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February 16, 2018

Comments

lj-

"but I believe one of the key things about taking depositions is that you should never ask a question if you don't know what answer you will get."

That's a goal at trial, not for depositions (except for expert depos where you have a report to go off of and mostly know where you are going). You should know the answers at trial because you've taken open ended discovery and learned what the witness will say (or have statements to impeach them if they change their story).

"That deposition discourse makes the discussion oppositional. It may make for great fireworks, but probably doesn't help clarify notions and ideas."

LOL ... I have not put on my adversarial advocacy hat and I didn't see any fireworks. It is oppositional, but that's the point of debate. Having said that, you don't see me engaging in ad hominem attacks or questioning the motives or morals of people who disagree with me. Yes, I told russel that I thought he was being colored by partisanship, but that's nothing compared to what liberals get away with when attacking conservatives around here (being called "child molesters" and "murderers" for their views). For the record, I'm fine if you want to allow a bareknuckled free wheeling verbal battle, but there does seem to be a double standard.

"I know we have a lot of lawyers here, but I hope all of you might consider how asking questions you know the answer to doesn't really let you learn things about how people think."

But I didn't know the answer. I didn't know what people thought about the PASC's actions. If I start off by setting out my entire argument, then that colors the responses. What I learned is that most folks have not delved deeply into this (which is fine given the perpetually loaded news cycle that we currently live in).

RE: Japan, my knowledge here is seriously dated, but the level of urban voter dilution dwarfs what we see here in the US by orders of magnitude even after a number of reforms. As I recall, the US drafted Japanese Constitution didn't have clear (or any) provisions for taking a census and reapportioning voting districts. It also was a difficult document to amend, especially so once you get entrenched rural members of the Diet who have a stake in keeping the system as it was. I think some of the later reforms incorporated proportional voting which is my preferred way to deal with this. It appears that Japan has not gone far enough to fix the problem, but that mostly speaks to how difficult it is to remove entrenched politicians.

The debate really gets down to if you have single-member districts, then urban voters who tend towards one party will be disadvantaged unless you are wiling to draw some "odd" districts. In states like Florida, you can't do that to the extent that politics must be left out of the equation. Here's is the amended provision of the Florida Constitution:

Section 20. Standards for establishing congressional district boundaries In establishing Congressional district boundaries:

(1) No apportionment plan or individual district shall be drawn with the intent to favor or disfavor a political party or an incumbent; and districts shall not be drawn with the intent or result of denying or abridging the equal opportunity of racial or language minorities to participate in the political process or to diminish their ability to elect representatives of their choice; and districts shall consist of contiguous territory.

(2) Unless compliance with the standards in this subsection conflicts with the standards in subsection (1) or with federal law, districts shall be as nearly equal in population as is practicable; districts shall be compact; and districts shall, where feasible, utilize existing political and geographical boundaries.

(3) The order in which the standards within sub-sections (1) and (2) of this section are set forth shall not be read to establish any priority of one standard over the other within that subsection.

I would rank the various proposals as follows: (1) proportional voting; (2) single-member districts with no political influence (3) single-member districts with some level of political influence.

I'm aware that some Dems like #3 currently because they see a Dem wave coinciding with the 2020 census. I think that's shortsighted.

I'm aware that some Dems like #3

anybody here?

Nigel-

I've skimmed the 139 page PASC opinion. The PA Constitution does not have clear guidelines for drawing districts. It's pretty much "draw them so they have the same population" (compare to the more detailed Florida Constitution provision that I posted above). The PASC relied on the general free elections language from state constitution:

§ 5. Elections. Elections shall be free and equal; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.

That provided the PASC a very broad field in which to operate and I think they took full advantage; to the point that I'm uncomfortable with it.

Pdm: what the PASC seems to have done is allowed fairness to be a consideration, but not to the extent of drawing strange-looking electoral boundaries. I think that within the limitations of single-member constituencies that's a sensible approach.

I think you got the discussion off to a bad start by using terms like "skewed to the Dems" in the Orwellian sense of "skewed to the Republicans, but less so than a map drawn without considerations of fairness".

Myself, I have a strong preference for Single Transferrable Vote in multi-member constituencies.

I’m unclear on what “full advantage” is intended to mean.

Yes, I told russel that I thought he was being colored by partisanship, but that's nothing compared to what liberals get away with when attacking conservatives around here (being called "child molesters" and "murderers" for their views).

????

Does the "around here" suggest that any of us libruls have called the conservatives on this site such names? I assume not. So you must mean that we call "conservatives" as a whole child molesters and murderers. With the exception of the Count (the definition of the exception which proves the rule), this seems unlikely to me. Some conservatives, sure. "Conservatives" when referring for rhetorical purposes to the same people who (having supported Roy Moore) decry the 17-year-old school survivors as unable to organise a march, sure. But conservatives as a whole? I think not.

GftNC-

I disagree. It gets phrased as follows: "If you support Republicans then you support child molesters". No one called Marty or Charles a child molester, but the chilling effect is there.

You can disagree with me, but I definitely feel there is a double standard here.

"Full advantage" goes more to the procedure and process used by the PASC than the map chosen. The responses to me have completely focused on the map chosen which is understandable given that issue is reducible to math which is favored around here. The procedure used is at least as troubling for me.

