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Comment: Re:more important question... (Score 1) 50 50

I don't know how cost of living translates

€144,000 annually is comfortable living by any metric.

What are your choices? Run away and look over your shoulder for years?

Getting deeper into bed with them is not a sensible decision either. It may be necessary in the short term but what's the exit strategy? The most sensible decision would be to avoid putting yourself in the position where you have to make that choice. Failing that, I would personally take my chances with the authorities. Caving to blackmail is never a winning move in the long term.

Comment: Re:They are trying to get off... (Score 1) 50 50

If you don't want to get fleas don't lay down with dogs. The "mob" (a misleading title, given that TFA doesn't mention Cosa Nostra or any other organized crime syndicate....) didn't pick these two at random and hold guns to their head. They got involved with them willingly; one of the two was seeking start up capital for a business venture and quite likely ignored the little voice inside of his head because of greed. An old adage comes to mind, "If it sounds too good to be true....."

Incidentally, the "mob" as traditionally discussed in the United States doesn't tend to go after random citizens. They typically get hooks into their victims because of the victim's own bad judgment. Loansharking, gambling, prostitution, drugs, and so forth. At the street level the vast majority of violent crime is common criminal on common criminal. There aren't too many places in the First World where taxpaying citizens have to really worry about becoming a statistic. Common sense goes a long way....

Comment: Re:They are trying to get off... (Score 1) 50 50

You've never imagined having a gun to your kids' head, have you?

Read TFA. Specifically these paragraphs:

To his surprise, Adibelli agreed. “If you wanted out, why didn’t you let us know?” he said. Maertens was too scared to bring up the beating and the kidnapping and death threats. “Obviously, you know we’re not in a legal business,” Adibelli added. “So if you talk to anyone, we know where you and your family live.”

Adibelli brought Van De Moere down next and asked him if he wanted out, too. Van De Moere said yes.

There was only one condition of the release: Van De Moere had to give Okul an intensive training session on Linux, the operating system on which Metasploit, the hacking software, is based. A few weeks later, according to police and interviews, he did so over one weekend at a Holiday Inn in Ghent. In November, Van De Moere returned two antennas and had a couple of beers with Okul. That was the last either man would see of the Turks.

Something doesn't jive here. The type of people that are willing to actually hold a gun to your head are not the type of people that are willing to let you walk away simply by giving your notice. I don't doubt that there was some level of intimidation at play but there were apparently limits to how far the bad guys were willing to go. Which begs the question of why these two didn't go to the authorities after they "got out." Perhaps they didn't wish to part with the €25,000 in cash they had previously received?

Comment: Re:more important question... (Score 4, Interesting) 50 50

These two were making €12,000 and €20,000 per month, before their involvement with the criminal element. One of them was seeking start up capital for a business venture and allowed himself to get roped in that way. If you give them the benefit of the doubt the best you can say about them is they were naive. In the worst reading they were greedy and willfully complicit. I suspect reality falls between those two extremes.

Comment: Re:It stopped piracy (Score 1) 395 395

Hey, while we are at it, let's outlaw murder and rape too... Oh wait... What is already illegal?

New York State limits you to carrying no more than seven condoms at a time. It's a bit of common sense legislation; there's no legitimate reason why a non-rapist would need more than seven condoms. :)

Comment: Re:'s the LAW! (Score 1) 395 395

If you argue that gun control requires an amendment to be truly legal that's one thing, but the constitution is not some immutable natural law, and can and should be amended whenever it diesn't serve society's needs.

Please name 38 States that you think would ratify such an amendment. My own State (New York) would not ratify a repeal of the 2nd Amendment, despite our hostility to gun rights; the votes simply aren't there in the New York State Senate. If New York State would not ratify it just who do you think would? Other than New Jersey there is no State that is more hostile to gun rights than New York. I could set the bar lower for you than an outright repeal and you still can't get to 38.

Politics is the art of the possible; whatever the merits or lack thereof of gun control you do need to acknowledge this reality.

Comment: Re:'s the LAW! (Score 1) 395 395

"Gun rights" and "gun controls" are not mutually incompatible. For example, mandatory mental health checks for licensees seems emininently sensible as a control, and yet there are people who cry "freedom" and "rights" even when people try to establish checks of that sort.

That would be prior restraint; in the United States we do not apply prior restraint to fundamental rights. You can be denied your right to keep and bear arms because of an established mental illness (the Federal standard requires that you be deemed mentally incompetent by a court) but you can not be compelled to prove a negative in order to exercise it.

"I have schizophrenia." <--- Denied
"Prove you don't have schizophrenia." <--- Unconstitutional

If you're not an American that may seem like a weird place to draw the line but we've got centuries of case law and tradition behind this concept. Speech works the same way too.

Comment: Re:Living Wage is mandated for, and desired by idi (Score 1) 81 81

driving parts of town they don't know, with random strangers as passengers. Great idea.

Actually it turns out is a pretty great idea, it's called Uber (and Lyft).

It's almost universally loved by customers, because in many cities TAXI DRIVERS don't know where anything is either. In the last several taxis I've been in even giving a well-known place name (like Long Beach in Los Angeles) was ignored as they typed in the exact address into a GPS...

Since an Uber driver will find a way to where I am going the same way a taxi driver would, except there's no chance of error because I enter the place on my own device instead of them typing it in through a shitty GPS UI, an Uber driver is vastly more likely to get me where I am trying to go, sooner.

And given the way most taxi drivers drive I frankly would in fact rather be driven by a teenager.

As for the "random stranger" thing that part simply shows your unending ignorance into how Uber and Lyft actually work. It's not strangers that meet, it's two vetted individuals.

Comment: No money in car pools (Score 3, Insightful) 81 81

Will they go after the car pools next?

No because those are free. It's the presence of money in any form or amount that triggers the primal instinct by the state (and taxi unions) to control or kill.

What would be nice is a kind of Tinder for car sharing, where you could put in a starting point, and ending point - people could read your profile and see a rough distance from their own starting and ending points, and swipe right if you seemed like someone they would want to ride with...

There would be no money in that (for the drivers anyway) so the taxis/state would lay off.

Comment: Living Wage is mandated for, and desired by idiots (Score 2) 81 81

By the way, you can't make a living wage driving full-time for Uber either

Hey guess what THAT DOESN'T MATTER.

The last Uber driver I had, was also a comedian/writer (Los Angeles). He didn't need a living wage, he wanted a part time job with a ton of flexibility to supplement income.

There are a LOT of people like this (including, perhaps you've heard of them, TEENAGERS). The next time someone says "that doesn't make a living wage" the correct response is to punch them in the mouth.

P.S. on a side note those claiming things like Uber cannot make a living wage are generally ALSO simply too lazy to work the amount required to live on what is offered. I have also met Uber drivers who DO live on uber income only, so your statement that Uber drivers do not make a living wage is false by example.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin