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Comment: Re:Democrats voted (Score 4, Insightful) 932

by neurophil12 (#47215815) Attached to: House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary
Political parties are not forced to hold primaries. They can hold a nominating convention if they prefer. That's what the Republicans did in the last VA governor's race. I don't see how open primaries are any more screwed up than having a winner-take-all vote that keeps out 3rd parties from having any substantial chance in most cases. It's past time we had ranked choice voting. If we did, then there would be no particular benefit to having open primaries. As it stands, open primaries at least give people a chance to vote in the election they think matters. The fact is, in many cases, the general election is a foregone conclusion and the primary is the real election.

Comment: Re:Does it matter? (Score 1) 90

by neurophil12 (#47010535) Attached to: Watch the FCC Vote On Net Neutrality Live At 10:30am Eastern

To provide a bit more detail to what NotSanguine said, there was some legalese in which the FCC classified broadband as an "Information Service" as opposed to a "Communications Service" back in 2002. The court then recently said that the FCC could apply Net Neutrality regulation on a Communications Service but not an Information Service, but the FCC and Congress are refusing to reclassify even though there is nothing legally stopping them (as far as I am aware). I do not understand the distinction between the two, though my understanding that a Communication Service would be a Common Carrier.

From the 2002 FCC news release I found, 'The FCC also said that cable modem service does not contain a separate "telecommunications service" offering and therefore is not subject to common carrier regulation.'

Comment: Re:We all need to pay higher taxes (Score 1) 182

by neurophil12 (#46996129) Attached to: Oil Man Proposes Increase In Oklahoma Oil-and-Gas Tax
It doesn't sound like you actually read anything I wrote. I was hoping you might actually care to have a conversation, but now I realize you just came here to rant. Your anger is destroying your sanity. Good luck finding your way free. No longer watching Fox News would be a big step forward. You do realize Fox is part of The Machine, right?

Comment: Re:We all need to pay higher taxes (Score 2) 182

by neurophil12 (#46991755) Attached to: Oil Man Proposes Increase In Oklahoma Oil-and-Gas Tax

Virtucon, your anger is severely misplaced. Many of those regulations that are making life difficult for you are primarily from larger businesses that want to keep you from competing fairly with them. That's not to say that there aren't some that are real efforts at fixing a problem but that aren't well-designed, but that's the sort of problem that could be fixed assuming the government was set up to respond to the people. I'm guessing there are also some annoying regulations you don't like that are actually really beneficial, but I wouldn't expect anyone to be able to easily tell all of them apart when there are so many regulations, some federal, most state and local. You are lumping all of the problems together, but in order to solve anything you need to understand the separate components and how they fit together. We could discuss those issues forever though, so I'll focus on the root problem. If we could eliminate corporate contributions to campaigns by constitutionally distinguishing corporations from people, and money from speech, then your voice would actually matter to politicians, and you wouldn't see nearly as much of the horrendous waste we witness.

Did you see the recent study that found that over the last 40 years policy at the federal level is completely uncorrelated with public opinion and highly correlated with the opinions/wishes of wealthy and special interests? Once we solve that problem, then we can see what happens and then have a real conversation about how big government should be and what it should be involved with at what level. Until then neither of us will achieve what we think is the proper approach in government. If you really want things to change, call your state representatives and tell them they need to pass a resolution calling for an Article V convention to deal with the issue of money in politics. Common Cause, Wolf PAC, and Move to Amend are all working on this, among others I imagine.

Comment: Re:We all need to pay higher taxes (Score 1) 182

by neurophil12 (#46990697) Attached to: Oil Man Proposes Increase In Oklahoma Oil-and-Gas Tax

This is some pretty fucked up logic right here. Shit, God only wants 10% and that should be more than enough for any government! The argument that we need to pay more taxes and keep giving more away to entitlements belies the facts that we've given away so many tax breaks to big companies and billionaires that the only way the Feds can keep things afloat is to borrow massively and tax the middle class out of existence.

The middle class is not being taxed out of existence, it is being job and wage-decreased "out of existence". Also, your assertions about what is enough for a government and entitlements make no sense at all. You are taking a variety of different expenditures and mixing them together without actually looking at their value to society. There are both economic and moral components to what we do as a society through government. If you think eliminating most of government will solve our problems, you fundamentally misunderstand economics and large societies.

Comment: Re:Sounds like utter bullshit (Score 2) 426

Don't get the specific research cited in the article confused with Integrated Information Theory (IIT). IIT, or a possible future more accurate/complete version, could well be true without the rubbish article assuming brain member is non-lossy. Thinking about consciousness in terms of information is nice because it comports with the evidence that when you change something about the brain or its inputs (i.e. change the information content of the system) you get a change in cognition. The details of the theory are complicated, but worth reading up on. I find the basic concept of IIT intuitive, but the math is pretty intense.

Comment: Re:The protesters should brace themselves ... (Score 1) 448

by neurophil12 (#46733717) Attached to: Commenters To Dropbox CEO: Houston, We Have a Problem

More like "ankle grabbing" for the lovers of the NSA and water boarding. Going back as far as Napoleon, torture was already dismissed as ineffective, so its sad to me that some people are glad to regress a few centuries. And the "everybody does it" theme neglects that few others countries, ie none, have 30,000 employees and a $10 billion a year budget.

To the contrary, torture is highly effective... at spreading fear and exerting dominance, and/or to produce false confessions. That's why it is used by a number of other countries.

Comment: Re:Projections (Score 1) 987

by neurophil12 (#46626121) Attached to: UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

Ted Danson said in 1998 that we had 10 years to save the oceans or else.

Al Gore said in 2006 that we had 10 years to stop global warming.

The US and other nations have taken efforts to protect the oceans and fisheries through the National Marine Sanctuaries and various regulations, though more efforts are certainly required. Fishing takes in dramatically less per unit energy than each preceding generation, and ocean biodiversity is suffering from temperature changes, various sorts of pollution, and ocean acidification. As usual we've pushed out the horizon on disaster, but in the meantime things are still unhealthy.

For both statements you'd need to provide a detailed quote in order for anyone to make a useful judgement. Perhaps Gore meant that if we were not to address the issue within 10 years, the issue wouldn't be addressed without us suffering some substantial ramifications. It certainly looks like that's the direction we're heading.

Comment: Re:Well, he's not wrong (Score 1) 479

by neurophil12 (#45217683) Attached to: Tesla CEO Elon Musk: Fuel Cells Are 'So Bull@%!#'

The simple fact that you can quickly pump gas into a car versus hours of charging is a huge advantage if you want to drive beyond the action radius of a single charge.

Charging is currently on the order of 30 minutes, not hours, and it can take as little as a couple of minutes for a robot to swap out your batteries for fully charged ones. That is all with current technology.

Comment: Re:It's A Start (Score 1) 362

by neurophil12 (#44382321) Attached to: NSA Still Funded To Spy On US Phone Records

While in such a situation we the people are in need of whistleblowers, it is not an easy thing to be one. I would imagine most people working for the NSA have families and people to care for and would have to weigh their responsibilities. Once the whistle is blown, as it fortunately has been by Snowden, it is our responsibility to put the pressure on our representatives to change the system. It is not for the rank and file to stop doing their job or put a wrench in the system when they are making efforts to ensure our security. You may not believe that the trade-off of privacy and security is worthwhile (and in fact neither do I, at least without proper transparency and oversight to prevent and rectify abuse), but it would be silly to say that having that information could have no benefit to security.

Now consider the possibility that there are people in the NSA that are specifically working to build a set of internal checks and balances in the accessing of such information. I do not find that sufficient as I believe those checks and balances must be transparent to the public, but that would take an act of Congress or the courts. So what is it exactly you want people working at the NSA to do? Perhaps you have some suggestions rather than just some "thoughts" meant to make people feel guilty?

