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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Walmart Giving All Employees a Raise to $10/Hour on: Today at 01:34:48 pm
I think that the main takeaway from Mechaman's comment is the need for regional variation of minimum wages based on the local economy and cost of living. I'm hardly Mr. States' Rights, but I think the idea that it takes quite a bit more money to live in a big coastal city than it does to live in West Virginia or South Dakota is hardly controversial, and I don't see why minimum wage laws shouldn't take cost of living into account.

Yes mostly this.

Obviously, I don't support anything lower than $10/hr.  I mean I am a pretty left wing poster, but I do have an Accounting degree and I took several Economics courses.  There are some realities that we have to take into account on issues like this.

Really, we need to do more to combat the Cost of Living.  A $15/hr minimum wage won't mean much if the average rent for a one bedroom apartment is $1500/month (along with the observations of how cheaper it is to live in the South, I do not believe a $15/hr job is enough to live in some areas.  Hell, Seattle probably shoudl've gone with $17/hr).  I would support what was suggested in DC Al Fine's post about instituting a "Guaranteed Wage" by the government if necessary.  However, I do believe that there are things we can do to combat rising rent costs and the insane high cost of living in more urban areas.

I do not subscribe to ficon ideology, but that is one of the observations they have on society that I agree with.  There is something to be said about battling against runaway costs, the big debate is how we will do it.

2  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Boston Citizens vs. Harvard Faculty on: Today at 01:07:45 pm
Well, now that I have put down our resident WASP supremacist, I might as well comment further on this matter.

Obviously I would go with the first 2,000 names in the Boston telephone book.  I mean for all we know there might be several Harvard faculty from that kind of selection anyways, whereas the Harvard Faculty only guarantees that the only people who would have input are Harvard faculty.  I believe that having their knowledge is helpful, but that is not the only thing that is needed to run a society.  I feel that having all only Harvard faculty would be bad, for much the reasons that Al said plus it would accomplish nothing more than have an insulated confirmation bias among the leaders that would only end up being harmful in the long run (even the more meek among them might tend towards egotism and thus not be as receptive to the demands of the people).

Recent election results as well as referndum passes suggest that the people of Boston would not be the reactionary neanderthals that some of you suggest.

Which isn't to say there are problems with just selecting the first 2,000 people in the book whose name starts with the letter "A", which would create some resentment of course.

And also, I share a lot of TNF's sentiments on this subject.  The Ivy League's dominance of intellectual achievement and privilege is a pox on the country.  Nationalize it now and make the Blue Bloods and Lace Curtains there have to deal with the dillema of being as equal as the common working man.
3  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Boston Citizens vs. Harvard Faculty on: Today at 09:33:10 am
I'd trust some Irish Catholics from South Boston to implement a welfare state more than I would the Harvard faculty.

Those are the racist, sexist, horrible accent-having lot that I was referencing.

Say what you want to about our "lot", at least we aren't kin to a bunch of genocidal maniacs who conquered half the world in the name of "enlightenment", youse fracking racist hypocrite.

EDIT: for self righteous grandstanding.
4  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: The Devil's Parliament: An Alternate Reality UK Parliament TL by Mechaman on: March 01, 2015, 04:04:32 pm
The O'Ronan House
Leeds, The Night Before:

