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1  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ireland General Discussion on: Today at 03:26:58 am
Thanks for the link to the B&A data.

Labour voters approve of Enda Kenny more than of Eamon Gilmore

15% of Farmers went to a performance of ballet or opera in the past year
Women were more likely than men to go to any/all cultural activities over the course of the past year.
C2DE voters were more likely than ABC1 voters to go a book reading over the past year.

The plurality of theatre goers are FF voters.
Green voters don't seem to like going to the circus  - but FF and SF voters are much more enthused by it.
SF voters are the most likely to go to public book readings; but the least likely to read a book yourself for pleasure.
2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: What is your alignment? on: April 16, 2014, 07:17:43 am
You are 41.7% Good.
You are 7.7% Chaotic.

Alignment: Neutral Good
3  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Nerdism - pt. III on: March 27, 2014, 01:54:38 am
4  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ireland General Discussion on: March 25, 2014, 10:16:05 am
Quote from: thejournal.ie
Fine Gael TD Nicky McFadden has died. She was 51.

Her death follows a long battle with Motor Neurone disease.

The Longford-Westmeath deputy was diagnosed with the condition in mid-2012, but made a decision to stay on and continue serving her constituents.

McFadden was first elected as a councillor in 1999 and entered the Oireachtas as a senator on the Administrative Panel in 2007. She was elected a TD in February 2011.


5  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Ireland by-elections, 2014 on: March 24, 2014, 08:34:12 am
Quote from: The Irish Times
Senior Coalition sources last night said an autumn byelection was the more likely option, rather than May 23rd, the same day as the European and local elections.

This would allow a number of byelections – possibly caused by TDs being elected to the European Parliament – to be held on the same day.

6  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: How many airports have you been to? on: March 24, 2014, 07:33:03 am
London Gatwick
London Heathrow
Paris CDG
Palma de Mallorca

Addis Ababa
Cape Town
Walvis Bay

New York-JFK
7  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Why Japan shows little interest in joining worldwide effort to find MH370 Flight on: March 19, 2014, 07:19:32 am
Political disagreements should be put aside at the mement. The UK and France also help to search the plane though it has nothing to do with them.

Well, actually there were 4 French people on the flight...

8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: DPRK Supreme People's Assembly Elections, 2014 on: March 10, 2014, 07:28:56 am
  • You are invited to drop the ballot straight into the box, while bowing

Indeed. Though there is the option to reject the candidate on the ballot...

Quote from: The Daily Telegraph
the ballot paper only carries one name and anyone who does not wish to vote for that representative of the party is required to enter a special booth and cross out the name on the ballot.

9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: DPRK Supreme People's Assembly Elections, 2014 on: March 10, 2014, 03:59:10 am
And an early declaration from Paektusan Constituency No. 111 ...

Quote from: BBC
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been elected to the country's rubber-stamp parliament with a unanimous vote from his district, state media say.

Mr Kim's 100% approval from his Mount Paektu constituency reflects the "absolute support" of people in the country, KCNA news agency says.

10  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: DPRK Supreme People's Assembly Elections, 2014 on: March 10, 2014, 03:52:55 am
Good news on turnout.

Quote from: Korean Central News Agency
All Voters Go to Polls

The election of the deputies to the 13th Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK is going on, according to the Rules on the Elections of Deputies to the People's Assemblies at All Levels.

As of 18:00 Sunday, all electors registered on the lists of voters went to the polls, except for those on foreign tour or working in oceans, according to a report of the Central Election Committee.

Overseas citizens of the DPRK staying in the homeland also took part in voting according to their wishes.

Those voters unable to go to the polling stations because of old age or illness cast their ballots into mobile ballot boxes.

11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish Independence Referendum - 2014 on: March 05, 2014, 01:30:20 am
The UK is an island unlike other EU countries minus Ireland so the Schengen agreement isn't suitable to say the least.

Why does Britain's status as an island render it particularly unsuitable to be part of Schengen?

(Also, you may have missed my earlier question on central bank rules for EU applicant states - do please respond whenever you get a chance.)
12  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Uganda passes tough anti-gay laws. on: March 05, 2014, 12:55:40 am
In Malawi at least, the idea that American evangelicals are the major force behind the anti-gay agenda is, I think, not an easily supportable hypothesis.

How long have you lived in Malawi? 

Coming up on 4 years.

In Malawi at least, the idea that American evangelicals are the major force behind the anti-gay agenda is, I think, not an easily supportable hypothesis.

I can't speak for Malawi, but I know that anti-gay laws and attitudes in a lot of countries is a direct legacy of colonialism. Is that the case in Malawi?

In terms of the law, the Malawi Penal Code (ss. 153 and 156) bans “unnatural offenses” and “indecent practices between males”, rendering such activity punishable by up to 14 years in prison, including hard labour. These are legacy provisions from the era of British colonial rule.

In 2011, President Mutharika’s government secured passage of a Penal Code amendment (s.137A) further criminalising “indecent practices between females” – punishable by 5 years imprisonment. The amendment was put forward by the Government, officially on gender equality grounds.

The Courts here are currently hearing a challenge to the Constitutionality of the anti-gay legislation.

In terms of attitudes, the leading voices opposing decriminalisation come from religious groups. It should be noted that in Malawi, the religious bodies which have the widest support do not have evident links with western evangelicals. The largest religious groups are Catholics, Presbyterians, Muslims, and probably after that Seventh Day Adventists and Anglicans. These are not groups particularly malleable to the whims of visiting evangelicals. They're perfectly capable of finding anti-gay justification and rhetoric from their received religious texts on their own. Nor do they require outside funding to promote the cause. Religious attendance, identification and engagement are high - they have a willing audience for their message.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish Independence Referendum - 2014 on: March 04, 2014, 09:54:51 am
If they continue to use sterling without a currency union then they couldn't re-join the EU as a central bank is required so that isn't an option.

Indeed they do, but if Scotland wants to join the EU I cannot use sterling without a currency union because if they do so, an independent Scotland would technically have no central bank. EU rules stipulate that member-states must have a central bank and so using sterling without a currency union is not an option if Scotland wants to successfully join the EU after voting for independence.

I have some awareness of the central bank criteria as apply to eurozone candidacy, but am unfamiliar with same with regard to EU membership.

I'd be grateful if you could help me with a citation as to where in the Copenhagen Criteria or the acquis that speaks to EU applicant states requiring a central bank (and how that is defined); and, also, grateful if you could comment on whether a central bank which elects to in effect maintain a currency union, by shadowing interest rate changes and so forth, meets the same criterion.
14  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Uganda passes tough anti-gay laws. on: February 26, 2014, 04:04:10 am
In Malawi at least, the idea that American evangelicals are the major force behind the anti-gay agenda is, I think, not an easily supportable hypothesis.
15  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Should the US cut off aid to Uganda? on: February 26, 2014, 03:51:53 am
To Uganda; or to the Government of Uganda?
16  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: The OFFICIAL 2014 Winter Olympics Thread on: February 25, 2014, 07:01:46 am
To be fair, I didn't go back and check and see if any of the American medalists were really from somewhere else.

Gus Kenworthy
17  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: 2013-14 Club Soccer/Football Discussion Thread on: February 24, 2014, 04:25:57 am
Won't happen for a number of reasons, one of which is the German Bundesliga not accepting company names as team names (unless they have a decades-long tradition as is the case with Bayer Leverkusen).
However, I already have for some time been wondering whether some of the "smaller" leagues weren't well advised to merge. An Alpenliga (Austria & Switzerland) could make quite some sense, and provide RB Salzburg with reasonably strong Swiss opponents. The same applies to Benelux, Scandinavia, former Yugoslavia, or the non-English British Isles.

Ideally, I think a unified Scottish-Irish-Welsh league would be great - re-arranged in much the same way as in Rugby where the Celtic league overhauled structures (though, obviously, that appears to have worked better for Ireland than the other two).

Unfortunately though, Scotland gains very little from such a change - and the best Welsh sides play in the English league already, so have no incentive to abandon that.

That, however, would first of all require UEFA to overhaul CL and EL qualification criteria that at the moment are biased towards the smaller leagues.

How so?
18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Malawi 2014 on: February 22, 2014, 02:01:20 am
Any relationship betwwen VP Joyce Banda and former dictator Hastings Banda?

No - Banda is just one of the most common surnames in the country.

Hastings was from Kasungu, in the central region; and is of a Chewa tribal background (the largest tribe in Malawi).

Joyce is from Zomba, in the southern region (the former capital until Hastings moved it to Lilongwe, a Chewa dominant area). She is from a Yao tribal background.
19  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Obama pisses China off meets with Dalai Lama in the White House on: February 22, 2014, 01:51:09 am
Paying a Visit: The Dalai Lama Effect on International Trade
Quote from: Abstract, Fuchs and Klann, Paying a Visit: The Dalai Lama Effect on International Trade
The Chinese government frequently threatens that meetings between its trading partners’ officials and the Dalai Lama will be met with animosity and ultimately harm trade ties with China. We run a gravity model of exports to China from 159 partner countries between 1991 and 2008 to test to which extent bilateral tensions affect trade with autocratic China. In order to account for the potential endogeneity of meetings with the Dalai Lama, the number of Tibet Support Groups and the travel pattern of the Tibetan leader are used as instruments.

Our empirical results support the idea that countries officially receiving the Dalai Lama at the highest political level are punished through a reduction of their exports to China. However, this ‘Dalai Lama Effect’ is only observed for the Hu Jintao era and not for earlier periods. Furthermore, we find that this effect is mainly driven by reduced exports of machinery and transport equipment and that it disappears two years after a meeting took place.
20  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Keystone Phil on: February 21, 2014, 09:22:21 am
How I miss the Golden Era when I had a veto-proof supermajority HP vote.

