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March 28, 2015, 12:46:42 pm
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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Should the House of Representatives be increased in size? on: Today at 12:32:40 am
750 or so Reps would make a lot of sense. It might also make the pill of Puerto Rican statehood and DC representation go down a bit easier if other states aren't losing seats to accommodate them.
2  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Can someone have faith in a personal god and still lead a scientific life? on: March 27, 2015, 09:34:08 pm
Science is a profession, not a lifestyle. I don't understand what a scientific life is but it sounds dreadful.
3  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Saudi Arabia and GCC allies bombing Yemen on: March 27, 2015, 11:45:59 am
Of those ten countries, the only significant ones that are close enough and powerful enough to be relevant are S. Arabia and Egypt. Pakistan is too far away and the Gulf States can provide financial support, but KSA and Egypt would do the heavy lifting.

Honestly I like the Houthis' chances of holding Yemen unless Egypt is serious about helping the Saudis in more than a token way.
4  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: What ideological labels would you use to describe your politics? on: March 26, 2015, 09:30:10 pm
General distaste for all intellectual projects to recreate society.

What counts as an "intellectual project to recreate society"? Is it better to perpetuate the mistakes of the past, and leave things broken, because to do otherwise would be to "recreate society"?  Even if doing so in actuality pledges your fealty to a previous such intellectual project?  Even if inaction has victims– real living, breathing victims– of its own?

Most movements don't actually consider the human costs of disruption of norms on actual living, breathing people, for whom such disruptions are not statistical aberrations but real crises with real consequences. Inaction is always easy to measure and quantify, action is trickier to justify or examine because those policies have not yet actually been instituted.

To take one example, it is easy to call for "saner" environmental policies, but to what degree can we be sure that the (real) harm caused to future generations by climate changes outweighs the (equally real and immediate) harm to those whose livelihoods are dependent on producing coal, oil, and natural gas, or to the massive costs needed to renovate the power grid, or to the extra expense of transportation to those struggling to get by as is? We cannot quantify the harm of inaction over the next century, so how do we know the consequences of global climate change then outweigh the costs of action now? This bias of action or just doing something to look like you're doing something over the alternative solution of actually weighing whether the consequences of inaction outweigh the consequences of action is very distasteful.

Given that action generally takes more effort and resources and involves more disruption than inaction, the standard of proof that action is justified is much higher.

Is there any space in your worldview to try and make the world a better place (in full knowledge that success is never guaranteed)

Of course the well-being of people can be improved by the efforts of other people. I'm distrustful of any attempts to do that on a systematic level. You improve people's lives by covering for your coworker when she goes to take her kids to the doctor or by volunteering at your local food bank. That doesn't make the world a better place, though. The world is neither good nor bad, the world simply is. You can make other people's lives more pleasant and your own more pleasant by extension, though.
5  General Politics / Economics / Re: The 10 Greatest Economists of all time in no order on: March 25, 2015, 09:10:53 pm
I love how half of this thread are posting 18th-19th century philosophers who are world famous and half of this thread are posting actual economists that no one has heard of. It does really show the split between popular economics and...well...economics.
6  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: What ideological labels would you use to describe your politics? on: March 25, 2015, 05:20:28 pm
Cynicism.

