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Comcast Confessions

Sentrion Re:This Post May Not Be Popular... (231 comments)

I'm definitely not a fan of global "corporatism" having undue influence and leverage over local and national governments or over the lives of private individuals. But when you say that people should be content with what they have and be happy, understand that the philosophy of Primitivism advocates this as well, and free internet is not a per-requisite.

If we're talking basic human rights, shouldn't the right to food, shelter, clean water, sleep, growing your own food, selling your own products and services, buying your own medication at the global market price, and freedom from conscription come before broadband and Youtube? I'm all for broadband for the people, but there are a lot of other rights that are not guaranteed in the USA or many other countries. And unlike many protectionist, mercantile regulations and policies of urban fascism, free internet is a problem that could be solved at a grass-roots DIY level. Many undeveloped parts of third world countries are coming online with wireless internet networks even though there are no roads, power lines, or sewer lines. Hops are installed that carry signals from village to village. These projects often take place even without government support.

What surprises me is to see lack of any sort of effort in the US to bring about a "public wireless internet", following the same model that brought us public television or public radio stations, pledge drives and all. If the FCC would loosen some restrictions to how HAM radio frequencies are utilized, there are probably already enough amateur technicians that would be eager to plant the seeds for a nationwide ad hoc user supported public network.

2 days ago
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Comcast Confessions

Sentrion Re:i'm sure this is part of the reason (231 comments)

And they don't badger you when you visit in person, given that you can recognize faces and wait for people to get into their cars and follow them home. No, mega corporations prefer to rip you off from a very safe distance with no way to identify the front-line "retention specialists".

2 days ago
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Comcast Confessions

Sentrion Don't Bother Anymore (231 comments)

My credit has been crap for years mostly due to a steady flow of medical and therapy bills for my "special needs" child that far exceeds my ability to pay. But one benefit of not giving a fork about my FICO score is that I don't even bother to deal with the BS from cable, cell phone, internet, gym memberships, "free" trials, or anything else. When I want to change or drop a service I find it much more convenient to just close my bank account and open a new one than to deal with "Customer Retention Counselors". Sure, I get letters for debt collectors every day, but no one has bothered to sue me. Of course, if I had any savings or disposable income that could be a different matter.

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

Sentrion Not really a layoff (272 comments)

Microsoft isn't really laying off these people. They just expect they will come back and code for free and for the love of coding as they launch the development of Windows OPEN. Coming soon to sourceforge.com.

about two weeks ago
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Blue Shield Leaks 18,000 Doctors' Social Security Numbers

Sentrion Re: Not such a big problem (74 comments)

Physicians tend to partner up with other professionals, like lawyers, bankers and CPAs when they start their own private practices. Many established physicians ARE going broke and filling for bankruptcy after getting drawn too deep into the business side of medicine. Instead of keeping focus on patient treatment, many physicians have their entire life savings linked to the profitability of their practice, which has more to do with negotiating the best deals for insurance reimbursement, malpractice insurance, building leases, utilities, and capital expenses such as X-ray, EKG, or sonogram machines. The bankers and lawyers structure things so they have the lion's share of ROI while the physician is personally exposed to the most liability. Then they have lawyers, bankers, limited partners, and shareholders pressuring them to be more "profitable", which means cutting face time with patients from 15 minutes to 10 minutes, prescribing drugs from suppliers that will pay back "incentives", referring to other specialists and facilities that offer kickbacks, separating physician fees from facility fees to juice more from insurance, performing more tests than necessary to defend against liability while receiving more reimbursement from insurance and medicare, performing sneaky out-of-network or uncovered services on unsuspecting patients with deep pockets, and more frequently flat-out defrauding medicare, medicaid, and private insurance companies.

Patients and physicians both would benefit from either a single-payer system like the UK and Canada have, or a maybe a public-private system like Australia has, where those willing to pay more direct or willing to buy commercial insurance can be treated by private physicians rather than publicly employed physicians, just like we have public and private schools in the US. In the US we actually have a shortage of physicians, especially if we are going to start covering care for more of our poor and working class. Yet many excellent candidates are not admitted to medical school because only the cream of the cream were selected. There are also many qualified physicians educated in Europe and Asia that cannot EVER practice in the US simply because they didn't get their degree here. Direct government investment in programs to train and certify physicians without forcing them into hundreds of thousands of dollars of unforgivable student loan debt would be a benefit to aspiring physicians and patients alike. Direct government assumption of financial liability and discipline of physicians would free physicians to earn an honest and comfortable living while providing patient care that serves the interest of the patient.

Gradually shortening the terms of pharmaceutical patents and finding more cures and treatments through non-profit, grant-funded, university research would help to substantially lower the family burden when it comes to the cost of care. At the end of the day it is the scientists putting in 80-120 hours each week that makes cures possible, and even those scientists working for Big Pharma are not raking in the dough compared to the executives, lawyers, and pharma sales reps. Scientists are not paid any less at the University level so the argument of profit incentive is rather mute.

about three weeks ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Sentrion Re:What kind of violence? (185 comments)

No, that would be Denny's.

about a month ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Sentrion Re:Would be different (185 comments)

If the plot from Invasion USA starts to be implemented, I am holding Chuck Norris personally responsible to get out there and kill ALL the terrorists. With his fists. While drinking hot tea.

about a month ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Sentrion Re:I take it (185 comments)

I have to agree. If someone posts Jihadist fantasies online and is also heavily involved in a pyrotechnic hobby, I think we (law enforcement) step in and do something about it. Kids have been arrested and tried as adults when they had notebooks filled with very detailed Columbine-like plots against their schools. You are free to have creepy thoughts all you want, but if those thoughts appear to a jury to be a murder or terrorist plot, then be prepared to serve some time for those thought.

about a month ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Sentrion Re:Could have been ... (185 comments)

The trick now is to re-phrase your death threats in the form of a fictional story, poem, or lyric and post it online as a work of art. Recall that movie that involved a plot to assassinate Bush?

about a month ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Sentrion Re:Should probably be locked up (185 comments)

Well, he used a computer at some point so it's Slashdot material :)

Which, incidentally, also makes it patentable and a criminal offense. Back to jail he goes.

about a month ago
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

Sentrion Re:Should probably be locked up (185 comments)

It's hard to find deer meat at the local grocery store, but yet all my friends have tons deer sausage overflowing out of their freezer. The key is to simply change your mindset and harvest the "wildlife" you see coming out of a vegan restaurant. Myself, I like corn-feed meat, so I would probably set up my hunting blind in a Golden Corral parking lot. I've been told it tastes like veal.

about a month ago
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Facebook Fallout, Facts and Frenzy

Sentrion Re:The good Samaritan always gets his ass kicked (160 comments)

Because Facebook is not a business or a scientific endeavor. Ever notice that abbreviated, Facebook Inc. is "FBI"? More intel is gathered through Facebook in one month than all of the NSA's illegal wire tapping program.

about a month ago
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Facebook Fallout, Facts and Frenzy

Sentrion Re: Facebook is dumb. (160 comments)

I made friends with over thirty people on Facebook and had a vibrant social life for over a year until I found out they were all zombie accounts run by the same person. I was still OK with that until I realized that I had spent over $2,000.00 on wedding gifts and birthday presents for all my "friends". But then again, you can't put a price on friendship, right?

about a month ago
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Facebook Fallout, Facts and Frenzy

Sentrion Re:Fact telephone (160 comments)

Disclaimer: The proceeding post is part of a research project to study the emotional reactions of media outlet editors.

about a month ago
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Facebook Fallout, Facts and Frenzy

Sentrion Comes back to bite you in the end (160 comments)

Facebook's "research" reminds me of the treatment that eventually led the Unabomber to drop out of civilization and seek revenge against the system from his remote cabin in the woods.

From Wikipedia: While at Harvard, Kaczynski was among the twenty-two Harvard undergraduates used as guinea pigs in ethically questionable experiments conducted by Henry Murray. In the experiment each student received a code name. Kaczynski was given the code name "Lawful". Among other purposes, Murray's experiments were focused on measuring people's reactions under extreme stress. The unwitting undergraduates were submitted to what Murray himself called "vehement, sweeping and personally abusive" attacks. Assaults to their egos, cherished ideas and beliefs were the tools used to cause high levels of stress and distress. These experiments were conducted at Harvard University from the fall of 1959 through the spring of 1962.

about a month ago
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Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

Sentrion Re:Cities looking for bench obstacles (119 comments)

There is a certain breed of individual that actually does want to live this way. But cities have known these people exist for generations. If you provide proper shelter for them then you have the moral ground to force them off your streets, out of your parks, and ban them from pan handling. But many cities make a concerted effort to provide no assistance and make getting help more and more difficult for the homeless.

Parks were made for public benefit, but there is a class of individuals who are now calling parks "socialist" institutions. They want to privatize parks to private businesses who could then charge admission.

There needs to be a reasonable middle ground.

about a month ago
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Mayors of Atlanta & New Orleans: Uber Will Knock-Out Taxi Industry

Sentrion Re:And good riddance! (273 comments)

When similar events occurred in Europe in the 1930's, faith in individuals led the individuals to oust the oligarchy and establish a fascist dictatorship. Social democracy took place only after fighting armies destroyed just about everything, and the fascist rulers were either hung at Nuremberg or at an Esso gas station. The people had to rebuild from scratch with a whole new set of leaders that weren't entrenched with the political establishment.

about a month ago
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Boston Trying Out Solar-Powered "Smart Benches" In Parks

Sentrion Re:Cities looking for bench obstacles (119 comments)

I guess I don't understand how sleeping on a public bench is leaching off others when the bench is made available to anyone who wants to use it. Homeless people have to sleep somewhere, and if you don't provide accessible sleeping areas, humans are going to do what humans do naturally. And it's a bit presumptuous to talk about homeless people getting a job. Many homeless people have jobs, but the pay often isn't enough to afford a place to live. This is a problem created by urban fascism, such as city ordinances that prohibit new homes being built that are less then x,xxx square feet, zoning restrictions that prohibit small affordable apartment buildings from being constructed, or economic restrictions such as outlawing subletting. In many cities it can cost $10k to $20k just in permit fees and mandatory professional services before construction on a new home can even begin. Some homeless are lucky enough to own a car to sleep in, but cities crack down on this as. Police routinely drive homeless out from under bridges as well.

In the 1960's we declared war on poverty. Today we are raging war on the poor. The powers that be hate homelessness, not out of concern for the well-being of others, but because the existence of homelessness suggests that there is a problem, something fundamentally wrong with our economic and political systems. They have poured massive resources into programs and campaigns to convince the population that we have freedom of enterprise, that the invisible hand of the free market will correct any problems of supply or demand, that wages paid are always fair, that hard work is enough to earn a living and secure a retirement, that labor unions are communist surrogates, and that state intervention on behalf of the poor or working class will always result in disaster, while subsidies, tax cuts, and special protections for private businesses will trickle down to benefit all of us. The perpetual and growing phenomenon of homelessness suggests that we need to re-open our mental institutions, fund our community mental health programs, government jobs in areas where the private sector is not hiring, job training programs where needed, and worker protections that keep qualified individuals from getting jobs, such as employers checking credit reports to make judgments on employee reliability, or excluding candidates with arrest records but no convictions.

Homelessness also exposes the unfair way in which the market for housing is manipulated to boost profits for landlords and developers at the expense of citizens with little or no financial leverage. At the urban level cities are run like fascist corporations rather than communities of residents, with city officials spending lavishly to cater to private businesses that imply that their ventures will directly or indirectly increase tax revenue in the area in which they operate.

about a month ago

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