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Comment Re:Someone missed the Spirit of the Law (Score 1) 86

That's an overly simplistic (dare I say, engineering) view of how the law works. While their decisions are grounded in statute and constitutional law, as well as common law, they have broad enough latitude in how they apply it that they use a number of doctrines to actually figure out how they're going to rule even if they could rule either way based on the merits of the case. The higher up the court, the more likely this becomes - after all the case is sufficiently ambiguous that the lower courts couldn't resolve it easily. These doctrines are broadly speaking the court's view of "justness" and help them consistently apply the law to the facts of the case.

For instance, a number of laws have been struck down as being overly vague and a court could certainly find that because your hypothetical law doesn't define "shoe size" precisely enough, it's essentially void. Or if they figured that such a law was fair, they could also agree with the government that "shoe size" is commonly understood.

Put more broadly, one of the reasons the courts are so important is because they can essentially create law from thin air. For instance, did you know that the Constitution has nothing in it giving the Supreme Court the power to strike down laws? The court gave itself that power in Marbury v. Madison. (It's a bit more complicated than that, as history is, but nonetheless the Constitution doesn't mention it.) The court's mandate is deliberately left vague enough to continue to be relevant - for instance, if you piss off the court, you might find yourself jailed indefinitely for contempt, which is the only indefinite detention allowed by law. If you proscribe a court's behavior too much it becomes too easy to circumvent which leads to absurdities. Thankfully courts are reactive, not proactive, by nature - and they tend to have pretty reasonable and history-conscious people on them, so this usually works out alright.


Comment Re:Groping (Score 1) 394

And he's trying to cause election day violence.

I'm not saying to go violent, but we have to watch, folks, because our democracy is being stolen by the media, by the government, by a bunch of lying whores too ugly to grope, by SNL, and by illegal aliens who get airlifted from Mexico to the inner cities so they can vote five times for Crooked Hillary! It's all rigged, the system is totally rigged, folks, totally rigged, and you know it's true because if Trump loses, believe me, everything is rigged, I can tell you that much.

Comment Re:Groping (Score 2) 394

Conservatives seem to be more concerned with hypothetical scenarios than things that actually happen. Hypothetically, a good guy with a gun might shoot a bad guy with a gun, a guy might put on a wig and enter a women's restroom to leer at girls, a Syrian refugee will show up in Chicago and vote 10 times for Clinton or set off a fission bomb, etc. The fact that these things never happen doesn't matter- if they can *imagine* it occurring, that's enough.

It's amazing how many people are convinced of "voter fraud" without actually thinking about what it means. Voter fraud means someone stands in line, votes, then gets back at the end of the line and votes again- thus risking years in prison in order to get in one extra vote! Which is believable if you're utterly incapable of putting yourself in another person's shoes and imagining what they might be thinking.

Ever since voter fraud paranoia took hold, governments have been policing for voter fraud more vigorously. And so far the only offenders have been conservatives trying to prove how easy voter fraud is.

Comment Re:Deflection (Score 1) 756

Sure. On the money side I was against Citizens United, and on the media side I think cable news is an abomination. There's a lot to be said for there being a few national networks - ideally non-profit public broadcasters - that attempt to reach everybody. With a national audience you have to be balanced and clearly call out editorializing to be broadly palatable. Cable news (let alone the Internet) can get away with confusing opinion and fact on a regular basis - in fact it's a virtue.

But again, we expect citizens to influence our elections. Foreign governments don't get to do it, let alone covertly. It's axiomatic. Why is this so hard?

Comment Re:Deflection (Score 1) 756

No. It doesn't work that way. Governments don't get to interfere in other country's elections without repercussions. Full stop. Especially covertly - if their motives are so noble why are they all cloak and dagger? Is it because they think people wouldn't like it if they started running ads on TV saying "Russia thinks you should vote for Trump"? You know, the last time the Russians interfered in our elections, people got kind of annoyed about it.

If you think saying this is locker room banter, stay the FUCK out of my locker room. I've heard some stuff in locker rooms and it didn't come close to this. You just don't get it, do you? There's a difference between "wow, she's hot, I'd like to fuck her, look at those boobs, think they're real?" and "I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab 'em by the pussy. You can do anything"

One is vulgar appreciation for hot women, which (while in poor taste perhaps) certainly qualifies as locker room banter. Guys think women are hot and would like to have sex with them - news at 11. Talking about how you, as a celebrity, get to "grab 'em by the pussy" and KNOWING that you get away with it is a whole other level. It's not abstract, it's not hypothetical, and there's mounting evidence that this has actually happened more than once.