Distrust of systematic ideology. Sympathy for those actual people who are victimized in the name of the People. General distaste for all intellectual projects to recreate society.
7  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Jewish Internet Defense Force on: March 24, 2015, 11:29:44 pm
Eh, bedstuy's ok.
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Will Cruz Win Any Primaries or Cauci on: March 24, 2015, 08:07:30 pm
The plural of caucus is not cauci.
9  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Post & Discuss Google Ngrams on: March 23, 2015, 11:13:10 pm
Octopuses vs Octopi vs Octopodes
10  General Discussion / Alternative History / Article V Convention in 1910s over 17th Amendment on: March 23, 2015, 10:31:22 pm
Let's say that the Senate remains intransigent and refuses to sign onto the 17th Amendment and direct election of Senators. The massive public movement leads to the calling of an Article V convention over the issue in 1912, for which each state legislature nominates delegates and which meets in 1913. Of course, once a convention is called, theoretically the entire document is up for grabs. Would there be major structural changes? Say, some new language dealing with the status of the Philippines and other US overseas territories, or some addressing of Jim Crow (with the Southern narrative at its post-Civil War high-point, could Jim Crow be enshrined in the Constitution?). Would the Constitution of 1913 remain like the Constitution of 1787 but including direct election of Senators, or would it be a fundamentally different document due to either Progressive reformers or Southern white supremacists?
11  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Election night 2016:Ted Cruz declared the winner. What is your reaction? on: March 23, 2015, 03:43:26 pm
Brace myself for a few weeks of ribbing from Republican friends and get on with things. I actually prefer being in opposition, anyway, it'd be a nice change of pace from the past six years.
12  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Should Germany pay Greece reparations for World War II? on: March 22, 2015, 03:11:39 pm
What is this question?

The imposition of any indemnities should have been done in 1945 as part of the peace treaty. I doubt I would object to indemnities in that context (East Germany's role as a satellite/buffer zone for the USSR and the similar role for West Germany and NATO and the resultant costs of subsidizing those foreign armies are a de facto reparation of sorts anyway). The imposition of new indemnities 70 (!) years later is absurd and immoral.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Cannabis '15: The Long Wait Until 2016 on: March 22, 2015, 01:20:05 pm
Ten companies in Ohio are collecting signatures for a ballot measure there that would legalize marijuana...sold by those ten companies. This official state weed monopoly measure will be interesting.
14  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: Gulf War: Iraq invades Saudi Arabia right after invading Kuwait and succeds on: March 22, 2015, 10:48:56 am
There's a pretty massive desert between the most populated parts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. I could see big chunks of the coast of eastern Saudi Arabia occupied by the Iraqi army, but I don't see how the Iraqi army takes Riyadh in six weeks, let alone the Hedjaz.


Saudi Arabia had a really weak military in 1990 . All Iraq needs to do is blitzkrieg and they reach the capital and force the Saudi Government to run away like France in 1940. Iraq had a military over one million men who were very ruthless and evil which would stop the Saudis from forming an insurgency of so they possibly can hold Saudi Arabia. There's no doubt they will get Crushed by the Americans though once the US comes and Saddam is probably disposed in 1991 and taken to the Hague and convicted for War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity . I just want to know what would happen to the things I stated.

All Iraq needs to do is blitzkrieg? How does that work? The incredibly harsh desert between Iraq and Riyadh would be hell on Iraq's tanks (sand jamming the gears), especially if there's a sandstorm that grinds them to a halt. The logistics of running a supply line through to support food and especially water to soldiers on the front line are unimaginably complicated. All the Saudis would have to do is sabotage the highway between Dammam and Riyadh and there's no reliable way to drive west into the heart of Saudi Arabia except through hundreds of miles of deep sand.
15  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: Gulf War: Iraq invades Saudi Arabia right after invading Kuwait and succeds on: March 22, 2015, 12:33:01 am
There's a pretty massive desert between the most populated parts of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. I could see big chunks of the coast of eastern Saudi Arabia occupied by the Iraqi army, but I don't see how the Iraqi army takes Riyadh in six weeks, let alone the Hedjaz.
16  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: Plausibility of this scenario... on: March 19, 2015, 11:34:23 pm
Ernest, while you're right that Congress shot down the proposals to acquire the Dominican Republic and then St. Thomas, President Grant was totally gung-ho about both about the potential for having forward naval bases in the Caribbean in the event of a war with the UK. The worry about the Dominican Republic in Congress was mostly racial because of the size of the territory and the inevitability it'd eventually be a state, a majority-"black" state (yes, Dominicans aren't generally considered black today). Guadeloupe and Martinique are small enough that statehood would never be a question (until the acquisition of the rest of what is now the USVI as one unit).
17  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Israel General Election Thread: March 17 2015 on: March 18, 2015, 10:16:13 pm
Jewish Home seem to be the most over represented amongst these votes, getting almost double.

