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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Young Americans are dumbs on: Today at 04:17:40 pm
Much concern trolling in this thread.

Here's an opposing view:

For a document that’s had such lasting impact, “A Nation At Risk” is remarkably free of facts and solid data. Not so the Sandia Report, a little-known follow-up study commissioned by Admiral James Watkins, Reagan’s secretary of energy; it discovered that the falling test scores which caused such an uproar were really a matter of an expansion in the number of students taking the tests. In truth, standardized-test scores were going up for every economic and ethnic segment of students—it’s just that, as more and more students began taking these tests over the 20-year period of the study, this more representative sample of America’s youth better reflected the true national average. It wasn’t a teacher problem. It was a statistical misread.

The government never officially released the Sandia Report. It languished in peer-review purgatory until the Journal of Educational Research published it in 1993. Despite its hyperbole (or perhaps because of it), “A Nation At Risk” became a timely cudgel for the larger privatization movement. With Reagan and Friedman, the Nobel-Prize-winning economist, preaching that salvation would come once most government services were turned over to private entrepreneurs, the privatizers began proselytizing to get government out of everything from the post office to the public schools.

Corporations recognized privatization as a euphemism for profits. “Our schools are failing” became the slogan for those who wanted public-treasury vouchers to move money into private schools. These cries continue today.

The Myth Behind Public School Failure

2  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Lesbian Sex Scenes on TV! on: April 22, 2014, 07:29:26 pm
Quantitative differences can be more than large enough to be important. The quote also specifies 'dominant heterosexual', which I think one could be forgiven for thinking is a somewhat worrying combination of attributes in a man. The use of the word 'professional' is presumably non-standard and confusing as all get-out, I'll grant that.

Just to take this discussion even more on a tangent....
No two sex offenders are exactly alike.  In fact, one sexual assault expert said that ‘sex offenders comprise an extremely heterogeneous population that cannot be characterized by single motivational or etiological factors’ (Schwartz, 1995). However, sex offenders often exhibit some similar characteristics:                        

Sex offenders are overwhelmingly white males.  Nearly 99% of sex offenders in single-victim incidents were male and 6 in 10 were white (Greenfeld, 1997).    
Most sex offenders were not sexually or physically abused as children.  In one study of 114 convicted rapists, 91% denied experiencing childhood sexual abuse; 66% denied experiencing childhood physical abuse; and 50% admitted to having non-violent childhoods. (Scully, 1990).

Men are more likely to commit sexual violence in communities where sexual violence goes unpunished. (National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2004).    
Sex offenders minimize their number of victims. Speaking with 99 male sex offenders, court records showed 136 victims between them, but later during treatment, they eventually confessed to 959 victims between them (Slicner, 2007).                  
Sex offenders are experts in rationalizing their behavior. (Slicner, 2007)      
There is no “typical profile” of a rapist.  Many defense attorneys will talk about whether their client, the alleged assailant, either fits the profile of a rapist or doesn’t.  This is an invalid argument because there is no typical profile of a rapist.  This is why it is good to focus on that person’s behavior instead of who they are in their community (Maas, 2007).

more: http://sapac.umich.edu/article/196

Now, carry on with whatever you were talking about. Tongue
3  General Politics / Political Debate / The STEM Crisis Is a Myth (2013) on: April 22, 2014, 07:09:12 pm
Old article (August 2013), but still fairly relevant (I hope??)

... it is difficult to make a case that there has been, is, or will soon be a STEM labor shortage. “If there was really a STEM labor market crisis, you’d be seeing very different behaviors from companies,” notes Ron Hira, an associate professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, in New York state. “You wouldn’t see companies cutting their retirement contributions, or hiring new workers and giving them worse benefits packages. Instead you would see signing bonuses, you’d see wage increases. You would see these companies really training their incumbent workers.”

“None of those things are observable,” Hira says. “In fact, they’re operating in the opposite way.”


Clearly, powerful forces must be at work to perpetuate the cycle. One is obvious: the bottom line. Companies would rather not pay STEM professionals high salaries with lavish benefits, offer them training on the job, or guarantee them decades of stable employment. So having an oversupply of workers, whether domestically educated or imported, is to their benefit. It gives employers a larger pool from which they can pick the “best and the brightest,” and it helps keep wages in check. No less an authority than Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, said as much when in 2007 he advocated boosting the number of skilled immigrants entering the United States so as to “suppress” the wages of their U.S. counterparts, which he considered too high.

Governments also push the STEM myth because an abundance of scientists and engineers is widely viewed as an important engine for innovation and also for national defense. And the perception of a STEM crisis benefits higher education, says Ron Hira, because as “taxpayers subsidize more STEM education, that works in the interest of the universities” by allowing them to expand their enrollments.


Emphasizing STEM at the expense of other disciplines carries other risks. Without a good grounding in the arts, literature, and history, STEM students narrow their worldview—and their career options. In a 2011 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Norman Augustine, former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, argued that point. “In my position as CEO of a firm employing over 80 000 engineers, I can testify that most were excellent engineers,” he wrote. “But the factor that most distinguished those who advanced in the organization was the ability to think broadly and read and write clearly.”

Source: http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/education/the-stem-crisis-is-a-myth

Curious to see what the forum thinks on this issue....
4  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Do women have lower incomes (on average) because of discrimination? on: April 22, 2014, 11:43:03 am
Anyway, while I wouldn't point to this discussion as an example of such, "illiterates" can and often do have valuable insights to contribute. It is brutish and idiotic to dismiss them simply because they don't use language in a way that you deem acceptable.

Yeah, it's not like attempting to enforce a certain linguistic "rule" for all people to follow has ever led to problems at any point in world history....
5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / The Long Con: Mail-order conservatism (by Rick Perlstein) on: April 21, 2014, 02:51:37 pm
This article appeared in late November of 2012, but if you haven't read it already...

An excerpt:

The lists got bigger, the technology better (“Where are my names?” he nervously asked, studying the surface of the first computer tape containing his trove): twenty-five million names by 1980, destination for some one hundred million mail pieces a year, dispatched by some three hundred employees in boiler rooms running twenty-four hours a day. The Viguerie Company’s marketing genius was that as it continued metastasizing, it remained, in financial terms, a hermetic positive feedback loop. It brought the message of the New Right to the masses, but it kept nearly all the revenue streams locked down in Viguerie’s proprietary control. Here was a key to the hustle: typically, only 10 to 15 percent of the haul went to the intended beneficiaries. The rest went back to Viguerie’s company. In one too-perfect example, Viguerie raised $802,028 for a client seeking to distribute Bibles in Asia—who paid $889,255 for the service.


In this respect, it’s not really useful, or possible, to specify a break point where the money game ends and the ideological one begins. They are two facets of the same coin—where the con selling 23-cent miracle cures for heart disease inches inexorably into the one selling miniscule marginal tax rates as the miracle cure for the nation itself. The proof is in the pitches—the come-ons in which the ideological and the transactional share the exact same vocabulary, moral claims, and cast of heroes and villains.

and another:

Either deliberately or through some Reaganesque slip of the unconscious, Romney’s stump confabulations worked the same way that those legendary Viguerie direct-mail appeals did: since reality is never Manichean enough, fables have to do the requisite ideological heavy lifting—to frighten the target audience to do the fabulists’ will. That’s the logic of the pitch for the quivering conservative masses.

Full article here: http://www.thebaffler.com/past/the_long_con/
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Will an Establishment or Insurgent candidate be nominated by the GOP? on: April 21, 2014, 02:41:34 pm
Establishment, because that's where the money is (Except the Koch money of course).

...there's plenty of money in the right-wing pseudo-grassroots infrastructure that has been built up over the last half-century. And a lot more votes.
7  Forum Community / Forum Community / Who here has political ambitions? on: April 21, 2014, 02:28:35 pm
Interested to see how this turns out....
8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The words of wisdom/lessons for life thread on: April 21, 2014, 02:21:05 pm

9  Forum Community / Forum Community / The words of wisdom/lessons for life thread on: April 20, 2014, 08:00:18 pm
Inspired by this awesome (IMHO) post by afleitch:


Use this thread to offer some words of wisdom or life lessons, or share your life experience, or relate your perspective, blah blah etc. etc. you get the idea. It doesn't have to be super-insightful or "sage" (lol) or anything like that-just something that you have found helpful, or you have found good advice to live by (and you think others could benefit, too!).

I'll start with a simple one, if a bit of a cliche: Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Fear of failure can hurt more than failure itself, and regretting that you didn't take any chances or seize a great opportunity hurts even more.
10  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: "Grow up and start taking your life seriously" on: April 20, 2014, 07:50:12 pm
I'll let you in on a little secret.

No one grows up. Everyone has the same sense of joy and fear and ego they have had since they were first conscious of themselves. People have different demands made of them in life, some by themselves, some by circumstance and some by expectation but the idea that because you're doing something with your life someone else isn't doing doesn't mean you aren't 'growing up.' I'm not going to stop doing silly voices to my husband to make him laugh just because I'm 30.

It doesn't help of course that this forum skews young with people surrounding themselves with books and philosophies and ideas as some cloth of 'maturity' that hides a vulnerable nakedness (and perhaps even social stuntedness) that they would never want you to see. Just do what you want to do in life if it's fulfilling. Make mistakes because it makes life more entertaining. Remember life isn't something you have, it's something you do.

One of the best posts on this forum in a long time. No joke.
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Atlas Forum IRC Channel on: April 20, 2014, 05:35:33 pm
12  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Austrian teen girls secretly fly to Syria to fight in Civil War, parents shocked on: April 20, 2014, 04:14:58 pm
If they did it voluntarily, it's still "brainwashing" - because they believe the silly motives of radical Islam and think that they might have any influence in this deadly war.

