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October 22, 2014, 07:34:49 am
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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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101  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Swearing in of New Officeholders on: October 08, 2014, 11:11:03 pm
I, Аverroës, do solemnly affirm that I will faithfully execute the office of Pacific Senator and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Republic of Atlasia, so help me Dave.
102  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Office of Governor Varavour - Senate appointment on: October 08, 2014, 11:09:33 pm
Thank you, Governor.

Let me state at the outset that my goal is only to provide the Pacific with continuity in representation over the next month. I support Cranberry's campaign for re-election to what was his seat until earlier today.

A month ago, I spoke out about my frustration with Atlasia and made clear my intention to take a backseat in the immediate future. I did not realize that I was delivering those words on the eve of some of the most chaotic weeks in Atlasian history. For at least a little while, the game seems to have entered new territory.

I remain busy, but I couldn't pass up a chance to return to the Senate for a short period. (At no point have I enjoyed this game more than when I served in the Senate two years ago.) I plan to take a low-stress, open-minded approach to business over the next few weeks, and I look forward to working with everyone again.
103  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How would you vote if you were on my City Council? on: October 08, 2014, 09:17:42 pm
The development under debate is one of the best things that could happen to the pictured area.
Not quite; it is not a blighted area, its basically another working class area.

I wasn't alluding to blight. The location suffers from a more fundamental problem rooted in a defective (but probably not irreparable) built environment. I won't say more because angus has already mentioned several key points and I expect Train to explain all of this better than I can in his next post.

That said, you're on to something when you say that:

Quote
We are miles away from anything worth walking too

Why do you think that is?
104  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Anti-Smoking Ads on: October 08, 2014, 08:33:19 pm
Sticking it to the man?  Hardly.  Not the man (besides, I'm a lower-middle class... the man would enjoy watching me inhale cancer), just the "the point of life is to extend it as long as possible" crowd that typically gets sexually excited by anti-smoking ads.

I'm not sure where you're getting that idea; anti-smoking arguments have just as much to do with quality of life and health care costs.
105  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How would you vote if you were on my City Council? on: October 08, 2014, 08:27:37 pm
The development under debate is one of the best things that could happen to the pictured area.
106  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of windjammer on: October 08, 2014, 11:22:21 am
FF... what's not to like?
107  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: A Speech on: October 08, 2014, 11:05:03 am
I like the idea of making people adhere to the GM's word, but I'm not sure how to implement this in a way that would be reasonable

That's because there isn't one. It's an impractical and dangerous idea that conflicts directly with freedom of speech and freedom of conscience. The GM simulates events, but neither he nor anyone else should have the authority to limit how people are allowed to react to or interpret those events.
108  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: New Register Thread on: October 08, 2014, 07:19:08 am
AverroŽs
The People's Party
Hawaii
109  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: ink pens on: October 06, 2014, 10:48:17 pm
Most of my pens... strike that, most of my office supplies, rather, come from one of two sources. Both are linked to my parent's professions:

(1) My mother, a registered nurse, used to receive all kinds of trinkets from pharmaceutical companies. Mostly pens, sometimes other office supplies. They stopped doing this half a decade ago, possibly because a law was passed against it.

(2) I helped clean out my father's office when I was in middle school. The office had not been properly cleaned since the building's construction. Along with hundreds of pens, I acquired a full (albeit mismatched) set of drafting supplies, a compass, and a circular slide rule.

Both sources have were cut off years ago, but I'm not even close to running out. And it's not as if I use the computer or even pencils for everything. I've always taken notes in pen, and I'm constantly misplacing them. There was a point in my sophomore year of college when I'd pocket three pens every morning, yet somehow I rarely had any left by the end of the day.
110  Questions and Answers / The Atlas / Re: Not sure how this is inappropriate. on: October 06, 2014, 10:25:41 pm
What he posted is awful, but what you said didn't help the situation. You could have expressed the same sentiment in a different, non-infraction-worthy way.

This. I totally share Sawx's strong sentiments about what WillipsBrighton said, but we must remember not to sink to his level.

...so telling someone to kill themselves is now on the same level as defending rapists.

I'm sorry, but what the f**k?

Obviously not. It's considerably worse. Find another way to express your disgust.

111  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Had you ever heard of CAD(D) before reading about it on the Atlas Forum? on: October 06, 2014, 10:00:04 pm
Yes, of course. "Draftsman" is hardly an exotic or cutting-edge job description. They've been working under architects and engineers for as long as those professions have existed.

I've heard of it as CAD but never thought of it as a field. I thought it was just architecture software.

Same. I knew it as software that my civil and mechanical engineering colleagues in school needed to use on occasion. I didn't know it was a career in and of itself ... seems sort of like having a certificate in Excel or PowerPoint and making it my career.

PhotoShop, InDesign, and entry-level ArcGIS are probably better points of reference.
112  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Untitled GM Amendment (Debating) on: October 06, 2014, 06:46:00 pm
Polnut, I like everything about your suggestion except for §2.

I find it disturbing that anyone would support penalizing an elected official over something as vague and subjective as "ignoring the GM." This skews too close to criminalizing independent research and unpopular opinions or interpretations of events. We already have a way of holding officeholders accountable for their bad policy decisions... elections.

In any case, this is an issue that deserves to be treated separately from this amendment, which was originally concerned with protecting the GM from executive overreach and sparing the President from angst over the political consequences of retaining any particular GM.
113  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: The People's Party October Convention - Friday 3 October - Wednesday 8 October on: October 04, 2014, 12:56:26 pm
АverroŽs
114  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Untitled GM Amendment (Debating) on: October 03, 2014, 04:54:20 pm
Besides, the position has been dysfunctional for as long as most of us have been here. Even promising candidates burn out after a few weeks, or, at best, a couple of months, and now that the office's credibility has collapsed, it has ceased to add anything of value to the game. Trying something reasonable is less risky than letting it rot.

I don't disagree with the sentiment behind this, but I still fail to see what this specific proposal would do to resolve that problem. We would merely be making it harder to get rid of a GM, and nothing more. It doesn't touch on any problem aside from preventing an astronomically rare abuse of power.

The Game Moderator shouldn't be subject to summary dismissal for the same reasons why members of the Supreme Court should not be vulnerable to summary dismissal. Making it more difficult to fire someone makes that position more independent, less contingent on the priorities of other political actors, and less subject to political pressure which at least four of the past five GMs (Adam, Simfan, Sirnick, and I) admit to having felt.

When I was GM I wrote recurring stories about a nativist resistance movement in parts of Oceania, and this was repeatedly ignored every time I tried to get people to pay attention to it. It infuriated me. I also wrote a story about abortion law in the Mideast that caused a bunch of them to get on my ass and accuse me of writing partisan stories.

In the end, I resigned out of protest because the authority of the position was not being respected enough, but it had nothing to do with political pressure or the threat of being fired that brought me down or caused people to not listen to my narratives. Protection from dismissal wouldn't have made people suddenly start listening. These are completely separate problems.

I doubt that anyone sees this reform as a panacea, but it would do something to address a problem that most recent Game Moderators have faced without making the game worse.

Look at it this way: We'd be giving up a power that's been used once, as far as I can tell, over the past five years, and in return we'd get a Game Moderator who doesn't need to be concerned with making the President look good.
115  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Untitled GM Amendment (Debating) on: October 03, 2014, 04:27:47 pm
Besides, the position has been dysfunctional for as long as most of us have been here. Even promising candidates burn out after a few weeks, or, at best, a couple of months, and now that the office's credibility has collapsed, it has ceased to add anything of value to the game. Trying something reasonable is less risky than letting it rot.

I don't disagree with the sentiment behind this, but I still fail to see what this specific proposal would do to resolve that problem. We would merely be making it harder to get rid of a GM, and nothing more. It doesn't touch on any problem aside from preventing an astronomically rare abuse of power.

The Game Moderator shouldn't be subject to summary dismissal for the same reasons why members of the Supreme Court should not be vulnerable to summary dismissal. Making it more difficult to fire someone makes that position more independent, less contingent on the priorities of other political actors, and less subject to political pressure which at least four of the past five GMs (Adam, Simfan, Sirnick, and I) admit to having felt.

Quote
Out of interest then, apart from yesterday, has a president ever directly dismissed a GM?

I believe so, but as we don't keep records particularly well, the only way to be sure of this would be to look back on White House threads for the last five years.

The larger problem I have with this is that, aside from being shortsighted, it's arbitrarily applied. The rationale for protecting the GM from abrupt dismissal by the President is that the powers the GM has should be better respected, but what of the SoIA and SoEA? Those positions have equivalent powers in their respective fields. How is it logical to protect the GM from executive dismissal because of the power that office holds, but not the SoIA and SoEA positions despite them holding near-identical powers. The only thing that makes the GM different is that positions power to override them, but they still have immense authority. What's to stop SoIA and SoEAs from being dismissed for political reasons as well?

The Game Moderator has final and absolute authority over simulating events. Neither the SoIA nor the SoEA can create create stories without the GM's direct approval. Whatever power they have is completely subordinate to the Game Moderator - it just isn't comparable.
116  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Office of Former President and Gov. DemPGH on: October 03, 2014, 04:13:30 pm
I had high hopes for this administration at its outset. It's disappointing to see it ending like this after a very troubled couple of months, but, after last night's events, I think that you're making the right call. I know that it's been difficult, but I hope that we haven't seen the last of you.
117  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Untitled GM Amendment (Debating) on: October 03, 2014, 04:05:13 pm
I should also point out what I've mentioned elsewhere: Atlasia would not be any worse off than it is now without a Game Moderator.

Again, Sirnick's dismissal is not an isolated event. It comes on the heels of Simfan's attempt to revise past unemployment numbers and Mystery Science Theater with Adam Griffin. Before that, I resigned from the job when I learned that at least one Federalist was waging a campaign for my removal via private message.

The Game Moderator should be more isolated not just the whim of the executive, but also from Atlasia's political currents. Cynic's proposal is worth a try because it's backed by a plausible theory, i.e. the GM is politicized because he or she is effectively working under an at-will contract with the President. If we can't do that, we should abolish the office and wash our hands of the idea that the game needs a neutral facilitator to simulate events.
118  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Untitled GM Amendment (Debating) on: October 03, 2014, 03:43:18 pm
Impeachment only requires a public vote if less than 80% of the Senate votes to impeach. If eight, nine, or ten Senators were in favor of removing the GM, a referendum wouldn't even be necessary. What's proposed here is so similar to impeachment that I see no obvious reason not to rely on the process that we've already established for removing people from office.

We shouldn't be legislating for super-edge-cases. The President should have the authority to dismiss the GM. In over five and ahalf years, this hasn't been done for partisan or personal reasons until last night and I believe the consequences of the action have spoken for themselves.

I value and respect the GM position, as a person who was there when we reformed the GM, besties with the best GM we've ever had, and a former GM myself. The position is vitally important and demands respect. But it should not be impossible to dismiss if the situation calls for it.

What DemPGH did was a terrible abuse of power and a taboo, but this is an emotional reaction that you are not thinking through the long-term consequences of.

It's a mistake to see this as nothing more than a reaction to a single event. Sirnick's dismissal was the culmination of a trend toward politicized Game Moderators that's been ongoing for most of the past year. One scandal isn't going to break that. At this point it's become obvious that there's no point in having a Game Moderator unless we can isolate the position from challenges to its legitimacy.

Moreover, it's not obvious why the President should have the authority to dismiss the GM at any time, aside from the fact that we've always done it that way. The Game Moderator is not a part of the Cabinet and functions more like an additional branch of government.

Besides, the position has been dysfunctional for as long as most of us have been here. Even promising candidates burn out after a few weeks, or, at best, a couple of months, and now that the office's credibility has collapsed, it has ceased to add anything of value to the game. Trying something reasonable is less risky than letting it rot.
119  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Untitled GM Amendment (Debating) on: October 03, 2014, 02:45:07 pm
Under what circumstances would removal of the GM, but not impeachment, be appropriate? Depending on the answer to this question, I wonder whether it would be more appropriate to eliminate the authority to dismiss the GM altogether, rather than merely transferring the power from the President to the Senate.
120  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Office of President DemPGH (Attacks?) on: October 03, 2014, 09:04:58 am
I've doubted the usefulness of the Game Moderator since I left the position early this year, and this only confirms to me that it's not a job that fits well into this game. There wasn't much immediate interest in the attack, but Sirnick's dismissal provoked an instant reaction.

That said, if you believe in the importance of the GM - and it's possible, even likely, that interest in Sirnick's story would have picked up over time - a political dismissal of an active and uncontroversial Game Moderator is a serious blow. It further damages the legitimacy of the position and violates a longstanding norm against political interference. If we continue to have a GM, I think we need to follow Cynic's advice. Our current situation is untenable.
121  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Magnolia Tree Polls - SoEA Nominee on: October 03, 2014, 08:43:24 am
The answers that he's given so far in his confirmation hearing are more disturbing than his admittedly troubling political views and personal history.

The Senate has given him the same fair chance to be heard that every nominee deserves, but it would be a serious mistake to put him in charge of Atlasian diplomacy and our armed forces.
122  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: If you were drafted, would you serve or evade? on: October 02, 2014, 09:27:56 am
I will be conscripted when I'm 18; though that's just Austria, so basically doing nothing but push-ups and sitting in the military camp; but anyway, I hope I'm deemed not fit enough or whatever for the military, and if yes; I will choose the option of civilian service instead of military service for six months...

What are those six months really like? What do you spend your time doing? Is their a real chance of being deployed? In my naÔvetť, I've always assumed that it's more like an extended, more disciplined stay at camp. I can't imagine a modern military training soldiers and putting them into action within so short a period.
123  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Office of MW Governor LeBron FitzGerald (Upcoming MW Session/ME Controversy) on: October 01, 2014, 09:35:25 pm
Still awaiting an answer:

Why do you support teaching creationism instead of evolution in science classrooms? We deserve an explanation. Thanks in advance.
124  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: If you were drafted, would you serve or evade? on: October 01, 2014, 08:13:39 pm
I would consider OCS if a draft seemed remotely plausible.
125  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What is Republican economic policy? on: October 01, 2014, 07:52:30 am
Intrastate tensions are very interesting, with Illinois and NY perhaps being rather unique, since their respective major cities are so dominant, while having a substantial out state non major city population, but not enough to really have that much political power. Thus you have policies that work for the dominating cities, but don't work for the hinterlands. In NY, that has tended to result in upstate NY being an economic basket case. It just can't economically compete with a very robust social safety net, and high taxes, while having no high paying economic sectors that can afford to pay for it all. Now the end game, is to just live off government transfer payments, with a very anemic middle class. That is why in part, "states rights" sometimes don't work very well, because within some states, what is on the ground is just so different.

"Basket case" overstates things. At a minimum, there's more economic opportunity in Upstate NY than, say, the High Plains or Appalachia. The politics of this state are toxic and dysfunctional, and the property tax burden is heavy (although it helps that housing is inexpensive in most locales not within commuting distance of NYC), but, in terms of median income, life expectancy, and educational attainment, Upstate NY is better off than most of the country.

Then again, it's more a matter of how you choose your comparisons and how much unfulfilled potential you perceive. What most distinguishes Upstate NY, in my experience, is pessimism born out of the sheer duration of its relative decline. I have been hearing the same conversations since I was old enough to understand them. The main effect of the 2008 recession was to put the rest of the country on the same wavelength. The region has been in a malaise since the '70s.

However, I don't see much indication that there's an unusual degree of dependence on transfer payments in Upstate NY (or downstate IL, for that matter), although maybe your definition differs from my own.





It looks like the map is only federal transfer payments. State transfer payments may not exactly mirror federal transfers.

There are indirect transfer payments as well. For example, in IL schools are funded by a complicated formula based on local property taxes and state payments. The state share is based in large part on the property tax base for a district but comes from the general revenue. It's not unusual for a downstate district to get 75% of school costs from the state while suburban districts get 25% or less. That creates much higher property tax rates in the suburbs compared to downstate. Effectively that acts as a transfer payment.

Unless the map's label and description on the USDA website are incorrect, it shows income from all transfer payments - not just federal ones.

I'm aware of indirect transfers. Upstate NY benefits heavily from them, with counties north of the NYC metro netting about $12 billion annually. But much of that spending goes toward complying with legislative mandates that lack public support and that don't offer clear or widespread benefits. It also hadn't spared Upstate counties from high property tax rates. (The upstate tax base, on the other hand, is much lower.)

Moreover, indirect transfers are less clearly related to Torie's argument that non-metropolitan NY lacks a vibrant middle class because its residents prefer to live off of transfer payments. On the contrary, state funding for schools, universities, hospitals, and government offices in Albany is responsible for the existence of a large share of the region's middle class.
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