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Comment: Re:More bad news for your electricity bill (Score 1) 650

by mlund (#29608439) Attached to: Electric Car Nano-Batteries Aim For 500 Mile Range

That company was Enron, and the federal government, specifically the FERC, refused to investigate on a party line vote (GOP majority) at the time, because 1) it was making a hell of a lot of money for their corporate friends, and 2) it was damaging the political career of Democrat California governor Gray Davis, so much so it culminated with Davis's recall and election of Schwarnegger.

Hm, a California-based utility company with contracts from the State of California failing to live up to its obligations to provide power in the State of California.

Recall that the White House at the time repeatedly refereed to the blackouts in the most populous state in the union, and the 5th largest world economy as "California's problem.")

Yes, those silly Americans and their use of "Federalism" to preserve the rights of individuals, communities, and states. How savage and primitive of them.

I mean, if we were to actually admit that the burden of policing California's utilities contracts rested squarely on California that would be terrible! All those Democrat state senators, state representatives, and Governor Davis might actually be perceived to have failed in their basic duties of governing. On top of that the cost of the investigation would've been paid out of California's budget, rather than using resources paid for by all 50 states.That simply won't do!

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/blackout/

Moral of the story: You can't trust deregulation

Yes, because you can obviously trust regulation to be above-board, effective, and fiscally responsible. It isn't like certain U.S. Senators used the regulatory powers of the National Government to promote corrupt Government Sponsored Enterprises to take over the mortgage market, poison it with bad loans, and back those bad loans with the promise of tax-payer funded bail-outs. They'd never have taken massive campaign contributions and sweetheart VIP mortgage deals as kickbacks. Nobody would ever be foolish enough to entrust people who committed such deed with leadership positions in the U.S. Senator, right?

Let's get real here. "Deregulation" is a red herring. Increasing regulation Volume rather than regulation Quality just leads to increased pay-days for lawyers, more patronage jobs for bureaucrats, and more cover for massive graft and corruption.

Comment: Politi-Bureau Mediocrity (Score 1) 1073

by mlund (#29587189) Attached to: Obama Makes a Push To Add Time To the School Year

Our Public Schools, as an overall demographic, have been in a serious decline. Increasing the volume of time and money dumped into the failing systems has failed time and time again. This is because those solutions do not address the fundamentals that have hamstrung education.

Entitlement Mentalities: These are the absolute killers of our education system. Kids who are Entilted to attend the public school of their choice know that teachers are absolutely powerless to discipline them for infractions short of attempted murder or a "hate crime." These kids ruin classrooms. Parents are Entitled to have their little monsters admitted to the classroom regardless of the parent's unwillingness to participate in their child's education. They are also, in some places, Entitled to see their spawn promoted through grades without merit. Teachers are Entitled to keep their jobs regardless of poor performance due to union contracts. Unions are Entitled to keep their monopoly on Public Schools regardless of ambysmal performance due to their political contributions.

The only people who get really screwed are the naive suckers who though they were Entitled to classroom environment in which a well-behaved, apt child with involved parents could thrive. These people didn't understand that the lowest common denominator and their unscrupulous lawyers and advocates are the around whom Public Schools must bend themselves.

The problem won't be solved until parents are treated like consumers and tax-payer dollars start following the children. In an environment with competition and choices the pace of education can pick up. Discipline becomes possible again if children can actually be suspended or expelled for disruptive conduct in the classroom. We'll see improvement when lawyers and politicians can't force bright children to share a classroom with gang-bangers. We'll all be better off when teachers aren't forced to hold 23 children back at half-pace to accomodate 2 kids with learning disabilities that someone, in their wisdom, decided were Entitled to be "mainstreamed." Twisted ideologies around things like "social promotion" don't just hurt "regular" kids - they also keep children with special needs out of specialized learning programs.

I look forward to the day parents can be turned away from a school for failing to hold up their end of the education equation and likewise parents take away funding from a school for failing to hold up their end. Maybe on that day I won't have to witness dozens of children whose potential is being squandered because some negligent jackass wanted to work at/enroll their kid at the closest available school that doesn't charge tuition.

Comment: Re:I'll tell you where (Score 1) 776

by mlund (#29574703) Attached to: The Fresca Rebellion

If you can manage to remove your loonybin libertarian spectacles, wipe the foam from your mouth and pause to consider for a moment:

Suuuuure.

You will find that fire officers/fighters do put a very great stock in rescuing people from house and other fires. Never really heard of them preventing the spread and leaving the people inside to choke.

What I'm gathering there's a problem here with either Reading Comprehension on your part or Clear Writing on my part. Either that or you fetish for Straw Men.

While rescues of initial victims are a happy event often made possible by the personal heroism of Police Officers and Fire Fighters they are not the primary function of Police and Fire Departments in most towns and counties. Property recovery isn't the main focus of burglary investigations either. Most rescues from burning buildings don't involve single-family homes, but rather extricating people from neighboring apartments to where fire is spreading. If the fire breaks out in your apartment and you're still in there by the time a fire fighter could rescue you then you're most likely dead. That's why fire escapes can be so important.

