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rd95  ·  170 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: It's election day America!

Hubski will be here tomorrow. So will the television. Turn off the electronics and just spend time with her tonight

rd95  ·  254 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Planning the Purge: GOP life after Trump

Ok. Youll.have to forgive this response for being limited because a) I'm on my phone at the moment and b) unlike someone like say kleinbl00 or mk, I'm not always good at coming up with super concrete stuff. So my response will be a bit more in abstract comparisons.

So about the FDA and all, no system is immune from problems and that's why concepts such as transparency and effective checks and balances are important. You can't just pick one or two examples of an organization not meeting our expectations and say "they're not working right now in this particular instance, so that must mean no regulatory body is worthwhile." That's just not really fair.

I can think of two really good, concrete examples where a lack of regulation or ignoring regulations have caused public harm. The housing/financial crisis from the last decade, to the best of my understanding, is due in part to deregulating some of the ways banks could make loans and transfer money. The result was disastrous and I think people can argue that we are still trying to recover. In more recent events, the Flint Michigan water crisis shows what happens when people decide to ignore safety regulations. Many people have been harmed when it could have been avoided.

In more abstract concepts though, we can compare regulation heavy countries like America, France, etc. with countries that are less inclined, such as India, Haiti, etc. Just looking at the them on a surface level from their roads to buildings to public safety you can see how regulations can have a big impact. For a good example, if you were to compare The Mississippi River and The Ganges River, you'd see the effect environmental regulations have. These things do male a difference. Laws that are meant to protect tenants such as rental laws and building codes give us healthy and safe places to live and ensure they stay that way. Workplace regulations really do ensure that our places of employment are safer and that we're at least somewhat protected when it comes to being treated fairly.

On and on I can go. In short though, the protect us from living in places like this and they protect us from work situations like this and they help us protect the world from turning into this.

rd95  ·  275 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: On Veganism

Alright. So I’m gonna want you to bear with me here, because I don’t think you’re gonna necessarily like everything I have to say in my first few paragraphs. Bear with me though, because I’m going somewhere with this that I’m hoping might help a little bit here.

So first I want to start with the desire to refer to the meat industry as a “holocaust” or “genocide.” Genocide is a very strong, very serious term with a lot of emotional, political, and historical baggage. It is so loaded that different people view the term in different ways though there are some underlying similarities between them all. With that in mind, let’s just look at Wikipedia’s opening definiton of the term. “Genocide is the intentional action to systematically eliminate an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group.” The meat industry is none of those things. These animals have no religion or nationality that we are trying to crush and we are not trying to drive these animals to extinction. When people refer to the meat industry as a genocide they’ve suddenly made their positions seem unrealistic to the people they’re trying to persuade and at the same time, they’re cheapening a very serious word. In all seriousness, they are not the victims of genocide, they are a commodity. But, that is not to say that means they’re not victims of mistreatment and that the meat industry does not have its issues.

You have some very real concerns about consuming animals as meat and consuming animal products. Saying that you object to the meat industry because it’s like a “genocide” is being lazy. You need to think about why you object to the meat industry and what about it concerns you. Are you concerned about how the over use of antibiotics are causing medicine resistant bacteria? Are you concerned about the fact that raising beef cattle uses up an alarming amount of resources, from water to land, that could be put to better use? What about over fishing? The inhumane practices of factory farming in general? You need to think long and hard about these things, and trust me when I say it’s not pleasant to do so, and think about why you find them objectionable. By doing so you’ll have a better foundation for the arguments you want to make. Saying “I object to the meat industry because it’s genocide” isn’t going to get you very far with people. Saying “I do not eat meat because I have concerns about X, Y, and Z” will get people to take much more seriously.

If there is one more thing I would say, it is to take it one step further and think about why others might support the meat industry and the various practices in it. As a whole, it creates jobs and drives our economy while at the same time allowing us to afford meat at a crazy cheap price these days. People argue that using antibiotics and growth hormones allow for a consistently better, cheaper final product. Factory farming is an efficient use of both physical space as well as resources. On and on. By understanding other people’s positions, you can more easily talk to them in an open and respectful manner and hopefully they’ll do the same towards you. At the same time, while you’ll more than likely be unable to convince others to give up meat altogether, maybe you can influence them to be a little more thoughtful in their consumption, say for example, reducing the amount of wild fish they eat.

Think about that for a bit. Then let’s look at the pig and the man.

    Boiling it down for what a pig can do for our man-made country sounds more of a moot point. In the realm of "What you do defines you," the man wins out - considering the blanket notion they'll live a productive life. A difference lies in the basis of what is valued as productive seeing as it's relative term with human connotations. As in, what's productive to a pig in its community is likely different to us. I get the thought this is splitting hairs, though.

