Posts by dpwiener

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  • Biden raises possibility of 2020 presidential bid

    12/05/2016 4:56:31 PM PST · 47 of 76
    dpwiener to springwater13
    Do it, Joe!! At least he'd make for an entertaining race. Who cares if he'd be 78 by then, age doesn't matter. (Or so I tell myself, albeit I'm half a decade younger then him.)

    Besides, realistically, who have the Democrats got who'd be any more plausible as their candidate? Their bench is bare. Are they going to make another suicide run with Hillary? Or Bernie? Or Warren? Or Kerry? Joe Biden has "credentials" having been Vice President, and he's likeable and empathic even if he does spout a lot of nonsense.

    Besides, it's his turn...

  • Why I Will Not Cast My Electoral Vote for Donald Trump

    12/05/2016 4:26:00 PM PST · 101 of 180
    dpwiener to Owen
    I was curious about this, and after some googling found this web site which discusses the National Popular Vote plan to get around the Electoral College without the formality of a Constitutional Amendment. Now let me make clear that I am totally opposed to their plan, and most of what is written there is irrelevant to the current discussion.

    But one small section on that web site is relevant: They point out that if Florida had failed to finish its recount in 2000 by the Safe Harbor date, it would then have fallen under Section 2 of Title 3 of the United States Code:

    "Whenever any State has held an election for the purpose of choosing electors, and has failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law, the electors may be appointed on a subsequent day in such a manner as the legislature of such State may direct."

    The Florida legislature was prepared to ratify Bush's slate of Electors if the U.S. Supreme Court hadn't stepped in to end the recount. However, if neither of those things had happened, and if Florida had "failed to make a choice on the day prescribed by law" (because of an incomplete tally to determine the correct set of Electors) and thus had putatively failed to appoint Electors, the total number of Electors in the country would have been reduced by 25 (Florida's number). And in that case Al Gore would have had a majority of the remaining number of Electors and would have been elected President.

    If Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania were all to fail to complete required recounts by the Safe Harbor date, and if their Republican-controlled legislatures were to fail to take any further action to appoint Electors for Trump, such that none of those 46 Electoral votes were cast, that would leave Trump with 260 votes and Hillary with 232 votes. In that case the total number of appointed Electors would be 492, and a majority would be 246. So Trump would still win.

  • Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Comes Out Against Waiver For Gen. Mattis To Be Defense Head

    12/02/2016 6:38:05 PM PST · 60 of 64
    dpwiener to lodi90
    Supposedly Mattis needs 60 votes for a Senate waiver due to his not being out of the service for 7 years. He’ll get it. Just a lot of posturing now.

    I agree. The waiver is a separate issue from confirmation. The latter now only needs a majority, but a waiver will require a change in the existing law, and that change could theoretically be filibustered.

    But Democrats are not going to go to the mats with a filibuster over the waiver. They will save the filibuster for more important matters, or risk the Republicans nuking the legislative filibuster as well.

    Furthermore, Mattis is enormously popular, especially with enlisted military forces and veterans. There's about a dozen Senate Democrats who are facing very tough races in 2018. Think they are going to oppose Mattis and thereby guarantee their defeats? Think they can withstand the enormous public pressure that voters in their home states will apply? I don't. The waiver will pass easily.

  • Twitter Says It Would Consider Banning Donald Trump's Account

    11/30/2016 11:29:53 AM PST · 96 of 137
    dpwiener to pissant
    Sounds like more FAKE NEWS

    Totally agree. This is just nonsensical click-bait for some obscure web site. And if you read the article, all that Twitter said was that its policies apply to everyone. Well, what else would you expect them to say? That they make an exception for Trump? Twitter and Facebook know full well that the shitstorm coming from tens of millions of Trump followers would totally destroy them if they banned his account. It will never happen.

  • More Than 800,000 Noncitizens May Have Voted in 2016 Election, Expert Says

    11/29/2016 1:03:03 PM PST · 12 of 23
    dpwiener to markomalley
    I'm quite willing to believe that the number of non-citizens who voted, while substantial, was not enough to overcome Hillary's margin over Trump in the popular vote. But it doesn't really matter. What Trump did by tweeting about it is to troll the media into debating the siz of the non-citizen vote (since nobody's going to believe it was zero). And that in turn concedes the underlying premise, that some non-citizens did cast votes which were clearly illegal. Hence something must be done to tighten up our voter ID laws and in general prevent voter fraud. There's no reason that Congress can't pass laws (which Trump will happily sign) to impose strict requirements on federal elections, even if some states like California have loose-to-nonexistent requirements for state and local elections.
  • Donald Trump’s glorious victory gave Fidel Castro a great big heart attack [secret story]

    11/27/2016 9:21:36 AM PST · 20 of 63
    dpwiener to Jim 0216
    How about citing a source/link to confirm this is actually a news story.

