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February 10, 2016, 12:52:42 pm
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1  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: "Moderate" Rubio attacks Obama for speaking at a mosque on: February 03, 2016, 10:26:45 pm
The LOSERS supporting Trump are getting desperate.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, and what it has to do with Rubio's extremism and xenophobia (which, if not stated as baldly and boorishly as Trump, is functionally the same appeal).
2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is the most METAL political ideology of all time... on: February 02, 2016, 02:07:59 am
I dunno man, the Nazis seemed to have a taste for METAL too.

3  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of ag? on: January 15, 2016, 11:08:14 am
Epic FF of the highest order, his crusade against xenophobia may be sharply stated but it is goddamn righteous. 

If Ernest's ham-handed moderation drives him away it really will be the final nail in the coffin of this place.
4  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Which congressional or other electoral districts have you been to in 2015? on: December 31, 2015, 11:37:00 pm
I've mostly given up on Atlas but I'd like to update this before the year conks out.  Especially since I set some records this year, with not only the frequent trips to Philly, once-in-a-while trip to Boston, but also a road trip to St. Louis for my cousin's wedding with my dad, which gave my my first time ever in Ohio and Indiana.  Missed a trip to DC would would have made this year the real unassailable travel winner.

Bold and red = spent the night
Bold = spent real time in (not counting pit stops and the like)
Regular = just traveled through

NY- 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
NJ- 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
PA- 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 18
WV- 1
OH- 3, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15
IN- 4, 6, 7, 8
IL- 12, 13, 15
MO- 1, 2
CT- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
MA- 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8

Happy New Year y'all.  (I am once again in Philly for the New Year.  It has become a tradition.  Also damn I miss this city.)

While I didn't get to do anything in Illinoise besides stopping for maybe gas and a meal at some point, I did see this lovely sign that I'm sure you will all appreciate (and I probably appreciate more than most, given my love of the other Paul Simon):

5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Leaving for a while on: December 21, 2015, 10:34:05 pm
From what I've heard this place has become even more of a cesspool in my absence.

Let's put it this way: even you'd prefer AAD at this point.  And, yes, that's taking into account the presence of luminaries like Einzige and Straha.
6  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Israel and Palestine: The One-State Solution on: December 14, 2015, 08:43:49 pm
Given the fact that Israel (and the Palestinian Authority) have effectively abandoned the two-state solution peace process, I'd say so. 

A one-state future is a possibility, but it would be darkly ironic at best to call it a solution
7  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Is this one of the ten worst songs of all time? on: December 14, 2015, 11:30:12 am
It sounds pretty terrible, yeah, but then again, so does the stuff you listen to.
8  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Mormon Cult? on: December 13, 2015, 03:50:08 pm

FC; for all their crazy beliefs and idiosyncrasies they seem to be genuinely decent and intelligent people at higher rates than average.  Like I've said before, you don't see Southern Baptists building relatively functional public transit and free housing for the homeless, do you.  Hell, you don't even see most secular Democrats doing that. Sad
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Are Mary, Marry, and Merry homonyms? on: December 11, 2015, 11:14:35 pm
Huh, I guess I'm the only person who thinks "Mary" and "merry" are the same, but "marry" is quite different.  For me, the vowel sound in "marry" is basically an accented short a, and in the other two it's an un-accented short e.  I'm sure our linguistics people probably think I'm butchering that description.  Mary and merry like fairy; marry like Carrie.

I'm actually from (and currently remain in) that small sliver of the country (basically, the NYC metro) where all three are different; I don't think there's any region that really corresponds to how I pronounce them.  
10  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: LA Times speculates SCOTUS may change who counts for redistricting on: December 09, 2015, 10:31:44 pm
Here's another piece on this case.

The Texas and US Solicitors General raised what would seem to be a pretty persuasive technical point against the plaintiffs:

Scott Keller, solicitor general for Texas, told the court that the only data available on voting-age populations is collected in the American Community Survey’s five-year reports, and that it was unreliable. The other problem with ACS data, said Ian H. Gershengorn, Deputy Solicitor General for the United States, is that unlike Census data, ACS data is not required by the Constitution to be collected.

“It would be very odd, we think, for the Court to demand, as a constitutional standard, data that does not even have to be collected,” said Gershengorn

The ACS also does not count some voting-age populations, like those with felonies, those stationed overseas, or the mentally ill.

Emphasis mine.
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone III - The Whinge Binge on: December 05, 2015, 10:33:45 pm
"Cuck" is a useful term insofar as you can safely assume anyone who uses it is an awful human being and an out-and-out white supremacist who is not worth your time.  I guess it might almost be a good thing, in a way, that more people are able to make out that dogwhistle's frequency.


In other, allow-myself-to-brag-for-just-a-moment news, I had a sip of Sam Adams Utopias today.  It was delicious, but no of course it's not worth the price tag.  Not that I would have expected different.
12  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Where does the Communisty Party of China fit into the ideological spectrum? on: December 05, 2015, 10:58:12 am
And still have Communist in their name.

Similarly, the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia must be liberal and democratic.  It's in their name!
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Which law enforcement agencies do you trust? on: December 04, 2015, 05:08:10 pm
Trust. Reality dictates it. Bluntly put, I have worked professionally with 100x as many cops as the rest of the Forum combined, and with 100x closer contact than the victims of traffic stops and the occassional uncle/friend of the family who is a cop, including during several years i was a defense attorney.

Are all cops trustworthy? of course not, and i've both prosecuted and represented cops (former and current). There are litterally hundreds of thousands of law enforcement in the country, so there are bound to be bad people. But they are statistically very rare.

The worst problem some individual cops have isn't overzealousness, or overly testosterone-fueled actions. There are a small minority of cops who are guilty of laziness and not following up. The end result is much MUCH more likely to result in the guilty going free rather than then innocent being convicted.

FTR, i can't swear there aren't ANY jurisdictions in the country which are an exception, but having worked with many departments of varying sizes, cops having a "ticket quota" is a total myth.

I guess this is just nine "bad apples", then.  Roll Eyes  And in liberal bastion San Francisco, no less!  This isn't something you can merely chalk up to ambient racism like the Dothan incident.

(FTR: My SO works in a prosecutor's office.  Her opinion of prosecutors has gone up massively as a result of this experience.  Her opinion of cops... has not.  Fun fact: apparently they will reject you for the force if you score too highly on the exam.  Don't want the enforcers too smart, I guess.)
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Which law enforcement agencies do you trust? on: December 04, 2015, 12:12:11 am
As a general rule, the more local a jurisdiction is, the less I trust it to use its power for good, and the more I expect it to be brutal, venal, and self-serving.  The entire history of the USA bears this generalization out.

Not that I trust the feds per se, but I'll certainly take them over state or– especially these days– local cops.
15  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What exactly is the Tea Party? on: December 03, 2015, 02:10:35 am
A(n all-too-successful) branding initiative.
16  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Who is more left-wing? on: December 02, 2015, 11:52:03 pm
This is low. What has Gully done to deserve comparison to garbage like Seth MacFarlane?

He once thought Hispanic was a race on the US Census.  That's just obviously unforgivable.
17  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Utilitarianism on: November 30, 2015, 03:03:56 pm
Obviously any application of it to general behavior has to be heavily modified and I don't think anyone is a big supporter of it in its purest form. It could be easily used to justify rape for instance. But I think it provides the best justifications for most liberal/progressive/social democratic policies, like universal healthcare and a generous social welfare state, and most arguments against it seem to be a very warped form of deontology, which downright disturbs me. For examples I've seen libertarians argue that government programs and assistance are fundamentally immoral even if they end up saving the state money (for example the guy arguing that Medicaid was fundamentally immoral on here a few weeks ago) or krazen's entire posting history and basic philosophy of government, which has to be the most warped and disturbing form of deontology I've ever read...except possibly for TNF's, which is basically what you get when you try to justify such policies on more deontological than utilitarian grounds.

But as stated, no one but a troll would use it in a pure 100% literal form.

I wish Atlas had a "like" button for posts such as this.

And I wish Atlas then also allowed socks so I could make a pile of them for the sole purpose of liking this post some more.
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Atlas Forum LGBT Census 2015 on: November 29, 2015, 03:21:59 pm
This isn't just an Atlas thing; there are few political forums (putting aside the hard-right ones) that don't have a higher than average openly LGBT presence.

I'm not sure you even need to put aside the hard-right ones, especially if you put aside "openly" instead...
19  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Who is your most hated Star Wars character? on: November 29, 2015, 01:24:20 am
LOL.  WTF is Mace Windu?

An ill-conceived and poorly executed attempt to get more black people to buy Star Wars tickets.

20  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: What political view of yours is furthest from the mainstream? on: November 29, 2015, 01:11:58 am
Probably my stance on immigration (open borders now!) or the private automobile (history's greatest monster!) 

I'm also skeptical of the cult of homeownership, and its effects.
21  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Is it hypocritical to use fascist-sounding language to describe fascists? on: November 28, 2015, 01:48:26 am
There are worse things in the world than a little hypocrisy.  Like fascism, for instance. 

One should of course try to act in good will and good faith, but obsessively hewing to pure even-handedness can have disastrous results, and trying to appeal to such impulses is a favorite trick of these sorts of sh*tstains.

(This is in fact a great illustration of my stance over here that utilitarianism and virtue ethics are both good and necessary in proper proportion, whereas deontology sucks donkey balls.  FWIW.)
22  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Utilitarianism on: November 27, 2015, 03:20:00 am
Better than deontology, that's for sure.

I don't think that there's much to be learned from treating the two as fundamentally opposed theories, because I'm not convinced that utilitarianism isn't deontological. This is part of what makes utilitarianism downright creepy.

Well, that gets into the distinction between act and rule utilitarianism.  Perhaps "consequentialist" would be a better word.

I'm far from a pure utilitarian– a heavy dose of virtue ethics seems necessary to ward off the reductio ad absurdums that any dogmatic approach inevitably fosters, and help bridge the gaps in our knowledge that will never go away– but IMO if ethics is to be more than a tool for ego-stroking or social control, some concern for empiricism and results and, well, consequences, is vital. 
23  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Utilitarianism on: November 26, 2015, 10:49:04 pm
Better than deontology, that's for sure.
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Based on 2012 results only, which state gerrymander flipped the most seats? on: November 23, 2015, 07:28:22 pm
I discovered Washington Township in Mercer County (which is the right size to swallow whole), so I was able to get rid of the Princeton chop there. Smiley

It's now called Robbinsville (they changed the name since there are something like six Washington Twps. in the state), and uh I discovered it years ago. (And posted a map using it in this very thread, in fact.) Tongue
25  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Based on 2012 results only, which state gerrymander flipped the most seats? on: November 22, 2015, 05:54:59 pm
You could argue that a black CD is not needed, but I'd say that it's pretty easy to draw a fairly compact Latino-influence CD that's over 50% vap.You will of course have to split all sorts of munis and counties, but it's clear that the courts prioritize VRA stuff over such things.

50% total population is not too hard, but 50% VAP actually is quite difficult (and 50% CVAP harder still), and requires a fair amount of ugliness, such as multiple bridges through mostly-unpopulated and/or white-majority areas in the Meadowlands and vicinity, and/or splitting many munis in Hudson with a snake down the river to get supermajority-white Hoboken out of there.  In other words... it won't be "fairly compact" anymore.

The current NJ-8 is majority-Hispanic (though I don't know about VAP, and almost certainly it's sub-50% on CVAP), but its previous incarnation was only something like 47% Hispanic, and the courts were obviously fine with that:

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