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Comment: Re:Idiotic (Score 1) 542

Yes, poor Karmashock, always having to defend himself/herself from the ruthless "ideologues".

The amusing thing about your persecution complex is that your perspective on this matter is driven entirely by ideology. As has already been pointed out, there is no robust evidence that capital punishment deters crime to any meaningful extent, and it is a much more expensive proposition than the alternative of imprisonment. In other words, in the United States, we know that capital punishment does not make us any safer than does imprisonment, and that it costs a lot more. So based on this objective reality, there is no rational reason to persist with executions, at least in the United States.

The only reasons left to support executions are ideological. E.g., "they deserve to die", or some notion of justice as revenge. Whatever your reason for supporting state-sanctioned executions, make no mistake that you are motivated by ideology. Those who oppose the death penalty for ideological reasons also happen to have convincing, objective evidence on their side -- you do not.

Comment: Re:Idiotic (Score 1) 542

The US founders executed people quite freely so saying the constitution forbids it is a little rich.

I never said that. Let me remind you: "Many people and countries consider execution to be "cruel and unusual" punishment that can never be justified. It is widely accepted (including in the U.S. Constitution) that a government should never try to keep its people safe by threatening them with cruel and unusual punishment." If you actually bothered to read the rest of my post, you would see I am very clear about this -- the point of contention is whether or not the death penalty is considered "cruel and unusual", not that the Constitution literally forbids capital punishment.

No official interpretation of the US constitution has been read to forbid executions in general.

So that's just bunk.

Your claim that "No official interpretation of the US constitution has been read to forbid executions in general" actually is total bunk, unless you honestly believe that the written opinions of justices on the US Supreme Court doesn't count as "official interpretation".

As to your notion that you're not a hypocrite because you ideology thinks executions are icky and have cooties, that isn't a defense against a hypocrisy charge. You need to cite some logic here. Saying "but I have beliefs and opinions!" is no defense.

Huh? You are totally ignoring the substance of my rebuttal. Did you even read it?

As to limiting my statement, justice systems often don't have limits as to what they can do or rule upon. They limit themselves perhaps within their jurisdiction. But even then sometimes they presume to rule the whole world. It is the nature of justice that it is defined by the power and ambition of the people that wield it.

Again, what? Are you actually rejecting the prohibition of "cruel and unusual" punishment in the Constitution? You really believe that no form of punishment is or should be off limits to a government?

Comment: Re:Idiotic (Score 1) 542

Well that's a valid criticism however you haven't limited your statements. Why is this only relevant in executions but not anywhere else? Why can't I apply your argument to everything else? The problem is that you may be trying to eat your cake and have it too. That is the core of my actual argument. Not a slippery slope argument. I am instead accusing you of hypocrisy. Because you're applying this logic on one specific context and no where else.

I already answered that. Many people and countries consider execution to be "cruel and unusual" punishment that can never be justified. It is widely accepted (including in the U.S. Constitution) that a government should never try to keep its people safe by threatening them with cruel and unusual punishment. That is the standard that "limits my statements."

So you argue that anyone who says on the one hand that the state is not justified in executing people, yet on the other says that the state is allowed to imprison people, is logically inconsistent. E.g., "There is no logical difference between execution and murder versus imprisonment and kidnapping." And, "you'll support a line of logic that undermines the entire government and society and civilization simply to attack capital punishment." And, "You feel you have a right to lock me a box for 50 years but you don't have a right to shoot me? How do you figure that?" Etc. You literally argue that anyone who says the state doesn't have the right to execute people is really an anarchist, because they must therefore reject the legal system and the rule of law entirely.

In other words, you believe that if a government has legitimate authority to imprison its citizens, then by default, it must also have legitimate authority to execute its citizens.

Now, let's be clear: you are most definitely not "limiting your statements", either. I'll repeat what I said in my previous post, to which you did not respond at all: "Why not take your own reasoning to its "logical conclusion"? Your arguments lead to the conclusion that any sort of punishment is acceptable as long as it is preceded by a trial. Do you really believe that? Or do you believe that certain kinds of punishment are never appropriate, even if their use would not be "hypocritical" (by your criteria) for certain kinds of crime?"

If your answer to that last question is "yes" (i.e., you think some kinds of punishment are never justifiable), then I could just as easily accuse you of "applying [your] logic on one specific context and no where else." I am guessing (hoping) that even you think that some kinds of punishment are "cruel and unusual" and off limits to any modern system of justice. So where do you draw the line? If you believe that a government with the right to imprison its citizens automatically also has the right to execute them, why not substitute any more extreme form of punishment for the word "execute"?

Nearly all of us accept that some kinds of punishment are "cruel and unusual", and that provides one standard for deciding what a government can and cannot do to its citizens. If you accept that, then you also must accept that there are situations to which your simplistic argument about government power and authority does not apply. Get it? The only difference here is that you do not think capital punishment is "cruel and unusual", but many other people do. The argument that opposing capital punishment makes one an anarchist is nonsense.

Of course, as others have pointed out, there are more objective reasons to oppose the death penalty, too. Since others have already covered these in some detail, I won't do so here. But I do want to briefly cover one topic. In your previous post, you claim that capital punishment is "a pretty effective deterrent. You should see how these hard core multiple murderers break down and cry like babies when they think the axe is going to land on their own necks."

If this is an attempt to justify the death penalty, it is extremely unconvincing. In fact, there is no evidence that the threat of capital punishment has any overall deterrent effect at all. If you want to be an advocate for executions, at least go to the trouble to learn about the issues involved.

As to the rest of your post -- you are trying to justify capital punishment by giving a hypothetical example of some guy who is a compulsive banana thief, and who, because of "magic", can only be stopped by killing him? The absurdity of that scenario speaks for itself, but I will note that here, as well as in various posts in this thread, you conflate police use of deadly force with execution as a form of punishment. They are obviously not the same.

Comment: Re:Idiotic (Score 3, Insightful) 542

Either you admit your error or you're effectively advocating anarchy. At which point there is no law. We'd live in some mad max post apocalyptic hell hole in a week if we followed this to its logical conclusion.

That is a great example of the slippery slope logical fallacy. So in your view, if we (i.e., our society) were to reject the death penalty because we decide it is immoral and hypocritical, then the only logically consistent position is to reject all law entirely, which will lead to the inevitable consequence of a lawless, anarchic society.

In case the absurdity of that is not obvious, consider this: The European Union summarily rejects capital punishment as "cruel and inhuman". In other words, as an instrument of justice, it is immoral and cannot ever be justified, no matter how heinous an offender's crimes. Guided by this premise, many EU states have banned capital punishment for decades. Yet, in no case has this led to a subsequent total rejection of the rule of law, and it doesn't appear that any of these countries are on the brink of anarchy.

Your entire argument rests squarely on the unstated assumption that the purpose of the criminal justice system is tit for tat revenge. You might see it that way, but many of us do not. Take away that assumption, and there is no logical conflict at all with rejecting the death penalty because it is inhumane and hypocritical while also supporting a functional justice system with the power to enforce laws and impose penalties.

Sure, a simple statement like "killing people is illegal, ergo the state is hypocritical if it kills people" is not very insightful. But if one accepts the notion that state-sanctioned execution is "cruel and inhuman", then it is perfectly reasonable to wish for a government that does not try to protect its citizens by threatening them with cruel and inhuman punishment.

Finally, since you like slippery slopes, why not take your own reasoning to its "logical conclusion"? Your arguments lead to the conclusion that any sort of punishment is acceptable as long as it is preceded by a trial. Do you really believe that? Or do you believe that certain kinds of punishment are never appropriate, even if their use would not be "hypocritical" (by your criteria) for certain kinds of crime?

Comment: Re:Forensic evidence should not be subjective (Score 5, Insightful) 162

Even before that, though, we need high-quality, doubly blinded trials to establish how well any of these comparison-based forensic methods actually work. Evidently, a key problem with hair comparison was that no one actually had any idea how reliable it was for "matching" a sample to a suspect. It is now obvious that the false positive rate is completely unacceptable.

We should have known this long before anyone even thought about using hair comparison evidence at trial, and the sad thing is that the experiments needed to rigorously evaluate this technique aren't even very complicated. For prosecutors, though, it is undoubtedly a lot more fun to impress juries with your scientific-sounding evidence and experts than it is to ask whether the evidence is actually reliable, and you can bet that the hair comparison "experts" were not in any hurry to show that their work was a sham.

Comment: Re:"deserves" (Score 1) 479

by binarstu (#49489121) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

Right, every poor person is poor due to back luck, not personal decisions and life choices.

I never said that, and no reasonably intelligent person could possibly believe that. That is just as ridiculous as your original statement that "all those assembly line/Taco Bell/Walmart people saying they want a "living wage" and $15/hr, maybe you shouldn't have fucked your life up."

The reality, of course, is that some people do make appallingly bad decisions and life choices. But there are also many, many impoverished people who are stuck in circumstances that are largely beyond their control. See unimacs reply for additional thoughts on this, and here are some more references.

The vast majority of unsuccessful people career-wise are that way because they didn't do what they needed to do to get a better job.

That is a comforting sentiment for rich people, so it is no surprise that it remains such a persistent cultural myth. How about sharing some evidence with us that substantiates your belief?

Comment: Re:"deserves" (Score 1) 479

by binarstu (#49486797) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

So, your view is that: 1) You deserve to be successful because you worked hard, went to community college, and spent time working crappy jobs; and 2) people stuck in dead-end jobs who can't make a living wage are getting what they deserve because they must have "fucked their lives up" somehow.

Please read about the fundamental attribution error and the just-world cognitive bias. In a nutshell, when a person is unsuccessful and suffers misfortune, naive observers tend to assume it is because that person "deserves it" for one reason or another. Your post seems to be a good example of this phenomenon.

Comment: Re:You are all fucking tools (Score 1) 183

by binarstu (#49215957) Attached to: Major Museums Start Banning Selfie Sticks

You are all fucking tools

I think you are confused about the meaning of the term "selfie stick". In this case, we are talking about a tool used for photography. Most people who own selfie sticks do not have sex with them. I can see how the name "selfie stick" would lead you in that direction, but if you're wanting a discussion about people fucking tools you'll need to look elsewhere.

Comment: Re:Bad idea (Score 1) 671

by binarstu (#49176139) Attached to: Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

The fact that Putin's Russia is also a bully does not absolve the US of it's hypocrisy and misdeeds.

Not to mention that, from Snowden's perspective, speculating how he'd be treated if he were to reveal Russian state secrets is almost totally pointless, because there is about 0 probability that he would ever be in such a situation. Does anyone seriously believe that the Russian state security apparatus would hire him for a position in which he'd be handling sensitive information? Of course not. When considering his personal welfare, the only thing he has to weigh is his current life in Russia versus what would happen to him if he were to go back to the U.S.

Comment: Re:Xfce 5 should be based on Qt. (Score 2) 91

by binarstu (#49159291) Attached to: Xfce 4.12 Released

Whoever this AC is, s/he evidently has a fill-in-the-blank comment template for bashing GTK+ that can be mindlessly reused for any software based on GTK+. Check out this AC comment from a recent story about Inkscape: Notice that most of it is almost word-for-word identical to the parent post. Just do a search and replace to change "Inkscape" to "Xfce" and you end up with today's comment.

That's why the AC ends up making such stupid satements as:

I truly wish that the Xfce devs would port from GTK+ to Qt, so that we users can use it on Windows and OS X...

Huh? Who, exactly, is wanting to run XFCE on "Windows and OS X"? As others have already pointed out, this statement is neither insightful nor relevent. XFCE is a desktop/window management system for *Linux*, and there is absolutely no reason for its developers to care one whit about how easily it could be ported to Windows.

Comment: Re:In other news (Score 2) 264

by binarstu (#49055521) Attached to: NASA: Increasing Carbon Emissions Risk Megadroughts

Thanks for the link to the PNAS paper. From what I could tell from an admittedly quick read of the article, though, it makes no claims about a "300 year drought" during the medieval period in North America. What it does say is that drought events were common during this time period, and that they often persisted for one or more decades. For example, the article says, "the 12th century medieval drought persisted with an extent and severity displayed in the worst-case decade, 1146–1155, for two decades, 1140–1159". That's not 300 years of continuous drought. Yes, the overall mean precipitation in the Southwest was lower during the medieval centuries, but that doesn't mean there was continuous drought during this time.

For what it's worth, the conclusions of the PNAS paper are pretty much in total agreement with what the researchers in the NASA study found.

Comment: Re:In other news (Score 4, Informative) 264

by binarstu (#49053809) Attached to: NASA: Increasing Carbon Emissions Risk Megadroughts

I watched the video. Pathetic. So there is no record of long droughts in the US. But it is going to get worse! I suggest you ask the Anasazi why they left their lands. Oh geez. A 300 year drought without any SUVs and with less population?

+5 insightful? What is insightful about this?

The linked Wikipedia article mentions the supposed "300 year drought" in a single sentence that ends with... wait for it... "citation needed". Nice.

If you actually bother to read TFA, you will see that the entire point is that droughts in the near future are likely to be similar to those that occured around the time the Anasazi were abandoning their villages. The researchers never claim that "there is no record of long droughts in the US". Their conclusion is that there were long droughts in the past, and we are likely to soon see them again.

Comment: Re:In other news (Score 5, Insightful) 264

by binarstu (#49053259) Attached to: NASA: Increasing Carbon Emissions Risk Megadroughts

That's an appeal to authority argument PopeRatzo.

Your parents should have read to you the fable of the Emperor's New Clothes.

And your arguments seem to be based on appealing to yourself as an authority; e.g. your claim that you "know Earth history and geology well to know that AGW is bunk".

I find PopeRatzo's appeal to legitimate expertise much more compelling.

Comment: Re:Or do something to eliminate journeys? (Score 2) 481

by binarstu (#48986103) Attached to: DOT Warns of Dystopian Future For Transportation

I absolutely agree that better city and development planning will be essential to deal with this problem. The trend of building huge residential-only developments where residents have to drive everywhere to do *anything* (work, shop, etc.) has surely created massive amounts of traffic.

However, I suspect that even if we are successful in promoting mixed-use developments so people can, in theory, live near their jobs, it will have much less impact on traffic than we would hope. For much of the 20th century, it was typical for only one person in a household to work full time. Today, though, both partners in middle- to lower-income families often must work full time just to make ends meet. Because of wage stagnation, today's two-income families actually have less discretionary income than comparable single-income families of a few generations ago. And, of course, many people want to have their own career regardless of what their partner does.

The consequence is that efforts to eliminate commuting through intelligent urban planning would probably have been far more successful in the '50s and '60s than they could be today. For many couples with two careers, it just won't be possible to live where neither person has to commute. Furthermore, couples often decide to live somewhere that is approximately equidistant between their two jobs so that neither person has to carry the full commuting burden. Thus, you still end up with two cars on the road every day, and better city planning seems unlikely to change that.

Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.