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February 26, 2017, 12:44:27 am
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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump skipping White House Correspondents Dinner on: February 25, 2017, 11:57:51 pm
I absolutely hate the White House Correspondents Dinner and think it should be abolished.

By boycotting it, Trump is just going to turn it into a horrible Internet sensation for everyone who is a self-proclaimed member of the hashtag Resistance or whatever the hell idiot left Twitter is on these days.
2  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Are religions that use military power instead of moral authority and persuasion on: February 25, 2017, 06:10:25 pm
"Gnostic" is a useless catch-all label that encompasses many wildly different and contradictory schools of thought and Gnosticism is usually loved by contrarians who love the losing side of history.

In a Gnostic world, Greatest I Am: "Today's Christianity has an elitist focus on secret knowledge and that only a select few can receive salvation through gnosis. The early Christian heresy of "Chalcedonianism" was far more progressive and extended salvation to all without access to special knowledge or study and lacks the elitist class bias of our inferior Gnostic form of Christianity."
3  General Discussion / History / Re: Why didn't the UK send troops to help Russia in 1941? on: February 05, 2017, 06:15:00 pm
Surely they could have sent them through Canada/Alaska? If Hitler had captured Moscow he would have won the war, why didn't they send reinforcements to help?

Wait, what?

You want the beleaguered and besieged British to send forces away from their island to go around the world the long way to Vladivostok and to be shipped from there to the front lines?
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Cenk Uygur launches new wing of the Democratic party on: January 25, 2017, 09:47:22 pm
If you're Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks and you need to name a faction in a political party...

How do you not go with "Committee for Unity and Progress?"

It even sounds like something that Democrats would go for.
5  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Star Wars Episode VIII will be called "The Last Jedi" your opinion of the name? on: January 24, 2017, 02:16:26 am
My guess:

Rey is the talented-yet-impatient pupil of Luke Skywalker, who now talks backwards. Luke warns her repeatedly that even though she has a powerful destiny, she cannot take on Kylo Ren, and warns her that her father was a great Jedi who fell against Kylo Ren.

Kylo Ren leads a blistering assault against the Resistance and captures Finn. In a conversation with Snoke, Ren mentions that Rey is of a mighty bloodline and destiny and would be more valuable turned than dead. Snoke agrees. Kylo Ren tortures Finn to draw out Rey.

Rey ignores Luke Skywalker's protests and goes off to confront Kylo Ren. He defeats her and reveals the truth:

"Skywalker never told you about your father."
"He told me enough! He told me you killed him!"
"No. He is your father."
"No! That's not true! That's impossible!"
"Join me and together we will rule the galaxy as first cousins."

Rey escapes, wounded, and the Resistance looks to be on its last legs. Rey has to confront that her Master Skywalker is the deadbeat father who abandoned her many years ago, and deal with her leftover anger and trust issues. Times are truly dark for the Resistance.
6  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Polyamory on: January 18, 2017, 11:06:44 pm
I'd like to observe that "consenting adults" isn't actually a complete moral argument, appealing as it is to us denizens of "I'm okay, you're okay, all we need out of life is to Be True To Ourselves" post-modernity. Substantially it's the same as "it's my First Amendment right" or "it's a free country". All it means is that what you're doing isn't a felony.

My mother had a great deal of help raising me--from relatives, friends, my godparents, social workers, and so forth--but I still suffered a great deal from not having the stability and conceptual felicity of two clear-cut parental figures. Please don't armchair diagnose what the problems with other people's childhoods were.

This is a valid point which deserves its own thread to discuss. "It shouldn't be illegal" is not at all the same thing as saying "I approve of this," and I feel that contemporary discourse tends to ignore the middle ground between those two statements.

One issue I feel this way about is gambling, for instance. I strongly disapprove of gambling. I also don't want to criminalize it.
7  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Was Judas' "betrayal" a mistranslation? on: January 16, 2017, 04:55:50 pm
Fun story:

The English word "traitor" comes from the Latin word "traditor," which literally means "one who hands over."
8  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Polyamory on: January 14, 2017, 11:38:56 pm
I have a whole host of concerns about joint property ownership and income tax filings when more than two people are joined, and especially the nature of divorce law when, say, one person leaves a four-person marriage. It would be frighteningly complex and, unlike same sex marriage, would require rewriting marriage laws from top to bottom to account for all of the scenarios.
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Favorite Poster: Best of the Best on: January 14, 2017, 01:41:18 am
The Trump phenomenon is shocking and upsets the apple cart of how we understood the world for decades. Antonio, as someone who professionally studies political science, should rejoice that he does at a time when drastic changes to the way we understand politics are occurring all over the world. There's many a dissertation in 2016.

The most compelling thing about Trump, to me, and the tipoff that he was something seriously new and dangerous, was the total freshness of his game. At a time when every Republican politician had consigned their ideology to the Ted Cruz game of a laundry list of positions they were obligated to take to be sufficiently right wing (a game that if the GOP base actually cared about it would've carried Cruz to victory), Trump threw it out the window and said what people didn't know they wanted to hear rather than what they thought they wanted to hear. I was saying at the time when everyone was freaked out about Trump blaming G. W. Bush for 9/11 and Trump saying that John McCain wasn't a hero and so on that it wasn't going to hurt him at all, and I was right about it. The American voter is thicker-skinned than anyone imagined, and you can literally insult the Pope like Trump did if you do it with sufficient conviction.

Hillary Clinton, the most calculated and artificial politician in America, was the exact wrong alternative to Trump (though I don't think a naive crank geriatric from Vermont would've been a significantly better choice).

EDIT:

We are about to see vivid, real-time proof how how weak, institutionally, the United States is, and how its institutions can and have been totally subverted by a demagogue.

Even if Russia did release a video of Donald Trump masturbating to Russian hookers urinating on President Obama's bed, Donald Trump will still be our president four years from now and would almost certainly give a speech in which he remarked about how large his penis was in the video. Total shamelessness and ability to just keep trucking through any negative consequence no matter how awful it looks makes Trump formidable in a way we haven't seen in this country before, and I take this seriously. NOTHING you get on Trump will ever make him resign or make the GOP Congress, who are petrified in terror of him, impeach him. The only way to beat Donald Trump is to get far, far more votes than he does.
10  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Favorite Poster: Best of the Best on: January 13, 2017, 11:08:31 pm
He was one of those awful semi-ironic left-wing T***p supporters back in the day.

Really?  I actually don't remember that at all.  IIRC, he was posting very little during primary season, and I don't remember him commenting on Trump.

I remember an IRC chat in which he said that very explicitly (along with, sadly, Gully, whom undoubtedly should have known better). I also note he hasn't denied it.



My biggest regret of the 2016 election season was letting the debates and Trump's tape leaking in September talk me out of my long-standing belief that Trump was a strong candidate who was going to seriously challenge, if not beat, Hillary Clinton.

My proudest moment of the 2016 Presidential campaign was seeing Donald Trump in August of 2015, deciding "He's a winner," and sticking through that for months on end while everyone was saying I was trolling or being stupid for thinking that Trump could actually win. Including for that week after Iowa when everyone said he was toast. I believed in Donald Trump's ability to win the nomination wholeheartedly, and I just wish I had kept a similar belief through the general election and not let myself be talked out of it.

I still feel proud that I called that primary when so many people here were left looking like idiots for saying that there was no way that Donald Trump would win.
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Favorite Poster: Best of the Best on: January 13, 2017, 09:52:34 pm
I still think Mikado is an underappreciated Atlas gem.

Really? I think he's overrated. He was one of those awful semi-ironic left-wing T***p supporters back in the day, which to me is the strongest indicator of intellectual shallowness.

I'm not sure I'd agree with the description of me as "left-wing."
12  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Which religions seek to actively convert people (besides Christianity & Islam)? on: January 13, 2017, 08:50:32 pm
...that doesn't make any sense. At all. I can't quite figure out that process of thought in worshipping that religion's God but not converting.

Actually kind of leads into why I'd never be a member of a non-prosyletizing religion, it violates my logical standards. If something is true for me it must be true for everyone.

It makes perfect sense.  Traditional Jewish logic is that the Jews have a contract with God in which they perform extra obligations in return for a special status (with brutal severance terms for the Jews if they don't hold up their end of the bargain: see Deuteronomy...like all of it). Non-Jews are outside of the contract. They're welcome to worship and follow God (and even in the Bible you find pagans like Balaam who end up worshipping God) but none of the obligations of Jewish law apply to them because they are outside of God's deal with the Jews.
13  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Which religions seek to actively convert people (besides Christianity & Islam)? on: January 12, 2017, 10:26:38 pm
Judaism is basically a religion only for Jewish people. Jews acknowledge most of Jewish law doesn't apply to outsiders, and that outsiders can still find favor with God without converting (law of Noah).
This may be true (though not only can non-Jews "find favor with G-d" by keeping the Noahide laws, they are actually supposed to keep them), but let's not forget we say this in Aleinu three times a day (bolded emphasis by me):

"Therefore we put our hope in You, Hashem our G-d, that we may soon see your mighty splendor, to remove detestable idolatry from the earth, and false gods will be utterly cut off, to perfect the universe through the Almighty's sovereignty. Then all humanity will call upon Your Name, to turn all the earth's wicked toward You. All the world's inhabitants will recognize and know that to You every knee should bend, every tongue should swear. Before You, Hashem, our G-d, they will bend every knee and cast themselves down and to the glory of Your Name they will render homage, and they will all accept upon themselves the yoke of Your kingship that You may reign over them soon and eternally."