PB-

I think your first paragraph is accurate, but I have a problem with elected judges engaging in a political exercise (even if they are engaging in restraint as to how far they go) which has traditionally been the province of the legislature and doing so under an aggressive procedure for which there is no clear constitutional or legislative mandate.

I do come to this with a builtin dislike for electing appellate judges, so factor that in.

From my perspective the debate went fine and I learned what I wanted to learn. And I do believe that the map is skewed. You don't have to agree with me on that ... reasonable minds can differ on that point.

I have no problem with STV other than it would seem to be extra-confusing to an electorate accustomed to single-member voting.

Scott Lemieux weighs in.

bobby-

I'm not defending Pubs in PA in the least or engaging in false equivalencies, but these Dem judges were inviting blowback with the procedure used and map chosen.

I don't think it is close to impeachable but as someone who is generally concerned about further politicization of the courts, the entire episode bothers me.

the chilling effect is there.

oh please.

criticism is part of life. if criticism is a "chilling effect", we'd all be buried in ice a mile deep.

the GOP went all-in on an alleged child molester. they deserve every bit of criticism they get.

Pollo,
I wasn't accusing you of ad hominem attacks or questioning the motives or morals of people who disagree with you or all the things you claim that liberals do. That's a strawman. I was simply pointing out we don't want efficiency (if we did, why would we bother trying to change people's minds?), it is a discussion that tries to have everyone learn new things, rather than worry about being 'skeeved'.

It is oppositional, but that's the point of debate.

I'm sure that the people who answered your question didn't think they were taking a side in a debate, they were just saying why they did not feel morally repulsed by what had happened. If you want to argue that their lack of moral revulsion at the redrawing of the Pa. electoral boundaries represents some abdication of morality, you should be honest and say that is what you are getting at, not try to frame it as a gotcha question. You say that you wanted to know what people thought, but I believe that you would get a much more interesting answer if you stated up front what you thought rather than waiting until people expressed their views. While you may not have wanted to play gotcha, that's what it comes out looking like and all this concern with the procedure used makes me wonder if there was any procedure that would have resulted in the proposed map that would be acceptable to you. Because, as you acknowledge, the map is fine, it's just the procedure they went thru to get to it. Given that the Republicans are now threatening to impeach 5 of the judges, I don't think there is any procedure that gets their participation and approval if the result is that map.

Looking at the history of redistricting in PA
https://ballotpedia.org/Redistricting_in_Pennsylvania_after_the_2010_census

I really don't see how being 'morally repulsed' at this point and not back then works, though I guess if you deny math in drawing the map, there's not much else left to use.

I told russel

two l's in russell.

not a big thing, i've just never met or even heard of a russell who spelled their name with one l.

i'm curious to know where the idea of districts came from in the first place. i don't see it in article II, which basically calls on states to make their own rules.

why districts in the first place? why are they good?

I believe federal law requires that congresspeople be elected in single member districts. Not that that makes them good or anything

but as someone who is generally concerned about further politicization of the courts

This presumes there was a time when "the courts" were "less politicized" which is, frankly, a ridiculous claim.

but these Dem judges were inviting blowback

And the GOP gerrymander did not?

the history of districts.

tl;dr : pre 1842, some states did at-large reps, some did single-rep districts (what we have now). since then, Congress has passed a bunch of laws over the years to require single-rep districts.

one benefit: if reps were elected at-large, majorities would totally shut-out minorities.

If you support Republicans then you support child molesters

if i'm not mistaken, that would have been in the context of roy moore's bid for the senate. and, in that context, was not exactly untrue.

conservatives are outnumbered here at this point, and i'm sure that's not always a comfortable place to be. i'm also sure that they feel abused at times, and i'm sure that's justified at times.

i took no offense at your assumption of partisanship on my part, i just found it to be, as a form of argument, profoundly weak beer.

i could, in response, say that you're just splitting hairs, baiting your counterparties, and dragging out a discussion unnecessarily, because you're an attorney and are therefore less interested in understanding the situation and people's thoughts about it, and more interested in Winning The Argument.

maybe that would be, as an argument, weak beer as well. i'm not sure.

as far as redistricting, i am more than fine with any approach that results in representation in the House that reflects the sentiments of the people. full stop. i think we're utterly unlikely to get that result if district lines are drawn by parties. so IMO someone else should do it.

as far as PA, the new map looks, plainly, more sensible than the old one. so my reaction is "well done". i don't live in PA so i don't really have much more to say about it.

ugh and cleek, thanks for the information.

if reps were elected at-large, majorities would totally shut-out minorities.

what if at-large seats were awarded proportional to party? either as registered, or as votes cast?

IMO, one of the big problems we have is that the current population to rep ratio is nuts. it was 1:34,000 in 1800. now it's 1:709000.

and one person can't really represent the specific interests of 700,000 people - there's no chance for any kind of homogeneity with that many people. it's bigger than the population of Seattle.

increasing the number of reps by a factor of ten would allow reps to get closer to, and would allow them to represent the specific interests, of their constituents. it would allow for more homogeneity within districts.

(yes, we would have to build new offices in DC.)

bobby-

"This presumes there was a time when "the courts" were "less politicized" which is, frankly, a ridiculous claim."

I disagree and feel that has gotten worse and is trending in a bad direction; especially at the state level.

russell-

The partisanship dig was weak sauce ... in fact I thought it was a throwaway line. You tried to escalate it to a claim of "bad faith"; GftNC couched it in terms of self righteousness and lp also called foul. I'm not the one who keeps bringing it up.

Also, I'm not trying to "win an argument". The median age here has to be north of 55 and political views are largely calcified. I'm not trying to change anyone's mind (that would be an exercise in masochistic windmill tilting), but I am interested in how people rationalize/justify/defend their positions. That's all I'm trying to get at.

That's why I ask open ended non-leading questions (which is what you do in discovery) as opposed to narrow leading questions (which is what you do with hostile witnesses in court).

Your feelings are no persuasive and "bad direction" is undefined.

Some evidence is called for.

At the federal level, I could let you pick any era, and I could cite cases that were "political".

To assert it is or was any different at the state level defies belief.

Furthermore, the repeated use of the word "political" as a pejorative modifier really skeeves me.

:)

russell, PdeM, etc.

Looking in detail at the "old" PA map, the map proposed by PA Dems, and the map tyrannically* imposed by the PASC (with Tyranny!*), the PASC map is better than either.

That's not looking at "who wins, who loses", it's geography.

Now, prior to the rulings came down, I played around with the 538 interactive app: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/redistricting-maps/pennsylvania/

The PASC map looks a lot like 'compact, follow county boundaries'.

voronoi tilings at the state level, based on points of greatest population density in each state, one point per house seat

Parochial git that I am, I always think about how things would work in Colorado (seven Congressional districts). I note in passing that almost all examples of Voronoi tiling that you see online have the seeds pretty widely scattered. OTOH, here are two views of a prism map of Colorado at the county level, the first as seen from the SW, the other from the SE. The height of each prism indicates the county's overall population density. Yellow indicates the seven densest. With an added constraint on choosing the seven densest points of no more than one per county, these are where the seeds will be.

It's actually worse than it looks in the map. Excepting the two densest counties, each has large areas that are sparsely populated. All of the seeds are going to be in a strip along the Front Range perhaps 80 miles long and 20 miles wide.

During the 2010 redistricting, someone submitted (for fun) a proposed map with pie-slice districts that likely gave the Dems a 5-2 advantage. There was a pretty good chance that if that were the actual map, you could draw a circle maybe 40 miles in diameter that would include the homes of all five of the Dems.

You tried to escalate it to a claim of "bad faith"

I say X. You claim I'm saying X, but really mean Y.

Everybody has their particular set of things that bug them. Mine includes people telling me I'm really not saying what I'm saying.

FYI, make of it what you will.

Also worthy of note when considering the brain's ability to adjust to visual inputs...

Hardly surprising, really. After all, the image on the retina IS upside-down.

My personal solution to the PdM phenomenon when it first revealed itself last August:

I foresee that there's going to be no end to the hair-splitting pedantry, so I won't respond again.

I find it much more sanity-preserving than sliding down the rabbit hole.

In the words of my old conflict resolution guru (whose lessons I didn't learn nearly well enough), "Don't bite hooks."

In the words of blogland, "Don't feed the trolls." I don't consider PdM a troll in the usual sense, but the effect is quite similar, and the plea is rarely heeded anyhow.

the GOP went all-in on an alleged child molester. they deserve every bit of criticism they get.

Cleek, I think it's worth distinguishing between the GOP as a party (which does not, I think, include anybody here) and individual Republicans. At least the ones here seem to be every bit as appalled by Mr Moore as the Democrats here.

The older I get, the more I seem to need a conflict resolution guru.

My approach increasingly tends to be "bugger off", which doesn't always seem to be productive.

This is less (or not at all) in reference to Pollo, more in reference to head-butting at work. Everybody thinks they're a genius, it's annoying.

There's a claim of splitting hairs without pointing to the actual hairs.

In any event, there's an easy curative for whatever angst I've visited upon this place.

Cleek, I think it's worth distinguishing between the GOP as a party (which does not, I think, include anybody here) and individual Republicans.

of course.

it's worth thinking about what it means to continue to identify with a party that would do such a thing, too.

I agree that "gerrymander" has baggage. What you are suggesting is that lines be drawn that deprioritize existing political boundaries and compactness for a political result (creating single-member districts that better reflect the political makeup of the state at large).

I'd call it an equitable result.

Look, the consequence of all this compactness, etc. is that the state delegation is unrepresentative of the state's voters.

Why is that desirable? Say you have four districts with equal population. One is 90% D and the others are 45% D. So taken together the population is 56.25% Democratic, yet Democrats have only one of the four seats.

This is desirable? This is a system where Congress represents the will of the people? No. It's not, and no amount of theoretical blather can change that.

I hear the Russkis are pretty good at impersonating regular Murkins on the internet. Rile'em up over "process" if you can't get'em to disagree about anything else. Not saying Pollo de Muerte is necessarily a Putin bot, but I have to suspect him right along with the rest of y'all. To be fair, y'all have to suspect me too. See how it works?

--TP

Hardly surprising, really. After all, the image on the retina IS upside-down..

Quite - but what the experiment did was give some basis for assessing the speed of adjustment to a gross change in sensory input.

I have a feeling that one of the reasons one tends (or at least I do) to remember colours from childhood as being more vivid is that the brain is less acclimatised to adjusting to the daily and seasonal changes in light quality...

