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Comment Re:Good for them. (Score 1) 262

Hey now, I wasn't trying to argue your points, just trying to figure out more about what kind of extremist you are. I suppose in the absence of a straight answer, I can surmise that you're one who assumes your contrary view of the world is the natural, logical one, and everyone else who opposes you is deluded, ignorant, or in silent agreement with you, the continued argument for and participation in government worldwide notwithstanding. If that's the case, it's a shame your obvious passion for the issue is being squandered by your insistence on approaching it ideologically.

And when you bring up a question that is as much of a non sequitur as that one (and I'm saying that because you haven't connected A to B, not that it is or isn't possible to do so), it doesn't bode well for actually discussing the matter at hand.

Comment Re:Good for them. (Score 1) 262

Would that be because government doesn't do anything that's actually useful and worth paying money for to anyone ever? Or is it perhaps because government is completely and irrevocably evil and needs to be abolished today so that we can start living in a libertarian utopia worldwide?

Comment Re:What they really need (Score 1) 394

Bus Rapid Transit with dedicated lanes would have been the smart move: lower cost, faster to roll out, and when the next big one hits (and it will) you can route buses around damaged lines - not so easy to do with tunnels hundreds of feet underground.

You mean like RapidRide? Except for the dedicated lanes, of course... but where would you have put those dedicated lanes?

As for the hills — have you lived in a neighborhood where you had to use a trolleybus to climb a hill? Those things crawl, and the diesel buses are even worse. Rail makes sense with hills if you tunnel, like it would have been on Beacon Hill if the station was in a useful place, or it would have been on Capitol Hill if there were more than one station. Yes, it costs more. It also costs more to build freeways on hills, or any structure on hills, really. Just comes with the territory.

Also, tunnels are actually one of the safest places to be during an earthquake.

Seattle's light rail is one of the more poorly conceived mass transit plans out there, but that has more to do with the Seattle Process and a strange insistence on pretending that Seattle is still a small city and won't get bigger as long as people want it to stay small. If you think small, you get solutions that don't scale. That's exactly what Seattle is suffering from now.

Comment Re:Never wanted to san francisco (Score 1) 394

So what are you going to do, kill your economy? Change happens, and if you want it to work in your favor you first have to admit that you can't both keep Seattle exactly as it was and have economic growth. If you figure out what to do with the hipsters and yuppies, or figure out how to attract more of the kinds of people you do want, then you might be happier with what Seattle turns into. Unless you're one of those Seattleites who has something against outsiders, in which case you'll never be happy.

Comment Re:As a Seattleite... (Score 1) 394

The sidewalks are too narrow. Seriously, I just moved to Boston from Seattle and it's amazing how much more room there is to walk. Look around downtown — there are never all that many people compared to any serious city around the world — yet it feels crowded as soon as it stops feeling empty. I don't know how, exactly, but someone definitely screwed up the engineering.

Comment Re:Yes, they are employees (Score 1) 367

It is plain to see (...)

No, it isn't. A lot of people see things differently than you do, myself and multiple judges in California included.

indeed, most people would think it ludicrous (...)

Irrelevant. This is about legal definitions, not societal ones. Justice is not meted out by popular opinion.

Your absolutist viewpoint is the hallmark of someone who can't separate out his personal politics from intellectual positions. Words have multiple meanings. The meanings are often contradictory. Your political ideology apparently finds this distasteful.

We're looking at dishonest, meaningless political banter.

It all seems perfectly honest, meaningful, and non-political to me. Why do you write like you're the final arbiter of these things? Do you have any idea why people see things differently from you? Do you have any idea how you come across to people who disagree with you? If you can't figure these things out, your attempts to prove yourself right are always going to fail.

Comment Re:Yes, they are employees (Score 1) 367

So, what you're saying is that everyone is a slave

There's a whole branch of political thought that says just that. It's not dismissible offhand just because you perceive it as absurd.

and nobody has any responsibility for the choices they make.

I don't see how responsibility, legal or moral, follows from the first half of the sentence. Historically slaves have often derived meaning in their lives from belief systems that centered around their moral integrity. Legal responsibility is more complicated, but usually more unilaterally defined in a given society, so I don't see how it would apply here.

Comment Re:Yes, they are employees (Score 2) 367

You can't possibly argue that Uber drivers aren't contracting their services. They take bids for work; they're not employed by the company to go out as service providers, but rather take bids for services requested from the company by its clients.

You're playing the exact same semantic games that the judge in this case found Uber to be playing. We could just as easily say this is an employer-employee relationship in which the employer requires its employees bid to get paid. Making it more difficult for your employees to get paid does not make them contractors! You talk about their freedom to work when they choose, but there are many other important freedoms that Uber has denied them (e.g., the ability to work for other clients). Whether they have the authority to do so is not in question here — it is only about whether denying their drivers these freedoms constitutes a relationship that is not one of a client and contractor.

