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Comment nope (Score 1) 109

Google's broken analytics keep telling me I would enjoy Drudge and Limbaugh apps, when I know damn well that I won't. To be fair, though, it's based on what's popular in my area. Other things "popular in [my] area" of Denver include local channel 7 affiliate apps from fucking Michigan and the like.

Google's shotgun approach to personalization has yet to impress me.

Comment Re:Short yellow lights are a safety hazard (Score 1) 507

Cities aren't the only ones who try to get away with this. I was ticketed by campus police for parking on railroad tracks. I sent in a photo of the car, parked on the tracks, with the decades-abandoned tracks running right under the pavement still in frame a few feet from the car, along with a note that told them to go fuck themselves. Never heard anything more about it.

Comment Re:This is why (Score 5, Interesting) 507

This is great advice. It's been my policy for 10 years. Every ticket, every citation, every time. No exceptions. (If you have the possibility of jail time, all bets are off, get a lawyer).

And if you get a criminal citation (as opposed to a civil infraction), you are entitled by the Sixth Amendment to a jury trial. When arraigned, you will be asked to sign a jury trial waiver (In most states). Decline, and at every opportunity, opt for a Jury Trial.

For the general community, here are five tips that I try to follow.

1. On your Court date, take the entire day off from work. Often these matters are scheduled early in the day, like 8AM, but that's mostly a scam. It will take a good chunk of the day. The system is rigged to pressure you - financially - into settling. That's how they win. Even if your time is early in the day, pack a nice little lunch and bring it with you. Charge your phone, bring headphones, and a paperback book. Wear comfortable clothes that show you are READY AND WILLING to sit and wait all day.

2. When you show up, the clerk or judge will call in everyone and have them watch a video or hear a description of your rights. They ask you if you understand. They can't move on until they get past this step. Raise your hand and ask a question. Tell the judge or clerk you couldn't hear the video or speech. Ask a question about what they say. Ask if this is the right place for divorce court. If you break the ice, several others will probably ask a few questions. Remember, this is a factory. They want to process you as quickly as possible.

3. In a lot of States, you will have an initial appearance where you enter a plea. In many States, the Judge essentially pushes every into meeting the prosecuting attorney. You basically don't enter a plea, you say "negotiations" or "mediation". When it's your turn, tell the judge or clerk you plead innocent, and would like to have your trial. Do not request mediation or a meeting with the lawyer - this is a scam to take your time. The attorney makes a huge list and then calls people in for 5 minutes where they offer something or try to get you to plead guilty. If you do, you don't have to go back into the Court in most cases. That's the hook they use to get you to settle and pay the fine. Do not say anything to the attorney or clerk other than the fact that you would like your day in court, and would like to call witnesses. If it's a criminal citation, remind them you want a jury trial.

4. Once you demand a trial, you'll probably have to go back into Court, and then re-affirm your plea. The purpose of this session is for the prosecutor to ask for a stay of the trial. The Judge will ask you to agree. Firmly and politely tell them that State is the one bringing the case, it is your right to a speedy trial, and that more time will not change anything. You must specifically ask for the case to be dismissed for failure to prosecute in a timely manner. On the first Court date, you will probably be denied. In my experience it's about 25% chance you'll get your case dismissed by the judge. Typically they will grant an extension. Then the date will be brought up - if it's a long ways out - more than a few weeks - ask the judge for closer date. Ask if you can come back after lunch. Ask if you can come back tomorrow. The prosecutor will object. Ask if you can come back in 7 days. Ask why they need so much time to prepare such a simple case.

5. Once you come back, the whole thing repeats. The prosecutor knows that most times people don't come back for future dates. They simply give up. Don't give up. You'll lose and maybe end up with warrant. As soon as they pickup your file and see this is the second court date, they'll probably offer to file your case. This is like winning, but if you get another ticket in a short period of time you basically lose automatically. Don't agree to this either. Re-iterate you want a trial, or you'll accept dismissal. The attorney will now use big time pressure. He or she will try to tell you that it will be worse on you if you loose after going to trial. In most states this isn't true, and suggesting it is a serious offense. They will tell you how difficult it will be for them to get the cop to come to court, it will cost the State a lot of money, etc. Remind them you'll accept a dismissal. My experience is this is a 50% chance the prosecutor gives it up right here. If not, they have to go the judge and make a case, or ask for a new date. On the 2nd time through, you'll have a much better chance of winning a dismissal.

Comment I live in Florida (Score 2) 507

..and this is a well known fact before it was in the news. Local authorities tweak lights in order to generate revenue. One bad stretch of a highway (192) is timed so that if you follow the speed limit you would run a red - but just barely - everytime.

It's a bad recipe for fraud. Florida has auto-insurance system designed to wring $10k settlements out of insurers. You are driving along, and on each side is a blocker car. Ahead, a car stomps his brake just before a red light.

Comment Re:queue the denialists! (Score 1) 497

Ignoring your attempt to drag religion into an otherwise insightful comment, it's an interesting question.

I guess the truth is that there's a pretty large amount of uncertainty about the effects of global warming. Such uncertainty would make the deliberate warming of the globe ill advised. But that same uncertainty tends to gut arguments that we should take drastic action, such as the misanthropic neo-luddite position that we need a strong central world government that is largely socialist in order to control the actions of multinational corporations, and/or individual government actions to reduce us back to a "low energy" society world-wide (i.e. back to third world standards of living).

If you object to my characterization of socialist, realize that it would necessarily involve the governmental power to dictate the utilization (or disuse) of capital resources, the very definition of socialism.

Ultimately, taking a "wait and see" position is taking a position of optimism in humanity, and having faith that the people of today and tomorrow will have the intelligence and problem solving ability to develop technology in response to actual problems that arise.

The irony is that to take the pessimistic position that humanity will blindly run things into the ground and not do anything about it requires faith in technology as well, faith in the computer simulations of a chaotic system (actually two, climate and economic), designed primarily by people with a leftist political bias, and fed only 40 years of reliable detailed data in combination with historical data extrapolated from ice cores with a significant margin for error.

Which position is the smallest leap of faith? That humanity will be able to find solutions to any pressing problems that arise, or faith that a computer simulation of a very chaotic system based on limited data and designed by those with a political bias is correct? And to go further, that we should spend trillions of dollars of resources to address these problems that haven't happened yet?

To me the latter position is untenable. It's not a question of politics when examined in these terms, it's a question of healthy scientific skepticism and an application of taking the position that requires the smallest leap of faith.

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