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Comment Re:Encryption (Score 1) 318

Incorrect. Prolonged (non-routine) detentions must be based on reasonable suspicion. Even then, the duration of the detention must be limited to the time necessary to confirm or dispel that suspicion. And even if there is reasonable suspicion, under no circumstances can the duration exceed 48 hours without a judicial hearing.

Exactly. So expect to spend 47 hours and 59 minutes in jail and don't expect and apology after you pay a lawyer to help get you out.

Comment Re:They sound completely insane (Score 2) 328

I think of this a lot when I hear about atheism really "catching on." I wonder what percentage of the population has always thought the whole thing was nonsense and never wanted to spend the social capital (or the time in prison, depending on the culture) to say anything about it. That's why I can't really get all riled up about the "militant atheists" who supposedly mess everything up. The key service they offer is to provide cover to atheists to be honest about not believing.

It's also just like gay rights: Everybody hated gay people when nobody knew any of them. As soon as everybody had a totally normal friend who admitted to being gay, we stopped thinking it was a great idea to kick them around, resulting in more people coming out. We didn't just suddenly create a bunch of gay people over the course of a generation.

Comment Re:They sound completely insane (Score 5, Insightful) 328

Here's something I've often wondered: If you have a custom of throwing people who don't believe in the volcano god into a volcano, how long will it take after everybody stops believing in the volcano god for somebody to ask, "So do we all really still believe this stuff?"

I'm thinking it might be a pretty long time.

Comment Re: Why not? (Score 2) 351

Actually, a lot of the more popular effective ones a pretty benign to humans. Roundup has very low acute toxicity and "may" cause cancer with heavy, chronic exposure (kind of like coffee and sawdust). The Bt toxin that everybody freaks out about in GMO plants is extremely specific and has a "natural" origin--so much so that organic farmers use it on their crops. It only becomes Satan incarnate when non-organic farmers use it.

Comment Re:How good are the visual sensors on cop killbots (Score 2) 983

There are good people and bad people, good cops and bad cops, good programmers and bad programmers. How about we quit painting with such a broad brush?

Programmers aren't generally required to police other programmers, and the job description for "black person" doesn't entail policing other black people. The job description for "police officer" does include enforcing the law, and they do an appallingly bad job of that when the person committing the crime is another police officer. Obviously, that doesn't mean it's morally right to shoot random police officers, but there absolutely is culpability far beyond the "few bad apples" who actually get caught doing bad things.

It always kind of amazed me that the police unions use the phrase "a few bad apples" all the time to describe those guys. Do they not know what the rest of that fucking saying is and what it means?

Comment Re:Data Driven? Bullshit. (Score 1) 213

This is a good point, and enforcing it would probably result in better rehabilitation assuming the state was also responsible for not wasting the lives of people who were ready to be released. As it is, i think that putting the liability on the state would probably just result in effective life sentences for practically everything. Why take the risk when you can just let some guy you don't know rot instead?

Comment Re:Weak Sauce (Score 1) 223

Interesting idea. What's the definition of "only work" you can find, though? As long as McDonald's is hiring, are they off the hook? It seems reasonable if the agreement is something like, "Get a job and we'll make up the difference between your new salary and your salary with us," so you don't feel the costs of moving into a field that makes your valuable expertise worthless. But if they're able to say to a judge, "Well, there's a guy willing to pay $5 for a handjob behind that dumpster, so clearly the plaintiff is not trying hard enough to get a job outside the bounds of the noncompete," then the promise isn't worth much.

Comment Re:Omar Saddiqui Mateen? (Score 1) 1718

That's a false equivalency fallacy. In the west Muslims as a group are majorly discriminated against - at least as much as gay people are actually. The US right now has a major party candidate running on a platform of forced registration for Muslims, turning away refugees and even forced expulsion from the country.

Can you flesh this entire chain of reasoning out? I'm saying something fairly straightforward: Religious ideas have consequences, and if it's accurate to point that out for one religion, it's accurate to point it out for other religions. Do you disagree with that statement? I'm not asking about the political consequences of pointing those things out. I'm simply asking if they're accurate. You clearly think it's a completely accurate statement for Christianity, but I'm not getting why Islam is not equivalent

I'm going to attempt to come up with a few interpretations of the above, but please bear with me because I can't get it to make logical sense, so none of the interpretations are going to be entirely sensible:

1) Because Muslims are discriminated against, the statement, "A minority of Muslims do terrible things because of their faith," is less true than, "A minority of Christians do terrible things because of their faith."

