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Messages - scifibum

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I've seen some of her work. :p It's softcore stuff, and it seems pretty likely to me that she auditions for advertising gigs just for the money and career furtherment (wouldn't you want to do TV ads in her shoes?).  If this was meant to embarrass Cruz why not a hardcore porn actress?

General Comments / Re: Rick Perry Indictment dismissed
« on: February 24, 2016, 03:25:30 PM »
"They pretty much acknowledged the charges were bogus..."

That's not how I'm reading what you quoted, there.  The "they" who raised those concerns are Perry and the amici who support him. 

Was there something additional from the opinion itself that pretty much acknowledged that the charges were bogus?
And just to be clear about whether the use of the veto power was illegal, they had this to say:
The governor’s power to exercise a veto may not be circumscribed by the Legislature, by the courts, or by district attorneys (who are members of the judicial branch). When the only act that is being prosecuted is a veto, then the prosecution itself violates separation of powers.
Which was fascinating, given the angst that idea seemed to cause.

It's important to remember that there was also the question of whether the threat to use a veto was illegal in this case, not the veto itself.  They've said that the veto itself can not be prosecuted, but did not say that the threat of a veto cannot violate the law.

The threat / coercion charge apparently fails because the statute was ruled unconstitutional on first amendment grounds, not because of a separation of powers issue.

General Comments / Re: Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 24, 2016, 03:11:19 PM »
I would be pleased if Obama nominated a centrist.  He'd have some credibility then to suggest the Senate get to work on new rules to de-escalate the judicial wars.

A trampoline in every pot.

General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: February 23, 2016, 02:59:08 PM »
I think your position amounts to "there's not enough proof to justify any difficult or expensive efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the purpose of slowing AGW".  I think you arrive at that position by exaggerating the uncertainty and giving too much credence to deniers and doubters.  So my impression is that what you mean by "listening to the scientists" doesn't amount to "trusting their interpretation of the data". 

Although we definitely need to carefully weigh the pros and cons of any given remediation strategy, I think in general we're stuck upstream from that on the question of whether there's a problem to fix - and that wouldn't be the case if we were listening to the scientists.

I'm just not sure what makes the axioms Pyrtolin is working from axiomatic - what elevates them over other considerations, and what moral reasoning makes them immune to further moral calculus.

But then, if we had someone here representing the most hardline pro-life position, we'd run up against the same kind of wall. 

General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: February 23, 2016, 02:25:49 PM »
"Has it been conclusively shown..."

Well, if you listen only to the denialists, then I guess you would have to say that we shouldn't do anything until they all agree that the proof is conclusive.  Or we could listen to the incredibly large majority of the scientists who agree that the evidence is compelling.

I don't know how she can be helpful when the whole investigation is a political smear effort.  The Republicans don't investigate in order to improve embassy security or even to hold someone accountable for mishandling the Benghazi attack, they just investigate in order to try to embarrass their political opponents.

It was a remark made in exasperation, and so the wording should be taken with a large grain of salt.  The point she was trying to make seems to be that obsession with who knew what at a given moment in time isn't productive.

I would *really* like for unintended/unwanted/unlikely-to-continue pregnancies to become a rarity before the viability line gets pushed back, because it would be much better to leave abortion debates in the past as irrelevant.

I think that's mostly accepted by most people who lean pro-choice, Seriati.

Although, in my view, that is a reasonable compromise only because the present point of viability is past other milestones.  If, in 30 or 40 years, we can successfully and safely remove embryos from uteri and incubate them in artificial wombs, this compromise would no longer make sense; it doesn't make sense to assign the same rights - and make the same tradeoffs with regard to others' rights - to an embryo as to a late-term fetus. 

Even her very next sentence casts the remark in a much different light:

"Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator."

General Comments / Re: Apple's odd stand on privacy
« on: February 19, 2016, 03:31:07 PM »
It would be a mistake, IMO, to assume that McAfee both knows what he is talking about and is being honest.  He's generally an attention seeking blowhard, and his intent to use social engineering to unlock the phone doesn't make a ton of sense.  If the FBI doesn't take him up on the offer I don't think it means anything at all.

General Comments / Re: Pope Francis questions Trump's Christianity
« on: February 18, 2016, 05:16:11 PM »
I'd worry that the Pope's opinion would cost Trump some support, except that would be crazy on multiple levels.

General Comments / Re: Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 18, 2016, 10:57:10 AM »
Just checking, anyone want to defend the near unanimous decision of Republicans speaking on the topic to call for a blanket refusal of any Obama nominee within the last 11 months of his term?

Many Republicans have declared that they have Constitutional obligation for a schedule on which they are to play their necessary part in adding a member to the Supreme Court. Anyone agree? And if you do, would you also agree that if a Republican President is elected and the Democrats have enough votes, they could use the same principle and choose to delay until the winner of the 2020 election?

They are wrong.  But I want Democrats to acknowledge that they were also wrong to try to filibuster when Alito was nominated in 2006, and in general when calling the GOP on obstructionism to own up to and apologize for their own obstructionism in the past.  Obama has mentioned he "regrets" the filibuster, which is a start. 

I'm not saying these are equivalent offenses, but we can't pretend being less dirty equates to being clean if we want things to clean up in general.  When Democrats call out the GOP for obstructionism, they are implying a promise not to engage in these tactics themselves.  It's not a credible promise if they don't acknowledge and apologize for doing it in the past.

Meanwhile, the senior senator from my home state is about as dishonest as he can get:

"I don't think we should filibuster the Supreme Court nominee or any judgeship nominees. We wouldn't have to filibuster," Hatch said on "Wolf." "All it would take is for Sen. Grassley to just say, 'Look, we're not going to confirm anybody this year.' The reason we're not going to confirm is we value the court, we don't want it to be in this political atmosphere. We value the integrity of the court and we're going to put it over to next year."

Riiiiight.  It's because you don't want politics to interfere. 

Just one final permutation:
Unique DNA is usually a characteristic of a person, but knowing whether the DNA possessed by a candidate person is unique does not help determine if the candidate person is actually a person.

Denying the antecedent fallacy. From the fact that unique DNA does designate a unique person (assuming it does) it does not follow from this that a lack of unique DNA does not designate a unique person.

Unique DNA can exist in a mutated cancer cell.  It doesn't designate a person.

Not even sure what you're trying to argue here. It is a fact (not my opinion) that DNA fingerprinting is an accurate method of identifying individuals that are not identical twins (who are identical not by chance but because they came from the same source). The actual chance of two random people having the same sequence is exceptionally low. You're arguing as though DNA is some nebulous mash that we can't make sense of, and that things like cancer cells muddy the waters so that we can't say who has which DNA. Well we can:

Forensic DNA profiling is used precisely to designate one person as being distinct from another, so that a positive ID against a particular person can be found. I'm not even arguing that this should be some kind of determinant for personhood in some metaphysical sense, but I don't see the logic in arguing that having a unique and distinct DNA isn't directly pertinent to whether a fetus is a distinct organism from the mother or not, however much connectivity they have between them. If forensic DNA tests identify individuals, and if a fetus has an identifiable DNA that can be tested, it fits the bill for being an individual on at least some level.

That being said Pyr has now denied that personhood or individuality is even relevant to his position, so I await what he says about nothing being made to 'give birth.'

You are badly mangling my point; you seem to have been making assumptions about what I mean.  Maybe the permutation above will help.

Edit: I'm not saying that we can't use DNA to match a person to records or to physical evidence.  Your original point wasn't about forensics, it was about helping to define a separate person.

Uh, no, it's completely unique. What does variety in a person's biology have to do with whether his particular variety is unique from that of another person? Nothing at all. I haven't seen a calculation recently but how much do you want to bet that the odds of someone being born with identical genetic structure to another person are more astronomical than the amount of atoms in the universe?

What are the odds of identical twins, again?  Not astronomical.  Also, it was you who first brought up clones.  Human clones will happen at some point (if not already). 

I never said it should be the whole definition, but the argument being made is that it is totally irrelevant to the identity of the person. This is the point that I think is absurd. The burden is on your side to argue that DNA has no bearing at all on the identity of a person. If it has any bearing at all then it can be added to a list of evidence that an entity is a unique person.

Let's go back to your original statement:
"I think it's a fairly common-sense thing to say that one's body and organs are the result of having a certain set of DNA, and that beings with different DNA are by definition not the same person."

You are correct that DNA largely determines the structure of bodies.  But you are making a subtle claim by talking about "beings with different DNA", begging the question of how you identify separate "beings".  While you can say that two beings with different DNA are not the same being, it's circular logic, because you've begun by saying the two beings are separate.  And having "different DNA" is not what defines a person, as proved by the multiple counterexamples you've been presented with.   

"the argument being made is that it is totally irrelevant to the identity of the person"

No, the argument being made is that it's not sufficient to identify a person.  I don't need to show that different DNA has no bearing on personal identity, since I'm not making a positive claim.  I'm just agreeing with some others that having unique DNA is not actually a key characteristic of personhood, and hosting tissue with different DNA doesn't mean you are hosting a different person.   

I do actually agree with you that gestating inside of a woman's body is not sufficient to define a fetus as "not a person".  I think defining a person is an enormous challenge, so I'm not going to try to do it here, but I really don't think checking for unique DNA helps us decide whether something is a person, and you haven't shown in any way that it would help.

Denying the antecedent fallacy. From the fact that unique DNA does designate a unique person (assuming it does) it does not follow from this that a lack of unique DNA does not designate a unique person.

Unique DNA can exist in a mutated cancer cell.  It doesn't designate a person. 

"a person's DNA, whatever that may consist of, is unique to him and that this is a defining characteristic of that person"

Since it's not necessarily unique, and what everyone understands as a person might have different DNA in different parts, this isn't quite the defining characteristic that you are saying it is.

A tumor - with different DNA that is causing it to grow out of control - doesn't gain human rights, either. 

So really!  The DNA of the fetus isn't why we should recognize its rights or care about what happens to it.  It's got to be something else. 

Or we'll have to have a whole separate abortion policy for human clones gestating in their DNA donors, at some point.

"The fact that a woman's body may reabsorb and use such cells, is hardly dispositive on the question of when life begins, and in that case ends."

But of course that's not actually the question.  Anyone who argues that abortion is OK because life hasn't begun means something other than "life", and anyone who argues that abortion should be disallowed because life has begun should be against root canals. 

And that the woman should not be forced against her will to accept the additional risk from #1, because it's a violation of her bodily autonomy, which should trump the rights of the fetus.

Except that Pyr denied that this was the main issue, here:

In fact Pyr even said that if the fetus could magically be teleported out of the mother then there may be a point to be had,
Regarding safety, yes. But then that would get back to the larger issue of not being right to force her to have a child, unless you're intending to tell her that the bean disintegrated the child and close all records, etc... such that there's no chance of her later discovering that you secretly did trick her into giving birth, which opens up a boatload of ethical questions along with treating her like a baby factory.

While the risk to the mother is relevant, even if it were not the case he says she should not be made to "have a child" if she doesn't want to. What we're asking is what this means.

OK, you're right, I missed that. 

From what I can tell, Pyrtolin's argument is that between two options, all else being equal:
1) Induced labor and birth
2) Dilate and extract including a procedure to crush the skull of the fetus to make it smaller and easier to extract

#1 is typically more risky to the woman in the stage of pregnancy where the child might survive birth (which is, in fact, why #2 exists in the first place).  And that the woman should not be forced against her will to accept the additional risk from #1, because it's a violation of her bodily autonomy, which should trump the rights of the fetus.

I totally get why this is controversial.  My own opinion is that there are (extremely rare in practice) cases where maybe she SHOULD be forced to go with option #1, and I think that's how it currently is.

But it's a straightforward argument, and, IMO, there's no basis for the assertion that it's not actually about bodily autonomy. 

Cliven is also now in custody and will likely spend the rest of his life in jail.

I'd be happy if he paid his overdue grazing fees, paid fines for his crimes, and surrendered all his firearms to live out his life on probation.  I think that'd take the wind out of his sails and be enough to discourage imitators, and he's a confused old man who probably wouldn't do too well in jail.

Hopefully he gets lonely/hungry/discouraged enough to change his mind.


Doesn't look like there's any way to bend this to fit a felony murder charge (I assume you mean in connection with Finicum's death).

Cliven Bundy was arrested after landing in Portland, too.  I am really glad that he's finally going to face some consequences for the 2014 standoff.  I think the government's inaction on that is largely responsible for the Oregon occupation.  Ammon Bundy really thought he had a viable plan, because it worked for daddy.

Pyrtolin, I really have to disagree that this case (assuming we have all the facts) fits how people in general understand the definition of rape.  You would likely get nods if you ask people if they agree that rape is "sexual activity without consent".  But then if you asked them if two people could simultaneously rape each other, you'd get blank stares.  That's not how people understand the term.  But if they were both unable to consent, yet took equal part in deciding to have sex, either they raped each other the definition of rape is incomplete. 

If you are saying that John raped Jane, and not vice versa, because Jane experienced worse psychological or other damage from the event, I still disagree.  It's not a good idea to define an act as rape based on the psychological consequences of that act, unless you magically change all of the social ramifications of labeling someone a rapist or rape victim.  I agree with you that ideally, it wouldn't matter how we labeled it as long as we take the proper steps to mitigate the damage and prevent future damage, but that's not the world we live in.  Proscriptions on behavior generally need to be defined in terms of what can be known at the time the decisions are made, and there are ramifications to the labeling itself.  The "rape" label creates an automatic positioning of victim vs. aggressor, and there's too much social inertia in how this influences subsequent events to ignore.

We need a different label for "both unable to legally consent but both participated in deciding to have sex".  Perhaps "negligent sexual miscreancy" or something.

I would have to agree that if the students were taught that consent only becomes impossible upon passing out, the teachers bear some responsibility for any consequences of that belief in the students.

I don't think that when two drunk people have sex, a rape must have occurred.  Possibly we need a different term to refer to the outcome when two drunk people do their best to consent to sex, and then have sex.  It should definitely be discouraged and possibly even penalized (by schools, maybe the law).  But it's harmful to assume that a rape must have occurred.

However, when two drunk people have sex - even blackout drunk - it doesn't mean that a rape cannot have occurred.  I would never want drunkenness to automatically exculpate an accused rapist.  It's easy enough to construct a scenario where a victim is unambiguously raped by a person who will have no memory of the event due to extreme intoxication.  What I'm saying is that "they were both equally unable to consent" does not rule out rape, any more than "the rapist was drunk and the victim was sober" is an impossible scenario. 

I applaud institutions that promote bright line rules like "sober and enthusiastic consent, or no sex".*  However, I don't think that encounters that don't meet this standard are automatically instances of rape.  Now, whether private institutions want to enforce the bright line standard is a separate question, and I can imagine ways of enforcing the standard that aren't terrible. 

I'm not ready to agree that Dirks did something monstrous, because I don't know what set of facts she was working with.  According to the set of facts in the linked article, John shouldn't have been penalized, IMO.  That doesn't mean that Dirks knew all that we know from the article when she encouraged Jane to file a complaint, so I don't think it's fair to assume that she wanted John to get expelled while understanding/believing the whole story (and again I'm just assuming the linked article fairly represents the whole story).  She wasn't wrong that intentional sexual assaults do often fit the fact pattern she was aware of at the time.  That the full (as far as we know) set of facts didn't lead to a just result is an institutional failing, not something we can lay entirely at Dirks's feet.

*Although it's quite far from the status quo, and might seem pointlessly out of touch, I still hope.  It should be taught as a way to PROTECT YOURSELF. 

Pete, stop ascribing vile beliefs and statements to me.  Your track record in this thread is 0 for X, and in general is probably running below 20%.  I have done nothing to deserve this crap.

Sigh, Pete, I agree that the outcome in this case was wrong.  I said so in my first post.  I don't exactly know why you flew off the handle, but I'm not interested anymore in figuring it out.  I don't care to participate further, and I'd rather you reflect on productive forum behavior than apologize to me.

Sounds like you are determined to play stupid on this one.

you're as much of an enabler as the lady that told me that what my nanny did to me at age seven was just "punishment" and I should man up and get over it.

Based on the OP, I hesitated to respond.  You were clearly in high dudgeon and not interested in discussion.  I decided to anyway.  Clearly a mistake. 

Pete, I'm sorry if you're triggered and reliving trauma.  But this isn't productive, and you really need to pull back on the bile nozzle.

1. "Too drunk to form intent" is a remarkably terrible idea for an exculpatory standard.

2. There was no criminal charge or conviction.

3. I am glad you are not in charge of deciding who to label a sexual predator.

All that said, assuming the whole story is there, this case definitely seems like an overreach.

LOL.  Someday, Pete, maybe you'll stop insulting people in the hopes that they'll make it easier for you to win arguments.

General Comments / Re: Magic Coin Theory
« on: February 02, 2016, 07:14:55 PM »
The coin tosses weren't at the delegate level, but at a lower precinct level, just in case anyone here didn't know that.

I think people who think Sanders is a "socialist" full stop are stretching the definition of educated.

I suspect that SciFi may be right that the key deception here was not in the video-makers but in Congress members and news reporters that presented video clips out of context and painted a false picture of a bloated profitable business of baby parts.

While I think the Congress members and news reporters are responsible for their own inability to get the facts right, the deception started with the video makers. 

CMP founder David Daleiden alleged that the videos provided evidence of a "criminal conspiracy to make money off of aborted baby parts reach[ing] to the very highest levels" of Planned Parenthood.

(From here)

Pete, I think if people watched the videos without any prompting they would be disturbed that abortion providers can be so cavalier about the whole affair, and by seeing parts of fetuses in a tray, and in general offended and revolted. 

What they wouldn't conclude without some extra help was that PP was illegally profiting from the sale of fetus parts.  And that's the bandwagon that politicians jumped on to launch investigations and try to withhold funding, etc.  And it's a lie that sticks; a large contingent of my pro-life acquaintances still think PP is primarily running a fetus parts business, because they already demonized abortionists and everybody likes some bias confirmation.

The public that was already outraged about abortion found marginally more outrage in these videos, but I still think the harm done to PP came from the actions of posturing officials who used it as an excuse to pile on to build political capital.  I say posturing, because many of them are still making the same accusations that investigations have cleared up.

Well, they were probably going to be in a *censored*load of trouble if they wrecked the drone, so it was pretty brave. :p

General Comments / Re: The theory that Dems want to ban guns
« on: January 29, 2016, 06:48:33 PM »
I don't think there will be ground level video (none of the vehicle dashboards appear to be pointed in the right direction) but the aerial video turns out to be pretty good. 

He repeatedly reached for something (or has a tic that looks just like reaching for something).  The FBI said he turned out to have a gun in a pocket where he appeared to be reaching.  His movements seemed frantic/panicked to me, as did his final driving maneuver.

I think it would take an extreme bias to say that the FBI shouldn't have opened fire based on what is in the video.  They didn't attempt any resuscitation for a few minutes because it took a little while to be sure that nobody else was going to start shooting.

That said, the majority of the damage that Planned Parent took in connection with these videos was from the words that came out of their own staff's mouth, not from deceptive editing.

False.  The damage they took is in the consequences from the distortions, exaggerations, and outright lies that many on the right continue to promulgate based on deceptive editing and wishful interpretation of the evidence.  Many are still outraged that charges against PP haven't been filed, despite the fact that multiple investigations have found no illegal activity by PP.  The deceptive editing is the pretext that demagogues are using to justify their misrepresentation of what happened and what should happen (legally speaking).  And this has led to efforts to de-fund and a whole lot of bother for the organization. 

General Comments / Re: The theory that Dems want to ban guns
« on: January 28, 2016, 01:26:42 PM »
Video will come out later, and I imagine there will be some doubt as to whether Finicum was going to shoot or not, but after his vows to go down in a blaze of gunfire, I don't blame the cops for not giving him the benefit of the doubt.

I personally haven't seen anyone hoping anyone dies in this mess.  There have been people who point out that it doesn't seem like black or Muslim insurrectionists would have gotten such careful handling, and I suspect they are right.  The local law enforcement set the tone, and they were sympathetic to these guys - and I think it's partly about identifying with them.  But it's also fair to note that the circumstances of this situation are pretty unique in other ways too, so we can only guess about what would have happened if the protest had been about the other BLM but armed and somehow in a remote wildlife refuge.  But anyway, my point is that I've seen some angry jabs along the lines of "why aren't these guys dead already like they would be if they were black?", but I think it's fair to interpret that as a condemnation of police violence, not literally as a call for more of it.  It's a rhetorical device, not a plea.

I do think it reflects well on the handling of this situation that they waited for a low stakes opportunity to grab as many leaders as they could - and the guy who died might really have left them little choice (except to let him continue his experiment in sovereign citizenry indefinitely, which I think would be a dangerous precedent).

"Do you also think actors should be arrested for the fake passports and licenses that show up in films?  "

You know, prop  makers have been charged with counterfeiting currency, and they also have to be careful about police badges.

"The harmed party here isn't the government"...

That's a pretty weird angle, I have to say.  Again, I'm wondering if you're trying to represent some actual legal standard or just rationalizing something in order to disagree with smug liberals.

Honestly, does that mean when asked a reporter will now have to present their actual drivers license in an undercover investigation or face 2-20 years in prison?

It's news to me that forging official documents is OK for investigative journalists.  Is this established law, or just your POV?

General Comments / Re: The theory that Dems want to ban guns
« on: January 27, 2016, 04:05:45 PM »
If those who performed the arrest aren't insane, this'll be on video, and we'll see.

I don't think investigative journalists are allowed to break the law, generally speaking.  Whistleblower laws don't apply to people who try to incite a crime to then blow a whistle about it, as far as I know.

General Comments / Re: Dem filibuster for Audit the Fed
« on: January 26, 2016, 05:06:50 PM »
I don't know enough about central banking to comment on the specifics, but in general the GOP seems to sow distrust of actual experts and to sell the notion that the average Joe's motivated skepticism is as good as actual expertise when it comes to public policy.  I'd hate for that idea to get any more traction than it already has.  If Congress wants more oversight, let them propose a form of it that relies on experts.  Checks and balances are important, but ignorant meddling is not a proper check for expert management.

I agree that it doesn't appear to make sense that the rapist received a lesser sentence, btw.  It may come down to details of how the documentarian "facilitated" the sexual assault (which she admitted to doing), or it could be an injustice.  But it's not true that the woman is in trouble for documenting the incident and bringing the evidence to light, but rather for her role in the incident.

Pete, again, why do you think she was charged for presenting the evidence?  I think you grossly misunderstand the facts. 

She was charged and convicted for her participation in the crime that she documented.  That she happened to create the evidence that was used to demonstrate her involvement isn't exculpatory in the slightest. 

...or maybe you need to reconsider whether this fits any such pattern. 

What does race have to do with anything in this case?

Why are you claiming that the offense was "bringing evidence" - when it was that she was an accessory to the crime by egging it on, then standing by (and giggling) as it went down?

Here's a better article.

General Comments / Re: The theory that Dems want to ban guns
« on: January 14, 2016, 02:00:56 PM »
Admit that I haven't spent much time reading the thread, just want to offer an opinion:

I think some Democrats DO want to ban guns.  However, their policy proposals don't usually resemble this end goal.  Their policy proposals are usually either designed to make people feel like something is being done, or chip away at the edges of the problem that there are too many guns out there and it's too easy for criminals and dangerous nuts to get them. 

Ironically, GOP/NRA resistance to any gun control measures is probably going to work against them in the end.  We'll just stick with the status quo and body count until there's a sufficient national disgust to modify the 2nd amendment. 

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