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January 18, 2017, 03:08:06 pm
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News: Cast your Ballot in the 2016 Mock Election

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1  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Process / Re: Those who think National Popular Vote is what really matters... on: Today at 12:48:37 pm
I don't oppose the electoral college because I hate Bush and Trump. I oppose the electoral college because it's an incredibly undemocratic system that doesn't count everyone's votes. It also doesn't give more power to rural areas, nor does it prevent populist demagogues from taking over. It's just a flawed system that usually matches the popular vote, but occasionally doesn't due to random chance.
2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is the most powerful politician you have slept with? on: Today at 12:35:52 pm
Virgin (Atlas relative-normal). My mom's position is somewhere between the first two and I slept in her room when I had nightmares when I was little (normal).
3  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Sigmar Gabriel on: Today at 01:23:58 am
Awesome name, but seems to be pretty lackluster otherwise.
4  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Lief Reservoir of Simple Truths and Smart One-Liners on: January 17, 2017, 10:47:44 pm
I prefer cities where you don't have to pay three grand a month for a sh!tty small studio apartment, so I voted Denver.
5  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Is it normal to get mad when someone tells you to pray? on: January 17, 2017, 09:55:33 pm
I think it depends on how they say it. I'm more religious than most, but more than a few times people who have told me to pray in such-and-such a situation have been real jerks about it.
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning’s Sentence on: January 17, 2017, 08:10:45 pm
The most salient difference in my opinion is that Assange fled prosecution for rape, not espionage.
7  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Tony Blair? on: January 17, 2017, 06:00:56 pm
He is a weirdo. Crabcake's assessment is pretty fair.

Somewhat similar to Gerhard Schröder.

Very similar, right down to the almost-beyond-parody selling out after leaving office. He has now become the sort of person he used to take shots at all the time in the 90s.

Didn't he have a stint as a courtier of Nursultan Nazarbayev's?
8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Sam Spade Memorial Good Post Gallery on: January 17, 2017, 02:19:21 pm
Given what I've heard of his book is essentially "my lazy, good for nothing kin need to stop fornicating and get pulling on their bootstraps," I don't think he's as potent a candidate as DC Conservative worms think he his.

The first half of the book is terrific as are the 1-2 pages where he talks about why folks in Appalachia tended to have such a fierce dislike of Obama (he's everything they're not: flourishes in meritocratic society, a good father with a loving and stable family, articulate, a minority, intellectual, from a big city, etc, etc), why they resent successful recent immigrants more than almost anyone else (essentially "It's my country and you're doing it better than me; how dare you!" Tongue  My words, not his), how fake news has gotten completely out of control (even as early as 2010) due to the complete lack of trust in the media.  However, the second half (aside from the two pages I mentioned) is increasingly terrible (it starts getting bad once he joins the army).  It shifts to boilerplate right-wing "lazy poor people don't work hard, all I had to do in order to pull myself out was be a genius, go to Yale Law School, and pursue a career that paid really well" talking-points.  I also want to note the particularly cringe-worthy moment where he was asked why he wants to work in the field of law he ended up choosing during a job interview and replied "Well, the pay's pretty good, right?" (paraphrasing, I forget the exact words, but it was gross).  And naturally, he allows no room for even the possibility that corporate America just might also be contributing to some of the problems afflicting the white working-class through the positions they lobby for.  I read an editorial in either The New Republic or The Atlantic (I forget which) calling Vance "the false prophet of blue America," and I think that's spot on.  All he really does in the second half of the book is repackage the same old non-sense about mythical hordes of welfare queens, "gee whiz, all it takes is a little hard work, don't ya know Smiley ," "government can only make things worse," etc.  The first half is a fascinating and empathetic look at Appalachia, but the book doesn't offer any serious solutions and devolves into a pretty generic ideologically self-serving conservative Coffee Table Book™ in the second half (albeit one that's still far more coherent and better written than most).  I get why Peter Thiel liked the book so much Tongue 

I also get why Vance has the perspective he does given his life experiences.  To be fair, it can be incredibly tempting to say "I pulled myself out of the hole so why can't these people," but he should also know better than most that it is nowhere near that simple.  This is a recurring issue in the book, btw: over-simplification of things that are inconvenient for his worldview.  For example, when he argues child services and social workers are generally extremely bad for families and do more harm than good, my thought is "okay, I agree the foster care system in this country is a joke.  That said, say we get rid of child services and you have kids being sexually abused by their parents or kids like you who had at least one parent who 1) was threatening murder-suicide to their >12 year-old while speeding on the highway and 2) was so physically abusive that the child often lived with their grandparents, and 3) harassed their own child for a clean urine sample b/c everyone else in the family was using drugs.  What if the kid isn't smart enough to get into an Ivy League law school or even a college of any sort?  Is the government really wrong to say 'okay, some of these situations may require outside intervention for the child's safety or at least an investigation to determine whether this is the case?'"  For obvious reasons, Vance has no interest in having that discussion.). 

Another example is when he argues people sometimes throw away low-paying jobs through a lack of commitment/aversion to hard work and there are certainly some folks like that.  I've even met one or two.  However, Vance conveniently ignores the fact that if you want to attract a higher quality employee, you as an employer might want to offer better compensation than a minimum wage that's so low that it isn't even a livable wage.  You simply are not gonna get the same applicant pool if you pay someone minimum wage with crappy benefits as you would if you paid them even $15 an hour (still not great) and/or offered really good healthcare benefits.  And again, minimum wage in most (if not all) states is not a livable wage.  It certainly isn't in Ohio; I can tell you that much.  I realize that it's not always possible to pay employees more (especially in lower-level positions or for more menial work), but if that's the case then there is a piece of this that is also the employer making a trade-off whether they realize it or not.  It may or may not be fair, but it is a reality and ignoring it the way Vance does strikes me as willful over-simplification.  These are just two small examples; I could probably find much better ones if hadn't returned the book to the library a few weeks ago. 

As for Vance running for office, the more I think about it, the more I think it sounds like he's suffering delusions of grandeur (or at least that the book's reception went to his head, assuming he actually does run for office).  No one knows who he is and he'd be a terrible fit.  Here's how folks will see him: "Hey guys, so I left Ohio to go to an Ivy League law school and went to go work for some Silicon Valley rich dude (Peter Thiel).  I wanna run for office, so I moved back to Ohio to run for office.  I wrote a book about poor white people; liberals love it!  Did I mention that I wrote a book?"  He'll get destroyed if he runs in a heavily WWC area and/or one that is part of greater Appalachia. 

I guess I could *maybe* see him winning an open state house seat due to a clown-car primary in a district like HD-52 or HD-54, but those won't be open this cycle and don't he'd come anywhere close to winning a primary against an incumbent.  SD-7 recently opened up, but that vacancy was already filled and I don't see Vance winning a primary there either (certainly not against an incumbent).  Maybe he's just gonna run for city council or something *shrug*  If he runs statewide, he'll be the Jon Huntsman of OH politics this cycle, to the extent that anyone even pays attention to him at all.
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump Cabinet confirmation hearings **live commentary thread** on: January 17, 2017, 02:11:21 pm
News on Puzder: Obviously, his hearing has been delayed until February. Rumors spread that even Puzder himself is considering to drop out of the whole thing (CNN, DailyCaller). Hopefully that is true or he simply doesn’t get confirmed. This dude is a horrible pick.

At a guess, it's to do with the domestic violence allegations.
10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: GOP Finds Trump Voters Don't Support Corporate Tax Cuts on: January 17, 2017, 03:09:56 am
I've never seen somebody admit to supporting regressive taxation as such before.

-I support eliminating the capital gains tax, which would be a regressive move. However, I also support applying the Social Security tax to all wage income, which would be a highly progressive move.

I wasn't necessarily referring to your own views. I was speaking more out of surprise that you'd openly characterize the tax policies generally favored by your party as "regressive" (again, as such).
11  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Joe Wilson vs. John Lewis on: January 17, 2017, 03:05:19 am
The sit-in was a pointless attempt at raising a spectacle over a stupid, unfair, mostly meaningless policy that, thankfully, has already become more forgotten as was ignored in the first place.

People around here will also remember John Lewis literally pretending not to know Bernie Sanders during the presidential primaries. And I remember him showing up at Occupy Atlanta, unannounced, and expecting every other speaker to yield to him so that he could get on camera delivering his standard talking points without waiting for his turn to speak as everyone else did.

The salient point is that a person can have a heroic past while also being a partisan hack, and maybe even a bit washed up and out of touch. It's cringeworthy to watch as that past is invoked even in situations in which its relevance is questionable.

For some reason I thought the Congressman who pretended not to know Sanders was someone else.
12  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: GOP Finds Trump Voters Don't Support Corporate Tax Cuts on: January 17, 2017, 01:42:55 am
I've never seen somebody admit to supporting regressive taxation as such before.
13  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of these cute kitties on: January 17, 2017, 01:35:04 am
Option 1 (sane, animal lover)
14  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Lief on: January 17, 2017, 01:28:20 am
I don't care for Lief.

One of the better posters during this catastrophe, especially with his criticism of the Bernie movement that is sinking the Democratic Party down the drain.

I was under the impression that Obama presided over humiliating midterm losses and horrific defeats in the state legislatures. Frankly if Bernie wants to destroy the Democratic Party then he arrived a little too late to the, er, party.

Anyway, Lief is a FF for being interesting and high energy, which is more than can be said for most Dem establishment-supporting types.

Yeah, I love how neoliberal Democrats whose control over the party has led to its complete obliteration and the rise of a quasi-fascist narcissistic buffoon are adamant that letting anyone else take the reins would spell its doom. Roll Eyes
Looooool,
Go continue to support a socialist who has no program except saying "the system is broken, muh elites."

I love how you're from France but somehow still think "socialist" is some kind of insult.
I don't consider "socialist" as a kind of insult, I do consider socialism/marxism as a discredited ideology.

Your preferred alternative being...what, exactly? Managerial centrism with socially liberal characteristics? Because if there's anything I think of when I think of "not discredited", it's the Clintons, the Third Way, and the Lib Dem Orange Book!
15  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Christianity the most persecuted religion in the world - including in Europe on: January 17, 2017, 01:09:57 am

Well, Russian government is fundamentally hostile to most branches of Christianity. Why should it be given a rest?

Because it's not good for BRTD to be so obsessed with hating a country he has no connections to, or for the forum to have this one poster who's so uniquely obsessed with hating said country. If literally any other poster had been the one to bring this up I wouldn't have said that.

Ok. Consider that I am the one who brought it up. Do I have the requisite connection?

Please don't be aggro. I didn't say that I thought one needed "a connection" to bring this up. My issue is with BRTD specifically.

Obviously the Putin regime's persecution of non-Orthodox Christians and of anybody else who doesn't fit in its deranged Pochvennichestvo-for-the-cheap-seats concept of Holy Orthodox Russia is absolutely disgusting and I would never claim otherwise. I apologize if I gave off the impression of seeking to minimize it.

So, what is the problem with BRTD?

...that he's frothingly, dyspeptically obsessed with reflexively hating all things Russian regardless of degree or existence of relationship with the current or any former regime?

He is not. There is an obvious degree of sarcasm there.

Evidently it's not obvious, in view of BRTD's obsessive thought patterns in general and his habit of developing rationally based but frighteningly excessive animosities in particular, but I hope you're right.
16  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of rice cakes on: January 17, 2017, 01:07:14 am
Depends entirely on the kind of rice cake. The kind you normally find in America isn't the best but it isn't the worst either, especially if it's flavored with seaweed or soy sauce or wasabi.
17  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Christianity the most persecuted religion in the world - including in Europe on: January 17, 2017, 01:02:09 am

Well, Russian government is fundamentally hostile to most branches of Christianity. Why should it be given a rest?

Because it's not good for BRTD to be so obsessed with hating a country he has no connections to, or for the forum to have this one poster who's so uniquely obsessed with hating said country. If literally any other poster had been the one to bring this up I wouldn't have said that.

Ok. Consider that I am the one who brought it up. Do I have the requisite connection?

Please don't be aggro. I didn't say that I thought one needed "a connection" to bring this up. My issue is with BRTD specifically.

Obviously the Putin regime's persecution of non-Orthodox Christians and of anybody else who doesn't fit in its deranged Pochvennichestvo-for-the-cheap-seats concept of Holy Orthodox Russia is absolutely disgusting and I would never claim otherwise. I apologize if I gave off the impression of seeking to minimize it.

So, what is the problem with BRTD?

...that he's frothingly, dyspeptically obsessed with reflexively hating all things Russian regardless of degree or existence of relationship with the current or any former regime?
18  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Christianity the most persecuted religion in the world - including in Europe on: January 17, 2017, 12:12:28 am

Well, Russian government is fundamentally hostile to most branches of Christianity. Why should it be given a rest?

Because it's not good for BRTD to be so obsessed with hating a country he has no connections to, or for the forum to have this one poster who's so uniquely obsessed with hating said country. If literally any other poster had been the one to bring this up I wouldn't have said that.

Ok. Consider that I am the one who brought it up. Do I have the requisite connection?

Please don't be aggro. I didn't say that I thought one needed "a connection" to bring this up. My issue is with BRTD specifically.

Obviously the Putin regime's persecution of non-Orthodox Christians and of anybody else who doesn't fit in its deranged Pochvennichestvo-for-the-cheap-seats concept of Holy Orthodox Russia is absolutely disgusting and I would never claim otherwise. I apologize if I gave off the impression of seeking to minimize it.
19  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Do anti-abortion atheists exist? on: January 16, 2017, 11:57:19 pm
Nat Hentoff (who died earlier this year), was probably the most well-known pro-life atheist.

A Jewish atheist, actually. a double whammy for the pro-life world! ha!

I'd be curious about your opinion on Hentoff in general, Sunrise. There's a lot about him that seems like it would appeal to you quite a bit but also some stuff that seems like it wouldn't appeal to you at all.

Fun fact: a very old gentleman who goes to my church was at Boston Latin around the same time as him.
20  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Final pre-presidential poll: Opinion of Donald Trump on: January 16, 2017, 10:40:39 pm
Massive HP.

"If he succeeds, we succeed" is a nice thought, especially if we assume Trump's definition of success is the same as ours, but that's where the critical fault is - I don't think Trump's definition of success is the same as ordinary, hard working americans.
21  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Tony Blair? on: January 16, 2017, 10:27:23 pm



Tony Tory Blair, that far right Tory wanker would probably a hardcore Republican, but I wouldn't put it past him to join the Constitution party!

Down with Bliar!
22  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Joe Wilson vs. John Lewis on: January 16, 2017, 09:15:35 pm
Even if you think Lewis went too far with his recent comment, that doesn't change how much he has done for civil rights in this country.
Yeah, like protesting against civil liberties last year with his gun control sit-in stunt.

I'm not as uncritically pro-gun control as I used to be, mainly because I think it'd end up being selectively enforced against minorities and the poor, but is what you're implying here that supporting gun control is a bad enough transgression to cancel out all the merits of being a Freedom Rider, the chairman of SNCC, etc.? Really? Really?
23  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Atlas Moral Acceptability Poll on: January 16, 2017, 09:06:09 pm
I suppose an argument could be made about abortion being the superior choice to raising a child out of wedlock, though that's not quite the same as saying that not aborting is morally unacceptable.

An argument could be made, but would one really want to go there? Really?
24  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Atlas Moral Acceptability Poll on: January 16, 2017, 08:14:32 pm
I voted unacceptable on sex between an unmarried man and woman but acceptable on having a baby outside marriage. If non-marital sex happens and pregnancy eventuates from it then the moral thing to do is to bring it safely to term. I see I don't seem to be alone in this.
25  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Favorite Poster: Best of the Best (Runoff) on: January 16, 2017, 08:08:16 pm
No offense Virginia, but CrabCake is fantastic. I'd vote for both if I could.
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