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steve2470's Journal
steve2470's Journal
March 31, 2015

1908 SCOTUS: Adair v. United States 208 U.S. 161, "yellow dog" contracts are acceptable!


Adair v. United States, 208 U.S. 161 (1908), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared unconstitutional bans on "yellow-dog" contracts that forbade workers from joining labor unions. The decision reaffirmed the doctrine of freedom of contract which was first recognized by the Court in Allgeyer v. Louisiana (1897). For this reason, Adair is often seen as defining what has come to be known as the Lochner era, a period in American legal history in which the Supreme Court tended to invalidate legislation aimed at regulating business.[1][2]

In earlier cases, the Court had struck down state legislation limiting the freedom of contract by using the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which only applied to the states. In Adair the doctrine was expanded to include federal legislation by way of the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.

The Court followed up the decision in Adair with Coppage v. Kansas (1915), which denied to states as well the power to ban yellow-dog contracts. In 1932, yellow-dog contracts were outlawed in the United States under the Norris-LaGuardia Act.

The anti-labor decision here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/208/161
March 31, 2015

Medieval garlic and bile potion kills MRSA superbug


Could a 1,000-year-old concoction be the answer to stopping superbugs?

Christina Lee, an Anglo-Saxon expert at the University of Nottingham, found the recipe for a remedy for eye infections in a 10th Century medical volume called Bald's Leechbook, one of the earliest known medical textbooks. The instructions were clear -- clear enough to follow today -- so she brought it to a microbiology lab at the university to see if it really works against bacteria.

In its original Old English, the recipe -- which may date back even further, to the 9th Century -- called for two species of Allium (garlic and onion or leek), wine and bile from a cow's stomach. The topical potion was brewed in a brass vessel, strained and left to sit for nine days.

The ingredients on their own are known to have antibacterial properties, so it seemed like a good bet.

more at link
March 31, 2015

Microsoft's new Project Spartan browser is out....

It's in beta right now and pretty buggy of course. It's supposed to replace IE eventually. You can only get it by doing the Windows 10 beta program. Hopefully MS will update it frequently and keep it as secure as possible.


That's what it looks like so far. Comments on it are here:


March 30, 2015

very trivial first-world gripe: loud and distorted on-hold music....

I realize some callers are very hard of hearing, so it's no big deal for them

For the rest of us, it's like a bad acid trip back to bad music out of the 1970's!

On an unrelated note, I have to fork over $448 and change to do my slightly infamous colonoscopy, and then more because my $6000 deductible is not satisfied for this year. Ugh. THIS is why we need single payer, so that everyone can get a lovely colonoscopy. A tad of sarcasm there but otherwise quite serious.

Have a lovely day, ya'll.

March 30, 2015

1905 SCOTUS: Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45, Contracts TRUMP the health of bakers!


Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that held that "liberty of contract" was implicit in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The case involved a New York law that limited the number of hours that a baker could work each day to ten, and limited the number of hours that a baker could work each week to 60. By a 5–4 vote, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the law was necessary to protect the health of bakers, deciding it was a labor law attempting to regulate the terms of employment, and calling it an "unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary interference with the right and liberty of the individual to contract."

Lochner is one of the most controversial decisions in the Supreme Court's history, giving its name to what is known as the Lochner era. In the Lochner era, the Supreme Court issued several controversial decisions invalidating federal and state statutes that sought to regulate working conditions during the Progressive Era and the Great Depression.

During the quarter-century that followed Lochner, the Supreme Court also began to use the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to protect rights like freedom of speech and the right to send one's child to private school (which was the beginning of the line of cases that found a right to privacy in the Constitution). The Lochner era ended with West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish (1937), in which the Supreme Court took an expansive view of the government's power to regulate commercial activities.

The anti-labor decision here: https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/198/45/case.html
March 29, 2015

Would you watch a very heavily moderated debate with RW wingnuts ?

Heavily moderated = no broad brushes, only facts allowed, no personal attacks, no Gish gallop, etc....

The thread about MSNBC got me thinking about this. The debate would have to be very heavily moderated to eliminate RW bullshit.

March 29, 2015

John Urschel, Ravens Offensive Lineman, Publishes Math Paper


John Urschel is an offensive lineman for the NFL Baltimore Ravens whose Twitter handle is @MathMeetsFball. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in math, both with a 4.0 grade-point average. And this week he tweeted:

John Urschel ✔ @MathMeetsFball

My paper, A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector..., has been published in the Journal of Computational Mathematics
9:38 PM - 17 Mar 2015

Now, journalists are notoriously poor at math (or at least this one is), so we'll provide a link to the paper. And for those of you who are mathematically inclined, here's the abstract:

"In this paper, we develop a cascadic multigrid algorithm for fast computation of the Fiedler vector of a graph Laplacian, namely, the eigenvector corresponding to the second smallest eigenvalue. This vector has been found to have applications in fields such as graph partitioning and graph drawing. The algorithm is a purely algebraic approach based on a heavy edge coarsening scheme and pointwise smoothing for refinement. To gain theoretical insight, we also consider the related cascadic multigrid method in the geometric setting for elliptic eigenvalue problems and show its uniform convergence under certain assumptions. Numerical tests are presented for computing the Fiedler vector of several practical graphs, and numerical results show the efficiency and optimality of our proposed cascadic multigrid algorithm."
March 29, 2015

Rethinking Alcohol: Can Heavy Drinkers Learn To Cut Back?


The thinking about alcohol dependence used to be black and white. There was a belief that there were two kinds of drinkers: alcoholics and everyone else.

"But that dichotomy — yes or no, you have it or you don't — is inadequate," says Dr. John Mariani, who researches substance abuse at Columbia University. He says that the thinking has evolved, and that the field of psychiatry recognizes there's a spectrum.

Problems with alcohol run the gamut from mild to severe. And there are as many kinds of drinkers along the continuum as there are personality types.

People with severe problems, such as those who keep on drinking even after they lose jobs or get DUIs, need treatment to stop drinking completely.

more at link, simply posting for discussion purposes.
March 29, 2015

1927 SCOTUS: Buck v. Bell 274 U.S. 200, COMPULSORY sterilization of the "unfit" acceptable!


The concept of eugenics had been put forward in 1883 by Francis Galton, who also coined the name.[1] The trend first became popular in Europe, but also found proponents in the United States by the start of the 20th century. Indiana passed the first eugenic sterilization statute (1907), but it was legally flawed. To remedy this situation, Harry Laughlin of the Eugenics Record Office (ERO) at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, designed a model eugenic law that was reviewed by legal experts. In 1924 the Commonwealth of Virginia adopted a statute authorizing the compulsory sterilization of the intellectually disabled for the purpose of eugenics. This 1924 statute was closely based on Laughlin's model.[2] Looking to determine if the new law would pass a legal challenge, on September 10, 1924 Dr. Albert Sidney Priddy, superintendent[3] of the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded, filed a petition to his Board of Directors to sterilize Carrie Buck, an 18-year-old patient at his institution who he claimed had a mental age of 9. Priddy maintained that Buck represented a genetic threat to society. According to Priddy, Buck's 52-year-old mother possessed a mental age of 8 and had a record of prostitution and immorality. She had three children without good knowledge of their parentage. Carrie, one of these children, had been adopted and attended school for five years, reaching the level of sixth grade. However, according to Priddy, she had eventually proved to be "incorrigible" and eventually gave birth to an illegitimate child. Her adopted family had committed her to the State Colony as "feeble-minded", no longer feeling capable of caring for her. It was later discovered that Carrie's pregnancy was not caused by any "immorality" on her own part. In the summer of 1923, while her adoptive mother was away "on account of some illness," her adoptive mother's nephew raped Carrie, and Carrie's later commitment has been seen as an attempt by the family to save their reputation.[citation needed]

The case

While the litigation was making its way through the court system, Priddy died and his successor, Dr. John Hendren Bell, took up the case. The Board of Directors issued an order for the sterilization of Buck, and her guardian appealed the case to the Circuit Court of Amherst County, which sustained the decision of the Board. The case then moved to the Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia.

The appellate court sustained the sterilization law as compliant with both the state and federal constitutions, and it then went to the United States Supreme Court. Buck and her guardian contended that the due process clause guarantees all adults the right to procreate which was being violated. They also made the argument that the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment was being violated since not all similarly situated people were being treated the same. The sterilization law was only for the "feeble-minded" at certain state institutions and made no mention of other state institutions or those who were not in an institution.

On May 2, 1927, in an 8-1 decision, the Court accepted that she, her mother and her daughter were "feeble-minded" and "promiscuous,"[4] and that it was in the state's interest to have her sterilized. The ruling legitimized Virginia's sterilization procedures until they were repealed in 1974.

The ruling was written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. In support of his argument that the interest of the states in a "pure" gene pool outweighed the interest of individuals in their bodily integrity, he argued:
“ We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. ”

Holmes concluded his argument by declaring that "Three generations of imbeciles are enough".[5] The sole dissenter in the court, Justice Pierce Butler, a devout Catholic,[6] did not write a dissenting opinion: the practice of a Justice's noting a dissent without opinion was much more common than it would be in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Carrie Buck was operated upon, receiving a compulsory salpingectomy (a form of tubal ligation). She was later paroled from the institution as a domestic worker to a family in Bland, Virginia. She was an avid reader until her death in 1983. Her daughter Vivian had been pronounced "feeble minded" after a cursory examination by ERO field worker Dr. Arthur Estabrook,[7] thus the "three generations" of the majority opinion. It is worthy of noting that the child did very well in school for the two years that she attended (she died of complications from measles in 1932), even being listed on her school's honor roll in April 1931.

The absolutely sickening opinion here: https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/274/200/case.html
March 29, 2015

DT8 Project Hold Me Till The End

Love this song!

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