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Comment Re:Free market (Score 1) 353

While technically true perhaps, in reality it isn't unless you're talking about John Travolta.

It isn't just technically true, and it applies to more people than just John Travolta. (Why you use him as an example is a mystery.) It is true to the extent that if you are flying someone in a rental aircraft you cannot let them pay for the whole rental. That is considered to be "compensation" because you get to log the PIC time and can credit time towards currency requirements. THAT's how serious the "no compensation" part of the FAA regs are.

Private pilots fly very small (and comparatively inexpensive) aircraft, like 50-year-old Cessnas, which can't hold more than 4 people

Private pilots also fly multi-engine aircraft that were built in the last five years. If I wanted to, and had the money, I could drop a few million (at least 5.25 according to this, and 9-11 pax) on a King Air and fly it as a private pilot. The private pilot's license does not limit the pilot to "50-year-old Cessnas", and making that kind of statement shows you are ignorant of the reality of general aviation. The fact that you seem to think that "commercial" flight is limited to "commercial airlines" is also a clear sign of ignorance. Those 50-year-old Cessnas find service hauling passengers around for pay, too, even if there is a limited number of seats. One of my very first flights was on a Cessna (I think it was a 172) as a passenger going from Kansas City to Manhattan Kansas. The local FBO will fly people anywhere they want to go in the 172 they operate.

It simply isn't possible, in practice, for a private pilot to have the lives of hundreds of people in his hands.

"Number of passengers" has nothing to do with the difference between "private pilot" and "commercial pilot", and it is just as rare for a commercial pilot to have hundreds of passengers, too. By the time you get hired to fly the big iron you need to be an ATP -- one step above commercial. As a private pilot I can fly 14 of my dearest friends around in a Cessna Caravan (the beautiful aircraft that FedEx uses for cargo), but I couldn't charge any of them, nor can I charge any of the one passengers I could ferry around in a Skycatcher. No, the differentiation between needing a "private" versus "commercial" is not the number of passengers allowed, it is the paid vs. non-paid status.

As for your point #2, I don't see how it's any different if I hop in my friend's or neighbor's or relative's car as a passenger. I don't actually know that they've been maintaining their car properly.

You know them, and that will give you some indication of whether they are casual or rigorous about their standards of maintenance. You also know where they live, so if something bad happens they will be relatively easy to track down and they won't likely flee the area.

Also, it's pretty unusual for cabs to have more than 2 passengers,

So? Killing just 2 in a poorly maintained car is ok, three is not?

This isn't like planes at all.

The point of an analogy is not to show a congruence between two things, it is to highlight the similarities. Commercial aviation is similar to commercial ground transport because of the lack of ability to know the risks. The fact that the ground transport rarely gets above 0 AGL and aviation almost always does is irrelevant, as is the alleged number of passengers (which as I've already said, has nothing to do with the differentiation between "private" and "commercial" pilots.) I know of no limitation on number of passengers in Part 91 of the FAR, and I expect there is only an indirect limitation on a private pilot flying a 747 in that it would be hard to get the type rating for, or find someone who would rent one out for a joyride to, a PP AMEL. If someone does know a relevant FAR, it would be interesting to hear it.

So my whole point here is: if we're not going to bother having ANY standards on the roads at all, for our drivers or our cars, then why should cabs?

Your conditional clause fails, the "then" clause is not invoked. Were there no standards at all, then your point would have some merit. It would still be valid to have standards for commercial operations when there are no standards for private action, just as the sport pilot license has much less training required, but also has less privileges. And as the proposed removal of the third class medical for PP privileges would not imply there should be no medical certification for commercial operations.

Comment Re:hmm.... (Score 2) 112

Why should he registrar be responsible for content?

Because they have made themselves responsible through their Acceptable Use Policy agreement. For example, EasyDNS includes these conditions upon the registree:

  • The Applicant warrants to easyDNS that the details submitted by the Applicant to easyDNS are true and correct, and that future modifications or additions to those details will be true and correct.
  • The Applicant agrees not to use the services provided by easyDNS to conduct any business or activity or solicit the performance of any activity that is prohibited by law.
  • easyDNS reserves the right to revoke any or all services associated with a domain or user account, for policy abuses. What constitutes a policy abuse is at the sole discretion of easyDNS and includes (but is not limited to) the following:
    • transmitting Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE)
    • transmitting bulk email
    • posting bulk Usenet articles
    • Denial of Service attacks of any kind
    • copyright infringement
    • unlawful or illegal activities of any kind (this includes Ponzi schemes and HYIPs)
    • promotes net abuse in any manner (providing software, tools or information which enables net abuse)
    • causing lossage or creating service degradation for other easyDNS users whether intentional or inadvertent.
    • Is listed in the DNS Providers' Blacklist or in any other blacklist / RBL which easyDNS may reference.

Emphasis mine. And even more interesting:

  • No Protection for Abusers: Domains and user accounts determined by easyDNS to be in violation of our Terms of Service are not entitled to privacy protection....

The City of London was well within reason to ask them to look at whether one of their users was violating their terms, and all they had to do was say "no".

Comment Re:the thing is.... (Score 4, Interesting) 762

..marijuana really isn't illegal at the federal level

NO, that's wrong. It's a SCHEDULE I drug along with opium, Heroin, LSD and a long list viewable here:
http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/csa/812.htm#c

The complex litany of penalties is viewable here:http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/pubs/csa/841.htm#a

There was a Marihuana Tax Act... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marihuana_Tax_Act_of_1937:
Excerpt From Wikipedia
In 1969 in Leary v. United States, part of the Act was ruled to be unconstitutional as a violation of the Fifth Amendment, since a person seeking the tax stamp would have to incriminate him/herself. In response the Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. The 1937 Act was repealed by the 1970 Act.

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