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Posts by dpwiener

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  • Howard Dean calls Netanyahu a 'disaster,' terms his Congress speech 'stupid' (13 days until speech)

    02/18/2015 5:56:30 PM PST · 49 of 74
    dpwiener to Billthedrill
    Bibi couldn’t buy this kind of publicity.

    That was also my impression. Bibi's speech is going to have an enormous audience, far greater than if the Obama administration had simply shrugged and ignored it.

    It's sort of a corollary to the Barbra Streisand Effect.
  • Withering away? Researchers rush to predict the demise of organized religion in the West

    05/31/2011 5:37:17 PM PDT · 17 of 18
    dpwiener to 353FMG
    Could it be that the “researchers” promote and advocate sharia law?

    Since my brother is one of the researchers, and our family is Jewish, I know for a fact that is very much not the case.

  • Withering away? Researchers rush to predict the demise of organized religion in the West

    05/31/2011 2:20:33 PM PDT · 9 of 18
    dpwiener to RatRipper
    Science has a lot less to do with declining religion than being a nation of relative wealth and personal security. Human nature tends to credit their own talent and ingenuity for their success instead of God.

    That may indeed represent some of the underlying causes, and may explain why less developed countries are not yet seeing as much of a decline.

    But one of the authors of this research paper, Richard Wiener (who is my brother), sees this as more of a networking effect irrespective of specific causes. Just as a language may decline and fade away due to its diminished utility, irrespective of the quality of that language, Richard believes that the same mathematical model can be fitted to the census data for religions in various countries.

  • CALIFORNIA: Bill aims to add state to popular-vote movement

    04/04/2011 5:45:23 PM PDT · 37 of 50
    dpwiener to Defend Liberty
    The article doesn't include the fact the NPV movement is Unconstitutional. It requires a compact between the states. Article 1 Section 10 of the Constitution states "No state shall, without consent of Congress, enter into any agreement or compact with another state".
    Amendment XII specifies Electors are to vote for President: "The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be President, if such a number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed"

    Unfortunately both of your points might be effectively circumvented without violating the Constitution. Regarding your second point, as per Article II, "Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature may therof direct, a Number of Electors...". Hence there is nothing which prevents each state legislature from appointing Electors who will vote only for the candidate who has won a majority of the national popular vote.

    Your first point is stronger, but it still only requires that a majority of Congress consent to the compact. Whereas a Constitutional Amendment would require a 2/3 majority of both houses of Congress plus ratification by 3/4 of the states. As long as Republicans either control the House or have enough votes to filibuster in the Senate, then Congress is unlikely to approve such a compact. (And it's possible that only a majority of the Senate would be needed if they tried to insert it into the budget reconciliation process.) But as soon as Democrats gained total control of both houses they could approve the compact. (Although this won't necessarily break down along strictly partisan lines. Some Democratic Senators from small states could find it politically impossible to vote in favor of the compact.)

    So the NPV movement is actually a very clever end-run around the otherwise impossible task of getting 2/3 of the Senate plus enough small states to ratify a Constitutional Amendment for electing Presidents by popular vote. There's a reasonable probability that eventually enough states will pass the measure to total 270 electoral votes. I certainly expect California's Democrat-dominated legislature to re-pass it, and this time a Democrat governor is likely to sign it.

  • Analyst: Higher California income tax refunds raise concerns

    03/08/2011 4:40:01 PM PST · 17 of 18
    dpwiener to fifedom
    A word to the wise: if you have a refund coming from the CA deadbeats, file your taxes ASAP. Preferably electronically. In past years, CA has paid off refunds in vouchers when they are "short" at the end of the fiscal year or have not passed a budget.

    I haven't done my taxes yet, so I don't know whether I'll be getting a refund or be on the hook for some additional California taxes. But if it turns out to be a refund, and if I'm at all worried about when the state will pay it back, I have a simple solution:

    I indicate on my tax return that my refund should be applied to my 2011 taxes. Then I drastically increase my state withholding allowances to the point that state tax withholding in my paycheck drops to zero. After several weeks, when the extra take-home pay I've been receiving is equal to my refund, I return my withholding to the normal level. And presto, I've effectively received my refund, often faster than the six to eight weeks I'd have to wait even in "normal" times.

  • Fake Doctors’ Notes Being Handed Out at Wisconsin Gov. Union Rally

    02/19/2011 3:20:00 PM PST · 184 of 308
    dpwiener to GeronL
    This is how they get medical marijuana cards in Kalipornia

    Actually it's not. There are a number of doctors in California who specialize in providing medical marijuana cards, but they meet with their patients and supply orientation information and follow a strict set of procedures. They know that government authorities would love to bust them, often by sending in ringers. But it's a lucrative niche and these doctors are in it for the long haul, so they are very careful to do things by the book. If they have any doubts about a patient, they say "no" rather than risk their license. After all, they don't need every patient; there are plenty of others out there.

  • First Lambeau Field, now Official Holy Site Near Green Bay

    02/15/2011 1:17:25 PM PST · 11 of 16
    dpwiener to DuncanWaring
    Isn’t Lambeau Field a holy site in its own right?

    Yes, and it has an adjacent shrine to Saint Lombardi where you can purchase all kinds of Packers football gear and memorabilia.

  • Sid Hartman: Vikings-to-L.A. threat is real one

    02/09/2011 7:54:32 AM PST · 57 of 71
    dpwiener to MinorityRepublican

    A few years ago this would have concerned me, since an L.A. team would soak up game coverage on Southern California TV stations. Whereas without a team, I got to see a lot of Green Bay Packers games. Now, with NFL Sunday Ticket on Direct TV, I get to see all the Packers games no matter what.

    Of course I’ll still get hosed as a taxpayer if Los Angeles ponies up for a stadium. Not directly, since I live just outside of L.A. County, but one way or another they’ll shift some of the burden onto the state government and hence onto all taxpayers in the state.

  • Sen. Joe Manchin a no-show on historic vote (Weasel Alert)

    12/19/2010 11:55:00 AM PST · 41 of 45
    dpwiener to Palmetto Patriot

    These criticisms of Manchin are rather silly. He publicly announced that he was against the Dream Act, so he’s not trying to have it both ways. And since this was a cloture vote which needed 60 affirmative votes to proceed, his failing to vote had the exact same effect as if he had been present and voted “No”.

    I suspect that there will be enough substantive issues to criticize Manchin on during the next couple of years, but this isn’t one of them.

  • Your Government to pay $5m for Ground Zero Mosque

    11/24/2010 9:20:07 AM PST · 8 of 10
    dpwiener to Alaphiah123

    This is an incredibly stupid move from a public relations viewpoint, which is why it’s never going to actually come about. The grant application will not be approved, or if it is it will be quickly rescinded in the face of the enormous public backlash which would hit it.

    The moment that this project receives a drop of taxpayer money, it loses a ton of supporters who frame the question in terms of freedom of religion and non-discrimination against Muslims. Public opinion will spike to 90% opposition, and opponents will claim the high moral ground.

  • Murkowski's lead widens; Miller wants hand recount

    11/17/2010 8:41:16 AM PST · 35 of 65
    dpwiener to SeattleBruce

    Lisa’s lead is well outside the Margin Of Fraud, especially since manufacturing write-in votes containing hand-written names is enormously more difficult than just manufacturing ballots with circles filled in. Whatever one thinks of Murkowski, she won the election.

    I know how much it hurts to lose, but it turned out that this was not a close race where a few hundred disputed ballots might alter still the outcome. Miller is making a fool of himself by refusing to acknowledge the obvious fact.

  • Race For California’s Attorney General Still Undecided.

    11/09/2010 5:22:47 PM PST · 8 of 14
    dpwiener to Clintonfatigued
    The typical voting pattern in statewide California races is that the Democrat starts the evening close to the Republican, but then steadily pulls away as the votes come in. Subsequent late absentee votes and provisional ballots tend to pad the Democrat's lead in the days following the election.

    So this is rather unusual. Near the end of November 2nd, Cooley had given up his early lead and slipped behind Harris by about 40 thousand votes, so I figured it was all over. Now this article says that he has regained the lead by 41 thousand votes. Furthermore, today's update from the Secretary of State's office shows Cooley's lead is now up to 51,439.

    Not only is the trend in Cooley's favor, but a 51 thousand vote margin will be difficult to overcome.

  • The Path To Victory For Joe Miller In Alaska

    11/05/2010 7:53:32 AM PDT · 19 of 58
    dpwiener to kingattax

    This is just wishful thinking on the author’s part. If the gap was small, Miller might still win. But not with a gap of 13,439. Most of the write-in votes will turn out to be valid votes for Murkowski, and the state Supreme Court has already demonstrated that it is not going to be leaning in Miller’s direction when it comes to matters of interpretation. Miller might do somewhat better percentage-wise in the remaining provisional and absentee votes (especially from overseas military personnel), but he’d need to reverse the percentages by an enormous margin to overcome the Murkowski’s current lead. I can’t see it happening.

  • Wisconsin Senate: Johnson (R) Clears 50% - Again - Versus Feingold (D)

    10/26/2010 11:20:17 AM PDT · 22 of 35
    dpwiener to Wally_Kalbacken
    Feingold one week out and looking feeble. He will be thinking about a last minute dirty trick that has been on the shelf since first being discussed by a campaign consultant.

    It's too late. These days so many people vote by absentee ballot that an "October Surprise" has to hit in early October. Doing it in the last week before the election will barely move the needle. It certainly won't make up a 7% gap.

