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Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 283

You are ignoring the trees for the forest.

Funny. My point was that the ACLU only defends free speech when it is speech with which they agree. I cited two examples supporting my argument. You proceeded to claim (using what I consider flawed logic) that my examples were not free speech issues. No matter. There are many more examples where the ACLU has failed to defend free speech. Proving the negative is of course difficult. Clearly there are many free speech issues that the ACLU does not take on for whatever reason. I submit that reason is oftentimes because they disagree with the speech being censored, but of course I cannot prove it. Somehow I doubt that it is just *coincidence* that when the censored speech is conservative in nature they choose to remain quiet.

Fortunately for my argument, there are also times when the ACLU actively *opposes* free speech. One such case that comes quickly to mind is the ACLU's support of the "moving buffer zones" around abortion clinics. As you no doubt know, people who protest abortions are required to stay a certain distance away from anyone entering or leaving an abortion clinic. This clearly infringes on their free speech, and for some reason (ideology?) the ACLU has filed multiple injunctions aimed at silencing these protesters.

the point is the lady sleeping at the homeless shelter should have the same rights as my (sadly, late) uncle.

And she does. She has the RIGHT to stand on the corner with a sign advocating whatever candidate or legislation that she supports. She has the RIGHT to donate money to any candidate she chooses. Unfortunately she probably doesn't have much money. So, by your "logic", rich people should be constrained on how much they can donate because there are poor people who cannot donate much. Won't you please admit the obvious -- that is censorship. Now, you may feel due to your own ideology that it is justified censorship, but it is clearly an impingement of the rich person's free speech. And for the ACLU to stand by and allow the 2 high profile free speech cases I cited to go unchallenged, it tells me their actions are driven more by ideology than by some unquestioning belief in free speech.

BTW, I am sorry I called you a liberal. You used the phrase I cited that triggered my statement. I have found that most liberals believe that the rich usually get there through means other than hard work or intelligence. This is a core belief, and they use it to justify all manner of abuse, including censorship.

PS I am sorry to hear of your Uncle's demise. He sounds like "my kind of guy".

Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 283

but some men are created rich

Ahhh, the liberal core belief - if one is successful or wealthy they got there by a) heredity (ie being created rich) b) cheating c) luck. Therefore it follows that it is perfectly fine to take away their wealth (tax the rich into the stone age) and their rights (you can't broadcast your own views on your own radio station) in the name of "fairness".

Again, can I get a TV station?

Of course you can. You can buy one. ;-)

Your money isn't speech, and if you have to pay for speech, it isn't free speech.

What a pathetic argument. Nice slogan though. You know very well that "free speech" refers to being able to say what you believe without the government throwing you in jail for saying it. It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with guaranteeing that everyone gets the same megaphone or audience. To contort the first amendment in that way is a classic liberal gambit. This country is founded on equal OPPORTUNITY, not equal OUTCOMES. Some people are smarter than others. Some work harder. Yes, some are luckier and some are "born on third base". Get over it. Stop trying to use the Constitution to make everything "FAIR" (a liberal's favorite 4 letter word that begins with "F"). It won't work. It can't work. And it totally screws up the country.

Comment Re:Nonsense (Score 1, Flamebait) 283

Fortunately for the proponents of net neutrality, there's never been a case of a government using its regulatory power to curtail free speech.

Huh? I can think of 2 instances without even breaking a sweat: McCain-Feingold ( and the "Fairness Doctrine"

I wonder why the ACLU didn't fight those free-speech abrogations? Don't answer, that was a rhetorical question. The ACLU is only pro-free-speech when it's "their kind of speech", just like everybody else on both sides that claims to support the first amendment.

Actually, though, I am glad the ACLU came out in favor of net neutrality. They are a good litmus test for me. I have been torn on the issue, but now that they have taken a side I now know which position I support.

Comment Re:USPS does a very poor job (Score 1) 299

You must live near one of the few crappy local post offices in the US.

Huh. You must live near one of the few good local post offices in the US. Everywhere I have lived the USPS has been a distant 3rd. Really distant, as in not even playing the same game. They behave like a monopoly that could care less what its customers think. Oh wait ...

Comment Re:I'm betting (Score 2, Interesting) 206

While is truth to your statement that unfettered capitalism can result in problems, it is certainly clear that government oversight is not the solution. From my perspective, government regulation does not guarantee anything other than a lack of innovation, an increase in price, shortages, and lots of do-nothing patronage "jobs" for the well-connected. See MMS, SEC, US Post Office, etc.

I work in a highly regulated industry (medical devices) and I can tell you based on multiple decades of experience that the effect of that regulation is largely detrimental. I have seen many products which could have been extremely beneficial be delayed or de-featured due to regulatory silliness. Further, the cost of our products are dramatically increased due to the need to provide adequate "documentation" (I am convinced they weigh it to decide when you have done enough). We are forced to maintain a regulatory department that is as big as our R&D department. Everything we do has regulatory implications. When an engineer comes up with a bright idea, the first question asked is "how long will it take and how much will it cost to get it through the FDA?" Often the answers to those questions kill the project.

BTW, did it escape your notice that this particular problem was caught by a concerned citizen, not our benevolent, nanny-state government? They were probably too busy surfing the web watching porn I suppose.

I should hasten to add, however, that government isn't always completely incompetent. I have had personal experience with one extremely efficient government agency. They are always on top of things, have the latest in equipment, and don't miss a beat. This of course would be the IRS. Based on your signature this no doubt pleases you.

Comment Re:The first movie (Score 1) 861

sometimes I'll also illegally (depending on jurisdiction) download stuff, because there is an upper limit to what I can afford to spend

And there in a nutshell is a perfect example of the root cause of the "financial crisis". The mindset nowadays is that we should all have everything we want just because we want it. The mere fact that we cannot afford it does not enter into the equation. We borrow money we can never pay back (often we have no intention of paying it back -- see student loan mess), or we download stuff we can't afford to buy, simply because we feel entitled. Clearly this attitude is not sustainable (the current buzzword of the left) and we are now seeing the consequences play out. Sadly, it will be those who shunned this entitlement mentality, worked hard, saved, lived within their means, and played by the rules, who will be hurt the most as they are forced to pay the bills for everyone else.

Comment Re:Interesting, but... (Score 1) 131

Coincidentally, these "cold" places you speak of also have fairly homogeneous populations. Perhaps this is due to the climate which makes that geography less appealing to people from other climates? Regardless, I think homogeneity of the populace is the better predictor of low crime rates and non-violent societies. Of course I have no hard data to back this up; it's just something that I have noticed. If you think about it, this makes sense since most people are usually more tolerant of others who are like them than they are of people who are different.

Comment Re:Suggestion (Score 3, Insightful) 180

I hate it how people want to change the rules of the game whenever their strategy stops working

First of all, stop losses are not a "strategy", they are a tactic. My strategy is to invest in solid, widely traded, predominantly blue chip companies or in broad indices via ETFs. None of these types of investments should gyrate 10% in value in a matter of minutes because that means hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars are vanishing and/or appearing. Of course, sometimes oil wells explode and big companies can take an instantaneous hit in their market cap (stop losses salvaged a year's gains on my BP stock just one week ago). Those types of events are fortunately rare, affect one or a small group of companies and are what stop losses are mostly for. Thursday was more like a magician's trick. One minute the trillion dollars is in his left hand. Then a blink later it's in his right. I suppose it doesn't matter to you that the "left hand" was largely small investors like me and the "right hand" was hedge funds, high frequency programmed traders and banks, but to me something smells rotten.

So, excuse me for saying this, but I want money to be transferred from emotional, panicky investors to calm, smart investors,

How exactly does micro-penny programmed trading accomplish this? Positions are bought and sold in microseconds skimming micropennies on each share transacted. The computer with the fastest network access wins. This, you assert, is efficient allocation of capital? This is good because it transfers capital from "panicky emotional investors" to people who will better allocate it? What is the real economic benefit of this activity, because one undeniable side affect of it is to distort and destabilize the market.

I very rarely find myself in favor of increased regulation, but in this case I think the rules do indeed need to be changed. If the majority of people lose faith in the market capital allocation will be severely and negatively impacted.

Comment Re:Suggestion (Score 1) 180

From what I have read, a big part of the problem is suspected to be those "circuit breakers". The US market is composed of more than 1 exchange, and each exchange has different rules for stopping trading. The computers would simply look for alternate means of trading through another affiliated exchange if the primary exchange was shut off. This dramatically affects the volume of shares available to trade, which in turn can result in wild swings in price. As an engineer I can certainly appreciate how difficult it would be to make such a fragmented system stable under all conditions. It seems as if we stumbled into a series of events that made it unstable for a period of time. There are some who suspect this was orchestrated (aren't there always conspiracy theorists).

And yes, per a poster above, the people that really got screwed were small (aka retail) investors who use stop losses and trailing stop losses, which are like safety nets put in place to protect you from steep drops (like October 1987 when the market went down 22%). Stop losses are usually set at a safe distance from the price (8% is a common number) so that they aren't triggered by daily fluctuations. A stock's beta is used to determine a safe stop loss limit. What happened yesterday is the market dropped 9% in 10 minutes, tripping most stop losses, and then it climbed back up 6% in the next 20 minutes. Effectively the shares were stolen ... transfered from the small investors who can't watch their stocks all day long, to the big institutional investors, hedge funds, and banks. I am one of those people. When I saw the DOW chart at the end of my work day my heart sank because I knew I had just been fleeced. Given that the market sold off again Friday, and if it continues to drop I suppose I may yet get the last laugh when prices finally end up below where all my stocks/ETFs sold, but for now I can't help but feel cheated.

Comment Odd twist (Score 1) 236

Usually when competition enters a market prices fall. In this case, Apple's entry seems to be raising prices. I suppose offering a higher price point is how Apple was able to get the publishers to partner with them after what happened with the music publishers, who are not happy with the $0.99 defacto single track price point. Hopefully once Apple gets a good foothold in the market prices will again fall as Amazon, Apple, B&N and other ebook vendors battle for marketshare, willingly cutting their own profit margins in order to obtain it. But for now, I view this as a giant step backwards for the "ebook revolution". Oh well, I refuse to spend over $10 for an ebook, so I guess my Kindle purchases will be much reduced.

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