Reshared post from Reason:

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If, as an adult, your learning environment isn't hostile, maybe you aren't learning enough, or the right things. G+

Original Post from Reason:

“If the curriculum is fucking awful, I might say that it is. I’m not teaching Sunday school.”

I wrote this about gay marriage and equal protection over four years ago.

What matters, and what I have a problem with, is how that symbolic label "civil marriage" is used by government, specifically, in that some rights and privileges between consensual unions of people are reserved only for married couples: not that there is a natural right to have your marriage recognized by government, but that if some people are granted that right, then it's unfair to exclude other people. I do believe it is wrong, and should be fixed (and in Washington, has been fixed). Government shouldn't pick and choose how personal relationships legally stand before government.

My views haven't changed.  Unfortunately, neither have the government's, and we still have government excluding some personal relationships from marriage. G+
By the way ... I've spent some time criticizing Obergefell decision for, in my view, not following the rule of law.  And I've criticized the idea that one should support the decision only because one agrees with the outcome: this is literal ends justifying means.

However, it is also true that many people who oppose this decision do not give a single thought to whether it was decided properly, and only oppose the outcome.  And that is just as wrong, and worse, it's hypocritical, if you claim the judges should follow the law only because you disagree with how they ruled.

So, don't do that.  You can bemoan gay marriage if you oppose gay marriage, but don't criticize the decision legally unless you understand and address the legal basis for the decision.  That just makes you look bad. G+
Rewatched the Matrix triology this week.  It's even better than I remembered.  For all the haters for the sequels ... you're wrong. They're good.

I still think the main problem is that people put the original Matrix film on too high a pedestal.  But if you lower it down to just being a fun sci-fi thriller, that is only moderately philosophically interesting and not some mind-blowing event in cinematic history, then the sequels fit much better.

I also rewatched The Animatrix, in between films 1 and 2.  It's still not very good (some parts are good, some less so). G+
There should be a Breeder Pride Day. G+
Dear Internet,

I am unimpressed with the revamps from Marvel and DC.  Both have introduced many simply incomprehensible series.  Marvel seems to be having manatees write their storylines, and DC is ... well, I can understand wanting "something for everyone," and maybe the problem is that the new stuff is just not for me, but from my perspective they are just ruining established titles and characters by making them silly.  Black Canary as a rock singer?  Meh.  And the artwork is just unappealing ... again, to me.

Maybe I am just an old traditionalist fuddy-duddy.  And by traditionalist, I mean mid-2000s.  I like old comics, but I think we were in a Golden Age (to use an overloaded term) of comics in the 2000s.  And now everything has to be avant garde and hip and different, instead of good.

I don't mind different.  I love The Manhattan Projects and Saga.   Fraction's Hawkeye is fantastic.  There's different because you have talent and vision and creativity, and then there's different because you can be, or you feel you should be.  And that's what the new DC feels like to me. G+
As much as I disagree with the legal decision on gay marriage -- I am for actual equality in regards to marriage, and this is not it -- at least we are now mostly past the issue.  That's the best part of the decision: society can move on.  It's kinda like the best part of Obama's election was that we didn't have to talk about whether a minority cannot be elected.

If the correct legal decision had been handed down, we'd have years more of angsting over this issue.  I think that is a big part of why decisions like this happen, which is a shame.

We still have a ways to go to get actual equality.  Government currently disallows close-relation marriages, not to mention multiple-partner marriages.

And some states still require you to, essentially, have a romantic relationship with your partner (by virtue of requiring causes for divorce, some of which are related to infidelity and so on), which is a clear violation of equality, too: why can't lifelong best friends get the benefits of a "marriage"?  What business does government have in telling us the nature of our relationships?

So there is a ways to go to get marriage equality, which does not exist today, anywhere in the U.S.  But the majority of the issue is done with.  We can move on.

BTW, a modification of the Kennedy's decision:

This dynamic also applies to [sibling] marriage. It is now clear that the challenged laws burden the liberty of [sibling] couples, and it must be further acknowledged that they abridge central precepts of equality. Here the marriage laws enforced by the respondents are in essence unequal: [sibling] couples are denied all the benefits afforded to [married] couples and are barred from exercising a fundamental right. Especially against a long history of disapproval of their relationships, this denial to [sibling] couples of the right to marry works a grave and continuing harm. The imposition of this disability on [sibling couples] serves to disrespect and subordinate them. G+
Dear Internet,

Please do not claim that the U.S. now legally has "marriage equality."  It is a lie.  If it were true, then any two unmarried consenting adults could marry each other.  But they cannot, due to anti-incest laws in every part of this country.

I am not pro-incest (weird that I should even have to say that), but I am pro-liberty, and I am pro-honesty.  And those who claim we have marriage equality now, are spreading blatant falsehoods.

