Help make London a National Park

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Help make London a National Park

Feel like making London the first National Park City this weekend? If so you're in good company.

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Four Parties

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Washington Post fantasizes about a four party system:

"If we assign members of Congress to political parties based on the spending votes, we end up with four parties. The Liberals bucked the Democratic president to oppose the spending package. The Democrats voted for it. The Republicans followed Boehner and McConnell's lead. The Conservatives didn't."

It's time.

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California 2014 Propositions

Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

California 2014 Propositions

My quick voting guide for the California 2014 Propositions:

1: Water Bond. Funding for Water Quality, Supply, Treatment, and Storage Projects.

Yes: Doesn't help with the current drought but might help with the next one.

2: State Budget. Budget Stabilization Account. Legislative Constitutional Amendment.

Yes: Should help even out funding by forcing the state to save excess capital gains revenue.

45: Healthcare Insurance. Rate Changes. Initiative Statute.

No. We have Covered California now. Not clear that this helps.

46: Drug and Alcohol Testing Of Doctors. Medical Negligence Lawsuits. Initiative Statute.

No. Too many issues in one confusing package.

47: Criminal Sentences. Misdemeanor Penalties. Initiative Statute.

Yes. Time to stop putting everyone in prison already,

48: Indian Gaming Compacts. Referendum.

Yes. I'm not a casino fan in general and the whole compensation through casino monopolies mystifies me. But that's the system we have and this seems like it's a tribal casino on newly minted tribal land. I'm not likely to go there but I don't see a great reason to block it.

(previously)

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San Francisco 2014 Ballot Measures

Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

San Francisco 2014 Ballot Measures

My voting guide for the San Francisco 2014 ballot measures:

A: San Francisco Transportation and Road Improvement Bond

Yes: This borrows half a billion dollars to improve bike lanes, transit lanes, pedestrian crossings, etc. I walk, drive and bike around San Francisco as well as taking MUNI. We're killing too many people, especially pedestrians, and need to do a better job.

B: Adjusting Transportation Funding for Population Growth

No: More money to MUNI from population growth instead of tax base growth. These seem like they should be related and if not fix the tax base not the funding formula.

C: Fund; Public Education Enrichment Fund; Children and Families Council; Rainy Day Reserve

Yes: Continues existing universal preschool for 4-year-olds and other kids programs.

D: Retiree Health Benefits for Former Redevelopment Agency and Successor Agency Employees

Yes: This fixes a kink in benefits for a few city employees. Seems fair.

E: Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

No. I'm somewhat torn on this one. It probably would reduce sugar consumption but is that displaced spending going to broccoli? It's a regressive tax and I'd rather see more effort on education or making healthier alternatives more available and appealing.

F: Pier 70

Yes: Looks like a good development.

G: Additional Transfer Tax on Residential Property Sold Within 5 Years of Purchase

No. Covers way too many sales without many exemptions. Unfair to property owners.

H: Requiring Certain Golden Gate Park Athletic Fields To Be Kept As Grass With No Artificial Lighting

No: H and I are fight over installing artificial turf on the fields by the Beach Chalet. I've played soccer on gopher-ridden grass and it's lethal. I don't want to be responsible for twisted ankles so no on H and yes on I.

I: Renovation of Playgrounds, Walking Trails, and Athletic Fields

Yes. See H.

J: Minimum Wage Increase

Yes: It would be nice if more people who work in San Francisco could afford to live in San Francisco.

K: Affordable Housing

No: Not because it's a bad idea to add more affordable housing but it's a non-binding policy statement and doesn't actually seem to change anything.

L: Policy Regarding Transportation Priorities

No: This seeks to change policy to favor cars over other transit options. Nuts.

(previously)

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Please Stay

Updated on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Please Stay

My Scottish Grandmother would always tell me off if I said I was English instead of British. She also said it was better to be moving in the wrong direction rather than standing still in the right one. That mostly applied to navigating traffic, but I think it's true for Scotland as well. Help make the UK better and don't become small and stagnant and some sort of irrelevant bland euro-region.

And if you do go then this.

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Party Limits

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Party Limits

What if as well as Term Limits we had Party Limits - the same political party cannot win more than three or four times in a row?

Representative Alan Lowenthal has introduced the Let the People Draw the Lines Act which would seek to prevent gerrymandering by taking redistricting out of the hands of the politicians for the states that haven't done this already (California, Arizona, Washington and Idaho have independent commissions).

This is a good idea, but I'd go further. Let's introduce Term Limits where we don't already have them and then add Party Limits. The same politician can only hold on to their seat for two to three terms and additionally the same party can't hold the seat for more than three to four terms. We break up any kind of political monopoly and reduce the incentive to rig the system to keep the same incumbent in power.

We'd probably get more political diversity as well as fewer career politicians. It's a better solution to daisyworld.

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Boris: Make London a National Park!

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

You won't believe this one crazy trick that would fix the broken patent system

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

You won't believe this one crazy trick that would fix the broken patent system

On Thursday The White House announced a trio of executive actions to fight patent trolls, most interestingly:

"Crowdsourcing Prior Art — To help ensure that U.S. patents are of the highest quality, the USPTO is announcing a new initiative focused on expanding ways for companies, experts, and the general public to help patent examiners, holders, and applicants find relevant “prior art”—that is, the technical information patent examiners need to make a determination of whether an invention is truly novel."

I've considered this for a few years as a for-profit business, paying a bounty to anyone who contributes prior art that helps take out a troll. But I have a way better idea: stop examining patents altogether.

(previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously)

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Lottocracy vs Legislative Service

Updated on Sunday, May 16, 2021

Corrupt Legislation

Alexander Guerrero in aeon:

"There are hard questions about how exactly to structure a political system with lottery-selection at its heart. Here’s one approach, which I am in the process of developing, that I call lottocracy. The basic components are straightforward. First, rather than having a single, generalist legislature such as the United States Congress, the legislative function would be fulfilled by many different single-issue legislatures (each one focusing on, for example, just agriculture or health care)."

It's the same concept as legislative service except randomly selected people serve a single issue for three years rather than just voting on a single bill. I think the advantage is clearly that you get to build up a greater depth of knowledge if you're spending three years learning about health care. The disadvantage is that the number of people willing to give three years of their life is going to be much lower than just asking for the few weeks or months that legislative service would require.

(previously, previously)

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I really want to just blame Boehner...

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I really want to just blame Boehner...

...but if you can't keep a Government open the consequence should be an election and not a stalemate.

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