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1  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poll: Capitalism dying? on: Today at 11:24:55 am
People being poor is obviously a flaw. You could argue that it's a flaw that would exist in any other system as well and perhaps even be worse or that it's a flaw that's in some way balanced out by benefits that necessitate it as a side-effect, but saying that it's not a flaw at all makes you sound like you care more about their markets as their own abstracted entities than about the actual people who have to live in and use them. Which is a horrible, disgusting way to think.

In fairness, there's a legitimate philosophical position that would make poor members of society a feature instead of a flaw. If one holds that an underclass serves the purpose of motivating people to achieve more and thereby either escape from or avoid entering that underclass, then having some poor people in a society becomes a necessity to the economic system.

This is all well and good, but what "poor" means can be drastically different in different societies and ending up in a society like Victorian Britain where ending up maimed on the job and then starving because you have no natural means of support (which is more or less the natural endpoint of an unregulated market with a labor glut...there's more where that came from!) is naturally morally reprehensible.  Every society has winners and losers, of course, but there's a point at which you need to step in to prevent the economic system from literally murdering the losers. 

Without regulations like, say, the Americans With Disabilities Act, who would go through the effort of setting up ramps that would enable a wheelchair-bound person to even hold gainful employment, when that boss could hire an able-bodied person and save on the ramp?  The society that the blue avatars in this thread envision isn't the fair "people are allowed to fail/be poor/whatever" society they envision, its one where one disadvantage (say, amputee status) reinforces others and culminates in leaving someone totally unemployable and therefore doomed to starvation.
2  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Man goes to hospital for circumcision, wakes up without penis on: July 30, 2014, 12:50:22 am
Thanks Obama.

Quite right.  If this man didn't have health insurance he never would have entered the hospital and this would have never happened.
3  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poll: Capitalism dying? on: July 29, 2014, 10:55:18 pm
If I murder someone and steal their wallet out of greed, is that capitalism?

I think the more apt comparison is if you create a fantastic new formula for a drug and I sneak into your laboratory, copy down the formula, sell the exact same thing at 10% less, and undercut you to make a fortune, is that not capitalism?  I mean, it's just smart business sense, right?  Screw government regulations like patent law.
4  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential General Election Polls / Re: Fox News national: Clinton leads Bush, Christie, Kasich, & Paul by double digits on: July 29, 2014, 12:20:16 am
No surprise yet.  In about 8 months when Clinton's approvals have come back to earth, if she's still leading by this amount I'll be impressed.
5  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poll: Capitalism dying? on: July 28, 2014, 10:22:07 am
I think capitalism is a useful term for contrasting with pre-capitalist economic models from the 17th-18th century.  Certainly it is clear that there is a distinct and fundamental difference between the so-called mercantilist economies of the 18th century and the so-called capitalist ones of the 19th, even if you don't think that "mercantilism" was ever a real economic ideology and that "capitalism" was a nebulous, meaningless term.
6  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: Poll: Capitalism dying? on: July 27, 2014, 06:05:01 pm
My personal answer to this question is yes. Capitalism won't be able to sustain its own contradictions and will fall to its own technological progress.

What do you think?

How's your Internet quality there in 1870?
7  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Cannabis '14: The WA & CO Memorial Thread on: July 27, 2014, 04:27:42 pm
Not sure if this is the thread for this:

New York Times Editorial Board endorses legalizing marijuana.


8  General Discussion / History / Re: Chat with The Mikado about cool history topics that interest you on: July 27, 2014, 03:51:51 pm
Hamster, sorry I haven't gotten around to a serious answer to your question, will post tonight.

Snowstalker: I don't think that was ever seriously proposed.  It would have had some really bizarre implications on French politics, though: over a million pieds noirs in electoral areas without Metropolitan French voters to cancel them out.  I could well see Oran going 80% for the FN in a modern election in that setup.
9  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: More people should watch Legend of the Galactic Heroes on: July 27, 2014, 11:20:50 am
Are we talking so bad its sort of good here? Because I'm always up for a bit of that.

The only thing that's so bad it's good are the subtitles, which are...not done by a native English speaker, and which feature countless terms that aren't idiomatic or simply haven't been used in English in centuries.  Also they manage to name a character Alexandor Bucock.

Otherwise the series is actually quite good.  Much of the first season revolves around Yang Wen-Li and Reinhard von Lohengramm rising in the ranks of their respective political systems against the opposition of nearly everyone.
10  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / More people should watch Legend of the Galactic Heroes on: July 27, 2014, 01:17:20 am

Legend of the Galactic Heroes (also known by its Japanese title Ginga Eiyu Densetsu or the German Heldensagen vom Kosmosimsel that it sticks on top of every episode for some reason) is a 110 episode anime series produced between 1988 and 1997 based on the Yoshiki Tanaka novel by of same name.  There's also two movies and 55 other episodes.  I've seen the movies but I haven't seen the other 55 episodes so I can't vouch for them but how bad could they be?

Legend of the Galactic Heroes is a story of foppery and whim.  

Of pretty men and spaceships.  

Very pretty men and quite a few spaceships.  Also, it is not at all rare for this show to put German text with Japanese subtitles with English subtitles of the Japanese subtitles.


According to this article, at a recent production of the Legend of the Galactic Heroes play (which  is apparently a thing that exists), a new adaptation of the novel was announced!  I cannot actually read this article, but Nathan might be able to.  Maybe everyone's lying to me and that's not what that article says at all!

Legend of the Galactic Heroes tells the story of pseudo-space Imperial Germany waging war on pseudo-space-United States of America.  A young, handsome blonde noble named Admiral Count Reinhard von Lohengramm, whose sister is the Kaiser's courtesan, has risen to a leadership position in the Galactic Empire, but a young, handsome brown-haired gentleman on the Alliance side, Yang Wen-li, has risen to a Admiralty position and won't let Reinhard achieve his dreams of galactic domination so easily.  Reinhard dreams of becoming Kaiser of a united human galaxy while Yang dreams of early retirement where he can pour more whiskey into his tea and sleep until 10 AM and live with his adopted son Julian Minci who is less than a decade younger than him and appears to also serve as Yang's housekeeper.

Leading the Imperial faction is a lazy party-animal Kaiser and a group of old sword nobility who think little of the Petticoat Admiral Reinhard von Lohengramm, who only got where he is because his older sister is sleeping with the Kaiser.  Leading the Alliance faction is Job Truniht, a Thomas Jefferson look-alike whose incompetent leadership is bolstered by his pseudo-Ku-Klux-Klan paramilitary that beats his critics into submission and scares the voters into keeping him perpetually in office and perpetually losing the war.  Both Reinhard and Yang yearn to reform the government: Reinhard dreams of becoming Kaiser while Yang dreams of getting as far away from the government and Job Truniht as possible.

In between their territory lies two chokepoints.  In one is the fortress of Iserlohn, an impregnable Imperial fortress that looks like a marble.  It's basically the Death Star except covered in a thick layer of liquid mercury so it's totally opaque.  On the other lies the Margraveate of Phezzan, a former Imperial vassal that has become an independent merchant republic that trades with both sides led by the Marquis Adrian Rubinsky, who looks like Professor Xavier from X-Men and who has a wife named Dominic for some reason.

There are also the Terraists, devotees of a religion named Terraism.  (This is not a joke)

Earth had been devastated long ago in something named the Thirteen Days War, which looked like this:

The only people who care about the nuked out husk of the mother world are the Terraists, whose sacred motto of "Terra is my mother, Terra in my hand" leads them to plot to hijack the future of the Galaxy in their own direction.  Rubinsky, who seems to be a history buff, compared them to Christians before Constantine, implying he sees himself as Constantine perhaps?

Terraists tend to wear banners with their slogan on them when committing their acts of Terraism.  Suffice it to say that Terraists are not motivated by foppery and whim.  Sad

This is all well and good, Mikado, but how can I experience the foppery and whim for myself?

Good question, boldface!  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNyY2F1OurUbDBCtILijHYI52YAiIvSX5

Watch the two movies listed first first, then watch the 110 episodes, then watch the other 55 episodes, I guess.  They're probably good.

Olivier Poplan there is the living embodiment of whim, and Dusty Attenborough, quoted above, has enough foppery for 10 men.

Does the Imperial side contain foppery and whim as well?

Paul von Oberstein and his cold robotic eyes have only scorn for your foppery and whim.

(Seriously, though, if Admiral Wolfgang Mittermeyer isn't foppish, the word doesn't have a meaning, and Oskar von Reuenthal is ruled by his whims)

What's the soundtrack to this romp of foppery and whim?

Mostly Mahler, some Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, a bit of Verdi.  Surprisingly little Wagner.

I'm in!  Does it have a song for the Alliance that sounds like an Engrish cargo cult parody of American patriotic music that I can ironically sing?


This is the Alliance's anthem, "Liberty Stands for Freedom."  I'll let the Youtuber who uploaded it play us out:

his is one of theme songs in "銀河英雄伝説 (Ginga Eiyū Densetsu, often shortened "Gin'eiden", "Legend of Galactic Heroes"). Tanaka Yoshiki had written the novel in 80's, and it had been made into animation since 1988 until 2000. This is one of the most influential animation films in Japan. It is not rare that Japanese intellectuals quote from this story. Several authors are often treated as critics of civilization, and Tanaka Yoshiki is one of them. This is not only interesting, but very influential socially.
This is the national anthem of "the Free Planets". The title is "Free Flag, Free People". This was recorded at an event held for fans in 1988, Tokyo. Singers were those fans, most of them were Japanese. They were not professional singers, and they were not able to speak English. This is the reason why English pronunciations are not correct in this song. Give them some latitude.

11  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Have you ever slept overnight on a mode of transportation? on: July 27, 2014, 12:19:24 am

I also spent a night once in a university library because public transit stopped running at 11 PM that night and I was still studying, which was probably my most "keeping it real" moment.
12  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Plan to split California into 6 states advances on: July 26, 2014, 11:41:41 pm
Are these awful names set it stone? Surely they can do better than just a directional California name...

Not that I'd vote for this anyway, but the names would be enough for me to vote No if I otherwise liked it.

I tend to agree, but I suspect there are electoral considerations at work. Picking a name other than a bland direction is more likely to lose votes than to gain them.

Makes me think: every once in a while your state gets silly proposals to split off Chicagoland from the rest of Illinois.  What would those states be called in such a proposal?  Chicagoland and Illinois?  Presumably people in Chicago would be upset about the rest of the state keeping that name.
13  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Mosul's Christian community extinguished after 1,600 years, thanks to ISIS on: July 26, 2014, 01:05:17 pm
You could have a far more effective version of the Miss Me Yet if it were King Faisal II in the picture.
14  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Present Israel-Palestine Conflict Thread on: July 25, 2014, 06:36:52 pm
So where does this "Israel is the only democracy in the region" line come from?  I keep hearing it.  Did Lebanon cease to exist at some point or something?
15  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Do you see Jon Voight speaking at the 2016 Republican convention? on: July 24, 2014, 11:46:32 pm
You see this car?  It used to be owned by Jon Voight.
16  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Anime on: July 24, 2014, 06:41:11 pm

I know for a fact that Mung Beans is a fan of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. I think it has some of the same conceptual/ideological flaws as Shingeki no Kyojin but in general I like it a lot. Has anybody else seen or heard of it?

I love that show so much, it's utterly brilliant.

I also love how the subtitler seems to be a person who doesn't really speak English but has one hell of a thesaurus.  It's not often that I see words like enfeoffed and foppery.

For me nothing will beat 'you may have killed millions of people, but at the very least, you made me happy'.

"We're conducting this revolution out of foppery and whim!"

Dusty Attenborough is the source of so many great quotes, especially when he's talking to Poplan.  One of my favorite bits is when they're trying to brainstorm an Alliance slogan to counter the Empire's "Sieg Kaiser Reinhard!" and Dusty proposed "Viva Democracy," leading everyone to basically collectively facepalm.  Then Poplan suggests..."Die Kaiser Reinhard!" and everyone goes with it.  It says a lot about how diverse the Alliance is that the only message they could agree on is the literal inverse of the Empire's slogan.

Poplan's also pretty great in general.

And while I'm talking about the Engrish, who can forget...


The Alliance's anthem.
17  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Anime on: July 24, 2014, 03:21:06 pm
Considering we actually have a surprising amount of LOGH fans around here, maybe we should have our own thread for that show.

Question: I haven't watched any of the side-series, just the main one.  Are any of them worth exploring?
18  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Which of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is your favorite? on: July 24, 2014, 12:41:32 pm
Write-in: The Ishtar Gate.  Impressive and functional.  Shame the lighthouse knocked it off the list.
19  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Anime on: July 24, 2014, 11:43:26 am

I know for a fact that Mung Beans is a fan of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. I think it has some of the same conceptual/ideological flaws as Shingeki no Kyojin but in general I like it a lot. Has anybody else seen or heard of it?

I love that show so much, it's utterly brilliant.

I also love how the subtitler seems to be a person who doesn't really speak English but has one hell of a thesaurus.  It's not often that I see words like enfeoffed and foppery.

I like how right from the get go the series establishes that both the Empire's autocracy and the Alliance's democracy were deeply, deeply flawed and put the two protagonists more against their own structures than against each other for the entire first season.  People like Braunschweig end up seen as the living embodiments of the evils in aristocratic, autocratic old regimes (contemptuous of commoners regardless of talent, unable to adapt to changing situations, etc.) while Job Truniht is basically the best satire of democracy's ills I've seen.  In the early episodes he literally has a pseudo-Ku Klux Klan that goes around beating the crap out of his political opponents in masks while he maintains plausible deniability.  Reinhard von Lohengramm must overcome Braunschweig and the other remnants of the corrupt Imperial establishment through force...Yang Wen-li is stuck with political maneuvering on the Alliance side because he can't just overthrow his own prime minister and still claim to stand for democratic rule.

EDIT: And I love how Reinhard is perfectly willing to seek talent among commoner and aristocrat alike, and disdains judging people by birth but is willing to work with those born well under the old regime who support his cause.  His top two admirals, the commoner Wolfgang Mittermeyer and the aristocratic Oskar von Reuenthal, are a great contrast with each other.
20  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Are you a hedonist? on: July 23, 2014, 02:09:23 pm
From the first sentence of the wiki page:

"Hedonism is a school of thought that argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good."

Clearly it is bad, because it ironically leads to great suffering. Pleasure is good, but only in moderation.
But don't hedonists believe in sacrificing short-term pleasures for long-term pleasures? They don't believe in just trying to have sensual pleasure nonstop.

What you're describing is closer to Epicureanism.  Hedonism doesn't tend to be nuanced enough to embrace Epicurus' concerns about small pleasures today leading to greater pains tomorrow.
21  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: If President Barack Obama is impeached in 2014 or 2015, who's to blame? on: July 23, 2014, 02:07:19 pm
Most of these are legitimate uses of executive power that every president since Franklin Roosevelt have done a variation of (giving instructions on how to enforce/not enforce laws, appointing bureaucrats who aren't confirmed by the Senate) that the Supreme Court has never had a problem with.

#2 is interesting because the ACA was upheld by the Supreme Court as a constitutional piece of legislation, and even if it wasn't, all that would have happened was that the law would have been overturned.  Passing unconstitutional legislation has never been a crime on the part of Congress or the Administration, ever.

The government not defending laws in the courts is also not a new thing, re #9.

The USA is bound by treaty with NATO to participate in NATO military actions, and Congress approved the North Atlantic Treaty back in 1949.  When NATO decided to intervene in Libya, Congress had de facto already consented by virtue of ratifying the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949.  Maybe Connelly should start advocating for the USA's withdrawal from NATO if he feels this strongly about this.  Also, compare with the 1998 intervention in Serbia.

"   12. Last but not the least of my dirty dozen of impeachable offenses, is the fact that since taking office the President has used executive orders, laws pushed through Congress in the dark of night, and administrative actions by his departments to nationalize and control automobile manufacturers, banks, insurance companies, and portions of the healthcare industry. "

Um...the USA has owned companies since literally day one (the US Postal Service comes to mind) and it has never been illegal or even unusual for the government to own significant stakes in companies.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Texas Megathread on: July 23, 2014, 11:23:21 am
Abbott will win by 15%. Davis' career is basically done

57-42 or so is pretty likely, yeah.  Not sure if I'd agree that Davis' career is done, though, she could easily find herself appointed to some bs position as a sop to Texas Democratic donors by Obama or a potential Clinton Administration.
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Cannabis '14: The WA & CO Memorial Thread on: July 23, 2014, 11:20:35 am
Looks like Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC are going to be the targets for 2014. 
24  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: If President Barack Obama is impeached in 2014 or 2015, who's to blame? on: July 22, 2014, 05:02:27 pm
Not going to happen unless Obama does something that actually merits it, and I can't see that happening.

Which he has.

Please elaborate on what criminal (High Crimes, indeed!) activity the administration has carried out.
25  General Discussion / History / Re: Delaware: middle colony but part of the South? on: July 22, 2014, 10:24:01 am
Same reason New York was a middle colony but ended up part of the North.  After the end of the revolutionary era (and basically around 1810s), the distinction between New England, Middle Colony, Southern Colony faded and was replaced by 'slave state or free state."
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