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1  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump gop unity on: May 24, 2016, 04:36:17 pm
Hard to call unity when Trump still sickens the speaker of the house as well as the only two surviving Republican former presidents.  Still, many Republicans are coming around.  Voted not yet.
2  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Bernie fans: if he were more conservative than Hillary, but acting the same... on: May 24, 2016, 04:29:30 pm

Also, I love the hair of Giorgio Tsoukalos!
3  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Reaction to a Trump nomination from the governments of US’s Western allies on: May 24, 2016, 08:52:54 am
It was more a question of whether these leaders might have to dispense with even the pretense of neutrality in order to appease their own domestic electorates.

yes, of course.  I think it's fairly predictable.  If your job depends upon getting millions of people to renew your contract every few years, then your job description quickly becomes word-merchant. 

Trump just so toxic

toxicity is such a fleeting thing in politics.  In December, Lindsey Graham called Trump a "race-baiting, xenophobic bigot... who doesn't represent my party and doesn't represent the values that our men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for."  Yesterday he urged Republicans to support Trump.  Go figure. 

I don't know much about David Cameron and I haven't visited the UK, but I've worked in Amsterdam and in Germany and had many discussions with people about US politics.  Bush was never popular there, and neither was Reagan.  Gerhard Schröder was an outspoken critic of Bush both during and after the 2000 election.  I think Schröder thought Bush was nuts--really nuts--even to the point of not being able to think of anything else to say except impugn Bush, at length, once it was clear that his red-green coalition lost to Merckel's in 2005.   

Let's say Trump announces tomorrow that he's going to be visiting a few European countries next month, in the same spirit that Romney did four years ago and Obama did eight years ago. 

I never figured out why anyone would go on world tour while applying for a job.  Seems anachronistic.  Seeking a job is a full-time job, especially if you're trying to get elected president.  You visit foreign leaders after you become president.  Or, more likely, you summon them to your office.  If Trump wanted to visit somebody like Pope Francis this summer, probably he'd get an audience, because the pope is a very nice guy, and because he got elected to his seat for life.  If Trump wanted to visit someone like Mark Rutte, I imagine that Rutte will be nice to Trump while Trump is there.  Trump would probably say all sorts of nice things about Rutte as well.  In fact, if Trump had any policy knowledge, he'd probably praise the VVD generally.  I'm not sure about Cameron.  Not only because I know less of British politics generally, but because of what I do know about them, which is that Cameron is in a very tenuous position.  Cameron has favorability ratings on par with people like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and Robert Mugabe.  Also, they have the referendum coming up.  Trump is a headache that might not appeal to David Cameron at the moment.   I don't think it's a snub.  It's just, "hey, man, really?  I don't need this shit right now.  Tell him we're busy that week.  Tell him I'm playing golf with Jean-Claude Juncker and the King of Spain."  The Donald has pretty thick skin, and so does his supporters, so it really doesn't matter.  It also doesn't matter if Trump is not elected president, but they'll come around as soon as President Trump is inaugurated if he wins.  In fact, probably before.  They'll be on the phone with congratulatory messages, trying not to choke on it, the morning after election day.  But privately all the heads of state except for Ahmadinejad, the Saudis, and Putin will worry and wonder what Americans were smoking on election day. 

4  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Reaction to a Trump nomination from the governments of US’s Western allies on: May 24, 2016, 06:51:22 am
Normally, they try to remain “officially” neutral, but this time it might be different.  

No one is neutral about anything, nor should heads of state be expected to feign neutrality since their job is to pursue legislative agendas that benefit their respective nations.  Companies engage in too much global business nowadays to pretend that none of it matters.

I assume that many folks find him as unsuitable as I find him, and some will say so publicly once he is nominated.  Some will even try to influence our election, though maybe not with such effrontery and arrogance as Obama showed recently in the UK, mucking about and encouraging them to vote against a referendum to leave the european union.  I doubt any foreign politicians will have any influence on the US election, unless they're willing to put their monies where their mouths are.  Endorsements and anti-endorsements are over-rated.  Money wins elections, not comments.  The only people who really have to make pretenses for a Republican nominee are Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham.  There's no reason for foreign leaders to make pretenses unless Trump actually gets elected.  

Should he become president, of course they'll all learn to make nice.  Some individual actors will make sanctimonious statements, but governments will maintain long-term policies.  It's like having Putin over for dinner.  You might think he's a creep, but he has all that delicious hydrocarbon in his backyard so you put up with him at state visits.  

I'm more interested in how non-Democratically selected politicians will act.  The politicians who have to answer to voters will make the sorts of noises that voters like to listen to, and those are predictable.  There are about 50 dictators in the world, many of whom command vast natural resources.  Those represent governments more likely to cause President Trump to do something really stupid.  So far all I've seen is fairly innocuous statements.  For example, China's state-controlled newspaper announced that Trump acted like a "clown to attract more GOP voters."  China has also reminded us that democracy is over-rated, pointing out that Mussolini came to power democratically.  Russia, on the other hand, has offered praise for many of Trump's positions.  Trump and Putin seem to have some mutual admiration.  Iran views trump's candidacy with great amusement, at least publicly, but it has been reported that privately many think that Trump will be easier to work with than Clinton.  The Arabian ruling class may have reason to be nervous.  Already, Trump has been in a Twitter fight with the Royal house of Saud.  So far, it's all talk.  Things get interesting only if Trump actually becomes president.  

5  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Clinton & Trump VP search news LATEST: Trump to meet with Corker on: May 23, 2016, 07:06:52 pm
Dukakis picking Bentsen was anything but a blunder. In fact, it could be argued that Bentsen was more competent than Dukakis.

Lloyd Bentsen has the softest hands that I've ever touched.  At least he did in the fall of '88.  I had dinner with him and Rob Lowe.  Long story.  Rob Lowe was definitely high on cocaine. 

Never met Dukakis.

6  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Ten largest US cities: Freedom Cities or Horrible Cities? on: May 23, 2016, 02:41:09 pm
New York:  Kicks ass, the center of everything, has everything, I always have a great time whenever I visit.  Can't wait for Uber to kill all the damn taxis though.  I wouldn't want to live there -- too many cockroaches and rats and high-rent sh*tty apartments.  But it's a damn good city.

Los Angeles:  Trashy, relatively boring, full of pretentious people, everything is expensive and exclusive for no reason, lots of bums and crime, absolutely nightmarish traffic makes it impossible to leave the city.  If I asked you to name iconic things in New York we could do Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, WTC, Central Park, Broadway, Times Square, Met, etc. but if I asked you LA I bet you could only give me Hollywood.

Chicago:  I've been here on trips and it's a godawful boring city at night.  The weather is usually miserable, there's not a whole lot to do, there's not much special or unique about Chicago.  Miracle mile is nice but it doesn't excuse the terrible drivers and high crime.

I agree.  I voted FF only for New York among the first three, although admittedly it is the only one I ever worked and lived in.  We sometimes had to go to Chicago for important matters.  I've driven there and taken the train as well and I've seen White Sox, but not Cubs, home games.  Chicago is noisy and unpleasant, generally.  I'm less familiar with LA, having been there only once for a day in 1999.  We were staying for a week in Anaheim and rented a car.  Too inconveniently placed generally.  Not pleasant.

Houston:  The Gulf of Mexico is so nice, and Houston has a lot of fun things to do.  Overall I find it to be a rather pleasant city, except that it's too damn hot.

Philadelphia:  I like the classic American vibe of Philly, the city center is beautiful and there are a lot of nice landmarks.  Somehow whenever I've been in Philadelphia it always seemed to be dirty and constantly under construction.  But overall it's a pretty nice city.

I have to disagree with you here.  Houston is smelly and Philadelphia is scary.  I think they're both horrible cities.  There are worse places in the world, and certainly I've enjoyed Astroworld, Astros home games, Phillies home games, and the Franklin Institute, but I would not want to live in either.

Phoenix:  The one time I went here I got altitude sickness but I remember going downtown and thinking that I didn't miss much.

I spent a few days there in the spring of 1997.  I didn't care for Phoenix either.

San Antonio:  I popped through here for a day once and did the riverwalk and it was really nice.  Overall seemed a lot more culturally-focused and try-hard than the other Texas cities which just kind of did their own thing, but it's a pleasant city.

