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Comment: Tax the same and allow cities to build networks. (Score 1) 148

by techdolphin (#47470939) Attached to: US House Passes Permanent Ban On Internet Access Taxes

Municipalities should be allowed to build their own networks. I guess the ISPs are afraid of their competition.

The Internet does not deserve any special tax privileges. If my phone service can be taxed, so could my Internet service. Goods brought on the Internet should also be subject to the same sales taxes as goods bought locally, because, otherwise, Internet stores have an advantage.

That being said, I hate sales taxes because they are so regressive. I also despise that income is taxed differently. Wages should not be taxed more or less than other income. For example, the carried interest classification is unfair and horrible. Personally, I would like to get rid of sales taxes and most other taxes and fund most things with progressive income taxes.

Comment: Re:Hmmm ... (Score 0) 311

by techdolphin (#47418921) Attached to: Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

"Can you sue the financial industry for losses in the market." - Unfortunately, apparently not. While I appreciate this person's point, it misses the mark.

In this case I think it is more can you sue television stations for having ads for companies that caused the financial turmoil. such as AIG, Goldman Sachs, etc. Perhaps we could sue the FCC for allowing those ads. Generally, the answer to that question is no, and I do not think it is fair to sue Tor because somebody uses their product for bad purposes. If somebody purposely crashes a car into people, you cannot sue the automaker.

As to the main point, for too long, rich and powerful companies have suffered no consequences for their bad behavior, and often others suffer the ill effects. So it may not be possible to sue the gun makers when somebody uses a gun to kill somebody, yet often these companies support laws that make it easier to buy guns. We could, however, apply Milton Friedman's concept of "Neighborhood Effects" and make companies pay for their bad actions. In the case of gun makers, we could charge them every time somebody is killed with a firearm, say $20,000. Every time somebody is injured, we charge $10,000, and for crimes committed with firearms, we charge $5,000. This gives the companies an incentive to keep guns away from bad people.

For the companies that caused the financial crisis, we could limit the CEOs' pay to $100,000/year until we get back to employment at pre-2008 levels.

Obviously, there are many ways this principle could be applied, and we do need to find a way to make companies and individuals pay for their bad actions.

Comment: What if GPS is wrong? (Score 1) 722

by techdolphin (#45245947) Attached to: Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You

What happens if the GPS is wrong and how do we make the car go to the right location? Just recently, I went to a store and the GPS routed me the wrong way. I also have had many case where the GPS misses the address by several hundred feet. I think before we go robot cars the routing needs to perfect, and that has not been achieved yet.

Comment: Brilliance Standard Seems Low (Score 1) 743

by techdolphin (#44708105) Attached to: Snowden Spoofed Top Officials' Identity To Mine NSA Secrets

Snowden used his sysadmin privileges to assume the user profiles of top NSA officials in order to gain access to the most sensitive files. His sysadmin privileges also enabled him to do something other NSA users can't — download classified files from NSAnet onto a thumb drive.

Perhaps my standard of brilliance is different, but having a sysadmin who knows how to take the identities of other users and does so does not seem particularly brilliant. Then, also using his privileges to download to a thumb drive does not seem particularly brilliant. I would expect any sysadmin to be able to figure this out.

If this is the standard for brilliance at the NSA, then it has a real problem.

Comment: Home for vacation - taxes (Score 1) 125

by techdolphin (#44591499) Attached to: Amazon Forbids Crossing State Lines With Rented Textbooks

So if my daughter, who goes to college in Boston, rents books there, and then brings the books home during a vacation, she if violating the contract. That is ridiculous.

As for taxes, the online sellers should definitely have to pay sales taxes, but there is a more general issue. I hate sales taxes because they are regressive. If I had my way, the only taxes I would have would be income taxes. The tax rate would be base on amount of income regardless of source. This means that wages, dividends, capital gains, etc. would all be taxed at the same rate. I would eliminate FICA taxes as separate taxes, and allocate a percentage of all taxes paid to pay for Social Security and Medicare. The same strict rules would apply to corporate taxes, and all income, including offshore earnings would be taxed. Companies like GE would have to pay their fair share of income taxes. (GE has avoided paying any federal income taxes for several years.)

Comment: Penalize insrance executives (Score 1) 637

by techdolphin (#44561825) Attached to: Medical Costs Bankrupt Patients; It's the Computer's Fault

If I screw up, such as being late with a payment, I get charged a fee. The insurance executives had almost four years to solve the problem, but have no incentive to fix it. They get more money with the status quo. Meanwhile, people go without medical care or go bankrupt from medical costs. It is time to penalize the executives, so limit their pay to a maximum of $400,000 until they solve the problem. Also, for any family that has to pay more than $12,700, each company involved should pay $500 fee for each incident, and three times the amount over $12,700. I bet they solve the problem really fast.

Actually, we (the United States) should just get rid of the insurance companies and implement a single-payer system. Everybody would be covered. Nobody would die for lack of health care. Patients would have more freedom and could choose any doctor they want. Copayments and deductibles could be eliminated, and there would be no medical bankruptcies. The country would save $592 billion in 2014 if we went to a single-payer system.

Comment: Necessary to ask that the U.S. does not torture (Score 1) 616

by techdolphin (#44403183) Attached to: US Promises Not To Kill Or Torture Snowden

As a U.S. citizen, it really bothers me that other countries think they need to ask that the U.S. won't torture prisoners.

Since the death penalty is legal in the U.S., I can understand why other countries check on that. (Personally, I would like to see the death penalty abolished in the U.S.)

Comment: Write your senator and representative (Score 1) 1103

I just read how many low-wage workers are being paid with prepaid cards that require fees. Often these workers do not have a choice in how they are paid.

As a constituent, I urge you to pass legislation that would ban fees on prepaid cards that are used to pay wages with the possible exception of overdraft fees.

Comment: Great feature - File versions (Score 2) 238

by techdolphin (#43968477) Attached to: HP Discontinue OpenVMS

One of my favorite features of VMS was file versions. Each file had a version number. As many of you probably remember, each file had a version number. So you could have:
NEEDBEER.TXT;1
NEEDBEER.TXT;2
NEEDBEER.TXT;3
That feature combine with some logical commands, such as PURGE/KEEP=2, would keep the two most recent versions of the file. I wish there was such a command in OS X instead of having to delete all older versions manually.

This is a sad day, and I miss and will miss VMS.

Comment: Same is true for traditional courses (Score 1) 215

by techdolphin (#42962969) Attached to: The Two Big Problems With Online College Courses

'The online revolution offers intriguing opportunities for broadening access to education. But, so far, the evidence shows that poorly designed courses can seriously shortchange the most vulnerable students.'

Any poorly designed course shortchanges students, whether it is online or traditional. People learn in different ways and have different circumstances. For some people, online courses are heaven sent. For others they may be hell sent. And in both cases it can depend on the teacher. The same can be said for traditional courses. When it comes course design, it is apropos to blame the messenger.

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