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Comment: Re:We' never see tax code simplification (Score 1) 416

by redlemming (#46774601) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

This is why I don't think we'll ever see tax code simplification: there are too many people making too much money with the existing overly complex system.

This is not just a problem with the tax system, it's a problem with the US legal system in general (and not just at the federal level).

The legal profession, as a class in society, is in a position of ethical conflict of interest with respect to the complexity of the legal system.

Most legislators are legal professionals. Large numbers of legislative staff members are also legal professionals. The prosecutors that decide what aspects of the legal system to enforce are legal professionals. Most judges are legal professionals. In short, we have huge numbers of people with a vested interest in having a complex legal system.

As a result of this ethical conflict of interest, the US legal system is an unmitigated disaster.

Note that the mess we're currently in isn't the result of conspiracy. There aren't any secret meetings in the dead of night. It's just the result of individual decision making over many decades by a lot of unprincipled, self-centred, and short-sighted people. If anything, it might be that the best way to look at this is in terms of entropy in the system.

The only difference between the ethics problems in tax law and, say, Constitutional Law, or Contract Law, or Copyright law, or Patent law is the makeup of the specific groups with their hands in the pie. For tax law, it's the legal profession, the accounting profession and certain companies, plus those wealthy entities in society that need a complex tax system to hide loopholes in.

The right to ethical practice of law and ethical government is certainly a right retained by the people (9th Amendment). Even the appearance of conflict of interest must be avoided whenever possible.

It follows that a) the current tax law is unconstitutional, and b) any legislators that accept lobbying funds in return for preserving the current system are in violation of their oaths to uphold the Bill of Rights (oaths which happen to be preconditions for holding any position of public trust or responsibility).

Further, any legal professionals involved in a lobbying effort to preserve this unethical system are in turn in violation of their oaths to uphold the Bill of Rights (which happen to be preconditions for being licensed to engage in the practice of law).

Rights retained by the people being retained by the people, any precedents to the contrary are null and void. Putting that in other words, if the legal profession could decide it didn't have to be ethical, or any group make up of legal professionals could decide this, there wouldn't be any rights retained by the people - a contradiction.

Comment: Re:Good for him (Score 1) 91

Yep, and unfortunately it seems to be patented to the hilt so anyone who can't afford one will just have to risk losing a few fingers until other manufacturers are allowed to do their own versions.

Presumably, few patent lawyers use power tools, so as a group they have no incentive to do anything about a patent system that -- by limiting access to safety technology -- contributes to people getting crippled for life in the workplace (or at home).

In ethics terms, the problem here has a name: "conflict of interest".

There is a conflict between coming up with a sensible patent system that works to the benefit of humanity (or deciding to have no patent system), and coming up with a system that makes lots of money for patent attorneys.

Every legal professional working in the area of patent law has the choice to speak up about this ethics issue (which is just one of many affecting the patent system), or simply say nothing and -- presumably -- make lots of money. Silence, apparently, is golden.

Even if we suppose that -- someday -- one of the children of one of these lawyers gets badly hurt using a power tool, that still won't be sufficient to fix the patent system. That single individual is likely to change their attitude regarding the ethics and morality of the patent system, certainly. But one lawyer recognizing that a problem exists can do nothing when the majority is corrupt.

Comment: Re:They do. (Score 1) 256

by redlemming (#46717433) Attached to: Navy Creates Fuel From Seawater

At sea refueling is trivially easy, all you need is a ship that can carry a lot of fuel, a pump, and a hose.

If you study the history of naval operations in the 20th Century, you'll find that navy vessels have had to operate under a wide variety of weather conditions. You can find lots of descriptions of warships experiencing brutal conditions, and some great pictures.

Becoming a bit more informed about the reality of naval operations may cause you to rethink your ideas concerning the difficulty of seemingly simple tasks.

For example, it is impossible to look at some of the awe-inspiring pictures of the icebound ships involved in the Arctic convoys to Russia during WW2, and continue to keep the mental impression that on-deck or ship-to-ship operations are always going to be "trivially easy".

Suppose we ignore the complicated issues of getting the fuel to the right location on earth at the right time, during wartime.

At sea refuelling is still a dangerous and tricky operation.

A certain amount of risk is inherent to moving flammable material from one moving object with lots of metal parts (and high voltage electrical machinery) to a nearby moving object, both subject to wind and wave action. Sea and wind conditions can easily be such that merely going on deck is extremely dangerous.

