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12201  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: CNN: McCain picks Palin on: August 29, 2008, 09:49:44 am
McCain is thinking with his dick.

No he's not.  Maybe I am.  Sarah Palin is smokin' hot.

But McCain is thinking about beating Obama-Biden.  And while I will be working and voting for my party, I think we're toast.

This negativity is fantastic coming from you, J. If we were toast, we were toast on May 31. Nothing that has happened since then was wholly unpredictable.
12202  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: CNN: McCain picks Palin on: August 29, 2008, 09:44:03 am
Congrats to jmfcst, that drunken bastard.

And if I may give myself a little prop as well, I am a little richer this morning:

12203  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: "official" Vice President leaks, tips, and speculation thread (GOP edition) on: August 29, 2008, 09:35:10 am
Rumblings over at PUMA site Alegre's corner:

Quote
I, like Alegre, just won't vote at the top of the ticket, UNLESS...  (4.00 / 2)
... McCain chooses Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his VP.

That might just energize me into voting McCain.
by: lansing quaker @ Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 22:02:58 PM CDT
by: you @ soon

To post this comment click here:

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# You must enter a subject for your comment
Nope (0.00 / 0)
She is crooked, and in the middle of a scandal.
by: ObamaNOT @ Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 22:04:42 PM CDT
[ Parent ]
by: you @ soon
12204  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: will mccain's choice for veep leak in the wee hours tonight? on: August 29, 2008, 12:13:24 am
Not for me because I'm going to bed.
12205  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: "official" Vice President leaks, tips, and speculation thread (GOP edition) on: August 28, 2008, 11:55:09 pm
Come on, how come we don't know yet!?

You're just jealous that McCain is keeping his a better secret than Barack "text message" Obama.

If Obama can't keep his VP a secret, how do we know the nuclear codes won't leak to Marc Ambinder??? OMG
12206  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: "official" Vice President leaks, tips, and speculation thread (GOP edition) on: August 28, 2008, 11:40:26 pm
I have to admit if jmf is right he will look awfully good. And don't believe it wouldn't make a media splash.
12207  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: Rate Obama's Speech: Was The One's Speech a ten or a one? on: August 28, 2008, 11:22:58 pm
One of my favourite parts was a Democrat actually talking about their positions on gun control, abortion, gay rights and immigration and not being seen to be apologising for them. We don't always have to agree.... but there is common ground.

Yeah but there is still the issue. You can find common ground, but the areas of disagreement do not go away simply by being ignored. The ultimate purpose of finding common ground, besides getting something done over nothing, is to start to build a dialogue of trust and respect with the "other side", where you see they are coming from a serious place of what they think is right, and they see the same for you. It's like a NARAL activist talking to a James Dobson disciple. In the current atmosphere this is unimaginable. But if each side stops demonizing the other, they may feel better about reaching a compromise even on the tough issues. I don't know if it would work, but there are at least some people to whom the dynamics of demonization are needlessly polarizing.
12208  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: Rate Obama's Speech: Was The One's Speech a ten or a one? on: August 28, 2008, 11:01:43 pm
Alright. I'm not gonna lie. It wasn't perfect but I really, really liked it. The B+ was an attempt to be objective.

Oh yes... and the illegal immigration line should have been left out... unless that was a pander to Hispanics. The truth is, most people feel that it would be better for a mother to be separated from her children than for someone to live here illegally.

Really?Huh?  I don't think anybody with half a heart would advocate separating a mother and child.  But many I overestimate the decency of people in general.

I don't know... it works like this. Most people, if this woman is their maid, or they know them personally, will put family unity first, and even might passionately. But thinking about it in the abstract, their reaction will be, well she should have thought about that before coming here illegally. Many people who will be compassionate on a personal level will be hardheaded when thinking about something in the abstract. If this were not the case, I believe liberals would win almost every election.
12209  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: Rate Obama's Speech: Was The One's Speech a ten or a one? on: August 28, 2008, 10:49:22 pm
Alright. I'm not gonna lie. It wasn't perfect but I really, really liked it. The B+ was an attempt to be objective.

Oh yes... and the illegal immigration line should have been left out... unless that was a pander to Hispanics. The truth is, most people feel that it would be better for a mother to be separated from her children than for someone to live here illegally.
12210  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Is this the best of all possible worlds? on: August 28, 2008, 10:38:26 pm
What determines "good enough"?

That's subjective I suppose, but if your require an objective measure let's go with "good enough" being that the average person isn't stupid and/or a jerk for 95% of their lifespan, not including time spent sleeping. Seems like a lofty goal, I know, but maybe if we kill off most of the stupid people or implement mass genetic engineering we might just get there. Wink

What if I am born into a world where the average person isn't stupid and/or a jerk for 95% of their lifespan, but I die of a disease after six months? Is this reality good enough?
12211  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: Rate Obama's Speech: Was The One's Speech a ten or a one? on: August 28, 2008, 10:34:58 pm
I give it a B+.

There were a few parts that seemed off. When he said "I won't say McCain is only taking positions for political purposes", I thought that was a little hypocritical considering that some of his surrogates, including Kerry last night, just insinuated that. What he was really trying to say there was that he won't attack McCain's patriotism, but that would have been too obvious to say. And I'd have to agree with angus on the bin Laden cave point.

This speech was probably not the best speech in terms of overall "goodness", but if I was grading it on presenting his candidacy I would give it a higher grade, probably an A. One gets a good idea where he stands for and is trying to argue for, even if you don't agree or there are blind or missing spots here or there.
12212  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Is this the best of all possible worlds? on: August 28, 2008, 07:59:42 pm
I think the basic question here is whether a benevolent or "best" world is even compatible with free will. So far every theory advanced has been met with insurmountable objections, unless someone will correct me.

As I stated above a "best" world is theoretically possible with free will, but it's extremely unlikely. Even if you start off with an ideal state, chances are some douchebag is going to eventually make a decision that screws things up for themselves and/or others.

Exceedingly. I suppose there is one world that his theoretically best among all possible worlds where free will exists, within a certain range of population. But in order to have that world, one would first need to be able to predict every free willed decision beforehand. Otherwise, there can be no guarantee of a "best" world, as you said.

Furthermore, such a world would likely occur at the low ranges of population-- only a few people, maybe at most 20. Once the population starts to get in the millions, the general level of goodness should be approaching some mean, which means there is less variation.

Quote
A "benevolent" world on the other hand is more likely, if a world that is considered benevolent can simultaneously be considered having room for improvement. Most people in the world could be brought up to be kind, considerate, etc. - some idiots here and there would certainly screw things up every now and then, but the world would overall could be in a state of "good enough".

What determines "good enough"?
12213  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Is this the best of all possible worlds? on: August 28, 2008, 07:35:26 pm
I think the basic question here is whether a benevolent or "best" world is even compatible with free will. So far every theory advanced has been met with insurmountable objections, unless someone will correct me.

Quote
Quote from: Alcon on August 05, 2008, 01:07:11 pm
Quote from: Gustaf on August 05, 2008, 04:09:51 am
I guess my way of thinking is like this: if I had the opportunity to go back in time and change history I don't think I would. The reason is that the world right now is a fairly good place. It's better, imo, than it has ever been previously. It's impossible to know all the consequences of an event so I wouldn't dare risk what we have. I really don't mean to make the Holocaust seem like a smaller thing. I really don't. But it could have been worse.

Is there any good world which you would not assume to be best-possible, then?  Needless to say, I disagree.

I think what Gustaf is trying to say is that the risk of causing greater damage is more significant than the possibility of improving history. For example, what if you went back and toppled Hitler in 1935 only to see Stalin overrun all of mainland Europe by 1942 and procede with the same sort of purges conducted within the Soviet Union in real history, which would be at least as bad as the Holocaust if conducted on a Europe-wide scale? That wouldn't be an improvement, and it is at least a reasonably possible risk you'd be taking. Obviously there's a good chance that stopping the Holocaust would not result in even worse carnage, but the possibility of resulting in worse carnage is high enough that changing history might be too risky of a solution.

Wait a minute here. Gustaf, if you see a crippled person who has fallen onto the tracks of an oncoming train, what would you do? After all, this person could be the next Stalin...
12214  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: "official" Vice President leaks, tips, and speculation thread (GOP edition) on: August 28, 2008, 07:02:35 pm
Here's what the McCain campaign should do. They should make a riddle or puzzle of some sort, not solvable simply by computer power, accessible to all, but likely solvable by no one, and the answer to the riddle or puzzle contains the VP's name. And the 9th person who answers it correctly also gets a chance to address the RNC by video and say why they support McCain!
12215  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Opinion of Operation Storm on: August 28, 2008, 06:33:11 pm
Probably negative, but the description on Wikipedia sounds pretty cool.
12216  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: I'm nervous on: August 28, 2008, 06:03:29 pm
Maybe I'll read the transcript of the speech before it comes out. But I'm not really a big fan of his preacher inflection and he rarely says anything of substance.

Since when do politicians say anything of substance?

Mark Warner did, and his speech was universally panned.

Joe Biden did, and his speech was met with lukewarm reception.

I said that Mark Warner's speech was far better than Bob Casey's specifically because he included substantive details.

Biden gave a pretty good speech and made some excellent points on McCain's mistakes in foreign policy.
12217  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: Most overlooked issues this election? on: August 28, 2008, 05:59:05 pm
I don't know, angus. That's the way it seems, but I think it's more of a global problem than a US-specific problem. In the sense that we are running out of cheap resources, and the environment is getting really screwed over. Tragedy of the commons, to an extent.

For us in particular, the national debt as a % of GDP is not abnormally high for the OECD. I mean take a look at this chart
http://zfacts.com/p/318.html
That puts us at about 60%, which is about average for the OECD. Italy is at 105%. Japan is at 180%. Those also happen to be among the oldest countries. Nor is our external debt (about half of that at 30%) abnormal.

Incidentally, although manufacturing employment is way down since the 1970s, overall manufacturing output has generally been on an upward trend.
12218  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: "official" Vice President leaks, tips, and speculation thread (GOP edition) on: August 28, 2008, 05:38:16 pm
Tim, Tom or Kay?  I still think the Mitt is in it.

S-A-R-A-H



palin has no chance

jm is acting like he is drunk again

except this time it is not a friday.
12219  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: I'm nervous on: August 28, 2008, 04:35:47 pm
Don't worry. Expectations for this speech are so high that he can't possibly meet them.
12220  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: McCain ad: "Job well done" to Obama on: August 28, 2008, 04:33:44 pm
Why does this need an ad? McCain could simply call Obama and say it, or he could say it in a public appearance.
12221  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: McCain solution to heath care problem on: August 28, 2008, 03:47:27 pm
Wow, that literally sounds like something from The Onion. (Literally. They once had something about the government's plan to reduce obesity by rededefining obesity by standards less Americans fall under.)
This is standard procedure for the American government. If they can't throw a tax break or subsidy at an economic problem, they just change how they 'measure' it. It's how they've handled unemployment figures and, IIRC, inflation too since the '80s.

This is a fascinating topic.

Yes, the government has changed the way it has measured inflation since the 1980s and the new methodology is downward-biased compared to the old one. And of course this is convenient for politicians because many governmental benefits and economic reports are indexed to inflation. Notably this makes things easier for the Fed because it allows them to keep interest rates relatively lower. In 1989, the business cycle peak of the 1980s the maximum rate was 9.8%, and bottomed at 2.9% in 1992. In 2000, after the introduction of the new inflation measures, the peak was 6.5% and bottomed at 1% in 2003. In 2007, a third peak was at 5.25%. Alan Greenspan had lobbied heavily for the new measures during the Bush Sr. administration; his predecessor, Volcker, had come under heavy -personal- attack, including by many ordinary people who said he had destroyed their livelihoods, during the 1982 recession after being forced to increase interest rates to record highs in order to meet inflation targets.

Nonetheless (and I disagree with the source quoted below here), you cannot say that the new method is worse than the old one. The new method is probably slightly better. If a 100 MHz Pentium costs $800 in 1993 and a 350 MHz Pentium costs $800 in 1998, according to the old method there was no improvement in standard of living, which is unrealistic.

All that you can really say is that pre-1996 inflation rates cannot be compared to post-1996 inflation rates. If anything, pre-1996 inflation rates should be judged as reported too high, rather than vice-versa:

Quote
Before the Clinton Administration, the American Consumer Price Index actually tried to measure the prices consumers paid for an identical “basket” of goods each month. If steak cost $1.25 last year, and then went up in price to $1.30 this year, the annual rate of inflation for a pound of steak was calculated at 4 percent. If the average consumer price for a refrigerator was $300 in the first quarter of last year, and went up in price to $325 during the first quarter of this year, the rate of inflation for that refrigerator from Q1 last year to Q1 this year was calculated at 8 percent. And so on, for a long list of items. Price points for each period were determined by conducting a survey of retail industry outlets and associations. The change in total cost from period to period determined the rate of inflation for maintaining a constant standard of living.

During the first Bush Republican Administration, Chief economist Michael Boskin and Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan lobbied for a change in this methodology. They believed that when consumers could no longer afford a particular item, they would purchase a cheaper substitute. If steak, for example, became unaffordable, the consumer would switch to hamburger. If cars with V8 engines became too expensive, the consumer could purchase a car with a smaller engine. And so on.

The CPI, they argued, should reflect actual purchase decisions, rather than a fixed basket of goods that would gradually become irrelevant as consumers continued to substitute cheaper products for those on a fixed list of goods. In effect, they wanted the BLS to find ways to decrease the reported rate of inflation by tracking consumer buying habits as they struggled to find cheaper goods and services.

