If I Stay There Will Be Trouble

Today is budget deputation day. 220 of the taxpayers Rob Ford has respect for got themselves on to the agenda to provide their input on the city's budget.

It is also five days after Rob Ford got a stay of the court order booting him from office, since he would suffer irreparable harm if he were not mayor pending the appeal everyone knows he will lose.

He acknowledged the stay of decision by noting that he had a lot of work left to do getting the city's finances in order.

Today is also the first day of his vacation.


Debt Ceiling the Deal

So the buzz is that the GOP is going to cave on the "fiscal cliff" Bush top marginal rate cut extension and extract revenge on a Debt Ceiling hostage crisis. Incidentally, the last Debt Ceiling hostage crisis was the event that precipitated the "fiscal cliff" scenario with the automatic sequestered cuts &c. blah blah blah. Anyways, just wanted to muse a bit on the whole "Debt Ceiling" thing.

Deficit spending is unsustainable - government finances are bankrupt - you can't just borrow your way out of things. You know what? None of that is actually true. It was in 2010 that Treasury bills started selling at negative yield. Meaning that at auction, people are willing to accept treasury bills at a rate lower than inflation. And have been continuously doing so for two years now. In other words, the market thinks the US government needs to go further in debt, and is willing to "pay" for it. That last $15 billion auction, Treasury is getting paid by the market almost a hundred million dollars to borrow money.

This was my usual response to people who made the argument about not being able to borrow. Market conditions right now are such that people are willing to accept negative yields for government debt. It's the market that is telling government to borrow money.

Turns out the situation is even more extreme that I had thought. Those TIPS treasury bills are ten-year bonds, so investors are getting ten years of "stability" out of their investment. That when the bonds mature, they can be certain (with the full faith and credit of the US government) that they'll get their money back. Short-term bonds sell at lower rates. How low? Around 0.1% BUT that number is fake - artificially inflated because Treasury hasn't yet implemented a system for bidders to put in negative absolute rates, something they saw a need for at the beginning of this year.

Meaning, we're no longer talking about negative yields relative to inflation - we are talking about moving to a situation where the US is straight up getting paid to borrow. Lenders are telling the US government that they'd like to give them a hundred bucks today if they can get paid back ninety five bucks four weeks from now. So when the responsible fiscal conservatives tell you that raising the debt ceiling is a bad thing - it's roughyly the equivalent of not picking a twenty up off the floor because you've decided that you've already used up your allotment of bending over.


Mandatory Minimum Musings

So the latest talking point in the Rob Ford fiasco is about how Ford was a victim of minimum mandatory sentencing - that even a "minor infraction" of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act forces him out of office. Described by the judge as a "blunt tool" as he tried his best to make the punishment for the offence as small as possible. Teh Left is contrasting this with the federal Conservatives omnibus crime mega-bill to the Criminal Code implementing a bunch of mandatory minimum sentences. So it's lol - Ford a victim of Conservative agenda of mandatory minimums - lol.

First, we're talking about totally different things. Ron Ford's penalty is that he loses his job - one that the contract ends in two years anyways. Not the same as mandatory minimum jail sentence. Second - the job is Mayor of LEAFS SUCK. One of those positions of authority with a lot of public trust. The kind of position where it's kinda reasonable for society to expect higher standards of behaviour. There's all sorts of folks complaining about the law - but as John Lorinc has pointed out, the penalty is the same in many other provinces. And no surprise - the basic concept is "you are not allowed to use your public office for personal pecuniary gain". That's sound. It's one of those things that help us Canoodlians maintain what we refer to as "good government".

Lastly, and I touched on this yesterday, Holy Fucking Shit. Rob Ford was granted maximum leniency and that was not viewed as enough. Which is total fucking bullshit. Let's consider for a moment what factors affect whether leniency should be applied:

1. First offence. Well it is true that this is the first time Rob Ford was dragged into court for this specific law, it is not the first time his actions have run afoul code of conduct violations. In fact the actual ruling itself originates from the multiple times Ford has spken to and voted on matters directly regarding his own financial affairs.
2. Admission of guilt, contrition, acceptance that the convicted had done something wrong. Ha ha ha.
3. Mental state of the accused. Okay, Ford is obviously mentally deficient, but this factor actually refers acting out of character due to stress or extraordinary circumstances. Again, not true in this case. In Ford's deposition a couple months ago, he said he had no regrets and would not have done anything differently.
4. Impact on other parties - i.e. if there are others that are dependent on the convicted. You might think that this applies since folks expect the Mayor of LEAFS SUCK to actually do stuff for the city. Except that recently, he's not been doing much of this either. We've basically been without a mayor since the beginning of September (and arguably a lot longer ago than that).
5. On the opposite end of the spectrum is denying leniency as a means of deterring others. Issuing a harsh penalty to prevent similar crimes from happening in the future. Public officials acting in conflict of interest - seems to me to be one of those types of crimes that you want "deterent-ified".

Rob Ford has done nothing to earn leniency. The only argument for it is about the severity of the crime - voting on a $3,150 repayment. But even this argument falls apart. $3,150 isn't the total amount he raised for his personal charity using city letterhead - it's the amount he raised directly from registered lobbyists and a corporation that has contracts with the city using city letterhead. It's not about $3,150, it's about the sum total of funds being addressed by those lobbyists and the contracts with that corporate donor.

Edit: Oh BTW, the accepted wisdom that the punishment was too harsh? Punditland la-la nonsense. Polling in the days after the decision shows that most LEAFS SUCKians agree with the ruling. Forum Research found 58% agreed with the decision and this Angus Reid pdf shows that 69% support the decision to remove the mayor from office. The Globe and Mails poll I talked about yesterday had 71% saying that the punishment was appropriate.

Update: Stay of decision has been granted until appeal has been heard.


Why Can't We Have a Better Media: LEAFS SUCK Edition

Interesting Times in LEAFS SUCK. There's a lot of backstory - but basically what has happened is that our Mayor was found to have broken the Municipal Conflict of Interest Law which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of being booted from office. That ruling goes into effect on Monday unless Rob gets a stay of the ruling pending his appeal. The decision on whether the stay will be granted (and it most likely will since the motion is unopposed) comes out todaytomorrow.

But the general consensus is that Rob is going to lose the appeal. The judge who found him guilty was staggeringly sympathetic to Rob Ford, bending over backwards and actually amending his ruling in order to minimize the penalty he was going to administer. Note that while the actual amount of cash in question is small, Rob Ford violated the act blatantly and repeatedly despite multiple warnings. He was given several opportunities to avoid the trial, all of which he turned down. He has admitted no guilt and still believes he did nothing wrong. In short, he has done exactly nothing to earn leniency.

I'll probably get back to that when the appeal goes before the courts - but the main point is that just about everyone is expecting Rob to get his stay until the appeal, lose the appeal, and then Council will call a by-election. What's contentious is whether Rob can win. We're at least half a year out from the earliest possible election date, probably more, so there's definitely all sorts of possible outcomes at this point - but a realistic view of things would recognize that some of them are very unlikely. Okay, now that we got all of that out of the way, let's finally get to our featured Incredibly Stupid Shitbags.
A poll on the Globe’s website shows little middle ground. Of the more than 2,600 respondents, most were divided into two camps: those who agreed with Mr. Ford’s ejection from office and said his effect as mayor had been negative, and those who thought the penalty too harsh and approved of his time in office.

An Angus Reid poll released Friday, meanwhile, suggested three out of five people who voted for the mayor in 2010 would back him again in a by-election.

“A lot of people are surprised that he’s held the support that he has. It surprises me at times how resilient it is,” said Nick Kouvalis, the strategist who engineered Mr. Ford’s 2010 victory.

He contends the mayor’s supporters simply don’t care as much about the gaffes and miscues as they do about his policies.

We'll get back to the first poll later - the second poll shows that 40% of the people who voted for him two years ago have Buyer's Remorse. The mendacious assholes that pooped out this piece of garbage are trying to imply that Ford has 60% support, when in actuality he only has 60% support FROM ROB FORD VOTERS. That's not quite the same thing. Anyways, I've snipped out the bit where the "authors" of this fantastic piece of journalism go on to interview a bunch of Ford supporters and make no attempt to get any other opinions or views. Here's their closer:
Welcome to Ford Nation, where Toronto could be living for the foreseeable future.

Okay, back to that wonderful first poll - conducted by the same newspaper that these idiots work for. Here it is. It certainly does show some serious polarization, with opinions mostly clustered in the two corners. Remember this is the poll the "authors" are using to justify their belief in a lasting Ford run LEAFS SUCK. So what does the poll actually say?

Ford's Penalty (kicked out of office) too harsh - 21%
Ford's Penalty appropriate - 71%

Ford had a positive impact - 19%
Ford had a negative impact - 70%

Yup, those totally look like numbers guaranteeing a Ford Nation dynasty for sure.


World Toilet Day 2012

It is that time of year again.

Last year I emphasized how serious an issue this is. The year before I focused on how the taboo nature of the topic prevents people from doing anything about it. This is what I'm talking about. There's not much to add - the lack of decent sanitation in much of the world is killing millions of people (mostly children) and one of the barriers to fixing the problem is that people are uncomfortable talking about defecation. What a stupid world we live in.

Okay, on to the assorted links about the loo:

Firstly, an update on Bill Gates' efforts. As someone in the clean energy industry, I'm pretty happy that the winner of the Reinvent the Toilet challenge is also one that harnesses solar power.

Toilets for political activism.

I'm not sure why this link appealed to me, but it did.

And finally, since this was an Olympic year, we'll close out on something sports related.


In Soviet Obamastan, Galt Goes on You

Is it still too early to muse on the fate of failed Veep candidate Paul Ryan?

Other than that Mr. Ryan has"not been an active participant" in preparing for a Friday meeting with President Barack Obama, a source close to Ryan said, “but I’m sure that will change in short order.”
OMG, I so did mail you an invite, or maybe left a voice message. Have you checked your Twitter?

His congressional reelection Tuesday pointed to potential chinks in his armor. He lost Rock County, his home county, 52 to 46 percent – though the county trends Democratic.
You lost your home county - despite being the VP nominee as well? Geez.

But the real kiss of death may be that both the War Criminal Post and it's Politico spinoff have deemed him as having a bright future. He still has his Congressional seat and his chairmanship of the Budget Committee. I guess he'll be okay so long as he can avoid saying the ridiculous types of stuff the previous failed veep candidate was is famous for. Oh wait.



What we witnessed on Tuesday was the collapse of the right. The Establishment money men in a post-Citizens United world - failed. The hate fueled Talibangelical social conservative Tea Party people with a throw-the-bums-out public who have given nearly 4 continuous years of 60% wrong direction polling - failed. The enthusiasm powered Church led volunteer GOTV missionary army - failed.

Is it because they suck? Mostly yes. Each fractious no compromise slice of the conservative coalition has its own festering pile of deeply distasteful garbage. Odious cretins that carry with them a stench foul enough to turn away multitudes. And while there may be a lot of overlap, each beyond the pale offense has the potential to put off different people.

The anti-immigration folks cemented the Hispanic vote for Barry. The legitimate rapists brought women to the ballot box. The 1% of the 1% of the 1%, so out of touch that the idea of writing off 47% of the population is not only reasonable, but righteous - well 47%.

It probably goes back a lot further than I am aware of, but at least since Reagan, the GOP has been the party of hate. Everyone hates taxes, but it's understood that if you want services you have to pay for them. It only became a winning argument when you could put the face of the Cadillac driving welfare queen onto it.

So they hate. And the hate is ugly. And ugly loses elections.


GDit Virginia

332-206. Not quite 340. Edit: I am a bit of an idiot. When i saw the tally 10 votes shy if my prediction, I assumed Virginia went red. I really dunno how I got to 340.

Senate, I only assigned 98 seats, herp derp. Got the Dem Caucus numbers right at 56 though. Missed on recounts and if you split those with the seats I didn't assign, I am off by 2.

House. Well if I was close on this it'd be freaky. Fortunately I missed by a mile. I really did expect bigger Dem gains here with a serious decimation of the Tea Party freshmen. And while teatards lost seats, it was nowhere near as much as I thought it would be. Plus the GOP Congress losses were offset by heavier D losses than I expected as well.

Overall? Not a bad performance considering I made most of those predictions in March. I would grade myself a B+.

Edit: Last minute popular vote prediction looks like it will be right on the money. If it is, I am bumping myself to A-.


Predictions 2012

Okay, making my ill informed wild ass guesses about tomorrow right now.  Note, I made some predictions about 8 months ago but these have evolved - well at least on the Senate side of things.

Electoral College - I'm sticking with Obama at 340.  I'm calling on Willard not breaking 200.  You heard it at teh Mothership first, back in March.
Senate - wow, this is the story of the election.  I'm revising to 54+2 Dem+Ind, 40 GOP and 2 recounts.  Also noting that 538 is listing Senator Warren at 94% probability while Politico is running with this.
House - talk about overlooked.  You try to find some decent analysis and forecasts about how the House is going to turn out - there ain't any.  So I will go with my March prediction, 220 Democrats, 213 Republicans and two contests going to extra innings.

How much faith to place in these?  Probably zero - but let's look at my track record from that batch of predictions:
-I said Leafs rally to miss playoffs by 8 points.  They ended the season going 4-5-2 and missing the playoffs by 12.
-I said that Walker would be recalled, he wasn't.  I said that that three Senate seats will go D, but only one did.
-I said that on July 4th Kobayashi would not compete at Nathan's.  He didn't.  I said he'd eat 64 hot dogs - he actually ate 58.5 but was reported as eating 68.5 (averaging to 63.5 - not that this number means anything).  I said Joey Chestnut would win by eating 68 hot dogs and that is exactly what he did.
-I said the Wii-U launch is going to rock.  I stand by this and note that it's a much more accepted position to have since the launch line-up reveal.  Also, MH3U in March 2013 - expect me to pull another thorough vanishing act just af.ter that date.  Sorry, but my new true love is your mom smashing giant dinosaurs in the head with comically oversized hammers.

So, I seem to know competitive eating but not hockey nor elections.  So let's hope Tuesday is more like disgustingly gorging yourself on tube shaped mystery meat then it is like casting ballots for your favoured candidate.

Edit: Popular vote.  Obama 51% Romney 47%


Running for Office

4:01:25 which is still a very good time. Very good because now we can marvel about how the GOP managed to find a VP candidate even slower than Sarah Palin.


Summer in Loc Lac

Phew. Kinda stale smelling in here.

Just posting to let you know that I ain't dead yet. Actually I've been blowing a ton of time on Monster Hunter Tri. You would not believe how many giant fire breathing lizards are out there waiting to be smashed in the face with a comically oversized hammer. Well actually, it's two, but their faces refuse to stay smashed.

Anyways, still have plenty of monsters to hunt, but the all-consuming urgency of it has finally subsided af.ter a little more than a hundred days. Not that I'm suddenly going to be around enough to hit my hundred post goal for the year - just that it should be less than four months before I post again.

Also, to atone for my neglecting all y'all for so very long, here's your much delayed installment of Ultra Ninja:


Debt’s The Way I See It

TLDR Version – Great book, definitely worth reading.  Despite essentially being a huge failure.

My take on Chapter 12 will follow, but since it’s the final chapter of the book, I’m starting with a book review.  See Chapter 12 is (ideally anyways) where all the various ideas and bits and pieces Graeber has been going through are brought together and placed into context with the real present-day world.  So, before I get to Chapter 12, I have to look at what comes before.

General impressions?  It’s quite readable.  Graeber has such an easy conversational style that despite the educational nature of the book, it’s still compelling.  A couple of times the mask slips (in this case, probably slips back on) and you realize that d00d is a university professor.  His love of the word “efflorescence” for example.  Efflorescence?  Doesn't that mean "to deflower"?  It's eff-something anyways.

One thing Graeber does very well throughout the book is to present and effectively support a bunch of ideas and concepts which are in direct opposition to conventional wisdom.  The famous example is The Myth of Barter, which is how I was first introduced to this book.  So when you read these bits, you suddenly feel smarter – as if you now have some secret bits of information not available to the general public.  A batch of little assisted epiphany moments. These moments themselves are worth the price of admission.

Which is good because otherwise the book is a failure.  You see, it’s not an almanac or reference document.  Those new ideas and concepts that Graeber gives us, they are as part of a bigger picture.  Graeber first gets us to address a bunch of misconceptions we have, about things that a lot of us have always taken for granted.  This part goes well.  Then he tries to get us to understand accept the resulting implications.  That’s asking too much of readers.  People are basically lazy.  Especially when dealing with overhauling their world-views.  Trust me, I am an expert on lazy.

Graeber claims that his actual goal is fostering dialog and getting people to consider options and alternatives for the future that were previously verboten.  He’s prompted dialog for certain, moar words have been written about Chapter 12 than are in it, but it’s all of teh flawed old mode of seeing the world and framed almost entirely in the “language of the market”.  And anyways, even if he doesn’t have the actual solutions, claiming that one is needed (and especially in teh detailed and persuasive way Graeber does this) is a partisan take on its own.  Anyways, I am personally quite sympathetic to the arguments he’s made, and I’m still sorting things out in my head.  I guess that makes me one of the people he’s successfully reached – but I’m not sure if I am moar BURN SHIT DOWN after reading Debt than I was before.

Okay, on to teh specifics.  The first half of the book is anthropology.  He argues, based on empirical observations of societies that little or no exposure to the rest of the world, that the Myth of Barter as the origins of money is false.  That money itself was always credit-based or “fiat money”.  That the actual origins lie in accounting systems developed by large central bureaucracies for accounting purposes.  That, a bunch of other stuff.  Anyways the main point (from my understanding of the book) is that Debt precedes Dollars.  That our understanding of money has to be updated to take into account that at its root, money is not about precious metals, but about obligations and promises.

Added to that is another concept – the idea of a “human economy” as he calls it.  A system of Debt that is based on different rules than traditional exchange or barter.  With the primary basis being that human beings have value and worth beyond quantification and that there are some things where Debt is incurred in a fashion that it can never be repaid – and that tokens are used to express the magnitude of this Debt, but in no way make up some sort of “recompense” for it.  Bridewealth and blood penalties are used to illustrate this concept.

He gets us to start thinking about the way people interact with one another in terms of rank or the presence/absence of hierarchy.  That exchange requires a sort of equality between parties and that this sometimes requires willfully ignoring obvious power disparities.  That inherent contradictions such as these are present in all these types of relations.

These ideas are then illustrated by wandering through five thousand years of history, which I will fast forward through.  The birth of coins marks the start of Empires and exploitative war.  Due to the need to provision armies.  Besides, chaos and violence is not particularly amenable to reputation based economies.  And coins enable pillaging.  He describes this as the military-coinage-slavery-complex.  Then comes a period after the collapse of the Great Empires where global institutions come into play.  These alleviate a lot of suffering and we return to a more credit based economy.  Then the Capitalist Empires develop and we’re back to gold and slavery.  And the finally, we get to Chapter 12 when Nixon unilaterally ends the Gold Standard.

Chapter 12 is not a stand-alone argument.  This is evident by the number of times he references concepts from earlier in the book.  It is evident in Chapter 8 when he explains what this is exactly what he intends to do over the next bunch of pages.  It is evident because it is Chapter 12 and not a separate book altogether.  Which is why it’s getting a separate post.



Trying something new here - blogging from teh phone.

So, been out of teh house off and on for a week and a half. Meaning it has been quite a while since groceries have been done. There were avocados nearing teh end of their useful life. So we went with them.

Found a vegan pasta recipe with oil, lemon, garlic and basil. We don't have fresh basil right now, nor are we vegan. So teh substitute was canned crab. Also, since Texavery's mom was cooking, it wasn't so much a substitution as a totes new recipipe.

Did I mention that I hate you jerkasses that have access to fresh seafood?

Anyways, amazeballs!

Housecleaning note: comments about Debt Chapter 12 coming soon.


Halfway in Debt

An update for those of you who still occassionally look at this blog - I am reading the Graeber tome (speaking of being late to the party).  No time to blog*, and yet I can find time to wade through a pound and a half of anthropology, history and anarchist ranting.  Well, in teh words of someone who's already neatly summed up teh situation and then moved on to something after goatse, I blame Twitter.

I'm on Chapter 6 which is halfway to teh Controversial Chapter of Bombing and Doom.  Maybe it's confirmation bias, but things are looking pretty bad (at least from my perspective) for teh Graeber h8rs.  d00d may have been a complete ass and jerk - and it's not like Henry Farrell is dum or what (that guy's whipcrack sharp).  But unless Chapter 12 breaks out Fluoridation is an Ebil Conspiracy, it's looking bad for teh CT crowd.  Especially bad because despite teh ridiculously offensive "a Reply" that Graeber crapped out, I totally see where he was coming from.  Teh childish SAT/GRE insults are totally about turning teh "de-legitimization" argument around on its head to show how ridiculous it is.  And despite Gabriel Rossman's very helpful and productive responses in teh Thread of teh Unpleasantness, it is very hard to see how Graeber wasn't justified in lashing out***.  That is, unless you value convivial non-shrill pleasantries over substance in arguments.

Anyways, I should have moar to report when I finally get to Chapter Graeber's Full of Shit Despite all teh Nodding and Agreeing I've Been Doing for the Past Three Hundred Pages.  And depending on when Rathian Plate drops for a hammer user, it could be any day now.

* Everyone has their excuses.  Too busy with work, or fambly, or whatnot.  I gots nothing other than pure carp laziness.  Heck, I've only just cleared Rathian** and Monster Hunter Tri will have been out for two years on Friday.  I can't even keep current with dicking off!

** Barroth is a cheap bastard and can suck my hammer.  Fuck you Barroth.

*** Although in the context he was replying in, a more artful response would have been moar effective and knowing your audience is something that's considered a good thing in a writer.


Scarborough Transit Gloria Monday Friday

Let me clarify a bit.  I say I’m from LEAFS SUCK – and while it’s certainly where I was raised (Riverdale – now called Leslieville) – I actually live in Scarberia.  I’ve got a ton to say about the dysfunctional relationship between Scarborough and “Toronto Proper”, but that’s another post, which you’ll probably have to wait weeks for.

Anyways, as I’ve mentioned before, LEAFS SUCK is having some drama about transit and municipal governance.  It’s all really small-town-gossipy-that’s-what-she-said-ish except that we’re talking about projects totalling somewhere in the nine billion dollar range.

If you’re curious about what went down, I suggest reading Steve Munro or Hamutal Dotan for their takes on it.  Shortered history – once elected our wingnut Mayor “killed” a long term transit plan called Transit City and now two years later City Council has endorsed and committed the city to a long term transit plan that is in almost every respect – Transit City.

Anywho, all these transit goings on has got me thinking and maybe there's a post bouncing around about built forms and urban planning and regional transit integration and such.  Certainly teh voices keep whispering stuff at me.  Also too, Scarberia and all that entails.  But for now, I'm just enjoying teh defeat of teh defenders in teh War on Cars.


Even Still Michael Jackson

It’s that time of year again, when everybody’s Irish, and therefore the Irish are everybody - even Michael Jackson. So without further ado, MJ covers by artists with Irish blood in ‘em.

Despite all the ways I know about Mariah Carey’s mom (okay, just the one way), I was surprised to lurn that she’s Irish-American. So we’ll start with the obv. – and not the memorial service performance.

Speaking of obvious, there’s a Chris Cornell version of Billie Jean, but d00d needs to switch to decaf or something. Srsly, I don’t want Mariah to be the understated and restrained performance for this post, so instead, here’s Irish Upside-Downy Neil Finn:

Speaking of Billie Jean - I don’t know if this Canuck is Irish or not, but I feel obliged to leave this link for the Greatest Spengler in the World.

edit: fizzed sum links


What Teh Zelda!

I'm docking Skyword Sword another point. It's been over a month since I defeated Demise, and there is still this loose end that is aggravating teh crap out of me.

SPOILERS. Srsly, will be talking aboot teh end of teh gaem.

So, in this runthrough, Zelda's pretty important. In teh first part, where teh player is running around trying to "save" Zelda, she's preparing herself to hold off teh demonic force bent on world destruction by using teh sheer force of her will. For a thousand years. That's right. She goes back in times thousand years to hold teh Forces of Evil at bay until Link can get his act together enough to Triforce teh Big Bad out of existence.

Great. I am all for strong female leads. This seems a shittybway of treating her, locking her in a crystal cocoon for a millennium, constantly struggling against teh embodiment of hate and destruction, but wev.

Anyways, after Link manages to invoke teh most powerful artifact of teh universe to wipe Demise out of existence, Zelda is released for teh cocoon. She no longer needs to keep a plug on teh world destroying evil forces. It's pretty anticlimactic as there is no Final Boss fight at this point.

So, of course, teh number 1 henchd00d steals teh awakened Zelda and retreats throu teh time portal to teh thousand years ago past to sacrifice her in some crazy ritual which will release teh Big Bad to destroy teh world a thousand years prior to where Link is moping about his Epic amount of uselessness.

All of which means that teh Player has to take Link into teh past for teh Final Boss fights. When you win those, Link and Zelda go back to teh future and live happily ever after.

Have you spotted teh problem? I did while teh credits were running, and it's still bothering me.

When you go back in time with thousand-year-old Zelda, guess who's already there? Not-thousand-year-old-Zelda. In her crystal cocoon. She's right there behind teh big doors - you watched her go into teh cocoon a mere five or seven cutscenes ago. Guess who doesn't come back to teh future? Not-thousand-year-old Zelda. Who would probs be released from teh cocoon shortly after Demise meets his demise. Stuck in teh past. WTF!

Unless there's going to be a spinoff/sequel with Zelda and Impa making their way in teh devastated ancient surface world - exiled from teh future and without a connection to teh humans in Skyloft. That'd be pretty cool. But otherwise, WTF.


A Solid Cockpunching

UPDATE: For thundra, a graphical demonstration*.

I'm not a big fan of Karen Stintz. A card carrying member and supporter of teh Conservatives, she was Rob Ford's personal choice to head up the TTC. She's been a solid voice for the right-wing of LEAFS SUCK Council since she was elected.

But credit where due - about a month ago, she came out swinging for the original Transit City plan for the Eglinton Crosstown. The other Ford-ites on the TTC board blocked her. She then put together a coalition of other councillors and forced a special meeting today, capped off with a 28-15 vote to endorse the old surface route plan. She fought for rational transit, fought hard, and at the expense of cutting herself off from her political allies. Good work Stintz.

Here's teh background, and there's a lot of it. Transit City was a massive project with over 100 km of light rail across seven lines, mostly in dedicated at-grade right-of-ways. There were also some dedicated bus ROW's in the plan as well. This got cut in half after the provinical government decided how much cash was actually available for the project. Then they deferred half the money. And then David Miller who had championed the thing announced that he wasn't running for Mayor again. Then Adam Giambrone, who was the TTC chair at the time and Transit City's best spokesman in the 2010 mayoral election dropped from the race because of a sex scandal. And then Rob Ford was elected with a historically huge margin of victory, and he proclaimed Transit City dead.

