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Comment Re:LibreOffice? (Score 1) 243

This story attracts the usual solipsistic ignorance of IT drones about what other people actually do. Excel is simply more advanced than Google Spreadsheets. For many casual spreadsheet users, that doesn't matter. But accounting and finance (especially for firms doing business internationally) requires a lot more than figuring out sums and averages.

Comment Re:Excellent (Score 1) 1576

The science and craft of political triangulation is such that popular votes are always going to be somewhat close. That, to some extent, is deceptive. If the popular vote was the way that elections were decide, both candidates would have campaigned quite differently.

What is surprising is how close the races in the "battleground states" *wasn't.* Only Florida was a squeaker - in all the rest, Obama won by a rather decent margin. Historically, the popular vote lead in this race is a bit larger than usual, and the largest for a re-election since Reagan.

Comment Re:Tweedledee won ! (Score 1) 1576

This was the election where the simmering misogyny - there's no other word for it - of the Republican base caught up with it. I'm not exactly a hardcore feminist - I even do agree with some of the men's rights issues (in things like custody battles, etc.) but characters like Akins and Mourdock set a tone that no one really sought to repudiate. Opposing the equal pay legislation is another.

The things that you see as respect for law - natural (abortion, contraception) or Federal (immigration) is seen, somewhat rightly, as a smokescreen for nativism and cultural chauvinism and a nostalgia for the dominance of men. When you see the videos of Romney backers talking about having lost "our" America, complaining about the loss of a white majority, it becomes more and more obvious.

The Republican party is paying the cost of the Southern strategy. It's become the party of the white south, of the Confederacy. It will have to reinvent itself to remain relevant. And it will have to realize that the perception that it has become the party of misogyny and lingering racism is not without basis.

Comment Re:Either? (Score 1) 707

What is foolish is to "vote for a person." You are voting for someone likely to implement one or another set of policies within the context of a rather established political system. You're voting that certain legislation be vetoed, certain political appointments are made, and certain political initiatives be promulgated. To a rather unfortunate extent, you are voting for a foreign policy with worryingly few checks on them.

Those are what you vote for. Not for the most likeable guy or even the person you agree with the most: you are trying to influence near-term policy decisions. No less and no more.

I am in a safe state for the one of the two candidates from the major parties that I would prefer be elected, so I can spend my vote to send a political message in the longer term, however. In that case, I am voting for a policy direction that is currently off the mainstream political radar, but which I'd like to see enter into the realm of actual politics at some point. If there were any doubts about my state's outcome, however, I would hold my nose and choose the major party candidate.

Comment Re:Idealogical contradiction? (Score 1) 627

I'm not a libertarian, but I think it's worth noting one of the ironies of libertarianism: that the very class they think they are fighting on behalf of - job-creating entrepreneurs and the hard-working upper-middle class - has little interest in their ideas. Because they know that the status quo is already doing a good job of looking out for their interests.

And to be fair, I know some libertarians who seem to truly believe that corporations as we know them are an evil sustained by the government, and with the shrinking of government, we'd somehow return to the simple, honest capitalism of a century ago. (I don't share their nostalgia for that time, on a range of levels, from the conditions of non-white Americans to the status of women, but there you go.) I think that belief is naive: the wealthy castes of the US will always be able to reconstruct the kind of government that they want.

Comment Re:And your point is? (Score 1) 627

does that mean libertarians support regulations requiring the labeling of foods? public health warnings on cigarettes, as explicit as possible? that doesn't sound like any kind of libertarian platform i've ever heard. what other mechanism for producing "perfect information" - or even adequate information - would you suggest?

Comment Re:COME ON! (Score 2) 305

The article in its entirety explains itself: how the study became part of a wave of rhetoric dismissing the value of organic foods all around.

(Organic is also not about not-killing-insects. It's about avoiding the unnecessary use of pesticides to do so. Fly swatters - and natural forms of pest control, and even some other not-natural ones - are completely OK for organic food.)

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