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Comment: Re:That'll stop the terrorists! (Score 1) 232

by Obfuscant (#48919505) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

It isn't up to politicians to think about what they're proposing. It's up to the people they serve to agree or disagree with it.

I can't tell if you are being sarcastic here or not. You think it is better for politicians to pass all kinds of nonsensical laws without thinking about them, and then let the people go to court to get the laws overturned? (Just disagreeing with a law doesn't stop it from being a law, you actually have to do something based on that disagreement. Just voting your rep out also doesn't remove the laws he voted for.)

Are you seriously suggesting that it was better for the Patriot Act to be passed into law without serious thought (or the DOMA, or the DMCA) and then have a lot of people disagree with the law?

Comment: Re:I have a simple legitimate solution to the prob (Score 1) 178

The assets of the company do not vanish instantly as the stock price drops.

The value of the company drops as the stock price drops, and the stock price drops as soon as it becomes obvious that customers are all cancelling their service.

Once we have 51% of the vote we can vote in a new consumer friendly board of directors to fire the current executives.

And as you're getting all the little people to buy this 51% over a three year period, large companies who would love to take over the areas served by Comcast are buying stock at the same bargain-basement rates you are. They can afford it. The people you want to buy stock are having to cancel service so they have enough money to buy stock. You'll never make 51%.

I can safely predict, if you cut the price of a share of Comcast today by 50% TW would be tendering a takeover offer before COB. They'd be fools not to, and you just don't have the money to compete with them.

It has the worst customer service and only maintains it function by being a monopoly.

So why hasn't another company come in and taken all the customers away from them? Because as much as you hate them and think their service is bad, too many other people just don't care. They get service, they pay their bill, they watch their programs. That points out that you are likely to get less than 0.1% of the customers to follow you in your cancel service/buy stock plan, which would turn a three year plan into a 3000 year plan.

1st question. You don't upgrade during the transition you upgrade after. Just the roughly 2 billion they paid in dividends could be put to use.

If they have no customers they have no dividends, and they have no cash flow to upgrade after the transition. Maybe you don't understand how the stock market works, but when you buy 51% of a company's stock the money doesn't go to the company, it goes to the people who owned the stock. Where do you get the money for all this upgraded hardware when nobody is paying for the service? You expect the stockholders to dump more money into the company when they've had to cancel their service to be able to afford what they've already bought?

2nd Tv is already dead is is all out IP bandwidth.

TV is hardly dead, and I have no idea what you mean by anything after that.

The last mile doesn't have to be fiber coax is just fine.

You don't have to buy out Comcast to get that. We've got that here. Fiber backbone, coax to the house. Nobody had to cancel service or buy stock.

Also I don't want them to magically maintain a company with no customers, I want the executives fired and the middle management fired and rebuild a customer centric customer own utility.

And your method of getting to the firing of the executives was for people to cancel their service and buy stock. Three years of no subs will definitely require some magic if the company doesn't go under in that time.

It not a pipe dream it a well worn business model.

Sure it is, but not by your means of getting there. You get there by getting the investors together and buying the working company. You don't try to drive the company into the ground, buy the remnants, and then claim success.

It would take a fortune to rebuild Comcast as a "customer owned utility" once you kill it off over a three year period. And now there's a question that needs another answer: how much stock must someone own before they can get service from their customer-owned utility? It sounds like getting service from this new company would be a very expensive proposition. Or you don't mean "customer owned", you mean "owned by people you think care enough to run things the way you want them to."

3rd Lessig Nader is a joke.

Those are the names you promoted as being the new bosses. I think it is a joke, too.

4th it doesn't have to go completely bankrupt, all we need is 51%.

And three years of no customers because they're all buying stock instead won't result in a bankruptcy. Sure. You'll never make it to 51% because TW will buy out Comcast just for the franchises long before your three year project is complete, and the faster you're able to buy stock as the price drops, the sooner the TW buyout will happen. If TW doesn't buy it all, smart stock fund managers will see fire-sale prices for a company they know will rebound eventually and they'll be buying the stock in large blocks. They won't share your concern for customer service, they'll be bottom-line guys looking for ROI. That may mean selling off the markets to some other large cable company and liquidating the original company, since by the time your three year plan is over, the only real assets will be the franchises.

But you'll never get everyone to drop service and buy stock, so it's a pipe dream anyway. It's also a failed thought experiment, so it's not even a nice pipe dream. A pipe-nightmare for the remaining customers -- those who haven't given up cable because they want the live and local services and are now paying exorbitant prices as the fixed costs are shared among fewer customers.

