George Shunick Like virtually everyone's already said, we can be all for investigating the LAPD and opposing police brutality while still condemning the actions of a mentally unstable man who murdered a number of people who had no connection to the ethical violations that inspired his actions. This wasn't "vigilante justice" and Dorner wasn't an anti-hero - yes, his manifesto illuminated the flaws of the LAPD, but the instant he took an innocent life he forfeited whatever moral high ground he claimed to have. We don't live in a B-grade action movie; plenty of people have criticized institutions and achieved results without going on shooting sprees.
George Shunick From what I've seen, I'd rank the best pictures as... 1. Zero Dark Thiry 2. Django Unchained 3. Silver Linings Playbook 4. Argo 5. Lincoln Truthfully, I feel Lincoln is the most flawed of those five and Argo is, while excellently conceived, the least ambitious. I can't comment on any of the other ones, but I suspect a number of them are better than Lincoln, at least.
George Shunick Yeah, I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to charge people different amounts for a cupcake based on their ethnicity. This sounds less like a free speech protest than some assholes trying to troll people by using a bake sale. If there's any infantilization going on here, I think it's probably perpetuated by the guys who thought a bake sale would be an excellent metaphor for a complex social issue more than the academic institution that called them on their stupidity.
George Shunick The type of speech that the universities restrict - racism, sexism, homophobia - are not conducive to critical thinking. The examples they list are less "censorship" than they are an extension of a code of conduct and protection against harassment, which virtually all universities have.
George Shunick So, you're accusing modern education education of a lack of critical thinking, and you're also suggesting that Obama and the Democrats are communist... and you don't see the irony in this?
George Shunick There's a difference between disagreeing with authority and critical thinking, though. To evaluate and dispute what authority claims is a virtue derived from critical thinking, which is a tool best instilled by - ironically - an authority figure like a teacher or parent. As for the "critical thinking" comment; I think it's mostly referring to teaching anything that would cause children to question Christianity, free market economics and conservative moral values.
George Shunick It's fascinating how Republicans are still pandering to the demographics that they don't risk losing and have only short term benefits (a polite way of saying "old, dying people") through ethical hyperbole that alienates demographics with long term benefits (young, not-dying people) they sorely need in order to remain a force in politics. Also, nice profile picture. PolicyMic is sorely lacking in dollar-themed insignias, so it's good to see someone addressing this serious issue.
George Shunick In a sense, I'm sympathetic to the impetus behind conspiracy theories - a suspicion of authority. It's when that suspicion leads to no evidence, or evidence that has either been manipulated or refuted, and people continue to believe in and endorse the narratives that they prefer that it becomes a problem. That's why I think criticizing the government for something like warrantless wiretapping is an ethical obligation, while criticizing the government for Sandy Hook is completely unjustifiable.
George Shunick I don't think you actually read the links. (The first one works fine for me, btw.) Also, I don't think "science" means what you think it means. It's not some elaborate mechanism to justify whatever conclusions you desire - it's built on laws, logic and observation. There are such things as erroneous conclusions; were there not, science would cease to exist. And so, when we consider "just the facts," it's obvious that there is no merit to any 9/11 conspiracy claims. And Neil DeGrasse Tyson tells people they're wrong all the time.
George Shunick Agreed, which is why I made a distinction between reasonable skepticism of authority, and unreasonable skepticism that goes beyond the bounds of logic or evidence. The former is a positive; the latter, a negative.
George Shunick You're right that society tends to overvalue opinions and ignore facts. The irony is that the 9/11 truth movement epitomizes that problem. As for your claim that no one with a science based background believes the 9/11 Commission Report, there's no other way to say this: you're wrong. (Sources: http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/debunking-911-myths-world-trade-center#steel, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/trutherism/2011/09/the_theory_vs_the_facts.html, http://www.debunking911.com/) Had you actually done any research (like, you know, science students do), you'd have known that.
George Shunick Just realized "Bilderberg-Jews" (a sarcastic poke at the members of the conspiracy community who believe the "Zionists" are behind everything) got censored to "Bilderberg Group." So we're just going to pretend that anti-Semitism doesn't exist in these circles are we? Also, it's not nearly as funny. Time to have a chat with the editors...
George Shunick Tami, I apologize for putting words in your mouth, although that did appear to be what you were implying. As for psychiatric evaluations, we're not talking "thought police" here; we're talking something that would have reasonably been able to restrict someone like Jared Lee Loughner - who wasn't even fit to stand trial - from purchasing one. If someone lacks the autonomy to answer for a crime, it doesn't make sense to allow them easy access to a gun with which to commit one. Also, there's nothing unconstitutional about restricting gun ownership. Even Antonin Scalia would tell you that. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/29/antonin-scalia-guns_n_1715969.html) In the interest of our discussion, what measures would you propose?
George Shunick Tami, I'm not sure why you and other anti-gun control advocates believe gun control laws would lead to the government taking guns away from people. That's nonsense; what they would do is limit the availability of guns going forward via background checks, competency exams and psychiatric evaluations. We have driver's tests to own vehicles. Why not a test to own a gun? And no, it wouldn't stop violence against women. But it does appear it may help to limit fatalities. I agree we need to address why men commit crimes against women in and of itself. I disagree that while we do that, we should continue to abide factors that contribute to the severity these crimes.
George Shunick I'm not disagreeing with you that we should respect women ("people" also fits here), that we shouldn't kill people, and that there are other issues at play here, like a culture of violence, possible brain trauma that contributes to depression and anger, a relationship fraught with strife and immaturity. But to pretend that gun ownership didn't play a role in this is simply counter-factual to reality. In case you didn't peruse the link I offered, "the presence of a firearm in the home increases the risk of homicide for women by five times... and [2/3] women killed with guns each year die in domestic disputes. " It took a second for Belcher to kill her; he was remorseful after. It indicates she wouldn't be dead if there wasn't a gun involved
George Shunick So the logic here goes: Guns don't kill people. People kill people. People do this because they're immature, unethical and prone to fits of rage and maliciousness. Ergo, we allow these immature, unethical, angry, malicious people to be able to easily own weapons designed for the explicit purpose of killing other people? That doesn't add up. I'm not saying Perkins would be alive if Belcher didn't own a gun. But it's inarguable that disagreements with firearms present lead to a disproportionate amount of fatalities. (http://thinkprogress.org/alyssa/2012/12/03/1270841/bob-costas-jovan-belcher-gun-control/) With that in mind, it's worth asking whether it's appropriate for a man with a history of anger issues to be allowed to own 8 guns.
George Shunick Ugh, people who provide context and facts about history? If they don't like America (or at least how America is portrayed in a middle school textbook), then they can gitttt out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tykzAyISnNk
George Shunick I certainly believe women are qualified for the highest offices of politics, and that they may tend to - as a gender - possess important qualities such as patience and temperance that their male counterparts may occasionally find lacking. But at the same time, as Sarah Palin serves to remind us, I don't believe that so many women have become successful politicians simply by virtue of being women. Keep in mind that politics is still mostly a man's game - I'm not defending this, mind you - so many women who succeed in politics have had to overcome much more scrutiny than male politicians. As a result, you tend to see fairly patient female politicians, simply because they've been conditioned to be so.
George Shunick You missed my point; the level of authoritarianism you're ascribing to both candidates is past the point of reason. I don't like Romney's policies towards gays or Obama's support of the NDAA, and I'm more than willing to criticize either for both, but to pretend that any authority evokes the spectre of the most egregious misuses of authority is childish. Anyway, I get it; you're a libertarian, any authority is bad, raw milk is good, 9/11 was an inside job, Ron Paul (or Gary Johnson, I guess) 2012, etc. But you're not stupid and more than capable of making a more constructive critique of the political process than trolling message boards, I would hope.
George Shunick Your ability to mock someone for being uninformed loses its bite when you compare Romney to Hitler and Obama to Stalin. I realize it's an intentional exaggeration, but it's insipid and lazy.
George Shunick Three things. One, there is a difference between asserting that no one won an event and that said event doesn't exist. Two, implying Lance Armstrong cheated in the same manner as everyone else is to ignore the facts brought to light in the evidence against him. Armstrong cheated to such an extent, and cultivated that very environment and system that allowed him to continue to do and forced others to participate, that he created an unequal playing field *even among people using performance enhancing drugs.* Three, he was a sociopathic asshole. (That's in the evidence as well.) His fall from grace is far more tainted than Woods', whose personal failings don't diminish his athletic achievements, while Armstrong's do.