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Comment: Re: Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 2) 286 286

It was more than a little sad; it was wrong. Eich probably would have donated anonymously, but California didn't allow him to do so. Some assholes looked up his name on a government-published list and then just persecuted him for no reason other than they disagreed with his political views.

Those assholes are still gleefully twisting the knife. See here: https://twitter.com/hcatlin/st...

If SJW is ever an accurate way to describe a group of people, it is an accurate way to describe the vindictive assholes who went after Brendan Eich.

Comment: Re: Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 1) 286 286

Nice rant. It's fine that you have that sentiment; you're perfectly free to feel that way. I think it's important to respect the rights of those you disagree with, you obviously don't, and you're free to say so.

However, until the Supreme Court rules one way or the other, we have no idea how this religion-versus-14th Amendment issue will come out. It may very well be that it is legal for someone to "deny you your rights" based on religion. Certainly, you won't be able to force a preacher to marry you in his church. Forcing a photographer to take pictures of your ceremony? Unclear. Forcing someone to bake you a cake for a gay wedding? Also unclear; that case hasn't reached the Supreme Court.

And, of course, in states that haven't augmented the federal anti-discrimination laws with sexuality as a protected class, any business that wants to can put up a "No Gays Allowed" sign, for any reason or no reason, and there's not a thing you can do about it. If you don't like that, feel free to try to change the law. And good luck in Alabama.

Now, don't get me wrong. Personally, I think religion is worse than silly, and it would be mean to put up a "No Gays Allowed" sign just to be an asshole. I also think that some people honestly believe religious things that make it against their conscience to participate in any way in a gay marriage ceremony, and that should be respected. In general, you don't have the right to force someone to do business with you -- anti-discrimination laws are the exception, not the rule -- and, since religious freedom is a bedrock principle of this country, I'm reluctant to erode it by expanding anti-discrimination laws without regard to religious freedom.

Comment: Re: Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 1) 286 286

It's best to have precise laws -- vague laws are bad for many reasons. So, we really have to list the things you can't discriminate against. Right now, at the federal level, sexuality isn't on that list. And you're wrong about religion; our society makes special exceptions for religion all the time. The Amish, for example, are religiously opposed to insurance. Therefore, they don't participate in Social Security, which is mandatory for everyone else. This exception is part of the First Amendment and therefore can't be overridden by Congress.

Comment: Re: Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 1) 286 286

Even if they have to have the marriage in a larger city, that's still a once-in-a-lifetime inconvenience.

Your "case by case" basis statement doesn't really make sense -- a fair set of laws depends on recognizing the differences in different situations. But regardless, there aren't many cases here. The argument is basically whether gays should be a protected class. They're not at the federal level; they are in some states. The most-publicized result with those states' experiments so far is that a family bakery was fined tens of thousands of dollars for not making a cake for a gay marriage. Some people see that as a just result; I don't. I say they could have easily gone somewhere else to get their cake, but the baker can't easily get a different religion, because that's not how religion works.

Hotels not renting to gay couples should maybe be a special case, because that could result in some serious inconveniences, but a gay couple could probably just pretend to be friends renting a room together. I mean theoretically a hotel could refuse to rent a room to an unmarried heterosexual couple, but I've never heard of that being a problem except (somehow, I forgot how...) in an I Love Lucy rerun, so obviously the major hotel chains aren't being run by monks.

And there is no reason a restaurant would ever have to know whether you're gay or tell whether you're gay and anyway I don't think anyone's religion says that gay people can't eat, so the canonical example of discrimination against blacks in the South shouldn't apply to gay couples today.

It's sort of like this ... there are no laws against discriminating against people with red hair, because no one wants to do that anyway. Whether there should be laws against discriminating against gay people should depend on whether people want to do that anyway, and whether we think it's okay to force people who want to do that to not do that. Religious people refusing to be the photographer/caterer/baker for a gay wedding, well, that's really not so bad, in my opinion, because most people get married only once (or maybe twice if things don't work out the first time), and forcing people to violate their religious beliefs is not okay with me.

Now let me describe a situation where I think we might need some sort of anti-gay-discrimination law. Let's say some conservative state decides to respond to the gay marriage ruling by putting the names and genders of every married person's spouse on their driver's licenses and the governor basically says, "hey, if you don't like gay-married-people ... don't serve them!", and people actually do that. Then, we might need some laws.

Comment: Re:Duh (Score 1) 438 438

requires a contiguous file

No, it doesn't require a contiguous file -- there's no way in most Linux filesystems to even guarantee a file is contiguous. It will work better with a contiguous file, though, because swap space works better when it's contiguous. That's actually why swap partitions are the default -- all partitions are contiguous. Now, contiguity doesn't matter so much if you're using an SSD for swap, but using an SSD for swap space is retarded anyway because that type of usage pattern on an SSD is likely to kill the drive.

it's still a pain

It's not a pain -- it takes about 20 seconds to do. Maybe an entire minute if it's the first time in your life you've done it and you have to look at the manpage for swapon.

multiple commands to set up

Linux uses the command line for system administration. If the 3-command dd/mkswap/swapon sequence for setting up a swap file is enough to blow your mind, you should probably not try to self-administer a Linux system. Instead, if you want to use Linux, you should get a technically-inclined friend or relative to handle the system administration tasks for you.

I'm not being sarcastic -- I know you probably consider yourself a tech person, but if you find the command line that toxic, being a Linux administrator -- as opposed to user -- isn't something you'd enjoy. The admin/user dichotomy works very well for Linux and is one of two ways non-technical people can use Linux long-term. The other model is "appliance-style"; Android and Chromebook systems are good examples of that model.

I administer Linux systems for multiple friends and relatives, and it takes very little time on my part. Linux people like other people to use Linux. Ask around, and I'm sure you'll find someone willing to help you out.

Comment: Re: Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 1, Insightful) 286 286

Not really. Excluding someone from a restaurant they go by every day because of that person's race is a significant inconvenience for that person, yet serving black people isn't against anyone's reasonable interpretation of religious commandments. On the other hand, a baker who refuses to make a cake especially for a gay marriage causes a once-in-a-lifetime minor inconvenience for two people, yet participating in a gay wedding ceremony is very much against many people's reasonable interpretation of religious commandments.

Just because two situations look the same at first glance doesn't mean they are.

Comment: Re:How much electricity was used last month to min (Score 1) 177 177

Well, I think current US monetary policy has done pretty well over the years. We haven't had another great depression since the Great Depression, and I think that's a pretty big success. I also think moderate inflation of about 2% per year or so is generally okay and normal for a healthy economy.

I don't consider myself a tool of the government, "banksters", or corporations, although I do think governments, banks, and other corporations have important roles to play in the modern economy. And I wouldn't call myself a statist, although I think personal freedoms, such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, sexual freedom, 4th/5th Amendment rights, and freedom to make choices about your own body, such as whether to get a tattoo or take drugs, are a lot more important than the freedom to start a coal-mining corporation without the government telling you you have to make sure your workers don't get black lung disease. So I guess I'd say I'm okay with the government intervening in our economic lives a lot more than I'm okay with the government intervening in our personal lives.

And if you look through my previous comments, you'll see I'm pretty hostile to Libertarianism. I think it's an excellent example of a philosophy that's simple, logical, easy to understand, and obviously wrong. But it's impossible to talk people out of it because the arguments for it are basically all circular. The absurdity of the philosophy is such that I could almost see someone make the "free market for hitmen" argument in my post and be entirely serious about it. So, instead of beating my head against the wall by trying to argue with Libertarians and change their minds, I just parody them. Hopefully some people will find the parodies funny at least, and maybe it will prompt someone someday to find the truth on his own.

It's sort of like religion. You're never going to talk someone out of believing in God. So, if you want to do something productive in the religious debate field, you just joke around with parodies like the FSM and the Invisible Pink Unicorn. It's funny, and maybe it will accelerate someone's maturation by letting him see the absurdity on his own.

Comment: Re:How much electricity was used last month to min (Score 0) 177 177

Government could, would, and already to some extent does attempt to regulate it, but it's intentionally designed to be resistant to effective regulation. This is part of its appeal: because of this "feature", it can be used as the Paypal of drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, murder-for-hire, and other such markets that the evil governments of the world try to stamp out because all governments are run by jealous losers who want to oppress the Ubermensch. After all, the free market would work just fine for murder-for-hire markets because I could just hire a hitman to kill you, too, and then we could trade the hitman contracts with each other so that we'd both live instead of both dying, and we'd be motivated to do that because neither of us wants to die. And if you can't afford to hire a counter-hitman well then you're a loser and you deserve to die anyway. Anyone who disagrees with this is obviously a lazy bastard who doesn't understand the wise economic philosophy of Atlas Shrugged.

Bitcoin is also intentionally designed to have its own built-in and unmodifiable monetary policy separate from any government or regulating body. This monetary policy is of course built on perpetual deflation, because making it so that savers' money grows by simply hoarding it is the best way to ensure they will be motivated to make the risky investments necessary for long-term economic growth. If you disagree with this, you're obviously okay with the government stealing everyone's money with inflation, and you're also a worthless lazy bastard who's probably in debt and on the government dole.

Bitcoin is awesome.

