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May 27, 2015, 05:10:40 pm
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1  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Do Bill and Hillary love each other? on: May 26, 2015, 05:40:14 pm
I think they love each other. Probably learn a lot from each other too.
2  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion on David Letterman on: May 26, 2015, 01:01:12 pm
I'd say Carson, then Ferguson, then Letterman, but yeah... big FF.
3  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Hypothetical June 2015 Presidential Election - Political Tracker Polls on: May 26, 2015, 12:34:04 pm
Telling Griffin to chill out is like asking JCL to officiate a gay wedding.
4  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Alleviating Rural Poverty Act of 2015 on: May 26, 2015, 12:30:53 pm
I agree we need a greener transportation system. Where it works. A transportation system in the areas we're talking about doesn't make sense period. So I have a hard time seeing how the rest of your post even applies.

I support spending where and when it makes sense. It doesn't make sense here. It's not about "emasculated fiscal conservatism." It's about being pragmatic and spending money where it can make the most difference.

And again, no engagement with the other ideas (now two of them) I've put forward that could much more efficiently close the transportation gap. It's not worth me saying much more at this point.
5  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Let's Make HIV/AIDS History Act on: May 26, 2015, 12:22:56 pm
I'm supportive.

Some will call me a deficit hawk, and it's not completely true, but do we actually need this much money to accomplish the goals of the bill? I've put forward legislation that will hopefully reform every public school's health curriculum in the country, and I figured it would cost much less than this.

Let's just zero in on 2(A). $2 billion will buy you two thousand luxury homes. Except we're only interested in mobile testing centres, which I assume (maybe wrongly) will cost much less than a million a piece. Is $2 billion really necessary? And then we've got other billions all over the place too.

I want to reiterate that I like the bill. I just think the numbers are off. If they were too small I'd say we need more money. So it's not even about the deficit... it's about being realistic. This bill is half a Pacific Stimulus package.
6  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Clarification of Proportional Representation Act on: May 26, 2015, 12:14:36 pm
I like the way it is now. If it's a tie, the candidate with most first preferences wins. If that's also a tie, we move onto the second preferences. Etc. That's how I've always interpreted it, and it makes sense to me...
7  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: It's Only Dignified to Do...After All This Time Act on: May 26, 2015, 12:12:31 pm
Aye
8  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Senate resolution: Improve the Senate Rules (Final vote) on: May 26, 2015, 12:11:20 pm
Aye
9  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Alleviating Rural Poverty Act of 2015 on: May 26, 2015, 12:10:08 pm
Yankee hit the nail on the head.

I'm not disputing the fact that green vehicles output less GHG emissions than regular buses and cars. I don't need a chart to tell me that. Roll Eyes

But building the infrastructure that is required for this type of service is going to harm the environment as well. We're talking about a pretty significant investment in resources and manpower to roll out these transportation systems... and for what? A necessarily inefficient and limited system that not many people will use anyway.

People are missing the trees for the forest in this circumstance. There's nothing more I can say. We will be wasting government money.

Again, for the final time, I agree that we need to help connect people to opportunities in rural regions. Setting up a cruddy bus service is so cost inefficient and won't provide people with even half decent service or coverage. Taxi grants and a partially subsidized carpool service would give people quality service and cost the government less. But none of you are even entertaining the idea. It's like you want to waste money.

I would urge everyone to ask the vice president what he thinks. A much more respected individual than I.
10  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Mideast Record-Courier Polls: Best Atlasian President (Since Dissolution) on: May 22, 2015, 09:29:52 am
Polnut, Nix, Duke.
11  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Alleviating Rural Poverty Act of 2015 on: May 22, 2015, 09:15:22 am
And I would say the point here is that there really is no good public transportation available in rural areas. I argue that it doesn't exist for a reason, but most people seem to disagree with me. I'd be interested to hear what the Vice President has to say actually, because I remember this issue coming up in the past.

