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Everything posted by Fez

  1. I think Biden is straight up a good president. Whether that's from his own personal merits or because he simply has good advisors around him, I can't say. But that doesn't matter; most of the job is being good at delegating anyway. Biden's been dealt a tough set of cards: the aftermath of COVID, rampant inflation, a truly insane opposition party, etc. And in spite of that he has been the consequential liberal President since LBJ (and like LBJ he has a foreign policy problem threatening to overshadow his massive domestic achievements; though at least tens of thousands of Americans aren't dying in it). IMO he's in the upper third of US presidents already (though that's not too hard, there's been a lot of terrible and/or forgettable ones), and if he wins re-election he probably ends up in the top 10.
  2. I would also like to call attention to this story from last week: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2024-04-24/ty-article/.premium/netanyahu-minister-says-he-would-vote-for-trump-biden-strategy-hurts-israel/0000018f-104e-d70d-a58f-d9ffb9d20000 It's paywalled. But basically, one of Israel's cabinet ministers said that, if he were able, he'd vote for Trump this November because Biden is stopping Israel from freely operating in Rafah and Trump wouldn't. So any successful "sending a message" effort will really just make things worse.
  3. It probably does hurt Biden some. But it would likely hurt him worse to come out against the crackdowns. Lots of pro-Israel suburbanites out there, and they vote at much higher rates than young people. Though on the other hand, they vote Democratic at lower rates. Electorally, Biden doesn't have any great options here. This is a wedge issue for Democrats.
  4. But the President can pardon whoever carried out the order, so it's all gravy. The logical conclusion of this argument, which hopefully SCOTUS realizes, is that it would allow Biden to become a literal dictator if he wanted; since he's the one who currently has the official duties of the president.
  5. No, it basically is. Israel is far more integrated into the global economy than South Africa was, and the global economy is far more inter-connected than it had been. Every major company either invests in Israel, sells products to them, accepts investments from Israel, and/or directly employs Israelis (The US chamber of commerce estimates that 2,500 US companies have Israeli employees). It'd be an enormous effort, potentially impossible, to create fund that definitely excluded all those companies. And, if the fund did exist, it'd certainly entirely be composed of small-cap companies. Small-cap index funds significantly underperform the broader market and this one would do even worse since it'd be leaving out the companies that have become successful enough to participate in multinational operations. And were the endowment to purposefully reduce its market returns to that extent, it'd violate the terms that most endowment gifts have; in other words, donors could break their endowment agreements and clawback their gifts if they wanted. So, no, this is not a step any university would ever take. Maybe they could be convinced to stop investment in weapons manufacturers (and maybe even in funds that include them), maybe. But that'd be a major scaleback from the student demands.
  6. Sure. Except that falls into the "impossible" category. The student demand goes beyond stopping direct investment in Israel/Israeli companies (which the University doesn't do anyway— except building a student center in Tel Aviv that the protesters also want cancelled) and is instead that Columbia University not invest in any company that does any business with Israel or even any index fund that includes those companies. Which means they don't want the endowment fund to be invested in the stock market at all; something the university will never do.
  7. Setting aside the merits or concerns about the protests, my main issue is that protesting on campus is basically pointless and just wastes people's time. The student demands are either impossible for the universities for achieve or doable but wouldn't have any impact on Israel. They'd be much more impactful protesting at congresspersons' townhall events and outside their district offices. Or, in the case of the NYC-based students, protesting outside the mayor's office or city council; since the NYC government has much larger economic ties to Israel than any university. The only thing you achieve protesting on campus is smug self-satisfaction. And potentially intimidate Jewish students.
  8. I don't think its 2 huge games. I'm pretty sure it's one huge game (described as being even bigger than BG3) and one smaller game. Sort of like how Rockstar worked on Max Payne 3 and GTA V at the same time.
  9. There was an article about this last summer: https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2023/08/04/trump-criminal-cases-prison-secret-service/ And, as of then at least, the consensus was that no one had a plan in place yet to handle it. However, just because there are logistical challenges, doesn't mean it would be impossible for Trump to be incarcerated. He would absolutely never be anywhere near a prison gen pop though.
  10. Right, they will. My point is just that they need a Speaker simply for the actual mechanics of passing a bill. Which might be impossible if they ditch Johnson before then.
  11. They will need to act to avoid another government shutdown on October 1. That's so close to the election that the politics get really screwy and I suspect most Republicans will have no desire for a fight. But they'll need to have a speaker to actually get a bill through and it was never clear (AFAIK) if an acting speaker could do that.
  12. Hope this does well for them. Steamworld Build was a flop and led to the publisher "putting on hold" a game called Steamworld Headhunter. https://www.gamedeveloper.com/business/thunderful-says-steamworld-build-underperformed-reveals-it-s-looking-to-sell-headup
  13. They already do: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_against_Israeli_embassies_and_diplomats
  14. I wouldn't be surprised if a few close US allies under our nuclear umbrella started looking into the feasibility of developing their own weapons after Trump made a whole lotta statements while President saying the US shouldn't defend our allies. But I doubt any of them actually have any yet, both because a nuclear weapons program takes a long time to spin up and because I think they would announce they have them as soon as they do. The only country I could at all imagine might have nuclear weapons but keep it secret would be Japan, because it would actually be against their constitution, much of their population would disapprove of it, and it would unnecessarily antagonize China to announce it. But its known that as early as the 1960s there were Japanese government white papers arguing that tactical nukes at least wouldn't be unconstitutional and their PM at the time told LBJ that Japan should have nukes if China does. So maybe they do have something. Even if they don't right now, they have missiles and literal tons of plutonium and highly enriched uranium already, so they probably could put some together very quickly if they needed to.
  15. Chrono Trigger is a lot of fun, but I'd certainly agree that its been surpassed by a number of games since; and mostly retains it's place on a lot of lists simply from how great it was comparatively at the time. There are some '90s RPGs that have better writing than most games even today (e.g., Planescape Torment) but are often janky in the actual gameplay. The only '90s RPG that I think completely stands the test of time is Final Fantasy Tactics, which I believe still is the king of its niche of turn-based, grid-based tactical RPGs. But note that, other Mass Effect 2, all the games I mentioned are less than 10 years old.
  16. BG3 is pretty on-rails, so how much do you actually roleplay? You can certainly skip a lot of content, but you don't actually have a ton of choices besides whether to do a quest or not. There's a lot of gameplay options of how to complete the quests that you do, but the end result is generally the same. The one big exception is how the Druid's Grove resolves in Act 1, where there are numerous branching options. However, even there the outcome basically boils down to whether you have access to the Tieflings in Act 2 or not (and Minthara's fate). There's not really a true "evil path" through the game, just a good path and a good path with less content. Which means, it comes down to how you define roleplaying. A game like Disco Elysium blows BG3 out of the water in terms of truly playing a character that can take different options through the game. A game like Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous beats BG3 in terms of character build roleplaying. A game like The Witcher 3 or the Mass Effect trilogy beats BG3 in terms of playing as a defined character going through a set narrative. A game like Cyberpunk 2077 beats BG3 in terms of the mechanical expression of gameplay (i.e., all the different ways you can resolve combat encounters). Don't get me wrong, I love BG3. But I don't think it is best in category for any of the ways you can define roleplaying. It's a very good RPG in many different ways, and it may be the actual best ever in cinematic quality, but its hard for me to see how its the best "in terms of what it's genre is trying to achieve".
  17. There are certainly benefits to MJ legalization, and the old system was very screwed up. But anyone claiming weed is harmless is being willfully obtuse. Here's just a few of the studies finding health risks: https://repositorio.uloyola.es/bitstream/handle/20.500.12412/4656/Theblindmenandtheelephant.SystRevCannabisHealth.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y https://purehost.bath.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/242102875/Cannabis_potency_review_Clean_version.pdf https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Valentina-Lorenzetti/publication/340444978_Adolescent_cannabis_use_cognition_brain_health_and_educational_outcomes_A_review_of_the_evidence/links/61448dff519a1a381f672643/Adolescent-cannabis-use-cognition-brain-health-and-educational-outcomes-A-review-of-the-evidence.pdf Is it as bad as heroin? Certainly not. It's probably not even as bad as alcohol (though that's more because alcohol really is quite bad for you). This isn't to say prohibition is correct. But cannabis isn't harmless either, yet many people (and state agencies) have treated it as such since legalization occurred.
  18. Yeah, it is remarkable how badly New York bungled its regulatory scheme and enforcement mechanisms for cannabis legalization. They're basically the case study for other states to review what not to do. They probably aren't the only state that screwed it up, but they are certainly the most visible.
  19. Hmm, interesting. Generally I've gone with what my favorite release at the time was, rather than retrospectively what I like the most now. Though that isn't possible for the first 5 years or so. 1987: Sid Meier's Pirates 1988: Super Mario Bros 3 1989: SimCity 1990: Super Mario World 1991: Civilization 1992: Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past 1993: NBA Jam 1994: Final Fantasy VI 1995: Chrono Trigger 1996: Civilization II 1997: Final Fantasy Tactics 1998: Xenogears 1999: Sid Meier's Alpha Centuri... I guess. This is kind of an impossible year 2000: Final Fantasy IX... maybe? Another impossible year. Going back, I'd only want to play Baldur's Gate 2. But, in the moment, I played a crazy amount of FFIX and loved all of it. But also the Tony Hawk games (1 and 2 both came out) and a ton of others. 2001: Final Fantasy X 2002: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind 2003: Dynasty Warriors 4...I suppose. I kinda didn't play most games from this year. 2004: World of Warcraft 2005: Civilization IV 2006: Gears of War...sorta by default. Another year I mostly skipped. 2007: Mass Effect 2008: Saints Row II 2009: Dragon Age: Origins 2010: Mass Effect 2 2011: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 2012: Mass Effect 3... but only barely. So many awesome games. 2013: Bioshock Infinite 2014: Dragon Age: Inquisition 2015: The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt 2016: Overwatch... incredible how much the game/sequel has fallen in my opinion 2017: Hollow Knight 2018: Pathfinder: Kingmaker 2019: Disco Elysium 2020: Hades 2021: Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous 2022: Elden Ring 2023: Immortality... for the very specific reason that it was one of the few games I've been able to play together with my girlfriend. And we had a great time. More traditionally, it'd be Baldur's Gate III. It's interesting to see how much my tastes changed over time. When I was younger I loved JRPGs and strategy games and now it's very rare I'd go to those genres. And after 2015, I almost totally disengaged from the AAA space. There have been a handful I played and enjoyed beyond Elden Ring and BG3, most notably Control and Cyberpunk. But vast majority I ignore because I know I'll be disappointed.
  20. He was polling in first place that spring, which may very well have been enough to overcome the "wasted vote" concern that usually sinks 3rd party bids. Your own state's experience with Jesse Ventura shows what can happen if a 3rd party bid gets enough momentum going.
  21. Unicorn Overlord is a really fun Vanillaware game on Switch (and maybe PS5?) I've ben playing. It's like Ogre Battle 64 in that it's a tactics game where you don't actually control your units in battle. Instead you are programming them (similar to the FF12 gambits), equipping them, and deciding which ones go in which formations. And then you see how it plays out. It starts simple, but gets complex pretty quickly. Unfortunately, if you know what you're doing, it's pretty easy. The AI units don't take nearly enough advantage of the options available. Also, the story is very basic. But the artwork and music are top notch. There's lots of little touches to the gameplay loops that are very satisfying. And fully optimizing your formations can be very fun, even if it's kinda unnecessary.
  22. Well yes, certainly. Ground up is the only way to achieve lasting change. But that's boring and everyone wants to ignore that. I will say though, I think Perot 1992 shows that with the right stances and in the right circumstances, a 3rd party presidential candidate can have a real shot. If his campaign hadn't had such a bizarre July that year (including him briefly dropping out of the race), he might've actually won. He was certainly the polling frontrunner in May/June.
  23. Especially since, to have any chance at all, a third party candidate would need to have pretty much the exact opposite stances of what these groups want. They always want the mythical reasonable Republican (read: not too social conservative, but otherwise bog standard). Whereas an actually effective third party candidate would be some populist hybrid of all the positions that these groups hate (e.g., calling for high taxes on the rich and shutting down the border); basically Trump 2016 with some tweaks to appeal to Democrats more and further differentiate from the generic Republican running.
  24. I believe that's still pretty buggy though, since it's not really intended. Stuff like Halsin and Minthara sharing an overlapping tent in camp because they have the same location.
  25. I do think Democrats are in a really good position to take the House back, and I think Biden is a little better than 50-50 to win re-election, but the Senate is a real tough nut to crack. Could Democrats get the clean sweep (minus WV) and keep a 50+VP majority? Sure, but I don't think the odds are in their favor at all right now. However, if Biden wins and Democrats keep the House and are at 49 Senate seats, I could see a situation where Murkowski finally does flip sides in exchange for enough goodies and in the name of avoiding total gridlock. But we'll see. I do think polling is basically totally broken right now, which is why I'm a bit more bullish than some on Biden's chances. But, without reliable polling, it's real hard to make any sort of informed forecast as to how things will go.
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