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April 01, 2015, 05:34:21 pm
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1  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Top 3 favorite Sports teams on: Today at 05:33:49 pm
the 2009 team had the best defense in the league and one of the few best running games in the league.  we'll have to see how this defense shakes out.  I don't think re-signing Harris was the right move, but the Jets have real talent both on the DL and the secondary, hopefully they can play off one another.  and there's a chance that at no. 6 the Jets can add a nice piece, such as an ace edge-rusher, an OL, Amari Cooper, or trade down and fill multiple, non-skill position needs.
2  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: 2015 MLB prediction/discussion thread on: Today at 05:30:51 pm
the Isles will also be in the playoffs come a few weeks.  even though that's hard to remember since they've sucked for the last four weeks.  I REALLY hope they don't draw the Rangers in a 1-8.  drawing the Penguins as a 2-3 with home ice would be their best shot to win a series, IMO.

and you're right.  Citi Field has had very few special moments -- such is why it doesn't quite feel like "home" after 6 seasons.  given the 2nd wild card, the Mets should remain in contention through mid-September even without a best-case scenario.  I'd put the Mets at about an 82 or 83 win true-talent level: very similar to the 2014 Giants and Royals.  from there, anything can happen.
3  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Who is the strongest GOP candidate against Hillary? on: Today at 05:26:35 pm

Paul would get destroyed by a year or 18 months in the limelight.  Hillary's negatives provide a floor, but she'd beat him by a solid 53-45 type margin.
4  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Will Christie lead or tied in a national poll first of the end of the primary? on: Today at 05:25:48 pm
I don't expect him to run.  he'll endorse Bush and hope that he loses the GE.  puts Christie in great position to rehabilitate his image, endear himself to Jeb's donors, and take a shot in 2020.
5  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Democratic Leadership Council on: Today at 05:22:09 pm
"once Clinton turned the Democrats into the Republicans, it forced the Republicans to go insane to remain an opposition party"
6  General Politics / Economics / Re: The 10 Greatest Economists of all time in no order on: Today at 05:16:01 pm
Just look up who has the most citations on JSTOR, I guess.

Google produces a number of such lists to look at.  Stiglitz is the only name that shows up that I recognize.
7  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Top 3 favorite Sports teams on: Today at 05:13:29 pm
and Jets stock struggling.

I actually think the Jets could be ok/good in 2015... Fitz at QB, Marshall/Decker/Kerley and Amaro to throw to.  the best Jets passing offense in a long time.  and the defense should be above average at worst.

I think the 2015 AFC East could look a lot like the 2002 AFC East... bunch of teams around 7-9, 8-8, 9-7...
8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The War on Drugs-will it ever end? on: Today at 05:01:36 pm
Heroin abuse has become a big issue in the Chicago suburbs. The pricing issue noted by Tweed is a key factor. People with injuries are prescribed opiate pain killers and develop a dependency. Buying the same pills on the black market is expensive so those with serious addiction turn to illegal opiates such as heroin. It's cheaper in part because it isn't controlled for purity and dose.

the issue with heroin vs painkillers is not only adulteration, but rather that the process required to manufacture oxycodone/hydrocodone is proprietary and capital-intensive.  heroin is not cheaper simply because it's adulterated, but because oxycodone is not the sort of thing that a rogue chemist can make by himself without some serious financial banking.

compare to diazepines.  analog diazepines are easy for rogue chemists to make and are widely available.

of course, legal heroin could be 'adulterated' too, but with harmless chemicals/saline/preservatives.  the label would ready "comprised of 40% heroin, x% saline, 0.01% ____ sodium (preservative)...
9  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: UK General Election 2015 on: Today at 04:55:39 pm
Oh, and I'll be voting Labour.

do you live in a (likely-to-be) competitive district/riding?
10  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Top 3 favorite Sports teams on: Today at 04:11:46 pm
Mets / Jets / Islanders, in that order.  LA Clippers 4th
11  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite Decade of the 20th/21st Century on: Today at 04:11:08 pm
"the popular movements of the 1960s civilized American society" - Noam Chomsky
12  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: 2015 MLB prediction/discussion thread on: Today at 04:04:56 pm
Red Sox got Pablo Sandoval, and he helped the Giants to 2 world series.  I want him to succeed so badly with Sox

he's overrated, as Xahar will gladly tell you when he drops in, and also is unlikely to remain a servicable 3B through the duration of that deal.  the Yankees did themselves much better with Chase Headley for 4y/$56M.

though I do like the Red Sox this year... I've never been a Porcello fan, but he'll help, as will Wade Miley and the return of Masterson.  you hope for the best with the other guys, until Henry Owens appears in June.

all that should be enough to support a lineup that can collectively post an OPS+ of 110 or 115.  I'm not in love with Boston, but I like them better than the other AL East teams (though I'd place all of them between say 78 and 89 wins at true talent level - anything could happen).
13  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Al Gore 2000=Richard Nixon 1960? on: March 31, 2015, 04:28:20 pm
If you ask me, it's amazing Nixon came as close to winning as he did. Virtually nothing went right for him in that campaign.

The Red Scare and Anti-Catholicism probably helped him quite a lot.

yeah.  remember, this was prior to Vatican II.  there was some semi-legitimate fear that JFK would be forced into a political-religious bind by the Pope's dictates.
14  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: your 'check engine light' comes on.... on: March 31, 2015, 04:20:33 pm
I have a mechanic that's been running his own 'business' out of his garage/backyard for decades.  my family's been using his since the late 1970s.  "meeting R***** was one of the best thing to come out of my marriage", so says my mother, who met R***** through my father, to whom she was married from 1983 through 1997.

so I'd call him.
15  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: All else being equal... on: March 31, 2015, 04:18:28 pm
the fact that the answer is often the latter is one of the barriers to organization in the USA.  shared economic interest =/= interpersonal commonality.
16  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: UK General Election 2015 on: March 31, 2015, 04:16:12 pm
Labour in a swing district/riding, left-wing third party otherwise.  same as I do here in the USA.
17  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Favorite pre-Gorbachev leader of the USSR? on: March 31, 2015, 04:14:56 pm
Lenin is truly one of the Great Men of history.. what he made happen was hardly an inevitability.  he had the sack to put all his chips on the table, and he won.
18  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Christians: Is the Bible complete and perfect? on: March 31, 2015, 03:52:50 pm
Tweed, what you said regarding idolatry is where I ended up. I called it book worship. I think your general outline is good, although I feel like it's necessary to state that a lot of the Law / temple provisions / general struggle of Israel serves to provide an essential (and often allegorical) outline for Christ and salvation in the New Testament.

But what you both said does make sense. I can't help but wonder how mainstream your viewpoints are, though, within the Christian community.

I, for instance, in my youth intensely studied New Testament books for Bible quizzing, if you've ever heard of it, and again it was emphasized that every single individual word was important and essential. It is refreshing to hear that this isn't the case for everyone, although it does present a bit of a paradox.

I wasn't raised in any religious tradition -- unless Jewish preschool camp and a few years as a Unitarian Univeralist youth group (say ages 8-10) count.  so I never learned even the most basic things about religion as a child, and wouldn't until my interests started leading me there around age 19.

I would say my 'positions' are not exactly mainstream in American Christianity, but well within the boundaries of what can be called 'progressive Christianity', the left-wing of the mainline protestant churches.
19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The War on Drugs-will it ever end? on: March 31, 2015, 02:45:39 am
Are you under the impression that drug abuse isn't a major problem? If you want to argue that how we address the problem isn't helping, and, instead, creates more problems, I'd agree with you, but it isn't as if chronic drug abuse is a completely harmless thing either.

if I were writing the law I'd have strict state monopoly access to the "hard drugs" - people would have to apply for special licences to purchase drugs like meth, morphine, heroin, etc.  the licenses could be temporarily or permanently revoked in cases of driving while high, distribution to children, etc.

there would be a limit on the daily or weekly amount able to be purchased, all purchases would be tracked in a database, and the state monopoly stores would be scary-looking (state troopers acting as the cashiers, etc).

so long as the expenses don't force the price at the point of sale above the black market price (a problem that's cropped up in Colorado, iirc) the stores should maintain their monopoly.

the main benefit would be the purity of the drugs, which would go a long way towards minimizing overdoses.  I would also support the opening of safe injection sites for heroin and morphine (and fentanyl) users to bring the chances of overdose and secondary infection (HIV the big one, but more simply infections as well) down to zero.

the results for drug cartels and "Gangs"/organized crime would be catastrophic (for them).

legalization =/= you can buy heroin at any 7-11 24 hours a day in any quantity.
20  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Sarah Palin on: March 31, 2015, 02:28:59 am
she did a good job cashing in -- which is all she really wanted.  some attention and some money without the burden of work.  not so different from most of us.

though somehow, she is less seduced by the prospect of power than your typical politician.  (many of whom would take power over money anyday, and do give up millions by staying in 'public service' -- do we really think a 7-figure job on Wall St or a related law firm isn't waiting for Charles Schumer should be opt to go that route..?)
21  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: What exemptions should exist for school vaccination requirements? on: March 31, 2015, 02:20:27 am
For public schools, medical only. Of course private schools should be allowed to make their own rules.

only to a certain extent -- accreditation and the lack therof can serve as a weapon for the state to coerce certain concessions out of private schools.
22  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Christians: Is the Bible complete and perfect? on: March 31, 2015, 02:17:13 am
It's complete, but it's definitely not perfect in the sense of being inerrant. It's only 'perfect' or 'infallible' in that nothing that it doesn't contain is necessary for salvation, and nothing that it does contain is actively detrimental to salvation. I guess it could be considered to be perfect in the sense that it is as good as it could be at being what it is, but that strikes me as something of a platitude.

even plainly reactionary pseudopauline letters, like 2 Titus?  which are used primarily to beat women over the head in conservative churches whenever they feel called to raise their voice, or to "preach"?
23  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Christians: Is the Bible complete and perfect? on: March 31, 2015, 02:07:18 am
I was taught that if you don't believe it is perfect, it can be fundamentally questioned, and therefore isn't worth putting your faith into. Is this something you reconciled or does it not affect you?

I don't see the Bible as something I "put my faith into".  I regard that sort of religion as a form of idolatry: the idea that the Word of God could be reduced down to human language strikes me as absurd, particularly as the supposed God-man Jesus never said "now all you blokes better write this stuff down, word-for-word."  he wasn't thinking like that.

I read the Bible as a

1) the doctrine of creation/fall in Genesis 1-3, which explains the human predicament as concisely as I have seen;

2) the spiritual struggle of "God's chosen people", Israel, who often were in tumult as a result of disruption from outside (even forgetting Egypt, we have the Babylonian Exile, then colonization by the Greeks and then the Romans);

3) the appearance (probably as a split-off disciple of John the Baptist) of Jesus of Nazareth, who both in his own incomplete way took on the Jewish cause as his own, attempting to fulfill the convenant, condemning the accomodationist Jewish power structure of his day as well as preaching the here-and-now, egalitarian revolutionary Kingdom of God; then being crucified by the Roman imperial power;

4) his "Resurrection", in whatever form it took, made his followers absolutely certain that he had passed though death and had a continued ontological existence as the Christ;

5) the NT appears as the early Christians grapple with what had happened and try to make record of it, with varying underlying motives, honesty, etc.

I don't put my faith into the Bible, but am fascinated by it and seek to live in continuity with its overarching story.  Jesus did say "all authority goes to me" (Mat 28:18) and the last thing the Resurrected Christ supposedly said in Acts 1 was "it's not for you to know the day or the hour, go on building the Kingdom along the four corners of the Earth".

so I don't spend a lot of time trying to harmonize an obviously polyphonic Bible, as if it only has one message.  my only rule is Jesus breaks ties, in cases of apparent contradiction.

(I don't even necessarily place the Canonical texts in any special position vis a vis the Apocrypha, though I do think the Councils in the 4th Century did a good job in picking the documents closest to the historical Jesus of Nazareth.  as for the OT Apocrypha, that's a whole different story, as evidenced by the difference in Canons throughout Christendom).

hope that made some sense
24  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Social Science History #4: Opinion of Theodore Adorno on: March 31, 2015, 12:39:37 am
that Negative Dialectics book is really terrible.  "shows great contempt for the reader", in the words of Kolakowski.
25  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Christians: Is the Bible complete and perfect? on: March 31, 2015, 12:38:11 am
in a sense it is "complete", as it would be hard to add anything to it (though there are scattered things we can learn from the Apocrypha that provide context and clues if nothing else).  perfect, no.
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