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Comment Re:Yeah, be a man! (Score 1) 487 487

If there was ever a valid case for it, this seems like it. But you're going to have to hope that the jury hears those arguments before the trial starts, because Snowden certainly won't be allowed to make them to the jury during the trial. Choose your jurors carefully so they don't know anything about Snowden, what he did, or why he did it and you're going to have a very short trial with a very predictable outcome.

Comment Re:Anyone besides me think he's a criminal? (Score 1) 487 487

He stabbed his immediate managers in the back, for sure. But I as one of his ultimate employers don't feel stabbed in the back. I feel stabbed in the back by his bosses. I feel more like a company owner whose janitor has just pointed out that middle management has been stealing from me for years.

Comment Re:I'd be more sympathetic if he weren't a doucheb (Score 1) 487 487

How much harm is Putin really able to do to us by parading Snowden around? Conversely, how much good did Snowden's revalations do? I think that what little aid and comfort he gave to Putin was a worthwhile exchange, and I'm pretty sure he would agree.

Comment Re:No just laws = No fair trial (Score 2) 487 487

What you don't like is the law... Fine, just don't keep saying he won't get a fair trial because according to the LAW he will. Saying he won't get a fair trial is wrong. The courts are there to fairly apply the law and for the most part, that's what they do.

That's a little bit of a dodge, though. If by "fair" we simply mean "consistent with local laws" then you're 100% guaranteed to get a fair trial in North Korea or under ISIS. It simply means that trials are fair by definition.

I think that there's a good argument to be made that there are some features that need to exist in a truly fair trial, one of which is the ability to present your case regarding mitgiating circumstances for the jury to hear. More broadly, I'd argue that a defendant should be allowed to say anything he wants in his own defense, provided it's the truth.

Comment Re:Yeah, be a man! (Score 1) 487 487

I don't think so. If I understand the law correctly, there's no whistleblower exemption for what he did, so any attempt to make that sort of an argument to the jury will be met with a big fat, "Shut the fuck up" from the judge. It's like medical marijuana sellers trying to defend themselves in federal court. They're not allowed to even say that they were selling it for medical purposes because federal law makes no distinction. The only question is whether they were selling weed, not why.

Comment Re:It's a good thing for people who aren't - calcs (Score 1) 428 428

There's a simple reason for that: The price of a Big Mac is probably driven mostly by volatile inputs like food and energy. Food an energy are only a part of the overall inflation picture, and they're generally not leading indicators of long term trends. There are two key CPI numbers: headline and core. Core removes volatile components like food and energy because they tend not to be built into long-term inflation expectations. When headline and core diverge significantly, the divergence generally goes away in the near future, and it generally goes away when the headline number moves back toward the core number, not the other way around.

Long term, inflation is driven mostly by expectations and the interaction between expectations and wages. Spikes or drops in the price of oil or beef tend to revert to historical norms, so while they make for interesting charts in the news, they're not really all that useful for long-run predictions because they don't really provide steady enough "feedback" to feed into slower moving prices like wages. The divergence between the Big Mac index and our other inflation metrics is likely driven by that phenomenon rather than an actual failure of the broader metrics.

Anyway, it's not a matter of "assuming" the BLS knows best. You'll find that people who actually study this stuff and use the data think they put out a very useful set of indices and have very good reasons to ignore outliers like the Big Mac index. The BLS basket of goods is very broad, well analyzed and completely public. Every quarter we hear the big headline about something like, "Chicken prices spiraling out of control! Inflation to come!" Not unless the public at large *really* eats tons and tons of chicken and the trend continues for some time. There are other cross-checks that are pretty easy to do. For example, if the Big Mac Index was truly reflective of reality, we'd be seeing massive capital flight from the US to foreign markets with better inflation numbers. If you know the dollar is losing 10% in inflation every year, just sell your dollar-denominated assets, buy Japanese bonds with yen and enjoy your nearly risk free ~12% real return in dollars. Either the big money (who are presumably the puppet masters driving this whole scam) is too dumb to do this or that's really not how the numbers work out. Either that or all currencies everywhere are inflating at roughly the same rate without feeding back into wages anywhere, but that would be a really interesting macroeconomic state of affairs.