Voters who voted before the last-minute swing to Likud?
18  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the U.S. education reform movement on: March 18, 2015, 07:40:44 pm
As a general rule, I've become very skeptical of anything that has "reform" in the name.
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Israel General Election Thread: March 17 2015 on: March 18, 2015, 05:43:19 pm
You can also view them as the flip side of the coin from Yesh Atid, a secular-interest party ready to go along with either side (though less so now that Lapid detests Netanyahu). In the coalition-forming Labor or Likud can get either YA or Shas/UTJ and its pick colors policy on things like the draft question (should Haredi yeshiva students be drafted?). The comparison with things like Swedish-interest parties in Finland and Hungarian-interest parties in Romania is spot-on. Voting for them is brilliant if you're agnostic on whether the left or right rules but want the new government to respect your issue.
20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Israel General Election Thread: March 17 2015 on: March 18, 2015, 12:00:54 am
Again, what gets to me isn't so much Netanyahu's hawkishness in general as the specific fact that a major plank of his platform is, essentially, outright refusing to try to take advantage of a situation that could, if played right, give him a fighting chance of finally putting his country at peace. How come this man has yet to be run out of the Knesset on a rail?!

I think we have to question whether a plurality of Isreali people care about that.

I have to believe that a plurality of Israeli people would rather live in a democracy at peace than a hybrid regime at perpetual war. I have to.

You have heard the old saying that Israel wants three things: the West Bank, its status as a Jewish state, or democracy, and it can have any two of those? The saying is older than I am and hackeneyed as it is, there is a lot of truth in it. Israel has made it clear that the West Bank is one of its choices.
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Israel General Election Thread: March 17 2015 on: March 17, 2015, 05:27:26 pm
After he cannibalized his partners like this, I have to imagine that Lieberman and Bennet are fuming about Netanyahu. It'll be an awkward coalition.
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Mitt Romney to Fight in Boxing Match Against Evander Holyfield! on: March 16, 2015, 10:59:39 pm
All is forgiven.

Romney 2016.
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: "America's anti-liberal myth" on: March 16, 2015, 10:41:13 pm
It's always hilarious when people can't come to terms with how the left is dead and buried along with all the other relics of the 20th century.

So you're saying that the right has won, now and forever? That there's no point in trying liberal campaigns?

No, I'm saying that the traditional ideas of the left are dead and buried. I'm not ruling out a new ideology rising up as a competitive challenge to the current intellectual hegemony of neoliberal economics (besides the nihilism of the vulgar right, which the last few years have proven is not a majority voice), but I have no idea what that new ideology will be.

EDIT: To clarify, deindustrialization from the 1970s to today has utterly eviscerated the ideological podium on which the old Left stood.

EDIT 2: If it makes more sense, mass unionization and politics based on the interests of industrial workers, miners, etc. coming back will happen about the same time as disco and bell bottoms.
24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: "America's anti-liberal myth" on: March 16, 2015, 08:50:53 pm
It's always hilarious when people can't come to terms with how the left is dead and buried along with all the other relics of the 20th century.
25  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: U.S. senate to consider changing Marijuana status from Class 1 to Class 2 on: March 16, 2015, 05:45:01 pm
This issue, and legalization itself, is going to cause a lot of controversy about medicinal marijuana in a world where recreational marijuana is a thing. Is medicinal marijuana about circumventing bans on recreational marijuana by getting a prescription to go home and smoke based on some nebulous and likely fraudulent concern, or is it about giving patients with chronic pain prescriptions of cannabis pills in little orange bottles? Once we get actual, bona fide legal recreational marijuana, medicinal marijuana is going to undergo quite a crisis of image...you're not going to buy from the dispensary when you can just pick up your pot over the counter at CVS or Safeway. Medicinal marijuana for actual sick people is going to have to become a much more serious and less easygoing process.
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