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Comment Conflict of Interest (Score 5, Insightful) 234

It is of course a mere coincidence that this highly successful and entirely voluntary program, which has saved US consumers billions of dollars over its existence, far more than the actual program cost or cost to manufacturers, was also responsible for rating several of Don The Con's properties as being in the bottom 10% of all rated structures from an energy efficiency standpoint, just because those structures happened to be highly inefficient with their energy usage. That got the program on his Enemies List.

Comment Re:Gerrymandering (Score 1) 609

'Compactness' is not a remotely optimal means of determining whether a district is gerrymandered or not. Republicans want 'compactness' to be the standard because Democrats are more likely to be clustered in dense cities, where 'compact' lines will cause 'packing' automatically. Maintaining communities of interest has an actual benefit, allowing people with a shared community to select their representation. They're not mutually exclusive; states with a non-partisan redistricting process usually do better at finding a happy medium, with relatively geometric-shaped districts that preserve communities.

Comment Re:Gerrymandering (Score 1) 609

It's not solely due to gerrymandering; Democrats also have a less efficient distribution naturally, with many densely-populated heavily-Democratic areas that can't be 'unpacked.' There's not really any way to draw the lines in the state of New York, for example, to take advantage of the massive Democratic population in the city of New York; a district in Brooklyn or something might vote 90% for a Democratic candidate, but that means there's about 40% of a district's worth of Democrats whose votes are just surplus there for the local race, even as it makes statewide races lopsided affairs.

Comment Re:Only Two Futures? (Score 1) 609

Actually, most states just go with the plurality winner on a fixed date. I know Louisiana and Georgia do require an outright majority and do hold a runoff, but Montana and Alaska (just to name a couple) have recently had winners with under 50%, for example. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska won with under 40% as a write-in in 2010, even.

Comment Re:Only Two Futures? (Score 1) 609

Because it relies on the definition of when the result of a sperm and an ovum combining changes from 'potential human being' to ' actual human being.' If you believe that it's a human being the instant the sperm meets the ovum, then you consider any abortion to be murder. If you prefer to use viability as your standard, then anything up to the point where the fetus could reasonably survive on its own is still 'potential' and therefore medical treatment is the woman's choice. At that point it's a philosophical and practical dispute, because the definition of a fundamental term is not agreed upon.

Comment Re:"Divinely guided"? (Score 1) 1359

Bear in mind that you can get a PhD in theology, and that a Juris Doctor is considered post-graduate, and so on, and yes, that's entirely believable. Also, that group is the most likely to believe in pure evolution; another way to phrase that point would be "the group with the lowest likelihood of believing in pure creationism are the people with post-graduate studies."

Comment Re:in other words, 46% of americans are dumb (Score 1) 1359

That minister declared that gays should be imprisoned in concentration camps. The poster said that adults who continue to believe in a shared invisible friend should be tolerated and pitied. It is in fact the exact opposite. Also, self-perpetuating mass memes are a terrible source for morality; you are admitting that if you were not constantly afraid that God is watching everything you do and threatening you with punishment for it, you would have no qualms about going out and shooting up a bus stop? Not relying on millennia-old goatherders for morality leaves quite a lot of philosophy open for alternatives. "Do your best to not be a dick to other people" is a very simple basis for morality, but it works a lot better than any system that produces, say, the Westboro Baptists.

Comment Re:Until you can prove them wrong (Score 1) 1359

Except that it does in fact deal perfectly well with 'irreducible complexity' and entropy, and is a 'theory' in the same sense that gravity is a 'theory.' To point to the creationist's favorite misunderstanding, an eye is not 'irreducibly complex' because it is perfectly possible for structures necessary to reach the current state to evolve away after their function is superseded by later development. Try watching a little PBS.

Comment Re:Headline Is So Very Wrong (Score 1) 1193

"I like having a police and fire department." It was quite recently that one particular homeowner discovered the downside to not paying for a fire department. In a 100% Republican-controlled county, his town opted to not pay for fire coverage via taxes, instead allowing individual residents of the rural surrounding areas to voluntarily subscribe to the firefighting services of the nearby town. This guy didn't, and then was terribly upset that his offer to pay the fee while his house was burning was rejected. Sorry, buddy. You want fire coverage? That's what taxes are for. If your political philosophy objects, elect people who let things like this happen, and you can deal with the consequences. It's the on-your-ownership society.

Comment Re:Headline Is So Very Wrong (Score 1) 1193

The share paid by the top 20% has gone up because the percentage of the national income accumulated by the top 20% has gone up by far more. If you have 100 people, 20 of whom make 100,000 each and 80 of whom make 10,000 each, and everyone pays a flat 10% tax, then the top 20% will pay 200,000 total while the bottom 80% pays 160,000 total. Then adjust it over time so the top 20 make 1,000,000 each while the bottom 80% make 20,000 each, but give the top 20 a 5% rate instead, and the top 20 pay 1,000,000 total while the bottom pay 320,000 - and so those top 20% who are making 50 times more than everyone else complain about how they're 'unfairly' paying too much, despite paying half the tax rate. It's a gross simplification, but the effect you're noting is not the wealthy paying an unfair amount; it's an effect of growing concentration of wealth into fewer and fewer hands, which is not a stable situation.

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