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+ - House Passes Bill That Prevents Scientists From Advising EPA->

Submitted by Roger Wilcox
Roger Wilcox (776904) writes "While everyone’s attention was focused on the Senate and the Keystone XL decision on Tuesday, some pretty shocking stuff was quietly going on in the House of Representatives. The GOP-dominated House passed a bill that effectively prevents scientists who are peer-reviewed experts in their field from providing advice — directly or indirectly — to the EPA, while at the same time allowing industry representatives with financial interests in fossil fuels to have their say. Perversely, all this is being done in the name of “transparency.”"
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Comment: Re:Guy allegedly does something stupid (Score -1, Redundant) 327

by Roger Wilcox (#49007821) Attached to: Swatting 19-Year-Old Arrested in Las Vegas

The problem is that SWAT is prevalent enough that punks like the guy in the article can even pull this kind of prank.

SWAT came into prominence in the 1970s, with ~500 SWAT deployments per year. Today, there are more than 50,000 SWAT deployments each year (that's more that 150 deployments every day) and mostly, they are used to round up non-violent people engaging in consensual crimes.

There is no justification for using paramilitary police action on non-violent petty crime. It is ridiculous: picture an 8-man armored squad busting in on a teenager smoking weed in his parent's basement. There have been dozens of tragic incidents in which innocents have lost their lives due to this excessive use of force.

I don't have a solution to this. Politicians appear to consider the issue a career-danger to themselves to address; seemingly nobody is moving anywhere fast to rectify this trend. However, it has clearly become a problem.

Comment: Re:Guy allegedly does something stupid (Score 5, Insightful) 327

by Roger Wilcox (#49007803) Attached to: Swatting 19-Year-Old Arrested in Las Vegas
The problem is that SWAT is prevalent enough that punks like the guy in the article can even pull this kind of prank. SWAT came into prominence in the 1970s, with ~500 SWAT deployments per year. Today, there are more than 50,000 SWAT deployments each year (that's more that 150 deployments every day) and mostly, they are used to round up non-violent people engaging in consensual crimes. There is no justification for using paramilitary police action on non-violent petty crime. It is ridiculous: picture an 8-man armored squad busting in on a teenager smoking weed in his parent's basement. There have been dozens of tragic incidents in which innocents have lost their lives due to this excessive use of force. I don't have a solution to this. Politicians appear to consider the issue a career-danger to themselves to address; seemingly nobody is moving anywhere fast to rectify this trend. However, it has clearly become a problem.

Comment: Re:Security is a yes/no question (Score 1) 431

You seem to have missed the word "covert" in the GP post.

His point was that government simply cannot encourage secure communication among its citizenry and also expect to have covert access to all of that communication. Secure communication and dragnet surveillance are mutually exclusive concepts for the government's purposes. Unfortunately, our overlords have chosen to attempt to limit the security of our communication in order to realize their goal of capturing all our base in their dragnets.

Comment: Re:I don't get it (Score 4, Insightful) 127

by Roger Wilcox (#48554437) Attached to: Civil Rights Groups Divided On Net Neutrality
I've been convinced for some time now that Jesse Jackson and his ilk do not truly represent the people they claim to stand for. Their position on this issue makes absolutely no sense.

The only feasible explanation I can imagine is that they are abusing the trust of the gullible in an attempt bring the force of public opinion down against Title II designation for broadband.

Title II seems the sanest answer available for our current situation, as we have seen it succeed at reigning in other natural monopolies for 80 years at this point. Why this push didn't come 15 years ago is a mystery to me.


Aside: the fact that this is part of the conversation all of a sudden means that the man behind the propaganda curtain is now actively trying to influence *your* thoughts on the issue. Watch carefully to see how they paint this across the media.

Comment: It seems obvious to me... (Score 1) 553

by Roger Wilcox (#48223345) Attached to: Employers Worried About Critical Thinking Skills
It seems obvious to me that public education in this country is about quashing free thought and breeding compliance. Critical thinking, of course, runs counter to this goal. This is a political and economic travesty, and one of the most important issues facing the nation today. End federal funding for schooling and this gets much better in short order.

Comment: Why the preference for video? (Score 1) 97

Video is a format which perhaps will make it easier for content creators to quickly throw something up onto he web. Most of the time, however, that's just what it will be: throw up. Crafting a quality video requires a significant time investment as well as skills and tools that your content creators likely will not have. Furthermore, for the end user (an employee at your company that requires training) video will be less than ideal because it is a poor format for learning and reference: - you cannot consume video at your own pace, only at the pace of the creator - you cannot scan the contents - you cannot easily jump to a particular section of content - referring back to the video to find information is an infuriating chore I would suggest that your desire to make the training wiki video-based is misguided. A text based step by step with diagrams and bulleted lists is a cleaner, better, more user-friendly format for training and documentation.

Comment: Re:"Moderation?" Don't you mean "Censorship?" (Score 1) 76

Actually my ultimate fear in this scenario has nothing to do with what I can "force people to listen to" as you put it. It has everything to do with what Facebook might decide we shouldn't hear.

And, who knows, maybe Facebook actually is capable and willing to implementing a sane, thoughtful moderation system. I just don't have faith that they ever will.

OTOH, I wouldn't doubt for a second that they prioritized items in your newsfeed based on who paid them advertising dollars. And in the same vein, I wouldn't doubt if they used a fancy new "moderation" system to simply block content they didn't want their users to see.

Comment: "Moderation?" Don't you mean "Censorship?" (Score 1) 76

Call me cynical, but I just don't see Facebook adopting a sane moderation system, like for example anything that approximates slashcode.

Their equivalent of "moderation" would better resemble censorship. They would simply hide the thoughts and comments they don't think you would like. Of course, it would be for your own good...

Comment: Re:No Advertising does not power the Internet. (Score 5, Insightful) 418

by Roger Wilcox (#47492311) Attached to: Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'

There were many people producing their own content on the Internet before big business saw a profit in it. To frame them all as pasty-faced nerds is disingenuous and obviously false. These were ordinary people exchanging ideas and sharing whatever they felt was worth sharing. This was, and still is, the crux of the Internet's greatness.

The kind of content you mention is the kind of content that does not utilize the unique interpersonal capabilities of the Internet. That stuff is ordinary mass media content that has moved to the Internet only because the corporations producing it were losing their readership and revenue to the Internet (see previous paragraph.) They came here to fight for our eyeballs and our opinions because we chose to ignore them in favor of communicating with each other.

Advertising, as irritating as it can be, can help us to distinguish between content motivated by money (probably distributed by a giant corporation with an ulterior motive of keeping you suckling at their teat while feeding you politically slanted pseudo-news) and content motivated by some other impetus. For me, content that is laden with irritating advertisements practically screams "don't listen to me! I'm a scumbag!"

I'd much rather hear from ordinary people who have enough respect for me to tell their story without trying to monetize me. Lucky for us, plenty of those people still exist on the Internet.

(properly formatted this time)

Comment: Re:No Advertising does not power the Internet. (Score 1) 418

by Roger Wilcox (#47492279) Attached to: Dealing With 'Advertising Pollution'
There were many people producing their own content on the Internet before big business saw a profit in it. To frame them all as pasty-faced nerds is disingenuous and obviously false. These were ordinary people exchanging ideas and sharing whatever they felt was worth sharing. This was, and still is, the crux of the Internet's greatness. The kind of content you mention is the kind of content that does not utilize the unique interpersonal capabilities of the Internet. That stuff is ordinary mass media content that has moved to the Internet only because the corporations producing it were losing their readership and revenue to the Internet (see previous paragraph.) They came here to fight for our eyeballs and our opinions because we chose to ignore them in favor of communicating with each other. Advertising, as irritating as it can be, can help us to distinguish between content motivated by money (probably distributed by a giant corporation with an ulterior motive of keeping you suckling at their teat while feeding you politically slanted pseudo-news) and content motivated by some other impetus. For me, content that is laden with irritating advertisements practically screams "don't listen to me! I'm a scumbag!" I'd much rather hear from ordinary people who have enough respect for me to tell their story without trying to monetize me. Lucky for us, plenty of those people still exist on the Internet.

Comment: Re:Not a VIP box at the Olympics (Score 2) 63

It's a non-story. Just regular schmoozing. Though the fact that regular schmoozing is a non-story might be a story in and of itself...

The takeaway here is that Comcast is in bed with industry regulators. While we all knew this already, we shouldn't allow that fact to cloud our judgement about the obviously unacceptable state of current affairs.

This email clearly shows a cordial relationship between the correspondents. It should be illegal for corporations to make this kind of offer to a regulator, and it should be illegal for a regulator to have any kind of social contact with industry lobbyists. Hell, a meeting between regulators and lobbyists can't even rightly be framed as a business meeting, because private corporations don't have any business negotiating terms when it comes to legislative oversight. If private industry has something to say to the legislature, or if the legislature needs guidance from private industry, the exchange should occur in an open forum without need of gifts or galavanting.

If this doesn't count as a conflict of interest for the regulators in question, what does? Those "rules folks" ought to have a damn similar opinion about that dinner...

Comment: Re:Too Big to Be Indicted... (Score 2) 245

by Roger Wilcox (#47207535) Attached to: NSA's Novel Claim: Our Systems Are Too Complex To Obey the Law

You do seem to be stupid and incompetent (your words,) but not because you don't agree with the GP. Rather, it is because of the ridiculous arguments you are making:

"But the recession was not the bank's fault â" rather it is that of the politicians, who forced banks (with the threat of "discrimination" lawsuits) to give money to unqualified borrowers."

First of all, the article you link says nothing to support your claims of forcing or discrimination or even lawsuits. The closest the article gets to supporting your claims is to state that "rules of spending" were "loosened" for the banks by the politicians. How can you not see at this point that the banks (and the other giant corporations) are the ones wagging the dog here? They bribe politicians through so-called lobbying in order to bring about the loosening and tightening of rules that suit their favor. That much is plain as day! And you can't argue that these particular loosened loan rules didn't favor the banks. Obviously the banks stood to benefit, which they did, greatly and at taxpayer expense.

Now, to your credit I will say that blame for the recession can't be laid fully on the banks: each of us is also at fault for failing to lynch (literally or metaphorically) the bigwig asshats (meaning bankers and politicians, I don't discriminate) who are continuously allowed to pull this shit and get away with it.

"Nope. It was not the banks doing the forging â" it was the applicants. Bank-employees may have looked the other way, but the actual forgery was done by the customers."

"May have looked the other way," as you put it, implies that bank employees were complicit in the forgery, which they were. So why use this statement argue that they weren't forging income numbers? They were further "loosening the rules" and they should have known better.

Did you know that it is a bank's responsibility to assess the creditworthiness of it's debtors? If they make a bad investment on a homeowner and the loan isn't repaid, that's money that they lose! As you pointed out, this is their bread and butter business. They knew what they were doing here, and they used the government's new generously low (bribe-induced) requirements to help themselves unload what they knew to be bad loans on Fannie Mae.

.

This is how the system works, folks! Isn't it wonderful? Truly, We The People need to step in and clean house if we want these shenanigans to cease. Arguing about whether it was a bank's fault or a government's fault is meaningless. From the perspective of common people, the banks are the government and the government is the banks. They both have a vested interest in working together to milk us like we are livestock, which they do.

fortune: cpu time/usefulness ratio too high -- core dumped.

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