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Comment Failure to Read the Article (Score 1) 1376

Four paragraphs into the article they note that the Irish Constitution (from 1937) explicitly prohibits the publication of blasphemy. "it goes on to prohibit the publication of 'blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter'


Further even in the First Paragraph they note that the new law came into being in removing the old 1961 Defamation Act. So the title of the original post is completely misleading. Blasphemy has been prohibited under Irish law for a long time. This is not a new situation in that regard. In the Sixth Paragraph the author notes: "only one case was ever taken under the blasphemy prohibition since the introduction of the constitution in 1937 (a 1999 case against a newspaper, in which the Supreme Court concluded that it was not possible to say 'of what the offence of blasphemy consists' and that 'the state is not placed in the position of an arbiter of religious truth')."


In other words, this is much to do about nothing. Ireland doesn't prosecute blasphemy. It does have a need to do a little house-cleaning on the wording of its Constitution to bring it into line with popular practice, though.

Comment Education Reform? (Score 1) 468

Well, if it works it'll create an new avenue through which to assault some of the corruption degrading our education systems. Text-book publishing is a giant scam. Removing the heavy overhead of print-based publishing could significantly increase competition. Perhaps schools will be able to focus on purchasing content rather than page-count. Is it too much to hope that we won't see quite so many products purchased without proof-reading? Maybe we'll see an end to needing to drop $150 for a "revised 5th edition" copy to replace the old "5th edition" copy of a book because it updates 3 typographical errors. Wouldn't that be a trip? That's not even getting started on the potential for interactive content presents over static text and diagrams.

Comment Seriously doubt "forced" is accurate (Score 1) 1297

Unless they strapped the man down with his eyes open I doubt Saddam was actually forced to watch the movie.

The man was entitled to a roof over his head, a bed to sleep in, a pot to piss in, and regular meals. I seriously doubt he was denied access to religious scripture either.

It was, in all likelihood, one of the few movies they'd let Saddam watch as a break from the mind-numbing tedium of sitting in a cell by his lonesome.

Most likely, it is one of those awful misuses of the word "forced" just like people routinely misuse the word "torture." Seriously, by the definition of most folks locking someone in a room by themselves with no entertainment and just food, water, shelter, and waste facilities would be "torture." It certainly sucks, which is why the innocent aren't supposed to be subjected to such treatment on a whim.

Lots of lawful punishments for criminals, unlawful combatants, and POWs would be considered "torture" and "human rights violations" if the state just grabbed a random civilian off the street and subjected them to such conditions.

Sorry, but if you in prison awaiting trial for crimes against humanity and your only choices are to watch "South Park" make fun of you or sit in your cell and watch nothing you aren't being "tortured" or "mistreated." You've got it way better than many people in prison for lesser offenses, honestly.

Comment Sci-Fi Channel Better Have Footed the Whole Bill (Score 0, Flamebait) 252

The very possibility of any tax-payer dollars paying for this made me throw up a little bit in my mouth. If the U.N. junketeers want to get their Sci-Fi on they'd better pay out of their own pockets for their own convention badges like everyone else.

Hooray! A bunch of international bureaucrats to have their own sci-fi wank-fest. Yeah, use the U.N. building as a venue for advertising a private company's DVD sales. That's probably the least irresponsible thing the U.N.'s done in a decade ... I wonder if they'd ever consider seriously confronting grave moral and geo-political issues. Perhaps they could invite philosophers, statesmen, and theologians before they brought out the entertainers.

Comment Re:It's part of a culture of incompetence (Score 1) 1064

Personally, I think the insurance companies have created a vicious cycle of "you scratch my back I'll scratch yours" with doctors, where both parties benefit from less work and more money being extracted from us. In this environment, there is no need to do your job well. It's as anti-competitive as Soviet Russia.

Yes, it is anti-competitive - due to artificial barriers to consumer choice and competitor entry into the market.

These are the product of Tort Lawyers, established Insurance Companies, their Lobbyists, and the Politicians they've bought and paid for.

I don't have this kind of problem with my Life Insurance policy. I don't have this kind of problem with my auto-insurance since I moved away from Massachusetts either. I still have this problem with my health insurance because the government restricts my access to health insurance choices. I can either be herded like the rest of the sheeple into taking the one plan offered by my Employer and backed by the State's Tax Policies, or strike out on my own into a market completely warped by that same non-compete scenario. With so few healthy Americans actually choosing their own health care, costs for independent insurance providers are prohibitive.

This isn't a monopolist / oligopolist scenario caused by the "Free Market." This is a closed market due to the Market Leaders forging an alliance with the State to effectively bar competition in the marketplace. You already live under Socialized Medicine in America, just hushed up and subcontracted. Now we're moving to the stage where the State tries to cut costs to finance their untenable position by limiting consumer choices. The step after than is rationing (such as we see in Dentistry in the UK already) and the next one is the killing / denial of treatment to "useless eaters."

