2011-12-31

Top Ten of 2011

I did teh definitive Top Ten in 2009, but lest Auld acquaintance have forgotted, I'll do another one this time - but first,,,

Teh end of teh year - a time for getting blind drunk introspection. Let's take a look at my goals and see how I did:

1. 100 posts. Nope. Didn't even hit last year's mark.
2. AWESOME-ness. Check.
3. Photoshoppery. Check.
4. Your mom. Check.
5. Team Haislip. Check.

4 out of 5 - and teh only one I missed is teh only verifiable one. Not bad. And without further ado, TOP TEN REASONS WHY I DIDN'T HIT 100 POSTS THIS PAST YEAR

10. Post length. OMFG, I've gotten bloviating diarrhea. I gotta remember that "without further ado" thing and try and use it moar.
9. Your mom.
8. I'm lazy.
7. Too much farting around at CT.
6. Skyward Sword. Yes I only started playing this week, but I had this grand plan to crap out a couple dozen EPIC posts about every little thing in a flurry of Galtian überproductivity. You can blame teh stupid Temple of Earth (aka teh LAVA LEVEL) for Mankind's loss.
5. Your mom.
4. Teh dearth of Louise Burns YouTubes.
3. Uhhh, I forget teh third one.
2. Your mom.
1. PENIS. Totes heterosexually of course.

2011-12-30

Owen Mediocre At Best

Paul Christoforo. What a piece of work. Anyways, that's teh background information. Since then, we've learned that Paul Christoforo is genuinely sorry that he picked on someone above his weight class, which apparently is everybody.

Anywho, Owen Good at Kotaku has taken this opportunity to smother himself in outright FAIL. Let's just jump right into his ridiculous nonsensical premise - here it is:
Bullies never take the first swing. They look for a pretext that justifies one.
WTF? d00d, does this even mean anything? Does it mean anything to you? FFS, OMG, LOL. There, I just maed much moar sense than Owen Good did.

Bullies nevar take teh first swing? Owen is fuck-ed up. Bullies ALWAYS take teh first swing. Self-defemse isn't bullying. Oh wait, he clarifies - bullies look for some flimsy jusification for their first punch, liek "d00d looked at me wrnog", or "rumour has it that he's gay", or wev. Great, what teh world truly needs is moar validation for teh justifications of sociopathic assholes.

Christoforo took teh first swing. Dave prepaid for a product promised for early December. No one's getting an Avenger until January 15. People who didn't pre-order were getting discounts. It was fucked up. d00d had every right to be pissed off. Christoforo first lied to him about teh delivery date and then told him to put on his big boy hat and then threatened to arbitrarily cancel his order so that he could eBay teh product himself. Christoforo acted exactly as he's being portrayed, liek a world class douchebag.

Here is Owen's take on it (emphasis his):
Re-read the email thread, before the fireworks begin, before Christoforo lips off to Krahulik and then truly gets what's coming to him. Dave, full of customer-is-always-right dudgeon, is as much of an instigator in this as anyone. Paul is being offensively bureaucratic and his inability to use proper spelling or grammar, or to be bothered to correct such mistakes, certainly disrespects the reader.

The shitshow really only begins when Dave unloads a pedantic lecture on his consumer rights and Paul's responsibilities (with plenty of all-caps), appends some extraneous insults to let Paul know he looked him up on Facebook, and then puts our tips email (and evidently IGN's and Engadget's) in the cc: field as an implied threat.

Fucking bullshit. d00d paid for a product promised by early December. On December 26th he asks why new orders are getting teh controller at a lower price tha he paid. It's a fucking reasonable question, and given that it is the day after someone didn't get the Christmas present they were supposed to, he asks in an incredibly polite and friendly fashion. Teh shitstorm begins when Christoforo replies at 10:14 AM. That's what started this whole thing.

Re-read it as many times as you want - there is a definite point in the e-mail chain when things go ad hominem and it's not Dave that starts it.

His swipe at Gabe is also bogus. Yeah, Gabe is an asshole. Self-admitted. But Owen is making it out that teh entire thing happened because Gabe saw "PAX East" and decided to destroy teh guy. Bullshit. Gabe saw a huge mega fucking douchebag and decided that he didn't want bullshit liek that at his show. And said so. He only later said that he was sharing teh exchange with teh Intarnats after Christoforo belittled his convention, clearly indicated that customers don't mean shit, and then called him gay. And also note that lotsa folks were copied into teh chain at that point - folks liek Kotaku's tip line and other media outlets.

It's liek being mad at teh guy who first p-shopped John Pike into intarmeme stardom. Penny Arcade was teh delivery vehicle for teh savage beatdown, but teh savage beatdown was earned and judging by Christoforo's continued douchebaggery, inevitable.

So what's going on? What up with Owen Good that he feels teh need to lash out at everyone involved except Paul Phallus Christoforo? It's this:
And—speaking purely for myself—my publication isn't innocent either. We've also provided a megaphone to both the combatants and the cheering section in this pointless, communal fistfuck of entitlement, narcissism, imagined persecution and arrogance.
He feels guilty that he had a part in teh ruination of "some marketing douchebag". d00d - no. Just plain no. There's one guy to blame for this mess, and he's already teh one collecting it. Kotaku reported it because it was newsworthy (in a man bites dog kinda way). That's it. Who appointed Krahulik or Reddit or wev teh Intartubules cop or judge or wev? No one. Also no one has appointed Owen Good teh sole arbiter of "when you are allowed to have or express an opinion". Srsly d00d, fuck you. You are asking people to read that e-mail thread and not comment about it. Christoforo welcomed teh idea that teh e-mail exchange was going to be posted - he thought it would be Great !! Love PR. You want to know whose conduct displats arrogance and is contemptible? Well other than Christoforo that is. You, you smarmy fucking shitbag prick. Everyone except Christoforo and you have reacted liek regular genuine human beings in this case.

Plus, this is going to turn out to be a WIN for everybody. Traffic hits are up all around, Gabe gets back some "Good Guy" cred after his own EPIC FAILings on teh Dickwolves thing and most importantly, Christoforo's career in Gaming Industry PR is over. FFS, re-read that e-mail chain again and try to figure out which guy is supposed to be teh Public Relations professional. At 38, he may be a bit old to start a new career - especially given his demonstrated ability to not learn anything - but d00d definitely needs to be doing exactly that. Even teh cost-cutting over-promising assholes who make teh Avenger are going to come out of this okay. That throughout it all, teh worst of Christoforo's bashers are plugging teh controller accessory and asking that people don't hurt teh Avenger because they hired a total douchebag to do their PR.

No Owen, teh simple fact that Christoforo plans to continue doing PR is clear indication that if anything, he hasn't had enough abuse.

Note - original was even moar laden with typos and grammar weirdies.

2011-12-24

BREAKING!!!! SECOND AMENDMENT UNDER ASSAULT! UPDATED!!!

For XBox Marketplace avatars anyways.

Wait. What does this have to do with teh Kenyan Usurper? Well, guess who doesn't have an XBox? d00d has that inscrutable oriental console with a name what sounds liek a slang term for PENIS. That's right, not only does teh foreign usurper favour foreign game consoles to USA #1 consoles - he's now taking away all teh guns! What's next? Rounding up all teh dissenting XBox Marketplace avatars and locking them up in concentration camps? Maybe PS Home?! OMFG!

BREAKING UPDATE! MUST CREDIT FOR SECOND PLAYER!! PRESIDENT OBAMA CAUGHT OUT IN A LIE! BREAKING!!!

In the video he clearly admonishes teh press corpse that they will never ever get a photo of him playing any dance video game. Clearly an outright lie as can be seen below:


Additional notes:
1. WTF d00d! Nice job ruining Christmas for your own daughters. I can just hear Malia saying "OMG, I never would have guessed you got us Just Dance 3 if I hadn't seen it on teh evening news!"
2. LOL! Always gets an F rating. I can out dance teh preznit! At least in teh video games. That hasn't been troo since Franklin Polio Roosevelt.
3. Teh reason he didn't get Skyward Sword - OMG it's right there in teh middle of teh freaking display! - is that he's probably already finished it. Whereas I will have to wait until at least tomorrow.

2011-12-22

Merry Rick-mas

TRIGGER WARNING: Four Rick Astley vids follow - none of which are gonna give you up.

OMG. Teh POWAH of teh intart00bs has prevented d00d from aging.



New singles last year! OMG! Intartubules, why did you not tell me of this?!



AND



And WTF?! d00d's a drummer too!

2011-12-17

Why We Fight: War On Christmas Edition - Musical interlude

Christmas music is old. Old old old old old. They call it "traditional". Hrmph. Even teh new stuff, all gets released so close to Christmas, that teh best a blogger can do is embed last year's stuff. Anyways, here are some traditional and classic oldies.





2011-12-13

Pr0n Objectivises Women

Last year Lara Croft returned in a different kind of puzzle-action game, Teh Guardian of Light. It was a big change for teh Tomb Raider series which had been doing pretty horribly at teh time. Fixed camera isometric multi-player - download only non-AAA title. Sort of an anti-Tomb Raider Tomb Raider game. And it was just what was needed - selling pretty well for a download only game, and racking up review scores that Lara hadn't seen in a decade. And now there's another game planned for teh series scheduled for next year. And it looks fucking amazing. Anyways, all of this to say that Lara Croft is going to survive being portrayed by Angelina Jolie in two movies to return to pop culture prominence. You know how I can tell? They're doing new pr0n parodies of it.

Why am I telling you this? Teh comments. They take a turn for teh amusing.

First comment is an Objectivist - oops sorry, Ethical Naturalist -with an Ayn Rand quote explaining why he lieks strong women. Ayn Rand. BwaaAHAHhAHHAHahahHAH.

Teh beat down is administered all round with a showing of teh Kung Fu Monkey quote most often attributed to Krugthulu (and is ongoing at teh time of blogging). But liek a good Objectivist, he smugs himself up on his high horse and sneers at all teh folks who are pointing out that his John Galt underoos are badly shitstained. It's stretching into a fair length post about how "objectivism" is objectively teh Awesome with a tangent on how bagging on Ayn Rand is all fine and dandy since she was so horribly bad, but calling her a slut is over teh line. Really, it's an amazing conversation.

In a thread about PORN.

You can tell which one is teh Objectivist at an orgy - they're teh one lecturing teh sweaty heaving bodies about how they lurve teh sex because they are so superior at it.

2011-12-11

Teh Apple of My Pie

I just noticed that yesterday's Opo salad was teh second time I food blogged. And teh first time, I said something about in-progress photos. Ooops. To remedy, a photo essay (with mouseovers):












And now for teh classic cooking show sleight of hand! These are actually strawberry-rhubarbs that I made a month ago to test teh technique.




2011-12-09

Opo Research

So here's teh story - Opo or Indian Long Squash is massively on sale at teh supermarket. Not quite daikon radish cheap, but pretty darned cheap. I've never prepared it before but I had to give it a shot.

Opo is a very, very bland vegetable. No flavour to it at all. But it has great texture - very similar to zucchini or summer squash. Traditionally, this vegetable is used in curries, probs because it does have so little flavour of its own and would make a fantastic vehicle for sauce. I didn't want to do this because I was afraid that cooking it at all would make it all mushy and ruin teh only characteristic it actually has. So salad.

Teh other part is that we're introducing Ultra Ninja to new foods and it goes over better if we eat the same thing that she does. The latest food is cooked barley. Pearl barley is quite similar to brown rice, and sticking to the Indian theme as set by the long squash, dinner was butter chicken.

As I mentioned at teh Mothership, went with a sweetened rice wine vinagrette with a hit of Tabasco to dress the salad which was long squash, carrots and red onion. Tasted not bad, and looked awful pretty too. Something was missing, and I am ashamed to admit that I think what was missing was cilantro. Which I hate. Ugh.

Anyways, this is what it looked like:

Teh blob at teh top of my plate is hot mango chutney. Here's a close-up of the salad:

Verdict? Success, but room for improvement. Barley goes incredibly well with indian food. It's certainly not the same as basmati, but it does make a great base. The slight elastic chewiness of barley (relative to white rice) is very nice with flavourful sauces. Don't know if I can say I prefer barley to basmati for indian food at this point, but it's nice to have an alternative. The salad went incredibly well with the butter chicken too. Although it (and I can't believe I'm saying this) would have been improved with cilantro.

Lessons learned other than teh cilantro thing: You want to slightly overcook the barley so it's a little drier and more sauce hungry. There's an ideal thickness for Opo in salads like this. You want it thick enough so that it holds it's texture, but no thicker than that. Since it was my first run at it, I actually made a range of different thickness slices. 3 mm to 5 mm (1/8 to 1/4 inch for those more comfotable with archaic units) is the sweet spot. A yogurt dressing would have tasted great, but would also interfere with teh pretty colours in teh salad. Finally, if you're going to ask for advice about dinner prep, do it early enough that you can get in some marinating or a quick run to the market.

A Break From Fighting: War On Christmas Edition

In defense of Christmas, @ISAIAHMUSTAFA can do no wrong.

Que Sera Siri

Siri, why you gotta play us like that?

Siri, why am I so late getting to this story which was basically played out a week ago?

Mostly because it's gotten teh right and proper smackdowning it warrants. Even if it is totes unintentional, that is still some creepy-ass misogynistic bullshit*, and it's good that it got highlighted as much as it did.

Anywho, I'm going back to it for another reason. To point and laugh at all teh smug Apple fanbois with their shiny new toys. LOL. Srsly, this Siri thing has taken the wind out of a bunch of idiots and jackasses - and I applaud that. Not to say all Apple dorks are shitbags but - I was going to say something about collateral damage or something. You know what? It's not damage. If an otherwise decent person now no longer believes in his inherent superiority because of his consumer electronics choices, that's a good thing. Without a doubt, the hit to their fanboi-ism is not a minus. Speaking of, it's always teh betrayed that have teh most passionate responses and it's voyeuristically titillating to see teh damage.

Yeppers. Teh thing I'm glad about is that no one from teh Apple Army of Assholes even tried to claim that this was intentional on Apple's part - a component of their plan to raise awareness and prompt discussion about teh raw deal that women get with respect to sexual health, and heck - health care in general.

*Teh screenshots say it all.

2011-12-06

Why We Fight: War on Christmas Edition Part Deux

Firstly, I was totes not being counted in. Here is further photographic evidence of my child's above average IQ lack of drumming skillz.



Anyways, Ultra Ninja's first War on Christmas is playing out classically. See, teh troo meaning of X-mas isn't teh crass consumerism and teh comforts you get from material things. Here she is, finding no joy in her mountain of toys:


No, teh troo meaning of X-mas is being in constant agony and suffering and sharing the exquisite pain with your fambly. She's teething. Again. The middle two on teh bottom broke through a month ago and were separated by just a few days. Good times. They're now both fully out as you can see in this perfectly focused and crystal clear image:


Her third tooth broke through a couple days ago, and according to her pattern, it's matched partner is just at the surface right now. Looks like she'll be getting her two front teef for Christmas - and bugger-all else* unless she lets her parents have a minute or two of sleep.

*Just kidding. She's actually getting a pony - free-range, grass-fed and ready for the grill.

2011-12-03

Cain Quit You

Well I'm glad I didn't wait on Herman Li Cain. With teh way teh Tea Party caucus is blowing through potential candidates, you gotta snark while teh hucksters hot.

Well, since his campaign's run outta Steam, let's send him off right.

Nine-nine-nine, nine-nine-nine, kiss Herman Good-bye.

You'll never vote Cain, he's suspended his campaign
And he's not running baby, no more - that's what I'm sayin'
He's groped too many ladies,
And a (And a) thirteen year affair's just too shady

So go on and kiss him, Good bye.
Nine-nine-nine, nine-nine-nine, kiss Herman Good-bye.

Listen to me now

He says it's all untrue, all those harrasment issues
Despite dozens of women who all say he tried
To get in their pants baby, because he was their boss

So kiss Cain (kiss Cain) Good bye.

Nine-nine-nine, nine-nine-nine, kiss Herman Good-bye.
Nine-nine-nine, nine-nine-nine, kiss Herman Good-bye.
Nine-nine-nine, nine-nine-nine, kiss Herman Good-bye.

