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March 05, 2015, 01:44:38 pm
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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Mexico June 7th 2015 elections on: Today at 12:56:15 pm
I look forward to seeing DF's hilarious election results.
2  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Happy Meteorological Spring 2015!! on: March 04, 2015, 11:42:51 pm
It feels like spring here right now, but give it twelve hours...this is crazy.

What the heck is "wintry mix"?

It's a common occurrence from the Appalachian Mountains in Georgia all the way up to the Rust Belt: warm gulf moisture comes over dry arctic air and forms an inversion. This is why freezing rain is a common natural hazard in most of the US. Because of this, weather stations have very specific terminology for "wintry precipitation". There's a Rain/Snow mix, which means sleet, there's a "Wintry Mix", which means freezing rain, granular snow and wet snow, and there's "Freezing Rain".
3  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Happy Meteorological Spring 2015!! on: March 04, 2015, 11:33:02 pm

This weather is ~10-20 degrees above average for March in my part of the world. We had around 12 inches of snow this year but we average 45-50 inches of snow. I <3 climate change!

It got up to 60 degrees one day in January. We've had multiple near 60 degree days in February. If this anomalous pattern continues, the average high temperature in March may very well be in the mid to upper 50s. This is very abnormal in the Inland Northwest: wintry weather tends to stick around until early April due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean. There's a non-negligible chance of accumulating snowfall until early April and there are routine cold snaps that produce towering cumulonimbus clouds that dump "snail" (granular icy snow) even when it's in the mid-40s.

The snow level is at 5000-6000 feet at this point. To put this into reference: it's typical for there to be patchy snow well into May at 3000-4000 feet. This weather is wild.
4  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Iggy Azalea on: February 28, 2015, 03:55:28 pm
Cultural appropriation is bullsh#t and anyone legitimately engaging that kind of pseudo-Maoist nonsense is terrible and should be ashamed of themselves.

I... agree?

"Cultural appropriation" is how cultures form to begin with.

No one with a brain would dispute this. Nevertheless, it's worth considering that cultural appropriation doesn't necessarily have ameliorative effects on discrimination faced by racialized and/or exoticized others. African-Americans laid the foundation for the vast majority of contemporary music but they haven't received much credit for this. Picasso was influenced by African tribal art but most people are not aware of this. Gitanos in Spain are arguably responsible for Andalusian music but they still face discrimination.

Cultural appropriation leads to great, awesome, powerful art but it certainly could take place in a different manner.
5  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Iggy Azalea on: February 28, 2015, 03:23:48 pm
I have many thoughts about Iggy Azalea and cultural appropriation, here are some of them:

Iggy Azalea is terrible. Her rapping is derivative, the beats she uses are derivative etc. She's popular because of her image rather than her music. There's no shortage of female rappers in hip-hop. There's a shortage of marketable female rappers in hip-hop. It's not a coincidence that there are very few black female rappers in the mainstream. It's a reflection of racism and sexism.

That being said, I don't dislike Iggy Azalea because of this. I dislike her because she's a gibbering idiot who insulted Q-Tip, made moronic statements about Aborigines in Australia and doesn't care about hip-hop as a cultural force. It would be one thing if she was another generic music figure marketed by a label but she's also an idiot.

The fact this thread was focused on cultural appropriation is embarrassing. Cultural appropriation is certainly a phenomenon but it's not necessarily problematic. Cultural appropriation is problematic when an advantaged class takes the raw cultural materials of an oppressed class and markets these materials in a slightly different package in order to profit. I think it's a problem when labels hire attractive/capable performers, hire writers/producers to create a musical aesthetic that is highly plagiarized and profits off the aesthetic. I don't think this is a Maoist or a Third Worldist perspective. It's simply a recognition of the consequences of power differentials in society. Does Iggy Azalea embody this form of cultural appropriation? Yes, absolutely. Does this mean that white "artists" can't or shouldn't create forms of art influenced by cultural others? No, absolutely not.

There is no immediate solution to the problematic aspects of cultural appropriation because this feature of cultural production is inherent to the racialist economic structure of American society. My only prescription is that white artists should be humble and give credit to those that influenced them. This isn't a difficult task and it's not too much to ask. I don't like Macklemore's music but I give him credit for recognizing that his success stands on the shoulders of the Black community. I disdain Iggy Azalea because she hasn't done this. Instead, she's denigrated the historic origins of hip-hop by insulting key figures like Q-Tip, she's implicitly asserted that society is "post-racial" and she's implicitly asserted that hip-hop has nothing to do with race. Even if this stance is to be expected, it's still deserves condemnation.  Iggy Azalea has no authority to make claims about hip-hop but she's done it anyway.

