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Comment: Re:The IRS recently proved abuse happens (Score 4, Interesting) 205

by PracticalM (#44033399) Attached to: State Photo-ID Databases Mined By Police

Except that the IRS targeting of tea party organization was also accompanied by targeting of organizations with Progressive in their name. And more left organizations were actually denied tax exempt status (which isn't hard because no tea party organizations were denied tax exempt status). And the IRS guy in charge was a Bush appointee. And Bush era IRS targeted liberal churches that dared to mention there was an election happening at the same time that conservative churches were beating the drums to elect Bush. And really the tragedy is that we let any groups that are not 100% dedicated to social welfare claim tax exempt status at all and/or hide their donors.

Love how conservatives continually claim to be persecuted and the facts tend to disagree.

Comment: Re:Not exactly scaling well (Score 1) 63

by PracticalM (#41432001) Attached to: Presentation Scales In Massive Online Courses; Does Interaction?

I also stayed away from the forums because I just didn't have time to participate and by the time I read through a interesting topic I really didn't want to start posting on a topic that was already pretty old. I don't care for the forums on Coursera. It might be easier if I could filter by recent topics so I can focus on the conversations that are fresher. (If that is already possible then I missed it some how.)

I do like the student evaluation process in the class I'm taking. There just doesn't seem to be a way to find those people and continue conversing on the assignment.

Security

+ - DHS Monitors Social Media For "Political Dissent"->

Submitted by OverTheGeicoE
OverTheGeicoE (1743174) writes "Recently, TSA's 'Blogger Bob' Burns posted a rant against a cupcake on the TSA blog. Perhaps it made you wonder if TSA and its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, really understand what we're saying about them, especially online. Well, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from EPIC, we now know a lot more about how they monitor online comments aside from 'Blogger Bob.' EPIC has received hundreds of pages of documents regarding DHS' online surveillance program. These documents reveal that DHS has contracts with General Dynamics for '24/7 media and social network monitoring.' Perhaps it will warm your heart to know that DHS is particularly interested in tracking media stories that 'reflect adversely' on the US government generally and DHS specifically. The documents include a report summary that might be representative of General Dynamics' work. The example includes summaries of comments on blogs and social networking sites, including quotes. Then again, you might remember J. Edgar Hoover's monitoring of antiwar activists during the Vietnam War, which certainly wasn't for the protesters' benefit."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Not all religions are bad (Score 1) 910

by PracticalM (#38401804) Attached to: Christopher Hitchens Dies At 62

Try Unitarian Universalism.

Unitarian Universalist religion is non-creedal and follows seven principles http://www.uua.org/beliefs/principles/index.shtml
to try to make the world a better place. Not because there is some reward waiting, but because it's the right thing to do as a people.

Religion is helpful to build communities that come together to help make the world a better place. I'd be happy if atheists and agnostics also built communities to do the same.

Comment: Re:Poor values and negative reinforcement (Score 1) 493

by PracticalM (#35520920) Attached to: US Ed Dept Demanding Principals Censor More

While going to church won't make you a better person unless you want to change, there are moral lessons to be learned and heard. Yes many churches are dogmatic. Some are not. There are a number of non-creedal churches (Unitarian Universalist, Quakers (Religous Society of Friends), and others.) I can't speech to religions like Buddhism or Hinduism though.

The point is where are people going to be hearing about treating people better if not at a church? Ideally the parents. Where else? And, sure churches have done bad things. So have governments and we still have those too.

Choosing not to participate in a religion just lets other people control the power churches/religion to influence behavior.

Comment: Re:I prefer targeted ads (Score 0) 71

by PracticalM (#31807944) Attached to: Privacy Groups Want Feds To Investigate Targeted Ads

So do I. I'd rather only see ads for what may interest me. This has to be a win for both me and the company buying the ad. I'm happier because I see stuff I'm interested in and they are happier because if I know about it I'm more likely to buy it.

I can remember complaining to Yahoo years ago about them advertising services to me that my computer didn't support. What was the point of telling me about some cool new service if Mac or Linux wasn't supported. Heck they had to know what system I was running, better they put an ad there that would actually be useful.

"Show business is just like high school, except you get paid." - Martin Mull

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