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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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1  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Can you create an Obama sweep in your state? on: Today at 09:16:43 am
New Jersey.  Not only are all districts Obama, they also have a Dem average, and no towns are split (all districts within plus or minus 1000 of ideal).  Obviously there have to be plenty of extra county splits; gotta work to sink Ocean and the NW.

And there's even a Hispanic-plurality (as well as a second minority-majority) district for good measure!



District 1: Obama 58.3%, Dem 56.5%.
District 2: Obama 54.6%, Dem 53.3%.
District 3: Obama 54.7%, Dem 52.8%.
District 4: Obama 53.9%, Dem 52.1%. Lowest Obama percentage.
District 5: Obama 54.1%, Dem 52.7%.
District 6: Obama 54.9%, Dem 54.6%.
District 7: Obama 57.1%, Dem 51.6%.  53W/15B/22H; 56W/14B/21H by VAP.
District 8: Obama 69.3%, Dem 69.5%.  Hispanic plurality- 35W/10B/39H; 38W/10B/37H by VAP. It's possible, and a lot neater, to keep Hudson County compact and not have too many strips in North Jersey.  The tossup/tilt-R Meadowlands towns help.
District 9: Obama 54.8%, Dem 54.6%.  Entirely within Bergen!
District 10: Obama 62.8%, Dem 60.2%. 46W/23B/20H; 48/22/21 by VAP.
District 11: Obama 61.0%, Dem 55.2%.  55W/26B/11H; 57/25/10 by VAP.  Highest black percentage.
District 12: Obama 54.2%, Dem 51.1%. Lowest Dem percentage.

Not all of these districts would be secure for the Dems: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 12 would be tossups or worse.
2  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: NFL Pick a Winner Week #9 on: Today at 08:38:43 am
Seattle
3  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How many times has jmfcst returned as a sock account? on: October 29, 2014, 06:35:35 pm
When he was first banned, I was confused as to why, and would have supported his return.  Not that I agreed with him on anything ever, of course; but free speech and diversity and all that.

But his post-ban behavior has shut the door on that possibility, and deservedly so, as Torie succinctly explained above.
4  General Politics / Political Geography & Demographics / Re: Describe Your County on: October 29, 2014, 05:56:16 pm
Almost every part of Franklin County is strongly Democratic, it having undergone the same political transformation in the late twentieth century as the rest of Western Massachusetts and Vermont.

The swing towards Democrats in this region is fascinating. Crazy to look at past election results (of both states) compared to now. I've seen that it was due to the in migration of liberals from New York? And does the extreme conservative nature of the Republicans play into that as well?

Yes and yes. First a more left-wing population base started migrating in from New York and Boston, then the original population base became more left-wing as well both because of social influence from their new neighbors and from how far right the Republicans moved.

I was always under the impression that, while a lot of NY/Boston folks started vacationing in western MA/VT, the absolute number of people that moved there were actually pretty small, certainly too small to move the partisan needle like it's been moved.  Though the growth of that tourism certainly plays a part as well in terms of changing the attitudes and incentives of the locals.

I wonder if conservatives moving away to other parts of the country plays a part as well?
5  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of traininthedistance? on: October 29, 2014, 05:43:25 pm
Jeez, wasn't there a poll not that long ago?

Anyway, lean HP.  Lazy, privileged, wasting his life, etc.
6  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Are you concerned about ethics in video game journalism? on: October 29, 2014, 02:55:25 pm
Not really as I don't play many video games. However, Quinn and Sarkeesian et al are pretty much the worst, making the entire situation something best avoided.

That's fair as far as it goes– but it might just be a good idea to care about harassment and death threats.

Death threats via the internet are some of the least credible things out there. You get death threats if you post something against the circlejerk on Reddit or against an SJW on Tumblr, for example, but you'd be a paranoid idiot to take either seriously. It's also hard for me to take internet harassment seriously (especially from strangers) compared to real life harassment as it's so incredibly easy to avoid it on the internet.

Now, it's certainly not a good or nice thing to do, but it's not really notable.

Dude, people like Brianna Wu have had their personal details exposed and have been forced to flee their houses for months because of this; Sarkeesian had to cancel a talk because of a shooting threat that the authorities certainly took seriously.

You're comfortable dismissing that as "not credible"?  You think that's equivalent to even the strongest words coming from Redittors or SJWers or any other community?  Look, I'll gladly grant that a lot of these folks can use sloppy logic and be kind of a hive mind, it's okay to dislike them, but there's just no legitimate comparison between them and Gamergate and it discredits you to pretend that there is.

As for Sarkeesian... no matter how much "the worst" you think she is, surely you can agree that she has the right to engage in her critiques without fearing for her life?  Surely you can agree she isn't worse than Stormfront?  Look, while I'm sympathetic to her general project, I don't necessarily think she gets all the details right; there are some overgeneralizations and uncharitable readings there that I'd certainly quibble with.  But these Gamergate f**ks aren't poking holes in her logic, they're reacting with blind fury at the idea that how dare anyone engage in cultural critique.  That's something different.  And, well, they're doing more to prove her right (or at least, on the relative side of right) than anything she could say or do herself.
7  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Are you concerned about ethics in video game journalism? on: October 29, 2014, 12:00:52 pm


No, nor am I concerned about how the portrayal of Princess Peach is sexist.

That's fair as far as it goes– but it might just be a good idea to care about harassment and death threats.
8  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The Onion has a new clickbait site, and of course it's genius on: October 28, 2014, 10:49:35 pm
http://www.clickhole.com/article/ebola-written-12-times-red-font-over-pictures-peop-1275
9  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should red light cameras be used to enforce traffic laws? on: October 28, 2014, 09:34:52 pm
Victimless crimes are bad enough, though traffic signals are probably the least egregious form. Still, enforcing victimless crimes with a machine police force is beyond the pale, unless you're the private company administering the red light cameras.

It's not a prudent use of funds, nor do red light cameras have a strong correlation with road safety.

Running reds and speeding is not "victimless".
10  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Simple Truths Silver Mine on: October 28, 2014, 09:33:16 pm
No. Faux concern for the poor (strange how all of a sudden, when the precious automobile is at stake; conservatives are OK with regressive taxation) is a ruse.

Especially in a densely populated state like Massachusetts, the aim should be to render the private automobile as a luxurious non-necessity; not continue to prop up the practice with underhand subsidisation.
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of BRTD on: October 28, 2014, 07:33:28 pm
Heart and soul, etc.
12  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should red light cameras be used to enforce traffic laws? on: October 28, 2014, 01:43:42 am
Oh, here's a pretty thorough meta-analysis of speed camera studies:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD004607.pub4/abstract;jsessionid=52CE4705FE14400634FFFBB38F4B80B9.f04t04

The conclusion seems to be that yes, we can be pretty statistically certain that speed cams do have a beneficial safety effect, though perhaps the data is noisy enough that more studies are necessary to pinpoint exactly how much they help.

Quote
Twenty eight studies measured the effect on crashes. All 28 studies found a lower number of crashes in the speed camera areas after implementation of the program. In the vicinity of camera sites, the reductions ranged from 8% to 49% for all crashes, with reductions for most studies in the 14% to 25% range. For injury crashes the decrease ranged between 8% to 50% and for crashes resulting in fatalities or serious injuries the reductions were in the range of 11% to 44%. Effects over wider areas showed reductions for all crashes ranging from 9% to 35%, with most studies reporting reductions in the 11% to to 27% range. For crashes resulting in death or serious injury reductions ranged from 17% to 58%, with most studies reporting this result in the 30% to 40% reduction range. The studies of longer duration showed that these positive trends were either maintained or improved with time.

Oh, and let's also take a look at Chicago, where it appears that speed cameras are bringing in a lot less revenue than expected... and not only is that actually a good thing because it means they're changing driver behavior instead, but the folks in charge realize this is a good thing.

Quote
“The first goal — as I said when we created the child safety zones — was to deter people from speeding near our schools and our parks. And it has been incredibly effective at slowing people down,” he said at an unrelated news conference on street repaving.

Referring to the Sun-Times, Emanuel said, “You said . . . we’re not going to have the financial resources. The Tribune has said this is going to be an unlimited amount of money. . . .  Stop the prediction business. We have only one fact: People are slowing down.”

...

Instead, they’re breathing a sigh of relief. The number of motorists caught speeding each day has dropped at all but four of the 92 camera locations.

Emphasis mine.  The program is working exactly as a safety advocate would hope and expect it to, and exactly not how the "OMG dirty revenue!" worriers are howling about.
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: South Florida to become its own state? on: October 28, 2014, 12:35:19 am

Does no one appreciate swing states with competitive statewide elections or should all be locked into one party or the other?

Clearly not the Florida GOP, considering their use of gerrymandering to lock up their hold on the legislature.

As did the IL Dems, but I don't support the resolution that would split Cook from the rest of IL. Anyway, my comment was about the statewide elections, not control of the legislature. Tongue I recognize that internal demographics can skew a legislative body compared to statewide results, and sometimes even neutral redistricting will not create a legislature that reflects the overall state vote.

I would argue that a redistricting process that spits out a legislature whose composition is unreflective of the overall state vote cannot truly be called "neutral".  

I do agree that this proposal seems to be taking partisan advantage into account when drawing the lines; I don't know that it's much worse than 6 Californias on that front, but 6 Californias was pretty bad so that's not much of a compliment.

I was thinking of the 6 CAs myself, which is also a blatant political move under the guise of better representation. As laudable as a fair legislature is in redistricting, the demographics really can prevent it. If a minority population is uniformly spread in every precinct, they will hold a majority in no district.

Consider MA. It voted 61% in 2012 for Obama or 62% of the two-party vote. Mathematical analysis of districts predicts that the Dems should hold 74% of the seats based on their 2012 results (2% advantage for every 1% above 50%). The legislative boundaries largely follow town lines, yet the legislature is divided 36-4 in the Senate and 128-32 in the House. That is 82% Dem. Likewise all 9 CDs went to Dems, and there is some gerrymandering, but generally the best a Pub map can do is one CD that merely leans Dem, with hope in strong GOP years. That is not consistent with their voting share in the state. The demographic problem for the Pubs is that they are too dispersed in MA to form a majority in a CD, and then in only a fraction of the smaller legislative seats.

Well, what I'd actually like to see is a move away from strict FPTP districts and towards MMP- our current system is liable to be unfair one way or another and Massachusetts is, yes, an extreme case where you can't really even get to fair even when you put your thumb on the scale.  In the meantime (because, let's be honest, MMP is a pipe dream) I'll support efforts to sand down the worst rough edges of geographic screwage, and yes that would include having a Republican-leaning district in MA.
14  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should red light cameras be used to enforce traffic laws? on: October 27, 2014, 05:56:20 pm
Furthermore, there is little evidence that traffic light cameras actually reduce accidents: http://www.motorists.org/red-light-cameras/studies You'll probably have a heart attack looking at the website, but the links are to independent studies and reports.

Just one example: http://www.motorists.org/red-light-cameras/orban-study.pdf

'Salright, I won't have a heart attack.  I trust that you won't have a heart attack if I link to commentary from livable streets blogs, right? Smiley

But, let's hold off on that for a moment (in case you would have a heart attack) and turn to the IIHS, whose motivation is pretty obviously data-driven accident reduction.  Near as I can tell is the most comprehensive look at the issue:

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/camera-enforcement-in-14-large-cities-reduces-rate-of-fatal-red-light-running-crashes-by-24-percent

You're probably somewhat aware of their position, seeing as the IIHS was critiqued in the Orban article you linked to (although it confusingly looks like Orban is going after an earlier, smaller study than the one I linked to just above?).  But, well, they make the point that Orban seems to play fast and loose with methodology:

http://www.iihs.org/iihs/sr/statusreport/article/47/3/4

Quote
The Langland-Orban report argues that rather than making a before and after comparison, researchers should have zeroed in on the difference in crash rates between the camera and noncamera cities after photo enforcement was implemented. Langland-Orban says that because crash rates were 25 percent higher in the "after" period in the camera cities compared with those without, the cameras must be to blame for the higher rate. It is true that crash rates were 25 percent higher, but Langland-Orban ignores the fact that they were 65 percent higher in the "before" period.

and, as is completely unsurprising given the tone and tenor of discussion here, gets the motivations of their opponents wrong:

Quote
Langland-Orban says the Institute is biased because insurers benefit from photo enforcement by raising rates on ticketed drivers. However, in most jurisdictions, including Florida, there is no insurance consequence from photo enforcement. Florida law prohibits insurers from using the violations to set rates, and in most other states tickets from cameras don't go on driver records, and no points are assessed. Many studies have concluded that red light cameras are effective, and most of them were conducted by government agencies and other traffic safety experts not connected to the insurance industry.
15  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should red light cameras be used to enforce traffic laws? on: October 27, 2014, 05:04:43 pm
Sigh... so much misinformation and innuendo to combat here, so little time.  This will be more scattered than it perhaps should be.  And will take multiple posts.

[...]

We (probably) agree on how to answer the relevant normative questions. I have two chief concerns:

1. Do red light cameras reduce fatalities or injuries?

This is, by far, the most important question. The evidence that I'm familiar with shows results that are mixed at best.

It's easy to get bogged down in statistics and other methodological issues on questions like this, so, at this point, what I want to know is: Are there clear success stories, and, if so, are any similar to Albany? I haven't seen any.

Even in that article, it seems like what evidence there was did in fact indicate that they generally helped, and if the studies are too inconclusive for universal adoption, then I'd argue that the proper response is to install them and monitor carefully.  I'm pretty sure what I've seen elsewhere seems to suggest that they do quite a bit of good, but it's been awhile so it might take a little time digging it up.

2. Do red light cameras create perverse incentives?

You talk about this subject as if it were a complete red herring, and I agree insofar as I don't care what motivates the proposal's supporters. On the other hand, it's reasonable to question how that revenue might influence future policy decisions.

(The city could mandate that revenue from the cameras go toward road improvement, as you suggest. But this would only displace money from the general fund, unless it exceeds what the city would have budgeted toward road improvement anyway, which is unlikely.)

Projected revenue from the cameras amounts to only about 1% of the general fund in Albany's most recent budget. Maybe that's a reason to dismiss the idea that preserving that revenue stream would figure heavily in future decisions. But I'm skeptical. Even before the Common Council voted to approve the cameras, that expected revenue figured heavily in discussion of the city's most recent budget. Budget debates focus on what happens at the margin, where 1% usually matters quite a lot.

Well, my argument about motivations is centered on activism and community pressure outside of government officials, for whom safety is obviously 100 percent paramount.  I could imagine that discussions of revenue might serve to sway officials who would otherwise be inclined to keep motorist privilege unquestioned, but that should be kept separate from the argument of whether they increase safety or not.  

I do understand that one percent could make a difference at the margin; again I'd question whether a desire to raise revenue for perpetually cash-strapped local governments is necessarily a bad thing anyway, but in any case earmarking it towards street safety/improvement/beautification/whatever ought to be enough to rebut charges that it's just a slush fund. And, in any case, I think it's good policy in general for money that comes from targeted fines and user fees to go towards investments in related areas, essentially doubling their effectiveness.

I will also acknowledge that it would be a crappy thing to do to just shorten the yellows to try and catch drivers unawares (which is the one plausible method of acting on "perverse incentives" I've heard so far here), and, sure, I'd support language preventing such a thing in whatever enabling legislation.  But– and I guess this will be read as crazy radicalism by many here, but oh well– when balanced against all the other crappy things that non-motorists have to endure (and, even, that drivers endure from other drivers) my sympathy only goes so far.
16  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should red light cameras be used to enforce traffic laws? on: October 27, 2014, 04:41:23 pm
Ideally, there would be no red lights.

Thank you for proving my point for me. Tongue
17  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should red light cameras be used to enforce traffic laws? on: October 27, 2014, 04:28:37 pm

Strongly opposed for many reasons mentioned here. Yes, it's only a money-maker, and as such I think if they're going to nail you for running a light, they should actually catch you doing it.

Bullsh*t.  No, seriously, that's f**king bull and I personally expect an apology for it.
  

Well no, since it's only that I disagree with you, and am almost inclined to react just as emotionally the other way. Tongue

It's not about stopping motorists from running over pedestrians by making a right turn through a yellow light that turns red. It's about making money because there aren't enough cops to catch everybody. A friend of mine got one of these somewhere in FL over the winter because he had run a yellow light that turned red, so instead of sliding to a stop in the middle of the intersection, he kept going. So he got a fine for whatever amount that he had to mail to somewhere in Ohio or Kentucky, I forget which, which is bogus b.s. There was no threat of him hitting anyone.

I'm also concerned about unnecessary surveillance. I think that we don't need additional surveillance to catch someone who is late for a meeting or a conference and happens to run a light, maybe because they are only trying to beat a yellow. That's B.S.

The thing that I'm wondering is, do they need proof that you were driving the car? If there's no photo of you driving, IDK, I might be inclined to sue on that in addition to what Snowguy mentioned if I got one these rip-off "fines."

It's not that you only "disagree" with me.  It's the way in which you're flat-out slandering my motivations and refusing to even acknowledge that someone could have legitimate safety concerns, and legitimate arguments and data to back that up.  That's not just incredibly offensive, it's also incredibly dishonest.  And, yes, it deserves an apology, and if you can't do that than shame on you.

Also, you know what's BS? Treating the "right" of motorists to speed as equal to, or even greater to, the right of human beings to not have to fear for their life anytime they cross the street.  What entitled rot.
18  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Ebola Thread (US Domestic) on: October 27, 2014, 04:00:12 pm
Here's a good exploration of how our lizard brains are responding to Ebola: with the sort of increased xenophobia and disgust that perhaps once made good evolutionary sense, but has become maladaptive (to say the least) in today's society.

And of course it includes the study about how Purell makes you conservative.

Quote
Which brings us to Ebola, a threat that seems custom-designed to activate our worst instincts. It's an infectious disease, of course, and a particularly scary one at that. It comes from West Africa, and so it lights up the part of our evolutionary hardwiring that connects disease to foreigners. And we're hearing about it all day, every day. If the gentle, neutral mention of hand sanitizer can change someone's politics, what will the constant storm of Ebola coverage do?
19  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Massachusetts Question 1 on: October 27, 2014, 03:47:18 pm
Yes, given that the gas tax is regressive and hits strained working class budgets harder than it does anyone else.

Only if you ignore the (overwhelmingly lower-income) slice of people who don't pay gas tax at all.  And even if so, the problems that stem from underpricing/implicitly subsidizing the use of fossil fuels (and failing to invest in infrastructure) are sufficiently obvious and extreme that, well, they trump basically all other concerns.  The proper response to equity concerns is to a) invest in the sorts of improvements that would well and truly make gasoline usage inessential for as many people as possible, and b) in the meantime, make it up in other areas of the code.

Selectively raising equity concerns as a cudgel against the prospect of dealing with legitimate and severe externality problems (and I'm not saying that you yourself are selective here, but you are providing cover for folks who are engaging in that sort of, well, selectivity) is simply unacceptable.
20  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Massachusetts Question 1 on: October 27, 2014, 02:02:55 pm
HELL no.

21  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should red light cameras be used to enforce traffic laws? on: October 27, 2014, 01:16:03 pm
Now I'll try and tackle the link that Nix put up.

Basically, the anti-camera stance, as it's argued there, relies heavily on innuendo and false dichotomy:

Quote
So... To some degree this is a question of whether you take what people are saying at face value. And absent evidence definitively pointing to there being some ulterior motive beyond safety, we don't see why engagement on the issue shouldn't start with the safety angle.

Sorry, but this is transparent bullsh*t.  "Oh, we've just been told by the city that they would like to see violations go down, because that means the streets will be safer, and we'll pretend to act like we believe them, but make sure to keep the 'revenue motivation' in people's minds.  Just asking questions!"

Quote
Another question prompted by the question of motivation: Does the motivation actually matter? If the administration really does want them for revenue (the mayor has said that's not the case) and the cameras end up making the streets safer in the process by reducing the number of red lights run, does the revenue motivation somehow irretrievably poison the whole thing?

Nice leading question, bros.  Of course it doesn't, both because there isn't actually a revenue motivation, as Cox made clear, and to be perfectly blunt, even if there was one I'd reject the idea that it's necessarily a bad thing.  But that's a whole 'nother can of beans.

Quote
Councilman Joe Igoe brought up this issue during the committee meeting, arguing that the best solution might be for the APD to increase the number of officers dedicated to traffic safety. And Jesse Calhoun, the Assembly candidate, pointed to engineering measures such as the proposed Madison Ave Road Diet as a potentially more effective solution.

Okay, yes.  If one had to choose between cameras and road diets... I'd take the road diet.  But why are we setting up this false dichotomy, if not as a distraction?  Livable streets advocates are generally in favor of a "both/and" approach; in fact it might even be productive to say that what revenue comes revenue from those cameras should be earmarked towards those sorts of engineering and design solutions which will calm traffic, and make things safer for all road users.  Presumably that should even quell the howls from motorists who blather on about a "revenue motivation"... at least if they're arguing in good faith, that is.  Make it part of a comprehensive safety and livability push.  The only reason I can see for setting these two suggestions against each other is an attempt to drag both of them down and preserve the dangerous status quo.

...

Strongly opposed for many reasons mentioned here. Yes, it's only a money-maker, and as such I think if they're going to nail you for running a light, they should actually catch you doing it.

Bullsh*t.  No, seriously, that's f**king bull and I personally expect an apology for it.

No.  I'm a believer in the idea that people need to get away with minor things once in a while.  They are just there to generate revenue, anyway.

As noted in my last post, the NYC cameras only ticket you when you go over 10 MPH over the posted limit.  That's not "minor".  I guess, yeah, a lot of streets in many places are engineered for top speeds above the posted limit, and I understand that there's this culture of not respecting said limit for that reason.  But it's a sh*tty culture, and one with a tremendous human cost (take a look at the survival rates of getting hit by a car at 25 MPH as opposed to 35 MPH), and I support any and all steps necessary to dial it down, and speed cameras/red light cameras are certainly one part of that.

Again, the idea that they're "just there for revenue" is ludicrous, and ludicrously offensive to anyone who knows anything about the sort of advocacy I care about.  
22  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should red light cameras be used to enforce traffic laws? on: October 27, 2014, 12:34:51 pm
Sigh... so much misinformation and innuendo to combat here, so little time.  This will be more scattered than it perhaps should be.  And will take multiple posts.

The majority of serious accidents at signalized intersections are due to people trying to shoot through an intersection at the end of a yellow. If there is a left-turner in the intersection also waiting for the yellow, a collision can occur. The likelihood of this type of accident is greatest at intersections with significant traffic in both directions with a history of collisions. A ticketing camera and clearly visible notification sign can act to reduce these accidents.

In practice the vast majority of tickets issued are for right turns on red, primarily due to rolling stops and failure to stop at the line. Enforcement with a camera on this activity doesn't reduce the accident total, but makes up most of the revenue collected. It also generates much of the driver frustration, along with complaints about reduced yellows that get more drivers entering the intersection during the red.

Actually, a lot of serious accidents, especially those where pedestrians are involved (why am I saying involved? I should stop pussyfooting around and say maimed), come from precisely this- cars turning right on red without looking, and running over people who have the walk signal.  So getting drivers to be more careful about this particular behavior is a legitimate and important safety goal.

Also, I would argue against the idea that these cameras need to necessarily have a "clearly visible notification sign".  The most important thing they can do is to act as a deterrent to driver bad behavior, and make motorists more careful and mindful everywhere.  This will be most effective if the camera locations are hidden and undisclosed, so drivers don't just behave well at one intersection where they're forewarned, and continue their speeding and light-running and generally entitled-as-f**k ways everywhere else, but start to be careful everywhere.  I mean, putting cameras on a few particular problem intersections is better than not putting them anywhere, but it's not ideal.

...

They tried them in Minneapolis, but I believe the MN Supreme Court found them to be unconstitutional. They said the person driving must be fined... Not the vehicle owner as is common since they photograph license plates.

Snowguy is correct and that's my biggest issue with them.

How is this appreciably different from the prevailing regime that an owner of a motor vehicle takes out insurance on the vehicle itself, not just his or her particular driving of that vehicle?

...

Some other background worth noting, especially as w/r/t the politics of it in New York: down in NYC, there has been a push to allow them (which Albany needs to sign off on apparently) over the past couple of years from livable streets advocates, and which has become part and parcel of the Vision Zero push to eliminate traffic fatalities.  And, last year, they finally got the go-ahead to put a pilot into place. But it is extraordinarily limited.  There are
a) only 20 cameras for the entire city of over eight million people*;
b) they will only fine people going over ten miles over the posted speed limit- so you can still speed normally with impunity; and
c) they have to be within 1/4 mile of a school; so there is some minimal protection for kids walking to school, but otherwise screw you, the motorist's God-given right to zoom zoom without consequence is more important than your life and limb.

*Edit: I misremembered, 20 cameras was the initial pilot, but they have been increased to 140 recently.  However, the restrictions that keep them only operational in a school zone, during school times, remain in force.

That seems like something that's pretty weaksauce and incredibly narrowly tailored.
23  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Soouth Florida to become its own state? on: October 27, 2014, 10:49:55 am

Does no one appreciate swing states with competitive statewide elections or should all be locked into one party or the other?

Clearly not the Florida GOP, considering their use of gerrymandering to lock up their hold on the legislature.

As did the IL Dems, but I don't support the resolution that would split Cook from the rest of IL. Anyway, my comment was about the statewide elections, not control of the legislature. Tongue I recognize that internal demographics can skew a legislative body compared to statewide results, and sometimes even neutral redistricting will not create a legislature that reflects the overall state vote.

I would argue that a redistricting process that spits out a legislature whose composition is unreflective of the overall state vote cannot truly be called "neutral". 

I do agree that this proposal seems to be taking partisan advantage into account when drawing the lines; I don't know that it's much worse than 6 Californias on that front, but 6 Californias was pretty bad so that's not much of a compliment.
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Update for Everyone III - Lowborn Egoism Herrings on: October 26, 2014, 09:52:21 pm
I have never in my life seen such a feverish concentration of new construction- virtually entirely of the cookie-cutter three-story modernish townhouse variety- than I did while walking around Northern Liberties this weekend.

In other words, I was visiting Philly, as I am wont to do.  I promised this place several effortposts and I'll try to catch up this coming week.
25  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How did you/will you actually vote this year? on: October 26, 2014, 02:38:26 pm
We haven't actually gotten a sample ballot yet in the mail.  I don't think Simcha Felder is up this year, so it'll be straight Dem except for Howie Hawkins for governor.

NY Gov: Howie Hawkins
NY AG: Eric Schneiderman
NY Comptroller: Robert Antonacci

NY-21 Rep: Paul Tonko

Proposal 1 - i.e. "bipartisan" redistricting: No
Proposal 3 - i.e. stop wasting paper: Yes
Proposal 3 - i.e. $2b for politically savvy tech firms: No

NY Senate - WI: abolish the State Senate
NY Assembly - WI: me

Why Antonacci?

Antonacci is running on a surprisingly bold anti-corruption platform, and he's not especially close with the state's Republican establishment. I might reconsider my vote if Antonacci had any chance of winning, because DiNapoli is relatively clean. But given the chance to vote for an honest outsider running a reformist platform, I'll take it.

I could have sworn you had a longer post earlier where you explained why you were writing yourself in for Assembly, using some logic that, well, surprised me.  Am I imagining things?

Did I mention the incumbent's support for traffic light cameras in Albany?

Yes, that was it.  Traffic light cameras are fantastic and I was surprised that you seemed to consider them to be mutually exclusive with other streetscape improvements for some reason.
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