Overall, I think Matthews is right. Even though, as wolf and meat point out, you can argue the scrutiny is deserved because almost everyone abuses that particular tax exempt designation, the public doesn't care about that. They don't because the IRS is the most feared agency in the federal government. People put up with it because they trust the agency plays fair.
But calling that trust into question puts into jeopardy faith in the federal government. The left is frustrated by this and because Obama doesn't seem to be willing to fire people. He probably doesn't like direct confrontation.
There are reports that the scandal was brewing for awhile, but Obama says that he only just learned of it. If true this means his people shelter him from bad news and confrontation.
Management 101, if you can't handle firing people, then you have to give the power to someone else who will do the job.
This article provides a good summary of how the IRS is used as a political weapon since at least FDR's time.
Kennedy also used the IRS to strong-arm companies into complying with "voluntary" price controls. Steel executives who defied the administration were singled out for audits.
The Landmark Legal Foundation sued the IRS in 1997 after being audited. Its brief quoted an IRS official who had explained at an IRS meeting in San Francisco that audit requests from members of Congress or their staff had been shredded and also suggested how future requests from Capitol Hill could be camouflaged.
The IRS has usually done an excellent job of stifling investigations of its practices. A 1991 survey of 800 IRS executives and managers by the nonprofit Josephson Institute of Ethics revealed that three out of four respondents felt entitled to deceive or lie when testifying before a congressional committee.
The agency also has a long history of seeking to intimidate congressional critics: In 1925, Internal Revenue Commissioner David Blair personally delivered a demand for $10 million in back taxes to Michigan's Republican Sen. James Couzens—who had launched an investigation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue—as he stepped out of the Senate chamber. More recently, after Sen. Joe Montoya of New Mexico announced plans in 1972 to hold hearings on IRS abuses, the agency added his name to a list of tax protesters who were capable of violence against IRS agents.
So as I suggested in my original post, the IRS has always been out of control, and it will remain that way until it no longer exists.
Here is my take on things...
Thumbs up to partisan witch-hunts. I love them. I really do. I love seeing politicians with the deer-caught-in-the-headlights look as they stumble at the podium trying to save themselves. Obama did a great imitation of Sergeant Shultz the other day, to paraphrase, "I know nothing! I see nothing! I did not even get out of bed on the morning it happened!"
Thumbs up for the AP spying scandal. As I pointed out in the 3D printing guns thread, this administration doesn't respect the 1st Amendment. It spies on everyone, and so after the media rolled over and played dead when the Bush administration sought immunity for companies that helped them spy, it is good to see the media get bitten also. Their outrage is also a pleasure to see, "How dare they do to us what they do to the public every day!"
Thumbs up for the IRS scandal. When has the IRS not been used as a political weapon? The 1920s? It is good to remind everyone that, contrary to the posturing, the system is unfair and biased.
I am neutral on the Benghazi scandal. I think it makes a fitting epitaph for Hillary Clinton's career, but at this point, the US military may be fighting in as many as 6 dozen mini-wars throughout the globe. CENTCOM is active in 20 countries, and AFRICOM claims it is supporting military to military relationships in 54 African countries. Who knows how many of those are or may run hot with actually shooting?
I wouldn't want the USA involved in any of these, but it is involved and so it shouldn't surprise anyone when the US loses track of what is happening, gets caught off guard, screws up and people get shot(or worse). Benghazi may have been incompetence, it may have been something worse, but the US government isn't going to come clean about anything unless Wikileaks does it for them.
Matthew Vincent did an awesome model apparently.
Unfortunately the links he provided don't work.
However the good news is that he did describe what floorplans and downloads he used so you have the building blocks to go and rebuild it if you want.
Great, so no respect from this administration for the First Amendment either.
Utterly useless too, the file is only 2MB, and already on the torrent sites.
It decentralizes production. That is why it makes control more difficult and untraceable.
The gun isn't great now, but last year it was impossible to build just using a 3d printer. 3D printing technology is only going to get better and costs are going to fall.
There are databases, background checks and waiting periods. They certainly aren't consistent across all the states, but they exist. In California local police were combing through gun registry databases and mental health patient databases, and visiting homes when they found an overlap because in CA it is illegal for such a person to own a gun. Some guns were confiscated, not many, but some.
So all that type of gun control legislation becomes useless, there won't be a database to track printed guns, there won't be waiting periods or background checks. No one is going to be blocked from printing their own gun, are they going to make it illegal for felons and mental health patients to access 3D printers?
It won't affect concealed or open carry laws, that type of gun control legislation is largely unaffected, although these are much less effective. You can't know who is concealing a gun, you can only punish them after the fact if you discover them. That may be too late.
The homemade bomb question is another good example, you can punish someone after the fact for using a bomb, but any legislation to control making bombs in the first place is useless if the means and material to make them are widely available.
IMO, yes it will make gun control legislation obsolete. Because making a gun(previously) is difficult without the know-how and machinery, almost all guns today are easily tracked with serial numbers and a paper trail.
All that goes out the window, now anyone with access to a 3D printer may have a gun. Attempts to restrict gun ownership will fail as no one will know how many there are, and where they are.
3D printers are going to fall in price, and printable gun designs are going to get better and better.
I pushed for 28 point buy, my players pushed for 32 point buy, we compromised at 30 point buy.
It is working out pretty well. I think anything over 28 and you may need to beef up the main villains a little in each scenario.
Nice! And thanks.
As far as numbers go, I am assuming somewhere between 20 and 40 phanatons show up with maybe a slightly more powerful leader. Do you agree?
The Farshore militia maxes out at about 40 Level 1 warriors(if the PCs put their time into it) and I don't expect the phanatons to throw in more bodies than the people who live there. Of course that doesn't include leveled NPCs and another 40-80 people residents that will fight if absolutely necessary.
They aren't really identified except they are the chieftain's strongest hunters.
I am thinking about 25 Level 2 or 3 phanaton rangers. It isn't necessary to know their stats because of the VP system in the adventure, but I may expand the battle into a mass combat scenario.
Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:
You are the man.
Those Saudis...no one takes keeping women under complete control to such hard core lengths as they do.
Well, some people on the internet made complete idiots of themselves, and others on the internet were able to scoop the major media organs by collecting photos showing members of Craft International(Haliburton type company) were at the Boston Marathon that day as well.
So good information comes out with the bad, and it is up to the reader to figure it out.
They are expected to be 11th level by the end of the final battle of Tides of Dread.
I am not as far as you are in Savage Tide but if you are looking for advice, it depends on where and how Vanthus escaped.
He doesn't have to go back to Scuttlecove, he could retreat to the interior of the Isle of Dread, deciding to hide amongst allies rather than report his failure to the Crimson Fleet.
Then you can continue running the next two adventures as before, with Vanthus somewhere in there.
Of course it is, depending on how this goes I may even play the Giligan's Island theme song as they approach the Isle of Dread.
The players will spend time trying to determine who is Giligan in a futile attempt to prevent disaster, but they won't realize until it is too late...I have already decided one of them will be Giligan.
Whichever one of them fails the most skill checks.
As the players in my campaign prepare for departure in Sasserine, they meet some of the passengers and crew that will be traveling on the Sea Wyvern. They meet Aver, whom they previously met at the banquet at the end of There is No Honor, and right after that they are introduced to Master Forol.
Player 1 turns to Player 2, "You see what he is doing right?"
Player 2, "Professor and Mr. Howell?"
Player 1, "Exactly, this means he is going to try and shipwreck us."
Player 3's eyes light up, "I am going to go find Mary Ann."
Meanwhile I am thinking, "There is no convincing them otherwise, I will have to make the stowaway Ginger."
It is pretty remarkable to see all this agreement that, whatever the cause of autism, we absolutely, positively know it can't possibly be vaccines.
I can certainly agree with this-
There's no scientific evidence of a link between autism-spectrum disorders and vaccination.
But not this-
It is scientifically KNOWN that vaccines have ZERO to do with autism. It is not strong or suggested. It is known.
There has never been a genuine scientific study of vaccines and autism. Which is why there is no scientific evidence of a link, but is also why we cannot know whether vaccines(or more specifically any toxins in vaccines) can cause autism.
We have only had statistical surveys. These surveys are not an actual use of the scientific method, not without stretching the definition to the point of absurdity. Just because a credentialed scientist does a statistical survey does not magically make it science.
And we can't even consider these surveys to be statistically reliable given the reporting methods for reactions to vaccines.
As for causes, Bruunwald did put it best...
Those include diet, age of parents (as you said), most notably the age of the father, and possibly toxins in the environment.
So best bet in addition to doctor recommendation you can try to see how your child responds to different foods and research what might be toxic in your home and area.
Even if you go by the assumption that the prophecy is in any way valid...there are an indeterminate number of popes between Glory of the Olive and Peter the Roman.
Could be 0...could be 280...could be...any number.
Andrew R wrote:
Do what you want but own your choice
Andrew, are you a baby boomer? I ask this because of the following...
In response to clever students burying their obligations in court during the 1970s, anti-default provisions were imposed to make it almost impossible to shed student loans in bankruptcy. In 1991 the statute of limitations for non-repayment was eliminated.
Students of college in the 1970s were baby boomers. Baby boomers who didn't want to "own" their choice took advantage of the system to weasel out of their loan obligations. Then, in 1998, when baby boomers were in charge and passing laws, what did they do?
Prior to 1998, some people could avoid repaying their student loans by declaring bankruptcy. Tougher laws in 1998 in the US made it virtually impossible to prove financial hardship great enough to have these loans forgiven in this way. Even permanent disability of a spouse or child is only reason enough for deferment, but not loan forgiveness.
So baby boomers entered the system, defaulted on their loans, and then made sure that future generations could not do the same, regardless of hardship, with college bills exponentially higher than the costs baby boomers had to face.
So, if you are a baby boomer, let us know.
Then again, if you are, don't, because not many of us can stomach the hypocrisy of the (Self-Important) Generation.
I don't think the older generation really grasps just how things have changed in the last 20-40 years.
I was reading WSJ a few days ago and it had an article about small private investment groups consisting of small collections of individuals who meet and share investment strategies. It mentioned how these groups are dwindling for a number of reasons, and one is that no new blood is coming in as people grow old, retire and pass away. They mentioned, "young people aren't looking for investments, they are looking for debt management and ways to get out of debt."
Simply put, young people don't have money they mostly have debt.
If you paid attention for the last few decades, you might notice an article in your local paper ever year saying "College tuition increase outpaces inflation."
Well guess what happens when college costs outpace inflation for 40 years?
And the unfortunate response of the government is to make college "affordable". I say this is unfortunate, because their idea of "affordable" is not to offer or somehow arrange cheap tuition...it is to simply loan students whatever astronomical amounts of money colleges are demanding.
And colleges keep raising their prices because people continue to pay, at least for now.
I think it is entirely possible, but I am by no means certain, that twenty years from now colleges are going to lose much of their prestige, because of a generation of college graduates who found their lives ended up worse because they went to college.
I found this-
I imagine this place and others like it are willing to chip in some help if you show you are also making payments along with them.
Problem is there are a lot of people in debt who can qualify and not enough money to help everyone.
I think...not sure...but I think a similar method is used for PRP and prolotherapy. When I had my shoulder treated they injected what I believe was ozone to irritate the area before they inject platelets(when doing PRP).
It helped stimulate healing.
I believe the principle is, free radicals induce an immune/healing response. It probably stimulates a regeneration response in tadpoles.
I think part of the reason some people are saying it was staged is because of all the erroneous reporting the day of the massacre, and at least one youtube clip floating around showing a father of one of the children who was shot and killed...acting rather bizarre before he thinks the cameras are rolling.
Having seen the clip I can't explain why that father would act that way but I disagree with the conclusion of the person who posted the clip that the person was an actor.
My example isn't great of course. But suburbs existed because transportation became affordable for the middle class. If that had never been true people may have been living in apartments or dormitories close to their workplace. If oil becomes scarce, suburbs will likely disappear.
I personally never bought into the mankind is causing global warming scientific theory. Computer models are not scientific observations or measurements.
P.H. Dungeon wrote:
I've been thinking a lot lately about how much time we have until the civilization we have grown to take for granted comes crashing down around us. It would contend that given that it is built on the premise of ever expanding consumption and economic growth in a world that has finite space and resources it is only matter of time before it collapses. How long though? 10 years, 20, 100?
What we have now is first and foremost the result of specialization in the division of labor. To put it in very approximate terms-
If we all live as nomadic tribesmen -> that supports W level of civilization and population
If we all live as primitive farmers -> that supports X level of civilization and population (where X > W)
If we all live at the beginning of an Industrial Revolution -> that supports Y level of civilization and population (where Y > X)
If we all live as we do now, where the division of labor is highly specialized -> That equals Z level of civilization and population (where Z > Y)
Simply put, if 7 billion people on planet Earth tomorrow became nomadic tribesman, you would see massive population decline and collapse due to disease and starvation until we reach a new equilibrium where the population can be supported on the resources that can be collected as nomads.
On the bright side, even if we hit our theoretical limit in population(whatever that may be) at our current level of work specialization, the result would not be massive starvation and collapse...it would actually mean a leveling off in population. That could be painful but not disastrous.
Of course it is entirely possible we could continue to further specialize from this point forward and never reach our limit. The big question is those resources we have which are not renewable(like energy) but the good news there is that as something becomes scarce, prices rise, which means there is less demand for it. As an example, in the future if oil becomes scarce people might adapt by working from home on a massive scale, thereby reducing demand.
So back to the original post,and now asking it in a different way, are there events which could cause a complete breakdown in the division of labor?
Yes there are, and although they are low probability events, they still exist. While nuclear weapon strikes against a major city is the most obvious example, a biological weapon attack is actually higher probability because it is cheaper. One attack on a city would probably not be enough, but if a committed group could demonstrate that it could repeat the effect by striking multiple cities in consecutive order, that would have a good chance of causing a breakdown.
Not what I would recommend, but to each his own.
I especially find it refreshing that the writers assume they have an intelligent audience. There is no hand-holding to explain what is going on.
It took awhile to get used to the idea I would see something happen on Justified that would catch me by surprise without any warning or explanation..."wait, these two guys seem to know each other so why did one just pull out a gun and shoot the other?...did I miss something?" But now I trust that when that happens, it will become clear later on as the story is told.
It is also the only show I know which gives entertaining dialogue to bit characters who you will never see again.
They also occasionally introduce and build up characters for an expected confrontation with the protagonist only to catch you off-guard with a twist to the plot.
One other thing guys can do is take off their shirt and continue walking.
Everyone will assume you are the dangerous one.
Great show I have been watching since the Season 1 premiere. It started out much more as the Equalizer with the trappings of a spy show at the edges. Much of the time I see their crazy plans and think, "That actually sounds plausible enough to work."
USA is planning a 13 episode season 7.
In case anyone is curious, cause of death was choking from cockroach body parts blocking his airways.
So instead of it being an allergy or the roaches being unclean, he just ate them to fast and some went down the wrong pipe. Or maybe it happened when he vomited.
Same here, several fans are running marathon sessions as the nostalgia builds.
The game is less than $25K from reaching its goal with only 17 hours left. And backers are even throwing in their own swag to sweeten the pot, including a Sierra sweatshirt with the logo from the original game as Hero's Quest.
The Coles have their own Kickstarter, Hero-U : Rogue to Redemption.
For those who liked the Quest for Glory series, this adventure game will continue the traditions of QfG with a new character. Even contains the same world/setting used in the QfG series.
That depends on whether the judges are getting paid to show up to work.
Those are some hard decisions, and at some point in our lifetimes, you are going to see the US government have to make them.
For a preview, you can see how Greece, Italy and Spain make these decisions.
If you want my opinion, canceling some wars would be a great place to start.
It is entirely possible Obama would have just signed an executive order and borrowed the money. Personally I would never bother suing Congress if they promised me money and did not deliver. Congress pays federal judge salaries, I doubt a judge will rule in my favor over his de-facto employer.
That didn't bother me at all, because I found S&P's worst case scenario to be too optimistic myself. But again that is just my opinion based on my guess of how the numbers will play out in the future.
Incorrect. I linked to my post which showed the math, I will include a condensed version here again to show there was plenty of money still available.
Step 2 - Pay the interest on all outstanding debts. Interest in 2010 was around $197 billion.
Step 3 - Solve the following equation for 2011. Subtract interest payments from total tax revenues.
This is using 2010 numbers but the point is that you would have somewhere around $1.965 trillion to spend on your various programs and wars.
Almost $2 trillion is not, and never has been, "literally out of money."
Also, this statement...
..doesn't make any sense. Congress borrows for money it has committed to spending, but it actually does borrow the money first, then spend it.
California did a couple of years ago briefly issue IOUs instead of currency, but the US government has not done so...yet.
With "only" $2 trillion, it will have to make spending cuts, but it can still spend plenty of money. It is just that not everyone will get their pork, some wars will have to be canceled, and there will be some very angry people who didn't get their "free" money.
Absolutely false. Everyone, here is S&P's statement...
No mention of "they threatened to default!". No mention of "shutting down the government!" The reason for the downgrade is right here "fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics."
S&P is talking about the short-term and medium-term realities. They talk about how there is no political will to make the following...
"broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government's debt dynamics any time soon."
In other words, stop borrowing so much more each year than revenue brought in.
Seriously, is anyone even going to pretend that the government is going to balance the budget next year? Or the year after?
S&P actually went and did the math. They went through and calculated future GDP growth as well as future federal debt growth using several scenarios, including optimistic, standard, and pessimistic scenarios.
Even assuming the most optimistic, rosy scenario, by 2015 the total debt level compared to GDP would be very slightly larger. In other words, treading water. And that was with the assumption of a booming economy, which we have yet to see.
S&P downgraded because it was blatantly obvious that the US government has no hope of paying back its debts, if the absolute best case scenario is that it will merely just not increase its debt over the next several years.
So, to be more specific, the S&P downgraded the US government because it did borrow too much and there is no reality in which it can stop the borrowing for the foreseeable future. Any politician who would seriously try to cut back spending such that debt can start being repaid would be voted out of office.
By people that just don't want to face reality.
There was no threat of default by Republicans. The Democrats and much of the media were pretending that not raising the debt limit would lead to a default, but that was false.
Not raising the debt limit means not borrowing more money. Not borrowing more money done not equal defaulting on debt.
If you max out your credit cards and don't get anymore credit for borrowing that is not the same thing as stopping your monthly payments to those cards.
Freehold DM wrote:
Is this thread going to turn into another raw food debate?
According to the article, eating live roaches should not have killed him. No one else in the contest died. The autopsy should reveal more details about what precisely killed him and why.
Muhammad founded Islam and he died around 632.
2012 - 632 = 1380 years.
That is a lot more than a hair, and if you meant 1500 it isn't quite there yet.
Wrong, at age 500 Christendom was desperately trying to civilize the waves of barbarians happily looting and burning Europe as the Western Roman Empire utterly collapsed.
At age 1500 your argument isn't totally bogus, considering it was the colonial period and the wars between Catholicism and Protestants were just beginning.
Al Qaeda done not equal Taliban.
The Taliban flew zero planes into zero buildings.
The people who actually did fly planes into buildings were from...
If you throw in flight 93 you also get one guy from Lebanon.
Nobody from Afghanistan.
Gendo, I am sorry you had to lose an organ in order for your eyes to be opened and see what the red pill showed you. Like you I also took responsibility for my own health long ago and that meant telling doctors no on several occasions. One time I took a friend out of an emergency room over the objections of the nurse because I could tell they just wanted to throw a battery of expensive tests at her(she turned out fine).
It can be scary, and you have to make the effort to become knowledgeable about your body and health, but the reward is worth it.
Whenever I discuss health care with someone, and I have done this here on the boards in the past, I point out that when other people talk about health care, they are really talking about sickness care.
Health care is-
That is pretty much it. That is taking care of your health. There is no "selling" health care insurance. No one takes out an insurance policy to make sure they get enough sleep. But getting enough sleep is one way to help ensure you stay healthy. Obamacare is(supposed to be) sickness care insurance. You buy insurance just in case you get sick in the future.
Or at least that is how insurance is supposed to work. What you mention about pre-existing conditions is something that many people get confused on precisely because language has confused what we are actually getting. So to cut through all the baloney, it helps to reframe by comparing sickness(not health) care insurance to another type of insurance. In this case I will use fire insurance.
Should someone be able to buy fire insurance for their home AFTER a fire has damaged or destroyed their home? As in buy it and then have their home fixed and paid for by the insurers.
If a person answers YES - Then they also believe people should be able to get sickness care insurance for a pre-existing condition.
If a person answers NO - They they don't believe people should be able to get sickness care insurance for a pre-existing condition, or they are schizophrenic/logically impaired.
This part just made me shake my head-
"But the idea joins a growing arsenal of possible futuristic weapons such as the Navy's railgun superweapon capable of hurling hypersonic projectiles over 50 to 100 miles, or the Army's hypersonic weapon for striking targets anywhere on Earth within an hour."
Which would still give the guy we are actually fighting, a dude with an AK47, an extra 59 minutes more than he needs to fade back into the local population.
Anyone else want to relate their experience?
Normally I spend Free RPG Day making the rounds at the various game stores in Silicon Valley, but this year was different.
I woke up at a hotel near the Washington Dulles airport, and got ready for my flight to Knoxville, TN. I wasn't supposed to be traveling at all on Free RPG day, but I missed my connection the night before and United put me up overnight on their dime.
I arrived in Knoxville about 2:15 pm, and reached the only game store in the area that was participating...Organized Play. The place is a mixed game and comic store, staff was friendly and I picked up the DCC adventure module from Goodman Games, along with buying Paizo's Shackles sourcebook.
Later that evening I logged in to Noble Knight games website and bought some Privateer Press miniatures I intend to take to GenCon, along with Dawn of the Scarlet Sun, the NeoExodus pathfinder offering, WH40K Eleventh Hour, and the Harn map.
I would still like to take a look at the Orcus adventure and Slavers of the Sunken Garden, but not a bad haul this year.
That's extremely generous calling it a debunking. It looks more like the author reading his own opinions into an ancient text that was written by someone without modern day views or reference frame.
While the Gentile cultures of the ancient world tolerated homosexuality to a greater or lesser extent, Jews considered homosexual acts as a sin, regardless of why. Paul draws on this very conventional(at the time) Jewish polemic.
And while the author attempts to address Romans 1, he does not even attempt to address Paul's other condemnations of homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. That is because he can't, as the moral condemnation is so explicit and clear he can't try and play word games to pretend it is only social(and not moral) condemnation.
The proper response to someone citing the Bible as a reason the government should prevent homosexual marriage is to point out that the Bible makes no attempt to suggest marriage is a government institution in the first place. Not re-write the Bible with rationalizations.
Those D&D retro-clones are really handy. Wish they had been around in the 90s.
With regard to XP and leveling, you may want to just ditch XP progression altogether. You know how many adventurers you want to run, and you have a target level for the PCs to be for when they reach the final encounters/adventure so you already can determine the level track they need to stay on in order to advance through the whole AP.
Rather than calculating how much gold you have to give out in order stay on that track you can just save work by just skipping that step and letting them level assuming they solve most of the encounters.
If they do skip out on a lot of encounters you can just add new side-treks in order to make sure they stay on the level track.
I agree, converting the monsters and encounters and keep them equivalent are the hard part , that is where you will need to spend most of your time.