LFRAgain's past comments

  • 4



    How about the Palestinians and Hamas stop building tunnels and stop firing Qassam rockets towards the Israelis, that should be the absolute first step before anything or any other deal to be made.

    You should remind yourself who is being occupied by whom before even suggesting such a thing. You can equivocate and rationalize all you want to, but it's the Palestinians who were uprooted in the first place and left with begging for a smaller portion of the greater whole that was once their home. They're fighting for their lives, figuratively and quite literally, and have always been on the side of right in all of this. Full stop.

    Well, there was a reason why he won, just like there is a reason why in our country the Dems lost the House and Senate. The people were NOT happy with the other option,

    You're delusional. Netanyahu barely scraped by in this vote. I know it. You know it. And you can be certain Netanyahu knows it. It can hardly be claimed that he has any sort of mandate from the people of Israel. He clearly doesn't, considering how many Israelis voted for any other candidate that was NOT part of Netanyahu's insanity. Cherry picking the news to suit your arguement is unbecoming and obvious.

    Also, as an aside, attempting to link Obama to Netanyahu's rejection of a two-state solution with (and I can't believe I'm even having to type this) the Iran/nuclear issue is . . . fantastical. I know you hate the man, but, again, you're delusional.

    The Iran deal has little if anything to do with Israel being a-holes towards Palestinians. Israelis sealed that reputation all by themselves right after the Six Day War by purposefully targeting and punishing civiians for Arab military folly. Israel set the tit-for-tat table with their constant oppression of Palestinain civilians. Are you seriously trying to say Israel has any sort of right to whine when Hamas replies in kind? Delusional.

    Posted in: U.S. rebukes Israel's victorious Netanyahu on Mideast policy

  • 6


    Benjamin Netanyahu is a manipulative, paranoia-addled, fear-mongering asshat of the highest caliber. He's a danger to Israel and the entire Middle East, if not the world, because his particular brand of "Our way or no way" IS bound to get a lot of people killed on all sides of this conflict.

    Israel's magical creation is akin to a stranger checking into a hotel for a night's stay, then inviting relatives to stay as well, then pushing other guests from their rooms to make space for more visiting relatives, then ultimately forcing everyone other than immediate family, including the hotel management, out, declaring ownership of the building, and changing the name on the stationary and over the front door.

    It doesn't stop there. The former owners and guests who have been forced to live in the alleys and streets surrounding the hotel are then forced to move elsewhere (no one really suggests where) as the hotel's new owners appropriate surrounding real estate to add new wings to the building to accommodate more family.

    Now, if such a story were to unfold in most modern societies, one would expect the appropriate authorities to come in and expel the the invasive guests.

    Imagine if they didn't?

    This is the story of the modern state of Israel in about 20 seconds, like it or not.

    But no one is ever going to admit this, so we have to work with what we have in the here and now:

    First, Israel needs to stop its relentless annexation of Palestinian territories. It certainly doesn't improve matters by insisting on calling "invasion" something so offensively innocuous as "settlement." Have the intestinal fortitude to call land theft what it actually is.

    Palestine needs a formal and legally recognized state with secure borders that can no longer be nibbled on by Israel.

    Middle Eastern states need to just accept that Israel is not going anywhere, at least not without a fight that no one will win but everyone will regret profoundly.

    The West needs to put a cap on how much and how far it is still willing to allow Israel to continue to blatantly exploit its guilt over the Holocaust and genuine desire to help Jews overcome that horror in safety and security.

    Finally, the world (and Israelis) needs to adopt a modicum of maturity and understand that criticism of Israel's clearly antagonistic policies against Palestinians is not anti-Semitism, but rather anti-a-hole-ism.

    Only until these things occur can some semblance of peace come to the Middle East.

    Oh, and it might help to stop electing jerks like Benjamin Netanyahu who perpetuate this mess almost out of perverse glee.

    Posted in: U.S. rebukes Israel's victorious Netanyahu on Mideast policy

  • 1


    Refineries might be backlogged. Or the cheap oil hasn't filtered out to the market yet.

    These explanations have been offered in the past to explain obvious discrepancies between world market prices for crude and prices at the pump, however, they don't apply whatsoever in this situation.

    The cheaper gasoline prices were already delivered to Japan in the tail end of December. Gasoline was sitting at 140~160 yen/liter for the better part of a two years when the price of crude started dropping then. When that drop occurred, the price at the pump started dropping almost immediately after, just as one would expect in an economic model in which "market forces" are supposedly allowed to (and allegedly encouraged) to play.

    The price at the pump went as low at 117 yen/liter before inexplicably going up by almost 2 yen per day sometime in February. It now sits at and average of 129 yen/liter across Kanto while news sources continue to widely report the continuing spiral of crude prices and OPEC's unchanged stance about cutting crude production to shore those prices up.

    In short, something stinks.

    Largely because you are thinking in yen terms(which has been greatly devalued) whereas oil is priced in USD(PetroDollar).

    Umm.... No, no, oh, for the love of Pete, no.

    Posted in: Japan's trade deficit narrows as lower oil prices reduce imports

  • 2



    I thought precisely the same thing. Moreover, with crude oil prices continuing to fall, why have gasoline prices in the Kanto area begun creeping upward from a low of 117 yen/liter a month ago to an average of 128 yen/liter now?

    No price fixing in the energy sector, they say? Horse puckey.

    Posted in: Japan's trade deficit narrows as lower oil prices reduce imports

  • 5


    Netanyahu on Monday ruled out the establishment of a Palestinian state and vowed to keep building east Jerusalem settlements

    And now we know why the world is slowly but gradually coming to the inescapable conclusion that Netanyahu is a complete and utter a-hole.

    Posted in: Netanyahu promises no Palestinian state if he is re-elected

  • 0



    But we don't know how many staff, how many kids, etc.

    But no, we do know how many staff should have been on hand. By law, there is a set student-to-teacher ratio designed to facilitate not only more effective learning, but also to address safety and security concerns. In a regular Japanese public school junior high school, that ratio is 40:1. In elementary school, that ratio drops to 30:1. For special needs students and kindergarten, that ratio drops even further to 10:1. And depending on the degree of the students’ need or disability, that ratio becomes 1:1 even through to the senior high school level.

    If the boy who died presented needs qualifying for the latter ratio, then is stands to every application of reason that there was an inexcusable fail at a school designated as a special needs facility. This is all academic, though, because what we do know, regardless of what student:teacher ratio was proscribed, is that there was NO ONE with the boy at the time of his disappearance. And that is a clear violation of the law and MEXT policy, full stop.

    My god, that anyone should even be equivocating about this is enough reason to cry. We're talking about a special needs school, one that ostensibly is to provide education, attention, and care that supersedes the barest minimums required of regular public schools (which is already fairly high).

    This isn't a case of a child wandering off from a rowdy group of thirty energetic 6-years-olds and the fog-of-war that can sometime accompany such a situation. We're talking about a 6-year-old boy in a specially designated learning facility who, even had he been in a classroom that met 1:1 student:teacher ratio, was left alone for 10 minutes or more by the school's own admission.

    I challenge you to have a group 6yo kids in plain sight for a 6-8hrs shift straight.

    Done and done. For several years now, in fact. No, it's not easy, but there are policies and guidelines in place that make it entirely doable. After all, it’s not as though modern public school safety policies were a recent development born of a Kickstarter.com campaign last month. They’ve had time to grow and mature over decades. The ratios I mentioned above weren't just picked from a hat. They were chosen to meet basic standards regarding the safety and welfare of the students. There exists a very well-developed body of rules, regulations, and guidelines, all courtesy of MEXT, that makes preserving the safety of students not only entirely possible, but also a de facto reality in classrooms all across the Japanese archipelago.

    Now, I challenge you or anyone here to present a plausible explanation for the sort of dereliction of duty that would compel a teacher to leave a 6-year-old special needs student unsupervised for 10 minutes, and in clear violation of school policy and national laws. Take your time. I’ll wait.

    The parents and staff members must feel awful.

    That’s an understatement of monumental proportion.

    Posted in: Body of missing 6-year-old Toyonaka boy found in pond

  • 0



    So, to lawyer up would be your first instinct here? Wow.

    First and foremost (and pursuant to the Child Welfare Act, as well as established MEXT guidelines and policy regarding the safety and security of children in schools), schools are required to provide a safe and secure learning environment for the children enrolled therein. Add to the mix the significantly higher degree of vigilance and care inherent with special needs education, and the negligence on the part of the school and its complicity in the death of this 6-year-old child becomes abundantly clear.

    The only fact that matters is not in dispute: The school admitted it left the child unsupervised for, at minimum, 10 minutes, during which time he disappeared from the school grounds. According to Japanese law, short of the school staff being physically incapacitated, i.e., held at gunpoint in a separate location or dead, thus preventing them from effectively supervising the children in their care, there is virtually no acceptable excuse or rationale for why this boy was left unattended at all, much less for 10 minutes.

    No one here has suggested a trial is unnecessary. But some here, myself included, aren’t so befuddled by woefully misplaced “benefit of the doubt” sentiment as to blind ourselves to the inescapable truth here: The staff involved broke the law and now a child is dead because of it.

    The school needs to held accountable and policy needs to be revisited to ensure this sort of entirely preventable tragedy does not happen again.

    Posted in: Body of missing 6-year-old Toyonaka boy found in pond

  • 6



    Spot on.

    Here's a thought: How about Japan stick to its past apology , and how about China actually accept it?

    Posted in: Chinese envoy urges Japan to stick to past apology

  • 3


    That . . . was a pretty asinine commercial.

    Posted in: Traditionally dressed Japanese waitress runs so fast her kimono flies off in cheeky Wi-Fi ad

  • 0


    Very, very cool. Science rocks.

    Posted in: Space scientists make wireless energy breakthrough

  • 0


    All of my high schools have lockers with locks in the halls.

    High schools in Japan?

    Posted in: Money stolen from students' bags during graduation ceremony in Chiba

  • 7


    There are legal ways to get ADHD medications in Japan, but the requirements for getting them are notoriously strict and rigid. Currently, the only two drugs currently available are Ritalin and Strattera, and even these are only available to children newly diagnosed with ADHD prior to their 18th birthday. So, if you're an adult diagnosed with ADHD while in Japan, you're out of luck. Adderall, btw, still remains entirely prohibited, as Justin pointed out, no matter how much paperwork you fill out.

    In the meantime, it's unquestionable that Japan's drug laws can be ridiculously harsh. I won't even get into discussing the absurd amount ADD drugs one would need to create even a gram of useable methamphetamine, not to mention how much higher the cost of using prescription ADHD drugs, as opposed to far more readily accessible over-the-counter meds, would drive up the street price of the illegal byproduct. In other words, the likelihood that Ms. Russell was seeking to be a newly minted Walter White is almost nil.

    However, the degree of arrogance and stupidity required to try and to pull one over on Japanese customs by very obviously sneaking even a legitimate drug prescription into Japan is mind-staggering. There isn't a company or organization in Japan that doesn't provide detailed training to newly hired foreign teachers that warns of precisely this scenario. In fact, I can all but guarantee this woman's case will be quickly incorporated into training literature for the upcoming spring batch of new hires this month as a "teachable moment."

    Glad this woman was finally released, but a lot of stress and hand-wringing could have been avoided, and the girl's nascent adventure as an ALT in Japan could have been saved if she had applied even a modicum of comon sense.

    Posted in: Oregon woman detained over prescription drug released

  • 2


    Oh, this Tsipras toolbag is a real pip, isn't he? Digging right into the "blatant diversion" bag o' tricks to misdirect the Greek electorate from the simple truth that he is wholly and appalingly unfit to lead.

    Posted in: Greek PM accuses Germany of using legal tricks to avoid WW2 reparations

  • 0


    No. A "mos burger" with a large size french fries and drink set will cost a total of 750 yen.

    I didn't type "potato/drink set." I typed "full meal," which, including a salad or soup and a desert, will easily surpass 1200 yen. Easily. The same meal would cost less than 1000 yen at McDonald's. Arguably of lower quality, yes, but still less. After all, that's Mickey D's schick: Cheaper.

    Posted in: McDonald’s global sales drop in February

  • 1


    Actually, Japan would be an excellent test ground for the "Build Your Own Burger" idea. Japan McDonald's all have implemented the "kazasu coopon" swipe-pad tech that is linked with its McDonald's coupon app. Users can choose the discounted menu item they want beforehand, then simply pass their cell phone with the relevant data stored over the pad/reader in front of the register at the front counter. It takes seconds and is infinitely faster than ordering traditionally.

    Expanding the capabilities of the app would not require all that much tinkering, I would think, and customers could decide what kind of burger they like beforehand and at their leisure, then go the counter and simply swipe their cell phone when they were ready to order.

    Would this tech be usable in other markets? It depends. Look at how long Western communications companies and cell phone makers have taken to catch up with Japan’s already well-established electronic wallet feature available across multiple domestic carrier platforms. Everyone is ballyhooing Apple’s tentative first steps into the world of pay-with-your-cell-phone, but Japan’s been at it, and quite successfully, for more than a decade.

    Regardless, the core issue is the healthiness, or rather, perceived healthiness of other competitor’s offerings versus an entrenched McDonald’s product quality that, quite honestly, is no longer up to snuff in a market that has (marginally) healthier alternatives.

    First, Mickey D’s needs to come up with a different meat patty. The one they use now is so utterly unappetizing and bland that it can scarcely be associated with the animal it is purported to come from. The fries are and will likely always be the best, and Mickey D’s has taken great strides to eliminate the use of trans-fats in their preparation across most markets. But a fast food empire cannot survive on fries alone.

    Fresh veggies would make a world of difference, including tomato slices, actual onion slices instead of the reconstituted diced stuff they use now. Also, doing something -- anything -- to correct the monotony that is their entire processed chicken product line. Honestly, take away the sauces, dressings, and bun, and the chicken filet is simply the big brother of the already lambasted smaller McNugget.

    The elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about, however, is that if McDonald’s were to implement these healthier changes, then prices would inevitably have to go up. There’s no way around it. Furthermore, the competitors who profess to have healthier options may indeed provide just that, but for how long? If they became as successful and monolithic as McDonald’s, would they still be able to provide fresh, healthy food at prices that kept them in within a competitive range of McDonald’s already rock-bottom prices?

    Case in point: Japan's homegrown MOS Burger chain. In the 90s and early 2000s, their prices were comparable with McDonald's. Their schtick was, and contiues to be, "We're fresher." And they are. But a single full meal at MOS will easily set a consumer back 1200 yen. The freshness of MOS means an expensive MOS. And to accomodate these expenses, MOS in 2003~4 even downgraded their formerly wonderful burger beef patty to something a lot closer to Mickey D's overly processed patty than most people are willing to admit.

    Posted in: McDonald’s global sales drop in February

  • 0


    Anyway statistics is only statistics - it always differ from real life.

    Clearly, you don't really understand the process or utility of statistics, or you wouldn't have made such an obviously clueless statement.

    Statistics are used by insurance companies to determine your rates. They are used by banks to determine whether they will lend you money or not. They are used to pick presidents, race horses, stocks, and weather patterns. Statistics can tell doctors whether a new drug will save or take lives, and whether an unborn baby will be affected by a genetic disorder. Statistics are used to assess quality control for consumer products and help create accurate economic models that guide Russian policy makers when deciding how to steer the economy. Statistics determine the safety policies in place at the mechanical plant you worked at.

    Pizza Mia, Burger King, Sbarro, Starbucks, and KFC all have stores in Yekaterinburg precisely because statistical analysis told them that there was a profitable to be made there. And the statistics didn't lie.

    McDonald's serve over 1,000,000 Russians a day. Are you really trying to tell me that means nothing and that it's not popular at all?

    Statistics are NOT "theoretical knowledge." It's a science that could give us an answer to a question as seemingly impossible to know as, "What are the chances Yekaterinburg men will wear a white shirt today?" with 99% accuracy and a margin of error of +/- 3.0 by asking as few as 1845 people out of the 1.3 million who live in your town.

    You dismiss statistics as if it were some sort of fringe voodoo cult, when in fact, it is largely responsible for why most of the modern world works the way it does. That you would write statistics off as something separate from the real world suggests you really don't understand what statistics actually are. Which also goes a long way towards explain why you still insist on saying McDonald's is not popular in Russia, when you are very plainly wrong.

    I would urge you to take the time to educate yourself a bit on the subject. The power of statistics might very well surprise you.



    Posted in: Coca-Cola, McDonald's wage unhealthy 'war' on Russia: PM aide

  • 0



    I'm just living here

    Unless you've actually gone out and interviewed an entirely random sampling of 1000 or more Russians in a well-structured, unbiased survey regarding dining-out eating habits, simply "living in Russia" doesn't make any of your statements about McDonald's popularity or success in Russia true.

    I think I understand where the difficulties in this discussion are coming from. You're content with presenting personal opinion and anecdotes as ample evididence for your position, while I'm operating simply from well-published financial reports, research, and a broad set of facts.

    I'm not sure how old you are, or if you have any interest in the intricacies of statistical analysis analysis or, well, simple mathematics, but I highly recommend you look a little deeper into these fields, if for no other reason than so that you can present an argument that doesn't hinge on, "I'm a consumer in Russia my friends and relatives also." Not very compelling, I'm afraid. I'm really glad you enjoy good old fashioned Russian homestyle cooking. Who doesn't? Good luck and have a good night.

    Posted in: Coca-Cola, McDonald's wage unhealthy 'war' on Russia: PM aide

  • -1



    Clearly, you seem to feel a great deal of pride and sentimentality for all things Russian, however (and you really need to take this to heart) . . . You're talking out of your nether regions.

    KFC is not more popular that McDonald's in Russia. Russian fast food is not more popular than McDonald's. The largest and most successful Russian fast food chain is, as I mentioned before, is Teremok and it's annual sales still pale in comparison to McDonalds' annual US$2.2 billion in sales. That's 2.2 BILLION dollars.

