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Comment: Re:Hillary is a divisive figure *among Democrats* (Score 2) 330

Well, it's an open question of who's living in a fantasy world. I'm actually old enough to remember these people. Show me a Republican today who'd be as aggressive as Nixon on regulation. Who would sign the Clean Water Act, or the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or appoint someone like Elliot Richardson the head of HEW. Nixon also took the single most intrusive act of economic intervention ever by an American president (including FDR): the wage-price freeze. It's fair to say that there's nobody in national politics anywhere on the spectrum that would undertake a step like that. For one thing it was hopeless; there is no way to stop incipient runaway inflation without restricting the money supply and reducing government deficit spending so as to induce a temporary contraction of the economy.

Comment: Re:Hillary is a divisive figure *among Democrats* (Score 1) 330

A generation ago, Hillary was on the left fringe of the Democratic Party. She has not moved right, the Party has moved left.

A generation ago, Paul Wolfowitz was on the left fringe of the Democratic party. People change.

Nelson Rockefeller was to the left of Hillary. So was Richard Nixon.

Comment: Hillary is a divisive figure *among Democrats* (Score 5, Interesting) 330

That may surprise people here. The Republicans have done a good job painting her as the quintessential ultra-liberal Democrat, but really she is no such thing. She is, in fact, from the right wing of the party and could have been an establishment Republican a generation ago. She is widely reviled by the left over her vote on the Iraq War Authorization of Military Force (although to be fair, Joe Biden voted for it too and he's seen as generally reliable on liberal issues, as long as he doesn't open his mouth).

On the other hand she's the first really plausible female presidential candidate for a major party, and I think a lot of people who want to see that milestone project a great deal of their hopes on her. But what makes her plausible in the first place is her acceptability to the establishment.

And what makes her acceptable to the establishment is her competence and personal accomplishments; being married to Bill helps. But the Ivy League education, experience in high profile NGOs and partnership in a major law firm mean she's seen as serious by "serious people". But in this case that should be held against her here. She's not like old Uncle Joe (Biden), whose heart is in the right place but who the hell can tell where his mind might go a-wandering; Hillary is someone you expect to have her head in the game. She knew damn well that conducting official business on non-government servers is exactly what people do when they're breaking the law.

I'm neither a Hillary partisan nor a Hillary hater. On the political spectrum I tend to fall a little to the right of the most vocal Democratic base and to the left of the establishment "DLC" wing that dominates the party at the national level. When the Secretary of State does something this fishy, that's a big deal. I think there should be something like a special prosecutor appointed, even though when the words "Clinton" and "special prosecutor" are uttered in the sentence the word "circus" can't be far behind. But then if the special prosecutor finds no indictable offense I'd be happy with that result.

Comment: Re:Crime (Score 1, Interesting) 330

Not really. The really one remaining significant difference between the parties is that public shaming is still a career-ender in the Democratic party. There's no post-scandal career phase as an evangelical preacher, Fox news commentator, or both waiting for guys like Anthony Wiener or William J. Jefferson (the freezer cash guy).

Comment: Re:FCC? (Score 1) 187

by hey! (#49168109) Attached to: Feds Admit Stingray Can Disrupt Bystanders' Communications

The device was approved by the FCC. However the approval process is not in this case transparent. We don't know whether the FCC took into account whether the device's capacity to create interference, or whether they may have played favorites.

One thing we can be certain about is that the FCC didn't worry about Constitutional or laws that protect citizen privacy, and certainly not the use of the devices without a warrant. That's not their bailiwick.

So to summarize the FCC approved this device but we don't know if they did their job. We can be certain they didn't do *more* than their job.

Comment: Re:Brain drain (Score 4, Interesting) 163

by hey! (#49168025) Attached to: Marissa Mayer On Turning Around Yahoo

Well... maybe there's some kind of model in which you would actually look forward to seeing your colleagues in person.

Personally, I've done in both ways. When my partner and I sold our business to a company that was on the other side of the country, I no longer had a two hour a day commute, which was awesome. I also didn't have a team I saw in person every day, which I very quickly grew to miss. And I'm not the most sociable person in the world. I'm more than glad to spend a few days or even weeks working by myself. But as weeks stretched into months, with only emails, teleconferencing, and the occasional cross-country flight, I grew to hate telecommuting. It's great to be able to do it even a couple of days a week, but if I had the choice of woking in bathrobe in the spare bedroom ALL the time or spending two hours in the car EVERY day, I'd go with the commute.

If I were starting another company, I think one of my priorities would be to make being there fun, stimulating, and personally rewarding. I'd make it possible to telecommute, but if people began to see it as their primary mode of working I'd consider that a red flag.

Comment: Re:Oh just stop already (Score 5, Insightful) 193

by hey! (#49164973) Attached to: That U2 Apple Stunt Wasn't the Disaster You Might Think It Was

Music, like sex, is a young person's affair. Just drop it after 40, nobody wants to hear it, and no one wants to think about it.

Hey kids! Old guy here dropping in just to let you know that contrary to what AC claims, you'll still like sex and music even when you're over fifty. You just won't be staying up late to enjoy them.

Since I'm here I might as well give you a heads up on some of the things that will change. On the sex front, expect your standards for what is "hot enough to do" to fall straight through the floor. I know this sounds awful to you now, but trust me on this, you've got hold of the wrong end of that stick.

On the music front, at a certain age most people stop being interested in listening anything new. However that age isn't 40; it's more like 22. And notice I said "most". If you make it to, say 26 years old and are still listening to new music, you'll still be doing that at 50.

And same goes for being a miserable person. I know the stereotype is that older people are miserable, but trust me, most miserable older people were miserable young people. They just let it out more, because as you get older you have fewer inhibitions (see the point about sex above).

Anyhow, thought I'd let you know that getting older isn't bad at all, and it sure as hell beats the alternative.

Comment: It's a little unseemly. (Score 1) 227

by hey! (#49164501) Attached to: Spock and the Legacy of Star Trek

The sad loss of a beloved actor shouldn't be a springboard for fanboy hate of J.J. Abrams.

For what it's worth, I think the writers and the actors in the Abrams' movies really get Star Trek. Maybe not so much the director, whose lack of affection for the franchise shows. But even though the aesthetics may not be very Trek, the fundamental Trek ethos that Leonard Nimoy was so essential to establishing was there in the scripts and performances. And that ethos is still something worth studying.

We have managed to turn "diversity" into an hollow slogan; a catchphrase that represents a kind of bean counting of superficial categories. I remember one startup environmental organization I worked for where we had just hired a young man from Mexico City. The founder, an unquestionably brilliant man, was literally rubbing his hands together in glee as he toted up his diversity: one latino male, one asian male (me), one black (African) female, four caucasian females and three caucasian males. And I was thinking, "Yeah, but except for me everyone comes from the same graduate program in environmental studies you founded." What's more except for him and me they all came from the same comfortable middle to upper-middle class background -- people who never had to worry about money. Groupthink was a huge problem, but nobody else saw that until the day they suddenly realized they weren't going to be able to make payroll. Maybe a business major or two on the payroll would have been a good idea...

Star Trek shows a cast of characters who may all have gone to the same school, but think radically different from each other. Nonetheless they manage to work together and are better, more capable people because of that. That's what diversity is really about: working with people who have different viewpoints and attitudes.. Kirk and Spock are the the toughest nuts to crack, because they both have a tendency toward arrogant, even smug confidence in their own judgment. Trust me, you wouldn't want to work for either of these two characters if they didn't have each other.

Aristotle posited three levels of friendship, that of convenience, of pleasure, and of virtue. In the virtuous friendship, your friend is "a second self" -- that is you pursue his welfare as an intrinsic rather than an instrumental good, just as you pursue your own welfare. He valued virtuous friendship even above justice, because it holds society together in ways that even justice cannot. But he missed another point which the Kirk/Spock friendship illustrates: a friend is a doorway into a better appreciation of objective reality. You cannot dismiss the viewpoint of "second self" as easily as you would someone else's opinions.

So again from what it's worth the writers of the Abrams reboot movies really understand this virtuous friendship dynamic, and especially do a nice job with the humorous touches. The overall stories were a bit mediocre, but the character based stuff was top-notch and true to the spirit of TOS.

To bring this back to Leonard Nimoy, others deserve some credit in creating Spock -- the writers, directors and of course Gene Roddenberry. But Nimoy's performance is what brought Spock to life. It's one of those instances of theatrical magic where an actor becomes the character, and banishes any awareness that you're watching someone playing a role. That's a big part of what makes Spock so relatable.

Comment: Re:Bad move (Score 4, Insightful) 367

by hey! (#49161319) Attached to: Google Wants To Rank Websites Based On Facts Not Links

It is seldom the veracity of facts that the debate is over; it is their significance. But that happens to be where this falls idea falls short, because misinterpretation of facts is where the most potent misinformation comes from.

Case in point, "vaccine injury" -- which is a real thing, albeit very rare. Anti-vaccine activists point to the growing volume of awards made by the US "Vaccine Court" (more accurately called "The Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims") as proof that vaccine injuries are on the rise.

It is a verifiable fact that the volume of awards has grown since the early years of the program. That is absolutely and unquestionably true. However, that this is proof vaccine injuries is gross misinterpretation, because the "Vaccine Court" program is no fault. You don't actually have to show the defendant *caused* an "injury", you only have to (a) show the child got sick after being vaccinated and (b) find a doctor to sign off on a medical theory by which the child's illness *might* have been caused by the vaccination.

Since you don't have to actually prove injury in "Vaccine Court", the rise in cases and awards doesn't know vaccine injuries are on the rise. All that is necessary is that more people think that their child's illness was caused by vaccinations, and the low burden of proof will automatically ensure more awards.

And so there you have it. A perfectly factual claim can be cited in a way that leads people to preposterous conclusions.

The universe does not have laws -- it has habits, and habits can be broken.

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