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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:06 pm 
Smeric
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Sal: Well, some human beings can do those things. I, for one, couldn't do most of them. :-D


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:57 pm 
Lebom
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Raphael wrote:
Sal: Well, some human beings can do those things. I, for one, couldn't do most of them. :-D


Indeed. It seems rather misleading to list things that apply to a handful of humans. All bears have overwhelming strength, sharp teeth and claws, and so forth. Whereas only the toughest humans could really run for hundreds of kilometers or shrug off broken limbs as Salmoneus describes.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:24 pm 
Sanno
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malloc wrote:
Indeed. It seems rather misleading to list things that apply to a handful of humans. All bears have overwhelming strength, sharp teeth and claws, and so forth. Whereas only the toughest humans could really run for hundreds of kilometers or shrug off broken limbs as Salmoneus describes.

...which is why our cooperation gives us the upper hand. Always.

Are all bears really badasses? Or are some of them chumps, just like with people? I'd assumed we were comparing a typical human with a typical bear. Remember, pretty much everyone reading this is quite atypical as humans go--almost certainly less fit and active than most of humanity.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:21 pm 
Sanno
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Yeah, this line doesn't work at all. I'm comparing animals in the wild to our best exemplars of humans in the wild: humans who voluntarily do things that humans would be doing in the wild (like running, throwing, surviving dangerous environments).

Most humans are perfectly capable of all of this. Several of those things I quoted weren't elite athletes, but just ordinary people. That surviving 80 minutes in frozen water thing? Random woman. Going that long without sleep? College student doing an experiment. Etc. But the elite things? Variations in talent account for a fw percent, sure. We can't all throw a javelin like Jan Zelezhny. But I just watched a video of female schoolchildren in Singapore competing against each other in the javelin, and even they can throw nearly 40 metres. Pick a random, relatively healthy child and give her some amateur, extremely part-time training, and she can already throw heavier objects further than any non-human animal. Running? It comes naturally. If you're relatively fit and healthy, it takes very little training to be able to run a marathon - and if you run marathons regularly, your time can increase rapidly. Indeed, young healthy people can run marathons with virtually no training at all - the training is often more psychological (how to pace, when to eat, when to drink, etc). To take an extreme example: in 2009, Eddie Izzard, in his late forties, a man who had never done a single long-distance run, or really anything athletic, had five weeks training before running 43 marathons in 51 days. Slowly, sure. And a couple of years ago, at 54, he came back and ran 27 marathons in 27 days. The fastest was around 5 and a half hours. To put that into context: a middle-aged guy, not particularly fit, without much training, in hot conditions and unflat terrain (running across south africa), running a marathon every day for 27 days (and skipping one day because he was ill (running a double marathon another to compensate)) can still run a marathon faster than any animal that isn't a human or a dog or, just maybe, some horses. The absolute fastest humans with constant dedication and training in ideal conditions can run a marathon a bit better than twice that fast, but what even the ordinary slob can do is extraordinary.

And if you want to compare animals to the average, never-run, never-thrown, overweight, atrophied couch potato modern American human, you shouldn't look at wild animals. You should look at animals kept in captivity and not allowed to exercise. And year, a lot of those bears are in a pretty shit condition too. [Of course, if you're keeping an animal in a small cage and expecting them not to die, humans are much better at that than bears...]


What's the quote from De Renner? Velvet pillows, safari parks, sunglasses: people have become woolly mice. They still have bodies that can walk for five days and four nights through a desert of snow, without food, but they accept praise for having taken a one-hour bicycle ride*



*Full quote:
More: show
In interviews with riders that I've read and in conversations that I've had with them, the same thing always comes up: the best part was the suffering. In Amsterdam I once trained with a Canadian rider who was living in Holland. A notorious creampuff: in the sterile art of track racing he was Canadian champion in at least six disciplines, but when it came to toughing it out on the road he didn't have the character.
The sky turned black, the water in the ditch rippled, a heavy storm broke loose. The Canadian sat up straight, raised his arms to heaven and shouted: 'Rain! Soak me! Ooh, rain, soak me, make me wet!'
How can that be: suffering is suffering, isn't it?
In 1910, Milan—San Remo was won by a rider who spent half an hour in a mountain hut, hiding from a snowstorm. Man, did he suffer!
In 1919, Brussels—Amiens was won by a rider who rode the last forty kilometers with a flat front tire. Talk about suffering! He arrived at 11.30 at night, with a ninety-minute lead on the only other two riders who finished the race. The day had been like night, trees had whipped back and forth, farmers were blown back into their barns, there were hailstones, bomb craters from the war, crossroads where the gendarmes had run away, and riders had to climb onto one another's shoulders to wipe clean the muddied road signs.
Oh, to have been a rider then. Because after the finish all the suffering turns into memories of pleasure, and the greater the suffering, the greater the pleasure. That is Nature's payback to riders for the homage they pay her by suffering. Velvet pillows, safari parks, sunglasses: people have become woolly mice. They still have bodies that can walk for five days and four nights through a desert of snow, without food, but they accept praise for having taken a one-hour bicycle ride. 'Good for you.' Instead of expressing their gratitude for the rain by getting wet, people walk around with umbrellas. Nature is an old lady with few suitors these days, and those who wish to make use of her charms she rewards passionately.
That's why there are riders.
Suffering you need; literature is baloney."

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:26 pm 
Šriftom
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Imralu wrote:
malloc wrote:
Dogs can eat stuff that would kill any human from bacterial contamination.

We can eat chocolate and pizza.

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/foods_poisonous_to_pets.html

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:49 pm 
Sumerul
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What motivates humans can indeed be scary. We can even be motivated by symbols on a screen.

Heck, another of our advantages is our capacity for creative cultural-defined communication systems. And the physical representation thereof.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 6:25 am 
Smeric
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On a geeky sidenote, happy 1515151515 Unix Time, everyone!


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:43 pm 
Sanno
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So, the Prime Minister faces a dilemma!
On the one hand, she's reshuffling her cabinet, but can't actually reshuffle anyone that anyone has heard of, because nobody will let themselves be demoted. So she need some news!

The obvious option is to promote Jeremy Hunt to be the deputy Prime Minister. This rewards his brilliant work at the NHS.

The problem is, it's winter. And that means that the NHS is a screaming hellhole. Continual sadistic cuts, combined with gross mismanagement from Whitehall, mean that there basically is no health system anymore. Go into hospital with an emergency, and you'll wait ten hours on a trolley in a corridor before anybody even gets around to asking what the problem is*. Need something that isn't an emergency? Around this time of year, the hospitals run out of money, so no actual medical stuff can happen until the next financial year begins**. Every year, the crisis gets worse and worse and more people die, but the government refuses to change course. Essentially, the idea is that if the government can completely break the NHS, the public will be forced to accept the switch over to a US-style private health system, which is much better, because it's much more capitalist. [They've already sold off large chunks of the NHS, but there are limits to what they can do within the existing framework]. The man in charge of all this is Jeremy Hunt, who is also, unfortunately, a despicable, oleaginous, foetid, spewing arsehole whom literally nobody who has heard of him does not viscerally despise. I'm serious, it's not just an ideological thing, even his own people hate him. Imagine if Ted Cruz weren't a really smart lawyer, but were instead a cretin, and was always really jolly about it, and were being protected directly by the President at all times no matter what he did.

Oh, incidentally, he wants to cut funding from surgery and the like to give more spending to the real forgotten heroes of the NHS: homeopaths, whose sterling work curing all sorts of diseases is criminally undersung. Fortunately, the rest of the government draws a line somewhere, so he's not actually been able to give all the country's money to some guy with a big bucket of water, but that's the kind of person we're talking about. When doctors accused him of not caring about patient safety and putting profit ahead of the national interest, he said that they "had a point". He's currently being sued for his attempts to dismantle the NHS without parliamentary debate. Former Tory PM, and Thatcher's Chancellor, John Major, says that the NHS in his hands is as safe as a hamster with a python. Hunt's previous claim to fame was as Culture Secretary, where he was exposed as corruptly furthering the interests of the Murdochs.


So, the PM has been considering not making him deputy PM.... until the spring, when people will have forgotten about the NHS, apparently.

Except that in the course of writing this post, I've found out that, no, it's strongly tipped now that his promotion will be announced tomorrow. The fucker.


*this is not hypothetical. Somebody very close to me went into hospital a couple of months ago, before the depths of the crisis hit, with a potentially life-threatening condition, and this is what happened to her.

