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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: Predict winner/margin for Montana: Steve Daines vs Amanda Curtis on: Today at 04:47:33 pm
Amanda Curtis has balls of steel for going against Daines as a freshman state Rep, and with only 3 months to campaign no less. I have enormous respect for her, but barring an Akin-esque gaffe on Daine's part I don't see her winning, though I do believe it will be closer than current polling because of the Libertarian vote.

Daines 50%
Curtis 45%
Roots (L) 5%

Between his personal wealth and deep religious nuttery, it's entirely possible that Daines will stick his foot in his mouth. Barring that, I don't see how she wins. I think you're on the right track for vote spread though.
2  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Rick Perry indicted on abuse of power on: August 18, 2014, 06:30:39 pm
I don't live in Texas, so I have my own filter. Texas has some strange politics.

Elected officials have no right to interfere in the judicial process for partisan ends. A state governor may use pardons and commutations as permitted by the State constitution, but that is as far as it goes. The governor cannot fire a judge or diminish his pay (which is a constructive firing) for political purposes.

An indictment has been made, and that does not itself imply guilt -- just that a case for prosecution exists. That is all.

It's good to see that someone gets it. I keep seeing this really, really nasty meme that it's okay to blatantly break the law if you're doing to to "punish" a wrong-doer (alleged or otherwise). Does anyone think that what Perry did would have been just dandy if he'd done it because the person he was targeting was hispanic? Or gay? Or Muslim? The ends DO NOT justify the means - if a civilization start ignoring its own laws because it think that is true, then its doomed.
3  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Rick Perry indicted on abuse of power on: August 18, 2014, 06:23:13 pm
I don't believe this one will be particularly harmful. The belief that the following prosecutor should resign after her arrest for drunk driving does not seem controversial.

I'll take you one further: this will end up helping Perry. What he did isn't just uncontroversial, it'll be applauded, especially by Republican primary voters. Perry can legitimately claim to be unfairly targeted by liberals for the kind of executive behavior they like. And it all would have gone completely unnoticed but for this indictment. This is the DA's oops.

And then he can grow a handlebar mustache, start wearing a Lone Star armband, and start talking about his struggle against the corrupt establishment. But which minority group will he blame for all America's problems?
4  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Rand Paul flees from Mexican immigrant on: August 06, 2014, 07:14:26 pm
If Rand was escaping potential embarrassment caused by King then perhaps he shouldn't associate with him in the first place?

This. Why is he fleeing from a man he's willing to eat lunch with?
5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: SCOTUS on: June 30, 2014, 11:17:24 am
This is the best ruling the Supreme Court could have made.  For one, it allows families to retain freedom of religion even in the workplace.  It also doesn't force/allow other companies to do the same as Hobby Lobby.  It's about time the conservatives win a Supreme Court ruling.

You shouldn't be able to force your religion on your employees.



Companies should not be forced to abandon their religious beliefs in favor of "women's rights." This does not trounce on women's rights.  Rather, it protects the rights of the unborn.  Unborn babies are living human beings and should be given the EXACT same rights as those living outside the womb.  The good news for liberals and the country is that it doesn't make the Hobby Lobby ruling a broad law.

The idea that companies can have religious beliefs is ludicrously offensive and an insult to the very idea of law.
6  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Is Hillary getting overexposed? on: June 25, 2014, 06:39:04 pm
I think so.

It comes with benefits and drawbacks.

There is less room for plausible Democratic candidates to get attention.

But she is seen as a partisan figure, a senator turned cabinet member rather than an Eisenhower. That's problematic in a general election.

And her unforced errors might have the O'Malleys and Bidens of the world thinking they have a shot.

Agreed. Partisan figures are NEVER elected President. Nearly every President ever elected has an Eisenhower-esque background and it really unique circumstances for someone who has held a political office before to be elected President.
Really unique circumstances.... such as an opposition candidate who has the choice between publicly calling for a rejection of everything since the Renaissance, or being burned at the stake by a faction of their own party?
7  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Will there be a Kurd nation in the next 5 years? on: June 25, 2014, 06:27:20 pm
It's dangerous to start talking about partition at this point. Any talk of dividing the Middle East among ethnic lines more than they already are is dangerous.

