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Comment Re:Who shut down the government? (Score 1) 341

As for the House of Representatives' right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that Congressmen there have a right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity.

A bill won't get to a House vote if Speaker Boehner doesn't allow it. Despite majority support for such a measure, Boehner unilaterally refuses to put a clean CR to an up-or-down vote.

Whether ObamaCare is good, bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.

Where does "right of the House" end and "prerogative of the Speaker" begin?

Comment Foreign government? (Score 4, Insightful) 234

What the NSA is doing is unacceptable whether or not a foreign government access any of the data. Unless the US government obtains a warrant, based on probable cause, that specifically describes the places to be searched and things to be siezed, this activity is illegal.

Comment Re:Of course the actual copies existing is in doub (Score 1) 216

NASA recorded over the Moon Landing masters, at a time when they were better-funded than they have ever been. The BBC is in good company.

Now *that* was a gross failure if ever I saw one.

Quick background; NASA used a custom "slow scan" transmission system to send TV pictures from the moon, but those weren't compatible with ordinary TV transmissions, so they had to be converted for live transmission for viewers at home. Conversion technology was basic at the time, so the method was basically to point a camera at a monitor displaying the slow scan pictures.

That was fine. Not fine as in "good quality", because they probably lost quite a lot of the original quality, but fine as in I appreciate that was the best *live* on-the-fly conversion they could probably have managed in those days.

What *wasn't* remotely "fine" was that they didn't keep- or at least properly archive- a recording of the original, pre-conversion transmissions. If we had those today, we would easily have much higher quality footage of the moon landing transmissions that could easily be converted to a viewable resolution and framerate using digital technology. But we don't; all we have are the converted-on-the-fly versions. They've remastered those- but let's face it, that's still a piss-poor alternative to actually having the originals.

I don't think that had *anything* to do with money; I think it was a major institutional failure. And unlike something that- at the time- was seen as a low budget family scifi show- these were transmissions of *the first bloody moon landing* and they knew damn well they were important, even then.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 527

When you're dealing with a government as corrupt as this one, you don't know that the warrant is actually based on probable cause, you don't know that law enforcement isn't being used for political purposes, and you don't know that even if the warrant is legal, that the law is just. What you do know is that the government we have today in no way, shape, or form approaches anything resembling the will of the people. A government with a 90% disapproval rate in conjunction with a 90% incumbency rate is not a democracy.

You're right, I am assuming that a warrant is invalid because unjust warrants have been issued in the past. They have thoroughly demonstrated that the purpose of our justice system is not to increase justice, but to increase the political power of a corrupt few. We live in a "free country" that imprisons more people, by raw number and per capita, than any other country in the world. We live in a country where 98% of federal defendents are denied their right to a trial. We live in a country that holds more black men in chains today than it ever did under slavery. That's the injustice system we have, and it deserves no respect whatsoever.

The only principled stance is resistance. Now, that may not always be the most prodcutive stance, and it's probably not in most cases. I completely respect those who make strategic decisions to remain free so they can keep fighting. But I also honor selfless individuals who take a stand.

"Under a government which imprisons any unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison." Henry David Thoreau.

Comment Re:Stupidity on a Massive Scale is still Stupidity (Score 4, Informative) 81

This is a country where family members might, and occasionally do, bribe the local clerk to have you declared dead of natural causes, so they can take over your land and other belongings. Biometrics can't solve that...

WTF? That's the problem biometrics were designed to solve. Say my family asserts I'm dead and goes to court to claim their rightful inheritance. I turn up, press a grimy thumb on the judges notepad and say "match that", case closed! The idea that better identification makes it easier for someone to steal your identity is pure nonsense. The reason your example scenario doesn't happen regularly in the west is precisely because we already have well established systems to uniquely identify individuals, a practice that goes at least as far back as William the Conquer and his Doomsday book

If you don't have a reliable way to identify property owners then you can't have reliable property law. If you don't have reliable property law then you can't have capitalism. Of course, outside the west the unwashed masses often do not have any officially recognised ownership of the land they have lived on for centuries/millennia. That lack of legal recognition is the reason multi-nationals can and do buy/lease huge chunks of land from third world governments and then hire mercenaries to rid "their property" of "lawless vandals and trespassers".

Comment Re:terrorists and traitors (Score 1) 84

Your incorrect, the Queen does not pick them, she simply rubber stamps their appointment, in the same way she rubber stamps a general election and a new parliment. Tell me, when was the last time the Queen refused to use that stamp, when did she actually "choose" to do anything other than her cerimonial duties? Aside from that, I was talking about Australlia where senators are elected rather than appointed by the government of the day.

One of the very few exception to the monarchy staying "hands off" the government is her role in breaking the "double dissolution" senarion. If the PM refeused to call an election the Queen can sack them and call an election herself. That exact senario played out here in the 1970's when Gough Whitlam refused to call an election after his budget was rejected twice by the senate.

Comment Re:The total number of these journals is irrelevan (Score 2) 194

A paper should stand or fall on its own merits.

Yep, and quality papers is what they should be competing for. The journal ranking systems used by univisities (not just in Norway) are designed to give more weight to journals that have a long track record of doing that. This is why the Nature and Science journals at at the top of the list, their long publishing history and track record of quality papers speaks for itself. A low ranked journal will stay a low ranked until it's track record is such that it can be deemed a reliable source. If it does nothing to improve it's record then it follows it will never be respected.

A good article that pushes science forward, even if published in a minor journal, should weigh significantly in your favor for tenure, and a lousy article, even if published in a major journal, should not.

The "impact factor" of individual papers is generally weighed by the number of citations, not the name of the journal.

Comment Re:Zombies. (Score 1) 608

The more they get paid, the easier they are to bribe. Money becomes less of a thought, they don't see the problem with getting a trivial sum from someone, it isn't helping them much.

Mate, read the logic in what you wrote - how the hell do you bribe someone with something you say they don't want? Having said that I actually agree that most politicians don't care about money, they care about power. Money is a powerful tool but political power trumps it.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 527

That makes sense only if you assume the judge is impartial, and the suspect in question is not persecuted for political reasons. Those are bad assumptions in todays America. We already have a lawless society, as demonstrated by the complete lack of prosecutions against anyone involved in illegal surveillance, any bankers whose fraud destroyed the economy and thousands of lives, and against anyone who committed or authorized torture during the Bush regime.

You have to decide which side you are on. The side who breaks the law for the greater good? Or the side who uses the law to commit evil? This is the reality in which we live.

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