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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1726  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of TTS1996 on: August 17, 2014, 05:38:54 pm
Deserves a prompt retirement.
1727  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: PM Series: Question 10 on: August 17, 2014, 08:40:46 am
Usually disagree/not crit

NPR, PBS and the like are fine...I do take issue using Federal tax dollars on "arts" only rich people enjoy though.  Or the stupid giant chunks of metal that passes as art in front of govt buildings everywhere.

You would love Empire State Plaza.

Behold the Giant Space Moth:

..the Flying Guillotine (yes, those blades twirl in the wind):

...the Broken Slinky:

...and, uh, whatever this is:

1728  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Public Fuel and Power Act of 2014 (Final vote) on: August 17, 2014, 08:22:53 am
Also, do not forget that reducing the per unit cost of energy will disincentive investments in energy conservation, energy efficiency, and distributed renewable energy generation.

We implemented a carbon tax that makes (most) energy more expensive to encourage these behaviors... and now we're about to undermine that by taking over the industry, operating at a loss, and slashing prices?

Again, if energy affordability, is our concern, there are other ways to address that. As I asked before (someone should do a round-up of all of the questions about this that have been ignored, by the way): Why not expand aid for home heating and weatherization, if that is the problem?
1729  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: RNC Condemns AP Exam's 'Radically Revisionist View' Of U.S. History on: August 16, 2014, 11:43:48 am
As I was about to say, it's strange to see the College Board taking public criticism while their ongoing shakedown of American students and their families is ignored.
1730  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Rick Perry indicted! on: August 16, 2014, 09:06:34 am
Not many people seem to think that the charges are credible. The fact that they are politically motivated doesn't mean that they must be wrong, but at this point there's no reason to believe that they aren't.
1731  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: BREAKING: Zephyr Teachout Endorsed by Massive Labor Group on: August 15, 2014, 08:37:11 am
How can anyone take someone called Zephyr Rain Teachout seriously?

How can anyone take an executive who dissolved a supposedly independent anti-corruption commission seriously?
1732  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Atlas Sexual Morality Poll on: August 13, 2014, 06:34:14 pm
I'm a little concerned that the majority of people here have voted "Agree" on #4. You think people should be forced to stay in a loveless/empty marriage?

That's a novel reading of "should."
1733  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Atlas Sexual Morality Poll on: August 13, 2014, 04:51:56 pm
Agree with all. (Yes, even #4.)
1734  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Public Fuel and Power Act of 2014 (Final vote) on: August 13, 2014, 03:01:14 pm
We'd almost literally be better off giving people pallets of money to burn for fuel. In all seriousness, wouldn't expanding assistance for home heating and weatherizatuon achieve the same end at a far lower cost? (At the very least, with less risk?)

I agree with your point on nuclear energy, but I fail to see how that justifies appropriating the entire sector. Nuclear comprises less than 20% of electricity generation, to say nothing of other forms of energy consumption in which its presence as a source is negligible.

Renewables are another point entirely, as I've already alluded to, because they disrupt the entire model that electricity production has been based on for the last century. There's no longer a neat distinction between consumers and producers of energy, and it's not at all clear how this scheme would deal with that. We should also note that our carbon tax has made renewable energy more competitive in Atlasia while adding money to government coffers.

And no, having a nationalized energy sector would not be an automatic disaster. I don't thnk it would make us better off, but it might be workable (assuming you can figure out how to make that transition). However, the particulars of this bill could not result in anything other than catastrophic.
1735  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Public Fuel and Power Act of 2014 (Final vote) on: August 13, 2014, 02:37:30 pm
I don't know how to respond to any of this without sounding like an ass at this point, but a lot of people with whom I usually agree just aren't making any sense.

There's been almost no attempt to think seriously about the consequences of this policy, including its implications for the vulnerable groups that you're ostensibly trying to help, and during this debate you have willfully ignored all questions and criticism. 

Maybe this makes sense if your goal is to abolish private property. I don't think that's the case for anyone aside from TNF and maybe Griffin. If affordability and sustainability are more important to you, then you need to think seriously about all of the concerns that we have raised here, which (JCL's predictable outburst aside) go much deeper than the assertion that nationalization is bad.
1736  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: David Gregory's flight to nowhere on: August 13, 2014, 08:52:25 am
Todd is a better interviewer than anyone who's hosting a Sunday morning show now. Is it too much to hope that they'll ditch the invariably awful panel discussions to return to the long-interview format that these programs favored when they were still relevant?
1737  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: PM Series: Question 10 on: August 12, 2014, 10:38:13 pm
Usually disagree - although NPR, PBS, and public libraries are notable exceptions, and I'm relatively supportive of local government efforts at cultural preservation and promotion.

Also, it's worth remembering that most government support for the arts in the United States is probably through tax deductions for charitable giving - in this respect, at least, the government's role as a cultural gatekeeper is minimal.
1738  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Cris Survey - Creation of a second chamber. on: August 12, 2014, 04:52:45 pm
I have two objections:

(1) It's not clear how bicameralism would improve the game.
(2) It's not clear where the people to staff a second legislature would come from, even if several regions were eliminated.

I'm open to argument on (1), but (2) is the black mark on this proposal. Scattering the same number of active people across more offices is harmful to the game. Why undertake regional consolidation, which comes with significant hazards and drawbacks, only to undo its greatest benefit by creating even more offices than were eliminated?

My guess is that, if this were tried, it would work about as well as the Senate Committee System. Making the game more complicated confuses people, discourages participation, and creates more work for the few players who remain. Any reforms that we undertake should make the game more simpler and more accessible. This would do the opposite.
1739  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Public Fuel and Power Act of 2014 (Final vote) on: August 12, 2014, 02:10:47 pm
I'll continue to watch this debate, but I feel compelled to note my skepticism. The redraft process works well when you've established a legislative framework for confronting a problem, but in this case it's not even clear what the goal of this project is.

There's been a lot of talk about "price-gouging" and "excess profits," but it's not clear what either of those terms means and no evidence has been brought forward to demonstrate that either practice has occurred.
1740  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Which wars involving the United States would you have supported? on: August 11, 2014, 11:15:45 pm
Would those of you who oppose the Barbary Wars have paid tribute to the corsairs?
1741  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Public Fuel and Power Act of 2014 (Final vote) on: August 11, 2014, 10:41:43 pm
I need real life examples, not forecasts and numbers and so on because all that can be manipulated. Where was this tried, did it fail, did it not fail? Why is the TVA a success?

There's a clear difference between what the TVA achieved and what this bill proposes. We'd effectively be:

(1) abolishing energy markets, without paying attention to how they work or why they work that way (has anyone here given thought to distributed generation? demand-based pricing? day-ahead and real-time energy markets? smart grid technology?);
(2) appropriating nearly a tenth of the economy with very little warning, discussion, or planning; and
(3) placing that portion of the economy in the hands of boards of people literally selected at random and establishing no democratic or bureaucratic channels for maintaining oversight and accountability.

I can't provide a comparison because there isn't one, at least not in the developed world. But the adverse consequences of these actions should be obvious. Whatever problems this is meant to solve, can't they be addressed in some other way?
1742  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Hillary Clinton talking A LOT of sense on foreign policy on: August 11, 2014, 10:08:28 pm
The Monkey Cage has a good overview of some of the problems with the claim that arming selected rebel factions was ever likely to achieve the desired result:

There are pretty strong reasons for doubting that it would have been decisive. Even Sen. John McCain was pretty clear about this at the time, arguing that arming the rebels “alone will not be decisive” and that providing weapons in the absence of safe areas protected by U.S. airpower “may even just prolong [the conflict].”


The academic literature is not encouraging. In general, external support for rebels almost always make wars longer, bloodier and harder to resolve. Worse, as the University of Maryland’s David Cunningham has shown, Syria had most of the characteristics of the type of civil war in which external support for rebels is least effective. The University of Colorado’s Aysegul Aydin and Binghamton University’s Patrick Regan have suggested that external support for a rebel group could help when all the external powers backing a rebel group are on the same page and effectively cooperate in directing resources to a common end. Unfortunately, Syria was never that type of civil war.

The post also points out that redirecting flows of aid bound for Syrian rebels from the Gulf to Western-preferred factions would have been difficult to achieve under any circumstances:

External backers of the rebels didn’t even agree on whether the goal was to protect civilians, overthrow Assad, bring the regime to the table, or to wage a region-wide sectarian war against Iran. It is difficult to see Gulf capitals embroiled in these regional battles becoming more receptive to American guidance just because the United States had some “skin in the game.” 

That intra-state competition and popular mobilization is the regional context within which U.S. efforts to arm the FSA would have unfolded. The FSA was always more fiction than reality, with a structure on paper masking the reality of highly localized and fragmented fighting groups on the ground. [...] The idea that these rebel groups could be vetted for moderation and entrusted with advanced weaponry made absolutely no sense given the realities of the conflict in Syria.

Where does all of this leave ISIS?

The idea that more U.S. support for the FSA would have prevented the emergence of the Islamic State isn’t even remotely plausible. The Islamic State recovered steam inside of Iraq as part of a broad Sunni insurgency driven by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s bloody, ham-fisted crackdowns in Hawija and Fallujah, and more broadly because of the disaffection of key Sunni actors over Maliki’s sectarian authoritarianism. It is difficult to see how this would have been affected in the slightest by a U.S.-backed FSA (or, for that matter, by a residual U.S. military presence in Iraq, but that’s another debate for another day). There is certainly no reason to believe that the Islamic State and other extremist groups would have stayed away from such an ideal zone for jihad simply because Western-backed groups had additional guns and money.
1743  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: David Gregory's flight to nowhere on: August 11, 2014, 08:47:03 pm
RIP Fluffy
1744  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Public Fuel and Power Act of 2014 (Final vote) on: August 11, 2014, 11:05:27 am
How would the law affect distributed generation? Will the government appropriate the solar panels on my roof?
1745  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Public Fuel and Power Act of 2014 (Final vote) on: August 11, 2014, 07:43:49 am
Deus is correct - I'll provide details when I can, but as long as this is at a vote I need to warn that this would be a disaster. You're about to set us back 50 years on energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable generation, and within 5 years I guarantee that the cost of energy will have skyrocketed (even if the price level is sheltered from this shock by government fiat).
1746  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Hillary Clinton talking A LOT of sense on foreign policy on: August 10, 2014, 04:17:50 pm
Shocking how willing people are to assume that we'd have known exactly how to support the Syrian rebels without also benefiting the groups that would go on to form ISIS. Or, for that matter, that Hillary Clinton can credibly claim to offer a departure from Obama's foreign policy without recalling her place in the pre-2008 public imagination as a cynical opportunist.

Forgive me for my lack of enthusiasm, but I'm not excited by the prospect of another US President who draws facile comparisons between Islamic extremism and communism, or who shrugs off civilian casualties in the passive voice ("mistakes are made").
1747  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: CNN: The news channel for people who have never looked at a map on: August 08, 2014, 12:07:04 am
I know that the forum will appreciate this crime against cartography from The New Republic:

Are they even trying? Who would look at that map and think that it conveys any useful information?

Update: I adjusted my zoom level in an attempt to take a better screenshot and the colors changed! What the hell is going on here?

1748  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Best Running Mate for Previous Poster on: August 07, 2014, 10:03:01 pm
Charles Manson
1749  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What is your primary news source? on: August 07, 2014, 08:33:29 pm
I would say Twitter, but that's a bit like answering with "television" or "newspapers" or "blogs."

I subscribe to The Economist and read most of it every week. That's probably my best answer, but I hesitate because by the time I receive it I'm usually aware of most of the news that I'll read about in that week's edition.

If I have a few spare minutes and I want an update on the news, I check BBC News, or, less frequently, the Post or the Times. I also have the AP News app on my phone. I rarely use it, but I like the instant alerts feature and that's usually how I learn that something has happened. Oh, and I usually listen to NPR on my drive to work.

I don't know if that answers your question.
1750  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: How would you vote on these five Missouri ballot measures? on: August 07, 2014, 07:56:13 pm
I will never understand the kind of people who would oppose 8. What a strange place their minds must be.

The idea that state-sponsored gambling creates perverse incentives is not difficult to wrap your head around.

No, but the concept of actually caring is.

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