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DShomshak

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DShomshak last won the day on August 8

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  1. Perhaps you missed that I said nothing of the sort. I said I thought Hillary would make a pretty good president in her own right, not merely an alternative to Trump, and listed the reasons why. As LL said, it was Hillary's bad luck to be playing the old game by the old rules at a time when the voters wanted to throw away the board. We shall see how the new game works out. Dean Shomshak
  2. Okay, kidding aside... I know this will offend some people here, but I did not hold my nose when I voted for Hillary Clinton. I thought, and still think, she'd have made a pretty good president. Not great, but pretty good. Here's why. During the 2016 campaign, All Things Considered interviewed several of her former Senate colleagues to get a sense of her time there. The senators spoke highly of her detailed knowledge of law and policy, and her skill and diligence at quiet negotiation to bring coalitions together to get useful legislation passed, instead of scoring noisy propaganda points to please the activist party zealots. The kicker? These were moderate Republican senators. Well, former senators -- all but one had been primaried out in the Tea Party wave. Some of Hillary's much-touted flaws are also a matter of perspective. For instance, that she's "calculating" and "inauthentic." Well, I certainly hope a president would think carefully before speaking and try to strike a balance between what voters want to hear and what can actually be done. As for "authenticity," I am not sure what people mean by that. I'd say, Hillary showed herself to be authentically calculating. (You can't get much more spontaneous and authentic than Donald Trump. Still think those are always good qualities?) Hillary did not project a warm personality on the campaign trail. Fine with me, I'm not voting for someone to have a beer with. Some people also objected to her and Bill's fundraising. They particularly didn't like some of the sources for the money. Well. Until someone figures out a way to really and truly get money out of politics -- without replacing it with something even more damaging and less democratic -- it's harder to get elected without money, and you can't do good in government without getting elected. The Clinton fundraising machine helped a lot of Democrats. Hillary would have entered the White House with a lot of Dems owing her and ready to advance her agenda. I admit, Hillary seems to have a shifty relationship to the truth. It seems to be a common flaw for politicians so I grade on a curve here. The Hillary-lies that stick in my memory -- I particularly think of her story of landing in Bosnia under fire -- seem designed to make her look braver and more interesting, rather than meant to harm others. Deleting the emails didn't look good either, but as political crimes go this clumsy attempt at damage control doesn't offend me much. FBI Dorector Comey didn't think it was prosecutable, so I'll let it pass. Finally, consider Hillary's enemies. I suspect the far Right wouldn't hate her so much if they did not assess her as deeply dangerous to them. That is an endorsement in itself. All in all, Hillary was a pretty bad candidate. But like I said, she might have done okay as a president. I'd have voted for her even without Donald Trump as the alternative. She wouldn't have pleased the progressive wing of the Dems, but I'm rather centrist myself. Dean Shomshak
  3. I am amused, amazed, and envious. Dean Shomshak
  4. "Horrifying" is indeed the word for what's happening in the Amazon. As the BBC notes in its recording, greedy people are destroying a major source of the oxygen we breathe. The Amazon rain forest is big, but it ain't infinite. Meanwhile, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro spins conspiracy theories that the fires are being set by NGOs to make him look bad. Truly, he is the Brazilian Trump: A liar without shame, and an utter narcissist. Can the aliens please conquer us now? Dean Shomshak
  5. And an AP article a couple days ago says Evangelical leaders are entirely satisfied with Trump's performance and predict Evangelicals will vote for him in even higher percentages in 2020. Comparing himself to God and Jesus? Pfft. What's a little blasphemy, so long as he appoints anti-abortion, anti-LGBT+ judges? Dean Shomshak
  6. In view of Archer's post about how the party bases believe what the party tells them to believe... Two days ago (shortly after my post in fact) the NY Times radio program The Daily ran this story on how today's anti-immigration movement was invented. An awful lot of it goes back to one woman. A frightening story of what's possible for a few activists with an unlimited bankroll and time. Short version: Cordelia Scaife May began with environmentalism. This led her to concern about population growth. Immigration causes much of US population growth, and she thought immigrant people of color bred too much. So... And because she was an heiress to the Mellon fortune, she could throw as much money at this goal as she wanted, manufacturing think-tanks, lobbying groups and other "astroturf" to make it look like this was a huge issue. And here we are. Bankrolling the Anti-Immigration Movement - The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/.../the-daily/immigration-cordelia-scaife-may.html 2 days ago - The DailySubscribe: ... Hosted by Michael Barbaro and Natalie Kitroeff; produced by Michael Simon Johnson, Luke Vander Ploeg and Theo ... Dean Shomshak
  7. I hope you're right. But it isn't the politicians I'm worried about: It's the party bases. Dean Shomshak
