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Comment Re:TSA, terrorism, gun control, and mass shootings (Score 1) 354

1 - Weapons are a basic human right? So we're guilty of human rights violations by preventing Iran and North Korea from getting nukes? And we should let people buy landmines and grenades? Does this apply to landmines and gas weapons? What about tactical armor and/or rockets and/or nukes? What is the logic that allows each of these distinctions between which is or isn't a human right?
2 - Since when is a rifle a standard weapon of the time now? By quantity, landmines are are almost as plentiful as military rifles (400 million deployed since WWII, 65 million in the last 20 years according to one source 100 million deployed and 100 million in reserves by another). Landmines are definitely cheaper and more cost-effective defensive weapons ($3-30 apiece, remain lethal for decades without attention). By killing efficiency, machine guns win. By force multiplication value and deterence, laser-guided missiles let the afghanis beat USSR. Compared to rocket and grenade launchers, rifles against armor are about as worthless as slingshots.
3 - Tautologies like 'only a government afraid' pretend the entire world is just as you believe it to be. In fact, democratic/republic governments often decide that certain things are unacceptably hazardous. We ban porn, drugs, weapons, religious beliefs, books because the citizens and/or government (they are often the same thing) choose to. This happens less because of fear of citizens than fear of the hazards associated with that item. Yeah, it can be repressive. But that's a shades of grey decision: many very enlightened and safe and progressive nation restricts gun ownership for reasons other than fear.

Comment Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense (Score 1) 528

Reality check: how exactly did this week's small/weak guy improve the pain quotient of the world by resorting to gunfire, vs. the absurd gedankenexperiment of him trying to strangle 26 consecutive people with his bare hands. IOW, your sentence 2 contradicts 3, 4 and 5.

Also: No end is merciful when the alternative was/is not dying in the first damn place.

Comment Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense (Score 1) 528

Interesting theory. But the US already has lax gun laws, yet has more deaths by gun per capita than any other nation.

We can wish for this 'more guns make us safer' claim to be the case, but it just isn't so. Any argument consistently disproved by empirical evidence is just sophistry (that's greek for handwavy bullshit).

Full disclosure: I own several guns. I respect the US 2nd amendment. Where exactly do these disasters involve 'a well-regulated militia'? Where do gun shops selling out this week on AR's and 30-round clips involve a well-regulated militia? I don't see modern-day minutemen. I see fear, paranoia and so many n00bs with guns that there's nonstop mayhem.

Comment Re:Other Gigabit Communities (Score 1) 80

Yeah, between GE and IBM, half a dozen colleges, countless telecommuters that figured out how to get the hell out of metro Boston/NYC/etc, and the metro BTV area alone having well over a hundred thousand people, I'd say that your guessing there are ** 5 ** twitter users seems about the douchiest uninformed remark of my day.

Full disclosure: writing this from a conservative flyover state that gets this sort of mocking on a regular basis, not Vermont. Coastal provincialism is a plague -- y'all really don't seem to be aware how snark like that makes you sound like dimwitted, uninformed cretins.

Comment Re:Chaotic works sometimes (Score 1) 206

No, that's not really that hard.

A chaotic system works fine; just add the restrictions capability. For example, the programmers/operations engineers involved get told: Foodstuffs can't be next to potential toxins. A flag is added (let's call it FDA1) across the board to all foodstuffs, another to the things they can't be near (FDA2). Then, the chaotic system declares a region of the warehouse FDA1-ok and another FDA2-ok. Takes a split-second more to allocate a new bin, including having built-in 'grow region FDA1-ok' functionality. Buffering distances or anything else just fall into the above decision tree.

Wanna envision this without all the programming? Food on the left rows, pharm on the right. A row for chemicals and cleaners and detergents far from produce. Just like your supermarket. The difference would be that, in a chaotic system, each new case of cheerios to come off the truck could be placed anywhere within the food section where there's space, rather than staff spending hours fronting/rearranging/stocking carefully.

Comment Re:I agree... (Score 0) 113

I think it's TOAD the line. Origin either from battletoads or Toad The Wet Sprocket's unreleased next album, together with a TARDIS mishap innoculating 18th century culture with the phrase and underlying pop culture context enough to sustain it.

