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Comment Re:Sensational Summary Session? (Score 1) 897

Gee, an officer replied to a DV call of a man beating his wife, comes in and sees a woman with a black eye and a dude that smells of whiskey* -- do we really need a jury to decide that one?

Depends. Did he really beat her, or was she filing a false report to get even with him for coming home drunk again after going home with the blonde at the bar?

How do you know? Seems like we need a trial to figure it out. Fortunately, the Constitution protects the accused's right to have one.

Comment Re:Tea Party is the mix you seek. (Score 1) 639

I'm fiscally conservative and socially liberal too [in fact I think a lot of people would be, if they took the time to think about it], but I don't think the Tea Party is a good fit. Sure, they call themselves fiscally conservative, but then they scream "keep your hands off my Medicare!" in the next breath. They're really more the "I got mine so fuck you" party.

The real tragedy that's going on here is that the Libertarians and Greens aren't capitalizing on the Tea Party and Occupy movements (respectively), and then forming a coalition.

I'll agree in part and disagree in part. I'm an informal (deliberate-lowercase) tea partier myself; I've many friends who count themselves the same. To a man, we all want to simply be left the hell alone, and are perfectly willing (nay, eager!) to give up Medicare, Social Security, etc., though we would prefer to keep the premiums we pay for those services and save/invest them for our future needs.

The media doesn't interview us, though.

The tea party is a marvelously robust and dynamic crowd, sharing many values with the occupy (again deliberate) crowd. The media and the political class like to quantize the people into easily-defined camps; as the great-grandparent poster noted, it's a multivariate problem even after simplification. You're right in complaining that the Libertarians and Greens aren't capitalizing on the movements (not respectively, as there's a fair degree of overlap), but the real problem is that the Republicans are co-opting the Tea Party (deliberate caps) movement (and, to a lesser degree, the Democrats are co-opting the Occupy movement).

The fundamental problem is--again, as GGP poster said--the reduction to a Boolean variable. Reality doesn't fit neatly into black-and-white, but black-and-white is the easiest thing for people to understand. Black or white; is or isn't; with us or against us. It's Duckspeak in its purest form. The real problem is that thinking is hard. I've known people who will spend ten hours a day doing backbreaking physical labor in the heat of an Oklahoma summer's day, but if you try to spend two minutes engaging them in thought, they give up. Thinking is harder than just about anything else man has conceived. I don't discount myself: I can run two miles and feel energized, but after a day of hard work at my terminal, sitting in a comfortable chair in an air-conditioned office, I'm ready for a beer and a good night's sleep.

I seem to be drifting. To return to the point: the real issue is that the system propagates the black-and-white myth, when reality recognizes not only shades of gray, but an entire spectrum of color. Try getting the media to report on that; there's talk of the Fairness Doctrine--try getting the babbling class to recognize that "fairness" required not one opposing commentator, but hundreds, if not thousands, all differing subtly, and most with at least some degree of validity.

Comment Re:What the hell is wrong with this country? (Score 2) 416

The majority may not be active thugs, but they are at the very least silent enablers. Look at what happened to NYPD's Adrian Schoolcraft: he secretly recorded roll call, exposing police corruption. After he let the public know the truth, several officers--including supervisory officers--concocted stories to arrest him and forcibly commit him to psychiatric care.

To the best of my knowledge, not a single one stepped up and said "hey, he's telling the truth."

Enablers, the lot of them, and that puts them squarely on the side of the wrongdoers, more interested in their positions and their paycheques than in the safety and well-being of the citizens they are sworn to serve and protect.

Comment Re:Great, TFS is a troll (Score 1) 232

Redbox OTOH, now that it has banished most of the Blockbuster and all the Hollywood video stores, seems to be taking advantage of the situation. There is no acknowledgement that some customers might have trouble with the extra cents and have to cut back.

$DEITY forfend! Somebody might have to cut back from six movie rentals per week to five! Next thing you know, Redbox will be making its clients sell their children at discount prices just to heat their cardboard boxes!

Perspective. Get some.