Comment: Re:Those evil enemy oppressors (Score 1) 818 818

You can't ban the Confederate Flag, not in the USA. You can lobby businesses not to sell it, but others will. It takes about 20 seconds of Googling to find them online still, and that's while the country is in a craze to buy and hoard them stupidly thinking they'll be valuable soon.

Freedom of speech in this country says you can stand on a street corner and talk about how the terrorists who destroyed the Twin Towers were awesome guys -- which some asshole did. Freedom of speech says you can go around town with a swastika on your arm -- which some asshole did a few days go. Freedom of speech says you can burn the American flag -- which many assholes have done on countless occasions.

And freedom of speech sure as hell says you can manufacture, purchase, and display Confederate battle flags. And there is demand for them, for many reasons (including both racism and a doofusy Twitter campaign to burn them on Saturday), so the market will provide them. The money just won't go to eBay, Amazon, or Google.

Comment: Re:Rent at all is inherently problematic (Score 1) 940 940

Partially, because property taxes aren't the same as taxes on the value of unimproved land, but not by much at all.

Assuming a perfectly competitive market, the price of anything is its marginal cost. Increasing a tax on unimproved land does nothing to increase the marginal cost of providing housing.

The only limit is you can't tax more than the entire value of using the unimproved land for any given time period, or no one will ever buy or improve the land.

Comment: Re:Rent at all is inherently problematic (Score 1) 940 940

Asset taxes are totally unjust.

I highly disagree with you here. If you want to help poor people, increasing property taxes and decreasing sales taxes are a very good start. Poor people don't own property, so the tax is highly progressive (falls mainly on the rich).

Also, a tax on the unimproved value of land has been put forth by several economists as the only truly non-distorting tax available to government. That's not the same thing as a property tax, but it's close.

Comment: Re:Rent at all is inherently problematic (Score 2) 940 940

That's not true. A house is a big expense. Either you pay for it outright, or you go into debt to buy it. In either case, you could be doing something else with that money if it weren't tied up in the house or in paying for the house.

There are also non-monetary costs; in other words, it's a pain. You generally have a longer commute when you live in a house, versus an apartment, because the houses tend to be in suburbs. You have to cut the grass, or hire someone to do that. You have to have work done when it gets damaged. You have to keep up the air conditioner and heater. If you live in an apartment, the landlord takes all of that.

You're also more mobile if you're in an apartment. If you want to move apartments, wait until the lease is up and hire a truck. If you want to move houses, get ready for some pain.

First, you have to find another house. Then, you have to sell yours. Real estate agencies. Closing costs. Having random people come in your house and look around. Haggling with the buyer. Haggling with the seller of the house you're buying. Going to banks and getting them to give you a loan for the new house, unless you're paying cash.

Pain. In. The. Butt.

Comment: Re:Rent at all is inherently problematic (Score 1) 940 940

The corporations who (usually) commission and buy the properties don't have an "unending source of free money" any more than any other business has an "unending source of free money". There are risks to running a real estate business, like any other business.

The market could turn down, decreasing rent revenue while maintenance, administrative, and loan expenses stay the same. There could be a serious storm causing damage (yes there's insurance, but you still have to deal with either providing the affected renters alternative (hotel, usually) housing, or releasing them from their leases). A pipe could burst. The foundation could need work. Any number of things can go wrong.

It's like any other investment. You shoulder risk, and, if you're lucky, you reap a reward commensurate with the risk you took. And in doing so, you provide a product or service -- in this case, housing -- that society needs.

If you banned rentals, you would probably halt or nearly halt the construction of new apartment complexes, because the promise of a later revenue stream from those complexes are what entice businesses to take on the enormous risk and expense of building them. Probably the construction of apartment-complex-like condos would go up some to compensate, but there are many cases where apartment complexes make more sense to build than condos. Many people, for cost reasons or otherwise, want to rent -- not own a condo. These people would be the primary ones to suffer, because now the market is distorted and they can't get what they want/need. What makes you think poor people will be able to afford a condo?

Regarding your idea that the sudden increase in condo availability would decrease prices -- you're probably right, in the short term. The sudden depreciation in property would partially but by no means completely offset the harm you would cause the former renters. In the medium term, the apartments-now-condos would quickly fall into disrepair, because the owners (poor people) would be unable to afford to maintain the condos, as they don't have the money to speculatively invest in the housing market by doing so, which is what you would be forcing them to do by forcing ownership on people who don't want it.

No one's a serf in the system we currently have. And no one would benefit from your proposal.

Look at it this way: poor people can't afford risky investments, because they can't shoulder the risk. Real estate is a risky investment. You say there shouldn't be poor people; I partially agree, but don't think we should make everyone well-off enough to speculate on real estate. Mostly because I don't think we can.

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