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January 20, 2017, 02:54:57 am
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News: Cast your Ballot in the 2016 Mock Election

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1  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Lief on: January 19, 2017, 04:00:41 pm
Oldiesfreak demonstrates yet again that black holes are not actually the densest form of matter in the universe.
2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Next DNC Chair: Ellison endorsed by many Democrats, Tom Perez to declare run on: January 19, 2017, 08:08:03 am
Why do you think Perez is a better choice for fundraising? As far as I can tell, he's only raised $200,000 in his entire political career.

Presumably he knows more rich people and would do less to limit their influence on the party.
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: R. Perry accepted Sec of Energy position without knowing what the Dept. does on: January 19, 2017, 08:05:57 am
How much could there be to the idea that he (and maybe Carson and Devos) got the appointments solely because Trump's administration plans to dismantle these departments?
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Al Gore to release "An Inconvenient Sequel" on: January 19, 2017, 08:04:16 am
Will it be a comedic take on Al Gore's hypocrisy? His enormous house, frequent air travel, etc. You could have a National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation-style scene with him adding solar panels to the roof of his mansion and bragging to his neighbors about it. It would showcase how inadequate his proposed solutions to the problem of anthropogenic climate change really are.

The focus on "hopeful technological developments" makes me feel a bit ill. There is no existing technology that will allow us to continue in our current energy consumption patterns without causing significant and irreversible changes to global temperatures, and anyone who tells you anything else is a charlatan who's probably trying to get money out of you. Assuming that new technologies will appear in time to save us is magical thinking. And I just can't help being extremely cynical about Al Gore.
5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: An unsystematic rant about the working class and "culture" on: January 19, 2017, 07:51:51 am
The point you bring out about not regarding certain things as "backwards" or whatever is also important; you shouldn't go around avoiding things that you like just because of what you'll be perceived as.  For example I'm a pro wrestling fan which isn't particularly highly regarded by anyone really but I don't care: its fun to watch and when its at its very best there's very little that's better - hell there's probably a decent argument there that its an art - certainly more arguments for that than a sport really.  I bring that up because I remember the only time when someone's reacted negatively to it: I was at a friends flat party with a bunch of people I didn't know so I just got chatting with a few people and we had a nice chat about all sorts of random stuff (politics; history, I mentioned that I had done a course in political philosophy at uni so I had to deal with chat about Aristotle which wasn't great since I hate that stuff); but then I tried to pivot the conversation away from things that are hard to talk about when you've had four beers and a whisky and it led to me mentioning that I was into pro wrestling somehow and the tone of the conversation changed: like that revelation was enough to make me not worth talking to anymore.  Its not like I actually talked about it at all or went into long rants about why All Japan Women's pro wrestling in the 90s was the best or a rambling analysis of the greatness of the Bret Hart/Steve Austin match at Wrestlemania 13 or anything like that; I just mentioned that I watched the stuff and that I found it fun and suddenly I was like half the person I was for some reason.  Incidentally, I ended up as Facebook friends with a couple of them and they spent the post-Brexit and post-Trump period moaning about stupid people and why we now should cut spending to "areas that don't contribute" and the worst stereotypical middle class liberal response to things, it was pathetic.  I'm not saying that that's at all comparable to Burns or Verdi or other similar things, but I don't think that means that people who are into similar things are somehow more classless or whatever.

This is a good paragraph.

Speaking personally, my greatest frustration isn't with people whose tastes differ from mine. That's fine, everyone has preferences and you can't force anyone else to share your own or define yours as "higher" just because it's what you happen to like.

The frustrating ones are those who lack curiosity. The boring ones. People who don't want to talk about what they like, who aren't interested in thinking about it, and who just want to consume whatever falls within their narrow sphere of interest without exploring anything else, without ever seeking out more diversity, without even bothering to try to understand the things that they enjoy. Which they'll frequently have completely forgotten within a couple of years.

It's an attitude that can go along with high-brow, middle-brow, low-brow, whatever. Most posters here probably associate it with cultural preferences that we define as middle-brow, since that kind of culture tends to be the default option, or at least the most available option, for the sort of people around whom we are most likely to live.
6  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Arizona vs Florida on: January 19, 2017, 07:37:49 am
Florida.  I would never want to live around all those nasty desert critters.

Er... You do realize Florida is mostly swampland, right? There are far more critters in the swap than in the desert...

Best comment in this thread.

You don't want to know what's likely to happen to you if you survive a helicopter crash in the middle of the everglades. Cheesy
7  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: I need Atlas' help! Any financial majors, or anyone, to buy or lease a car? on: January 19, 2017, 07:34:32 am
Anything less than $1.5K is likely to have something YUGE that'll make you pay twice or thrice the upfront.

Any used car is going to be more of a risk than a new one, and this is particularly true of the most heavily used ones. Driving the latter still pays off on average, you just need to know when the threshold at which paying for additional repairs doesn't make sense. If you pay <$2k for a vehicle, even you drive it for only a year, that's a reasonable deal compared to buying something new or more lightly used.

But even if you're not driving a beater, used vehicles are the more cost-effective way to go. (Of course I say all of this having bought a new car last year... but I did that with the understanding that I was treating myself and that I could have saved money by doing something else, and it was something that I had budgeted for well in advance.)
8  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: An unsystematic rant about the working class and "culture" on: January 18, 2017, 06:15:18 pm
I think your second-to-last paragraph is most on point. More consistent with my views, at any rate.

Insofar as the US as of 2017 can be understood in terms of a single cultural divide, it's mostly a matter of one limited and ephemeral version of mass culture pitted against against another equally ephemeral and limited version of mass culture. Or one set against another, if you're accounting for race, gender, and age differences within each of those sides.

When people are surrounded by heavily marketed junk food, it should be no surprise that they binge on candy. Increasingly few people are fortunate enough in their circumstances to resist. (And I don't mean this exclusively in terms of "privilege," either - it could be something as minor as having a particularly influential teacher in your life, growing up next door to a public library, watching public television because your family can't or won't pay for cable, etc.) And it will only get worse as those remaining influences that compete with the omniculture of consumption continue to fade away.
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Arizona vs Florida on: January 18, 2017, 02:29:52 pm
Both seem awful, but Florida at least has the sea.

The sea has Florida might be a better way of putting it, especially within a few decades.

Arizona has beautiful landscapes and the northern parts are similar to New Mexico. It's a surprisingly diverse state in a lot of ways, although Phoenix is a nightmare.

Florida, on the other hand... worse traffic, some of the ugliest urban development in any part of the country, full of affluent olds who abandoned their communities to retire to their personal castles in developments that ban children and watch television indoors all day. Also some of the worst social policies of any state in the country. (No other state comes close to the generational poverty divide here - even Arizona, with large populations of retirees and immigrant families, doesn't compare.)

Even its beaches are overrated, with a few exceptions. (I do like the Keys.)
10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Opinion of Senator Lamar Alexander's Actions in the DeVos Hearing on: January 18, 2017, 02:20:26 pm
I don't know why anyone needed more time. It's obvious that she's not qualified to lead the department, even if her only intention was to preside over its dismantling.
11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The president-elect's infrastructure plan: handouts to his billionaire buddies on: January 18, 2017, 02:18:05 pm

Makes me wonder why anyone other than the rich EVER votes Republican. Theirs is the same old story. Rob from the poor and give to the rich. Yawn.
The rich are the ones who pay the taxes to begin with.

Yes, and pay less overall than the middle class and the poor.

I mean, that's just not true.

Then it seems like your deluting yourself. Do Republicans seriously not do research about their own party? They care about their rich donors, no one else.

What "research" haven't I done?  Poor Americans do not pay more in taxes than (what we have decided are) rich Americans, that's literally a false statement.

I think he means the poor pay more in taxes as a proportion of their total capital than the rich.

Correct, the poor and middle class pay a higher proportion of their income in taxes.

Don't a lot of them not even have to pay income taxes?  Even if they are only paying their state income taxes and the wealthy are taking advantage of loopholes, I struggle to see how that math evens out.

He referred to tax burden as a percentage of income, not income taxes.
12  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2004 U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Was Ohio stolen in 2004? on: January 18, 2017, 11:46:45 am
Remember that in Atlas, elections are only fair when liberal candidates win.

Remember that in Atlas, elections are only fair when liberal candidates win.
This is exactly right, and the best post I've seen in this thread.  Of course, it's true of Democrats and liberals in general.



You realize that the result of this poll exposes just how stupid this comment is, right? It's pretty clear that Atlas is extremely skeptical of claims that the election was "stolen."
13  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2004 U.S. Presidential Election Results / Re: Was Ohio stolen in 2004? on: January 18, 2017, 11:38:23 am
It's interesting that these accusations were treated seriously by many of the most loyal partisans among Congressional Democrats at the time (including John Lewis). This has sort of been lost down the memory hole. From Wikipedia:

Quote
On January 6, 2005, Senator Barbara Boxer joined Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio in filing a Congressional objection to the certification of Ohio's Electoral College votes due to alleged irregularities including disqualification of provisional ballots, alleged misallocation of voting machines, and disproportionally long waits in poor and predominantly African-American communities.[69][70] The Senate voted the objection down 1–74; the House voted the objection down 31–267.[69] It was only the second Congressional objection to an entire State's electoral delegation in U.S. history; the first instance was in 1877, when all the electors from three southern states were challenged, and one from Oregon.[69][71] (An objection to a single faithless elector was filed in 1969.)[69]
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence on: January 18, 2017, 09:29:15 am
Even if you don't like the fact that she's trans, Chelsea is legally her first name now, so calling her Bradley is incorrect. Why be incorrect on purpose?

I agree, but moderators are not fact-checkers. Her name remains a political issue for certain people, and editing someone’s post on account of this is outrageous.

If someone insisted on referring to Istanbul as Constantinople, I'd hardly be justified in correcting their post as a moderator. It’s comparable to editing all references to “Taiwan” to “Chinese Taipei,” or changing any post that refers to Kosovo or Abkhazia as independent countries, or deleting a map that shows Crimea as Russian territory. (Do we have a moderator policy on whether we should call it the Persian Gulf or Arabian Gulf?)
15  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence on: January 17, 2017, 09:56:16 pm
Chelsea Manning is nothing short of a terrorist, and it makes me really mad that Obama is letting her free.

If it's terrorism that bothers you, you should be much more bothered by the Oscar López Rivera commutation that the White House announced concurrent with this one.

To be clear, I never referred to Manning by that first name.  A moderator (who must oppose free speech) changed it, and I don't want anyone to think that I would call Manning that.

I think it's silly and cruel for you to insist on doing that, but it's pretty messed up that a moderator would go so far as to edit your post to "correct" your mistake. You should have let the post stand for the sake of bringing it to Dave or Nym's attention instead of deleting it.
16  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: I need Atlas' help! Any financial majors, or anyone, to buy or lease a car? on: January 17, 2017, 09:50:35 pm
Buying a used vehicle entails some risk, but it is almost always the smartest decision. Stick with something reliable and economical, like a Civic or a Fit. If you can't find anything in your city, check out neighboring metros - sometimes there are large differences in the market for used vehicles. You don't live in snow and salt country, so rust on the undercarriage (the bane of used car purchasers in my part of the country) will not be a problem.
17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence on: January 17, 2017, 09:42:58 pm
Chelsea Manning is nothing short of a terrorist, and it makes me really mad that Obama is letting her free.

If it's terrorism that bothers you, you should be much more bothered by the Oscar López Rivera commutation that the White House announced concurrent with this one.
18  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The president-elect's infrastructure plan: handouts to his billionaire buddies on: January 17, 2017, 09:37:51 pm
If you really believed that, you'd be better off just supporting an across-the-board tax cut in the same amount rather than letting the money go toward whoever is best at lobbying for it.
19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Are the anti-Hillary leftists happy now? on: January 17, 2017, 09:34:28 pm
Quote
I don't know where I can find enough summary turnout data to show that Sanders-inspired non-participation isn't the story, either, but everything that I've seen suggests that lower black turnout (driven primarily by more restrictive voting laws in at least some states) was the single biggest change within the Democratic coalition, not young people or progressives.

-The Black turnout drop in 2016 from 2012 was heavily age-based (youngest fell most); see the chart here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/23/upshot/how-the-obama-coalition-crumbled-leaving-an-opening-for-trump.html

Thank you, this is an interesting piece.

It's true that Sanders was competitive among younger black voters. Funny how he did that while some Clinton Democrats here and elsewhere on the internet were essentially characterizing him as an open white supremacist. But the trends showcased in this article are in Southern states, where Sanders' performance among younger black voters was weakest, including several that introduced more restrictive voting laws. I don't think it's necessary to invoke Bernie's socialism or w/e to explain Clinton's failure to, uh, bring them to heel. It was more difficult to vote, Obama was not on the ballot, and by most accounts Clinton's ground game was worse compared to the two previous elections.
20  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: We need to talk about BRTD's Russia obsession on: January 17, 2017, 09:21:12 pm
I fear that BRTD will find the banner ad that's showing on my mobile browser even more offensive:

21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The president-elect's infrastructure plan: handouts to his billionaire buddies on: January 17, 2017, 06:46:01 pm
Silver lining: A bipartisan infrastructure bill would most likely consist of a lot of wasteful and unsustainable spending on projects that make life worse for most Americans, with funds allocated almost solely in the basis of political influence. This is without a doubt one of the issues where gridlock is preferable to federal action.

Aka all on roads and nothing on public transit. In the Milwaukee burbs public transit is considered a liberal commy plot/boondoggle. People would rather sit in cars and scream than have a train.

Largely, yes, but even within highway spending, federal money tends to be poorly managed: Building new roads (that states and localities will never have enough money to maintain) instead of repairing old ones, for instance, or supporting divided highways (euphemistically called "interstates" even though most new construction is to support increased commuter traffic) instead of "Complete Streets"-style multi-modal projects.

The same applies to water and sewer. You're more likely to see federal funds going toward projects that support new development instead of replacing lead water pipes or updating hazardous combined sewer systems in central cities and older villages.
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The president-elect's infrastructure plan: handouts to his billionaire buddies on: January 17, 2017, 06:29:16 pm
Silver lining: A bipartisan infrastructure bill would most likely consist of a lot of wasteful and unsustainable spending on projects that make life worse for most Americans, with funds allocated almost solely in the basis of political influence. This is without a doubt one of the issues where gridlock is preferable to federal action.
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: RI to provide 2 years of free college at any state college on: January 17, 2017, 06:00:20 pm
Good for them, states should be free to try different things.

It'll be interesting to see if the Republican idea of income repayment rather than loan debt for colleges gets any legs. An innovative idea, I'm curious if any states will experiment with it
The US already has income-based repayment plans at the federal level. I've been on one since 2011.

Thoughts?

It's not well advertised and has confusing eligibility requirements. Also doesn't apply to private loans IIRC.
24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Are the anti-Hillary leftists happy now? on: January 17, 2017, 04:39:52 pm
The left-wing attacks on Clinton, which started even before Bernie's campaign announcement, gave Trump all the ammunition he needed to defeat her in the General Election. Leftist attacks on her as a globalist who supported bad trade deals allowed Trump to run to her left on this critical issue. Leftist attacks on her using the word "superpredator" in 1995 allowed Trump to paint her as a racist and drive down black turnout. Leftist accusations that she was a hawk and warmonger who would get us into a war with Russia allowed Trump to steal anti-war sentiment and the failure of the Iraq war and turn it into an issue that helped him, while defanging her ability to respond to Russian hacks on her campaign. Left-wing accusations that she was corrupt and self-serving were picked up by Trump in his "Crooked Hillary" mantra. Both sides shared the same chant - "Lock Her Up!" shouted protesters at the DNC in July 2016, which were louder and rowdier than any at the RNC. Leftist insistence that she adopt Bernie's far-left platform neutralized her ability to move to the center and run as a DLC Democrat who might have been able to unify liberals and conservatives in a broad-based consensus against Trump. If anything, Trump's case against Hillary was more of a left-wing one than a right-wing one, one that he pulled almost wholesale from the left-wing campaign against her in the primaries. In that sense, we really do have anti-Hillary leftists to thank for president Trump.

The leftist assault on Hillary was all the more absurd in the light of the fact that, even before the "Bernie primary", she was running on a platform that, if enacted, would have resulted in the most progressive status quo in American history.

This is an amusing collection of assertions all around, but my favorite is that your answer to being painted as a "globalist who supported bad trade deals" is to run as... a DLCer.

The "Trump actually campaigned as a leftist!" formulation is also funny, but a bit tired at this point. When did you quit the post-election conversion to Trump Republicanism, by the way?
25  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: So I got Ticket from a Speed Camera... on: January 17, 2017, 03:54:05 pm
You can debate the ethics, legality, and public safety benefits of speed cameras. I think that most of us would agree that the arguments in their favor are shaky.

On the other hand, they’re a natural consequence of transportation policies that contribute to the violent deaths of tens of thousands of healthy, young Americans by automobile every year. They’re a natural consequence of decades of unsustainainable spending on overbuilt infrastructure. They’re a natural consequence of a commuter culture that has reduced the density of our population centers and hollowed out the economies of our cities.

And most people who have a problem with speed cameras don’t care about due process or ethics. They care about keeping their money. They believe that they are entitled to drive as fast as they want to on public roads, as long as there’s not a cop around. OP is outright asking, “How do I get out of this?”

The best response is: Pay your ticket, as any good citizen would. More importantly, don’t speed. You are putting lives in danger.
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