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 1) 455

by Obfuscant (#48918467) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

I suspect traffic circles ("roundabouts") would be a great solution

In my state, traffic circles and roundabouts are two different things that appear nearly identical but operate differently. For example, in a roundabout traffic in the circular roadway has the right of way over traffic trying to enter. In a traffic circle exactly the opposite is true: traffic in the circle has to yield to traffic waiting to enter. Sounds stupid, but that's the law. I treated a traffic circle like a roundabout one fine evening and wound up with a hefty ticket.

Comment: Re:Money *needs* to be removed from Politics ... (Score 1) 178

As opposed to only getting to hear the ones paid for by the elite ruling class?

You have it 100% backwards. Under the current system if you've got enough money to pay for an ad, you can do that. (With the exception of certain ads that applies to all.) If you can get people together to pay for your ads, you can do that. Citizen's United kept that possible. (CU wasn't a new thing, it reiterated an existing concept called "free speech" even for people who are members of a group.)

Under a public campaign financing system where ads are paid for by the public and money is limited to those who have met some popularity contest, all you'll get to hear are ads from those who the "elite ruling class" have decided pass the test. Independent voices will go away because they won't get the money authorized to buy ads. Unpopular opinions are not wanted and must be silenced.

I'm sorry if all you listen to today are the ads paid for by the "elite ruling class", but my radio and TV carry all kinds of ads from people who haven't passed the popularity contests during campaign season. Yes, I'd love it if there was a prohibition on this seemingly endless stream of nonsense from people I know are lying (feel free to apply that to whichever party you think it applies to), but I realize that it only lasts a couple of weeks and that any "solution" to the problem would be worse than the problem it's trying to solve. Perhaps that's because I understand that the First Amendment isn't there to protect speech that is popular, it's there for unpopular speech.

Comment: Re:and when the next one has a bomb? (Score 1) 232

by Obfuscant (#48917057) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

A 40lb payload would require a mammoth sized drone, which would be EASILY detected by radar. Thus, does not fit the problem cited.

A drone 'copter can fly just above treetops, or even below the treetops if actively navigated, and easily avoid detection by radar. The ground clutter would hide it very well until it was too late to do much about it.

A better solution than blanket "No peons, you cant own drones with that weight class!" would be like what we have with guns near schools. ... That kind of regulation would be OK, and would work

Why yes, because nobody who wants to do something illegal with such a drone would ever violate an exclusion zone. Nobody would ever think of putting a drone in the back of a pickup truck, driving down Pennsylvania Avenue, and launching it while passing by The White House.

Comment: Re: and when the next one has a bomb? (Score 1) 232

by Obfuscant (#48916951) Attached to: White House Drone Incident Exposes Key Security Gap

Don't you have a vice president? And if he is also hit a new one is only an election away.

What is scariest is that Biden is a heartbeat away. Thanks for pointing that out.

Now to present a politically balanced scare -- the next in line if Biden is "also hit" is John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the house. Following him is currently Orrin Hatch, the Republican President Pro-Tem of the Senate.

No, there will be no election until the next regular presidential election.

Don't imagine that it cannot happen. This is how Leslie Lynch King became the first and only person in US history to become vice president and then President of the US without being elected to those offices. You might know him better as Gerald R. Ford. He was appointed VP after Agnew resigned, and then became President when Nixon resigned.

Comment: Re:I have a simple legitimate solution to the prob (Score 1) 178

That was a typo. I meant pay your bill and buy stock.

"Instead of" is a typo for what? And then you said more stock could be bought if everyone cancelled their service!

Also the existing infrastructure in many places has been totally deprecated.

I'm sure it has, and I'm sure it has been fully depreciated too. But if the company has no money because nobody is paying their bills or everyone has cancelled service (the second option you gave) then what money will they use to upgrade?

If google can provide gigabit fiber from scratch a a lower price than cable even with content and ad revenue then Comcast could too.

The reasons that Google can do it at a lower price are two-fold. First, they don't have existing plant to maintain while they're over-building the existing stuff. Existing cable companies cannot just ignore the existing customer problems while they string new fibers all over; Google has no existing customers to deal with. Cable has a staff that is sufficient to maintain what they have, they have to hire or subcontract for the install of fiber; Google has one staff busy doing installs. Labor costs are a major part of your fixed costs.

And second, Google is focusing on a very limited number of cherry-picked markets and can dump loads of money into the system until it begins to turn a profit. It's the same way that Walmart can come into a city and cut prices until the competition goes out of business because Walmart has thousands of other stores operating at a profit that can subsidize that. And it's the same reason why municipal cable systems are an unfair competition to the market: a city can dip into the general fund (taxpayer dollars) to cover shortfalls from operating costs, a private company cannot. We have laws about dumping and fair trade for just such activities.

