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Messages - JoshCrow

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1
General Comments / Trump to end birthright citizenship
« on: October 30, 2018, 09:26:33 AM »
"I love the Constitution! True story!"

What a joke to have this going on after all the lecturing from Republicans about Obama and Democrats not caring about the Constitution. Really now. We may witness an executive order that flat-out redefines who is a citizen.

Executive overreach much?




2
My practical approach is usually to start by assuming this new person is "a good person" and watching for indications that they are not. Here I differentiate between a "good person" and someone "of quality" that I would like to spend time with... I'm mostly referring to some basic feeling that the person I'm dealing with is someone who means well in the world.

Certain behaviors can bump people off this default belief and are "red flags" of a sort. This doesn't make them "evil" but at the very least moves them to the list of people I actively avoid. Most of the time it is when I see a certain disinterestedness in thought, ideas or the general (or specific) well-being of others. It can manifest as extreme tribalism (an obsession with putting people in pre-valuated categories) or at the other end of solipsistic thinking (only I matter/exist). It could happen if the person expresses an overly simplistic or dismissive attitude towards a complex scenario, and a lack of intellectual humility. It could be a person who could never imagine anything changing their mind about anything.

If the person in question has some sort of power or authority - do they wield it towards some end that doesn't befit their post?

On a smaller scale, I think a sense of humor is something I associate with being "a good person". So, people for whom laughter seems to come easily usually have a leg up (I mean, assuming they aren't laughing at somebody's horrible suffering).

3
General Comments / Re: #3 rated TV show Roseanne cancelled
« on: June 25, 2018, 08:38:16 PM »
Has the pendulum swung. Possibly, I'll grant that. An overcorrection may be necessary to achieve a lasting equilibrium.

If the only acceptable endpoint is representation in each job of about 50/50, I think it would be a recipe for misery to get there - not just for men, for everyone. The important thing is, as it ever should be, to ensure that people have equal opportunities to go and work in fields they please (and I'll grant that this can include creating 'welcoming environments', but I think that could simply mean having proper handling of harassment and enough of a critical mass that you're not the only one there "of your group").

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I'm not aware of any studies showing a female preference, most of the blind resume tests show the opposite.

Ideally, it would be possible to complete a screening process without ever knowing the race or gender of the person being hired. This has been done in orchestra hiring with a surge in female representation as a result.

Yes I'm familiar with the success story of orchestras (and it's worth remembering that this was adopted more than 40 years ago, when sexism was far more rampant). Are you familiar with the modern-day failures of this sort of strategy? Remember, the modern context is one in which companies are now invested in playing the diversity game.

For example, in Canada, blind resumes had no effect on hiring of minority applicants for federal jobs.
https://ipolitics.ca/2018/01/24/blind-recruitment-test-showed-no-impact-hiring-process-commission-says/

And in Australia, a rather famous recent study just showed that perversely it had the opposite of its intended effect in a genderless resume trial (stunning the researchers who did the study).

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-30/bilnd-recruitment-trial-to-improve-gender-equality-failing-study/8664888

My point is, currently the discrimination has overcorrected and attempts to "blind" the application process are actually either ineffective or (worse, from your POV) removing the overcorrection.

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General Comments / Re: #3 rated TV show Roseanne cancelled
« on: June 24, 2018, 07:35:21 PM »


Damore does indeed talk about how individual women can be good at their jobs. This is an obvious mechanism that people use. It's like Trump saying "some of them, I assume, are good people". Damore's statements can be wrapped in good statistics all he wants. If such statements are accepted, it can easily lead to interviewers or promotion committees giving extra scrutiny to look for these flaws in candidates applying for those positions, scrutiny not applied to candidates not belonging to that group.

Drake, since you're obviously so concerned about fair hiring practices, what do you say to me calling your bluff on which groups are currently unfairly sought after during hiring, ok? Right now in STEM hiring there is a 2:1 preference for female faculty hires (as shown with gender-swapping resumes) and I'm sure similar stuff going on in the tech world (for evidence, look at the discovery stuff in Damore's current lawsuit against Google). Don't pretend you really care about scrutinizing candidates unfairly - right now there is TREMENDOUS social pressure and incentive to hire underrepresented groups that didn't exist even ten years ago.

I'm guessing your response to this sort of bias will be crickets chirping. Whatever effect you think an undercurrent sexism has on hiring, it is utterly swamped by the (massive, public) drive for diversity goals. If fair hiring was really your game you wouldn't tolerate that, either.

5
General Comments / Re: #3 rated TV show Roseanne cancelled
« on: June 23, 2018, 09:04:18 PM »

The point is he advanced harmful gender stereotypes.

If I sent an email out to everyone at your place of work claiming to have statistical proof that people with the name Fenring just aren't suited for this line of work, that would create a hostile workplace.  It really doesn't matter if your company were wasting money on outreach to people named Fenring or not. It really doesn't matter if in the same email I repeat over and over again that we shouldn't use this to evaluate individuals.  The email creates a hostile environment for people named Fenring.  Period.  And if there were historical precedent for this type of accusation, then it would be advancing harmful stereotypes.

As Fenring notes, you can't slip in "aren't suited for this line of work" as a proper analogy for "aren't choosing this line of work" - the former has implications for women/Fenrings already working in that environment, and the latter does not since it is self-evident that any presently employed women/Fenrings have already chosen that line of work and so that comment isn't about them in any meaningful way.

The other argument I would make is that having a policy that expressly forbids someone from putting forth an argument to his coworkers (as he originally did) relevant to the condition of their workplace is, as I understand it, potentially illegal in Damore's case.
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California is an "at-will" state, meaning Google can dismiss an employee for almost any reason. However, Damore says that before he was fired, he filed a complaint, formally known as a charge, with the National Labor Relations Board, which administers some aspects of federal labor law. Under the National Labor Relations Act, it's against federal law to fire someone in retaliation for filing a complaint to the board, lawyers say.

The labor-relations law usually applies to union organizing, says Wagner. But over the years the act has been more broadly interpreted to protect employees who discuss their working conditions with each other.

One last thing about stereotypes: I just learned recently that "the accuracy of stereotypes" is a particularly strong finding from psych research, meaning "they tend to be accurate fairly often". It's a dirty little secret! Most people fail to make the distinction between a stereotype being a tru-ish assessment of things and being a license to discirminate against anyone in the group at hand.

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General Comments / Re: #3 rated TV show Roseanne cancelled
« on: June 22, 2018, 09:59:17 AM »
Happy to see a discussion of Damore continuing (although amused to find it in a Roseanne thread).

I was so incensed by the media and public's lack of basic reading comprehension (at best, or downright dishonesty at worst) that I have twice now worked this memo into my professional teaching duties and will continue to do so. I put the contents of the memo directly in front of two classrooms of engineering students (with no small amount of females), along with some other op-ed type perspectives on it. I led a class discussion on the memo (in a course on Professionalism) and found many students aghast that he was fired.

In terms of written responses from the students that I solicited, several of the students described having gone into the reading "angry at it" but having encountered an argument other than what their expectations were. Students appeared to mellow on him after reading his actual words. Many students did not agree with Damore's conclusions, but I encountered virtually zero students who indicated they were still angry or that he was writing in "bad faith". Some of the strongest objections to his firing came from my African-American students, one of whom pulled me aside in the hallway to tell me how unjust it was that the man had been fired for writing this.

I'm going to continue to teach the memo as an example of how the media mischaracterizes arguments that upset mainstream narratives and is poor at parsing out what is actually being argued ("biologically-influenced career choices exist and account for disparities") from what people EXPECT is being argued (i.e. women "biologically unfit" for engineering work and are being hounded out).

7
General Comments / Re: Justice and murder by the mentally ill
« on: May 18, 2018, 09:05:42 PM »
It's possible what they really meant was "closure" and didn't have the word skills.

8
General Comments / Re: Possibility of peace with NK
« on: April 27, 2018, 09:33:08 PM »

On the other hand, I told my wife this morning that if Trump brokered a comprehensive middle east peace treaty, the CNN headlines the next day would read, "Trump acts to raise the price of America oil hurting the poor and minorities."

Just to screw with you, CNN's headline is now "Give Trump some credit for Korean thaw". They may be reading Ornery... *paranoia increasing...*

As for me... I'll give him credit if he does something here. His presence in the Oval Office is not, itself, enough to impress upon me that all other results follow.

9
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 03:29:17 PM »
Look everybody, they fixed it!  ;D

http://money.cnn.com/2018/04/17/news/companies/starbucks-store-closings-racial-bias-education/index.html

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Starbucks says it will close its 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States for one afternoon to educate employees about racial bias.

This ought to totally make everybody happy and make sure nothing like this ever happens again (said nobody, ever).

More likely, this is a total waste of time for 175,000 workers with no demonstrable effects (or worse - I've heard that it can actually worsen racial bias).

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General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 16, 2018, 11:38:52 AM »
Yet another Rorschach test in which everybody interprets things in whatever manner suits their ideological preferences.

Is anybody else as tired of these as I am? Why is this sort of incident still being treated like news?

I keep thinking the media is now basically like Crossfire and I'm like Jon Stewart trying to tell them they're "hurting America".

11

The Kyoto Protocol, all things considered, may very well have resulted in more CO2 emissions and other environmental damage than it mitigated. Ditto for its successor attempts.

Those efforts to reduce "first world CO2" often translated into production moving into the "third world" where things are far less restrictive in practically every way.

I'm happy to look at evidence for these claims. Ironically, the very uncertainty being used to argue against climate action probably makes it impossible for you or anyone to demonstrate that "Kyoto caused X" or that "efforts to reduce first world CO2" cause production to move to the third world. You're reduced to saying "well, maybe..."

12
I am actually a pretty big environmentalist and hate the idea of polluting, and yet I have been mostly disappointed by the general attitude and approach to the issue of safeguarding the environment by the AGW crowd. Yes, they have met so much opposition that I can see why it would divert a lot of energy just trying to convince the other side. But actually, why bother? The better thing would be to show how to take initial steps towards repairing it that are intelligent and not of a partisan nature. I doubt very many people are "for" pollution and emitting lots of random gasses into the air and waste into the water, so it's probably a bipartisan issue to an extent to try to keep the Earth clean. But it doesn't help that not only has it been a partisan issue anyhow, but that experts are all too keen to trump up and basically fake how good their models and understanding are. The same thing happens in economics analysis, where fancy analyses are made, and then when real life doesn't go how they predicted all of the explanations and the "you don't understand"s come out. Oh, of course you would have been able to predict the final result IF... ::)

Except in economics, as you well know, the theories have historically been used to make appropriate course corrections (see: Volcker taming inflation) that prompted short term economic pains but addressed long term problems.

Nevertheless, feet-dragging and second-guessing when it comes to the environment "because experts are not perfect" is almost like saying you'd rather have a known terrible thing happen than risk an unknown. It's "the devil we know", in your argument. Except that it's a hell of a devil. If we had another 100 years to study the problem before we took action, I might be there with you. Once you establish that the problem can self-accelerate because of feedback, the urgency increases to the point where dawdling - even with the reason of 'getting it exactly right' - could nonetheless be a catastrophic decision.

I think a better example than economics is nutrition science and 'poor health', which has been blamed on everything you can imagine (fat, salt, sugar, gluten), so we know the science is still rather immature, but there is still a broad agreement that "eating less and getting exercise" has positive health impacts. That fact has never really been shaken despite all the attempts to undermine it. The evidence is just too great. And getting on a treadmill and eating less cake sucks and nobody likes to hear it, but there it is.

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How much of a stretch is it that an entirely fabricated event could cause a rather large reaction?

The next time a female politician runs for highest office you can expect to see porn deepfakes of them emerge. I predict it will happen to Tulsi Gabbard, in fact, since she's my preferred (presumed) candidate at the moment, and she's of an age where it would seem more plausible.

14
My friends and I were just discussing this online.  Not so much the school angle but logic and logical fallacies.   We already complain that people are too susceptible to skewed data, reinforcing memes and "fake news".  Moving forward things are going to get MUCH worse.  Audio and video of person X saying thing Y will be convincingly realistic.  They will claim they never said any such thing.  You are then left with deciding if the lie is the potentially doctored footage / recording or the denial by person X. 

Teaching students how to be critical, and skeptical, without leading them down the spiral towards paranoia and conspiracy theories is an investment we need to be making right now.  We already know that we can't trust what we read.  Soon we can add in what we see and hear as well.  When your senses could be lying to you at any time, you need a sharp mind to sift through the noise.  We need to teach fact checking.  Or how not to fall for BS 101...

I actually do teach a class of incoming freshmen these subjects! Despite being an engineering faculty, I taught a course last year called "What We Know That Just Ain't So" that was about critical thinking (in addition to good college writing/speaking practices). This year I am coordinating the same course across multiple sections, so it will reach about 45 incoming college students.

So far I've used this opportunity to go after myths on the left and right side of the spectrum (the class skews liberal, so I try to push the other way in terms of challenging their ideas even though I'm not much of a conservative).

I teach them the logical fallacies (using clips from "Thank you For Smoking" and even some Monty Python gets in there). But I also teach them current theories on why logic isn't very persuasive and how it often results in the backfire effect. I try to also get them to discriminate between facts and values - and I offer some thoughts on where values come from and why they differ in people (spoiler: I think it's largely genetic, and there's heritability data to back me up).

If anyone has any suggestions for me to incorporate into my class, feel free to suggest stuff! I am making this course up as I go and will teach it again in the Fall.

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People have such a poor understanding of statistics that I think they should entirely replace trigonometry with it in school.

After seeing how poor people are with statistics after taking a class in statistics I don't think that will do much good.

Hah, yeah, but people don't use trig in their day-to-day, but they DO encounter stories in the media that involve stats. They can't practice their trig outside of class.

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People have such a poor understanding of statistics that I think they should entirely replace trigonometry with it in school.

17
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 19, 2018, 09:06:58 PM »

I'm not sure what you'd persuade me about.  I have no doubt that autodrive would be safer in a number of circumstances.  Turn it on for interstates.  Not sure I'd trust it on state highways as easily.  Parking lots?  Even less trust.


Well, trust is built. Eventually the record would speak for itself, wouldn't it? And if at that point you're just Grandpa Simpson yelling at a cloud that's going to be your fault. :)

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Not sure that's the case, maybe when you use google maps, still that's a far cry from the kind of interconnection that would ultimately be required and recorded to route that many cars from point to point.  And it would only expand.  I have no doubt, that after a while, years of your specific locations would be obtainable. 

I've used OnStar for some time in my vehicle, mostly because I like the idea that if a criminal steals my car there's a chance they're foolish enough not to know how to disable it. I also leave my phone and GPS on to contribute to traffic data, which has saved me lots of time on the road heading to and from work. I'll give you that having no way to turn something off is a little different, but the data being collected tends to create convenience and to my knowledge has not much implicated innocent people.

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Well except you're asking us to entrust our lives directly to this technology.  Taking away our ability to stay safe, and accordingly the bar is higher. 

Well, have you flown on an airplane before? You've entrusted your life to technology. 2017 was a banner year for aviation safety, which has gotten better with time.

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What self defense is available against a hacked car that kidnaps you?

I'd imagine the brake pedal can do that.

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Lol, your argument is that I have to cede my freedom for your convenience?


I'm just pointing out that "freedom" works both ways, not just "the way I want". Your freedom to drive vs. my freedom to not be driven over by a drunk. By the way, in that comparison it's YOUR freedom that looks a lot more like "convenience".

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General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 19, 2018, 05:30:56 PM »
My "fear" isn't irrational.  I think self driving machines don't have adequate safety controls and security.  I think they are one step away from yet another breach of your rights when the government routinely inspects your travel logs, probably without even providing you notice that they have done so.

I'm concerned that the algorithms, even with machine learning, will never adaptive enough to predict the impact of all events that appear in a road context.

What would you say if after years of use in <insert country here>, it was empirically shown that AI had safer judgement than humans 90% of the time? Would you be convinced that it surpasses human ability? What sort of performance would persuade you?

(btw, regarding surveillance, that particular cat has been out of the bag for some time in vehicles and has little bearing on who is driving)

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I'm concerned about the impact of deliberate malicious manipulation of the code, terrorists have already shown us they are willing to use any device that they can control to harm people.  How hard is it to imagine conversion of driverless cars to the purposes of kidnapping, assassination, or just mass mayhem?

I can envision ways to abuse nearly any technology for mayhem - including cars with drivers. That's not an argument you would deploy against any technology you are already comfortable with by habit. Once AI is mainstream in cars, its occasional misuse will be notable and horrifying, but then we'll all get on with the 99.999% of the ordinary usage.

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And to preserving your freedom and independence.


What about my freedom to do productive work (or even enjoy a book) while my car takes me somewhere? What about the independence of a blind or aged person who otherwise would be stuck calling an Uber?

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General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 19, 2018, 04:01:33 PM »
Yeah, as an engineer I'm already cringing at the idea that people's poor understanding of statistics/risk and the media's desire for sensationalism will combine to create a totally baseless and irrational fear of self-driving vehicles.

I wish they added to this media story "and here's how many people were killed that same day by idiot drivers, and here's the fatality rate of human drivers vs. AI per vehicle...".

Anything that slows down our progress towards fostering a broad public acceptance of AI drivers is essentially contributing to the deadly status quo.

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General Comments / Re: Possibility of peace with NK
« on: March 13, 2018, 02:52:45 PM »
JoshCrow that's an interesting point, however, don't you think that's more appropriately a criticism of our approach to North Korea for decades? 

We've a let a problem fester and become far worse by avoiding conflict at every step along the way, to the point where we a let a locally dangerous leader facing strong and respected Presidents become an international nuclear power facing an untested and politically inexperienced President (that has a least a strong minority that believes he's incompetent).  The consequence of our avoiding conflict is Trump facing off with a N.K. armed with ICBMs.

Or are you projecting forward to deal that's say worse than Clinton's fuel for nuclear "pause"?

Well, you say we've let it "fester" (although I would argue that a policy of sanctions and Chamberlain-type "appeasement" are different), but NK seemed to have the position that they wanted to develop the nukes first before coming to the table (so they could deal from a position of strength, as they see it). The timing of this announcement could be interpreted as them saying "we've got actual leverage now, so we're ready to talk". I'm not sure whether you are saying we should have had stronger sanctions, or outright invaded them... but as I understand it NK weren't ready to come to the table without a weapon.
Out of curiosity, do you think Obama should have tried to hold this meeting? I remember candidate Obama saying he was open to it (and being attacked for it). Never happened, though.

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General Comments / Re: Possibility of peace with NK
« on: March 13, 2018, 02:47:39 PM »
Fenring: I was objecting more to your generalities than to the NK context, specifically.

On the issue of Trump meeting Kim Jong Un... I'll take it. It's probably the best way to stave off a deadly conflict. I may wish we had a better representative, but as even Bill Maher put it on his show last week, these are two guys who might sort of understand each other in a weird, strongman sort of way. I see this as a positive development and preferable to simply waiting around. I am even willing to give Trump credit for pulling it off (assuming it actually materializes).

They used to say "only Nixon could go to China". If Obama were the one going, I can just imagine what people on the right would be saying right now. Instead, with Trump going, I feel like this could actually get support from more level-headed people on the left and produce some rare agreement across the aisle.