Comment: Re:clear and present danger (Score 1) 800

by neurophil12 (#42816259) Attached to: Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

First off, what you're talking about in terms of caricatures is politics. It's ugly, I don't like it, but it's gone on since the dawn of civilization and in my opinion has arguably grown worse recently primarily because of a mass media more interested in ratings than quality journalism, recent Republican gerrymandering successes, and a takeover of the Republican party by extremists. There are plenty of Democrats that have added to the problem, but I haven't seen them as a driving force in the breakdown in civility.

More importantly though is the question of how we get those in power to deal with the issues we really care about. What you're suggesting as a solution seems to be for people to go and vote for a third party candidate. That's all well and good in Pollyanna Land, but in the system we currently live in it would be about as effective as sticking your head in the sand. Running primary candidates is a step in the right direction, but it is very rare to see that against an incumbent in a presidential race. Even more rare are successes of such.

I choose to support, even if only with lukewarm praise, the best available candidate in any given race. I won't judge you for deciding to do otherwise, though I will say I think my decision is the best approach. Then I go and talk to people about possible long term solutions to the process that will make it possible to vote for people we actually like and make it less likely that we'll always have to just go with the lesser of two evils. If you didn't just jump to conclusions and had asked, you could have found out (without sounding like a major asshole) that I advocate for non-partisan redistricting, ranked choice voting for instant runoff elections, and campaign finance reform. These, among other related solutions, would go much farther than voting for another Ralph Nader like I did in 2000 (though I was voting in MD so I could afford that luxury). In this past election I would have loved to vote for Jill Stein, but my vote mattered far more this time as I reside in Virginia.

Comment: Re:clear and present danger (Score 1) 800

by neurophil12 (#42816089) Attached to: Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

No, you look at the person's record and see whether it matches up with the grassroots movement that started using the term. Obama is somewhat progressive on some issues, and perhaps in his heart of hearts he's a progressive, but in terms of the array of issues important to progressives he's been perhaps a bit better than so-so. I think most progressives would agree he's made progress on LGBT issues, he provided some relief for people in terms of unemployment benefits, food stamps, and the payroll tax holiday, he did a decent job with the stimulus (though he did a horrible job talking about it), he kept his word about getting out of Iraq (mostly), and he's made some positive steps on the environment in terms of gas mileage standards. Certainly his appointment of Lisa Jackson is something progressives appreciate.

On the other hand progressives are not happy with his soft gloves with the banks and his inaction on relieving home owners (as challenging as it may have been), his sometimes ignoring climate change for political reasons, his support of indefinite detention and other restrictions on civil rights, and of course the particular issue of the parent article. His efforts on health care are appreciated, but the fact that he shut down any discussion of single payer right off the bat and then barely fought for a public option has left many progressives halfhearted in such appreciation.

I'm sure progressives would argue among themselves (or ourselves) about some of these and a few others, but suffice to say that I myself and many progressives with whom I've discussed or whose articles I've read very much believe that Obama has largely governed as a centrist on a variety of issues. And that's why I posted my initial response in the first place. The GP claimed that '"progressive" is just code for Democrat right wing neocon bastard pretending to be a peacenik', and I called BS.

Comment: Re:clear and present danger (Score 1) 800

by neurophil12 (#42809383) Attached to: Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

I was trying to point out that you are inappropriately conflating "Democrat" with "progressive", not to mention Democratic representatives with Democratic voters. The Democrats are a varied bunch that includes progressives as well as centrists and the Blue Dogs as well (who are not centrists). Perhaps the ACLU would not specifically label themselves as progressive, but their positions on issues line up quite closely with organizations and people who do label themselves as progressive. Moreover, a variety of progressive groups have spoken out vocally against Obama and/or attempted to push him to act in a particular way when he was not acting or dragging his feet. See environmentalists and the LGBT community for plenty of examples. Except for in cases where the the DNC (or similar organization) is setting up an event to promote its candidate(s), it has been anything but a love-fest.

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