Linky Friday: I Fought The Lawd

Law:

judge photo

Image by briansuda

[L1] To be guilty of fraud, do you have to actually have defrauded someone?

[L2] I think we want to be pretty careful before we start making exceptions to this.

[L3] Zillow picked on a young blogger previously linkied here, but the blog won.

[L4] Comcast allegedly misunderstood what “cutting the cord” means.

[L5] A Canadian court wants to compel Google to delist websites with certain illegal content (in this case, bootleg and unauthorized songs and movies).

[L6] Judicial activism I can get behind.

War:

warrior photo

Image by libertygrace0

[W1] A Canadian sniper just got a record-breaking killshot.

[W2] We metaphorically sank the battleship.

[W3] The personal archives of Daesh fighters introduce us to their dark and dramatic private worlds.

[W4] Matt Hipple argues that any space corps belongs with the Navy.

[W5] The dark history of the engineering of the VX Nerve Agent.

[W6] Seems like Los Alamos needs to shape up.

Religion:

[R1] The New York Times looks at the partisanship of pastors.

[R2] Is Muslim theocracy a product of the failures of western secularism?

[R3] With the Ark Encounter theme park having gone bust, Ken Ham blames atheists and fake news.

[R4] The Smithsonian is finding God! Well, not quite, but I suspect you know what I mean.

[R5] “[A]mnesty for assault victims.”

[R6] Church, but for the secular.

Media:

troll photo

Image by Nickogibson

[M1] Adam Gurri argues that actually hot take culture is good.

[M2] Lee Smith argues that Facebook is destroying the media. Sure seems like something always is.

[M3] The media lost interest in the Steve Scalise shooting a lot more quickly than it did the Gabby Giffords one. One the one hand, we didn’t have a president that was as good at drawing media attention as the current one is. On the other, I’m not sure that’s why.

[M4] Jonathan Kay, Damon Linker, and Bret Stephens (listed in descending order of worthiness) all take aim at Twitter. Kevin Drum for the defense.

[M5] China is putting up a ban on livestreaming, because it’s too hard to censor.

[M6] It’s definitely to CNN’s credit they took decisive action, but given the givens they need to take extra care to be careful from the outset. Also, Vice?

Politics:

bigfoot photo

Image by Loimere

[Po1] As go the suburbs, so goes the state.

[Po2] Seems like maybe there was more policy could do about illegal immigration than the last couple presidents let on, so is better to get a legal service as Maple Immigration Services to help you with your status.

[Po3] Karl Smith suggests that libertarians exist.

[Po4] Stephen Daisley laments how Labour went to the left until it ended up on the right. Trump’s name doesn’t come up, but if you’re not inclined not to see some parallels, you just might…

[Po5] Also: How the British left went mad for Bolshevism and ignored the purges.

[Po6] And lastly, how Labour was saved by George Osborne and Ed Miliband.

Feature Image by Waiting For The Word


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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126 thoughts on “Linky Friday: I Fought The Lawd

  1. L6 [state courts striking down protectionist alcohol regulations]:

    The argument presented here, while reasonable in some ways, may have the unintended effect of weakening the possibility of decriminalizing pot.

    Sometimes politics really is the art of the possible. Many state and local liquor laws are usually foolish, and especially foolish when they are protectionist or confer certain monopoly-style privileges. However….that was part of the trade off of overturning Prohibition. It was the gesture to federalism and subsidiarity that allowed the end of a bad policy. And for the record, while “IANAL, and the courts appear to be deciding differently, etc.,” I read the 21st amendment as permitting state-level protectionism.

    I suspect that if the movement to legalize pot ever gets any traction at the federal, it would involve (along with re-scheduling the drug) the feds permitting states to impose their own regulations, and that might create just as many incentives for state-level protectionism as the 21st amendment. (I don’t imagine that such a change, if at all forthcoming, will be in the form of a constitutional amendment. But it could probably happen by federal statute.)

    My main point is, challenging this compromise when it comes to alcohol could inadvertently make federal pot-decriminalization less likely. None of that, however, changes my view that a good number of local-level liquor laws are silly.

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    • It was only a few years back that Colorado finally allowed liquor stores to be open on Sunday.

      We still can’t buy more than 3.2 beer at the grocery store (so no wine or “real” beer).

      There was recently a “compromise” bill that was passed allowing *SOME* grocery stores to sell wine or spirits, but the whole “let’s do it the way they do it in 46 other states” attitude won’t kick in fully until 2037.

      I have no idea how much these laws contributed to the attitudes that it’d be okay to legalize marijuana. I’ve never thought about it before.

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      • NJ doesn’t bar it at grocery stores but it does limit person and corps to two retail distributor licenses, so that pretty much eliminates it from any chain. There was a convenience store a town over growing up that sold beer and later than when most liquor stores closed down, but it wasn’t part of any chain.

        The town I just moved to does have what appears to be an affiliated beer and wine store above the Stop & Shop. Not sure exactly how that works. Maybe they are one of S&S’s two licenses?

        So it isn’t illegal to sell it at these stores in NJ… it’s just practically illegal.

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      • I’m not talking about so much how those laws affected legalization at the state level so much as I”m speculating that in order to sell it as a federal policy, states would have to be allowed to enact those types of laws. Maybe that’s a messy distinction, but there it is.

        I remember when I moved to Big City. I was surprised that regular supermarkets sold hard liquor. I, too, was used to them selling only beer, although I didn’t realize it was limited to 3.2 beer.

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        • I always have a moment of discombobulation when I am first visiting my parents’ state after a while and am reminded that the Walgreens can sell any kind of liquor they want.

          Here, we have beer (cold beer can only be 3.2 beer) and that Boone’s Farm stuff in some groceries; real wine and spirits you have to go to a liquor store for. I am sure the intent was partly paternalistic – it is kind of a deterrent for me to want to walk into a liquor store and I’m much more prone to go “Meh, I’ll experiment with broth and vinegar” when I have a recipe calling for wine.

          I also suspect our somewhat archaic liquor laws are partly why we don’t really have any good supermarkets. (We didn’t really have much choice of restaurants in town before a liquor-by-the-drink ordinance got passed – before it, places could sell low-point beer and that was it, I think)

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          • I do know that having grown up in Cibolia, I was reluctant to walk into liquor stores after turning 21 because doing so had a tinge of immorality for me. While that “tinge” is probably mostly a result of whatever values I acquired during my upbringing,* it might have had something to do with the laws that restricted most alcohol to such stores.

            *Strangely so, however. My parents and most of my siblings drank, although they certainly weren’t heavy, or even “moderate,” drinkers. My father would buy a 12-pack of beer for Thanksgiving, and there’d still be some cans left over in January. He’d also buy a bottle of Wild Turkey that would last at least several years.

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  2. L1: Attempting to do something illegal is generally not allowed even if you get stopped before any victim exists.

    L2: I am not entirely sure why the Courts decided to depart from the traditional procedure in this case besides some sympathy for the wife for an unexplained reason.

    L5: This going to make it harder for Americans like me to keep up with the Murdoch Mysteries.

    L6: Besides the very good points that Gabriel Conroy brings up, liberals generally don’t like it when courts strike down economic regulations based by the legislature because we see it as imposed economic conservatism.

    R2: The problem that I have with these defenses of Muslim theocracy is that they ignore the non-Muslim minorities in many Muslim states. The non-Muslims in Egypt, Indonesia, Syria, Pakistan, Malaysia and other Muslim countries do not find the prospect of living in a Muslim theocracy attractive. I also imagine that there is a decent minority of Muslims that find Muslim theocracy an unattractive prospect. Its really easy to find complaints about how say Israel’s Jewish identity or India’s Hindu or Thailand or Burma’s Buddhist identity alienates the Muslim minority in those countries but the people who make these complaints are usually willing to allow Muslims their theocracy despite the alienation of non-Muslim minorities. You can’t have it both ways. Muslim majority countries should be no more immune to the prerogatives of pluralism and secularism than non-Muslim majority countries.

    R4: It turns out that a Curator achieved God in the wrong museum.

    R6: This seems to be a hot topic in the atheist community. Many atheists like these secular churches because it allows them to have the parts of going to church that they miss but others, mainly of the hard atheist variety, seem to think that these people are doing atheism wrong.

    M1: I’m tired of hot take culture. I want hot cake culture.

    Po1: This gets it right. Yes, the Republicans won all the special elections but they were in very Republican districts and their lead decreased dramatically. If every Republican held district suffered the same point decrease that GA-6 did than it would be a giant Democratic wave election.

    Po2: Asylum seekers from Central America and other countries are not illegal immigrants. The way that the asylum system in the United States work is that an alien needs to come to the United States first before asking for asylum. This means that some method of questionable travel is often needed. An alien can not go to the United States consulate nearest them and say they need asylum because the Consulate has no authority to grant asylum or even issue a visa for would be asylum seekers, unless the Consulate official is willing to engage in some unlawful violations of their job as well.

    Po3: Chait has the right of this arguments. Libertarians exist but not at electorally significant levels. The ones that do exist seem unwilling to really try to convince non-libertarians on how libertarianism will make their life better. They mainly talk among themselves, although every political group is guilty of this, and use revolutionary vanguard tactics to impose libertarianism rather than trying to gain political office by election.

    Po4: I lament that Corbyn’s checkered history wasn’t given much weight either but I fail to see how the Labour Party is on the Right now. They advocated a very leftist policy package in the last election. Brexit isn’t really right wing or left wing. When the United Kingdom entered the EEC under Heath, both parties were very divided about it and they remained divided about it ever since.

    Po5: Many people who should have known better ignored the atrocities committed by the Soviet Union. However, a lot of people on the Right admired the Fascists during the 1920s and 1930s and ignored their atrocities.

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    • trying to gain political office by election.

      I’d like to see more libertarians doing this, and likewise, I’d like to see the Libertarian Party making more effort to take local and state elections. Too much focus on the big seats.

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    • Much of America, especially the left, was enthralled by Mussolini in the 20’s and 30’s.

      Mussolini and Fascism: The View from America, published in 1972.

      “I don’t mind telling you in confidence that I am keeping in fairly close touch with the admirable Italian gentleman.” — FDR on Mussolini.

      Then in June 1940 FDR condemned Mussolini’s “stab in the back.” Betrayal hurts.

      ““The Corporate State is to Mussolini what the New Deal is to Roosevelt.” — Fortune magazine.

      “Mussolini’s conception of power and authority has many points in common with that of the men who inspired our own constitution – John Adams, Hamilton and Washington.” — New York Times, 1923

      Mussolini was fairly popular abroad, especially in intellectual circles, until his 1935 invasion of Ethiopia. He was especially popular with progressives who, in the aftermath of the Great War, were having some doubts about the inherent wisdom of democracies. The far left (Communists) stayed almost silent on Mussolini throughout the 20’s and only tepidly criticized him in the 30’s. The New Republic was on board, but The Nation was more skeptical.

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    • LeeEsq: L1: Attempting to do something illegal is generally not allowed even if you get stopped before any victim exists.

      Did you read the article? That’s not the issue in dispute. The claim is that a particular business model is inherently fraudulent, even if there’s no misrepresentation.

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    • Po2: Asylum seekers from Central America and other countries are not illegal immigrants. The way that the asylum system in the United States work is that an alien needs to come to the United States first before asking for asylum. This means that some method of questionable travel is often needed. An alien can not go to the United States consulate nearest them and say they need asylum because the Consulate has no authority to grant asylum or even issue a visa for would be asylum seekers, unless the Consulate official is willing to engage in some unlawful violations of their job as well.

      Or, to put it another way, the exact technical difference is that refugee seekers are getting authorization before they come here, whereas asylum seekers are already here.

      That doesn’t mean they are breaking the law, though. They could just walk up to the border and ask for asylum. Which is what these children are doing, so, yes, they are not here illegally in any sense.

      But even if they do enter illegally…the US has signed the 1951 Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, and that says in Article 31:

      ‘The Contracting States shall not impose penalties, on account of their
      illegal entry or presence, on refugees who, coming directly from a territory
      where their life or freedom was threatened in the sense of article 1, enter or
      are present in their territory without authorization, provided they present
      themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their
      illegal entry or presence.’

      I.e, if someone comes here directly from a nation where they were in danger, with forged paperwork, (Like they escape Iran on a forged passport.) the US government is required to ignore that illegality…assuming they turn themselves in ‘without delay’.

      Apparently, US law currently defines ‘without delay’ as 15 days, although I’m a bit startled we allow them to leave the airport without telling us. Surely the proper thing would be to tell ICE there.

      This only applies if they escape directly here. They can’t, like, escape to another country and then come here illegally. Well, they can..they just don’t get any exception to any breakage of the law they might have done getting here.

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  3. L4: I suspect that Comcast, or at least the contractor, will be absolved. In Texas, for an underground facility to be protected, it has to be registered with the appropriate agency. If a knowledgeable contractor — and in my experience, Comcast is careful about who it hires — says it believes that it was encountering abandoned facilities, it’s almost certainly because they checked with the agency and were told there were no registered active facilities in the corridor. Supporting evidence for my speculation is that the recording and notification agency is not mentioned once. One phone call of the “Comcast is digging up our registered facilities” flavor would be enough to get the excavation permits pulled.

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    • The complaint alleges the cable lines were marked: “The foreman freshly marked, in fact but the crew had inexplicably ignored the markings, purportedly because they assumed that the fresh orange paint marked an ‘abandoned’ cable plant.”

      But OTOH, it sounds like the small cable company marked the lines themselves when they heard Comcast would be digging in the area. That doesn’t sound like normal procedure where I live. There is a central phone registry one should call, they contact the utilities registered in the area, and you are entitled to a statutory defense from damaging a utility that wasn’t marked.

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      • Texas statute is pretty clear about what the sequence of events is: excavator calls the registration/notification agency saying where they’ll be digging, agency notifies operators of properly registered underground facilities, operators go mark their lines. Operators so notified are also allowed to have inspectors present during excavation, and the excavator has to make reasonable accommodations for observation.

        There are lots of possibilities for what happened. For me, by far the most likely is that the tiny cable operator had not taken the steps to be a “class A operator” and gain legal protection for their facilities.

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        • BTW/ The main reason I looked at the complaint was I was curious about the damage theory. A small new company is going to have a hard time proving lost profits that are not going to be seen as speculative. This is what the Complaint argues:

          “The telecommunications industry commonly values subscribers on a per-subscriber basis, and as Comcast is well aware, there is an established market for cable customers. For example, in 2014, Comcast agreed to sell a large group of customers for slightly over $5,214 per customer. At the time of its destruction, Telecom had 229 satisfied customers. Measured at a value of $5,214 per customer,Telecom’s customer base was an asset worth just over $1,194.000.00. However, Plaintiffs note that a higher pre-customer value thus a higher total value of the customer base — may be appropriate.”

          There are some other claims, but this is the largest, and I would love to know where Comcast paid that much per customer.

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          • Under some conditions, $5K per subscriber might not be an unreasonable price. Depends on lots of things — quality of the built-out plant, potential for growth, what sort of goodies the local franchising authority will demand to approve the acquisition, existing debt per subscriber, side deals, etc. If everything breaks the right way, $5K per sub is reasonable.

            Speculation, but this does not look like a high-value operation. Weston Lakes is an exurb with a pretty clear intent to maintain quite low household density, so high costs per sub. Small cable companies (229 total subscribers!) usually cut every possible corner on plant — minimal fiber, cheap or even no innerduct, low-quality gear everywhere. Most probably, Comcast offered them something like $1K per subscriber, since it was going to be a total rebuild with limited revenue opportunities. That the local franchising authority let Comcast do an overbuild also suggests the existing service was crap, with little chance the small operator could afford to upgrade.

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            • I don’t doubt that Comcast did a deal that was worth $5k per subscriber; I’m mostly amused that I think that paragraph is structured to imply that this is a common value. I would think the most important thing is whether the market is essentially a monopoly.

              What might give Comcast problems is that at some point the supervisor was allegedly informed about the small operator’s lines and combined with the breakdown in previous sales negotiations, the lawsuit may track on a separate path than conventional negligent digging. All that together, the amount of damages appear difficult. Its easier for an established business like McDonalds to point to five years of profit and loss statements and give a very credible estimate of how much profits it lost when I rammed my hummer through the drive through and the business was closed for three days. A cable company with 229 subscribers? Are they very price sensitive and therefore prone to cut the cord? How many years does the average subscriber stay with the company? Do they have other income streams per subscriber than the subscription fee?

