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Everything posted by Screech

  1. Look, McNinja, I don't care what you read in the Pick-Up Artist's Handbook. No matter how mean you are to me, I'm not going to be your boyfriend.
  2. What's wrong with slave morality? Recent psychological evidence indicates that to some extent altruism is a natural human instinct and has the potential to make us authentically happy.
  3. Not a lot of time, here's a few ideas: Depth - need to be able to examine the mechanism to determine whether it is a good idea or not; endorsing good values with a plan that won't work is useless Real world - a. legislatures and such need plans to work on, endorsing/not endorsing a certain value set is just a recipe for sophistry and time-wasting b. in the law and morality, our principles emerge from the facts rather than being prior to them. We shape our morality empirically, through experience and intuition, not a priori rationally. Competitive equity - aff is the focus of the round, neg's burden of the round, no plan means strat skew and shifty affs.
  4. My favorite game is taking who Republicans claim as their influence on economic policy - Friedman, Hayek - and comparing them to what they actually argue. Hayek, for example, argued for government regulation of industries which create negative externalities (such as pollution) and government interference in the health-care market. Friedman, obviously, advocated for an independent monetary authority with real power to enact monetary policy, set interest rates, etc, responding dynamically to different situations. Not just scare-monger about inflation.
  5. Fine. Republicans hate all reproductive health, they just hate Planned Parenthood extra much, so much that they passed an extra amendment about it. That totally proves that we don't need to stick up for womens' health and that the Pence amendment - and the legislative agenda it represents - won't substantially hurt women and the poor (which it was the original intent of the OP to point out, if nothing else).
  6. Maybe that's because we're not exclusively talking about the Pence amendment, and you keep insisting on its exclusive relevance even though no one accepted your distinction. It's just one prong in the Republican war on family planning - another is their proposed 2012 budget, which completely eliminates Title X funding.
  7. It's probably a good thing I didn't claim that then. Aiding sex traffickers is also clearly outside the scope of the employment of Planned Parenthood employees, especially given that they reported the issue to the FBI when it came to light. You're drawing arbitrary distinctions here. I don't understand the difference between low-level clinic workers acting outside of the scope of their employment and violating Federal law and low-level PMCs acting outside the scope of their employment and violating Federal law. That's demonstrably false. Congress could, say, restrict the ability of Planned Parenthood clinics whose workers have been convicted of complicity with sex crimes from accessing Federal funds. EDIT: Also, I think you're misapplying your expertise here. I'm arguing that thirty Republican senators made an unjustifiable and hypocritical decision as a matter of substantive justice rather than as a matter of procedure - a distinction you recognize but are arguing from the procedural side a. in the case of a political decision rather than a legal one and b. when I was critiquing the substance of the decision rather than its legal legitimacy. We elect legislators to make substantive decisions while respecting the constraints of procedural rules, not to slavishly obey procedure as the only legitimate form of justice. That's what legislatures are for.
  8. You're not reading what I'm saying, Fox. The issue that I'm getting at is restrictions placed on these organizations' ability to access federal funds as a result of allegations of criminal behavior on the part of the members. I'm fully aware of what the amendment actually did. The analogy was this: when members of Planned Parenthood are implicated in lawbreaking, Congressional Republicans defund them and remove their ability to access federal grants. But when employees of defense contractors commit rape and unlawful imprisonment, Congressional Republicans oppose even a basic level of oversight and restrictions on federal funds to prevent these companies from abusing the power of contract. You are correct in pointing out a difference; it's just not an importantly relevant difference. In very simple terms: Republicans support notions of "collective guilt" and wielding the budget like a weapon to prevent illegal behavior for healthcare service providers and not for Defense contractors.
  9. Okay, one, troll. Most of your claims are ad hominems or requests for additional clarification on things that are already pretty clear, which I'm going to ignore. I don't think the issue of bills of attainder is irrelevant here, on my understanding of the issue. Here's the Congressional Research Service, finding that "it appears that a court may have a sufficient basis to overcome the presumption of constitutionality, and find that the proposed Defund ACORN Act violates the prohibition against bills of attainder." Gotta remember to justify those claims, bud. Finally, you're missing the point at issue, which is that I don't think you've provided enough evidence to prove that that Planned Parenthood, the organization with a billion-dollar budget that runs over eight hundred health centers around the country, is engaged in systemic (rather than sporadic corruption). To the extent that illegal activity has occurred, of course it should result in charges being filed against the individuals in the organization who are responsible for it, or at least people losing their jobs. But you've presented, at most, one example. I believe that finding some kind of collective responsibility for these actions has a high burden of proof. There either needs to be substantial evidence of high-level corruption among the leadership of the organization or widespread and persistent low-level corruption among its members amounting to administrative failure, and that's not even on the table yet.
  10. It was a rhetorical device to illustrate the extent of the services Planned Parenthood provides. http://www.hhs.gov/opa/familyplanning/toolsdocs/fpar_2009_national_summary.pdf http://web.archive.org/web/20080430033247/http://www.plannedparenthood.org/issues-action/birth-control/family-planning-6553.htm http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fulfill.pdf Okay, one, they DON'T have this authority, because that's called a bill of attainder and it's unconstitutional. A legislative declaration of guilt and imposition of punishment - even merely withdrawing federal funds - is a violation of the seperation of powers. We already covered this ground on the ACORN debate. There needs to be a substantial legislative non-punitive purpose to the bill. Two, I'm not even arguing that defunding PP shouldn't be allowed but that it shouldn't happen. I think PP provides a valuable service and should not be held responsible for the actions of the few, especially when (by and large) the organization has done their due diligence. Um, thirty Republicans sided against rape victims and aligned themselves with the military-industrial complex for transparently specious reasons? The court case is not the issue here. It's the members of both Planned Parenthood and KBM are accused of having broken the law (KBR members should be tried, as should Planned Parenthood members). In response, the Congress has attempted to place restrictions on the ability of these organizations to access federal funds. The analogy holds, you're just intentionally focusing on the wrong part of it.
  11. http://senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=111&session=1&vote=00308 EDIT: See especially Jon Stewart.
  12. Pence's argument basically refutes itself. As he points out, in cases where PP employees have been found breaking the law, they've been prosecuted or held civilly liable. And the case he cites from "just last week" about PP employees coaching people with underage sex trafficking victims are heavily edited videos from Certified Fucking Lunatics, Live Action. What's typically omitted from the story is that Planned Parenthood employees promptly called shenanigans, reported them to the FBI, and released an open letter about the person attempting to entrap them into criminal behavior several days before the heavily edited videos were released, most of which showed members of Planned Parenthood fulfilling their legal obligations. If that's your evidence, keep trying. Organizations should only be held accountable for the actions of their members when there's widespread, systemic abuse, not for a few isolated (or fabricated) instances where the perpetrators have already been punished. I don't want my tax dollars going to defense contractors who contractually deny their female employees legal recourse after they've been raped and locked in a box for 24 hours, but hey, some Republican Senators disagree.
  13. Okay, one, an ad hominem isn't even defense. Two, I'm not saying you should JUST sign a petition. The petition is step one. Of ten. If you really want an action item list, I'd say 1. Vote 2. Volunteer (for PP, for a pro-choice political candidate, or for whatever else) 3. Hand out flyers 4. Attend a rally or a march 5. Write/phone/call/e-mail your political representative 6. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper/newsrag/corporate shill paper/alternative zine 7. Make a donation to a political lobbying group whose ideals you can support. 8. Talk to friends and family 9. Put a sign up on your lawn 10. Run for office yourself 11. Stage a protest yourself 12. Found a political party 13. Pull pranks on elected officials and the media 14. Write for your local newspaper/newsrag/alternative zine or Indymedia 15. Have a reasonable political discussion with someone whose views you respectfully disagree with 16. Stand up to someone who's a mendacious liar 17. Publish (or self-publish) a book on your politics 18. Start a blog (they're free!) 19. Stick up for victims of oppression in everyday life 20. Submit Freedom of Information Act requests 21. Start a campaign or a secondary boycott of businesses supporting politicians you disagree with 22. Two words: Graffiti campaign. 23. Engage in civil disobedience 24. Create a work of propaganda 25. Start a revolution.
  14. In the status quo, many people living in poverty have access to essential health services exclusively, or almost exclusively through Planned Parenthood clinics. The amendment removes federal funding from Planned Parenthood. Federal funding is 1/3 of Planned Parenthood's budget. Less money means fewer services. So the amendment results in less Planned Parenthood, and thus the essential services they provide. I'm sorry, what about "prevents many (especially the poor) from accessing other essential health services, like mammograms and contraception" was hyperbolic? It's not like I said LOLDEATHPANELZLUL. EDIT: Defense.
  15. House Republicans have voted to ban Federal funding for abortions. Not only does this destroy the fragile consensus we've reached around abortion in Roe and the Helms-Biden amendment over the last 30 years, it prevents many (especially the poor) from accessing other essential health services, like mammograms and contraception. It is reckless and cruel and should be opposed with all our might. Sign the petition here. https://secure.ppaction.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=pp_ppol_ws_I_Stand_with_PP&s_src=standwithppfeb2011_taf EDIT: I re-read this post today and it's wrong; federal funding for abortions is already banned. I meant "federal funding for Planned Parenthood."
  16. The standard is that it's basically impossible for a plan to both be inherent and solve at the same time without some persistence of fiat. If plan is inherent, and hasn't happened yet, presumably there's some reason why not (probably a political reason, maybe a structural reason, etc). But that problem doesn't just disappear because plan gets passed. If plan can be passed in the squo and everyone wants to, there's no reason to vote for it; if plan can't be passed because there are sufficient barriers to block it there will be enough momentum behind repeal to prevent it from lasting and thus it can't solve and there's no reason to vote for it. While it's not quite as stark as all that, and you can probably think of situations where a plan, once passed, would be difficult to un-pass (especially if there's a cascade of changes caused by it, or if there's a structural asymmetry where moving forward is harder than moving back), it does become very problematic for a lot of plans you would think would be perfectly legitimate in a debate round. Like a "withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014" aff on this year's topic might get repealed on Jan 22, 2013 and thus aff doesn't solve. Fiat is a mechanism to evaluate plan action as a possible course of action, which you can't do if you assume plan action gets rolled back.
  17. Can you explain what you mean by "common conception of free will?" My pre-theoretical assumption would be something like "humans are in some significant way in control of their actions and not compelled to do them by things outside of their control." The basic Hume/Ayers argument would be that indeterminate causes are just as outside of our control as determinate causes would be. Furthermore, I'm unclear why you're putting free will in scare quotes here (especially when you weren't in your original post). Are you implying there's something unrespectable about common conceptions of free will? I would agree, but you seem to think this result validates our common conception. Whatever your personal opinion is about what "free will" ought to mean, I think that to say the common conception of free will is nothing more than "determinism is false" is just wrong. I don't think the average person takes a position on determinism vs. indeterminism, but almost everyone assumes they have something called "free will." 1. Ayer disagrees with the naive moralist invested in free will, but takes their position as a hypothetical and sees if he can reason his way to the conclusion they want to get to based on their premises. He concludes that he can't. He's not actually endorsing that point of view. 2. Even if he were, why does the fact that someone has certain purposes or goals in mind when they're reasoning make their reasoning bad? You don't get to conclude anything about the argument itself because the arguer has certain overriding purposes in making it. In philosophy, everyone has a goal or a task in reasoning; they just try to wear their preferences on their sleeve so no one assumes they're trying to be a ratiocination machine. 3. For me, the quote excellently captures the dilemma our commonsense conception of free will finds itself in (I think even as far back as the pre-Socratics). If the world is deterministic, we are mere machines and therefore have no free will; if the world is non-deterministic, we are erratic, malfunctioning machines and still have no free will. I'm not clear that this requires a particularly nuanced explanation.
  18. See A.J. Ayer, Freedom and Necessity (1954) for a basically Humean view but one that's straight-forward and, in my opinion, basically the definitive statement for compatibilism. The money quote: "The answer is that this may indeed be true, inasmuch as it is open to anyone to hold that no explanation is possible until some explanation is actually found. But even so it does not give the moralist what he wants. For he is anxious to show that men are capable of acting freely in order to infer that they can be morally responsible for what they do. But if it is a matter of pure chance that a man should act in one way rather than another, he may be free but can hardly be responsible. And indeed when a man's actions seem to us quite unpredictable, when, as we say, there is no knowing what he will do, we do not look upon him as a moral agent. We look upon him as a lunatic." Even if quantum physics does prove we're not causally determined from the first moment of the universe, indeterminism hardly means we have "free will."
  19. Uhhm, Tualatin was aff and South Eugene was neg. If I recall, neg won, but I don't think I judged based on that little... episode.
  20. Well, I was judging rather than debating, but aff ran an "abuse good" counter-voter on T, based on Nietzsche. Neg did the logical thing and stole aff's laptop and ran around the room with it. Aff was really confused and turns to me in shock, saying "what do I do?" So of course I respond "YOU TAKE IT BACK BY FORCE." Except, of course, neg is faster than aff. Cue two minutes of breathlessly chasing each other around the room. By the time I stop laughing uproariously, I decide the round should continue, so I shout "SHE IS STRONG AND HE IS WEAK; BUT I AM STRONGER THAN BOTH OF YOU. I CONTROL YOUR FATE WITH THIS PIECE OF PAPER, AND I WANT TO SEE A DEBATE." The round continues as before, but with two minutes of the 2A's speech time lost. He drops the counter-voter.
  21. I just straight up do not believe that we have the tech yet for Von Neumann machine-based construction. We would need some serious advances in autonomous robotics for that to be feasible.
  22. Fact: Italy is the most revolting country.
  23. As awesome as it is, I feel like it's pretty unstrategic. 1. No solvency: Technical barriers to construction - we're talking massive amounts of materials and hardware in orbit at a probable cost of more than the world's GDP. I mean, there's spending disads, and then there's spending disads. It would be class II-III civilization-level technology, and we're basically a class 0. 2. No harms: lack of alternative energy sources isn't really a compelling squo harm. Even if it were, it's nothing that can't be solved with space solar or whatever without constructing a full-on ring. Overpopulation isn't really a thing, either, because a. it's non-unique and b. insufficient landmass isn't really the problem so much as biosphere overstretch. 3. No uniquely strategic advantages: "space development" or "colonization" advantages can be more easily captured by other affs. Energy can be solved with solar sats, as mentioned above. Are there even any other advantages?
  24. Not if you can win solvency. The primary benefit of brilliant pebbles is that benefit of shooting down a gravity well rather than up it.
  25. "The USFG should establish a permanent colony on Mars, [insert solvency model from a good author I haven't found yet here]." Also, hell yes it's unique. This is going to be an incredible aff topic area.
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