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Comment Re:Is this flamebait? (Score 1) 249

The whole Jesus = Zombie bit is an example of profoundly immoral argument. Name anything you believe in, absolutely anything, and somebody can oversimplify and reduce it to an absurdity or a profound insult. Marxist? Then you believe the state will wither away by getting larger so you're obviously an idiot! Capitalist? Then you worship a giant invisible hand that requires occasional human sacrefices - what a maroon! Pick a side, and then describe a strawman version of the other side and declare yourself winner, that's all you're doing.

Point taken. The difference is that interpreting economics from a Marxist or capitalist viewpoint does not require ignoring well-established physical laws.

Comment Re:Gid Rid of All Sales Taxes (Score 1) 229

This is true. It is also true that only 50% of people actually pay income tax. If we had a flat tax with no deductions, the whole population would be interested in reducing government spending. Right now 50% of the population wants more government spending because it doesn't cost them anything. Who wouldn't?

This statistic is misleading out of context. Everyone who works pays Social Security and Medicare taxes (currently 7.65%), meaning 100% of people with income pay income tax, and of course sales taxes when they spend it. They also pay property taxes explicitly (if they are property owners) or implicitly (as a hidden part of their rent).

The reason the number who pay income taxes is so low is because wages have fallen so much. So it's actually a symptom of one of the critical problems in our country, rather than in and of itself a problem. Anyway, it's completely criminal that if I sit on my ass doing nothing and let a big pile of money I have make more money for me, I only have to pay 15% on the capital gains, while if I go out and actually work the tax can be significantly higher on my earned income. Lumping capital gains in with earned income (with a maximum marginal rate of 35%) would go a long way in reducing the national debt that people pretend to care about when it is politically advantageous.

Comment Re:Define worker friendly. (Score 1) 371

Thank you for the story, very informative. However, this sort of thinking should not be used as an excuse to absolve Foxconn and the like of their labor practices. You are not the first person I've heard this argument from on this topic, that these factories are such a step up from rural poverty that we should not criticize the companies, and that it is all part of the wonderful and necessary process of industrialization. My question for you would be then, how long do the populations of these countries have to endure miserable factory working conditions until we are allowed to criticize. 5 years? 10 years? 30 years? How much worker abuse is too much? How many hours per day is okay with you? 10? 12? 16? How young can the workers be? 16? 12? How low can the wages be? As far as I'm concerned every worker in the world deserves the same rights as every other worker: reasonable hours leaving time for leisure, a living wage, and a safe workplace. I don't give a damn if they are the first generation off the farm and how much more money they are making compared with that.

Comment Re:Great! (Score 1) 527

Precheck members usually get to use security lines set up for first-class and elite-level frequent fliers.

Are they implying that first-class travelers are already getting this kind of preferential treatment?

Well, at New York LaGuardia if you fly American Airlines, the first class security line is the only one without an X-ray machine. It's been that way the last two times I've flown through there. So FYI terrorists, just get a little more of that Saudi money to fly first class and you can dodge the scanners. I'm so fucking proud of my country.

Comment Re:Lies (Score 1) 730

Oh not at all, you see, unless you're a big corporation with a lot of lawyers, you can't own any content. So they look "oh it's the little guy again" and "yeah this content would be nice to own" and with that, it's theirs.

Hey, they do it with houses now, so why not intellectual property? http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/matt-taibbi-courts-helping-banks-screw-over-homeowners-20101110

Comment Re:The Downside (Score 1) 328

Ah, but you can't exactly blame any of that on the technology.

I disagree with this to a certain extent. The fact that they are unmanned makes it much more likely they will be used because the risk is lower (sure, it's embarrassing when they get shot down and Iran shows them on TV but imagine how much worse it would be if they had a U.S. pilot instead). Their lower cost also makes them more likely to be used in high-risk situations. They replace on-the-ground operations which, while problematic on their own, are typically less likely to cause civilian casualties than firing missiles from the air. Also, the fact that they are remote piloted so present no risk of operator death likely only magnifies the outrage at their use in the targeted countries. Imagine your fellow citizens are being killed by robot planes in which there is zero possibility of striking back at the person pulling the trigger.

Comment The Downside (Score 4, Insightful) 328

The downside — they're bandwidth hogs: a single Global Hawk drone requires 500 megabytes per second worth of bandwidth, the report finds, which is 500 percent of the total bandwidth of the entire U.S. military used during the 1991 Gulf War.

I think the downside is that the drones are used in "secret" CIA wars, routinely kill civilians, have been used by the President for extra-judicial assassination of at least one American citizen, and are increasingly eyed for use in domestic airspace. I'd put their bandwidth usage pretty far down on the list of reasons to be concerned about drones.

Comment Authoritarian Governments? (Score 1) 191

Can we dispense with this false dichotomy between "authoritarian" and (I suppose) "democratic" governments. It is part of this great fantasy that this sort of thing will only happen in bad third-world countries whose leaders wear military uniforms and chomp on cigars. Our grand democratic leaders would never do such things, except they do all the time and want to do more of it.

Comment Facebook likes are not enough (Score 4, Insightful) 334

Now, if he hadn't spent the last 2.5 years largely doing exactly the opposite of what he campaigned on, angering his base to no end, he might be able to make better use of all of that data management. No amount of carefully worded campaign e-mails are going to convince me to vote for a President who has normalized extra-judicial assassinations of American citizens by the CIA.

Comment Re:Absolutist statements = No-No (Score 1) 1345

A follow up question would be, do they mean that the concepts of religion and science are in always in conflict, or do they mean that religious people and scientific people are always in conflict? I would say the former is true, in that the fundamental bases for religion and science are exactly opposite (faith versus evidence) while people can disagree with one another or hold contradictory ideas in their head and not try to rip each others throats out.

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