Shannon O'Ronan, niece of the candidate:
How long are you in town for, Uncle?
Dave O'Ronan looked at his 17 year old niece, her striking brown hair and blue eyes penetrating his, as he stood in front of the fire.
Dave: Well, just for a few days.  I fear the election results will not bode well for us.  I'd like to have enough time to show up for the necessary crowd rally, sit down in front of the family telly to watch the incoming disaster, and have my merry drink.  And yes, you are allowed to have a few yourself kid.
Shannon laughs.
Shannon: You were always my favorite uncle.
Dave: It's probably because I'm the only one who isn't shackled yet.
Shannon: Will you ever get married, Uncle?
Dave laughs.
Dave: I don't know.  Maybe someday.  But not today, no siree.  I know, I'm 37 bleedin' years old, but I still haven't felt the need to settle down.
Shannon: That Sharon certainly is a lovely woman, is she not?
Dave: Oh so you have been keepin' tabs on me have ya?
Shannon laughs.
Shannon: Well, like I said you were always my favorite.  Now how about that drink?
Dave laughs as he walks towards her, wrapping his arms around her and kissing her on the head.
Dave: Child, you sure do know how to work your good Uncle into giving you what you want.  Be thankful your mum and dad aren't here, they sure would give one hell of a lecture.
Shannon: Tis only booze, Uncle.  Lot of my friends are on weed and the crank rocks.  I wish the old people would just settle down.
Dave: So how is their trip to Africa going anyway?
Shannon: It's going famously.  I got a letter the other day.  They truly believe they are doing "god's duty" or something over there.
Dave: Well that figures.  Still holding onto their faith and "the god man".
Shannon: Uncle Dave, don't tell me you are back in your atheist phase again?  I mean, you know how much Aunt Laura hates that-
Dave: You know this family makes me laugh sometimes.  I mean, why do they think our parents were communists anyways?  Because that is what the Pope man wanted?  So fecking hilarious the lot of them.
Shannon: Oh Uncle, don't use that dirty word.  You don't want many people to hear you openly admit to that.
Dave laughs.
Shannon laughs.
Shannon: You just never take anything seriously, do ya?
The phone is ringing, Shannon answers it.
Shannon: Hello?  Oh good evenin to you too.  Oh yeah he's here.
Shannon mouths it's your girlfriend! to which Dave returns a mock grin to her before picking up the phone.
Dave: Oh hey, how're ya?
Sharon Kowalski: Hey ya handsome.  Guess where I'm at?
Dave: I love it when ya talk dirty.  Hey, are those bells I'm hearing?
Just at that moment Dave hears bells in the background, both on the phone and off it.
Sharon: OH yes, you didn't think you could get away from me that easy, did ya?
Dave: People are goina start talking ya know?  You are becoming quite bold, Miss Kowalski.
Sharon: Oi, you think that's bold fella?  Wait till you see what I am wearin!
He hears the phone slam on the other end.
Shannon looks at him excitedly.
Shannon: So, am I finally going to meet this "secretary" of yours?
Dave has this big grin on his face.
Dave: Well . . . . . .yes.  I just hope you are ready for her.
5  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: The Devil's Parliament: An Alternate Reality UK Parliament TL by Mechaman on: March 01, 2015, 03:37:38 pm
Interesting. Is Cannon a semi-parody of American "Rockefeller Republicans", or am I over-interpreting? In any case, keep it up!

No not really.  I mean yeah, Gannon (I changed it after I accidentally typed in his name like that throughout the first post, lol) is upper class but he by and large agrees with the very Conservative agenda of Thatcher (and as it is, wasn't Thatcher herself pretty pro-choice?), he just disagrees with a very few high profiles stances of the government, particularly Apartheid.

If anything I imagine him to be closer to a Goldwater type character.
6  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: The Devil's Parliament: An Alternate Reality UK Parliament TL by Mechaman on: March 01, 2015, 12:44:05 pm
Cannon Estate
Election Night 1979:

We can announce that by a more than twenty point margin, the Conservative candidate Arthur J. Cannon, has won election to represent the Bath constituency-
Gathered family and friends in room: YES!
Herbert Gannon, father of the candidate: Frank!  Round of Brandy all around the house!  This is a momentuous occasion!
The candidate stands up in the sitting room and waves his father down.
Art Gannon: Father father, no need for such extravagance.  There was no way I was ever going to lose this seat.  It's safe Conservative.  What we should really be waiting for are the other results, which by judging by our margins IT'S A LANDSLIDE BABY!  LOAD US UP FRANK!
Frank the Butler goes around filling cups to the brim as the assembled company gathers round the tv.
Announcer: though there was very little doubt of victory, the size of the margin of Gannon's victory suggests a large victory for the Conservative party later on.
Herbert: Well this is just fantastic news my boy.  Of course, after the failure that has been Callaghan, I guess it would have been insane to think otherwise.  Though after living with decades of nationalizations and and criminal taxation policies you would never know.  There are a lot of naive idiots out there after all.  Did your hear what that one man from Leeds was suggesting just last night?
Art laughs.
Art: OH yes, that the rich should get used to not keeping much money?  Yeah what a great messaging.  And that was before he went on and on about how the government should be taking over more "necessary" industries.
Herbert: Indeed.  We are being ruled by a bunch of incompetent extremists, a situation that should be rectified in a f/ew months.  With decades of experience hopefully said extremists will be limited to those areas.  We have seen the end of Hell's Parliament truly.  I for one will be glad to finally bring much of our investments home after years of exile.
Art: When even John Lennon complains about the tax policy of the country you know there is a problem.  I foresee a great new era for this country.  We will bring an era of strong yet compassionate conservatism for the masses.  I just hope that I can be a voice for reason among some of the more hardened among us.
Herbert: If you are talking about Thatcher's stance on South Africa. . . . .
Art:. . . . it damages our standing as the party of a high moral standing.  Racial segregation is a noxious policy that does not bode well for the current and future Conservative dominance.  We must convince the disadvantaged that we support the policies that will bring them out of their long cycle of dependence upon the state leviathan, or risk keeping them in Labour ranks for the unforeseeable future.
Herbert: We can't be all things to all people, Art.  We have to accept some losses among some groups while solidifying our support among others.  Like the white middle and upper classes.
Art:  Go and tell that to the O'Hallorans of the world.
Herbert laughs.
Herbert: Like I said son, you can't win them all. . . . ..
7  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: The Devil's Parliament: An Alternate Reality UK Parliament TL by Mechaman on: March 01, 2015, 11:31:46 am
The Leads:

Arthur "Art" J. Gannon (Conservative-Bath):
Born August 8th, 1948 to a wealthy industrial scion and his French socialite wife while the couple was in vacation in Normandy, Gannon grew up on the family's estate outside of Bath in the county Somerset.  Gannon graduated near the top of his class (fourth) at Oxford in 1976 and enjoyed a brief career as a barrister until he won election to represent the Bath constituency in the 1979 elections.  He has been married to Selicia (nee Meckenberg), an American doctor, since November 28, 1977.  The couple is expecting their first child to be born in October.  Ideologically, the Conservative Gannon, who beat out party favorite Chris Patten for the nomination, considers himself to be a pragmatist and "independently minded".  He has made several statements critical of the UK's relationship with South Africa, whose apartheid policies he has strongly opposed since his days at Oxford.  He is also an open social moderate, having gone on record opposing discrimination against gays and support of abortion rights.  However, on most of the other issues he considers himself "a child of the Thatcher revolution", especially on denationalization and reducing the tax burden on top earners.  He has been called "a Conservative with a conscience" by some of his Labour colleagues due to his opposition to further relations with South Africa.

David "Dave" Francis O'Ronan (Labour-Leeds West): Born January 9th, 1942 to an immigrant Irish family in Leeds, "Dave" O'Ronan grew up in a labor union household.  His father, Miles O'Ronan, was a party organizer of the UK Communist Party until 1945, when he changed membership to the Labour Party after being won over by Labour platform of that year (particularly in regards to industry nationalization).  His mother, Nora (nee Flaherty), was an Accountant who was also involved extensively with Labour Party machinations in Leeds.  Not a very gifted student in primary or secondary schooling, "Dave" was able to land a position in a local union due to the connections of his father.  Eventually ascending to the status of Vice President of the local union, "Dave" used said connections to launch his bid into politics, getting elected to the UK Parliament in 1975 representing Leeds West.  His ideology is typical of his neighborhood and he has emerged as a bitter critic of the Margaret Thatcher.  MP O'Ronan is unmarried, though there are rumors of a romantic relationship between him and his secretary Sharon Kowalski.

More will come as I go back to the drawing board for minority party figures.
8  General Discussion / Alternative History / The Devil's Parliament: An Alternate Reality UK Parliament TL by Mechaman on: March 01, 2015, 09:46:44 am
During Christmas Break I had a series of conversations with Vega about UK politics (okay it was mostly about Home Rule, but we did venture a little bit into contemporary UK politics) and it sort of stirred an interest in me in pursuing a Westmanesque timeline based in the UK after Thatcher's victory in 1979.  It will be written much in the same style as Westman, though with multiple protagonists.

I will have a few summary posts up later on describing the setup and the main character(s).


Note: If anybody wants to help me with research or corrections in the process of writing this I would much appreciate it.  Admittedly I am not greatly educated on Brit politics (especially "constituencies", lol).
9  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Most Important Election Issues in every Election Since 1932 on: March 01, 2015, 07:56:47 am
Can you add more to these
2012- Taxes , Defict

Hahah really?  I seemed to recall that the only issues that mattered was Abortion, Gay Marriage, and BENGHAZI.
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Describe a Wallace '68 / Obama '12 voter on: March 01, 2015, 07:46:25 am
A blue-collar unionized Ohio machinist who was initially afraid that civil rights would cause him to lose his job, but eventually came to his senses and realized that civil rights never harmed him. Also, as a worker at an auto-supplier, he loves Obama's auto bailouts and respects Obama for saving his job and employer.
Sommething  like this.

I really do not see the difficulty with this one.  Hell, Wallace/McGovern was a harder one.
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: In general (not just dating), do nice guys finish last? on: February 28, 2015, 10:43:45 pm
Not enough evidence to convict.  "Niceness" is an entirely subjective term.
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / Re: Between Two Majorities: 2014-2030. on: February 28, 2015, 01:50:58 pm
I just started reading this.  I am impressed.
13  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Beet on: February 28, 2015, 01:29:04 pm
Could be worse.
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Congressional Wave Years on: February 28, 2015, 08:31:35 am
Gotta love 1958. And people act like losing 9 seats is a big deal.

When you lose a majority in Senate (and most chances to regain it until 2020-2022) - it's a BIG deal...

Because gaining 4 seats is so implausible. Roll Eyes

In present political climate it will be difficult, Besides Johnson, Kirk and (IF he runs for President AND stays in that race) Rubio's seat i don't see really top-tier targets right now.  And no, i don't list Ayotte's seat or McCain's (it's Arizona after all) among them so far. If a big Democratic wave materializes - then yes.

There's no reason to think PA and NH aren't vulnerable seats. OH may be in that category too now that Strickland is running, but it's hard to tell since there's been no polls.

Democrats were rather optimistic 2 month before last November - and what happened?  And while turnout in 2016 will surely be higher, Hillary is not as good turnout motivator as Obama among core Democratic constituency - minorities. She may attract some whites, who voted Republican recently, or at least - reduce their willingness to go Republican, but that's all...

Not really. Most people knew that Dems were going to lose the Senate. The only unexpected part was the size of the wave.

Please, read DKE archives. Until early September there was almost an ironclad confidence in holding the Senate. Only Montana, West Virginia and South Dakota were considered lost then. Nobody expected Iowa and Colorado to flip, most were optimistic on Alaska and Louisiana (i will not even mention North Carolina here). May be only an Arkansas too... And Democrats expected to win Kansas and something else.

Hell, read THIS forum.  There were even several red avatars that were making fun of people who were suggesting that Democrats be cautious last season.  I myself had predicted a very mediocre result for the GOP (they did hold Kansas, Kentucky, and Georgia, but lost NC, LA (I was way too optimistic about the Dem turnout machine down there), and I think even Alaska).  When the results were coming in most of us on the IRC were like "oh sh*t oh sh*t oh sh*t" before we realized ten minutes later that yeah things weren't going to be good for the Democrats anyway.

The polls weren't conclusive either, unlike 2010 where the results were arguably a disappointment compared to the expectations and polls.  Some liberals actually rejoiced that they kept the Senate and that the Democrats "only" lost sixty something seats instead of the like 80 plus that some thought would happen.
15  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Walmart Giving All Employees a Raise to $10/Hour on: February 27, 2015, 07:14:40 am
Reading some of the posts in this thread that take the defacto "$15 an hour or bust!" line really reminds of several sayings.  The first is "this is why we can't have nice things" and the second one is something a Master of Medicine or whatever said he did not graduate college to get paid the same as a cash register at Target.

I mean, I can understand that in places like Seattle that a $12/hr job at Sonic is probably not enough to make ends meet but down here I am practically middle class and I get paid $15/hr.  If a higher minimum wage always leads to nothing but positive results, then  why don't we just go ahead and raise it to $25/hr nationwide?  Why not $50?  Why not $100?

Now, I realize this is the point where conservatives continue on with their slippery slope about how once we start raising the wage it won't stop going up, but I'm actually trying to prove a much different point here.  The first is that how much a person makes is not based on how high the dollars per hour is at their job, but the overall cost of living in their area.  Now, $8.50/hr is a really good livable wage down here. . . . . . . if you live with your parents.  I can't imagine it is a much different story elsewhere in the South or other low cost of living areas in the country.  Mind that the cost of rent down here is much cheaper than it is in very urban states.

What I'm getting at isn't that OH NO WE CAN'T RAISE IT TO $15/HR THAT IS TOO RADICAL AND SOCIALISTIC but that a raise in minimum wage is not the end all be all of solving the poverty of the working class.  It has to be complemented by other strong anti-poverty measures, namely controls on rent pricing and making college education more universal (or at least a dramatic improvement of the current loan forgiveness practices in this country).  Because as Jimmy McMillan once said "THE RENT IS TOO DAMN HIGH!"

As for Obamanations' comments, I don't imagine that a raise to $10/hr ANYWHERE in the country will just kill anyone.  Assuming a part time employee at a small store works about 25-30 hours a week and they were previously getting paid $8.50/hr before getting bumped up to $10, it's only costing the employer about $45 more a week (basically, a tank of gas for some people), and that is before we assume any effects like increased productivity or a possible increase in profit from customer sales which could make the increase in wages neglible.  Of course, I realize that most places have more than one employee working, so let's just say for the sake of argument that there are five employees.  That is about $225 extra a week, or $900 a month (which in some places is the rent some of these poor souls have to pay).  If a business owner cannot afford that they really need to look at how they are spending their other  money or rethink their purpose for being into business ownership (let's not act like people who can go into business ownership are starving here folks).

However, I would be a liar if I said I did not have reservations about raising the minimum wage across  the country all the way to $15/hr right now.  Maybe some of that is an entitlement mentality (muh degrees mang) but I also do have some legitimate worries about how it would impact small businesses used to working with a min wage that is at least five dollars lower than that.  I do not trust a lot of states to act in the best interest of working people, so I think I speak for a lot of people when I say a federal law is probably best.  However, if it were tied to the cost of living for each state instead of a uniform flat rate, at least until other mitigating factors like rent pricing, student loan debts, utilities, etc. etc. are more equalized among the states I imagine it would go a long way.  I mean I do not like it, but business owners do run a good part of our economies but many of them really do not have an infinite supply of money.  We really do need to become a more socialist like state, but Rome wasn't built in a day guys.  

The minimum wage does need to be increased, but it really needs to be done more smartly and in concert with other cost of living factors.  Especially rent pricing, which is just insane.

Just a few thoughts of mine.
16  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Elbridge Gerry on: February 26, 2015, 09:53:42 pm
I mean, even without him, the concept of gerrymandering would have come about anyway at some point.

Hell, it was happening before Gerry.  Patrick Henry and his allies used gerrymandering before it was known as gerrymandering to try to keep James Madison out of the US House of Representatives in the late 1780s.  They just didn't have an apt name for it besides "cheap politics, bro" or something to that effect.  And as it is I really do have to question exactly how bad the infamous "Gerrymander" really was.  Mind that Gerry was a Massachusetts Democratic-Republican Governor who was able for a few years to keep DR influence strong by controlling the Massachusetts State Legislature for a few years.  Reading his wiki page, it looks like the DR government in MA was able to pass laws the liberalized "religious tax laws" and he  broadened the religoius diversity on the Harvard Board of Overseers.   Considering that the MA Federalists were basically a bunch of elitist hibernophobic protestant supremacists, I don't really consider that a bad thing.  Like at all really.

I'm not so certain that the problem is gerrymandering more as it is how/where/why it's done.  Politics isn't some clean sport and people who play "fair and balanced" tend to lose out.

That combined with his earlier advocacy of the Bill of Rights (refusing to sign the Constitution until that was there) make me a defacto FF vote.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Does this forum have a tendency to feign outrage over trivial things? on: February 26, 2015, 10:46:05 am

I guess this thread is worse than the 50 threads you've made about why metal music is the worst thing in the world.

Now I wouldn't go that far.  But seriously you guys kinda need to chill the help down about some things.
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Favourite latest post by previous poster on: February 26, 2015, 08:37:00 am
Well, I just finished season 2, so it seems like the -real- stuff is about to begin. Wink

Besides a few good episodes like "Q who", the season's ending was pretty dull. The last episode in particular was an utter mockery. It's easy to see they had to rush in to complete it.

But anyway, now I'm looking to be impressed. Smiley
19  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Iggy Azalea on: February 26, 2015, 07:47:30 am
I can say that I am pretty impressed, but not really surprised, at how this thread has turned out.  Yes, leave it to the Atlas to create an Opinion Of thread about a randomass pop star and turn it into some huge tirade laden debate about society and values or whatevthefuk this is about now.

Congratulations guys.  I am sure humanity will applaud your efforts on this front for all future posterity.

EDIT: The outrage in this thread has made me rock solid.  Time to hit tumblr for some social justice porn.
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama breaking out the veto pen today for Keystone on: February 26, 2015, 07:27:26 am
This post is hard comfort for the many livelihoods that have been forever altered by said railroad collisions.  I don't mean to make judgements on your character, but I find it incredibly disturbing how in this post you almost wave off the deaths of dozens of people as collateral damage.


I wish I could be more optimistic about "railroad regulations", but so far the success of recent regulations leave me doubtful if kicking the can down the road is the right solution.

Man, just imagine if people were willing to use this sort of logic when it came to cars and trucks and buses.

People would be in the streets.  And not giving them back.

But, no, America is horrified when a freak accident happens on the rails or in the air, while the daily carnage (and let us be clear– carnage is the most appropriate word) on asphalt gets a yawn.

For the record, I don't disagree with anything you just said.  In fact I fully endorse such a behavior (as a supporter of a massive public transportation system).

Also, another ftr here, I don't want my above post to be misinterpreted as an blanket "f*** trains" post.  Trains obviously have a useful purpose in transporting people, goods, resources, etc. etc. etc. long distances.  Hell, I am not even entirely opposed to some very limited transportation of crude (ie Rome wasn't destroyed in one day).  What I am opposed to, however, is the mentality that says that expanding crude by rail is a very good thing.  It is not.  If anything it needs to be reduced (but not immediately done away with, again Rome wasn't destroyed in one day) and Americans need to get used to having more limited supplies of it (even if it means paying significantly higher costs).

So far the Democratic response has been lacking on this front.  Supporting speed limits and stronger train containers can only go so far guys.  At the very least there needs to be a significant infrastructure bill to repair/replace old and damaged bridges and tracks around the country.  About the most useful idea I can see somebody advancing in the meantime is limiting the size of crude transportations.

Just my further two cents.
21  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Abraham Lincoln vs. Franklin Roosevelt on: February 26, 2015, 01:35:22 am
In regards to the question: Lincoln (O), on the grounds that he ended a societal injustice than merely address it.
22  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Abraham Lincoln vs. Franklin Roosevelt on: February 26, 2015, 01:22:30 am
The one that ended a form of slavery rather than prolong it.

How did FDR prolong slavery?

TNF subscribes to a rather radical school of marxist thought.  If you believe that the Capitalism is inherently a promoter of the concept of "wage slavery" it would be asy to see the New Deal as a response by the capitalist supporting Roosevelt as a means of preventing a left wing/communist/socialist takeover of the country during the Great Depression (after all, there is that oft repeated tale of labor union activists and political machine leaders ominously telling Roosevelt that if he didn't cater to their demands the Commies were right behind them).
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama breaking out the veto pen today for Keystone on: February 26, 2015, 01:06:05 am
From a jobs, safety, and environmental perspective, it might actually be better to continue shipping it by rail rather than build more pipelines.

The railraod industry is booming in part because of the oil boom. Shipping drilling equipment and supplies to drilling sites, and taking the crude oil to refineries. Additionally, the new tank cars required will support thousands of good manufacturing jobs. Over the 2010 - 2019 period, the railroads are investing over $200 billion to upgrade their infrastructure, which is pretty much free (non-government) stimulus. And to my understanding, railroad employees on pretty much all levels are paid very well, and their union contracts and profit-sharing agreements mean they get big bonus checks at the end of the year and pretty solid pensions. After declining from 1947 - 1997 and flatlining, railroads have on a hiring spree (small compared to other industries, but it's still very well paying jobs) since 2007.

Lec-Megantic (SP?) and some other high-profile derailments aside, railroads might be safer and more environmental because when a derailment does happen, it's pretty hard to miss, as opposed to pipelines, which can leak significant amounts of oil before the leak is discovered and fixed, and are more insidious to the surrounding environment because the leak occurs underground and is far harder to clean up than a train derailment. It's easier to require railroad rolling stock to be stronger and safer in the event of derailments/collisions than it is to require "safer" piplines (granted, I don't know much about piplines). It's also less politically charged to regulate the railroads, not being so high-profile politically but very high-profile to all the voters who live in towns through which railroads pass.

Obviously transporting crude is an inherently risky business, and accidents and spills will occur whether we're using railroads or pipelines, but the "less bad" option here is probably railroads.

So as apathetic/lean-against as I am about Keystone, as a supporter of railroads over pipelines and trucking/cars, I guess this might be a small plus in some areas Tongue

This post is hard comfort for the many livelihoods that have been forever altered by said railroad collisions.  I don't mean to make judgements on your character, but I find it incredibly disturbing how in this post you almost wave off the deaths of dozens of people as collateral damage.

Does that make me a supporter of Keystone XL?  Hell no.  I doubt the construction of that pipeline will stop the practice of transporting crude on railways (likely they would continue that practice along with the pipeline).  Really, the amount of collisions that are happening on these railroads along with the points raised by Politicus show firstly the immorality of crude oil special interests and secondly the inherent danger posed from the transporation and production of crude oil.  Okaying the construction of the Keystone Pipeline would be like pouring gasoline on an already lit fire.

Read moar: http://stories.weather.com/boom

Just because the Keystone XL is wrong doesn't mean we should defend the status quo.  Sure, Democrats have done a somewhat good job of opposing this and this is probably one of the very few times that the President has shown some real testicular fortitude, but where the hell was their alternative to the pipeline?  I certainly haven't heard of any real alternative energy plans or serious efforts to take on big oil, besides responding to those costly oil spills after the fact.

I wish I could be more optimistic about "railroad regulations", but so far the success of recent regulations leave me doubtful if kicking the can down the road is the right solution.

Needless to say, I share Crabcake's enthusiasm.  The sooner the fossil fuels industry dies, the better.
24  General Discussion / Alternative History / Re: Westman, Part II: The Rising on: February 23, 2015, 09:08:46 pm
At another bar
Somewhere in Fairfax, VA area

Helen is looking at Westman intently.  Westman looks back at her and chuckles.
Westman: See, you come all the way down here "just to hang out" with me and are so insistent that you won't sleep with me, and then you spend a couple of minutes grinning at me like that.  Seriously babe, my townhouse is a few streets down.
Helen laughs before throwing a straw at him.
Helen: So, how many kids do you really have?
Westman pounds the table.
Westman: You sure as hell know how to pick appropriate dinner time conversation.
Helen: Sorry, I meant no disrespect.
Westman: That's quite alright.  You're being cautious.  I like cautious women.
Helen laughs.
Helen: Sh*t, you are impossible.
Westman Do you want the truth?  Well alright, I got at least six.
Helen looks thunderstruck.
Westman: Is the idea of a man using his equipment really that shocking?  I am 34 going on 35.  I've been breeding since I was like 18.  Really, I'd be surprised if there is only six.
Helen: Gee Scott, that is really high.  Have you ever heard of birth control?  Or condoms?
Westman: Condoms?!   Why don't I just wrap myself up in a sock while I'm at it?  I mean jeez woman, it is called "sex" for a reason!  I'd like to boff the woman, not a latex wrapper!  Besides, the Pope says it is like sinful to use condoms or something, and that's just good enough with me.
Westman had expected Helen to look disgusted.  But she actually looked kind of intrigued.
Helen: Forgive me for asking these questions.  It's just. . . . I can't have children.  The doctors say I have a dead uterus or something.  Whatever the case, I can't have 'em.  Kind of sucks.  You must enjoy having seeing your kids, funny I have only heard of two of them.
Westman gulps.
Westman: For good reason.  I don't really keep in contact with them.  They are under the delusion that another man is their father.  Or at least, their mothers are too ashamed to admit their origins to them.  Three of the mothers have been married since.  One of the kids lives with her grandmother.  And yet another is oprhaned.
Helen: Orphaned?  You mean. . . . . .
Westman: Her mother was a girl I knew real well in college.  We spent many nights together getting drunk and high.  This was when I was still married, so yes please go ahead with your awful judgments.  Anyways, this girl got me hooked on cocaine which I might add is a bitch to beat.  Life was hell with Catalina back then, she couldn't understand why I spent so much time at this girl's apartment and she seemed resentful of my relationship with her.
Helen laughs.
Helen: Well I could imagine!  Do you have any sense of monogamy?
Westman: Well Catalina was like all depressed and sh*t at the time-
Helen: And you think the fact that her husband was nailing half the girls on campus and spent half his time getting high might not have had something to do with it?
Westman: Well maybe you are right.  Maybe I am not some flawless human being, okay?  Everyone has needs though. . . . .
Helen: Yes, like some women need guys who don't mess around.
Westman: Did you want to hear about my kid, or provide a morality tale?
Helen: I am sorry but you make it so easy sometimes.
Westman: I guess so.  Anyways this girl, oh man she was just so perfect.  About 5'6", brunette, 115 lbs, 17, the perfect age (could've been describing me if he left out the part about her being 17).  But then she got hoked on the crack rock.  Like big time.  The baby. . . . . . had issues.  She had really bad shakes when she was younger.  By the grace of a higher power she has stopped shaking, though I wonder if she will ever nave the chance to live a normal life or if she is destined to life as an orphan.
Helen suddenly felt outraged.
Helen: Why don't you adopt her!  You have no problems with Brea staying with you!
Westman mulled over what she had said.
Westman: Catalina wanted nothing to do with the child.  She made me promise I would help fiind a place for the child and then nothing more.  The little girl just had too many bad memories for her.
Helen: And when was this?
Westman: July 1968.  Before I went to prison for assautling an officer.
Helen: And Catalina has been dead since 1970!  You seem to think romantic relationships are like a joke or something, yet you have kept to your word on this?!
Westman laughs.
Westman: Doll you make me sound so heartless.  Believe me if I could I would've taken the girl.  But, even after I got elected to the Senate, no sane orphanage would allow me to adopt any kids.  You have to remember, I have the reputation as "Senator Kiddie Lover".  Nobody will allow a man who had even consensual relations with like 17 year old girls adopt 12 year old ones.  It right pisses me off.  I would be a better father to her than the State.
In a moment that shocked Helen Brisco, Westman starts to tear up.
Westman: Life is just so f***ing unfair you know?  I went there in person multiple times.  I brought f***ing flowers too.  They only allowed me twenty minutes.  TWENTY MINUTES!  WITH MY CHILD!  And you know what she said last time?  She said that they said that I had to be dragged up there to see her?  Unbelievable!  I mean why do people do that?  I begged them to let me have her, i BEGGED THEM.
Helen reaches over the table and takes hold of his hands.
Helen: Wow, your poor baby.  I'm so sorry Scott.  I had no idea.
Westman, who was now sniffling, inadvertently started laughing.  Helen had a sudden look of disbelief.
Helen: You son of a bitch!  This was all a joke!?
Westman takes another drink as he keeps laughing himself to tears.
Westman: I'm sorry, I couldn't resist!  You are so naive you know?
Helen: So what you were saying about all those kids. . . . .
Westman:. . . . . oh yeah, I probably have a lot of kids.  I'm kind of a retrobate when it comes to safe sex.  I don't believe in the concept.  There are probably kids all over the place whose mothers are way too ashamed to admit their low roots.
Helen: So basically, if you have other kids you don't know?
Westman: Well there was this one 13 year old blonde girl who a few years back claimed I was her father.  My Senatorial staff investigated her claims and it turned out that she was just trying to extort money out of me.
Helen: People always are underestimating the youth of today.
Westman: Yes, she managed to haggle $26,000 out of me.  Truly there is no justice in this world.  Thank goodness I'm now rich and can afford having women and girls take my money.  Speaking of which, here you go.
Westman plops a stack of bills in front of Helen.  Helen looks at him oddly.
Helen: What is this for?  I told you I really didn't need-
Westman: Helen, don't bullsh*t me.  You needed the cash.  You didn't come all the way here just to see Old Scott or to jump my bones.  Sure, it's not some get rich quick scheme or something otther.  This is for Daniel, isn't it?
Helen quietly nods.
Helen: Yes, father quit funding his education.  Said that a real man would find his own means.  Daniel has always been too proud to ask me to help pay his way.  I always wanted to help him, I didn't need the extra money.  My father paid for my law school, but-well I don't think I should have this-
Westman grumbles, damn it, am I seriously going to give her money to help that SOB finish law school?
Yes I am, damn it.

Westman: No, it's yours.  Use it how you need it.  Even if it is to help. . . Daniel.
Helen:  I know you never really liked my husband Scott-
Westman: It's nothing he's done, I'm just a jealous bastard.  His schooling should not suffer because of that.  I ribbed him alot, but he seems like a really good man.
Wow, you must either really love this one or are using extremely desperate reverse psychology to get her into bed man.
Also, What.  The.  Hell.  Is.  Wrong.  With.  You?  You just gave away $15,000 of your hard earned cash to help Daniel Weathers.  Daniel.  Freaking.  Weathers.  Seriously, what is wrong with you, Westman?

Helen: I always knew you were a good man, Scott.
Helen gives him a very confused look.
Oh sh*t, did I just say that out loud?
Westman starts stuttering.
Westman: The-the-tthe doctorrrrr tthinks I might have some sort of Tourettes.
Helen chuckles.
Helen: That would explain a lot.
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of George Clinton on: February 22, 2015, 02:15:41 pm
I think I'll go with "meh ff".

He certainly wasn't a flawless individual, as some of his politicking in his elections against John Jay show.  However he was a strong anti-elitist and advocate of the common man for his time and led the fight against the elitist New York Federalist Party for a good decade and a half.
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