• Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by DigitalShadow

  1. The main problem I have with a consumption tax is that it is essentially a regressive text since the less money you have, the higher the percent you spend on simply living, thus the higher percentage of your income is taxed, but having it variable based on the degree of necessity of the item could make sense. Haven't thought through all of the scenarios or overall impact but at first glance it sounds like a decent plan.
  2. While I am certainly no expert in economics and I will freely admit that I haven't even taken Economics 101, I do possess some critical thinking ability and would appreciate not being patronized. I am also not looking to prove anyone wrong or insult anyone's point of view, so I request this discussion to remain civil and not resort to political name calling on either side. With that said, I would have some questions to start off the discussion for anyone who would like to participate: 1. Assuming that there is a finite amount of money that the government needs to keep running and it has to be extracted from the public via taxes, in your opinion, what is the optimal distribution of this tax burden to help the economy? (I ask this without giving my opinion because I am honestly not sure) 2. I have heard it proposed that tax cuts on the wealthy would help the economy because the wealthy create jobs. In my limited economic understanding, I was under the impression that companies and corporations that create the vast majority of jobs, not wealthy individuals. Whether the CEO personally makes $40k or $40 million a year, he can still create jobs just as effectively. Similarly even if he had a 99% personal tax, it would not hurt his ability to create jobs in his company. You could claim that the wealthy CEO making $40 million will reinvest his money, thereby creating jobs, but non wealthy people do that every day by purchasing products and buying stock. What economic advantage is there for all that wealth to be held by one person?
  3. I respond to either atheist or agnostic since the exact definitions of both words are rarely understood among theists and even atheists/agnostics debate the specific connotations. My personal philosophy is that the ultimate truth of where we came from is not knowable from a human perspective, but I also believe that there is not sufficient evidence for me to follow any of the current religions. I am open to the possibility of a religion having truth and enjoy discussing philosophical matters without putting down or trying to disprove the other side. I certainly don't have any pathological need to disprove God or specific religions, in fact it's quite the opposite; I truly wish there were overwhelming evidence that there is an afterlife and we will all be judged for our works in life, but I simply don't find any religion convincing enough. I have definitely met atheists that I don't agree with and in general I think are jerks, but I have also met theists that are just as bad. Some people are just jerks; this is true regardless of theological beliefs. I'm sorry that you have met some atheists with a chip on their shoulder and that has colored your view of us in general, but I assure you that we are not all like that.
  4. I know I don't post as much as I used to, but I feel left out Personally, I come here because my wife is LDS and I like to see the LDS point of view on many issues because I live in Utah where many LDS congregate.
  5. Preventing government from officially being involved with a religion is a far cry from taking away freedom of speech. I'm sorry you're outraged that the religion that already permeates the culture of our country can't be "officially" endorsed and/or mandated by our government, but if you're genuinely afraid that the oppressive atheist minority is trying to take away YOUR (as in something you personally say, not in an official government capacity) freedom of speech, you have serious paranoia issues. Edit: As an atheist, I don't particularly agree with either of those lawsuits, but labeling them as atheists trying to take away the freedom of speech of Christians is ridiculous.
  6. How exactly are atheist groups trying to take away anyone's freedom of speech?
  7. Seriously? A snarky bus advertisement is where you draw the line at what shouldn't be protected by freedom of speech? I'm sure the people you mention fighting and dying for your freedom were intending on protecting free speech but with the exception of anything anyone finds snarky or offensive, which essentially isn't "free speech" at all.
  8. If someone were truly intent on blowing up a large amount of people, all they would have to do is detonate a device in the massive line of unscreened people waiting at the security checkpoint or any other crowded area. The only reason it would matter that they're on a plane is if they intend on hijacking the plane to fly it in to a building, but can you honestly see a group of passengers standing for that after 9/11? If anything, these ridiculous procedures put us more at risk and are only in place to give people a false sense of security and allow politicians to claim they are "fighting the war on terror."
  9. I would be willing to bet the shelves at the store containing the food are even worse for bacteria. If it comes from a store and doesn't have outside packaging, wash it thoroughly before eating... seems like common sense. If you really want to see a shocking amount of bacteria, swab your keyboard (you know, the thing you're typing at right now). Edit: Dravin beat me to it.
  10. We were vulnerable to a massive attack of crashing a plane into a building, but I honestly can't imagine that being even remotely possible now regardless of scanners or enhanced pat downs because the second someone tries something funny on the plane, they have an army of people with nothing left to lose willing to take them down. The problem is that rather than looking at the next gaping hole in the security of our everyday lives, people are focusing on mindlessly beefing up in plane security past the point of usefulness or reason. We will never be 100% safe or anywhere close to that and tragedies happen, but quite frankly, odds are you're orders of magnitude more likely to die from too many Big Macs and soda than from any sort of terrorist attack. Making air travel miserable for millions of people is only marginally helping air security and not even making a dent in our overall security. The sooner people realize that, the sooner I can once again take a commercially packaged energy drink into an airport without security treating me like I'm trying to blow up the whole airport, then carelessly tossing the drink they accuse of being a bomb into a garbage can with the rest of the "potential explosives" right next to the giant line of people in the security checkpoint.
  11. The main difference is that the baby powder was directed toward someone with authority with the intention of eliciting a response whereas the tweet in question was meant jokingly between friends and happened to be stumbled upon by authorities. Can you truly not see a significant difference between those scenarios?
  12. Don't forget the desire to harass children in the job description: TSA pats down a screaming toddler : The Mommy Files
  13. Knowing the limitations of current software and the nature of tech demos, the launch of Kinect was pretty much as I expected and I am happy with my purchase. Of course there isn't going to be a fully featured interactive and immersive world at launch since it would take years of development. No company would commit to that on an unproven platform and even if they had to desire to do that the Kinect hardware and firmware was likely changing right up until release. In my opinion what Microsoft promised was hardware and that is what they successfully delivered. The software will come and even if it doesn't come through the XBox, people have already reverse engineered drivers to connect your Kinect to a PC and do very cool things.
  14. Except this situation is more like making inappropriate jokes to your friends nowhere near an airport, but within earshot of an off duty TSA employee who then writes down your license plate and has you arrested at your place of work even though he knows there was no threat intended.
  15. Out of curiosity, what are the legal/ethical implications of recording something off the radio? You didn't buy it, it was freely broadcast over the airwaves. Is it still illegal and/or unethical to reproduce the copy that you made just from what was freely broadcast to you? If the music you are caught "stealing" was originally from a radio source, does it make a difference? Why or why not? As far as I know, you don't enter any sort of agreement or contract when turning on a radio.
  16. I speak many other languages... C#, C++, Objective C, Java
  17. If I had to guess I would say that they are not allowing it on XP because of the hardware graphics acceleration they added which most likely uses DirectX 10+ which is far more integrated into the operating system and so is not available for XP. Could they have used OpenGL and made it more compatible? Probably, but I don't think this is just as simple as a ploy to get people to get people to upgrade. I think Microsoft has actually mellowed out quite a bit from the old days of it being the evil dominating corporation, now it's mostly just struggling to stay relevant. Apple on the other hand is the new Microsoft.
  18. And how many laws that benefit or even protect the penniless do you think will be passed after they have virtually no say in our government? Why not just round up everyone that makes less than $30k per year and kick them out of the country while you're at it?
  19. It is true that I don't have any stock in Ford Motor Company so they have no reason to listen to me, but as one of many car companies, I'm also not forced to drive their cars. The reason that the stock/voting analogy fails is because whether I am penniless or pay millions in taxes, laws that are passed affect me the same. Why should the person who pays millions of dollars have thousands of times more say in matters that affect us both? Doesn't that seem rather unfair?
  20. It wouldn't surprise me if they already do that and no one notices because from a customer's perspective asking for a quote is already like asking a random number generator to give you the next number. In fact it also wouldn't surprise me if as part of their application process they have a bot crawl your facebook page to quasi-legally obtain personal information not volunteered which could include your sexual orientation.
  21. I personally don't think that g/l couples should be discriminated against in any way that race or sex is protected from discrimination, but insurance companies are of a somewhat unique nature and their whole business is discriminating. They are basically placing bets that you won't get sick or get in an accident and using statistical data to stack the odds enough in their favor enough to make a profit. I'm really not sure how far they should be able to go and what factors they should be able to take in to account, but that is a separate argument unrelated to same sex couples in my opinion.
  22. Are you proposing that two healthy, STD free individuals of the same sex having relations is inherently more dangerous than two healthy STD free individuals of the opposite sex? If so, I would like to know where you're getting this info and what mechanism causes this "risk." Do you think they would just spontaneously combust or be smitten by God or something of that nature?
  23. Shouldn't higher rates for males be discriminatory just because they are male? Does the fact that males have higher accident rates strongly suggest there is something wrong or dangerous about being male? Let me try another analogy. I happen to seriously like pizza. I could probably eat it every day for just about every meal, but I also know that all that artery clogging cheese and grease puts me at a higher risk for heart disease. By your logic, does it then follow that craving pizza is unnatural and dangerous behavior and that I must have consciously chosen to like pizza at some point in my life, and there's no way I could have been "born that way?" I don't remember every sitting down and consciously deciding what foods I should like, yet I have strong food preferences and for all intents and purposes, I was born that way. Whether it's genetic, environmental or a combination is difficult to say, but it's certainly not something I "chose" in any sense of the word. Similarly, I would be saddened but understanding if there was section on my insurance form for food preferences (and it wouldn't surprise me if there already is one). In short, I really don't see how slightly higher risk factors indicate the rightness or how "natural" a particular behavior is.
  24. I get charged more for car insurance because I'm a young male. It's perfectly normal and natural that I am a male, yet it is also apparently more risky for me to drive. Is that discrimination based on gender or just good business sense based on statistical analysis? There are plenty of "natural" genetic factors that people are born with which can increase or decrease risk of a number of things, just ask any geneticist. I'm not sure what you're getting at here.