All in all, this isn't very important. Nevertheless, it saddens me. After all, Iggy Azalea is the only white rapper millions of people will ever hear about, with the obvious exclusion of Eminem and Macklemore. There are many good white rappers who make innovative music that are overlooked and they'll be instantly labeled as "less authentic" or "cultural appropriators" because of Iggy Azalea.
6  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Chomsky v. Zizek on: February 27, 2015, 03:24:21 pm
Noam Chomsky, of course.
7  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Gubernatorial Race: Teachout (D) vs. Cuomo (WF) vs. Astorino (R) vs. Hawkins (G) on: February 27, 2015, 03:22:37 pm
Zephyr Teachout (D)

If Teachout had no shot at winning, I'd probably vote for Hawkins.
8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update Season XXI: "Scientific Facts Are Not Hard And Fast Rules." on: February 27, 2015, 03:19:07 pm
I'm amazed that somebody who's been to college can be as downright uncomfortable with pot smokers as Bushie apparently is, regardless of whether he personally approves of it or not.

An Oklahoma college town literally inspired the immortalized lyric: "We don't smoke marijuana in Muskogee." It's not that surprising down there.

Yeah, and not even the flagship campus for Bushie, to boot.  My high school likely has more potheads than Northwestern Oklahoma or whatever.

I personally know a lot of stoners, and while they are nice people, I don't want to be like them...........they tend to be very lazy and apathetic.  But Bushie's fear is just crazy.

There's actually a negative correlation between income/education and using marijuana (in the past, there was a positive correlation). The old stereotype of stoner liberal students at a flagship or prestigious university is outdated. Younger blue collar workers, community college students and high schoolers are far more likely to smoke weed on a regular basis than students at a liberal arts college, a flagship public university or an ivy league school.

Data point: I smoked marijuana almost every day when I was in high school. In college, I smoked quite a bit but I essentially stopped later on.
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update Season XXI: "Scientific Facts Are Not Hard And Fast Rules." on: February 18, 2015, 11:24:49 pm
if Tsipras is the Antichrist then put me on the list to get a 666 branding as soon as possible
10  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: If you were raised Mormon, would you have likely gone on a mission? on: February 12, 2015, 11:07:14 pm
The Mormon mission ritual is the only positive aspect of the faith. It forces many Mormon men to become somewhat cultured/cosmopolitan/bilingual.
11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Axelrod: Obama lied about opposing gay marriage on: February 12, 2015, 06:49:53 pm
It sounds like it was at least as much about the primary as about the general election. Early on, Obama winning black voters against Clinton was far from a sure thing, nor was the idea that he would do so well in places like Idaho and Nebraska.

There weren't many Democratic primary voters in Idaho who were opposed to same-sex marriage in 2008.

I'm surprised that so many posters believe that Democrats in red states are more conservative than Democrats nationwide. Democratic primary voters in Idaho are highly irreligious. I'd estimate that ~40% of Democratic primary voters in Idaho are non-religious. That wasn't the case in 1990.

There's no doubt that Obama's opposition to gay marriage was crucial to his primary victory but it would have solidified his numbers in Idaho and Utah.
12  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: French Jews Planning Mass Exodus in Wake of Terrorist Attacks on: February 12, 2015, 10:29:20 am

13  General Politics / Economics / Re: Is "thinking like an economist" unhealthy? on: February 10, 2015, 04:40:35 pm
In college, my SOC101 class had a chapter on Karl Marx, my PHIL150 class had a chapter on Karl Marx, my POLS200 class had a chapter on Karl Marx, and in my dual minor my ECON350 class had a chapter on Karl Marx and my FILM300 class had a chapter on Groucho Marx.

I'm not sure how that's all relevant to this thread, but it seems somewhat profound to me.

That's pretty typical. Marx has always been required reading for Sociology and Political Science majors.
14  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Beck vs. Beyonce vs. Kanye on: February 09, 2015, 07:04:48 pm
Beck literally has more talent in his index finger than the other two combined. Let's get serious here. Beck doesn't need twenty different people to write his songs for him like those two do. That does matter (at least to me).

Kanye West is a brilliant producer. Kanye West is noteworthy because he's a brilliant producer: every album he's released has transformed the aesthetic of hip-hop, expanding it to incorporate new forms of music. It's 2015, musical talent is no longer defined by an ability to play instruments. The most important innovations in music over the past few decades have been advanced by DJs and producers.

I say this as a Beck fan.  
15  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Beck vs. Beyonce vs. Kanye on: February 09, 2015, 05:47:56 pm
Kanye (normal)
16  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Would you rather live in Vancouver, British Columbia or Vancouver, Washington on: February 09, 2015, 01:11:06 am
Definitely the first option -if I could afford it.  Tongue
17  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: French legislative by-elections (14th Legislature) on: February 08, 2015, 02:25:38 pm
The PS seems to have won very narrowly, by some like 700 votes.

This country is doomed.

All things considered, this result isn't that terrible. It strikes me as a pleasant surprise, I would have expected a UMP-FN runoff with a narrow UMP victory rather than a PS-FN runoff with a narrow PS victory. This is the kind of constituency where I'd expect a total PS implosion.
18  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: French Jews Planning Mass Exodus in Wake of Terrorist Attacks on: February 08, 2015, 02:22:14 pm
This narrative is highly exaggerated.
19  General Politics / Economics / Re: Obama's lies on TPP on: February 08, 2015, 01:51:06 pm
Why is "enhancing productivity" considered to be desirable if the effects are nearly negligible and the consequences of the trade deal disproportionately impact those with less income and constrain domestic policy-making? I'm not concerned about the TPP because I care about "jobs". I'm concerned about the TPP because I oppose trade deals that engender inequality and undermine democracy for the sake of incredibly limited economic gains. I'm also concerned about trade deals that are asymmetric.

Let's discuss intellectual property and the effects of harmonizing disparate regulatory policies instead of repeating stupid tropes about trade. 
20  General Politics / Economics / Re: Is "thinking like an economist" unhealthy? on: February 07, 2015, 08:18:38 pm
Most economists don't "think like economists", largely because they have a fleshed out understanding of the subject matter, but many of their students "think like economists". The manner in which introductory courses are taught and the manner in which pop economics enters public discourse works to promote detrimental values. I say this as a prospective economics major who is very interested in the subject. btw, averrones, I don't think your title is misleading. There's a particular school of economic thought that has attempted to analyze social behavior using rational choice theory and it's impacted public discourse

The recent financial crisis, and repeated corporate scandals, raise serious questions about whether a business school education contributes to what some have described as a culture of greed. The dominance of economic-related courses in MBA curricula led us to assess the effects of economics education on greed in three studies using multiple methods. Study 1 found that economics majors and students who had taken multiple economics courses kept more money in a money allocation task (the Dictator Game). Study 2 found that economics education was associated with more positive attitudes toward greed and toward one's own greedy behavior.


Students were given $10 and had to make a proposal (link is external) about how to divide the money with a peer. If the peer accepted, they had a deal, but if the peer declined, both sides got nothing. On average, economics students proposed to keep 13% more money for themselves than students from other majors.


When faced with choices between cooperating and defecting, overall, 60% of economics majors defected, compared with only 39% of non-economics majors. For non-economists, 54% of freshmen and sophomores defected, while only 40% of juniors and seniors did. The economists, on the other hand, did not decrease in defection significantly over time. Roughly 70% defected across the board.

21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Is George W. Bush still hurting the Republican Party on: February 07, 2015, 04:06:48 pm
The Bush administration tarnished the Republican Party's reputation among affluent/well-educated urban professionals. It's pretty remarkable that many wealthy, traditionally-Republican municipalities voted for Obama over Romney and I don't doubt that the legacy of the Bush administration played a role in this.
22  General Politics / Economics / Re: Is "thinking like an economist" unhealthy? on: February 07, 2015, 03:12:32 pm
Is thinking like Gary Becker unhealthy? Yes.

Wendy Brown, a political theorist at UC-Berkeley, makes a great point about the dangers of "thinking like an economist". She asserts that the logic of economics has degraded democracy by analyzing public policy and political decision-making in terms of market-values. As a result, the state has become managerial and all political discourse gravitates towards questions of efficiency and optimization of production rather than values. She also points out that this has made it easier for transnational governance bodies and private industries to wrest control of the public sphere away from the citizenry because the citizenry also tends to view political decision-making in economic terms.

23  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of this bill on: February 03, 2015, 02:01:14 pm
Sweet tea is disgusting. I know Southerners find the taste of plain water sickening (see for example Bushie), but sweet tea doesn't even taste of tea anymore. It's just sugar. Indy Texas is absolutely correct that the rest of the South could learn a thing or two from Texas on this issue.
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update XX: A Darn Good Judge of My Financial Situation on: February 01, 2015, 02:11:50 am
Bushie style morbid obesity is just a few percent of the population in any state. I live in a high fat part of the country, and, I do see people Bushie's size here and there, but it isn't like these folks are a substantial part of the population.

Yes. 5'7" 300 lbs is 47.1 BMI and classified as Class III Super Obesity. Bushie is the 99th percentile of fattest asses in America. He is the 1%.

I'm more or less the same height as Our Dear Friend and he weighs 2.5 times more than me...

I eat junk food on a regular basis and don't exercise much.
25  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: ObamaCare cost expectation drops 7% on: January 31, 2015, 10:08:48 pm
I know people that would rather pay the fine than go through the crap that is filing through the site. We can't force people to buy anything. Why should it be required if people don't want it?

The individual mandate does not "require" people to buy health insurance. It penalizes people who don't purchase health insurance, which is entirely fair. The uninsured create externalities for taxpayers and health care providers. There is an ethical argument for penalizing people who refuse to buy health insurance when they have access to substantial subsidies and a functional market that offers health insurance that is very cheap.
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