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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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26  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Pocahontas on: November 16, 2014, 02:22:49 pm
I didn't like Disney films as a child, but that didn't stop my Grandma from buying VCR after VCR for us Tongue.

I hated and still hate Hunchback; that movie scared the hell out of me.

You were frightened by the Hunchback of Notre Dame?  By chance, did your grandmother also buy you that 1959 classic Darby O'Gill and the Little People?  Now that was frightening!  They did a damn good job with that banshee, IMHO....
27  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Small Businesses Less Anxious About Health Costs, Thanks to Obamacare on: November 16, 2014, 02:11:08 pm
Small business health-care fears ease

Joyce M. Rosenberg, The Associated Press
9:26 a.m. EST November 16, 2014

Owners are less worried about health care now that they've seen what insurance under the health care law looks like and costs. Uncertainty about the law had intensified owners' concerns. And surveys taken before the new insurance began selling last year showed owners were extremely anxious about whether the law would continue to drive premiums higher.

"There used to be regular double-digit, sometimes triple-digit premium increases and now we're seeing increases of often under 5%," says John Arensmeyer, CEO of the advocacy group Small Business Majority.

The law has increased competition among health insurers, and that has helped lower premiums and in turn, owners' anxiety, Arensmeyer says.
28  General Politics / Economics / Wages Rising Sharply for Young and Lower-Income Workers on: November 16, 2014, 02:03:12 pm
Thanks, Obama!

Pay is rising sharply for young, low-wage workers

Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
12:56 p.m. EST November 16, 2014

Young low- and middle-wage workers are seeing their earnings rise more rapidly than their older, higher-paid counterparts, reversing the trend that prevailed early in the economic recovery.

The shift could boost economic growth since lower-paid workers tend to spend most of their paychecks, spreading the benefits throughout the economy. It's also lifting the fortunes of restaurant and retail employees whose stagnant wages have sparked protests across the USA.

In the third quarter, average hourly pay for workers earning less than $20,000 a year jumped 5.4% vs. the year-ago period, according to top payroll processor ADP. Those earning $20,000 to $50,000 got wage hikes of 4.9%.

Meanwhile, Americans making more than $50,000 a year received average raises of 4.3%.
29  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama to announce executive order on immigration on: November 16, 2014, 01:25:50 am
A Democratic congressman is claiming there are now enough votes in the House to pass a bipartisan immigration overhaul, with dozens of Republican supporters.  

Imagine what else could be accomplished if Speaker Boehner put aside the 'majority of the majority' rule...    
30  General Politics / Individual Politics / Do You Support Repealing America's Ban on the Export of Oil and Natural Gas? on: November 16, 2014, 12:32:00 am
Should we remain shackled by a provision in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act that was passed forty years ago, in a context that no longer applies to the present? 
31  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Catholicism Fading in Latin America on: November 16, 2014, 12:06:04 am

I'd rather hear the man speak for himself, thanks. 
32  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Which Democrat should run against Ron Johnson? on: November 15, 2014, 11:50:30 pm
Russ Feingold if he's eager for a rematch.  If he flinches yet again, then Ron Kind should be given a chance. 
33  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Arkansas, a Demographic Challenge for Democrats on: November 15, 2014, 03:25:27 pm
I don't understand why Arkansas doesn't have at least one African-American majority congressional district (probably would be concentrated in the Arkansas Delta) like other southern states.  Isn't it under the sway of the Voting Rights Act which mandates that?

Even if you connect the Arkansas Delta up to Little Rock though Pine Bluff, you only get a district that is 36.4% African-America. Possibly enough for an opportunity of an American-American Rep, but there is really no way for a majority district.

Are there not enough liberal whites in the area to make up the difference? 
34  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Your own "New Deal" on: November 15, 2014, 03:23:08 pm
1. Complete reformation of the existing structure of government in the United States including the current archaic state boundaries with one that simulteneously strengthens the federal government's functions and establishes a single governing authority for metropolitan areas and replace the Presidential system with a Parliamentary system.

2. Similarly the change the methods of election. Reform the Senate to reduce its powers while transforming the House of Representatives to be based on a Mixed-Member Proportional system of election. Ban any and all private funding of elections.

3. Tax reform: eliminate most loopholes/deductions while raising the estate and income taxes along with equalizing capital gains tax rates with income tax rates. Possibly cut the corporate tax rate as an offset.

4. Implement Universal Health Care legislation based on the German multi-payer model.

5. Raise the minimum wage to 12 dollars, with adjustments for local cost of living and tie it to inflation. Give other rights to workers such as guaranteed vacation time, parental leave, and sick time.

6. Implement a minimum income scheme

7. Repeal Taft-Hartley and encourage a German corporatist model of business-labour-government cooperation in the economy

8. Greatly change existing urban and environmental policy through the implementation of a hybrid infrastructure-energy bill. Encourage high-density urban residential construction over sprawl through regulations and subsidies, offer incentives for middle-class families to move back into inner cities, massively expand existing mass transit systems, construct a national high speed rail system, embark on a programme of nuclear power plant construction to double America's nuclear capacity at least, expand research funding into alternative non-Fossil Fuel sources. Similarly expand funding for other scientific research

9. Implement a Finnish educational model with greatly expanded and equalized public education funding and private schools forbidden to charge tuition and only permitted to admit students on the same basis as public schools. Free pre-K and daycare along with free college/grad school dependent upon grades.

10. Revive the WPA, CCC, and other Depression-era government make-work programs especially in the arts. As the Internet and information technology generally makes creating works of art/literature and keeping their copyright much less profitable, it will be more and more necessary for the creation of culture to move beyond the profit model. Of course, only good art should be funded especially with regards to television shows to counter much of the degenerate crap produced on the private channels.

11. Implement stricter banking and financial regulation including restoring Glass-Steagall, increasing punishments for white-collar crime, and a bank tax on "too big to fail" banks. Break the stranglehold of the FIRE sector on the economy.

12. Ban abortion at all stages with an exemption for the preservation of the mother's life

13. End the War on Drugs-legalize marijuana and other soft drugs while decriminalizing possessing harder drugs. Uniform regulation of alcohol, tobacco, and softer drugs

14. Fundamental reform of civil liberties legislation by looking at and abolishing all aspects of the PATRIOT Act and other post 9/11 legislation that are clearly unconstitutional and/or unnecessary. Similarly restrict wiretapping programs. Implement a National ID Card.

15. Create the nucleus of a world government in the form of an economic and political union of the advanced Western liberal democracies with a common currency, fiscal policy, foreign policy, and military. Permit free trade and migration within this union. Give developing democracies such as India and Brazil associate membership and build them as "Arsenals of Democracy" with favourable trade agreements and immigration laws for those countries.


This -though perhaps with the exception of #12.  
35  General Politics / Political Debate / Key Features of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) on: November 15, 2014, 03:02:55 pm
Anyone can answer this, though this is especially aimed at the conservatives and Republicans here:

Let's assume that the Supreme Court effectively undermines Obamacare by ruling against the administration next year, and that a Republican is elected President in 2016 with a Republican Congress, and that the law is repealed.

Let us assume also that they come up with an alternative plan (since it would be unthinkable to return to where we were before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law).

Which elements of the Affordable Care Act do you think they should retain? 
36  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Catholicism Fading in Latin America on: November 15, 2014, 02:51:44 pm
I'm encouraged by this!

37  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: Arkansas, a Demographic Challenge for Democrats on: November 15, 2014, 02:43:12 pm
I don't understand why Arkansas doesn't have at least one African-American majority congressional district (probably would be concentrated in the Arkansas Delta) like other southern states.  Isn't it under the sway of the Voting Rights Act which mandates that?
38  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Where should I move? on: November 15, 2014, 02:39:10 pm
How about North Dakota?  There's plenty of jobs (including well-paying ones), particularly in the oil/natural gas sector, and isn't as far from home as, say, Alaska.    
39  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: House approves Keystone Pipeline....onto the Senate on: November 15, 2014, 11:28:53 am
Mary Landrieu only needs one more vote to pass Keystone (over President Obama's likely veto) in this lame-duck session.
40  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: can you chopsticks? on: November 15, 2014, 11:17:17 am
Of course I can.  My mother is Japanese, and about ten years of my life was spent overseas, including about four years in Japan.  It comes naturally to me. 
41  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: How would you vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline? on: November 15, 2014, 11:12:31 am
Aye (D) -if we're going to have oil transported from Canada, I'd rather it be by pipeline as opposed to rail. 

And I would vote to override President Obama's veto. 
42  General Politics / Individual Politics / Do you support granting President Obama trade promotion authority (fast track)? on: November 15, 2014, 12:24:43 am
In case anyone asks what it is.
43  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Catholicism Fading in Latin America on: November 14, 2014, 11:51:35 pm
The only regions of the world where Catholicism can find a future is in sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia:

Religion in Latin America:
Widespread Change in an Historically Catholic Region

Latin America is home to more than 425 million Catholics – nearly 40% of the world’s total Catholic population – and the Roman Catholic Church now has a Latin American pope for the first time in its history. Yet identification with Catholicism has declined throughout the region, according to a major new Pew Research Center survey that examines religious affiliations, beliefs and practices in 18 countries and one U.S. territory (Puerto Rico) across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Historical data suggest that for most of the 20th century, from 1900 through the 1960s, at least 90% of Latin America’s population was Catholic (See History of Religious Change).  Today, the Pew Research survey shows, 69% of adults across the region identify as Catholic. In nearly every country surveyed, the Catholic Church has experienced net losses from religious switching, as many Latin Americans have joined evangelical Protestant churches or rejected organized religion altogether. For example, roughly one-in-four Nicaraguans, one-in-five Brazilians and one-in-seven Venezuelans are former Catholics.

Overall, 84% of Latin American adults report that they were raised Catholic, 15 percentage points more than currently identify as Catholic. The pattern is reversed among Protestants and people who do not identify with any religion: While the Catholic Church has lost adherents through religious switching, both Protestant churches and the religiously unaffiliated population in the region have gained members. Just one-in-ten Latin Americans (9%) were raised in Protestant churches, but nearly one-in-five (19%) now describe themselves as Protestants. And while only 4% of Latin Americans were raised without a religious affiliation, twice as many (8%) are unaffiliated today.
44  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Tony Abbott? on: November 14, 2014, 08:42:34 pm
I take it from the comments in this thread that he is basically the Australian version of George W. Bush.  Or at least that's how the more left-of-center posters here would have you believe.    

Is that a fair assessment?  
45  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama-Xi Conference on Climate Change on: November 14, 2014, 08:35:51 pm
India is next, especially since they can no longer hide behind China.    
46  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Deep South To Enjoy Growth of Power and Influence in New GOP Senate on: November 13, 2014, 06:20:49 pm
Sen. Roger Wicker is set to become the new head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
47  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Which Vice President came to the office most prepared and qualified? on: November 12, 2014, 11:17:04 pm
John Adams? 
48  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Cultural observations on America on: November 12, 2014, 11:14:53 pm
3. There are other flavours than barbecue, cheese, chilli, barbecue cheese, and barbecue chilli when it comes to savoury snacks. Life isn't a perpetual Texas.

Australia isn't too much different -it was the first time I encountered pizza with bbq sauce when I ordered cheese and pepperoni.  Tongue

4. I can see why some American atheists sound perpetually pissed. I'm actually surprised they are so restrained. Christian discourse saturates everywhere. People seemed to think I had landed from Mars.

I guess it takes a foreigner to notice that.  I am surrounded by religious iconography and scripture here at work (it's a black-majority workforce), not to mention outside of it as well, so I guess I just accept it as the norm.  

49  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Paul: Unclear if Clinton can handle "rigorous physical ordeal" of 2016 campaign on: November 12, 2014, 08:08:08 pm
If Reagan could handle the 'rigorous physical ordeal' of three presidential campaigns (1976, 1980, and 1984), then so can Hillary.  She has already had one (2008), and I don't doubt she can handle two more. 
50  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Sullivan Officially Wins on: November 12, 2014, 07:59:37 pm
Maybe Mark Begich could run against Rep. Don Young in 2016?  It might be a bit of a step down for him, but for him to run against (and hopefully defeat) that old fossil would be regarded as a public service.  
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