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November 24, 2014, 03:18:57 pm
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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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76  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Four most significant Presidents of the 20th Century on: November 11, 2014, 10:43:43 pm
FDR (duh)
Teddy R.
Reagan
Nixon
77  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Rank your elections you could vote in from most to least favorite on: November 11, 2014, 10:40:54 pm
New ranking

2012
2008
2010
2006
2004
2002
2014
78  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of "Lincoln" (the movie) on: November 11, 2014, 03:03:58 pm
I had the opposite reaction - they seemed a little too smug about the backroom deals. Like 'har, har, har, we're showing you how it's really done.' The audience is supposed to both approve and feel intelligent. I'd rather just read Master of the Senate again.
79  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: McCain: 55-year old Loretta Lynch "a very outsanding young woman" on: November 11, 2014, 02:31:54 pm
When McCain graduated college Lynch hadn't even been born yet.
80  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 11, 2014, 02:20:05 pm
I think the point is, when a male politician is "Machiavellian", it's less likely to be called out as Machiavellian because there's more cognitive dissonance when a woman does it. Politics is Machiavellian. Some people are just better at hiding it than others. Since Clinton's already perceived that way, I'd say that actually makes her less of a threat from the standpoint of political machinations.
81  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 11, 2014, 02:14:58 pm
A Machiavellian

Understands that compromises must be made to be effective in the American political system.

Quote
scheming,

Thinks carefully, plans ahead, works hard, doesn't just hope things will turn out alright.

Quote
self-centred

Has self-respect, stands up for herself, knows how to enjoy things properly.
82  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (Taft-Hartley) on: November 11, 2014, 01:47:38 pm
HA. Regardless of what you think of unions, banning closed shops/right to work laws are a violation of freedom of association.
Uh, what? So you're saying that making a requirement to work somewhere be that someone must associate with a union promotes freedom of association? There is no freedom there. It leverages ones need to earn an income against union interests.

Merely setting a requirement to work is not against freedom- otherwise employers would not be able to require anything (like having a college degree, having x years of experience, no criminal history, signing non compete agreements, etc.). Of course, employers are free not to have those requirements.
83  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (Taft-Hartley) on: November 11, 2014, 01:30:41 pm
The problem is this issue is too easy to demagogue. The ads practically write themselves.. a man walks up to the factory gate to begin work, a big, menacing-looking blue collar guy with a scowl steps in front of him, holding up a union dues form. Caption: you could be forced to do x y z, etc. Most Americans these days have never been in a union and it's too easy to cast them as oppressing workers rather than the employers advocacy associations. Collective bargaining is also a very abstract concept and most people wont intuitively understand the free rider problem, or why the employers organization must be matched with organization on the part of employees to have equal bargaining power. Although I think most people intuitively understand the don't have as much bargaining power as a 1,000 employee company when it comes to their job, most academic explanation makes it seem like the union is the one bring oppressed by it, not the worker.
84  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Hillary Clinton on: November 11, 2014, 01:23:50 pm
One of the biggest FF in modern American politics.
85  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (Taft-Hartley) on: November 11, 2014, 12:37:57 pm
HA. Regardless of what you think of unions, banning closed shops/right to work laws are a violation of freedom of association.
86  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Martha Coakley on: November 11, 2014, 12:09:57 pm
I really thought her 2010 loss was a fluke generated by the harsh political environment. I guess I was wrong.
87  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Racism Powered Republican Triumph on: November 10, 2014, 07:33:08 pm
I agree with Marokai and NC Yankee... the racists padded the GOP margins, as they do in every election, but pounding against the "racist/misogynist electorate" is only going to alienate moderate white/male voters who the Dems need to be competitive with, and who want to hear about non-identity politics-related pocketbook issues that actually matter to them. Incidentally, those same issues tend also to be relevant to minorities and women.
88  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama saves net neutrality, orders broadband be classified as vital service on: November 10, 2014, 03:32:05 pm
I don't see the need for it.  We keep increasing bandwidth to keep pace with new applications.  We have 100 gb/sec optical fiber being adopted.

That's the problem. Tragedy of the Commons.

The same concept cited by Democrats when they argue that low gasoline taxes and lack of use-taxes have led to sprawl and over exploitation of real estate for roadways. It's actually low property tax and incompetent use of income tax, but that's for another time.

If we are going to invite tragedy of the commons, we have to develop a game plan for the efficient expansion and utilization of bandwidth.

Land is limited, and development encroaches on environmental perogatives. Land use debates are about the nature of capacity (how development is spaced), not the amount of capacity (unless you're talking about extreme environmentalists who want to limit human population). Expanding bandwidth does not face those problems. It's simply a question of increasing investment, which can be done without bandwidth discrimination. Back in 2007, anti-net neutrality advocates were predicting that YouTube would soon crash the Internet.
89  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Obama saves net neutrality, orders broadband be classified as vital service on: November 10, 2014, 01:38:47 pm
My data plan tells me I'm already charged more if I use more of the service. The more content I download, the more my monthly bill. Of course, there are unlimited data plans, but net neutrality does not seek to prohibit cost-for-amount-of-use contracts; e.g., a large ship going through a canal versus a small ship.

 But suppose instead that Panama had a political alliance with Indonesia and bad relations with Australia. Perhaps Indonesia has made monetary donations to corrupt Panamanian officials. Let's say it started delaying the opening of locks for ships bound to Australia by several more days to benefit Indonesian ports at the expense of Australian ones. Let's say it did this without necessarily informing ship operators of what it was doing, and let's say it had differential rates of delay for every country in the world depending on how many kickbacks Panamanian officials received. And let's say the Suez Canal and all other major canals in the world implemented similar policies. Would this be good or bad for global merchant trade?
90  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: If Republican Controlled States Allocate Electoral Votes Differently on: November 08, 2014, 07:26:51 pm
It's a wake up call that Dems need to do better at state leg races. And not just a little better. Remember, we need to control at least 13 states to prevent the Republicans from amending the constitution.

Are you trolling dude? For constitutional amendment to reach state legislatures it must first be voted by 2/3 of the House and the Senate.

Another option is 3/4ths of state legislatures through a national convention, which Congress can approve once 34 state legislatures have applied. Some states have made moves in this direction this year.
91  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: The "Who is running?" tea leaves thread on: November 08, 2014, 06:34:37 pm
Why do you think Portman has no shot?
92  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: If Republican Controlled States Allocate Electoral Votes Differently on: November 08, 2014, 06:27:34 pm
It's a wake up call that Dems need to do better at state leg races. And not just a little better. Remember, we need to control at least 13 states to prevent the Republicans from amending the constitution.
93  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Loretta Lynch expected to be named next Attorney General on: November 07, 2014, 10:15:05 pm

Lynch introduced and was behind the indictment of Michael Grimm. I think that could lead to problems with Republicans.

Wow, Grimm won? And why was he endorsed by a ton of unions? Obama has this habit sometimes of using his power to dampen a victory for the opposition- for example, soon after North Carolina voted to ban gay marriage in 2012, he came out in favor of it. It worked, as all the momentum the referendum proponents got out of the event quickly evaporated and reversed.

Grimm's victory must have been a massive F.U. to the Justice Department, and I wonder if part of Obama's calculation in this nomination was to boost the morale of the prosecuting team (and by extension, the Department).
94  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Loretta Lynch expected to be named next Attorney General on: November 07, 2014, 09:05:13 pm
Good choice. Sadly, all most people will see is that she's black.
95  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Is FL Democratic Party the worst state party? on: November 07, 2014, 08:44:46 pm
Crist losing I'm not too upset about. Maybe in 2018 they'll nominate an actual Democrat.
96  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Will the SCOTUS uphold Obamacare again? on: November 07, 2014, 06:52:59 pm
As for the Gruber quote, it's a fascinating quote, but by introducing it, aren't you agreeing that contextual factors - such as how people who voted on the law, debated the law, and experts on the law, behaved, are relevant? Gruber points out that "his projections of the law's impact have always assumed that all eligible people would get subsides, even though, he said, he did not assume all states would choose to run their own marketplaces." If you only look at Gruber's words and actions, I agree that they're contradictory, but if you take the whole picture of the law's drafters' actions before this issue came up, it's clear that people were meant to receive subsidies on state exchanges.

I guess you meant to say subsidies were supposed to exist even when there is not a state exchange. The key phrase here is " through an Exchange established by the State under 1311."  Even if the Federal exchange qualifies as an Exchange under 1311, as the Government argues, it can't be said to be an Exchange established by the State absent any state action.  That is what is written. The government's best defense is that it was a drafting error, a thoughtless omission, and they didn't write the law the way the meant to.  I don't know that people acting a certain way in response to a law defines the meaning of that law against the plain meaning of the text. If members of Congress explicitly stated during debate that people would get subsidies even if they did not have an exchange set up by the state where they reside, and this was not challenged by other members, then it might show different intent and could be significant. Then again perhaps it is possible for Congress to pass a bill its members do not fully understand - I think in fact this is often assumed to be the case both by the Courts and by the Executive.

