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Saturday, February 01, 2014

OTP - Feb 2014: Politics remains a hurdle for immigration reform

Yet Obama might find his best-chance legislative compromise in an issue that lately has seemed to be on life support: an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.

Curiously, immigration was an issue the president barely mentioned in this year’s speech. Maybe he does not want to interfere with those Republicans who actually agree with him on the need to bring the nation’s millions of undocumented workers out of the shadows.

Bitter Mouse Posted: February 01, 2014 at 03:01 PM | 3524 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics

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   1301. spike Posted: February 13, 2014 at 11:13 AM (#4656219)
duplicate
   1302. spike Posted: February 13, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4656220)
Until such time as prostitution is legal the equivalency of sexual freedom to market freedom is specious and false.

And the flip side is that somehow the right to segregation is part and parcel of any right to sexual freedom
   1303. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 13, 2014 at 11:18 AM (#4656224)
Snapper made a case for favoring heterosexual marriage exclusively, based on procreation. My wife and I haven't procreated, so by his standard, what's the difference between us and a gay or lesbian couple?

It's easy, Andy, if you'd ever stop and actually think before personalizing and insulting. Limiting marriage to heterosexuals is a prophylactic way to accomplish the ends Snapper noted, without the invasiveness and pointlessness of government inquiry into millions upon millions of specific circumstances.


Right, so let's just assume that all hetero couples are going to have children and no gay couples will ever adopt, and forget about the many millions of inevitable exceptions. Mustn't be invasive!

   1304. Shredder Posted: February 13, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4656237)
There was an actual election yesterday. San Diego elected a mayor to replace disgraced Democratic serial sexual harasser Bob Filner, who had resigned. Looks like another datapoint suggesting that it could be a GOP year, since the Republican candidate won by a considerable margin despite some Democratic advantages:
In typical dishonest form, Clapper touts a Republican winning over "serious Democratic advantages" without bothering to note that the Republican in question also won with "serious Democratic positions". Or perhaps Clapper is just indicating that the way for the Republicans to win the future is to run candidates who support gay marriage, abortion rights, gun control, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and complain to the press when they actually get tagged with the "Republican" label. I mean, I can't really disagree, but there's a whole lotta tea party nutjobs that might not be so keen. Please, please, don't throw us into the briar patch of a multitude of Republican candidates co-opting the Democratic Party platform!! But hey, who cares what a candidate believes. Go Team R, amirite?
   1305. The Good Face Posted: February 13, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4656238)
So let's sum up:

There's no such thing as race.
There's no such thing as intelligence.
Intelligence has nothing to do with economic success.
Men never get aroused when they're around attractive women in the workplace, or really anywhere other than in the bedroom.
Physical proximity to and physical contact with an attractive woman is no different for a straight guy than the same with another guy.
A balding 28-year-old guy on the factory line has as much of a shot with Kate Upton as Justin Verlander does.

Anything missing?


It's sort of incredible in its own way really, the things one has to pretend to believe to maintain good standing in liberal orthodoxy today. Encouraging though as well; a society built on lies (and man those are some whoppers) is a weak society, for its foundations are on sand. The collapse of the Soviet Union, which was also built on lies, is instructive here. Of course, despite being built on one of the biggest lies of all time (communism) it took many decades for it all to come crashing down, and the Western left has only really bought into most of this nonsense fairly recently. We almost certainly have decades to go, so might as well enjoy the decline.
   1306. Ron J2 Posted: February 13, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4656245)
#1050 I think there's pretty clear evidence that as a group males find a specific waist to hip ratio attractive, and that both sexes are generally attracted to facial symmetry (and other general markers of overall health)

How far that goes though in terms of overall attractiveness is much less clear. Best I can tell these are significant in the same general way that batting average with runners in scoring position is. They matter, but attraction is a complicated thing and nobody to my knowledge has a working model that's worth a damn on the individual level.
   1307. Lassus Posted: February 13, 2014 at 11:45 AM (#4656246)
To which societies has your brand of absolutism brought success, Good Face?
   1308. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 11:49 AM (#4656250)
It's sort of incredible in its own way really, the things one has to pretend to believe to maintain good standing in liberal orthodoxy today.

Instead of simply weighing the pros and cons and applying good things like empathy and humanism and intelligence to situations, they have to concoct a goofball purist fantasyland.(*) So it isn't enough to applaud the fact that football players feel comfortable enough to be openly gay, we must at the same time deny the very possibility that a gay player might be sexually attracted to another player.

Bizarre.

(*) And then preposterously claim that people who cling to this confectionary fantasyland are more "adult" than people who grasp the actual tangible world.
   1309. The Good Face Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4656262)
To which societies has your brand of absolutism brought success, Good Face?


What brand of absolutism are you talking about? I'm merely expressing a preference for acknowledging that true things are true, and for truth over lies.
   1310. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4656264)
I'm merely expressing a preference for acknowledging that true things are true


So far up your own ass you can't smell your own bullshit.
   1311. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:11 PM (#4656266)
And then preposterously claim that people who cling to this confectionary fantasyland are more "adult" than people who grasp the actual tangible world.


Well if you'd stop grasping the tangible world so often maybe you'd get past that constant woody issue.
   1312. starving to death with a full STEAGLES Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4656268)
TO BE CLEAR:
i did not call snapper a bigot for opposing gay marriage because that's an entirely different argument from the even more bigoted one he was attempting to make at the time.

the argument i attacked was this:
There's no coherent reason why a Gov't which is allowed to dictate who you may do business with can not also dictate who you may have sex with.
Not allowing you to refuse is the same as compelling you to do business with them. Adding a double negative doesn't change the reality.

Now, I think you can make a compelling argument that for true public accommodations (restaurants, bars, etc.) the burden of allowing business owners t refuse service is too great on the potential customers.

But, I don't see how most other businesses would fall under that umbrella. No one is harmed if a specific caterer doesn't want to do their wedding. Just find another caterer who is willing.
Well, that's my point. If the Gov't has the power to compel or prohibit one transaction, they have the same power in the other.
   1313. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4656275)
So far up your own ass you can't smell your own ########.

Or he simply understands and acknowledges the truth, which is:

There is such a thing as race.
There is such a thing as intelligence.
Intelligence has very much to do with economic success.
Men frequently get aroused when interacting with attractive women in the workplace, and in places other than the bedroom.
Physical contact and proximity to an attractive female is far different for a straight guy than the same with another guy.
Justin Verlander has way more of a chance with Kate Upton than a balding 28-year-old guy on the factory line.

These things are obvious, virtually unalloyed, truths. I'll chalk denial of them up to the human circus and enjoy it -- even though, as Face noted, such denial is obviously a marker of a weakening, declining society.(*) Denying obvious #### that's right in front of your nose and wasting innumerable people-hours concocting and defending the various edifices of denial is hardly a sign of strength.

(*) Another truth that, alas, the deniers also deny -- though that one's certainly subject to reasonable counterclaims.
   1314. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:28 PM (#4656276)
Or he simply understands and acknowledges the truth, which is:

There is such a thing as race.
There is such a thing as intelligence.
Intelligence has very much to do with economic success.
Men frequently get aroused when interacting with attractive women in the workplace, and in places other than the bedroom.
Physical contact and proximity to an attractive female is far different for a straight guy than the same with another guy.
Justin Verlander has way more of a chance with Kate Upton than a balding 28-year-old guy on the factory line.

These things are obvious truths. I'll chalk denial of them up to the human circus,


As if anyone is really denying any of these things. How many more strawmen can you think up before it's time for your next boner?
   1315. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4656277)
As if anyone is really denying any of these things.

Wow. If denial is a sign of weakness and decline, what is denial of denial?
   1316. formerly dp Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:31 PM (#4656278)
We'll go here again, but: saying that race is a social construct is not the same as saying there's no such thing as race. And such a positioning opens more doors than it closes-- it directs you to look at the way race works as a structuring concept in different discursive fields-- in medicine, politics, sports, etc. But in no way do constructivists deny its existence.

What's odd about these discussions is that the constructivists have empiricism firmly on their side: since race is an invented category, we can see when it was invented, who invented it, how they used it, and how its use and constitution have changed since its invention. The same goes for sexuality, which has all sorts of interesting permutations outside of the simple gay/straight dichotomy. We know this because we can observe the shifting of these categories across cultures and across epochs.
   1317. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:35 PM (#4656282)
We'll go here again, but: saying that race is a social construct is not the same as saying there's no such thing as race.

But it's the same as saying that it's whatever you want it to be which ... umm ... no sale. Sorry. Shouldn't be a surprise.

So we'll update the list:

1. Race is whatever modern liberals say it is.
2. Intelligence is whatever modern liberals say it is.
3. Intelligence relates to economic success to whatever degree modern liberals say.
4. Men get aroused around attractive females to whatever degree modern liberals say.
5. Physical contact between straight men and attractive women has whatever effect modern liberals say it does.
6. Justin Verlander and a balding 28-year-old guy on the factory line have whatever chance with Kate Upton modern liberals say they do.

Better?
   1318. formerly dp Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:36 PM (#4656283)
But it's the same as saying that it's whatever you want it to be which
What you haven't learned by now, I think you may be incapable of learning.
   1319. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4656284)
Or he simply understands and acknowledges the truth, which is:

There is such a thing as race.


Which he can't define.

There is such a thing as intelligence.


Which he can't define.

Intelligence has very much to do with economic success.


A relationship he can't describe or define.

Men frequently get aroused when interacting with attractive women in the workplace, and in places other than the bedroom.


Other men manage to walk past their neighbors windows without pulling it out, buddy.

Physical contact and proximity to an attractive female is far different for a straight guy than the same with another guy.


Try to keep it in your pants, buddy.

Justin Verlander has way more of a chance with Kate Upton than a balding 28-year-old guy on the factory line.


Most men have better chances with their girlfriends than guys that don't know their girlfriends.

Continue to beg the question, you shall.
   1320. BDC Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:38 PM (#4656286)
There is such a thing as race

There are such things as populations, and families within them. "Race" as historically expressed in the US, South Africa, and other segregationist societies – really, in most societies – is an elaborate political fiction.

There is such a thing as intelligence

Of course there is. It expresses itself extremely variously across a huge spectrum of human abilities and talents. Loading it onto a single vector is just one more fantastic search for the Überstat.

Intelligence has very much to do with economic success

But less than stuff like what class you're born into, and a lot less what your native language may be compared to your society's majority.

Men frequently get aroused when interacting with attractive women in the workplace

When they have a lot of free time not to concentrate on why they're at work, probably, yes.

Physical contact and proximity to an attractive female is far different for a straight guy than the same with another guy

I don't understand this one.

Justin Verlander has way more of a chance with Kate Upton than a balding 28-year-old guy on the factory line.

Seeing as how Verlander and Upton are celebrities and have celebrity acquaintances to introduce them, absolutely. OTOH, as Ron J2 notes above, the mutual attraction of two famous people, however overdetermined, proves nothing as an individual example. For all we know, Kate Upton's personal kinks include baldness, paunch, pickup trucks, and dexterity in assembling cardboard boxes. Now of course you mean this metonymically, so as an assertion that people of similar age, health, haunts, habits, and fitness tend to attract, OK. So what?
   1321. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4656287)
But it's the same as saying that it's whatever you want it to be which ... umm ... no sale.


Of course you don't buy that. Because to acknowledge that basic reality, you'd have to quit pretending that the only option is for race to be what YOU want it to be. And that's the straw that you will not allow. You must be the deciding voice in all the things. (Try to keep it in your pants, buddy.)
   1322. spike Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:39 PM (#4656288)
Idaho is the now the latest state to introduce a bill to permit refusal of police and medical services to gays, or anyone for that matter, that doesn't pass religious muster. Another important step in guaranteeing their sexual freedom.


link
   1323. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4656290)
long-time Methodist and a religion that encourages you to NOT care for your fellow man in a time of need and/or crisis is a pretty sorry religion

not that I know any deity's mind but part of me suspects he/she is looking around going 'what the h8ll???'

sorry for the omission
   1324. Ron J2 Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:45 PM (#4656293)
#1153 Never used illegal drugs. As I'm pretty sure I've mentioned, when we were living in Iran my dad made a point of showing me the opium addicts "living" by the side of the road, and casually mentioning that every now and then state security rounded up a bunch of them and shot them. You might say it made an impression.

Probably for the best for me. I had a very bad reaction to morphine when given it after a surgery.
   1325. BDC Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:49 PM (#4656296)
I last smoked weed in 1980, and I have never used any other illegal drugs. OK, there was that time that I used my girlfriend's cat's eyedrops.
   1326. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4656302)
I have drunk a river of gin in my lifetime. maybe not quite the amazon but certainly the equivalent of the ohio
   1327. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 13, 2014 at 12:54 PM (#4656303)
As if anyone is really denying any of these things.

Wow. If denial is a sign of weakness and decline, what is denial of denial?


I dunno, but I've just seen you produce a perfect example of it. There's nothing in that laundry list that I'm denying, but perhaps you can show me when and where I have.
   1328. The Good Face Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:02 PM (#4656312)
Of course you don't buy that. Because to acknowledge that basic reality, you'd have to quit pretending that the only option is for race to be what YOU want it to be.


Race isn't what any of us want it to be; it is what it is.

   1329. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:07 PM (#4656313)
Race isn't what any of us want it to be

That certainly hasn't stopped you from trying to make it so.
   1330. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4656315)
What was the most recent year that social conservatives thought American culture and community was not "declining"? 1621? 1493?
   1331. OCF Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4656316)
If you had asked me 8 or 10 years ago what I thought of same-sex marriage, I probably would have said things along the lines of - that's a weird idea, that doesn't feel right or natural, that seems like a big reach as a policy change. That isn't what I'd say now, and, of course, I'm not alone.

In the end, which side talked me into changing my mind? Both sides, probably, but it's something the anti-gay marriage arguers said that that really sticks in my mind. "We're protecting the sanctity of marriage." That one phrase. Because that made it personal. Who looks out for the sanctity of my own marriage? I couldn't escape that there were only two people in the world whose actions have anything at all to do with that, and those two people are my wife and myself. Letting two other people be married really has nothing at all to do with my marriage, and anyone going on about "sanctity" is just helping to sway me in the other direction.
   1332. GregD Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:13 PM (#4656317)
Oh 1621 was for wussies! I mean by that point fully 50% of the people coming to Jamestown were living through the winter! The real Americans all died in the starving winter.
   1333. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4656320)
Race isn't what any of us want it to be; it is what it is.


I'm sure you know it when you see it, Beauregard. It's just a natural inclination you genteel sorts have in your gut. Comes from right and proper breeding.
   1334. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:18 PM (#4656321)
What was the most recent year that social conservatives thought American culture and community was not "declining"? 1621? 1493?

Good question, but I'm certainly not a social conservative or anything remotely close.

From which it follows that I don't allege that we're in decline because the country's becoming more socially liberal. I allege that we're in decline because we're in decline.

I should expand: things like gay marriage, legalized weed, etc. are good things; it's just that they're penny ante as against the forces of decline, which run far deeper and broader. The idea that we can't be in decline because OMG we recently legalized gay marriage is silly.
   1335. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4656323)
On the lighter side of the news, apparantly Rand Paul can't even manage to be an attention whore without plagiarizing someone else's work.


That seems to be Cuccinelli's doing which is no surprise since he's always been an unethical scumbag.
   1336. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4656325)
Race isn't what any of us want it to be; it is what it is.


The only thing I'm really sure about "race" is that it is not what GF and his fellow travelers think it is.
   1337. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4656326)
From which it follows that I don't allege that we're in decline because the country's becoming more socially liberal. I allege that we're in decline because we're in decline.


What would need to happen to not be in a societal wide decline? What evidence could there be in actual numbers that would reveal a society ascending? Is there any, or is it an axiomatic truth that we are in decline, that we must be in decline? Can you point to societies currently or in the past that were ascending and what attributes did they display?
   1338. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:24 PM (#4656327)
Good question, but I'm certainly not a social conservative or anything remotely close.


I've read hundreds of your posts over the years and still have to say that if you fall into any conventional political (or philosophiocal) category, I just can't see it.
   1339. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4656329)
What was the most recent year that social conservatives thought American culture and community was not "declining"? 1621? 1493?


Ben Franklin, circa 1751:

"Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation…and as few of the English understand the German Language, and so cannot address them either from the Press or Pulpit, ’tis almost impossible to remove any prejudices they once entertain…Not being used to Liberty, they know not how to make a modest use of it…I remember when they modestly declined intermeddling in our Elections, but now they come in droves, and carry all before them, except in one or two Counties...In short unless the stream of their importation could be turned from this to other colonies, as you very judiciously propose, they will soon so out number us, that all the advantages we have will not in My Opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious."
   1340. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4656333)
I allege that we're in decline because we're in decline.


I beg the question, because the question must be begged.
   1341. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4656334)
In typical dishonest form, Clapper touts a Republican winning over "serious Democratic advantages" without bothering to note that the Republican in question also won with "serious Democratic positions".

Geeez, do I have to make your arguments as well as my own? I linked to the article that contained some info on the candidates positions, but the most important indicators are that even though the Democrats had a 14% registration advantage, a large financial edge, and the all-out support of the public employee unions, they lost a special election because they couldn't generate any turnout. I don't see how the fact that the GOP candidate was a "Big Tent Republican" undermines that position, but if you want to make that argument, that's your job not mine.
   1342. bunyon Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4656336)

In the end, which side talked me into changing my mind? Both sides, probably, but it's something the anti-gay marriage arguers said that that really sticks in my mind. "We're protecting the sanctity of marriage." That one phrase. Because that made it personal. Who looks out for the sanctity of my own marriage? I couldn't escape that there were only two people in the world whose actions have anything at all to do with that, and those two people are my wife and myself. Letting two other people be married really has nothing at all to do with my marriage, and anyone going on about "sanctity" is just helping to sway me in the other direction.


Indeed. The anti-gay marriage activists are easily the best advocates of gay marriage.
   1343. Publius Publicola Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:31 PM (#4656337)
Clapper will be displeased to learn that tax dollars are being spent for energy breakthroughs that will ensure future prosperity:

Giant Laser Complex Makes Fusion Breakthrough

But for four years, since the facility began operations in 2009, the last step — the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium — did not happen, not in significant quantity.

Then, last September, it did.

Writing in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature, scientists working on the project report on the September shot as well as one in November. In both, the hydrogen fusion generated more energy than had been deposited into the hydrogen. However, laser-driven fusion remains far from practical, because only about 1 percent of the initial laser energy reached the hydrogen.

“A lot of people are jazzed,” Omar A. Hurricane, the Livermore scientist leading the project, said during a telephone news conference on Monday. “We’re certainly in a lot better position than we were. This has been a kind of turning point, I think, here at the lab, in terms of progress.”
   1344. Shredder Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4656338)
"Big Tent Republican"
Hilarious. A "Big Tent Republican" is apparently someone who would gain absolutely no purchase in anything outside of local politics, where you can win elections without that pesky party affiliation next to your name. Go Team R!!!
   1345. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4656339)
What would need to happen to not be in a societal wide decline? What evidence could there be in actual numbers that would reveal a society ascending? Is there any, or is it an axiomatic truth that we are in decline, that we must be in decline? Can you point to societies currently or in the past that were ascending and what attributes did they display?


What's funny is that I see the converse as just as interesting; just as there are people who think that society is perpetually in decline, there is a population that thinks society is perpetually improving. Of course, neither is the case. Societies can improve and erode just like everything else. Any political orientation that requires the assumption of a perpetual state of betterment or decline (or, that no society is better than any other) is inherently invalid.
   1346. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4656340)
Can you point to societies currently or in the past that were ascending and what attributes did they display?

The United States from at least 1964 to around 1979. It displayed balance, rationalism, economic growth, optimism about the future, and social trust to much greater degrees than now. There are probably more things they displayed, but that's a good start.

As previously noted, there's a good book that happens to also note 1979 as a secular turning point, wherein the turn to zealously free markets and religious nuttery/zealotry -- two trends we're still doomed to live under -- became clear. Not just in the US, but around the world. Religious and economic nuttery hold much bigger sway now than then -- doubly ridiculous because economic growth and progress are supposed to dampen those things, not exacerbate them. Essentially the entire notion of American "progress" is premised on economic growth -- and economic growth used to drive progress; thus when you have rapid, startling economic growth at the same time that you have a reversion to religious nuttery, gun nuttery, etc. -- i.e., pretty much the polar opposite of progress -- you're in decline.(*)

The other indicia of decline is that there's no real reason for optimism that our instituional framework is constructed for problem-solving and stemming the decline, as it was in earlier eras. On the contrary, the system is broken.

And now we have technology killing jobs way faster than people's skills can possibly adapt and the best technical brains in the country start and work for companies that don't create very many jobs. The jobs things like Facebook, Twitter, et al. create as compared to things like GM and Kodak are infintesimal.

The trends are almost all negative, with no real reason to think they'll turn around. They'll probably stabilize, but the America of rationalism, balance, practical problem solving, responsive institutions, and middle class full employment sure seems over. The new equilibrium is clearly sub-full employment.

(*) And of course technology drives nuttery, as now nuts can find succor and support amongst virtual communities of fellow nuts -- see, e.g., your run of the mill winger who can spend his whole day with Fox, Limbaugh, and Free Republic -- as opposed to being shunned and ridiculed by the broader community with whom he couldn't help but interact, as in days of yore.

   1347. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4656346)
So we'll update the list:

1. Race is whatever modern liberals say it is.
2. Intelligence is whatever modern liberals say it is.
3. Intelligence relates to economic success to whatever degree modern liberals say.
4. Men get aroused around attractive females to whatever degree modern liberals say.
5. Physical contact between straight men and attractive women has whatever effect modern liberals say it does.
6. Justin Verlander and a balding 28-year-old guy on the factory line have whatever chance with Kate Upton modern liberals say they do.


Well this Modern Liberal* says:

1. Race is a construct that combines culture, history, and a bit of genetics. It is not a valid biological construct as is typically applied to humans. And as the world becomes more global, as societies intermingle (culturally and genetically) and as history recedes it is becoming less and less relevant as a non-biological construct.

2. Intelligence (and the closely allied idea of sentience) is very important, but incredibly hard to define or use in a functional manner. There is however a ton of research on the subject (and many related subjects) so it is a fruitful area of discussion. Attempts to reduce it to a single number (like IQ) are laughable, and grow more laughable as we learn more about intelligence.

3. Intelligence and IQ both correlate to some degree with success (economic and otherwise). Many factors correlate to success. Using that correlation in a useful, meaningful, ethical, legal and societally useful way is non trivial (and likely impossible).

4. Mating (both long and short term) is a sorting process, with many factors figuring into it. Some of those factors are broad and others are very narrow. Some are fairly shallow and others are meaningful. None are universal and the entire process is not reducible to single metric.

5. Physical contact between people varies. There is no shame is being attracted to other people (biology is powerful), but there are certainly ways to act on that attraction that are acceptable and some that are not. The acceptability of those actions varies by situation, but to avoid trouble don't be an ass about it and try to keep it out of the workplace.

6. The chance anyone has with any other person is up to that other person to decide. So Kate Upton gets to decide who Kate Upton tries to date (and the other party gets to say yes or no). The factors that figure into the sorting process Kate Upton uses are her business (and I suppose the business of those that want to be with her). How typical or atypical those criteria are is really uninteresting (to me anyway).

The overall takeaway is some folks want to take a complex reality and reduce it down, one universal number for intelligence, one universal number for attractiveness, one simple system for race, and so on. The Modern Liberal* accepts the complexity of the world and does not freak out about it.

* Modern Liberal a trademark of SBB, used here with his permission. Or not I guess, and if he doesn't like it he can sue me out of House and Home (both of which are a cute little mouse hole duplex in a lily white suburb).
   1348. spike Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4656348)
The United States from at least 1964 to around 1979. They displayed balance, rationalism, economic growth, optimism about the future, and social trust to much greater degrees than now. There are probably more things they displayed, but that's a good start.

The zenith of unions and high top end tax rates, IOW.
   1349. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4656352)
What's funny is that I see the converse as just as interesting; just as there are people who think that society is perpetually in decline, there is a population that thinks society is perpetually improving. Of course, neither is the case. Societies can improve and erode just like everything else. Any political orientation that requires the assumption of a perpetual state of betterment or decline (or, that no society is better than any other) is inherently invalid.


I don't know that it is required that society improve forever in my world view, but the march of technological progress, to the point we can spend our lunch hour arguing about things like this on the internet, suggests it is at an aggregate level improving and has been for quite some time.

Personally I like hard metrics, societal aggregate wealth and how it is distributed, health and life expectancy, available resource to devote to leisure, various freedom and so on. I am very comfortable in the statement that the world is better off today than it was in 1979. That does not mean it will also be better in 35 more years, but I have hopes.

To me the interesting question is better in what way. I suspect the expectation of privacy will continue to fade in future generations. So that a future with Google knowing everything about me might seem to 1980's Bitter Mouse to be a clear sign of decline, 2020 Mouse may have decided the advantages of what I gain may be worth what I lost, and in fact may decide that I did not lose much of anything.

Is that a sign of societal decline or a change in how society values privacy? I suspect the latter, but it is a tricky argument to make on either side.
   1350. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4656354)
In San Diego, Bob Filner won the mayor's race in 2012 with 245,092 votes, and the Republican Carl DeMaio wasn't far behind. This week, Faulconer and Alvarez combined for 251,774 votes. Fifteen months after Filner's election, the winning Republican Party saw its vote total drop by 39%, while the losing Democratic Party saw its total drop by 54%. In a special election to replace an ousted pervert. The direct repercussions and implications of this result in Florida, Kentucky and Minnesota in a November election are something less than vast or compelling.
   1351. Tilden Katz Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:51 PM (#4656355)
The United States from at least 1964 to around 1979. It displayed balance, rationalism, economic growth, optimism about the future, and social trust to much greater degrees than now. There are probably more things they displayed, but that's a good start.


There sure was a lot of optimism and social trust during Watergate and all those race riots and Vietnam protests!
   1352. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4656357)
There sure was a lot of optimism and social trust during Watergate and all those race riots and Vietnam protests!

There absolutely was. Those are all signs of a populace that believes their institutions can undergo, and be brought to undergo, beneficial change.
   1353. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4656360)
There sure was a lot of optimism and social trust during Watergate and all those race riots and Vietnam protests!


Straight white males had plenty of optimism and social trust, and that is what really matters. Minorities, gays, and women - well now they can have their little opinions I guess, what do they know about ascendency?
   1354. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4656361)
There sure was a lot of optimism and social trust during Watergate and all those race riots and Vietnam protests!

Not to mention gas lines, stagflation and all that malaise thingy.
   1355. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4656363)
Not to mention gas lines, stagflation and all that malaise thingy.

Temporary phenomena that the society of that time dealt with and overcame rather easily. Why? Because it was far stronger, and far better structured to do so.
   1356. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4656365)
Can you point to societies currently or in the past that were ascending and what attributes did they display?


The United States from at least 1964 to around 1979. It displayed balance, rationalism, economic growth, optimism about the future, and social trust to much greater degrees than now. There are probably more things they displayed, but that's a good start.

There sure was a lot of optimism and social trust during Watergate and all those race riots and Vietnam protests!


There absolutely was. Those are all signs of a populace that believes their institutions can undergo, and be brought to undergo, beneficial change.

That there was, up through about 1965. But once the Vietnam war started, that optimism and social trust rapidly declined (if you'll pardon the expression). I'm getting the strong feeling you either weren't born or were in diapers between 1964 and 1979, because every time you post another comment on this period, you're subtracting from the sum total of human knowledge.

   1357. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:02 PM (#4656366)
Temporary phenomena


like all the various things you point to as signs of decline and unlike the across the world improvement in wealth, health and longevity as well as in certain rights (like gay people marrying). But your temporary stuff is significant while the trend lines upward of hard metrics is just a thing.
   1358. The Good Face Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4656367)
Can you point to societies currently or in the past that were ascending and what attributes did they display?


There's a fair amount of value judgment inherent in such a question, but I'd argue that societies in ascension are vigorous and confident. There's a high level of asabiyyah and internal agreement as to what their culture is and how it's superior to the cultures of others. They do great, or at least bold things. They undertake ambitious construction and/or exploration projects, they fight and win wars. They are expansionist, outward looking, and build empires. They breed. Their elites eschew decadence, or at least discourage it among the non-elites. Their neighbors fear them, or at least regard them with a healthy respect.
   1359. formerly dp Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4656368)
Those are all signs of a populace that believes their institutions can undergo, and be brought to undergo, beneficial change.
But you read Occupy and the Tea Party differently? Fascinating!
   1360. The Yankee Clapper Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4656370)
Bob Filner won election in 2012 with 245,092 votes, and the Republican Carl DeMaio wasn't far behind. This week, Faulconer and Alvarez combined for 251,774 votes. Fifteen months after Filner's election, the winning Republican Party saw its vote total drop by 39%, while the losing Democratic Party saw its total drop by 54%. In a special election to replace an ousted pervert. The direct repercussions and implications of this result in Florida, Kentucky and Minnesota are something less than vast and compelling.

As I noted in the original post on this topic, it's significant that Democrats couldn't win a low turnout election when they had a 14% registration advantage, more money, and the all-out support of the public employee unions. Voters don't just switch from one party to another (although some do), significant numbers abstain (stay home) when they are disenchanted with their own party. It's only a single datapoint, and local factors always play an important role, but I suspect Democrats' difficulties in turning out "their" voters will be an issue throughout 2014.
   1361. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4656371)
But once the Vietnam war started, that optimism and social trust rapidly declined (if you'll pardon the expression).

Pessimistic people don't protest wars; they stay home and watch TV because they think protesting is a waste of time (or they simply don't give a ####). They also don't agitate for the removal of a president; they stay at home and watch TV.

They may have professed cynicism, and fooled aging baby-boomers into thinking they were cynical, but their actions say otherwise.


   1362. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4656376)
There's a fair amount of value judgment inherent in such a question, but I'd argue that societies in ascension are vigorous and confident.


With large societal erections to show the other man-monkeys their big equipment.
   1363. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4656377)
But you read Occupy and the Tea Party differently?

How did the staying power of Occupy compare to the Vietnam protests? How did their impact on the broader society and national policy compare with the Vietnam protestors? And how did the magnitude of the protests compare?

Pretty badly, right?
   1364. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:11 PM (#4656378)
There's a fair amount of value judgment inherent in such a question, but I'd argue that societies in ascension are vigorous and confident. There's a high level of asabiyyah and internal agreement as to what their culture is and how it's superior to the cultures of others. They do great, or at least bold things. They undertake ambitious construction and/or exploration projects, they fight and win wars. They are expansionist, outward looking, and build empires. They breed. Their elites eschew decadence, or at least discourage it among the non-elites. Their neighbors fear them, or at least regard them with a healthy respect.


If that is ascension I much prefer a US in decline, thanks. I mean sure I love great things, exploration and such, but would rather minimize the wars, empire building and fear from my neighbors. And there is a high enough population, I like the fact that the world wide population rate is slowing its increase, and that as income and education levels go up fertility rates go down. Over breeding is insecurity combined with being too stupid to use a condom.

EDIT: Yeah and feelings of superiority over other societies doesn't work for me either. Money, long life and health, to me that is a sign of ascension, not sneering towards the country on the other side of the border.
   1365. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:12 PM (#4656380)
Ben Franklin, circa 1751:


"You kids get off my lawn!"
-Jesus of Nazareth, 33, A.D.
   1366. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4656383)
If that is ascension I much prefer a US in decline, thanks. I mean sure I love great things, exploration and such, but would rather minimize the wars, empire building and fear from my neighbors. And there is a high enough population, I like the fact that the world wide population rate is slowing its increase, and that as income and education levels go up fertility rates go down. Over breeding is insecurity combined with being too stupid to use a condom.

No surprise. It's not as though the lefties ever actually cared much for America during its ascendency -- or for ascendent societies generally.

Which also explains why they're so easily befuddled by the notion of decline. To them, decline is progress.
   1367. formerly dp Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4656384)
With large societal erections to show the other man-monkeys their big equipment.
Societies in ascension get boners when they talk to women at work they find attractive.
   1368. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4656390)
Yet another sign of societal decline, I am sure.

The horror.

You don't have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore.

The social media giant is adding a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them.

Facebook said the changes, shared with The Associated Press before the launch on Thursday, initially cover the company's 159 million monthly users in the U.S. and are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.


And yes, sarcasm aside I applaud this move and think it shows how society is becoming more open and diverse, in ways which harm no one and helps some.
   1369. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:18 PM (#4656391)
Societies in ascension get boners when they talk to women at work they find attractive.

It's funny how you jokers have confused a statement of fact with an assertion of virility. But again, no surprise.
   1370. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4656393)
Yet another sign of societal decline

And, again, no one has said that these lurches toward social liberalism are markers of decline.
   1371. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4656394)
No surprise. It's not as though the lefties ever actually cared much for America during its ascendency -- or for ascendent societies generally.

Which also explains why they're so easily befuddled by the notion of decline. To them, decline is progress.


Not lefties, Modern Liberals. Sheesh. Hey if you want to live in a poor, war like, and sneering country, rather than a wealthy, healthy peaceful country then much about you makes more sense, but I think you are nuts and glad your side is losing the great cultural wars.
   1372. Morty Causa Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:20 PM (#4656396)
The United States from at least 1964 to around 1979. It displayed balance, rationalism, economic growth, optimism about the future, and social trust to much greater degrees than now. There are probably more things they displayed, but that's a good start.

I'm greatly enjoying standing back and watching the ranting and posturing, and I tend to sympathize with you and Good Face and DJs and your cohorts, but this seems to be an example of pure and unregenerate nostalgia. Do you know what went on in this country from 1964 to 1979? Social upheaval and civil unrest, race riots, Vietnam, anti-Vietnam war protesting on a huge scale, an explosive incursion of illicit street drugs into the mainstream, Watergate and a constitutional crisis, the OPEC crisis and the beginning of the MId-East cluster ####, runaway inflation, all with the politicals parties being ripped apart and re-stitched in agonizing real time.
   1373. Lassus Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4656400)
There's a fair amount of value judgment inherent in such a question, but I'd argue that societies in ascension are vigorous and confident. There's a high level of asabiyyah and internal agreement as to what their culture is and how it's superior to the cultures of others. They do great, or at least bold things. They undertake ambitious construction and/or exploration projects, they fight and win wars. They are expansionist, outward looking, and build empires. They breed. Their elites eschew decadence, or at least discourage it among the non-elites. Their neighbors fear them, or at least regard them with a healthy respect.

You left out the first part. Which specific societies are you referring to?
   1374. formerly dp Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4656401)
How did the staying power of Occupy compare to the Vietnam protests? How did their impact on the broader society and national policy compare with the Vietnam protestors? And how did the magnitude of the protests compare?
Occupy didn't have 'staying power' because of a broadly-concerted effort to remove their staying power in the physical spaces they occupied. The staying power of the 1% meme it's pretty hard to argue with. But this isn't a "which was moar awesome" contest, and that's not how you set it up: it's a question of comparing the spirit of one generation to another, and finding similarities between them. And I have to say, OWS impressed on this front-- they had more of an impact on the national conversation about their issue than my generation* did when we took to the streets to protest the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

*The organizers of OWS were older, but the crowds they attracted were not.
   1375. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:28 PM (#4656407)
Do you know what went on in this country from 1964 to 1979? Social upheaval and civil unrest, race riots, Vietnam, anti-Vietnam war protesting on a huge scale, an explosive incursion of illicit street drugs into the mainstream, Watergate and a constitutional crisis, the OPEC crisis and the beginning of the MId-East cluster ####, runaway inflation, all with the politicals parties being ripped apart and re-stitched in agonizing real time.

Yes, I do.

And it was all cured in short order because the society in place had the capacity to cure it.

Your methodology is the wrong one for the question. It's the things that weren't the topics of mass discussion or that weren't out in the open in 1979 -- primarily the beginning of what became irresistable lurches toward economic and religious nuttery -- that have come to be the primary sources of the decline. The other things are coincident or lagging indicators and, thus, of little interest.(*) So the proper thing to do is to (a) figure out what's caused the suck of today; (b) figure out when things that have caused the suck really got started; and, then (c) date the peak as of the time the things that have caused the suck got rolling. That's around 1979.

(*) Much as, say, the Cubs' major league record is a coincident or lagging indicator of the state of the organization. The Cubs are not in decline -- or so consensus opinion holds -- even though the major league record is.



   1376. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4656411)
You left out the first part. Which specific societies are you referring to?


Not to go all Godwin on the bit, but honestly the most ascendent society (according to his criteria) I can think of is Nazi Germany. There are plenty of other examples (and no I am not suggesting all ascendent societies are Nazi), but that is the first thing that crossed my mind after reading his description.
   1377. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:30 PM (#4656412)
Do you know what went on in this country from 1964 to 1979?


Of course he does. It was his adolescence and early 20s. He was young and alive and the world was his oyster. Why do you think he romanticizes and fetishizes it so?
   1378. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4656415)
How did the staying power of Occupy compare to the Vietnam protests?


Occupy continues to work today. The fact that Bloomberg's NYPD kicked them out of a Manhattan park doesn't mean they disappeared.

The anti-VN protests, of course, ushered in an era of peace and love where no wars have ever been fought again.
   1379. Publius Publicola Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4656420)
Temporary phenomena like the energy shortage of the seventies that is being resolved now so we can look forward to a restoration of a period of greater social cohesion and stability.
   1380. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:37 PM (#4656422)
Not to go all Godwin on the bit, but honestly the most ascendent society (according to his criteria) I can think of is Nazi Germany.


They were certainly virile and penetrated the #### out of Poland. Poland was just a weak little #####. Deserved it too. The way she was dressed. In that neighborhood.
   1381. spike Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4656424)
They also pioneered allowing folks to only do business with people they wanted to, as I recall
   1382. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4656427)
They were certainly virile and penetrated the #### out of Poland. Poland was just a weak little #####. Deserved it too. The way she was dressed. In that neighborhood.


And drunk, yet.
   1383. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4656428)
He was young and alive and the world was his oyster.

Yet he still pops wood around attractive women in 2014. Go figure.
   1384. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4656431)
That just tells you how much of a dick he is.
   1385. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4656432)
I agree with SBB, there has been a decline in the US since 1979- the New Deal/GrEat Society eras ended and we embarked upon a new political-economic regime that has seen the average worker lose ground and the "top 1 %" gain ground, causes/evidence are the gutting of the labor movement and the rollback of much (but not yet all) New Deal era Commerce Clause jurisprudence.

US society has advanced in some ways, race relations have fitfully improved, we've made advances on other social issues, but with respect to how our economy runs and is structured, we've regressed and unless and until the Ayn Rand/Koch brother followers can be driven from the levers of power, and the Federalist Society driven from the judiciary, we are not going to make any progress either. People KNOW we've taken a wrong turn, but unfortunately a sizeable chunk of those who know we've taken a wrong turn want to inexplicably step on the accelerator and go in the wrong direction even faster (I'm talking about Teapers of course) .
   1386. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4656433)
Yet he still pops wood around attractive women in 2014. Go figure.


And unironically ####### about baseball players using "performance enhancing drugs."
   1387. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4656435)
Hey if you want to live in a poor, war like, and sneering country,

Was the America between the Paris Peace Treaty and, say, the election of Ronald Reagan "poor, war like, and sneering"?

Of course not. It was the virtual opposite.

America in 2014 is more "war like" than America 1974-80 by orders of magnitude.
   1388. The Good Face Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4656436)
Not to go all Godwin on the bit, but honestly the most ascendent society (according to his criteria) I can think of is Nazi Germany. There are plenty of other examples (and no I am not suggesting all ascendent societies are Nazi), but that is the first thing that crossed my mind after reading his description.


I don't think you read my post at all. The Nazi's started one war, which they promptly lost and which ended their culture entirely. Ascendent societies don't get their asses kicked by their neighbors and then go extinct over the course of a decade or so. Nazi Germany is not what success looks like.

Look more towards the glory days of ancient Egypt/Greece/Rome, the British Empire, etc.
   1389. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4656444)
I don't think you read my post at all. The Nazi's started one war, which they promptly lost and which ended their culture entirely.

Yeah, I didn't really get that either. Nazi "culture" lasted about 15 years, all but vanished, and, though nearly entirely ethnic-based, has been banned and entirely repudiated by the ethnic ancestors of its founders. In a world of 7 billion people, it has the functional equivalent of zero admirers and is thought by nearly everyone to be more debased and useless than Soviet culture.
   1390. Shredder Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4656445)
I suspect Democrats' difficulties in turning out "their" voters will be an issue throughout 2014.
Of course you do. And we already know that. We also know you believed that before a candidate who a) essentially ran as a social Democrat, b) got upset with the press when they pointed out he was a Republican, and c) had no official party affiliation on the ballot, won a low turnout off-cycle local election in an area where Republican affliated candidates have held the office for approximately 20 of the last 22 years. Talk about a bellwether!!
   1391. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4656446)
I'd argue that societies in ascension are vigorous and confident. There's a high level of asabiyyah and internal agreement as to what their culture is and how it's superior to the cultures of others. They do great, or at least bold things. They undertake ambitious construction and/or exploration projects, they fight and win wars. They are expansionist, outward looking, and build empires. They breed. Their elites eschew decadence, or at least discourage it among the non-elites. Their neighbors fear them, or at least regard them with a healthy respect.


* vigorous and confident: Check.
* high level of asabiyyah and internal agreement as to what their culture is and how it's superior to the cultures of others: Check
* They do great, or at least bold things: Check
* they fight and win wars: Well, you never know if you are going to win until you fight. I say check, unless ascension can only be measured in your rear view mirror.
* They are expansionist, outward looking, and build empires: Check.
* They breed. I have no desire to check on fertility rates. Feel free to call this unknown.
* Their elites eschew decadence, or at least discourage it among the non-elites. Check.
* Their neighbors fear them, or at least regard them with a healthy respect: Check.

Yeah, I was way off the mark there, let me tell you.

Look more towards the glory days of ancient Egypt/Greece/Rome, the British Empire, etc.


Yeah anyone with enough intelligence to outsmart a garden salad would rather live in the "decline" of today rather than the "glory" of Ancient Greece.
   1392. GregD Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4656447)
Pew showsthat period as exactly the period where Americans lost their faith in government. Ski slope trajectory.

Seriously there are things about the 60s/70s arrangements that I admire and wish we could bring back, but i don't think it's an era of confidence that institutions could be easily fixed. There are genuine concern in Congress that they would have to issue orders to the Army to depose Nixon and concern about what the Army would do.

I take exactly the opposite view; those years show we can survive some pretty insane stuff--assassinations and impeachments and resignations and mass protests--and our problems of today are serious but not nearly that pressing.
   1393. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4656448)
Yeah anyone with enough intelligence to outsmart a garden salad would rather live in the "decline" of today rather than the "glory" of Ancient Greece.

You do understand that "decline" is a relative term, not an absolute one?
   1394. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4656449)
Nazi "culture" lasted about 15 years


Yes and during that time, by his criteria it was ascendant the whole time until it was obliterated. This is a clue that perhaps this is not the best way to judge ascendency of a culture. Aggressive warlike cultures have a terrible track record since at least 1900. We can walk through that time period and start picking out wars and see how the party that started it fared. Hint, not well. And yet one of his criteria for ascension is staring wars, building empires.

Dumb in the modern world. Really really dumb.
   1395. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4656450)
They breed. I have no desire to check on fertility rates. Feel free to call this unknown.


Well, there's the German Mother's Medal, which was awarded to mothers of at least 4 children. There were 3 classes, bronze for 4 or 5 children, silver for 6 or 7, gold for 8 or more. Yeah, I'd say they were obsessed with breeding.
   1396. Bitter Mouse Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4656451)
You do understand that "decline" is a relative term, not an absolute one?


And mysteriously we are in relative decline since 1979 and yet absolutely better off. Funny how that works out.
   1397. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 13, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4656453)
I thought this was kinda interesting.

Demographics and the GOP

•Of the 12 “battleground” states, Obama won 11—eight of them by a margin of more than 5 percentage points. Remarkably, this meant that if there had been a uniform 5 point swing toward the Republicans in the national popular vote margin—that is, had Romney won the popular vote by 1.1 percentage points instead of losing it by 3.9—Obama would still have prevailed in the Electoral College, winning 23 states and 272 electoral votes.


•In the last two decades of Democratic dominance, 18 states and the District of Columbia have voted Democratic six out of six times. These currently have 242 electoral votes, which is quite close to the 270 needed to win the presidency. There are 13 states that have voted Republican in every election since 1992, but they total just 102 electoral votes.


Its hard for me to see how the electoral map is very good for and Republican challenger when the Dems start the race with a 242-102 lead.

•If minorities reach 30 percent of the vote next time, and the 2016 Democratic nominee again attracts support from roughly 80 percent of them, he or she would need to capture only 37 percent of whites to win a majority of the popular vote. In that scenario, to win a national majority, the GOP would need almost 63 percent of whites. Since 1976, the only Republican who has reached even 60 percent among whites was Reagan
   1398. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: February 13, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4656455)
Pew showsthat period as exactly the period where Americans lost their faith in government. Ski slope trajectory.

But then it rose rather dramatically in the next ten or so years, roughly the period under discussion, before ebbing and flowing as the decline ebbed and flowed.

And, of course, the chart shows another ski slope after roughly 9/11, that we're still in. As previously noted, no serious person could argue that we haven't declined since September 10, 2001. For the reasons noted, I'd start the decline about 20 years before that, but it certainly started no later than 9/10/01. My reading is that 9/11 exacerbated trends already in place.
   1399. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: February 13, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4656456)
Yeah, I didn't really get that either. Nazi "culture" lasted about 15 years, all but vanished, and, though nearly entirely ethnic-based, has been banned and entirely repudiated by the ethnic ancestors of its founders. In a world of 7 billion people, it has the functional equivalent of zero admirers and is thought by nearly everyone to be more debased and useless than Soviet culture.
True. TGF's philosophy is 100% right 100% of the time because only successful cultures that adopt TGF's philosophy count. Unsuccessful ones don't count, because they don't count. Sure, it's a self-selecting sample, but that's what winners do.
   1400. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 13, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4656459)
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NewsblogMLBTR: Padres-Rays-Nationals Agree to Three-Team Trade
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NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - December 2014
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NewsblogPosnanski: The Royals Celebration Tour
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NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-18-2014
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NewsblogOT: Soccer December 2014
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NewsblogL.A. Times: Dodgers designate Brian Wilson for assignment
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