We have too many people that do not understand even the most basic personal responsibilities in large part because of idiotic, romanticized, and sheltered notions of what emergency service personel can do. I meet people who expect cops to run forensics on smash-and-grabs. I see people pointing fingers when the Fire Department didn't arrive in time to save somebody's kid from a home where that someone didn't replace their smoke-detector batteries. I read people who are utterly horrified at the idea of any citizen carrying a licensed firearm for self defense because "that's what we have police for!"

Police Officers are not your personal bodyguards or home security personel. Fire Fighters aren't psychic, can't fly, and their trucks don't teleport. CSI-[Insert City Here] is fictional. The person who has the primary responsibility for the safety and property of an adult of sound mind and body is that adult. I'd like to think the folks that pretend otherwise fell of the back of a turnip truck, but they usually come from dense urban areas, suburbs, or college campi.

I suspect you probably wish fire services could only stop the spread because you see government (any larger than the minimum possible) as an intrinsic evil. "We must set the example, self-reliance is the only way, etc.etc."

I suspect you might just be a complete nutter.

Regarding possible taxation of things that are bad for you; you are following a fairly typical libertarian fundamentalist tactic - wilfully conflating banning things and putting taxes on them.

I think you may be looking for the poster across the street. He actually posted words about banning or taxing things. Can't miss him.

Comment: Extranational Proxies + Nukes Don't Mix (Score 1) 1032

by mlund (#29572433) Attached to: Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

It is one thing for countries to pick sides when smaller nations go to war or rival factions spring up in a civil war. The USSR backing Iran vs. NATO pushing Iraq, or the PRC backing North Korea and NATO backing South Korea. It is an entirely different kettle of fish when a country is arming, financing, and training extra-national networks to carry out terror attacks. The nuclear ambitions of nations that engage in that last sort of activity can't be tolerated. Eventually some random "infidel den of inequity" is going to eat a nuclear or severe dirty-bomb attack from Hezbollah or a similar state-sponsored terror proxy. At that point you'll have to either declare war on the sponsor-nation based on gathered intelligence, or accept that sort of savagery as the new face of war-making and "diplomacy" that the rest of the world must accept.

Given the alternatives, bombing Iran's nuclear program back to the stone-age every 5 years until they stop sponsoring terror proxies like Hezbollah seems the least awful.

Comment: Re:I'll tell you where (Score 1) 776

by mlund (#29568441) Attached to: The Fresca Rebellion

And yes Lefties, we can still have fire departments and police and roads and a military with a Limited Representative government.

You know what else is good for a laugh? I keep running into nanny-staters who think that the Police Officers and Fire Fighters have a primary roll of directly defending the individual citizen from violent crime or fire-related death and property loss. Police and Fire services protect the community from the spread of crime and fire incidents. In most cases the initial individual victim's life, his/her property, or his/her family is forfeit in the incident with or without the Police Officer or Fire Fighter.

If someone breaks into your house and robs you, kiss your stuff good-bye. The Police aren't bringing it back. Unless the perpetrator is committing serial crimes in the same area he or she isn't getting brought to justice either. If someone comes to kill you, the police will probably actually investigate the crime post facto, but your survival in an isolated incident isn't something their going to be able to influence. The obligation to protect your life and property (and that of your family) from any given incident rests squarely on you, citizen. The Police don't install home security systems. The Police don't stay in your home with a firearm to repel intruders.

Likewise a fireman isn't responsible for putting in smoke detectors. He doesn't provide you with Fire Insurance for your home and property. He doesn't come to your house and set up an evacuation plan. Count yourself lucky if he comes to a school to encourage your kids to learn basic safety that you are supposed to be teaching and reinforcing yourself.

Nope, Police and Fire services don't protect the individual from crime and fire. They protect the community from the spread of crime and fire from individual incidences. The survival and safety of your family on the individual unit level is your responsibility and the nanny state can't fix that and let you retain your liberties. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something.

Comment: Warrants for Police (Score 4, Insightful) 277

by mlund (#29460537) Attached to: Secret GPS Tracking Now Legal In Massachusetts

I think it is absolutely critical to distinguish between a warrant-based system for Evidence Gathering by Law Enforcement and a system of Intelligence Gathering by Military Offices. Wire-tapping without a warrant to introduce evidence in a criminal prosecution is a no-no. It is, however, completely distinct from gather intelligence or recon data abroad to target enemy soldiers, spies, and saboteurs. If somebody a valid target to be shot up by a predator drone without a trial then bugging their phone calls isn't really a 4th Amendment issue.

MA state and local policy investigators are part of Law Enforcement and thus all their searches, seizures, wiretaps, and electronic monitoring are subject to warrant requirements.

Comment: Re:Illegal Searches (Score 1) 517

by mlund (#29460409) Attached to: Lawyer Demands Jury Stops Googling

Bill Clinton issued pardons on far worse offenses as political rewards

TBH I never understood why the US puts up with presidential pardons. Why on earth can the president pardon someone and how is that different from having a King?