The Reconciliation bill passed by the House and Senate states that the IRS should report "The aggregate amount of any advance payment of such credit or reductions" under section 1311 or 1312, the latter which established the federal exchange. It makes no sense they would tell the IRS to report credits under section 1312 if there weren't meant to be any.
97  General Politics / Economics / Re: October Jobs Report: 214K jobs created, 5.8% unemployment on: November 07, 2014, 05:59:49 pm
LFP has increased among 65+ has increased from about 21% to 24% or thereabouts. That doesn't change the fact that as people reach age 65 their LFP plummets, so as more people reach age 65, it will depress the employment/population ratio. The population bulge of those reaching 65 started around 2011, since that is 65 years after the beginning of the baby boom (1947).

I'm just saying the employment/population ratio statistic is misleading about the state of the economy because there's a lot of irrelevant noise in there (and that from a philosophical standpoint it also doesn't hold up because using the statistic in that way assumes that the choice to work is always superior to the choice not to work) and we have better, more precise indicators - such as U-3 and U-6. The trends that are causing the employment/population ratio to be in secular decline clearly didn't start in 2008, but that's irrelevant to my argument, IMO.
98  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: IL: 2014 Attorney General General Election Result on: November 07, 2014, 05:49:49 pm
Martha Coakley is a better candidate for Senate than Lisa Madigan. Heck, even Alan Keyes is a better candidate. Anyone's a better candidate than someone who never runs.
99  General Politics / Economics / Re: October Jobs Report: 214K jobs created, 5.8% unemployment on: November 07, 2014, 05:38:21 pm
Some of that is obviously structural issues. For example, the long movement of women into the labor forced during the 1970s and 1980s has ground to a halt, as we remain the only country in the world without family leave laws.

People aren't even getting married anymore, and family leave laws (i.e. maternity leave) isn't going to fix this problem.

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?id=LREM25MAUSM156S

That just reinforces my point that the rising employment rate overall during the 1970s and 1980s was an exception due to women joining the workplace, not the norm.

Btw, the employment rate for males is actually slightly higher now (84%) than when Obama took office (83%).
100  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Will the SCOTUS uphold Obamacare again? on: November 07, 2014, 05:31:10 pm
Quote
Gruber was so heavily involved in writing the PPACA that when he boasts, “I know more about this law than any other economist” — and that he even wrote part of the bill himself — everyone believes him. When the chief architect of the PPACA admits it withholds tax credits in uncooperative states, that establishes that the plaintiffs’ interpretation of the statute in Halbig was not only plausible but that it had currency among the law’s authors.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/07/jonathan-gruber-the-flip-flopping-architect-of-the-aca-109466.html#ixzz3IQAZ7C6M

This statement of the meaning of the law by one of the authors of the bill might be easily dispensed with had members of Congress read the bill and come up with a different interpretation - but how many of them did that? "We'll find out what's in the bill when we pass it."  This is what's in the bill.

Perhpas Roberts et al will find some creative way around this.  On the other hand perhaps Roberts will be deferential to states here. The option exists for the states to fix this themselves - and I see no reason contracting it out to the Federal Government's exchange wouldn't be an option. The point is the law requires state action.   If the state decides not to open an exchange, according to the plantiffs, the state also has exemption from regulations that depend in the law upon the existence of the exchange such as the employer and individual mandates.

The question here is not whether the ACA law will be overturned. It is whether the law is being implemented as written.

The disagreement here is precisely what "as written" means, and if we accept your interpretation, it would effectively overturn the law- because, as the plaintiffs say, people like them would then qualify for a hardship exemption and not be required to buy insurance or face the tax penalty. And given that there are 5 million people who are receiving subsidies, there are a lot of people like him. Without as many people as possible with insurance, health insurance costs would rise and start a death spiral in the marketplace. In fact, that is why this case is receiving so much attention to begin with. The text of the law has been public since it was voted on by Congress. That's well over four years.

What's creative is this challenge, not the responses to it. The law's political opponents tried to elect McCain; they failed. They tried to block it in the House and Senate; they failed. They failed with the filibuster. They tried to challenge the mandate already once in SCOTUS. They failed. They tried to defeat the president whose name is popularly attached to it. They failed. I know you guys claim you're just going by the text of the law- but language is ambiguous. If all of the above contests cannot create verdicts in the American political system, it undermines the reason for having them to begin with.

As for the Gruber quote, it's a fascinating quote, but by introducing it, aren't you agreeing that contextual factors - such as how people who voted on the law, debated the law, and experts on the law, behaved, are relevant? Gruber points out that "his projections of the law's impact have always assumed that all eligible people would get subsides, even though, he said, he did not assume all states would choose to run their own marketplaces." If you only look at Gruber's words and actions, I agree that they're contradictory, but if you take the whole picture of the law's drafters' actions before this issue came up, it's clear that people were meant to receive subsidies on state exchanges.
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