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Comment After more than $9T in debt spending, it better be (Score 1) 533

Congress and Obama administration managed to spend (in $ millions) more than $28.7T:

2009 3,517,677
2010 3,457,079
2011 3,603,056
2012 3,536,951
2013 3,454,647
2014 3,506,114
2015 3,688,292
2016 3,951,307 (estimated)

Or about $3.5T per year, while taking in about much less, leading to deficit spending of:

2009 -1,412,688
2010 -1,294,373
2011 -1,299,590
2012 -1,086,963
2013 -679,544
2014 -484,627
2015 -438,406
2016 -615,805

Years after the "crisis" is over and we're still spending about $0.5T more than we take in.

On the day Obama administration took office (with the various Congresses he oversaw), the total national debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08 ($10.6T). As of 11/30/2016 it stands at $19,948,064,697,245.75 ($19.9T).

http://treasurydirect.gov/NP/d...

Comment A big problem is the proposed "solutions" (Score 1) 533

Inevitably the "solutions" for AGW are just socialist economics mixed with SJW punishments that, generally, by their own admission will do little or nothing to actually stop the causes of AGW or ameliorate the existing problems. Rich countries should unilaterally tax themselves to give money to poor countries. The West "owes" the world for its pollution. That sort of thing.

It doesn't help with prominent AGW proponents openly declare that it's not about the environment anymore.

For example, former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:

"One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole," said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.

"We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy," said Edenhofer.

Earlier, he also said that "the next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated."

Any number of others in that domain with similar comments.

Comment GM still owes $11B (Score 2) 533

https://projects.propublica.or...

"Below is a list of all companies that failed to repay their bailout money. These transactions are final and will never result in a profit for taxpayers."

BAILOUT FUNDS OUTGOING BAILOUT FUNDS, INCOMING
Name Type State Profi /Net Outstanding Disbursed Returned Dividends + Interest Warrants Other Proceeds
General Motors Auto Company MI -$11,393,681,666 $50,744,648,329 $38,656,806,062 $694,160,600 $0 $0
CIT Group Bank (Public) NY -$2,286,312,500 $2,330,000,000 $0 $43,687,500 $0 $0
Chrysler Auto Company MI -$1,212,849,005 $10,748,284,222 $7,256,590,642 $1,171,263,942 $0 $1,107,580,633

GM received over $50B, and still owes $11B. Chrysler received over $10B and still owes over $1B. I suppose "still owes" is not exactly accurate, as the numbers largely reflect the loss the government took on the equity instruments they forced on the companies and the government has closed the books. It is true that GM paid back the loans with interest, but that was not the full extent of the monies that were extended to GM.

GM and Chrysler bailouts tossed bankruptcy regulations out the window, screwed over primary bond-holders, but saved the union jobs at outrageous expense while setting dangerous precedents.

Comment Re:Everyone's demanding higher pay (Score 1) 306

" deserve is enough to live on (as anyone working full time does)"

Leaving out the "deserve" concept, I'll point out that anyone working full time even at the current federal minimum wage makes enough to live on, if the criteria for "makes enough to live on" is the poverty line. They can't support a spouse and/or raise a family at that level, but that's a different problem.

Comment Still not gerrymandering (Score 1) 602

"1. manipulate the boundaries of (an electoral constituency) so as to favor one party or class.
2. achieve (a result) by manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency."

Given current EC rules, the winner-take-all rules in effect for each state (*) is immune to how state districts may be drawn by state legislatures. And state borders have not been modified since...1959 when Alaska and Hawaii were added?

(*) As I understand Nebraska does a proportional allocation rather than winner-take-all, however it is statewide and not by districts. Maine allocates per their two congressional districts and so could be gerrymandered.

Comment Primary is for the Parties, and not required (Score 2) 602

There's no rule that requires Parties to have primary elections. Indeed, there's no rule that we have Parties at all.

Also, there's no rule that requires states to have winner-take-all elections for EC slots. Indeed, there's no rule that requires states to have elections for EC voters at all.

Article Two: "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector."

California's legislature could just pass a law for the next go-round that gives the Governor the right to appoint all 55 electors and skip the costs, etc. of the pesky popular election.

Comment Ask the EU why MEPs are allocated the way they are (Score 2) 602

There are 28 member nations in the EU, from Malta to Germany. They didn't just choose to have one popular election for MEPs or EU President. They provide each member nation a minimum number of MEPs (6) and a cap for the total (750). Germany tops the list with 96 MEPs, based on their large population. But even so, while Germany obviously has a large say in the EU via its large number of MEP (and thus in the election of the EU President) it cannot override collective decisions supported by sufficient numbers of smaller member nations (smallest 11 member nations with between 6 and 13 MEPs outweigh Germany). That is, even the smallest member nations have a say in EU decisions, and for EU President.

Just like small states are not shut out of decisions in Congress, and for President of the United States.

Comment I've seen it referred to as "so 18th century" (Score 4, Informative) 602

Coming from the left, it seems odd that they are decrying a mechanism for electing the US President that is almost identical to the mechanism used to elect the European President (President of the European Union). I say odd, because the left constantly holds the EU and their democratic socialist governments up as the shining examples the US should strive for (as in "in civilized countries like...").

The United States is a collection of more-or-less sovereign states, joined in a common federal government. Somewhat like the EU. The member countries of the EU have distinct national interests but also share common interests with other EU members.

In the federalist government we have in the USA, each State in the Union gets a say in the election of the President. Each State has its own distinct interests but also share common interests with other States. The total number of members of Congress each state has is the basis for the total number of votes for President each state has in the Electoral College. Since each State has two Senators and at least one Representative, each state receives a minimum of three votes, with California--the most populous State receiving the maximum of 55 votes. The number of Representatives is currently capped at 435 (the apportionment of Representatives to States is adjusted every 10 years, based on the census), and the number of Senators is currently 100 (as we have 50 States), and the District of Columbia is also given 3 votes for a total 538 which implies that 270 votes are needed to win the EC.

Under the Constitution, each state is free to determine how they appoint their Electoral College voters and how they are supposed to vote. Currently, every State uses a popular election to select EC voters (and all but two use a winner-take-all method), but there's nothing preventing a State from passing a law allowing the Governor to simply appoint whomever he chooses (i.e., no popular election) or from using a proportional assignment based on election results.

The electors meet and cast their respective votes for President, and assuming there is a majority winner the process is just about complete. Let's ignore the fall-back rules if no majority is obtained as it is outside this discussion.

Virtually the same mechanism as the US Electoral College is used to elect the EU President, except it is the Parliament that elects the EU President and not a separate body specifically for the purpose. But the mechanism is very similar.

In the EU, each member nation in the Union gets a say in the election of the President. Each member nation has its own distinct interests but also share common interests with other member nations. The total number of members of the European Parliament each member nation has is the basis for the total number of votes for President each member nation has. Each of the 28 member nations has at least 6 MEPs, with Germany--the most populous member nation--receiving the maximum of 96 votes. The number of MEPs is currently capped at 750 by treaty. Occasionally, the binding treaties are modified to reapportion the MEPs, this requires unanimous consent and generally reflects changes in membership and population shifts. The EU President is elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its component members (which corresponds to at least 376 out of 750 votes).

MEPs are elected by popular elections in the respective member nations. At the appointed time, MEPs then vote for President, according to their respective party affiliation and national instructions.

How odd that the modern EU, most members of which are democratic socialist states, chose to use this 18th century structure that is so very similar to our own EC mechanisms.

Comment Re:Drought? No. (Score 1) 393

What caused the several centuries long mega-droughts in California in the last 2000 years before Manmade Climate Change?

AGW/Climate Change is contributing, to be sure, but the last 150 years in California have been unusually wet. Centuries without appreciable rain are not rare for the region.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04...

The drought, now in its fourth year, is by many measures the worst since the state began keeping records of temperature and precipitation in the 1800s. And with a population now close to 39 million and a thirsty, $50 billion agricultural industry, California has been affected more by this drought than by any previous one.

But scientists say that in the more ancient past, California and the Southwest occasionally had even worse droughts — so-called megadroughts — that lasted decades. At least in parts of California, in two cases in the last 1,200 years, these dry spells lingered for up to two centuries.

The new normal, scientists say, may in fact be an old one.

http://news.nationalgeographic...

"During the medieval period, there was over a century of drought in the Southwest and California. The past repeats itself," says Ingram, who is co-author of The West Without Water: What Past Floods, Droughts, and Other Climate Clues Tell Us About Tomorrow. Indeed, Ingram believes the 20th century may have been a wet anomaly.

"None of this should be a surprise to anybody," agrees Celeste Cantu, general manager for the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority. "California is acting like California, and most of California is arid." (Related: "Behind California's January Wildfires: Dry Conditions, Stubborn Weather Pattern.")

Unfortunately, she notes, most of the state's infrastructure was designed and built during the 20th century, when the climate was unusually wet compared to previous centuries. That hasn't set water management on the right course to deal with long periods of dryness in the future.

Comment Re: Who cares? (Score 1) 393

In 2014, California paid in $369.2 B into federal revenues. And was the #1 "contributor". On the other hand it received $333.8B, and was the #1 "taker". While it was a net "contributor" that amount was $35.4B, and would hardly be missed in the overall federal budget if California's revenues and expenditures went away as a result of California's secession.

Comment Feature not a bug (Score 1) 393

You all wanted millionaires and billionaires to pay more taxes, and California has more than its fair share of those. I get it--if I was a billionaire, I'd probably like to live in an area of the country with socal's weather, too.

We could fix that problem by forcing some millionaires and billionaires to live in Mississippi, etc. You know, to even things out so that all the states have a fair share of millionaires and billionaires.

Comment Reversion to the norm (Score 1) 393

Some studies have highlighted the idea that the last 150 years or so in California have been unusually wet. It is unfortunate that Californians think what they've seen for their entire lifetimes is normal for the area, when the reality appears to be that is the aberration and that mega-droughts centuries long are actually the norm.

Yes, AGW/Climate Change is certainly having an impact, too, but a temporarily greened desert is still a desert.

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