" and that it rests "on a reliable foundation". Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 584-587. Concerns about expert testimony cannot be simply referred to the jury as a question of weight. Furthermore, the admissibility of expert testimony is governed by Rule 104(a), not Rule 104(b); thus, the Judge must find it more likely than not that the expert's methods are reliable and reliably applied to the facts at hand.
        Scientific knowledge = scientific method/methodology: A conclusion will qualify as scientific knowledge if the proponent can demonstrate that it is the product of sound "scientific methodology" derived from the scientific method.[3]
        Factors relevant: The Court defined "scientific methodology" as the process of formulating hypotheses and then conducting experiments to prove or falsify the hypothesis, and provided a nondispositive, nonexclusive, "flexible" set of "general observations" (i.e. not a "test") [4] that it considered relevant for establishing the "validity" of scientific testimony:

                Empirical testing: whether the theory or technique is falsifiable, refutable, and/or testable.
                Whether it has been subjected to peer review and publication.
                The known or potential error rate.
                The existence and maintenance of standards and controls concerning its operation.
                The degree to which the theory and technique is generally accepted by a relevant scientific community.

That's a whole lot more stringent than "sounds plausible" (which is fairly close to the Frye "general acceptance" standard that Daubert replaced).

Comment Re:How many other flaws (Score 1) 173

Some facts about the U.S. justice system:

* Judges are elected, subjecting them to the whims of public opinion and making them more politicians than impartial legal officials.

Actually, judges in the U.S. justice system are appointed for life. State and municipal systems differ (some are elected, some are hired under civil service rules), but judges in the federal government are, in fact, appointed.

Mind you, that doesn't make any of the rest of your points invalid, I just wanted to correct the record.

Comment Re:So sad :( (Score 1) 117

To be fair, the USPS is specified in the constitution as a government-run institution, so it would take some very creative legislation.

Article I, Section 8, Clause 7: "To establish Post Offices and post Roads;"

There's absolutely nothing in there that requires it to be run by the government. The USPS could easily be spun off as a private company. In fact, in some ways, it is already; it's not a government agency like the FCC or EPA, it's a government-sponsored corporation, legally separate from

Comment Re:Can someone please explain to me (Score 1) 197

How is that states can pass laws that relate to in-state sales of cars to consumers, but apparently laws that relate to in-state sales of drugs to consumers are pre-empted by federal law?

Because there is no federal law explicitly granting the right of direct sale of cars to consumers. Also, because you're talking about permission rather than prohibition; the sale of marijuana in Colorado and Washington is legal under state law, and so will not incur prosecution by the state. It's still illegal under federal law, and can still be prosecuted in federal court under the theory of concurrent jurisdiction. The states' laws are not "pre-empted" by federal law; rather, federal law creates an entirely separate basis for prosecution in an entirely separate legal system.

An example of concurrent jurisdiction: Timothy McVeigh, the bomber of the Oklahoma City federal building, killed 168 people. He was never tried on 168 counts of murder (a crime under Oklahoma law; murder is almost invariably a state crime, not federal). He was tried on eleven counts, eight of them murder of federal officials (the other three were weapons and terrorism counts). 168 dead, and only eight counts of murder. Why? Because murder is generally not a federal crime; the federal government only has jurisdiction over the murder of certain federal employees, in this case judges and United States Attorneys.

The State of Oklahoma--a separate political entity from the United States--had jurisdiction over all 168 people who died, as well as for the hundreds injured, property damage, and weapons charges. The State of Oklahoma never brought charges on any of those. Why not? Because McVeigh was already facing a death sentence in the federal system. Charging him in state court would have been redundant, and would have expended state resources to gain a conviction and sentence that McVeigh would never serve because his federal death sentence would be carried out before he even spent a night in a holding cell in a county jail awaiting trial, let alone a state penitentiary. It would have been a waste.

The distinction, though, is important. McVeigh was indicted, tried, convicted, sentenced, and punished in the federal system under federal law. He could also have been charged under state law. In Colorado and Washington, the possession and use of marijuana is not forbidden by state law, but federal law still applies. That isn't federal law "pre-empting" state law; the feds are not commanding the states to pass and enforce drug laws. Rather, the feds are enforcing their own separate laws, as is their prerogative under the jurisprudence established by Wickard v. Filmore and Gonzales v. Raich, and bringing the case in the (entirely-separate) federal system.

Comment Re:Why do people like you hate people in Indiana a (Score 1) 197

So for example, if a baker refused to bake a cake for a fundamentalist Christian couple, that would be prefectly okay?


It's one of the problems of people of great faith, I was raised by them, and they believe that they do have the right to do whatever they want to to those they hate.

Enh, not so much. Declining to participate isn't so much doing to someone as it is not doing. The baker isn't stoning the prospective customer, flogging him, or even raising public sentiment against him; the baker is just saying "hey, I don't want to be a part of this; why don't you take your money to our competition instead?"

But as for selling a cake to a couple homosexuals, the last time I checked, their money was just as good as anyone else's. I'd sell to them, I'd sell to you. As long as it's lawful, no reason not to.

So would I. But if a business owner doesn't want to take a customer's money, preferring instead that it go to his competition, it seems like that's a problem that will sort itself out. Furthermore, nothing prevents the customer from sharing his experience; given the ever-increasing climate of tolerance, it seems like that sort of publicity would cause even more harm than just the loss of that single customer, and I'm glad of that.

Comment Re:Personally... (Score 1) 183

How would you prosecute a rape case without the jury assuming the accused was male and the victim female?

How would you prosecute a child abuse case without admitting that the victim is, indeed, a child?

How would you prosecute an aggravated assault case without showing the disparity of force between assailant and victim (or, conversely, how would you defend a the case without allowing the accused to present disparity of force as justifying his defensive actions)?

Comment Re: Welcome to the U.S. of A. (Score 4, Informative) 148

The estate is a separate legal entity from any person. Contracts that flow into the estate remain binding upon the estate. Ergo, she doesn't need to have signed it; it's still binding upon the estate.

The distinction that people seem to be missing is that nobody is squelching her freedom of speech as an individual, but rather as a beneficiary of the estate. Again, remember that the estate is its own legal entity. She's not being sued as J. Random Person, but rather as somebody who profits from that estate. As a beneficiary, she's also subject to its contracts. If she breaches those contracts, she's subject to suit in her capacity as beneficiary, and can be forced to disgorge her profits from the estate.

(Note: I practice in probate law.)

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