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House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

neurophil12 Re:Democrats voted (932 comments)

Political parties are not forced to hold primaries. They can hold a nominating convention if they prefer. That's what the Republicans did in the last VA governor's race. I don't see how open primaries are any more screwed up than having a winner-take-all vote that keeps out 3rd parties from having any substantial chance in most cases. It's past time we had ranked choice voting. If we did, then there would be no particular benefit to having open primaries. As it stands, open primaries at least give people a chance to vote in the election they think matters. The fact is, in many cases, the general election is a foregone conclusion and the primary is the real election.

about a month and a half ago
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Watch the FCC Vote On Net Neutrality Live At 10:30am Eastern

neurophil12 Re:Does it matter? (90 comments)

To provide a bit more detail to what NotSanguine said, there was some legalese in which the FCC classified broadband as an "Information Service" as opposed to a "Communications Service" back in 2002. The court then recently said that the FCC could apply Net Neutrality regulation on a Communications Service but not an Information Service, but the FCC and Congress are refusing to reclassify even though there is nothing legally stopping them (as far as I am aware). I do not understand the distinction between the two, though my understanding that a Communication Service would be a Common Carrier.

From the 2002 FCC news release I found, 'The FCC also said that cable modem service does not contain a separate "telecommunications service" offering and therefore is not subject to common carrier regulation.'

about 2 months ago
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Oil Man Proposes Increase In Oklahoma Oil-and-Gas Tax

neurophil12 Re:We all need to pay higher taxes (182 comments)

It doesn't sound like you actually read anything I wrote. I was hoping you might actually care to have a conversation, but now I realize you just came here to rant. Your anger is destroying your sanity. Good luck finding your way free. No longer watching Fox News would be a big step forward. You do realize Fox is part of The Machine, right?

about 3 months ago
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Oil Man Proposes Increase In Oklahoma Oil-and-Gas Tax

neurophil12 Re:We all need to pay higher taxes (182 comments)

Virtucon, your anger is severely misplaced. Many of those regulations that are making life difficult for you are primarily from larger businesses that want to keep you from competing fairly with them. That's not to say that there aren't some that are real efforts at fixing a problem but that aren't well-designed, but that's the sort of problem that could be fixed assuming the government was set up to respond to the people. I'm guessing there are also some annoying regulations you don't like that are actually really beneficial, but I wouldn't expect anyone to be able to easily tell all of them apart when there are so many regulations, some federal, most state and local. You are lumping all of the problems together, but in order to solve anything you need to understand the separate components and how they fit together. We could discuss those issues forever though, so I'll focus on the root problem. If we could eliminate corporate contributions to campaigns by constitutionally distinguishing corporations from people, and money from speech, then your voice would actually matter to politicians, and you wouldn't see nearly as much of the horrendous waste we witness.

Did you see the recent study that found that over the last 40 years policy at the federal level is completely uncorrelated with public opinion and highly correlated with the opinions/wishes of wealthy and special interests? Once we solve that problem, then we can see what happens and then have a real conversation about how big government should be and what it should be involved with at what level. Until then neither of us will achieve what we think is the proper approach in government. If you really want things to change, call your state representatives and tell them they need to pass a resolution calling for an Article V convention to deal with the issue of money in politics. Common Cause, Wolf PAC, and Move to Amend are all working on this, among others I imagine.

about 3 months ago
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Oil Man Proposes Increase In Oklahoma Oil-and-Gas Tax

neurophil12 Re:We all need to pay higher taxes (182 comments)

This is some pretty fucked up logic right here. Shit, God only wants 10% and that should be more than enough for any government! The argument that we need to pay more taxes and keep giving more away to entitlements belies the facts that we've given away so many tax breaks to big companies and billionaires that the only way the Feds can keep things afloat is to borrow massively and tax the middle class out of existence.

