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Messages - jax

So the Spitzenkandidat is out, while Merkel has weighed in against Vestager.

"Both Spitzenkandidaten, whom I would call the only real Spitzenkandidaten, are in the race and have both made sure that the Spitzenkandidaten process will remain in the future," Merkel said on Saturday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Japan. "We are on a path which will maybe make a solution possible tomorrow."

FT has their own favourites, which might suit the British, but for Brexit. 
Political history is a sequence of retcons, but US political history is particularly creative. I think it is because of the need to combine two things:

  • Invoke the wisdom of the founding fathers
  • Account for that today's political system and realities are very different to 200 years ago

The role of the president is very different from expected, and the early electoral colleges were appointed. The differences are larger than the similarities. But "the electoral college was designed so as to handle whatever issue people care about in [year]". The electoral college was not about small vs large state, or state vs federation, though those were important issues of the day, and still matters. 

Could be instructive to compare with the EU, a far looser organisation where the member countries call the shots. In our case we have no founding fathers to worry about, we are clearly making this up as we go along. Similar issues though, except that nobody cares very much who are going to become presidents of the EU, up for (s)election now. In a way the EU presidents are closer to the original intent than the US president is. 
Good advice for me next year.

Three years election campaign must be longest in US history, or? I think by now US campaigns are longer than any other I am aware of. Should be time to start running for the 2024 campaign. The European Parliament campaign on the other hand is blink-and-it-is-over short. Even Eurovision voting takes longer. That on the other hand must have the record for longest voting period among musical competitions or whatever category that will be in.

That was one noticeable change moving to Sweden. This thing goes on for months. The international competition goes on long enough, but the national competition is even worse. And that is based on 28 songs selected from 2300 (!) songs that year. 28 songs making for 11 1/2 hour of television (including an hour of "Eurovision: The Day After"). Is there a lot of repetition? What do think? Is there a lot of repetition? What do think? Is there a lot of repetition?
Yes, there are two interpretations: The electors as a safety valve and the electors as an obsolete elaboration. As long as there are many of one and many of the other, a LOT of people are going to be really, really, really unhappy and angry if this situation occurred. This situation would be worse than Trump, and harder to manage. 

Complicating the picture state legislations have their own rules for their electors. It could be Republicans vs Democrats, states vs federation, courts against Congress.
It is an additional ambiguity. How independent are the electors? If the choice is "not at all", why have them?

This is a constitutional crisis waiting to happen. If once presidential candidate wins the most electors, but sufficient electors switch side so that another candidate wins, what happens next?

Abolishing them before that happens would be the sounder choice.
DnD Central / Re: Today's Bad News
US customs/border controls were already more unpleasant than any other I have come across, and I got the tail end of East Germany. That's OK with me. If they don't want me to come, I don't need to go.

The trick to enter the US is to have two profiles on your phone and/or PC. One, the one you enter the US with, is a dummy one. If they insist on unlocking or more they will get a handful of nothing. All the new regulations introduce is a level of forward thinking. With five years of social media, you just have to prepare for 2024. In the meantime borrow a dummy profile for Facebook etc, rename them suitably to look like yours. When you return home, you can give the profile back to the original owner.
Yes, the Pirate parties have quadrupled their MEPs, after having them halved previous period. 2009-2014: 2 (SWE), 2014-2019: 1 (GER), 2019-2024 1 (GER), 3 (CZE).
DnD Central / Re: DnD entropy
The Internet was an interesting experiment. Well, time to return back to our walled gardens.
DnD Central / Re: DnD entropy
Significant entropic jump:

A Russian dude made a decent docu-vlog about Japan
Nice cinematography and mostly coherent commentary. A few places I did not know about.

The drone part begins at 27 minutes. Have I mentioned earlier that I hate cities? I particularly hate dense cities.
Last post: 2019-04-18, 01:35:01
This post:  2018-04-26, 17:11:35
Old interval: 4 days 20 hours 40 minutes 9 seconds
New interval: 8 days, 15 hours, 35 minutes and 34 seconds

Previous delta: 15 hours 58 minutes 38 seconds
This delta: 3 days 18 hours 55 minutes and 35 seconds
DnD Central / Re: Today's Bad News
However, he ignores that the US has been doing this exact same thing to EU citizens throughout the post-911 era, a "visa waiver program" involving an application to get authorised entry to the country. It is an actual visa procedure to get your visa waived, so to say. At first the procedure cost USD 5, now it is USD 14 I hear, but soon will be 20 I'm sure.

My favourite tit-for-tat would be to have Visa waivers for all but residents of a dozen US states.  That would be true reciprocity.
The NRA is a Russian operation to kill off Americans. So far, they seem to be succeeding.
That's why they got sued the very first day. The courts will give GDPR bite, or not. When the law comes there will be resistance, they will do as little as they can get away with, or even less if there are no significant consequence.

It is in many way the private (and some public) surveillance equivalent to Freedom of information laws. Some bureaucracies will comply quickly and fully, others will not, and try to obstruct and subvert. If the law lets them get away with it, they will. 
Disable is progress of sorts. Previous versions of Android only allowed certain Google apps and others to revert to unupdated versions. But Facebook is not on that list on a Sony from last year. Facebook is (presumably) removed, not disabled.
Don't know if you heard the Volvo 2020 vision,

"Our vision is that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car."
2020 is next year, so they might need a new vision soon. What about this proposal?

"Our vision is that by 2022 no one should be able to escape from a new Volvo car."
The Lounge / Re: Happy New Zealand!
And now about half the world's population is in 2019, the other half remains in 2018, and a handful remain in the Middle Ages.
The Lounge / Re: Happy New Zealand!
Same procedure as last year: New Zealand is back into the future.
DnD Central / Re: The weekend post
That sounds fun. I had also forgotten all about that thread, it's a nice one.

And now the divergence has begun. New Zealand is in 2019, the rest of us (barring some Pacific islands) live in an entirely different year.
The Lounge / Re: Happy New Zealand!
This is the last converged day this year, the Day of Divergence is fast approaching.
DnD Central / Re: The weekend post
This/next year the Day of Divergence is on a weekend. So Happy New Zealand!

The Day of Divergence tomorrow is not, but this post is.
You may have a point. Another criminal with extraction issues, though much further to the south.

Would-be thief calls police from inside car he was trying to steal
A grislier German example of contract limitations.
Civil law is to a large part contract law, and parties can shape their contracts pretty much as they like, including sharia-friendly approaches. But a contract breaking the law would be invalid, as would one not involving all parties. To me it seems that this contract failed in both instances.
DnD Central / Re: Everything Trump…
I was kind of thinking the same. The number of insect species or craters on the moon is higher than anyone would care about, but there aren't that many amphibian species around, around 7000 supposedly. Spending one of those names on a politician seems wasteful somehow. Then again, the name was up for auction as if it was some sports stadium, so why not.

For a picture of the little critter, I refer to BBC

For lack of an extraction plan:

First ever Arctic bank robber gets caught cold


An armed man has robbed a bank in the world's northernmost settlement on Norway's remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard but he was caught shortly afterwards, authorities said on Friday.

The heist was the first ever bank robbery in living memory in the territory, which is located in the Arctic Ocean, about halfway between continental Norway and the North Pole.
Stockholm was going on too. To be exact a castle on the opposite side of Stockholm to here. Trivia: This area, Roslagen, is believed to have given the name to Russia.

This peace just might hold. Interestingly Turkey (and some US senators) may have had a helping hand here. Speaking of which, an update from

Peace might break out in South Sudan. Then again, it might not. 

What are the prospects for South Sudan's new peace agreement? Here are the critical next steps.
Still promising, and still fragile, but all in all peace might really break out.