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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: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: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!

Comment Re:Common sense solution (Score 3, Insightful) 192

Er, what do you think "kill[s] millions of Americans every year"? Only 2.6 million people died in 2014 all together. 614k of those are heart disease, followed closely by cancer at 591k. Those two are the only causes of death above 150k/yr. Unless you're saying that "our Western appetites, processed food, and a largely sedentary lifestyle" are the "countless things" we're letting by, you're talking out your ass.

Certainly drones must seem like a non-issue to you if you think the world is at least 10x more fatal than it is. For the rest of us, it would be nice if people would be a bit more responsible with their dangerous toys. Like the old-school model airplane AMA-member types - that's all anyone (including the FAA) wants out of the drone types. I think the eggs and magnet bans are stupid too (though you can still buy the magnets btw) but drones can hurt other people so they're a different category.

Comment I don't think there's much of a case here. (Score 4, Interesting) 192

The FAA has broad authority over anything that flies and they have a history of declining to regulate hobbyist model aircraft. But putting out an advisory circular saying "we won't bother you if you are a hobbyist and listen to the AMA" is kind of the opposite of "we don't have any authority over this activity". "Enforcement discretion" is pretty much exactly how I would describe this.

Like most executive branch functions, and like it or not, the precise manner and timing of how the FAA carries out their mandate is up to them. It's basically like how the cops usually won't bother people for having a broken tail-light or a few MPH of speeding, but can elect to pull over people at any time for those violations. In fact, even if the town has a policy of not pulling people over for always had to understand something about airspace and keep things safe. Pre-drone, the AMA served this purpose and their fields' placements and operating rules took care of this problem. But when you can unbox your drone, charge it for an hour or two, and then send it up to 3000' on the first try, there's no funnel through the AMA like there used to be to teach people those rules. The drone registry's main purpose is to act as another funnel so that people can figure out where and when it's safe to fly. And, if they don't play by the rules, that there's at least the potential for accountability.

The drone community has brought this on themselves entirely. As even the suit alleges, everyone was OK with the model airplane rules. Drones changed the game and forced the agency's hand here. That's what happens with disruptive technology - you might as well get mad about the regulation of automobiles because everything was fine with horses. But obviously cars are much easier to use (average experience and skill goes down) and go much faster (danger goes up). Drones are similarly easier to use, which explains their popularity, and can easily go much higher and from way more places.

Comment Re:CDMA won the GSM vs CDMA standards war (Score 4, Informative) 84

I hardly know where to begin. You're confusing standards with modulation techniques. You're also confusing GSM the standard (1991, TDMA, voice with GPRS and then EDGE) with GSM the "class" (which includes UMTS, HS(D)PA(+), and LTE). The latter is a set of standards defined by the 3GPP, whose scope now includes the maintenance of the original GSM standards.

CDMA is a modulation technique (actually a "channel access method", basically a way to share the medium vs an actual encoding). Other modulation techniques are AM, FM, QAM, CODFM, and OFDMA (OFDMA is one channel-access version of OFDM - 802.11G uses OFDM with CSMA/CA instead). There's a "class" of standards built on IS-95 (you may remember it as cdmaOne) that includes CDMA2000, 1xRTT, and EV-DO. These did pioneer the use of CDMA for cellphones, but everything uses CDMA nowadays, and GSM (the lineage) has used CDMA (W-CDMA) since UMTS.

The point is, in non-RF cellphone usage, the antonym to CDMA is not TDMA, but GSM. And GSM the lineage has very much won the standards war with LTE. Over 90% of devices in the world use GSM-lineage standards, including most Verizon and Sprint devices (which are right at home on LTE). Eventually the legacy IS-95 derived standards will be completely turned off and the US will have gotten over its weird not-world-standard fetish, at least for cellphones.

Comment Re:But Apple has made life better for you (Score 1) 311

Er, but they could've done that already. Lightning audio output already works, doesn't it?

Yes, it does, since iOS 5.1.1: (and many others)

Anyways, Apple's built-in DACs are widely known for being better than almost anyone else's. I'm not an audiophile, and I never had to worry about whether the random headphones or stereo system or speakers I had on hand had a quality DAC, but now I do - and it'll cost more to boot (especially for a mediocre one, let alone one as good as the one Apple used to have).

Comment Re:Or the actual reason(s) (Score 5, Insightful) 761

I don't doubt that those are the actual reasons, but that's not really the point. All it means is that they're pushing off their (engineering) problems on their users. Apple has a long history of deprecating stuff that (at the time) people thought was premature - but in essentially all the other cases it turns out that the new thing really is better. Serial ports, the floppy drive, non-USB connectors, CD drives in laptops, even replaceable batteries - there are tangible benefits to switching to the new thing, and they usually relate to speed, capacity, or physical size.

The headphone jack is slightly thicker than a Lightning connector (the only remaining jack) - but they didn't make the phone thinner to take advantage of the extra depth. And other than the connector itself a Lightning headphone is worse in every way, because headphones are driven by your ear technology, not the phone's. The newest fanciest Lightning headphones in 5 years (assuming this decision sticks) will never be more than today's headphones plus a built-in Lightning dongle.

What does this decision get me as a user? Let's go through. Headphones are headphones; there's two channels of audio that are the result of a varying electrical signal. I don't really care what the cord to the device looks like and considerations like "do these phones work with other things? do other phones work with this?" easily dominate that area. I guess this lets them use a little extra power but there was already more than enough output to damage your ears. If there were wild battery life improvements... maybe? But someone on the other thread did the math and a headphone jack's volume of battery is good for ~12 minutes. Meh. What about water resistance? Other phones have no problems with the IP67 rating and a headphone jack - I have no doubt that it was easier for Apple's engineers, but Apple used to not push their problems on their users.

So what does that leave? They wouldn't be able to have a force-sensitive home button? Honestly I'd rather have the headphone jack. Or just get rid of the home button - it works just fine for Android - or at least make it oblate or rectangular rather than round.

I have had every non-S model iPhone since the 3G, so I'm "due" to buy this one. In addition I have apps that I rely on that only work on iOS. It should be a slam dunk. But... honestly? I knew someday I'd lose the reason to buy an iPhone, and this might be that day. Not just the headphone jack, but the whole package. It doesn't look like a bad phone as such, but the only thing I'm really interested in is the waterproofing. And I'm not careless enough with my phone that getting it ruined is a big risk. The headphone jack thing isn't a dealbreaker, mostly because I don't listen to music much on my phone, but it's damn close.

Honestly Apple is just out of ideas. I bought a new MBP last year and it was the first hardware purchase I made in my entire life that I wasn't excited about. Roughly as functional as the 5-year-old one it replaced, more in some ways and less in others, but the same price. I needed a new one because the older one wasn't really working but boy did they manage to turn something I used to enjoy into something kind of boring and depressing. I'm still annoyed about the large size of the smallest iPhone still available - I was in London a few months ago and had to use my (out of contract and unlocked) iPhone 5, and it was sooooo nice. I assumed I'd gotten used to the wider width, but nope - and I didn't miss the extra screen at all.

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