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Comment: Re:Not Dumb.... (Score 1) 199

Obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment. So, what's obscene? As Justice Stewart said, "I know it when I see it." Most current Supreme Court caselaw is Miller v. California, which has a three-prong test for ruling something obscene:

1. Whether "the average person, applying contemporary community standards", would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest,
2. Whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions[3] specifically defined by applicable state law,
3. Whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.[4]

A prosecutor has to check all three boxes to win an obscenity case. They're very tough to win, and very rarely filed. It's an open question as to how Internet content should be handled (Third Circuit disagrees with Ninth Circuit).

Comment: Re:Hillary is a divisive figure *among Democrats* (Score 1) 535

She is, in fact, from the right wing of the party and could have been an establishment Republican a generation ago.

The first part of that sentence is true and tells you how far left the Democratic Party has moved. The second part is nonsense. A generation ago, Hillary was on the left fringe of the Democratic Party. She has not moved right, the Party has moved left.

Are you seriously arguing that the political center hasn't moved right over the past 20 years? Seriously?
In 1989, the Heritage Foundation, which pretty much represents (then and now) mainstream Republican thought, proposed a plan for health care reform that included a mandatory coverage and gov't subsidies for those unable to afford coverage. Those two principles, now embedded in Obamacare, have both been the focus of lawsuits (supported by the Republican mainstream) against Obamacare (National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius and Burwell v. King).

Comment: Re:Hillary is a divisive figure *among Democrats* (Score 5, Informative) 535

Richard Nixon proposed and drove the creation of the EPA.
He expanded Medicare coverage to include long-term disabled under 65.
He created the Federal disability insurance (SSDI).
He proposed a national health care plan, with federal subsidies (something more "socialized" than Obamacare).

Advocating any of these things today would make it impossible for any Republican to get the Presidential nomination.

Comment: Re:Default Government Stance (Score 3, Informative) 194

by jratcliffe (#49166689) Attached to: Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications

Not very well I must admit. But it only fair to point out that the Supreme Court Justices who voted to grant citizenship rights to corporations (whose interest are, more often than not, quite apart from those of real citizens) were appointed by Republican presidents.

True, if you're including Grant, Hayes, Arthur, etc. as Republicans (which they were, although the Republican party of the 1880s is a bit different than that of today). Also, you'd need to include Democratic-Republican Presidents like Madison and Monroe on that list.

Corporate personhood is NOT a new phenomenon - it's been a well-established principle since (for varying purposes) the 1880s or the 1810s.

Comment: Re:but I'll defend to the death your right to say (Score 1) 285

by jratcliffe (#49119857) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

Uh, maybe PRIVATE schools can have content-based speech restrictions...

So can public schools. Not politically content-based (i.e. can't allow people to wear "Republicans Suck" t-shirts while prohibiting "Democrats Suck" t-shirts), but public schools can certainly place greater restrictions on speech than would be allowed for the public at large. The federal government can't ban Playboy, but a public school can certainly prohibit students from bringing it to class.

Comment: Re:Google and censorship... (Score 5, Informative) 285

by jratcliffe (#49119253) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

Google's usual spin to try to sound equitable and egalitarian. They're anything but. Remember the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill? Remember when Google took payments from BP to redirect search queries to results that pointed to pro BP (PR agency) websites and religated real journalism and articles about public concern to the back pages of search results that rarely, if ever get seen? Isn't that efectively censorship that's against the public interest?

You mean when BP bought ads on Google based on Deepwater Horizon-related search terms? The same ads that anybody could have purchased, and that were clearly marked as ads? Nobody was being "redirected," unless you think that the law firms that buy ads on "mesothelioma" looking for clients for asbestos lawsuits are somehow "redirecting" searchers from the mesothelioma web page?

Comment: Re:Copyright issue? (Score 1) 285

by jratcliffe (#49119219) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

If you say "we're doing it because of copyright," then you get everyone saying "hey, my material doesn't violate copyright," and Google's in a place it DEFINITELY doesn't want to be, which is proactively checking content for violations.

Agreed on the linens thing - I like Starwood's approach on that - if you don't want your room made up, they give you a discount or some extra points.

Comment: Copyright issue? (Score 5, Interesting) 285

by jratcliffe (#49118999) Attached to: Google Knocks Explicit Adult Content On Blogger From Public View

I wonder if this isn't motivated at least in substantial part by copyright concerns. A huge portion of adult content posted is in violation of copyright, and if Google was seeing that they were getting DMCA notices for adult content on Blogger at rates that far exceed the overall average, and the cost/effort of responding to those notices was outstripping the ad revenue from the adult blogs, then maybe they just decided it's not worth it.

Purely speculation on my part, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Comment: Re:Oh darn... (Score 2) 211

by jratcliffe (#49096827) Attached to: 800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

I'm aware of the one Gruber comment. Counterbalancing that is the weight of comments by all the key drafters and authors that this is not what they intended. It's poorly written, no doubt, but it's an incredible stretch to argue that the authors and backers of the law clearly intended to hide away a time bomb within it. Absent clear evidence that they did, the IRS's interpretation of the law looks entirely reasonable and in line with Congressional intent.

All the evidence concerning the universe has not yet been collected, so there's still hope.