Another fun exercise in photoshop is to look at the blue channel of a photo of someone's face. The skin looks awful.
Normally that information is completely drowned out by the far greater quantity and more uniform reflected red light which shows up far fewer imperfections.

here are two views of a prism map of Colorado at the county level

First, allow me to say that you bring the best maps ever.

Yes, typical examples of voronoi tiling have seed points that are not clustered. I agree that if we want to draw districts where the seed points aren't all in one county, that could be difficult or impossible in places where the population is actually centered in one, or a small number of, locations.

I'm sure that that is only one of many possible reasons that it wouldn't be a workable approach. And I doubt we'll ever adopt it. If for no other reason than "Voronoi" sounds like a race of space aliens.

The thing that's attractive about it, to me, is that you'd probably end up with districts that all had similar proportions of urban to rural residents. So there would be less likelihood of one point of view dominating any given district.

What I would hope would come out of that would be candidates who were less likely to be single-issue, or extreme partisans. Might not work out that way, I don't know.

Basically I think we're stuck with what we got, and we just have to make the best of it.

The thing that's attractive about it, to me, is that you'd probably end up with districts that all had similar proportions of urban to rural residents. So there would be less likelihood of one point of view dominating any given district.

this seems odd to me.

why wouldn't you want a point of view to dominate a district? seems to me that a representative should be someone who represents everyone in the district; and if the district is split between people who think one thing and people who think another, half of them aren't going to be represented very well. having a district that is consolidated enough that it can elect a representative who can actually represent all the people should be the goal.

IMO.

is this wrong?

adding ...

the problem with partisan gerrymandering is that it tries to consolidate districts with one POV and then to dilute all others so they can't be represented.

the problem with partisan gerrymandering is that it tries to consolidate districts with one POV and then to dilute all others so they can't be represented.

Which takes up back to the Court's position on free and equal - “...that a diluted vote is not an equal vote, as all voters do not have an equal opportunity to translate their votes into representation...”

this seems odd to me.

I guess my sense is that, absent concentrating people who all think the same way into the same districts, people would have to actually deal with each other. Candidates, and also their constituents.

Allow me to try to explain my point of view here with an anecdote.

FWIW, my wife and I attend a UU church. In Salem MA. If you are looking for liberal do-gooder orthodoxy, you will surely find it there.

There's another UU church out in the middle of the state somewhere. I forget the exact town, but it's out of the Boston/Cambridge orbit, and also out of the Amherst/Northampton orbit. It's a hill town out in the middle of the state.

The folks who attend that church cover the gamut from hippie liberal kum-ba-ya Birkenstock wearing aging flower children, to full-on Trumpers. I mean really fully-on.

The minister from that church has spoken at ours a few times, and also writes for the UUA publication now and then. She sees a big part of her mission as finding ways for the people in her congregation who hold very very disparate points of view to actually respect love and *hear* each other.

It's a big lift. She's kind of low-key saint, in my book, because she is absolutely dedicated to respecting every point of view.

And the things she says and writes have a kind of weight that isn't always found in things that folks who are surrounded by folks who think just like them say and write. Because they've been tested. They've had to pass about a million bullshit meters, and had to account for the wishes and interests of a hundred different points of view.

So, something like that at the political level might be nice.

I don't know if it would work or not.

also, too, QOTD from here:

never underestimate what some people will do for a $174,000 job and free parking at Reagan National Airport.

Not my favorite guy, far from it actually, but I believe he has nailed the point.

First, allow me to say that you bring the best maps ever.

Thank you. Hand-crafted artisanal thematic maps, produced with home-built command-line tools. You should see the simple animated bits I've been playing with recently :^)

I've been thinking about the best way to make the tools more widely available. It's straightforward to set up the environment on things vaguely Unix-like (MacOS, Linux, etc). Windows is harder.

I'm not at all surprised by the seeing upside down business.

Have you ever used a view camera? This is the kind you see in western movies, where the photographer goes under a focusing cloth to shut out the light while framing and focusing the image as it is projected on a piece of ground glass on the rear of the camera.

The image you see on the glass is upside down and backwards, yet it takes almost no time for a new view camera user to adjust, and be completely comfortable working with images that way. (That's what lenses do. SLR cameras have an arrangement of mirrors to make the image in the viewfinder right side up.)

Let's stop the hairsplitting.

Under current institutional arrangements, we have in this country a binary two party system. One of those parties has become increasingly ideological and extreme. It has also exhibited no shame when it comes to overturning what used to be generally understood norms of public political behavior. It nakedly seeks power, and broadly speaking, the following:

1. An ethnonationalist state based on white "Christian" identity.
2. The expansion of unfettered unilateral private and corporate power over the workplace.
3. The destruction and/or elimination of the Public Commons.
4. The elimination of the public safety net.
5. A militaristic "my way or the highway" foreign policy backed by a military that poisons the well of domestic policy decision making and absorbs an outlandish amount of our collective economic effort.

The opposition party needs to wake up and see these folks for what they are, call them out on it, and defeat them.

Utterly.

Even some libertarians are becoming aware of the stakes.

They are f*cking huge.

Opposing this vile effort is politics...politics at its most import.

The GOP-NRA blood cult loves the high-deductible concept w.r.t. gun safety as well as health insurance, apparently.

