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Monthly topic Feb. 1st, 2015 @ 06:53 pm
Hi again, dudes & dudettes! Time for our new installment of the monthly topic. The one you guys chose last time was...

Ancient and Medieval Politics

Time for our history experts to step up, methinks!

Some details on the topicCollapse )

The poll for next monthCollapse )
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Friday non-news. The epic super-duper Blizzapocalypse that never was. Jan. 31st, 2015 @ 12:15 am
The 35 million people in the corridor from Philadelphia to Boston are living in panic of news reports of a snowstorm of historic proportions. Reporters are falling all over themselves to outdo their breathless coverage of last weekend's four inches, as the region now expects at least 24 inches.

The region is a small minority of the U.S. population, but a large majority of the management of the television networks, and its location on the East Coast means it is the site of all America's East Coast newspapers. Readers expecting relief on these pages will be disappointed, as the snowbound region is an even more infinitesmal part of the worldwide readership, but comprises a full 100% of editorial management [citation needed!!1!]. Thus, it is natural to treat the routine storm as the world's leading story, with irresponsible hyperbole. Executive producers far and wide have defended the decision to plaster the story on their front pages over changes of government in Greece, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, and several inspiring selfies taken by President Obama, with the rationale that "It is what people want to read".

Be afraid! Be VERY afraid of the impending Snowmageddon!Collapse )

Friday OMG. Hadou-ken! RL Ryu passes bonus level with "Perfect"! Jan. 30th, 2015 @ 10:51 am

European foreign policy causes discontent in Ukraine Jan. 29th, 2015 @ 12:15 pm
Yesterday Oleg Lyashko ( ), the leader of the Radical Party of Ukraine ( ), has made a very emotional statement:

Here`s an approximate translation:

"We shall overcome – with Europe or without it!
Russia’s friends are our enemies

Eurofaggots spoiled by liberalism and leftish slogans who should vote for return of vote right to Moskoviya, shall:

1. Become enemies of Ukraine for good.
2. Compromise PACE taking away it’s glorious name of one of the most reputable international institutions in the world.
3. THE MOST IMPORTANT. They know about Moscovia’s crimes, know about rivers of blood shed by Kremlin’s fault in the middle of Europe. Thus, by supporting Moscovia, they shall share the responsibility for horrid crimes of the agressor state. They will go down in history covered by shame, and at the Last Judgement they will be reminded of the thousands of murdered Ukrainians.

Oleg Lyashko,
The People’s Deputy of Ukraine
Leader of the Radical Party "

Everyone in the world is indebted to Ukraine. Europe must condemn Russia and financially support Ukraine. USA must send advisors and non-lethal equipment on the Eastern front. Turkey must let Norwegian, Qatari and American supertankers with condeced gas get through the Bosphorus... Ukraine is the last redoubt, restraining eastern hordes of the Northern Mordor. Ukraine shall overcome them with Europe or without it, but how would Europeans feel if the Evil will be defeated by Ukraine only? Will they even feel shame?

An offensive with many risks Jan. 28th, 2015 @ 01:11 pm
Palestinians present ICC membership request to UN

The old bluff, it turns out, was no bluff at all. On the last day of last year, the Palestinian autonomy officially requested membership at the International Criminal Court, and the UN Secretary General Ban Kim Moon announced that they would be joining that institution in April. Looks like a risky move, because it will inevitably increase the tensions with Israel, since that status would allow the Palestinians to sue Israeli citizens for war crimes.

Still, the Palestinians must be tired at this point, and devoid of other options. They have already requested an investigation of all purported Israeli crimes since last June, which includes the Israeli military campaign against Gaza from last summer. But that also potentially makes them vulnerable to the same charges. The US, in turn, are expectedly critical of these steps of the autonomy. And the analysts are debating whether this course of action would ultimately increase or undermine the success of the Palestinian cause, the creation of an independent sovereign state.

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The Greek drama continues Jan. 27th, 2015 @ 02:37 pm
New Greek leader poised to unveil cabinet - FT

Wow, these guys are fast, aren't they? They needed less than a couple of days to get ready with their new cabinet. And what a cabinet it'll be! The neo-commies plus the far-right. Now the door to "re-negotiating" with the creditors of the despicable Troika is open. Hooray. Tsipras has promised to rid Greece of the debt burden, and save it from the crippling austerity measures, and kick the financial supervisors out of the country - while in the meantime ensuring new financial aid from those same stupid gullible Europeans that they'll be flipping the bird to. The latter he calls "solidarity". Because Greece only seems to have rights, not obligations. At least that's what the majority of the Greek voters seem to have been convinced of.

