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Old 2011-04-14, 00:39   #1
cheesehead
 
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Default How does proper government manifest in regulation?

How do the proper functions of government apply to, and manifest themselves in, regulation?

For this thread, I'm interested in regulation. National defense may be a proper function of government, but that's not basically a matter of regulation, is it? OTOH compulsory registration for Selective Service by citizens reaching 18 years of age is a regulation related to national defense.

I've seen various folks refer to (existing or proposed) government regulations that constitute social reform, that are odious, or are totalitarian. May we have specific examples of each of those three categories?

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2011-04-14 at 00:48
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Old 2011-04-14, 22:53   #2
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I don't think I'm the referrer you refer to. I basically like my nice roads, want some government help not having to drag my body 25 miles to work every day, learned to wear a seatbelt when I learned to drive, and think that it's pretty important to keep people healthy whether or not they can afford a private doctor (why? because the flu epidemic of 1918 killed millions, poor and rich, but it started out as a "poor people's" problem). I also think that meat animals shouldn't be allowed antibiotics -- those should be reserved for sick people.

So, beyond the implications above, I'll explicitly cite:
The pure food and drug act, and legislation making Marijuana illegal.
These are without a doubt social reform, and debatably odious -- the making of drugs of abuse flat-out illegal leads to numerous problems including porous borders and armed and dangerous inner cities, and a burgeoning prison population of non-functioning people who aren't much of a danger to anyone except themselves.

The Anti-terrorism initiative on airplanes. Approximately 5,000 people were killed one day by terrorists with airplanes; but we ignore the 5,000 people killed every other month on the roads by cars. Where is the war on cars? There is very little evidence that searching everyone and requiring less than a few ounces of anything on planes is anything other than an exercise in power of the totalitarian variety. So is guantanamo bay, so is the increasing presence of military weaponry among ordinary policemen.

At the end of the Clinton administration, lenders were pushed to make riskier loans to more folks. The result was a giant housing bubble, banking bailout, and the general economic malaise we are now in. This is social reform.

As for odious: Patent juries not having to have any technical qualifications whatsoever. [If it were me, at least other patentholders, or, possibly ABET-accredited 4-year graduates -- technical merits should not be decided by people with no interest in the details of technology]
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Old 2011-04-15, 01:59   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christenson View Post
As for odious: Patent juries not having to have any technical qualifications whatsoever. [If it were me, at least other patentholders, or, possibly ABET-accredited 4-year graduates -- technical merits should not be decided by people with no interest in the details of technology]
It's notable that the patent office does not consider computer science degrees as qualifications for examiner positions, whence the EXTREME problem with software patents that any reasonably informed person would have found to fail the non-obviousness criterion (not to mention the many with prior art).
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Old 2011-04-15, 03:08   #4
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Uhh, you should look up my latest HARDWARE patent...the idiot lawyers included the electronic enclosure on my circuit, and we didn't have to defend against some rather obvious prior electronic art.

I also wasn't happy with the standard of nonobviousness on my first patent, also in hardware...standards at the patent office aren't high in general.

I can joke that things have been going downhill ever since Einstein left....


And I'll add another odious bit of well-intentioned social engineering: Workplace harassment laws. See Bob Silverman's thread; I can also tell of not being able to call a master-slave setup by exactly that name due to a very sensitised descendant of negro slaves in this country. PC is for the birds.

Not that I don't believe that we should be largely color-blind and sex-blind in the workplace, and that the primary criteria for advancement should be the advancement of the cause of the workplace at hand, but rules that effectively require silencing of discussion or any expression of politics, religion, art, and anything related to sex, whether or not the parties consent, and whether or not it is appropriate, aren't what the country is **SUPPOSED** to be about. But *supposed* is a magic word, and whatever follows is usually wrong.
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Old 2011-04-15, 03:42   #5
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What, you didn't think they were serious about all that first amendment stuff, did you?
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Old 2011-04-15, 20:05   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christenson View Post
I don't think I'm the referrer you refer to.
No, I had in mind not only some folks with which I've had recent discussions, but also many others I've encountered in other Internet forums over the past 15 years.

Quote:
I basically like my nice roads, want some government help not having to drag my body 25 miles to work every day, learned to wear a seatbelt when I learned to drive, and think that it's pretty important to keep people healthy whether or not they can afford a private doctor (why? because the flu epidemic of 1918 killed millions,
(including my father's eldest sister)
Quote:
poor and rich, but it started out as a "poor people's" problem).
We still have many folks who don't believe/understand the germ theory of disease, but prefer to assign religious meanings to infections. Also, there's the current anti-vax movement.

Quote:
I also think that meat animals shouldn't be allowed antibiotics -- those should be reserved for sick people.

So, beyond the implications above, I'll explicitly cite:
The pure food and drug act, and legislation making Marijuana illegal.
These are without a doubt social reform,
What about public health departments, the CDC, the NIH, the U.S. Surgeon General? (The pure food and drug act isn't the primary means of addressing infectious agents.) Are they odious in any aspect?

Is there any odious aspect to legally-authorized inspections of food-processing and food-serving establishments, or required licensing of food handlers?

Quote:
The Anti-terrorism initiative on airplanes. Approximately 5,000 people were killed one day by terrorists with airplanes; but we ignore the 5,000 people killed every other month on the roads by cars. Where is the war on cars?
What about the multitude of safety requirements for vehicles sold or licensed within the US? What about the requirements for driver licensing? (I just got my notice for 8-year renewal of my license, and am just waiting for my haircut to grow out a bit before going in for the photo.)

You aren't suggesting (by "ignore the 5,000 people killed every other month on the roads by cars" -- BTW this annual rate of ~30,000 is significantly lower than the 50-60,000 that prevailed during my youth) that there have been no efforts to reduce traffic deaths, or proposing that it would be as feasible to inspect drivers/passengers of cars before each trip as it is to inspect passengers/crew of commercial airlines before each flight, are you?

Quote:
There is very little evidence that searching everyone and requiring less than a few ounces of anything on planes is anything other than an exercise in power
A long-time security expert, Bruce Schneier (http://www.schneier.com/), has frequently explained in detail the deficiencies of TSA searches. He says it's "security theater" intended to put on a show to satisfy the fearful without accomplishing much in the way of actual security.

Quote:
of the totalitarian variety.
BTW, I don't think real totalitarianism wouldn't allow such public discussion of TSA inspection flaws. I hate to such a strong term as "totalitarian" degraded through loose application to things that are merely disliked or politically opposed by the speaker.

Quote:
At the end of the Clinton administration, lenders were pushed to make riskier loans to more folks.
If you're referring to something other than the Community Redevelopment Act, please state so clearly.

How, exactly, were they pushed? It wasn't that administration's amendments to the Community Redevelopment Act, which (still) explicitly states that no lender is to lower any lending standard in complying with the act. So, what do you mean? Are you alleging that government bureaucrats improperly/illegally pressured lenders beyond what the CRA authorized?

Or is it that some folks are unwilling to give up the idea that loan applicants living in "redlined" areas were riskier prospects than applicants who had identical financial profiles but lived in more prosperous neighborhoods? IOW, redlining was a lazy way of avoiding real examination of financial qualifications. CRA discouraged (by public exposure) redlining, but the redlining lenders didn't/don't want to admit the real reason for their reluctance.

Quote:
The result was a giant housing bubble, banking bailout, and the general economic malaise we are now in.
How amazing that you make no mention of the part played in those matters by risky derivatives that built up unsustainable multitrillion-dollar international leveraging, and the widespread (self- & other-)deceptions about their real risks!

Quote:
This is social reform.
It is? Or is this "social reform" label just an excuse for not admitting the real reasons, and diverting attention from the shenanigans on Wall Street by blaming a Democratic administration (and, implicitly, misportraying the following Republican administration and Congress as somehow being helpless to correct the situation during the six years of their joint ascendancy)?

Quote:
As for odious: Patent juries not having to have any technical qualifications whatsoever. [If it were me, at least other patentholders, or, possibly ABET-accredited 4-year graduates -- technical merits should not be decided by people with no interest in the details of technology]
Question: are there special patent courts, or are you referring to juries in federal (I presume) courts that happen to sit in patent cases?

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2011-04-15 at 20:40
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Old 2011-04-15, 20:45   #7
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Quote:

At the end of the Clinton administration, lenders were pushed to make riskier loans to more folks. The result was a giant housing bubble, banking bailout, and the general economic malaise we are now in. This is social reform.
If this is intended to refer to amendments made to the Community Redevelopment Act near the end of the Clinton administration:

I don't mind someone's stating their objections to what the CRA actually is, says, and did or does.

What I do mind is what I see conservatives do over and over and over:

pretend that the CRA is responsible for things it didn't do, as a way of shifting the blame for our financial crisis to Democrats.

What I'm asking for here is fact-based honesty and willingness to drop convenient, but false, mythology.

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2011-04-15 at 21:00
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Old 2011-04-15, 21:20   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
Question: are there special patent courts, or are you referring to juries in federal (I presume) courts that happen to sit in patent cases?
Essentially the answer is yes: there is a special court (the "federal circuit") that deals almost entirely with patent and trademark law. Technically it's just one of the circuits, but practically its caselaw is very different from any of the others.

I can't speak to what Christenson might have meant, of course.
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Old 2011-04-15, 23:14   #9
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Wow! Lots of stuff to answer here.

