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Comment Re:Indeed (Score 1) 240

I'm hoping it will at least come up only when a little bit relevant. Right now it's, "I'm stuck at a red light. Fucking Crooked Hillary!" or, "This mac and cheese is terrible, but not as terrible as Donald Trump!"

We get it, people. You think you're topical and clever. You have feelings and ideas and stuff about current events. We just don't want to hear them.

Comment Re:Let's teach critical thinking (Score 2) 212

That works as long as you're one of the lucky seniors who remains sharp as a tack until your last dying breath. For most, there's a window when they're still in charge of their own finances but have moments when they're easily confused and forgetful. My grandmother is in her 90s and spent most of her life being one of the smartest people in any given room and was plenty cynical and suspicious about scams and criminals, but she's now reaching a point where she has days when she has no idea what bills she's paid or how many times she's paid the same one. Those are the types of people most scammers are looking for.

If you're in your 40s and you fall for this sort of scam, I don't know what to say. Your life savings was probably going to end up going to a megachurch or pyramid scheme at some point anyway. But most of us are going to end up losing our ability to handle this type of thing eventually, so it's best if we put some effort in to stopping this kind of shit.

Comment Re: Indians are immoral (Score 1) 212

A goodly chunk of those people are also retired folks who worked and paid income tax most of their lives and are now on a small fixed income, drawing down their savings rather than earning taxable income. A lot of the data on both income inequality, debt and taxes paid is explained pretty simply by lifecycle factors. Young adults have no savings, borrow money, earn crappy incomes. Middle age people are paying off debt, saving for retirement, earning decent incomes. Old people are earning very little again but drawing down debt instead of borrowing.

Comment Re:Flawed Assumption (Score 2) 332

I think it's a reasonable guess that the majority of serious abuse is a small number of repeat offenders simply because that's how it is everywhere else. Most criminal activity is the same way. It's not like every person steals one car or commits a burglary in his lifetime. It's a small percentage of people who do it over and over again who run up the stats.

The problem that seems to be more universal is the willingness of all of the other police to cover for the worst offenders. A cop who probably wouldn't unnecessarily beat a suspect still seems very likely to lie to protect a fellow officer who would. Weirdly, police spokesmen like to use the phrase, "A few bad apples..." to describe the problem. They don't seem to know what the rest of that saying is or how well it applies to them.

Comment Re:So? (Score 1) 213

All organized religions? So if we look at any religious country of any sect, we'll find religious enforcers slapping teenagers around and arresting them for their hair length or talking to girls?

Are all organized religions inherently the same, or is their sameness right now just an interesting historical coincidence?

Comment Re:The Saudi government is barbaric (Score 1) 213

Don't you know? Saudi Arabia has always been a pariah in American government and only just recently with the rise of Hillary Clinton has it started to work its way into the halls of power over here. Selling the Saudis weapons and ignoring their human rights abuses is a totally new thing, just started in 2016!

Comment Re:Universities aren't completely honest either (Score 4, Interesting) 420

I think the problem with government money for college is that we went demand side rather than supply side. States have a good history of building public universities that provided a great education at a great price and admitting students who could actually benefit from that education. Eventually, we shifted tons of money into providing loans and grants, which ultimately just arms both sides in a bidding war over the same set of seats for already existing universities. In general, when that happens, the price goes up and more suppliers enter the market to satisfy the demand. The problem here is that it's a lot easier to build a shitty fake university to soak up easy tuition dollars than it is to build a real university that actually educates people and has standards.

Worse, as more and more people are selected for seats in real schools, the remaining people with piles of federal cash burning holes in their pockets are, on average, worse and worse students. So building a good quality school with high standards isn't even necessarily the right thing to do even if your heart is in the right place and you're willing invest the money doing so. Ultimately, you just end up with a bunch of fly by night operations that specialize in separating vulnerable students from their loan money.

Comment Re:"Adult conversation next year?" (Score 5, Insightful) 367

It's tough to compare the environment now to what law enforcement has "always" done in history, though. There never used to be a way for them to read every single letter and cable being sent and received everywhere, so in that sense, the power they're looking for is unprecedented, even if they promise only to use it in a way that's analogous to old school manual police work. And even the claim that they've "always" had access to the data they're asking for doesn't entirely hold up. They've never had, say, access to timestamped GPS data about everywhere a person has gone every day or years of archives of mail. In the idealized old days, they could start tapping your phone or reading your mail at a certain point in time and get data for that time window, but not everything you'd done for years before that. There are types and quantities of data about us that exist now because of smart phones and ubiquitous use of the Internet that simply didn't exist in the "good old days" he's pining for.

So I think the fundamental claim he's making is at least a little bit flawed, and that's before we even get into discussions about whether it's technologically feasible or whether law enforcement can be trusted with the expanded powers.

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