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Amy Coney Barrett speaks on originalism, constitutional interpretations

first_imgDoes an originalist interpretation of the Constitution require judges to ask what James Madison would do in a given situation?Judge Amy Coney Barrett (’97 J.D.) answered this question with a resounding “no” in a lecture hosted Wednesday night by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.“Many people think an originalist approach requires us to ask, ‘What would James Madison do?’ if we were confronted with some type of constitutional problem. … That’s not what originalism means,” she said.Barrett, who currently serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, distinguished between two types of originalism: original intent originalism and original public meaning originalism.The former emerged during the 1980s under Justice Earl Warren’s and Justice Warren Burger’s Supreme Courts, Barrett said. It arose as a response to living constitutionalism, a way of interpreting the Constitution that defended controversial decisions such as Miranda vs. Arizona and Roe vs. Wade.“Everyone agreed at the time that decisions like this aren’t textually compelled,” Barrett said. “There’s nothing in the text of the Constitution itself. … At the time, living constitutionalism was a sophisticated justification. Courts ought to interpret with an eye towards current norms, push the country forward with an evolving idea of norms.”Meanwhile, original intent originalism suggested that the Constitution should be interpreted in exactly the same manner as its framers, Barrett said.“Original intent originalism was really an [exercise] of trying to think your way into the minds of the framers and say ‘How would James Madison approach this problem?’ or ‘How would Thomas Jefferson approach this problem?’” she said.However, Barrett said, there are several objections to this framework — there were several framers of the Constitution, and it is not possible to ever fully guess at their thoughts. Furthermore, Barrett said, one might object to this form of originalism on the grounds that the Constitution should not be bound by the “private intentions” of the framers.Original public meaning originalism counters some of these issues by interpreting the Constitution according to what its framers said, rather than thought, Barrett said.“The text of the Constitution controls, so the meaning of the words at the time they were ratified is the same as their meaning today,” she said.This form of originalism distinguishes between interpretation of the Constitution — looking at the meaning of the Constitution — and construction, or putting the Constitution into practice, Barrett said.“Making this distinction between interpretation and construction has had the effect of making originalism a pretty wide tent,” she said. “Now, in its most recent and modern iteration, originalism has attracted people of all different political stripes.”While some might criticize originalism by saying it allows “the dead hand of the past” to influence current interpretations, Barrett said striking down judicial decisions for this reason would be analogous to reversing laws once the people who enacted them died.“Nobody would say that for example, Miranda vs. Arizona is no longer good law simply because the justices who participated in that decision are dead,” she said.Additionally, Barrett said, judges retain the power to reverse decisions when needed.“What makes [judicial decisions] democratically legitimate is … we always have the power to amend the Constitution,” she said. “Judges have the power to reverse judicial decisions when they have the need to.”Barrett also addressed the criticism that originalism created an inflexible interpretation of the Constitution, saying originalism often offered guiding principles, rather than direct answers to individual judicial questions.“In some respects we should look at that [inflexibility] as a good thing. … It’s a floor, we don’t want to go below this,” she said. “We don’t want an entirely flexible Constitution because then we would have no constitutional protection at all.”Tags: Amy Coney Barrett, Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley, originalism, The Constitution, U.S. constitutionlast_img read more

