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Mon Jun 03, 2013 at 01:10 PM PDT

The Supreme Court, DNA, and Rape

by tunesmith

The Supreme Court was in the news today for deciding that it was constitutional to collect DNA via cheek swab from people under arrest.

In 2009, Maryland collected cheek swab DNA from Alonzo King and saw that his DNA matched an unsolved rape case from six years previous.  He was later convicted for the rape crime, based off of that evidence.

Using some basic statistical techniques, we can show how DNA is often extremely misunderstood, and how this decision could cause many more justice problems in the future, even aside from the 4th-amendement concerns.

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Mon Aug 16, 2010 at 07:23 PM PDT

The Social Security Scam

by tunesmith

This is a reworking and a reprint of an article I wrote in 2006, during our last round of battles regarding Social Security.  It seems like a good time for some review.  Here is exactly how the other side tries to scam us regarding Social Security.

01 - FICA

We pay into Social Security with a portion of our paychecks.  You can see it on any paystub - a sum of money that is labeled "Social Security".  All this money is intended to go towards Social Security.

Our employer matches our contribution and pays in an equal amount.

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Apparently the reconciliation bill was just released... here it is: PDF - and the public option is in it.  (retracted - see below...)

What am I missing here?

Sorry for the world's shortest diary, but I thought this was completely ruled out.  If they're truly including the public option in the reconciliation bill, this is huge.

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I'm seeing a weird meme that Dean has called for the bill to go down in defeat.  It isn't true.

Here's how the meme started.  The Hill posted an article that is selectively quoting Howard Dean from an appearance on the Bill Press radio show.

Poll

Does Howard Dean support or oppose the HCR bill?

78%37 votes
21%10 votes

| 47 votes | Vote | Results

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Thu Feb 18, 2010 at 01:23 PM PST

Asymmetrical Temper Tantrums

by tunesmith

The latest example of asymmetrical temper tantrum is today's pilot who flew into an IRS building in Texas.

I've been thinking about threats to national security, and who and what can be a threat. Obviously, other nations can be a threat, and some organizations like Al Queda can be, too. But when talking about the individual, the measure of how much of a threat an individual can be comes down to one question: What is the maximum amount of damage one person can do?

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Tue Jan 26, 2010 at 07:57 PM PST

House Leverage

by tunesmith

So, it looks like the House is saying they are ready to go if the Senate will do reconciliation.  But meanwhile the Senate doesn't look so interested in touching the bill again.  Doesn't it seem like the House has no leverage here?  Is it possible for the House to gather up some other leverage instead?

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Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 02:24 AM PST

State of The Tunesmith Brain

by tunesmith

Well it's late at night and I shouldn't be writing since I have a medical appointment and a trip to the recording studio tomorrow morning, but...

I'm frankly a bit distraught tonight, about what I feel has happened over the past few months here, and I gotta do a brain dump.  There won't be much self-editing here.

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This is just a quick one to take the temperature, because I don't really have a sense of how the community feels about this issue.

Poll

What now?

37%44 votes
17%21 votes
44%52 votes

| 117 votes | Vote | Results

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Wed Jan 13, 2010 at 11:46 AM PST

Why The Mandate Is Necessary

by tunesmith

It's worth reviewing some of the basics about the health insurance bill.

There are basically two entirely different ways that the health care system currently hurts the sick and the poor. The first is that health care costs are skyrocketing, and responsible health care is getting more and more expensive. But the second is that when serious medical problems do occur, people can go bankrupt and lose their life savings. This is a structurally different problem, in that it is possible to make premiums more affordable without doing anything to protect people from medical bankruptcy.

There are several health insurance practices that make medical bankruptcy possible, such as pre-existing conditions, rescission, and annual/lifetime maximums. In order to protect people from medical bankruptcy, these practices need to be ended.

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Thu Jan 07, 2010 at 01:19 PM PST

Health Care - A Promise And Challenge

by tunesmith

Hi, I've written a few diaries on health care so far, some in an attempt to be helpful, and some in a perhaps ill-advised attempt to make a snarky point.  I have looked at the data and the arguments to my own level of satisfaction, and have come to my own viewpoints of the merits and flaws of the bill, and my own conclusion of its overall worth.  Many of you have as well.

I would like to join in an agreement with those who agree with me, and those who don't.

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Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 07:02 PM PST

Saying No now, for More later.

by tunesmith

I think we have a big choice here.  I mean, it's a key choice, and it's predictably dividing us.

On the one hand, we can say yes now to something that is imperfect, and less progressive than we like and deserve.  It'd be a huge punch in the gut.

The risk is that people might feel it is good enough, and there wouldn't be demand for a better choice in the future.  It could depress morale.

On the other hand, we can say no.  NO.

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I'm going to attempt to describe a list of issues that we may be able to improve in conference.  While there is a lot of press about how the House may "fold" given the Senate filibuster threats, I believe most of this press is centered around the hot-button issues, while there are a large amount of issues remaining that can possibly lead to a stronger bill.

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