Six days to save your country

Six more days, America.

On behalf of people who believe in human dignity freedom and prosperity across the world, who have lived under governments which follow President Monkey's socialist ideals and have endured the losses that inevitably stem from that, you have one last chance to save your nation.

As Mark Steyn notes, Mitt Romney may not have what it takes to restore America. Barak Obama definitely doesn't.


There may not be such a thing as "lady smarts" after all

A message for all the whiny feminists who are going on and on about "rape" (which, naturally, includes providing statistics that lump in sexual congress the woman later decides she didn't 'mean' to agree to):


@bcbluecon @Renegford @HKStrategies @carter_AB @JohnnyJesus @SheilaGunnReid @DavidEbner

There's currently a minor movement by some Conservative tweeters to have the mildly retarded and highly offensive Stephen Carter fired from his job with Hill & Knowlton Strategies.

Speaking as somebody who:

a) Wouldn't yell "stop" if he saw a bus careening towards Carter
b) Has a regular job in which he doesn't want to have a boss constantly called every time somebody is offended online

Can I just say that this mini-movement is backwards and wrong? I don't want to see Stephen Carter fired from his job at H+K. I want him fired from his job working with the Premier of Alberta. By Premier Danielle Smith. Who would then exhile him to Ontario on pain of death were he to enter our borders again.

But he should still be able to take telecons from H+K, unless they fire him for something actually related to his job, not related to concerns that they have to bear responsibility for his political views. Sorry guys, I cannot abide this means of attack. There are 50,000 good reasons for getting Carter (and his boss) fired from their current gigs at the Legislature. None of them are good reasons for trying to push his private sector employers to turf him too.

Besides, if we decide for his crimes to make him pay restitution to the citizenry of the Republic of Alberta, it might help to keep his net worth on the high side.


Who Fact Checks the Fact Checkers?

PolitiFact has a hilarious article "fact checking" a Paul Ryan statement to Congress in 2011:

They pointed to several documents that shed light on the claim. One was the CBO’s analysis of Ryan’s own budget "roadmap," published in early 2010.

The report compared Ryan’s proposal to a CBO model that takes the current baseline budget numbers and adjusts them to account for a number of policy changes, most of which are expected to be enacted. This can be considered an approximation of the status-quo.

Analyzing this status-quo model, the CBO wrote that "it is not possible to simulate the effects … after 2058 because deficits become so large and unsustainable that the model cannot calculate their effects." (The CBO went on to write that, compared to the status-quo option, Ryan’s plan did a better job of bringing down the debt and promoting economic output.)

Still, the year this economic model essentially blows up, according to CBO, is 2058 -- 21 years later than what Ryan said in the CNN clip.
Oh, well I guess everything is hunky dory.

Look, if the Republicans were claiming the economy was going to collapse in 2037 and required a massively painful series of government cuts to avoid that, while the Democrats were instead making a series of painful government cuts to hit the target date of 2058, this quibbling might be worth something. After all, the 2058 date means that a plan can be less severe, achieving the same goals but with a longer period to do it in. It's the flip side of RRSPs: the longer the timeframe you have to build up your money, the less money you have to put into it to achieve the same result. Start your RRSPs at 53 and you're hooped. Start them at 19 (as a girl I was out with today has done) and you're in like flint.

The problem, of course, is that the Democrats are going full speed ahead on government spending, ballooning the deficit by over a trillion (that's trillion, with a "T") dollars a year and contributing to the $16 trillion national debt which is so chillingly shown in this video:

As a result, it really doesn't matter if Ryan is forward or backward a decade or two on the specific date: he's talking about it and is trying to come up with plans to deal with it. The Democrats aren't.
The model Ryan is referring to is based on the assumption that no policy changes are made to reduce the debt.

Even though lawmakers have typically been loath to touch the main drivers of the nation’s debt burden -- entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare -- some economists said that it was unrealistic that politicians would simply let the economy implode rather than making changes to stave off that fate.
Not to harp on this point a lot, but this "unrealistic" view that politicians don't want to make the changes is actually what's happening right now. Here are a look at the two plans to reduce the deficit:

President Monkey's plan

Paul Ryan's plan

Now Ryan's plan itself isn't particularly harsh: as I implied above though, it's the harsher plan. When your harsher plan isn't harsh enough, does it make any sense for your opponents to criticize it when their plan isn't even remotely harsh?

So where does this leave us? We’ll start by listing the exaggerations in Ryan’s statement.

First, he implies that there’s only one CBO model, glossing over the fact that the agency uses multiple models that have produced varying results. Second, Ryan predicts a collapse in 2037, but there’s considerable variation in the doomsday year depending on the model the CBO uses and the data it plugs into its calculations.

Third, Ryan’s statement assumes that no change will be made from current policies before a collapse -- an assumption that’s unlikely. And fourth, his claim that the CBO’s "computer simulation can't conceive of any way in which the U.S. economy can continue" strikes us as an overstatement. In fact, the CBO finds lots of unpalatable scenarios if things get bad enough, but the agency doesn’t go so far as to suggest that the economy will simply cease functioning. Economies are far more complex than any single model, so just because a model stops working, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the economy will bring us back to hunter-gatherer days when the model stops working.
So the first point may have validity..so what about other CBO models? When they do mention their models (they aren't publicly visible, we rely on politicians like Ryan who do read the to tell us) there typically isn't that much fudge factor. Read their report on President Monkey's budget from last April for example. Meanwhile, did Ryan specify that he was looking at a bad-case scenario number when the CBO produced a likely scenario number? Or was Ryan's the likely and 2058 is a best-case scenario? See, two can play at this game.

