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December 29, 2014, 12:17:32 am
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News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

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101  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Official Obama 2.0 Approval Ratings Thread on: December 11, 2014, 11:52:27 am
Quinnipiac, New Jersey

                    APPROVE.......
                                                             High    Low
                     Dec 11  Aug 06  Apr 09  Jul 09  Jun 10  Jun 10  Oct 13
                     2014    2014    2014    2013    2013    2009    2011
 
Approve              46      44      49      53      53      68      43
Disapprove           50      52      48      41      41      25      52
DK/NA                 4       4       4       6       5       7       5

http://www.quinnipiac.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/new-jersey/release-detail?ReleaseID=2118

Slightly better than the previous Q poll.





60% or higher maroon (70% saturation)
55-59% medium red (50% saturation)

50-54% pink (30% saturation)
45-49% orange -- Obama ahead (30% saturation)
45-49% yellow -- exact tie (40% saturation)
45-49% aqua -- Obama behind (20% saturation)
44% blue (20% saturation)
40-43% blue (50% saturation)
30-40% deep blue (70% saturation)
under 30%(90% saturation)














102  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: US Senate report on CIA interrogration/torture on: December 10, 2014, 10:04:26 am
Democrats hold too few other cards for the 2016 elections other than the potential unpopularity of Republican incumbents... GOP defenses of Dubya, Cheney, et al may make some incumbents vulnerable to political cat-calls.

Republicans almost never denounced the crimes when they had the chance. They get to pay even if they don't call for grinding the poor into Big Cat food at the zoo.
103  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What is the chance of a democratic ticket of Hillary/Julian Castro carrying TX? on: December 10, 2014, 09:59:20 am
Practically nil. Texas is roughly the 410th through 45th electoral votes for a Democratic winner, and the VP selection has little influence on the State of the VP nominee. Julian Castro would be more relevant to Colorado or Florida, which would be swing states under most scenarios.  Unfortunately, "Castro" is a troublesome name for Florida politics for reasons that should be obvious.   
104  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: national poll: Americans are uncertain creationists on: December 09, 2014, 08:53:49 am
About 40% of Americans accept young-earth creationism as fact. Such shows how backward much of America is. If people can believe young-earth creationism they can believe any propaganda.
105  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Fascists Arive in New York to roaring cheers on: December 09, 2014, 08:51:06 am
Better the House of Windsor than the House of Koch.
106  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: MI cops seize man's property, freeze bank accounts - with no charges on: December 09, 2014, 08:48:38 am
Agreed, civil forfeiture has become so abused that it simply cannot be tolerated.  It's a nice idea in theory, but in practice it has been a horror.

It's time to stop this -- make sure that civil forfeiture before a conviction is to be done only if assets are necessary for the commission of a crime, or must be sold due to their perishability or rapid depreciation (proceeds to be held in trust). Otherwise, financial assets can be frozen without seizure and highly-liquid assets can be stored pending a lawful disposition.
107  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Michigan House passes bill legalizing religious discrimination on: December 09, 2014, 08:43:15 am
This was the law that was too bigoted for even Kansas and Arizona. Aren't there supposed to be more "moderate Republicans" in places like Michigan and Nevada?

Michigan Republicans are just as right-wing as those anywhere else -- even Alabama.

The GOP has gone from being the Party of Lincoln to being the Party of... Mussolini.
108  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: So, what happened to Rubio? on: December 07, 2014, 11:16:17 pm
He showed himself quickly as a marginal leader. He fit a promising narrative, only to show himself below average for Presidential prospects. He now looks like the sort of pol who gets swept in in one partisan wave and gets swept out in the reverse wave. 
109  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: national poll: Americans are uncertain creationists on: December 07, 2014, 02:56:17 pm
We Americans on the whole are becoming the great joke within both the Free World and the First World. We may be as few as five years of being simply a joke of both as we lose our freedom and our prosperity.
110  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Arizona redistricting goes to Supreme Court on: December 07, 2014, 01:05:25 am
What's the legal justification for striking down commissions?
A hyperliteral reading of Article I Section 4 so that only a State legislature may devise district maps for the House of Representatives.

But that ignores that State legislatures can delegate the drawing of Congressional districts to non-partisan commissions. What they cannot do is to draft districts that grossly disenfranchise large segments of the population. Michigan is a prime example: if you live more than ten miles west of US 23 or to the north of Bay City and you are a Democrat, your voice is unlikely to be heard in the House of Representatives. The Koch syndicate owns your Representative and pulls the strings.   
111  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: BREAKING: President Obama checks into hospital, complaining of "sore throat" on: December 06, 2014, 07:00:36 pm
Where were John Boehner and Mitch McConnell at when he came down with this "sore throat"?

Maybe they were sticking pins into a voodoo doll.

Just kidding.
112  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: In a presidential candidate, what is experience to you? on: December 06, 2014, 06:58:42 pm
The ideal for me is some mix of executive experience and knowledge of Washington.

This, and that would include private sector executive experience.



It's hard to see what private-sector experience would be best. Being an assembly-line worker who gets into the union and becomes a successful politician within the union and becomes the leader of a labor union might be wonderful experience; a big union such as the Teamsters of the UAW is in practice a big business due to the budget and other responsibilities.

Most people become specialists. Would finance, marketing, engineering, advertising, research, or accounting be most relevant? In a way all of those require a high level of intelligence, but they all have their deficiencies. Significantly, much of the power of any corporate executive is the ability to fire anyone who gets in his way... so try 'firing' the leader of the opposition while President of the United States. A President with such power would be a tyrant.

Profit-and-loss experience does not well fit government. Owners of giant plantations as a rule had huge experience in profit-and-loss -- but after the Civil War how few 'planter' types have eventually became President? The closest was Jimmy Carter, who spent much time as a peanut farmer. Even if he was free from the most anti-egalitarian characteristics that one associates with Southern agrarian types he was still an awful President.

Harry Truman had a checkered record as an entrepreneur. His haberdasher shop failed, and his foray into oil was far from successful (he did not stick with what would have been a good investment long enough). He was a wonderful fit as a politician, though.

Captain of a cruise ship? Would be interesting.     
113  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Who will Fiorina be comparable to? on: December 06, 2014, 05:28:59 pm
Herbert Hoover -- if elected.
114  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: The first Clinton 2016 song on: December 06, 2014, 05:27:59 pm
Intended to work on the base of the Other Side -- and if blue-collar white people who listen to country music can make any move toward the Democratic nominee for President, Hillary is going to win big.

What did you expect? Brahms?
115  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Who Would Agree To Be The VP Candidate In a Losing Ticket? on: December 06, 2014, 05:21:41 pm
Someone very old, whose political career is basically over -- or some minor politician.

Never held an elected office -- Sargent Shriver. ('72)
Member of the House -- William Miller ('64), Geraldine Ferraro ('84), Paul Ryan ('12). 
116  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary Clinton's gay rights evolution on: December 06, 2014, 05:18:22 pm
Romney changes stance: Flip flop!
Clinton changes: SHE HAS EVOLVED

The thing is that most Americans have also flip flopped on the gay marriage issue.

Very few have 'evolved' from supporting it to opposing it.
117  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Rand Paul blames Garner's death on cigarette taxes on: December 04, 2014, 09:30:16 am
And he's not wrong.

New York State has the highest taxes on cancerweed in America; the purpose is to cut smoking and cut the costs of healthcare related to smoking.

Low rates of adult smoking correlate to positives in just about every social metric. In a study that I started on how the states measure against each other I found that high rates of smoking correlate negatively to statewide credit scores -- not to mention life expectancy. If you live in a state with a high rate of smoking, then a big chunk of state and local government spending goes to treating ailments related to smoking.

If you are going to pay high taxes, then at least let them be spent on roads, public transit, schools, libraries, etc.  Utah, which has by far the lowest rate of adult smoking, seems to get very good results from such government spending as it has. 
118  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: History of the legalization of same-sex marriage in America on: December 04, 2014, 01:23:31 am
To the surprise of many, Missouri gets SSM as the result of a decision by a State court early in November. So do Kansas, Montana, and South Carolina later in the month as appeals of lower-court rulings are appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. Those states are in aqua.
  



States with full legalization of SSM as of 1 May, 2014 (white)
States getting full legalization of SSM in October 2014
States getting full legalization of SSM in November 2014

Method of legalization of SSM:  



Method of legalization of SSM

resulting from a state court decision invalidating an SSM ban
resulting from state legislation
resulting from the decision of the DC Council
resulting from a statewide initiative or referendum
resulting from a decision by the US Supreme Court
resulting from a decision by a federal court subsidiary to the US Supreme Court

Barring the complete legalization of SSM in all states in which it is still banned, most likely through a Supreme Court decision applicable to all states, I will not update this map until the end of the month. There's another thread for legalization of same-sex marriage, and in it one can post in far more detail -- more than is welcome here.

I will apply another color to any state whose SSM ban ends because of a general ruling.     














119  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: History of the legalization of same-sex marriage in America on: December 04, 2014, 01:09:49 am
At this point I could have predicted with some confidence that no state would abolish bans on SSM due to decisions of a state court, through legislation, or through initiative or referendum.      



From here on I can show two groups of states (the District of Columbia is of course in the first group): those with legal and permanent SSM statewide by law before the May-September gap and those that enact it later.

I will no longer show states by their 'rank' in ending up with SSM. It may be that those states that most fervently resisted SSM that ended up getting their SSM bans judged more quickly in the federal appellate courts. Hereon, colors other than white indicate the month in which SSM bans give way to recognize new licensing of SSM.  

As of November 1, 2014, one can add in sky blue those states that got legal SSM imposed, all ultimately due to decisions of the US Supreme Court.





States with full legalization of SSM as of 1 May, 2014 (white)
States getting full legalization of SSM in October 2014






120  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: History of the legalization of same-sex marriage in America on: December 04, 2014, 12:26:59 am

Between June and September, SSM is still limited to nineteen states and the District of Columbia. But some Federal Circuit Courts struck down some state statues banning SSM, at times showing the speciousness of the claim that bans on SSM did some social good and no harm. States invariably appealed.  

On October 6 and 7, the US Supreme Court applied the hammer to some of the appeals of lower-court decisions mandating the legalization of SSM in the following states:


Colorado
Indiana
Nevada
North Carolina
Oklahoma
Utah
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin

121  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: History of the legalization of same-sex marriage in America on: December 04, 2014, 12:24:33 am
At this point we can recap how states came to accept same-sex marriage. After Pennsylvania there is a pause until October in the legalization of SSM -- but not in judicial activity. This looks like a turning point because from then on no state is likely to ever legalize SSM through finding SSM bans violations of the state (or district) constitution, enactment through legislation, or initiative or referendum.  There would be no initiatives or referendums on SSM in the general election of 2014.     



Method of legalization of SSM

resulting from a state court decision invalidating an SSM ban
resulting from state legislation
resulting from the decision of the DC Council
resulting from a statewide initiative or referendum
resulting from a decision by the US Supreme Court
resulting from a decision by a federal court subsidiary to the US Supreme Court





122  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: In a presidential candidate, what is experience to you? on: December 03, 2014, 04:18:39 pm
Eisenhower had no elected experience -- but much of his military service was in lobbying for defense preparations when such was a low priority. He had to know his way around the political system.

But that is an oddity. I know of no other WWII-era military officer who would have had the unique combination of characteristics that Ike had.
123  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: PPP to poll NC this weekend on: December 03, 2014, 12:45:47 pm
Right-wingers accurately captured the gullibility of the American public in 2014.
124  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: In a presidential candidate, what is experience to you? on: December 03, 2014, 12:39:25 pm
Experience, in my belief, is executive leadership, familiarity with the issues, and matching the mood of the times.

Ronald Reagan, at the time of his 1980 election, would be my gold standard. He not only had first hand with the issues, dating back to 1964, but he additionally served as a major state governor. He became an experienced executive by the time he left the California governorship, and combined with his mastery of the issues, he managed to dominate the country politically in the 1980s. If an issue in the 1980s wasn't dealt with, it was frankly because Reagan didn't care about it or didn't believe in dealing with it on a federal level.

Bill Clinton comes in second after Reagan. Arkansas governor for (a combined) 12 years, fit the neoliberal 1990s, and managed to achieve a good deal. His understanding of the mood of the 1990s was invaluable. Another President might have tried to push it too far one way or the other. His centrism allowed him to ride the 1990s.

George W. Bush had considerable executive experience but had only a passing familiarity with the issues facing the United States. Consequently, Bush had a far less successful presidency than Bill Clinton. A lot of executive experience, but little familiarity with the issues. One might say had he had Reagan's grasp of major issues or Clinton's intellect, he would have avoided many of the issues, like Iraq.

Dubya fit the mood of the time -- one in which people were concerned only with the more primal drives of life or with theological fears. We know how that turned out. Dubya had good intentions in promoting a real estate boom; good intentions are not enough.  

...My scale says nothing about quality aside from saying that someone who does certain things has done a few things right to be President. Joe Biden would get 16 points, yet few would want him to be elected President. He has had plenty of chances.

"Mayor of a large city" does not distinguish between being Mayor of Detroit and turning it around (should that ever happen) and being Mayor of Hempstead, New York (it really is that big -- and if you have never heard of it it is because you do not live on Long Island; it does not pass my spell-check) and doing nothing remarkable. Indeed, being mayor of Lima, Ohio (a real dump) and turning it around should matter more than being mayor of Plano, Texas. Of course, being the mayor of a small city and performing miracles might lead to the Governorship of a State or to the US Senate through the House of Representatives.

We have never elected the mayor of a giant city directly to the Presidency; our last opportunity was Rudy Giuliani.    

I limited experience in the House because although having experience in both the House and Senate is richer preparation for the Presidency, being a perennial winner of a safe seat is not.

First Lady? Would Eleanore Roosevelt have been a good President? Maybe. But who better knows the intricacies of the White House -- and I don't mean where the drapery hardware sags.    
125  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Abolish The Senate on: December 03, 2014, 08:20:13 am
By representing every state equally, regardless of population, the Senate actually is representative of a pseudo-nation with different demographic characteristics than the actual country. The pseudo-nation represented by the Senate is more white (non-Hispanic), less black and less Hispanic than the nation at large. This is likely not surprising. I haven't dug that far into the rest, but it would be interesting to see what other trends there are in the actual population versus the population implied by the Senate.

And yet which chamber has actually passed a comprehensive bill on immigration?

The Senate was also the first chamber to pass the thirteenth amendment way back in the Civil War. Because of the Senate's nature, it is more willing to compromise because its purpose is as I said, designed to encourage states to join together to ensure each other's interests are protected and that instills a greater sense of comity then the majoritarian House has historically functioned as. The House is also far more partisan and far more political because it is up every two years instead of every six years.

Why does nobody understand this? This is basic Government 101 here.

Senate Republicans are much more right-wing than ever before.



They will probably be even more right-wing in 2017. Some are borderline fascists.
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