Maruku comments

Posted in: Bright and early See in context

It's a great shot, especially the sky, which would not have looked that way at 3:30 so must have been a nice surprise. Thanks for sharing.

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Posted in: What's wrong with the way English is taught in Japan? See in context

Bobo ... Gangsta isn't a language bro.

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Posted in: What's wrong with the way English is taught in Japan? See in context

English is where it is because people don't care. And why should they, where's the bottom line and which side of the language divide gets to draw it?

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Posted in: Mugabe slams Bush's 'stupid' comments See in context

Point of view - respect but RE:

I dont see this inhumane nonsense being approved and directed by Bush or for that matter in the US.

One word: Rendition

At least Bob has the "excuse" of being a 3rd world geriatric geezer.

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Posted in: Report finds prejudice rising against U.S. Muslims See in context

Truth be told though, this is not an American issue (proliferation of fossil fuel use), it's a gloabl issue. Consumers need to apply pressure on all car makers - from the politically correct SAAB, Volvo, BMW and Merc - to the oil importing Nissan, Hyundai, Toyota folks - all have been jacking the consumer off for far too long (any colour so long as its black-kinda thing).

This is not a Mori Tower where you build and they will come. This should be much more consumer-centric. Our reliance on oil, dependence on oil, and the resultant animosity toward the folks who have it (to keep with the topic), is tied up with freeing ourselves from this addiction.

If only our politicians would let us do that. We need an alternative energy bailout. The Street should sould sort itself out.

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Posted in: Report finds prejudice rising against U.S. Muslims See in context

Betzee - great post at at 09:55 PM JST - 5th December. Thanks. Will look it up.

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Posted in: Report finds prejudice rising against U.S. Muslims See in context

Muchakucha. The gays have been bashed by Reps and Religious right in the US much more frequently and for decades longer than some Channel 4 expose in London. I promise.

Secondly, I think Smith's point is (he would tell you himself but maybe you need it from another source), that the world has been dominated by Christianity for longer than it has been dominated by Islam. I must assume you agree to this point. Yes?

In that time wars have been fought, and these wars have involved covert opps, insurgence, propaganda, bombing, raping and pillaging. Yet, these wars fought in Gods name - more accurately, in the name of the people who said that were representing God - and these wars were somehow "just" wars.

So you want me to believe that the much shorter Islamic wars against the people who said they were representing God, that these wars are somehow worse than the much longer, deadlier wars of the non-muslims.

Now Mucha, why do you want me to believe that? Because it is true (in which case Christianity would be the minority) or to justify your own prejudice?

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Posted in: Pop group Exile opens outlet for 4 days in Tokyo Midtown See in context

This "band" represents everything that is wrong, sad, hopeless and pathetic with commercial music. It's taken the absolute ridiculousness that is SMAP (grown-men with zero musical talent that need to wake up to the reality that they are not 16 anymore), and pimped them to even greater heights. These guys are the w*ores of companies like Johnny's Entertainment that make people like ... Rick Astley, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and Max Headroom seem like real musicians. Is it so much about the money that these guys don't feel embarrassed and die the same million deaths that I die just watching them? Don't they feel dirty? The kind of dirt that you rub and rub but it doesn't come off.

Apparently, this is acceptable.

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Posted in: Obama says he's committed to ending Iraq war See in context

I think Obama is mistaken if he thinks he break with fundamental US foreign policy, which is to set up forward bases in other people's backyards. Maybe they're right about him being naive.

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Posted in: Bush urges Americans to be proud of country See in context

Ahem ... I think the article meant to say ... So what SuperLib, I don't like him or anything he represents. Never have, never will. Not about to start apologizing either.

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Posted in: Obama says he's committed to ending Iraq war See in context

I like the man, but I think its important to remember, based on history, that the Americans never leave. Not saying that's good or bad, I'm just saying that's the way it is. "America" is way bigger than the President, which is why he is called the President and not Your Highness. So rest easy Neocon-types, you will not pull out even if Obama comes in (and too bad Dems and Co. who think you will be). There might might be a timetable for a partial withdrawal, but I doubt it will never be complete. Except for last man standing on a Saigon rooftop, it has never been that way, and its unlikely that it ever will be again. Even the liberals don't talk about it. You will never leave.

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Posted in: Bush urges Americans to be proud of country See in context

I think he meant to say: “We live in a nation founded on the idea of power, a nation limited only by imagination, and a nation that has done more than any other to sleight liberty throughout the world,” the president said in his weekly radio address one day after the nation celebrated Independence Day.

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Posted in: Supreme Court says U.S. Constitution gives Americans right to own guns See in context

... of course if there actually were (or ever should be) gun-toting, anti-government militia in the States, guess who would lobbying for stricter gun control ... the republican right! ha! what an interesting people the Americans.

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Posted in: Supreme Court says U.S. Constitution gives Americans right to own guns See in context

Wasn't Antonin Scalia a Bush appointee? he he. But anyway, so what if the Americans want to bare arms ... if they want to, let them. It's their neighborhood and if it is the only way of keeping that government in check, who could honestly say it was a bad thing?

It's the matter of them exporting them handguns (with one hand on the telephone - ha!) that is much more of a concern.

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Posted in: McCain says setting Iraq withdrawal date 'not that important' See in context

besides ... after the precedent of GW on some ship in Top Gear kit declaring the end to the "war" several years ago now, what forward-looking politician would want to follow the same precedent. Except John McCain that is.

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Posted in: McCain says setting Iraq withdrawal date 'not that important' See in context

Jimmy in Hong Kong,

When there's a war (actually an invasion), the price of things goes up. This has happened since the beginning of time.

McCain has been to Iraq 9 times. So what? The US army folks I know are as keen to go to to Iraq as few times as possible and I can assure that having him there is more of an inconvenience to the troops there who trying to do their job than taking care of some geezer.

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Posted in: Black conservatives conflicted over Obama See in context

Or how about just "American"?

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Posted in: McCain says setting Iraq withdrawal date 'not that important' See in context

I don't think McCain's statements were that out of line if you really think about it. They reflect what goes on in Washington. After dropping 3 tril. US dollars no-one walks away (has ever or will ever) and focuses on some other topical issue, say bail-outs by the Fed. This [the US in Iraq] is a non-issue, and if he made a faux pas it was not that the US is there to stay - this is an inescapable fact for several reasons - his point was that, if people must die, he wants those folks not to be American.

Read: We will stay in Iraq in an advisory capacity while we train Iraqi forces to defend their country against our mutual enemies i.e. radical Islam.

Guess who is dying and buying US tech, and guess who is staying.

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Posted in: Driving lessons available for foreigners See in context

Sounds like a cool guy! And yes, should totally be commended for making things easier for foreigners.

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Posted in: Al-Maliki assures Tehran that U.S.-Iraq security pact will not harm Iran See in context

Betzee, great post! I suspect getting this through the senate won't be as hard of a sell as you think. Lets put things in perspective ... the Spratleys ... no offense to the good folks folks on this board from there but the Pacific was probably taken care of irrespective of what the Marcos regime tried to pull off (although a great example of the Constabulary as pointed out by WilliB).

The Taiwan issue ... probably a case of the US thinking that the Chinese didn't matter, the Russians would take care of them, or they could never get their act together. Besides, they'd already addressed the issue of Taiwan when CKS's wife gave her speech to the senate and it was obvious they didn't care.

Iraq is different. The US has a history there, not to mention the renewed interest in the war generally, the price of oil (sorry but its true), the recent loss of life, the loss of face. Their allies, the Brits, who have been there even when it got ridiculous, basically created the Palestinian problem (which is why they stayed). And so too, the Americans have to stay and fix the mess. Mc Cain was totally right - this is a long term investment. If anyone here is voting democrat to "bring them home" - think again. They ain't comin' home.

The SOFA, will be totally different to the Korean, Japanese and German versions ... because they still got guns. So the US won't ask as much and let's be honest, we'll never know who is getting paid, how much etc.

As much as I think the guy is a supersonic jerk, as someone who furthered the American cause (as defined by securing resources, ensuring that the motherland is secure for a while to come etc.), George Bush was a gift to the US. He did what no President anywhere has done to maintain the living standards of his people. By some definitions, this might be what a statesman is. Who knows? Anyway, it was a lie in the beginning and trying to make sense of it now is much of a muchness. It doesn't matter anymore, is what they want you to think. And they've succeeded; the war is over.

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Posted in: Al-Maliki assures Tehran that U.S.-Iraq security pact will not harm Iran See in context

Well ... congrats to the US! By hook or by crook, you got what you came for. Military presence next to Iran (like old friends getting together!), a bit of oil, the Iraqis pay the bill from here on in as they do in Germany.

Here's to 100 years in Iraq! Well done boys. Finally, got them WMDs in Iraq and the lefties can stop raving about wtf they were.

Nice job.

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Posted in: California's top court legalizes gay marriage See in context

Jambon, you obviously know nothing about Kibbutzm whatsoever. It's a an agricultural/service cooperative, not the Appalachians in the states or Waco (and no one really knows the story about the latter). Betzee, your posts are sound, but as for gay marriage posing a threat to society in terms of what is passed on to children etc., Respect, but I beg to differ. Aside from what the cons would have us believe, gays don't live as straights first, have kids, and only then decide to enter into same-sex unions and then confuse their kids.

Sure it's probably happened, but that's because of the taboo (the religious-political taboo) that prevented them from entering same-sex unions in the first place. Folks usually know pretty early on whether they are straight or not. It's usually not an epiphany that hits them when their kids are formative. My views, Darwinian in this case, is that the majority of same-unions would result in no kids, hence no perpetuation the morals you perceive as being intrinsically negative to society. It's ends with the couple being happy. If they wanted to adopt kids ... then I see where you're coming from.

Society in general is not affected by this law. Gay society is only one that is affected here. It's basically an acknowledgment of a people's right to freedom of association acknowledged as such by the state (and it already is in other ways). It's progressive (see the right bristle at the "P"-word) and the legislators should be commended for forward thinking in the land that we all grew up thinking as the land of the free.

The real issue here, and I'm surprised it hasn't come up, is that same-sex unions don't produce kids. No kids = no taxpayer-of-tomorrow. All governments want the taxpayer-of-tomorrow because someone has to pay the bill. Gay people are probably not concerned about the taxpayer-of-tomorrow and that doesn't sit well with any government, particularly one based on a veneer of Christian values. ergo: no deal.

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Posted in: California's top court legalizes gay marriage See in context

This is up there with giving people of color the right to vote in America. I'd like to think the "righties" have no regrets about the times when a couple of judges ruled in favor of a (non)contentious issue in the States. But some folks here seem to think differently.

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Posted in: McCain says Iraq war can be won by 2013 See in context

And this guy is running for President? He has supporters? What does "won" actually mean? In five years radical islam will be dead ...? Sure, and I suppose David Copperfield will be next VP.

He should have had the nads to stick with his 100-years in Iraq approach. It was way more realistic. Truth is of course, that he knows it's going to be 100 years, it's just that 5 sounds better. Makes him more of a "realist".

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Posted in: More bull over U.S. beef See in context

VOR: You're absolutely right and I stand corrected. The unavailability of Japanese beef Stateside is obviously because US farmers are way more competitive in the local market (which is what I said in my first post). My second post was merely to illustrate that there is a possibility that the US beef market is also protected (subsidies etc.) and therefore that it's not a uniquely Japanese thing.

Possum bro, you might remember recalls by Mitsubishi Pajero near the end of the massive "don't drive Japanese" drive Stateside a couple of years back.

But only the Japanese engage in nationwide campaigns of open discrimination

Why did they recall? Because the cars were unsafe. But recall they did. US beef should do the same - recall beef that is dangerous and take the hit. Improve the product, and come back with a refined product that meets the buyer's standards instead of trying to force feed a client that has other options.

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Posted in: A punching bag on the Odakyu line See in context

Punched in the face, plasters for a bloody nose from an old geezer ... We're missing something here. This is not the full story. Was Ron wasted? Was Ron pushing back? Did Ron stay in aforesaid position when he could have moved (e.g. when the doors opened at the next stop and theres a bit of slack)? Did Ron use offensive language? Was the guy even Japanese?

Ron, next time, walk away (and walk tall) or act early - say "gomen nasai" loudly and clearly so that the 'offender' sees that other people know about the situation and that it's not your fault. It's unlikely he'll want to look like a jerk in front of others because you've just embarrassed him. Or go for the double and do both.

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Posted in: More bull over U.S. beef See in context

To clarify, VOR, when I said:

Thing is, Japanese beef is not on the menu Stateside because ...well, why should it be? There are a lot of cows that side.

I'm talking about protectionism Stateside.

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Posted in: More bull over U.S. beef See in context

VOR ... good response and I do understand your reasoning - it's sound. You acknowledge the people dropped the ball Stateside and your issue is one of protectionism by the Japanese. Bro, protectionism is as old as the hills and is as entrenched in the US agri-business sector Stateside as it is here - think farming subsidies in the US. This is not something that is endemic to Japan. Sarge (who I often disagree with) is right. Japanese people Stateside eat US beef. So did Abe when he visited George. Thing is, Japanese beef is not on the menu Stateside because ...well, why should it be? There are a lot of cows that side.

But the fact is it doesn't whether the herds are sub 20-months in the States, or the Japanese farmers in Kobe or Hokkaido are well organised, or whatever, the fact is the States has repeatedly shipped flesh that is risky to Japan. They know Japan is sensitive, but they still ship it. So I need to ask you, who is being stupid and irresponsible here?

You as well as any other person here knows that this is business. You can mess with a client once (maybe) but you can't do it twice and claim to be the victim of protectionist policy when they go to someone who doesn't mess them around (Aus).

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Posted in: More bull over U.S. beef See in context

To the folks here wanting US beef in Japan (VOR, Western, Possum and Co.). Instead of preaching here to the converted, how about lobbying Stateside for better meat processing standards so that you can get your beef and eat it?

Your people gotta stop dropping the ball. Good luck and tell us when you have it sorted out.

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Posted in: More bull over U.S. beef See in context

To think that the Japanese can simply "quit buying it" is naive. The political pressure exerted by the American side [for the Japanese to resume imports] is massive ... to the tune of several million dollars massive. The beef lobby Stateside is huge! It's more like the Japanese are put in position of 'buy it or else'. Given the importance of exports to Japan it's very easy for the US to tighten the screws i.e. impose trade tariffs on Japanese goods.

But that's beside the point. These laws prevent people from getting ill. I don't want to do the St. Vitus dance and die a slobbering mess just because I ate a burger - call me fussy. I want to eat healthy meat - how can that possibly be a bad thing?

The shocking part of this story is that maybe only 1% is checked and how much has gotten through unnoticed. It's totally irresponsible and the US needs to clean up its act.

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