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Comment: Re:The advertising is okay (Score 1) 193

We paid Comcast to bring broadband to us in the first place. That they haven't done it yet means we'd only have to pay twice to get it if we went the municipal route, whereas we won't get it at all from Comcast.

Even if we did "get" the broadband, they've shown perfect willingness to simply refuse to upgrade their networks to allow bandwidth to flow from Internet companies they don't like. (*cough*Netflix*/cough*)

Comment: Re:Free market economy (Score 1) 529

Markets in poor neighborhoods carry what 'poor' people buy

They buy what gives them the most calories per dollar, while also focusing on foods that require the least preparation time (since their work typically leaves them with little time to spare). End result: saturated fat, refined sugar and sodium, with very little in the way of necessary vitamins and minerals.

Poverty is now owning... a car out of warranty!

For most of the United States, owning a car is a necessity for both working and buying food.

Comment: Re:Simple Solution.... (Score 1) 140

The largest source of income for the NRA is membership dues

While that is still part of the organization's core function, today less than half of the NRA's revenues come from program fees and membership dues.

The bulk of the group's money now comes in the form of contributions, grants, royalty income, and advertising, much of it originating from gun industry sources.

But around 2005, the group began systematically reaching out to its richest members for bigger checks through its "Ring of Freedom" program, which also sought to corral corporate donors. Between then and 2011, the Violence Policy Center estimates that the firearms industry donated as much as $38.9 million to the NRA's coffers. The givers include 22 different gun makers, including famous names like Smith & Wesson, Beretta USA, SIGARMS, and Sturm, Ruger & Co. that also manufacture so-called assault weapons.

Some of that funding has given the NRA a direct stake in gun and ammo sales.

One of the NRA's 27 websites calls such donors "corporate partners," while another says the association is "not affiliated with any firearm or ammunition manufacturers or with any business that deals in guns and ammunition."

I'll grant that a plurality of the NRA's funding seems to come from dues, but the majority of its money comes from those with a direct or indirect financial interest in the sale of weapons and ammunition, as inconvenient that is to the NRA's projected public image.

Comment: The death of trains (Score 4, Interesting) 195

by mcrbids (#47472769) Attached to: The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train

In Europe, they discovered that train wrecks were really, really bad. So they set about building a system of trains that didn't wreck, with numerous controls and systems to prevent collisions, resulting in an excellent safety record and low cost.

In the United States, they discovered that train wrecks were really, really bad. So they set about building a system of trains that survived wrecks with minimal injuries, with heavy crash cages and crumple zones in order to gracefully survive collisions, resulting in an excellent safety record and ridiculous costs.

Making a US train go as fast as an EU train is very difficult to do feasibly, since it weighs at least 4x as much per passenger.

Comment: Re:Simple Solution.... (Score 3, Insightful) 140

The NRA has its deep pockets and resultant clout not (necessarily) from numerous individual private members but from effectively being an arms industry trade group, the USCoC of arms manufacturers and dealers.

And so long as we continue to have the kinds of wealth disparities we haven't seen since 1929, catering to rich corporate interests (with varying levels of populist veneer) is the only way to get enough money to actually influence policy.

Comment: Re:user error (Score 1) 710

by mcrbids (#47459179) Attached to: People Who Claim To Worry About Climate Change Don't Cut Energy Use

For the most part, I agree with you. I'm also a bit of a cheap bastard. I ride my bike to work largely for health reasons but also because it's cheaper. I switched to CFLs over a decade ago when I saw the cost savings. I aggressively turn up the AC to "just barely comfortable" to save money. I ditched the home phone for Magic Jack, and I ditched cable TV for Hulu/Netflix. By watching the gas consumption calculator on my car, and reading up about "hypermiling" I get about 10-20% better fuel economy simply by changing my driving patterns - after some practice, I can do it without doing anything people driving with me would notice without paying close attention. I routinely time shift my schedule either early or late so I avoid traffic altogether.

If I owned my house, I would have erected a solar back porch roof long ago to both keep sun off the house and power the A/C.

And by the way, modern cars are so low emission that some of them actually clean up the air around them. The 2011 Ford F150 Raptor is one of them. If I were an environmentalist, (and I need to stress that I am NOT) I would push for more of these cars to be on the road than lobbying for higher gas prices (which serves to ruin the economy, and has almost no actual benefit on reducing emissions.)

But, I LOL at statements like this! This statement is only true if you ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the room: CO2.

Comment: Re:So what? they can be tapped to. (Score 1) 244

by mcrbids (#47458987) Attached to: German NSA Committee May Turn To Typewriters To Stop Leaks

Pffft. Please. They have glass windows on their walls, right? An infrared laser microphone reflecting off the window would be more than sufficient. The trick would be to connect several electric typewriters together with a randomizer so that there are many typewriters banging away in random in the same room.

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan