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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Is Bill de Blasio done? on: Today at 01:45:16 am
This strikes me as something he can't just shake off.

Yeah, I guess, he might only get 60% of the vote next time.
2  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: "Holiday tree" on: December 18, 2014, 10:07:50 am
I'm not fond of changing names just for the sake of changing names. Christmas has already become a secular celebration in all but name in all western countries, so why can't we just keep calling it Christmas?

Believe it or not, even in Western countries many do not celebrate Christmas (I do not, nor do a majority of my relatives and many other people I know). Others celebrate it in January. People do not do it from spite: but it would seem to me extremely unnatural to treat it as anything but a quiet day in the office (though, I should say, I love flying red eye on Christmas eve - cheap). That it seems to you that it is a neutral secular holiday, does not mean it os so for others.
3  General Politics / Economics / Re: The ruble is collapsing on: December 17, 2014, 08:45:33 pm
This is what far too few people realize. The real opposition in Russia at this point isn't liberal businessmen; it's far more overt and reactionary nationalists than Putin.

I would understand, why it would worry me - I have friends and family there, and, actually, barely over a year ago was seriously considering moving back, at least for a while (there seemed to be a possibility of a great job - he, who does not exist but is merciful did interfere in time). Naturally, I have a reason to care about this. But why would anybody else here care? Ok, a bunch of idiots would come to power in Russia and start killing Russians even more efficiently than Putin does. Under the circumstances, are there still people around who would care about Russians killing Russians? Isn't that our national sport?
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Post Presidential political career for President Obama? on: December 17, 2014, 07:49:46 pm
He will speak at Dem conventions and campaign for Democratic candidates. He will write books and create some big foundation. Actual office? Nah..
5  General Politics / Economics / Re: The ruble is collapsing on: December 16, 2014, 11:27:39 pm
Yet another Obama foreign policy success!

 From the $5 billion spent to destabilize an elected government ...

You know, because the US also tried to spend $75 trillion to try to buy your used underwear, but you, proudly, resisted Smiley
6  General Politics / Economics / Re: The ruble is collapsing on: December 16, 2014, 09:43:28 pm
This is not simply the sanctions - this is the interaction of the sanctions with the nature of the Russian state.

What did the sanctions do? They selected a few major Russian companies - CONTROLLED BY PUTINīS CLOSE FRIENDS - and blocked their debt refinancing. Well, it is December, and some of that debt is coming due, so, as it cannot be refinanced, it has to be retired. What were the options? It could be argued that those companies have to deal with it themselves: these are major energy companies - they have cash; push comes to shove, they could sell off assets. Of course, that would hurt the FRIENDS, so it was out of question. Alternatively, the government could refinance from its reserves - there are enough reserves available. But, of course, that would make the reserves smaller, making further big government projects hard to pay for. In any case, these were the reasonable options.

Instead, the Russian government did something else. It decided to refinance those companies - but in rubles, not in dollars. So the companies would have to go to the market, get their dollars to retire their dollar debt. Great idea: the government can create as many rubles as it likes - and, well, yeah, there will be a devaluation and inflation, but that is just a redistribution from the suckers (i.e., the population at large) to the real people (the FRIENDS).

Well, guess what. On Sunday (?) the first of these companies (Rosneft) got its rubles, and on Monday it all collapsed. I am not even sure Rosneft had the time to go buy its dollars - but these days the suckers also know how to count, and they tried to get rid of their rubles ASAP.

There is no way any US government could have done so much damage to Russia with sanctions, as long as the Russian government were anything but a gang of dumb thieves.
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: "Holiday tree" on: December 15, 2014, 06:36:32 pm
I, actually, put the tree up for the New Year. The only reason I have to put it up before Christmas is that otherwise one cannot get one. Which, BTW, is a pity: besides the atheist Jews like myself there are the Russian - and some other - Orthodox Christians, Armenians, etc., who celebrate Christmas after Jan. 1 - and Russians traditionally have it up till, at least, Jan. 14 (Jan. 1 on the Julian calendar), so the later one gets it, the less bad it looks by mid Jan. I often don't even get to decorate it till after Christmas, though. I do not mind calling it a Christmas Tree in English - except that it, most definitely, is not one in my house.
8  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: CSU: Immigrants should speak German at home, CDU says LOLwhat ? on: December 14, 2014, 10:33:42 pm

Tender's post in this thread at worst have been moderate heroic, if we have to say something bad about his posts. But mostly I see a person, who try to set this in context and explain, when something have been translated wrong. While the other side mix strawmen, with rampant racism and bigoted verbal assaults on Tender based on his etnicity.



I do not find his "corrected" and "properly translated" version any less objectionable than the original. Especially given his comment about talking English at home if he immigrates to the US - that clarifies his meaning enough for me.

Once again, I do not object to CSU, I object to the position of Tender Branson in this thread.
9  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Thailand court ousts PM Yingluck Shinawatra on: December 12, 2014, 10:14:23 pm
Why did she resign?

Because he does not love her any more.
10  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Scalia loves him some torture on: December 12, 2014, 09:52:59 pm
um, wtf? Has he not read the Constitution?  Like this part...
Quote
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted

Well, I guess, he takes it that torture is not a punishment, but part of investigative process. I do wonder, if one should investigate, how he came to that view.

Well if this isn't an 8th issue, then you have the 5th...
Quote
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself

And one would expect suspects to have more rights than convicts. How can he reconcile "the right to remain silent" and using torture to compel someone to talk. Then again, Scalia is on the record for being against Miranda rights (in Dickerson v US).



But they are not part of any criminal investigation, you see. They will never be indicted in any court. They are not being tortured as punishment, or to obtain information to be presented in court. They are being tortured because the government thinks it needs to torture them to obtain information needed for policy-making. It is done in public interest.

As I said, it would, arguably, be of public interest to obtain information on where do such views, as Justice Scalia has expressed, come from. God forbid, not because having such views is illegal. Nobody is ever going to prosecute anybody for such views, or have them punished.
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Israel General Election Thread: March 17 2015 on: December 12, 2014, 09:34:13 pm
A poll of Arab voters apparently shows most would prefer, if an all-Arab parties list were to be formed, it would be headed by MK Ahmad Tibi: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4602589,00.html .

The problem, of course, is that Hadash is not a fully Arab list, but, rather, a "non-Zionist" one. What would somebody like Dov Khenin do in a "United Arab Party"? And, though there may not be too many Jewish votes in that, but there are some, which could be lost that way. And, in any case, I do not think Hadash is in much danger of not making it at this point. Balad and UAL merging, though, would make a lot of sense at this point. If they do not, there is a big risk a chunk of Arab vote is lost. On the other hand, if they do merge, between them and Hadash there may be a larger than usual complement of Arab Party/non-Zionist MKs, which, in a close election, could make the government harder to form.
12  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Grades Around the World on: December 12, 2014, 08:52:37 pm
I have either studied or taught (or both) in 4 countries.  US is obvious, so for the others.

In Mexico the grading system is, usually, 6 to 10, with anything below considered a failing grade. There is a general idea that this corresponds to the obvious percentages.

Spain is similar, but 5 is a passing grade (at least wherever I taught) and you do not even have to round much: you can, literally, assign a 7.2

In Russia the grading system is 1 to 5, with 1 and 2 being failing grades. There is no notion of any percentages involved. Rather, an ideal work is considered a 5, and then they subtract points for each mistake.

A few countries I know (though I have never had personal experience teaching or studying there) are on the French 20 point system. Generally, in that system 20 is impossible, 19 is reserved for Jesus in Christian theology if he has a good day, 18 has not been assigned since the 18th century, 14 is a genius, 12 would correspond to an American A.
13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Scalia loves him some torture on: December 12, 2014, 07:18:52 pm
um, wtf? Has he not read the Constitution?  Like this part...
Quote
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted

Well, I guess, he takes it that torture is not a punishment, but part of investigative process. I do wonder, if one should investigate, how he came to that view.
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Israel General Election Thread: March 17 2015 on: December 12, 2014, 07:16:43 pm
It would be interesting to see the impact of the new threshold. Israeli politicians and voters do not have experience dealing with it. Will the small parties fade, once it becomes clear they are not making it, or are we going to see a few parties with around 2 or 3% of the vote each?
15  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: CSU: Immigrants should speak German at home, CDU says LOLwhat ? on: December 12, 2014, 05:41:52 pm
In Mexico speaking a foreign/European language has prestige. So, in most mixed Russian/Mexican families I know children (including by now grown-up children) do speak passable Russian. This Russian tends to be a lot better if either only one parent (usually the mother) speaks it, or if both parents are Russian. However, there are some families where the Mexican spouse can, actually, speak Russian as well (if, say, a guy studied in Russia and came back with a Russian wife) - and I have noticed that the children then have a much heavier accent in their Russian: they unconsciously copy their dads.

I know this is a little off-topic, but I'm curious: How large is the Russian community in Mexico?  I remember finding it unusual when I found out you were a Russian living in Mexico.  I wouldn't think that there'd be very many of those.

Not many. But, if you are a Russian, you will wind up knowing a few Smiley
16  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: CSU: Immigrants should speak German at home, CDU says LOLwhat ? on: December 12, 2014, 02:28:51 pm
Inevitably ? Not really, it was just 1 poster. There's no need to discuss Jewish people in a thread like this which is about encouraging integration and not the historic use of force or purging of a religious group. That's quite the difference. And there's no need to establish a knee-jerk connection to the Holocaust all the time, once a German-party brings up an immigration topic for debate. Don't get me wrong, I'm a strong opponent of all Nazi-ism (as you know), but the CSU-debate here is not much different to the debate of other European (or other) center-right parties and they are not attacked with the Nazi-cudgel either. The CSU is a huge party that needs to appeal to a lot of different segments, so it's better to throw the Nazi-cudgel when it involves the parties that are actually the problem and could turn into a real problem: the NPD and the AfD.