2011-11-28

The Eye of the Barf Holder

Hey remember that awesome time I got baby puke in my ear? This time it was my eye. Now I can say I truly have lived a full life. Speaking of rock star like behaviour, she's probs not gonna be playing drums in her awesome megastar band.

2011-11-26

Pike 2012

The story of teh GOP nom ination run is of teh boom and teh bust, with each succesive Tea Party favourite taking their turn at Mittster. And while Talking Pants Marshall is playing with yarn, the National Post brings much better graphics and analysis almost a week earlier. Anyways, we're left with the question of who is to take teh reins as Tea Party saviour after Newt flames out? I think teh answer is pretty obvious:

2011-11-24

Surprise Police Raid on my Preconceptions

St James park has been cleared. It was a remarkably peaceful endeavour. Here's the summary:
Eleven people were arrested in all and most were released on site with trespassing tickets, rather than criminal charges.

It was surprising. I was shocked that our police force showed such restraint. That despite prepping a bunch of riot gear laden cops, they sent in only regular uniformed guys. The big extra piece of protective gear they had was raincoats. After last summer's G20 fiasco and the assorted abuses at other Occupy camps, it was a pleasant surprise. I mean, it's not like I expected a heavy-handed tear-gas rubber-bullet riot-like apocalypse, but what we ended up getting was way better than I had hoped it could be.

Then I read this:
Everyone's talking about how the police have been peaceful & no one is talking about how protestors are non-violent.

That's me. I was talking about how the police were surprisingly peaceful and had nothing to say about how well behaved the protestors were. And that's because I have lowered my expectations of reasonable behaviour from the police so far that I was shocked they didn't fuck everything up in a hail of police brutality. Because my expectations of the protestors - supposedly violent anarchists - was way higher.

Because this is the level to which my opinion of police has fallen. I am delighted that I was wrong about what I feared might happen in St James Park. I am very happy that I was mistaken about our law enforcement's lack of ability to learn. That despite my strong disagreement with what the police were doing - i.e. dismantling the Occupy Toronto encampment - I found myself, well not proud - but at least not ashamed of teh Toronto Police Services. Congratulations TPS, you managed to acheive the bare minimum I want from a police force - you did not make things worse.

2011-11-23

Occupy Toronto

Twitter feed.

Stay safe, guys. It's probably not going to be G20-ish this morning, remember that teh worst of teh cop freakout was only because they got caught with their pants down on teh first day.

2011-11-21

Why We Fight - War on Christmas Edition.

Apparently I am hard to shop for - and that's why I will have to wait five weeks before playing Skyward Sword.

Fuck You Santa!

2011-11-19

World Toilet Day 2011

First, the obligatory sermonizing - this is from World Toilet Day Press Kit. The fraction of the world population without access to adequate sanitation is 40%. This is the combined population of all of North America and Europe, doubled. 2.6 billion people. Without toilets, these folks are stuck with "open defecation" which is exactly what it sounds like. This causes all sorts of illnesses and disease. Unsafe water, inadequate hygiene and insufficient hygiene are responsible for the deaths of two million children under the age of five every year.

WHO estimates that improved water, sanitation and hygiene could reduce the global disease burden by 9.1%. I admit that what got me first interested in World Toilet Day is that my highly developed style of humour is quite connected with toilets and POOP, but this is a serious actual thing. And it's more than just reducing disease - it's a serious quality of life issue. Even folks not at risk of dying from diarrhea stand to gain massively from better methods of dealing with their excreta.

Also too, this is one of those issues that should really speak to liberals and progressives. The most likely to be affected are the people with the fewest resources. The most at risk are children and women in patriarchal societies. The impact of reduced disease burden allows struggling communities in developing nations to dedicate more of their efforts to education or food production or a host of things that aren't lying down sick and dehydrated hoping not to die.

What can you do to help? Raising awareness is the first step. Without recognizing the issue, not much can be done. If you want to volunteer or make a donation, there's any number of organizations that are making efforts to address this issue.
-The folks behind World Toilet Day are here.
-Water Aid USA is another option.
-Here's UNICEF's list of partners in water and sanitation.

Okay. World Toilet Day is a serious, for real thing. Something that warrants serious, for real thinking. But despite all the seriousness, toilets are still funny, so here's my collection of amusing and interesting intarwebs POOP for World Toilet Day 2011:

Bill Gates gets World Toilet Day.

Sanitation for Occupy protests occupy this "reporter".

POOP War on Christmas.

Twenty five POOPS for FREEDOM!!!

Something for architects to think about.

Remember how SF wanted to name a waste treatment plant after W? Well, teh higher powers involved in toilet related issues decided to screw with his dad instead.

And of course, we are going to close out with a song.

UPDATE: Fixed a link

2011-11-10

Debates Are Not His Strong Suit

They really aren't.

I can see how he was confused - there is no US Commerce Agency or US Education Agency. Those are Cabinet level departments. The one entity he isn't going to make gone - teh EPA - that one's an agency (also Cabinet level!). It's what the A stands for.

Also too, eliminating the Department of Commerce kinda bones over the Census Bureau (an agency!). Teh census is constitutionally mandated. Why does Rick Perry hate teh Constitution?

UPDATE! Apparently there's a movie poster!

2011-11-08

Team Haislip Update

Just a quick update on ALISON WAS ROBBERED

Alison Haislip is leaving G4 - kinda sorta. G4 was owned by Comcast and the resulting mess from the massive humping telecoms means that G4 is now an NBC Universal channel. Alison wasn't really ROBBED so much as shunted away from the niche gamer channel and into more mainstream NBC stuff. Which is weird because her big appeal to the AOTS audience is her authentic gamer cred. Anyways, they had her on the NBC Idol clone in the first season. And now she's been moved to two "other projects." Don't know what that means, but I do hope we'll be seeing moar of teh wonderful Ms. Haislip.

UPDATE to teh Update: Sure Alison is a heckuva looker, and also mucho badass. But overshadowing all of that is teh fact that she is all class.

2011-11-05

This Post Has 22 Sentences

TL,DR version: FUCK YOU MARK BOURRIE.

Local news from LEAFS SUCK, but first some context for teh non Canucks.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes used to feature Marg, Princess Warrior (played by the absolutely wonderful and hilarious Mary Walsh and starting some time in the late 90s when the character would have made sense). Marg does ambush interviews - and she is fantastic at it. Mary Walsh retired from the show back in 2004 - but a couple weeks ago she came back to reprise the role.

Anyways, after Mayor Ford retreated into his house, he called 911. Repeatedly. And colourfully as well. The Mayor of Toronto - ambushed by a woman pushing sixty wearing a ridiculous costume and a cameraman - and d00d calls 911 - at least twice.

Even if his defense that he never called any 911 dispatchers "bitches" is true, his actions are still pretty much made of FAIL.

Okay, with all that in mind, what I'd like to highlight is this post from the LEAFS SUCK affiliate of Gothamist.

Sweet IPU. Mark Bourrie, you are so full of fucking FAIL that you might have actually managed your actual goal of making Rob Ford not look so bad. There is so much wrong with post that I doubt I can smash it down with teh force it's earned - so I'm just going to focus on this one part:
So when the score is tallied, we have some downtown Toronto people enjoying seeing their mayor on the run in his own front yard.
OMFG. That sentence demonstrates exactly how dense teh FAIL is in that post.

Bourrie's "defense" of teh CBC includes a rant about how teh programming is designed to appeal to only a handful of snooty elites that live in downtown Toronto. Teh anti-CBC forces he's warning us about? That would be Bourrie.

Mary Walsh is from Newfoundland. The character of Marg Delahunty is from Newfoundland. The show is produced and taped in Halifax. Sure a lot of CBC stuff happens in downtown Toronto (mostly at the Glenn Gould Studio) but 22 Minutes takes up almost none of it.

And then there's teh fact that he is complaining about that at all - the catering to teh downtown Toronto hegemony. AT TEH FUCKING TORONTOIST WEBSITE. Teh folks who are doing shit in order to entertain people in downtown Toronto? That's supposed to be Bourrie. Who is incidentally a resident of Ottawa.

Plus also, ever since the Monorail thing and the KPMG Core Services Review, the neighbourhoods that are anti-Ford comprise moar than just downtown. Rob Ford's poll numbers have dropped like a stone since he failed to find the mythical gravy train he campaigned against. But that's kinda local information and it's unfair to expect everyone to know it. Certainly not A FUCKING WRITER FOR TEH TORONTOIST. Fuck.

I guess there's only one way to end this post. FUCK YOU MARK BOURRIE.

2011-11-03

Through The Fire and Herman Cain

I was going to let this sit until next year, but that plan only works if Romney's campaign suddenly totally craps out. Plus I need paddle that post count something fierce if I'm to make 100 by year's end. Anywho,,,

On a cold autumn morning,
He’s teh Hero of teh Right!
Leading polls is Herman Cain,
Be president he just might.

When the darkness has fallen down,
And the times are tough alright,
The sound of evil laughter falls
Around the world tonight.

Fighting hard, fighting to cut funds
Ensuring wastelands evermore
The scattered souls will feel the Hell
Bodies wasted on the shore

On the blackest plains of Hell’s domain
He watches them as they go
For he is always Herman Cain, teh rest of you can blow.

So now we’re flying and free!
Of entitlements and welfare moms
They’re left out in the wilderness
While the rest of us carry on

Far beyond just tax cuts
Far beyond a means test
Deep inside the social contract TEEEERRRRMMMS!

So far away! We wait for that day,
When the hippies oh so wasted are all gone
Vote Herman Cain, for lifetimes lost in a thousand days
Vote Herman Cain and he will carry on.

[Guitar Solo]

As the (commie) Red day is Dawning (WOLVERINES!)
And the liberals raise up a cry,
They’ll raise their hands to the heavens above,
With resentment in their eyes.

Running hard the conservative right
Has a burning in their souls
To banish liberals to a fallen land
Perhaps to Mexico.

It’s their darkest dreams and they believe
It’s their destiny this time
And endlessly
They’ll all be free
Of LIBERALS!!!!

But their count of votes GOP
Is so far beyond reality
They’re alone in desperation
Now the time has gone

Lost inside, they’ll never find
Their way back to this real world
Day after day their misery must go on!

So far away, they wait for another day
2012 was so wasted and gone
On Herman Cain, election lost for a thousand days
But through Usurpers reign, they will carry on.

[Crazy ass guitar solo - RED SNAKE OF DOOM]

So far away, they wait for the day
Since 2012 was wasted and gone
On Herman Cain, election lost for a thousand days
To One L – twenty sixteen it shall belong.

Now there they stand, limp dicks in hand
They fapped so hard, we still can’t understand
They’ll break civil society if they possibly can
For teh Freedom of every man!

So far away, they wait for the day
Since 2012 was wasted and gone
On Herman Cain, election lost for a thousand days
To One L – twenty sixteen it shall belong.

2011-11-02

Teh End of Teh "Teh" Era

So there's been another Pennis infection at teh Mothership.  I mention this because it has highlighted to me how offensively annoying it is for an outsider to stink up a joint by ignoring all teh basic rules of civil behaviour.  Each place has its own conventions and standards of acceptable behaviour, and while some things may not edge over into completely unacceptable offenses (okay, not talking about Pennis now) they can still be totes annoying to folks who have moar vested in teh joint.

And on that note, I will now be spellchecking before I comment at Crooked Timber.

OTOH, I kann spele as crappily as I wont heer.  Moar worserest then evar befoar.

Also too, Teh Teh:

2011-10-31

Ultra Hallowe'en

One of teh awesome things about babbies is Hallowe'en.  I picked out Ultra Ninja's costume before listening to teh story again.  I just remembered teh strong female lead using her cunning to overcome her enemy and *SPOILER* learn that she didn't need no boy to make her life complete *END SPOILER*.  Anyways, I didn't realize that it was such an ecological nightmare!  If I could go back and pick out a different costume - one that wasn't so violently adverse to Mother Earth - I would not have changed a thing.  The story for those of you who don't know it.

Anyways, here she is between her dragon and Prince Ronald:

2011-10-18

Occupy Nazi Hashtags

Late to teh party, but wanted to get my two cents in on Hashtag Hitler-gate

1. It's a hashtag.  But let's give teh guy teh benefit of teh doubt and try and address his post-hoc editted correction argument.  That orange hashtags will be creeping everyone out due to their imagined connections to "totalitarian tendencies". Perhaps teh PJmedia-idiot is right - I mean gauging teh opinions and views of teh general public isn't always easy. How else can we explain teh popularity of Creed or Justin Bieber? What we do know is how favourable a view teh public has of OWS at teh beginning of teh month. Because there was polling.

At 54% favourability, it currently outpolls teh Tea Party 2:1. In fact teh Tea Party has never polled higher than mid 40's in terms of favurability, so teh general public already connects better with OWS than they ever have with teh Taxed Enough Already movement.  Sort of an important point when discussing teh public's view of teh movements.

2. But teh thing is that no one knows. Despite teh apparently unshakable belief displayed by teh moran that OWS is doomed to being despised by all Americans everywhere. Maybe as moar polling data becomes available and OWS' popularity trends down she might be able to come back to this post and say that she "told us so." But that data isn't in yet. Incidentally, I kinda think that any effect teh orange hashtag has on OWS favourablity polling is microscopically miniscule at best, but that leads us into,,,

3. Moar importantly - and I think this is part of teh original point - it's not about teh orange hashtag. It's about teh OWS movement having "totalitarian tendencies". That it's really a giant fascist autocratic movement with a cult-like reverence of some charismatic Dear Leader Fuhrer-figure. Uh, minus that cultish leader thing. And teh autocratic fascism. But otherwise - exactly that.

wev. Hashtags or not, this is about teh nature of teh OWS movement. If OWS really is just a patchouli reeking version of Heaven's Gate looking for teh low-Gini-coeffecient spaceship behind teh comet of record high corporate profits or whatnot, polling will bear it out.

4. As a kind and generous Dragon-King, I want to look at common ground. I am totally against totalitarianism. Don't liek it one bit. Not a fan of fascism. I relate bettar to anarchists than authoritarians. Teh entrenched establishment can eat me. &c.  Just teh same as they profess "on teh other side."

So we're on teh same page on opposing blind loyalty. That despite what we're told to believe - we need to use our own judgement to decide. I mean, who are you gonna believe - edicts from above or your own lying eyes?  I believe teh phrase is WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

And here we have OWS. Made up of people. And while teh righties may disagree with some of them, dislike some of them, and outright despise some of them with 53% of their shrivelled hearts and missing souls. And on teh other hand we have Wall Street and teh Financial Industry.  Who after leading teh entire world into a massive financial crisis that we still haven't seen teh bottom of, is in teh middle of reaping near-record profits.

I dunno how you define "being against totalitarianism", but siding with Goldman or Citibank certainly doesn't fit my definition.

UPDATE: I've been informed with great Gravitas that d00d is of teh non-d00d gender, so I plucked some eyebrows on teh way and shaved some pronouns now he is a she.

Doo-de-doo, de-doo, de-doo, de-doo-de-doo

2011-10-13

Congrats Jigme.

Congratulations to teh d00d whose name I done stoled.

2011-10-07

Very Low Food Security

via this Mark D comment at teh Mothership.

There's already been a lot of good commentary on how horrible teh Julie Gunlock piece is so it's tough to add anything worthwhile. Well Imma try anyways.


Teh USDA page has a lot of useful descriptors and statistics regarding food insecurity. It is no wonder Gunlock didn't link it.

She is using teh stat for "very low food security" even though a substantial percentage of the "low food security" group report skipping or reducing the size of meals. What she describes as "unpleasant to be sure, but at its core, just a somewhat boring, irregular, and occasionally reduced diet" includes households where someone did not eat for an entire day. Sometimes several days a month, several months a year.

While it's true that in households with children, the adults shield teh children from hunger by going without food first - this factor is offset by the fact that households with children are more likely to suffer from food insecurity.

Regarding teh lazy bums ought to get a job so's they can afford food aspect of Gunlock's inhuman sociopathy, 85% of households with food-insecure children had at least one working adult, the majority being full-time workers.

Gunlock is offended that Sesame Workshop is creating a whole new muppet to address this minor issue which only affects a bare few million American children. This character was created specifically for this one television special. She claims the Sesame Street is "telling a fib" - but as far as can be determined from the available information and teh sneak preview clip, nothing of the kind occurs. Lily only claims to understand teh unpleasantness about "not knowing where your next meal is coming from" because her family is food insecure and has used food pantries before. Gunlock assumes that government programs and charitable organizations addressing hunger in America "will likely be absent" despite the fact that Lily specifically mentions school meal programs and that TEH ENTIRE SPECIAL IS BUILT AROUND A FOOD PANTRY BEING RUN ON SESAME STREET.

Of course, Gunlock doesn't really think her pre-schooler needs to learn about the welfare system in the U.S. Which is why this show IS AN ABOMINATION BEFORE GOD. NO ONE MUST LEARN OF ANYTHING THAT LITTLE GUNLOCK IS BEING KEPT IGNORANT OF.

It's amazing. There's this one-off Sesame Street special coming up and Julie Gunlock is offended and pissed off about it. Despite being exactly wrong about what is and is not in it. She is offended by what she imagines those dirty hippies at Sesame Workshop have cooked up in their dirty socialist puppet conspiracy. And that's the least offensive part of the column. That she's an ignorant idiot raging against an obviously irrelavent strawman pales in comparison to teh arguments she's using to tear it down. She is actually saying that millions of households experiencing very low food security - where adults are skipping meals for entire days - in teh RICHEST NATION IN THE WORLD - that is okay by her. That situation is a non-problem. Feature, not a bug. God bless those United States of America.

2011-10-05

Election Day Again

Third time in less than a year, tomorrow is voting day in Ontario.  It's been a pretty lousy year as teh first election got us Mayor Rob Ford and teh second one got us a Conservative majority government at the federal level.  So I'm not feeling particularly optimistic.

Right now, opinion polling is looking pretty good.  This is the end of the second consecutive Liberal majority, so the public was certainly in a mood to toss teh bums out.  8 years is plenty long enough to develop a good collection of bad decisions, but that's something I certainly don't have to tell my American readers.  At the beginning of the year that mood dominated with the Progressive Conservatives enjoying close to a ten point lead - but the shine has already started to come off the right-ward swing.  The last polls before the official one are calling for a Liberal victory - just a question of whether it will be a third majority government in a row or not.

Maybe it's that Ford Nation am disappoint.  With good reason.  Maybe it's because, teh Harper majority, although only convened for a few weeks, has managed to Law and Order teh fear of totalitarianism into teh public.  Maybe being ignorant selfish fucktard assholes is a phase that most Canadians work through in under a year.  Maybe it's because the Ontario's PC party went with teh most unlikable shitbag they could have found for leader.  I don't know what the reasons are, but I am hoping that they hold strong throughout tomorrow.  Because a conservative trifecta will make being in LEAFS SUCK pretty fucking sucky.

Anywho, my predictions (based on pure guesswork) - first the Dippers are going to do a lot bettar than anyone's calling for.  Not an Orange surge like in teh Federal election, but at moar than teh 10 to 20 they are projected to pick up.  Also, I'm calling for a not-quite majority Liberal government.  Plus one seat for the Greens, because why not.

Lib: 53, PC: 28, NDP: 25, Green: 1 - that's the results after all the too-close-to-call ridings are finally called.  I'm guessing that there'll be three of these - close enough for recounts, which may or may not happen but don't actually flip any seats.

My own riding was one of the few LEAFS SUCKian ridings that flipped Conservative during the federal election and went for Rob Ford really strongly.  I'm predicting that my neighbours have been disillusioned enough with the right that we'll keep our Liberal MPP.  He's also fairly high profile being teh Minister of Energy - and that's actually one of the issues being talked about right now too.

Anyways, we'll see how out of touch I am with my province in just a bit over 24 hours.  And there's an unopened bottle of Bulleit in case I need consoling.

We'll see how totes off teh mark I

2011-09-28

Galt's Cradle

TLDR Musical version:

Just got back from Going Galt for a week. You know, all that snarky snark about how glibertarians who threaten to Go Galt should go ahead already – about how no one will miss them – about how they are being such whiny-ass titty-babies what with the complaining about being saddled with the lowest marginal tax rates in modern history. Well it’s all valid – but there’s another point I want to look at.

First let’s assume the crazy fantasy world of these Randian übermenschen IS REAL. That they are all super-producers with crazy productivities the likes of which us mere leeching mortals cannae ken. Let’s assume that they are some sort of platonic ideal of the Alpha Wolf Executive workaholic putting in their 110% throughout their sixty hour weeks and fully deserving of their massively inflated salaries. Yes, I realize that we are now discussing Mary Sue slash fanfic hypothetical universes, but bear with me.

What are they really “threatening” to do? Cut back on the overtime. Go down to a fifty hour work week and maybe actually take some of their vacation time. To spend with their families. Getting to know the wife and kids better. Really? That’s a threat?

I just spent the last seven days in the company of my wife and five month old daughter, and let me tell you this – loved every minute of it. I’m having difficulty conceptualizing why this would be a bad thing. By all means, all of you ultra-achieving wünderkind who are shocked, SHOCKED I SAY, at the mere thought of a millionaire’s tax bracket or an increase in the top marginal tax rate – take the time off. Find out the colour of your spouse’s eyes. Marvel at how much bigger your kids are already. Try and move past all the things you missed in your childen’s childhoods by NOT MISSING ANY MORE OF THEM.

Really.  Honestly and truly.  All you libertarians out there who are thinking about Going Galt - please do.  And I don't mean that in a snarky don't-let-the-door-hit-you kind of way, but if you really are one of these overworked super-achievers who spend all of their time and energy on work - then take the break.  Have a nice dinner with the spousal unit, play some catch with the tykes, call your moms, do some of those things that there is never time to do.  You don't even have to thank teh socialests for incentivizing it by threatening higher tax rates - just go and be a human being instead of a fountain of GDP for a change.

2011-09-21

AFK

Glad I finally got that long post up. Time was running short as I will be offline for teh next week or so. Not that you'd notice based on my output here, but if anyone at teh Mothership's wondering why I'm being so quiet - I'm in your mom's bedroom at an undisclosed location.

2011-09-20

Windows Vista*

*About teh post title - I was going to title this post Broken Windows Vista, but then realized that was redundant.

Before going forward, just want to shoutout the Graeber Invention of Money post again. His highlighting the fact that one of the foundational ideas about economics is totally bogus is pretty awesome. Also too, teh interview wherein we learn that teh symbol of teh Liberty Fund is an excellent example of how money, debt and credit pre-existed barter and was probably a result of government regulations and trial lawyer type compensation processes.

Also too, a disclaimer. This post is Part 2 – and if you had a problem with Part 1 then you should probably give this one a bye. This post is going to be speculation about the reasons and related bits associated with the mistakes I pointed out in the previous post.

One final bit of preamble.
TLDR version: FYIGM is actually a generous interpretation.

So anyways, there’s a bunch of different things you can read into the broken windows fallacy. Firstly, you’ll notice that there is a premium of sorts for wealth on hand as opposed to earned money. The owner of the broken window is worse off because they had to spend cash that they had – but the window repairman is not better off because he exchanged his labours for the replacement cost of the window. Now if you stipulate that the opportunity cost to the repairman is zero – IOW he doesn’t have to cancel other window replacement jobs or postpone window replacement training or skip that year’s window replacement trade show (GlazeCon 1849 – the cosplay is practically pornographic) – then the window repair is pure windfall profit for him. So what difference is there in the value between the window owner’s six francs or the window repairer’s six francs? Obv. none.

Not so obv. This misconception – that available cash is worth more than earned cash – has been carried through to this very day. For instance, the capital gains tax rate is lower than income tax rate. If you accept the conservative/libertarian never before observed Laffer curve concept that the higher the taxes the greater the disincentive to produce – the result is that it is somehow less harmful to directly “disincentivize” producers than it is to “disincentivize” investment. Apparently the ideas surrounding “supply-side” economics does not extend to the market for labour.

