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1  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Utilitarianism on: Today at 03:20:00 am
Better than deontology, that's for sure.

I don't think that there's much to be learned from treating the two as fundamentally opposed theories, because I'm not convinced that utilitarianism isn't deontological. This is part of what makes utilitarianism downright creepy.

Well, that gets into the distinction between act and rule utilitarianism.  Perhaps "consequentialist" would be a better word.

I'm far from a pure utilitarian– a heavy dose of virtue ethics seems necessary to ward off the reductio ad absurdums that any dogmatic approach inevitably fosters, and help bridge the gaps in our knowledge that will never go away– but IMO if ethics is to be more than a tool for ego-stroking or social control, some concern for empiricism and results and, well, consequences, is vital. 
2  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Utilitarianism on: November 26, 2015, 10:49:04 pm
Better than deontology, that's for sure.
3  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Based on 2012 results only, which state gerrymander flipped the most seats? on: November 23, 2015, 07:28:22 pm
I discovered Washington Township in Mercer County (which is the right size to swallow whole), so I was able to get rid of the Princeton chop there. Smiley

It's now called Robbinsville (they changed the name since there are something like six Washington Twps. in the state), and uh I discovered it years ago. (And posted a map using it in this very thread, in fact.) Tongue
4  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Based on 2012 results only, which state gerrymander flipped the most seats? on: November 22, 2015, 05:54:59 pm
You could argue that a black CD is not needed, but I'd say that it's pretty easy to draw a fairly compact Latino-influence CD that's over 50% vap.You will of course have to split all sorts of munis and counties, but it's clear that the courts prioritize VRA stuff over such things.

50% total population is not too hard, but 50% VAP actually is quite difficult (and 50% CVAP harder still), and requires a fair amount of ugliness, such as multiple bridges through mostly-unpopulated and/or white-majority areas in the Meadowlands and vicinity, and/or splitting many munis in Hudson with a snake down the river to get supermajority-white Hoboken out of there.  In other words... it won't be "fairly compact" anymore.

The current NJ-8 is majority-Hispanic (though I don't know about VAP, and almost certainly it's sub-50% on CVAP), but its previous incarnation was only something like 47% Hispanic, and the courts were obviously fine with that:

5  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Based on 2012 results only, which state gerrymander flipped the most seats? on: November 22, 2015, 02:30:22 pm
Princeton is not split. There is a Princeton borough, and a Princeton township. Oh, you're right, Princetown township actually encircles the borough. Well, I need 11,000 people out of Mercer, and all the available subdivisions have twice that in population. And the chop has to be in Mercer to avoid a cover penalty, so one just has to suck up the locality chop.

It is clear that the VRA does not apply. If you can't draw a district of a contiguous area that is 50% VAP of a minority, that is the end of the inquiry. I did manage actually to draw a hideous looking CD for NJ-10 that was 50% BVAP, but it crossed over areas in other counties that were only lightly black, to get to blacker nodes in various places. The odds are low such a white bridge crossing mess triggers Section 2. Anyway, it's moot. NJ-10 will elect a candidate of the minorities choice, and there certainly isn't any 50% HCVAP district in play at all. It should be very easy to prove that a majority of voters in the NJ-10 that I drew in a Dem primary will be black. If so, that's as far as the inquiry goes.

Isn't it just grand that public policy doesn't matter for this exercise (we thought about public policy when making the rules, and now that we have the rules, we need to consistently apply them everywhere), so that we have nothing to argue about except the VRA? The only question to ask, is what's the score baby? We are mere automatons. Smiley

It's not in DRA, but Princeton boro and township voted to merge recently.  It's all just one Princeton now. 
6  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Based on 2012 results only, which state gerrymander flipped the most seats? on: November 22, 2015, 02:03:34 pm
Well here is my effort, and on paper it is a two seat flip. NJ-02 moves from toss up to Dem, NJ-11 moves from Pub to tossup, and NJ-07 does a massive flip to the Dems (a 10 point swing to them). So that is about two seats. However, Garrett might well lose NJ-11 as a toss up seat given his lackluster electoral performances.  Labiondo's seat moves a couple of points to the Dems to their side of the ledger, but that is probably not enough to take him down, so he would probably win that seat. NJ-05 becomes a Pub bastion. So it is a one to two seat flip, but more likely two seats in 2012, and possibly even three, in my opinion. But call it two seats as the ledger entry.

And here is an alternative that gets very close to moving  NJ-02 into the tossup category from the Dem side of the ledger, with the Dem PVI dropping a point to 1.56%.  Which map scores higher I have no idea. The population equality between NJ-02, 03 and 01 is better than the other map, but under the Muon2 system, you just take the extremes of the CD's from population equality, so no bonus points for that. The extremes lie elsewhere to avoid county chops or locality chops.  

