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16726  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Ernest Cleveland: The Gold Standard for District Two on: August 10, 2007, 09:38:05 pm
What other groups do you consider "special"?  Gun owners? Small business owners?  People who don't speak English as a first language?  It's all too easy to say a group is special and therefore doesn't deserve to have their interests considered.  Why should gamblers be considered special?

Oh, lord.  You're the one who was insisting that gamblers deserve special consideration—that taxpayers, essentially, should settle for lower tax revenue to put more money in gamblers pockets.  I'm opposed to that.

A lottery is not a tax, not unless you're going to require the people of Atlasia to buy tickets in it.  The most favorable term one can use for it is "user fee".

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And now, let me turn the issue back to the gentleman from Delaware—if we are indeed to deny the government this new source of revenue—an estimated $7.5 billion—where do you propose we find the money to make up the difference?  Certainly, you're quick to criticize, but where are the solutions?  Accelerate your carbon tax?  Grow the national debt?
I already proposed bill that became law the last time I was in the Senate that provided considerable trimming in the Agriculture and Navy Departments, enough to easily account for that $7.5 billion, but I presume you want me to mention additional cuts.

Taking numbers from the 2008 FY U.S. Budget

~$5 billion the first year: 5 year plan to cut all the non research money of the Department Education and returning their funding to Regional efforts
~$6 billion the first year: 5 year plan to cut all the non research money of the Department Housing and Urban Development and returning their funding to Regional efforts
~$4 billion: ending the war on drugs (elimination of DEA, reduction in the Bureau of Prisons, plus other related programs in the DOJ and the State department)
~$4.5 billion: elimination of the Foreign Military Financing program
$1.8 billion the first year: 5 year plan to eliminate the Federal Transit Administration
~$4 billion: immediate cancellation of all International Space Station activities of NASA
~$30 billion: elimination of the Guaranteed Business Loans of the Small Business Administration
$0.1 billion elimination of the National Endowment of the Arts

Just from a cursory examination without going into specifics and considering quite a few other potential cuts, that's roughly $45 billion in FY 2008 and once the cuts I'd prefer to phase in over 5 years were made in full, that's over $100 billion a year (including savings on interest not paid on debt not incurred).  That's also not counting expenditures that could be saved by cutting back on our foreign military activities as the level of such savings will depend on the degree to which we cut those back, or even if we do cut back.  I believe we should follow a policy that would enable us to have a smaller military, but when it comes to defense I'm of the mind that once foreign and defense policy is set (keeping in mind the costs in blood, treasure, and reputation for the various policy options) then we must fully fund what that policy requires.  In the real world, the disconnect caused by an administration that failed to prepare for the costs of what its policy would require is what caused the real life mess in Iraq.
16727  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Ernest Cleveland: The Gold Standard for District Two on: August 10, 2007, 05:50:18 pm
first and foremost, I need to hold the interests of the whole—the Atlasian taxpayer—over the interests of a special group—those who gamble.

What other groups do you consider "special"?  Gun owners? Small business owners?  People who don't speak English as a first language?  It's all too easy to say a group is special and therefore doesn't deserve to have their interests considered.  Why should gamblers be considered special?

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My lottery plan, in no way, creates roadblocks for casinos to try and run some manner of similar lottery game.  For the most part, they don't, because casinos offer a completely different type of gaming opportunity than the lottery does.

Actually they don't run lotteries because existing Federal law makes running a private lottery illegal.  They can't use the mails, and banks and broadcasters are barred from having any association with lotteries unless they are government run.

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Casino games, by and large, are about instant gratification.  You go to the casino, put a coin in a machine, and six seconds later, you either have won or have lost.  With the lottery, you buy a ticket and hold it for an extended period of time.

The real money maker for State lotteries are the scratch off tickets which offer that instant gratification you say is the distinction, not the daily or semi-weekly big prize drawings.

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... most lottery players know and appreciate the fact that even when they lose, they still, on a level, win.  Because "proceeds benefit older Pennsylvanians," or because they go in a scholarship system, or, in the case of the proposed Atlasian lottery, because proceeds go towards education and expanding Pre K.

