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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Do you consider yourself "tolerant"? on: Today at 12:23:44 pm
No. We finally found the answer to all of life's important questions and we have nothing to learn from those who persist in thinking or acting differently than we do. They must conform to our enlightened ways or be smashed under the wheels of truth, progress, and perfect teeth.
2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: AZ-Sen: Salmon, Schweikert considering on: Today at 11:11:16 am
Quote from: campaign email
My Friend,

I will soon make my decision on running for re-election and one thing is for certain - I will not be able to run a successful campaign unless I have your support.

Over the last couple of election cycles, we've seen incumbents take their re-elections for granted -- and lose.

I promise you I am not one of them.

If I decide to stand for re-election to the United States Senate, I will give it everything I've got -- and your continued support means a great deal to me.

Just hours remain until the end of the quarter and I need to know you stand with me.

We are still $25,687 short of our fundraising goals. Will you please reaffirm your support by making a generous contribution of $25, $50, or even $100 to help me lay the early groundwork for a successful defense in the quickly approaching primary season?

My Friend, I am not making this decision lightly and I need to know if you will stand with me.

Please confirm your support by making a financial contribution of $25 or more right now.

I hope to hear from you today. Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely,

 
John McCain
3  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Do famous people change common people's minds? on: Today at 05:49:19 am
They don't change minds; their opinions just fill the nearest mental vacuum.
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pence signed it: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: Today at 05:41:57 am
Quote
I guess because I defend the rights of people to live out their faith in ways I wouldn't?
What does this even mean? Your language is so empty and vague and broad that it means absolutely nothing, and can be interpreted in an infinte number of ways.
Religion can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways?  Imagine that!

Quote
Religion is not an excuse for antisocial behavior
If by antisocial behavior you mean limiting one's social interaction in certain ways, yes, it very much is for a great many religions.   You are free not to like it, but do not pretend you are not thereby restricting religious freedom in a time-honored fashion.  Wide scale persecution, at least in the modern Protestant West, has rarely been merely on account of belief in the abstract divorced from social manifestations.
5  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Which state do you think has the biggest rural-urban divide? on: Today at 03:46:00 am
NV and MO
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary Clinton vs. Gov. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) on: Today at 02:19:08 am

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton/New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich-317 EV
Indiana Governor Mike Pence/South Dakota Senator John Thune-221 EV
If Pence runs for president, and wins the nomination, the question over the Religious Freedom bill he signed into law will be on the headlines for a while, but this would be the map if that was the issue for the Pence/Clinton election. If Pence can discuss economic issues or have a good message, he can beat Clinton.

Hillary Clinton will have a hard time pounding him on that issue since her husband signed the federal version of that law in 1993.

That's not how politics works.

Oh, right. I must have forgot Romney's success capitalizing on dissatisfaction with Obamacare in 2012.

I'm sorry, but people are not going to hold Hillary accountable for a law her husband signed back when like 80% of the country despised gays.

The bill wasn't about gays, so that's a non sequitor.  If she runs on attacking Pence for this, she will have to deal with the ramifications on running on repealing a law her husband signed that guarantees rights to religious minorities.
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pence signed it: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: Today at 12:01:50 am
It seems to me that government power can be used to protect things like freedom of speech or right to assemble, even when restrictions on freedom of speech or assembly may not directly cause physical or economic harm.  Even if one individual's freedom or speech or assembly rights are impinged, I don't think the individual's case so trivial that they can't bring a case against that impingement.  Why then would defending people's rights to be treated equitably in business transactions need to pass some kind of critical mass test before such defense can be undertaken?  And I still fail to see how expecting the owner of a cake store to sell already available products to customers willing to pay the seller's price for them as the imposition of a "substantial burden" on them.  But now Indiana and some 19 other states protect the cake store owner. 

Yes, I find a rather sharp difference between a guy selling something over the counter to someone who goes in their store (really none of his business as to why someone is purchasing the product), to a guy having to spend the day filming a gay wedding ceremony, when gay marriages is against his religious views.

This is pretty much my position as well, though maybe I'd go a little bit further.  If the cake is baked, and it is up for sale then there can hardly be a substantial religious burden in merely selling it to the customer, whoever that customer is. If someone asked for something to be created specifically for an event which the creator of that product disagrees with, then I believe there is a strong claim as being a burden on the conscience. As a person involved in creative arts, this principle is important to me.

And substantial burden is the standard set up by the RFRA laws. It doesn't matter that some people may want to use it as an excuse to carte blanche discriminate against a person. There's nothing in this law to suggest it could be read that way.  The possibility that someone without an understanding of the law might use it as an excuse to do something they aren't allowed to is not generally a sufficient reason not to have that law allowing certain freedoms.  Discrimination against gays in employment or public accommodations is not prohibited in Indiana, but that's simply because there haven't been any laws prohibiting it. The law just passed is in no sense the reason for it.

btw, that H.L. Mencken quote is great. That Mencken himself was one of the scoundrels he mentions shouldn't diminish it's value ad hominem.
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Elections since 1896 when Democrat was more conservative then Republican on: March 29, 2015, 11:37:19 pm
1904, as both candidates we're conservatives in 1924.

The same is true of 1904.

Teddy Roosevelt was a liberal

Teddy Roosevelt was SO clearly the most conservative option in the 1912 election that it's not even funny.  Calling yourself a "progressive" does not mean the same thing in 1912 that it does in 2015...

Robert Taft was more conservative.

In 1912 most liberal to least

1. Woodrow Wilson
2. Teddy Roosevelt
3. Robert Taft

President Taft broke up more monopolies than Roosevelt who took a middle of the road "some trusts are good for business and government , some are bad" approach. Roosevelt even criticized Taft for the amount of trusts he went after. Taft also worked to pass the 16th amendment.

William Howard Taft believed in a thorough enforcement of the antitrust act, without favoritism to one trust or another.  In principle, Taft was more conservative than Roosevelt because he did not seek an active transformative role in the Presidency like TR, nor did he communicate a broad vision of the expansion of government's role in the economy and society anything like TR did in his 1912 campaign. All of the candidates in 1912 could be called progressives of one variety or another, but Taft's was more measured, and he had for his time a relatively conservative view of the Constitution and the political order.
9  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Greens are social liberal? Social liberals are green? on: March 29, 2015, 10:05:48 pm
Diapers are destroying the planet and therefore "greenies" don't have babies and so they tend to be less conservative like other childless people.
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary Clinton vs. Gov. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) on: March 29, 2015, 09:51:05 pm

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton/New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich-317 EV
Indiana Governor Mike Pence/South Dakota Senator John Thune-221 EV
If Pence runs for president, and wins the nomination, the question over the Religious Freedom bill he signed into law will be on the headlines for a while, but this would be the map if that was the issue for the Pence/Clinton election. If Pence can discuss economic issues or have a good message, he can beat Clinton.

Hillary Clinton will have a hard time pounding him on that issue since her husband signed the federal version of that law in 1993.

That's not how politics works.

Oh, right. I must have forgot Romney's success capitalizing on dissatisfaction with Obamacare in 2012.
11  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Burial Tree Pods on: March 29, 2015, 08:15:27 pm
that is legitimately awesome.
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Elections since 1896 when Democrat was more conservative then Republican on: March 29, 2015, 07:53:08 pm
1904, as both candidates we're conservatives in 1924.

The same is true of 1904.

Teddy Roosevelt was a liberal

Teddy Roosevelt was SO clearly the most conservative option in the 1912 election that it's not even funny.  Calling yourself a "progressive" does not mean the same thing in 1912 that it does in 2015...

So clearly?  Wait, really?
13  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Atlas Political Compass: Question 1 on: March 29, 2015, 04:58:40 pm
I agree with the text on the face of it, but if this is the sort of thing you go around saying I probably disagree with you.
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Homeland Sec Approp Chair Rep.John Carter Worried Computers Could Use Encryption on: March 29, 2015, 04:43:01 pm
In response to FBI Director Comey's warnings about cell phone encryption:
Quote
ďTech execs say privacy should be the paramount virtue,Ē Comey continued, ďWhen I hear that I close my eyes and say try to image what the world looks like where pedophiles canít be seen, kidnapper canít be seen, drug dealers canít be seen.Ē
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150325/17430330432/fbi-quietly-removes-recommendation-to-encrypt-your-phone-as-fbi-director-warns-how-encryption-will-lead-to-tears.shtml

Rep. John Carter, Chair of Homeland Security Appropriations, considered the possibility of this "monster" being created:
Quote
Every time I hear something, or something just pops in my head -- because I don't know anything about this stuff. If they can do that to a cell phone why can't they do that to every computer in the country, and nobody can get into it?

...If they, at their own will at Microsoft can put something in a computer -- or at Apple -- can put something in that computer [points on a smartphone], which it is, to where nobody but that owner can open it, then why can't they put it in the big giant super computers, that nobody but that owner can open it. And everything gets locked away secretly.

...This is a problem that's gotta be solved.
www.boingboing.net/2015/03/27/top-homeland-security-congress.html
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is the above posters username? on: March 29, 2015, 03:39:24 pm
Scott Brown
16  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: US and Iran Closing in On a Nuclear Deal on: March 29, 2015, 03:25:08 pm
just 2-3 pages? Is that a good sign or a bad sign?  Probably just shows they're finishing it at the last minute so might as well hand in something even if it doesn't meet all the requirements set by the professor.

At least it's something, which is more than I expected to come right now.
17  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Did Obama receive >25% of white vote in any Mississippi or Alabama counties? on: March 29, 2015, 02:32:04 pm
The exit polls generally count Hispanic as a separate category from White. This would lead to a difference of a few points versus the census figures in AL and MS, and a larger difference in GA, wouldn't it?

In all of my calculations, I broke down the projections by race, including Latino, Asian, Nat-Am, "Other" and so forth. Georgia in particular was quite easy, since turnout data by race in all of these categories is kept on file with the SoS. In MS & AL, I had to project but I used two tables of Census data (the one that includes non-Hispanic white as "White" and the one that shows Hispanic/Non-Hispanic by origin) that helped me split apart each group along the same lines.

In AL, Latino + other are 7.1% in the 2013 Census estimates. They were only 3% of voters?
18  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pence signed it: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: March 28, 2015, 09:48:51 pm
Some of the proposed versions of RFRA laws are not good, like the one you cited introduced in  SD, which is why like in SD they tend not to get very far even in conservative states. There's nothing like that prohibition on bringing a suit in the IN law. The RFRA laws are generally about allowing possible line of defense in cases of a suit, not barring the suit to begin with, and don't deal specifically with sexual orientation.   

I don't know where you get the idea I am trying to act above it all, whatever that means. I guess because I defend the rights of people to live out their faith in ways I wouldn't? I do that because my own beliefs are important to me, I want to be able to live them out, and I wouldn't want the government to come in and tell me I couldn't so long as I wasn't actively aggressing on someone.  Ultimately being confident I can live according t the convictions of my conscience is a more important issue to me than the possibility offended or excluded by someone.  So if you are going to limit religious freedom, you'd better have a rock solid reason for doing so as far as I'm concerned.
19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pence signed it: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: March 28, 2015, 08:54:57 pm
I support conscience rights for those who act on religious grounds. I support conscience rights for those who act on nonreligious grounds. The fact that the latter do not have a stronger legal tradition behind them is no reason to me that I should not support conscience rights where I can. If you do not support the either anyway, then why is it so particularly vexing to you that these cases might be handled differently?

It is very strange that you say religious freedom laws give greater protection to religious belief than to a person. Who do you think these laws are for the benefit of if not for people?

What weaponizes one group over another is when disagreements over belief are taken to the realm of force, when the state says "you offended this person with your belief, now pay us a huge sum and/or go out of business."  You think that is a recipe for peace and cooperation between different groups of people?

Itís pretty clear you have no idea what youíre talking about, but then again from your posting history itís pretty clear you have no idea what youíre talking about when it comes to anything outside of your narrow, ideological point of view.

You donít seem to understand the difference between religious thought, religious speech, and religious action (or thought, speech, and action in general)

The protections pertaining to your right to belief is absolute. You believe that homosexuality and abortion are immoral and go against your religion-based beliefs? Thatís fine. No problem.

Your rights to speech are almost universally protected, only restricted in the time/manner/place sense and any legally-sanctioned restriction for government interest, among other things. You wanna give a speech about how abortion and homosexuality is wrong? Fine. People may disagree with you, using their freedom of speech, but the government cannot restrict you unless there is a time/manner/place issue, or if you do something like incite violence.

Your rights to action, however, are not universally protected.

Therein lies the problem with this bill.
 
The government is not going to fine someone or shut down their business because someone else complained about their beliefs. Thatís a completely fabricated strawman you cooked up that conflates restrictions on action with a restriction on beliefs.

It is about beliefs, not just the action (or more accurately the lack of action).  If someone couldn't photoshoot a gay wedding because they already had that date booked, no one would think of bringing a case against them. 

Hobby Lobby was not without precedent and does not create a blanket allowance for anything, much less discrimination.  Have you read the actual decision?  And why do you assume the impetus for these laws are primarily about gay marriage rather than things like contraception and abortion?   Do you believe all the RFRA laws should be repealed because of your hypothetical concerns?

Please don't call me "straight." I don't give you permission to define my sexual identity for me.  Nor should you assume that all LGBT people agree with you on this. 
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pence signed it: Add Indiana to the list of states with "religious freedom" laws on: March 28, 2015, 08:29:32 pm
By the way, Religious Freedom Restoration Acts are the law in 19 states now, with some of these laws being 2 decades old, in addition to the Federal version of the statute. Can anyone point to a single case where any of these laws have been successfully used to uphold people throwing gay people, or anyone, out of an establishment? 

This isn't really an valid argument that deserves any consideration. You're basically saying that any law is fine as long as it's not put in practice.

No, these laws have been put in practice as they are the basis for numerous court cases against state and federal government, some of them successful.  I'm saying that those who claim that what these laws are really about is allowing discrimination against homosexuals need to put forward some actual legal evidence. 

I guess its just one big coincidence that these laws are coming about during a time when the ssm bans are getting overturned one after the other.....

You think it is a coincidence I take it that these laws are coming about right after the Hobby Lobby case which was decided on this law?   

An interesting radio interview here with a business owner:

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/03/28/listen-indiana-restaurant-owner-pledges-to-refuse-service-to-gays/

He's proud of the law and lying to gay people so they leave his restaurant but not proud enough to openly say which restaurant it is. That should be part of these laws; they need to advertise who they won't serve, if not serving certain people is that important to them.

This is ridiculous. The point of the law is to prevent people from being forced from being involved in things they consider immoral, not a blanket pass for discrimination. Gay people eating wouldn't count, I think.

Exactly. But of course that bigot believes the media hype over this law like everyone else.
21  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Regional Governments / Re: Mideast Assembly Thread on: March 28, 2015, 08:16:13 pm
I will support New Canadaland for Speaker.
22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary Clinton vs. Gov. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) on: March 28, 2015, 08:04:51 pm
Hillary Clinton is a gay icon though, so no one really cares what her husband, who isn't even running for office, did back in 1993 that he has since stated that he regrets doing.

When did Clinton say he regretted signing RFRA, a bill whose only dissenting votes in the Senate were Jesse Helms, Robert Byrd and Harlan Matthews?
23  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary Clinton vs. Gov. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) on: March 28, 2015, 07:51:32 pm

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton/New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich-317 EV
Indiana Governor Mike Pence/South Dakota Senator John Thune-221 EV
If Pence runs for president, and wins the nomination, the question over the Religious Freedom bill he signed into law will be on the headlines for a while, but this would be the map if that was the issue for the Pence/Clinton election. If Pence can discuss economic issues or have a good message, he can beat Clinton.

Hillary Clinton will have a hard time pounding him on that issue since her husband signed the federal version of that law in 1993.
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Did Obama receive >25% of white vote in any Mississippi or Alabama counties? on: March 28, 2015, 07:46:53 pm
The exit polls generally count Hispanic as a separate category from White. This would lead to a difference of a few points versus the census figures in AL and MS, and a larger difference in GA, wouldn't it?
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Are Arabs White? on: March 28, 2015, 07:23:37 pm
I'd guess it depends a lot on how long ago they or their ancestors arrived in whichever country in which this a relevant question.
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