2014-10-21

Did Naomi Klein sock puppet her own editorial literary defense?

There's a minor theory tonight that this bizarre "editor's" rant is actually Naomi Klein herself.

Now we're in no condition to actually say for sure: one of the best ways, getting a forensic linguist (yes, those exist) to compare the writing to Klein's own, is possible, but that means having to look at a second piece of her drivel, and frankly one potential piece is enough.

Instead, let's run it through the famed Gender Guesser and see what we can find.

For informal writing, the text comes out 62.47% male. For formal writing, the text comes out 50% even-steven, with the note that "Weak emphasis could indicate European." [that's very meta... -ed].

Let's compare with an excerpt from Shock Doctrine. You can read it yourself in the link if you want to. It's not recommended.

With this clip, informal writing analysis puts the text at 79.1% male. On the formal writing side, the analysis again says weak emphasis could indicate European, and slaps a 59.9% "male" label on it. It's worth noting of course that the other Klein excerpt is longer. Of course, it's less accurate, unless Noami Klein needs a more competent male ghostwriter to spew out her works.

On a balance of probabilities, it could go either way it seems. Regardless, it does appear from the least rigorous of analyses that Noami Klein did write her "editor's" note.

Now who would do something like that? [wait, what? -ed]

2014-10-09

Socialist Don Iveson is out to lunch on photo radar

On Tuesday, in response to this (mostly) excellent petition, Mayor Coward and the rest of the dregs on city council addressed photo radar:

“I’m just tired of this sense that some people have that they’re better than the law. This is my kids’ safety, this is people’s safety that’s at stake here,” he said.

“These people that want to argue that they’re above the law, I have just had it with them, absolutely had it.”
The problem with "this sense" that we're better than "the law" is that it's true: drivers willing to flout the law are less likely to be in an accident. That drivers are capable of figuring out the safe speeds better than our useless lout of a mayor is a fact that's pretty much beyond reproach at this stage.

"People's safety" is, of course, a misnomer: speed limit decreases can mean increases in accidents and mortality rates! (not to mention the obvious, the "safest" speed that Don Iveson the Coward could set would be 0km/hr city-wide. Unsurprisingly, the City of Edmonton is unwilling to put this level of stake into "kids's safety"!)

And why on earth are Don Iveson's playing on the Whitemud or Scona Road? I realize that his children are the byproduct of him and the only (cowardly) woman dumb enough to hook up with him, but even they surely cannot be stupid enough to confuse a playpark with the intersection at 91st street and 34th avenue.

Cowardly Iveson, of course, put it all in a blogpost as well. Most of everything the asshole says is wrong, as you may have already guessed:
Last year, 23 people died in collisions on our streets. Thousands were injured in an average of 68 collisions per day, which altogether caused millions in damage and worsened congestion on our roads
What was the average speed during these collisions? Were they caused by drivers going above or below the speed limit? Were the drivers even at fault in all of them? Even at 50km/hr, a drunk Indian crossing the Hendy at night would be killed if he was hit by a car. Will the limit on the Henday be lowered to 20 to avoid this?

More to the point, do you know what's causing all of this ridiculous conjestion on the roads? Badly designed LRT intersections and artificially low speed limits. Hey, idiot! That's your department. There's a term for people who create problems and then make cosmetic changes to make it look like they are trying to solve those problems. "Cowardly asshole Don Iveson" is one of those terms.
The good news is that injury and fatality rates are coming down, thanks in part to a suite of integrated traffic safety programs including Automated Photo Enforcement. Back in 2007, there were 7.44 such collisions per 1,000 Edmontonians. Last year that number was 3.89 per 1,000 people
Remember the "superficial things" issue above? It comes back to a head here: the City has (to its credit) been looking at real things to prevent collisions: namely redesigning intersections to make them less likely to cause collisions (such as changing angles so that less extreme shoulder checking is required). This effort was mostly done in between 2004 and 2010. Kindly note that the "back in" bad old days corresponds with the time period in which the roads were being rebuilt to minimize accidents. So where does the coward come up with crediting photo radar? A city-commissioned study that, surprise surprise, tells the city exactly what they want to hear (and oddly seems to counter every neutral study ever conducted on the relationship between speed and accidents).
“according to Dr. Karim El-Basyouny, the City of Edmonton’s Research Chair in Urban Traffic Safety at the University of Alberta, the risk of a collision doubles at 5 km/h over the speed limit in a 60 km/h zone. The risk is four times higher at 10 km/h over and 10 times higher at 15 km/h over the speed limit.”
Is there an increased risk of collisions between two vehicles exceeding the silly random number posted on the side of the road? The "exciting" stats being peddled here is just the obvious notion that speed differentials cause issues. Studies have shown about 10% of the population are retards who blindly follow whatever nonsense the government tells them to. As per https://twitter.com/FACLC/status/519556711086964736my favourite (and always unanswered) question, if the city set the limit to 10km/hr on every road tomorrow, how many of these "just don't speed" whiners would actually do it?

Officially, however, nobody at the City can take a position that the speed limit is anything other than the speed limit.

lim·it

'limit/

noun

1. a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass.
This may be a bit of a shocker to somebody as dense as Don Iveson, but we extend or pass this point or level every goddamned day. Excepting for a few insane people, and the brief pause when we pass a radar van, it's a constant that happens all day every day. Speeders are national benefactors, and leeching mayors aren't quite as much. The random number that is posted on the side of the road is just that, and we ignore it quite happily thank you very much.
To me, the solution is simple: the most effective and principled way we can put photo radar out of business is to stop speeding.
Yes, this is true. However, the only principled way to do this is to eliminate speeding as a thing. "Speeding" is just "driving faster than a sign says to". The signs can change, and of course need to. Coming down is just the perfect level of change.

Iveson made the following idiotic comments:
"I'm a law maker, I make laws not to be casually obeyed as it suits you, I make laws so that they get obeyed. We are going to enforce them and we are going to make them stand."
I don't obey your laws, you statist twit. I never will, and everybody will fully understand why you chose cowardice when I confront you if you ever dare stop me. Your enforcement by corrupt cops is laughable: you'll never stop us. We outnumber you, and we're smarter.

The comments on Iveson's post, which are usually a series of dreck by whichever pro-sodomy group has retweeted him lately, is refreshingly positive. Here are a few highlights:
If you set all speed limits to be realistic with the flow of traffic, I will cease complaining about photo radar. Until then, photo radar in my mind is unreasonable criminalization of the normal actions of everyday working people. Going 115km/h with the flow of traffic on Henday should not be against the law.

Also concerning is the fact that you still don’t understand why people still think photo radar is a cash grab. People are now well aware where the money goes, what grinds our gears is how photo radar is run like a for-profit company. For example, does hiding a photo radar van behind bushes or on top of overpasses make the road any safer than placing it in plain view? No, but it makes the program more money. Especially now that city employees at running the program, I wonder if they’re more interested in justifying their existence than anything.

I would also prefer not to hear the “well, stop speeding” argument from you anymore. You’re here to represent the people of Edmonton and address our concerns. As soon as you start lecturing people like that, your case for keeping photo radar loses a lot of credibility. People don’t like being talked down to, especially when they feel like they’ve been wronged in the first place
Do you think this a joke MR Iveson. You think 17K+ people just decided one day, “Hey I’m gonna sign a petition for photo radar….” Open your eyes and your mind Mt Iveson. This is an awakening. An awakening from people representing all ages, gender, race, profession. This has only begun
Except photo radar should not be set at a threshold that seems unfair. Then it is correctly seen as a road tax. It’s simplistic to say just don’t speed. Ask any enforcement personnel who have done radar/speed enforcement, unfair enforcement ie using a low threshold, getting people in a transition zone, down hill. In an area that doesn’t have traffic accidents but is just a convenient “fishing” hole actually causes people to go faster elsewhere. Photo radar is perceived as a road tax grab by many drivers.
there is a photo radar truck on 132 Ave which is a 4 lane wide road with good visibility that is only 50kms an hour. While driving on this road it is VERY easy to increase speed to 5 or 10kms over the speed limit to go with the flow of traffic. I have now started setting my cruise control to 50kms because I can’t trust myself not to speed on that road. My partner and I received 6 photo radar tickets (within a period of 2 weeks) all around the 60kms/hour mark (what we thought the speed limit was, but no posted speed equals 50kms, and I know we should know better, but we didn’t). As it is we both now use the unsafe practice of using cruise control to ensure the speed is adhered to to the letter on a road that as I mentioned is wide and with clear visibility.
Also to note, if the risk of accidents has decreased over time, why take away something that is working? Ironically the moment the thresh hold was decreased below the 11km/h window, accidents have actually increased in intersections and on regular roads. At least thats what the city of edmonton website shows.
Honestly I don’t think Iveson is a bad person, but he’s honestly blind about all this Photo Radar stuff. The issue isn’t speeding (Sometimes when the flow of traffic is above the speed limit, then it’s actually safer to stick with the flow of traffic). The real issue is that drivers aren’t properly educated here in Edmonton. Too many people tailgate, drive non confidently, recklessly (even slower drivers do this), and at times people just don’t know how to drive (don’t even get me started on merging onto highways). Those are the things that the city should be dealing with. Not people which go lets say 10km over the speed limit especially in zones which require higher speed limits.

My other issue with all of this is how the Photo Radar program is a cash grabbing program. Not a safety program. If it was about safety then Photo Radar vans wouldn’t be hiding in the bushes, behind signs etc. Instead they’d be out in the open which would actually get speeders to slow down. Plus the amount of Photo radar now being used due to the councils horrible budgeting skills is just ridiculous. They’re just trying to compensate for going over the planned budget.
I used to be like you are Mr. mayor. A limit is a limit, anything over is exceeding the speed limit. Then I started wondering, why aren’t tickets given out for 51 in a 50 zone. I would think most people would agree that getting a ticket at 51 was silly. Then what should be an acceptable over-the-limit variance?
I also wondered about the safety argument. Are the photo radar units put in places of high accident rates or in places where speed limits are low or change a lot. Here’s a location I see a lot. The 107 ave and 142 street traffic circle. That is a high collision spot. Three entrances to the circle have 60 kph limits, one has a 50. Where is the photo radar unit placed? Not entering the circle, where the collisions happen, but on the 50 kph exit. I can give more examples where the photo radar is placed in areas that catch speeders than in areas of high collisions. I am leaning toward the side that says photo radar is a cash cow
It is good news that injury and fatality rates are coming down. I am sure that safer cars, better brakes, tires, better road surfaces, improved signage, better lighting and visibility all contribute to this positive change.

The city’s active photo radar enforcement program correlates with this change, but likely has done little or nothing to cause this change.

The #1 and #2 causes of fatal collisions are 1) following too closely and 2) making left turns into oncoming traffic. These collision causing factors are not something that photo radar enforcement can directly affect.

