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Comment: Re:How many years could he be charged with? (Score 1) 297

by Shakrai (#47698613) Attached to: WikiLeaks' Assange Hopes To Exit London Embassy "Soon"

Because Assange has said that if Britain and Sweden would put forth a good-faith promise not to extradite him he would happily travel to Sweden to face the molestation charges.

Which Government on this planet is willing to negotiate with accused criminals in order to bring them to trial? It doesn't happen, not in Democracies or Dictatorships. The most you might get is "I'll surrender at the station tomorrow morning so you don't have to haul me out of my house in handcuffs." but even that isn't a sure thing.

Comment: Re: And so it begins... (Score 1) 252

by Shakrai (#47645863) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

The Shadows were directly responsible for President Clark's rise to power

Debatable, the takeaway I had from the show was that the Psi-Corps was largely responsible for it.

and wholly approved his slow transmutation of Earth society into something that bore an uncannily-prescient resemblance to what happened to the US after 9/11

I'm going to ignore the hyperbolic statement about 9/11 (really dude?) and just point out the fact that the Shadows never really seemed to give two shits about the domestic politics of any of their puppet races, least of all humanity. And in such a situation as the B5 universe, humanity would have to be incredibly stupid not to take advantage of any scraps of technology the Shadows were willing to dole out, particularly given the aforementioned issues on Minbar and the fact that the survival of the human race depends on being able to effectively defend it against aliens with many times our technology.

Comment: Re: And so it begins... (Score 0) 252

by Shakrai (#47644379) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

FWIW, I never saw it that way. With the powerful races that are in play by that point in the show, it needed someone from the younger races to do something that appears miraculous from our perspective to put us in the same league and make the final outcome to the main plot arc credible.

Except it wasn't credible. That entire storyline was stupid and it was resolved by a deus ex machina ending. There wasn't even anything to get invested in as a viewer of the show. The Shadows are fucking with some minor races that we rarely see and don't care about as viewers. Yawn. The only time I genuinely cared about that entire story was when the Vorlons were about to waste Centauri Prime, otherwise it was all off screen minor races that nobody gave two shits about.

Comment: Re: And so it begins... (Score 1) 252

by Shakrai (#47644031) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

Wars start for all sorts of stupid reasons.

There's a difference between a war and a holy quest for genocide. One would expect a race that's smart enough to go to the stars not to start the latter over a botched first contact. Failing that, one would expect them to actually wage a competent war of annihilation, but they couldn't even manage to do that.

Stalingrad, one lousy campaign in a war of annihilation, six months of fighting: 2,000,000 casualties on both sides
Earth-Minbari War, two years, conducted across light-years, including a last stand to save the human race: 250,000 casualties on one side, unstated (probably hundreds?) but low numbers on the other

It doesn't pass the smell test, and even if we excuse JMS' obvious lack of knowledge regarding geopolitics/military matters, the back story was laughable.

Comment: Re: And so it begins... (Score 2) 252

by Shakrai (#47643997) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

The White Stars were joint creations of the Minbari and Vorlons and they didn't have to turn over a damn thing. Earth had no claim over them.

Who commanded them in a war against his own people? Who had previously sworn an oath to Earth? Who killed (rightly or wrongly) thousands of humans and left Earth nearly defenseless? Sheridan treated the White Stars as his own personal toys, with full support from Delenn, it's not a huge reach to imagine Earthforce getting their hands on one, particularly if Sheridan had actually upheld his oath once Clark was gone.

You want to know what would have been a good story in the B5 universe? The Minbari Warrior Caste nutjobs actually seizing power (hopefully killing that religious zealot Delenn in the process) and going on a vendetta against a weakened Earth. Let Sherdian reap what he sowed in leaving Earth nearly defenseless, then have him build an alliance to combat that threat, to save something we actually give a shit about. That would have been infinitely more compelling than trying to figure out why all these humans are fighting and dying to stop the Shadows, whom never really expressed any interest in harming humanity. All they did was stir up chaos amongst races that the audience rarely saw and was never overly invested in caring about. Yawn.

As it happened, the most compelling story JMS had (President Clark and the Civil War) was the one that got short shrift because of the looming threat of cancellation. More's the pity.

Comment: Re: And so it begins... (Score 3, Interesting) 252

by Shakrai (#47643947) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

Star Dreck was shit from the start, and Rottenberry's "vision" was at best naive claptrap and at worst unredeemable drivel.

That was kind of the point of Star Trek, or at least the point of TNG and to a lesser extent TOS. I'm sorry that you didn't get that, it wasn't for everyone, but it was and is the reason why the reboot completely sucks ass and has nothing in common with Star Trek other than the title and character names.

Is the near-utopia presented in The Next Generation attainable? Probably not, human nature being what it is, though if anything made it possible it would be an abundance economy with virtually limitless supplies of energy that can literally make food and consumer goods out of thin air. The notion of people working towards the common good rather than personal enrichment is a lofty one, hence the fiction part of Science-Fiction.

It was a lot more enjoyable than the dark depressing crap that passes for entertainment these days, like Law and Order Rape (err, I'm sorry, Special Victims Unit) or even some of the darker Sci-Fi stuff, like the really misanthropic episodes of Babylon 5 or Battlestar Galactica. Yeah, I get it, character conflict is fun to write. Does anybody know how to write uplifting stories anymore? It'd be nice to have something more grown up than Frozen to turn to when I need to escape for two hours.

Bad "science" (only loserboy nerds known as "trekkie pedophile geeks" can delude themselves into believing any of that shitty technobabble can ever be related to real science)

Star Trek at its best was never about the "science". It was about the story and the characters. As long as they remained consistent about the fake science who cares? Go watch the third, fourth, and fifth seasons of TNG or any of DS9 or TOS. The technobabble was there, but it played by a known and consistent set of rules. The particle of the week deus ex machina technobabble crap was primarily a 7th season TNG problem (the writers clearly ran out of ideas) and long running Voyager phenomenon.

B5 was vastly superior to DS9 (which was a shameless ripoff)

The only parts of B5 that DS9 ripped off were the Messiah Complex/Emissary crap of the Commanding Officer. Coincidentally, that was also the least watchable part of DS9. I wanted to shove Sisko out an airlock when he stopped talking about "wormhole aliens" and started talking about "Prophets".

Comment: Re: And so it begins... (Score 5, Insightful) 252

by Shakrai (#47642141) Attached to: <em>Babylon 5</em> May Finally Get a Big-Screen Debut

The story jumped the shark at the end. I'm sorry, as much as I loved Babylon 5, it simply doesn't stand the test of time when you watch it in your 30s rather than as a teenager. It was awesome at first, a character driven Sci-Fi show, and then Sheridan came back from the dead with a Messiah Complex. Delenn always had one of course, even the Vorlons were smart enough to know that (watching Jack the Ripper torture this character flaw out of her was priceless, too bad it didn't take for the long term) as they set her up as their Emissary or whatever the hell she was. What really irked me was the human characters betraying their oath to Earth and going native after they had kicked Clark out of office. The Whitestar fleet or at least one example thereof should have been turned over to Earthforce R&D after the war, but that would required Sheridan to surrender power, so of course it didn't happen.

There's also the complete mess that was Season 5, though here I cut JMS some slack because he was kind of screwed when it looked like the show was getting the axe. The most important piece of back story was pretty damned stupid, the Minbari have thousands of years in space but start a war of annihilation (a pathetic one at that, only 250,000 deaths in two years of war, JMS needs to read about the Eastern Front....) over a botched first contact? Then they stop the war because of some religious nonsense?

In fairness the show did have highlights, Garibaldi was the best human character I think (he was Babylon 5's Chief O'Brien) flawed in every way and very easy to relate to. Londo and G'Kar never jumped the shark, their respective stories stand the test of time. Even the stupid parts (the Earth-Minbari War) had highlights, the President's speech towards the end of "In The Beginning" still chokes me up when I watch it, and the way JMS wove all of the stories together was amazing.

Comment: Re:Might cause a re-thinking of the F-35 (Score 1) 275

by Shakrai (#47633143) Attached to: Long-Wave Radar Can Take the Stealth From Stealth Technology

Which ones would those be? The United Kingdom (combined with France, who is obviously not a Commonwealth member) couldn't manage a bombing campaign in Libya without logistical support from the United States. Heck, they couldn't retake the Falklands without logistical support and their military was a lot better off in the 1980s than it is today.

Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa don't have power projection capabilities either. So what does that leave you with? The British nuclear deterrent? That's certainly nothing to sneeze at but I would submit that you've already lost the war if your only way to win it is to resort to nuclear weapons at the outset.

Comment: Re:Lies and statistics... (Score 1) 570

by Shakrai (#47568823) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Pre-existing condition exclusions are required because of adverse selection. Flood insurance works the same way; you've got no coverage at all until the policy has been in effect for 30 days. If your house washes away on Day 29 you're SOL.

In any case, I didn't share my story to indict the insurance companies. It was more of an indictment of the healthcare system in general. There was one unavoidable expense: the $4,500 immunoglobulin shot. Why then did the total bill come to nearly $7,000? It came to that much because treatment was routed through the most expensive delivery system (the ER) available in our healthcare system. Why is that? The rabies series is not time sensitive, waiting a few days causes no ill effects. The taxpayers ostensibly pay for it anyway so why not just have it at the County Health Department Monday through Friday?

I try to route my healthcare through my PCP, because 1) I like him, 2) It's cheaper (both for me and society) than the alternatives. Of course, we're killing the PCP providers, they're barely paid cost as it is (less than cost for medicare patients) and there's no incentives for med students to pursue primary/family medicine as a specialty. The ACA didn't do anything to address this either, a fat lot of good having insurance for the first time is going to do you when you can't find an MD that's taking new patients.

Comment: Re:Lies and statistics... (Score 1) 570

by Shakrai (#47566549) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

That's a valid point but you kind of missed the bigger picture. With my history and health status they shouldn't be on the hook for more than $300-$500 annually. That's the cost of an annual physical and standard blood/urine lab work. All it took was one incident to largely wipe out their earnings on me and in this case the costs really weren't inflated all that much. Despite what the other poster thinks, the immunoglobulin really is that expensive. It has a very short shelf life, production is a bitch, and there's little economy of scale because it's so rarely needed. Socialized medicine won't fix any of that....

Comment: Re:Lies and statistics... (Score 5, Insightful) 570

by Shakrai (#47562169) Attached to: 35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

Yes, since the bills would be covered by insurance.

After the deductibles and co-pays. I have a "platinum" plan through my employer; better insurance than anyone else I know and the co-pays still total up to a considerable amount. No deductibles for in-network on my plan, which makes me extremely fortunate. As a single guy I can afford the co-pays even with my modest salary but I can see how quickly they would bankrupt someone with a family, particularly if said family had one or more members with a chronic illness.

Incidentally, I was just exposed to rabies a few months ago:

Strike One: The only place to get the immunoglobulin is the ER, because it's very expensive (>$4,500) and has a short shelf-life. ER co-pay: $150
Strike Two: There's a set schedule for the vaccine, Days 0, 3, 7, and 14. You can get the vaccine from your primary, in theory, but of course my primary has a months long waiting list because we're driving PCPs out of business. Bottom line, I can't get appointments with them for Days 3 or 7, so that's two more trips to the ER. Additional co-pay total: $300
Strike Three: New York State ostensibly has a fund to pay for out of pocket expenses related to rabies exposures, but they only reimburse for the rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin. Since the ER decided to give me a tetanus shot on Day 0 NYS won't reimburse me, even though my out of pocket would have been $150 with or without this extra shot. Hooray for bureaucracy!

Totaling all this up, that stupid bat that found its way into my apartment has personally cost me $465 ($450 of ER co-pays, $15 of PCP co-pay) while my insurance company is on the hook for close to $7,000. My annual premium is about $6,000. So this one incident wiped out every penny they made on me and then some. I'm an otherwise healthy 32 year old marathon runner that ought to be subsidizing those who are less fortunate. Now imagine a family of four that were all exposed to the same scenario I was.....

Money doesn't talk, it swears. -- Bob Dylan