But hell, I think vouchers for taxis would be more financially viable than this plan. But again, no one seems to be up for that. Instead we have senators wanting to spread the already limited funds even thinner on greening up buses... when all our car-less countryfolk really care about is getting from here to there. Alleviating those concerns is supposed to be the point of this bill. But now it's getting messy and inefficient. Let's set our minds to one goal and get it done.


Yes, climate change is a serious issue for the entire nation. Small steps like this actually matter-if you don't want to provide funding for green buses then I hope you'll support Cap and Trade, massive reduction in CO2 emissions, Talleyrands upcoming biodiversity act along with a limit on arctic drilling that I want to propose. I'm not going to apologize for trying to reduce our carbon emissions.

 'Country folk?' Don't insult the fine rural citizens of Atlasia by implying they don't care about climate change

You do no one a service by continuing to deliberately miss the point and misconstrue my intentions. This bill is not positioned to reduce GHGs, even in its amended form.

And "countryfolk" is not an insult. Roll Eyes

Frankly, you'd do better to show a bit of goodwill. Labor ain't gonna have the numbers it has forever.

As for your argument Mr. President, I understand the interests the state has in making public transportation happen, and I understand that operating at a marginal loss could still be worthwhile. The thing is, public transportation like what we're talking about never just runs at a marginal loss (at least not very often). Even in our cities, where we have the density to support public transportation, the farebox recovery rate, at some places, is less than 20%. So let's make no mistake about the profitability issue: It's more than a marginal loss. And let's also make no mistake about my position: I usually support public transportation anyway. I believe in its power to connect people to opportunities and help create more dynamic, walkable landscapes.

But it won't work in rural areas. The walkability and dynamic streetscape benefit is nil because of the sparse population. Connecting people to opportunities could happen, but at a huge cost that makes it such that there are probably better ways to do it than by bus. I mean, if Los Angeles only recovers 50% of its costs from passengers, I don't see how a place with more sprawl, lower density, and less people could get anywhere near that.

And you talk about the government's interest in funding projects like this, even at a loss. I agree. But these projects are usually financed by the regions and municipalities/counties. They have revenue streams. They find a way to make transit work. If these rural areas don't ready have working transit, it means busses would have to operate there at huge losses... Losses that other levels of government have decided aren't acceptable. Why should the federal government take this task on when a taxi grant could be cheaper and work just as well for the people who need it, if not better?

Because "muh transit" and "muh enviromets."

But now I hate the world because I think it's even worse to put out for more expensive green technologies when already these limited funds will hardly be able to scratch the surface in terms of connecting people to opportunities with an efficient public transit scheme. Hagrid's an evil climate change denier1!!1!
12  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Alleviating Rural Poverty Act of 2015 on: May 21, 2015, 10:42:17 am
And I would say the point here is that there really is no good public transportation available in rural areas. I argue that it doesn't exist for a reason, but most people seem to disagree with me. I'd be interested to hear what the Vice President has to say actually, because I remember this issue coming up in the past.

But hell, I think vouchers for taxis would be more financially viable than this plan. But again, no one seems to be up for that. Instead we have senators wanting to spread the already limited funds even thinner on greening up buses... when all our car-less countryfolk really care about is getting from here to there. Alleviating those concerns is supposed to be the point of this bill. But now it's getting messy and inefficient. Let's set our minds to one goal and get it done.
13  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Survey Atlasia: April Regional Senator Approval Ratings on: May 20, 2015, 01:09:41 pm
Approve
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Canadian federal election - 2015 on: May 19, 2015, 07:05:23 pm
I wouldn't say the contemary Liberals are equidistant from the Dippers and Tories though, they seem to be closer to the lefties than the Conservatives who have largely jettisoned their Reds.

And therein lies the problem for Red Tories voting in federal elections. The Conservative Party continues to shoot itself in the foot in the eyes of these voters. The party's MPs and leadership have spat in the face of democracy on multiple occasions, discourage dissent and critical thinking among its ranks, turn a blind eye to facts, and have gone pretty far right in a number of areas ("fair" elections, union financial disclosure, income splitting, etc.).

