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May Day Poll in General
Member # 6388
Profile #0
As per usual, it has fallen on the enlightened vanguard of the SW boards, as it does every year, to create a topic to celebrate and edify on May Day, the great holiday of the glorious worker.

Sadly, the vanguard has been, uh, occupied. But as you can clearly see, there is at least a rudimentary poll this year!

Surely none of you doubted there would be. It was historically inevitable.

Poll Information
This poll contains 3 question(s). 40 user(s) have voted.
You may not view the results of this poll without voting.

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Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
US and Sudan in General
Member # 6388
Profile #40
Originally written by radix malorum est cupiditas:

Originally written by I Would Have Been Your Daddy:

Originally written by radix malorum est cupiditas:

What are you talking about. It nearly has. Yom Kippur war, six day war, etc.
I'm not presuming to know more about Israel's history than a citizen of Israel, but didn't the Six Day War resulted in Israel gaining a lot of territory and defeating three countries in six days? Hardly "almost destroyed".

Even the Yom Kippur War ended with not all of the territory regained, and in fact helped diplomatic relations.

In any case, nothing like open war is going to happen now. Israel has proven that it is very hard to beat in armed conflicts, and has the backing of the U.S.

During the first four days of the six day war, Israel looked like a squashed ant. A squashed ant that somehow managed to rise up and defend itself from it's attackers agains all odds.

The Yom Kippur war was not so much a near defeat for Israel as it was a surprise. Practically no troops were on duty. They struck at the time when Israel was weakest in hopes of getting rid of it.

Why so indignant? Isn't that just what you've been proposing needs to be done to the 'Muslim theocracies'? If you're going to play by barbaric rules, don't turn around and get pissy if the other side is in the habit of the same.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Your musical tastes in General
Member # 6388
Profile #49
Originally written by Butt Paladin:


I like listen music. It's as simple as that. No real preferences.

I have a few favorites, and a few un-favorites, but those are not genre-based. Just musical.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
US and Sudan in General
Member # 6388
Profile #13
Originally written by Strontium:

Sudan is an ugly spot right about now. What is your counrty doing about it and what are you doing to move your countries policies?

Be like the US (hooray) and get it called genocide. Be like the (US) and work with an international community to pursue war crimes (see link)

I have advocated with my government representatives for a political statement and to fund resources for peacekeeping. I would look for you to do the same. By small steps we as an international community can show brotherhood with those who are suffering.

Don't be like the US in continuously undermining the only international bodies capable of credibly responding to crimes against humanity, though.

The American right's war against the UN is the most sickening thing I have seen in my lifetime, and 1987-2006 has been quite something.

Let's back the ICJ and reduce discretion in UN funding and military aid. Disasters like Rwanda happened as the US stood silent, effectively hobbling the international community. We are the strongest; we owe something to the weakest.

Originally written by radix malorum est cupiditas:

Any muslim theocracy is a potential enemy. I don't know how long western countries can deal with them, but in Israel there are no second chances (except amongst the idiots in charge). One threat and you become what the public views as the enemy.
Originally written by radix malorum est cupiditas:

@TM: That's wrong. Either remove the Israel statement or reinsert the word muslim.
So a Muslim theocracy is a potential enemy, but a Jewish theocracy is peachy-keen? :P

Seriously, I don't see the difference between a Muslim theocracy and any other kind. Christian theocracies, in their heyday, put a lot of people to the sword. Even the Buddhists are jackasses when they hold a state monopoly on truth.

Muslims aren't the enemy (in spite of your sterling efforts - thanks for pissing the entire Arab world off at the only Western country that had yet to do them specific wrong, Israel! Best friends forever.) . The enemy is wrath, the attitude that there are no second chances. An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind, and the US doesn't have the firepower to take the entire Earth. As much as we might seem to want to.

What do you think of Turkey, while I've got your ear? Can we trust them?

Originally written by Grignard:

Because you said they made a makeshift refugee camp. This is similar to the sort of civil disobedience that has invaded college campuses since the mid 60's. Simulating a refugee camp brings along the sort of problems that a real refugee camp entails, such as hygiene and general enforcement of law and order.

[ Sunday, April 30, 2006 19:19: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Question 2: Imbalance of Wealth in General
Member # 6388
Profile #47
Originally written by Mc 'mini' Thralni:

So. What I read until now was very interesting, and I agree with many people about specific things. I read about causes, I read about solutions. However, I can't remember reading about what the poverty is, and why its there.

What we have talked about until now, is mainly this:

"I think we should so it this way. That is because of this and this and that."

"No, I think this would be a better way, namely..."

"I agree, but..."

Now lets do it differently. lets start with these two basic questions:

1) Why are these specific people poor?
2) In what way are they poor?

Before we answer the questions however, we need to know what we are talking about. The questions will have different answers when we are talking about different countries. I say its best, like kelandon, to start with our own countries. I'll take Holland again as an example:

1) These people are poor for the simple reason that they have no work, and therefor no money. In the long run these people get thrown out of there houses, relying on charity.

2) These people have money problems. That is the only reason for them being poor, most of the time. Of course, if their parents were poor, then there is a big chance that the children will be poor too, and than the parents re at fault. However, this still boils down to one thing: money.

Now specifically the second qustion is of importance. Why? because different people have different needs. Indians in South America, whi live from hunting. Are they poor? No. The are not. Thy have water, food, and the rest they don't need. They will probably even reject money the west would give to them. Same goes for tribes in Africa, by the way.

After that we have answered these questions, then comes the time to start thinking of solutions:

3) These people are poor because of their money problems. They get thrown out of their house. This is the first step to being a tramp and living from charity. Conclusion: don't let them get thrown out of their houses. Instead, they must find themselves a good job. This brings us to a problem: most poor people have low education, as they, again, have no money to pay for it. Solution (Sovjet union had this): make schools free for the poor people, let the state pay at least a part of the sum needed for the children to go to school. that way they will have education, and thus a better chance for a good job.

I think this is the best way to start discussing the problem.

Thralni, you mean well, but you don't get it. You aren't even within artillery range of 'it' here.

The delightful caricatures you discuss don't exist any more; they haven't existed for centuries, if they ever did. The 'tribesmen' you think of as dancing around little boiling pots of missionaries? They're farmers and herdsmen; they don't have food or water - they depend on untenably large families to maintain the labor necessary to grow food in their harsh, barren homelands, and their water, *if* they have it, is tainted with natural bacteria and (often) industrial chemicals.

Which is to say nothing of basic medical care. It's not only possible but more common than not to die of diseases that are all but extinct in the developed world there.

As I said, the cost of school is prohibitive even when it's free. There are no 'good jobs' in the Gambia, at least none that you need an education for. What's more, sending children off to be educated deprives the family of an important source of labor.

And no, they aren't poor because they lost their houses, or because they have no work, or any other because. They're poor because when you live in the Gambia, the only 'work' available - and trust me, it is AVAILABLE - involves prostitution or back-breaking labor, and the only 'housing' available are urban tenements or Sahel farms.

You're applying a perversely Western and economic perspective to an entirely non-Western and non-economic problem. It doesn't work.

And it's incredibly patronizing, but what else is new. I'm certain you'd be surprised to learn they don't eat each other in Africa, let alone any of this.

[ Saturday, April 29, 2006 22:12: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
An RP in the World of Avernum *Reloaded* in General
Member # 6388
Profile #318
Originally written by Dintiradan:

"Finally!" Demetrius smiled. His secret plan had finally come to fruitition. The fact that the Rashasi had decided to attack now just made him all the stronger. He had found the secret of the Red Star. The tigers were all connected to each other telepathically. Unfortunately for them, that link was the only thing about them susceptible to magic.

In a couple of hours, his sorcerors would hack into that link, and the Dominion would have its own unstoppable army with which to take over the world!


I am, of course, willing to edit this post out, provided that the players in this RP actually show some interest in it! If not, well, I am perfectly happy to win by default.

You're lecturing me about showing interest? You didn't even respond to my last post. >8E

[ Saturday, April 29, 2006 18:03: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Your musical tastes in General
Member # 6388
Profile #22
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Question 2: Imbalance of Wealth in General
Member # 6388
Profile #34
Originally written by Khoth:

I wasn't thinking you meant inflation, I was taking it to be increasing the available resources by X%, and increasing what everyone has by the same factor. If it was possible, I'd say it was a good thing. It sounds like you'd be against a (hypothetical) scheme that would give everyone enough to live on if it meant that the richest 5% became twice as rich.

I don't think having an imbalance is an intrinsically good thing, but I do think "everyone has X except for 5% who have 10X" is better than "everyone has X".

I wouldn't have a problem with it at all, but the point of exercise was demonstrating that in the current system, it would take the richest 5% being richer than God to actually bring most of the world up to a decent standard of living.

System needs to be changed is all.

Originally written by Kelandon:

I may be missing vital pieces of the puzzle, but I really think that our aim has to be, at first, to end destitution in our own country. Foreign aid is important, too, and I'm not saying that we should stop; I'm just saying that we can have an immediate positive impact here.
Quoted because the rest of your post collapses into it.

Problem here is this: even if the entire First World had a more responsible attitude towards the workings of society - like, say, Norway or Sweden - the third world would remain desperately poor. And countries with a good, strong welfare system are as exploitative abroad as anywhere else. (Plenty of those little semi-sweatshop industries in Southeast Asia are run by Scandinavian entrepreneurs.)

The only thing a stronger welfare net will do here is prevent America from getting any worse.

And I thoroughly agree that we need better schools - but large regions of the world don't have any schools at all. That should be our first priority. In the grand scheme of things we've got little more than a mote in our eye.

Drew:A lot of people on this board would promote some form of communism as the cure. I don't know all that much about communism, but I'm pretty certain that every time it has been implemented in the world, it has failed, despite looking good on paper. Why has it failed? Because (a) it was quickly overwhelmed by corrupt, ambitious leaders, and (b) it reduced incentives to work hard because it rewarded all members the same no matter how much they contribute.
1) Every system suffers from corrupt, ambitious leaders, especially systems in the economic regions where communism tends to arise. Had China or Vietnam or North Korea been capitalist instead of communist, they'd just look like their neighbors: vibrantly corrupt 'democracies' without much going for them. The plucky, transparent third-world democracies we hear so much about - India, Botswana, etc. - are truly bizzare exceptions with next to nothing in common save their dire circumstances.

2) Consider Cuba. The economy has certainly suffered due to one ambitious man micromanaging the system. But people are surprisingly happy there; there's maldistribution of wealth, but on an order unheard of in the third world in general. There are poor people in Cuba, but that's because the country itself is remarkably poor and always has been. And the poor people in Cuba are better off than the poor people anywhere else in Latin America, in spite of their economy being in the toilet. In Cuba, a lot of those 'incentives' you consider so very necessary are immaterial - honors or dignities with no material force or weight, but socially important. This proves surprisingly satisfying to a lot of people. (And yeah, you've probably met people who don't like how things work there, but they chose to come here. That'd be like asking an emigrant to Norway how well America's system works.)

Would I advocate communism? No. I think big-C communism is the product of 19th-century tomfoolery, rather like the modern empire. But I think it's closer to the right track than capitalism is.

Yes, people need rewards; I have no problem with an attorney or physician or engineer making more than a day laborer, because the former requires more skill and education than the latter and someone needs an incentive to pursue that skill and education. But that 'incentive' has no business being six or seven times what the day laborer makes.

And there's no excuse for the Fortune 500 richest making *as much* as they do. No human being has any concievable use for more than, say, $100 million or so; having two orders of magnitude more money than that is nothing short of insane.

Consider that a human being can live for their entire lives, comfortably, on around $2 million. (I have no source for that statistic, but my understanding of the matter is that - even by Western standards - it's probably fairly *high*.)

How many people does that work out to for the personal fortune of the world's richest man? 25,000 - a modest-sized town's worth of people. A CEO at a good-sized company might make enough money to set 50 or 60 people up for life every year.

No service that CEO provides is worth that much - if for no other reason simply because he has no earthly use for that much.

Capitalism is inequitous. Period.

Although I'm unsure as to why I'm arguing this one with you:

Originally written by Drew:

The problem with foreign aid then is that it reduces its recipients' incentives to take steps to extract themselves out of their situations and improve their lot.
Right, just like public firehouses reduce residents' incentives not to have their Goddamn houses burn down.

Originally written by Dintiradan:

Perhaps I'm reading these posts wrong, but I see a lot of them proposing a single, 'nutshell' way of viewing domestic and foreign aid. You've got to assess each situation separately. You wouldn't continue giving a group of uneducated people free supplies, just as you wouldn't tell a group of people after a disaster to pick themselves up and get back to work.
I understand your point, but please do note that when we discuss undereducated people and free supplies, a lot of people neglect to mention that those people don't have a lot of choice in being undereducated.
The Bushies' condescending attitude on education is a perfect example of that common misconception. Even in America, a lot of people will drop out of school or refuse to pursue higher education because of a keen grasp of the opportunity costs involved. In some areas of even this country, you have a choice between graduating high school - and doing what, exactly? - and going to work and making enough money to actually live a good life.

In the third world, that's not just opportunity costs; education, where it exists, costs money that the average person will never scrape together in their lives.

So to some extent, you need to dole out free stuff to the undereducated. How is someone going to learn on an empty stomach?

If you want to educate someone, you need to make sure they don't have any other pressing obligations. The average person in the marginal areas of the world lives a very difficult live on the bare margins of survival, and is not going to have the time or energy to pursue education even if it's free.

[ Saturday, April 29, 2006 13:43: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Question 2: Imbalance of Wealth in General
Member # 6388
Profile #24
Khoth: Point of exercise isn't just B.G. having $2 trillion; that's inflation, and silly. Rather, the point of exercise is that $2 trillion representing actual resources.

Right now, about a hundred Westerners have more resources than many entire countries. I don't understand why anyone can think of this as a good thing, especially considering how awful things are going down there.

To extend the parable a little: you aren't going to fix homelessness by cleaning the one guy up. Just throwing money at the problem and saying 'Here, you aren't poor any more' won't work; it is necessary to address the distribution of wealth as an inherent problem, rather than just one that happens to be doing harm now.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Question 2: Imbalance of Wealth in General
Member # 6388
Profile #21
We can return the distribution of wealth to more equitable values by several means.

The most important specific demand of such a program would be gouging out international finance's eyes. The IMF is widely, and more or less correctly, viewed as a murderous vampire by the third world; its policies are driven by an economics of numbers rather than people, and it playing a large role in securing the lives of marginalized people is, in a word, retarded.

Second, and more importantly, it is necessary to re-evaluate our very worldview before continuing with any such efforts. In this discussion, even I have resorted to numbers as an index of prosperity. The problem with those numbers is that they are meaningless. Brazil, by numbers like per-capita GDP and economic growth alone, has a booming economy, and is in a good position. However, this utterly ignores the fact that millions of people in Brazil have next to nothing - live in filth and poverty and ignorance their entire lives.

And the favelas are a territory of fortune compared to some places in Africa or Asia. Yet the numbers gloss over them - it takes thousands of favelados to counterweigh one good, rich Brazilian, after all.

In an economic system of international affairs, the maldistribution of wealth is meaningless; it is simply a symptom of a growing industrial economy, and is, if anything, a good thing. A humanistic system recognizes that the only product of it is misery for billions.

In concrete objectives:

1. Measure the success of a country by quality of life standards (infant mortality, literacy, disease rates, nutrition, etc.) rather than econometric ones.

2. Force national policy to focus on the poor abroad as well as at home. The slums are the midwives of evil; a man won't fight a revolution on a full stomach.

3. Understand that extreme wealth is as much a problem as extreme poverty, and the two are related. Nobody should be making so much money they have to do ridiculous things like buying islands or stadiums to actually spend all of it; that the government actually subsidizes that kind of nonsense rather than putting a stop to it shows that our priorities have taken a turn for the insane.

4. The most comprehensive policy for the elimination of poverty is, intriguingly, the one that the major religion of the West backs.
Pay attention to the least among you. First and foremost. Tailor policy to the rich at your peril; they can take care of themselves. The poor? They got nobody looking out for them but God.

A nation should not count itself fortunate that has a dozen men worth billions of dollars - and millions without work, homes, proper education. It should be scarlet with shame.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Question 2: Imbalance of Wealth in General
Member # 6388
Profile #19
Nah. European colonialism helped it along globally, but at the same time it's the reason that divide is no longer as big in Europe. The culprit is the market; reverence for it is making things worse by the day.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Question 2: Imbalance of Wealth in General
Member # 6388
Profile #17
Originally written by Ash Lael:

Originally written by The Worst Man Ever:

It's a zero-sum game, and making the poor less poor is going to take the rich being made - or becoming, by attrition - less rich.
Yes, but that would involve a lesser imbalance as a means to an end, not an end in itself. That's an important distinction.

No, not at all. The desired end is a less skewed distribution of wealth.

As long as we have billionaires - or the equivalent of billionaires - we will have starving children. There's no real way around that, I don't suspect.

Consider increasing the wealth-base: a good, solid way of making everyone better off.

Increase it by 100%, and the majority of that ten trillion or so increase is going to go to people who already have more money than they will ever find a use for. In poorer areas of the globe - let's say, for instance, Malawi - this increase will mean everything and nothing. They will be most grateful for the extra money, but *you* could as easily have given them that money - and still be able to afford a nice enough car. We're talking around $600 per annum.

Increase it by 1000%. You're looking at personal fortunes in the hundreds of billions. The average annual income in Malawi? Too little to support both a balanced diet and modern healthcare.

Increase it by 50,000%. Bill Gates's personal fortune is around equal to that of the US before all of this mess.

The average Malawian will be making about what the average American was at square one.

Can you kind of begin to see the inherent problem at work here? What the hell use does a person have for their second million, let alone their hundredth or their five thousandth? For that matter, consider the hypothetical - what in God's name could Bill Gates do with 2 trillion dollars? And if your only good answer is 'charity', why the hell should the rich have that money in the first place? Better the eventual beneficiaries of that charity receive the money from the word go without affording them the opportunity to piss it on baseball teams and Lear jets.


Originally written by Cairo Jim:

As far as I can see, the only imbalance is the initial people who recieve wealth, such as a fwe leaders who'd rather spend the money on their own militairy and the original problem is still there.
What the hell is your problem? Seriously, does your understanding of the world come principally from bumper stickers? The most transparent, democratic government on Earth is surprisingly unhelpful when a man is counted rich in your country if he owns a telephone.

Further, 'foreign aid' isn't just a piss-off grant of money. It generally goes directly to certain programs or commodities, directly supervised by the aiding party.

It takes a genuine lunatic to violate the trust of the beneficiaries - especially considering, from a dictator's perspective, that money foreign powers give to your people is money you don't have to divert from your absurd defense budget.


Originally written by Mc 'mini' Thralni:

Originally written by The Worst Man Ever:

Originally written by Mc 'mini' Thralni:

These countries could have been more civilized by now, if only the governments wouldn't have been giving themselves a healthy salary, paid by the US' and Europe's friendly "help-the-poor" donations.

Personally, I think that, if we want to help these people in any way, we will have to give money and people. What i mean is this: first collect money, then send people with the money to these countries, and see to it that these people who are there to give aid, spend the money efficiently.

I've never seen someone make a good point in a more despicable, patronizing way. Congratulations, I suppose.

personally, I don't see what's so despicable or partonizing about what I said.

'Civilized'? The 'government's healthy salary' (which includes, say, payrolls for state-owned mines and factories, right? Of course it does. Good marketroid.), supported by the well-meaning efforts of the West. Oh, the poor, long-suffering rich!

I especially like the implication in this:

What i mean is this: first collect money, then send people with the money to these countries, and see to it that these people who are there to give aid, spend the money efficiently.

As it should, of course, be immediately apparent to anyone with a whit of sense how very poor those addle-brained wogs are at organizing anything.

I would like to form a bit of a parable here:

You see a man on the street. He has nothing. In what you feel is a grand act of generosity, you hand him a crisp Euro.

There are exactly two things you can buy with a crisp Euro: cheap food or cheaper alcohol. The man on the street isn't hungry right now, so he gets himself a bottle of Mad Dog and enjoys a brief respite from his terrible life.

You would hire a consultant to ensure that Euro gets spent on a Big Mac - or whatever they call it in Holland. The consultant, even if working for free, will run up expenses greater than E1. What will the bum do for food tomorrow? Who knows. But you helped!

Now, yes, I acknowledge that giving a homeless man money and having him spend it on mind-numbers instead of actual food - that's unfortunate. Something that ought to be avoided. But the basic problem isn't that he has no money for food; it's that he's COMPLETELY PROSTRATE. He needs to turn his life around, and that crisp euro isn't going to do that one way or another.

He's going to need a hell of a lot more time and money than you're probably willing to give. You want to hire a consultant then? Fine. Probably a good idea, because you've got an actual investment in the man being a functioning part of society.

But don't whine about him mismanaging your grand act of charity if that grand act is impossible to manage meaningfully positively.

[ Saturday, April 29, 2006 01:56: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
The Afterlife in General
Member # 6388
Profile #63
The river's tent is broken; the last fingers of leaf
Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind
Crosses the broken land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.
Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.
The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,
Silk handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, cigarette ends
Or other testimony of summer nights. The nymphs are departed.
And their friends, the loitering heirs of City directors;
Departed, have left no addresses.
By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept . . .
Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song,
Sweet Thames, run softly, for I speak not loud or long.
But at my back in a cold blast I hear
The rattle of the bones, and chuckle spread from ear to ear.

A rat crept softly through the vegetation
Dragging its slimy belly on the bank
While I was fishing in the dull canal
On a winter evening round behind the gashouse
Musing upon the king my brother's wreck
And on the king my father's death before him.
White bodies naked on the low damp ground
And bones cast in a little low dry garret,
Rattled by the rat's foot only, year to year.
But at my back from time to time I hear
The sound of horns and motors, which shall bring
Sweeny to Mrs. Porter in the spring.
O the moon shone bright on Mrs. Porter
And on her daughter
They wash their feet in soda water
Et O ces voix d'enfants, chantant dans la coupole!

Twit twit twit
Jug jug jug jug jug jug
So rudely forc'd.

Unreal City
Under the brown fog of a winter noon
Mr. Eugenides, the Smyrna merchant
Unshaven, with a pocket full of currants
C.i.f. London: documents at sight,
Asked me in demotic French
To luncheon at the Cannon Street Hotel
Followed by a weekend at the Metropole.

At the violet hour, when the eyes and back
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
Like a taxi throbbing waiting,
I Tiresias, though blind, throbbing between two lives,
Old man with wrinkled female breasts, can see
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea,
The typist home at teatime, clears her breakfast, lights
Her stove, and lays out food in tins.
Out of the window perilously spread
Her drying combinations touched by the sun's last rays,
On the divan are piled (at her night bed)
Stockings, slippers, camisoles, and stays.
I Tiresias, old man with wrinkled dugs
Perceived the scene and foretold the rest--
I too awaited the expected guest.
He, the young man carbuncular, arrives,
A small house agent's clerk, with one bold stare,
One of the low on whom assurance sits
As a silk hat on a Bradford millionaire.
The time is now propitious, as he guesses,
The meal is ended, she is bored and tired,
Endeavours to engage her in caresses
Which are still unreproved, if undesired.
Flushed and decided, he assaults at once;
Exploring hands encounter no defence;
His vanity requires no response,
And makes a welcome of indifference.
(And I Tiresias have foresuffered all
Enacted on this same divan or bed;
I who have sat by Thebes below the wall
And walked among the lowest of the dead.)
Bestows one final patronising kiss,
And gropes his way, finding the stairs unlit . . .

She turns and looks a moment in the glass,
Hardly aware of her departed lover;
Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass:
'Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over.'
When lovely woman stoops to folly and
Paces about her room again, alone,
She smoothes her hair with automatic hand,
And puts a record on the gramophone.

'This music crept by me upon the waters'
And along the Strand, up Queen Victoria Street.
O City city, I can sometimes hear
Beside a public bar in Lower Thames Street,
The pleasant whining of a mandoline
And a clatter and a chatter from within
Where fishmen lounge at noon: where the walls
Of Magnus Martyr hold
Inexplicable splendour of Ionian white and gold.

The river sweats
Oil and tar
The barges drift
With the turning tide
Red sails
To leeward, swings on the heavy spar.
The barges wash
Drifting logs
Down Greenwich reach
Past the Isle of Dogs.
Weialala leia
Wallala leialala
Elizabeth and Leicester
Beating oars
The stern was formed
A gilded shell
Red and gold
The brisk swell
Rippled both shores
Southwest wind
Carried down stream
The peal of bells
White towers
Weialala leia
Wallala leialala

'Trams and dusty trees.
Highbury bore me. Richmond and Kew
Undid me. By Richmond I raised my knees
Supine on the floor of a narrow canoe.'

'My feet are at Moorgate and my heart
Under my feet. After the event
He wept. He promised "a new start."
I made no comment. What should I resent?'

'On Margate Sands.
I can connect
Nothing with nothing.
The broken fingernails of dirty hands.
My people humble people who expect
la la

To Carthage then I came
Burning burning burning burning
O Lord Thou pluckest me out
O Lord Thou pluckest


Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Question 2: Imbalance of Wealth in General
Member # 6388
Profile #12
Originally written by Thuryl:

It's all very well to talk about what "we" can do, or about what world leaders can do, but the only person whose actions you have control over is yourself. So the question is: what can you, personally, do about poverty?

Well, the best thing you can do is sell everything you own, donate the proceeds to charity, buy a plane ticket to a poor country and spend the rest of your life as an aid worker.

If you're not willing to do that, stop tut-tutting about poverty and get used to being part of the problem. Thousands of people die every day as a direct result of living in poor economic conditions; unless you are spending every waking hour of your day working against poverty, you have absolutely no right to complain about others not doing enough.


Originally written by Spring:

Personally, I think everyone should just donate at least a dollar. It would help a lot.
It's doubtful that'd be enough; the maldistribution of wealth is pretty harrowing.

Originally written by Ash Lael:

EDIT: And yes, "Mass poverty" is the issue, not "imbalance of wealth".
They're one and the same. An imbalance of wealth implies that there are too many people on the bottom for the number of people that exist on the top.

The phrase 'imbalance of wealth', specifically contrasted against 'mass poverty', conveys that there's no magical fairy wand we can wave to fix the problem - poverty and affluence are two parts of the same coin. It's a zero-sum game, and making the poor less poor is going to take the rich being made - or becoming, by attrition - less rich. Period. End of discussion.

Originally written by Mc 'mini' Thralni:

These countries could have been more civilized by now, if only the governments wouldn't have been giving themselves a healthy salary, paid by the US' and Europe's friendly "help-the-poor" donations.

Personally, I think that, if we want to help these people in any way, we will have to give money and people. What i mean is this: first collect money, then send people with the money to these countries, and see to it that these people who are there to give aid, spend the money efficiently.

I've never seen someone make a good point in a more despicable, patronizing way. Congratulations, I suppose.

[ Friday, April 28, 2006 23:39: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Yom HaShoa in General
Member # 6388
Profile #62
Originally written by Kelandon:

Um, I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to order the execution of an entire race of people.
Surely you've heard of the Milgram Experiment.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Languages in General
Member # 6388
Profile #31
I'm an Irish technical-Jew; ergo, I speak English.

And a little French and Japanese, but not really.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
International Imitation Day in General
Member # 6388
Profile #74
Originally written by Spring:

おお--チンポコですね. フラ~~!!! あたしはチンポコがとてもおいしいです!!!
FYT, son.

[ Friday, April 28, 2006 01:19: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Yom HaShoa in General
Member # 6388
Profile #52
Originally written by Zeviz:

PS WKS, to aviod future opportunities for creative FYTing of your posts, say "death camps", instead of "concentration camps" when talking about Holocaust. Many countries built "concentration camps" of various degrees of repulsiveness. Nazis are the only people who built "death camps" - places for killing hundreds of thousands of people with industrial efficiency. So in the future just use the term "death camps".

Zeviz, I assure you that the first thing anyone thinks - at least most Americans, anyway - about when they hear 'concentration camp' is the Holocaust. If anything, it makes less dire concentration camps seem worse than they are.

But, of course, Nazis were not the only people who built 'death camps'. Define them the way you do and sure they are, but define them that way and you're doing unnecessary discredit to those industrious souls who just didn't have a racial enemy of nine million souls to deal with.

Just because geoncide is conducted by wood trains and plague instead of cattle cars and gas doesn't make it any less terrible.

Herein I find the primary problem I have with you and a good number of American Jews (and yes, I'm perfectly aware you're Russian, but you sure don't live in Russia, do you? :P ) - the problem of uniqueness.

What the Nazis did to the Jews was not unique, either in nature or in scope. The Gypsies were slaughtered alongside the Jews, for much the same reason. Around the same time, the Japanese were killing the Chinese as casually as we kill livestock - in the hundreds of thousands in individual incidents.
A scant few decades before, the Armenians suffered worse than the Jews - Turkey simply stamped them into the dirt, and they remain there today. (The US won't even recognize the stamping happened - almost a century later! Ah, cold war politics.)

Every country in the Western Hemisphere ran a fairly brisk trade in slaughtering Indians for substantial parts of their history. Your neighbors certainly didn't arise from Berkeley's native stock - that native stock doesn't exist any more, as a consequence of a nation of millions tearing a nation of thousands into shreds and more or less being allowed to forget about it.

The slaughter of the Californian natives, or the Wisconsinian or the Virginian or the Brazilian or whoever, was every bit as much a masterwork of modern efficiency as the Shoah - the only difference is the kind of modern. The Sioux were some of the first people to have the honor of being blown apart by machine-gun; the campaign of dispossession and cold-blooded murder promulgated by the South American Positivist wunderkinden was the sort of thing the crude pansy-romantics to walk in their spiritual footsteps in the 40s could only dream of.

And the PR behind Darfur would make Goebbels green with envy. The deft blockade of international humanitarian action, the dissassociation between the government and the 'bad apples' doing the killing - it's devilishly modern. Makes the Dolchstosslegende look like fireside chats - a quaint, outdated way to explain murdering your subjects, a sort of curio.

What makes the Shoah unique is that the world cares. A dozen Shoahs have happened without the world standing in memory. A dozen Shoahs may yet happen as the world stands silent - lest we act.

Terrible, isn't it?

I understand the trauma of the Jewish people, but treating it as unique is a disrespect to those who died in the camps. Treat it as unique and you're writing it off as a fluke; do that and it's bound to happen again.

Probably not to you, of course. And if that's what matters - I just don't know what to say.

Is disrespect for Israel on the day set aside for memory of the Shoah wrong? Distasteful, maybe. Wrong? Hell no.

Israel is a country, and countries are the prime actors in that kind of evil.

They've got a native population without any voting rights or self-determination, buttoned up at gunpoint.

At the whim of the state, in will come bulldozers to knock down tenements for hundreds of people - for the sake of tracking down a single terrorist; they've shot rock-throwing children and plenty of people guilty of no more than looking suspicious.

When that kind of degradation of an entire cultural group happens - especially one perceived as a lesser group, a nemesis, what have you - that is the foundation for genocide.

It would take a generation, a war, or an election going the wrong wrong way for there to be camps in Israel. It's a vicious apartheid state.

