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Saturday, November 02, 2013

[OT-P: November 2013] Home Who wants to make baseball bats in the Catskills — tax free?

Want to buy an office building right under the glow of Rochester’s iconic Eastman Kodak headquarters?

How about starting a business at Sullivan County Community College to develop the next generation of baseball bats? Or use 21,000 square feet of office for a high-tech incubator at Binghamton University?

They are among nearly 100 locations recently listed by the state as potential sites for tax-free zones being pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to boost the upstate economy.

Cuomo officially launched the controversial program last week, and the state is starting with a sampling of sites around New York – mainly empty space on college campuses – to attract new businesses.

“In a tax-free environment, no one can match what New York has to offer,” Cuomo said in a news release Oct. 22. “Businesses that are looking to startup or expand, and most importantly create jobs, should look no further.”

The program allows businesses to pay no income, property or business taxes for 10 years if they locate near a college campus. Some higher-paid workers would have to pay income taxes after five years.

The initiative starts Jan. 1.

In the Hudson Valley, the state is marketing the 7,738 square-foot former president’s home at SUNY Purchase in Westchester County for redevelopment. Two other sites on the Purchase campus are being offered, including a former animal lab space.

Sullivan Community College in the Catskills said it is interested in a company to develop new baseball bats.

“These new technologies will enable the company to produce baseball bats which are superior to those currently available in the market through a unique and sustainable manufacturing process,” the state’s website said.

New politics thread. Still a little bit about baseball.

Tripon Posted: November 02, 2013 at 02:38 AM | 2319 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1101. bobm Posted: November 10, 2013 at 04:38 PM (#4597598)
Well, IIRC, there were a huge number of posts from someone who was very distressed that such imprecise terminology was being used at BBTF, so folks are just noting what the Post may be in for. Although, as I indicated in #1088, it's not likely that the Post will devote as much space to the issue as was the case here. No one is addressing the substance of today's Post article.

Good times.

ZIP codes consist of a set of points and lines, NOT a polygonal area. One is not "in" a ZIP code, one's postal delivery point has a ZIP code.
   1102. Lassus Posted: November 10, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4597599)
Re-post for the flip:

Yes, liberals really hate it when people expect them to live by the principles they claim to espouse.

Let me see if I have this straight. If I believe food and shelter are universal human rights and I own a house, I'm a hypocrite.

Could I ask what I'm allowed to have - or how I'm supposed to act - and NOT be a hypocrite if I believe food and shelter are universal human rights?
   1103. Tilden Katz Posted: November 10, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4597602)
Could I ask what I'm allowed to have - or how I'm supposed to act - and NOT be a hypocrite if I believe food and shelter are universal human rights?


Ensure that everyone on Earth has both of those things.
   1104. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 10, 2013 at 04:59 PM (#4597605)
I'm not sure what point is being made by picking apart the difference between ZIP codes and "areas", when it's not germane to the point of the article.

Well, IIRC, there were a huge number of posts from someone who was very distressed that such imprecise terminology was being used at BBTF, so folks are just noting what the Post may be in for.


Except that unlike a certain other Primate, the Post article acknowledged upfront that there was often much demographic variance within these "Super ZIPs", as opposed to the Primate who was trying to pretend that neighborhoods with houses up to and over a million dollars were equivalent to neighborhoods in the same zip code where most houses are around $400,000 or less. But maybe that's because unlike that certain other Primate, the Post article wasn't trying to force square pegs into round holes in order to make a crude ideological point, which in turn means that they're not likely to hear from anyone around here.
   1105. BDC Posted: November 10, 2013 at 05:02 PM (#4597606)
I thought Zip codes were a state of mind.
   1106. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 10, 2013 at 05:14 PM (#4597610)
Didn't the BBTF Zip Code Debate center on the fact that they aren't (quite) contiguous areas, since some might have a building or two (government agencies or whatever) with their own zip code? Don't think it was about the demographics or diversity of zip codes, but perhaps I read it wrong with my eyes glazed over, and I don't wish to review that thread again.
   1107. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 10, 2013 at 05:21 PM (#4597612)
Clearly, billions of people are "struggling" in a material sense. But it's unclear that they're engaged in a grand "struggle" against the powers that be to improve their lot in life. And, indeed, the powers that be in many places simply don't have the resources to give the people what they need, whether the people ask nicely or engage in armed revolt.


So why do you keep asking who they need to fight, when even you acknowledge they already are struggling to get their rights.

The problem is when alleged (positive) rights run up against basic economic realities. If some piece of paper says you have a right to food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare, but your government is flat broke and the rest of the world's nations don't much care, then you really don't have a right to food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare.


Yes you have the right, even if it is being denied. And the people keep struggling for those rights and liberals will keep helping them - and people like you will keep fighting against these rights and keep claiming liberals are hypocrites for not having succeeded (yet).

But the fact is things are getting better. The world is a better place now than at any point in history. More people have their rights fulfilled than ever before.
   1108. Monty Posted: November 10, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4597614)
Didn't the BBTF Zip Code Debate center on the fact that they aren't (quite) contiguous areas, since some might have a building or two (government agencies or whatever) with their own zip code? Don't think it was about the demographics or diversity of zip codes, but perhaps I read it wrong with my eyes glazed over, and I don't wish to review that thread again.


Yes, it was a purely definitional debate (ZIP codes can't be polygons because not all ZIP codes are contiguous areas, therefore it is incorrect to use the phrase "in the ZIP code" to mean "close to.") and had nothing at all to do with demographics or political points. No idea what Jolly Old is talking about.
   1109. GregD Posted: November 10, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4597617)
My only question is why the Post would use ZIP codes instead of census tracts, since that data is generally pretty widely available?
   1110. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 10, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4597622)
My only question is why the Post would use ZIP codes instead of census tracts, since that data is generally pretty widely available?

People know what zip code they live in, and zip code maps are used for real estate info and other items that people have some familiarity with. Not sure many people know the boundaries of their census tract or even how they are designated/named.
   1111. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 10, 2013 at 06:02 PM (#4597624)
No idea what Jolly Old is talking about.

It was about another thread that I have no interest in resurrecting, since it was like arguing with a grammophone. I'm glad it's not the one that YC was referring to.

My only question is why the Post would use ZIP codes instead of census tracts, since that data is generally pretty widely available?

I think that the concept of "Super ZIPs" that Charles Murray introduced a few years ago made for a better story peg than "Super census tracts" would have been. Plus there was also the point of how many of these zip codes had been rapidly transformed from mixed income demographics to demographics that are far more financially homogeneous. It's a phenomenon that in the Washington area actually began many decades ago in neighborhoods like Cleveland Park, which went from being home to a wide variety of occupational types from carpenters to government lawyers, to being almost exclusively home to the professional class. It's distinct from the sort of overnight transformation that's been taking place in neighborhoods like Columbia Heights and Shaw, where the demographics have shifted faster than you can blink, and have resulted in rapid wholesale replacement of most of the previous residents.

------------------------------------

People know what zip code they live in, and zip code maps are used for real estate info and other items that people have some familiarity with. Not sure many people know the boundaries of their census tract or even how they are designated/named.

Yeah, that, too. I have no idea what census tract we live in.
   1112. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 10, 2013 at 09:22 PM (#4597684)
I can't wage a war against North Korea. But I could downsize my house and send the proceeds to the starving or homeless in El Salvador if I wanted to.
Why would anyone do that? The root cause of starvation in North Korea is the government. Just feeding their people for them entrenches that government. Regardless of how you feel about food and shelter as a right, the solution to providing free expression and the basics for life in North Korea are the same.

I did hope that one of the righty/libs around here would have read and commented on that Continetti article, but it's apparently too much to ask.
   1113. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 10, 2013 at 10:32 PM (#4597709)
Let me see if I have this straight. If I believe food and shelter are universal human rights and I own a house, I'm a hypocrite.

Could I ask what I'm allowed to have - or how I'm supposed to act - and NOT be a hypocrite if I believe food and shelter are universal human rights?

Not even close to a good-faith reading of my earlier comment, Lassus.

***
Why would anyone do that? The root cause of starvation in North Korea is the government. Just feeding their people for them entrenches that government. Regardless of how you feel about food and shelter as a right, the solution to providing free expression and the basics for life in North Korea are the same.

I didn't say people should downsize their homes and send the proceeds to North Korea. I plainly used El Salvador as the example, but there are dozens of other applicable examples. Not every poor country is run by a despot.

That said, if people truly believe things like food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare are universal human rights, it shouldn't matter much whether providing those things might further "entrench" a particular government. The idea that people are better off without free speech and without food rather than just without free speech seems rather illiberal. North Koreans have been going without food for decades and it doesn't appear to be getting them anywhere politically.


As a side note, I won't be around much, if at all, for the next few weeks due to work and travel. Hope everyone enjoys Thanksgiving, etc. Hopefully Ray will check in occasionally to make sure things don't get too crazy in here ...
   1114. Monty Posted: November 10, 2013 at 10:44 PM (#4597716)
Hopefully Ray will check in occasionally to make sure things don't get too crazy in here ...


This made me laugh, as they say, out loud. Well played, sir.
   1115. Lassus Posted: November 10, 2013 at 10:59 PM (#4597721)
Not even close to a good-faith reading of my earlier comment, Lassus.

Oh?
If you claim to believe that food, shelter, clothing, and healthcare are universal rights, but you go buy a huge McMansion in the suburbs while people elsewhere are homeless and starving, then you don't really, truly believe that food and shelter are universal human rights.

How so? You called BM either a liar or a hypocrite here. As I said - he believes that food and shelter are universal rights, and he owns a house. You said because he owns a house, he can't truly believe these things. Where is my bad faith?
   1116. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 10, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4597731)
How so? You called BM either a liar or a hypocrite here. As I said - he believes that food and shelter are universal rights, and he owns a house. You said because he owns a house, he can't truly believe these things. Where is my bad faith?

I didn't say "because he owns a house," Lassus. I used the phrase "huge McMansion." That should be your clue here.
   1117. LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 10, 2013 at 11:24 PM (#4597732)
That said, if people truly believe things like food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare are universal human rights, it shouldn't matter much whether providing those things might further "entrench" a particular government. The idea that people are better off without free speech and without food rather than just without free speech seems rather illiberal. North Koreans have been going without food for decades and it doesn't appear to be getting them anywhere politically.
1. You don't get to define liberalism for liberals.

2. North Koreans have been going without food for decades and it doesn't appear to be getting them anywhere politically. Why aren't we at war with them? How can you lend your support to any candidate and any party that doesn't outright push for war against North Korea? It doesn't seem like you value free speech or liberty.
   1118. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 10, 2013 at 11:37 PM (#4597735)
How so? You called BM either a liar or a hypocrite here. As I said - he believes that food and shelter are universal rights, and he owns a house. You said because he owns a house, he can't truly believe these things. Where is my bad faith?


I didn't say "because he owns a house," Lassus. I used the phrase "huge McMansion." That should be your clue here.

I may be missing something here, but where do you get the idea that BM lives in a "McMansion", let alone a "huge" one?
   1119. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 08:21 AM (#4597804)
I may be missing something here, but where do you get the idea that BM lives in a "McMansion", let alone a "huge" one?


Important note, I live in a very nice house. It has a brick exterior, and is larger than I really need (though it is nice to have one bedroom as a computer room). It was built in 1947, an upstairs addition was put on in the late 60s or early 70s, and it is in desperate need of a whole house remodel. The divorce, financially supporting my mom, and my own laziness have slowed that down a bunch.

It is many things (Including in a Lily White Suburb!). It is however, not a McMansion according to any usage of the term I am familiar with.

Joe K's obsession with my personal life and whether I am truly living up to my ideals is so very bizarre. But hey, Joe, if you ever come to Minnesota I will take you on a tour of my not McMansion and you can take notes for further criticism on my lifestyle, if that really makes you happy.
   1120. simpleton & childlike gef the talking mongoose Posted: November 11, 2013 at 08:48 AM (#4597813)
But hey, Joe, if you ever come to Minnesota I will take you on a tour of my not McMansion


I'm going to take this as a blanket invitation to the entirety of BTF.

Party at Mouse's!
   1121. simpleton & childlike gef the talking mongoose Posted: November 11, 2013 at 08:49 AM (#4597814)
financially supporting my mom


The least you could do, I'm sure, given your residence in her basement.

Of crucial import, not (AFAIK) heretofore addressed --

How big is that basement?

   1122. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 11, 2013 at 08:55 AM (#4597818)
It is many things (Including in a Lily White Suburb!). It is however, not a McMansion according to any usage of the term I am familiar with.


I don't know if there's a formal definition of the term, but I always mentally picture a multi-story house with a huge footprint on a stamp of land only slightly larger - all the architectural flourishes of a mansion with no "estate" to drive up the overall cost, a KB Home writ large. Am I interpreting the term in the standard manner?
   1123. Dan The Mediocre is one of "the rest" Posted: November 11, 2013 at 09:13 AM (#4597822)
I don't know if there's a formal definition of the term, but I always mentally picture a multi-story house with a huge footprint on a stamp of land only slightly larger - all the architectural flourishes of a mansion with no "estate" to drive up the overall cost, a KB Home writ large. Am I interpreting the term in the standard manner?


It should also note a generic look(no architectural flourishes) as well as putting the appearance of quality over actual quality, leading it to be poorly built.
   1124. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2013 at 09:13 AM (#4597823)
Thanks, dp: that's a good way of putting it. In practice, indeed, whether something is a negative or positive right is much of a muchness at times (not to mention the question of why there should be a value distinction between the two). Freedom of speech (one I hadn't mentioned above), in this country, historically, involves the security of the mails, the franking privilege, book and press postal rates, open meetings laws, the fairness doctrine in broadcasting, net neutrality, the Freedom of Information Act, and numerous other government interventions with strong positive elements.
This is repeating a bit of what others have posted above, but all rights are aspirational, declarations of what ought to be rather than what is. "I have the right to vote" isn't a description but a claim. If that claim is respected, everything's good. But if it's not, then having a right to appeal to, in an abstract and idealistic sense, matters. We see this with the current debates around 'voter fraud' and voting suppression-- a balance of the collective good (the need to have fair elections) vs. assertions of an individual right to vote with minimal barriers to exercising that right.

As is sort of typical of these discussions, Joe's hitting a big brick wall when he tries to think conceptually, because he's brushing off everything beyond a grade-school understanding of rights as the domain of "academics and philosophers with too much time on their hands". But, historically speaking, natural rights were invented by a particular class of people (many of whom were philosophers of one stripe or another!), using language that suggested they be expanded beyond that class. The 20th century permutation on that entailed a further expansion of the notion of human rights, to encompass ideas about the justness of resource allocation in society. Having a discourse of rights to appeal to allows claims to be grounded in something that transcends the individual and their specific context, even though rights discourses are always shaped by individuals in specific contexts. The expression of the right to food and shelter's going to look different in North Korea than it does in the US; how can it not? So Joe's position on this is difficult to respond to, because it's not particularly coherent, and because Joe's learning on the subject seems to have began and ended with a high school civics class, supplemented only by reading DMN's posts in these threads.
   1125. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 09:15 AM (#4597824)
all the architectural flourishes of a mansion


Yeah in my mind I picture the houses built in the 90s in recent farm fields, and all of them have porches "held up" by columns*. many have faux brick exteriors (but only on a couple sides), those "great rooms" everyone loved until they realized what a giant pain they were to heat, and so on.

* Edit: not really what I mean. You know what I am talking about though, the giant two story porch/column things on the front of the houses for no damn reason. It is Monday morning, the term is not coming to me. Sigh.

Party at Mouse's!

This Saturday I invited some friends over to watch movies (in the basement!) and when I went upstairs there were kids there from another friend who dropped them off, invited by the children of another friend - and my boys were gone (one in bed, the other to a friend of his).

It was pretty amusing have a household of kids (not mine) hanging out. All good though, my house is often a clubhouse. I like the activity and they are all real well behaved and know the house rules (not that there are many).

So yeah if you can behave at least as well as the early teens (and their parents) who showed up over the weekend, come on over. It is not the best party house, too many smaller 1940 rooms, rather than fewer bigger rooms with good traffic flow.

How big is that basement?


Well my mom's house doesn't have a basement (shocking I know), but I did live in my eldest sister's basement for a couple years during and after graduate School, so there is that. My whole house is ... 1900 sq feet (if memory serves) finished, and I think 500 or so is finished basement (still needs work though - sigh, so much remodeling to do). That is where I have the big TV, nice sound system, most of my books, and the big gaming table where folks play tabletop RPGs and other games.

And since I am sharing the movies I saw were 'In Time' and 'Europa Report'. Both were OK, maybe all the way up to good, but neither was great.
   1126. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 11, 2013 at 09:34 AM (#4597837)
I find this rather surprising - Obama Rating Lower Than That Of Crack-Smoking Toronto Mayor:
Obama's approval rating is now underwater in the double digits, as more Americans now disapprove of his job performance than approve of it. His approval is in the low 40s, while his disapproval is in the mid 50s. That's not just according to one isolated poll - it's the average of all polls from Real Clear Politics. In other words, Obama isn't doing terribly well with you, the American public.
. . .
By contrast - and what a contrast - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has held on to higher approval numbers since admitting he took crack cocaine in one of his "drunken stupors." Ford is still approved of by 44% of Torontoans, although most also want him to go into rehab or resign. Obama is playing catchup with an approval rating of 42%.

Perhaps this says more about our fun-loving Canadian friends, but it can't be good news for the President.
   1127. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4597864)
Fairly good article about MNSure (MN version of ACA).

Not health insurance related, but my favorite bit was ...
but said things have been smoother since he switched from the Internet Explorer browser to Google Chrome


Shocker!
   1128. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:03 AM (#4597873)

Joe K's obsession with my personal life and whether I am truly living up to my ideals is so very bizarre.


I am not surprised; it's typical Maoist behavior to demand that the deviationists perform a self-criticism.
   1129. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4597880)
I am not surprised; it's typical Maoist behavior to demand that the deviationists perform a self-criticism.


True, but it is so confusing. Am I supposed to devote everything to just one of my ideals? Every time I mention any of them I hear about I can't really care about X, otherwise I would go all Batman on the bit and spend years studying and training to later enact "progressive vengeance" on bad guys in the name of ideal X. I mean for how many different ideals can I sell my house? I can remember being told to do so for Health Care for the less fortunate, Diversity, and now Clothing and Shelter for North Koreans. I only have one house people.

It is almost as if Ad Hominem was a resort to be used when out of better arguments or something. :)
   1130. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4597881)
I hear Joe's on a scouting trip trying to coax Tony Oliva out of retirement. That'll get him a fresh line on his Wiki page.
   1131. The Good Face Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4597882)
Rights are just wants enforced by rule of law.


Indeed.

Since free will is an illusion, we are all slaves. Some of us are just better treated than others.


Most likely true, although it comes with some fascinating ramifications. If all men are slaves, then there's no particular reason they shouldn't be MY slaves. Or yours. Or anybody elses. How can you justify a claim that it's wrong to enslave one who is already enslaved and can never not be enslaved?

Or take capital punishment. If we're all just slaves, machines who lack free will, the most rational way to deal with people who cause harm to other people is to execute them. If you've got a toaster that starts fires, you don't send it to toaster school and you don't lock it up for 20 years then take it out and try using it again to see if it's "fixed". You fix it if it can be fixed easily at low cost, and if you can't, it gets the death penalty and winds up in a landfill or junkyard.
   1132. BDC Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4597891)
If you've got a toaster that starts fires, you don't send it to toaster school and you don't lock it up for 20 years then take it out and try using it again to see if it's "fixed"

I dunno. My toaster is doing OK in a halfway house for challenged appliances. They've put it on maintenance doses of frozen waffles, and it just got its coin for three months without burning any pastry.
   1133. GregD Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:25 AM (#4597893)
Perhaps this says more about our fun-loving Canadian friends, but it can't be good news for the President.
Luckily he's engaged in a fight with Congressional Republicans, whose approval rating this weak is floating between 18-20% against a disapproval of about 75%.

But you're right that Obama's odds of being elected mayor of Toronto aren't looking so good.
   1134. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4597898)
Since free will is an illusion, we are all slaves.


I am honestly not sure what to think about free will and whether it truly exists. When constructing a society though I think the issue is largely irrelevant. It is one of the many things one should apply the Veil of ignorance to when thinking about societal construction.
   1135. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:33 AM (#4597899)
1126:

So that explains it. Obama is Canadian, not Kenyan. I can see how the two could be easily conflated in the mind.
   1136. BDC Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM (#4597904)
For some reason these dueling approval ratings remind me of when Dick Cheney's approval rating dropped well below sugary gum in a poll of dentists, and reached a tie with carnival-goers who said they would bite off a chicken's head on a dare.
   1137. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4597907)
I never use toasters. I was emotionally injured back in the day when the homestead had roaches and they lived in the toaster (well everywhere I guess, but you can't exactly scrub a toaster post infestation). And now, years later, I just can't use any toaster. My boys use them for frozen waffles all the time and that is fine by me, but I just can't.

Shudder.

Note: And no I don't have roaches now, and the toaster is a new and different one (gained in the marriage, wedding gift maybe?), but still.
   1138. BDC Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:49 AM (#4597920)
roaches and they lived in the toaster

I've had that experience. My sense of smell is very weak, but Toasted Cockroach is a very hard thing to get out of your olfactory memory.
   1139. Publius Publicola Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4597921)
Perhaps this says more about our fun-loving Canadian friends, but it can't be good news for the President.


Yeah, I think this signifies the problems he's going to have when he runs for re-election.

Oh, wait...

Clapper, tell us more about Lackey's divorce.
   1140. BrianBrianson Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4597922)
Ugh - "free will is an illusion" is so ~100 years ago. Hasn't anybody been reading the great philosophers of the modern age? Bohr, Bohm, etc? The self is an illusion, Descartes was wrong about that, but people's behavior is only predictable in the aggregate. Individual people act randomly. So in as much as there's a "them" to punish, it makes perfect sense.
   1141. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4597924)
For some reason these dueling approval ratings remind me of when Dick Cheney's approval rating dropped well below sugary gum in a poll of dentists, and reached a tie with carnival-goers who said they would bite off a chicken's head on a dare.

Hmm, what about a rat's head? After all, that's what they make lickerish out of.
   1142. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 11, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4597943)
I think this signifies the problems he's going to have when he runs for re-election. Oh, wait...

Is the strong correlation between a President's Approval Rating and his party's success in mid-term elections known only to me? Some folks here seem to be playing dumb to avoid acknowledging the obvious. Or maybe they aren't playing.
   1143. GregD Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4597946)
Is the strong correlation between a President's Approval Rating and his party's success in mid-term elections known only to me? Some folks here seem to be playing dumb to avoid acknowledging the obvious. Ot maybe they aren't playing.
The correlation with Toronto mayor approval ratings is apparently something you alone have discovered. Unless of course you just thought it would be fun to play gotcha...in which case you obviously aren't going to be surprised when people ignore you.
   1144. BDC Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM (#4597955)
Some folks here seem to be playing dumb to avoid acknowledging the obvious

What obvious? Obama has never had much of a margin in Congress, especially relative to the things he wanted to accomplish there. He won solid but not landslide re-election, faces an opposition House, and Presidents' parties often do quite badly in the third election of their eight years. Are all the liberals around here pretending that Obama is like FDR in the mid-'30s, or something? We actually get it, he doesn't have Washington in a headlock. Amazingly, he will be able to hold on in office till 2017 anyway :)
   1145. The Good Face Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4597958)
I've had that experience. My sense of smell is very weak, but Toasted Cockroach is a very hard thing to get out of your olfactory memory.


The trick was to give the toaster a good whack before turning it on; would send the roaches running. Handy technique from my days as a short order cook.

Ugh - "free will is an illusion" is so ~100 years ago. Hasn't anybody been reading the great philosophers of the modern age? Bohr, Bohm, etc? The self is an illusion, Descartes was wrong about that, but people's behavior is only predictable in the aggregate. Individual people act randomly. So in as much as there's a "them" to punish, it makes perfect sense.


Yes, now it's consciousness itself that's an illusion, but you still wind up in the same place. If there is no consciousness, no first person person to do the willing, then there's no free will.
   1146. Publius Publicola Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4597961)
Some folks here seem to be playing dumb to avoid acknowledging the obvious. Or maybe they aren't playing.


I don't think you're playing, Clapper. For instance, I'm pretty sure you are aware of the House's approval ratings.
   1147. The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4597971)
Obama has never had much of a margin in Congress, especially relative to the things he wanted to accomplish there.

Obama had large Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress when he was elected - even a filibuster proof margin in the Senate for a time. He took a beating in the 2010 mid-term elections when his Approval Rating was higher than it is today.
   1148. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM (#4597980)
The trick was to give the toaster a good whack before turning it on; would send the roaches running. Handy technique from my days as a short order cook.


The problem is, the droppings don't go running.
   1149. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4597981)
Individual people act randomly.


That would explain many of the posters here...
   1150. Greg K Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4597982)
It was pretty amusing have a household of kids (not mine) hanging out. All good though, my house is often a clubhouse. I like the activity and they are all real well behaved and know the house rules (not that there are many).

My parent's house was like this growing up. Me and my brother (and whoever else) would usually be in the basement, far too far away to answer the door, so we had a "no knocking" policy. If you're coming in, then come in. One time someone accidentally locked the door and a good friend of mine walked face first into the front door, just assuming it would give way when he pushed. Hilarious. At least a couple times friends would come over when neither my brother or I were home, and they'd just hang out in the basement until one of us got there.

I'm staying with my parents (though not in the basement!) until I find a job after the PhD, and it seems the open door policy still stands. Generally when friends come over they just walk in.

As far as I'm concerned it's the only sane way to run a house!
   1151. Mefisto Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4597983)
Joe K's obsession with my personal life and whether I am truly living up to my ideals is so very bizarre.


Accusations of hypocrisy are how you know you've won an argument. The judgment of "hypocrisy" is always in the mind of your opponent, so there's no standard you can meet. No matter what you do -- downsize your house, give all your money to charity -- he can always find something else to criticize.
   1152. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4597984)
1900 sq feet (if memory serves) finished, and I think 500 or so is finished basement
Decadent abundance.

In a house hunt right now, and I dig the great room style construction. Everything we've looked at pre-1980 has a separate living room and dining room-- with the living room being too small, and the dining room being pointless for us. After years spent crammed into a tiny-ish NYC apartment, we coming around to 1400 SQ as the minimum size house to suit our needs. Currently, my office and the spare bedroom are one and the same, which makes it difficult to get an early start on work when we have guests in town. 1900 SF for three people seems perfectly moderate.

One of my favorite scenes from the new season of Arrested Development is where Lindsay and Tobias are with their realtor planning out the build on their pre-forclosure crisis house (a true 'McMansion'), and they keep adding on room after superfluous room because you might as well have it.
===
If there is no consciousness, no first person person to do the willing, then there's no free will.
Modeling the responses to and relationships of humans and environments isn't the same as claiming/concluding humans don't have free will.
   1153. BrianBrianson Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4597986)
If there is no consciousness, no first person person to do the willing, then there's no free will.


Yeah, I guess, but at that level, there's no problem with punishing people, since there's no first person person to get punished, and it's as morally neutral as playing tetris.
   1154. Tilden Katz Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4597992)
Right wing genius proves Cuccinelli actually won Virginia
   1155. The Good Face Posted: November 11, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4598003)
Yeah, I guess, but at that level, there's no problem with punishing people, since there's no first person person to get punished, and it's as morally neutral as playing tetris.


I don't know that I agree with your assessment of Tetris, but otherwise, yes. Only it's not really punishment; most people wouldn't describe throwing away or repairing a malfunctioning machine as punishing it.

The problem is, the droppings don't go running.


While I was working there I refused to eat anything that didn't come out of the deep fat fryer.
   1156. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4598014)
Everything we've looked at pre-1980 has a separate living room and dining room-- with the living room being too small, and the dining room being pointless for us.


Yeah before Mom illness and the great garage issue (when I was actively preparing for remodeling) the plan was to clear out some of the walls and push back the entry closet to get a better flow upstairs(EDIT: Um, main floor, not really upstairs - still Monday I guess). That and add a bonus room above the attached garage and finish the master bedroom remodel (going into its second decade - much of it not my fault, it has been my house alone just a few months).

I really need to contact my architect again. I am sure he thinks I have died or something. Next year remodel starts anew (and I will be even MORE of a hypocrite for greedily spending money on myself when it could go towards providing toothbrushes for Indonesians).

Regarding free will, why on Earth wouldn't you be willing to at least pretend it exists when constructing a society, whether or not it does really exist? (And yes I find this less interesting that remodeling talk and so it gets an aside).
   1157. GregD Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:01 PM (#4598015)
The Va Atty Genl race is now down to a 17-vote R lead with some more provisional ballots to count before the recount can begin. A dead tie looks possible!
   1158. simpleton & childlike gef the talking mongoose Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4598022)
You fix it if it can be fixed easily at low cost, and if you can't, it gets the death penalty and winds up in a landfill or junkyard.


Has anyone seen Ray lately?
   1159. simpleton & childlike gef the talking mongoose Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:07 PM (#4598031)
After years spent crammed into a tiny-ish NYC apartment, we coming around to 1400 SQ as the minimum size house to suit our needs. Currently, my office and the spare bedroom are one and the same, which makes it difficult to get an early start on work when we have guests in town. 1900 SF for three people seems perfectly moderate.


My house in North Little Rock was about 1,350, I think. That was, originally, for 4 people (me, my wife, her 2 daughters), though from 1990-on it was just me & my 2 dogs.

Here in Montgomery, I've got about 1,600 or so. Because of the books, records, CDs, etc., not to mention 5 cats, I swear I need a second floor ... or at least Mouse's basement.

If he refuses to give it to me, I'm going to have to assume he doesn't respect basic human rights. Or something.

(The house in NLR had what amounted to an outdoor office, or it would have if we'd decided to put a window A/C unit & a space heater in there. Damn, could I use something like that now.)
   1160. BDC Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4598032)
A dead tie looks possible!

Who does Kevin Costner like?
   1161. The Good Face Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4598034)
Regarding free will, why on Earth wouldn't you be willing to at least pretend it exists when constructing a society, whether or not it does really exist?


Because reality matters? Obviously it's not a settled issue, so we shouldn't base our decisionmaking on it, but if we have correct information, we should use it to inform our decisionmaking, rather than relying on incorrect information that makes us feel good about ourselves.
   1162. BDC Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4598037)
La Dernière's house is 1,300. The two of us rattle around in there. There is room for some North Koreans, but they have to be nice. None of this "Kim Jong-un can beat Obama 1-on-1 in basketball" BS.
   1163. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:32 PM (#4598052)
There is room for some North Koreans
I think he wants you to break off part of your house and send it to North Korea for North Koreans to live in. But I'll admit I'm a bit unclear on the specifics of liberal hypocrisy in this area.
   1164. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4598056)
La Dernière's house is 1,300. The two of us rattle around in there.
Our current place is 1000, but we are in a condo, so a very small porch, and no garage for storage. When we moved here, it felt luxurious and decadent compared to the 9x12 room we stuffed all our belongings in when we lived in the northeast. But after a few years living where space is more abundant, we would like to own kayaks and not have to store them in the living room.

1300 SF would be plenty if it were used properly. But those older homes, they put walls and doors in strange and inconvenient places.
   1165. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:37 PM (#4598057)
Because reality matters? Obviously it's not a settled issue, so we shouldn't base our decisionmaking on it, but if we have correct information, we should use it to inform our decisionmaking, rather than relying on incorrect information that makes us feel good about ourselves.


Not all information has to go into modeling a society. We know all people are not equal.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


We know this is not true (even if you accept the premise of a Creator). But that knowledge is not useful in building a society. I am not suggesting truth is not valuable and in fact vital, simply that knowing what information to not use is a critical part of any enterprise.

When writing a book you have to know what to leave out as well as what to put in, because of word for word (moment for moment) retelling of a life would be dreadful despite being more "accurate" than the abridged version found in all writing.

Deciding there is no free will, even if true, is not useful information to use when constructing the rules of a society.
   1166. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:40 PM (#4598059)
When we moved here, it felt luxurious and decadent compared to the 9x12 room we stuffed all our belongings in when we lived in the northeast. But after a few years living where space is more abundant, we would like to own kayaks and not have to store them in the living room.


Yeah I have to keep remembering that eventually the boys and the ex will move out, and it will be just me (or me and an SO of some sort I guess), and while I feel a tiny bit constrained, in just a few years I will be swimming in room (especially once all those damn fish tanks in the unfinished basement leave).
   1167. The Good Face Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4598068)
Not all information has to go into modeling a society. We know all people are not equal.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


We know this is not true (even if you accept the premise of a Creator). But that knowledge is not useful in building a society. I am not suggesting truth is not valuable and in fact vital, simply that knowing what information to not use is a critical part of any enterprise.


But we do take that knowledge into account in our governing. We may pay lip service to the notion that "all men are created equal," but we usually don't attempt to make that mistaken notion a reality, and when we do, society ends up suffering for it. We all ignore reality at our peril.

Deciding there is no free will, even if true, is not useful information to use when constructing the rules of a society.


This either displays a failure of imagination, or an unwillingness to set aside cherished beliefs.
   1168. BDC Posted: November 11, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4598071)
those older homes, they put walls and doors in strange and inconvenient places

Yes. You can see in La D's house (early 1950s) that the living and dining rooms were once walled off from each other: in fact, one end of the house was closed off (via walls and sliding doors) into two rooms separated by a wall: kitchen and dining room, both pretty tiny spaces by any standards. I guess the logic was that you could entertain in the living room while being able to pretend that eating didn't exist, and eat in the dining room while pretending that cooking didn't exist. 1970s remodeling reshaped that entire half of the house into one space with a supporting wall in the middle.
   1169. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:01 PM (#4598079)
But we do take that knowledge into account in our governing.


Smarter people get more votes?

Give me actual examples of the sort of thing you are thinking of. What specific laws would be enhanced by adjusting due to our "knowledge" that free will does not exist. Earlier you hand waved some suggestions (using toasters as your got to metaphor), is that what you have in mind?
   1170. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4598083)
I know this sounds like Rodney Dangerfield, but it's true: When I was five years old and living in one of those really old Manhattan apartment buildings on 110th St., we used to use the dumbwaiter as an express elevator to visit each other in apartments directly above or below. For some reason the rats in the basement never surprised us, but our mothers still kind of freaked out. Mothers freak out at anything.
   1171. simpleton & childlike gef the talking mongoose Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4598089)
For some reason the rats in the basement never surprised us, but our mothers still kind of freaked out. Mothers freak out at anything.


If they lived in your mothers' basements, I'm assuming we're talking stat rats here.
   1172. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4598095)
For some reason the rats in the basement never surprised us, but our mothers still kind of freaked out. Mothers freak out at anything.

If they lived in your mothers' basements, I'm assuming we're talking stat rats here.


Nah, Alan Roth was the only living stat rat in 1949, and he was holed up in his Mom's basement somewhere out there in Brooklyn. Manhattan rats were the furry Norway variety, and like Lou's Atlantic Ocean in the Burt Lancaster movie, they were really something back then.
   1173. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:19 PM (#4598097)
Regarding free will, why on Earth wouldn't you be willing to at least pretend it exists when constructing a society, whether or not it does really exist?

Because in some way, somewhere within us, we have an unquenchable thirst to know, and to know truth. Wittgenstein said it: the glory and tragedy of man is that he knows he will never know, but knowing that, he can't help wanting to know.

(In contemporary times Mr. Dawkins and his cohorts have had a large role in trying to keep us honest. Trivers and Kahneman and people like that in showing us the role deception and self-deception play in our thinking, and therefore in the models of our rule-making.)

This, of course, leads to deluding ourselves into thinking (along many lines and levels) that we have The Answer (to something or other, but usually its always in a supervening larger sense that can’t be falsified)--or believing that the answer in some way is immaterial because there is a greater truth beyond the lie (or partial, contoured truth if you wish) we work by. So, tralala we can just hang our hat on whatever. Because in some way we make it so that the lie in q. is reconcilable with a greater truth (of course, this requires Faith, because you can’t examine this tactic too scrupulously—it disintegrates). Thus, and this is just one instance, there are those who believe in meat and potatoes Intelligent Design, as in there is a good God that created everything and that works and intervenes in our lives for our benefit or to teach us a needed lesson so as to be worthy of another, subsequent, dimension of existence. And there are others, hoity-toity intellectuals, who think of ID, because they know that the hoi polloi view of ID doesn't bear much scrutiny, more along the lines of some super/supra law or principle This template applies to many things.

But, the problem is, there has to be a threshold of believability. The story has to make sense. Some stories that did make sense no longer do. So we move on in the collective intellectual sense. At some time in the past “all men are created equal” called to our minds in the meme sense. What that meant has now changed. People are still hotly trying to salvage it as a working principle—a principled posture to work by. But in some sense, for it to really be useful we, the general consensus, must be that we believe that it is still true in some way and can be made to apply (okay, not physically maybe, not mentally maybe, not aesthetically maybe—but, dammit we are equal, in some way, aren’t we?).
   1174. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4598103)
Am I the only one who learned that "all men are created equal" was primarily a statement about formal political equality? It seems like these other interpretations are making it do something it wasn't designed/intended to do.
   1175. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:28 PM (#4598104)
Having said all that, what would we replace belief in free will with? For even if there is no free will in the sense that every effect must have a cause, there is still the problem of knowable and predictable. I believe Daniel Dennett’s views depend a lot on this distinction. And, of course, many thinkers on this subject work their permutations. But, if society can’t assume people have control over their behavior, is society possible?
   1176. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4598109)
Am I the only one who learned that "all men are created equal" was primarily a statement about formal political equality?

In that its about treatment and processes, not outcome?

It's like what Atticus says in To Kill A Mockingbird: equality before the law is the reality we acknowledge and seek to employ.

Or: there is substantive due process and procedural due process. We can argue about the first, but except for very special circs. there should be no argument about the second.
   1177. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4598116)
Because in some way, somewhere within us, we have an unquenchable thirst to know, and to know truth. Wittgenstein said it: the glory and tragedy of man is that he knows he will never know, but knowing that, he can't help wanting to know.


Again I am not suggesting we not try and find out the "truth" of free will, merely that is is likely not useful in coming up with rules to run society.

Am I the only one who learned that "all men are created equal" was primarily a statement about formal political equality?


Me too, but I think free will could be something similar. People are assumed to have "political" free will like they are politically equal. It is perhaps not "true", but it is correct for the problem (societal governance) at hand.

Newtonian Physics is wrong. As in incorrect. However in the vast majority of circumstances people use it and not the more complex physics that replaced it. Why? because it is simpler to use and meets the requirements of the problem at hand. That is not to say Newtonian physics is correct or that it was silly to go past it. Rather it is important to always push the boundaries farther.

But every truth does not apply to every circumstance. And yes we have covered this ground before, in the great IQ/Race debates. This is a very similar topic and will likely be equally fruitless.
   1178. The Good Face Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4598118)
But we do take that knowledge into account in our governing.


Smarter people get more votes?


Well, if you're going to insist on voting, they SHOULD, but no. Rather my point is that neither our government nor our society takes the statement "all men are created equal" particularly seriously. Which makes sense, because it's clearly a false statement.

Give me actual examples of the sort of thing you are thinking of. What specific laws would be enhanced by adjusting due to our "knowledge" that free will does not exist. Earlier you hand waved some suggestions (using toasters as your got to metaphor), is that what you have in mind?


Crime and punishment for starters. Without free will, we're all just machines. All of our actions and inactions are nothing but responses to certain stimuli. There would be no need to moralize "criminal" behavior; criminals would simply be malfunctioning machines. And how do we deal with malfunctioning machines? We fix them when possible/practicable and destroy them when they cannot be fixed, or when fixing would be too expensive or inconvenient. Incarceration, particularly long term incarceration, would be a waste of time and resources, unless it was integral to the "fixing" process.
   1179. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4598125)
Without free will, we're all just machines.


This is where I have problems (well one of the places). Because I think this assertion needs some work.

criminals would simply be malfunctioning machines


Even given your assumption ... why are you assuming criminal = malfunction? (Edit, since there are times when the risk/reward is such as to make criminal actions "worthwhile" from a cost/benefit standpoint).

And how do we deal with malfunctioning machines? We fix them when possible/practicable and destroy them when they cannot be fixed, or when fixing would be too expensive or inconvenient


Just like this machine.
   1180. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4598127)
Rather my point is that neither our government nor our society takes the statement "all men are created equal" particularly seriously.
Only if you interpret that statement to fit your ideological agenda. Which is pretty much you do in every one of these discussions. And then you pretend you're the only one with the courage to face your preferred interpretation.

As Tocqueville observed, Americans have a very complicated relationship to the notion of equality. But it's certainly not something disregarded; it's a fundamental part of our political socialization, it influences our habits of production and consumption, and it provides the ground for our appeals to rights. You're treating it as an ahistorical statement, so that you can do whatever you want with it.
   1181. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4598128)
Crime and punishment for starters. Without free will, we're all just machines. All of our actions and inactions are nothing but responses to certain stimuli. There would be no need to moralize "criminal" behavior; criminals would simply be malfunctioning machines. And how do we deal with malfunctioning machines? We fix them when possible/practicable and destroy them when they cannot be fixed, or when fixing would be too expensive or inconvenient. Incarceration, particularly long term incarceration, would be a waste of time and resources, unless it was integral to the "fixing" process.

Maybe it's just me, but none of this seems to be an obvious or even a likely conclusion from the premise that there is no free will, and in fact is seems like a very dangerous overreach. Unless we know with certainty what everyone is predetermined to do, the premise that they were and are predetermined to do *something* doesn't change the purpose(s) of the criminal justice system.
   1182. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4598131)
All of our actions and inactions are nothing but responses to certain stimuli. There would be no need to moralize "criminal" behavior;


Also I have not noticed a huge amount of morality in our current justice system. We put criminals in prison based on the severity of the crime, likelihood of recurrence, and so on. It is also done as an object lesson, essentially to make criminal behavior more risky, so as to discourage such behavior.

None of that requires we not be "machines" and responding to "certain stimuli".

Why would this change in knowledge about people change the justice system?
   1183. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4598134)
Most law, criminal law especially, is predicated on people being free agents (to bring baseball back into it). That is, they have the capability of being wilful and having formulated intent. If that can't be assumed to apply to people, then what's the basis for holding them accountable--especially morally accountable?

For instance, we don't hold animals accountable in this sense. We don't say that huge male silver-back gorilla who took it the wrong way and tore that female apart that was introduced into his cage (his space, his territory) for mating purposes did a terrible wrong. Do we?
   1184. BDC Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:00 PM (#4598138)
Americans have a very complicated relationship to the notion of equality. But it's certainly not something disregarded

One of my favorite examples of this complexity is Abraham Lincoln at Ottawa, 1858 (the first Douglas debate):

I agree with Judge Douglas [that the Negro] is not my equal in many respects—certainly not in color, perhaps not in moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, without the leave of anybody else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal and the equal of Judge Douglas, and the equal of every living man.


This is the kind of thing sometimes trotted out cynically to show "OMG Lincoln was a racist," but rhetorically its force depends on circling around a racist concession to deliver an egalitarian absolute.
   1185. The Good Face Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4598140)
Only if you interpret that statement to fit your ideological agenda. Which is pretty much you do in every one of these discussions. And then you pretend you're the only one with the courage to face your preferred interpretation.


With the possible exception of Morty, I usually am the only person here willing to face the possibility that reality isn't just how I'd like it to be. Most folks here are much too fond of Appeals to Consequences.

As Tocqueville observed, Americans have a very complicated relationship to the notion of equality. But it's certainly not something disregarded; it's a fundamental part of our political socialization, it influences our habits of production and consumption, and it provides the ground for our appeals to rights. You're treating it as an ahistorical statement, so that you can do whatever you want with it.


Look around. Do you see a particularly equal society? A society that's particularly committed to equality, whether that be physical, mental, financial, educational, political or otherwise?

Unless we know with certainty what everyone is predetermined to do,


Yes, that's why this discussion is nothing more than theoretical pontificating. Even if we were to assume that people were just machines who could only respond to stimuli, the sheer number of variables involved are nigh incalcuable.
   1186. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4598142)
then what's the basis for holding them accountable


Well if you assume they are machines operating according to stimuli, from a practical standpoint you have to keep the cost high enough on criminal enterprises to discourage the people/machines from engaging in crime. From a practical standpoint it makes sense to continue as you have, because people's behavior won't change, even though your understanding of that behavior might have changed.

And if we are just machines there is no moral reason not to treat ourselves that way. If the other machines won't follow the published rules then they suffer the published penalty. How could that be morally wrong?
   1187. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:04 PM (#4598145)
Yes, that's why this discussion is nothing more than theoretical pontificating. Even if we were to assume that people were just machines who could only respond to stimuli, the sheer number of variables involved are nigh incalcuable.


So we should just assume free will when constructing the rules of our society? Wish I had said that first :)
   1188. The Good Face Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:09 PM (#4598149)
So we should just assume free will when constructing the rules of our society? Wish I had said that first :)


Not necessarily. When and if we learn differently, we should assume differently. It's just that right now we don't know enough to allow the lack of free will to overly influence our decision making. But that could change someday.
   1189. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4598151)
With the possible exception of Morty, I usually am the only person here willing to face the possibility that reality isn't just how I'd like it to be.
Yes, you hold a lofty opinion of yourself. This is not news. It's also convenient how you're the only one who ever points out your own courage.
Look around. Do you see a particularly equal society? A society that's particularly committed to equality, whether that be physical, mental, financial, educational, political or otherwise?
You're doubling down on your original, ahistorical and poorly-informed misreading. Awesome. It would be easier to write "I'm just talking out my ass again".
   1190. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:14 PM (#4598153)
But that could change someday.


The future is a foreign country: they do things differently there.*

By the way a lack of free will does not mean there must be predetermination. Chaos theory suggests the future can be unknown even in circumstances without free will. Just saying.

* Apologies to L. P. Hartley.
   1191. Zonk Tormundbane Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:15 PM (#4598154)
So, I know it's a pointless topic...

But I saw this on TPM.... a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America had a meeting a Dallas area diner. According to their site - these are the 6 changes they support:

Require background checks for all gun and ammunition purchases;
Ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds;
Track the sale of large quantities of ammunition, and ban online sales;
Establish product safety oversight of guns and ammunition, and require child-safe gun technology;
Support policies at companies and public institutions that promote gun safety;
Counter the gun industry’s efforts to weaken gun laws at the state level.


Now... I suppose that perhaps reasonable people may disagree with those aims and perhaps reasonable people may even see things reading between the lines that I do not.

However, seriously? A "counter-protest" whereby a bunch of heavily armed people show up outside the restaurant, damn near pretending to be some of armed mob? I don't care what the law says - hey, wonderful, the law is stupid enough that a mass gathering of dumbass braindead hotheads can gather in a restaurant parking lot with a bunch of assault rifles to terrorize a bunch of moms who happen to have different political opinions is perfectly legal - this is just a purely assholish move.

What a bunch of brave, brave heroes of freedom... 40 heavily armed yahoos staking out a restaurant parking lot where a bunch of ladies are meeting to talk.

There aren't a lot people on this earth that deserve painful and deadly penis cancer... but I think karma likely would be OK giving it to these ##########.
   1192. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4598157)
Kudos to The Good Face on this score. People who overreach on this score should be applauded for their courage and audacity, as Daniel Dennett noted in specific reference to B. F. Skinner (who himself once said that a poet could no more not produce poems than a hen not produce eggs).
   1193. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4598165)
   1194. GregD Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4598170)
This is the kind of thing sometimes trotted out cynically to show "OMG Lincoln was a racist," but rhetorically its force depends on circling around a racist concession to deliver an egalitarian absolute.
You are right on. Jim Oakes has a very clear essay on Lincoln and the three areas of equality--political, civil, social. Every person deserved civil equality, things like a right to travel, to make contracts, to sue and testify. Society could determine who among them deserved the political rights of holding office, voting, and serving on juries. Social equality, he deemed beyond the reach of government. You can, as you say, read this as proof that Lincoln wasn't up to our snuff. Or, in the context of Democrats who nearly universally said blacks didn't deserve civil equality, you can read him as trying to defend the area of equality most contested in his day.
   1195. The Good Face Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4598172)
Yes, you hold a lofty opinion of yourself. This is not news. It's also convenient how you're the only one who ever points out your own courage.


People rarely praise the guy who keeps pointing out the ways in which they're wrong.

You're doubling down on your original, ahistorical and poorly-informed misreading. Awesome. It would be easier to write "I'm just talking out my ass again".


So have you ever actually addressed an argument, or do you just throw ###### little hissy fits?
   1196. rr Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4598174)
People who overreach on this score should be applauded for their courage and audacity,


Serious question: in what respect are you and Face demonstrating "courage and audacity" in terms of your internet engagement? And in your case, is this an IRL thing as well?
   1197. formerly dp Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4598180)
Morty, you're claiming that reducing human behavior to a mechanism is some sort of bold new idea? I gave you more credit than that.
==
People rarely praise the guy who keeps pointing out the ways in which they're wrong.
More self-aggrandizing back-patting; betrays a certain insecurity.
So have you ever actually addressed an argument, or do you just throw ###### little hissy fits?
Look, you're taking a statement and twisting it so that it means what you want it to mean. You're treating it ahistorically and without context, because doing so allows you to turn it into a strawman. It's possible you're familiar with the context of the utterance, and with other ways that it's been read, but that familiarity isn't on display here.
   1198. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4598184)
1196:

I'm not sure that I understand what it is you are asking. I wasn't speaking personally about me--I don't think I show courage or audacity in particular. Au contraire, I think I'm pretty much of a coward. And everything I say is an invitation for input. It's not about shutting down argument.
   1199. rr Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4598188)
1198--Ok, then I'll frame it differently. Why should Face get "kudos" for his internet engagement, which I assume is your only interaction with him? And what are the markers of the "courage and audacity" to which you refer?
   1200. Morty Causa Posted: November 11, 2013 at 02:46 PM (#4598189)
Morty, you're claiming that reducing human behavior to a mechanism is some sort of bold new idea? I gave you more credit than that.

That's true. It's an idea that has always been around and has never totally gone away.

But, now, the people involved are mooting objections in one direction or another based on evidence and science, not just rank philosophical speculation and ideological mulling. So, you need more than the time-honored reversion to "we have to pretend that we have free will." Isaac Bashevis Singer once said, "We must believe we have free will. We have no choice." Is that still true, and if it becomes obvious we don't have it, you think that won't have an effect on our rule-making?

Or, at the least, why we have to pretend has to be addressed in more detail now. That, i thought, was the point of all that stuff above we went through.
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