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Comment: Re:Why do we permit "property tax" at all? (Score 1) 76

Actually, that is the historical origination of private property under the English system. This was also the case with "empty" land (meaning devoid of Europeans) annexed by the US throughout its history. Original owner was the Federal government, which then delegated ownership to others (railroads, homesteaders) by deeding the property to them provided certain obligations were met (build a railroad, occupy and cultivate the land, etc.).

The idea that private ownership of land precedes government is a weird libertarian fantasy.

You in fact *do* lease your property from the government.

Comment: Firesign Theater did a parody of this in the 70s (Score 1) 97

by TarPitt (#47294945) Attached to: How Disney Built and Programmed an Animatronic President

The album, "I Think We're All Bozos on this Bus" was a computerized theme park parody.

It featured an episode with an animatronic President Nixon:

The computerized replica president failed when presented with a logical paradox presented as a question.

Comment: We need more respect for trade schools (Score 4, Insightful) 538

by TarPitt (#47290279) Attached to: Teaching College Is No Longer a Middle Class Job

and for the skilled mostly blue-collar jobs that are vital to our society but do not require 4-year degrees.

Once a skilled trade provided a good shot at a decent middle-class livelihood. Something has happened to devalue these skills.

Young people get college degrees for which they are unsuited because it appears there is no alternative.

Despite all the jokes about degreed barristas working for the minimum wage, the absence of a degree is now the best way to ensure a lifetime of poorly paid jobs.

Comment: Re:Classify net access as a utility? (Score 1) 343

by TarPitt (#47141827) Attached to: Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

Well, the NSA already spies on traffic carried by privately owned semi-monopoly communications concerns.

Given that we've already lost that one, we now have the worst of both worlds - poor service and high prices from unregulated monopolies, combined with government spying which those monopolies cheerfully provide the government.

Comment: Re:Build refineries in ND (Score 1) 206

by Zeinfeld (#46802907) Attached to: Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

There is plenty of capacity in St Louis and room to build more.

The cost of the pipeline is much more than the cost of a refinery. The 'surplus capacity' claim is total nonsense. The tar sludge isn't anything like the crude that the existing refineries process. There would have to be major upgrades in any case. And building a two thousand mile pipeline costs a heck of a lot more than any refinery would.

Comment: Re:after november... (Score 1) 206

by Zeinfeld (#46802895) Attached to: Obama Delays Decision On Keystone Pipeline Yet Again

The decision was made years ago: No pipeline.

Not announcing the decision stops the Koch bros and the Keystone corp from starting their appeal. Its like an administrative filibuster.

There is already a pipeline that runs to St Louis, the only reason to build the second pipeline is to sell the sludge to China. Having that option available will allow the price to be jacked up when the sludge is sold to the US market as it will fetch the international price which is a lot higher than the refiners currently pay in St Louis.

There is absolutely no reason for the US to OK a pipeline that will increase the cost of supply to the US market. The only reason the GOP backs the pipeline is that the Koch bros stand to make $100 billion from the increase in the value of their shale tar sands.

It is a purely tactical decision because nobody outside the GOP wants the pipeline built. Everyone who wants the pipeline will vote GOP in November whatever the decision. Obama could make a short term political gain by announcing that there will be no pipeline but that would allow the appeals to start. Better for the country to wait until there have been some GOP deaths on the SCOTUS.

One small step for man, one giant stumble for mankind.