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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

OTP November 2012 - Moneypoll! The Pundits vs. The Election-Data Nerds

Come next Tuesday night, we’ll get a resolution (let’s hope) to a great ongoing battle of 2012: not just the Presidential election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but the one between the pundits trying to analyze that race with their guts and a new breed of statistics gurus trying to forecast it with data.

In Election 2012 as seen by the pundits–political journalists on the trail, commentators in cable-news studios–the campaign is a jump ball. There’s a slight lead for Mitt Romney in national polls and slight leads for Barack Obama in swing-state polls, and no good way of predicting next Tuesday’s outcome beyond flipping a coin. ...

Bonus link: Esquire - The Enemies of Nate Silver

Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 31, 2012 at 11:42 PM | 11298 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mr president, off-topic, politics, sabermetrics, usa

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   9701. Srul Itza At Home Posted: November 23, 2012 at 06:56 PM (#4308481)
I'm not talking about shoddy products, I am talking about poisonous products that have come out of China.
   9702. McCoy Posted: November 23, 2012 at 07:00 PM (#4308484)
Yes, Americans never do that.
   9703. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 23, 2012 at 07:26 PM (#4308492)
I'm not talking about shoddy products, I am talking about poisonous products that have come out of China.


Yes, Americans never do that.

Hell, you can probably spot some of them who advertise right here on the BTF margins. I used to love it when those fly-by-night "supplement" companies would have their ads pop up on our many steroids threads.
   9704. Gotham Dave Posted: November 23, 2012 at 07:30 PM (#4308494)
McCoy, what I’m saying has nothing to do with the relative quality of American-made and foreign-made goods. I’m just saying that if we could produce the same amount of butt comfort with less labor involved, we’d be, collectively, stupid not to do that. I don’t think there’s much value in make-work jobs; if the only reason someone is doing it is to sustain themselves, and in the end it’s not producing any benefit to anyone except their own sustenance, that’s a terrible usage of human potential from an economic point of view.

This applies beyond manufacturing.
   9705. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 23, 2012 at 07:45 PM (#4308496)
your friends must be working in the promotional products industry. that's a hotbed of issues be it in china, vietnam or anywhere else where cheap cr9p is being made for no good purpose other than to be handed out a lame conference in las vegas or orlando


I work in that industry, though not on the purchasing and import end. That's an unfair shot at it though considering that recently there have been problems with stuff like lead paint in children's toys that were made in China. Anything manufactured overseas for companies looking for nothing more than the cheapest price they can get is at risk for dangerous contamination or defects and that includes a whole lot of stuff out there.
   9706. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 23, 2012 at 08:04 PM (#4308501)
She's a joke now, but Coulter actually had a serious legal career at the outset, and even at the beginning of her foray into legal commentary, she was a serious commentor on con law issues. Then she became a loon. (Which I'm convinced is an act to make money, like Rush Limbaugh or Al Gore, but whatever.)


I see what you did there.
   9707. McCoy Posted: November 23, 2012 at 08:45 PM (#4308509)
McCoy, what I’m saying has nothing to do with the relative quality of American-made and foreign-made goods. I’m just saying that if we could produce the same amount of butt comfort with less labor involved, we’d be, collectively, stupid not to do that. I don’t think there’s much value in make-work jobs; if the only reason someone is doing it is to sustain themselves, and in the end it’s not producing any benefit to anyone except their own sustenance, that’s a terrible usage of human potential from an economic point of view.

This applies beyond manufacturing.


Well, whatever you are saying has nothing to do with my point. I was not suggesting make-work jobs.
   9708. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 23, 2012 at 08:58 PM (#4308513)
One of Thomas Sowell's colleagues at a very serious and respected conservative journal whose checks rarely bounce says it's not too late to save America from Hussein X's fraudulent election!
   9709. Srul Itza At Home Posted: November 23, 2012 at 09:48 PM (#4308526)
The really sad part is the person who wrote that stupid article, assuming it is not a hoax attached to his name, failed reading comprehension. Here is the text of the 12th Amendment on which he relies:


The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President


The two thirds requirement relates only to the vote if it goes to the House of Representatives, because it is only in the House that the vote is "taken by states" with "each state having one vote."

Somebody please tell me that the article is a total hoax and that Judson Phillips is not THAT stupid.
   9710. Srul Itza At Home Posted: November 23, 2012 at 09:50 PM (#4308528)
Accidental double
   9711. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 23, 2012 at 10:02 PM (#4308531)
Somebody please tell me that the article is a total hoax and that Judson Phillips is not THAT stupid.

Sorry, but it's not, and he is. There are some angry dudes out there.
   9712. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 23, 2012 at 11:36 PM (#4308542)
Black Friday is for suckers.
Cyber Monday is the real deal.

Though, I should note that if you're a computer gamer like myself, the real joy comes from the Steam fall sale (on now until Nov 26th) and the Steam Winter sale (December 20th to January 4th). Those sales are usually called "wallet destroyers".


Quiet Cyber Monday for me. I was going to do some computer upgrades, but decided to instead wait until Haswell.
   9713. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 23, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4308544)
Hope everyone had a fine Thanksgiving.

re 9589: thanks, Cold Pro.

We get lulled into thinking that most people are just like us, but that isn't true - we're the top 5-10% intellectually, and sometimes reminding ourselves of that is necessary to curb the desire to judge the lifestyle decisions of others I'm addressing myself here as much as anyone).
I like the sense of this a lot. We're not the norm. As for increasing the possibilities for authentically meaningful life and work, I do think there's a lot to be said for states' rights, when it isn't used to mask racist agendas and so forth. I'd like to see more states that really do minimize government intrusion, that don't favor the wealthy by handing off grazing rights, for example, for pennies; that do allow productive homesteading (on the order of forty acres and a mule for those that want) that turns homesteaded land over to people that use it continuously as a primary residence over x years. We have more than enough land for that.

An 'economic rights' agenda that favors workers, the poor, the propertyless? I'd love to see that play out.

@9592: McCoy, I specifically said 'people without prospects', so I think we're talking different things. Your reply was on the order of, people who have prospects deal with things differently. As far as that goes, yes, they do, but not everyone can go to college (for example). I'm not disagreeing with your anecdote, but it's not a counter to what I wrote. The problem of meaningless work that pays next to nothing remains, and the more that decision-making (and wealth) becomes centralized, the worse that problem gets.

Wow - never saw this coming. Saxby Chambliss - "I care more about the country than a 20 year old tax pledge"

If Norquist can't hold the Chambliss' of the world, he's finished.
Guys like Grover don't go away, they retrench. Still, it's remarkable how many Republicans seem to be walking away from the insanity. Any with a calculator, hell, a cocktail napkin, can figure out that the Bush tax cuts contributed mightily to the deficit. I fully expected that if they caved they'd just call the tax increase something else. "Revenue Retrenchment ReEnhancement", maybe.

Bewley summarized what he found this way: “All employers thought cutting the pay of existing employees would cause problems. The main argument was that employee reactions would cost the firm more money than a pay cut would save, so that it would be profitable only if workers accepted it.”
My experience in this kind of situation is that people are simply fired and the remaining employees have to work harder or longer; perhaps even more often, when people retire or change jobs, positions are left unfilled, and the remaining employees have to pick up the slack. That's all too common in human services employment.

My position is that workers have free will. Slavery doesn't exist anymore, so pretending that workers don't have options, and that big bad employers hold all the cards, is deluded. If a worker ultimately doesn't like the job, he or she can quit.
Yeehaw!!
So, Joe doesn't like making eight bucks an hour at Staples, therefore he should quit and find employment at Best Buy, where they pay him eight bucks an hour. Because...

The only thing I can take away from this is that striking for better wages or conditions is, well, gauche, and that if people don't like their jobs they should seek employment elsewhere where they will be paid more because.

What I said on the last page was that if they don't like it, they can find a new job. And I think it's fine to complain internally; it's the protests and the public showings that are BS.

Well, unless you think that public opinion is never a market factor in setting wages and working conditions, or unless you think that workers should unilaterally disarm themselves in trying to shape public opinion, then that position is itself BS.
The awesomeness of Ray's post will reignite stars.

"Mr. Romney, I and my ten thousand co-workers are tired of working for minimum wage and no health insurance. We're surrendering all leverage so as not to discomfit your upcoming weekend of polo, though."

"Well why didn't you SAY so? A living wage and health insurance all around, boys!"

Speaking of WND (World News Daily?) linked to above, in their Big List of Voter Fraud article:

Byron York of the Washington Examiner reports that some 200,000 fewer white voters were recorded in Ohio’s election this year than in 2008. “There are several theories about those missing white voters, but the most plausible is that the ones who were undecideds or weak Republicans were deeply influenced by Obama’s relentless attacks on Romney…”

And in Florida, the Sun Sentinel reported that election workers a week after the election said they found 963 unaccounted-for ballots – in a warehouse. “How can you lose them? This is terrible,” candidate Chickie Brandimarte told officials. Election supervisor Brenda Snipes, however, said it’s routine for various vote totals to be adjusted up until the Nov. 18 final certification.

Stand up to fight against voter fraud right now!

Also in Florida, residents began demanding changes in the electoral system that handed voters chaos, frustration and delays at polling stations. The Florida League of Women Voters and other groups are demanding from Gov. Rick Scott a plan to draft reforms for the state’s elections.


Er, if that's your Big List, I'm guessing you're not going to get very far.

edit: speaking of Steam and sales, TWD video game from Telltale Games is fine, if you enjoy an interactive comic. It's certainly not a good 'game', though. It's much more a point and click adventure, with some occasional button-mashing thrown in, and the inevitably irritating key hunts that tend to dominate these things.

Nick, in an earlier post you mentioned George Will as having had an intellectual heyday before turning into one more flack. What did he write that you think was worthwhile? I'm interested in smart, conservative thinking, so if you have anything to recommend, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
   9714. McCoy Posted: November 23, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4308547)
@9592: McCoy, I specifically said 'people without prospects', so I think we're talking different things. Your reply was on the order of, people who have prospects deal with things differently. As far as that goes, yes, they do, but not everyone can go to college (for example). I'm not disagreeing with your anecdote, but it's not a counter to what I wrote. The problem of meaningless work that pays next to nothing remains, and the more that decision-making (and wealth) becomes centralized, the worse that problem gets.


And how are you defining "prospects"? Is it simply going to college? Is it having a job that you consider respectable? My point was that the newer generation of kids are starting careers in fields that past generations looked down upon.
   9715. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 24, 2012 at 12:15 AM (#4308552)
that is old, old news. i have been working with asian plants since the early 90's. what you have in china is no different than other countries providing low cost manufacturing.


Well I singled out China but it is really any low cost foreign factory - though countries/regions with really corrupt government are the worst. And to be clear it is not just promotional stuff. But it does tend to be with "new relationship" factories. If you don't have a previous solid relationship you have to really work for 6 to 18 months to prove to your new partner you are serious (consequences and everything) and then things are fine - all according to my friend.
   9716. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 24, 2012 at 12:22 AM (#4308553)
My point was that the newer generation of kids are starting careers in fields that past generations looked down upon.


So they're, like, doing their own thing? Not listening to what "the man" tells them they should do? Far out.
   9717. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: November 24, 2012 at 12:36 AM (#4308555)
Though, I should note that if you're a computer gamer like myself, the real joy comes from the Steam fall sale (on now until Nov 26th) and the Steam Winter sale (December 20th to January 4th). Those sales are usually called "wallet destroyers".

But how can Steam Sales destroy your wallet when the games are so cheap?!?! Sure, I may be sitting on 20+ games I've never played, but they probably averaged under $5!
   9718. Mefisto Posted: November 24, 2012 at 12:43 AM (#4308557)
Still, it's remarkable how many Republicans seem to be walking away from the insanity.


I predict that at the end of the day, this is all rhetoric to position themselves as having tried to be reasonable. I don't think they'll agree to anything.
   9719. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 24, 2012 at 12:50 AM (#4308559)
Nick, in an earlier post you mentioned George Will as having had an intellectual heyday before turning into one more flack. What did he write that you think was worthwhile? I'm interested in smart, conservative thinking, so if you have anything to recommend, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

The first time I ever noticed Will was back during Watergate, when he was one of the first conservatives to say that Nixon should resign. My take on him generally is that he's at least capable of empirical observation, but whereas in previous years (long ago by now) those observations would temper his rightward lurches, they're now so selective that they're like grease on a set of brakes.

(Fun Fact: Will's former "quote boy" was my best customer in my first book shop. Used to spend about $1000 every month and gave away every book he bought.)

But if you want to read what IMO is the best sympathetic book about the post-WWII conservative revival, I'd strongly recommend George Nash's The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945. I got and read the original 1976 edition when it came out, but apparently he revised it in 1996. It's worth reading in that it mostly ignores the clown shows and concentrates on people like Kirk, Buckley, Kendall, Goldwater, Burnham, etc. Not that you'll likely agree with them all that much, any more than I do, but Nash is very good at showing how their thinking evolved from their personal backgrounds and experiences, which for the most part (though not always, as in Buckley's case) were a lot different from Mitt Romney's.
   9720. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 24, 2012 at 12:56 AM (#4308560)
Sure, and that's fine, but it wasn't responsive to anything I wrote. Not that it has to be, by any means, but you seemed to want to address my post, as 9592 followed my 9591 and spoke along the same lines in some senses.

"Prospects"? "an apparent probability of advancement, success, profit; the outlook for the future".

As I said, I used college only as an example. My post was addressing the prospects of what we might call the 'terminally blue collar', and my point was that I don't want to see those folks confined to mindless, repetitive work because that's how Scott Walker, Mitt Romney, Sam Walton, and their ilk have rigged the system, and rigged it in a way that causes mindless, repetitive jobs to dominate the blue-collar economic landscape.

This isn't particularly appropriate to the above, but I do think government should be as small as it can be, consistent with ensuring basic human rights. I do think that those rights, however, include health care, clean water, clean air, the right not to be poisoned, the right to organize, the right to deeply offensive speech. More appropriately, and speaking of prospects, there's a lot of talk on the left about the right to work, but there's little talk about that right to meaningful work. Meaningful work is not consistent with corporatized, centralized economics, which in contrast prizes and is based on extreme uniformity.

I'm not sure government should be promoting the arts, even though it would be a sadder world without NPR and the many museums that would close without spending our pooled dollars, and even though I'm one of those geeks that will spend an hour in front of a Turner landscape with a sketchbook and pencil, figuring out the weights and balance that way. Losing museums may be a sacrifice I (rhetorically speaking) have to make, along with helmet and seat belt laws, in order to keep government as small as possible.

I do think government should be picking winners and losers, in a limited sense. Dispersed solar power makes a lot more sense than a nuclear power plant. The way government leans, what it subsidizes through our pooled resources, will largely define which source of power wins out. While it was too extensive, a national highway system would not have been possible without the government creating it. No private company was going to build the New York subway system, and relying primarily on private internal combustion engine buses would have been absurd. It would be crazy to leave our air safety in the hands exclusively of the airlines. And one thousand other examples.

I'm not sure how government can promote decentralized, meaningful work, though, especially for people with otherwise little or no prospects. An extreme possibility might involve reopening some federal land in the west to settlement, to people who want to earn land and permanent homes through sweat equity.*** It would be an interesting experiment, but would require in practice the cooperation of the affected states. Which brings us back to my states' rights reference previously. The states that currently appear to interfere less with economic rights in fact interfere substantially with the economic rights of the disenfranchised, and exist primarily both to sustain wealth and allow for the unlimited expansion of wealth, which in turn results in more and more meaningless work, and results in more and more limited prospects.

It would be fascinating to see a red state that ostensibly stands for 'economic rights' really stand for everyone's economic rights.

***in a very limited sense this is being done around the country, in extremely depressed area. Tiny towns in Nebraska have offered abandoned houses for nothing more than sweat equity. Detroit should try this as well.
   9721. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 24, 2012 at 01:01 AM (#4308562)
9719: thanks for the info. I will put Nash on my reading list. The lick to CSM was terrific.

My experience of Will is that he gets a lot of tips of the hat despite being quite the hack. I assumed he had done something credible quite a while back, but I wasn't clear on what it was. He and Krauthammer get far more respect than they deserve, based on what they say. They seem only slightly saner than Ann Coulter, for example.

I predict that at the end of the day, this is all rhetoric to position themselves as having tried to be reasonable. I don't think they'll agree to anything.
Sad, but likely true, hence my use of "seem". Even the mere appearance is remarkable, though, given how the mere appearance of conciliation exposed a number of Republicans on their right flanks, especially during primary season.
   9722. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 24, 2012 at 03:28 AM (#4308576)
Detroit should try this as well.


I know that several years ago, they had a program where you could buy an abandoned and/or condemned house for $1 from the city if you fixed it up to a certain standard and lived in it for a year. I think that several cities have similar programs. I expect that what winds up happening more often than not is that mostly educated liberals like you and me do it, because we know about the program and think it would be cool/socially responsible.

I'll bet that if uninhabited western lands were opened to subsistence farming, the situation would be similar. Not that it would be a bad thing; those of us with our education in the humanities need to do something.

   9723. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 24, 2012 at 03:43 AM (#4308579)
***in a very limited sense this is being done around the country, in extremely depressed area. Tiny towns in Nebraska have offered abandoned houses for nothing more than sweat equity. Detroit should try this as well.

Detroit has over 30,000 vacant homes. The best thing that could happen is for them to be knocked down. The expense of maintaining roads, police and fire, schools, etc., for such homes is more than the properties would ever generate in property taxes.

(Another "gentrification" debate in 3, 2, 1 ...)

***
I'll bet that if uninhabited western lands were opened to subsistence farming, something similar would happen.

I doubt it, except possibly for a few survivalists. One of the primary rationales for immigration amnesty is that farming is a "job Americans won't do." If they won't do it for market wages, I doubt they'll do it for some land.
   9724. Greg K Posted: November 24, 2012 at 06:29 AM (#4308584)
I doubt it, except possibly for a few survivalists. One of the primary rationales for immigration amnesty is that farming is a "job Americans won't do." If they won't do it for market wages, I doubt they'll do it for some land.

The men of Gregor Clegane speak for modern America!
"Land, ser? Piss on that. If we wanted to grub in the bloody dirt, we could have bloody well stayed home, begging your pardon, ser. Rich rewards, ser said. Meaning gold."
   9725. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 07:46 AM (#4308589)
as i have mentioned in the lounge i am part of an investment group who has purchased a wide swatch of abandoned homes. right now we have a team clearing the properties of squatters. as for the long-term plans that's none of your beeswax.

but there isn't a lefty among my group and not because we exclude folks. all i ever look for is the color green.

correction: there is one since my i am spending what is also my wife's money. she has full knowledge of this investment though not active in the day to day. of course, if she thought there were any exploitation of the poor i would get an earful. she has no issue with me exploiting those with means. we go round and round about that since i good-naturedly tease her that she is a bigot. i should be able to exploit anyone's ignorance or poor decision-making, not just a select group. she disagrees.

whatchagonnado? i love her despite her flawed reasoning.
   9726. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 07:58 AM (#4308590)
farming is a job most americans won't do? what a load of bulls8t.

land values are at an all-time high. most people don't farm because most people don't have the means to make market entry into farming. the federal reserve governor out of kansas city is constantly kvetching about the farm land bubble. iowa families that 10 years ago didn't have a pot to p9ss in are now rich beyond the dreams of avarice

if you are referring to the day to day farming a good many farms have become highly automated to eliminate the need for manual labor.

i have been farming in some capacity since 1938 when i began to help my dad run his sh8tty little farm outside of princeton, wisconsin.

don't surmise about farming based on your beliefs because i guarantee you will sound like a moron.

most people just have no clue about the real state of farming today because you have nitwits writing nonsense books about farming that bear no resemblance to what actually happens.

   9727. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 24, 2012 at 08:21 AM (#4308591)
9719: thanks for the info. I will put Nash on my reading list. The lick to CSM was terrific.

Timothy "quote boy" Dickinson is easily the most Dickensian character surviving in the United States. Wears the same suit every day until his friends ambush him about once a year, strip him naked, ply him with liquor, and go out and buy him a new one. He used to live in the most platonic relationship imaginable at the home of one of Churchill's former mistresses, and kept her garage filled with books that he parceled out as presents to various diplomatic and other friends. In many ways he's the most learned man I've ever met (in the walking encyclopedia and walking Bartlett's sense), and yet he's never had even a checking account or either a deed or a lease in his name. He was the only customer in 23 years who ever stiffed me for any decent amount of money (about $500), and yet beyond the many thousands he spent, he was worth it just for the stories. You can still see him walking around Georgetown, instantly recognizable to anyone who met him even once a long time ago. He's now about 70 and has probably consumed enough alcohol to keep several distilleries in business all by himself, but it wouldn't surprise me if he made it to 90 or even 100. He's a bit like a cat---you could drop him off the highest building and he'll always land softly in his friends' safety net.

My experience of Will is that he gets a lot of tips of the hat despite being quite the hack. I assumed he had done something credible quite a while back, but I wasn't clear on what it was. He and Krauthammer get far more respect than they deserve, based on what they say. They seem only slightly saner than Ann Coulter, for example.

Will gets partial credit for his early turn against Nixon, and to a lesser extent for his writing style, which is easy to parody but still rises well above his fellow Derangementers. (sp?) And while Krauthammer is in Full Derangement Mode pretty much anytime Obama sets foot in Washington or elsewhere, his background with The New Republic and his longtime association with Gordon Peterson still gives him a faint trace of respectability. Of course his main attachment to TNR was to Marty Peretz, which is kind of a mixed bag in itself. He can still be eloquent when writing about Godwin I or Godwin II as long he remains safely in the past, but when he gets into the present day he has a lot of problems.
   9728. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 24, 2012 at 08:23 AM (#4308592)
don't surmise about farming based on your beliefs because i guarantee you will sound like a moron.

A good point that can be applied to several hundred other occupations.
   9729. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 08:25 AM (#4308593)
the other end of the farming spectrum are the niche farms that have sprung up to satisfy the need for folks wanting/begging to spend oodles to get what they think are 'pure' veggies or whatnot.

you guys should listen to the npr you claim to love. those folks have done a whole series of discussions about the various types of farming happening in the u.s.

it's times like this that make me wonder whether i should believe this group on the topics of which i do not have firsthand knowledge. there are resources available to the lefties here that they would consider reliable and yet the lack of awareness is pretty startling. (referencing farming)

i bet you guys don't even know about veggie u
   9730. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 24, 2012 at 08:31 AM (#4308594)
farming is a job most americans won't do? what a load of bulls8t.

...

don't surmise about farming based on your beliefs because i guarantee you will sound like a moron.

There's a big difference between owning a farm and working on a farm (or subsistence farming, as per #9722). Americans haven't been lining up to do the latter two in decades. (And even if a person wanted to subsistence farm, he'd need $50,000 to $100,000 in cash or credit to build a home and buy equipment.)

(For the record, I don't believe there are "jobs Americans won't do," just jobs Americans won't do for cut-rate wages. Since the lefties here don't want to toss millions of illegal immigrants out of the country, and since low-skill wages won't rise so long as there's a surplus of low-skill labor, we're stuck with the status quo.)
   9731. Lassus Posted: November 24, 2012 at 08:42 AM (#4308595)
I know that several years ago, they had a program where you could buy an abandoned and/or condemned house for $1 from the city if you fixed it up to a certain standard and lived in it for a year. I think that several cities have similar programs.

My brother did this in Syracuse as part of the massive attempt at renewal involved in the Carousel Center and surrounding areas. (Fayette and Marcellus)


Since the lefties here don't want to toss millions of illegal immigrants out of the country

Don't forget the libertarians!
   9732. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 08:45 AM (#4308598)
joe

people have been lining up to form groups to invest in farming for the past 20 odd years. they pool their cash to rent land, have someone work the land for cash crops and then split whatever profits are generated. this is a direction farming has taken for a while

and i don't know what you mean by 50 or 100k because farming equipment is expensive by any measure be it used or new. and not knowing the amount to be tilled, etc i cannot give a precise estimate of investment required

but 50k will get you a niced used tractor

that is about the extent i will willing to exchange with you because it's not good for company see republicans argue plus i sense a knowledge gap here of which i have low tolerance.

so feel free to tell me i don't know my business of 60 years but don't expect much of a response.
   9733. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 24, 2012 at 08:54 AM (#4308599)
and i don't know what you mean by 50 or 100k because farming equipment is expensive by any measure be it used or new. and not knowing the amount to be tilled, etc i cannot give a precise estimate of investment required

but 50k will get you a niced used tractor

that is about the extent i will willing to exchange with you because it's not good for company see republicans argue plus i sense a knowledge gap here of which i have low tolerance.

so feel free to tell me i don't know my business of 60 years but don't expect much of a response.

The discussion here was about the likelihood of people to move out to the middle of nowhere to "subsistence farm" (#9722), not about the overall profitability of the farming industry. If you're claiming that it would cost even more than $50,000 to $100,000 to get a subsistence farm up and running, that helps to prove my point rather than refute it.
   9734. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 09:15 AM (#4308600)
depending on the nature of farmland a lease cost per acre can range from 50 to 600 dollars per acre. that gets paid up front before the farming season begins which means february or so.

there are very, very few plots of arable land that are sitting fallow.

and again, npr ran stories on folks looking to get started in farming organic and the challenges they encountered in just getting access to the land. they had to use a land broker.

why is the guy who only listens to npr to understand the mindset of the other side more aware of this stuff?
   9735. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4308601)
on a personal level i get approached by well to do folks all the time looking to hobby farm who think they will be doing my wife and i a favor by renting the land and then balk at the going rate

it would help if folks did their research and also not assume old farmers are bumpkins

we may not know the latest trends in fashion but we know the latest in farmland values

to the penny
   9736. Lassus Posted: November 24, 2012 at 09:37 AM (#4308602)
there are very, very few plots of arable land that are sitting fallow.

Something even I knew. And why quite a few people - at least up here - are freaked out in the extreme about even the possibility of screwing up what land there is with fracking.

(Something NPR also has some opinions on. ;-) )
   9737. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 10:27 AM (#4308611)
lassus

understood.

it's very possible that having gone from sleeping in a non-cimate-controlled drafty farmhouse on a mattress stuffed with corn stalks as bedding i am more welcoming of technological change than others. i appreciate the wizardry of the increasingly modern age.

adverse to change? just the opposite. i welcome the new advances. and if there are a few broken eggs along the way then that is the price to be paid.

not diminishing any concerns as it relates to human health. but i do think there is far too much unfounded fear being spread in the name of protecting the status quo. which means nothing changes.

that doesn't sit well with me
   9738. McCoy Posted: November 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4308615)
You've got one wacko troll of a Republican ignorantly opining about farming in America. I'm not sure why liberals on this board or really anyone besides Joe is getting knocked because of this one silly Republican.
   9739. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 11:13 AM (#4308625)
lassus

speaking of technology i had to have my son help me synch the garage door openers to my new truck. just not quick enough scooting from the opener's brains to the truck and back

grumble, grumble
   9740. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: November 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4308649)

But how can Steam Sales destroy your wallet when the games are so cheap?!?! Sure, I may be sitting on 20+ games I've never played, but they probably averaged under $5!


Speaking of the current Steam sale, I got the itch to play a decent Fantasy 4X game after reading the reviews for Elemental: Fallen Enchantress.

But when reading some of the user comments on the reviews, I learned about a fantasy Mod for Civ IV called Fall From Heaven II that sounded pretty damn awesome as well.

Anybody have any experience with either of them?
   9741. tshipman Posted: November 24, 2012 at 12:56 PM (#4308657)
But when reading some of the user comments on the reviews, I learned about a fantasy Mod for Civ IV called Fall From Heaven II that sounded pretty damn awesome as well.


I've been moderately obsessed with Civ IV and various mods thereof. I've played over 100 hours of FFH 2. The campaigns are really fun, and the actual mod itself hangs together in a way that most total mods don't. I would say it is unquestionably the best of the Civ IV mods, and debatably a better game than the original game. I believe you need Warlords to play it. I'd recommend it. Without giving away too many spoilers, what makes the game so much better is not the magic concept, which is sort of interesting, but ultimately eh, but the Hero concept, which is really interesting and very well developed. There's a lot more parity between units, so keeping your units alive matters a lot more than in the vanilla game.

I doubt it, except possibly for a few survivalists. One of the primary rationales for immigration amnesty is that farming is a "job Americans won't do." If they won't do it for market wages, I doubt they'll do it for some land.


Joe is not disagreeing all that much with Harveys.
   9742. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 24, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4308660)
But how can Steam Sales destroy your wallet when the games are so cheap?!?!


When they implemented the "wishlist" option on Steam, it made it REALLY easy for me to do my Xmas shopping for my remotely located friends.
My favourite trick is to find some nicely rated game that is super cheap, add it to my cart, and when I select "give gift through Steam", it shows me my friends and which ones have it on their wishlists.

The other kicker was allowing me to buy a game as a gift with no intended recipient, and just keeping it in my inventory without it appearing in my library.
I grabbed a bunch of games during previous sales, and just hung on to them. Some of them I added to my own library eventually, but others I might give away later.

As soon as Torchlight II drops to 50% off, I'm going to be snagging that for sure.
   9743. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: November 24, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4308666)
I've been moderately obsessed with Civ IV and various mods thereof. I've played over 100 hours of FFH 2. The campaigns are really fun, and the actual mod itself hangs together in a way that most total mods don't. I would say it is unquestionably the best of the Civ IV mods, and debatably a better game than the original game. I believe you need Warlords to play it. I'd recommend it. Without giving away too many spoilers, what makes the game so much better is not the magic concept, which is sort of interesting, but ultimately eh, but the Hero concept, which is really interesting and very well developed. There's a lot more parity between units, so keeping your units alive matters a lot more than in the vanilla game.


Good stuff, thanks!

I think I'm leaning Civ IV & FFH 2, which is a little disappointing, considering that the lead designer for FFH 2 is also responsible for Elemental: FE and by all accounts that newer game is dumber and buggier than the older game developed simply as a mod on an existing system.

Oh, well.

The last Civ I played was III and good God did that swallow me whole. Haven't played IV, but Steam has a 4 pack of the game and expansions for IV that includes Swords (which is necessary for FFH 2, as I understand it) for 14.95.

Cover me, I'm going in ...
   9744. tshipman Posted: November 24, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4308682)
The last Civ I played was III and good God did that swallow me whole. Haven't played IV, but Steam has a 4 pack of the game and expansions for IV that includes Swords (which is necessary for FFH 2, as I understand it) for 14.95.


Civ IV is, in my opinion, the best game ever made. It's better in almost every way from III. 5 was a huge disappointment to me.

Replay-ability is off the charts and each difficulty level genuinely presents new challenges. Tactics that steamroll at Prince are ineffective at Monarch and so on. I can win pretty consistently on Emperor and I do fairly well on Immortal. Deity seems to be completely impossible.

I will say that probably the only real tuning thing about IV is that chopping is too powerful and that higher difficulty levels basically makes you dependent on it.

Edit: you should play 3-5 games of vanilla before playing FFH, in my opinion.
   9745. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 24, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4308711)
Though, I should note that if you're a computer gamer like myself,


I'll bite: Which computer games are you guys playing, and on which system(s)? If you had to recommend two or three of them to someone with an open mind to try, which ones would they be?

Is the genre you are talking about adventure games? I presume it's not sports.
   9746. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 24, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4308718)
Here's another story for Joe to unskew:

Republicans face unexpected challenges in coastal South amid shrinking white vote

...In every Southern state except Louisiana, the population of African-Americans grew substantially faster than that of whites over the past decade. The growth is fueled by black retirees from the North and rising numbers of young, well-educated blacks in prosperous cities such as Atlanta, Norfolk, Charlotte, and Charleston, S.C.

The influx also includes fast-growing, but still smaller, Hispanic populations and an infusion of less-conservative outsiders attracted to popular coastal areas. Together, the shifts are making the electoral landscape from Virginia to the Carolinas look increasingly like the swing state of Florida.

Obama’s 2012 numbers in the Southern coastal states outperformed every Democratic nominee since Carter and significantly narrowed past gaps between Democratic and Republican candidates....

The proportion of white voters in the South is also shrinking. Southern whites voted overwhelmingly for Romney, but in six Southern states, far fewer of them appear to have gone to the polls on Nov. 6 than the number who voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008.

In Florida, the portion of all votes cast by whites this year fell to 66 percent, down from 73 percent in 2000. In Georgia, the number of white voters declined while African-American registrations increased nearly 6 percent and Hispanic voters grew by 36 percent.

“Republicans can focus all they want on Hispanics,” said John Anzalone, a Montgomery, Ala., pollster who helped analyze swing states for the Obama campaign. “But they also have a problem with whites, in this election cycle, just showing up.”...

Rev. C.L. Bryant, an African-American tea party activist from DeSoto Parish, La., helped lead a spirited effort by some of the most conservative GOP-aligned groups to use Obama’s support for gay marriage as an opening to appeal to socially conservative black voters....

But the issues had little apparent impact on Obama’s support within the black community....“We were all basically stunned at the results,” said Bryant. “It is very clear that the direction of the Republican Party — the conservative movement — is necessarily going to have to include the changing face of America and address the concerns of minorities, blacks, Latinos, and even younger white women, all young people.... It has to happen or we’re going to be insignificant.”


Of course the funniest thing would be for these states to "secede" and then 10 years later wind up with non-white run state governments.
   9747. Mefisto Posted: November 24, 2012 at 05:48 PM (#4308732)
Andy, if they secede, I guarantee their governments will be white run. That's kinda the point.
   9748. Jay Z Posted: November 24, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4308734)
there are very, very few plots of arable land that are sitting fallow.


Harvey, my mom grew up north of Antigo, and there is stuff that used to be farmed that no longer is. There is less farming in the immediate neighborhood where she grew up. The potato country closer to Antigo is all used.

I suspect the same is true of a lot of northern tracts. There are places where it's an issue of profitability. Not that nothing could be grown there, but it's not worth the effort in 2012. Land isn't all that great.

That is about the extent of my knowledge of farm life.
   9749. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 24, 2012 at 06:19 PM (#4308744)
Of course the funniest thing would be for these states to "secede" and then 10 years later wind up with non-white run state governments.

Andy, if they secede, I guarantee their governments will be white run. That's kinda the point.


Yeah, until the demographics kick in. I suppose that these neo-Confederate states could probably try delaying the demographic trends by putting all sorts of racist limitations on citizenship and by making minority voting nearly impossible, but unless their non-Confederate minded citizens just packed up and left, and unless the United States just twiddled their thumbs and said "That's a shame", I doubt if they'd get away with it for too long. This isn't the 1890's.

And of course the whole secession movement is a joke to begin with, just like the people promoting it. You couldn't find a sorrier bunch of losers on the roster of the 1899 Cleveland Spiders.
   9750. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 24, 2012 at 06:29 PM (#4308745)
farming is a job most americans won't do? what a load of bulls8t.
While Jesus weeps over your evicting squatters, the above is true. Also, it's remiss to think that most people taking advantage of a land/settlement offer are going to become full time farmers. That's so odd it didn't even occur to me to stipulate.

A lot of families around here, (a real lot, not just a few lot) make ends meet from the land. After my dad retired he gardened half an acre by himself and while he gave the food away if he had wanted to make money from his produce, could have easily netted $5,000 a year. He grew prize leeks for fun in raised beds, and could have picked up 2 grand a year just for those from our county's gourmet restaurants. My neighbor has a dozen chickens and a 15 by 20 garden; that in combination with buying meat in bulk, and his food bill for four is surprisingly small. There's a vegetarian community up the road that has some acres under cultivation. They raise chickens on food scraps for guests. Their food bill is also minimal, even though farming is only a small part of what they do.

You've got one wacko troll of a Republican ignorantly opining about farming in America. I'm not sure why liberals on this board or really anyone besides Joe is getting knocked because of this one silly Republican.
This puzzled me, too.

there are very, very few plots of arable land that are sitting fallow.
This is true for large-scale farming. But. Most lots in my county, which are two acres or more (except for commercial zoning by roads which are grandfathered or 30,000 sf+), could easily support farming on 70% of more of the land. It wouldn't reward factory farmers, but it's more than enough to substantially cut the cost of living for families. There's a saying around here that 'chickens feed the family, but pigs pay the mortgage', and that's true where the breadwinners have full-time jobs off the property, not just among families where farming is the primary occupation. There are more wood stoves in this neck of the woods than I like to see, but I do know plenty of families that heat primarily with wood cut on their own property. For you urban Republicans, 'living off the land' isn't just something that hippies do.

you guys should listen to the npr you claim to love.
Just... shhhh. :-)

edit: speaking of which, if end up on a five acre lot with four plus acres wooded, with thoughtful cutting and especially if I plant some fast growers that burn decently, using a high efficiency low polluting wood stove I won't pay a dime for heat or hot water in a part of the country where a $2500 heating bill isn't at all unusual. And I can do that sort of thing in very few hours. People who don't live on the land can too easily forget just how bountiful it ease.
   9751. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 24, 2012 at 06:45 PM (#4308750)
Er, "bountiful it is".
   9752. Srul Itza Posted: November 24, 2012 at 06:53 PM (#4308754)
farming is a job most americans won't do? what a load of bulls8t.


Well, you start with the 47% who don't want to work at all, because they are living off government handouts.

Then you factor in the rich liberal elites who won't get their hands dirty, and the rich Republicans who don't have to work the land, because they have gardeners for that sort of thing..

I think that gets you pretty close to a majority right there.
   9753. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 07:04 PM (#4308758)
urban republicans?

i live in rural southeast wisconsin. and have since 1955. i have gradually expanded my acreage over many years.

and don't tell me any sob stories about poverty. i grew up dirt poor where most christmases the only present i received was some homemade socks and a homemade candied apple

i hate internet games of oneupsmanship but having someone tell me i don't know poor is ridiculous.

   9754. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 07:05 PM (#4308759)
srul

i am not tracking. sorry.
   9755. Srul Itza Posted: November 24, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4308767)
It's a [poor] joke based on Mitt's 47% comment, and then adding in the rich elites, to get to a "majority".

In point of fact, while I don't think we are lacking in people who are willing to work the land, given how urbanized our country is, I think that the idea that a majority of Americans are not suited for farm work by inclination or skill is not unreasonable. The mechanization of large parts of farm work has greatly increased the farming leverage, i.e., the number of people who can be fed by the work of one farmer. Where large amounts of labor are needed for seasonal work, those are available, too, but I don't know that you will find the necessary number of willing and able hands among the urban poor.
   9756. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4308794)
srul

ok.

   9757. Swoboda is freedom Posted: November 24, 2012 at 08:49 PM (#4308817)
farming is a job most americans won't do? what a load of bulls8t.

My grandmother was raised on a dairy farm. My dad was born there, but my grandparents left to work in New York. My great aunt took over and my second cousin now runs the place. I have never been more thankful for a decision in my life. I spend a lot of summers there and boy what a hard life. Lots of real hard work, every day, in the middle of no where. Emphasis on every day. Christmas, every holiday, Saturday, Sunday, those cows have to be milked.

I know I wouldn't want to do it.
   9758. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 24, 2012 at 09:09 PM (#4308819)
Shoulda raised beefs.

I've raised pigs and chickens before, small-scale stuff but I've been in several commercial operations. Forget large-scale poultry production but I wouldn't mind having a few dozen sows if I had the land.
   9759. Random Transaction Generator Posted: November 24, 2012 at 09:21 PM (#4308821)
I'll bite: Which computer games are you guys playing, and on which system(s)? If you had to recommend two or three of them to someone with an open mind to try, which ones would they be?


PC gaming is pretty diverse.

For this politics thread, I'd recommend the Civilization series (with Civ V being the newest iteration). Full control of almost every aspect of your people's growth, with many varied methods of winning.

For adventure/RPG, then it's Skyrim, Mass Effect, or Deus Ex. That covers fantasy worlds, space, and future sci-fi.

For single player fun, Portal (and Portal 2) are awesome.
   9760. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 24, 2012 at 09:23 PM (#4308824)
swoboda/joba

all livestock raising has its unique elements. i roll my eyes when the squabbling begins at who has it the hardest. i have done them all and nobody has the upper hand.

i cannot stand goats. folks complain about the smell of hog manure but keep the goats from me. bah. royal pains
   9761. McCoy Posted: November 24, 2012 at 09:51 PM (#4308832)
Total War series.
   9762. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 24, 2012 at 11:22 PM (#4308886)
Total War series.


Yup, yup, and yup. Love those games.

Set the wayback machine to 2010 and check out a previous gaming thread on BBTF. So little has changed - consoles still stink, Total War still awesome.

Also, Team Fortress 2 is now FREE through Steam, and Left 4 Dead 2 is available for a whopping $5. C'mon y'all, let's get something going!
   9763. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: November 24, 2012 at 11:25 PM (#4308890)
I'll bite: Which computer games are you guys playing, and on which system(s)? If you had to recommend two or three of them to someone with an open mind to try, which ones would they be?


PC gaming is pretty diverse.

For this politics thread, I'd recommend the Civilization series (with Civ V being the newest iteration). Full control of almost every aspect of your people's growth, with many varied methods of winning.

For adventure/RPG, then it's Skyrim, Mass Effect, or Deus Ex. That covers fantasy worlds, space, and future sci-fi.

For single player fun, Portal (and Portal 2) are awesome.


The Civilization series are great, but dangerously addictive. They can be played on both PCs and Macs.

Skyrim is fantastic -- probably the best game I've ever played -- and comes in versions for PC and for the PS3 and Xbox consoles. The earlier game in the series -- Oblivion -- is also excellent. Although Skyrim is a sequel to Oblivion the plots aren't closely related and there's no particular need to play Oblivion first.

I liked the Mass Effect series as well, although not as much as Skyrim. WIth them it is probably more important to play at least 2 and 3 in sequence -- 3 would be hard to follow without having played 2, IMO.

I haven't played the other games RTG lists, and would have to say that the other games I've played recently aren't as good as any of those listed above.

   9764. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: November 24, 2012 at 11:30 PM (#4308896)
Someone mentioned Torchlight 2, which is definitely fun as long as you have any sort of interest in its genre.
   9765. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 24, 2012 at 11:58 PM (#4308932)
You've got one wacko troll of a Republican ignorantly opining about farming in America. I'm not sure why liberals on this board or really anyone besides Joe is getting knocked because of this one silly Republican. — McCoy

What a weird discussion. I say large numbers of low-skill people won't subsistence farm because it's tough work and the financial barriers to entry are too great. Harveys rolls in, essentially calls me a moron, and then says ... large numbers of people won't subsistence farm because the financial barriers to entry are too great. And then, to add to the weirdness, McCoy (above) and "Something Other" (oops, I mean "Jack Carter") pretend that Harveys gave me some big smackdown. Bizarre, even by BBTF standards.

Oh, well. Moving along ...

Also, it's remiss to think that most people taking advantage of a land/settlement offer are going to become full time farmers. That's so odd it didn't even occur to me to stipulate.

I thought the premise was that people who were struggling with employment would be given land on which they could subsistence farm? Now the premise is that such people are going to relocate, somehow start up a farm from scratch and then operate it, *and* continue working some other low-skill job elsewhere?

Any poor or underemployed person with that type of work ethic wouldn't be poor for long in the first place.

Here's another story for Joe to unskew:

Republicans face unexpected challenges in coastal South amid shrinking white vote

...In every Southern state except Louisiana, the population of African-Americans grew substantially faster than that of whites over the past decade. The growth is fueled by black retirees from the North and rising numbers of young, well-educated blacks in prosperous cities such as Atlanta, Norfolk, Charlotte, and Charleston, S.C.

We've been through this before, Andy. The demographics are obviously trending in an unfavorable way for the GOP right now, but the larger problems facing the U.S. are trending even more negatively and doing so even quicker. I believe the U.S.'s financial and economic problems are likely to cause an electoral and/or political realignment long before demographic changes do so.
   9766. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 25, 2012 at 01:17 AM (#4309022)
I believe the U.S.'s financial and economic problems


Good luck with this argument, Joe. Like with global warming, opposition from liberals to the idea that the US is headed for greater financial trouble as we plunge ourselves deeper into socialism is faith-based; they either don't know any better, or they simply don't care. It's a particularly dangerous brand of Denialism, and no amount of education will get the Party of Science to change its mind.
   9767. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 25, 2012 at 02:17 AM (#4309040)
Skyrim is fantastic -- probably the best game I've ever played -- and comes in versions for PC and for the PS3 and Xbox consoles.


The console versions miss out on the robust mod scene, which transforms a pretty good RPG out of the box into arguably the best cRPG evah. Even if your computer can't run the game like this you can still access some serious game mechanics-changing modifications. The unmodded console version is a nice game, but Skyrim doesn't come close to its potential on those platforms. You throw this, this, this, and this (and maybe even this, because hey, you're not made out of stone) on top of a really nice game engine and you're basically playing a different, much more interesting game.

   9768. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 25, 2012 at 02:20 AM (#4309041)
urban republicans?

i live in rural southeast wisconsin. and have since 1955. i have gradually expanded my acreage over many years.

and don't tell me any sob stories about poverty. i grew up dirt poor where most christmases the only present i received was some homemade socks and a homemade candied apple

i hate internet games of oneupsmanship but having someone tell me i don't know poor is ridiculous.


What on earth?

I can't imagine taking you for an urban republican. Sorry to disappoint, but I just wasn't thinking about you. The only people here who could possibly be taken for right urbanites are Joe and Ray RDP.
   9769. Srul Itza At Home Posted: November 25, 2012 at 03:15 AM (#4309050)
i cannot stand goats


Ah, memories of my time in India, being served "mutton", aka goat. Stringy and not particularly tasty.
   9770. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 25, 2012 at 03:24 AM (#4309054)
Also, Team Fortress 2 is now FREE through Steam, and Left 4 Dead 2 is available for a whopping $5. C'mon y'all, let's get something going!

Still playing TF2? I still play a lot.
   9771. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 25, 2012 at 09:05 AM (#4309073)
We've been through this before, Andy. The demographics are obviously trending in an unfavorable way for the GOP right now, but the larger problems facing the U.S. are trending even more negatively and doing so even quicker. I believe the U.S.'s financial and economic problems are likely to cause an electoral and/or political realignment long before demographic changes do so.

Could be, but for the Republicans to take advantage of that, they're going to have to offer something a little more substantial than faith-based supply side economics where nearly all of the profits go to the upper 1%. It might also help if it got over its Obama obsession and started listening to a few people outside their little Tea Party bubble.

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

Good luck with this argument, Joe. Like with global warming, opposition from liberals to the idea that the US is headed for greater financial trouble as we plunge ourselves deeper into socialism is faith-based; they either don't know any better, or they simply don't care. It's a particularly dangerous brand of Denialism, and no amount of education will get the Party of Science to change its mind.

That'd be a more convincing line of thought if people like you hadn't been screaming "socialism and doom!" for the past 80 years, from the New Deal right down to the present. Faith-based science and faith-based supply side economics is one hell of a combination you've got there.
   9772. Greg K Posted: November 25, 2012 at 09:09 AM (#4309076)
One other genre left out that I think would be quite up the average BTF-ers alley.

The historical games Paradox puts out.

A bit more restrictive when it comes to historical context than Civ, so in some ways less flexible, but so much richer in detail. I should note I'm not saying they're better than Civ, I am hopelessly addicted to both.*

Crusader Kings (now in its 2nd version) covers the medieval era
Europa Universalis (3) covers 1399-1820
Victoria (2) covers 1830-1920
Hearts of Iron (3) covers WW2

*As a note on Civ, I've come to the realization that the only way I can play now is to do hot-seat multiplayer and control all nations. I don't like the AI, and the guys who play online are far too good for me. It's a really satisfying way to play as you don't have to worry about "playing to win" and you can just role play the various leaders and make decisions based on personality and immediacy, rather than scoring points.
   9773. Greg K Posted: November 25, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4309078)
I suppose what Ray was really asking for was a description of what these games entail, so I'll take a shot with Europa Universalis as it is what I am currently playing.

You start out in 1399 and you can choose any nation/kingdom/principality in the world (ie. Bremen, England, the Incas, the Cherokee, or one of the Japanese feudal lords...anything.) Though there are limits of historical accuracy. If you play the Incas you're going to need a hell of a lot of skill and luck to survive until the end. You control all aspects of your nation - taxes, cultural and social reforms, military, finance (watch out, inflation is a #####!), diplomacy, technological research, and religion among others. It's all a matter of building friendships and alliances, isolating enemies diplomatically, and carefully nursing casus belli (declaring war for no reason, or exacting more of a punishment on your enemy than your stated reason for going to war will have a detrimental effect on your standing in the world). It's essentially like picking a date and getting a historical do-over from that time on. In my current game I salvaged the Byzantine Empire and by 1760 now control the Balkans, Turkey, the Coast of the Med across to Libya as well as colonies in Cameroon, Colobmia and Nova Scotia. The Spanish (who controlled most of North America) just entirely imploded and their colonies have sprouted into independent states like Venezuela, Mexico, and the United States (which is a thin strip on the coast from Maryland to Georgia. Brazil has also declared independence from Lithuania.
   9774. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 25, 2012 at 09:59 AM (#4309083)
Thanks, all, for the info on the games.
   9775. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: November 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4309105)
Joe: Are you capable of admitting you're wrong? In even the smallest capacity?
   9776. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 25, 2012 at 11:38 AM (#4309110)
Good luck with this argument, Joe. Like with global warming,


This is ####### classic trolling, Ray. Just classic. Kudos.
   9777. AuntBea Posted: November 25, 2012 at 11:55 AM (#4309114)
i live in rural southeast wisconsin. and have since 1955. i have gradually expanded my acreage over many year


Harveys: Anywhere near Jefferson? My brother inherited some farmland near there.
   9778. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 25, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4309197)
Joe: Are you capable of admitting you're wrong? In even the smallest capacity?

Are you referring to the weird exchange with Harveys? If so, you might want to re-read it.
   9779. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: November 25, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4309200)
Crusader Kings (now in its 2nd version) covers the medieval era

Crusader Kings 2 is hella fun.
   9780. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: November 25, 2012 at 03:43 PM (#4309202)
This is ####### classic trolling, Ray. Just classic. Kudos.

In all those hundreds of threads where he refuses to believe concepts like "It is possible for a hitting coach to change a player's swing in a beneficial way" because there is insufficient evidence from nonpartisan case-control double-blinded clinical studies, I never knew he thought the evidence for CLIMATE CHANGE was also insufficient. What a laugh.
   9781. Langer Monk Posted: November 25, 2012 at 04:17 PM (#4309211)
Couple additions to the video games mini-sub-thread:

The Paradox games are great (CK2, EU3, etc.). Also they are working on the 4th iteration of EU, due late 2013. Also, Magicka is great fun (up to 4 player co-op, little wizards blowing #### up).

I can't be the only one playing Eve - internet spaceships are serious business.

And of course the building type games, Minecraft or Terraria.

PS3 games - Batman: Arkham Asylum is great. I have Arkham City, but saving it for a nice long uninterrupted weekend.
   9782. Greg K Posted: November 25, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4309215)
Also they are working on the 4th iteration of EU, due late 2013

Didn't know that, exciting!
   9783. Greg K Posted: November 25, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4309216)
Speaking of the current Steam sale, I got the itch to play a decent Fantasy 4X game after reading the reviews for Elemental: Fallen Enchantress.

Since you brought it to my attention I've downloaded it. Just finished playing my first hour or so and I have to say, it is great fun.
   9784. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 25, 2012 at 06:49 PM (#4309251)
Mopping up: Mitt Romney down to 47.5036% of the national vote. If his percentage dips another 0.0037%, which is considered likely due to where the remaining uncounted ballots are located, Romney's 2012 campaign gets to have a 47% next to it for all time. And they say irony is dead.
   9785. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 25, 2012 at 09:40 PM (#4309335)
Also, Team Fortress 2 is now FREE through Steam, and Left 4 Dead 2 is available for a whopping $5. C'mon y'all, let's get something going!

Still playing TF2? I still play a lot.


Well if you're looking for another warm body to gib, come find "Party With Nixon!" on Steam.
   9786. Lassus Posted: November 25, 2012 at 09:44 PM (#4309338)
If Texas secedes, is there an over-under on how long before the Mexican cartels take over the state?
   9787. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 25, 2012 at 09:51 PM (#4309342)
Whatever it is, I'll take the "over."
   9788. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 25, 2012 at 10:17 PM (#4309361)
the US is headed for greater financial trouble as we plunge ourselves deeper into socialism is faith-based


I would love either Joe or Ray to explain step by step how this economic collapse is going to happen. Because I would love to see all the evidence that I am denying. Special points if you manage to actually use the word socialism correctly.
   9789. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 25, 2012 at 10:45 PM (#4309380)
I would love either Joe or Ray to explain step by step how this economic collapse is going to happen.

I don't have a "step by step" in mind, but we're already starting to see the beginnings of economic collapse. California, a bastion of "progressivism," has 12 percent of the country's population but 33 percent of the country's welfare recipients. The state is seeing bigger and bigger cities plunge into bankruptcy, with at least one city now delinquent in paying its pension obligations to the state. The situation is trending worse instead of better, with cities from Sacramento to Los Angeles facing major financial problems. Many of the same problems exist across the country, especially the Rust Belt and upstate New York, where cities from Detroit to Syracuse face major financial challenges.

The federal government might be able to print money, but the states can't. When even liberal governors and mayors are starting to fight with labor unions, it's obvious the financial situation is dire at the state and local level. As soon as some pensions get slashed or some welfare checks don't go out, all hell will break loose. It might be 2013, it might be 2015, or it might be 2020, but it's coming, unless a major economic miracle occurs in the meantime (e.g., a breakthrough energy source).

9 million people on disability, 23 million people unemployed or underemployed, 47 million people on food stamps, 60 million people on Medicaid. These numbers just aren't sustainable. And that's before we get to Social Security and Medicare, which face huge problems of their own, to the tune of trillions of dollars in unfunded obligations.
   9790. McCoy Posted: November 25, 2012 at 10:49 PM (#4309385)
Boogedy-boogedy.
   9791. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 25, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4309396)
As soon as some pensions get slashed or some welfare checks don't go out, all hell will break loose.


Pensions get slashed all the time. Welfare checks are in no danger of not going out.

These numbers just aren't sustainable.

Why not?

And that's before we get to Social Security and Medicare, which face huge problems of their own, to the tune of trillions of dollars in unfunded obligations.


Medicaid has issues. Social Security doesn't (not really anyway). The conflation of the two always annoys me.
   9792. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 25, 2012 at 11:20 PM (#4309404)
Pensions get slashed all the time.

Not via municipal bankruptcy, but that's coming down the road, and soon.

Welfare checks are in no danger of not going out.

Maybe not today, but what about 2013 or 2015 or 2020? Cities and states are furloughing workers to save money. If teachers and police and firefighters can be laid off, then welfare checks can be cut or suspended.

These numbers just aren't sustainable.
Why not?

Why not? Because states and cities can't print money. Otherwise, if the numbers were sustainable, government wouldn't be slashing workers to save money.

Teachers and police officers and firefighters are being laid off, and infrastructure is being allowed to crumble, so that state and city governments can pay for the welfare state. The numbers simply aren't sustainable. If they were, liberals like Rahm Emanuel wouldn't be fighting the labor unions.
   9793. Lassus Posted: November 25, 2012 at 11:27 PM (#4309406)
I don't have a "step by step" in mind, but we're already starting to see the beginnings of economic collapse.

Just happened to be in Boston this morning:

Shoppers showing signs of confidence - Increasingly confident that the economy is on the mend, US consumers are starting to spend more freely again
   9794. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 25, 2012 at 11:38 PM (#4309410)
Just happened to be in Boston this morning:

Shoppers showing signs of confidence - Increasingly confident that the economy is on the mend, US consumers are starting to spend more freely again

People spending a little more at Christmas isn't going to bring San Bernardino out of bankruptcy, or help many of the 23 million unemployed or underemployed find a job (or better job). The economic truths are in the GDP and unemployment numbers, not in rosy holiday news articles in newspapers desperate to sell ads.
   9795. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 25, 2012 at 11:40 PM (#4309411)
The certified conservative Ross Douthat had a column a week ago yesterday that expresses Joe's point with a lot less heat and a lot more light. Definitely worth reading.

The Liberal Gloat

..... Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do — one more in keeping with America’s tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they’re also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.

Likewise with the growing number of unmarried Americans, especially unmarried women. Yes, social issues like abortion help explain why these voters lean Democratic. But the more important explanation is that single life is generally more insecure and chaotic than married life, and single life with children — which is now commonplace for women under 30 — is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare state provides.

Or consider the secular vote, which has been growing swiftly and tilts heavily toward Democrats. The liberal image of a non-churchgoing American is probably the “spiritual but not religious” seeker, or the bright young atheist reading Richard Dawkins. But the typical unchurched American is just as often an underemployed working-class man, whose secularism is less an intellectual choice than a symptom of his disconnection from community in general.

What unites all of these stories is the growing failure of America’s local associations — civic, familial, religious — to foster stability, encourage solidarity and make mobility possible.

This is a crisis that the Republican Party often badly misunderstands, casting Democratic-leaning voters as lazy moochers or spoiled children seeking “gifts” (as a certain former Republican presidential nominee would have it) rather than recognizing the reality of their economic struggles.

But if conservatives don’t acknowledge the crisis’s economic component, liberalism often seems indifferent to its deeper social roots. The progressive bias toward the capital-F Future, the old left-wing suspicion of faith and domesticity, the fact that Democrats have benefited politically from these trends — all of this makes it easy for liberals to just celebrate the emerging America, to minimize the costs of disrupted families and hollowed-out communities, and to treat the places where Americans have traditionally found solidarity outside the state (like the churches threatened by the Obama White House’s contraceptive mandate) as irritants or threats.

This is a great flaw in the liberal vision, because whatever role government plays in prosperity, transfer payments are not a sufficient foundation for middle-class success. It’s not a coincidence that the economic era that many liberals pine for — the great, egalitarian post-World War II boom — was an era that social conservatives remember fondly as well: a time of leaping church attendance, rising marriage rates and birthrates, and widespread civic renewal and engagement.

No such renewal seems to be on the horizon. That isn’t a judgment on the Obama White House, necessarily. But it is a judgment on a certain kind of blithe liberal optimism, and the confidence with which many Democrats assume their newly emerged majority is a sign of progress rather than decline.
   9796. Lassus Posted: November 26, 2012 at 12:10 AM (#4309429)
But the more important explanation is that single life is generally more insecure and chaotic than married life, and single life with children — which is now commonplace for women under 30 — is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare state provides.


Quotes like this make my skin crawl. Specifically written to make it sound like the majority of circumstances, when it isn't close to the truth. When challenged, mealy-mouthed clarification of "more frequent than before" is all that can come.

Add in value judgements on atheism as well as mewling about contraceptive mandates when contraception is shown quite clearly to decrease the single motherhood they just got done wailing about and I'm finding no difference between Douthat, Joe, and snapper. Let them high-five each other.
   9797. Joe Kehoskie Posted: November 26, 2012 at 12:19 AM (#4309433)
Quotes like this make my skin crawl. Specifically written to make it sound like the majority of circumstances, when it isn't close to the truth. When challenged, mealy-mouthed clarification of "more frequent than before" is all that can come.

You believe it's dishonest or inaccurate to say that single motherhood is now "commonplace" for women under the age of 30?

As of 2009, 41 percent of all children were born to unwed mothers: 23 percent of white children, 53 percent of Latino children, and 73 percent (!) of black children. If anything, I'd say "commonplace" is an understatement.
   9798. SteveF Posted: November 26, 2012 at 12:23 AM (#4309434)
According to the New York Times, the % of children born to women under 30 out of wedlock exceeds 50%.

To be clear, that doesn't mean all those children are being born into single parent households. It also doesn't mean there's a large percentage of women under 30 trying to raise a child all by themselves.
   9799. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 26, 2012 at 12:26 AM (#4309437)
Quotes like this make my skin crawl. Specifically written to make it sound like the majority of circumstances, when it isn't close to the truth. When challenged, mealy-mouthed clarification of "more frequent than before" is all that can come.

I guess I'm not reading the "majority" implication into that, and "more frequent than before" is not only accurate, but markedly so when compared to the numbers of decades past.** What poisons the Republican version of this narrative (and Joe's, and snapper's, and Ray's) is the often explicit moral condemnation that accompanies it, but that moral condemnation is explicitly rejected by Douthat, with these words:

This is a crisis that the Republican Party often badly misunderstands, casting Democratic-leaning voters as lazy moochers or spoiled children seeking “gifts” (as a certain former Republican presidential nominee would have it) rather than recognizing the reality of their economic struggles.


The breakdown of the traditional family is exploited by demagogues for rotten political purposes, but that doesn't mean that it's not an issue with far reaching implications. It's a problem that gets talked about every day by distinctly non-conservative black intellectuals and other minority spokespeople, and addressing it via positive programs and messages is hardly something I think we should shy away from.

**I write this while fully cognizant of the fact that many divorces are nothing more than the inevitable result of bad marriages, and I'm certainly not suggesting that this is something to deal with by reverting to stricter divorce laws. But just because conservatives usually demagogue the issue doesn't necessarily mean that it's not a real one.
   9800. McCoy Posted: November 26, 2012 at 12:30 AM (#4309439)
So if pensions get slashed thus reducing government expenses that will create an economic collapse? I'm not following. Will it create an economic collapse because people will riot and start a civil war or something? Towns and cities go bankrupt and that is going to cause an economic collapse? Why? Did that happen in the 70's?
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