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September 28, 2016, 06:58:08 pm
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101  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of our pro-eugenics socialist newbies on: September 06, 2016, 06:22:04 am
I am (and always have been) against considering "morality", a notion I thoroughly oppose but whose effects I do not particularly abhor in respect to efficacy, in the making of law.

One thing that definitely ought to have been aborted is this abomination of a sentence.
102  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of John Brown? on: September 05, 2016, 03:17:51 pm
John Brown was one of the greatest Americans of his time. He can also be described, without much unfairness or inaccuracy, as a terrorist. But so what? With 150 years of historical distance, I have no meaningful objection to abolitionist terrorism, and neither should any of you.

Yeah, after 150 years, I suppose I shouldn't considering without him the entire course of history would probably be different enough that I wouldn't even exist due to some ancestors not shacking up. 

Here's an interesting question:  are the folks who fired on Ft Sumter freedom fighters for helping to bring a relatively swift end to slavery?

I'm going to assume that your fingers slipped, causing you to type "interesting" where you meant to say "tedious."
103  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the "Polyamorous community" on: September 05, 2016, 02:58:11 pm
Because of course, DC Al Fine, no monogamous couple has ever had family disputes or overstretched finances or ugly seperations!



The point is that your first argument in support of your position was an anecdote about how it worked out with you and your friends. As I mentioned in my post, two can play at the shoddy anecdata game. Given that you sandwiched the above between two ad hominems, your argument resembles a glossary of logical fallacies.

Anecdotes become relevant in any argument in which someone insists that something always or never produces a certain outcome. They also have some bearing in terms of understanding any general principle that is at stake. I did not see anyone prior to Bacon King's posts arguing that "children raised in polyamorous families have [X] bad outcome [Y]% more frequently than others," or anything to that effect. Instead, there were numerous posts that amounted to "this is bad because it disgusts me" and a couple of of good faith efforts (Nathan, Antonio)  to explain why it was bad in non-consequentialist terms.
104  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the "Polyamorous community" on: September 05, 2016, 02:49:37 pm
It amazes me that anyone could think that what people like BRTD's girlfriend apparently believe is more harmful than the absurd romantic ideals that most of us were raised to hold that have contributed to countless abusive relationships, suicides, physical violence, mental health problems, and other forms of human suffering.

I think that anyone who wants to take polyamorists to task convincingly needs to explain what kind of alternative they believe more thoroughly, and defend why it is the single best way to live, rather than just expounding on why polyamory is bad.

What is that makes being married to and sexually monogamous with a single person for life special when it's not clear that it's less harmful than the alternative? It's pretty obvious that stable families are a good setting in which can children can grow to adulthood, but what is it that makes marriage more than that?
105  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: BREAKING: Trump Announces Plan To Gut Education, Eliminate 490,000 Teacher Jobs on: September 04, 2016, 11:41:53 pm
Yeah, I can't figure out why I'm supposed to be especially horrified by this. It's a policy idea that Republicans have been running on since No Child Left Behind went out of fashion. And it's about as likely to pass overnight unaltered as something like single payer healthcare.

You can't run a full-fledged policy analysis on platform proposals. They are no more than a framework for developing detailed and politically feasible policies once a candidate is actually elected. We get plenty of interesting and important information out of these promises, but this is mostly in terms of values, priorities, and the interests groups and coalitions that a given candidate is most interested in satisfying.

Of course, none of this is going to stop the Center for American Progress from publishing its analysis, because the Center for American Progress is a partisan think tank, or, in other words, an organization that exists to provide politicians with the veneer of intellectual credibility when they criticize their opponents' plans. I don't like the plan either, but I'm not about to make myself look like a policy-illiterate shill by regurgitating a liberal mouthpiece's estimates at face value and acting shocked and appalled by anyone who doesn't immediately concede defeat.

By the way, this proposal is wrong in the same way that Republican proposals to "repeal and replace Obamacare" are wrong: It does not even establish a workable framework for replacing what exists. It tells us essentially nothing about what Trump and the Republican Party want to do about federal education policy. And it provides no sense of what Trump means when he talks about "waste." You don't need to know how many teachers would lose their jobs down to the nearest ten thousand to respond to this effectively.
106  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Teachers' unions on: September 04, 2016, 11:10:51 pm
It's odd that teaching unions get so much hate in the USA when there are way more objectional forms of public sector unionism (I don't just mean 'hur dur police unions' either).

Well, I can think of one obvious reason:

Quote
In 2011Ė12, some 76 percent of public school teachers were female, 44 percent were under age 40, and 56 percent had a master's or higher degree. Compared with public school teachers, a lower percentage of private school teachers had a master's or higher degree (43 percent).

Maybe it's "obvious" to you, and I'm sympathetic enough to take the likelihood that this is important seriously, but it's awfully lazy of you to post this statistic with nothing more than a raised eyebrow.
107  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Teachers' unions on: September 04, 2016, 11:02:58 pm
I think there are four major reasons why teachers unions attract so much attention in the US.

First, there are 3.4 million teachers employed in public schools in the United States. They are by far the largest category of civilian public sector employment. Compare to:

765,000 sworn law enforcement officers
665,000 bus drivers
650,000 social workers
~500,000 public works employees
492,000 postal service workers
435,000 corrections officers
345,000 professional firefighters
180,000 parks workers
116,000 garbage collectors

Second, labor disputes with teachers occur most frequently at the district level, which in most states means local government, which in turn means dysfunction and high, immediate emotional stakes.

Third, plenty of people live in places without garbage collection, public transportation, libraries, local law enforcement, and even water and sewer service, but virtually no one lives in a place where they're not served by a school district and paying school taxes, which are probably enough to attract your interest even if you don't have children.

Fourth, unlike the next several largest categories of public sector worker (each of which alone is much less numerous), teachers are educated, literate professionals who perform white collar work. So there are differences in status, work setting, and their ability to use legal and bureaucratic systems to defend and advance their interests (potentially at the expense of other groups that lack that ability). As an aside, I don't have any numbers on average length of service, but my guess is that it tends to be much longer for teachers. Other "street-level bureaucrats" with specialized training for working with the parts of the public - I'm thinking of corrections officers, social workers, and law enforcement - tend to have high rates of burnout.
108  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Who would John Brown have voted for if he was alive today? on: September 04, 2016, 08:08:24 pm
John Brown was also an extremely religious man who would certainly be uncomfortable with some of the positions held by the modern Democratic Party. But, the question is moot in any case, because...

♪John Brown's body lies a-mouldering in the grave...♪

Yes, anyone trying to compare today's politics to any time between 1840ish and 1940ish needs to account for the religious left movement that basically no longer exists. 

Huh? You should see some of my friends' Facebook feeds.

The irony is so rich that it's painful...
109  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Teachers' unions on: September 02, 2016, 06:27:51 pm
The single programmatic change that would make the largest difference for students in poor school districts in the United States would be abolishing summer vacation.

The second would be lengthening the school day. And, no, improvements in learning outcomes and overall well-being would not be limited to the poorest districts.

The most important benefit of public schools for most students - whether they are rich or poor - is that it keeps them away from dysfunctional families and dysfunctional neighborhoods for at least 35 hours per week, 40 weeks per year. (There's surprisingly little evidence that schools are effective at teaching anything aside from basic literacy and basic numeracy, and there are plenty of high school graduates in the United States who aren't even getting that much.)


Out of curiosity, do you support the traditional incarnation of "year-round schedules" in lieu of a summer vacation?  My cousins went to a public school district with a year-round schedule and they had a month off during summer and 2 weeks off during every other season (plus a week for Thanksgiving).  Or do you favor abolishing weekly breaks altogether in order to increase days in school per year to 220+?

The evidence that I'm most familiar with suggests that it's the duration of the break that causes the most harm. But there's also reason to believe that increasing the number of school days would be a good thing for most students.
110  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Issues where 'your side' frustrates you on: September 02, 2016, 02:38:08 pm
In general, just the idea that grown adults are too stupid to know what's good for them and should be treated like helpless and ignorant toddlers. Some examples:

- Proposing a year or two in a Norwegian spa resort as "punishment" (oops, I mean "rehabilitation"!) for mass murderers, terrorists, child rapists, etc.

- Banning lottery tickets or Big Gulps.

- Thinking racists and other horrible people are only that way because the government doesn't spend enough money transitioning them from coal miners to Starbucks baristas, rather than just accepting some people are just inherently vile and won't change.

The sort of bullsh*t you're spewing is exactly what frustrates me about Democrats.

Also one of the only times I've seen someone attempt a serious defense of *lottery tickets* on this forum....

The Next Big Issue: Lottery Tickets

Keep laughing the next time you're in the check-out line at the convenience store and you see a parent buying lottery tickets while they ignore their hungry child, wise guy.
111  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Teachers' unions on: September 02, 2016, 02:35:04 pm
The single programmatic change that would make the largest difference for students in poor school districts in the United States would be abolishing summer vacation.

The second would be lengthening the school day. And, no, improvements in learning outcomes and overall well-being would not be limited to the poorest districts.

The most important benefit of public schools for most students - whether they are rich or poor - is that it keeps them away from dysfunctional families and dysfunctional neighborhoods for at least 35 hours per week, 40 weeks per year. (There's surprisingly little evidence that schools are effective at teaching anything aside from basic literacy and basic numeracy, and there are plenty of high school graduates in the United States who aren't even getting that much.)
112  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Issues where 'your side' frustrates you on: September 02, 2016, 05:21:29 am
In general, just the idea that grown adults are too stupid to know what's good for them and should be treated like helpless and ignorant toddlers. Some examples:

- Proposing a year or two in a Norwegian spa resort as "punishment" (oops, I mean "rehabilitation"!) for mass murderers, terrorists, child rapists, etc.

- Banning lottery tickets or Big Gulps.

- Thinking racists and other horrible people are only that way because the government doesn't spend enough money transitioning them from coal miners to Starbucks baristas, rather than just accepting some people are just inherently vile and won't change.

The sort of bullsh*t you're spewing is exactly what frustrates me about Democrats.

Also one of the only times I've seen someone attempt a serious defense of *lottery tickets* on this forum....
113  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump Foundation Violated Tax Laws, Paid IRS Penalty on: September 02, 2016, 05:18:08 am
Check your reading comprehension, idiot.
114  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Presidential Ratings and Predictions - Maine 2nd CD on: September 02, 2016, 05:14:53 am
Thank you, Ben Constine, for bumping 50+ threads to post your one-line, entirely non-descript predictions that totally could not have appeared in a single post. We will have as much fun reading them as you did posting them, and I can hardly think of a better tribute to your legacy as someone who never has anything interesting to say but insists on saying it anyway.
115  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump Foundation Violated Tax Laws, Paid IRS Penalty on: September 02, 2016, 05:06:58 am
Neither candidate is campaigning on ending capital punishment, or at all likely to bring its about its abolition even if they were, so it is highly probable that gays and straights alike will be executed under either President Clinton or President Trump.

You don't need pay-for-play or a Manchurian candidate for that happen, although the insinuation that the real motivation behind Saudi donations to the Clinton foundation was to get HRC to use the powers of the presidency to "execute more gays" is one of the more comically unhinged accusations that. I have seen anywhere this year.

The "Trump Foundation" serving as a front for God-knows-what is hardly a shock. I think it's pretty silly to treat the Clinton a Foundation as either something totally innocent or as "politics as usual" thay we need to tolerate, but no one outside the right-wing media bubble will be surprised to hear that even on this count Trump has done his best to leverage his status as an heiress/B-list celebrity/failed businessperson with a family fortune to fall back on to do maximum harm to ordinary people.
116  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Daughter of Sen. Manchin raises EpiPen price 400% on: September 01, 2016, 07:40:03 pm
At this point I'm planning to chip in a symbolic $10 or so to whomever runs against him in 2018. Maybe the Mountain Party can make it into the low double digits if they run someone with some talent?
117  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Who is the worst actor of our generation? on: September 01, 2016, 07:37:10 pm
Also WTC is Kristen Stewart doing on this list? Folks here are aware that she has a career aside from the Twilight movies, right?
118  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Who is the worst actor of our generation? on: September 01, 2016, 07:35:25 pm
Benedict Cumberbunch
119  General Politics / Economics / Re: The "Why" in Wage Segregation on: September 01, 2016, 07:33:58 pm
Asking Torie to understand poverty is like asking asking a Benedictine monk to explain pop music.
120  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Do you support the TPP? on: September 01, 2016, 07:29:22 pm
121  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Clinton to give a speech on American exceptionalism to American Legion in Ohio on: September 01, 2016, 07:02:40 pm
I think I just gagged on my own vomit.
122  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: U.S. court upholds ban on gun sales to marijuana card holders on: August 31, 2016, 09:02:45 pm
I suppose that I'll need to protest this with a few 'smoke hits' and some target practice in the old quarry this weekend.
123  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Is Clinton a Trump plant? on: August 31, 2016, 07:51:15 pm
If this was anyone else I'd have said they're just trolling, but it's Beet, so I know he means it. And I can only feel sorry for him.

I owe him gratitude for showing that a person can be more pessimistic than I am about this election.

...or maybe it's a sign of the depth of my neuroses that I frequently find myself agreeing with Beet's assessment of things and feeling glad that someone other than me has assumed the mantle as our resident prophet of doom.
124  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Daughter of Sen. Manchin raises EpiPen price 400% on: August 31, 2016, 09:09:43 am
Joe Manchin spoke with a local television station over the weekend. Be sure to have your EpiPen at hand before reading if you are at risk of an anaphylactic reaction due to bullsh**t:

Quote
But what are Senator Manchin's opinions on the controversy surrounding his daughter?

"Her heart is pure as can be and she's the most generous person i know," Senator Manchin said. "She helps every one that she can. She's very compassionate about all her fellow workers and she loves West Virginia, so I just tell her to be who she is. I said, 'You know the facts will come out.'"

Senator Manchin, like his daughter, believe the price of EpiPens is not just a Mylan problem. He's asking Congress and American citizens to look at the other entities involved in the pharmaceutical drugs industry.

"You know, what people should be asking is why are prescription drugs so costly?" Senator Manchin said. "All of them. And with that being said, on the EpiPen controversy, it sells for $608. Everyone's been lead to believe that Mylan gets all $608. Mylan gets $274."

While the backlash may continue, Senator Manchin remains supportive and believes his daughter, along with Mylan, will resolve these issues with consumers in mind.

"I'm very proud of her continuing to work hard and face the critics that she's facing and bring the facts out and be looking for changes that's going to help everybody," Senator Manchin said. That's what she'll continue to do and she'll find a pathway for it."

"...the most generous person I know..."

"...Mylan gets [a profit equal to several times what the total cost of the drug was only several years ago]..."

"...very proud of her..."

Predictable: Blame "the system" and make lame excuses about how you can't be expected to make a morally correct choice unless the law compels you to do so. Absolutely disgusting.
125  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: How credible is the "Shy Trump voter" theory on: August 30, 2016, 08:09:48 pm
I think yes, at least in terms of people lying or remaining silent toward their friends, coworkers, and families.

And I have to confess that I prefer things this way; I would need to reconsider my life choices if I were spending a significant amount of time around people who thought that I would be OK with then talking that way.

But I'm not convinced that it's making an important difference in polling.
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