Comment The Public Defender (Score 2, Insightful) 1064

How strange,

In your country if you're accused of a crime you consider it a natural right to have access to a free lawyer and access to free legal advice is enshrined in the highest law of the land. The spirit of socialism at its finest! But oddly there's no "socialism" conflict in that area, even from the "libertarians".

That's probably because there is not Socialism involved at all. Public Defenders are only supplied in Criminal Cases because they are in opposition to Public Prosecutors. In contrast, the state does not hire you a lawyer so you can sue someone.

The system is set up that way to limit the power of the State. Instead of using the public coffers to bludgeon the individual into submission (as happens in most exercises of Socialism) the State must pay for both sides of it adversarial trials so as not to exert undue influence and marginalize the rights of its citizens. Similarly, evidence discovered by State employees and officers (such as the police) must be disclosed equally to both sides whether it helps or harms the State's prosecution of its case.

Comment Re:The problem with darwinism.... (Score 1) 951

I'd like to stress, though, that evolution doesn't have anything to do with the origin of life. The first life could have formed from chemicals in the early earth's oceans, been created by the Designer, left here by aliens, or drifted in on a comet. Doesn't matter. Evolution can't happen until life can replicate itself. It would certainly be nice to know how life came about, but it's not relevant to evolution.

It think that observation is truly key.

I think the true reason you get the word "Darwinist" tossed around from time to time is because you have two active factions of Religious Philosophy that are abusing the science by committing logic fallacies to try and "win" an argument over metaphysics. The faulty premise in their pointless bickering is that somehow Evolution contradicts the existence of a Creator Deity.

About the only thing Evolution truly challenges are odd notions of folks convinced that the first human being was literally molded out of clay.

The entire notion of an Judeo-Christian Deity demands that such an Entity be responsible for the laws of physics that govern the universe itself. As a consequence the process leading to the stars, planets, seas, and all living creatures forming are all themselves part of an elaborate Act of God. Hence, man's formation through evolution is likewise caused by God. The mechanics of creation and evolution don't directly speak to the existence, non-existence, or nature of said Deity.

People try to interpret those mechanics to find answers, but that's like asking someone what they think the clouds in the sky look like. It is more likely to tell you about the personality and feelings of the observer than anything else. Some people want to see a flat, empty continuum. Some people want to see the Mind of God.

Most serious theologians don't have trouble reconciling this issue, nor do most serious scientists. The fringe fundamentalists and the militant atheists, however, get themselves all worked up over it. They also seldom target any but the most uninformed bystanders and scapegoats in their attempts to assert their doctrine, as opposed to counterparts with education in theology, philosophy, or the like.

The meta-physical arguments address a question of the purpose of human existence.

The scientific arguments address a question of the mechanics of human existence.

They can both the question of "Why are we here?" due to the frailties of the English language, but that's about it. They don't have much to do with one another.

Comment Try Washington DC (Score 1) 459

D.C. Public Schools spend way more money per student every year than most of those "white flight schools," or even urban charters and religious schools. Their results are much, much worse than the average school in the U.S. even though they spend way more money than the average school.

That's because the problem isn't the lack of money (there isn't any thanks to redistribution programs) but rather the utter incompetence of the School Administration. Who'd have thought that rewarding bureaucrats for failure and denying consumers choices in the market place would lead to a terrible product? The legal liabilities of Entitlement Schools making it impossible to maintain any semblance of Discipline couldn't possibly have a negative influence on outcomes either, could it?

The primary purpose Public Schools in many districts is strictly to line the pockets of the Teacher's Union Officials and the Public Sector Bureaucrats in exchange for putting politicians in office. As long as the Diploma Mill continues to hand out worthless counterfeit degrees to the illiterate and ill-behaved parents can pretend they held up their end. It is no wonder they fail.

Comment Actually, its a Roosevelt Court invention (Score 1) 849

McCollum v. Board of Education (1947) is when the Jefferson letters were introduced into Jurisprudence with the phrase "Separation of Church and State" as well as radical modern requirements for "secularization" that were never implemented in the Founders' lifetimes or apparently intended by their writing of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

It was driven by a court packed by FDR, the ruling lead by justice Hugo Black, a Ku Klux Klan member.

Lynch vs. Donnelly (1984) finally corrected this abuse of jurisprudence, repudiating Justice Black's arguments and concluding that you could not take Thomas Jefferson's opinion (who didn't compose the Bill of Rights, vote on it, or have a hand in its ratification short of some letters written to Madison and a few other colleagues while Jefferson was in Europe) from a private letter as the foundation of an Constitutional interpretation that somehow overrides the public actions and publications of everyone else.

Comment Fighting Words, Harassment, & Disturbing the P (Score 1) 849

I think that between those three categories most instances of "profanity" that people are actually concerned about would already be punishable without having to actually ban words outright.

Using excessive vulgarity in public to the detriment of surrounding folks: Disturbing the peace

Continuous lewd or abusive comments towards another individual: Harassment

Insulting or berating other people to provoke an altercation or verbally assault them: Fighting words

I think that should cover almost all the bases of "public standards of decency" without having to actually make specific words felonious in any context.

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