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A list of 25 Principles of Adult Behavior by John Perry Barlow

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Silicon Valley visionary John Perry Barlow died last night at the age of 70. When he was 30, the EFF founder (and sometime Grateful Dead lyricist) drew up a list of what he called Principles of Adult Behavior. They are:

1. Be patient. No matter what.
2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
4. Expand your sense of the possible.
5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
6. Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
7. Tolerate ambiguity.
8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
11. Give up blood sports.
12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
18. Admit your errors freely and soon.
19. Become less suspicious of joy.
20. Understand humility.
21. Remember that love forgives everything.
22. Foster dignity.
23. Live memorably.
24. Love yourself.
25. Endure.

Here’s what these principles meant to Barlow:

I don’t expect the perfect attainment of these principles. However, I post them as a standard for my conduct as an adult. Should any of my friends or colleagues catch me violating one of them, bust me.

You can read remembrances of Barlow from the EFF and from his friends Cory Doctorow and Steven Levy. The EFF’s Executive Director Cindy Cohn wrote:

Barlow was sometimes held up as a straw man for a kind of naive techno-utopianism that believed that the Internet could solve all of humanity’s problems without causing any more. As someone who spent the past 27 years working with him at EFF, I can say that nothing could be further from the truth. Barlow knew that new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good. He made a conscious decision to focus on the latter: “I knew it’s also true that a good way to invent the future is to predict it. So I predicted Utopia, hoping to give Liberty a running start before the laws of Moore and Metcalfe delivered up what Ed Snowden now correctly calls ‘turn-key totalitarianism.’”

Barlow’s lasting legacy is that he devoted his life to making the Internet into “a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth … a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.”

Tags: Cindy Cohn   Cory Doctorow   John Perry Barlow   lists   Steven Levy
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dougsmith
10 days ago
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popular
11 days ago
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StunGod
12 days ago
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That's a worthwhile list. I think I'll appropriate it.
Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth
TimidWerewolf
12 days ago
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Words to live by
dnorman
12 days ago
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fantastic guidelines. focus. give a shit. love.
Calgary
digdoug
12 days ago
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Mr Barlow would definitely give me a "D" as an adult. But I'm trying.
Louisville, KY

“Get Out of Jail Free” Cards

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In the movies I’ve seen people who try to get out of a traffic ticket by telling the police officer they made a donation to the policeman’s ball, but those were comedies. I had no idea that not only does this exist there are official cards. In fact, the police in New York are livid that the number of cards is being limited:

The city’s police-officers union is cracking down on the number of “get out of jail free” courtesy cards distributed to cops to give to family and friends.

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association boss Pat Lynch slashed the maximum number of cards that could be issued to current cops from 30 to 20, and to retirees from 20 to 10, sources told The Post.

The cards are often used to wiggle out of minor trouble such as speeding tickets, the theory being that presenting one suggests you know someone in the NYPD.

The rank and file is livid.

“They are treating active members like s–t, and retired members even worse than s–t,” griped an NYPD cop who retired on disability. “All the cops I spoke to were . . . very disappointed they couldn’t hand them out as Christmas gifts.”

A Christmas gift of institutionalized corruption.

Here’s another article on these cards which just gets all the more stunning.

First, there are tiers of cards. Silver cards are the highest honor given to citizens. It’s almost universally honored by officers, and can also help save money on insurance. Gold PBA cards are only given to police officers and their families. You’d be hard-pressed finding a cop who won’t honor a gold card.

Gold and silver cards! It gets better. You can buy these cards on eBay. Here’s a gold New Jersey card on sale for $114. A silver “family member” shield goes for $299. Some of these are probably fake. The gold and silver are rare but remember, cops get 20 to 30 regular cards so you can see why they might be upset at losing them.

The regular cards have become more common as NYC hires more police. The union may in fact be trying to bump up its monopoly profit by restricting supply.

The cards don’t just go to family members. The rot is deep:

Union officials say the cards are also public relations tools and tokens of appreciation handed out to politicians, judges, lawyers, businessmen, civil service workers and members of the news media.

A retired police officer on Quora explains how the privilege is enforced:

The officer who is presented with one of these cards will normally tell the violator to be more careful, give the card back, and send them on their way.

…The other option is potentially more perilous. The enforcement officer can issue the ticket or make the arrest in spite of the courtesy card. This is called “writing over the card.” There is a chance that the officer who issued the card will understand why the enforcement officer did what he did, and nothing will come of it. However, it is equally possible that the enforcement officer’s zeal will not be appreciated, and the enforcement officer will come to work one day to find his locker has been moved to the parking lot and filled with dog excrement.

He’s not kidding. Here is what seems like a real police officer on a cop chat room (from Mimesis law)

It’s important for me to get in touch with shield [omitted] and ask him why he felt it necessary to say “I’m not even going to look at that” to my PBA card and proceed [sic] to write a speeding ticket on the Bronx River Parkway yesterday afternoon to my fukking WIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll show him the courtesy he so sorely lacks by not posting his name on a public forum.

Any help would be appreciated.  Please inbox me.

I will find you.

I find these cards especially odious as more and more police are funding themselves through fines and forfeitures. Discriminatory taxation increases the tax rate. It’s one rule for the ruler and another for the ruled.

The cards are not a secret but I agree with my colleague Mark Koyama who remarked:

Sometimes you find out something about the country you live in that makes it appear little better than a corrupt, tinpot, banana republic.

The post “Get Out of Jail Free” Cards appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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dougsmith
28 days ago
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satadru
25 days ago
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The hard bigotry of high associations.
New York, NY
skorgu
29 days ago
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What surprises me is that this surprises people. PBA cards have been well known in my circles since the 80s.
karmakaze
28 days ago
Someone in my circles has had one of the gold ones since the 80's (though he no longer lives in state).
satadru
25 days ago
I think this is mostly an East Coast thing in the US, no? These weren't on our radar in the midwest, but I came out here and heard doctors bragging about how they would put their PBA cards on their dashes when they got pulled over by the cops. I was flabbergasted.
StunGod
29 days ago
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Of course this is a thing. We don't have equal justice, we have discretionary justice for sale.
Portland, Oregon, USA, Earth
JimB
29 days ago
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You have to hope that this is fake news. Corruption is bad news.
wmorrell
29 days ago
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Police are just another gang, part 8179.
duerig
29 days ago
Too often, people in power are held to a lower standard than others. But in a just society, they must be held to a higher standard instead. Whether it is cops and traffic tickets or bosses and workplace romance. The price of power should be increased scrutiny and decreased freedom of action.

Why Small Town America Is in Decline

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One year ago, Demo Memo posted a list of 10 demographic questions that could be answered by data released in 2017. Some of the 10 questions were answered, such as "Are Americans getting richer? The answer is yes, according to the most recent Survey of Consumer Finances. But the question, "What will save small town and rural America?" was not answered. Instead, 2017 only added to the accumulating evidence of small town ruin, from greater health problems to the disappearance of the American Dream. Not only are we at a loss to solve small town problems, but we don't even know what's causing them.

Until now: In a year-end opinion piece, The Gambler's Ruin of Small Cities, economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman provides a compelling explanation for small town woes. He compares the plight of small towns to gamblers betting with pennies. The gambler who starts out with the smallest number of pennies is the one most likely to end up bankrupt. This is what's known as the "gambler's ruin." Small towns today have few pennies (economic opportunities) to play with and so eventually face gambler's ruin. "It makes sense to think of urban destinies as a random process of wins and losses in which small cities face a relatively high likelihood of experiencing gambler's ruin," explains Krugman.

Unfortunately, neither Krugman nor anyone else has a way to save small towns from gambler's ruin. It's all in the numbers. As Krugman explains: "For generations we have lived in an economy in which smaller cities have nothing going for them except historical luck, which eventually runs out."

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Seven Years

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[hair in face] "SEVVVENNN YEEEARRRSSS"
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popular
67 days ago
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dougsmith
69 days ago
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chrisrosa
67 days ago
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😢
San Francisco, CA
rjstegbauer
68 days ago
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Touching and beautiful! One of your best.
alt_text_bot
68 days ago
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[hair in face] "SEVVVENNN YEEEARRRSSS"
ameel
69 days ago
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<3
Melbourne, Australia
MaryEllenCG
69 days ago
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::sniffle::
Greater Bostonia
kyleniemeyer
69 days ago
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😭
Corvallis, OR
marcrichter
69 days ago
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Awesome. I'm speechless.
tbd
deezil
69 days ago
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OKAY I'M CRYING AT MY DESK NOW.
Louisville, Kentucky
sfrazer
69 days ago
God damnit, Randal.
deezil
69 days ago
For those that don't know the whole story: Approximately 7 years ago (imagine that) Randall posted this on the blog https://blog.xkcd.com/2010/11/05/submarines/ and made some vague references to tough times in the comics. On in to 2011, he posted this on the blog, and things seemed to be scary but hopeful. https://blog.xkcd.com/2011/06/30/family-illness/ . He's made mention several times about it over the years inside the comics, and I really believe that "Time" was made for some express purpose as to get his emotions out. But this update seriously is making a grown 32 year old man weep openly at his desk (thankfully I have a door that closes), as I always wondered how things were. Things look good, and this makes my heart happy.

Film Role Importance by Gender

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Very interesting comparison: Source: 1843

The post Film Role Importance by Gender appeared first on The Big Picture.

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94 days ago
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Senate Votes To Make Sure You Can’t Sue Your Bank Or Credit Card Companies

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Lawmakers who regularly claim to love the Constitution and espouse their trust of the American consumer have done both a disservice, passing a resolution that makes sure that bank and credit card customers can be blocked from exercising their constitutional rights to a day in court.

In an unsurprising, but still highly disappointing move, the U.S. Senate voted late Tuesday evening 50-50 — with Vice-President Mike Pence breaking the tie — to approve a resolution that, when signed by President Trump, will repeal a recently finalized consumer protection rule intended to ensure that consumers are able to bring class-action lawsuits against financial services companies.

No Democrats voted to repeal the rule. Sens. John Kennedy (LA) and Lindsey Graham (SC) were the only two Republicans to cross party lines and vote against repeal.

“Today’s vote means that big financial companies can lock the courthouse doors and prevent consumers who’ve been mistreated from joining together to seek the relief they deserve under the law,” said George Slover, senior policy counsel for our colleagues at Consumers Union. “Forced arbitration unfairly tips the scales in favor of banks, credit card companies and other financial firms at the expense of consumers who’ve been harmed by widespread corporate wrongdoing.”

What is “forced arbitration,” you may ask? Let us explain (or you can skim ahead if you’ve been through this tutorial before).

If you have a bank account, credit card, or any other consumer financial product, there’s a good chance that you have signed away your right to sue at least one — and possibly all — of these companies, even if their bad behavior amount to criminal actions or human rights violations.

These forced arbitration clauses in customer contracts do two things. First, they block the customer from having any legal dispute heard in a court of law. Instead, it must be sorted out in private arbitration. Second, they bar the customer from joining their complaint with any other customer, even if the wronged customers all have exactly the same complaint. This doesn’t just bar traditional class-action lawsuits; it prevents customers from entering into arbitration as a group.

Why do companies do this? Because they know that customers won’t go the arbitration route once they realize that the cost and hassle of going through an individual arbitration process is simply not worth it.

“Who’s going to pay $200 [to file an arbitration dispute] just to challenge a $30 fee?” asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) on Tuesday evening shortly before the Senate voted on the resolution.

Federal appeals court Judge Richard Posner put this sentiment best in his 2004 opinion in Carnegie v. Household Int’l, when he noted that “only a lunatic or a fanatic sues for $30.”

But if one person who was harmed for only $30 can sue as a class representative on behalf of all wronged customers, then the lawsuit makes more sense. Only one plaintiff needs to stand in for all customers in a legal effort to hold the company accountable.

Supporters of forced arbitration like to point out that class-action settlements are typically small, on a per-defendant basis. But that’s because the damages are typically small on an individual basis. Should a bank be allowed to cheat customers out of $100 million just because it only comes out to $10 per customer?

Additionally, these supporters argue that arbitration cases result in larger payouts. Again, that’s because customers who choose to go through the expense and annoyance of entering the arbitration process are more likely to have suffered a more sizable harm.

The arbitration rule, as finalized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in July 2017, would not have barred financial services companies from using arbitration. Instead, it sought to limit these companies’ use of arbitration to shut down class actions.

Sen. Mike Crapo (ID), whose campaign has received $2.23 million from financial services contributors in the current term, admitted during the debate on Tuesday that the CFPB rule still allows customers to enter into arbitration if they choose, as it may in some cases be the more expeditious way to resolve a dispute.

Yet Crapo repeatedly railed against the CFPB rule, claiming it “forces dispute resolution into class actions.” But that’s simply not true. The rule did not, in any way, require that customers enter file class-action lawsuits. It only tried to make sure that class-actions remained an option.

In a letter sent this week by Consumers Union to the Senate, CU’s Slover pointed out that the rule “in no way restricts the freedom of a lender and a consumer to agree to use arbitration as an alternative means for resolving a dispute – as long as they make that agreement after the dispute arises, when the consumer knows what is at stake and can decide whether the alternative being offered is fair and workable.”

Crapo, one of the few lawmakers to argue on Tuesday in favor of repealing the rule, also repeatedly made the false claim that the CFPB rule would wreak havoc on community banks and credit unions. But while trade groups representing small banks and credit unions have supported repeal of the bill, these small financial institutions would likely not be affected by the rule. Why? Because the overwhelming majority of them do not use forced arbitration.

In fact, according to the 2013 CFPB report on arbitration, only 8% of all banks offering checking accounts used forced arbitration clauses. However, those few banks are so large in size that they represented nearly 45% of checking account deposits.

Tuesday’s resolution uses the Congressional Review Act, a law that allows Congress to repeal new federal rules it disagrees with. Under the CRA, simple majorities in each chamber of Congress and the President must each sign off on a resolution of disapproval within a complicated 60-day window.

The House passed its resolution on a near party-line vote in July, only days after the rule was published in the Federal Register. The CRA repeal window was set to expire next week, and Senate Republican leadership had — as recently as only a few days ago — seemed resigned to not having the 50 votes it needed (with Vice President Pence breaking a tie). However, perhaps emboldened by a last-minute, unsolicited critique of the CFPB rule by the Treasury Department, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decided to move forward with a vote today.

The resolution now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign it.

Congressional Review Act resolutions can not be challenged in a court of law. Additionally, the law prevents the CFPB from issuing any new rule that is in any way similar to the one that is repealed.

“This vote marks a truly shameful moment in Congress. Just weeks after holding hearings on scandals of historic proportion, the Senate granted Equifax and Wells Fargo a Get Out of Jail Free card,” says Amanda Warner of Public Citizen (you may recognize Warner from her recent portrayal of Rich Uncle Pennybags). “Rather than pass meaningful legislation to help the the 145 million Americans harmed by the data breach, a slim Republican majority chose to take away our only chance at holding financial giants accountable. Surely, those 145 million voters will remember this betrayal.”





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dougsmith
118 days ago
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teh_g
118 days ago
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Nothing like taking away consumer protections!
Roseville, CA
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