In the US, the "federal circuit" is to hear patent cases, because of some rather famous abuses that happened when the usual circuit courts heard patent cases, not to mention quite a bit of inconsistency. I was referring to the essentially (and reliably) non-technical juries that will sit on patent cases if they ever come to trial. The blackberry e-mail case is an excellent example. The way US courts work, since lawyers can reject anyone they want, as a technical person, and a smart one, there is virtually zero chance that I will ever get seated on a criminal jury. [A proper jury should be able to ask the witnesses questions just like the two opposing lawyers can, not simply a judge of their presentations...without that, the truth gets trampled]

As for the CRA: I'm not intimately familiar with it. And yes, there were quite a few shenanigans that went on, especially in the REPUBLICAN administrations that followed Clinton....and anyone buying a security where they can't identify exactly which mortgages or other properties are involved needs to have their securities license revoked. Where were those REPUBLICAN-led banking regulators? Oh, yeah, either getting de-funded or abetting the nutty lenders!

Not that redlining isn't an abuse that makes neighborhoods get worse quickly, and, like harrassment in the workplace, some kind of appropriate response is in the collective best interest.

Quote:
What about public health departments, the CDC, the NIH, the U.S. Surgeon General? (The pure food and drug act isn't the primary means of addressing infectious agents.) Are they odious in any aspect?

Is there any odious aspect to legally-authorized inspections of food-processing and food-serving establishments, or required licensing of food handlers?
No...I wasn't thinking of those benefits. I eat out a lot, and when the inspection services didn't work, I got food poisoning a lot, too. In fact, such inspections aren't strong enough in the meatpacking industry, for example (regulators weren't allowed to use really good science and statistics in deciding when and where to inspect), and ingredient disclosures are too lax. Two examples: Cranberry juice cocktail doesn't have to disclose how much cranberry juice is involved, and there's plenty of scientific evidence as to its therapeutic value for urinary tract infections, both as to effectiveness and to the causes of that effectiveness. There are also two cinammons, and these don't have to be distinguished. One of them has significant, drug-like properties, and the other does not.

I was instead thinking of the criminalization of recreational drug use and abuse that has caused a tremendous expansion of our jail population, especially in the last two decades.

As for cars versus airline security, we are largely on the same page...I certainly have benefitted from seatbelts and other safety standards for vehicles, and, have in fact walked away from three accidents that have totaled the car around me, including one in which the car I was driving ended up nearly upside down.

Now, if I were to have a war on cars (and new york/new jersey, or even DC would be a good place to have one), I'd be trying to find ways to get cars off the road, and spending some of my gas taxes on making it possible to get wherever somehow else, or not to have to go in the first place. An internet commuting act would be one step in that direction. Making hitchiking safe (hint: if I have your picture and you have mine and my license plate number and I misbehave, what happens next, especially if the cops also have the picture?) would be another. I'd love to hear more such ideas.
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Old 2011-04-16, 18:15   #10
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1) Corrections to a paragraph I wrote earlier:
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post

BTW, I don't think real totalitarianism wouldn't
(Take out one of those two "n't"s, please.)

Quote:
allow such public discussion of TSA inspection flaws. I hate to
see
Quote:
such a strong term as "totalitarian" degraded through loose application to things that are merely disliked or politically opposed by the speaker.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Christenson View Post
As for the CRA: I'm not intimately familiar with it. And yes, there were quite a few shenanigans that went on, especially in the REPUBLICAN administrations that followed Clinton....and anyone buying a security where they can't identify exactly which mortgages or other properties are involved needs to have their securities license revoked. Where were those REPUBLICAN-led banking regulators? Oh, yeah, either getting de-funded or abetting the nutty lenders!

Not that redlining isn't an abuse that makes neighborhoods get worse quickly, and, like harrassment in the workplace, some kind of appropriate response is in the collective best interest.
Thank you for these clarifications!

Last fiddled with by cheesehead on 2011-04-16 at 18:25
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Old 2011-04-17, 02:29   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
1) Corrections to a paragraph I wrote earlier:
(Take out one of those two "n't"s, please.)
cheesehead: I read that sentence in intent mode, and completely missed the accidental double-negative!
*********
As for my analysis, I think there's a bunch of people who are very stressed by the technical changes of the last generation, and a bunch of rich people who don't like to pay taxes manipulating them. (Think "Future Shock"...everybody's got not just a 'puter, but a smart phone...and all the kids are "sexting"...and decent jobs aren't easy to come by..what is the world coming to?)

The semi-rich don't want to acknowledge the role that fortune played in letting them get rich -- that there is often nothing wrong with those needing help except a bit of bad luck. They call them lazy, instead. One whack over the head, and most of us have brain damage....if you want to be a top mathematician, you need to have grown up in a rural environment(anecdotal, not proven).

Not that large organizations don't tend to get rather inefficient...governments being excellent examples, but corporations, too.
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