San Diego:  One of the best cities I know of, which is surprising considering every other California city absolutely sucks.  San Diego's just gotten lucky, maybe, but it's kept its act together for years and the result is one of the most solid, enjoyable cities in the country.

Dallas:  A good old fashioned Texas city.  I remember thinking that it was all parks and buildings, very very nice but not a whole lot to do and it didn't really fit with its local culture which was very Texas.  Nice to visit on a weekend but I don't think I'd want to live there.

San Jose:  Basically an extension of Silicon Valley.  If you like dramatically-overpriced housing, frozen-solid traffic and drowning in nerd culture, go to San Jose.  As for me, I'll keep San Diego.

I voted FF for all of these.  San Antonio is one of my favorite places in the US and I always have a good time and meet interesting people there.  Lots of swingers, if you're into that sort of thing.  I'm not but I've been approached an inordinate number of times by such couples especially in SA.  San Diego has a very pleasant climate and a friendly clientele.  I wish I had had more time there.  I used to like visiting Deep Ellum and the West End in Dallas when I lived in Arlington, and generally enjoy the good food (Brazilian, Chinese, Indian, etc.) for about half the price of many comparably-sized markets.  San Jose is somewhere I didn't visit often when I lived in California, because Oakland and San Francisco were more convenient and more familiar, but I have an uncle who lives there and I've visited his neighborhood a few times.  Very pleasant.
7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Process / Re: If you were in charge of a State GOP, what sort of primary system is best? on: May 23, 2016, 11:24:23 am

5) what date?  same day as everyone else in the United States.  Preferably not more than about a month before the general election.

This would really complicate absentee and military voting. It takes about 3 weeks to certify the results of an election and if one uses the typical 5-6 week period for absentees, then It usually takes 8-10 weeks between a primary and general. If clerks really push I've seen the turnaround down to 6 weeks, but I don't know how to get to a month.

Does it really take a month to certify votes?  Here's a list from the US Election Assistance Commission of certified voting systems.  No estimate is given for timeframes, but military and other absentee voters can fill out ballots in advance and send them.  You may not even need that.  Votes can be made electronically from anywhere in the world.  The Iowa Democratic Party announced that they will allow overseas voters to participate in their caucus by teleconference.  Results can be tabulated immediately and announced the same day.  This leaves plenty of time for run-off elections to be organized in the event that no one gains a majority, which seems likely.  Here's a state-by-state list of laws regarding certification of results.  The timeframes vary greatly by state.  Georgia gives them as little as 14 days.  California gives 35 days.  That really ought to be a priority.  Clear your calendar.  Get it done.  Why on earth would it need 35 days?

I suppose it's really up to the parties.  They seem to like having places like Iowa and New Hampshire narrow down the choices for everyone else, but it's not the system I'd create.  I also really like the idea of de-emphasizing parties.  Obviously political factions are allowed to exist, to recruit, and to endorse, but there's no good reason to allow political parties to set the rules for electing president.  For president, I'd have a primary and let the top two, regardless of political affiliation, run off in a general election, held as soon as possible after the primary.  The shorter time frame is to minimize the effect of money in a way that doesn't require additional legislation.  There's only so much advertising/organizing you can do in a few weeks.

8  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Atlas Posters During the American Civil War on: May 22, 2016, 05:24:31 pm
The goal of reincorporating the South into a country

That goal didn't exist.  The only thing keeping it together was mutual animosity toward the Republicans.
9  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Process / Re: If you were in charge of a State GOP, what sort of primary system is best? on: May 21, 2016, 07:29:02 pm

1) primary or caucus?  Caucus, must be present to win.  Have it on a weekend.

1a) open or closed?  open, with same-day registration (or party change)

2) proportional representation, winner-take-all, or winner-take-most?   proportional

3) what minimum threshold for viability?  if one single voter votes for you, then you are viable

4) will you have any loophole primary system like Pennsylvania, or whatever the hell North Dakota did?  no

5) what date?  same day as everyone else in the United States.  Preferably not more than about a month before the general election.

Additional questions: How does your state's composition of GOP voters affect your calculus?  it does not. 

Additional unasked:  I don't think partisan primaries should be taken as seriously as we take them.  I'd much rather work on the general election than the states or the party primaries.  Frankly, I think that the states and the parties should be allowed to do whatever they want, but the actual election for actual offices in November of even-numbered years should be freed from, and in fact totally divorced from, the states and from the primary process generally.  In my opinion political parties should be banned from the entire process, at least for the federal offices.  Of course that would require a constitutional amendment.  (States, of course, are free to devise whatever system they want for electing governors, etc.)

10  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Atlas Fantasy Elections / Re: Atlasia Census Office on: May 21, 2016, 06:46:50 pm
it's fascinating how close we've moved to a two-party system.

speak for yourself.  I'm still with the PLP (although I suspect that I might be the only one left.)
11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Going to Montreal and Quebec City - What to do? on: May 14, 2016, 02:49:03 pm
Dan and I are going to the two cities the last week of May as his birthday present. For those in the know, any advice about what to see and do? We are attending a concert of Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. Thanks!

We'll probably be in Montreal for a couple of days in August. 

Last time I was there I attended a jazz festival, but it's not the time of year for that.  Later we drove to Quebec and ate at Le Lapin Sauté.  I had the signature dish, of course.  Not bad, but I've had better rabbit in China. 

By the way, I also worked in Amsterdam for a semester, and I'll pile on with a comment similar Warsaw's comments about Poland:  don't call 'em "pot dens."  The preferred term is koffiehuis, or "coffee house" if you get choked on koffiehuis.

You're pretty goddamned politically incorrect for a lawyer, aren't you?

12  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Political affiliation / Best of these 3 beers on: May 10, 2016, 07:06:26 am
I've yet to sample a beer I liked.  A few I could tolerate, but none that I liked as I do not care for the taste of hops. Maybe if I took the time to sample more beers I'd find one, but I've got far better things to do with my time than that since I only drink very occasionally.

I'm not a huge beer fan either, and I've also sampled ciders and Zima and other alternatives to beer.  I usually take red wine with my meal and cocktails or cognac if I'm just drinking.  Still, there's a right time for beer.  You might like Pliny the Elder better than those other three.  I know I do.  It has a flowery nose and a fruity palate at first, but it is dry and has a long, bitter finish, not unlike Sierra Nevada.  Around here, there are many brew houses and ale companies that make their own various seasonal varieties.  Some are brown, some are golden, some are black, and some are so heavy and calorie-laden that they are a meal in themselves.  Those are the ones I like best.

I disagree that there's any correlation between party affiliation and choice among these three beers.  This small sample size suggests that Bud Light would be least favored, and that's not surprising.  Blue Moon and Sam Adams are roughly tied (20=12 given this straw polls unpredictably large margin of error), and if we had a really large sample of voters that parity would likely remain true.  Pliny is getting about as many votes as Bud Light--4 and 3 votes, respectively--which is also not surprising, owing perhaps not the flavor of either of those brews, but rather to familiarity (or lack thereof), and to the fact that the poll title is a bit misleading:  it asks respondents to choose from among three options but actually there are four options.  This may well be part of a psychology graduate student's thesis work.  One feels pressured to vote for one of the first three choices, even though the fourth choice is superior to any of the other three.  

Judging by the enthusiastic look on the snaggletooth face kalwejt showed us, I'd guess that those three brown bottles with yellow labels probably contain some tasty brew as well.  I can't quite make out a brand name.  Owing to an odd twist of legislation, beer is actually more difficult to come by in Pennsylvania than hard liquor or wine.  As it happens, about 600 meters from my front door is a joint that offers 24 beers on tap and about 140 different types of bottled beer, and it's right next door to a "Fine Wine and Good Spirits" store.  If you're ever in Manheim Township I'll show you the place.  I've no doubt that you'll be able to find some ale or beer among those that will please your palate.  

13  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Who was president when you were born? on: May 07, 2016, 09:51:47 pm

14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Sen. Warren: Trump built his campaign on racism, sexism and xenophobia on: May 06, 2016, 07:05:13 pm
Who even uses the word 'goofy' anymore?

I use it, but I'd rather use it to describe CNN.  Warren is only one person.  You might think that a well-financed news organization would have figured out that The Donald has exploited bigotry and fear long ago.  WaPo figured that out.  TIME figured that out.  How is it that Elizabeth Warren and CNN are figuring that this is news?  Goofy fits, and it fits well.  Seriously, if Clinton's surrogates are this slow, then The Donald will have no trouble crushing them.

15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Sen. Warren: Trump built his campaign on racism, sexism and xenophobia on: May 06, 2016, 06:59:15 pm
How much truth is there to this comment ?

Elizabeth Warren is an idiot.

I noticed that article earlier.  I actually sort of liked her at some point, but if she's this slow, then I'm going to have to re-evaluate my position regarding her.  

to answer your question:  it is truthful.  Sad, though, that it is newsworthy, because the first three letters of newsworthy spell new.  Are people just figuring this out?  Is Elizabeth Warren patting herself on the back for being the first American citizen to figure this out?  It would explain quite a lot.  Damn shame.
16  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What will be Trump's best state in the general election? on: May 06, 2016, 06:46:38 pm

It's not just a river in Egypt, is it?
17  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Spotify's ten most played songs from the 90s on: May 06, 2016, 06:40:41 pm
10. Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You
9. Radiohead - Creep
8. Metallica - Enter Sandman
7. Dr. Dre - Still Dre
6. Nirvana - Come As You Are
5. Blackstreet - No Diggity
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under The Bridge
3. Oasis - Wonderwall
2. Goo Goo Dolls - Iris
1. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit


Well #1 is very much NOT a surprise, but 7 and 5...sure never would've guessed those.

Once in a great while, we're on the same frequency.  As I went down the list, I thought the same thing.

18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: 2nd nationally televised Libertarian debate announced on: May 06, 2016, 11:05:55 am
Thanks for the heads up.
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Did anyone notice that Sanders beat Clinton in Indiana? on: May 05, 2016, 02:18:35 pm
Just curious; lots of comments about Trump, and not a peep about Sanders. Anyone care to offer their thoughts?

I noticed it.  I was stoked.  Feel the Bern!

I think it generally isn't as interesting.  The democrat primary seems settled, whereas the republican convention has an outside shot of actually being interesting.   I don't think it will happen.  Probably it'll be a stale coronation ceremony like they always are, but there's at least a chance and I think that's why the talking heads talk more about the Republican contests now.
20  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Vicente Fox apologizes to Trump on: May 05, 2016, 01:14:54 pm
Fox apologizes to Trump?!

Trump should apologize to the entire population of Mexico.
21  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: To all Bernie supporters here, who will you vote for in November? on: May 05, 2016, 12:57:51 pm
I voted for Sanders in the primary.  I will not vote for Trump or Clinton.  Right now I'm leaning toward Hedges, although I'm not sure whether he will be on the PA ballot in November.  Voted other.
22  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Bush's say they will never endorse Trump on: May 05, 2016, 12:53:02 pm
Yes, I think Dubya and Bubba are tight, although I don't think the old man cares for the Clintons.

I don't think that has anything to do with the lack of support for Trump.  In February Bush 43 said, "the strongest person in the room usually isn't the loudest one in the room."
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Political affiliation / Best of these 3 beers on: May 05, 2016, 11:41:08 am
pliny the elder
24  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Joke Magazine Cover on: May 05, 2016, 11:36:04 am
mixed metaphor.  Either Victoria represents a former employer, in which case he might be crawling back looking for work, or he's the estranged former husband of Victoria, in which case he might be crawling back looking for booty (and a roof over his head).  Fix that.  Also, I think it was George III who was dumped by Washington.  Victoria had not yet been born.

The journal title needs to be sexier.  "Countries" just leaves me flaccid.  Nations maybe, or States, or International Review.  Perhaps those titles are already in use by real magazines.

I'm not getting the reference to the five-pointed star.  Is that a communism joke?

Also, the character you have depicted is Uncle Sam.  Captain America is this guy:

25  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: #NeverTrump will fall in line on: May 05, 2016, 11:01:22 am
The elected officials, think tankers and op-ed columnists leading the conservative movement have always been scam artists and conmen without principles. Does anyone seriously believe they'll hold out against Trump? 

I do think that people like Mitt Romney who have said that they will not support Trump will not vote for him or campaign for him or endorse him. 
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