Charlesviper's Waterfall RSS

This personal waterfall shows you all of Charlesviper's arguments, looking across every debate.
2 points

Okay, how can I write this.

OSX runs well because of it's streamlined and high-quality hardware. Most computers ship with more than 1GB of RAM, which is great for stablity. A lot of people who think XP is "slow" have 256/512MB. Despite this, however, it is not stable in every situation. In many situations, it will still freeze up. It is not perfect for everyone.

6 points

I enjoy playing devil's advocate on this website, so I'll through in a couple of arguments that Dubya isn't quite as bad as everyone says.

1) Loss of civil liberties.

We often lambast the Patriot Act for it's clear infringement on our civil liberties. Wireless wiretapping, hacking into email servers, intercepting long distance calls -- it is all legal. But is that the real problem? The Patriot Act didn't determine the legitimacy of wiretapping, it simply called Executive Privilege and said it could be done without a warrant. Is it really that much more of an infringement of our rights when the CIA or FBI doesn't have to ask a judge for a warrant? It's always been legal for the government to spy on it's citizens -- the Patriot Act just takes it a step further.

Secondly, the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Gharib prisons are really ghastly. The suspension of Habeas Corpus allows trial-less detention of prisoners if they're "suspected combatants". It seems like Bush is the first president to authorize these acts, but in reality two other very highly rated presidents -- Honest Abe and FDR both suspended Habeas Corpus [Civil War, World War II]. The only difference is that due to the media, we see the awful photographs and video clips from the event. Japanese Prison Camps, the destruction of the south, etc. If Lincoln had to deal with a vocal minority during his presidency on the internet and in the media, public opinion of him would be significantly different.

2) The Economy

What is Bush supposed to do? There's a lot he could do better, that's for sure, but a number of large corporations have been outsourcing their jobs for a short-term financial gain, and Bush is the one who has to deal with it. The recession is not really the President's fault.

3) The War

Just because the reason we got into the war was wrong, it doesn't mean Bush LIED. That's such a common logical fallacy that I see all the time these days. The war had HUGE public support, support of congress, no draft, financial backing, etc. After no WMD's were found, the vast majority of the public still wanted to stay in the conflict. The fatality / wounded rate is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than previous wars, less troops are deployed, it's still only the fourth most expensive war the US has fought -- it's bad, but it's not as bad as everyone thinks.

4) Conclusion / Last Year

America is facing a rough time period. Houses are being lost, people are dying overseas, etc. But is this the fault of Bush, or the fault of Congress, the Senate, the public, the CEOs and the managers throughout the country? I don't think picking a scapegoat like Bush is going to help anything. America as an entity has fundamentally changed. While it's easier to shift the blame to the president, because he's the only singular entity in a government of checks and balances, he really doesn't have THAT much power. Certainly not enough power to single-handedly ruin a country.


Let's look at some of the "best" presidents ever.

- Abraham Lincoln

"Lied" about the reason he got into the war. Didn't care about freeing the slaves, simply wanted to keep the union together. Suspended civil liberties and habeas corpus to do it.

- George Washington

Owned more than three hundred slaves. Did not free his slaves in his life time as commonly believed, wrote into his will that they should be released after his and his wife's death.

- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Didn't pass any anti-racial abuse legislation. Famously vetoed an anti-lynching bill. Hesitant about getting into WWII, by the time he chose military action, 6,000,000 Jews had been killed. Many in Europe still feel anti-American sentiment because it took us so long to get into WWII.

With these examples, I think you see there's a lot of problems even with the "best" president. Oh, and please correct me if I'm wrong on any accounts -- I'd sincerely like to know.


How about the "real" worst presidents. Buchanan, Harding, Pierce? Their presidencies were littered with REAL scandals that were kept from the public's eye. While thesedays we talk about Gonzales, pardoning Scooter. We still have the ability to find about these issues. Harding, for example, took bribes while choosing his cabinet. I know Wikipedia is not a very valid source, but here's a quote from Harding's presidency.

"Upon winning the election, Harding appointed many of his old allies to prominent political positions. Known as the "Ohio Gang" (a term used by Charles Mee, Jr., in his book of the same name), some of the appointees used their new powers to rob the government. It is unclear how much, if anything, Harding himself knew about his friends' illicit activities.

The most infamous scandal of the time was the Teapot Dome affair, which shook the nation for years after Harding's death. The scandal involved Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall, who was convicted of accepting bribes and illegal no-interest personal loans in exchange for the leasing of public oil fields to business associates. (Absent the bribes and personal loans, the leases themselves were quite legal.) In 1931, Fall became the first member of a Presidential Cabinet to be sent to prison.

Thomas W. Miller, head of the Office of Alien Property, was convicted of accepting bribes. Jess Smith, personal aide to the Attorney General, destroyed papers and then committed suicide. Charles Forbes, Director of the Veterans Bureau, skimmed profits, earned large amounts of kickbacks, and directed underground alcohol and drug distribution. He was convicted of fraud and bribery and drew a two-year sentence. Charles Cramer, an aide to Charles Forbes, committed suicide.

No evidence to date suggests that Harding personally profited from these crimes, but he was apparently unable to stop them. "I have no trouble with my enemies," Harding told journalist William Allen White late in his presidency, "but my damn friends, they're the ones that keep me walking the floor nights!"

Historian Wyn Craig Wade, in his 1987 book The Fiery Cross, suggests that Harding had ties with the Ku Klux Klan, perhaps even having been inducted into the organization in a private White House ceremony. Evidence includes the taped testimony of one of the members of the alleged induction team, however beyond that it is scant at best and the theory is generally discounted."

I mean, can you imagine what would happen if Bush did any of this? We get upset about the legality of the Alaskan Oil Fields solely on principle. Harding actually allowed drilling in public fields! After taking bribes!


A lot of the really terrible things older presidents did goes largely unnoticed. There was no half hour news show every morning and night that updates them on every last shortcoming of the president. Bush is not a good president, in my opinion -- a pretty bad one. However, the flak that he gets for most of his policies is really the status quo. If anything, this topic is more representative of the current mentality of the general public. I guess people want less social conservatism and bigger government, which is fine in my opinion. I just don't think many people will realize Obama has many policies in line with Bush's. If you're talking about the huge government deficit, keep in mind Obama has a $180b/y plan -- the most expensive of any candidate.

By the way, out of the current line of candidates, I support Obama. It's not like I have an anti-Obama slant.

0 points

I'm arguing that the reason many people think OSX is rock solid is that it runs on streamlined and often expensive hardware. I'm not arguing both sides : despite the specific hardware, it doesn't run well in all scenarios. You are arguing that OSX is the most stable argument, and I'm simply adding a shred of anecdotal evidence : not all users will have the same experience. Our school's IT department is clearly lackluster : the number of times I've fixed a "broken" Dell PC by editing a field in BIOS peaked this year at around ten to fifteen. However, if OSX was the rock solid operating system you make it out do be, it is doubtful our reproducible errors would be occurring so frequently. All updates for OSX and available Software are done over the local network weekly, though, so that is not the problem.

0 points

So just because you think it's secure, it means that everyone else has the same conclusion? OSX works very well on the hardware Apple supplies. That's hardly the sign of a good operating system, more the sign of a good business strategy. The reason Vista crashes is almost always bad hardware configurations.

If you buy a new computer, built after Vista was released, you're going to have a good experience with the OS.

And, by the way, the 25 MacBook Pro's that my high school art department uses all have a problem with Microsoft Word or Firefox. Whenever you use the browser or office suite, the whole OS will freeze up or shut down unexpectedly. Almost 50-75% of the time, nobody uses them. It's not the same experience for everyone, keep that in mind.

2 points

Joe Cavalry's ignorant comment does actually have some factual elements to it. First off, the Japanese were not fighting a Jihad. They were Nationalistic -- much like many soldiers of the US during the Second World War. If it weren't for the massive guilt by the American people following the war, the patent-sharing at strong relations between America and Japan, there would have never been an "Economic Miracle". The post-war reparations made by the United States easily made up for the bombings -- through modern health care, the strong economy and globalization, many Japanese lives have been saved. Japan is one of the strongest economies, with a superb level of quality and a great ally of America in modern times.

Secondly, you state "They were only estimations though" then go onto talk about the number of people who "could" be killed by Tsar Bomba. Tsar Bomba has a "kill" radius of 30-40km. That means that if you were 15-20km away from the center of the explosion, you were likely to die. There's simply no where on earth that has a population of 135,000,000 living in a 40km radius. It's an awful argument to liken the two. You could kill 135,000,000 people by, say, fighting two world wars over the course of thirty years. Not by dropping one bomb. Just because Tsar Bomba was 50 megatons [originally 100 megatons], it doesn't mean it is automatically one thousand times more deadly. You couldn't even guide it to it's target! You could argue, "what if it was dropped in Manhattan"? The point of my argument on the other side of the debate is that you simply COULDN'T use such a warhead in an applicable scenario. Why do you think there was only ever one Tsar Bomba made? It's expensive, and follows the old methodology of "bigger boom = more deaths", which is now very outdated.

You also say that "199,000 lives without losing one American life", as if losing extra American lives would somehow justify it. I don't see why this is. During total war, if the American military would rather kill 200,000 Japanese through bombing than through a more costly invasion, what is stopping them? After all, you never even brought up the firebombing of Dresden, Kobe or Tokyo, numerous invasions and fronts when using conventional warfare, and other incidents, which killed many more people than the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki combined.

Over all, if you look at "loss of life" in WWII, of the 72,000,000 who died, 0.0027% were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.

9 points

I think there are a number of arguments "for" the bombing of the two Japanese cities during World War II, so I'll take the unpopular role and play Devil's advocate. First off, if you look at the title of this argument, it is "Was the use of nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki justifiable or not?". Not just "Hiroshima", but Hiroshima [August 6th] AND Nagasaki [August 9th]. Even after the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, the Japanese war machine would not surrender. This really shows how hard the citizens of Japan and the politicians of Japan were fighting in this total war.

Secondly, the usage of Nuclear Weapons for the first time by the United States was relatively fortunate. If it were a country at war with America who'd dropped the first bomb, you could easily argue that due to the tension of this time period the US would've deployed more of them in retaliation. During the Cold War, for example, arms races between the US and Russia led to both sides having hundreds / thousands of nuclear missiles. Since the US was the first to drop the bomb, it set a historical precedent and was used as a deterrant. Despite the low yield of the "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" bombs [modern stockpiles have warheads thousands of times more powerful], the sheer destruction caused gave Nuclear Weapons an area of seriousness and the reality of their destruction that has prevented their usage under the doctrine of "Mutually Assured Destruction".

If Hiroshima and Nagasaki were fought under Operation Downfall, the invasion of Japan by American forces using conventional warfare tactics [think: Omaha Beach, Operation Market Garden, etc], would the more powerful Nuclear weapons have been used during later wars? How would the Cold War have progressed differently? If Fat Man or Little Boy were dropped during testing in the Bikini Atoll, would more powerful, modern nuclear bombs have been used in any of the wars since the Second World War?

The Korean War, The Cold War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf Wars, Iraq, even Iran in the future. What would the American Military's stance on the usage of Nuclear bombing be if it didn't have the negative press from the bombing of Japan? It would certainly lack it's biggest deterrent.

Perhaps this could be seen as a constructive or progressive "lesser of two evils". America would not have backed down from Japan, as Japan was starting to lose the battle. Regardless of whether the fight was waged using conventional tactics or nuclear bombs, a similar Japanese death toll would have occurred. These days, the largest argument people see these days against the usage of Nuclear weapons is the debate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Perhaps the two bombings actually prevented further loss of life from Nuclear weapons.

There hasn't been a nuclear bombing since on this magnitude [with the exception of the common usage of Tactical Nuclear devices on much smaller magnitudes]. Did the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki save lives, by having the bombing during "favorable conditions"?

1) Low-yield nuclear bombs, by conventional standards.

2) The circumstances were that America was the only one with Nukes.

3) No fear of retaliation, no world-wide destruction followed.

4) Japan clearly had no plan to back down. How many more lives were lost versus a full-on invasion?

5) No American or "Allied" lives were lost.

6) Field-test of a nuclear device, set the precedent for the level of necessity required to drop "The Bomb".

2 points

Of course the best player on the worst. The intensity of being the worst player on a great time would make you guilty and even liable towards rabid fans. The Andrés Escobar murders show this -- while not specifically the "worst" player on the team, he was gunned down and killed after scoring an own goal in the 1994 FIFA cup, losing his "great team" the championship.

However, the "diamond in the rough" player becomes something of a cult hit, and will earn respect among fans, rather than being an infamous or unlucky player that "loses the game" or "warms the bench".

9 points

Depends on the girls...

But in all seriousness, it is hardly revolting for two females to express their love for one another through physical means. It's not automatically hot, but it's far from revolting. I can think of hundreds of things that disturb me more than lesbianism.

2 points

My aunt's friend is a police officer. He was put on leave without pay for one week after parking next to a fire hydrant when investigating a report of domestic violence in New York City. Don't just assume that nothing will happen and use that as an excuse, it's just lazy. Thing will happen if people car about them.

I don't take any form of medications, but thanks for your insulting, stereotypical generalization. Could you not infer from my statement that "I like myself the way I am" that I'm not exactly the kind of personality inclined to taking medication to fix a "problem" I have?

You say that they rank nothing but test-taking abilities, but I don't really think this is the case. I am not at all good at taking tests [as shown by my grades], but the reasoning section of the Standardized Tests [SAT I] DO test logic and ability to reason. The vocabulary section is a great test of words you'd pick up in an intelligent conversation.

A friend of mine paid good money and took SAT classes for a two month time period. She went from a 1800 score to a 2300. However, the school didn't teach her "how to take the SATs", it taught her the material that MIGHT be on the SATs - a very broad education infused with diverse vocabulary. Within the two month time period, she started working more and more vocabulary into her vernacular, her reasoning skills got better, and she had an air of intellectualism about her. Sure, she took "SAT class" for the SATs, but it really taught her some great things about language and speaking.

So, come SATs, she definitely got a better grade, but it still represented what the SATs are meant to represent -- the level of understanding in the areas of reasoning and the English language.

The things you're arguing aren't against the SAT as a method of taking tests, but an argument against the interpretation of SAT scores.

SATs are a great way for getting a pretty specific idea of how a student takes a test and how well he or she uses logic and reasoning. It SHOULDN'T be the basis of how smart a student is, but there is definitely a pretty close correlation between intelligence and SAT scores. Sure, there are few kids who get lucky and get an extra hundred points, and there are the smart kids who don't take the SATs seriously and don't do well.

However, the question is "are SATs good for education as a whole", and I don't think that the tests themselves do any harm. They are a cheap and efficient [not a long test] way to rank and assess whatever subject it attempts to assess. For the underfunded American public school system, it's a good system -- computerized, well administered, quick and easy.

People shouldn't base intelligence off of SATs, but they do give a pretty good idea.

6 points

The raw test scores speak for themselves. The interpretations are what count -- I am dyslexic, and I have "ADHD" [something I don't consider to be a true affliction, and I like myself the way I am]. I got a 2200 on the SATs. I don't do well in school, my GPA is a 2.8.

I'm glad that I have the SATs to prove that there is something wrong with the memorization-based education system I am part of. I constantly get great marks on class participation, and I'm very knowledgeable about the class materials I learn at school. However, when it comes to the written testing sections, I grossly under perform, occasionally falling but usually getting around a 75% on important chapter or semester tests. This is even on subjects I am completely at ease with, and for tests I feel ready for.

If there is a "special needs" student who bombs the SATs, why not just mention to the college or employer that the kid is less likely to do well on the SATs than someone who doesn't have dyslexia / asperger's / down syndrome? "Standardized Tests" means that they are a standard; a baseline. If someone has specific needs, and the needs mean the child gets an easier test, it's no longer a Standard.

It's like data exploration -- while the statistics remain the same, the outcomes and how the data is analyzed is what really makes the case. Getting a 1600 on the SATs if you have a serious psychological problem isn't bad -- and it in fact shows that you can perform as well as many kids who are "normal".

2 points

You mention Operation Northwoods. What has a declassified Cold War-era document, with no planned fatalities, have to do with a peacetime plan to evoke a war with casualties ranging from 2,000-30,000 at peak WTC hours?

Why is it so hard for people to see things the way they are now? A man with a $15 air rifle in a book depository or sixteen Saudis with box cutters can change the course of history? Everything is a conspiracy to give power to Israel or an international banking syndicate these days. If Bush wanted to go to Iraq, he wouldn't have fought Afghanistan in the first place. In fact, why even publicize the conflict? Why not just fight a covert war like the Contra scandal or funding the Mujahadeen?

If Bush wanted to go to war in the Middle East, it's not like he'd need a big precedent. This is the THIRD Persian Gulf War in less than two decades. I fail to see why this conflict would need a "false-flag" event that could only be completed by bribing or 'brainwashing' thousands of government employees who stand to gain NOTHING from this. Why would the members of the FAA or NSA want to see their friends in the Army go to Iraq and get killed? What's the point of this coverup?

You say this is "no crazier" than Operation Northwoods. That was a false-flag event that would see NO loss of life, and even that was rejected for being to far fetched. Why do you think it's a declassified report? Because the Government never put any amount of thought into it!

2 points

Haha, what an awful comparison. That is a video of a controlled demolition of a building in an icy / snowy climate, with the steel supports at the strongest / most rigid they could be before cracking.

The WTC7 had been on fire for hours, and was hit with thousands of tonnes of debris. Fire radiates heat, which weakens steel. If you get a steel support, and heat it, even if you heat it in a conventional fire you'll get a malleable functionality. 5th-century Chinese [Song dynasty, if I recall correctly] didn't have jet fuel, yet they could still forge swords and armor. How surprising.

By heating steel, it loses it's structural integrity and can be bent and manipulated.

"In my opinion a true optimist would say the glass is always full."

I disagree. An optimist isn't someone who calls a glass half-empty, an optimist is someone who is fine with having a glass that is half-empty because they know it's still "half-full".

I could say, "this glass is a quarter-full" and still be thankful for it. Neither is a measure of optimism, or pessimism. Optimism is what you believe on the inside, not the rhetoric you use on the outside.

2 points

I've never tried marijuana, and it's not like I'm "waiting" to try it. I simply don't feel the need. On that note, though, I've never smoked or drank to "get drunk".

Marijuana alters moods. So does beer. So does wine. So does tobacco. Considering alcohol impairs your ability to drive, gives hang overs, etc [one of my friends passed out and had to get her stomach pumped just last Thursday, she only had US$49.99 of alcohol in her]. In comparison, no amount of marijuana could kill you -- and you'd need to smoke a very large amount to deprive your lungs from oxygen. Not nearly as dangerous as smoking or drinking.

What makes marijuana so awful that it should be illegal? I think that the problems with marijuana would disappear when marijuana cultivation and consumption becomes legalized. America could still keep foreign drugs illegal, especially those associated with corrupt "drug barons" from Central America.

You also mention that "unlike Tobacco, marijuana creates a heavy sociological burden". I'm not sure why you believe this -- and what your source is that it's "easier / quicker than drinking" and "more potent that a cigarette". Considering all the technology that goes into cigarettes, like filters and slow-burn paper, it's surprising that the toxicity of a self-rolled marijuana joint is roughly equal to that of a filtered, designed, mass produced cigarette.

I think it was said best by Drew Carey -- if you don't like the idea that millions of people around the world enjoy marijuana, you go to your local gas station, your local 7-11 or corner store, and buy a six pack of beer.

Just don't try to drive home.

Yes, I agree with that. An individual who will risk using an illegal substance [marijuana] is already more motivated to try other illegal substances.

I believe the legalization of marijuana will prevent this though.

I disagree with your point, but I'm on your side of the argument. I think it's more that marijuana is "safe", but since it's labeled as an illegal, dangerous substance, people who are willing to break the law to use an illegal substance are more likely to try other illegal drugs and substances. If you were to legalize marijuana, and make it available with prescription or over the counter, the same number of people would be abusing illegal substances, but the number of marijuana users would drastically increase. There's always a subset of the population willing to risk jail or fines to get high, and it's simply that marijuana is one of the most available ways -- and once you try one illegal drug, it's not like you have an incentive not to experiment.

If someone tries marijuana and likes it, but their whole life it's been lumped in with seriously dangerous drugs like heroin or ecstasy, the logical assumption is that the dangers of heroin and ecstasy were also trumped up.

3 points

However, please keep in mind that a well-argued point from a single person CAN change the course of the debate. I often talk about the vocal minority, and they are very effective in convincing large numbers of people. Debate isn't a democratic activity, and while it seems counter-intuitive that two people who constantly up-vote their side's debates and down-vote the other's, this is simply an abuse of power. The scoring on this website should be based on the power of the argument being made, regardless of the side. Voting your own side's arguments up, even if they say something of little relevance, is just pure ignorance.

Either way, this website will generally be slanted against religion and towards more liberal values -- this is simply because the spread of conservatives are in a higher demographic, and this "beta" website is part of the new social media. One person to one point will still lead to "unfair" voting, simply because of the demographics of the website.

Can't wait to see the results. Good luck!

2 points

There's a concept among many atheists and believers of evolution that Christians are narrow-minded, unwilling to change. While this is often true about very vocal conservative Christians, it is not the norm. There are close to a billion Christians, and the vocal minority we see on news reports saying "God Hates Fags" often spoil the image of the silent majority. Christianity aside, there are many followers of a personal God who also make a living from science -- the man who led the team that worked on the Human Genome Project, for example, believes in the Christian God, and he is one of the most prominent scientists involved with the study of evolution.

Supporting Evidence: I've found God, says man who cracked the Genome - Times Online (

Anarchy could to kill us all too. When looking at two extreme examples of government that are generally counter-intuitive to the general public's wants or needs, it's hard to remain object. An excellent example of a "good" dictatorship would be Abraham Lincoln. Suspending Habeas Corpus for the first time in America, he declared somewhat "absolute" power in order to help end the Civil War / start Reconstruction. While this wasn't what the south wanted, it helped reunite the union. This is a stark contrast to the "anarchy" of carpetbaggers, scalawags and other characters after Lincoln's assassination. Modern historians often admit Lincoln's "dictatorship" was a rather minor abuse of power that provided positive results.

5 points

I agree, this is a very prominent grey area. Since we're looking at two extreme elements of government, there is no real answer as a more centralist approach will generally appease the most number of people [democracy means that 51% of the people get to tell 49% what to do, and only a centralist system makes a stern compromise rather than ignoring the cries of 49% of the populace].

In an anarchy, there is less chance that progress will occur, but in a dictatorship, there is significant progress made, but not always in the direction that the public wants.

However, there are some ways in which dictatorships are better -- the term "benevolent dictator" springs to mind. A benevolent dictator is an authoritarian power that serves the people, and this in most situations would be more beneficial to progress than total anarchism, with no central power to push the public towards a specific goal. The idea of a "benevolent dictator" was put forth by the Greek philosopher Plato, and is his ideal form of government.

The advantages to this form of government is that it still accomplishes want the public or majority want, but is not so limited in power as to be blocked by large lobbies or filibusters -- it provides direction as the population wants it, not as a minority of individuals with greater influence want it.

The insurance company cares solely about making money, whereas the argument should really be based on "do seatbelts save lives?", which enters the government sector.

Creating a fine or ticket system for people who don't wear seatbelts helps deter people from putting others in danger. It is easier to lose control of a vehicle when not wearing seatbelts, why take that risk? While proponents of a limited government would suggest seatbelt laws infringe personal liberties and freedom, the truth is that personal liberties end where other's begin. You cannot benefit the individual at expense of the group, which is what you do when you allow people to drive without seatbelts.

0 points

If a driver of a car loses control because he or she isn't wearing a seatbelt, and kills a bystander, it is not a matter of them "wanting to run the risk", it is a matter of them injuring or killing a pedestrian. The rights of the individual are not as important as the rights of the group. Laws in America shouldn't be as selective as to allow a single individual a slight decrease in comfort while driving to put the general public in potential danger.

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