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12201  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: How Eisenhower solved the illegal alien problem on: December 19, 2006, 08:40:04 pm
Well, the Berlin Wall was actually quite effective, as evidenced by how long the East German government survived after it became inoperative. In retrospect, by the time Moscow determined that a wall was needed, the main question had already been lost to them. It was a tacit admission that communism would not be able to compete with capitalism ideologically.

On the flip side, the fact that we are contemplating a wall today for the opposite purpose ought to inform us that third or second world standards of living will never be able to match first world ones, and we have to accept this reality. I dont think a few tax breaks to northern Mexico investments is going to change that.

The best is a combination of increasing the legal avenues of immigration while increasing security against illegal avenues. There is nothing inherently wrong with immigration from Mexico, it is the inefficiencies and inconveniences created by an extra-legal subculture that is the problem. I really think that the only way to secure the border is to work with the Mexican government to provide a legal way for the people who are incentivized enough to come here to come here.
12202  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Oldest person you hooked up/had sex with compared to you? on: December 19, 2006, 08:24:34 pm
I've never been with someone older than me. The oldest was just 4 days younger than me.

It seems to be I've dated/hooked up with more older than younger women.  It seems they're also more attracted to me than younger women I guess.  I find younger women more superficial about looks and tend to flock in droves to the guys over 6', flat abs, spiked blonde hair/popped collar types.   

In the words of Bill Clinton, "I feel your pain".  Most girls my age only seem to care about 3 things:

1) If you are "hot"... like fashion catalog hot
2) If you played sports in high school... never mind that that was 5 years ago.
3) If you look like you have the potential to make a lot of money.

Doesn't matter what kinda guy you are.  You could be the greatest guy in the world, and if you don't have at least two of those three things, then girls don't care... try to convince them that you aren't worthless and they will start to assigning negative traits to you.

There are not enough guys with those characteristics for all the girls out there.
12203  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: what is the libertarian health care plan? on: December 19, 2006, 07:21:05 pm
Eh, actually it's pretty hard to know where libertarians stand. Say he's a "libertarian" and he could be Bono, Dibble, Alcon, A18, David S, MaC, Emsworth, plus you have a lot of other types that aren't well represented here... Theoretically, libertarianism easily reducable to the single principle of liberty. In practice, actual libertarians are very different from each other.
12204  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Who's your favourite DINO ? (Democrat In Name Only) on: December 19, 2006, 06:51:50 pm
Voted Ed Koch, but on second thought, Joe Lieberman. And it's not even that close.
12205  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Walmart vs. Target on: December 18, 2006, 10:26:37 pm
it turns out I'll be joining John in the Cornfield state.

Congratulations, man.

I should have guessed you would reveal this just as your post count of 6969 signified major mojo.
Especially for someone who calls themselves "Angus".

Funny thing, in my 20s, I couldn't wait to live as far away from my relatives as I could.  I've lived in, and enjoyed living in, Texas, California, and Massachusetts (and two of those places have nice warm climates), but now that I'm a boring old married guy the prospect of living in a very low-crime, suburban density city with excellent schools (Cedar Falls, not Waterloo), and being near relatives grows more attractive.  (How sad is that?)

Your soul has died.
12206  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How old were your parents when you were born? on: December 18, 2006, 06:55:29 pm
Dad and Mom both 33.
12207  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / U.S. violent crimes jump in first half of 2006: FBI on: December 18, 2006, 06:52:47 pm
By James Vicini
Mon Dec 18, 1:26 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Murders, robberies and other violent crimes reported in the United States jumped 3.7 percent in the first half of the year, continuing a troubling upswing that began in 2005, the FBI said on Monday.

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This is very troubling.
12208  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Executions suspended in Florida and California on: December 18, 2006, 06:25:46 pm
I guess I'm more for a punishment that will make 100% sure that evil criminals will never hurt anyone again.

Are there statistics on how many convicts have escaped from life imprisonment/solitary confinement and escaped to kill again? It seems like an unlikely proposition.

I don't know the statistics, but I have seen cases in the news in which a liberal judge has overturned a life sentence and ordered the release of a convicted murderer, and not on the grounds of actual innocence.

One recent case was a man who murdered a Lodi, NJ police officer in 1963.  He was supposed to get the death penalty, but that was commuted in exchange for a life sentence.  A liberal judge ordered his release.  Disgraceful.

Charles Manson could be released on parole if they got a liberal enough parole board who would buy into whatever garbage reason was being put forth for his release.  The fact that he, who was also sentenced to death, should even be considered for parole is disgraceful.  What is the point of a life sentence for a mass murderer if parole is going to be considered?  And what good is a life sentence under those circumstances?

The death penalty is like Raid for murderers.  It kills them -- dead.  No need to worry about those cockroaches further after that.

Dazzleman it seems like you're trying to either use the death penalty as a blunt instrument to fix problems you perceive in the parole system, or use problems in the parole system as an excuse to keep the death penalty. I don't think that's possible. Only a small fraction of violent criminals end up on death row anyways, so unless we start executing people in Chinese numbers it wouldn't be possible to fix any systemic problems in the parole system via the death penalty. Nor do I think the death penalty should be used for that purpose. Any problems in the parole system ought to be dealt with directly.

Also, this argumentation-by-anecdote that characterizes the conservative movement is one of the more negative trends in political dialogue in recent decades, because you can find an anecdote to prove just about anything. Anecdotes are simple little stories that jingle around in your head like a commercial tune, and they make for great political meme starters. I think Ronald Reagan was the first to master this kind of rhetoric and conservatives have been emulating him over it ever since. But the replacement of argumentation with anecdote is condescending, misleading-- especially if you don't have the statistics to back it up-- and may not even be truthful on its own terms.

Enough anecdotes put together can form or illustrate a trend.

Nope. I'd rather have the hard facts, or statistical inference at a minimum. Intention isn't the issue here.

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There's also a matter of trust.  There have been so many judicial outrages perpetrated upon us that we're willing to believe the worst.  That's why the anecdotes that Reagan put out were so effective.  They confirmed what people already deeply suspected or believed.

If people already believed those things there would be no need for Reagan-or anyone- to repeat them. And the so called 'judical outrages' are actually enlightened decisions by highly educated individuals insulated from the hue and cry of the mob, which stepped in to protect civil liberties and equal justice when the so-called system would not.
12209  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: UN downgrades man's impact on the climate on: December 18, 2006, 06:16:13 pm
Wait, so Bono no longer considers the UN the reincarnation of the devil?
12210  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Executions suspended in Florida and California on: December 17, 2006, 06:42:02 pm
I guess I'm more for a punishment that will make 100% sure that evil criminals will never hurt anyone again.

Are there statistics on how many convicts have escaped from life imprisonment/solitary confinement and escaped to kill again? It seems like an unlikely proposition.

I don't know the statistics, but I have seen cases in the news in which a liberal judge has overturned a life sentence and ordered the release of a convicted murderer, and not on the grounds of actual innocence.

One recent case was a man who murdered a Lodi, NJ police officer in 1963.  He was supposed to get the death penalty, but that was commuted in exchange for a life sentence.  A liberal judge ordered his release.  Disgraceful.

Charles Manson could be released on parole if they got a liberal enough parole board who would buy into whatever garbage reason was being put forth for his release.  The fact that he, who was also sentenced to death, should even be considered for parole is disgraceful.  What is the point of a life sentence for a mass murderer if parole is going to be considered?  And what good is a life sentence under those circumstances?

The death penalty is like Raid for murderers.  It kills them -- dead.  No need to worry about those cockroaches further after that.

Dazzleman it seems like you're trying to either use the death penalty as a blunt instrument to fix problems you perceive in the parole system, or use problems in the parole system as an excuse to keep the death penalty. I don't think that's possible. Only a small fraction of violent criminals end up on death row anyways, so unless we start executing people in Chinese numbers it wouldn't be possible to fix any systemic problems in the parole system via the death penalty. Nor do I think the death penalty should be used for that purpose. Any problems in the parole system ought to be dealt with directly.

Also, this argumentation-by-anecdote that characterizes the conservative movement is one of the more negative trends in political dialogue in recent decades, because you can find an anecdote to prove just about anything. Anecdotes are simple little stories that jingle around in your head like a commercial tune, and they make for great political meme starters. I think Ronald Reagan was the first to master this kind of rhetoric and conservatives have been emulating him over it ever since. But the replacement of argumentation with anecdote is condescending, misleading-- especially if you don't have the statistics to back it up-- and may not even be truthful on its own terms.
12211  General Politics / International General Discussion / Ahmadinejad's allies struggle in Iran elections on: December 17, 2006, 06:20:41 pm
By Edmund Blair
Sun Dec 17, 11:07 AM ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's allies failed to dominate elections for a powerful Iranian clerical body and local councils, early results showed on Sunday, in what analyists said was a setback to the president's standing.

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12212  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Executions suspended in Florida and California on: December 17, 2006, 02:57:51 pm
I guess I'm more for a punishment that will make 100% sure that evil criminals will never hurt anyone again.

