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November 29, 2014, 12:13:14 am
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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What time does your family eat dinner on Thanksgiving? on: November 28, 2014, 08:40:14 pm
11 PM the day afterwards.

I'm not even exaggerating, that actually happened one year.

The turkey went in at 6:30, so looks like that's about when we'll eat this year, too.
2  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: If we're going to have the death penalty... on: November 28, 2014, 08:37:31 pm
Acts of genocide, but that's basically it.
3  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: How much of the obesity epidemic can we attribute to personal decision-making? on: November 28, 2014, 08:35:16 pm
As is so often the case, I blame cars.

It is no coincidence that the trend, begun in the post-war years and reaching its full destructive flower in the 80s and 90s, of planning for car-dependent sprawl where walking or other forms of active transportation are discouraged and no longer let you do anything useful or necessary, has coincided with increased obesity rates.

Obviously I don't blame them 100 percent, that would be rather more hyperbolic hedgehog-ish than is really warranted.  But if we're going to look at structural factors- and the shape of the data indicates that we must- our built environment shouldn't be ignored in favor of solely focusing on the food industry.

I don't drive. I walk most everywhere within the city. I don't bother to take public transportation because the buses in this city are horrible.

I'm over 300lbs.

Though my weight is down compared to this time last year.

Obviously I'm speaking in the aggregate and there are many, many people for whom this isn't true.  There are people who eat nothing but junk food and walk absolutely nowhere who have the lucky genes and get to be skinny.  And it sounds like you're doing everything right and still end up the other way.  Which is an important and true point that the HAES folks make- there is plenty of genetic variation between people and healthy habits are more important than an out-of-context number on the scale.

My point is simply that an active lifestyle is healthier, and generally correlated with lower weight, and most people do realize that. But not everyone takes it a step further and understands that our built environment has an important effect on whether people are able to have that active lifestyle or not (without making it a chore/luxury good available primarily to those with free time and the money for gym memberships).
4  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: How much of the obesity epidemic can we attribute to personal decision-making? on: November 27, 2014, 02:45:48 pm
As is so often the case, I blame cars.

It is no coincidence that the trend, begun in the post-war years and reaching its full destructive flower in the 80s and 90s, of planning for car-dependent sprawl where walking or other forms of active transportation are discouraged and no longer let you do anything useful or necessary, has coincided with increased obesity rates.

Obviously I don't blame them 100 percent, that would be rather more hyperbolic hedgehog-ish than is really warranted.  But if we're going to look at structural factors- and the shape of the data indicates that we must- our built environment shouldn't be ignored in favor of solely focusing on the food industry.
5  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of this advert on: November 27, 2014, 01:25:52 pm
Vintage Guinness ads are fantastic.



Having had problems with alcohol in my life, I don't like it in a literal sense, because alcohol is not always good for you.  Most of the time, actually, not so.  However, I see what they are getting at (don't worry, get messed up, have fun) and I wholeheartedly approve. 

Back in the day, of course, beer was the healthful temperance drink for clean living, at least in comparison to that demon gin.



Which makes sense: it was low-alcohol, high-calorie (and hydration), a legitimately important source of nutrition for many rather than just an ethanol delivery source.
6  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: NFL Pick a Winner Week #13 on: November 27, 2014, 10:52:36 am
Arizona
7  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: I am leaving this forum. on: November 26, 2014, 09:41:17 pm
I guess the virtue I most associate with being progressive is "being a good person." My mistake. Won't happen again.

Your stance here is bizarre and disappointing, especially in light of your history of getting it when it comes to people closer to you than Dixie.

I really don't get it.

"Being a good person" doesn't entail "being polite to unapologetic racists".
8  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Andrew Cuomo vs Mao Zedong on: November 26, 2014, 09:35:26 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfDxhRdXbuY

I'd like to see Cuomo match those dulcet tones.
9  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Opinion of the Quakers on: November 26, 2014, 04:07:02 pm
The best religion, bar none.  I briefly identified as one, and may yet again in the future if I once again feel the pull of faith, if/when my internal pendulum swings towards the spiritual and idealistic, rather than my current cynical pragmatism.
10  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Cops on: November 26, 2014, 02:24:57 pm
Most individual cops generally try to be FFs.

However, when you take into account the a) sheer badness of the bad apples, b) the outsized, destructive potential that said bad apples have by dint of their authority, power, access to "legitimate use of violence", etc., and most importantly c) the tendency for even the better members of the profession to "close ranks" and defend said bad apples, rather than being honest and forthright and willing to engage in necessary soul-searching and honest oversight...

As an overall profession, HP.  My vote is reluctant but completely unambivalent.

Another thing that is particularly horrible: how their incentives are aligned in dangerous situations such that it makes more sense to shoot to kill rather than shoot to injure, so that they can avoid opposing testimony.  That's rotten, and needs to be changed somehow.
11  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of William T. Sherman on: November 26, 2014, 12:46:28 pm
So, apparently, a friend-of-a-friend from college was driving through Georgia once.  Pretty fast; faster than it was marked or was really safe.  Probably like 80-plus or something.  Enter sirens, state troopers, they get pulled over.

"Son, do you know how fast you were going there?"

"I bet William Sherman went through here pretty fast, too."

Needless to say the ticket was massive.
12  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Oxford School of Absurdity, Ignorance, and Bad Posts IV on: November 25, 2014, 06:14:47 pm
pig disgusting

That's quite the appropriate turn of phrase in this situation.  (Again: not an epithet I use lightly, unlike some folks here.)
13  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What time does your family eat dinner on Thanksgiving? on: November 22, 2014, 07:37:42 pm
11 PM the day afterwards.

I'm not even exaggerating, that actually happened one year.
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Gallup: US Postal Service, FBI and NASA are the best Government agencies on: November 22, 2014, 10:58:46 am
Worth pointing out that UPS and FedEx actually contract out a large portion of their "last-mile" delivery out to USPS.  If anything, the Postal Service is subsidizing these private operators (by relieving them from building a network in inconvenient rural places), or at the very least has proven itself to be trustworthy and efficient even and especially in the eyes of their private competitors.
15  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Forum Redistricting Commission on: November 21, 2014, 04:00:57 pm
Think I'll have to beg out of the commission itself; I won't be able to guarantee I can be around and putting in the sort of time this project wants.

I'll probably still submit some maps from the peanut gallery.
16  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Andrew Cuomo vs Strom Thurmond on: November 20, 2014, 10:59:23 pm
Oh, f**k it, I can't do it this time. 

Cuomo.

I need a shower.
17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Boehner kills internet sales tax bill on: November 19, 2014, 11:22:40 pm
Well, this has been an issue since well before Amazon did their PR-motivated about face- and while it sucks that it required the support of big boxes to get moving, I can guarantee you that all the actual mom-and-pops that I had noticed taking a stand (and, being the kind of person who shops at independent bookstores, I can guarantee you I noticed it) were in favor of something like this. That Wiki focuses exclusively on other, bigger supporters is unfortunate.
The Wiki entry focuses on them because they're the ones pouring cash into this effort. I'm sure there are plenty of small businesses who support this too, but those who are leading the charge at the forefront of this are corporate lobbyist fronts attempting to maximize their profits at the expense of consumers and their competitors. This bill really represents the worst of all worlds: Corporate rent-seeking, higher costs for consumers, more hassle for businesses, and concern trolling about "protecting small businesses" (I'm referring to politicians, not you) when this bill is backed by moneyed interests whose clear intent in supporting it is to crack down on small online businesses (see: Amazon).

Y'know, I might actually agree more than I disagree with this.  But the proper solution to the problems you raise is to a) enact serious campaign finance reform/contribution limits, so that the next time the minnows can get heard when it's still just the minnows, before the big folks opportunistically jump in, and b) find ways to streamline regulation and/or increase investment into the sorts of offices and services that would let small proprietors navigate the system better.  I mean, yeah, I actually agree that large piles of regulations often tend to hurt smaller enterprises disproportionately, since they can shell out less time and money to navigate those thickets.  I have more empathy for that POV than I perhaps let on sometimes (perhaps you get an inkling whenever I rail against restrictive zoning as I sometimes do).  I just don't think that looking the other way while unintended and unfair loopholes get reamed is at all a productive way to fix that issue.

What makes you think the retailers who are pushing this are "small and local?" A quick look at the groups that have lobbied in favor of this shows that clearly isn't the case. And as Nix point out previously, Amazon is hardly a "local brick-and-mortar."
Because of its localized distribution centers Amazon has reached the point where it has, or soon will have, to collect State sales taxes in most states. (In some cases Amazon negotiated a temporary moratorium as a condition of locating a distribution center in a particular State.) When it comes to the big e-commerce sites, they're in the same boat as brick-and-mortar in that they have to collect sales taxes.  Changing the rules would mainly affect smaller e-commerce sites with few if any physical sites beyond their HQ.

True; it's probably fairer to say that Amazon's shift on this issue is not simply PR but also coincided with their decision to pursue this strategy (which conveniently can also claim to be pursued in the pursuit of faster shipping times).

...

ETA: I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the practice of showrooming yet.
18  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Boehner kills internet sales tax bill on: November 19, 2014, 06:32:41 pm
If the point of the law is "fairness," it fails, because sellers in cities and counties with higher rates will remain at a disadvantage. And if states must settle on a single tax rate for online sales only, it's frightening to contemplate how high that rate might be.

Even if we can't get to perfectly fair, we should still work for more fair- and I'm not aware of any solid evidence that any hypothetical single rate would be frighteningly high. I find this bit particularly unpersuasive.

...
I do appreciate the rest of your points here- I'm pretty sure I still disagree, and side with the small local brick-and-mortars who have been at the forefront of this fairness push, but it's been food for thought and I'm actively mulling it over.
What makes you think the retailers who are pushing this are "small and local?" A quick look at the groups that have lobbied in favor of this shows that clearly isn't the case. And as Nix point out previously, Amazon is hardly a "local brick-and-mortar."




Well, this has been an issue since well before Amazon did their PR-motivated about face- and while it sucks that it required the support of big boxes to get moving, I can guarantee you that all the actual mom-and-pops that I had noticed taking a stand (and, being the kind of person who shops at independent bookstores, I can guarantee you I noticed it) were in favor of something like this.  That Wiki focuses exclusively on other, bigger supporters is unfortunate.
19  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: NFL Pick a Winner Week #12 on: November 19, 2014, 05:24:52 pm
KC.

Man, that was awful last week. 
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Boehner kills internet sales tax bill on: November 19, 2014, 05:18:19 pm
If the point of the law is "fairness," it fails, because sellers in cities and counties with higher rates will remain at a disadvantage. And if states must settle on a single tax rate for online sales only, it's frightening to contemplate how high that rate might be.

Even if we can't get to perfectly fair, we should still work for more fair- and I'm not aware of any solid evidence that any hypothetical single rate would be frighteningly high. I find this bit particularly unpersuasive.

I do appreciate the rest of your points here- I'm pretty sure I still disagree, and side with the small local brick-and-mortars who have been at the forefront of this fairness push, but it's been food for thought and I'm actively mulling it over.

As for the objection to sales taxes in general on equity grounds, I agree with BRTD that this is a Real Bad way to advance that cause:

I don't see any problem with requiring such taxes to be paid in either type of sale. If you oppose sales taxes in general, then you should get your state to abolish them, like some don't have any. But having sales taxes apply to only some businesses is completely unfair.

I'm also tempted to get all Slatepichy contrarian, cite the actual Nordic model, and point out that the most egalitarian advanced societies we've seen all don't shy away from taxing consumption at all income levels, because a broad-based tax that funds generous social programs tends to go along with a flatter wealth curve than a smaller but more strictly progressive taxation regime.  That's kind of a tangent, and I'd need more time than I have at the moment to really defend it (and even then I doubt I'd want to go full VAT like they do in Europe)... but I do think the point needs to be entered into the record as a check on the impulse to RAAR SMASH ALL SALES TAXES.
21  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Can you create an Obama sweep in your state? on: November 19, 2014, 04:44:43 pm
You have to settle for 2 McCain seats in NC:

Sorry to steal your thunder, but I actually made a 13-0 NC on the first page. Tongue
22  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Rudy Giuliani vs. Michael Bloomberg vs. Andrew Cuomo on: November 18, 2014, 02:19:36 pm
The only Democrat, Mikey-B.
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Who do you support in the raging sexism battle in the Absurdity thread? on: November 17, 2014, 08:22:54 pm
It should surprise nobody that I voted for Gustaf.

I admit to some reservations about the haughty attitude with which he tends to wage his battles, but his position on feminism is muy righteous (and does not remotely entail any of the pitfalls that HD and memphis imagine).
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Forum Redistricting Commission on: November 17, 2014, 04:28:00 pm
I suppose I'm the sort of person who ought to be involved in this, and it sounds like a great idea, but I might be a bit too busy to commit to anything ATM.  Um... put me down for a firm "probably".
25  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 14, 2014, 10:49:07 pm
It astounds me that anyone could defend Clinton and speak of the President's "sacred duty to be truthful" in the same breath without being overwhelmed by irony.

Hillary's support for the Iraq War would be more justifiable if she had not so thoroughly backpedaled on her support in 2008, when supporting that war was politically inconvenient. And when she did this, she made exactly the sort of arguments that you see in Beet's defense - which, besides giving the American intelligence community far too much credit for their competence, allege the sort of Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy that has served as Clinton's go-to excuse for every misstep that she's made since the late nineties.

I know that the phrase "vast right-wing conspiracy" is a bit of a laugh line among right-wingers and Moderate Heroes... but, uh, if you take a look at the sort of tactics that right-wing media figures and politicos started using in the early '90s (and not really before then), well I think it's an entirely understandable thing to say and believe, modulo semantic quibbles.  I really can't fault her for that one iota, and if that makes me look like a partisan hack then oh well.
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