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Comment Re:The market is not yet at equilibrium. (Score 1) 907

Which will ALWAYS cost more than the rest of the world because rather than build it once and regulate access we've created a system that requires all the cellular companies to build out the exact same infrastructure. The result being that we pay for everything 2-5 times.

Whereas for example in the European system they allow providers to build only one tower to service an area then force the provider to provide access and tower space to their competitors at mandated fair pricing. The result is fewer towers, better coverage and lower prices and better profits for the wireless companies. All because government regulated the business.

The free market doesn't fix everything.

There's another huge factor: Europe has a much more centralized population than the USA. Americans like to live out in the suburbs, we like to live in small towns in places like Wyoming, rural Texas or Montana and when we do live in cities, we tend to like them to be fairly low-density cities like Dallas, Phoenix or Huston. When your population's much more urban and close together, economies of scale kick in with cell towers. It's cheaper to have one tower service thousands of people than to have each tower only serving a few people. Also, due to regulatory differences, we Americans tend to buy cell phones subsidized in exchange for being locked in to 2-year contracts. They recoup the cost of the subsidized phone by charging a higher price in the contract. This makes our service cheaper up-front since you don't have to buy the phone but it makes it more expensive long-term.

Comment Re:Competition (Score 1) 907

Not the early 70's. Women couldn't get a credit card I her name until 1975. After the 1974 equal credit act was passed.

Before that women either had to be married or have their father get the loan for them. Either way the loan was in the males name.

In some cases yes, in other cases when one lender wasn't willing to play ball, another would. It really varied depending upon your market and your lender's policies.

Comment Re:Oh good (Score 1) 907

This is what civil law is for. File a suit; they either send out a lawyer and fight it (expensive), send out a lawyer and settle (cheap), or accept a default judgement and have the Bailiffs collect their office equipment.

While I haven't seen his particular contract, I would guess there's a 95% chance that the contract has a clause in it that says something along the lines of "you agree that we're not liable for problems with the payment enforcement device".

Comment At least he wants an amendment (Score 1) 1633

Justice Stevens' judicial philosophy during his entire judicial career was basically that it didn't matter what the Constitution said, it only mattered what he felt it should have said. Over the years, his opinions said that the "commerce clause" was intended to eviscerate any retrains on Congressional authority (US v. Lopez, US v. Morrison, Gonzales v. Raich) that freedom of speech applies to a lot of things, but apparently political speech is not one of them (Citizen's United v. FEC). At least he's admitting in this case that we should change the Constitution rather than simply ignoring it, but why on earth would the Constitution need a clause saying essentially that you have the right to arms except you don't?

Comment Re:China's Non-Interventionst Foreign Policy (Score 1) 325

It is not hard to understand. It is not that China "wants to keep DPRK in power". Rather, it is China's view that it is no one's business outside the DPRK how the DPRK conducts it's affairs. This is not new or unique, it is how basically all of China's foreign-policy doctrine - keep your nose out of other countrie's business.

China never wants to be involved in other countries' problems nor do they seek to impose their will on other countries - you don't see China out trying to spread their own unique brand of communist/capitalism elsewhere do you? That's because they don't - China keeps to themselves, for good or bad.

It is hard for people in the West to believe this because in the West foreign policy is essentially *ALL ABOUT* spreading your influence and trying to spread democracy. China has no interest in any of this.

China is a regional power, but the reason they don't engage in the actions you discuss is because they currently are not a superpower. It's true that they are clearly "communist" in name only as they've clearly abandoned any notion of being part of an international socialist movement. That being said, their harassment of Japan, their cold relations with South Korea and their continued insistence that Taiwan/Republic of China is their property shows they don't mind badgering others, even if they're indifferent to the ideology of other nations.

They do indeed try to impose their will on other countries well outside of Asia in some cases too. A clear example of this is how they demand that every nation recognize the PRC as the "one China" which is why most of the Western world including America only have limited relations with Taiwan and those nations cannot refer to Taiwan as the "Republic of China". They're pretty fickle about how other nations relate with Tibet too. They manipulate the currencies of other nations, particularly the US Dollar to give themselves a trade advantage (though this is hardly unique to China, most central banks seem to do this including America's own Federal Reserve and their "peg" has been much softer in recent years).

I see you clearly want to imply there's something inherently "bad" about America playing the role of a superpower but you must ask yourself what is the alternative? When I look at world history, America seems like a far more gentle superpower compared with historical superpowers in Greece, Rome, the Khans, China, or Napoleonic France. I suppose British Empire wasn't *so* bad, though they still had much more desire for conquest and colonization than modern America does and America's concern for human rights isn't perfect, but it is generally better than that of Imperial Britain. What about no superpower? Historically, that seems to have led to instability and war. The various European wars and especially the two World Wars were caused by nations feeling they had a shot at winning because things were basically balanced. The Cold War and all the proxy wars it entailed were caused by the USA and USSR each thinking it could gain the upper hand.

I know Westerners are raised with the notion that being "fair" is always inherently a good thing, but the truth is, sometimes an unfair balance of power can promote peace. America's lopsided power advantage over other nations has led to most nations having little desire to want to fight America because they know they'd loose. Likewise, America doesn't need to fight most nations since most will concede to them. The fact that American voters don't generally have much of a taste for conquest or long wars generally keeps America from demanding too much. It's not "fair" but it does promote peace.

Comment Re:Why now? (Score 1) 325

Well if you're gong to talk about slave labour, then America has to be added to the list. Prison labour is big business now and the main source of made in America products I see for sale. Something like 1% of the adult American population in jail is pretty extreme.

The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude but explicitly exempts convict labor.

Comment Re:Where's the "safest" place on Earth? (Score 1) 115

This segues nicely with a question I've been idly wondering.

Consider all natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornados, volcanoes, hurricanes, forest fires (kinda natural), tsunamis, mudslides, etc.

Now consider all human safety factors, such as crimes of violence, unsafe nuclear/chemical plants, likelihood of being targeted/invaded by a foreign entity, random government oppression, and so on. And I suppose you should consider automobile fatality rates (which probably outweigh all other factors combined).

Plus toss in random other safety factors such as poisonous insects/spiders/snakes, rising ocean levels, and whatnot.

Now where in the world would you say is the safest place to live?

Maybe central Canada somewhere?

I'm just askin'. It't not like I live my life by these considerations (though I have shied away from Western North America a bit... ya know, 'cause o the big one).

In terms of natural disasters, Hawaii spends the least of any US state. Yes, there are hurricanes but they are very rare and, considering you have about 2 weeks warning, about the only reason anyone ever dies from a hurricane is that they won't (or occasionally can't) get the heck outta dodge. The Hawaiian volcanic activity is pretty much limited to non-violent "dribbling" eruptions from the big island's shield volcanoes. About the only way that could kill you is if you were dumb enough to walk across a lava field. Tsunamis are also rare.

Deaths due to chemical accidents are extremely rare anywhere in the USA. Death by nuclear accidents are basically unheard of. Three mile island is America's only nuclear disaster and it killed no one. Elsewhere in the world, Fukushima may have injured a hand full of plant employees but we never could figure out if it has even killed anyone (odd that we fixated so much on the power plant which didn't kill anyone rather than the tsunami that killed thousands). Chernobyl is the only nuclear disaster that has ever clearly killed people. The only reason Cherobyl had the troubles that it had was that the Soviets, in an effort to save money, basically decided to build it without any of the normal failsafe measures reactors normally have and they then proceeded to perform various extremely dangerous experiments on it. After the disaster, the socialist state initially refused to acknowledge the incident or evacuate the populous.

As for poisonous snakes, about 5 or 6 Americans die from them every year so the odds of one killing you are slim. About half of those snakebite victims are drunk. Spiders are generally less of a threat than that. Here's an odd fact, deer are actually by far the deadliest animals in North America simply because we hit them with our cars. Deer related deaths dwarf sharks, spiders and snakes.

Yes, oceans are rising, but we're talking a few inches over the course of centuries here. You won't wake up one day to find sea level have risen and your house is now under water.

Crime rates have declined over the last few years. Violent crime rates today are a shadow of what they were in the 70's and 80's. Yes, there are still dangerous neighborhoods but there are fewer of them and they are less dangerous than before.

Car accidents do kill. You could either try living in a place where mass transit reduces or eliminates the need for one (like New York City) or try living closer to where you work and shop

Comment Re:save us from *all* pseudo-science (Score 1) 674


Hard to explain it much better than that...

Both atheism and theism are making assertions so both have a burden of proof. An atheist asserts that the universe and self replicating life came into existence purely via natural means. That is a claim and thus has just as much of a duty to show proof as assertions to the contrary.

Comment Re:If they are SO REALLY CONCERN about religion .. (Score 1) 674

most Christians and Buddhists that I know understand the role of religion (and when to NOT use religion).

Not so for the Muslims.

And how many Muslims do you know? Most Muslims also know when NOT to use religion. There are more than a billion of them - if half a billion of them did not know when to use it, I think we might have a tad bigger problem that we currently do.

Remember, the kooks you see on TV are like the kooks you see for other religions as well - they are the minority. Hell, the way faith is involved in politics in the US and informs policy decision (veiled as some other excuse) has done far more harm to the LGBT community than most other religions.

Unlike most Islamic states, the Christian USA doesn't persecute gays. At worst, there is debate over recognition of same-sex marriages. Gays are publicly stoned or jailed in large portions of the Islamic world.

Comment Re:Oh noooos! (Score 1) 509

The western world owes the civil rights movement a great deal, and it's a great shame that my children's generation, now in their early 30's, generally have a poor understanding of the word "equality" and virtually no idea about the price paid by women and blacks to obtain it in the mid 20th century.

From the perspective of a millennial, I'd say the lack of thought about equality is a good thing. Men my age never think about whether a woman should be in the workplace or not. We just assume they've always been there. I've had several friends who were in inter-racial relationships and inter-racial friendship and nobody ever stopped to think about it. Gays were generally tolerated with very little attention payed to their orientation.

To us, the struggle for equality is just something we read about in a history class once. We don't strive to overcome our differences namely because we've forgotten those differences were ever there in the first place. MLK and Susan B Anthony never dreamed of a world where people would sit around talking about how to get along as equals, they envisioned a world where people simply would get along as equals.

Comment Re:Equality (Score 1) 509

Because they are not making as much money, because they tend to be at the short end of an abusive relationship maybe? Your so called arguments could be just as well used as a motivation for why more equality is still needed

If you compare childless, single women to childless, single men and look at identical careers rather than careers with "equivalent education", the so called "pay gap" vanishes. This is because the pay gap isn't caused by discrimination. It's caused by the fact that women tend to prefer their families to their careers. Polls asking men and women what they want in a career tend to show women prioritize flexible schedules and benefits over salary. Women are also far more likely to put their careers on hold and take maternity leave than men are to take paternity leave. You could just as easily call this "disparity" evidence that women maintain a better work-life balance then men.

It is true that women are slightly more likely to be victims of domestic violence (though, women who are married are dramatically less likely to be victims than single women). The thing is, the stats aren't all that lopsided. You might think domestic violence overwhelmingly is perpetrated by men against women but about 40% of the victims of domestic violence incidents are men. (That's not saying the perpetrators are women, there are other cases such as brother attacking brother or roommate vs roommate where both are men).

Comment Re:Social division of labor (Score 1) 509

And the poisonous ideologies invented to justify it, and the pervasive violence employed to enforce it. For women's liberation through socialist revolution! Abolish the family!

Did you know an unmarried woman is statistically more likely to be a victim of violence, particularly domestic violence, than a married woman. Both unmarried women and men in general, are more likely to be victims of violence than married women. We hear a lot about "battered wives" but battered girlfriends are much more common.

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