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Comment Re:I would laugh... (Score 5, Insightful) 413

I have to admit; I got my initial impressions of my government from my Grandparents more from my Parents.

They lived thru a lot in the 30's and then the War; the government actually helped people that needed help, back then.

If you were white. If you weren't, then the 14th Amendment didn't really mean that much for you and thus neither did most of the rest of the Constitution. Nor did it mean much if you were otherwise "unfit," as the history of sterilization of the mentally retarded from that era shows.

It was a time period of conservative judicial activism known as the Lochner era in which laws establishing minimum wage or safe work conditions were struck down as unconstitutional under the dubious theory of "freedom of contract."

It was also a time period in which labor-leaders and other leftists were kept under surveillance by J. Edgar Hoover, who was prepared to round them up at a moment's notice. After all, this was a time period in which union members paid in blood for their views and the government turned a blind eye to private union-busting operations like the American Protective League and the Pinkerton Agency, who ran sabotage and intimidation against people exercising their rights, or just openly sanctioned killing striking workers.

Most of my views of American democracy were informed as a child by what we believed this nation should be. Very little of it was informed by what it actually was, then and now. I think most of us are the same.

Comment Re:Sanity May Yet Prevail (Score 1) 413

Does North Carolina wrap up its women in rags so they have only slits to see through? Do they stone their wives and children to death for bringing the family dishonor? Can females drive in North Carolina? Do the men gibber about holy crusades and wiping out nations with other religions? Deny rights to people of other faiths? All this codified in law?

Not yet, but they're working really, really hard on it, so if you give them just a little more patience, I'm sure they'll get there eventually under the current leadership. Chin up!

Comment I don't know, what should we do? (Score 3, Insightful) 413

So Obama throws Mubarak under the bus so Egypt can have democracy, now he supports a military coup to remove a democratically elected leader by the same military that used to keep Mubarak in power. Way to have a consistent foreign policy, chief.

Really, the only inconsistency was favoring democratically elected officials that don't like us in the first place. Pretty much the sum of all US foreign policy in the post-WW2 era is "find the biggest strongman that will play nice with us and put in charge of the rabble that doesn't." The history of the Middle East and South America during the Cold War is pretty much this story cloned and stamped over and over again.

In this situation, I'm not really sure what the best policy is. As much as I dislike realpolitik and prefer letting democracies elect people who don't like us over the strongman policy, Syria has turned into a huge clusterf--k that is probably about to boil over into a decades-long sectarian Shia-Sunni conflict, and if this will ensure a more stable transition in Egypt, then I guess I'm going to have to grudgingly accept it. If it doesn't, though, I can't even summon up the feeling that I'll be able to say, "I told you so."

I feel absolutely nauseated to consider the notion that letting the military run things may result in more freedom than letting popularly elected President do it, but we've got decades of Turkish politics to weigh in as evidence on that. I just don't know. Maybe once the trolls get sorted out in this thread, we'll get some good discussion from people closer to the ground on this. I guess I'll cross my fingers and hope.

Comment Impractical solution. (Score 3, Interesting) 277

Oh sure, that will work for very low densities of information, but what about something the size of the Wikipedia? That article states that the Wikipedia has over 2.4 billion words across over 4 million articles. The article has a nice visual image of what would happen if you took all that information and printed it into 1000 page encyclopedia volumes (each containing 8 million characters). It totals over 1800 print volumes.

Now, where are you going to find that much stone writing surface in one place, and how are you going to economically carve it in a reasonable lifetime, and how are you going to arrange it in a fashion that it's human readable/explorable?

Even reproducing something immensely valuable for a recovering industrial society like Machinery's Handbook in stonework would take an immense amount of space, time, and money to do. Just something as simple as the Georgia Guidestones cost about $225,000 to do.

No, try again when you come up with something practical.

Comment Toughest matching service ever. (Score 1) 522

Aside the whole paralysis thing, this sounds like a better method for gender reassignment surgery.

You know, and the whole murder / bodytheft thing.

I guess you could try to find a matching service, but given all the factors involved, I doubt you're going to have an easy time finding someone who wants to swap bodies with you who has the same tissue type, same skin color, compatible build, equitable age & health, etc.

Comment My own mother. Geez... (Score 1) 924

I have never, ever noticed this, not in a single movie. Talking on the phone would definitely be a problem, but I've never seen this either.

My own freaking mother did this once in a theater and talked for 2-3 minutes. My father and I were appalled. IT was embarrassing, and she didn't really understand that what she did was wrong at first.

Frankly I don't really give a shit if people are texting or surfing on their phone during the movie. I'm looking ahead at the screen. I find it hard to believe that it should really bother someone that much.

Not all of us have tunnel vision, and cell phone screens are bright. Someone texting out of the corner of your eye can be very distracting even if you can't see the screen and only see the glow, especially in stadium-style theaters where multiple rows are easily visible. Plus, even phones on vibrate make distracting noise when text after text comes in.

Comment Graceful degradation (Score 1) 778

Any web developer worth his pay should already be coding with graceful degradation in mind. CSS and Javascript should fail gracefully on less capable (or deliberately secured) browsers. Failure to do so may leave people with very minimal browsers, like the deafblind, unable to use a site. It also shuts out people with older browsers, and the days of "This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 at a resolution of 1440 x 800" are best left buried and gone.

Comment Re:Not for hourly workers they don't. (Score 1) 1103

But I disagree that there is very little income mobility. I found there is quite a bit of income mobility. I was making just under min-wage... hmm 10 years ago. Now I'm making more in a week than I did in a month before.

Your anecdote does not trump statistics. Inter-generational income mobility is the standard measure, and in the US roughly 40% of people born to the top or bottom 20% will stay in that bracket. A country with true mobility would have a 20% chance of staying in any 20% bracket, and countries like Denmark and Norway come pretty close to that.

The US ranks behind France, Canada, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark in income mobility. (And those are just countries I have stats for. The UK was the only country worse than the US in the numbers I've seen for developed nations.) The US is less "the land of opportunity" than much of Europe.

That said, your experience with part of the problem being cultural seems spot on. Not all the barriers in the US are imposed from the outside of people, and there is some rather rank class envy that our inequality has helped foster that turns to excuse-making. Those attitudes do nothing to help people any more than any other form of resentment.

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