They got their wish. During the Clinton administration the BLS initiated a long and complex process to measure the rate of inflation based on “value” rather than “price”. It works this way. If the BLS believes the value of an item has increased from one period to the next, it decreases the item’s new price point by the value of the improvement. Thus if the car you buy this year has more features than the one you could have purchased last year, the price point is deflated to account for the added value of the new features. If this year’s health care is presumed to be superior to last year’s available health care, the added value is deducted from the CPI health care price point. Since this year’s personal computer has more power and features than last year’s PC, the added “value” is deducted from its new price point. And so on. Product after product. The adjusted cost of an item, as measured by the CPI, may go down even though the actual cash you pay for the item is going up. The technical term for this highly subjective data manipulation is called hedonic regression. It guarantees the actual cash you pay for goods and services is more than the phony price the federal government claims you paid for these goods and services.

The BLS further manipulates price data by tracking consumer substitution. Thus, if we can no longer afford steak, we purchase a cheaper pound of meat. If we can no longer afford to buy a mid-sized car, we purchase a smaller vehicle. If the price of cereals, eggs, poultry, and milk become unaffordable, the consumer is expected to substitute cheaper foods. By this process, the BLS uses a heavily manipulated CPI to track the prices consumers pay for the goods and services they actually buy. It does not, however, provide comparative pricing.

To quote the BLS: “Method evaluation. …. Before 1999, CPI used only Laspeyres indices, measures of the price changes in a fixed market basket of consumption goods and services of constant quantity and quality bought on average by urban consumers, … . The Laspeyres index, however, systematically overstates inflation because it does not take into account changes in the quantities consumed that may occur as a response to price changes. ….

Chained CPI for All Urban Consumers (C-CPI-U). This index applies to the same target population as the CPI-U. The same raw data are used, but a different formula is employed to calculate average prices. The chained CPI was developed to overcome a shortcoming of the CPI-U series, which does not account for the changes that people make in the composition of goods that they purchase over time, often in response to price changes. The alternative method of the C-CPI-U is intended to capture consumers' behavior as they respond to relative price changes.”
12222  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: Why Obama currently has the advantage on: August 28, 2008, 02:21:54 pm
Both Obama and McCain (and 527's with limited resources!) are advertising heavily in Michigan, and lightly in Wisconsin.  Yet, despite the fact that both campaigns are competing in Wisconsin, you don't even treat it as a lean state like Minnesota - where both campaigns are NOT running ads.

Like I said, if you only choose the eight states that Bush won in 2004 as your tossup states, your model is going to be undeniably skewed.  In fact, you could just skip the model altogether and say "Obama has the advantage because I'm presuming that McCain will not be able to make any inroads in Kerry states>"


Well not entirely. You could make the argument that Karl Rove identified a permanent cleavage in American politics that gives the GOP about exactly 51% and the Democrats are playing right into it. I wouldn't make that argument, but it's possible.
12223  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: Why Obama currently has the advantage on: August 28, 2008, 01:42:48 pm
Ya I remember the old Beef back from '04. Welcome back, btw. Smiley
12224  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: McCain's Awkward New Interview on: August 28, 2008, 01:41:54 pm
That's an odd interview.  He seems to have decided to hijack it from about question two.  Is there back-story here?  Weird.  Bad day, I hope.

I think curt answers are only appealing when they are positive and forceful.  "Evil does exist and we have to destroy it."  When does life begin "At conception."
^^^^^^
12225  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: Why Obama currently has the advantage on: August 28, 2008, 01:04:52 pm
On paper, yes. In reality, I suspect everyone expects Obama to ultimately lose in OH, FL and VA because of demographic reasons. Although I wouldn't mind hearing The Vorlon's analysis on this. In Ohio, look at what happened in the Democratic primary. Republicans generally carry the state if they can carry the southeastern portion of the state, and the southeastern portion is not Obama's demographic. In Florida, although the battle among independents is close, the southern panhandle, and the large number of older voters helps McCain. He will also be able to peel off a larger than usual margin of Jewish and Hispanic voters. In Virginia, NoVa will go Democrat and the rural 1/3 of the state will go Republican. That leaves the Hampton Roads military area. Because there are so many military people here, the "Webb vets" who went for Webb, will go McCain.

And McCain is polling clearly ahead in MO.

That leaves

Obama's situation:
CO + IA + NM/NV = win
IA + NM + NV = tie

McCain's situation:
CO + NV/NM/IA = win
IA + NM/WV = win
NV + NM = win
IA + CO + NV + NM = win
CO = tie

I also gave the same analysis several months ago during the primary and it still stands.
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