The middle class is not being taxed out of existence, it is being job and wage-decreased "out of existence". Also, your assertions about what is enough for a government and entitlements make no sense at all. You are taking a variety of different expenditures and mixing them together without actually looking at their value to society. There are both economic and moral components to what we do as a society through government. If you think eliminating most of government will solve our problems, you fundamentally misunderstand economics and large societies.

about 3 months ago
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Mathematical Model Suggests That Human Consciousness Is Noncomputable

neurophil12 Re:Sounds like utter bullshit (426 comments)

Don't get the specific research cited in the article confused with Integrated Information Theory (IIT). IIT, or a possible future more accurate/complete version, could well be true without the rubbish article assuming brain member is non-lossy. Thinking about consciousness in terms of information is nice because it comports with the evidence that when you change something about the brain or its inputs (i.e. change the information content of the system) you get a change in cognition. The details of the theory are complicated, but worth reading up on. I find the basic concept of IIT intuitive, but the math is pretty intense.

about 3 months ago
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L.A. Science Teacher Suspended Over Student Science Fair Projects

neurophil12 Re:Sick Society (253 comments)

Really, insightful? I'm thinking "Troll" would be more appropriate. I just had mod points a few days ago too :/

about 3 months ago
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Commenters To Dropbox CEO: Houston, We Have a Problem

neurophil12 Re:The protesters should brace themselves ... (448 comments)

More like "ankle grabbing" for the lovers of the NSA and water boarding. Going back as far as Napoleon, torture was already dismissed as ineffective, so its sad to me that some people are glad to regress a few centuries. And the "everybody does it" theme neglects that few others countries, ie none, have 30,000 employees and a $10 billion a year budget.

To the contrary, torture is highly effective... at spreading fear and exerting dominance, and/or to produce false confessions. That's why it is used by a number of other countries.

about 4 months ago
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UN Report: Climate Changes Overwhelming

neurophil12 Re:Projections (987 comments)

Ted Danson said in 1998 that we had 10 years to save the oceans or else.

Al Gore said in 2006 that we had 10 years to stop global warming.

The US and other nations have taken efforts to protect the oceans and fisheries through the National Marine Sanctuaries and various regulations, though more efforts are certainly required. Fishing takes in dramatically less per unit energy than each preceding generation, and ocean biodiversity is suffering from temperature changes, various sorts of pollution, and ocean acidification. As usual we've pushed out the horizon on disaster, but in the meantime things are still unhealthy.

For both statements you'd need to provide a detailed quote in order for anyone to make a useful judgement. Perhaps Gore meant that if we were not to address the issue within 10 years, the issue wouldn't be addressed without us suffering some substantial ramifications. It certainly looks like that's the direction we're heading.

about 3 months ago
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk: Fuel Cells Are 'So Bull@%!#'

neurophil12 Re:Well, he's not wrong (479 comments)

The simple fact that you can quickly pump gas into a car versus hours of charging is a huge advantage if you want to drive beyond the action radius of a single charge.

Charging is currently on the order of 30 minutes, not hours, and it can take as little as a couple of minutes for a robot to swap out your batteries for fully charged ones. That is all with current technology.

about 9 months ago
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NSA Still Funded To Spy On US Phone Records

neurophil12 Re:It's A Start (362 comments)

While in such a situation we the people are in need of whistleblowers, it is not an easy thing to be one. I would imagine most people working for the NSA have families and people to care for and would have to weigh their responsibilities. Once the whistle is blown, as it fortunately has been by Snowden, it is our responsibility to put the pressure on our representatives to change the system. It is not for the rank and file to stop doing their job or put a wrench in the system when they are making efforts to ensure our security. You may not believe that the trade-off of privacy and security is worthwhile (and in fact neither do I, at least without proper transparency and oversight to prevent and rectify abuse), but it would be silly to say that having that information could have no benefit to security.

Now consider the possibility that there are people in the NSA that are specifically working to build a set of internal checks and balances in the accessing of such information. I do not find that sufficient as I believe those checks and balances must be transparent to the public, but that would take an act of Congress or the courts. So what is it exactly you want people working at the NSA to do? Perhaps you have some suggestions rather than just some "thoughts" meant to make people feel guilty?