(Yeah, mine may be wrong, but it's not utterly backwards like thinking to toe the line is to challenge authority. Oopsie.)

Comment Re:Does *any* industry start a new union anymore? (Score 4, Interesting) 761

Huh. I'm getting old, but the first and last time I had a chance to get a pension was decades ago. A retirement date with a pension is no longer offered at most companies. Given the whipsaw of the economy, I've seen people's lives upended by crashes of their ESOP or 401k's -- so defined-contribution hasn't panned out as promised, either.

Banksters raided those funds with impunity; some got rich, nobody got prosecuted for screwing some old machinist out of his pension. The few remaining pension mechanisms are raided or underfunded until pensioners can go 20+ years without ever seeing a cost of living increase as big as inflation, meaning they're spiralling downward annually.

Healthcare in the US is the number one bankrupter of people. Not so over there.

Here, we obsess with saving our jobs. There, life balance is better whenever it's measured.

We skip vacations, work thru lunch. They do neither. And get more holidays and vacation time. Some have shorter work weeks.

How exactly do you measure that it sucks to be them, because from what I'm seeing, it's not too shabby.

Comment Re:Does *any* industry start a new union anymore? (Score 3, Interesting) 761

No, union GROWTH isn't happening in government. They're just the big obvious target because SO MUCH OF EVERYTHING ELSE HAS BEEN GUTTED.

By the way, SEIU is the fastest growing union. They're service workers: hotel housekeepers, commercial bldg janitors and etc. No, they're not governmental.

Comment Re:Does *any* industry start a new union anymore? (Score 4, Interesting) 761

Because doing everything yourself is inherently inefficient. And it's contrary to the crux benefit of society: efficiencies of specialization.

I **CAN** do all these things. I really don't want to, and it wastes time I could spend focusing on my strengths and enjoying my life outside of work.

First, renegotiating my pay rarely (at best, once a year) puts me at a disadvantage to my employer who hires someone who focuses on negotiation nonstop. I'm also weakened because they can lie / leverage me against other employees or contractors. They know what everyone makes, I may not. They can be experts at the communication aspects of pay negotiation -- a colleague who is mildly autistic ends up getting screwed as a result.

Making good healthcare decisions? Nice sideline, but I don't want to need an MD to dig into the deep nuances of whether my specific medical condition means I need a CAT scan or an MRI or just a few minutes with a doctor listening to me breathe. I want a regulated agent acting on my behalf.

This whole thing is doublespeak: when people stand together, employees benefit at the expense of shareholders. There is no people vs. union dichotomy here, there's just intense value to winning the debate over splitting the profits among the interested parties: a company has a professional staff paid incredibly well to focus on profits to shareholders. Employees need the same, whether it is a guild, a union, or your hinted-at ideas on protections for individuals (who will hopefully get this information out of their employer so that their rights are better protected).

I'm getting really tired of reading of how a social worker or teacher or factory employee is overpaid, but investment bankers make 1000x as much 'but it's earned'. Ditto on big bad union rants. I don't see it as coincidence that union-busting parallels the downturn in inflation-adjusted incomes in the USA.

Comment Re:Nationalism, ye gods (Score 1) 128

Bravo. No modpoints, but that's about how I feel every time I get sucked into political debates nowadays. Especially my temporary frustration when someone goes godwin or pops the 'love it or leave it' cliche. Why can't I love my country enough to stage an intervention and get its sorry ass into rehab?!

Comment Re:Anything that comes out of the UN (Score 1) 128

baby, bathwater.

A couple good perpetual humanitarian programs:

Education: Educate women to the 6th grade, and populations go down, infant mortality goes down, etc. Well, etc a **lot**. Everything improves as women get educated. It's the mother of all correlative humanitarian acts.

Infrastructure: not so universally awesome, but potable water, roads, communications all help more than they destroy economies.

I'm sure more exist. My point was simply that your last several words were hasty and seem incorrect.

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Systems programmers are the high priests of a low cult. -- R.S. Barton