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Altherion

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    Altherion

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  1. Altherion

    U.S. Politics: For Whom the Bell Polls

    That's an amusing subtitle given that the article's reasoning is either specious or ignorant of history or both. The author presents most of the arguments explaining why many of the founders favored majority rule -- and they're good ones -- but he completely ignores the obvious fact that the people arguing in favor of complete majority rule lost (that's how we wound up with the Senate in the first place). There was another side to the argument and it's no less valid now than it was then.
  2. Altherion

    US Politics: Red Whine Hangover

    Isn't she basically independent of them? She lost the primary and still managed to win as a write-in.
  3. Altherion

    US Politics: Red Whine Hangover

    Madison actually drafted the Virginia Plan which would have created a bicameral legislature with representation in both houses proportional to the population of each state (i.e. basically what the people in this thread who want to abolish equal representation in the Senate want). The Great Compromise was about many things, but above all it was meant to get all states (large and small) to sign up.
  4. Altherion

    International News Thread

    It's rather dangerous to be a journalist right now and not just in the places where this is usually the case. For example, here's the front page story on Yahoo right now:
  5. Altherion

    US Politics: Red Whine Hangover

    I have not heard of any. On a different topic, Trump is pretty good at milking a victory:
  6. Altherion

    US Politics: Red Whine Hangover

    There have been relatively few deaths thus far because that would force the authorities to get involved, but there's plenty of violence and some of it certainly had the potential to result in death. For example: If you read the rest of the long article, the guy who committed the attack (the comments say he got off with 3 years probation) was, hilariously, a professor of ethics. The student seems to have recovered, but this is no in general guaranteed -- being hit in the head with a metal object is often enough to either kill or permanently disable; he was simply lucky. It's three-quarters of the states (two-thirds of either Congress or States to propose, three-quarters of States to ratify). Interestingly enough, the one and only thing that can't be changed this way is equal representation in the Senate -- that has to be unanimous.
  7. Altherion

    US Politics: Red Whine Hangover

    I am reasonably sure that the assumption in your last sentence is accurate. The left was as violent as the right even before Trump won the nomination (see, for example, this rally in March 2016). Furthermore, there were discussions on this very forum of labeling people with certain insulting terms and then using this as a justification for punching them -- despite the latter doing nothing more than speaking. In fact, I distinctly remember saying that this escalation will make things worse with the reaction being mainly insults.
  8. Altherion

    US Politics: Red Whine Hangover

    McConnell is having a really good Congress session. Even if the Democrats gain control of the Senate, Despite a rather unorthodox President who was nearly at war with certain Senators (*cough* Flake *cough*) from his own party and a rather thin margin of control (even thinner after this summer), he has wrested control of the Supreme Court away from the Democrats and passed the quintessentially Republican tax cuts (the main beneficiaries of which are corporations). Of course, his decisive moves (blocking Obama's nominee and ending the filibuster for Supreme Court candidates) have the potential to backfire eventually, but he's got to be pretty happy now. I still think Trump can be a prelude to something worse, but I would be surprised if this worse thing came from the left. The US allows radical leftists to exist, but it is pretty good at stomping them the moment they come anywhere close to power: not only is nearly all law enforcement oriented towards this end, but the left is the party of gun control...
  9. Altherion

    US Politics: Red Whine Hangover

    They sat on the letter for months and only released it when all else had failed. I'm sure they were initially surprised, but by the time all of this came out, it was definitely strategy. Not in this sense. Yes, the country is divided by which party they support and a variety of other issues, but we all follow the same federal laws and all of the states structure their laws to abide by the same federal policies. This won't be the case if the federal government no longer follows existing procedures to determine what it's policy is. Again, it can be done (especially with things that the federal government controls), but given that Trump didn't do it in the face of a flagrant judicial power grab which was eventually overruled by the SCOTUS, I have a hard time seeing it done elsewhere.
  10. Altherion

    US Politics: Red, Red Whine

    The point about Bush-era behavior is valid, but it did not appear to convince the Senators and, ironically, this line of reasoning was mostly drowned out by the accusations. On the other hand, the statement about his temperament is debatable. Time Magazine has an interesting article about this: As you say, there were some people who disagreed... but it worked, did it not?
  11. Altherion

    US Politics: Red, Red Whine

    As far as I can tell, the accusations are completely independent of each other. And your last sentence amounts to "He went to a party with people widely known to be his friends at some point in the summer." This is true of nearly every high school student in America and it's not evidence of anything. This is the real bone of contention: should the presumption of evidence be restricted to the courtroom or does it apply more generally? For example, should a completely uncorroborated accusation be sufficient to prevent somebody from being promoted? Should people be fired from their jobs for such things? Kicked out of various organizations they belong to? In fact, Senator Collins explicitly addressed this:
  12. Altherion

