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Everything posted by Pangloss

  1. I don't have to -- it defies common sense. Murder is only illegal because there's a law on the books that says so. Failure to enforce any murder appeal produces a defacto state of allowing murder. The government could state that it still enforces the law by continuing to arrest suspects and putting them on trial. Then they would be automatically appealed by their lawyers and their clients immediately set free. You're parsing a narrow definition and demonizing my opinion in the process. I'd appreciate it if you'd stop. There's no particular reason for you to respond to an opinion by stating that I'm not entitled to my own facts, or that I'm just "making it up". That's appeal to ridicule.
  2. This article in Forbes attacks Newt Gingrich for calling President Obama's stance on DOMA “a dereliction of duty and a violation of his constitutional oath that cannot be allowed to stand.” Gingrich should have refrained from this rush to judgment and sought the full history of these cases, but instead he blazed a trail straight to the nearest Fox News camera to tell everyone how scary it is. This author found several parallels in recent Republican administrations: While the details of these cases do vary, this is a well-considered reflection on the history of these cases, and supports the notion that this is not an extreme event. That having been said, here is where my hackles rise: That is indeed what has been happening, but given the political nature of the Executive Branch, it boggles the mind that anyone in their right mind would think that this is a good idea. It's a horrendously awful idea that just hasn't backfired... yet. Or so it seems to me.
  3. You're so busy making me wrong you're overlooking the most obvious aspect of the problem: Not defending a law in court has precisely the same outcome as not enforcing it. That's a legitimate concern and opinion, and I'm entitled to state it without being dismissively accused of "having my own facts". Well no, that's true, in this case it's just failure to recognize the marriage. (shrug) The problem remains the same -- the government "enforces" the law, then ignores an appeal, with the same outcome: Defacto illegality. And while I favor gay marriage, and oppose conservatives leaping to conclusions here about the Obama administration's willingness to enforce the law (this is a legitimate avenue for them to explore), I am concerned about the long-term repercussions of selective enforcement, which has come up before and will likely come up again.
  4. Well you're welcome to your opinion. I disagree. The reasoning you're defending, that narrow parsing, is quite similar to the reasoning used by the Bush administration to defend warrantless wiretaps, the imprisonment of Jose Padilla, and other items that were roundly criticized by the left on a broader, more generalized basis, just as the right is doing to President Obama right now. You can go and look up subtle nuances of difference between those cases and this one if you like, but most people don't really go there -- that's why we hire representatives to take care of these details for us. Which is why I think the right should stop bashing the administration and wait to see how this plays out. The risk is real. But that doesn't mean the administration is throwing away the concept of defending all laws on the books any more than the Bush administration threw away civil liberties or ignored the rights of American citizens to due process.
  5. I found it here: http://michaelcriner.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/true_size_of_africa.png But it's become a popular thing to show around the Web recently; I just did a search on "countries fit inside africa" on Google Images to bring it up. I think it was a story that ran in the news last fall. I dimly recall a piece on ABC News about it.
  6. Yeah it doesn't seem that way, but that's the problem of Africa throwing the scale off for everything in and around it on the map. This perspective kinda helps a bit -- you see it on a lot of Web sites but I don't know how accurate it is. If it's accurate then what brings it into perspective for me is that Somalia's coastline is roughly on the order of the American Eastern Seaboard.
  7. They do. It's called Combined Task Force 150. But Somalia has about 3,300 kilometers of coastline, and once they range out from that coastline (say, to do some perfectly innocent fishing), they dramatically increase the amount of area that has to be watched. If that ABC News article was correct and their actual range is the same as the area of the continental United States, that's 770 million hectares. Ouch. And it has to be monitored continuously. Ships don't operate continuously, they rotate between roughly 1/3rd of their time on patrol and 2/3rds of their time in port. (Actually that's just the US with its hyperactive military -- as I understand it most countries are more like 10%/90% -- in port most of the time. Active duty is many times more expensive than port/base duty.) And the United States, again the biggest and most active military in the world, only has 289 ships. That having been said, I would guess that a permanent aircraft carrier rotation (essentially three carrier task force groups rotating through the CTF over the course of a year) could cover a significant amount of the search area. If memory serves they have an effective surface radar search profile of something on the order of 500 kilometers in radius. That's a pretty big swath of the problem area. Carriers deployments are the most expensive of all -- again going by memory here I believe one carrier group costs over a billion dollars a year to operate. But they're deployed anyway, so it's really an opportunity cost -- are they where you need them to be, etc. And 11 is a lot of carrier groups -- you'd think they could keep one on station. I don't know offhand if any carrier groups have done pirate duty. There are some not too far away, of course. I don't believe Somalia is under quarantine, by the way, but I could be mistaken.
  8. Which is pretty odd, because what it basically means is that people will be arrested, charged, and prosecuted, but if they win and the case is appealed, they will then sit on their hands and do nothing. So herein lies the real danger. By shrugging and saying "well, it's fine, liberal governments will enforce liberal laws, and conservative governments will enforce conservative laws, and that's just how it will be", the risk is pretty obvious. But as I said before, I think people (and anti-Obama conservatives in particular) should refrain from rushing to judgment on this. The administration is testing the waters, just as the Bush administration often did with regard to issues related to civil liberties. Some of these waters need to be tested so that we'll know what works and what doesn't. Marat mentions a good example with regard to making deals with criminals -- somebody had to try that idea at some point to see what would happen, and thus a new approach was born. I'm down with that, even if it does make me nervous.
  9. 4 days seems like a small number. 43 hours of debate before there was a closure vote seems like a large number. I guess people have to decide for themselves whether it was reasonably "exposed".
  10. I've been following this and it's an interesting problem, and I'm not rushing to judgment about the Obama administration's handling of this. But I am concerned about the potential trend. This is no federal regulation, changing with the winds of elections or unfunded during tough economic times (e.g. immigration enforcement). It's a fully-debated law of the land, passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by a Democratic president less than 15 years ago. The vote wasn't even close. I understand that times (and public sentiments) change, but the danger here is that it amounts to selective enforcement according to ideology. What laws might a Republican president choose not to enforce?
  11. Pangloss


    Indeed. Of course that would be ludicrous. And I've never said anything like that. Just because the homeless and the Playstation Poor are lumped together in the same category doesn't mean there isn't some level of suffering in the US. I support the general concept of social programs, and I've said so many, many times. What I object to is the use of the Playstation Poor to convince Americans that there are massive numbers of truly needy people in this country, when in fact we have no idea if that's true or not, or what those numbers might be. And Mr Skeptic, I don't believe that that picture is representative of how the 43 million Americans who are below the "poverty line" live.
  12. That's my concern as well. But I guess we'll just have to see how it plays out. The world has changed, new technology, independent media, and a better understanding of what democracy means now exist in the Middle Eastern culture. Perhaps they'll get it right this time.
  13. An ABC News story I saw the other day claimed that the pirates have expanded their operating sphere to an area about the size of the continental US. If that's true then it's going to be even harder to patrol those waters and prevent more kidnappings. The international effort thus far has been pretty good, IMO, and an easy sell with national governments looking to give their Navys more experience. But we may be moving beyond a simple enforcement solution. Is there any chance the recent uprisings in various ME countries could have a long-term positive impact on Somalia? If strong democracies arise in those nations, could they decide to help lift their neighbor into a 21st century economy? Or is that a pipe dream?
  14. That's one way of putting it. Here's another: The fight is over the attempt to limit the power of non-government organizations to control the budget process. The the editorial position of the Chicago Tribune, entitled "Lost: The Common Good": http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-02-17/news/ct-edit-union-20110217_1_public-sector-unions-largest-teachers-union-safer-workplaces
  15. Well that's why I felt it was relevant here, because they're not actually on strike, they're supposedly working, getting paid because they're "out sick" or whatever. But there's probably a lot of media inflation in that -- perhaps most of them are being straight-up about it, stating that they're not coming in because they're going to the protest and assuming (correctly, I hope) that they won't be paid for those absences. The news stories I've seen are too busy telling me how exciting it all is to answer such an uninteresting question. (lol)
  16. Pangloss


    I'm responding to that comparison being made by the mass media. Queue reporter standing in front of a homeless shelter, trying to give her story more impact by citing statistics on the number of Americans living below the "poverty line", when in fact many of those in that demographic have no need for such shelters. It is legitimate to expose such comparisons, especially with data from the Census Bureau's own reports.
  17. Pangloss


    Well I can't stop you from reading between the lines of my posts, but I am allowed to ask that question. I have supported on this forum the need for social spending through safety nets, and the importance of helping those who are down on their luck. I support a compromise system of government. And I resent your ongoing campaign to demonize my opinions before this community. Yes I have. The statistic indicates the poverty line, not those who are actually poor. The United Nations calls the poverty line $1/day in earnings (source). The United States Census calls the poverty line people who can buy cheeseburgers at McDonald's and face such difficult choices as "Conan" versus "Jay". I've supported this, asking the further question of why we don't know how many truly poor people we have in this country. If you feel an ideological need to equate Playstation owners with the truly needy, more power to you, but I intend to continue pointing out the error in this "logic".
  18. Pangloss


    So you feel that the numbers on the "poverty line" inform us about the number of poor people we have in the US, then? Is that right?
  19. Compensation. They don't think they get paid enough, and they don't want to accept cutbacks. Which it is absolutely their right to do. Just not while they're supposed to be in the classroom. If I were to do that I would be fired. Why should they get special treatment just because they have a louder voice?
  20. Well I agree with what you're saying there, I just don't think it's quite as hopeless as all that. People don't like their favored programs to be cut, but I think if you poll specific issues you never find 100% of the people in support of maintaining fund on that specific item. So it's just a matter of getting people to go along for a generally unpleasant ride. IMO the best way to do it is to stop lumping things together in packages and force individual votes on each issue. Politicians hate that because it puts them on record as opposing a specific issue when they really just want to cut spending, but the people would support that kind of approach because each issue would essentially be given an up-or-down vote. Requiring a majority public consent on each issue would straighten out the budget. It would just take too long to implement. But if the politicians can't straighten things out, we'll dump them and elect different ones. That's what happened in 2008.
  21. Pangloss


    I don't. I ask a question. How much context is there in a reporter citing the poverty line statistic with no explanation of what that statistic means? I agree, it's a wealthy country and that suggests that the line is being drawn pretty high. Unfortunately that leaves us wondering about the difference between Playstation owners and the homeless. It shouldn't. It should make one wonder why we're being told that we have 43 million poor people in the US, when the numbers say no such thing.
  22. Pangloss


    Of course not, it doesn't even claim to do that. The error in the example I gave is on the part of any reporter who erroneously draws the conclusion that the "poverty line" supports conclusions about the number of homeless or poor people in the country. Sure. And the quality of that life is accurately reflected in the numbers gathered from those statistics, which are reported in the analysis in my signature. You mean they're without the ideological context that you would have added to them in order to make a political point. When you start elevating the value of context over data, then you're well outside of the realm of science and well into the realm of politics. What lying are you referring to? What position are you referring to?
  23. No it doesn't, it shows people divided, not a majority in support of current spending.
  24. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean the majority supports current spending. This new poll from USA Today shows a statistical dead heat between proponents and opponents of spending cuts: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-02-22-poll-public-unions-wisconsin_N.htm But 71% oppose a tax increase. Huh. How clear is it now?
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