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Holiday planting

first_imgBy Dan RahnUniversity of GeorgiaThe winter holidays are perfect for eating turkey, watching football and planting shrubs in your landscape. If you don’t ordinarily associate planting shrubs with the holidays, it’s not because the two don’t go together.”It’s really an ideal time,” said Bob Westerfield, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension horticulturist. And that’s not just because you have some time off for the holiday.”Planting now will allow several months for the plants’ root systems to get established before the hot weather starts next summer,” Westerfield said. “Summer is when our landscape plants are really stressed, and the plants can handle that stress much better with a better developed root system.”Think ‘roots’Like planting at Thanksgiving, roots don’t automatically come to mind when you think of landscape plants. You can’t see them, and even if you could, you wouldn’t be impressed.But the roots have to supply all the water and nutrients the plant needs to grow a top that will impress you. And the best time for the roots to grow is during the fall and winter.Fall-planted ornamentals normally have a supply of carbohydrates and other food substances stored in their roots from the past growing season. So with little demand from the tops, the roots are able to grow and become well-established before the next spring.The plant can divert all its energy into developing a good supply of roots, Westerfield said. Then when spring does come, the plant will be able to pop with growth.Best time”For deciduous trees and shrubs, the best time for root growth is when they’re dormant,” he said, “after they’ve been exposed to some chilling temperatures.”What about the cold stress? “For the most part, that’s really not a concern in Georgia,” Westerfield said. “Our soil temperatures just don’t get that cold.”In fact, most of Georgia’s soil temperatures don’t get low enough to keep the roots from growing all winter.The Thanksgiving holidays aren’t too late for planting. For that matter, Westerfield said, neither are the Christmas holidays, or January, or February.”It’s an ideal time, actually,” he said. “About the only bad thing is that you might run into some weather that’s not very pleasant for planting.”Plants availableSupplies of landscape plants are less plentiful than in the spring. But Westerfield said that’s not really a hindrance.”Generally, the plants are there,” he said. “Sales are slower — that’s true. But you can usually find the plants you want. They may not have the size you might look for in the spring, but they’ll reach that size better next spring if they’re already established in your landscape.”When you plant in the fall, Westerfield said, do almost everything just as you would in the spring. The only big difference is that you don’t want to fertilize in the fall. Wait until next spring for that.You don’t need to prune, either, unless you need to remove structural problems or damaged branches. You don’t want to encourage foliage growth during the fall and winter.Water the plant as much as it needs, Westerfield said. Anytime it’s dry during the fall or winter, plants need watering just as they would during a dry spring or summer.They can be much more forgiving if you’re a day late watering them in the fall, though. Their real test won’t come until next summer.(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

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Have Hummba, will see the world

first_imgHummba, a homegrown mobile applicationfor travellers, is available for Cape Town and many other locations around the world. (Image: Janine Erasmus)MEDIA CONTACTS • Mark Allewell  Hummba CEO  +27 21 448 8411 RELATED ARTICLES • Local music festivals rock in SA • Stellenbosch on a bicycle • More to SA than Nelson Mandela • Take a diamond tour in Cape Town • Hermanus wine route re-launchedLorraine KearneyThe idea is so simple, but genius – audio travel guides. Most everyone has a mobile phone these days, and most everyone won’t leave home without their trusty device.Hummba feels this love, and runs with it. You can download its audio travel guides to your cellphone – for free – and then plug in and play when you’re in a foreign city, or even taking a sho’t left (South African slang, meaning “the next left turn”) around your home town.There are many benefits – turfing bulky guidebooks out of your luggage makes for a much lighter backpack or more space for souvenirs in your suitcase.And you never have to find a place to sit down to thumb through a well-worn or torn printed tome to get information. It’s all on your phone, all the time, exactly where you are.From its home base in the trendy Cape Town suburb of Woodstock, this South African innovation is making waves around the world, and already has offices in Spain and New Zealand.It went live in 2011 and featured as number 18 on the list of top 20 startups in Africa in the February 2012 issue of Forbes Africa magazine.Hummba is in good company: the list includes MXit, the globally popular South African instant messaging service, and the website building and hosting service Yola.The name Hummba is derived from the isiZulu word “hamba”, meaning “to go”, but, says founder Mark Allewell, that url was already taken.Tourism Radio rootsTourism Radio, Hummba’s parent, was started by Allewell in 2005. A journalist, qualified tour guide and diehard traveller, Allewell combined all his passions and – with some help from engineering students at the University of Cape Town – came up with the concept of the radio travel guide.The daddy of the pack is a black tourism radio device placed in a hired car. Using GPS technology, the device guides you round the city you’re visiting, talking to you about the places you are seeing, building the information as you drive.It’s hugely popular in New Zealand and among older, less tech-savvy travellers. Tourism Radio was picked up as an innovation on the Discovery Channel. The show was seen by a German family, which promptly boarded a plane for the Mother City to talk business. They bought the company in 2006 and are taking it global.“We realised the cost implications of trying to take these devices to new countries and decided it would be cheaper and more effective to combine mobile technology with our product,” explains Allewell, now Hummba CEO.“Tourism Radio’s holding company is in Switzerland, but, using our offices and recording studios in Cape Town, New Zealand and Spain we brought out Hummba in beta in 2011.”Using GPS technologyThe Hummba guides combine GPS and mobile technology, with Hummba-created content recorded in the company’s three studios, using local guides and fact checking with local tourism authorities. What you get, simply by listening to your mobile phone, is a personal tour guide giving you first-hand information.The programme creates the personal guide as you walk or drive, so it is always specific to your exact location. It is also always current.Already there are 400 hours of recorded guides for hundreds of popular tourist destinations in 100 countries.More is to follow, with some top-notch quality: Hummba has signed a global agreement with Frommers, the world-renowned travel guide publishers. It will use Frommers’s content, adding it to what it already offers, says Allewell. The launch is planned for 4 April.While the Hummba application is still being developed, there are working versions for Android and the iPhone. Users can download the free app on their smartphone before they leave and, once at their destination, they just open it and they’re off. There is no need for wi-fi access, or Bluetooth or any internet connectivity.“Digital travel is really big,” says Allewell. “About 800 000 text travel guides are downloaded each month. I predict that in about two years travel books will be phased out.“With Hummba on your phone, you can track your route in the city you’re visiting, add your journey to Twitter or Facebook, upload pictures and keep your friends and relatives up to date on where you are and what you’re doing.”White labelling dealsHummba will launch its guide shop on March 26 and is in the process of setting up white-labelling deals, through which it will sell its certified content, unlabelled, to organisations such as Cape Town Tourism.“It is our app, with no names on it. Then the other organisation can put their branding on it. We’ve also signed a deal with Renault so the app will come pre-installed in its cars. White-labelling will help to spread our technology.”At present most of the audio guides are only available in English, though there are some Spanish ones, distributed by the Spanish office. By the end of 2012 they will all be available in Spanish, as well as in German, Italian and French.There are other ideas in the pipeline for the technology, to be made public as the year unfolds.“This technology can do a lot,” says Allewell.Despite the global nature of the company, Allewell says it has stayed true to its relaxed, extrovert roots. “We dress down; sometimes come to work barefoot. And we still travel as much as possible.”last_img read more

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Can Algorithms Make You Laugh? Laffster Is Counting On It

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Geoffrey Plitt – Standup Demo from Geoffrey Plitt on Vimeo.Altmann and Plitt started hosting think-tank like meetings bringing together creative executives and researchers, dissecting what makes us laugh. “Not looking at what is funny but (asking) what about this is funny,” Altmann told me. It was at one of these talks that they met the lauded cartoonist Mankoff and agreed to work together. Everyone says when you have to explain a joke it’s not funny anymore. But maybe this exception to the rule finally shows us how wrong we might have been… and why no one laughs at our jokes. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts “We know what you think is funny.”That’s what the folks over at Venice, Calif., startup Laffster are claiming. Last week the MuckerLab-accelerated company closed a $750,000 seed round and launched its first product, an online political comedy-discovery app called Mock the Vote. The app features articles and videos on political news, dividing content by red, blue or undecided leanings. Think The Daily Show and The Colbert Report segments, curated to your politics.There may actually be a business opportunity here. Besides CollegeHumor and FunnyOrDie, it’s a relatively small field for such a huge social interest. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that in 2009, 50% of adults watched online comedy videos, up from just 31% in 2007.Learning What Makes You LaughLaffster is confident its special sauce can make those numbers continue to go up. They really do believe they know what you think is funny. The service uses special IP technology that it says learns over time what makes you laugh. This politically satirical app is the first of what will likely be other themed applications the company plans to publish in the near future.“We want to marry someone to content and what would make them laugh based on their social media profiles,” explained chief executive Dan Altmann. “When it comes to (online) comedy, there’s no personalization.”So how do these yahoos come up with laughable content? Believe it or not, it’s all science. And math. Huh? What? That’s not funny. Well…it could be. Laffster, Altmann says, taps into peoples’ comedic sensibilities by the service’s highly detailed software, and by incorporating peoples’ online footprints to help understand what they like, much the same way Facebook uses your likes and friends to make suggestions. In the end, it’s all psychology.Can Algorithms Be Funny?The team behind Laffster created an algorithm that tracks keywords for what makes you laugh. The company hired an academic comedy researcher (A humorologist. Seriously.) at the University of Colorado, a neuroscientist at Dartmouth University, and Bob Mankoff, a long-time cartoonist at the New Yorker. The company’s co-founders have something of a comedy pedigree, too. Chief technology officer Geoff Plitt, is a standup comedian and a former Google engineer (that’s right a code-crunching comic). And chief executive Dan Altmann is formerly of Barry Diller’s InterActive Corp., which owns CollegeHumor. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketcenter_img Funny MoneyThe company’s monetization plan is geared towards in-app advertising, licensing content and sponsorships. Right now Laffster is working with the the comedy club the Laugh Factory, engaging users with political videos coming out of their clubs; it is also feeding and creating custom content with Maker Studios’ POLIPOP YouTube channel. “One third of all Americans 40 years old and younger see satirical sources like Jon Stewart, Bill Maher and Stephen Colbert as being replacements of traditional news sources,” said Altmann, referring to recent analyst reports. “This is how we source our news, believe it or not, through satirical sources. We wanted to lock into something immediately and see what’s going on in the world but in a way that Stewart or Colbert would do and laugh at it.” Tags:#apps#startups Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting adam popesculast_img read more

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Two Jaish militants from Pakistan killed in J&K

first_imgTwo non-local Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militants were killed in an operation on the outskirts of Srinagar on Friday morning. According to police, the militants, identified as Ali and Idrees, both from Pakistan, were trapped during a cordon-and-search operation in the Sutsoo Kalan area of Nowgam.“The search party was fired upon by the hiding militants. The fire was retaliated, leading to an encounter. Both militants were killed,” said the police. They were involved in conspiring and executing many terror attacks in the area, said the police.Meanwhile, suspected militants shot at a civilian at Pulwama’s Tral on Friday. “The victim, Naseer Ahmad Ganaie, is stated to be critical,” said the police.last_img read more

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Vintage performance

first_imgBut while the young stars shone, the skills challenge was a domain of winners who, combined, the three have logged 35 years in the PBA.“It’s an honor to win something like this at the twilight of my career,” Simon, the Magnolia guard, said on TV in Filipino.The 38-year-old veteran had only five points going into his last two racks in the final but missed just once from thereon to finish with 17 points.NorthPort rookie Robert Bolick gave chase in his final rack, coming to within a moneyball of the title. But his final attempt rimmed out and he settled for 16.Bolick and the other finalist, Philip Paniamogan of NLEX (14 in the final) have spent just a third of the time Simon, a 15-year veteran, has played in the PBA.ADVERTISEMENT PJ Simon wins three-point shootout. PBA IMAGESPJ Simon burst into a smile of relief as he watched a challenger’s final shot rim out. Beau Belga also broke out a grin that showed just how close he came to losing his crown. Rey Guevarra won with plenty to spare—his final dunk a mere ceremonial display that showcased more style than athleticism.In a league getting younger with every season, the veterans showed up to compete during the skills challenge of the PBA All-Star Weekend at Calasiao Sports Complex in Pangasinan.ADVERTISEMENT Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag Is the Pacquiao-Spence fight good as gone? Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss LATEST STORIES MOST READ Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games messcenter_img Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Guevarra became just the league’s second 5-time dunk champ. Simon ruled the three-point shootout. Belga retained his obstacle challenge crown.The night was supposed to be a showcase of youth, with the league unearthing an old format from three decades back and rehashing it into a Rookie-Sophomore versus Juniors showdown.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThe young stars thrilled fans in a battle to the finish, with Rain or Shine freshman Javee Mocon tipping in a shot at the buzzer to power the Rookies-Sophomores past their immediate seniors, 141-140.“We just wanted to thrill the fans in the first three quarters but in the fourth both teams wanted to win it,” Columbia’s CJ Perez, the game’s MVP, said in a TV interview. Belga, an 11-year pro, won by a fraction of a second in the obstacle final, beating third-year big man Russel Escoto of Columbian.Guevarra’s three final foes have a combined five years of PBA experience—almost half the time the ex-Letran star has been in the league—and it showed.The Phoenix guard exerted just enough to get to the final round—and still got there on top of the heap with 95 points. He pressured top rival Renz Palma of Blackwater by popping a 50 in his first dunk in the final.Palma, who entered the final tied with Columbian rookie Perez at 86 points, responded with a 50 of his own, jumping over two rows of three crouched players each. But his second dunk, an ambitious attempt at a one-hander off a long Belga pass from the stands, flunked several times and he couldn’t get a safety dunk in.He finished with a 30, leaving Guevarra needing just the simplest of slams to retain his crown. His Phoenix teammates lined up in two rows from underneath the basket to close to the three-point line. As Guevarra sprinted toward the basket, the rows parted, allowing the champ to soar for an easy one-hander.And it looks like the dunk contest could just get a little older next year. A TV report said KG Canaleta, the other 5-time champion, told Guevarra before the contest that should he win this edition, the 37-year-old Meralco forward and 14-year league veteran would challenge him next year.“Maybe he was just joking,” Guevarra told a TV interviewer, before doing a mock call-out: “KG!” —FRANCIS T.J. OCHOASports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Google Philippines names new country director Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving View commentslast_img read more