The Israeli people are as much victims of this as the Palestinians; they're dependent for the functions of a state on an essentially inequitous actor. It would be the sort of murderous, black irony history revels in to cast the people of Israel in two instances of ethnic suppression: on the receiving end and on the supplying end.

Consider all that - and thank God that there are jackasses willing to protest Israel on Yom Hashoah. If they disappear - if the government of Israel, alongside any other country in such circumstances, isn't made acutely aware they are being watched, and that most terrible thing will not be allowed to happen again - then the tribulations of the Jewish people in one of history's darkest hours could yet be in vain.

(Appendices for further consideration.

a. Please do not tell me what the Palestinians have done to Israel. The Palestinians are being dealt with as a group, affiliation to PLO or any other organization or no. There was substantial Jewish presence in the German communist party - culpable in a damn revolution shortly after the war - but it's one of the tenets of modern atrocitology that a state has no prevalent need to 'defend itself' against a particular ethnic group.

b. Once again, I do not consider Israel and the Israeli people two identical things; the Israeli people are no more responsible for the iniquities perpetuated by their government than the people of LA were for the assault of Rodney King, democracy or no.

c. I do not at all deny the reality of the Shoah, or the essential veracity of the accepted historical account. If the numbers of dead conventionally accepted are off, they are off by several orders of magnitude too small to make any realistic difference.

d. Neither do I deny the legitimacy of the Jewish settlement in Israel; it is their historical homeland and they are entitled to inhabit it. However, note - and note well - that they are not entitled to *own* whatever they please by virtue of it being their 'historical homeland'. The Palestinians are there too and deserve some freaking respect; they are treated more or less as animals and face an extremely steep citizenship process compared to any given Jew, or even substantial non-Jewish elements.

e. The Shoah was notable, but not unique, in scope. That honor would go first to several other instances of mass murder. And comparing genocides to each other to determine who suffered more is supremely and irreconcilably asinine.

f. Please don't even begin justifying the current state of Israel in terms of the Holocaust. The implications of genocide entitling you to something are pretty staggering; just because the Russians got mown down like overgrown grass by the Mongols in the 13th and 14th centuries doesn't mean they had the right to turn around and abuse their Jews and sundry minorities for half a millenium.)

tl, dr section here

The Holocaust was bad. It was not unique. That kind of nonsense happens all the time. Treat the Holocaust as unique and it's liable to happen more. It could well happen in Israel; we'd best to keep our eyes on it just in case.

Never again.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
OoC Thread for "An RP in the World of Avernum... *Reloaded*" in General
Member # 6388
Profile #409
Dint: You have stuff to post about. My memory fails me, but you're either the Anama or the Dominion, right?

I've built a colony of mages on the Bigail Sea and annexed land on the Dominion outskirts, along with proposing an anti-Rakshasa pact. Lots of big news from me. You have things to write about.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Question 1: Energy in General
Member # 6388
Profile #20
Originally written by Randomizer:

Brazil built up ethanol fuels for cars by subsidizing the industry for years so energy and auto manufacturs were assured that a market would exist. By the time the Brazilian government could no longer afford to subsidize it, the infrastructure was in place. Companies could make ethanol cheap enough to beat gasoline prices and there were enough flex fuel cars to use it.

It's a pity that we don't do it. Detroit is building flex fuel cars and trucks, but outside of the midwest and northeast there aren't many places to buy it.

Reuseable resource fuels will save on transportation costs to get to remote areas. I wouldn't mind the computer powered by cranking it for a few minutes at a time instead of line current.

Ethanol is quickly proving to be economically problematic. In Brazil it has lead to a resurgence of the sugar industry, which is particularly problematic, because it has historically relied on foreign capital; there are real fears that the second world could backslide into a sort of neo-imperial state as a consequence of biofuels.

They're a stopgap at best. The West needs to adopt nuclear power, and fund the construction of alternative fuels of less efficiency but better safety (hydroelectric, wind, solar) in the third world.

Petroleum consumption is a fact of technology; if we reduce it dramatically, it'll last us until it becomes economically feasible to synthesize it. I'd call that 2150 or so.

As it stands, we're slated to run out around 2050.

Not so good.

Originally written by Wild Kinky Slugs:

This kind of makes me want a diesel engine. Just to try this. Diesel in and of itself should not be overlooked as an alternate energy source. Diesel engines are considerably more efficient than regular gasoline engines.
That's a stupid comment and you should feel stupid for making it. Everything can't run on diesel, and it has substantial drawbacks. What's more, the efficiency boost is fairly minimal compared to the staggering consumption.

Originally written by Cairo Jim:

I've seen an article on how two guys modified their car so it ran on recycled chip oil, and they managed to drive across the U.S. with no problems.
This is what I call My Retarded Hippie Uncle environmentalism. Sure, vegetable oil works well enough for your retarded hippie uncle (and yes, I'm aware you're talking about a man in the news, but bear with me), but the entire country couldn't do it without messing up food prices and making people suffer in wonderful and unique ways.

Originally written by I Would Have Been Your Daddy:

I'm a fan of hydrogen fuel cells. All we need now is a reliable source of hydrogen.

There was an article in Discover about a huge factory that made usable oil from KFC's turkey guts. Gross and smelly, but it worked.

Hydrogen fuel, at least until we discover fusion, is essentially a pumpable, explosive battery (and in the context that's an improvement over the regular kind); it's easy to produce, but it takes more power to get than it gives when you use it. Sure, it's clean and abundant. But how are you going to get the power to make it in the first place?

