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.

2014-09-13

iPhone 6: It's like a Samsung Galaxy Tab, only less useful.

Tragic news for Apple nerds: iPhone 6 has only minor speed improvements over an iPhone 5.

Keep shelling out a grand, folks!

Why #AmINext isn't going anywhere (and why that's their fault)

The woman behind #AmINext thinks the campaign has staying power.
A woman spearheading a social media campaign about missing and murdered aboriginal women says she isn't worried about the initiative fading from the public consciousness like other online campaigns have done in the past.

Holly Jarrett said the campaign, in which people are asked to take a photo of themselves holding a sign that reads, "#AmINext," seeks to open up a national discussion on the issue of aboriginal women who have disappeared or been murdered.
In fairness, as anybody who noticed my #AmINext Quiz last week could attest to, it certainly will have staying power: Indians are still marrying amongst each other and still turning to turning tricks for gas sniffing money. Yes, your campaign has staying power!

Out in the real world the campaign already has no staying power. We all remember the last hashtag campaign the Red Indian started: I started #IdleNoMore off with a joke, and the best part is that the joke keeps paying divends!

Both #IdleNoMore and #AmINext try to pretend that either we don't know the cause of the social strife afflicting the Red Indian. In the case of #IdleNoMore, it's dependence on government handouts and a culture that is inherently lazy and incapable of rousing its citizens into being productive, combined with a genetic predisposition to addiction and false mythology of history given off by the usual suspects. In the case of #AmINext, it's the violent predisposition of Indians (whether cultural, societal, or genetic doesn't really matter) combined with the promises of quick riches and attention that prostitution offers women who are poor and, let's be perfectly frank about this, typically as ugly as sin.

It's certainly not politically popular to just come up with the solution like this. Undoubtedly, if you're trying to pretend that your sad little tribe is a "First Nations" (despite the fact that your nation can't raise a dime on its own and requires metric shit-tons of money from another, more successful country), and you're trying to maintain support from your own narrow-minded ethnic brethern, it's not a particularly successful strategy. You're trying to sell snake oil here, not actual solutions. As with all "social justice" campaigns, #AmINext is predicated on perpetuating the injustice versus foolishly solving it. Crying for a national inquiry (again, paid for by the country made powerful and successful when your people were moved to the sidelines and productive classes were allowed to flourish) is a good distraction, an excellent way to let everybody know that it isn't your fault what's going on (and certainly isn't theirs!), and that this plan of yours will magically solve the problem that you haven't given two licks to try and solve yourself. It keeps your fat paycheques rolling in courtesy of the Canadian taxpayer and gives you "national clout" and all that other nonsense. [as an aside, this 'national' clout again seems to be in a 'nation' that they claim they aren't part of and occasionally claim doesn't even exist. -ed]

It doesn't solve the problem, of course. As noted above, #AmINext has staying power because as long as the likes of Holly Jarrett get their way, you're going to find squaw hookers and violent Indian gangsters murdering their wives and sisters.

"All I ever wanted was a world without maps "

With the hilarious news this week that President Monkey has a "senior aide" who feels confident enough to tell the world what to do vis-à-vis the Middle East despite not knowing Syria and Saudi Arabia don't share a border, I thought I'd help the White House out and give them a primer borrowed from Canada's famous NATO quip to Russia.

So here is a handy guide for any US Government Presidential aides wandering past Third Edge of the Sword before a big press briefing and unsure what the Middle East looks like.

2014-09-12

"Yeah it stings now / The world is so cold / Now that you've gone away"

Well, sad news out of T-dot today as Rob Ford has dropped out of the mayoral race to instead run in Etobicoke Ward 2, which will be tough because there won't be a single American talk show host capable of correctly pronouncing the word "Etobicoke". [fun fact, the boss here doesn't pronounce it properly either. Come to think of it, I don't think he also mispronounces the word "pronounce" -ed.

