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If humans used animal mating rituals Oct. 22nd, 2016 @ 12:01 am

Gender ideas being turned upside down (at least as per the dominant human cultural perceptions) - here is a series of cartoons imagining how human relations would look like if we had to emulate some other species.

Friday LOLs. Catchy headline generator Oct. 21st, 2016 @ 11:42 am
This is awesome. I wouldn't be shocked if many of the headlines that we see on the yellow rags are actually composed that way:

Catchy Headline Generator generates clickbait titles that sound like magazine article headlines. Just add hastily-written filler underneath, and you've got "content".

Some examples that I got within a few clicks:

12 Horrible Secrets That Make Receptionists Eat More Vegetables
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's Top 20 Surprising Skateboarding Tips
12 Scary Things That Make Web Designers Nervous
6 Shocking Stamp Collecting Tips From Joe Biden
10 Truths That Will Make Your Grandfather Work Harder
20 Dangerous Facts About Mike Huckabee
5 Secrets That Make Boyfriends Feel Sexually Confused
15 Frightening Facts Bus Drivers Are Using Against You
Will George Clooney Save Drunk Driving?
8 Shocking Secrets Your Mother Isn't Telling You

Banana republic caves in Oct. 20th, 2016 @ 01:07 pm
Ecuador admits cutting Julian Assange's internet access over impact of leaks on US election

Ecuador's move aims to avoid interfering in the US election? Ha! What a riot! Smells of the Economic Hit-man scenario all over again.

Is it just me, or doesn't this act come across as a bit cowardly, and a sign of fear both from Ecuador and the US, but particularly the latter? Ecuador has hosted Assange for years, and they're shutting him down JUST NOW, as he starts to unveil some sensitive stuff about the inner dealings of the political establishment in Washington? Because they have principles, which dictate them "not to interfere in the elections of foreign countries"? Please. Don't tell me this wasn't done under pressure from the current US administration.

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It's a liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive thread........ Oct. 19th, 2016 @ 07:59 pm
We're finally here! The last debate, of the most important election of our lifetime!

Every opinion matters, every vote counts!*

offer only valid in Florida and Ohio

Thoughts? Expectations?

If you're sober enough to pronounce Presidential Debate without stuttering - why the hell are you watching?

Here we go...

After Mosul Oct. 19th, 2016 @ 12:06 am
"Impressive results", that's how Maj. Gen. Naeem al Jabouri of the Iraqi military described the first day of the Battle for Mosul, the largest city under ISIL control. The first towns and villages in the outskirts of Mosul are already under government control, and 2/3 of the land-mines around town have been disabled. Speakers for the Iraqi military have reported that the first hours of the operation had seen vast territorial gains and little resistance.

The battle itself is going to be long and bloody, and the international aid organisations warn of a huge refugee crisis coming up. But the bigger problem is that noone could anticipate what ISIL's future will be. There are all sorts of predictions, none of them too good. Because a victory in Mosul doesn't mean the job would be done. In Iraq and the Middle East, and now in the West too, the threat of the ISIL followers will persist, albeit in a different form.

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Deporables being deplorable Oct. 18th, 2016 @ 01:43 pm
We've seen the outcry about Hillary's "basket of deplorables" remarks. You can't lump people into the same pot and paint them with the large brush, the argument was. Well, to be frank, it's hard not to. Especially when seeing comments, reactions and the general behavior of A LOT of Trump's supporters. The inability and/or unwillingness of a huge number of them to recognize the danger of their chosen candidate's inflammatory rhetoric, is beyond staggering. Case in point:

Trump’s supporters talk rebellion, assassination at his rallies

"In an arena normally reserved for ice hockey, the Donald Trump crowd was on edge. Some wore shirts with slogans like “[Expletive] Your Feelings” or, in reference to the female Democratic nominee, “Trump that Bitch.” Others had buckets of popcorn, ready for the show. When the media entourage entered, thousands erupted in boos.