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General Comments / Re: Possibility of peace with NK
« on: March 13, 2018, 01:26:07 PM »
The best way to reform another country is to normalize relations, create economic ties, and use incentive-based motive to move the other country into closer line with your principles. Regardless of the particulars of NK, which may include concentration camps, everything is negotiable with a dictator who wants to benefit his position. Give him things that will benefit him and he'll agree to concessions.

Ahem.

Chamberlain's aeroplane landed at the Heston Aerodrome on 30 September 1938, and he spoke to the crowds there:

The settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine. Some of you, perhaps, have already heard what it contains but I would just like to read it to you: " ... We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again."

Later that day he stood outside 10 Downing Street and again read from the document and concluded:

My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.

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General Comments / Re: State of the Union response
« on: February 02, 2018, 01:55:13 PM »
Because US libertarians are focused on Domestic not International issues.  Sure they are non-interventialist, but the primary focus they seem to have is on the economic expenditure.   It's literally something that they'd trade for almost any other goal.

I think it's in the nature of an aspirational rather a core goal.

You're downplaying it. Having read lots of Ron Paul pieces Fenring sent my way, it sounds like principles of non-intervention and anti empire-building was not some mere sideshow for Libertarians, but a key part of their small-government worldview, which puts them at 180-degrees from Cheney's ilk.

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Maybe lay out what you see as in direct conflict on this one.  I think the religious right's goals conflict everyone else's but they are the ultimate in a group that has no other home.  There's literally nothing they have in common with the Dems.  At best the Dems could hope they schism into their own party "splitting" the Repub vote, not that they'd switch sides.

That's true, but right now most corporate leaders have concluded that pro-gay, pro-trans stances are 'business friendly' to the extent that companies (with ownerships in either party) are threatening to pull out of states based on policies being pushed along religiously motivated lines. Of course there are exceptions (for example, Christian-owned businesses like Hobby Lobby), but the "big business" wing of Republicans are currently very much allergic to certain religious priorities (see: War on Christmas).

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And to be clear, of course I'm inserting my opinion into this conversation.  It's literally my opinion that blue collar workers socially better align with the Republicans, they are socially conservative gun owners that don't have a high affinity for identity politics.  Historically they've voted on their economic affinity with the Dems - which is based on union support - but if the Dems campaign against their industries it breaks that economic argument.  If Republican plans generate wage gains and new jobs in those industries, even if they don't support the unions, it's question of rationality whether that causes Blue collar workers to notice they'd be better off as Republicans.

I've heard enough arguments about people voting against their own economic interests (read "What's the Matter with Kansas?") to think you are oversimplifying here. In any event, my point is not "who is right" but rather to explain voting behavior to you. Regardless of who is correct, there are reasons and arguments that are made in both directions, and as a voting bloc so far they seem more persuaded by Dem ones.

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White nationalist participation is about equal in the two parties (multiple studies have demonstrated that white racism is about equal in the two), notwithstanding the media hard sell to the opposite. 

On this, I'd truly welcome some data. Please give me some sort of link on it. I would be gobsmacked if white nationalists were voting Dem in similar numbers as Republican. And I'm not talking broadly about "racists" or whatever that means- I'm talking about KKK-affiliated, Richard Spencer fan-type people.
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Maybe one day they'll realize that "Republican racism" is a media myth and look at the real gains that Republican policies bring them.

Honestly, it's a leftist delusion that Republicans somehow want bad things for our black communities.  We want them to have great jobs, economic success and safety, and we honestly think our policies are going to bring that about.

I can agree it's a sad delusion that Republicans wish ill on black communities - there is too much assumption of "bad faith" going around. But then I also think income inequality is a serious issue and Republicans have sacralized free markets too much to see policy effects clearly.


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I'm flat out stating that Republicans don't believe what they believe because of "loyalty," they believe what they believe because of substantive underlying principles that demand that result.  This is not pyschology, this is logic.

I never said they believe things out of loyalty - but I do think they are less willing to go after their own in-group when politics are on the line (unlike the mob that came for Al Franken).

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Of course I value loyalty, as does every human being to some extent.  That doesn't mean, as you are implying, that I adopt positions out of loyalty to a greater group.  Again, this exists as argument to establish that the "other" is acting on an unsound and unconsidered basis.  Therefore, arguments about the facts and reasoning need not be made as they will just be ignored.

Funny, I could have said the same about when you ascribed Dem behavior to "feelings"...  ::)

But Loyalty tests much higher in self-described conservatives than liberals, and it's not *everything* (that's a strawman of my position) but it influences things.
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Well, Bernie supporters to me are a good case.  What you say defined them?  Is it a commitment to socialism?  To me that's the ultimate in feelings versus facts.  Every part of the concept of socialism is built on feel good principals, it all sounds like the nice lessons we learned as children, sharing for all, no one left behind, leveling the playing field, taking from those who refuse to share (even though they benefited from society), but it ignores reality, which is pretty much an extensive record of economic destruction and human misery.  It's pretty much the defining philosophy for the road to Heck being paved with good intentions.

Are you familiar with the distinctions between socialism and social democratic policies? It isn't a black/white dichotomy where you are either Ayn Rand or Karl Marx. One can decide that the health care industry should be dealt with differently from smart phone industry without becoming Venezuela.

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I think I went through an extensive analysis of Alabama before.  But you literally just cited to an example where the Republicans in an overwhelming red district did not elect a person because they were accused of harassment.  Where they literally sacrificed their federal political voice in a Senate that is barely in the control of their political party rather than put him in power.


Yeah - BARELY. It should have been no contest.

In any case, I'll let you have the last word because my time is short, but I enjoyed our exchange!

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General Comments / Re: State of the Union response
« on: February 02, 2018, 10:50:16 AM »

Except I think you're actually wrong.  For the most part while the different Republicans want different things, their goals are not generally mutually exclusive - which is the case for some of the Democrats (explain any way to rationalize Kentucy blue collar coal miners and California environmental activists). 

How is a neocon goal of aggressive foreign presence not mutually exclusive from the core principles of Libertarianism? How do you square socially moderate business interests with the social goals of the religious right? It's not hard to find mutually exclusive goals (and marriages of convenience) on either side.

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Also, and this is big, many of the Democratic groups are arguably in the wrong party.  The only Republican group that could be true about are the Libertarians (on a lot of issues) but the Dems are diametrically opposed to them on their core issue.  Blue collar works were ripe for getting picked off, the only connection they have to the Dems is based on their desire to keep their unions (which the Dems have been failing to support for decades), on everything else they align better with the Republicans.  I'm still convinced that one day black voters are going to wake up and realize they stand a chance of real improvement in the Republican party that the Dems have neglected to give them for decades. 

