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Old 02-03-2012, 10:59 PM   #856
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Protecting religious pluralism includes the right to be a non-believer.
Absolutely.

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Lots of evidence of that I'm afraid.
Why the "I'm afraid" bit?

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Then you've just made secularism the official religion of the government. You've taken down that wall between the two.
We want a secular government free of legislated dogma but do we really want to say that values and principles informed by faith and religious teachings are inherently inferior, if not illegitimate, for framing our laws to those arrived at by a more temporal or nonspiritual means? Where's the evidence that that is even true? And where's the evidence of such a system of governance that we would want to emulate?
Not saying those views are inferior. For instance, take the issue of slavery-I certainly would agree being against slavery would be a worthy Christian principle. And a leader making an argument that they refuse to support slavery because it goes against their religious code is something I would applaud.

But the proven fact that it's also a clear abuse of human rights is another reason why it shouldn't exist. Religion relies on faith in things that may or may not be true, and it's not always easy as a result to use that as a means to shape our laws. That's where the problem comes in. It's not that one would necessarily disagree with a religious person's arguments or think they aren't worth considering when it comes to making laws, it's simply that the religious argument is also more faith-based than fact-based. And for people who think laws should have grounds in cold hard facts behind them, this poses a bit of an issue.

Let's put it another way: if someone makes a simple suggestion in relation to Islamic beliefs as their reason for why a law should exist, how well would that go over? If our president were of that faith (I can hear the Obama/Islam jokes now), would it be okay for him to use his faith to help make his decisions about the country? Jewish? Buddhist? And so on? How comfortable will we all be with this idea when it's someone of an opposing faith making the laws?

I'm not taking down a wall at all. I'm keeping it firmly in place and not letting any one religion rule the day. Mind you, I also don't want atheists making laws which would target religious people, either, telling them they can't practice something or go to a place of worship or whatever because what they practice and believe is wrong and not real.
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Old 02-04-2012, 04:53 PM   #857
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- 1.2 million working age people no longer have the honor & privilege of being 'counted' for purposes of tabulating unemployment

+ inherently flawed 'seasonal january adjustment'

+ a whole lot of temporary workers with no benefits and mostly at or near minimum wage

= turn an actual survey data of a loss of 2.6 million jobs into a labour department reported gain of 243,000 jobs.

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January Jobs Report: Good News for the Economy, Bad News for the Pessimists
By MASSIMO CALABRESI | February 3, 2012 |

Some Obama opponents are struggling to find a cloud in the silver lining of January’s jobs numbers, which estimated that there was a 243,000-job boost and a big drop in the unemployment rate, from 8.5% to 8.3%, last month. Their biggest gripe focuses on the size of the labor force: As the unemployment rate has trended down over the last few months, anti-Obama commentators have argued that the official percentage for those without jobs is deceptive because the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t count those who have stopped looking for work. In Friday’s report, they found a sharp increase in that group: More than 1.2 million people joined the non-job seeking pool of working-age Americans last month.

I was ready to join the pessimists Friday morning when I saw the sharp drop in the unemployment rate, but for a different reason. The January unemployment report, I had been forewarned by BLS, was the first to be based on models using 2010 census figures. (All these numbers are guestimations based on surveys of smaller samples taken around the country). A big shift up or down in the unemployment rate, I thought, could be explained by the change in the overall population of the country, reflected in the census numbers.

But the census adjustments actually work against my theory and that of the Obama-detractors. The demographic adjustments had no effect on the unemployment rate, says Mary Bowler, the resident expert in these matters at the BLS. And when it comes to labor force estimates, the steep jump in the number of those not seeking work came entirely from the census adjustment, which added 1.25 million people to that group. If you take out the census adjustment, the labor force numbers stayed essentially the same, as reflected by the labor force participation rate of 63.7%. In other words, the spike in the number of people no longer looking for work is entirely the result of some people at the Labor Department adding numbers to their spread sheets rather than an actual observed shift anywhere in the real economy.

In recent months there have been other reasons to be pessimistic about the economy and about the unemployment numbers, but January’s report offers good news in those areas as well. Even though consumer sentiment and retail sales have been improving over the last few months, some economists argued that the economy could never really turn the corner until the housing market cleared the millions of pending foreclosures that are keeping housing prices low and mortgage holders underwater. The latest employment numbers suggest a turnaround may be underway in housing even though the foreclosure bulge is still working its way through the economy. The January jobs report showed a sharp improvement in housing employment, says Jed Kolko, an economist at Trulia. Construction employment was up 3.9% compared to three months ago. Kolko also points to a big jump in youth employment, as the unemployment rate for 25-34 year-olds dropped to 9% from 9.4% in December. That age group is the prime demographic for changing housing demand.

And just as a final kick in the teeth to those of us who tend to look at the glass as half empty, the Institute for Supply Management on Friday reported that factory orders were up 1.1% in December, suggesting job growth may continue, at least in the manufacturing sector, as producers hire more workers to meet demand.

All in all, it was a very grim day for serial pessimists, this writer included.


Read more: January Jobs Report: Good News for the Economy, Bad News for the Pessimists | Swampland | TIME.com



hope that helps.
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Old 02-04-2012, 06:08 PM   #858
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best sp episode...ever
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:18 PM   #859
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it's simply that the religious argument is also more faith-based than fact-based. And for people who think laws should have grounds in cold hard facts behind them, this poses a bit of an issue.
I don't concur necessarily. You could put George Will and Norm Chomsky, two agnostics, in a room and what policies, arguing on "facts" alone, would they agree on? In actuality we all act on faith. Some of us have more faith in free markets and some of us have more faith in government for example. Some of us have more trust that individuals can make the best choices for themselves and some of us believe they can't be trusted and we should limit access to foods, drugs, movies and light bulbs they might do harm with.

On the other hand, I can take a passage from the Bible and come to a completely different conclusion than another Christian. I think the president's theology is atrocious when he says, "For me, as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’ ” I don't read that at all as as an endorsement of the "social gospel" of the Left, Big Government or reason enough to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires. So two Christians can agree on the commission to 'love thy neighbor" and care for the poor but disagree completely on the most efficient and effective way to achieve those ends. Private charities supported by the individual compulsion of time and money vs. compulsory giving enforced by the IRS and funneled through the autonomy of government bureaucracy is how I would frame it but you might word that differently.

In the end theology and ideology can both be based on faith and both can lead to truth. But truth is truth. And I rather like how the designers of the Supreme Court building show lawgivers from all over the world and throughout history. From Moses, Solomon, Charlemagne and Confucius to Blackstone to illustrate that.

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Let's put it another way: if someone makes a simple suggestion in relation to Islamic beliefs as their reason for why a law should exist, how well would that go over? If our president were of that faith (I can hear the Obama/Islam jokes now), would it be okay for him to use his faith to help make his decisions about the country? Jewish? Buddhist? And so on? How comfortable will we all be with this idea when it's someone of an opposing faith making the laws?
Well, laws should reflect a society shouldn't they. The one caveat being the protection of human and unalienable rights. My concern with Islamic law isn't that it reflects the beliefs of the majority of its citizens but rather how it treats those that don't. Most Islamic countries have Shariah law written into their constitutions. Now, like Christians, Muslims can read the Koran and have different interpretations but history and the current record of human rights abuses speak for themselves. Nor is the assimilation of Muslims into Western culture looking very promising at the moment.

How come we've never discussed anything in depth before? You're very interesting to trade posts with.
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Old 02-05-2012, 02:13 PM   #860
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Did you just quote direct from a US government press release?

Christ. That really wins the argument.

Here are the really numbers, for the benefit of those still living near Lake Reality:

- 1.2 million working age people no longer have the honor & privilege of being 'counted' for purposes of tabulating unemployment

+ inherently flawed 'seasonal january adjustment'

+ a whole lot of temporary workers with no benefits and mostly at or near minimum wage

= turn an actual survey data of a loss of 2.6 million jobs into a labour department reported gain of 243,000 jobs.
Im all for good news, if that's what it really was. But i'm also a bit confused with the jobs report because at the same time we're also hearing that American Airlines is supposed to cut 10k - 13k jobs:

American Airlines to Cut Up to 15,000 Jobs - KiiiTV3.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

American Airlines: We'll have 'many fewer' jobs - Feb. 1, 2012

add to that awful news, per CNN, some analysts are predicting $5 per gallon gas this summer:

Gas prices: Rocky year ahead - Jan. 16, 2012

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Old 02-05-2012, 02:15 PM   #861
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Sorry but it has nothing to do with agreeing or disagreeing with you.
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Old 02-05-2012, 02:24 PM   #862
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Did you just quote direct from a US government press release?

Christ. That really wins the argument.
So which unbiased source should I quote it from then? AFAIK, all other sites base their analysis on that press release and its related raw data. So which kind of truth do you want to hear then?
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:05 PM   #863
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There is the Establishment clause, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." but is followed by the Free Exercise Clause, "... or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

I think it can certainly be argued that forcing an individual or religious organization to act against its religious conscience (in this case Catholics to purchase contraceptives, or other groups the morning After Pill) is prohibiting their free exercise of religion.
Most Catholic women use birth control banned by church | Reuters



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(Reuters) - Some 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used contraceptive methods banned by the church, research published on Wednesday showed.

A new report from the Guttmacher Institute, the nonprofit sexual health research organization, shows that only 2 percent of Catholic women, even those who regularly attend church, rely on natural family planning.

The latest data shows practices of Catholic women are in line with women of other religious affiliations and adult American women in general.

"In real-life America, contraceptive use and strong religious beliefs are highly compatible," said the report's lead author Rachel Jones.

She said most sexually active women who do not want to become pregnant practice contraception, and most use highly effective methods like sterilization, the pill, or the intrauterine device (IUD).

"This is true for Evangelicals and Mainline Protestants, and it is true for Catholics, despite the Catholic hierarchy's strenuous opposition to contraception," Jones said.

Nearly 70 percent of Catholic women use sterilization, the birth control pill or an IUD, according to the Guttmacher Institute research.

The numbers are slightly higher among women who identify as Evangelicals or Mainline Protestants, research showed.

The latest data is from the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).

The findings nearly match previous NSFG data from 2002, which showed that 97 percent of Catholic women were using birth control, and are consistent with a trend tracked over the last decade by Catholics for Choice.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:53 PM   #864
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We Catholics are pretty open about the fact that we're hypocritical 167 hours of the week and in that 168th receive complete forgiveness for our actions.
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:45 PM   #865
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I like to think of it as being pretty open about thinking the Vatican is wrong on lot of things.
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Old 02-05-2012, 07:48 PM   #866
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Im all for good news, if that's what it really was. But i'm also a bit confused with the jobs report because at the same time we're also hearing that American Airlines is supposed to cut 10k - 13k jobs:

American Airlines to Cut Up to 15,000 Jobs - KiiiTV3.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

American Airlines: We'll have 'many fewer' jobs - Feb. 1, 2012
they've been staving off bankruptcy for years. their problems come from high costs, in particular high oil prices....which didn't come about due to the current administration.
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Old 02-05-2012, 08:46 PM   #867
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Im all for good news, if that's what it really was. But i'm also a bit confused with the jobs report because at the same time we're also hearing that American Airlines is supposed to cut 10k - 13k jobs:

American Airlines to Cut Up to 15,000 Jobs - KiiiTV3.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

American Airlines: We'll have 'many fewer' jobs - Feb. 1, 2012

add to that awful news, per CNN, some analysts are predicting $5 per gallon gas this summer:

Gas prices: Rocky year ahead - Jan. 16, 2012

I've been reading from a lot of sources that the airline industry is due a shakeout, and unfortunately more jobs in airlines are likely to be lost. Indeed, a major Spanish airline went bust the other day. Even Ryanair, probably the most efficient airline in the world, is down on 2011. The US is fundamentally a more creative economy that than most in Europe, and its job creation record is historically much better than Europe (not difficult, granted).

Geopolitically, it's clear that we're witnessing an historic transfer of economic and political power from the west to the east, it's happening right in front of our eyes. For this election, to me, it comes down to who is better placed to manage that decline, or alternatively, being optimistic, to re-invigorate the sclerotic West, with its declining industry, faded manufacturing base, and, to be blunt, its welfare-addicted, uneducated, and plain bovine and lazy labour base and its corrupt, self-serving, and tax evading capitalist-boss class. From my perpective, at present, Romney is the more credible candidate. I just hope he displays some balls when the fight gets dirty - as indeed it assuredly will, given Obama's Chicago machine politics/Tammany Hall background.
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Old 02-05-2012, 11:33 PM   #868
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I don't concur necessarily. You could put George Will and Norm Chomsky, two agnostics, in a room and what policies, arguing on "facts" alone, would they agree on? In actuality we all act on faith. Some of us have more faith in free markets and some of us have more faith in government for example. Some of us have more trust that individuals can make the best choices for themselves and some of us believe they can't be trusted and we should limit access to foods, drugs, movies and light bulbs they might do harm with.
Yes, this is true. But we can also cite actual examples of proof for those arguments. To limit drug use one can show actual examples of the harm involved in doing the drugs. We can find instances where the free market has worked, and we can find instances where the government has done something good.

Those two men may be agnostics, but I'm certain there could be one scenario they'd agree on. What it would be, I don't know, but I'm of the belief that at some point everyone is bound to find common ground with somebody somewhere, even if only on one thing.

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On the other hand, I can take a passage from the Bible and come to a completely different conclusion than another Christian. I think the president's theology is atrocious when he says, "For me, as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,’ ” I don't read that at all as as an endorsement of the "social gospel" of the Left, Big Government or reason enough to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires. So two Christians can agree on the commission to 'love thy neighbor" and care for the poor but disagree completely on the most efficient and effective way to achieve those ends. Private charities supported by the individual compulsion of time and money vs. compulsory giving enforced by the IRS and funneled through the autonomy of government bureaucracy is how I would frame it but you might word that differently.
Yes, but the example you show there is one where we can find actual evidence as to why both ideas could either work or fail. We can look at private, individual charities vs. compulsory giving because the government says to and see where both ideas would be good or bad (and again, I'm not necessarily disagreeing on government forcing people to do something. I don't think the government should meddle in religious affairs. But again, I can find actual evidence in history to support why that shouldn't happen, just as I can find actual evidence in history where the church forcing the state to do something led to problems).

Basically, what I'm saying is, for someone to make a law about charity because their God told them it was a good idea to do so may sound nice, but then we have to prove first the existence of a god and then prove that he communicates with people directly that way and so on. That's where using faith to make laws can become a tricky, problematic issue. It's fine to personally believe God wants us to help the poor-if there is a God, I definitely think he/she/it wants us to help each other, too-but to say we should do this or that simply because God said so isn't the strongest basis for lawmaking.

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In the end theology and ideology can both be based on faith and both can lead to truth. But truth is truth. And I rather like how the designers of the Supreme Court building show lawgivers from all over the world and throughout history. From Moses, Solomon, Charlemagne and Confucius to Blackstone to illustrate that.
I agree, all those people have had some very profound impacts on our society and I'm glad we acknowledge their contributions. Just mainly a matter of whose ideas people find more important. Which, of course, vary from person to person.

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Well, laws should reflect a society shouldn't they. The one caveat being the protection of human and unalienable rights. My concern with Islamic law isn't that it reflects the beliefs of the majority of its citizens but rather how it treats those that don't. Most Islamic countries have Shariah law written into their constitutions. Now, like Christians, Muslims can read the Koran and have different interpretations but history and the current record of human rights abuses speak for themselves. Nor is the assimilation of Muslims into Western culture looking very promising at the moment.
One can make an argument about Christian extremism, too-it's had its time in history as well. And if Christianity were law, there's always a chance for it to get corrupted, too. If people feel the government's corrupt as it is, why tie a faith to it and make it more likely to be roped in and becoming corrupted, you know?

I definitely agree the Islamic extremism is very troubling. I'm no supporter of that faith, either-my feelings on religion spread across the board. I also agree that the chances of it overtaking our country anytime soon are incredibly small, if non-existent, which then makes me wonder why people freak out about the idea to begin with, but people will find anything to be paranoid over.

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How come we've never discussed anything in depth before? You're very interesting to trade posts with.
Thanks . I don't know. We should talk more often. I'm always happy to trade discussion and debate with people. Even if I strongly disagree with someone's viewpoint, I like hearing why they come to the conclusions they do.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:15 PM   #869
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Republican Clint Eastwood (unintentionally?) puts out a Super Bowl ad in total contravention of Mitt's "the car industry should have been let go bankrupt" much to the joy of the Obama people.

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Old 02-06-2012, 12:30 PM   #870
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Republican Clint Eastwood (unintentionally?) puts out a Super Bowl ad in total contravention of Mitt's "the car industry should have been let go bankrupt" much to the joy of the Obama people.

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