1 year,6 days
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Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

neurophil12 Re:clear and present danger (800 comments)

First off, what you're talking about in terms of caricatures is politics. It's ugly, I don't like it, but it's gone on since the dawn of civilization and in my opinion has arguably grown worse recently primarily because of a mass media more interested in ratings than quality journalism, recent Republican gerrymandering successes, and a takeover of the Republican party by extremists. There are plenty of Democrats that have added to the problem, but I haven't seen them as a driving force in the breakdown in civility.

More importantly though is the question of how we get those in power to deal with the issues we really care about. What you're suggesting as a solution seems to be for people to go and vote for a third party candidate. That's all well and good in Pollyanna Land, but in the system we currently live in it would be about as effective as sticking your head in the sand. Running primary candidates is a step in the right direction, but it is very rare to see that against an incumbent in a presidential race. Even more rare are successes of such.

I choose to support, even if only with lukewarm praise, the best available candidate in any given race. I won't judge you for deciding to do otherwise, though I will say I think my decision is the best approach. Then I go and talk to people about possible long term solutions to the process that will make it possible to vote for people we actually like and make it less likely that we'll always have to just go with the lesser of two evils. If you didn't just jump to conclusions and had asked, you could have found out (without sounding like a major asshole) that I advocate for non-partisan redistricting, ranked choice voting for instant runoff elections, and campaign finance reform. These, among other related solutions, would go much farther than voting for another Ralph Nader like I did in 2000 (though I was voting in MD so I could afford that luxury). In this past election I would have loved to vote for Jill Stein, but my vote mattered far more this time as I reside in Virginia.

about a year and a half ago
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Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

neurophil12 Re:clear and present danger (800 comments)

No, you look at the person's record and see whether it matches up with the grassroots movement that started using the term. Obama is somewhat progressive on some issues, and perhaps in his heart of hearts he's a progressive, but in terms of the array of issues important to progressives he's been perhaps a bit better than so-so. I think most progressives would agree he's made progress on LGBT issues, he provided some relief for people in terms of unemployment benefits, food stamps, and the payroll tax holiday, he did a decent job with the stimulus (though he did a horrible job talking about it), he kept his word about getting out of Iraq (mostly), and he's made some positive steps on the environment in terms of gas mileage standards. Certainly his appointment of Lisa Jackson is something progressives appreciate.

On the other hand progressives are not happy with his soft gloves with the banks and his inaction on relieving home owners (as challenging as it may have been), his sometimes ignoring climate change for political reasons, his support of indefinite detention and other restrictions on civil rights, and of course the particular issue of the parent article. His efforts on health care are appreciated, but the fact that he shut down any discussion of single payer right off the bat and then barely fought for a public option has left many progressives halfhearted in such appreciation.

I'm sure progressives would argue among themselves (or ourselves) about some of these and a few others, but suffice to say that I myself and many progressives with whom I've discussed or whose articles I've read very much believe that Obama has largely governed as a centrist on a variety of issues. And that's why I posted my initial response in the first place. The GP claimed that '"progressive" is just code for Democrat right wing neocon bastard pretending to be a peacenik', and I called BS.

about a year and a half ago
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Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

neurophil12 Re:clear and present danger (800 comments)

I was trying to point out that you are inappropriately conflating "Democrat" with "progressive", not to mention Democratic representatives with Democratic voters. The Democrats are a varied bunch that includes progressives as well as centrists and the Blue Dogs as well (who are not centrists). Perhaps the ACLU would not specifically label themselves as progressive, but their positions on issues line up quite closely with organizations and people who do label themselves as progressive. Moreover, a variety of progressive groups have spoken out vocally against Obama and/or attempted to push him to act in a particular way when he was not acting or dragging his feet. See environmentalists and the LGBT community for plenty of examples. Except for in cases where the the DNC (or similar organization) is setting up an event to promote its candidate(s), it has been anything but a love-fest.

about a year and a half ago
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Is the Era of Groundbreaking Science Over?

neurophil12 Re:Of course not (470 comments)

Until half of interior designers are male, interior design remains sexist. Lets break some ground and get more gents in there.

Because #Bluntness

p.s. the reason there are more females in interior design is that more females enjoy that kind of work/challenge.

Oh wow, Dr. Fonik-Sonik, I'd love to see your research article showing how innate gender differences lead to disparate occupational outcomes! I'm sorry, did I lay that on too thick?

