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

It's hard to charge the local steel mills (which closed 30+ years ago) for the current respiratory problems of people who played outside as kids back when the mills were running. Most externalities have long time lags.

But we *are* trying to charge industries for externalities. We use cap-and-trade, carbon credits, etc. But that only works when the companies don't control the re-election funds of those who create and enforce those programs. Sure, charging the coal plants more would be the right choice, but that's not an option, so we can either subsidize solar (and wind, waves, nuclear, etc) or we can do nothing. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

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

Nope. We became a world superpower around WW1 and WW2, well after the unions came around. It's harder to be a superpower when your citizens are wage slaves. (Not impossible, but harder.)

And we gained access to manufactured goods and became affluent when unions raised the factory wages from poverty to middle class. Seriously, look this stuff up; look at when unions gained power and when the median lifestyle in the US improved and when the US began projecting power around the world. Your comments show that you really don't know US history at all.

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

Why does personal responsibility only apply to the poor, not the bankers?

Blaming the people who took out loans they could not repay is a good idea. (Though it seems that many of those people were lied to by their mortgage brokers about variable rates and balloon loans, but still, people should know better.)

But I'm surprised that you don't blame the mortgage brokers who falsified the mortgage applications. Or the bank approval officers who approved the applications which contained ludicrous data. Or the people who chopped up the mortgages into tranches, or who rated the crap mortgages AAA, or who bought them for their pensions funds, etc.

You are blaming the people with absolutely no financial training and who only saw a tiny piece of the landscape, but are giving a free pass to all of the financial experts who saw the whole rotten thing. Why?

Oh, right, because we bailed out the banks so bankers' only repercussions were 6-8 figure annual bonuses. Once again, why do you want personal responsibility to only apply to the poor, not the bankers?

Comment Re:Or let us keep our hard-earned money (Score 5, Insightful) 571 571

No, actually. A democracy (direct or representative) uses "voting" to collectively decide things. Which is what we are doing when we go to the polls in November 2016. We'll never get 100% agreement, so you or I may decide that our opinions were ignored, but this is how democracy works. Non-collective agreements are what you get with dictators of various stripes who cannot be removed from office.

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.

Comment Re:Or let us keep our hard-earned money (Score 5, Insightful) 571 571

Sure it has; in the late 1800s and early 1900s there were almost no taxes and few subsidies. Everyone (but mostly the very rich) kept their money and spent it however they liked. The results were so unpleasant that the country decided that unions and OSHA, for all of their problems, were preferable to that state.

The problem with "spending our money as we see fit" is that we ignore externalities. I live in PA; our cheapest power comes from coal plants. Coal causes really bad health problems once it is burned and released into the air; modern exhaust scrubbers help but we still end up with lots of crud entering our lungs. But the health costs are an externality to the coal plants, so coal power's price is artificially low. I still pay the total cost in higher health care costs and a shorter working life, but it doesn't appear as a line item anywhere. By subsidizing solar panels and other less-polluting energies, the hope is to spend money now to reduce medicare and health insurance costs for the next 50 years. You may believe that this will not same you money overall, or that there is a better way to go about this, but it's not an illogical or crazy plan.

Comment Re:I'd rather point fingers at Bing (Score 1) 133 133

To be fair, Microsoft doesn't know. Malware authors tend to have ads that link to non-malware sites at first, and change to malware after the ads have been vetted. They know how to detect when Google/Microsoft/etc checks up on them and serve innocent data at those times.

There are ways to detect this, and ways to avoid the detection; it's an arms race. Google is better at this than Microsoft, so studies have shown that you are safer on Google than on Bing. But nothing is 100%, and sometimes people slip malware past Google too.

So it's not malice on Microsoft's part, as you seem to imply. Less competence maybe, or a lack of resources thrown at the problem, or a lack of corporate will; I don't know.

Comment Re:What Wu does not write: (Score 1) 133 133

That's a very good point, though it doesn't disprove the GP. People consider a source trustworthy if the source agrees with them. Most news agencies know this but still try to be accurate or at least not inaccurate (though always with some bias). Some news agencies, Fox being a notable example, have instead decided to use this trait to gain loyal viewers.

Google's personalized search results may have the same effect; if its results confirm your biases, you'll be happier with the results. I don't know if this actually happens with Google; when I want to know the distance to geostationary orbit I don't have much of a bias to confirm.

Comment Re:Weight Ratio (Score 2) 268 268

Was this a five pound or a hundred pound drone? Both are available and it's hard to put them on the scale when they're a few hundred yards away and flying.

Even a five pound hunk of metal and batteries seems like a bad thing to go into a propeller or a jet engine. A hundred pound hunk of metal? Ouch.

Comment Re:Zero respect for SCOTUS (Score 1) 1083 1083

So we agree: nobody believed this before the ACA was passed in 2010. It would have been easier if you had just admitted this, though, instead of producing quotes from years later.

Also, Gruber is a "key architect" only in the minds of those who want to inflate the importance of his comments (look, they lied about this too!). He was heavily involved in some of the economic models underlying the bill, but hardly key or an architect. (He has called himself a "key architect of Romneycare", but since Romneycare is a model of conservative values from the Heritage Foundation while Obamacare is a socialist takeover of health care, I don't see how that matters. :-) ) I think he's also said he was mistaken in those comments, but whatever; he believed it enough at that time to say it even if he was the only one.

Comment Re:Zero respect for SCOTUS (Score 1) 1083 1083

What? Nobody interpreted it that way. Hell, originally nobody thought that any state wouldn't set up their own exchange; the federal exchange was mostly for "what if some moronic state thinks they'll protest by not setting up an exchange, we better cover that loophole".

Seriously, find a news story from before the ACA was passed which has that interpretation. Show, don't tell. It was invented after the fact by folks who found that democracy wasn't getting them their way so they tried judicial activism instead.

If you actually believe that people interpreted it that way, then I assume that you've been listening to pundits who have been lying to you. I suggest you verify this, then find some people to listen to who don't lie to you. There are a lot of lies about the ACA out there, and you cannot make a good decision if you believe lies instead of truths.

Comment Re:Very Disturbing Trend (Score 1) 1083 1083

Agreed. The government should just stay out of regulating marriage. And that's what the SCOTUS said today, that the government cannot regulate who you can marry (except in the cases of non-consent). Not the federal government, not the state, not any.

I assume that you are happy that the government is, in this case, more out of our lives?

"Why waste negative entropy on comments, when you could use the same entropy to create bugs instead?" -- Steve Elias