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Messages - TheDrake

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General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 04:48:06 PM »
In a video statement streamed on Facebook Live from the Philadelphia Police Department's page, Commissioner Richard Ross confirmed that on Thursday afternoon at 4:40 p.m., Philadelphia police received a 911 call from the Starbucks at 18th and Spruce Streets alleging disturbance and trespassing.


General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 12:30:17 PM »
A clear guide? Basically it would largely come down to self-awareness. Recognizing "I feel threatened" - "Why do I feel threatened" - "Is this legitimate?" An angry black customer is screaming at me - I'd better call the cops. Vs an angry white customer is screaming at me - I'll try to calm him down. The goal is to achieve the same benefit of the doubt based on race, not to crank it up more.

Being trained to go through that introspection would be a good idea when you are talking about customer service.

I'm not defending these guys for their decision to make a scene and get arrested, and I'm not asserting that this manager did anything that was racially motivated. I do know it is possible and it can and does happen.

General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 11:47:21 AM »
More likely, it was a mixed bag, someone who felt the men were threatening which was strongly influenced by race.  Not exactly okay either, but harder to fix, unless you want to tell people they are not allowed to be scared when race is involved?

That's right, you're supposed to train people not to use race as a distinguishing factor. When people do this as private citizens, okay fine. Go ahead and cross the street.

Also this store had signs posted "Customers Only" and "Bathrooms are for customer use only".  So this wasn't arbitrary - these were posted policies.

Yes, and employees always follow posted policies. The employee has someone come in that's a personal friend, they're going to adhere to that policy? You tell me that a person that the employee finds attractive asks for the bathroom key and they are going to point at the sign and send them away? Uneven treatment is THE question here. And we lack the information to know what happened. The cop in the scenario could have been singled out also. The employee doesn't like cops, no exception for him.

Seriati, I don't know when you had the idea that you have an expectation to privacy in a retail scenario. Every convenience store, department store, big box store, hardware store, and most others have cameras in place for security and theft prevention. I'm just suggesting that this removes the guesswork, allows companies to be more proactive. You could accomplish the same thing with "secret shoppers" and other types of behavior auditing as well if you are uncomfortable with it.

The proper response in a proactive situation would simply be to provide coaching for the employee. Are you using race as a factor in your decisions? Why did you allow the white man in a suit to hang around for two hours without buying anything while asking the black teen in a hoodie to get out after 10 minutes?

General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 10:37:38 AM »
"I'm highly skeptical that she was paying attention sufficiently to know the bathroom habits and purchase habits of other customers."

The bathroom quote was ambiguous - it neither suggested that she directly observed it nor that she heard it from someone else. She also could have made a common slip and describe something she heard from someone else and declare it her own experience.

I'm not going to say that I believe or trust her reports, especially secondhand. Eyewitnesses without any obvious biases often get things horribly wrong without deliberate misrepresentation.

I agree with you, it would be good to get more detail. A second source coming forward and confirming that it was them who went to the bathroom, or had been there for hours, or even overheard the same statement from an unidentified third party, would be a start.

Just like body cams, I would recommend that retail establishments install video and audio surveillance (which they probably have anyway). These should be periodically reviewed at random to confirm policy adherence. Heck, with advances in computer vision you might even be able to extract any clip in which a customer is angry.

General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 09:19:50 AM »
As the report says, "Lauren" shot the cell video of the scene. As to the knowledge, it sounds like everyone in there was comparing notes, and that someone claimed they had just got the bathroom code and another that they had been loitering for hours. As to whether they were telling the truth, or if Lauren heard them right, or if she made up the whole thing - you're right that we don't really know for sure.

Why did you put her name in quotes? Do you think she doesn't exist and ABC made it up or gave her a pseudonym?

General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 16, 2018, 08:23:45 PM »
This report from a local abc station sheds a different light:

Lauren said another woman had entered the Starbucks minutes before the men were arrested and was given the bathroom code without having to buy anything and that another person in the restaurant at the time of the incident "announced that she had been sitting at Starbucks for the past couple of hours without buying anything."

There's also another report that they were never asked to leave, and the manager just called the cops?

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross also weighed in on the matter via a Facebook video, which you can view below. Ross corroborated the manager’s account of the men being asked to leave, although witness accounts from Lauren and others cast doubt on if the manager bothered to directly ask the men to leave before calling the police.

General Comments / Re: Facebook neutrality
« on: April 16, 2018, 04:06:18 PM »
Two different standards. Having precise enough control to always police out content would be different from mostly or occasionally policing out content in an imperfect way. Youtube has plenty of filters for copyrighted content, but they are still not liable for letting some slip through - just to take it down when they are notified. Of course, making NO attempt to curtail copyrighted materials would certainly land you in some hot water, original Napster style.

It would be interesting to perform a controlled study with a spectrum of accounts from Antifa to Alt-Right. Of course, if you are already assuming that Facebook is out to get you for your views, what's to stop them from doctoring your metrics to show that you're getting plenty of hits that are not real? Or from taking your boost money without ever increasing your exposure?

General Comments / Re: Facebook neutrality
« on: April 16, 2018, 02:45:32 PM »
If I had to guess about Nesbitt, I'd speculate that all of the things in his message were commonly associated with much harsher statements (think Breitbart comment streams). An improperly trained AI could have popped erroneously.

If you search "facebook won't let me boost" you'll find more articles than you can count. Of course when this descends on a conservative it will be taken as a Sign that the liberal media establishment is out to get them.

Note that most of these reports are about Facebook not letting them place an ad, not getting content deleted or banned. Under those circumstances, I'd say Facebook can pick and choose who will place an ad, much like how TV, radio, and all other media choose who can have space based on content.

General Comments / Re: Facebook neutrality
« on: April 16, 2018, 02:31:57 PM »
I'd be more curious about the actual traffic than I would be about the emails and communication or lack thereof - especially after it became a story. The CNN 'source' of CrowdTangle (owned by Facebook) doesn't cut it for me. Hardaway and Richardson claim traffic declined to their page. But as far as I know, there isn't reputable vetted data on that. If the traffic didn't decline, then the note could be just about anything - including a relatively low level Facebook staffer who took exception to the pair.

And of course there is no true neutrality. Pictures of naked people are violently suppressed. ISIS can't have a recruiting page. If Milo gets his page shut down, that's just a more gray area of suppression. That there is no line, obviously that's ridiculous. Where the debate happens is over community standards. Facebook is the moderator of a vast message board, and they are obviously going to decide who gets banned or nerfed. We, as the collective users of that service, may continue to be part of that community or not - as we've seen, it is entirely possible for people to delete their accounts and move on.

General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 16, 2018, 11:51:04 AM »
Would we even be having this conversation if it was Local Java that tossed the guys out? Of course not, it wouldn't fit the narrative of "Big corporation run by white men treats black customers badly."

It is a very common procedure for drugstores, coffee shops, and other locations to reserve restrooms for customer use. Otherwise, it can become a serious problem in downtown locations in particular, where you see things like these door codes to enforce it. I've been in that situation myself. You find the cheapest thing that exists in the store, and then get your bathroom privilege.

General Comments / Re: House Closes Investigation
« on: April 13, 2018, 12:14:14 PM »
Lawyers representing Trump said at a U.S. District Court hearing Friday morning that they have "concern" about the use of an independent team of federal lawyers – known as a "taint team" – to determine what information from the raid is permissible for disclosure.

Failing to secure a first crack at the seized documents, Cohen's defense filing suggested the appointment of a "special master" to review the documents instead of the taint team.

Prosecutors pushed back on the notion, arguing that Trump's interest in attorney-client privilege is "no different" from anyone else.

Judge Kimba Wood adjourned the hearing until Monday afternoon to allow time for the parties involved to prepare for arguments. Prosecutors agreed not to use the seized materials until then. Cohen had filed a temporary restraining order in response to the warrant that authorized the searches.

General Comments / Re: Facebook neutrality
« on: April 12, 2018, 06:44:47 PM »
I frankly don't understand why Facebook takes a beating for trying to increase customer engagement. Nobody gets angry at Netflix because they make it so easy to binge watch video content. What are they supposed to do, drive people away?

Nor do I understand the row about trending algorithms, censure of sites, or other Facebook editorializing. You're getting your news from Facebook based on how many other people are sharing it? I reject any complaints you have.

It is my understanding Facebook uses very clever techniques -- such as tracking how far you typically scroll, and putting desirable content just past that point -- to increase your addiction and usage.

Yes, and just like the nefarious newspapers that put the second half of a front page article on page 9 where they can have more advertisements. Damn their eyes! Drat!

General Comments / Re: A comedy of failures and a mass shooting
« on: April 12, 2018, 02:31:41 PM »
And here's another reason why arming teachers might not go so well.

A teacher from the Florida high school where 17 people were shot dead two months ago has been arrested after leaving his gun in a public toilet.

Sean Simpson, 43, absentmindedly left the loaded weapon inside a cubicle, says Broward County Sheriff's Office.

It was found by a homeless man who fired a bullet into the wall before Mr Simpson snatched it from his hands.

The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher previously said he was open to the idea of arming teachers.

Mr Simpson told police on Sunday he realised he had left the legally registered pistol in the toilet at the Deerfield Beach Pier after hearing a single gunshot.

After running back to the bathroom, the science teacher encountered a homeless man holding the gun, who, he added, appeared drunk.


General Comments / Re: House Closes Investigation
« on: April 11, 2018, 06:04:08 PM »
They should have just grabbed everything with a National Security Letter. That would be far more common, and also Cohen would be barred from even telling anyone they showed up.  ;D

General Comments / Re: House Closes Investigation
« on: April 11, 2018, 12:29:28 PM »
It all hinges on the judge that signed the warrant, or if the materials are mishandled despite the warrant being good. It's only a bad idea if it stretches how this gets done in a new way. I'm familiar with Dershowitz and his opinion, which I will summarizes as "this is scary and based on what I know it is a new precedent". I'm not sure I agree with that, because I don't know the evidence that supported the search warrant. If Clinton's lawyers had been searched, I'm pretty sure that I'd have the same feeling- they had better not be bluffing, fishing, or cheating, but I'll wait and see.

I already coughed up a half dozen examples of legal offices being seized, some involving government officials. I didn't hear Dershowitz opining on any of those instances, and searching is difficult.

General Comments / Re: House Closes Investigation
« on: April 11, 2018, 10:57:06 AM »
CNN is a dumpster fire. Their 'analysis' is worth exactly 0 points.

Goal would primarily be charging Cohen with something. Cynically, it might be to separate Trump from a close ally or to anger Trump into something rash. It could be to air out evidence against Cohen that could taint Trump or other people in Trump's organization. Obviously it could be about scooping up all kinds of stuff and leaking it, using it for blackmail, or other darker plots. I don't think I buy the warrant being issued unless they could plausibly present evidence of Cohen's wrongdoing, since otherwise all of it gets tossed on appeal. Which, maybe they don't care about if your point is to expose something rather than convict on it.

Also the target could be non-privileged documents that can be used. He might have a communication that talks about threatening Daniels. He might have had discussions with third parties that were not clients. As well, if there were any communication that cc'ed a third party not necessary to the legal matter - like Trump Jr, then that also waives privilege. In the case of the covfefe president, a Reply-All/CC doesn't seem farfetched.

Plus, I don't think anything in the Daniels case could be covered by privilege since Cohen denies acting on behalf of Trump, and Trump denies knowing anything about it? Now, I'm far from thinking that there was anything illegal that happened in that transaction, but then I don't know that much yet.

General Comments / Re: House Closes Investigation
« on: April 10, 2018, 02:55:20 PM »
There shouldn't be any warrant that allows that to occur. 

Though rare, this isn't unprecedented. Such warrants are predicated on the idea that there is probable cause to assume that the communications in question refer to the planning or commission of a crime.

It is most commonly used against organized criminals. I'm holding my breath. If nothing happens, it means either that the warrant didn't clear the high bar for this sort of thing, the evidence used to obtain the warrant was either fabricated or grossly in error. In prior cases, as I understand it, such evidence almost always leads to conviction of the lawyer in question.

Any leak of information from whomever is designated to sort through the information (The DA can't just mill around in there) would be catastrophic in a number of ways.

Here's an interesting acccount that is unfolding concurrently.

The allegations against the prosecutors say email communications between Snyder, defense attorney Thomas Dogan, and Thomas Kirsch II, who was then the mayor's defense attorney before being appointed as U.S. attorney, were seized in 2015, according to court documents.

Kirsch has recused himself from Snyder's case, according to court documents, and U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois would oversee and manage local prosecutors handling the case.

During the discovery process for Snyder's trial, Bennett said it was found that documents reviewed by the prosecutors contained confidential attorney-client material, according to court documents. Bennett said federal investigators used a "taint team" to review the email communication seized, according to court documents, but that review failed to shield all privileged communications from the trial team.

"We think they made a mistake and they don't want to acknowledge they made a mistake," Bennett said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Koster said, in court filings, investigators screened the emails using a three-stage process, which first started by flagging emails using a system at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.; then another team of FBI employees filtered any emails flagged by the system; and finally an assistant U.S. attorney not involved in the case reviewed to ensure no privileged communication survived the quarantine process.

In February 2018, an attorney from the Northern District of Illinois reviewed the contested emails and concluded they did not meet the legal standard for attorney-client privilege, according to Koster.

Though in that case, it was the client's email that was seized, not the lawyer's. The only thing this can mean is that Cohen is the immediate target, at least for justification, as you don't get that warrant to investigate a client (I believe).

You may enjoy a little google search "lawyer's office raided -cohen -trump"

FBI and IRS agents raided the law offices of Texas Sen. Carlos Uresti on Thursday morning, confiscating documents and other items

Federal law enforcement officers searched lawyer Stanley H. Needleman's offices this morning, the Sun's Justin Fenton reports. Calls to Needleman's home and office were not returned immediately. Needleman is a prominent local defense attorney who specializes in drug cases.

FBI Raid Local Offices Of Indiana Lawyer. ... FBI agents Tuesday raided the Chase Tower offices of Timothy S. Durham, taking records of businesses run by the high-profile Indianapolis financier.

The FBI and IRS on Feb. 17 conducted “court-authorized activity in connection with an ongoing federal investigation” at the Canton law office of Sen. Bryan Joyce, said Kristen Setera, a spokeswoman for the Boston office of the FBI.

California Department of Justice officials raided a Calabasas law firm as part of an investigation into alleged legal fraud that may have touched thousands of victims, the state attorney general said today. Nineteen DOJ agents and other state authorities seized computers, client files and 16 bank accounts

General Comments / Re: House Closes Investigation
« on: April 10, 2018, 08:59:17 AM »
Looks like the investigations aren't ending just yet, but going to a boss level.

PC to seize Cohen's files must be significant, in my opinion, to be able to get that search warrant. More than that, it has added pure oxygen to the witch hunt fire. I don't think that step gets made unless there is something Big in the works. That action has lit a fuse that won't have a long life. It's not going to be Russian collusion on elections, but could very well involve some kind of shady financial connections to Russian oligarchs (my speculation, not supported by available facts). I haven't found any major media sources, but a random article raises some interesting questions.

The facts surrounding one of Cohen’s ventures in particular raised red flags for several experts interviewed by McClatchy.

In 2014, a mysterious buyer using a limited liability company that hid the purchaser’s identity paid $10 million in cash for a small apartment building on New York’s lower east side that Cohen had purchased just three years before for $2 million. The handsome appreciation came despite the fact that the assessed value of the property, at 172 Rivington St., hardly budged in these years, hovering around the price Cohen paid for it.

Three other properties Cohen bought and sold in roughly the same time frame followed a similar pattern. Each was purchased by a different LLC, but were tied together by the fact that a lawyer, Herbert Chaves, served as the LLCs’ manager.

“An all cash purchase by an LLC of an overvalued property in Manhattan is usually worth a closer look by federal investigators,” said Jaimie Nawaday, a former federal prosecutor and money laundering specialist who is now a partner with the New York law firm Kelley Drye & Warren. “There are perfectly good reasons to buy and sell through LLCs, but the combination of facts is one that tends to arouse interest.”


I give this article low confidence, especially since cnn doesn't appear to have picked up the ball and run with it.

General Comments / Re: Sinclair group propoganda video
« on: April 09, 2018, 09:10:11 AM »
Another fresh example:

Graphic footage shot by rescuers and activists show victims -- including children -- dead and injured, some ghostly white and foaming at the mouth in makeshift clinics. Others were found suffocated in their homes, according to first responders.

CNN could not independently verify the authenticity of the images.


Volunteer rescue force the White Helmets tweeted graphic images showing several bodies in basements. It said the deaths were likely to rise.

There has been no independent verification of the reports.

CNN is embedding lurid images of questionable reports, with a little disclaimer at the end. BBC references the images - which is appropriate, because they exist - identifies the source accurately and specifically, while also making clear that not only can they not independently verify, but that no one else has either.

It is this sort of lurid Enquirer style of reporting that led me to drop CNN to the bottom of the barrel.

From their front page today, the articles are according to their own labels:

Analysis (opinion)
3rd party Video statement (not interview)

BBC is news, news, news, news.

It's like if the NY Times put their editorial on the front page. NYTimes website puts all their opinion pieces in an opinion box setting them clearly aside.

What about fox, you say? Same tactics as CNN. A complete muddling of opinion versus news.

That same topic of suspected gas attacks?

Well, they include a screen capture of the White Helmet video showing toddlers lying on a blanket in hospital, so they did go even more lurid than CNN. Interestingly, Fox calls it "authenticated" which may be a lapse in time between the articles or a difference in verification technique and ability.

When the sinclair statement says "be wary" I think it has a point. People should avoid blind trust in the media, just like blind trust in the government. The media helps us keep our government accountable, but it is up to us to keep our media accountable.

General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: April 06, 2018, 01:30:19 PM »
"An expenditure made by any person or entity in cooperation, consultation or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate’s campaign is also considered an in-kind contribution to the candidate."

So Trump's knowledge (or anyone else in the campaign) might make it an issue, although I think it is hard to prove that Trump is cognizant of his immediate surroundings at any given time.

Either way, I think that whole line of inquiry is quibbling and stupid. The intent of these laws is to prevent undue influence, but Trump's lawyer "giving" him $130k is kind of irrelevant considering his general cash flow, and certainly less influential than mountains of PAC money. Prosecuting on a technicality that could probably be made against any candidate is an act of distracting desperation. I doubt we ever see anything come of this.

General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: April 06, 2018, 10:51:50 AM »
after all, Trump only hires the best

And fires them after a few months.

I'm not a big fan of government as venture capital firm, like Solyndra.

As for any Green Initiatives, those are also remedies for asthma and other air pollution, as well as having the advantage of reducing environmentally dangerous mining efforts.

We absolutely need a better way to power our society than digging things up and setting fire to them. Regardless of climate change.

General Comments / Re: House Closes Investigation
« on: April 06, 2018, 09:11:20 AM »
That, and you should literally, never read "literally" literally on the interweb.  :)

Or in classic literature.

F. Scott Fitzgerald did it (“He literally glowed”). So did James Joyce (“Lily, the caretaker’s daughter, was literally run off her feet”), W. M. Thackeray (“I literally blazed with wit”), Charlotte Brontë (“she took me to herself, and proceeded literally to suffocate me with her unrestrained spirits”) and others of their ilk.

I am literally dying right now

General Comments / Re: Sinclair group propoganda video
« on: April 06, 2018, 09:01:10 AM »
Do you have any quantitative data to support this, particularly in comparison with Fox?

A lot of personal observation, I don't know if there's been anyone to "study" it formally. They are more likely to run stories with single anonymous sources, unconfirmed information, and what amount to network news "retweets". CNN reports that <some random website> is reporting X.

Most of the articles devoted to the subject are, as you might imagine, muddled by complaints about opinion pieces.

The network’s general silence left a number of unanswered questions. CNN has never said why the story did not meet its “editorial standards,” who at CNN reviewed it or how extensively the article had been vetted before publication.
   Washington Post

I don't play "the comparison game". If Fox were a baker, would its bread be more moldy than CNN? I don't know, but I demand fresh bread.

As far as social media goes, I mean what members of the general public retweet, forward, and like. The part of the statement says:

The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.

Yes, Trump contributes to that, but so does everyone else. This statement should be taken as a warning "don't believe stuff you see in your feed". This includes both anti-Trump and pro-Trump items - which I have often found to be false or poorly characterized or out of context.

I will also add that when I do read CNN (because I'm curious how far they'll let themselves slide), I find significant amounts of material that aren't corroborated by other major news outlets. Now, that might mean that they are far more skilled and have the most inside sources - but I tend to think it is more likely that they have looser standards.

Well, in the 20s einstein was still clinging to his cosmological fudge factor that made his static universe model work.

Dark matter could turn out to be a similar fudge factor to match the observations being made, but there's not really much consequence if we're wrong about it.

Heat death of the universe? Big crunch? Something else? We actually have quite a long time to figure that out and react to it, compared to climate or terrestrial environment issues.

General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: April 05, 2018, 02:56:05 PM »
I think the only reason I care about an infidelity is whether it represents a betrayal or if it could leave the politician compromised by blackmail.

General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: April 05, 2018, 01:08:48 PM »
I gladly withheld my vote from both major party candidates in 16, as I considered them fatally flawed. I don't care about a lesser of evils, because I take a long term view. If my vote for a third party is added with enough other votes to be more than the margin of difference between the two major parties, it will affect whether a party asks a candidate to step aside on character issues, whether they will collude with a candidate during primaries, whether they back candidates under indictment with pac money, or brag about how they could murder someone and still get their candidate elected.

Legislation and policy isn't the only thing that matters about a politician. Leadership, example, attitude, diplomacy, and other qualities also shape the world around us in profound ways.

I would have voted for Sanders based on his integrity, even though I'm not very well aligned on policy.

And, by the way, the "virtually no one" who would vote for David Duke were 8500 and sufficient to win a seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives. According to wiki, they cared more about their property taxes than his character - although they might well have had no conflict at all.

General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: April 04, 2018, 06:03:52 PM »
A reliance on Fear as a means to motivate.

Crap, that's going to eliminate a lot of candidates.

Aren't about 90% of political ads and speeches all about fear? Fear of what it would mean if <insert opponent> gets to nominate a Supreme Court Justice? Fear of what will happen to your job/economy? Fear of the removal of public safety nets? Threats, threats, threats outweigh Opportunity 3:1.

General Comments / Re: Sinclair group propoganda video
« on: April 04, 2018, 01:45:31 PM »
I disagree that there aren't horrible problems with providers that are not conservative leaning. CNNs fact checking is nearly non-existent and their constant editorializing is far more skewed than any of the must run segments Sinclair puts out.

Journalism has taken a hit because they've had a steady erosion of standards in response to pressure to be "first" to report something, fill the 24 hour news cycle with opinion pieces, and taking a "stand" against a politician and expecting it not to leak into the news room. Back when they had 24 hours to pull together 45-50 minutes of news, it was possible to have much higher standards. Back when the NYT had 24 hours to put out print, rather than posting articles online, it was possible to have higher standards.

Crap, about 1/3 of the articles I read haven't even been checked properly for spelling and grammar, so why would I think that their standards for fact checking would be any higher?

As far a social media goes, do you know how many times I've gotten a trump repost of some kind and found it false?

General Comments / Re: Sinclair group propoganda video
« on: April 04, 2018, 09:32:25 AM »
I'd rather read a city weekly paper for local news. They tend to say a lot more about local entertainment, politics, and community. Of course, I've also given up on any television news because it is almost all garbage. Selective video editing, interview strawmen, its all too easy to introduce some sort of bias even if you are trying hard not to. On the rare occasion when I feel the need to see live local updates (severe weather, election, etc) I tune in to the local TV news.

General Comments / Re: Sinclair group propoganda video
« on: April 03, 2018, 07:11:23 PM »
BTW, what's up with this reverence for local news? Doesn't anyone watch John Oliver's show, Last Week Tonight? And yes, I haven't watched it but I heard he went full anti-Sinclair on this one.

Local news takes on st patrick's day

Local news examines ballpark food

Not to mention their obsolete meteorologists - like I can't ask google or alexa what the weather is going to be like and live updates.

Breaking in-depth journalism covering "a car that crashed and looks all messed up" or "a house that  caught on fire" or "a new retail store opened"

I think their professional reputation will remain largely where it was before this script.

General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: April 03, 2018, 02:19:42 PM »
There was also Gary Hart in 88 found fooling around with a model on the improbably named "Monkey Business" yacht.

General Comments / Re: Sinclair group propoganda video
« on: April 03, 2018, 02:04:11 PM »
This is the actual script. I can't say I actually disagree with the content. It could be talking about CNN or Breitbart. Hannity just as much as anyone else. Any encouragement that people get to think critically about their media consumption is fine by me.

Hi, I’m [name] with [station]. Our greatest responsibility is to serve our communities. I am extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that [station] produces, but I’m concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country.

The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media. More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think. This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.

At [station], it is our responsibility to report and pursue the truth. We understand the truth is neither politically left nor right. Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility now more than ever. But we are human, and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair, please reach out through our [station] website by clicking on “Content Concerns.” We value your comments and we will respond back to you.

We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced, and factual. We consider it our honor and privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day. Thank you for watching, and we appreciate your feedback.

General Comments / Re: House Closes Investigation
« on: April 03, 2018, 01:58:55 PM »
Michael Flynn Net Worth is $7 million USD and earns an annual income of $900,000 dollars. The Net Worth of Michael Flynn has seen a hike of 25% over the past few years.

Yup, he just couldn't afford those legal bills. There is a problem with the excessive use of threats and plea deals - when it applies to single Moms for getting caught with a controlled substance and denied or unable to raise bail. Not retired generals who lie about their contacts with Russian officials.

General Comments / Re: Tariffs are a problem?
« on: April 02, 2018, 07:35:39 PM »
If those other countries played on a level field like Vermont and South Carolina vis a vis us, then you'd be correct, tariffs would be a horrid idea.  When they manipulate the system and we just let them, it's not the same thing.  Would you think Vermont should consider a tariff if CA passed a law that required Vermont to buy $2 of their products for every $1 that VT imports?  Or that say, required that a Vermont company open a local business that is majority owned by CA before they could import a produce?  Or how about, if they required that VT companies paid taxes to CA on their global revenues?

You think the states have a level playing field?

29 states have a higher minimum wage, states on the federal minimum have an unfair labor cost advantage, that would be for starters. You know, like other countries have a lower wage than our minimum.

States employ heavy tax subsidies to lure industries away from other states. Just watch the clamor over Amazon's new headquarters.

States have different environmental rules, fuel tax, and tons of other government policies that favor one versus another. But we live with it because it is a net benefit.

Let's try this a different way.  Explain to me how its a good idea to let your trading counterparties impose trade constraints, steal your products and erode your production capacity, and not respond?  Is it really "free trade" when it's only free in one direction?

It's imperfect, but it automatically trends in the right direction. Again, we saw this play out with Japan. O Terrible trade imbalance! O loss of automotive manufacturing! Until they got rich also, their expenses went up, and auto manufacture moved on to Korea, Mexico, and other cheap labor pools. Eventually the cheap labor pools dry up, and manufacturing returns to countries that lost it. Long term.

Complaints can be brought appropriately to WTO to address imbalances under a set of rules that made it possible to have that mechanism. Over time it can improve.

US median income since the introduction of trade agreements blew up from 92 to 98. NAFTA was 93, and median income went from 52k to 58k throughout the dot com. From 12 to 16, from 54 to 58k. I can't think of a better definition of "the middle" than median. Now if you mean people who work in manufacturing rather than "the middle class" then you have more of a point.

General Comments / Re: Tariffs are a problem?
« on: April 02, 2018, 04:11:52 PM »
That's fair Fenring. In which case we can decide on "gut feeling" of what feels like it might be good in the long run for any defined group? If it is truly unmeasurable in the long term, then what's wrong with focusing on more measurable short term outcomes? This is a general problem with macroeconomics and public policy, and probably why many economists call any restrictions a distortion and undesirable. Unraveling and controlling for other variables is why there are everlasting and unsolvable debates on whether FDR's policies mitigated the Depression or exacerbated it.

BTW, the number 1 cause of death for that age group? Injury 71 per 100,000. Basically, young people just don't get sick or die from anything very often. It may not cause for alarm, but any time something doubles it is worth noting. Especially since the actions are generically good for lots of other cancers and disease (exercise, weight control, diet, alcohol, tobacco). At least until someone figures out how to get 20-somethings to get worthless colonoscopies and drive the cost of health plans up yet again.

General Comments / Re: Tariffs are a problem?
« on: April 02, 2018, 03:32:15 PM »
It is always about good and bad for whom. The average citizen, the poorest, the richest? Steelworkers or pig farmers? Boiling all of that down to "good" vs "bad" on any timeline is a herculean task.

Now, globalists like me say that any tariff is bad because it works against equilibrium and flow of production to those best able to produce it.

So if you take a really long time frame, like a century, then we are easily better off with fewer and fewer tariffs - at least humanity is, versus Philadelphians, Iowans, or Americans. This is what played out in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Eastern Europe, and will play out in China and India. They just have a much bigger sink to grow their middle class. The global middle class is growing, and this creates markets like the one in China for American wine and other high end, luxury, finished goods, services. These are the ones Americans need to be making and they are more about functionality and quality.

If tariffs are such a good idea, then we might as well pass a Constitutional amendment so our states can do the same. California can tax imports that they think add to Co2 emissions, Vermont can tax Wisconsin cheese, and Utah can tax full body underwear. Whee!

To me, it is almost axiomatic and self-evident that going from fewer to greater tariffs is going the wrong way. I do take some of that on faith. I'm not willing to do a 15 year experiment, plus we already have Smoot-Hawley as an example and don't need to try it again.

General Comments / Re: Tariffs are a problem?
« on: April 02, 2018, 11:38:34 AM »
At stake - jobs as exports drop and imports get expensive, tax revenue from decreased commerce, increased expenses.

The Economist predictions of a US-China trade war

Okay, proven right is perhaps overboard. How about "lightly checked"?

For instance, actually reading and article before retweeting it because you dig the headline. Or doing a cursory search when you see a meme about Obama hitting a bong in front of an Idi Amin poster. Or, doing what Seriati did when exposed to health fearmongering.

"Those seem like generic symptoms."
"1-2% of what, that doesn't sound like much."

I wouldn't necessarily expect someone to read the study and examine it for p-hacking, or length of time considered, or historical fluctuations.

Turns out, the original reporting may not have entirely been the fault of the news. I just went to the American Cancer Society, and their headline is

"Study Finds Sharp Rise in Colon Cancer and Rectal Cancer Rates Among Young Adults"

Rectal cancer incidence rates have been increasing even longer and faster than colon cancer, rising about 3% per year from 1974 to 2013 in adults ages 20 to 29

So, 3% per year compounded over 40 years is probably a reasonable concern. Not sure if the TV program said "per year" or not, but still a communications failure if they didn't also give the cumulative rise.

General Comments / Re: Tariffs are a problem?
« on: April 02, 2018, 10:42:51 AM »
Rubbermaid doesn't have national pride at stake, which is how trade wars happen even when they hurt both countries.

They should have a class that simply teaches skepticism and basic research via internet search. "Wrong until proven right" should be everyone's approach to a meme, news article, scientific paper, contract, speech, and book.

But we have people swearing by books like "The Secret", so there you have it.

General Comments / Re: Tariffs are a problem?
« on: April 02, 2018, 10:35:37 AM »
I know it is small, which was part of my own quote. That's how these things start. And, the tradeoff will be X amount of steel workers vs Y amount of pig farmers.

Another way to look at it, is that Chinese exports of steel to the US were $2B which makes the soybean exports to China 7x larger than the steel.

Having "more to lose" doesn't mean much in the potential global recession. We don't "win" if our GDP drops by 5% and China's drops by 10%.

General Comments / Re: Tariffs are a problem?
« on: April 02, 2018, 09:27:12 AM »
China's commerce and finance ministries said in statements late Sunday that authorities are imposing tariffs of 15% on 120 American products — such as fruits, nuts, wine and steel pipes — and 25% on eight other products, including pork and recycled aluminum.

Those products make up just a tiny portion of the hundreds of billions of dollars of goods shipped between the two countries each year. But the tariffs are alarming news for the affected industries.

