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September 16, 2014, 04:28:17 am
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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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1  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Friends on: Today at 12:50:19 am
Awards prove that a show matches the taste of some selection committee and nothing more. They are rarely an accurate mark of the zeitgeist of an era and even less often a sign of "good taste."
2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone II - Less Boring, More Whoring on: September 15, 2014, 11:05:59 pm
Even though halloween is still a couple weeks away, I already know what I'm going as.  I going as Gandalf the Rainbow.  It is also when I'm coming out to a few more people.

It was Saruman who was the wizard of rainbows.
Quote from: Gandalf recounting his capture by Saruman at the meeting in Imladris in the Fellowship of the Ring
“‘For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!’

I looked then and saw that his robes, which had seemed white, were not so, but were woven of all colours, and if he moved they shimmered and changed hue so that the eye was bewildered.

‘I liked white better,’ I said.

‘White!’ he sneered. ‘It serves as a beginning. White cloth may be dyed. The white page can be overwritten; and the white light can be broken.’

‘In which case it is no longer white,’ said I. ‘And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.’”
Oh, I know that, but most people don't.  That's why I'm going as a gay Gandalf who is also rainbow.  Much easier to explain.

Classic Sharkey.
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Perhaps the most out-of-touch video ever on: September 15, 2014, 10:44:55 pm
I suspect that if you gave any of the people in this thread, complaining about this video, $400,000, they would be back down to $0 within a month or so.

Obviously. Why would anyone who isn't a criminal or a gambling addict hold $400k in cash?
4  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Most iconic avatar in Atlas history? on: September 15, 2014, 10:13:44 pm
D-MO, of course. Who else could provide us with such memorable repartee?

Alas, youth is fleeting, and we all turn rather horrible looking as we get old.  But I just had a truly cute '18' year old tonight.  Did you? Smiley
5  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Job Guarantee Act of 2014 (Debating) on: September 15, 2014, 10:02:42 pm
Griffin's analysis suggests that the costs of this program are likely to run well over a trillion once capital costs, fringe rates, other administrative costs, and crowding out of employment and other economic activity in the private sector are accounted for.

If the goal is to minimize the number of willing, able workers who can't find employment, a more effective, economically efficient, and lower cost approach would be to reduce or eliminate the minimum wage and other regulations that discourage employment. (You could pair this with an increase in the basic income to prevent any families from falling into poverty or near poverty, and it would still be cheaper than this bill.)
6  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Post Dissolution Elections: February 2013 on: September 15, 2014, 09:26:01 pm
Marokai/Duke in this match-up and in all potential match-ups.
7  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of this Video as a Classroom Resource on: September 15, 2014, 10:06:18 am
Skimmed the video and caught a few statements that seemed off. The figure on deforestation in the Amazon is badly dated and might overstate the current rate by as much as 300%.

More to the point, any video that ends by exhorting the viewer to "take back our government" isn't appropriate for a classroom unless you plan on using that as a prompt for critical discussion. Fifth or sixth graders might be able to handle that, but I can't imagine younger children getting it.
8  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Crime in the NFL on: September 15, 2014, 07:31:51 am
How is this even a question? Football requires an extremely aggressive personality in a way that basketball does not. The only other mainstream pro sport in the same league for violence is hockey.

Hockey? How many NHL players got arrested?

It's an expensive sport - not many poor kids play hockey - dominated by white people from Canada and the least violent regions of the US (NE, MW).
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of KCDem on: September 14, 2014, 10:51:42 pm
Weak, out of control, an embarrassment to himself and the entire forum community.
10  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: New York Gubernatorial election 2014 (Head-to-Head) on: September 14, 2014, 04:00:18 pm
I voted for Astorino here, of course, but in an actual competitive election I would vote for Cuomo. Anyone who believes that New York's Republicans are likely to ameliorate Albany's corruption doesn't remember the Pataki administration.

And it's not as if Astorino's has the personal credibility to run as a reformer. His record in Westchester is an embarrassment.
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: 2014 Selfie Creepfest/Post a picture of yourself thread on: September 14, 2014, 02:24:06 pm
How did Torie meet Tim Hecker of all people?

Sounds like a normal day in Hudson if what I've heard is any indication...
12  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: A fun fact about billionaires. on: September 14, 2014, 02:22:42 pm
Consider the ongoing debate over the proposed repeal of New York's scaffold law, for instance.

I haven't read past this, but this is going on? I'm inclined to say good riddance to the ugly things and the make-work union justification for them, but they're godsends when it rains...

Here is a serviceable summary of the ongoing debate. I haven't followed it closely enough to have much of an opinion, but I mentioned it because it's a good example of a policy where the scope of disagreement includes what this discussion treats as unquestionable facts.
13  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is Andrew Cuomo to the right of the average New York voter? on: September 14, 2014, 12:57:31 pm
Looks like a no.



The map is not the territory.

BRTD's question is, of course, unanswerable, because it assumes that Andrew Cuomo has actual political convictions.
14  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: Best book about each Presidential administration since George Washington on: September 14, 2014, 10:33:14 am
The Fix had a roundup a couple of years ago, although it's biased toward recent, best-selling hagiographies.
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Scottish independence - The Official Atlas Forum mock referendum on: September 13, 2014, 09:57:33 pm
In Jacks defense, I speculated that Ulster Unionists might have been behind the Boston bombings in the first hours after the attacks. Of course, seeing as two Chechens were the culprits, my suggestion wasn't that crazy.

You mistyped "lizard people."
16  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: A fun fact about billionaires. on: September 13, 2014, 08:42:44 pm
No it's not. Citing population figures or the amount of arable land is one thing, but using US figures for a matter like this while having a completely different tax structure, completely different subsidies, and overall a notably different economic policy for the past ten years is stupid - plain and simple.

The trajectory of this game's economy - as both reported by many preceding GMs and by simple analysis of existing legislation passed over the past decade - renders real-life figures useless in discussions like these. It may not be convenient, but I'll tell you what else is not convenient: letting everyone and anyone make up their own figures so that every cost assessment turns into an ideological squabble.

This comparison does not strengthen your argument. Neither population and arable land are fixed amounts. Both can and do vary in response to changes in policy.

Moreover, the alternative to using RL numbers is not using a different set of numbers. It's not having a discussion at all, or, at best, waiting a few days for the GM to pull something out of his ass. We all realize that Atlasia has been subject to a different regime of policies over the past decade than the United States, and it's our responsibility to consider this in our discussions. But to call someone out for no particular reason other than having the temerity to refer to a real-life number is ridiculous.

Real-life program evaluations and cost assessments are hardly objective or unerring. When conflicting interests are at stake, they become highly politicized. (Consider the ongoing debate over the proposed repeal of New York's scaffold law, for instance.) This isn't a bug in the game's mechanics. It's how debates over policies and programs play out in the real world.

Everything has an actual cost, and concrete consequences that originate from said actions. There are intangible and abstract effects that can be debated, but the core data behind any policy-related decision - particularly in a freaking game - should have some consistency. After all the pages of shit that we went through in 2013 for your budget and based on what I can recall, I'm sure the last thing you would've wished to see was for that squabbling to go on for another 10 pages and 3 months, with people coming in there and offering their "perspective" as to why all of your receipts and expenditures were grossly off because of some ideological or real-life constraint.

How would that be comparable to what Simfan has done here?

Quote
Real-life stats are a starting point, not a copy-and-paste solution for those who value quantity over quality in an attempt to continue pumping as much milquetoast legislation through the pipes to keep the sludge moving. I'd be perfectly fine with 3/4 of the crap that's discussed in the Senate grinding to a halt if it meant there was more thought put into the actual figures behind the policy (the hypocrisy of which we've all been guilty of at some point or another).

I agree, but I'm not sure what this has to do with out disagreement.

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I thought eliminating the cost analysis system for the GM office was a good move that would improve overall critical thinking behind legislation, but I can see one year out that I was horribly wrong. Now, every single fact and figure seems subject to an array of "opinions", many of which have no factual basis in the game in which we operate.

None of this is new, and none of this is bad.
17  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Energy for the Future Bill 2014 (Debating) on: September 13, 2014, 08:19:13 pm
Even if no other argument in favor the carbon tax were compelling, it provides revenue that allows us to reduce the rates of inefficiency-creating taxes on work, investment, and consumption. While there are plausible objections to some of the putative benefits of a carbon tax, virtually all economists and policy experts agree that it is less inefficient than other taxes.

It is a unilateral decision on a global matter

No global authority has the power to levy a carbon tax. This has not prevented other developed countries from introducing carbon prices and achieving reductions in per capita emissions.

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that would severely hamper our economy and competitiveness

[citation needed]

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if the developing economies are not doing likewise.

Developing countries lack the means to reduce their carbon emissions without jeopardizing the basic needs of their citizens. Moreover, our per capita emissions are four times higher than the global average, and our cumulative emissions dwarf those of any other country.

Plus the carbon tax hinders rather than helps funding of the R&D of improving efficiency of current fossil fuel based engines and the alternative energy possibilities.

I can't even parse this sorry excuse for a sentence.

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Instead putting said money into the hands of untrustworthy beaurocrats.

Bearocrats?



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It hurts the working class much worse than the rich as I've shown via a University of Stanford article. That's why the Atlasian Carbon tax must die in an awesome blaze of glory.

Any flat tax is regressive. However, the affluent pay more of the carbon tax because they fly more often, drive longer distances (and in larger vehicles), use public transportation less frequently, and own larger houses (often more than one). At worst, a carbon tax is no more regressive than any other consumption tax, and less regressive than payroll taxes. (Besides, aren't you a member of the FairTax cult?)

Moreover, we're able to exempt the first $35,000 in earnings from income taxes in part because of revenue that we collect via our carbon tax. And, to bring this discussion back to the bill at hand, part of Polnut's proposal addresses the distributive effect of the carbon tax by putting some of its revenue toward energy efficiency grants that would help low-income households with reducing their energy consumption.
18  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Energy for the Future Bill 2014 (Debating) on: September 13, 2014, 05:06:31 pm
I have long opposed the carbon tax

Why?
19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Perhaps the most out-of-touch video ever on: September 13, 2014, 12:28:45 pm
We're looking at a statement of cash flows, not a balance sheet. We don't know how many cars this family has, only that they consume 1/4 of a $60k car per year.
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Perhaps the most out-of-touch video ever on: September 13, 2014, 10:43:46 am
I lost it at the video's conclusion. "Wondering if your lifestyle is sustainable?"

The obvious problem is that this hypothetical family at the 97th percentile is trying to live as if they were at the 98th, and the narrator says as much. "Cut your spending while you're still earning!" She doesn't elaborate on this point, so presumably the absurdity of the outlined budget is taken as requiring no further explanation.

While most of us react with anger or laughter, this video and Jaichind's commentary are a powerful lesson on the diminishing marginal utility of income, a principle that recommends some very un-WSJ-like choices about both policy and life.
21  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: A fun fact about billionaires. on: September 13, 2014, 09:47:20 am
Is there any reason to think that Atlasian policies would actually result in more taxable income by billionaires than IRL?

Yes:


22  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: A fun fact about billionaires. on: September 13, 2014, 09:43:33 am
These "making numbers up without GM approval" accusations are bullsh!t.

We use RL numbers for the sake of convenience constantly, and it'd be almost impossible to hold an informed discussion if we did not. If there's a reason why a particular figure is likely to be extremely different in Atlasia, anyone can point to that difference and argue why it would have that effect.

As I've pointed out elsewhere, it cuts off discussion and makes the game less interesting when the GM just tells everyone how it is. We rarely have that level of certainty IRL, where people disagree on how to measure things or even what things we should be measuring.

Besides, we don't have a GM. It's ridiculous to insist that all fact-based debate cease until we do. Even if the office were occupied, he wouldn't have time to approve every fact as accurate.
23  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Аverroës vs. PPT TNF on: September 12, 2014, 08:59:55 pm
I thank the Court for its time and consideration.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Who will win in NY-11? on: September 12, 2014, 06:02:59 pm
Toss-up. Cinyc is correct.
25  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Yet another school shooting... on: September 12, 2014, 05:56:31 pm
Everyone knows I'm not a gun nut, but this is like making snarky comments about knives if someone accidentally cut themselves carrying them to some cooking class.

It's more like making snarky comments about someone injuring themselves because they were carrying a butcher's knife to around a golf course (or some other situation in which a knife is totally unnecessary). The crux of the argument against random people carrying weapons with them everywhere is that they are more like to injure themselves or someone else in an accident than they are to provide protection.


"Totally unnecessary" seems a bit far.  What are situations, outside of shootouts or war where you would find a gun not totally unnecessary?

Relieving oneself in a elementary school restroom before a day of teaching is not among them.
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