Once we own the company as a customer owned utility it functions exactly like my electrical utility which provides excellent customer service at some of the lowest power prices in the nation.

The problem is that getting to the point where you own it will destroy it. A cable system without customers cannot afford to maintain what they have, much less suddenly build out a complete new fiber system, and it will have zero say in negotiating contracts for content. You want a full set of ala carte channels? ESPN won't care and won't make that deal, and the customer-less Comcast will have no money to make it happen. You said it would take 3 years. That's a long time in a technology-driven industry. Three years of stagnation because there is no cash flow. Long before you reach the goal of ownership, your plan will drive the company into bankruptcy.

The same bargain-basement stock prices that you count on to gain control of the company in the first place will not go unnoticed by everyone else (like TW, or Google, or Microsoft) and they'll be busy buying stock for their own takeover.

It's a pipe dream filled with unicorns and pixies who magically maintain a company that has zero customers. And the only way you can suggest that TW wouldn't step in and complete the merger by buying the stock before you do is if you do the same thing to TW at the same time.

And THEN you say you'd want to put Lessig and Nader in charge. Neither one of them have run a company before and are political fringe thinkers who alienate people who do run companies. That's pixie dust in a nutshell.

I can see how my typo made this unclear.

What made it unclear is saying "instead of" and then continuing with a call for cancelling service so even more stock could be purchased. No, I think the only unclear thing here is how bankrupting a company is going to force it to build a full fiber system and give you cheap high-speed broadband.

Comment: Re:Money *needs* to be removed from Politics ... (Score 1) 178

If the person has money they still can buy billboard, commercials, etc if they have an opinion, so they still have their freedom of speech right.

Not if campaign finance becomes limited to public funding based on polling percentages, as was the desire of the person I first replied to.

I don't remember the amendment where the right to spend money on your own election is...

There is no amendment specifically for campaign spending, and campaign finance laws quite often violate the letter, if not just the intent, of the existing First Amendment. Converting the current "system" into one that is funded by public money alone and the "up north" groups don't get any to spend is a clear violation of the existing constitution.

Comment: Re:Money *needs* to be removed from Politics ... (Score 1) 178

Having 3 or more candidate elections would ensure more voices are heard,

Yeah, three voices all spouting the same popular opinions. Who said that having multiple copies of the same opinion was a good thing?

(never will every opinion be heard)

There is a significant difference between an unpopular candidate not finding funding for his speech to be heard and the government legislatively taking his ability to speak away. In the former, an unpopular candidate may have sufficient money of his own to pay for his own speech; in the latter he is legally prohibited from spending his own money to speak.

A more textbook example of a violation of the first amendment, and the reason why the first amendment is necessary in the first place, would be hard to find.

The great thing is candidates wouldn't have to tow the party line because they would no longer need two parties to raise funds...

Those who didn't toe the party line wouldn't be party candidates, and it would be the parties who do the work to get the signatures to get the money.

Elections would be tighter and there would be more participation (because it's more interesting).

I don't know why a "tighter" (closer?) election is necessarily a good thing, and you really need a citation for the ridiculous claim that limiting the number of voices in an election to the popular opinions would make it any more interesting, or that "more participation" is defacto a good thing.

Comment: Re:Money *needs* to be removed from Politics ... (Score 1) 178

Publicly funded elections would be awesome (with complex rules ensuring multiple party elections, but that make sure participants to have x numbers of signatures or x percentage of polling). Don't need the Goat Herders of Little Russia North getting too much money for no reason :-)

In other words, only the popular opinions get to be heard and the unpopular ones have no chance at all.

Comment: Re:Money *needs* to be removed from Politics ... (Score 1) 178

When companies can "effectively" just "buy laws" (and/or Politicians) corruption knows no bounds for price gouging.

What laws were bought?

It's hard to get upset over three politicians who wanted to support the merger and asked Comcast for help writing a letter to the FCC. I'm more upset that the politicians are writing letters AT ALL, since that's an open attempt at speaking over the voices of their constituents who are capable of writing their own letters. I.e., a city councilor or mayor who writes a letter on behalf of his city is stealing the speech from all the people who don't agree with his opinion.

Comment: Re:I have a simple legitimate solution to the prob (Score 1) 178

If every household in America bought $150 in Comcast stock each month instead of paying their cable bill it would take ~3 years to buy them out. If everyone canceled their account and bought stock it would take less time.

Only because the stock price would plummet and the company would be worth only the value of the plant. At that point Time-Warner buys it from bankruptcy for a pittance and the merger happens anyway.

What significant difference is there between nobody paying their cable bill and everyone cancelling service? A couple of months into the former and service would be cancelled automatically AND the company would have a large amount of write-off for the bad debts.