A high level of skill and professionalism on the part of Navy crews is required to make this difficult operation look easy and be somewhat routine.

Even with all this experience, there will be times when it simply isn't practical to transfer fuel. Further, people still get injured doing this (for example, four sailors were injured 16 Oct 2012 aboard the Harry S. Truman during exactly such a transfer, when a line parted).

Look up "underway replenishment" for more detail on the issues that can complicate the process.

Comment: Re:Innovation? (Score 1) 111

by redlemming (#46686531) Attached to: EU Should Switch To ODF Standard, Says MEP

I read the article, but it escapes me how switching document formats "would allow real innovation, and real procurement." ... But claims it would help innovation, procurement, or even cost savings are suspect at best.

Many businesses (and other organizations) have data created using Office that they need to get into some external application. Often these businesses have processes that they've been using for many years, and have a huge investment in, but which result in data that is not well suited for import into third party tools. Even when a custom data-entry application could be developed, users will often prefer to do their data entry in a familiar tool, so the process of putting data into Office documents is ongoing.

As a result, I've been asked over the years to write many mini-applications that work with data stored in Visio, Excel, or Word. A typical application will have to read data, check it, sometimes post-process it with one or more filters, and than finally convert the data into a form suitable for use in some other tool.

The innovation occurs in the development of these applications.

Sometimes I use Visual Basic, sometimes C#. Sometimes one can work directly with the document files created by Office using third party tools, but in other cases the Automation interfaces are the only reasonable choice.

Often, Microsoft's documentation is pretty awful, and the development process for these applications is heavily bottom-up: you have to do a lot of experiments to figure out what is possible.

Working directly with data files is much easier when the target for the data is piece of software running on a Linux system. Otherwise, you have to jump through some hoops to get the data from Windows to Linux. Sometimes it's as simple as saving to a shared filesystem, but for other applications you need a client-server setup.

Thus, there are two barriers to application development: 1. The documentation, and 2. The need to (sometimes) run at least part of the application on Windows.

Remove these barriers leaves more time for being creative in developing any particular application, since one doesn't have to spend as much time jumping through hoops. This is where open formats have potential for increasing innovation.

Comment: Re:Pseudo-science in the Survey! (Score 1) 470

by redlemming (#46678441) Attached to: It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience Into the Science Classroom

It also only works if there isn't pseudo-science in the survey.

Unfortunately, many people are very credulous when it comes to interpreting survey results.

It is worth while remembering that a survey is (at best) a form of social science measure, and that measurement in social science is a much harder problem than measurement in physical science. Any idiot can create a survey, and many do. It takes years of very difficult and time consuming work by professional social scientists to validate a survey as a measurement tool, if it is possible to do at all. A survey does not become a legitimate measurement tool simply because it has been around for a long time.

Many physical scientists are quite naive, even arrogant, in assuming that their physical science training qualifies them to understand the difficulties of measurement in social science. We might also note that many physical scientists forget how many centuries it took to develop reliable measurement in their disciplines.

The problem with not understanding the difficulty of social science measurement is not just limited to physical scientists, it affects the press, policy makers, legislators, legal professionals, and the public.

Even in social science, it appears to me that the need to get publications (publish or perish!) often interferes with making effective assessments of measurement techniques.

In a number of current debates (such as the scientific literacy debate, the health care debate, and the gun control debate) I see few people asking serious questions regarding whether or not we are measuring what we think we are measuring, or whether there is any validity to the measurements being made. Since science is based on measurement, many of the conclusions people draw regarding these issues are effectively logical structures built on quicksand.

We really need to add to the list of classic blunders:

1. Never start a land war in Asia.
2. Never assume correlation implies causation.
3. Never assume a survey is telling you what the authors or users claim it is telling you.
4. Never assume that what you think you are measuring is what you are actually measuring.
5. Never assume the true cost of something is what you are told it is.
6. Never assume accuracy and precision are the same thing.

If anything, we should be bringing more social science training into the high school classroom. "Think for yourself and question authority" should apply to questioning all social science measurements.

Comment: Re:Congratulations! (Score 1) 284

by redlemming (#46611867) Attached to: U.S. Court: Chinese Search Engine's Censorship Is 'Free Speech'

Private individuals, or corporations, are not bound by the constitution, only the government is. If we were to bound private individuals it would run counter to everything they stood for.

This is way over-stated. Enormously powerful companies such as the East India Company had been in existence for over 150 years by 1776. Some of the Founding Fathers were certainly well aware of the power such corporations could wield, and nothing explicit was written into the Bill of Rights that limited the assertion of rights against corporate entities.

There are several considerations you will want to think about:

1. First we have the issue of third party entities being used as agents of the government to infringe fundamental rights. If the Bill of Rights can not be asserted against these entities, then it might as well not exist: government can infringe any right simply by delegating to a third party.
2. Second, one can reasonably assert all manner of rights under the 9th Amendment as being retained by the people, or the 10th Amendment ("reserved to the people"). If such rights can be taken away by third party entities, they are no longer retained -- a contradiction.
3. Third, we have the issue that many rights enjoyed by private entities actually flow from authority granted by government. The various rights associated with private property, for example, flow from property law, and since property law is part of state law, it is in turn limited by the Bill of Rights. Similar assertions can be made for the many laws governing commercial or business entities and transactions.

It is entirely appropriate to limit what can be done by private entities with respect to property they own, or with respect to contracts they create, as a consequence of this point.

For example, the current practice of fencing off (or posting) much off America (I suspect this has been happening as a result of people being afraid of lawsuits) can be viewed as a massive infringement of the 9th Amendment right to travel. Fencing off a small area around a private home makes sense, as an exercise of the 9th Amendment right to privacy, but should we allow private entities to fence off large tracks of land that isn't even in use?

None of these exceptions are applicable to the current situation. If people want to use a search engine known to do censorship, that's ok.

Comment: Re:The Founding Fathers are crying.. (Score 1) 284

by redlemming (#46611733) Attached to: U.S. Court: Chinese Search Engine's Censorship Is 'Free Speech'

When the founding fathers wrote this, they intended to for the states to be able to pass laws restricting freedom of speech and religion.

It is always dangerous to refer to the "founding fathers" collectively, since they had many disagreements.

You can get a better idea what Madison intended by looking at his draft:

"The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any matter, or on any pretext, infringed."

"The people shall not be deprived of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments, and the freedom of the press, as one the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable".

"No State shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases".

The explicit reference to limiting State power surprises many who mistakenly believe that the Bill of Rights was intended only to limit the power of the federal government. Certainly Madison was aware of the danger of abuse of state government authority. Richard Labunski, in his book on Madison, has asserted that this was Madison's favorite amendment.

By the end of the ratification process for the Bill of Rights, Madison's text was substantially rewritten. We could reasonably suppose that much of what he wrote was already implicit in the 9th Amendment, and thus did not need to be made explicit.

The "official" 1st Amendment does in fact only apply to Congress under the "official" Bill of Rights (but since it is the only Amendment so explicitly limited, a reasonable person would infer the others apply to state and local government as well).

Hence, the slave states could in fact pass laws authorizing people speaking out against slavery to be put in prison, or have laws specific to particular religions (in some cases, this was prohibited by the state-level governing documents). In a sense, there is a loophole in the 1st Amendment.

It can be argued that a number of aspects of state law, such as libel laws, and laws authorizing coerced testimony in the courtroom, are only allowed to exist as a result of this decision to limit the 1st Amendment restriction to Congress. But nobody pays attention to this (which has interesting implications for the ethical practice of law).

The 14th Amendment is supposed to close this loophole, which in turn has interesting implications for all those things done when the loophole existed.

Madison's writing on "full and equal rights of conscience" seems particularly applicable to the issues of today when one considers some of the current controversy regarding so-called "whistle-blowers"...

Comment: Re:America is boned (Score 1) 870

by redlemming (#46594133) Attached to: Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

If you think America is not socialist, you need to stop reading propaganda.

Quite correct, as long as one has a rational definition of socialism.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that the choice is capitalism versus socialism, when both are merely abstractions that don't exist (and will never exist) in the real world. This is both historically and conceptually inaccurate. Even in Adam Smith's time there were government funded programs (e.g. the "Poor Law") that were essentially socialist in nature.

Any definition of socialism that requires it to be a complete alternative to capitalism is intrinsically wrong. The very word "socialism" comes from the Latin verb to share. Socialism is really about redistribution (i.e. sharing) of wealth. It's about society providing for those that are less successful than others, or who suffer from misfortune. Any program that does this is socialist in nature. The ability to provide for others depends upon excess resources being generated.

Many of the trappings that people associate with socialism are really ideas layered on top of this basic idea. Many (arguably most) of the ideas added to the fundamental concept of socialism have been created by delusional individuals with little understanding of the world or of human nature, and these ideas are generally impractical and worthless. This is perhaps why such as strong bias exists against "socialism" on the part of so many: they see only the impractical aspects of ideas layered onto the core concept by misguided individuals.