Rather than provide marriage equality to all, what we really did was give preferred legal status to a favored group, while still maintaining discriminatory policies toward disfavored groups.

So do not say we have marriage equality, and do not say this is about equal protection of the law, because it's very clearly no such thing.

I could go on about how the equal protection claim made in today's ruling doesn't make much legal sense, but you can read the dissents for that.  I only mention it to point out that in every way, this decision was top-down: coming up with the preferred conclusion, and then finding ways to legally justify it.  It's not about rights, it's not about equality, and it's not about the rule of law.  It is solely about simply wanting gay marriage to be recognized.  That's all it is.

And that should be decided by legislatures, not courts.

My view, in case you are unaware, but may glean from the above, is that we should have true equality: any two unmarried consenting adults should be allowed to get the same legal recognition as any other "married" couple.

I further think that governments should cease to use the word "marriage" -- due to the societal baggage and dispute over the term, combined with the fact that social/religious marriage and civil marriage are literally two different institutions with the same name -- and convert all marriages to "civil unions."

And I further believe that this should be done by state legislatures, but that if the Court is going to enforce it on the basis of rights, then it needs to actually be for everyone, not a select group.

So do not paint me as anti-gay-marriage.  I am anti-selectively-choosing-gay-couples-to-recognize-as-married, and I am anti-court-enforcement-of-marriage-definitions.  I am therefore against this decision.  If I had my way, all couples -- including gay couples -- would be 100% equal in the eyes of the law, to all other couples.  But we do not have that. G+

26.06.2015 09:45

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I kinda hate stuff like this.  They say: "Every year a poor child spends in Snohomish County adds about $190 to his or her annual household income at age 26, compared with a childhood spent in the average American county."

But it's not true.  What they really mean, at most, is that on average, a child who grew up poor in Snohomish County had, per year there, about $190 more in income at age 26, compared with the national average.

Those are not the same thing.  They say literally say, "a poor child here earns this much more money," but that isn't true.

They have two main problems: first, they are wording it almost as though it is predictive, when it's only descriptive.  Second, they are talking about the children as individuals, instead of averages. G+
Final plea regarding "the flag": whatever your views on banning it etc., please stop treating the person who disagrees with you as a terrible person.  If you do, then you are fostering hate, which is supposedly what we're trying to get past. G+
In attacking hatred, Etsy is actually engaging in hatred.  They are falsely impugning the motives of millions of people who like and fly the flag, but have no hateful motivations in doing so.

Yes, many of those people exist.  Probably millions of them.  You can't wish it away.  Truth is stubborn, and the fact is that when most people I see fly the rebel flag, they have not the tiniest sense of racist or hateful association with that act.  You have that association with their act, but they do not.

If you think that the people who fly the flag are hateful and racist, you are wrong, you are ignorant, and you are incorrectly and irresponsibly fostering hatred against them.

Oh, but maybe it is OK to foster hatred against Southerners.  They are just redneck racist hicks, right?

Feel free to have your own feelings about the flag.  And the people who like the flag should respect your feelings about it, and they usually don't.  But you should respect theirs, and you don't.

All y'all suck. G+
"[Alexander] Hamilton was without doubt the best and most foresighted economic policymaker in U.S. history. ... [Andrew Jackson was] a man of many unattractive qualities and a poor president."

My thoughts exactly.  Andrew Jackson is an obvious choice for removal.  So why Hamilton, and not Jackson?  I seriously wonder if it is because Jackson founded, and was the first President representing, the Democratic Party. G+
Dear Internet,

If you lived in the South in the 1860s, and you were not a slave, you probably would have been on the side of the Confederacy.  Even if you weren't white.  And maybe even if you were a slave.

I totally get wanting to diminish symbols of the Confederacy.  But now we are seeing people wanting to get rid of the names of people from the Confederacy, such as Robert E. Lee.  Lee was a great man, and certainly far more worthy of praise than many people who receive similar honor.

San Diego has a lot of schools named after people.  John Adams legally defended the British soldiers who committed the Boston Massacre.  Albert Einstein helped create the atomic bomb.  Alexander Graham Bell dabbled in eugenics.  Daniel Boone killed Native Americans.  Cesar Chavez was a friend of Ferdinand Marcos' regime.

This is only a small alphabetical sampling of the evils behind the names in San Diego schools. G+
+Think Progress claims that there's four big problems with the case against the federal government subsidies to those in "federal exchanges," and accuse the other side of lying.

The funny part is that the first three sentences of the article each contain significant lies.

* The Supreme Court is not making any decision to "take health care away" from anyone.  That is not a part of the decision at all.

* The premise of the argument is not that "most of the text of the Affordable Care Act does not count," but that the government is incorrectly interpreting it.

* They do not "claim [that] a single sentence of the law must be plucked out of context;" again, they claim it should be interpreted differently than the government thinks it should.

ProTip: if you're going to accuse others of lying, don't start off by lying. G+

Reshared post from comiXology:

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About time. G+

Original Post from comiXology:

Dark Horse is now available on comiXology!

Obama says that if Congress had moved on certain actions after the shootings in Newtown, Conn. in December 2013, “We might still have some more Americans with us. We might have stopped one shooter. Some families might still be whole. We all might have to attend fewer funerals. We should be strong enough to acknowledge this.”

And if we legalized drugs and automatic weapons, we might save even more lives.  Or more might die.  Supposition of outcomes makes for terrible public policy.

And let us not forget that if we banned free speech, we might save a lot of lives, too, including perhaps all the lives in the Charleston shooting, since this was mostly about pushing, and enacting, a racist ideology. G+
Dear Internet,

We've gone over this before: symbols have no inherent meaning.  Everyone has their own meaning for a given symbol.

It is true that many well-meaning people view the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism and hatred.

It is also true that many well-meaning people view the Confederate flag as merely a symbol of pride.

If you think that someone necessarily, or even probably, has racist motivations simply because they fly the Confederate flag, you are incorrect.  Fix that.

On the other hand, if you think that your pure motivations for flying the Confederate flag justify the harm that it contributes to -- the hurt feelings, the societal division, and so on -- you are also incorrect.  Fix that.

The blame for the division is really primarily on the people who see the flag as racist, because they are the ones who are incorrectly conflating the symbol with its meanings.  But the people who see the flag as simply about pride, and keep flying it, are also to blame because they can simply give up the symbol and still hold on to the meaning, and they choose to not do that.

I am not in South Carolina, and I have no strong feelings one way or another about the flag.  I recognize the fact that it is the intent of the people, not the symbol itself, that is important.  I could not care less whether they fly the Confederate flag, because I have no reason to think that the people doing so are racist, or intend to send a racist message.

What I do care about is that we learn to live together in peace.  So either the one side needs to learn to look past symbols and see intent, or the other side needs to learn to express themselves with symbols that won't be misunderstood.  Either way is fine with me.  Keep the flag or lose it, but find ways to not hate the people around you.

(I also care about people misrepresenting how symbols work, and saying that any symbol has a universal or necessary or permanent meaning.  It's just not true, and it's the root of much of our misunderstanding and strife.  Also, in fact, the intent of the people who invented the flag has literally no bearing on the intent of the people flying it today.) G+
Obama used "the N word" on Maron's podcast.  ONO!  It's not like it's the first time he's done this, to make a point. G+
LOL @ Linda Hamilton in Defiance, "Come with me if you want to live."

It was right before a commercial break, and one of the commercials in that was for the new Terminator film. G+

Original Post from Phil Vanelli:

The Dood, greatest cosplay ever!

Dear America,

We do not need, and should not want, affirmative action to put a woman on our currency. It cheapens the honor.

Whoa. What was that?

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Reshared post from Top Gear:

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Original Post from Top Gear:

Good news! The all-new, unseen #TopGear episode from Series 22 will air at 8pm, Sunday June 28 in the UK. Check the trailer...

Donald Trump just announced he is running for President.  Not a joke.  I mean, you might think it's a joke, but he is actually running. G+

Reshared post from Reason:

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Original Post from Reason:

It is hard to reconcile Bill Clinton's position that "you can't have people walking around with guns" with the Second Amendment's declaration that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Even when they concede a constitutional right to own a gun, Democrats tend to ignore that second part.

I agree with GE.  The problem is, GE owns MSNBC, which regularly blasts rich people for trying to avoid high taxes. G+


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People are questioning "our priorities" due to the high pay for these athletes.  But it's not like these priorities are being pushed on us: we choose to buy tickets and merchandise and endorsed products.  If you don't like how much they get paid, stop giving them money.  But don't complain that other people make their own choices to give them money, because it's their choice to do so. G+
No.  This is completely wrongheaded.

American Pharoah very well might not run the same kind of race against Secretariat as it did against these other horses.

In any "distance" race (a race where you cannot sprint the entire time), you pace yourself, usually based on who your competition is and what they are doing.

Unless they actually run against each other, you can't know which would've won.

Maybe Secretariat was a faster horse; I have no way of knowing.  But these two results cannot show that. G+
This is why so many of us just dislike President Obama.  He goes overseas and says that the Court should not have even heard the case challenging his very clear violation of very clearly written law.

I am not saying that Obama has no argument for violating the law (although I don't think he does).  I am saying that it is absolutely clear that he is violating the letter of the law, and that alone justifies the Court taking up the case, and to say the Court shouldn't have taken it up is to say that there should be no judicial review of his actions.

And perhaps worse, if you think that the law means what it says, and the result of that is something that Obama dislikes, then you are the one "twisting" the words of the law.  You are a Bad American who hates poor people.  You are a "cynic," and "the ground has shifted beneath" you.  Your "stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply."

Or, we just believe in the rule of law, and disagree with you about how to properly interpret it.

Nah.  That couldn't be it.  It has to be an issue of morality and righteousness.  You're with him, or you want poor people to lack health care.

Remember when Obama said that he wanted to bring this country together and set aside false dichotomies?  That was great. G+
Every time some big news story comes up -- something silly like "Deflategate," or serious like a cop killing an unarmed person or tackling a teen outside a pool party, or something really big like an act of war -- I try to not just jump to conclusions.  But sometimes it seems like the only one.  I argue about why they should wait for all the information, but no one seems to care.

So, I'll let two writers say it for me.


"The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him." -- Proverbs 18:17


"You're on the Island of Conclusions."

"But how did we get here?" asked Milo.

"You jumped, of course," explained Canby. "That's the way most everyone gets here. It's really quite simple: every time you decide something without having a good reason, you jump to Conclusions whether you like it or not. It's such an easy trip to make that I've been here hundreds of times."

"But this is such an unpleasant-looking place," Milo remarked.

"Yes, that's true," admitted Canby; "it does look much better from a distance."

-- The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster G+
Stupid Mac OS X (10.10.3) tricks.

AFP from one Mac, to another.  Same OS version.  Three directories on the same volume.  One file, with a hard link (`ln A/foo B/`).  Move the file from one directory to another.  Moving foo from A to C works.  But if moving foo from B to A ... it goes to A, but then C's foo goes to B.

It's magic.  Or something.

Moving the file in the Terminal, or on the local host (instead of via AFP), works fine. G+

Original Post from Alex Ruiz:

The second one happens way more often :-)

Reshared post from Reason:

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"Stewart suggests there should be a line drawn between protections against discrimination and compelled speech."Indeed. G+

Original Post from Reason:

Patrick Stewart delivers a far more subtle analysis of the competing claims at stake in the gay marriage cake debate in a one-minute YouTube clip than the vast majority of commentators on the subject have managed.

“Today Republicans are systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting,” Clinton said in a speech at Texas Southern University. “What part of democracy are they afraid of?”

Of course, it's a lie.  Republicans are not trying to stop any citizens from voting, except for felons who have lost their right to vote.  Period, end of story.  It's a lie.  It's broadly believed, but there's zero truth to it.

What is true is that some campaigns (like Barack Obama's campaign in his run for Congress) do prevent people from voting, but what Clinton is dishonestly referring to are efforts to increase voting integrity.  Requiring ID and prior registration and regular voter roll purges do not prevent any legal voter from voting; they do help decrease the level and likelihood of fraudulent voting, as well as simply clean up the records.

But to the main point veiled beneath her lie: yes, we should not have everyone voting.  So what part of democracy am I "afraid" of?

I'll answer it this way: politicians often decry the apathetic voter who doesn't vote, but in my view, even worse is the ignorant voter who does vote.  Ignorance and apathy are both problems, but at least the apathetic voter isn't trying to force anything on the rest of us.  Every other year we "Rock The Vote" with people who don't even know the difference between expenditures and revenues, who are trying to tell the rest of the country what the government should be spending money on.

I do not favor excluding citizens from voting for ignorance, but I do want people to opt-in to voting, rather than having it be automatic registration, or, worse, mandated.  It shows some basic level of knowledge and engagement.  If you can't be bothered to register, then how much do you really care about voting, or how much do you really know about any of the issues?

So now I answer Hillary Clinton with a question: because it is so easy to vote in this country, what is she so afraid of in keeping voting limited to citizens who simply choose to do it? G+
This World Cup thing is insane to me.  Yes, people who run a private organization were being paid off regarding where to put a private event. How does this make for a major international criminal scandal?  Sure, governments and government officials were paying them off, but that's makes them criminals, not FIFA.

I kinda hate FIFA.  I certainly hate that FIFA puts the World Cup in a ridiculous place like the Arabian peninsula.  But it seems to me more that this "scandal" is out of spite, than out of legitimate government interest in any actual wrongdoing by FIFA officials.

A reporter who has been calling out FIFA corruption for years said "These scum have stolen the people’s sport. They’ve stolen it, the cynical thieving bastards."  And I think that's the real point.  It's not about the law, it's about the fact that they consider soccer, and the World Cup, theirs, and the primary stewards of that sport haven't acted in their interests.

