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Comment Re:Intelligent (Score 1) 406

While it is unfortunate for the opposition candidate to flaunt the Constitution in such a manner, note that we can also see the establishment candidate, Evita Peron^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H Hillary Clinton, is actually proposing to amend the Constitution in order to reverse a Supreme Court decision which allowed a group of people to advocate against her as a political candidate. She also has designs on her political opponents' second amendment rights.

Comment Re:Stranger Danger! (Score 2) 211

Luxury housing is always the first to be built in a highly constrained, under-built market like New York City. If you need to strongarm the city to get any development done whatsoever then you're going to focus only on the highest-value projects.

It upsets peoples' sense of egalitarianism, but it's still better for the overall housing situation than nothing. Of course, building enough housing on all levels of the market makes too much sense and will continue to be disallowed.

Comment Re:Benjamin Franklin.... Cruel irony? (Score 3, Funny) 265

Benjamin Frankly surely would have been pissed if he knew that his name was stamped on the ass of a megaship designed to carry everything from wind-up frogs to American flags all made in China while the American's shipped back raw materials and money.

*ahem*

"No nation was ever hurt by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous." -- Benjamin Franklin

Comment Re: Jingoism and Nativism (Score 3, Insightful) 242

Yes. Yes it can. Because that means you can't have a shop that really specializes in imported goods: you're burdening the shop operator with a responsibility to find local goods, stock them, sell them, keep track of exactly the amount sold of both, and stop selling the imported goods if the local goods aren't doing well enough (so unless you want to turn people away from time to time you'll need to maintain a decent safety margin). It rules out entire classes of very effective, proven business models (like the Apple store, or really anything you'd find in a mall that is focused on a certain brand. Swatch. Tumi. Banana Republic. Hugo Boss.)

Retail operations cost money. Tacking on a 30%-local-goods operation isn't going to be straightforward for many businesses, and ensures that only the largest players operating at scale are going to be entering the market. A straight-up punitive tariff might be less harmful for many businesses.

Comment Re:Remember where the responsibility is (Score 2) 392

Well, the voters approved a Constitution under which they have subsequently elected Congresspeople who have made laws (the tax code) that Apple follows. That's why Apple is being reported on for tax avoidaince and not being investigated for tax evasion. The voters also elected Presidents who appointed a Supreme Court who in turn have assured us that tax avoidance is perfectly legal and that no one has any patriotic duty to pay more tax than they are required to by law (see Gregory v. Helvering).

But if we'd like to talk about how the tax code itself is letting down the voters, we need to be sure to talk about how US corporate taxes have gone from "some of the world's friendliest" to "some of the world's worst" and encourage investment overseas instead of at home... in light of the fact that businesses should be investing money where they can get a better return (often in a region which has very little investment to begin with, like some places overseas - diminishing marginal returns and all that) and that, on top of that, chastising them for wanting to hold on to more money instead of surrender it for the good of the US state is a position worthy of ridicule. They're big businesses: figure out how to align some incentives at them, instead of making it about the one single part of Patriotism that the American left still seems to respect and celebrates. We don't need to celebrate their work creating jobs and paying taxes or whatever - the profit, the money is its own reward - but we do need to make sure that they're making money for doing the right thing because the money is its own reward.

Then we can talk about how the government does a crappy job of spending the money it already has, perhaps by celebrating the Stimulus or the Iraq War.

Comment Re:Gold is the only real money (Score 2) 306

Your whole argument is based on gold not as money, but as an asset valued in fiat currency.

No! It's not the fiat-currency-price of gold which doubles and halves, it's the real price, the only price that matters, the amount of goods and services which you need that you can purchase with it, which is the only real way to value an asset. (It's one of those terms of art in economics that actually means exactly what it says on the tin.)

And the amount of gold may be stable, but its value is not. You don't hold gold because of its intrinsic value. If no one else wants gold anymore you will not benefit from its intrinsic usefulness by turning it into pretty jewelry or using trace amounts in the manufacture of electronic components. You hold it because it has an effective value, because people demand it, and that demand is just as artificial as the demand for the "fiat" US Dollar, which is a bedrock of stability in comparison. For all the laser-focus on the supply side, gold-bugs have lost sight of the other half of economics, demand.

Oh, and fun fact: You can convert between fiat-currency price and real price using Math. The typical math involved is a little thing you may have heard called the "consumer price index" that measures inflation. In its worst year ever, US dollar inflation once hit 14.76%. Of course that kind of yearly change from gold is just business as usual.

Comment Re:Gold is the only real money (Score 3, Insightful) 306

Gold is crap as money. Good money needs to be a medium of exchange, store of value, and unit of account. It fails at all three of these. No one accepts gold as payment - we've moved on to other technologies. No one uses gold as a unit of account - considering its value can literally double (or fall in half) in the space of 1 calendar year, it'd make business wildly unpredictable. (Just imagine... that mortgage you got denominated in gold? One year later you owe twice the value of the house.) The only thing it sort of works for is being a store of value - it's deficient there, due to its volatility, but the volatility is different than other asset classes' volatility, so works as a hedge against a crisis. It's more insurance than it is money.

Comment Re:Hipster software is the real problem. (Score 3, Insightful) 86

Eh. You're right about things being overhyped but you go too far in the opposite direction. Ruby/Rails is an effective combination for low-volume elevated-complexity latency-insensitive web-based software, the kind you might use internally to your business. Node is a useful tool for quickly writing nonblocking servers (much more useful when they use more than simply HTTP). NoSQL is effective when actually have a ton of data and with the right software (i.e. not Mongo) it can provide guarantees to do everything you want that's also mathematically possible on a data set that large.

But yes, while I like Node in theory, I just wish it wasn't in a freaky language like JavaScript. As for NoSQL... once your problem size is actually legitimately huge then you need to do obnoxious things to make everything work, one way or another, no matter what you do... so it really does pay to avoid it if at all possible (e.g. through clever sharding or the like).

And you're really right about how simple Github is - it almost makes up for the complexity of git itself. Git is a useful and powerful tool that is much nicer than the svn and cvs tools it replaced, and having distributed development available like that is quite effective, but you've actually got to bother to try and learn something about it (otherwise please stick with svn or whatever instead of whining about how a few modestly-cryptic commands and the implications of representing commit history as an immutable DAG are so hard to wrap your head around - this should be undergrad stuff and you've no business passing judgement on entire stacks if you can't grok it).

Comment Re:Schooling, perhaps? (Score 1) 519

The US is the most right wing Western country, and that is the reason why there is such inequality of opportunity - the unions, if anything, are too weak, not too strong.

There are strong teachers' unions in cities like New York and Chicago. You hear about these regularly. Usually it's because some teacher was caught on a camera in some Bronx school doing nothing but reading a newspaper all class long, while the elementary-school students sit around gambling, and he can't be fired, and instead is transferred to a "rubber room" facility where he collects a salary for not doing any work.

Teachers' unions are a hell of a lot closer to the problem in this country than they are the solution, but even though they claim to care about the children more than anything else, they will never consider admitting any fault whatsoever, even in the face of the system's most obvious failure and corruption. They will gladly dish out blame on everyone else for failing schools (administrations, politicians, budgets, parents) but are wholly incapable of countenancing the possibility that their organization might be part of the problem too. It is perhaps the saddest part of American politics.

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