Are there statistics on how many convicts have escaped from life imprisonment/solitary confinement and escaped to kill again? It seems like an unlikely proposition.
12213  General Discussion / History / Re: How many tie-breaking Senate votes has Dick Cheney cast? on: December 17, 2006, 02:48:24 pm
From Wikipedia:

"As President of the Senate, he has cast seven tie-breaking votes to date, including deciding votes on concurring in the conference reports of the 2004 congressional budget and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003."

Great, thanks.

I was sort of expecting the number to be higher than seven.  Especially since for the first few months of his term, the Senate partisan composition was exactly 50-50.

Yeah, it's a little surprising. When you look through the legislative history, a very large percentage of bills in both the House and Senate were actually passed by overwhelming margins. The close votes are actually very rare.
12214  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Panel Proposes Major Changes to American Education System on: December 17, 2006, 02:39:45 pm
You shouldn't oppose something just because it "caters" to something you don't like.

I'll oppose what I want, and for any reason I want.

Oh, I never said you couldn't take a stance based on bullheadedness, only that you shouldn't.

Quote
Quote
Quote
Anyway, it's well established that education majors as a group have the lowest standardized test scores out of any college major. Therefore, we put the dumbest people who can scrape together a college degree in charge of teaching our students. And we wonder why our schools suck. Until we address this issue, the sweeping reforms will all end up with our schools sucking just as much.

I once told a girl that I was interested in that I wanted to be a teacher. Her reaction was totally incredulous, "why?" I think at some level teachers are seen as losers, who couldn't make it in whatever field that they teach. Sure we say their job is important, etc. etc. but few ambitious people really want to be a teacher.

I think most of the problem is money. Money provides motivation for the ambitious. Teachers salaries are based on their education and seniority. Further, it's a very safe job; it's pretty hard to get fired as a teacher. We ought to change that. Enable the firing of bad teachers, and pay the good ones more. The lure of more money may attract more ambitious types, while the risk of getting fired may repel the losers from the profession.

I agree.
12215  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: What if Britain Succeeded in Quelling the American Revolution? on: December 17, 2006, 12:52:37 am
America eventually gains its independence Canada style? Or is it more like Ireland style?
12216  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: For Bayh Supporters, who do you support now? on: December 17, 2006, 12:44:52 am
I have always supported the high flung ideals that come out of Bush's mouth (freedom to Iraq, defeat of Islamic extremism, etc.). I just don't think he (or modern-day conservatives in general) are very good at implementing them. Ironically, it's support for what Bush says that increases my opposition to what he does.
12217  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Panel Proposes Major Changes to American Education System on: December 17, 2006, 12:40:25 am
This part of the plan seems to cater to the segment of the population who views school as free daycare. F-ck that.

Why not look at what's the best policy and not who it "caters" to? If the best policy is to start school at 3 then they should start school at 3. If it's to start school at 13 then they should start school at 13. You shouldn't oppose something just because it "caters" to something you don't like.

Quote
Anyway, it's well established that education majors as a group have the lowest standardized test scores out of any college major. Therefore, we put the dumbest people who can scrape together a college degree in charge of teaching our students. And we wonder why our schools suck. Until we address this issue, the sweeping reforms will all end up with our schools sucking just as much.

I once told a girl that I was interested in that I wanted to be a teacher. Her reaction was totally incredulous, "why?" I think at some level teachers are seen as losers, who couldn't make it in whatever field that they teach. Sure we say their job is important, etc. etc. but few ambitious people really want to be a teacher.
12218  General Politics / International General Discussion / Subversive Palestinian Cartoons Reflect New Political Introspection on: December 17, 2006, 12:34:21 am
By Scott Wilson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, December 17, 2006; Page A27

JERUSALEM The readers of al-Qurds, the leading Palestinian newspaper,
opened the opinion pages this month to a jarring sight. In the editorial
cartoon, once the daily forum for a sharp jab at the Israeli occupation,
appeared two bushy-bearded Hamas officials clutching suitcases full of cash...

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12219  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Time Person of the Year: You & Me on: December 17, 2006, 12:06:28 am
Wow. Amazing. Me. What a wonderful person. That's why so many people want to hang out with me on Saturday night. Hey, I'm the person of the year!
12220  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: If you had to pick one person.... on: December 16, 2006, 10:51:27 pm
Who is most responsible for the polarization of America?