**this is also not hypothetical.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:52 pm 
Sumerul
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And here I thought that not even the Tories could conceive of getting rid of the NHS entirely.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:29 am 
Šriftom
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KathTheDragon wrote:
And here I thought that not even the Tories could conceive of getting rid of the NHS entirely.


They've been doing that since at least 1975.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:45 am 
Smeric
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alice wrote:
KathTheDragon wrote:
And here I thought that not even the Tories could conceive of getting rid of the NHS entirely.


They've been doing that since at least 1975.


They just wouldn't admit it because electorally that would be suicidal. It's like with fox hunting - the general public absolutely abhors it so the official party policy is also against it, but in practice they're happy to let it carry on.

Essentially it's a weird political mind game with the electorate. For example, the Tories have been claiming pretty consistently that they're "putting more money into the NHS than ever before". This may be true, but the only way I can see this being the case is if the increase in funding is being sunk into all the agency staff they're using nowadays, because it's not creating any meaningful kind of quality improvements.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 1:16 pm 
Sanno
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So, in the end, the PM decided to move Hunt to Business Secretary.

Except that Hunt "argued passionately" that it would be better if that didn't happen (i.e. threatened to resign), so now he's still in charge of the NHS, and also in charge of social care as well.

Meanwhile, the new First Secretary of State (the Not-the-Deputy-Prime-Minister-honestly) is NOT David Liddington. However, David Liddington will be replacing the former First Secretary of State in every capacity other than being First Secretary of State. He in turn is being replaced as Justice Secretary, which means there have now been 4 Justice Secrities in the last 18 months.

The good news? the new one does at least have a law degree for a change.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 4:11 pm 
Smeric
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Salmoneus wrote:
So, in the end, the PM decided to move Hunt to Business Secretary.

Except that Hunt "argued passionately" that it would be better if that didn't happen (i.e. threatened to resign), so now he's still in charge of the NHS, and also in charge of social care as well.


I can imagine how that went down: "I should be the one to kill the NHS once and for all, me me me!"

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:16 pm 
Sanno
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Frislander wrote:
Essentially it's a weird political mind game with the electorate. For example, the Tories have been claiming pretty consistently that they're "putting more money into the NHS than ever before". This may be true, but the only way I can see this being the case is if the increase in funding is being sunk into all the agency staff they're using nowadays, because it's not creating any meaningful kind of quality improvements.


In total, spending on the NHS has increased under the Tories. But it's increased historically slowly. Since the creation of the NHS, spending has on average increased 4% per year, which increased to 6% per year under New Labour. Under the Cameron and May ministries, spending has only been rising by about 1% per year on average. By comparison, projected demand for healthcare has been rising by about 4.5% per year. This year for the first time real spending per capita has actually fallen (though real spending in total has marginally risen). Per capita spending effectively doubled in the 13 years of Labour, and has almost entirely stagnated under the Tories.

However, the problems are below the headline level. The extra money, such as there is, has gone toward increasingly expensive new medications and the growing costs of chronic conditions, and has been siphoned out of the public sector into corporate profits through increasing outsourcing (if you cut hospital staff, more things have to be bought from private companies, which charge more for less, so prices go up while provision goes down) and (and this one is Labour's fault, not the Tories), the scandalous PPI contracts*.

So, the pay of ordinary workers (not top consultants) has been frozen, and funding for primary care (GPs, the doctors who first see most non-emergency patients) has shrunk. The number of district nurses (health workers who do things in the community, like post-op follow-ups**) has been cut by 28%. Social care (which until now was split between departments) has been catastrophically slashed, and the number of elderly doing without any care, or relying on (non-trained) care from relatives and friends has increased substantially. Over the 2010-2020, spending on non-NHS functions of the Department of Health will have fallen in real terms by about 20% - that's not sexy 'frontline' care so they can get away with cutting it, but it includes things like training (so there are fewer nurses, there's more pay pressure, more nurses have to be brought in from overseas, and the nurses we do have are less capable because they don't have as much continuing training) and health information drives (so levels of many conditions are unnecessarily high because the public aren't being warned about them effectively), as well as research (which is actually good for costs, because research leads to expensive new treatments, but it's not great for the economy and makes the innovations we do get even more expensive (because less stuff comes from the NHS and British universities and more has to come from US big pharma). Mental health spending is also in crisis.

