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Qwertz

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  1. I just noticed this and I have to disagree with the categorical approach. Coming to mind as an immediate counterexample is Ratatouille, in which Remy (a rat who, although he cannot speak to humans in the film, can communicate with them through signs and has an internal monologue audible to the audience) has a number of very positive things to say about humanity. The use of an anthropomorphized animal as a vehicle for the viewer's interaction with the principal human characters is not automatic proof of bad philosophy. There are a bunch of bad talking animal movies out there though - Garfield, Dr. Dolittle, Cats & Dogs, and G-Force (now in theaters) come to mind.
  2. Indeed. You have grossly misinterpreted Gattaca in the same way many modern bioethics professors have grossly misinterpreted Gattaca. Thread on the film here. I keep meaning to write a detailed analysis, but have been busy these past three years. Perhaps next month. I was offended by Crash (the Paul Haggis film, not the David Cronenberg film). Haggis also was lead writer for Quantum of Solace and is primarily to blame for that film's problems. He had less of a hand in writing Casino Royale, but his influence can be seen in that film too, specifically in Vesper's betrayal. I think Haggis harbors a deep hatred for humanity and frankly the Bond franchise would do well to drop him. In my view, his best work to date has been his decision not to direct Casino Royale. Torture porn (Hostel, Turistas, the Saw films, the upcoming The Collector from what I've seen) is disgusting, though I think it says more about the people who go watch that sort of thing than it does about the filmmakers - these sorts of films are notably light on artistic (and therefore philosophical) content, with the possible exception of the first Saw. The category as a whole exhibits a malevolent universe premise, but I responded more negatively to Saw because it seemed more purposeful. Watching Seven Pounds on DVD made me wish I had seen it in a movie theatre, so I could have walked out (something I have only ever done once, during a screening of The Ring, and then only because of a disruption in the theatre that made viewing impossible) and demanded a refund. I didn't ever see The Happening because I knew better. I anticipate horrible premises from the upcoming 2012. Disaster flicks can have decent premises (the Airport series comes to mind, and some parts of the first The Poseidon Adventure, though it is a mixed bag), but nothing in the 2012 trailers looks good.
  3. Qwertz

    Favorite Movie Scenes

    Marlene Duchard's metaphor-overloaded speech in Neil Simon's The Cheap Detective - "And it is a thousand candles that will burn for every brave soldier that marches to the steps of the drums of liberty...." Gattaca and Wait Until Dark have already been mentioned. Ada watching the tide rise around her beloved piano on the shores of remote New Zealand in The Piano. The library scene in The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. (It's the only scene that doesn't take place on the four-part restaurant set.) (Just noticed that's three films with scores by Michael Nyman I've mentioned already.) M. Dufayel's videotaped message to Amélie in Le Fabeleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain. The Orient Express departing Istanbul station, in Murder on the Orient Express. "Le Jazz Hot" in Victor Victoria Laura Brown (Julianne Moore's character) contemplates suicide in a hotel room in The Hours, a film I otherwise found unremarkable. Alsatia Zeevo singing "In the Still of the Night" in the bathroom in Toys.
  4. Qwertz

    Should justice be retributive or restorative?

    For example, the federal sentencing statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3553, requires federal judges to impose sentences "sufficient, but not greater than necessary" to comply with these purposes: So the system we have, at least on the federal level, attempts to reach a mixed bag of retributive, restorative, deterrent, and correctional goals. ~Q
  5. Qwertz

    Legal Responsibility, Technical Q

    Echo borrows Foxtrot's car (with Foxtrot's permission, creating a bailment and an accompanying duty to exercise reasonable care with respect to the bailed property). Echo then hires Golf to have Golf drive Hotel around in the car for a while. Golf drives Hotel to an exclusive Hollywood party, where Hotel makes an ass of herself by neglecting to wear proper undergarments commensurate with the length of her skirt, and a firestorm of paparazzi descends on the vehicle. Aggravated by Hotel's behavior and the unwelcome photographic attention, Golf negligently pulls out into traffic, colliding with a vehicle driven by India. Compare to: Echo borrows Foxtrot's car (with Foxtrot's permission, creating a bailment and an accompanying duty to exercise reasonable care with respect to the bailed property). Echo then lends Foxtrot's car (again with Foxtrot's permission) to Golf, who wants to use it to take Hotel on a fancy date, because it is much nicer than Golf's own Volkswagen hatchback. Hotel again fails to wear proper garments and causes a scene, whereupon Golf decides to ditch her as quickly as possible, negligently pulling out in front of India, causing a collision. In both cases, Golf is personally insured, and his insurance policy contains the clause you cite supra. And in both cases Foxtrot can sue Echo for the damage to his car. In case 1, when Foxtrot sues Echo, Golf's insurer indemnifies Echo directly. Echo does not need to sue his employee, Golf, for indemnification. Echo is "legally responsible for the use of" Foxtrot's car by Golf under the respondeat superior doctrine. But in case 2, when Foxtrot sues Echo, Golf's insurer does not indemnify Echo. Echo may sue Golf for indemnification (perhaps by arguing that a bailment arose between him as bailor and Golf as bailee when he loaned Foxtrot's car to Golf), and Golf will be indemnified by his insurer. In case 2, Echo is not "legally responsible for the use of" Foxtrot's car by Golf because the bailment between Echo and Golf only creates a duty on the part of Golf to take reasonable care of the bailed property, whereas in case 1 the employment relationship creates a duty in the other direction - that Echo shall bear responsibility for Golf's wrongful actions (with the appropriate provisos, of course). Likewise, when India sues for his injuries, the law of torts and the doctrine of respondeat superior will let him sue Echo in case 1, but not in case 2. The second clause in the policy allows for efficiency by providing that insurer will indemnify (and, usually, actually pay for the legal defense of) Echo directly in cases where respondeat superior allows Echo to be sued. So I guess the difference between the cases is the difference between "legal responsibility for the use" and "legal responsibility for the property. The common law has readily created duties with respect to property, but has been reluctant to create duties with respect to the acts of others (probably moreso out of the difficulty of controlling the behavior of others than out of a longstanding respect for individual autonomy). Respondeat superior is one of the few areas where the common law has recognized factual scenarios that will give rise to such duties. The insurance clause you cite appears to be a way for this insurer to save costs by cutting out a step. Internally, this clause allows the company to accept and pay on claims against Golf's policy filed by someone other than the insured (in this case [case 1], a claim filed by Echo) in situations where the law will make that other person independently liable for the acts of the insured. The clause does not describe a legal nullity, but it also doesn't change the legal outcome. It only changes the route by which that outcome is reached, making resolutions of claims more efficient for the insurer by cutting the policyholder out of the equation in cases where a non-policyholder will be liable for the policyholder's actions. I think. ~Q PS: Bad episode of Dollhouse? Too much Paris Hilton in the news? A disturbing VW commercial? Something's got me upset - time to figure out what....
  6. Qwertz

    Legal Responsibility, Technical Q

    One can contract for indemnification as well, but that's not the same as "legal responsibility" the way I think you mean it. But even in the cases of parental liability for children's acts and employer liability for employees' acts, there are still requirements. In both cases, the parent/employer has to be somehow responsible in fact for the wrong committed by the child/employee. In both cases it amounts (in general terms) to a prior acceptance of responsibility for the acts of the other person, and in that way functions like indemnification (though not by the same mechanism). For example, respondeat superior requires that the wrong be committed by an employee while acting within the scope of his employment (i.e., under the direction, either direct or indirect, of his employer) and not on a frolic or detour (off doing his own thing during or in between performing his employment duties). In all three cases (guardianship, respondeat superior, & indemnification), holding a third party liable for a wrong requires showing facts to establish an acceptance by one person of a duty to answer for the wrongs of another. At common law this kind of duty was never* imposed strictly by operation of law, even in the parent/child relationship. These kinds of claims are different from claims like negligent hiring or negligent supervision, because they do not involve an aspect of wrongdoing by the third party - only an acceptance of responsibility. For that reason, I tend to think of respondeat superior and parental liability as indemnification claims brought by the wronged party against the indemnifier directly. (Ordinarily this is not done in contractual indemnification - you don't sue the insurance company of the guy who hit you with his car; you sue the guy. But the lawyers defending him will be paid by the insurance company.) They are really just different factual scenarios where one person has accepted responsibility for the wrongs of another. ~Q
  7. Qwertz

    Beat This!

    Except when Picard is Facepalm Picard.
  8. Qwertz

    Beat This!

    Robert Picardo Un-Borgs Borg
  9. Qwertz

    Proper government is violating rights

    Package deal. Why can't proper services be voluntarily funded in a way that isn't "anarcho-capitalist"? Break apart the package - funding must be voluntary, and certain services are proper. But nothing in reality requires that the funding of those services be on a payment-for-service basis. Government can be funded, as a whole, by any voluntary system you can come up with. Then the money gets distributed to the police and military, who do their jobs instead of worrying about where the money will come from or who has or has not paid. ~Q
  10. Qwertz

    Dog Ban

    The American common law has long imposed strict liability on the owner of a domestic animal for injuries caused by the animal. E.g., Sandy v. Bushey, 128 A. 513 (Me. 1925) (concerning horses). Accord Restatement of Torts § 509(1). By "strict liability," we mean that no matter how careful the owner was, or how many precautions he took, if his dog injures someone, he is in breach of his duty of care. If the injured plaintiff proves that the dog 1) caused the injuries and 2) was the property of the defendant, plaintiff prevails. (In Sandy, plaintiff also needed to prove that the animal's disposition was known to its owner, but this is still required in only a small handful of states.) See John L. Diamond, et al., UNDERSTANDING TORTS, 2d ed., § 16.02( (Lexis 2000). As for federal constitutional issues re dog bans, David is pretty much on the ball here. Amend X gives states power to do anything not prohibited them by the Constitution, and municipalities get their authority from the state. Nothing in the U.S. Constitution prohibits the states from banning particular kinds of property. Amend. II is not an exception to that last statement. Amend. II (along with all the amendments of the Bill of Rights) applies to Congress, not the states. The Bill of Rights amendments only became effective against state governments by their "incorporation" into Amend. XIV's Due Process clause. (Unfortunately not through the Privileges and Immunities Clause, which would really have been a jurisprudentially sounder way to go, in my and many others' opinions.) Amend II has never been officially incorporated under modern incorporation doctrine, and the pre-modern cases (e.g., U.S. v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1875)) have held that Amend. II is not incorporated and therefore does not apply against the states. Heller, remember, was against the District of Columbia, which is not a state and plays by slightly different constitutional rules than states. (I note that the 9th Circuit recently held that Amend. II is incorporated, but we all are familiar with the 9th Circuit's certiorari track record, and I am not interested in placing any money on the affirmation of that decision. More likely than not, the current court will deny cert in order to avoid having to address the issue, in which case Amend. II will be incorporated and effective against the states of the 9th Circuit, but not the rest of the country. Oh what fun.) Regardless, Amend. II, even if it were effective against the states, says squat about dogs. I think it is probably better to stick to the common law approach providing strict liability for actual injuries rather than to simply outlaw the dogs altogether, but the constitution doesn't forbid it. ~Q Edit: A citation broke BBcode. Fixed it.
  11. Qwertz

    New Children's product safety law

    For a sardonic chuckle, check out Notice of Proposed Procedures and Requirements for a Commission Determination or Exclusion, 74 Fed. Reg. 2428-01 (Jan. 15, 2009) (proposing changes to, inter alia, 16 C.F.R. § 1500.90) to see the Consumer Product Safety Commission's proposed rules change for the procedures for obtaining an exemption from testing requirements: Still, preparing and filing such a request will probably end up being less expensive than testing and certification. Just better hope the people on the Commission aren't in a bad mood when they get your request. ~Q Fun Factoid: Administrative agencies of dubious constitutionality, such as the CPSC, through their delegated rulemaking authority, churn out more printed pages of binding federal law every week than Congress does in a whole year.
  12. Qwertz

    Oh My God!

    Is what typical of Objectivism? The existence of atheist articles, or the atheism itself? By way of a general answer, I point out that Objectivism's epistemology of reason and metaphysics of reality are diametrically incompatible with religion's reliance on faith in a supernatural creator-god. For this reason (and others), Objectivism is an atheist philosophy. I suppose that makes atheism "typical" of Objectivism in the sense that the alternative, theism, is wholly contrary to Objectivism. This may explain why God gets a fair bit of negative play in Objectivist articles. ~Q
  13. Qwertz

    Japanese Anime

    I have a solid opinion on FLCL. I once described it as "post-post-modern" because it recycles the cliches of an already very post-modern genre so heavily that it reads, in terms of style anyway, as a post-modern critique of post-modernism. There is almost nothing *new* in FLCL. It depends on the post-modernist aesthetic (nothing new can be done; the old can only merely be recycled and rearranged in new ways; self-reference is the ultimate in aesthetic value) in order to make fun of same. If you find watching things and trying to guess from where the creators stole each element, you may find FLCL interesting. It does have a few very nice bits, though. I'm particularly fond of Episode 4, which has a spectacular climax sequence. The plot is an ordinary young-boy-coming-of-age-with-giant-robots-and-a-threat-of-total-destruction Japanese anime story, complete with unrequited-inappropriate-age-disparity-romantic-interest and secretive-oppressive-corporate-government. But it is far more clever than, say, Family Guy or anything from Williams Street, and it's beautifully executed. Worth a watch or two, but I wouldn't plunk down $30 for a box set unless I'd seen it first. ~Q
  14. Qwertz

    Ayn rand ebooks?

    It isn't quite that simple. The plates could be digitized, then interpreted using OCR, but the result would be far less than satisfactory. Even sophisticated OCR from pristine source material cannot reliably distinguish between, e.g., left- and right-handed quotes. Ligatures will create additional OCR problems. An OCR parse would require extensive cleaning in order to produce a text clear enough for publication. The cleaning process is very time and labor intensive. Based on my own experience cleaning up OCR, a cleanup of AS would take a professional several weeks to complete. And that's just to get the text. Then, publication in various e-book formats requires separate typesetting for each different format. Of course, you could always write to the publisher to request permission to do it for yourself. My experience with this approach has been very positive in the past, so long as the publisher does not already sell an electronic version of the book you want to scan. ~Q
  15. Qwertz

    Following up on Proposition 8

    The Ex Post Facto clause applies only to retroactive criminal laws. Calder v. Bull, 3 U.S. 386 (1798). Also, the Contracts Clause, which comes right after the Ex Post Facto Clause and prohibits the states from passing any "Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts", does not apply to marriage (as a contract). Which is why the states were able to enact laws allowing for divorce, even in marriages formed prior to such enactment. ~Q
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