I am not saying FIFA officials didn't commit crimes; I am saying that everything I've heard shouldn't be a crime.  If they want to accept payoffs for where to put their private events, so be it.  People do that all the time.  If you pay me enough, I'll quit my job and come work for you.  How is this different, other than the fact that you don't care where I work, and you do care where the World Cup is held? G+

01.06.2015 17:37

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Such a bizarre statement.First, there is literally no reason to think that valuing the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake will give us a better future than valuing it only for economic reasons.  That's just an entirely invented concept with no basis in fact or reason or evidence.Second, of course we should take responsibility for our own survival.  That belief is not, in any way, contrary to religious belief.Third, similarly, using the light of reason to banish the darkness of superstition is not in any way contrary to religious belief.Hey, I know!  Let's start with banishing the darkness of the superstitious belief that valuing the acquisition of knowledge for its own sake will lead to better outcomes than valuing it for economic reasons! G+

29.05.2015 08:54

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"Bernie Sanders, that sweet old socialist who we would have to invent if he didn’t exist in real life, elicited guffaws all over the Internet with his now famous comment about deodorant choice."

"'You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers,” he said, “when children are hungry in this country.'"

"The errors here are three: ..." G+ (Go to 39:20 in the video)

"The online scoring ... oh, a bit of a surprise, it's close."

That was me.

This was almost 20 years ago, in 1996 (years before the MLB All-Star voting incident), during an undercard for the first Holyfield-Tyson fight (not the "Bite Fight," but the one before that).  I wrote a Perl program to try to win the online vote for Holyfield.

I needed to test the program, so I ran it in the undercard bout between Akinwande and Zolkin.  I picked Zolkin (since Akinwande was the favorite, so I could try to better measure the effect) and ran the program to vote repeatedly for him during the fight.  Seeing that Zolkin was getting hammered in the fight, but winning the online voting, I stopped the program after four rounds.  From the fifth round on, Akinwande won the online voting, leading me to conclude I was having a significant effect.

The web site isn't around anymore, nor even on the Internet Archive, but at one point it was, and I archived the result page:

I ran the program during the Holyfield-Tyson fight, but I was not having a significant effect, as the volume of other voters had significantly increased.  My program was actually able to register fewer votes per round during Holyfield-Tyson, which compounded the problem.

It was a trip, though ... to hear announcers on a live televised event talking about the impact my little program was having on the online voting, during the fight.  Today that wouldn't be a big deal, but it was pretty crazy to me back in 1996. G+
Dear news media: do not use the abbreviated title "Secy." for Secretary of State, because "Secy. Clinton" looks too much like "Sexy Clinton."

Thank you. G+
The top cone is my ObamaCone. NO, not because it more closely matches his skin color. (Why does everyone think that?) It's because while I was making it, I heard him on TV saying he wanted to use the media to change the minds of his opponents, and that "triggered" me, and I forgot I left the cone in the iron. G+
"Why are you so fixated on the idea of personal safety, by which you apparently mean not having uncomfortable or unhappy thoughts and feelings? Is there any chance this preoccupation is unworthy of you? Please say yes." G+
People still get "Spygate" wrong.  Here's the Spygate Executive Summary:

* The NFL rule said you can't use "information gathering equipment" that "might aid a team during the playing of a game."

* The league sent a memo saying that you could not record from the field, because that might facilitate the use of the material during the game.

* The Patriots disregarded the memo, and followed their interpretation of the written rule: they recorded from whereever they felt like it, and did not use the material during the game.

* The NFL interpreted the rule not in terms of whether the material was actually used during the game, but whether it might be used during the game.  And the memo was designed to outline how "might aid a team" would be interpreted: if on the field, it might be used, whereas upstairs, it wouldn't be.

* The NFL affirmed that the Patriots never used the material during the game.

* All teams record the opposing teams, both before this incident, and after.  They never stopped doing it.  It's perfectly legal.  But to stay within the guidelines designed to ensure you don't use the material during the game, you have to do it from a specific location.

That's it.  There was no cheating.  There was no league allegation of cheating.  The NFL even admitted that the Patriots didn't cheat.  The Patriots did violate the league's guidelines -- designed to give a bright line for "might aid" -- for how the rule would be interpreted, and got severely punished for it.

But there was no cheating.  Period. G+
This is the Website of the Year.  I love it so much.

Yes, it is not perfect.  I mean, it gives the Patriots one "cheating point" for the snowplow incident, which was perfectly legal in every possible way.  And the scores for each incident are subjective.  But most of it is pretty reasonable, and I love that the Patriots' biggest critics -- Baltimore, NY Jets, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Denver -- all have a lot more cheating than the Patriots, even in recent years. G+
“New England’s been doing stuff in the past and getting in trouble. When stuff repeatedly happens, then that’s it. I don’t know what else to tell you. Stuff repeatedly happened through the years. You got SpyGate, you got this and that and everything else. Obviously in those situations in the past, they had the evidence. So they did what they needed to do.”

