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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump approval ratings thread 1.1 on: July 21, 2017, 06:53:48 am
At this point I think that most prospective Dem nominees suffer from seeming like the worst-of-both-worlds from the perspective of anyone who isn't a Democratic partisan. Everyone from Kamala Harris to Andrew Cuomo has been quick to embrace the superficial details of Sanders policies without bothering to support the same critique of political corruption, centralized power, and basic selfishness.

For a large chunk of swing voters, this brings together the worst of both worlds - purportedly radical "tax and spend" policies in the absence of anything that makes the distribution of political power more equitable, or that makes government more accountable to the public.

The Potemkin village version of "free tuition" that Cuomo dragged through the legislator in New York State is a perfect example of the kind of politics that we should expect, and I think that's a far cry from anything that is likely to go over well in a general election.
2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump approval ratings thread 1.1 on: July 21, 2017, 06:45:45 am
Oh, and finally, let's not forget that while Clinton had "25 years of baggage" the piece of that baggage that dragged her down the most was the most recent scandal, the email scandal which didn't even become public until 2015.

Do we really know that this is true? National media in the United States inform their coverage with about as much historical perspective as you might expect from a fruit fly, but that doesn't mean that underlying voter attitudes were not formed over decades.

Everyone points to Clinton's high approvals as SoS, but there's nothing unusual about a SoS having high approval ratings. Which backlash may have harmed her more in retrospect, given that the more recent scandals prompted voters to re-assess her tenure in that position, although the Clinton campaign never stopped touting that experience as an unimpeachable asset.
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: 59% of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Left. 80% think Church not important on: July 18, 2017, 11:22:39 pm
That didn't take long.
4  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of "anti-imperialist" leftists who support ISIS on: July 12, 2017, 11:57:58 pm
You don't have to question that they exist, I proved they do in this very thread.

Do you have anything that doesn't look like the stillborn raving of a manic episode? Your link proves that there at least one Geriatric Italian Maoist for ISIS, but this is the literal lunatic fringe.
5  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion on Climate Change on: July 12, 2017, 11:47:10 pm
Option 3.

To substantially combat climate change using carbon sequestration and 2017 technologies would be prohibitively expensive.  When the damages of climate change occur decades and centuries into the future they become relatively minuscule and do not require massive investments to be made today (this is an economic idea known as "discounting", which is as ironclad as demand theory).

Brilliant! If I decide that I'd like to take up smoking, I'll just adjust my discount rate downward and claim that I'm causing no net harm.

Let's all hope that no one ever teaches you about determining standing in cost-benefit analysis...
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: 59% of Millennials Raised in a Church Have Left. 80% think Church not important on: July 12, 2017, 11:31:06 pm
The central message that most young Americans are getting out of religious life is that God wants them to be nice and that the most important goal in life is to achieve happiness without causing direct harm to anyone. Who needs to go to church for that?
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Majority Of Republicans Think Colleges Are Bad For The U.S., Poll Shows on: July 12, 2017, 11:25:42 pm
We would be better off if all but the top tier of private schools disappeared overnight, at least. Doing without the rest would pose more challenges.

Admittedly, it is difficult to have an overly positive opinion of an institution that has reduced over 40 million adults in this country to peonage.

Moreover, we have people with master's degrees who can barely write coherent paragraphs, let alone manage complex projects. We have people with bachelor's degrees who are functionally illiterate.

These are abysmal results for an education system in which most of us spend close to two decades, that spends one quarter of a million dollars on the typical student who makes it through college, and to which millions of teachers and students dedicate themselves every year. Human sacrifice, it seems, is far from a thing of the past.

I am just curious how bad this "functional illiteracy" is amongst those you mention at your workplace (not scare quotes, I have just heard multiple definitions ranging from inability to understand medicine instructions to difficulty reading pages of material).  Would it be to the point that those people would be unable to understand a simple paragraph in a newspaper article?  If so, I wouldn't doubt it, but yikes. 

There are all kinds of ugly statistics on functional illiteracy describing the tasks that you mention. Most of those problems are limited to non-college adults.

I am setting a somewhat higher bar for literacy here. If you have a college degree but struggle to compose a two-page memo, something has gone wrong. If you can't write a multi-paragraph e-mail or Facebook message in plain and mostly correct English, something has gone wrong. If you go years at a time without reading a book, and struggle to sustain your interest when circumstances leave you no choice but to read one, something has gone wrong. If you cannot pay attention through a substantive but dry half-hour presentation, something has gone wrong.

(There's also a distinct brand of poor communication comprised of what some people call "bullsh!tting," unaware that they are only fooling themselves with their miasmatic emissions of buzzwords and disorderly fluff.)

Some readers will assume that these demands are snobbish and elitist - but these are important skills for being effective in almost any white collar setting, especially if you lack the sort of warm and glowing personality that tends to encourage forgiveness of mistakes and tolerance of low ability among your peers.

So, for instance, reading a short newspaper article would not pose a problem for these people. Reading a longer newspaper article and remembering what it said might - fortunately for them, it's likely that the local newspaper is not doing much longform reporting, and the office chatter probably owes more to Facebook feeds or the local news aggregator than to original reporting, anyway. Besides, no one needs to read more than the headlines and captions to get in on the action.

I feel compelled to note that my current workplace is not so bad because it is a small non-profit that is selective by necessity in its hiring. We are not large enough to sustain deadwood, and to work here most of us need to be interested enough in our work to do it for less than we might earn elsewhere.
8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Majority Of Republicans Think Colleges Are Bad For The U.S., Poll Shows on: July 12, 2017, 10:55:45 pm
I don't know what degree holders you're referring to exactly, but your poor argument is a classic case of picking from the bottom of the barrel to represent the whole--if such people even exist, that is, at least within the context of graduates from reputable American institutions.

Take a look at the learning and earning outcomes highlighted in the federal government's college report cards. Large shares of college students in the US are enrolled in programs with graduation rates well below 50%, in which few students are able to repay their debts on schedule, and in which graduate earnings are barely above those for adults with no post-secondary education.

Additionally, large numbers of students are enrolled in scam for-profit programs, and growing numbers are earning "degrees" online without ever setting foot in a classroom or having a face-to-face conversation with a professor. Growing numbers of students are not taught by professors at all, but by itinerant adjuncts who live out of their vehicles and forage in dumpsters for food, or under-employed professionals in need of money for medical debts, divorce settlements, and spiraling substance abuse problems.

Call it exaggeration, but the days of traditional college are over. Students living in residence or near campus and studying full-time for four years are in the minority. A majority of students are non-traditional: Out-of-work adults returning to school as a last resort, working-class twenty-somethings scraping a few hundred dollars together on service drudgery every few months to earn a degree part-time, or even down-and-out types who recognize student loans as a sort of "welfare of last resort."

No wonder college learning outcomes are so pathetic. Lectures and class activities are sparsely attended. Papers are rushed and plagiarized. Exams are crammed for on the preceding evening and promptly forgotten. The liberal arts ideal still exists, but only for the most privileged. Highly competitive technical and professional programs attract students with natural aptitude or who have been groomed from birth by upper-middle class docents, but most are left outside. The world needs ditch-diggers, too, someone would have told them once. Except that the world doesn't need ditch-diggers anymore. Just pets and meat.

Primary and secondary schools do not fare much better. Only a minority of students in these institutions will learn anything beyond basic literacy and numeracy, an outcome that could be accomplished within many fewer years than the 13-14 that have become standard for American students. Many, particularly in poor urban and rural districts, will fail to learn even that much. Working conditions for teachers have degraded, and those afflicted with this calling now face one of the most tedious education programs of any profession, followed by years of starvation wages (once housing costs and debt service on student loans are accounted for) for the sake of a career in which they will have barely as much autonomy as the janitors cleaning the school bathrooms.
9  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of "anti-imperialist" leftists who support ISIS on: July 12, 2017, 10:23:51 pm
Powerless and irrelevant, thank God, and therefore not as scary as those agitating for weapons sales to the elusive "moderate" rebels to prop up a hopeless, suicidal, and nebulous non-Islamist opposition to Assad, as if it were desirable to weaken the most significant anti-ISIS force across the non-Kurdish parts of the country for the sake of geopolitical brinkmanship. All of it bolstered with feel-good inanities about human rights for the sake of public opinion, none of which seems to claim much relevance when it comes to what the United States has the power to change.
10  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is the United States the greatest country in the world? on: July 12, 2017, 10:17:30 pm
Most definitely.

Unlike all the European/Scandinavian countries that many American Leftists like to highlight for their insignificantly "higher" standards of living, the United States is not run by theocratic despots nor attached to some xenophobic ethnic identity.

Also the fact that the United States went from being a literally uninhabited continent in 1800 to an urban country and the world's largest industrial power by the opening of the 20th Century is a strong testament to the ingenuity and determination of its largely immigrant population; there is no example of more rapid human/social development in world history.

Breaking into the bourbon early, eh?
11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Majority Of Republicans Think Colleges Are Bad For The U.S., Poll Shows on: July 12, 2017, 10:15:04 pm
We would be better off if all but the top tier of private schools disappeared overnight, at least. Doing without the rest would pose more challenges.

Admittedly, it is difficult to have an overly positive opinion of an institution that has reduced over 40 million adults in this country to peonage.

Moreover, we have people with master's degrees who can barely write coherent paragraphs, let alone manage complex projects. We have people with bachelor's degrees who are functionally illiterate.

These are abysmal results for an education system in which most of us spend close to two decades, that spends one quarter of a million dollars on the typical student who makes it through college, and to which millions of teachers and students dedicate themselves every year. Human sacrifice, it seems, is far from a thing of the past.
12  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Why were there no "non-binary" people at my college? on: July 12, 2017, 09:39:55 pm
I graduated with my bachelor's degree five years ago, so I suppose I'm closer to five years removed from your graduation. Not quite as long as I had assumed - through a combination of underestimating how old I am and how young you are - but still enough time for an entire student body to turn over.
13  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Atlas posters who list party as "Other"... on: July 12, 2017, 09:36:51 pm
The competition between Republicans and Democrats has begun to feel something like the Guelphs vs. Ghibellines.

For me this is even more true at the state and local levels than it is in national politics. My local Democrats left every seat in the county legislature uncontested in our last election in a county where Democrats in state and federal contests routinely pull at least 40%.

At every level, it is clear which faction aligns more closely with my immediate interests, but there is paltry justification for any loyalty or trust in them. Why should my identity be wrapped up in the hideous propaganda of my preferred band of kleptocrats?

They have my vote on any occasion when it helps to keep some Republican goon out of power - "render unto Caesar," after all - but that is all that they will get.
14  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What bad things will happen if we accept non-binary people? on: July 12, 2017, 08:52:54 pm
...No one actually voted for Donald Trump over this thing.  Jesus.

I'm going to strongly disagree with this statement.

Obviously I support full equality for all orientations and gender identities, but backlash against "liberals gone wild" on college campuses absolutely contributed to Trump flipping WCW voters.

Yes, it's unfair to dismiss these issues as irrelevant. Conversations about gender and sexuality have become prominent, and to pretend that they are not happening is tremendously disingenuous.

The tendency to dismiss questions about the social effects of shifting attitudes toward gender and sexuality as bigoted in themselves, amply demonstrated in this thread, is not helpful either. People are being asked to accept changes that they see as both rapid and dramatic, and it's worth taking seriously the task of persuading and explaining the virtues of those changes.

(Easy for me to say, I guess, but I fail to see an alternative.)

It's difficult to escape the impression that for some advocates, the answers to these questions do not matter. This is a dangerous attitude to take toward any subject.
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Why were there no "non-binary" people at my college? on: July 12, 2017, 08:32:52 pm
I did not meet any non-binary people as an undergraduate, either, and pronoun protocol was not mentioned in even the most left-leaning circles at my liberal arts college. This would have been nearly a decade after BRTD's graduation. We were all aware that these categories existed, but my real-life experience with them comes from my more recent work in rural health.

Oddly enough, given the stereotypes that I have run into from BRTD and elsewhere, most of the trans and non-binary people I know come from lower-middle class or working class backgrounds. The caricature of the cloistered and over-privileged liberal arts student is not only inaccurate - in my experience it actually gets things backward.
16  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Ohio Sheriff Refuses to let Officers Carry Narcan on: July 09, 2017, 08:34:59 pm
The sheriff's skepticism isn't as off-base as you might think. People treated with naloxone frequently revive and walk away, seeking no further treatment, and in most cases there is nothing that law enforcement or emergency services can do to stop them.

Instead, they are relegated to waiting for the next overdose, when again they will be expected to step in and save a life or at least prevent a trip to an emergency room in the back of an ambulance. It requires minimal imagination to realize the effect that this has on their morale, particularly in those counties where naloxone injections are now administered by the hundreds or thousands annually.

Moreover, there is a sense that anyone who is outfitted with naloxone will tend to overuse it. Even trained clinicians can misjudge whether someone has overdosed, let alone a police officer with minimal background on human physiology.

(Incidentally, for both of these reasons it is not true that each injection amounts to a life saved, or even an emergency department visit prevented, although some certainly are.)

Incidentally, the sheriff is correct about the dangers involved in reviving a person who has overdosed. Even when naloxone is used to revive someone who took opioids under medical supervision and in a clinical setting, those people frequently wake up agitated and confused. It isn't unusual for them to flail and strike out at people. Nor is it surprising when you consider what is happening to the receptors on which opioids act.

As of 2015, Butler County had a drug overdose mortality rate several times the national average. They are losing more people to drug overdoses than most other places in the United States lose to car crashes, gun violence, and all suicides combined. 2016 was probably even worse.

This far from a matter of "one asshole standing in the way." This is a county that has moved beyond its breaking point. Neither medical professionals nor policy experts nor community leaders have any good answers, and even the best suggestions that they have are palliative. Narcan can prevent an overdose from becoming a fatality, but it does nothing to break addiction. If you want to understand how someone in a position of responsibility can be so callous, consider that.
17  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: Fremont Voting Booth : July 2017 special election on: July 09, 2017, 07:53:26 pm
FOR SENATE (CLASS II)
[ 1  ] 1184AZ of Washington
Liberal Democracy Party - Federalist Party
[ 2  ] etr906 (Alpha) of Minnesota
Independent - Labor Party
[   ] Write-in :
BALLOT MEASURE 1
Text : [The proposed Impeachment of Federal Officeholders Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Atlasia may be read here.]
Question : Shall the proposed Impeachment of Federal Officeholders Amendment to the Constitution of the Republic of Atlasia be ratified?
[   ] YES
[  X ] NO
[   ] ABSTAIN
18  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Moderation Policy on: July 04, 2017, 07:45:22 am
https://youtu.be/_B0CyOAO8y0?t=14s
19  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Your hardest U.S. state on: July 03, 2017, 09:54:03 pm
Hohoq, home of the Thunderbirds.
20  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Do you miss President Obama? on: July 03, 2017, 08:54:34 pm
No. Most of us will be haunted by his presidency for a long time.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: House Dems work to declare Trump incapacitated under the 25th amendment on: July 02, 2017, 11:08:29 pm
Another bold action from the herp-derp caucus.
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Kalwejt Foundation for the Promotion of Atlas Hilarity on: July 01, 2017, 07:40:21 pm
but I realized this discussion is in the funny posts thread and it isn't very funny anymore.

Interruptions might be a concern if more than a negligible portion of posts made in this thread were funny in the first place.

I think that you would be hard pressed to find any historian who believes that Jonah Goldberg's is making a positive contribution - or even an honest attempt at one - to the public's understanding of history or politics.
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: When will the next Trump-Russia bombshell leak? on: July 01, 2017, 04:03:23 pm
"Next"?
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Kalwejt Foundation for the Promotion of Atlas Hilarity on: July 01, 2017, 07:50:18 am
Unfortunately, the alt-left of Michael Moore, Lyndon LaRouche, and Howard Zinn is more popular among the Democratic mainstream than most Republicans. That will likely mean that Maduro beats out Trump with Atlas's Democrats.
Let's not pretend Howard Zinn is an actual historian. He clearly had an extremely radical agenda, and the fact that people like Shadows and other staunch Sanders supporters keep quoting him is certainly comparable to the alt-right of Milo and Richard Spencer.

Yes, Zinn is shoddy and agenda-driven in his history writing. But that makes him comparable to Jonah Goldberg, not Richard Spencer.

It's not especially fair to compare someone who was an academic historian, albeit one whose personal project was oriented around retelling American history as a morality tale, to an un-credentialed editorialist who has written a couple of potboilers posing as political non-fiction to get in on the vast right-wing publishing grift. (Can you imagine anyone like Eric Foner writing an admiring obituary for Jonah Goldberg?)

Zinn's work is also impossible to separate from how history is taught in the United States and I don't think you can read it without thinking of it as a response to the parade of decontextualized facts, great men, and unerring optimism and progress to which students in most primary and secondary school classrooms are subject.
25  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Cave is biased in favor of... on: July 01, 2017, 07:35:28 am
inconsistency?

..stupidity, self-importance, action for the sake of action, etc.

There is not a strong political bias, although there is plenty based on popularity. Which isn't always bad - a poster who contributes to the forum and builds friendships here over the years should be allowed more room to err than someone who does not have that kind of stake in the forum.

The biggest problem for the site is that a solid minority among the moderators are better at drawing negative attention to themselves than they are at enforcing the terms of service in a reasonable and even-handed way.
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