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              • I’m just making a prediction. If/when it comes to trial, it will turn out that the mom-and-pop cable outfit provided much worse service for the buck than Comcast provides; that the franchising authority knew that and gave Comcast the go-ahead; that Comcast’s contractors were scrupulously within the letter of the law on notifications and timing of same; and that the mom-and-pop’s outside plant will be shown to be so fragile that the damage done was as little as could realistically be expected.

                State statutes, franchising authorities, and economies of scale are all stacked against the tiny mom-and-pop operator. When one of the big guys’ fiber footprint expands to where it reaches the mom-and-pop, everyone but the mom-and-pop wants them to take the $1K per sub offer and walk away. I won’t say that the big guys are vindictive — but I’d be willing to make a small wager that the mom-and-pop will lose money on the court case after legal expenses.

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  4. CNN did the right thing but just like NYT and the Post they’ve hopelessly tarnished themselves with this big fat Russian nothing burger. Just like the NYT correction it shows that MSM journalists will still, even after 2003, hysterically quote any person wandering around Langley or Fort Meade without the least bit of skepticism or due diligence. Its really unfortunate because we need a functioning press and I’m not sure the traditional outlets are up to the task.

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  5. W2: We keep having this discussion because battleships are so darned sexy! But no one suggests building new ones, and there are good reasons for that. They can’t do anything that can’t be done more cheaply by something else. This has been true since, oh, let’s say late 1941. It made sense to go ahead and use the ones we had, but there is a reason they didn’t start building any new ones after that. In the 1980s there was a quasi-plausible argument to be made that updating the ones we still had kicking around made economic sense, but even then it was questionable. I remember from the time that another argument was that having them would help Naval recruitment and retention, the idea being that sailors would line up for the chance to serve on a ship that was that darned sexy. Even if this made sense in the 1980s, that time is long past. Let the museums keep them. We have newer and better ways to pound the crap out of people we want to pound the crap out of.

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  6. R6: We were hearing a lot about this a few years ago. I figured at the time it was the flavor of the week. It is not clear to me how much this is a trend and how much a niche. My guess is that latter. In any case, my reaction is haven’t these people ever heard of the Unitarians? Church without all that religion stuff has been around for a long time.

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  7. M3: The “on the one hand” is on point. The thing about the corporate media is that it has a short attention span and is easily distracted by shiny objects. This tendency is non-partisan, but any particular manifestation can give the appearance of partisanship. If the linked article were serious, and not merely a repetition of the “liberal media” talking point, it would look at what else was going on at the time.

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  8. Media observation: one of my buds has construction going on right outside of where they work. They told me that they overheard a construction guy complaining about Trump tweeting. “I didn’t vote for him so he’d tweet like an idiot” is a paraphrase.

    Perhaps a politics observation as well.

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  9. As for R2: it is too soon to tell. The explanation that makes the most sense to me is that Islam is going through its own Reformation, but the entrenched powers have enough money to export their Martin Luthers to other parts of the world.

    When the article says: “Hamid does not believe all countries will inevitably follow a path from revolution to rational Enlightenment and non-theocratic government, nor should they”, I am reminded that the Protestant Reformation was a very important precursor to rational “Enlightenment” and it was bloody as hell with a thousand priests in a thousand parishes all saying “Sola Scriptura” before coming out with their own personal take on the text.

    There are too many parallels for me to dismiss the “history repeating” narrative.

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    • I think it is soon enough to tell. If Islam were, in any particular way, exempt from ways liquid modernity erodes the various religions then it would have spread like wildfire in the modern states where it was introduced. It hasn’t- just does the same thing the rest do- sputters and loses ground as the generations crawl along.

      Frankly the only reason I see that Islam gets all the press as being somehow modernity resistant is merely that the Islam dominated countries and regions are so ass-over-teakettle dysfunctional that there’s no modernity to challenge it. That’s changing gradually too of course.

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      • The problem is that Islam provides all the answers and discourages asking questions. Sometimes Muslims do ask questions, and whereas that used to be almost unheard of, kids texting each other is making it much more common.

        But questioning Islam very often leads to rejecting Islam, so there are a whole lot of Muslim atheists out there. If they can get out of the closet, they’ll make great citizens.

