Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Google image search? (Score 2) 181 181

Did you do a Google Image search too?

On Yelp, this guy is Deepak Patel

But at Norwest Venture Partners, he's Sanjay Rao

They also had no complaints at the BBB.

Also, I looked on Google for the lawsuit National Collection Agency, Inc. Vs Link Corporation, Et Al Case Number 1-08-CV-129441

Couldn't find it.

Comment: Re:"It's all about perception" (Score 1) 369 369

My, what a long comment! And all based on a misunderstanding. Of course I do know that "Hill Street Blues" is fiction. But one of the reasons I enjoy it is that it appears to be accurate, realistic fiction. Regardless of the many details, the basic plot idea I mentioned - a political boss who is willing and eager to throw a subordinate to the wolves "for the look of it", regardless of the facts - is something that is common in real life.

A political boss who throws a subordinate to the wolves because he justifiably killed a black man does not happen in real life. It only happens in the fantasy world of racist cops who think the world is conspiring against them. This is right-wing, racist, tough-on crime propaganda. You're citing fiction as if it were real. You can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

Comment: Re: Bullshit narrative ... (Score 1) 221 221

What exactly does a stringently controlled supply of government-licensed "taxi" drivers do for the consumer anyway?

New York City streets are built by the government, and that gives them a right to set rules that avoid problems and maximize its utility.

For example, you can't drive at 60mph. You can't drive drunk. You can't drive with bad brakes.

In New York City there are traffic jams in midtown traffic between 6 and 7pm, and it's impossible to drive through it. If I have to go downtown between those hours, I take the train or walk.

If we added more taxis, the traffic jams would last even longer. If we let everyone in Bombay who wanted to make $20 a day drive a taxi in New York City, we'd have traffic jams like Bombay. Our streets would be impassable.

So our government (who built the streets, remember) decided to restrict the number of taxis.

You could say that once the government set the rules by issuing a limited number of medallions, the free market drove the price of medallions up. Isn't that the free market too?

Comment: Re:"It's all about perception" (Score 1, Informative) 369 369

Recently I have been glued to a box set of the complete "Hill Street Blues" - yes, I know that telegraphs my age and unadventurous taste in TV. It was only the other night that I got quite angry at the spectacle of the police chief twisting Captain Furillo's arm to get him to abandon his defence of an apparently "bad cop". This guy, a narcotics agent, had shot and killed a young black man while interrupting some suspicious activity in the small hours. The cop claimed that he had given due warning, and fired only after being fired on - all of which was true. Also, the group he tried to apprehend were in fact committing crimes. Nevertheless, the police chief tells Furillo that it's vital for the department to be seen to throw this "bad cop" to the wolves. It's all about perception, he explains. The facts don't matter at all; all that counts is that this is a good time to throw someone to the wolves.

You know that "Hill Street Blues" is fiction, don't you?

You realize that's the kind of bullshit story that South Carolina cop Michael Slager gave after he shot Walter Scott, a black man, in the back? (Except that a video turned up.)

And you know that there are lots of other documented cases where the cops killed people (usually black) and claimed that they saw a gun -- where it turned out that they didn't have a gun?

And you know that according to sworn police testimony before the Knapp Commission, cops often carry guns around to plant on people they've killed, so that they could say they were defending themselves?

And you know that the police have unions and the kind of scenario you describe could never have happened in real life, don't you?

That's the kind of cock-and-bull story that defense attorneys for cops, and police union apologists, come up with when a cop is guilty as shit of an unjustified, racist murder, and they're getting paid big money to come up with desperate explanations for why their client is really innocent despite the overwhelming evidence that points to his guilt.

The story that you describe is pure pro-cop propaganda to defend the unjustified murders of black people, by creating a fantasy of a minority-loving conspiracy out to get cops.

Really, how can you fall for that? Don't you have more intelligence than that?

I stopped watching TV. I know a bit about the law, and the law and police procedures are so distorted and absurd that it's painful to watch. It's like watching a science fiction program where they don't know that you can't hear sounds through a vacuum. The suspects never say that they refuse to speak without a lawyer.

Hollywood used to have a lot of writers and producers pushing a liberal agenda in their films, until the House Un-American Activities Committee got them blacklisted. Now there's a lot of conservative propaganda like this. The conservative propaganda isn't even as good.

Comment: Re:Tangentially related: Race-based admissions (Score 1) 471 471

The intent was to focus on merit-based evaluations. Seems noble, right? We want the best doctors we can get. However, the effect appears to be to reduce the number of minority students admitted. This, of course, has people outraged, and scrambling to find ways to work around the system - like sending recruiting teams to primarily-black or latino high schools, and hoping that will increase the applicant numbers.

What shocked me is that everyone is dancing around the race issue (and only certain races; not, for example, Indian or other asians).

I know a lot of doctors, professionally and socially. There is one factor most closely associated with getting into medical school: Having a father who is a doctor. There isn't even any discrimination against daughters of doctors. Male/female ratios are now about equal.

Children of doctors have many advantages. First, they grow up in a family where they learn about medicine and science from table-talk at dinner. They visit their fathers' offices. They have summer jobs in the field.

Second, they have lots of money. Most doctors make $100,000-300,000 a year. They grow up in neighborhoods around wealthy professional families like themselves. They go to schools with involved parents who make sure they get good teachers and a good education. They're bound to succeed in school.

That lots of money means they can go to medical school. Medical school costs around $50,000 a year. I know doctors whose parents just wrote a check. Middle-class parents will have a lot of trouble paying that. If college were free, as it is in most developed European countries, a lot more black students would be applying to medical school.

Everyone agrees the minority graduation numbers have dropped because individuals from a given group don't actually meet the admissions criteria. They're not qualified to be students or doctors. That apparently hundreds or thousands of people's failing grades were ignored because of their race. That prior to the no-race rule, doctors, in this case, were not necessarily the most well qualified individuals for the job. In fact, some significant percentage of them should not have been allowed in.

Well, I don't agree. I know black doctors who teach medical school, write textbooks and serve on professional committees. They're more qualified than most doctors. I'd trust them with my life. (Or with my eyes, in the case of an opthalmologist.) Do you want to see black doctors who are as good as the best white doctors? Look at the military doctors.

If you were a doctor, you'd know that tests aren't always accurate. If you have a PSA of 5, that might mean you have prostate cancer or it might not. A high test score isn't the same as having a disease. That includes medical school admissions tests too. A high medical school test score isn't the same as being a good doctor either.

A high medical school admission test score, or high high school grades and SAT scores, are especially poor at distinguishing between medical school applicants, since they all have high grades. If you have one student with a 3.8 average, and another student with a 3.9 average, that's not a meaningful difference in predicting whether he's going to be a good doctor. There are plenty of black students with 3.8 and 3.9 averages.

Science magazine had a few special issues on minorities in science. They gave the best evidence on why there are so few and how they could be encouraged to succeed, if you want to look up the facts.

I think quotas or preferences are an imperfect solution. The ideal solution would be to first eliminate poverty, by using what works, and the European-style social safety nets have been proven to work. That alone would produce better elementary and high school education. Second, we should provide free college, like most of the European countries do and like we used to do up to the 1970s.

There's another issue -- social fairness.

I used to work with an Indian engineer who told me he couldn't understand why people objected to affirmative actions. In India, colleges had quotas for each of the castes. Otherwise, the lower castes would never get in to college.

Do you want to live in a society in which people who are born poor go on to be poorly educated and poor all their lives, and in which people who are born rich get every privilege and success in the world? I don't.

Do I need to remind you that black people were slaves until 150 years ago, and they weren't even allowed to vote in the ex-Confederate South until the Voting Rights Act of 1963 was finally enforced? That black people weren't even admitted to schools in many parts of the South? Maybe that's the reason for the low test scores.

Comment: Re:All about dodging the class action lawsuit (Score 1) 471 471

>> Google's $50 million girls-only Made With Code initiative

Somewhere inside Google someone made the decision that a near-future class action targeting Google about its lack of women (whatever the number is, someone will be annoyed until it's at least 50%) would cost a lot more than $50M, so there's the budget.

Well, yes. In a *protected class*-discrimination lawsuit, companies are allowed to tell the jury about all the efforts they made to attract the *protected class* through help-wanted ads in publications read by *protected class*, in hiring interviews at *protected class* schools, in job fairs attended by *protected class*, etc.

That's why you saw all those help-wanted ads for reactor core designers and electrical engineers in Ms. magazine and the Amsterdam News.

I'm sure there are woman nuclear engineers who read Cosmopolitan, but you'll get a lot more responses to an ad in Nucleonics.

Comment: Re:What about low-income boys? (Score 1) 471 471

A column in the New York Times today touched on this.

