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Harvard Students Move Fossil Fuel Stock Fight To Court

ilparatzo Re:Owning stock (203 comments)

I'm sure that part of the goal with this is harassment, although that might be too strong of a word. If you want to effect change, sometimes it's about going after the organization you want to change in all ways possible whether completely reasonable or not. We are all fully aware of all of the sites that are taken down by simple threats from copyright holders. In this case, on top of all the other ways that the students are trying to get things their way, a lawsuit adds even more costs to the school.

Whether or not they stand a chance of winning, I have to imagine it's largely an attempt to break the school through attrition and costs. They are actually learning to be good little lawyers. :-)

about a week ago

Education Chief Should Know About PLATO and the History of Online CS Education

ilparatzo Re:Not news (134 comments)

"The problem with political appointees that they are often campaign contributors who want a government job to enhance their resume. Most get appointed as ambassadors to faraway countries that no one in America can find on a map."

As they say, "you hit the nail on the head". Political appointments are as much, if not more, about what you've done for me than what you could do for the country or the position. If the best candidate for the job had different political leanings, there is no way they would ever get the job. It doesn't matter if the position is a "non-political" one. Politicians will make it political when possible and want "one of their people" in the position. And then scream and yell about how crazy it is to reject an appointment for those reasons.

We're to the put in our political system where they continue to try and create NEW appointments through law or particular situations, making it all the more convoluted and sickening. If only we had the opportunity to listen in on all the conversations prior to an election where appointments are doled out ...

about two weeks ago

Internet Sales Tax Bill Dead In Congress

ilparatzo Bill Naming (257 comments)

I love how government goes about naming bills to make them sound a certain way so that voting against them appears evil. I suppose the makers of the bill would argue that they are coming up with a short name that defines the "essence" of the bill. But when you get into the details, it just makes them seem like they are trying to hide something from you ... aka: being politicians.

"Main Street Fairness Act" - It's simply a bill to apply fairness. You don't like fairness?
"Affordable Care Act" - It's just making care affordable. You don't want care to be affordable?

You could have a lot of fun with this actually. Increased NSA surveillance? "Terrorist Identification Act". Or even better "Protecting our Children from Terror Act". Free cars for all politicians? "Political Accessibility Act".

about two weeks ago

President Obama Backs Regulation of Broadband As a Utility

ilparatzo Re:Obama (706 comments)

I guarantee

How much you willing to wager on this "guaruntee" regarding politics and from an anonymous coward no less?

To quote a great mind of the past ... "Because they know all they sold ya was a guaranteed piece of s**t. That's all it is, isn't it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I've got spare time."

about two weeks ago

Steve Ballmer Gets Billion-Dollar Tax Write-Off For Being Basketball Baron

ilparatzo Re:Wrong headline (255 comments)

Goodwill is not a "loophole", it a tax law it it relates to money spent on a purchase of a business over and above it's market value. It's only a loophole in the sense that you don't like it and it needs to have a bad name to try and demonize it. A loophole is: "an ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules". Not a specific rule for how certain value can be deducted from profits.

Goodwill as a tax advantage works whenever anyone buys a business. So if your parents go and buy a mom and pop store down the street, and pay more than what it's value appears to be, they get a tax advantage in the future profits of that business. If you buy a business of any kind, whether it's value is in the thousands, millions or billions, you get to use goodwill. It's not a "loophole for the rich" apart from the argument that only the rich can afford to buy businesses.

If you don't like the rules around goodwill, I would urge you to understand what it is and what it's there for rather than lashing out at it without any knowledge beyond "Ballmer is saving a bunch of money on taxes, damn that cheater!". It will help your argument against it immensely.

about 1 month ago

Ebola Does Not Require an "Ebola Czar," Nor Calling Up the National Guard

ilparatzo Re:Politics (384 comments)

Sounds a lot like our education system and the teachers and administrative employees that work them, apart from the paycheck bit.

Appears to be a pattern ...

about a month ago

An Air Traffic Control System For Drones

ilparatzo Drone Backdoors Required? (77 comments)

I like the unwritten but implied bit about all drones having code which allows them to be controlled by this central system, at a minimum to be forced to land.

Regulations will come out stating that all drones have to have Airware software running on them allowing the central control system to be able to land them or modify their flight plans in case of a need. Any drone found flying without it will be free game to bring down via other methods and/or subject to a fine and loss of the drone to the government.

Eventually, it will be a thoroughly regulated and controlled system, with an every day Joe Shmoe unable to afford the drone anyway with all the registration fees and insurance requirements.

about a month ago

Worcester Mass. City Council Votes To Keep Comcast From Entering the Area

ilparatzo Re:Awesome quote (232 comments)

I did a little research ... using figures from Wikipedia though, so I may have lost a little accuracy, but probably not enough to kill the point given that I chose to use lower of the estimates for Russia...

1937 census in Russia, which pissed off Stalin because it was lower than he wanted so was likely accurate ... 162 million people, 2.6 million in the gulag system and alive. That is 1.6% of the population in the gulag alone, so we'd need those in the prison system too (they were separate).

2011 census in US ... 310 million people, 2.2 million in prison (federal, state or county). That is 0.7% of the population, half of Russia's gulag vs pop calculation.

So I'll assume you truly meant "sent to" rather than "in", and that rate is greater in the US now then in Russia. So either the US has a lot of recidivism, shorter stays, or both. But I imagine that the people who died in the gulag, not included here, would be a higher rate than the United States prison system based on books read on the subject. Not to mention there are plenty of other gulag/prison estimates for Russia that are significantly higher in earlier and later years. So overall, I'd say that the gulag/prison situation, as a percentage of population, seems considerably worse in Russia than today's US. Regardless of the annual rate at which people were sent there.

about a month and a half ago

Journalists Route Around White House Press Office

ilparatzo Re:Overblown Story About Nothing (111 comments)

Benign details or not, why is my government in the business of reviewing benign news stories for distribution anyway? If these details are so "benign", what a helluva waste to have me paying some schmuck with my tax dollars to find spelling mistakes and a mini army to decide if a girl who fainted needs to be included in an article?

If there is nothing "shady" about the government's role, I'm still happy to see it out of their hands. For one, they don't need to be in that business. Second, why put the honeypot in the room with them with the lid off? No need to tempt our government to abuse power ... they have plenty of history that they aren't to be trusted in those situations.

about a month and a half ago

How Spurious Wikipedia Edits Can Attach a Name To a Scandal, 35 Years On

ilparatzo Re:Research (165 comments)

fire the executive, hire 50-70 reporters. voilà: professional journalism in every story.

Lets not idealize the generic "journalist" as a perfect 3rd party observer of everything that surrounds him/her. We don't presently have legions of journalists who would magically lose the bias in their articles and simply "report the news" if the executive was fired.

The quick way to fame and fortune as a journalist is sensationalism and bias, in the footsteps of whatever extreme example of journalism fits your mold best (Limbaugh, Olbermann, Beck, etc). So those seeking to further their career follow it. The high minded "journalists" you speak of, professional and neutral, spend years trying to advance and in a consumer culture, I suspect give up more often than not.

about a month and a half ago

PETA Is Not Happy That Google Used a Camel To Get a Desert "StreetView"

ilparatzo Re:PETA won't be happy until all animals are extin (367 comments)

I would imagine that many groups that started out fighting for what they felt was a good cause, eventually reach this point as they grow in numbers, strength and financial backing. I suppose they reach a point where they need to get into the limelight in any way that they can to keep the money coming in to fund the bloat. Not to mention to keep the fanatics within the ranks satiated.

I would imagine that deep in the tombs of PETA headquarters is a document that shows the worst outcome that could arise due to the organization .... they get everything they ask for and they no longer have a place in society.

about a month and a half ago

Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite a Sick Place To Be In"

ilparatzo Re:Systemd (993 comments)

"His software is pure excrement"

Are you aware that you're helping to reinforce one of the points two comments up? And somehow, writing software that a group of people deem as bad means that you should be met with horrible physical tortures?

Shall we give a copy of Windows and a copy of Linux to every American, and let them over the course of a week determine which is "good" and which is "bad", and imprison for their rest of their lives those who helped to develop the software which loses?

about 2 months ago

Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

ilparatzo Re:Communism Inspired Tyranny (652 comments)

Read any book on Eastern Europe during the "Iron Curtain" days or the Soviet Union. You quickly find that what the masses "need" and what the leadership/famous/popular "need" are two different things. Or even what you can turn into a "need" with a little palm greasing.

about 2 months ago

Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?

ilparatzo Re:Not my problem (652 comments)

All pigs is equal, but some pigs is more equal than others.

Ain't that the rub though, isn't it? The people telling me that I need to change my ways, sacrifice, are the same people that seem to get the privilege to act differently.

How about this? Lets take 80% of all money spent on political campaigns in the United States and divert it instead to investment in renewable energy. In the latest presidential election year, that number would be 80% of 7 billion dollars (politico), meaning we'd be able to pump 5.6 billion into the fight to end global warming every major election year at least. Would that be a better cause, no matter what you think of renewables, then all the TV spots we're forced to watch over and over again?

about 2 months ago

Could Maroney Be Prosecuted For Her Own Hacked Pictures?

ilparatzo Re:The problem with legalize... (274 comments)

"One reason why "plain English" laws are better for the populous even though they may be harder for the lawyers and the courts."

Sadly, they can also make two people who commit the same crime get vastly different outcomes, "fairly", because interpretation can start to vary.

about 2 months ago

Facebook Apologizes To Drag Queens Over "Real Name" Rule

ilparatzo Re:its their own fault (280 comments)

You have such a fundamental misunderstanding of some very basic concepts of justice

This statement, followed by an analogy that creates a dotted line between the original poster and racism, and is a poor analogy to boot. Not that most analogies used in the wild are much more than poor attempts to link a statement to racism, sexism, nazis, psycopaths or something similarly "evil" ... versus truly clarifying a situation.

Should the use of my real name truly burden me and psychologically harm me, I have a recourse that for hundreds of years has been taken by women upon marriage ... I change my name. Rather unlike a physical trait. I would argue that my name is not an innate trait ... it's something that can and every day for someone in the world, does, change. Should the harm I suffer by using it day in and day out be so great, the difficulties caused by changing it should pale in comparison.

Now should I not want to change it, but still be allowed to use any name I can think of any day of the week, the fact that I identify as transgender doesn't suddenly give me more rights than someone who is not to do so. Who is anyone to say that one reason is okay and another is not? And how do we go about deciding who it is okay to be unfair to and who not? These questions usually end up falling on politicians who will ram into place something that will help them get/stay elected.

about 2 months ago

Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

ilparatzo Re:what is this obsession with children? (575 comments)

Welcome to politics. You build your argument around a base which allows you to brand those who criticize you with a statement that isn't necessarily true, but makes you seem evil.

"You oppose this? Really? You want small children to be abused?"

In Seattle, there were recent bus cuts, being largely blamed on failure of a vote to give the system more money. What do you see in the news? "Blind man's bus cut". So opposing giving money to the bus system means you want disabled people to suffer, you evil evil person you.

Politicians are looking for an emotional response so that their arguments both resonate with you at a low level and can be defensed without needing to use the true merits or flaws of the argument. Not to mention they can run 30 second ads that sound great since they don't go into the details.

about 2 months ago

Obama Administration Argues For Backdoors In Personal Electronics

ilparatzo Why Stop There? (575 comments)

This actually makes me think of all the other ways that we can "protect the children". I should be required to give a set of keys to my house to the authorities, so that they can get in easily to "protect the children". I shouldn't be allowed to delete anything on my computer, since that would be tampering with evidence anyway, so that they can "protect the children".

In fact, we should start implanting chips into all children so that we can find them more easily and protect them. If they want it to be removed when they are 18, we'll have a few hundred forms for them to fill out and a fee. In retrospect though, to make sure that adults don't spend too much time around children, to protect the future children we should probably leave it in.

about 2 months ago

California Governor Vetoes Bill Requiring Warrants For Drone Surveillance

ilparatzo Government never does that ... (115 comments)

could impose requirements beyond what is required by either the 4th Amendment or the privacy provisions in the California Constitution.

And I'm sure that the California government has never done ANYTHING that imposes requirements above and beyond the national or state constitution.

Should this be read as, "We already wish you had less privacy then you do now, so we'd rather stick to the minimum"?

about 2 months ago

BBC: ISPs Should Assume VPN Users Are Pirates

ilparatzo Re:Contacting BBC, via VPN (363 comments)

"If they were socialists, they wouldn't be paying themselves exorbitant salaries, they'd be spreading the money around."

Though in practice, it typically also involves a little more spread around to those doing the spreading ... because they are so important. If not directly, via cronyism. Or in another way via the over used phrase, "Everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others."

about 3 months ago


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