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  10. Sorry, I think your ex-Evangelical antenna are mis-calibrated on this one. I think Hamid is teasing out something real here. Reformation->Enlightenment->Secularism isn’t a necessary path. In fact, Secularism exerts a force all its own that changes the paths down which Islam might go.

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    • Right, even if all religions are crazy, they are not crazy in the same way. The most radical elements of the Protestant Reformation believed in re-baptizing adults in imitation of Christ. They were slaughtered and pushed to the outskirts of civil society where they quietly awaited the return of Jesus to a hopelessly irredeemable world. The most radical elements of Islam today want to imitate the holy conqueror.

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    • Well, as I said, it’s too soon to tell.

      Eventually there will be friction between the claims of the metaphysical abilities of Allah to influence the merely physical and the things that actually happen.

      As time goes on, this will result in more and more refined exploration of the will of Allah and emphasis on the lack of understanding of people.

      And Allah will get more and more subtle.

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  11. Horizon Air needs to cancel hundreds of flights in their core (and only) business because of an airline pilot shortage but fails to do anything that would make it more attractive to be a pilot:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2017/06/30/horizon_air_is_canceling_hundreds_of_flights_because_of_the_pilot_shortage.html

    We’ve been hearing complaints about a pilot shortage for a few years now. The problem seems particularly acute at regional airlines, which often pay exceedingly low wages for jobs that require training and education that can cost up to $100,000. To weather its current problems, Horizon will pay some pilots overtime to fly extra hours. That’s a Band-Aid, not a permanent fix.
    There is no pilot shortage in America. There is a shortage of airlines—big, well-heeled, profitable companies—who are willing to do what it takes to recruit, train, and retain the necessary labor. If you have positions to fill, there’s a relatively simple solution. Offer higher wages to people who already have jobs so they will walk across the street. Offer existing employees better long-term incentives, profit-sharing, stock, pensions, and other benefits so they’ll be less likely to leave. To recruit new employees, offer to train them yourselves, or to pay back the loans they incur while getting the training that will enable you to run your business, or offer to split the flight school tuition in exchange for a commitment to work for the airline for several years.

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    • Not a well-written article. First it says there is a pilot shortage but then argues that there isn’t without answering demonstrating it either way.

      Are there enough people trained to do the job? If there are and they’re not doing the job because they are being paid more to do something else then there is no shortage. If not, there is a shortage because any employee they pick off or hold on to is a problem for other airlines and the main question is whose fault the shortage is (the airline’s, the consumer’s, the economy’s, a guild’s, or the government’s)

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      • Agreed, the author alleges that the problem is pay, but offers no evidence that Horizon is skimping in that department, and instead points to a general claim that regionals pay crap (maybe Horizon does, but Horizon is it’s own branded line and the worst offenders of crap pilot pay tend to be the non-name lines that do contract flight for the bigger names).

        Probably, the problem is finding enough pilots that are rated on the turboprop. A lot of regionals are deploying turboprops for short haul flights because they are a much lower (operating) cost option compared to a turbofan.

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  12. [L5] Was about the sale of products made with stolen trade secrets, not the listing of copyright violating websites. The RIAA started a publicity campaign about it to make people believe that it applied to copyright violating music websites but that is deeply misleading. The opperative law in Canada for claims internet based copyright violations is and remains “notice and notice.” Don’t trust anything the RIAA says about the law, they habitually skirt the fringes between being misleading and being outright dishonest.

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  13. W1:
    That basically is not shooting anymore, beyond 1500 yards it’s more like small arms artillery. I figure these shooters must be carrying around an assortment of canted scope mounts.

    Spin drift is probably over 20 feet.

    The article mentions curvature of the earth. There really isn’t much of a problem with the curvature of the earth at that distance and if your target is within your line of sight that kind of solves itself. I think they meant the movement of the earth as in the coriolis effect.

    Optics must be insane, even with the best, the target is going to look like a speck of sand.

    It would make it more plausible if they were using the new guided 50.

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  14. W4 – YES! Seriously, the Air Force has neither the infrastructure, nor the training, nor the logistics experience (from crewing and supplies to the knowledge of how to spec out a ship that can spend years on a voyage) to be the predominate space agency.

    And that is before we even talk about how terribly dysfunctional the USAF is culturally.

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