It seems to me the word "grandstanding" is an unfair characterization.
I think "grandstanding" is entirely fair. Why are they having a hissy fit about this, but they completely ignore the other, even greater, privacy infringements that we've been subject to for years (CCTV, the consolidation of electronic data, internet surveillance, etc.)?
They're picking this as their target because they smell the ability to generate and capitalize on a populist outrage while not even beginning to address the real problems.
While people hate change (when the pain of change is greater than the perceived benefits), I don't think that's the source of peoples discomfort with this at all. I say this as someone who doesn't have any greater discomfort with this than with any other public use of cameras.
Also, "people hate change" has become the standard way to dismiss critics out of hand without having to actually address their issues. In other words, whatever merit it may have, it's become meaningless as used today.
I agree with you that this reason for reducing yellow light times is totally unacceptable, but please let me defend the use of "legitimate".
(Disclaimer, I am an engineer and look at these things through that lens). This is a classic case of an engineering tradeoff. Optimizing for one variable (reducing gridlock) often deoptimizes another variable (reducing intersection accidents).
To reduce the yellow light timings to ease gridlock is a legitimate engineering solution. It is not an acceptable public policy decision in my opinion, as it is optimizing for the wrong thing -- but that's not the sort of call an engineer typically makes. He's just told "optimize for 'x'" by his bosses. If he's really good at his job, he'll already have submitted an analysis to his bosses explaining all the various consequences of doing what they want, but it's still their call.
the major way i can communicate that, is by leaving a crappy tip
That's a big gun to wield, though, and ends up hurting people who aren't at fault for your dissatisfaction as you're depriving the entire working staff, from cooks through servers all the way to the dishwashers.
But I do it. For me, a "crappy" tip is 15%. The tip I leave for adequacy is 20%. Exceptional service and/or food is somewhere north of 20%.
If things were so bad that leaving even 15% seems too much, I complain directly to the manager (and still leave 15% even if the check is comp'd).
I eat out a lot, at restaurants all across the price/genre range, and here's my take.
Whether this practice bothers me or not depends. If I'm at a low-end eatery, I expect it. If I'm someplace that claims to actually cook their own food (thus, I'm expecting the food to be actually good and lacking in industrial chemicals like preservatives and food colorings), or if I'm paying very much above grocery-store prices for it, this practice ensures I won't return to the restaurant.
It's all about the essence of good business: meeting the expectations that the business sets.
Re: Re: Centrally controlled fiat currencies are a pyramid scheme
Everyone could do with a reminder that their bank deposits are loans, not cash vaults. Those investments can sometimes fail. Nor is currency a good way to store your wealth, anyway. It is a means of facilitating exchanges, preserving value is not its purpose.
Which simply underscores the pyramid-like nature of fiat money. (Although fiat money is not actually anything like a pyramid scheme, it does share a few attributes with them).
Or to put it another way, isn't there something wrong with a monetary system that provides no real way of preserving value?
It makes no sense that a secret as large and important as that would be revealed in any basic training whatsoever. I would think it would be one of those "need to know" things that wouldn't be mentioned at all unless you're actually directly dealing with alien materials.
So, it seems overwhelmingly likely that the briefing you attended, if it took place as you say, was 100% bullshit.