The other big problem I had with Bastiat was the labelling of things as useless. He doesn’t accept the idea that the window repairman’s exercising of his trade has value in and of itself. That since the net wealth of the village is unchanged, the window repairman’s efforts are cancelled out and somehow “useless.” It is as if he could not see the value of maintaining skill and expertise in local industries. The type of attitude that would denounce tariffs of all types and push for widespread free trade.

Actually, it’s worse than that. Because the things he rails against have as their intended purpose things which are clearly indicated. In the case of tariffs, it’s protecting local industry – in the case of “make work” programs it is keeping people employable and engaged in society – in the case of the assorted social programs that are always at risk of funding cuts it is the provision of those social services. Those things all have value, but Bastiat as well as modern day conservatives claim that they don’t. Usually based on this dollar value taxes-are-evil approach.

This ties into the glibertarian “why can’t we let charities do that” thing which I’ve railed against elsewhere. Perhaps another post.

Lastly but not leastly, the whole broken windows fallacy thing gives us a new and more complete definition of modern conservatism than Galbraith’s. Observe that in the broken window story, society is no worse off for having lost the window. Overall wealth is unchanged because an otherwise idle labourer has the opportunity to produce a replacement. But the window owner is definitely worse off. And this is the parable that Bastiat uses in order to advocate for policy decisions that affect all of society – including the window repair d00d. That’s conservatism in a wingnutshell – this idea benefits me personally therefore it should be the way it is for everyone.

This not only covers the greedy position conservatives have about government providing only the services they want and need and nothing else, all the while complaining about having to pay for any of it. It also applies to social conservatives and their insatiable need to prevent anyone else from having a good time. Their religion has forced them to suffer a joyless existence made bearable only by the future promise of eternal happiness and communion with the most powerful being in the universe. And if that’s good enough for them,,,

It’s not that conservatives lack empathy, it’s that their empathy only works backwards. It’s not that they can’t imagine themselves in position of someone less fortunate or successful – it’s that when they do so they project so much of their own experiences that they actually become offended. Because they achieved whatever level of success and comfort they have, everyone should be able to as well. That for conservatives, imagining what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes really means wondering why being insulted that people have the audacity to not do exactly as they do all the time.

And so the way they understand the world is through that lens. Their metaphors and analogies are all of the Me First variety. Tax cuts are good because they want to pay less in taxes (even if those tax cuts don’t target them but only benefit the uber-rich, because they may be uber-rich some day). Cutting social safety net programs is okay because they don’t use them. Something about your mother. Hence government budgets are like family budgets meaning the anti-Keynesian belt tightening austerity during recessions and crazy deficits during market booms. Hence “if you have nothing to hide,,,” since of course everything they do is by definition societally accepted if not revered. Hence all sorts of authoritarian abuses because there would never be a reason to racially profile them.

And finally I started Part 1 by mentioning that I was going to be very critical of Claude Frédéric Bastiat, but that we should bear in mind that his time was a very different one. While it was the Age of Enlightenment, enlightenment is a process whereby one starts of unenlightened. That his writings show the twisted thoughts of a selfish sociopath with no empathy for his fellow man, he was probably still pretty progressive for his time. However, the folks that buy into his century and a half old worldview - they don't have the same excuse.

2011-09-09

You're Not Supposed To See Teh Window

This one's way way TL - and Confession Time: I'm already working on Part 2.

TLDR version: Shorter Bastiat
FYIGM

So, a bit of a while ago I got engaged in a bit of a flame war at Crooked Timber. About broken windows. It's gotten me thinking and reading and although I really don't have anything new to add to what I said at CT, I think it might make sense to put it all down in a single post. Well, at least it will make moar sense to me - which is what this blog is here for anyways.

First the beackground - the broken window fallacy. From Claude Frédéric Bastiat's essay That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen. I'm going to be pretty harsh on pauvre Bastiat - so I want to caveat up front. Dude is from early 19th century France. Those were different times, Revolutionarily different. Please bear that in mind.

Here's the story: There's this shopkeeper, let's call her Alice. Alice's son, Alison, breaks one of the shop's windows. Alice hires a glazier, Bob, to repair the window. The price is six francs (for context, the franc at the time was a physical standard amount of gold. ~0.29 g. Meaning six francs is approximately a fifth of a troy ounce or about $350). Bob fixes the window, collects his three and a half benjamins and in rubs his hands in glee.

So, from an economics perspective, what's happened? Well, Bob did six francs of work that he otherwise would not have done. And that's it. The broken window is repaired and thus the community as a whole is no better or worse off. Six francs has been redistributed from Alice to Bob and Alison is probs in big trouble with his mom (whom I totally did).

But no. Here's where Bastiat comes in and says, oho - while the overall wealth of the community appears to be unchanged, you are not factoring in what is unseen. Which apparently is Alice's spending six francs on new shoes (ladies and their obsession with buying shoes - amirite!). Charlie, who is teh village cobbler, is now out the six francs that he would have been plus had Alice not had to shell out all them phat francs to Bob.

Which is, of course, bullshit. The way I phrased it in teh original dust-up was And Bob wears no shoes?

Money is money, francs are francs. Cold hard cash is teh most frungible of assets - even moar so than diamonds, or so my fence tells me. Does it matter if teh six francs are spent by Alice or spent by Bob? No, it does not (although this misconception is an interesting one to unpack as well - possibly in a later post). So Bastiat's poor unseen Charlie is getting his six francs after all, or maybe not Charlie since it's only teh chicks with teh thing about shoes. Let's say that Bob blows the cash on a used computer from some guy named Dave. Bastiat's "not seen" Charlie is exactly balanced out by Dave whom Bastiat doesn't seem to see.

There was a big discussion about hoarding. Various people maintained that teh broken window fallacy does not require Bob to be a hoarder. This is untrue. The conclusion of the Broken Windows section:
The reader must take care to remember that there are not two persons only, but three concerned in the little scene which I have submitted to his attention. One of them, James B.Alice, represents the consumer, reduced, by an act of destruction, to one enjoyment instead of two. Another under the title of the glazierBob, shows us the producer, whose trade is encouraged by the accident. The third is the shoemakerCharlie (or some other tradesman but def not that Dave guy), whose labour suffers proportionably by the same cause. It is this third person who is always kept in the shade, and who, personating that which is not seen, is a necessary element of the problem. It is he who shows us how absurd it is to think we see a profit in an act of destruction.
Clearly for the little parable to have any meaning, only money spent by Alice counts. Bastiat has raised teh unseen potential use by Alice of the cost of the window - but studiously ignores teh possibility of increased spending by Bob due to his coming into new money. Furthermore, the cash spent by Alice is cash that she had on hand - and in the story, Bob is otherwise unemployed. Which of the two is more likely to hoard cash? Later in that same essay, Bastiat waxes poetical on teh virtue of hoarding - so there's also that.

Anyways, teh whole point of teh parable apparently, is to show that Bastiat is a huge hypocrite. The parable is a very special form of special pleading where he invents an entire extra set of rules, which don't actually change the outcome unless they are selectively applied. It's like playing a baseball game and being told that reaching third base now also counts as a run. And then being told that this special rule only applies in the bottom half of the inning. Without tilting teh playing field entirely in his favour, teh best Bastiat actually manages to prove is that in a system with excess capacity/high unemployment - the useless destruction of things causes no net loss to society. Because there is available unused capacity to replace them.

But wait, what about that bit about redistribution? At the very least doesn't Bastiat have an argument from moral grounds about how even if you pay Paul, robbing Peter is still Dentistry? Well, yes and no. In the original story, teh window is broken by accident by Alison. Or maybe not accident but possibly as revenge for being given a girl's name. Or maybe while he was practicing in order to succesfully punch a shark in teh face. Whatever Alison's motives, there appears to be no lesson in morals available. Next Bastiat proposes that Bob hires a bunch of thugs to go break windows for teh sake of drumming up business. Well, that certainly seems immoral. So it appears that the issue of the moral rightness with respect to redistribution hinges upon context. Meaning that teh parable is a pretty weak one in terms of being some sort of archetype to base analogies on.

But base analogies Bastiat does. Many of them. He projects the lessons of this story, lessons which only follow if you are willfully ignorant of teh inherent contradictions, to a host of other things.

And each time the formulation of teh analogy goes - Alice is teh consumer or teh taxpayer or teh polity at large. Alice is kinda like Christine O'Donnell, she's you. Bob is any public spending be it a standing army, spending on the arts, trade restrictions and tariffs, just about everything. Charlie is everything good and proper. All that we want out of society. Everything that is right and just. Bastiat doesn't recognize Dave, probs because he's on vacation in Europa (not Europe, since that's where Bastiat iswas). And Alison and teh broken window? Everything Bastiat hates - taxes, regulations, prepared mustard instead of Dijon, teh foul mouthed Poet-Engineer from Canada that's schtupping his mom, teh noise that kids these days call music. Basically, any and everything he doesn't like.

So, you're Alice. Alison, who I suppose is no longer your son but rather some sort of OMG! SOSHULASM! inflicted upon you. You are at some sort of loss due to teh effects of SOSHULASM. Bastiat's true nemesis, whom he calls Monsieur Industriel (firstname Strawman) says to not worry since teh loss is totes balanced out because teh funds go to Bob who provides you with something in exchange. i.e. Despite being out your precious tax monies, here's a functioning civil society for your troubles. But Bastiat says - oho, that's all well and good, but what of poor Charlie! You kept Charlie out of teh picture! Therefore it is a net loss to society. Not just to Alice but to society as a whole.

It ain't. It never is in any of the comparisons he makes. Because all of the balances revolve around what Alice is out compared to what she would have had in an otherwise perfect world and none of them consider Bob at all. Not only that, he is saying that this analysis is the basis on which policy decisions which affect all of scoiety, Bob and vacationing Dave included. And since you're Alice - it's like some form of meta ur-pandering. So credit for that, Bastiat was already trying to buy your vote in teh earliest days of modern democracy.

Here's teh kicker. That's not teh worst error Bastiat makes. There is another "not seen" thing which Bastiat completely igmores. The breaking of the window itself. He calls it the useless destruction of things, but "useless" - as in without any value whatsoever - that's a hard bar to meet.

The lost window may have been previously faulty in some way. Somehow inapprorpiate for teh application. Knowledge which was not available when teh window was first installed means that teh new window has teh potential to be better than teh old one. Perhaps a window is a bad example of these things - but teh point was to set up a basis for analogies. There are all sorts of things that one wishes they could change after they were installed. Bastiat also offhandedly cites the example of a fire burning down Paris. Well that is a bit extreme and teh cultural loss is immeasurable, but on a smaller scale, a single house burning down provides teh opportunity to rebuild it, this time meeting standards for electical wiring. A moar recent example is teh LulzSec hacking of PSN. Destroyed Sony's entire security system (twice). Compromised tens of thousands of credit card numbers. Doesn't that count as "useless destruction"? Well no. Sony's "security" was godawfully bad. There is definite value - especially to Sony - in knowing that their security seriously needed beefing up. It would be like if Alice's window popped itself open while no one was looking and started throwing shit out into teh streets. Breaking teh window was a good thing. Breaking Sony's "security" was also a good thing. Because it was done for teh lulz and not to bone thousands of people whose only mistake was to think Sony would be able to keep their credit card info safe. People whom Sony had already put at risk for that very boning.

On an even moar obvious basis - technology doesn't stand still. Again, teh window ain't teh best example since window technology is already pretty mature - but say one of your buddies, for example Alison, finally manages to break your Nokia 5110 (probs with a sledgehammer). ALISON HAS DONE YOU A FAVOUR. You should be thanking her.

Bastiat is not only unconcerned with what happens to teh money after Alice spends it - he is concerned only with money. In the original story, Bob is an unemployed skilled worker. The longer he is unemployed, the rustier he gets and teh moar out of touch with current industry practices he is. The opportunity to exercise his trade has value to society in and of itself. And in teh current context of the long term unemployment epidemic in the US - it's not a small point (although I concede that it's not something that 19th century frenchmen should have been able to predict).

That's the real unseen that Bastiat glazes over. In the example of tariffs and what he calls "restrictions", Bastiat assigns a value of nurturing local homegrown industry at zero. According to Bastiat, there is apparently no value in having domestic sources of goods when they can be procured on teh global market. Kinda funny considering the state of international relations in Europe during his time. I mean, Prussia made such fine weaponry, why bother with a domestic arms industry when you can just purchase said items from your neighbour?

The usual bugaboo that is raised as teh broken window is make-work programs. Why implement make-work programs when you could just lower taxes and BOOM MAGIC FAIRY JOB CREATION? Not to be too asshole-ish about it, but it's right there in teh name. To Make Work. Making work isn't a by-product of Make Work programs. As I mentioned previously, long-term unemployment - not good for society. The whole idea is to keep teh long term unemployed from slipping into teh long term unemployable. But that's something Bastiat doesn't see. Because he got his job at 17 through nepotism and then inherited a fat ass estate at 25 making him fabulously wealthy and never needing to do sweet fuck all except complain about taxes for teh rest of his natural life.

2011-08-31

Is It Getting Hot In Here? Your Mom Says Yes.

So I noticed that some of my posts are getting to be on teh extremely rambly long side. Imma provide a shortcut for all y'all by opening with TLDR versions when teh post starts looking a bit long.

TLDR version: Even fraud demonstrates that there is growing scientific consensus on global warming.

So over at teh Mothership, there's a discussion of conservatives and their anti-science positions. Notably, the OISM petition got brought up. Anyways, now that that petition has a bit of history - there's some interesting observations that can be made about it.

The original petition circulated in '97 and by '99 had garnered over 17,000 signatures with an interesting scam cover letter/"article" attached. Scientific American took a look at a random sampled of climate-science related Ph.D. signatories in 2001. Some they couldn't identify, some had died, some had no recollection of the petition at all.
Eleven of thirty would sign again, six would not. Those six still count in OISM's numbers. SciAm's rough guess was that the petition had about 200 climate researchers signed on.

The population of denialists is not monolithic, although that is the way they are evolving. My point about the original petition is that about 20% of denialists with doctorates in some climate science related field had changed their minds in two years. Science requires that theories match the data. As moar data is collected and moar certainty is provided, even teh reality-challenged start being won over. And the past decade, decade and a half has seen a lot of new data being added to the body of knowledge.

This is reflected in the overall attitudes of the scientific community towards climate change. Certainly the design of surveys is important and flawed surveys will give you flawed results - but you can still glean information so long as the flawed surveys are consistently fraudulent.

Example: Bray and Von Storch conducted dubious surveys in '96 and '03. Comparing the two shows a slight increase in the certainty that antropogenic global warming (AGW) is occuring. A third survey conducted in '08 shows an large increase in certainty on the point. Newer surveys of scientists tend towards a range of 90% to 98% agreement - older surveys vary much moar with much greater levels of both uncertainty and disagreement.

Back to OISM. They ran a new petition campaign in 2007 in response to algore is fat. It's hard to tell how many new signatories they got, because they've been collecting non-stop since '97. BUT the total number now, 31K, is less than double what it was after their first petition campaign. Thus, despite having this established presence, despite the increased ease teh Intarspoor has given to spreading crackpot ideas, despite the supposed "widespread skepticism about climate change in the scientific community" they garnered fewer new signatures in 2007 than they did ten years earlier. Because there is scientific consensus regarding AGW and their fraud is harder to perpetrate.

The field of study has gotten more attention, more work, more research and more data since 1997 and as a result the attitudes of climate researchers is increasing certainty of man-made global warming. Even the rare dissenting groups (such as economic geologists who's entire field of study is dedicated to finding oil deposits) have moderated their dissent.

At this point, global warming is an observed fact. The "theory" that human activity is the cause of the majority of the warming is generally accepted by the scientific community. Meaning that a scientific consensus about anthropogenic global warming is an observed fact.

There is still, as has always been the case, an avenue by which denialists can challenge AGW. By using the mountains of established data and proposing their own theory as to what's happening. But denying the data or denying that there is widespread agreement amongst scientists that man-made global warming is occurring is just make-believe fantasy. And while make-believe fantasy has its place (i.e. your mom's bedroom) that place sure as heck ain't where teh denialists are trying to raise it.

edit: grammar fixes.

2011-08-25

Neüphemism: Talking Baseball

Witch-tine is actually back in teh news after her walkout last week, but she really is disappearing into the noise. New book notwithstanding (current Amazon rank #55,667 - it was released on the 16th of August).

