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1726  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Would you rather live in Forsyth County, GA or an >85% Obama precinct in Iowa? on: November 18, 2014, 09:49:47 am
I would probably pick any voting precinct in Iowa over Forsyth County.
1727  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: My Aunt Shared this Photo on Facebook on: November 18, 2014, 09:47:24 am
It's way more satisfying to belittle her beliefs in snide, nonsensical ways. For example, if someone spills some green bean casserole, remark that it was an act of jihad, amiright auntie? When you say grace, begin with "Dear Isa" and when she leaves say "as-salamu alaykum!" Ask her the differences between a burqa, niqab, and hijab. When she inevitably doesn't know, ask why she wants to outlaw things she doesn't understand. Is she scared because she thinks they look like ghost costumes and she's scared of ghosts? Ask her to name six Muslim countries. Ask her if she would be a Muslim were she born there and raised that way. Spit in her drink. Pretend to wipe your nose in her hair. Respond to any of her requests with "Jawohl!"

Ridicule has its place, but please don't do this. You're only likely to reinforce a person's provincialism by behaving like a snob and acting as if her problem is that she hasn't committed the relevant trivia to memory.
1728  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Small Businesses Less Anxious About Health Costs, Thanks to Obamacare on: November 18, 2014, 09:34:54 am
Another advantage that we have not heard as much about is that small businesses no longer need to be concerned about insurers jacking up their rates because of a few employees with expensive-to-treat conditions. I wouldn't be surprised if most respondents to this poll were unaware of this.
1729  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Boehner kills internet sales tax bill on: November 18, 2014, 09:30:51 am
In principle, geocoding each sale is not difficult, but that is no guarantee that it will be a simple process for everyone involved, even if the law limits the number of jurisdictions that merchants must negotiate to 50. (Furthermore, only about half of states have streamlined their sales taxes. If the point of the law is "fairness," it fails, because sellers in cities and counties with higher rates will remain at a disadvantage. And if states must settle on a single tax rate for online sales only, it's frightening to contemplate how high that rate might be.)

States and local governments are in desperate need of revenue, but to the extent that online sellers use fewer of the local services that the sales tax is typically intended to fund, their effective sales tax-exempt status is an inherent Pigouvian advantage. If sales taxes cannot guarantee the revenue that governments need, the problem lies within an obsolete, balkanized tax structure rather than the supposedly slimy online retailer who's ripping off Mom and Pop. And, as the article points out, several states plan to raise their fuel taxes if this doesn't pass. That is a good thing.

Furthermore, most people overestimate the share of retail sales that take place online. As of last month, the Census Bureau pegs this at below 7%. Also remember that many of these sellers are already collecting sales tax on in-state sales. In New York (and, IIRC, several other large states), this includes direct sales from Amazon.

Ultimately, this is a bill that would benefit the Targets, the Wal Marts, and the Amazons and harm the sort of interesting small businesses that are best at both innovating and treating people like actual human beings. If you're a small seller who does a lot of business online, you're better off without it, and if your stores provide shoppers with something that they can't acquire elsewhere or in the mail, you're no worse off.
1730  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Jonathan Gruber on: November 18, 2014, 08:33:39 am
His public finance textbook is ridiculously expensive.
1731  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Forum Redistricting Commission on: November 17, 2014, 10:57:45 pm
I'm not sure that I qualify as a "genuine independent," as Frodo flatteringly puts it, but this looks interesting. Count me in.
1732  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update XVIII: 15 Miles From Lunch on: November 17, 2014, 10:54:12 pm
Bushie's Marian theology is terrible and disturbing.

It's positively divine in comparison with his bone-chilling eschatology:

1733  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Boehner kills internet sales tax bill on: November 17, 2014, 10:51:06 pm
If you order from a catalog, sales tax is generally not collected either.  It's not unique to the internet.