What situations in the past, Darrelle?  You mean like when the Jets cheated just a few months ago, to sign you as a player, and they got penalized for it?  And then when the Jets made a false claim back at the Patriots out of vindictiveness, and didn't get penalized?

Or maybe the year before you got there, in 2006, when the Jets illegally taped the Patriots?

The fact is that -- setting aside PED use, and on-field incidents like cheap hits -- the Patriots, with Brady, have only ever been found guilty of one thing before "Deflategate": the one "Spygate" that you mentioned.  That's it.  Once.  You are ignorant or lying when you say they've done it "repeatedly."

The Jets have been far worse cheaters than the Patriots (who are "average"), ranking third in the league. G+
President Obama is the worst President ever.

I don't say this because I think he's the most liberal President ever (even if he is, that doesn't make him a bad President), or because I watch Fox News (which is what Obama himself probably thinks), or because he is a Muslim (as Madonna thinks), etc.

Obama is the worst President ever because, from the beginning, he has never understood that it is both perfectly valid and necessarily true that different people will have different opinions, even about things that he himself is passionate about.  He demonizes people simply for disagreeing with him, and has done it literally his entire presidency, since his first inaugural address, when he proclaimed that those of us who want a smaller federal government are "cynics [who] fail to understand ... that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply."

Literally, in his first act as President, he told us that I, James Madison, and about half the country is simply wrong, and that we should all just change our minds to agree with his.

That's the opposite of being a leader.  A leader takes people as they are, serves their needs, and does whatever is in his power and job description to help them succeed.  Instead, Obama tries to do whatever he wants -- even when it goes beyond his power and job description -- to push us to do, say, and think things against our will, whether it's forcing us to buy health insurance, chastising an entire media organization for disagreeing with his policies, and now literally saying that he wants to change how elected representatives think, to be more in line with his thinking.

... if we're going to change how John Boehner and Mitch McConnell think, we're going to have to change how our body politic thinks, which means we're going to have to change how the media reports on these issues ...

Perhaps Obama's should re-read Federalist 10 -- which he surely read when he was becoming an expert in constitutional law -- wherein the aforementioned Madison tells us how to ensure that everyone thinks the same way.  Clearly, Madison and Obama are concerned about the same problem, which Madison describes as the negative "effects of the unsteadiness and injustice with which a factious spirit has tainted our public administrations.""

He continues:

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

This is what Obama thinks that us on the right represent.  Well, what to do about it?  Madison notes:

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects. There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

And that's where Obama apparently stopped reading, because this is what he is now trying to do: give everyone the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.  But Madison explains the problems with this:

As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

In summary, Madison is making these basic points:

* Right or wrong, men will have different opinions.
* Their passions will inform their opinions.
* They will become passionate about their opinions.
* The differences between men -- which result in differing economic interests -- will further inform their opinions.
* Government's main job is to protect these differences.

Of course, we know that Obama doesn't want to protect the "different and unequal faculties of acquiring property," as his main domestic goal these days is to eliminate them.  So maybe I don't give Obama enough credit: maybe eliminating wealth inequality is one step on his way toward giving us all the same opinions, passions, and interests, which will ultimately result in furthering his desired policy goals.

This isn't a new idea, of course: it's built in to the modern Social Security system.  Supporters of the system made sure everyone got benefits from the system, to ensure lasting support for the system.  They gave everyone the same economic interests, which results in having the same opinions.

Madison said that this is impracticable, but Madison greatest fault was always that he underestimated what others would do to subvert the system he was designing. G+

Reshared post from Reason:

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Original Post from Reason:

Lyndon McLellan is a convenience store owner who lost $107,000 to the IRS because it considered his bank deposits suspiciously small. Yesterday the government agreed to drop the case and return all of McLellan's money.

Haven't read any of it yet.

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Haven't read any of it yet. G+
I got Project CARS for PS4!  And then I plugged in my Fanatec Porsche GT3 RS V2 wheel and tried it out.  And ... the game froze.

Nothing moving.  Just frozen.  I unplugged the wheel, game moved again.  Plugged it back in, game froze.

Then I moved the wheel ... and the game moved again.  Then froze again.  I moved the wheel again ... and the game moved again.

Basically, as long as I moved the wheel, the game moved.  When I stopped, the game froze.  So as long as the track I'm driving didn't have straightaways, I'd be fine.

Some research told me that people recommended firmware updates for the wheel.  Great!  Except that they are Windows only firmware updaters.  I have VirtualBox, and Microsoft puts up time-limited VM images for testing IE.  So I grabbed Windows 10 (about 5GB), and booted it up, and the image wouldn't boot.