Rob Ford's plan was to use the 8 billion in provincial funding to build one line, but bury it all. Because putting rails in the middle of our streets is part of Teh War on Teh Car. Or something. And he used his huge electoral win to bully the province into changing the plan yet again to ensure that cars would nevar be bothered by new rail. This is the 2011 Memorandum of Understanding plan that you'll see referenced if you're interested in this thing enough to read moar about it.

And then the inevitable fallout from electing a jackwad shitbag asshole fucktard pus-filled boil on teh backside of humanity started manifesting. Ford ran on a magical fairy tale - about rich fat cat swivel servants and boondoggle porkalicious bloated super waste in teh City budget which he would personally fix and teh taxpayers would suddenly get a pony. His slogan was Stop The Gravy Train. Turns out that there wasn't any gravy in the city budget. Unless you count stuff like public libraries. His "Core Services Review" was about as well received as a solid cockpunching.

So while Rob Ford had big victories early in his tenure, his influence has basically entered freefall. The first coup was when Council told him to stuff his waterfront plan (with a Monorail! yes teh inevitable Simpsons joke was bandied around a lot at teh time) and then council reversed a bunch of his budget cuts. That budget cut reversal vote was on January 17th, and was a squeaker at 23-21. Karen Stintz voted with Ford that day.

Anyways, Rob Ford's plan was obviously stupid. Here's a look at the various plans. The part of the Eglinton Crosstown that he wanted to bury is out east into Scarborough - my neighbourhood. Here Eglinton is seven lanes wide. There is space for a dedicated ROW. Also too, density is pretty low. A lot of it is strip malls and big box stores with big box parking lots. Getting the density to support a full subway would require a massive shit-ton of development. Not that it matters since Ford wasn't even actually proposing a subway. He was proposing the exact same LRVs as in the Transit City plan, just with all of the rail buried. Because cars.

But that's now a thing of the past. You see, LEAFS SUCK has a "weak mayor-strong council" system of governance. The mayor only gets one vote and he needs to build support amongst councillors for his proposals. There was in fact a legal ruling (solicited by Council) that the Mayor did not have the authority to unilaterally bind the city to the 2011 MOU. And Rob Ford is a stubborn ideologue who is actually physically incapable of compromise without becoming violently ill, so his ability to build consensus is directly tied to his ability to intimidate and bully. And now that the city has had the opportunity to see how useless and ignorant he is, he's a lot less intimidating.

Which brings us to tonight. Council got a taste of victory in the budget cut reversal. A lot of councillors are serving their first terms, but they now have some experience with the system. And Council exercised its power and basically told the mayor to go fuck himself. It is about fucking time.

*Bear cockpunch stoleded from this thread.

A Big Night for Santorum

By Dragon-King Wangchuck

If Mitt Romney thought the road to the GOP nomination was going to be smooth and easy, last night has changed his mind. Surging to victory in all three state-wide contests, Rick Santorum has shown Romney that despite his well greased entry into the frontrunner position, a lot of vigorous work still lies ahead.

It started with Iowa. Santorum's campaign to penetrate deep into America's heartland suffered when Romney showed strong in the first contest. But in the end, it was Santorum that was left as the symbol of Iowa's GOP.

Santorum trickled in the next few contests, with just a small showing on the bottom of the candidates. This led many to believe that he had blown his wad in Iowa, but that's the point about Santorum. Everyone just seems to forget about him despite the fact that he's always there at the finish.

And last night was the reminder. Spreading outwards from that first Iowa victory, in a crack right down the middle of America, Santorum has shot out to the front of the pack. Bursting forth all over the three states Republican parties, Santorum seemed to be everwhere.

He surely hopes to capitalize on this momentum, perhaps by producing a flood of donations. Who knows, maybe this underdog can come from behind and ride the Santorum wave right to the convention. If Romney is having troubles with Santorum now, a long hot summer filled with Santorum is only going to stink up his dreams of the candidacy.

Edit: added byline and cleaned up some booboos

Your Economy's Kung-Fu is Not Strong

disclaimer: I have a soft spot for Stabenow.

Anywho, teh Hoekstra ad. Hee hee. But teh really funneh part is teh doubling down where he claims that there is no racial tint at all to yellowgirl take your job.

I dunno if you've had teh chance to peruse debbiespenditnow.com, but it's no wonder he's standing by his racist ad. His entire campaign appears to be based on OOGA BOOGA TEH YELLOW MENACE!

No links because, woohoo - that's some racist shit right there.

Anyways let's run through teh checklist, shall we?
Soundtrack - gongs, taiko and quarter-tones from a chinese fiddle.
Rice paddies.
She's got a fucking straw hat on her back.
Broken Engrish.
We take your jobs.

I'm guessing that teh reason she bicycles up is that they couldn't bring themselves to pay a second asian actor to pull teh rickshaw.

It's bad enough that even Hot Air thinks teh ad comes off as racist. But teh comment threads and Hoekstra's official response is teh best part. That in teh face of such a blatantly offensive bit of racist China-baiting, they are standing around saying that there's nothing going on. Totally oblivious (or at least pretending to be). Like that's a big improvement over being straight-up racist simple and plain. Whole thing reminds me of a Simpsons episode.

Looking forward to teh point when Hoekstra finally concedes that teh ad is racist and tells teh world "me so solly!"


Live and Let Diaper

TRIGGER Warning: Babby talk, plus teh proselytizing zeal of recent convert evangelism.