Wait, I hear you asking, isn't there already a Ford running for councilor in Etobicoke Ward 2? Well, there was: Ford nephew Michael is now running for school trustee in Etobicoke Ward 1 (and no, I don't understand why school trustee means he's switching wards). And just in case you think the Ford bouncy-ball game was confusing enough as it was, there will still be a Ford brother running for mayor: just Rob's brother Doug is running in his stead. Ford Nation started this week off with two Fords running for public office, and it finishes the week off with two Fords running as well.

Still, you gotta figure that FordNation is reeling a bit from this one. The way I see it, there's a two-fold problem. The first problem is that strictly speaking, Doug is more electable than Rob. Doug Ford doesn't come with the huge degree of personal difficulties that plague Rob Ford, from the substance abuse to the treatment of the press. Doug's platform, such as it will be, will be a little less crazy than Rob Ford's would be: after all, Doug is less crazy than Rob. The second problem, paradoxically enough, is that the whole reason for voting for Rob Ford in the 2014 Toronto mayoral race was purely to be a giant "fuck you" to the Toronto Red Star, southern Ontario sodomites, Robyn Doolittle, the left-wing media in general, and the forces of political correctness that determined Ford was guilty long before they had anything to find him guilty of. Re-electing Rob Ford was going to be great, it was going to signal another three years of the media circus around the Centre of the Universe, and give us hope that the plagues on Alberta (Queen Nenshi and Cowardly Don Iveson) could be expunged. We just needed our own Rob Ford to ride to the rescue, and his re-election would have made that ever more likely.

Instead, Doug Ford is there. It's no fun to vote for Doug Ford! Sure sure, it's the same family, extension of the race yadda yadda yadda. Rob Ford being out just takes all the fun out of the race, and as a result I'm forced to do what I didn't think I was going to have to do: remove my endorsement of Ford for Mayor.

It's all summarized, basically, in this image:

Rob was just fun, he was the jovial partying train wreck that may not have been the hero Goth--er, I mean, Toronto needed, but he was definitely the hero they deserved. Rob Ford, Etobicoke Councilor (and make no doubt, he's a huge favourite to win that race), just doesn't have the same ring to it. It won't excite Jimmy Kimmel, it won't be the butt of jokes on Conan O'Brien, and it won't piss the living shit out of Jon Stewart. In other words, even if Doug wins as mayor and Rob wins as councilor, it just won't be the same. It won't be fun. And if you don't want the mayor of Toronto to be fun, if you don't want Rob Ford constantly pissing off liberals in the job, you might as well settle for a less-snortworthy candidate in John Tory.

John Tory is not Olivia Layton.

I don't know what more I can say to endorse him than that. Indeed, there isn't much there to endorse him for. His transit plan is at best charitably characterized as less completely insane than his opponents...er, opponent. He's still got some wacko tree planting scheme. He plans on spending tax dollars on the same sort of people who hounded Rob Ford and masturbate nightly with dreams of Olivia Layton as mayor. He's also, if you haven't gotten the memo already, incredibly, inconceivably, unacceptably boring.

But, and say it with me everybody: John Tory is not Olivia Layton.

Rob Ford, like it or not, is gone. We'll never get to know if he did pull off the miraculous win: we do know that the two most disastrous things the Chow campaign has done so far has been hiring Catsmeat Kinsella, and firing Catsmeat Kinsella. We will never get to see the look on her face when, judging by recent polling numbers, she would have had to watch Rob Ford beat her (and, possibly, be crowned mayor) while she sulked away to her subsidized housing to have a good ol' cry. We'll never get the chance to, a week after Ford won the mayor's race, "accidentally" bump into Doolittle in the street and laugh at her and tell her how she lost. Doug Ford may well be mayor, but what's the point? We'll never get the chance to gloat, only play what-if and also know that Rob Ford's biggest haters won't have him around to kick anymore (which, judging by the left's reaction to Nixon, means they'll stop being a sputtering incoherent mess on the topic somewhere around 2093).

If all you get is a mayor who isn't Olivia Chow, you might as well just vote for John Tory. Get well soon, Rob.

2014-09-09

How's @ukprogressive's 'progressive' Egypt coming along?

Despite the dangers, Reuters tells us, Steven Sotloff was going to tell us the real story about the Arab Spring. We saw last week, of course, how the story ended up: with Sotloff hiding his Israeli citizenship yet still being beheaded for his troubles. In fact, let's take a peek at one of Sotloff's final dispatches:

Coups depicted as revolutions, peaceful protesters painted as fanatics and disgruntled citizens hailed as revolutionaries," he wrote in World Affairs in July 2013, "have transformed Egypt into a circus where the main attraction is the uncertainty of heading into the unknown."
Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch says one of the witnesses of a mass killing slaughter has been arrested and beaten.

It's a good time, as always, to check in on that "facebook revolution" that British Coward Denis Campbell was so keen on a couple three years ago.
Democracy is messy.

Freedom is contagious.

For 18 days in January and February, the world sat on the edge of its seats watching an Egyptian people yearning to breathe free. The overthrow of Hosni Mubarak by a plucky band of pro-democracy youths remains a great story and the signature moment of 2011’s Arab spring.

Listening to pundits today though, you might be forgiven for thinking it never happened. As we watch the evening news and talk shows, ruthless dictators in Syria and Libya attack their people with impunity. On the basis of protests and internal squabbles, they are quick to proclaim Egypt’s revolutionary gains on the brink of collapse and point to an intransigent military clinging to wealth and power as their ‘proof.’

And yet this week the world saw the resumption of the remarkable trial of former President Hosni Mubarak for deaths caused by his orders during the uprising and his sons Gamal and Alaa were in the dock for massive corruption, looting the country of billions.
I don't think I'll ever get tired of reading this. How long will Mubarak serve in the clink? Well, he isn't scheduled to be released until...wait, nevermind...he only spent a couple years in jail before being released in August 2013. He's being "held" in the military hospital as of this January, but that's more for his medical treatment. His sons each got four years in jail after having to repay $17 million out of the "billions" they "massively" looted the country. Oops.

Democracy is messy, we'll grant Dennis-the-Coward that much: Egypt elected Mohammed Morsi in 2012, the first ever democratically elected leader. Morsi is...now in jail being tried for murder and espionage (ahhh, that ol' canard). He got a little to chummy with our good friends the Muslim Brotherhood, you see, and as a result there was a "contagiously free" military coup in 2013 after mass protests. Now, Abdel el-Sisi runs the show in Egypt with help from Adly Mansour, the chief justice of the supreme court who was President after the military coup. Following his big win this year, he's now chumming up to our old pal Vladamir Putin. It leads into what Jonathan Cohen & Haim Koren call "nothing new under the sun". The names change, but the dirty way of running the Middle East haven't budged.
Remember the moment when all hope looked lost during that third week. Parents urged the youths to stop now, they had achieved their goals, the government was changing, a new cabinet was meeting. The pro-deomcracy youth though knew that if they quit, they would be hunted down and killed. It was that moment in every great film where hope faded and things look their darkest before the dawn.

Remember the massive chain of humanity in Tahrir and Suez, Ismalia and Alexandria locking arms and stretching into the sea outside of an empty Presidential Palace on that final day.
And finally, remember the sheer joy and celebration on the faces of everyone that night when they realised they had survived it all.
They haven't survived it yet. If they keep listening to progressive nutters, they may never. More critically, perhaps, progressives aren't going to like the world that Egypt will be living in soon. As Mark Steyn noted once, all us right wingers have to do is grow a beard and get an extra couple wives. Campbell's ilk won't be so lucky.

Meanwhile, how will we define "winning" in Syria? Easy: a world where Steven Sotloff gets to keep his head.

Your revolution is turning ugly, Denis.

2014-09-06

#AmINext

I tweeted this one earlier, but if you're an Indian woman and you are wondering if you're the next one who is going to be murdered or go missing, there's an easy little test you can perform.

1. Are you a hooker? They tend to get murdered.

2. Are you in a close relationship with an Indian? (Close here means you're dating one, are married to one, or are the daughter or sister of one. Indians are far more violent than non-Indians.

So there you go. Are you next? If you're in one of these high-risk groups, then yes. You should get out, immediately.