People tilt at windmills for all sorts of reasons. To say that voluntarily taking extreme and quixotic actions in the service of extreme and quixotic beliefs is itself brainwashing simply because of the extremity and quixotic nature of the actions and beliefs strikes me as lazy, and something of an insult to people who actually have been brainwashed. It doesn't help give us any understanding of how these things happen or how these people think.

Stop being so reasonable, Nathan. It's unhealthy.
13  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: challenge to mapmakers - try drawing the wealthiest district on: April 20, 2014, 03:59:15 pm
I would guess that something in the SF Bay area would be the highest.

Specifically, the SF Peninsula. Tongue
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Walker not having a college degree is going to crush him in crucial swing areas on: April 20, 2014, 03:58:19 pm
I really don't see how this is a major issue.
15  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Nobody is ‘born that way,’ gay historians say on: April 20, 2014, 03:54:03 pm
While it is true the concepts of homosexuality and heterosexuality as we understand them  today are (relatively) modern and socially constructed to a considerable extent, that doesn't mean that there isn't a biological basis to sexuality or what kind of person an individual is attracted to.  

I think seeing the biological/social-or-cultural debate as "either/or" is a fallacy. Biology interacts with and influences societies and cultures, but the other way around is also true....
16  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: What are your favorite pieces of classical music? on: April 20, 2014, 03:37:17 pm
John Coltrane-Giant Steps

17  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Man who peed on Alamo outrageously given only 18 months in jail on: April 20, 2014, 03:33:35 pm
I swear to God, I thought this thread was going to be about the Bat-eater from Birmingham. And I thought, "Wow, this is really old news."
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Atlas Forum IRC Channel on: April 19, 2014, 02:39:15 pm
chat chat chat
19  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Post something you admire about the previous poster on: April 19, 2014, 11:21:15 am
He's a friendly, knowledgeable, and respectful poster, who has definitely grown a lot in his time here. Smiley
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / More than 100 hate-crime murders linked to single website, report finds on: April 19, 2014, 10:19:31 am
People charged with the murders of almost 100 people can be linked to a single far-right website, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

The White Nationalist web forum Stormfront.org says it promotes values of “the embattled white minority,” and its users include Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in a 2011 massacre in Norway, and Wade Michael Page, who shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012.

After a two-year investigation, the SPLC said (pdf) that since Stormfront became one of the first hate sites on the internet in 1995, its registered users have been disproportionately responsible for major killings. The report was released a month early after white supremacist Frazier Glenn Miller, also known as Frazier Glenn Cross, was accused of killing three people at a Jewish center in Kansas City on Sunday.

“We know that the people who are going to commit the kinds of crimes, like the kinds of crimes Miller committed last weekend, this is where they live,” said Heidi Beirich, report author and a director at the SPLC’s Intelligence Project. The report, released on Thursday, calls Stormfront the “largest hate site in the world” and “a magnet and breeding ground for the deadly and deranged.”

21  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Silicon Valley culture on: April 18, 2014, 12:26:01 pm

Tech employees represented in a class-action lawsuit against Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe petitioned US District Court Judge Lucy Koh on Thursday to allow any and all Jobs-related evidence discovered in the course of the trial to be admissible in their ongoing fight with the tech giants, according to Reuters.

The move comes after the four companies asked Judge Koh to limit evidence against Jobs. The companies were fine with the plaintiffs including e-mails and other communications sent related to the alleged agreements between the firms, but not comments made in ancillary sources, such as Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs.

The battle between the firms dates back to 2011 when a class-action lawsuit was launched against the four heavyweight tech firms by industry employees who claim that the companies worked together to limit employee poaching and stave off a wage war. If the class, which represents approximately 64,000 people, is victorious, the companies could be forced to pay $3 billion in damages.

22  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: April 2014 At-Large Senate Election on: April 18, 2014, 12:40:55 am

1. Alfred F. Jones of Rhode Island
2. Adam Griffin of New Brunswick
3. Lumine von Reuental of Montana
4. shua of Nunavut
5. Goldwater (Republitarian) of Delaware
23  Questions and Answers / The Atlas / Re: Petition to unban Barfbag on: April 17, 2014, 07:19:59 pm

annoying sock/troll/spammer
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: imagen if atlas foram modarn in the past on: April 17, 2014, 07:06:55 pm
imagen if atlas foram modarn in the past

guntackler start The Troubles becuse he live in Belfast

brtd aganst irelan: "irelan horrible country, no scene their."

oakval and Gully ban brtd an guntackler from IRC in 2014
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Which person in the congress has an ideology farthest from yours? on: April 17, 2014, 06:48:02 pm
>>>implying that most politicians actually have sincere ideologies>>>
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