It was apparently corrupt.  So I grabbed XP (<2 GB), and I booted it and installed the updater, and it wouldn't recognize my wheel.  I eventually figured out I had to make a "USB Device Filter" to let the VM see my wheel.  I did that, making a filter from the existing wheel.  Then I ran the updater, and in the middle of the updating, it stopped recognizing my wheel, because the updater changed the specs of the wheel for how it is recognized, and the filter stopped working.  I modified the filter so it only recognized by the wheel manufacturer "Fanatec" and not on device ID, or version, or manufacturer ID, or anything else.

So I tried again.  It froze in the middle again.  Thankfully, no Flashing had started yet.  I tried again, same problem.  The wheel was still being recognized, the updater just wouldn't work.

So I downloaded Windows 8.1 (5 GB).  Tried again.  Made my filter.  Flashing started ... and froze.  Now I am worried.  But I needed to kill the installer and restart my wheel and hold my breath.  It seemed to start OK.  Flashed again ... and this time it worked!

To verify the firmware, I restarted the wheel, held the wheel during calibration when it was 1/4 turn away from the final move to center, press four buttons, and then move it back to center manually.  It showed the correct firmware version on the wheel display.  Success!

But now the fan won't turn off on the wheel.  More research: the same operation to see the firmware version toggles the feature to then the fan on (instead of being on only when needed).  Do the same operation again, fan turns off, and I finally have a working wheel with Project CARS.

And Project CARS is pretty good. G+

I am probably going to the Red Sox @ Mariners game tomorrow.  Should I wear my Patriots jersey? G+

Dear Exchange: do not send me "I'm out of the office" email just because I accepted an invitation. G+

The stupid thing about moves to eliminate gender differences on a shopping site, of all places, is that when I am shopping for a toy for a child, it does not matter why the child prefers certain toys over others -- whether it is due to nature or nurture -- because at that point, the child has preferences, and I want to provide toys that match those preferences, and if those preferences happen to be in line with what children in society of each gender generally want, then there's nothing wrong with that, and preventing me from being able to search by gender just limits how much I'll be willing to use the site.

The problem is worse with Amazon than most sites, because the breadth of available products is so great that gender filters can really make a huge difference in getting to what I might actually want to purchase.

Pushing gender equivalence on children and their families who have already established preferences is just stupid.  There's nothing immoral about boys liking things "for boys", or girls things "for girls."  If you have another label for it, fine, but the group of things with that label are generally what people who associate with that label want, and it's nonsense to say that it is wrong for them to want those things, or to make it harder for them to get to those things for the sake of your social agenda. G+

Amazon Didn't Really Eliminate Gender Taxonomy for Toys—Yet

A report that Amazon no longer sorts toys into “boy” and “girl” categories is currently sweeping the internet. It’s not exactly true, but it might be a sign that the change might be on the way.

Dear Internet: there is an anonymously sourced news report that says Brady will be suspended.  This seems unlikely to me, given the fact that there is no actual evidence -- either direct or circumstantial -- against Brady.  But we know the NFL is not rational, so maybe they will do it.

But more likely, the NFL leaked the suspension to see how the public reacts, and will end up not suspending him.

Even more likely, if the NFL suspends Brady despite there being no evidence against him, the NFLPA will immediately back an appeal.

I can't think Goodell wants that fight, but if he does suspend Brady, I'll take it as evidence that Goodell does want that fight, since the evidence against Brady won't be the reason for the suspension, since there isn't any.

BTW, if you disagree with my claim that there is no evidence against Brady, please do cite the evidence against him.  I keep saying there is no evidence against Brady, and people keep getting angry with me for saying it, but none of them are actually providing any evidence against Brady. G+

Myers: Roger Goodell will suspend Tom Brady for DeflateGate

Tom Brady will be the highest profile player ever suspended in the 96-year history of the NFL.

People actually believe this sort of thing, that when you do good things for your child you are "disadvantaging" other children.  It's untrue and dumb, but people believe it.

But there is a real point, very poorly expressed and ill-thought-out, in there: many kids don't have a lot of the good things many other kids have.  It hurts them to not have attentive and nurturing parental units at home.  And there's various things we can do to help that: giving to certain charities, participating in Big Brother/Sister, and so on.  (Some might add "support government wealth redistribution policies," but I wouldn't.)

But the idea that doing good for your child "disadvantages" other children is nonsense, and it exposes the entire fraud that people who have things others do not are "advantaged" and those who do not are "disadvantaged."  It's predicated on the false notion that something good happening to me somehow negatively affects you, or the relationship between me and you.  "Advantage" means nothing except through direct comparison or competition.

Frankly, knowing nothing about the man, it wouldn't surprise me if this professor Adam Swift is engaging in satire to undermine the concept of "advantage," especially since you could join the names of Adam Smith and Jonathan Swift to get the professor's name.  A modern "modest proposal" of sorts.  But that's probably just wishful thinking on my part. G+

Long story short on the NFL investigation of the Patriots: the NFL does not have measurements of the balls from when the officials examined them, and they have no serious evidence that anyone actually let any pressure out of the balls after that, but the NFL still really really wants to believe that the Patriots did something wrong.

The only evidence that even remotely implicates the Patriots are some text messages between staff that, to me, appear more like jokes than anything else -- and at one point they talk about how referees illegally overinflated some balls -, but even if taken seriously do not imply that Brady was aware of the actual acts taken.  Remember your science, folks: the pressure during the game, depending on the temperature, can be a lot different from what it is when measured.  QBs around the league can tell you whatever they want about how much they like it, but the fact is that a ball inflated to 12.5 psi indoors before a game is going to feel completely different in a cold weather game, and a warm weather game.

So even if McNally was deflating balls in violation of the rules, there's no reason to think Tom knew, or could even tell the difference when he finally got the ball on the field.

So the bottom line, again, is simple: there's no evidence showing the Patriots coaches or players knew anything about it, even if it happened, and there's little evidence that it even happened.

Which is what we've been saying all along. G+

Long-awaited deflate-gate investigation implicates Pats, Tom Brady

Ted Wells' investigation into the possibility that the Patriots were involved in deflating footballs has found that it's more likely than not some of the Patriots were guilty.

May the Fourth funny.

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May the Fourth funny. G+

Watch a Star Trek actor perfectly troll Star Wars fans on May the 4th

Since playing Lieutenant Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager, actor Tim Russ has played dozens of character roles in children's television shows, crime procedurals, and B-movies. That is to say, I haven't...

This web site claims to be against Carly Fiorina, but it actually makes a positive case for her: laying off lots of workers is generally a positive thing.  Yes, really. G+

Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain.

So I'm using it to tell you how many people she laid off at HP.

"The future must belong to those who recognize a categorical difference between free expression and violent reprisals. The future must belong to those who affirm speech over silence and freedom over fear, regardless of who is speaking and who is offended." G+

Free Speech Under Fire; Two Gunmen Killed at Texas "Draw Mohammed" Contest

Free speech is never a justification for violence - or submitting to the thug's veto.

Dear Internet,

I am no fan of hating on anyone, including Muslims.  As long as people do not try to cause harm to others, I have nothing against them.

But if a group of people are telling you that if you express a certain type of speech that you will be killed, the proper societal response in a free society is to explicitly engage in that speech.

I don't support Pamela Gellar in her hatred of Islam.  I do support her in her fight against oppression by Muslim radicals ... and that's precisely what threats of violence for free speech are: oppression.  And those of you who say we shouldn't engage in this speech are telling us to allow ourselves to be oppressed.

No, in the grand scheme, this particular thing -- Mohammed cartoons -- doesn't matter.  But it speaks to the larger issue that we see almost daily, of people telling us we cannot say whatever we want to say, as long as we are not causing direct harm to others.

On the other hand, though ... I sure hope this isn't a setup.  I've seen it before, people faking attacks to try to gain political favor.  Shawna Forde -- who later committed, and was convicted of, murder -- apparently faked her own "rape" and, in a separate incident, probably her own shooting, too ... probably all to stoke more public anger at illegal immigrants.  People are nuts. G+

I can't help but think of an O'Malley candidacy without the name "President Littlefinger" coming to mind. G+

O'Malley: I'd make city strife central to presidential campaign |

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said the nation's cities have been neglected and that if he runs for president, he'll make it a central issue of his campaign and announce in Baltimore. I wouldn't think of announcing anywhere else, O'Malley said on NBC's Meet the Press. O'Malley, a Democrat, said the unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody should be a wake-up call for the entire country. O'Malley served two t...

Dear Baltimore: when you assert that the criminal charges are the result of your protests, you are asserting that the charges are an injustice.  Charges should be the result of the evidence, not protests.  It's rule of law, versus rule of man or mob.

Dear Baltimore Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby: it's sad that you decided to use this tragedy as a platform for furthering your career, instead of for seeking justice.

I have no conclusion on whether the police did anything criminal -- no serious case has yet been made for their guilt, or innocence -- but that you explicitly framed this one case as being part of a larger "cause," which you explicitly claimed yourself to be a part of, eliminates any credibility you might have had with all fair-minded and intelligent viewers.  You literally and explicitly said, at the end of your statement, that you are biased against the cops.  So, yeah: zero credibility.

I'm glad I don't work as a lawyer for you, having to try this case in the courtroom, because if I did, you would've just made my job a lot harder. G+

+Baltimore Police can take a lesson from the +SPD Blotter ... you can respect individual rights, keep the peace, and protect property all at the same time.    #MayDaySEA   G+

Protest? I thought it was a BROtest. Nevermind. G+

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."