    Science vs. Pseudoscience

    You are correct in that quantum mechanics and general relativity don't mesh well. That is, both are extremely accurate at the energy scales that we can access, but we know that at some higher energy scale, something has to give as both can't be right. A theory that can unify the two is one of the most sought after ideas in physics, but so far we've got nothing that can be verified (string theory is one candidate, but there's no way to test it). That said, I think a closer analogy to micro and macro economics would be quantum mechanics and condensed matter physics. In principle, condensed matter physics grows out of the sum of interactions of many quantum particles just like macroeconomics is the sum of interactions of many actors each of which can be described by microeconomics, but in both cases the aggregate has features which are not at all obvious from the properties of its parts.
  13. Altherion

    US Politics: Red, Red Whine

    No physical evidence of any kind and no testimony except that of the accuser. Yes, my statement was somewhat imprecise as the accusations themselves can be considered evidence, but this is precisely what the presumption of innocence is there to guard against. In retrospect, I should have said no corroborating evidence whatsoever, but I thought that was obvious given that the accusations themselves exist. I guess it can come off this way, but my intent was to analyze this most recent iteration of the Democrat's strategy of reaching far back into the past of people they're trying to sink and making completely unverifiable allegations about that time. It's an interesting strategy and it worked for them before, but not this time. For the same reason that Trump has deferred to the courts: defying them is not going to be a popular move. Also, it has a good chance of splitting the country into at least two groups and possibly more. Remember, each state of the US has its own governor and its own law enforcement and this would be really confusing for them: do they obey the judicial branch or the executive? I'm not saying it can't happen (especially with respect to things fully controlled by the federal government), but it's not something to be done lightly.
  14. Altherion

    US Politics: Red, Red Whine

    Here's a fun fact: every one of the five most recent Presidents (i.e. G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, G.W. Bush, Obama and Trump) has had exactly 2 nominations to the Supreme Court confirmed by the Senate. It'll be interesting to see if Trump can break the pattern -- the last President who did so was Reagan.
  15. Altherion

    US Politics: Red, Red Whine

    It's pretty amazing how close the Democrats came to pulling this off. There's a pretty good chance that it really came down to a single vote: Manchin only said that he'd vote to confirm after Collins did so (and thus rendered his vote mostly irrelevant). Pretty impressive given that they had absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any wrongdoing. There are quite a few innovations here, but also some things to avoid. First, I underestimated the brilliance of structuring the story so that while there isn't any evidence for it, there's also no evidence against it. I thought the utter lack of a time, place or even a single witness present at the scene who'd be willing to corroborate the allegations would be enough to have this dismissed immediately, but it seems that given a sufficiently compelling accuser and a sympathetic media environment, evidence isn't necessary (well, until the very end when Senator Collins pointed out that there wasn't any). Second, it was really clever of the Democrats to use crowdfunding. It's not so much because it saves whoever organized this money (for games at this level, the crowdfunded cash is pocket change), but because it provides a means of rewarding the accuser without anyone being able to argue that the testimony was paid for. Of course, she might also be able to get a book deal or something of the sort later, but more than half a million upfront is nice to have (the lawyers worked pro bono so there are no significant financial costs). Those two things were very well done... but the rest isn't so great. For one thing, I still question the wisdom of waiting until the very end of the confirmation process to play this card. I guess they meant for it to influence the upcoming election by riling up a certain faction of the Democrats and they accomplished this, but based on the polls, they've also managed to rile up a considerable number of Republicans who are furious at the way Justice Kavanaugh has been treated. Was it worth it given that leaving the accusations until the end obviously makes this look like a political move? I doubt it. The second thing that didn't go so well was the appearance of the secondary accusers. It was clear that there would be some if the Democrats were serious about this, but their quality left much to be desired. As with the primary, there was absolutely no evidence or corroborating witnesses, but the second one openly admitted that she was drunk to the point where she can't be sure of her accusations and the third one... I'm pretty sure that was an independent operator because such outlandish accusations almost certainly did more harm than good. Finally, I'm not sure what purpose the riots that erupted once it became clear he had the votes served. They were new and innovative a couple of years ago, but now they look more like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum anytime things don't go her way than anything else. It's probably time for another approach. All in all, they got more out of this than I thought possible... but it wasn't quite enough. Also, regarding the erosion of democracy: there's one side here that has no qualms about discarding the assumption of innocence until proven guilty (at least for the purposes of promotion) and it's not the Republicans. Fortunately, there's now a Supreme Court Justice who has firsthand experience of such evidence-free accusations.
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