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October 25, 2014, 11:27:44 pm
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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: South Florida to become its own state? on: Today at 07:06:07 am
With a little searching I found that this was an issue in May, 2008 as well. The city of North Lauderdale had a resolution advocating a state of South FL with an accompanying press release. South FL legislators in session in Tallahassee referenced that resolution at the same time. A page on causes.com was set up for the purpose. However, unlike the current discussion, the North Lauderdale resolution only included the counties of Palm Beach, Broward, Dade, and Monroe.

Here are my questions for the Floridian posters. Has there ever been an effort to separate Central FL (esp. Tampa and Orlando) with South FL before this? Is there any clamor in CF for separation like there has been in SF?
2  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Arbitrary Easter. on: October 24, 2014, 09:35:39 pm
There's more than the two most common options.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_controversy

I'm partial to Quartodecimanism myself, but the Sunday after the first astronomical new moon of Spring makes sense if one insists Easter be a Sunday.

Since Christmas was initially associated with the winter solstice (an astronomical solar event), and can appear on any day of the week, I can see some rationale in setting Easter to an astronomical lunar event and letting the day of the week float as well.
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: South Florida to become its own state? on: October 24, 2014, 08:27:03 pm
The whereas clauses in the South Miami resolution consider tax implications and water management as the main drivers for their support of a split. The tax implication seem like a wash since 67% of the population and 69% of the sales and documentary tax is from the advocated South Florida. The water issues include reference to the South Florida Water Management District, a number of national parks and preserves, Lake Okeechobee, and the relative elevation of the north and south parts of FL.

Here's a map of the FL Water Management districts.


If you look at it none of the Tampa Bay counties are in the SFWMD, yet the major portion of the Tampa metro is in the SF resolution. Similarly the Space Coast counties of Brevard and Indian River aren't in the SFWMD either. Other than the upper reaches of the Kissimmee river there's not much of Polk and Orange is evenly split in the SFWMD. Furthermore, all of the specific natural features are in the SFWMD, so I can find no rationale in the resolution for the inclusion of counties largely outside the SFWMD in South Florida.

States don't usually get built solely on water, and that includes less than perfect control of the water resources going into and out of a state. That puts Orange and, if one considers economic connections, Osceola out as well. Highlands is a borderline call since it looks like most of the population is outside the SFWMD. Charlotte has only some small amount of swamp in the east, and is otherwise economically tied to Sarasota to the north.

Given all that, I can only find justification in the resolution for a much reduced version of South Florida. That would include only 11 counties including Lee, Glades, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and those to the south. That amounts to only 38% of the current population of FL, compared to 67% in the resolution.

nb, if a mod wants to move this thread to Political Geography, I have no objections.
4  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: FiveThirtyEight releases more detailed state-by-state model on: October 23, 2014, 10:56:26 pm
After falling for quite a while, Democrats had a mini rebound today. Up to 36% on 538 and 37% on the Upshot.

Given the number and variability of the inputs, any changes of less than 10% are probably within the margin of error.
5  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Politico: If Dems lose, blame Harkin, Johnson, Baucus, Levin, and Rockefeller on: October 23, 2014, 10:53:57 pm
To me the argument makes no sense in a representative democracy. Essentially it says that a politicians job is primarily to protect their party's majority. That's the same argument that leads to gerrymandered districts. How about considering that a politician should serve the public interest and if they feel that age, health, family or any other factor leads them to believe that the public is better served with a new representative then retirement is an appropriate decision.
6  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Gubernatorial Election Polls / Re: IL: Rasmussen: Rauner +1 on: October 23, 2014, 01:17:24 pm
Just like 4 years ago Rassy fails to include the other ballot candidates in their question.  There are 2% who volunteered some other candidate, but that's not going to get the same result as a poll question that names Grimm explicitly. They claim to have added leaners, which also differs from other samples. It makes it hard to compare this poll to others, like today's from the Trib.
7  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Oregon Measure 90 (2014) on: October 22, 2014, 07:23:21 am
No, because I do not think that this is the best manner in which to address the issue. I favor a ballot in which you receive the parties side by side and must choose which party to vote in each race, allowing for switching between races.

I'm pretty sure this has been floated, but I don't remember the name of it.

I have always favored this method, but it became even more important to me when last Spring I took a Republican ballot just for the honor to vote for my GOP state rep who voted for same-sex marriage in the IL house. I helped him fend off his social conservative hack challenger handily.

The problem with this type of open primary is that it infringes on the parties freedom of association. A traditional open primary (like in IL) allows voters to choose which party to associate with on election day, and they may change it at the next election. Some states have ruled that a fully open primary goes too far and instead support a closed primary where partisan declarations are made in advance of the primary, or in some states the parties are allowed to separately choose the form (one open, one closed).

The top-two or blanket primary avoids the association problem by completely eliminating partisan primaries. Association can be accomplished by candidates stating their party preference, though that is not necessary to the blanket primary model.
8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Sen. Angus King considering switching parties after midterms? on: October 21, 2014, 06:55:18 pm
This is why Moderate Heroes need to be purged and sent to Vorkuta.

Why shouldn't someone elected statewide pledge to act in a way that maximizes their state's power in a body? It's as good as any other pledge a candidate might make.
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: State Legislatures in Play on: October 20, 2014, 03:57:12 pm

Is there an updated version of that, now that Election Day is only a couple of weeks away?

Not that I've seen, but RRH had a good post today about state legislatures.

What Governing noted, but RRH missed, is that there is a big battle for swing districts in the IL House this year. The Dems have the minimum number of seats to command a supermajority and with it the power to override vetoes, pass bonding issues, and pass legislation after the constitutional end of session in May. It's particularly huge given the possibility of a Pub win for Gov, and the negotiating power a supermajority would have. A net of just one seat to the Pubs removes that supermajority status.
10  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / MOVED: What county is most representative of each party? on: October 19, 2014, 05:15:19 pm
Even though this topic involves some geography, after 9 posts it's mostly about personal opinions (ie guesses) about the politics without supporting evidence. This topic has been moved to Individual Politics.

http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=200714.0
11  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of "Lincoln" (the movie) on: October 19, 2014, 09:13:42 am
I highly recommend it to everyone who thinks that backroom deals in Congress are somehow new things. And to show that backroom deals can result in good and important legislation.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Gubernatorial Election Polls / Re: IL-Gov, Simon Institute: Rauner in the lead on: October 18, 2014, 08:20:21 pm
The real problem with this poll is that is was conducted over a three week spread, from Sep 23 to Oct 15. That doesn't mean that the numbers they posted are wrong, but it does mean that one might not want to compare this to a typical poll taken over 1 to 3 days. Months ago when the ad buys weren't as heavy one could look at this kind of a poll as a general sense of the electorate. It's not really a snapshot of the form "If the election were held today, ... ."
13  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Lockheed says it's close to nuclear fusion on: October 17, 2014, 11:09:54 pm
The press release from Lockheed doesn't say much, but I assume this is some advance on fusor design. Fusors have been around for 50 years, and have been somewhat useful for low flux neutron production, but up to now they haven't been able to generate more energy through fusion than they consume to power the electric and magnetic fields. I guess we'll have to wait until their stated test next year to learn more about the design.

Good post.  So I must assume you get your username from some kind of elementary particle?

Thanks, I've spent much of the last 27 years identifying and tracking muons as a tool to measure fundamental properties of elementary particles.
14  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: which college athletic conference is most academically presitgious? on: October 17, 2014, 11:04:56 pm
Your information's out of date, Grumps; you must have lived in the Mid-Atlantic sometime before about 10 years ago.  (Insert caveats here), Maryland (#62) is between The Ohio State (#54) and Iowa (#71) in USNWR rankings, just to pick a couple of random Big Ten schools.  Nebraska (#99) is the lowest I could find in the Big Ten... the other Big Ten schools were so skeptical of its prospects that it almost wasn't invited to aforementioned CIC
If I remember correctly, it's why Missouri didn't make the Big10 cut.

That was a significant factor against Mizzou.
15  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Lockheed says it's close to nuclear fusion on: October 17, 2014, 10:16:38 pm
The press release from Lockheed doesn't say much, but I assume this is some advance on fusor design. Fusors have been around for 50 years, and have been somewhat useful for low flux neutron production, but up to now they haven't been able to generate more energy through fusion than they consume to power the electric and magnetic fields. I guess we'll have to wait until their stated test next year to learn more about the design.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: IL-10: Mark Kirk's ad with Bob Dold on: October 17, 2014, 08:02:32 pm
I read this as Bob Dole at first. That is all.

When he ran in 2010, his campaign line was "Dold with a d".
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What are gas prices where you're at? on: October 17, 2014, 07:59:29 pm
$3.21, filled up on Wednesday.

Then you've had a huge change in 48 hours. Gas Buddy doesn't show much of anything above $3.11 in NW IN except for stations along Calumet Av (next to still expensive Cook county, IL). Gary seems to be mostly under $3.
18  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is your walkscore? on: October 17, 2014, 12:19:21 pm
Mine is a very walkable 75 - in the suburbs. Smiley That's the beauty of an old downtown that's become part of the suburban landscape. I have bars, restaurants, fast food, banks, groceries, liquor, drugstore, hardware, library, professional offices, and commuter rail within 0.4 mi (600 m) of my house. Grade school and high school, parks, pool, and fitness center are within 1 mi (1500 m).
19  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Is America A Natural GOP Gerrymander? on: October 16, 2014, 09:50:36 pm
Ha.  Ye of goode faith.  I hope that it would work out so well, owing to netizens and bored scientists.

Of course the state lege would have to go for it.  What would be the odds of getting your colleagues in the state assembly to go along with such a plan?


The idea has gotten some nice media, but it will take the pressure of a citizen petition amendment to move the needle. The trick is getting the citizen groups to take off the blinders of a sole alternative of a CA-style commission drawing the map.

The core language might look like this:

The Commission shall provide to the public data and tools to create Legislative and Representative districts. The Commission shall accept maps for the redistricting of Legislative and Representative districts.

The Commission shall evaluate all submitted maps according to criteria as implemented by law and assign each map a score. The Commission shall eliminate maps by a majority vote of the members appointed that fail to meet federal and State law and shall eliminate maps that are substantially the same as other maps of equal or better score. The Commission shall give to the Senate and House the maps for Legislative Districts with the best three scores.

If the Senate or House has failed to file a redistricting resolution with the Secretary of State by the deadline, the Secretary of State shall certify the redistricting map that received the best score from the Commission.

It's only fair that some Republican states disarm themselves before any more Democratic states do.

I have and will continue to promote the idea in states (or Congress) controlled by both parties.
20  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: opinion of trigonometry on: October 16, 2014, 09:46:48 pm
confusing. I hated how "inverse sin" aka "(sin^-1)" and 1/sin were completely different things.

That's a problem with how you were taught algebra, not trig. A function takes one or more values and produces an answer. Some functions only take a single value, like sine: y = sin(x). Another is the function for (scalar) multiplication: y = s(x) = s*x.

An inverse for a function is one such that if y = f(x) then x = f-1(y). Clearly your experience with the sine function fit that mold. But if algebra never taught that multiplication is a function, then you wouldn't think about the fact that x = s-1(y) = y/s. Then 1/sin is just the case where s is sin(z) but used in multiplication like a variable.
21  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Is America A Natural GOP Gerrymander? on: October 16, 2014, 09:23:30 pm
Ha.  Ye of goode faith.  I hope that it would work out so well, owing to netizens and bored scientists.

Of course the state lege would have to go for it.  What would be the odds of getting your colleagues in the state assembly to go along with such a plan?


The idea has gotten some nice media, but it will take the pressure of a citizen petition amendment to move the needle. The trick is getting the citizen groups to take off the blinders of a sole alternative of a CA-style commission drawing the map.

The core language might look like this:

The Commission shall provide to the public data and tools to create Legislative and Representative districts. The Commission shall accept maps for the redistricting of Legislative and Representative districts.

The Commission shall evaluate all submitted maps according to criteria as implemented by law and assign each map a score. The Commission shall eliminate maps by a majority vote of the members appointed that fail to meet federal and State law and shall eliminate maps that are substantially the same as other maps of equal or better score. The Commission shall give to the Senate and House the maps for Legislative Districts with the best three scores.

If the Senate or House has failed to file a redistricting resolution with the Secretary of State by the deadline, the Secretary of State shall certify the redistricting map that received the best score from the Commission.
22  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What are gas prices where you're at? on: October 16, 2014, 08:47:05 pm
I just filled up my hybrid tonight for $2.99/gal. In IL. In the Chicago collars.
23  General Politics / Economics / Re: Is the US Economy starting to thin again? on: October 16, 2014, 04:08:01 pm
Uncle Fred says, "not really"



Then again Uncle Fred's boss at the St Louis Fed felt the need to issue market-soothing comments today. He hinted that perhaps QE should continue if things continue to look weak.
24  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Is America A Natural GOP Gerrymander? on: October 16, 2014, 03:15:00 pm
I noticed that the spline ignored populated areas.  I think there are advantages and disadvantages in doing that, but I liked the commission route as well.  muon's suggestion about crowdsourcing is intriguing, but it has the disadvantage of potentially making itself for sale to the highest bidder, whereas a commission of highly-vetted, thoughtful people might be less susceptible to marketing.


If there's a clearly defined set of measurable criteria, then there's little to worry about marketing. Some deep-pocketed interested party could invest in a plan, only to be bested by some netizens in their parents' basements or a couple of science professors playing with numbers in their spare time.
25  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Is America A Natural GOP Gerrymander? on: October 16, 2014, 01:42:31 pm

I also think a fair map is possible, though the splitline algorithm in the link is not the way to get there. I would go a step further than the video in the link which suggests the commission route, and instead crowdsource the map. Set up criteria and tools and let the interested public decide.
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