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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Neil Gorsuch Confirmation Hearing *DISCUSSION AND LIVE COMMENTARY* on: March 21, 2017, 12:23:16 pm
Senator Durbin didn't do very well against Gorsuch (basically Gorsuch crewed him up and spit him out). But then I consider Durbin a rather dim bulb.
2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Who would you rather date? on: March 21, 2017, 08:42:03 am
Leip by far has the most potential for me. Heck, he even lives not that far away from me. Thank you.

Torie, when you kidnap Dave and lock him in your basement, can you ask him to remove my mod powers from the forum?  Thank you.


Well, I decided to take a photo of my basement, so you could assess its potential, but alas there is an obstacle to me entering it at the moment. Too bad. I think I could break Dave, and make him mere putty in my hands, within hours. Our puppy is absolutely terrified of the place I might add. Someone actually lived in the basement I might add, before I bought the house. And no, it was not Tender Branson. Tongue

3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: US states consider laws allowing Creationism to be taught by science teachers on: March 21, 2017, 08:25:32 am
Sure in a religion class, not a science class. Stuff that is not subject to the scientific method should not be in a science class.
4  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Who would you rather date? on: March 21, 2017, 06:53:41 am
Leip by far has the most potential for me. Heck, he even lives not that far away from me. Thank you.
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Have you ever been the victim of a crime? on: March 21, 2017, 06:52:08 am
In college, when I was visiting Manhattan, and stayed on the west side near Columbia University with my girl friend at her sister's place, I was dumb enough to leave my guitar in my station wagon parked on the street. The apartment was just west of Broadway, and the hood on the east side of Broadway was pretty rough then. So of course my car was broken into, and the guitar stolen. And then when I was living in Silverlake in 1983 or so, my home was broken into, and my TV and a cash money box with several hundred dollars of coins in it were purloined in a burglary. Then I moved to south Orange County, and my nexus with crime came to an end.

So far, no problems whatsoever in Hudson. We had a shooting incident on the ally in back of Robinson Street where I live, but nobody was hurt (almost certainly a drug deal gone bad). There are two drug dealing houses on nearby State Street. One has now been cleaned out and the building red tagged (all its residents were heroin addicts). We have one more to go. Yes, in a small town, if you are nosey and keep abreast, you know just about everything that goes on. Smiley
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Chelsea Clinton joins the board of Expedia on: March 20, 2017, 05:06:45 am
Why is this even a thread?

It does have implications for whether or not she's going to run for office, and there have been rumors about that. Seems relevant enough for me.
How?

And maybe this should then go under "Presidential Trends" instead, for all topics related to 2024 and later elections.

-There is absolutely nothing preventing Chelsea from running for President in 2020. [Nope.  Please stop potentially disrupting the flow of conversation by continually inserting the personality of Virginia in the most inappropriate places. PM Dave Leip if you are unhappy with Virginia's performance as a Moderator.  I won't infract this time, but will in the future.  You have been warned.]

-Torie, please PM me if you don't like something I wrote. I am rarely aware of such mod edits.

I will in the future. That is a reasonable request.
7  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Calling Bernie Sanders “Bernie” on: March 20, 2017, 04:39:37 am
I did not support the chap in the primary, and tended to be idiosyncratic in what I called him, sometimes Bernie, sometimes Sanders, and sometimes Bernie Sanders. I probably called him Bernie the most, only because that tended to be the most common appellation others with whom I came into contract called him.

Thanks Morden for bringing up this most important issue. What would we do without you?
8  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Death penalty for usury on: March 19, 2017, 10:19:25 am
Why is this poll being put up?  Just asking.

First in an Atlas polling series: "Debt and the American Mind in the Early 21st Century: An Inquiry into the Moral Underpinnings of Credit Donald Trump's United States"

Either that or I'd had a bottle of wine and was up late doing some reading when I saw the news about the Department of Education changing its procedures for some defaulting student debtors, and reacted in the only way in which my tired and frustrated mind saw fit.

OK. Thanks for the explanation. For purposes of this exercise, is any interest rate charge usury, and just a rate in excess of a certain amount? To which legal tradition are you referring?

For clarity: I still have no idea what the Trump administration's memo regarding student loans implies in terms of policy.

I could not index it to an interest rate. That depends on context. Principal matters at least as much, as do numerous other factors. (If I were willing to lend you $100 million, no questions asked, who would be more foolish, you or I?) To be entirely honest, I prefer how most Islamic traditions, among others, treat debt - i.e. the lender should have just as much a stake as the debtor in the success of whatever venture his or her money has gone toward. If debtors are to be sacrificed on the altar of "personal responsibility," then why not creditors as well?

A law requiring that all financing have an equity stake, is not wise. I don't want equity partners when I buy real estate for example. It's also incredibly inefficient, and expensive, to do the accounting and enforcement for equity stakes. In short, its like throwing sand into the economic gears, making the economic engine not work very well. In Islamic counties, there create this fiction, where a loan is packaged with a facade that they claim is equity, but really from an economic standpoint is just about the same as debt (the profit after the cross transactions are netted out, is a function of time, rather than profit).

But yes, indeed, there should be limits in how far a creditor can go in enforcing collection of a debt. That is why we have bankruptcy laws. And there should be limits in what penalties a creditor can impose, such as limiting late fees and the like. That is where creditor responsibility should lie. Loans should not be made, where there is a high risk of default, except in the case of commercial laws, where both parties are sophisticated parties.
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump rolls back protections for people in default on student loans on: March 18, 2017, 08:37:27 am
It seems almost like a scam. Provide loans to those where there is a high risk of default, and then punish them, and punish them some more,  for defaulting.  It's a particular good scam, since these loans typically are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Next stop down this yellow brick road is debtor's prison, or alternatively using the Mafia as the enforcement organization.  
10  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Death penalty for usury on: March 18, 2017, 08:34:22 am
Why is this poll being put up?  Just asking.

First in an Atlas polling series: "Debt and the American Mind in the Early 21st Century: An Inquiry into the Moral Underpinnings of Credit Donald Trump's United States"

Either that or I'd had a bottle of wine and was up late doing some reading when I saw the news about the Department of Education changing its procedures for some defaulting student debtors, and reacted in the only way in which my tired and frustrated mind saw fit.

OK. Thanks for the explanation. For purposes of this exercise, is any interest rate charge usury, and just a rate in excess of a certain amount? To which legal tradition are you referring?
11  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Would you rather have Dubya back as President or keep Trump? on: March 18, 2017, 07:07:13 am
Brooding about how I would answer that question I don't think is a very productive use of my time.
12  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Death penalty for usury on: March 18, 2017, 06:47:48 am
Why is this poll being put up?  Just asking.
13  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: What percentage of Black New Yorkers are of Caribbean origin? on: March 17, 2017, 05:21:37 pm
In other news, Hudson has a fair number of black Puerto Ricans with Spanish names. Almost all are from NYC.
14  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of the Previous Poster on: March 17, 2017, 03:07:30 pm
Calling Antonio a "Communist" says a lot about the previous poster sad to say. But hopefully the poster is young, and will outgrow such bad habits. Name calling and being a gentleman don't go together well at all. JMO.

Oh, Virginia butt in. I think so highly of Virginia, that it almost temps me to want to be a woman. But not quite. Smiley
15  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Freedom Caucus on: March 17, 2017, 07:31:20 am
Inimical to the fashioning of reasonable public policy, including in particular, a disdain for attempting to reach reasonable compromises, as opposed to a winner take all approach. That is just toxic to the public square in my opinion. Remember these are the same folks, who wanted to blackmail the nation into getting their way, by having the US default on its debt by not raising the debt ceiling. If that is not totally irresponsible, I don't know what is.
16  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Favorite "country" of the British Isles on: March 17, 2017, 06:53:28 am
I won't decide until I have been to Ireland and Wales. Scotland has this certain romantic quality about it, that I love.
17  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Grassley and Feinsten "grim and rattled" after meeting with Comey on: March 17, 2017, 06:46:34 am
Somebody with whom I had dinner a few days ago, who claims he is in the know (he's tight with our local congressperson, Schumer, and on and on), says the evidence will show (Flynn will be given immunity to squeal) that Trump offered Russia a relaxing of sanctions, in exchange for Russia's intervention in the campaign - in other words treason as it were. Thus the Pub rush to get some stuff through before Trump is neutralized. My source is busy trying to get dough for the Hudson Valley from the proposed Trump money dump into infrastructure. Money always gets these kinds of folks agitated. Who knew?

Do I have a clue whether or not any of this is true? Of course not, and the chap is a bit of a drama queen. But I thought I would throw this out, just to spice up your morning. In other news, Hudson's streets are still clogged up with snow, and many of the natives are very mad. Thank heavens for my new heated garage! My best advice to any mayor, is to worry a lot about snow, even if it means the mayor taking a shovel themselves to get the job done.
18  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: District Court, Splitting 2-1, Finds Texas Congressional Districts Violate VRA on: March 16, 2017, 09:42:07 pm
It would be helpful for me to read the case, but I don't see the legal rationale for 7 Hispanic CD's under any reasonable good redistricting principles. In fact, it may be hard to draw it without gross gerrymandering. It is not as if contiguous Hispanic populations are chopped up. It seems that some want the kind of CD that Kennedy disliked, that joins Rio Grande Hispanics with some Democrats far away in a gerrymander (maybe white Democrats), just so long as it squeezes out another Hispanic CD, as opposed to replacing a more contiguous Hispanic CD. This all needs to go back to SCOTUS. Things seem to be getting really way off track here. This should not stand. In fact, it sucks.

You may be pleased to know that the court rejected plaintiff's plan and argument for 8 Latino CDs in S/W TX. Tongue Kennedy thought one could have fajita strips as long as they weren't extreme, and didn't substitute for a reasonable alternative. This court seemed to follow that thinking that CD 35 was impermissible when Nueces could be used to make a more compact alternative and served a deserving population.

Replacing one poor CD for another, hosting the Pubs on their own petard. It's one thing to strike down the plot to neutalize white Dems in Travis. It's another to require something else, that I don't think comports with prior SCOTUS precedent, and is just not justified on public policy grounds, and certainly if the alternative comports with good redistricting principles, and is obviously not out to screw minorities. The court did mention the impermissible Pub intent, that it found. Minorities should not be used as pawns, splitting them up, to neutralize white Dems.
19  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: District Court, Splitting 2-1, Finds Texas Congressional Districts Violate VRA on: March 16, 2017, 03:33:56 pm
It would be helpful for me to read the case, but I don't see the legal rationale for 7 Hispanic CD's under any reasonable good redistricting principles. In fact, it may be hard to draw it without gross gerrymandering. It is not as if contiguous Hispanic populations are chopped up. It seems that some want the kind of CD that Kennedy disliked, that joins Rio Grande Hispanics with some Democrats far away in a gerrymander (maybe white Democrats), just so long as it squeezes out another Hispanic CD, as opposed to replacing a more contiguous Hispanic CD. This all needs to go back to SCOTUS. Things seem to be getting really way off track here. This should not stand. In fact, it sucks.

3 fajita strip districts, two in Bexar, El Paso, and TX-23....what's so hard about that?   It's pretty easy to draw the districts, it's making it through the Texas GOP that's the problem.

BTW- Hispanics, even after these changes, are still horribly under-represented in Texas.

It doesn't comport with good redistricting principles, and unites Hispanics geographically disparate. The VRA should not require that. We shall see.
20  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: District Court, Splitting 2-1, Finds Texas Congressional Districts Violate VRA on: March 16, 2017, 07:53:56 am
It would be helpful for me to read the case, but I don't see the legal rationale for 7 Hispanic CD's under any reasonable good redistricting principles. In fact, it may be hard to draw it without gross gerrymandering. It is not as if contiguous Hispanic populations are chopped up. It seems that some want the kind of CD that Kennedy disliked, that joins Rio Grande Hispanics with some Democrats far away in a gerrymander (maybe white Democrats), just so long as it squeezes out another Hispanic CD, as opposed to replacing a more contiguous Hispanic CD. This all needs to go back to SCOTUS. Things seem to be getting really way off track here. This should not stand. In fact, it sucks.
21  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: District Court, Splitting 2-1, Finds Texas Congressional Districts Violate VRA on: March 16, 2017, 06:57:15 am
I drew this puppy following the Muon2 rules more or less. Would this map of a part of Texas make the court happy?  The CD going from the Rio Grande into Bexar is 60.2% HVAP, and went 53.7% for Obama in 2008. It could go up by moving precincts around in Bexar with the inner city CD, but is that necessary?  Kennedy really said that a more than 50% HCVAP CD could still be challenged, simply because Hispanics don't vote as much, or enough of them vote Republican to not elect an Hispanic Democrat, with respect to a map that otherwise follows good redistricting principles? Meanwhile the Laredo to El Paso CD is 69.2% HVAP, and McCain carried it by two points.  Sure Cuellar (sp) would carry that CD, but assuming he were not around, would this CD displease the court that nixed the Texas map and/or Justice Kennedy if it is still iffy as to whether it would elect an Hispanic Democrat? 