In the Edmonton Police Service’s Citizen Satisfaction Survey, people ask the EPS to deal with these problems. Instead, what we get are photo radar trucks hiding in bushes and overpasses on freeways. Nothing at all to do with educating drivers and reducing fatal collisions.
However, you make reference to the police survey citing traffic as a major concern. However, speeding is only a very small part of this concern. People failing to signal, changing lanes without shoulder checking, turning illegally, tailgating, cutting people off, cutting corners, and running red lights are all a much higher concern to me than speeding. On my drive to work I have 3 curves where I have to be extremely careful on because people cut the corners so much that they would run me off the road if I was next to them. Outside of that, I have to react to bad drivers on a weekly, if not daily, basis in order to prevent accidents. These are not caused by myself or the other driver speeding, but rather by, failing to shoulder check, running stop signs, turning illegally, or failing to signal. Essentially, it’s lazy driving. Speeding is such a small issue on the roads as it has been addressed over the past handful of years. What now needs to be addressed is driver training and licensing (I realized this isn’t a city matter) and enforcement of the traffic laws outside of speeding.
I really should commend you on your audacity in taking baby diaper scrapings and serving them up as pudding. Like Ryan, I nor my colleagues have a fundamental problem with photo radar or red light cameras. However when these devices are employed there is some expectation of ethical enforcement. What is disgustingly apparent within your fair city is that the technology has been leveraged to maximize income in the laziest way possible with a guise of “Public safety”. This is not even to discuss the glaring conflict of interest involved in a city department that can cover it’s financial incompetence by tightening the screws and self funding. Asking the administrators pointed questions hahahaha I’m sure that is like asking an alcoholic if they drink too much. It comes out after 5 years that there where cost overruns but nobody noticed since the bottom line was all fine and dandy.
Sorry to here you think photo radar is not going anywhere. Perhaps you can tell me how you seem to think you have so much power ? While riding your bicycle maybe you could think about how much you contribute to our roadways ? The petition is not some trumped up bull and whether you care or not that is only the tip of the iceberg. People in this city are fed up with this cash cow, show me how the safety of the public is served with the location of these traps.You said photo radar is not going away, neither are the people that signed the petition.
Secondly, if zero tolerance is the way forward then we need to take a serious look at the speed limits and where the traps are. You can’t expect people to drive at artificially low speeds because it’s the law. Spend the money and re-evaluate the limit on each road and set it according to it’s design. No more widening Scona road to freeway proportions and keeping the limit at 50. Fix the Whitemud so that it can have a higher limit that is safer because of the flow of traffic and the design. Put traps in places that make a difference, and not just make money. For example I have had many near misses on rowland road around Dawson bridge. This is a road that needs enforcement. There are about half a dozen residential roads and alleys that abut it with no lights and residents coming and going and yet people frequently barrel down this road in excess of 70 Km/h which is too fast for anyone to safely turn out onto the road given it’s curves and reduced visibility. I see a sign that says that the road is radar enforced and yet in 3 years of daily frequent use I have not seen a single photo radar trap or officer enforcing the limit. I did however experience months where good old Scona had traps in one direction or the other most days of the week with it’s one intersection which is controlled by lights and numerous lanes.

You can read some great similar attacks on the coward's silly ideas from Lorne Gunther, with another excellent set of comments below. Iveson's fellow coward David Staples weighs in as well.

The biggest problem, sadly, is that people not properly connecting various events together: the disaster of the bloated photo radar program, the way photo radar isn't geared towards safety at all, the crazy speed limits on Edmonton's roads, and that speeding itself is not nearly as dangerous as commonly believed. Judging by the speed we drive, people understand this deep down but not explicitly enough. Education needs to happen, and once that starts gaining critical mass, statist cowards like Don Iveson will crawl into a hole to hide, or get run over. And no, that last bit isn't a metaphor.

2014-10-07

The only possible response the Secret Service should be giving

Secret Service Director Dame Judy Dench Julia Pierson is coming under fire for the inadequate security measures that allowed a guy to hop the fence and enter the White House before being nonfatally apprehended:

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers from both parties on Tuesday assailed Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, about security breaches at the White House, including an intruder who earlier this month breached multiple security measures and evaded capture as he ran around the first floor of the mansion.
Ms. Pierson said in opening statements before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that she takes full responsibility for the breaches and she pledged that “what happened is unacceptable and it will never happen again.” But her promise of a comprehensive review of the incidents appeared to do little to satisfy members of the committee.
Representative Stephen Lynch, Democrat from Massachusetts, lashed into Ms. Pierson, saying that he does not believe the Secret Service takes seriously their duty to protect the president. He said he has “very low confidence” in her leadership.
I ask you to all join with me right now in sending a very very very clear message to these lawmakers:
Oh come off it.

The saga of Omar Gonzalez is a fairly minor one in retrospect, and proof that both Americans and their lawmakers need to calm the fuck down. First off, let's look at the NYT "timeline" of the incidents:

Hey, don't you remember another "recent incident" involving White House security? Oddly enough, the NY Times doesn't seem to think this one quite makes the grade.... Instead, officials are so anxious to highlight Tareq Salahi being a Vince Vaughn inspired "wedding crasher" at a White House reception, which on balance wasn't much of a slag about the Secret Service's vetting capabilities as much as a slag about the vetting process entirely. These people aren't out to cause harm to President Monkey, they're out to attend the swanky parties. The Times also seemed to leave this guy off the roster, probably in the interests of "racial insensitivity". Hey come to think of it, don't Thamsanqa Jantjie and Miriam Carey have something in common?

As Ben Franklin would have put it, a lot of essential liberties along Pennsylvania Avenue have been sacrified for what somehow became not a temporary security but a permanent security apparatus. Delusional black mothers driving past checkpoints getting gunned down may make security sense but not so much in the broader picture. That heads of state need protection in some form is obvious, but perhaps not as obvious as it would first appear. The Queen of England is the head of state of a major first world power who lives in an iconic building that lots of people want to visit. Her guards, like the Secret Service, are legendary in their own right (with distinctive costumes). Also like the Secret Service, they've had some well publicized screwups. Yet I've been to Buck House, and in fact got a full tour of the building (well, "full tour" being the tourist tour, but still). The White House used to be available for this purpose, and technically still is if you feel like getting a Congressman's recommendation, but it's not easy. In New York a few years ago I chanced upon a man who actually got to visit the White House: he thought it was insanely ridiculous that a fellow visitor thought he'd be allowed to carry his knife with him inside the facility. My first response is "why do you think that's crazy"? Ever-wider security "perimeters" are forming around the White House, while those enforcing the perimeter are increasingly less capable at actually doing their jobs anyways. Inexplicably, this calls for a bigger and tighter security fence that can be even less effectively guarded.

If this is going to be the end result of all this security, isn't it time to ask whether or not it's even necessary? Can the 40-car motorcade be scaled back? Can a pathetic embarassment of a President who's convinced America's stature in the world needs to be reduced not admit that under such a circumstance his own stature, and the stature of the security detail around his office needs to be scaled back alongside? Okay, if your plan is for President Monkey to develop a human brain, your plan has an obvious flaw. But how about getting "bipartisan" support on both sides of the aisle to smarten up and not keep insisting that every possible dime is spent to prevent a situation that arises the more and more dimes you throw at it?

2014-10-03

NDP's Linda Duncan officially opposed to Alberta's economy

Everything wrong with the NDP encapsulated in a single title...

2014-09-24

Every time they touch, the taxpayer burden is honestly too much


This throwaway Colby Cosh joke reminded me of a little something: when sleazy slum property owner Stephen Mandel left office as Edmonton's mayor, he also left behind the multi-million dollar new arena, a cool new facility for Daryl Katz's Edmonton Oilers to play in without having to do any of that obnoxious capital investment that other hugely successful companies would tend to have to do. That Mandel's little arena deal also meant great news for property developers and speculators (like longtime heavy Mandel financier Terry Paranych) isn't at all a sign that he's beholden to interests willing to use government power to exert control the free market wouldn't give them.

Now Mandel is sadly back in public life as the unelected Health Minister in the new Prentice cabinet, and as thin-skinned and unwilling to speak with opponents as ever. What does this put him in charge of? If you guessed the industry that would be a customer to the pharmaceuticals which are the primary business of one Daryl Katz.

At least there's a good chance that Alberta will be getting new hospitals, even though there's even money that half the space of each will wind up dedicated to free floor space for a Rexall Pharmacy or two...

2014-09-23

What books do you own but never read?

The Federalist, as part of its killer series taking down Neil deGrasse Tyson, has mentioned several books Tyson claims to have read yet didn't seem to know (or understand) what was in them. This led to this top ten list of books people claim to read but don't. Oddly, no books from Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, or Hillary Clinton made it on the list.

So in the interests of full disclosure, here is my breakdown of this list:

Have read: Les Miserables (translated, though I do own a French language copy to show off on my bookshelf), 1984 (numerous times, which I once alluded to), The Art of War, and The Prince (plus listened to the excellent BBC audio book).

Haven't read: Atlas Shrugged (I have read The Fountainhead, and that was painful enough to get through), The Origin of Species, A Tale Of Two Cities (I got about halfway through this one, but compared to A Christmas Carol it's not nearly as fun to read),  Democracy in America (I have read some of the Federalist Papers and all of the United States Constitution though), The Wealth of Nations (I've skimmed through some of it, I do own a copy), Moby Dick (again, I own a copy and read a few chapters but yet to finish), and not surprisingly Ulysses.

What other books are there that people own but haven't read? I haven't finished reading the entire Iliad yet, I do it in chunks, and Martok is bad for buying reams of books because they look good on his bookshelf without actually cracking them (lots of Chomsky, Capital in the 21st Century, Peddling Prosperity, The Skeptical Environmentalist, etc.)

Feel free to add yours in the comments. Anonymously, of course.

2014-09-22

What a Halloween prank about flatscreen TVs tells us about the flaws in women

Apparently over the last few days another round of postings has been made about this LG viral ad campaign video from 2012:


In case you can't view it, they setup the elevator floor with monitors, then make a rumbling and the video "cuts away" to look like the floor is collapsing. Besides the obvious fact that you wouldn't need particularly good picture quality to believe, for the couple seconds required, that the floor was giving 'way (indeed, many of the YouTube clips are being posted at 240 resolution!), what caught my eye was that chicks aren't good at self-preservation.


First let's look at Guy 1: the floor starts "giving way" top to bottom (all directions will be from the perspective of we the viewer unless otherwise noted), and he immediately steps downwards away from the falling tiles. It isn't a quarter second before he realizes it's fake and stops moving.


Guys 2 and 3 are in the elevator together: Guy 2 at the top right has his tiles fall before he even looks down, he backs up against the wall for support while Guy 3 at the bottom leaps back to the remaining "good" tiles. Since Guy 2 isn't falling, they both clue in quickly that it's a prank.


Guys 4,5,6 are all in the elevator together: again, Guy 4 at the top should be falling by the time they notice the floor, so no real reaction is possible here. Guy 4 jumps up a little bit. They really shouldn't have even bothered including this run on the ad, it really didn't push the illusion that they fooled anybody. In fact, this is a great demonstration of how the illusion was too fast...even if you bought the scenario it's hard to be convinced you're in danger while your buddy is standing there on thin air.


Guy 7 does really well: he looks down to see the tiles falling in an upper left to lower right progression, and immediately jumps back to the "safe" tiles behind him.


Guy 8 and 9 are together: 8 in the upper right sees his tile fall away, and leaps to a safer tile behind him and hugs the wall. Guy 9, like Guy 7, immediately leaps back against the tiles last to fall. I like that all of the men in this video were heroes in what J. Michael Straczynski calls the "Heinleinian tradition": sure I'm about to fall dozens of stories, but by standing here I gain precious milliseconds I can use to figure out a way out of this situation. Keep that in mind, the contrasts are about to be striking.


Now we come to the ladies. Chick 1 sees the tiles falling starting in the upper left. She's standing on a tile yet to fall, yet jumps to her right to leap onto a tile that's already falling! As she watches tiles fall away, she continues to run away from the yet-to-fall tiles.


Chick 2, like Chick 1, leaps to the upper right tile as she's watching the tiles fall from upper-left to lower-right. In fact, she's so close to as bad at this as Chick 1 I had to re-watch to confirm they were in fact different girls. (Chick 1 is hotter).

This covers so many things, from why women are homo acerbia to why men are so predominantly the authors and subjects in heroic drama. It's right there in the TV ad campaign, folks. We're just better at it.

2014-09-19

No matter how many parades you hold, your lifestyle is still illegitimate

Wasn't the Uranist Pride Parade back in June?
And I don't see anything about a beer gardens for some reason.

(Yes, this is an old joke. And I love it)

Costco Canada rejects American Express

Costco Liquor (and, I suppose to be technical, the rest of the store too) is going to be discontinuing its relationship with American Express:

Costco Wholesale Corp said it will stop accepting American Express Co cards in Canada from next year as it will not be renewing its credit card relationship, which expires on Dec. 31.

“Costco warehouses and gas stations in the United States will continue to accept American Express Cards after Jan. 1, 2015, with the exception of TrueEarnings and American Express Platinum Cash Rebate cards issued in Canada,” Costco said in an email to customers.
Isn't that a bit surprising? For years, any occasional trip I make to Sherwood Park have featured a stop in at good ol' Costco Liquor, and I've finally trained my brain to remember two things:
  1. Don't buy Kirkland Bourbon
  2. Remember that they only take American Express
What will Costco take? They have yet to let us in on that little secret. Meanwhile, American Express loses support of a major retailer, which probably isn't good seeing how American Express is only used in about 6 locations around the globe (I remember when I got my AmEx card the sadness to realize I could only order from Pizza Hut, Pizza 73 didn't take them...they probably still don't).

I'm also really really hoping that I don't lose that other mental note to self while I'm in the store. Kirkland Bourbon really is fucking horrible.

Is Stéphanie Beaudoin the "world's hottest criminal"?

21-year old Victoriaville, Queerbec native Stéphanie Beaudoin is in a bit of legal trouble.

Meet the bikini-clad 'crook' who's been described as being every bit as hot as the goods she's accused of stealing from people's homes.

Stephanie Beaudoin has been dubbed the "hottest alleged thief on the planet" after a sultry snap of her posing in a black bikini emerged on social media.

Beaudoin, from Quebec, Canada, originally hit the headlines after she was charged with 108 offences relating to 42 alleged burglaries over the summer.

Six additional counts of breaking and entering and receiving stolen goods were added when she appeared in court in Victoriaville on Monday.

According to news website Surete du Quebec, the counts include gun charges.

Beaudoin, 21, is said to have broken into homes in Arthabaska and Maple through back doors or basement windows, carrying out the burglaries with three teenagers.

However, the nursing student is attracting plenty of attention online - mainly from admirers who are enamoured with the image of her in swimwear.
SUN Media is catching some flack for their poll on the topic:
Meanwhile, which pic are we talking about?
This one. more pictures are available at Elite Daily.



Meanwhile, everybody getting so excited about this girl being "the world's hottest criminal" has apparently forgotten both Casey Anthony, Lorena Tavera, Jennifer Jensen, Alexis Neiers, Elle Evans, Tori Black, and...of course.... Anna Chapman.

Bonus link: Fellow Canoe.ca content member tvanouvelles.ca shows a picture of Beaudoin looking like she's been beaten by the ugly stick of justice

Rob Ford's cancer diagnosis is doubly dangerous

More information has come to light this week on the surprise depature from the Toronto mayoralty race from Rob Ford: he has been diagnosed with liposarcoma, which naturally far-left Democratic Underground has characterized as "cancer of the fat".

The prognosis is about 40 days of intensive radiation therapy, similar (but with less of a success rate compared) to the treatment millions of men have received for their prostate cancer. Almost every news article published on the topic are making it clear that this is far from a death sentence. Olivia Chow isn't about to watch another man in her life slowly fall apart during an election campaign. However, the 5-year survival rate for this cancer is about 65% (though the sigma is huge, varying wildly at which stage the cancer is discovered). The figure for prostate cancer is closer to 94%.

Nobody can say whether or not Rob Ford looks at this as a terminal illness, though, which brings me to my next major point: we're looking at a guy here who has been known to abuse drugs and is looking at a serious health issue with no guarantee of success and a potential for unpleasant treatment.

Nevertheless, for those who are diagnosed with cancer or other major medical conditions, the future can seem terrifying.

This fear about the future may be responsible for the increased risk of suicide that tragically occurs in the first week after the diagnosis of cancer. Depression or demoralization may also emerge later, particularly when there is pain or other physical symptoms. Whole-person care means treating these symptoms as vigorously as the disease itself.
It has yet to be seen if Rob Ford will pull through his cancer treatments. However, just as critically, Ford Nation needs to make sure that he pulls through long enough to receive them.

