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Comment Free Solution (Score 1) 1251

Just sell, transfer or exchange the immediate plot of land that the ten commandments monument is on to a private non-profit with appropriate deeded restrictions and then don't allow religious monuments on the public land that remains.

This is essentially what was done to settle the White Cross Monument dispute at the Mojave National Preserve.

I agree that religious and other forms of speech should not be biased or endorsed by government on public land. Doesn't mean there can't be a tasteful compromise to still allow religious monuments that are visible from public land.

Comment NSA by and large does good work, policy is wrong. (Score 1) 841

The NSA is likely doing the best job it can with the resources at its disposal. Intelligence gathering aimed at our adversaries, competitors, allies and terrorists likely makes the world safer by allowing the president and key decision makers to make more informed decisions.

That said, the NSA has been used to cross too many constitutional lines. You can't have such massive unbridled spying on our own citizens without undermining a democratic form of government and a free society. We are losing our Freedom under these policies.

It just needs to stop, so the NSA and all of our government can again focus on protecting our rights, freedoms and lives instead of undermining them. Then we can all be proud of the work we do as a nation and as a free people.

Comment Re:Many smartphones use both Glonass and US GPS (Score 1) 232

Sounds like there might be some benefit to cooperation. How about they pay US companies to run the ground stations for them? If all they need is basically a fixed point on the ground to get some ground truth/calibrating type signals, then a US company could run the ground stations subject to US government oversight, regulations and control. US government could simply take them offline, disrupt or take them over in the event of war, basically the only issue would be a surprise attack/first strike. But in this case the benefits of the technology, having a redundant GPS system with accurate US coverage, might outweigh very remote risks the system could be used against US interests.

Comment Re:designed to obfuscate actual prices of plans (Score 1) 365

And it turns out the application process is a one shot deal.

That would be a horrendous design. Another good reason to verify income later on rather than make it a one shot deal. So, what if your income changes in a couple weeks?? What then? If it is a one shot application and you can't revise your inputs then that means you might get a better paying job and suddenly be unable to sign up online for a plan without an appeal even though you might be subject to fines starting January 1st if you are not covered. Actually I really hope you are incorrect and this is just some bad documentation telling you incorrect information.

Comment Re:designed to obfuscate actual prices of plans (Score 1) 365

According to every news report I have read the healthcare.org system is basically unusable for signing up for health insurance right now. Having a system that sends an email after the fact if post processing determines more information is needed or something couldn't be verified is better than having people walk away without completing the transaction because your processing is taking too damn long.

Comment Re:designed to obfuscate actual prices of plans (Score 1) 365

That's why when presenting the Forbes article I said "On the one hand it makes sense that you don't want to scare people off with high healthcare insurance prices until you know if they are eligible for subsidies" I think Forbes is spinning the requirement a bit. Because it actually does make sense from a policy and usability standpoint to not scare off people that have low incomes by presenting them with the full unsubsidized prices. For instance if you lived in Ilinois and wanted a "Catastrophic" only plan which has high deductibles and very little regular health coverage and you were presented with the lowest cost family plan which is $556.30 per month. Then it really is better financially to just pay the fine and pocket save the money you otherwise would have spent on minimal health insurance. But if you do qualify for subsidies then at some price point it becomes a no-brainer to sign up for subsidized coverage rather than pay a monthly fine that would be equivalent to a good portion of a premium cost.

Comment Re:How do we get Congress to sign up? (Score 1) 365

ACA is full of bad requirements... That said. If a large employer doesn't offer health insurance, which is essentially what the law is saying about Congress and the White House since they would not be offered insurance, then they would go into the individual market and then based on income would either qualify or not qualify for subsidies. Seems pretty simple to me.

Usually a large employer would be required to offer plans or pay a penalty, so really the only difference here between how this would work with Congress versus another large employer is that it would be redundant and wouldn't make sense for the government to pay itself the penalty for not offering a health insurance plan.

Sure, Congress and the White House would have to pay higher salaries to their employees to retain people, but it seems like the benefit of transparency outweighs what would likely just be an offsetting cost of providing money for people to buy their own insurance. Really, this does have the effect of making Congress and the White House live with the worst case of Obamacare... as an individual having to see the full cost of insurance premiums when your employer opts out of providing subsidies or provides the bare minimum of subsidies.

People's experience with Obamacare is going to differ greatly based on circumstances, having the people that make and administer the law experience the worst case of a non-compliant employer putting their people on the individual market seems to me only fair.

Comment designed to obfuscate actual prices of plans (Score 5, Interesting) 365

Interesting Forbes article on how healthcare.gov is designed to prevent people to see the full prices of the healthcare plans which is what is causing the upfront bottleneck. On the one hand it makes sense that you don't want to scare people off with high healthcare insurance prices until you know if they are eligible for subsidies, but on the other hand it means you probably have to verify the data entered against what are potentially hundreds of millions of records just to display a screen with prices for the plans.

Seems a better option would simply to take the persons word for it up front, let them see the prices displayed depending on the personal and family information they entered and then only do the background verification after they "checkout" and actually purchase a plan. That way they just get an email later on if there is a problem with anything they entered or if the prices change based on something determined based on the background check and credit check. Or if as news reports suggest they are going to have to go through an income verification process as part of the Senate compromise, then doing the credit check up front in "real time" is an extra step anyway. Could even make the insurance companies do the final eligibility check as part of their 15% commission.

Trying to process through hundreds of millions of records in less than tens of seconds is a stupid thing to try to do just to keep people from finding out what your prices really are even if you have hundreds of millions of dollars to blow through. They could have fully insured 100,000 more people for the money that has been wasted just on healthcare.gov.

Comment Re:Apparently, applets only (Score 1) 282

Also of note that it appears that the applet will accept any certificate that the browser recognizes from any trusted authority. So there are a variety of SSL certificate options at various yearly prices. Right now I see one offering certificates for $60 per year.

So, yes it will increase the cost of publishing a java applet on a website, but no this doesn't create a central authority out of Oracle for revoking certificates like the OP says. It just ensures that people can verify the identity of web sites publishing the applets.

Not sure I think it is a good change. Especially, once they block unsigned browser based applets altogether. That could be a bit too far.

Comment Re:There should never have been a non-fly list (Score 2) 216

With reinforced cockpit doors, air marshals, hopefully good scanning to prevent weapons on airplanes and a general agreement that nobody is going to be allowed to ever hijack a plane again even if they do assault or kill people or scream about having a bomb the pilot is not going to relinquish control of the plane.... having no-fly lists does now seem superfluous and fundamentally the wrong approach to take.

That said, airlines are still private businesses serving the public and if they are given information that you will potentially be disruptive, then it should be within their right to deny you passage on their aircraft for whatever reason as long as that reason isn't discriminatory using constitutionally protected criteria such as race, or political affiliation, or gender or such. In the same way that a restaurant can refuse to serve someone because of their past behavior. The problem now is that that choice is being made for them.

Regardless, the no-fly list is a determination by someone that you have met some criteria to be kept off of planes, so if we are to remain a nation of laws then people need to be able to effectively challenge that in court. And that means confronting your accuser and challenging all the evidence used in that determination. Otherwise, if we are talking about classified information, then what we should be talking about is surveillance that stays in the realm of surveillance.

Comment Re:Ut oh. (Score 1) 628

Why are we imposing sanctions on North Korea at all? The fact that they oppress their own people is not particularly different than many US allies or at least states we do business with and have bases in. Sure, I want North Korea to follow the East Germany model and get absorbed by South Korea. But sanctions seem like a stupid and ineffective way to do it. All it is doing is causing North Koreans to become really good at smuggling and running drugs to get foreign currency. And rightly they see trade sanctions as an act of war.

It would frustrate the hell out of china if we embraced trade with North Korea and opened up relations, especially with a view to unification.

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