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Comment: Re:April Fools stories are gay (Score 2) 1482

by tburkhol (#46634707) Attached to: OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

You just have to understand that, if the Bible is right, that you will not be able to get into Heaven leading a lifestyle of sin. That includes not only homosexuality, but adultery, drunkenness, lying, anger, etc.

That's old testament bible. If you're a follower of Jesus, you should know that the only entrance criterion to heaven is accept Jesus as the son of God. "There is NO sin so bad that the blood of Jesus cannot cover it -- all you have to do is trust Him." Even homosexuality.

Comment: Re:I don't care about sharing information (Score 2) 138

Aside from that, if I prevent you from using it, I would post it.

This sounds like an admission that it is impossible to control how another person or organization uses information once they have it, but you apparently consider that control a necessary requirement for the open sharing of information proposed by Mr. Roger's law. The inability to actually control the use of information once shared or collected is exactly why so many people oppose such sharing.

When you say "I don't care about sharing information; it should flow freely" you sound like you are in favor of sharing and collecting information among institutions, despite the fact that it is impossible to impose any controls more powerful than administrative and legal policy. It makes you look like a troll.

Comment: Re:Makers and takers (Score 1) 676

by tburkhol (#46459387) Attached to: 70% of U.S. Government Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals

If you count all military who currently serve as well as retirees who get a check we make up well under 1% of the population. The issue here is that we have too many freeloaders.

The OP used veteran pensions as an example of a direct payment to individuals that no one would consider "takers" as a group. He did this to counter the conservative talking point of "makers and takers," which implies that anyone taking money from the government is a taker getting a handout. It's a nice talking point. There are currently about 2 million military retirees receiving about $52 billion. There are 63 million social security beneficiaries receiving $816 billion and 49 million medicare beneficiaries receiving $600 billion. Total federal spending is about $3500 billion, so those three groups account for 41% of federal spending (and I don't think many people would argue that any of them are "takers") There are 2 million people who work for the government and collect $180 B in salary. The point is that, just because "the government" sends someone a check, doesn't mean that person is a lazy, incompetent drain on society.

Comment: Re:First blacks, (Score 5, Insightful) 917

by tburkhol (#46342017) Attached to: Apple Urges Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Legislation

Why don't they just buy a wedding cake from someone who wants to sell them one?

Because if you allow anyone to discriminate based on race or sexual preference, then you allow everyone to discriminate based on race or sexual preference. It may be a single bakery refusing to sell a cake to a single icky gay couple that started the fuss, but the the consequence of the law may make it difficult or impossible for any gay person to buy any product from any store. Or to force a two-tiered system of businesses where gays can only do business with a subset of "gay friendly" businesses (which, one imagines, would be boycotted by upstanding Christians).

If you're in the business of making cakes, then make the damn cake. If you're in the business of being a religious busybody, then don't sell cakes.

Comment: Re:tl;dr (Score 1) 712

by tburkhol (#46300567) Attached to: Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?

I pay no banking fees. The only fee I do pay to them is a yearly 25$ for my credit card and thats only because I have one that earns points with cash back, so I make back that 25$ in 2-4 weeks and the rest of the year get ~50$ back a month.

Just because you're not writing the bank a check doesn't mean you're not paying fees. The bank charges 2-4% on every credit card purchase you make. You can imagine that "the store pays it," but the store is paying it with money they got from you.

Comment: Re:Meh (Score 2) 712

by tburkhol (#46300495) Attached to: Are Bankers Paid Too Much? Are Technology CEOs?

What incentive is there to work to succeed if the govt is to take it all from you?

If the only reason you work is for your salary, then you are a wage slave and will never join the C-level. Those people you work for, they put in their hours because they want to win, and most of them aren't keeping score in dollars. Or not just in dollars. They're keeping score in how many people use "their" brand of computer or how many hotels they control. BoDs use compensation to try to make those rare people adopt the board's brand, but the compensation is not why CEOs are CEOs.

Comment: Re:Hours worked is the key (Score 1) 717

by tburkhol (#46259609) Attached to: Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

the Bureau of Labor reports that the percentage of people that are poor in the US AND working at least 1000 hours per year is just 4%.

From your link, the US population is quite large, and their 4.2% is 10,382,000 people (adults in the labor force for half the year) below the poverty line in 2011. This includes 4,375,000 people working full-time for the full year and 3,190,000 people working part-time for the full year. Even in the most generous interpretation, that's still 4 million hard-working Americans showing up for work every day, putting in a full day, and still going home to poverty.

