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Comment Re:People should pay for their choices (Score 1) 842

It's not actually clear that people who smoke, for example, increase the total cost of health care. Smoking causes cancer which is expensive and avoidable, but it is also pretty deadly. People who die from lung cancer when they are forty or fifty years old don't live into their sixties, seventies, and eighties and don't incur any health care costs at all during those decades. The costs of medical treatment gets higher as a person gets older because they recover less quickly. Analysis of the costs that smokers "impose" on the rest of the insurance pool almost always omits the substantial cost savings they bring by dying younger. I'm not saying they necessarily cost less but it is an empirical question.

Sure, it's a somewhat morbid point of view, but if you're concerned with the cost of health care you have to look at all of the effects of the behavior being evaluated.

Comment Re:array of sources ... just as good ? (Score 1) 278

In America there is a new name for God - it's The Market. We worship The Market, we are grateful for what The Market gives but do not demand any more, and we dare not try to control The Market for there is no greater blasphemy. Attempting to undercut the market with free products - whether it be software or a textbook or community service - that's the worship of the evil false idol: socialism.

Copyright is, by definition, government interference in the free market.

Comment Re:Sure, but (Score 1) 229

no retailer, ANYWHERE, pays sales taxes on purchases you make

That may be true somewhere, but it isn't true in Illinois. Quoting the Illinois Department of Revenue: "Sales tax is a combination of “occupation” taxes that are imposed on sellers’ receipts and “use” taxes that are imposed on amounts paid by purchasers. Sellers owe the occupation tax to the department; they reimburse themselves for this liability by collecting use tax from the buyers."

And, 35 ILCS 120/2 "A tax is imposed upon persons engaged in the business of selling at retail tangible personal property ...".

In Illinois, at least, sales tax is quite clearly imposed upon the retailer, and not the retail purchaser. On a related note, when I was running a small business in Illinois I contacted the DOR and asked if I was obliged to collect sales tax from my customers. They advised me that I was under no obligation to collect sales tax, my only obligation was to pay it.

So what do you use to pay it? Is it, perhaps, paid from your business's revenue? Assuming it is, where are you obtaining revenue if not from your customers?

Comment Re:Only when they don't already know? (Score 4, Interesting) 358

I've been a court reporter for a few years now. I'm in court pretty much all day, every day.

Our judge is better than most. We certainly don't have a bible in the courtroom and every witness is asked "Do you swear or affirm under penalties for perjury that the testimony you are about to give..." before testifying. I'd say one in twenty people specify that they specifically affirm even though the question is deliberately phrased so that they don't have to specify. I like those people.

If it were up to me, any testimony given by someone who professes to believe in supernatural beings by taking a religious oath should be treated as suspect; they've already demonstrated their willingness to put hearsay first.

No argument there.

Comment Re:Only when they don't already know? (Score 1) 358

Allegations can be supported by Oath, e.g. several friends and family members say they saw child porn on your laptop. Allegations can be supported by affirmation, e.g. they set up a sting operation whereby they do, in fact, know that at one time a computer in your house had downloaded child porn.

Both oaths and affirmations are statements which are made under penalty of perjury. Affirmation is explicitly authorized because certain religious groups (e.g. Quakers) take the biblical admonishment not to swear quite literally and choose to affirm rather than swear. Oaths are also religious acts, and there would be 1st amendment concerns with forcing people to take an oath if they were, for example, an atheist. Just a fun fact.

Comment Re:no 5th? (Score 1) 1047

Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion in United States v. Hubbell, 120 S.Ct. 2037 (2000), which held that Defendant’s assembly of documents, in response to the government grand jury subpoena, violated his privilege against self-incrimination, even though he had been provided with testimonial immunity with regard to the production of the documents.

Justice Stevens explained:

The assembly of those documents was like telling an inquisitor the combination to a wall safe, not like being forced to surrender the key to a strongbox.

Hubbell at 2047.

Comment Re:no 5th? (Score 1) 1047

The court's argument is that, unless your password is "I shot JFK", then your password is not incriminating. The password will never be used against you, and thus can be compelled. That it can be used to recover material against you is not something the court considers relevant.

The fact that you knew the password is incriminating if there is evidence on the encrypted volume. It proves you had control or at least access to the contents.

Comment Re:no 5th? (Score 1) 1047

Wouldn't this be a 4th amendment issue instead of a 5th amendment?

If you are compelled to hand over the password it's pretty much the same as handing over physical keys.

I'd attack this on grounds of search and seizure, not self incrimination.

The 4th amendment prohibits unreasonable search and seizure and requires probable cause to obtain a warrant. Here, there is a warrant. No one is attacking the validity of that warrant. The State is permitted to perform the search, so there is no 4th amendment issue. However, they want to force the defendant to divulge incriminating information to assist their criminal investigation. That definitely implicates 5th amendment concerns.

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