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Phoenix_person last won the day on September 12 2023

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  1. Palestine's statehood is complicated, to say the least. For starters, over 6 million Palestinians are living outside of the borders of Israel and Palestine, most of them in neighboring countries. Palestinian right of return is an issue that, as I understand it, is still unresolved and contentious. Palestinian refugees have a country, but are unable to return there. And it's not like they could all return if they wanted to. Not when Israel's population is growing to a point that Israeli settlements are testing the integrity of Palestine's sovereignty (which, to be clear, doesn't exist; Palestine is an occupied state). As for the UN, they recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state. This puts them in the same category as the Holy See, though I'm sure the Pope is able to move freely within the Vatican City without encountering Italian roadblocks and checkpoints.
  2. Let's be clear about what happened. Two Jordanian immigrants, one of whom was apparently on a watch list, attempted to enter Quantico base. They failed. They didn't have the proper credentials to enter, and barriers at the checkpoint were sufficient to stop them when they tried to proceed without authorization. Both men are now in ICE custody. Looks like the base security worked exactly how it was supposed to. Link So, are they illegal immigrants or are they asylum-seekers? Which is it? Because it can't be both. Exploiting the asylum program can be argued as morally unethical, but that's not the same as illegal. IIRC, the 9/11 hijackers were here legally. How do you differentiate Palestinians from other Arab immigrants/citizens? It's naive to assume that other Arab Americans won't stand in solidarity with Palestinians, and there are 10x more Arab Americans living legally in the US than there are known* Palestinians. *Palestinians are a stateless people, so their numbers in the US, even prior to the current genocide, are likely underreported. Those who immigrated here had their origin documented, but most of those immigrated over 40 years ago. So, quite a few of today's census-documented Arab Americans are conceivably second generation Palestinian citizens who check the "Arabic" box on the census.
  3. My mom fell in love with them in the 80s when my dad was stationed in Berlin. She was in heaven when she learned they could be bought in the US.
  4. True dark chocolate tends to be very hard. I could see some of them being described as plastic-like. This is my personal favorite. Hard, bitter, and kinda chalky. They also have a coffee version that's absolutely fantastic.
  5. I felt the same way as a Texas voter.
  6. Hearing X-Ray Spex in a children's movie starring Key and Peele is a combination of awesome I didn't think possible.
  7. These are my biggest takeaways from the bill text. The IHRA defines antisemitism as follows: The IHRA goes on to list several examples of antisemitism under this definition. Link There's also this section in the bill text. 3b in particular seems very relevant. My gut reactions: 1. I trust MTG's constitutional expertise less than I trust my cat with an unsupervised plate of bacon. And I certainly wouldn't hold her up as a voice against antisemitism 2. The language in the bill doesn't seem to leave any room for prosecuting people who believe that biblical jews were responsible for the death of Christ. It seems pretty clear that the intent of the text is to prevent modern Jews from being blamed, stigmatized, and persecuted for something that happened 2000 years ago, and I see nothing wrong with that. No one blames modern Catholics for the Inquisition, or modern Mongolians for the ancient conquest and general terrorizing of their Asian neighbors, Those are things that we learn about in history class without an expectation that we will hate Catholics and Mongolians for it. I think there's plenty of room to treat the crucifixion of Christ in a similar fashion.
  8. I try my best to educate myself on topics as much as possible before commenting on them, but nuclear fission is a tough one. I think there will always be hesitancy so long as there are people alive who remember Chernobyl and the Cold War. My understanding of Chernobyl is that it was the result of a combination of spectacular negligence and rabid jingoism (the kind of jingoism that led both us and the Soviets to dedicate government resources trying to draw up contingency plans to nuke the moon if it looked like the other side might beat us there. Yes, really.) I think nuclear energy is currently our best and most sustainable energy option. Political will is the biggest obstacle. I think your side is more on board than mine, but the far Left is slowly warming up to it. I'm curious about your thoughts on geothermal. There's been a big push locally to use geothermal energy to reduce reliance on traditional electrical grids and gas to generate heat, a precious commodity in this part of the country. The organization I volunteer for is on board with it and has been a big advocate, but I'm a bit out of the loop on the technical details because my team is focused on health care reform. The only major drawback that I know of is that it could potentially cause earthquakes, which isn't exactly a trivial consideration. But OTOH, it makes a lot of sense to use the Earth's natural and abundant heat to replace fossil fuels and potentially give us a more palatable alternative to nuclear energy.
  9. From a secular perspective, our planet is spiraling towards unsustainable population growth and slowing down human reproduction might not be a bad thing. In fact, it might be the logical thing. I'm not talking about ceasing procreation entirely. Short of a "Children of Men" scenario (great movie, can't recommend enough) or nuclear holocaust, I don't see population growth ever stopping. We don't all need to be baby factories. I realize your religion tells you the exact opposite. I'm an atheist because I often find religious ideas, like sustained population growth, to be illogical.
  10. I'm sorry that you, @Traveler and @NeuroTypical had those horrible experiences. Consider me humbled and enlightened. I couldn't agree more. And this really highlights the fact that we still have work to do, and not just among "traditional" privileged populations. As I said, it's a spectrum. Those kids might be marginalized in some circles because of their sexuality or gender identity, but that didn't stop them from finding an opportunity to express racist views towards someone they viewed as inferior. No one is immune from being a jerk. Bad attitudes aren't discriminatory about who they infect. The important thing is to look past our own prejudice and just see a jerk rather than a trans jerk, a white cis jerk, a Hispanic jerk, etc. Whenever there's a mass shooting, the media works itself into a frenzy trying to spin the shooter's identity. If the shooter is a straight white male conservative, the liberal media goes nuts. If the shooter falls under any other identity, conservative media goes nuts. Heck, a lot of conservatives are still talking about the shootings months ago committed by trans people. They almost seem to take glee in the fact that trans people did something so heinous, because they see it as a boost to their pro-gun and anti-trans narratives. Meanwhile, those of us who still have brains don't give a flying fornication about the shooter's race, motivation, or genitalia. We just want the mass shootings to stop.
  11. Fair enough. I still think you fully knew what I meant, but I'll try to use more accurate terminology. Privilege is best looked at as a spectrum. As a cis-het Asian-American man, you have more privilege than many other identities based on your race, gender, and sexual orientation. It doesn't mean that you don't work any more or less hard for what you have. It means that the barriers that exist for many people based on the identity characteristics I named (and there are plenty of other factors) don't exist for you. And that doesn't mean that you don't have barriers of your own that you've had to overcome. We all do. Most people have some kind of barrier(s) to success that can be considered universal and unspecific to identity. Financial hardships, poor interpersonal skills, addiction, and abusive upbringing are some of the most common barriers that people can face, regardless of their sexuality or ethnic background. A lot of people have to overcome those barriers AND barriers that they were born with and shouldn't be barriers at all. You and I will no doubt disagree about the amount of success a person can achieve through honest means, but at it's core, there is nothing wrong with being self-made. There's not enough wealth and prosperity to provide an acre of land and a homestead for every one of America's 330 million+ citizens. We don't have the economic power or resources to sustain that. When suburbia was created, black families (and other ethnic minorities, no doubt) were largely excluded, and by design. Modern growth is being invested in urban density, or at least it should be. The community organizing work I do has me neck deep in city planning, zoning, and NIMBYs, and I live in a "city" the size of College Station in a state that has better public investment than most. One thing I've learned is that, despite all the white liberal tears about equality and taking care of underprivileged citizens, the biggest barrier to success is people who already have it and don't want the neighborhood to get too c̶o̶l̶o̶r̶f̶u̶l̶ crowded. I have one of largest, most prestigious hospitals on the planet in my backyard, and they employ ~25% of the city's population. They recently tore down an old K-Mart to build a parking complex for hospital employees to park at and then be shuttled to their respective buildings. It seems to me that a better and more equitable solution would be to invest in apartment buildings downtown so that employees can walk or bike rather than shuttle in from a parking lot that exists only for them to be picked up from (there's no downtown parking for hospital employees, they can get in big trouble for parking downtown). But we can't do that because it'll "ruin the character of our historic downtown neighborhoods", or "what about parking?". Now, I realize that everything I typed out above about our local housing efforts is pretty "small potatoes" stuff. So now imagine the challenges of supporting a city 10x our size (like my former Texas home). A city can only geographically expand so far into suburbia before it starts creating strains on local infrastructure *cough*Houston*cough*. So bigger cities have to become denser in order to better serve their citizens. The world is a very different place than it was in the New Deal era. Cookie-cutter homes and white picket fences aren't the American Dream for a lot of younger Americans, partly because they know it's nearly impossible in 2024. My sister has three kids and her husband has a fairly well-paid position at BYU. Of the five of us, she's the one who has come the closest to achieving the American Dream, as we were taught to believe in it. They just bought a six-bedroom house. Nope. Sorry. Scratch that. They bought half of a six-bedroom house. My brother-in-law's sister bought the other half, because in today's housing market (even in economically-healthy Utah), that was a more affordable option than any 3-4 BR home they looked at. Does that sound like a sustainable way for families to build wealth? In 1996, my parents bought a $120,000 townhome in the Baltimore suburbs on the salary of an Air Force E-6 (about $50,000 before taxes and including housing allowance). I just looked on Zillow and there are two townhomes for sale in that same court that are listed at $330k+. I make $80k/yr with a job and VA disability and I couldn't afford to live in my old house. Heck, my VA check alone gives me $48k/yr and that's barely enough for a 2 BR apartment in a much cheaper state than Maryland. If you break down my VA check, it comes out to about $22/hr. My day job pays $20/hr. My income is a privilege that most people don't have. Most people weren't destroyed by the US military AND have a job that pays almost double the state minimum wage and almost triple the federal minimum wage. Most people don't even have one of those things. And our economy isn't designed for most people to. That's why I do organizing work, to help create an environment where everyone can thrive instead of just trying to survive. Whether that means a white picket fence or a reasonably-priced apartment with a breathtaking view of historic downtown and a short walking commute to work (😉), there's room for everyone to thrive. But first we need to recognize and address the barriers that currently prevent it. It's great that lynchings and blatant discrimination are virtually extinct, but that doesn't mean that the effects of 20th Century racism haven't left modern black people at a disadvantage. Yes, there are pathways out of bad situations. There's an organization in my area that specifically caters to helping female immigrants (legal, we have a considerable population of Somalian immigrants, many of them single mothers) and victims of spousal abuse to do things like work on their education, job-finding skills, and find meaningful connections within the community. It's a non-profit and it does a decent job of helping our small community, but there's no reason why we can't use public funds to do things like that on a larger scale. Because sometimes people just need a little boost to get on the right track. Given the choice, I'd rather see my tax dollars go towards helping one of my neighbors find resources to thrive than funding foreign wars and subsidizing incompetent corporations.
  12. So you'd rather argue semantics instead? I know you know what I meant. Guess what? People of privilege have done a lot of horrible things to people less privileged than them throughout human history, including persecuting and committing violence against people who l̶o̶v̶e̶ have sexual relations with the wrong people. Do I feel personally guilty about that? No. Do I think you should? Of course not. But it's important for the privileged to recognize the harm that people like us have done to others, especially when that harm still manifests itself so vividly in many aspects of our culture. Recognizing white privilege isn't the same as white guilt. The latter is what helps white liberals sleep at night. The former is an actual means to creating a more equitable and less contentious society.
  13. Heterosexuality was the ONLY acceptable sexual norm in Western society for centuries. LGBTQ people weren't just "left out", they were actively (and often violently) persecuted en masse. Heck, openly queer folks in the US couldn't serve their country until 2011. That didn't stop some of them from serving with honor and dignity, and there's a strong possibility that some LGBTQ people have died in the service of a country that never accepted them in their lifetime. Outside of the military, LGBTQ folks have been murdered, beaten, and in many other ways actually persecuted simply for loving the wrong person or wearing the wrong clothes. I don't know about you, but as a cis-het white man, I don't feel like there has ever been that kind of hatred and animosity directed towards me. When cis-het people DO experience some blowback for their sexual/gender orientation, it's usually because they were being intolerant jerks, not exclusively because they aren't queer. So I hope you'll forgive me for not being up in arms about the lack of Straight Pride Month™️ or whatever trivial recognition you think cis-het people are entitled to. White patriarchy is often defined by Paul's biblical teachings on patriarchy, specifically the contortion of it by some Christians to justify misogynistic and flat-out abusive behavior. However, there has never been an assumption that toxicity is limited to white people. The black community, for instance, rightfully takes a lot of heat for misogynist attitudes among black men. Systemic racism plays a role in the epidemic of fatherless black children, but so does generally toxic male behavior. Black men are far more likely to face repercussions for abusive behavior, both from their partners and from society, than white men. Divorce rates in the black community (not all caused by abuse, of course) are 10% higher than the national average despite 60% of the US population being white. That doesn't happen in a non-toxic environment. Again, some of it can be blamed on white society's ostricization of the Black community until recent history (yes, recent, many of the people who fought in the Civil Rights movement, both sides of it, are still alive today), but a lot of it comes down to poor personal behavior and decisions. Those problems aren't limited to black men, but black men tend to pay for it more than their white (esp white Christian) counterparts.