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Rental car taxes are popular with lawmakers because they are seen as primarily affecting people from out of town who don't vote in local elections, making them a great way to finance projects that would otherwise be politically challenging. However, this amounts to taxation without representation, and it ought to be illegal.
Make the act clarifying terms part of the debate structure. Many debate questions are phrased in ways that makes it difficult to place yourself firmly on one side or the other. Debate results might be more illuminating if there were a way to interact with the moderator ("what do you mean by X?") without using side channels. Of course, that might take some of the drama out of debating... :)
"Singularity" is used variously to describe the emergence of self-improving non-human intelligence (Good, Vinge) and a "rupture in the fabric of human history" precipitated by technological change accelerating to a rate beyond human capacity to adapt (Kurzweil). I think the former is likely, though perhaps not in the time frames suggested by many futurists. The latter I find harder to credit: its possible that there is a limit to humanity's ability to adapt, but I doubt it.
Its not quite fair to say that faith and ignorance are the same thing, but they do go hand in hand -- without ignorance there is no need for faith. We choose to believe things for many reasons. Sometimes we are persuaded by experience, others times we accept ideas because of social pressure, and occasionally we choose to believe things that just seem to "resonate" without being sure why. Faith is necessary to sustain a belief when experience isn't available. When we uncritically accept an idea with neither persuasive experience nor "resonance", we are guilty of being ignorant of our own views. Stubbornly holding a belief in the face of contradicting experience isn't faith: that's willful ignorance.
You make a legitimate point: the right to bear arms may no longer afford much real protection against would-be despots, and judging from the arguments made in this debate, it may even have lost much of its symbolic value.
However, changing our constitution is something we should never take lightly. The 2nd amendment is fundamentally about preventing the government from gaining coercive power. Taking that away in an attempt to make it harder for criminals to commit crimes would fundamentally change what it means to be a US citizen.
Yes, but only if you read broadly and reflect on what you hear. "The Press" does not speak with a single voice, or even from a single point of view. They compete with each other -- when one element of the press fabricates or distorts a story, you can be pretty sure that other elements will seize the opportunity to call them on it.
Now, the press can be misled. But by and large I think there are enough independent and opposing voices in the US press that we can generally rely on them -- on the whole -- to pass along what they receive.
But it remains our job to interpret what the press says and form opinions. Anyone who abdicates that responsibility, in my opinion, gives up their standing to be taken seriously when they complain.
Lots of people get by every day without a lick of exercise, too, but that doesn't mean that exercise has no value outside of professional sports.
Studying history (real study and reflection, not just names and dates) helps us understand how events are connected, how certain beliefs and attitudes came about, and how the past continues to shape current events.
Can a lot of people get by without studying history? Of course. Would they derive value from it anyway? I think so.