This was a man named Eli Whitney.  Eli Whitney invented the Cotton Gin in 1793, at a time when it was becoming economically unfeasible to spend large amounts of money on humans separating cotton from the boll.  But he also invented the system of interchangible parts, which took off rapidly in England, and later in the United States, in the form of the Industrial Revolution.  Eli was the man who put Maryland and Delaware and all US states south of them on one course:  argarian libertarianism.  And he put Pennsylvania and New Jersey (with slightly colder climates) and all states north of them, on a different course:  urbanization, or wage slavery.  This made all the difference.  Climate was only a mitigating factor before Whitney.  After whitney, it was a political system.  I hold Eli Whitney responsible for Agrarian Libertarianism (and the arrested development it maintained) versus Industrial Moralism (and the movements it spawned:  prohibition of alchohol, abolition of slavery, etc.) as the one person responsible for all economic polarization in the US.  Before you dismiss this idea, thinking we have come a long way since the Oxford-educated Virginia Planter versus the New World entrepreneur of Boston, think long and hard of our political differences.  If you had to name only one person, I say Whitney is the best person to name.

By the way, this is an appropriate response to a very silly question.
12221  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: If you had to pick one person.... on: December 16, 2006, 10:39:05 pm
The idea that the American electorate is polarised is not something backed up by election results.

Now, what could be thought of as the political classes, the activists and so on... that's different isn't it?

^^^^

What happened from the 1970s to 2000s is that the political classes became more polarized. Ironically, this is what many political scientists had long called for, although it was wrapped up in the language of "responsible party government," which focuses on the rationalistic aspects of this change rather than "polarization", which focuses on the bitter, divisive aspects.

There are at least a couple of other dynamics going on. One was the excesses of the "New Left" in the late 1960s to early 1970s; the New Left deliberately chose radicalism, and in doing so they created deep wounds among many people who in later decades turned that around to attack liberals. I was a bit surprised last month at how angry I was at the protestors at Gallaudet University here in D.C., how they forcibly took over the campus without regard to any rules in a rather excessive campaign. It makes at least one understand some of the people who turned to the political right around 1970 in response to campus radicalism, if not agree with them. Unfortunately, when you behave like that you create permanent emotional scars, and now some of those people like David Horowitz can't distinguish the progressive liberalism of today from the new left radicalism of the distant past. They and their descendants are actually exposing a new generation of Americans to the bitterness that they still have left over from those days. The New Left was wrong, but the New Right that followed in the 1980s-today is wrong too. Only I think the latter has lasted much longer and been much more successful electorally. Hopefully, those people have hit their peak with their disgusting excesses.
12222  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is it wrong to question a President's decisions in wartime? on: December 16, 2006, 10:27:56 pm
No because this nation was founded on freedom of speech and it would be wrong to silence critics HOWEVER, it must be tactful and in no way to demean the President or our military.

I will also add that the same should apply in peacetime too.


What in your opinion would consititute demeaning the President?

To require that freedom of speech be 'polite' is absurd.

Exactly. And there is no reason why one should go out of his/her way to show any more politeness to a corrupt President than he/she would show to a fellow citizen.

Right on.

I don't necessarily go for those people who carry signs like "F the President". I think there are more constructive ways to briefly express dissent. But then again, I don't generally go for people who carry signs like "F [insert any American of American group]". Yes, that's political correct opinion, boo hoo. Roll Eyes
12223  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Panel Proposes Major Changes to American Education System on: December 16, 2006, 10:03:28 pm
An ambitious proposal though quite possibly doomed to failure.

You mean absolute, positively, "death, taxes, and the failure of the 2006 New Commission and the Skills of the American workforce Comission plan" certain, failure, my name is Peter Pan, pigs fly, and killer tomatoes launch an invasion of the Seychelles certain, failure? George Washington rises from the dead just so I can have dinner with him tommorrow night certain failure? THAT certain failure?

You could be right.

Anyway, this is a good plan.
I can never be certain about anything, but I am very cynical nonetheless. >P

People tend to screw up whenever attempting to implement good plans, which is why I'm not getting my hopes up too high.

So we've screwed up civilization, eh? Tongue
12224  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Panel Proposes Major Changes to American Education System on: December 16, 2006, 09:06:56 pm
An ambitious proposal though quite possibly doomed to failure.

You mean absolute, positively, "death, taxes, and the failure of the 2006 New Commission and the Skills of the American workforce Comission plan" certain, failure, my name is Peter Pan, pigs fly, and killer tomatoes launch an invasion of the Seychelles certain, failure? George Washington rises from the dead just so I can have dinner with him tommorrow night certain failure? THAT certain failure?

You could be right.

Anyway, this is a good plan.
12225  Election Archive / 2004 U.S. Presidential Election Polls / Re: Ballot Measures on: December 15, 2006, 07:48:43 pm
Survey USA is so random. IIRC, they had most of the California ballot measures passing in 2005, while at the same time PPIC was showing wildly different results (that ended up much closer to the mark).
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