Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby AisA on Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:26 am

Time to let some of my crazy out, just for shits and giggles...

Think about this when it comes to democracy and the effectiveness of voting....

In the U.S., Barack Obama's "lipstick on a pig" comment is being obviously skewed and taken out of context by his opponents. Some Americans are bing swayed by this and claiming "outrage", despite the fact that the full context of the quote is available online, and the same analogy has been used by John McCain in the past.

When I worked at a security job at Atlantic Place in St. John's, there was a management person who would come down from one of the upper offices to read the court dockets every day. In his own words, he did this so he could see who all the losers were.

A recent BBC news article shows that there are a number of people around the world who still believe the earth is flat and that "The space agencies of the world are involved in an international conspiracy to dupe the public for vast profit."

There are people out there who think they are actually anthopomorphic cartoon animals trapped in a human's body. There are people out there who blog about cutting off their own reproductive organs. There are men out there who dress up in body suits to make themselves look like Sailor Moon characters, then post pictures of themselves to the internet.

Conspiracy theorists. Scientologists. Humvee drivers. Paris Hilton fans. Britney Spears fans. Goths. Goreans. Amy Winehouse. Crack dealers. Crack smokers. That guy at the McDonald's drive thru window with the Insane Clown Posse tattoos who can never get the order right, speaks in monosyllables and drools when attempting make change for a twenty.

And here's the thing: every one of them has the right to vote. And they all think they're qualified to decide what's best for the country you live in.

That's democracy for you.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Counterclockwise on Fri Sep 12, 2008 6:41 am

That's an extremely weak analogy, and quite the strawman argument.

Democracy is the gov't, not the people. Ask yourself who is capable of getting enough votes from a large populace, and who would want to?
Mostly, people who are intelligent and want to run the country the way they see best. Steven harper IS doing what he thinks is best for Canada. I disagree with him, but that doesn't make him, or me, an idiot.

And you assume that belonging to a sub-culture which places beliefs above apparent evidence as being indicative of intelligence, (such as the furries, or goths, (of which I belong to both of those communities, thank you), the neuters, conspiracy theorists, scientologists, paris hilton/britney spears fans, or cos-players). Well, first of all, that's a poor definition because often the members interact with the sub community for shits and giggles, academic interest, curiosity, plenty of possible reasons. If I said that I had not gone to Sci-fi On the Rock dressed as Kirche, (from Zero's Familiar), to see the look on peoples faces, I would be lying. Welcome to fandom. We do stupid stuff for shits and giggles because most of us don't have the talent to something amazing . . . which if we could, we'd do for shits and giggles as well. Also, Furries usually mean it metaphorically when they say they are an anthropomorph in a human body. They see animal characteristics similar to their own personality, or that they admire, and refer to an animal as a summary of their personality. I'm not going to try defining gothic culture beyond anti-norm. Most of these people are, for the first time, away from parents who smothered them with ideas they didn't really agree with, or, are starting to come to the realization that there are other ideas out there. In between this limbo between told what to think and free thought, they have created a sub-culture that's pretty fun to be involved in.
A lot of times, these people you ridicule have valid points. For example, conspiracy theorists are right a good deal of the time. Check out some of the mud-raking news from last year and you'll find quite a few. The problem with them is that they do not weigh the probability of the conspiracy actually existing against all the evidence, only that which suits their pre-existing belief. And thus the grand majority of the time, they are wrong. They still should not be dismissed without listening to them.
And drug dealers/users? What, you would suggest that a depressed person should pop pills and take therapy, like the doc prescribes, but that a bored person shouldn't have recreation? I wouldn't personally do drugs because there is too much risk. I also avoid taking medicine whenever possible, regardless of how much the doctor begs me. There is too much risk involved there, too. Ordinary cough medicine, over the counter, has a more noticeable long-term effect on the brain than does marijuana. Actually, it contains codeine, the active ingredient in opium. Chemically speaking, there isn't that much difference between latticed organic amphetamines and codeine. The effect on the brain is very similar. Heroin is therefore very similar to opium, and therefore to cough medicine.
Some drug users and dealers know more about bio-chemistry than my bio-chem prof, i'm not kidding. He told us a story once, about how he wrote his thesis by consulting with a crack-lab owner. He also told us not to repeat it. oops.

And second, that grouping includes everyone who believes in any form of god, gods, creator beings, supernatural ruling beings, etc.

Okay, being told that people who believe that freedom is dangerous and knowledge should be kept from everyone, including themselves!, and that they definitely think that they know how to run a country, and also believe in some mystical madman in the sky who supposably made us all, and half of us from a rib, THAT scares me.
But they're part of the country too. And if I want to protect everyone's vote, I WILL protect their vote as well. Their ideas are of equal merit, as are everyone's. We must examine the evidence we are given and judge the best we can.


ps: That guy behind the McDonalds counter down by the mall? The one with insane clown posse tattoos? Same guy you were referring to? He mostly parties every weekend, and is otherwise still paying off his student loan. He intends to go back to uni someday and get another degree on top of his Masters in English Literature. He expressed an interest in math last time I was talking to him, so I began explaining set theory, and he is actually an able student. He just doesn't need any more money than minimum wage to live the way he wants to live. He does have an insatiable lust for knowledge, and in my eyes, that makes him far more intelligent than most university students.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby kmd on Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:19 am

AisA wrote:Conspiracy theorists. Scientologists. Humvee drivers. Paris Hilton fans. Britney Spears fans. Goths. Goreans. Amy Winehouse. Crack dealers. Crack smokers. That guy at the McDonald's drive thru window with the Insane Clown Posse tattoos who can never get the order right, speaks in monosyllables and drools when attempting make change for a twenty.

And here's the thing: every one of them has the right to vote. And they all think they're qualified to decide what's best for the country you live in.

That's democracy for you.


The good news is, some of these folks don't have enough brains to be able to get themselves down to the courthouse, fill out the paperwork to get registered to vote, then actually show up at the right place on the right day and at the right time to make their voice heard. See, this is why I just don't understand all these campaigns trying to get more folks to vote. If they can't figure out how to vote on their own, why are we encouraging them?
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Counterclockwise on Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:12 pm

I got a little wordy in my last reply, so allow me to refine my argument.

AisA has basically named a group of people he doesn't think should vote, (because he looks down upon them as inferior?). I think that those people probably would think the same of AisA, or if not, it is at least possible that they may do so. I may not trust democracy a great deal, but I want dictatorship or monarchy even less, and thus to protect my vote, I will protect the vote of every person. Furthermore, I do not have the same prejudices as AisA. And what prejudices I do have, I try to recognize and repress.

A better example than I may have shown thus far, on drug users. Who isn't aware of the extreme this group displays? Violent crime, lazy welfare bums . . but that group doesn't actually make up the larger part of the drug-user group.
Go to any town, where can you always find drugs? The university, or college. That's definitely the location of a goodly percent of the town's drugs. And what, you think these guys stop taking drugs when they become professors, professionals, teachers, scientists, technicians, business people?
Drug abuse is a consequence of unemployment and crime, not the other way around. This is easily proven in psychology, where in the most basic and understandable of tests, you can observe rats on LSD. Rats with nothing to do but walk around a small cage will very quickly become addicted, and refuse to drink water without LSD. Rats given a playarea and other rats to interact with, avoid the LSD altogether, even after all other water bottles are empty and have remained so for upto 24 hours,
I suggest that the negative extremes that AisA perceives are merely the most visible of the groups he unfairly scoffs, and not the actual majority.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby AisA on Mon Sep 15, 2008 4:32 am

Counterclockwise wrote:AisA has basically named a group of people he doesn't think should vote, (because he looks down upon them as inferior?). I think that those people probably would think the same of AisA, or if not, it is at least possible that they may do so. I may not trust democracy a great deal, but I want dictatorship or monarchy even less, and thus to protect my vote, I will protect the vote of every person. Furthermore, I do not have the same prejudices as AisA. And what prejudices I do have, I try to recognize and repress.


Nope. Not so. Didn't say that. Didn't mean that.

It makes no difference to me whether these people are able to vote or not. I'm not about to deny anybody their vote, regardless of whether they wear three piece suits and run corporations, or dress up in a giant rabbit head and fishnet stockings and dance around singing "I Feel Pretty".
My point was that any one of these people can vote, and that there's a lot of people out there with a head full of bad wiring (myself included, some days) whose opinion is, electorally, just as valid as your own. I'd even take that point further and say that in my experience, most people have a point of rational disconnect that's easily reached (usually by bringing up the topics of politics and religion), beyond which it is impossible to reason or coherently argue with them. This calls the general judgement of the majority into question, so that attempting to reason your way through the political process or maintain any faith in the soundness of any democratic decision is, at best, a futile effort when most people involved in the process apparently cannot see their way past the dog and pony show staged for their benefit.

That these people would think of me in the same way is irrelevant, as I exempt myself from their consideration by refusing to join in the process (aside from engaging in the occasional entertaining dialogue on the BtB message boards).

I don't want a dictatorship or a monarchy either, but then neither do I want a theocracy, on oligarchy, a emperor, or a feudal state with ruling daimyos. In fact, I could spend the day listing the things I don't want. But I don't think my vote is what's preventing those things from happening. Nor will my refusal to vote cause them to occur. I think that the last eight years in America and the last 2 years in Canada (at least) have shown that the democratic process is, aside from small, local exceptions, an illusion maintained to keep the majority in their bread and circuses, and that the people in power are pretty much going to do what they want. That's sounds negative and somewhat anarchistic, but I think it's just a little more realistic. I'm more Eric Frank Russell (http://www.abelard.org/e-f-russell.php) than Abby Hoffman.

As another favorite writer of mine wrote, "A nation deserves what it will tolerate."

As for prejudices....I don't repress mine; I let my freak flag fly. I find that airing them out is a good way to test which ones can stand up to the light of day.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby mouse on Mon Sep 15, 2008 3:13 pm

the u.s. in the last 8 years is actually the best argument _against_ your "my vote doesn't matter" argument. gore lost florida by fewer than 1000 votes, and with it, the country. (and if you seriously think a gore presidency would have been no different from a bush presidency, you aren't aware enough of the world outside to be trusted out the front door.) in any event - votes matter.

and the problem with your "do you want a kick in the groin or a poke in the eye" argument is that there is, rationally, no 'neither' option. there will be a government. someone will run it. if everyone who is unhappy because the option they want is not available refuses to vote, what happens is that the people who are actively in favor of demonstrably worse options will chose the government. and it will be awful.

maybe voting won't stop you from getting an awful government, but not voting pretty much guarantees something obnoxious.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby AisA on Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:46 am

mouse wrote:the u.s. in the last 8 years is actually the best argument _against_ your "my vote doesn't matter" argument. gore lost florida by fewer than 1000 votes, and with it, the country. (and if you seriously think a gore presidency would have been no different from a bush presidency, you aren't aware enough of the world outside to be trusted out the front door.) in any event - votes matter.

and the problem with your "do you want a kick in the groin or a poke in the eye" argument is that there is, rationally, no 'neither' option. there will be a government. someone will run it. if everyone who is unhappy because the option they want is not available refuses to vote, what happens is that the people who are actively in favor of demonstrably worse options will chose the government. and it will be awful.

maybe voting won't stop you from getting an awful government, but not voting pretty much guarantees something obnoxious.


That's making some big, largely unfounded according to all evidence, assumptions about the integrity of the voting systems, isn't it? I think the same fact you quote, in light of all the other information that came out at the time and subsequently, points to quite the opposite of your conclusion. And while I am indeed not aware enough of the world to be trusted outside my front door, nay, to even be living unsupervised, I don't think a Gore presidency would be any different. Again, that's sort of my point....it doesn't matter. Gore or Bush, Harper or Celine..er, Stephane Dion...Kang or Kodoss. It doesn't matter.

The "neither" option is to say "no thanks" to all of it as much as allowed by the intervention of law. I'm not going to move into the forest and build an underground armed bunker for me, my family and my army of department store mannequins that I dress up in ninja costumes, just because I likes me some creature comforts, and get cranky if I don't have fresh-roasted coffee on a regular basis. But I'm not going to lend my support to someone who does not represent MY interests. When a politician comes along who demonstrably represents what I believe in (core values like truth, integrity, accountability, selective eradication of large portions of the driving public, and legalized daisy-snorting), then I will vote for him/her/it.
The people who are actively in favor of demonstrably worse choices will choose the government anyway. Again, my point. It's the squeaky wheel that gets greased, and the rest of us don't get the benefit of lube. Unless you're willing to become one of those rayon-clad harpies who will hold up traffic to protest the absolute unfairness of just about anything that anybody anywhere tries to do at any time, you're not going to be heard, because calm, rational voices don't carry well over a megaphone. The people that want that kind of micromanaging government are the ones who need it, and the ones who don't want it are content to sit back with a tall glass of laissez-faire and a good Heinlein novel and enjoy the afternoon.

So Ian...whattaya think? The board still too quiet?
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Counterclockwise on Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:18 am

so, now, what ARE your core interests and beliefs?

:delightfully evil grin of expectation:

and the baords are nice and active now, i can drop in once/twice a day and find new comments, 'sall good. ^_^
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby AisA on Wed Sep 17, 2008 1:51 am

Counterclockwise wrote:so, now, what ARE your core interests and beliefs?


Well, I believe in the soul...the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Counterclockwise on Wed Sep 17, 2008 7:15 am

okay, I'll take that as sarcasm.

What I meant was, you say that one of your core values is truth.
Define truth unambiguously.
Another two are accountability and integrity.
Define them unambiguously.

You don't seem to have a well-defined political outlook from the basis, (beliefs and values), so I venture that you haven't properly defined basic values that you hold as true.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby AisA on Wed Sep 17, 2008 7:54 am

Counterclockwise wrote:okay, I'll take that as sarcasm.

What I meant was, you say that one of your core values is truth.
Define truth unambiguously.
Another two are accountability and integrity.
Define them unambiguously.

You don't seem to have a well-defined political outlook from the basis, (beliefs and values), so I venture that you haven't properly defined basic values that you hold as true.


You've overlooked "selective eradication of large portions of the driving public, and legalized daisy-snorting". These things are important. Please can't we focus on the issues?
You're right. I haven't defined those terms unambiguously, at least not in this context (I did, however, just define "antidisestablishmentarianism" over the phone for my daughter to present to her fifth grade teacher. Seriously.). Further, I don't intend to, as this is an internet forum, and I'm not going to expand a discussion into a philosophical dissertation. Plus I just finished a brace of baloney sandwiches, and my digestion's a little ticky right now.
However, I think I have defined my political outlook very well. I don't vote. I don't vote because I don't support any of the politicians asking for my vote. I don't think my voting or not voting will change the results of any election, because each of those politicians represent the same things with different window dressing.
To attempt to spin any one of the people seeking election towards any kind of ideal of a political system (I'm in favor of laissez-faire capitalism, severe restriction of government power, and isolating and studying old people to determine what nutrients they have that can be extracted for our personal use) is nothing more than an exercise in self-delusion...but makes for marvelous troll bait. When a politician comes forward and admits that he is self-interested, wants the job for the money and the power it provides, and will consider the interests of the subspecies of humanity that helped him rise to power ahead of the general will of the people, I'll vote for him just out of novelty. Until that particular judgement trump sounds, I'll indulge my democratic right to change the channel during televised debates and attempt to locate an episode of "Ow, My Balls" on a Fox subsidiary.
Further, I have no faith in the ability of the majority to elect sane, competent people to office because the majority are the ones who encourage shows like "Ow, My Balls" (or it's real world counterparts, "Survivor: Cannibal Island" and "American Gladiators: The Next Generation") to survive and thrive. It's my own particular neurosis that I'm not properly aligned with the social norm that likes to spend its mornings discussing "Dancing With the Stars" while sipping a company-sponsored caffeinated beverage in the breakroom. Not better, or worse, just sort of aligned in a different direction. I'm sure my own peccadilloes would be just as meaningless and incomprehensible to them as well. But then, it takes a special sort of person to think that the pinnacle of human creation was reached in 1970's Warren magazines and that "The Two Ronnies" is the best thing ever created for television. Ever.

So, I don't expect to change your mind about the current relevance of the idea of the democracy, nor do I expect you'll change mine. But that's OK....I'm content to raise the objection and create the possibility that somewhere, somehow an idea held firm has been challenged. And, possibly, made you wonder a little bit about "The Two Ronnies".
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Counterclockwise on Wed Sep 17, 2008 8:15 am

I was hoping to change your overall political activism, voting being a secondary matter.
To achieve this, I was planning explore the issue of truth to arrive at several concepts.

The shorter way of arguing to you: Self-appointed politicians have more power over the people. By this, I mean the leaders of activist movements, social groups, business groups, religious groups, etc.
For example, animal activist groups, the pope/christian church, the tobacco lobbyists, etc. are all purely political figures, and they have a lot of power over the people AND over the government.
Therefore, if you want to actively change the laws or customs of your country, become an activist, or a lobbyist, or etc. Find people of the interests as you and lead them to your desired effect.

Voting can be seen as merely a way of supporting the lobbies you believe in.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby AisA on Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:27 am

Counterclockwise wrote:I was hoping to change your overall political activism, voting being a secondary matter.
To achieve this, I was planning explore the issue of truth to arrive at several concepts.

The shorter way of arguing to you: Self-appointed politicians have more power over the people. By this, I mean the leaders of activist movements, social groups, business groups, religious groups, etc.
For example, animal activist groups, the pope/christian church, the tobacco lobbyists, etc. are all purely political figures, and they have a lot of power over the people AND over the government.
Therefore, if you want to actively change the laws or customs of your country, become an activist, or a lobbyist, or etc. Find people of the interests as you and lead them to your desired effect.

Voting can be seen as merely a way of supporting the lobbies you believe in.


Really? On a forum dedicated to a (pardon, Ian...no offense meant) webomic about a bandit and his dragon sidekick, you expect to win hearts and minds?
Ah youth...it's wasted on the young.

I don't believe in lobbies (although I do support porches, and I'm agnostic on the subject of foyers).
I don't want to change laws or customs.
My political lobby practically amounts to wanting to lead a quiet, reflective life as far from the interruptions of the outside world as possible, in which I cause harm to no one, and no one causes harm to me. The last time I checked, there was no interest group dedicated to the express proposition of making me happy.
The democratic countries are awash in special interest groups. You practically can't cross the street without tripping over a lobbyist. It really mucks up the sewage system. The way to defeat special interest groups is not to join one. Worse, in so doing, you create a recursive loop of special interest groups, sort of a Mobius strip of whining.
Politicians, much like anyone, have as much power as you care to permit them, short of the rule of law and the application of force, then they themselves are subject to the former to a certain degree, and as for the latter, I don't think anyone's going to send the reserves out to invade my cul de sac anytime soon. But if they do, my mannequin ninjas are ready.....

Look at the figures you quote....tobacco companies: they only have power because people smoke. As more people stop smoking (i.e. take responsibility for their health and sanity) they lose that power. The Pope: only has power because Catholics give it to him. Atheists throw a real monkey wrench in his day. Animal rights activists: Um....yeah. PETA wields a lot of power. That's why Pamela Anderson's career is going so well.

The people who have a vested interest in ruling bodies are the ones who expect something from them, and what they want usually boils down to "someone else's money". The ones who expect nothing and just want to be left alone (again, aside from the occaisional brouhaha on the message boards) don't form special interest groups, because they don't need to. If you read the Eric Frank Russell story I linked to earlier, you'll be familiar with the idea "myob". A whole lot of people could use a healthy dose of "myob". It does wonders for the disposition, and clears the complexion like gangbusters.
A lot of people seem to be urging a lot of other people to "stand up and be heard". I'm advocating the opposite: "sit down and shut up." In fact, I think it should be a national holiday: "Sit Down and Shut Up Day". A day in which all activism is temporarily silenced, all placards are thrown to the street. A day when everyone just stays home and self-occupies. Takes a walk and appreciates nature. Reads a good book. Anything, as long as it can be done quietly. A day in which everyone sits down and shuts up.
There's an opportunity here....I smell a grassroots movement afoot, and you can say it started here. Sit Down and Shut Up Day. Let it spread like a wave of apathy across the land.

End rant. I'm going to sit down. And shut up.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Counterclockwise on Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:51 am

ergh, apathy gets nothing done,and worse yet, allows others to get something done.

It may not seem likely right now, but it is possible that an activist group or interest could eventually control the gov't without other groups there to promote their own interests and stop the other group. If everyone shut up and all activist groups were disbanded, which seems preferable at first, then it is possible an implicit group could seize power subtly, until it is too late for any person to start any movement against them. See, the Nazis. See, Stalin, See, the red party that Stalin took over, see, the rebels in America. I understand the damn rebels have created their own country now, disgraceful!

The power of a lobbyist or lobbyist leader may seem very limited, but consider that the lobbyist leader only has to be the best alternative, and if you pick a group with the same interests in you, than you can accomplish with that group all that you want to accomplish with that group.
Statistically speaking, the chance that everyone, or even a significant portion of any large group will suddenly opt out of the group, (ie: stop smoking), is very close to zero, although of course, if the timeline is stretched to infinity, becomes 1. Any sufficiently large group therefore has lasting power, and because they have lasting power, they also have a larger amount of power, because the elected officials know that they will have an effect in the future.

Therefore, if you like the current state of things, you should be active, not apathetic, because the democratic system is a system of constant change.

I have skipped some logicla bridges here, on the assumption that you can see the connection yourself and don't want this post to be much longer. Is everything obvious?

I don't expect to win anybodys heart or mind. Nevertheless, the odds that I will without trying are next to zero, while that odds that I will if I try are significantly higher. Merely because the chance is low does not mean the effort is useless. To take it to an illogical extreme, my impact on the world is most probably minimal, should I stop breathing?

Besides, people are much more passionate on the internet than in RL.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby AisA on Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:23 am

You're absolutely correct. I'm much more passionate on the net than I am in real life. I can't count the number of times my wife has come in and found me in flagrante delecto with a Boingboing post, or vowing undying love to a forum, if it will only let me flame its boards just one...more...time. Why, I can hardly read a webpage for the stains on my screen.

But I think we've probably hijacked this thread long enough with our political screeds.
So....who's read any good books lately?
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Ian McDonald on Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:18 am

AisA wrote:But I think we've probably hijacked this thread long enough with our political screeds.
So....who's read any good books lately?


Aww, I wanted to get my $0.02 in! Well, it's my board, so I'm gonna anyway.

Our governments are bought and paid for by Big Business. This is why, up here in Canada, you will NEVER see the NDP become the ruling party. Because our governments are in the pocket of Big Business, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference whether we vote or not. It seems the more conservative a government is, the more it is beholden to its corporate masters. But Canada's Liberals and America's Democrats are far from free of the clutches of the Fat Cats.

Just as we need to maintain the separation of Church and State, I think there needs to be a new movement for the separation of Business and State. Perhaps the market should have more free rein, so long as there are some regualtions to ensure they play fair, and don't cause harm to us. But if they want more freedom from government interference, then we gotta ensure that they are severely limited in how much they can use their profits and power to influence government. Sound fair?

That said, I don't believe that every government, be it Conservative or Liberal here in Canada, or Democrat or Republican down in the States, is EQUALLY bad. There are degrees of how crappy our governments have been. As an example, just look at the past 8 years in the U.S. Does anyone think that 8 years of Dubya = 8 years of Clinton = 4 years of Bush Sr. = 8 years of Reagan = 4 years of Carter etc.? Hands down Dubya has been the worst of the lot, IMHO. I certainly don't believe Gore or Kerry would have been as bad, though I can't prove it. Still, the Bush Administration really set new lows in how poorly a government could be run. And I think McCain and his Stepford Wife VP candidate will continue that trend, if McCain's voting record and the way he's running his election campaign is any indication.

Sadly, I think McCain will become the next president, if the shenanigans of the last two U.S. elections are any indication. There will be reports of voting irregularities up the wazoo, particularly in areas where voting machines are being used. When the dust is settled, John McCain will be (appointed, like Bush) the next president. Just you watch.

I'd still urge people down in the U.S. to vote, in the happy event that 2008 will see a marginally cleaner election. Here in Canada, our voting system isn't in as quite as bad a situation... yet. When they start bringing in Diebold voting machines for our elections, then we're in trouble! Hopefully Canadians will never stand for it.

I'm voting. I don't like Stephen Harper and his party, and what they stand for, and I don't believe a Stephane Dion Liberal government would be equally as bad as what Harper has given us. Bad, maybe, but a Harper majority would be a nightmare. We don't need a second George W. Bush on this continent.

Anyhow, vote or don't. Our society is (somewhat) free, and the choice is still yours. In the meantime: Separation of Business and State. Think about it. Talk about it with your friends and family. Let's get this phrase in to the popular lexicon!

As for what I'm reading these days, best you not ask, for it would surely start an even bigger rantfest on my board. Hint: it's about religion!!! :o
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby AisA on Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:24 am

Ian McDonald wrote:As for what I'm reading these days, best you not ask, for it would surely start an even bigger rantfest on my board. Hint: it's about religion!!! :o


Oh, c'mon....I've gotten my yayas out on politics...I couldn't possibly have anything to say about religion. Could I?

As for me, I'm on book 22 of the Discworld series. This stuff is brilliant. I can't usually stomach any series of books that goes beyond a trilogy, but Pratchett keeps me coming back for more.
In a similar vein, does anybody else think it's wrong that Eoin Colfer is writing a new Hitchhiker's Guide book?
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Arantor on Fri Sep 19, 2008 3:30 am

I actually like Colfer myself, however the man has not got the right mindset for HHGG. The only modern author I can think of that might get it right is a chap called Jasper Fforde (and, no, that isn't a typo). His 'Thursday Next' series, starting with 'The Eyre Affair' is good stuff, and has more the sorts of mentality Adams himself had.

I've been reading... lemme see... Melonpool V: The Voyage Home, Temple by Matthew Reilly, Sam & Max: Surfing the Highway by Steve Purcell (Telltale Games 2007 reissue)... umm... and Cracker: One Day A Lemming Will Fly by Jimmy McGovern.

A real mixed bag, really...
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Counterclockwise on Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:08 am

I've been reading programming texts that someone was throwing away in the education building of MUN!1 ^_^

Yay for The Art of Prologue, VAX Fortran, and LISPcraft! ^_^
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby AisA on Fri Sep 19, 2008 7:20 am

Arantor wrote:I actually like Colfer myself, however the man has not got the right mindset for HHGG.


I've got no problem with Colfer as such. I've only read snippets of Artemis Fowl, but it strikes me as just the sort of thing an Adam/Pratchett fan like myself would enjoy. I just don't think anybody else should be laying hands on HHGTTG. It's not like the series is the same as Star Wars novels or Star Trek, where anyone can jump into the universe and play around. It was Adams's work, and largely defined who he was to the world. I think it's just one of those things that needs to be left alone.

There's lots of ersatz Douglas Adams style writers who could do the job. I'd bet Pratchett could make a decent attempt at it. So could Tom Holt and maybe even Alan Dean Foster. Just because they can doesn't mean they should. Or, if they must, publish it as fanfic on a forum somewhere, so we can call it what it is. Personally, I think a piece of internet slashfic with Marvin the Martian in a three way with the Heart of Gold and a talking mattress would make for fine lunchtime reading.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby mouse on Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:20 pm

Ian McDonald wrote:I certainly don't believe Gore or Kerry would have been as bad, though I can't prove it.


well, i can make a stab at it:
1) during the clinton presidency, there was a weekly NSA meeting about terrorism, which gore attended. clinton considered al qaeda to be the greatest risk to the u.s. i suspect gore, having attended weekly meetings on the subject, would agree. bush did not agree, did not hold any meetings about terrorism until something like august, and famously ignored a memo titled "bin laden determined to strike in u.s.".
2) once bin laden did strike, bush, after making a quick feint to afghanistan, used the matter as an excuse to wage war on iraq, based on his and his v.p.'s preexisting feelings about iraq. again, since gore doesn't seem to agree with that, in the event he _did_ fail to take steps to prevent the 9/11 attacks, i doubt he would have attacked iraq. does anyone really think the war in iraq has had no impact whatsoever on the world?
3) gore is a staunch believer in human-caused global warming, and believes we need to reduce our dependence on oil and find other sources of energy. bush/cheney, oilmen both, have spent 8 years stalling on global warming and barely given lip service to alternate energy. 8 years of a gore presidency might not have stopped global warming, but the 8 years of delay in dealing with the problem we've had has certainly worsened things.
4) clinton negotiated a treaty with north korea halting part of their efforts to build nuclear weapons. granted, they continued to build nuclear weapons, but _not_ in the program they agreed to stop. bush has pretty much refused to talk to them at all, and as a result a) they have build at least 1 nuclear weapon; b) they know how to build more; and c) they are feeling unloved and even more recalcitrant than usual.
5) bush thinks he say into putin's soul, and saw a good guy. sorta doubt any other western politician would have seen the same thing. anyone notice what putin has been up to lately? and the complete failure of the bush administration to do much about it?
6) the lobbyists that so heavily invest the government now do so as part of republican tom delay's "k street project". delay was pushing for a government of, for and by republicans now and forever, and the k street project was undertaken to further those ends. now, i don't say a democratic president would object to a government of, for and by democrats forever....but the republican party has very different supporters than the democratic party, and the complexion of a democratic-lobbyist-dominated government would at least be different from a republican-lobbyist-dominated one.

that should be enough for a start. (but i agree - separation between business and state would be a Good Thing....except the state depends on business functioning. look what happened to the communists.)
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Counterclockwise on Sat Sep 20, 2008 3:28 am

Enlighten me, mouse, what has Russia been doing lately?

Enlighten me so that I can show you a couple of dozen new articles showing the other end of the propagandised stream of news, and perhaps teach you a bit about the truth behind the recent mini-wars. (for example, according to the neutral media: Georgia bombed South Ossetia to bring it back under central control, because S.O. prefers Moscow, and the Russian soldiers moved in at the request of the S.O.-ian people to protect them. The other end of the stream does not mention this event in any detail).


Besides that, I also disagree that Bin Laden was responsible for the 9/11 bombings and that global warming is happening, let alone that man is causing it. But those arguments are a bit too widely known for any reliable sources to have remained reliable.
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Tracker4502 on Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:15 am

Well! Erm... let's talk about something lighter, such as a common enemy! It doesn't matter is she /he / it exists or not, it just matters that we think she /he /it exists!

So... who is the man in the box who continues to make Bruno not load on the main page but load from the tribune? I don't know! Therefore, we must have a witch hunting party! NOTE: If we find no witch, one 'volunteer' from the audience will chosen as a replacement. C'mon, it will be fun! :D
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby AisA on Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:34 am

Ooh! I'm all in favor of a good witch hunt. Let's throw Ian in a pond and see if he floats!
Put me down for bringing the pitch and some blunt instruments to brandish. Who's got the matches and some scorn for heaping?
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Re: Aiming for a less quiet board . . .

Postby Arantor on Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:38 am

But who weighs the same as a duck, that's the real question? (We probably need Bedevere's largest scales for that one.)

The only witch hunt I want to go on is to find the gremlin that killed my hard drive.
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