  • Walking away from a mortgage might make sense

    09/26/2010 10:33:18 AM PDT · 125 of 236
    dpwiener to Mojave
    So the article's blanket claim that worries about legal consequences are unfounded is, by your own admission, false.

    My post was in response to previous comments, rather than the contents of the article, which warned that foreclosures could lead to taxable income. I'll readily agree that defaulting on non-first-mortgage debt or non-primary-residence debt carries some taxable risk (although probably a minor risk).

    The fact remains that for a homeowner whose mortgage is underwater (and who has probably lacked the equity to either refinance or obtain a second mortgage for at least the past couple of years), it can make financial sense to allow the lender to foreclose and repossess the house, and then rent a comparable house to live in for a much lower monthly payment. Given the large supply of rental homes on the market due to the housing meltdown, finding one with a decent rent or lease rate is not too difficult, and owners are generally willing to ignore past foreclosures if the person otherwise would have good credit.

  • Walking away from a mortgage might make sense

    09/26/2010 9:58:21 AM PDT · 117 of 236
    dpwiener to Mojave
    So for example, home equity lines loans made on available home equity would not qualify. Even purchase money loans on anything other than a principle residence would not qualify for tax forgiveness.

    We were discussing mortgage foreclosures, and the imputed income from foreclosures or short sales is indeed excluded. Refinanced mortgages are in general also excluded. Home equity loans (i.e., second mortgages) may or may not be excluded depending on whether the money was used for home improvements. (And as a practical matter you'll probably be safe in any case, but there's no guarantee.) Loans on investment properties are technically subject to imputed income taxation, but I know of specific instances where that never happened; in general the banks no longer bother to send 1099 forms on any mortgage losses.

  • Walking away from a mortgage might make sense

    09/26/2010 9:41:40 AM PDT · 104 of 236
    dpwiener to Mojave
    the federal government passed a law exempting debt forgiven as a result of foreclosure at least through 2012
    Cite, please.

    This IRS page describes the "Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007".

  • Walking away from a mortgage might make sense

    09/26/2010 9:26:22 AM PDT · 97 of 236
    dpwiener to ICCtheWay; Mojave
    Consequences of a Foreclosure or Walking on a mortgage - the IRS Regs. considers relief of debt as income... Under a foreclosure or walking away a 1099 is likely to be issued by the mortgage for the unpaid balance of the mortgage - this could be a huge amount - say $100,000 or whatever... You are then obligated to pay Federal Income Tax on that amount as added to your income for that tax year.

    That's no longer true. The "Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007" excludes such "imputed income" from being taxed. (The exclusion runs through 2012 but may be extended.) And California passed a similar exclusion for state taxes earlier this year. Other states may vary.

    So the consequences of a foreclosure or short sale mainly consist of the damage to your credit report. Financially, it can make good sense for someone who is paying two or three thousand dollars a month on an underwater mortgage (and therefore can't refinance to a lower interest rate) to walk away and rent a comparable house at half the cost.

    As for the morality of doing so, a mortgage is a "secured" loan, in which a person made a deal with the lender to pay off the loan under the agreed terms or else the lender would repossess the property. Both sides were taking a risk, and both sides accepted the potential consequences (losing the house, and losing money on the loan) if things went bad. Why should we expect the homeowner to have a moral obligation to pay off the loan no matter what, so that the lender doesn't lose money no matter what?

    The mortgage lender could have made less risky loans (e.g., required 20% or more equity instead of loaning 100% of inflated appraisals) to borrowers with better credit and adequate assets and income. But instead many lenders offered sub-prime loan deals which they turned around and sold to Fannie May or into the market where the deals were sliced and diced into tranches. Now whoever owns the defaulting mortgage can have the house instead of the loan payments; that's the risk they accepted in hopes of making a higher return than prudent lending would normally justify.

  • 8 Bell officials to face judge in corruption case (no mention that all 8 are Democraps)

    09/22/2010 9:27:37 AM PDT · 8 of 18
    dpwiener to Justaham

    In California, all local (city and county) elected positions are officially non-partisan. So while these individuals may happen to be registered as Democrats, they were not elected or hired as Democrats. It would therefore be inappropriate for the article to mention their party affiliations, even if known.

    There is lots of “name that party” bias in the media that you can complain about, but this isn’t one of those instances.

  • City to Charge Dove for Security (More Gov't Intimidation Over Koran Burning Protest)

    09/09/2010 8:24:06 AM PDT · 21 of 58
    dpwiener to kristinn

    This is pure bluff: It’s called a “heckler’s veto” and it won’t stand up in court. The threat of violence by opponents can not be used as an excuse to block free speech, which is what charging the charging the church thousands of dollars would amount to. (Of course in this case the free publicity is worth vastly more than the threatened charges, and the church could easily raise the money by asking for donations if it had to.)

  • Primary Results Thread 8/24/2010

    08/25/2010 2:28:34 AM PDT · 553 of 807
    dpwiener to sarah fan UK

    With 77.4% of the vote counted (except for the late absentee ballots) and Miller having a 3.5% lead (which has been fairly consistent all evening), a victory by Murkowski is now almost impossible. In order to pull even with Miller, Murkowski would have to get about 56% of the remaining 28.6% of uncounted ballots to Miller’s 44%. In other words, Miller would have to go from a 3.5% lead to a 12% deficit in those remaining ballots. Unless the demographic and political characteristics of the remaining precincts are radically different from all the others in Alaska, that simply can’t happen.

    Murkowski is toast.

  • Special Election Results-California 15 (8/17/10)

    08/17/2010 11:37:57 PM PDT · 18 of 28
    dpwiener to Persevero
    He needs 50% plus 1 to avoid a runoff, though.

    No, this is the runoff; a plurality wins.

  • Family and pediatrician tangle over gun question

    07/25/2010 6:44:41 PM PDT · 48 of 185
    dpwiener to blam
    Sue the SOB.....

    There are no grounds, legal or moral, to sue the doctor. Just find another doctor (which is what this family is doing). And warn other people about the doctor if you want, to make things uncomfortable for him and reduce his clientele. But ultimately he has a right to conduct his medical practice as he wishes, and to reject patients if he wishes. Likewise, patients have a right to reject him for his intrusive questions.

  • Bus driver says religious views led to firing (refused to take clients to PP clinic)

    07/17/2010 3:43:46 PM PDT · 19 of 64
    dpwiener to MediaMole
    The bus company was well within their rights to fire him.

    Agreed. If transporting people to abortion clinics is against his beliefs, then the driver needs to find another line of work where he won't have to choose between his principles and his occupational tasks.


    07/07/2010 5:03:58 PM PDT · 36 of 61
    dpwiener to rottndog

    Gentle rolling motion in Woodland Hills (San Fernando Valley). No biggy here, but certainly more so elsewhere. My guess is a 5-ish at the epicenter.

  • Google "Disappears" Moveon Hate-Petraeus Page cache (GONE This Morning!)

    06/24/2010 3:02:34 PM PDT · 52 of 57
    dpwiener to an amused spectator
    I don't care how smart you think you are, or how much you get paid, The Suits are always "smarter" than you are, and you're their pop machine. They bang on your desk, and their pop (in the form of data, a report, a program or a program change) comes out.

    Pretending it doesn't happen that way may make you feel good, but it doesn't fool me.

    That certainly sounds like an unpleasant work environment. You have my sympathy.

  • Google "Disappears" Moveon Hate-Petraeus Page cache (GONE This Morning!)

    06/24/2010 1:55:54 PM PDT · 49 of 57
    dpwiener to an amused spectator
    You’re not a computer programmer, are you?

    Yes I am.

  • Google "Disappears" Moveon Hate-Petraeus Page cache (GONE This Morning!)

    06/24/2010 1:35:19 PM PDT · 47 of 57
    dpwiener to an amused spectator

    No. You are getting more and more obscure, and I really have no idea what you are rambling on about. You seem to be insisting that I do something or post something, but you won't tell me what and you think it's my responsibility to figure it out because I'm somebody's "Data Pop Machine"?

  • Google "Disappears" Moveon Hate-Petraeus Page cache (GONE This Morning!)

    06/24/2010 1:13:16 PM PDT · 45 of 57
    dpwiener to an amused spectator
    There’s a specific phrase that I want you to post from one of Google’s own employees about how the URL removal tool works, and the post is pretty recent - with the last 8 months.

    I have no idea what you are talking about. What phrase and what employee? And why do you want me to post it? Why don't you post it yourself, since you are the one who knows what you mean?

  • Google "Disappears" Moveon Hate-Petraeus Page cache (GONE This Morning!)

    06/24/2010 12:11:42 PM PDT · 42 of 57
    dpwiener to an amused spectator
    "After these changes are made and Google has crawled the site again, the content should naturally drop out of the Google index."

    I've already shown that Google DID NOT crawl the site again.

    You apparently didn't read the next paragraph from the link I posted. There are basically two ways for the contents to disappear from Google's cache: (1) Natural disappearance the next time Google's spider crawls the site, or (2) Expedited removal by the web site owner using Google's removal tool.

    It's hardly surprising that Moveon.org would pro-actively use Google's removal tool (which is available to anyone who wants their own web page un-cached) to delete the Betray Us page from Google's cache. The fact that Moveon.org didn't do so sooner, and hence the ad remained in the cache for a while, is just evidence of Moveon.org's lack of Internet competence and/or efficiency. But it is not evidence that Google did anything unusual to assist Moveon.org in emptying the cache.

  • Google "Disappears" Moveon Hate-Petraeus Page cache (GONE This Morning!)

    06/24/2010 8:43:24 AM PDT · 23 of 57
    dpwiener to an amused spectator
    I doubt that there's anything sinister or unusual about this. Google has procedures and tools to allow web site owners to remove the contents of their sites from Google's cache. When Moveon.org first stuffed the "Betray Us" page down the memory hole, they forget about Google's cache. Eventually they realized that they needed to remove it from there as well, and did so.
  • California Republicans will shift to caucus system if open primary initiative passes

    06/01/2010 8:37:44 AM PDT · 16 of 49
    dpwiener to Graybeard58
    How does it get around the proposition?
    By not having primaries.

    No, this doesn't get around Prop 14, and there will still be a primary election to select the top two candidates for the general election.

    This is just an attempt to give a boost to the Republicans who are endorsed by the caucus, both to discourage other Republicans from getting into a primary battle and to give money and a branding advantage to the endorsed candidates. This would reduce the chances of a bunch of Republicans battling it out in the primary and splitting the vote so that two Democrats end up as the top vote-getters on the November ballot.

    But there's nothing which legally prevents other Republican candidates from ignoring the caucus endorsement and running in the primary anyway.

  • The NRA and the Blue Dogs - America’s foremost gun-rights organization faces some tough...

    05/13/2010 2:37:33 PM PDT · 12 of 62
    dpwiener to ZULU
    I belong to the NRA and I want them to be a one issue organzation.

    I agree. There are plenty of other outlets and organizations for those who want to oppose Democrats. But the NRA is focused on RKBA, and it should maintain that focus. That way, when Democrats are in power, there is still a chance of preserving our 2nd Amendment rights.

    Indeed, that's exactly what happened this past year. Blue Dog Democrats put the kibbosh on gun control legislation, so it never seriously got started even though the Democrats had total control of Congress and the White House. If the NRA acted purely as an adjunct of the Republican Party, there would be no incentive for Democrats to oppose gun control, nor any consequences for Democrats who support gun control. After all, what more can the NRA do to punish you if it's already going to work for your defeat in the next election?.

    It can be very aggravating when the NRA supports a liberal incumbent with a good gun record against a pro-freedom challenger with an equally good record, or when the NRA ignores a pro-RKBA minor party candidate who's up against a squishy major party candidate. That's a good reason to join the Gun Owners of America or other hard-core groups. But it does not preclude having a variety of organizations pursue a variety of strategies. And as aggravated as I do sometimes get at the NRA, I have to admit that overall it has been very effective.

    I do think it is crucial to make RKBA in-roads into the Democrat Party. At the very least we need to keep the gun-control Democrat politicians treading very cautiously and giving lip service (however insincere) to the 2nd Amendment. It moves the political and cultural center of mass in our direction, and helps to marginalize the gun control lobby.

  • Ariz. House votes to check candidates' citizenship

    04/21/2010 10:29:37 PM PDT · 40 of 42
    dpwiener to patlin
    HELLO...PRIMARIES..if you can not get on a ballot in the primaries, you can not be on the ballot in the general election.

    Of course you can. It happens all the time, that a candidate who for whatever reason may not have been on the ballot in a state's primary election, nevertheless wins his party's national Presidential nomination and appears on that state's general election ballot.

  • Ariz. House votes to check candidates' citizenship

    04/21/2010 4:52:46 PM PDT · 26 of 42
    dpwiener to Plutarch
    But because the 2012 Democratic convention will not choose a presidential nominee until September 3, and because the federal government now requires states to mail foreign absentee ballots at least 45 days before the general election, the bill’s provisions cannot be enforced. The bill says presidential nominees who don’t submit satisfactory documents must be left off the ballot. But the ballots, at least in 2012, will already have been printed before the documents are due.

    This is a poorly thought out bill, and even if it is passed by the State Senate and signed by the Governor it will probably be thrown out by the courts.

    The proper and legally defensible way to have done this would be a law requiring candidates for the Presidential nominations of ballot-qualified political parties to submit documents proving that they meet Constitutional qualifications, in order to appear on the primary ballot. States have far more control over which parties and which candidates can gain a place on their primary ballots than on the general election ballot, and this would be a perfectly reasonable criteria. States could also set reasonable deadlines for submitting documents well before the primary ballots would have to be printed, thus also allowing enough time for any court challenges.

    While some birthers might not consider such a primary ballot requirement to be sufficient, the reality is that it would be a public relations disaster for any candidate to refuse to submit documentation and thereby be dropped from the ballot.

    Either way, all of this is pretty much spitting into the wind. If Obama ever faces a legal requirement to submit documentation, he'll simply supply a copy of the certification issued by the state of Hawaii along with a copy of his passport. In so doing he will have met the prima facia level of evidence that any court or Secretary of State would require. The burden of disproving Obama's natural born citizenship would then shift to whomever attempted to challenge that evidence in court, and I strongly doubt that any challenge would prove successful.

    Bottom line: Obama will not lose his Presidency between now and 2012 over the issue of his citizenship. Nor will he be prevented from running for re-election over this issue. If he is going to be defeated in 2012, it will be because U.S. voters are fed up with his policies and choose an opposing candidate.

  • Judge backs Redding atheist who balked at religious anti-drug program

    04/17/2010 11:39:51 PM PDT · 18 of 19
    dpwiener to detective
    You seem to think meth loving punks deserve to sponge off everyone else. This doesn't surprise me. You've probably never done any useful work in your life or contributed anything to society. You probably have lived your life sponging off your parents, taxpayers and everyone else dumb enough to come in contact with you.

    That's quite some "detective" work on your part. Fortunately my employer, who just raised my pay to $140k, fails to share your viewpoint.

    You and your meth friends make me sick.

    For your sake I urge you to get treatment before Obamacare kicks in, whether your sickness be physical or mental or both.

    I have seen the damage they do and it would be my pleasure if I ever come into contact with you to teach you some respect for the laws of our land and let you spend some time in a state facility where you can spend lots of time hanging out with meth users and other drug taking slimeballs.

    I foresee a pleasure-less future for you.

  • Judge backs Redding atheist who balked at religious anti-drug program

    04/17/2010 10:35:19 PM PDT · 13 of 19
    dpwiener to detective
    Yet another drug dealing criminal scumbag figures out how to game the system and get a taxpayer funded payday out of pretending that his “rights” were violated. They should have left this drugged up p.o.s. in prison and never should have given him parole in the first place.

    There's no indication that Mr. Hazel was a drug dealer -- that's just your own prejudice talking. According to this article he was originally convicted of methamphetamine possession. He was a user, not a dealer.

    Then Mr. Hazel was sent to prison in violation of California's Proposition 36, which requires that drug users be allowed to enter a rehabilitation program. Officers arrested him after finding him in possession of an unopened bottle of whiskey (see article for more details). Since then the State Court of Appeals has vindicated him, saying he shouldn't have gone to prison in the first place.

    Mr. Hazel's rights were violated multiple times, and it sounds like he definitely deserves to win a large chunk of money in his lawsuit against the government. Do taxpayers deserve to have to pay out that money? The only taxpayers who deserve it are the ones who support the War On Drugs, with all the abuses that the WOD entails.

    In other words, you deserve to pay out your taxpayer dollars to Mr. Hazel, but I don't.

  • NY Tims: Many Filers Confused by Stimulus Tax Credit

    04/10/2010 10:09:08 AM PDT · 28 of 47
    dpwiener to NV Lawdog

    Same with H&R Block’s TaxCut program: It was automatic. I haven’t done my taxes by hand for at least a dozen years, and wouldn’t dream of doing so.

  • Marine's dad ordered to pay protesters' court fees

    03/29/2010 1:43:17 PM PDT · 58 of 74
    dpwiener to SmithL

    This is a standard scam, and it’s unfortunate that the dead marine’s father fell for it. Fred Phelps stages provocative protests for the sole purpose of goading local governments into infringing on his free speech rights. Then he sues and collects damages and attorney fees (which go into his pocket since he’s his own attorney).

    I’m familiar with this because the same sort of thing happened in Simi Valley, CA back in 1992 following the Rodney King beating trial. Richard Barrett, the leader of his own little white supremacist Nationalist Movement, announced plans to hold a protest march. My wife was a member of the City Council at the time, and had to try to calm down the outrage of local citizens who wanted to prevent Barrett from coming. Of course he would have sued and pocketed tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

    Instead he and his little band of six marchers were allowed to demonstrate in a fenced-off area around the county courthouse, with the fence protecting him from the hundreds of counter-demonstrators. He tried it again a few months later, this time with only one fellow demonstrator. After that he gave up, because he clearly was not going to be able to collect a lawsuit jackpot.

    The same strategy should be employed against Phelps. Let him demonstrate and just ignore him. Yeah, it’s hurtful. But free speech and liberty isn’t always pleasant. People have to grow thick skins sometimes. If Phelps was consistently ignored, his lawsuit-derived income would evaporate, and he’d soon disappear when his outrages stopped being profitable.

  • "The Hill" Obamacare count (3/14)

    03/14/2010 10:41:23 AM PDT · 18 of 50
    dpwiener to pabianice
    Pelosi needs 37 "yes" of 72 undecided.

    That's not correct. Pelosi need 69, not 37, of 72 "undecided" members (the way The Hill is counting things). The large majority of those 72 "undecided" are really YES votes, but they haven't officially said so.