Traditional concern with broad distributional justice has given way to narrow movements like feminism, gay rights, black power and disability rights.

Collective action, where co-workers cooperated with each other as colleagues and allies, has given way to individualism and competition.

The result is greater inequality and more poverty.
Why Don’t the Poor Rise Up?
Thomas B. Edsall
JUNE 24, 2015

Comment: Re:What nonsense! (Score 2) 233 233

You say "Without anonymity, you can't have free speech."
Really? On what logic is that true? By what historical example is that based? Most (if not all) of the American Revolutionary pamphleteers I have studied proudly signed their names to their work. The Colonial newspaper editorialists signed their names. Without demonstrating the strength of their convictions by courageously identifying themselves, (we mutually pledge our lives fortunes and sacred honor) free speech isn't worth much. You might just as well put a white pointed hood over your face if you lack the courage to identify yourself, and if you do that, your words offer little to any discourse.

You and I must have studied different American Revolutionary pamphleteers. The Federalist Papers were anonymous.

Comment: Re:political speech (Score 1) 233 233

Free Speech does not equate to guaranteed anonymity.

We have a pretty solid tradition of equating free speech with anonymity in the U.S.

The Federalist Papers were published anonymously. Much of the political debate at the creation of the U.S. was published anonymously. People routinely used pseudonyms in published articles.

And they didn't have ISP logs back then.

Comment: Re:political speech (Score 4, Informative) 233 233

Defamation, along with obscenity and inciting panic or violence, have never been free speech. Slander and libel are civil crimes that you can be sued for in court, and it's been that way since day one. To facilitate enforcement of defamation laws, the court has decided it's acceptable to try and de-anonymize the poster in question.

Just because the words are about a political candidate, does not make it political speech. This case is not the same as speaking unpopular political views and opinions - that WOULD be protected speech. It's the difference between supporting Nazi idealism (free speech) and accusing someone of being a Nazi (not free speech).

Nope. According to Times v. Sullivan it is not a civil offense to make false, defamatory statements about public officials unless you do it with malice, which means that you either knew that it was false or disregarded whether it was true or false. (The Times printed false statements in the advertisement at issue in Times v. Sullivan.) Anyone running for office is a public figure.

People accuse public figures of being Nazis all the time. In the Wall Street Journal comments section, which requires people to use their full names, people accuse Obama and others of being socialists, and sometimes Communists and Nazis. One ongoing debate is over whether Frank Marshall Davis was a Communist, as J. Edgar Hoover and one recent right-wing book said he was. Davis was the unnamed mentor that Obama mentioned in his autobiography.

The rule in civil damages is no harm, no foul. That's the next hurdle. In order to get damages in court, you have to prove that the action caused you damages. John Henry Faulk won a libel suit against Aware, the blacklisting group, because they called him a Communist when he wasn't, and he lost income as a result of being blacklisted.

I haven't seen any evidence that Bill Hadley was harmed by being likened to a pedophile. Hadley is going to try to find someone who will testify that he actually believed the anonymous pedophile accusation, and did something damaging to Hadley as a result.

One of the defenses in a libel case like that would be the "political hyperbole" defense, that nobody took it seriously. That's like the parody defense in Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (where Hustler published a parody of a liquor ad which quoted Falwell of saying that his first time was with his mother in the outhouse).

Comment: Re:Do they ever follow up? (Score 1) 283 283

The founders who wrote the Constitution were lawyers, they knew about prosecutions, and they limited the power of government to prosecute people. They didn't limit the power of government to engage in public works. They knew that governments had to build lighthouses, ports, canals and roads, and run the post office.

Yes and no.... for example, they realized a national company to deliver mail was necessary (as opposed to a bunch of local ones trying to work together), but they don't run it. It's and not for a reason. And while they realized the necessity of some infrastructure, they did not give power to the federal government to do it, they quite explicitly left it in the hands of local governments.

Uh, the founders who wrote the Constitution didn't call it

So what do you want to do?

Privatize the post office, and let them withdraw services from poor neighborhoods if they decide they're not profitable?

And take away broadband from people in those neighborhoods so they can't communicate on the Internet either?

Nice guy.

Comment: Re:Do they ever follow up? (Score 1) 283 283

For example, girls in black communities who get pregnant as teenagers usually get jobs and do pretty well, contrary to myth.

No, they don't - there's no greater indicator that someone will be living in poverty than being part of a single parent family. The stupid choice was allowing ones self to become pregnant as a teen - that they then own up to it and become responsible doesn't really matter since the bulk of the "damage" is already done - they've completely limited their chances and choices.

