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About Altherion

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    Council Member

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  1. This depends a lot on where you live. For example, in New York City, $120K per year (gross) is definitely not a lot money. Part of the reason is that you'll never see a little over a third of that income: both the city and the state have taxes in addition to the federal ones so the absolute maximum take home pay of someone with a salary of $120K is only a little over $78K (see this calculator for the derivation). However, that's not all: the city and state both have sales taxes which add up to an extra 8.875% on all non-exempt purchases and somebody with a $120K job will probably have some kind of health insurance which costs another few thousand per year. So really, $120K gross in NYC means a little under $70K net. You might think that this is still pretty high -- after all, the median is also gross -- but recall that the housing in NYC is extremely expensive and the utilities and such are also higher. Realistically, that $120K in NYC is decidedly middle class and New York is not even the place with the worst costs -- that title probably goes to San Francisco. Regarding the $174K for Congresspeople: yes, it sounds like a lot, but that's still only upper middle class money which doesn't mean much for people who are near the top of the social hierarchy.
  2. It appears that the behavior of the crowd in Seattle has exceeded the patience of even Seattle's relatively liberal authorities: Looks like society is still at the stage where if there wasn't any police, people would invent it quite quickly.
  3. It's not that they're particularly averse to this knowledge, just that there is no easy or short-term solution. Many (most?) office buildings, factory floors, etc. in the US are simply not designed to function without air conditioning. In the building where I work, the windows simply do not open so if the AC is off, there will be no air circulation at all.
  4. Hey Galactus! Long time no see. Indeed, I understand they were trying to conserve the masks, but, as I said in my post above, that was not the reason they publicly gave. I can also understand why they did not give that as a reason: if people believe something to be scarce, they will go after it with a will. However, the price of saying that masks are not recommended for the general population is that a lot of people believe it -- and continue believing it even after the recommendation changes.
  5. But only for those who are close to the infected! That is the entire crux of the argument. There was never any debate over whether hospital workers should wear masks. The question was whether everyone else should wear masks in public and the WHO (as well as the US Center for Disease Control and many others) unequivocally said that they don't recommend it. Furthermore, they did not say that the sole basis for this recommendation is to conserve masks for healthcare workers, they said it is because they currently cannot see any benefit to having the general population wear masks.
  6. Actually, that's almost exactly what they said at the end of March: Granted, his statement is not quite as absolute as yours and does stress that this is only the current understanding, but it took them a really long time (until June) to reverse course on this.
  7. I looked into where the bad guidance originally came from and it turns out that it wasn't just individual countries. It was -- surprise, surprise -- the World Health Organization: Of course, this does not absolve national politicians either, but the WHO turnaround took a really long time.
  8. When the containment measures first started, the health care professionals in the US told people that masks aren't all that helpful for the general public and should be saved for people working directly with patients. Over time, this position slowly moved towards the global consensus (i.e. that everyone should wear masks), but by that time, enough people had internalized the original advice for Trump to try capitalizing on this split. Thus, strongly Republican areas are now anti-mask. In addition, the US has a strong libertarian streak and those people don't like being told what to wear on principle.
  9. Revenge is a dish best served cold: I think Cuomo really wanted to do this for Florida, but he had to make the criteria objective so a bunch of other states got caught as well.
  10. Because they have no chance of getting a conviction in the Senate and everyone knows it. A huge spectacle is not all that beneficial to the losing side of the story.
  11. The difference is in the magnitude of the spectacle. Any given Congressional investigation into Benghazi or Russian election interference or Burisma or whatever is lucky to make the mainstream news for more than a couple of days whereas an impeachment dominates the news cycle for weeks or maybe even months so even people who ordinarily aren't at all interested in politics will hear of it. It's a much more dramatic show.
  12. Impeachment is much more formal than that. If Biden wins and in 2022 the Republicans get the House back, it's quite likely that there will be plenty of investigations of Burisma and the firing of the Ukrainian prosecutor, but the odds of impeachment are much lower.
  13. What would this accomplish? Unless there's an ironclad case, there's simply no way any article of impeachment is getting 67 votes in the Senate. Impeachment for the sake of impeachment is just a waste of time and will probably be seen as such.
  14. The US has a strong tradition of not going after high-level politicians and bureaucrats after the latter have left positions of power. Despite actually having a campaign slogan that would imply the breaking of this tradition, Trump has done nothing of the sort and, should Biden win, it's very unlikely that he would break it either -- the consequences are just not worth the risk.
  15. I wasn't thinking of the deaths, just the people who left:
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