Comment Re:Commerce -- Seriously? What about the constitio (Score 2, Insightful) 2247

Ahem. "The Congress shall have Power To..." is authority, not a mandate. The Congress can choose not to exercise its power in a given area if it wishes. In fact, in some circumstances, the fact that Congress has chosen not to legislate may itself be considered a form of regulation, and not subject to further regulation by the states.

Comment Re:Nice (Score 2) 2247

We landed men on the moon a decade before the Department of Education was created. It's not that education isn't necessary, its that it doesn't have to be managed at the Federal level. Do you really think our education system is substantially better than it was in the fifties and sixties, and that the improvement is a result of Federal action?

Government

Seigniorage Hack Could Resolve Debt Limit Crisis 696

UltraOne writes "With the US Senate voting to table the Boehner debt limit bill, the US is only a few days away from running out of cash to pay for all its obligations. Slate is reporting on a fascinating legal hack that could come in handy, described by blogger 'beowulf' back in January 2011. Seigniorage is the extra value added when a government mints a coin with a face value greater than the value of the precious metal contained in the coin. The statute governing the minting of coins contains a section (31 USC 5112(k) ) that authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to mint and issue platinum coins in any denomination or quantity. To keep the government from running out of money, Timothy Geithner could order a $5 trillion platinum coin struck and deposited at the Federal Reserve. The money could then be used to fund Federal Government operations (blog post contains legal details)."

Comment Drones, He Says? (Score 1) 892

Assuming arguendo that drone-fired weapons don't constitute "hostilities," what about F-15's? Helicopters and ship-launched Tomahawk cruise missiles? F-16's and EA-18's? (Note: that's the DOD's press release, so it's probably reliable.)

Here's a great graphic breaking down just who is sending what. Breakdown for the US: 12 ships, 153 airplanes, 228 cruise missiles. It doesn't break down by aircraft type, but it's a fair bet they're not all UAVs.

Cellphones

Austin's Alamo Drafthouse Theater Gives Texters the Boot 370

Hugh Pickens writes "Ever been annoyed during that nail-biting darkened hallway scene by someone turning on their phone to send a text? Well, don't mess with Texas or you may end up on the screen in a public service announcement. Alamo Drafthouse, a local chain of dine-and-screen movie theaters in Austin, Texas, has long waged a war against impolite moviegoers booting out customers who talk or text during performances. Phoebe Connelly writes that according to Tim League, the Drafthouse's founder, a woman was recently warned twice about texting during a screening, and then, in accordance with company policy, was escorted out without a refund. 'I don't think people realize that it is distracting,' says League. 'It seems like nothing, but if you spend as much time as I do at the movies, you realize the entire theater sees it and it pulls you out of the movie experience. It's every bit as intrusive as talking.' The irate customer called up the Alamo Drafthouse and left a profanity-laced (and perhaps slightly inebriated) message decrying the theater's policies, but the theater got the last laugh as they took the audio of the woman's voicemail, transcribed it, and turned it into an in-house preview [tl: Note, YouTube video contains some profanity] that warns theatergoers against cell phone use during movies. 'Part of what we're trying to do is have a comedic message about what to us is a very serious issue,' says League, declining to give any more details about the woman at the center of the recent PSA."

Comment Re:Cameras make sense in some cases (Score 1) 80

I think most people would expect to be able to make private phone calls on office telephones (for example, to/from their doctor).

I don't. I know very well that I'm running on a software-controlled PBX, and that calls are routinely monitored or recorded. It's the company's phone line, not mine; why shouldn't the company have the right to monitor it?

Comment Re:Not much of a story (Score 1) 181

Assuming the kid really does live in Sweden though, American courts don't have jurisdiction.

Not necessarily. A court may be able to exercise long-arm jurisdiction under the "minimum contacts" rule--when Ryan went out of his way to make contact with Liberty Media, his actions were clearly directed to the forum state (wherever Liberty Media is based). As such, he may have subjected himself to that state's jurisdiction, at least with regard to this matter (this definitely wouldn't be enough to subject him to general jurisdiction, that is, he couldn't be sued for just anything in that state).'

Jurisdiction can be complicated and ugly; we spent a full semester on just that in Civ Pro I (Civ Pro II covers venue, the Erie doctrine, pleadings, and more) because there's just that much to cover.

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