As articulated by He, Trump and the despicable Wayne LaPierre, the proper state of affairs ought to be:
1) Assault weapons should be available to the public; and
2) Some teachers should be armed with concealed handguns.
Assuming (but can we assume it?) that these Moloch worshipers do not advocate for gun-toting teachers to shoot the bad guys before they start killing people, there's only one way to make sense of the Trump-LaPierre prescription for school safety: the first 5-10 dead kids are the deductible on their Freedom!(TM) policy. What the maximum out-of-pocket cost may be is unspecified.

Make America Decent Again. Tell a gun nut to go fuck himself.

--TP

"Don't bite hooks."

I can't remember if I said it then, but I thought it, and I certainly think it now: this is truly excellent advice, to be borne in mind (if one can remember it) in many, many situations.

(This comment does not particularly relate to PdeM).

Also, and not for the first time, what Tony P just said.

The latest wonderful bit of analysis(?) from our Dear Leader:

If we ever pulled our ICE out, if we ever said, "Hey, let California alone, let them figure it out for themselves," in two months they'd be begging for us to come back. They would be begging. And you know what, I'm thinking about doing it.
As a resident of California, I beg leave to doubt that we would be begging for Immigration Enforcement to return. (Customs Enforcement might be a different deal. But the opportunity to try real free trade might be interesting....)

And then there's the bit of the President's oath of office about taking care "that the laws be faithfully executed." Not that that particular line has ever seemed to concern Trump much.

"And then there's the bit of the President's oath of office about taking care "that the laws be faithfully executed.""

The thread that keeps on giving.

Bless your little heart. Do you want him to do this or not? Because California doesn't seem big on supporting it.

California is declining to expend state (or, in some cases, local) resources doing the ICE's job of enforcing Federal law. Due to some serious reservations about the way ICE is doing it. But we have been quite clear that absolutely nothing is being done to impede ICE doing its job; just no effort to doing it for them.

Think of it as federalism in action: the federal government enforces federal law, the state enforces state law.

https://www.cnn.com/2017/04/27/politics/secret-service-trump-nra-guns/index.html

Why can't teachers and student survivors of NRA mayhem carry at mp's NRA addresses?

What bobbyp, Tony P and GftNCdropthep said.

More later* on my use of the term "murderers" around here, but I don't believe Pollo de muerto was in any way trolling with his comments regarding gerrymandering in PA, regardless of my opinion about those comments, as yet unexpressed, though maybe he was a little sensitive about the push back.

I will be sorely aggrieved if hismostfowlness decides to leave or cut back his commentary here.

Also, I don't believe he is, in his meat life, literally a dead chicken.

*Later might as well be now. Within the context of "I'm sure no one approves of some of my name-calling around here" and since their names were invoked, I would never insult Charles WT, as he surely would be, by calling him a republican. As for Marty, he has enough trouble with exclusionary, absolutist republicans regarding him as a RINO for what I and they take to be his relatively moderate views on gun control without worrying much about what I'm going about.

I'll throw in MCTX too. His completely tolerant views on gay marriage and his condemnation of everything mp, including his remarks awhile ago about the tax bill, must make him seem a raving lunatic liberal to the hardcore right wing now ascendant in the republican party.

In fact, there is no one commenting here at the moment who is a republican** in good standing by the insane standards of that party, so murderer and child molester and all of my other favorite epithets, including republican, don't apply.

That goes for Sebastian and Slart too, if the latter ever gets done hog-splitting and decides to resume hair-splitting around here.

No, the murderers and child molesters left OBWI as a group in a huff years ago when Redstate was born.

**I use the term "conservative" interchangeably with republican, but only to stress my position that the very language has been poisoned by those who run the modern anti-modernity conservative republican movement, so maybe decent people should find new words to describe themselves.

None of this means of course that friends can't occasionally tell each other to fuck off or take different sides in the looming Civil War #2 brewing.

Ask John Jay.

"And then there's the bit of the President's oath of office about taking care "that the laws be faithfully executed."

What laws? What faithfulness?


http://ok-cleek.com/blogs/?p=27601

but I don't believe Pollo de muerto was in any way trolling with his comments regarding gerrymandering in PA

Me, neither.

I will be sorely aggrieved if hismostfowlness decides to leave or cut back his commentary here.

Same here. I found the fuss over PdM’s commentary a bit perplexing, even though I joined in the debate. But my sensibilities can sometimes be like those of someone who was just hit in the head with an iron skillet, so I may be missing something.

Or to quote bobbyp's manifesto:

"It has also exhibited no shame when it comes to overturning what used to be generally understood norms of public political behavior. It nakedly seeks power, and broadly speaking, the following:

1. An ethnonationalist state based on white "Christian" identity."

Carmen Marie Schentrup

ACLU fact sheet on the topic of the Count's cleek link, the "100-mile border zone."

ICE agents have been checking bus passengers in Maine lately. And not only in Maine, but I'm too busy to find more links at the moment.

Fun times.

Were any of the surviving students and parents who visited the White House the other day pulled aside afterward by ICE and their papers checked.

I thought maybe mp might have noticed some ethnic or national cues, since he's so alert to these things, in members of the group that would have made him suspect otherness.

Carmen Marie Schentrup

The obvious and sheer intelligence, eloquence, and articulateness of the student body, both dead and surviving, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida must leave a bad taste in the surly lying mouths of the murderers, child molesters, and psychopaths in the republican conservative movement who have been vomiting up rumors that public schools are failing in their mission to educate young Americans, who they tell us can't put a complete sentence together and are way too busy, according to the Drehers among the ilk, sodomizing each other and planning their gender transitions.

ICE agents have been checking bus passengers in Maine lately. And not only in Maine

Actually, if you think about it, this represents progress . . . of a sort. It means they are beginning to move on from raw racism to straight-up xenophobia. That is, worrying about all those horrid Canadians coming here and stealing our jobs.

Granted the Canadians mostly speak English (a few Quebecoises excluded), so they can insidiously blend in. Oh, the horror!

I found the fuss over PdM’s commentary a bit perplexing

I realize that there are always lines to read between, but if I felt that PdM was trolling, I would have said so. I was simply pointing out that if he wants a different environment for the reception of his comments, he may want to start differently. That's all.

Actually, if you think about it, this represents progress . . . of a sort. It means they are beginning to move on from raw racism to straight-up xenophobia. That is, worrying about all those horrid Canadians coming here and stealing our jobs.

Sorry wj, but no, they are not really looking for Canadians. They are looking for *those* people (the usual suspects, so to speak) trying to come in from Canada. For that matter, they are using the 100-mile zone as license to do wtf they please. Last summer, after a trip to Canada, a friend of mine drove through a checkpoint in NH. Relevant passage:

The checkpoint was established on Interstate 93 in Woodstock from Friday to Sunday, and 25 people were arrested “who did not possess valid immigration status, 14 of whom were visa overstays from Colombia,” US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. “Agents also arrested other illegal aliens from Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico.”

Again, not Canadians.

Or maybe you were just being snarky.

No sweat, lj.

I wouldn't have touched the strudel if mp had served it to the slaughter survivors:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5z1y2jOofQ

I wonder if Stephen Miller, David Duke's favorite conservative Jew, might have been lurking in the background trying to spot liberal Jews among the attendees who might have "ties" to George Soros, who some believe planned the Florida massacre.

lj, I'm the one who used the word "troll" in that I quoted "DNFTT." I explicitly said I didn't think PdM was a troll in the usual sense, but that I did think the effect was similar. I stand by that. The whole thread bends toward the kind of discourse one commenter prefers, one commenter interacts semi-one-on-one with a bunch of others, people are talking to him/her more than to each other, etc.

But as I also implied in noting that no one ever listens to pleas not to feed trolls, people apparently like to bite these sorts of hooks.

Next time, I'll just find something else to do myself.

A doctor on the utter insanity of allowing the sale of AR15s and their like to the public:
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/what-i-saw-treating-the-victims-from-parkland-should-change-the-debate-on-guns/553937/

Or to put it another way in relation to Maine and the border zone: what ICE is doing has pretty much nothing to do with Canada or Canadians.

Wayne LaPierre today:

In his first public remarks since last week's deadly shooting at a high school in Florida, Wayne LaPierre, leader of the National Rifle Association, told a conservative convention on Thursday that gun control advocates care more about destroying liberty than protecting kids.

"Opportunists wasted not one second to exploit tragedy for political gain,"

"Political" as a dirty word again. Of course, Wayne LaPierre isn't exploiting anything for any kind of gain, nosirree.

Political gain: otherwise known as not wanting kids slaughtered in their schools.

If that's political gain, I'm all for it.

And personally, I would like my liberty to come with a healthy helping of safety in public places. Private ones too. Liberty to study calculus. Liberty to go to shop class. Liberty to ... grow up in one piece.

Fncking asshole.

I think we should put cops in the schools, oh wait

http://time.com/5171755/broward-sheriff-deputy-resigns-video-parkland-florida-school-shooting/

Fncking asshole.

I do not find this sentiment to be the least bit perplexing. ;^)

The whole thread bends toward the kind of discourse one commenter prefers, one commenter interacts semi-one-on-one with a bunch of others, people are talking to him/her more than to each other, etc.

Yep, that's what I see as well, but I also think it takes a group effort to avoid that. The phrase 'call-out' isn't really correct, cause I do think there is a place for oppositional debate, but I'm not worried about efficiency, I'm more interested in making sure that people don't walk off.

I haven't mentioned this in a while, but if there are regular commenters who want to write a guest post, drop a line to the kitty. Operators are standing by.

However, if you go with the metaphor of fishhooks, it may sound like I'm in the middle of the school saying 'ah, don't worry, I'm sure when you get up in the boat, you can talk to him'. To mangle film quotes, don't ever get in the boat...

Things that make me skeeved.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/02/22/588097749/america-no-longer-a-nation-of-immigrants-uscis-says

USCIS Director Cissna's forbears, probably pronounced Sisney early on, may well have been drunken Irish potato eaters when we had a chance to kick their fookin asses out in the first place:

http://www.genealogy.com/forum/surnames/topics/cessna/312/

I don't know that he composes limericks, or boxes at the welterweight level, or can sing an acceptable tenor, perhaps reasons to allow him to stay, but not necessarily to vote.

Again, not Canadians.

Or maybe you were just being snarky.

Actually it was (almost) equal parts optimistic and snarky. But tilted towards snarky.

I think we should put cops in the schools, oh wait....

Well, armed teachers would already be inside, so that would avoid the "waiting outside while the shooting continued" problem. Of course they would generally be less well trained....

The whole “not having chosen law enforcement as a career” thing is a problem for the teachers.

Maybe if we got rid of all the other requirements, and restricted teaching positions to only former police officers and ex-(combat)-military. Oh yes, and NRA Life Members.

Problem solved!

since there are never any accounts of high school teachers physically abusing or literally fncking their students, there is absolutely no reason to think requiring HS teachers to have guns in class will ever lead to bad outcomes.

a gun would never be brought out as a threat by a teacher frustrated by her students' refusal to stop talking or fighting or back-mouthing.

i will say, the whole "give teachers guns!" ploy has worked as a nice distraction.

as long as we're not talking about this, it's all good. for the NRA.

here's the rest of the picture.

in case you were wondering where there US sits.

late night thoughts.

pollo - not a troll, not even an ogre. just a guy who likes to mix it up. i think we can take it.

the NRA needs to be utterly destroyed, plowed under, and the ground sown with salt.

my church is trying to raise money to help a woman in our community pay the rent. her husband's been held by ICE for the last month, pending a deportation hearing. they have three little kids, including infant twin girls, one of whom is in the hospital.

people i know are being approached by latin friends, asking if they (the people I know) will take their kids in if they're deported.

i think it's time to just take the fucking statue of liberty down and give it to someone who deserves it.

the president's son is selling access to the first family to the highest bidder on the subcontinent. not even the highest bidder, I guess the going rate for "dinner and a conversation" is a little over $30K.

there is probably an expectation that you'll buy a condo, though.

this is not an America I recognize as my own. i don't know whose it is, but they can have it. i don't want it. the density of sheer petty grasping mercenary bullshit is suffocating.

i don't know if we've ever really been a great nation. i don't know if any nation has ever really been great, it's always a mixed bag.

but at least we used to want to be, i think. i don't think we do anymore. we want the privileges of greatness, but not the responsibilities.

a nation of spoiled children.

make america grow up again. please. or at least aspire to something like maturity.

all of that said, Stephane Grappelli is playing "The Nearness Of You" on my stereo and tomorrow's a day off. i'm gonna do a couple of chores for my wife, refill the bird feeders, and listen to music.

that's gonna be a great day.

it's weird to try to hold how beautiful the world is, and how miserably FUBAR the world is, in my head at the same time.

good night everyone.

Maybe if we got rid of all the other requirements, and restricted teaching positions to only former police officers and ex-(combat)-military. Oh yes, and NRA Life Members.

Problem solved!

That was Prussia's way of solving the problem of ex-soldiers falling into poverty. When the Prussian monarch got the mad idea that all kids should get a public education (an idea vehemently opposed by rural parents and the churches) he hired lots and lots of invalid (=to sick to serve anymore) soldiers to become schoolteachers. That was close to budget neutral (salary instead of pension) and the guys would instill discipline and patriotism into the kids. Much later it was a common saying that it was the Prussian needle-gun and the Prussian schoolteacher that won the wars.
Of course classic Prussia could never be a model for Murica. Religious tolerance, a bureaucracy where the boss himself personally checked that the officals did their job and kicked out corrupt and lazy ones, laws that applied to everyone (even the boss), the idea of a social safety net supervised by the state, privileges dependent on actually doing service...ANATHEMA!
(I am very well aware that feudal Prussia was no paradise but by contemporary standards it was preferable to about anywhere else).

I randomly came across this last week. I found it interesting.

http://igeek.com/w/Talk:U.S._vs_U.K._-_Crime/Murder

i don't know if we've ever really been a great nation. i don't know if any nation has ever really been great, it's always a mixed bag.

but at least we used to want to be, i think. i don't think we do anymore. we want the privileges of greatness, but not the responsibilities.

a nation of spoiled children.

We're represented by spoiled children, but we're not a nation of them. We're a diverse nation of people, the most well-meaning of whom became complacent in the face of a greed-driven right-wing international authoritarian movement that took our government through fraud. We need to stop assuming that somebody else "deserves" our Statue of Liberty, and rise up to demand it back ourselves.

We're not passive observers to the demise of our society. We have to earn our privilege.

I found it interesting.

there's some controversy over it.


violent crime is the banner figure on the iGeek page. and they cite a wildly misleading figure.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jun/24/blog-posting/social-media-post-says-uk-has-far-higher-violent-c/

tl;dr : it's not apples to apples. the UK counts different crimes as "violent crimes" than the US does. ex, the UK counts all sexual assault as a violent crime, the US doesn't.

the iGeek page notes this, far down the page in a quote. then handwaves it away.

and the numbers it uses for murders in the UK are way off what even its cited sources say.

the UK numbers don't include Scotland or N Ireland because, as the ONS document states, they count crimes differently than UK/Wales does, which makes them also not apple to apples.

the iGeek author doesn't care; numbers are numbers!

and then it gets into "white" vs "black" murder rates! noted fraud John Lott is even cited as a source.

and as a conclusion, it says:

Whites and Asian are highly responsible with guns, and have a lower murder rate than almost all of Europe and the OECD countries. We have a very specific problem: democrats, blacks and latino gang-members drag our murder and crime rates averages up.

sounds legit

Marty, those figures are an outright lie.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/20/violent-crime-rise-police-figures-different-story-office-national-statistics

A trawl thru igeek is eye-opening
http://igeek.com/w/Isn%27t_fascism_a_right_wing_ideology%3F
If Fascism is right wing in Europe, it's left wing in America

http://igeek.com/w/Fake_News
Then on September 13, 2016 Hillary Clinton supporters Google and Eric Schmidt, used a shell charity (a non-profit called "First Draft,") to start seeding the term to attack right wing websites ("to tackle malicious hoaxes and fake news reports").

http://igeek.com/w/Donald_Trump
Too much to choose from.

Honestly Marty, why do you want to look at this shit?

democrats, blacks and latino gang-members drag our murder and crime rates averages up.

as the grandchild of an italian immigrant, i demand equal credit be given to the sicilian mafia.

We're not passive observers to the demise of our society. We have to earn our privilege.

thank you sapient.

A trawl thru igeek is eye-opening

i thought that "law of the henhouse" thing was clever. cute title!

i especially liked the part where the "punch a nazi" thing is described as a form of being intolerant of people who aren't like you.

first they came for the nazis....

I look at this stuff for the same reasons you hardware it away. Because it points out how everyone uses the statistics that support their pov.

Just like the commenters here did. "Those figures are an outright lie" Well no, they are statistics. Some of the points are interesting, immediately someone pointed out how sexual assaults were counted differently, yet no comment on how ONS only counts murders where someone is charged.

It is worth reading it to understand, even from someone who may draw suspect conclusions, how the stats are counted different.

Marty, those figures are an outright lie.

I'll expand on that. The chart has US white offender homicide rate as being well below 1 per 100,000 population.

Here is the latest homicide table from the FBI, which shows 3,499 white offenders. The white population of the USA is something like 250 million (depending on how you count it), so that's already well over 1 per 100,000.

But that number itself is far too low. Note the "single victim/single offender" notation at the top right - apparently these numbers are for one-on-one crimes only. Look at this table. Now we see that the number of homicides by whites was 5,004. So the rate is about 2 per 100,000.

But then note that in about a third of homicides the race of the offender is unknown. Assigning some of those to white offenders, the rate approaches 3 per 100,000.

That's the number to compare with the England and Wales data. Even then, looking at whites-only homicide rates is a crock. Poor people commit more violent crime than rich people. The way the US is set up, black people are much more likely to be poor. If you exclude half the poor people from UK homicide statistics you'd get much lower numbers.

The ONS compiles statistics for England and Wales as a matter of legal jurisdiction - the law works differently in Scotland, and in Northern Ireland. Including data for Scotland would make little difference (except that the Lockerbie bombing would create a spike in 1988). Including data for Northern Ireland would make the figures higher during the Troubles.

The UK statistics include homicides in the year in which they are reported as such. The spike in 2002 is because 172 of Harold Shipman's victims were recorded in that year (he was a doctor who killed over 200 of his elderly patients). There will be a spike in the 2017 numbers because a second inquest ruled that the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster was manslaughter. This sort of effect makes it difficult to relate the numbers to changes in gun law.

ONS only counts murders where someone is charged

Just no. The statistics charted for the UK are homicide statistics, counted when a death is identified by an inquest as homicide. They do not attempt to distinguish murder from manslaughter, because that is not decided until an offender is convicted.

Typically, the figures are eventually revised down by a few percent when investigation or criminal trial determines that the death was not legally homicide.

It is worth reading it to understand, even from someone who may draw suspect conclusions, how the stats are counted different

No it isn't. Those would-be statistics are just wrong.

Whites and Asian are highly responsible with guns

trying to remember the last time a high-profile school shooting wasn't a white guy. and the one that immediately comes to mind is the VT killings. and that guy was Asian-American.

I look at this stuff for the same reasons you hardware it away

Because reading it lowers one's IQ by a few percentage points each time?

reading that stuff is just depressing. it gets shared and passed around and people believe it and use it to justify the status quo (or worse, to promote the Republican gun lobby's desire to turn school districts into new markets for their Republican guns).

pro bono,

looking at whites-only homicide rates is a crock. Poor people commit more violent crime than rich people. The way the US is set up, black people are much more likely to be poor. If you exclude half the poor people from UK homicide statistics you'd get much lower numbers.

Shout this from the rooftops. it is exactly right and needs to be more widely understood.

There are way too many people around who use the figures to justify all kinds of racist comments. Not that they are smart enough to see the point, but maybe they would be less persuasive to others.

A trawl thru igeek is eye-opening

but let him tell you how smart he is : http://igeek.com/w/My_Bias !

Meanwhile, on my way to work, I was being a large pick-up truck with lots of stickers on the back window, one of which was the silhouette of an assault rifle (something that doesn't exist, or so I hear). It was just under the NRA emblem.

The truck had firefighter plates on it. So this was a first responder, someone who potentially could find himself at the site of a school shooting, with bodies ripped apart by an AR-15 as described in the link Nigel provided up-thread. (I think someone else had the some link on the other active thread.)

Isn't that special.

Behind!

Effing chickenhawk in the White House.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-43174069

"investigation or criminal trial determines that the death was not legally homicide"

Does that mean no one died? So it doesn't get counted? Was does this mean, statistically as compared to gun deaths in the US?

"If you exclude half the poor people from UK homicide statistics you'd get much lower numbers."

What happens if you exclude 25% of the poor people? Because 75% of the US poor people are white. So does that create a difference? What about if you just take away all the poor people in the cities?

Really, What statistical answer are you looking for?

It means that a death which is eventually determined to be an accident or suicide is removed from the homicide statistics. Exactly as it would be in the USA. The ONS publishes both the numbers as first reported and the final numbers, they're not very different.

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