I don't know if there's a better word to characterize all this, but "insolence".

One thing is for sure: the future talks between the new Greek rulers and the EU will be quite "interesting" from here on. The game of poker has started already, Germany hinting that they wouldn't mind kicking Greece out of the Eurozone at this point. Germany is surely in a much better position this time around, which is why the financial ministers in Brussels are demonstrating remarkable calmness for the time being. They've said they remain "cautiously optimistic", and prefer to wait to see what demands the Greeks will come up with, this time. The IMF has clearly stated that there'll be no more bail-outs, and scratching off of debt. The ECB's position is pretty much the same. Similar signals have come from the European Commission, and the German government (whom the Greeks blame for all their woes, btw, not without Godwinning the shit out of the whole situation).

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Cuba needs its old foe Jan. 26th, 2015 @ 04:13 pm
Seems like Cuba is pulling the brakes on the recently heralded warming up of its relations with the US. The historic breakthrough may've prompted many in Havana to sound the alarm: what would happen if Obama's new approach to Cuba puts all achievements of the revolution in question? Cuba is afraid it could remain without its sworn enemy. And for a reason. After all, the US has been one of the main foundations that the Castro regime has long been using to legitimize its grip on power.

Without its crusade against American imperialism, the regime would find it hard to explain to its people how come there's still a one-party state there. If the US embargo is lifted, there'll be no more excuse for the ailing economy and the finacial failures. Which is why the hardliners in Havana don't really seem to want a normalization of the relations with the US. Since the very beginning of the negotiations, a speaker of the Cuban foreign ministry pointed out that establishing normal diplomatic relations shouldn't necessarily mean normalization of the political relations.

After half a century of socialism, Cuba cannot and does not want to abandon its ideological principles - not without putting the very existence of its system in jeopardy. The Castro regime is doing their best to protect their power, while the US is mostly pursuing economic and geopolitical interests. So the normalization of the diplomatic relations has its merits for both sides, but for different reasons.

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Clash of Cultures Jan. 25th, 2015 @ 08:35 pm
Hi once more, all you wannabe benevolent dictators of your imaginary utopian countries! It's been a while since the last time that we had one of our regular hypothetical situations which you, being the awesome ruler of your great fictional nation that you are, as inspired by the NationStates game, will have to be dealing with. Last time Ms Parke, the overworked bureaucrat won by a landslide, arguing that each bill in legislature should have just one topic and purpose. But now the problem is a bit different - and quite timely, might I point out.

The Issue

Conservative commentators have remarked that many foreign immigrants in Insert Country Name are failing to take part in, or even acknowledge, the country's rich and varied culture, traditions, and social mores. This has caused some interethnic strife, and reports of violence in minority-dominated neighbourhoods have been increasing every day.

The debate & a pollCollapse )

The Son of a Bitch is dead, long live the son of a bitch! Jan. 23rd, 2015 @ 08:53 pm
So, the ruling absolute monarch of the major terrorist sponsor in the Arab states (and the United States' closest ally, naturally), is dead.

There was some speculation when the old son of a bitch was alive that the state might enter a succession crisis due to a surplus of third generation princes. Unfortunately the regime seems to be finding a way out of it.

To me, the Saudi state is the worst possible combination of deliberate anachronism and ultra-modern innovation. It's one case where I would gladly watch it burn just to see the whole rotten lot of them swept into the garbage bin of history where they belong. That the United States props up one of the major citadels of the worst kinds of Judaeophobia and hardline Islamist extremism, and that this regime keeps on ticking, is also precisely why 'War on Terror' rhetoric falls apart when examined closely.To oppose terrorism and prop up Saudi Arabia is like trying to sift the ocean with a sieve.

So, in short, I hope the old king's rotting in Hell and I look forward to the next bastard joining him there.

Friday curious. Where life is cheapest/most expensive Jan. 24th, 2015 @ 12:17 am
The Movehub platform has published some info about where it is the cheapest and costliest to live. The index is based on data about rent prices, essential goods, foods, restaurant dinners, etc. The infograph is quite illustrative. Turns out the most expensive place to live is Switzerland, and India is the cheapest. See for yourselves:

Friday WTF. O tempores, o virgins... Jan. 23rd, 2015 @ 11:07 am
Sooo... my city of Plovdiv has become famous throughout the land with the weirdest lawsuit you've heard as of late...

A 40 year old poetess is suing a colleague for calling her "a maid" - and is set to win.

Albena Hinkova of Plovdiv proved her maidenhood in court through a specially appointed medical examination, Nova TV reported yesterday. The reason for the lawsuit was a remark that a poet by the name of Nikolay Slavov had dropped during a gathering of intellectuals here in Plovdiv. He had publicly expressed doubts in her maidenhood by referring to her with the words, "Look now, my darling maiden - although I rather doubt you're a maiden, but nevermind..."

This has been the 4th squabble between the two, and this time Miss Hinkova is determined to go to the very end. In the meantime, the whole lawsuit was turned into complete circus for the many amused spectators, and the judge could barely withhold his laughter in the court-room.

What"s the reason for us not being able to have nice thingsCollapse )

Nonsensical nonsense is nonsensical. Paste this in Google search and enjoy: Jan. 23rd, 2015 @ 09:34 am
exp((-(((x-4)^2+(y-4)^2)^2))/1000)+exp(( -(((x+4)^2+(y+4)^2)^2))/1000)+0.15*exp(- (((x+4)^2+(y+4)^2)^2))+0.15*exp(-(((x-4) ^2+(y-4)^2)^2))


The year of the Balkan dragon Jan. 22nd, 2015 @ 05:22 pm
While the West Balkans are waiting for Brussels to compose a train with supplies for them (figuratively), Beijing might have already started supplying them with engines, carriages, rails and energy. Quite literally, by the way. Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro may well call 2014 the year of Chinese investment and Chinese business. For China, the Balkans are a gateway to Europe, with the extra bonus that these countries are still far from becoming EU members, which means the EU rules don't apply there. Europe is watching with suspicion the new caravans traversing the Silk Road in opposite direction these days, concerned that apart from the obvious benefits, Chinese money would inevitably bring some risks to the region. But China (at least for now) is not exactly Russia.

While the Chinese investments are subject to regulation just like any other investment, and there are some clear signs of the Russian influence growing in Central and East Europe, most analysts still consider the fears of the growing Chinese investments exaggerated. Here's why.

Context always matters, and economic interest is always at the bottom of it allCollapse )

Not all terrorists are Muslims Jan. 21st, 2015 @ 02:00 pm
We have been frequently hearing the phrase, "Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslim" in recent times. Well, if we investigate a little, turns out that is not true at all.

No doubt, there are many Muslims who have committed or are perpared to commit horrible atrocities in the name of Allah. The recent events in France, Nigeria and the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East confirm this. Still, many might be surprised, but the majority of the terrorist attacks on American and European soil are actually not committed by Muslims.

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Failing (or crumbling?) states: Putinomania galore! Jan. 20th, 2015 @ 02:24 pm
Interesting news have been coming out of Russia these days. Seems like the local press is eager to inform us that the leaders of the North-Caucasian Federal Okrug (region) and adjacent autonomous republics have sworn their allegiance to Vladimir the Great, issuing a joint declaration attesting to their unconditional support for his domestic and foreign policies. Flying on the wings of pious patriotic fervor, the local regional rulers have found it necessary to re-confirm their devotion to Dear Leader for the umpteenth time, and to assert that Russia's return on the right track towards the bright future has only been possible thanks to Vova's re-election for president. Passionate applause ensue.

Like most thinking people, I like looking for the deeper reasons for a particular action. So I asked myself the elementary question: what motivates the local chieftains of the North Caucasian region to demonstrate their support for their sovereign? Why right now? The question is particularly relevant, having in mind that this support is coming from the most problematic region of the Russian Federation.

In Russia, things are seldom what they seemCollapse )

A matter of inclusion, not a clash of civilizations Jan. 19th, 2015 @ 04:53 pm
Hey ma'fellow indifferent armchair-dwellers reasonable folks who care about freedom and peace almost as much as I do! Now that a week has passed since the act of barbarism in Paris which was instantly branded by some smartheads (and politicians) "a clash of civilizations", perhaps it's time to sit back a little and assess things a bit more soberly. In my opinion there's no such thing as a war of the civilizations, not really. Of course there can't be a yes or no answer to such complex issues spanning generations and even centuries, but still. On one side, this isn't a Muslims vs Christians clash per se. It's rather a conflict of values, one side refusing to adopt the other's values even when the former is being hosted by the latter, with all the hospitality that comes with that.

But even then, these are not "Christian" values by definition, but rather values of humanism. Free expression included. Unfortunately, many among the Muslim community do not necessarily identify with these valeus, or at least do not place them anywhere near the top of their list of priorities - but instead they fear they could lose their identity and damage their own culture and faith if they do. This couldn't be any further from reality, though. Adopting the principles of secularism, humanism and the Age of Enlightenment that have become so fundamental for the West would not only not undermine the Muslim world - it would most likely enrich it and allow it to develop - a process that Europe has been taking for granted for quite a while now. It's no surprise that the main factor for that was the separation of church and state, of religion and politics.

Read more of this incoherent diatribeCollapse )

Political correctness gone berserk Jan. 18th, 2015 @ 08:10 pm
PC sharia galore, ma' folks! Kids say (and eat) the darndest things...

Exhibit #1:

Branded racist at five: A little girl who said her friend was 'brown'. A boy who asked a black child if he was from Africa. How teachers are reporting primary school pupils as bigots in official records

- Special report details schools' obsession with equality and diversity
- Teachers are recording one-off comments by pupils aged just three or four
- Experts fear children don't understand the significance of what they say

Exhibit #2:

Oxford University Press bans sausages and pigs from children’s books in effort 'to avoid offence': Bizarre clampdown branded 'nonsensical political correctness'

- Ban is apparently aimed at avoiding offence among Jews and Muslims
- Publisher prohibits mentioning anything that 'could be perceived as pork'
- Oxford wants authors to consider 'cultural differences and sensitivities'
- Muslim Labour MP Khalid Mahmood calls ban 'absolute utter nonsense'

Some rants & ramblingsCollapse )

Snowpiercer: - Or when doesPolitical allegory overwhelm artistic merits? (SPOILERS) Jan. 16th, 2015 @ 11:11 pm
A little bit of back-story on this. Going back to last August, I had been visiting relatives in the Dallas area. We wanted to watch a movie after dinner, and since the one we wanted wasn't yet available for streaming, we went with the highly rated (by users and critics) "Snowpiercer".

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So: for those who have seen the film or who didn't mind being spoiled above, how do you read/reconcile these aspects? Do you read the film's message less harshly, or altogether differently? When does what the author of an artist work is saying on the face of it, overshadow and overwhelm the artistic merit of the film in question? The film is very well made, I can't deny, in many artistic aspects and in its characterizations, writing and performances.

All told, my relatives and I would have preferred our first choice, another Chris Evans film "Winter Soldier", than this. We kind of laughed at the ending, not even realizing if the ending was the actual ending, for a few moments, but the more I gave it thought the more disturbing the implications became.

*edit* Added offtopic to the tags, because it's Friday, and I'm not certain there's enough political meat here as opposed to discussion of the film itself and criticism of that. Either way: Bases covered.

Corporations versus Countries Jan. 16th, 2015 @ 08:19 am


If I just produce the transparent ideal accepted by the Western experts, a process of privatization which will be very good but never happen, that means nothing. - Anatoly Chubais

The recent Charlie Hebdo attacks recently brought outrage throughout the world. This outrage was expressed vehemently by the press, who considered this attack a slap in the face to free speech across the globe. As a result, there have been a number of responses by the press, including an image of a crying Muhammad on the cover of Charlie Hebdo.

An example of outrageCollapse )

Friday WTF. Meet Snip and Snop Jan. 17th, 2015 @ 12:12 am
A Swedish children's song that aims to educate the kids about human genitalia in a funny way, has turned viral in the recent weeks.

The video was published on January 5, and has been watched more than a million times so far. It shows a penis and a vagina dancing and singing. The penis is called Snip, and the vagina Snop.

The song explains that "the penis is an important gentleman, and the vagina is a very beautiful and pleasant thing".

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