These definitions are complex, which is precisely why we have lawyers and judges to make it as clear as possible what is legal and what is not. We have a central authority, the government, which we have enshrined with the power to make laws — this entails also giving them the power to create a process by which terms are defined, in a manner contrary to that of academia as referenced in your long, tangential quote. That this is how the meanings of legal terminology are hashed out is what's most sensible to me. Making it sound like it's as cut and dry as you represent makes it sound much more like you have some particular political agenda you're trying to push.

Comment Re:What's the difference? (Score 2) 367

Personally, I think if a person wants to be a contractor and sets up his own business, he should be a contractor no matter what.

The issue here isn't about the degree of freedom from government interference a person has — it's how the regulations work when the client/employer (whichever the case may be) imposes too many restrictions on how the contractor/employee can do his or her job. In this case, Uber has been dictating too many terms to their contractors, to the point where the state of California determined that they were playing semantic games by using the word "contractor," i.e. the relationship they imposed on their drivers was employer-employee.

If you believe that ideally the relationship should have been client-contractor, that's not an issue of the law but rather what Uber feels it is within its rights to restrict. And ultimately that would require increased government regulation to change the contracts Uber writes, given that it is apparently unwilling to treat its drivers like actual contractors with the liberties that come with actually operating one's own business.

Comment Re:Reporting (Score 2) 268

Even if it’s rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.

Anyone else notice how aggressive this call for empathy is? Even if the whole of the article is complete bullshit, this tone-deaf response is so telling in itself. I sure as hell wouldn't feel comfortable talking about work environment concerns with a manager who talked to me in that tone!

Comment Re:This article really changed my opinion (Score 2) 268

Why is it that because the article contradicts your experience, you assume integrity problems with the publication that published it? There are a number of possible reasons for the discrepancy. And honestly, your emotional reaction makes me suspect your motives, not those of the New York Times. I've had some awesome workplaces, some mediocre and drudgery-filled, but never would I have an emotional reaction of any kind to people challenging my experiential knowledge of workplaces in either of those categories. Nor would I assume that anyone giving reports contrary to what I had experienced was corrupt or had an agenda — misguided, at worst.

Journalists make money off of exposing that which the public hasn't yet perceived as being fully reported on. Ideological biases are far more common than a desire to take one particular company down — your immediate suspicion that the latter is likely a factor here makes your objectivity suspect. Don't get me wrong: I appreciate your reasoned tone in your post, and I have no reason to doubt your personal experience, which I find valuable to learn about. But beneath that, it's clear that you aren't reacting to reading about Amazon in the same way as if you were reading about a company to which you never felt loyal, grateful, or whatever the applicable emotion is in your case. And when it comes to judging where the truth lies in this particular case, that fact is crucial.

Comment Re:The street will become half as wide (Score 1) 258

Man. This is just weird. Once again, where do you get this idea that you are the more important one in this situation and deserving of respect, yet you can just call other people a "nuisance"? The situation you describe is so obviously an issue of infrastructure — bicycles have always been street legal on roads such as the one you describe, yet the road was planned out under the assumption that no one would ever try to ride a bike there. That sure as hell isn't the bicyclist's fault, regardless of how inconvenient it is for you and other drivers!

Or to put it another way, that wouldn't ever be a problem in, say, the Netherlands, where even country roads have parallel bike paths that ensure both their safety and the free flow of car traffic. Blame short-sighted planning where you are — if you're in the US as I am, you should be well aware that's the American way, especially when it comes to infrastructure. I'd go so far as to call it a national embarrassment, the amount of time and money we've put into systems that weren't built to scale.

Another thing: Because I'm used to bike commuting and the half-decent cycle infrastructure in the city I live in, when I drive I don't take getting stuck in traffic as a normal part of life. I once lived in LA, drove every day, took it as a given, but I can tell you if that's not the case, boy does it suck. Way more than the occasional slowdown due to a cyclist on a shared street, or the occasional cyclist pulling stupid shit at an intersection. That affects you for a short while and then it's gone. Traffic slows you down for a good chunk of your trip on a daily basis and is a proven stressor, so much so that many drivers become numb to it just in order to deal with their lives. But I can't go blaming other drivers for creating the traffic, even though they're the ones keeping me from moving! It's an infrastructure matter, of course, same as the problem with the bicyclists clogging the major roads. No right to get mad at the individual who's just doing what he or she has every right to do.

Comment Re:Foolproof (Score 1) 258

Have you ever tried biking to work in the heat, rain, or snow? If you're not going at it like a racer, the sweat problems are really not as big a deal as you might imagine (especially if you're biking in the morning). Rain or snow are just a question of gear, not an issue once you get to the office.

(Source: Have been bike commuting in four different cities in the US over the past seven years.)

Comment Re:The street will become half as wide (Score 2) 258

I don't disagree with your opinion, but why do you say "the damn things" about a vehicle used as a serious mode of transport by thousands of people in any given city? If this is the kind of casual disrespect you show people who do things a way you disapprove of, why do you feel you have the right to have your choices respected in turn?

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