  8. On Trump and Greenland... All Things Considered noted on Friday that Pres. Truman also tried to buy Greenland for the US. It was part of geostrategy against the Soviet Union, in ways that probably aren't very relevant anymore--though the US still does have a military base in Greenland, an article in today's paper says. The same article reports Trump is, perhaps uncharacteristically, soft-peddling the story as just a possibility being casually explored, not a hard policy proposal. Countries buying and selling territory back and forth is not a fashionable idea right now. For one thing, it is considered likely that the people of the territory might want to be consulted. It's still an idea that might be worth considering on some occasions, though. For instance, back in the 1990s I read that Russia was having trouble paying back loans and owed the US (and other countries) lots of money. Russia also had a problem with separatist violence in Chechnya. At the time, I wondered if these problems could solve each other: The US cancels Russia's debt in exchange for Chechnya becoming a US territory like Puerto Rico or Guam. We get access to Caspian Sea oil, the Chechens get out of Russia with an eventual option for either statehood or independence at their choice, and Russia gets one less group of angry non-Russians. I am sure that people who actually know that part of the world would tell me it's a terrible idea, but I found it amusing. It might be extended to other countries that want to be ethno-states but have inconvenient minorities, such as the Karens in Myanmar or the Kurds in Iraq. Again, it's probably a bad idea in practice, but at least it's an attempt to break ethno-political deadlocks and give everyone what they want. My current thinking adapts the idea to the US. It's all too clear that the US is not one nation, and two of the sides loathe each other. So how can we disengage? Answer: Sell the cities to Canada, as urban people tend to be increasingly liberal while the rest of the country gets more conservative and resentful of the urban "elites." For an example: My own state of Washington is geographically a deep red state, but demographically a blue state: The populous, strongly Democratic counties around Puget Sound overbalance the less populous counties everywhere else. But if Pugetopolis became part of British Columbia, the Republican party would get another Idaho to supply reliable senators, members of Congress and electoral college votes; ind Pugetolpolis liberals would get single-payer health care and other desired policies; and I could move to Canada and become Lord Liaden's fellow-countryman without leaving my aged mother, who needs me to take care of her and doesn't want to leave the house she's lived in for more than 50 years. A win all around. Dean Shomshak
  9. I have not commente3d on the gun discussion because I have no competence in any of the relevant issues. Pattern Ghost's explanation of the different effects between rifles and handguns makes me feel a bit less ignorant, though, so thank you PG. (OK, at least I know that cops can't really just shoot the gun out of the perp's hand. That's fiction. And impossible. A friend of mine once encountered a coworker who did not know that!) Dean Shomshak
  10. Regarding Hermit's mention of the moon landing: The "Chasing the Moon" series on PBS included bits of newsreel footage about the Apollo astronauts' world tour afterward. (Which the Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins hated. Not into PR, them.) But the scenes of crowds cheering the motorcade in, IIRC, India, featured people holding up signs proclaiming, "We Did It!" Apparently a lot of people took that "For All Mankind" talk seriously and indeed saw reaching the moon as a universal human achievement. That the US government presented the moon landing in this way, instead of crowing "Ha Ha We Great U Suck," was a fairly remarkable achievement in itself. Or at least it seems that way now. Unfortunately, I can't see any such emotional generosity it happening anytime soon. Dean Shomshak
  11. The August 10, 2019 issue of The Economist has an article on ways of reducing the danger from space junk falling from orbit. As the article notes, it's not an enormous threat at present. Still, nobody in the rocketry/satellite biz wants the bad press of having someone killed by their discarded equipment. Apparently there are whole engineering and analysis companies devoted to this. Dean Shomshak
  12. For that matter, I would expect the Gun of the Future to use sensors and computers to aim itself. The wielder onbly supplies judgement about when it should be fired. But that's really boring for a game. (For my Planetary Romance campaign, I did have it that in space combat, the only role for humans was to decide to fight. At the speeds and distances of spaceship-to-spaceship combat, humans just can't think or act fast enough. But I also made the conscious choice that spaceship combat would never happen in the campaign.) I suspect the real reason for swords appearing so much in SF was the desire for cool illustrations on pulp magazine covers. But "realism" arguments are shifty. I greatly enjoyed an internet essay on why World War Two was obviously fictional, and trite, badly written fiction at that. In the Lensman series, it was axes, not swords... super-heaqvy axes of advanced alloys, wielded by soldiers in powered armor. They were for boarding enemy spacecraft, for chopping through bulkheads (and enemy soldiers) without the risk of shooting through hulls or vital equipment. Ultimately, though, setting design is more about rationalizing choices made for style, not some Platonic ideal of techno-social forecasting. There's a tradition of swords in SF, but not so much anyone's obliged to include the trope. Dean Shomshak
  13. The SA article on the Three-Body Problem noted in passing that a few stable solutions have been found for larger numbers of objecfs. There's an illo of some bizarre looping orbits for four identical masses. SF potential: Find a quadruple star system in one of these configurations. Cannot possibly be natural. Dean Shomshak
  14. The SA article on the Three-Body Problem noted in passing that a few stable solutions have been found for larger numbers of objecfs. There's an illo of some bizarre looping orbits for four identical masses. SF potential: Find a quadruple star system in one of these configurations. Cannot possibly be natural. Dean Shomshak
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