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Comment Re:Other posts? (Score 1) 432

Well, it's a bit harsh to say they brought this on themselves by having the infestation, because it's basically impossible to prevent an occasional infestation. Bedbugs don't spontaneously generate in filth, like people used to think rats did. They are brought in by guests, and even a clean, vigilant hotel is going to have them from time to time.

It seems to me like the hotel did the right things, up to the point where they went ape-shit over the trip advisor review. Yeah, the review was probably not fair, and it's going to hurt business in the short term, but them's the breaks. Into every business a little misfortune must fall. You suck it up and move on, you don't turn it into an ongoing PR disaster.

Bedbugs are disgusting, but they're harmless. They carry no diseases. Yeah, it's no fun finding them and they're a pain to get rid of, but they're not the Mark of Cain on a particular hotel. They're just something unfortunate that happens. Finding them is not proof that a hotel is dirty or lax, but people *will* over-react to bugs of all kinds.

Comment Re:Don't demand perfection in defiance of reality (Score 1) 274

I understand that you can't expect perfection from human beings. However, that doesn't mean you can't expect *anything*. TEPCO management displayed a pattern of proceeding on best-case assumptions, which isn't something you can chalk up to generic human fallibility. It is a *choice*, for which one can hold someone responsible, especially someone who is a professional.

Comment Re:Don't demand perfection in defiance of reality (Score 2) 274

Good point about TEPCO's financing, but you're missing my main point, which isn't just that we keep hearing bad news about Fukushima, but that we keep hearing news about things that weren't supposed to be happening that actually were. This implies a certain disconnect with reality.

Comment Re:Don't demand perfection in defiance of reality (Score 2) 274

Well, if you put it that way, we don't want to demand perfection in defiance of reality. But let's start by figuring out what "reality" is.

Remember, we're talking about a situation that TEPCO claims doesn't exist -- leaking of contaminated waters. But one of the constant features of this story has been unpleasant surprises. That's bound to happen in most disasters, after all a disaster pretty much by definition is a situation you hadn't planned adequately for. But the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe stands in a class by itself for unpleasant surprises; from day one we have heard one optimistic assessment after another brought low by horrible news. It smacks of management by wishful thinking, starting with the failure of TEPCO to adjust its preparations in response to a revised tsunami risk. During the crisis TEPCO's management was still thinking in terms of salvaging the plant. Fortunately for them they were defined by their own chief engineer onsite, Masao Yoshida, who on his own authority took drastic and irreversible action to cool the reactors.

So if it turns out this problem *does* exist, as researchers from Woods Hole seem to think it does, that shows us that TEPCO's management has still failed to grow enough spine to face unpleasant news. I'm open in this scenario to the possibility that discharging the contaminated water might be the best course of action, but not on TEPCO management's word, because if the problem exists that means their word is no good.

If I were PM, on confirmation this problem exists I'd take the solution out of TEPCO's hands. I'd charter a non-profit authority to direct the securing and cleanup of the plant, funded with TEPCO money.

Comment Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (Score 1) 784

Because he did something which many people believe was a great service to the nation -- and other see as a betrayal. The consequences of that act are of interest to both sides.

I happen to think we as a people are better off for Manning's actions, but I also see a certain recklessness in them. It raises interesting questions about how such a person could have got access to so much sensitive information. Clearly Manning was a deeply alienated young person -- didn't that show up in his (then ... "her" now) background check?

I wonder whether the military ought not be looking to fill these kinds of positions with older workers, people who've lived through the most volatile phases of their lives. It's not like twenty years ago when people over thirty had no knowledge of computers. These days someone who his fifty might well know more about how technology actually works than a twenty year-old.

I don't think being transgendered is a security risk per se, but being wracked with secret fear, uncertainty and shame certainly is. If Manning had been, say, forty years-old; had she already gone through the hormone therapy and surgery, and had come out as a transwoman to her family and associates; then she certainly would have acted differently. Maybe not with different intent, but certainly with more care and deliberation. Older people are less inclined to dramatic gestures, which has its good and bad points, but surely is a good thing in someone entrusted with access to huge volumes of sensitive data.

Comment Re:"Expert" ? (Score 1) 187

It would make a lot more sense to deploy, say, ice-capable military ships

These kinds of criticisms seem to assume that Canada is doing this because it plans to base its entire defense on fleets of stealth snowmobiles. Canada is still acquiring new ships, attack aircraft, AFVs and the like. In fact it's spending billions of dollars on such programs. The question is whether spending a few million mre to investigate the potential of a stealth snowmobile makes sense given the marginal contributions such a weapon might make toward the nation's defense.

The Canadian Army already uses snowmobiles, presumably because it finds them practical for the missions they must prepare for and the conditions they must operate in. A few million dollars to test the potential of a quiet snowmobile seems very reasonable to me, and I'm a left-winger with little tolerance for corporate welfare for defense contractors.

A unit cost of $620,000 for a custom-designed, hand-built engineering prototype just doesn't seem all that extravagant to me. That might be too high for a production vehicle, but when you add up the cost of a team of engineers, mechanics and artisans it'd be very easy to spend a million dollars apiece if you're only building two or three.

Comment Re:Really? Political correctness? (Score 2) 772

If you're concerned about political correctness making it's way onto Doctor Who, that tardis has long since sailed. It's not only gay-friendly to a fault, it's eco-friendly and anti-militarist. UNIT doesn't count -- our brave boys in berets represent a military reduced to its proper scope: gamely attempting to repulse cheesy alien invaders while someone with more brains figures out what to do about them.

In Dr. Who the military isn't some kind of awesome war machine, it's more like occupational therapy for the incurably dunderheaded.

Comment Re:Er, no, that isn't the story (Score 1) 382

The moral of the story here is that people who aren't law enforcement are really, really, epic bad at being judges of character.

I see no evidence that the police are immune from epic fails in judging character, or are indeed better at it than anyone else. But they do have a lot of experience with *investigations*, and that counts for something.

Comment Re:Bush (Score 5, Insightful) 923

If you folks on the right had asked one of us *liberals* back in '08, we'd have told you Obama wasn't one of us. He's essentially what would have been a centrist Republican thirty years ago. These were people, like Bob Dole, that we liberals didn't agree with, but could respect and work with. In fact, "Obamacare" pretty much follows the private sector oriented reform plans of Bob Dole. If Obama were a liberal he'd have gone with single payer, and negotiated tough price concessions with pharmaceutical manufacturers (which is the source of America's runaway heath care spending). You'd have seen banks regulated or broken apart, and criminal investigations in response to the financial crisis of '08, not an attempt to put the system back together again the way it was before the crash.

In fact Obama is very much the kind of president Dole would have been: an economic pragmatist, a diplomatic multilateralist, and an aggressive user of military force where he perceives an imminent threat to national security.

If you want to stop state intrusion into private affairs, you've got to stop being afraid, and convince others around you to stop being afraid. The more fear there is in the political climate, the more impunity the government has in its actions.

Liberals got behind Obama in '08 for the same reason we got behind Obamacare: we backed the best alternative achievable in a climate of fear -- a climate, by the way, that makes the state internal security apparatus feel empowered to do anything it wants in the search for terrorists.

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