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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:all of IT needs an union (Score 1) 107

by TarPitt (#46554779) Attached to: Startup Employees As an Organized Labor Group

There's a union movement for the 20 hour work-week too.

There was a union movement for a 40 hour workweek. It was successful for a number of decades, but the 40 hour workweek seems to have gone the way of the rotary dial phone.

Might have something to do with the demise of the evil protection rackets called unions.

Comment: Re:all of IT needs an union (Score 1, Insightful) 107

by TarPitt (#46554585) Attached to: Startup Employees As an Organized Labor Group

You object to signing a contact with an entity representing your workers, and dealing with employees according to rules set out in this contract.. I suspect you wouldn't think twice about signing a similar contract with suppliers or customers.

My only conclusion is that you prefer to deal with employees individually because you can more easily manipulate them by doing so. You enjoy the power of being the owner and being able to play favorites, taking advantage of the inherent weakness in an individual's bargaining power and the lack of any enforceable written criteria governing your rule. You accept the occasional loss of an employee able to find better conditions because you know you will always find a replacement.

Of all the inputs to your business - labor, materials, facilities - only labor is to be forced to deal from a deliberately weakened perspective.

You must be a joy to work for.

They are relatively good but absolutely terrible. -- Alan Kay, commenting on Apollos