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1  Forum Community / Forum Community Election Match-ups / Re: opebo vs. Dennis Hastert on: Today at 05:43:59 pm
This is a tough one because both are child molesters

It's hysterical because usually opebo defenders say that he's clearly not, but brtd is literally just asking for it here by making this comparison.

From what I've read on opebo, it's very likely he's had sex with underage girls, but "child molester" makes people think of a really young age (under 12) even if that's not the definition.

Um...you do realize that by the logic you're defending opebo, you'd also have to defend Dennis Hastert, right? (Who apparently went after high school students, so somewhere 15-18)

That argument is a morally poisonous slippery slope. Someone below the age of consent...cannot consent. Therefore, having sex with that person is rape. Opebo and Hastert are guilty of the same offense. It doesn't matter how close to 18 the younger person is.
2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Denny Hastert indicted on: May 29, 2015, 06:15:42 pm
But do you think, in general, if someone is being extorted by an individual, that the person 'structuring' should receive a higher penalty than the blackmailer who is demanding payment?

Probably not. It would be a shame in this case if this unknown individual gets off scot-free with his 3.5 million dollars of hush money, for example.
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Denny Hastert indicted on: May 29, 2015, 06:05:04 pm
I'm still confused as to why he's being indicted for giving in to blackmail. Lying to federal officials?

He wasn't indicted for giving into blackmail. He was indicted for repeatedly making withdrawals from his bank account of slightly under $10,000. If you withdraw >$10,000 the bank makes a statement to the government. Hastert tried to avoid that by repeatedly withdrawing amounts just under that. Making multiple <$10,000 withdrawals to avoid the statement is a money laundering offense usually used to prosecute drug dealers, mafia people, etc.

That's a horrendous law. Just set the limit lower if it's that much of a concern rather than prosecute a guy like this.

He should've just gone all in - one shot. Too bad. Not gonna be too upset over this considering the original issue at hand even if it was many years ago. Still concerning to see the government acting like this.

I don't really see what's wrong with the law as it is now. If you're actively repeatedly withdrawing, say, $9,900 to avoid the automatic report filed at $10,000, you're...actively avoiding a report. That's inherently suspicious behavior.

Presumably, while his bank would've given him a call about it, in the long run no one would've cared if Hastert just withdrew a quarter million or whatever in one lump sum and fed some cock-and-bull story to the bank about what it was for. Acting like you're avoiding the attention of law enforcement...draws the attention of law enforcement.

In any case, regardless of what happened in 1970, on this charge alone the government can send Hastert to federal prison.
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Denny Hastert indicted on: May 29, 2015, 05:32:54 pm
Our founders never intended to have a permanent political class. But we'll never get reasonable term limits in place unless we have a constitutional convention

The states that have term limits have shown that all they do is result in musical chairs politicians who hold onto one office and then bounce into another one. (California is the guiding example here)
5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Denny Hastert indicted on: May 29, 2015, 04:57:49 pm
I'm still confused as to why he's being indicted for giving in to blackmail. Lying to federal officials?

He wasn't indicted for giving into blackmail. He was indicted for repeatedly making withdrawals from his bank account of slightly under $10,000. If you withdraw >$10,000 the bank makes a statement to the government. Hastert tried to avoid that by repeatedly withdrawing amounts just under that. Making multiple <$10,000 withdrawals to avoid the statement is a money laundering offense usually used to prosecute drug dealers, mafia people, etc.
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: LA labor leaders push hard for $15 mim wage, but hold on a second... on: May 27, 2015, 08:46:52 pm
This move is cynical and pretty much indefensible, to be honest.
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: MD Gov. Larry Hogan vetoes bills related to criminal justice reform on: May 26, 2015, 10:13:24 am
The first and third of these are things almost any Republican (barring the acolytes of the Paul clan) would veto, but what's the justification for vetoing restrictions and limits on civil asset forfeiture?

Any chance of a veto override?
8  General Politics / Political Debate / Would the ERA have had an even tougher time today than it did in the 1970s? on: May 25, 2015, 11:37:43 pm


Quote
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.


The Equal Rights Amendment, of course, famously fizzled at the last minute a few states short of its goal, likely due to an overly strict time limit and the conservative awakening rumbling in the 1970s.

I actually suspect the ERA would've done far worse today than it did back then, especially since the right wing would argue ferociously that "it's not necessary anymore" or that "it's outdated." I certainly don't see states like Idaho or Wyoming or Kansas or Nebraska ratifying it.
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why is SSM such a big deal? on: May 25, 2015, 11:31:59 pm
This would've been far simpler if the ERA had passed...SSM could have been ruled in on gender equality grounds (the ability to marry a woman but not marry a man as gender discrimination). More's the pity about the ERA falling just short of the finish line.
10  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Putin Has Won on: May 25, 2015, 11:26:42 pm
It's not like anyone in the EU was seriously considering expansion now, given the economic crisis. Russia is taking credit for ending EU expansion, but EU expansion's been dead for years. If Croatia's ascension hadn't already been scheduled before the crisis, it would have stopped at the EU27...as is, the EU28 is not going to change for a long time, unless it changes by shrinking. (Or I suppose the secession of Scotland or Catalonia as EU member states, but that doesn't really count as expansion)
11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why is SSM such a big deal? on: May 25, 2015, 09:08:33 pm
There's a difference between judicial review and judicial supremacy.  A ruling imposing SSM on America would be judicial supremacy. It should be defied. It would be an unprecedented violation of multiple state constitutions. The court would essentially be invalidating the constitutions of the states. If same-sex marriage was granted by the founders, we would have had it since the 1700s.

I am not sure I would hold SSM to be a Constitutionally protected right if I were on SCOTUS myself. I am  not comfortable with aggressive interpretations of Constitutional text, particularly if clearly not the intent of the text when promulgated, which do in fact if abused give the Courts in essence the power to legislate. On the other hand, a situation where a married couple of the same sex could have their marriage dissolved when they move to another state is an intolerable situation from a policy standpoint, and may infringe the constitutional right to travel and relocate.

If the Court doesn't want to overturn Windsor and Perry a mere three years after writing them (the same Court with the same membership!), it basically boils down to two options: every state has to recognize same sex marriages but doesn't have to issue them, or every state has to issue them. Perry has them in this box where a state constitutional ban on same sex marriage is motivated by animus and can be overturned, and if they punt (which they won't do, they chose to take this case) the lower court split between the Sixth Court and the other courts will be an impossible dilemma.

Every state has to recognize but doesn't have to issue will be a ridiculous procedural issue, much cleaner to just rule it legal nationally.
12  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: How can Marxism/Communism ever work in the US?I on: May 24, 2015, 12:14:18 pm
I'm increasingly suspecting that this forum actually lives c. 1985 or something. Communism is about as relevant to the world that we live in as Gnosticism.


Pretty much this. The world has moved on. Will there be another challenge to modern postindustrial capitalism? Possibly, but it'll be some new economic ideology no one's even thought up yet.
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why do Republicans worship the owl? on: May 22, 2015, 11:43:45 am
If you've never read Jon Ronson's book Them: Adventures With Extremists, go to the last chapter and read about his experiences breaking into the Bohemian Grove alongside Alex Jones. The whole book is hilarious, but Ronson's reaction of "well, the owl represents the workload and cares of the world outside the grove, and they burn it to symbolize their freedom this break" vs Alex Jones thinking the owl is some sort of demonic pagan god that the people are literally sacrificing to is hilarious.
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Gallup poll: Record percentage support SSM on: May 21, 2015, 10:47:08 pm
Um...do you think about what straight couples might be doing in bed when you see a wedding for them? Because a man and a woman might be doing a variety of things besides penis-in-vagina intercourse.
15  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: NYT: Osama Bin Ladenís Bookshelf Reflects His Fixation on West on: May 21, 2015, 10:40:21 pm
Osama's reading list is the funniest thing and everyone should laugh at it.
16  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Gallup poll: Record percentage support SSM on: May 21, 2015, 09:44:28 pm
Just wait until SSM can be performed and recognized in all 50 states after June (I fully expect the Supreme Court to settle the issue). The graph of SSM support is going to look like an expedited version of interracial marriage. Conservatives will grumble about it for a time, probably gives LGBT relatives a hard time for a while, and the issue will just slowly go away.

But the G.G. will not let it go away. They want it in our faces 24/7 non stop. If I were told I'd never have to hear about this again, I'd be satisfied.

