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Chris Stehlik

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Tonight on Great Shire Bake Off, It's biscuit week !

Sue Hello Bakers,
Mel Today , Merry and Pippin would like you to make 12 identical Lembas.
Sue Lembas are an Elvish biscuit which is light in texture but will keep you full for the whole day.
Merry ,we'll be looking for an airy almost magical biscuit.
Pippin Lembas are twice baked, and we wouldn't want anyone to forget that.

Sue and Mel: Ready Set Bake !

Legolas My mom made these when I was a boy but that was hundreds of years ago

Gimli I have never heard of these

Gollum : Argh we hates Elvish biscuits, we hates them we do. 

Pippin and Merry: Hello Aragorn

Aragorn : Hello Pippin Hello Merry

Merry: I see you are already icing your Lembas. Have you baked them ?
Aragorn : Of course I have baked them. They are clearly not raw dough
Merry: yes but what about the second baking ?
Pippin : Does he not know about second baking ?

Aragorn: Sigh, Still not Star Baker. 

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It's not just me, Assange is huge jerk.
And voting is a thing.
Some things I need to say which will probably be fairly unpopular:

(1) Pauline Hanson is an excellent example of why I think multiparty democracy is a terrible idea. Increasing the political power of people at the fringes might help you get your particular favorite idea represented – but it also lets other people do that. Generally, it moves political power away from the center and towards the edges. And so you end up with people like this having the effective deciding vote in legislatures, able to block any bill if they don't get their way.

(2) In related news, Jill Stein is now talking about how wonderful Julian Assange is. If you haven't been following what Assange and his cronies have been up to lately, he's been (a) openly waging a campaign against Clinton, saying he's doing this specifically to harm her and he doesn't care what else happens, (b) doing massive data dumps without bothering to redact sensitive personal information about people who are in no way implicated in wrongdoing (e.g., people's SSN's and home addresses), and (c) going off on thoroughly anti-Semitic rants in public. In case you haven't noticed it, Julian Assange is grade-A scum who happens to have been involved in some decent things in the past – but, AFAICT, anything good he's done has been by chance, not design.

Stein's self-affiliation with him only serves to lower her even further in my eyes. (Her policy statements did a great deal to do so before this, ranging from her love affair with anti-vaxxers to her lengthy screed against the rights of sex workers)

(3) For those who think that third parties serve an important role in the process while living in a two-party system, I have to say: I completely and utterly disagree.

Third parties would play an important role if the purpose of elections were for people to express their political opinions, and for the country to come to some kind of conclusion as to how its government should operate at a basic level. But that's not what elections do. That's the purpose of the public square, of public discussion and debate. Elections have a very specific and concrete purpose: to choose who takes various elective offices. That's all they do.

A vote for a third party is simply a fancy way to abstain; it doesn't actually increase the chances that the third party will get funding in the future, or that their ideas will be more listened to, because these parties are the fringe of the fringe: they are so interested in the "purity of their ideals" that they won't even enter into the process of actual dealmaking, coalition-building, and so on. Their ideas will never have an effect, because they have given up on talking to the main bulk of the country and are instead spending their time either preaching to the choir or trying to convert the handful of people who are so far on the edge of their own parties that they're about to abstain anyway.

And to be brutally honest: abstention from important elections on matters of principle is irresponsible.

Elections do come down to small numbers of votes. Bush v. Gore came down to roughly 600 votes' difference. Local elections, even statewide elections, can come down to even less. And when you not only abstain, but encourage others to do so, you stand the risk of actually influencing the election – but rarely in the way you want. Because if you encourage people who are leaning mostly your way to cast a protest vote, you're telling people who would vote for a candidate that mostly agrees with you to stay home. Whether you're on the left or the right, what that does is cast half a vote for the other side.

Do not tell me that both of the candidates are the same. To say that at this point goes beyond the level of "deliberately obtuse." You know they aren't.

Do not tell me that neither of the candidates is speaking about the things you care about. There may be the one thing you care about more than anything else, but whoever is President, and whoever controls Congress, is going to be making decisions about a lot of things, including things you care about a great deal. You do not get to choose from all the people in the world, or from all the positions in the world, but you do get to choose between two options, and they aren't the same. They will not appoint the same people to the courts, they will not start the same wars, they will not do the same things to the economy.

(4) If you are seriously so isolated that you think you would do equally well, or badly, under either of them, then think about what would happen to the rest of the people in the country. They wouldn't.

(5) If you seriously don't care and just want to watch the world burn, then I stand corrected: please, go vote for a third party. Or stay home. Or emigrate. Those of us who have to live here don't welcome you.
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As of today, the second seal has been broken and a rider on a red horse has come forth Donald Trump is essentially the guaranteed Republican nominee for president. Let me give some predictions of what's going to happen next:

(1) People will start to argue harder and harder that Trump isn't really that bad, and he doesn't actually mean all the things that he says. Even while you'll never hear this from his campaign, it'll be a major theme among commentators, especially those tied to the Republican establishment. 

The main thing driving this will be cognitive dissonance: if you believed that the American public had just nominated a not-particularly-crypto-Nazi, then you would have to conclude that the people around you are either evil or fools, and that's not something nice to think about. But if he's not really that bad, then it's OK. The second thing driving this will be the underlying urge of many disaffected (white, working or middle class) people to support him and the things he actually says; if you've got a narrative where it's not really that bad, it's fine to vote for this, then you can feel more comfortable considering it. And the third thing (affecting mostly professional politicians and media heads) will be simple professional party loyalty; the cost of defection away from a nominated candidate, in terms of career and so on, is just too high.

(2) You will hear a strong campaign from the Republican establishment (not Trump) that Clinton is the Devil and must be beaten. They won't be able to put together a clear story of why; to be honest, almost nobody ever has been able to. It's become so reflexive to see her this way that people have forgotten where it started. (That's not to say that Clinton isn't deeply flawed, but none of those flaws have anything to do with the weird conspiracy theories that will be circulating) 

This is mostly a way for the people in the establishment, the ones with the most dissonance to deal with, to focus themselves on saying "not Clinton" so they don't have to spend too much time saying "yes Trump."

It's going to be an incredibly nasty campaign, but that shouldn't surprise anyone.

(Yes, Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee. I know Sanderistas can come up with arguments until the cows come home about how it's still perfectly statistically possible for him to win 64% of the remaining pledged delegates or somehow convince all the superdelegates to join him but... no. There is no way that actually works. Sanders gets to shift the party platform but he has no serious chance of being the nominee)

And if, God forbid, Trump were to be elected? I suspect that we would find that he is quite an honest man after all, at least insofar as he has no incentive to lie. I suspect that his promises about immigrants will quickly become a priority for him, with a certain amount of reality gating. Things we'd actually see:

(1) Punitive taxes and/or seizure of remittances abroad. This would cause massive economic disruptions all over the world (about $125B per year, most of it going to poor communities) and would probably ultimately be moderated in some way, but not before causing tremendous pain and chaos.

(2) Laws demanding strong proof of citizenship to work, and enforcing severe penalties against employers who violate them. These would cause a different kind of chaos, because a good quarter of citizens don't actually have such strong proof. Presumably offices would be set up to help people get that, and deployment of the law would be staged -- but that assistance would be sharply canted towards white communities. The intent, and effect, of the law would be to cause mass unemployment among Latino and Black communities. This would, indeed, cause many to flee the country, but even more to be dropped into extremely dire straits. I have no idea how this would play out.

(3) Laws enforcing Draconian penalties against anyone who helps people without knowing their immigration status. This would run into actual trouble for Trump once it started to affect better-organized churches; the Vatican may actually end up being a major counterforce, and this might have long-term consequences.

(4) Laws restricting employment of legal immigrants in various ways. Not in service industries, but in places where a demonstration of nativism will be politically useful. This will often be used as a negotiating tactic against businesses.

(5) Actual wall-building might start in a symbolic fashion, but the absurd logistics of it would prevent anything other than a flashy display.

Of course, none of this even starts to deal with his plans to institute trade wars with both China and Mexico (two of our three largest trading partners), or the effects that would happen when the leaders of politically savvy rival countries (e.g., China) realize that he can easily be goaded into foolish moves. Or what might happen if someone else (e.g., Kim Jong Un) tried to rattle sabers; I doubt that he has any deep understanding of just why the US hasn't tried to blow up North Korea in the past. (Answer: we could do it, but in the process South Korea would be turned into rubble, and Japan would probably lose a city or two. And it might escalate into a full regional war.)

So even though I anticipate several months of people telling me how he really isn't that bad, and of the curious experience of seeing a politician's supporters get exasperated and angry ("you're not repeating that old lie again!") when I suggest that their candidate might be honest, I don't think that just because he's the nominee, he's suddenly going to change his white sheets stripes.
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German growly yet pro compassion and minorities music video.

Yes, from there, couldn't find another place. If you can, please post link and I will edit it.
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This is a very interesting concept that is an alternative to current approach of welfare and poverty reduction. Unconditional Basic Income. Where everyone gets enough for basic expenses just because. Doesn't penalize looking for work, allows people to take care of kids or older relatives without enduring true poverty.
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Hey Look
How much would a $3/hr raise cost Yelp?
"our net revenue was $549.7 million, which represented an increase of 46% from the year ended December 31, 2014,"
so that's good, yeah team!

Let's do math!
If they had 40 employees like Talia Jane and wanted to give them a $3/hr raise (to $15/hr). That would be $3*2000 hrs/yr*40 people =$240,000.yr ($6000 a person)
That's only 0.04% of the net revenue they made that year.
Give 'em 0.04% of the net revenue and keep them around.
How much would an extra $6000 (before tax) help out people like Talia ? (ALOT )

How many employees would you have to have for it to cost 1% of net revenue to give them a $3/hr raise 1% is 5.497 million. Divide that by $6000/yr per person. you get 916 employees. I don't think they have 916 employees answering the phone. (They have 4,000 employees total). Still that would be only 1% of revenue.
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Agent Qatar,
A very capable Muslim woman joins the CIA and battles both ISIS terrorists and the prejudices of her own co workers.
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