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Comment: This comes shortly after (Score 1) 142

by shutdown -p now (#46826005) Attached to: VK CEO Fired, Says Company Under Kremlin Control

The Russian state demanded that VK release info on (Ukrainian) users who used VK to organize Euromaidan protests. Durov told them to go fuck themselves.

Now not only he's fired, but he left Russia, and he went on record saying that he has no intent of returning. Can't blame him. I had to go there on a two-week business trip, and I always had that nagging thought of shit hitting the fan while I'm on the wrong side of the border (since I'm still a Russian citizen, it would probably result in me ending up as a conscript somewhere in a trench in Ukraine).

Comment: Re:Not really needed anymore. (Score 1) 350

The average wait for a white person to vote in Michigan is 7 minutes. The average wait for a black person to vote in Michigan is 46 minutes.

Is there a causative link here, though, or is it just correlation?

Say, what is the average wait time for a poor white person to vote in Michigan?

Comment: Re:Anybody know the plate# for each scotus? (Score 1) 403

by shutdown -p now (#46825619) Attached to: Supreme Court OKs Stop and Search Based On Anonymous 911 Tips

I am a self-identified liberal (albeit with a libertarian bent).

Scalia's dissent on this particular issue is entirely correct.

His opinions on many other issues (such as sodomy laws or abortion) are still entirely wrong. And, as a person, he is still a complete and utter asshole, though.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1613

by shutdown -p now (#46793873) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

in Australia the gun ban has 90% popular support

And in Afghanistan, the idea that a person renouncing Islam should be put to death, or that it is okay to marry girls at age 9, also enjoys 90% popular support. So what?

"There had been 11 gun massacres in the decade preceding 1996, but there have been no mass shootings since. "

Yet murder rate did not change significantly - it kept going down at the same rate as before the last ban.

(which is because those massacres are a statistically insignificant event, basically)

documented that after the laws were changed, the risk of an Australian being killed by a gun fell by more than 50 percent.

Yet again, one of those bullshit "by a gun" statistics. Who cares about a subset of murders where guns specifically are used? What matters is the overall murder rate regardless of tools. That did not show any correlation to gun bans.

Australia’s gun homicide rate, 0.13 per 100,000 people, according to, is a tiny fraction of that of the United States (3.6 per 100,000 people).

Another pointless "gun ..." stat.

BTW, it's true that Australia (and most other First World countries) has an overall lower homicide rate, and generally violent crime rate. But that has to do with the different approach to healthcare and other forms of welfare in US, which results in significantly higher income inequality, stratification, high poverty rates and low social mobility - which translates to more crime. Guns don't really play any role in this, as is evident when looking at crime rates within US - they correlate strongly with poverty, and not at all with lax/strict gun laws.

It should be noted that our gun homicide rates were already in decline, but the gun laws accelerated that slide."

Another pointless "gun ..." stat. As noted before, the overall homicide rate was going down before the bans, and kept going down after them at the same rate - i.e. the decline was caused by other factors. It should be noted that this is a trend that is observed in all Western countries, including US, and in the latter said decline does not correlate with gun law changes (like AWB).

In a 2010 paper, economists Andrew Leigh and Christine Neill found that the law change had led to a 65 percent decline in the rate of firearm suicides. Firearm homicides fell by 59 percent.

Another pointless "gun ..." stat. The overall suicide rate did not change, people just used different methods (hangings in particular spiked as firearm suicides dropped).

The US is an exceptionally dangerous place to live - to be at more risk, you have to go to countries in complete anarchy or at war.

This is an utterly stupid statement. You are much more likely to be shot in my home country - Russia - that despite it not being even remotely "in complete anarchy or war" - and despite the much more stringent gun laws, which are only marginally more liberal than Australian ones. Heck, US has lower homicide rates than a good half of Europe.

Then, of course, the rate varies wildly within US from state to state, so much so that the average is meaningless. In my state of residence, it's the same as in Finland and Norway, and it's not some kind of rural depopulated place.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1613

by shutdown -p now (#46787845) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

Yet the overall murder rate trend did not change appreciably - despite the fact that it should have included those massacres. In fact, it briefly went up after the ban, despite there being a massacre immediately before the ban...

Which, I suppose, just goes to show just how small and insignificant those massacres are in the big picture, if you take the media attention they receive out of the equation and look at raw numbers. Yet people keep referring to them as some major factor that should be a significant driver of public policy. It's about as ridiculous as the security theater that followed 9/11.

Comment: Re:Democracy? (Score 1) 1613

by shutdown -p now (#46787247) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

We elect people. They represent us. If we don't like the way they are representing us, we elect someone else. That is how government works in a democracy. So when you suggest that we need to be armed in order to protect ourselves against our government, what you are doing is suggesting possible violence against the people that WE elected.

Well, except that due to the way the US electoral system works, it's possible to get elected without having a majority. Heck, it's possible for 1/4 of the country population to amend the Constitution over the heads of the other 3/4 if they gang up!

So much for democracy.

And then, of course, a state can be a democracy today, and a dictatorship tomorrow. Germans found that out the hard way back in 1933.

Comment: Re:Militia, then vs now (Score 1) 1613

by shutdown -p now (#46787163) Attached to: Retired SCOTUS Justice Wants To 'Fix' the Second Amendment

That makes no sense. Are you saying that freedom of speech is not a fundamental right? Perhaps you don't think it is, but the people who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights certainly considered it a natural right - and yet they codified it.

The reason why is very simple. Bill of Rights, for the most part, is the codification of those natural rights that were actually threatened or infringed immediately before or during the American Revolution. Hence why they were deemed to be the most vulnerable, and therefore most deserving of the extra degree of protection that codifying them would yield. That's why BoR has some really weird stuff, like a separate amendment about "quartering soldiers" - because that's precisely what the British did.

There has been a little distress selling on the stock exchange. -- Thomas W. Lamont, October 29, 1929 (Black Tuesday)