    Still, it's a steep hill for Pelosi. If those 72 undecideds really were on Pelosi's side, they'd be announcing their YES votes to the media to help build momentum for passage. As it is, almost nobody is eager to support HCR, and it's almost impossible to find previous NO votes which are switching to YES. Whereas it's very easy to find previous YES votes who are either switching to NO or expressing their grave doubts.

    It's not just a matter of strong-arming individual fence-sitting Democrats into voting for HCR. Even if a Congress Member is susceptible to pressure or bribes or blackmail, it's pointless for that member to give in to Pelosi if the bill is going to fail anyway. Then the member has the worst of both worlds: a career-ending vote which accomplishes nothing.

    So Pelosi has to strong arm enough votes AND convince all of her caucus that she will SUCCEED in getting enough votes. That's why the White House and House Democrat leadership are putting on such a brave front that the bill will pass, and why the whole thing could so easily collapse if just a few more members announce their NO votes.

  • ACK!!! What virus is this?!? Ebay wants an ATM PIN?!?

    03/06/2010 2:20:45 PM PST · 84 of 134
    dpwiener to Spktyr
    I would suggest AVG or Avast - both of which have free home-use versions that provide good protection.

    I use and recommend AVG Anti-virus. It's free and very good (better in my experience than prominent commercial programs like Norton), but not perfect. As a second-level of protection I run Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware two or three times a week when I go to bed.

    Make sure you always update Anti-Malware before you use it to scan your computer; they generate a new update at least once a day. It will find and fix just about anything out there, even infections which have massively infiltrated your computer and would otherwise be almost impossible to remove without completely reformatting your hard drive.

    If for some reason your computer won't let you get to the www.malwarebytes.org site, see the earlier comment about your hosts file. Some infections edit that file to make anti-virus web sites invisible.

  • Taking Memes Seriously [Knockin' Dawkins on the Noggin]

    03/03/2010 8:03:05 AM PST · 9 of 10
    dpwiener to Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus
    Snarky yet philosophical at the same time.

    Snarky, yes. Philosophical, not so much. Most of his essay is filled with vituperative ad hominem attacks rather than rational arguments against the ideas in question. That in turn tells me all I need to know about the cogency of his arguments.

  • GOP finds loophole in reconciliation ploy [Death of a thousand amendments to ObamaCare]

    02/03/2010 12:16:29 PM PST · 59 of 87
    dpwiener to Cboldt
    (2) Debate in the Senate on any reconciliation bill reported under subsection (b) of this section, and all amendments thereto and debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith, shall be limited to not more than 20 hours.

    The loophole is that debate is limited, but not the amendments themselves. So the Senate may have to immediately vote on each amendment rather than debate it, but if there are hundreds or thousands of amendments, that keeps chewing up the clock. Every roll call vote will take at least 15 minutes. Also, if unanimous consent is not given, I believe the text of each amendment would have to be read.

  • GOP finds loophole in reconciliation ploy [Death of a thousand amendments to ObamaCare]

    02/03/2010 12:10:28 PM PST · 58 of 87
    dpwiener to Drill Thrawl
    I think the pubbies are looking for a loop hole that would allow this to go through but make the pubblies look like innocent victims.

    Actually I think it's the other way around. The Democrats are preparing their excuses as to why they can't get a health care bill through the Senate using reconciliation. Their left-wing base has convinced itself that Reid only needs 50 votes (plus Biden) for a sidecar fix which will satisfy the House and get something signed into law. Now the Democrats are agreeing with the Republicans that the unlimited amendment "loophole" may make it impossible, to explain why HCR still fails.

    Even if the Democrats were to manage to prevent unlimited amendments, they'd still have to allow a large number of amendments to be voted on. And those would be very painful amendments (they don't have to be germane to the topic) which would force the Democrats to take positions which would alienate one constituent group or another.

    At this point the Democrats just want this whole mess to fade away. So they'll keep "searching for a path" and other platitudes to try to sooth their base, but never quite find that path due to all of the Republican obstructionism. Eventually November will roll around, and the elections will either greatly reduce the Democrat majorities in the House and Senate or actually switch control to the Republicans. Either way, socialized medicine will be dead for at least another few years.

  • Democrats Quietly Working to Resuscitate Healthcare Overhaul (American People Shut Out Again)

    01/30/2010 10:35:22 PM PST · 28 of 38
    dpwiener to Boucheau
    I thought whoring-out your vote for the nude-posing baby killer was supposed to stop the Democrats/Communists in their tracks?

    Scott Brown did stop them right in their tracks. They were in the process of working out a deal with the unions and other side deals with Democrat caucuses. They'd have bribed and strong-armed as many Congressmen and Senators as needed to pass something so that they could declare victory (and destroy our existing health care infrastructure).

    If Brown had lost, they'd have painted it as a great come-from-behind victory which proved the power of Obama and the SEIU and turning out enough of the Democrat base. They threw everything they had into the election and lost. And that in turn sent HCR down in flames, no matter how much they try to pretend it's not dead.

    If you don't like the "nude-posing baby killer", that's your problem. I know there are issues I disagree with him on, but (without exaggerating too much) Scott Brown's stunning upset may have prevented irrevocable and perhaps fatal damage to our country.

  • Democrats Quietly Working to Resuscitate Healthcare Overhaul (American People Shut Out Again)

    01/30/2010 10:18:30 PM PST · 27 of 38
    dpwiener to Soul Seeker
    He said they were doing this all just to string along their base to keep their ire at a distance but they weren’t actually going to pass anything.

    I agree. The Democrats don't have the votes in the House to pass the Senate bill even with a reconciliation deal, and they don't have a path in the Senate since there are ways for Republicans to delay reconciliation with endless, politically painful amendments. And yet Democrats can't just throw up their hands and admit defeat.

    So they'll keep mouthing brave words about finding a way to get something through. Leftists will keep kidding themselves that there's still hope, because behind closed doors their brilliant leaders (Pelosi, Reid, and Obama) are figuring out a master strategy which they'll eventually spring on the world to thread the needle and pass HCR.

    Meanwhile Congress will focus on a new stimulus/jobs bill and other legislative objectives. Amazingly, these will not win approval as easily and quickly as expected. Indeed, they might not win approval at all. So the House and the Senate will consume their time on the new priority issues, and HCR will be unavoidably delayed further and further. Finally, the campaign season will fully arrive, and HCR will have to wait until a special session after the November election.

    The result will be a totally pissed-off base which will fail to turn out for Democrats, while Republicans and Independents will race to the polls to vote out the incumbents. Democrats will lose the House and quite possibly the Senate. And Obamacare will finally be officially buried.

  • Poll: Campbell leads GOP field, trails Boxer by 4 (CA Senate!)

    01/28/2010 9:05:38 AM PST · 13 of 49
    dpwiener to heiss
    Looks very good. Isn't Tom Campbell an actual conservative? This is clearly possible win now.

    As I recall, Tom has a strong libertarian streak. Conservatives will object to him on social issues (abortion and gay marriage), but will like him on fiscal issues. I like him a lot more than Fiorina. DeVore can't win in California, but Campbell very well might. Campbell is probably the best bet to get rid of Barbara Boxer, so I consider this poll to be qualified good news.

  • Landrieu steadfast on health overhaul

    01/23/2010 9:41:00 AM PST · 21 of 22
    dpwiener to Longbow1969
    Actually, this is a little bit worrisome.
    For HCR to truly be dead, moderate and conservative Democrats have to completely fall away from it.

    In a way I'm encouraged rather than worried by this. There are now very few paths by which HCR can still be enacted. The most straightforward way is for the House to pass the Senate bill as is, which is looking highly unlikely at the moment: The votes just aren't there, as even Pelosi was finally forced to admit.

    The other paths require the Senate to pass some stripped-down (but still toxic) version through reconciliation. This would either be a new bill or a "fixer" co-measure to convince House members to pass the Senate version because they'd get many of their changes made.

    But as long as Senators like Landrieu insist that the Senate has completed its work and it's up to the House to swallow it whole, the danger of reconciliation decreases. Which further narrows the remaining HCR options and brings it nearer to a final death.

    We're not entirely out of the woods yet, but we're about three orders of magnitude better off than we were before Brown's victory. I'm fine with Landrieu bashing the House and saying the ball is in its court.

  • Toss up in Massachusetts! (Brown Leads Coakley 48-47)

    01/09/2010 5:49:06 PM PST · 129 of 237
    dpwiener to mwl8787
    Everyone: don’t worry about Kirk’s threats. First, they are helping Brown and Coakley’s silence makes her look complicit. Second, if Brown wins, a political earthquake will hit DC. ... If Brown wins, BOcare is toast. Kirk was stupid and walked right into a trap.

    Absolutely correct. Even if Brown just narrowly loses it may be enough to kill Obamacare. But if Brown wins, it's dead, dead, dead. Not having enough votes to break a filibuster will be the least of the Democrats' worries.

  • U.S. reverses stance on treaty to regulate arms trade

    01/09/2010 10:57:13 AM PST · 21 of 38
    dpwiener to RolandTignor
    A little bit of paranoia is useful; it keeps us all on our toes. But this is ridiculous. No treaty has any force or effect within the United States unless it is first ratified by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. The chances of that happening are precisely zero. In fact, in the current political climate, there is probably at least a two-thirds majority which would vote against the treaty.

    The last thing the Democrats want right now is to get into a gun-control battle which they have no chance of winning but which will drastically increase the already-high danger to their incumbent Congressmembers and Senators.