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Senate To Vote On Internet Sales Tax (For Real This Time)

ral315 Re:Yet another unconstitutional law (326 comments)

Article 1, Section 9 does not apply to the states, it applies to Congress/the federal government, in that Congress cannot institute a federal tariff on exports from states. Nothing in this section is applied to the individual states. Not to mention, as another poster mentioned, this is not a tax on exports, it's a tax on imports.

about 2 years ago

FCC To Require TV Stations To Post Rates For Campaign Ads

ral315 Misleading (106 comments)

This is technically true, but that's not the story. The story isn't that the rates will be available, it's that we'll know how much candidates spend, and where they're spending it.

The rates themselves are, by law, the lowest rate that the stations charge (to avoid stations charging different rates based on whether they support that candidate) - so that's not really that informative. It's actually knowing that Candidate X purchased 800 points of TV time in Market A and 1200 points in Market B that is interesting. Currently, this information is available, but only by driving to the stations during business hours to view them, which is of course not very useful.

about 2 years ago

US Defunds UNESCO After Palestine Vote

ral315 Re:Excellent news for Unesco (735 comments)

This has nothing to do with the current administration. As the article (and the summary!) clearly state, the law that requires ending UNESCO's funding was passed in 1994. Maybe they would have done so anyway, but as it stands, it was not a choice, it was them following a law passed 17 years ago.

more than 3 years ago

The Cable Industry's a La Carte Bait and Switch

ral315 Re:Makes sense actually (447 comments)

Really. As bad as SyFy is, at least it does show at least some legitimate sci-fi. If not only ad revenue, but subscriber revenue was based on viewership, you'd better believe they'd drop sci-fi entirely to cater to the lowest common denominator.

more than 3 years ago

Census Tech Makeover Includes Innovation "Oasis"

ral315 Re:Soaring costs? (62 comments)

You'd need more than 50% to not return the form before it would make any practical difference at the statistical level.

Except that the census isn't designed solely for macro-level statistical information. One of the most important roles of a census is determining a city/county/state's population, which is used to allocate funding, and determine the number of representatives in the US House and state houses/senates, which does have a significant impact on the makeup of those bodies.

Return rates are not uniform across the board. Large cities are notoriously under-counted, because of the difficulty of counting the homeless population, renters, those who move during the course of the census, those who do not speak English (even though the Census prints in multiple languages, return rates are still lower among non-English speakers), and various other groups that tend to be much more prevalent in large cities than in smaller cities and more middle-class suburban neighborhoods. This map of Census forms returned county-by-county provides an interesting look at the issue. While the percentages can't be considered completely accurate due to issues like vacant apartments, etc, there's still significant variance. In New York state, for example, mail return rates per county range from 43% to 84%. That's a staggering variance, and when it comes to ensuring that residents have adequate funding and representation, having fairly accurate results is essential.

As an aside, statistical sampling for the census has been discussed in the past to avoid these issues. I'm not opposed to using a reasonable sampling technique, so long as it accounts for areas with statistically low return rates. However, Republicans oppose sampling because they feel it overcounts groups that tend to vote Democratic (and, Democrats tend to support sampling because they feel it's a more accurate count). In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that sampling cannot be used to determine population for the purposes of apportioning US congressional seats, and while it could be used for drawing state/local lines and for allocating federal funds, it's such a political football that it probably won't happen in the foreseeable future.

more than 3 years ago

Malfunction Costs Couple $11 Million Slot Machine Jackpot

ral315 Re:Casino's blaim bugs all the time. Its a scam! (479 comments)

As has probably already been stated, that's 4.2 billion pennies - i.e. an integer overflow. I agree that slot machines shouldn't have these issues, but by the same token, if a machine whose posted top prize is, say, $10,000 says that I won $42 million, I would expect that there's an error. Similarly, if my bank has a computer error and tells me that I have an extra $1 million in my account, I wouldn't expect them to honor the error.

more than 4 years ago

No Space Porn (For Now)

ral315 Re:I'd turn it down too... (260 comments)

Oatmeal? Spittle? Semen? This must be where Wilford Brimley was strangled by Bob Crane!

more than 6 years ago



ral315 ral315 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

ral315 writes "Former United States President Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. has died today, at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, at the age of 93. Ford was sworn in as the 38th President of the United States following the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974 following the Watergate scandal. He served the appointed term and ran an unsuccessful re-election bid for the office of the presidency in 1976 against Jimmy Carter. Ford is the only president to have held the office of the presidency without ever having been elected to either the presidency or the office of the vice-presidency."


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