Nuclear power would do the trick - but plenty of people treat nuclear power like pulling teeth. It's really quite lovely, though; perhaps when our friendly nuclear physicist / iron-fisted dictator returns he can explain it better. I'm just an enthusiast, but he does it for a living.

Originally written by Cairo Jim:

What I would like to see is ice being imported from Antartcia, although it is internationaly illegal. It would release quite a few strains on fresh water, as Antarctica has most of the worlds largest amount of fresh water.

That was brought up by the fact that any thermal energy plants require an enormous amount of water as part of the process, as far as I understand.

What? Thermal energy plants don't actually change water; they just turn it into steam, which collects in the atmosphere and returns as rain.

That's ridiculous. You're a fool.

[ Wednesday, April 26, 2006 01:51: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Zoophilia in General
Member # 6388
Profile #56
Originally written by Mister Fox:

Wow :eek: I didn't expect so many posts so soon.
1. I am curious about people's positions on this sort of thing, I just like to hear what people have to say and I'm not sure why.

Sure you're sure why. You're aware that it makes people uncomfortable and you enjoy watching people squirm. Nobody's that dense and you're not much of an actor.

2. According to several psychiatrists and therapists, I'm normal. My parents tried to have me "cured" but now they just pretend I'm normal.

I don't believe that. Nobody is born with a natural predilection towards animals, and nobody just up and chooses to be physically attracted to animals. In fact, I think you're lying; I sincerely doubt you've seen a single accredited psychiatrist so much as once. Please realize you're doing nothing but hurting yourself.
3. I will clarify that I have interest in humans as friends only, but I do have a lot of human friends. I did have a hurtful relationship with a human, but I was a zoophile long before that. I've always liked animals, it just expanded when I went through puberty.
Sexual attraction is not fully formed before puberty, or really formed at all. Hell, it isn't until a level of interaction has been established with the objects of physical attraction that it can even reliably be separated from emotional comfort. You didn't 'like animals' before puberty, or at the very least you didn't 'like animals' in the sense you do (or claim to - but I'm taking you at face value) now. This is a well-understood phoenomenon in psychology; it is called retroactive interference, and it happens when recent (or present) experiences interfere with the recall of past memories.

4. I did post a story or two a while back, but I didn't think anyone would remember :P I think I only used this forum for a day or two before neglecting it for reasons I can no longer remember. I returned recently to find my account still around.

No comment.

5. About YaP's pics, whether the humans meant to or not (I'm sure they didn't) they actually were stimulating the cats. Cats have very sensative skin compared to most other animals and petting them can do things to them. I won't get into a lot of detail here.

I'm not sure I've ever heard that cats have 'very sensitive skin' compared to other animals, but I feel it incumbent to point out four things:
In neither picture is the person actually touching the cat's skin, but only its fur.Sensitivity only has a relation to sexuality either through certain nerve endings being present or through psychological stimulation, something absent in a cat (consider your fingers - extremely sensitive, but not inherently sexual).Having known dozens of cats, I know how they get themselves off and petting has nothing to do with it.The actual reasons cats enjoy petting are twofold: first, they enjoy being groomed; and second, the large relative size of people's hands remind them of their mother's tongue, evoking early childhood - an exceptionally pleasant time in mammals' lives. (It is for this reason that they paw when happy - as if nursing.)I heard it said best: 'When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail'. I'm not passing judgement on your motives, but you're sexualizing to an untoward degree something utterly unsexual - more related to grooming than reproduction and in any case ranging only from comradely cordiality to motherly warmth.
And that's unfortunate.
6. I read my old post from that link, hard to believe my posts were that short and pointless when I was 15 haha. Thought I suppose the pointlessness hasn't really left...
No comment.

[ Wednesday, April 26, 2006 01:01: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Zoophilia in General
Member # 6388
Profile #18
Mr. Fox:

Please note that I'm not passing judgement; that's not my job. I'm simply recommending that you pursue professional help. There's nothing wrong with being abnormal, but zoophilia represents a kind of abnormal that can be kind of hard to live with.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Zoophilia in General
Member # 6388
Profile #16
Originally written by The Worst Man Ever:

it's an extreme enough deviation from the norms of human sexuality that it is almost certainly evidence of underlying psychological problems.
This is a later addition which makes an important distinction on that note. Intrinsic to a healthy human sexual dynamic are various factors that are manifestly impossible in a human-animal relationship.

Homosexuality differs from the sexual norm in a mostly mechanical fashion. There's a big difference.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Zoophilia in General
Member # 6388
Profile #14
Zoophilia is unnatural; it's an extreme enough deviation from the norms of human sexuality that it is almost certainly evidence of underlying psychological problems.

You are within your legal and personal rights to be a zoophile, obviously, and I do not feel I have any standing to prevent you from committing bestiality. However, I would respectfully urge that you seek psychiatric help. Something's wrong with you and it's doubtful that zoophilia is the only symptom of that.

[ Monday, April 24, 2006 21:51: Message edited by: The Worst Man Ever ]
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00
Old windows graphics: for Exile II in General
Member # 6388
Profile #2
Those won't work for Exile 2. They're specifically for Blades.

Let me see if I can't find my graphics set from it somewhere.
Posts: 794 | Registered: Tuesday, October 11 2005 07:00