My problem is not with the CSU. It is with you. Or, more generally, with the attitude, that people speaking a foreign language at home is somehow threatening - or, in any case, bad or prejudicial. This is exactly what underlay the anti-Jewish persecution over the centuries - I am not talking Nazis, I am, mostly, talking before Nazis. Not Adolf Hitler so much, as Karl Lueger (to make it even more Austrian - and Christian Social). Of course, that underlying antisemitism is what made Hitler possible - but I do not hate it merely because of Hitler.

Hitler, actually, made this attitude indecent in good society - when applied to my fellow tribesmen. But other minorities do not have that protection. Well, that makes me sick. Or, put it another way, you make me sick.
17  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: CSU: Immigrants should speak German at home, CDU says LOLwhat ? on: December 12, 2014, 02:19:37 pm
Naturally, children do not speak the same way their parents do. But being exposed on a consistent basis to a parent, who insists on speaking with the child in a heavily accented/ grammatically awkward English/German/Russian does help to transmit those features - not in an unchanged way, but noticeably (exactly what the Germans here complain about).

In Mexico speaking a foreign/European language has prestige. So, in most mixed Russian/Mexican families I know children (including by now grown-up children) do speak passable Russian. This Russian tends to be a lot better if either only one parent (usually the mother) speaks it, or if both parents are Russian. However, there are some families where the Mexican spouse can, actually, speak Russian as well (if, say, a guy studied in Russia and came back with a Russian wife) - and I have noticed that the children then have a much heavier accent in their Russian: they unconsciously copy their dads.

Admittedly, in this case we are dealing with the environment in which kids barely hear any Russian except that from their parents. But that, actually, allows us to isolate the effect of having a parent speak "bad Russian" to the child. It does nothing to improve how the child speaks the language - it, actually, hurts.

So, when the complaint comes that kids, who grew up in Germany, make typical "foreign" mistakes, I am pretty confident that they have picked up those mistakes, hearing their elders (parents, neighbors, etc.) making them. It would have been much better if the only German they were exposed to were that of the school/the TV/the German street. That would give them more than enough exposure to learn the language - correctly.
18  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: CSU: Immigrants should speak German at home, CDU says LOLwhat ? on: December 12, 2014, 12:37:40 am
How did this thread go from encouraging immigrants to speak German as often as they can (not unusual for a center-right big-tent party that polls 50% and wants to keep that level) to Jews ?

If you do not see how, and why any such thread would inevitably get to Jews, you should read up on Austrian history.

And, BTW, I now know why Czechs used to hate Germans so much.
19  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: CSU: Immigrants should speak German at home, CDU says LOLwhat ? on: December 12, 2014, 12:00:25 am
If anything, forcing people to speak the language they speak badly at home will make their children's speaking it worse. If a child constantly hears spoken language with a strong accent/incorrect grammar, etc., s/he may pick those up. If the "badly-spoken German" transmits across generations, it might be a sign of too much German being spoken at home: it might be a dialect emerging, perhaps, afrikaans-style. In that case, if you care that second-generation kids speak better German, you should, probably, discourage their parents from speaking German in front of them.
20  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Convicted Sex Offender wins big scratch-off prize on: December 11, 2014, 01:07:46 pm
He still should have been in prison, people who do such things to children shouldn't be back out on the streets. I know that's going to make a lot of people here angry, but that is my opinion and I am not sorry for it.

Well, I don't think one person on this forum is going to stick  up for a convicted child molestor so you have no need to apologize, but that still has nothing to do with the fact he's out and he's eligible to win and lose in the lottery.

I personally think that he has every legal right to play and win, but it really just seems f--ked up that someone like this guy could win the lottery.

I really doubt anyone disagress with that.

A lottery win is not a moral reward for good behavior. There is no Santa involved. It is a freaking RANDOM draw.

So, yeah, I do disagree. Strongly disagree, in fact.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Convicted Sex Offender wins big scratch-off prize on: December 11, 2014, 02:39:01 am
They think they know better than God:)
22  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: CSU: Immigrants should speak German at home, CDU says LOLwhat ? on: December 10, 2014, 08:38:19 pm
Yeah, brider yidn were not all Rothschilds Smiley
23  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: CSU: Immigrants should speak German at home, CDU says LOLwhat ? on: December 10, 2014, 05:51:08 pm
The difference is that the Jews were generally alright financially.

Haven't we learn absolutely nothing?

We have not.
24  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: CSU: Immigrants should speak German at home, CDU says LOLwhat ? on: December 10, 2014, 02:44:03 am
Germany is a nice country, it's harder to stay that way if it imports large chunks of Turkey (not a nice country). The end result is going to be somewhere between Germany and Turkey, ie, not as nice as before.

Yeah, Germans were a lot more proficient in organizing their Holocaust. I guess, that makes it a nicer country.

And if you think that is an awful thing to say - it is no way near as awful as what you did say.
25  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: CSU: Immigrants should speak German at home, CDU says LOLwhat ? on: December 10, 2014, 02:42:23 am
The difference is that the Jews were generally alright financially.


You need a bit of a refresher on your European Jewish history, I am afraid.
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