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Member since: Mon Oct 8, 2012, 04:03 PM
Number of posts: 404

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Why the Liberal/Conservative Split is also an urban/rural split

(I was asked to report this from a thread as an op. I will expound on this as well.)

Urbanites and rural folk *really* need to talk to each other about how guns effect their lives. Guns are not the issue, guns are a symbol of the differences between these groups. It's one of many but it stands out.

Rural folk don't understand what the urban folk fear. They don't understand living in a high density space where one stray bullet can result in a dead child. They don't understand being in a space where having a gun is more liability than its worth.

Urban folk don't realize that guns are also tools. They are taken out on ranches and farms everyday as another tool. They may be used to kill a rattlesnake or wild a rabid animal. They may have to be used to euthanize an injured animal. Children are taught firearm safety from a very young age. They are taught when and how to use them ethically, effectively and safely.

Folks who live off the land are aware that calamity may strike at any time. When I say calamity I mean calamity on a community scale, not just personal. Calamity may come slowly in the form of a drought or quickly in the form of a flood. It could come from the collapse of central authorities which all too often ignore the rural areas. It may be more personal in the form of a blizzard that snows you in or the breakdown of your truck. When the nearest grocery store is 15 miles away or more, you learn that you may have to find food by other means for extended periods.

Urban folk don't necessarily understand these factors. Some clearly have no idea where their food comes from before it reaches the grocery store. At the same time, rural folk don't understand what it's like to live in a space where you rarely see trees and grass. They don't recognize the tradeoffs of living in a dense urban area. They aren't used to being able to depend on having a grocery store or deli open at all hours a few blocks away. They don't understand the value of going to a subway for a ten minute trip across town. They don't experience all the extra time that can be built into people's lives by these amenities. They also don't recognize what's its like to depend on this infrastructure. So, when a Sandy or Katrina strikes a major urban area they are sometimes left scratching their heads and wonder "Why don't these people just do 'x'"?

Rural folk also don't feel the stress that comes from being in the city. They can't always grasp the forces that drive people to desperate acts like robbery and gang warfare.

These two sets of people rely on two different infrastructures. Each has its benefits and costs.

These discussions are being conducted in the wrong places and between the wrong people. We are talking past each other. Its not just that we have different perspectives its that we lack a common base of experience to start from.

So, when you talk about gun control in the wrong way, a rural person may fear for their sense of self-reliance. They feel like you want to bind their hands and prevent them from feeding themselves. They see a slippery slope that begins innocently but ultimately ends up hurting them. But when you talk about gun rights in the wrong way, the urban dweller sees only innocent people lying dead from weapons in all the wrong hands.

It's not just about guns. It's about a host of issues including how/when/who should help the helpless? It's about whether and how much to trust government to do the job right. It's about how much time we can dedicate to monitoring our government. Urban dwellers get cheaper food as a result of government ag subsidies. Those subsidies began as help for family farmers but have mutated into corporate welfare that has hurt family farmers. Then we add educational aid and now health care. For those who experience tells them to fear government reliance it is fair for them to ask "how far should this go?" But we never really get an answer to that question. We should have one. And we should have a rational reason behind that answer.

But as long as we are divided by our experiences and unable to understand the different experiences that produce different conclusions we will never have adequate answers to these questions.

The far left has very little traction in rural areas. The issue of hunting nearly tore the MN Green party apart due to urban/rural differences. The Democratic party is the only real left/liberal presence in rural America. It needs to do more than just offer lip service to rural concerns. It needs to offer solutions that work for both rural and urban America.

If it can do so, it will drive the Republican party to extinction.

Are there any economists watching this forum?

Especially economists who specialize in taxation theory?

I have an idea I need to bounce off an expert but my background is physics and law and I don't want to spend a lot of time to find out I'm reinventing the wheel.

Can we enhance the jury system?

One of my big frustrations about the jury system is that there is no opportunity for an accused poster to defend him/herself. I'd like to see that added in perhaps as follows;

1) If the jury votes to "leave it" there is no need.

2) Jurors can vote to "hide it" and also mark a post as "indefensible"

3) Jurors can ask the accused to defend a post before voting.

4) A post which the jury decides to hide but which does not get a majority vote of 'indefensible" would hide the post but give the poster 1 chance to;
a) Defend the post, ask for a revote and get the post reinstated
b) Edit the post and ask for reinstatement of the edited post
c) Allow the poster to acknowledge an inappropriate post and self-delete.

I know, this probably seems too complicated but still, the current system seems to me to be a kangaroo court which only creates resentment and censorship instead of promoting constructive conversation.


There is a video going viral purporting to show an eagle lifting a child. IT'S FAKE.

An eagle can only lift 1/3 of its weight and the toddler in the video outweighs the bird.

Stuff like this gets hawks and eagles shot and killed.

News articles are already reporting it is CGI. I don't even want to post those links because it just causes the video to get shared.

UPDATE: The video is now confirmed to be a fake, the creators have admitted it.


Feature Request: Lock me out, please.

The recent gun control conversations have drawn the worst out of me. I've tried to walk away but I can't seem to stay away.

It would be a great feature if we could choose a friend (or more than one) who has the ability to temporarily lock us out on request or at their discretion when we or they feel we need to cool down. This might prevent some banned accounts.

As a way to encourage use of this feature, I would suggest that those who implement it get extra points toward their chances of serving on jury duty.

EPEAT Caves in to Apple

I just got this from iFixit.com - a resource that has saved many a computer for me. Another case proving that "self-regulation" rarely, if ever, works. EPEAT is now just a puppet of its corporate paymasters.

Remember when we discovered that you can't even replace the battery in the Retina MacBook Pro?

We were hopeful that the green standards folks would do something about it. Now, they've caved in to Apple.

There was a flurry this summer when Apple announced that they would be leaving EPEAT soon after releasing the unfixable Retina MacBook Pro—then, two weeks later, apologized and resubmitted all their products to the registry. Since July, the EPEAT product verification committee has been busy making their decision. Now, the results are in.

The Retina MacBook Pro—the least repairable, least recyclable computer I have encountered in more than a decade of disassembling electronics—was just verified EPEAT "Gold."

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