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Comment Nonsense about the defense budget (Score 2) 153

A lot of things in the defense budget are things that people rely on.

None that are things that have to be covered under the defense budget. Most of the defense budget is for personnel and for war fighting machines (purchase and operation).

Food subsidies at one point were covered through the defense budget for example

I'm not aware of this being true in my lifetime if ever. Citation please.

The GPS cluster maintenance and upgrades are paid out of the defense budget.

Doesn't mean it has to remain that way. Wouldn't be hard to put that into the budget for NOAA or NASA or NTSB or the Commerce Dept.

Originally the US interstate system was a defense project, though it's now funded through gasoline taxes.

The money for it never came out of the defense budget. The project did have defense implications but it ultimately was a civilian project that has been used almost entirely for civilian uses and funded by non-military dollars.

The defense budget covers a lot more than just war machines.

Let's not pretend that war machines and the people that operate them don't account for the vast majority of military spending.

After all, the Internet got its start as a DARPA project.

Which has fuck-all to do with the fact that our current military budget is bloated far beyond any reasonable defense needs.

Comment The big waste is in the defense department (Score 1) 153

I would like to remind you that about a trillion dollars a year go toward "defense".

The actual number last year was around $600 billion but your point still stands. Coincidentally our federal deficit in 2016 was also right around $600 billion so we basically borrowed every penny we spent on the military last year. So thank your grandchildren for the debt they'll be paying off because we think it necessary to support a military that is grossly oversized but are unwilling to tax enough to pay for it.

If you want to talk about pork, you aren't talking about spending money on science, you're talking about defense spending.

Truer words have never been spoken. NASA is a rounding error compared to the wasteful spending in the defense department.

Comment Overhead includes engineering (Score 1) 153

This is the sort of idiotic criticism made by people with no understanding of accounting. Part of "overhead" is engineering and the engineering costs for designing a system like SLS are substantial. Since NASA is doing the engineering for SLS in house of course the overhead costs are going to be a higher percentage of their total. If they outsourced it, the overhead for engineering won't disappear - it will just go on the P&L for a different company. You could argue that a private sector company might be more efficient (not clear in this case) but they also would charge a mark up because they have to make a profit so you give some of that back. You can't just blindly compare overhead percentages without understanding what they are comprised of. Lower overhead does not necessarily equal a more efficient program, especially when it is in design phases. Just because the money didn't go to a private company doesn't necessarily mean it was money wasted.

You can argue whether SLS is pork or not and that's a separate issue. There is plenty to criticize about the program. But this argument about overhead is just someone who doesn't understand accounting naively comparing percentages they don't fully understand.

Comment Some genres get over rated on RT (Score 1) 395

I'd say the usefulness of aggregators lies in the extremes - if the aggregate score is 80-90%, that's a remarkably wide range of people saying it was good, so clearly it has a broad based appeal and you'll likely enjoy it too.

True though there are some genres of movies on Rotten Tomatoes that get consistently over-rated compared with their relative merits. Pixar movies and disney-esque animation in general tend to get higher reviews than they probably deserve in many cases. For example Wall-E was a very solid movie and I enjoyed it but it got a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. You'll never convince me that it was THAT good of a movie. I would have put it somewhere in the high 70s or low 80s. Maybe high 80s at best which is where the audience score was at 89% and even that is a bit high. Totally worth a theater ticket but not exactly best picture material. There are some that deserve ratings in the 90s but those should be much more rare than they are.

Fortunately I'm aware of this fact about RT so I can mentally adjust but it's kind of annoying and makes it harder to separate the good from the great and sometimes results in movies that should be skipped getting decent recommendations.

Similarly, if something is ranked at 10-20%, that's a remarkable consensus that it's bad.

Agreed. I've never seen a movie rated that low on Rotten Tomatoes that wasn't indeed a hot mess.

Comment Amazon isn't moving (Score 1) 76

But, if you force them to pay higher taxes, they'll move, and take the jobs/money with them.

Exactly how is Amazon going to move outside the US? Their business model is dependent on being able to deliver stuff quickly which means they aren't going anywhere and are going to be subject to US taxes whether they like it or not.

So they should pay higher taxes, but if we charge higher taxes, were screwed anyway.

They don't need to pay higher taxes, they just need to be prohibited from weaseling out of paying taxes they rightfully should have to pay. And no, just because they found some clever loophole doesn't make it ok.

Comment Using corporations to avoid taxes (Score 1) 448

I'm not sure leaving wealth in corporations is necessarily bad. That means the owners of the company, not the employees (including the executives) have it.

It's bad because if you don't tax it it becomes a vehicle for avoiding or deferring taxes. If I'm a wealthy guy and we don't tax the profits (or revenues) of my company then I have every incentive to use that company as a savings account for money I don't immediately need. Avoiding taxes without taxing corporations becomes trivial. If we don't tax those profits at either the individual level (like in S-Corps) or at the corporate level (like in C-Corps) then you will see a stampede of people using corporations to dodge taxes altogether to the detriment of us all. No wealthy person would ever have to pay a dime of tax if we didn't tax corporations and that's not a good thing at all.

And who owns the corporation? The investors. Who are they? Well, they could be anyone with a 401k or a pension. Or an employee. Or an executive. Or a C-level officer. Or a venture capitalist.

There is a huge difference between being a passive shareholder through a 401K and having enough of a stake in the company to actually influence company decisions. Technically both are "owners" of the company but their level of influence and control is far difference.

And while the 1% can try to get laws passed, we've seen money doesn't necessarily equal electoral victory.

No but a lack of money almost always ensures an electoral loss. Money doesn't cause a victory but it correlates heavily with one.

Comment Selling on eBay (Score 1) 63

The problem with the 'buyer is always 200% correct' mentality at ebay can screw small sellers. Or if you only sell something once or twice a year. You're better off using craigslist.

Speaking from personal experience I would agree. Selling on eBay can be a risky pain in the butt. Never sell anything you can't afford to lose. You might have to take it back even if you do nothing wrong and the item is perfect so take that into account too.

I was a pretty big seller at one point and I can assure you that eBay isn't friendly with big sellers either. But being a small seller is definitely risky. One or two bad bits of feedback can really screw you hard.

Comment Problem buyers != problem sellers (Score 1) 63

I disagree. I sold something. The recipient said there was nothing in the box when he received it. Payment is taken back and I no longer have the item.

That happens sometimes but I'm talking about how buyers protect themselves, not sellers. You are basically backing up what I'm saying that there are more buyers who are crooks than sellers.

Best advice I can give for a seller is to document, document, document. Take pictures of the product going into the box and have witnesses. Make sure you have evidence of the weight of the package and the item. Only ship via traceable services. Use an escrow service if you are really worried or if the item is especially valuable (eBay offers one). Don't sell anything on eBay you cannot afford to lose. There is no way to perfectly keep all crooks from trying to scam you but I've sold probably 15000 items on eBay over the years and over 99% of the buyers are perfectly fine. We had trouble with about 1% of buyers (mostly hard to please people) and about 0.1% were people actually trying to rip us off.

Comment eBay problems - buyers and sellers (Score 2) 63

... but I have a difficult time trusting many of the vendors on EBay.

If you pay PayPal and follow eBay's rules and it's largely a non-issue. (yes I know how people feel about PayPal) It's not always convenient but you can almost always get your money back if the deal goes south. I buy stuff like surplus tooling with some regularity on eBay and I rarely have a problem. By and large if you look at things with a skeptical eye and read all the fine print you should have too much trouble.

I used to make my living selling stuff on eBay and I assure you that there are WAY more problem buyers than sellers. I've had people send me countless fake money orders, refuse to pay, complain about every aspect of the auction despite it being clearly stated (they couldn't be bothered to read), and try every scam in the book. I've even had people buy something and "return" it when in fact what they put in the box were literally rocks.

Comment Prime shipping very reliable (Score 2) 63

Amazon's same day and even 2 day shipping is rarely on time.

I place about 150 orders per year through Amazon Prime and the number that have arrived late I can count on my fingers. Maybe it's different where you live but Amazon is extremely reliable about shipping times to where I live in Michigan. The only times I've had trouble have been when UPS or USPS have dropped the ball.

Comment Breathtaking arrogance (Score 4, Insightful) 536

Now, now... He spends way more time (and taxpayer funds) flying back and forth to Mar-a-Lago in Florida *every* weekend, and I'm sure he gets some work done on those flights -- or, at least, catches up on nap-time.

Don't forget that he flies to his resort at a cost of $3 million in tax money per trip just days after he proposes a budget to cut health insurance and benefits for millions of poor and middle class people. The arrogance is breathtaking. I'd say hypocrisy if it were anyone else but he's never been "one of the people" to anyone actually paying attention.

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