The Court rules next month. Why would the SSM advocates shut up before the ruling? After it passes, there'll be a few weeks of celebration here (you might want to take the month of June off Atlas) and then gays will just get married and everyone else will stop talking about it.
17  Forum Community / Election and History Games / Re: First Annual World Series of Electoral Knowledge on: May 21, 2015, 07:34:14 pm
Count me in.
18  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Will Deism ever make a major comeback (in the US)? on: May 21, 2015, 05:10:03 pm
No, I don't think so. It's an 18th century idea - basically, people were trying to be rational and spiritual/religious simultaneously, and I think we're at a point where that's no longer necessary. If one is inclined to religion and tradition, one will likely choose that intellectual path. If one is inclined toward the physical and science, then that, which was still in its infancy in the 18th century, will be the choice of path. They're now pretty much mutually exclusive. At least I don't see a way of reconciling them in the present.

As long as "Why is there something rather than nothing" is an open question, people will posit some sort of creating entity, and "Being that set the Universe into motion" is basically a god by any sort of definition, even if it isn't an omnipotent being or even a currently-existing being. There's plenty of room for Deism as a modern tradition as an answer to that simple question: "Why is there something rather than nothing."

EDIT: Although, as per my previous post, it won't be an organized movement, just, like DC Fine mentions, a kind of default position for people who have abandoned their "religion" but haven't abandoned their belief in some sort of God.
19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why is SSM such a big deal? on: May 21, 2015, 05:05:53 pm
I'm actually very interested in what Bushie has to say about gambling, because in many ways I myself feel that the gambling industry is fundamentally immoral and is a way of thieving from the poorly-educated and innumerate amongst us. I'm personally somewhat conflicted about gambling's legality because it's legalized predation among a vulnerable population. Also, gambling can easily lead to other morally corrupting crimes like rigging sporting matches, or forcing a desperate person in a large debt to look to crime to get out of debt. That said, I fall down on the side that casino gambling should be legal, if under strict state surveillance and regulation.

If I can hold my nose and say that I am...reluctantly...fine with gambling existing as a legal practice, surely people on the right can come to the same conclusion about same sex marriage.
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why is SSM such a big deal? on: May 21, 2015, 04:57:38 pm

Sorry for the rant, but it is a topic I have come to the correct realization on.  Christianity reigns and gay marriage loses in eternity.  Pure and simple.

Just a question, but how do you feel about legalized gambling like you have up in Oklahoma? That's pretty clearly a Biblically-defined sinful act that has proven very, very lucrative for the people at Winstar and the other big Oklahoma casinos.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Texas: Abbott signs law to restrict local fracking regulations on: May 21, 2015, 02:11:36 pm
It's not as if Davis would be any better (in my opinion), but Abbott /=/ 5-star governor.

She wouldn't have signed this, so yes, she would be.

True, but the GOP is two seats away from a supermajority and would easily have overridden a veto (on pretty much anything), so the difference is pretty moot. It boils down to rhetoric. Especially since the Texas governor can't appoint people for almost any state office, given that they're nearly all elected.
22  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Gallup poll: Record percentage support SSM on: May 21, 2015, 02:03:01 pm
What I find interesting is that the numbers are nearly perfectly inverted from what they were 10 years ago in 2005. It's moved from a ~60-40 issue one direction to a ~60-40 issue the other direction in a mere decade.
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why is SSM such a big deal? on: May 21, 2015, 01:58:42 pm
The idea that marriage is granted by the government doesn't really sit well with me though. It should be a religious sanctum

Where does this view come from? My parents were married by a judge in my mom's living room. This was three decades ago. No religion involved.
24  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Will Deism ever make a major comeback (in the US)? on: May 21, 2015, 01:52:28 pm
Deism's popularity was also closely tied to intellectual trends in that era and the love for the elegant simplicity of Newtonian mechanics and how they could be used to explain complex things. The popularity of the clockwork clock, where everything in it moved with exact precision due to dozens of tiny gears moving in precisely the right way because a master craftsman had made them so, was a pretty compelling analogy for the way the universe worked, with God as a master craftsman who had made a clockwork universe, wound it up, and let it go seemingly forever and ever with no tune-up needed.

The overthrow of Newtonianism and the 20th/21st century rejection of simplicity in the design of the universe (subatomic particles that obey different rules than everything else? The rules of physics changing near the speed of light?) have created a far murkier conception of the universe that makes the clockwork universe of the Deists seem far less plausible.
25  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Why is SSM such a big deal? on: May 21, 2015, 12:57:05 pm
Lack of marriage equality de jure discrimination against a minority group. To some of us, the very existence of de jure discrimination in the law codes offends our moral senses.
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