Anger and hostility were the most overwhelming sentiments at a Trump rally in Cincinnati last week, a deep sense of frustration, an us-versus-them mentality, and a belief that they are part of an unstoppable and underestimated movement. Unlike many in the country, however, these hard-core Trump followers do not believe the real estate mogul’s misfortunes are of his own making.

They believe what Trump has told them over and over, that this election is rigged, and if he loses, it will be because of a massive conspiracy to take him down.

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Let's talk about Kissinger Oct. 17th, 2016 @ 02:57 pm
"The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer" - Henry Kissinger

First off, now that we've established that given the available options, a Clinton in the White House is much more preferable than a Trump (well, isn't anything preferable to Trump?), now let's talk about what we should be bracing ourselves for, once we've got a Clinton II at the helm (and I do mean the whole world). Just to provide some context, let me remind that Henry Kissinger was instrumental to the murder of literally millions of people:

"Kissinger... enabled dictators, extended the Vietnam War, laid the path to the Khmer Rouge killing fields, stage-managed a genocide in East Timor, overthrew the democratically elected left-wing government in Chile, and encouraged Nixon to wiretap his political adversaries."

This, in addition to Kissinger ordering the US air force to carry out "a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia... Anything that flies on anything that moves". In other words, an explicit order for genocide.

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What if we could vote None of the Above? Oct. 16th, 2016 @ 01:45 pm

Yeah, I know, it's not possible to pick "None of the Above", for the simple reason that such an option isn't available on the ballot. Well, here in my backward country at the ass of geography, our ruling folks (who are obviously geniuses when it comes to winning elections; ruling the country afterwards is quite another story) have decided to introduce such an option. A None of the Above box on the ballot, which voters could tick. And it will count as a real vote, as opposed to casting an empty ballot. The number of None of the Above votes will be part of the total number of real ballots cast on our upcoming presidential election (yeah, we have those too) - and this bears much larger repercussions than some might be suspecting

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Friday on-topic: biggest liars Oct. 15th, 2016 @ 12:08 am
All politicians lie. Some lie more than others. And since we're about populism and demagoguery in politics (quite a timely monthly topic indeed), let's see who are the most lying politicians, particularly presidential candidates, as per the FactCheck and other similar aggregates. What does the Truth-O-Meter have to say?

Source one.

As expected, Trump's pants are on fire big time. 60.13% of his statements have been false, 2.53% true. Throughout his entire campaign! Hillary ranks 13.33% and 13.33%, respectively.

Looking beyond the two nominees...Collapse )

Friday on topic. This thought has kept creeping in... Oct. 14th, 2016 @ 09:05 am

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe, just maybe, they might have been just playing a sick game with all of us?

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The military Schengen Oct. 13th, 2016 @ 03:30 pm

If anyone had considered the possibility that the EU could soon create autonomous united military forces of its own, perhaps they had overestimated the ability of the Brussels bureaucrats to act swiftly and resolutely. They might've also underestimated Britain's willingness to fiercely defend their national interest. Despite all the political talk about an all-European army and the informal meeting of the EU leaders last month, real action on the issue has boiled down to modest measures, compared to Juncker's loudly proclaimed intentions.

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A new Axis? Kind of. Oct. 12th, 2016 @ 11:30 am

The hottest international topic as of now, Syria, may've temporarily retreated to the background, and given way to another: energy. Turkish president Erdogan has opened the 23rd world energy congress, and Putin is his most important guest there. The two have already used the pulpit there to preach on international policy, and line out some important plans for the future. Then they withdrew for more private talks, and later they signed an agreement for building the Turkish Stream pipeline.

At a first glance it seems they're warming up their relations yet again. After all, that's been their third meeting within two months, after the G20 summit in St. Petersburg and then China. Besides, they've also had a couple of direct phone conversations, if we're to trust their respective official speakers.

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Let's face it. Everyone created Trump. Oct. 11th, 2016 @ 10:34 am
We talked about the connection between the Trump phenomenon (if I can call it so) and the Kardashian phenomenon. I heard a few opinions, including the one that there are different people with different views on those two phenomena, and the ones worshiping hollow celebrities, are not necessarily the same who then go and bash Trump for objectifying people (hence, no hypocrisy here). While that may be true for many, I think we should look at the bigger picture.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid the issue goes way beyond mere diversity of views. It's about culture - and some media have admitted it themselves. It's a culture that's being shaped for years and decades, the likes of both Trump and the Kardashians being the end product of that process. We can't just bury our heads in the sand about it, and dismiss the issue with simple explanations like, "well, some hate him/her, some like him/her, that's life". That won't make the above-described process go away in any way whatsoever.

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Here's something that doesn't get the attention it deserves. Oct. 10th, 2016 @ 03:22 pm
House Speaker Paul Ruan has held a press conference to explain how he could cram a generation’s worth of legislation into a budget reconciliation bill that cannot be filibustered:

"Ryan peeled back the curtain on his strategy at a news conference after a reporter suggested he would struggle to implement his ambitious agenda next year. After all, it was noted, Republicans are certain to lack the 60 votes needed in the Senate to break Democratic filibusters on legislation. So Ryan gave a minitutorial on congressional rules and the bazooka in his pocket for the assembled reporters."

"“This is our plan for 2017,” Ryan said, waving a copy of his “Better Way” policy agenda. “Much of this you can do through budget reconciliation.” He explained that key pieces are “fiscal in nature,” meaning they can be moved quickly through a budget maneuver that requires a simple majority in the Senate and House. “This is our game plan for 2017,” Ryan said again to the seemingly unconvinced press."

Not sure why the press seems so unconvinced...Collapse )

Live thread??! Oct. 9th, 2016 @ 07:59 pm
Here we go again.

Last time I started a live thread - in the first debate - I gave advice on potential greeting bets. With the new information on Donalds unorthodox greeting techniques....I'm not even going to touch that this time.

Some news came out the last few days about both candidates - but was it really news? Did anything, about either candidate, surprise you?

I'm not crazy about the town hall style - people ask stupid questions - yes, more stupid than the plants by regular journalists - but I hope to be surprised this time.

Ready? Go....

Most beloved rulers Oct. 9th, 2016 @ 12:01 am
Here's a slight off-topic fun survey to distract us for a bit from the gloom and bile surrounding this election. Now that we've established both presidential candidates are the most unpopular possible presidents in recent US history (at least since such rankings have been in place), I'd like to know your opinion on the opposite: who in your mind were the most beloved rulers throughout history? And not just US history, but of the whole world. I mean, enlightened, pragmatic, wise philosopher-kings and emperors, erudite and thoughtful prime ministers, presidents, efficient chairpeople or any such other famous leaders who've actually made good on their promise and led their country and people to a better future, as opposed to bringing it to ruin and strife, and were extremely popular at their time because of it?

The list could be really long. And I'm sure each of us has their own perspective, stemming from the culture and history of the place they live in. So let's stick to 4-5 suggestions per person. I'm all ears!

My nominations:

1. Trajan of Rome, for bringing the Roman Empire to its apex, turning it into a paragon of culture and civilization that shaped the world for millennia, and developing an extensive and efficient welfare system for his people
2. Frederick II of Prussia, for vastly increasing Prussia's wealth and influence, and turning it into a hub of culture and learning, and a great military power
3. Catherine II of Russia, for transforming her country from a backward Asian giant on clay feet into a full-fledged modern European multinational empire and a world power
4. Abdullah II of Jordan, for using the tools of absolute monarchy to do profound reform, and turn his country into a reliable pillar of stability and a cornerstone for the peace effort in a region otherwise torn by eternal conflict
5. Abraham Lincoln, for leading his young nation through times of great peril in a way that paved the road to a truly modern global power

If you endorse him you own this Oct. 8th, 2016 @ 10:43 am
Another day, another Trump shit-hitting-fan moment. And they're only bound to get worse...

Trump recorded having extremely lewd conversation about women in 2005

My oh my. Gotta feel for Pence. He has to be starting to worry about his future in politics. You lay down with dogs you stand up with fleas. I just don't see Trump being able to shake this. And there is bound to be more tapes. Trump literally admitted into an open mike to sexually abusing women and that is exactly how the media is spinning it and will continue to spin it all day today, and by Sunday he will be better off dropping out of the debate and going into hiding for a few days. Oh, and deflecting to Bill's old affaires will only make matters worse.

Perhaps Republicans should just give in to the inevitable and have Clinton sworn in a few months early, donating the saved money to charity (but please - NOT Trump's charity)?

On the other hand... the ratings for Sunday's debate will be bigger than the Super Bowl! And a good spectacle is the number one thing for Americans, so... ;-)

Here's the deal, though. Trump is the Republican nominee and as such he has no other option but to stay in the race. If he and/or his party's officials officials were contemplating him dropping out, it should have been done a month ago. It is impractical now as getting the new ticket properly named on the ballots of all 50 states cannot be done at this late date. Early voting has already started in some states. So, Republicans, you own this guy - he won through your process and now you have to live with him. It'stoo late to distance yourselves from him, because his stench is already all over you.

My hope: come November, Trump experiences a fifty-state loss. So here's a writing assignment for y'all: compose Trump's concession speech! Go ahead, use your imagination!
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Hillary Clinton, Defended Baby Bunnies -- She's a Sociopath! Oct. 7th, 2016 @ 11:34 am

Apparently, along with making taco trucks conveniently available to all of us, Hillary Clinton is the insensate monster who, as a child, defended baby bunnies. Here is, I kid you not, a quote from a Brietbart post in which readers are supposed to be outraged by this:

"Hillary’s combative behavior is nothing new; she’s been that way all her life. For my 2005 book The Truth About Hillary, I interviewed Hillary’s grammar school classmate, Jim Yrigoyen, who told me the story of being ordered by Hillary to guard a warren of baby rabbits, and not give any of them away to neighborhood boys. When he did, recalled Yrigoyen, 'Hillary hauled off and punched me in the nose.'"

For obvious reasons, I have not linked directly to Breitbart, but by all means, do so if you doubt this (the link can be found in the article). Especially funny are the comments from Breitbart readers denouncing her as a sociopath. Yes, it's well known, sociopaths typically have a childhood history of being tender towards animals.

I, for one, am going on the record here as being against breaking a promise to a more humane schoolmate and passing out infant rabbits to one's playfellows. (It is possible, of course, that one or two of these bunnies ended up as long-lived and cherished pets, but knowing what I do about little boys, I'd say the odds are against it.) I am only provisionally opposed to a little girl busting the nose of a little boy who does this. I might, while staunching the blood and telling the kid to keep his head back while I applied ice, deliver a serious lecture to her about right ways and wrong ways to deal with anger, but I have to confess that secretly, I'd be on her side. And I'm genuinely bemused by the tone-deafness of people who imagine this anecdote reflects badly on Hillary Clinton.

Best comment on this so far is on twitter: "I wasn't 'emotionally invested' in Hillary until I found out she cold-cocked a dude for f*cking with baby rabbits."


Friday offtopic. Kids playing metal Oct. 7th, 2016 @ 11:07 am
Best metal covers performed by kids: which are your faves? I've got quite a few, but I'd say these are particularly good:

Care to share?

Vultures and Pulitzers Oct. 6th, 2016 @ 11:52 am

Remember this picture? It is world-famous. The vulture awaits for the young girl to die of hunger so it could eat her. The picture was made by South African photographer Kevin Carter while he was in the Sudan. A few months later he committed suicide due to heavy depression.

In March 1993, Carter was sent to the Sudan to report. Near a small village in South Sudan he came across a little girl who had stopped by the road to have some rest on her way to the nearby UN aid center. While she was taking a breath, a vulture landed nearby, waiting.

The photographer waited for 20 minutes until the bird would approach. Then he immortalised the horrifying reality. Only then he decided to shoo the bird away. At that moment he hardly realised he had just made one of the most controversial and hotly discussed photos in the history of journalism.

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