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Comment Re:Got e-mail this morning from mail.whitehouse.go (Score 1) 601

You wrote a long post about Obama that makes it seem like he is an outlier when it comes to failure to uphold campaign promises. You do know that every single president in history has made a ton of promises while campaigning that were later dropped or not accomplished once elected, right? That isn't excusing any president, it is just a statement of fact.

Comment Re:No just laws = No fair trial (Score 1) 601

I think sjbe and bobbied are both correct. bobbied is correct that, technically, according to the laws on the books, the trial will be legal and fair. sjbe is more generally correct in pointing out that our current laws themselves are not designed to handle this particular situation, so, according to the laws on the book taken together with Snowden's statements, he is clearly guilty. A trial would just be going through the motions on the road to a guilty verdict, which is not fair in the sense that he would have zero percent chance of being found not guilty.

Comment Re:I have no fear of AI, but fear AI weapons (Score 1) 311

Not enough german soldiers defected/rebelled to hurt the Nazi war machine. If free will among german soldiers didn't stop the holocaust, I"m not sure it is a relevant issue. What more would your commanders need to do (beyond the concentrations camps) before human will would kick in and rebel?

Your question is better addressed by deciding how much individual destructive force a person should be allowed to own. And we already make that decision about types of guns, explosives, etc.. I don't see any difference when it comes to robots.

Comment Re:Or let us keep our hard-earned money (Score 1) 571

Do you really expect the free market to magically solve global issues where the problem domain exists in the tens to hundreds of years rather than the next fiscal quarter? Why would it?

People of that ideological framework conveniently ignore periods of time when the Federal Government had very little power. And ignore examples around the world right now where government is ineffective. So yes, they really do expect the free market forces to magically preserve 'the commons'.

Comment Re:Or let us keep our hard-earned money (Score 1) 571

I'd be happier if the results were less skewed by billions of dollars of legal bribery (AKA campaign funding), but we've decided that we're okay with that, unfortunately.

5-4 Supreme court justices are OK with that. But polls show that the majority are not OK with that.

Over the years I've become a one issue voter: getting the influence of money out of politics.

Comment Re:Or let us keep our hard-earned money (Score 1) 571

I don't disagree with you about the external costs, but I've never been able to work out why the approximate external costs of an industry isn't directly charged to that industry as a licensing fee or additional tax charge.

Lobbying has led to almost all wealthy industries being able to capitalize profit while socializing the external cost. See oil/coal/gas, Wall Street, etc..

If 'big money' wasn't such an influence on Congress, I suspect we would have made companies pay for damage they do a long time ago.

Comment Re: So what? (Score 1) 471

Business casual doesn't even require suits. A shirt or even a polo shirt is fine.
All it requires is basically that you don't look like a hobo.

It usually requires slightly nicer slacks / khakis, and slightly nicer shoes than hiking/running/tennis shoes. Most people, if given a choice, would rather just wear some worn in sneakers, jeans, and a t-shirt or polo.

Business casual dress codes result in most people having two entirely different wardrobes.

Comment Re:There's no There there. (Score 1) 248

I am looking at this:


Percent distribution of revenues for public elementary and secondary education 2006-07.
Federal was 8.5%, local and state made up the rest.

Graph 7 shows another chart by state. The highest that comes from the Fed is 18% and the lowest is 4.5%.

Am I missing something?

Comment Re:the important detail (Score 1) 634

That is life and reality, and passing a law doesn't change that.

Well of course it can't change everything, but it can weed out some of the blatant over the top discrimination, as well as provide a legal recourse for people that were discriminated against.


People like being around people who are like them, this is largely true everywhere on the planet.

Of course. That is why instilling a sense of the value of diversity is an important ongoing effort in education and most progressive workplaces. There are biological and historical forces that shape our mental tendencies. But since humans are generally better than animals, we actively work to suppress our detrimental tendencies, like racism, sexism, ageism, etc..

Throwing your hands up and saying "hey, this is just how people naturally feel about stuff, you can't change it" is a big cop out.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 248


Econometric studies estimate that Apollo returned five to
seven dollars to the United States' economy for every dollar
invested in it. These returns came in the form of new
industries, new products, new processes and new jobs.

Unless you have any evidence suggesting otherwise, you should re-evaluate your assumptions.


Comment Re:There's no There there. (Score 1) 248

How are you going to get those spinoff benefits and discoveries without actually doing work in space, and just sitting around here and funding social programs? You're not. The Apollo program yielded enormous economic benefits for the US due to the new technologies created; those would not have happened if we just increased teacher pay.

I'm not saying social programs and teacher pay increases shouldn't be done, but if you want actual advancement in technology, you have to actually do things which require that advancement. You can't just wait until all social problems are cured. That isn't going to happen for generations.

Well, we shouldn't have to be pitting teacher pay/social programs/etc.. against space exploration anyway (first off, teacher pay isn't in the same money bucket as NASA, they do not compete). Not when the sum total of all social programs, minus the core programs that no one will ever seriously think about getting rid of (social security, medicare), are peanuts compared to the Defense budget.

Comment Re:Why we should go there (Score 1) 248

It gave the US a huge boost in cohesion internally and status internationally.


I think that documentary shows aspects of your statement perfectly. Seeing aEuropean led group of international scientists cheering when the LHC is turned on for the first time after a decade of work, just sent chills (good ones) up my spine. It is how I imagine the Apollo control room in the 60's.

That could have been the US, and imo, should have been. US politicians are always talking about the US needing to be a shining example, lead the world, innovate, stay on top, etc.. yet they scrapped the supercollider in Texas (was it just conservatives?). We could have had that cheering room of international scientists led by the US, inspiring not only the world's kids, but ours as well.

As it is, I bet very few school children have seen 'Particle Fever', or were inspired or even followed the events around the LHC. If it had been in Texas instead, the news would have made a much bigger deal out of it.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban