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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Presidential vs. Parliamentary systems on: Today at 01:48:45 am
Someone care to explain what a semi-presidential system is?

The President, who is the head of state, appoints the Prime Minister (and can't dismiss him), who is the Head of Government. So the two roles are distributed between the two offices.

Is there such a thing as a parliamentary system with a Prime Minister (head of government) who is also the head of state? A parliamentary system with just a PM and no additional/separate Monarch or President is what I mean.
2  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Oregon Measure 91 on: Today at 01:35:42 am
I think it will pass but I wonder what % this measure will get.

In 2010 a measure to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries was defeated 44%-56%. Then 2012's legalization initiative which was relatively permissive lost ~47%-53% while the Colorado and Washington initiatives passed about 55%-45%.

Public opinion has been shifting in favor of legalization but 2014 will be a mid-term election like 2010 (lower turnout over all, proportionally older, etc).
3  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: St Louis police murder scandal (PLUS: riots, idiotic press conferences, etc.) on: Today at 01:18:59 am
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/27/opinion/thomas-edsall-the-expanding-world-of-poverty-capitalism.html
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Should Colorado have to pay for neighboring state's marijuana prohibition? on: August 22, 2014, 05:59:23 pm
Of course not. Kansas and other states need to change their corrupt laws to stop the incarceration. 14% of the U.S. population uses marijuana every year; should these people be arrested? Current laws, ones that the police have no problem enforcing and ardently defending because it feeds their budgets, mostly say yes:

http://blog.norml.org/2014/07/30/study-arrests-for-marijuana-offenses-increasing-in-many-states/

Quote
Law enforcement in many states are making a greater number of marijuana arrests than ever before despite polling data showing that the majority of Americans believe that the adult use of the plant ought to be legal.

According to a just published report, “Marijuana in the States 2012: Analysis and Detailed Data on Marijuana Use and Arrests,” which appears on the newly launched RegulatingCannabis.com website, police made an estimated 750,000 arrests for marijuana violations in 2012 – a 110 percent increase in annual arrests since 1991.

http://norml.org/pdf_files/JBG_Marijuana_in_the_States_2012.pdf

Quote
There were 749,825 arrests for marijuana offenses in the United States in 2012. Marijuana
possession arrests accounted for 88% of all arrests (658,231) and the remainder for sales
offenses.

...

In 2012 the NSDUH estimated that there were 31.8 million Americans who used marijuana at
least on an annual basis and 18 million who used marijuana monthly.

...

After more than 19 million arrests since 1981 marijuana is widely used, not perceived as a great
risk by a majority of the population, and widely available.
5  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: McConnell describes the horror that will ensue if the GOP takes the Senate on: August 21, 2014, 03:13:07 pm
Quote
The emerging strategy: Attach riders to spending bills that would limit Obama policies on everything from the environment to health care, consider using an arcane budget tactic to circumvent Democratic filibusters and force the president to “move to the center” if he wants to get any new legislation through Congress.

I thought they'd move to abolish the filibuster for legislation after Democrats weakened it with a simple majority last year?

That was only for non-SCOTUS administrative and judicial appointments. It was tactical nuclear warfare more used to destroy formations of soldiers and ships than continents.

Right but it established (recent) precedent to majorly weaken the filibuster with a simple majority vote rather than 3/5s or 2/3s: http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/191255-filibuster-reform-could-have-rippling-effect

Quote
November 23, 2013

The longer-term implications are much less certain. Many senators on both sides of the aisle have been reluctant to dabble with minority powers, cognizant of the political tides that cyclically alter which party controls the chamber.

But others have pushed hard for a more sweeping elimination of the filibuster, to include legislation and Supreme Court picks. And Republicans, who unanimously opposed the Democrats' rule change, are now suggesting that the momentum has shifted in that direction.

Quote
Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) this week seemed to endorse the notion of McConnell eliminating the filibuster in legislative fights. He argued that the Senate fared fine in the many decades before the filibuster was used on a regular basis.

"Let him do it," Reid said Thursday. "The country did pretty damned well for 140 years. So, I think we're beyond seeing who can out-talk the other. Let's just get some work done on the Senate floor. Let him do whatever he wants to."

Some Senate Democrats – notably Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) – have urged Reid to take that step himself, though it's not clear he could have passed such a change in the current political environment.
6  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Congressional Elections / Re: McConnell describes the horror that will ensue if the GOP takes the Senate on: August 21, 2014, 04:02:14 am
Quote
The emerging strategy: Attach riders to spending bills that would limit Obama policies on everything from the environment to health care, consider using an arcane budget tactic to circumvent Democratic filibusters and force the president to “move to the center” if he wants to get any new legislation through Congress.

I thought they'd move to abolish the filibuster for legislation after Democrats weakened it with a simple majority last year?
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Durbin: prisons are great job-creators, the key to our economic future on: August 21, 2014, 03:39:32 am
A truly cancerous 'industry'
8  General Politics / Economics / Re: Hawaii most expensive state to live, Mississippi cheapest on: August 21, 2014, 03:25:38 am
They published the metro-area version of the map today: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/08/20/map-how-much-100-is-really-worth-in-hundreds-of-metropolitan-areas/
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Who will win in Illinois? on: August 15, 2014, 03:36:55 pm
Quinn.
As long as he does not do too poorly in rural areas, he will win just by dominating Chicago.

There's no significant third party this year. How does Quinn improve his percent from 2010 and keep Rauner from matching Kirk? If Quinn can't do that, he has to find some new pocket of votes outside of Chicago.

If there are no third-party candidates on the ballot, it's not like 100% of those votes would go to Rauner; the Green candidate got ~10% in 2006 and ~3% in 2010. Plus Illinois will have same-day registration for the first time this year so turn-out could be higher than expected.
10  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential General Election Polls / Re: AR-PPP: All Pubs lead Clinton on: August 10, 2014, 01:05:02 am
Arizona margin relative to national margin

1960: R+11.32
1964: R+23.57
1968: R+19.06
1972: R+8.11
1976: R+18.63
1980: R+22.62
1984: R+15.66
1988: R+13.48
1992: R+7.51
1996: R+6.30
2000: R+6.80
2004: R+7.99
2008: R+15.74
2012: R+12.90


Arizona population, % non-hispanic white:
1960 - 1.3m, (no data but probably within 74-77%)
1970 - 1.8m, 74%
1980 - 2.7m, 75%
1990 - 3.7m, 72%
2000 - 5.1m, 64%
2010 - 6.4m, 58%
2020? - 7.2m, 52%

I don't see how Arizona stays so Republican in the future. It's very likely going to have a relative shift like we've seen in other southwest states (CA, NV, CO, NM).
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Cannabis '14: The WA & CO Memorial Thread on: August 07, 2014, 07:44:50 pm
SurveyUSA (Oregon):

Quote
First, on the topic of recreational marijuana, there are three separate measures on the ballot. While each is different, in general, they would allow adults to use, possess, and grow marijuana for their own personal use, while allowing the state to regulate and tax the marijuana. In general, do you support? Or oppose? Allowing adults to use, possess and grow marijuana for their personal use, while allowing the state to regulate and tax marijuana?

Haven't they been following the news? Tongue

Two of those three marijuana initiatives didn't have enough signatures to make the ballot. It's only the NAO initiative that made it. I don't think that initiative 10 they polled made it either.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Gubernatorial Election Polls / Re: OR: SUSA: Kitzhaber (D) up 12, near 50% on: August 07, 2014, 07:40:37 pm
The polls are looking like Merkley will have a larger margin of victory than Kitzhaber. I thought it would be the opposite.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Italy 2014: Out of the World Cup, but life goes on.... on: August 07, 2014, 07:26:06 pm

On the bright side, Senate reform is about to pass! Smiley Final vote probably tonight or tomorrow.

Ok I think I finally found a source that explained the process.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-06/renzi-to-test-senate-resistance-on-plans-to-remake-italian-state.html

Quote
The path to approval will be a long one for Renzi’s Senate overhaul, even if the upper house votes in favor this week. Approval by the Chamber of Deputies must follow, before the bill makes a second run through both houses, according to the protocol for changes to the constitution. A referendum would then be required to ratify the measures, unless parliamentary approval comes with a two-thirds majority.

So that earlier vote of 194-126 (60.6%) basically guarantees there will be a referendum because there won't be a two-thirds supermajority on the floor vote, right?
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Cannabis '14: The WA & CO Memorial Thread on: August 07, 2014, 12:52:28 am
http://www.drugpolicy.org/news/2014/08/marijuana-initiative-qualifies-washington-dc-november-ballot

Quote
08/06/2014

Today the Washington, D.C. Board of Elections ruled that Initiative 71, an initiative reforming D.C.’s marijuana laws, has enough valid signatures in order to qualify for the November ballot. One month ago, the D.C. Cannabis Campaign submitted 57,000 signatures, more than twice the number needed to qualify for the ballot.

Quote
Initiative 71 allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana, and allows for the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants at home. District law prevents the ballot initiative from addressing the sale of marijuana. However, the D.C. Council is currently considering a bill which would tax and regulate marijuana within the District.
15  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2014 Gubernatorial Election Polls / Re: MA: Boston Globe: Coakley Lead Expanding on: August 02, 2014, 03:08:29 am
Wow, is the Boston Globe polling this race every week? This is their 9th poll since June:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_gubernatorial_election,_2014#With_Coakley
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / What % will Jerry Brown get in CA-Gov's 2014 top-two run-off? on: August 02, 2014, 02:54:25 am
?
17  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Italy 2014: Out of the World Cup, but life goes on.... on: August 02, 2014, 02:31:59 am
The Senate started discussing the constitutional bill proposed by Renzi, which would drastically reduce its power. Of course, many Senators are opposed to the bill. They filled 7800 amendments, and started discussing them at the average speed of 3 per day... It looks like a defining moment for Renzi.

Indeed... If he doesn't manage to get it through by September, things will probably go downhill from there.

Does this mean it passed? I thought the vote was next week?

Also, what's with SEL's opposition to weakening the Senate? I thought left-wing parties are generally more opposed to upper chambers.
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: 2014 state ballot measures on: August 02, 2014, 01:47:59 am
There's going to be a lot more in 2014 than there were in 2013.

Already at 52 measures as of Nov. 2013: http://ballotpedia.org/2014_ballot_measures

Up to 85 as of April 2014.

It's reached 126 measures at the end of July 2014. Most states have passed their initiative signature deadlines by now so there's probably not going to be many more in the next three months before the general election, just potential certification of proposals already turned in and maybe some more referrals from state legislatures.
19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Cannabis '14: The WA & CO Memorial Thread on: July 29, 2014, 01:43:05 am
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/07/28/florida-voters-back-medical-marijuana-9-to-1-poll-finds/

Quote
If the latest poll is right, it’s a safe bet that Florida will legalize medical marijuana this November.

A new Quinnipiac University poll finds that 88 percent of voters support the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes, while 10 percent do not. Those attitudes were unchanged from May, but support was six percentage points up from November. The lowest level of support was among senior citizens, who still back the measure roughly 6 to 1. The youngest segment of voters backed it 19 to 1.

Quote
A majority (55%) of voters even supported legalizing marijuana simply for recreational use. The only demographic groups where majorities opposed the idea were Republicans and seniors. Overall support for recreational legalization was up seven percentage points from November.

20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Plan to split California into 6 states advances on: July 24, 2014, 12:52:04 am
The sorts of voters likely to vote in initiatives generally tend to be skew towards those distrustful of government.  A bicameral legislature by its very nature makes passing laws more difficult, which is exactly what those who distrust government should favor.

Turn-out would be pretty good if it was a normal initiative synced with the general election. California recently changed its law so there's no more initiatives in primaries for that reason.

I'd definitely be curious to see how it played out; I don't think it's been tried in any state since Reynolds v. Sims changed the base of representation for all state senates. Especially in a state where Democrats have such big super-majorities. Even some conservatives could support abolition if they see it as working against them (another chamber they have to win). Kind of like how the Oklahoma state senate recently passed the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Plan to split California into 6 states advances on: July 24, 2014, 12:26:55 am
An actual useful 2016 initiative would be one to abolish the California state senate. I'm really surprised that hasn't passed recently in any initiative state considering the popular support there is for things like term limits.

Nebraska doesn't count because they got rid of the lower house Tongue
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Cannabis '14: The WA & CO Memorial Thread on: July 23, 2014, 11:45:32 pm
Wow, I didn't realize DC had initiatives.
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Cannabis '14: The WA & CO Memorial Thread on: June 14, 2014, 12:00:06 am
Actually the signature deadline is July 3, 2014 and it looks like that initiative (#53) will make it while the other two probably won't: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/oregon-pot-initiative-nears-signature-target/2014/06/13/556ddfde-f35a-11e3-8d66-029598e98add_story.html

Quote
June 13, 2014

SALEM, Ore. — An initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana use in Oregon could soon qualify for the November ballot.

It needs a total of 87,213 valid signatures by July 3. As of Thursday, supporters had submitted more than 83,500 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office.

The group New Approach Oregon is behind the initiative, which would legalize recreational pot for those older than 21 and would give the Oregon Liquor Control Commission the job of regulating marijuana like it does alcohol.

http://sos.oregon.gov/elections/Documents/2014-monthly-submission-log.pdf

Quote
Initiative 21 (Oregon Cannabis Amendment, Constitutional) - 116,284 signatures required, 42,974 submitted as of June 13, 2014

Initiative 22 (Oregon Cannabis Tax Act, Statutory) - 87,213 signatures required, 33,844 submitted as of June 13, 2014

Initiative 53 (Control, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act of 2014, Statutory) - 87,213 signatures required, 83,588 submitted as of June 13, 2014

SurveyUSA kind of polled the initiatives recently too: http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=005a915d-93f5-4dc8-b982-324b58e9eaa7

Quote
Oregon will also vote on several ballot measures. First, on the topic of recreational marijuana, there are three separate measures on the ballot. While each is different, in general, they would allow adults to use, possess, and grow marijuana for their own personal use, while allowing the state to regulate and tax the marijuana. In general, do you support? Or oppose? Allowing adults to use, possess and grow marijuana for their personal use, while allowing the state to regulate and tax marijuana?

Support - 51%
Oppose - 41%
Not sure - 8%
24  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: selective service on: June 05, 2014, 12:34:25 am
Selective Service really does nothing in regards to assisting in the event of a possible draft, considering that basically no one fills the requirement of informing the office of any changes in address. But that really doesn't matter considering the tons of other ways of tracking that in the electronic era. It's a completely pointless office and waste of money. Shame Ron Paul's calls for abolition didn't get more traction.

Supposedly the House voted to eliminate it in 1993 and 1999 but the Senate didn't agree. DeFazio offered an amendment in 2011 to defund the Selective Service but it failed 103-301: http://www.armytimes.com/article/20110216/NEWS/102160318/House-votes-to-keep-draft-registration

Quote
Feb. 16, 2011

The House of Representatives may be in a cutting mood, but that doesn't extend to eliminating draft registration, at least not now.

By a 301-103 vote, the House defeated an amendment that would have terminated funding for the Selective Service System.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., who sponsored the amendment to eliminate the $24 million annual draft registration budget, said nobody seriously thinks conscription will return.

Quote
The House of Representatives voted in 1993 and 1999 to terminate draft registration, but the Senate never agreed, leaving the agency running.
25  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Trends / Re: California continues left-ward - only 8.5% Republicans left in San Francisco on: June 05, 2014, 12:20:54 am
Could California start giving Democrats higher % margins than New York?
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