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[P]
Bowling For Columbine

By ChiefHoser in Media
Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:25:43 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

I saw an excellent movie last night.

Warning: this might contain some slight spoilers from the movie "Bowling for Columbine", although it is a documentary so it really doesn't spoil anything.


Last night I went to see Bowling for Columbine by documentarian Michael Moore. For those of you who don't know anything about it, it is a documentary centred loosely around the events of April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Moore goes on to talk about a few other similar events that have happened in the United States in the last couple of years (including a shooting of a 1st grader by a 6 year old boy in Flint, Michigan). The movie includes interviews with some fairly well known people such as Charleton Heston (president of the NRA [National Rifle Association], of which Michael Moore is a member) (he actually gets kicked out of Heston's place in a polite manner), and a vice-president of Kmart. He also talks with a few of the kids that were shot during the Columbine incident.

The movie discussed the different possible causes of these shootings and why America has so much more of these incidents (something like 11000 gun related killings vs. 165 in UK, 200something in Canada, etc, etc.). Is it the violent media? The movie starts off with Moore opening a bank account at a bank in Michigan that offers a free gun when you open an account, is the availability of guns in the United States the problem? Is it America's violent past? He discusses each and talks about why they aren't a good answer. For example, violent media exists everywhere in the world and not just in the States. Readiness of guns? At one point in the movie he goes to Canada and discovers that there are guns everywhere in Canada but almost no gun related fatalities. Germany has an extremely violent past (either of the World Wars anybody?) and they don't have nearly the amount of these incidents.

Moore then begins to discuss whether or not racial issues have anything to do with gun violence in the United states (standard stereotype that non-whites cause all these problems). He talks with a Michigan law maker who tells Moore that the majority of the gun incidents in the public schools happen in suburbia with white kids and not in the inner city (I said majority not all, for the law maker also said that some incidents do indeed happen in the inner city). He talks a little about the news media portraying only the *bad* news to get ratings. He also talks to the ex-producer for the television series COPS (for those of you who don't know what this is, it is a show that displays cop chases and arrests that were caught on videotape) and asks why they don't discuss the solution to (or cause of) all of these arrests as opposed to just dramatizing them. Throughout the movie he shows the media at such events as the Columbine shooting and the shooting in Michigan and he does have some good footage of a reporter absolutely *faking* his sincerity at the shooting of a 6 year old (in about 7 seconds the reporter goes from a very solemn look to yapping about his hair and that he needs hairspray). It nicely portrays the detachedness of todays society from something that doesn't directly affect themselves personally.

The movie raises some very interesting points about the whole gun issue (remember that Moore is a member of the NRA and believes that Americans do have their constitutional right to own these guns). One has to be careful as it is a documentary and Moore was more than likely very selective in what footage he chose to include in the movie. Keeping that in mind the movie was one of the best documentaries I have ever seen, and it was extremely enlightening for me personally. I suggest that everybody (not just North Americans) should put this movie on their list of movies to see.

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Poll
Did this make you want to:
o See the movie? 51%
o Not see the movie? 5%
o Do what you were going to do before? 43%

Votes: 97
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Bowling for Columbine
o Michael Moore
o Also by ChiefHoser


Display: Sort:
Bowling For Columbine | 283 comments (258 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
I'll +1 this (3.60 / 10) (#9)
by starsky on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:08:08 AM EST

but also have a little rant.

I jut watched Training Day and noticed the lead character (black guy) doing that gay 'shooting while holding the gun sideways' thing.

I've read that gangsters in the states are actually shooting this way now because that's the 'cool' way to shoot.

Whilst I'm not with the 'TV violence is bad' brigade - I think you'd have to be pretty naive to not at least give it some of the blame - witness dumb UK wannabe-gangster kids who wear their pants hangiing round their knees - this is because (I heard) belts are banned in US jails (obvious reason) so all those 'cool' black murderers walk round with their pants like that in there.

I absolutely despair at the lack of decent black role models - I think that someone needs to do soemthing about the way black people are protrayed in the media, its absolutely disgraceful, and unfortunately it is having a bad effect both on the way black kids behave and the way they are percieved.

I agree (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by ChiefHoser on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:12:39 AM EST

I agree that the violent media has a least some portion of the blame in today's society, but I think that there is a lack of education in the seperation of real vs fake events. Parents and guardians have to step up and when kids are playfullying shooting each other that it must remain a game. Anger management is another big issue everywhere in today's society, I think that if people knew how to better handle their anger that many of these incidents would be no longer occur.
-------------

Chief of the Hosers
[ Parent ]
Hmmmmm (none / 0) (#15)
by starsky on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:34:16 AM EST

If an adult has the mind of the child, we lock him up. But if a child does something bad, they often aren't punished.

I believe that if all kids had access to guns, there would be loads of shootings - it's to do with not understanding the consequences of the actions.

[ Parent ]

Visit a rural area sometime (none / 0) (#194)
by CodeWright on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 05:35:48 AM EST

Every kid there has used a gun and many probably own them. Note that they kill each other very very infrequently (but they kill lots of wildlife).

--
"Humanity's combination of reckless stupidity and disrespect for the mistakes of others is, I think, what makes us great." --Parent ]
Sideways shooting new? (4.00 / 2) (#18)
by etherdeath on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:46:24 AM EST

I thought this was at least a 10 year old fad.  BTW, Training Day is one of the worst movies I've ever seen.  Slightly better than 15 Minutes.

[ Parent ]
Yeah (2.00 / 1) (#20)
by starsky on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:58:51 AM EST

I know, just reminded me of it. Training day was pretty lame, denzels films are usually good as well.

[ Parent ]
Lack of decent black role models (4.14 / 7) (#22)
by wiredog on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:05:08 AM EST

Yeah. If only a black man could get a job in the public eye that demonstrated the benefits of a good education and staying out of jail. Some cabinet position like Secretary of State.

More Math! Less Pr0n! K5 For K5ers!
--Rusty

[ Parent ]
Nice one (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by starsky on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:09:34 AM EST

bu I was referring to the black men that youngsters see, and I'm afraid that 99% of them are holding guns or screwing black chicks in hotpants.

[ Parent ]
Aye, hotpants (5.00 / 1) (#28)
by etherdeath on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:12:52 AM EST

Avast mateys.

[ Parent ]
I have to (2.33 / 3) (#30)
by starsky on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:15:44 AM EST

say that whilst I am against portraying black males as all musclebound rich criminal ganstas, I have abolutely no problem with the black women I see on tv all being skinny as fuck with big asses and big titties. What a hypocrit I am.

[ Parent ]
Rice! Rice! Baby! (none / 0) (#68)
by jabber on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 01:24:11 PM EST

Well, at least the negro women-folk still know their place!1

1: Comment not intended for the humor impaired.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

That's a pretty good idea (none / 0) (#145)
by Hektor on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 10:19:54 AM EST

I guess you're refering to Colin Powell, but the problem is, that Colin Powell is openly white - he just happens to be black.

[ Parent ]
Heh heh :)) (none / 0) (#162)
by tkatchev on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 01:17:57 PM EST

"Openly white" -- that's a great quote. I need to remember it. :))

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

I can't take credit for it. (4.00 / 1) (#163)
by Hektor on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 01:55:05 PM EST

It's a part of one of George Carlin's skits. I think the entire skit goes something like

Another thing I hate is "happens to be". They say it like it's a fucking surprise

- "I have a friend, who happens to be black"
- "Oh really. Did he have black parents"
- "Yes, he did"
- "And they fucked, did they?"
- "Indeed they did"
- "Well, then I'd be more surprised if he just happened to be scandinavian!"

Another thing I hate is "openly". Openly gay. That's the only time you use that. You wouldn't say someone is openly black. Well, maybe James Brown. Or Louis Farragut. Louis Farragut is openly black. Colin Powell is not openly black. Colin Powell is openly white. He just happens to black.

[ Parent ]

Damn straight (4.50 / 6) (#25)
by 0xdeadbeef on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:07:22 AM EST

If not positive role models, at least show the pathetic reality behind all that bravado.

On some crime drama I saw last night they had a character who fired his gun that way, and the ejected shell flew into his neck and burned him. He was chastised by a woman for not knowing how to fire a gun.

They also had a skinny FBI agent easily throw a street punk against the wall, and his cocky demeanor quickly evaporated.

We need more stuff like this on TV.

I'm waiting for the "Cribs" episode where they show a gangsta rapper's house as the repo men recollect all the "bling-bling" crap he bought on credit.

[ Parent ]

"Cool" shooting (5.00 / 2) (#27)
by Otto Surly on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:12:30 AM EST

I can't see how this would hurt. I mean, you only do it point-blank against a helpless victim, right? Presumably if the target were far away or shooting back you'd bother to aim. In fact, it seems like a pretty reasonable way to demonstrate your contempt for your victim.

--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
In the movies... (none / 0) (#29)
by etherdeath on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:14:22 AM EST

...it's not point blank.

[ Parent ]
In the movies... (5.00 / 2) (#114)
by Verminator on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:15:23 PM EST

..you can blow up a truck at a hundred yards with a pistol.


If the whole country is gonna play 'Behind The Iron Curtain,' there better be some fine fucking state s
[ Parent ]

In the movies ... (none / 0) (#146)
by Hektor on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 10:21:30 AM EST

People like me get laid ten times a day.

[ Parent ]
You don't? [nt] (none / 0) (#233)
by Otto Surly on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 04:03:27 PM EST



--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
I think (5.00 / 5) (#31)
by starsky on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:17:04 AM EST

the simple fact that these little nobs actual consider how 'cool' they are looking whilst they're blowing someone away indicates a slight societal problem ;)

[ Parent ]
Cool isn't just a look, it's a state of being (3.33 / 3) (#52)
by Otto Surly on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:46:39 AM EST

It's all about doing stuff casually, and that extends to shooting people. You don't consider how to be cool, you just are. It's like Zen, but in fashionable clothing.

"Hi, my name is Otto, and I post on geeky blog sites telling people how to be cool."



--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Sombrero's (none / 0) (#224)
by Kintanon on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 01:12:04 PM EST

"What good is being 'Cool' if you can't wear a Sombrero?"

Hobbes of "Calvin and Hobbes"

"When you're 'Cool' the world bores you."

Calvin of "Calvin and Hobbes"

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

"cool" shooting newbie Q (none / 0) (#61)
by Meatbomb on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:24:27 PM EST

Having no experience with a sidearm, does holding it sideways not allow for proper aim?  It seems if you train and practice this way you could aim and shoot just as well as holding it upwards?

Thanks for any info on this...

_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

[ Parent ]

The shell casing (none / 0) (#77)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:59:09 PM EST

The shell casing (part of the ammunition that doesn't get shot) will not eject properly. It will fly into your face or jam the gun or something else bad.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Sight and grip (none / 0) (#96)
by Otto Surly on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:01:58 PM EST

While I fired rifles now and then as a kid, but I've never handled a pistol, nor do I read about them fanatically, so I'm basically just reasoning from a limited amount of information I've heard and seen.

Pistols generally have sights. To hit a target at a distance, you cause the rear sight, the front sight, and your target to line up, then squeeze the trigger. This serves both the obvious function of horizontal aiming and the somewhat non-obvious function of correcting for the fact that the bullet is falling as well as moving forward; sights are typically set so that they are dead-on at two distances, and in between you have to aim up or down a little to get the bullet to hit at the height you want. Even if you used the sights when holding the gun sideways, they would mislead you: the elevation correction would become a horizontal direction error, and you wouldn't get the elevation right.

Then there's recoil: (1) you won't be braced properly, so it will be more likely to hurt you and/or screw up your aim and (2) it will knock your gun sideways rather than up, and you're more likely to miss a standing human by erring to the side than by erring up or down.



--
I can't wait to see The Two Towers. Man, that Legolas chick is hot.
[ Parent ]
Try HBO's "The Wire" (5.00 / 2) (#34)
by Juppon Gatana on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:35:49 AM EST

It's a brilliant crime drama (the first season is over, there may be a second) that deals very thorougly with the issue of drug-related inner city crime. You see all sides of the story, from the merciless thugs who are just pure assholes to the inherently good people born into the projects, tragically still trying as hard as they can to do the right thing.

Cops are both good and bad in the show. Some are dedicated, intelligent, and just plain "good police," while others are corrupt and abusive. Everybody has both faults and strengths, however.

The color divide by no means rules this series. There are black drug dealers and black cops, and where does all the drug money go? To white politicians who seem to have quite an accurate idea of where the money is coming from. There are corrupt and racist white cops, but some of the white police are just plain decent. There are no white drug dealers in "The Wire," but considering that it takes place in the Baltimore (I think) projects, this is simply realism triumphing over political correctness.

Are there any black role models on this show? Perhaps. Every single character has flaws, but there are some characters I would have no problem looking up to.

- Juppon Gatana
能ある鷹は爪を隠す。
(Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.)
[ Parent ]
I'm in the uk (none / 0) (#35)
by starsky on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:38:02 AM EST

but I'll look out for it, we buy up the best US drama (and crappy 'funny' shows)

[ Parent ]
A Sidenote: Tilted Gun != Homosexuality [n/t] (3.25 / 4) (#36)
by Juppon Gatana on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:39:26 AM EST



- Juppon Gatana
能ある鷹は爪を隠す。
(Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.)
[ Parent ]
That comment is so gay! [n/t] (4.00 / 4) (#67)
by jabber on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 01:18:57 PM EST

.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Sir, (3.00 / 1) (#161)
by tkatchev on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 01:14:03 PM EST

yuo == faggot.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

You're talking about a fucking movie (3.50 / 2) (#40)
by Ndog on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:48:54 AM EST

You're saying that Denzel Washington is not a good role model because he played a bad guy in a movie? Did you know that he has played lots of good guys as well as some that could not be classified either way? In REAL LIFE he is a good guy, donating money, time, and his celebrity status to various causes.



[ Parent ]
I wasn't (2.00 / 1) (#42)
by starsky on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:50:33 AM EST

talking about the movie. I was talking about famous black people in general. Most of them are nob rappers with their guns and their 'bling-bling'.

[ Parent ]
Hip Hop Agrees (none / 0) (#74)
by miah on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:39:00 PM EST

I think that Hip Hop music and musicians are starting to realize how silly they look with guns and bling bling everywhere. And, why god why, did 'bling bling' come into common usage in the US, why?

I was listening to the radio the other day and I heard something to the effect of "I don't need a gat or bling bling to keep it real, yo".

Religion is not the opiate of the masses. It is the biker grade crystal meth of the masses.
SLAVEWAGE
[ Parent ]

Bling bling? (none / 0) (#147)
by Hektor on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 10:25:30 AM EST

Sounds like the jingle from "The Price Is Right" What the hell is bling bling? Is it related to "wang"?

[ Parent ]
Bling Bling (4.00 / 1) (#208)
by afc on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 12:24:55 AM EST

...is all the medallions and metal stuff (including crucifixes, though they're not Catholic) that gangsta rappers are fond of wearing and displaying.
--

Information wants to be beer, or something.
[ Parent ]

Next is upside down (1.00 / 1) (#98)
by michaelp on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:19:05 PM EST

after Hollywood tests to see if cool shooters start shooting sideways.

If that works, watch for a series of movies where the really really cool heroes shoot through their own ears!

As this program progresses, no one will be able to say Hollywood is not doing it's part to reduce homicides...

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Hmm (5.00 / 2) (#116)
by BLU ICE on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:38:15 PM EST


I've read that gangsters in the states are actually shooting this way now because that's the 'cool' way to shoot.

Also, according to Unreal Tournament, it allows you to shoot twice as fast, however, with only half the accuracy.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

I wholeheartedly disagree with one specific point. (3.00 / 1) (#139)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 06:48:24 AM EST

Dude, if John Woo and Chow Yun Fat has taught me anything, it's that "shooting a gun while holding it sideways" is cool. Damn cool. However, I have no statistics as to whether upbeat people generally prefer to hold their firearms that way, so I'll just have to take you on your word on that point.

Cheers
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

Let me get this straight... (4.00 / 1) (#282)
by misfit13b on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 04:21:54 PM EST

I've read that gangsters in the states are actually shooting this way now because that's the 'cool' way to shoot.

...are you upset because the gangsters are holding their guns sideways to emulate a movie, or because they're pointing guns at one another in the first place?

[ Parent ]

Well ... (3.81 / 11) (#19)
by Big Dogs Cock on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:53:33 AM EST

Switzerland has practically mandatory gun ownership and (with the exception of that nasty incident at the parliament thing) they have practically no gun crime. The difference? Well, it's either social inequality (Cuba has a lower rate of illiteracy and better healthcare for the poor than the US) or the fact that USians are too stupid to own guns.

People say that anal sex is unhealthy. Well it cured my hiccups.
Bullshit (3.33 / 3) (#33)
by MSBob on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:35:05 AM EST

The Swiss have all the guns... but no bullets. Bullets are strictly controlled and rationed by the gorvernmnet. Hence no gun crime. Sorry to have dismantled your theory.
I don't mind paying taxes, they buy me civilization.

[ Parent ]
interesting point but... (4.00 / 2) (#45)
by bil on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:12:29 AM EST

In the UK the government strictly controls guns AND bullets (they're both illegal!) but we still have a higher level of gun crime then Switzerland.

bil


bil
Where you stand depends on where you sit...
[ Parent ]

The CH - US difference. (5.00 / 2) (#66)
by jabber on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 01:16:28 PM EST

The Swiss gun owners are also all (practically) trained in the use of firearms. Formal training in the use of a dangerous thing establishes a degree of respect for that thing. The fact that the Swiss are trained in a military context, instills the purpose of the gun into their attitude.

In America, anyone can buy a gun and use it as they see on TeeVee, without knowing any better from a figure of authority who could punish them for being an idiot while in training.

I would like to see a comparison of gun violence rates between the general US population, and that segment that is similar to the Swiss: Those who did not actually own or handle a gun until after going through military training.

While I'm sure that the US rate will still be larger, I believe there will be one, sole reason for this. In the US, military service is voluntary, and those former military who are prone to gun violence, are the redneck idiots who joined up for want of something better to do.

In Switzerland on the other hand, service is mandatory and so those militarily trained are on average, better educated before-hand, than in the US. Specifically, it is a rare American college student who chooses military service. In CH, all college graduates know how to handle a gun safely and responsibly.

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sicking to it.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

almost (none / 0) (#270)
by cockroach on Sat Nov 30, 2002 at 09:18:29 PM EST

well, not quite "all college graduates know how to handle a gun safely and responsibly" - there's an increasing number of people being completely ignorant about that kind of thing because they could somehow manage not to do the military service. but these people, of course, don't have any of those weapons either (and, in my case, i feel quite well about there not being a firearm anywhere near me).
--
Webisoder - never miss another TV episode
[ Parent ]
WRONG! (4.50 / 2) (#101)
by Rk on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:27:16 PM EST

Please read the Weapons Code (in German, in French)


You'll find that being eligible for a weapon purchase, namely:


1.) Citizen or resident with C permit


2.) No serious or repeat offences on record


3.) Over 18


4.) Not suffering in condition considered to make abuse more likely, such as schizophrenia (drug addicts and alcoholics are also considered unfit for weapon ownership)

automatically entitles you to purchase ammunition. Buying a weapon, apart from certain hunting and sports rifles, requires a WES, issued by the canton of residence that basically says that you meet the above requirements. It is valid for 6 months after the date of issue, can be issued for 1 - 3 weapons (more weapons cost the same) and costs fifty francs (about $30 US), serving the same purpose as a background check.

If you buy ammunition, you need proof of ID and some form of proof that you're eligible to own a weapon, if the shop owner doesn't already know who you are (like through previous sales), he or she (though there aren't many female gun sho owners) is obliged for you to demonstrate that you fufill the requirements above. You could do that with an expired WES that isn't too old.

If you're talking about the military side of things, well then you're wrong there, too. There is really no point in issuing a gun without ammunition, so it is issued in a sealed container, the idea being that should something really drastic happen, you'd actually have ammunition, yet it isn't feasable to fire ammunition with it being noticed. It's quite possible to buy your own ammunition, since the civilian, single shot, semi-automatic version of the Swiss military weapon of choice (called Sturmgewehr 90 around here) is available to private citizens[1] and uses the same type of ammunition. You are, in fact, allowed to use your military weapon for certain non-military shooting courses.

Standard disclaimer - I am not a lawyer.

[1] Only in Switzerland. This weapon would be illegal in the US AFAIK, because of the size of it's magazine, and is definitely banned in the EU through the Schengen accords.

[ Parent ]

That's for the government given rifle (4.50 / 2) (#121)
by CtrlBR on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:33:52 PM EST

The rifle is not yours and is supposed to be used only on invaders, so yes the ammo are sealed, they don't want people hunting with them (that would be poaching I don't think the caliber would be legal) or anything non military with it.

But ownership of private firearms is bigger than anywhere else in Europe in Switzerland, including handguns and people sure can get ammo. They're just a bunch of mostly responsible people.

If no-one thinks you're a freedom fighter than you're probably not a terrorist.
-- Gully Foyle

[ Parent ]
No, ammo isn't registered if bought at a shooting (none / 0) (#238)
by wrffr on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 04:36:09 PM EST

Swiss military ammo must be registered if bought at a private store, but need not be registered if bought at a range. The nation's 3,000 shooting ranges sell the overwhelming majority of ammunition.

Technically, ammunition bought at the range must be used at the range, but the rule is barely known and almost never obeyed.

[ Parent ]

I'll buy your literacy claim, but... (2.80 / 5) (#38)
by ti dave on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:45:19 AM EST

1. I don't hear of wealthy Europeans flocking to Cuba for that organ transplant.

2. "Too stupid to own guns"? That's your own ill-informed opinion, not a fact.
Please learn the difference between the two, or people will mistake you for your account name.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Er (4.00 / 2) (#41)
by starsky on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:49:24 AM EST

isn't 1 because anyone with money can buy the operation they need in the states? This is hardly a counterpoint to 'Cuba has a good public health system'. In fact, I would say it's another bad feature of the US - money can buy you anything.

[ Parent ]
The Parent post claimed "better". (3.50 / 2) (#44)
by ti dave on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:03:46 AM EST

How do you define better?

Accessibility is important, but I also value superior medical training, modern medical equipment and infrastructure and the ability to depart from the "public health system".

I would say it's another bad feature of the US - money can buy you anything.
That's bad because?

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
Parent claimed "better for the poor" (5.00 / 2) (#56)
by another pete on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:57:33 AM EST

If the poor have no access they have no health care at all.

[ Parent ]
relevancy? (4.00 / 1) (#95)
by michaelp on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:01:44 PM EST

"I don't hear of wealthy Europeans flocking to Cuba for that organ transplant."

But I think the parent's point was the lack of decent care for poor Americans.

While weathy American might shoot each other, I don't think many are mugging people at gunpoint (at subpoena point maybe).

So perhaps the point is that poor and really any American with less than a few million in the bank live with the desperate fear of falling through the cracks into homelessness and lack of health care.

Which pervasive fear maybe makes folks more likely to turn to violence?

"Too stupid to own guns"?

Well, I would say that someone who thinks someone becomes a responsible gun owner because they went down to kmart and opened their wallet maybe is being a bit stupid.

The idea was supposed to be a "well regulated militia" and the words were written in a time when it was pretty difficult to kill someone with a gun unless someone had trained you somewhat (if you've ever fired a musket a few times, you know what I mean).

Nowadays, guns are made and sold like toasters (free with a checking account!), nearly any idiot with $100 can suddenly become deadly...

Michael Futuresynthesis.

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
I'll go with stupidity (4.00 / 2) (#80)
by soulcatcher on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:20:48 PM EST

Consider that when you walk around durring the day, you should come into exposure to pretty much the average person on a fairly regular basis.  Now consider that if that person is average, then half the people out there are *dumber* then they are.

My experience as a US citizen, is that the average person that I run into is unmotivated, uneducated, and unwilling to improve themselves.

best example I have ever seen: At a garage sale, a guy stopped by to purchase the books that they had.  He just bought them all.  Why?  not because he was a great lover of books, but because he had built a book case, and decided that it needed to have books on the shelves for it to look right.

That's an American for you.

[ Parent ]

WTF? (3.12 / 8) (#103)
by AmberEyes on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:43:17 PM EST

The guy is buying someone else's books, not buying brand new books that are far more expensive, and he's "recycling" to boot, both which are fairly intelligent things, and he's doing them because he wants to improve his aesthetic living conditions, while bettering his skills by learning to build a bookcase. And you call him stupid?

I sure hope you don't plant flowers in your flower bed in front of your house, or have any other aesthetic decor you'd undoubtedly call stupid, you fucking idiot.

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
Hrm, well, sorta. (3.50 / 2) (#108)
by DanTheCat on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 07:35:34 PM EST

Just because the guy is accidentally recycling does not mean he should get credit for it. To look at it another way, this guy is removing a bunch of books from circulation that could potentially benefit a great many people.

I mean, assuming the guy really did build the bookshelf (i.e. powertools and lumber, not Kmart and a screwdriver) then you'd think he could have picked something a little more usefull for himself.

Unless this guy really just wanted a bookcase with some books on it sitting in his house collecting dust. But then... Nevermind.

Dan :)
<--->
I was in need of help
Heading to black out
'Til someone told me 'run on in honey
Before someone blows your god damn brains out'<
[ Parent ]

well, there is a bit more (3.50 / 2) (#149)
by soulcatcher on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 10:30:08 AM EST

I should have noted that the fellow in question, when asked had read one book in his life outside of school.

personally, I find the consideration of books as asthetic objects *before* the consideration of books as tools of knowledge to be adhorant.

you are free to continue to disagree in a rude tone.

[ Parent ]

Oh my goodness (2.00 / 3) (#175)
by AmberEyes on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 07:56:06 PM EST

Not one book? Wow. How did civilization ever create intelligent or worthwhile people, before we started drawing anything more complex that scribbling shit it in the dirt with sticks, while we weren't busy poking ourselves in the eyes with them? How we figured out the wheel, cooking food, and all that other shit we did while we became civilized is totally beyond me then. Oooh, or Charlemagne. Big fuck up that guy was, I mean, since he couldn't read and all.

I also think that it's lovely that you consider books as tools to knowledge more important than aesthetics. Unfortunently, that really means fuck-all, especially when you take into consideration that there's a lot of alternative stuff that you can better yourself with than books. Shit, meachines can't comprehend reading, they're totally useless.

But I dunno why I bother arguing -- I'm sure you're right about this guy being a loser. After all, you met the guy at a garage sale, so you obviously know all about his entire life.

And, finally, you are free to continue to take 4 data points that you just happent to know about this guy's entire life, and twist them to fit your own "Americans are stupid" ideology.

And computer users are 100x better than everyone else, and Linux users are smarter than Windows users, and TV rots your brain while books nourish it, and every other bullshit over-generalized cliche you can think of.

-AmberEyes


"But you [AmberEyes] have never admitted defeat your entire life, so why should you start now. It seems the only perfect human being since Jesus Christ himself is in our presence." -my Uncle Dean
[ Parent ]
The real reason (4.22 / 9) (#21)
by rdskutter on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:01:39 AM EST

The real reason this happens is because of America's blame culture.

No-one is willing to take responsibility for their own actions. Somebody, or something, else can always be blamed.

I also believe that America has an intollerant society. You can be anything you like as long as you're in California or N.Y. but if you're in a high school elsewhere in the US then you're a weirdo.


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

But 11000? (none / 0) (#48)
by dipierro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:30:14 AM EST

I also believe that America has an intollerant society. You can be anything you like as long as you're in California or N.Y. but if you're in a high school elsewhere in the US then you're a weirdo.

Perhaps that explains Columbine, but I'd take a guess that most of the 11000 gun related deaths don't take place anywhere near a high school.



[ Parent ]
Maybe not (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by rdskutter on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:51:39 AM EST

But I'm guessing that a fair number of them involve adolescents of high school age.

Maybe the high drinking age is to blame. In the UK teenagers drink a lot because its the grown up thing to do and its illegal under 18.

In America owning and shooting guns is the grown up thing to do.

Just a thought: I am 23. I live in the UK and I have never seen a handgun. The only guns I can remember seeing are the air-rifles and shotguns that my friend's dad kept on his farm.

I have never seen anybody shot and I have never seen a gun used in combat or as part of a threat.

I'm curious now. How many Americans can say that?

Actually I digress. I did see two policemen carrying automatic weapons when I was at Stansted Airport in September 2001. That scared me.


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.[ Parent ]

Yes and no (5.00 / 2) (#59)
by dipierro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:22:20 PM EST

But I'm guessing that a fair number of them involve adolescents of high school age.

I'm sure they do. But I don't think many of them have anything to do with the high schooler being treated like a weirdo. The war on drugs, the complete disintegration of the family unit in inner cities, the lack of education (largely due to the disintegration of the family). That seems to be a much greater cause of most gun violence in the United States. Not intolerance for "weirdos."

Of course the writeup seems to talk about two distinct questions. Why is our gun-related incident rate so much higher than other countries, and why is our Columbine-like incident rate so much higher than other countries. The two are probably related, but I wouldn't say the causes are exactly the same.

Just a thought: I am 23. I live in the UK and I have never seen a handgun. The only guns I can remember seeing are the air-rifles and shotguns that my friend's dad kept on his farm.

I'm 25, live in the US. I'm not sure I can remember ever seeing a hand gun, though I have seen my fair share of rifles and shotguns (and coincidentally most of them hae been on a farm). Oh, I guess if you count the holstered handguns carried by police, and the one I had pulled on me by a police officer once during a routine traffic stop (I know now not to put my hands near my pockets when a passenger in a traffic stop).

I have never seen anybody shot and I have never seen a gun used in combat or as part of a threat.

I've never seen anybody shot and have never seen a gun used in combat or as part of a threat, unless you count the traffic stop incident.

So there goes that comparison :). I'm not sure if you're a victim of this or not, but you should understand that the media portrays a very selective part of any place it covers. Most of the U.S. is safe. Even most of the inner cities in the U.S. are safe, most of the time. A lot of times if you watch the news and see killing after killing you don't get the most accurate impression of what life here actually is like.

Actually I digress. I did see two policemen carrying automatic weapons when I was at Stansted Airport in September 2001. That scared me.

Oh yeah, I've seen automatic weapons when I visited the naval base in Virginia. And when I visited Tijuana. Maybe I have seen more guns and I'm just forgetting about it. Oh yeah, I shot a rifle or something in Boy Scout camp to get some kind of merit badge.



[ Parent ]
Thanks (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by rdskutter on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 01:26:13 PM EST

So there goes that comparison :). I'm not sure if you're a victim of this or not, but you should understand that the media portrays a very selective part of any place it covers. Most of the U.S. is safe. Even most of the inner cities in the U.S. are safe, most of the time. A lot of times if you watch the news and see killing after killing you don't get the most accurate impression of what life here actually is like.

Its nice to be able to put my experiences in perspective. I guess you've had slightly more exposure to guns than me. The difference is that I am scared by the thought of policeman with guns where as you seem to take it in your stride.

It must be amusing. Every time you walk past a policeman on duty you have to take your hands out of your pockets or risk having a gun aimed at you :) - Overexageration I know.


Yanks are like ICBMs: Good to have on your side, but dangerous to have nearby. - OzJuggler
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.[ Parent ]

NP (5.00 / 2) (#70)
by dipierro on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:06:11 PM EST

The difference is that I am scared by the thought of policeman with guns where as you seem to take it in your stride.

You get used to it, like just about anything else I guess. I used to be extremely afraid of policemen with guns. Then again, I was also pretty afraid of government in general. But now I'm older, and my experiences have suggested to me that cops aren't generally apt to shoot people. At least not people like me.

It must be amusing. Every time you walk past a policeman on duty you have to take your hands out of your pockets or risk having a gun aimed at you :) - Overexageration I know.

Yeah, if you're just walking around in public it's not going to be a problem. In this particular incident it was myself and three other 19/20 year olds driving in New Hampshire (or was it Rhode Island?) in an old beat up car with New Jersey license plates. We were filming a documentary for a friend of mine. There had been reports of drugs being trafficked from New Jersey recently, and my bright friend who was driving pulled out of some parking lot without his headlights on. So we get pulled over, and of course we're driving around at like 3 in the morning and hadn't gotten much sleep the night before so my friend's eyes were all bloodshot and he was drowsy and he's a nervous guy so his hands were shaking and everything. So a few minutes into the stop the one cop points his gun at us and yells to get our hands where he can see them. All four of us get our hands up (actually I forget the driver might have been being interrogated behind the car at the time) and are pretty damn scared about the situation. We were all basically good kids, although with a particular disdain for a authority at that point in our lives. Having a cop with a gun pointed at you kind of pushed that disdain into the background though.

After like a minute (or maybe it was only a few seconds) the cop informed us that we didn't have to keep our hands in the air he just wanted us to keep them "where he could see them." At the end of the stop, after the driver allowed them to search the trunk the cop actually apologized to us for the incident, and explained about the drug smuggling reports. He had totally overreacted, but whatever, I was happy to have not been shot at that point. Most cops wouldn't have been so jumpy, at least not with white guys like myself.

I still make sure to keep my hands up on the steering wheel or dash or something when I get pulled over, and make sure to inform the cop that I'm going into the glovebox to get my registration before I do. Overcautious, really, but I do it as much out of respect for the officer as fear really. They do have a dangerous job, and the nicer you treat them the less likely you are to actually get the ticket. Every time I've gotten pulled over I've either gotten a warning instead of a ticket or gotten a break of some sort.



[ Parent ]
CA isn't much better. (5.00 / 3) (#97)
by TheEldestOyster on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:16:08 PM EST

I was pretty outcast in high school. I had maybe two friends, about 10-15 people who tolerated me, and many, many more who hated me. I once was spit on and called a "Faggot" (amusingly, I was told by the guy's friend that he does makeup really well), as well as skirting many fights on the same topic. You can *not* be anything you like in California. At least not around here. (South San Bernardino county)
--
TheEldestOyster (rizen/bancus) * PGP Signed/Encrypted mail preferred
[ Parent ]
saw the movie and (4.57 / 7) (#24)
by treetops on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:07:22 AM EST

one thing he never mentions is the possibility of a combination of issues leading to America's gun violence problem. For example, Germany may have had a violent past (which is very different from America's violent past), but do not have anywhere near the number of guns. Canada has a large number of guns, but not the violent past. Japan had violent media, but no guns. The US, however, has all three: guns, violent history, and violent media. This is not to say I am claiming that these are the responsible factors (quite frankly I have no idea what they are), but it is something which Moore never considers.

Another question is, of the number of gun deaths, how many were suicides? In the movie, I believe the numbers quoted were not for murder, but simply gun deaths. Moore seems to consider them equivalent, but in a society with a large number of guns, it becomes an attractive means of suicide, and this contributing factor should not be overlooked.

Lastly, Moore's point seems to be that Americans live in constant fear, which is driven by the news media. From personal experience, I don't think this is true. He seemed to promote Canada as a place where people don't live in fear, and as a result, never lock their doors. Yet when interviewing a few Canadians (who don't lock their doors), he found out that they had all had their houses broken into, yet continue to not lock their doors! This struck me as absurd, and if locking my door makes me "living in fear", then that is something I find preferably to have my things stolen.


--tt
Canadians lock doors. (5.00 / 2) (#32)
by jmzero on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:30:51 AM EST

I live in Canada.  I lock my doors.  Of course I lock my doors.  Pretty much everyone does when they are away from home, and most do when at home (in the city).  Even in my hometown of 5000 back in 1983, everybody locked their doors when away.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
of course most people do (5.00 / 2) (#37)
by treetops on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:44:56 AM EST

If you watch the movie, Moore actually goes door-to-door (in Toronto, I think) checking people's homes to see if the doors are locked. Naturally, the movie only shows him at doors which are unlocked, including one time in which the home owner comes down and welcomes Moore for having opened his door unannounced.

Is it just me, or is Michael Moore obsessed with Canada (remember, he also did "Canadian Bacon" with John Candy)? At any rate, the Canada he shows on film is always a very pristine place full of perfectly polite, very naive people. Strange man.


--tt
[ Parent ]
Moore. (5.00 / 1) (#43)
by jmzero on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:59:25 AM EST

I'd love to see someone do a parody documentary on Moore using the same kind of editing techniques.  Perhaps Steve Colbert would do a good job - he's much better at the technique than Moore, and a lot more funny.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
Canada isn't like that? (none / 0) (#49)
by ph317 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:31:42 AM EST


Funny I was in Calgary once I got that exact impression.

[ Parent ]
No way (none / 0) (#58)
by Shovas on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:17:23 PM EST

Perhaps there is an exception in certain places, as there are exceptions to every rule, but really, Canadian culture is more like American culture than we are different from it. We all lock are doors in this small village of 1800 people. You gotta remember, Canada is on the same plane, if you will, of existence as the US. There's hardly any difference except nationality and general opinion on certain subjects.
---
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
---
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Self-contradicting statement (3.00 / 2) (#171)
by Kalani on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 07:16:29 PM EST

as there are exceptions to every rule

Is there an exception to that rule too?

-----
"Images containing sufficiently large skin-colored groups of possible limbs are reported as potentially containing naked people."
-- [ Parent ]
Uhh (none / 0) (#83)
by jmzero on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:41:00 PM EST

Why were you wandering around trying people's doors?
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
I meant the pristine/naive/etc stuff not the doors (5.00 / 1) (#131)
by ph317 on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 01:26:32 AM EST



[ Parent ]
my parents don't (none / 0) (#113)
by calimehtar on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:15:06 PM EST

As recently as two years ago my parents (who live in a medium-small town in Alberta) were leaving the house open all day while they were at work. Not habitually, of course, and my dad actually obsessively locks the doors at night. And of course we lock the house when we go away on vacation. But regardless it was possible to leave the house completely open and feel secure.

I had a really hard time getting used to locking the door while I'm inside when I moved to Toronto.



[ Parent ]
Hmmm. (none / 0) (#123)
by jmzero on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:46:48 PM EST

As recently as two years ago my parents (who live in a medium-small town in Alberta) were leaving the house open all day while they were at work.

You mean like Lethbridge small, or like Edson small, or like Medicine Hat small.  I wouldn't leave my door unlocked in any of those places.  

Again, though, it's not like there's lots of people who go door to door looking for one that's unlocked (unless you mean Mr. Moore) - so it's probably not going to get you in trouble.  

I had a really hard time getting used to locking the door while I'm inside when I moved to Toronto.

I usually keep the door locked while I'm home - but certainly not 100%.  
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

number is for homocides (none / 0) (#142)
by clark9000 on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 09:36:34 AM EST

I think the number quoted, 11,000-something, is for gun homocides in the US, so suicides are not counted, I would think.

I agree that it is most likely a combination of factors that contribute to the problem.
_____
Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.

-- E. Dickinson
[ Parent ]
Right. (none / 0) (#210)
by juju2112 on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 01:37:48 AM EST

This is correct. He has stated on Oprah and Donahue that the number is for homicides only.

[ Parent ]
San Franciscan's don't lock their doors (none / 0) (#279)
by pavlos on Wed Jan 22, 2003 at 07:25:08 AM EST

Well, I visited SF a few years ago and stayed with a couple in Castro. There was a street festival and lots of people were around, including some other guests who were sleeping in a van. They didn't lock their door at night, and in fact left it ajar. Go figure. I was impressed, though.

Not very scientific, but then Moore only tried 3-4 houses.

Pavlos

[ Parent ]

It's true! (1.00 / 1) (#280)
by phliar on Sat Jan 25, 2003 at 04:09:16 PM EST

When I saw the movie, I remember thinking, "So what, I don't lock my front door either." I live in San Francisco. Of course, this is not all the time: if I'm going to be away for more than a couple of hours I do lock up, and also at night. (Of course I'm very forgetful so I routinely forget to, and it doesn't bother me Incidentally I have been a victim of violent crime, just like the people in the movie.)

Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Excellent film (4.60 / 10) (#39)
by clark9000 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:47:41 AM EST

I saw this movie on Tuesday and I thought it was excellent. It's a documentary but it's really quite funny, and quite heartrending at the same time. For instance, playing What A Wonderful World over the montage of footage of US foreign policy debacles: you want to laugh and cry at the same time.

The movie makes you think, and I had a few thoughts.

One is, at one point, the guy who wrote the book about media sensationalism mentions that in recent years, crime rates have been dropping significantly, while guns sales are going up. He says how crazy this is, but who's to say it's not because of rather than in spite of all these gun purchases that crime is dropping? I mean, I don't really believe that, but cause-and-effect is a slippery issue in this type of discussion and it's important to avoid jumping to conclusions on either side. You can't truly know without a controlled study. It's similar situation when Moore asks Heston why he needs so many guns if he has never been the victim of a violent crime. Well, one might ask, maybe it's because Heston has so many guns that he hasn't been a victim--would it make more sense to wait until the first attack, and then buy the guns?

The main point of the movie is that in America we live in a climate of fear, largely reinforced by media sensationalism. I agree, and I think Moore touches on but doesn't fully explore the psychological aspect of of race and fear. It's easier to portray black people to the "average" American as dangerous because it's easier to be afraid of people who simply look different from you. Meanwhile, if they showed images of people committing the exact same crimes (in a COPS-type show, say) in Denmark, a relatively homogeneous society, the perpetrators are likely to look physically a lot like the TV viewers. A first reaction might be, Hey, that guy looks like my cousin. Psychologically, you don't tend to fear people who look like your cousin. Anyway I don't know if I've expressed it well and maybe it doesn't even make any sense, but just a thought.

The other thing is there are many different types of situations in which gun violence occurs. We can look at 11,000 as a number by itself (the number of gun murders in the US per year) but within that number are different types that bear different analysis. For instance, to know the number committed with legally licensed weapons would be interesting. To know the demographic breakdown of the killers and the victims would be interesting. My view of the Columbine killings was that the killers were social outcasts at the school, they were looked down upon and teased, etc and they had so much anger at being dominated, they wanted to turn the tables Once And For All. I think Trey Parker hits on it when he wishes that someone could have shown them somehow that they would have gone on to success after high school and they would have their revenge by living well. Perhaps the Flint, Michigan one was similarly born of the young boy's feeling of anger and hopelessness. But not all the killings are comparable to this type of situation--each one has different factors and must be approached in a different way.

Another issue that I felt was somewhat glossed-over in the movie was the difference between poverty and unemployment. Each time someone suggested that part of the source of the violence in America was poverty, Moore would mention that unemployment is much higher in Canada than in the US as a counter-argument. Well, it's very possible and I think even often true that there exist unemployed people in Canada who are wealthier than employed people in the US. Maybe that disparity is crazy and maybe that's what should be remedied in the US, but at any rate poverty doesn't equal unemployment.

Lastly, the part about welfare-to-work. Obviously, the case he explores in the movie is not a success story. But I think in many cases the program has had a lot of benefits in helping people get off welfare and out of poverty. I don't have the stats on me so it's not much of an argument but more of a thought, but there must be a way to balance the program, such as by adding childcare services or something. Somehow I don't think leaving welfare as it was would have done much to prevent violence either. I don't know.

End of disjointed, not-well-thought-out ramblings.
_____
Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.

-- E. Dickinson
He does something USian medias never do ... (4.25 / 12) (#46)
by nictamer on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:22:48 AM EST

... he compares the US with the rest of the industrialized world.

It's something you see all the time in European media for instance, and it's a very logical way to look at political problems: if something's not working in your country, try to find a comparable country that does'nt have the same problem and figure out why, so that you may find a way to fix it here. It's the most sensible way IMO to decide political issues; after all, the only way to be really sure if a policy is working as intended is to try it out. Anything else is just utopia: communism used to look good on paper for example.

It never happens in the US media / political system, as if it considered itself so unique and isolated, or is it just because it is simply IGNORING the existence of the rest of the world?

Obviously, Moore is selective in what he shows; but as he demonstrates it, the media is infinitely biased the other way, so in the end it is just fair :)

I liked the comment about school prayer: fundy christians would want you to believe that kids are reckless because they're not religious enough. But anyone with half a clue should know that NO OTHER significant developed country does school prayer, nor even considers doing it, and none has anywhere close a problem in this respect to the US.
--
Religion is for sheep.

Ignorance is bliss eh ? (1.88 / 9) (#79)
by WildDonkey on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:13:54 PM EST

I liked the comment about school prayer: fundy christians would want you to believe that kids are reckless because they're not religious enough. But anyone with half a clue should know that NO OTHER significant developed country does school prayer, nor even considers doing it, and none has anywhere close a problem in this respect to the US.

I'm not quite sure how to interpret the above, but are you trying to imply that "fundy christians" are a/the cause of america's gun crime ? If so, you have a severe physchological problem (excessive stupidity) and if not, what is your point ?
 

[ Parent ]

Read what he wrote (3.66 / 3) (#85)
by Eloquence on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:49:48 PM EST

He simply said that religion is not, unlike what fundamentalists like to claim, the solution. He didn't say it is the problem.

I say that it is part of the problem.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

I did... (3.66 / 3) (#99)
by WildDonkey on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:24:57 PM EST

He simply said that religion is not, unlike what fundamentalists like to claim, the solution. He didn't say it is the problem. Nothing like tarring all "fundamentalists" with the same brush is there ? It's also interesting I got rated for asking a question. For a start he is wrong anyway about nowhere else is it done - in the rural part of the UK where I was brought up, lots of farmers, a fair number of guns, a talk followed by a prayer in an assembly twice a week at my high school and no gun crime. I say that it is part of the problem. So by that link you'd expect the worlds largest producer and consumer of pornography not to have the excessive level of gun crime it has got.

[ Parent ]
No gun crime here either (2.33 / 3) (#115)
by nictamer on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:20:46 PM EST

... no fucking prayer and nobody but senile elders and Pétain nostalgic loonies in churches ever, save for the occasional traditional marriage.

As far as porn is concerned, we have lots in .fr, on mainstream television no less. Still no significant gun crime.

Thank you for your attention, and Zeus bless you.
--
Religion is for sheep.
[ Parent ]

Aren't things great in France (none / 0) (#144)
by WildDonkey on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 09:52:57 AM EST

... no fucking prayer and nobody but senile elders and Pétain nostalgic loonies in churches ever, save for the occasional traditional marriage.

As far as porn is concerned, we have lots in .fr, on mainstream television no less. Still no significant gun crime.

So it's pretty clear that in France where there is not widespread gun ownership, there is not widespread gun crime. Gee, it REALLY MUST be down to your no prayer in schools and porn on TV.

I thought it was deliberate and there was some pathetic reason, but now I realise that your plural of "sheep" as "sheeps" is probably unintentional.


[ Parent ]

Causality (none / 0) (#150)
by nictamer on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 10:46:51 AM EST

I did'nt imply any causality either way, I just denied any. Is that so hard to understand for your fundy ass?
--
Religion is for sheep.
[ Parent ]
Not so simple... (none / 0) (#164)
by WildDonkey on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 03:42:50 PM EST

If you wish to demonstrate a lack of causality you typically have start from similar starting conditions.

[ Parent ]
You don't understand Prescott (4.25 / 4) (#126)
by Eloquence on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:25:22 PM EST

It doesn't matter whether porn is available to adults -- in fact, high availability and use of pornography by adults indicates a lack of social functioning, a lack of social and physical spaces of sexual and sensual interaction between actual humans.

What matters is whether the culture treats nudity and sexuality as natural when dealing with children, something that the US culture quite obviously doesn't do. For many US boys, their first penis-related experience is the circumcision. TV pixelizes even breasts and beeps out "foul" language. Statutory rape laws are so strict that children and juveniles are often prosecuted under them and, sometimes, sent to jail for consensual sex (I know of two cases in Oregon, a boy and a girl, who both got 6 years and 3 months for consensual sex, under minimum sentencing guidelines). Children are sent to therapy for "molesting" each other, something that is called "playing doctor" in other cultures. And the latest craze is the abstinence propaganda in schools, which works by associating sex, a pleasant experience, with negative images such as those of venereal diseases like syphillis to scare people away from sex, and indoctrinates kids into accepting the virginity propaganda. (A study has found that those girls who take virginity pledges are significantly more likely to get pregnant once they break them.)

On the other hand, spanking is more common in the US than in any other first world nation, there's even corporal punishment in schools in some states. European countries have abolished capital punishment, the US celebrates it. The US incarcerates more people than any other nation, both absolutely and relatively -- in prisons where rape and violence is common. The entire culture is very violence-friendly, both in media and in real life. The idea, on the other hand, to try to rehabilitate prisoners by giving them pleasure would be abhorrent to most Americans. They do not want rehabilitation, they want punishment, the same punishment they have received as children from their parents when they did something wrong.

Instead of experiencing pleasure, American boys and girls frequently experience quite the opposite, and sex is associated with shamefulness. But when the pleasure center of the human brain isn't properly wired, the entire value system works differently. It's quite simple: We learn from the way we are treated. Children who are hugged, touched, and who are allowed to experience their own sexuality will do the same to others -- and children who are spanked, genitally mutilated, prevented from hugging each other (as is the case in hundreds of US schools) will often grow up to be violent themselves, towards others and towards their own children.

That this very simple, obvious and proven fact is not widely acknowledged only underscores its importance: It reveals that the pleasure/aggression relationship is so fundamental that it can dominate our entire perception and make us ignore the truth which conflicts with our value system. This value system, which is formed in childhood, is truly the key to understanding all human motivation, and those people whose value system is broken by the repression and deprivation of pleasure will be pulled towards the destructive and the irrational.

Pleasure-repressive cultures according to Prescott's cross-cultural survey are violent, religious, greedy, expansionist, and they like to genitally mutilate their children. In such a pleasure-repressive culture as the US, with its additional war on drugs and high level of social injustice, adding guns to the mix turns a powder keg into a nuclear bomb.

The porn industry that exists in the US would immediately disappear if porn was completely legal. That's why it has never seriously lobbied for legalization. In cultures that do not repress sexuality, it quickly becomes a part of everyday life, such as in ancient Pompeii, where what we would call pornography was in every kitchen, on every street, in every window. And then the Christians came and they ruled Europe. They destroyed the libraries, the pagan sex temples, the statues, the culture. When Europe awakened again, people called the time in between, the time when religion ruled their world, the Dark Age.

Some people still haven't seen the light.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Very contradictory (none / 0) (#143)
by WildDonkey on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 09:45:29 AM EST

Can you really not see the contradictions between

Pleasure-repressive cultures according to Prescott's cross-cultural survey are violent, religious, greedy, expansionist, and they like to genitally mutilate their children.

and

In cultures that do not repress sexuality, it quickly becomes a part of everyday life, such as in ancient Pompeii, where what we would call pornography was in every kitchen, on every street, in every window.

You're another of these idiots who thinks ancient rome was some kind of libertarian paradise arent you ? Oh and by the way, photographs, videos and dvd's weren't available in pompei at that time.

And just to give you a bit of perspective, try searching for "what caused the dark ages" on google.

[ Parent ]

Not quite (5.00 / 2) (#205)
by Eloquence on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 09:43:05 PM EST

Ancient Rome was far from a paradise in the Prescott sense. Much of Rome's culture came from ancient Greece, where women were regarded as one step below monkeys on the evolutionary ladder. It was a dictatorship that used forced labor to build its empire.

Yet it was, culturally, far more developed than the other nations that existed at the time. The barbarian tribes in the East were far more violent, enjoyed public executions and torture -- and were very sexually repressive. Many Roman intellectuals regarded slavery as wrong, and in the early decades of the Empire, slaves gradually received more rights than in the Republic (where a slave owner had the right to burn his slave when he paid for the firewood), and many were treated quite humanely. Slavery would probably have been abolished soon had the Empire not fallen apart socially and culturally (because of two essential factors: capital concentration and organized religion).

Torture and extreme violence were uncommon and despised, human sacrifice was forbidden wherever it was encountered. The gladiator battles are different from public torture: few people in the audience would have enjoyed it if a gladiator had tortured his enemy before his death. Sadism gradually became more common in the later centuries, which also saw more and more restrictions on sexual freedom (sex segregation in the baths, marriage laws etc.). It was the sex-restrictive and highly religious Middle Ages that then pioneered the most sophisticated torture devices in the history of mankind.

Compared with the Middle Ages, ancient Rome was a peaceful and loving society. Compared with today, we have too little data on how children were treated (we know that they were quite severely beaten in some schools for the lower classes, for example), which is even more important than sexual liberty for peace according to Prescott's research. It is also essential to keep in mind that the Roman Empire stretched over much of Europe, and over several centuries -- it was far from homogenous. Pompeii is just a snapshot from one particular region, at one particular time. But Pompeii of that time may well have been a nice place to live, if not for that nasty event in 79 CE.

I'm aware of the 535 event, I reviewed Keys' book a couple of years ago. It's a misunderstanding to see the event as a "cause of the Dark Ages", though. Rome was already split in half, pagan temples and libraries were destroyed in the past centuries, Justinian's crusade had left West Rome in ruins. Under these circumstances, the event may have been the final death blow to Roman culture and the appropriate beginning for the Dark Ages, but it was hardly the main cause for its decline.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Comparisons to Other Countries (5.00 / 2) (#107)
by Merk00 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 07:33:41 PM EST

Actually, comparisons between the US and foreign countries happen all the time. The one that I'm most familiar with (and have seen the most of) is comparing US schooling to that of other countries. In the early 90's, there was a lot of discussion about how other countries' (particularly Japan) students spent so much more time in school than Americans. And how American test scores were so abysmal as compared to these other countries. There was a lot of discussion about how to make the US compete better.

I think you mistake the US not adopting the policies of other countries for ignoring the rest of the world. The US compares itself to the rest of the world all the time. However, a lot of this revolves around how the US can compete given conditions in other countries. The US does have a unique set of circumstances given history as well as ethnic make-up. Often times it takes unique solutions to fix these problems. Just because something works in France doesn't mean it'd work in the US. And vice-versa.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

True, but (none / 0) (#179)
by epepke on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 09:32:36 PM EST

I think you mistake the US not adopting the policies of other countries for ignoring the rest of the world. The US compares itself to the rest of the world all the time.

Back during the Japan-paranoid 1980's, I heard all the time how U.S. industries should reinvent themselves in terms of how the Japanese did things. Even now, the kieretsu is a fairly popular concept amongst techies. Of course, when it turned out that there was just this bubble in Japan, it didn't seem like such a hot idea.

This also neglects the massive changes in how health care is done in the U.S. In two decades, HMOs have gone from nonexistant to dominant and health care has shifted a couple of rungs down the ladder (to ARNPs and such). A lot of this was due to comparisons with other countries.

You're right that the U.S. is different and solutions aren't necessarily the same, but there are plenty of instances of the U.S. adopting ideas from other countries and cultures. The most obvious examples of this are the changes wrought by waves of immigrants.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
I should interject (4.00 / 1) (#166)
by _cbj on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 04:37:54 PM EST

A Christian replied with a note that you may have ignored amidsth the religious overtones, but good nonetheless, that the UK does indeed have regular, usually weekly, prayer meetings in state schools. I'll bet that a lot of Europe does too. I know that in Finland, for example, liberal religion is widespread and has become integrated with a healthy society full of sex and life and great music.

[ Parent ]
Finally! (none / 0) (#50)
by rayab on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 11:40:07 AM EST

I'm glad someone has finally decided to post a story about this film. My boyfriend and I tried getting tickets to the film when it first came out but being that there was only one theater in town that played it, we were unable to see it until we went on a weekday.

I suggest everyone who hasnt seen it yet, go and see it!

Y popa bila sobaka on yeyo lyubil, ona syela kusok myasa on yeyo ubil, v zemlyu zakopal, i na mogile napisal...
Yeah (4.78 / 23) (#63)
by trhurler on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:41:40 PM EST

The amusing part of that movie is that as far as I can tell, Moore made fun of everyone, no matter what he thinks. He managed to make anti-gun people, gun people, and everyone in between look like idiots, except for a few people whose stories got used as sob pieces instead. Since people always want to compare the US to Europe and then say "ban guns," I've compared the US to various places(including Europe,) in what follows, but I've actually done some real thinking instead of just knee jerking. Here it is:

I think the real problem is fairly simple. The US has a crime problem, and also a suicide problem. Guns are incidental. People have been taught to focus on them, because they are something certain politicians think they can "do something about," whereas those same politicians are ideologically opposed to taking any action against crime; it is no coincidence that the "tough on crime" party is also the pro-gun party and vice versa.

Canada has crime, but not like the US. Notice that there is no "gun problem" in the rural US. Why? Because there isn't as much crime. In the UK, most areas have no crime problem - but where they do(parts of London especially,) they also have a gun problem, even though guns are essentially banned! This is a universal thing, the world over.

Now, if you want to know why we have a crime problem, I don't know, but it is obvious to me that focusing on guns will not solve the problem. I do have some suspicions, though.

I suspect that Canada, Europe, and other places like them do not tax their poorest people at rates approaching 30% if they choose to take honest jobs instead of choosing welfare or criminal activity. (Yes, you read that right. Add up payroll, state, federal, and local taxes, taxes on other things people buy, sin taxes, and so on, and your average poor working man in in the US is paying something like 30% on all legitimate income.) That probably has a lot to do with it.

I suspect that the US drug war causes a lot of it. Sure, drugs are illegal in the UK and elsewhere - but one need only read a few spiralx diaries to realize that the cops and the prosecutors there aren't nearly as serious about catching people as here in the US. Most of our crime is drug related, and a great deal of it is neverending turf wars perpetuated by the constant flow of people in and out of prisons. A great deal more is petty theft and stupid street violence perpetrated in the name of getting that next fix, made artificially expensive by our government. Note that drug use goes up and down and up and down - in a normal economic cycle, more or less - and the "drug war" has no real impact on that. All it does is fuck up peoples' lives.

There are other possible contributors. However, I bet if you eliminated the drug war and fixed our tax system so that it at least makes some kind of sense, US cities would be a lot safer, and we'd see a lot less "gun problems."

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

errr... (4.00 / 3) (#72)
by kstop on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:20:13 PM EST

In Ireland, the base rate of income tax is about 25%, (rising to 40% pretty quickly) and most stuff is subject to VAT (sales tax) of 21%. Then there's road taxes, water charges, waste charges...

The situation would be similar across Europe, or any country with any kind of decent social policy that needs funding.

[ Parent ]

Nah ... (4.00 / 4) (#73)
by StrontiumDog on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:34:55 PM EST

the working Euro poor may pay relatively high taxes compared to the average po' USian. But they get relatively many state benefits - housing subsidy, free medical insurance, child allowance etc. All in all as much or more flows back in as goes out.

[ Parent ]
Well, (5.00 / 7) (#82)
by trhurler on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:39:31 PM EST

StrontiumDog laid it out pretty clearly. The poor get a lot more back in most Western countries than they put in; they are expected to work and to pay taxes, but this is something of an accounting nicety; the fact is that most of their sustenance is given to them.

Personally, I don't think you'd need to give poor people a lot of handouts in the US, if you'd just let them keep what they earned. People want to work 40 hour weeks, but as far as I'm concerned, 50-60 hour weeks seem to be normal for most people who are doing real work, regardless of income level, so if we figure Sally works 50 hours a week at two different jobs making $6.00 an hour, that'd be $1200 a month, with no taxes. She can find a two bedroom apartment for $750 where I live(and would make more money in other places,) and can get a roommate, cutting her down to $375/month rent. If she spends $10/day on meals(excessive if she's really trying to cut costs, but whatever,) that's another $300. Her half of the utilities will come to maybe $50/month. We're now at $725/month. This leaves $275/month. We'll assume that since $6.00/hour jobs are a dime a dozen and apartment complexes are too, Sally doesn't really need a car, as in most suburban areas it is not hard to find apartment complexes well within walking distance of a few fast food places and similar businesses that might employ her, as well as a grocery store. She could easily obtain one if needed(a cheap one, but a car nevertheless,) but ignore that, because she doesn't need one. She'll have to make occasional, planned runs to other stores via bus or friends, but that's not exactly a crushing hardship.

If she picks a decent pair of employers(White Castle and anything, for instance,) she'll get benefits if she sticks around long enough. If she can't survive the one year before that happens, she may have to consider that dropping out of high school and so on was a dumb move on her part.

The end result is that she'll have a sustainable job at which she can save small amounts of money while trying to get ahead in life. Oh, she has four kids? Well, that was pretty fucking dumb of her. After all, everyone in the US old enough to have kids knows how the process works, so if you went and had them even though you can't support them, that's your fucking problem. Put them up for adoption. Get a better job. Whatever. Don't come whining about it to me. (Yes, I know, there are a few cases here and there where people had kids and then their situations deteriorated. There always have been a few such cases. If they were the entirety of the problem, then charities could handle it. The problem is, they're a tiny fraction. Most children whose parents can't support them properly have parents who just aren't very responsible.)

But, all of this is hopeless if you take away a third of that money. Which is what the moronic fucking US government does.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
My opinion (3.80 / 5) (#104)
by broken77 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 07:05:27 PM EST

Herein lies the real issue:
The end result is that she'll have a sustainable job at which she can save small amounts of money while trying to get ahead in life. Oh, she has four kids? Well, that was pretty fucking dumb of her. After all, everyone in the US old enough to have kids knows how the process works, so if you went and had them even though you can't support them, that's your fucking problem. Put them up for adoption. Get a better job. Whatever. Don't come whining about it to me. (Yes, I know, there are a few cases here and there where people had kids and then their situations deteriorated. There always have been a few such cases. If they were the entirety of the problem, then charities could handle it. The problem is, they're a tiny fraction. Most children whose parents can't support them properly have parents who just aren't very responsible.)
There are a variety of influences I see contributing to the problem. But to me, they all seem to stem around one major issue. We have no strong sense of community and comradery in this country. It's "every man for himself" or "that's YOUR problem, buddy". What we fail to realize is that other people's problems are our problems too. If we choose not to make them our problems officially, they just become our problems in other ways (gun violence for example). Not only that, but just the sense of alienation and exclusion I've grown up around is terrible here. That's not community. Then there's the notion of privacy and seclusion that we all seem to strive for. I'm not sure if that stems from fear or lack of nurturing as children or what, but it's definitely there.

I've been to Europe, Israel, Canada. The climate is just different. Everyone I talk to who's also been to these places agrees with me. It's one of the biggest things I noticed about Italy. For one, they do seem to care about others more (socialized health care anyone?) Israel has the kibbutz as a strong part of their culture. Not only that, but the terrorism thing really binds them together :-)

It's been said before... You make strong stronger communities, problems like violence dissipate. The first step to that is to extend the love, man!

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Feh (4.50 / 6) (#111)
by trhurler on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 07:46:18 PM EST

The idea of "one big community" is at best an illusion these days. A "community" is people who know each other. There's no way I could even get to know all the people in my town, much less the whole suburb I live in, much less the city or the metro area, much less the state, etc etc.

In any case, I think this argument of yours is more emotionalism than anything else. Women with eight kids and no job are not pulling triggers. Their kids sometimes do - but why? Mainly because they get involved in drug crimes, whether that be as an addict who robs to get his next fix or as a dealer who kills people for turf or whatever. Socialized heath care won't help that. What will is ending the drug war.

What socialized health care in the US would do, and very quickly, is put an end to the ridiculous pace of improvement of medicine. Instead of improving at an exponential rate the way it does today, under a socialized regime, access to advanced techniques would be reduced(cost saving measures,) as it has been elsewhere under such programs, and R&D would be immeasurably harmed, to the point that our grandkids would be treated the same way we are today. That's absurd. If it were "the only way," I'd see your position, but nobody has even tried letting poor people live their lives without interference. Why should they pay a third of their income in taxes and then have to try to buy insurance too? Why should they go to prison for extended terms for drug violations that are probably duplicated every day by various members of Congress?! This is just stupid. Their lives can be better without screwing up anything else. Just fix some things.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Finally... (4.00 / 4) (#117)
by MTremodian on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:49:05 PM EST

...you're back to your extreme, but intelligent self. That knee-jerk troll was getting a bit annoying.

Anyway, as to this:

Women with eight kids and no job are not pulling triggers. Their kids sometimes do - but why?
Have you considered that it might not be all, or even primarily, the fault of the drug war? Certainly it is a large part of the problem, and causes a number of subsidiary problems to develop which then feed back into the main problem of violence. But is it a root cause of violence? I don't think so. I really think it's lack of education, followed by lack of "a good upbringing." By this I do NOT mean a moral/religious upbringing, but just something more than the television because mom's too tired from her 60 hours a week of work that's still not enough. The drug war excacerbates things, but it's hardly the (or even a major) cause.


...speed overcomes the fear of death.
[ Parent ]

Hahahahah (5.00 / 2) (#251)
by beergut on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 12:09:40 PM EST

Man, you sure are smoking something awful funny. Maybe the drug war is a good thing, and we should send some drug warriors your way.

By and large, Boomshika with the eight kids and the Ford Expedition, cruisin' 'round da 'hood, is not working at all. If anything at all is feeding the kids (a dodgy prospect,) it is WIC and AFDC. Boomshika, and the six men with whom she's made the eight kids, are not responsible for the upbringing of the kids. Uncle Sam is their father, now, which translates to "you and I pay for their food."

Here's an example with which I am familiar:

One woman I was acquainted with had six children. She received AFDC, WIC, etc. She received rent assistance (Section 8). She did not work, because she did not have to. You might think this is a good thing, as then she could spend the time raising her kids the right way. But you'd be wrong. Instead, she spent the time high. She didn't have to worry about feeding her kids, so the money she made by being a prostitute could go directly for whatever drug she favored. The kids were set a shining example by this woman, to be sure.

Oh, and that money that was supposed to go for food? Well, that's another kettle of fish. You see, because people in those areas are irresponsible, and encourage each other to steal from retailers, retailers must keep their prices elevated in order to make up for the "shrink" in their stocks. This causes there to be less food, in variety and quantity, available to people in those neighborhoods, and what food is available has its price hugely inflated. All protestations about "da man be keepin' us po'" aside, this is the economic reality of the situation.

Because there is so little food available, people buy what is available, which is mostly preprocessed (and very expensive.) They no longer know how to cook. One neighbor, who actually was making some sort of effort (at one time) to raise her kids right, when offered some fresh green beans from my housemate's garden, refused them. She wouldn't know how to prepare them, she said. Given a fixed food income, and availability of staple goods, people would starve, because they have neither the knowledge, nor the inclination, to prepare meals from basic goods.

Many of these people are also fundamentally lazy. Back to my original anecdote: the woman in question actually sent her three-year-old daughter across the street with a TV dinner, with the request that my housemate warm it up for her. After doing so, my housemate accompanied the three-year-old back across the street, so that the child would not be injured by the now hot food. She handed the food to the mother, and watched the mother proceed to scarf it down, not sharing any with her kids, who looked on longingly. No, it was to be (uncooked) Ramen noodles for them that night.

You might think I'm ranting, and I am, to be sure. But every single thing I've said here is the absolute truth, and it only one of the litany of reasons that I am opposed to "wealth redistribution", and socialism of any stripe. It does no good, at all, and only fills the world with people who have lost the very fundamental skills of survival.

All that says nothing of another that had sixteen that we, the beleaguered taxpayers, supported.

How do I know this? Well, I lived there. I witnessed these things firsthand. I came out of my pocket on many occasions to feed a hungry kid. I have (and still am, if I can find more gainful employment,) considered taking at least one of these kids with whom I am familiar, under my wing, to finish his upbringing and try to keep him from making the mistakes it's all too likely he'll make living in that situation.

If you have not done so, you have no room to speak. Yours is not a position of expressing compassion for the poor. Yours is a position of expressing contempt for those who work for a living.

i don't see any nanorobots or jet engines or laser holography or orbiting death satellites.
i just see some orangutan throwing code-feces at a computer screen.

-- indubitable
[ Parent ]

Ok, wait a sec... (4.80 / 5) (#119)
by broken77 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:25:31 PM EST

You're assuming I disgreed with your statements. I completely agree that these things are part of the issue. I too am completely opposed to the drug war and the amount of taxes paid by the poor and working class.

Having said that, I still don't think it goes the whole way. You're talking about kids getting involved in drug crimes. But what does that have to do with school shootings? Or all the other violence that occurs in middle and suburban America? As you know, I'm from Missouri too. And now I live in L.A. And let me tell you... I was MUCH more afraid for my safety in Missouri.

I also disagree with your premise on socialization of health care. There are other countries that have this. Are you suggesting that these countries (Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, etc) don't have medical advances? You say feh to me? Well feh to you! I think you're still seeing the picture to narrowly.

I also don't think my sense of community is an emotional one. It's one that I only recently developed. I was the person I described myself only a few years ago. My dad discovered what a "sense of community" was only later in his life too. It's not an emotional thing, it's a logical thing. I don't make decisions on emotion :-)

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

I forgot to point out... (none / 0) (#120)
by broken77 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:29:57 PM EST

I'm not talking about "one big, whopping community". I'm talking about strong smaller communities everywhere. That sense of comradery will just carry itself into the larger spectrum.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Communal Decision Making (none / 0) (#219)
by Kintanon on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 12:46:50 PM EST

How can people be a community if they are expected to contribute to the welfare of others without having any kind of say in the system? One example is that we constantly here this "It takes a village to raise a child" crap, but then when I tell someons kid to stop throwing vegetables on the floor in the grocery store they give me a nasty look like a just slapped the little shithead across the room. WTF? You want me to pay out the ass so your kid can go to school for free, have free healthcare, get free crap at every turn, you can pay less in taxes, and then you have the NERVE to cop a superior attitude at me when I tell your kid to stop doing something that is OBVIOUSLY destructive and will raise the price of my food? WTF?!
And this happens all the time. I see kids running wild destroying things in stores and I can't stop them because their parents will go ballistic on me. I've tried telling employees in the store and been told that policy is not to interfere with them.
Well, If I don't get a partial say in how the kids are raised I'm sure as hell not going to contribute anything to them. And I'm not contributing to their parents either. My sense of community is wrapped up in the people with whom I have something in common. If I don't have anything in common with someone, how can I form community bonds with them?

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

Strange (4.83 / 6) (#122)
by trhurler on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:45:32 PM EST

First of all, school shootings and most of the other highly publicized violence in America are exceedingly rare. The stuff that happens commonly would get boring quickly on the news, because it happens so often. So, they don't mention it, or if they do, it gets a five second blurb. Most non-suicides in the US are black on black, and are related either to drugs or status symbols. The latter tend to be among very poor people. The murder rates in predominately black areas are huge; outside those areas, our murder rates are frequently lower than anywhere else in the world with comparable population density. I'm not saying blacks are the problem; what I'm saying is, the culture among urban poor people(who happen mostly to be black in most cities,) seems to encourage this. However, I think economic pressures exacerbate it and push it to the point we see today.

Second, if you're more afraid in Missouri than LA, then something is out of whack with your perceptions, because LA is a much more dangerous place, on average. Are you sure it isn't just the particular neighborhoods you live(d) in?

Third, medical advances today happen everywhere, but most of the stuff that requires new science or new understanding of the body at least originates in the US, or uses US equipment, or US-trained researchers, and so on. And really, most of the advances happen in the US, unless political problems interfere(ie, the abortion drug, cloning, etc.) The drug companies are an excellent case here: most non-US drug companies make generics, do local production for name brands, and so on. Few do any real research. Of the ones that do, much of it is actually done in the US.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Responses (4.00 / 4) (#128)
by broken77 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:38:10 PM EST

Well, I'd have to see the statistics you're referring to in order to address your statements regarding black-on-black crime, and the other numbers. Although I definitely agree that economic problems are a huge factor in those cases. Where we differ on are the solutions to those economic problems. And I stand by my opinion that most people just don't give a damn. "It's their problem not mine". So the cycle continues.

As far as Missouri vs. L.A. There were so many fights and attacks based on bigotry, or no reason at all, just stupid angry hicks. At any given night some asshole could pick a fight with me and send me to the hospital. It happened frequently. And this was in a reasonably respectable town. The land of mullets and rednecks, for sure... And I could venture to any small town all over the state and experience the same thing. And I in fact did experience similar things many times in several different towns. People just aren't like that here. You might get mugged or attacked. That is totally random, and happens. In Missouri, you had to watch your back, and watch everything you say and who you look at, everywhere you went. That was my experience of 22 years anyway.

Regarding health care and research, again, I'd have to see your sources. But just off your word, I don't believe you. I'm not talking about drug research, mind you. I think most drug research doesn't help our health problems anyway. In fact, I think it's one of the things contributing to the "health care crisis" in the states today. I don't have statistics, because it's not something I've researched in depth. But I know I've read things in the past of technology, or procedures, being developed in country X that is not the U.S. Aren't some of the best hospitals in the world supposed to be in Switzerland?

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Two things (none / 0) (#228)
by trhurler on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 02:07:15 PM EST

First, I must admit, I never saw or heard of the kind of thing you're talking about with fights. Is there something about you that made these hicks single you out? (I've lived in a small town with blacks and other minorities who got along just fine, so I'm really curious.)

Second, do try to remember that without drug research done in the US, we would presently have no effective antibiotics, among other things. People would be dying young of stupid treatable infections. And really, most other drugs have good uses too; the fact that drug companies have yet to cure cancer is an indication of the difficulty of the problem, rather than some fundamental problem with drug companies.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Fear and medicine (4.00 / 1) (#183)
by epepke on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 01:08:42 AM EST

Second, if you're more afraid in Missouri than LA, then something is out of whack with your perceptions, because LA is a much more dangerous place, on average.

Fear has very little to do with actual danger, though. I grew up in not-very-nice neighborhoods in New York, so I'm used to that. I've walked through South-Central LA without any fear. Missouri creeps me out, though. Too many Methodists.

Third, medical advances today happen everywhere, but most of the stuff that requires new science or new understanding of the body at least originates in the US, or uses US equipment, or US-trained researchers, and so on.

Germany and Japan are right up there, though. Good lesson about Germany: medicine isn't socialized, but medical insurance is subsidized. Japan is just weird. However, most countries where people are so proud of their socialized medicine are for shit. Indigents can get CAT scans at just about any ER in the U.S. and not pay for them; my father, when admitted to an English hospital, had three (count them, 3) exploratory surgeries before they could even get time on the CAT scan machine.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
this needs more research (4.33 / 3) (#159)
by adequate nathan on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 01:01:19 PM EST

[U]nder a socialized regime, access to advanced techniques would be reduced(cost saving measures)

That's a contentious statement. If the health care system qua system has a limited amount of money, it'll be forced to prioritize its treatment schedule. Research will only be neglected insofar as basic care is insufficient.

It's not clear to me that exotic medical research is more important than setting broken legs. Before socialized medicine became established in Canada, one significant illness or injury would often end a man's productive life (ref. Pierre Berton's The Smug Minority, 1968.)

In general, Canada sees less access to advanced techniques than the USA. On the other hand, our cities don't have American-style urban decay, because our poor people live better. And it's not just the war on drugs; Canada's poor never became all that hooked in the first place, because they weren't living in conditions of total desperation in the crucial years of rapid urban population growth post-1965. I think restricted access to MRIs might be a price that we're, on the whole, willing to pay; just look at the hellhole formerly known as Detroit, or the south side of Chicago.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Therein lies the rub (5.00 / 1) (#177)
by epepke on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 09:20:22 PM EST

I've been to Europe, Israel, Canada. The climate is just different. Everyone I talk to who's also been to these places agrees with me. It's one of the biggest things I noticed about Italy. For one, they do seem to care about others more (socialized health care anyone?) Israel has the kibbutz as a strong part of their culture. Not only that, but the terrorism thing really binds them together :-)

Therein lies the rub, doesn't it? Strong communities are great--if you're part of the community, but all communities everywhere define themselves by the people they exclude. I haven't been to Isreal, but I imagine that it is probably just peachy if you aren't a Muslim. I have been to Canada, Mexico, and much of Europe. Canada is pretty nice, but I'm not sure what a Canada that weren't so close to the U.S. would be like. Canadians spend an awful lot of time making sure people know they aren't from the U.S. Mexico is nice, too, but all the friends I made seemed largely to be Mayan in ancestry and are strongly looked down upon by the more phenotypically European majority. Europe, well, I love being there, but scratch anybody and you'll find a deep, bigoted streak of enmity and hostility toward somebody that often goes back hundreds or thousands of years. I have English friends who will only go to Wales if I or other American friends are present, because if they go alone, the Welsh won't speak English in front of them.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Not sure about Ireland (4.00 / 4) (#91)
by Kwil on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:12:05 PM EST

But how it works in Canada is the base rate is about 17%, and we do have employment insurance and the Canadian Pension Plan payroll taxes on top of this. However, they are both adjusted according to what your total income is expected to be during the year, so it's quite possible to work part-time and not pay either.

There is a national 7% GST (Goods & Services Tax) on pretty much everything except the basic staples (so milk, items sold in bulk, vegetables, meat, that sort of thing. Canned goods are not exempt unless you buy them in bulk packaging.) Some provinces have additional sales taxes, but those are starting to drop as we maintain balanced federal and provincial budgets.

Property taxes vary depending on the province and municipality you live in. Calgary, Alberta is at about 1-2% the approximate market value of your home.
In addition, there are other premiums that may apply depending on your whereabouts. Alberta, for instance, has a health-care premium (one of the few provinces that does) that varies according to your income.

For federal taxes though, there is a base exemption of about $7,000 (Canadian) that's automatic and a number of other deductions that a poorer person can apply. (Education expenses or excess medical expenses are the major ones - and the education exemption can be rolled over to future tax years if you don't use the full exemption)

End result is that tax time generally means that the poorest either pay nothing or may actually receive a bit of money back (if they paid EI or CPP taxes from a paycheque, but then didn't wind up working enough over the year to justify it)

That being said, the tax rate jumps fairly quickly from 17 to 23 percent, and then there's a third tier at 45%.  Of course, like the US, the more money you have, the more opportunities there are to take advantage of tax shelters. So about the worst place to be is the bottom end of "middle-class".

On the bright side, I can walk into a doctor's office anywhere and not worry about how I'm going to pay for the examination/procedure, or if my rates will go up. You hear about long wait times, but I haven't found that to be much of an issue personally. My education has been financed by government loans, a good chunk of which I don't have to repay due to remission, and all of which has been being applied to my tax situation, lowering what I have to pay in future years. I also know that if things turn bad, they'll have to stay bad for a very long time before I'm in danger of losing the roof over my head, and I have no fear of ever having to go hungry.

I know that I'll never make as much money here as I could if I moved to the US, but on the other hand, neither do I have to work as hard to have the security of a roof, food, and adequate medical care as I would in the US.  That's a trade-off I'm willing to live with.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
well put (4.33 / 3) (#158)
by adequate nathan on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 12:52:02 PM EST

I know that I'll never make as much money here as I could if I moved to the US, but on the other hand, neither do I have to work as hard to have the security of a roof, food, and adequate medical care as I would in the US. That's a trade-off I'm willing to live with.

To me, this is the classic reason why a community would agree to have a moderately appropriationst government, to wit, to provide a real social safety net. The slippery slope is into Prussian despotism, of course, and that's not such a good thing; but it looks better than the slippery slope into anomic corporatized dystopia.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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[ Parent ]

mod parent up (3.87 / 8) (#84)
by adequate nathan on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:41:44 PM EST

Excellent points, even if Mr hurler does come off as a bit of a Captain McSmuggypants.

It really sucks to be poor in the USA, because getting good health care is impossible. There are a number of reasons why it's impossible, and it's beyond the scope of a post like this one to explain why it's impossible, but it is. My GF, as an immigrant grad student in Rochester NY, can't afford the slightest sickness or the faintest hint of a dental problem. Although dentistry can cost in Canada, cheap medical care for the masses does a lot to take the pressure off the working poor.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Not sure about your statement (4.80 / 5) (#90)
by trhurler on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:56:40 PM EST

First of all, most sicknesses do not call for a doctor. You get a cold, or a flu, you survive it, you move on. The truth is, young, normally healthy people almost never really need to see doctors. Older people may, and children may, but I doubt your girlfriend is either of those. The biggest problem in health care is not the person suffering an untreated illness. It is the hordes of morons who think every time they have a sore throat or a bad headache they have to visit a doctor. I've got insurance, and I still don't visit a doctor unless I really need to. As yet, in nearly four years, I have only used my dental insurance. Why? Because I'm young, nothing seems wrong with me, and it is a waste of my time and other peoples' money for me to go to a doctor. When I get a bit older, yes, but now? A waste.

Second, dentistry is expensive in a way, but it is orders of magnitude less than regular medicine. A really huge dental bill might be a few thousand dollars, with common bills being more like a couple hundred including cleaning, examination, and a filling. Not beyond the reach of most poor people to do once or twice a year, as long as they regularly brush their teeth and thereby keep from having really horrible problems.

The truth is, being poor sucks, but it would be a sustainable life for most people in the US if it weren't for our tax structure. Taking away money people use to enjoy life is reprehensible, but taking away money people use to live is unspeakable. I cannot believe people allow this to go on.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
'most sicknesses do not call for a doctor' (none / 0) (#155)
by adequate nathan on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 12:39:56 PM EST

And for the ones that do? What do you do, just die quietly?

I'm young, nothing seems wrong with me, and it is a waste of my time and other peoples' money for me to go to a doctor.

You aren't everybody.

My GF hasn't been sick (so much as flu) in three years, but she's been coughing for three weeks now and the best she's been able to do is see some campus health office. Their advice? 'Wait and see,' and meanwhile she's had to have her supervisor replace her on lectures for the class she's TA-ing, due to no voice. Some better insurance would help, so we're seeing what we can do.

Taking away money people use to enjoy life is reprehensible, but taking away money people use to live is unspeakable. I cannot believe people allow this to go on.

I agree. But that's 'compassionate conservatism' (as well as the 'New Democrats') for you.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Insurance (none / 0) (#165)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 04:23:34 PM EST

That's because of the fuckedupness of the whole Health Insurance system + Medicare and whatnot. If health care was pay-for-services, how much do you think it would cost for your girlfriend to go see the doctor for 15 minutes and get some antibiotics or something? Health insurance and car insurance have really mutated to the point that they are no longer "insurance" in the same way you might insure your house.

Also, there is a good chance the doctor might also say "wait and see," perhaps prescribe some cough supressant. Has she at least tried taking OTC stuff?

By the way, that story sounds like anecdotal evidence used to play the sentiment card. Get some hard data and address what I had to say rather than arguing with some phantom out of your subconscious.

Tim

"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Har har. (none / 0) (#167)
by gzt on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 04:44:49 PM EST

Man, you have such a great sense of humor, intentionally missing the point and clumsily turning around what he said.  Euoi!

One of the main differences: his anecdote had relevance to the debate.  

[ Parent ]

heh (4.50 / 2) (#180)
by adequate nathan on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 12:11:52 AM EST

If health care was pay-for-services, how much do you think it would cost for your girlfriend to go see the doctor for 15 minutes and get some antibiotics or something?

I think it'd cost a market-determined price which might or might not be 'reasonable' to you and me. Even for a '15-minute consultation,' a doctor has got to carry malpractice insurance and pay his nurse her $30/hour. If he values his time at $100/hour (which makes him cheaper than most plumbers,) that 15-minute consultation carries an expense on the order of $40, in addition to the $77 (for a generic) her prescription costs at the store. All this assumes that prices would remain constant if health care could be paid for 'per service,' which by the way means at current rates no more MRIs, unless you're willing to remortgage your house every month and sell your kids for spare parts.

$117 is a not insignificant expense to an international doctoral student. She makes about $1000/mo working part time, and an awful lot of it is already spoken for. Even quite a minor thing could mean a lifetime of debt for us if she were to incur hospital time.

By the way, unlike that of a think-tank wanker such as yourself, my 'anecdote' was not intended to replace evidence. The one thing anecdotes can prove is the existence of a contradictory case (or of a representative case, depending on your perspective.) My example demonstrated that the statement 'it can suck to be poor in the USA' is a true statement; yours, intended to prove that the poor are poor because they're profligate, proved only that you are very eager to explain the problem of poverty away.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Er... (none / 0) (#225)
by trhurler on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 01:16:28 PM EST

First of all, technologies like MRI are great, but they are not some sort of universal right of all mankind. That said, they're not as expensive as you claim.

Second, yes, it can suck to be poor in the US. That said, your girlfriend is suffering a lot more from the at least 20%(FICA, Medicare, etc) of her money she never actually sees thanks to the g-man than she is from any kind of insurance problems. If she takes home $1000 now, she could be taking home more like $1300 - and should be, because obviously she needs that money to live on. Very, very few people rack up more than $300/month in medical expenses, and while I have sympathy for those who do, the vast majority of poor people stay poor because of taxes (or because they waste money, but that is under their control, and taxes are not,) which was really the only point I was trying to make in the first place.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I mostly agree (5.00 / 1) (#231)
by adequate nathan on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 03:10:55 PM EST

Hence: "mod parent up." People need to be reminded that regressive taxes on the poor cause major social problems, directly.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

OT followup (none / 0) (#235)
by adequate nathan on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 04:11:59 PM EST

I also don't really understand why the INS is hassling doctoral students at major universities (her school is one of the top 5 in the country in its field.)

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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[ Parent ]

Two things (none / 0) (#239)
by trhurler on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 04:57:10 PM EST

First, where's she from? Second, what is she studying?

They're busily engaged in everything from spying on to recruiting to generally being annoying to everyone from certain countries, and most foriegners who are studying certain subjects. Part of their "war on terror."

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
heh (none / 0) (#245)
by adequate nathan on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 12:11:45 AM EST

My GF is from the notorious terrorist pesthole Romania and she's studying music (and paying a literal dumptruck full of lei to do it.) In retrospect the INS is perfectly justified in harassing her.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#252)
by trhurler on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 12:38:02 PM EST

Did she have a bad ending of some affair with an INS guy that you just don't know about?:)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Uh... (none / 0) (#221)
by trhurler on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 01:08:52 PM EST

First you talk about dying quietly, then you talk about your girlfriend, who, by the sound of it, has a minor throat infection of some kind. Yes, antibiotics would probably clear it up a bit faster, but unless it gets worse, she's in no danger, and it might clear up on its own - so why should anyone else pay for what amounts to a personal convenience for her?

This is what I don't get about people. I'm happy to agree that people should not be screwed over, but most people seem to think that if I have money and I don't give it to them with nothing in exchange, I'm screwing them!

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
busted! (none / 0) (#232)
by adequate nathan on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 03:32:56 PM EST

You're quite right; my anecdote was just made to play to people's emotions. Seriously, I got her some cheap drugs from Canada and she's mostly better. It was quite annoying to go to the dispensary and see her drugs on sale for US$77 when I could buy the same thing at home for CDN$24 without a prescription, so I just quietly smuggled it over last time I visited. I have no idea what explains the disparity in price.

The 'dying quietly' bit is about some Americans struck with major diseases or serious accidents who, for whatever reason, do not receive the help they need to recover and resume their lives. In contrast to that I consider the case of Canada. Canada socialized its medical system in a nationalistic attempt to make its population healthier, not unlike that of France in the XIXth century (although Canada didn't go nearly as far.) While we might valuably debate the ethics of appropriationist laws in principle, in this case it did result in things like greatly increasing the productivity of the average worker and greatly reducing infant mortality.

Canada's democracy is quite robust, and as many people see the medical system as being inefficient and over-generous to self-inflicted woes, it is being greatly reformed; in particular, Alberta is experimenting with legalizing more kinds of private clinics. All signs point to a rejuvenation of the system.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 0) (#236)
by trhurler on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 04:14:21 PM EST

Well, drugs are expensive in the US primarily because they can be, I think; this is the best chance a drug company has to make back its research investment. The FDA certainly makes drugs more expensive here than they need to be by making everything you can imagine a prescription. (Prescriptions are automatically much more expensive due to the process of needing a pharmacist, the tracking and inventory control, and so on.)

Someone else told me Canada already had private clinics; what is it with Canadians(and others in socialist health care countries) who can't tell the straight story about how things work?! Very confusing.

The poor, uninsured person with a horrible illness is actually pretty rare in the US, but we do have them. I want to do something to help, but I cannot accept the idea that a relative handful of people are reason enough to start adopting socialist methods. Socialism has always at least claimed that it was about the majority - the common man. I still despise it even then, but I find it even worse here. Something else has to be possible.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
detail (none / 0) (#244)
by adequate nathan on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 12:10:37 AM EST

Someone else told me Canada already had private clinics;

Yeah; for instance dental and ophthamological clinics. There are some restrictions on what kinds of work clinics can do.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Private foo (none / 0) (#265)
by Spendocrat on Sun Nov 24, 2002 at 07:34:42 AM EST

Private sports therapy clinics, abortion clinics (sort of!), hmm what else - all dental clinics are private.

A caller to CBC radio's "Cross-Country Checkup" (a national call-in show) put it best by stating that really Canada has a public Doctor, Hospital and Paramedic System, and the rest is more-or-less private. There's lots of noodling and "sometimes public payment" for various services.

There's also constant talk about long line-ups and trouble getting access to services but this seems pretty hit or miss. My exprience with getting to see an allergy specialist (for non-routine stuff) was great, but a friend of the family's experience with getting heart surgery has been poor. Healthcare is a national obsession. Which is too bad, because sometimes there's more important things to worry about, like our gigantic debt and the sorry-ass state of our military.

An interesting read is Code Blue. I have no idea where you can get it. http://www.ecwpress.com/books/codebluer.htm

[ Parent ]

I can tell you exactly why it goes on (none / 0) (#174)
by RyoCokey on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 07:35:48 PM EST

Because regressive taxes are easy to pass on a local level. Often times, if you need more money for the budget, you're faced with three options: Up taxes, issue bonds, or do a lottery type solution.

Many people oppose lotteries on moral grounds (Alabama voted one down to help the schools there) and are also regressive taxes (in effect, mostly poor people play the lottery.) Bond issues just put off payment until another day.

That leaves raising taxes. Most people are willing to pay higher taxes for more services, so it comes down to a matter of who opposes the tax.

Generally, if you try to raise property tax, you see opposition by companies and wealthy landowners. If you try to raise regressive or "sin" taxes, you generally see little to no opposition. Why? Because people either see the tax as being "fair and effecting everyone" or being a luxury tax that people voluntarily pay.



"There is no reason why we should not have peaceful relations with the rest of the world if we cease playing the role of Meddlesome Mattie." - Sen. Art
[ Parent ]
Not quite the whole problem (none / 0) (#222)
by trhurler on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 01:10:34 PM EST

First of all, the attempt to screw over smokers in Missouri just failed miserably, so your theory is imperfect. That said, the majority of the tax burden on the poor consists of FICA, Medicare, and temporary loss of income from withholdings for income tax which can lead to severe cash flow problems. Sin taxes are the least of their problems when it comes to governmental greed.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Suckage (4.22 / 9) (#112)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:13:30 PM EST

You know what sucks more than being poor in the U.S? Being poor in Africa, China, Afghanistan, or Albania.

There's a reason that hordes of poor immigrants come to the United States to be poor in the U.S. The poor people I see are well-fed and healthy. They work hard for a living, at McDonald's or as a janitor, and seem to do alright.

Now, i have an anecdote. Once I was sitting at lunch in the cafeteria, when some kid I didn't know comes up to me and asks to "borrow" (I would of course never be repaid) a dollar, since he has no money for lunch. I asked him why he had no money. His response was that he had spent it all on a $200 jacket yesterday. That is why some people will always be poor. I told him that I was not the welfare office and he should feel quite free to fuck off and go hungry.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

reduxage (5.00 / 1) (#156)
by adequate nathan on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 12:44:26 PM EST

You know what sucks more than being poor in the U.S? Being poor in Africa, China, Afghanistan, or Albania.

You know what sucks less than being poor in the USA? Being poor in Canada.

Regarding your anecdote, you'll notice that it has nothing to do with what I'm talking about. I didn't say why I thought it is that the poor are stuck in poverty; I said that being poor does suck. The main funtion of anecdotal evidence is to stifle debate, justify prejudices, and to play the sentiment card. Get some hard data and address what I had to say rather than arguing with some phantom out of your subconscious.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

That's silly (2.00 / 1) (#181)
by epepke on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 12:50:42 AM EST

I pay $200 per month, all by myself, on a decent Blue Cross/Blue Shield health plan, which paid all but a pittance on a recent hospital stay involving a CAT scan and umpteen X-rays. For a full-time worker, that comes to less than $1.25 per hour. It isn't nothing, but it's hardly impossible.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Are you joking? (5.00 / 1) (#184)
by gzt on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 02:48:12 AM EST

Where does this $200 a month come from in a poor person's budget?  The magic insurance tree?

[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#200)
by epepke on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 03:57:34 PM EST

Housing generally costs more than $200 a month, yet people don't claim that it's "impossible" to get housing. If you think that $200 per month is too high and it would be better if it were subsidized, that's fine; argue that. Personally, I'd like to see a system more like Germany's, where medicine isn't socialized, but insurance is subsidized. But there's no need for the hyperbole of claiming it's impossible. It isn't.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
We aren't claiming it's categorically impossible (1.00 / 1) (#202)
by gzt on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 05:31:17 PM EST

I'm saying for a certain class of poor people in America, it is impossible.  It isn't hyperbole, it is a fact.  Read what I say before responding, yotto.

[ Parent ]
I still disagree (none / 0) (#203)
by epepke on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 05:37:28 PM EST

It may be difficult, but it isn't impossible. If you're poor enough, you can get Medicaid. If you aren't that poor, well, 1.25 out of 6.00 is a fair-sized chunk, but it isn't undoable. Furthermore, there are health plans that cost less than mine. When I was working part-time, I was able to get a maintenance plan for $15 per week. It wouldn't cover long hospitalization, but it did make going and getting, say, antibiotics for a secondary infection pretty easy.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Priority List (none / 0) (#218)
by Kintanon on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 12:28:09 PM EST

Average Poor Persons List of Spending Priorities:

1. Food
2. Housing
3. Clothes
4. Transportation to Shitty Job
5. Drugs or Alcohol to help forget Shitty Job.
6. Insurance.

That's if you DON'T have kids. If you do have Kids your list probably looks like:

1. Food For Kids
2. Housing
3. Clothes for Kids
4. Transportation for Kids
5. Food For Self
6. Clothes for Self
7. Transportation for Self
8. Insurance for Kids
9. Alcohol/Drugs to help forget shitt job and loud kids.
10. Insurance for Self

Most of the time you run out of money around number 5 in a given month. Either way.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

questions (none / 0) (#215)
by adequate nathan on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 12:03:28 PM EST

  • Have you ever had a major illness and seen your rates go up?
  • Have you or a family member ever been ill and had the insurance company refuse to pay?
  • Have you ever tried to sue an insurance company in the event of their nonpayment?
  • Have you ever been subject to screening (or "cherry-picking") and denied insurance?
  • Have you ever thought about having a family?

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

    Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
    [ Parent ]

  • I agree with you 100% (3.66 / 3) (#89)
    by rantweasel on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:37:59 PM EST

    Except on a few semantics, but those hardly count.  And there were a few people he didn't mock (Marilyn Manson and the south park guy), too.

    mathias

    [ Parent ]

    Makes sense but (4.50 / 6) (#92)
    by michaelp on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:32:27 PM EST

    it ignores the point made in the movie: Why do so many gun crimes involve middle class, reasonably well off folks?

    Note that I think you make great points about things that America could do alot better at, but I don't see the connection between over taxed poor folks and middle class gun crime?

    FWIW, my dad kept 2 guns in his sock drawer, taught me all about gun safety (he was a former national level competition marksman) when I was like 10.

    Now he wasn't the greatest dad in all respects, worked too much, played aroung on my mom, got divorced, etc. But somehow what he taught me about guns stuck: I was tormented as a geek at school (pimples, fat, glasses) but never even thought of using a gun to get even.

    Somehow along the line the failure to me seems to be in the parenting, kids that can get guns easily from parents or friend's parents but don't have the respect for guns they used to have. But I'm not sure I see any simple solutions to it, certainly giving parents more time to spend with their kids (shorter work weeks like most civilized nations!), pushing for them to train their kids if they keep guns (that old 'well regulated militia' idea) , and holding parents liable when kids use the guns (if you don't have time to train your kid in gun safty or if your kid doesn't appear to 'get it', then take responsibility for locking the guns away) might help some.

    One thing I do recall is that my dad and my grandad didn't regard guns as toys or accessories, they regarded them more like a tractor: a tool for a specific purpose. Another thing I got from them: shooting an unarmed person a (even an unarmed bad guy!) was the worse form of cowardice.

    But I think that what our culture has become is also responsible: it's become cool to shoot the bad guys in the back, even from a robot plane controlled from 5000 miles away, maybe that has something to do with it?

    Michael, Futuresynthesis

    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

    [ Parent ]
    Well, (5.00 / 10) (#110)
    by trhurler on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 07:45:10 PM EST

    First off, among the middle class, almost all gun deaths are either accidents or suicides. The "middle class rampage," while it makes great TV, is exceedingly rare.

    Second, I agree with you about gun safety and so on, but if you want to know what will "fix" things like Columbine, the answer is simple: students who harass other students need to be punished, even if they're football stars, prom queens, and so on. And they need to be punished just as harshly as the people they harass are punished when they do something wrong. That doesn't happen. It creates a sense of pervasive injustice. Why should the next Harris and Klebold give a damn about what authority figures say, including what they say is right or wrong, when those people are part of a system that abuses them every day? I'm not saying it is right to shoot people in a rampage - what I'm saying is, why should anyone expect these kids to have done anything different than what they did given their circumstances?

    Schools today are horrible places. That's why you see the occasional insane outbreak of violence. Of course, nobody wants to put the blame on schools, so they pretend they just can't figure it out. They use words like "incomprehensible." They lie. What bothered me when I read about Columbine is that I know a kid who would have done the very same thing, except that he happened not to know where to find guns. This would be a wonderful argument for gun control, except that instead, he took a knife and nearly killed three people. The solution is clearly to fix the schools - not ban weapons, or profile students, or any such stupid bullshit. Today, if the quarterback of the football team shoves some kid in a locker, he'll be privately told not to do that again and let off the hook so he can play in the big game next week. If the kid responds in any way at all, he'll get suspended. That and a million incidents essentially like it are why 13 kids died that day, whether anyone wants to admit it or not.

    But remember: outside of suicides and accidents, middle class gun deaths are quite rare, no matter how well publicized.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    You make good points, but (5.00 / 3) (#133)
    by michaelp on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 05:41:36 AM EST

    As Mike Male's (Soc. Prof and author of 4 books on youth culture) review of Bowling points out ", American whites, hardly poor as a group, suffer gun murder levels 2.5 times higher than Canadian citizens."

    "Middle class rampage" is hardly epidemic compared to impoverished American rampage, sure. But relative to the gun death rate in other nations with a large middle class, it seems quite a bit more of a problem.

    On the other hand, I fully agree that schools need to do a better job at stopping the popular kids torments of the outcasts.

    It's a problem not confined to high schools either, I had one friend in college who had his legs, arm, and ribs broken in a brutal assault by a top hockey jock, the college quietly picked up the medical bills and gave the jock a wrist slap.



    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

    [ Parent ]
    Eh? (none / 0) (#197)
    by greenrd on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 12:05:38 PM EST

    Why didn't the guy press charges with the police?


    "Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
    [ Parent ]

    Settlement (none / 0) (#201)
    by michaelp on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 05:03:16 PM EST

    That was his settlement with the college: medical bills (he had no insurance) covered in exchange for not mentioning the incident again.

    Why don't the hundreds of examples of bullies harrassing and beating up kids at schools get reported to the police?

    IOW, if 'reporting to the police' was seen as a viable option by the victims of school yard bullies, the points mentioned in the thread wrt why Columbines happen would be moot.


    "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

    [ Parent ]
    Two things (none / 0) (#227)
    by trhurler on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 01:55:02 PM EST

    First of all, a substantial percentage of whites are in fact poor, and they tend to be the ones who get killed.

    Second, Canada doesn't have the same number of people packed into the same space. Population density is directly proportional to crime rates, all else being equal. Also, while Canada has many minority people, it certainly does not have the same economic divide we have here. You can't credit socialism here; having health care does not keep you from being poor, and the truth is, the economic breakdown across racial lines is a lot closer to uniform in Canada than the US. I think this probably helps a lot in reducing violence, as it takes away a popular excuse.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Population Density (5.00 / 1) (#241)
    by CokeBear on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 10:06:13 PM EST

    Minor point about population density. The density of Toronto is about the same as that of Detroit.  The density of Vancouver is about the same as Seattle, and the density of Montreal is about the same as Boston. There is a hella big empty spaces in parts of Canada, but don't let anyone ever claim that the difference in crime rate (or poverty, or anything else) is due to difference in population density. Canadians live in cities too. (with the exception of a few Inuit in the north, and a bunch of farmers in Saskatchewan)

    [ Parent ]
    couldn't agree more (4.00 / 1) (#157)
    by adequate nathan on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 12:48:43 PM EST

    Schools today are horrible places.

    Is it just me, or are the curricula getting more debased every single year?

    Nathan
    "For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
    -Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

    Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
    [ Parent ]

    Not everywhere (none / 0) (#264)
    by Spendocrat on Sun Nov 24, 2002 at 07:17:42 AM EST

    My former highschool now offers pre-calculus as a normal course. When I went through you had to miss lunch to take it. They also give the science classes more class-time with which to perform experiments.

    This is a small city in Canada though, so not as relevant - though I should note that I hear all the time how school "isn't as good as it used to be" and other uninformed complaints.

    [ Parent ]

    School sux (none / 0) (#262)
    by Cro Magnon on Thu Nov 21, 2002 at 10:46:47 AM EST

    I can relate to that! I never thought about using weapons to solve my problems, but I was willing and able to stand up to the bullies without them. Even if I lost the fight, I made it clear that I wasn't a suitable target. Not everyone can do that, and if the authorities do nothing, the victim has few alternatives.
    Information wants to be beer.
    [ Parent ]
    guns... (none / 0) (#268)
    by apteryx on Tue Nov 26, 2002 at 06:03:28 AM EST

    Your story of the kid you knew _is_ a good argument for gun control. With a knife, he almost killed three people. With a gun how many would have died ?

    [ Parent ]
    accurately made nuts who tout "freedom" (3.00 / 2) (#100)
    by gps on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:25:20 PM EST

    i thought the movie was very well done but i did not feel that he made gun control advocates look bad.  he did a good job of showing the extremes.

    anyone who honestly thinks posessing guns would do anything to help in a disagreement with our government is insane.  if you're going to own guns, at least don't make up false reasons why ("to protect my freedom" and "to make me safe" are both delusional fantasies, it's no longer 1776 folks)

    [ Parent ]

    Well, (4.50 / 4) (#106)
    by trhurler on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 07:15:29 PM EST

    If you didn't think that guy getting all teary about his son and talking in veiled terms about how "something should be done" because he didn't have the guts to say openly what he wants looked like an idiot, so be it, but I certainly did. I felt sorrow for his loss, but at the same time, he was really a chump.

    As for guns and freedom, you call the tie "insane." Can you give a reason other than "it is no longer 1776"? That's a rather emotional and content-free statement.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    I disagree (none / 0) (#192)
    by vile on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 04:45:27 AM EST

    Guns have little to none to do with protecting one's self, such as from break-in, or someone raping your daughter. They serve more of a purpose, as the right was established in 1776, to protect the body of a country in whole. A country can't very well just simply say, this land is our land if everyone within that land is bearing arms. The gun right has everything to do with militia and an armed public. The ideology is based on the acknowledgement that this is *our* state. This is where *we* rule. Not where someone else rules us.

    But, that's all going away. For several different reasons. For one, militia is basically illegal because it could possibly 'harm our way of life'. Anything that harms 'our way of life', is now a terrorist threat.

    This is how our democracy serves us, and I mean *serve* in the best way I can.

    We give up our rights when we lie down and let things pass by.

    Come to think of it, First Ammendment speach. People on k5 have been visited by the secret service for their thoughts. Guns. A good % of our population cannot own a gun, legally. A good thought. The same percentage is not allowed to vote. I can continue with the rights that are stripped from us on a daily basis.

    What is happening to our basic non-negotiable rights?

    People are asleep, most of the time. People don't think when they elect others into office. The majority of Americans vote on party lines. Public officials try to appeal to what they think we 'want', yet in the mean time, determine what we want by putting policies into effect.

    Isn't it great? I should quit bitching. I love my life. I love the life that this establishment allows me. Peace.

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    It's people like you... (1.00 / 1) (#168)
    by Stick on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 06:10:54 PM EST

    That have made line dancing popular.


    ---
    Stick, thine posts bring light to mine eyes, tingles to my loins. Yea, each moment I sit, my monitor before me, waiting, yearning, needing your prose to make the moment complete. - Joh3n
    [ Parent ]
    Tax Rates (5.00 / 2) (#196)
    by psychophil on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 10:08:21 AM EST

    your average poor working man in in the US is paying something like 30% on all legitimate income.) That probably has a lot to do with it.

    Of course you completely ignore that fact that come april 15th, the 'poor' working people get back damn near every penny they pay in income taxes, if not more. Programs including, but not limited to, EIC and Child Tax Credit go a long way in eliminating the tax debt for a large portion of the population.

    The amount of income 'lost' by many working people is lost simply because of bad spending habits. Renting instead of owning (you can deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage and more often than not, it costs more to rent than to own same property), credit cards, high interest rate loans, buying a new car instead of a used car, satellite/cable tv with all the movie channels, buying the latest name brand (nike) instead of generic or out of date styles, just to name a few.

    I know this because I was there. We were a two income family and were living week to week with our money. Simply because we were stupid in the way we spent it. It was nobodys fault but our own. We finally decided enough was enough and took control of our spending. One of the biggest steps we took to control our spending was to actually pay attention to filling out our tax return. Just a few hours checking out the available programs and credits gained us over $1,600 in federal tax refunds alone. A trip to H&R Block for a quick review gained another couple hundred. We are now a single income family and not under a constant money crunch.

    [ Parent ]

    Renting vs. Owning (none / 0) (#216)
    by Kintanon on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 12:08:15 PM EST

    Factor in your homeowners insurance, your maintenance, your property tax, and the fact that you put yourself into longterm debt and I don't really see the advantage of owning. I can rent an apartment for 1/3rd the cost. And put the difference into savings. If I start doing that at 22 instead of buying a house I get to retire 10 years earlier. Score.

    Kintanon

    [ Parent ]

    Nope (none / 0) (#223)
    by trhurler on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 01:10:42 PM EST

    First of all, homeowners insurance, maintenance(assuming you keep up with it and bought a decent place to start with,) property tax, and other assorted costs generally can be completely covered out of your savings on income tax. Occasionally it may not work out that way, but it does most of the time for most people.

    Second, I don't know where you live, but where I live, the cheapest apartments(shitholes you certainly don't want to live in,) cost maybe $350 a month, a decent one costs $600 a month(one bedroom,) and you can buy a cheap house for roughly $700/month, maybe less if you look around. The house, if you pick wisely, will have covered parking; the more expensive apartment MIGHT, but the cheaper one won't. This means that your car will deteriorate faster at the cheap place, costing you money. Also, you will be robbed sooner or later in the cheap apartment.

    All of this, however, ignores the number one reason to buy: you aren't pissing your money into a black hole. Eventually, if you keep making payments, the house is yours, and you can later sell it. Houses tend to appreciate in value(again, given that you chose a decent one in a reasonable area,) so all in all, you can easily make money on home ownership, rather than losing it. If you put in $150,000, you might easily get $400,000 or more in 30-40 years if you stay in the same place, less if you move around from place to place(but maybe more, if you buy better places in better locations.) On the other hand, you can put $500/month today(and it'll slowly go up every year, by $10-30/year,) in, keep throwing it in for 40 years, and at the end, you get nothing.

    If you don't believe me, go ask a financial advisor to explain it to you. He/she can provide much more detailed, realistic figures than I can, and they'll probably be even more shocking. Rental is a great thing if you don't know that you're going to be in the same place very long(<5 years,) but otherwise, it is a horrible idea. First time homeowner programs make houses affordable for almost anyone who's serious about having one, so there's really not a lot of excuse here. <BR>


    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    I've done the math (none / 0) (#226)
    by Kintanon on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 01:25:25 PM EST

    You make some erroneous assumptions here.
    1. You must own a car regardless of where you live.
    2. Your house will increase in value
    3. You will be able to stay in your house for 30-40 years.

    Those things are not always true.
    I have a Honda Accord with 250K miles on it. It will not deteriorate any faster. The insurance on it is next to nothing, and it has no payments. If I don't have it anymore I can take the bus to work because I live very close to where I work. If I wanted a house I couldn't do that, I would have to live further out in the country. So I would need a better car, I would pay more on gas and I would pay more on insurance.

    The housing market right now is pretty shitty, I doubt most people who bought a house 15 years ago could sell at a profit right now. You would have to go back 20 or 30 years or more to find someone who could make money off of their house. And maybe they still wouldn't after inflation.

    People no longer have 20-30 year careers with the same company. 2 years from now I might be in Japan, or Korea, or California, Or Washington DC, and I have no way of knowing that right now. I don't see that changing in the forseeable future.
    Also, I may be pissing away my 465$/month (1 bedroom apartment) but you're paying around $300,000 on a $100K house over time. And that's just the normal payment, not including the insurance etc... And yes, you might be able to offset some of that (say 20 or 30K) over time with your tax writeoffs, but you are still paying FAR more than you will actually get back from the house. You would be much better off compiling that money with compound interest while staying in an apartment and then buying a house outright with cash so you don't have to pay the massive interest on a mortgage. Also, if you save money via not owning a car while staying in an apartment then you get an even greater benefit out of it.
    Add to that the lower hassle of owning an Apartment (my time is valuable) and it seems like a clearcut choice in favor of the apartment.

    Kintanon

    [ Parent ]

    Uh... no. (none / 0) (#229)
    by trhurler on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 02:25:06 PM EST

    First of all, yes, your car WILL deteriorate faster outside than it will covered or better yet garaged. There is no question of this, unless you live in Arizona or something like that. Anywhere there's real weather, cars suffer. You may not need a car everywhere - but most people either need or insist on having one. You may be of the opinion that the car isn't worth the money to cover it, but that notwithstanding, it WILL deteriorate faster.

    Second, I know people who have bought houses and sold them at a profit in less than five years in the last few years. Lots of people are looking to buy right now because interest rates are so low, and lots of them are selling their old places too. This means lots of houses for sale under terms a lot of people can afford. Maybe it is shitty where you're at, and the new house market may suck, but the general trend isn't all that bad. As for inflation, my parents bought a house for less than $40,000 in the late 70s, and could now sell it for $150,000 if they wanted to. Inflation might make the house worth $80-90k tops.

    Third, notice something: about half the millionaires in the US made their money in real estate. This is not an accident.

    Finally, while I could lose my job or leave it, the fact is, I'll be able to find employment somewhere in this city.

    By the way, I'm not positive, but your figures on interest look a bit off. I think maybe you should check your methods. First of all, did you include any down payment on that house? Second, did you consider that a decent mortgage does not have prepayment penalties?(IE, if you have the money, you can pay down principal at accelerated rates.) Granted, if you're an idiot who makes things as miserable for himself as possible, you may suffer...

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Maybe so, maybe not... (none / 0) (#230)
    by Kintanon on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 02:39:46 PM EST

    My comment was that my particular car is deteriorating as fast as it can already, it's not going to go any appreciable amount faster just because it gets rained on.

    Admittedly my numbers are based on the housing market in Baltimore County Maryland as of 2.5 years ago. So maybe things are better in other parts of the country now.
    Millionaires make their money in realestate speculation which is a bit different than buying a house you plan on living in. I still find that the advantage lies with an apartment so long as the apartment cost is half of what purchasing a house will cost in the same area. Especially if you can do without a car because of your apartment location.
    At the end of the day, the bottom line is that I'm putting 400-500$ a month straight into my savings simply because I rent an apartment and don't have a car. If I had a home and a car then that money would be going to the bank to pay for those things. Instead the money is accruing me interest and being invested in various different realms. I feel much more secure at my prospects of being able to do what I want to do with my life without a 30 year mortgage hanging over me. My time and my freedom are important to me, so an Apartment is simply a better choice for me and for many other people.

    Kintanon

    [ Parent ]

    Ok (none / 0) (#234)
    by trhurler on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 04:08:46 PM EST

    Well, first of all, I don't know the condition of your car. However, precipitation and especially road salt will eat a car up faster than just about anything else it will encounter. (That is, aside from bird shit and tree sap, both of which will eat paint like you wouldn't believe.) If it is still mechanically sound, then keeping it clean and dry whenever possible will make it last longer, because it will reduce chassis rust among other things.

    Second, you can speculate on real estate even if you plan to live on it. Granted, this is merely a way to get started, rather than a way to get rich, but it is a hell of a way to get started if you're successful.

    Third, if the house actually costs twice as much, then you might have a point, given that you're willing to go without a car or with a really really cheap one. Where I'm at, this is not true, but on the east coast, it might well be. Here(the midwest,) you're pretty stupid for not buying, as you won't pay much(if any) more monthly for the house than the apartment(unless you buy more house, but then one has to question how it is that a guy who can live in a cheap one bedroom apartment needs a 5000 square foot house:)

    By the way, things suck less outside that very large suburb known as "the east coast." A lot less, in fact.

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    true... (none / 0) (#237)
    by Kintanon on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 04:24:44 PM EST

    I do have to say I live in a college town, so Apartments are a dime a dozen in here, but houses can run you an arm and a leg because of all the rich alumni. I'm sure out in the midwest Houses come out WELL ahead of apartments on Value. But over here they've stopped making houses that are built to last, and they still charge you a fortune for them. If you want a house within a reasonable distance of anywhere you have to pay a ton for the property, and if you get cheap land out in the country somewhere you end up needing to buy some kind of huge truck just to be able to get out of your driveway. So the numbers are probably skewed by my 2 experiences, House in Baltimore County, Apartment in Athens, Ga. So yeah, my apartment is half the cost of my house. After I factor in maintenance and crap it's less than half.
    I plan on eventually building a house, paid for in straight up cash or with a 50% downpayment kind of deal. But just a small place since I hate upkeeping things.

    Kintanon

    [ Parent ]

    Well duh... (none / 0) (#256)
    by psychophil on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 07:52:01 PM EST

    Ok, I wrote a reply to this but wasn't paying attention. I used 'post a response' instead of 'reply to this'. Oh well... the response is here

    [ Parent ]
    Heh (none / 0) (#220)
    by trhurler on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 01:07:57 PM EST

    First of all, EIC and the Child Tax Credit are deliberately set up so that huge numbers of poor people don't qualify.

    Second, April 15 might just be too late to get that money back when you're struggling just to get bills paid. In addition, a great many of them get screwed by "tax advisors" who claim they'll get more money back for them and then take half their refunds. These "advisors," of course, are frequently ex-IRS types who found a way to screw people for personal profit instead of government profit. Add to this the fact that they get not a penny back of the 15% FICA or the

    I agree that a lot of poor people waste money, and that's their fault, but it is not any poor person's fault that even if he doesn't waste money, his government makes it really hard on him just to get by.

    Finally, let me point out that frequently, poor people have no choice in loans except high interest rates, which tends to be a self perpetuating cycle, and that unless you either are or know someone who is reasonably expert regarding cars, buying a used car can be more expensive than buying a cheap new car. (Say what you will about Hyundai, but I'd rather have a $9000 car with a 10 year warranty that occasionally breaks down and I get a loaner than a used car that breaks down occasionally and I have no car and pay for repairs out of my pocket.)

    --
    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    [ Parent ]
    Maybe the cause is TV (4.33 / 3) (#64)
    by Fon2d2 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 12:53:44 PM EST

    When I first saw the coverage of the DC sniper, I thought oh God, this is gonna be like OJ. If I were a news reporter I wouldn't have given him the light of day. Instead, media sensationalism soars and suddenly you have every movie and video game producer walking on eggshells in order to be sensitive. Meanwhile the sniper gets widespread recognition. And everybody eventually ends up discussing the sniper whether they care or not and whether it affects them or not. What more could he possibly want?

    What is wrong with America? (4.65 / 23) (#65)
    by Shren on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 01:13:29 PM EST

    I've always felt that this is one of those things that everybody knows but nobody can really put into words. Our educational system is manned by poorly trained assembly-line teachers who merely babysit kids untill they're old enough to be put in jail if they fuck up. Add to the above that I've never met a friendly police officer - every single one gave me looks like they were trying to figure out what I'm guilty of, even the ones who came as a response to a break-in in my house. Our fucked up political system hosts a pair of parasitic parties whose goal is to perpetuate themselves in the system. Our commercial enterprises will do any dishonest act to get us to buy thier products, and if they can't get us to buy then they go weasel money out of the government.

    In other words, the fix is in. Our system is incredibly resistant to change. It's no accident that The Matrix is an american movie. The politicans want your vote and the corporations want your money. If you're not running along at high speed to power thier treadmill then they want you to sit down and shut up.

    There's an incredible feeling in this country that the only way you could ever change anything is by sudden horrible acts of violence. Our representitives don't represent us, our police don't protect us, and our corporations have less interest in having a free market than Lenin. The only way the average American will ever have any real input on how his life turns out is to pick up a gun and kill someone. That's the truth, really. Our society starts self-selecting for obedience the moment you enter kindergarden, and if you're not the sort that subordinates yourself to the whims of those in power then you end up at the bottom.

    When the majority votes not for what they want but what they've been told they want, then your democracy is over.

    Is it really like this everywhere, or is it like I percieve it - an American thing?

    I disagree (sort of) (4.25 / 4) (#71)
    by Jman1 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:06:33 PM EST

    Yes, America has problems. But show me a place where the problems you mention don't exist. Most places are worse. The problem is that human beings aren't always good. Those in power will almost always be people who shouldn't be in power, simply because if you want power, chances are you shouldn't have it. Some macho kid joins the army or police because he wants to be a tough guy. Some attention-starved person goes into politics. Some religious-crazy (not just religious) person starts a church or cult or political group. It's almost never the sane, wise ones who amass large amounts of power. They are too busy enjoying life and spending time with those they love.

    It's not America's problem; it's humanity's.

    [ Parent ]

    Is it? (2.50 / 4) (#75)
    by Shren on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:46:56 PM EST

    It's not America's problem; it's humanity's.

    Are you from the US, I wonder?

    [ Parent ]

    forest through the trees (4.33 / 6) (#93)
    by rankor on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:35:37 PM EST

    I really hope your not actually trying to infer that because someone is from the US, that they are unable to point out a basic truth with humanity.

    [ Parent ]
    Huh... (none / 0) (#94)
    by SPYvSPY on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 05:49:22 PM EST

    +5 for effort. (I'm too lazy to even follow all those links!)
    ------------------------------------------------

    By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
    [ Parent ]

    no... (none / 0) (#102)
    by Shren on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 06:41:17 PM EST

    The whole reason I'm writing is that I want to study a particular bit of culture - a very specific attitude. I want to know if that attitude is a US thing or a world-wide thing. That's why I'm curious what country you're from.

    [ Parent ]
    Answer: (none / 0) (#160)
    by tkatchev on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 01:06:00 PM EST

    It's a U.S.-specific thing; an attitude arising from, I belive, the hierarchical structure of American society. (A very rare thing in the rest of the so-called "developed world".)

       -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
    [ Parent ]

    You're right (3.00 / 2) (#76)
    by hypno on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 02:50:10 PM EST

    It seems to me that the US, with it's endless quest for money and success is destroying itself from within.

    It's not like that everywhere. Where I live, Wales (UK), although there are undoubtedly problems, I think there is a general sense that things aren't getting worse, and perhaps they are getting slowly better.

    Police are extremely friendly and cordial, even if they catch you doing something wrong, let alone if you are a victim of crime!

    For example, I was stopped once for going too fast for conditions (something had got me into a bad mood), although technically I wasn't speeding. The copper gave me some friendly advice about taking it easy, and sent me on my way.

    Contrast that to the only time I have been to the US, where the immigration officer looked at me full of suspicion, and demanded my passport ("GIVE ME YOUR PASSPORT"), then sent me to a different section to get my luggage checked. This in itself was laughable - it only contained people who didn't match the white westerner profile. I have hispanic origins, so off i was with those "nasty foreigners".

    [ Parent ]

    It's not money and success (4.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Shren on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:53:57 PM EST

    It seems to me that the US, with it's endless quest for money and success is destroying itself from within.

    I don't know that it's the quest for money and success. There's nothing wrong with wanting money, and wanting to be successful. I think it more has to do with fear of failure. Few understand why things are the way they are, so they have the fear that any change could be thier undoing.

    It's often said that nobody fights as desperately as a man backed into a corner. How desperately, then, does a man fight who doesn't know what a corner looks like so he always assumes he's in one?

    Somebody said that people everywhere want money and power, so it's like this everywhere. People do want money and power - so that can't be the sole cause of this malignant stasis the whole USA seems constantly grappled in. It has to be something about how we go about getting them...

    I have this little vanity web site where I try to write about these kinds of things. I've got a friend who does some graphics design and I've been meaning to get him to make me a logo. What's the logo to be of? An automated sprinkler systen running in the rain. Whenever I see a sprinkler system running in the rain, I get this feeling that something isn't quite right in the world, that things could be better if we could just put our finger on what's wrong. Nothing in the world summarizes better how odd the world is than a lawn being watered from two different sources - it's my version of Rusty's bridge shattered by harmonic stresses.

    I've had this building sense that I should go somewhere else, get out of this country. I hear things are pretty laid back in New Zealand.

    [ Parent ]

    Money and success (none / 0) (#267)
    by apteryx on Tue Nov 26, 2002 at 05:46:49 AM EST

    Nothing wrong with money and success, the problem comes when they are the primary driving force. I can never get my head around billionaires who have all they materially want, and keep striving for more and accumulating it.

    That would be fine if there weren't millions of others whose levels of happiness would skyrocket with a tiny proportion of that money...

    Yeah, NZ is a relatively laid back country - small, green, with a centre-right govt. at the moment (although they call themselves centre-left). Although, after checking out your site, I don't know how much you'd like it here as most of us see the 'War on Terror' as the murderous farce that it is and there are bugger all guns...

    [ Parent ]

    Yeah, what's wrong with us? (3.50 / 2) (#86)
    by Fon2d2 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 03:52:07 PM EST

    It's much easier to spout generalities than it is to give an honest assessment. In fact, I would say that a statement such as:

    There's an incredible feeling in this country that the only way you could ever change anything is by sudden horrible acts of violence.

    only serves to reinforce negative sentiments. It might be a widely held opinion but it's not necessarily a popular opinion and I don't find it construnctive to walk around affirming all the most negative stereotypes of a society without giving any serious analysis. Basically what you have listed are all symptoms but you're not getting at any of the fundamental causes, and those are very hard to define. That's why we have such tension between the right and the left; people disagree on how to fix our culture. If I were to honestly list all the things I think needed to change, half the population would probably write me off as a nut. Even worse, I would have to admit I'm not an expert and really don't know how my changes would impact our culture. And even worse than that, any serious changes would probably have at least a temporary period of instability and unrest where the economy goes into a serious recession, or even a depression. Most Americans would be against that, especially if it was uncertain whether we'd get back out.

    [ Parent ]
    By the way... (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Shren on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 04:26:01 PM EST

    If you have some kind of massive list of changes that you think would solve the problem... you're a part of the problem. I have a full list of the problem somewhere here, and (left/right/up/down) demagogues are on it.

    Understanding what is going on is more important than change.

    [ Parent ]

    By the way... (5.00 / 1) (#152)
    by IriseLenoir on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 11:37:07 AM EST

    What the heck is that supposed to mean? Your saying that what is important is understanding the problem, but not trying to come up with any alternative? That anyone who has any opinion on anything that could be different in any way is a part of the problem? That the only solution is to reject any and all solutions?

    If you had said something like "One cannot build a better world without understanding what is wrong with the current one." I definitely could relate to that. But "understanding what is going on" in itself is nothing more than intellectual masturbation.

    What you are saying is that because some right/left demagogues try to push an agenda that would benefit themselves, anyone who comes up with any social idea is a problem?

    Let me tell you one thing: that kind of thinking is the problem. The reason things only get worst over time: jaded people leaving everything to the demagogues because genuine interest in coming up with solutions is seen as rhetoric no matter what.


    "liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    [ Parent ]

    I guess it's simply this (none / 0) (#187)
    by Shren on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 04:01:37 AM EST

    Your saying that what is important is understanding the problem, but not trying to come up with any alternative?

    That's not quite what I meant. I'm surrounded by people who have come up with the answer before even understanding the question. I am flanked by those who promote causes without understanding them. This has, over time, made me bitter about both demagogues and those who fall for thier words, and less trustful of 'activists' in general.

    [ Parent ]

    congratulations (none / 0) (#132)
    by auraslip on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 02:52:43 AM EST

    for putting this to words.

    But I don't think you understand the depth to which this goes, or maybe you've just given examples. Realise something that the average american never will(which thus perpetuates the cycle): That his country and ultimitly his life is shitty and worthless, and their is nothing they can do to change it.

    124
    [ Parent ]

    Huh. (5.00 / 1) (#141)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 07:56:29 AM EST

    Poor grammar and spelling aside, that's an awfully low price tag you just slapped on 250,000,000 people. I understand that certain tyrants also thought along similar lines... Perhaps you would like to engage in a rousing round of philosophical debate with me, concerning the topic of exactly how much human life is worth? Or perhaps we can start a discussion on the unethical nature of judging a wide, varied group of people based on their nationality? Right now, I'm of the opinion that a nationalist that would so callously and ignorantly deem millions of human beings to be "worthless" as juvenile and slightly psychotic at best, absolutely inhuman at worst...

    Hmm. At the very least, you didn't say "Usonian" or something equally asinine. Good work, junior!
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    Thank you (none / 0) (#259)
    by auraslip on Wed Nov 20, 2002 at 01:42:34 AM EST

    for bitch slapping my teen angst filled shit I post to late at night. I needed that.
    But think about this; "some random fact about the average person not being a good or inteligent person".
    Or Perhaps I could sum it up in one statment, which if you could refute would solve much sadness on my part: capitalism works so well for a reason.
    btw, about the grammar, I'm dyslexic you fuck.
    124
    [ Parent ]
    Hmm. A bit more reasonable, aren't we? (none / 0) (#260)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Wed Nov 20, 2002 at 02:53:37 AM EST

    Apologies about the grammar bit and all. I am an Adequacy refugee, and latent trolling tendencies tend to slip through every now and then.

    I'm a bit dense right now, so I quite don't understand what you're trying to get at, but about that statement about capitalism...

    It's really all a matter of personal choice, isn't it? While this is a horrid oversimplification, capitalism elevates the lives of X # of people while locking X # of people into lower living standards. Socialism, on the other hand, locks almost all people at X standard of living, while making no guarantees as to whether or not that standard of living would be what we could call "good" (a nebulous statement, at best). Capitalism works well at boosting the economy because it encourages a competitive edge, and also nurtures creativity and (arguably) free thought.

    Bah. I'm tired and going to sleep. Can't think right now. Perhaps you would care to rephrase what you mean to ask me?
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    about (none / 0) (#261)
    by auraslip on Thu Nov 21, 2002 at 12:41:31 AM EST

    Your very correct on your assesment of capitalism and socialism, but what I meant was that capitalism works for a reason. The competitive edge as you call it is just another word for greed. Greed is what makes capitalism so succesfull.
    We build a system off of greed, and then expect ourselves to be of sound moral base. Really all capitalism is is a bunch of people fucking everyone else over, and it all working out so we have dinner on the table.
    Any utopian childhood dreams of man working together and not for him(her)self vanish in front of the success of capitalism.
    So we can define the average person as: someone working to expand on their wealth.
    And that's the worlds population in a nutshell.
    That is what I mean when I say people are mostly worthless and justify it by saying "capitalsim works for a reason".
    btw, I'm not really dyslesic, I just spell like it.
    Profes
    [ Parent ]
    Well, yes. (none / 0) (#263)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Thu Nov 21, 2002 at 05:12:30 PM EST

    Utopia is a foolish concept, at best, and fairly unachievable. This is because humankind has free will.

    Is capitalism perfect? I would be an idiot to say it is. However, it is currently the only system that works, and works effectively. Socialism, while a wonderful ideal, is nothing but that. It is unworkable in the real world, lest we strip people away of their free choice and inherent right to be human. Choice, freedom, and to a lesser extent creativity is limited in a socialist state, even if that state is living to the ideal standards of democratic socialism (production in the hands of the workers, not the government/state).

    Once again, this is all a horrid oversimplification, but lets put it this way: would you rather live in a world where everyone was taken care of, but where everyone had limited choice and means of expression, or would you rather live in a world where you could exercise your rights to expression and choice, at the risk of "not being taken care of," for lack of a better phrase?

    Of course, the ideal situation lies somewhere between capitalism and socialism, and the US is hardly the standard of such practices. However, keep in mind that capitalism does indeed work for a reason, but it's not greed (or, greed only plays a very minor role, anyway). I'll let you figure out on your own what the reason is, though.

    And by and by, you are a fucking liar. Go back to school and learn to spell, junior.
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    Freedom ? (none / 0) (#266)
    by apteryx on Tue Nov 26, 2002 at 05:21:33 AM EST

    I guess to a certain extent it comes down to definitions but I get somewhat irritated at the unchallenged assertions that capitalism allows freedom and socialism doesn't.

    Sure, in most peoples idea of a socialist state, ones freedoms are constrained. I agree. However, to believe that they're not in a capitalist state is naive.

    For example, capitalist states rely on a certain level of unemployment to keep wages down and profits up.Those who can't get work therefore have their freedoms constrained. It is disingenuous to claim that because a government allows something (eg. employment) everybody has that 'freedom'.

    Freedom has come to be seen as some sort of absolute good (and curiously, that America is the originator, or last bastion of it) whereas I believe it's only one part of a healthy society and needs to be balanced with responsibility both of the state and the individual.

    [ Parent ]

    You know... (3.87 / 8) (#140)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 07:25:22 AM EST

    It's people like you that make me sick to my stomach. YOU are the reason why things don't seem to be getting better in the US.

    Fuck you if you don't think there are people here trying their damndest to make things better. Fuck you if you think that we're all just self-serving twats wallowing in our own apathy. Fuck you if you don't think that change, even a little bit, won't solve anything. And fuck you if you think that there isn't something inherent in the United States worth saving.

    I've only recently become a citizen in the US (originally Hong Kong born). However, even I realize that there are certain ideals represented by the United States that are worth saving, worth sticking around for, and if it comes down to it, worth fighting for. I try every day to make my community, at the very least, a little more pleasant place to live. Maybe in the long run, it's insignificant. Maybe spending my free time at local youth centers and soup kitchens, attending rallies and helping to organize demonstrations, donating my cash to the causes worth saving - maybe, just maybe in the end, it won't matter one bit. But it doesn't mean that I should give up, or stop trying. If anything, it means that I should try even harder. The good fight will always be the one that seems futile, and if nothing else, when I die can say that I tried.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm not a patriot but I love my country, our country. We're all in the same boat, my friend, and sitting on your ass bemoaning your seeming situation won't help save it from sinking. Perhaps the reason why you favor apathy is because you've never tried? I'm sure everybody will agree that there are a ton of holes that need to be patched up. It's just fuckers like you that are clogging up the process.

    Call it hope for a better tomorrow. Call it idiotic optimism. But all one can do is try to make a difference. Even if nothing changes, I think I can proudly say that I, and any fellow Americans, citizens or not, that donate their blood and sweat for that particularly American ideal of liberty, have not failed.

    You, on the other hand...
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    how ... vitrolic. (4.25 / 4) (#191)
    by Shren on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 04:37:28 AM EST

    It's people like you that make me sick to my stomach. YOU are the reason why things don't seem to be getting better in the US.

    My god! I thought I didn't do anything of use today, and it turns out that I'm personally responsbile for the failure of the US to get better. Would that look good on my resume?

    Fuck you if you don't think there are people here trying their damndest to make things better. Fuck you if you think that we're all just self-serving twats wallowing in our own apathy. Fuck you if you don't think that change, even a little bit, won't solve anything. And fuck you if you think that there isn't something inherent in the United States worth saving.

    I consider myself unfucked. I don't qualify for any of the above four. I think that there are people trying to make things better, I don't think everyone's a twat, I don't think that it's impossible to change things, and there are lots of people in the USA worth saving. 0 for 4.

    I've only recently become a citizen in the US (originally Hong Kong born). However, even I realize that there are certain ideals represented by the United States that are worth saving, worth sticking around for, and if it comes down to it, worth fighting for. I try every day to make my community, at the very least, a little more pleasant place to live. Maybe in the long run, it's insignificant. Maybe spending my free time at local youth centers and soup kitchens, attending rallies and helping to organize demonstrations, donating my cash to the causes worth saving - maybe, just maybe in the end, it won't matter one bit. But it doesn't mean that I should give up, or stop trying. If anything, it means that I should try even harder. The good fight will always be the one that seems futile, and if nothing else, when I die can say that I tried.

    Congratulations on your efforts to hold things together. Now, what are you holding together and how did it get that way? Have you considered the fact that the ideals you treasure exist not because of but in spite of US culture at large?

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm not a patriot but I love my country, our country. We're all in the same boat, my friend, and sitting on your ass bemoaning your seeming situation won't help save it from sinking. Perhaps the reason why you favor apathy is because you've never tried? I'm sure everybody will agree that there are a ton of holes that need to be patched up.

    To be blatantly honest, I don't love my country. My country is a pile of rock with a pile of green on top of it. I love and care for a great many people around me, but I don't love the whole country. I sort of hate the whole idea, if you ask me - a lot of people kill each other over the geopolitics of nation states. I don't love the nerve gas or the drug war or any given number of things. I don't often love people with repulsive habits. The US has more people in jail per capita than most, if not all, of the nations of the world. That's a pretty repulsive habit.

    I'm not apathetic. If I was, I wouldn't be talking about this. I'm just pointing out that I'm surrounded by apathy. You seem to agree with me, which makes me wonder what you're so pissed about.

    It's just fuckers like you that are clogging up the process.

    We all have a clubhouse where we get together to thwart 'the process'. Really. That and play checkers.

    Am I more interested in understanding why and how people do bad than doing good? Yes. Does that make me an enemy of the process?

    Call it hope for a better tomorrow. Call it idiotic optimism. But all one can do is try to make a difference. Even if nothing changes, I think I can proudly say that I, and any fellow Americans, citizens or not, that donate their blood and sweat for that particularly American ideal of liberty, have not failed.

    You state that you have come to America from overseas, and you also state that you do a lot of charity work. It's entirely possible that you haven't met the kind of person I'm talking about in the bulk that I deal with them on a daily basis.

    I know where a lot of the money comes from that runs your local youth centers and soup kitchens. I've talked with the people that donate it, and they love what you do. They love it! Your hard work, sweat, and tears keeps the mob pacified. They love your kind of folk. You lower the chances of riots in the street. You're wonderful PR.

    You'll forgive me, I hope, if I'm less than impressed with the whole concept.

    [ Parent ]

    I am the epitome of American rage. Fear me. (1.00 / 1) (#246)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 12:16:19 AM EST

    Perhaps apologies are in order. My posts tend to be... manic depressive, for lack of a better description. Consider it an automatic response mechanism to the "me-too" US bashers prevalent in K5 that can think of no better claim to hate the US other than "they're hipocrites! (sic)." I am, in all actuality, an advanced AI that a brilliant scientist in Borneo programmed. K5 is my Turing test. How am I doing?

    And perhaps you'll forgive me if I state that, in my opinion, your current response sounds a lot more reasonable than your previous one. Not as many trigger words, I suppose.

    Have I ever wondered how this system got this way? Of course I do. I don't claim to absolutely know why, but I believe that a horrible taxation system, the huge disparity between incomes (and the unspoken caste system that comes with it), the continued propagation of corporate-owned media, the power wielded by special interest groups, big business engaging in desperate power plays for monopolies, the state's apathy toward education, the self-perpetuating cycle of poverty (and wealth), ad nauseum are all to blame to certain degrees. But I can't stand to sit idly by and watch everything that I've grown to love about this nation fall to pieces. I've come to learn that the only thing that people can do is try and hold together the seams, one community at a time, and hope. Perhaps try and instill in others a sense of duty and obligation to the ideals that this nation should stand for. Grin idiotically in the face of adversity. Try to convince others that this nation is indeed worth salvaging.

    However, your previous post just smacked of a "why bother" type attitude (hence the rather vitriolic response). Forgive me if I've taken it the wrong way, but it offered a description of a hopeless situation, and nothing but. No criticism, no possible solutions, just a "the system sucks. No whys, or hows, it just does." And while I now understand that you are actually quite smarter than the average bear, statements like that are what continue to push the good citizens of this country into further apathy. And while you say that talking about such things is not apathy, I hold that it is. While action without thought is a dangerous course to take, it doesn't mean that we can't do what we can to try and make things better.

    And have you ever thought that a country means something more than borders and laws? I agree that the concept of nation states is... troubling, to say the least. However, I contend that a country is more than just a pile of rocks with an arbitrary border in place. A country represents a vision, the total collection of all the ideals and dreams and hopes that went into forging that country, a collective heritage to draw upon and be proud of. To me, America is more than some squiggles on the line; to me, it represents the ultimate ideal of liberty, a country where people of any creed or ethnicity can come to freely live theiry lives. Has it always been like this? Of course not, I'd be a fool to say it has. In fact, I think that you and I will both agree when I say that even in today's modern world, the US has long way to go to reach that ideal. But that doesn't mean I (or anyone else) should stop trying, striving for that one absolute ideal. Once again, if nothing else, I lived a life where I tried to live to and uphold the standards that I cherish.

    To conclude, I leave you with two questions that just kinda struck me reading your response -

    1. What do you do for a living that you have to meet with such dispicable people?

    2. Do you serve pie and coffee at the clubhouse? If so, what type of pie? I'm hoping strawberry rhubarb. I do so dearly love strawberry rhubarb pie.
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    Outdated patterns (none / 0) (#151)
    by k31 on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 11:11:54 AM EST

    Is it really like this everywhere, or is it like I percieve it - an American thing?

    It is both.

    As far as I can tell, this false-democracy thing has been going on since before I was born... places like k5 are good because they show how truer forms of democracy can work.

    There's an incredible feeling in this country that the only way you could ever change anything is by sudden horrible acts of violence.

    It doesn't have to be violent... the Free state project is an example of an attempt at creating a bubble of truer democracy.

    What is important, esp. for those who know better, is to do something that contributes to bringing about a change.

    Your dollar is you only Word, the wrath of it your only fear. He who has an EAR to hear....
    [ Parent ]

    Sudden and horrible acts of violence. (5.00 / 2) (#154)
    by tkatchev on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 12:21:56 PM EST

    You know, I really appreciated your post. It's not often that something truly insightful is posted on Kuro5hin.

    Anyways, I really liked your point about "sudden and horrible acts of violence". There is a strange but undeniable fact -- American culture nowadays is the only culture that has a massive apocalyptic social myth; that is, only in America is a sudden and horribly catastrophic "end-of-the-world" idea is so wide-spread. I mean, look at American movies -- it seems like every third is about some horrible catastrophie that destroys New York or starts nuclear war, or dumps an asteroid into the Atlantic.

    This facet of American mentality is immediately obvious to foreigners.

    The reason for this, at least as far as I can tell, is simply the fact that the U.S. is really the last true hierarchical empire left in the world.

    The rest of the world is either dying of hunger and general despair and degradation, or is mired deeply into "post-modernism" and a man-eating "society of spectacle".

    I know this probably makes little sense; anyways, I think the moral is simply that life sucks, no matter where you live.

       -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
    [ Parent ]

    that's a very interesting way to look at things... (none / 0) (#186)
    by Shren on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 03:50:49 AM EST

    It puts a light on things. If you've been raised with people telling you that American democracy is the last best hope for the world, and you have the eyes to see that the world around you just isn't working like you've been told ... doesn't that just put a dismal light on things?

    To stray into the irrelevant, the last British film I saw was about a guy who got a sex change. Nothing apocalyptic about that unless someone's trying to give me one by force. *grin*

    Can you tell me more about the 'society of spectacle'?

    [ Parent ]

    "Society of spectacle". (none / 0) (#188)
    by tkatchev on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 04:10:24 AM EST

    It's when drawing attention to yourself starts to matter much more than any personal qualities you might have. It's also when the attention-getting qualities of something are valued much more than its usefulness.

    Like, for example, in politics -- when getting airtime through outragous gimmicks matters much more than putting up a valid and useful platform. In business -- when an aggressive marketing campaign matters much more than the ability to provide a valid product or service. In showbusiness, when outrageous attention-getting gimmicks are placed way above any talent the person might have. In personal life, even -- when having the latest fashionable shape of footwear is more important than being to utter a coherent sentence. Etc, I could go on.

    I know something to this effect is already going on in the States, but in Europe (and especially Eastern) this is much more prevalent.

    Also, what is especially disgusting about the "society of spectacle" is when people are being killed or hurt just to further someone's attention-getting business. (Have you seen the movie "Running man"?)

       -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
    [ Parent ]

    Have you read Ortega? (none / 0) (#278)
    by osukaru on Tue Jan 14, 2003 at 04:28:22 PM EST

    I mostly share your thoughts to this respect. But don't think it's just eastern europe, here in the western part is all the same shit.

    People is only concerned about the last trendy shit. The newest coolest stupidest tv shows that you just _have_ to see (did you hear about something called 'Big Brother'?), the clothes you have to wear and so on.

    Ortega called it "revolution of the masses". If you never read him before, I encourage you to do it. Anyway I'll give you a short (a.k.a. poor) brief: He thinks that the situation in the so-called First World has come to a point where the majority of the population doesn't have to worry about surviving, since they have all their basic needs covered.

    This would be great if these people employed their spare efforts in educating themselves and pursue for human ideals. But this not happens. Instead, they take some sort of 'revenge' from past situations where only a small minority enjoyed this privilege. They start wasting their privilege in nonsense, like they saw old rich men do in the past. It's much like: "why should I bother about anything? I've got my rents paid. Just give me my tv set and some pizza!"

    Now, why do you think we are inmerse in a "society of spectacle" as you call it? It's all because this majority behave as a 'mass', not as individuals. Of course, politics and corporations all around are trying to achieve the attention of this mass for their own profit. But it happens that masses don't listen to valid or useful proposals, and are not interested in things like 'usefulness' or 'talent' (not to mention things like art or culture). They just want spectacle.

    This is perfect for politics and corps since people behaving uniformly means it's really easy to control them. You just have to find the trigger and they will all dance to your song. Everybody will simply follow the path. Big corporations have become real experts in finding such triggers. Ever wondered why the world is getting so materialist? Why our role on earth has become to produce, produce, produce so we can later consume, consume, consume?

    But, hey, you know, the show must go on.



    [ Parent ]

    Maybe... (4.00 / 1) (#105)
    by xriso on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 07:10:06 PM EST

    It isn't the country or society or media that most causes this problem, rather it's the people themselves.
    --
    *** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
    Doubt it. (5.00 / 4) (#136)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 06:22:31 AM EST

    People are a product of their society, media, and country. Specifically blaming Americans is futile; there are no major genetic differences between Americans and, say, Swedonians to support such a theory.
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    That takes us nowhere. (2.00 / 2) (#138)
    by Tezcatlipoca on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 06:35:34 AM EST

    We have to try to understand people's motivations if we hope to improve things.

    European? Say no to software patents.
    [ Parent ]
    Uhh (4.00 / 1) (#193)
    by vile on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 04:50:35 AM EST

    The country, the society, and the media *are* the people themselves.

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    Violent Crime (4.33 / 6) (#109)
    by Merk00 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 07:38:12 PM EST

    I'm always amused when I here exactly how violent and crime ridden the United States is. Because, comparatively, it's not. The BBC did a comparison of violent crime statistics among industrialized countries. Suprisingly, the US was not at the top of the list. Great Britain was. If I remember correctly, the US came in somewhere about seventh (out of about 20 industrialized countries). That doesn't really imply that the US is nearly as bad off as it is frequently portrayed to be. Basically, compared to similiar countries, the US is in the middle as far as violent crime statistics go.

    However, there have been a rise in high-publicity crimes. These crimes, such as the various school shootings and the sniper in the Washington, DC area, aren't really indicative of high violent crime rates. They do seem to be exceptional and they are. But these isolated events do not show a rise in overall violent crime statistics. While the number of high profile crimes is up, overall crime statistics are well down from the early 90's. It's important to take everything in context.

    ------
    "At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
    - FIRST Mission

    Definitely (3.00 / 2) (#125)
    by Trevor OLeary on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:59:43 PM EST

    I myself have seen a study of crime rates (Harris 1998), which shows that of all the developed countries, America was close to the bottom of the list. It seems that European countries which ban personal firearms inevitably have a blackmarket for guns so that only criminals carry weapons, and law-abiding citizens are unarmed and unprotected.

    Little do they realize that allowing citizens to protect themselves not only stops crime, but means many criminals are killed before the so-called "justice system" can allow them to walk free and commit another crime. This lowers the future crime rate. In fact, America needs a zero-tolerance law which allows people to be free from prosecution after shooting people who they have reasonable suspicions about.


    [ Parent ]

    Tresspassing (none / 0) (#127)
    by Merk00 on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 10:32:35 PM EST

    While this isn't really what you intended (nor do I agree with it), several states do have laws to this effect. In these states, if someone is tresspassing on your property and you have reason to feel threatened, you are allowed, by law, to respond with deadly force. Most of these states are pro-gun states. Strangely enough, I haven't heard about any negative fall out from these laws so perhaps they work.

    ------
    "At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
    - FIRST Mission
    [ Parent ]

    Trespassing (none / 0) (#217)
    by nextophilus on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 12:19:25 PM EST

    [[ In these states, if someone is tresspassing on your property and you have reason to feel threatened, you are allowed, by law, to respond with deadly force. Most of these states are pro-gun states. Strangely enough, I haven't heard about any negative fall out from these laws so perhaps they work. ]]

    Strangely enough I've heard of at least one case; an English tourist in Texas being shot dead walking from his car to a front door to ask for directions; the elderly killer got off lightly, so there weren't any negatives for Americans. Too bad about the tourist and his family.

    Another interesting stat. that I read (about ten years ago) was that more NYC cops were killed by 'friendly fire' than by armed criminals, so the idea of lots of civilians walking around armed would make me feel less safe, rather than more...



    [ Parent ]
    Crime rates may be higer in Europe... (3.00 / 2) (#137)
    by Tezcatlipoca on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 06:31:04 AM EST

    nevertheless when you are robbed you rarely have to fear for your life.

    Most crime in the UK btw is theft of mobile phones and inter-gang violence.

    It is telling that new  proposals to combat crime is combating such hineous crimes as getting drunk and stealing mobile phones.

    But what is the point to discuss this, you have got 11000 gun deaths per year, the UK has 165 and you are still looking for "facts'. Oh well.

    European? Say no to software patents.
    [ Parent ]

    Useless statistic (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by RyoCokey on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 07:19:31 PM EST

    "Gun deaths" has got to be one of the most useless statistics I can think of. What's it matter what they were killed by? Compare homicide rates per 100,000 people.



    "There is no reason why we should not have peaceful relations with the rest of the world if we cease playing the role of Meddlesome Mattie." - Sen. Art
    [ Parent ]
    Gun deaths vs. (none / 0) (#283)
    by misfit13b on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 04:29:10 PM EST

    <devil's advocate>
    I'd think that they'd be useful in the context that it's easier to kill with a gun than with a knife or blunt instrument...

    Perhaps if murder was harder than moving a small piece of metal a half inch or so, less people would do it.
    <devil's advocate>

    But like Archie Bunker once said: "Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if dey was pushed outta windows?" See? Arguments for both sides. :^)

    [ Parent ]

    How to lower gun deaths: (4.00 / 1) (#204)
    by Work on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 09:32:10 PM EST

    Education.  Rather than treating guns as a taboo to be feared, everyone should know how to properly deal with one, keep it hidden from children and other basic safety procedures.
    <p>Theres no better way to fuck something up than to be afraid and ignorant of it.  This goes for everything from driving to cooking on a hot stove.  Guns are no different.


    [ Parent ]
    Hiding guns. (none / 0) (#214)
    by Kintanon on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 11:54:24 AM EST

    No no no, you give the correct answer and then contradict it!
    Don't hid guns for your kids. I grew up in a household where having an Uzi sitting on the coffee table was a common occurence. My little brother and I were taught gun safety at a very early age. We knew that the guns were ALWAYS loaded, and that every gun we ever saw we should assume was loaded. We learned to never point a gun at someone unless you meant to kill them. Any time we had friends over who had not been to our house before the first thing that they got was a gun safety lecture from my parents. Despite the presence of around a dozen firearms, and the constant stream of kids between the ages of 6 and 22 that went through our house over the last 16 years no one has ever been shot, or even come close to being shot. Education is the key, and learning to respect firearms as powerful tools that are not to be played with.
    Also, people need to STOP UNLOADING THEIR DAMN GUNS! No one ever gets shot by someone who says, "Well, I knew the gun was loaded, but I pointed it at him anyways...". It's always, "I thought it was unloaded!" and crap like that. If people were taught that ALL guns are ALWAYS loaded they wouldn't do stupid stuff like that.

    Kintanon

    [ Parent ]

    Taking things into context... (3.33 / 3) (#134)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 05:57:54 AM EST

    But you have to remember exactly how big the US actually is. Take Great Britain, for example, which has one of the worst population density ratios in the world (among "civilized" countries, anyway). On average, there are about 244.7 people per square km. The US, on the other hand, has about 29.77 people per square km. And out of about 60,000,000 people living in the British Isles, about 50,000,000 live in England proper (can't remember source for this one, sorry - perhaps any native Brits can help ou?).

    In a nutshell, the higher the population density of any given area, the higher the overall crime rate will be. This is related to several factors, including stress levels, general probability, etc.. Also, the surveys that you cited were taking total crime rates into account; realistically, one must look at these figures in terms of which crimes were committed (violent, burglary, home invasion, theft, etc.) rather than the grand total. Better to have a nation of thieves than murders, no?

    A more accurate assessment of British policies in comparison to American policies on crime would be to compare London to, say, New York City (which actually share similar population levels and density per sq. mile/km ratios, along with having similar amounts of commericial buildings, recreational zones, etc.). This is actually a lot more complicated than it sounds, though, because cultural considerations, along with such things as poverty rates, disparity between classes, etc. must also be taken into account. I'm not too horribly interested to do the research myself, and I don't have the relative stats at hand, so I'm not going to delve into that comparison, however.

    Just remember that the only way to get an objective opinion from any given sets of statistics is to analyze the data yourself, taking into consideration certain sociological and external factors that might significantly affect the figures. Also, remember that if you ever read a set of statistics in the papers or on TV, it is generally simplified to make it as understandable and accessible to as many people as possible.

    One of the most useful rules of life that I've ever learned is that if someone else is presenting a set of statistics to you, they are probably lying (or, being subjective with the data to push their own agenda - *ahem* NEWSMAX *cough hack hack*). I don't contest your claim that England might have a higher crime rate than the US - however, the sociology major in me says that all things considered, England and the US are probably fairly even. Hell, considering the circumstances that they have to work under, the Brits might even be doing a slightly better job then we are here.

    And finally, a link if anybody else is interested: These are the official recorded crime figures stated by the Home Office during a 12 month period (pdf file - 500 some odd KB -, so it might take a bit for the modem users). I'm too lazy to find corresponding US figures, though I encourage anyone who's interested to analyze the data themselves and come to their own conclusions.
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    Interpol (none / 0) (#172)
    by RyoCokey on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 07:18:20 PM EST

    Interpol keeps crime statistics, although there are holes in the records, in terms of countries not reporting some crimes, or some years. You can find them on the web here. Most of the European countries have much higher crime rates than the US using these statistics.



    "There is no reason why we should not have peaceful relations with the rest of the world if we cease playing the role of Meddlesome Mattie." - Sen. Art
    [ Parent ]
    great link... (none / 0) (#182)
    by calimehtar on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 12:59:01 AM EST

    ...but "Most of the European countries have much higher crime rates than the US using these statistics"??? I don't see this. If you rule out former Soviet Bloc countries, the majority European countries seem to have lower ratio of murders to population than the USA. Most exceptions are either Scandinavian or Northern Ireland. Here's a sample (per 100,000 pop. for most recent recorded year only):

    • USA: 5.5
    • France: 3.7
    • UK (england and wales): 2.75
    • Northern Ireland: 6.41
    • Scotland: 14.26 (!)
    • Sweden: 10.38
    • Switzerland: 2.25
    • Netherlands: 10.87
    • Norway: 2.66
    • Luxembourg: 14.01
    • Italy: 4.42
    • Iceland: 0
    • Germany: 3.37
    • Greece: 2.75
    • Finland: 7.14
    • Denmark: 4.03
    • Belgium: 2.72
    • Austria: 1.97
    etc.

    [ Parent ]
    Higher Crime Rates, Row 8 [n/t] (none / 0) (#207)
    by RyoCokey on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 12:16:42 AM EST



    "There is no reason why we should not have peaceful relations with the rest of the world if we cease playing the role of Meddlesome Mattie." - Sen. Art
    [ Parent ]
    christ, count them (none / 0) (#211)
    by calimehtar on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 09:29:09 AM EST

    17 items, 6 higher than the USA. That's really not most, as you claim, by any stretch. Of course there will be some exceptions. And there are definitely more higher than the USA than I expected, but not most.
    >> I can't or won't disprove arguments which have been put forth in objection to my stated position due to the fact that the mere act of arguing puts my admi
    [ Parent ]
    Crime Rate? (none / 0) (#212)
    by RyoCokey on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 10:36:10 AM EST

    From said statistics, crimes per 100,000 people, most current year:

    USA 4,214 England 9,823 Scotland 8,428 France 6,445 Germany 7,265 Spain 2,212 Italy 4,214 Luxemborg 5,239 Denmark 9,460

    Tied with Italy, and higher than Spain and Greece (Which was omitted.) What other column would you use for crime rate other than the "total infractions per capita?"



    "There is no reason why we should not have peaceful relations with the rest of the world if we cease playing the role of Meddlesome Mattie." - Sen. Art
    [ Parent ]
    ah (none / 0) (#242)
    by calimehtar on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 10:22:35 PM EST

    That's what I get for skimming. I was counting murder rates, based on the assumption that that was the subject of discussion of the article. I'm sure you're right about crime rates, but that's really another conversation.

    [ Parent ]
    Still... (5.00 / 1) (#247)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 12:23:34 AM EST

    ...you have to hand it to the Brits and other Western Europeans for keeping the murder rate down, despite the awful population density levels. Like I said, better a nation of thieves than murderers, no?
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    That wasn't his point (4.00 / 1) (#209)
    by awgsilyari on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 12:52:24 AM EST

    Moore's point wasn't that America is more dangerous than other places. His point was that danger is played up more in America than in other places.

    You say there's been a rise in high-publicity crimes. I say, that is Moore's entire point. Publicity is created by the media, not the criminal.

    I thought Moore's point was that, in a nation where everyone has guns and is scared shitless, it's no wonder that people tend to shoot each other before thinking the situation through.

    --------
    Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
    [ Parent ]

    Response (none / 0) (#213)
    by Merk00 on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 11:19:09 AM EST

    I was responding more to other comments written below. I saw a number of arguments based on the fact that the US is more violent than other industrialized nations. That is just patently false and isn't really something to build an argument on.

    ------
    "At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
    - FIRST Mission
    [ Parent ]

    can we please ban michael moore (1.92 / 14) (#118)
    by turmeric on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 08:51:08 PM EST

    he is a stupid troll and ruins america for everyone

    right (2.50 / 2) (#129)
    by weddy on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 12:16:36 AM EST

    Right, Moore is the troll, not you. You really fooled us with that one.

    [ Parent ]
    Riight. (2.60 / 5) (#153)
    by tkatchev on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 12:11:54 PM EST

    I think the only troll here is the ugly pimpled face staring back at you from the mirror, kid.

       -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
    [ Parent ]

    Hey genius (none / 0) (#190)
    by vile on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 04:24:08 AM EST

    He's as dumb as you are.

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    [ Parent ]
    Correct. (none / 0) (#195)
    by tkatchev on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 06:00:18 AM EST

    You're absolutely 100% correct.

    Except that I don't make it a point to call random people I disagree with "trolls".

       -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
    [ Parent ]

    unfortunatley, (none / 0) (#248)
    by Run4YourLives on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 01:13:26 AM EST

    tumeric is hardly random. :-)

    It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
    [ Parent ]
    unfortunatley, (none / 0) (#249)
    by Run4YourLives on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 01:13:39 AM EST

    tumeric is hardly random. :-)


    It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
    [ Parent ]
    nice (none / 0) (#271)
    by weddy on Mon Dec 02, 2002 at 10:47:05 PM EST

    Wow that would be such a great troll if I either was a kid or had any pimples. Unfortunately I do not. This place is full of freakin trolls man. Does the juvenile high school not challenge you guys enough these days? Sheesh.

    [ Parent ]
    The element of fear (4.00 / 1) (#124)
    by bayankaran on Fri Nov 15, 2002 at 09:48:18 PM EST

    I am yet to see the movie. But I was compelled to write about the element of fear in American cities.

    I am comparing an Indian city with an American city. In a big Indian city anything from the latest American missile to the microchip is available for a price (some of the things may not be legal, but the difference stops there), and the same with American city.

    But when I am walking in an American city like Chicago, especially in the night, I am more afraid than in Bombay.

    Is it because of crime rate...Bombay and Chicago might have the same crime rate. The chances of you getting pickpocketed in Bombay is the same as (may be more) of your chances of getting mugged in Chicago. The difference is in details...getting pickpocketed means you lose your wallet...getting mugged is not that simple...you may lose your life.

    It is this difference that makes American cities more dangerous.

    I believe that the element of fear... (none / 0) (#135)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 06:16:28 AM EST

    Comes from being in a completely different environment. You cannot simply compare Bombay and Chicago like that - there are two entirely different cultures at play here, with such extreme disparities between the two that any such comparisons can be considered futile. Have you ever considered that you might think that Chicago (and the US in general) is more dangerous because that's what the media told you? I understand that the "unpredictable gun-toting Yank" stereotype is quite popular through the rest of the world. While true to a certain extent, that stereotype is just as valid as me claiming that all muslims are terrorists and that all Hindus are cheap bastards (i.e., it's not).

    It's late (er, early, I guess) and I have a dissertation that I desparately need to finish, so I'm not going to bother to look for stats. However, I'm willing to bet that Bombay has a higher rate of violent crime per person, and general crime rate over all, than Chicago does. Any takers?

    On a side note, do you like Chicago otherwise? I'm a student at U. of C, and having lived here for about a year and a half now (transferred to get Masters in soc.) I absolutely love it (in comparison to Berkeley, my old neighborhood) - great music, great food, general kick-ass art scene, and no neo-hippies trying to revive the 60s. Yay! (Oh, and dude, I will pay you good money if you can tell me where I can pick up an anti-aircraft missle 'round here :)
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    True to some extent (none / 0) (#148)
    by bayankaran on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 10:26:06 AM EST

    Yes, it is true to some extent...a different environment and the media. But then the Bombay underworld is notorious for its shootings and police is infamous for false encounters.

    More than the gun toting yank, it is other types of violent crime...drug related etc. When I was in San Francisco it was a little better. Cities like Chicago and NY are probably the worst.

    Needless to say, I like this city a lot...for the same reasons you have.

    [ Parent ]
    Dude! (none / 0) (#178)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 09:28:19 PM EST

    You hate neo-hippies too? We should start a club!

    Still eagerly awaiting that anti-aircraft missle
    DLS
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    Chi vs. Berk (none / 0) (#170)
    by azaad on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 06:51:40 PM EST

    I'm a student at U. of C, and having lived here for about a year and a half now (transferred to get Masters in soc.) I absolutely love it (in comparison to Berkeley, my old neighborhood) - great music, great food, general kick-ass art scene, and no neo-hippies trying to revive the 60s. Yay!

    How is what you describe so different from Berkeley?

    If it's not available in Berkeley, it's available by quick trip to SF, for nearly any "it" you wish to mention.

    (Disclaimer: I live in Berkeley, after having lived in SF for a few years).

    Oh wait, upon closer reading I now see that you said no neo-hippies trying to revive the 60s. Ok, there is that.

    [ Parent ]
    Eh. They're just my personal opinions. (none / 0) (#176)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 08:44:12 PM EST

    I think I just like the different styles better, more than anything else. There's a world of difference between the various "scenes" in SF and Chicago, and I prefer that difference a bit more. Like the great instrumental music that comes out of the city, drenched in noise-experimentation and deconstruction. Or the artists that just seems a little bit more "edgier" (for lack of a better word) than the resident artists of Berkeley. The rent's bit more reasonable all around. And, well, no neo-hippies. Can't stand 'em. Don't know why. By all rights, all my best friends should be neo-hippies, but...

    The only thing that bothers me about Chicago though is the level of pretentiousness that runs through the performers and artists here. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes I get that "I'm from Chicago so I'm better than you" vibe. And people just aren't as friendly as they were back in CA. But other than that...
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    Tintin (none / 0) (#199)
    by bayankaran on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 12:38:03 PM EST

    The only good thing about Berkley is a comics book store with Tintin.

    [ Parent ]
    U of C? Great food? (none / 0) (#185)
    by gzt on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 03:19:00 AM EST

    Any recommendations?  So far I haven't been that satisfied with the food in Hyde Park. It's good and such for the price, but I wouldn't say "great".  Of course, I haven't been here that long yet, and the entire town of Chicago, of course, has great food.

    [ Parent ]
    Food (none / 0) (#198)
    by bayankaran on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 12:34:56 PM EST

    If you are doing liberal arts try eating the opposite sex from the nuclear physics, genetics, artificial intelligence, comp science etc and vice versa.

    As far as food goes, the best place is Lawrence Av...start from the East.

    [ Parent ]
    A rushed response. (5.00 / 1) (#243)
    by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 10:47:22 PM EST

    It's a bit of a drive, (N. Broadway somewhere) but I'm a big fan of Alice and Friends restaurant (275-8797). It's a vegetarian dive, but goddamn it if they don't have, pound for pound, the best vegetarian food in the city (and you won't go broke).

    A bit closer (E 55th St.) is Jimmy's Woodlawn Tap (643-5516). I'd be surprised if you've never been there. It's not that the food's particularly good (but for the price, you can't beat the burgers and barbecue) but they have live jazz acts play every Sunday, and it probably has the absolute best library (for a bar, anyway) in the city.

    I buy all my bread at Medici's (667-7394, E 57th), and the food's not bad, either. Not great, mind you, but not bad. But I love the bread there.

    There's the Dixie Kitchen in the Harper Court shopping center (363-4943). The atmosphere is nice, and it's probably the best cajun food you can get in the area.

    Hmmm, what else in Hyde Park... there's Casablanca shish kabob house (947-0807) on E 53rd, which is decent. Jackson Harbor Grill on S. Coast Guard (288-4442) has some of the best food you can get in the area - I recommend the grilled apricot-maple duck. There's Kikuya on E 55th (can't remember the number), the only Japanese place in town. Salonika's a great place for a quick bite, being just a few blocks off campus.

    Well. This has gotten longer than expected. I suppose my recommendations in the area boil down to Jackson Harbor Grill, Casablanca, and the Dixie Kitchen (Alice and Friends if you're up for the trip). The other places probably fall in the "good for the price" category. Hyde Park's a bit restaurant starved, and I picked these places out assuming you are on a limited budget. There's some great places outside HP, though.

    Hmm. Funny. Chances are we've probably run into each other before. Well, if you see a arrogant half-asian brat arguing with the bartender at Jimmy's about the tab, say hi.
    ---

    I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
    [ Parent ]

    Thanks, man (none / 0) (#258)
    by gzt on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 10:36:31 PM EST

    For some reason I haven't been to Jimmy's yet, but I've been by it.  

    Yeah, good bread at Medici's.  

    And I'll check the rest out, the Alice and Friends might be what I'm looking for, the large quantities of cheap, yet good, food...

    [ Parent ]

    Brunch at the Medici (none / 0) (#255)
    by rantweasel on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 05:19:04 PM EST

    Brunch at the Medici (on 57th?) is a fabulous way to spend a saturday or sunday morning, and last time I was there, there was a noodle place opening up nearby which was pretty good.

    mathias

    [ Parent ]

    Medici's all right (none / 0) (#257)
    by gzt on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 10:32:40 PM EST

    But it's not great, it's just adequate.

    Yeah, the Noodles place (I think that's what it's called, or something like that) is pretty good. Went there this weekend, and for the price I might go again, but I'm looking for the transcendent goodness that makes me frequent a place. Or at least good price + good quality and quickness that makes me a regular.


    [ Parent ]

    Color issues... (4.00 / 2) (#130)
    by dJCL on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 01:06:54 AM EST

    I found the statement on color issues and portrayal interesting, including some of the stuff posted farther down in the comments. It all reminds me of something I read in the blog of a girl who works in a porn shop(I think the link came from here.) She stated that some person that she knew who was black had been to Canada and remarked on the fact that passing women in the street did not clutch their purse tight and speed up when they passed him on the sidewalk. He found it refreshing.

    The comment caught me for a moment. I live here in Canada, and reading some of the stuff about media portraying "black youth" as a major problem, I don't really see that in the media here. I don't often watch media from Toronto or the other big cities(I'm in Ottawa, only about 1mil here) but when I do, there is generally not that type of story(admittedly, Toronto had a bad weekend or two recently, but they were remarkable because they are rare).

    I don't watch the TV much, but every year when I go to NY, I do catch some TV, and while some stations are careful, others tend to sensationalize stuff way to much. I don't think it can be stopped unless you remove the audience, the people who want their news that way. And I don't know how to do that.

    Have fun. I don't fear visiting the United States, I just don't want to live there.(But I will say that most people I encounter are nice or at least neutral.)

    my sig was too long, and getting annoying, so this is all you get. deal with it.

    Make room! (none / 0) (#277)
    by kichigai on Sun Dec 29, 2002 at 01:35:31 AM EST

    As much as I'll make jokes about Canada, I actually like it there. Maybe it's because it's so different from the states. The temerature can't be too much worse up there. I mean, I'm from fscking Minnesota!

    I'll probably move up there. I'm too lazy to lock my doors, and I like safety! Besides, I do care about how new speed bumps will effect me!

    "I said I was smart, I never said I was mature!"
    -Me

    [ Parent ]
    whee! mr Moore! (3.00 / 2) (#169)
    by blisspix on Sat Nov 16, 2002 at 06:30:18 PM EST

    I just finished reading "stupid white men" and I can't tell you how angry I am. This week has also seen madness on our streets here in Sydney thanks to the WTO (or parts thereof) coming to town. The fact that business people need $5m worth of police protection from citizens protesting lawfully is a disgrace. I read the book and I see the TV coverage and it just doesn't make sense. Michael Moore has it so right.

    "Bowling for Columbine" will be released in Sydney soon, I can't wait to see it. I've been a Moore fan for a few years now, and I'm an ever bigger fan after reading about his plans to take action on decreased funding and respect for libraries and librarians. yay for the Awful Truth!

    Unlawful is the point (none / 0) (#206)
    by evil roy on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 11:56:40 PM EST

    The $5Million was spent containing unlawful activities. Excessive $$$ - but inflating the "wastage" is good politics right now. I like to see violent rent-a-mob wankers get dealt with as these were - via our courts. I do not like seeing these people hide behind the legitimate protester smokescreen whilst carrying out organised violent crime. Go the protesters. Lock up the criminals.

    [ Parent ]
    Ya know what? (4.33 / 3) (#189)
    by vile on Sun Nov 17, 2002 at 04:19:18 AM EST

    America. The beautiful. We're a country filled with morons. Myself, included. Why? Because we don't think about the things that we should be thinking about. Instead we tread through life, going to our jobs, going home, and doing the same thing the next day. Ignorance is bliss. Enjoy it. Quit bitching.

    ~
    The money is in the treatment, not the cure.
    It's funny too! (5.00 / 2) (#240)
    by oooga on Mon Nov 18, 2002 at 06:33:39 PM EST

    You forgot to mention how side-splittingly hillarious Bowling for Columbine is.
    Taking my toast burnt since 1985
    Not all of it! (5.00 / 1) (#276)
    by kichigai on Sun Dec 29, 2002 at 01:31:38 AM EST

    Let's not forget somber tapes played from the Columbine School Security System! The point of the film wasn't to make us laugh.
    "I said I was smart, I never said I was mature!"
    -Me

    [ Parent ]
    Baltimore County (5.00 / 1) (#250)
    by psychophil on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 10:34:56 AM EST

    Admittedly my numbers are based on the housing market in Baltimore County Maryland as of 2.5 years ago. So maybe things are better in other parts of the country now.

    Given that I live in Baltimore County, MD (Hunt Valley actually) right now, i can definately say that yours numbers are off. The housing market right now is obscene. I am part of the community association for our townhomes so I get the details of every sale.

    Homes that were selling for $113,000 5 years ago are now going for $145,000+. They are selling FAST. Most homes transfer before the sale sign gets planted on the lawn. The prices are to the point where I have to sell. I'm getting ready to list my home for $37,500 more than what paid 6 years ago. This profit will give me a much larger downpayment on the new single family home I am buying in northen Balt. County which will actually LOWER my mothly mortgage payment.

    Every single one of my other evestments have hemmoraged money over the past two years. The house is the single best investment I have made to date.

    Moore wants to dismantle the NRA (4.00 / 1) (#254)
    by rkt88edmo on Tue Nov 19, 2002 at 01:49:05 PM EST

    The NRA only allows members to vote after a certain number of years of membership, or they allow you to vote immediately if you are a fully paid life member.

    Michael Moore joined the NRA in order to vote in its elections and run for the NRA presidency. He has and will state this in interviews when directly asked. His plan was to get a large number of his followers to join as well and stage it as one of his highly entertaining events.

    Moore just uses his "life membership" at all turns to confuse his audience and increase his "objectivity." Being a member also helps give him a foot in the door, it is similar to how he uses his hometown of Flint in his forays with Nike and GM. Except he wasn't born in Flint for duplicitous political reasons.

    The movie does raise some really interesting points regarding race, fear, and media but fails to actually draw any conclusions about gun ownership in the USA. Moore just tosses in a bunch of conjectures.

    I now need to go back and watch Moore's other films, which I enjoyed very much, and see what still rings true.

    I don't think so. (none / 0) (#275)
    by kichigai on Sun Dec 29, 2002 at 01:29:55 AM EST

    I don't think Moore wants to dismantle the NRA. But he does want to change it's mentality, IMHO.
    "I said I was smart, I never said I was mature!"
    -Me

    [ Parent ]
    Some further thoughts (4.66 / 3) (#269)
    by spacemoose on Fri Nov 29, 2002 at 06:57:54 AM EST

    I loved this movie, and thought it was the single most intelligent treatment of violence in America I've encountered. I personally am for the ability to own guns. I currently live in Switzerland where every male has a fully automatic weapon in their house (by law) and ammunition, and there is almost no violence (there are other problems). I thought mr. Moor had some intelligent thoughts on the issue, and I thought he did a good job of not just saying "we need gun control laws", since this is clearly not the thing that singles America out.

    In addition to his thoughts, I had the following one: Recently some UK minister announced they want to increase tuition rates. Basically they want students to have huge wonking student loan debts (or come from a rich family) like in the American system, so that students will select career/education choices that have a more direct immediate economic return. Basically, they want to institute indentured servitude, or expand it, depending on your politics. Now, that got me thinking that in Europe and Canada the gov't places more value on things that don't have an immediate economic return: environment, parks, art and culture, a healthy populace with a certain amount of security(and I mean the personal kind, not the fascistic gun toting, arrest anyone that disses the states kind).

    In america if you're born poor, and especially poor and black, you have more of a sense of worthlessness and helplessness (because of the above mentioned mentality). I believe this contributes to the violence, in particular since we see in our media (a reflection of our mindset),and in our government (a role model for our children) that violence is a good way to solve our problems.

    Just a thought.

    mean world syndrome (none / 0) (#272)
    by jmelcris on Tue Dec 10, 2002 at 03:31:45 PM EST

    It was funny to see Micheal Moore walk into the residents of of the people Canada. If he did that here in America he wouold proably been shot. I felt that Moore did a great job on this film. I really thought he made some great points. I felt the most interesting part was the way media depicts things differently in different countries, Specificly Canada and America. Mean World Syndrome is what American feal that the world is like. TV push stereotypes to keep the staus quo. There have been many thoeries about media and TV impact on people. The on I belive most is Media Dependancy theory, which states media shapes what people belive is important. I used to belive that the media/tv only reports what important, but school shotting after school shotting school saftey is no longer important because the media/TV is worried about terrorism. I seem to me the TV is alway worried.

    Lucky me! (none / 0) (#274)
    by kichigai on Sun Dec 29, 2002 at 01:27:52 AM EST

    Thank God I don't get all my news from TV. Atleast on the Web, I can get a wide spectrum of news, not just the Violent kind!
    "I said I was smart, I never said I was mature!"
    -Me

    [ Parent ]
    YAY! MIKE! (none / 0) (#273)
    by kichigai on Sun Dec 29, 2002 at 01:26:07 AM EST

    I love Michael Moore films. I've seen Roger and Me, The Big One, as well as a couple episodes of his show The Awful Truth (Where in the title sequence, Bill Gates is one of the featured "Five Men That Control The World"). I have also seen Bowling for Columbine, and I must say it's his best work to date. Perhaps he is right about the media. And I do remember the day where K-Mart stopped to sell gun ammunition in stores (Read it in the news, but didn't hear any large mention to Micheal!). Let's not forget, "Never heard of [Ghandi]."
    "I said I was smart, I never said I was mature!"
    -Me

    A true patriot (none / 0) (#281)
    by livus on Sun Feb 02, 2003 at 06:25:01 AM EST

    I have to say Michael Moore is a true patriot. Here he is taking time to make a whole movie that explains to the rest of us why this stuff happens.

    If it wasnt for people like Moore explaining, I would seriously be in danger of thinking that the majority of Americans must be genetically insane or something.

    As it is his observations are useful and I hope that theyre acted on.

    ---
    HIREZ substitute.
    be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
    I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
    I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
    I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

    Bowling For Columbine | 283 comments (258 topical, 25 editorial, 0 hidden)
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