The problem is, the Liberal Party of late doesn't seem to realize the potential it has to attract these centrist/right-of-centre votes. I have seen very little genuine interest from Trudeau to attract disaffected Tories. It's all about pushing to the left, crowding out the NDP, and winning the progressive vote. When Trudeau realized it wasn't working, his boldfaced political calculation with C-51 looked like overly-transparent pandering (newsflash: It was!).

So while the CPC is doing everything it can to send Red Tories away, I really don't think there's a home for them anywhere else. The Liberals don't want them... and even if they did, why would a Red Tory who arguably values strong, pragmatic leadership feel comfortable abandoning the competent evil they know in Stephen Harper for the incompetent evil they see in Justin? The NDP isn't an option for these folks either.

So as a Red Tory myself, even though I desperately wish I could vote for a competent centrist government, I can't vote for the Liberal Party. The Conservatives, who've at least done a decent job holding down the country's economic fort, just sort of win by default. And I hate that.

Anyway, I'm ranting.
15  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Capital Punishment Restoration Act (Voting on motion to table) on: May 19, 2015, 06:11:03 pm
Aye
16  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Cooperatives Administration Act of 2015 (Final vote) on: May 19, 2015, 06:10:29 pm
Nay

Lol.
17  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Alleviating Rural Poverty Act of 2015 on: May 19, 2015, 12:01:11 pm
So we'll be making this already-impractical program even more cost inefficient? Undecided
18  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Reintroducing the Cabinet Reform Amendment (Final vote) on: May 19, 2015, 11:57:59 am
Aye
19  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Affirmative Consent in Post-Secondary Education Act of 2015 (Final vote) on: May 18, 2015, 01:41:11 pm
Aye
20  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: RGN Polls (#1) : Government/Presidential Election (FINAL FIGURES) on: May 18, 2015, 12:19:56 pm
You see, people don't really buy the faux-narrative Griffin's been peddling.
21  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Disgraced former Pres. candidate Sirnick strikes again, vandalizes Fantasy Wiki on: May 17, 2015, 08:44:35 pm
What a sad little man.
22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: The "Who is running?" tea leaves thread (Part 2) on: May 17, 2015, 04:50:19 pm
Wow. Very strong interview. I haven't actually seen him speak very much as I've mostly just read about him, but that kinda straight-talking no-BS attitude could be a good fit for the post-Obama era. I'm really intrigued.
23  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: The Office of Senator HagridOfTheDeep—Vote History Posted! on: May 17, 2015, 04:33:35 pm


LEGISLATIVE UPDATE and VOTING HISTORY


I am very happy to publish my second legislative update and voting history. This update is for the last half of the 66th Senate and covers votes from the month of April. If anyone has any questions about why I voted the way I did, please don’t hesitate to ask. Cheers.



Passed Legislation

POSTAL SERVICE COMMUNITY FINANCIAL LENDING ACT OF 2015 (NAY)

I voted against this bill, which was intended to allow the postal service to provide small loans to individuals without bank access, because I believed it had the potential to fundamentally alter the role of the postal service as well as the financial sector in Atlasia. It seemed to me that we were providing an entryway for a federal takeover of the sector. Moreover, the budget for this project grew and grew to an amount that frankly made me feel uncomfortable.

AGRICULTURAL POLICY ACT OF 2015 (AYE)

I was pleased to offer my support to this bill and happy to see that the senate passed it unanimously. Although the bill started off as a tremendously unsuitable boon for organized labour, it quickly became a viable piece of legislation that would give real support to farmers and rural communities. I am happy that this support includes financial support as well as training. I am also pleased that the senate voted to include my amendment, which offers support for agritourism in rural regions.


Rejected Legislation

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL ACT OF 2015 (NAY)

This bill would compel companies to advertise their use of union labour on packaging. I voted against the legislation because I believed the federal government would be overstepping its bounds to dictate to companies how they must design their packaging. Although it is true that the federal government does require the publication of nutritional information, this is mostly done to quell concerns around health and safety. Forcing companies to essentially advertise their political beliefs was a big no-no.


Passed Amendments

REINTRODUCTING THE EFFICIENT REFERENDA AMENDMENT (AYE)

To me, this amendment was mostly procedural. I supported it because it made sense to ensure that the referendum process was spelled out clearly and operates in such a way as to ensure that people have the chance to vote on referenda quickly.

FAIRNESS IN CABINET OBLIGATIONS AMENDMENT (AYE)

This amendment made it possible for a Senator to also sit as the country’s Registrar General. I supported it on the grounds of fairness: We already allow senators to hold other positions, so why not allow them to serve as RG too? Although there were some concerns that the RG should be unbiased and non-partisan, ultimately I felt that a job that mostly relates to the collection of data could not easily be abused. That being said, I do not believe senators should have the power to also serve as the Secretary of Federal Elections, as in that case a senator could be administering and certifying her or his own election.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT (ABSTAIN)

This aptly-named amendment prevents presidents from pardoning themselves. I abstained from the vote because I did not buy the argument of the people who voted for it. These senators claimed that it would be an unfair abuse of power for presidents to give themselves a blank check. While I agree with the spirit of the argument, the fact is, the ability to pardon anyone is an exceptional power. I believe the Constitution affords the president this power because his or her actions are meant to reflect the general will of the polity. Creating a false distinction between the president’s ability to pardon his or her family members and the president’s ability to pardon him- or herself doesn’t really make sense. The pardon is the pardon—if a president doesn’t follow the law while in office, that’s the people’s problem… hopefully democracy will work better next time!

ELECTORAL REFORM AMENDMENT (AYE)

This amendment eliminates the class of At-Large Senators and instead creates a changing district system from which senators are elected. I supported the amendment for two reasons: Firstly, I believed it could shake up the game, which has lately gotten stale; secondly, I believed a change such as this one deserved to be voted on by the people.

REINTRODUCING THE 21ST AMENDMENT (ABSTAIN)

I abstained from this amendment mostly because I just didn’t really care about it. It is my understanding that the amendment removed “automatic” impeachment proceedings from affecting senators. I thought it seemed like an odd conflict of interest to support the amendment. I also thought it didn’t really make sense for it to not affect senators but still apply to other officials. Finally, I reject the idea of automatic proceedings in the first place, because nothing automatic can ever happen is this game—someone always needs to set something in motion. There have been examples of occasions where automatic proceedings should have occurred but never did. Why keep a law like that on the books?
24  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Government / Re: Alleviating Rural Poverty Act of 2015 on: May 17, 2015, 12:13:59 pm
I'm really worried with the Senate, every time we try and propose something only for it to be completely dismissed by saying it's a regional matter-the regions clearly haven't acted, and transport is an area where we have have control. I don't want the senate to become a shell group that simply deals with rather arcane senate rules and regulations. We need to act to actually make a difference

We have some control over transport, but doing what's smart isn't the same as doing something just because we feel like we should.

I guess one question I have is this: Are we actually sending buses out into rural farm country or forests? Or is the idea to keep the bus service centralized around nearby population "centres" where there's at least a bit more population density?

I could support this funding if we smartly keep transit to these mini-hubs, but I still struggle to see how we'd make it work if we start carving out routes into the countryside. We can't support any measure of full service, and since rural areas are so sparsely populated the designation of transit routes would seem pretty arbitrary. Obviously it'd be based on some sort of data, but because this type of transit is so unviable, where the routes actually go would hardly matter; they're not going to be used.

People who live in the countryside exhibit a disproportionately high level of car ownership compared to people who live in urban centres. The only folks who would be less likely to have cars in rural areas are those living in the mini-hubs around a "main strip" of shops, restaurants, and the like. Service in the hubs, between the hubs, could work. Service along obscure country lanes absolutely will not.
25  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: The Office of Senator HagridOfTheDeep—Condolences to the People of France on: May 17, 2015, 11:59:51 am
It's a little overdue, but I will be releasing last month's voting history sometime this afternoon or tonight.
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