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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / The GOP's latest line of attack against Obama's economic policies... on: January 24, 2015, 09:03:09 pm
...is the fact that the labor force participation rate (LFPR) has declined to its lowest point since the late 1970s.

While that statement is factually true, well...I'll let Danny Vinik explain why Republicans should be careful:

Republicans still aren’t willing to admit that the economy has taken significant steps over the past 12 months, but their economic attacks on the president have shifted. No longer do they cite the unemployment rate as an indicator of the failure of Obamanomics. The new statistic du jour is the labor force participation rate (LFPR). Republicans aren’t wrong to be concerned about this number. But the reason it’s trending downward predates Obama—and the party’s newfound focus on this stat is indicative of the political problem that an improving economy poses for the GOP.

A better way to judge the labor market is the prime-age (aged 25-54) labor force participation rate. This will eliminate the effects of students staying in school longer and baby boomers retiring, since it focuses just on people in their prime working years. At 80.8 percent, the prime-age LFPR is near its lowest point since the early 1980s. As you can see from this graph, this is a long-term trend in the American economy that predates Obama. The recession may have slightly accelerated, but it certainly didn’t start it.

This tells us that there is some other structural reason—one not related to the underlying economic conditions—that has caused working age Americans to drop out of the labor force over the past few decades. In December, the New York Times investigated this question by looking at a similar statistic, the employment-to-population ratio, which you will also now hear Republicans cite as a reason that Obamanomics has failed. The Times reports, one on men and one on women, didn’t come to any definitive answer, but it is clear that part of the reason Americans are exiting the workforce is that wages are too low for them to accept the jobs.

If Obama's economic agenda was ineffective at spurring the recovery, then yes, he should be blamed for the loss of these workers—and that’s what Republicans are trying to argue. But Obama’s economic record is quite strong, given the political opposition he faced from the GOP. Economists widely agree that the stimulus helped the economy, and Republicans hindered the recovery by using the debt ceiling as a hostage-taking device and extracting policy concessions—most notably, the sequester—that have hurt growth. (Obama erred by even negotiating with the GOP. He learned that lesson the hard way.)


In the context of a slowly-but-surely-recovering economy under the policies of a Democratic President (in spite of the other party's best efforts) , Republicans may want to avoid being too negative about the "failures of Obamanomics-if for no other reason than that of their party's chances for President in 2016.
2  General Politics / International General Discussion / ISIL reportedly claims 1 of 2 Japanese hostages beheaded in new video on: January 24, 2015, 01:19:30 pm
The Islamic State reportedly released a new video Saturday claiming one of the two Japanese captives had been beheaded and issuing new demands for the other hostage's release.

In the video, Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto holds a photo that purportedly shows the dead body of the second hostage, Haruna Yukawa. SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based organization that monitors extremist websites, said the video had been distributed across several Islamic State-linked Twitter accounts.

The Japanese government said it is seeking to verify the video, BBC reported. A government spokesman called the apparent execution of Yukawa "outrageous" and "unacceptable," Reuters reported.

The video could not be independently verified. SITE has reported on several Islamic State videos in the past that proved authentic. Kyodo News agency reported the same video had been e-mailed to the wife of one of the hostages.


3  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Saudi King Abdullah has died on: January 23, 2015, 12:18:40 am
I was a little earlier reading an article in the Washington Post that pointed out that Salman is himself not in the best of health:

The monarch, believed to be 90, was succeeded by his brother, Crown Prince Salman, according to state television. That put the region’s most important Sunni power and America’s closest Arab ally in the hands of a 79-year-old who is reportedly in poor health and suffering from dementia.

I am not by any means a fan of the House of Saud and the state they helm. Indeed I'd say it's one of my least favourite regimes if not right at the top (behind the terrorist Italian colonial entity, of course) for a number of reasons; their fanatical Wahhabist sect of Islam which they've spread around the world to catastrophic effect, destablising literally dozens of countries, including most of those I feel attached to; the repressive and regressive rules that sect imposes; their racist treatment of Africans and meddling in our affairs. I could go on and on.

But the fact is that Abdullah was a leader who made positive changes, while from all appearances facing serious resistance from fundamentalist clerics in even the most inoffensive changes. I'm not going to praise him as some progressive reformist, but considering the catastrophic effect Saudi-backed Wahhabism has had on our world, they were positive steps all the same.

I'd honestly admit to believing that I'd have a decided sense of schadenfreude if Saudi Arabia were to fall to pieces, but for the very same Wahhabism that so menaces us. When one of the "better" outcomes in such a scenario is the total implosion of the country and the formation of an Iranian-backed Gulf Shia state (as opposed to the emergence of a more conservative regime that would make the present one seem as liberal as the Shah's by comparison, which would be a very real possibility in such a scenario), one is sort of obligated to wish them well.

Thoughtful, well-considered post, Simfan. Thanks!
4  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 2016 Presidential Election on: January 23, 2015, 12:09:05 am
I live in California. No one cares about my vote.
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Would Bushie be better off if he was a Scientologist? on: January 23, 2015, 12:06:01 am
6  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: How would you have voted in the preceding election? on: January 23, 2015, 12:04:33 am
Angela Alioto.

7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Describe a Potential Romney 2012/Hillary 2016 Voter on: January 22, 2015, 11:59:06 pm
The problem is that you can pretty much find ~10% of every demographic voting the opposite way you'd expect them to.

For example: Black Republicans.

8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Which city is deader for the GOP: Chicago or San Francisco on: January 22, 2015, 11:44:03 pm
Wealthy white well-educated urban folks tend to vote Democratic;

^^But not nearly to the extent that urban working-class (especially non-white) voters are Democratic.
Also, a lot of well-educated Americans (particularly in large metropolitan areas-i.e. those very friendly to the Democrats- where there is a lot of competition for higher-paying jobs/the kind of jobs that require a Bachelor's Degree or higher) are not wealthy. Many (particularly but not exclusively the younger ones) work in service-sector type jobs that they are overqualified for (in terms of educational attainment, at least). Those urban residents who are younger, highly educated, less economically secure, and more transient than most other groups would vote very heavily for the Democrats, I suspect-to the extent that they vote at all, of course.
9  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Saudi King Abdullah has died on: January 22, 2015, 08:00:49 pm
He was ill since he took power.

Ah, somehow I didn't realize that. I mean, I'm not totally surprised, but considering how incapacitated Fahd was toward the end of his reign....Tongue
10  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Saudi King Abdullah has died on: January 22, 2015, 07:46:55 pm
Wow, didn't know he was ill.

11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: CA Senate General Election Mock Poll on: January 22, 2015, 03:21:56 pm
Harris, Nor Cal represent.

Besides every other actor/actress sent to Sacramento/Washington has been a disaster anyway.

I agree. Those Hollywood liberal elitists like Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger have been ruining our state for too long.
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Describe a Potential Romney 2012/Hillary 2016 Voter on: January 22, 2015, 02:59:06 pm
Low-information white voter
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Which city is deader for the GOP: Chicago or San Francisco on: January 22, 2015, 02:53:29 pm
I agree with virtually everyone when they say San Fran. Chicago (the city) is reflexively Democratic and San Fran is reflexively liberal... so as long as the Dems are the liberal party... then, yeah. But, yes, the issue is the suburbs. The San Fran suburbs are filled with wealthy, educated liberals... the Chicago suburbs are very middle-working class, white ... and prone to swing to the GOP.

The elitism your party manufactures about who its voters are is truly amusing.  The wealthiest people in Chicagoland are the ones who make the suburbs "GOP-friendly," SOMEWHAT offsetting the legions of poor people who make the city unwinnable.

If by "legions of poor people" you mean black and Latino voters (not all of whom are poor, FTR) , educated urban white liberals, as well as (to a lesser extent) working-class "ethnic" whites and pretty much everybody else in Chicago proper, than you have a point.
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Republican House continues to have excellent priorities on: January 22, 2015, 02:41:01 pm
so brave.

(Adding a link that isn't behind a paywall. - TF)

15  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Boehner flirts with treason on: January 22, 2015, 02:36:49 pm
President Obama will not meet with Netanyahu in March, out of respect for the Israeli elections.

16  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Can you see a Clinton-Bush unity ticket? on: January 22, 2015, 10:30:37 am
Funny thing is hillary is more conservative than a lot of the GOP candidates....wall street would LOVE a Hillary 2016 win.

With that said, no chance.

17  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Did Reagan run on racism? on: January 22, 2015, 01:53:51 am
In addition to what posters in this thread (including myself Tongue ) have already said, I would add that the race-based appeals were part of a broader Republican political strategy of conservative populism- a populism that was (and is) targeted to middle-class and working-class white voters, many of whom had previously supported the Democratic Party. Along with anxieties over race and crime were concerns about changing gender roles and sexual norms, resentment of liberal intellectual elites, and a growth in nationalistic sentiments regarding foreign policy and immigration. These factors are all interrelated and tended to reinforce each other.

18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Why is Appalachia voting against its own interests? on: January 22, 2015, 01:39:24 am
It seems like these states should be heavy Democrat, and in fact they were. However, charlatans like the Bushes, neo cons like McCain, and plutocrats like Romney have convinced these individuals that "tax cuts and Reaganomics" will save them, when most of Appalachia is poor by US standards. What is going on here?

Why does CT vote against its own interests??? The arrogance of the left to know what people's interests are in astounding.

