Monday, February 4, 2008

Death and Politics

Death. First, a cool article on how death and dying works in 4th Edition D&D. The problem was with the "negative ten and you're dead" rule in the game. Like many things that got fixed, it didn't scale well in past editions. You were dead at negative ten if you had 10 hit points or 500 hit points, and the tougher you are, the more lethal the game became. It's not uncommon for high level characters to not only die, but to die a lot, to be at such a high negative hit point total that you need a math major to figure out how dead they really are. That's the negative ten effect.

Politics: Just an observation that I'm for Obama, but if I had to chose between Hillary Clinton and John McCain, I'm not sure what I would do. All the McCain positions that make conservative Republicans wince are what draws me to him. Common sense solutions for immigration, campaign finance reform, even the Iraq War. He's pandered to the religious right, true, but nobody's perfect. I've got Clinton fatigue and she isn't even elected yet. That her policies are almost indistinguishable from Obama makes me wonder if supporting Obama is more about personality. Then I remember the cadre of Republicans that would get their way if McCain is elected. Creepy.


  1. McCain is not a conservative, and barely a Republican.
    His war policy is to follow the polls, rather than to have a vision for victory (or other resolution).
    His immigration policy is to allow and encourage the further destruction of our economy and social safety net by illegal criminal invaders. One of his advisors on this issue comes directly from the Vicente "I'm a worse terrorist threat to America than Osama Bin Laden" Fox administration.
    He has tremendous problems with honesty - "No American would pick lettuce, even for $50 an hour." or whatever it was that he claimed, as well as his attacks against Romney based on half of a sentence, taken out of context.

    I believe that McCain was the right candidate in 2000, but is the wrong candidate in 2008. He has spent eight years working hard to define his image as a "maverick" by doing the unexpected and the ridiculous, and now expects Americans to trust him.

    McCain is frightening, untrustworthy, and has proven himself willing to bend to special interests.

    I can't say that I like Romney as a candidate, as I am quite certain that more Americans will be prejudiced against a Mormon candidate than against a woman or black, and I don't see him being able to win the general election based solely on that factor.

    In short, go Obama - you may not have anything substantive to say (His beautiful and inspiring speeches boil down to this: "I'm for good things, and I want good things for America. I'm against bad things, and want to protect America from bad things"), but you say it so well!

  2. Whoever you are, you lost me with "His immigration policy is to allow and encourage the further destruction of our economy and social safety net by illegal criminal invaders."

    I think that most people in the US are glad that our ancestors invaded this land without permission of the natives and established permanent colonies. Most are also pretty glad that they went on to stage an illegal revolt against their rightful government. The actions of these illegal criminal invaders that we call the 'founding fathers' established a country that did pretty good for itself over a couple of centuries, despite a few hiccups here and there.

    Or were you talking about something else with that inflammatory rhetoric?

    It's amazing to me how many supposed patriots of a country that was founded on the principals of equality and democracy are now such big supporters of the bedrock of class based monarchical government: birthright.

  3. Immigration is probably the most baffling issue for me, having grown up in Southern California. Small business owners, primarily Republican, rely heavily on illegal immigrants. Agriculture and construction rely on illegal immigrants as well. Right or wrong, it's small business owners that perpetuate that system.

    Suddenly, illegal immigration is this grand threat? Republicans themselves are the ones concerned about it? It doesn't compute in my brain. Small business in border states rely heavily on immigration. Right or wrong, those lower wages subsidize the costs of meals at restaurants, the food we buy, the houses we... well, houses. You get the picture.

    It's just baffling.

  4. Nothing baffling about it - it's simply a "critical mass" issue.

    If there are more immigrants from one place than can be effectively assimilated into our society, then they will overwhelm our existing society.

    This is one of the reasons that there are limits on the number of immigrants allowed into most countries. We are far from the only nation to impose immigration controls.

    We are reaching this critical mass with illegal immigration from Mexico and Latin America.

    There is a tremendous difference between people coming to America in order to find opportunities to work and improve their lot in life, and people who come to America to take advantage of (and overwhelm) our social safety nets. We are the dumping ground for Mexico's poor, uneducated, and criminals. Dumping them into the United States allows the corrupt oligarchy in Mexico to maintain power, since it removes a lot of pressure from the Mexican economy and society, as well as providing an influx of dollars in remitances sent home by those in the USA.

    Almost half of California's children are now hispanic - they are the largest demographic group in our schools - and about a third are not native English speakers.
    These students use up three times the amount of resources as the average student - extra textbooks, special teachers, translators, special programs, and other resources have to be provided for them at taxpayer expense - limiting the amount of money left to spend on educating other children.
    Hispanics make up the single largest group of inmates in our state prisons, many of these felons entered the country illegally, and continued to violate our laws once here.

    John - the idea that we Europeans invaded North America and stole it from the previous tenants may be true, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to protect what we have from the next wave of invaders and thieves.
    If we want to apply the lessons of history, we must defend our interests from those who would destroy our society and take our lands.

    Criminal gangs are terrorist organizations, by definition and by their actions. Two of the largest, most lethal, most disruptive, and fastest growing gangs are Mexican-American, and comprised in large part of illegals. A third is Salvadorean (?), and also has a large number of illegals in it's ranks.

    So agin I cry: Cthulhu for President! Why settle for the lesser evil!

  5. It's not a 'critical mass' issue, it's a race issue. I realize that this isn't true for everyone who has concerns over immigration, but it is for the majority of those who are up in arms about it, and that's why it's a major political issue today. If race wasn't involved this would be no bigger than any other economic or social problem we face today.

    The handling of the immigration issue is nearly identical to the Republican 'southern strategy' of the 1960s. It simply replaces the fear of blacks with the fear of hispanics.

    The human race hasn't somehow managed to evolve past racism in the past 50 years, and this is just its latest manifestation.

  6. Now, for criminal gangs. They appear wherever you have immigration, legal or illegal; however, those gangs almost always limit their illegal activities to the immigrant community that they are a part of. The exception to this is if there is an attempted prohibition of a vice that is participated in by a large portion of the general populace.

    The early Sicilian immigrant mob restricted its protection rackets to the Sicilian communities. It wasn't until the prohibition of alcohol that they became a threat to the public at large. The same was true of the Irish mobs of the era. Today it's the war on drugs that opens up opportunities for ethnic gangs.

    My point is that if you want to identify the largest root cause of the gang problem, it isn't immigration, legal or otherwise. It's the war on drugs.

    Without that war there'd still be gangs, but they wouldn't be nearly as big of a problem.

  7. In criminal justice it's known as "ethnic succession theory." Each new immigrant population comes through, gets invovled in criminal activity, and as those ethnic groups become more prosperous, they transition out of crime.

    Some groups defy ethnic succession theory, however, either because it's ingrained as PART of their culture, or because factors within society don't allow an ethnicity to prosper.