Rich.

Elections, terms limits, impeachment, and judicial review come to mind. I suppose you can put the shoe on the other foot pretty easily too. I can't understand tolerating an unelected judiciary serving lifetime terms that can not be undermined / rebuked / countermanded by other branches of government. That's essentially an undemocratic oligarchy, isn't it?

Comment: Illegal Searches (Score 1) 517

by mlund (#29455043) Attached to: Lawyer Demands Jury Stops Googling

No, admitting illegal searches but punishing those who introduce the evidence would be a terrible plan. Those in positions of power could create sufficient incentive by means of bribery or blackmail. While gangs, mobs, and corporations are likely candidates the worst offenders by far would be the state and federal governments. You're going to hit me with a $20K fine and 5 years in prison? My labor union owns the governor or has an influential lobbyist with the White House. Good luck making that stick.

.

Bill Clinton issued pardons on far worse offenses as political rewards on his way out of his second term. In our media culture it would probably be a positive rather than a negative to shield cop or agent who conducts illegal searches but manages to put "the bad guy" behind bars. That's an Orwellian nightmare waiting to happen.

.

Repeat after me: LIMITED. ENUMERATED. POWERS.

Comment: Re:Obligatory Bogus First Post ... (Score 1) 754

by mlund (#29449077) Attached to: In Britain, Better Not Call It Bogus Science

The closest anyone can get to the "truth" within the realm of science is a model which is self-consistent and compatible with all known observations and which involves no unnecessary assumptions or entities (Occum's Razor). The model could still be demonstrated false by future observations, however. The concept of absolute truth, propositions which once (correctly) proven can never be falsified, is the domain of pure logic and/or philosophy, not science.

The problem is most opinionated folks in our society (and on the Internet) suck something awful at philosophy. In an effort to appear "smart" they try to bludgeon their way through conversations with inappropriate claims with regards to science. Most of the time they don't even have a firm grasp of the science in question, but they know that accusing other people of disagreeing with established science is a great way to discredit someone, even when you are wielding that science in a logically fallacious manner.

When all you've got is a (borrowed) hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Comment: Re:Insulation from Lawyers? (Score 1) 950

by mlund (#29432989) Attached to: Heart Monitors In Middle School Gym Class?

how convenient

a monitor won't show that the child has complained ten times. or is dehydrated. or is developing a headache.

An abnormally elevated heart-rate while exercising (typically accompanied with higher respiration and lowered perspiration) is a normal symptom of the early stages of dehydration. Being able to track a student's heart rate across a curriculum would help more reliably identify this abnormality. It would certainly be more reliable and practical than letting every student with enough low cunning to say, "I have a headache" systemically evade their fitness training.

Comment: Re:The EASY way out! (Score 1) 538

by mlund (#29275509) Attached to: EMC Co-Founder Committs Suicide

There's two (well, more than that, really) sides to the suicide coin.

1. You have men like this. Men who have seen that which they have wrought, and found a life well spent. Rather than wither away and die as you say, these people deserve an 'easy out.'

It think people seriously overlook the right to simply refuse futile and degrading extraordinary methods to preserve life beyond its natural conclusion. We have a lot of options for pain management that provide a useful alternative to taking a shotgun to one's face.

3. Also, you have those who genuinly have something wrong with their mind that pushes them to it. You can't blame someone for something external pushing it down on you like that.

Not just something wrong with their minds - there are people who have something wrong with their surrounding culture. There are many sad situations where "something external" is a social prerogative that condemns the disabled as being burdensome and unworthy of life.

4. Finally, unless there are more I'm too tired to think of, you have those that go for a good cause. The good soldier diving on a grenade. Sacrificing one's self for the good of many, etc - the true altruistic finale.

That doesn't qualify as suicide. That's an altruistic act of heroism that happens to have the undesired outcome of dying. Likewise, killing in self-defense is not murder. It is an act to preserve one's own life from an aggressor with the otherwise unwanted outcome of killing.

Comment: Failure to Read the Article (Score 1) 1376

by mlund (#28763347) Attached to: Ireland Criminalizes Blasphemy

Four paragraphs into the article they note that the Irish Constitution (from 1937) explicitly prohibits the publication of blasphemy. "it goes on to prohibit the publication of 'blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter'

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Further even in the First Paragraph they note that the new law came into being in removing the old 1961 Defamation Act. So the title of the original post is completely misleading. Blasphemy has been prohibited under Irish law for a long time. This is not a new situation in that regard. In the Sixth Paragraph the author notes: "only one case was ever taken under the blasphemy prohibition since the introduction of the constitution in 1937 (a 1999 case against a newspaper, in which the Supreme Court concluded that it was not possible to say 'of what the offence of blasphemy consists' and that 'the state is not placed in the position of an arbiter of religious truth')."

.

In other words, this is much to do about nothing. Ireland doesn't prosecute blasphemy. It does have a need to do a little house-cleaning on the wording of its Constitution to bring it into line with popular practice, though.

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