Our priority in the region, even though this isn't really your question, is maintaining a unified Iraq and continuing pressure on regimes in the region to promote human rights and democracy. We have to secure Iraq as a multiethnic, rule of law democracy. Our hasty withdrawal from the country led to a decline in stability.

A Kurdish nation would set a very dangerous precedent. It would signal that the world no longer has interest in protecting multiethnic nations and building peace in the Middle East. It would encourage ethnic secession movements across the region and light a new fire that threatens global security.

Just like its far too late to stuff the nuclear genie back in the bottle, its far too late to stop people talking about partitioning Iraq. Ethnic secission movements are a very real thing - look at the Scottish Independence Referendum coming up this fall. Personally, I think smaller nations are a good thing - the failure modes of small to mid-sized governments, while bad, have a hard time reaching the mind-numbingly catastrophic levels that those of large and very large government can reach.
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Sarah Palin is thinking about a 3rd Party candidacy in 2016. on: June 25, 2014, 06:22:43 pm
Even Republicans and Hillary-haters should root for a Bush-Clinton-Palin race. Imagine that debate. Too amazing to resist. If you are not rooting for it, shame on you.

I'm rooting for it. I can think of nothing else that would so clearly drive home to so many how much of a fraud the "democratic" nature of American government is.
9  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Christie on how he'd treat legal marijuana states: "Not Well" on: June 22, 2014, 09:00:18 am
Typical right-wing hypocrite - talks 'states rights' when he wants to legalize sports betting, but not a peep when he wants to badmouth pot legalization. Thankfully, the ongoing scandals likely mean he's done as a potential president.
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / US Attorney for NJ likely to file charges against Christie's associates. on: June 19, 2014, 05:33:24 pm
http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/christie-investigation

Short version: close Christie associates are virtually certain to be indicted, and scenting blood in the water, the sharks (in the form of U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Paul Fishman) are circling.

Even if Gov. Christie escapes without charges, will this doom his presidential ambitions? (And is it fair to say that if it happens, a federal indictment ends his campaign before it even taxis onto the runway?)
11  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: ISIS/ISIL make major gains in Iraq on: June 16, 2014, 02:08:53 pm
Unfortunately, ISIS appears to have mastered "Pillage, then burn."
12  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: ISIS/ISIL make major gains in Iraq on: June 14, 2014, 12:13:04 pm
I'm skeptical that ISIS is organized enough to keep their "Caliphate" together in anything beyond the very short term. I think it's definitely possible, but not the sure thing some people seem to be assuming.
13  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: ISIS/ISIL make major gains in Iraq on: June 13, 2014, 04:56:41 pm
Why? They have a de facto independent state now, with the capital at Irbil, and they just added Kirkuk to their zone of control. It seems to me that a formal, public announcement would have little real benefit, but plenty of potential negatives.
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Enough with Invincible Hillary on: June 06, 2014, 09:33:07 am
Yeah, that's the thing... this "under 50% chance of winning"  thing doesn't make sense. If she runs, there's basically a 95% chance she's the Democratic nominee. If you give her a 65% chance of beating the Republican, she's the odds-on favourite.

This is the heart of it. It's not that Hillary is a "perfect candidate" (and certainly not my personal perfect candidate) but the Republican brand and bench for 2016 looks terrible. When the one party is going to find it virtually impossible to find a nominee who doesn't present as a bigoted, anti-science, corporate stooge without their party splintering, then the alternative does indeed look like a shoe-in.

Generic Republican could beat Hillary. I just don't see the scenarios where Actual Republican does, even though, on paper, this should be a great year for the Republicans.
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Gun to your head: Do you think Hillary Clinton will run for POTUS in 2016 ? on: June 04, 2014, 03:14:07 pm
Yes, unless her health fails.
16  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Ed Rendell doesn't get on a plane on: June 02, 2014, 06:40:19 pm
It seems there's a lot of random stuff about plane crashes.

There was the House Majority Leader Boggs missing in 1972.

Ted Kennedy had previously been on a plane with fatal plane crash, and almost was on Wellestone's fatal flight.

Ted Stevens' second fatal plane crash got him.

Some other Congressmen like Jesse Helms were originally supposed to be on the flgiht that Larry McDonald died on.

While I have not personally done the math, I really doubt its statistically significant. Big-name politicians fly very frequently, often on small aircraft. Small aircraft crash far more often than airliners. That over the span of decades a number of prominent political figures have died in airplane crashes should not surprise anyone. (If anything, I'm a little surprised that the US hasn't lost a president or vice-president to a helicopter crash yet.)
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: 2016 is likely to be the first election since 2000 where the U.S. is not at war. on: June 01, 2014, 05:23:43 pm
I guess this puts the burden on Obama to start a new war before then.
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: 2016 GOP on Climate Change: Yikes. on: May 14, 2014, 06:46:32 pm
And just to follow-up here: so what if we're wrong about climate change? I've yet to hear a functional argument that describes how the primary policy initiatives proposed to combat it are somehow negative.

Carbon tax - so what? Revenue collection is revenue collection; sooner or later, discretionary spending will have to increase or we're going to become a permanent second-world nation.

Reduced pollution through the former - virtually guaranteed. Because if you're pumping out a bunch of CO2, then you're probably pumping out a bunch of poisonous chemicals. I thought the GOP loved consumption-based taxes?

Permanent, stable and affordable energy independence - God forbid!

Foreign policy freed from the whims of energy-producing rogue nations - isn't that a good thing?

Really, I view this as sort of a climate version of the whole Pascal Wager: "If you address Climate Change and it turns out to be real you obviously made a right decision.  However, if you address Climate Change and it was never there at least you now have sustainable resource usage, a cleaner atmosphere, lower rates of cancer, cleaner public transportation, and more efficient technologies.  If you don't address Climate Change and it turns out to be fake, nothing changes.  If you don't address Climate Change and it does turn out to be real, then you are in pretty damn serious trouble."

As a recovering alcoholic (I mean I don't have live cancer (yet), but that is no excuse to not to try to quit), I guess it's easier for me to understand the whole concept of taking care of the Earth now than it was in the past.  If somebody made the points that Griffin and Pbrower did a few months ago I would've laughed and said "oh great, more OMG THE WORLD IS GOING TO DIE IF WE DON'T INSTITUTE A CARBON TAX AND BAN INCANDESCENT BULBS ASAP OMG MY VEINS ARE POPPING WITH RAGE!"  I have been known to make some pretty blatant "what's the use" posts on this matter, however in the grand scheme of things we really should be turning this question on it's head.  If we do assume that Climate Change is real (which really shouldn't be an assumption given how much scientific community support it has) and we act in that way, society at large will in the long term benefit.

And really, I must comment that this kind of debate isn't really anything new.  As this campaign ad from Robert Kennedy tells, if we put issues like this off, future generations will be forced to deal with it.  Environmentalism and conservation didn't cease to be issues when the EPA was established, m'kay guys?

The downside of dealing with climate change is that the Kochs and their ilk won't make as much money.  That seems to be the only real motivating factor of the denialists.
19  General Politics / International General Discussion / Joe Biden's son joins Ukraine's largest gas company on: May 13, 2014, 12:27:54 pm
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/13/joe-bidens-son-hunter-head-legal-unit-ukraines-lar/
Quote
Vice President Joe Biden’s youngest son, Hunter, has been appointed head of legal affairs at Ukraine’s largest private gas producer.

Burisma Holdings said in a statement that Hunter Biden will be in charge of the company’s legal unit and will provide support for the company among international organizations.

“Burisma’s track record of innovations and industry leadership in the field of natural gas means that it can be a strong driver of a strong economy in Ukraine,” said Mr. Biden.

“As a new member of the Board, I believe that my assistance in consulting the Company on matters of transparency, corporate governance and responsibility, international expansion and other priorities will contribute to the economy and benefit the people of Ukraine,” he said.

Given recent events, this just seems bizarre to me.
20  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Jeb Bush: "Traditional marriage" can fight poverty better than government aid on: May 13, 2014, 12:21:55 pm
http://bigstory.ap.org/article/bush-ryan-focus-poverty-while-courting-donors

"Bush, the son of one president and brother of another, called for more welcoming immigration policies, while offering his own poverty prescription: "A loving family taking care of their children in a traditional marriage will create the chance to break out of poverty far better, far better than any of the government programs that we can create."

I guess he felt that saying, "Women should be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen" didn't quite have that 21st Century ring to it, so he needed to mix up the verbiage a little.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Who is the luckiest currently serving American politician? on: May 13, 2014, 12:18:40 pm
I've got to agree with those who have said, "Obama".

And don't forget that, as his re-election opponent, the Republicans picked an uncharismatic, transparently elitist, vulture capitalist multimillionaire from a non-mainstream religion. They might have had a better chance with a actual Bond villain.
22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Rand Paul: Show Us the Drone Memos on: May 12, 2014, 01:27:33 pm
In an Op-Ed in the New York Times, Paul is demanding the Obama administration release memos outlining the legal justification for the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki written by Appellate Court nominee David Barron back when he worked for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/12/opinion/show-us-the-drone-memos.html?_r=0
23  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Rand Paul to GOP: "Lay off voter ID. It's offending people." on: May 10, 2014, 10:57:26 pm
I must say that I've been very pleased with Rand Paul recently. He seems to understand how to relate to voters, and unlike many Republicans, Paul doesn't appear to discount people just because they don't automatically align with him. His statements on voter ID might be beneficial if he ends up being the Republican presidential nominee. Paul is clearly setting himself up as a top-tier candidate.

Paul has these flashes where he looks brilliantly sane compared to the rest of the Republicans. Personally, I don't believe a word of it, but I suspect it does make him look good to a lot of undecided voters in the general. If he does ever manage to get elected President, I think he'll be a "libertarian Obama" - full of unfulfilled hopes and unkempt promises. (I doubt he'll make it that far though - he will be hammered by different groups for failing to be establishment enough,  failing to do enough Teabag worship, and for being too much of a religious and social conservative. And that's assuming he doesn't put his foot in his mouth and sink his own campaign.)
24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Anthony Foxx asks Congress to end ban of tolls on interstate highways on: May 01, 2014, 12:17:45 am
We need to make drivers pay for driving, it's that simple.  We ought to institute tolls, get rid of most free parking spaces, create congestion pricing, raise gas taxes, raise vehicle taxes, raise vehicle MPG standards, strengthen vehicle emission standards and put automated speed cameras all over the place.

The car lifestyle has been killing people, cities and the environment for years so we're just used to that status quo.  It's enough already. 

Unless those changes are balanced by removing sprawl, quality public transit, and similar measures, the only practical result will be time and money sucked out of the already suffering lower and middle classes.
25  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Rank the potential GOP candidates by low, medium, high risk and reward on: April 30, 2014, 03:21:22 pm

Medium Risk, High Reward: Paul Ryan, Scott Walker, Chris Christie (assuming he's in a position to run in 2016), Condoleeza Rice

No.
She has a solid approval rating, and is known by both the public and the press.

It would be an impressive milestone, and since she served as Secretary of State for a term, it wouldn't be tokenism. An African American female academic would help rebrand a party of old white guys (Bob Dole, Dick Cheney, John McCain, Mitt Romney) and dum-dums (George W Bush, Rick Perry, Sarah Palin.)

There are some risks. She hasn't run a political campaign before (although it would require political talent to win a presidential primary). She's pro-choice, which may appeal to independent voters but may outrage social conservatives. She's also tied to an unpopular President, but his brother seems to be the frontrunner.

The crypto-racists and other social conservatives, including a lot of the Tea Party, will revolt and turn the whole election into a flaming meltdown if Rice is the nominee. (Which would, on balance, be a good thing for the country and the party. But I really don't think it has any chance of happening.)
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