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March 30, 2017, 01:59:42 am
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1  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Las Vegas, Nevada on: March 29, 2017, 07:09:15 pm
I was married in Las Vegas.  ˇViva Las Vegas!

FF.
2  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Should a poster being an inconsiderate jerk be a violation of the TOS? on: March 29, 2017, 06:51:46 pm
No.
3  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Kittens or puppies on: March 29, 2017, 06:49:17 pm
All juvenile mammals are nasty.  The only reason I live with one is because he is my spawn and I am morally, legally, and ethically obliged to do so.

Easy option 4.
4  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump skipping White House Correspondents Dinner on: March 28, 2017, 07:05:11 pm
Trump skipping White House Correspondents Dinner

Probably it's for the best.  Such dinners are meant to be friendly, comedic jestfests.   Anyone who watched the Aflred Smith memorial dinner from 2016 will remember that the two main-party candidates of 2016, one of whom was Donald Trump, were both astoundingly awkward and unfit for such roastings.  It's a good thing that the archbishop of New York was sitting between them during that fiasco.

5  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: it's a felony in VA to wear Joker makeup on: March 28, 2017, 04:25:39 pm
But he's not a violent masked group like the KKK or antifa, he's just one lonely millennial.

If you read the link you'll see that he's only allowed to be a lonely millennial on the evening of October 31, or if he's headed to the stage.  Makes perfect sense.  After all, it's not as though anyone was ever killed on Halloween, or that any any important government officials have ever been killed by stage actors. 

Actually, here's the relevant part of the bill:  "It shall be unlawful for any person ... to ... mask, hood, or other device, whereby a substantial portion of the face is hidden or covered..."  Get a good lawyer.  From the photos we can see that his face is not masked, hooded, or concealed by what most juries would consider a "device."  Moreover, his face is not hidden, and, in the general sense of the word, it is not "covered" because there is no hat, shawl, or blanket over it.  Alan Dershowitz should take this on for free.
6  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Times: Trump allegedly handed Merkel a bill over 300 billion pounds on: March 27, 2017, 09:38:48 am
How much is that in Deutsche Marks?

Depends upon which marks they're using.  If they're using Weimar marks it'd be quite a bit.  In November 1923, one US dollar was worth about 4.2x1012 marks.
7  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: it's a felony in VA to wear Joker makeup on: March 27, 2017, 09:01:50 am
want to remind the community of the seriousness of the crime.

Very serious.
8  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: March Madness? on: March 26, 2017, 07:15:53 pm
Bummer.  We picked UK for this bracket and all the way. 
9  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Frank Rich: "No Sympathy for the Hillbilly" on: March 26, 2017, 07:07:24 pm

No Sympathy for the Hillbilly


No wisdom gained from them either, apparently.  Hillbillies are definitely an underrated group.  The French lost their great empire for many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that they challenged a group of hillbillies at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.  And lost.  Badly.  Then, in less than a decade, the US--undoubtedly thinking it was better-prepared and smarter than the French--were engaged with that same group of hillbillies.  The US also lost its war against them.  Badly.  Score two for the hillbillies.

You're all invited back next week to this localiteeee
to share a heapin' helpin' of their hospitaliteee.


10  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Use of the Phrase "American Empire" on: March 26, 2017, 04:14:38 pm
Interesting.  I don't remember hearing about empire in grade school, including Jefferson's comment, although I think he was using the term loosely.  I do remember in the 80s the Soviet Union being called the evil empire.

The first time I think I heard the term applied to the US was in late 90s.  Then, early in the Bush administration, just after September 11, 2001 when we invaded Afghanistan, I started hearing it quite a bit.  The Empire Strikes Back was the meme of the day. 

In any case, I don't think American Empire an inaccurate description.  You can call it Manifest Destiny if it makes you feel better, but the US has been in an expansionist mode since its inception.  We're clever about it now.  In the late 40s, we created a loose confederation of nations and gave ourselves and our friends permanent veto powers in all elections.  At the same time we doled out spreading around money like an upstart mafioso, which bought us at least five decades of love.  We built major highways through central america and made sure to involve ourselves with all their elections in order to have the "good guys" in charge of our fruit and oil supplies.  Also, we let our entertainment industry do most of the culture-export business and we let our universities educate millions of foreigners every year and carry our ideas back to their homelands, which frees up the government to focus on diplomatic and military adventures.  I'm not such a conspiracy theorist that I think there's a grand plan for all this; it has just worked out that way.  By anyone's definition, we have the greatest, most influential, and most pervasive empire in the world at the moment.

11  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Presdential Candidate worse than Hillary Clinton? on: March 26, 2017, 07:58:13 am
Rick Perry

It's a good thing you don't have to remember the name of the Department of Energy to be qualified to lead it. 
12  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Policical Tribe quiz on: March 25, 2017, 08:25:53 pm
Progressive Cosmopolitan

I picked a postal code near the great barrier reef (Yarrawonga Village apartments, Townsville) because it wouldn't let me continue without some address, and I figured that somewhere near the reef would be my chosen spot if I were forced to live in Australia.  Also, I had to guess on some of the Australia-specific questions.  Otherwise, I tried to answer to the best of my knowledge.

13  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Presdential Candidate worse than Hillary Clinton? on: March 25, 2017, 07:59:19 pm
What candidate would you say is worse than Hillary? I,d say Dukasis. Dukasis blew away a 17 point lead.

Dukakis was the first candidate I voted for US president.  LOL.

What a douchebag.  The helmet and tank photo-op really did him in. 

Still, I don't think he was a worse candidate than Hillary Clinton.  For all his faults, at least Michael Dukakis won my vote in the general election.
14  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: What are YOUR ideas on Tax Reform? on: March 25, 2017, 07:47:07 pm
What are YOUR ideas on Tax Reform?

Simplify!!!!!!!!!

That a cottage industry has evolved to serve no purpose other than to help people "do their taxes" should be evidence enough that we need simplification.  I have never used a service, or software, to "do" my taxes, but I am constantly reminded that many (most?) people do.  Just the other day I was in the club working out with a colleague who asked me about my taxes and I mentioned that I didn't quite finish because I was printing PA40 form UE and my printer quit.  (Oh, it was a fine printer.  It is three years older than my son and has been faithfully printing since 2001, but it started to make a noise a few months ago so I knew it was coming.)  Anyway, he immediately said, "printed out forms?  You mean, you do it on forms with a pencil?  old school, man.  I use TurboTax."   

?!  This particular individual has a PhD in political science and he has to use software to "do" his taxes?!

I've been chastized and hounded by the feds.  Sometimes it's good.  Once they wrote, "We owe you one thousand dollars.  Please call this number if you dispute this."  Who would dispute that?  Of course I didn't call the number.  I awaited my one-thousand dollar check and was glad to receive it.  More often it's like this, "We have determined that you owe us six thousand, seven hundred, thirty-three dollars and forty-seven cents.  If you pay in the next two weeks there will be no additional interest or penalties..."  Or something like that.  Once they pissed me off so bad that I called them and had to go through about 20 minutes of menus, only to get "Our call volume is unusually busy at the moment.  Please call back at another time."  WTF??!  I wrote them a harshly-worded letter and disputed the amount that they claimed, as well as the interest rate they charged, and offered them about a third of what they wanted (I was being generous).  About a month later I got a letter that stated that my amount would be acceptable.

Mostly I don't make mistakes, but I have to set aside at least an entire weekend to do it.  It's insane. 

DECIDE HOW MUCH YOU NEED AND TAKE IT!  JUST FUCKING TAKE IT.  DON'T MAKE IT SO COMPLICATED.

That's all I'd suggest. 
15  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Use of the Phrase "American Empire" on: March 25, 2017, 07:22:36 pm
American simply refers to the indigenous peoples of North America or South America, or to a citizen of the U.S, or is generally a reference to the United States.

An empire is a major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or peoples under a single sovereign authority, or it is something resembling a political empire or an extensive territory or enterprise under single domination or control

If we put these together we get American Empire.  I don't think the term is meant to be offensive, and I don't think, as cathcon suggests, that it is meant to sound cool.  Is it modern?  Well, to the extent that there were many American empires (the olmec, the huastec, the mixtec, the aztec, the Tihuantinsuyu, the Maya, etc.), long before the age of conquest, it is not necessarily modern.  But to the extent that it specifically refers to the hegemony of the US in world affairs, then it is fairly modern.  The Monroe Doctrine is probably where it began, but it has since evolved into:  (1) the political unit into which the United States has evolved and the vassal states in the Americas subject thereto;  (2) a general reference to the cultural, military, and economic hegemony of the United States.

I think it's a reasonable and inoffensive term.  It is also useful, since it reminds of how badly twisted our government has become since the days of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  I guess I'm a bit optimistic in the sence that such a reminder will act as a slap in the face.  I'm no fan of The Donald, or of his wall, his impropriety, his general disdain for polite conversation, or of his lack of geopolitical curiosity, but I have to admit that his anti-imperialist rhetoric has some appeal.  We might applaud those who remember that imperialism doesn't really best suit our economic ends.


16  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Use of the Phrase "American Empire" on: March 25, 2017, 04:38:23 pm
Use of the Phrase "American Empire"

FF.  Also, it's the name of a book by Andrew Bacevich, of BU (my alma mater).  Check it out:

https://www.amazon.com/American-Empire-Realities-Consequences-Diplomacy/dp/0674013751

It's a bit dated now, but still a good read.
17  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: On a scale from 0-10, how independent would you rate yourself ? on: March 24, 2017, 08:28:21 pm
10.  

Voted 10 but that's probably wishful thinking.  Probably I should vote for 1 or 2.  I can't answer yes to all your questions (I'm not on welfare, for example), and I'm not sure what I'd do if a guy with a gun entered the subway and demanded everyone's money--like the restaurant scene in Pulp Fiction when Jules and vince meet Honey Bunny and Tom Roth--but I pay my bills on time, I do not borrow or lend omenty, the gods leave me alone, and I leave them alone, so I figure I'm about as independent as one can be.  Still, I have to answer to my wife and my son.  Realistically I was probably a 10 till I was 37 years old, but then I was married and had a child.  After that I became a 1 or maybe a 2 at best.
18  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Have you cut off ties to friends/family members who normalize Trump? on: March 23, 2017, 11:37:08 am
friends/family members who normalize Trump

None of my friends have found A such that ∫∫∫|A|2 Trump|2 r2drsinθdθdϕ=1



19  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Naming the Congressional Districts on: March 23, 2017, 10:17:28 am
That would be incredibly helpful.

No, it would not.  They're so Gerried that the names would have to be very cumbersome to be meaningful.  Mine, for example, might be called Most-of-Lancaster-County-But-Not-A-Significant-Part-In-The-East-Which-Is-Deep-Amish-Country-But-Also-A-Little-Bit-Of-The-South-Central-Part-Of-Chester-County-And-Just-A-Bit-Of-The-Western-Part-of-Berks-County.  I'd prefer to stick with PA-16, thankyouverymuch.

Neighboring PA-7 would be even more cumbersome to try to name:


20  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Who would you rather date? on: March 21, 2017, 07:37:13 am
I'm a lesbian straight dude, and I like clicking.
21  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Prison guards torture schizophrenic man to death, get off scot-free on: March 20, 2017, 09:06:17 pm
they turned the water on scalding hot, possibly as high as 180 degrees, then walked away.

and at that point, Dönitz had no choice but to agree to Zhukov's terms.

But a two-year probe of the incident by law enforcement officials has uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing.

Seriously though, this is the discomforting part.  My guess is that by then some people have been "motivated" not to testify.


22  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Calling Bernie Sanders “Bernie” on: March 20, 2017, 02:17:46 pm
I voted for Sanders in the primary.  I always referred to him as Sanders, whether talking to Sanders supporters, Trump supporters, Clinton supporters, or Rubio supporters, and as far as I know it didn't cause any confusion. 
23  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Do you own a e-Bike ? on: March 20, 2017, 02:12:35 pm
I thought, "what the hell is an ebike?  Is that like an ecigarette?"

Now that I see the picture I see what you mean.  Here, they're called electric bicycles.  I see a few on the streets, but not many.  I saw many in the Far East, but they're not as common here.

anyway, no.  I looked into them a while back, because my wife wanted me to get one.  I sometimes ride to work, which is nearly nine miles each way, and she worries about me when I ride.  I convinced here that the electric bicycle really isn't advantageous.  If I get hit by a car it's not any more protected, and using the electric part sort of defeats the purpose of cycling in the first place.  I guess the one advantage is that if you get tired of going uphill, tired to the point of making careless errors that might cause an accident, then having the electric motor might alleviate the problem.  But really going uphill on a bicycle is just part of the fun, so I don't think I'll get one.
24  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Most Young Americans See Trump as an Illegitimate President on: March 19, 2017, 12:46:13 pm
I still don't understand what it means to claim that a president is "illegitimate."

It means whatever you want it to mean.  Eye of the beholder.

I can think of two general analogies:  the Borgia popes and the antipopes.  The leaders of the House of Borgia were suspected of adultery, incest, simony, theft, bribery, and murder, among other things, and they clawed their way to the top using trickery and broken promises.  Antipopes simply oppose the legitimately elected pope and made claims to be actual pope.  Trump is more like the Borgia popes than the antipopes, I think, in the sense that no one has decided to oppose his presidency and declare himself or herself the actual president, and in the sense that Trump engaged in a general sort of tomfoolery to get himself elected, and again to pursue a legislative agenda.

I wouldn't call him illegitimate, but then I wouldn't call the Borgia Popes illegitimate either.  Powerhungry, perhaps, and unethical, but not illegitimate.  Still, I can understand that logic that might lead others to conclude that a certain illegitimacy obscures their moral authority.
25  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Why is the 1944-1950 German democide/genocide/forced migration ignored? on: March 17, 2017, 09:22:58 am
Why is the 1944-1950 German democide/genocide/forced migration ignored?

But it isn't.  I just finished The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert, which is three short stories set in Germany near the end and just after the fall of Berlin.  The main characters aren't directly involved in the forced migrations, but it is mentioned.  Leon Uris and James Michener also writes about it.  There are a number of other scholarly works.  Here's one you might like.

You don't really have time to go over it in your ninth grade world history class because they are expected to take you from the conquest of South Egypt by Menes some 5200 years ago through the fall of communism and beyond.  It's a lot to cover.  They don't mention ethnic German dislocations, but then they don't mention the Rape of Nanjing either, do they?  You have American history in another class, but that's of course only History as it relates to the United States.  From that point of view, the Marshall Plan and the rise of anti-communist paranoia is more economically relevant to the history of the US than the migrations, forced and free, after world war 2.

In University, you get more options.  For example, Millersville University offers a history course, label HIST 224, called Modern Germany which begins around 1806 after napoleon swept through and collected little states into bigger ones and goes all the way through to the fall of the Berlin Wall and beyond.  In that course there's at least one lecture devoted to the contraction of German borders in 1945 and the herding of Germans like cattle into locked boxcars and former Nazi concentration camps for resettlement within the new borders of Germany.  Best of all, the instructor's name is Kevorkian, although I've never asked her if she is related to Doctor Death.  There's another one, HIST 342, called Hitler and Nazism, which surveys the origins and impact of National Socialist theory.  I'm told that the the forced migrations which resulted after the war get more attention in that class. 

So I don't think the migrations are ignored.  It's not as sexy a topic as the Communism, Nazis, the trans-atlantic slave trade, and terrorism are, but there are plenty of books and lectures on the subject so you can get your fill.

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