2014-09-18

Lessons from 1995: Scotland's oil doesn't make it more like Alberta

Well, the infamous Scottish referendum is in the books, and the BBC reports no results yet (though "No" is winning with 54% in their pseudo exit polling)

Voting closed at 3pm Edmonton time, so it's officially too late for me (apart from a Tweet or two) to tell Scotland how they should have voted. It's over, it's done, there's nothing left but the crying.

Well, here it is Scotland: the choice you should have made and why, and apologies for those of you who chose wrong.

It's important to note that a couple of high profile Scotsmen did decide to pass on their referendum views over the past 24 hours: Andy Murray and Groundskeeper Willie. The Simpsons video is slightly sad for the primary fact that it encapsulates the "Yes" side's lunacy in a nutshell but seems unaware that it's doing so. (The Daily Mail calls it a "satirical clip" but I don't think it was intended as such at all). Willie is proud of a "Yes" vote for a Scotland "free of English shackles" but seems unaware of the elementary fact that Scotland pays far less into its union than they get back, and the only way the math works out is by wholly unrealistic ideas of how much oil the Brits will let them keep (and how much they have).

Andy Murray, on the other hand, seems only to support "Yes" because the "No" side were a bunch of meanies.

Come to think of it, many of the prominant "Yes" voices sure do provide a solid reason to vote "No" don't they? Let's temporarily forget the silly Braveheart-inspired reasons to vote Yes and look at two of the famous voices pronouncing it. Sean Connery has been campaigning from afar, and cannot vote on the referendum today. In fact, the old blowhard can't even visit the country to rally the troops!

Neil Connery told the Edinburgh Evening News: “There’s only a certain amount of days Sean can be in the country for tax reasons, so I know that he intends to use them wisely."
Re-read that bit above. Go ahead, I'll wait. Okay, you're back? Good. Did you notice the conflagration of "Yes" ideals in that single quote? Sean Connery doesn't live in Scotland, mostly because the taxes are so high. Yes, those same taxes that as per above aren't even high enough to maintain the bloated welfare state in Scotland are already enough to drive one of Scotland's medium-rich persons to the clutches of another nation. Just imagine how many more like Connery, with presumably even less emotional attachment to an Independent Scotland, will be anxious to leave as taxes climb higher to keep the poor voters happily electing a Salmond government. Then, add in the bigger caveat: apparently Connery has better things to do and doesn't want to burn up his precious Scotland tax-evading time promoting the "Yes" vote that he's apparently been a pusher for most of his adult life. What does that tell you about the "Yes" side? Among other issues, it's that ultimately economic reality catches up to even the most fervant Scottish Independence supporter.

Another famed "Yes" supporter is noted faggot Alan Cumming. Unlike Connery, Cumming at least could be bothered to pop into the country. Also unlike Connery, Cumming goes into more specific political claims of the "Yes" side (and unsurprisingly gets it horribly wrong):
"I've always voted Labour in the elections I have voted in in this country, that's because I believe in a good health service, a great education, and that should all be free," he continued. "Those things are under huge threat, as we all know."
"I believe if we don't vote Yes we're going to see a huge change in the amount of money Scotland's going to be given by the Westminster government," he said. "I really don't believe they're going to say 'vote No and we'll reward you' because all they have done is threaten and bully us up till now."
Obviously the second quote is just a bunch of pointless fearmongering, though maybe he's convinced that David Cameron will treat Scotland in the same manner he treated Hilary Lyon. Classic transference. The first quote, of course, is the money shot (stop masturbating, Alan, that isn't the context I meant). "I believe that everything should be free" is ignoring the harsh economic reality that it cannot (nor should not!) be free. Somebody is going to have to pay for that "good health service" and that "great education". Who is going to pay? The answer is, the newly minted scottish people: and oh Lord are they going to be paying a lot. As noted earlier, taxes are due to skyrocket, level of service is going to diminish, and that doesn't even factor in devaluation of currency or general economic malaise which would reduce income from even ever-higher taxation rates. If there's a good news story in there, it's that Cumming won't have to worry about paying: he and his fellow pillow biter don't live in Scotland either! It's amazing, always, how generous liberals are with other people's money. Meanwhile, Scottish voters scared of how David Cameron's slightest amount of economies are "threatening" public services may want to keep an eye on the massive overhaul that the Scottish welfare state would need to undergo to remain even slightly solvent in the wake of a "Yes" vote...not to mention pensions, or the share of the UK national debt an Independent Scotland would end up taking over. (Unsurprisingly, the "Yes" side has a bunch of unrealistic numbers they're pushing as the answer)

When looking at all of these issues, and how they are basically being airbrushed over by the "Yes" side, we come to the parallel that longtime Canadian Third Edge of the Sword readers will have surely spotted by now: the 1995 Queerbec referendum where they (narrowly) voted not to separate. Just like in Scotland, a peoples who defined themselves by being defeated by the English demanded to be separated from the country that was paying its freight. The parallels aren't perfect, of course: Scotland (generally) speaks the same language as their English "oppressors" [though, rapidly, the same language they are speaking is Pashto! -ed], and Scotland has oil. Other than that though, it's freaky-deaky how many parallels you can find.

Queerbec Referendum: "Yes, you'll be able to keep your Canadian passports" (even though that would have to be negotiated with a host country that would be bitter, angry, and no longer incentivized to make concessions)
Scottish Referendum: Yep

Queerbec Referendum: "We'll keep the Canadian dollar" (technically Canada can't stop another country from using our money, but the Bank of Canada can play around on its monetary policy levers as much as it likes, even if it means starving every Frog in the province to death.
Scottish Referendum: Well what do we have here?

Queerbec Referendum: No no, the English lie, we pay into them!. (Hint: the Frogs are the ones who are lying)
Scottish Referendum: Totally different. These are Scottish people making this ludicrous claims

Queerbec Referendum: After a "Yes" vote we'll still be part of all the international agreements we were in before, from NAFTA to NATO to the United Nations. (sidebar: if you opposed such organizations, you were told that Quebec would proudly get to renegotiate them to have better terms, which compared with the first statement makes no sense whatsoever).
Scottish Referendum: Well, even Queerbec wouldn't have contemplated joining the European Union

Queerbec Referendum: Separate from Ottawa, we're all going to be rich! (Meanwhile, corporations run for the hills)
Scottish Referendum: Separate from London, we're all going to be rich! (Meanwhile, corporations run for the hills)

Queerbec Referendum: Forget the economic issues, this is all about IDENTITY IDENTITY IDENTITY!
Scottish Referendum: Just re-read the article linked to above.

So all in all, there are a lot of parallels (none of them particularly good for the "Yes" side) between Queerbec and Scotland. The general theme for both separatists movements, of course, is delusion. Quebecers actually think they pay into equalization. Scots actually believe that the Bank of England will be forced to make monetary policy to the benefit of citizens of another country which don't elect any of the politicians that the Bank of England is beholden to. Both wave the "culture" flag loud and hard, trying to elevate the heart over the head (the formulation used by the sovereigntistes).

Will England be negatively impacted by a Scottish "Yes"? Probably, at least at first: unlike what would have happened after the 1995 referendum it's very possible that the short term economic impacts on England are mild, and that the longer-term prospects are mild in the other way. Canada would have been more likely to be in a position of "wild swings": the economic costs and uncertainty would have been worse with a larger percentage of the population disappearing. Once realistic Queerbec debt evaluations were performed, however, and Canada found itself not siphoning equalization payments into a giant pit the economic fortunes of the two countries would have diverged wildly. Like Alberta (and Newfoundland) Scotland at least has oil while Queerbec has...maple trees? Just imagine how insane the early-2000s Alberta boom would have been without equalization payments, or with Ottawa having lower unfunded CPP liabilities (Queerbec is older than average). Unshackled of the burdens of supplying social services, two official languages, and full control over her own immigration policies, the federal government could have heralded over a new era of prosperity, while Queerbec floated ever further into backwater territory.

In England the situation isn't as clear: the Brits don't have the economic storm to weather as much, but they will lose a large chunk of the North Sea oil reserves. The bigger risk to the United Kingdom is loss of prestige: this is the sad last little wisps of the great BRITISH EMPIRE, a worldwide force so dominant clever bloggers treat it like names in Star Wars title crawls. American politicians still agonize over who "lost Vietnam" or "lost China", it remains to be seen if the stigma of "losing Scotland" similarly impacts David Cameron's Tories and/or Gordon Brown's Labour. Brown has recently dominated headlines as the fevered voice of "No": the voice that fellow Labour politician Alistair Darling was supposed to be, but spectacularly fell short on. Labour certainly seized the chance to be the defender of Britain that a weakling like Cameron couldn't have -- and seeing how the Scots are mired in far-left politics, it makes sense. Jean Charest, not Preston Manning, was the voice for "No" in 1995. Of course, Manning (or Harper?) could have had the more forceful addresses in the Brown style. What's French for Alistair Darling? Jean Charest. Regardless, despite the personal popularity of Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland, the major UK parties seem to have dropped the ball. (Her Majesty has chimed in.) Part of the problem is that they don't know how to frame the issue. As Mark Steyn wrote:
The colonial oppressors in London appear to have been caught on the hop by what started emerging in the polls a couple of weeks back, and their response has been feeble. You can't beat something big with something small. An appeal to identity is primal. In response, the Westminster side has attempted to sell the UK as an administrative convenience. The "Yes" side cries: "Scots wa'hey! A nation reborn!" The "No" side rolls its eyes and sighs: "You hayseeds have no idea of how fiendishly complicated it's all going to be once you've stopped tossing your celebratory cabers and reeling your Independence Day Gay Gordons."
It would also be emblematic of Cameron's characteristically self-defeating cynicism. He will well deserve to be the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Whatever's Left. The United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland is a bit of a lumpy name. The United Kingdom of Southern Britain and Northern Ireland? Maybe a few years hence the Scots and Irish can form the mirror state of the People's Republic of Southern Ireland and Northern Britain. Or maybe secession will prove contagious. London and the South-East might find it prudent to secede from the dependistans of Wales, Ulster and Northern England, and relaunch themselves as the Singapore of Europe. Indeed, it's not clear whether what remains would be entitled to call itself a "united kingdom". At its height, the UK was a union of three kingdoms - England, Scotland and Ireland - and with one-and-a-half of them gone what's left would be a union of a kingdom, a principality and a province, and, if there's a catchy name for that, they're keeping it under wraps.

Whatever happens, the result, as in Quebec, seems likely to be close enough that even a "defeat" for Mr Salmond would keep the issue in play as a permanent and destabilizing feature of British politics, especially if a majority of young Scots vote "yes". Mr Cameron would deserve to be reviled as the man who broke the Union: He had a much easier hand to play than Lloyd George did in 1922, and he bungled it.
The Steyn point about keeping separatism "in play" is worth noting. Scots may be unaware of this, but the 1995 referendum was the second one: there was one in 1980 as well. There was talk of another referendum in the mid-2000s and another again just a couple years ago. Like sodomite marriage or closing the Edmonton airport, "Yes" just keeps trying until they win, and only then do they declare that "the issue has been settled". Until then, "Yes" is always uniquely pushed as "the way to settle this once and for all". So even if you are opposed to an Independent Scotland, ask yourself how you can stop it. Sadly, the excellent reasons for voting "No" above may come into play again later. I'm afraid on this one I don't have an easy answer for you.

What could have worked, perhaps better than nothing, is avoiding the same problem that was faced when the issue was poofter weddings, or murdering babies, or cowards closing airports: speak out early, speak out loud, and use the same weapons of identity on your side that your opponents do. Enter, naturally, the UKIP. The UKIP's Bryan A. J. Parry issued a tepid support for the "Yes" side that wasn't endorsed by the actual party. Would a strong UKIP statement in support of a British identity been a better foil for the SNP's pro-Scottish promotions? Possibly, sure: Jean Charest was offering a very very watered down and wishy-washy Canadianism, but it was at least an identity. What's the "British" identity now? Football and chippy shacks as both England and Scotland slowly coast into a socialist malaise, and the Muslims slowly turn the physical landscape into their own, a land nobody would recognize? Replace football with hockey, chippy shacks with beer, and Muslim hoards into actual Southeast Asians (not the kind that Fleet Street refers to)...yep, you got it: you're looking at the Chretien/Charest/Trudeau vision of "Canada": a cultural nullity that excites nobody. Could a UKIP be instrumental in forcing a British identity onto both English and Scottish residents, allowing them common ground and a reason to vote No? If No wins, it will be barely, so the lesson here would be ready for the next referendum.

If you want another parallel between Queerbec and Scotland, consider this...here's Steyn again:
None of this will happen in Scotland or Wales tomorrow. But one day an unpopular Government in London will provoke the election of a hostile legislature in Cardiff or Edinburgh, determined to exercise its powers to the limit and shrewd enough to use its toytown parliament as a launchpad towards the real thing.

In my native Canada, Quebec City is home to a provincial legislature, but it is known as the National Assembly; they refuse to let the Lieutenant-Governor, the Queen's representative, read the speech at the Opening of the Assembly. It's not hard to imagine similar slights from a Scottish Parliament: most of those elected will be openly contemptuous or at best boorishly indifferent to their Sovereign. If you provide structures that enable a region to pretend to be a nation state, eventually it starts to become one. Thus, Quebec now has its own immigration policy: if you are a British subject and you wish to emigrate to Montreal, the Federal Government in Ottawa will have no say in the matter.
It also works as a parallel between the Red Indian and the Canadian government. As an aside, this is another Scottish parallel that (for now!) isn't applicable: further ethnic sub-partition within the newly independent country. But back to the imitation governments, Canada has experimented with giving Red Indian tribes (towns) "self-government" with little to no benefit. Just like Scotland with the UK on steroids, there are now demands for inquiries into why girls who become hookers meet with bad ends, and endless complaints for more money.

This cynical bit of realism ties into the final note about Scottish Independence: I mentioned earlier that if Scotland votes yes today, they're looking at negotiations with a British peoples who may be more than a little unhappy about their rejection. There's long been a "don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out" attitude here in Alberta (with this blog being a fervent champion of it) with respect to the Endless Separating Frog Show, and such an attitude was widely considered to spread, like with any jilted lover, across the "we are your bestest friends forever" crowd in the Rest of Canada. Has there been such an outcry in England to cause such an outpouring of sympathy/support/revulsion?

The answer to that question, more than anything, may determine Scotland's future over the next 25 years more than the referendum.

2014-09-14

Only Auric can afford to stay at the hotel from Goldfinger

So, are you thinking about a trip to Miami Beach? Well, I wasn't really, but the movie Goldfinger was on a few days ago, and of course we all remember the iconic scenes where Bond slaps a massage girl on the ass to get her away from the "man talk", where Bond meets the beautiful Jill Masterson and uses her radio to force our villainous Auric Goldfinger to lose at gin rummy, and also where he beds her only to have Oddjob murder her and coat her in gold paint (a death which, though believed to be true at the time, can't actually happen).

Those scenes happen at a beautiful beachside hotel with nicely curved lines and outdoor pools right by the ocean. A little Google Mapping and I found it: the Fontainebleau Miami Beach on Collins Avenue, a sprawling 1504 room resort that features 12 restaurants and bars and was also featured in Sinatra's 1959 flick "A Hole in the Head". So I asked myself, if I was going to Miami Beach wouldn't I want to do it in style? Bond-style?

Just for fun, let's say that I wanted to stay there off the peak season, perhaps in late April? That's also far enough into the future that you don't start paying the "coming up soon" premium rates. So from April 20th to April 25th (during the week), you pay...

$509.17/night for the "deluxe" room. (I'm not falling for that one again!)
$542.45/night for the ocean view room.
$564.63/night for the deluxe room with a balcony.
$731.03/night for the junior suite with a bay view.

Junior suite? How much for a senior?

Oh, and wait, there's more:
HOTEL FEE
A Hotel Fee of $19.95 per day, per room (inclusive of tax) will apply to your booking. This fee includes: unlimited wired and wireless internet access in guestrooms and at the pools; Gym access and beach chairs for all registered guests in party; local dialing and toll-free calls; and newspaper daily.
Yikes, maybe next time I go to Miami Beach, I'll settle for Jason Bourne luxury rather than the James Bond kind. And don't even think about multiplying those room rates (plus hotel fee!) by 1,504 to see what their daily income could look like. Trust me, you don't feel well after looking at it.

And the James Bond massage? Costs extra, and you don't even get to spank her on the keister.