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1  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Opinion of the United Methodist Church on: Today at 08:12:42 am
2) What's the progressive/conservative proportions in the United States? If progressives are the majority in the United States, could the US branch of the UMC walk out as one group?
Not easily.  The way it's organized, there is no US branch per se.  They have five regional conferences in the US and then several conferences covering various parts of the rest of the world.

That makes it even easier then, no? Presumably the progressives are concentrated in a couple regions. Why couldn't they walk out as a group?

Because their church properties would still be owned by the UMC they are leaving.  As I've pointed out before, the UMC is not a congregationally organized church.  For the most part, the churches are owned by the UMC, not the individual congregations nor by the regions.   It's a lot easier for individual members to leave the UMC than for whole congregations or groups of congregations.
2  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Opinion of the United Methodist Church on: November 21, 2017, 08:13:58 am
2) What's the progressive/conservative proportions in the United States? If progressives are the majority in the United States, could the US branch of the UMC walk out as one group?
Not easily.  The way it's organized, there is no US branch per se.  They have five regional conferences in the US and then several conferences covering various parts of the rest of the world.
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: $1.5 Trillion GOP Tax Cut Thread on: November 21, 2017, 07:59:03 am
Just a reminder: if you’re married and making under $260,000 annually, you get a tax cut or at least break even. Single and under $200,000, same deal.

I really don’t get why this is “cutting taxes for the millionaires and billionaires.”

Because taxes is more than just the tax rates, but also what gets taxed, and the elimination of deductions means that the amount of income getting taxed is increasing under both the House and Senate bills.
4  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Coup in Zimbabwe: Mugabe under house arrest on: November 20, 2017, 12:10:27 pm
The opposition aren't exactly pro-Mugabe, do note.

Maybe not, but I doubt they're senseless. When ZANU-PF bigwigs are eager to shut the opposition out of the process the moment they can and with Mugabe being weak and isolated, whats the harm in holding back on impeachment to force concessions? A united and unified ZANU-PF led by some of its worst hardliners is unlikely to allow free elections unless they're forced to do so; this might be the last time the opposition will have leverage over anything for years.

Any concessions they get will be worthless the moment Mugabe is gone.
5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: $1.5 Trillion GOP Tax Cut Thread on: November 20, 2017, 12:06:01 pm
The Economist backs repealing the SALT deduction, and as a Very Serious Person™ who bases his opinion exclusively on what The Economist says I now officially endorse repealing the SALT deduction Smiley.

While not a concern at current tax rates, there is a very good reason for the SALT deduction, to keep the Federal government from starving State and Local governments of tax revenue by taxing it all.  Back when the top brackets were being taxed at 90% or more, the SALT deduction was essential.
6  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Opinion of the United Methodist Church on: November 20, 2017, 07:35:11 am
I believe most progressive American Methodists are expecting a schism.

It'll be painful if it happens. the progressive schismatics will have to buy new church buildings as the UMC is decidedly not a congregational church.  It'll be easier for progressive members to shift affiliation to other established liberal churches, and I don't see a way for a mass coordinated exodus to establish a new denomination.
7  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Is self-interest on taxes moral? on: November 19, 2017, 11:17:20 pm
Depends on how far you take it.  Unalloyed self-interest is immoral, just as unalloyed societal-interest is immoral.  Where to find the optimal balance between those two extremes is what makes up both politics and ethics.
8  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Argentine Naval Submarine has been missing for three days on: November 19, 2017, 11:11:22 pm
Hopefully this isn't a result of the refurbishment the Argentines did a few years ago that involved cutting the San Juan in half.  It'll be interesting to see if the Argentines finally complete the Santa Fe when they replace it.  Even if they manage to save the sailors aboard the San Juan, I don't see them being able to raise and repair the sub.
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Unpopular/Bad Opinions on: November 19, 2017, 11:01:42 pm
I think the Omphalos hypothesis is a likely possibility of our Earth’s past, though I am a theistic evolutionist.

The Omphalos hypothesis doesn't resolve the problem for Biblical literalists that the fossil record shows that if Genesis is to be taken as literal history either God allowed lies to exist in the fossil record or that on an Earth supposedly designed to be perfect, with every species fulfilling its unique role, far less than 1% of the species that ever were are still around today.  You don't even need to bring up the age of the universe to make a compelling case for the first eleven chapters of Genesis to be considered myth rather than history.

I prefer the term 'parable' to 'myth'.

If it floats your boat to use that term instead, go ahead.  The word myth gets unfairly stigmatized, thanks to all the bowdlerized versions of myths the Victorians relegated to the realm of childhood stories.
10  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: If you could introduce a Constitutional Amendment What would it be on: November 19, 2017, 10:52:21 pm
I would do

1} Amendment to ban discrimination based on race so we can finely repeal the civil rights act.


1} I'm not sure what you mean. The last clause in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment is the Equal Protection Clause, which has always been interpreted, correctly, as a ban on racial discrimination by state governments. Do you want to adopt an amendment that bans racial discrimination by private enterprise the way the Civil Rights Act does?

As you point out, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 depends not upon the 14th Amendment but upon the Commerce Clause for its Constitutional basis.  I'd guess he wants that placed on a different footing so that the Commerce Clause might be gutted (or reined in depending on your POV.)
11  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Opinion of the United Methodist Church on: November 19, 2017, 10:49:34 pm
Freedom Church.  Seems pretty moderate on balance, even though they tend to be somewhat more conservative than me theologically.  I wouldn't mind being a member if they lifted their ban on gay clergy and weddings.

That won't ever happen in my lifetime and probably not yours.  The UMC is in some regards a victim of its own success in evangelizing outside the United States. The Methodists in the US are but a fraction of the total membership of the UMC. That's why I foresee the UMC continuing to shrink in this country. The way it is organized makes it nigh on impossible for local churches to go beyond where they have gone on LGBT issues and I see no real future in this country for an otherwise liberal church that doesn't fully embrace the LGBT community.

It's a lot easier for individual members to change church than for a church as a whole to abandon its building and start anew elsewhere, which until the overseas portion of the church liberalizes on that issue is all that UMC members can do to go farther.
12  General Politics / Economics / Re: Laffer Curve on: November 19, 2017, 03:39:40 pm
OC: Overhyped curve.

It's real, but we're nowhere near the part of the curve where one can increase government revenues by cutting taxes.  Not even the Reagan-era cuts did that.  Arguably, the Kennedy-era cuts may have done that, but at this point it's just technobabble used by so-called conservatives to provide an invalid justification for the self-serving tax cuts they want.
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Worker describes experience in troll factory on: November 19, 2017, 10:21:29 am
A shame he wasn't making these:
14  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Unpopular/Bad Opinions on: November 19, 2017, 12:31:52 am
I think the Omphalos hypothesis is a likely possibility of our Earth’s past, though I am a theistic evolutionist.

The Omphalos hypothesis doesn't resolve the problem for Biblical literalists that the fossil record shows that if Genesis is to be taken as literal history either God allowed lies to exist in the fossil record or that on an Earth supposedly designed to be perfect, with every species fulfilling its unique role, far less than 1% of the species that ever were are still around today.  You don't even need to bring up the age of the universe to make a compelling case for the first eleven chapters of Genesis to be considered myth rather than history.
15  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Reaganfan Reservation of Absurd & Ignorant Posts VII on: November 18, 2017, 06:06:36 pm
Yet another reminder why this thread is named after him:
1992. I submit the idea that the election of Bill Clinton in 1992 paved the way for Waco ->Oklahoma City, possibly Columbine and then 9/11.

If George Bush had been re-elected, I anticipate that Waco wouldn't have gone the way it did, thus no Oklahoma City. The Columbine Killers would have been nutjobs either way but the date they selected was the anniversary of Waco and Oklahoma City so who knows if that would have occurred.

Also, I believe the Bush/Quayle administration from 1993-1997 would have been much more aggressive with Al Qaeda after the 1993 World Trade Center and Embassy Bombings. With the case of 9/11, any little change to the thread would have quite possibly prevented those attacks.

Bush's re-election in 1992 would have took America on a much, much different path.

In that case the entire election what if board is absurd.

I suppose I should have focused in upon the absurd turning point and mentioned that this post was in a thread about the most consequential US presidential election.
16  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Childhood President on: November 18, 2017, 06:04:41 pm
I didn't get to a have a singular president that defined my childhood.  I was born when LBJ was in office, so my school-age years were included Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan, of which Carter was the one with the most time while I was in school.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Reaganfan Reservation of Absurd & Ignorant Posts VII on: November 18, 2017, 09:15:35 am
Yet another reminder why this thread is named after him:
1992. I submit the idea that the election of Bill Clinton in 1992 paved the way for Waco ->Oklahoma City, possibly Columbine and then 9/11.

If George Bush had been re-elected, I anticipate that Waco wouldn't have gone the way it did, thus no Oklahoma City. The Columbine Killers would have been nutjobs either way but the date they selected was the anniversary of Waco and Oklahoma City so who knows if that would have occurred.

Also, I believe the Bush/Quayle administration from 1993-1997 would have been much more aggressive with Al Qaeda after the 1993 World Trade Center and Embassy Bombings. With the case of 9/11, any little change to the thread would have quite possibly prevented those attacks.

Bush's re-election in 1992 would have took America on a much, much different path.
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Unpopular/Bad Opinions on: November 17, 2017, 11:26:26 pm
If someone is to commit the crime of rape or murder, the age of the victim should not be a factor in the criminal penalty.  The penalty should be the same regardless of whether the victim was a child or an adult.
I don't see why you'd consider that to be an unpopular/bad opinion.  The death penalty is the death penalty. (My own reasons for abolishing the death penalty revolve entirely upon the difficulty of proving beyond a reasonable doubt, the inadequate defense available to many of those accused, and the inability of our society to consistently implement it even when it is an option, not because I think it a cruel punishment as many of those who oppose the death penalty think.)
19  General Discussion / History / Re: What do you feel the most important election of US history is? on: November 17, 2017, 11:09:03 pm
1860 is objectively the correct answer. No other electoral contest has so fully and irrevocably decided the national character.

No that's 1800. 1860 had the most important nominating convention as who the Republicans chose would have a major impact, but the South acting like spoiled brats was inevitable that year.
Is not that nominating convention a part of the election? It's beyond dispute that the South was going to try and break off from the Union in 1861 no matter what.

That assumes that the Republicans win the White House in 1860.  Assume for the moment that Democrats either hadn't had their 2/3 rule or Douglas manages to get nominated in Charleston despite it. The result is a Douglas victory:


Alternatively, assume that Bell isn't kept off the New York ballot, allowing him to split off some of the ex-Whig vote that Lincoln got, handing the State to Douglas:


There are a few other scenarios that lead to the election going to Congress, but the essential thing is that the Senate was solidly Democratic, so given a choice between the running mates of Lincoln and Breckenridge, it would undoubtedly pick Lane over Hamlin.  That leaves the Republicans with the choice of either supporting Douglas in the House or leaving the Presidency vacant because the House was unable to elect a President with an ardently pro-slavery Vice President serving as Acting President.

Roll Call of the States: U.S. House Election for President in 1860 (36th Congress):

I'm uncertain how Tennessee and Delaware would have voted, but I'm fairly certain that Texas and California would have both been split 1-1 between Douglas and Breckenridge.  This assumes of course that the Republicans accept a Douglas presidency as the lesser of two evils, If they don't, then Lane serves as Acting President until at least December 1861 when the 37th Congress takes office.



20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: US Navy admits aircrew drew penis in the sky (see image) on: November 17, 2017, 04:41:55 pm
That's a rather pathetic penis. Looks more like a tall ten-gallon hat to me anyway.
21  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Unpopular/Bad Opinions on: November 17, 2017, 04:34:40 pm
I probably shouldn't say this, but I do have a VERY unpopular opinion...
Viewing child porn should not be illegal, however obviously making or distributing it should be highly illegal as it already is.

What the  is wrong with you?! If there is demand for something, people will produce more of it.

There will always be a demand for this kind of thing, as repulsive as it is.

And if you make consumption legal, demand will only go up. Legalizing consumption of underage porn would open the floodgates, perhaps not of like, pedophile child porn, but for shady foreign-produced porn of girls in their mid teens.
All I'm saying is I don't think we should be putting people in jail for simply viewing it, as long as they're not actually harming any children in their personal lives.

Marginally, one could argue that animated or written child porn shouldn't be illegal since no actual children were involved in making it, but for live action child porn there is no excuse, and you weren't even trying to discuss what the margins of child porn were.
Obviously I don't think animated or written CP should be illegal, I should clarify, in my ideal world, it wouldn't be illegal to view CP that has already been created, however it would be extremely illegal to create or buy newly made content.  In reality though, I realize that this opinion isn't practical. 

We don't live in ideal worlds. Practicality always needs to be considered. That's why even tho animated or written child porn don't directly harm children, they still are illegal. If they were freely available, they'd encourage the production of live action child porn.
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What if Al Franken doesn’t resign and Roy Moore loses? on: November 17, 2017, 02:33:23 pm
So far there's no evidence of this being more than a one-time of bad judgement for which Franken has apologized for and said apology has been accepted.

In comparison, we have repeated credible corroborated allegations against Moore of far worse behavior which he issues lame denials of and ascribes to a vast establishment-wing conspiracy.
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you watch tv or use the computer in the dark? on: November 17, 2017, 02:24:19 pm
There is no TV in my bedroom, so I don't ever watch it in the dark. I also never use my real computer in the dark, but I do sometimes use my tablet while in bed.
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Unpopular/Bad Opinions on: November 17, 2017, 02:21:14 pm
I probably shouldn't say this, but I do have a VERY unpopular opinion...
Viewing child porn should not be illegal, however obviously making or distributing it should be highly illegal as it already is.

What the  is wrong with you?! If there is demand for something, people will produce more of it.

There will always be a demand for this kind of thing, as repulsive as it is.

And if you make consumption legal, demand will only go up. Legalizing consumption of underage porn would open the floodgates, perhaps not of like, pedophile child porn, but for shady foreign-produced porn of girls in their mid teens.
All I'm saying is I don't think we should be putting people in jail for simply viewing it, as long as they're not actually harming any children in their personal lives.

Marginally, one could argue that animated or written child porn shouldn't be illegal since no actual children were involved in making it, but for live action child porn there is no excuse, and you weren't even trying to discuss what the margins of child porn were.
25  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: If you could introduce a Constitutional Amendment What would it be on: November 17, 2017, 09:41:19 am

At least in this state, the property tax is due regardless of where you use your car. All using a motor vehicle only off the public roads saves you is the annual license fee. The property tax is general revenue, the license pays for highways. By analogy, having gun owners pay for the costs of investigating gun crimes, ER and other medical costs of gunshot victims, etc. seems quite reasonable.

Not sure the analogy holds. It's a reasonable expectation that car owners are also users of highways, and the overlap is likely quite high. It is not a similarly reasonable expectation that gun owners are consumers (or causers, if you want to put it like that) of those services.

Without gun owners, there couldn't be gun violence. Guns don't magically spring into existence thanks to fairy gunmothers.
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