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November 22, 2014, 09:26:14 am
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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Is "the American people" a dog whistle term to refer to white conservatives? on: Today at 06:47:34 am
Possibly a dog whistle for "conservatives", but I think most conservatives are too colorblind, in the sense they are blind to differences in opportunity based upon color, for them to be adding "white" in there.
2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama to announce executive order on immigration on: Today at 06:41:59 am
The fact he didn't wait for the new Congress to be sworn in, which I think would have passed a new immigration bill, is obviously a political stunt and people thinking it is anything else is delusional.
What is truly delusional is thinking that the incoming Congress would have passed a bill if Obama had merely waited.  They may do so now, but only if it rolls back at least in part what Obama has done with his executive order.
3  Forum Community / Survivor / Re: SURVIVOR: State Capital buildings of the United States on: Today at 06:34:43 am
3 New Mexico
2 North Carolina
1 Delaware
0 Tennessee
0 Virginia

The above is my synthesis of these prior votes of mine:
Round 6
2 New York
1 Delaware
Round 7
1 North Carolina
1 Tennessee
1 Virginia
Round 9
2 Oregon
1 New Mexico
4  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Big Bad Swedish Politics & News Thread on: Today at 01:10:33 am
Have you caught the Russian sub yet?

Doesn't look like it and my guess is we probably won't catch it either. Sweden's submarine hunting capabilites have been greatly reduced in the past two decades due to the cuts in military spending under both leftwing and rightwing governments, we don't even have any helicopters capable of submarine hunting and won't have until 2018. And even back in the 80s when the Swedish military was in top shape they pretty much always got away so the track record isn't good with this type of thing...

I came across this photo enhancement that shows that the Swedes were right about Russians in their waters:
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Did you like gym class in school? on: Today at 12:46:00 am
But grading people for ability in P.E. is ridiculous.
Why?  Granted, anyone who is making an effort ought to get at least a C, but I see no problem with having better grades in P.E. being based on better performance, and I say that as someone for whom P.E. was not one of my better subjects for exactly that reason.
6  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Andrew Cuomo vs Kim Jong-un on: November 21, 2014, 09:54:12 pm
I am, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this, voting for Kim solely to keep this absolutely fantastic series going.
I prefer this series: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f37K0hIv3zk
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Joe Arpaio sues Obama over immigration exec. order on: November 21, 2014, 08:34:02 pm
I fail to see how Arpaio could possibly have standing to sue.  What personal harm has been done him by this action?
8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do you think God is? on: November 21, 2014, 06:15:45 pm
What does whether or not we have a special place in the universe have to do with whether the Divine exists?  I'll admit that one's views on the subject would affect how one perceives the Divine.

Oh, that's the clear implication of what you said.

To be honest, the strongest reason I have for believing in God is my inability to take the leap of faith that we humans have divined enough of the universe to know that we are only a bunch of biochemicals trying to replicate our molecules.

My point is that there's a disconnect between the human perspective and reality.  The fact that humans are here is remarkable from a human perspective has no real bearing on anything.  What you find remarkable is defined by your limited perspective on the universe, which would likely be shared by any living, conscious being.

Exactly.  We have a limited perspective, and it is insufficient to explain life, the universe, and everything.  But that hardly implies that we have a special place in the universe.  Indeed, I would hold that if anything the argument for humanity having a special place in the universe would be stronger, not weaker, if we were self-aware beings in a universe explainable through the use of only immutable physical laws.  However in either case, the argument for having or not having a special place is inconclusive.

So, what don't you understand about what I said? 

I understood what you said, I just don't agree with your conclusion.
9  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Do you approve of Obama's executive orders on immigration? on: November 21, 2014, 06:13:05 pm
Not a fan of strong presidentialism at all, but I'm ok with the content. Somewhat disapprove.
Pretty much my view, since it's doubtful that we'll ever correct what I think is an incorrect application of the 14th amendment to the children of illegal immigrants.  The policy isn't the problem, especially not the deportation part of it, tho I remain skeptical about the issuance of work permits.  That's also the part likeliest to get reversed if the Republicans ever get in complete charge.
10  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Simple Truths Silver Mine on: November 21, 2014, 06:04:53 pm
neither one even has a website. In other words they had absolutely NOTHING going for them aside from the party name.

That sounds like the most honest campaign of the cycle.
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do you think God is? on: November 21, 2014, 06:04:05 pm
God is arbitrary. God is inhumane. God is unknowable.
If God is unknowable, how can you judge whether God is arbitrary?
12  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do you think God is? on: November 21, 2014, 06:02:50 pm
What does whether or not we have a special place in the universe have to do with whether the Divine exists?  I'll admit that one's views on the subject would affect how one perceives the Divine.

Oh, that's the clear implication of what you said.

To be honest, the strongest reason I have for believing in God is my inability to take the leap of faith that we humans have divined enough of the universe to know that we are only a bunch of biochemicals trying to replicate our molecules.

My point is that there's a disconnect between the human perspective and reality.  The fact that humans are here is remarkable from a human perspective has no real bearing on anything.  What you find remarkable is defined by your limited perspective on the universe, which would likely be shared by any living, conscious being.

Exactly.  We have a limited perspective, and it is insufficient to explain life, the universe, and everything.  But that hardly implies that we have a special place in the universe.  Indeed, I would hold that if anything the argument for humanity having a special place in the universe would be stronger, not weaker, if we were self-aware beings in a universe explainable through the use of only immutable physical laws.  However in either case, the argument for having or not having a special place is inconclusive.
13  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do you think God is? on: November 21, 2014, 05:53:21 pm
Within pre-history, we have lost a competitor species who was also self-aware but to differing degree and with a differing outlook.

Are you referring to Homo (sapiens) neanderthalensis or some other homonid?  While it is possible that they were a separate species, the evidence that Neanderthals were a separate species rather than a localized subspecies that lost out as its preferred habitat disappeared is decidedly lacking.  To me it appears that a large part of the desire that they be considered so is due to the same impulses that lead to the noble savage meme.

You're being a tad pedantic over my use of the word 'species' Wink

And you are being a tad oblivious to the tendency to romanticize those who have lost out and accentuate their differences with those who won. Tongue
14  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do you think God is? on: November 21, 2014, 05:37:08 pm
To be honest, the strongest reason I have for believing in God is my inability to take the leap of faith that we humans have divined enough of the universe to know that we are only a bunch of biochemicals trying to replicate our molecules.

But why should we think we deserve to be more than that? We just so happen to be a process in the universe that is (only by our own measure, remember) the most self-aware on this planet. Within pre-history, we have lost a competitor species who was also self-aware but to differing degree and with a differing outlook. And as for other planets around other suns in other galaxies well then who knows. It makes little sense to think that because we hold ourselves in such high esteem, even as the world outside our own window has grown immensely, that we are special enough to matter to the universe.

We are made of matter. We shouldn’t be put off by that for the same reason we shouldn’t be put off by the fact we are animals. We are here because we are here. Life is a process, not a condition that requires a diagnosis. You don't 'have life'. You do life. You are life. Life is not a property of matter, it is not the reason for the existence of the physical matter that that assembled to make up you. Other collections of physical matter don’t have life. Life is therefore one of many things that matter does.

Aren't we lucky.

And that’s okay.


That makes a lot of sense.  Here's how I would look at it. 

Given the size of the universe, it's entirely likely that life would arise.  There are one hundred billion galaxies and our own by itself has 300 billion stars.  And, in those places where life happened, there is going to be one smartest species.  It's funny, we humans think our ability to think and reason is a trait that's more important than anything else and our superior skill in that area must have a purpose. 

But, imagine a blue whale, a blue whale might think he's the unique special animal on this planet because he's the biggest.  Bacteria might have a good claim as the most numerous creature on the planet.  A redwood might think being tallest is the key trait that makes them unique.  It's an entirely silly, selfish idea. 

Humans happen to be the smartest like redwoods happen to be tallest.  There is no basis to reason anything from there.  And, are we really lucky?  It's not like there's some lottery where disembodied spirits get assigned to be either a human or a plant or wisp of vapor on Jupiter.  Like the famous American sports proverb says, it is what it is.

What does whether or not we have a special place in the universe have to do with whether the Divine exists?  I'll admit that one's views on the subject would affect how one perceives the Divine.
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Have you ever participated in a protest? on: November 21, 2014, 05:31:14 pm
Nope.  Never felt strongly enough to want to do that.
16  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama to announce executive order on immigration on: November 21, 2014, 05:25:52 pm
King has really knocked it out of the park in this thread. God damn.
I hope you two are more knowledgeable about other sports.
17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama to announce executive order on immigration on: November 21, 2014, 04:00:15 pm
Congressional accomplishments 1776-present:
1. Prolonging slavery, destroying thousands of lives.
2. Rejecting Woodrow Wilson's WWI peace plan, causing World War II.
3. Prolonging our entrance into World War II, destroying thousands of lives.
4. Starting the Civil War
5. Bridge to Nowhere projects
6. McCarthy Hearings, Red Scare, Cold War propaganda
7. Segregation
8. Defense of Marriage Act
9. Debt ceiling crisis

Odd juxtaposition there.  Wilson's policies during World War I pretty much doomed the world to a repeat.  The idea that American participation in the League of Nations would have prevented World War II is absolutely ludicrous.  Conversely, it was Wilson who segregated the Civil Service, leaving only the most menial of positions open to blacks, even in communities where having blacks in positions of responsibility would have been acceptable.

Presidential accomplishments 1776-present:
1. Defeating the British
2. Ending slavery
3. Winning World War I
4. Winning World War II
5. Social Security
6. Medicare
7. Ending the Cold War

Are you really that ignorant of history?

First off, Washington was not President during the Revolution, and Madison's ineptitude and cronyism during the War of 1812 could easily have led to the British reconquest of North America had they been interested in such a thing.
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do you think God is? on: November 21, 2014, 12:50:37 pm
Within pre-history, we have lost a competitor species who was also self-aware but to differing degree and with a differing outlook.

Are you referring to Homo (sapiens) neanderthalensis or some other homonid?  While it is possible that they were a separate species, the evidence that Neanderthals were a separate species rather than a localized subspecies that lost out as its preferred habitat disappeared is decidedly lacking.  To me it appears that a large part of the desire that they be considered so is due to the same impulses that lead to the noble savage meme.
19  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Oxford School of Absurdity, Ignorance, and Bad Posts IV on: November 21, 2014, 12:29:02 pm
What makes it especially absurd is that the Pilgrims would have been horrified at the idea of celebrating Christmas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_in_Puritan_New_England
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama to announce executive order on immigration on: November 21, 2014, 12:11:33 pm
Unfortunately the Presidents who regarded the Constitution as some kind of security blanket that enabled them free of any hard decision-making are universally perceived as ineffectual mediocrities; while those more ... flexible with the document are praised as greats. Imagine if Thomas Jefferson had, at the time of the Louisiana Purchase, said "gosh, Napoleon, that is a nice offer; but I simply don't have the constitutional power!"
He almost did, but it wasn't merely that he thought the Presidency lacked the power.  He was concerned the US government as a whole lacked the Constitutional authority to acquire territory since it wasn't an enumerated power.
21  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: I Can't Believe It's Not From The Onion on: November 21, 2014, 09:19:11 am

Because it would be so much better if stuffed animals were anatomically correct.
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What do you think God is? on: November 21, 2014, 09:07:10 am
Was this too wordy or too obvious to get a response?

It's rather unlike you to seek anyone's approval on this forum.

Wasn't necessarily seeking approval, but a response. If this sort of thing wasn't going to get a response, there were other things I could have done than turning a somewhat silly thought into concrete words.

Quote
The other bits--about not disappointing us and not leaving us--that's harder to swallow.  The gods we invent have wicked senses of humor, that much is obvious even to the most casual observer of life.

If one expects God to have a wicked sense of humor, would it not disappoint if God did not display it?

Quote
Then again, you have to take a leap of faith to buy into any of it.  You're strong enough to take that leap.  I am not sure that I am.  I suspect that most of us are not.

To be honest, the strongest reason I have for believing in God is my inability to take the leap of faith that we humans have divined enough of the universe to know that we are only a bunch of biochemicals trying to replicate our molecules.
23  Forum Community / Survivor / Re: SURVIVOR: State Capital buildings of the United States - ROUND 10 on: November 21, 2014, 08:56:34 am
Eliminate Kentucky
Save South Carolina
24  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Do you approve of Obama's executive orders on immigration? on: November 21, 2014, 08:46:02 am
Approve but I was really hoping Congress would do this. I think this may be in right to do anyway even. It's close but it seems like he is enforcing the law. It's the same thing as granting a pardon.
It's similar, but not the same thing.  It would be the same if he ordered that prior violations of immigration law would not affect their ability to legally immigrate.
25  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama to announce executive order on immigration on: November 21, 2014, 08:38:18 am
I don't care what Party does it, the Constitution must be followed.  If a bill can't be passed by Congress, then deal with it.

He is dealing with it.

Let me explain it this way.

Congress passes laws.  The President can sign them or veto them.  If Congress decides not to pass the law that does not give the President authority to break the rules. 

Nobody has told me what law the President violated with his actions.

He has violated the Constitution.  This is not in the President's power.

The Supreme Court disagreed just recently in Arizona v. United States in 2012.

Quote
Congress has specified which aliens may be removed from the United States and the procedures for doing so. Aliens may be removed if they were inadmissible at the time of entry, have been convicted of certain crimes, or meet other criteria set by federal law. Removal is a civil, not criminal, matter. A principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials. Federal officials, as an initial matter, must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all. If removal proceedings commence, aliens may seek asylum and other discretionary relief allowing them to remain in the country or at least to leave without formal removal.

This was a 5-3 decision (Kagan recused herself) with Kennedy and Roberts siding with the liberals on the Court in saying the executive branch has “broad discretion” on the matters of immigration.

Except this is going beyond merely deciding who to prioritize when it comes to deportation, since my understanding is that he's also handing out work permits to those who won't be deported.  Maybe the existing law allows him to do that, but it certainly goes beyond simple allocation of enforcement priorities.
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