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Comment Re:There's an old curse (Score 1) 594

Could well be that Turkey's just inhibited their own ability to support the Turkmen 'rebels' and to conduct operations against the Kurds.

Well, the Kurds part isn't too big of a loss. The Kurds are the ones who have been most successful against ISIS (especially considering their lack of heavy equipment). The West should have been backing the Kurds all along, but the Us has obviously been hesitant to because it would really destabilize Iraq and the government we've been propping up there.

Comment Re:There's an old curse (Score 4, Insightful) 594

There's an old curse that seems relevant: "May you live in interesting times." Times are certainly interesting. At this point, it seems like some sort of full-scale war between NATO and Russia is more likely now than it has been any time since the 1980s (granted then it would have been NATO against the USSR but the basic point is the same).

This depends on who Russia focuses on as responsible, and how exactly they retaliate. Right now Putin is focusing mostly on Turkey and says it will hurt their "relationship". This could be something as small as a diplomatic tiff, maybe expel a diplomat or two; they could impose some kind of economic sanctions on them (not sure what the level of trade or cooperation there is between Russia and Turkey); or, most severely, retaliate in kind. Any kind of overt military action would be very dangerous as Turkey could immediately call in NATO for assistance. Russia doesn't want this, Putin certainly doesn't want this. He doesn't need war between Russia and the West, he just needs the relationship to be hostile enough to maintain his domestic support. The next few days will be very interesting to watch.

Comment Re:Fact check or PC checking? (Score 1) 337

It was about slavery. The attempt to paint it otherwise is disengenous.

No, it was about what slavery represented. Specifically, slavery (or the argument surrounding it) represented 2 distinct conflicts: different economic systems and opposing views on governance. First is economics: the South was a largely agrarian economy while North was much more industrialized. A good proxy to show this is the rail industry. Ever look at a map showing the rail lines for the North and South? It looks strikingly similar to those nighttime maps showing lights in South Korea vs North Korea. The South relied heavily on labor-intensive agriculture which required a large low-cost labor force. It is also important to note that most elected government officials in the South were wealthy, and wealthy in the South meant plantations (which meant slaves) or merchant/trader which heavily relied on the good produced by said plantations. The North was much less reliant on cheap labor mostly because industry there focused on producing finished goods rather than raw goods.

The second factor was governmental theory. In the view of the South, the primary government was that of the state, not the federal government. For lack of a better term the South took a very provincial view, seeing their home as their state and showing loyalty accordingly. This is demonstrated in the large numbers of professional soldiers (especially field grade officers) who resigned from the US Army and immediately offered their service to the Confederacy. They even demonstrate this belief in the very named they chose for their new country: confederacy. A confederacy is a group of states bound together by a weak and limited central government. The push against slavery was seen as an attack on the sovereignty of the Southern states by the federal government (as noted above, it was also seen as a threat to the wealth and power of the ruling elites in the South). But to say the Civil War was about slavery is like saying WWII was about stopping the Holocaust(apologies for the Godwin, it's time for me to go home from work and this was the most apt example I could come up with real quick).

Comment Re:Fact check or PC checking? (Score 3, Informative) 337

Slave labor wasn't as bad as people believe... if you lived long enough to be slave labor. Getting abducted from your home, dragged packed like sardines in the ship, more than half your comrades dying of disease and malnutrition, poked, prodded, sold, screamed at... if you made it, what you got was a shitty life akin to poverty in prison. People imagine slave masters constantly beating slaves while smiling wickedly with demon fangs poking out of their mouths; in reality, the actual labor wasn't too bad, just everything else about life sucked--particularly the part about being property, confined to a barn like some sort of mule, and occasionally raped.

The thing about slavery in the US is that people hear it and think of massive plantations utilizing scores of slave labor in horrible conditions, when the reality was much different. Slaves were an expensive investment akin to machinery today. The majority of slaveholders only owned at most a handful of slaves (if that much) and treated them fairly decently. Beating a slave regularly has as much logic as a modern farmer taking a sledgehammer to his tractor because it broke down. Now, was it a horrible system that deprived people of their free will and humanity? Absolutely. Did things like arbitrary beatings and rapes occur? No doubt. But they weren't widespread, and a lot of poor white farmers lived in conditions not too dissimilar than slaves did. About the only differences between poor whites and the slaves was that the whites were still allowed to own property and participate in politics.

I'm sure someone will miscontrue what I said and claim that I said slavery wasn't bad, which it was. But I will admit that I am one of those people that believes the Civil War wasn't really about slavery, but that slavery was simply a symptom of larger underlying factors that caused the war. So that probably makes me a racist in some people's eyes.

Comment Re:Why single out a magazine? (Score 5, Interesting) 109

As a Georgian who owns guns, I have never even heard of this magazine nor seen it in any of the several gun stores/ranges I have gone to over the years. And looking at their website, it looks like something a high school student would throw together for a web publishing class. I agree, it does seem odd that it would specifically mention the magazine in the title, but the article itself only names the magazine, with the other groups being vaguely defined as "statewide political parties" and "news media organizations".

Comment Re:Not touching this one (Score 1) 126

I imagine here's where many would disagree. I personally do not have the time to spend endlessly researching, reconfiguring and play testing thousands of weapon/loadout combinations that many of these FPS's gameplay structure has become (BF4). I generally have time to jump online, and spend 20 -30 minutes duking it out with Imperial forces for control of a few droids or control points. The card structure is perfect. I can go in choose my simple loadout and go right into battle.

Planetside 2, Red Orchestra 2/Rising Storm, Insurgency. All 3 are games you can easily jump into for 30 minutes, have somewhat limited loadouts (sure, you can spend money in PS2 to open up the weapons selection but you really don't need to), and are much cheaper than SW:Battlefront (PS2 being completely free). Graphics on all 3 are pretty decent as well. Unless you have to have a Star Wars game, there are plenty of viable alternatives.

Comment No way (Score 1) 275

I'm sorry, but if ISIL is a big enough threat to curtail our personal privacy and erode away Constitutional rights, then why the hell are we pussyfooting around just bombing them? If they are that big of a threat to us and our way of life then we should be fighting them with everything we have. This isn't like Iraq, or even like Afghanistan. ISIL is a demonstrable threat to states not just in the region but around the world: if they aren't a perfect case for multilateral action I don't know what is. Iraq and Syria won't solve this on their own. If the US/Europe and Russia/Iran could stop arguing between each other and actually work together and cooperate ISIL would be eradicated by the end of next year. I would rather work with one "enemy"(Iran) than become just like the real enemy (ISIL-I'm looking at you Trump with your "close all mosques" statement).

Comment Re:Ban the side effects (Score 2, Funny) 305

Just please drop the requirements that they have to list the side effects. Eating dinner with kids and having to listen to 4 hour erections and other inappropriate dinner subjects is outrageous.

Or just stop eating dinner while watching TV shows aimed at middle aged men like Monday Night Football, or My Little Pony.

Comment Re:Reading between the lines here... (Score 1) 393

...does "overqualified" mean "has a degree but can't be trusted to change a lightbulb"?

Because ya. Holy hell, ya.

Not exactly. I have an MA in International Relations, a BA in History (yes, I know, non-stem, I'm a clueless humanities major, etc, etc). However in high school I was in a science and tech Magnet school and took AP Bio, Genetics, and honors math courses. Almost went to Ga Tech to get a degree in biomedical engineering, but decided to do something different.

In any case, my first full-time job out of grad school was working cargo for a commercial airline for less than $13 an hour. The only reason I even got that job was I had been working for that company part time all throughout college and had built up seniority among part-timers. I was about ready to join the military because I couldn't find any other work but developed a chronic back injury that prevented me from doing so. Did that for about 1.5 years until the beginning of this year when I got a new position with the same company, for which I in part credit my graduate degree. So yes, it is perfectly possible for intelligent, skilled people to end up in a job well below what they are qualified and able to do.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten