Friday, February 25, 2011

Collective Bargaining isn't the Problem

This is an example of what happens when people's livelihood is tied to political posturing.

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When government is the employer, employment questions become policy questions … and policy questions are intrinsically political questions. This means that all the players involved will mobilize political power to get the answers they want.

The problem isn’t the existence of a teachers’ union. The problem is on the other side of the negotiating table.

Get government out of education, and the alleged rapaciousness of teachers’ unions is limited by the ability or inability of private employers to meet their demands (or their ability to generate revenue by forming their own cooperatives and serving willing customers).


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rapid Fire Crowd Control

"Arsenal of Freedom" alert: #activists take note, prepare to defend yourself against rapid-fire weapons of suppression.

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THE US army is planning to field "rubber bullets" for machine guns. Military officials claim the ammunition will allow them to more effectively quell violent protests without loss of life, but human rights campaigners are alarmed by the new weapon.

Firing rapidly at long range is likely to be dangerously inaccurate, says Angela Wright of Amnesty International. "Such a weapon system would allow for a burst of non-accurate fire at a crowd, with high risk of hitting bystanders, ricochets and of hitting vulnerable areas of the body," she says.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Guerrilla Networking: Internet Access for the Coming Apocalypse

Keeping up with your web comics when the Zombies are at your door (not really)

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These days, no popular movement goes without an Internet presence of some kind, whether it's organizing on Facebook or spreading the word through Twitter. And as we've seen in Egypt, that means that your Internet connection can be the first to go. Whether you're trying to check in with your family, contact your friends, or simply spread the word, here are a few ways to build some basic network connectivity when you can't rely on your cellular or landline Internet connections.


Top 10 Logical Fallacies in Politics

Knowledge is power, people. Purge these maggots of sloppy thinking from you own brains and learn to identify them.

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We've all tried debating somebody with an unfalsifiable hypothesis, and we all know how futile it is. An unfalsifiable hypothesis is exactly what it sounds like, a theory that cannot be disproved. The simplest example is solipsism, the philosophical notion that the only thing that really exists is you and that everything you perceive and experience is a figment of your own imagination. There's simply no logical way to argue against this notion. Like the slippery slope, it might be true (yeah, you might be the only person in existence, and you're only reading this because you've made the whole thing up in your sick, twisted mind), but it's still a faulty argument. Note, though, that some unfalsifiable hypotheses, though they can't be disproved, can still be proved. If aliens landed on the front lawn of the White House, for instance, that would pretty definitively prove they exist, even though there is no way to disprove the existence of aliens today.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Rushed renewal for PATRIOT Act defeated

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Today in the U.S. House of Representatives, an unlikely alliance of House Democrats and Republicans stood up for civil liberties and successfully beat back a fast-track attempt to reauthorize the USA PATRIOT Act without the much-needed checks and balances EFF has championed.

The renewal bill voted on today would have extended three dangerous surveillance provisions in the PATRIOT Act until December 2011, provisions that are otherwise set to expire at the end of this month. In order to pass under the fast-track procedure adopted by House leadership to prevent the introduction of any reform-minded amendments, the bill would have had to garner a two/thirds majority--that is, 290 votes. The renewal effort narrowly failed on a final vote of 277 Yeahs to 148 Nays, thanks to the staunch opposition of Democratic leaders and an insurgent movement of freshman Republican Representatives and "Tea Party" conservatives who were unwilling to rubber-stamp the PATRIOT renewal.