Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2008 October 27

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October 27[edit]

Michel Suleiman iftar party[edit]

Is this true that Lebanese President hosted an iftar party and how many politicians, both old and new, were there? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:26, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

It looks like there were lots of iftar banquets in September; it's kind of confusing sorting out when they were. I Googled Michel Suleiman iftar banquet and came up with a bunch of news stories. Adam Bishop (talk) 08:13, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

US Presidential elections[edit]

For US Presidential elections ... does anyone know the following information ... or where it can be found? What was the "closest" election in terms of electoral votes (for example, 269 to 269, or 270 to 268, or whatever)? That is, who won by the narrowest margin? Also, the widest margin? Thanks. (Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 02:48, 27 October 2008 (UTC))

See List of United States presidential elections by Electoral College margin. PrimeHunter (talk) 03:03, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Wow! I would have thought that the deletionists would have gotten to a list such as that one. Dismas|(talk) 08:38, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Seems like a very encyclopedic, verifiable and referenceable list. No reason to delete a list like that. Lists which are deletion fodder are often random juxtapositions like "Villains who are left handed and bald" or things full of original research, or with ill-defined criteria for membership. Edison (talk) 19:00, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Longest lived minister[edit]

Who is the longest lived Minister in the UK - or Secretary in the USA? Paul Austin (talk) 05:23, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

I'd be surprised if there were a ready-made list of the longest-lived UK ministers, but if you confine your search to Prime Ministers, this list tells us that Jim Callaghan was the longest-lived. -- JackofOz (talk) 05:33, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Manny Shinwell holds the record in the UK. He lived to the grand old age of 101 and served, among other positions, as Ministry of Fuel and Power and Minister of Defence. Currently the only MP who lived to an older age was Theodore Cooke Taylor (102), but he was never a Minister. Assuming he survives the next couple of weeks, Bert Hazell will overtake Shinwell too, but he never served in Government either [1]). Rockpocket 06:12, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Data for the USA is a bit tricker to track down. If, by "Secretary", you include Vice Presidents, then it might be John Nance Garner, who lived for a few weeks shy of 99. I can't find anyone older. If you only include Secretaries of the United States Cabinet with a dept, it might be William B. Saxbe who was Attorney General under Nixon and Ford. He is 92 years, 125 days and counting. Can't confirm these though. Rockpocket 07:10, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The longest-lived secretary on the Political Graveyard site is Earl Butz, secretary of agriculture under Nixon and Ford, who lived to 98. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 22:15, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Newspaper endorsement party switches in the United States presidential elections[edit]

I was looking at Newspaper endorsements in the United States presidential election, 2008 and wondered where we can find historical data about the proportion of newspaper endorsements switching parties by circulation. Does anywhere archive that? (talk) 06:52, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Military Strategies in Feudal Japan[edit]

What were the military strategies in feudal Japan, especially with samurai armies in battle? Thanks in advance, (talk) 08:51, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

There's The Book of Five Rings... AnonMoos (talk) 13:30, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Six Story Types[edit]

I heard from a teacher that there is a theory about there only being six basic types of plot lines/stories in the world, once you boil down the story. What are they? Is there an article on this? (talk) 10:26, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

See this and this for a start. I'm sure Wikipedia has an article about this somewhere, but I'm not finding the magic search terms at the moment. Deor (talk) 11:25, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
We have an article The_Thirty-Six_Dramatic_Situations... AnonMoos (talk) 13:24, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
This rant on the topic seems like a pretty fair assessment, to me. AndyJones (talk) 13:44, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The questioner is likely referring something by Plato. I never studied that stuff in detail, but I remember reading an excerpt in which Plato describes the "Hero Story". Of course, my memory isn't that great, so it probably wasn't Plato and probably wasn't the Hero Story - but that is what I remember. -- kainaw 02:33, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
I had a professor who cleverly boiled it down to two story types in passing when introducing a new book (he was a very quotable professor): "There are really only two stories in the world: a stranger comes to town, and a man goes on a journey. This is a story about a stranger coming to town." --Shaggorama (talk) 04:31, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

That sounds kind of like Vladimir Propp or Aarne-Thompson classification. (talk) 19:22, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Religion - Buddhism[edit]

Your scholarship on Buddhism is extremely poor and is generally written by and controlled by those who want the western pseudo scientific Christian point of view to prevail.

It is true that there is significant merit in this view but as in all culturally dominated point of views the western pseudo scientific Christian has many weaknesses.

As the Dalai Lama leads the most significant generally recognized Buddhist leadership in the world, you should make significant effort in an outreach to him for scholarship in getting an adequate Buddhist representation in Wikipedia.

Truth is very important and requires significant effort to overcome those who use power politics so that their erroneous point of view will dominate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:42, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia strives to have a neutral point of view. If you believe you can improve an article (with verifiable, reliable sources) then go ahead. In future, however, you're probably best off directing article-related queries to the respective article's talk page (there's a "discussion" tab at the top of the article page). Booglamay (talk) - 14:58, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Alaskan Independence Party[edit]

I read the article but it didn't have quite the information I wanted: In Alaska, is this party generally considered mainstream or fringe? (talk) 16:45, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Today it's not a very radical party, as they don't even advocate secession anymore. In 1992, 2004, and 2008 they've supported the Constitution Party candidate for president. It's the state's third largest party behind Republican and Democrat. GrszReview! 16:55, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
It's true. Let's face it, the Democrats and Republicans wouldn't recognize themselves in their beginnings either. Wrad (talk) 17:06, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Alaska is not a seperate country. so, there cannot be a independence day for alaska. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:15, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Huh? Wrad (talk) 17:18, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
True, but what's your point? No-one mentioned an independence day for Alaska... --Tango (talk) 17:18, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
So when are you going to have the party if there's no day for it?  :-) --LarryMac | Talk 17:23, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
See Alaska Day :) Wrad (talk) 17:31, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Is Mary Jesus's mother or wife?[edit]

Is there any proof for the same saying this is the truth and not vice-versa? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:14, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Are you getting confused between the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene? There is a theory that Mary Magdalene was Jesus' wife (or at least, lover). --Tango (talk) 17:16, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The article Mary Magdalene makes clear that there is no historical or scriptural authority for this belief. There are a lot of Marys in the Gospels: Mary of Cleopas, Mary (mother of James and John), as well as the 2 previously mentioned. But there's no proof that Jesus married anybody (it is highly unlikely that any documentary evidence would have survived), and no mention of a wife in the Bible.--Maltelauridsbrigge (talk) 18:53, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

There is also a theory that Jesus never existed.--Radh (talk) 17:46, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Well, yes. When answering questions about a specific religion I find it's usually best to just assume that religion is correct, however unlikely that may be. --Tango (talk) 18:25, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Even if Jesus wasn't the Son, he still may have existed, with a mother Mary and a wife Mary. GrszReview! 18:31, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Buuuuuuut none of us can possibly know either way, and the Ref Desk is not for debates. --Masamage 18:33, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The question was a perfectly appropriate one. The Bible says that Jesus' mother was named Mary, and that two of his followers or friends were named Mary (the Magdelene, and the sister of Lazarus). Mary Magdelene is mentioned during his ministry in Luke 8:1-3. She is mentioned during the crucifixion in Mark 15:40,Matthew 27:56, and John 19:25, which mentions a third Mary, Jesus' aunt, the wife of Clopas. After the crucifixion she is mentioned in Mark 15:47 in the same passage as Mary, his mother. Matthew 27:61 mentions Mary Magdelene and "the other Mary. Matthew 28:1 mentions Mary Magdelene and "the other Mary." Mark 16:1 mentions Mary Magdelene and "Mary the mother of James." At the resurrection Mary Magdelene is mentioned in John 20:1, Mark 16:9, John 20:18. She was the first witness to the risen Jesus and told the other disciples. She is also mentioned in Luke 24, along with "Mary the mother of James." The Gospel writers gave prominent mention to Mary Magdelene. Edison (talk) 18:56, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the original question was appropriate; I just meant the spinoff. (Also, it's interesting stuff! Good summary.) --Masamage 23:28, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
 :) --Sean 13:19, 28 October 2008 (UTC)
The same label could be added to most biographies and autobiographies, and many historical works. Edison (talk) 14:44, 28 October 2008 (UTC)

Magic 60 for US Senate filibuster[edit]

There is recent talk of the US Democrats having 60 seats in the Senate. This is called the "magic 60", as it will make the Democrats filibuster-proof. I think I am missing something in this concept. This is my understanding ... please tell me where my thinking is astray. The Republicans would need 60 votes to invoke cloture on a Democratic filibuster. Anything short of 60 Republican votes would fail in ending the filibuster. Thus, if the Republicans have only 59 Senate seats, they cannot guarantee the ability to vote down (through cloture) a Democratic filibuster. If the Republicans had only 59 seats, the Democrats would have 41 seats. (Let's simply assume no Independent Senators for now.) Thus, if the Democrats have 41 seats, doesn't that number make them filibuster-proof from the Republicans? What am I missing here? Why is the number 60 "magic" ... and not the number 41? Thanks. (Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 18:58, 27 October 2008 (UTC))

It's the other way around. If the Democrats have 60, they can prevent Republican filibusters. If it is 59/41, no party can be guaranteed to end a filibuster by the other. But if the Democrats have 60 they can invoke cloture without any Republican votes. GrszReview! 19:12, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
And in case it's not clear, the filibuster is a delaying tactic used by the minority party. The Dems are effectively certain to have a majority, and should they control both houses of Congress as well as the Presidency, then the filibuster is one of the few refuges the Republicans would retain. An all-Democrat government doesn't need filibusters; they're free to pursue whatever legislation the party line will handle. So it's not that you've calculated 41 incorrectly, it's that you've calculated for a different scenario (specifically, that the Republicans' "magic number" is 41). — Lomn 19:48, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
This also assumes that no Democratic senator crosses party lines on a particular cloture vote which can't be assured. Rmhermen (talk) 20:05, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Or any of a number of other oddities. GrszReview! 20:12, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
What an entirely appropriate term. Little Red Riding Hoodtalk 20:57, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
The filibuster is a peculiar weapon -- in the 1960s, you actually had to speak continuously. Strom Thurmond holds the record, I believe, for longest continuous speaking (to oppose civil rights legislation). Nowadays, they're not as inclined to wear themselves out, and the threat of a filibuster may be a bark-worse-than-bite phenomenon. Neither party, of course, wants to give up the right to block proposed legislation of which it disapproves. --- OtherDave (talk) 20:37, 29 October 2008 (UTC)