    McDonald's is VERY successful in Russia. Meanwhile, Teremok still only has location in Moscow and St. Pertersburg, while McDonald's remains the fast food choice for 20% of Russians, or rather, 1 out of every 5 Russians looking for a fast food option. Mickey D's consistently outsells KFC, Pizza Hut, and yes, even the much beloved "healthy" option of Teremok.

    Meanwhile, the number of cafes and small, independently owned local restaurants grew only marginally at a rate of 4% in 2013, while fast food chains grew at a rate of 19~30% in the same period, depending on how you classified the fast food.

    My sources for this are Forbes, Euromonitor International, the USDA Department of Foreign Agricultural Services, and the New York Times.

    What are your sources?

    While you compile that list of reputable economic and financial sources to back your claims, I would remind you to consider that if McDonald's is such a "very low segment in Russia," then why are hyper-patriotic loons like Gennady Onishchenko so afraid of McDonald's so-called "aggressive marketing?" After all, if McDonald's is such a minor consideration, as you continue to maintain, then why even care?

    Posted in: Coca-Cola, McDonald's wage unhealthy 'war' on Russia: PM aide

  • 1



    (You beat me to it, slumdog)

    McDonald - it's a very low segment in Russia

    Umm... Not really. It's estimated that McDonald's made around US$2.2 billion last year, making up roughly 8% of its global profits. According to multiple sources that are not addled by nationalist Russian sentiment, fast food made up 29% percent of the "eating out" food market in Russia, and McDonald's commanded 20% of that market. Among fast food chains, McDonald's cornered 42% of that market, and among hamburger chains, 78% with its 440 locations nationwide.

    That's not a "low segment" by any stretch of the imagination.

    Meanwhile, the closest home-grown fast food competitor is the 147-outlet strong Teremok chain specializing in blini, a reportedly quite delicious Russian crepe-like invention.

    Interestingly, Michael Goncharov, the head of Teremok stated in 2011 in regard to international expansion of the chain that, “We won’t be positioning ourselves as a Russian brand in these countries, we are an international brand, in the same way as McDonalds, Pepsi – Cola, Coca – Cola. It shouldn’t promote any specific values.”

    Hmm… Good advice, I would think.

    Meanwhile, the restaurants that Onishchenko wants to chase out of Russia employ some 37,000 people. This doesn't even begin to include the number of Russians employed by Coca-Cola distributors, bottlers, and sales people in Russia, not to mention all the farmers and wholesalers who rely on McDonald's and Coca-cola business.

    Yeah, politically motivated male-ego pissing contests are just proving to be oh, so prosperous and beneficial for Mother Russia....

    Posted in: Coca-Cola, McDonald's wage unhealthy 'war' on Russia: PM aide

  • 0


    The aggressive marketing they carry out . . . is comparable to a war against our people,” said Gennady Onishchenko

    And these are the types Putin surrounds himself with. As if it weren't enough that Putin himself is a megalomaniac, he has to surround himself with bombastic, nationalism-spewing asshats like Onishchenko. And Russian media scratches its head and wonders quite vocally why the West doesn't trust Russia in the least....

    McDonald's and Coca-Cola absolutely should pull out of the Russian market. Seeing as how well Russia has managed to not withstand Western economic sanctions since their little foray into Crimea, it’s be entertaining on some level to see how much further Putin is willing to drag his country's economic fortunes down the toilet before the citizenry get sick of it -- and him. Russians have a long history of initiating their own "regime change" if the political (and economic) winds of fortune shift just right.

    Hey, Onishchenko, here's a novel idea: How about Russia make better efforts to educate its population regarding health, nutrition, and, oh, yeah, taking responsibility for personal health choices? Otherwise, I'm certain we can expect you to quickly round up local vodka makers and call them to task for contributing the alcohol-related deaths of some 25% of Russian males before they hit the age of 55? No? Oh, but that would suggest that this little witch hunt against clear icons of American capitalism is, err, politically motivated, despite bleating to the contrary.

    Mickey D's isn't laced with heroin and Coco-Cola hasn't had any really fun levels of cocaine in it for over 100 years, so addiction clearly isn't at play here. Nor are these two companies holding guns to the heads of consumers to make them purchase their products, so the “chemical warfare” claim seems to miss the mark by a wide margin. Maybe if these two companies did indeed hold actual guns to the heads of consumers as a way to motivate them to buy what they were selling, Russian political hacks would find the companies and their products more palatable, particular since threats of violence, implicit or otherwise, have served Russia so well in Crimea of late.

    Posted in: Coca-Cola, McDonald's wage unhealthy 'war' on Russia: PM aide

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