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Comment Re: What did you THINK would happen? (Score 1) 413

As any copy will tell you, better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

You miss the point. Better for whom?

We didn't get a police force to better protect the police. If that's what they're good at, we're better off paying protection money to private thugs, who at least has an interest in not cutting off their income.

Comment Re:Payload around 6kg (13 pounds) (Score 2) 182

Based on my experience with people professional pyro, I'd say that a 6kg weapon using a simple explosive like black powder would be a dangerous item to have laying around the house, but not particularly effective as a military weapon.

2 kg of C4 and 1 kg of non-explosives like radioactive materials, mercury or anthrax could be very effective, depending on what the target and strategic goals were.
And remember the V bombs used against Britain. The major object was to instil fear; if they blew up something of strategic value, that was just a bonus.

It seems like better defences against drones might be prudent.

Comment Re: What did you THINK would happen? (Score 2) 413

Firemen and emergency medical personnel seem to still do that.

Firemen, at least, yes. And people like Medicines Sans Frontiers.
And I am proud of them. They willingly put their lives on the line so all of us can have better lives.

I'm sure there still are policemen who would do that too, and not just look out for #1. But they seem to be few and far between these days.

I have no respect for police anymore. None. I have fear.
That is not the way it should be, and it is not my fault.

Comment Re: What did you THINK would happen? (Score 5, Insightful) 413

They are trained to be quick with the trigger because if they aren't, they may be the ones dead.

And that would not be a worse outcome than a dead innocent non-police.

Police, firemen and emergency medical personnel used to be expected to put themselves in harm's way to protect people. Protecting themselves was secondary to protecting innocents. They took oaths on doing so, and people were proud of them for it.
When did this change?

Comment Re:What did you THINK would happen? (Score 1) 413

So, according to you, the guy who actually pumped bullets into an unarmed man is in no way responsible for killing him?

I hate binary thinking like this. It's not an either/or. Adding blame to one side does not remove an iota of blame from the other side. Culpability and guilt are not finite resources that must be assigned to one or the other.

The caller did his crimes.
The 911 operators did their crimes.
The cops did their crimes.
Let all of them be judged for what they did, not what someone else did, and without attempting to assign "the" blame. There's enough for all of them.

Comment Re:What did you THINK would happen? (Score 1) 413

Speaking of being rather dismissive, the term was "Even the Best Police occasionally make mistakes" which is to say

Which is to say that since the majority of the police cannot logically be "The Best", mistakes must be far more common than just occasional.

If the police poses a threat to innocent people, something needs to be done.
I am never more in fear of my life than when I see a police officer, and that should not be the case.

As said, a few bad apples spoils the barrel, and the barrel is not in a healthy state. The whole barrel needs to go.

Comment Re:Dragon NaturallySpeaking (Score 3, Insightful) 89

open thunderird
write now email
---dictate to address
---dictate message
send email

works fine for me

That "works fine for me" is the problem. What works for one person won't work for another. You're technically savvy, with a mind working well enough to remember those specific commands. Those who would benefit the most from such a system might not be.

Some won't remember the exact statements, or their order.
Some won't have a clear enough voice, or one that works in the specific frequency and amplitude range the machine needs[*].
Some can't put on a headset properly.
Some can't see the screen well enough to know whether the computer understood.
Some won't have the patience to go through so many steps.
Some will say other things in-between which throws the voice recognition off.

All those "somes" add up, and it won't work for a large portion of those who would be the most helped if it worked.

[*]: I give up on most voice controlled phone and car systems. My voice is very deep and very soft, and what little makes it past the high-pass filter is frequently misunderstood. It gets really frustrating when the systems have an option to say "human" to speak to a human, but the systems can't even understand that you say "human". Especially if it then tries to throw up a simplified yes/no guessing game, but can't even understand when you say "yes" or "no".

In short, expert systems in general and voice recognition in particular is today a "works for most" that creates an even bigger divide between conformant majorities and minorities that actually need more help.

Comment Re:Criminal? (Score 2) 311

If you block people from being elected (or people from voting) who have committed crimes, you allow unjust laws to ferment unchallenged, and you encourage politicians to pass laws that disproportionately affect their opponents.

Very true. Unfortunately, the US has not taken the full steps needed to avoid this, due to disenfranchisement of felons. In a two-party system, this invites those in charge to make and enact laws that hit the other side harder than theirs.
Most democracies have safeguards to prevent this, most notably by making voting an inalienable right. You then can't silence opponents by creating unfair laws, and then take away people's right to vote when they break them.

Comment Re:For the sake of us who are new here... "Who?" (Score 1) 131

Who is he? What is his goal? Where is he doing this stuff? Why is he so pissed-off? When did he learn of the offense? How is he intending to achieve his goals?