The fact that this comment was rated as insightful boggles my mind. I would posit a far more likely hypothesis: Interior designers are more likely to be females than males (and more likely to be homosexual males than heterosexual males) because that is what the gender norms in our culture suggest. A man who while young has an interest in topics relating to interior design will get any number of social cues to stay away and focus on other topics, the same way girls get such cues to do poorly in math and science. Cultural effects on gender are pretty huge. There may well be some innate features at play for all I know, but the point is I don't know and I'm not going to just assume it.

Also, I would kindly request you stop using your "#Bluntness" or other related phrases one might use in its place such as "I'm gonna just play devil's advocate here", "Let's be honest...", or "I'm not racist/sexist/etcist but...". You should feel free to be blunt, be a devil's advocate, attempt to have an honest conversation, and so on, but don't use those phrases as a way to get out of being responsible for poor or even damaging ideas and positions. In short, have a little bit of humility, especially when you're not an expert. It turns out you aren't superior just because you pulled some BS out of your butt.

about a year and a half ago
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Leaked: Obama's Rules For Assassinating American Citizens

neurophil12 Re:clear and present danger (800 comments)

The ENTIRETY of the Obama presidency has been a demonstration by Democrats that they didn't disagree with GWB's policies, they merely hated the man and used his policies as a foil. Obama's entire first term was marked by the egregious continuation of every civil rights violation GWB envisioned, but amplified, and Democrats said nothing, unless it was to label a person asking serious questions as "racist."

If the past four years is any indication, Obama has nothing to fear from "progressives" -- and I say that term with absolute disgust, because "progressive" is just code for Democrat right wing neocon bastard pretending to be a peacenik. Which in my world is worse than Republican right wing neocon bastard not pretending.

That is an enormous load right there. There has been substantial push-back on this and other issues from the progressive community for years. Do you ever check out the ACLU efforts, articles on the Huffington Post and Rolling Stone, and reporting and discussion on The Young Turks or Democracy Now? And those are just the ones I actually check out every now and then. Obama is not nor has he ever been a progressive, and he's also never been a "peacenik". Do you actually know any progressives, or do you just read about them on Fox News or in articles linked by the Drudge Report or on NewsMax? Disgust can go both ways.

Unfortunately there are many issues that have taken up all the oxygen in the political landscape and made this particular issue one that just ends up largely ignored. It's easy to see why given that the Republicans are more than happy to have this sort of policy in place, and many Democratic representatives are (as usual) afraid to make hay (and of course some just don't care). Perhaps more importantly, it is even more difficult to challenge the president of your party when the other party is vehemently and religiously against your president and party just for existing. I do hope some Dems, and others, challenge the president on this and force him to work through the Congress to produce legislation with oversight and accountability, and I will be writing my reps (again), but I also won't be holding my breath.

about a year and a half ago
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Is It Time For the US To Ditch the Dollar Bill?

neurophil12 Re:the dollar bill, the penny, the nickel.... (943 comments)

It's made from cotton, which is sustainable, while polymers are made from fossil fuels. So, nah, I don't think it's time we stopped ;)

about a year and a half ago
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Is It Time For the US To Ditch the Dollar Bill?

neurophil12 Re:Came here looking for the Planet Money link (943 comments)

I don't know the detailed numbers, but it may be it did actually save money in Canada because the Canadian dollar bill was of poorer quality/value. The US dollar bill can stay in circulation considerably longer than any other bill in the world.

about a year and a half ago
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Is It Time For the US To Ditch the Dollar Bill?

neurophil12 Re:the dollar bill, the penny, the nickel.... (943 comments)

All true, but we also have the best dollar bill in the world. That is, it holds up for far longer than any other, long enough that even though each bill is more expensive to print it is more valuable than others in the world. From the Planet Money story:

"As to the question of why it made sense for other countries to switch from small denomination bills to coins, the answer seems to be: Their bills did not last nearly as long as U.S. bills. The Federal Reserve says typical lifetimes of bills from those countries were just three to six months."

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/04/19/150976150/should-we-kill-the-dollar-bill

about a year and a half ago

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