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26  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: May 11, 2017, 05:42:35 pm
I asked several people I know when I visit London about this whole fox hunting business.  No one is able to explain to me why is this such a controversial issue.  Is it related to animal rights?  If so then why is, animal testing, for example not something  that is a hot topic?

I'm not British, but while animal rights is definitely part of it, I would hazard to guess that class resentment (fox hunting has long been a sport for the aristocracy for centuries) is what gives this issue its spice relative to everything else.  It's a symbol.   
27  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: S Sanders: Yes, we fired Comey to bring Russia investigation to its End on: May 11, 2017, 05:31:07 pm
Well there's at least one honest member of the Trump administration.  You all have to give her credit for that, at least.  Tongue
28  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Gallup: Americans Hold Record Liberal Views on Most Moral Issues on: May 11, 2017, 05:25:05 pm
And yet there is still progress to be made:

This You-Gov poll is still relatively recent, and I can't imagine much will have changed in the last two years since this poll was taken.  

29  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Who will be the 8th F.B.I. Director? on: May 09, 2017, 11:47:36 pm
Chris Christie will never hold any role of consequence in the Trump Administration.

There is only one thing worse than bending over for Trump -it's bending over and getting nothing for it.  Tongue
30  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: Trump Fires Comey on: May 09, 2017, 11:36:24 pm

Um, you might want to work on your analogy -Nixon fired the special prosecutor in October 1973.  
31  General Politics / Individual Politics / Would You Feel Discomfort if Your Child Dated a Muslim? on: May 09, 2017, 11:31:13 pm
Would you?
32  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Would you feel discomfort if your child dated a person of another race? on: May 09, 2017, 11:29:04 pm
None, because I myself am of mixed race.  And even if I wasn't, I still wouldn't have any issue with it.
33  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Women Hold GOP Senate Seats, But Have Little Influence on: May 09, 2017, 11:19:11 pm
Remember that old saying about being seen but not heard?

The Senate passed a significant milestone this year: 21 of its members are now women, the highest number in American history. But as the recent wrangling over the American health care system in Congress shows, there isn’t always power in numbers.

After the House passed a health care bill that gave states the option to drop pregnancy and maternity care from required insurance coverage, Republican leaders in the Senate seemed poised to answer criticism from women. Instead they courted more, naming a 13-member, all-Republican working group on health care legislation, without a single woman on it — forcing Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader who approved the panel, on the defensive on Tuesday.

“The working group that counts is all 52 of us,” Mr. McConnell said unapologetically at a news conference, referring to the number of Republican senators. “Nobody is being excluded because of gender.”

But Republican women have struggled to gain as much influence in the Senate as their Democratic counterparts. The reasons have as much to do with the partisan nature of health care legislation as with a longstanding problem that Republican women have had in being elected and gaining power in Congress.

34  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Republicans Join Democrats in Calling for Independent Investigation on: May 09, 2017, 11:11:47 pm
Unless I'm missing something, this article mentions just 2 Republican Senators, no? One of them is McCain, who has at least lately had a penchant for strong words and little more. If this is it, it seems like the GOP caucus is still mostly unified in its dedication to party over country.

It is just two for now, but it's a start.  Wait a little -more will soon join them. 
35  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Republicans Join Democrats in Calling for Independent Investigation on: May 09, 2017, 10:52:35 pm
It's the beginning of the end for Trump.
36  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: MI Governor 2018 on: May 09, 2017, 12:13:35 am
The State Senate map is horrible for Democrats, not just gerrymandering but the geography of Michigan really works against them.   The State House, however, could flip.

Does the governor have veto power over redistricting in Michigan, or do they have a North Carolina setup?
37  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Virginians only - Who will you vote for in the June primaries? on: May 08, 2017, 07:17:50 pm
I already turned in my absentee ballot last week, and here were my votes:

Governor: Ralph Northam

Lt. Governor: Justin Fairfax

The Attorney General option wasn't included on the ballot as it was uncontested.
38  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Trump's Wall Faces Wall of Resistance from Texas Landowners on: May 07, 2017, 11:20:39 pm
Apparently even having the federal government claiming eminent domain over recalcitrant property owners can take years (and tens of millions of dollars) to wind through the courts:

One of the principal barriers to President Trump’s border wall begins in Aleida Garcia’s expansive backyard.

She and her husband have built a small park alongside some scrubland on their 30 acres, and they enjoy a panoramic view of the Rio Grande Valley. They say they will fiercely resist any effort by the federal government to take over their property, the continuation of a fight that began a decade ago.

And they are not alone. More than 90 lawsuits involving landowners opposing the federal seizure of their property in South Texas remain open from 2008. The property owners have the support of many Texas politicians in a state where land ownership has an almost mythic resonance, and their opposition to a border wall could delay any construction by years while lawsuits wind through the court system.

Mr. Trump and John F. Kelly, the Homeland Security secretary, have said they can build a wall in 24 months, even though Congress did not include any funding for construction in its latest spending bill. Fresh legal challenges, along with the existing ones, make that timetable highly unlikely.

The landowners’ strategy is clear: Use the courts to forestall construction and try to outlast the tenure of Mr. Trump.

Indeed, those closest to the perceived dangers of illegal immigration are providing perhaps the most formidable opposition to the president’s plans. They are well aware that their land has become a major point of transit for drug traffickers and smugglers, and some have been victims of crime. But they also believe that the border is already heavily patrolled, by drones, federal agents and the local authorities, and contend that a wall would have mainly a symbolic value at the cost of their land.

(...) While the government has been able to persuade some landowners to give up land for barriers and walls, many of them balked, forcing the government into court to contest what landowners considered to be the unjust taking of their property. Over 300 condemnation cases went to court, records show. In total, the government spent at least $78 million to acquire land where fencing is now in place, according to congressional documents.


39  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: "Universal healthcare now!" must be the Democratic motto in 2018 on: May 07, 2017, 11:30:48 am
There is a silver lining to the fact we don't yet have universal health care -we have an opportunity to create a health care system that deals with the drawbacks of both single-payer and multi-payer models, while synthesizing their best aspects.  It doesn't have to be either-or. 
40  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: With which region's politics do you most identify? on: May 07, 2017, 12:14:06 am
Definitely where I was born, where I was raised (though a good portion was spent in East Asia), and where I am now. 

I think the southern Mid-Atlantic fits me to a T.  As fond as I am of the Pacific Northwest, I would probably be regarded as too moderate or too conservative for Democrats and liberals out there. 
41  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Budget Proposal Maintains Chesapeake Bay & Great Lakes Clean-Up Funding on: May 01, 2017, 08:00:32 pm
Those were the two programs that I was most concerned about when Trump proposed eliminating them:

FBI project, bay funding included in federal spending bill

Budget compromise keeps Great Lakes cleanup aid
42  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / VA GOV 2017: Democratic Primary on: April 30, 2017, 11:37:10 am
Who is most likely to win the nomination, and face Ed Gillespie (the likely GOP nominee) in November?
43  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: British House of Lords on: April 30, 2017, 11:27:50 am
Preferably abolished, but if they do insist on keeping it, I'd rather they turn it into the British version of our Senate, with equal representation for each county (metropolitan and non-metropolitan alike) to counterbalance the House of Commons with ever-changing district boundaries.  

Here is a map of what I have in mind:

There would be two senators each from London, Cumbria, Northumberland, Herefordshire, Devon, Cornwall, Kent, etc.  

God, that's the worst possible idea. Shocked

Why? What's wrong with it?
44  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: April 30, 2017, 11:26:03 am
Is there a consensus on here that the Conservatives under PM Theresa May are on the brink of their own version of the 1997 general election?
45  General Politics / International General Discussion / Wild Boars Attack and Kill Islamic State Militants on: April 25, 2017, 06:15:56 pm
Even Mother Nature hates them, and wants in on the action:


Three Islamic State militants setting up an ambush in a bitterly contested area of northern Iraq were killed by a herd of stampeding boars, local leaders say.

Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, a chief of the local Ubaid tribe and supervisor of anti-ISIS forces, told The Times of London the militants were hiding on the edge of a field about 50 miles southwest of Kirkuk when the boars overwhelmed them Sunday. Five other militants were injured, al-Assi said. He said the group was poised to attack a band of local tribesmen who had fled to nearby mountains since militants seized the town of Hawija three years ago.

“It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields,” he said.

Al-Assi said the militants had summarily executed 25 people attempting to flee the militant's would-be caliphate in the three days before the boars attacked.

USA Today
46  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: France 2017: Results Thread on: April 23, 2017, 05:02:21 pm
From The Guardian, with 74 out of 107 departements counted:

Macron: 23.3%
Le Pen: 22.5%

Fillon: 19.2%
Melanchon: 19.1%
Hamon: 6.35%
47  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: France 2017: Results Thread on: April 23, 2017, 04:23:48 pm
Macron: 23.9%

LePen: 21.7%

Fillon: 20%

Melanchon: 19.2%

Hamon: 6.3%

48  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: GA-06 runoff poll on: April 19, 2017, 11:25:25 am
Ossoff pulls off a narrow win -the energy is all on our side, not the GOP.

So many variables at hand...will Trump take a break from golfing to fire up GOPers who don't seemed enthused with low energy Handel?

My guess is very narrow Ossoff win

That is likely.  Congress is just spinning its wheels, so campaigning is the only thing he can really do at this point.

It is also an imperative for him -he really doesn't want Democrats to gain control of either house of Congress so long as he is in the White House.  Once that happens, his administration will not just be checked but derailed by investigations into his links with Russia, his tax returns, his family business, etc.  Trump is more likely to be impeached in that scenario than to have any legislative accomplishments, as non-existent as they are even with Republicans controlling everything.  

49  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: George H.W Bush back in the hospital on: April 18, 2017, 08:51:42 pm
I think this may be his final year of life.  No one at that age truly recovers from pneumonia -once it's in you, it stays there until it ultimately kills you, months after you initially contract it. Although that is probably just a symptom of what's truly killing him, whatever it may be.  In my father's case, it was MDS and leukemia.  They are not unlike HIV-AIDS in the sense that they weaken your immune system to the point that a simple cold can turn into a potentially lethal pneumonia. 
50  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Tax Reform Effort Doomed to Failure on: April 18, 2017, 09:22:38 am
Unless and until Trump releases his full tax returns, neither Republicans nor Democrats will move forward on this issue.  And even then, it isn't a sure thing:

President Trump’s promise to enact a sweeping overhaul of the tax code is in serious jeopardy nearly 100 days into his tenure, and his refusal to release his own tax returns is emerging as a central hurdle to another faltering campaign promise.

As procrastinators rushed to file their tax returns by Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, emphasized again on Monday that Mr. Trump had no intention of making his public. Democrats have seized on that decision, uniting around a pledge not to cooperate on any rewriting of the tax code unless they know specifically how that revision would benefit the billionaire president and his family.

And a growing roster of more than a dozen Republican lawmakers now say Mr. Trump should release them.

“If he doesn’t release his returns, it is going to make it much more difficult to get tax reform done,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, pointing out that the president has significant conflicts of interest on issues such as taxation of the real estate industry and elimination of the estate tax. “It’s in his own self-interest.”

With Republicans sharply divided on a path forward and the administration unable to come up with a plan of its own, the Democratic resistance is only the newest impediment.

As a candidate, Mr. Trump declared that he understood America’s complex tax laws “better than anyone who has ever run for president” and that he alone could fix them. But it is becoming increasingly unlikely that there will be a simpler system, or even lower tax rates, this time next year.

The Trump administration’s tax plan, promised in February, has yet to materialize; a House Republican plan has bogged down, taking as much fire from conservatives as liberals; and on Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told The Financial Times that the administration’s goal of getting a tax plan signed by August was “not realistic at this point.”

A tax overhaul could be the next expansive Trump campaign promise that falters before it even gathered much steam.

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