Comment Re:I guess you can build a career... (Score 1) 169 169

The intersection of "smart enough to be careful when planning your assassination" and "dumb / crazy enough to try assassinating a sitting US President" is probably very, very small. No doubt it's dwarfed by several orders of magnitude by the set "dumb enough to threaten to kill the President."

Comment Re:Not all workers are equal. (Score 1) 428 428

Comapring data points between two workers has all sort sof problems as you point out. But having all of the salary information public for everybody would lead to a much better estimate of the market price overall, which would be a good thing. Employers make arguments based on their individual quantization error and statistical outliers, but the real benefit is in the aggregate information. Knowing not just what your neighbor makes but whate everybody everywhere (including competing companies) makes allows you to make much better career decisions, the individual details about the guy in the next cube notwithstanding.

If we made that change, there would be a massive reshuffiling right off the bat, probably followed by a return to stability. If you have an individual case where you needed to make a weird lowball offer to somebody, they'd have the information needed to decide whether to take it up front. If you needed to pay more for a skill that was in demand on a short timeline, that would probably reflected in total market prices. Instead of having to pay your current people more to match the new employee's rate, you'd probably already have lost your employees who were making less than the market rate. Which is probably a good thing as well, because there's clearly plenty of high value work for them to be doing.

Comment Re:It's a good thing for people who aren't aggresi (Score 1) 428 428

Take a look at the BLS data instead of sampling single data points. Like most people, your estimate of inflation is based on your gut and not on real data. Think about it this way: Assuming you're spot-on about soda and the price is climbing rapidly, what percentage of the average American household income goes to buying soda? How would even a small change in the price of some other good affect the usefulness of that data point?

Comment Re:It's a good thing for people who aren't - calcs (Score 1) 428 428

But by the iPad Gen 1 index, inflation is way down. By the gold index, we're in deflation. By the California water index, inflation is out of control. But those aren't really indexes. They're just prices. The BLS puts a *ton* of effort into creating an index of what people actually buy that's comparable from year to year. A single price randomly sampled just won't do it. If you ask the average American, they seem to think they spend 95% of their income on gasoline and milk. But they don't. They spend a moderate percentage of their income on gas and hardly any of it on milk. They probably don't remember the 1/10th of a refrigerator they "bought" this year due to depreciation, for example.

The reality is that the BLS numbers match up well with the independent billion price index and with inflation expectations built into the financial markets. The odds that shadowstats or some other bogus index is the "real" index are slim to none. If we were really getting hammered at the the rates that, say, shadowstats, would have us believe, we'd all be destitute and we'd have noticed at least some captial flows following the money.

Comment Re:Bravo (Score 1) 428 428

That's even better. Knowing what the guy in the next cube over makes just makes for a short-term rejiggering of the local salary distribution. Knowing with fairly high precision what you could be making literally anywhere else actually makes for good market rates. GlassDoor is a good start, but the market for employees would be much more efficient if all of that information was public and accurate. It would feel "icky" to us for a few months because of our culture and it would piss off corporate management (generally the benficiary of the current inefficiency), but the long run equilbiriubm would be better.

Comment Re:I foresee a sudden demand for raises (Score 1) 428 428

The grand problem isn't about a comparison between two employees and trying to justify why their salaries aren't identical. The real issue is that all of the salary information being public would actually result in good price setting information for everybody. Once we got over the initial shock that everybody doesn't make exactly the same amount of money, employees would actually be able to look at the aggregates and the data for other companies and make rational decisions about what they're really worth. As it stands, people are just guessing and a lot of suboptimal pricing is happening.

Real programmers don't bring brown-bag lunches. If the vending machine doesn't sell it, they don't eat it. Vending machines don't sell quiche.