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Comment I'll probably keep it (Score 2) 25

We canceled our cable subscription about a year ago, and while I was OK with it my wife hated not having certain live TV channels. We'd tried Sling, but it was hit-and-miss on the stuff we wanted. Some channels, like BTN, aren't available at all on Sling. DirecTV is only a little more and actually covers the live programming we want.

Make no mistake, the launch was rough. I don't think they allocated enough hardware or bandwidth to handle their initial demand, so streaming cut out constantly. It's finally getting to be pretty solid, though, and I'd much rather pay Sling a few bucks than have anything to do with Comcast.

Comment I think civility is going to go out the window (Score 5, Insightful) 1404

I think my major concern with the next few years is that he's a bit of a loose cannon. You don't want a loose cannon who's obviously quite sensitive when pushed on things negotiating with other countries or making impulsive decisions that are hard to undo. I doubt he'd start a war (intentionally) but I really think he has to lay off the late-night Twitter. Telegraphing exactly what bothers you to your adversaries isn't a smart move. Sure, you can argue it's all a show, but some of the anger he's displayed with the press, his critics, etc. show that it's very hard to hide his feelings and just keep quiet.

Here's what I'm mainly worried about -- now that Trump's President, the gloves come off of every single loud-mouthed, opinionated angry citizen who loves to moan and complain. By providing an example of "acceptable" behavior via his constant personal attacks on people, I think he's going to signal to everyone that they no longer need to be civil to one another. I know a lot of people who just aren't happy unless they're railing loudly against anyone and anything. Having that be the starting point for any discussion or debate for the next 4 or 8 years is going to lead to further retrenchment of people into their respective camps. I for one can't stand engaging with people who come out swinging, looking for a fight on every little thing...it's just not a personality type I'm interested in dealing with. The world's complex enough already and life's short, so why waste processor cycles arguing pointlessly?

One thing I did like about the Obama years was that he was a very approachable President. Even when the political rancor was at its worst, with a few exceptions he took the high road in these arguments. I doubt we're going to see that very much anymore -- it's going to be years of angry press conferences and sound bites.

Comment Not a surprise (Score 4, Insightful) 306

If you're among the 1-percenters' offspring whose parents either went to these elite institutions or can afford to donate something substantial to get you in, why is it surprising that elite schools have more well-off students? There will always be efforts by the institutions in the form of scholarships and flexible admissions practices to diversify the student body, but the top colleges are definitely a pay-to-play operation.

There's basically 4 factors that determine where you end up in life -- how smart or successful your parents are, how wealthy they are, how much raw potential you have, and usually a whole lot of dumb luck. Smart or successful parents can afford to live in a good school district and provide a stable environment for their kids. Really rich parents can buy their way into the elite prep school track. Really smart students can often succeed enough to overcome a bad environment. Anyone can get lucky and just have things sort of work out for them. In my case, it was a combination of a good home life and a lot of right place/right time luck. I wasn't a good enough student to be in the scholarship bucket, and my parents weren't rich, but I did go to a decent K-12 school system and had involved parents who kicked my butt enough to do reasonably well. My dumb luck was getting a part time job doing tech support for the state university I went to, eventually doing it just short of full time, and using that to get my foot in the door at my first IT job.

The reason the elite schools will always have the lock on the 1% crowd is that once you're in, regardless of how you got there, you don't have to rely on luck. It starts with non-religious elite private schools. If your family can afford college level tuition for a K-12 education, there's a tacit agreement that one of the elite universities will have a spot for you. (Seriously, one school near us charges almost $40K for grade school tuition, but it's in the top 15 or so among elite boarding schools.) If you can get into and graduate from a Harvard, Yale, Princeton or similar, the school and its alumni network will not let you fail. White-shoe management consulting firms exclusively hire from the elite universities, and that's probably one of the most lucrative jobs a new graduate can have. The same goes for investment banking -- going from being a broke college student to making $250K a year is a big change. People who work for investment banks, management consulting firms and other similar employees mysteriously tend to wind up in very lucrative positions at their clients eventually, and the old boys'/old girls' network perpetuates.

This is why I feel states need to invest in public universities. It's basically the only lever the non-elite among us have to get ourselves to a better situation. If you're not smart enough or have a unique enough situation to get a full scholarship to a private university, your best bet in most states is to go to a big public college and milk your time there for all it's worth. I'm socking away money for my kids' college education, but unless they turn out to be absolute geniuses this is going to be the advice I give them too. Life may be a matter of who you know or dumb luck sometimes, but it never hurts to increase your chances. If you work hard and have a good run of luck, it is still possible to at least be comfortable. We'll see what the future holds though.

Comment Makes every IT person look unprofessional (Score 1) 271

Whenever I see stories like this, and there are a lot of them, I'm reminded that the executive crowd is seeing the same news. Has anyone ever stopped to consider the possibility that part of the offshoring and outsourcing has been to mitigate against the "anti-social jerk sysadmin" issues? I'm not perfect, but one thing I do as part of my job is to be as professional as possible. There are always bad apples, but it's rare to see stories about a lawyer stealing client funds or a doctor intentionally mistreating patients. Actually in this case, the equivalent would be a fired corporate lawyer taking all their clients' paperwork and lighting it on fire to spite their bosses. I'm sure one of the big selling points of the Tatas and Infosyses of the world is that their customers have a legal contract and that they have very "compliant" employees compared to the average US-based IT guy (in the exec's minds.)

Revenge is never the best course of action, no matter how much of a dick someone is to you. In my particular sub-specialty in IT there are maybe a thousand or so people who really know everything end to end and rotate from employer to employer. If I pulled anything like this, I guarantee I'd never get a job in my field again -- I've been working for 20+ years in the business and keep running into the same people over and over -- and they talk to each other! The IT field is smaller than most people think, especially when you get beyond the first-level support jobs.

Comment Re:WHat I said on ars: (Score 3, Informative) 550

There is a difference between a pardon and commutation.

...which doesn't matter, of course, because the Wikipedia specifically said "clemency" (which is explicitly defined as including commutation). There is also a difference between jeans and grapefruit, but that's also irrelevant to the topic at hand.

Comment Re:Not sure what to think.... (Score 1) 794

That's what sex means in a medical context, though: your equipment. Your doctor is on the short list of people who have a need to care about that, because it's one of the rare places where anatomy matters.

I'm fairly far right on a lot of matters (and just spent a few ammo boxes hunting the elusive wild skeet this weekend). I'm socially liberal in the classic sense, though, in that I don't care what people do if it doesn't affect me. Want to smoke pot? Marry your gay partner? Go by a gender different from your biological sex (or even something totally different)? I couldn't care less. That's between you and your loved ones.

Comment Re:Not sure what to think.... (Score 4, Informative) 794

They are not medically or legally different things.

I grew up in a medical family and I've worked in healthcare in various capacities for a couple of decades now. In any organization I've dealt with, "sex" or "biological" sex explicitly refers to your anatomy. That's important because biological males can't get cervical cancer and biological females can't get testicular cancer, for instance. They're the words used on the occasions when anatomy are relevant. Most medical organizations I've been around in the last decade or so distinguish between "sex" and "gender", which is what the patient presents themselves as. Sure, they're most commonly the same value, but they are separate database fields referring to different concepts.

But what you and other extreme liberals

LOL. You presume much, and wrongly. But con/lib aside, I've never encountered a single problem with referring to someone by their gender. The people who care to distinguish between sex and gender appreciate the respect, and understand when medical decisions require healthcare providers to discuss their sex instead. It's easy to be nice to people, so why not do so? It doesn't cost us anything.

Comment Re:Not sure what to think.... (Score 5, Insightful) 794

What special privilege is Chelsea asking for? She wants to be called by her gender (not biological sex; those are medically and legally different things). She's not asking to go to an all-girls high school or otherwise do anything controversial. In what remote sense does her request harm you in any way?

Comment Re:Your move, Assange.... (Score 4, Informative) 794

A definition of "clemency" says:

Leniency or mercy. A power given to a public official, such as a governor or the president, to in some way lower or moderate the harshness of punishment imposed upon a prisoner.

Clemency is considered to be an act of grace. It is based on the policy of fairness, justice, and forgiveness. It is not a right but rather a privilege, and one who is granted clemency does not have the crime forgotten, as in Amnesty, but is forgiven and treated more leniently for the criminal acts. Clemency is similar to pardon inasmuch as it is an act of grace exempting someone from punishment.

Barring contrary definitions, the President granted her clemency. I strongly suspect Assange is far too little to live up to his promise, but this is exactly the situation the Wikileaks tweet described.

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