Blue collar workers may have an interest in higher minimum wages and don't all subscribe to trickle-down economic practices, Ser. Some of them think otherwise. You are just inserting your policy preferences as "obviously correct to everyone", but again, reasonable people disagree and aren't crazy for it.
As for black voters - good luck with that. They will never vote for the same party that white nationalists vote for. Keep dreaming. It would take a radical R leader to utterly destroy and demolish the guest bedroom they've essentially set up for such people. Just like when LBJ realized they'd "lost the south for a generation", the R's have lost black voters for the same.

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I think pop pysche answers exist to explain obvious things that professors can't accept because it's inconsistent with their world view.  A classic favorite is to accuse Republicans of not really having principals behind their positions (cause who could?) but rather to just be blindly following based on loyalty.
Actually it's the opposite of "not having principles". It's just having a distinct and different set of principles! You may judge loyalty harshly, as I do, but there are arguments in favor of it as a guiding principle as well... one of which is being able to get together and achieve things. If you are a self-proclaimed R supporter who doesn't see value in Loyalty, then that makes you rather strange.

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As a further point, though the media tries to convince you otherwise, Democrats don't cross the aisles at better rates than Republicans.  They also extensively use dog whistles in communications to let their uninformed voters now what side is the "correct" side to support.

I agree with you that both parties do this.

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The best face I can put on the Democrat voters is that their vision of morality is based on feelings.  Sincere ones I grant you, but still feelings not logic.  Their leaders, to me, are the most cynical politicians on earth totally committed to power without regard to any principal.

Well, you're certainly describing one particular faction (and one I am constantly at war with). But it's a spectrum. Most of the D voters I know personally aren't all "feelings" based but are logic based. Most Bernie supporters certainly weren't there for identity politics but because they had economic policies they wanted to support. I think perhaps it's easy when you disagree with an idea to presume that it is just "feelings" that got someone there.

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Lol.  I know for a fact that there are many Democratic voters that only look for the D.  I met hundreds of them.  People who don't really know anything about the people they vote for other than they "trust them to do the right thing" because they are a Democrat.  I don't see any validity to this kind of analysis.

The recent kerfuffle over a Clinton staffer aside, I know which party I would expect to deal with someone accused of harassment and which party I would expect to press on anyways. For goodness' sake, look who almost won in Alabama. That's not normal.

25
General Comments / Re: State of the Union response
« on: February 02, 2018, 10:16:30 AM »
JoshCrow, thought this was particularly relevant given the Politifact "fact check"  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/business/economy/jobs-report.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Wages are up 2.9% January to January.  Inflation last year seems to have been just over 2%, so still lots of room for improvement.

Saw that too - thanks. Trump was correct.

26
General Comments / Re: State of the Union response
« on: February 01, 2018, 07:55:35 PM »

I think you hit this one sideways. And part of this is "lack of understanding" on what a Libertarian is. Which is almost a "There is no true Scotsman" type scenario.

Yes, actually I understand that there are left-leaning libertarians who vote D, but in terms of numbers the people who self-identify as small-government champions are more of a political force in the R camp, and so are most of their representatives in Congress right now.

27
General Comments / Re: State of the Union response
« on: February 01, 2018, 04:07:44 PM »
Hm. I would suggest that the Dem's main problem is that they had a brief window (maybe the 80's-early 2000's) where their voters seemed to be reasonably unified on many core issues, but are perhaps now realizing that 'Democrats' (maybe better would be to call them "non-Republicans") don't seem to have much in common with each other any more. The divergence has been excacerbated especially in the last 5-10 years, and at this point one can't appeal to the good old Democrat mantras; they don't work.

I just wanted to add that this could also easily be said of Republicans, a group composed of sub-groups with wildly diverging (sometimes diametrically opposed) interests, including the neocon wing, small-government libertarian types, Evangelicals, and the business faction. It's actually even less coherent *on its face* than the Democrats (who have some schisms between progressives, elitist-corporatists, identity blocs, etc.). The grand distinction that explains why the Dems appear less coherent is (are you ready for this?) that Republicans typically have a very strong Loyalty moral matrix, and Dems do not.  The Democratic vision of morality is largely focused on Care/Harm, Liberty and Fairness (although in one specific conception), whereas the Republican morality is more complicated and includes those three but ALSO folds in Loyalty, Authority and Sanctity concepts. This is called Moral Foundation theory and it's a favorite topic of mine lately. I actually think most of the moral palate each person has is hereditary and there's some neat research backing it up. But remember, loyalty is key - Dems are not really very interested in it as an ethical thing, but Republicans are, which gives them much better political cohesion.

Of course, being who I am and with my politics, I am very critical of loyalty as a modern ethical value, but it has served a key role in our evolution. It binds people together. Democrats are easily atomized, but if you wear the R jersey you will have R voters regardless of what you say or do. Trump put on the R jersey and here he is - despite the fact that I think he has very little ideological interest.

28
General Comments / Re: State of the Union response
« on: February 01, 2018, 11:52:10 AM »

I thought he did a bit better on that front than most.  I can remember a few really good ones from Clinton as well, who was probably the best President ever at capturing the majority position of the country as his own.  It's a far different style than a President who lectures us (Obama) or one who loves to throw out the red meat.

I have to confess to having a soft spot for the lecture, as a professor. Trump hasn't lost his touch at the red meat thing but it was toned down here.

Quote
Don't quote Politifact to me unless you're ready to support a claim they make, they are far more "political" than "factual".  Take a closer look at the measure they used to show his claim was "mostly false" even though, if you look at most any other measures it literally true, and if you add in the announced wage increase plans for next year and the the economic indicators its pretty much "absolutely true."

Well, I'm not going to count increase "plans" when discussing the past year, no matter how rosy. But I'll spot you on the idea that it depends how you're measuring wages. Is it "median usual weekly real earnings for full-time wage and salary workers, 16 years and over" or is it something else? I'd probably have gone with "half-true" myself.

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To me the biggest problem the Democrats have, is that they have adopted really unpopular positions on a large number of things because they play very strongly with a specific polity.  [...]

Well, that really depends on the topic, doesn't it? I mean, look at 'background checks' or other middle-of-the-road gun control measures. So really it depends on what issues are really "Democratic Platform" issues, and which ones are merely "positions held by some people who are Democrats". You also have to consider carefully how things are polled. If you ask people whether they favor Obamacare, you got a very different answer from "Affordable Care Act", and different still if you break it down into specific elements and read off those. So which one really represents the popular opinion on it? It's not so simple. The Dems main problem is being poor at selling things.
Quote

Welfare?  Plenty of single issue voters, yet majority support for things like life time caps and workfare rules.  Dems flat out oppose them and then go further and call people who do horrible names.  Calling a majority of the country horrible names is a winning strategy where?

Come on, Ser, that's a few generalizations short of being a good argument. "Horrible names"... would you hold the Republican party strategy to the fire for things one or two members blurted? I doubt you would.

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It seems to me that the Dems best electoral strategy is to appeal to voters who live the life unexamined, who want to align strongly on a single "most important issue" and who've never considered that members of the party have directly conflicting priorities (Republican's get a similar effect from Religious and pro-life voters).  This cost big in blue collar states in the last election, when Hillary decided to pump up environmentalists and alienate energy producers and factory workers - which is literally a decision that she didn't have to make.  Without saying anything she would have kept effectively the same environmental support and lost less blue collar support.  I find it troubling that the more the Democrats talk about their policies often the less support they find they have - maybe it's time to rethink some of the inherent conflicts?

You've made an interesting point, and one that hews to the nature of politics. In fact I happen to think that not saying much in terms of specifics is often a wise move. Wouldn't you say that Trump's typical "it's going to be great!" rhetoric was highly successful - perhaps because it had no specifics, rather than in spite of this? The way to win at politics is to be as blank a canvas as you can while capturing a simple, commonly held sentiment and hammering it home at every turn. Obama did it, and so did Trump, albeit they were riding very different sentiments.

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I'm still eagerly awaiting black voters realization that Trump's policies are going to do more for their economic success than 40 years of Democratic hand-out policies.  It was no mistake that the Black causcus felt they couldn't even clap for the lowest unemployment rate among black since records were kept.  Real gains for their communities under Trump are disasterous for their political ambitions. You could not have a clearer conflict of interest than they do.

I'm not saying you're wrong about their political interests - in fact I agree that downplaying good news for your own interest group smacks of pettiness and victimhood-claiming. However, I would dispute you that there's really any meaningful improvement at work here to be credited to Trump, since the trend was well-established earlier than his tenure, and moreover employment numbers themselves don't necessarily speak to the quality of living (I could imagine grisly existences with "100% employment"). Nor do I even think presidents actually influence this much - not nearly as much as broader trends.

29
General Comments / Re: State of the Union response
« on: February 01, 2018, 08:41:20 AM »
You mean you don't think they'll run the incumbent? Is that even a thing? I'm not up on Presidential history, but has it been done before that the party should offer a competitor to a sitting President?

Plenty of precedents for challenges (though fewer that succeeded). Actually The Rock was openly thinking about running against Trump (as a Republican). I would pay to see that match up!
Some are relatively recent: "In 1976 Reagan ran against Ford in the Republican primaries. In 1980 Ted Kennedy ran against Jimmy Carter in the Democratic primaries. In 1992 Pat Buchanan challenged H.W. Bush. They all lost, but the incumbents ended up losing in the general election."

30
General Comments / Re: State of the Union response
« on: January 31, 2018, 11:46:06 PM »
I see what you're saying Seriati (and I'm unabashedly in the camp that thinks president Trump is a terrible "leader" figure). I didn't watch the speech, but having read the transcript it seemed pretty typical of a president. There was the usual abuse of anecdotes (particularly galling to me was rump trying to create the impression of some sort of crime wave... it's just not happening, statistically). His comment on rising wages was essentially false (according to Politifact there WERE gains for three quarters, but the fourth quarter more than wiped them out).

I guess I agree with you in all but your rosy assessment that Dems are self-destructing. I don't really think Trump will survive 2020, and I'd say there's a fair chance he won't even be the nominee - and this despite even the economy fairing quite well (which I credit nobody with, frankly).

But yes, I do think this was an unusually well-considered speech from Trump.

31
General Comments / Re: Government Shutdown, Immigration Edition.
« on: January 21, 2018, 08:37:12 PM »
I am holding out hope that they will go nuclear. The filibuster needs to end - its usage has steadily increased to the point of ridiculousness and it works against the idea of representative governance by majority.

32
General Comments / Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
« on: December 24, 2017, 08:23:04 PM »

Not sure who the contest winner was. 

I was referring to the actress who played Rose. It's a shame, since we rarely get asian actresses in big-time films, but I thought she was just awful. When she kissed Finn at the end I hadn't even noticed that it was supposed to be expected... there was nothing about the performances (and I blame Finn's actor too) that even suggested romance. The entire subplot involving them essentially could have been removed wholesale and not even affected the plot. I think the writers just wanted to find something for Finn to do since they had invested in a character in TFA who was obviously peripheral to everything major going on.

Not that I thought Poe was much better even though they expanded his role a lot. I still couldn't tell you a single thought in his head, or what his life is like except rehearsing 'yo mama' jokes in the mirror.

Come to think of it, it feels like the whole movie is peripheral. I suspect that five years from now many people who "love" this film will have dialed that back to "it was ok", whereas the people who hate it will still hate it.

When do we get crunch's review?

33
General Comments / Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
« on: December 17, 2017, 06:00:12 PM »
*spoilers*
One thing that I thought actually worked were the Force conversations between Rey and Ren. It was a nice plot device insofar as it allows the ostensible hero and villain to have conversations without the stakes of immediate combat. That happens to be a challenge many action films fail to overcome or consider (since naturally it would usually result in immediate duels to the death). They got the hero and villain talking, and that helped improve Rey's overall blandness a little.
I also liked the weird black pit with visions. Shades of what Luke went through back on Dagobah, but I still am sure they could have done a bit more with it besides the one "infinite loop" visual.
I also liked Luke's candid talk about the Jedi. Frankly I can't help but see political parallels wherein by "trying to do good" each political party infuriates the other (honestly I'm mostly thinking about the do-gooder identity-politics liberals creating a reactionary Trump monster).

34
General Comments / Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
« on: December 17, 2017, 12:47:24 PM »
I walked into The Force Awakens expecting a wonderful piece of cinema and I walked out disappointed (I think I wrote about that here two years ago). I walked into The Last Jedi expecting a fun and enjoyable show, and I got more than I hoped for.

I would like it if Star Wars was high cinema. Some space-opera version of the Godfather. But it's never been that. The original series was goofy at times. It had a lot of really great characters and moments, and it also had a lot of silly things.

I've considered whether or not I'm simply annoyed that the latest SW are more "fun-filled, don't-ask-questions" rather than "epic, relatable, character-driven" narratives. But I have to reject that this is my reason for not liking it. I loved Thor Ragnarok, which took a previously serious pair of movies and injected "fun-filled" whiz-bangness into things. I loved Guardians of the Galaxy films, which I think are more Star Wars-y than they appear.

I think in the end it's just that I feel a combination of things at work that I don't like. The characters I loved from Star Wars are being deployed only briefly and cast aside to "make room" for new characters that I have no interest in because I have no history with them (and they didn't really succeed in creating any). Visual spectacles are no longer interesting... they have reached the end of history of a sort, I think. I am not engaged by seeing alien critters shuffling around... I've basically seen them all. Settings and sci-fi details are all "seen-it-before" material. Even the score (like most modern ones) had nothing theme-wise to offer. Everything really hangs on the story, and Last Jedi just doesn't cohere, with plots spinning out to nowhere (that DJ guy... he was a big "so what?"). Rogue One at least had a single, clear objective and a gang of misfits trying to do one thing. TLJ basically spun its wheels for the whole running time, with "endlessly running away (sometimes very slowly) from danger" being the only theme and "deus ex machina" the only way to achieve it, over and over.

*spoilers* Part of it is that the film had a checklist of characters to occupy, diversity concerns to address (can't sideline anybody), and so we had to give Finn and Rose and Poe something to do, though much of it felt like busywork. Then there's Snoke, where they basically rejected a chance to get around the weaknesses of Kylo Ren's tantrums... what a waste. Not that I needed him to be Emperor 2.0, but isn't it good to have one of the villains be... you know... competent? It isn't Hux, and it can't be Ren. Dunno what they can even do with the fools left in charge of the First Order now.

35
General Comments / Re: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
« on: December 16, 2017, 08:19:18 AM »
My generally spoiler-free review:

This is sadly just as mangled as TFA was. Interestingly, in some places is was better, but in others it was actually worse, so it comes out as a wash. I enjoyed scenes with Luke involved, but sadly that wasn't enough of the movie, which had some noticeably "filler" B plots.
There are characters in this film who could simply be removed to make it a better film... like many Jar Jars running around needlessly. I swear to god it felt like at least one of the new cast was some kind of contest winner who won a role in the film.

Also, the plot holes are immensely distracting... the First Order are so laughably incompetent at everything that it's a wonder they could even rule anything, and the Resistance is basically a puny force with nothing going on. There are so many deux ex machinas that it started to drive me crazy... especially when there's a *censored*ing ludicrous situation in space where one ship is giving chase to another and it goes on for-*censored*ing-ever (like, characters in the chase could be drinking tea and running errands... I'm not making this up). It was like watching a golf cart being chased by a bigger golf cart while being pelted with pebbles... for 2/3 of the film.

There are some very unusual third act turns that I think are bad ideas.

Finn was useless. Rey came out a bit better than last film since they bothered to tell us something about her as an individual besides "she kicks ass". Sadly it wasn't very deep. Kylo Ren is still ridiculous and we're "told" a lot more about his turmoil than the actor shows us.

What a waste... these films are really staining the series. I'm actually happy to see that lots of die-hard SW fans are calling it a letdown. The Onion nailed it: https://entertainment.theonion.com/nation-dutifully-gets-in-cars-stands-in-line-watches-1821332268

36
General Comments / Re: Defeat ISIS, check.
« on: December 11, 2017, 11:29:23 PM »

Prime Minister of Iraq and military commanders on the ground attributed their success to Trump and the leadership team he established. I suppose they could be making that up. You should offer some kind of proof though.

What do you think has changed in the last 10 months that allowed this success?

I guess it helps to believe whatever the PM of Iraq says. He can't possibly have other motives.  ::)

37
Interesting article linking to a meta-study that looked into, specifically, the idea that Basic Income may lead to a surge in drug use.

https://medium.com/age-of-awareness/universal-basic-income-vs-addiction-9be994f6acc5

Quote
Well, do they waste the money on alcohol and cigarettes or not? They do not. When we examine 44 estimates of spending on alcohol and tobacco across 19 studies and 13 interventions (i.e., Oportunidades/PROGRESA is very well studied), we find that the vast majority of estimates (82%) are negative. More than a quarter are negative and significant, and only 2 are positive and significant. With both of the positive and significant estimates, estimates within the study are discordant (i.e., one positive and one negative).

So, apparently not - at least, not under the conditions they've tested. I dig the discussion of Rat Park in there.

38
General Comments / Re: Defeat ISIS, check.
« on: December 10, 2017, 11:07:07 PM »
Why am I sure Crunch took more or less the opposite position when Obama got bin Laden? :)

I am amused by the need to attribute such eventualities to a person - as if everything was the result of some top down decision (when it supports your side, of course).

39
General Comments / Re: Defeat ISIS, check.
« on: December 09, 2017, 02:55:58 PM »

40
General Comments / Re: Etiquette question?
« on: November 04, 2017, 09:18:43 PM »
Hmm... while I like the idea of asking him, I think it sounds oddly cheap to suggest "one great ticket or two mediocre ones"... because who wants a mediocre gift?

It could be cleverly phrased. I would go with: "We've got our choice of some tickets to the game and we wanted to show our appreciation. Do you have someone to go with, or would you go solo? There's a solo seat that's really good but we weren't sure what you'd prefer."

41
General Comments / Re: Weinstein mess
« on: October 12, 2017, 09:48:06 PM »
It's not that easy a calculus. Imagine devoting your whole life to a particular career where you train for it for years and even feel like it's the only thing you can do because of the kind of person you are. And now imagine that you know that there's a 99% chance you'll fail and be forced to quit but you're willing to take that chance and make it work. And if it doesn't work, you have no college degree and no formal training to do anything else. You might well have to go do some minimum wage job or perhaps go back to school - if you can even afford to. And now consider that for some people there comes a moment where you do one disgusting thing it will open all the doors and your slim 1% chance at being able to work in your chosen field turns more into a near-certainty. It can be the difference between having the life you wanted versus having to give up everything and admit it was all for nothing. Given this context it seems clear to me how easy it would be for someone to just bite the bullet, do the thing, and then finally get the break the vast majority never get. And worse than that, you'd know that if you refuse someone else will come right along to do the thing you wouldn't and will get that opportunity instead. You won't feel like you made the world better, you'll know you just made room for someone else to get the opportunity instead as you sheepishly go off and never get work.

Except that argument ignores the seemingly large number of "made-it" A-list celebrities who decided even from their position of public fame to say nothing about what happened in their past. You don't think Gwyneth Paltrow could have dropped a bombshell on Weinstein (even just in the press) and possibly put a stop to his activities? Wouldn't it be 'worth it' at some point to possibly prevent other women from going through the same horror, even if it meant you might not have as many gigs? Even merely alerting women to the predator in their mists would have been a public service, and yet none of these women had the stones to be the first.

99% of my anger is directed at Weinstein, but I'm reserving 1% for the lack of ethics involved in not calling this guy out as loudly as possible, particularly with an A-list career firmly in place, and especially in the last ten years or so when it's become quite easy to rally instant support for such a cause.

Their silence, including those who took hush money, is part of enabling this monstrous abuse.

edited to add: look what I found just now: http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/12/media/amazon-studios-roy-price-harvey-weinstein/index.html

Look how easy it is. This guy was pretty powerful and now he's toast. The cultural needle has moved - it's open season on these bozos. Silence is the foolish option at this point - smart money says you press 'record' on your phone for any private meeting with the opposite sex.

42
General Comments / Re: Las Vegas shooting
« on: October 08, 2017, 03:24:39 PM »
Nice video breaking down gun statistics and showing what an outlier the US is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX4qUsgHa4Y&feature=share

43
General Comments / Re: Las Vegas shooting
« on: October 05, 2017, 06:17:37 PM »
Quote
A study published in 2013 by the Violence Policy Center, using five years of nationwide statistics (2007-2011) compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that defensive gun uses occur an average of 67,740 times per year.[
67,740 defensive guns uses per year on average according to the FBI.
Your own source, the Violence Policy Center, doesn't agree with you: 224 justifiable homicides in 2014.

http://www.vpc.org/revealing-the-impacts-of-gun-violence/self-defense-gun-use/

That's, uh, a rather different number from 67,740, don't you think? How many of those were someone saying "I have a gun", which could be done regardless of whether true or not. Even pulling out a fake gun could probably account for another huge chunk of those.

VPC goes on:
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The use of guns in self-defense by private citizens is extremely rare. VPC research has found a gun is far more likely to be used in a homicide or suicide than in a justifiable homicide. More guns are stolen each year than are used in self-defense.

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Number of suicide attempts per year: 494,169 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm.  With 67,740 defensive guns uses per year, that study says we should have seen something in the range of 750,000 so it's quite off there as well.

How does data for NON-FATAL suicide attempts (regardless of method) even bear on this discussion?

44
General Comments / Re: Las Vegas shooting
« on: October 05, 2017, 05:36:12 PM »
You get the idea. They have guns, plenty of them. They also have a different culture and different rights when it comes to guns (and they have their mass shootings in other countries as well as other mass killings). You can see the estimated guns per capita here. While the US has considerably more guns than, say, Syria or even Russia, which one are you safer in? That list demonstrably proves that less guns does not make a country safer. When it come to the threat of dying in a mass shooting, the U.S. doesn’t rank No. 1:
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At 0.15 mass shooting fatalities per 100,000 people, the U.S. had a lower rate than Norway (1.3 per 100,000), Finland (0.34 per 100,000) and Switzerland (1.7 per 100,000).

Other countries have guns, yes. I'm not sure you understood what I asserted - and your own statement about "different rights" serves to buttress what I said rather than challenging it. My challenge was to the "essentialness" of the right Seriati was asserting as regards connecting gun ownership to self-defense. I happen to think that's what the Rule of Law is for, and the paucity of data supporting "hero" tales (yes, you can find anecdotes) of gun-toting home defense is telling.
From Michael Shermer's piece in today's NYT:
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But a 1998 study in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, to take one of many examples, found that “every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides and 11 attempted or completed suicides.” That means a gun is 22 times more likely to be used in a criminal assault, an accidental death or injury, a suicide attempt or a homicide than it is for self-defense.

45
General Comments / Re: Las Vegas shooting
« on: October 05, 2017, 04:08:54 PM »
I don't leave ideas off the table because I don't think they could work.  I leave them off the table because the right to self defense is a right and neither the government nor the collective has the right to take it away from anyone without their consent.

If this right is so essential then why aren't more people in other countries clamoring for it? And why do only one country's citizens seem to find it important? Do you think people in other countries are either misled, or too foolishly trusting of each other?

46
General Comments / Re: Las Vegas shooting
« on: October 02, 2017, 04:26:33 PM »
No military record found, so my guess was probably wrong. The testimony given by his brother seems to indicate that this really was some sort of aberration in his behavior and that he wasn't political or affiliated with ideology.

47
General Comments / Re: Las Vegas shooting
« on: October 02, 2017, 11:19:10 AM »
Given that it was a Country Music Festival and country music fans "have a reputation of trending strongly towards conservatisim" Going to put decent odds(better than 60%) on AntiFa or simply some other flavor of unhinged left-wing nutjob(Washington DC shooting). As they've evidently ID'd the shooter, I'm sure more will be unearthed shortly.

Shooter was just described on WaPo as someone who enjoyed country music, so that may be out.

It's funny how we all (myself included) naturally have this urgent need to fit the shooter onto "not my team". As if this person is representative anyways.

48
General Comments / Re: Las Vegas shooting
« on: October 02, 2017, 10:46:15 AM »
He had something like 10 weapons and checked into the hotel days before. I don't think you meant PTSD, Josh.

No chance of a PTSD-like problem? Remind me again how "American Sniper" Chris Kyle's story ended.

Again, my hunch is on the slimmest of evidence. It's easy to say 'mentally ill' in at least some fashion or another once organized terror is out, but I went more specific and I guess we'll see how I did.

49
General Comments / Re: Las Vegas shooting
« on: October 02, 2017, 09:13:25 AM »
Given that it was a Country Music Festival and country music fans "have a reputation of trending strongly towards conservatisim" Going to put decent odds(better than 60%) on AntiFa or simply some other flavor of unhinged left-wing nutjob. As they've evidently ID'd the shooter, I'm sure more will be unearthed shortly.

Unlikely to be specifically antifa. The shooter was 64, and most antifa members are living in their parents' basement.

Possibly a left-wing nut, but the reports of a military-style, belt-fed automatic weapon suggest ex-military and give me doubts. I'm leaning towards a PTSD-like scenario based on just a hunch.

50
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/09/29/librarian-rejects-melania-trump-s-dr-seuss-books-calls-them-racist-propaganda.html

Yeah, so this reminds me of that time Michelle Obama got pushback on her Eat Healthy program (or whatever it was called) for kids. This is every bit as stupid as Sarah Palin standing on a pedestal prasising kids' freedom to eat junk food.

Holy smokes, can we all just leave First Ladies alone to promote good food and books for kids? This sort of obscenity deserves to be called out on both sides.

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