Then we vote out the current board and replace them with Lessig, Nader et al. and BAM gigabit bidirectional IPV6 with al a carte channels.

What color is the sky on your world, Cliff? Why not ask for unicorns while you're at it? Who PAYS for all this infrastructure upgrade if there are no subscribers?

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 1) 455

by Obfuscant (#48909307) Attached to: Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

If it was about public safety he'd pull you over just to stop you, even if he was powerless to ticket you.

If he is powerless to ticket you, that means you're out of his jurisdiction and doesn't have authority to stop you.

The reason the local cop on the interstate didn't stop you for "blowing by" him was probably because he was there doing something else that he was called to assist with. There's no other reason for him to be there if it isn't in his jurisdiction.

There should not be a debate about whether you fully stopped, or almost stopped... only that you followed the intent of the intersection control.

OMG, you do NOT want law enforcement to become a guessing game of "what is the intent of the traffic signal". There is never a debate about whether you "fully stopped" or "almost", that's pretty easy for an observer to tell, and you get to debate it with the judge where that debate belongs. As well as the "intent" debate. As far as law enforcement goes, the "intent" of any traffic signal (i.e. "stop sign" or "red light") is that you stop. Period. End of sentence. If the municipality that installed the signal didn't want you to stop, they would have installed a yield or yellow flasher.

Comment: Re:Why lay fiber at all when you can gouge wireles (Score 1) 200

by Obfuscant (#48907697) Attached to: Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

The marked worked exactly how it is supposed to work, and the best competitor won.

Really? I found it valuable to be able to browse the local shop to see what new magazines (or old ones I didn't know about) were available, to look inside to see what they contained. When I got interested in something, I could see what was available, and I could see covers that hinted that maybe I'd like to read what was inside. If I didn't see what I wanted, I could ask the owner and she'd help me find what I needed. In most cases, I'd walk out of the shop with what I wanted -- immediate delivery.

Compare this to Barnes and Noble (one of the "winners" in this competition.) I have an electronic subscription to a magazine. It is supposed to renew automatically, and they sent me an email a month ago telling me it would renew three weeks ago. So far, it hasn't renewed. I got the paper copy of the magazine, and BN touts that "nook magazines" are delivered before the paper versions are. I contacted support. They apologized that the most recent issue hadn't been put in my library and they'd look into it. I told them it was obvious why -- they hadn't renewed the subscription. They're still "looking into it" and it's been a week.

Even better, when the current issue is put in my library, since they've dropped their Windows Nook reader (without saying anything, it took a round of email with support to find out why it just wouldn't log in to their server) I now must rely on an Android app to download my copies, and then I can copy the file out of the app's content directory to put it where I want it to be. The only way to know which is the correct file is to look at the creation date, the name is unintelligible gibberish. Fortunately this magazine is DRM-free, so I don't have to go through the steps of uploading the file to my PC to remove the DRM and then redownload it to read it using my reader of choice.

Oh, this Nook App has the wonderful property that it shows only a few characters of the name of the content along with the cover. So, unless I know the cover image of the issue of the magazine I want to read, I get to see "Asimo ... 2015" as the identification. Which month? That info is contained only on the cover icon which is unreadable because it is so small. The "competitor" free app does much better, and B&N don't give a damn how hard it is to identify content.

So, when you say "the best competitor won", that's your opinion. It may be the opinion of many people, but it isn't a fact. What is more likely is that "the most convenient" or "the cheapest" competitor won, but that's not always "the best". Were it "the best", then why do people go to brick and mortar's to browse for things to buy before they buy online?

Comment: Re:Why lay fiber at all when you can gouge wireles (Score 1) 200

by Obfuscant (#48907551) Attached to: Verizon About To End Construction of Its Fiber Network

It wasn't competition from a direct competitor that drove Borders out of town, it was a technological revolution.

It was a technological "revolution" that allowed a company in Seattle, Washington to become a competitor with the Borders store in my town (and in all the other cities). If you want to claim that "competition is good" and then limit your definition to "competition that is only the same sized business located in the same city doing things the same way", you've lost all basis for your claim.

The cable and phone companies benefitted from sweatheart deals to install their connections in cities,

And a competitor can get those same "sweat" deals by signing a franchise agreement. That agreement will cost them a few percent of their revenue. That's not enough to stop them.

yet they would scream in outrage at the prospect of a new competitor getting a similar sweatheart deal to bring in service.

Of course they would. What they scream about is irrelevant. The grocery store on the corner isn't happy when another grocery store opens across the street, either. None of the grocery stores in town were happy when Walmart opened their grocery store here, and none of the general merchandise stores were happy when Walmart announced plans for a superstore here.

The superior man understands what is right; the inferior man understands what will sell. -- Confucius