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Comment Re:MS is missing the obvious (Score 1) 139

THANK YOU. Been saying this for years. My organization, after getting tired of managing Blackberries just this month, started moving to iPhones.

Windows Phone has been around for five or six years -- you'd think MS would've tried to get into the business world with their phones by now, but nope. We would've loved buying a bunch of phones that just integrated with everything we're already using, but now we're having to get it working on iPhones.

Comment Re:Tourism (Score 1) 211

And that's too bad. It seems like the established space-faring, rocket-launching community is against tourism as being "below" them, but I'd still bet it's economically viable -- there are many communities, towns, states, and even entire countries that base their economies off of tourism. It's not the best long-term economic plan, but it'd definitely work in the short-term to get space travel to become commonplace, which is all we really need.

Comment Re:Visual Studio + g++ || Clang (Score 2) 889

You know, I was going to reply with a snarky comment about how "Can we all just admit to ourselves that we'll probably never see Microsoft programs on Linux", but seeing how Microsoft has been changing ever so slightly recently, I'm not sure anymore. They do seem a bit more inclined with their new CEO to be present everywhere and to be seen as more of a service you can use anywhere, but I'm sure they'd have to balance this with the resources necessary they'd have to assign to making them work, and work well, on Linux.

I never thought I'd see their programs for Android either, though, but it has a vastly greater market share than any sort of Linux desktop.

Comment Learn a "legacy" skill (Score 4, Insightful) 376

I'm beginning to think the "eventualy move into management" when you get to your mid to late 30's is just the normal development path in IT. I'm desperately trying to avoid it, myself, but as I get older I constantly find management jobs being thrust in my direction.

That's working the private sector, of course. In the public sector, there was nothing to worry about, since nobody ever seemed to retire -- I could've stayed a programmer well into my 50's.

The alternative is to learn some skill that never seems to be fall out of use -- I see tons of graybeards in my company that do nothing but maintain aging AS400 and larger mainframe systems all day.

Honestly, they seem to be the happiest of the bunch...

Comment Not all governments throw people away (Score 4, Interesting) 180

ATF uses fake drugs, big bucks to snare suspects

It's the drugs â" though non-existent â" that make that possible because federal law usually imposes tougher mandatory sentences for drugs than for guns. The more drugs the agents say are likely to be in the stash house, the longer the targets' sentence is likely to be. Conspiring to distribute 5 kilograms of cocaine usually carries a mandatory 10-year sentence â" or 20 years if the target has already been convicted of a drug crime.

That fact has not escaped judges' notice. The ATF's stings give agents "virtually unfettered ability to inflate the amount of drugs supposedly in the house and thereby obtain a greater sentence," a federal appeals court in California said in 2010. "The ease with which the government can manipulate these factors makes us wary." Still, most courts have said tough federal sentencing laws leave them powerless to grant shorter prison terms.

To the ATF, long sentences are the point. Fifteen years "is the mark," Smith said.

"You get the guy, you get him with a gun, and you can lock him up for 18 months for the gun. All you did was give this guy street creds," Smith said. "When you go in there and you stamp him out with a 15-to-life sentence, you make an impact in that community." ...
[A defendant's] lawyer, Michael Falconer, said he wouldn't be opposed to the drug-house stings if he thought the ATF could make sure they were aimed only at people who were already ripping off drug dealers. "But on some level," he said, "it's Orwellian that they have to create crime to prevent crime."

You know what the US government won't do for that same individual? Ensure they have a decent education, a basic level of care for their mental and physical health, a safe neighborhood, and a real shot at becoming a contributing member of society even though that would cost less than convicting them of thoughtcrime and throwing them in prison for fifteen years. Instead we pay for some kitted out machine gun-toting pigs to play cowboy rather than policing the streets like officers. Not incidentally, they're too chickenshit to get out of their cars in a lot of those neighborhoods. Yet they still collect their paycheck and their pension, live way out in the suburbs to avoid the desperation they help create with their cowardice, and pat themselves on the back for being heroes.

Now imagine you're an immigrant, or an Iraqi, Yemeni, Afghani, or Syrian. You're worth even less than a citizen. You're trash. You're not even a speedbump on the way to some policy goal rooted in geopolitical theories that have been dead to the rest of the world since the 80s. The kind of policy that sends a million troops and five trillion dollars to a sanctioned, isolated nation, and ends up destabilizing the entire region, massively aiding Iran, and stoking tensions between Shia and Sunni, all while avoiding a single hint of punishment for Saudi Arabia or Pakistan where all of the funding and most of the terrorists for 9/11 came from. Oh, and as a plus: where al Qaeda was unheard of before, they now have another weak state to operate from. Brilliant.

That's why the rest of the world despises the American government. It's not our freedom. It's our complete lack of principle, abject hypocrisy, and massive state violence that they hate. And with our apathetic political landscape, they're beginning to tire of Americans individually for being lazy, ignorant, wasteful, and greedy. We just sit here and take it; a nation of lolling toddlers waiting on the next innovation in fast food and reruns of Pawn Stars while our wealth is squandered in military adventurism that has killed millions of innocent people in only five decades.

PRISM is just icing on the rotting carcass that once was America, and our allies are starting to look towards the exit. Our government has taken another step on the road to fascism and failed statehood: it has declared unlimited surveillance and assassination rights over every human being on the planet; it has declared war on the truth, and it has promised (and delivered) punishment for anyone who dares to speak it. Despite that, the same throwaway phrase about America not being the worst country in the world is still technically true, if you're not allowed to consider how it treats non-citizens. But if the best thing about your country is that it isn't Somalia, do you think there are a few things you could work on?

Anyway. There's my two minutes of well-earned hate for the state of democracy in America. Enjoy the decline.

Comment Re:God it feels good to be an American!!!!!!! (Score 5, Insightful) 621

Well, if you want to get into raw numbers, the United States is responsible for at least a few million deaths worldwide since the end of WWII. If you count our proxy wars and the wars we helped arrange, such as the Iran-Iraq War, the Soviet-Afghan conflict, various central American death squads, etc, then it is upwards of 20-30 million dead in the last sixty years or so.

(Here's a weak source, but discussing our empire isn't exactly acceptable conversation in regular media outlets. The basic facts are undeniable, even if you'd like to discount our role in arranging, funding, and supplying arms for war that are in our own interest.)

We're not above watching people die of starvation either:

As many as 576,000 Iraqi children may have died since the end of the Persian Gulf war because of economic sanctions imposed by the Security Council. ...
The sanctions were imposed by the Security Council after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. Led by the United States, the Council has rejected many Iraqi appeals to lift the restrictions, which have crippled the economy, until Iraq accounts for all its weapons of mass destruction and United Nations inspectors can certify that they have been destroyed in accordance with several Council resolutions.

I think we all remember how many WMDs were found after we spilled the blood of our own and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, along with emptying our treasury of five trillion dollars.

In any case, what is undeniable is that the United States of today and the Stalinist era of the USSR both share one common feature: the respective governments of both nations are hiding their decisions to have people killed and imprisoned from a transparent judicial process. Our government has now openly declared that the political elite are above the law.

But instead of talking about those hard realities, you have backpedaled to the position that we are not as bad as Stalin.

Well, that's a load off my mind! I hope Obama spends the 4th helping military doctors force feed hunger striking prisoners at Guantanamo while they celebrate spending the rest of their lives without the right to a trial. I even have an idea of what we can write on the cake:


Comment Re:"Ego trip" (Score 5, Insightful) 458

Tell me about the 'secret laws'

You don't fucking get it, do you? How can he tell you about a secret law? The ACLU and other organizations continue to ask the government that very same question, but the government refuses.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of the Nation's Capital, and Yale Law School's Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic filed a motion today with the secret court that oversees government surveillance in national security cases, requesting that it publish its opinions on the meaning, scope, and constitutionality of Section 215 of the Patriot Act. That section, which authorizes the government to obtain "any tangible thing" relevant to foreign-intelligence or terrorism investigations, was the legal basis for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order revealed last week by The Guardian requiring Verizon to turn over months' worth of phone-call data.

"The ultimate check on governmental overreach is the American public," said Alex Abdo, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. "For years, the government has secretly relied on sweeping interpretations of its surveillance powers, preventing the very debate it has now belatedly invited on the wisdom and legality of those powers."

In addition to the initial rulings by the court on Section 215, the motion filed today also asks whether earlier opinions have been revisited in light of more recent rulings by other courts, such as the Supreme Court's 2012 decision in the GPS tracking case U.S. v. Jones. Another answer sought by the motion is whether the FISA Court has considered the constitutionality of the "gag order" that bars companies from revealing that they have been ordered to turn over information under Section 215. (In 2008, a federal appeals court agreed with the ACLU that an analogous gag order provision relating to "national security letters" was unconstitutional.)

"In a democracy, there should be no room for secret law," said Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director. "The public has a right to know what limits apply to the government's surveillance authority, and what safeguards are in place to protect individual privacy."

Also, don't wonder why the world tells you to go fuck yourself when you ask for Snowden. If you weren't murdering teenagers with completely illegal and immoral drone strike programs after killing a few hundred thousand civilians in multiple wars of aggression, maybe everyone wouldn't burst out in laughter every time you uttered the phrase "rule of law."

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