Homelessness: A Constitutional Right?

The Soapbox
Homelessness: A Constitutional Right?
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Brent discusses a Ninth Circuit ruling on homelessness:

https://latimes.com/politics/story/2019-12-16/supreme-court-lets-stand-ruling-that-protects-homeless-who-sleep-on-sidewalk

Also, the Hallmark channel same-sex wedding controversy:

https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/15/business/hallmark-same-sex-advertisement-backlash

Power, Privacy, and the U.S. Constitution


Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Hall of the States (FOX News)
Washington, DC

President Donald Trump has recently nominated Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, setting off another predictably partisan battle over a Supreme Court nominee.

One thing we won’t get is a justice that rules according to the text of the Constitution, since the Federal Government exercises powers so wildly beyond the scope of the constitution, that any attempt to enforce the document as written would set off a constitutional crisis.

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/etc: Please stop enabling

One of the most painful legacies of UNIX’s long gestation is the mess of scripts, configuration files, and databases we affectionately call “/etc”. Binaries go in “/bin”, libraries belong in “/lib”, user directories expand out under “/home”, and if something doesn’t fit? Where does it go? “/etc”.

Of course, “/etc” isn’t really the overflow directory that its name would imply. “/config” would be a far better choice, more accurately reflecting the nature of its contents, but like so much of the data contained within it, its name suggests a lack of organization rather a coherent collection of configuration settings. While the rest of the filesystem has moved on to SQL, the user account database is still stored in colon-separated fields. Cisco routers can snapshot a running network configuration to be restored on reboot, but the best we can do is fiddle the interfaces file, then reboot to take the changes live. Or adjust the interface settings by hand and wait for the next reboot to see if the network comes up right. Our name service is configured in /etc/hosts, or /etc/resolv.conf, or /etc/network, or /etc/dnsmasq.d, or /etc/systemd, or wherever the next package maintainer decides to put it. Nor can you simply save a system’s configuration by making a copy of /etc, because there’s plenty of non-configuration information there, mostly system scripts.

What a mess.

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An Open Letter to Surfing the Nations

My name is Brent Baccala. Some of you know me only as the man in the white robe holding the sign that reads “Surfing the Nations is a Fraud”. I don’t particularly like the sign, but it’s been given to me by God. I’d rather just stand in front of Surfer’s Church with a microphone and preach, but Tom Bower will not allow that to happen. Let me explain, briefly, my history with STN, tell you what has happened over the last month, and summarize the message that I wish you to hear.

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Give up everything you have

“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.”

Luke 14:33

How are we to understand this passage? First, note that Jesus is talking about discipleship, not salvation. Salvation is being saved from sin and evil, it is deliverance from destruction. A disciple is a convinced adherent of Jesus Christ, who accepts and assists in spreading his doctrines (the definitions are from the Merriam-Webster dictionary). The difference is that you might be able to enter heaven (salvation) without becoming a disciple of Christ. More on that later.

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Enter through the narrow gate


“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Matthew 7:13-14

How are we to understand this passage? It certainly doesn’t read as a ringing endorsement of democracy! Indeed, the Bible warns us to be wary of populist thinking, and indicates that most people in this world are headed for destruction.

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Convicted!

So we lost.

We had debated for months over whether to represent ourselves or to use our court appointed attorneys. At first, I expected to go pro se, partly because I only met Bryon Collins on the day before the trial was scheduled to start in August. John had initially expected to let Justin Tapp represent him, but in the weeks approaching our new, February court date had strongly advocated for self-representation. That was fine with me, and for the same reasons – Christ promised that when called before courts, we, not our lawyers, will be given the words to say.

    “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

    (Luke 12:11-12)

Mistakes were made, but overall I was pleased with our conduct. We three prayed together on every break in the court proceedings, and I’d rather go through a trial like that than with the most experienced barristers that have every argued in Old Bailey.

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