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March 27, 2015, 07:34:54 pm
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1  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Chuck Schumer on: Today at 03:31:24 pm
One of the worst non-Republicans in the Senate, but, like the pro-life and pro-gun Harry Reid, he'll probably do fine as Majority Leader.
2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Ithaca College SGA passes bill for online reporting of microaggressions on: Today at 02:54:41 pm
Dumb, dumb, dumb. Anyway, the "tumblr" generation is a small minority even within its own generation (they've always been around really, like redpill - but tech has given them a platform to be more visible). Polls from 2014 show 18-24 year olds actually shifting sharply Republican.

Yeah, all the fears about them eventually taking over are overstated. However, the problem is they're loud and aggressive enough to seem like a majority and cow institutions to their will, regardless of their actual small numbers.

The SGA members are elected by the student body to represent them.  Only of them voted against this. That is concerning.

To be fair, this is how deliberative bodies tend to work, particularly ones that are neither high-profile nor highly polarized. Most people will default to the principle of social proof when they lack another reference point.
3  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of this Image III on: Today at 02:02:06 pm
I would only add something that Al has already alluded to: Water shortages are energy shortages. The fact that there is an enormous amount water on the planet makes very little difference when transportation and desalination are prohibitively expensive due to energy costs. If that is the case, it may as well be on Pluto.

Then again, you can just as easily handwave away concerns about energy with glowing descriptions of the inevitable March of Progress, so I guess that it must be nothing to worry about.
4  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Reaganfan Theatre of Absurdity, Ignorance, and Bad Posts V on: Today at 01:40:51 pm
At least we see the main way forum leftists argue: insults.

This is a grossly unfair generalization. I speak only on behalf of the pro-dying of thirst faction, as you so reasonably and eloquently described us.
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Reaganfan Theatre of Absurdity, Ignorance, and Bad Posts V on: Today at 11:50:39 am
Flamboyant ignorance of this magnitude deserves recognition:

This forum hates progress, nothing new. This is of course an awesome image. Deserts used to be baron wastelands of death and now houses are built on them. Swimming pools are produced where once there was nothing but dirt and sand. Anyone who is not pro-dying of thirst would see this picture as awesome. Yes, I know Las Vegas is named for the watering hole it was but the point still stands.
6  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Libel Laws on: Today at 11:38:57 am

Comparatively speaking, at least.
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Ithaca College SGA passes bill for online reporting of microaggressions on: Today at 11:21:59 am
The "identity politics" angle on this is less disturbing than what it says about the new, infantalizing business model for prestigious and semi-prestigious liberal arts colleges. It's all the moral and intellectual coddling that $40k per year can buy.
8  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Confirmation Hearing: Talleyrand for Dep. Secretary of Fed. Elections [debating] on: March 26, 2015, 07:56:38 pm
Quote from:  Executive Order 4

Talleyrand is nominated to serve as Deputy Secretary of Elections

I hereby call this confirmation hearing to order.  The hearing will last for at least three days. You may begin the questioning now.
9  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Confirmation Hearing: Adam Griffin for Registrar General on: March 26, 2015, 03:53:30 pm
The nomination is now at a vote. (I'm starting this now so that Adam can swear in on the 28th, as soon as we are past the threshold date for Senate appointments.)
10  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Policing the Police Act of 2014 (Voting on amendment) on: March 26, 2015, 03:44:48 pm
What exactly is the problem here? If this bill were signed into law in anything even close to its present form, Atlasia would not have a functioning police force.

We who object to this bill have raised plenty of reasonable objections. Its supporters have barely responded, fits of outrage aside, and I doubt that any of them, aside from TNF (who might actually be fine with effectively disbanding all law enforcement), has actually thought the idea through. What's so unreasonable about refusing to support something this dramatic and extreme without a much better defense of it than we've seen so far? And why, Adam, are you attacking our character and motivations rather than responding to the substantive concerns that we've raised about the bill?
11  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Mid-2014 county population estimates out tomorrow, March 26 on: March 26, 2015, 02:45:09 pm
I had decidedly mixed luck playing with some of this data in Tableau. Here's a quick attempt to map percent change in population by state and by county.

Obviously the join in the county map isn't exactly a clean one. I'll attempt this again in QGIS or ArcMap later if I have some time.
12  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What Issues Is The Forum Most/Least Knowledgeable About? on: March 26, 2015, 02:01:29 pm
It's lucky that we have Marokai and Memphis and their extended travelling to the far corners of the globe to inform us about the real world out there.

I've never claimed to be an authority on much of anything. I'm just a guy with opinions I like to share with others like everyone else around here.

Presumably "real world" is a Swedish slang term for "airport lounges," unless his meaning is that having opinions worth listening to is a privilege reserved for your well-traveled betters.
13  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Policing the Police Act of 2014 (Voting on amendment) on: March 26, 2015, 01:45:20 pm
Small-government types routinely use the same anti-union argument against public workers of every stripe - teachers, administrators, garbage collectors, and even the janitors who scrub the toilets at your local high school.

I doubt that any of Labor Senator would accept this argument in those contexts. Yes, the public has a stake in how government employees do their jobs, but that does not nullify the concerns of those workers or imply that they should not have representation. And how can workers bring their concerns to decision-makers if those workers are denied the right to organize? The answer is that they cannot.

The fact that many police unions are corrupt and acting contrary to the public interest is not a sufficient reason to deny police officers their constitutionally recognized right to organize. 
14  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: What ideological labels would you use to describe your politics? on: March 26, 2015, 01:23:21 pm
Social liberalism and conservationism. Maybe bioregionalism is a better way of putting it, but I don't really know enough about green politics to say whether that's accurate.

I just had a sudden moment of clarity - a lot of us treat ideological factions the way BRTD treats religion.

This is an good point - outside the gentle confines of this forum, ideological labels are usually earned by virtue of action or conferred through the circumstances of one's upbringing.

That said, as long as we treat this as an exercise in classification rather than identity-building, I don't see the harm in it, unless you object to onanism as a matter of principle.
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do all musicians you listen to have the same political views as you? on: March 26, 2015, 12:27:14 pm
I'm usually too polite to ask. (Normal, I hope.)
16  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What Issues Is The Forum Most/Least Knowledgeable About? on: March 26, 2015, 10:23:00 am
Some of our discussions on electoral geography are excellent, but these are also surprisingly rare given site's ostensible focus - e.g. our political geography board is dominated by increasingly elaborate attempts to construct esoteric math puzzles.

I've also learned a lot about non-US elections from the forum. This was never one of my main areas of interest - at least not until recently - so I can't really comment on how it compares to what I might find in languages that I can read elsewhere, but it's a nice supplement to what I see in The Economist or on BBC News.
17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Cornell Dean Says ISIS "Welcome" at school, compares training camps to sports te on: March 26, 2015, 10:00:35 am
Like most hucksters, he's not really trying to fool anyone who has not already bought in to the long con.
18  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of this Image III on: March 26, 2015, 09:56:02 am
Although the graphics are amazingly lifelike, the developers behind the latest entry in Sid Meier's Civilization series have done surprisingly little to improve its AI, and the "automate settlers/engineers" option remains useless, if not outright catastrophic, at all but the lowest difficulty levels.
19  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: March 26, 2015, 08:52:57 am
I'm reading Thinking Fast and Slow at the moment. I resent that the title sounds like something Malcolm Gladwell would write.

...and the cover art doesn't help. I can only assume that it was meant to demonstrate the power of the affect heuristic.
20  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Postal Service Community Financial Lending Act of 2015 (Voting on amendment) on: March 25, 2015, 09:48:43 pm
Adam raises an important point about capital requirements that deserves to be explicated. One reason why microloans tend to be expensive is that the failure rate per unit of time - not per loan, mind you - is extremely high compared to what's typical of other forms of lending. Processing costs also tend to be higher because of the large volume of loans that must be managed with a high rate of turnover. I'm supportive of this idea, but we need to be realistic about capital requirements and interest rates if we implement it as policy.
21  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Which natural disasters have you experienced? on: March 25, 2015, 08:59:52 pm
Albany gets lots of minor floods because large portions of our combined sewer system are operating at well beyond the limits of their design life and capacity.

The worst natural disaster I've experienced was the 1998 Ice storm: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Ice_Storm_of_1998

Ugh... my family in Northern New York was without power for over a week and we knew people in slightly more isolated territory who went nearly a month without it.
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Christopher Hitchens on: March 25, 2015, 04:13:25 pm
FF, particularly for the reason that Oakvale has already mentioned. I also see that Nathan has brought up Hitchens' excellent writing on the Clintons. No one, to my knowledge, has articulated a better critique of the Bill Clinton presidency than Christopher Hitchens has. If Hillary is elected is 2016 it'll be a tragedy that he won't be here to write about it.

Also, I always enjoy going back to his writing and television appearances - e.g. this joint interview on CSPAN, with Andrew Sullivan, is an absolute joy.
23  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of George Pataki on: March 25, 2015, 01:52:04 pm
He's a corrupt joke.
24  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Ted Cruz to use ObamaCare on: March 24, 2015, 05:10:27 pm
Terrible journalism by CNN. Cruz makes too much money to qualify for a subsidy and he doesn't buy through the exchanges if he's getting insurance through an employer.

Members of Congress and their staffers are required to purchase their insurance on the federal marketplace. This purchase is partially covered by an employer subsidy. ("In 2014,
the maximum government contribution for full-time employees is $426.14 per month for self only
coverage and $948.18 per month for self and family coverage.") The story behind this provision of the law is an odd one:

Here's how it happened: Back during the Affordable Care Act negotiations, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) proposed an amendment forcing all members of Congress and all of their staffs to enter the exchanges. The purpose of the amendment was to embarrass the Democrats. But in a bit of jujitsu of which they were inordinately proud, Democrats instead embraced the amendment and added it to the law.

It's still a stupid question to badger a candidate over, particularly one like Cruz who has said (and seems to believe) plenty of questionable things that deserve the public's attention.

More worryingly, this is the first time that I've ever heard the expression "going on Obamacare." I'm hoping that's a CNN innovation ("Is Ebola the ISIS of biological agents?") and not something that ordinary people actually say.
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is this a valid comparison? on: March 24, 2015, 04:50:34 pm
It's sui generis because you're not referring to any existing international law or norms.  You're saying, I don't like the status quo so it's bad.  Listen, nobody likes the status quo.  Obviously, it's bad, but that's not the fault of Israel, for the most part. 

What exactly is Israel supposed to do anyway?

Repealing the discriminatory Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law and ending settlement building in the West Bank would be a good start. But I'm sure that you have excuses for those, too.

I agree.  Israel is clearly enabling their religious crazies and fundamentally showing bad faith in their settlement policy.  They should stop and unilaterally abandon settlements as a sign of good faith.  If there's going to be peace, both sides have to be willing to make huge sacrifices and take risks.  Israel's right-wing government is taking things in a direction that's horrible and fundamentally unjust because it doesn't create any pathway to peace.  I hate where Netanyahu has taken Israel and I hate the settlers and Jewish religious fanatics on both sides.

All that said, I believe in standards and being truthful.  You have to judge other countries on basically the same set of international law and expectations.  You can't have one set of expectations for Israel and another for every other country.  And, just because you don't like a certain policy, that doesn't make that policy tantamount to apartheid, or tantamount to genocide.  And, just because a country is powerful or open to criticism in the media, that doesn't mean that you erase the history or create a revisionist narrative.  You should always try to tell the truth about what went on and be fair to both sides.

I don't understand what I've said to merit the fit of rectitude and whataboutery in your second paragraph. If I have been inconsistent or inaccurate, call me out on the specific inconsistency rather than relying on vague allusions to some unspecified act of hypocrisy. Maybe you're just pontificating and not actually addressing me at all. If so, I don't appreciate being used as a foil and I certainly don't like the associations that come with your use of the vaguely impersonal second person singular pronoun.
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