This is to say -- Judaism is not entirely like "Judaism's for Jews, and everybody else can do whatever they like." At some point in the future non-Jews are supposed to recognize G-d as the Almighty too.

Come on, David, you know as well as I do that Judaism calls on outsiders to worship Him and shun false gods at the same time they don't want the same outsiders to convert to Judaism. The religious Jewish perspective is that they have certain obligations to God as His Chosen People and non-religious Jews aren't bound by those obligations, but that those outside people can still win favor by renouncing false gods and worshiping Him.
14  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Your favourite gospel of the New Testament? on: January 12, 2017, 10:23:49 pm
Matthew.

I think it's inevitable that if you're a believing Christian you'll have a higher opinion of John than you would if you aren't.
15  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: It is unfair to accuse social conservatives of waging a culture war. on: January 08, 2017, 11:04:36 pm
As far as the bathroom issue goes, the GOP is unequivocally stirring the pot as going into the bathroom of your choice has been the status quo around the country for years. The bathroom laws are the things trying to change the way things currently are, not the people resisting those laws.
16  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Understanding Islam, and reading the Qur'an chapter-by-chapter on: January 08, 2017, 09:59:24 pm
It's a shame the Quran is organized in such a reader-hostile manner that frontloads all the difficult material. Once you get past about Sura 12 it's clean sailing, and the last 30 or so are 1-2 pages long.
17  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Mighty (or once mighty) political Parties That You Believe Will Die Soon on: January 06, 2017, 04:44:52 pm
Is the Israeli Labor Party even fair to mention at this point?
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Mark Zuckerberg 2020? on: January 06, 2017, 01:10:29 pm
So...

Mark Zuckerberg is apparently a Republican? How did we all miss this?
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: If Democrats wanted to hand a second term to Trump on a silver platter... on: January 06, 2017, 01:09:53 pm

Bush 43 was Governor of Texas, not significantly less experienced than Gore, and with Chief Exec

Gore had been a Congressman for 8 years, a Senator for 8 years, and a Vice President for 8 more years after that. He had been continuously in politics for 24 years. Bush had spent six years as Governor of Texas and, besides that, had no political experience outside of a failed house bid in 1978.
20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Border Wall Actually Happening on: January 06, 2017, 01:04:49 pm
My guess is that there'll be walls on some of the most popular border crossings, including an eventual 15-20 mile wall that actually is the 30 foot gold-plated monstrosity Trump envisions that he can point to as "My Wall" and will become a massive tourist trap/national monument for the foreseeable future.

He's not getting a 3,000 mile wall, but he very well could get "a" wall and claim victory with it.
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: TX-3: Sam Johnson retiring on: January 06, 2017, 12:58:40 pm
Totally safe R, although that district is significantly less white than it was in 2010 when it was drawn. This seat stays in Republican hands easily in 2018, though the 2020 redistricting might end up changing it from Safe R to Likely R depending on how it's redrawn.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: TX-SEN: Matt Dowd mulling Indie run on: January 06, 2017, 02:40:06 am
If he nabs the Libertarian Party line, he could hit 2-3% of the vote. As an Indie, he won't hit 1%.

His performance would largely depend on whether Cruz is cancer among moderate conservatives or not. If Cruz isn't, he's fine, but if he is, a showing of 15-30% of the vote is possible.

I want this scenario to happen both because it would make a Dem pickup possible and because I have not seen the live results of a genuine three way race (I was hoping with McMullin, but that fell through) anywhere and think it would be really cool.

Absolutely not. There is no circumstance in which Dowd gets more than 5% of the vote in this race, and I hesitate to imagine a situation where he gets over 2 or 3%. He is a nobody in terms of name id and no one in the TX GOP wants to actually give that Senate seat to the Dems, as much distaste as people have for Cruz.

Cruz may lose in the primary to someone, but if he makes it to the general Cruz will cruise.
23  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Sun Yat Sen on: January 05, 2017, 11:58:40 pm
His heart was in the right place, but he wasn't very good at what he was doing.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: TX-SEN: Matt Dowd mulling Indie run on: January 05, 2017, 10:50:25 pm
If he nabs the Libertarian Party line, he could hit 2-3% of the vote. As an Indie, he won't hit 1%.
25  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Study: ObamaCare repeal would cost $350 billion on: January 05, 2017, 10:45:39 pm
350 billion over the next decade is 35 billion a year, not 350 billion a year. Just so we're clear.
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