Comment: Re:It's a status thing (Score 1) 717

by tburkhol (#46259245) Attached to: Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

In colloquial german it is mostly called "Hartz 4", because a Mr. Hartz was the industrialist/lobbyist who came up with the whole concept and convinced the government of it and it was the 4th part of a multi-part reform.

In the UK, it was known as the Speenhamland system, and it contributed to significant collapse in wages. Arguably, it resulted in the shifting of costs of labor from the employers to the state. ie: people had to have a job to qualify for Spennhamland payments, so they would take any job at any wage, and the state would be responsible for providing the living wage.

Why do politicians keep reviving these systems that have long ago proven to be completely disastrous? Are they not required to read history?

Comment: Re:American poor (Score 2, Interesting) 717

by tburkhol (#46259195) Attached to: Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

Car/Gas/Insurance (required by most jobs): $200/mo

Monthly bus pass $100

A (cheap) 2 bedroom apt: $900/mo

Get a roommate

Utilities (no longer included, thanks 2008 housing collapse :( ) : $200/mo

Step back to basic cable (or even broadcast TV) and drop the unlimited data phone plan. Never seen an apartment yet that split out HVAC by unit, and it's hard to spend that much heating/cooling a 2-BR, unless you leave the doors open all winter.

Health Care (with a kid): $400/mo

You're raising 2 kids on $27k: you qualify for Medicaid

Food / Toiletries (3 ppl): $600/mo (eating very poorly)

Number 1: if the best work you can get is minimum wage, maybe you should put off that second kid or ask your SO to help out with expenses. Number 2: $20/day will feed dad+2 kids pretty well, as long as he cooks. Seriously: that's 2 pounds of chicken + 2 pounds of rice + 4 pounds of carrots and a gallon of milk, with enough left over for salt, pepper and ketchup

If you're working 2 minimum wage jobs, you don't get the American Dream. You adjust your lifestyle. Those sacrifices will make your eventual success all the more sweet and motivate your kid(s) to rise above.

Any emergency (car [wreck], and the other guy drove off) and you're basically boned. I think I heard some economist call it a "Fragile Existence"

Yes, if you're living on the edge, then small calamities become disasters. One hopes those are the circumstances where your community (church, neighborhood, or government) pulls together and helps you through.

Comment: Re:Now even bitcoin miners have better planning (Score 5, Informative) 250

by tburkhol (#46175513) Attached to: The Bitcoin Death Star: KnC Plans 10 Megawatt Data Center In Sweden

From Dice's quarterly report:

Corporate & Other segment revenues decreased 9% year-over-year to $4.3 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2013 from the comparable 2012 period, due primarily to the financial results at Slashdot Media.

Message: slashdot is losing money, and something needs to change very fast. Whatever /.'s current user base is, it is not a profitable set of consumers, and Dice appears not to be worried if their non-profitable customers go away.

Comment: Re:So what if Congress doesn't reauthorize it? (Score 1) 206

by tburkhol (#46172561) Attached to: Lawmakers Threaten Legal Basis of NSA Surveillance

Obama has a pen and a phone, and he's not afraid to use them.

The Republicans have been looking for an excuse to impeach President Obama that would pass the laugh test. If Obama openly defied a shutdown of surveillance programs, that would give them not only a good reason, but one that might actually have some bipartisan support.

Except Obama hasn't been threatening to use executive order to counter Congress on surveillance. (actually, given that the programs are legal under the PATRIOT act, wouldn't a countermanding executive order cease surveillance?) Anyway, the "threat" of executive order has been to move policy upon which Congress has failed to act these past five years: immigration, education or jobs training, and background checks probably most notable. The power of executive orders is really very limited - he can't order anything that violates law; he can at most change the extent to which those laws are enforced. You know, like how he's already told INS not to bother deporting non-criminal, undocumented immigrants if they were brought into the country as minors.

Comment: Re:James Sensenbrenner Jr. (Score 1) 206

by tburkhol (#46172469) Attached to: Lawmakers Threaten Legal Basis of NSA Surveillance

What has YOUR guy been doing all this time? Oh yeah, reauthorizing it year after year.

Never have I voted for Obama.

He's not talking about Obama. He's talking about your Representative and Senators. You know, the people who actually write, sponsor, and submit bills for presidential signature. House votes have been 275/174, 280/138, and 250/153, Senate votes have been 89/10, 89/10 and 72/23. Those are pretty sizeable bipartisan majorities, especially in the Senate.

So, how about your senators? How many times have you written then about your privacy concerns?