The US National Pork Producers Council warned last month that the measures would "have a significant negative impact on rural America." It said the US pork industry sold $1.1 billion worth of products to China last year, making it the third largest export market.

Good thing trade wars are easy to win.

General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 31, 2018, 10:45:44 PM »
Tesla autopilot is very dumb. It is there to augment the driver. A violent maneuver like a swerve would kill drivers, not save them.

You were expecting something different from TV morning news? I would suggest that they weren't trying to scare people in that age bracket, but more likely their parents. I don't think 20 year olds typically watch CBS morning news.

Barclays agreed Thursday to pay the United States $2 billion for allegedly deceiving investors about the quality of mortgage deals that fueled the 2008 financial crisis.

The Justice Department said the British bank "caused billions in losses" to investors by engaging in a "fraudulent scheme" involving three dozen mortgage-backed securities deals sold between 2005 and 2007.

Of the $31 billion of mortgages packaged together in these investments, more than half eventually defaulted. Prosecutors said Barclays "systematically and intentionally misrepresented" the quality of these loans to investors.

Hard to lay that at the feet of public policy, as Barclays now joins Goldman, JP Morgan, and others.

General Comments / Re: Stormy Daniels and the Surreal Reality
« on: March 29, 2018, 11:46:19 AM »
Lest there be continued confusion, I'm not rejecting the idea of reform of campaign finance laws, just stating that having politicians draft them has led to the worst form of design, where they entrench their own interests and create loopholes that they can exploit.  We need an independent commission of some sort.

I also note that the penalties rarely equal the scale of the crime.  Sending a bundler to prison for two years but leaving the illegally supported candidate in office?  Removal of candidates potentially frustrates the democratic will, but so does leaving them in office.

Or the electorate could smarten up to the point where their decision to go to the polls and which candidate they support isn't driven by how many yard signs and 30 second spots they are saturated with.

Montreal Protocol was significantly different. It was binding and contained financial penalties, and it called on every nation to reduce CFC by an equal percentage. It didn't let countries "buy" ozone credits from other countries to make their goals. Minimum ozone levels had dropped by 50% over 15 years, a far more obvious and less debatable trend (though the chemical companies didn't think so). Every country is in compliance. Also, reading through, this wasn't during clinton's term as it entered into force in 1989 after agreement in 1987. So that was a Reagan thing, although it later went through revisions.

As an engineer with 30 years experience, I disagree.  "It works" doesn't tell you a damn thing, except it works.  It doesn't tell you how to fix it if it doesn't work.  It doesn't tell you how to make it work better.  It doesn't tell you what conditions it will work under, and what conditions to be avoided.  Now a good engineer will figure these things out, often by trial and error.  And you can get practical and profitable applications at that point. But none of these things, in and of themselves, tell you why it works or how it works.   A really good engineer will try to figure it out, because it can eliminate trial and error, and future risks.  But it is not necessary.  If an engineer takes the step of realizing what first principles are, he is beyond practical and profitable applications, and into science.


Experimentation can produce lines of inquiry. Let's put thing A into hundreds of growth mediums to see what grows fastest. Now we'll grow thing A in the best one. This is how a lot of drugs are discovered, and why Viagra was eventually sold for its side effects instead of its intended use.

But a more powerful approach is to then take that and understand why thing A grew best under those conditions or why Viagra gives people boners. It is more powerful to be able to predict what a chemical will do by basic principles than to just spray and pray that something works.

In my example, Monsanto would use genetic engineering in a highly sophisticated way based on their knowledge of which genes of which species can be manipulated to increase the conversion rate of CO2. This is not speculative on my part, it has been talked about for many years.

Plants, algae, and other organisms turn CO2 into fuel. Erb and his colleagues reengineered this process, making it about 25 percent more energy efficient and potentially up to two or three times faster.

Erb's new CETCH cycle requires 11 steps to turn airborne CO2 into a chemical called glyoxylate. Each of these 11 steps requires a molecule-transforming enzyme, and each enzyme was carefully selected from the library of 40,000 known enzymes. "Some enzymes are found in the human body, and gut bacteria," says Erb, others are taken "from plants, and microbes that live in the oceans and on the surface of plants."

Not Fake News

Without the basic science and experimentation, they wouldn't have been able to select from that library. Their results will make the next researcher's job even more targeted and refined. The editing and review process will ensure that related studies link via citation to their study, and suggest that the new researchers present their data in a similar fashion making apples-to-apples comparisons of the studies easier. If the new researchers don't live up to the standard of the original, they'll have to keep shopping journals with less prestige and impact until they find a taker. There is a reason why very few engineering companies do any basic research. They wait for academia to take the lead on a method to make memory cells, then they refine the ideas and make them profitable. They can't just wing it and try a bunch of different substrate geometries and hope for the best one to show up and explain their trial and error to stockholders.

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