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1  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Are the times of landslide victories over? on: September 29, 2014, 10:40:44 pm
I'm pretty sure every state except WA has elected a Republican in a statewide election since 1996, though some not with a majority of the vote. 

(edit: not in an presidential election year though.  but you can definitely add Mike Castle to that map at least since DE is a single district state.)
2  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: The Politics of Urbanism and Transit on: September 29, 2014, 10:24:47 pm
Polling actually shows that Republicans are less supportive of spending both when it comes to public transit and highways, though the difference is greater on transit.

I think I'm close to where DC Al Fine is on this, though perhaps a little more skeptical. New Urbanism is great where you can make it work, and for a new development it should be given priority over sprawl, but there's a tendency toward new flashy thing gets the attention instead of the more boring project that will actually make a difference to people. The transition can be hard; I see too many piecemeal awkward bike lanes that please neither biker nor motorist, which leads to conflict. And there is the risk of pricing people out of town with restrictions on growth.  One question I would always want to keep in mind in these discussions is - to what extent is it possible to achieve anything like New Urbanism on top of an existing urban geography without an aggressive displacement of the people and establishments that already exist there.
3  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: My Aunt Shared this Photo on Facebook on: September 29, 2014, 04:30:38 pm
Does your aunt usually come?  Does she have someone else she has thanksgiving with if not?
We can't pick our families.  It's a pain, but otherwise some people wouldn't have anyone.
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Majority of Americans think there should be a third party on: September 29, 2014, 04:15:40 pm
OK, I'll accept Kansas because Orman is promising the same kind of bland centrism that is popular with these things (Kansas is in a funny place right now though, and hardly representative of the rest of America).

As for the rest - all those states you mentioned becoming toss-ups prove my point. They aren't becoming toss-ups because half of fervent GOP's woke up one day and thought "huh, maybe I should vote for Obama". It's because of demographic changes. American politics is less and less about convincing people you are right, and more about catering to those who know you're right.

Yeah, but we can still change that narrative. Tongue Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both near perfect examples of that, and John McCain and Mitt Romney aren't way too lousy they either, although they come a far shot away from the two really big guns. If there's something Barack and Hillary have had on their minds for the past decade or so it's certainly to make the US less partisan and more harmonic. Thanks to jerkasses like Rupert Murdoch and all his afilliates, their strategy hasn't yet worked of course. And even bigger obstacle than Rupert Shothead Murdoch is the insanely conservative Supreme Court of course. My point is basically this: Please blame the increasing partisanship of where it belongs: the constitution, the absolutely mind-blowingly insane composition of the Supreme Court (even countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria would never even consider appointing such dumb, right-wing jokes of candidates), gerrymandering, way too many billionaire/big business money in politics, religion in America (the US is in fact almost as darn and dangerously religious as the vast majority of muslim countries in this world), the ridiculous constitutional right to bear arms, the almost equally (almost-constitutional right) to assassine a fellow citizen deemed guilty by someone (most of the time you don't even need the evidence of DNA, just share finger-pointing). I mean, if you try to tell me the US is not a crazy society then you're definitely off on a very wrong mission.

Who's crazy?  You commie reindeer-herders would have the world's longest life expectancy were it not for jumping off into the frozen fjords like lemmings during the long dark winter.
5  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Should texting while driving be banned? on: September 29, 2014, 03:36:29 pm
Most people can hardly walk safely while texting, so they certainly shouldn't be driving while texting.
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Colorado students walk out of class to protest right-wing revision of history on: September 29, 2014, 03:13:10 pm
I question whether its worth it to do a lot of history with middle schoolers. The age of the kids and nature of the teaching doesn't lend itself accurate teaching. High school seems like a much better time to get into history and civics.

Most of my middle school history was pretty shrill and simplistic. It was either "OMG teh Anglos were EVUL to the Natives/French!!!!" or "The Fathers of Confederation were SUPER SPECIAL AWESOME". High school provided an opportunity for a much more nuanced view.

I'd much rather cut out history in middle school and then do a solid in depth history course in high school than the mess memphis just described.



History should be different for middle schoolers, not just left out.  If you want to get away from the simplistic moralism, teach it in a different way.  Connect it to archaeology and the history of science and technology. I think it is a great time to do ancient history.

It makes sense. The further back in time one goes the less bias creeps into teaching. 

I'm not sure about that but it tends to be less politically charged anyway.  Of course you could run into problems if you point out that humans have been around for more than a few thousand years. But then, I think even most evangelicals don't pay that close attention to Ussher's chronology so in most parts of the country you should be safe if you don't venture back before the mid-to-late Upper Paleolithic.
7  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1924 Presidential Election on: September 29, 2014, 02:53:03 pm
Davis and Coolidge both did a good job of straddling the fence when it came to Prohibition. Either would have welcomed its repeal, but either would also enforce it as the law of the land.
8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: California Adopts 'Yes Means Yes' Sexual Assault Rule on: September 29, 2014, 02:06:45 pm
Does this mean California law has one standard of rape for colleges and another for everywhere else?
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Good Post Gallery II on: September 28, 2014, 05:56:08 pm
I support increasing the minimum wage - particularly in the absence of other policies to help the working poor - but DC al Fine has it right of it: It's not a particularly effective means of reducing poverty.

That's not because it wouldn't affect poor people. Contrary to popular belief, plenty of people earning the minimum wage live in households that are below or barely above the poverty line. Certainly enough to matter.

But there are clear trade-offs. You can debate the magnitude of job losses that will result from raising the minimum wage, but it's difficult to credibly argue that they'd be negligible. And once you accept that there will be some job losses, and that many of those who would lose their jobs are poor, the math that's necessary to show a net benefit in terms of poverty reduction gets tricky. If an increase in the minimum wage  raises income for 10 million workers who are poor, but puts another half a million people out of work altogether, is it worth it?

Reich's other arguments are not particularly compelling. (Not that I'd expect them to be, given that he's addressing a really complicated policy question in less time than it takes to make a sandwich.)

1. The original federal minimum wage was equivalent to fifteen 2014 dollars per hour. Fine, but what makes that figure magical? Why not $20 per hour? Maybe there's some important underlying reason why the minimum wage was set at that level, but Reich doesn't mention that.

2. Productivity has increased. Yes, the average worker is more productive today. (And, yes, the average worker's compensation has not increased in decades despite this.) But it does not follow that the typical minimum wage worker's productivity has also increased. Minimum wage workers are, by definition, not average. (Of course, this entire discussion ignores the crucial fact that productivity does not determine compensation.)

3. We subsidize low-wage employers because their employees would be sick, homeless, and illiterate if not for transfer payments and other government programs. Fair enough - there are clearly public costs associated with minimum wage employment. (I've argued the same point in the past.) But there are also public benefits. People who work are happier, healthier, less likely to commit crimes, less isolated, and more likely to hold a better job in the future. You can argue that this is a net loss for society, but that's a lot more difficult to demonstrate.

4. Increasing the minimum wage will affect profits, not prices. Maybe. But this is an incomplete argument unless you're caught up in the delusion that "profits" are just what rich people spend on yachts, vacation houses, and expensive rugs.
10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms on: September 28, 2014, 05:31:10 pm
Does anybody think nukes are going to keep Putin from invading another country?  It hasn't stopped USSR/Russia in the past.

Can you name any NATO countries that were invaded by the Soviet Union and/or the Warsaw Pact throughout the entirety of the Cold War?

No, it wouldn't generally have made sense to attack a member of a powerful common security agreement that is outside your sphere of influence when other nations are available to exert your power over instead. Admittedly, if that alliance has nukes it is even dumber. But what that means now that NATO has been/is being expanded to Putin's doorstep is that there is an even greater incentive to solidify one's power over a nation to prevent it from joining, which is what we have seen in Ukraine.
11  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Alfred's Hastily Constructed Cardboard Polling Box: Mideast "Hate Bill" on: September 28, 2014, 04:54:48 pm
Regions are free to recognize marriages, though if they do so they must recognize same-sex marriages within that.
12  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms on: September 28, 2014, 04:52:00 pm
Does anybody think nukes are going to keep Putin from invading another country?  It hasn't stopped USSR/Russia in the past.
13  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1924 Presidential Election on: September 28, 2014, 04:45:09 pm
Coolidge but Davis is fine too.
14  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Look and Layout Preferences #1: Time Format on: September 28, 2014, 09:43:06 am
Forum Default (the first option).

Down here I'm used to using the last two choices. It makes much more sense, actually. What would make even more sense would be to use YYYYMMDDHHMMSS with a 24 hour clock (army time.. haha).

Extra question: does anyone in the States say the date June 15 without using the ordinal version of 15? They do it here and it drives me crazy. They will even say the number and then the month without using the ordinal. "The movie will be in theatres fifteen June." Oh, and "The concerts will start on June fifteen." This is very important to me. So is the usage of "maths" and "sport."

"June fifteen" is sometimes said here.  "Fifteen June" is very uncommon in my experience, but then so is "fifteenth June,"- instead it is "the fifteenth of June."
15  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: U.S. Ramping Up Major Renewal in Nuclear Arms on: September 28, 2014, 01:28:15 am
Ugh,  The twentieth century strikes again.  That's one expensive game of chicken. 
16  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Scott Brown sums up the bottom line of the American Right on: September 27, 2014, 09:21:01 pm
Your telling me all those billions of untaxed dollars wouldn't do any good if not directed by politicians?   

No, I'm telling you it does less good going into Paris Hilton's vaults than when it is directed to people who earn less so spend more of their income.

Quote
No, I really don't believe money magically gains a stimulative effect just because it flows through D.C. that it could never have otherwise.

Economics is hard, isn't it?

No, just finding any sense in naif-Keynesianism.   But it's good to know that Paris Hilton is holding all the nation's wealth under her mattress, so let's just create endless make-work jobs because multipliers.


You know what I hear is really hard?  Polling.
17  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of automatic voter registration on: September 27, 2014, 09:13:08 pm
Voter registration is a bad idea to begin with. If you can make it to the polls and are above the age of majority, you should be allowed to vote. Just sign your name on a piece of paper afterward so they have a record of you voting. Done.

It worked fairly well for a century and a half in this country, so I'm not sure why it wouldn't work in the 21st Century. Voter registration was originally implemented by the 'progressives' to make it harder for immigrant whites (which they considered subhuman), blacks, and people who didn't speak English (a lot of people around the turn of the 20th Century, mind) to vote. Don't think it wasn't an intentional policy carried out to disenfranchise working class people shortly after many states enacted universal male suffrage, because it was. The franchise in America has always been one of the forefronts of the struggle between those who have everything and those who make everything.

The Progressive movement was not "shortly after" the 15th amendment. 
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Chelsea Clinton Preggers! on: September 27, 2014, 10:11:03 am

I do as well. The word "preggers" however should be banned.
19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Colorado students walk out of class to protest right-wing revision of history on: September 27, 2014, 10:05:59 am
I question whether its worth it to do a lot of history with middle schoolers. The age of the kids and nature of the teaching doesn't lend itself accurate teaching. High school seems like a much better time to get into history and civics.

Most of my middle school history was pretty shrill and simplistic. It was either "OMG teh Anglos were EVUL to the Natives/French!!!!" or "The Fathers of Confederation were SUPER SPECIAL AWESOME". High school provided an opportunity for a much more nuanced view.

I'd much rather cut out history in middle school and then do a solid in depth history course in high school than the mess memphis just described.



History should be different for middle schoolers, not just left out.  If you want to get away from the simplistic moralism, teach it in a different way.  Connect it to archaeology and the history of science and technology. I think it is a great time to do ancient history.
20  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is your current ignore list? on: September 27, 2014, 09:26:26 am
given that I don't really contribute anything of worth to this forum.

Is this some passive aggressive false modesty or are you just delusional?
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Scott Brown sums up the bottom line of the American Right on: September 27, 2014, 09:15:01 am
Scott Brown is right. The federal government has never created a single job in its entire existence and is completely powerless to do so...

(pics of people with government jobs)

And if you're a "private sector" worker for General Dynamics, Raytheon or some other military contractor, or for the federal arm of a services/consulting company like Booz Allen Hamilton or Deloitte, your job basically would not exist were it not for federal dollars creating demand for it.

and instead there would be other jobs in other industries if those funds stayed in the private sector rather than through the IRS and the military industrial complex.   

That is presuming there is a fixed pool of dollars in the economy which can be allocated between private and public.

In fact, not all spending and investment is created equal. Government money spent on productive work by low- and middle-class workers goes directly into the economy and is spent on private sector goods and services, whose providers spend the money again. This is the multiplier effect and it's why stimulus in a time of low demand can provide a genuine boost to the economy.

If you want to talk about the military-industrial complex, I'll counter with wasted private spending and investment that stops dollars right in their tracks--how about building McMansions in Fresno on spec, or handing millions to executives who can't possibly spend or invest it all productively.

Your telling me all those billions of untaxed dollars wouldn't do any good if not directed by politicians?   No, I really don't believe money magically gains a stimulative effect just because it flows through D.C. that it could never have otherwise.
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Scott Brown sums up the bottom line of the American Right on: September 26, 2014, 11:48:07 pm
Scott Brown is right. The federal government has never created a single job in its entire existence and is completely powerless to do so...

(pics of people with government jobs)

And if you're a "private sector" worker for General Dynamics, Raytheon or some other military contractor, or for the federal arm of a services/consulting company like Booz Allen Hamilton or Deloitte, your job basically would not exist were it not for federal dollars creating demand for it.

and instead there would be other jobs in other industries if those funds stayed in the private sector rather than through the IRS and the military industrial complex.   

Some government jobs are involved in the projects that allow for industry to function, but it's not enough to point to someone getting paid by the government to conclude that a net job has been created.
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone II - Less Boring, More Whoring on: September 26, 2014, 10:55:14 pm
I think I may have accidentally domesticated a raccoon.  He (?) has been coming in through the cat door and stealing my cat's food sometimes.  The past few times I have chased him out he still hangs around right outside the house for a few minutes and tries to come back in instead of running away when he sees me. 

So what are you naming it?

for some reason the name "Fritz" sounds right.
24  General Politics / Individual Politics / Alf Landon (R) v. Howie Hawkins (G) on: September 26, 2014, 10:48:42 pm
Two politicians with strong showings lately on Atlas, each challenging a prominent incumbent politician from New York.  Whom do you prefer?
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of automatic voter registration on: September 26, 2014, 10:38:00 pm
I dunno, seems like there would be a lot of error in terms of people being automatically registered somewhere they haven't lived in a while, or just being missed altogether.  More important would be same-day registration.
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