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Comment: Re:While Buying Back $1.5 Billion In Stock (Score 1) 206

Have you ever lived paycheck-to-paycheck?

Yes, sometimes for surprisingly long stretches. And one of the reasons for that is the incredibly high taxes that chip away at what would be a middle-class (especially self-employed) income even as other costs of living go up (including especially, spectacularly because of Obamacare, health insurance - in our case, our bottom line was reduced by almost $1k per month more, even as our deductible went up from $2k/year to $12.5k/year - what a deal!). A large part of my income is transferred - very inefficiently, via many poorly run, redundant layers of city, county, state, and federal government - to other people. The only time something the recipients of those transfers transfer something back to me is when I take yet more money - out of what I have left after taxes - and buy something they do, if they work to provide goods or services. And no, not becoming criminals, or not living in diseased squalor isn't them doing something for me in exchange for those taxed days of working, just like you offering to not burn down my house isn't you working to maintain civilization.

Subsidies for the poor do far more...

Like allow the purchase of snack food, smokes and booze via an absurd mechanism for doling out other people's money through debit cards. Like paying for advertising to push government dependency programs that the program administrators (whose pay bonuses depend on getting more people hooked on the programs they run!) find sometimes frustratingly hard to make stick because of that pesky self-reliance instinct found in some communities. Quick, put together a weekly radio drama preaching the entitlement lifestyle! True, media coverage finally shamed the feds into shifting that program a little more under ground.

We recently moved out of our neighborhood of 20 years where, for example, a house a few doors down (like several more within blocks) was owned by the city. It was provided for free (no rent, no utilities to pay for, free Verizon FiOS bundle, free city-paid landscapers coming by regularly to mow the grass) to a 19-year-old woman that a judge decided would be better off no longer associating with her drug-dealing father and brother. The rule? It had to be a no-males-allowed household. So, her mom moved in, too. Hmmm? Who are all of those guys that we see pulling up at all hours? Ah, the local off-hours county cop hired by the neighborhood to hang out near our houses at night (big problem, locally, with MS-13) reported that the two women were now running a flop house and brothel, and a couple of drug dealers they'd invited in were scary enough that he (armed, and in uniform) would never venture near that house without substantial backup. The social workers and city rental property inspectors refused to set foot in the place, having had threats delivered to them at home by MS-13 messengers.

So, every day I got to wake up, put in 12 or 16 hours of work, and might as well have just walked some of my cash right up the street and handed it over to the "poor" household that was receiving 100% county housing subsidies worth about $3500/month, free food, free medical care, free transportation (each of the women piled it on over 12 months until they were morbidly obese, and thus being deemed handicapped, qualified for on-demand free door-to-door personal driver service from the local county transport system's fleet of taxpayer-funded and fueled minivans), and all of the tax-free cash they could squeeze out of the gang members who operated out of their all-female, family-only city-approved Nurturing, Safety, And Growth house. Out on the curb for trash pickup? Boxes for new 60" Sony TVs and similar purchases, week-in, week-out. The house's "guests" and clientele were blocking everyone's parking, leaving trash and broken bottles everywhere, and the home owners' association's attempts to have the residents evicted was met with a legal interception and law suit by a local activist organization claiming it was part of a gentrification conspiracy by outsiders, blah blah blah. The HOA couldn't afford to continue to defend against that crap, and just gave up. The "resident" of the house was the city's social program do-gooders, and they simply refused to communicate about the matter or any complaint, ever, in any way.

So like others on the street, we hemorrhaged a huge bunch of money, setting us back years, and bugged out. And got to hear complaints about what obvious racists we were for leaving. You want social ostracism? Talk to the gang of illegals running a drug and human trafficking operation out of the neighborhood - ask them who was doing the ostracizing. You want disease concerns? Talk to the health inspectors threatened into not stopping by out of fear for their own lives (the main disease they worried about being a knife in the ribs).

In the meantime, the next block over, were acquaintances we'd made from half a dozen other countries - all immigrants who showed up in the US with essentially no resources by local standards, from Romania, El Salvador, Cameroon, Morocco, Brazil, China and more - who were working their asses off, living modestly, and buying small townhouses. Every one of them was panicked at the thought of losing the value of their homes because of the entitlement/subsidy lifestyle showing up in houses across the neighborhood. Those were people who left places rife with the slums you worry about, and who worked harder in the US (with language barrier disadvantages and more) than their "poor" local peers, and were making a real go of it. Entirely because of desire and work ethic, not because of perpetual, infinite (or any) safety nets.

Yes. When an immigrant family from rural Cameroon can - in the course of a few years holding multiple jobs and working their butts off - own a house, buy cars, pay (rather than soak up) taxes and send their kids to private schools for a decent education (despite also paying property taxes to send other people's kids to other schools)... when they can do that while living a block and half away from the other type of household I described, yes, I blame those poor for being poor. Because poverty doesn't go away through government entitlements, housing, and food. Those hand-outs don't fix poverty, they perpetuate it. We have decades of evidence showing that's true, and especially now in places like that neighborhood, multi-generation "poor" households have thriving immigrant families they could be watching and emulating ... but that's way too much trouble when there's free housing, food, medical care, and the rest. When Latino, African, and Asian immigrants can in a few years work their way from essentially poverty to a comfortable middle-class lifestyle while the local "poor" folks simply won't do the very same, exact things day-to-day that the immigrants do in order to be comfortable, I've got no interest in hearing your lecture us about who to blame.

Comment: Re:alas (Score 1) 537

by ScentCone (#47650127) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

That some how you try to imply this constitutes a new species, makes you a moron.

Who are you talking to? What do you gain by having an imaginary conversation with someone that you're pretending has said something that nobody said?

All domestic dogs are the same species. Just like all humans. But let me guess: you aren't willing to refer to Standard Poodles, or Chihuahuas, or English Pointers as breeds, right?

Comment: Re:Are You Kidding? (Score 1) 537

by ScentCone (#47649333) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

Well let's ignore the fact that Mongolia, Russia, and Ethiopia are places, not races.

Why ignore that? I chose those specifically because - despite the serious melting-pot stuff of the last 100+ years or so - those PLACES have also been home to readily identifiable large groups of people who share very obvious genetic traits.

Race is a social term used to generalize the ancestry of a person. It's to vague to make a prediction about the genes, and their expression, in a particular person.

But, inconveniently, it's also a perfectly reasonable way to look at a large group and say, "Wow, that group of several million people sure do have a LOT in common, genetically."

I think most of know cases similar to the family with 3 brown hair and eyed kids, and 1 with blonde hair and blue eyes.

Yes, just like most know cases similar to the family with 3 smart kids and 1 much less smart one.

Comment: Re:alas (Score 1) 537

by ScentCone (#47649273) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

As soon as you come up with a heritable definition for race you can start on your analysis of heritable differences in relation to race.

How about: reasonable people of normal intelligence can readily observe the inheritance of broad classes of physically obvious traits - related to skeletal and muscle structure, pigmentation, hair formation, disease susceptibility, and so on - that plainly manifest themselves in large groups of people that have developed together and have tended to breed amongst themselves.

That you try so hard to proclaim that such obvious things are not real makes you sound like, well, a total tool.

Comment: Re:Are You Kidding? (Score 3, Insightful) 537

by ScentCone (#47648289) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

So which differences in skin tone, height, and facial features uniquely define the races

Who says it has to be distinct, unique enough perfect compartmentalization enough to put people entirely, precisely in one box of the next?

But are you REALLY pretending that you can't immediately spot some people as being obviously of Mongolian, or Russian, or Ethiopian extraction? I can spot people of Scandinavian heritage a mile away, and can readily see the differences between people carrying DNA from the Andes vs. DNA from the jungles of Central America. Why are you trying so hard to pretend those differences are plainly obvious? What do you gain, other than street cred with the willfully obtuse politically correct set?

Comment: Re:Meanwhile ... (Score 1) 266

by ScentCone (#47633701) Attached to: Snowden Granted 3 More Years of Russian Residency

And you know this how, exactly? Strong opinions require strong evidence, I read somewhere.

I know this because I actually read. The Russian government does you the favor of making their clamp-downs on freedom of communication very clear. Of course you know this, which is why you're trolling anonymously and pretending you don't. Here, just from today's /. ...

http://politics.slashdot.org/s...

Comment: Re:Meanwhile ... (Score 1) 266

by ScentCone (#47624685) Attached to: Snowden Granted 3 More Years of Russian Residency

The point you're trying to make here is ludicrous.

No, the point is that Russia is a fundamentally less free place to live than the US, and getting worse by the day.

And prison only enters into it when, like Snowden, you scam your coworkers out of passwords, and then do something like deliberately steal all sorts of sensitive data and take it right to Russia by way of China.

Comment: Re:Meanwhile ... (Score 0) 266

by ScentCone (#47622959) Attached to: Snowden Granted 3 More Years of Russian Residency

Ignoring, of course, that Snowden is much more free in Russia than he would be in the United States.

Just not free to travel. Just no free to get on TV with Putin and ask unscripted questions. Just not free to run a campaign of anti-Putin editorials, or to run a journalism organization without having that organization torn down by Putin for being contrary to his wishes, and perhaps have its reporters gunned down on their home doorsteps. But plenty free, of course, to conduct economic activity that directly supports a guy who is violently annexing a neighboring country while transparently lying his ass off about what he has his troops (and artillery and anti-aircraft missiles) doing. Free to support the guy that's propping up the Assad regime's deliberate mass slaughter, and free to operate in a country that purposefully, and cooperatively - gleefully, even - harbors some of the worst, most violent organized crime operators in the world. Yay, free!

Comment: Re:it is the wrong way... (Score 1) 291

by ScentCone (#47481761) Attached to: Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

A carbon tax does not affect every business equally.

But it will generally affect competitors equally. Two different taxi companies, or two different electricity generating companies that use coal. Or two different hotels of the same class and size in the same city.

And since competing businesses tend to have to lower prices in order to remain competitive in the same market as they pursue the same prospective customer, the tax burden is going to raise costs (and lower margins) more or less the same for both (or several) parties.

Comment: Re:it is the wrong way... (Score 3, Interesting) 291

by ScentCone (#47479901) Attached to: Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

The entire idea is that businesses will strive to become more efficient such that they produce less pollution so that they'll be taxed less.

But because such penalties impact all businesses in whatever country is collecting them, it won't really change things - because all of those businesses will simply pass along the new government-mandated increase in their overhead along in the form of higher prices. To the businesses in question, it just goes in one door and out the other. You want to use the heavy hand of the tax collector to damage people's behavior in a way that makes them go out less, drive less, spend less, do less? Tax citizens directly, with a very special line item they can't miss, that says "carbon tax, because you exist" - and they'll act. Well, mostly they'll act to elect people who will undo that tax, but they'll act.

Comment: Re:No safe uses (Score 1) 199

by ScentCone (#47439777) Attached to: FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

I doubt there are any safe uses for a drone. Do we really want a remotely controlled small aircraft flying around our homes and communities?

You're right. You're definitely on to something there. And while we're making sure that a professional real estate photographer with his reputation on the line is not to be trusted with a three and a half pound quadcopter, we should be even MORE restrictive of the OTHER dangerous stuff that's moving around our homes and communities. Like, pre-occupied 19 year olds driving cars. Like large dogs on cheap leashes. Like idiots on mountain bikes hopping curbs and cutting through read lights. Definitely start with the Evil Drones, but please don't stop there! There are so many dangers! Oh, definitely don't forget steak knives and riding lawnmowers.

Comment: Re:Define "safe commercial use of drones" (Score 1) 199

by ScentCone (#47439755) Attached to: FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

How do you know that all those real estate agents are using the drones safely?

Never mind the tiny number of people shooting a few real estate stills from treetop level. How do you know that the many, many thousands of people who are flying around for fun are being safe? But the FAA (so far) is honoring congress's mandate that hobbyists be left alone, even though they just said that hobbyists flying FPV style are no longer allowed. Regardless, the hobby drone market has hundreds of thousands of customers. There might be a few hundred people shooting real estate. Can you explain why you think it's a good thing to hurt them, but not to care about all sorts of reckless hobby newbies (just search on YouTube)? Please be specific.

How do you know that the real estate agent really knows how to fly one of the drones

How do you know that your neighor, who just had a ready-to-fly quad dropped off by UPS and who's in the air 30 minutes later, is safe? Really. How do you know? And why do you think that people who are doing it professionally, with their businesses and reputations on the line, are more dangerous than a 12 year old kid next door who's on his third quad having crashed the first two in spectacular fashion? How do you know? Please be specific. Because the FAA thinkks the 12 year old kid is fine, but the person who takes great care to avoid endangering their real estate business liability coverage while shooting the occasional photo should be stopped. An odd thing for you to support.

Biology is the only science in which multiplication means the same thing as division.

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