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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Should Virginia Abolish their Independent Cities? on: December 21, 2014, 09:48:51 pm
And I'm willing to believe that said switchover can be screwed up; perhaps that's what happened in Canada since many of our friends up north seem to be bitter about it.  Though, perhaps what happened in Canada could also have been BS cultural resentment

Our amalgamations covered WAY too much distance, which is what caused most of the problems.

E.g. I live in Halifax, which is an amalgamation of three cities in the Halifax metro, and Halifax County. The problem is that Halifax County is 100 miles from end to end. Other amalgamations were similar. This wasn't amalgamating the five boroughs so much as it was amalgamating Buffalo and Rochester or San Antonio and Austin!

Now I freely admit that amalgamation of the three cities/the built up part of the county was necessary, but our amalgamation took all the rural areas as well. Previously the legislature would pass a bill to expand the boundaries of one of the cities when the suburbs in the county got too big. However, the government at the time was trying to cut costs and mandated the bigger amalgamation as a cost cutting measure.

This resulted in outlying rural areas that had very little to do with the city having to pay much higher property taxes, and wanting services to match those taxes, which in turn puts strain on the system as  the city attempts to provide city-level services to outlying rural areas. (E.g. Bus service).

I believe Hatman had a similar experience in Ottawa. I'm all for making suburbs join their mother cities, but when I (or most other) Canadians hear the word amalgamation, we think of forcing cities and the boonies to merge together.

Ah, yeah, that does indeed make sense.  Amalgamation should, ideally, be tied to urban growth boundaries and encompass the built up areas and whatever small, contiguous tracts are earmarked for future development– and shouldn't include legitimately rural areas that would be at danger of becoming resentful or paved over in sprawl.  I do have plenty of sympathy for farmers who shouldn't have to necessarily pay city taxes for city services; I have less sympathy for suburbanites who don't want to have to share anything with the "inner city".

In the sclerotic American context, obviously sometimes city-county consolidations would take in some rural tracts, which is unfortunate- but not 100 miles unfortunate (unless you're making the City and County of San Bernardino or something, which would in fact be A Mistake), and a lesser evil than the worst balkanizations we have here.
2  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Should Virginia Abolish their Independent Cities? on: December 21, 2014, 07:10:02 pm
In an ideal world, yes, because cities would annex their entire metro.

In a more realistic sense, I think getting rid of independent cities seems a little counterproductive. I think what would be instead preferable would be consolidating some of the cities in the Hampton Roads area--all the small municipal units are generally detrimental to the region's profile as a major US metro area-- the urban and inner suburban parts should be merged into one unit. The fact that Virginia Beach is considered the center of the metro is kind of bizarre, IMO.

As for the rest of the state, I'd retain most of the independent cities, along with liberalizing annexation laws.

It's no more bizarre than San Jose getting top billing over San Francisco in the combined statistical area.  Which is to say, yeah it's a little bizarre.
3  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Should Virginia Abolish their Independent Cities? on: December 21, 2014, 06:43:26 pm
I understand keeping some of the bigger cities independent, like Richmond and Norfolk. But in the case of Virginia Beach, I think that should go back to Princess Anne County because there are actually a lot of rural areas which I think would benefit from being part of a county as opposed to being in a city. Plus, like I said, it would be a benefit to become a county. Sure, taxes would go up, but then you'd get better quality services.

In the case of VA Beach, absolutely nothing would change except the designation from "city" to "county".  It's one consolidated unit now, and your proposal would keep it that same consolidated unit.

And is there really all that much actual rural population there?  I don't think many folks live in the Great Dismal Swamp; whatever you call that political unit the vast majority of it is thoroughly suburban.

Is there some quirky historical reason they did this?

In other parts of the country, you see cities merging with counties and ceasing to be separate entities altogether (Louisville, Miami, etc). This is the opposite of it and I don't understand what the benefit would be.

I can't really find a concrete reason as to why they're independent.

And to your last point, I'm not sure why those large cities are consolidating with their county. Miami is different I think, as the city limits of Miami are not contiguous with Miami-Dade County as Louiville and Jefferson County's are or Indianapolis and Marion County's are. Not sure if that makes a difference or not?

Miami-Dade County is just branding; they didn't actually consolidate anything far as I know.

