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Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 1613

by tranquilidad (#46774233) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

In your opinion. I clearly disagree, finding more agreement with Breyer's dissent in McDonald v. Chicago (2010) that incorporation under the 14th was inappropriate because it is not a fundamental, individual right.

The Second is the only Amendment in the Bill of Rights that explicitly explains the intent behind the right enumerated there -- that the ownership of firearms is intended for the establishment of well functioning militias. That means the right is limited and not fundamental, and the government should have a free hand to regulate so long as that purpose is not thwarted. To hold otherwise is to regulate the militia clause meaningless. I do not think any phrase in the Constitution should be treated so.

I agree, mostly, with your comment about the 10th amendment. It has two parts - the States and the People.

However, your reading of the 2nd seems to imply that the 2nd grants a right rather than restricting a power. The preamble to the Bill of Rights states the intention of the BoR to be a further set of restrictions on the government and not a grant of rights to the people.

I, obviously, find it very difficult to accept that the 2nd amendment is not a fundamental right given the preamble to the Bill of Rights, its inclusion in the Bill of Rights and its appearance near the top of the list.

It's difficult for me to see how I could agree with your conclusion without some significant manipulations of the purpose of the document and language:

- The overall purpose of the Bill of Rights is to place further declaratory and restrictive clauses on the power of the government not on individual rights

- The Bill of Rights enumerates individual rights and, except for the 10th, mentions no other entity except in a restrictive capacity. In the 10th the states are mentioned in order to further restrict the powers of the national government.

- Whatever the purpose of the 2nd amendment its conclusion is direct, "...the rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." The directness of that statement can not be ignored. The authors could have just as easily said, "...the rights of the states to arm their citizens shall not be infringed." An insistence on using the first part of the sentence to modify the second ignores the plain language of the second. There are many elegant ways to write the sentence to support your position and none of those were selected.

Finally, I believe that all our rights are fundamental. The concept of a fundamental right is a fiction invented by the Supreme Court and one that really started to erode in the 1930s. Nevertheless, it is part of our current jurisprudence.

What is most disturbing to me is that we now have to demonstrate that a right is fundamental in order to have that right incorporated against the states. This is another example of why Roberts and other Supreme Court justices are wrong when they start with a presumption of constitutionality when examining a law rather than a presumption of liberty. That presumption began in the 1930s with the wholesale redefinition of "commerce" in order to expand the reach of the national government.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 1613

by tranquilidad (#46770945) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

I, too, believe in state's rights. However, that doesn't mean I can accept that states have the power to infringe on our fundamental rights.

The rights protected by the 2nd amendment are rights retained by the people and, in my opinion, are not subject to regulation by states under their powers.

The 14th amendment seems to have clarified that issue.

The Bill of Rights, by the way, does not grant powers to any governmental entity - state or national. It is a list of rights that are so fundamental that further restrictions on the government(s) had to be enshrined.

If you're implying that the 2nd amendment grants a power to the states then I'd like to understand what structure in the Constitution would give you the impression that anything in the Bill of Rights grants any power to a state.

Comment: Re:No. (Score 1) 1613

by tranquilidad (#46770137) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

I say good for them given that the term "well-regulated militia" has no meaning as it relates to a right held by the people.

If you actually read the entire Bill of Rights, including the preamble, you would see that it is not a document granting rights to the people but, rather, a document further restricting the power of the national government.

If Stevens wants to properly grant the regulatory right to the national government then he would follow the model of the 18th amendment and grant the power to regulate firearms to the national government.

You want to use the phrase "well-regulated militia" as a way of allowing the national government to regulate firearms. Where in the U.S. Constitution is the power to regulate firearms granted to the government.

Comment: Re:"What I find interesting is how..." (Score 1) 1613

by tranquilidad (#46770095) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

The 2nd Amendment is not poorly written when taken in context of the preamble to the Bill of Rights.

The 2nd Amendment is not a grant of a right to the people but is a specific prohibition on the national government.

The Constitution is not designed to be changed with time except through the amendment process. The concept that we will nilly-willy change the definition of words so that we can enforce any law we want and still claim adherence to the constitution is ridiculous. It begs the questions, why even have a written constitution if it is subject to change by merely changing the definition or meaning of words? If we merely want to follow the current fashion regarding fundamental rights why bother writing any rules that limit the power of the national government?

Until the 1930s, when Congress and Roosevelt found a sympathetic ear in the Supreme Court, there was no question that the national government had no authority to infringe on many of our rights. It was only the redefinition of the word "commerce" that allowed the national government to use that as a penumbra to cover all sorts of activities that would have previously been seen as infringements of our rights.

If Stevens wanted to really amend the Constitution to regulate firearms then he would propose something along the lines of the 18th amendment that brought is prohibition. He would grant the national government the power to regulate firearms rather than attempt to further cloud the issue and reinforce the concept that the Bill of Rights grants people rights rather than further restricts the power of the government.

Comment: Stevens Shows An Utter Lack Of Understanding (Score 1) 1613

by tranquilidad (#46769891) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

We can go on and on about who should be allowed to have a gun, that the 2nd amendment needs to be fixed and the historical context of what the words mean.

What Stevens and others who support strict gun control are missing is a part of the Bill of Rights that is rarely discussed: the preamble.

"THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will be ensure the beneficent ends of its institution."

The Bill of Rights is not a list of rights granted to the people that requires, or is indeed subject, to endless interpretation. The preamble captures the contemporaneous debate issues - should the US Constitution attempt to list the rights of the people in a document that was designed to list the limited powers of the national government.

The compromise was a list of rights that were considered so fundamental that "...further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added..." Those clauses were restrictions on the powers of the national government.

1st Amendment - "Congress shall make now law..."
2nd Amendment - "...shall not be infringed."
3rd Amendment - "No soldier shall..."
4th Amendment - "...shall not be violated..."

There are many who believe the Bill of Rights is a granting of rights to the people when it is actually a harsher, further restriction on the powers and authority of the federal government.

If one looks at the 18th amendment one sees that the prohibition on alcohol was not simply a prohibition but was a specific grant of power to the national government to regulate alcohol. It wouldn't have been enough to simply outlaw alcohol. The amendment had to grant an additional power to the government.

Stevens' amendment to the 2nd amendment would not prohibit the private ownership of firearms nor would it grant a power to the national government to regulate that ownership. Stevens' proposed amendment would simply reinforce the mistaken belief that the Bill of Rights grants rights to the people rather than restricting the power of government.

Much of the attitude regarding the role of the Bill of Rights can be traced to the 1930s when Congress and Roosevelt found a friendly Supreme Court willing to change the definition of commerce to allow the Commerce Clause to be used to regulate all manner of activities.

People are still willing to say, "The Constitution gives me that right," when, in fact, the Constitution give you no rights. The U.S. Constitution was designed to limit the power of the federal government so they couldn't infringe on the rights you have simply because you exist.

Comment: Re:Are people not allowed to have opinions? (Score 1) 1482

by tranquilidad (#46634907) Attached to: OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

MTV Interview

Obama was opposed to Prop 8 because he felt a ban on gay marriage should not be enshrined in a constitution. He also said that marriage was between a man and a woman and was opposed to gay marriage.

You can see the full remark in the link above. The article is dated November 1, 2008.

Comment: Re:oh my god!! (Score 2) 212

by tranquilidad (#46434501) Attached to: <em>Portal 2</em> Incompatible With SELinux

The first search from Google on Oracle SELinux is "3.7 Configuring and Using SELinux" and it discusses the difference between discretionary and mandatory access control.

There's a difference between a vendor saying they don't support something or it doesn't work and scads of administrators who say, "This security crap is too hard, just turn it off."

Comment: Re:Typical Bureau Land Mgt BS (Score 1) 247

by tranquilidad (#46430957) Attached to: BP Finds Way To Bypass US Crude Export Ban

It's not just belligerence. I'm seeing many of the mod points being used to express agreement and disagreement. One word posts bashing a political party are reaching a moderation level of 5 for insightful and informative but controversial posts are being modded as Troll.

I've got 15 moderator points right now and I feel the most I can do is spend them on overrated/underrated. I used to spend a lot of time spending those points and now I just want to give up.

Comment: Starting Point (Score 2) 181

by tranquilidad (#46428477) Attached to: Physics Forum At Fermilab Bans Powerpoint

I used to give presentations to our customers and prospects in our "Corporate Visit Center" and was always extremely disappointed with the dog-and-pony shows I experienced. The problem goes well beyond PowerPoint and gets into people who have no idea how to present an idea. I'd follow speakers who would have 100 slides for a 45 minute presentation, average 3-4 minutes per slide and then wonder why they were behind schedule.

I would show up with my PowerPoint presentation queued up and then I would challenge the audience to ask enough questions to be able to break free from it. After a while I got pretty good at never even getting past the title slide before breaking into a back-and-forth discussion and white-board diagramming. I consistently rated as the most popular speaker because I didn't walk in and present to the audience - I engaged and would talk about anything they wanted to talk about.

I remember a new guy came on board and he was sent to watch me after I was billed as the best presenter. He reported back that I never got past the first slide and the response from my manager was, "Exactly!"

PowerPoint is just one symptom of a larger problem: the inability to interact with an audience and discuss what they want to discuss. Even for those who needed PowerPoint in order to present I would coach them to not read the slides. The audience will read the words on the slides as you speak. The presenter should be telling a story that engages an audience - the presentation can be used as reminder points to the speaker or as either supplemental content for the audience to read or important/complex points you want them to take home for later study.

Comment: Re:Languages tend to converge (Score 1) 506

by tranquilidad (#46361767) Attached to: Quebec Language Police Target Store Owner's Facebook Page

I'm not arguing whether it's a good or bad idea but California requires all health care documents be available in the following "threshold languages":

Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Farsi, Hmong, Khmer/Cambodian, Korean, Lao, Russian, Tagalog ad Vietnamese

Furthermore, health care providers are required to provide translation assistance for their enrollees in the enrollee's "preferred spoken and written languages."

Many of the healthcare regulations have spilled over into other governmental departments such as the DMV and voting.

Comment: Re:Internet access should be a socialized service (Score 1) 520

by tranquilidad (#46352611) Attached to: Netflix Blinks, Will Pay Comcast For Network Access

I ship items that have to be taken to the shipper and are not eligible for pickup. I often visit UPS hubs and USPS. UPS hubs almost never have more than 1 or 2 people waiting to ship. USPS is almost always at the other end of the spectrum. I hate going to a UPS hub because it's a 45 minute drive for me. I hate going to USPS because it's such a long wait and a hassle.

Skipping efficiency for a moment and commenting on your concept of "update cycle," I'm still amazed that an organization that basically visited every address in the nation on an almost everyday basis completely missed out on the opportunity that made FedEx and UPS what they are today. UPS, in the name of efficiency, had their package car drivers recording GPS coordinates for the addresses they visited and ended up in the map-data business.

Comment: Re:Internet access should be a socialized service (Score 1) 520

by tranquilidad (#46342321) Attached to: Netflix Blinks, Will Pay Comcast For Network Access

The last time I had to mail something via the post office (about 6 months ago):

- I had to wait in line 20 minutes
- The shipping information was filled out on multi-part NCR paper
- The sheets of paper were peeled apart, each one stamped and filed in a separate bin
- I was given a sheet of paper as my receipt
- The tracking options were minimal, at best

The last time I shipped via UPS:

- I filled out the shipping information online
- I printed a mailing label and affixed it to my box
- I dropped it off at a UPS store after waiting about 30 seconds
- I was given a sheet of paper as a drop-off receipt
- I could track the package

A shipping organization that still collects shipping information in triplicate, separately stamps each of the copies, files them in separate bins for later processing and can't provide adequate tracking information is, in my opinion, inefficient.

Comment: Re:Internet access should be a socialized service (Score 0) 520

by tranquilidad (#46318401) Attached to: Netflix Blinks, Will Pay Comcast For Network Access

Yep, just what I desire - internet service as efficient as the Postal service.

Before anyone goes off on how I can send a letter all the way across the country for whatever the 1st class rate is today really consider how inefficient their operation runs. I go out of my way to use private entities in lieu of the US Postal service.

There is nothing preventing government services from being properly internet enabled today. The problem with government services is, wait for it, the government.

The government has done more to prevent me from getting the internet service I desire than they've done to enable high quality, high speed service.

Why does internet service have greater penetration in poor neighborhoods than telephone service (which is subsidized for those neighborhoods)? Could it be that individuals are better equipped to determine what services are best for them.

Yep, if you want the government to provide basic services then that's just what you'll get, BASIC services.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe