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Comment: Yes the US lost the Vietnam war - get over it (Score 1) 511

The United States _won_ the war in Vietnam.

In what universe? I've been to Vietnam. If you think the US won you have no idea what actually happened there. There is no point at which you can claim the US "won" that war by any reasonable definition of the term. The US rarely lost battles in Vietnam but ultimately accomplished none of their objectives and the moment the US pulled out, South Vietnam fell.

The North Vietnamese were powerless, and the US left.

Really? Then explain why the Vietnam war ended with the fall of Saigon. The US did the largest air evacuation in history. That is not what you do when you have won a war. "North Vietnamese were powerless"? Don't make me laugh.

Comment: None too soon (Score 1) 511

Is it good to cut off access to the modern equivalent of the public square just because we don't like what is being said?

Let's not pretend that anything this ISIL group does is in any way an attempt at a discussion. These are psychopaths who even other terrorist groups have cut ties with because they think they have gone too far. These are people who would subjugate and kill you in a brutal and public manner without a hint of remorse. This isn't a public square debate. This is a war. Never confuse the one with the other. This isn't two civilized groups agreeing to disagree. ISIS has engaged in genocidal activities. And you seriously think that is a situation where we should just sit back and respect their rights?

Is it a victory to beat them by cutting off their ability to speak?

Very possibly. While I don't pretend to understand everything about them, literally everything I've heard from this group leads me to believe these are people who promote extreme violence and use the islamic faith to justify their psychosis.

How is this different from cutting off Mega's cashflow via PayPal and the credit cards?

How many people has Mega executed?

Comment: Economics matters (Score 1) 366

by sjbe (#49131519) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt

People are combining two different acts when going solar, a) getting off of fossil fuels, and b) generating their own power that the big energy companies don't control. Energy companies are not necessarily against a), but b) is anathema to them, and therefore they are doing everything they can to block the adoption of solar.

Power companies buy power from other power companies all the time. It's positively routine for them. What they aren't used to doing is buying it from a large number of small generators. They are just used to buying it from other similarly sized power companies. It has nothing to do with control and everything to do with cost to service those vendors. It costs more to deal with multiple vendors than it does one. It also costs more to buy from a small generator that is no where near minimum efficient scale.

I would be happy if legislation was passed that outlawed individual ownership of personal solar installations, and mandated big utilities to install, operate, and maintain them instead. I would continue sending a check each month as I have been for my power like before, and my bill might even go up 10-30%.

I think if I want to buy a personal solar installation I should have every right to do so and both you and the power company can piss off if you don't like it. Furthermore there already are private sector companies doing basically what you are proposing. They install the solar array on your house and rent it to you and they sell the power to you and any excess to the power company. You get a modest discount and they make some money in the process. Wouldn't be surprising to see power companies get into the business as well at some point if the business model proves viable.

I honestly would be all for it, let the utilities continue to control me, we've got to address climate change NOW.

Ahh, I get it. You (mistakenly) think that the power companies would be on board with this despite the fact that it would not be economically sane for them to do it. I agree that climate change is a real and present danger but your argument is both politically a non-starter and economically impossible to justify.

Comment: Re:The big picture (Score 1) 211

by sjbe (#49110953) Attached to: 800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

ACA is doing the exact opposite, it is tying health insurance even more closely with employment.

Bullshit. You can buy health insurance now regardless of job status and without worrying about pre-existing conditions. If your income is low then you can get subsidies. You also do not lose your health insurance if you lose your job so long as you can find some way to pay the premiums. NONE of that was true prior to the ACA.

And, no one lost health insurance because they lost a job before ACA.

That could not be more incorrect. Prior to 2014 if you lost your job you were IMMEDIATELY bounced out of your company health plan in almost all cases. You could get COBRA for a short time afterwards in some cases but only for a short time.

Comment: You haven't really looked (Score 1) 211

by sjbe (#49110933) Attached to: 800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

Well, I am not aware of anyone whose insurance is only going up 3-5% per year and am not aware of anyone for whom their insurance didn't got up by at least 30% when Obamacare happened.

Then you haven't looked. I run a small company and we closed our company sponsored plan in 2014 because it was double the price of the plans available through the exchanges. Price increases in 2015 were low single digit percentages for most of our employees including myself. I'm intimately aware of the prices both before and after 2014 and on the average.

Personally I got coverage that was better than our company plan for roughly the same amount of money out of pocket plus I now have an HSA on top of that. Some folks in our company are paying much less per month. A few are paying more, mostly those who are very close to retirement age and smoke.

Furthermore because we dropped the company sponsored plan we save about $250 per month per employee so we were able to hire more people.

Comment: It's about ACCESS to insurance (Score 1) 211

by sjbe (#49110883) Attached to: 800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

Help me out here, because I really don't understand how it works....but how are you supposed to pay for private health insurance if you lose employment?

Might be tough but the important bit is that you have the OPTION to maintain your coverage which you didn't have before. The point you missed is that it used to be that if you lost your job you IMMEDIATELY lost your health insurance and you had ZERO alternative options except for maybe COBRA which is only a stop gap and an expensive one at that. Borrow the money, dip into savings or get another job but you can take your insurance with you. Even if you can't pay for it you can still sign up again at a later date when you can afford it regardless of your job situation. Got a pre-existing condition? Prior to 2014 you were screwed because no company would insure that condition for any amount of money. Prior to 2014, anyone who was self employed had very few options and they were almost universally shitty with huge deductibles.

Comment: Lying Anonymously (Score 1) 211

by sjbe (#49110807) Attached to: 800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

My family of 5 coverage was $160 per month, $35 copay, no deductible. Here comes Osamabinladencare, one adult person is now $1200 per month for almost the same coverage

Oh bullshit. Either you had a ludicrously good deal or you are lying and I'm pretty sure you are lying. $160/month to cover a family of 5? I run a company an have been looking at health plans for years and have NEVER seen a plan like that. There isn't an insurance company out there that could make a dime underwriting coverage for a family that size at that rate.

Comment: Denying ecomic reality (Score 1) 211

by sjbe (#49110783) Attached to: 800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

Right, that's why a lot of middle class families are now paying more for worse insurance than they were before Obamacare...

Prices have been going up by huge (often double digit) percentages every year for a long time and that started LONG before the ACA was passed. I run a company so I have seen it first hand for years. Those cost increases cannot be endlessly absorbed by employers. If costs go up faster than the population then sooner or later some people are going to end up with either more expensive coverage or worse coverage or both. To pretend that we can have both rising costs but not have people pay more is to be in denial of economic reality.

The whole point of insurance is to spread the risk and the cost. The health care system in the US had to change and any change you make is going to benefit some and cost others. To deny some people access to health insurance to keep rates lower for others is immoral and wrong. To tie one's ability to get health coverage to having a job is even more immoral and wrong. Your employment should have nothing to do with your access to health insurance.

Nice revisionist history there.

I didn't state anything that isn't a fact. Prior to 2014 it was literally impossible for millions of people to get insurance for reasonable rates unless they had access to a group plan through an employer. If you had a pre-existing condition you were screwed.

Speaking for myself and my staff, we dropped our health plan at our company and sent everyone to the exchanges. Everyone in our company found coverage that was roughly comparable to what they had before for similar or less money or in a few cases they picked high deductible plans. In rough numbers our health plan before 2014 cost about $600/person/month and the company picked up half of that amount. Post 2014, most people are paying between $150-250/month out of pocket and the company doesn't pay a dime. This has allowed us to hire extra staff and buy some equipment we couldn't previously justify. Speaking for myself I went from a HMO to a PPO with an HSA which is better coverage for the same money. Best of all, if I were to change jobs or the company were to fold, every one of those people would still have health coverage.

Comment: What makes you such an expert? (Score 1) 532

by sjbe (#49096449) Attached to: Stephen Hawking: Biggest Human Failing Is Aggression

Stephen Hawking needs to stick to cosmology...he doesn't know *shit* about computing and human behavior.

And what are your credentials that make you such an expert on the topic of human behavior? If you're so smart about the topic what are you doing posting here?

just like all traits of human behavior, evolutionary biologists (esp. psych) drastically oversimplify the most complex behavior we observe in the known universe

Complex behavior can arise from very simple rules. That's something I'm quite sure Hawking understands far better than you or me.

the **real problem** is listening to people like Hawking

Really? Someone arguing for peace? How horrible that we should listen to someone saying we should be less aggressive. [/sarcasm]

Comment: Regulatory discretion (Score 3, Insightful) 211

by sjbe (#49096173) Attached to: 800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

The executive branch needs to learn they implement the law congress passes not the one they wish congress passes.

If Congress isn't specific in their statutes then it is to the discretion of the administration how they handle the regulations. Very few laws are passed with enough specificity that the executive branch doesn't have considerable discretion in the interpretation of the statutes.

If Obama and lefties suddenly are not allowed to continue to make up the rules as they go along maybe the other half of America will realize this law for the ill considered, abusive over reach of authority and corporate give away that it is.

You're accusing the left of corporate giveaways? Methinks you have the left and right mixed up. Abusive overreach of authority? I direct your attention to the actions of the previous administration, particularly post 9/11.

Comment: The big picture (Score 2, Insightful) 211

by sjbe (#49096137) Attached to: 800,000 Using Were Sent Incorrect Tax Data

Marketplace insurance is just a private plan with an extra layer of government collusion.

It's a private plan with regulations to keep the price reasonable because it wouldn't be otherwise. Now your ability to get health insurance is not tied to your continued employment. No one should lose health insurance just because they lost a job. Criticize the details all you want but that part of the ACA is unequivocally a Good Thing.

Crony-capitalism at its finest.

Since these insurance companies wouldn't insure millions of people at a reasonable price until the government forced the issue it eludes me how this is "crony capitalism". It's not as if the insurance companies were lobbying in favor of insuring poor people.

Comment: Re:Yes where your degree is from matters (Score 1) 131

by sjbe (#49088351) Attached to: Carnegie-Mellon Sends Hundreds of Acceptance Letters By Mistake

I do some Google work. I've got just a high-school diploma and a teensy bit of college under my belt.

That is not evidence that they don't consider your educational background in the hiring decision. It might not be a requirement but it sure as hell doesn't hurt to have a degree from a good school.

Comment: Re:There is no such thing as a "computer error" (Score 1) 131

by sjbe (#49088337) Attached to: Carnegie-Mellon Sends Hundreds of Acceptance Letters By Mistake

If there's no such thing as "computer error", then why do we have all this error-correcting stuff in our memory etc.?

Because the computer was designed in such a way as to require it. While there are a few problems due to noise in communications channels and unstable storage, these are known physics problems with known solutions. Because we know about the problems any errors are for all practical purposes human mistakes. If you know a problem can occur and don't bother to design around it then that is a human error.

Comment: Where? (Score 1) 153

by sjbe (#49087913) Attached to: Samsung Smart TVs Don't Encrypt the Voice Data They Collect

You can already buy a regular, not-smart TV everywhere. It's called a computer monitor.

Really? I can buy a 60" computer monitor that can change channels, has 4 inputs and sound and comes with a remote for less than $700? Please tell me where I can find this fantastic buy...

Oh that's right, not available for reasonable prices anywhere...

Real Users never know what they want, but they always know when your program doesn't deliver it.