So I made this obviously very similar map before seeing your post:

If you're willing to stretch out to the 1% plus minus population variance, and if you jettison the VRA, you can score quite well on chops.  I'm not thrilled about the Passaic-Sussex district, which is competitive on paper but in a sort of hyper-polarized artificial manner that I'm not sure actually would be great public policy.  But, hey, the rest of the state works out quite well.  

Of course that leaves the open question as to whether we can jettison the VRA.  10 is still black-plurality by VAP, and 8 is barely Hispanic-plurality by total population (not VAP though), which I probably agree with you ought to be enough.  Suspect the courts wouldn't, though.

Also, your maps appear to split Princeton.  If you want to chop into Mercer to keep the variance down, you'll get better results taking out Robbinsville.
7  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Based on 2012 results only, which state gerrymander flipped the most seats? on: November 21, 2015, 10:02:10 am
If you're including Arizona in this list, it's only fair to include the de facto Republican gerrymander in New Jersey, as well.

That is perhaps true (I have not drawn NJ myself), but does it involve more than one seat, and surely it does not flip more than two seats does it?

A fair map would definitely flip NJ-3, and probably something else in the north (probably by combining 7 and 12 into a compact Middlesex/Somerset district and reconstituting Pascrell's old NJ-8).  It would also increase competitiveness by making NJ-2 and NJ-6 worse for LoBiondo and Pascrell.  So, anywhere between one and three seats.

This is super old and I'd probably tweak some things but you get the basic idea:

8  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Based on 2012 results only, which state gerrymander flipped the most seats? on: November 20, 2015, 11:10:49 pm
If you're including Arizona in this list, it's only fair to include the de facto Republican gerrymander in New Jersey, as well.
9  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Al Realpolitik Institute of Sulfur Mining & Extraction on: November 15, 2015, 01:28:40 pm
Short but sweet: 

It's just awesome the way I have put Hudson on "the map," now isn't it?  Smiley

10  About this Site / The Atlas / Re: kansasdemocrat should be banned on: November 15, 2015, 09:46:19 am
It's amazing how downright absurd sick accusations are so common on Atlas and no one catches this obvious one.

Seems likely that some of the posters upthread are too new to really know who mondale/KCDem is, which is is a mitigating factor.

But, yes, this is about as obvious as your typical jamfist sock.
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is Your Favorite Hudson, NY Factoid? on: November 12, 2015, 05:02:34 pm
That its unusual voting system was capable of spawning an Atlas thread so arcane and weedsy that even I had to check out and stop reading.  It's quite the feat.
12  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of the Previous Poster's Signature: The Wrath of Khan on: November 12, 2015, 04:59:45 pm
I know all the cool kids hate the teddy bears from Endor, but TBH I never minded them that much.
13  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Italians and Jews in NY/NJ on: November 12, 2015, 11:31:40 am
New Jersey I'm less familiar with, but I'll say it's about 60-65% D: obviously there's a lot of affluent suburban liberals, but observant Jews likely make up a larger proportion of the state than the US average (i.e. Lakewood, Teaneck).

Also Passaic Park, which is a Republican area in otherwise heavily-Dem and heavily-Latino Passaic, spilling over into Clifton a little bit.
14  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Italians and Jews in NY/NJ on: November 11, 2015, 01:42:42 am
Also, speaking of Italian-American culture- my old hometown has a Christopher Columbus statue downtown. Tongue
15  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Italians and Jews in NY/NJ on: November 10, 2015, 11:53:48 pm
I had forgotten about this thread:

Why are New York Italians more Republican?

In addition to the various theories posted in that thread (most of which probably have something to do with it), "less assimilated" may also mean "more religious" for the area's Italians just as that correlation holds with our Jewish populations.

Dyker Heights is still quite Republican, as it is still heavily Italian and also fairly wealthy.  In Bensonhurst, now, the old generation of Italians is being slowly replaced by a mostly Chinese immigrant (/"moving on up" from Sunset Park/Chinatown) population, and they've voted about 50/50 for Obama, more Republican downballot.  Presumably with those numbers, the Italians in Bensonhurst are strongly Republican.

But less strong than another Italian stronghold, the South Shore of Staten Island.


As for NJ, 60/40 seems like a good guess.  The heavily Italian inner suburbs seemed to be better McCain territory than the non-Italian inner suburbs, even after controlling for the non-white vote.  (I don't know enough about fine-grained ethnic patterns in further-out rings to pass judgment.)  Though it's not like Tammany where there's no space in Dem politics for Italian names– plenty of those around too.  Including, unsurprisingly, the current mayor of my hometown, where Italians are a sizable but falling chunk of a population that has been getting slowly less white over the decades.
16  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Is street mime or loom weaving more popular in your city? on: November 06, 2015, 10:17:22 pm
Well, street mime is more prevalent, but everyone hates Times Square, so I wouldn't exactly call it more popular.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Is hardcore or metal more popular in your city? on: November 05, 2015, 03:58:52 am
Metal is more popular, but if you defined your terms as "punk" versus, say, "death metal" you would get the opposite answer.  Like I said on AAD, you're not making an apples-to-apples comparison here.
18  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Oslo's decision to phase out the use of private cars in city borders? on: November 05, 2015, 03:15:00 am
No, ban bicycles and make mopeds punishable by death.

I certainly hope you guys are not serious.

I think you don't quite understand how powerful a motivation hippie-punching is for some people.
19  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Since joining what positions have you become more conservative or liberal on: November 05, 2015, 03:09:24 am
Honestly, the main difference– or, at least, the main difference that can be at least somewhat attributed to my interactions on Atlas– is being more cognizant of the fact that "liberal" and "left" are not actually the same thing.  Of course, with that in mind, I'd probably still call myself a left-liberal. Tongue

I mean, sure, there are things where I shift my positions when I learn more.  I care more about feminism and immigration and have less patience for anti-GMO woo than I did four years ago, for instance.  And the presence of BRTD has led me to be more vocally aware of my residual cultural Catholicism.  But I made my big-ticket changes years before I came here, it's been small-bore refinements for quite awhile.
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What's the most SJW city in America? on: October 31, 2015, 11:01:22 pm
First thing, lolBRTD.  I've been to New Brunswick, dude, and just no.

Second thing, what Sibboleth said. Though I realize that some folks are trying to reclaim the term.

Third, if there has to be a third thing (and really there doesn't, but okay I'll play along)... presumably some college town like Northampton or Ithaca.  If they're too small, then meh, whatever, don't care.
21  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of Oslo's decision to phase out the use of private cars in city borders? on: October 31, 2015, 10:32:20 pm
Well obviously it couldn't really work in America (although I guess if traininthedistance reads this he might crack down on my head for saying that). U.S. cities are too sparsely arranged (I pity the urban planer trying to work LA into a remotely usable city for non-motorists), zoning is too weirdly arranged and public transport routinely underfunded. But it would be interesting to see if the Oslo-dwellers (oslonians?) can figure out a way to make it work. A lot of European cities weren't really designed for the car, and you can ... tell.

FUN FACT:  When Norman Mailer ran for NYC Mayor in 1969, one of his campaign planks was making Manhattan car-free.  And Roosevelt Island was actually car-free for many years, though they eventually gave up on that.

But seriously, while it might be nice for some small areas like Manhattan south of Canal, or downtown/North End Boston, and while there are certainly individual streets where it might make sense to remove auto traffic, this isn't something I particularly care to push.  I mean, cars can drive on woonerfs, they just can't put their speed over other users' comfort and safety.  It's more important to tame them/build dedicated infra for other modes/make them pay their social costs over a wider range of urban areas, then it is to merely have symbolic car-free centers.  

Though seeing cities across the pond do it is good if only for the aspriational/rhetorical effect, and it obviously is feasible over there, so FD.
22  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: any place in Iowa vs Chicago on: October 27, 2015, 01:32:29 pm
Chicagoans tend to be full of themselves and fashion themselves to be an actual competitor to New York, so Iowa.

New York is an overcrowded hellhole

Lawl.  There is no urban area in America that is "overcrowded", not even NYC.  On the contrary the precise opposite is true everywhere in this country, and that's a really f**ing serious problem!

23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Controversy Surrounds Billboard Up in Detroit. on: October 26, 2015, 01:28:51 pm
Well this discussion has been going predictably well.
24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Homeowner associations are f[inks]ing garbage on: October 26, 2015, 10:53:55 am
Yeah, f**k HOAs.

Homeowner's associations aren't just in the suburbs. Redeveloped or historic urban areas use them, too.

It would be fun watching BRTD go through the traps to obtain a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission in Hudson, which demands architectural elevations, and has an architect on it with knowledge of historic architecture, and so forth. About half of Hudson is in historic districts. However, the one thing they don't monitor is color choices. So if BRTD wants to go psychedelic purple, he can! Smiley

I realize that saying this out loud probably brands me as an awful neoliberal or something... but I don't much like what "historic preservation" has turned into in our urban areas, either. That is: a series of NIMBY tripwires by which privileged homeowners can mess with their neighbors and use artificial scarcity to keep their home values high and undesirables away.  I mean, I'm more than fine with landmarking individual important buildings, but neighborhood designations are kinda bullish*t.
25  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Which is more representative of New Brunswick (NJ)? on: October 25, 2015, 11:46:18 am
When I think of New Brunswick, I mostly think of grease trucks (normal).

Of these options, though, obviously Hungarian Catholics.
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