How many black single teenagers do you know? You're not talking about that from first-hand experience with real people, like Katherine Eden and the social scientists got, right? You're getting this from articles about pregnant teenagers, right? You're just giving us morality and conventional wisdom, right?

Here's what people who actually talked to pregnant teenagers found out first hand. This is only the first of many studies. You can look up dozens on the Internet.

So what do you believe? Do you believe that people can make rational choices in a free market? Or do you believe that negro teenagers are incapable of making rational choices need a Big Brother, such as yourself, to make decisions for them? If the latter, that pretty much blows your free market ideal, doesn't it?

Is pregnancy a rational choice for poor teenagers?
Thomas, Emory Jr. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern Edition). New York, N.Y.:Jan 18, 1996. p. B1
Abstract (Summary)

An article examines a controversial but provocative theory embraced by economist Cecilia A. Conrad: that many unmarried teens are having babies as a rational response to prevailing economic conditions--specifically the job market they face. Conrad is one of a vanguard of academics who are examining the subtle economic forces taking place in America. Conrad poses an unorthodox premise: Teen preganancy is not always the disaster it's presumed to be--indeed some teen mothers do not actually suffer at all economically.
Full Text (1258 words)
Copyright Dow Jones & Company Inc Jan 18, 1996

A high-school reunion turned economist Cecilia A. Conrad into a contrarian, at least on the issue of teenage pregnancy.

She was an assistant professor at Barnard College in 1987 when she returned to the mostly black Dallas high school where she'd been valedictorian 15 years before. As part of a class that included a throng of girls who'd had babies as teenagers, Dr. Conrad wasn't surprised to find herself, at age 33, the only new mother at the reunion.

Yet Dr. Conrad was struck by how well many of her classmates had fared despite early and often out-of-wedlock motherhood. Almost none had sunk into prolonged poverty or welfare dependence, as conventional wisdom might dictate. One was a laboratory technician. Another was an inspector with the Food and Drug Administration. A third was a veteran Postal Service worker.

Back at Barnard, she puzzled over why she'd postponed motherhood while so many of her classmates hadn't -- and how, rather than regretting having children at an early age, many seemed to count it a plus. Her questions led her away from an academic interest in business competitiveness and headlong into the emerging field of family economics. She eventually embraced a controversial but provocative theory: that many unmarried teens are having babies as a rational response to prevailing economic conditions -- specifically the job market they face.

Dr. Conrad, one of a vanguard of academics who are examining the subtle economic forces shaping seemingly capricious life decisions, stresses that two-parent families tend to be best for raising children. But she poses an unorthodox premise: Teen pregnancy isn't always the disaster it's presumed to be; indeed, some disadvantaged teen mothers don't actually suffer at all economically.

Roughly one of every three births in America is to an unmarried mother, about 30% of them teenagers. Nearly 75% of all single teen mothers spend some time on welfare, and Congress is now considering denying or reducing such benefits.

With the welfare debate as backdrop, Dr. Conrad and other family economists are looking at childbearing data in fresh ways. Sociologists tracking unwed mothers' outcomes have traditionally underplayed income factors when comparing teenagers with older mothers, and the teens overwhelmingly lag in schooling, employment and other criteria. But the vast majority of teen births come among the disadvantaged. By zeroing in on the culture of poverty -- and the fate of mothers of different ages in it -- other researchers are turning up quite a different picture.

University of Chicago Prof. V. Joseph Hotz, for example, found in a 1995 study that teenage mothers tend to earn more over their lifetimes, and have steadier employment histories, than similarly disadvantaged women who delay childbearing until they're 20 or older. Another researcher, Arline T. Geronimus, a professor at the University of Michigan, found in a 1994 study that, in impoverished conditions, the children of teen mothers tended to do as well or better than children of older mothers on cognitive, emotional and achievement tests.

In poor African-American communities many teenage girls have relatively low expectations of marrying or finding more than marginal jobs, Dr. Conrad says. In such cases, traditional restraints on teenage passions are often absent. "Just saying you should wait, without making it more attractive to wait, isn't going to be very effective," she says.

Dr. Conrad explains that a girl may observe that her unmarried sister, who has just given birth at age 27, has lost her job as a result and is having a tough time making ends meet. A 17-year-old friend with a newborn, meanwhile, is getting by, thanks to support from her parents, who are young and energetic enough to help with child care while she goes to school or finds work. (According to the Congressional Budget Office, about three-quarters of black adolescent mothers live with relatives in the two years after giving birth.)