From my perspective, and I cannot stress that enough when I say from my perspective, no amount of hair splitting is going to change the fact the value of a pig and the value of a man are incomparable. Additionally, we need to look at this value in terms of human connotations because humans are the driving factor in animal consumption, it’s humans you’ll be having these conversations with, and ultimately, you’re trying to navigate in a world dominated by man who dictate what is and isn’t socially acceptable.

So with that, let’s look at a pig. A pig is a pig and if you go to the grocery store you can get a pound of pork product for about five or six bucks. That’s raised, slaughtered, shipped, cut, and ready to cook. That’s disgustingly cheap. That’s so cheap that most people won’t second guess whether or not they can afford to eat pork chops that night. That’s so cheap that almost no one appreciates the fact that they’re eating an animal with an intelligence that’s considered to be greater than that of their own pet dog. That’s so cheap that it almost seems to make pork valueless.

Except that pork has immense value. Someone raised it, someone slaughtered it, someone shipped it to the stores, and someone sold it to your neighbor. That is money in the pockets of each of those people so they can go on living their lives, supporting their family, and enjoying this beautiful world of ours. Similarly, that pork is enjoyed not just by your neighbor, but most likely his friends and family, giving them the nutrition they need to go about their lives, enjoying this world and equally giving back to it.

Now let’s look at a man. Compared to a pig, his value is potentially infinite. A pig can only consume and be consumed. However a man can consume and create. He has the capacity to be an artist or a scientist, a philosopher or a community leader, a factory worker or a teacher. That pig, by giving up his life gives sustenance to men. A man though, by living, gives sustenance to all of humanity through culture, knowledge, and compassion.

Think about that for a minute. Now think back to the term “genocide.” A genocide is more than the destruction of a group of people, it is the destruction of their culture, their values, and their potential to make the world a better place in their own ways. Pigs do not have culture, men do. Pigs do have value, but men infinitely more. That said, I don't think it takes any stretch of the imagination to say that even as food, pigs deserve as much humane treatment as possible. It's the least we can do for them, seeing as how they're here to support us.

Now, I want to take you on a bit of a detour here, about something I touched in my earlier response. Namely this sentence . . .

    Knowing that to exist is to consume and to consume is to destroy, do you think that you as an individual will eventually find peace both with yourself as well as the world around you by embracing vegan philosophy?

Veganism is a very noble mindset, but it isn’t a complete solution. Just by existing, we change the world around us. If you were to switch to an all vegetable diet and lifestyle, your consumption will still cause harm. Pesticides known as neonicotiniods are suspected to be responsible for the collapse of bee colonies all over the planet. Fertilizer runoff from farmland is one of the main causes of harmful algae blooms. Your use of electronics is a direct cause for the exploitation of cheap labor overseas. If you’re an American, the amount of waste you create on a yearly basis is absolutely mind blowing. On and on I can go, but I don’t mean to depress you. In fact, I want to encourage you. You yourself said . . .

    Frankly, a basis with which I'm thinking veganism in general is a bit silly compounded with our current theory of evolution. Which, mind you, I'm fully aware in this context nearly contradicts my comments above if taken at face value.

    I do like how you point that idea out of what I'd be going through carrying mental weight. I've sustained the "eat less meat" initiative, witnessed by my grocery receipt, in part a remnant of the "down with the man" mentality against food industry. But, now if I'm out of my normal environment: back home with family, at an event with friends, going out to eat, then I don't limit myself so much, if at all. Of late, my mentality has shifted away from the previous ideal towards enabling myself to eat a proper diet. I've gone back to eating other animal products like eggs and yogurt, and I've drastically increased the amount of fruits and nuts I buy. Funny how it feels like going from one extreme forces me to temper myself to a mid-point between where I was and what I sought to achieve.

What you’re describing here is mindfulness. Your entire original post in fact is about how you’re trying to reconcile how you view the world and how you want to interact with it. Where you are mentally right now is a very important place to be. You’re paying attention to your actions with a desire to not just do less harm, but do more good, not just for the world around you, but yourself as well. Embrace this mentality every time you can. You don’t have to turn your whole world upside down though. Small changes and careful actions can be enough to start making a difference without driving yourself crazy. Me? I’ve cut my beef consumption literally in half and I can’t remember the last time I had a fish dinner. All because of a few articles I read and an evening of introspection.

Even better though, is that you’ll soon find that your mentality really will rub off on other people, as long as you stay positive and respectful. Sometimes just saying “Hey, this factory farming concerns me and here’s why” is enough to not only cause yourself to behave more responsibly, but it’s enough to get others to think about how they’re behaving as well. Today you’re talking about meat consumption. Tomorrow you’ll be talking about protecting biodiversity. Next year, sustainable energy, addressing the very legitimate criticisms of fair trade and God only knows what else. The world is getting smaller every year, with more and more human connections being made on a daily basis. Keep them positive and you’ll be helping to change the world for the better.

Just remember. Slow down a bit. Do your best, but don't become obsessive.

rd95  ·  335 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Volvo's Small Car Strategy Is Massive

Lord Mercy, you're putting out a skewed image of the Mustang. This is a car, like the Corvette, with over 50 years of very rich history. Your pictures, while they support your argument, are far from impartial. That's like saying “Oh. Picasso was a painter? Here's a picture of a blank canvas. La dee daa. Big fucking deal.”

First of all . . .

    I always thought that most mustangs were under-powered poser cars that were more wanna-be. I guess I grew up in the 90's where a mustang is what you got if you wanted to pay too much for a rental car.

Both cars you just showed, the Fox Body and the early SN-95 were underpowered. EVERYTHING from that era was underpowered. The Malaise era was real and it wasn't until the late '80s and early '90s that we started to see a change from that. The production cars sucked. Yes. What people could do with them though and are still doing with them? That's fucking magical.

Furthermore, people love the engines in those cars and in return, those engines love being modded. The 302 Windsor V8 found in the Fox Body? Easy to mod. The Modular 4.6L V8 in the SN-95 and the first half of the S-197 series? Easy to mod. The Modular 5.0 in the second half of the S-197 series and the current S-550 series? Fucking same. There are after market parts from body kits to suspension to dress ups to really make your car unique. Don't believe me? Go shopping for a bit this morning. People take, what you've shown, and turn them into works of art like pretty much every damn thing you see here. They're beautiful. They're fast and powerful. They're points of personal pride to their owners. In short, they're fucking amazing.

I'm not even gonna get into how the classic Mustangs are fucking iconic. For good fucking reason too. They're stylish. They're sexy. They're timeless.

Now, I know what you're gonna say next because I hear this argument all the time.

“Mustangs are only good for going in straight lines.”

1. So what? Drag racing is awesome enough as it is so that's good enough. 2. That's true for the majority of American cars up until recently and while that's not defendable in and of itself, at least the Mustang wasn't alone in this regard. 3. If you want a Mustang that handles well, there are suspension mods for that. The car is a blank canvas, make it personal.

“Up until the S-197 all the previous Mustangs were based on commuter cars platforms.”

So? That shit is auto industry standard and it's still going on today. The Audi TT is on the same platform as the VW Golf. The Mazda RX-8 has the same underpinnings as the Miata. Subaru's WRX and STI are built off of the Impreza and on and on it goes.

The S-197 and the S-550 though? Built from the ground up. Their own dedicated platforms. And both cars, while flawed, ARE FUCKING AMAZING.

So you know what? Everyone and anyone can fucking shit on the Mustang all day long. Be all bourgeoisie about your car choices and engines and all that. I don't give a fuck. All cars have their flaws and all cars have their strong points. Good luck trying to afford a fucking McLaren and using it as a daily driver. Me? I'm gonna continue to love my FR-S, because it's amazing fun despite its lack of power. I'm gonna continue to oggle Mustangs and Camaros cause they're amazing. I'm gonna chat it up with the guy who has the MG Midget about how his car left him stranded on the side of the road for the third time this year and reaffirm that despite its flaws, it's still awesome. I'm gonna continue to love cars that people like to poo on like El Caminos and Rancheros, Hyundai Tiburons and Genesis (because hey, at least Hyundai is trying), VW Vans and Unimogs, and Pintos and Vegas and Gremlins and everything else out there. Fuck, shit, I know a guy who has a Kia Optima that he's making his own because he loves the lines and you know what? I fucking support him too because it's his and it makes him so damn happy. I'm gonna love peoples' cars whether they're purely stock or highly modified, whether they're classic American Muscle or European Roadsters or a 20 year old Chevy S10 that's been repainted, filled to the brim with speakers, and slammed to the ground.

Just remember this. Cars are amazing. Period. Cars are a point of passion for so many people. Period. When you diss on a car, whether it's a Honda Civic or a Ford Mustang or a Porsche 911, you're not only insulting the car, but you're actively dismissing the opinion of the people who love those cars, and even worse, marginalizing countless man hours of hard work from researchers and engineers to designers and factory workers. I've heard that Gale Halderman is one of the nicest, approachable guys in the car world. 50 bucks says if you told him your opinion on the legacy of a car that he was there for from the start, you'd probably break his heart.

I'm done talking cars today. Cause you all broke mine.

rd95  ·  385 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: More Than 40% of Student Borrowers Aren’t Making Paymentsx 3

I'm taking the time to pause A Fistful of Dollars to respond to this (great movie by the way, as is Yojimbo) because I like you and hate this topic, not for what the topic is, but because of the emotional weight behind it. I think though, that it's important, because here in the States, the poor are villianized by everyone, even themselves and I think a bit of perspective is important if we're to try and fight this issue.

    The problems you are talking about are related to crappy public transportation and expensive healthcare, not student debt. If people finish school with $8 900 in debt they likely dropped out or got a useless diploma from a private college. Sure that isn't a small amount to everybody but relative to what others spend on tuition it's very small. Even if they didn't have student debt to pay for the public transportation would still be garbage, healthcare would still be too expensive and they would still be struggling to keep their heads above water.

The problem with being poor is lack of money. Period. This lack of money manifests problems in so many ways and they often overlap and intersect each other that it creates a weighted net, to keep you tangled up and weighed down. There are a lot of problems in America. In some parts of the country, things are a bigger problem than others. In New York City and Chicago for example, public transportation might not be an issue, but rent is expensive as hell and food deserts are a threat to the well being of you and your family. The neighborhoods the poor can afford to live in often have problems with crime and disease and the general environment has a psychological impact on the people that live there. In places that are less dense, like my example of Ohio and Wisconsin, rent is much more manageable, but since things are more sprawled out, transportation becomes an issue. Food might be more abundant as well, but if the nearest Wal-Mart is three towns over, you might have to settle for the mom and pop grocery store down the road for the majority of groceries. Their selection won't be as good and you'll pay a higher price. A quarter or two on every piece of food you buy from them quickly adds up. Under normal conditions, people can balance things out relatively well, but it is very much a balancing act. Once you start having problems with your car though, or your personal health, or the people in your lives that are supposed to help support you, things can go pretty sour pretty quickly. What's harder, is sometimes the social safety nets you think are there for you, really aren't. For example, when I was having money problems, I knew there was no point in my going to a food bank. They'd see that I worked two jobs and had no dependents, so they'd turn me away. When you're poor, your options are limited, robbing you the flexibility to creatively solve problems.

    What's fair to say is that I certainly didn't understand just how bad things are in American, because 1) I don't live there and 2) for every person who tells you how bad things are 3 more downplay the hell out of it.

That's okay. True story, America is a huge place. Poor people in Maine probably have a different experience than poor people in Florida who probably have a different experience than poor people in Texas. Poor people in the South West probably don't have to complain about their heating bill, but poor people in Maine probably don't have to worry about suffering from heat stroke because they don't have central air. Different people have different problems and experience them to different degrees.

As for the people who downplay how hard it is being poor, we only have our selves to blame. For some reason, Americans in general have no problem with victim blaming, so when people who are poor fuck up and get taken advantage of, it's obviously their fault. Another issue is, a lot of Americans have a lot of pride. When I was going through money problems, I never once thought about going to my parents for help nor did I try to seek help from my local community like the churches around here. Would they have helped me if I asked? More than likely. Did the thought of asking ever cross my mind? Not once. But I did ask my peers for help, because they know what it was like to have the problems I had and so I didn't have to fear their judgement. When my car was broken down, I asked for lifts from anyone who was willing. When I was desperately hungry and pay day was two days away, I asked people to float me for lunch. The thing is though, the only reason I got help when I asked for it because they knew I would repay them when their time to ask me for help came. If I didn't, they wouldn't help me again.

    I have no desire to pretend like everybody who is poor is merely bad with money but I don't see the point in ignoring that we don't teach people anything about personal finance either. We also don't teach people to take out student loans unless they are sure they will actually pay off.

My parents did teach me about personal finance and responsibility. They taught me the importance of a good work ethic and to playing safe bets. The thing is though, when your income is really limited, all it takes is a mistake or two to throw you over the edge. My money problems came from renting a place I couldn't afford and having an irresponsible room mate that couldn't hold down a job. It took a while to get myself out of that hole and it took even longer to recover from it. It also took me willing to be homeless, swallow my pride, and live on my friend's couch for a month, commuting 45 minutes to and from work each day to make it happen. It was not fun and I think I would rather die than go through all of that again. I'm not being hyperbolic when I say that.

The thing is, a lot of people who are poor know they're being fucked with. Check cashing fees, pay day loans, wage theft and last minute schedule changes from employers, bad landlords, on and on it goes. When you're poor though, a lot of times those are the only options you have. Back to my homelessness and living on my friend's couch. I had to leave my living situation, room mate and all, but I had absolutely no chance of paying a security deposit and first month's rent on a new place. So I cancelled my lease, left that place, and crashed on my friend's couch. The only reason I was able to get out so early was because my girlfriend at the time, now wife, was an angel and was willing to trust me enough to get a place with me. The security of living with her, her being responsible and making money to combine with my income, was exactly what I needed to get out of debt. I'm now in a much, much better financial place today and I live a good life because of it. But, I literally could not have done it without her. Not a lot of people get a saving grace like that.

    Nobody teaches young people anything about this shit and instead just tells them they have to do it.

This is indeed a problem. Landlords and employers take advantage of people all the time because they don't know the laws. Predatory lending companies take advantage of people who lack the financial savy to understand how interest and late fees work. Ignorance is a huge issue, but the fact that there are people out there who are willing to prey on the ignorant to make a living are a huge part of the problem.

    I'm not saying opinions on the internet are invalid, what I'm saying is that I'm not going to completely abandon an opinion that many people just need help figuring out personal finance because other people have different experiences. That doesn't override what I see from a lot of people who would have been helped a lot by a simple finance class in high school. What I will admit is that on top of this issue America has A LOT of other issues which I wasn't aware of to work on whereas that's not such a problem where I live.

Don't feel bad about having an opinion and trying to think this stuff through. You actually have a very good idea about the whole cars thing in general, but not specifically cars themselves. Cutting unnecessary expenses to help tackle debt goes a long way. It's also important though, to not look down on poor people who spend money on things like movies and booze. Entertainment and leisure is important for everyone and it gives us a much needed psychological boost to help deal with the hardships of life.

Look, this stuff is hard. It's heavy. It is devastatingly painful to witness and it is even more painful to live. When people like kleinbl00, mk, steve and others talk about this stuff, it's because why they themselves might never have had this problem, they're smart enough to understand some of the trends and what causes them. (Edit: That's not to say you're not smart, because you very much are and I love seeing your comments on Hubski.) They're people you can listen to about this stuff because they probably know. You can listen to me, because I lived it and the majority of my peers are still living it, it's such a part of me that I don't think it'll ever go away, no matter how badly I want it to.

Let me just end with this. There are a lot of outreach programs for poor people out there, from churches to food pantries to social programs. They help tackle issues of all types caused by poverty, taking care of both short term problems and helping to fight the fight in the long run. If this is something that even remotely causes you concern, I highly encourage you to educate yourself on some of the resources out there and how to find them, that way if you ever see someone you love going through a hard time, you can lend them a hand.

rd95  ·  385 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: More Than 40% of Student Borrowers Aren’t Making Paymentsx 4

Sorry this took a bit to respond to, but I've had trouble typing this out. This isn't stuff I like to think about and it seems like kleinbl00 has explained some of it. Here's what I typed out though, partially stemming from personal experience. . .

The thing is though, $8,900 is a lot of money for a large number of people. For paying back student loans, that's about $100 to $150 a month, something a lot of people can't afford. Let me break it down for you a bit, so you can see where I'm coming from because I found myself in this trap. Here we go . . .

Let's take a person, like me, college drop out working 2 jobs to make ends meet. Only, unlike when I was working 2 jobs, now thanks to Obamacare, the number of full time jobs out there is much lower. Now, people are working 2 part time jobs, max hours, with no benefits. That's two jobs, maybe above minimum wage, at roughly $8 an hour for 50 hours a week. That breaks down to . . .

$400 a week or about $300 after taxes. $1600 a month or about $1200 after taxes. That's about $20,000 a year or $16,000 after taxes. Money is fucking TIGHT. Here's the wild ride we're going down, and trust me, it's painful . . .

You take home $1,600 a month. Take away $500 dollars for rent. Congrats, You're down to $1,100. Now take away an additional $300, because you have to pay for utilities and your phone on your shitty plan. Now you're down to $800. Now take away another $300, because that's your money for your car insurance and gas. Heaven forbid you still owe money on that car because that's even more coming out of your pay. Now you're down to $500. Take away another $150 for food and another $150 for health insurance and you have yourself at the end of the month, $200. That's $200 dollars flex room, before student loans even come in.

Here's where things get shitty. Your car? It's a 15 year old GM J Body. Something breaks on it once every three months. There goes some of that money. What's that? You got a minor cold that somehow became an ear infection so bad that you have to go to the doctor because you woke up to literal puss oozing out your ear? That'll be an $80 copay for the clinic plus another $20 for antibiotics. In reality though, you spent half the day getting that taken care of so you're actually out more money, because you're not spending time working. After you get home from a long, half day at work because you work a shitty retail job, you find out that one of your roommates blew part of his money on a $25 dollar pizza delivery, instead of real food like rice and eggs. That's not the worse of it though, he bought that pizza to soften the blow of him getting fucking fired from his shitty ass job so now you have to cover his part of the rent until he can find something else. Now your rent just went from $500 a month to $750 a month and now you're hemorrhaging money every single month until he finds something new because you just can't kick him out, he's like family. Congratulations. You're now in a massive downwards spiral and you haven't even touched your student loans yet. Your debt is getting worse by the week and even when your roommate finally finds work again, climbing out of the debt will be that much harder, because you not only dug your hole deeper, but possibly wider. To make matters worse, if debt wasn't bad enough, the psychological pain of the inevitable collection calls and knocks on your door from the landlord will make things worse. Six years later, you're still afraid to pick up the phone whenever an unknown number calls you.

So many things go wrong when you're poor and everything that goes wrong ends up costing you money, making things worse and worse. There's a reason why savings are called "safety nets." Being able to afford to take care of problems when they first show up, keeps them from getting worse down the road, literally saving you money in the long run. You have to have that money to begin with though, to make things work.

rd95  ·  415 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Your phone was made by slaves: a primer on the secret economy

Bullshit. The world isn't a thinking, feeling thing. It just exists. We however, when we develop the capacity to understand that something is wrong, it becomes our responsibility to try our best to alter our behavior. It's why we teach little kids the importance of empathy and sympathy. It's why we teach teenagers to try and temper their emotions. It's why we publicly condemn people when we see them acting immorally. We as individuals grow and change and come to understand more and more how nuanced the world can be. The same is true for society at large, though we sometimes take huge steps backwards. Nothing is black and white. Our lives, both as individuals and members of society as a whole, is full of grey areas and hard choices.

I'm not going to get into a drawn out discussion with you on this, because quite frankly, I've been sick of drawn out discussions lately. All they do is frustrate me. But quit with this moralistic nihilist bullshit. The world matters, our choices matter, and nothing is easy. Your attitude is defeatist and only perpetuates the problem.

rd95  ·  511 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How poor people stay poorx 2

    I am interested in seeing if anyone else has been through this and has anything to add to the article.

I had a rant. It rambled on and was awful and negative. I deleted it. I'll just say this. The hunger sucked. The shame sucked. The fear sucked.

Don't laugh at the guy who comes knocking on your door three days before rent is due trying to sell you his X-Box, because that could easily be you, giving up pieces of your life just to have a roof over your head.

Find a local food pantry. Give to them. Not just now, but six months down the road too, when the word "charity" isn't on the tip of everyone's tongues.

rd95  ·  518 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: #PrayForParis: When Empathy Becomes a Memex 2

    A perfect solution for the average human.

I agree, 100%. Without the cynicism.

So here's the deal. Whether you want to admit it or not, we are all in our own ways painfully average. In comparison to the whole, we're all in the middle of the pack. The things that make us as individuals unique and successful, be they intelligence, athleticism, skill sets, or character, are meaningless when we stop focusing on individuals.

Everyone always wants to point out places like Facebook and say "Look at it. It's full of idiots." Shit, if we're being honest, I've done it from time to time and though I try not to, I'll probably do it again down the future. But, well, yeah. Duh. If intelligence is the metric you want to focus on, the majority of Facebook is going to fall short. Know what? Facebook is full of unathletic chumps too. It's full of morally questionable people. It's full of people who don't have one iota of musical talent. It's full of people who don't know the first thing about fixing a computer or wrenching on a car. But that's because you're looking at Facebook as a whole. Stop. Look at each, individual person on there, and look at them seriously, and you'll see that Facebook, like Hubski, like Reddit, like 4Chan, like your local bar, like any place that people decide to congregate, is full of amazing, fascinating, wonderful people. You might not like certain groups of people as a collective whole, but if you take them away from that group, view them in the lense of an individual, you'll see that maybe they're not so bad.

So let's look at Facebook, let's look at this "solidarity" shit that they pull. It's so easy to point at them, to criticise them, and say "Ha. They're showing solidarity by clicking a button. It does nothing." However, you're wrong.

For one, it does show solidarity. It shows that we understand that horrible things happen in the world and that we as a collective whole are saddened by it and don't condone it one bit. Look at all those countries with their citizens waving tiny little American flags after 9/11. It was the world saying "America, we don't always love your government but we love your people." It's a small gesture individually, but when enough people do it as a collective whole, it becomes something big and has the potential for good. Think of charity. Your individual dollars are near useless (unless you're a big giver like Bill Gates). However, the collective dollars of a whole community suddenly has the power to bring about results.

Two, it brings awareness to issues and creates dialog. Awareness and dialog are two big keys towards education. Education is one of the most important keys to bringing about change. If you're looking at seeing the whole world overnight change on a single issue, you're going to be sadly disappointed. However, every time people rally around something, enough individuals change to start having a ripple effect. Look at the polls focusing on gay marriage between the early 2000s and now. People change as individuals and that individual change can eventually change the world.

Three, it allows people who in situations like these would normally feel powerless and helpless to at least feel something. Let's face it. What have any single one of us on Hubski done to help out in Paris? Nothing. The events still affect us though. They cause us to feel worry, sadness, shame. The people on Facebook aren't any different. They're feeling the same thing. Clicking that button though, for them, let's them feel they're doing something, however small. You wanna say it's meaningless? I say it makes them feel a little bit better and all of that collective betterness, as a whole, has meaning and purpose.

We're focusing on the wrong thing. Stop focusing on what Facebook does poorly and instead focus on what it can do well. Facebook is full of average people. If we want to look at it in hopes of finding shining examples of exceptionalism, we're going to have a bad time. However, as a platform of the masses, if steered in the right direction by chance, it could easily have a large impact. Hubski on the other hand has a different set of flaws. It's full of great, intelligent people. It's very small though. Think a crazy donation drive to combat global hunger would get very far from Hubski's support? No. Of course not.

We need to stop focusing on what makes groups shitty in an effort to make ourselves feel superior. These people are our neighbors and they need our love and encouragement. We should stop saying "They did something good because they're selfish." We're all selfish. We're animals. It's part of how we get by in the world. The thing is though good deeds, large or small, even if done for selfish reasons, are still good deeds and they can bring about good things. Finally, we should stop saying that something is useless because it has no discernible, immediate effect, whether it's prayer, a solidarity button, or what have you. The fact is, those acts come from a good place in the human heart and promoting that kind of behavior promotes thoughts that encourage us to be better people.

Let's face it. We're all shitty people. Anything we can do, to be slightly less shitty, shouldn't be shat upon.

rd95  ·  610 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Men: Older? School-Age? College-Age?: Do You Ever Ask These Questions?

I see where you're coming from and to an extent I agree. The thing is though, the responsibility of success for an individual worker falls on that individual. However, the responsibility of success for a team falls on the supervisor.

Let's say you and I work in a factory. Let's say you're a new hire and I am a floor supervisor. As a floor supervisor, it's my responsibility to make sure the whole production line moves smoothly. As a new hire, it's your responsibility to assume the role of Workman One. Workman One's role is pretty straight forward. It is your job to put Rod A into Slot B to create Unit 1. It's important that you do such proficiently, so Workman Two can put Unit 1 with Unit 2 to make construct A.

You, as Workman One, have three main purposes that can be broken down as such . . .

1) Put Rod A into Slot B as quickly and efficiently as possible without error to produce as many Unit 1s as possible in a given amount of time.

2) Understand the how Rod A and Slot B as individual pieces function, so that you may understand the final purpose of Unit 1. Knowing these, you will know how to best put together a proper and functional final product.

3) Understand Unit 1's relationship with Unit 2. Properly understanding how all of these components work together once again goes towards creating a proper and functional final product.

Now, let's say for some reason you have trouble putting Rod A into Slot B. That's okay. You're new. We're in this together. It now falls onto my shoulders that you understand your role on our team so that we can not only create a working product but also save time and minimize waste. There are many ways I can do such a thing and I will employ as many as possible. I will do everything from coaching you on your specific job to make sure you understand your individual role to partnering you with your other team members so you can see how your job and their jobs rely on each other.

Let's keep in mind this whole time though that I chose you. I see that there is value in you as an individual that makes me want you on my team. Not only that, but we've already gone through all of the initial training. At this point, you are a vested interest. As a result, your success as an individual on my team is not only your problem, but mine as well. By taking you onto my team, your success as a team member becomes my responsibility.

So let's say that you continue to struggle. When my supervisor comes to me at the end of the week to talk about my numbers, he will bring up your area of production. He will say something to the effect of "rd95, why is bfv under performing?" On the surface, it sounds very simple. What it actually is though, is a very chilling statement. What my supervisor is asking is less "Why is your team member falling short" and more "Why, as a supervisor, are you allowing your team member to fall short." You, awesome guy that you are, will be in a little bit of trouble. Me though, as a supervisor, will be in a lot of trouble, because I as an team leader have failed to take initiative to solve a problem that affects my team as a whole.

There are a lot of things I, as a supervisor, can do. All of which has positives and negatives behind them. I can keep you in your current role hoping you pick up on it in a week or so, but in the mean time I risk the loss of material. Purchasing hates that. I could have you retrained for a different role, but as a result we're now spending time and resources on a retraining. HR hates that. I could also recommend to my supervisor to have you let go altogether, but despite your failings, everyone on the team adores you, and they'll hate me for that, building friction between me and them as a supervisor.

If that seems overwhelming, cause it is, keep in mind that's one tiny facet as a supervisor. We have to maintain everything from scheduling to variable cost control to team moral. Your decisions as an individual affect only you. My decisions as a team leader? They affect everyone.

Though I have to say, judging you as an individual, if we ever found ourselves working together, I think I'd bank on you. ;)

rd95  ·  645 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Gun sales loopholes that should be closed

Howdy j4d3! I hope your night has been going well. Do you mind if I throw some advice your way? It seems like the subject of gun control is a very important issue for you and even though you and I are on separate pages here, I really want you to feel encouraged to explore the subject. It's an important issue that affects a lot of people, I think not only here in The States, but worldwide. So if you could give this an honest read, I'd much appreciate it.

One of the crazy things about guns and discussing them is that everyone has an opinion on the subject and those opinions vary wildly. There are people out there who believe that the world would be a much better place if we beat all of our swords into plowshares, while there are others who want to hold steadfastly on their rights to purchase, own, and enjoy firearms with little to no interference. Then there are people in the middle ground, like me, who believe that guns have their place, but that temperance and well thought out laws in regards to guns also have their place. So here's where it gets crazy. When it comes to talking about guns, no matter what position you take, if you want to talk about them seriously, you really need to know your facts. There's tons of them out there, and whether you're pro gun or pro gun control, there's someone that can out debate you on the subject if you're looking to fight about the matter.

I want to preface this by addressing your response to yellowoftops insightful post.

    If you think Dylann Roof should have been able to buy an assault weapon, I'm not sure we're going to find common ground.

It's awesome that you understand where your viewpoints are and where they might clash with others when it comes to terms of opinions. When you understand what your own personal biases are and why they are what they are, you can use that knowledge to help reduce the kneejerk reactions you have when it comes to discussing issues you care deeply about. That said, as yellowoftops has pointed out, this particular crime was committed with a handgun and not an assault rifle. That's a very important distinction to make, as the types of firearms people can purchase do vary based upon factors such as state and federal laws, as well as the age of the purchaser.

I'm kind of getting the idea that you think our government is loosey goosey with creating laws when it comes down to guns. The fact is, you couldn't be further from the truth. Guns here in The States are tightly regulated, some states (California for instance) being much tighter than others (Wisconsin). However, even the "less regulated" states have tons of laws that say what you can and can't do with guns. If I went into every last bit of detail and went and pulled up sources for everything, we'd be here all night. Suffice to say, there are laws that regulate the purchasing, selling, shipping and transportation of guns, modifying guns, and on and on and on. Most of those laws are federal, though individual states have a lot of say in the matter as well where they feel it is prudent. Speaking of State laws, some states have even stricter laws than the federal laws. Then there are things like state reciprocity laws in regards to concealed carry, that is if you live in Wisconsin and have a concealed carry license, that license may be considered valid in some states and not valid in others. For the people who own firearms and have a respect for the law, there is a lot to know and take in, and while a lot of people might gripe saying that some laws are too ridiculous, for the most part they'll follow them because the consequences of neglecting to do so can be quite severe.

If you want, what I'm going to do is stop here, because I don't want you to feel like I'm lecturing you. I am however going to throw a few links your way for you to peruse if you so wish, and I do hope you do because I think it's great to be well informed on the issue of guns. I will tell you though, that I'm no expert, so if you want to get deeper and more detailed information, you might want to find yourself someone a bit more qualified. I promise you though, they're a dime a dozen so you wouldn't have too hard of a time doing so.

The federal agency that oversees the sales of firearms is the ATF. Some people would argue, though I wouldn't know myself, that out of all the federal agencies the ATF is full of the most strict and hard assed agents.

Form 4473 is the standard "Background Check" form that every person has to fill out every time they purchase a firearm through a licensed gun shop. It goes into the basics like name, address, etc. and then it gets into some finer details, such as criminal history. While it's a felony to lie on this form, some people get around it through "Loopholes" such as purchasing a gun from a private seller or having someone purchase a gun in their name on your behalf, also known as a "Straw Purchase."

The Second Amendment Foundation is a foundation that is concerned about protecting the rights of gun owners. What the EFF is to technology, they are to guns.

The NRA started out as a sportsman group but it eventually became the biggest gun lobbyist group in The States. I feel it can honestly be argued that at this point, they're more concerned with the rights and interests of gun manufacturers than they are concerned with the rights of individual gun owners, but the waters on this issue are a bit murky, as they're closely tied together.

Here's a breakdown on Concealed Carry and here's a breakdown on Open Carry. To the very right of the Open Carry link is a list of a ton of articles about the various Gun Laws that have been passed in The States over the years. It's definitely worth checking out if you have a free Sunday afternoon.

I really feel like I'm bombarding you with a wall of text here, so I'll leave things as they are. However, I want to encourage you to keep on talking about this issue in hopes that not only will you be able to sharpen your own debate skills on this particular subject, but can also come to a better understanding about guns, the rights of gun owners, and laws in general. I hope you're having a great night man and I hope you keep doing what you're doing, cause let's face it, you're kind of awesome.

rd95  ·  648 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What Do You Think Would Happen if Black People Began Arming Themselves?

I do not think I want to participate in this discussion. I will see myself out.