Most players perhaps, but most of the tickets are sold to a few players, who because they aren't concentrated in one place are easier to ignore than casino players, despite being just as vulnerable and subject to the dangers of gambling as those who frequent casinos.

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The lottery is inherently a monopoly business.  People enter into a lottery because they want big payouts.  Splitting the lottery up between a number of different operators dilutes the payoffs and will inevitably hurt ticket sales.  It's like saying that a county-by-county lottery game would be more successful than a state-by-state lottery game.  It just wouldn't be, and we have a real world experiment we can look at to prove it: multistate lottery compacts.  These compacts generate far larger interest and far larger jackpots than their single-state counterparts.

Those are merely the public face for where the real money in State lotteries is made, scratch off tickets and the daily or twice daily pick3 and pick 4 games.  More people may buy the occasional big money ticket, but they account for a small fraction of lottery revenues.  They just happen to make the games respectable enough to cause people to not think where the money is really coming from.  Furthermore, if your inherent monoply argument held water, why do we have both Mega Millions and Powerball?  It is true that for those seeking big jackpot games, there appears to only be sufficient interest at present to allow for two such games in Atlasia that reach the nine digit mark in their jackpots, but that is a function of limited demand, not inherent monopoly.

Now, since you chose to skip over this question, let me ask it again:
Does the gentleman from Massachusetts support prohibition or state monopolies for the sale of alcohol and other drugs?  If not, why the difference between drugs and gambling?
16728  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Ernest Cleveland: The Gold Standard for District Two on: August 10, 2007, 03:29:46 pm
Your reasons appear to be that the convenience of the government should take precedence over personal choice, an opinion I do not hold to.

(1) A state-run lottery is a better deal for taxpayers.  Atlasia gets to keep 40% of lottery revenues (plus the tax revenue on winnings).  And there's no associated major investment in compensatory infrastructure.  That's a tremendous deal for taxpayers.

And a terrible deal for consumers.  With competition, the bettors who prefer lottery-style gambling will be able to choose contests that have better payouts than the miserly ones state lotteries provide, or perhaps more entertaining games if that is what concerns them most.  I don't view gamblers as cash cows to be milked by the government, I view them as people.

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For megacasinos like the ones involved in the Connecticut Tribal-State Gaming Compact, Connecticut gets only 25% of revenues.  And that's a relatively good deal—California only gets about 12.6%.  And Since both are Indian tribal enterprises, these are revenue sharing agreements, and can not be taxed by standard mechanisms.

They are subject to Federal law.  While Indian gaming is not subject to State regulation or taxation it is subject to Federal regulation and taxation.

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(2) And worse yet, unlike a state-run lottery, casinos bring significant problems that the state has to compensate for.  Casinos require an increased police presence.  Casinos cause significant increases in traffic.

Any large successful business or industry will generate traffic.  Does the gentleman from Massachusetts prefer banning shopping malls and large industrial plants so as keep traffic flows low?  I believe you see the absurdity of that.  The solution to the problem you mention here is to ensure that, just as with any other large business, the public costs created are recouped through an appropriate level of taxation or impact fees or if those costs prove high enough to cause such businesses to not open, then they will have served their purpose as well.

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Casinos cause a massive proliferation in pawn shops and street prostitution.
Problem drinking and other drug use also cause those problems.  Does the gentleman from Massachusetts support prohibition or state monopolies for the sale of alcohol and other drugs?  If not, why the difference between drugs and gambling?

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(3) I'd argue that oversight and regulation is far simpler with a state-run enterprise.
Things are always simpler if you limit consumer choice.  Imagine how much more efficient and smaller supermarkets could be if there was only one brand of peanut butter, chicken soup, raisin bran, chocolate ice cream, etc., available.  That doesn't mean that government should step in and limit consumer choice.

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I can support privatization where I think privatization might be beneficial.  But handing over lottery gaming to private casinos would be a horrible deal for taxpayers—that's why the legislatures of Indiana and Illinois have opposed such lottery privatization schemes.