2) Those two statements are equally true, but because Muslims are discriminated against, it is unfair to make one of those statements and fair to make the other. In essence, we shut up about one of them as a type of reparation for discrimination.

3) Those two statements are equally true and equally morally right to state, but we shouldn't make those statements because making those statements would have bad political consequences.

I'm going to guess that you're getting at 3, but if I'm off track, please correct me. I don't entirely disagree with 3, but that's about the only one I can get onboard with, and even then, I can only give it tepid approval. If that's the tack you're taking, we can certainly talk about it, but I want to make sure you're not claiming something completely different.

As for the rest of your post, I feel like you might be arguing with somebody other than me. I don't support Trump, his policies, or his rhetoric, and I think that he'd be very bad for our security for exactly the reasons you state. I just don't think that being ridiculous in the opposite direction is healthy either. It's factually silly, and if I'm reading the room right, it gives people like Trump cover because nobody else sounds to an uncareful observer like they're actually telling it like it is. If a politician says that Uganda executing gay people has "nothing to do with Christianity," I'm going to write their position off as total horseshit. I'm not sure why I should expect people on the other side to let it slide when my preferred candidate says something equally dumb about a different religious atrocity.

Comment Re:Omar Saddiqui Mateen? (Score 1) 1718

Lots of US evangelicals who visisted the country and convinced the leadership that gays are responsible for all their problems and killing them is god's will. Where the constitutions didn't actively prevent them - US evangelicals got laws made to kill gay people too.

If a US politician responded to the hanging of a bunch of gay people in Uganda by saying, "This has nothing to do with Christianity," would that be an entirely honest and accurate statement? Would it be a dishonest and downright repugnant smearing of all Christians to suggest that Christan theology may have contributed to the outcome?

If I was to try to summarize what I think your argument is, I'd say you're getting at the notion that Islam is not a uniquely toxic or barbaric addition to politics when compared to other world religions. If that's the case, I would't argue too forcefully against that. It's not uniquely bad. I'd say that the scale of the problem with Islam is larger than it is with other religions right now, but most of that is probably more of an accident of history and where we happen to be in the timeline than something deeply rooted in theology.

Comment Re:Omar Saddiqui Mateen? (Score 1) 1718

Well, maybe if the US hadn't gotten rid of every democratically elected government in the region and replaced them all with 'friendly' theocratic dictators the region wouldn't have had so many of them.

I'm not in favor of the US toppling democratically elected governments, but what exactly is your claim here? That the Middle East was a region full of flourishing liberal democracies before western interference? Or simply that US intervention contributed to an already messy region full of autocratic rulers and patchwork states? Because I'm totally onboard with the second sentiment but it's hard to make an argument for the first. In fact, my take on the elections for the countries we've invaded and wrecked up has always been to allow them to elect whatever kind of crazy people they want to elect and eat the shit sandwich they want to make for themselves. Us trying to meddle with the elections in Iraq, for example, just made us obviously complicit in whatever tribal conflicts would ever come from bringing in new leaders. In places where sectarian conflict is almost guaranteed, putting our thumb on the scale during elections just means we own part of the pain and suffering that follow.

Whenever a country elects a crazy hard-liner and the press asks the President, "How did you let that happen?" his answer should be it happened because I don't run their government, and we should stop acting like we have veto power on every foreign election.

Of course you conveniently ignore that most of the countries at war with ISIS now are not ruled by theocrats - they are the same countries that, over the past ten years, got rid of the US-installed dictators and replaced with with new democratically elected governments - many of which are secular and now have secular constitutions.

Can you list those countries, specifically? This is very hand-wavy, using terms like "many" and noting "secular constitutions" instead of coming up with actual numbers and looking at the actual de facto forms of government. One could argue that hardly any Middle Eastern countries are theocracies by a strict definition simply because the clergy don't directly run the country, but the reality is one of widespread autocracy and religious repression.

And it's not like the Muslim population have a larger percentage of hateful bigots among them - if they did, Donald Trump would never have been the republican nominee.

This is another very spongy claim with soft equivalancy that doesn't really survive close scrutiny. Among the problems:

1) Again, it's very hard to figure out what your actual claim is. Are you asserting that the US and the assorted majority Muslim countries have precisely the same level of "bigotry" ingrained in public discourse, law, and politics? If that's the claim you want to push, I'll gladly let you define "bigotry" however you want and give you the floor.

2) Electing a weirdo in a primary doesn't really mean all that much. There were about 28M votes in the Republican primary and Donald Trump received about 13M of them out of a country of 330M. I'll absolutely grant that that's an alarming number given the positions he has taken, but if we're to grant that the opinions of about 5% of the population who took the time to pull the lever for Trump is representative, we should look at the Pew survey results on the favorability of ISIS in various countries with large Muslim populations. The majority of Muslims were not positive, but an alarmingly large minority had a favorable view, and a very alarming percentage "don't know." And of course, getting back to my original point, you don't have to support ISIS to be at least moderately in favor of a bunch of their more extreme beliefs about how societies should be ruled.

3) As bad as Donald Trump is, he's still not in the same ballpark as places that execute gay people, convict rape victims for "illicit sex" and behead people for witchcraft. If you disagree, I'm all for hearing your case, but we need to come up with some standards for badness.

My big concern here is that in our effort to look like we're not picking on poor, downtrodden people, we tie ourselves into knots trying to explain away the role of culture and religion in behaviors that obviously have at least something to do with culture and religion. When the average American sees a fanatical Muslim army trying to take over the Middle East and committing unthinkable atrocities in the process and the only politician who doesn't say something like, "This has nothing to do with Islam" is a narcissistic kook who also wants to put Muslims on a tracking list, their bullshit detectors push them to see the kook as the only person who is telling the truth about the situation. This is not helpful. In fact, I think it's counterproductive for people who want stability and reasonable policies.

I'm optimistic about the world overall. People like to say that ISIS is a "medieval" culture and that we're way ahead of them, but the reality is that we just figured out that free speech and freedom of religion were good over the past couple hundred years, that racism is wrong over the past few decades, and that abusing gay people is wrong pretty much in less than the last generation, and even then the lessons haven't 100% stuck. Countries can make a lot of progress very quickly if they identify the roots of their misery, and I don't doubt that the long run direction for the last countries soaked in superstitious nonsense will be a good direction in the long run. Belief systems that make people miserable tend to get dropped or heavily modified unless they're enforced at gunpoint, and even then, it's hard to keep the lid on people forever.

Comment Re:Omar Saddiqui Mateen? (Score 1) 1718

You're right 1% is probably a massive overestimation. How else do you explain millions of muslims dead fighting ISIS and every Muslim country in the region being at war with them ?

I could see that happening even with more than 1% support for ISIS. I could also see it happening with very low support for ISIS specifically but alarmingly high support for a lot of the scarier stuff that ISIS stands for. A lot of conflict in that area isn't conflict between bad theocrats and freedom-loving moderates. There's a lot more conflict between bad theocrats and other bad theocrats who just don't agree with their enemy's particular brand of theocracy. It's pretty typical: wars over this type of bullshit are usually over whose turn it is to hold the whip.

Comment Re:We need Loser pays (Score 1) 571

I'm wondering if a simple rule like "loser starts paying after he loses more than 1 lawsuit" is the way to go. Most normal sane people don't file lawsuit after lawsuit. The average person never sues everybody and I'd guess that most people with legitimate suits only ever sue once in a lifetime. It's abusive weirdos and corporations that are the ones suing all the time over nonsense, so a simple rule that gives you one or two freebies would protect the average Joe's right to have his day in court and seriously tamp down crazy behavior.

Most bad stuff (crime, frivolous lawsuits, shady business practices, trolling, whatever) is done by a small number of people doing it over and over again, not by everybody dabbling in it equally. Rules that go easy on you the first time and then crank up the penalties will usually end up burdening the right people and leaving everybody else unscathed.

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"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead