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Comment Re:What we really want to know... (Score 1) 108

Aspartame is worse for you than sugar, probably even worse than high-fructose corn syrup. The word "diet" on a label does not make the contents healthy. You'd do better to buy kosher or Mexican Coke, with real sugar that you body knows how to process. It's still not healthy, but better than the alternatives.

Comment Re:Millitary inteligence (Score 1) 372

A soldier is in a positive position, in that they are supposed to follow the direction of the social body for the protection of the social body and will receive unspecified later benefits after they have returned to right-holding civilian status (this is why I think soldiers shouldn't be allowed to vote).

Don't worry about this too much- the military is disproportionately young, male, poor, and minority, and likely to skip voting altogether.

On a similar note, Heinlein postulated that only those who have already served society in some fashion should be allowed to vote, as completely self-serving interests are not necessarily beneficial to society as a whole. (Take that, Randians!)

Finally, I want to draw a line between "human rights" and "rights of citizenship". The former cannot be granted or bestowed upon anyone, as all humans have them. They can only be taken away or infringed by others (legally or not).

Comment Re:Ron Paul (Score 1) 565

Don't put too much stock into Feingold's opposition of the PATRIOT Act, as the reason he didn't vote for it initially was because he hadn't had time to read it. After he had time to read it, he stated he agreed with it (-several million) and then later voted for the extension of the Act (again, -several million).

By my count, Feingold's total response to the PATRIOT Act is not something that counts for him at all.

Not that I'm all that happy with the election results in my home state this year, but Feingold was just another politician.

Comment Re:USAA (Score 1) 359

Posted this above, but worth reposting here:

"USAA's investment products, most checking and savings products, credit cards, life insurance, and shopping and discounts are available to other individuals. While auto and property insurance policies are not available due to membership eligibility requirements, we can still help.

I highly recommend it.

Comment Re:USAA (Score 1) 359

Not entirely true- for full access to all services they offer, yes. However, from the website:

"USAA's investment products, most checking and savings products, credit cards, life insurance, and shopping and discounts are available to other individuals [Non-military affiliated]. While auto and property insurance policies are not available due to membership eligibility requirements, we can still help.

It's a great bank, whether you have the military affiliation or not.

Comment Re:Hmm... (Score 3, Interesting) 595

The main reason for using antibiotics on cattle is because they are fed corn, which changes the pH of their stomachs enough that different types of bacteria can survive in them. If the cattle were simply fed grass for two weeks before butchering, their stomach pH would return to normal. There would be essentially no antibiotics left in their system, no bad bacteria, and the cows would be much healthier overall when they were processed for human consumption.

Completely grass-fed cattle have significantly less need for antibiotics throughout their entire lives, as their systems are designed/have evolved to handle that, and not grain.

Comment Re:Clunkers is a clunker (Score 1) 594

At least where I live, the 100-year-old houses being torn down still have valuable salvageable parts that are often reclaimed before the structure is destroyed- old woodwork, leaded glass windows, windows and window frames, hardwood floors. Appliances and cast iron sinks and bathtubs are pulled out and recycled, or more often sold used. The lead/iron/copper pipes are pulled out and recycled.

What can be reused or resold, is. Taxpayer money to destroy something completely serviceable, or even salvageable, is a waste.

I have a house built in 1913. The windows are leaky. The insulation is minimal, if there is any. The electrical and plumbing are old. Everything is working, nothing is unsafe, but it is old and inefficient. Would it be a good use of taxpayer money if the government were to offer people like me $45,000 to build a new energy-efficient home, on the condition that my existing home be torched to the ground? It would stimulate the local construction industry, remove an "polluting" home, and replace it with something far more fuel-efficient. How can we lose?

Comment Re:Maybe, Maybe not... (Score 1) 441

Slightly off-topic, but anyone in a position of protecting sheep should be considered a sheepdog. As soon as that person violates that trust, they should be considered to be a wolf, and put down.

Col. Grossman has done quite a bit of research regarding violence and killing. Confusing wolves and sheepdogs is common and unfortunate.

Comment Re:Interesting but... (Score 1) 254

I agree with your sentiments, as do many creative people I've talked to about this, but there are a few problems:
1. Many contracts artists sign actually forbid taking money that doesn't get routed through the label. I would love to send a $10 check (or more, if I liked it) directly to a band that I like. Odds are, they have to forward that to the label, who takes their cut.

2. If you are at a concert at a medium or larger venue, the hoodies and t-shirts aren't helping the band as much as you would think. Very often the venue takes a cut of the merchandise, and I've heard tell it can be as much as half the purchase price of that hoodie. This can explain the obscene prices- there are purchase costs for the band, printing costs, some profit for them, then double all that for the venue. The artists are getting screwed.

Comment Re:I lost several channels. :( (Score 1) 223

Check your local (state) landlord/tenant law. Many states have clauses that landlords are required to allow you external antennas or dishes, with some restrictions. You might have to find a fellow geek to install it, or hire someone, but usually your landlord cannot prevent you from having an external antenna.

Comment Re:Gandhi isn't always right (Score 1) 838

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.

Non-violence was the best method for him to achieve his ends. It would probably work more often than it is tried, but I can't imagine a world where violent action is never justified.

Comment Re:silly EU, that's not how you do it..... (Score 1) 315

The origins of that begin here:
Amendment XVI
The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

and followed up here:
Amendment XVII
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures...

The states no longer control the money going to the federal government, and the state legislature no longer has any direct voice in Congress. Most people I know can tell you their congressional representatives, but not their state representatives.

The problem with this is that if I don't like the laws of my state, I can lobby someone relatively local, or move to another state. If I don't like the laws of my country I'm kinda screwed.

I'd be all about repealing those, if anybody wants to help.

Comment Re:Badly... (Score 1) 426

These are real issues. Another I saw is that the promotion system is almost completely detached from your competence at your job. The promotion points are based on how much education (civilian and military) you have, how much your commander likes you, how many awards you have, and how good you are at PT and marksmanship. There is nothing about job skills in there at all. The point scale maxes out at 800 points for the E5 board, and in my MOS I often saw the minimum points sitting at 798. What that means is that you have to forego your job skills and focus on increasing your points- which may not be looked upon fondly by your superiors, who can then refuse to sign off on your promotion packet.

I would love to see a job skills exam for promotion. Perhaps I'd have fewer E7's and E8's with the ID-ten-T indentifier.

Comment Re:If the military sucks, don't joint 'em. (Score 1) 426

Nope. Not at all. I just got done with a year as a marksmanship instructor. Late last year we had some students from a trans unit in Puerto Rico out on the M16 qualification range in -5 degree weather. There was also a 25-mph half-value wind, which will blow your bullets off target and bring the windchill down to about -30. They had heart, though, and qualified 100%. The next day they were outside without jackets when the temperature was about +20 degrees.

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