    Of course it's not an actual news story. It's an amusing fantasy.

  • Federal Judges: Wisconsin's GOP Redistricting Maps Unconstitutional

    11/21/2016 11:32:21 PM PST · 48 of 55
    dpwiener to SMGFan

    I would love to have the Supreme Court rule that blatant gerrymandering is unconstitutional, and that redistricting must meet minimum standards of ojective neutrality. As a practical matter this would hurt Republicans in some states and hurt Democrats in other states. But it would make districts much fairer and more competitive, thus offering voters real choice. Right now gerrymandering tends to lock in incumbents for Congress and for state legislatures, thus making it very difficult to throw the bums out.

  • Trump confirms he is considering Mattis for U.S. defense post

    11/20/2016 11:57:18 AM PST · 82 of 97
    dpwiener to RummyChick
    A waiver probably wouldn’t pass..but this at least sends a signal within the military..which is a good thing.

    My guess is that a waiver would pass. In the first place, there's precedent for a waiver, so opponents would have to argue that in this particular case it shouldn't be granted. Republicans will have majorities in both houses, so the only way to block the waiver would be a filibuster in the Senate. Are Democrats really going to go to the mats with a filibuster over this minor issue, when there are so many other things they need to worry about? If they do, they risk Republicans using it as an excuse to invoke the "nuclear option" and abolish filibusters completely. Also, they have a ton of Senators from red states who will be up for re-election in 2018. Are those Senators going to oppose an extremely popular general (especially with the military) and thereby hand their Republican opponents an issue to bash them with? I doubt it.

  • The Economist/YouGov Poll -3rd Party Voters Against Hillary More [effects popular vote argument]

    11/12/2016 9:17:47 AM PST · 15 of 20
    dpwiener to kabar
    All absentee ballots in all states are counted, not just if the vote is close. I don't know why this nonsense keeps popping up every election. Even the slightest bit of common sense will tell you this has to be the case. There are all kinds of down-ticket races which are also on the ballot, such as city council, school board, etc., etc. depending upon the state you live in. They all have to be counted. It would make no sense whatsoever to have the tabulating machines and computers count those down-ticket votes but ignore the Presidential votes.
  • Bernstein: FBI Would Not Reopen Case Unless New Evidence Was "A Real Bombshell"

    10/28/2016 2:36:44 PM PDT · 120 of 179
    dpwiener to fortheDeclaration
    I think there is too much excitement over this, it changes nothing!

    The MSM will counterattack with new polls showing Hillary gaining in the polls!

    Just the opposite will happen. This gives all of the major polling organizations who've been heavily skewing their results towards Hillary an excuse to adjust their results to match reality. It's typically the case that pollsters need their final polls to come close to the actual election results to preserve their brands for future elections. But how do they explain a sudden shift from D+9 types of Democratic oversampling to more reasonable levels? Now they can point to Comey reopening the FBI investigation. They'll claim that their polls were correct all along prior to this event, and now when Trump "surges" they'll claim that their polls simply tracked the shift in public sentiment.

  • Packers' Ha Ha Clinton-Dix pursues degree with hope of finding 'peace and justice'

    10/01/2016 10:06:52 AM PDT · 8 of 13
    dpwiener to Navin Johnson

    I agree. The Packers are the only team which is owned by its fans (I’m one of the 360,584 stockholders), and the culture in Green Bay would not put up with the nonsense that other teams display. Furthermore, our general manager Ted Thompson makes it a point to look for good character in the players he drafts, to have a cohesive football team. That’s not to say some young players don’t make mistakes, but they can get a second chance if they clean up their acts.

    Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is a rapidly ascending player who will likely make the Pro Bowl. It’s nice to see that he has a lot of common sense off the field as well.

  • Chart: Here's Where Trump, Clinton and Johnson Stand on TV and Radio Ad Spending Right Now

    09/19/2016 3:35:32 PM PDT · 12 of 41
    dpwiener to Organic Panic
    I am hearing Johnson ads during every ad break on the local talk show station. It’s a tight state so I’m assuming the DNC is funding the air time to get votes from Trump.

    Nope. Gary Johnson has been raising millions of dollars over the Internet from hundreds of thousands of donors. And he's taking more votes from Hillary than from Trump, particularly among the young voters who she was (incorrectly) counting on.

  • CNN/ORC polls: Trump's national gains extend to Florida, Ohio (Trump FL +3, OH +5)

    09/14/2016 2:10:52 PM PDT · 15 of 19
    dpwiener to NYC-RepublicanCT

    This looks like a very reasonable poll, after digging through the cross-tabs and the partisan affiliations and other unrelated questions. Interestingly, it shows Portman with a huge lead (58% to 37%) over Strickland in the Ohio Senate race, and Rubio with a large lead (54% to 43%) over Murphy in the Florida Senate race.

  • Clinton holds lead over Trump in new poll, but warning signs emerge (+10 DemoRAT)

    09/11/2016 12:35:54 AM PDT · 31 of 74
    dpwiener to arl295
    Although I'm always cautious about "unskewing" polls, this one clearly requires it. According to Roper, the 2012 election breakdown was 38% Democrat, 32% Republican, and 29% independent. The Bipartisan Policy Center expressed it a little differently, with Democratic voters for President consisting of 28.8% of all eligible citizens and Republican voters consisting of 27.2%. Gallup currently estimates party affiliation to be 31% Democrat, 27% Republican, and 38% independents.

    Meanwhile the respondents from the Post/ABC Poll identified themselves as 38% Democrats, 24% Republicans, 33% independents, 5% other, and 3% no opinion.

    We can see from the above numbers that the Democrat-Republican gap was only 6% in 2012, and according to Gallup is now around 4%. So how did the Post/ABC survey grow that to 10%?

    One conceivable explanation is that their turnout model showed that many more Democrats than Republicans would indeed be voting for President this year, and therefore they did not weight their results to correct for the Democratic oversampling. But that seems to be contradicted by their other internal results.

    Their poll shows that 46% of Trump supporters are very enthusiastic compared to 33% of Hillary supporters. Also, 83% of Trump supporters say they'll definitely vote for him and won't change their minds, while 79% of Hillary supporters say they'll definitely vote for her and won't change their minds. Finally, 93% of Trump supporters say they are absolutely certain to vote, while only 80% of Hillary supporters are absolutely certain to vote.

    So Hillary's support is softer and her supporters are less enthusiastic and are less certain to vote, and yet this is somehow going to translate into a much larger Democratic turnout advantage (to justify surveying 10% more Democrats than Republicans) than the 6% gap in 2012 or the 4% partisan identification gap in 2016? That really doesn't pass the smell test.

    The Post/ABC poll claims that Hillary is leading Trump by 5 points, 46% to 41% among likely voters. If you "deskew" the 10% Democratic oversampling to something closer to Gallup's 4% party affiliation gap, it wipes out Hillary's lead. If you further adjusted it to then take into account the enthusiasm gap and turnout gap, that would indicate that Trump actualy has a lead ranging from modest to huge. (However, it's possible that their Likely Voter screen already takes that enthusiasm gap into account.)

    The bottom line is that any pollster can produce almost any outcome he wants (which is biased towards either Hillary or Trump) simply by fiddling with the underlying assumptions and weights in his estimated voter profile in November. The Post/ABC poll has a model which is extremely favorable towards Hillary, but based on its own internals it is probably very inaccurate.

  • Hillary's Health Concerns Serious, Say Most Doctors Polled by AAPS

    09/08/2016 2:57:12 PM PDT · 32 of 78
    dpwiener to onyx
    This is a brilliant headline by Drudge, but in reality it is highly misleading. If you dig through the links, you find that this was "250 physicians responding to an informal internet survey by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)." Informal internet surveys are useless as far as being representative of the overall group (i.e., all physicians). Furthermore, the AAPS is an extremely conservative association of doctors, so if most of the survey respondents came from their own membership you'd expect them to be very heavily biased against Hillary.

    Hillary may very well have serious health problems. But treat this survey as what it really is: Some superb anti-Hillary campaign propaganda

  • Donald Trump challenges Hillary to release detailed medical records

    08/28/2016 11:22:30 PM PDT · 67 of 83
    dpwiener to HiTech RedNeck

    Of course Rx data is supposed to be confidential. But the point is, that data exists and would be difficult to quietly delete. It’s not just a single server with emails under Hillary’s control. If the computers where the prescriptions are listed were broken into, it would look incredibly bad if she had covered up that information in her (sanitized) medical records. For all she knows, those computers have already been hacked just like her emails and the DNC’s emails were penetrated. Trump may already have the evidence in his hands and is ready to pounce, which is why he’s now demanding that she release her medical records.

  • Donald Trump challenges Hillary to release detailed medical records

    08/28/2016 10:55:35 PM PDT · 63 of 83
    dpwiener to dragnet2
    Birth Certificate is one thing. Medical records are not quite the same thing. They included lots of names/signatures and documented medical data/prescriptions, dates, times, et all. And her physicians have signed off on all of it. No way she could get away with fraudulent med records.

    Even if some of her medical records were faked or deleted, her biggest problem is her prescriptions. My guess is that she takes one or several prescriptions for various problems. (Most anyone her age is likely to be taking something. I'm her age and in excellent overall health, but even I take three prescriptions for a minor problem.)

    It would be extremely difficult to hide prescriptions. Each one has a long paper trail, and a "cover-up" would be politically devastating if it was penetrated. (Trump likely knows from his private investigations what she's taking.) And each prescription comes with a long list of precautionary warnings. (For example, "Can cause headaches, nausea, elevated blood pressure,... Should not be taken in combination with these other medicines... If you have a heart condition, liver condition,... consult your doctor before taking.") We've all laughed at the laundry list of warnings in every drug commercial.

    If Hillary reveals the prescriptions she's taking, everyone will immediately search through the list of side effects and wonder if she's suffering from them. If the prescriptions are sometimes used to treat brain conditions (such as from her concussion), everyone will further speculate on her mental and physical health. Whether or not any of that is true, it provides confirmation bias.

    Unless Hillary really has a fairly clean medical history, she's in deep trouble. The ground has been laid over the past few weeks (and months) to question her health, to the extent that she had to open a (pre-opened) pickle jar on national TV to try to laugh it off. Now if she stonewalls her health records, nobody will believe her protestations that she's healthy. And if she releases her health records, she'll provide more fodder for her critics.

    It's a brilliant move by Trump. Maybe not checkmate, but certainly a highly threatening gambit.

  • California Assembly Passes Bill To Curb “Policing For Profit” Via Asset Forfeiture

    08/16/2016 1:28:18 PM PDT · 13 of 14
    dpwiener to dtroxx

    This was a true non-partisan/multi-partisan bill to stop (or at least drastically slow down) the outrageous “asset forfeiture” larceny by police agencies in California. A representative of Democrat State Senator Holly Mitchell attended the California Libertarian Party’s convention earlier this year to give a pitch for SB 443 and ask for help in urging Assembly Members to pass it. Libertarians were more than willing to lend their support, and I personally contacted my Assemblyman (who I know well) to persuade him to vote for it.

    Of course the various law enforcement lobbies had strong motives to oppose SB 443, since it will mean the loss of lots of free (i.e., stolen) money from their slush funds. They tried to paint it as a “law and order” issue which would hamstring them. But fortunately an overwhelming majority of both Democrats and Republicans have now passed it. Governor Brown will likely sign it, but even if he doesn’t there appear to be more than enough votes to over-ride his veto.

    These days it is incredibly rare that the California state legislature does something right. So let’s savior this brief happy moment.

  • Hillary Is Banned By Law From Becoming President (Vanity)

    08/15/2016 10:01:32 AM PDT · 67 of 79
    dpwiener to pepsi_junkie

    That’s exactly right. The only qualifications for the Presidency are those explicitly listed in the Constitution, and the Supreme Court has invariably struck down all others. Congress does not have the power to pass laws which impose further limits on the Presidency. To the extent that Congress attempts to do so, such laws are facially unconstitutional. So these laws only apply to other government officials. It’s up to the voters to decide whether a person who has broken laws (whether or not a conviction has yet occurred) should still be elected as President.

  • Packers vs. Colts NFL Hall of Fame Game in Canton CANCELLED Due To Turf Concerns

    08/07/2016 4:38:28 PM PDT · 42 of 114
    dpwiener to drewh

    Thank you for posting this. If I hadn’t seen it on Free Republic I probably wouldn’t have known about the cancellation until I tried tuning in for the game. I’m a bit disappointed, because I was anxious to see how well the Packers’ new draftees and free agents were going to play. Now I’ll just have to wait until next week. But it would have been devastating if there were serious player injuries on either team just because of a poor playing surface.

    Perhaps the NFL will learn a lesson from this. Just kidding, they won’t.

  • Donna Brazile: "More emails are coming"

    07/24/2016 9:56:34 PM PDT · 160 of 218
    dpwiener to Lazamataz
    First rule of emails: Never commit anything to electronic media that you would not want someone to see: Your wife, your boss, your child, an FBI prosecutor....

    That sounds a lot like my "Wiener Rule" which I've tried to follow for the past few decades: "Never write or record anything which you wouldn't want your worst enemy to get ahold of."
  • Poll: After Orlando, Huge Spike in Voters’ Concerns About Security (Clinton 38 Trump 38 Johnson 10)

    06/20/2016 5:44:35 PM PDT · 75 of 90
    dpwiener to Sam Gamgee
    Wow 10% for Libertarian. Is he cutting into Trump numbers?

    No, just the opposite. If you read the article you'll see that in a head-to-head contest, Hillary leads Trump 42% to 40% with 17% undecided. When Gary Johnson is included, Hillary and Trump are tied at 38%, with Johnson at 10% and 14% undecided. So Johnson is taking 4% from Hillary and 2% from Trump. And since Johnson will be on the ballot in all 50 states, it really is a 3-way race. Hence this poll really shows Hillary and Trump tied, not Hillary with a 2-point lead.

    This is consistent with all the other recent polls, which show that Johnson is pulling slightly more votes from Hillary than from Trump. So if Johnson really does tip the election, the evidence to date suggests that he'll tip it in Trump's favor. That may seem counter-intuitive, given that Gary Johnson and his running mate William Weld are both ex-Republican governors, but facts "trump" intuition.

    Trump supporters should be grateful that Johnson is in the race and doing so well, and they should hope that his numbers keep growing at Hillary's expense.

  • Satan’s Licentious Technological Guerilla War on America!

    04/23/2016 11:42:19 AM PDT · 15 of 21
    dpwiener to BipolarBob

    BipolarBob, your appreciation is noted and appreciated. “Lucifer” really is a fairly entertaining TV series, revolving around a character named Lucifer Morningstar (played by Tom Elis, who is superb in the part) who is described as “The Lord of Hell who is bored with his life, abdicates his throne and becomes a consultant for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) while running his own nightclub called Lux.” It’s another comic book spin-off, and as such it’s as zany as any other comic book premise.

  • Satan’s Licentious Technological Guerilla War on America!

    04/23/2016 10:55:56 AM PDT · 12 of 21
    dpwiener to kindred

    The TV series “Lucifer” has quickly become one of my favorite programs. I’m just praying that it will be renewed for a second season.

  • SCOTUS Denies Request from D.C. Madam's Attorney to Release Info

    04/05/2016 5:54:13 PM PDT · 60 of 62
    dpwiener to etcb

    Thank you for posting that obvious non-conspiratorial explanation. That was also my immediate reaction: That anyone named in those records would have no way of disputing their accuracy. If the records were wrong (or if the attorney who wants to release them slipped in some extra names) then the reputations of everyone named would be irretrievably ruined, with absolutely no recourse since the Madam is dead. That’s not something our courts would or should allow. The proper venue for that sort of rumor and gossip is the National Enquirer.

  • Brian Sandoval Rejected -- Obama's Rumored SCOTUS Pick Nixed Already By Fellow Republicans

    02/24/2016 9:39:24 PM PST · 35 of 41
    dpwiener to etcb

    Other people have suggested the same thing, but it wouldn’t work. If Republicans delayed a confirmation vote on Sandoval until after the election, Obama could simply withdraw the nomination.

  • Brian Sandoval Rejected -- Obama's Rumored SCOTUS Pick Nixed Already By Fellow Republicans

    02/24/2016 8:42:58 PM PST · 31 of 41
    dpwiener to theoilpainter

    I also agree. It’s hard to believe that Obama will actually nominate Sandoval, but if he does we should all cheer him on. Sandoval would protect our gun rights, and would prevent other important Supreme Court decisions from being reversed. Why gamble on the outcome of the November election, which could result in a disastrous Supreme Court nominee if Hillary wins?

  • Republican governor of Nevada Brian Sandoval being considered for Supreme Court- RHINO ALERT!

    02/24/2016 8:18:11 PM PST · 109 of 113
    dpwiener to The KG9 Kid

    From all I’ve read, Sandoval is a staunch supporter of 2nd Amendment rights. As far as I’m concerned, the biggest danger we face is that Hillary or Sanders might get elected in November and then appoint a pro-gun-control person to replace Scalia. That in turn would allow the Heller decision, which only had a 5-4 majority, to be overturned. Whereas if Obama actually does nominate Sandoval (which I’m skeptical that he’ll do), that would cement the Heller decision. I’d much rather take the bird in the hand (Sandoval) than risk our gun rights on the outcome of the November election. So if Sandoval is nominated, I’m all for it. And presumably the NRA and other gun-rights organizations would also strongly support the nomination, which would bring pressure on Republican Senators to do likewise.

  • 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.