Ok, we got the point but it actually never got that bad.

Indeed so.

A quick search of the forum shows that Phil's FF-HP numbers have generally more positive than negative. From the threads I see that come up from the search, he's been voted a FF 5 times (including the current poll), a HP once (in the most recent one from 2012), and tied once (in the oldest one from 2008).

Phil's average lifetime FF rating appears to be just under 54%.
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Malawi 2014 on: February 21, 2014, 08:53:46 am
So... to begin, a little context.

Malawi is a landlocked country in southern central Africa. (For reference, it has a slightly larger land area than Portugal or Indiana.) It has a population of around 16.4 million - who are, in general, very young and very poor.

Malawi ranks near the bottom on global comparisons of GDP per capita ($237) and life expectancy (51 years). The UN ranks Malawi 170th on the Human Development Index, just ahead of Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Malawi, as an independent state, is 50 years old this year - having gained independence from the UK in July 1964. For essentially the first 30 years, Malawi was a one party state - led by Life President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, leader of the Malawi Congress Party (MCP). Banda's autocratic nature became clear immediately post-independence. "Elections" under Banda's leadership largely consisted of nominations being submitted by MCP district units and Banda either approving or installing some alternative. And even after these "elections", Banda had the power to appoint such persons to the National Assembly as he saw fit.

The Banda era was characterised by a cult of personality and fear, with repressive use of police and the militant youth wing of the MCP. Censorship, limitations on free assembly, arbitrary imprisonment, and high level corruption were issues that became increasingly concerning as time passed.

In 1993, under international and local pressure, Banda allowed a referendum on allowing a shift to multi-party politics - which passed 65-35. A new progressive, liberal Constitution was adopted and the first multi-party election held in 1994, seeing Bakili Muluzi of the United Democratic Front (UDF) defeat Banda 47-33.

While Muluzi's term of office (1994-2004) was characterised by much greater civil and political freedoms for Malawi, the onset of famine in 2002; and Muluzi's efforts to try and get around the constitutional 2-term limit; as well as significant allegations of substantial corruption benefitting him personally - marred his time in office. He was still just about able to get his hand-picked successor, Bingu wa Mutharika, elected in 2004.

Muluzi's apparent belief that Mutharika could be 'guided' by him in office proved mistaken, as Mutharika within a year established a new party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and had cut off Muluzi - who promptly found himself investigated on corruption related charges (which remain in the courts today). Mutharika's first term saw strong economic growth; but following his re-election, his own autocratic bent and poor economic management destroyed the country's standing with donors, neighbours and isolated him personally against just about all power points outside government (churches/religious groups, civil society leaders, trades unions, students...).

But then, with the country looking increasingly fragile in many respects, on 5 April 2012, Mutharika died of a heart attack. Despite manoeuverings within his DPP party to install Mutharika's younger brother (and Minister for Foreign Affairs), Peter, as President - the intervention of the army ensured that Vice President Joyce Banda was sworn into office two days later.

More anon.
Questions, comments, etc. welcome.
22  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Ireland General Discussion on: February 21, 2014, 02:45:56 am
There's been another RedC poll on the 2015 Gay Marriage referendum.

Do you support the introduction of same-sex marriage into the Irish constitution: 76-19

Are those who oppose same-sex marriage homophobic? 41-59

80% of those polled said that people in same sex relationships should be able to have the same rights as traditional families.

41% said they had some reservations about adoption by gay couples.
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Scottish Independence Referendum - 2014 on: February 17, 2014, 08:09:04 am
What lessons after there, with regards to currency, in Ireland's independence in 1922?

Well we didn't get around to setting up our own currency until 1928 - and maintained the link with sterling until 1979.

For 1922-28, banknotes issued by the Bank of England, the British Treasury and six Irish banks were in circulation. Only the British Treasury notes had legal tender status. The set-up doesn't appear to have been regarded as particularly problematic or difficult.

The Irish Pound: From Origins to EMU by John Kelly is a readable, reasonably concise summary of the history of Irish currency post-independence.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Irish Demographic Maps on: February 13, 2014, 03:35:31 am

Should be pretty self-explanatory.
It's simply the aggregated number of recorded murders by Garda division for the past 5 years (from q3 2008 through q3 2013 - the latest available quarter).

By my maths, it seems the over that 5 year period Ireland has recorded an average of exactly 1 murder per week.

Source: http://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Statire/SelectVarVal/Define.asp?maintable=CJQ03&PLanguage=0
25  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Opinion of Gully Foyle on: February 12, 2014, 03:40:25 am

Indeed, #5 in the series.

My answer remains the same as always.
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