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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 24,979

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The "Number Two" stuff wasn't based on fuzzy intelligence!

It is based on a non-fuzzy understanding of how PR a.k.a. bullshit works. It's ludicrous to you or me. But it's plenty good for the real target audience, which is Wolf Blitzer et al. (Do you think he remembers how many Number Twos have been croaked since 9/11? Only the latest one counts.)

Vietnam bodycount redux.

Much less complicated than to claim X original enemies, minus Y enemies killed, equals Z enemies left. Just say you killed the most important ones this week, so victory is always near.

You have an interesting recollection of the history.

It's hard to imagine a more successful primary season for the Democratic party than the one in 2008. More than 35 million people were mobilized to participate. All the interest was focused on Obama and Clinton. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, it was pure crickets as an old man (in the sense of old, old ideas) plodded to a predetermined result. Lesson: Democracy (as imperfect as it was) is not to be feared!

As for your platitude about the effect of open primaries, I guess we'll see! Prior history does not guarantee future results, as the Wall Streeters say...

Interesting: List of open primary states

Here is a list of open-primary states with the number of their electoral votes as a very rough gauge of their influence on the outcome (total 169 unless I made a mistake adding).

South Carolina would be the first one voting next year.

Alabama (9)
Arkansas (6)
Arizona (11)
Georgia (16)
Illinois (20)
Massachusetts (11) (All races' primaries open for "unenrolled"/unaffiliated voters only)
Michigan (16)
Mississippi (6)
Missouri (10)
North Carolina (15)
North Dakota (3)
South Carolina (9)
Tennessee (11)
Vermont (3)
Virginia (13)
Wisconsin (10)

Open, but not for presidential elections:

Hawaii (Open primary for state, local, and congressional races; caucus system for presidential races.)

EDIT: To add Illinois and correct total.

EDIT II: To note that Wikipedia sucks and point you to a more complete list that includes Ohio, Texas and Louisiana, and thus puts it close to half of the total electoral votes. Rules vary, however.


EDIT 3: To apologize as I just saw that the link is a GOP site, but the info seems good.

I don't start from any assumption about atheists.

Being one myself, at least with regard to sentient single-entity planner-creators of everything, and knowing a great many otherwise.

I have developed a particular set of observations about the counterproductive, narrow New Atheist schtick, however, mostly from first-hand experience of going to a bunch of NA-inflected atheist meetings some years ago in New York. Mostly likable people (unlike, say their matinee idols, Harris, Hitchens and Maar) and not bad as drinking partners. Tend to be on the autistic-libertarian-idealist side of things, not that I mind too much. Their PR sense is certainly terrible, as with the series of Santa ads, and they're willing to pander to nationalism, as with the campaign to get "under God" out of the Pledge of Allegiance. (The only credible and consistent position with regard to Pledges of Allegiance is that the entire text should be struck and forgotten as a quasi-totalitarian relic.) The worldview is too narrow. It's not enough to make a drama out of rejecting non-natural gods and pretend this is the first solution to the ills of the world.

It's not their audience at all.

The billboard trolls fundamentalists with a triviality. (Who says church is necessarily a bad thing, by the way? Something that New Atheists do not understand from their position of privilege at all - that people want community.)

Ahem, as I was saying: The billboard cannot possibly win over fundamentalists. It is designed to troll them and prompt them to react, so as to produce headlines and responses back in the neighborhoods of the New Atheists, so that they can feel smug as though they did something that matters.

Why are they telling people to skip church (where their friends may be) as opposed to making a logical or doctrinal point about the dangers of fanatical irrational belief? Do you see the difference? This is just insulting the people for being stupid - a form of ad hominem. It doesn't make an argument against what they believe.
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