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1726  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of "Humans of New York"? on: December 13, 2015, 10:42:12 am
It's a bit saccharine, but who cares? I agree with Clarko - it's a nice break from the trash heap of whining, bragging, advertisements, baby photos, and other social jetsam that make up a typical Facebook feed.
1727  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu on: December 12, 2015, 05:07:07 pm
Netflix continues to have the best selection of content - the several HBO series on Amazon notwithstanding - but their current library doesn't compare to what they offered circa 2010 or so, when the selection of good classic movies was much larger than it is today.

I don't particularly care for any of Netflix's original content, though, and cancelled my subscription last month because of their thinning collection.
1728  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Fiorina YUUUUUUGE RALLY in Iowa on: December 08, 2015, 11:08:43 am
Wait till you see photos from the Gilmore rally.

I would joke about not even Jim Gilmore turning up for a Gilmore rally but as he's actually failed to show for several appearances already, usually with no prior notice or explanation, it wouldn't even be a joke.
1729  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Which states will Bernie Sanders win in the Primary? on: December 06, 2015, 07:43:29 pm
I think the biggest unknown is whether we'll see the same lopsided results in caucus states as we did in 2008. I have an easier time imagining Bernie winning a bunch of those than any primary states outside of the Northeast, especially as a bunch of them have small, demographically favorable, or demographically unusual electorates. But maybe Clinton will rule the caucuses this time, who knows.

Aside from Vermont, which he will win, my guess is that Sanders best states will be Maine, New Hampshire, and Iowa, in that order. I'd give him even odds in Maine and slightly less in the other two.
1730  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Andrew Cuomo 2018? on: December 06, 2015, 01:23:16 pm
Cuomo is already running for re-election and at last tally had something like $13M in the bank for his campaign. Chris Gibson is already running for the Republican nomination. (See also.)

Chris Gibson could be the best statewide candidate the Republicans have run in over a decade, and will easily run a closer race than Astorino or Paladino. Even so, I doubt that he will win.

I expect Congressman Chris Gibson to run a strong - compared to Paladino and Astorino, at least - but unsuccessful campaign against Cuomo in 2018, barring actual prison time or something close to that.

What Cuomo has going for him is that there's very little middle ground in New York State between being an electable statewide candidate and being a convicted felon. His (very real) unpopularity among the the progressive grassroots, state employees, and rural voters does not matter much in terms of electoral viability as long as the state Democratic Party remains with him.
1731  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Former NYS Assembly Speaker Silver (D) Convicted on All Corruption Charges on: December 06, 2015, 01:13:33 pm
Kathy Hochul would have to be one of the savviest political operators in contemporary American politics to win a Democratic gubernatorial primary after a Cuomo indictment. Even in Upstate NY, most voters outside of the Buffalo area don't even know who she is. For anyone in her position, there would be no escaping the taint of Cuomo.
1732  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Which law enforcement agencies do you trust? on: December 06, 2015, 11:37:47 am
I mostly agree with traininthedistance: Put me in a random location within the United States, and I'll be inclined to trust federal law enforcement more than state law enforcement, and state law enforcement more than local law enforcement.

In practice, though, I think that's because there's so much variability in the quality of local law enforcement. On average, I trust them more than law enforcement from more remote jurisdictions. They're only 'worse' in the sense that negative outliers matter so much. My overall opinion of federal law enforcement is negative; I've never read anything about anyone working in federal law enforcement that doesn't make that person sound like a bizarre character ripped from the pages of a Kafka novel.
1733  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Missouri Bill Would Put State Gun Sales Under Same Restrictions as Abortions on: December 06, 2015, 11:23:17 am
Trolling? I hope not. This is a great move and a sound political strategy, both in terms of tactics and framing the issue.

Proponents of gun control need to take a much blunter approach to the issue, along the lines of how the pro-life movement has fought Roe v. Wade over the past couple of decades. In other words, limit the availability of guns however we can. Use the legal system, social sanctions, bureaucratic obstacles, and economic barriers. Work at the local and state level, and let these barriers that make it more difficult to manufacture, sell, and own guns accumulate over time. No amount of gun control would work as well as putting half of a state's arms dealers out of business, for example.

We've spent too much time pushing an incoherent message about how we need to respect responsible, law-abiding gun owners and pass only those forms of gun control that don't inconvenience them. The real story is much simpler: "Responsible gun ownership" is a myth. The best way to reduce gun violence in the United States is to reduce the number of guns in circulation, full stop.
1734  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Should people on the terrorist watch list be allowed to buy guns? on: December 06, 2015, 11:15:44 am
This is the best response in this thread:

The problem is gun ownership. If you want to do something about it, and I know that most liberals on this forum recognize want to reduce gun ownership rates, we have to convince the public that gun ownership is at fault.

In effect, this usually means supporting any measures that will make it more difficult to manufacture, buy, sell, and own guns and ammunition. However, while I don't think of gun ownership as a "right," the fact that most Americans do matters enough to me to make me feel uneasy about some of those measures. There's a point at which more harm is done by exploiting naked prejudice.

Maybe more to the point, I also agree with DC and Shua that you need to ask what the purpose of the watch list is. As far as I'm aware, it's to coordinate intelligence-gathering. The people using it care much, much more about false negatives than false positives, and rightly so. If you believe that this is important, why would you want to muddle the subject?

If we suddenly begin using the watch list to determine who can and cannot legally purchase a firearm, there's no way that this fact doesn't affect which names go on the list. If the watch list actually is actually critical to federal counter-terrorism efforts, then it would be incredibly myopic to sabotage it just because it's a politically convenient way to prevent a few people from buying guns.

1735  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: When will national gun control reform happen? on: December 06, 2015, 10:16:26 am
This exchange demonstrates that the reason why the anti-gun minority is living in a fairyland where our objectives will never be fulfilled, is because the pro-gun majority is living in a fairyland where the federal government is apparently only a door knock away from rounding citizens up into camps or something.  Rational dialogue is impossible.

And one of the supreme oddities of American politics is that many, even most, of that same gun-depraved majority actually want the federal government to do exactly that to immigrants, Muslims, and any other group that becomes the object of their paranoia.

The United States is just a concentrate-or-be-concentrated nation for some people, I guess.
1736  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Opinion of Preet Bharara on: December 05, 2015, 05:10:46 pm
This was just polled like 3 weeks ago with disappointing results. Possibly the biggest Democratic HP in America bar Cuomo tbh, but do I really want to reignite this argument?

Good job on SS at least...

How is he a HP for indicting criminals?

When a huge number of them are not criminals, but "class enemies" that liberals just want to hate out of envy.

What's the matter, did Dean Skelos land you an internship or something?
1737  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Does anyone here actually believe Jeb Bush has a shot at the nomination still? on: December 05, 2015, 03:31:46 pm
Yes, but just barely. And it would necessarily involve the political equivalent of the baptism scene from The Godfather.
1738  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What place is Christie *actually* in right now? on: December 05, 2015, 03:24:55 pm
You really think Rubio has a better than 1 in 2 chance of being the nominee? The guy hasn't led in a single poll yet. He's not even close! Nor is he really showing any momentum at all, unlike arguably Cruz and Christie.

I think that Dave Weigel had it right in his editorial a couple of days ago when he said that polling is an interesting and important part of the nomination story, and therefore dumb to ignore or dismiss altogether. That said, I don't put a lot of predictive stock in them, with some exceptions, e.g. Jeb's persistent decline to low single-digits in both national and early state polls even though he has high name recognition and is running a well-funded campaign coupled with worsening favorability ratings within his own party.

Anyway, the most important question in this contest is whether the normal "party decides" rules apply. I think that the odds that those rules still accurately describe how the primary campaign works are pretty high compared to the odds they do not.

If those rules still explain Republican nominations, Rubio is the most likely nominee - I can't imagine who else would be - and Christie is the most plausible alternative. (I imagine a Christie victory would look something like Clinton's 1992 primary campaign.) Jeb is probably next most likely, although I'm not sure whether the "dirty tricks" scenario that I outlined in my previous post is one in which the rules that political scientists swear by still apply.

That said, maybe those rules don't apply. So let's assume that the laws really have changed. Since I'm trying to put numbers on things, I'll guess that the odds of this are 1:4. This is how we get either a Cruz or Trump nomination, and I expect that Cruz is much more likely to take advantage of this situation once votes are being cast.
1739  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What does Kasich think he's doing? on: December 05, 2015, 03:08:33 pm
Kasich is arguably the only Republican who's running a worse primary campaign than Jeb. I don't think he'd win the nomination if he were the only candidate on the ballot.

The worst bit is that he's not even running a good "screw it, I'm calling out the crazies campaign"! He's consistently unwilling to confront Cruz, Trump, Fiorina, Carson, etc. in both direct and specific terms. He seems to prefer yelling, waving, and making (usually) extreme vague complaints that mostly amount to tone policing rather than anything more substantive.
1740  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What place is Christie *actually* in right now? on: December 05, 2015, 02:58:01 pm
Going by subjective odds, I'd place Christie in a solid third place behind Rubio and Cruz:

~55% - Rubio
~20% - Cruz
~10% - Christie
  ~5% - Bush
  ~5% - Trump
  <5% - Others

...with "others" mostly comprising potential nominees who are not candidates.

I can't imagine any set of circumstances under which either Carson, Fiorina, Kasich, Paul, Huckabee, Graham, Santorum, Gilmore, or Pataki wins the nomination - none of them merits better than 1000:1 odds, at best.

Maybe Bush belong in this category as well. HOWEVER, the defining characteristic of politicians from the Bush family is a political cliché: They really are willing to say and do anything to get elected.

So, if Jeb decides to go full-Atwater on each of the other non-Trump candidates - which, increasingly, seems to be the case - he might succeed in destroying every one of them. And we don't get a "fair fight" between him and Trump at that point - what we probably get is Jeb winning through some combination of party shenanigans, rules-lawyering, and raw spending. Which, I imagine, is the catalyst for Trump running as an independent candidate.
1741  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Opinion of Preet Bharara on: December 02, 2015, 06:39:18 am
Changing my vote to FF since it looks like he is going to indite Andrew Cuomo.

http://buffalochronicle.com/2015/12/01/emboldened-by-silver-conviction-bharara-to-indict-cuomo-jan-2nd/

Great news, if true, especially the inclusion of the truly vile Alain Kaloyeros. Incidentally, his Facebook page, which was public only a few months ago, is loaded with, uh, "gems" like this one (yes, that is a handicapped parking spot that he's partially blocking):

1742  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Opinion of Preet Bharara on: December 02, 2015, 12:33:57 am
Only an HP insofar as he's failed to go far enough.
1743  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The eventual fate of Andrew Cuomo on: December 01, 2015, 08:47:55 pm
I expect Congressman Chris Gibson to run a strong - compared to Paladino and Astorino, at least - but unsuccessful campaign against Cuomo in 2018, barring actual prison time or something close to that.

What Cuomo has going for him is that there's very little middle ground in New York State between being an electable statewide candidate and being a convicted felon. His (very real) unpopularity among the the progressive grassroots, state employees, and rural voters does not matter much in terms of electoral viability as long as the state Democratic Party remains with him.
1744  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone III - The Whinge Binge on: December 01, 2015, 05:29:14 pm
Well, at least there's one set of problems that no one can blame on our country's public schools.
1745  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Rank Candidates from Favorite to Least Favorite December on: December 01, 2015, 04:39:26 pm
1 - Sanders
2 - Clinton
3 - O'Malley
4 - Stein
5 - Webb
6 - Any Constitutionally eligible non-Republican
1746  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: 14 year old boy arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school on: November 29, 2015, 09:51:25 am
This story has never been more than background noise for me, but can anyone explain how the, uh, twist ending doesn't throw a pall over the entire matter? Is this just a case of someone's 15 minutes having gone terribly awry?
1747  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Who does isidewith.com say you side with? on: November 29, 2015, 02:55:00 am
I consistently responded that I support the Affordable Car Act, but would prefer a single-payer system.

In response, the quiz claims that four candidates agree with me on health care issues: Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, and Chris Christie. Yes, Chris Christie.

The percentages correspond well with my prior ranking of candidates, though: Sanders, Clinton, <big gap>, O'Malley, <big gap>, Webb, Trump, Huckabee, <rest of field>. I assume that I match better with Trump and Huckabee than with other Republicans because they're the only two who haven't expressed an interest in cutting Social Security (which, ironically, is a prerequisite for being described as either a "serious" or "moderate" Republican candidate).

Ben Carson is in last place, which amused me. I was less amused to find presumptive nominee Rubio ranked second to last. Scary stuff.
1748  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Black Friday on: November 29, 2015, 01:34:35 am
You don't need to sneer at anyone to understand why Black Friday is so awful. Nor does it take much of a sense for irony to appreciate the spiritual whiplash involved in moving, in only a few hours, from the - idealized, at least - contemplation and gratitude of Thanksgiving to the orgiastic Black Friday carnival.

Moreover, it's not the well-publicized videos of misbehavior that make it so ugly. The low-rent TV news entertainers and the reprobates who watch them - whether to laugh or to jeer - comprise the more disgusting half of that ritual.
1749  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Who is your most hated Star Wars character? on: November 29, 2015, 01:03:43 am
LOL.  WTF is Mace Windu?

An ill-conceived and poorly executed attempt to get more black people to buy Star Wars tickets.
1750  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Which matters more - a snail or a human fetus? on: November 29, 2015, 01:02:00 am
^All that remains is to write this comparison up as cute story about how the fetus will grow up to be Ted Bundy and the snail will grow up to a delicious starter dish doused in garlic butter with a touch of basil.
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