You are what is wrong with this country. And you don't even understand why! Clinton's "basket of deplorables" comment was a pretty awful thing to say about her countrymates, but damn it all you just keep trying to prove it, huh?

Clinton is a damaged candidate in a lot of ways and I doubt she'll be seen as one of history's great presidents. Trump represents an existential threat to this country. And if you don't see why, you are the existential threat. Because the problem isn't Trump - it's you who have brought him to the cusp of power and given him the support he requires. Without you and your cohorts he has nothing but money. When he loses, you will still be there.

I have made it a point of pride to respect people I disagree with politically. I understood Mitt Romney and his supporters, I knew John McCain was a decent man, and thought Paul Ryan was looking out for the best interests of the country. I knew they saw the world and the country and its problems differently than I did, but that seems like a silly thing to lose respect over. This year that all went out the window. I can have no respect for the Trump supporter. It's that simple. You've allowed yourself to become so wound up over a bogus set of facts that you can't even see where you're going, and you can't be allowed to take the country with you. Even Trump campaign staffers have had enough!

"It's appalling. It's just flat out appalling," a Trump adviser said.

Asked about the reaction at a campaign field office, a Trump field staffer told CNN there were "gasps. Collective gasps. We're trying to get our heads around it right now, but there's no way to spin this. There just isn't."

Don't bother replying, I really don't care what you think. Instead take the time to ask a woman in your life what she thinks about someone famous and powerful grabbing them by the pussy because he knows she won't be able to do anything to him. You at least have a mother or aunt or sister or something so ask her.

Comment Re:Deflection (Score 1) 756

There is, in fact, strong evidence that Russia is trying to influence our election for their own aims. Doesn't that bother you? Would it bother you more if they were trying to help Hillary? Hell most Trump supporters are mad at the media for talking about the things he says publicly, let alone when a foreign government does it. It's this far from an act of war to interfere with another country's elections, and the US has been rightly criticized for doing it to other countries before.

Nobody's denying that they're true - in fact nobody cares since all she describes is politics, and business, and book group negotiations, and... - and that's not the point. All of these Hillary scandals are washed up and never as juicy as the media makes them sound, so people just get tired. We get it, people don't like her, and people think she's secretive. But most people think she'd be a better administrator for a few years, custodian if you will, than someone with such a short fuse that he'll upend his entire campaign at 3AM - so without talking to anyone - in a fit of pique. Presidential campaigns are very serious! You can't just fuck it up because something got under your skin! What's he gonna do, nuke France one night on a whim because Hollande said something mean to him and it's been keeping him up?

Comment Re:BAAH!!! (Score 1) 136

In the sequel, the Tyrell Corporation meets its downfall. After Eldon gets his eyeballs pushed inside out, the company is managed for four years by a replicant of Carly Fiorina. As a result the replicants refuse to work unless constantly supplied with overpriced genuine Tyrell superpower refill cartridges.

Comment Re:Yeah, that'll be why its 400C on Venus (Score 1) 130

So let me see if I understand you correctly:
  1. 1. Your four doctors were "experts".
  2. 2. They misdiagnosed your illness four times.
  3. 3. Therefore experts are idiots.
  4. 4. Since climate scientists are also considered "experts", they must be idiots too.
  5. 5. Therefore the climate isn't changing. QED.

Although this analysis depends on several logical fallacies, and basically amounts to an anti-intellectual attack on science and reason, I have to admit that it's more sound than most denier arguments.

Comment Re:So that's how Trump's spinning it (Score 1) 843

I think you're attributing too much to the Times. They - several times - point out that what he did was perfectly legal and acceptable, and otherwise don't waste any time discussing it, instead discussing how the deductions work and other aspects of his finances. Any characterization of him in the article has nothing to do with legality or even ethics - it's about his skill as a businessman, at using the rules to his advantage, as a responsible citizen, and of course overall his suitability to become the President.

People hate taxes. People also try to pay the least taxes possible. We all do it - and we're supposed to, since the tax code explicitly encourages certain behaviors like charity and investing for the future. I personally reduced my tax bill last year by $1000 because I (retroactively) maxed out my HSA. But most people have to pay taxes because they get a paycheck and it's just taken out and they have no way around it. And they watch people with astonishing amounts of money (which includes Trump, regardless of his exact income) get out of the thing that they have no control over. The government spends their money, not Trump's. This feeling people have isn't really open for debate - the tax code has undergone significant upheavals due to similar public outrage before. (The creation of the AMT is just one example, but virtually every other loophole counts.)

The question is, what does your average working person think about Donald Trump as a man who is on their side? This is a question they answer emotionally, not by referring to the depreciation schedules or a philosopher. Do you think the average American is impressed or angered by Trump losing approximately ~%0 of his effective income between 1995-2013 (at least) while they lost about ~20%? Certainly he is trying to convince people that they should be impressed. But what did they think of Romney, who had very similar tax- and bankruptcy-law acumen?

Notice - I haven't actually judged Trump negatively or positively in the above text. Does it seem like I have? All I did was described facts about him and the American people. Personally I actually agree with what Romney said in 2012 - basically it's up to the legislators to make a tax code that reflects the public policy about who should pay what taxes, and if a man like Mr. Trump can avoid paying taxes then either that's what he should be doing according to our Congress, or they should fix it.

It's not patriotic to pay extra tax and nobody is seriously arguing that it is. The questions people have about him have nothing to do with money.

Comment Re:FAA is barred from legislating by sec 331 (Score 3, Informative) 192

Section 331 of the 2012 FAA modernization act is a definitions section. Perhaps you meant section 336. You also left off a bunch of conditions:
- It has to be hobby/recreational
- It has to be according to the AMA's rules ("in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization")
- It has to be less than 55 pounds or signed off on by the AMA
- It has not interfere with manned aircraft
- If within 5 miles of an airport, you have to call the airport
- It has to be within visual line of sight

Also it says that "Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Administrator to pursue enforcement action against persons operating model aircraft who endanger the safety of the national airspace system."

So the section 336 exemption is followed exactly, except that the FAA says that if the drone is more than 0.55lbs it must be registered. The FAA probably argues that this is part of maintaining the safety of the national airspace system, and I think it's a case they will win considering it's based on weight. Their legal argument is basically that by codifying the Part 107 UAS rules, they have told everyone "we consider unregistered drones over 0.55lbs to endanger the safety of the NAS and will pursue enforcement actions against such persons" - which is basically all a regulation is. The plantiff's argument would have to be along the lines of "well technically the law says you can't do anything it doesn't say, and doesn't say anything about whether heavier drones can be required to be registered". Which is fair enough, but since registration is non-discriminatory (anyone can do it, the FAA won't tell anyone they can't) and free ($5 online but you can do it on paper), they'd have to argue that the registration requirement itself constitutes a burdensome regulation on top of what's allowed by the law - to which I say good luck.

Generally, laws about regulation either delegate a section of authority to an agency for them to figure out the rules, or (if the congress-folks are worried about the agency doing or not doing something they don't like, which is what happened here and with the more recent class-3 medical certification reform for manned aircraft) they lay out the shape of the rules that they expect the FAA to create. That's what the FAA did here, modulo that registration requirement. But it's up to the agency to create the laws that follow the outline in the law, and on general principle courts will yield to the regulating authority unless the disconnect is "big enough".

Comment Re:I don't think there's much of a case here. (Score 1) 192

Laws like the Air Commerce Act and the Federal Aviation Act which give the FAA authority over aircraft in the United States? Once those laws have been passed, it's up to the FAA to figure out what the rules are. That's called "administrative law" and the "real" law says "you have to follow the administrative law".

Let's say you fly the drone stupidly and get punished by the FAA. (If you fly the drone non-stupidly and follow the simple rules, that's fine with everyone.) They have to follow an internal process to decide if they punish you or not, and you get your say, but I recommend you be apologetic because they don't have to convince anyone but themselves to punish you. If you don't like it you can appeal - to the NTSB. If you don't like what the NTSB's Administrative Law Judge decides, you can appeal to the full board of the NTSB. The NTSB will only stop the FAA if the FAA isn't following its own rules or is acting "arbitrary and capricious" in its decision - that's extremely rare, though it did happen with drones a few years back (the FAA had to go through the full rulemaking process, which they've since done). If you don't like the NTSB's decision you can appeal that to the federal courts, who themselves will only intervene if the NTSB "abused its discretion, or its determination is wholly unsupported by the evidence". I don't think this has ever happened, but you're welcome to give it a shot!

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