Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This is Ironic... Wait, No, That's Not the Word...

...what was the word I was looking for? Oh yes. Predictable.

Alberta Closes Books on Fiscal Year with $852 Million Shortfall. (Globe and Mail)

This is why I kept my mouth shut when folks like Hunter were saying...
If oil keeps above $60, and the bank rate stays below 1%, I predict massive profits for the federal government because of oil sands development. Did Page factor the oil sands into his calculations? I doubt it because he has no clue what is happening in the west.

Oil's at $72/barrel today. Federal prime rate is at half a percent. And profits... wait, what?

Alright, Alberta separatists. Alright, right-wingers from Alberta who believe that the rest of the country wants your oil money - where's the money? Huh? Where has it gone?

Oh, that's right. Tax cuts to corporations and the rich. Carry on.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Asshat of the Day - June 29th, 2009

Today's candidate is Miss Christie Blatchford. Much as I respect the great old edifice of the Globe and Mail for having columnists from both sides of the great political divide, it's only natural that their more socially conservative ones should draw my ire - and that's precisely what Miss Blatchford has done. Drawn. My ire.

Her most recent column - Madoff's No Murderer - decries the fact that Bernie Madoff got handed down a sentence of 150 years in prison for the elaborate Ponzi scheme he maintained.

To quote Miss Blatchford,
I am unconvinced that the slower justice Canadians receive is better; unconvinced that white-collar crime is worthy of more grievous punishment than violent criminal offences (most particularly murder); unconvinced that those who were swindled by Mr. Madoff ought to be seen purely as victims, although they are universally being described that way.
She goes on to rail against Canada's "lax" justice system, with a particular bit of venom reserved for the Canadian life sentence ("...or what passes for it in Canada...") and the "faint hope" clause.

Now, this might be viewed as reasonable, but let's examine the two crimes. Murder, we'll all admit, is a horrible thing. But we've created implements that make it very, very easy... and humans are fragile creatures at the best of times. This is why there are degrees of severity in murder charges. Manslaughter is when you do it by accident.

Moreover, murder is the work of a second, most of the time. Premeditated murder is a special sort of evil, and so most who commit it are put away for a very long time - but unless we have irrefutable proof that the accused committed the crime (for example, Paul Bernardo), the faint hope clause and the chance of parole after twenty-five years is our justice system's way of providing a safety net. For the people who lashed out in a moment of anger that will pain them for the remainder of their lives - they deserve punishment, certainly, but to damn them instantly and eternally? (Come to think of it, that's a fairly Conservative viewpoint.)

Mr. Madoff, in contrast, carried on with his Ponzi scheme for seventeen years. He caused $65 billion dollars of savings to vanish. He wiped out life savings, pensions, charity funds! Erased philanthropic holdings, destroyed building loans! And you don't think that's premeditated murder?

I'll leave you with a bit from a man far wiser than I...
"I have never laid a finger on anyone in my life, Mr Pump. I may be— all the things you know I am, but I am not a killer! I have never so much as drawn a sword!"

"No, You Have Not. But You Have Stolen, Embezzled, Defrauded And Swindled Without Discrimination, Mr Lipvig. You Have Ruined Businesses And. Destroyed Jobs. When Banks Fail, It Is Seldom Bankers Who Starve. Your Actions Have Taken Money From Those Who Had Little Enough To Begin With. In A Myriad Small Ways You Have Hastened The Deaths Of Many. You Do Not Know Them. You Did Not See Them Bleed. But You Snatched Bread From Their Mouths And Tore Clothes From Their Backs. For Sport, Mr Lipvig. For Sport. For The Joy Of The Game."
--Terry Pratchett, "Going Postal"
Just because Madoff wore a suit when he committed his crimes doesn't make him any less evil, Miss Blatchford. Just more palatable to you.

A Brief Outburst on Spelling



Use your 'i's, people.

Also, just so we're clear, 'irregardless' is not a word. It's just 'regardless'.

That is all.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Asshat of the Day - June 26th, 2009

Samson Effect here. Been a while, hasn't it? Humblest apologies.

Today's AotD post comes by way of the Blogging Tories (when was the last time they won an Assie? I think it's been a while. But I digress.) and she of the fetus-centric all-caps, SUZANNE, over at Big Blue Wave.

Why? This is why.

WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC PHOTO CONTAINED THEREIN. View at your own risk. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I'm actually somewhat surprised Nudger, the captain of this good ship, didn't take this one since he directed me to it, but he was hounding me for dereliction of duty and I suppose he was leaving it for me. So, what's wrong with this post, horrendous gore aside? Well, for one, she gets the story wrong; the photo was from the war in Iraq, not from Iran, nor did the Iranian government have anything to do with it. However, she has acknowledged that, mitigating my ire on that front.

Second, as you well know, SUZANNE is a pro-life catholic. This is not worthy of an AotD post per se, however, it is the underlying reason. The entirety of the post, the mother of the fetus was mentioned only once, as being the one who was shot. That's all the poor woman got in this article. No photo, or even mention of her condition at all, just a horribly grisly photo of the fetus. (Apparently no photo of the woman was available; this does not excuse the almost total absence of sympathy for said woman.)

Nudger himself got into the fray in the comments section of the article here, and said it likely better than I could have, but never underestimate the apparent stone-deafness of these folk, as evidenced by All-caps' meagre rebuttal:


I don't have the picture of the mother.

Is that a reason not to discuss the baby who was shot in the womb?

Why must the absence of the mother preclude discussing the baby?

Quite simply, it doesn't. You'd be hard-pressed to find a person, no matter what wing of the political ship they're on, who doesn't think that these are tragic circumstances. My question, however, is this: Why must the presence of the fetus preclude discussing the mother-to-be? And now the other shoe comes down, courtesy of JJ:

Artful - According to the story, which has since been pulled, the mother was killed.

But so what? She wasn't a fetus.

So here's the key point. Allcaps is getting all misty-eyed because a fetus ended up taking a bullet. Tragic turn of events, don't misunderstand. Here's what really gets my goat: Not a single breath spared for the dead mother. Didn't even bother looking into the mother's condition, I imagine, which in my mind is a woeful lack of due diligence, not to mention a Herculean slap in the face to anyone with a sense of decency. Suzanne's words in this post and the comments demonstrate quite clearly that she was being exactly what everyone has accused her of on a regular basis previously: A stark-raving fetus-centric lunatic.

May the dead rest peacefully; they didn't deserve this fate.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Asshat of the Day - June 25th, 2009

Yep, it's him again.

This guy, I tell you. If he's not eliminating one of the scientific endeavours in which we do well, or plotting to sell off crown corporations, he's polishing up the mud-slinging and similarly disgusting political behaviour his party engaged in when there was a threat of an election.
“I do think the people want to see the parties work together. But, certainly if the parties aren't going to work together, the Conservative Party won't unilaterally disarm.”

Apparently, when proper parliamentary procedures and good governance aren't on your side, the next weapon you pull in Canadian government is smear tactics and attack ads. Classy.

There's also this little gem, near the end of the article:
[Harper] also defended the size of the federal deficit, saying it is relatively small compared to the United States and will not require tax increases to deal with because so much of the spending is temporary.

Them. Us.

It could be, Mr. Harper, it just might be, that our debt is so much smaller because we are so much smaller! If we take away the debt incurred by George W. Bush, the US debt was 41.5% of their GDP. Ours is at 56% - and your deficit stands to increase that to 60%. Theirs is currently much worse than ours, but a name can be put to the reason why. Do you really want to be Canada's George Walker Bush Jr, Mr. Harper?

Or is this just part of your plan to destroy the country that you hate?

This Explains So Much...

It's old news, but still worth dredging up:

As of 1999, and again in 2005, surveys indicated that 1 in 5 American Adults believe the sun orbits the earth. From the Gallup poll:
As far as you know, does the earth revolve around the sun, or does the sun revolve around the earth?

Earth revolves around the sun 79%
Sun revolves around the earth 18%
No opinion 3%

Like I said - it explains so very much.

Afterthought: Who has "no opinion" about a binary statement of fact?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Asshat of the Day - June 24th, 2009

Let's spin the big wheel and see who we get today... ah yes.

He's the dictator of a country where most of the citizenry are well below any poverty line, he's known for making ridiculous comments and for his own idiosyncrasies, and he might actually be insane - ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Kim Jong-Il.

From the article:
"If the U.S. imperialists start another war, the army and people of Korea will … wipe out the aggressors on the globe once and for all," the official Korean Central News Agency said.
Look, Kim.

I don't know how to say this, so I'll just say it. You can't make these threats. Your nuclear program is doubtful, you've not had a successful ballistic missile launch - and even if you had a few nukes, your palace would be rubble two hours after you tried to launch. And anything less than a few hundred nuclear weapons would be pretty much insufficient to "wipe out the aggressors (as you see them) on the globe once and for all."

You're not fooling anyone; no one is seriously frightened of you - not even South Korea, and you share a land border with them. Give up the nuclear program, let foreign aid in, and rebuild your economy. Prove that you're not as nuts as you seem. Or, you know, keep making threats like this, and go down in history as a sad, insane little dictator who couldn't cut it, and so made his people suffer for his own inadequacies.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Asshat of the Day - June 23rd, 2009

Today's pick? Alberta MLA Doug Elniski.


Part of [Elniski's] posting included advice to girls saying, "Ladies, always smile when you walk into a room, there is nothing a man wants less than a woman scowling because he thinks he is going to get s--t for something and has no idea what."

It continues, "Men are attracted to smiles, so smile, don't give me that 'treated equal' stuff. If you want Equal, it comes in little packages at Starbucks."

That's why.

Not all Conservatives are sexist, racist, or homophobic - but it's peculiar to see how many people who are find things in common with them, eh?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Asshat of the Day - June 20th, 2009

As they often deserve, today's AotD is the Harper government.

Why? This is why.

Most telling from the article?
  • "We have not and we will not be proposing legislation to grant police the power to get information from internet companies without a warrant. That's never been a proposal," Day said.

  • In a reversal from Day's position in 2007, one of the new bills would require internet service providers and cellphone companies to provide police with "timely access" to personal information about subscribers — including names, address and internet addresses — without the need for a warrant.

The government goes on to protest, "But all the cool countries are doing it!"

Let's quickly summarize the other countries laid out for us by the CBC:

  • UK - RIPA is a pretty sweeping anti-privacy bill. So a valid comparison there.

  • US - The Patriot Act. Need I say more? But they're working to rescind certain wiretapping abilities, and, come to it, do we really want to be emulating the Bush Era US Government?

  • Australia - You still need a warrant. Under this bill, our police don't.

  • New Zealand - Still need a warrant.

  • Germany - warrantless behavior overturned.

  • Sweden - is worse. No question there.

But if "the cool kids are doing it" isn't a good reason for children, why should it be a valid excuse for our government?


One of the better articles I've read: Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

An Outing in the Country

So, there's been quite the to-do amongst the various Blogging Tories - even Suzanne took some time off from spouting Christian double-talk and defending the rights of zygotes to chortle in triumph. Mind you, it wasn't her opinion that finally made the penny drop that it might be worth making a post about here. Oh no. That came from a much higher power.

So, we now know that Canadian Cynic is, in fact, Rob Day. He's friends with (or, at least, had his picture taken with) P.Z. Myers. He's a techie, and runs a Linux course site. If anything, the outing has made him cooler.

Now, I've never really agreed with CC's use of language; while shouting obscenities can be a useful tactic, I find it numbs one's opponent to their sting. Best to save them for when they're really needed. With that being said, I've never disagreed with his choice of targets. Vitriol notwithstanding, one could almost condemn him for hitting targets that were too soft - targets that virtually mocked themselves. (But then I would be forced to acknowledge the colour of the pot, and where's the fun in that?)

But with people lying about what precisely he said in an effort to vilify him, banning him from their sites so he can't attempt a reasoned rebuttal - one finds it hard to see how your tactics could possibly be worse. Oh dear. He called you names. Well, you'll just have to lie about him so he seems worse, and prevent him from trying to set the record straight. That'll show him!

More to the point, I'm not certain what this was meant to accomplish. As was pointed out very accurately by a Conservative party blogger:
…and now that it’s been shown to have been a positive thing to “out” Canadian Cynic, as it’s not only increased his traffic but has shown the whole world that the “outers” are pathetic, petty and childish…

Absolutely right. Also, do you honestly think he's going to stop mocking the deservedly mocked? What was the worst thing you could threaten him with? Exposure. That's been done. He's still here.

You're screwed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Book Review - Frost-Haired Vixen

Now, I know that most of the space in this blog is taken up by rants and tirades - and this post is no different.

Frost Haired Vixen by John Zakour is a heinous book. If you receive it as a gift, the person who gave it to you hates you. I personally checked it out from the library, and it is a waste of shelf space there. An empty shelf would actually be better than a shelf with this travesty of a book upon it.

First, points off for mechanics. The writing is trite, and in the style of a fourth grader who had Phillip Marlowe read to him and thought it sounded fun. (Subject-verb-object-period. Subject-verb-object-period.) There are grammar mistakes and spelling mistakes. At one point, he butchers the mechanism of photosynthesis, so there are even technical mistakes - in a science fiction book, where reality is mutable. These are not cutting-edge science mistakes, or predictions that turned out wrong. These are grade-school science mistakes.

Second, points off for writing. Aside from the aforementioned mistakes, the characters are cookie-cutter; they have no depth at all, their dialogue is laughable, and the majority of the characters are based on tired or, frankly, offensive stereotypes. The computer scientists from Mars? No social skills, kind of greasy-looking, thick glasses, obsessed with women. The mind control? Trite. The end villain was no more predictable than Poe's locked room mystery, and for the same reason; the protagonist had clues that the reader did not.

Don't buy this book. Don't even let your gaze linger on it for more than a moment. I read it from beginning to end, in the hopes that it would improve along the way. It did not.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sometimes Even Self-Publishing Companies Should Have Shame

I know, I know - still none of the regular features. Things will look up; trust me.

In the interim, I present the most compelling argument against facilitating self-publishing ever seen.

The book is in caps. The whole thing. (With the exception of any bible passages, which, given their total lack of spelling mistakes, dramatically different font and formatting, and general coherency, I'd wager were cut-and-pasted from elsewhere.)

This tome of internet shouting (clocking in at a hefty 648 pages!) is priced at the easy-to-afford rate of $135.00, plus tax. For the paperback. Anyone who buys this book has too much money, and should be putting it to some other, more beneficial use. Say, burning it.

The author, one Eliyzabeth Anderson, went to the good folks at Authorhouse.com, and I sincerely hope an automated system handled the rest, because I'd like to think a company that actually binds proper books would have some sense of shame. (Incidentally, I think she opted for the essential paperback package. The length of her opus notwithstanding, I would've sprung for the proofreading option. Costly or not, she would've got her money's worth. Or caused deaths at Authorhouse.com headquarters due to proofreader cerebral hemorrhaging.)


I'd hope that Ms. Anderson had/has some sense that she has no ability to write, that she is a complete failure as an authoress and should never put pen to paper again... but given the existence of this book, I rather doubt it.

H/T to the good folks at Canadian Cynic

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Fun Game While You Wait for An Update

Go to Conservapedia. Swallow your bile. Choose any page at random (this page is a good start) and read it as if it were written as an article in the Onion, or one at Landover Baptist.

You see? Conservapedia is an untapped source of comedy gold!