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Comment Re:George Soros (Score 5, Informative) 406

You have Soros, on the left with his money, and the Koch brothers, on the right with their money, and "we the people" in the middle getting screwed from both ends.

Lets see. The Koch Brothers. Charles and David Koch each have personal assets of $36 billion each, in addition they each own 42% of Koch Industries that does $100 billion of business each year. A petrochemical company is valued at about three times annual revenue, so 42% of $300 billion is $126 billion that each of them owns*. Plus their $36 billion each in holding outside Koch Industries and each of them is worth $162 billion, or $324 billion for the set.

George Soros, is worth $20 billion, a 16-1 one disadvantage in wealth. Also note that he is the only liberal billionaire that the right-wingers seem able to find, whereas on the right the list goes on forever (Sheldon Adelman, Pete Peterson, etc.. etc.) . And finally it helps to do a little reality checking to find out how much Soros has actually contributed over time to liberal causes. The total amount seems to be about $30 million, mostly spent during the early Bush years.

Sorry, despite the fevered efforts by the right to try to whip Soros up into a bogeyman, his contributions to political causes over time are tiny compared to the money machine that the Kochs and company have built up over the years, and keeps running with billions in annual funding without pause.

You are getting screwed from only one end, the corporatist end. And it is rich men on the right who are successfully buying our political system so that the screwing will continue.

*Odd, isn't it, that Forbes doesn't count business ownership in its calculation of wealth. You may object "But that's not real wealth, they can't spend it", which is nonsense. They could borrow against it for cash whenever they chose, or put their ownership on the market and cash out. They can tap that money whenever they like.

Comment Re:Since when is money laundering a "loophole"? (Score 5, Insightful) 406

... I have a real problem with criminalizing, regulating or punishing people for political speech...

If they want to speak, they should just go ahead and speak. Absolutely no one is stopping them. Charles and David Koch, Sheldon Adelman, the whole lot of them, can buy all the air time, print pages, billboards, Internet marketing, etc. they want and say anything they like all day and all night, without breaking one d*mn law.

So why don't they? Why all this hiding behind one shell organization after another to falsify the source of the money they pump into local elections? What are men, like the Koch Brothers, who with their personal assets and ownership of Koch Industries, are worth more than $100 billion a piece, afraid of? No one can touch them for using their immense wealth for public speech. Why the army of sock puppets?

Sorry, pumping rivers of money through one false organization after another to influence elections through sock puppets throughout the country is not "political speech". It is political corruption.

Comment Re:Why hold them to higher standard? (Score 1) 238

Incorrect. Most officers didn't choose to do that, they were assigned when there was an issue in their previous duties. Like screwing off and destroying a fighter. Or couldn't cut it in the field they chose, and took this instead of resigning. Sometime Some can't do their previous jobs for reason outside of their control, and there isn't a position to move to. For example Vision going bad on a pilot, but there isn't a position of their rank open. I didn't meet a single member of the crew where this was the primary choice.

And yet, there is a special qualification standard that all personnel are required to meet called the Personnel Reliability Program.

Item 3 of the PRP directive states:

3. Only those personnel who have demonstrated the highest degree of individual reliability for allegiance, trustworthiness, conduct, behavior, and responsibility shall be allowed to perform duties associated with nuclear weapons, and they shall be continuously evaluated for adherence to PRP standards.

Comment Re:America is fucked ... (Score 4, Insightful) 455

A parallel between the East German Stasi and the DEA comes to mind. Both felt you had no right to privacy, and that they had unlimited surveillance and enforcement powers. And the mission-statement for both organizations seemed to be to perpetuate their own power. as an end in itself.

Comment Re:Ironical justice (Score 1) 586

I see some are chiming in here wondering why there is focus on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and not other cities fire bombed by the Allies.

Fair enough. The novelty of the weapon does not change the morality of the act.

However, a more apposite counterpoint to the fatalities at Hiroshima and Nagasaki are the 200,000 Chinese civilians dying each month at the hands of the Japanese government via its army in China, more than who died in the two atomic bombings combined. And then there were the contemporaneous actions of the Imperial Japanese Army in Vietnam, where it was in the process of organizing a tropical repeat of Stalin's Great Famine. In the summer of 1945 the IJA was busy confiscating all of the food from the Vietnamese in the areas it controlled. This was in effect sentencing some 7 million Vietnamese to a likely death by starvation during the winter-spring of 1945-1946. (The civilians of Japan were also doomed to a great famine during the winter-spring of 1945-1946, though not so through, and that due the choices of their own government.)

Comment Re:How is this news? (Score 2) 617

Indeed. In the days of physical media being the only way to get recorded music it was common for a band to release an album with two good tracks and the rest just filler, and anyone wanting the two good tracks was forced to pay the full album price. Toto IV stands out in my memory - two tremendous tracks (Rosanna and Africa) which are the first and last ones on the album, with dreck in between. I never heard anyone play the whole album (more than once).

Same strategy as cable "bundling" of stuff you want with lots more stuff you don't.

This being /. I should observe, to forestall replies pretending I am saying this is was always, or even usually the case, that there were many, many brilliant albums with nothing but great stuff - albums referred to as "classics".

Comment Re:How is this news? (Score 1) 617

As damning as your indictment of the music industry is, you still miss the worst aspect.

It forces the creative people to sign away the rights to their own creations. For nearly all musicians the label owns the music they produce - giving them the power to decide how little (never "how much") to pay the artists.

If you can record and release your own music you retain ownership of your own work.

Comment Re:Submerged floating tunnel (Score 5, Informative) 120

No. Ocean engineer here. Currents have a lot of power (not energy, but power), but unless you mean the whole Gulf Stream, or a very long time period, the energy of the world's nuclear weapons is greater still. But it's kind of hard to argue with someone that isn't consistent with units.

Two ACs arguing about the energy content of ocean currents vs energy content of nuclear weapons, with neither one putting up a single number to back themselves up. Tsk tsk.

Lets see: total world nuclear arsenal currently about 6400 megatons, or 2.7 x 10^18 J. Gulf stream volume 150 million cubic meters/sec at Newfoundland (1.5 x 10^11 kg/sec), speed 2 kt, or 4 m/sec. Kinetic power of stream = 1.2 x 10^12 J/sec. Number of seconds for the kinetic energy of the Gulf Stream to equal the nuclear arsenals = 2.25 million, or 26 days. Is that a "very long time"?

But wait, there's more! The heat transport of the Gulf Stream is 1.2 x 10^15 J/sec, a figure 1000 times larger than its kinetic energy, so the time for the Gulf Stream flow to transport a "world nuclear arsenal" worth of energy is only 2250 seconds, or 38 minutes.

Comment Re:school loan need to be fee and late fee free (Score 1) 827

Then who is going to put up the money to loan to students? A loan agreement has to be mutually beneficial to both borrower and lender. If I am going to loan it to a student, there has to be some reason for me to do so rather than loan it to the doctor wanting to borrow money to buy an X-ray machine to treat broken arms, or the young couple wanting to borrow money to buy a house.

Easy peasy. The government. Like in Europe and Japan. If the government is going to back the loans it should make them, and not force the student to pay vigorish to a middleman who contributes no value.

And the government has a clear vested long-term interest in promoting an educated population, in a way that no private entity, much less a profit-taking business, has.

Comment Re:at some point... (Score 1) 827

Its already tipping as defaults are at an all time high but thanks to the changes Bush passed in 06 you can't even get out of debt with bankruptcy and that REALLY needs to change

This is always something that has really bugged me. Why exactly is it someone's right to borrow money and then not pay it back? If you borrowed it, you should have to pay it back. It doesn't make any sense to allow people out from under their debts that they made the conscious decision to borrow....

So you are on-board with eliminating bankruptcy entirely for everyone, and limited liability corporations too, right?

I mean, what right do corporate executives have to borrow money, and not pay it back? Why aren't they liable as individuals for the debts they choose to incur while running the business?

No one should ever have any escape from debt! Bring back the work houses!

Comment Re:It's a great idea if you ignore... (Score 1) 385

Sorry about your reading difficulties. If you can maintain attention, perhaps I can clarify.

The point was that large public construction projects happen in expansionary periods when empires is growing, resources are plentiful and economies are relatively free of both public and private debt as a proportion of actual GDP.

Any evidence to support his assertion?

The enormous 1930s Public Works Administration program was undertaken when the U.S. public debt/GDP ratio was at a (then) all time high.

The interstate highway system, that largest public works project in US history, was authorized in 1956 when the public debt/GDP ratio was 60%, just a bit lower than the 75% that will prevail over the next decade.

Large scale public construction project undertaken during a depressed economy, like now, lead to accelerated growth, and then sharply dropping debt ratios.

But your claim sounded plausible anyway. Truthiness is alive and well.

Comment Re:Pylons can't be static (Score 1) 385

...

My concern is the pylons. His drawings show them as passive entities. That simply won't work in California where the land shifts continually. Sometimes it's gradual as in fractions of inches each year and sometimes its catastrophic as in 27 feet in a few minutes...

Page 5 of the proposal: "Tucked away inside each pylon, you could place two adjustable lateral (XY) dampers and one vertical (Z) damper. These would absorb the small length changes between pylons due to thermal changes, as well as long form subtle height changes. As land slowly settles to a new position over time, the damper neutral position can be adjusted accordingly".

Please read the darn proposal before claiming to see flaws in it.

In case of a major earthquake the system would have to shut down until they can be checked out, like other commuter rails systems (BART, etc.) have to.

Comment Re:Sure it's a loopy idea (Score 1) 385

... Again: this will require a "no-man's land" security area around it - one that is not just barricaded so trucks can't easily get close, one that is actually fenced and secured to prevent people from getting close.

...

Really? Then why don't existing commuter rail lines have these "required" security measures? They don't you know. You can stop an SUV on the tracks.

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