But I have this perfectly wonderful tag that I don't want to see disappear, so I'm expanding it. Here's your first non-Witchtine neüphemism:

Talking baseball.

2011-08-23

Bernie!

Since New York legalized same sex marriage, this was pretty much inevitable. I endorse teh message - Bert, Ernie, fabulous nuptials. Make it happen.

I am disappoint in Jezebel for throwing cold water on teh idea. And doing so by parroting teh official party line. Don't exist below teh waist, huh? How do you explain this then?


Actually, let's look at that official statement again:
They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves.
OMG. What could be moar in keeping with that thAn showing a loving homosexual couple? Every single character that appears in media for pre-schoolers is assumed straight. Many are obviously and clearly heterosexual. Even muppets and their stereotypically heteronormative behaviour.

OTOH, @Joan_Rivers does have a hard to refute argument.

Editted - Twitter protocol failure. And for GrammarBlaster Peter.
And one moar time to link Julian Sanchez who says what I'm trying to much bettar and almost two weeks earlier.

2011-08-22

Good-bye Jack

Jack Layton has passed away this morning.

He was that odd thing which confuses everyone - a decent politician. He was genuinely liked and respected throughout the nation. If anything, people thought he was too naive and not cynical enough to be playing teh game. And yet he lead his party to a historic showing in the last election, the first non-Conservative and non-Liberal to be elected Leader of the Opposition.

A hippie and an idealist. The guy was a complete and total dork - but in that honest and endearing way. This is him on the campaign trail for that historic election:


It does seem like a smaller world without Jack in it.

2011-08-20

Obama and Democracy

So, this month has marked some excursions from my ususal commenting grounds. My first comments at Balloon Juice and Lawyers, Guns and Money. Prompted by the shit sandwich that is debt ceiling Super Congress cutty Mc cut cut bullshit deficit OMG deficit - it's not like we're skirting around a fucking double dip recession or worse here. Anywho, what with all that, it's been a pretty Obama-bashing gay old time. And it's probably way too late at this point to clarify my position on Obama for folks who have only seen my nym for teh first time on some HE SOLD US OUT rant, but thinking about itand getting it down into words has been an intersting learning experience for me, so wev.

Firstly - yes, what some anonymous foul-mouthed d00d in Canuckistani land thinks about teh preznit? Who fucking cares? Well, I do. And it's my blog and I'll cry if I want to. Okay, here we go:

Item: As I said over at fish's
I am still very relieved that it's him and not Bomb Iran in teh Oval Office. Or, IPU forbid - Grifter McQuitsalot.
Even if you gone on the assumption that Obama is a corporatist tool, and nothing more, he is still way preferable over JiSM3. And for all you Obamapologists with your President Bachmann ooga-booga-boo! this is what we call "grading on a curve". And it is a crazy curve that yields nothing informative or enlightening. Like when folks tell you that whatever you're being forced to settle for is "better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick". Great, thanks. When someone offer to trade me for said eye poking, I'll now know to pass.

Item: I'm not a PUMA. This isn't about Hillary being teh better choice. Ask anyone who knew me from back when I switched to this nym in ought eight. And I'm glad that we've got Barry instead if Hillary, notwithstanding that we'll never really know for sure how Hillary would have done things. LG&M moved onto this question after I decided to write this post but well before I finished it. Anyways, here's what I think about Obama v Hillary.

I'm pretty bullish about Obama on gay rights. Sure he moved really slowly on it, but I really don't know if Hillary would have been better. On DADT, I think she'd have been worse - and not because of Bill, but because she seems even more deferential to teh military than Obama does (IMO - can't be arsed to find back-up). This covers too, Iraq and Afghanistan. It's hard to imagine, but I believe that Obama is the least hawkish of anyone who had a reasonable shot at 2008.

I think HRC might well have pushed harder for HCR. It's hard to imagine someone pushing less than Obama did. Actively berating the people supporting what was then the strongest bit of leverage he had. Even if he was set on flushing teh robust public option, he could have let teh Leftsies rant and rave and shift the Overton and gotten a better price for killing the most effective cost control method being debated at the time.

Ugh, sorry for the Obama bashing diversion - where was I? Right, I think Hillary would have fought harder for HCR, but I also think that with Hillary pushing, the opposition would have fought harder as well. I think we'd probably have ended up with a dead reform bill. Although this isn't necessarily a bad thing. I believe I'm on record as a Kill Bill during HCR Shit Sandwich - not strongly but my feeling was there was too much graft. I seem to recall that my final position was pass the thing anyways, not on its own merits, but to add momentum going into Fin Reg. Yeah, that worked out fan-fucking-tastic. Still, my feelings about the HCR that passed, I'd have to say is it woulda wash if we had Hills instead.

In Hillary's defense, I would say that I'd have been less disappointed by Hillary if we ended up in the same Debt Ceiling Austerity Growth Dada play we're in. Not to say that I didn't expect much from her - for sure her election would have been historic - and coming out of the dark years that marked teh beginning of teh new millenium, anything would have seemed glorious. But not like Barack. d00d just has so much charisma and he so captured the imaginations of not only America, but teh whole world.

Okay, battle with ancient history done with - what's my beef with Obama? There's a bunch of specific things, but I think there's a separate common item to it all. I think teh word for it is establishmentarianism. A strong bias towards those already in power.

Here's teh thing - democracies are only as strong as their institutions, otherwise it's just mob rule. This is why, for example, plebiscites on minority rights are seen as uncouth. "Minority rights" is an institution that is respected in functional democracies. The problem with teh US is that some of those institutions have gained outsized importance - those being the usual suspects - Wall Street, The Military-Industrial Complex, &c..

And my problem with Obama is his whole hearted embrace of that paradigm. Hence the lack of accountability for war crimes. The campaign against whistleblowers. The continued record high deployment fractions of the armed forces. The financial bailouts that favour giant mega corporations over families with tough mortgages. Everything he does now is in this protect-the-hierarchy-and-expand-its-reach mode. HCR favours teh insurance industry and hospitals more than it does the uninsured. The outrage against entitlement program cuts only seem to want to protect Social Security and Medicare, neither of which are means tested (note that I am most definitely NOT endorsing means testing these programs). Medicaid, which is for helping the neediest is fine for chopping.

Even his approach to doing things is different. OFA, that grassroots machine that helped him get elected - practically sat out the first fight and then got mothballed. Everything is decided by small groups of appointees working in the back rooms. He received his transparency in government award in one of those back rooms. But it's this working group or that special Presidential Commission or its Super Congress - twice the authority and about 2% of the membership! Super!

That's the complaint really. What happened to the community organizer? To small donations? To the wide base of motivated volunteers? To listening to the people that worked their assess off three years ago instead of teh Republicans?

2011-08-15

Post Pexton

So anyways, I read Pexton's Ombudscolumn from Sunday. I figured that after anonymous journalist spills catty gossip about Michelle Obama, the whole Rubin fiasco and then a plea for a balanced impartial neither left nor right Washongton Post (BWaaAHAhAHHAaHAHahA) - he's shown consistency for being totes mockworthiness. He did not disappoint. Or rather he did disappoint, in all the ways he was expected to. I was working about a pretty good head of steam on it too, but then I figured - what's the point. The Wash Post is so pitiably pathetic now - teh humour in giving it teh well deserved kick it needs is gone. Looking at Pexton's past four columns, he's worse than Deborah Howell. But at the same time, with Ferd teh Turd still not fired-for-cause, who really cares?

At this point in time, poking fun at teh Wash Post is like pointing at all teh pennants with teh 60's dates on them at Leafs games.

Okay, here's a Shorter Patrick B. Pexton:
Conservatives complained about this, conservatives complained about that. These complaints were ludicrous and unfounded, so naturally we took them seriously. But as it turns out, the staff at the Washington Post are never wrong. Unlike teh conservatives in this case. And liberals too. I don't have any reason to mention liberals here since I studiously ignore their complaints - but trust me when I say that they are also wrong. And that's what we in teh bidness call Journalism.

That out of the way, here are a coupla videos:
For Science!


For teh long lost Goddamn Batman: