Legal Origins of Terms (good /. comment re: Anglos and Saxon)

I used to read /. a lot.  Waaay too much when I was doing some admin work for a marketing company.  I would do some fairly intensive (for the day) information joins which left me with lots of time to surf the net and read good comment threads.  BTW, Credit Card Companies have every piece of data on every thing you’ve ever bought in your life.  They crunch this data and sell it to people…who then use it to sell you more stuff.  Just a quick, FYI.  And it’s more a science than an art.   So in my spare time, as the numbers were crunching, I would do “technology research” by reading /. threads (which does, to be honest, cover a lot of technology stuff).

/. is famous, and infamous, for some wide-ranging comment threads.  It is really the birth of a well-designed comment system.  And by that I mean one that maximizes the ability for anonymous speech (a very big concern in computer security and other sensitive industries) while maintaining the ability to promote good speech and keep the trolls and chatter at bay.  This is not such an easy thing to do, as many have found when they wonder into an anonymous, unmoderated, forum (4chan B, I’m looking at you…and wincing NOTE: DO NOT CLICK ON THAT LINK FROM WORK.  IT IS *ONE* (of many) OF THE EASILY AVAILABLE INTERNET CESSPOOLS.  IF YOU CLICK ON THAT LINK FROM WORK AT A REPUTABLE COMPANY **ALARMS** WILL SOUND).  Anonymous human interactions can become very nasty things, very quickly.

There is a lesson here on human nature.  An important one. When no one is watching and no one knows who we are, our range of acceptable action increases dramatically.  Watch me play Fallout 3 for another example.

Or go online and play some FPS’s against sexually frustrated teenagers…

With no coherent system of enforceable rules, chaos reigns supreme.  All tit and no tat makes Homer go something something.

This aspect of the human condition (i.e. that some all of us are assholes, sometimes) is a big part of why we ended up having to have series of laws and guidelines in order to function as a society.

Which brings us to the bit of trivia that inspired the post.

Two of the great western powers of the pre-Obama era (hehe) were the Normans and the Saxons.  They came together on some island east of here and had to figure out how to get along.  As some of them spoke ye Olde Englishe and the others spoke French they had to make sure the laws they wrote could be understood by all.

Which brings us to the reason why we have some of the following terms that show up so much in the legal system…

If the door’s unlocked, it’s hardly “breaking in,” is it?

Yes it is.

The “Breaking” part of “Breaking & Entering” refers to breaking the plane of entry, not physically damaging anything.

“Breaking” is not actually a separate action from “Entering”. The reason they are used together is for clarity…one word derives from Old English, and the other word derives from French. Writing laws this way was useful when the Normans and Saxons were trying to cohabitate on the same island.

There are many legal terms constructed the same way:
Null and void
Cease and desist
Last Will and Testament
Aid and Abet
Goods and Chattels
Terms and Conditions

What I always thought was a simple tool of repetitive emphasis, turns out to be bilingual communication.

This comment is, of course, from a /. article on how to “root” (gain complete control of) Android (Linux)-based cell phones. The G1 to be specific.

And that’s why I liked reading those threads.   Now let’s go check on those queries…

Obama Affirmitively-Actioned into Presidency (and other stuff Americans decid

I don’t know if you heard, but yea.  It’s a different world today.

And I’m very, very happy about it.

Obama Wins

Obama Wins

As I mentioned previously, this was a pretty big deal for me and a whole lot of folk.

As a quick note on the jocular title of the post….here’s the stats.

It turns out that saying Americans “retired” McCain would probably be one of the more accurate ways to explain the voting.  His age was a major concern for a lot of voters, which I think was accentuated by the Palin problem.

Ultimately, it turns out that people wanted to change the national (and Republican) policy of “concentrate the wealth” that we’ve been following for the past 30 years.  It seems that many think maybe “spreading the wealth” a bit could provide major dividends.  I happen to agree, for a number of reasons, mainly having to do with the idea that spreading some of the wealth will do wonders for many workers in the economic realm of “motivation.”

I thought this was a big deal also because of the world opinion.   It was something that didn’t show up on polls, and maybe was even a net-negative for Obama (in the weird world of U.S. politics), but I think it was Obama’s true stength, and that (r)ace-in-the-hole that will help a great deal in our negotiations with the rest of the world.

The whole world has to take a second look at the U.S.  A long hard second look.  And THIS IS A GREAT THING.   We’ve got a pretty amazing country here, and it’s something that many have forgotten, not the least of whom live here.  And now we’ve proved a great many people wrong.  Again.

We’ve raised the bar on Western democracy.  We’ve slapped racial bullshit in the face.  The United States of America elected a President who’s middle name is HUSSEIN.

You know what’s funny?  The only major demographic group, IN THE WHOLE WORLD, that is bothered rather than elated by this achievement of Martin Luther King’s dream of judgement on character over skin-color, is here in the U.S.  I hope and pray they’ll calm down and get it back together, I met some rather devastated people last night.  Some who genuinely believe we just elected a terrorist.  After all, his middle name is Hussein.

The world had become increasingly wary of this kind of U.S. after seeing some of our actions following 9/11.   World opinion was in a steady decline after Bush’s Choice to invade Iraq.   And Cheney’s Choice to torture some of the people we captured didn’t help either.  The CIA jetting around the world on black ops and weird rumors filled the air.  Any number of shady decisions and actions took place, the extent of which we may not know for years.

The decline in world opintion was precipitous, especially after the world’s sympathy was so quickly and openly offered to us after our own great tragedy.   In 2004, when the U.S. electorate endorsed the lies, and the war, and the torture, the world turned its collective back.

By 2006, we had stepped back a bit domestically, and I think we could see the peak of anti-U.S. opinion was probably in the 2005-2006 window.   By 2007, the world (and the U.S. electorate) was decided on Bush and kinda just ignored him.  Everyone had made their judgment and it was not good.   Once 2008 kicked in the world was watching to see what we would do.  Curious to see if their judgment of the 21st century U.S. was correct.  Looking back over their shoulder a bit, wondering if we’d regained our special-ness.

Our U.S.’ed-ness.

While the world judged Bush harshly, we did get that second (third, actually) chance to amaze the world.

And it would seem they approve.

With a couple of exceptions….


“We don’t expect any change through our previous experience with the Democrats. When it comes to foreign policy there is no difference between the Republicans and the Democrats.”

…actually I guess that’s about the only exception.  He’s an exception because he knows the genocide his government is pursuing in Darfur is going to get some real attention now (one would HOPE).

That being said, there were some other big ballot initiatives around the country.

Looks like the Mormons and Catholics got their bigotry endorsed in Cali, Florida and Arizona, the “straight” states.  They are now like Iran, where gays don’t exist…or have less rights…is there a difference?

Women retained some degree of control over their own lives in South Dakota and Colorado, and it’s time to spark it up in Michigan and get that gloucoma under control.

Obama lost Nebraska, and black and women Nebraskans lost the ability to sue for “employment fairness” (on a serious note re: the title of this post…it’s going to be *really* hard to argue for expanded or even continued affirmitive actions programs in a lot of places…expect more of this).

Oregon knocked down the “stay culturally ignorant” rule and Washington is paging Dr. Kevorkian.

North Dakota and Taxachusetts both voted against tax cuts (!)cliche evidence(!), and you can finally lose your shirt on a riverboat in Missouri.  Previously, you could only lose your shoes.

All in all, it was quite a day.