Robert Haddan comments

Posted in: The healthy burger that may make even carnivores opt for vegetarian See in context

@commanteer: I'm a vegetarian who was a carnivore for the first 30 years of my life. As such, I have connections to the textures and flavors of certain foods (hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, bacon, etc.) that have always been with me. However, I now choose to follow a vegetarian diet for health and other reasons. My taste for those foods hasn't gone away (however my palette has expanded greatly), so mock-versions or other substitutes offer a way to have foods that I enjoy without the meat.

If you're not a vegetarian, it doesn't really matter if you "get it" or not. Just let me do my thing, you do yours and we can all live happily ever after.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Posted in: The healthy burger that may make even carnivores opt for vegetarian See in context

You know what vegetarians eat? Food. Same as carnivores. Some carnivores don't eat fish, but nobody is giving them grief about it. It's probably time to stop stigmatizing people's food choices regardless of what they are.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: Why do you think Halloween has exploded in popularity in Japan in the last few years? See in context

Since JT did an article on this in 2013, I'm going with Tokyo Disney, Cosplay, Kids learning English and national character!

http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/since-when-was-halloween-so-popular-in-japan

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: 'A Cheapo's Guide To Tokyo' - Enjoying the city without breaking the bank See in context

I'm kind of surprised by the surprise of the author. The Tokyo Cheapo website (http://tokyocheapo.com) is one of the best for finding local experiences in and around the metro area. It also has a ton of resources for people living, working and traveling in Japan. I don't work for them, but I vouch for them! Great resource!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Gunman opens fire at Oregon college; at least 9 killed, 7 wounded See in context

Switzerland, pop 8.2M: Requires citizens to own guns

Switzerland doesn't "require" citizens to own guns. They're issued as part of conscripted military service and soldiers are given the option to keep the weapons upon discharge from service. If they choose to keep them, the weapons are converted from fully-auto to semi-auto. Switzerland still has a significantly lower gun ownership rate than the U.S.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Gunman opens fire at Oregon college; at least 9 killed, 7 wounded See in context

Here's the problem with arguing the Second Amendment's intent from either side... it's not up to anyone but the Supreme Court to decide how it is applied. From 1939-2008, the Supreme Court followed a precedent that the Second Amendment was intended to apply only to armed groups (i.e. army, police, security, etc) not individuals. However, SCOTUS has used an individual-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment since a more conservative court overturned a 30-year old handgun ban in Washington D.C. in 2008.

Australia was able to get its gun violence problems under control in the 1990s. Japan's model for regulating gun ownership would go a long way to helping the problem in the U.S. It's a political non-starter since any meaningful change would take longer to implement than a single election cycle. It's up to responsible gun owners to force the gun lobbies to act for change by voting with the wallets. Pull out of the NRA, AGA and NAGR and force them to champion the change in D.C.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Posted in: The gun control debate: Do you support the right of citizens to own and bear firearms? See in context

The original intent of the framers of the Constitution was likely to allow the people to be armed to self-regulate militias. In the 1930s, the Supreme Court began using the collective rights approach—intending that the right to bear arms was meant for national protection, not individual ownership rights. This precedent lasted until 2008 when the court moved to a more individual-rights approach.

However, it's not the 1770s anymore. Firearms are far more powerful, more accessible and don't serve the purpose of regulating militias. I'd prefer to see firearms only made available in communities to police, animal control, etc. but since that's unlikely with the current Supreme Court interpretation of the second amendment, I'd settle for fully- and semi-automatic weapons being banned for public use.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Jeb Bush launches presidential bid See in context

27 Republicans have either declared candidacy or still have active exploratory committees (compared to 13 for the Dems, with only two serious candidates). Of those, anywhere from 12-15 could head into campaign season as legitimate candidates for the nomination. This says a lot about the current, fragmented state of the Republican Party.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Pronunciation anxiety: Many Japanese people don’t want to speak English unless it’s perfect See in context

Seems to me that many people here are quite content with screwing up the pronunciation. How so? I don't think anyone's "content" with it; it's just the realities of learning and speaking a non-native language.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Pronunciation anxiety: Many Japanese people don’t want to speak English unless it’s perfect See in context

I recently had a conversation about this with two young Japanese businessmen. They said a lot of the pressure comes from their English teachers (in Japanese schools) to speak English "perfectly." It caused them a lot of anxiety because they—of course—cannot speak perfect English. I'm of the belief that the goal should not be perfect English (or, in my case, Japanese), but communication. Can you get your message across? Then that's "good English."

Of course, there's always the exception... お腹がおっぱい anyone? :-)

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: New Republican leader, Obama on course for showdowns See in context

let's not neglect the least productive Senate either. Remember the buck stops there! Congress only pushes it.

MarkG: Remember.... Congress is the House of Representatives and the Senate combined. I'm including both of them in my criticism.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Grim new reality for once popular TV genre See in context

Reality television is only compelling when it actually resembles reality. The third season of MTV's The Real World set the bar for good reality television.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Posted in: New Republican leader, Obama on course for showdowns See in context

McConnell and his party had six years to "compromise" and instead chose to obstruct its way to the least productive Congress in U.S. history. He and Boehner wielded a double-edged sword and the other side of the blade is swinging their way now.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Don't sound the death knell for the PC just yet See in context

It's kinda like saying the hammer will become obsolete because I can pound nails with the handle of a screwdriver. They're different tools for different jobs and it's why Apple created more seamless integration between devices with the release of Continuity in OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: 'Kohaku' draws 42.2% audience rating in Kanto See in context

Almost more people than could be bothered to vote in the general election.

Kohaku was far more entertaining!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: Obama announces U.S. re-establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba See in context

Finally! Raúl Castro has loosened a lot of the restrictions on the Cuban people that his brother put in place, which is a good thing, but has also pointed to China as a model he'd like to follow (strong, centralized government with Western-style economics). U.S. involvement in Cuba can only help strengthen the country and its population economically. I'm not sure Castro can implement the Sino-Vietnamese model he desires while developing relations with the U.S. That may provide an opening for a revitalized population to initiate its own democratic change. Interesting times ahead, for sure.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese wives in int'l marriages share what they hate about Christmas overseas See in context

The "allergic reaction to wastefulness" made me laugh out loud! I get more gift wrapping on an omusubi from the Family Mart than all my Christmas gifts combined!

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Posted in: Obamacare 'stupidity'? New energy for repeal push See in context

MarkG - An October 2013 study of media coverage related to "Obamacare" found 202 negative stories vs 26 positive stories across all major broadcast media (World News with Diane Sawyer, Evening News (CBS), Nightly News with Brian Williams, Good Morning America, This Morning, Today, Meet the Press, This Week, Fox News Sunday, and Face the Nation). That's 89% negative coverage going back to a year ago. Hardly new.

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Posted in: Obamacare 'stupidity'? New energy for repeal push See in context

Sorry Wolfpack. You clearly have an opinion and I'm not in the business of trying to change it. I choose to disagree with you and don't need to call you stupid to do that. Polls show the majority of Americans DO agree on most issues; they disagree with how changes should be implemented. Statistics show 80% of Americans are unaffected by "Obamacare" but only 54% of those polled say they are. I suppose being saturated with extremist viewpoints in the media qualifies as "affected."

America is a highly polarized nation - never more so than since Obama's election as president.

I would argue that started with the election of G.W. Bush.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: Obamacare 'stupidity'? New energy for repeal push See in context

What is more incredible is that a American political party would seek to legislate through lies and deception because that is the only way they can win.

LOL... I was going to say the exact same thing to describe the GOP! Americans have a short attention span and watch too much cable TV news. The U.S. is governed on rhetoric and propaganda while painting a picture that we're better than the governments that came before us and did the exact same things.

Progressives assume that everyone that disagrees with them are stupid.

Thanks for lumping all of us progressives together! I could make similar generalizations about conservatives. My problem is when people exert their opinions as fact and then belittle others for thinking their opinion is misguided and, yes, in some cases stupid. The truth is that 90% of Americans share the same opinion on most issues (including national health care), but the 1% of extremist viewpoints dominate the media and therefore have a greater impact on the electorate than reality does.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: Why does 'Engrish' happen in Japan? See in context

I butcher Japanese on a daily basis, so I have an appreciation for the difficulty of the homemade English translations around Japan. The sayings on t-shirts, bags, etc. are my favorite though. I was at the grocery store the other day, wearing a "Washington D.C." tourist shirt and the clerk pointed to my shirt and said "Eigo wa suteki" which I took as "Nice English!" The English words, not the meaning, seems to be the fashion.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: We’re living in the age of being connected or reachable 24 hours a day by one device or another. Is this a good thing? See in context

I'll share the minority voice here... no. I believe 24/7 connectedness and, more so, over-availability of information is making society worse. Aside from the obvious annoyance of people walking into you on the streets with their heads buried in their phone, the constant barrage of violent imagery and negativity is numbing society to some really horrible things.

Are there pluses? Absolutely. However, there's a significant loss of balance due to the over-saturation of mobile connectedness. How often do you see people ignoring each other in real life while "connecting" to something or someone else virtually? Society is losing its ability to relate to each other in real life situations.

I begrudgingly gave up my iPhone when we moved to Japan and we chose to NOT have phones while we're here. But, I'm finding life without it leads to some amazing and interesting adventures and requires me to use my brain in real-time instead of relying on my phone for directions, translations, etc. I got over the loss of convenience in short order and don't miss it at all now.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: Mister Donut becomes … Mister Cupcake? See in context

Tried the lemon cupcake yesterday. Light and fluffy cake with a just-sweet-enough frosting... they definitely do doughnuts better but for a first crack at cupcakes, they were pretty good. Made me miss the boutique cupcakeries back home though!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Should Japan have its own nuclear weapons as a deterrent against security threats or should it rely on the U.S. nuclear umbrella? See in context

There should be NO nuclear weapons in the world, so I can't support any new weapons being created.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Posted in: Great game, but baseball in need of a fix See in context

This Dodgers fan's half-cooked ideas about how to "fix" baseball is a waste of pixels. Let's water-down Vin Scully's legacy and ignore the myriad of other factors that led to inflated stats in the 1990s-early 2000s. Adjusting batting gloves isn't why the game is taking too long and replay has only been around one year... you think there will be changes to the process? Yeesh...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: What’s your favorite beer? See in context

I'm an Oregonian, so I'm interested to see how the craft brewing industry continues to develop here. So far, I think Baird's Kurofune Porter has been my favorite.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Posted in: Obama says U.S. should offer paid maternity leave See in context

Yes! This is where government should be spending its time, improving the welfare of all of its people, not just those who can pay for the next election cycle. http://cascadianabroad.com

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Posted in: The bidding process for host cities and countries for sports events such as the World Cup and the Olympics has come under a lot of fire recently with claims of bribery, corruption, that they are a was See in context

While these types of events often result in the upgrade of other infrastructure (trains, highways, etc.), it also requires the construction of several stadiums and, in the case of the Olympics, event-specific stadiums. In many cities, these facilities go underutilized following the event. Either select cities with the infrastructure to support these types of events, or require a high amount of private funding for stadiums, etc. Municipalities don't typically see the return on investment from the added facilities.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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