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Comment Re: Unbelievable (Score 1) 588

Then he goes on in the very next verse to explain that the law is not fulfilled "until heaven and earth disappear," and that until God ends the world "not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law." In other words Matt 5:17 can't refer to his death on the cross, because the world still exists. It has to refer to the Second Coming.

To make sense of that verse, and justify their strong desire to not argue with Jews over precisely how many Matzvoh exist, Catholics and Orthodox Christians retconned a fairly clear reference to the Second Coming into a reference to the First Coming. I can't really blame them. Lobster tastes good, and in the absence of the Temple and Levite priesthood many of the old laws are unenforceable.

There's a reason that in the 1500s-1600s when numerous Europeans were trying to figure out how to strip as much Church tradition out of the Bible as possible, they could not come up with a single coherent religion, and the ended up re-adopting all Catholic theology they didn't have political reasons to discard.

Comment Re:The guy aint no Sagan... (Score 1) 334

Have you ever tried to get $2 Billion in financing for private industry?

I haven't, but my stepmom ran debt programs for Goodyear for 5 years or so. Retooling a factory is frequently in the $2 Billion range. Goodyear had proven revenue figures because the factories were already breaking even, and could prove that they had excellent business reasons to believe the retooling would strengthen the business to the point they could pay back the loans. And she still spent much of her time jetting over the globe negotiating the fine points of the mortgages because nobody would lend Goodyear money without really good collateral. These days her job no longer exists, because they're investment rated, and can issue bonds.

So to get two months worth of NASA's funding Musk's SpaceX is gonna need to either convince the finance weenies to give him an AAA rating, or he'll need to mortgage his other assets (like the Gigafactory).

Otherwise he'll have to be an order of magnitude more efficient then NASA.

Comment Re:The guy aint no Sagan... (Score 1) 334

Here's the problem:
NASA's budget is $15-20 Billion.

The richest person in the world can only match that for five years without getting some revenue from the project. Which means the first multi-bnillionaire who actually tries to pay for a probe all the way to Mars is gonna get a bunch of really promising projects started, and then canned when he runs out of cash. Is the second billionaire gonna take an ex-billionaire's research and use it? Why would he share the glory? If he doesn't mind sharing, how does he access it?

Patents? How much would you insist on for that patent portfolio?

So for this to work, particularly for guys like Musk who barely hit the two-figures billion$, the private market has to be orders of magnitude more efficient then NASA, which does not seem terribly likely because the private market has had years to get beyond the ISS and still has not done so.

Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score 1) 588

You're giving him way more slack then he deserves on these statements.

For example, he makes a point of calling all Mexican immigrants rapists. He calls them "immigrants" rather then "illegal," or "undocumented." The "but not legal Mexicans" bit comes three paragraphs later in a bit of the speech nobody will ever put on a sound-bite because it's three paragraphs after the newsworthy stuff. He's manipulating the media into telling his supporters one thing (all Mexican immigrants are evil and probably rapists), while manipulating you into interpreting his statements completely differently (only illegals are probably rapists), and that isn't precisely the MO of a paragon of intellectual honesty.

In the history of the Republic we've had multiple political movements based on anti-immigrant sentiment. At all times the leadership swore up and down that they were only against abuses in the system, and that there were some good Irish/Asians/etc. while their ground troops happily oppressed everyone who was vaguely associated with Irish/Asians/etc.

Comment Re:What the fuck is with the snark (Score 1) 118

Here's the thing:
The existence of NASA is totally irrelevant to whether SpaceX can get the Billion$ necessary to go to Mars through the private market.

In a lot of ways extra NASA spending would help SpaceX get to Mars because they'd probably be able to piggy-back on some of NASA's efforts (ie: a NASA contractor develops a great new rocket technology with government money, that it then sells to SpaceX), but there's no way it hurts it.

Hell, if we declare that the government can't do shit with $15 Billion a year, who is going to spend $15 Billion a year of his own private money trying it? Moreover a lot of things the government does are actually cheaper then when the private market does them do to economies of scale.

For example, it makes sense for the Feds to have a unified retirement system and Civil Service rules that are relatively pro-employee simply due to the number of employees, and the fact that if you increase their retention even 0.5% you have saved a lot of money. One private space company can't do that. Which means it has to pay it's employees (particularly high level people) a premium to compensate them for their risk of losing this gig with no notice, the lack of a pension, etc.

Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score 1) 588

Just look at all of what was said. He talks about his famous wall, about people having to come into the country legally, all about border security and illegal immigration immediately before and after those questions and specifically in response to some of them without missing a beat. Yet you and plenty of others seriously want to believe that right in the middle, he broke stride and talked about something completely unrelated to those subjects for two sentences.

Ever watched a press conference on something that's not currently the #1 story the media is droning on and on about? Reporters always try to change the subject to the thing their networks are droning on and on about.

If you can't figure that shit out when it's happening, in real time, then you ain't gonna be a very good President.

That's pretty damn foolish if you ask me. The media is known for taking comments out of context and trolling with them. Hell, it's an inbred part of politics it seems. And yes, I'm refering to brother and sister becoming mom and dad because it always seems to be the same ones trying to smear the same people or types of people who are not part of their family. It appears you are caught up in it hook, line, and sinker too.

Of course it's the same people. They always do it to the front-runner because "front-runner is DOOOMED! DOOMED I TELL YOU!" is inherently more ratings-worthy then "Bobby Jindall once again implies he does not love his mother."

It goes in cycles. For awhile it was new (and thus ratings-worthy) to bash the hell out of Hillary. Biden was going to come in and steal her lunch money. "Feel the Bern" was more then an impotent expression of white liberal rage. There was a lot of smoke to the Benghazi scandal. Polls that indicated she might lose the whitest states in the country were huge news, despite the fact the exact same poll showed she;'d wipe the competition out in the next two states.Then that got old, and not ratings-worthy; so as soon as that idiot implied that Benghazi was political, and she didn't stink up a debate, she started walking on water again. In about a month two or three relatively trivial other things (probably related to her continued weakness in the white/Iowa/New Hampshire vote relative to Sanders) will be merged with some other random piece of vaguely anti-Hillaryish infotainment and she'll be doomed again.

In Trump's case he actually prefers the negative attention, because the guy who said that 15-20% of the potential ratings points are "rapists" despite all evidence to the contrary, is never gonna be embraced by the media.

Either Trump's not smart enough to figure out that he is answering a totally different set of policy questions then the reporter is asking, in which case he should be pilloried in the media for not understanding the requirements of the job he is trying to get.

This is most likely it. It is completely supported by his answers. Look at his answers to the MSNBC reporter...

It's definitely possible.

It's just as likely he knew exactly what he was answering, and he knew that his supporters would watch the video and then go into paroxysms of pro-Trump rage against the biased media, and therefore he did it anyway.

But given the aforementioned Mexican immigrants are rapists thing,* I'm not gonna give him the benefit of the doubt on any ridiculous ethnically-based statement.

*Which was just stupid. If you're a criminal of any type in Mexico, especially a rapist, why the fuck would you leave? You can kidnap 16-year-old girls, have your way with them, murder them, bury the bodies in the hills and nobody with arrest powers cares. Granted state-side we get our share of ethnic Latino criminals, but most of them are at least raised in the US, they tend to be from Central American countries that are not Mexico, and they aren't any rapier then us natives.

Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score 1) 588

There are stark differences for a modern Christian.

As an Atheist who has read the entire Bible, including the Old Testament, and scanned significant bits of the Koran, I would actually prefer to live under the rule of a Koranic literalist. The Koran is just as bad as the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is part of the Bible. Period. But at least the Koran is clear, so I can figure out which lies to tell to whom to avoid punishment.

The New Testament's supposed compassion really doesn't help, because Jesus never literally says flat-out "OK we'll be tolerant, sex-positive, set up an independent Judiciary which respects the right to disagree with me, etc." He says a bunch of vague-ass shit about changing everything, fails to mention what any of that shit means, adds in an Authoritarian "Render unto Caesar" comment, and spends the whole time denouncing various sins that modern Christians don't think are particularly sinful (such as anything involving sex, and not believing in Him), without specifying any sort of legal or ethical framework that a sinner such as myself could use.

Don't get me wrong. If you add in an ethical framework from some other source (such as Catholic Church Traditions, or modern progressive Christianity) it is inherently better for me then Koranic literalism because modern ethical frameworks tend to rein in the most brutal tendencies of Ancient Near Eastern religious documents, but if you're gonna let the Christians cheat and reinterpret their Bible to include numerous post-Enlightenment, then you also have to let the Muslims cheat and use a Koranic government that lets Rima Fakih run around without a headscarf protecting the "glories of her hair" from us nasty male eyeballs.

Incidentally, if you want to know how seriously Christians take their Bible the "Glories of a woman's hair" comment I just made is actually a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians in the New Testament. Which means to an actual Biblical literalist, any time you see a woman's hair she is sinning. Hair covering's also part of the Jewish Tradition.

Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score 1) 588

It's interesting that you ignore half the Bible in your attempt to defend the Bible. If you ignore the bits of OJ Simpson's life where he's not murdering two people and beating up a couple of memorabilia dealers, he's also quite mellow.

It's also interesting that you use the New Testament, which is probably the least clear statement of religious rules in the history of human-kind. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus explicitly states the he did not come to abolish any of the rulings of the previous covenant. But, of course, the New Covenant must by definition change some of those laws or it's not new. Jesus clearly meant he only wants some changed (but not others). Which ones should be changed are never explained in the Bible. So, from the Bible alone, you have no clue whether you're still banned from eating Lobster.

Don't get me wrong. Religions that are actually religions (ie: they give you clear guidance on what God wants you to do, and the penalties for disobeying him) are much more objectionable to my Atheist relativist ass then modern Christianity. But that's not because I think the Bible is the source of pretty much any of the moral content of modern Christianity. It's because modern Christians do their damndest to rationalize an inherently Agnostic, Relativistic, form of post-Enlightenment morality into the Bible.

If they went the other way, and tried to bolt on an brutal Puritan form of morality, I would hate that, and I would think it was inherently immoral. But it would also be much more Christian (by the Biblical definition) then the values they currently espouse because the Biblical support for being cruel to fornicators actually exists, whereas the Biblical support for a moral right to fornification is basically a combination of handwaving and broadening Christ's call for compassion to the point it is meaningless.

Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score 1) 588

The audio from a reporter two feet in front of your face is a lot clearer then the audio on a recording. Moreover the fact he's talking about Muslims at all should be a clue that the reporter's not talking about illegal immigration. There are plenty of Latino illegal immigrants, but very few Muslim ones.

The follow-ups are also totally inappropriate for a question on illegal immigration. Why would you have a database of illegal immigrants if your policy is to deport them? Why would you register them anywhere, much less a religious institution which has numerous First Amendment rights to tell your registration agency to go away? You find them, you detain them at a detention center, you implement some sort of hearing to minimize the risk you're deporting legal immigrants, then you stick them on a plane back home. Why would NBC News go straight to the Nazi metaphor if they hadn't just asked a question that had absolutely nothing to do with illegal immigration? Granted they're mainstream, so they don't like him; but the simple fact is that thre MSM does not violate Godwin's Law because it's Tuesday. They do it because you've just answered a question about US Citizens by saying that all of them who follow a certain religion should be in a special database.

Either Trump's not smart enough to figure out that he is answering a totally different set of policy questions then the reporter is asking, in which case he should be pilloried in the media for not understanding the requirements of the job he is trying to get; or the media is right to pillory him for.

Which means that you're criticizing the media for criticizing Trump the wrong way.

Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score 2) 588

Tell that to Captain Merryman of the Maryland State Militia.

The Commander-in-Chief has extreme powers to do almost anything he can justify in times of trouble, which are de facto defined as whenever Congress refuses to tell him to cut his tyranny the fuck out.

The plight of the Japanese is a pretty good example of why that happens in the real world, regardless of all theories about the Constitutions ability to protect freedom in the real world. Roosevelt's man on the scene had a not-totally-implausible line of bullshit, and had arrested the Japanese using his military powers rather then police powers. Since Habeas Corpus and other rights in the criminal system do not apply to military prisoners, the Civil Rights of the First Amendment are technically not violated if you are allowed to speak in a prison camp, the Second Amendment also does not apply to military prisoners, etc. pretty much the only way for the Courts to rule the Constitution was violated would be for them to rule Lt. Gen DeWitt was wrong in his military judgement.

Which did not happen despite the fact said judgement was both ridiculous bullshit, and incredibly racist.

Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score -1, Troll) 588


He got asked a question about "American Muslims". He responded with a rant that could either be evil-Fascist-racism or a totally ridiculous non sequitur about illegal immigration.

And your problem with the coverage is that instead of criticizing Trump for being so fucking clueless he doesn't understand that an "American Muslim" is by definition not an illegal immigrant, and his immigration policies will have jack-squat to do with the American Muslim population, they are criticizing him for crypto-fascism.

Okey dokey smokey.

Comment Re:Boston? (Score 1) 464

How often do you talk to the working class in your current town? Because that actually sounds like pretty standard behavior from the working class.

I ended up in retail, and the number of 20-somethings I met who think a road trip to the state capital would be AMAZING because they've never left the County is far from non-zero. Especially since most of them have cars, and could easily schedule a four-day break. Road trips are simply not on their RADAR. Many others do a) family reunions (it's a black area, so these are mostly down in the Deep South, but occasionally they happen up here), b) Vegas, or c) a cruise. d) does not exist (altho if we were closer to the border, trips to Ontario where 18-year-olds can legally buy beer would probably not be uncommon). The culture towards travel is very different.

Racial/ethnic stuff is also much closer to the surface then when you're talking to the Middle Class. A guy actually walked up to me and said "You wanna know why Aspirin is white? Because it works."

Comment Re:Boston? (Score 1) 464

What kind of property tax are you talking about? Property tax is levied on your house in the US. Other kinds exist (Missouri, for example, taxes the value of your car), but they're not what we mean when we talk about property taxes.

We use property taxes to pay for local school districts, and numerous other municipally-funded things (for example, lots of American cities do not have enough money to pay for police, which means people move out, which means that house prices go down, which means there's even less money for police, etc. This is what happened to Detroit). In extreme cases (such as the aforementioned Detroit) your annual property tax payment will be more then your house payment. But in other places (such as the deep South, where they are morally oppose to using taxation to pay for anything) it can be as low as $1 per $300 of a home's value.

Here's a CNN Story on it. The map can flip between dollar costs and costs as a percent of your house's value. In most places lots of people live it's 1.5-2.5%, but Cali is lower because of Proposition 13, which sets a maximum rate of 1% of your home's assessed value. It's a bit old (2011), but it should give an interested non-American some clue has to how the US Property tax system functions.

As you can imagine, the "assessed value" bit means that there's a lot of gamesmanship in when the City reassesses your home. If you can get it to happen during the bottom of a down market you do, and if they try to do it during an upswing you fight it. A second bit of Prop 13 actually made it very difficult for a City to reassess a home's value (and thus jack up the property tax bill) except when you sell or you build a new house on the lot. When it was passed the Silicon Valley property price boom was in full swing, and cities were notorious for pricing Senior citizens out of their homes by reassessing the property values, which brought the tax bill above what they could afford to pay.

Comment Re:monopolies and utilities (Score 1) 137

If you think about it, utilities and monopolies are pretty much the method by which a government governs.

The utility of defense against foreign governments, for example, is provided by the monopoly of force of the local government. Security against crime/riots/etc. is both a public utility (it is useful to the public), and guaranteed by the above-mentions monopoly of force. Standard contract law and other civil procedures are in the same category.

Hell, you have a monopoly on your property enforced by the government.

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must be first overcome. -- Dr. Johnson