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Old 09-13-2011, 08:15 AM   #46
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50ks? Really? Our trucks are very important and there's not enough rail to service them.

I would make America include tax in the price. Ludicrous that you don't.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:20 AM   #47
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More magnets.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:24 AM   #48
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More magnets.
I think we should have more arts and crafts to play with.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:52 AM   #49
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I would make America include tax in the price. Ludicrous that you don't.
i figure it's probably because the sales tax varies from state to state. i'd prefer to not have laws and taxes wildly vary from state to state like they do now. plus if i could tweak the laws, a lot of stuff wouldn't even have sales tax, and what does wouldn't be as high as it is now.
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:20 PM   #50
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50ks? Really? Our trucks are very important and there's not enough rail to service them.
Seriously, given the underhanded ways the trucking lobby has meddled with Australian and Kiwi politics (in everything from road safety to environment policy), I am hardly inclined to take even a vaguely positive view of the trucking industry. But that aside ...

The main reason for the law - besides ensuring traffic for the railways, a state investment - was to level the playing field between road and rail. Rail freight has to pay for the construction and upkeep of all of its track and other associated infrastructure, like bridges and tunnels. Road freight, on the other hand, uses public roads built and maintained through public money; trucking causes the vast bulk of wear and tear to roads, yet through licence registration and other such fees, pays only a pittance for their upkeep. Essentially, public maintenance of roads has been subsidising the trucking industry for decades.

So what the Kiwi law was intended to do was to hand over long distance haulage to the railways - for which the bulk carrying capacity of railways is especially suited - while allowing trucking to fan out from railway depots over short distances for deliveries to the door and to small towns without railways, and to allow trucks to carry freight over long distances where the railway did not go. For example, if you wanted to send freight from Westport to Nelson, where there was no equivalent railway connection, you sent it by truck. However, if it was going from Westport to Christchurch, there was an equivalent railway and it had to go by rail. And if it was only going from Westport to Inangahua, a very short distance, then you could choose between road and rail.

This worked out pretty well for some time, but by the 1960s, the Railways had become complacent and were stereotypically known for slow delivery, unreliability, and goods being damaged. So the law was eventually rolled back until being completely done away with in the 1980s. I've always thought that was terribly unfortunate, because if it had held on for another 10 or 15 years, I think it would have survived and would today be a cornerstone of New Zealand's eco-friendly credentials. I mean, especially for long distance bulk haulage, trucking is dramatically more costly - both to public money for roads, and to the environment - not to mention less efficient. And who really wants four hundred coal trucks charging through the Southern Alps a day when that same freight can be put on ten trains? (And if the Otira Tunnel weren't such a fucking nightmare, that would be about five trains.)

Of course, if the legislation were re-introduced today, I would suggest that it include requirements that the railway service be competitive and efficient instead of returning to the sometimes farcical 1960s standards, and perhaps make some exclusions for time-sensitive freight. A lot of the infrastructure is there, or will be in a heartbeat if the playing field is levelled. I don't know if any Australian states have ever had similar legislation, though it would not surprise me as all the railways used to be state-owned ...
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:28 PM   #51
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Oh, I don't give a shit what your religion is. There is no religious test. You just don't get to put religious argument on the Congressional record. Exercise your religion all you want. Just don't use your position in government to force it on other people.
I guess it's fair to say we have very differing definitions of "free exercise."
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By taking religion out, you force people to base their opinions on fact or be ignored. Religiously informed thinking is the only non-factual line of thinking that people can get away with.
Unfortunately, your philosophy shows a dangerous ignorance of America's religious heritage as well as the very nature of unalienable rights and human freedom.
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Old 09-13-2011, 07:20 PM   #52
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I guess it's fair to say we have very differing definitions of "free exercise."

does "free exercise" include the right to discriminate against?



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America's religious heritage

which has always been predicated upon people of all (or no) faiths participating in a secular system.

the notion that we are all from the same Creator was understood as why we are all deserving of equal rights, not that we need to believe in a Creator in order to be citizens.

these people were deists. they did not believe that God had anything to do with the world as it always spun forwards.
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:54 PM   #53
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does "free exercise" include the right to discriminate against?
No, I could not use government as a means to discriminate against your sovereign rights. But neither should a secularist use government to discriminate against those of religious faith.

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which has always been predicated upon people of all (or no) faiths participating in a secular system.
Yes, quite right. But a secular system is not the same as a secular populace.
The Founders designed a system of government and law that would reflect the morals and values of society while protecting individual liberty.

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the notion that we are all from the same Creator was understood as why we are all deserving of equal rights, not that we need to believe in a Creator in order to be citizens.
Didn't say it did.
I'm not the one excluding pure secular reasoning (if such a thing can even exist in in a culture built on hundreds of years of religious thought) it is Philly who wishes to restrict political thought.

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these people were deists. they did not believe that God had anything to do with the world as it always spun forwards.
Not even close to factual.

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"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
– Closing sentence of the Declaration of Independence
And we have this official description of the Great Seal:

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The pyramid signifies strength and duration: The eye over it and the motto, Annuit Coeptis (He [God] has favored our undertakings), allude to the many interventions of Providence in favor of the American cause. The date underneath is that of the Declaration of Independence and the words under it, Novus Ordo Seclorum (A new order of the ages), signify the beginning of the new American era in 1776.
And 1000's of quotes to the contrary from every president worth quoting.
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:58 PM   #54
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I guess it's fair to say we have very differing definitions of "free exercise."


Unfortunately, your philosophy shows a dangerous ignorance of America's religious heritage as well as the very nature of unalienable rights and human freedom.
You can't use your position in government to force your religious views upon the public. How is that stomping on anyone's rights? I want to prevent rights from being stomped on.

And I'm well aware of our religious heritage. What am I not understanding, in your view?
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:04 AM   #55
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Not even close to factual.


ok. whatever.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:06 AM   #56
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The Founders designed a system of government and law that would reflect the morals and values of society while protecting individual liberty.
This is sneaking dangerously close into "if it's in the Bible, it must be moral" territory, which is the entire point of my argument.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:34 AM   #57
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I think mobvok already pinpointed what the problem with such an amendment would be: we'd be asking courts to ajudicate the beliefs of legislators rather than the content of the law, which is inherently incompatible with freedom of religion. What would be the criteria for determining whether a political position is religious in origin or not? The legislator says it is? If s/he doesn't say so, what then, you investigate his or her church membership history? What if another legislator with no known religious background holds the same position, is s/he guilty by virtue of intellectual similarity, or is s/he off the hook due to lack of evidence concerning the source of his/her beliefs?
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:37 AM   #58
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Of course not. It's a relatively limited amendment in scope. It would really only affect a couple debates.
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:04 AM   #59
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Unfortunately, your philosophy shows a dangerous ignorance of America's religious heritage as well as the very nature of unalienable rights and human freedom.



can you please tell me what your 'obsession' is with 'the founders' ?
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:21 PM   #60
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This seems like a pretty big deal:

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Laura Olson reports on the happenings in Harrisburg, where Republicans now control all of the branches of government:

Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is trying to gather support to change the state's "winner-takes-all" approach for awarding electoral votes. Instead, he's suggesting that Pennsylvania dole them out based on which candidate wins each of the 18 congressional districts, with the final two going to the contender with the most votes statewide.

In other reports, Pileggi sounds awfully sanguine about the effect this would have on PA as a swing state. Why even bring that up? Pennsylvania is typically a closely-divided state, and while it's gone Democratic in every election since 1992, it's been heavily campaigned-in every year.

So, let's pretend this is a totally political neutral decision. If the next Republican candidate breaks the streak and wins the state, it would be horrible for him -- he'd shed electoral votes. But if the president wins, he's down at least nine, possibly ten electoral votes, because congressional districting is slanted towards the GOP.

Here's what I mean. In 2008, Barack Obama won the state by 10 points (overcoming a last-minute hoax scare wherein a Republican volunteer faked a mugging and claimed a black man carved a B on her face, for Barack). But the congressional map had been gerrymandered by Republicans in 2001, and John McCain ended up winning 10 of 19 congressional districts. If the Pileggi plan had been in place, Obama's rout would have given him a slim 11-10 electoral vote victory. If Republicans do a smarter gerrymander this time, they could craft an 11-7 map, or even a 12-6 map (they'll have 18 to work with, thanks to the Census taking one seat away). Let's say Obama carries Pennsylvania narrowly, but loses 11 congressional districts. In that scenario, the winner of the Pennsylvania popular vote takes nine EVs; the loser takes 11 EVs. How's that reform look to you?
The point isn't "eeeeevil Republicans!", it's this:

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Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,
a Number of Electors
, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives
to which the State may be entitled in the Congress
There is no requirement that an election for President be held.

If I'm reading this correctly, a state could designate the power to choose its electors to Donald Trump.

This is evidence of stunningly bad design in the US Constitution. Just awful.

http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/
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