I'd argue that they opposed it because they weren't offered the full value for their monopoly business.  That assumes that it should be a monopoly that limits consumer choice in the first place.  The schemes you mentioned would be akin to turning over collection of the State sales tax to private companies to operate a business, but I don't favor, despite the example of Matthew, of having modern day publicans.

Besides, I'm not arguing for turning the current public monopoly over lottery games into a private monopoly.  I want it to be a private competitive business, where the bettors will place their bets with the lottery of their choice that they believe gives them the most value, be it better odds or higher production values.  Why do you oppose consumer choice, Mr. Moderate?
16729  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: Last time an anti-war candidate won a Presidential race in wartime? on: August 10, 2007, 01:13:19 pm
Wilson - 1916 - "He kept us out of war."

FDR - 1940 - "I tell you again and again and again I will not send your sons into a foreign war."
16730  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election Predictions / Re: Prediction stagnation? on: August 10, 2007, 12:43:05 pm
It's been two weeks since I last did this:

Here are the States that would need 13 (+2 from last time)  or fewer of the existing 254  (+34 from last time) predictions to be changed to affect the map (assuming my idea of how the results are being tabulated is correct).  Only the changes marked below in bold would affect the line graph:

Delaware: 4 (+0 from last time) Weak D or lower to Strong D would change the prediction from Weak D to Strong D.

Hawaii: 13 (new since last time) Strong D to Weak D or newer would change the prediction from Strong D to Weak D.

Missouri: 10 (-1 from last time) Tossup or lower to Weak R or higher would change the prediction from Tossup to Weak R.

New Hampshire: 12 (+5 from last time) Weak D or higher to Tossup or lower would change the prediction from Weak D to Tossup.

Pennsylvania: 6 (+3  from last time) Weak D or higher to Tossup or lower would change the prediction from Weak D to Tossup.




More statistical noise, which is to be expected in the absence of any events in the past two weeks likely to change results.
16731  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Ernest Cleveland: The Gold Standard for District Two on: August 10, 2007, 12:10:01 pm
Uncasville, CT (Outside the Mohegan Sun)

My opponent Mr. Moderate has an strange plan for dealing with the public finances.  He plans on getting the Federal government involved in running what should be a private business, namely gambling.  Using that same logic, one could argue we should have the government run gas stations, liquor stores, and bordellos as monopolies to raise revenue for the government.

I do not dispute the need for government to regulate gambling.  Nor am I adverse to the idea of using so called "sin taxes" to both raise revenue and discourage certain activities.  However, I challenge Mr. Moderate to come up with a reason why lotteries should remain government run monopolies instead of government regulated private businesses as is the case with other forms of gambling such as those provided here by the Mohegan Sun.

16732  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Cindy Sheehan Announces She Will Run For Congress on: August 10, 2007, 11:49:12 am
Here's the results from 2006 for CA-8

PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticNancy Pelosi
101,707
80.4
RepublicanMike DeNunzio
13,208
10.4
GreenKrissy Keefer
9,666
7.6
LibertarianPhilip Berg
1,896
1.5

Sheehan might be able to come in second, but no way will she cause the Republicans to pick up the seat.
16733  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Past Election What-ifs (US) / Re: 1896-grover cleveland runs for reelection. on: August 10, 2007, 04:44:50 am
He would not have been renominated.

The Gold Democrats ran a candidate in 1896 which Cleveland endorsed.  If Cleveland had chosen to run he likely could have picked up their nomination.  Still, no way he could have won the election.
16734  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: Romney: My 5 sons are serving their country by helping get me elected on: August 09, 2007, 08:10:30 pm
A silly answer, but Romney is correct.  It is a volunteer military, and there is no requirement that a political candidate have their children join the military as a qualifier for their career.