As you showed, there are many elements of USA government that are socialist in nature. Indeed, the lion's share of the US Federal budget goes to fund "entitlements", all of which are socialist in nature. Some state and local governments also have significant spending on socialist programs.

The real choice is, how much socialism can we afford? Or, in other words, what balance can we afford between capitalist freedom, and socialist programs, given that capitalist activities generate the surplus wealth needed to fund all socialist activity?

After we decide that, the next questions that naturally come up are:
1. How can we maximize the efficiency of operating socialist programs?
2. What form should those programs take?
3. What should the role of government be?

Given the size of the US Federal debt, and the debt of the more highly socialist state governments, an argument could be made that we're spending too much on socialism. I'm not sure that argument is entirely correct: it might be better to say that we're not managing the socialist portions of government spending effectively.

Probably a lot of the reason for that situation is the fundamental misunderstanding so many have that the choice must be capitalism or socialism.

Comment: Re:Sour grapes (Score 1) 381

by redlemming (#46512143) Attached to: <em>Sons of Anarchy</em> Creator On Google Copyright Anarchy

The idea of an reasonably successful artist (say top 1% earning 20-30K a year) facing poverty even when the works of his youth are still selling well strikes me as unpleasant enough that I'd push for artist lifetime.

This objection can be addressed quite easily, without invalidating the 14 year concept.

We have the following rules:

If any organization or person is getting money (or other consideration) for anything involving some person's creative work, that person has a right to get a share of the gross for their lifetime (excepting those uses that fall into the fair use rights category). The law specifies that share, and provides an easy mechanism to contact the author of a work. No transfer of this right to organizations is permitted.

Thus, any individual will get some money for any creative work they do: nobody else can every legally take all the profit from this work. Once the work stops selling, the public can copy it freely, provided they don't turn around and make money off those copies.

Some details would need to be worked out as to when this could be transferred to one's heirs in the event of an early death.

Penalties apply if a reasonable effort isn't made to contact the party whose work one is using. If a person can't be contacted, the money must be set aside in some protected manner (probably with an independent third party) for a LONG period of time.

The "share" might consist of both a minimum and a percentage, to handle some of the obvious corner cases. In the event a team is responsible for creating a work, something would need to be done to determine who gets what (but everybody participating in the creative work is entitled to a share).

There are a few details that would need to be worked out, but on the whole this would be vastly superior to the current system (which, as it clearly involves all kinds of ethics problems with respect to the legal professional, can certainly be considered to violate the right to ethical practice of law and thus violates the 9th Amendment).

This rule works well with the 14 year term, but we might even have it apply from the moment the work is created. Starting it after 14 years means that an exclusive contract is possible for early distribution of the work, which has both advantages and disadvantages for the individual and society, and might require some regulation.

A similar approach can be taken with respect to patents.

Comment: Re:Nearly every EU Country has some form of this l (Score 1) 149

by redlemming (#46500529) Attached to: Hungarian Law Says Photogs Must Ask Permission To Take Pictures

If you don't want something recorded in a public place then don't do it in a public place.

It's not physically possible to remain in a public place for long periods of time without having to relieve oneself. For most of society, this period of time will be between 1 and 4 hours while awake. Many public places do not have bathrooms, and even those that do often have limited hours. If one is in rough terrain, or deep in a public wilderness area, it might not even be physically possible to get to a bathroom, even when they exist, are open, are available, and are in working order.

I think you'll find that most people don't want somebody recording them in any way while they are taking care of business. They can, and generally will, step into cover, as a matter of courtesy, but this doesn't prevent recording by hidden cameras, or long distance lenses, or by a concealed photographer. The expectation of privacy is still there, it is held by most of human societies around the world, and it is real.

You can readily observe all this for yourself. Perhaps you should get out more.

It necessarily follows that there is an expectation of privacy even in public places. Public is NOT the opposite of private. It's not just a matter of opinion, but rather a rational conclusion that flows inevitably from observed data.

To counter an argument, you must counter either the assumptions or the logic. Claiming that a point is invalid by calling it "a matter of opinion" is nothing but sophistry.

