Tag: proposal

(TRIGGER WARNING) Stealthing is rape

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a description of sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised.


Stealthing is RapeI fully understand that this story isn’t going to get a ton of attention anywhere because of the U.S. House vote on taking health insurance away from millions of Americans earlier today, but, as reported by the Madison-based Wisconsin State Journal’s Molly Beck, a Democratic member of the Wisconsin State Assembly has proposed legislation that would criminalize nonconsentual condom removal during sexual intercourse, which is also known as “stealthing”, in the State of Wisconsin:

As far as I know, no state has a law on the books explicitly defining stealthing as rape or explicitly criminalizing stealthing, and there’s not a lot of statistics about stealthing available. That doesn’t change the fact that stealthing is rape. If one sexual partner requests that another sexual partner use a condom during sexual intercourse between the two sexual partners, and then one sexual partner removes the condom and continues intercourse without using the condom without the other sexual partner consenting to sexual intercourse without use of the condom, that is rape.

Melissa Sargent, the Wisconsin legislator who proposed the anti-stealthing bill in her state, is one of the best advocates for women holding elected office anywhere in the country. Even though Sargent is a very progressive Democrat in a state whose government is controlled by very conservative Republicans, Sargent has had success when it comes to getting legislation designed to protect women enacted. A notable example of Sargent’s work when it comes to protecting women is Sargent’s successful 2015 push to make upskirting a felony in Wisconsin.

I encourage elected officials in all U.S. jurisdictions to criminalize stealthing, because stealthing is rape.

How NBC can make its future Olympic coverage better, instead of bashing millennials

During American television coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, NBC and its affiliated cable networks (particularly NBC itself) produced an awful broadcast of the most significant international multi-sport event in the world. Even though Rio is only two hours ahead of U.S. Central Daylight Time during the month of August, the opening and closing ceremonies were broadcast on a tape delay (and heavily edited to remove some portions of both ceremonies), many events, even some popular events with popular athletes, were broadcast on a tape delay, if not pre-empted completely, many sports (such as rugby sevens and wrestling) did not have a single medal-earning event broadcast on over-the-air television, and, in some instances, NBC announcers acted in a sexist manner when talking about female athletes (notable examples of this include NBC swimming announcer Dan Hicks crediting the husband of the swimmer for a female Hungarian swimmer winning gold in the women’s 400m individual medley and one of the Golf Channel announcers referring to female American golfer Stacy Lewis as “grumpy”). Long story short, NBC did nearly everything to alienate millennials and feminists during the Olympics.

Instead of outlining plans to improve NBC’s coverage to adapt to modern society (many Americans found it easier to get Olympic results via Twitter and other social media websites than watching actual television coverage of the Games; in fact, #Rio2016 is still a trending hashtag on Twitter, even more than a week after the closing ceremony), NBC/Comcast executives are simply blaming millennials for the Olympic coverage’s low ratings.

While I enjoyed watching the Olympics this year, here are some of my complaints about the Olympic coverage on NBC and its affiliated cable networks (I’m not considering factors that are completely out of NBC’s control, such as weather delays/event postponements and the quality of the world feeds that Olympic Broadcast Services (OBS) provides to each country’s Olympic broadcast rights-holder):

Too much volleyball on network television!

If it weren’t for NBC providing quite a bit of time covering sports like track and field and swimming and NBC’s affiliated cable channels airing many other sports, American television viewers would think that the Summer Olympics were nothing more than a couple of indoor and beach volleyball tournaments, since volleyball (both indoor and beach), compromised a large amount of NBC’s over-the-air coverage of the games. The Olympics should be treated as the multi-sport event that it is, not as a glorified tournament for a single sport.

Too few medal events on network television!

In a surprisingly large number of Olympic sports that were part of the 2016 summer program, not a single medal-earning event aired on the over-the-air NBC network. Among the sports that were, to my knowledge, not seen on American English-language over-the-air television include tennis (although cable channel Bravo acted as a de facto Olympic tennis channel during the Games), rugby sevens (which bounced around between several different cable channels to the point of confusing American rugby fans), judo, taekwondo (I don’t recall any English-language television broadcast of taekwondo in the U.S. during the games), wrestling, boxing, badminton, table tennis, modern pentathlon, soccer (probably the most popular Olympic sport not broadcast over-the-air in the U.S.) and sailing (I also don’t recall any English-language television broadcast of sailing in the U.S. during the games).

Too much tape-delaying!

Tape-delaying the opening and closing ceremonies is a slap to the face to American television viewers. Also, even some of the more popular Olympic sports here in the U.S., such as gymnastics and diving, got the ol’ Memorex treatment from NBC.

NBC’s imperialist attitude towards the Games

NBC thinks that, because they spent a bunch of money to secure U.S. Olympic broadcasting rights until the Games of the XXXV Olympiad of 2032 (host city to be determined), they can single-handedly control every single thing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the organizers of a particular Olympic Games does. A notable example of this was when NBC tried to bully the Rio Olympic organizers into conducing the Parade of Nations (which occurs during the opening ceremony) with the countries entering in English alphabetical order, despite the fact that the host country, Brazil, is a predominantly Portuguese-speaking country (the Portuguese-language name for the United States begins with the letter “E”, not the letter “U” like it does in English), and English is not a commonly-spoken language in Brazil. The Olympic organizers rejected that idea almost immediately, and NBC insulted American viewers by claiming that many American viewers simply change the channel or turn off the TV once the U.S. Olympic team enters the site of the opening ceremony during the Parade of Nations.

Here’s some of my suggestions to NBC for how to improve their Olympic coverage:

Air as many medal-earning events on the NBC over-the-air network either live in their entirety, live-but-joined in progress, or on as short of a tape delay as practically possible

Instead of structuring the NBC over-the-air Olympic broadcast schedule around the schedules of local NBC affiliates or to avoid airing Olympic events in the U.S. overnight hours, NBC should schedule 15 straight hours of Olympic coverage on most days in a time block corresponding to an 8 A.M. to 11 P.M. time block in the host city’s local time. Exceptions to this are any pre-opening ceremony prelims (which would be aired on NBCSN), and the days of the opening and closing ceremonies (opening and closing ceremonies would be aired live on NBC, regardless of time of day; during day of closing ceremony, coverage of the final medal-earning events would run until the conclusion of final medal event). If NBC were to use this broadcast pattern for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the NBC live broadcast window would run from 5 P.M. on one day to 8 A.M. the next day U.S. Central Standard Time. This would allow 9 hours per day for NBC affiliates to air a 30-minute local newscast, a 30-minute NBC network newscast, FCC-mandated educational programming (3 hours-per-week mandate), and three hours of tape-delayed NBC Olympic highlights. Assuming that the children’s programming is aired in a late-morning slot in 90-minute blocks on both weekend days, that would leave no fewer than four and a half hours for affiliates to air syndicated programming and/or additional local newscasts (six hours on weekdays). Airing the FCC-mandated educational programming in an approved time slot (sometime between 7 A.M. and 10 P.M.) would be a challenge if an American host city or another country that was one hour ahead of part of the United States, and would probably require the FCC and/or Congress to grant every NBC affiliate in the country a temporary waiver to the E/I rule that would only apply during the Olympics. In the absence of such a waiver, scheduling either a single 13 1/2-hour live block of two days of the week, a single 14-hour live block on three days of the week, or adopting a split time block arrangement of some kind, with educational programming inserted between blocks of network Olympic coverage.

Most importantly, gold medal-earning events would be prioritized, regardless of sport, and at least one gold medal-earning event in every Olympic sport and discipline contested in a particular year would be televised on over-the-air television. Secondary priority would be given to events that are not gold medal-earning events, but events where silver and/or bronze medals are at stake. No preliminary events would air on over-the-air television.

Prioritize actual sporting events over interviews, documentary-style feature segments, etc.

Leave the interviews and documentary-style feature segments to either the over-the-air highlights show or, if filler material between medal events is needed, during the 15-hour over-the-air live block between medal events. Also, interviews and feature segments should be no more than 5 minutes in length.

Use NBCSN to air any medal events that can’t be aired on NBC

NBC’s primary cable television outlet for sports broadcasting is, indisputably, NBCSN, so, if there’s Olympic events being played, NBCSN should be on-air and, if practically possible, live with either a medal-earning event that NBC is unable to air or a featured preliminary event. NBCSN is a cable channel, not an over-the-air channel, so it isn’t bound by FCC regulations on educational programming.

CNBC, USA, and, if needed, MSNBC, Bravo, and Golf Channel can serve as dedicated channels for some of the more popular Olympic sports

In recent Summer Olympiads, Bravo has served as a de facto Olympic tennis channel and Golf Channel aired the 2016 Olympic golf events in their entirety. MSNBC could serve as a dedicated Olympic gymnastics channel during the Summer Olympics, CNBC could serve as a dedicated track-and-field channel during the Summer Olympics and a dedicated ice hockey channel during the Winter Olympics, and USA could serve as a dedicated swimming channel during the Summer Olympics and a dedicated curling channel during the Winter Olympics. Any non-Olympic sporting events (such as NASCAR and English Premier League soccer) could be aired on The Weather Channel commercial-free (although 2-to-3-minute weather updates by The Weather Channel’s on-air personnel would be inserted where commercials ordinarily would be inserted).

Give each sport at least one dedicated cable channel during the Olympics, so that those with a cable or satellite television package that includes NBCSN and a willing cable or satellite provider would be able to watch the Olympics a la carte, with every event televised live and in its entirety

NBC offers cable and satellite providers stand-alone Olympic soccer and basketball channels during the Summer Olympics, so why not do so for every other Summer Olympic sport and every Winter Olympic sport during the Games? One channel could be devoted to ceremonies (opening ceremony, closing ceremony, medal ceremonies, gymnastics gala in the summer, and figure skating gala in the winter), and each Olympic sport and discipline contested in a particular season would get as many channels dedicated to it as needed in order to air every single Olympic event live and in its entirety, even if there’s delays or postponements forcing schedule changes and/or it means effectively simulcasting NBC or an affiliated cable channel

Limit commercials to no more than four minutes per hour

If CBS can air 56 minutes of golf per hour during The Masters, than NBC and its affiliated broadcasting platforms should be able to air 56 minutes of sporting competition per hour for a much larger sporting event.

Respect the Olympics and the athletes who participate in it

Even if NBC were to air only thirty minutes of black-and-white film coverage of a future Summer or Winter Games roughly 18 months after the conclusion of the Games, they should at least have their on-air personnel respect the Games and the athletes who participate in the Games, who come from many different countries and backgrounds.

 

Bernie strongly supports paid family and medical leave…Hillary doesn’t

If you support federally-guaranteed paid family, medical, maternity, and paternity leave for American workers, then Bernie Sanders is the Democratic candidate for president that strongly supports what you believe in on this important issue:

(Bernie) Sanders also backs a bill pending in Congress that would mandate employers provide paid family leave time after a child is born. The bill would be funded by an increase in payroll taxes estimated to cost the average worker about $72 a year.

(Hillary) Clinton has spoken out forcefully for the concept of paid family leave but not embraced the particular measure because it violates a campaign pledge not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000.

While Hillary Clinton is busy twisting her own campaign platform into a political pretzel because of her Grover Norquist-like campaign pledge to not raise taxes on the low-end wealthy, Bernie Sanders is strongly advocating for actual legislation designed to allow workers to care for their families in times of need. For Bernie, supporting guaranteed paid leave isn’t just talk, it’s something that he’s actually proposed in Congress. Earlier this year, Bernie co-sponsored legislation that would allow “mothers and fathers to receive 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for a baby” and allow “workers to take the same amount of paid time off if they are diagnosed with cancer or have other serious medical conditions or to take care of family members who are seriously ill” (fact sheet here).

My proposed projected scoring system for projecting golf scores in stroke play tournaments

AUTHOR’S NOTE #1: The blog post includes underlined numbers to indicate that the numbers that are underlined are repeating decimals.

AUTHOR’S NOTE #2: The projected scoring system described below is not to be confused with the “most likely score” method that is part of the U.S. Golf Association (USGA) handicap system and designed mainly for recreational golf.


Unlike most sports, it’s not fair to end a round of a stroke-play golf tournament early because of bad weather or some other condition that prevents the round from being completed on its scheduled day. That’s because it wouldn’t be fair to allow one golfer to play fewer holes than another golfer in the same tournament, as, depending on the scores being set by the golfers playing the entire course, it would either be a huge advantage or disadvantage to the golfer playing fewer holes. Also, because each round of a stroke-play golf tournament is usually scheduled for most of the available daylight hours on a given day, and golf courses don’t have artificial lighting of any kind to allow for nighttime play, any suspension of play for a significant length of time will invariably result in golfers who were among the last to tee off not being able to complete their rounds before darkness.

However, a projected scoring system, in which a mathematical formula is used to project an full-round score for a golfer who is unable to complete the full round due to the suspension of play, would eliminate the unfairness associated with ending a round of a stroke-play golf tournament early. At least one sport that I know of, cricket, uses a projected scoring system for some events. In One Day International (ODI) and List A limited-overs cricket matches, the Duckworth-Lewis method, a mathematical formula that produces a projected result if the second team to bat cannot complete their innings due to bad weather, darkness, or some other reason, can be employed in certain situations.

In order to speed up stroke-play golf tournaments (most, but not all, professional golf tournaments use the stroke-play format) that are affected by bad weather or other conditions resulting in play being suspended before the completion of a round, I’m proposing a projected scoring system that can be used if a round is suspended after all golfers have completed at least 12 holes on an 18-hole golf course (at least 6 holes played by all players for 9-hole courses), but before all golfers complete the round, and play cannot be restarted later in the day.

If a golfer had completed a hole other than the final hole he or she was scheduled to play, but had not yet hit his or her tee shot on the next hole, at the time of suspension of play, the formula used to calculate a golfer’s projected score is p/f = s/c, in which p is the projected score relative to par for the round, f is the number of holes in a full round (this is universally 18 for professional tournaments), s is the score relative to par for the holes completed, and c is the number of holes completed. Since p is the variable, one must solve for p in order to get a projected score relative to par. Should p be a number with one or more decimal places, it shall be rounded to the nearest whole number. Should p be a non-whole number ending in .5 or greater, it should be rounded away from zero (i.e., 1.67 is rounded to 2, while -1.67 is rounded to -2). Should p be a non-whole number ending in anything less than .5, it should be rounded towards zero (i.e., 1.33 is rounded to 1, while -1.33 is rounded to -1).

After the projected score relative to par is calculated, the second step involves assigning projected birdies or projected bogeys to holes that the golfer did not play because of the suspension of play. The formula used to determine how many projected birdies or projected bogeys should be assigned is |p| – |s| = b, in which |p| is the absolute value of the projected score relative to par, as rounded per the rounding rules that I described in the previous paragraph, |s| is the absolute value of the score relative to par for the holes completed, and b is the number of projected birdies or projected bogeys to be assigned. The variable in this formula is b, and whether or not p is positive or negative, not |p|, is used to determine whether to assign projected birdies or projected bogeys.

Here’s how the assignment of projected birdies and projected bogeys for each golfer would be conducted:

  • Should b be zero, projected pars shall be assigned to all holes that the golfer did not play prior to the suspension of play.
  • Should p be a negative number, b be a non-zero number, and the number of birdies to be assigned is less than the number of holes the golfer did not play (i.e., b < (fc)), a number of projected birdies equal to b shall be assigned to the easiest b holes that the golfer did play, and projected pars shall be assigned on all other holes that the golfer did not play.
  • Should p be a positive number, b be a non-zero number, and b < (fc), a number of projected bogeys equal to b shall be assigned to the most difficult b holes that the golfer did not play, and projected pars shall be assigned to all other holes that the golfer did not play.
  • Should p be a negative number, b be a non-zero number, and the number of birdies to be assigned is equal to number of holes the golfer did not play (i.e., b = fc), projected birdies shall be assigned to all holes that the golfer did not play. Should p be a negative number, b be a non-zero number, and b > (fc) but 2b < (fc), a number of projected eagles equal to b – (fc) shall be assigned to the easiest b – (fc) holes that the golfer did not play, and projected birdies shall be assigned to all other holes that the golfer did not play. Should p be a negative number, b be a non-zero number, and the number of birdies to be assigned is twice the number of holes the golfer did not play (i.e., 2b = (fc)), projected eagles shall be assigned to all holes that the golfer did not play.
  • Should p be a positive number, b be a non-zero number, and the number of bogeys to be assigned is equal to number of holes the golfer did not play (i.e., b = fc), projected bogeys shall be assigned to all holes that the golfer did not play. Should p be a positive number, b be a non-zero number, and b > (fc) but 2b < (fc), a number of projected double bogeys equal to b – (fc) shall be assigned to the most difficult b – (fc) holes that the golfer did not play, and projected bogeys shall be assigned to all other holes that the golfer did not play. Should p be a positive number, b be a non-zero number, and the number of bogeys to be assigned is twice the number of holes the golfer did not play (i.e., 2b = (fc)), projected double bogeys shall be assigned to all holes that the golfer did not play.
  • Should p be a negative number, b be a non-zero number, and the number of birdies to be assigned is more than twice the number of holes the golfer did not play, one shall use the formula a = b/(fc), in which a is the number of projected strokes under par divided by the number of holes the golfer did not play, to calculate how many strokes under par should be assigned to each hole. Should a be a whole number, the number of strokes that shall be assigned to each hole that the golfer did not play shall be the par of the hole minus a. Should a be a fraction, a shall be rendered as an improper fraction in which the denominator shall equal (fc), the numerator shall be divided by the denominator in order to yield a quotient with a remainder, the number of projected strokes on the easiest number of unplayed holes equal to the remainder shall be the par of the hole minus the sum of a rounded down to the nearest whole number and one, and the number of projected strokes on all other unplayed holes shall be the par of the hole minus a rounded down to the nearest whole number.
  • Should p be a positive number, b be a non-zero number, and the number of bogeys to be assigned is more than twice the number of holes the golfer did not play, one shall use the formula a = b/(fc), in which a is the number of projected strokes over par divided by the number of holes the golfer did not play, to calculate how many strokes over par should be assigned to each hole. Should a be a whole number, the number of strokes that shall be assigned to each hole that the golfer did not play shall be the par of the hole plus a. Should a be a fraction, a shall be rendered as an improper fraction in which the denominator shall equal (fc), the numerator shall be divided by the denominator in order to yield a quotient with a remainder, the number of projected strokes on the most difficult number of unplayed holes equal to the remainder shall be the par of the hole plus the sum of a rounded down to the nearest whole number and one, and the number of projected strokes on all other unplayed holes shall be the par of the hole plus a rounded down to the nearest whole number.

To determine which holes projected birdies and bogeys are to be assigned, either average scores relative to par for each hole (counting only those who completed their round and if at least eight players completed their rounds prior to suspension of play), each hole’s handicap rating, or the lengths of the holes can be used.

For golfers who were playing a hole at the time of suspension of play, two separate projected score calculations are made. The first calculation, called the calculation for completed holes, treats the golfer as if he or she did not tee off on the hole he or she was playing at the time of suspension of play. The second calculation, called the calculation for played holes, treats the golfer as if he or she recorded a score of the number of strokes he or she made on the hole he or she was playing at the time of suspension of play, plus one stroke. The calculation that results in the higher score relative to par is the calculation used for the projected score for a golfer who was playing a hole at the time of suspension of play, then the calculation and assignment of projected birdies and bogies is done using the projected score calculation that results in the higher score relative to par.

Had this system been in use in the 2005 PGA Championship at the par-70 Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey, the final round would have been not restarted on Monday (as it was in real-life), projected scores would have been used for several golfers who did not complete their rounds on Sunday due to play being suspended, and the tournament would have been declared over on Sunday. This is because all golfers had played at least 12 holes (in fact, all golfers played at least 13 holes) prior to play being suspended on Sunday. I’ll use two real-life examples from that tournament in order to explain how the projected score system works.

In the 2005 PGA Championship, Steve Elkington (who finished in a tie for second place with Thomas Bjorn in real-life with a final round of 1-over-par 71 and four-round tournament score of 3-under-par 277) had finished the 15th hole and was one over par for the round at the time final round play was suspended on Sunday. Had projected scores instead of Monday play been used to determine the outcome of the 2005 PGA Championship, here’s how Elkington’s projected score would have been determined:

p/18 = 1/15
p = 1.16, rounded to 1
|1| – |1| = 0
Projected pars on all holes not played by Elkington prior to suspension of play
Projected final round score of 1-over-par 71 for Elkington
Projected tournament score of 3-under-par 277 for Elkington

In the 2005 PGA Championship, Phil Mickelson (who won the tournament in real-life with a final round of 2-over-par 72 and four-round tournament score of 4-under-par 276) had made three strokes on the par-4 14th hole, but had not yet holed out on the 14th hole, and was two over par for the round, and four under par for the entire tournament, at the time final round play was suspended on Sunday. Had projected scores instead of Monday play been used to determine the outcome of the 2005 PGA Championship, here’s how Mickelson’s projected score would have been calculated:

Calculation for completed holes
p/18 = 2/13
p=2.769230, rounded to 3

Calculation for played holes
p/18 = 2/14
p=2.571428, rounded to 3

Calculation for completed holes used to project Mickelson’s score
|3| – |2| = 1
Projected bogey on hardest hole not completed by Mickelson prior to suspension of play
Projected par on other four holes not completed by Mickelson prior to suspension of play
Projected final round score of 3-over-par 73 for Mickelson
Projected tournament score of 3-under-par 277 for Mickelson

The next example that I’ll give is a completely fictional example that takes place on a fictional par-72 golf course in the first round of a stroke-play tournament. Because of a late-afternoon thunderstorm that hit the golf course after Bogey McSandtrap (the name of the fictional golfer) finished the 12th hole of his round (McSandtrap began his round at the 1st hole), and all players in the first round were able to complete at least 12 holes prior to the suspension of play due to the thunderstorm, projected scores were used to determine first-round scores for McSandtrap and the other golfers who did not finish their rounds. The fictional golf course has a total of 16 par-4 holes, a par-3 8th hole, and a par-5 12th hole. McSandtrap did extremely poorly in the 12 holes that he played, taking a whopping 104 strokes to complete the first 12 holes of the golf course, or 56 over par. Based on average scores for each hole relative to par among those who completed their rounds prior to the suspension of play, of holes 13-18 (all par-4 holes), 18 was the most difficult (average score of 4.74), followed by 14 (average score of 4.38), 17 (average score of 4.33), 13 (average score of 4.04), 16 (average score of 3.85), and 15 (average score of 3.72). Here’s how McSandtrap’s projected score would be calculated under this fictional example:

p/18 = 56/12
p=81
|81| – |56| = 25
25/(18 – 12) = 25/6 = 4 R 1
Projected quintuple bogey (five-over-par for the hole) on hole 18 for McSandtrap
Projected quadruple bogey (four-over-par for the hole) on holes 13-17 for McSandtrap
Projected first-round score of 81-over-par 153 for McSandtrap

My projected score method cannot be used in all situations. A notable example of an instance where my projected score method couldn’t have been used was the second round of the 2015 Open Championship at the Old Course at the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland, which was suspended twice on Friday (first suspension due to heavy rain; second suspension due to darkness) and once on Saturday (due to high winds), with play being suspended on Saturday for nearly 10 1/2 hours! However, in regards to the second suspension of play, projected scores couldn’t have been used in that scenario since a number of golfers were waiting to play the 11th hole at the time play was suspended. However, if play has to be suspended for any reason after all players have completed at least 12 holes of a round of golf, and the round can’t be resumed later in the day, using my projected scoring system is a great alternative to finishing the round on another day.

Former Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott now lobbying for pro-rape legislation in Congress

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains extremely strong and profane language referring to sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised.


This is one of the most repulsive ideas I’ve ever heard of…a group of Republicans in Congress, including Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), have proposed legislation that would prohibit colleges and universities from disciplining students who rape someone, unless law enforcement becomes involved in a rape case.

Guess who is lobbying for this ridiculous piece of legislation? Chester Trent Lott, Sr., the former Senate Majority Leader who is more commonly known as Trent Lott. You might remember Lott from his infamous remarks from 2002, in which he publicly defended segregationist Strom Thurmond’s third-party 1948 presidential campaign (Thurmond lost to President Harry Truman). Those remarks forced Trott to resign from the leadership of the Senate Republicans. Now, Lott is lobbying for pro-rape legislation that would make it much easier for college students to rape someone, which is a criminal act in every jurisdiction in this country, and not get caught.

While the proposed legislation is called the Safe Campus Act (SCA), this legislation would actually make college campuses far more dangerous for students. What this legislation would do is effectively force college and universities in this country to give a free pass to rapists if nobody reports the criminal act to law enforcement. Congressional Republicans and Trent Lott are supporting the idea of forcing institutions of higher education to cover up sexual assaults perpetrated by their students.

Anyone who supports this ridiculous legislation apparently believes that male college students have an unfettered right to fuck every woman they want to, even if the women don’t consent to the sexual acts. No person in this country has an unfettered right to perform sexual acts on someone else without their consent, in fact, it’s a crime to rape someone.

I’ve seen the Republican Party do incredibly asinine things in my lifetime, but this is the single most repulsive thing I’ve ever seen the Republicans do.

Bruce Rauner wants to amend the Illinois Constitution in order to steal pension benefits

With the possibility that the Illinois Supreme Court may strike down at least part of former Democratic Governor Pat Quinn’s pension theft legislation looming, incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner is already pushing for an amendment to the Illinois Constitution that, if ratified, would steal pension benefits from our state’s public employees. While a formal amendment has not been proposed yet, the amendment would, if ratified, force at least current public employees to choose between reduced pension benefits or a 401k-type plan.

Make no mistake about it, the Rauner pension theft amendment would be disastrous for Illinoisans.

First off, the amendment would effectively force our state’s public employees to make a lesser-of-two-evils decision: either take lower pension payments once they retire, or take payments from 401k-type plan once they retire. Lower pension payments would mean less money for retirees to spend on goods and services, resulting in many of them becoming impoverished and dependent on social safety net programs in order to survive. On the other hand, 401k-type plans provide no lifetime guarantee of payments, meaning that it’s possible for a beneficiary of a 401k-type plan to outlive their benefits.

If the Rauner pension theft amendment were to be ratified by voters, it would likely result in the loss of thousands of Illinois private-sector jobs. That’s because many Illinois businesses, even businesses located hundreds of miles from Springfield and/or Chicago, are dependent on retired public employees spending money on goods and services in order to survive. While our state’s pension system is badly underfunded, pension theft would leave our state even worse off than it currently is.

60% of all members of both houses of the Illinois General Assembly, which is controlled by supermajorities of Democrats, would need to approve of the Rauner pension theft amendment in order for it to appear on the Illinois ballot. If that happens, Illinois voters will be able to vote yes or no on the Rauner pension theft amendment in a ratification referendum. Either 60% of those voting on the referendum or 50%+1 of all votes in the election in which the referendum is held for the “yes” option would ratify the amendment. If the Rauner pension theft amendment appears on an Illinois ballot at any time in the future, I strongly encourage a “no” vote on the amendment.

House Democrats push for progressive tax reform

For far too long, the tepid Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill has lacked any real comprehensive plan to overhaul the federal tax code to increase taxes on the wealthy and provide real tax relief to middle-class Americans.

As if someone turned a light on, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland unveiled a progressive tax reform plan yesterday. This plan would repeal tax breaks that benefit the wealthy and institute a new fee on stock trades in order to provide tax relief for middle-class Americans:

Senior Democrats, dissatisfied with the party’s tepid prescriptions for combating income inequality, are drafting an “action plan” that calls for a massive transfer of wealth from the super-rich and Wall Street traders to the heart of the middle class.

The centerpiece of the proposal, set to be unveiled Monday by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), is a “paycheck bonus credit” that would shave $2,000 a year off the tax bills of couples earning less than $200,000. Other provisions would nearly triple the tax credit for child care and reward people who save at least $500 a year.

The windfall — about $1.2 trillion over a decade — would come directly from the pockets of Wall Street “high rollers” through a new fee on financial transactions, and from the top 1 percent of earners, who would lose billions of dollars in lucrative tax breaks.

Unfortunately, since Republicans control both houses of Congress, this is going absolutely nowhere for at least the next two years. However, for Democrats to simply advocate such a bold plan is a big step forward towards combating the rampant problem of income inequality in this country and restoring the American middle class.

Two new calendar proposals: Universal Lunisolar Calendar and Universal Semiseasonal Calendar

While the Gregorian calendar, the calendar officially used by the United States, the rest of the western world, and many other countries, has served us well, it has, in my opinion, several flaws:

  • Especially in non-leap years, the second month of the year (February) is noticeably shorter than the other eleven months for no real reason.
  • September, October, November, and December, the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th months, respectively, are actually incorrectly named: In Latin, September means “seventh month”, October means “eighth month”, November means “ninth month”, and December means “tenth month”.
  • The beginning of each year does not line up with either meteorological or astronomical seasons (i.e, the beginning of each year is not at the beginning or middle of a meteorological or astronomical season).
  • The months do not line up with the phases of the moon.

What I am proposing to solve each of these problems is a Universal Lunisolar Calendar (ULC) that accounts for both the earth’s rotation around the sun and the phases of the moon. A lunisolar calendar (in this case, a lunisolar calendar based on a tropical year) is a calendar in which a year is

Here are the basic points about the ULC:

  • The ULC year begins on January 15 of the Gregorian year of the same number, which means that each ULC year begins exactly in the middle of meteorological winter according to the U.S. federal government’s definition of meteorological winter.
  • Each non-leap year shall consist of 365 days, and each leap year shall consist of 366 days. Leap years are years in which the number of the year whose numbers are divisible by four, except for years whose numbers are divisible by 100 but not by 400.
  • The start of each month is the date in which the new moon occurs in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
  • In years in which the first new moon of the year falls on any day other than the first day of the year, the period from the first day of the year to the day before the date of the first new moon of the year shall compromise the month Incipereber. In years in which the new moon falls on the first day of the year, the month Incipereber does not take place.
  • The first new moon of the year marks the start of the month Unusber.
  • The second new moon of the year marks the start of the month Duober.
  • The third new moon of the year marks the start of the month Tresber.
  • The fourth new moon of the year marks the start of the month Quatuorber.
  • The fifth new moon of the year marks the start of the month Quinqueber.
  • The sixth new moon of the year marks the start of the month Sexber.
  • The seventh new moon of the year marks the start of the month September.
  • The eighth new moon of the year marks the start of the month October.
  • The ninth new moon of the year marks the start of the month November.
  • The tenth new moon of the year marks the start of the month December.
  • The eleventh new moon of the year marks the start of the month Undecimber.
  • The twelfth new moon of the year marks the start of the month Duodecimber.
  • In years in which there is a thirteenth new moon of the year, the thirteenth new moon of the year marks the start of the month Finisber. In years in which there are only twelve new moons in the year, the month Finisber does not take place.
  • Although the months of Incipereber, Finisber, and, somewhat less frequently, Duodecember are usually noticeably shorter than the other twelve months of the year (most years will feature either Incipereber or Finisber, but not both, and, in some years, either Incipereber and Finisber will consist of only a single day), this is because the start of each month (with the exception of Incipereber, which starts at the beginning of any year in which the first new moon falls on a date other than the first day of the year), begins on a date that features a new moon.
  • Just like the Gregorian calendar, there are seven days in each week: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
  • The ULC year begins on the same day of the week that the Gregorian year of the same number does. This is because, under the Gregorian calendar, January 15 (start of the ULC year) always falls on the same date as January 1 (start of the Gregorian year).

Since the beginning and end dates of these months don’t usually line up with the start, middle, or end of either meteorological or astronomical seasons (with the notable exception of the first day of Incipereber roughly lining up with the middle of meteorological winter, unless the year has no Incipereber due to the new moon falling on the first day of the year, in which the first day of Unusber marks the beginning of meteorological winter), I’ve also included the concept of a dimidium, which consists of half of a ULC season. There are eight dimidiums in each year:

  • Posthibernus, the first dimidium of the year, consists of the first 45 days of the year in non-leap years and the first 46 days of the year in leap years.
  • Vernus, the second dimidium of the year, consists of the 46 days after the final day of Posthibernus (days 46-91 in non-leap years, days 47-92 in leap years).
  • Postvernus, the third dimidium of the year, consists of the 45 days after the final day of Vernus (days 92-136 in non-leap years, days 93-137 in leap years).
  • Estivus, the fourth dimidium of the year, consists of the 46 days after the final day of Postvernus (days 137-182 in non-leap years, days 138-183 in leap years).
  • Postestivus, the fifth dimidium of the year, consists of the 46 days after the final day of Estivus (days 183-228 in non-leap years, days 184-229 in leap years).
  • Autumnus, the sixth dimidium of the year, consists of the 46 days after the final day of Postestivus (days 229-274 in non-leap years, days 230-275 in leap years).
  • Postautumnus, the seventh dimidium of the year, consists of the 45 days after the final day of Autumnus (days 275-319 in non-leap years, days 276-320 in leap years).
  • Hibernus, the eighth dimidium of the year, consists of the final 46 days of the year.

My other new calendar proposal, the Universal Semiseasonal Calendar (USSC), is a solar calendar (i.e., a calendar in which a year consists of a single rotation of the earth around the sun) in which the USSC year begins on 15th day of the Gregorian year of the same number and features the eight dimidiums listed above as months.

While I highly doubt that the Gregorian calendar will be replaced for official purposes in the United States at any point in my lifetime, I’ve provided two proposals for a new calendar.