True, but equating military service with helping a political campaign is stupid.
16735  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Putin rattles his sabre on: August 09, 2007, 07:48:22 pm
Probably no weapons at all so as to save weight and fuel.
16736  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Attn: King on: August 09, 2007, 07:40:33 pm
Unless an Atlas Wiki admin removes it, it'll remain in the history even if the page is edited, as I just did since I don't want the bot crawlers to follow the link you provided to that page in its former state.
16737  Forum Community / Election and History Games / Re: RISK Domination III: Round 3 (Jas) on: August 09, 2007, 06:17:04 pm
I predict that if WI -> IA does not succeed for Jas we'll be seeing Gustaf losing 10 battalions in his effort to take Nebraska while enroute to Iowa the way the dice have been going.
16738  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Senate Protest and Analysis Thread on: August 09, 2007, 06:11:35 pm
I prefer rules changes that would encourage quality over quantity.  However if you feel you;d be hanpered by the two slot limit, there's always the obvious tactic of getting another Senator to sponsor some of your bills.  That's another plus for this proposal in my view as it gives the Senate an incentive to organize instead of continuing to go  in ten separate disjointed paths.
16739  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: 1966 Georgia Gubernatorial Race on: August 09, 2007, 05:52:22 pm
It was a three-way race, not two, as RBH mentioned.  Former Governor Arnall received a plurality in the Democratic primary and assumed he would win the run-off so he didn't campaign much and was stunned when Maddox won the run-off.  He then engaged in a write-in campaign, coming in third behind Maddox and Callaway, but throwing the election into the legislature.
16740  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Senate Protest and Analysis Thread on: August 09, 2007, 05:36:51 pm
FWIW, I don't support Ernest's OSPR amendment.  If only 2 Senators are introducing legislation, why would we stop them from being debated in a reasonable fashion?

If that is the case, then my proposal would have no effect as written, since if there are no other bills to be debated than bills in excess of the per Senator limit are in order if teh alternative is an empty slot.  It would mean that if there was a queue of 50 or so bills proposed by only 2 Senators than if another Senator happened to propose a bill for a change, it would go to the front of the queue.  Frankly, the long queue that is presently in place acts as a deterrent to Senators who might wish to submit occasional bills from doing so because of the length of time between proposal and debate.  The proposal will provide an encouragement for occasional authors to write bills (or at least to sponsor them) since they can count on timely debate.
16741  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Senate Protest and Analysis Thread on: August 09, 2007, 03:03:13 pm
Agreed.  When I was last in the Senate, I staggered the introduction of the bills I wished to propose so as to avoid monopolizing the time of the Senate.  Looks like it may be time to amend the OPSR so as to limit the number of slots that bills sponsored by a single Senator can occupy.  Since I am not at present a Senator I present the following for any interested Senator to introduce.



OPSR Courtesy Resolution

1. Article 3 Section 2 Clause 1 of the OPSR is amended by inserting before the period, ", subject to such limitations on available debate slots contained in this section".

2. Article 3 Section 2 of the OPSR is amended by adding the following as Clause 7:
"7. Notwithstanding Clause 1 of this Section, unless no other bills are available for debate, a Senator may not be the sponsor of more than two pieces of legislation that are on the floor at any one time."



The first clause is to recognize the fact that because of the different types of slots, the Senate already does not follow the strict letter of Article 3 Section 2 Clause 1 by debating legislation in the strict order of introduction.

The second clause prevents a Senator from clogging the calendar with his bills to the exclusion of all others.  If we had more Senators introducing legislation I could see changing that limit from two down to one.
16742  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Chavez seeks indefinite rule on: August 09, 2007, 02:21:15 pm
Not really. Not even the US would have done well without a presidential term limit (which, de facto, was customary pre-Roosevelt as well - thanks to Gen. Washington). In a presidential system of the American (drop the Lat) type, the incumbent's advantage is simply too strong. True, in the US incumbents, occasionally, loose - but most political scientists agree that they don't do so frequently enough. Without the de facto (originally) or a de jure (now) term limit you'd observe lengthy periods of single-person rule. Frankly, I am pretty confident that in the absence of the two-term tradition even the US would have lived through a few coup attempts in the 19th century, and, may be, a couple of extra civil wars.

