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1  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Big Bad Swedish Politics & News Thread on: May 01, 2016, 05:20:13 pm
And the Greens are in government!
2  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Kasich says that people are 'probably' born gay on: May 01, 2016, 12:18:40 pm
Let's imagine someone asking a question like this at a political event in, let's say, 1860.  He would either be arrested or kicked out, or worse.  Not saying those days were better!  But still, just imagine.

Yes. And remember that the population had a higher baseline education than what we have today. Not saying those days were better! (But not saying that those days were worse, either!)

That exam is an interesting artifact, but I'm not sure it proves your point. I suspect most students either failed the exam or didn't take it at all-- the proportion who passed would, I imagine, be close to that would pass a broadly similar exam today. Do you think a bunch of farmers in Kansas could have defined "Monrovia, Odessa, or Orinoco", or list "nine rules for the use of Capital Letters"?

It reflects the teaching of the time-- focused on rules, facts, and rote memorization. Now, while I probably have a higher opinion of rote memorization than most others who have "thoughts" on the education system, the exam tests little in the way of critical thinking or analytical capacity and focuses  on the recitation of arcana. Now, I have since childhood been notorious for my ability to do exactly that (and am correspondingly ill-versed in things, like sports or contemporary culture, that would be of greater use in casual conversation), so the recitation of arcana has considerable personal appeal, but ultimately says nothing about the capacity of the students taking it.

Some of the questions just wouldn't fly today-- the "epochs of American history" are a matter for historiographical debate rather than memorization by middle schoolers, while "define and illustrate each case" is ambiguous-- does it refer to letter case or grammatical case (e.g. accusative, nominative, genitive, dative, etc.); the latter does not really exist in English and reflects the classics-heavy orientation of contemporary education.

An even more striking artifact of education priorities in Victorian America are university entrance examinations, this Harvard exam from 1899 asks essentially identical questions about grammar and composition as the Kansas exam, except for Latin and Greek instead of English (the Greek section is an interloper from the 1869 exam), and the history and geography is ancient history and classical geography rather than modern. The math questions are not dissimilar from what would be expected today, with the exception of the arithmetic section, which is comprised in its entirety of convoluted calculations, that demonstrate nothing but patience, that would today be done by calculator. Columbia's entrance exam in 1898, on the other hand, on top of everything included on the Harvard exam, required knowledge of Greek, Latin, French, and German, as well as the following texts:

"Milton's Paradise Lost; Pope's Iliad; the Sir Roger de Coverley Papers in The Spectator; Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield, Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, [...] Shakespeare's Macbeth, Burke's Speech on Conciliation with America, De Quincey's The Flight of a Tartar Tribe, [and] Tennyson's The Princess.

While the readings seem doable for someone who has taken an AP-level literature course, the languages would probably require having been tutored in them since the nursery. But keep in mind that while 7 out of 8 takers passed the Harvard exam in 1898, there were only 210 takers, and they posted classifieds in the Times seeking applicants. But I digress.

Were people more educated in the 19th century? Almost certainly not.
3  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Both Cruz and Kasich have actual *records* that are of the extreme Right on: May 01, 2016, 10:56:35 am
Kasich has signed every one of a series of anti-choice measures that has ever reached his desk.

Yeah, being pro-life doesn't make one an extremist, nor does acting like. Not even just because "it's the current year". I also remember these people called pro-life Democrats. I even think they're still a few left!

Across the state he has made an enemy of public sector unions

A Republican who didn't make an enemy of public sector unions would be a poor Republican indeed. This is just as much the case today as it was in 1916 or 1956.

enthusiastic support for oil and gas production via fracking – even though that has not brought as much prosperity to the state as some think.

It's interesting, how fracking in Ohio is either seen as accounting entirely for the state's economic performance under Kasich or, as we see here, as a net negative with little beneficial effects. Either way, Kasich gets to be the bad guy!

“He is a climate change denier..."

No, he's not, unlike his rivals, who actually are:

Quote from: Mother Jones
“I know that human beings affect the climate,” Kasich said at a Vermont town hall event Saturday, in response to a question from a scientist in the audience. “I know it’s an apostasy in the Republican Party to say that. I guess that’s what I’ve always been — being able to challenge some of the status quo.”

He added, however, that he didn’t know “how much individuals affect the climate, but here’s what I do know: I know we need to develop all of the renewables, and we need to do it in an orderly way.” Kasich singled out wind and solar, and said the United States also needed to improve battery technology. “We need to be promoting the renewable energies, we need to have more efficiency, and we need to live respecting the resources in our environment.”

Patently false, then, unless your definition of "climate change denial" entails supporting the reduction of emissions in a gradual and sustained manner rather than peddling a fantastical vision of reducing emissions by four-fifths in just three decades and shutting down the fossil fuel industry without correspondingly large drops in the standard of living, destroying the economies of large swathes of the country, massive increases in energy prices, making the US more dependent on noxious regimes in the Middle East... Yes! How dare Kasich not support innumerate proposals to meet our energy needs with solar and wind power alone? How dare he not oppose very dangerous nuclear power and large-scale hydropower like any left-wing progressive reasonable moderate?

We have a terrible infant mortality rate for African American babies – I could go on.

African American infant mortality-- that's just the sort of thing an NPR-listening, The Nation-reading identity politics-interested progressive would care about and a heartless corporatist extremist like Kasich would completely ignore, right? Wrong:

Quote from: John Kasich, MSNBC Town Hall 3/30/16
I will tell you this. The issue of infant mortality is a tough one. We have taken that on and one of the toughest areas to take on is in the minority community. And the community itself is going to have to have a better partnership with all of us to begin to solve that problem with infant mortality in the minority community, because we’re making gains in the majority community. We don’t ignore any of this, Chuck. These are serious issues and they need to be addressed and I don’t put my head in the sand and if I got to get people upset doing it, that’s life.

Now, you'll have to wade through the left-wing smear that Kasich "blames black people for high infant mortality rates" and read what Kasich actually said. Keep in mind that he brought infant mortality up unprompted-- I know this for a fact, because I was there. If you read closely at the criticism, you'll find what this is really about: it's not infant mortality, it's about Planned Parenthood, which has a program targeting at-risk women during their pregnancies. “It is offensive to hear John Kasich tell black women what we should do with our bodies," says the assistant director of constituency communications for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the irony of linking infant mortality to abortion apparently lost on her.

But once again the facts are on Kasich's side-- $1.3 million of state funding to Planned Parenthood was cut (and redirected to other community organizations), but $15 million is going to such organizations to combat infant mortality in at-risk (read: poor read: black) areas through a program in Kasich's budget last year. Planned Parenthood's program worked with 2,800 women, while Kasich's works with 300,000. The year before that, Kasich launched a $4.2 million campaign to help drug-addicted pregnant mothers break their habit and help care for their children.

So obviously the callous poor-hating racist Kasich simply doesn't care about infant mortality. Once again, people are foolish enough to think otherwise just because $15 million>$1.3 million and 300,000>2,800, when they should know that the only important thing is that he redirected funds away from Planned Parenthood. And empowering alternatives to Planned Parenthood is pure evil, women's health be damned-- just ask any left-wing progressive reasonable moderate what they think about crisis pregnancy centers.

“The people in Ohio who know him are stunned that he has been allowed to get away with calling himself a moderate,” said Sandy Theis, executive director of the liberal thinktank Progress Ohio. [...] "Maybe the middle has moved so far to the right that there is no genuine moderate in the Republican race anymore."

See, I think this exposes the contradictions of such criticism of Kasich rather well. You, along with the "director of a liberal think tank", HuffPo, Rolling Stone, Samantha Bee, etc, etc don't want a moderate. You want a liberal progressive. If Kasich were to conform to all your conditions for "non-extremism", he would be a left-wing progressive. It is perfectly fine to want a left-wing progressive. But it is disingenuous to wring your hands about how a candidate isn't a "reasonable moderate" when you have no actual desire for one.
4  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Kasich says that people are 'probably' born gay on: April 30, 2016, 09:04:17 pm
Mainstream science has proven that genetics is the likely reason for homosexuality.

A "gay gene" has as of yet proved elusive. An increasing number of commentators are asking "what does it matter?" as to whether it's genetic or environmental. One might protest about misleading advertising, so to speak, but at this point it doesn't really matter. There probably isn't going to be a rollback of gay rights in a scenario where it's been determined that homosexuality isn't an innate characteristic. But in this case, science has not "proven" anything as of now.
5  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Primary Election Polls / Re: IN - ARG: Trump +9, Clinton +8 on: April 30, 2016, 08:47:23 pm
If Trump loses badly then he can very well lose Indiana as well. I don't know why so many people seem to believe Indiana is so inelastic; it's not as if the 2008 result was the product of a mass psychotic break. It'll swing to the Dems under the right conditions, which I think have a fair chance of being met in a Trump-Hillary matchup. Sure, a large portion of the state may appear culturally similar to the South, but so does much of Pennsylvania-- another state that people here refuse to believe could ever possibly flip (despite a clear Republican trend).
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Former California Gov. Pete Wilson Endorses Ted Cruz on: April 30, 2016, 08:29:35 pm

I thought Wilson was relatively moderate, if not by the standards of the 1990s then at least by the standards of today's Republican Party. Or is this just another sign that we're now truly in a bizzaro world where Cruz has become the Establishment standard-bearer?

Anyway, Kasich has Schwarzenegger's endorsement, which I imagine must be more relevant.
7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Kasich says that people are 'probably' born gay on: April 30, 2016, 11:20:54 am
Well, people are born gay, so I see nothing wrong with this. Who on earth believes that being gay is a choice? I frankly don't want to meet people who believe that

Uh, a lot of people. But you know that.
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: The Delegate Fight: 2016 on: April 30, 2016, 10:04:30 am
According to MSNBC, 35 unbound delegates from PA will vote for Trump:

That said, they still need to reach ten more, so it may still go up.

So his threshold for a 1st ballot win has fallen to around 1200 pledged delegates after PA, assuming most of the 10 who have yet to respond oppose Trump.  Wow.  I really didn't think his campaign was capable of this when it was just a list of random names on the ballot.  Looks like he decided to pull out of CO and WY in order to quietly organize PA.

Manafortization continues apace!
9  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Primary Election Polls / Re: IN - ARG: Trump +9, Clinton +8 on: April 29, 2016, 01:08:32 pm
I'm not sure I understand why this is concerning for Trump. Is it because Kasich is high enough that a great deal of his support might flow to CRUZ?

10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Boehner: Cruz "Lucifer in the flesh" on: April 28, 2016, 08:07:41 am
John Boehner is not a big fan of Ted Cruz.

So much so, in fact, that the former Republican House Speaker told an audience at Stanford University Wednesday that the Texas senator is "Lucifer in the flesh" and a "miserable son of a bitch."

Asked about the 2016 presidential candidate at a forum hosted by Stanford in Government (SIG) and the Stanford Speakers Bureau, Boehner drew laughter for making a face of disgust, according to the Stanford Daily.

"Lucifer in the flesh," Boehner said, according to the paper. "I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life."

Boehner was reportedly urged by the event's moderator, Professor David M. Kennedy, to be frank because the event was not being broadcasted.

11  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Will Trump win at least one of these states? on: April 28, 2016, 07:55:10 am
He'll most likely win New Mexico (especially now that Cruz has thrown it away).

I'd call OR and WA tossups.

Between whom? Trump and Kasich?
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: NYC Republicans looking at 31-year old councilman to unseat De Blasio in '17 on: April 28, 2016, 07:01:18 am
^ 20th district. Peter Koo. The problem is - he is, essentially, moderate liberal (centrist on economy, more liberal (AFAIK) on social issues). Just as Bloomberg, and successful Republicans of the past (Lindasy, Kupferman and so on) were. But present day Republican party seems to hate such persons even more then Democrats. Especially - in their "own" party...

Which is where the hypothetical Liberal Party would come into play.

Do you know other council members that might fit into this mold? Garodnick is one. It seems many council members like to call themselves "independent Democrats".

I still remember walking along Park Avenue and describe herself to someone on the phone as "fiscally conservative and socially liberal". That tells you what demographic such thought is most popular amongst. But I worry appealing to working class ethnic whites will necessitate comprising what would otherwise be strident anti-union rhetoric.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: NYC Republicans looking at 31-year old councilman to unseat De Blasio in '17 on: April 28, 2016, 04:32:20 am
I've been wondering if the NY Liberal Party could be revived as the de facto branch of the GOP in the city. Neither Guliani nor Bloomie were all that interested in building a party that came anywhere near a majority on the city council.

Now, more than ever, in the post GW-Bush, post-Trump period there is a significant stigma surrounding the Republican label. So why not work around it, and take advantage of electoral fusion by usurping the Liberal moniker? At the same time it would enable the leaders of any such initiative to circumvent the fractious politics of the NYC GOP and select an optimal slate with limited gain.

Let's paint a picture. A charismatic, wealthy Bloomberg type wins election as mayor as an "Independent Republican" and starts to build a coalition. In Manhattan there are the two seats on the UES and one in the financal district. There is a Chinese-majority district-- the 26th, I think, where the councilman was elected as a Republican but I now a Democrat. You have white plurality districts across the city plus some middle class Hispanic areas. The needed remainder can made up through sadly necessary patronage politics.

Come next election, the mayor is reelected on a Liberal-Republican ticket, and 6 Republicans and 20-25 Liberals are elected on the Liberal-Republican line for a majority of 31-20. Some Democrats were convinced to cross the floor, particularly those facing challenges by the Working Families Party.

The next year in State House and State Senate elections the Liberals pick up 25 and 6 seats respectively, in the latter having absorbed the Independent Democrats. The Liberal-Republicans thus become a pivotal bloc whose support is necessary to govern, meaning Cuomo is forced to give the city the short end of the stick less often. The mayor forces himself into the room with three men.

The Liberal-Republican majority on the Council meanwhile votes to yet again repeal term limits, this time far less contentiously. The mayor, who, perhaps, has replaced income, business, and property taxes with a land value tax, and has forced sweeping regulatory approval streamlining in order to quickly and rapidly implement a series of vast infrastructural improvements, including a subway expansion on the scale of that proposed by mayor Hyman in 1923. The abolition of rent control and a direct housing subsidy program results in a mass influx of new upper middle class residents and the demolition of public housing projects. A new... [insert my personal wish list here]. The mayor as a result remains extremely popular. At this point thinking about parachuting someone into the Governor's office (Cuomo can't stay forever) and nominating some Congressional candidates is not out of the question.

I think this is plausible. But the steps needed to make it happen are not being taken. Until then I'm holding out for a Bloomberg reprise-- the term limit only applies to consecutive terms.
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Cruz's "Carly for VP" Hail Mary will be..... on: April 27, 2016, 03:09:56 pm
I don't get it.
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Has Trump essentially won the Republican nomination? on: April 27, 2016, 11:34:46 am
He's the prohibitive favorite, yes, but he'd be a fool if he actually thinks he can act like one, rather than just say it. The math could still work against him, even if he wins in Indiana. Cruz isn't going to give up until Trump clears 1237, and probably not even then. This is a case where I'd seriously say that it's not over until its over.
16  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Who would you vote for Spanish PM? on: April 27, 2016, 08:14:43 am
Wow, a right winger is winning in an Atlas poll! And not even a wishy-washy one!
17  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is it to possible to be nationalist toward a group that one is not born into? on: April 27, 2016, 07:36:39 am
What on God's green Earth is a "scene"?

You shouldn't have asked that question.
18  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is it to possible to be nationalist toward a group that one is not born into? on: April 27, 2016, 07:35:22 am
Rule, Britannia! Britannia rule the waves! Britons never ever ever shall be slaves!
19  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Overall, is Southeast Asia more culturally similar to China or India? on: April 26, 2016, 10:34:06 pm
China for Vietnam and Singapore; India for Indonesia, Burma, Cambodia, and Thailand; I don't know enough about Laos or Malaysia to be sure; I'm not sure I'd count the Philippines as Southeast Asia for these purposes.

Laos definitely falls in the Indic sphere. They speak a Tai language and have largely the same Khmer-Thai influenced culture as their neighbors. Malaysia also has the same influences as Indonesia, although to a lesser extent, I feel (for instance, while the Javanese script is like its neighbors derived from Sanskrit, the "old" Malay script is simply Arabic) . The Philippines, however, do their own thing. There the cultural substrate is Spanish if anything. Above all, though, Theravada Buddhism predominates or historically predominated in all but Vietnam and the Philippines.
20  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Today (April 25) is the midpoint between Iowa and the Convention on: April 26, 2016, 09:15:34 pm
And tomorrow night we will likely have some certainty of who wins the conventions. I would now guess that both Clinton and Trump have reduced their chances of losing the nominations of their Parties to actuarial risk -- basically, beware of stray lightning bolts.

Nah. trump can win every bound delegate up for grabs tomorrow and still be under 50% of the total. His chances for victory in Indiana are diminishing rapidly, and after that the media will be back to saying his campaign is collapsing instead of Cruz's -- the May states are all pretty favorable for us except WV.

This is pure nonsense. Every Indiana poll shows Trump ahead by a larger margin than previously thought and he is on course to pull of a clean sweep tomorrow which will only boost his chances further. Whence does such a conclusion come?

Y'all aren't looking at the Republican primary as Trump vs. #NeverTrump, and #NeverTrump has more delegates than Trump right now.  With Kasich out of Indiana, there is only one #NeverTrump option, so Cruz is now all but certain to win the state.  If Trump has even 1236 pledged delegates, you bet that the party will do anything and everything to stop him.  I even think that Priebus should say that Trump is not a Republican and will not have the privilege of representing the party, even if he gets the necessary number of delegates.  Essentially kick him out of the party!

Simple delusion. People do not vote in this manner. Kasich will not be going to zero. Trump appears likely to win Indiana according to all the polls and I can't see why they'd all be wrong now.
21  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Republican Acela Corridor Tuesday results thread (all polls close at 8pm ET) on: April 26, 2016, 09:09:28 pm
"There's another Rome out there someplace"
22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump rejects Manafort's advice to be more presidential on: April 26, 2016, 08:28:25 am
Trump is about to sweep five states, so let's see if that improves Manafort's position.
23  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Canada General Discussion: Trudeau II on: April 26, 2016, 08:09:54 am
That is unfortunate. The corridor is far less built up with sprawl than the Northeast Corridor, which should mean it'd be possible to build a sufficienly straight right of way for relatively little cost. Canada even already has a manufacturer of high speed trains!
24  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Regional Governments / Re: PA2: Pacific Infrastructure Privatization Act on: April 26, 2016, 12:17:24 am
I am skeptical of commissions enough as is, I am even more skeptical of the merits of selling off the family silver to plug a budget hole. Such short term-oriented policies usually have unintended and undesired consequences down the road. Improving organizational efficiency and modernizing operations will likely be a more sustainable alternative with higher long-term returns. However I suppose there's no harm in seeing what can and can't be sold off, as long as the commissioners aren't just sitting there and collecting a salary.
25  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Regional Governments / Re: PA1: Pacific Universal Background Check Act of 2015 on: April 26, 2016, 12:13:58 am
I support this in full. The economic argument is a wholly unconvincing smokescreen.
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