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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1726  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should car manufacturers be allowed to sell vehicles directly to consumers? on: March 16, 2014, 08:46:52 am
Actually, I'm pretty sure that you could buy directly from Tesla's dealerships in New Jersey (or anywhere else) before Christie announced that doing so is prohibited.
1727  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: In which of these situations is it appropriate to use your phone? on: March 15, 2014, 10:44:28 pm
It depends on the number of people present and whether someone is addressing you directly in every case.
1728  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Regional Governments / Re: IDS1: Housing First Act [Debating] on: March 15, 2014, 09:51:06 pm
"Wifi cleaned every month"?
1729  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: SENATE BILL: Senate Resolution on the 2014 Crimean Crisis (Amendment Vote) on: March 15, 2014, 06:02:26 pm
What, exactly, does "full support" of Ukraine entail? I wouldn't necessarily object to retaining this language in the bill, but you should probably spell out more clearly what kind of limits there are to this level of support, if any. Making promises that we don't intend to keep would be a blow to Atlasia's international credibility.
1730  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Regional Governments / Re: NE1: Group Marriages Act (Debating) on: March 15, 2014, 05:52:06 pm
You are literally arguing with me over a dictionary definition. Discrimination is "the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their actual or perceived membership in a certain group or category." Whether we agree to use language as it's described in the dictionary isn't really relevant to this debate, but it annoys me to be told that I'm wrong by someone who's making assumptions based on connotations that are frequently associated with a word.

I reject the claim that I am using a "straw-man [sic]" to argue my case. I raised certain questions about your points because they show that the claims that you're making aren't really connected to the issue of group marriage at all. I appreciate you providing links to your sources, but you're missing my point: How do the effects of polygamy as it is practiced in the developing world relate to whether the Northeast recognizes group marriage?
1731  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: SENATE BILL: Reforming Atlasian Public Health Act of 2014 (Debating) on: March 15, 2014, 03:59:28 pm
The New Atlasian Healthcare Act

[...]

    (c.) Such benefits are available through any licensed health care clinician anywhere in Atlasia that is legally qualified to provide the benefits. [...]
    (e.) All private and public hospitals and doctors are required to be participating providers, and are not permitted to deny care on the basis of one's enrollment in the Atlasian National Health Care Program.
1732  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: SENATE BILL: Reforming Atlasian Public Health Act of 2014 (Debating) on: March 15, 2014, 03:49:29 pm
Quote from: Final Text
The New Atlasian Healthcare Act

[...]

    (b.) Licensed health care clinicians who accept any payment from the Atlasian National Health Care Program may not bill any patient for any covered service.
1733  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Regional Governments / Re: NE1: Group Marriages Act (Debating) on: March 15, 2014, 02:59:41 pm
Well, I suspect that opponents of polygamy will inevitably end up using certain lines often associated with opposition to same-sex marriage, even if they support allowing the latter (as I do).  You'd be right in saying that I personally have a problem with the concept of a marriage between more than two people and that this is part of why I oppose it.  Unlike gay marriage, I don't think one can legitimately argue that banning polygamy is state-sanctioned discrimination or that opposition to polygamy stems from bigotry (though knowing Atlasia, someone will surely try to argue both these things Roll Eyes ).

There's no debating that it is discrimination; that's a semantic issue. The question at hand is whether there is sufficient evidence to justify that discrimination.

Quote
However, my biggest reason for opposing it is that I believe it has the potential to be extremely damaging to the emotional and psychological health of children throughout the Northeast.  Before Representative Deaus asks, I admit I don't have any statistics or studies readily available.  However, I think that assertion is pretty much common sense and you guys aren't going to change my mind on it.

"Common sense" is not an adequate guide to making laws. Even where intuitions differ, that which seems obvious to most people may not be correct. That you can't move beyond this is evidence of just what I implied being true: You oppose group marriage because the thought of it makes you uncomfortable, and you're not interested in thinking critically about the reasons behind that discomfort.

Quote
However, one thing that is well-established is that IRL is that polygamy has been a significant contributor to the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

Do you know what's also a significant contributor to the spread of HIV/AIDS? Having sex. There's nothing to prevent people from more than one sexual partner at a time now. Should we ban that, too?

Quote
It is also pretty well-documented that polygamy tends to increase the number of families with more children than they can afford to take care of (and I have to imagine that in wealthier areas, it'd lead to more abortions too).

Should we also prohibit poor people from getting married because they tend to have more children than they can afford? Is there even any evidence that legalizing group marriage would encourage people to have more children? (There's nothing stopping them now.) And can you provide a citation for any of this?
1734  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Regional Governments / Re: NE1: Group Marriages Act (Debating) on: March 15, 2014, 02:00:14 pm
an attack on the very institution of marriage itself

What does that even mean?

The quoted portion of my post means that I consider group marriage an attack on the institution of marriage.

And I'm asking: What is an "attack on the institution of marriage"? This is a line typically associated with opponents of gay marriage, and I'm not sure what it means when they use it, either, aside from "this is a thing that makes me uncomfortable so I don't think anyone else should be allowed to do it."
1735  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Regional Governments / Re: NE1: Group Marriages Act (Debating) on: March 15, 2014, 01:46:13 pm
an attack on the very institution of marriage itself

What does that even mean?
1736  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: NE - MARCH 2014 SPECIAL ASSEMBLY ELECTION on: March 15, 2014, 01:10:15 pm
Member of the Northeast Assembly
Vote to fill one vacant seat.

[1] Sirnick (TPP-NY)
[2] Write-in: Alfred F. Jones
[3] Write-in: Yeahsayyeah
[  ] Abstain
1737  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Regional Governments / Re: NE1: Group Marriages Act (Debating) on: March 15, 2014, 01:02:04 pm
I don't find think eliminating marriage is a tenable solution.

In legal terms, Marriage is essentially a kind of contract that imposes rights and obligations to facilitate stable, long-term relationships between adults. But the two (or more, if this passes) people entering that agreement are not the only two who are affected by it. That contract requires government recognition in terms of dealing with everything from hospital visitation rights to inheritance to organ transplants.
1738  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: SENATE BILL: Reforming Atlasian Public Health Act of 2014 (Debating) on: March 15, 2014, 12:26:27 pm
Quote
"Licensed health care clinicians who accept any payment from the Atlasian National Health Care Program may not bill any patient for any covered service."

So, then we have a loophole in the law? Aren't we saving any money at all?

I'm not sure whether I'm missing something, but it seems as if we are paying health care providers less and telling them that they can't bill patients for the difference. At this point I wonder whether we have any hospitals that haven't declared bankruptcy.

It would go through the insurance.

I don't understand why most people (and employers) would bother carrying insurance after the 2009 law was enacted, which guaranteed a "universal, best" standard of care covering "all medically necessary" services to "all individuals residing in Atlasia," available at any health care provider (public or private), free of charge.

Because we eliminated that.

We changed the "free of charge" part by allowing copayments and deductibles (and changed "universal, best" to merely "high"), but the rest remains unaltered. And since there's no insurance mandate, people are left to choose between paying for insurance that covers those copays and deductibles (?) or going without insurance and continuing to receive the same care for free (because providers cannot bill patients directly), leaving providers to absorb the difference.
1739  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Opinion of this modest proposal on: March 15, 2014, 11:51:05 am
Quote
2. To reduce expenses incurred to Fritzcare [i.e. the Atlasian National Health Care Program], hospitals generating more than half of their revenue from Fritzcare reimbursements are hereby prohibited from maintaining, expanding, or forming new unions.
1740  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: SENATE BILL: Reforming Atlasian Public Health Act of 2014 (Debating) on: March 15, 2014, 11:21:25 am
Quote
"Licensed health care clinicians who accept any payment from the Atlasian National Health Care Program may not bill any patient for any covered service."

So, then we have a loophole in the law? Aren't we saving any money at all?

I'm not sure whether I'm missing something, but it seems as if we are paying health care providers less and telling them that they can't bill patients for the difference. At this point I wonder whether we have any hospitals that haven't declared bankruptcy.

It would go through the insurance.

I don't understand why most people (and employers) would bother carrying insurance after the 2009 law was enacted, which guaranteed a "universal, best" standard of care covering "all medically necessary" services to "all individuals residing in Atlasia," available at any health care provider (public or private), free of charge.
1741  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: SENATE BILL: Reforming Atlasian Public Health Act of 2014 (Debating) on: March 15, 2014, 11:11:09 am
Quote
"Licensed health care clinicians who accept any payment from the Atlasian National Health Care Program may not bill any patient for any covered service."

So, then we have a loophole in the law? Aren't we saving any money at all?

I'm not sure whether I'm missing something, but it seems as if we are paying health care providers less and telling them that they can't bill patients for the difference. At this point I wonder whether we have any hospitals that haven't declared bankruptcy.
1742  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should car manufacturers be allowed to sell vehicles directly to consumers? on: March 15, 2014, 11:08:05 am
I believe the reasoning for continuing the dealership arrangement is that local point of service (including repair) has some value added to the market, and states/localities are happy to keep the profits in the home market, rather than seeing them repatriated to corporate HQ.

However, the dealership arrangement seems to have exhausted most of its usefulness, hence the massive retraction during the global credit crisis.

Even that argument doesn't hold up. Tesla will actually have to close the dealerships that it owns in New Jersey because of Christie's decision.
1743  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: SENATE BILL: Reforming Atlasian Public Health Act of 2014 (Debating) on: March 15, 2014, 10:05:36 am
For the benefit of everyone involved, could someone who knows Atlasia's current healthcare system briefly explain its major elements, particularly those that differ from the American system? I've read the relevant laws in the past, but I still don't have a great handle on the subject. I suspect that the same holds true for most people who would like to participate in this debate.

The simplest way to describe its main feature I think is a taxpayer-funded public option. It is a two-tiered system rather than single payer in the sense that it doesn't pay for everything and people can buy supplementary insurance.   Beyond that I can try to help explain it but I'm not sure where to start.  At some point it gets complicated and perhaps contradictory.

Your two-sentence description is consistent with my understanding of the law, so I'll take that as a good sign. Here's my attempt at a summary:

Quote
1. Since 2009, every Atlasian resident has been eligible for coverage under the Atlasion National Healthcare Program (a.k.a. "Fritzcare"), and all health care providers are required to cover Fritzcare enrollees.

2. Fritzcare is a comprehensive health care program (including elements of care that are often neglected IRL, such as mental, dental, and vision).

3. Existing government health care programs (Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare) have been abolished and rolled into Fritzcare.

4. Prior to 2012, copayments or deductibles on required benefits could not be billed to Fritzcare recipients.

5. Since 2012, the percentage of expenses covered by Fritzcare A) varies based on personal income and B) is capped at a percentage of household income. Preventive care remains free of charge to individuals.

6. HOWEVER, even after the reforms of 2012, "Licensed health care clinicians who accept any payment from the Atlasian National Health Care Program may not bill any patient for any covered service."

7. Fritzcare funding comes from A) former funding for Medicare and Medicaid, including the payroll tax; B) a progressive (by personal income) tax on health insurance benefits; and C) raising what the Medicare payroll tax (now called the "Health Care Payroll Tax") from 1.45% to 6.5%.

9. Public benefit corporations ("Community Health Partnerships") established in each region are responsible for administering Fritzcare.

8. Private health insurance may continue to exist, but health insurance companies must join an "Exchange."

Does that look right?
1744  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Comedy Goldmine on: March 15, 2014, 09:32:27 am

Blue state -


Red states have McDonald's too, if that is your choice of fare,
1745  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pornhub: The South watches proportionately more gay porn than anywhere else on: March 15, 2014, 09:29:52 am
No one at PornHub or Buzzefeed realized that putting 48 numbers on a map would be unreadable?




Do not worry. I'm here to make the map Atlas friendly. Smiley

Pink  2.6-3.5%

Red  3.6-4.5%

Dark Red 4.6-5.6%

Ah, and your class intervals are even the same size! Thanks.
1746  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Politics aside- would you rather live in a blue state or a red state? on: March 15, 2014, 09:27:02 am
As for me, my most important consideration for where to live is that I feel a need to live as car-free a life as possible, which restricts my choices considerably.  I'm much more interested in the neighborhood, city, or metro area than the state level.  Practically all the places in the US that I'd be happy in happen to be in blue states- but that isn't because of their voting patterns or anything (for whatever limited relationship exists, the arrow of causality almost certainly runs in the opposite direction).

The second sentence describes how I would answer this question pretty well, although I would also be comfortable living in a sufficiently pedestrian-friendly,  small town or city.

The first sentence applies to almost everyone. Some statewide factors are relevant in deciding where to live - e.g. tax levels, whether you can be married, when and where you can buy alcohol - but neighborhood or city-based considerations weigh more heavily for most of us .
1747  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of this Observation Made by a College Professor of Racial Geography on: March 15, 2014, 08:59:41 am
Yes rural schools in the North have much fewer black people than rural schools in the South but can that really be called segregation?

By definition, yes, but even a spatial index of segregation that excluded rural school districts would reach the conclusion that Northern districts are highly segregated by race.
1748  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Pornhub: The South watches proportionately more gay porn than anywhere else on: March 15, 2014, 08:51:17 am
No one at PornHub or Buzzefeed realized that putting 48 numbers on a map would be unreadable?
1749  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should car manufacturers be allowed to sell vehicles directly to consumers? on: March 15, 2014, 08:11:50 am
Of course they should.  I'd be curious to see how any sane person could defend this nonsense.

"I own/work at/am somehow financially dependent on a car dealership" is literally the only real argument other than propagandist talking points about "fairness."
1750  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: SENATE BILL: Reforming Atlasian Public Health Act of 2014 (Debating) on: March 14, 2014, 02:54:20 pm
It doesn't take that long to read, so it's not even worth explaining the major elements.

I didn't ask for an explanation because it's a long read; I asked for an explanation because it's difficult to make sense it and I often get the sense that not everyone shares the same understanding of its text. When I sponsored the TRICare Reform Act on behalf of then-SoEA Sjoyce, I had to read through all 9 pages of debate (plus 13 pages of debate on the original Atlasian Healthcare Act) to figure out what the New Atlasian Healthcare Act meant, and even then I wasn't entirely sure what was going on. It's also not the only major piece of health care legislation that we've passed.
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