Considering that between Jackson and Wilson we had exactly one President serve to the end of a second consecutive term, Grant, with one term Presidents between Jackson and Lincoln not even getting renominated by their own party, I think you're completely wrong about the prospect of a 19th century U.S. coup d'etat.  The Union dissolving as it did in Central America and Gran Colombia is a far greater possibility than any coup d'etat to take control of the then weak Federal government.  If that had happened, we'd probably have had some coups.
16743  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Bourbon Democratic Party on: August 08, 2007, 03:23:18 pm
I've added another plank, this time on gambling, arguing that it should be both legal and private rather than operated by the government.
16744  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: SC GOP Primary to be Jan. 19; New NH primary date likely announced tomorrow on: August 08, 2007, 01:40:31 pm
BTW: When is the deadline for the primary/caucus calendar ? What´s the date all states must have their respective primaries/caucuses set ?

The RNC has supposedly set the day after Labor Day (for you European commies that's September 4 over here not May 2) as the day that dates must be set in stone, but I can't see how they will enforce that.  BTW, New Hampshire and Iowa have laws that require a one week period so if they decide to keep the same days of the week, that would make New Hampshire January 8 and Iowa December 31, altho I can't see Iowans mixing a caucus with New Year's or Christmas, so Iowa might get bumped up all the way to December 17 if they insist on holding the caucus on a Monday night.

Thx for the info, I´d love to see a Christmas Caucus, coupled with the chilly winter "feeling" ... Smiley

PS: Labor day for us Commies in Europe is on May 1, not May 2 ... Wink

Which makes the day after Labor Day when? Tongue
16745  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / Re: SC GOP Primary to be Jan. 19; New NH primary date likely announced tomorrow on: August 08, 2007, 01:27:18 pm
BTW: When is the deadline for the primary/caucus calendar ? What´s the date all states must have their respective primaries/caucuses set ?

The RNC has supposedly set the day after Labor Day (for you European commies that's September 4 over here not May 2) as the day that dates must be set in stone, but I can't see how they will enforce that.  BTW, New Hampshire and Iowa have laws that require a one week period so if they decide to keep the same days of the week, that would make New Hampshire January 8 and Iowa December 31, altho I can't see Iowans mixing a caucus with New Year's or Christmas, so Iowa might get bumped up all the way to December 17 if they insist on holding the caucus on a Monday night.
16746  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Random Thoughts on: August 08, 2007, 01:00:31 pm
I was talking about people having to go back to school, but believe me it is just as hot up here, heat index in triple digits

Heat index, schmeat index; I'm talking straight temperature here.  While not unprecedented, such a run of straight 100+ days is unusual.  You'd have to go back to the 80's to find the last time things were so hot for so long.

Actually school's starting later than usual this year.  The General Assembly caved in to the Myrtle Beach tourist interests and banned school districts from starting any earlier than the third Monday of August.  This makes it impossible for public schools that were setting their schedules so as to finish the first semester before the Christmas / New Year break to do so.  Since I see no prospect for there to not be a two week break at that time of year, it makes sense, if your first concern is education, to have that also be the break between semesters.  Starting school the day after Labor Day makes zero sense.
16747  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Random Thoughts on: August 08, 2007, 11:46:49 am
It must suck to live in the South right now because your summer is or is close to over

Since we are in the midst of of having a fourth straight 100 °F or higher day (out of an expected run of six straight days), I wouldn't mind it being over right now.  And that's before considering the humidity. TGFAC
16748  Forum Community / Election and History Games / Re: RISK Domination III: Round 3 (Ernest) on: August 08, 2007, 11:41:05 am
I considered the alternative of only reinforcing and thus leaving your Texas battalions bottled up this round.  You really should thank TN for taking out Maryland last turn, without that, you wouldn't have been attacked at all by me this round.
16749  Election Archive / 2008 Elections / SC GOP Primary to be Jan. 19; New NH primary date likely announced tomorrow too on: August 08, 2007, 11:28:23 am
(The State)

It'll be made official at a news conference in New Hampshire tomorrow, and is reported to be Saturday, January 19.  New Hampshire officials will be there too, so expect them to announce the New Hampshire primary will be moved up to at least Tuesday, January 15 if not earlier.  This will almost certainly cause Iowa to bump up at least a week to Monday, January 7 if not earlier.
16750  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Random Thoughts on: August 08, 2007, 07:20:32 am
Speaking of which . . . I need to buy a newspaper.

Don't get the Wall Street Journal.  At $5 billion it is rather overpriced in my opinion.
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