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  The Creationist Follies
Posted by: pbrower2a - 05-12-2016, 02:14 PM - Forum: Religion, Spirituality and Astrology - Replies (8)

The name is real, and Ken Ham really is a ham.

Ken Ham, the creationist behind the giant Noah’s Ark replica nearing completion in Kentucky, received some pointed questions on Twitter from those who have a problem with the central message in the biblical story.

The Noah tale, which is in the Genesis, involves a massive global flood that wipes out the entire human race save for eight people — and that doesn’t sit right with some(.)

(Basically, God is a murderer if you believe the story of the Great Flood).

Many responded to Ham as he sent out his tweets — with some mocking the ark and the very unbiblical way in which it’s being built(.)


[Image: quote_icon.png] Originally Posted by Taramarie [url=http://www.fourthturning.com/forum/showthread.php?p=556520#post556520][Image: viewpost-right.png]

Quote:That is just one of the many reasons i do not understand why people worship a god who sounds completely evil.

Or even incompetent to aid innocent people in inexcusable peril. Where was God when "Christian' clergy were separating newborns from their pagan parents in Mexico, baptizing them, and then killing them so that their souls would never be imperiled by their parents worshiping Quetzalcoatl? Where was God when Africans were being consigned to the Hell known as a slave ship? Where was God during the Inquisition and the Holocaust?

Is "God" at best a metaphor for physical law and human conscience? So learn mathematics and physics if you want to know how things really are and have a conscience -- then and only then can you commune with God.

...I find the Ark story absurd. Noah would have first had to circumnavigate the world to collect animals as geographically separate as the capybara pair and the Komodo dragons. Then he had to keep the Komodo dragon from killing the capybara He would have needed a huge freshwater aquarium for freshwater fish -- for which the technology did not exist. Did glass then exist? "Forty days and forty nights"? With the technology of early-modern times, that is the time that Columbus took to get from the Old World to the New World or the Mayflower to get from England to Massachusetts. The rain would have been a truly ferocious storm, one unsuitable for the survival of the well-designed clipper ships of the late 19th century. It would take at the least a submarine to get through that storm, ideally nuclear-powered. Then Noah had to deposit the animals where he found them -- pandas in China and jaguars in South America.


During the Last Glacial Maximum, what is now the Persian Gulf was above sea level. Melt-waters from snowy peaks of modern-day Turkey and Iran drained through the Tigris and Euphrates rivers into a river that created a long oasis. It was a paradise for hunter-gatherers, quite possibly the foundation of the legendary Garden of Eden. Bright sunlight and a copious flow of water allowed some great crop yields. Imagine the Nile Valley, only about as cool as the American Great Basin.

This world would exist until the ice sheets melted, at which time the hunter-gatherer paradise was hit with a deluge of incredible proportion That messed up their delicate world badly But the sea level rose and inundated lowlands today now shallow waters including the Persian Gulf. Survivors could not return.

As is true with old stories they get bigger as they are re-told. We get Homer's retelling of the Illiad and the Odyssey, and not an objective account. Maybe there was a nasty one-eyed Cyclops, a person who had lost an eye in battle. As a rule, unwritten stories get bigger and better with time, whether the Epic of Gilgamesh, the Bhagavad-Gita, Ovid's Metamorphoses, or the Kalevala. (I wonder what stories some American First Peoples have. Hurry -- before those people are fully assimilated into Western culute. Write those stiries down if you have access to them -- please!)

Lost world and great Flood. Those would be remembered.

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  It's in the "stars" (predicting by astrology and other means)
Posted by: Eric the Green - 05-12-2016, 01:40 AM - Forum: Religion, Spirituality and Astrology - Replies (251)

I know you are all waiting anxiously for my revised horoscope scoring system for the USA presidents and candidates. I've about finished and have some interesting news items.

It's true that Bernie loses his perfect 10-0 score in the new system. But now he's at 14-5, and still has a higher score than all the candidates of the 2016 race except, believe it or not, George Pataki at 14-4, who never had a chance in his Republican Party. I never really understood how George Pataki could have a good score, but then, I am not a Republican from New York.

3 new aspects that score negative for Bernie were added that basically say that he gets stuck in a rut with his ideas, and gets carried away with his thoughts of transforming things. But, such is as we expect. Most of the potential Democratic candidates today don't look that great; none match Bernie's score. So I'm not sure whom the Democrats can field in the future. Almost all modern presidents (since FDR) have had astronomically high scores in the new system. Obama, for example, now scores 18-3! So did Dubya, and Bill scored 19-2. Even Lincoln only had 16-2, and he and James K Polk had the best scores in the old days.

My new system is much more consistent, with almost all presidents having positive scores and beating their opponent's score. With the Saturn Return factor added, only four of the 57 contests were anomalous. Even in those 4 cases, 3 of the losers went on to become president later. 

The Saturn Return factor is that (since 1824) if Saturn returns to its position in a candidate's horoscope during the election or in the next 4 years (when the candidate is about 55-59 years old), that candidate loses, refuses to run again, dies, or suffers a calamitous presidency that ruins him. All current candidates are clear of this factor. If Andrew Cuomo had run this year, he would have faced a Saturn Return. His score is better now than it was, by the way. He may be one of the few options the Democrats have in the near future. My hopes for Corey Booker just went kaput.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton now has a positive score, if still a weak one: 12-9. But, the other news is that Donald Trump is not as strong in the new scoring system. Now 8-4, it's still higher percentage-wise than most of the Republican field in 2016. Only Pataki and Carly Fiorina have higher scores. Jeb Bush's score went down to 9-11, and Cruz and Kasich have even more dismal scores than they had before. But Hillary can almost catch up with Trump in her scoring percentage with the added, unofficial points for Jupiter, Mercury and Venus rising on her ascendant. Most candidates with Jupiter rising in their charts (including her husband) have won their elections. And no candidate with so low a score (8) on the positive side of the equation has been elected since Herbert Hoover (who had 8-12, now the lowest % score ever to win).

I will post the new revised article soon. Best wishes, and keep the star currents flowing. As above, so below!

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  table test
Posted by: Dan '82 - 05-11-2016, 01:27 PM - Forum: About the Forums and Website - Replies (1)



(05-11-2016, 01:27 PM)Dan Wrote:



(05-11-2016, 01:27 PM)Dan Wrote:


(05-11-2016, 01:27 PM)Dan Wrote:



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Posted by: MillsT_98 - 05-11-2016, 12:04 AM - Forum: Forum feedback - Replies (1)

Is the Generations forum just about generations in general and not how they apply to the turnings? I'm just wondering if they would be put in the Turnings forum instead.

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  The Middle Eastern question
Posted by: MillsT_98 - 05-10-2016, 11:54 PM - Forum: Beyond America - Replies (68)

In Who are you voting in 2016, Kinser and I were talking about the situation in the Middle East, and I decided to post it to this thread so it doesn't completely go off-topic. How will we solve the situation with Syria and ISIS? If we fight the Assad regime in Syria and ally with the rebels (for lack of a better word), then ISIS might take over, and might be a threat to the US and the rest of the Middle East. However, if we fight ISIS instead, then Syrian government might win, leaving us between a rock and a hard place. What would the best course of action be? How would any of this play out militarily? And would any of this lead to World War III?

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  Generational Dynamics World View
Posted by: John J. Xenakis - 05-10-2016, 12:12 PM - Forum: Theories Of History - Replies (3260)

With the death of the Fourth Turning Forum, and with the community
moving to this forum, these are the Generational Dynamics World View

When Neil Howe announced that he was killing the Fourth Turning Forum,
he invited everyone to copy any content they like. There are in fact
hundreds of threads that contain valuable discussion, particularly
about history and other countries. As a public service, I've created
a Generational Dynamics Fourth Turning Forum Archive at


If you're looking for an old thread, you'll find it in the archive
if you're lucky.

John J. Xenakis
100 Memorial Drive Apt 8-13A
Cambridge, MA 02142
Phone: 617-864-0010
E-mail: john@GenerationalDynamics.com
Web site: http://www.GenerationalDynamics.com
Forum: http://www.gdxforum.com/forum
Subscribe to World View: http://generationaldynamics.com/subscribe

*** 10-May-16 World View -- Arab countries seek to overturn the century old Sykes-Picot agreement

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
  • Arab countries seek to overturn the century old Sykes-Picot agreement
  • Syria: A victim of colonial politics
  • Palestine: Sykes-Picot and Balfour Declaration left a 'savage legacy'
  • Lebanon: Survived Sykes-Picot largely intact

**** Arab countries seek to overturn the century old Sykes-Picot agreement

[Image: g160123b.gif]
The 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement split the Mideast between Britain and France (Jewish Virtual Library)

Few American have heard of the Sykes-Picot agreement of May, 1916,
although today it's a matter of widespread interest in the Arab world,
and is considered to be a piece of Western treachery that has caused
untold misery in the Arab world for the last century.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement, named
after Frenchman Francois Georges-Picot and Briton Mark Sykes. The
secret agreement was reached on May 9, 1916, and signed a week later
by Britain, France and Tsarist Russia on May 15, 1916. The purpose of
the agreement was to split up the remains of the Arab countries after
the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, which had ruled them for centuries.

During the British fight against the Turkish Ottomans, the British had
obtained the help of Arab armies by promising that after the war there
would be a truly independent Syrian state that included Palestine,
Transjordan, and Lebanon. However, that promise was made in the
knowledge that it would be betrayed, because the secret Sykes-Picot
agreement described how the region would be split between France and
Britain as their respective colonies. The betrayal was exposed when
the secret agreement was revealed, and that occurred after the
Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, when Leon Trotsky published the
details of the deal in November 1917.

The next betrayal was the Balfour Declaration by the British in 1917,
promising the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine.

The borders set by Sykes-Picot/Balfour have remained largely intact,
with few exceptions. There was the independence of Sudan from Egypt,
and then the secession of South Sudan. North and South Yemen were
unified, as were the United Arab Emirates (UAE). There were also
changes to the Palestinian territories and Palestine, related to the
establishment of Israel.

But there are many Arabs, especially Palestinians, who blame
Sykes-Picot/Balfour as the source of all their misery. The so-called
Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) has specifically said that
Sykes-Picot is dead, but other nationalist Arab groups are calling for
its abolition, mostly for local political reasons. The Kurds have
been leading the calls for an end to Sykes-Picot, and the creation of
a Kurdistan state.

In the past two decades, and especially since the "Arab Spring" of
2011, the Arab world has been disintegrating, with wars in Syria,
Libya, Iraq and Yemen. Many Arabs blame todays troubles on the
Sykes-Picot agreement that was signed a century ago.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, to suggest that the
Arab world has disintegrated in the war because of an agreement signed
in 1917 is nonsense. The Mideast has been in an almost constant state
of war for centuries, and no Western agreement could have either
caused or prevented further wars. As I've been writing for years, the
entire Mideast is headed for massive sectarian and ethnic wars, and
those wars are coming about because of powerful generational forces
that no politicians can control.

The Gulf News has done a series of articles on the effects of the
Sykes-Picot agreement on different Mideast countries, and those
articles are summarized in the sections below. Globe and Mail (Canada) and Sputnik News (Moscow) and Deutsche Welle

**** Syria: A victim of colonial politics

As the Ottomans were leaving Syria in 1920, the French forces landed
on Syria's coast and started marching toward Damascus, with the
specific objective of taking control of France's share of the
Sykes-Picot agreement. The French crushed the Syrian army, imposed
martial rule, and divided Syria into border-free mini-states. Syria's
borders with the British Mandate Palestine, the newly-created State of
Greater Lebanon, and the newly created emirate of Transjordan were all
set by the French.

Syria declared a republic in 1932, and became independent in 1946,
when it was a co-founder of both the Arab League and the United

Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser merged Syria and Egypt in 1958
to form the United Arab Republic (UAR). It lasted only 43 months, and
crashed in September 1961. The UAR was an attempt to reshape the
borders defined by Sykes-Picot, however it failed and the original
borders are still standing. Gulf News (Dubai) and Gulf News

**** Palestine: Sykes-Picot and Balfour Declaration left a 'savage legacy'

As the Ottoman armies retried, the British, with the help of their
Arab allies, conquered Palestine and all of Greater Syria. The
British administered Palestine directly until they received a mandate
from the League of Nations that ran from 1923 to 1948. At the same
time, the British favored the Zionist agenda of creating a
protectorate and a government based on "some kind of Council to be
established by the Jews."

This was formulated in 1917 by the Balfour Declaration, issued by
British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour that, "His Majesty’s
government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a
national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors
to facilitate the achievement of this object." This is considered by
the Arabs to be a double-cross, a betrayal of well-documented British
promises to seek an Arab government of the territories liberated from
the Ottomans.

In the decades that followed, Jewish colonies and Zionist aspirations
advanced steadily, culminated in the 1948 Naqba ("Catastrophe"), the
creation of the State of Israel, and the bloody crisis war that
evicted more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes. For Arabs,
and especially Palestinians, this is the savage legacy of the
Sykes-Picot agreement and the Balfour Declaration, causing enormous
suffering and misery to the present day. Gulf News (Dubai) and Gulf News

**** Lebanon: Survived Sykes-Picot largely intact

Lebanon has existed for thousands of years, home of Christians,
Muslims, Druze, Maronites, and others. Lebanon came out pretty well
in the 1919 Paris Versailles Peace Conference. One reason was
sympathy for Lebanon because during the war, an Ottoman embargo lead
to a famine in which 200,000 died in Mount Lebanon alone. So Lebanon
survived intact, and elected a president in 1926. The French mandate
was terminated with independence in 1943. Gulf News (Dubai)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Sykes-Picot Agreement, Francois Georges-Picot, Mark Sykes,
Turkey, Ottoman Empire, Balfour Declaration, Palestine,
Russia, Leon Trotsky, Bolshevik Revolution, Transjordan,
Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh,
Egypt, Jamal Abdul Nasser, United Arab Republic, UAR,
League of Nations, Naqba, Israel,
Christians, Muslims, Druze, Maronites

Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Contribute to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

John J. Xenakis
100 Memorial Drive Apt 8-13A
Cambridge, MA 02142
Phone: 617-864-0010
E-mail: john@GenerationalDynamics.com
Web site: http://www.GenerationalDynamics.com
Forum: http://www.gdxforum.com/forum
Subscribe to World View: http://generationaldynamics.com/subscribe

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  Is Connecticut the Best State to Live In?
Posted by: pbrower2a - 05-10-2016, 09:49 AM - Forum: General Political Discussion - Replies (37)

(Mostly taken, if selectively, from an old T4T thread of my creation)

Connecticut has eked out a narrow victory over the cradle of the American Revolution in this fascinating report on overall well-being. The 2013-14 report, released yesterday by Measure of America, under the auspices of the Social Science Research Council, slices and dices America’s performance not just on income, but on various metrics of health and education as well.

The rankings are based on the American Human Development Index (HDI) , “an alternative to GDP” that aims to summarize not just how rich Americans are, but how we’re doing on the things that we presumably want riches for: a long and healthy life in which everyone can make the most of their talents and interests. The American index is derived from the U.N.’s Human Development Index (on which, by the way, the U.S. currently ranks third in the world, after Norway and Australia).

I first became familiar with the American version of the index (and the haunting inequalities it reveals) while examining why Massachusetts is pretty much the best model we have for the healthy, wealthy, well-educated future most Americans want. http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/..._place_to.html

The full PDF report here

Not surprisingly, Mississippi is at the bottom. Educational achievement accounts for about 83% of the difference. Per capita income is not enough to decide which people live well and which don't. At an extreme

State GDP per capita, which measures a state’s total economic activity, is much higher in Louisiana (17th in the US) than in Vermont (34th). But residents in the Pelican State are not better off than their Green Mountain State counterparts as a result of the increased economic activity…people in Vermont can expect to live nearly five years longer than people in Louisiana and are less than half as likely to lack a high school diploma.

But HDI in Vermont, a state in which nobody expects to get rich, ranks 15th in HDI... and Louisiana ranks 46th (District of Columbia included).

So wealth doesn’t necessarily lead to longer lives and better education. It’s possible to argue, of course, that Vermont’s social investments are holding the state back economically—that it might be richer if it focused less on education and health. But even if a state was paying some GDP penalty for its social priorities (and Connecticut, Massachusetts, and so on don’t seem to be), that only clarifies the question that the Measure of America report hopes to raise: Why focus so exclusively on GDP growth, instead of a mixed measure of wealth and improved human outcomes?

Maybe Vermont government is unusually effective even with limited resources to tax for spending, but the politicians get things right and people may have healthy patterns of life. Louisiana government has been infamous for incompetence, corruption, neglect, and demagoguery... and maybe the people eat too much, smoke too much, and exercise too little. (Ironically, Louisiana has the best [Cajun] regional cuisine in America, but one can maintain a healthy weight on it. One must lay off the beer, sweet rolls, sugary sodas, and pralines, of course, but only one of those is specifically associated with Louisiana).

[Image: quote_icon.png] Originally Posted by Eric the Green [Image: viewpost-right.png]
I would expect that a lot of the GDP in states like Louisiana consists of revenue from fossil fuels, in this case offshore oil wells, which may create some jobs, but mostly the economic benefit goes to the oil companies, and probably to foreign ones like BP to boot.

(I say)

True. Which explains why many countries have nationalized their fossil-fuel resources. Even the Shah of Iran did.

(I add now)

Extractive industries are good for one quick binge of prosperity from early investment in capital that creates a one-time boom. They do not create jobs in proportion to the easy money for foreign investors, local owners, or governments that typically take their cuts. The jobs created are well-suited for young workers with well-developed physical strength but little training. "Oil-field roustabout" or "miner" are not good choices for people who want to work into their forties and fifties. If fatal accidents or crippling injuries do not end one's job, then the work so degrades one's body that one will be obliged to retire young from the activity. The pay is good for a strong, healthy worker, but how long does one stay strong and healthy?

Years ago a Venezuelan politician called petroleum la mierda del Diablo -- the $#!+ of the Devil -- for its perverse effects upon the Venezuelan people.

Here's something interesting -- how 'developed' the states are (in order) , and how they voted for President in 2008 and 2012).

New Jersey
District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New York
Rhode Island


North Dakota

South Dakota


North Carolina

New Mexico
South Carolina
West Virginia

Obama both 2008 and 2012
Split in 2008 and 2012
McCain 2008, Romney 2012

*The Second Congressional District of Nebraska (largely Omaha) split in 2008 from Nebraska itself in its voting but voted with the rest of the state in 2012.

Quote Originally Posted by pbrower2a

Here's something interesting -- how 'developed' the states are (in order) , and how they voted for President in 2008 and 2012).
You mean the human development index, I take it. Not industrialized or urbanized.

A pretty good indicator of the red/blue split, and by no means the only one.

The report's conclusion:

In general, the analyses that Measure of America has conducted for this
and other reports show that investing in the health and education of
Americans pays huge dividends to them and to the country as a whole.
If all we care about is a growing economy, than that’s all we should pay
attention to; GDP and other economic metrics suit that purpose well.
But if we care about the ability of all Americans to live freely chosen
lives of value, to realize their personal American Dreams, then shining a
spotlight on the actual conditions of people’s lives in communities around
the country is critical.

Last edited by Eric the Green; 06-23-2013 at 08:16 AM. (subsequently edited by me)

Eric the Green;473537 Wrote:You mean the human development index, I take it. Not industrialized or urbanized.

A pretty good indicator of the red/blue split, and by no means the only one.

I say:

HDI recognizes the effectiveness of a community not only in extracting wealth (the easy part) but also in distributing it fairly, people using their incomes wisely, and having a government that uses its tax revenues effectively. If all goes well, then people enjoy as good health as is possible, get good educations, and have cause to trust their governments. They probably also face low crime rates. If all goes well they have cause for hope. Note the contrast between Vermont and Louisiana.

Much relates to life expectancy and to personal habits. People who smoke and drink heavily will pay a high price in degenerative diseases. Such probably knocks Kentucky way down from its neighbors to the north. Even if people face low taxes on cancerweed products as in Kentucky anything that they spend on them cuts into personal welfare. Kentucky also has a drinking culture reflecting one of its high-profile businesses -- distilled liquors. Of course it is possible to get drunk on beer and wine, but distilled liquors promote pathological drinking -- and much spouse abuse, violent crime, and highway carnage.

Of course it is easy for someone in a "blue" state like Michigan to make fun of Kentucky or Mississippi. But here we have our own problems due to our own neglect. Michigan was the most prosperous state in the Union in the 1950s when an estimated quarter of all GDP was somehow spent on cars. To be sure Michigan was a net consumer of motor fuels, but most of the cars were built in Michigan. So were the aftermarket parts from spark plugs to windshield wipers. Anyone with a good work ethic and a healthy body could make a good living in Michigan as a worker on an assembly line... and the auto assembly line worker could enjoy a middle-class standard of living. The political system favored the more conservative rural areas that liked low taxes and laws favorable to the dairy industry (oleomargarine was long banned in Michigan and then made difficult to buy through legislation). But because of the rural areas and the limited need for education (dropping out of school to take a job in an auto plant was a common trajectory), Michigan could get away with low levels of government spending. It spend heavily on a road system, with Detroit having more miles of freeway than any other American city except Los Angeles (unless one sees NYC-area parkways as "freeways").

The state failed to invest as much of its bounty on public services as it could have when things were going well. Now that the auto industry in Michigan has shrunk because cars last longer and much of the auto industry has moved elsewhere. The sorts of people who used to make good livings in auto plants are lucky to get jobs in fast-food places or as domestic servants. Rural Michigan might still be somewhat like Iowa, but urban Michigan is increasingly like bad southern cities. Just think of Detroit -- in bankruptcy due to an inability to adapt. Its city government has been corrupt, wasteful, incompetent, and improvident. The model of economic success in Michigan is a pizza chain and that chain's ownership of two successful sports franchises. (I wish that that family would get control of the pitiable Detroit Kittens football team). So if you 'live' in Michigan, all that you might be able to do is watch televised sports at night and stuff yourself with junk food and cheap domestic beer. The Tigers are good, but they play a boring style of baseball. Michigan is the one state that regressed in absolute rating between 2000 and 2010.

... The political connection should be obvious. The top seventeen states and DC all voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. The next twenty or so states split almost evenly -- and that goes down to Indiana and North Carolina (and those were #38 and #39). Of the bottom twelve, only one (New Mexico) voted for President Obama -- and he lost by margins characteristic of George McGovern in the other of those twelve states. Those twelve are on the whole miserable places in which to live, as shown by the low percentage of people with graduate degrees in all of those states except New Mexico. People with graduate degrees are mobile, and New Mexico has its share of physicists (Johnson Space Center near Las Cruces; the Sandia Lab). Sandia was set up in the 1940s by the University of California for the nuclear program so that it would be out of reach for carrier-based bombers and it had to be attractive to people who were in the paradise known as the San Francisco Bay Area. Northern New Mexico has some good ski slopes that the Bay Area does not have.

OK -- Nebraska is a fairly-good place to live even without a resource boom. Utah gets blue-state results despite the right-wing LDS Church having huge influence. Alaska seems to be using its oil boom somewhat well. Kansas seems much like Nebraska. If conservative government gets good results it will get entrenched*. On the other side... Nevada and New Mexico have Blue-State politics but awful infrastructure; Michigan and Ohio have state governments trying to guide those states toward cheap labor, severe inequality, and underdeveloped infrastructure as in the bottom rank. The Michigan Snake Legislature has enacted Right-to-Work legislation intended to gut whatever power unions ever had. It's trying to make the state another Oklahoma, if without the oil... but Oklahoma is an abject failure on HDI.

So maybe America splits largely along lines of whether people trust the government to do well for them with good schools and public-health services and whether people like cheap smokes, plenty of liquor, and cheap domestic help but prefer not having their superstitions challenged.. Ethnicity has its own divides, with poor blacks and Hispanics knowing that the "red" solutions keeping them poor but poor whites largely accepting "red" solutions that fit their core beliefs.

*So what does that say about the "red" states with poor results? In 1976 most of them voted for Jimmy Carter. In 1992 and 1996 most of them voted for Bill Clinton, probably reflecting the short-lived alliance of poor whites and poor blacks on economic issues in the wake of the Civil Rights movement. Most of those states have gone from being largely-Democratic in local politics and voting for Democratic nominees for President in years other than Republican blowouts to being (at least among whites) largely-Republican in local politics and voting for Republican nominees for President in.

It's possible to have statistical measures that exaggerate one measure over others. Mississippi would obviously be close to the top in church attendance per capita, low cost of labor, and cotton production per capita while Massachusetts would be toward the bottom. Wow! If you are a chain smoker, you would definitely prefer cancerweed-friendly Kentucky to a state like California that taxes the Hell out of tobacco. Never mind that Kentucky is a political and economic sewer.

Crime rates were not mentioned -- but on the whole, such would really hurt the states already at the bottom. New York City is the safest big city with respect to crime. Like being raped and subjected to armed robbery? Then work in a convenience store in the Dallas-Fort Worth area or Greater Houston. But if you want automobile ownership as a measure of economic achievement, New York City is at the bottom. People who work in Texas convenience stores (and as a rule they are very badly paid) have and need cars so that they can work, but middle-class people rely heavily on public transportation in New York City.

Before the boom in natural gas, North Dakota was a largely-conservative state that got good results cheaply. But note well that a resource boom comes with a price. North Dakota now has a severe housing shortage, and people can endure ungodly commutes. Resource booms rely heavily on young workers with short careers who are untrained for anything else but construction and energy field work... and once their careers are over they are wrecks. Often ill-educated, the roustabouts bring their kids along or have them... and considering where many of them are from (like Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma) you can expect to see the school achievement scores plummet.

School test scores? Those were not mentioned. In general, urbanized states with real winters do far better than those without real winters. California does badly for school test scores and Kansas does well. Could it be that large cities in California find it difficult to keep teachers in the classroom when the skill set of a good teacher is good for salespeople and people in the tourist trade. Bad teachers find few alternatives, and the only good teachers are those who couldn't imagine giving up teaching for more lucrative activities like bar-tending or selling real estate. In the rural Plains states, teaching is a very good job from an economic standpoint... and kids are well motivated if they want to get off the family farm because they have the ability to do something other than milk cows or run a combine.

But this is beyond denial: even if one ignores per capita income (which can easily be absorbed in high living costs) then Connecticut, which has an 80.8-year life expectancy at birth, 11.4% of its adult population with less than a high-school diploma, 35.5% of all adults have at least a bachelor's degree, and 15.3% of adults have graduate or professional degrees is a much better place than Mississippi, in which the life expectancy at birth is 75.0 years, 19% of all adults have less than a high-school education, and only 7.1% of the people have a graduate or professional degree. Maybe Mississippians smoke more, drink more, or have bad eating habits... but that is connected to the level of formal education.

Credit scores are a relevant metric for determining the quality of life. Unlike GDP per capita they can make their own adjustments for the cost of living and for the degree of economic equality in a State.   

It's been done.

T-1 Hawaii, Minnesota 667
3 Wisconsin 663
4 District of Columbia 660
5 Massachusetts 659
6 New Jersey 658
7 New York 657
T-8 California, Vermont 656
10 Washington

T-11 Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut 652
14 Utah 650
15 Oregon 648
T-16 Illinois,
North Dakota 647
T-18 Iowa, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Virginia 646
T-22 Montana, Rhode Island 645
24 South Dakota 644
25 Idaho 643

26 Maryland 642
T-27 Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Pennsylvania 641
T-31 New Mexico, Wyoming 637
T-33 Florida, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio 636
37 Delaware 635

38 North Carolina 634
39 Georgia 633
T-40 Indiana, Missouri 632
42 Texas 631
43 Tennessee 629
44 Oklahoma 628
45 Kentucky 627
46 West Virginia 626
47 Arkansas 623
T- 48 Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina 622
51 Mississippi 613

Here, Connecticut drops significantly and Minnesota goes to the top.

Does anyone see a correlation between credit scores and statewide HDI? Political results

Obama twice
Obama once
Obama never

It's certainly not race. DC has a high average credit score and Mississippi has the worst. DC has a larger percentage of blacks than does Mississippi. Maryland and Delaware do worse in credit scores than their statewide HDI. California has a huge Hispanic population in proportion to its population and a good statewide credit score -- but so does Arizona, which is just below the median.

It's not income, either. Louisiana does well in income (17th in GDP per capita) but is tied for second-worst for statewide credit scores. Vermont is tied for eighth in statewide credit scores.  (In fact, income is rarely part of the assessment of a credit score unless for a giant purchase such as a house or car or for a gigantic credit line).  A worker in a sweatshop or a small-town clergyman might have a low income but good credit, and a store owner with a high income might have very poor credit.  

States being stressed economically due to declines in key industries (Michigan, Nevada, Ohio) do badly.

The connection between statewide credit scores to HDI might reflect the competence of State and local governments to meet basic human needs. The Federal government is effectively the same everywhere.  I suspect that well-educated people have better habits that allow them more economic resilience in hard times, to have some savings socked away, to be more mobile, to be less sentimental, and to be more decisive in their actions  so that they can go from Michigan to Minnesota. A good welfare system might ensure that people get help when they need it most and keep people from facing shut-offs of utilities; keep people from having to choose between food, rent, and medical bills; take away the need to write hot checks -- all of which put people in trouble with their credit scores. Mass poverty (often related to poor educational achievement) is the norm in several states with low statewide credit scores.

Of course such bad habits as smoking and pathological drinking have their contributions to poor health and (due to expense) economic distress.

Credit scores may be the best measure of all. $40K a year goes much further in San Antonio than in New York City -- or in Mississippi than in Hawaii.

Other possible explanations:

DC, Maryland, and Virginia are near the top in HDI because they (and federal employers and contractors and lobbying firms) attract degreed professionals. What does Mississippi have to offer? But note well that Maryland does not do so well in credit scores. Maryland is prosperous around DC, but Baltimore is reputedly a dump. Government employees are probably good credit risks due to steady income.

Of the top 21 states and DC in credit scores, seventeen went for Barack Obama twice. The four others are very conservative in their politics... but Alaska has a good welfare system funded by a severance tax on petroleum. Utah looks like a very blue state and would probably be such except for the political influence of the very right-wing LDS Church... but the Mormons take care of their own and anyone in Utah (let us say a Roman Catholic) must follow the pattern, which I can't say about Southern Baptists. Utah is without question a right-wing success story. Nebraska does much well. If you want your kids to get a good education despite low taxes you could hardly do better than in rural Nebraska.

I told you that Maryland and Delaware do far worse in credit scores than their HDI would indicate. Idaho and Montana, poor in HDI, do well in credit scores. Go figure.

The ten states at the bottom in credit scores are also low in HDI. In general they have gone from being strong Democratic states in Presidential elections to strongly Republican in Presidential elections. Their Congressional delegations have gone from overwhelmingly Democratic to overwhelmingly Republican in the last 40 years. Every one of them voted for Jimmy Carter in a close Presidential election in 1976, and every one of them voted for John McCain by at least 10% in 2008. Among their twenty Senators, almost all of whom were Democrats forty years ago, only four of them are now Democrats -- and this has all happened as the Republican Party has gone from the center-right (Gerald Ford, Nelson Rockefeller) to the Hard Right (Pat Toomey, Scott Walker).

The Right has been touting these states as oases of job creation, but it is hard to see how lives are so great in those states. Poor credit scores would seem to correlate closely to economic uncertainty and distress.

Originally Posted by Copperfield Wrote:Not surprisingly Connecticut is the best state to live in for people who really enjoy living in Connecticut. Of course I’ve known several people who didn’t enjoy living there and who left as soon as they were able.

The measures may be controversial, but they are objective. They do not account for such aspects of life as climate, traffic, taxes, scenery, and recreational opportunities. I can think of other states far superior to Connecticut on one or more aspects. Hate the fire-and-ice climate of southern New England? OK, Iowa is really bad at that, too. Traffic? You can zip along on Interstate 94 in North Dakota faster than you can travel on the Connecticut Turnpike, of course. You might have a longer distance to travel. Of course if you are in southwestern Connecticut you are a short distance away from the cultural attractions of New York City. If you are in North Dakota you have a long drive to Omaha, Minneapolis, Denver, or Salt Lake City to find any sophisticated culture not on a music or video disc. Maybe you would rather go surfing or skiing not available in Connecticut. Scenery? Michigan at least has plenty of lakes, and Vermont is better known for its autumn foliage.

Connecticut surely has high taxes to support a good educational system, so maybe one might prefer Mississippi taxes. The best of both worlds -- low taxes and good public services -- is rarely available.

Quote:This is no different than living in any other place of course. Some people like living in some places and not in others which is usually why they live where they live.

Some people are so sentimental that they not only can tolerate living in an objectively-awful place but couldn't imagine living anywhere else. There are people who would never leave the nastiest slum because they believe that they could never cope with anything else. There are even people who like prison life. But just the same someone disappointed with his life in San Antonio might be unwise to move to Minneapolis because his friends and family are all in greater San Antonio. Likewise, some 30-year-old Alabaman with a tenth-grade education who works in a filling station is not going to fit in easily among government administrators, attorneys, lobbyists, and academics after making a move to northern Virginia.

So what? One could come up with all sorts of measurements from average annual temperature (but that would hardly distinguish San Francisco from St. Louis) to the average length of the commute, church attendance per capita, population density (Manhattan best, Death Valley worst -- or vice-versa), cost of real estate, crime rate, proximity to a symphony orchestra, proximity to an enclosed shopping mall... If you love to gamble you might love Nevada and hate Utah.

I can't deny that someone who owns a large cotton farm in Mississippi and loves the way of life of growing cotton and of course wouldn't live any other way might find San Francisco interesting and even stimulating... but will be back to Mississippi fast. Likewise, some states have their own regional differences, and nobody would confuse California's Central Valley with either Greater Los Angeles or the Mojave Desert. You might leave your heart in San Francisco, but probably not Stockton or Bakersfield.

Quote:I tend to find these best/worst place lists to be among the worst forms of pseudo-intellectual drivel. As near as I am able to tell they are periodically sprayed across various media sources and snapped up by political simpletons with an axe to grind against the hated rivals. Most times the people dumping these turds on forums have travelled as much of the countryside as had Samwise had before he followed Frodo out of town.

I brought up the original article -- and I looked for a measure that objectively adjusted income for living cost. I found credit scores as an alternative to the original article and found that they dovetailed closely with HDI. Although there were differences between the measures, they were close enough in rankings that one could replace one with the other and find them good proxies for each other. It is significant that the "red" states lump toward the bottom and the "blue" states lump near the top even if there are blatant outliers. A state like Utah or Nebraska may get 'blue' results with 'red' government, which merits praise.

Although personal low credit scores may reflect character faults (such as living beyond one's means, unwise use of resources), low credit scores statewide don't indicate that people in Wisconsin have better character than people in Louisiana. They more likely indicate more economic distress. One can connect such to low educational achievement, incompetent or insensitive government, the absence of a strong safety net, and political commitment to low-wage businesses. I note that those states at the bottom of the list have gone very far to the political Right... and that the Right has solved little except to attract low-wage jobs that keep people in economic distress.

I can assure you -- people threatening to leave California or New York for lower income taxes are bluffing. They aren't going to like Oklahoma. They might try to move business there due to the lax regulatory climate, a tax climate that favors high income and cheap labor.

School completion is a valid concern. The percentage of people with college degrees and post-grad degrees is valid. GDP per capita is valid. Life expectancy at birth indicates some difference in the ways of life, even if it is only that people are excessively sedentary or obese or drink pathologically and smoke. All in all I would rather invest where people have good habits (activity, healthy weight, not smoking, not drinking to excess) and have flexibility on the job because they are well educated. Cheap labor that smokes, eats badly, drinks pathologically, and can't think of anything better to do at night than watch TV might cost you in medical expenses.

Eric the Green;473771 Wrote:It is a human development index. It means you are more "developed," on that scale. Results differ on different scales, but the overall trend is more than clear. Blue states are better places to live than red states. And that's no accident. It's a choice.

Indeed Copperfield seems to be applying a fallacy of composition. Somebody living in Connecticut could be destitute; someone living in Mississippi might be part of a farm family -- the farm family being a plantation with a huge acreage of cotton and lumber with some cattle tossed in -- and the family is rich by practically any standard. But we need to remember -- many of the choices that contribute to good health and prosperity apply anywhere. Does one want a long and healthy life? Don't smoke, keep physically active, don't participate in sexual recklessness, control your weight, get good dental care, and drink in moderation if at all. If Kentucky has a lowered life expectancy because a disproportionate number of Kentucky residents smoke like chimneys, then one can do better than fellow Kentuckians by not smoking; likewise, chain smoking poses the same deleterious effect whether one is in Kentucky or Utah. As for education -- parents can help their kids by turning off the electronic entertainments, separating them from mass low culture as much as possible, and by putting a value on education. One can be a schmuck in Minnesota or a schmuck in Louisiana -- and the consequences are much the same. Money? People who waste it end up in trouble.

OK, how well one does in life is not entirely location. But escaping poverty is obviously more difficult in Arkansas than in New Jersey, and consequences of poverty are likely more severe in Arkansas than in New Jersey.

Quote:If they want to be developed, yes. More than likely they should reconsider their behavior in a voting booth (or their failure to enter one, and then behave correctly); if they would like to be more developed, or would like their state to be so.

The irony is that the bottom states in the bottom of the HDI and credit score scales have not always had right-wing government so obedient toward economic elites and so neglectful of all others. Note that 40 years ago most of them (Oklahoma excepted) were more Democratic than the US as a whole. Those ten now have only two Democratic Senators and two Democratic Governors. Their House delegations have gone from largely Democratic to overwhelmingly Republican. To be sure the Democrats in the South were often pieces of work, but Southern white people have been going Republican as the Republican Party has gone far to the Right. Current Republicans do not resemble Gerald Ford, Bob Packwood, Jacob Javits, Ed Brooke, Hugh Scott, or Charles Percy.

Quote:True. But these measurements ... are no more "actual" than those in the survey. Your ideology gets in the way, as usual. This survey is not about personal preferences or recommendations about where to live, but about general trends among the states.

Of course location isn't everything. Note well that two states fairly low on the list (Michigan and Ohio) have been faring badly despite going for Democratic nominees for President in four or six of the most recent Presidential elections. Those two used to fare better, but they have gone through some hard economic times. Maybe they failed to hedge against the weakening of the auto industry. Detroit has good revenue sources and ought to do well in providing basic human services such as education and public health -- yet corruption is rampant, and it wastes human potential. Sure, sanitation, public health, and elementary education are unglamorous -- but those are the basics. Do badly at those and you fail as a community.

The current Michigan government seems to have Oklahoma as a model for low taxes, low wages, enhanced power for corporate elites, entrenched right-wing politics, and reduced services. That is an inapt model, and the only good thing that one can say about Oklahoma as a model is that Oklahoma isn't Mississippi.

Quote:I would probably like CT, if you (Copperfield) don't. Who knows? But your statement seems to me to imply that your state placed low on the list. I would say that's probably because there are too many people there who think government is a problem. IOW, a red state. But if you are happy there, then I am happy for you too.

I would not stay in Michigan if I had a meaningful choice. Indiana is not a meaningful choice, and neither is Ohio -- let alone just about any Southern state. Michigan may solve its problems, but likely not before I am far too old to care.

Eric the Green;473753 Wrote:(to Copperfield) Personal income, degrees earned, life expectancy are quite cut and dried, tangible measurements. And yet you claim personal experience is no basis for truth, but you claim I have to visit a place personally in order to somehow "know it," whatever that means in your scientific worldview. I don't know what it would mean.

Why, because you like it?

What mathematical measurement is that "reasonable certainty" based on?

Personal experience can always be contradicted. I have some fond memories of a 1982 Chrysler LeBaron convertible, but I once saw a review of old convertibles that ripped the car. Basically it was loud and slow; it's only virtue was that it got good gas mileage and was a convertible. OK. I understand. It was loud enough (due to road noise) that I couldn't hear the radio unless I turned (the radio volume) way up, and it was slow enough that I couldn't keep up with someone with better acceleration.

Do I need to travel to North Korea or Syria to recognize what miserable places they are? The South Korean government can turn a North Korean infiltrator in two days. The second day involves a trip to a South Korean supermarket, an institution considered banal in the advanced industrial world but remarkable in much of the rest.

On a personal scale one can live to age 100 in Mississippi if everything goes right, and one can die in Connecticut at a very young age because of some pediatric cancer. Luck may matter more in many aspects of life than skill and the difference between good choices and bad ones. For most people, luck evens out.

On a larger scale -- in contrast to Connecticut, Mississippi is objectively awful. Mississippi is a perfectly good place to live if one is part of its economic elite but otherwise at best a compromise and at worst dreadful. Poverty is severe and widespread. HDI may say much about the effectiveness of state and local governments (the states all have the same Federal government) at meeting basic needs. States toward the bottom are most likely underperforming in public health, sanitation, and elementary education. They might have politics consistent with the idea that so long as the economic elites get what they want all else either takes care of itself or does not matter in the grand scheme of things. I look at HDI and I conclude that it is far harder to get out of poverty in some states than in others.

Maybe poor education and severe inequality foster bad habits -- like educational underperformance while in school, dropping out of school, reliance upon mass low culture for experiences, patronage of payday lenders, reckless sexuality, smoking, obesity, and pathological drinking. Maybe bad politics as well.

Eric the Green;473975 Wrote:I think they are appropriate tools; they used important measures of valid considerations in comparing states as places to live. However, where to live also involves many personal factors too, and other measurements and situations besides those measured on that scale, and it is certainly a personal decision, and depends on your values and circumstances as well. It is clear though that by almost any similar such measure, blue states outperform red states. That is because, unlike libertarians, they recognize that government is not necessarily "the problem," but can also be a solution.

Everyone has his values. What matters greatly to one person might not matter greatly to another. Some people find cold weather exhilarating; some find it exasperating. Some love wide-open spaces, and some need a crowd. Some love to be near a well-stocked public library, and some love to pump coins into slot machines.

The measures used in HDI are objective in one sense; there can be no compensation for ill health, undereducation, or economic distress. If life expectancy at birth is higher in Connecticut than in Mississippi by a full 5.8 years, then something is wrong in Mississippi. A state with a high percentage of school dropouts is likely to have a high crime rate with consequent suffering. A state with a small percentage of its people having college degrees probably has difficulties even in grade school. A state with a low percentage of people with post-graduate degrees might be the sort that has few attractions for such people.

I was not convinced of the validity of per capita income for the simple reason that $40K a year goes much further in Mississippi than in Connecticut... but if few people are making a good living on the job, then the tax base can't be so great. I found the statewide credit scores a good proxy for wealth and poverty -- or for economic contentment and economic deprivation. To be sure, people can have low credit scores because of their financial recklessness, but in a state with low credit scores, the problem may be that people are having trouble meeting utility costs and medical bills. Credit scores do not measure income.

Quote: But it is interesting that libertarians insist on personal, individual "freedom" (so called) in all ... explanations and political positions, but many ... also embrace the objective, materialist standpoint that totally denies this.

Libertarianism has yet to have the time in which to work out the contradictions -- most notably conflicts of freedom.

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Video The Moral Rubicon -- Sargon
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