Comment: Re:Nearly every EU Country has some form of this l (Score 1) 149

by redlemming (#46499889) Attached to: Hungarian Law Says Photogs Must Ask Permission To Take Pictures

I see no difference between someone looking at me in public and someone taking a picture of me in public. I have no expectation of privacy in public. Public is the oposite of private. If you don't want to be photographed while in public it is up to you to obscure your identity and not up to me to be sure I don't capture your image.

This issue has been discussed numerous times on Slashdot, have you been asleep? There are many situations where people are technically in public but nevertheless have an expectation of privacy.

Suppose, for example, you and a group of your friends are walking home at night on a public road, through the woods, with nobody in sight. Will the conversation reflect the technically "public" setting, or will it be more like what one will expect to find in a private setting?

For another example, suppose you are hiking through the woods on public lands, and decide to step off the trail to "use the facilities". You are technically in a public place. There is, nevertheless, an expectation of privacy. A hidden photographer (or perhaps somebody that isn't hidden, but is so far away that you don't know they can see you through their telephoto lens) that takes your picture is violating that privacy.

Public is not the opposite of private.

Once we acknowledge that there can be an expectation of privacy even in public places, it is entirely appropriate to determine what the limits of that privacy are.

It is important to remember that classical concepts of "public" and "private" reflect an era that existed before digital systems allowed recording of people without their knowledge, and with perfect recall of the recordings. The values, beliefs, and rules that societies developed with respect to the older concepts are not necessarily valid today.

It is entirely appropriate to bar recordings of people made without their permission, with some reasonable exceptions. Once a recording is made, it is also appropriate to limit what can be done with it.

For example, it should be possible to record government officials in the course of their official duties, without their permission. It should also be possible to have security cameras to protect a home or business. This does not mean that one should be able to post pictures of private moments of government officials, outside the scope of their duties, or be able to release arbitrary security camera footage to the press or the public.

If a private individual happens to be captured in a recording of a government official engaged in official duties, and that private official isn't involved in those duties, any publication of the recording should edit out recognizable portions of the image, unless permission can be obtained to include that individual.

Comment: Re:Manners (Score 2) 401

As historians show, the Byzantine Empire had nothing to do with Rome or the Roman culture

False. A Roman Emperor created the foundation for the Byzantine Empire, and build Constantinople. The Roman navy connected the whole Mediterranean together, and evolved into the Byzantine navy after the fall of the West. The Roman army similarly evolved into the Byzantine army, and protected the Eastern Mediterranean, including Constantinople, from many enemies of the Roman state.

It is correct to state that the Eastern Roman empire diverged over time from the Western, especially after the West fell. Societies do that, especially over the a period of centuries. The late Roman Empire, even in the West, diverged quite a bit from the early Empire, which diverged quite a bit from the Roman Republic. But it is quite incorrect to state that the Byzantine state had "nothing to do" with Rome.

Comment: Re:MRI Machines. (Score 1) 578

by redlemming (#46499015) Attached to: White House: Get ACA Insurance Coverage, Launch Start-Ups

In this high tech driven economy, if I went out and bought the same computer that I bought for $500 ten years ago, I would now pay $50.
Moreover if I bought an up to date computer in the same range ( eg average desktop computer then vs average desktop computer now ), you would pay less.

So why are MRI machines, a solely high tech device more expensive?

Part of the answer is economies of scale.

The computer you buy for your home is one of a huge number of identical units. This means the manufacturer can afford to make less profit per unit, and still gross enough money left to pay their workers, their property taxes, their maintenance costs, the regulatory and legal overhead costs associated with doing business, the R&D costs involved with developing and improving the units, and with luck still have some left to develop the business and keep the stockholders or owners happy.

With any expensive high tech device, many fewer units will be sold. This means all those expenses have to be made up in a small number of sales. Cost per unit will necessarily be quite high.

You could, of course, reduce some of these expenses by moving the work to Asia, which is what the PC business has done for years. From the perspective of a US citizen, that's not necessarily an optimal solution.

The regulatory costs for medical test equipment are very high. There's a lot of inefficiency here. That in turn adds to the overall cost.

The R&D costs are particularly high for most of the new medical test and measurement equipment technologies (anything newer than an X-ray machine).

A lot of custom work needs to be done to produce medical test and measurement devices, and stay competitive with other manufacturers. You need to hire a bunch of super smart people to understand all the electronics and signal processing that goes into these things, plus you also need a team that understand biomedical stuff, and you need some software types. There aren't that many people that can do some of this stuff. In addition to hiring expensive people, the R&D requires buying super expensive test equipment, often custom stuff that deals with fundamentally different signals than mainstream test equipment supports (yet another case of economies of scale increasing price).

