> Oh, did I mention that since he had adopted the two kids she had from a previous marriage,
> he was paying child support for them, too?
So? An adopted child is equivalent to a biological son. Legally and ethically. The problem, in this case, is with your brother. If he resents his adopted children, then that reflects on his character and not the legal system.
You are correct. Analysis of this nature focuses on the aggregate. It is a question of market efficiencies and not how it impacts a particular individual; a market by definition is many individuals. Can a commodities market guarantee a non-disproportionate impact to every subset without negatively impacting the rest?
My simplified accounting models don't take into consideration the pressure put on the industry by PC manufacturers, GPU manufacturers who have been hurt by this shortage. The end result could easily be a more resilient market either through greater geographical spread and/or more resilient (i.e., flood resistant) plants. If it is decided, however, that this is a rare 100 year fluke, then the costs may not pencil out for anyone, including the general buyer.
For the buyer, the equivalent question would be: Are the cost savings of purchasing cheaper disk drives due to efficiency more than offset by the cost premium during the rebuild. This is less an economics question than an accounting one. What time frame would be used for comparison? Say the prices will come down to pre-flood levels by October 2012, a one year period, as expected. Say the total extra purchase costs to the buyers (which will be roughly correlated to the losses plus rebuild of the manufacturers) is X dollars for that one year. Say, also, that the aggregate savings for one year between an overbuilt but resilient industry vs. a more efficient, compact one is Y. If Y > X, then a good deal. But in actuality, the efficiencies have gone on for years. So, if the disk drive industry has been efficient for (say) 5 years, then the question would be: is 5 * Y > X (all calculated to present value, naturally)? If yes, again, a good deal. I don't have the answers but I can guarantee that this is being analyzed to determine whether it would be more cost effective to be geographically spread out.
It almost comes off as intentional that this occurred the day after the SOPA protests
I highly doubt one had to do with the other. The Feds
That's correct. However, it isn't farfetched to consider the possibility that someone in the administration asked the DOJ if the case was ready and if it was, then asking if they could please do it now. The administration was in hot water with interested deep pocket donors (media) by criticizing SOPA which they were forced to do now because it was coming up for a vote and other deep pocket donors (silicon, civil libertarians) were against it. In other words, if they hadn't criticized SOPA, then the DOJ arrests probably would not have happened today. Maybe next week, maybe next month or more. They wouldn't have agreed if the case wasn't sufficiently ready but timing here is everything.
No. This would be ex post facto: Something that was once in the public domain, and legal for anyone to copy, and you copied it when legal, say, in 1990. Congress passed a law in 2012 that not only made it illegal to copy it in the future but retroactively made your 1990 act illegal. That would be unconstitutional. That is not what happened. That said, there are constitutional questions (just read the dissent).
From the Concise Oxford English Dictionary:
verb (past and past participle pleaded or US & dialect pled)
Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing