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Nuclear Unicorn

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Member since: Wed Sep 16, 2009, 07:33 PM
Number of posts: 19,497

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Venezuela is on the brink of a complete economic collapse

Venezuela is on the brink of a complete economic collapse

The only question now is whether Venezuela's government or economy will completely collapse first.

The key word there is "completely." Both are well into their death throes. Indeed, Venezuela's ruling party just lost congressional elections that gave the opposition a veto-proof majority, and it's hard to see that getting any better for them any time soon — or ever. Incumbents, after all, don't tend to do too well when, according to the International Monetary Fund, their economy shrinks 10 percent one year, an additional 6 percent the next, and inflation explodes to 720 percent. It's no wonder, then, that markets expect Venezuela to default on its debt in the very near future. The country is basically bankrupt.

That's not an easy thing to do when you have the largest oil reserves in the world, but Venezuela has managed it. How? Well, a combination of bad luck and worse policies. The first step was when Hugo Chávez's socialist government started spending more money on the poor, with everything from two-cent gasoline to free housing. Now, there's nothing wrong with that — in fact, it's a good idea in general — but only as long as you actually, well, have the money to spend. And by 2005 or so, Venezuela didn't.

Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Fri Jan 29, 2016, 07:42 PM (13 replies)

If Bernie Sanders and his supporters are as racist/racially insensitive as many suggest

do the other candidates want them shifting to their own camps once the primaries are concluded?

Can you imagine any good Democratic candidate saying, "It'll be a tight race. I think we should court the David Duke voters"?

Because that's pretty much how Sen. Sanders and his supporters are being portrayed these days; but I have a sneaking suspicion that should another candidate carry the primaries into the nomination those very same Sanders supporters, once vilified as racist and unrealistic, will suddenly become a cherished commodity.

So, are the allegations of racism overblown, cynical rhetoric or are those making the accusations willing to accept common cause of those they deem to be racists?

Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Thu Jan 28, 2016, 08:16 PM (14 replies)

Scientists open the ‘black box’ of schizophrenia with dramatic genetic discovery

Scientists open the ‘black box’ of schizophrenia with dramatic genetic discovery

For the first time, scientists have pinned down a molecular process in the brain that helps to trigger schizophrenia. The researchers involved in the landmark study, which was published Wednesday in the journal Nature, say the discovery of this new genetic pathway probably reveals what goes wrong neurologically in a young person diagnosed with the devastating disorder.

The study marks a watershed moment, with the potential for early detection and new treatments that were unthinkable just a year ago, according to Steven Hyman, director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute at MIT. Hyman, a former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, calls it "the most significant mechanistic study about schizophrenia ever."

"I’m a crusty, old, curmudgeonly skeptic," he said. "But I’m almost giddy about these findings."


Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Thu Jan 28, 2016, 02:07 PM (4 replies)

Danish teen fought off her attacker - now she'll face fine

Danish teen fought off her attacker - now she'll face fine

A 17-year-old girl who was physically and sexually attacked in Sønderborg will herself face charges for using pepper spray to fend off her assailant.

The teenager told police that she was attacked in central Sønderborg on Wednesday at around 10pm by an English-speaking man in dark clothing. She said the man knocked her to the ground and then unbuttoned her pants and attempted to undress her.

The girl was able to save herself from further assault by using pepper spray on the attacker, but now she may be the one who ends up in legal trouble.

“It is illegal to possess and use pepper spray, so she will likely be charged for that,” local police spokesman Knud Kirsten told TV Syd.


Unjust laws ought to be disobeyed.
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Wed Jan 27, 2016, 06:03 AM (277 replies)

An Exhaustive Primer on the Amy Schumer Scandal

An Exhaustive Primer on the Amy Schumer Scandal

(Yes, She's Probably Guilty of Plagiarism)

The Verdict

Before we get too deep into the Amy Schumer plagiarism scandal—and it is a full-fledged scandal at this point, by comedy standards—I want to make my perspective clear. First, I’m an Amy Schumer fan. Second, after considering the evidence outlined below, along with Schumer’s response, I had one immediate reaction and one secondary reaction to the question of whether or not she’s a plagiarist.

The immediate reaction: Absolutely.

The secondary reaction: Probably.

The first reaction is easy to explain, and came about after simply watching the bits she allegedly stole. There’s no escaping the crystal-clear truth here—the original material and Schumer’s copy are almost exactly the same. The only reasonable conclusion is that she’s guilty. Period. Denials and obfuscation are useless against the very plain evidence of outright joke theft, and anyone who disputes it is being intellectually dishonest.

So why did that “absolutely” change to “probably”? Because there’s a concept called subconscious plagiarism that, in Schumer’s case, would entail hearing another comedian’s joke, forgetting it over time, and then writing it later as though she had conceived it on her own. All in all, this version of stealing is more innocent and forgivable than standard plagiarism.

But while a reasonable person might buy that explanation for an isolated incident, or even two, it seems hopelessly far-fetched when we consider Schumer’s pattern of repeat offenses. Nevertheless, it’s impossible to disprove—we can’t be inside her head—and that’s why I’m qualifying the initial absolute judgment.


For those of you who didn't know there was an Amy Schumer scandal -- apparently there's an Amy Schumer scandal.

It's a damned shame if true because comics work very hard in a very tough business and to have someone succeed on your work at your expense is intolerable.
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Wed Jan 27, 2016, 05:51 AM (16 replies)

FBI official: 'Perfect storm' imperiling gun background checks

FBI official: 'Perfect storm' imperiling gun background checks

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The surge of criminal background checks required of new gun purchasers has been so unrelenting in recent months that the FBI had been forced to temporarily halt the processing of thousands of appeals from prospective buyers whose firearm purchase attempts have been denied.

Since October, the bureau’s entire cadre of appeal examiners— about 70 analysts — was redeployed here to help keep pace with waves of incoming background investigations that continued through December when a record 3.3 million firearm sales were processed.

The transfer of examiners, which had left a backlog of 7,100 appeals, is only part of a makeshift reorganization that FBI Assistant Director Stephen Morris said has become necessary to handle a burgeoning workload that expands in the wake of every mass shooting and call for increased gun control that invariably prompt firearms sales binges across the country.


Some will consider 7,100 unattended-to appeals to be a victory but that's merely a backlog and the larger point is the fact over 3 million purchases have been processed since October.

In perspective, that means the number of firearms owned by people over the nations entire history of the nation has increased ~1% in a mere 4 months.

The people do not want to be disarmed.
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Thu Jan 21, 2016, 06:36 PM (5 replies)

It's time for good women to understand our place.

Look, the boys were nice enough to concede things like the right to vote and abortion (though I suspect the latter was to skirt child support payments) but for the good society we need to face certain realities.

While sexual assault and rape culture are generally considered "bad" -- and mob sexual assault all the more so -- the fact is, there are things worse than that; namely: The wrong sort of people protesting sexual assault.

You see, we can't have those people protesting against sexual assault, mob or otherwise. I know, I know; we've spent decades trying to get those people to even acknowledge rape culture exists. While you may think it's important to not be sexually assaulted it's more important that the lines of political partisanship remain bright and distinct -- like well-applied lipstick (and for the same reasons: so you can be appealing to those who say they want you to be with them).

So, ladies, for the good of the political fight you need to understand that sometimes boys will be boys (even if those sorts of boys are more predominate in some circles) and it would be better if you waited for others to tell you when it is okay for you to speak on a subject and when you do speak be sure to only say what you know won't embarrass the ones you're with. You should smile more and not worry your pretty little heads because the big strong ones will take care of you.

And while you may feel strongly about this understand that perhaps the best course of action is to sometimes just lie back and try to relax. It's certainly advice to be taken into consideration in many different contexts.

At least we still have abortion when its over!
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Thu Jan 21, 2016, 05:28 PM (42 replies)

How would George McGovern fair in today's political climate?

This is not a Democratic primary OP but rather an observation that 4 to 8 years ago the thought of Sen. Sanders being a viable candidate would have been considered unthinkable. Obviously there has been a dramatic shift in a sizeable portion of the American electorate.

Admittedly, I'm too young to have any familiarity with McGovern apart from what I have read but it seems he presaged the Sanders candidacy.

Comments would be appreciated.
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Thu Jan 21, 2016, 09:51 AM (3 replies)

A review of our household entertainment choices seems to reveal a trend

Grand Theft Auto IV & V -- videos games wherein you play various criminals

Red Dead Redemption -- a video game about a gunslinger in the old West

Mirror's Edge -- a video game about free-running/parkour wherein you are illegally opposing an oppressive government

The Sopranos

The Godfather trilogy

Sons of Anarchy, the entire series

The entire Quentin Tarantino catalog of films

The Quick and the Dead

assorted other Westerns


Lucky Number Slevin

Now You See Me

Firefly, the entire series and Serenity

No Country for Old Men

The Usual Suspects

Get Shorty & Be Cool

Anybody else seeing a common theme?
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Mon Jan 18, 2016, 09:58 PM (4 replies)

Critics say ACA ‘risk’ strategies are having reverse Robin Hood effect

Critics say ACA ‘risk’ strategies are having reverse Robin Hood effect

In early summer, a small, nonprofit HMO in Birmingham, Ala., got a surprise from the federal government: a bill for $1.7 million.

The charge, which amounted to a startling two-fifths of the premium money that Viva Health had collected from 1,100 customers, stemmed from an obscure part of the Affordable Care Act designed to support health plans with lots of sick, expensive customers by giving them money from plans with healthier customers.

The goal is to help keep insurance markets stable by sharing the “risk” of sicker people and removing any incentive for plans to avoid individuals who need more medical care. Such stability is likely to encourage competition and keep overall prices lower for consumers, while its absence can undermine both and limit coverage choices — the basic principles of the law.


Indeed, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, which dominates the market in which Viva sells, is getting more than $2.5 million.


So the Democratic party is cutting off its face to spite its nose (wording intended) over Single Payer to the point where even a once-solid Progressive such as Howard Dean has sold out and now the system they're defending is propping up big corporations at the expense of little, more response companies. This will do nothing but lead to regulatory capture of the insurance marketplace spreading the "too big to fail" disease from banks to insurance carriers.

We would have been better served had the Supreme Court had struck down this monstrosity. Then, at least, we would have had the political cover to work towards SP. As it stands now The Establishment is gutting every argument for SP while clinging to a law that is destined to self-destruct.

Next Up: GOP donors will start investing in the TBTF corporations soaking up those sweet, sweet tax subsidies.
Posted by Nuclear Unicorn | Thu Jan 14, 2016, 07:42 PM (15 replies)
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