Comment: Re:Deep down.. (Score 1) 610

by tburkhol (#45141313) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Isn't There More Public Outrage About NSA Revelations?

Subsequent terror attacks against the US were not thwarted by high technology, even with all of the high technology and invasiveness that has followed. Those that were detected in advance were done so because someone in the public reported it, those that were tried and failed did so because of problems of the terrorists' makings, and those that succeeded (like Boston) happened in part because high technology failed to do its job and find those who would do us ill.

The trouble is that the TLAs get a lot of public reports and a lot of diplomatic tips. After every 'successful' event, from Fort Hood to Eric Snowden, it turns out there were warnings and signs that got overlooked or ignored. Now, it's possible that these warnings only exist because the individuals were actually dangerous. It's also possible that they're overlooked because they're so ubiquitous as to be useless. If you think back through your own 'file,' are you going to find anti-establishment outbursts in high school? Heated reactions to an idiotic co-worker? Times you've said congress "should just die in a fire?"

If you've got 10,000,000 tips, and 4 of them actually identify someone on the verge of violence, then those tips are pretty useless. If you're a human, you ignore them. If you ignore them, then after-the-fact, some reporter can plant a bright red Incompetent flag on your face. The CYA strategy is to look for ways to cross-reference those 10,000,000 data to find which ones identify the same person and try to whittle down to a manageable number. It's still going to be useless, but at least you'll be able to blame the technology: the algorithm didn't get enough data.

The real problem is that people have built a narrative of War around these terrorist organizations, aggrandizing them into cohesive structures with homogeneous goals and internal coordination that doesn't exist. We should treat the Boston Marathon attack the same way we treated Columbine: a criminal outburst by individuals with perceived persecution trying to make a big statement of outrage. The attackers may have been encouraged by 3rd parties, but they are fundamentally individual decisions and acts.

Comment: Re:POLICE STATE AMERICA (Score 1) 396

by tburkhol (#45131321) Attached to: DOJ: Defendant Has No Standing To Oppose Use of Phone Records

I'm pretty sure that if you'd asked Wells Fargo to take a bag of cash to the New York offices of The Reasonably Sincere Gentlemen in favor of a British Monarch, the well known 19th Century anti-American terrorist organization that, uh, President Monroe had banned, testimony from the clerk who took the order would be acceptable in court, as would the paper records they keep.

All that's changed is that the words "on a computer" have come into being. The Clerk is no longer human, it's a collection of computers managed by a collection of humans, but it's still a third party that's being a witness to the crime.

"Interrogating" a computer introduces a qualitative change in the nature of the investigation. In your example, the police would have to ask the teller if you specifically had made such transaction. They could not, as a practical matter, bring in the telephone book and ask the teller whether each of the named individuals had made a similar transaction. That is, the constraints of time and money restricted police to investigating people who had done something to rouse their attention, and each succeeding bit of data would justify ever greater intrusion into your personal effects.

"On a computer," the marginal effort required to search everyone, without prior suspicion or cause, is nearly zero. The whole framework where your personal life is private, unless you behave badly and come under suspicion, goes away. They are watching you, right now, in many of the same ways that used to be reserved for mob muscle and drug dealers. Who am I talking to? Who are they talking to? Do any of them read radical newspapers or visit questionable bookstores? If someone came around and asked my neighbors these questions every night, I'd call it stalking or harassment, but the government builds an infallible database of exactly that data, and somehow it's ok?

Comment: Re:that ship has sailed (Score 1) 264

by tburkhol (#45130553) Attached to: RMS: How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?

Tor (and Tor hidden services) can no longer be considered completely secure. It's much better than nothing, but if you become a target, the NSA and other government agencies can and have used methods to track people down who use Tor.

I'm cool with that. If the government has reason to suspect me, and they can demonstrate to an independent 3rd party that I'm a legitimate target, then it's fair game to investigate me, tap my phone, tap my internet, and root through my trash. What bothers me is that they are currently monitoring who I talk to, what sources (if not what content) I read, and who I associate with online, completely devoid of any 3rd party validation.

Judicial oversight has migrated from "you need a warrant to collect this personal information" to "you need a warrant before a human looks at this personal information." Creating the database is surveillance, and my 'effects' are not secure if the government has a copy of them in Bluffdale. We need to revise the definition of business records. The NRA has been extremely successful in preventing one particular kind of business record from being compiled into a national database, and it seems like similar definitions and restrictions ought to be applied to 1st amendment activities as to 2nd amendment activities.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long