City-county consolidations are generally a good thing, and there is a long history of it dating back to Philadelphia's consolidation in the 1850s. You can have sensible regional planning; tax-base and service sharing; you don't have things like the pull-up-the-drawbridges class warfare of places like the Grosse Pointes, or in the South and West unincorporated patches that don't get any municipal services whatsoever for no good reason (I think one of our CA posters had a question about that awhile ago?), or closer to home the less-obviously-harmful but still crazy and wasteful phenomenon of boroughitis which leads to all sorts of inefficiencies and regulatory arbitrage and all that bad stuff.  In general, city governance should be at the metropolitan level as much as practicable, since that's the unit that really counts, and city-county consolidations are a step in that correct direction.

I understand that this can be a difficult thing to do in the real world; people have emotive attachments to their towns and there are real costs in switching over to anything new.  And I'm willing to believe that said switchover can be screwed up; perhaps that's what happened in Canada since many of our friends up north seem to be bitter about it.  Though, perhaps what happened in Canada could also have been BS cultural resentment (EWWW I don't wanna have to get along with those icky suburbs/urbs) or, worse, suburbs that benefitted by pretending to be separate from the core where convenient (while of course conveniently forgetting that they wouldn't exist without the core).  Anyway.  Obviously the details are tricky, but there are real and important benefits to consolidation.
4  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Vosem on: December 21, 2014, 06:15:51 pm
Not particularly bright

An odd charge to make.  While Vosem's politics are clearly awful, that's a matter of his priorities and values more than his intelligence, which has never seemed particularly suspect.

I'm inclined to say he's one of those "FF despite terrible views" people; he's also young enough that I still hold out hope that his youthful convictions will someday be tempered with a healthy dose of doubt.
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Would you rather live in Des Moines, Iowa or Jacksonville, Florida? on: December 21, 2014, 06:07:44 pm
I prefer not to have to ponder such a Hobson's choice.

I feel like this is the point to remind the forum that aren't you technically an Iowan farmer in addition to all your many other hats?
6  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: tomatoes on: December 21, 2014, 03:57:22 pm
Tomatoes are the yuck inst vegetable.

I'll grow them. I'll eat tomato based sauces. I'll even eat tomato soup. The raw vegetable is absolutely horrid though.

Exactly this.
7  Questions and Answers / The Atlas / Re: When will True Federalist end his political censorship? on: December 21, 2014, 03:45:14 pm
deductive scientific materialist conclusion

trololol

Bears repeating (even in a different context such as this):

Quit the trolling snowstalker. Internet 'debate' on this topic is noxious and obnoxious enough; it does not also need to provide the backdrop for one of your ridiculous onanistic cabarets.
8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Simple Truths Silver Mine on: December 21, 2014, 09:14:35 am
It says a lot about the NYPD that they can be the victims of an absolute tragedy and I end up having a worse opinion about them by the end of the night.
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Would you rather live in Des Moines, Iowa or Jacksonville, Florida? on: December 21, 2014, 01:00:33 am
Des Moines.

Smaller cities that still have strong amenities, a livable and logical layout, and that are sanely designed and have solid public transit and a diversity of weather are far preferable to sprawly Sun Belt hellholes.

Curious how traininthedistance is going to vote for this...

What the hell's to be curious about?  My vote is obvious to everyone, for multiple reasons.
10  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Christmas traditions unique to your country/region on: December 21, 2014, 12:30:19 am
The only thing that comes to mind is that we normally have Turkey for Christmas dinner, which I don't think is common in the US.

Some folks do turkey in the US, but it's one option among many possible "giant hunks of meat you throw in the oven for hours" rather than the thing that's traditional for everyone.  Given how often people roast whole turkeys in the USA outside of the final six weeks of the year... it is kinda common in a relative sense.

If I had to hazard a guess, I might even call it the second most-common entree after ham (especially if you don't lump the various cuts of beef together), but I don't actually have any solid numbers on that.

One of these years it might be fun to go old-school traditional and roast a goose.
11  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The perfect climate on: December 21, 2014, 12:15:20 am
A good climate should have:

* Four seasons, because variety is the spice of life. In particular, the fall leaves are the best, and you only get that in four-season land, really.  But of course beach weather and snow are both very important as well. If you don't at least have the possibility of a White Christmas, then well you're not really living.  Irving Berlin says so!
* Generous and steady, relatively-constant precipitation.  Enough to support trees, dense human settlement, lots of wildlife.  Steady because monsoons and seasonal droughts are less pleasant and more of an actual problem than mere temperature swings.

So, basically, Dfa FOR LYFE.  Though the colder parts of humid subtropical– where it'll still snow at least once a year– are also fine. And as much as I require real seasonality and none of this West Coast "it's 65 degrees all year long!" pablum, being near an eastern coast to moderate things just a tiny bit is appreciated.

I think my perfect climate might be Rhode Island, more or less.
12  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: NYPD officers shot dead as "revenge" for Garner decision. on: December 20, 2014, 11:46:58 pm
Latest reports Ive seen is that the girlfriend was wounded and alive. Hope she recovers.


(Modified to remove reference to a deleted post - TF)

That's good to hear (though of course nothing about this tragedy is in any way good, but you know what I mean); thanks for the correction.

(Less thanks to Ernest. Tongue)
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: NYPD officers shot dead as "revenge" for Garner decision. on: December 20, 2014, 11:26:20 pm

Yes, and people are allowed to criticize them for acting like spoiled children.

Many of them feel the mayor has helped create an environment that makes their jobs more difficult and dangerous and that he didnt have their back, so they showed him theirs.  I dont think it is childish when you feel it is your own personal safety at play.

You do realize that many, if not most, of the Brown/Garner protestors acted as they did because they believed that it was their "personal safety at play"?  Why can't the police force have the basic human empathy to respect that perspective and not throw a fit at the slightest criticism?  Wouldn't it be better to actually engage in dialogue with people, and honestly seek to build bridges/root out the bad apples, instead of dragging down the majority of good folks in a shameful, illogical show like this?

...

As for this murderer, long may he rot in hell.  I'm inclined to agree with Beet and IceSpear on the first page that this was a cowardly, vainglorious act by someone who had already done the unspeakable and decided to hypocritically go out in a "blaze of glory" or whatever. My heart goes out to all three of his victims and their families.

(Modified to remove reference to a deleted post - TF)
14  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: What type of church would you expect to have the best music? on: December 20, 2014, 01:49:33 am
Some terrible reactionary super-Catholic church, of course. Latin hymns are the best hymns.

Or, more to the point, whoever's most likely to perform this, which despite the composer's Lutheranism is going to be the Catholics.

...

Alternatively, if you're looking for one specific church, I'm pretty sure the winner has to be the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco.

15  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The Onion has a new clickbait site, and of course it's genius on: December 19, 2014, 05:06:36 pm
http://www.clickhole.com/article/7-reasons-youll-probably-be-okay-without-health-in-1539

Take a note at who the sponsor for this article is.

Yes, Virginia, Obamacare is literally advertising on ClickHole.  Make of that what you will.
16  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How much can you bench press? on: December 18, 2014, 05:38:49 pm
I can curl a martini glass. Bench? Who knows.
17  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of the Elf on a Shelf on: December 18, 2014, 05:17:47 pm
Now, if it's actually used to tell children, "This fellow will tell Stanta if you're bad!" - well, that's horrible. That's a whole other matter.

Well, yes, that's exactly what the whole point of this thing is.  (And, while I was dimly aware of this thing before, the linked article informed that apparently it's a toy that the kids are not allowed to touch, which is a whole 'nother level of effed up.)

If it was just a typical disposable consumerist fad, then whatever, I wouldn't care.  It's not.
18  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: NFL Pick a Winner Week 16 on: December 18, 2014, 03:14:24 pm
New Orleans
19  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Post a song from the year you were born on: December 18, 2014, 02:57:53 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imWnuirIL8o
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Sony hackers threaten 9/11 style attacks on theaters that show "The Interview". on: December 18, 2014, 02:54:59 pm
Wait North Korea has computers?!

I imagine it was a contract hitjob by Chinese hackers.

Yeah, there are plenty of Chinese and Russian hacker "freelancers" out there. The North Koreans probably just found one and paid him a few million dollars. I doubt this is the work of whatever the North Korean CIA is.
Wait North Korea has money?! Also correction it's them not him.

Well, their main/only export industry is counterfeiting American currency, so they have funny money at least, and I'm sure whoever they paid can find a way to spend that somehow.
21  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of "SJW and porn" blogs on Tumblr on: December 18, 2014, 02:02:04 pm
As pointed out plenty times already, "misandry" is not a real thing that happens, even among the more strident and less-reflective SJWs; neither does "anti-theism" (certainly not in the fedora sense!); the charge of reverse racism can't be dispatched in one sentence but is pretty tendentious as well and– I would argue– rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of what racism is and how it interacts with power

"Reverse racism" is obviously a silly term and many accusations of "misandry" are just paranoia from MRAs with a bad persecution complex (a bit redundant, really Tongue), but I do hope you aren't swallowing the "privilege+power" thing uncritically--while definitely nothing compared to, say, state violence against African Americans, genuine hatred against whites, and especially white men (or at the very least a hatred of male sexuality), is commonplace. The neurotic reformism of privilege politics is both nearly religious (the treatment of privilege as some sort of original sin) and, due to its lack of material analysis or at best shoehorning a half-hearted material analysis into liberal academic platitudes, it ultimately fails to either fully explain the existing power structures or to offer greater solutions beyond the occasional crusade against a Hawaiian shirt or a few sexist trolls.

I don't know that there's anything I'm willing to swallow uncritically; if anything my approach to things suffers from an excess of navel-gazing and self-doubt and that of course applies to this issue as well as others.

As for the rest of it... well, let's just say that I don't agree with your contention that "reformism" is a bad thing in the first place, and I'll take liberal academia over dialectical materialism anyday.  But you already knew that.
22  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of the Elf on a Shelf on: December 18, 2014, 12:48:33 pm
It's just more tacky Christmas clutter that will get thrown out and forgotten in a few weeks.There's no need to overthink it.

You know, you're right.  Why bother digging deeper?   Why bother trying to understand the world?  It's not like psychology and culture have real-world consequences or anything.

When Socrates said that the unexamined life wasn't worth living, he was being a sucker.

Thanks for showing me the light, memphis!
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of "SJW and porn" blogs on Tumblr on: December 18, 2014, 12:14:13 pm
I am glad they exist but have no intention of ever really looking for them myself.  They serve as an obvious disproof of the silly talking point that feminists et al. are "prudes" or whatever, and for that purpose if nothing else their existence is a positive thing.

As regards SJWs in general: the culture does have some issues, namely the sort of circular firing squad posture which tends to plague all sorts of left movements, and a sort of allergy to certain modes of reflection and self-criticism which actually has entirely understandable roots but leads to haywire outcomes.  In particular I'm thinking of the overuse of "concern trolling" accusations here, which stems from a very real tactic that trolls use, but leads to, shall we say, some counterproductive antibody production.  With that in mind, I wouldn't describe myself as one normally.

The "slacktivism" charge is, perhaps, technically accurate but deeply unfair- not everyone has time or the means to be on the front lines of in-person organizing or whatever, especially if you're poor or a minor or whatever. 

However, the substance of the criticisms they get from most quarters, even here, is pretty much strawman nonsense.  Not to pick on MormDem and RI, but:

Fighting misogyny by becoming a misandrist, racism with some more racism, anti-secularism with anti-theism (but especially anti-Christianity) is not something more enlightened, and ultimately a distraction from actual social justice.

As pointed out plenty times already, "misandry" is not a real thing that happens, even among the more strident and less-reflective SJWs; neither does "anti-theism" (certainly not in the fedora sense!); the charge of reverse racism can't be dispatched in one sentence but is pretty tendentious as well and– I would argue– rests on a fundamental misunderstanding of what racism is and how it interacts with power.

And...

Yeah, that article isn't remotely SJW in the contemporary sense. SJWs don't care about class, and they certainly don't care about the plight of white men (like person #2 in the article) no matter their social circumstances (unless they're gay or some other "minority" and sometimes not even then).

It is very "social justice-y" in the slightly older sense of the word, though.

This is even more ridiculous- every SJWer I have ever encountered cares deeply about class, and would endorse this article wholeheartedly (yes including #2). I'm not even sure what you're trying to say with "the plight of white men" but I'm pretty damn sure that it's inaccurate at best.  I suspect you've trained your disgust on a caricature that by and large doesn't exist.
24  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Opinion of the Elf on a Shelf on: December 18, 2014, 11:32:08 am
Creepy as f**k, of course:

Quote
For others — like, say, digital technology professor Laura Pinto — the Elf on the Shelf is “a capillary form of power that normalizes the voluntary surrender of privacy, teaching young people to blindly accept panoptic surveillance and” [deep breath] “reify hegemonic power.”

I mean, obvs, right?

Apparently the Elf's success means that they've branched out into something called the "Mensch on a Bench" now, too, which needs no explanation and is of course all sorts of ugh.
25  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Album of the year, 2014 edition on: December 16, 2014, 06:31:14 pm
It's embarrassing how much I seem to have checked out of what's new.  I don't think I've really kept up with more than a couple artists since 2010 or so.  I guess, given my usual pattern I'll end up unearthing a whole bunch of now-current stuff in 2020 or so.

With that in mind, Spoon's They Want My Soul wins this year pretty much by default.
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