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Comment: Re:Cause, or effect? (Score 1) 27

by MightyMartian (#49375489) Attached to: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains

The link is between nutrition and brain development, and considering the odds of poor nutrition is higher in poorer families than in wealthier families, the conclusion does not seem bad at all. Nothing says that all families that live in poverty will have children with developmental problems, but it does argue you're much more likely to see the phenomenon in such families.

I can't imagine why anyone would see this as controversial.

Comment: Re:For those wanting a 'free market' solution.. (Score 1) 744

And how was a minority population viewed as subhuman, terrorized by both legal and extralegal organizations supposed to participate in the market? Jim Crow was only one aspect of a century of segregation and persecution of southern African Americans. Your perpetuating this fantasy that it was all the legislatures' faults, when every historical indication was that the majority of Americans in the Jim Crow states had absolute no problem with the laws, or with the idea that blacks and whites should not mingle, even in the market square.

Again, I will repeat, business is not some separate entity, some creature that exists in a vacuum. It exhibits the same prejudices that the wider society does, because it is simply a facet of that society. The Jim Crow laws weren't forced upon all southerners, they were forced on blacks by a majority of southerners who wanted to make sure they stayed at the bottom of the pole.

Comment: Re:So What (Score 2) 27

by phantomfive (#49375433) Attached to: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains

Why isn't everyone entitled to a brain of the same size, if it's feasible?

The language you use there is weird. The world is cold and hard, and any of us could be dead tomorrow; entitlements aren't a god-given right, there's no such thing (and that's true whether you're atheist or strongly believe in God).

Why don't you say, "hey guys, these poor people are out there with deficient brains, let's go help them!" Helping people is something we can actually accomplish as a society, and saying it like that would rally a lot more people to the cause.

Comment: Re:"principles our nation was founded on" (Score 1) 744

Then you think that no law should be based on religious belief; when in fact all law is.

I cannot keep up with the contortion of intellectual dishonesty required to type that sentence with a straight face. I don't think you're lying to me and that you really believe this, but I equally believe that you're lying to yourself. Have a nice day and best of luck in your future endeavors.

Comment: Re:"principles our nation was founded on" (Score 1) 744

"Separation of church and state", as a specific quote or concept, is nowhere in the founding legal documents of the United States.

It was no less than Thomas Jefferson who said:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.

Next, your strawman:

It's use did not create prohibition against religious expression.

Correct. Still doesn't. You're legally entitled to say "blacks are of the devil" (or whites for that matter). Go ahead! No government agency will stop you. However, you're not allowed to discriminate based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce (court-upheld interpretation: pretty much anywhere).

No one believes that any of our rights are unlimited. You can speak your opinion, but you can't yell fire in a theater. You can bear arms, but don't expect to own a nuclear bomb. You can sincerely believe that whites are a superior species to blacks, but you don't get to own, kill, intimidate, lynch, or otherwise harm a black guy, regardless of your vile beliefs. This isn't something I'm making up out of whole cloth, but well-established and widely accepted interpretation of Federal law.

Documents which govern the FEDERAL government do not necessarily apply to State or Local governments.

Read your Constitution, son. The 14th amendment says:

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

This codified previous Constitutional supremacy thoughts by explicitly stating that States don't get to write laws violating the Constitution or selectively affording privileges to one group and not another.

Comment: Re:I'm all for abolishing the IRS (Score 1) 204

by Zordak (#49375103) Attached to: Sign Up At Before Crooks Do It For You

I dislike the IRS as much as anyone, but I think taxing income is a lot simpler to make progressive than trying to categorize all the different kinds of products available would be.

Have you seen our tax code? When I took Federal Income Taxation in law school, I had to get a copy of the tax code, and it was about six inches thick. (I don't remember, or care, if or how much it was annotated.) That's a mighty long list of exceptions to consumption tax.

But consumption taxes will never take on, because the tax code is really about control. If I grant tax favors for certain preferred behaviors, I can exercise a phenomenal amount of control over what you do. If I'm a power-grubbing statist anywhere on the purple spectrum, that's much better than merely influencing what you buy.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 744

by hey! (#49374839) Attached to: Apple's Tim Cook Calls Out "Religious Freedom" Laws As Discriminatory

Oh, yeah. The rational actor theory. But by the same postulates that underly that theory there should be no human being who eats unhealthy, boozes or gambles excessively, or picks fights he obviously can't win.

I have an alternative theory which states that going by actual behavior most people discount their future welfare to zero when there's an immediate reward, even a trivial one. It's almost impossible to resist an immediate burst of pleasure a nasty habit's got you hooked, whether it's a relaxing smoke or that glow of self-righteousness you get when you act on your bigotry.

People will literally kill themselves for a little short-term reward. Forgoing a little profit is nothing compared to that. If you look at places where segregation was historically sanctioned, you'll see you're entirely right: it's economically irrational. That didn't stop people from doing it.

Comment: Re:"principles our nation was founded on" (Score 1) 744

Except we've decided as a country that there are certain ways it's not OK to be an asshole, particularly when it's because the other person is black, female, Muslim, etc. I did not advocate for restricting free speech. I'm advocating for what law already says regarding other minority classes: feel free to speak your mind, but you shouldn't get to act against gay people any more than you're allowed to act against black people.

I'm dyed-in-the-wool small-l libertarian (and a registered large-L), but I'm horrified at the idea of passing laws to explicitly protect the "right" to discriminate against minorities. "First they came ..." and all that; we shouldn't be looking for new and creative ways to crap on our neighbors.

Comment: Re:Eventually, values will clash (Score 1) 744

"Business" is not some entity that exists in a vacuum. The Jim Crow laws were passed with the consent of the majority of white southerners, and were maintained for decades. There's little or no evidence of any dissatisfaction on the part of the majority of Southerners to such laws, and indeed every indication that Segregation was viewed as right and proper.

I'm sorry you have a hard time accepting this, but Antebellum society until recently was fundamentally racist, and the businesses and legislatures of those states merely reflected the public mood. You will note that there was virtually no Southern civil rights movement, and that the pressure, and ultimately the solution, to Segregation and Jim Crow came from outside.

Comment: Re:"principles our nation was founded on" (Score 1) 744

You mean the case where the court ruled very narrowly that atheism should be afforded the same legal respect as religions when ensuring the rights of people holding those opinions? You would be hard pressed to choose a case less helpful to your viewpoint.

Comment: Re:WWJD? (Score 1) 744

by vux984 (#49374435) Attached to: Apple's Tim Cook Calls Out "Religious Freedom" Laws As Discriminatory

Not the person you are responding to. And a I agree wholeheartedly with your post. But the situation is a little more nuanced than that.

Lets say a restaurant hangs a sign "No gays allowed". I think that's discrimination that should be illegal.

But lets say it were a band. It would think it absurd for the band to try to deny sales of its records to gay people. But suppose a gay-pride parade wants them to play the event. Should they be legally obligated to accept the booking and play the event if they don't want to if their schedule allows it? That strikes me as quite wrong.

Similiarly a bakery with a sign next to the counter that says "No gays allowed" and refuses to sell a gay person a cookie or muffin would be absurd, and should be illegal.

But if a gay couple approaches the bakery owner and says we want you to provide a cake as the centerpiece for the ritual cutting of the wedding cake tradition ... and please customize it for this event just-so. Should they be legally obligated to do that too? Its no longer just a cake picked up out of the window; its a specific cake for a specific event, made to order for that event.

There seems to me to be a grey line between the band example, which I think is entirely acceptable. And the restaurant example which I think is entirely unacceptable.

The bakery wedding cake scenario is between them, and I really can't decide if I think they should be obligated to provide their service or not. I'm leaning towards not, to be completely honest.

Because if we do compel them to provide a cake for that... should they be obligated to provide a custom cake for a Ted Cruz's or Hillary Clinton campaign event? Should they be obligated to provide a custom cake for a KKK event? Should they be LEGALLY obligated to provide a custom cake for a religious event? Perhaps a big-tent-revival-festival-megachurch that they disagree with ... are they legally obligated to pvovide custom made cakes just for that event.

(And if the Satanist's or Atheist's come knocking next week do they have to provide custom or "Long live Satan" or "Fairtytale Jesus" cakes? Surely one can say no?)

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness. -- John Muir