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July 01, 2015, 02:31:17 pm
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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Cuba becomes first country to end Mother-to-Child HIV Transmissions on: June 30, 2015, 10:15:32 pm
Ugh, America was born with syphillis and no dang commie is going to take syphilis away from it!

Stop posting.

CrabCake is one of our best posters. Who the hell are you?
2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Breaking: Supreme Court rules SSM a legal right on: June 30, 2015, 10:04:45 pm
DISCLAIMER: I'm making this post more as an apologetic for certain members of my extended family than anything else.

It's possible, probable even, that at some point in the relatively near future the principle that couples should have access to civil marriage regardless of the combination of their sexes will be widely understood to be grounded on first principles in such a way that nobody can argue otherwise in good faith. At that point we'll indeed be able to say that people who oppose same-sex marriage are a distasteful fringe and can't possibly hold their position for well-intentioned reasons. I don't think we've yet reached the point where that grounding on first principles is self-evident or self-explanatory. I kind of hope we do (mostly because I think that if opposition to same-sex marriage becomes completely socially unacceptable then there are people whose opinions and morals I otherwise respect who will feel obliged to come around on it), but I don't think we have. It's still possible for somebody to oppose same-sex marriage and not be a generally bad person.
3  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Massachusetts on: June 30, 2015, 08:13:38 pm
Five stars, and I'm more than a little peeved by the people who seem to be singling out the parts of the state outside the orbit of Boston for particular distaste.
4  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: June 28, 2015, 06:19:44 pm
I'm giving Spring Snow some time to sink in before I start Runaway Horses so right now I'm reading one of Noor Inayat Khan's Jataka stories every night before I go to sleep. They're very very short and very light. Khan was a children's book writer and artist and the daughter of a Sufi leader who during World War II became an Allied spy and was eventually captured and executed in Dachau; she's a personal hero of mine.
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of this version of Battle Hymn of the Republic on: June 28, 2015, 06:08:25 pm
6  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Have you ever seen people rowing in the street about money? on: June 28, 2015, 04:07:15 pm
What did Paul say about it?

Radix malorum est cupiditas.
7  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Have you ever seen people rowing in the street about money? on: June 28, 2015, 04:00:16 pm
No, but only because I've always seen it happening indoors instead.
8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Atlas banned posters poll #12: Atheist2006 on: June 28, 2015, 02:41:42 am
Hilarious person.
9  General Politics / Economics / Re: Greece to Leave the Euro Zone on: June 28, 2015, 02:36:34 am
Is this, in fact, a done deal at this point?
10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Should churches that don't perform gay marriages lose their tax-exempt status? on: June 26, 2015, 07:11:02 pm
I try to be only as much of a culture warrior as is actually necessary, so of course not.

All churches should lose tax exempt status.

People who hold this position tend to have a poor understanding of why they have it in the first place.

I am curious, in your view, why do they have it in the first place?

Because they're nonprofits.
11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Should churches that don't perform gay marriages lose their tax-exempt status? on: June 26, 2015, 06:57:19 pm
I try to be only as much of a culture warrior as is actually necessary, so of course not.

All churches should lose tax exempt status.

People who hold this position tend to have a poor understanding of why they have it in the first place.
12  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What will be the next big social issue? on: June 26, 2015, 05:00:36 pm
I have changed my view of polygamy to supportive. I think it's hard to argue against the idea of polygamy, and the biggest real problems with it are purely practical. But practical difficulties in living something out don't justify a blanket ban. Prostitution should definitely be decriminalized, if not legalized.

Transgender rights, prison reform and drug legalization are may be the next big issues that occupy us for a time before passing through a stage of acceptance. Issues of race, gender, immigration (an appendage to race, sort of), and so on will always be with us.

At least it's consistent. Many SSM supporters get awfully angry when this topic is mentioned.

Do you understand Beet's (fortunately fringe) position as necessary in order to be consistent? Because the increasingly prevalent opinion that I've encountered (and which I hold) is that limitation to two partners is qualitatively more important to the institution of marriage in our society, in societies similar to or derived from ours, and in the expected and hoped-for future of our society than is the question of the partners' sexes, and thus it's not inconsistent to put stock in the former but not in the latter.
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Breaking: Supreme Court rules SSM a legal right on: June 26, 2015, 04:44:06 pm
Similarly, today's opinion could easily be applied in the context of polygamous marriage or same-sex incestuous marriage.  Is that next? 

I haven't read the ruling but other people who have read it led me to believe that it was fairly skilfully tailored in such a way as to not easily be expanded into these sorts of outcomes.
14  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Japan General Discussion on: June 26, 2015, 04:06:27 pm
Oh God... Is the LDP still far ahead in the polls?

Yes.

Quote
Is there any chance Japan finally gets a credible opposition force?

Not really. The various opposition parties could collectively retain enough presence in the Diet to prevent Abe from changing the constitution, but will almost certainly not be able to actually take power in the foreseeable future.

I still don't get how Abe can be doing so well, when literally all of his policy proposals are deeply underwater amongst the public. Well that's a lie, I do know the reason:

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2015/06/24/commentary/japan-commentary/pathetic-state-dpj/#.VY23i4ikqK0

But I still find it baffling and depressing.

Be careful. The Japan Times is viciously anti-LDP.

This particular article barely discusses the LDP at all until towards the end. It's as much anti-pro-DPJ as anything.
15  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Japan General Discussion on: June 26, 2015, 03:13:49 pm
On Thursday, at a meeting of nearly 40 lawmakers from Abe's LDP, participants called for restrictions on media that oppose the government's bills.  "If you want to punish the media, the best way is to cut their income from advertisement," an LDP lawmaker told the closed meeting, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper said, quoting participants.  The unnamed lawmaker and others also called on the nation's biggest business lobby, Keidanren, to help financially pressure media that were criticizing the bills, the daily added.  When Abe was confronted with this he did indicate that freedom of press must be respected.  I guess the hawkish wing of LDP must feel the pressure of the dovish wing over the public opinion polls and the view of the hawks is that this is mostly a function of media coverage.

Oh, man, these people are just absolutely disgusting, aren't they?

Abe has to do it this way since he currently cannot change the Constitution.  That will have to wait until after the 2016 Upper House election where hopefully for him LDP-KP gets a massive majority like in 2013.

Yes well one can only hope that that won't happen, especially if the electorate realizes that militarist amendments to the constitution would be a probable outcome.
16  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: John Oliver condemns online harassment, the Internet responds predictably on: June 26, 2015, 04:50:13 am
And this thread is amply demonstrating the reason why this segment is so valuable.

SJWs are the bane of man. John Oliver deserves everything he gets.

Using the term SJW as a negative is one of those things, like a Confederate flag signature, that indicates that the person has nothing to say worth listening to.

Comparing a literal symbol of secession and figurative emblem of racism to a internet slang about overzealous bloggers is a massive hyperbole even by Atlas standards.

Bashing "social justice" sounds a whole lot like an endorsement of social injustice. I'm puzzled and a bit saddened that we've gotten to the point where a large segment of society is so twisted that it regards social justice and advocacy for it as a negative.

SJWs have nothing to do with actual social justice. They are a group of misanthropic fiends that attack anyone who doesn't tow the PC line, and invent ridiculous terms like "cis scum" and "ableist".

The ones who are actually "fiendish" are few and far between, most of them don't actually use the term "cis scum" except in irony. Ableist is used more often, but depending on the context, might actually be accurate.

Yeah, I don't understand how it's possible to deny in good faith that physical and mental disability are axes of oppression and discrimination.
17  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Japan General Discussion on: June 26, 2015, 04:22:09 am
Wait, he's not even bothering to attempt to change the constitution to allow this, he's just going ahead and passing it with the constitution as it currently reads? In a better world he'd be sure to suffer extreme and more or less immediate political consequences for doing that (and for being so personally obsessed with doing it regardless of what the country thinks or wants), but it's Japan in a year other than 1993 or 2009 and he's the leader of the LDP so he'll unfortunately probably more or less get away with it.

Worth noting that the Japanese Supreme Court has the power of judicial review but almost never exercises it.
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: NYT: Bernie Sanders has a "non-white problem" on: June 25, 2015, 03:40:43 am
Bernie's politics appeal to upper middle class whites and no one else at this point.



No. That's not the issue. The policies aren't the issue.

Sanders's policies are in most respects well in line and well in tune with what a lot of visible minority groups in the United States want out of government. If you had an upper-middle-class white and a working-class member of pretty much any non-white ethnic group and asked them to run through a list of Sanders's policy positions, it's very probable that the latter would agree with him on much more. But the thing is that Sanders has done nothing to demonstrate to non-white voters that he would be better at advocating for their interests than Clinton or somebody else with more of a track record of actually having minorities as constituents.

You're right insofar as Sanders's 'brand' of politics comes across as champagne-socialist to most people outside Vermont. This is because the way Sanders presents his ideas--again, not really the ideas themselves, but things like presenting the ideas as a form of socialism--goes against several really basic, foundational assumptions about what is and isn't politically permissible or possible that most Americans who don't fall into one or both of two groups hold. Those groups are the middle-class leftist activist 'base' (insofar as it can even be called a base; personally I have no love lost for most of these people) and actual Vermonters. To his own constituents, Bernie is a man of the people and very much a retail politician. But the nature of Vermont as a state is not such that that reputation translates well to a larger stage. Even so the way he operates within Vermont probably means that Sanders could make a pretty respectable dent in that part of the white working class that votes in Democratic primaries if he tries hard and believes in himself. (Almost certainly far more so than with minorities, really. Fantasizing about a scenario in which an improbably strong Sanders campaign creates a situation in which he replicates Clinton's 2008 primary coalition and Clinton replicates Obama's 2008 primary coalition is a fun and surprisingly easy exercise.)

It must be frustrating to Sanders, because there really isn't anything that he's doing wrong, at least nothing that he could be doing differently. It's not a question of incompatibility between his actual views, taken in a vacuum, and those of black America or Hispanic America or whatever. It's also not a question of just throwing together a few ads of him with Jesse Jackson or something; that would be rightly seen as pandering. It's a question of what types of communication and what types of constituent service (or perceived competency at constituent service) his public career so far has prepared him for. And there's nothing he can do about the fact that living out his public career in the great state of Vermont has not prepared him for addressing the needs, interests, predilections, or concerns of most minorities in any really knowledgeable way.
19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: John Oliver condemns online harassment, the Internet responds predictably on: June 25, 2015, 01:54:40 am
He really meant well, but Sarkeesian, no matter what you think of her, is too toxic to use an example regardless.

This. Same goes for Wu. John Oliver chose possibly the worst two people for his examples he could have.

If he had used examples that were fine, upstanding, and uncontroversial, the segment would have had no point.
20  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: June 25, 2015, 01:32:38 am
So why, exactly, did I like The River Ki better than Spring Snow, despite recognizing that Spring Snow is by most 'objective' (ha!) measures the better book? Is it because I preferred The River Ki's focus on women, or because I have a formal preference for traditional straightforward generational sagas? Is it because the characters in The River Ki are presented in a more sympathetic and, frankly, more humane manner than those in Spring Snow, even when they're behaving in comparably repulsive ways? It's probably all of the above. They're both books that are going to stick with me for a long time, but I know which one I'd rather reread.

I'm committed to The Sea of Fertility for the long haul, though. I'll be starting Runaway Horses some time soon.
21  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Rate the Presidents, Installment #17: Andrew Johnson on: June 24, 2015, 09:18:45 pm
The 2nd worst president of the USA. He was the one true racist that was president Or maybe it was Woodrow Wilson.

I hate to break it to you, but there have been many racist presidents.
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone III - The Whinge Binge on: June 24, 2015, 04:06:55 am
Congratulations, and I'm here if you ever need to talk about anything.
23  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: How soon will Houston pass Chicago? on: June 24, 2015, 01:51:50 am
What is wrong with you? Chicago shall always be the Second City.

God no.

I'll believe it when I see it. 

You'll see it in a few years then.

Houston is a up and coming city. Chicago is a stagnant one at best.

Chicago is an oak; Houston is a mushroom.
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Deus Naturae on: June 23, 2015, 07:03:49 pm
Was always terrifying and a mega-HP.
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Rate the Presidents, Installment #16: Abraham Lincoln on: June 23, 2015, 06:00:08 pm
Not absolutely perfect, but no one is. Five stars, possibly the only president who deserves such a rating.
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