This is different from the PC world, where a board manufacturer can just buy a low-cost chip from AMD or Intel and let them take care of the heavy lifting.

AMD and Intel in turn are buying enormously expensive pieces of test and measurement equipment from companies like Agilent, Rhode, Tektronix, and so forth, in order to produce their products. They also have huge numbers of super smart people working for them. You simply don't see the true costs of producing the chips because, again, economies of scale.

Ignoring patents for the moment, if these businesses were really obscenely profitable, everybody would be moving into them. The patent system serves to reduce the freedom of the market, and, in its current form, probably does far more harm than good. The desktop PC business is relatively mature, and the medical test equipment business is not. This means that patents on fundamental ideas are far more likely to block the development of medical test equipment than PCs, so the patent system is likely to have far more impact on this business, reducing competition and increasing prices.

So, the other part of the answer is that it is highly likely that the policies of the US legal profession affect of the cost of the medical equipment more than they affect the cost of desktop PCs. Thank your lawyer for this.

Since the legal profession can artificially increase the complexity of the law to increase the demand for the services of their profession, they aren't necessarily as affected by the high costs of their policies as ordinary people. Did you think it was an accident that the Obama HealthCare law is over 2000 pages in length?

Comment: Re:Becuz (Score 1) 273

by redlemming (#46489007) Attached to: Is the New "Common Core SAT" Bill Gates' Doing?

"the classics" are a pretty arbitrary set of works usually chosen because they were considered good 100 years ago. Shakespeare for example has a lot of historical significance and does provide examples of many common literary devices but the language and format is sufficiently obsolete that it's a pretty inefficient use of a modern student's time to analyze (also about half of it is dick and fart jokes and the other half is graphic violence so arguably not optimal subject matter for a school anyway).

Nobody should be forced to read Shakespeare. It's far more important to put the social sciences and a little law into the high school curriculum. We also need to put physical education back into those programs that don't have it (but with a more modern emphasis, and allowing those who are doing physical activity outside of school -- things like martial arts, yoga, dance, pilates, etc... -- to opt out).

Judging from many of the comments on Slashdot, we badly need more of the population to have at least the basics of economics (and personal finance), sociology, and anthropology. We don't need or want to brainwash people on the current legal system (which needs revision on a massive scale, as a result of ethics problems in the legal profession), but at least some exposure to concepts and philosophy of law is also badly needed by most of the population.

I'd gladly get rid of high school Shakespeare and the rest of the typical required "Literature" or "English" courses to do all that. Some sort of writing course should be required, with a very small class size, but there are many ways such as class could be run without needing to include the "classics".

Let people come to Shakespeare as adults, as a basis of individual reading preferences. There are plenty of adult education courses readily available that cover Literature, even some that focus on Shakespeare. Typically these have FAR better lecturers than most folks would ever get in high school.

Perhaps some optional classes could be offered even in some high schools on these subjects. The key is to not make these subjects required.

There will always be some in society that value this particular kind of writing, such as those who like poetry (although the language keeps changing, which means some of the rhyming no longer works!), or those with an interest in period or linguistic history. Shakespeare played a huge role in the development of the English language, along with the King James Bible, but neither of these should be required reading for the average student.

The same applies to most or all of "the classics". Many of them are excellent books, but that doesn't mean they should be forced on people.

Comment: Re:Griswold vs Connecticut (Score 1) 193

It's in the 9th.

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Exactly correct. The right to privacy is also supported by the 10th ("rights reserved to the people").

The only significance of Roe vs. Wade is that it is one of relatively few cases that explicitly recognizes the open-ended nature of the Bill of Rights.

Rights retained by the people being, well, retained by the people, no legal precedent is technically required for these rights to exist and be asserted, of course. Further, they can not be taken away by any element of government (not even the Supreme Court).

Unfortunately, some elements in society (the legal profession comes to mind) have a vested interest in not recognizing the open-ended nature of the Bill of Rights. Much of the mess in the US legal system (abuse of tort law, the patent mess, the copyright mess, abuse of fundamental rights by government agencies and legal professionals, massively long and complex laws, and so on) that has developed over the past century or so can reasonably be supposed to flow from this ethical conflict of interest causing inappropriate decisions.

In addition to the right to privacy, there's another right arising under the 9th Amendment (and probably a more important right), namely the right to ethical practice of law. The implications of this right are staggering, since it implies much of current legal practice is actually illegal. Think about it.

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