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Comment Re:Do my friends use it? (Score 1) 162


You're right, but personally I'm switching anyways. I'd been meaning to get rid of my FB account anyways - the only reason I still have it is that some people absolutely refuse to communicate by other methods. But part of getting people to finally switch is letting them know that you (by which I mean anyone, obviously) can't be contacted through facebook. I'm also sick that I'm promoting the continued use of their system by creating content for them. Every thing I post that gets a few likes is basically encouraging people to keep using facebook. Stop doing it.

Comment Re:Healthcare (Score 1) 356

My understanding is that a major component of the absurd healthcare costs here are due to liability issues, so doctors and hospitals run dozens of tests with no regard for the cost vs. benefits of doing so. Because they don't want to get sued into oblivion for failing to run those tests. It's a protection against medical malpractice suits. If that's true, then tort reform is at least part of the solution towards lowering healthcare costs in the US. Unfortunately the left always sees any talk of that as some Republican conspiracy to eliminate people's right to sue greedy corporations, and think everything can be solved by just raising and raising taxes, so I doubt that'll be happening anytime soon. And if it does it'll likely be some watered down version like the recent healthcare reform act was (referring to Obamacare).

FYI: I'm neither liberal nor conservative, so don't write this comment off as right-wing propaganda.

Comment Re:Cost-benefit analysis (Score 2) 319

But will that message be even remotely effective? Because if not, it's just a waste of money. Obviously I don't know for sure and haven't done an analysis, and am giving them a huge benefit of the doubt by assuming it even might be. My experience is that most people have great difficulty altering daily behavior habits, assuming they even care enough to try, because of abstract risks to themselves (fines) or others (wrecks). Even if they did, it's hard to imagine 32 cars doing this would really send that message effectively.

Clearly I think it's bullshit, but posted wondering if someone might have some solid numbers on it (unlikely).

Comment Cost-benefit analysis (Score 1, Insightful) 319

I don't suppose there's any chance that the cost of the police buying this with taxpayer money will be made up with reduced collisions, accidents, injuries/fatalities, etc.? My knee-jerk reaction would be that it will not, and they're probably just using it as an excuse to get some new fancy cars. 32 new cars pulling people over at times a regular police cruiser would not, just for texting while driving, doesn't seem like it's going to make huge changes in driver behavior... or any changes at all.

Comment Re:Modern Jesus (Score 1) 860

If your first thought is "holy crap the government asked for this data from a private company, that's terrible!?!!!" maybe it should actually be "holy crap why does a private company have this in the first place?"

It's bad that corporations can do it; it's even worse when government does it. Corporations don't pass laws (well, not directly at least, cynicism aside), they don't have 50% of the world's military force at their command, etc. The danger of abuse by government is far greater than the danger from abuse by Google and Facebook. So far, at least.

Comment Re:*holds up a mirror* (Score 2, Interesting) 860

I lack confidence in my ability to start an actual protest by just going out and sticking up signs on a street corner. Also, I'm more of the mind to develop technology and acquire wealth and resources so that I can one day actually have influence in the world, which does honestly seem more effectual than protesting. I made the comment because, as someone else noted about this stuff already, there are violent protests going on in Turkey (and other parts of the world) right now over far less egregious abuses of power than what our government is doing.

Comment Re:Modern Jesus (Score 5, Insightful) 860

Actually, failure to vote for third parties is the primary reason they're able to get away with stuff like this. The whole "wasted vote" thing is probably the most damaging logical fallacy being used in politics right now. Don't get me wrong, it's unlikely a third party will ever win a presidential election, but that's not the point. When politicians are losing enough votes to them that they risk losing to their opponents, they're forced to change their platforms. You can see this happening already with the Republican's reconsideration of immigration reform. They know the tide is against them and they'll have to make policy changes they haven't wanted to in the past. Aside from that, only about half of the population actually votes. There are literally twice as many people who aren't even going to the polls than there are supporting Democrats or Republicans for any reason. If the left was losing 10% of their voting base to the Greens and the right was losing 10% of theirs to the Libertarians (or whatever other party you may like), you can bet they'd be picking up pieces of those platforms in order to continue out-competing third parties.

tl;dr: Voting for the proverbial "lesser of two evils" is the mandate we give them to get away with all this crap. Neither side is less evil than the other anymore.

Comment Re:Modern Jesus (Score 5, Insightful) 860

It's pretty amazing, and here's hoping the sacrifice isn't completely wasted. The fact that this stuff hasn't led to protesting in the streets really reflects just how complacent the US population is. Or how afraid of the government we really are, knowing just how well equipped and militarized the government has become thanks to 60+ years of growth in the military-industrial complex. I for one am ashamed I voted for Obama in 2008, and I hope there's a clean sweep of every Congressperson who didn't specifically oppose this type of stuff during the next elections. If that doesn't happen, I think the government will just treat it as a mandate to continue expanding their global power ever faster. Something needs to happen while people's attention is still focused on it.

It'd be nice if the public vitriol towards the current administration also helped Manning avoid further abuse, but I'm not holding my breath.

Comment Re:Smart (Score 2) 212

Imo, there's a big difference between having an ethical responsibility to try to avoid collateral damage when whistleblowing, and having the judicial system destroy your entire life with charges punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty for the simple act of whistleblowing itself. Plus, iirc, Wikileaks actually gave the Pentagon the chance to help redact the documents before releasing them, but for obvious reasons they wanted no part in facilitating a leak. I just bring it up because that perceived irresponsibility is on the part of the Pentagon as much as Bradley Manning, imo. My comment was meant to debunk the one I replied to about how whistleblowing shouldn't be protected unless it occurs through government-approved channels. It may or may not have been an irresponsible way to leak the information, but he's being charged for leaking the information whatsoever, not for failing to properly redact them and reduce collateral damage.

Comment Re:Smart (Score 4, Insightful) 212

The idea of "approved whistleblower channels" kind of negates the idea of whistleblowing. The mainstream media was complicit in the propaganda run-up to the Iraq war, which of course doesn't necessarily mean they couldn't be trusted to expose important information in the leaked documents, but it shows a conflict of interest between the powers that be and the entire goal of whistleblowing. If you can't release documents to the public, but only to approved whistleblower channels who can then decide unilaterally whether the rest of us should be informed, it isn't whistleblowing.

Comment What about the other problems? (Score 2) 867

That's great news, but there were a number of other difficulties with the Alcubierre drive, iirc. I don't see how this gets around any of those, like the spacetime "bubble" becoming filled with lethal radiation or the inability to create a bubble with a pre-existing non-superluminal mass inside it.

Comment Re:Yeah (Score 1) 948

Wow, for a minute there you had me worried I'd been had yet again by another politician. But actually everything you cite says that he wants to leave it up to the states (including the Defense of Marriage Act, which simply gave states the right to not recognize gay marriage). He legitimately supports states rights to do whatever they want, which is also why he voted against the civil rights act. No, I don't think that it's just his way of trying to push immoral things past people, more that he believes people should be able to make good or stupid decisions for themselves (and as a state). Sure, that might mean Mississippi would pass some shitty laws, but it also means the rest of the country wouldn't have to live under those same shitty laws. As we have it now the entire country is fighting tooth and nail for the right to tell everyone else what to do. There's always some bad that comes with the good, but if the federal government would get out of the fucking way it at least wouldn't keep the more intelligent states from enacting sane laws.

Face it, on this issue it isn't about using state's rights to oppress people (he did VOTE AGAINST DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL after all - do you think that was an accident?). Either you think everyone in the country should fight for what the federal government gets to force on everyone else, or else you'd rather just leave it to smaller groups to make good and bad decisions for themselves. Personally I'd choose the later, as I think eventually states would come around and allow things like gay marriage and abortion. Otherwise you're basically just supporting the government's right to tyranny, under the idea that "they will know what's best."

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