He's scum. But compared to Gawker, he's cream.
What I want to know is whether he has a donation site where I can donate to the good cause of getting rid of the site that makes 4chan look good and reddit outright saintly.

Comment Re:They should talk to Congress, not courts. (Score 1) 178

> That isn't self-consistent.

No, you missed everything. That is simply what the law is right now, despite your attempt to impose your own structure on it.

>but your word game is about something different than what I said.

My "word game" is explaining that what you wrote just isn't the issue here, but rather a common misconception.

Texas cannot pass a tax on a New York Merchant.

But no such tax is involved when Texas imposes a use tax on a Texan for a purchase from a New York merchant. The issue is that it can only look to the Texan, not the yorker.

(Actually, at *some* level of sales, the yorker would have sufficient contacts with Texas that Texas could assert jurisdiction under International Shoe and its progeny, but that would only make money for lawyers, and the costs of litigating these would drive what happened).

>Congress is welcome to pass a law requiring states who do collect a sales or use tax to require
>reciprocal reporting with other states that also require it,

There are issues about mandating the state participation. Again, states probably have to opt in

>but you're going to need some very new rulings from the Court before you manage to put
>requirements on people in states like Oregon that have neither of those things.

No, not if you are actually familiar with the past rulings. USSC has made it clear that they are interpreting in the absence of legislation, no mandating. This is properly Congress' domain, not the courts. However, when Congress doesn't act, the courts still have to handle disputes.

As I wrote, it would be difficult to force states in, but Congress can also regulate the shipments themselves if it comes to it. Even if it can't force a state in (that could go either way at the USSC), it can impose requirements on the shippers.

And as a practical matter, states without sales taxes have nothing to collect, so might want not to opt in (again, assuming their Constitutional issue is decided in their favor), so as to give their merchants an edge in other states. For better or worse (and I'd argue worse), Congress has been quite effective in using road construction and other issues to trample on state prerogatives in the past (55, .08, and so forth). Or different postal rates for states that opt in. Or (more practically) regulating the large sites that most sellers use to get found. Or an excise tax on the act of shipping (rather than the goods themselves) out of that state. Or . . .

But in the end, this is for Congress.

Comment Re:it needs to be easy. (Score 1) 178

>Sales by zip code will not work, because zip codes do not follow municipal lines.

That's just too bad.

Zip code already exists in all transactions.

The five digit sips can be changed, or the localities or states can solve the division for the zip code.

Using zip is the least burdensome way to deal with distribution, and those jurisdictions unwilling to accept that can just not opt in and try to collect the tax themselves . . .


Comment Re:They should talk to Congress, not courts. (Score 1) 178

I am a lawyer, but this isn't legal advice. I charge for that.

No, it isn't comparable to that at all.

All or nearly all states have a "use tax" in the same amount as their "sales tax." Almost everywhere, both of these taxes are on on the purchaser, not the seller. In the sales tax case, the vendor is required to collect that tax on the buyer for the state and hold it in trust. (The only exception I know is California, for which the tax is on the seller. The only practical difference is if the merchant late files bankruptcy, making California's dischargeable after a time if the returns were filed).

Anyway, the taxes already exist, and are on the buyer, not the seller. The questions is not whether the tax exists, but whether the seller can be compelled to collect the taxes on behalf of fifty states, a few territories, and the zillions of subdivisions.

If every city could require its own tax return, it would be so burdensome as to take out every seller other than amazon (and maybe walmart). In fact, the compliance costs would exceed the taxes for most sellers. (sidenote: prior to last month's changes, compliance cost for the US corporate tax were twice the revenue raised).

Now, at some level of sales volume, the burden becomes relatively small compared to the profits, and it stops being unreasonable, at least in principle.

Note that the prior law is *NOT* that the taxes cannot be assessed, or even that states can't require them, but rather that in the absence of Congressional action, the states can only look to their residents, not the out of state vendors.

I really don't expect that to change (in fact, it is really hard to argue the position that Wyoming can constitutionally impose an obligation on the Wyoming vendor).

Rather, there will be some rulings reached along the way to a similar result, which serve to clarify that this is Congress' job.

Twenty years ago, the sane thing to do was leave the infant internet alone and see what happened; maybe these small vendors would change the world or something.

Today, the sane Congressional solution would be to require a single monthly report and payment, with the report broken down by zip code. (and for those jurisdictions that have multiple rates within a zip code, that's just too bad. Get your act together).

To be clear, states would have to opt in to this federal program (but those that didn't would be stuck trying to collect from their own residents).

A threshold on sales for having to file would be appropriate. Given that, as the world has worked out, most sales of very small merchants occur through amazon, eBay, etc., tacking this on to their system would be a minimal cost (in fact, they could take care of it entirely, leaving no burden on the seller).

For that matter, there's not a compelling reason not to simply apply this to *all* sales for such aggregators that collect the funds; it would even be simpler.


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