All of this means that if you're a government minister touring an NHS hospital, you're pretty happy: everything is shiny and reasonably new, and there's lots of really expensive machinery doing really complicated stuff. As a patient, once you're at the level of a really serious, identified, treatable condition, you're actually not doing badly, relative to many other countries - the NHS does still provide really excellent medical care in these photogenic fields.

But the downside is that more people get sick, and when people get sick it's harder to find anyone - a social worker, a district nurse, a GP (they still exist, but they're always locums who don't know you, they're restricted to 10-minute interviews of which 5 minutes is filling in forms about your sexuality and religious affiliation, and you're only allowed to discuss one symptom per session), etc - who can tell you what's wrong with you and what to do about it. [there is also a "helpline" now, but it's laughably shit and everybody knows it]. That means that everybody descends on A&E (accident and emergency - don't know if that acronym is used everywhere?) for every ailment, and there aren't enough trained staff to diagnose people or enough places for everyone to sit while they wait. Going back to that story about someone close to me who was stuck on a trolley - when she got to see someone, it was great. But apparently at that point there was only one doctor in the entire hospital who was able to triage patients as they came in, hence the 8-hour waits.

[what would also help? Administration. People to work out where to find beds, where to find trolleys, which staff can help do what, which patients can leave - but administration has also been cut, because it's not sexy. So hospitals are chaotic warzones where nobody knows what the hell is going on. Another person I know was in hospital just before christmas - nothing too major and didn't need a bed overnight or anything - but they were never actually told they could go. They had some interraction with a doctor, who wandered off, and then they just sat there for an hour waiting for someone to come back, until eventually they decided to make their way to try to find some member of staff, who thought that they could probably go now, probably. That's not how you make most efficient use of your space (they were taking up a trolley that someone else could have been using!) or staff (the doctor may well have wasted time coming back and trying to find them later, since I'm sure nobody would have been able to tell them they'd gone home already).]

And then because there are fewer district nurses and no social care or mental health care, it's really difficult to get people out of hospital, because you have to wait until dumping them on the street won't actually kill them.

The infuriating this is that there is obviously spare capacity in the NHS, despite its challenges, that is being wasted because of penny-pinching in the unsexy parts of healthcare that would actually get people moving through the system efficiently: prevent illness; divert non-critical care away from hospitals; assign care efficiently in hospitals; and get people out of hospitals when they don't need to be there. Instead, there's a massive bottleneck at the front doors***, and then another blockage caused by the inability to move people out of hospital when they've been treated. It's insane.


*PFI. The joys. Basically, Labour built a load of hospitals, some of which were necessary, and cut costs by asking for contributions from the private sector. The private sector saw little chance for profit, so only invested under ironclad conditions. Thus, hospitals a decade later still have to spend vast sums of money "repaying" their private backers, and the legal contracts mean that those payments come before all other obligations - if there are rivers of blood running through the corridors of a hospital, they still need to pay their fee to their "investors" before they think about buying a mop. And if that means they run out of money before the end of the year, the government won't advance them any cash (it's their job to be 'profitable'!), so the rivers of blood will have to stay there congealing until the new financial year. If they repeatedly run out of money, the government punishes them for being unprofitable by reducing their budgets.

**For instance, someone close to me has been going through cancer treatment. District nurses come and do things like giving injections in the home, draining wounds, changing bandages, answering basic "is this meant to do that?" questions, and general stuff that's easy enough and doesn't require a doctor but that you can't really do as an unwell member of the public by themselves. Having a nurse come to your home to do this saves you from clogging up A&E or your GP's surgery. Fortunately, cancer patients are a priority, but many people with other, less sexy conditions who still need long-term care are getting fewer nursing visits, or visits from less-trained nurses. For instance, regular visits from an experienced nurse for someone with serious chronic diabetes can significantly reduce the chance of that person having a medical crisis that ends up costing everyone a lot more than the nurse would have done (or, almost as bad, a panic attack that adds to the A&E congestion).

***for instance, recently there have been problems with ambulances. Response times are getting worse. Why? Fewer available ambulances? Why? Not because they've scrapped the vehicles. But when an ambulance brings someone to hospital, what do they do with them? If they're on the ambulance's bed on a ventilation or the like, they can't just throw them into the bushes at the hospital gate. If ambulance staff can't get their patients into appropriate care at a hospital quickly - if the crew have to get out and go in and argue with the receptionist personally, and run around trying to find a bed personally - then they're not able to rush out for the next patient so quickly. As for an ambulance bringing a patient back home? Hah. Those old people who can't walk to the bus and don't have friends to drive them home will just have to lie there...

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:19 am 
Smeric
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Salmoneus wrote:
The infuriating this is that there is obviously spare capacity in the NHS, despite its challenges, that is being wasted because of penny-pinching in the unsexy parts of healthcare that would actually get people moving through the system efficiently: prevent illness; divert non-critical care away from hospitals; assign care efficiently in hospitals; and get people out of hospitals when they don't need to be there.


And that's the bit that really stings, because for all the government's talk of getting the NHS to "make savings" like this it's got it all backwards. Anyone with any awareness of basic accountancy or even just common sense (which the Tories seem to be completely lacking in despite how much they trumpet their "common-sense" politics) know that in order to make efficiency savings you first have to isolate the problem areas, change the practices there and then reduce expenditure accordingly. However the government seems to think the thing to do is just cut funding for everything by esentially arbirtrary amounts and then expect the health service to makes its efficiency saving stretch to fit. Ugh, just thinking about it makes me unbelievably angry, especially seeing how there's people at my college who try and argue that the NHS is doomed to fail, which is utterly false in the same way as the claim that world hunger is unavoidable: it's not, and the reason it isn't is because it's created intentionally by the people at the top perverting the distribution of resources to their own ends.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:30 am 
Sanno
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In other new: oh, come on, Americans.

I get that lots of you don't like being ruled by a TV celebrity, franchise operator and billionaire real estate mogul with zero government experience and a history of endorsing wacky pseudoscience.

But is the answer to that REALLY voting for a DIFFERENT TV celebrity, franchise operator and billionaire real estate mogul with zero govenment experience and a history of endorsing wacky pseudoscience? Really!?

Don't get me wrong, she'd obviously be an improvement. And if she wanted to serious consider a political career by running for Governor or Senator, or indeed taking some senior unelected post somewhere (I'm sure if she applied to be California's Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing, the Governor would think very seriously about giving her that job), or even if she just took on a senior, genuine role at a significant think-tank or pressure group, that would be a good first step that would make sense for someone who is clearly reasonable intelligent and passionate. But just jumping from TV personality to ruler of the world in one bound? That's not serious.

[although she'd probably win if she wanted it]

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:52 am 
Sumerul
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Could you include a link for those of us who have no idea what your talking about or even what to google to find out?


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:03 am 
Smeric
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KathTheDragon wrote:
Could you include a link for those of us who have no idea what your talking about or even what to google to find out?


Here you go

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:11 am 
Sumerul
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Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:38 pm 
Avisaru
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In our defense, there are a large number of us who are sane enough to realize that giving good speeches does not a good president make. Especially from someone who hasn't really laid out policy lines.

I don't think it will go anywhere.



Though to be fair, she probably knows the words to our National Anthem, which is something that may or may not be actually true about our President.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:58 pm 
Avisaru
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I'm with you, Sal. I've been known to make a "Beyonce for president" joke or two, but they were only jokes. Prove you can handle a political position first, run for president second.

I'd say I'm sure it's all just a silly news story with no basis in reality, but then, I said that when the media first started talking about Trump for president too.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:10 pm 
Sumerul
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The cynic in me says that the Democrats wouldn't let her win the nomination


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:37 pm 
Sumerul
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Nah, this is the US you're talking about, so that's probably more like the realist in you. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:16 pm 
Smeric
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Vijay wrote:
Nah, this is the US you're talking about, so that's probably more like the realist in you. ;)


Since when have Americans cared for realism in their political candidates?

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 Post subject: Re: Random Thread
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:31 pm 
Sumerul
Sumerul

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:25 pm
Posts: 2685
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Frislander wrote:
Vijay wrote:
Nah, this is the US you're talking about, so that's probably more like the realist in you. ;)


Since when have Americans cared for realism in their political candidates?

Hmm, I'm confused. Did I word that confusingly or misunderstand something? I meant that Kate is probably realistic in thinking the Democrats wouldn't let Beyonce win the nomination if she tried to run for president.


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