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EFF Says Obama Warrantless Wiretap Defense Is Worse than Bush

FiniteElementalist Re:RTFS?? (904 comments)

Wait, you mean that Presidents have prepared remarks and speechwriters? I'm shocked, completely shocked. Alert the Internet!

That meme is one of the dumber ones I've heard lately, and is a bit of a head scratcher. I mean, if you had taken any effort to inform yourself you would know that Obama's speechwriter is Jon Favreau. But it's just so...expected...for a President to have speechwriters that makes this pique so senseless. You may have heard of Ben Stein, who was a speechwriter for Nixon and Ford.

This country needs healthy dissent to thrive, but the right wing seems to be overflowing with dissent that is downright deranged. Hold Obama's feet to the fire when he fouls up on things like warrantless wiretapping or bank bailouts, stay away from this stupid bullshit.

more than 5 years ago
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Making Sense of Mismatched Certificates?

FiniteElementalist Re:Not nothing. (322 comments)

Well, one alternative is to take an axe to these derivative contracts, and make it so they are redeemable for their original purchase price (or with a bit of a premium for time cost and whatnot). I thought about this possibility a while back, but it seems to be picking up some steam in more mainstream financial circles (I read an article about it recently in Barron's), and supposedly similar contract alteration was done in response to the Dutch Tulip bubble in the 1600s.

It might not be a better choice than propping up the banks and waiting it out, but eventually they are going to need to put an end to these things. The deregulated shadow market for them was and is complete madness. It's not all that much dumber than making Ponzi schemes, naked short selling, or insurance fraud legal.

In any case, if there is a situation where anything approaching the quadrillion or a slightly lesser number of trillions of dollars of the derivatives need to be exercised they will be completely worthless. Worthless either because the system will completely collapse and no one will honor them, or worthless because they will be devalued by hyperinflation. There's not enough money currently in existence to cover those positions, so those are pretty much the options.

more than 5 years ago
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Libel Suits OK Even If Libel Is Truthful

FiniteElementalist Re:Meh (301 comments)

Looking at the article, it looks like it is even less news because the ruling is based entirely on an obscure Massachusetts state law, which would only apply to those in Massachusetts even if it was not overturned. And that law has the requirement of demonstrating "actual malice", which probably will fall flat rather quick.

This might be a bad ruling, but it seems like it is rather limited in scope and likely to be overturned regardless.

more than 5 years ago
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Cape Wind Ready To Bring First Offshore Wind Farm

FiniteElementalist Re:Economics in one Lesson (147 comments)

Huh? That's a whole lot of nonsense right there. I'm not a communist nor to I ascribe to a notion that the economy should be fully centrally planned, and I'm perplexed as to how you would get that from what I wrote. It's just for some things the government is more efficient at handling them than the private sector, or the private sector simply wouldn't be able to handle them at all or operate in anything approaching the ideal free market case without government protections. A college level economics course should teach you about externalities, which are by definition side effects in the markets where individuals will not bear all the costs or benefits of their economic decisions, affecting others. You'd have to be seriously misinformed or delusional to think that externalities are a nonissue, and that a market would be able to handle them in isolation from some manner of coercion in the form of a government. Especially given that the subject of air pollution and reducing it through wind power generation is one such externality

To me the anarchistic libertarianism is just about as daft as other brands of anarchism, which is rather daft. It is an ideology that does not stand the test of reality.

more than 5 years ago
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Cape Wind Ready To Bring First Offshore Wind Farm

FiniteElementalist Re:Economics in one Lesson (147 comments)

Sigh, the common libertarian approach to economics is akin to saying that the understanding the simple Newtonian mechanics of objects moving in a vacuum and without friction is all you need to adequately predict all physical phenomena. It is an unfounded assumption that government is automatically inefficient for the wide variety of potential ways to spend on economic activity, and in many cases government is more efficient for handing certain things and some important matters wouldn't be properly handled at all with the absence of government. In particular government is best there for resolving "Collective Action Problems", of which there are many, where the optimum economic behavior for an individual clashes with the optimum economic behavior for a group as a whole. A good example is crime, like say theft, where you would have most benefit from stealing from someone else society will fall apart if everyone, or even simply enough people, take from each other without any respect for the rules.

The environment is a giant collective action problem which necessitates government, because while individuals may benefit more for polluting a bit more with small marginal effects, when you take that behavior across the whole population you wreck the environment and have disastrous effects on everyone such as through health problems or poor climate or weather.

more than 5 years ago
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Comcast Targets Unlicensed Anime Torrenters

FiniteElementalist Little incentive for them to stop it (352 comments)

There's basically been tacit allowance of widespread copyright infringement for unlicensed anime because there is little incentive for the Japanese companies to try to stop it. That's because the English market for an unlicensed anime isn't open yet; they need someone to translate and distribute it. There's no money to be lost yet, so they can mostly benefit from the infringement to market the shows and get data on what's popular in the western markets. The only downside is the risk of not being able to stop infringement once they license, but many fansubbers will stop translating willingly when it is licensed. And people will still pirate anyways...

Comcast however, has a direct interest in stopping this: it eats up bandwidth. So I would guess they are either mostly or completely behind this rather than the copyright holders. I wonder if they even have permission from the copyright holders to send these out.

more than 7 years ago

Submissions

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Usaspending.gov Federal Spending Tracker Online

FiniteElementalist FiniteElementalist writes  |  about 7 years ago

FiniteElementalist (1073824) writes "Champions for government transparency can now view some of the fruits of their labor as Usaspending.gov is online. This site provides easy access to a plethora of searchable data about US Federal Government spending, such as federal contracts and assistance. It also provides an API for small scale accesses to the available data. Usaspending.gov was created as a result of the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 introduced by Senators Coburn (R-OK) and Obama (D-IL).
(PS Don't get too worried about the red warning text at the bottom, other than you shouldn't setup automated or bulk data gathering from the site.)"

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