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News: Atlas Hardware Upgrade complete October 13, 2013.

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76  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: US threatened Germany into not giving asylum to Snowden on: March 27, 2015, 12:17:49 pm
Obama should just pardon him and be done with it.

that's more of a "last day in office" sort of move

Then I pray to God someone shoots Snowden, the hypocrite. That would be an utterly awful thing for Obama to do.
77  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Gully Foyle's African News Thread on: March 27, 2015, 12:15:55 pm

But either way, certainly is good luck for Goodluck. Which is his first name, by the way. Tongue
78  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Could Hillary refuse to debate in the primaries? on: March 26, 2015, 06:28:02 pm
Could she?
79  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Worst Relationships between Heads of Friendly or Allied Countries on: March 26, 2015, 04:52:17 pm
I haven't seen anyone mention Diefenbaker and Kennedy yet, so Diefenbaker and Kennedy.

But I had to choose between the two I'd go with Diefenbaker to be honest.
80  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: UK General Discussion II on: March 26, 2015, 04:44:31 pm
Gay men should not dress in drag as it’s ‘offensive to trans women’ UNLESS you are queer and it’s a mode of self-expression (that clears that up then)

I don't get this. I know I'm not a "safe space" regarding these kinds of things, but... gay men are, erm, queer, no?
81  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Germanwings A320 crashes in France on: March 26, 2015, 04:34:30 pm
The co-pilot's friends told Der Spiegel he battled depression in 2009 and took a 6-month leave from training. While he passed all physical and psych tests, German law prohibits Lufthansa from obtaining his previous medical history.

Lubitz's former classmates told reporters in Germany that the 28-year-old temporarily left pilot training due to "burnout-syndrom" [sic], ...

Why is the adverb "sic" used in that sentence? I know what it means, but I don't understand the usage here.

"Syndrom" is not a word.
82  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Female VP Choices for Hillary? on: March 26, 2015, 04:31:44 pm
If Gillibrand really was a problem, Hillary could "move back" to Arkansas.
83  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: The Great Brazil Topic on: March 25, 2015, 11:19:38 pm
48% of Brazilians support a coup if "corruption is bad"

84  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: After Rambling Speech, Even the GOP Admits the ‘Fall of Palin’ on: March 25, 2015, 08:48:14 pm
Are we sure that's not Tina Fey?
85  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Al Realpolitik Institute of Sulfur Mining & Extraction on: March 25, 2015, 07:45:48 am
One should always assume the worst when it comes to police behavior.

So open minded and fair! Good thing we have people like you to remind us what a true progressive really is!
86  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Madeleine & Anvi Gallery of Excellent Effortposts on: March 24, 2015, 01:15:55 pm
Sam Spade is damaged beyond repair, so I thought I would set up a new one. Please do not argue in it and no short posts.

Am afraid I'm going to have to disappoint you. I was going to write a long post describing my frustration with... certain elements demeanor on the forum but I've decided it's not worth the effort. I'll just say, Politicus, that your tendency to try to "shut down" debate when its not to your liking, as you are doing here, try to tell people what or is or isn't appropriate to post, or to ignore those who've earned your disdain (which, unsurprisingly, may be what makes their reactions to what you post so contemptuous in the first place), is not particularly pleasant and, frankly, comes off as arrogant in the extreme. (I was going to use the line "occasionally imperious and self-righteous demeanor".) I'll give just one example of what I am talking about:


You are a funny kind of a lass, aren't you? On top of your usual self-righteous attitude you are now lecturing a native speaker of Estonian on how to properly translate Estonian political party names.

It is the Moderate People's Party, not People's Party Moderates.

''Rahvaerakond'' - People's Party. ''Mõõdukad'' - Moderates. ''Rahvaerakond Mõõdukad'' - People's Party Moderates. Moderate People's Party would be ''Mõõdukas Rahvaerakond'' in Estonian. See the difference?

Now of course the real name did sound clumsy, but it did so both in Estonian as well as in English. While they were trying to rebrand themselves around the late 2003 some commentators humorously suggested that, well, why not just take all the proposed names and rename themselves e.g. ''Social Democratic Labour Party Moderates''.

Look, I like you, politicus, quite a bit (no, not in that way Tongue). Your analysis on the elections and politics of the more overlooked parts of the world are damn near invaluable on a forum where, say, provincial by-elections in Canada get more attention than (more important, objectively speaking) elections in other parts of the world; general elections in Indonesia or Nigeria, or indeed, most parts of the world where white men do not tend to live, even if I honestly might snicker when you cover elections in the Marshall Islands or whatnot- one, after all, could treat Rwandan elections the same way, which I would disagree. So to each her own. But I think this is something, if not something everyone is going to agree with me on, that needed to be said. And no, not by PM.

Now, if we're wondering about people getting off topic in Post Galleries and Institutes and the like, perhaps the moderators should consider splitting off the divergent discussion into a separate thread in a more relevant part of the forum. You can do that, right?
87  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: France: Départementales 2015 - March 22/29, 2015 on: March 24, 2015, 01:09:11 pm
"We won".

Because everyone in the election night pretended to be happy with the results.

Wouldn't that be "nous avons gagné", however?
In oral French, nobody ever uses the person "nous" anymore, and "on a gagné" is the typical rooting chant when one is victorious in sports or other fields.

I see. As if things in spoken French weren't difficult enough to tell apart as is.
88  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Sam Spade Memorial Good Post Gallery on: March 24, 2015, 07:03:18 am
Well, this thread deserves a large recap! Tongue

As you probably know, Dilma Rousseff (PT-RS) was barely reelected back in October 2014 after what was the tightest democratic election ever in Brazil's history. Most will remember the two-month roller coaster. More on the election here: http://uselectionatlas.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=170116.0

Some will probably remember that as the election went by, Brazil's economy started to show unequivocal signs of weakness, with shrinking growth, rising inflation, a weakening currency and a federal budget out of control. The economic weakness was made worse by the fact that the financial market clearly chose Aecio Neves as its candidate, as the government was blamed for the results of a failed economic strategy adapted from 2011 onward.

Some will remember that during the election, Dilma emphatically said that there was nothing wrong with the economy, that inflation was under control and that no adjustments would be needed. She also attacked both Aecio Neves and Marina Silva strongly, claiming that they would go on with privatizations, restricting worker's rights, cutting government spending on social problems, etc.

Some will also remember that as the election went by, the largest corruption scandal in Brazil's history started to be blown wide open for everyone, as its whistleblowers started to tell the feds all they knew about a gigantic corruption scandal underway in Brazil largest state owned company, Petrobras. 2 days before the runoff, it was leaked that, according to one of the whistleblowers, both Lula and Dilma knew about the wrongdoing and did nothing to stop it.

Well, just one day after the election Dilma was forced to go on a full "etch a sketch" mode, recognizing the economy was not in its best state and that some sacrifice would be needed. Later that week, interest rates were increased to curb escalating inflation, and soon after Dilma announced Joaquim Levy, an orthodox economist who was part of Aecio Neves' staff as her finance minister. Levy was supposed to set forth a series of unpopular measures, such as raising taxes and restricting access to pensions, social security and unemployment benefits.

A few days later, Dilma was faced with a disaster in potential as it became clear that the federal government would run a deficit in 2014, falling well short of the budgetary target set forth by the 2014 budget. Since that would violate Brazil's balanced budget law, an impeachable offence, Dilma was forced to bargain with the Congress a change on the fiscal target before December 31st. The consequence was that Dilma lost a lot of leverage and political power.

Dilma took an even stronger hit when the new Congress was sworn in. The new Congress has a much less stable majority than the one Dilma worked with on her 1st term, specially in the House. To make things worse, Dilma tried to intervene on the race for the presidency of the House, as she tried to avoid the election of Eduardo Cunha (PMDB-RJ), one of the cunningest politicians in Brazil, a man she despises. She failed badly, Cunha was elected with ease and Dilma lost even more support in Congress.

Finally, the Petrobras scandal turns worse for the government each passing day. Right after the election, a large number of businessmen were arrested, all of them suspected of paying hefty bribes for politicians in exchange of highly profitable contracts with Petrobras. While some denied any wrongdoing and said they had nothing to tell the feds, some went rogue and started telling all they knew about the corruption scandal to the feds. This led to even more new info, deepening the investigations further. As things got bleaker, the government finally decided to sack Petrobras' president, Maria Graça Foster. The problem is, they chose a man with previous ethics concerns to replace her, scaring even more investors away from Petrobras. Remember, Petrobras last produced a valid balance sheet on the 2nd quarter of 2014.

As February came by, things started to get even worse for Dilma. First, Eduardo Cunha was sworn in as the President of the House, promising to act with independence from the Executive. From them on, things soured quickly. Dilma has angered the entire PMDB, that refuses to negotiate with the leading political negotiators of the federal government (including Dilma's Chief of Staff, Aluizio Mercadante). Things got nuclear when the Attorney General announced the name of the first politicians that will be investigated for involvement with the Petrobras scandal. The list contains the name of many PMDB barons, such as Eduardo Cunha and the President of the Senate, Renan Calheiros (PMDB-AL). Cunha and Calheiros claimed their names were on the list because the federal government asked the Attorney General to do so. As a reaction, they rallied the PMDB to make things even worse for Dilma in Congress.

Finally, the PT itself has been taking increasingly large hits. Renato Duque, a former director of Petrobras and a man known to be very close to José Dirceu was arrested late last year accused of involvement on the scandal. He was released just a few days later, but last Monday he was arrested again, as the Prosecution proved he was still laundering huge sums of money in Monaco. The latest findings show Duque was the man responsible for asking hefty bribes for the PT, bribes that were collected by a now infamous name, João Vaccari Neto, the treasurer of the PT. PT members are in panic that Duque may be desperate in prison, and that for this reason he may decide to tell what he knows to the feds. There's also increasing evidence that José Dirceu got millions from the corruption scheme, and that Dilma's 2010 presidential campaign was largely funded by bribes and laundered money. Finally, large PT names such as Senator Gleisi Hoffman (PT-PR), Senator Lindbergh Farias (PT-RJ) and Senator Humberto Costa (PT-PE) emerged on the AG's list of investigated politicians.

Notice the amount of times I said things "got worse" for Dilma. It just goes to tell you how bad things got for her. It's not surprising that the latest ratings of her government are on pair with the ones registered by Collor when impeachment proceedings against him started back in September 1992. The national rating is of 62% bad/awful ratings, and even on the Northeast, where Dilma had a landslide win back in October, over 50% of the voters now say her government is bad/awful.

Thus, with a economy expect to shrink nearly 1% this year (and I'm being optimistic), inflation getting closer to double digits, a melting currency, many broken promises and a gigantic corruption scandal that's getting closer and closer to the presidency, its no surprise that many want to boot Dilma out of overnment. That's why over 2 million people took the streets of hundreds of cities last Sunday, as you may have seen on TV or somewhere on internet. Those were the largest demonstrations in Brazil's recorded history, even larger than the redemocratization demonstrations back in the 80's.

Now, can Dilma be impeached? That's something I'll discuss tomorrow.
89  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Sam Spade Memorial Good Post Gallery on: March 24, 2015, 06:57:04 am
Aren't most projections indicating that the world population will eventually level at around 10 billion and then begin to stagnate?

Yes. We're likely going to stop at 10 and be there for a good century before going downward in the 22nd century. Anecdotal declines in population like Simfan posts are just human migration.

I don't claim otherwise, but it shows what happens when a region loses population- nothing good.
90  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: States where African-American candidates have a hard time winning statewide on: March 24, 2015, 06:46:07 am
91  General Politics / International General Discussion / Re: Barbados plans to replace Queen with ceremonial president on: March 24, 2015, 06:42:26 am
92  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Gubernatorial/Statewide Elections / Re: Chicago mayoral election today (24 February 2015) on: March 23, 2015, 08:54:59 am
I wonder if a few years of Garcia wouldn't have a David Dinkins type effect. Maybe Pubs should be cheering for him Tongue

Rahm Emanuel is a center right Democrat who couldn't help get Pat Quinn or a Democratic governor in office to offset the Rauner GOP budget that hurts Chicago and schools

Chuy Garcia is a progressive that will stand with the people against Rauner, I don't know why it is a good thing for you to think that it will be a good thing if Garcia wins, but the unions win.

Well so was Ed Koch, by that standard.
93  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Which "Clinton but not Obama" states could Hillary carry in 2016? on: March 23, 2015, 08:44:16 am
Hillary's going to win Missouri, certainly.
94  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: The Sam Spade Memorial Good Post Gallery on: March 23, 2015, 07:41:05 am
So stopping as soon as possible is always the best option? So we would have been better off if we had stopped last year, or ten years ago... or in 10,000 B.C.?

No of course not to the last one, but in the present situation it clearly is important to stabilize global population at as low a level as possible. The lower level, the more natural resources per capita.

The current situation is unique in human history. Never before has billions of people had an ambition of pursuing a consumerist life style and a realistic chance of acquiring one. That is in itself fine, but we are depleting resources at a very fast rate and as populations swell, resource depletion will be exacerbated. At the same time we are facing a climate crisis that reduces important resources like agricultural soil.
Scientists predict that we'll "need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000. That is a very tall order. A fast growing, more affluent population competing for ever scarcer resources is a problematic scenario. No technological fix is likely to counter that.

As a sidenote: For me the fact that half the worlds wildlife has gone in the last 40 years play a role as well. A world where there is only room for a few species is a tragedy and unethical.

So what? What use is that if we have the technology? The reality of the misery of population decline, meanwhile, strikes again:

95  General Discussion / Religion & Philosophy / Re: Help me teach my boss about Hinduism on: March 23, 2015, 07:19:35 am
I remember trying to make that point a while back but it was I'll received for some reason...
96  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Opinion of Étienne-Louis Boullée on: March 23, 2015, 07:16:23 am
97  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary Clinton Retains Strong Appeal to American Women on: March 22, 2015, 09:47:17 pm
I seriously thought this was going to be some satire, maybe one of those excellent "If It Happened There" pieces in Slate.

I mean, really. Of course she does. This should not be a surprise to anyone.

It certainly is a surprise to the white male pundits, white male columnists, white male news anchors, white male talk show hosts, and white male internet commentators that assume everyone hates Hillary because they do.

But are white males the only group of people who feel this way about Hillary?

Yes. Even our True Leftists who oppose her on this site are entirely white males.

In that case, white males are just about the only people who support Hillary as well.
98  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of the U.S. education reform movement on: March 22, 2015, 09:40:52 pm
Odd that so many are not particularly dissatisfied with the dysfunctional status quo, as the US ratchets down to close to the bottom of educational achievement among richer nations.

Almost entirely thanks to poverty and uneven school funding.

Indeed, you're quite right. We spend more per student, generally, in poor districts than in wealthy ones. And poverty makes it difficult for students to have an environment conducive to learning. Indeed, when you are surrounded by a culture that treats educational attainment as essentially devoid of practical value or return, it hard to get students motivated no matter how much money you throw at them. I've always wondered what the educational metrics used to compare countries' performance (PISA, etc) would look like in the US broken down by race. I suspect that if one were to remove Blacks and Hispanics from the figures, our (well, I guess your) performance would be at a more satisfactory level. (It is curious that these sort of measures tend to place the more homogenous countries at the top; one could argue "at least we tolerate the presence of disadvantaged minorities.") Which suggests that, yes, there are broader environmental issues at play.

So the solution is to... not do anything differently? Because if we all agree that the status quo is indeed "dysfunctional", we all ought to support "reform" of one sort of another. Critics of "reform" are in this regard somewhat like critics of Obamacare- the find lots of problems with it but are mum on what they'd do instead, and in this case the implication is that the present system suits them just fine. "Them" here being the education unions, of course.

The thing about charter schools, as a common criticism goes, is that while they may very well owe their success to their ability to attract bright students (the implication being that they aren't all that great), the "bright kids" from low-income backgrounds would otherwise fare more poorly in their absence. Which is perhaps the greatest tragedy of our education system's dysfunction- that students with potential and enthusiasm are being stifled by it and denied the opportunities for success that they would take if they were available.

Indeed, one could make the case that one of the more egregious imbalances of our education system is the excessive focus given to special-needs education at the expense of, in many cases, programs for advanced students.

Either way, the problem of how, even with tenure and the "inflated" salaries, no one (capable) really wants to be a teacher these days remains a difficult challenge to overcome, at least with normal assumptions about incentives and such.
99  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Hillary Clinton Retains Strong Appeal to American Women on: March 22, 2015, 09:03:48 pm
I seriously thought this was going to be some satire, maybe one of those excellent "If It Happened There" pieces in Slate.

I mean, really. Of course she does. This should not be a surprise to anyone.

It certainly is a surprise to the white male pundits, white male columnists, white male news anchors, white male talk show hosts, and white male internet commentators that assume everyone hates Hillary because they do.

But are white males the only group of people who feel this way about Hillary?
100  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: France: Départementales 2015 - March 22/29, 2015 on: March 22, 2015, 08:58:18 pm
"We won".

Because everyone in the election night pretended to be happy with the results.

Wouldn't that be "nous avons gagné", however?
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