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101  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Bill Clinton on: May 04, 2015, 09:34:11 am
From welfare reform, to financial deregulation, to a foreign policy that ranged from bumbling to somnambulant, Bill Clinton left the country worse off in nearly every respect. (And that's all without getting in to the man's truly vile personal life.) It took nearly a decade for the country to realize the full consequences of one of the most incompetent and self-serving presidencies in American history, and we continue to reel from them.

It's a shame that some Democrats are so hesitant to admit to this, presumably so that they can continue to herald the supposed "booming Clinton economy" as a credit to the party. If Clinton had not had the good fortune to preside over a period of economic growth, I wonder how they would regard him.
102  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Obama referring to the Baltimore protesters as "thugs" on: May 02, 2015, 06:09:01 pm
i see oakvale is continuing his drift to the far right

Being opposed to burning buildings to the ground as an act of protest makes you far-right?

slandering an oppressed minority group for lashing out does.

That is not what either Oakvale or Obama have done.

It's easy to be sanctimonious about language when your neighborhood is safe and secure... and the odds that you or anyone else posting here ever will live in one like those affected in Baltimore are essentially nil.
103  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: NY Senate leader to be arrested on: May 01, 2015, 11:12:18 pm
One down, sixty-two more to go!
104  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What do you think of the word "thug"? on: May 01, 2015, 04:35:19 pm
One of Thatcher's fave words actually.


I still associate it with rhetoric with an anti-labor ("union thugs") or anti-authority  ("jack-booted thugs") stripe more than anything else.
105  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Electoral Reform Debate - Commentary Thread on: April 30, 2015, 03:14:29 pm
This is misleading, because the sample size is too small to be significant. It is largely a function that the senators who, over that period, were the most active and the least likely to quit where regional ones. In fact it was always noticeable how few regional senators resigned due to activity. I'd suggest the high number of at large senators is because they kept on getting expelled for inactivity Tongue

This is a point that deserves to be highlighted. At-large elections have given us most of our least reliable and least committed Senators. On the other hand, it's virtually impossible to win a contested regional seat without working for it, whether you're an incumbent or not.

This suggests that there's something very wrong with these elections in terms of keeping at-large Senators accountable to their voters. Even worse, when an at-large Senator resigns, this usually triggers a national, single-seat election. These special elections are some of Atlasia's best, but they're hardly a boon to diversity and minority representation.

In two years the Feds have not won a special election for Senate. The Progressive Union and DRs did though.

You say that as if detracts from my point. I'm not sure how it does.

It is responding to your last sentence about the specials detracted from diversity. In both cases a minor party candidate defeated a major party candidate in a nationwide election because they had more swing voters at their disposal then they did in their one on one races.

The Federalists have never won a special Senate election. You don't see the problem here?

Are you sure Nix? Matt didn't defeat Bore once??? I'm not sure.

I'd forgotten that the Federalists have been around for 2.5 years. How time flies. The Federalists won two special elections in early 2013, which should have been taken as an indication that they stood a strong chance of winning the presidency that June, as they nearly did. It's only since then that they've been locked out - a remarkable losing streak for what has consistently been either the largest or second-largest party in the country.

Of course candidates from smaller parties can win special elections, but that doesn't necessarily reflect ideological diversity among their winners. Special elections are a matter of A) making it to the final round and B) appealing to the median voter more than the other candidate who accomplishes A. But one of the supposed advantages of at-large elections is that candidates who would struggle to win the median voter in a single-seat election can still win.

It's not fair to the voters whose preferences elected a candidate that everyone gets to vote on who will replace them, and you would not expect this process to produce a Senate that is representative of a range of public opinion. Moreover, this is one reason why the Senate's expulsion rules are frequently the object of Yankee's paranoia. As he's explained himself on several occasions, a united super-majority of Senators could expel an unpopular Senator (who nonetheless enjoys strong support among 1/5 of the electorate) immediately after an at-large election, under the justified expectation that only someone who can win the support of a national majority will emerge from the resulting special election.

I don't want to get too caught up on this because it's a minor point, comparatively, and the fact that special at-large Senate elections are so much fun is enough to outweigh the fairness consideration, as far as I'm concerned. I'm just extremely baffled to see Yankee making the opposite case now.
106  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: NYT: The Democratic coalition ≠ True Leftists and coastal liberal elites on: April 30, 2015, 02:00:11 pm
Maybe the intended audience for this article is the Times' own editorial staff? Or people who read Times articles like this one unironically? They would undoubtedly be relieved to learn that they have never been Sanders' target demographic.

Universities aside, there's not much reason to conflate "affluent, secular, [and] well-educated" with "liberal activist" or "left-wing." In any case, there are good reasons to look at attempts to measure ideology with skepticism; most voters aren't self-aware enough to know how to classify themselves and have well-developed opinions on only a few issues at most. It's extremely difficult to design survey instruments that work around these tendency.

The more useful headline is that Sanders will probably have weak support among older voters, women, and minorities. Will he do as poorly among white non-professionals as this piece implies? That's more difficult to say. Some political journalists equate Sanders with the brand of anti-war liberalism that was dominant during the Iraq War, but Sanders is not Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, or, God forbid, Mike Gravel, and we're living in a political landscape in which other issues - the economy, corruption, etc. - have become far more salient than foreign policy to most voters.
107  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Martin O'Malley on: April 30, 2015, 11:12:32 am
Awful. It's fortunate that his shtick is well-known by now. (None of Simon's accusations are new, by the way.)
108  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Electoral Reform Debate - Commentary Thread on: April 30, 2015, 10:05:09 am
This is misleading, because the sample size is too small to be significant. It is largely a function that the senators who, over that period, were the most active and the least likely to quit where regional ones. In fact it was always noticeable how few regional senators resigned due to activity. I'd suggest the high number of at large senators is because they kept on getting expelled for inactivity Tongue

This is a point that deserves to be highlighted. At-large elections have given us most of our least reliable and least committed Senators. On the other hand, it's virtually impossible to win a contested regional seat without working for it, whether you're an incumbent or not.

This suggests that there's something very wrong with these elections in terms of keeping at-large Senators accountable to their voters. Even worse, when an at-large Senator resigns, this usually triggers a national, single-seat election. These special elections are some of Atlasia's best, but they're hardly a boon to diversity and minority representation.

In two years the Feds have not won a special election for Senate. The Progressive Union and DRs did though.

You say that as if detracts from my point. I'm not sure how it does.

It is responding to your last sentence about the specials detracted from diversity. In both cases a minor party candidate defeated a major party candidate in a nationwide election because they had more swing voters at their disposal then they did in their one on one races.

The Federalists have never won a special Senate election. You don't see the problem here?
109  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: U.S. birth rates slide as Millennials enter the age of marriage and childbearing on: April 30, 2015, 08:25:11 am
Among people I know, most are married within 2-3 years of finishing their education and finding relatively stable employment, and all but a few have children within a couple of years of marriage.

A few people I knew in high school had children out of wedlock, but so far the general pattern is surprisingly similar across levels of educational attainment. Those who were able to find work without going to college or grad school just have a few years head start on those who spent more years as students, and (so far, at least) are more likely to have more than one child. (I'm not particularly keen on getting married, and I'm even less enthusiastic about children, so all of this is a bit discomforting.)

Obviously, none of this accounts for my former classmates - both from high school and from college - who have fallen into the unemployed (or marginally employed) underclass, most of whom are so totally detached from social life that they've essentially become invisible.
110  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Which political party do you side with? Take the test on: April 30, 2015, 08:06:18 am
I know, I know, it's an online political identification quiz, but these are some of the most bizarre results I've ever scored: "You side with the Constitution Party most on foreign policy issues." What?

Aren't you really dovish?

I think of myself that way, but I also support droning terrorists and destroying ISIS, so I suppose that by this quiz's standard I must be disqualified.
111  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Clinton: It's time for an end to the era of mass incarceration on: April 29, 2015, 08:45:53 pm
I'm entirely unenthusiastic about body cameras, which are expensive, require all kinds of cumbersome IT infrastructure, and - shockingly - tend to be deployed in ways that favor the police more than they favor the public. I'd much prefer to rely on democratic surveillance (i.e cell phone cameras and YouTube) rather than spending billions so that law enforcement can selectively release whatever videos fit their account of events whenever accusations of police brutality crop up.

"Democratic surveillance" isn't always available. Also, riots are expensive. Police brutality is expensive. Basically, "it costs money" and "it requires IT" are such generic objections, that they could be applied to anything. By the same vein, one could argue that they would provide extra stimulus and create jobs. Tongue Also, body cameras have a measurable effect on police behavior.

I'm extremely skeptical of sort of editorial page cost-benefit analysis that concludes that a sweeping policy proposed in the immediate aftermath of a dramatic event is "common sense." And not just under certain circumstances, but everywhere.

The administrative costs aren't negligible, either (e.g. the Baltimore city government estimated that it would require $2.6 million per year just to store and manage the data from police cameras).

If evaluations emerge that show that body cameras have a sustained and significant effect on police behavior, I'll adjust my opinion accordingly, but for now I would much prefer to see the money go toward more beat cops and, in general, community policing.

Sometimes, it takes a big dramatic event, or series of events, to push forward momentum for change.

My objection isn't to taking advantage of the opportunity; it's to doing so unwisely. Don't forget how the policies that drove mass incarceration came about in the first place. For example, in New York State, it was (some, not all) reformers who backed the Rockefeller Drug Laws most enthusiastically. I am wary of any policy fad that claims to offer a simple and direct solution to a complex problem, and police cameras are exactly that. I've seen very little discussion of long-term effects and unintended consequences, but what I've read is not promising.

Quote
In any case, if we're going to be judging Clinton by her husband's record,

I'm not sure if you're implying that I should do that, but I don't. My opinion of Hillary is much higher than my opinion of her execrable husband and I won't have any difficulty voting for her next November over whichever loser the Republicans choose to nominate.

Quote

The first Google hit for "Bill Clinton" + "community policing" is this highly critical Slate piece which alleges that the grants that Clinton approved were not particularly effective. The literature that I've seen on COPS grants is less pessimistic; ~50% of the money going toward the intended purpose of putting additional cops on the streets actually isn't all that bad, but it's not particularly great either. I hope that Hillary will do better.
112  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Clinton: It's time for an end to the era of mass incarceration on: April 29, 2015, 04:33:28 pm
I'm entirely unenthusiastic about body cameras, which are expensive, require all kinds of cumbersome IT infrastructure, and - shockingly - tend to be deployed in ways that favor the police more than they favor the public. I'd much prefer to rely on democratic surveillance (i.e cell phone cameras and YouTube) rather than spending billions so that law enforcement can selectively release whatever videos fit their account of events whenever accusations of police brutality crop up.

"Democratic surveillance" isn't always available. Also, riots are expensive. Police brutality is expensive. Basically, "it costs money" and "it requires IT" are such generic objections, that they could be applied to anything. By the same vein, one could argue that they would provide extra stimulus and create jobs. Tongue Also, body cameras have a measurable effect on police behavior.

I'm extremely skeptical of sort of editorial page cost-benefit analysis that concludes that a sweeping policy proposed in the immediate aftermath of a dramatic event is "common sense." And not just under certain circumstances, but everywhere.

The administrative costs aren't negligible, either (e.g. the Baltimore city government estimated that it would require $2.6 million per year just to store and manage the data from police cameras).

If evaluations emerge that show that body cameras have a sustained and significant effect on police behavior, I'll adjust my opinion accordingly, but for now I would much prefer to see the money go toward more beat cops and, in general, community policing.
113  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Clinton: It's time for an end to the era of mass incarceration on: April 29, 2015, 03:35:01 pm
I'm entirely unenthusiastic about body cameras, which are expensive, require all kinds of cumbersome IT infrastructure, and - shockingly - tend to be deployed in ways that favor the police more than they favor the public. I'd much prefer to rely on democratic surveillance (i.e cell phone cameras and YouTube) rather than spending billions so that law enforcement can selectively release whatever videos fit their account of events whenever accusations of police brutality crop up.

Even so, this is somewhat encouraging, and I hope that we'll hear more policy proposals on this front over the next year.
114  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Which political party do you side with? Take the test on: April 29, 2015, 02:41:01 pm
I know, I know, it's an online political identification quiz, but these are some of the most bizarre results I've ever scored: "You side with the Constitution Party most on foreign policy issues." What? "You side with the Constitution Party and the Conservatives on environmental issues." (Which are also somehow 'less' important to me?) Huh?

115  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of SuperCuts on: April 29, 2015, 02:14:00 pm
If I can't find someone whom I trust who will cut my hair for free, I do it myself.
116  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Opinion of the FairTax on: April 29, 2015, 02:02:24 pm
And if you want to make it more progressive just charge a higher rate on luxury items like say televisions, computers, cellphones, etc. new automobiles, detached single-family housing, private school tuition, elective surgery, monthly membership fees for retirement communities, "certified organic" food and anything served in a sit-down restaurant, "personal trainers," plane tickets, and pet care services.

Fixed to reflect where the affluent actually spend their money in higher proportions than the poor.
117  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Electoral Reform Debate - Commentary Thread on: April 29, 2015, 01:09:22 pm
This is misleading, because the sample size is too small to be significant. It is largely a function that the senators who, over that period, were the most active and the least likely to quit where regional ones. In fact it was always noticeable how few regional senators resigned due to activity. I'd suggest the high number of at large senators is because they kept on getting expelled for inactivity Tongue

This is a point that deserves to be highlighted. At-large elections have given us most of our least reliable and least committed Senators. On the other hand, it's virtually impossible to win a contested regional seat without working for it, whether you're an incumbent or not.

This suggests that there's something very wrong with these elections in terms of keeping at-large Senators accountable to their voters. Even worse, when an at-large Senator resigns, this usually triggers a national, single-seat election. These special elections are some of Atlasia's best, but they're hardly a boon to diversity and minority representation.

In two years the Feds have not won a special election for Senate. The Progressive Union and DRs did though.

You say that as if detracts from my point. I'm not sure how it does.
118  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Electoral Reform Debate - Commentary Thread on: April 29, 2015, 10:09:31 am
This is misleading, because the sample size is too small to be significant. It is largely a function that the senators who, over that period, were the most active and the least likely to quit where regional ones. In fact it was always noticeable how few regional senators resigned due to activity. I'd suggest the high number of at large senators is because they kept on getting expelled for inactivity Tongue

This is a point that deserves to be highlighted. At-large elections have given us most of our least reliable and least committed Senators. On the other hand, it's virtually impossible to win a contested regional seat without working for it, whether you're an incumbent or not.

This suggests that there's something very wrong with these elections in terms of keeping at-large Senators accountable to their voters. Even worse, when an at-large Senator resigns, this usually triggers a national, single-seat election. These special elections are some of Atlasia's best, but they're hardly a boon to diversity and minority representation.
119  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Ron Johnson: Students Graduating Late because "College is Fun" on: April 29, 2015, 08:15:15 am
Wouldn't the easiest thing to do would be to cap fees? Here they are capped at £9,000 a year. (Still a ridiculous price that hopefully will be reduced next parliament, but still)

"Easy" from whose perspective? Tuition at public universities is set by their respective state legislatures, while the federal Department of Education administers student loan programs. Maybe you can see one part of our problem here...
120  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Democrats only: What would you prefer? on: April 29, 2015, 08:03:43 am
My answer might depend on what you qualify as a "landslide defeat".

A sizable Republican majority in the House, a Republican advantage in the Senate, Democratic governors outnumbered by Republicans nearly 2:1, and full Republican control of state houses in 30+ states.
121  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: FiveThirtyEight: Jeb lags far behind past nominees/his brother in endorsements on: April 29, 2015, 07:57:21 am
It's interesting that Gephardt had the most endorsements before April 30th on two occasions and still lost the nomination.

The House of Reps has an awfully large number of members, and being in the House leadership will presumably guarantee you the loyalty of at least some of them.

If I'm remembering What It Takes correctly, his ties with organized labor also had a lot to do with it, at least in '88.
122  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Homely's new maps thread on: April 29, 2015, 07:53:13 am
I'm afraid that my interest in cartography has completely evaporated. For the time being, I have nothing more to contribute to this thread.

I'm extremely sorry to hear that, homelycooking. Thank you, again, for all of the great work that you've shared with us over the past several years. While this forum has its share of cartographic talent, I doubt that anyone else here has the necessary combination of project management skills, cartographic talent, and raw patience that must be necessary to create maps like yours.
123  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Vote No to the Electoral Reform Amendment on: April 28, 2015, 06:03:01 pm
We could always cut Senate terms down to two months so that all Senators would have to stand for reelection in the midterms. Actually, I'd support doing that even in the absence of any other change.
124  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Andrew Cuomo vs. Lena Dunham on: April 28, 2015, 02:02:17 pm
I don't want to freak anyone out, but I think that Andrew Cuomo may be the voice of our generation.
125  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: World Religion Map by National Subdivision on: April 28, 2015, 10:07:00 am
realisticidealist, have you ever considered submitting this to The Atlantic or similar publication? This sounds like the type of thing they'd go for. Not sure what the legalities around getting something to let them use it, though.

I suppose I could look into something like that. I'm not really sure how to approach such things, though.

More likely it'll be posted without attribution (or any attempt at discussion, for that matter) in another "40 Maps That Explain X" series, unfortunately. Be vigilant.

Congratulations on nearly making the front page of Reddit with something as substantive and conscientious as this, by the way.
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