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Congress Suggests Moat, Electronic Fence To Protect White House

Terwin Re:redundancy (213 comments)

There are several (4 or 5 iirc) redundant presidents specified in the constitution, the first of which is called the vice president. There is essentially a redundant Washington, DC as well, buried deep in a bunker somewhere. I forget the name of the place, it was set up during the Cold War in case of nuclear attack.

Looks like 17 to me(would be 18 but one of them is a naturalized citizen and thus ineligible)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U...

about a month ago
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White House Pressures Legislators Into Gutting USA FREEDOM Act

Terwin Re:When the Hell Has the GOP Done What Obama Asked (284 comments)

political-spectrum-wise, Obama sits right where Saint Reagan does

I'm surprised how many people refuse to admit this...

Hmm...
Regan:
Reduced the number of tax brackets and substantially reduced the top marginal rate
Increased defense spending
Strongly opposed the USSR and 'damn commies' world wide
Used the cold-war arms race(including threats of the 'star wars' system) to bankrupt the USSR and remove them from 'World Power' status
Stood by Americas international allies and faced down potential threats, even if it meant American boots on the ground
Tried to unite the country with patriotism
Repeatedly took his case to the American people to get them to change the votes of their legislators(explaining his position and why it was the right thing to do)
Took a stagnant economy and promoted growth(mostly through lower taxes and consumer confidence)

Obama:
Tax increases on 'the wealthiest Americans' to pay for various programs(including ACA)
Is pumping money into the stock market(either to hide the state of the economy or pay-off contributors, not sure which)
Is standing by while Putin re-builds the USSR
Draws 'red lines' or promotes hash-tags whenever there is something bad happening, but does not back them up.
Puts American diplomats in harms way to prove terrorism is gone, then blames a video when the terrorists show they are not gone
Tries to divide the country with racism(Rev. Al Sharpton; New Black Panthers; Prof. Gates; etc)
Repeatedly changed laws passed by the house and senate by either refusing to enforce them(border/immigration; Black Panther voter intimidation) or delaying enforcement(ACA) under his own authority
Repeatedly lied about his signature legislation to protect it from being seen for what it is.
Took a growing economy and promoted stagnation(mostly through uncertainty and higher taxes intermingled with one time give-aways to buy votes)

Admittedly, they both promoted growth in the stock market, even if Regan did it through growth and Obama is doing it through government backed bonds.
Aside from that, I just do not see it.

about 7 months ago
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CIA Accused: Sen. Feinstein Sees Torture Probe Meddling

Terwin Re:it's a dupe. (187 comments)

Not everyone will instantly catch that things like changing the shape of your garden or planting a rose bush counts as an 'improvement' and can result in hundreds of dollars in fines.
(Note: the roses I was fined for did not in any way approach the property of my neighbors or interfere with the use of the street or sidewalk, and the only reason I was not fined for enlarging my garden as well was because the board did not bother to read the rules, and by ignoring my initial request, they automatically granted me permission. Not that it stopped them from trying to force me to put it back mind you...)

about 9 months ago
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Speedier Screening May Be Coming To an Airport Near You

Terwin More pork? (163 comments)

It would be nice to think that they are attempting to address an obvious problem, but with the TSA, I suspect this is going to be just another opportunity to line the pockets of politically connected people...

Question: if the lines got shorter, how would they gather an audience for their security theater?

about 10 months ago
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Global-Warming Skepticism Hits 6-Year High

Terwin A documented decrease? (846 comments)

"Journalists take heed: Your coverage has consequences. All those media outlets who trumpeted the global warming "pause" may now be partly responsible for a documented decrease in Americans' scientific understanding."

Really?
More people questioning a theory that is
1) often presented in a more political than scientific way,
2) calls for individual sacrifice for a common good
3) who's most vocal supporters often as not do *not* make those individual sacrifices
4) proponents loudly protest that all objectors are ignorant or politically motivated

During a period when inflation adjusted average personal income is continuing a long downward slide.

And this is a 'documented decrease in scientific understanding'?

How about 'times are tough and people are fed up with being told they need to give up what little they have by hypocrites' as a better explanation?

about a year ago
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New Documentary Chronicles Road Tripping Scientists Promoting Reason

Terwin Re:Atheism is a religion (674 comments)

Why are you assuming that the burden of proof is on the person without theistic beliefs?

Agnostics would say "I cannot find a proof either way, so I do not know" and as such need show no proof as they make no factual claims, they only state their uncertainty on the matter.

Theists would say "I believe God exists" and as such may be called upon to try and show a proof for their belief

Atheists would say "There is no God" and as this is a definitive claim, there must be a proof for it to be considered a true fact.

If you make a claim that something is a certain way(such as God does or does not exist), you may be called upon to provide a proof of that.

If you claim that something cannot be known(such as an agnostic claiming it is not possible to know if God exists), you may be asked to provide a proof of that impossibility.

If you merely say "I have yet to see a convincing proof" then you have nothing to prove as you are stating an opinion about your own experiences and not attempting to assert anything as a fact.

Facts can be proved or disproved and any statement of fact can be challenged as such.

Does that help clarify things?

1 year,7 days
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3-D Printed Gun Ban Fails In Senate

Terwin Re: Already Banned (414 comments)

A response I've seen to this argument is, "the majority of the population don't murder and rape. So, we don't need those laws on the books about these crimes then?"

Not a stance I personally side with, but "have to do something as the perfect is the enemy of the good" can be a valid argument for gun control bills.

How is that in any way relevant to the argument you responded to?

Its not that laws in general are useless - merely that laws that exist solely as an attempt to keep someone from breaking another law are useless.

A more apt comparison would be:
'Any time you commit a rape, you break 5 laws, why not simplify the books by just combining those all into one law'
That, to me, seems like an eminently reasonable suggestion if the laws are similar enough for that to work.

1 year,8 days
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Puzzled Scientists Say Strange Things Are Happening On the Sun

Terwin Re:good! (342 comments)

You think you do, but if you knew more about how the planet operates, you'd know that a warmer planet won't be as pleasant to live in.

Social evolution can happen at a very rapid pace when needed, so I am not worried about that. Humans can and will adapt as needed.

What I do know, is that Geologically speaking, we are still in an ice-age(inter-glacial period, but still an ice age as we currently have ice-caps), so I know for a fact that earthly life as a whole will be quite happy once we have moved away from the unusually cold climate and can return to a warmer and more fruitful climate instead.

Sure there will be disruptions, but change is both disruptive and unavoidable, so we will deal with it.

about a year ago
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Healthcare.gov Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster

Terwin Re:Bureaucrats != engineers (559 comments)

I don't know how much time they actually had between the passing of the ACA and the deadline. But don't you think 12 month should be enough for any website project if you have fairly large resources and absolutely need to be finished on time? Don't you think that kind of project should be possible? Or did the ACA not pass before October 2012?

The original law may have been passed in 2012, but all those sections with 'to be determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services' were obviously not completed by that time.

I would be rather surprised if all of those sections have been addressed, let alone completed, even today.

Then there are all of those declarations like waivers and delaying the Employer mandate, changing the law by fiat after it was passed.

Reminds me a bit of the first application I ever wrote that used a Flash front-end, every day there were new toys and functionality requested by a customer or the CEO. Scope creep can easily turn a 1 month project into a 6 month project, even without all the political BS that was doubtlessly required for Healthcare.gov.

about a year ago
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Healthcare.gov Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster

Terwin Re:As an outsider. (559 comments)

The Government did allow you to keep your plan. It's Aetna that decided to screw you over and try to get you to blame someone else. It seems to have worked, because instead of directing your ire at the insurance industry's thieving, scheming, middle-men, you're angry at the administration trying to reform a horribly broken system in a political climate where it's virtually impossible to get anything done even when you're willing to adopt ideas from the other side as a compromise.

Actually, the Health and Human Services department is empowered to make rules that *all* healthcare plans must obey, including grandfathered ones.

So, you can only grandfather a plan if:
A) it never changes, not even to account for inflation
B) it obeys all new regulations put out by the Health and Human Services department for health insurance.

The only exception is plans that are part of a collective bargaining agreement(aka unions), those plans are allowed to change without losing grandfathered status so long as the changes are to make it come into agreement with HHS regulations.

And let me tell you, no plan I have ever had will provide female oral contraceptives without a co-pay, so no plan I have ever had could be grandfathered under the current rules.

about a year ago
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How Big Data Is Destroying the US Healthcare System

Terwin Re:Sounds like a problem... (507 comments)

Still, I don't know why we get all hung up in debate. National health care works. There is proof everywhere. The question you ask really is irrelevant. There are models that work well we can simply copy.

My problem is less with Single Payer, but more with who will be in charge of it all.

There have been 18 government shut-downs since 1976 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_shutdown_in_the_United_States).
The Us government has a track-record of grasping for more and more power, regardless of the cost.(Income tax was originally a 'wartime' thing, and taxes are currently used to manipulate every sector of the economy)
The US government has a track record of poor management and blatant cronyism(Copyright reform anyone? Oh, right, we mean extension, not reform; Can't afford a house? We'll require the banks to give it to you for $0 down anyway because it is unfair not to!)

*IF* we got reasonable term limits(2 terms in the senate, 8 years in the house, or less) and we started having a significant percentage of trustworthy elected representatives, I would be much more willing to consider a system similar to that of Canada(federal funding, state implementation), but with the current crop of dirt-bags we have in office? Not a chance.

They already play chicken with the national government, why should I hand them yet another way to screw me over when they clearly care more about themselves than those that they 'serve'

about a year ago
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Scientists Induce New Hair Growth In Balding Men

Terwin Re:Wow, glad we solved that! (232 comments)

Some forms of deafness are also caused by hair loss(the little hairs in the inner ear).

about a year ago
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Redesigned Seats Let Airlines Squeeze In More Passengers

Terwin Re:Can I just stand? (466 comments)

Last time I was in a small plane(1-2 seating) the seat hurt my hips and I had to spend most of the( thankfully short) flight kneeling in the aisle(I could not stand straight and had to hunch over to walk back to my seat)

Airlines do *not* cater to those > 2m tall (6'6"+)

We already have our tickets for this year, but I am trying to talk my wife into letting us drive up for the next visit to her parents.(~1900 miles)

about a year ago
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China's State Press Calls For 'Building a De-Americanized World'

Terwin Re:Summary says it all (634 comments)

The American Dream (TM) is that anyone can make it, but the assumption is for one person to get rich others must remain poor.

That's your assumption. I don't have to assume any such. In practice, those who get rich by providing valuable services whether in the US or elsewhere make others rich as well. The zero-sum game is imaginary.

By definition, most people cannot be rich.

Only if you keep moving the goal-posts.

Merriam Webster: Rich: having a lot of money and possessions

Compared to Europe in the 1500's, everyone in America is rich, even those on food stamps.
Compared to the 1200's almost everyone in America that is not homeless lives in amazing luxury.

The only reason 'most people cannot be rich' is if you cannot consider yourself 'rich' when most others around you are as well off as you are, regardless of how amazing your actual wealth is. That has nothing to do with wealth and everything to do with wanting to feel superior to others.

Personally, I prefer to be happy with my modest level of wealth than to be perpetually unhappy because someone else has more than I do.

about a year ago
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CPJ Report: the Obama Administration and Press Freedoms

Terwin Re:You asked for this (289 comments)

there are more than two candidates... it is people like you that cause this ridiculous shit to occur. use your brain, vote for a third party. if enough ppl actually vote for who they want instead of "the lesser of two evils", we wouldnt have had to deal with obama in the first place.

There is also the option of getting involved earlier in the process.
On the Democrat side tehre were at least 2 candidates: Hillary Clinton, and Barak Obama
On the republican side there were several: Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Fred Karger, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Buddy Roemer, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, Jr., and Michele Bachmann according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_presidential_candidates,_2012

In my own district, there was even a party meeting the night after the primaries where there was a discussion of what should be on the party platform and a group of representatives were selected to go to the next higher level caucus(State?). There were actually fewer attendees at the meeting I went to than there were slots for representatives from our district, so everyone who wanted to go was selected, plus a few people someone knew who had gone in the past.(I did not go as I had a schedule conflict, but I could have).

If you want to fix things, get involved earlier in the process when there are so few people who care, every voice is magnified.

about a year ago
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Digital Revolution Will Kill Jobs, Inflame Social Unrest, Says Gartner

Terwin Re:Wages as share of GDP dropping since 1972 (754 comments)

You need to either settle for what you're worth or endeavor (through school, training, etc) to make yourself worth more.

That's easy for someone like you or to say, who presumably make more than $60k per year. But the reason I make 6 figures isn't because I chose to make 6 figures, it's because I got lucky and happened to both have the interests and innate ability in said interests to command those kinds of wages.

The problem isn't that people are too lazy to make themselves worth more. The problem is that we don't need an entire population of Doctors, Developers and Stock Brokers. Some people due to their economic status as children didn't have the access or exposure to the necessary prequalifications for a high paying career. Some people are just too dumb. Some people are really good at things that don't pay very well. There are a lot of people out there who are really good at Basketball. I'm terrible at Basketball. But even the people who are really good at Basketball still probably aren't good enough to qualify for the minuscule job market for professional basketball players. And highschool PE teachers isn't a $60k a year job.

You want to know why I currently make > 60K/year?
Because back when I was in public school(a below average school in a below average district), I decided that if I wanted to be an above average earner, I had better start working on that.
I looked at my interests and talents, going from more avid interests to less avid interests until I found something that I was willing to commit to that was also in demand and would provide a good wage.
I worked at learning and developing what I would need for that profession, refining my goals as I went, Went to my local state school while living at home, often working in the computer labs late into the night so that after the buses stopped running, I had a 2 hour bike ride to get home.

I see no reason any early teen that is willing to apply themselves could not do the same thing that I did and put forth a concentrated effort towards giving themselves a better future.
(Admittedly it was not easy, and even with a rather generous definition, I had perhaps 3 dates before I graduated with my 4 year degree, but if you prioritize what is important, you can achieve it)

Sure it may take more effort from some, or less effort from others, but there would be very very few for whom the required effort is outside the bounds of human endurance.

about a year ago
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Unmanned 'Terminator' Robots Kill Jellyfish

Terwin Re:Robots to kill moon jellyfish (149 comments)

Well, until the trend of oceans sinking up the carbon dioxide ends, it will become more and more acidic, killing all the marine life.

You purport that no marine life can live in an ocean with a ph of 7?
The ocean is currently a base(how else could you have so much undissolved calcium carbonate in it? Aka coral), 'ocean acidification' from CO2 will only bring it to a neutral PH (7)

While I am sure some critters will have problems with a neutral ocean(Coral for example), I strongly doubt all of them would.

about a year ago
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U.S. Government: Sorry, We're Closed

Terwin Re:Fucking idiots (1532 comments)

They've tried 41 times [huffingtonpost.com] already. Attaching it to this "must-pass" spending bill was attempt 42.

So what's your point. If you can't do something properly you should do whatever it takes instead? You can't ask someone you don't know 41 times to give you $1000 and if they refuse the 41st time tell them they need to give you the money or you'll key their car and then claim they are being unreasonable.

There's a democratic president who got elected on a platform including this bill, there's a democratic senate and the majority of voters voted for democratic congresspeople. The Republicans can't do this legitimately because the voters chose not to give them the power to run the country so they're using economic vandalism to try and get their way instead.

It is not like they went through the normal process to pass the ACA in the first place.

The ACA was passed using Reconciliation(something that previously was only used for getting budgets passed), so it seems reasonable that another budget-related method is used to adjust it ore remove it.

It does seem a little hypocritical that Obama, who always seems to be calling for compromise, is refusing to compromise now that something he values is at risk.

about a year ago

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