IIRC, Romney won the wealthiest areas of CT (Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, etc.) by fairly large margins. The New England country-club Republicans are still around.
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Challenging the notion that Vermont was always left wing on: January 22, 2015, 01:36:42 am
Keep in mind that Vermont was, for a long time, a mostly rural/small-town place dominated by Yankee Protestants who were deeply moralistic. That moralism carried over to their politics. Lots of Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, etc. who contributed to the state's Republican dominance; and within the dominance of Vermont's GOP was a spectrum of positions on the issues of the day (many of which would not be familiar to modern observers).

So yes, Vermont was not always left wing.
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Booker vs. Paul 2020 on: January 22, 2015, 01:29:40 am
Obviously the heroic Libertarian Republican will win against the Wall Street Democrat.

21  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Did Reagan run on racism? on: January 21, 2015, 05:26:45 pm
That's stretching pretty pathetically thin to say "reducing spending" is racial code. Might as well just say being a Republican automatically makes you a racist.

I agree, if you take what I said completely out of context. We're talking about white Southerners who voted for Reagan, who talked a lot about fictional welfare queens from Chicago (gee, I wonder why?) and who launched his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, with a pro-"States Rights" speech. Coming off the heels of the 1960s and 1970s, when poor black people were implicated (rightly or wrongly) in urban crime and rioting and when many white Americans were angry at "welfare cheats" (and welfare is highly racialized in our political discourse), I think it's being naive and obtuse to say that there wasn't at least some exploitation of white racial resentment by the Republican Party in that time.
22  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Did Reagan run on racism? on: January 21, 2015, 05:13:29 pm
Uh, there's a reason "Reagan Democrats" were a thing.

Race played a PART in Democrats voting for Reagan but certainly not all of it.  Many were socially conservative (and apparently finally willing to give the pro-business GOP a try) and were attracted to Reagan's foreign policy ... not to mention disillusioned by Carter.

Also, as I said earlier, Reagan's worst region in 1980 was the Deep South, and though he did very well there in 1984, he ALSO did very well everywhere else, too.  Not seeing the clear correlation between racists leaving the Democrats and getting Reagan his victories.

While I agree with you that Reagan's natural base of support wasn't really in the South (more like the Southwest, if you consider suburban Southern California to be Southwestern Tongue ), he did expand and update Nixon's Southern Strategy with appeals to racist sentiments-though these tended to be coded in the language of "states rights" and "reducing welfare/government spending." Racism need not be explicit or obvious a la George Wallace in the 1960s.

And keep in mind that the Deep South still had a lot of black and poor white voters who remained loyal to Favorite Son Carter (though the latter-I suspect-went heavily for  Reagan in 1984). The broad middle and upper classes of Southern whites that were emerging in the growing suburbs of the South were-and are-extremely conservative.

By the end of the 1980s, the Democratic Party was hemorrhaging voters in the South, particularly in presidential elections but also (increasingly) in congressional elections. Even in the 1990s when Arkansas Favorite Son Bill Clinton appealed to a lot of poorer and working class white voters ( in the Upper South and parts of Appalachia), the South continued on its march to the GOP. It would take adopted Texan George W. Bush to seal the deal.

tl; dr the South's shift to the GOP has been a long, complex process. Opposition to the Civil Rights movement certainly played a significant part, as did the rise of the Religious Right (white evangelicals-in the South and elsewhere-becoming more politically involved in Republican politics). Reagan had a key role to play as well at a crucial point in this process-which did involve (mostly coded) appeals to racism.
23  General Discussion / History / Re: Jimmy Carter in the american political spectrum on: January 21, 2015, 04:56:58 pm
^Modern connotations of ideological terms really don't apply to the Progressive Era. There were plenty of Progressives who could be called "conservative" in the sense that they wanted to preserve and strengthen the American social, economic, and political systems for the long term. That goes for Progressive members of both parties during that era, actually.

Remember, this was a time with a growing Socialist Party and other radical movements challenging the dominance of America's ruling institutions. Meanwhile, you had people in that era like William Jennings Bryan, who was both an agrarian economic populist (to the extent that a Democrat was, of course) and a Protestant fundamentalist. Hard to imagine someone like that in America today, in today's political world.

Woodrow Wilson, for what it's worth, was heavily influenced by both Edmund Burke and William Gladstone.
24  General Discussion / History / Re: List of pro life\pro choice presidents/vice presidents on: January 21, 2015, 04:47:38 pm
Taking modern biases out of it, I'm surprised the two parties reacted like they did to this issue ... As another poster already said, I could easily see a scenario where conservatives got behind a "keep the government out of our bodies" POV and liberals got behind a "save the poor fetus who needs our help" POV.

The outsized presence of wealthy white Protestants in the movements for birth control of the late 19th/early 20th centuries has some implications that are...um, concerning?

25  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Gully Foyle on: January 21, 2015, 04:43:53 pm
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