Teh data is still coming in, but I think I've collected enough to be positive that cloth diapers are super awesome muchly moar so than ebil planet-killing disposables. Sorry to all youse folks who didn't go cloth, I don't mean to say that you are monsters who are destroying teh world that you are passing on to your babbies, but facts are facts.

But seriously, almost everything out there regarding cloth vs disposable that isn't produced by teh diaper-industrial complex is all fair and balanced namby-pamby, there are advantages and drawbacks to each and no one is going to make me say which is bettar. Well fuck that noise. Cloth is better. Sure each and every individual babby is an unique and will have their own particulars, but cloth's advantages of so high that it don't make no nevermind. In every case except teh extremest outliers, cloth >> disposable.

Okay, here we go with teh breakdown:

Ultra Ninja's nine and a half months old. In this time, she has gone through over 3500 diapers. Mostly because she absolutely despises being in a wet diaper. The first month we used disposables, also some disposables on extended trips like teh week at teh cottage. Let's say 3000 disposables have been displaced by our Fuzzi Bunz in the UN's first 3/4 of a year - so 4000 diapers not thrown away in the first year. These would have been mostly Size 1 through 3 (since we couldn't replace the Newborn size with cloth), which if you use teh mega huge super-jumbo packs you can probably get for about $0.20 each. That works out to eight hundred dollars.

We got out Fuzzi Bunz at under $20 a piece. You can usually swing this if you're getting all of them at teh same time. Thirty is a good basis, but we got ten more than that. That works out to eight hundred dollars.

But wait. What about teh extra laundry costs? True - we're doing a load of laundry almost every day. Well first note that these diapers don't go into the dryer as it can cause extra wear on their waterproofing. Even if you have an old top loader machine, you're looking at about a third of a kWh of electricity, 40 or so gallons of water and about $0.30 in gas to heat the water. In LEAFS SUCK we have time-of-use electricity billing, but even at peak prices this is under 4 cents in power. Our water rate is $2.50 for 1000 gallons - or 5 cents in water. Price per load of detergent is about a dime (a load of diapers only need a quarter load of detergent). Even rounding up and adding a bit extra - this is like, two hundred bucks a year. For us, water usage (and therefore natural gas for heating the water) is halved by our fancy front loader and we typically run over night at a 40% discount to electricity rates - so even less.

So roughing it out, our payback period for the cloth diapers is going to be somewhere around twelve to sixteen months. Savings from that point on are just gravy on top of knowing that we've avoided the disposal of thousands of diapers.

Anyways, those are teh numbers with a babby who hates being wet and needs to be changed a lot, but even if you're changing a lot fewer diapers than we are, you are going to do better with cloth before you get to Pull-Ups.

Speaking of gravy - we heard horror stories from moar experienced parents of teh dreaded POOP geyser. This is when you get babby shit shooting out the top of the back of the diaper. Loverly. Something we discovered is that these newfangled cloth diapers and their fancy elastics and adjustable fitting bits and pieces means no POOP geysers. Even teh runniest, gassiest, POOPiest of excretions remains contained. We have had all of one incidence of POOP leakage, and it was with a disposable. Actually it was yesterday - and that's why I'm writing this post now instead of at teh end of year 1.

And in closing - some pictures. To demonstrate that hey lack of POOP geyseriness isn't related to a bland diet.

Plus one moar just because she is so adorbs.


For Whale Chowder's Mom

Muchos thanxkees to WC for teh lyrical leavings. He really should start his own poetry blahg.

Whale Chowder's dad is a queer old lad
who loves getting fucked up his butt.
His rectum's been raided, pillaged, invaded.
He's teh bumfuckiest bottomest slut.
And all teh d00ds say that as a cheap lay
He's easily teh easiest score,
But he's veritable a saint, for he certainly ain't
As dirty as WC's mom teh whore.

She Smells Like Victory

I love teh smell of your mom in teh morning.

Sky-waggle Sword

Just an update in case anyone's wondering where I've been. in the world of Skyward Sword. New Game+ (unlocked after finishing the game normally) is called Hero Mode and I'm about a quarter way through. Here's my review:

TLDR version - 9/10. Zelda-riffic, but waggle haters can go blow themselves until teh next CoD:MW installment.

This isn't really meant to be a review, but rather a rebuttal to teh various complaints about teh game. There are some big flaws in teh game, but teh ones most folks whine about aren't them.

Firstly, teh waggle haters. Teh Wii is five years old. In that time, Nintendo mostly used teh motion controls for shovelware and party game compilations. The sort of stuff Kinect and Move owners are now seeing. There were a couple of attempts at making use of teh motion controls with core franchises - Super Mario Kart Wii, Super Mario Galaxy and sequel, Metroid Prime 3. Waggle haters please note that these are some of teh best games made in recent years.

Skyward Sword is even moar motion control focused. If you hate teh waggle, skip this game. It plays like an argument for why this console generation's first motion control is teh best. And it's a pretty persuasive argument.

It really does feel liek you're holding teh hilt of teh Master Sword and swinging that bugger around. There's lotsa complaints that it doesn't work - but I suspect that this is teh voice of hurt pride talking. Yes, this requires moar co-ordination than remembering where triangle and circle are located. Actually swinging teh remote is moar difficult than just pushing a button. But lotsa folks get by just fine, totes able to swing in all eight directions. Sure if you twist teh Wiimote before swinging it borks up your attack, but guess what? Feature not a bug. Swinging an actual sword with teh blade on an angle is gonna bork things up too. Plus, it's not supposed to be childishly simple, just pretty easy. Like your mom. A small exception - sometimes when you slash to vigorously, Link follows up with a thrust - probably due to centripetal force on teh controller or teh sensor reacting to teh sudden stop at teh end of your swing or wev. Just bear in mind that you don't need to flail teh Wiimote like you're chopping down a tree.

Teh controls work awesome. Flying teh loftwing, skydiving, swimming and teh beetle are excellently done. Basically, all teh various gadgets work great with teh motion controls. There are many points in teh game where different motion control bits are required. If you are unwilling to try something different, something other than dual analog sticks, well then wev. Enjoy your tiny little box of gaming experience. OMG! Console games aren't teh same unless played on cathode ray tubes!

Another common complaint - backtracking. Uh, d00ds - it's a Legend of Zelda game. That means backtracking. Also too SPOILERS, almost all of teh backtracking isn't really backtracking at all. Revisiting Faron Woods to do teh Spirit Trial in teh Spirit World is totes different. Teh next revisiting occurs after teh entire region is flooded and underwater. It may be teh same locale with teh same landmarks, but this is not backtracking. Running Eldin Volcano during teh eruption phase - not backtracking.

Teh Camera. 3D third-person action games always solicit complaints about teh camera. Here, there's no player control over teh camera except z-targetting and going into first-person look around mode. But really, that's all you need - a way of re-focusing teh camera quickly with a single button tap for time-sensitive situations and a way to leisurely take in teh surroundings and assess teh environment for clues. Moar control of teh camera would probs be less helpful in teh majority of circumstances.

Teh complaint that Fi sucks. Well, Fi does suck. She's no Midna, let me tell you. I got nothing here - considering teh dozens of hours you spend with her as a guide, it would have been nice to have a bettar companion. All I got is - at least she skates around real purdy,

So basically, teh misdirected gripes and complaints about Skyward Sword are about gameplay. That's messed up. Teh gameplay in Skyward Sword is amazing. Some new mechanics mixed into Legend of Zelda's already winning collection - well executed too. Pacing is a little slow at the beginning, but what with teh new control scheme, maybe warranted. Espscially considering all teh waggle haters who can't get past a Bokoblin's guard. Level design is sensational. Lanaryu and teh Timeshift stuff especially.

My problem with Skyward Sword is moar fundamental - teh storytelling. There's a huge fricking hole in teh overall narrative that sucks teh life out of it. Teh issue is that I have great difficulty caring about what happens. As is typical of teh genre, our hero has to rescue all of existence from teh Big Bad - but as you play through, there's a nagging feeling that develops about why you would bother. It's a good thing teh gameplay is so engaging because if you stop to think about it, you notice teh surface world isn't really worth saving. I mean, sure it's pretty and filled with exciting and complicated puzzles - but it's also almost totally devoid of characters which evoke any real sympathy whatsoever.


Teh first region has teh Kikwis. There's five of them and you barely interact with any of them. All they do is hide. Later there are also teh underwater umbrella d00ds. There seem to be a number of these guys, but they are even less interesting than teh Kikwis. It's looked after by teh Water Dragon who is a condescending and annoying bitch.

Region 2 has Mogmas. These guys have a moar prominent role in teh game, comic relief. They are poorly sketched out and their only defining characteristic is that they are acquisitive greedy little bastards (if that can be considered a single characteristic). Teh guardian of this zone is teh Fire Dragon who is a loud and insensitive buffoon.

Region 3 has teh little robot d00ds who are genuinely interesting, unforteunately, they went extinct a thousand years previous to teh start of teh game (you interact with them through regions affected by Timeshift Stones which put you into teh distant past). IOW, they are already gone by teh time you can do buggerall about them. Teh Thunder Dragon (not Bhutan this time) is teh least offensive of teh regional guardians, but he's basically dying when you meet him. This entire zone, teh only one that might have been worth saving, is filled with folks who are already dead or well on their way.

There are also a few Gorons that are pleasant enough d00ds, and also archaeologists too! That's pretty cool - but is it enough to warrant teh wholesale slaughter of all those Bokoblins and Moblins? There are way moar enemies on teh surface than anything else. So wouldn't teh democratic thing be to let teh baddies take over? wev. I'm struggling through Hero Mode because teh game is genuinely a blast to play. With a marginally less annoying NPC population, this game would be perfect.


Viva Les Resolutions!

It's yet another Doomsday Year. Also too, election season for teh USA. Gonna be fun times.

So I missed 100 posts. But in doing so, I lurned a bit about meself. I'm not a blogger. I'm a commenter. Generally, when I write, I assume teh reader already has a lot of teh context and background. This is great when it's a reply comment in a thread headed up with a well written post - but it makes for shoddy original posts.

What does this mean? Basically nothing. I kinda knew all along and really, this blog hasn't affected my cavorting around in S,N! threads. Teh reason I started blogging in teh first place was because occasionally I need to vent in a longer format then is appropriate for a thread comment. Also too, serves as a way to get teh voices in my head out. Meaning that teh disconnected and highly unpolished nature of my posting is feature not bug. Which kinda sucks for teh two or three folks looking forward to descriptions of how I boned their moms - but teh muse only comes when you use teh up on teh downstroke technique she does.

So, yet another rambling streamofconsciousness intro. And here's teh funneh part - having lurned a bit about myself in failing to hit a hundred posts, Imma see if I can lurn something new for next year. So without further ado,

Staircase Twit Resolutions 2011

1. A hundred posts.
3. Finally get a blogroll up,,, well that one was easy.
4. Moar doggerel. Not necessarily about your mom.
5. Rationalize teh tag mess.

Happy Election Year guys.