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1  Other / Off-topic / Are Societies Better-off without God? on: October 02, 2014, 11:02:54 AM
I'm not sure that I agree with this study. Read it and decide for yourself.
Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'

RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today.

According to the study, belief in and worship of God are not only unnecessary for a healthy society but may actually contribute to social problems.

The study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society.

It compares the social peformance of relatively secular countries, such as Britain, with the US, where the majority believes in a creator rather than the theory of evolution. Many conservative evangelicals in the US consider Darwinism to be a social evil, believing that it inspires atheism and amorality.

Many liberal Christians and believers of other faiths hold that religious belief is socially beneficial, believing that it helps to lower rates of violent crime, murder, suicide, sexual promiscuity and abortion. The benefits of religious belief to a society have been described as its “spiritual capital”. But the study claims that the devotion of many in the US may actually contribute to its ills.

The paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Society, a US academic journal, reports: “Many Americans agree that their churchgoing nation is an exceptional, God-blessed, shining city on the hill that stands as an impressive example for an increasingly sceptical world.

“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

“The United States is almost always the most dysfunctional of the developing democracies, sometimes spectacularly so.”

Gregory Paul, the author of the study and a social scientist, used data from the International Social Survey Programme, Gallup and other research bodies to reach his conclusions.

He compared social indicators such as murder rates, abortion, suicide and teenage pregnancy.

The study concluded that the US was the world’s only prosperous democracy where murder rates were still high, and that the least devout nations were the least dysfunctional. Mr Paul said that rates of gonorrhoea in adolescents in the US were up to 300 times higher than in less devout democratic countries. The US also suffered from “ uniquely high” adolescent and adult syphilis infection rates, and adolescent abortion rates, the study suggested.

Mr Paul said: “The study shows that England, despite the social ills it has, is actually performing a good deal better than the USA in most indicators, even though it is now a much less religious nation than America.”

He said that the disparity was even greater when the US was compared with other countries, including France, Japan and the Scandinavian countries. These nations had been the most successful in reducing murder rates, early mortality, sexually transmitted diseases and abortion, he added.

Mr Paul delayed releasing the study until now because of Hurricane Katrina. He said that the evidence accumulated by a number of different studies suggested that religion might actually contribute to social ills. “I suspect that Europeans are increasingly repelled by the poor societal performance of the Christian states,” he added.

He said that most Western nations would become more religious only if the theory of evolution could be overturned and the existence of God scientifically proven. Likewise, the theory of evolution would not enjoy majority support in the US unless there was a marked decline in religious belief, Mr Paul said.

“The non-religious, proevolution democracies contradict the dictum that a society cannot enjoy good conditions unless most citizens ardently believe in a moral creator.

“The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article571206.ece
2  Other / Politics & Society / Must Be Nice to Be A Rich Leftist on: October 02, 2014, 09:46:53 AM
When you are, you can spend all the money you want and fellow leftists never think you are overpaid or undeserving or that your lavish lifestyle, including four homes purchased by your trust, could be trimmed to the benefit of the poor.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/11130342/George-Clooney-and-Amal-Alamuddins-wedding-cost-8m.html
3  Other / Politics & Society / Prison for Kicking a Cat? on: September 30, 2014, 04:44:50 PM
Overkill or deserved? I for one cannot see how/who it helps to imprison anyone for animal cruelty. Couldn't the people who abuse animals learn a better lesson if sentenced to working for animals? Wouldn't the activists gain more if these people are put into service of animals?
Quote
Had it been a person he kicked, Mr. Robinson, 22, most likely would have received a quick plea bargain requiring no jail time — if, that is, he had even been arrested. And had he kicked that gray cat a few years ago, a similar outcome might have awaited him.

But now, every time Mr. Robinson has appeared in court in Brooklyn, animal-rights activists have surrounded him, attending his hearings and calling for a jail sentence. He has not even received a plea offer from prosecutors — extremely rare in misdemeanor cases.

Mr. Robinson, with one seemingly unconsidered kick, has unwittingly placed himself at the center of an impassioned, growing debate.

On one side are the activists. Once dismissed as cat ladies or fringe do-gooders, they have come to wield real power through funding, organization and a focus on legal remedies for animal abuse. They have embraced social-media campaigns; offered rewards to potential witnesses to animal abuse; trained prosecutors; and made inroads in pushing law enforcement across the country to arrest, and seek jail time for, animal abusers.

Yet lawyers defending the accused say that punishment in such cases can seem disproportionate to the crime when an animal is the victim.

At the moment, the activists seem to be winning the fight. The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced this month that it would track animal abuse as a separate crime, rather than lumping it in the “other” category.

In New York City, the Police Department took over responsibility for animal abuse complaints in January, and created an Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad. Arrests for animal abuse increased about 250 percent through September, compared with the same period last year.

And the Brooklyn district attorney, Kenneth P. Thompson, said the Robinson case, which is to go to trial on Wednesday, was “indicative of my determination to be strong on folks who think they can just abuse any type of animal.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/30/nyregion/animal-abuse-gains-traction-as-a-serious-crime-with-jail-more-often-the-result.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSumSmallMediaHigh&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0
4  Other / Politics & Society / The lessons of war? on: September 29, 2014, 04:23:17 PM
War that never ends

The lessons of war in the Middle East seem all too far outside the grasp of American policymakers, pundits and elected officials.

From Iraq and Afghanistan, two wars most Americans now regret, there were potential truths to be discovered, lesson to be appreciated.

First, “boots on the ground,” in a geography where they enemy stands within the general population while hiding in plain sight, poses insolvable problems and dangers. This resulted in IED’s planted nightly and discovered daily by US forces, all too often a discovery by explosion. It also resulted in the “friendly fire” of those trained to serve in the local military turning on their American counterparts to kill from within.

Ultimately, in Iraq the successful policy was developed under General Petraeus, who fueled the Surge by hiring the militias who were fighting the US, many of whom were displaced veterans the US had disposed from their careers upon arriving in Iraq.

When US forces left, unable to secure immunity from Iraqi prosecutions by a security agreement, the payments ended, and the Iraqi army collapsed. Prime Minister Maliki caused that disintegration by replacing trained leaders with his loyalists and by alienating Sunni’s in the country with his actions to discriminate in all possible fashions.

Ultimately Iraq fell back into disarray, its present state. And today ISIS, created within Iraq initially as a local branch of al Qaeda by the US occupation, rose to represent the rejected Sunni’s in Iraq and the region.

And now the US re-engages to stem the flow of Muslim radicalism by organizing a coalition of partners to fight against ISIS. Already critics of the new policy argue that only boots on the ground will bring success.

But the facts are boots on the ground never worked in Iraq for many reasons.

For most of the stay of the American military Iraqi citizens disliked the American presence. Literally millions of Iraqi citizens were displaced, thousands killed in the war. The economy was destroyed, corruption was rampant, and the secular state constructed under Saddam Hussein was divided into religious camps, Sunni vs. Shiite.

The US left because Iraqi’s did not want us there.

The second lesson that could have been learned in Iraq is that Muslim religious division has existed for hundreds of years, and in its violent, primitive form of hatred, it shows no sign of abating. And nothing the US can or will do, boots or no boots, will change that hatred and create peaceful resolution.

Finally, the lesson Americans never seems to learn is that in the ginning up to war our leaders and our media do whatever it takes to excite Americans for war.

George Bush used the potential mushroom cloud; Barack Obama, the fear that ISIS will come to America and kill us here. Therefore, they must be destroyed forever.

But destroying ISIS will not destroy terrorism in the least, for like a Wack a Mole carnival game, wherever we crush terrorists they simply re-appear in other forms.

When we decimated al Qaeda’s leadership and killed Bin Laden, the terrorist threat hardly ended, it just re-shaped. If we destroy ISIS terrorism will again re-shape.

And terrorists will always target the US, always.

The only solution is from those within the Middle East, those nations affected directly by the brutality of radical Muslimism, to fight their own fight to preserve and protect their people and nations.

As Thomas Friedman recently wrote, what if the US just said NO?
5  Economy / Services / Closed on: September 25, 2014, 01:19:53 PM
Closed
6  Other / Off-topic / EXODUS on: September 24, 2014, 02:54:46 PM
Author:  Moses

Date: 1420 or 1220 BC

Content:  The book of Exodus deals with the significant facts surrounding Israel's emergence as a nation.  Moses' great leadership is described as he accepted God's call to return to Egypt in order to lead God's people to freedom.  God sent the ten devastation plagues upon Egypt because the Pharoah refused to obey his command.  The ceremony of Passover was established during the last plague and became a memorial of God's deliverance for all time to Israel.  The Israelites crosed the sea and arrived at Mt. Sinai where God gave the Ten Commandments and the plan for the Taberancle, and the covenant was renewed with the nation.


Theme:  The power of God over evil is clearly shown when God defeats the enemies of his people by delivering them from bondage, but God expects that we trust and obey him in return.  Worship in the Tabernacle and adherence to the law were two aspects o Israel's obedience.

The Passover lamb is seen by the NT as a figure of Christ the Lamb of God (1 Cor. 5:7)


Outline:

1.  Israel's bondage in Egypt, 1:1 - 22

2.  The early life of Moses, 2:1 - 7:7

3.  The plagues, the Passover, and the exodus, 7:8 - 15:21

4.  The trip to Sinai and the giving of the law, 15: 22 - 24:18

5.  Instructions for the Tabernacle, 25:1 - 31:18

6.  Israel's sin and renewal, 32:1 - 35:3

7.  The building of the Tabernacle, 35:4 - 40:38
7  Other / Politics & Society / Who are domestic abusers? on: September 18, 2014, 02:12:59 PM
Often they are people you would least expect.  Like a federal district court judge, who routinely imprisons people for non violent crime. 


http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2014/08/hes_beating_on_me_wife_of_judg.html
http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2014/08/birmingham_attorney_donald_wat.html

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – U.S. District Court Judge Mark Fuller, of Montgomery, today accepted a plea deal that will have last month's arrest for beating his wife at an Atlanta hotel expunged if he completes a counseling program, the judge's lawyer said this morning.

Fuller, who serves Alabama's federal middle district, was arrested Aug. 9 after his wife reported to police that her husband was drunk when he beat her while they were at an Atlanta hotel. She had accused him of having an extra-marital affair with his law clerk.

When Fuller appeared in at an Atlanta Magistrate Court hearing this morning he accepted a plea deal for pre-trial diversion offered by the solicitor, said Fuller's attorney Barry Ragsdale. The plea deal was approved by the judge and with the consent of Fuller's wife, he said. 

Under the deal, Fuller has to have a drug and alcohol evaluation, Ragsdale said. Fuller has already had one performed by a private counseling service and Ragsdale said he hopes the judge will accept that report. If not, Fuller will undergo an evaluation by a counseling service approved by the court, he said.

"He doesn't have a drug or alcohol problem and never has," Ragsdale said.

Fuller also will have to undergo a once a week family and domestic violence program for 24 weeks, Ragsdale said. The judge can undergo that counseling at a court-approved counseling service in Alabama, he said.

Once he completes those requirements there will be no charges and the record will be expunged under the deal, Ragsdale said. "It will essentially put him back with a clean record," he said.

Ragsdale provided a statement from Fuller following the hearing.

"I reached this difficult decision after consulting with my family, and deciding that it was in everyone's best interests to put this incident behind us," Fuller stated. "While I regret that my decision means that the full and complete facts regarding this incident will likely not come out, I have no doubt that it is what is best for all involved."

"This incident has been very embarrassing to me, my family, friends and the court. I deeply regret this incident and look forward to working to resolve these difficulties with my family, where they should be resolved," Fuller stated.

"As difficult as this situation is, I hope that you can respect the need to let my family heal as we move forward with addressing our private and personal family issues. I look forward to completing the family counseling that I voluntarily began several weeks ago and to successfully completing the requirements of the diversion.  I also look forward to addressing the concerns of the Court and hopefully returning to full, active status in the Middle District of Alabama."

At least a few people have argued that Fuller shouldn't return to the bench.

Also see:
MARK FULLER CASE

    How would Judge Fuller judge Judge Fuller? If like Siegelman, harshly: opinion
    Judge Mark Fuller should 'do the right thing' and resign, Rep. Terri Sewell says
    Rep. Martha Roby on Mark Fuller: 'This is a very serious matter ... domestic abuse cannot be tolerated'
    Superstar Ray Rice cut from team; will 'superstar' judge Mark Fuller get to play on?
    Federal judge Mark Fuller accepts plea deal in domestic violence case; could have arrest record expunged
8  Other / Politics & Society / Ron Paul's former political director tied to bribery scandal on: September 05, 2014, 01:07:41 PM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/29/jesse-benton-mitch-mcconnell-resign_n_5739396.html?ref=topbar
I remember this dude running Paul's campaign in '07. Hsmith and I talked to him once or twice. Never cared for him. Apparently, he was most focused on marrying into Paul's family and channeling all those money bomb funds.
9  Other / Politics & Society / Islamic State 'beheads second US journalist' on: September 03, 2014, 11:13:11 AM
Another US journalist (Steven Sotlof) killed by the IS. Appears to have been murdered by the same individual.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middle...156273317.html
10  Economy / Economics / Economics Discussion on: September 02, 2014, 04:20:12 PM
Gonna post this promotional video. If you want to hear the entire thing it only requires an e-mail address. In the short time it has, it brings up some good points.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAFtlgJNMCo
11  Other / Politics & Society / 9 year old girl kills bloke stone dead with full auto machine gun on: September 01, 2014, 06:07:10 PM
The fateful seconds before nine-year-old girl accidentally shot her gun instructor dead with an Uzi: Video of child losing control of submachine gun after being told to go 'full auto' released by cops.

* Charles Vacca, a father and army veteran, was assisting the little girl at a shooting range just south of Las Vegas on Monday morning

* She pulled the trigger of an automatic Uzi and the recoil sent the gun over her head, shooting Vacca

* He was airlifted to hospital but died on Monday evening

* Girl was with her parents at Bullets and Burgers shooting range on vacation from New Jersey

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Q8tW0btnis

Recorded at the Bullets and Burgers shooting range in White Hills, Arizona, an edited clip plays up to the point where the girl loses control of an Uzi, killing 39-year-old Charles Vacca.

The shocking recording taken by the girl's parents and released by police shows Vacca standing closely next to the girl when the gun recoiled as she fired on full automatic mode.

As the clip unfolds, Vacca is seen to instruct the girl to hold the weapon with two hands at all times and to take a perpendicular stance to the target.

Then Vacca asks her to fire one shot for him, which she does.

Then, Vacca tells the girl to adjust her stance and squeeze the trigger to let off a volley, but something goes wrong when she fires a second time.

His last words to the girl are: 'Alright, full auto.'

The girl loses her two-handed grip on the weapon and it pulls to her left, striking Vacca in the head.

Charles Vacca, a father and veteran from Lake Havasu City, Arizona, was airlifted to hospital on Monday morning after the little girl shot him but died that evening.

Mohave County Sheriff Jim McCabe said the full video of the incident was 'ghastly'.

Social media was incredulous about the tragic accident, with most people posting comments as to why a nine-year-old was allowed to fire an automatic weapon.

Liz Matthews of the John Clayton Show on 710 ESPN in Seattle said, 'A story involving a nine-year-old shooting an UZI at a place called Burgers and Bullets would have been appalling enough. Horrifying.'

Nikki Bateman simply asked, 'why you'd even let a nine year old handle a gun in the first place?!'

Cameron Atfield directed his anger at the parents stating he 'hoped the parents are charged.'

Friends paid tribute to Vacca, an army veteran and a married father, as a great friend and soldier on Facebook. Best friend Robert Vera said they often laughed so much that they couldn't breathe.

'He became a brother and a major part of my life through thick and thin,' Vera said. 'Rest In Peace brother.'

The incident occurred at the Arizona Last Stop, which is about 25 miles south of Las Vegas, the Mohave County Sheriff's Office told AZFamily. It is home to a shooting range, Bullets and Burgers.

'Our guests have the opportunity to fire a wide range of fully automatic machine guns and specialty weapons,' its website states. 'At our range, you can shoot FULL auto on our machine guns. Let 'em Rip!'

When contacted by MailOnline, staff at Bullets and Burgers would not comment on the incident and referred questions to a nearby gun emporium, but would not say whether or not they were affiliated.

Arizona gun laws require a person to be at least 18 years old to carry a firearm, but the laws do not apply on private property or if the minor is accompanied by a parent or a certified instructor.


Should young girls in wild hot and not fully developed areas of the globe like africa, america and the middle east be allowed the chance to blow the heads off blokes with uzis ?

Also, noting another incident of a dog shooting his owner last year, should animals like cats and dogs also be legislated against from handling machine guns even when chaperoned on firing ranges or in the back yards of their owners ?
12  Other / Politics & Society / Electric utilities are blowing cost of energy theft out of proportion on: September 01, 2014, 05:56:31 PM
Looking into the matter further, I am seeing a lot of similarities between software piracy and electricity "theft".

When you look at the amount of electricity flowing in those power wires up in the sky, this is what it might look like. Of course, utility companies are itching to sell more power during the low use.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britis...-year-1.969837

It looks like cost of theft is blown way out of proportion as a justification for their rates and war on drugs. Unlike theft of durable goods, they aren't always real cost.

If you tag along a paying customer on a bus without paying the fare and you get off with him, they will claim you "cost" them the fare, but the incremental cost is so small that it is not measurable. It is along the same idea as someone downloading a software cost the developer their asking retail price.

The above is only true if it was completely full and you caused a fare paying customer to get turned away.

"BC Hydro says the theft of electricity — mostly from marijuana grow operations — now costs $100 million every year.

Hydro spokesperson Cindy Verschoor said that's a significant increase from the estimated $30-million revenue loss from electricity theft in 2006, the last time Hydro calculated the loss."

So, who is it really costing if they're only sipping from HYDRO's power during low usage? Especially if they're tapping into medium voltage with their own transproducer without taking away capacity from anyone. I somehow doubt the hydro's paying anyone for the use of water and it's not actually costing them anything for the kWh taken. This is as opposed to plugging into someone's generator and causing the throttle to open up more and consume more gas that they have to pay for.

A convincing tattle meter protest YouTube video that gets a large number of hydro's customer to set the thermostat in the house to switch on at exactly 6PM, switch on every thing in the house for 5 minutes from 6PM to 6:05PM and shift as much of power use to between 5 and 7PM while avoiding use between 10PM and 4AM in will cost them a lot more than all the theft

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britis...-year-1.969837

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdet...han-you-think/
13  Other / Politics & Society / Burger King Dares Obama To Stop It From Fleeing to Canada on: August 26, 2014, 05:10:55 PM

Not a BK fan, but they have every right to do what is best for their shareholders...earn as much money as possible.  Also interesting, that Buffet is in on this deal.  Kind of makes him a hypocrite since he's always lecturing on higher taxes.  Let's see if Obama pulls out his pen and phone.

Burger King Dares Obama To Stop It From Fleeing To Canada

Burger King’s plan to scurry across the Canadian border to avoid U.S. taxes could be seen as the corporate equivalent of flipping President Barack Obama the bird.

The White House vowed earlier this month to use an executive order to curb tax inversions -- deals in which U.S. companies buy smaller foreign firms in countries with lower taxes, then renounce their U.S. corporate citizenship and re-incorporate in that country.

Still, Burger King said late Sunday night that it was in talks to merge with Tim Hortons, Canada’s popular bakery and coffee chain. The new, combined company would be headquartered in Canada.


   http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/25/burger-king-obama_n_5709683.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592
14  Other / Politics & Society / Dr. Williams explains his definition of social justice on: August 26, 2014, 04:17:53 PM
"Let me offer you my deifinition of social justice.I keep what i earn and you keep what you earn.Do you disagree?Well then tell mehow much of what i earn belongs to you -and why?"Walter E. Williams.


Anyone care to answer Dr. Williams?
15  Other / Politics & Society / In 40 Seconds, Wall Street Journal Editor Shut Down Al Sharpton on: August 23, 2014, 02:58:25 PM
Wall Street Journal editorial board member Jason Riley, who is also the author of Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed, went on “Meet the Press.” There, he shared some tough words for the black community and professional race baiters profiting off of the chaos in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting death of Michael Brown.

    I don’t want to litigate this in the press that the officer used excessive force, I think he should be prosecuted, but let’s not pretend our morgues and cemeteries are full of young black men because cops are shooting them,” he said. “The reality is that it’s because other black people are shooting them, and we need to talk about black criminality.

And

    Blacks are only 13 percent of the population, but they’re 50 percent of homicide victims in this country and 90 percent of these victims are killed by other black people. At the same time, at the same weekend that this went down in Ferguson, we had 26 shootings in Chicago, but Al Sharpton didn’t head to Chicago. He headed to St. Louis because he has an entirely different agenda, which is to continue to blame whites.

This are explosive and true comments which have more impact because of Riley’s first-hand experience. While Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton fan the flames of racial hatred and squeeze every penny out of this tragedy, black people are being shot by other blacks in every urban city. Watch as the host Andrea Mitchell does everything she can to interrupt his clear and principled message.

Read more: http://www.thepoliticalinsider.com/whoa-just-40-seconds-wall-street-journal-editor-shut-al-sharpton-professional-race-baiters/#ixzz3B4njgiaB
16  Other / Off-topic / Suicide tourism? on: August 22, 2014, 01:37:25 PM
Quote
'Suicide tourism' to Switzerland has doubled since 2009:

(CNN) -- The law on assisted suicide in Switzerland isn't clear, according to a paper published in the journal Law, Ethics and Medicine this week. That's why, the authors say, people from other countries are traveling to the state of Zurich for the "sole purpose of committing suicide."

They're called suicide tourists.

Between 2008 and 2012, 611 "tourists" came to Switzerland for assisted suicide, according to the published analysis. They arrived from 31 countries around the world, though the majority were from Germany and the United Kingdom.

"In the UK, at least, 'going to Switzerland' has become a euphemism for (assisted suicide)," the study authors write. "Six right-to-die organizations assist in approximately 600 cases of suicide per year; some 150-200 of which are suicide tourists."

This published paper is the result of a pilot study completed for a larger project on assisted suicide in Switzerland being done by experts at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Zurich.

Of the 611 assisted suicides identified during the four-year study period, just over 58% were women. The patients' ages ranged from 23 to 97, researchers found, but the average age was 69. Close to half of the patients had a neurological disease. Others stated they had cancer, rheumatic disease or cardiovascular disease. Many had more than one condition.

In all but four cases, the assisted suicides were done using sodium pentobarbital. A fatal dose of this drug causes the patient to slip into a deep coma. Sodium pentobarbital paralyzes the patient's respiratory system, causing him or her to stop breathing. The total number of suicide tourism cases dropped from 123 in 2008 to 86 in 2009. But the number of cases doubled between 2009 and 2012, to 172.
http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/20/health/suicide-tourism-switzerland/index.html?hpt=hp_t4

Its a rather strange phrase "suicide tourism" for people who go to a foreign country to receive assistance in ending their life. It must be strange as well to know exactly when and how you will die. To actually have an appointment for it to happen. When you land at the airport in Switzerland you have to realize everything you see and do from now on will be for the last time.

Its doubtful these people are thinking too much about such things. They are looking for relief from agony and an end of suffering....for them and their families. Death can be very difficult and everyone needs help at the end even if that means help to die. The fact that so many have to leave their own countries for this final assistance is both sad and a shame.

In America only four states, Vermont, Oregon, Washington and Montana allow assisted Suicide. I am convinced sooner or later more will allow it. It just seems the right thing to do. All the so-called "slippery slope" concerns should be able to be alleviated as this is really an issue of common sense. No one wants to die in agony and without dignity or watch someone they love go through such an end. Folks have no control over their birth and sometimes not much control over their lives so at least we should have control over how we wish to die. Don't you think?
17  Other / Politics & Society / President Obama has no foreign policy on: August 20, 2014, 02:36:12 PM
I’ve been hearing this, or a variation of it, quite a bit from my family and others from my hometown which means it has been a popular mantra on both Fox News and/or conservative talk radio. It’s also; from a professional and academic standpoint, completely false.

President Obama is more of a neo-Liberal when it comes to International Relations Theory (in his actions at least), with a tinge of realism which has been so pervasive in our historical domestic foreign policy formulation and discourse. To this end, president Obama tends to favor (with some exceptions as mentioned above) a generally multilateral approach to foreign engagement, he likes to work through international institutions, is a much stronger wielder of soft power, and prefers a more nuanced foreign policy approach than many of his predecessors (especially neoconservatives) who often relied on straightforward / simple, unilateral realist approaches.

This can be seen in most of his foreign relations dealings during his two terms here (save for our Israeli, and to a lesser extent: Egyptian policies, which is where that realist twinge comes into play).

His approach to Libya is a good example, where he went through the UN Security Council, worked with NATO and kept a limited engagement policy, preferring to work with and through other actors including the Arab League.
18  Other / Politics & Society / Consequences of high minimum wages: Automated ordering kiosks on: August 19, 2014, 06:31:31 PM
Quote
Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich supports raising the minimum wage — and he has every reason to.

Panera’s 1,800 nationwide locations are at the forefront of modernizing the way customers experience fast food restaurants. As soon as 2016, the bread and pasta joint will have replaced all of their cashiers with kiosks.

Shaich, who donated $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, told USA Today that the move is part of an effort to “never have a customer wait,” but there is growing evidence that as pressure to raise wages builds, employers will turn to wage-free robots to avoid dramatic payroll hikes.

Fast food establishments in European countries with high minimum wages have already begun to replace some of their workforce with automated employers.

All of McDonald’s locations in France, for example, have installed kiosks to substitute and supplement human employees. The kiosks have allowed McDonald’s to avoid some of the high payroll costs of dealing with France’s minimum wage, which currently sits at $12.22 an hour in U.S. dollars. The European country is also suffering from an unemployment rate of over 10 percent.

Although the technology has not been widely adopted, equipment exists to replace almost all of the fast food workforce.

Momentum Machine’s meat-flipping robot, which can turn out 360 juicy burgers in an hour, could “allow a restaurant to spend approximately twice as much on high quality ingredients,” based on the labor costs, the company estimates.

Some companies abroad have already fully replaced human workers with robotic substitutes.

A well-recognized sushi-chain in Japan currently has robots making food while customers order on a touch screen. In lieu of human servers, a conveyer belt delivers their food and a computer tracks customer purchases and automates their bill payment at the end.

Despite the threat of the growing number of cheap and efficient technological opportunities available to restaurant chains, fast food workers, labor unions, and members of the political left have ramped up efforts to pressure lawmakers to raise the minimum wage in recently.

Over the past year, hundreds of protests to hike wages have been staged outside of fast food restaurants across the country, organized by the labor-back groups Fightfor15 and Fast Food Forward, among others.

On Thursday, labor groups plan to expand their campaign to raise the minimum wage to an international level, with protests demanding a $15 hourly wage scheduled to take place on six continents.

Although multiple states and local governments have passed wage hikes since the start of 2014, any initiatives to raise the federal minimum wage are not likely to make it passed Congress.

Currently, there is a Democratic-sponsored bill to push the national minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour, but the legislation has already failed to make it through the Senate and stands little chance of getting approved in the Republican-controlled House.
How anyone is shocked by this is beyond me ?
19  Other / Politics & Society / American Health care: $10,169 for a blood test? on: August 18, 2014, 03:56:08 PM
Quote
A lipid panel is one of the most basic blood tests in modern medicine. Doctors use it to measure cholesterol levels in their patients, probably millions of times each year.

This is not a procedure where some hospitals are really great at lipid panels and some are terrible. you are running blood through a machine and pressing buttons. That's it. And that all makes it a bit baffling why, in California, a lipid panel can cost anywhere between $10 and $10,000. In either case, it is the exact same test. "What we were trying to see is, when we get down the simplest, most basic form of medicine, how much variation is there in price?" More than 100 hospitals — with more than 100 different prices.

For this research, published Friday in the British Medical Journal, Hsia and her colleagues compiled reams of data about how much more than 100 hospitals charged for basic blood work. The prices these facilities charged consumers were all over the map. The charge for a lipid panel ranged from $10 to $10,169. Hospital prices for a basic metabolic panel (which doctors use to measure the body's metabolism) were $35 at one facility — and $7,303 at another. For every blood test that the researchers looked at, they found pretty giant variation.
http://news.yahoo.com/10-169-blood-test-everything-170003116.html

$10K for a simple blood test? This is outrageous. To say things are out of control with our health care is an understatement. It certainly shows you or a family member should ask up front what costs are at any hospital you are admitted into. What I would like to know is what [if anything] can be done to bring these prices back to realistic levels? Why can't there be equal billing right across the board? Isn't this something federal regulation should take care of? What would you do if you were handed a hospital bill that would drive you into bankruptcy or selling everything you own to pay? What can be done?
20  Other / Off-topic / Biblical Prayer - driver version on: August 09, 2014, 11:59:43 AM
Given the interest in the topic of prayer, it helps to point out that if prayer is to be answered, it is dependent on object to which prayer is addressed.

I pray to my boss for a raise - he may answer in the positive.  I pray to my co worker for a raise - he may be willing, but it is not in his power to answer such a prayer.

And, with my boss, how I approach him/her when I pray will  make a difference also.  I come in disrespectful, how likely will the boss answer my prayer, compared to coming in respectful?

 

And prayer is just communication - usually we think of it in terms of a 'deity', but, the object of prayer is not by definition restricted to 'deity'.

So, when one is asking if prayer works, one is really asking if prayer to a 'deity' works.

This thread is looking at what the Bible says about praying.  One thing is clear from the Bible - not all prayers are going to be answered.

To start off, the following devotions give us a good start.
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