I'd be all for online/catalog orders having to pay sales tax to the buyer's residence if it wasn't for the complexity and extra cost of every seller constantly having to account for >100 different domestic tax regimes.

Between states, cities, counties, and other administrative units (e.g. reservations) that charge a sales tax , the number of tax rates that each retailer would need to calculate would easily number in the thousands.

That's not a problem for large online sellers such as Amazon, which supported this proposal. But it'd be a burden for the growing number of small shops that rely on online sales.  If we judge this bill by its effect on small businesses, as Lief suggests that we should, it is an abject disaster and Beohner was right to abort the monstrosity before it slithered from its crib.
1734  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Have you ever been spanked, beaten or otherwise abused ... on: November 17, 2014, 05:52:56 pm
As a student, I had erasers, tennis balls, chalk, markers, and rolled-up papers thrown at me, and, on at least one point occasion I remember vividly, a teacher slapped me on the back of the head. There was also a kindergarten teacher who would spank misbehaving children, although I wasn't unruly enough at the time to ever receive that punishment.
1735  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Barack Obama on: November 16, 2014, 05:15:36 pm
Gully's answer is uncharitable but correct.
1736  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: How would you vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline? on: November 16, 2014, 02:06:10 pm
Generally, I support policies that make fossil fuels more expensive on the margin, but I've yet to hear why the pipeline is worth fighting over. It just doesn't seem like a big deal either way.
1737  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is Bill Clinton massively overrated? on: November 16, 2014, 01:28:06 pm
Of course not. Imagine, a president who forges bipartisan relationships in Washington and gets things done... wow!

Bipartisanship is hardly something to laud when it involves setting the stage for the financial crisis, forcing single mothers to work menial jobs while their children languish in substandard daycare, and denying federal recognition and benefits to married couples who are gay.
1738  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Countries you've not been to: Which 5 do you want to visit the most? on: November 16, 2014, 01:00:44 pm
If I were more adventurous, and willing to visit the places that I find most interesting, my list would look like this:

1. Russia
2. Iran
3. Indonesia
4. Italy
5. Madagascar


Realistically, it's more like this:

1. Germany
2. Italy
3. Netherlands
4. Czech Republic
5. New Zealand
1739  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is Bill Clinton massively overrated? on: November 16, 2014, 12:50:44 pm
I give him some credit for supporting NAFTA, but I don't think the President who signed on to welfare reform, deregulation of the financial sector, and the Defense of Marriage Act, who bungled health care reform, and whose somnambulant foreign policy achieved virtually nothing deserves high marks from anyone. Clinton's presidency left us worse off in the face of almost every crisis that we've faced since then.
1740  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 16, 2014, 12:30:23 pm
So uh, is Nix supposed to bump a bunch of old threads from 2004 and go "No! Undecided" ? Huh

I like how you completely ignored the rest of the post. And no, it doesn't necessarily need to be new (or old) posts on Atlas. Any evidence would suffice.
I'm not sure why it's incumbent on me to document my "outrage" every time someone who supported the Iraq War is up for a promotion, up to and including someone who ran for President when I was in middle school.

Nor do I know where you're getting the idea that I'm fond of any of the men whom you've named. The only one I've ever said anything nice about on this forum, if I recall, is Joe Biden, and I don't remember ever making an unqualified endorsement of his putative 2016 candidacy.

In any case, you're dragging this conversation in a strange, personal direction that only reinforces all of the worst narratives about the Ready4Hillary brigade and their extreme sensitivity to criticism. Hillary is very likely to be the next Democratic nominee for President. Don't tell me to ignore every blemish on her record.

Because the entire point is that it's selective outrage and that Hillary is held to a higher standard. Fine, ignore everything from before 2008 (or before you started posting, or paying attention to politics, or whatever). Even if you didn't praise Biden when he became VP, Kerry when he became SoS, etc., the fact remains that you did not vociferously oppose their candidacies despite the fact that they voted the exact same way as Hillary did on an issue that is supposedly an unforgivable sin.

You are welcome to comb through my posts and point out the numerous inconsistencies, although this might be a challenge for someone who doesn't seem to have read even my most recent post in this thread. But I won't do it for you to establish whether I meet your self-evidently ridiculous and hypocritical standards for criticism. Whether I've made conflicting arguments elsewhere has no bearing on the merit of what I say here.

In the meantime, please refrain from making unsupported claims about what I have or have not said in the past.
1741  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: How would you vote on abolishing the 'Social Cost of Carbon'? on: November 15, 2014, 04:50:05 pm
Of course not.
1742  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 14, 2014, 11:27:58 pm
It astounds me that anyone could defend Clinton and speak of the President's "sacred duty to be truthful" in the same breath without being overwhelmed by irony.

Hillary's support for the Iraq War would be more justifiable if she had not so thoroughly backpedaled on her support in 2008, when supporting that war was politically inconvenient. And when she did this, she made exactly the sort of arguments that you see in Beet's defense - which, besides giving the American intelligence community far too much credit for their competence, allege the sort of Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy that has served as Clinton's go-to excuse for every misstep that she's made since the late nineties.

I know that the phrase "vast right-wing conspiracy" is a bit of a laugh line among right-wingers and Moderate Heroes... but, uh, if you take a look at the sort of tactics that right-wing media figures and politicos started using in the early '90s (and not really before then), well I think it's an entirely understandable thing to say and believe, modulo semantic quibbles.  I really can't fault her for that one iota, and if that makes me look like a partisan hack then oh well.

Any supposed "vast conspiracy" should be an object of ridicule among people who care about how public figures use language. It's a ridiculous, paranoid term that belongs in the mouth of the sort of deranged conspiracy theorist who obsesses over fluoridated water or the Illuminati. No amount of bloviating from Newt Gingrich or Rush Limbaugh excuses that.
1743  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 14, 2014, 06:03:27 pm
I do not object to Hillary's vote for the Iraq War Resolution - the Syrian Civil War calls into question the story that the Iraq War's strongest critics have been telling for the past decade, and I've begun to reassess my own views as a result

Wait, really? How do you figure? Most people I know seem to think that the Syrian Civil War vindicates that you need a Saddam-like strongman in charge.

To put it very briefly, that is not a conclusion that I would draw from Assad's massacres. It is a horrifying exercise to imagine what conditions might be like for Iraq's ethnic minorities if Saddam were still running the country. Iraqis are not faring well, but most of them are considerably better off than the typical Syrian. I doubt that this would be true if the Iraq War had not taken place.

Moreover, we are seeing more and more evidence that Islamic extremists in the Middle East have more complex motivations than most on the isolationist left - or right, for that matter - will admit. The Western imperialist bogeyman, it turns out, is not at the root of every fatwa and beheading.

Quote
- so much as her inconsistency and incoherence since then. For instance, unless Robert Gates and others are completely off the mark, she opposed the 2007 troop surge simply because she believed that defending it was untenable for a Democratic presidential candidate. No one who objects to a President who lies about war should support a candidate who is dishonest on that subject.

Well according to her, Gates was off the mark, although part of her problem with the surge was that it lacked political support at home at the time. Bush had, of course, long since poisoned the well by 2007 and turned the war into a partisan issue. Pretty much every Dem lined up against the surge, and Clinton and Obama actually released their statements against it on the same day. Given the state of Iraq today, the surge isn't looking as successful as it did a couple years ago.

I don't know what to conclude about the surge except that it clearly was not the unqualified success that its supporters claimed it was for several years. But a good decision is no guarantee of a good outcome. What's more important is whether what Hillary said was consistent with the choice that she believed was right based on the best evidence available at the time. In fairness, Gates alleges the same of Obama. This is equally disturbing, but it does not redeem Hillary's choice to do the same. And I'm not inclined to believe the denial of someone who has so frequently been caught lying.
1744  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: "All other things equal, having and raising children is a service to society." on: November 14, 2014, 11:54:40 am
That depends on how the children are raised, and I am not sure whether you mean to include that in the "all other things" qualifier.
1745  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 14, 2014, 10:15:03 am
I do not object to Hillary's vote for the Iraq War Resolution - the Syrian Civil War calls into question the story that the Iraq War's strongest critics have been telling for the past decade, and I've begun to reassess my own views as a result - so much as her inconsistency and incoherence since then. For instance, unless Robert Gates and others are completely off the mark, she opposed the 2007 troop surge simply because she believed that defending it was untenable for a Democratic presidential candidate. No one who objects to a President who lies about war should support a candidate who is dishonest on that subject.
1746  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Andrew Cuomo's performance on: November 14, 2014, 01:25:29 am
Turnout was abysmal everywhere, there's considerable discontent with Cuomo among the most liberal voters, and parts of Upstate NY swung against him by as much as 15 points.
1747  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 14, 2014, 12:58:43 am
I'm not sure why it's incumbent on me to document my "outrage" every time someone who supported the Iraq War is up for a promotion, up to and including someone who ran for President when I was in middle school.

Nor do I know where you're getting the idea that I'm fond of any of the men whom you've named. The only one I've ever said anything nice about on this forum, if I recall, is Joe Biden, and I don't remember ever making an unqualified endorsement of his putative 2016 candidacy.

In any case, you're dragging this conversation in a strange, personal direction that only reinforces all of the worst narratives about the Ready4Hillary brigade and their extreme sensitivity to criticism. Hillary is very likely to be the next Democratic nominee for President. Don't tell me to ignore every blemish on her record.
1748  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 14, 2014, 12:31:25 am
I know that you're a sensitive one, but is that Pavlovian garbage really the best response that you've got?

I know this may be hard for you to believe, but women are their own people. Mind = blown! Implying Hillary would be a dishonest president because her husband lied about an affair is one of the more disgustingly sexist criticisms I've ever seen from a "Democrat". Perhaps a blue avatar would suit you better? Though to be fair, not even many Republicans would sink that low to find justification for their deranged hatred of the soon to be first female president.

There's no need to resort to any of that to establish that Hillary Clinton is frequently and blatantly dishonest. Unless you believe - just for a start - that she was really named for Sir Edmund Hillary six years before he climbed Mount Everest, that she was actually ambushed by snipers at a tarmac in Bosnia, and that her incoherent retrospective justification for her vote to authorize force in Iraq makes any sense.

If that's what you truly believe, then why sink that low in the first place? And there's nothing incoherent about her justification, certainly not any moreso than the other Democrats who you're happy to forgive and let bygones by bygones.

Please, tell me who I am "happy" to forgive and why they are comparable. You're about as likely to have an answer as you are to bend spoons with your mind.
1749  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 14, 2014, 12:19:19 am
I know that you're a sensitive one, but is that Pavlovian garbage really the best response that you've got?

I know this may be hard for you to believe, but women are their own people. Mind = blown! Implying Hillary would be a dishonest president because her husband lied about an affair is one of the more disgustingly sexist criticisms I've ever seen from a "Democrat". Perhaps a blue avatar would suit you better? Though to be fair, not even many Republicans would sink that low to find justification for their deranged hatred of the soon to be first female president.

There's no need to resort to any of that to establish that Hillary Clinton is frequently and blatantly dishonest. Unless you believe - just for a start - that she was really named for Sir Edmund Hillary six years before he climbed Mount Everest, that she was actually ambushed by snipers at a tarmac in Bosnia, and that her incoherent retrospective justification for her vote to authorize force in Iraq makes any sense.
1750  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 13, 2014, 11:33:50 pm
I know that you're a sensitive one, but is that Pavlovian garbage really the best response that you've got?
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