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  • Dec 4th, 2016 @ 12:47pm

    Re: -$198/mo to Comcast

    just not anything I'd ACTUALLY want like uncapped high-speed service with a static IP.

    We have that, actually.

    My household - in what is considered a "semi-rural" area - has Comcast Business Class service: high speeds, no caps that I'm aware of, static IP address (though I believe that last comes at an extra fee).

    Not sure what the monthly total comes to, but I would be surprised if it was higher than the $198, and it may well be lower.

    Now, they certainly don't advertise that service to residential customers, but they will sell it to you if you ask them the right way. To the best of my awareness, they don't even demand any proof that you really are a business of any kind.

    (They still send us fliers advertising Xfinity service, probably because - thanks to my father's minor cable-news addiction - we do have Comcast TV service. You'd think the different parts of the company would talk to one another...)

  • Dec 4th, 2016 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re: No FCC No More

    The new rules are bad, yes.

    But the old rules were worse. The new ones, while still bad, are a considerable improvement.

    The problem we're currently facing is not how bad the current rules are, but the fact that even the current insufficient set of rules are almost certainly going to be rolled back, and we'll have no meaningful constraints at all on anticompetitive and monopolistic behavior in these areas.

  • Dec 3rd, 2016 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: Creep of rights redutction

    In particular, (too many people in) the government seem to have the idea that their first and most important duty is to protect the safety and security of America and its people, rather than the liberty of the same.

    Many - possibly most, though I think probably not all - of the increasing violations we've seen over the past years arise perfectly naturally from that mis-ordering of priorities.

  • Dec 3rd, 2016 @ 4:14am

    Re: Re:

    I disagree with you slightly; we do need a patent system, to encourage people to publish their inventions. Otherwise, you wind up with a cotton-gin situation, wherein as soon as you release the secret of making the new device other people start doing it for themselves and the inventor makes no money - so inventors have incentive to keep their inventions secret, and as a result, the information is far more likely to get lost and forgotten.

    What we don't need, and what the patent system was intended to replace AFAIK, is (legal recognition of and enforcement for) trade secrets. I've never understood how it makes any sense to retain trade-secret law in the presence of patent law, given the above.

  • Dec 2nd, 2016 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    For slightly less opaque pronunciations:

    "que" is pronounced roughly "kway".

    "cue" and "queue" are pronounced roughly "kyoo".

  • Dec 2nd, 2016 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re:

    The word "que" is Spanish for "what?"; it's pronounced the same way as "quay", and rhymes with "say".

    The word you want here is "cue"; it's pronounced the same way as "queue", rhymes with "who", and means either "a signal to do something" or "to signal to do something".

    The word "queue" in its turn means either "a line in which things wait for their turns" or "to put into line to wait for its turn".

  • Dec 2nd, 2016 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Now Trump is a book burner?

    If being under investigation was a disqualifier for being a legitimate candidate for office, then anyone who could cause an investigation to be initiated would have veto power over what candidates can run for office, and thus could make sure no one they disagree with ever gets into office.

    It is true that in this case, the investigation was being carried out by an arm of the executive branch, during a period when the executive branch was under the control of people who theoretically support the candidate in question. However, the investigation was prompted by political pressure from people who oppose that candidate, and refusing to investigate would have carried its own political costs; as such, the origin of the investigation lies with those in opposition.

    (Not to mention that Trump himself has been under various kinds of investigation this entire time; he's even used one of them as a defense of a highly nonstandard lack of transparency in one particular area. If being under investigation were a disqualifying factor, neither of the nominees this time around would have been eligible - and, most likely, neither would any of the unsuccessful candidates from the major-party primaries.)

  • Dec 2nd, 2016 @ 4:10am

    Re: Re:

    Where do you see the article saying Trump is to blame for this?

    It's true that the Obama administration hasn't been doing enough to stop this; I get the impression that that's largely because of the extent of the political opposition from those who object to anything the Democratic Party supports, but it's still the case.

    However, the Obama administration's FCC - as represented by Tom Wheeler - also hasn't been outright opposed to the idea that there's anything that even might need stopping; from what little I'e been able to see, Wheeler even seems to have been leaning more and more in the direction of accepting that it's a problem and perhaps eventually taking action.

    All indications thus far are that the Trump administration will be outright opposed to the idea that there's anything to fix, and will try to roll back the other good things that the Obama-administration FCC has done.

    Saying that a new decision-maker X will be worse on a subject than the current decision-maker Y does not equate to blaming X for the current state of Y.

  • Nov 30th, 2016 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: zzzzz

    To be fair, the person you're replying to was replying not to the original article, but to a comment which did only mention Trump and not either of the other two.

    (Also to be fair, the "repeat a lie often enough" thing does seem to fit Trump better than it does either of the other two. That's a separate discussion, however.)

  • Nov 25th, 2016 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Schrödinger’s Democracy

    And flag it, just to improve the odds that other people won't have to see that particular wall of text in the future.

  • Nov 25th, 2016 @ 8:48am


    And we're never going to get a viable third party, on any meaningful scale, unless we switch to a ranked-preference voting system - preferably one which satisfies the Condorcet criteria - instead of our current "first-past-the-post" single-choice system.

    On which front there has actually been unexpected good news: Maine has reportedly adopted such a voting system, by ballot initiative this election cycle. I don't know its details, but if this is the toe in the door, there may be hope for the future yet...

  • Nov 25th, 2016 @ 8:40am

    Re: "Since I won, we'll just pretend I never mentioned that shall we?"

    Hey, he said it clearly himself: "I will absolutely accept the results of this great and historic election, if I win.".

    For him to consider the possibility of his victory being invalid would be inconsistent with that clear statement. You wouldn't want him to go back on his word, would you?

  • Nov 24th, 2016 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thing is, Trump isn't even the neocon Republican Party; he's something between the alt-right Breitbart wing, and a loose cannon with no visible ties beyond the whim of the moment.

    Hillary Clinton would not have been a good President; she would have continued the country on more or less its current trajectory, rather than improving things which need to be improved. If she had won the Presidency, things would not have gotten better, but they would not have gotten actively worse very quickly.

    Donald Trump will be an actively dangerous President; we will be very lucky if he does not do catastrophic damage to our democracy, to our strength as a country, and to the world situation as a whole. With him in office, things will not get better, and will very probably get actively worse.

    Between those two choices, it seems clear to me which one is the lesser of the two evils - and it appears that a majority of voters agreed. Unfortunately, the balance of the electoral college fell out differently.

    I agree that Trump's victory has very little to do with Trump; among other things (such as the ones indicated by the link you cite), it has more to do with the years of Republican=and-so-forth demonizing of Hillary Clinton, and the long-established Republican drive towards partisan gerrymandering and "soft" voter disenfranchisement.

    Unfortunately, regardless of what led to it, a Trump victory does not get us what the voters who picked him actually want; what it gets us is Trump, which is - at best - an incoherent mess, and which will not actually solve any of the problems which led them to vote for him.

  • Nov 23rd, 2016 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll just leave this here...

    Oh, I agree. I just have a minor compulsive tendency when it comes to explaining a viewpoint which I think is being missed, whether I agree with that viewpoint or not.

    Although the general principle of being careful what powers you grant to people whose policies you like because you can't be sure you'll like their successors' policies is valid, I'm not at all sure the case at hand is a good example of that. In particular, I'm not sure the powers granted to the FCC in the net-neutrality fight thus far are ones which are much subject to abuse in ways I'd find problematic, no matter who is able to wield them.

  • Nov 23rd, 2016 @ 7:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'll just leave this here...

    I think the idea is "now that we've granted the FCC the power to make rules like this, the new head will abuse that power, including by repealing the rules Wheeler's FCC made".

    I.e., the problem with supporting the FCC being able to do such things is not what Wheeler's FCC did with that power, but what the next one will do now that it has the same power.

  • Nov 22nd, 2016 @ 4:37am


    I'd love to agree with this, but - perhaps unfortunately - I can see an interpretation which doesn't leave me room to do so.

    I think it's reasonably possible that he when Obama said "I can't pardon somebody who hasn't gone before a court and presented themselves", he did not mean "can't legally", but something more like "can't bring myself to" or "can't in good conscience".

    Even the existence of past Obama pardons for people who have not stood trial (which is distinct from "gone before the court" if, as seems to be the case based on the story at the provided link, they have e.g. appeared in court and issued not-guilty pleas but simply had not reached trial date yet) does not - quite - entirely eliminate this possibility, both for the reasons implied in the parenthetical and for at least one other reason which I had in mind when I started this sentence and have now lost.

  • Nov 21st, 2016 @ 5:25am

    Re: Re:

    The Mythbusters test didn't use a valid model of a china shop, though. They had broad aisles, easily broad enough for the bull to fit through, and nothing actually on the shelves.

    An actual china shop, as referenced in the saying, is something more like the one displayed here:

    (Literally the first Google image result for "china shop" without quotes.)

    Aisles barely wide enough for one human being to fit through without turning sideways (much less a full-grown bull), packed densely with merchandise, to the point where it's easy for a loose sleeve (or flicking tail?) to brush something hard enough to knock it off the shelf.

    And once the bull does accidentally knock something down, it seems likely that the noise and possible shrapnel might startle the bull enough to instinctively try to move away without taking as much consideration for what may be in the way, thus resulting in more things being knocked over and broken - and the cycle potentially repeats.

    Possibly the model of bull behavior I'm using is wrong, and it would still be OK; possibly the bull would just remain standing still, rather than trying to move around in spaces too small for it to fit.

    Until the actual experiment is carried out with something more like an actual china shop, however, I remain unconvinced. The Mythbusters experiment was nice, but it was based on an invalid model.

  • Nov 18th, 2016 @ 4:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I doubt it

    I know there are Democrats who love guns; for sufficiently broad values of "love", I am one. Even my father, an ardent pacifist by philosophy, has enough of an interest in guns to have discussed buying one more or less for its own sake.

    (Well, you could argue that I'm not a Democrat; I'm not officially registered as one anymore, though I forget why not, and my philosophical position is probably closest to the Pirate Party, which doesn't appear to exist on a meaningful scale in the USA. I still tend to associate that way and vote that way in practice, however, at least until such time as ranked-preference voting eliminates the spoiler effect.)

    One of my brothers once opined that what we want in a candidate is someone who's socially libertarian and economically welfare-state. That's not precisely socialist, but it's probably closer to socialist than to the candidates we actually tend to _have_ in modern memory.

  • Nov 17th, 2016 @ 7:09am


    Actually, even the question you cite is a question of fact. It's just that we don't necessarily have the data to determine what the facts of the question _are_, and that we disagree about the meaning of the data which we do have.

  • Nov 17th, 2016 @ 6:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I doubt it

    Slight correction: that's the nearest America has to a left that has any pull on the national level.

    I suspect that there's considerably more "left" in the general population, who simply haven't been able to make any headway against the established right-wing interests already in power.

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