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GeorgiaDon last won the day on August 26

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  1. Jerry, I do not understand your response. Of course the legislative branch passes laws and the executive branch enforces them. Both are branches of the government, and that is how our government is structured under state and the federal constitution. Different branches have different jobs, but it's all the government. Just because the FBI (or ATF, or EPA, and so on) is administered by the White House and not Congress, that in no way implies that laws passed by Congress are not enforced or are not even intended to be enforced by the federal government. In the case of the Texas law, the law explicitly forbids any branch of the state government, whether controlled by the legislature or the Governor's administration, from enforcing any aspect of the law. I can't think of any other law, passed by any legislative body at any level, that explicitly forbids the government from playing any role in enforcing that law. I believe that that "feature" renders the Texas law unconstitutional. I believe that erasing the entire concept of "standing" also cannot be permitted, as it would allow anyone to sue anyone over anything without having to show that they have been harmed in any way.
  2. It seems to me there are two issues with the law, which could be attacked separately. If either falls, the law would fall. 1. The State passed a law, but it declines to enforce any aspect of the law, and delegates that to "common citizens". 2. The law outlaws abortion before most women can even possibly know they are pregnant, and so in effect it is a ban on a constitutional right. Currently the supreme court said they can't rule on 2 because there is no legal precedent for 1 and so they don't know how to approach the problem. They prefer to have lower courts thrash it out rather than deal with it themselves at this point. Regarding 1, it seems to me that there is a serious question whether a law that the state does not to enforce itself is constitutional. Can a state pass a law that it does not intend to enforce? Conservative states (including Texas) went all the way to the Supreme Court to argue that once the individual mandate disappeared there was no enforcement mechanism for Obamacare, and that lack of an enforcement mechanism (i.e. a "tax") made the whole law invalid. Also the law destroys the long-standing concept of "standing" by giving everyone, anywhere, standing without having to show they have suffered any harm. If this becomes precedent, the courts will be flooded with people suing over issues where they would previously lacked standing. If only as an act of self-preservation, the courts have to stamp out this precedent. Regarding 2, the time frame for limiting abortions is clearly unconstitutional in light of all Supreme Court rulings to date. Even if the court does not rule that way, if the system of empowering "common citizens" to enforce the law falls, and the state refuses to enforce it themselves, then the law will be without effect. Given the amount of emotion attached to the abortion issue, I think a full fledged attack on 1, without dragging 2 into the argument, would be wise. That does not preclude an independant, equally strong attack on 2 of course. Don
  3. For those on the political right who think all this will only be a problem for "libtards", I can also easily imagine this tactic being directed against anyone who sells firearms. Imagine what will happen if anyone can, without any penalty or financial risk to themselves, sue any gun store, dealer, or even someone who just posts a for sale ad on Craigslist, alleging that that person or store sold a gun that might possibly be used in some unlawful activity. Don
  4. Apart from the reprehensible impact of this law on women's ability to control their own lives, I am also concerned that it establishes a blueprint for all kinds of trouble. Imagine the tactic of "deputizing" the general public applied to voting. As an example, a law could set up the following scenario: 1. Anyone, anywhere, can sue poll workers and anyone supporting polling (people servicing voting machines, people driving poll workers to work etc) if they suspect even a single instance of illegal voting has occurred. If successful the litigant would be awarded $10,000/illegal vote plus legal costs. If the poll worker wins they get nothing. Poll workers would be faced with huge costs to defend themselves even if the lawsuit is without merit. Of course, the litigants could ensure victory by getting just one person to vote illegally, for example by tricking or bribing a convicted felon to vote. The result would be that no-one would agree to work at a polling station, or service voting machines, etc. Couple this with: 2. If any precinct is unable to recruit sufficient poll workers, the state legislature will be empowered to assign the votes as they see fit. This would put "counting" the votes in the hands of state legislatures and strip the public of any meaningful ability to vote. I would be curious to see what this Supreme Court would do with that. My guess is that 5 or 6 of them might wring their hands but decide they couldn't do anything because the legal issues are "too complicated". Don
  5. What you are doing here is an old tactic called "making perfect the enemy of the good". You can raise an almost infinite series of "what if" stories to justify never ever approving any drug, vaccine, or whatever. Is a side effect that impacts literally one in a million people worse than a disease that has killed a minimum of 4 or 5 million in a little over one year, and destroyed the long-term health of several times that number? For a long time after drugs are approved they continue to be monitored for those infrequent side effects, so that treatments can be developed or people likely to experience the side effect can be identified and excluded from taking the drug. If your standard is that not one person, ever, has an adverse reaction then that is the end, no-one will ever develop a new method to treat or prevent any disease. Don
  6. It is quite legal to put a surcharge on health insurance premiums for behaviors that have a significant likelihood of raising health care costs. At my work there is a $100/month surcharge for smokers. You have to sign an affidavit that you do not use tobacco products (smoking, pipe, or chew) or you are automatically assessed the surcharge. If you lie and are caught you immediately lose your health insurance coverage. I suppose the same thing could be done regarding skydiving, but in reality so few people skydive that it would cost more to enforce the program than it would be worth. Don
  7. I learned a new term yesterday: "hospital pass". Geoff Hoon, who was the British Defense Secretary when Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded (the British military was involved, not just the American), put the blame for the Afghanistan situation on the "peace treaty" Trump negotiated with the Taliban, and said Trump threw Biden a "hospital pass". I had to look it up as I had not heard the term before. A hospital pass comes from Rugby but it's sometimes used for other sports, it's when you avoid being tackled yourself by passing the ball to another player who then immediately takes a hard tackle that could put them in the hospital. Sounds to me like a good description of what has happened here. Don
  8. I do wonder, though, what exactly the police are supposed to do in situations like this. Background for those who don't care to click on the link: House is up for sale and unoccupied. A couple of weeks before a squatter was living there, or the house was broken into (I've seen both reported in different stories). Squatter/burglar was arrested, and homeowner asked a neighbor to keep an eye on the place. Neighbor sees a black man enter the house and he (or she) calls the police and reports that the same squatter/burglar is back. Even reports the person is driving the same vehicle as they were when they were previously arrested. Very explicit that it is the same person back again. Neighbor then reports that two more people have shown up and entered the house. Police respond and surround the house. People inside see the police and come out with their hands up. They are handcuffed and put in patrol cars for questioning. It is quickly established that the first person is a realtor and the other two are clients (father and son) who wanted to look at the house (bet they aren't interested any more!). People are released and an apology is given. No question that the neighbor who called the police jumped to a conclusion, apparently based on nothing more than skin color. Even the report that vehicle was the same was wrong. So how should the police have responded to the neighbor's 911 call, given that the neighbor was very explicit that the squatter/burglar was back and had brought accomplices?
  9. I am vastly more impressed with Victor Vescovo, who funded the development of a submersible vehicle he then personally piloted to the deepest point in every ocean. During these dives a lot of real science was done, including the discovery of over 50 new species of deep-sea animals. For his ~$50 million investment we have a submersible capable of reaching and exploring every point in the world's oceans. Don
  10. You don't say if you passed the levels. What did your instructors say about how you did? Many jumpers experienced setbacks, less than perfect jumps during their AFF progression. Skydiving doesn't just come naturally to many people, it's something you have to work at to learn how to control yourself in the air. Just a guess, but your experience on your second jump may indicate you tensed up and were fighting the air, which isn't at all unusual. I think I was told I had to relax more after each of my first 3 or 4 jumps. Did you meet the goals of the jump? Were you aware of your altitude, and did you pull on time? If so you did fine. If not, it's common to have to re-do a level, or even multiple levels. You will progress faster, and have more fun, if you are in good shape so that is always a worthwhile goal. However you should be aware that if you take a long time off to get in shape you will have to go back a bit in your training. The point of having several levels to AFF is to build survival skills, and too big of a gap will interfere with that. If you are having trouble relaxing, maybe a tandem jump where you don't have the stress of performing can help you to relax and experience more of the fun, and help you get in the mindset to carry on with AFF. Also as has been suggested a better fitting jumpsuit could help you to fall faster and have better control without fighting a lot of flapping fabric. If you are very light, though, some added weight may still be needed so your instructors can fly with you. If you can't stop thinking about skydiving, and your instructors didn't give you the "take up bowling instead" speech, you can work past these very common early self-doubts.
  11. It's tough when there is a delay between your class and your first jump, as there is a lot to remember. However the first jump course provides you with information you may need to save your life. What was it that you "didn't remember"? (Don't answer that, just think about it.) If it was emergency procedures, for example, not remembering could get you killed if you are unlucky and have a malfunction on your first jump. Your radio may malfunction, and you'll have to remember the landing pattern on your own. Did you review the material before going to the drop zone? Did you (perhaps unintentionally) convey the impression that you didn't take things all that seriously to your instructor? In any non-tandem jump, you are completely responsible for getting to the ground and back to the hanger safely. Your instructors cannot deal with a malfunction, or steer you back to the landing area, or ensure you flare on time etc. If they are not confident that you could do those things unassisted, they are doing their job to have you wait until you have mastered the first jump course material. If you really want to give skydiving a try, you won't let a minor setback like this discourage you. Assume your instructor has your best interests at heart, and they did not feel you were ready to jump. Review all the material, and go back with the goal of proving you are ready for the next step.
  12. Apparently he also thinks that the people who were murdered in the Pulse nightclub mass shooting were the ones to blame. Perhaps if they weren't gay they wouldn't have needed killing? But really, I think that post was just his usual trolling, saying outrageous things to get a response. Pretty sad, really, that anyone needs that sort of validation.
  13. If you are satisfied to be a minion and not the boss perhaps you need a bit of an ambition upgrade. If the felon was to pretend to be someone else (his or her wife in this case) in order to fraudulently claim and use a professional license, that would be identity theft and fraud, both felonies. Just keep digging that hole deeper and deeper! That is what is called a straw purchase. According to the Georgia Code: (b) Any person who is on probation as a felony first offender pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 8 of Title 42 or who has been convicted of a felony by a court of this state or any other state; by a court of the United States including its territories, possessions, and dominions; or by a court of any foreign nation and who receives, possesses, or transports any firearm commits a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned for not less than one nor more than five years; provided, however, that if the felony as to which the person is on probation or has been previously convicted is a forcible felony, then upon conviction of receiving, possessing, or transporting a firearm, such person shall be imprisoned for a period of five years. The purchaser has also committed a felony. That hole just keeps getting deeper! Your "client" is an idiot. Don
  14. Absolutely. A lot of this falls under what I called "tribalism". Also there is the celebration of individualism to the extent that it is seen (in some circles) as a sign of weakness to even acknowledge that one receives any benefit from living in a wealthy developed society. Many people take all the societal infrastructure for granted and assume that they achieved everything in their life alone, unassisted by anyone, and everyone around them is trying to take things away from them. Don
  15. Here are some suggestions about factors contributing to the high rate of violence with firearms in the US compared to other first-world countries, based on my personal experience having lived in Canada for ~30 years, in Europe for a few years, and in the US for ~30 years. 1. Although there are angry people everywhere, there seem to be a lot more of them in the US. This includes everything from people who feel unfairly treated by the world to people who have learned that they can often intimidate other people and so get what they want by being hyper aggressive and threatening. Such people rarely if ever recognize that they contribute to their own problems in various ways and instead blame everyone else. Related to this is the fact that US culture is more competitive in a sink-or-swim sort of way, with almost all the emphasis on "you're on your own" and much less on "you're part of a society and we all need to look out for one another". 2. Economic disparities are larger in the US than in comparable first-world countries, with more barriers to moving out of the economic class to which you are born. The latter seems paradoxical in a country that prides itself on a culture that claims that anyone can get ahead by nothing more than hard work. However even a small contact with the "justice system" can create lifelong barriers to advancement, and such contact is much more likely for the poor, and for non-whites (although poor white people can be impacted for sure). As an example, in Georgia almost any felony conviction, which could be for possession of a tiny amount of pot, or (until recently) theft of anything worth more than $50, leads automatically to a lifetime ban on qualifying for a state license for anything. This means you can never work in nearly 80 professions state-licensed professions, including becoming a barber, cosmetologist, electrical contractor, plumber, conditioned air contractor, auctioneer, utility contractor, registered trade sanitarian, and scrap metal processor, among others ( BTW this is the sort of thing that is included in "critical race theory"). These issues contribute to point 1. 3. The US is more tribal than any other developed country I have lived in. People tend to view members of other tribes with suspicion at best, and open hostility at worst. Members of other tribes are often seen as not fully human, and as undeserving of equal treatment under the law. Successful members of "other tribes" are often assumed to have gained their success unfairly (government handouts, affirmative action, white privilege, etc) rather than by honest effort. This contributes to point 1, and reduces "others" to "not really American" or "not fully human". 4. Although the US has laws against violent behavior, there is more acceptance of the idea that violence is sometimes necessary. American culture tends to celebrate the "outlaw", be it the John Wayne-style gunslinger or the hip-hop gangster. Cold-blooded killers who murdered numerous innocent people become folk heroes (Billy the Kid, Bonny & Clyde, etc). Although few would recommend using violence as the first resort to get your way, many quietly accept that sometimes you "just have to stand up and do what you have to do". We see this strongly in "stand your ground" laws that place "standing up and not allowing yourself to be pushed around" over retreating (even when it would be easy to avoid violence), even if the result is people being killed or maimed. The US entertainment industry is largely built around the idea that violence is sometimes the best response (probably because violence is more exciting and makes for more interesting story lines than negotiation and diplomacy). Also the US is much more militaristic than other developed countries, which (rightly or wrongly) supports the notion that violence is sometimes (or often) an appropriate way to respond to a challenge. 5. Firearms are easily accessible. Even if you are legally prohibited and so can't buy from a licensed dealer, you can easily get whatever you want through a private sale. Firearms are easily accessible in other countries. You can buy a semi-automatic rifle (but not a handgun) for hunting in Canada. So why is crime involving firearms less common by a wide margin in other countries? I suggest it's the combination of points 1-4, and no doubt others. How can this be fixed? I have no idea, certainly not in the short term. Perhaps that is why gun control is so attractive, it seems to be more "do-able" than fixing all the other things that lead to a relatively large population of angry people who can justify to themselves that violence is sometimes necessary, and anyway all those other people aren't really people, or Americans, or whatever. Don