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Comment Re:First sale doctrine (Score 2) 775

Dred Scott was both immoral and wrong as a matter of law.

The decision went well beyond the constitution in ruling that descendants of slaves could never become citizens, even if they were not and never had been slaves. The issue of descendants was irrelevant to the Dred Scott case (Dred Scott was a slave) and, in any case, the judgement that the constitution forbids descendants of slaves from becoming citizens was and is a bad interpretation of the constitution.

To make it clear that this stupid decision was, in fact, stupid, we passed an amendment. But the fact that we needed to pass the 14th amendment to correct Taney doesn't mean that Taney was right.

Comment No content (Score 5, Insightful) 180

Lest you be deceived by the article summary, let's run down the content:
  • Turner Broadcasting and NBC Universal: No, they're not providing shows. They're just updating their websites, so that you can view them on your TV.
  • HBO: Yes, you get HBO shows on demand. If you already subscribe to HBO. This is perfect for all 10 people who went for the high-end cable package but who don't have a DVR.
  • Netflix and Amazon on demand: Just like pretty much every internet-connected box produced in the last 3 years.

I don't want a web browser on my TV. I do want a way to ditch my cable TV and still get access to shows on demand. So far, at least, this doesn't get us any closer than Apple TV, Roku, Boxee or anyone else.

Comment Re:Finally? (Score 4, Insightful) 151

Do you really think that improving education doesn't fall under "promote the general welfare"? It has just as much justification as "provide for the common defense". Especially since Jefferson and other founders believed so strongly that a representative government would fail without educated citizens, you could also argue that support for education is necessary to "secure the blessings of liberty."

"I have indeed two great measures at heart, without which no republic can maintain itself in strength: 1. That of general education, to enable every man to judge for himself what will secure or endanger his freedom. 2. To divide every county into hundreds, of such size that all the children of each will be within reach of a central school in it." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1810. ME 12:393

Comment Re:Naysayer (Score 2, Interesting) 221

You can say that Apple's approval process for the iPhone is unnecessary and capricious and therefore evil.

You can say that, in the long run, locking down the iPhone will stagnate innovation and Apple will therefore never dominate the smartphone market.

But you can't say that "independent application developers have a difficult time getting anything published and widely available." There are over 100,000 apps available, and they've been downloaded 2 billion times. The model has been, so far, enormously successful. You can wish it wasn't so, but it is so.

Comment Re:Ah Good 'ol United States (Score 1) 1100

No, that'll just send the Chinese economy into the crapper. And the American one as well. And the European one...

And you base that on what? Free-market sloganeering or an understanding of economics?

Actually, the House bill (or, at least, one version of it - I haven't kept up) does impose trade penalties on countries that don't limit greenhouse gas emissions. Economists who have studied this argue that this is not only sound economics but that the WTO would consider this to be fine under international trade laws.

Comment Re:The Administration modded this guy troll too! (Score 1) 1057

No, I don't believe the CBO numbers, but they are, at least, numbers, not scary claims about "useful to society jobs that we will destroy" that have no basis in any kind of analysis.

The point is that economic analyses, like the CBO's and the MIT study's, are much more speculative than the climate science that you attack.

And yet you dismiss both economic analysis and climate science in favor of, I guess, your vague feeling that doing anything will be really, really hard and will cost about a jillion dollars. Oh, and reducing CO2 will hurt the carnation industry.

Comment Re:The Administration modded this guy troll too! (Score 1) 1057

This is a really good point. We should be at least as skeptical of economic models as of climate models. But if you do want to pay attention to economic models, you should know that they don't always predict that serious action on climate will cause "severe economic consequences." The CBO, for example, predicts that the cost of Waxman-Markey are fairly modest.. A study by MIT also found that cap-and-trade would not be very expensive

Comment Re:Government health care (Score 1) 1270

Nice anecdote. But if you read the article I linked, you'd know:

Last year customer satisfaction with the veterans' health system, as measured by an annual survey conducted by the National Quality Research Center, exceeded that for private health care for the sixth year in a row. This high level of quality (which is also verified by objective measures of performance) was achieved without big budget increases. In fact, the veterans' system has managed to avoid much of the huge cost surge that has plagued the rest of U.S. medicine.

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