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  • Mar 22nd, 2017 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm more hesitant to call myself a Democrat these days, but I certainly have no problem with guns; even my father - a pastor and an ardent pacifist, who is politically somewhere to the left of Gandhi - has no problem with guns as such and has expressed interest in the idea of acquiring one.

  • Mar 22nd, 2017 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Rampage killings

    The problem with that idea is the potential for abuse - the potential for society or those in power to arbitrarily label people as crazy, or falsely convict (or even just accuse) people of crimes, in order to deprive them of the guns which provide them with that equalizing power.

  • Mar 22nd, 2017 @ 6:06am


    If the concern is that the electronic devices may contain concealed bombs (or that there may be a plan to assemble components from such devices into a bomb mid-flight), as I've seen consistely reported is the case, why would it be appropriate for there to be an exception for such "coming back after a quick visit" cases?

  • Mar 22nd, 2017 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It doesn't necessarily mean less control and less regulation.

    Regulations which serve to prevent A from impeding the liberty of B, more than they serve to impede the liberty of A, can be perfectly consistent with liberalism.

    (Also, the word doesn't necessarily mean that anyway. If you look at usage of the adjective "liberal" outside of a political context - which are, admittely, mostly a little archaic nowadays - you run into things like "she spread her toast liberally with butter" or "he poured out the drinks with a liberal hand", where the apparent meaning is approximately the opposite of "stingy".

    It's not universal, but I find that if you look at the political factions with "liberal" vs. "stingy" in mind, the positions each side takes tend to fit surprisingly well...)

  • Mar 21st, 2017 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Loyalty is earned, not owed

    Tip: If you don't want people to think you're a right-wing partisan, be careful not to use "Democrat" as an adjective.

    The word "republican" is an adjective. The noun for "member of the Republican Party" is "Republican". The adjective for describing that party, or one of its members, is "Republican".

    The word "democratic" is an adjective. The noun for "member of the Democratic Party" is "Democrat". The adjective for describing that party, or one of its members, is "Democratic".

    The phrase "the Democrat Party" is both ungrammatical, and a sign that the speaker either doesn't know/care about the rules of the language, or is biased against the party being spoken of.

  • Mar 21st, 2017 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: I have only one thing to say about Google...

    The defining characteristic of a monopoly is that it is the only place where you can buy the thing it's selling - whether because that thing is not sold anywhere else, or because you can't get to any of the other places where that thing is sold.

    You can get effective Web-search results from places other than Google (even if they may not be as good as the ones you get from Google), and as long as the network remains even vaguely neutral, you can get to those other places just as easily as you can get to Google. Thus, Google does not have a monopoly in the search market.

    There's more of an argument that Google may come close to a monopoly in the online-advertising market, but I don't think they pass that line even there.

  • Mar 21st, 2017 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A tale of a divided country

    The term "defensive voting" more properly refers to the reaction to the spoiler effect: the people who prefer C deciding to vote instead for B, in order to prevent A from being elected, with the side effect that the real degree of support for C is not visible in the election results.

    You're quite right that it's a major part of the problem, however, and that ranked-preference voting would seem to do away with the motivation for it.

  • Mar 21st, 2017 @ 6:59am

    Re: a simple question ...

    An at-least-equally-relevant question: how long would it take to achieve that result with Google not in the picture?

  • Mar 20th, 2017 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Re: A tale of a divided country

    Actually, the reason we continue to devolve back to two effective parties - no matter how many third parties get started, and even rise to temporary prominence, or possibly even supplant one of the existing two - is because, in a single-choice first-past-the-post voting system, that is the natural result of people voting in their own best interests.

    If 60% of the population opposes A, but that 60% is divided into 35% who support B and 25% who support C, and everyone votes for what they support, then the 40% who support A will win the election - even though the majority of people oppose A. This is known as the "spoiler effect".

    In a voting system where you can only pick one option from the list, and where whichever option gets the largest share of the vote wins, the "smart" thing for the people who support B and C to do is to join forces behind one of theose two options; that way, they can make sure the thing they oppose doesn't win, even if their first choice doesn't win either. The downside is that whichever of the two choices they don't unite behind seems to have no support, and disappears into obscurity, leaving behind only two options.

    The only solution to this is to switch to a ranked-preferences voting system, preferably one which satisfies the Condorcet criteria, so that people can instead list the available options in order from most preferred to least preferred. In a system like that, you can indicate that you prefer C over B, while still also being able to indicate that you prefer B over A - and the spoiler effect disappears, leaving room for people who like third-party candidates to express their actual preferences at the polls without negative consequences.

    I remember it being reported that Maine approved a ballot measure to switch to such a ranked-preference voting system, as part of the 2016 election. It will be worth watching closely to see what happens in the next elections in that state.

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Star Trek

    I think he's referencing the idea that if the popular vote was what counted, Trump would have campaigned differently so as to win that vote - that the reason he only won the electoral college is because that's the only vote that actually matters, so he targeted his campaigning to the places where it would make a difference, and didn't bother wasting resources on also winning the popular vote.

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Made in the USA

    But the Constitution does address religion. In particular, it says (in more archaic language) that Congress cannot make a law which gives any religion, or religious belief, more privileges than any other.

    Thus, when Congress makes immigration laws, it cannot privilege one religion ahead of another one in those laws; if it tries, the resulting law will be unconstitutional.

    One place where you might be partly right is that it's not immediately apparent that the constraints of the First Amendment apply to the powers inherent to the executive branch, rather than those which the executive has by way of authorization from the legislative branch; however, I seem to recall that there's jurisprudence establishing that Constitutional limitations on the powers of Congress (such as the ones in the First Amendment) limit the powers of executive branch as well.

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: So let me get this right....

    About the only way Trump could make the claim that these executive orders are not (the first seeds of) his promised Muslim ban be plausible would be to come out with something else which is explicitly stated to be his promised Muslim ban, is plausible in that role, and clearly is not simply a refined or derived version of these same executive orders.

    Of course, if he did that, it would die in the courts (and possibly even in the legislature, if it needed to go that route) so fast it would make what happened with these executive orders look pokey..

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 8:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Made in the USA

    I honestly can't figure out what any of those things have to do with the "also hire Americans" fragment that you quoted.

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Made in the USA

    It would be one thing if the Trump administration had said "We don't think the vetting standards used during the Obama administration are good enough, so we're going to revamp those standards, and we want to put a hold on people coming in until we've managed to do that".

    That would at least give the basics of a rationale, and would make it possible to focus the discussion on the proposed revised standards, on whether they make sense, on whether there's any need to revise those standards at all, and on whether there's sufficient difference in the standards being proposed for a halt to immigration in the meantime to be reasonable.

    But the administration has not done any such thing. To the best of my awareness, they have provided no explanation for why they want to block people coming in from these countries except for a vague and general "because terrorism". That lack of specificity is part of the reason why this is a problem.

    The closest the administration has come to saying any such thing, that I'm aware of, has been Trump's own oft-quoted statements about "we're going to have extreme vetting" - which, in the discussions I've encountered, have almost invariably been followed in short order by someone pointing out that the vetting we've had under the Obama administration already is fairly extreme. Without proposals for what kind of vetting they want to replace it with, we can't evaluate this in terms of vetting people coming in; we can only evaluate it in terms of what its effects and apparent intents are, and that has the results that you see.

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 8:17am

    Re: Made in the USA

    90 days is not an "Unreasonable" burden to anyone.

    It is when the narrow time window during which all of the authorizations which take years to acquire are valid all at once falls during those 90 days, meaning you have to start all over and spend years getting the same approvals you'd just finished getting.

    Also, "reasonable" depends entirely on their being a "reason" for the action. If there is

    • a problem to be addressed,
    • a solution to that problem, and
    • a connection explaining how the solution addresses the problem,

    that's one thing - but in this case, there has been

    • no clear presentation of exactly what problem permitting properly-vetted people from these countries to continue entering the US solves, and
    • no explanation of what connection this proposed solution has to the purported problem.

    If you want to convince people that these executive orders are an appropriate solution, please explain what problem it is they solve, and how it is that they solve it, from first principles. If there are assumptions which you're making and your interlocutors are not making, you'll need to address those assumptions, and try to explain why you believe your assumptions are valid.

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Eventually everything will start being done under the table

    Case in point: the Affordable Care Act. Which is the compromise of the compromise of the original Obama-administration health-care-reform proposal, except that "compromise" should be in quotes because the other side never really made any concessions at either of the two stages.

  • Mar 16th, 2017 @ 6:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I think you misread him. In the part you quoted, he's not saying that the Pope making such a statement would be unconstitutional; he's saying it that "we" (the USA) reacting to it by (temporarily) barring Christians from entering the country would be unconstitutional.

    And as far as I can see, he's right.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re:Re: I gather Tim is okay with a 5 and a 7 year old seeing Debbie give a blowjob while getting anal sex

    Distracted-driver laws are irrelevant if the people watching the problematic videos are not the driver.

    There are probably vehicles which are exceptions, and I don't claim to be an expert on this subject or to have conducted an exhaustive survey, but every single in-car display screen I've seen which had the ability to display real-time video playback was positioned above/behind/between the driver's and passenger's seats - so as to be visible to the people in the rear seat(s), but not the ones up front.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 8:11am

    Re: I gather Tim is okay with a 5 and a 7 year old seeing Debbie give a blowjob while getting anal sex

    That could be potentially justified under "obscene", which is a(n ill-defined) category given special treatment under the law for such purposes.

    The quoted law doesn't limit itself to "obscene" movies, however; it also extends the same prohibition in regard to "patently offensive" ones.

    If they dropped the "or patently offensive" from the statute, there would probably be considerably less room to challenge Constitutionality, given established Supreme Court precedent.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re: New t-shirt slogan

    It was hidden by the community because subsequent comments with the same associated image made it apparent that this is the flood-of-offtopic-trolling-self-replying-posts guy.

    In my case, I flagged it because while I couldn't see an obvious problem with it, the poster's past history makes it clear that there usually is one, and also because leaving it visible encourages people to reply - which only encourages continuation of the posting pattern.

    Normally, when someone who usually makes flag-worthy posts makes one that's actually potentially positive, it's worth encouraging that behavior by leaving that one post alone - but this particular poster's behavior seems to me to lead to the conclusion that any encouragement for any of it will simply encourage the continuation of all of it, and IMO that's not something that is desirable.

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