The notion that unwed teenagers make a "rational choice" to have babies has drawn criticism from those who attribute the rise in unwed teen births to a breakdown in moral responsibility, say, or lack of birth-control education. Another explanation: Teens drift into childbearing on the current of social customs that shift "like the width of ties or hemlines," says Frank F. Furstenberg Jr., professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and a prominent teen-pregnancy researcher.

Teenagers themselves report an array of reasons for becoming pregnant: peer pressure, lack of birth control, fear of losing a boyfriend. Yet Dr. Conrad and others believe it boils down to how hard a teenager tries not to get pregnant. That underlying determination -- or lack of it -- is heavily influenced by her perception of economic possibilities, she says.

Dr. Conrad, who recently moved from Barnard to another tenured position at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., believes that her own decision to avoid early pregnancy was a function of the high expectations of her upper-middle-class family. Her surgeon father served on the Dallas board of education. Her parents compensated for deficiencies in the schools, at one point hiring a French tutor for her and a group of friends. After Franklin D. Roosevelt High School's class of 1972 voted her "most likely to succeed," she went on to graduate from Wellesley College and got her doctorate in economics at Stanford University.

For most students at Roosevelt, which is located in a lower-middle-class neighborhood, the path led in a different direction. Fellow 1972 graduate Jo Ann Williams recalls that she had neither the means nor family encouragement to attend college, and soon after high school she became pregnant.

Her parents helped care for her daughter while Jo Ann worked full-time in a clerical job, earning several promotions. If she had waited until her mid-20s to have a child, "I probably wouldn't have been promoted as fast or learned as much as I did," says Mrs. Williams, now married to the father of her child and working as an office manager at Dallas Water Utilities. "If I were to do it all over again," she adds, "I'd do it exactly the same way."

It's well-established, Dr. Conrad points out, that professional women are delaying childbirth in order to establish careers before temporarily dropping out of the work force. Her computer analysis of vital statistics and occupational data suggests that labor-market factors also influence birth-timing at the opposite end of the economic spectrum -- and in opposite ways.

Today, the largest single occupation for black working women is clerical work (vs. domestic service, the top category in 1965). Because uninterrupted tenure tends to be the surest way to increase pay and benefits in the office-support labor market, Dr. Conrad says "it can make sense to have kids early" before taking such jobs.

Labor-market forces "certainly could be contributing" factors in explaining out-of-wedlock teen-pregnancy rates, says Gary S. Becker, the Nobel Prize-winning economist from the University of Chicago. But he speculates that the bleak job market may play a larger role with teen boys, in deterring them from marriage. Also, he cautions, such factors "are not 100% of the story."

Sitting in her office in Pomona College, Dr. Conrad observes that the parenting decisions made by some of her teen-mother classmates were "more rational" than her own. She and her husband, Llewellyn Miller, a risk-management consultant, decided to have a child soon after she joined the Barnard faculty. In retrospect, she says, "I should have waited until I had tenure."

Comment: Re:The downside is taxpayers... (Score 1) 283 283

Defending the country is easy if you're stopping intruders at the gate. When you are overseas on expeditions to blow the shit out of other people PRE-EMPTIVELY, it starts to get silly and not spendthift at all!

It was obvious that the Iraq war rather than defending the country put us in more danger. I didn't want the war and I certainly didn't want to pay for it.

The parent was arguing for an a la carte government. If you want a welfare system, pay for it with your own money.

Of course that's ridiculous, but if we're going to have an a la carte government, then I don't want to pay for stupid wars (which is most wars). We could cut military spending in half and be just as safe -- maybe safer.

Comment: Re:Do they ever follow up? (Score 1) 283 283

Government IS bad... necessary, but BAD. That's why the founders of the U.S. wrote the U.S. Constitution - specifically to limit government. That the government couldn't help but corrupt, side step, or shred the constitution is only proof.

The free market is even worse. In the free market, hospitals kick people with cancer out the door if they can't pay the bills in advance. If you can't pay for food, you starve. If you can't pay for housing, you wind up in the street (and often in jail).

The founders who wrote the Constitution were lawyers, they knew about prosecutions, and they limited the power of government to prosecute people. They didn't limit the power of government to engage in public works. They knew that governments had to build lighthouses, ports, canals and roads, and run the post office.

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.