It seems to me that much of a problem for some unhappy courts is that too many Texas Hispanics, particularly rural ones, vote Pub.


22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Republicans essentially giving up on passing TrumpCare in the Senate? on: March 15, 2017, 06:34:52 pm
Is this more an continuation of the syndrome of an unwillingness to compromise until matters become something of a crises, that makes the status quo totally untenable, or a fundamental policy, moral disagreement, about leaving 24 million citizens in the lurch when it comes to health care, or the risk of same, with no willingness to come up with something that provides such citizens with some reasonable social safety net when it comes to health care? That really matters, when gauging the odds of something being worked out eventually. Too much social Darwinism here, is well, toxic.
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Have you been to the previous place? on: March 15, 2017, 03:09:49 pm
Yes, and in particular that most horrible overcrowded tourist trap known as Gatlinburg.

Garfield County, Utah, and in particular that most magical place known as Boulder, Utah (among other things, the darkest spot in the lower 48 (as in the least light pollution).

I was literally responding to this before the others posted so I'm going to do it anyway, rules be damned!

Yes, I've been to Boulder UT - But only briefly with a friend who was picking up some tools from a guy he knew there (my friend lived in Moab for a time, and I was visiting). We spent the next 2 days seeing the beauties of Canyonlands and Arches Ntl Park as well.

-

Bethesda, Maryland

One of the charms of Boulder is the Boulder Mountain Guest Ranch, down a dirt road about 3 miles in this beautiful valley, with its hippie-ish staff, who share their weed with you, as you chat with them during off hours. I get this impression that Boulder is this cultural island, surrounded by a sea of devout LDS territory.

A couple bought the ranch a few years back, and fixed it up some, not to make money, but to save the land from a subdivision tract map.  They did it for love, and not money, and I suspect make little, or lose money, with their operation. They also have a chef who comes in the evening, to cook really good dinners for everybody, maybe 10 folks, who all sit on the veranda, and get to know each other during the meal.

skip me
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Have you been to the previous place? on: March 15, 2017, 01:02:05 pm
Yes, and in particular that most horrible overcrowded tourist trap known as Gatlinburg.

Garfield County, Utah, and in particular that most magical place known as Boulder, Utah (among other things, the darkest spot in the lower 48 (as in the least light pollution).
25  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: District Court, Splitting 2-1, Finds Texas Congressional Districts Violate VRA on: March 15, 2017, 08:10:59 am
Is this court to achieve its mandate in effect requiring that performing minority districts be created that join non contiguous minority zones that are far away from each other?  I assume the problem with TX-23 is that an adjacent Hispanic CD in Bexar is deemed excessively packed. Is that correct?

The way I read it, they support such districts if they are the only way to meet section 2 and are not a Shaw-type racial gerrymander. They seem to ask 1) are there minority populations that have section 2 rights? 2) can those rights be satisfied without taking away section 2 rights from another population? and 3) can a district be drawn using generally accepted principles such that the minority has the opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice? For this court linking non-contiguous minority zones is bad if race was the predominant factor in drawing the district and section 2 could have been satisfied without the linkage, otherwise it's ok.

I think the OK bit is existing law, if it is not possible to create a performing minority district using a continuous population. But is this court mandating such a CD to get the minority population up to its requisite quota of CD's? If so, that is not SCOTUS law at present I don't think. So to me, that is the key question. The same issue applies with TX-23. If a CD is minority packed within Bexar, probably it needs to be unpacked, particularly if it can be done using reasonable redistricting principles, as opposed to chopping away at sub-jurisdicitons.
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