As to their second point, the key bit that Ryan is trying to make public that is being glossed over in this election is there is a fucking doomsday year!. Shouldn't this be something Americans worry about? All the college students today who will be in their mid-40s when the Ryan doomsday year comes about and in their mid-60s due to retire when the CBO doomsday year comes about are still out their flagging their useless demagogic race-baiting huckster of a failed President! This is maybe something that deserves more than a half-assed "fact check".

We already discussed the third point: between PoliFact's opinion of what politicians will do and the reality we can see today of what they actually do do, I think Ryan is justified warning us about the future. After all, until politicians are pushed to fix this it won't be fixed, and half the U.S. political spectrum denying that this is even a problem may just throw a wrinkle into this analysis.

As for their new fourth point, in 2008 we saw what impact a single failing sector of the United States economy -- residential real estate -- had on the economic success of the entire globe. I'd say the United States government, which under President Monkey is going to spend a quarter of the nation's economic output and under Romney/Ryan will spend "merely" a fifth, would have something of a negative impact on the economy if it shut down completely overnight. You think consumer confidence corroded when people's homes dropped in value? Imagine what will happen when the 47+% of Americans who are dependent on government suddenly run out of cash? If you think the Occupy Wall Street fleabaggers were a social problem, what happens when their numbers swell to more and more who got so used to free government money that they cannot function without it? What happens when the U.S. Treasury tries to take more and more money from citizens in the years leading up to doomsday to (too late!) try and hold it off? What happens when the "moral" argument for taxes falls apart: to wit that you may be getting raped by Uncle Sam every two weeks but at least we're using it to help the poor and create a Just Society? When that statement doesn't hold true how many taxpayers will suddenly find the burden an outrage?
"The issue is simply that under current law, the debt-to-GDP ratio soars so high that economic models break down," said J.D. Foster, a senior fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "The truth is that nobody really knows what would happen as the debt-to-GDP ratio pushes through 100 percent on the way to 200 or 300 percent. The models certainly are not capable of anticipating the effects. But you don't have to have an economic model to appreciate the clear picture of fiscal Armageddon."

Generally, then, Ryan’s oversimplifications and exaggerations lead us to downgrade our rating, but his broader point about the perils of the debt for the nation’s economy remains accurate. On balance, we rate his statement Half True.
So the guy saying Armageddon is coming and (possibly!) exaggerates the date in a plea to avoid inaction, and PoliFact says it was half true inasmuch that the day I suppose is coming after all but so long as Congress acts in accordance to the demands of Cassandra Ryan the Half Truther it won't entirely be true.

So does that mean when somebody is apparently a liar, their statement is probably 100% true? According to PoliFact, yes, yes it is. If you don't believe me, take a look.


A monkey never sees a monkey in the mirror

Huffington Post last month showed us a bunch of celebrities who are shilling for President Monkey's re-election.

What on earth do they see in hi--oh, nevermind. I know what they see in him. Of course, that's all they see, and it's why he should be turfed next month: so we don't have to endure more comments like this:

My God he has so many more [supporters].There are many who have given dinners for him,some as high as $50,000 per plate.He will win again ,it is destiny,he is a modern day moses.Diana Ross daughter Tracee Ross stays on the battle field working for him,and sarah parker raised so much for him

Unrelated: A photo of Beyonce showing the part of her body that she's talking out of when giving out Presidential endorsements.


The only good news about the 2012-2013 NHL lockout

Question: Can a girl wearing only panties and an Oilers jersey ever not be hot?

Answer: No, not really.

You can watch the video below...

Or you can watch this (better) lockout song, tragically though, no hot hot Vicki Shae:


Happy Columbus Day, America


And his wife went swimming in Beaverhill Lake

Can you actually believe this classic joke is nowhere to be found on the internet? Okay, so I have to post it here then:

A man from Vancouver was traveling through rural Alberta on business, and while examining some machinery in Tofield a piece of equipment landed on his foot and severed his big toe. He ended up in emergency where the doctor was unable to reattach it.

Hoping to raise his spirits, the doctor joked "well that's ironic isn't it? You come to visit Tofield and you lose your toe!"

The man nodded. "Good thing I wasn't in Cochrane or Balzac!"


2012 Toronto International Film Festival Review: Thale

This year I attended the Toronto Film Festival, and watched the world debut of the movie Thale. Thale tells the story of a pair of crime scene cleanup guys in Norway (whom I shall name "Liam Neeson" and "not Liam Neeson", for semi-obvious reasons), who show up at a house where evidence of a cold case was discovered...while cleaning, they uncover a dark secret that the now-deceased resident was holding: in his basement he had tortured and imprisoned a young girl. As they wait for the police to return, they discover...the girl is still alive, kept in a respirator inside a bathtub.

Thale is a hard movie to review, partly because it defies plot description. It's like reviewing Lucky Number Slevin I suppose: in order to properly convey what the movie is like, you have to give away huge parts of the plot and spoil a lot of the shock and surprise for the reader. Alternately, you can skim through the plot points and give a half assed review that barely touches over anything substantial about the movie.

I guess you can scroll down this review of see that I wrote enough to fall firmly into the later category: if you don't want to learn the details and the mystery and the dramatic tension present in Thale before you see it, you should probably go down to the next blogpost. I promise it will be exciting and dynamic and probably feature me attacking President Monkey for something.

Anyways, Thale is an interesting but occasionally disjointed mess: not Liam Neeson isn't actually a crime scene cleanup guy, he's a friend(?) of Liam Neeson, brought into the sick world of cleaning up blood splatter and littered entrails and torn flesh long after the CSI guys have gone home. He's not very good at it, throwing up profusely. More critically, after they get to the main crime scene he's notoriously bad at disturbing things even though it's pretty clear that he's being told not to do so and the horrible consequences thereof. This is a man in his 30s for crying out loud, not some 9 year old kid who has issues with doing what he's told. You have to figure if you're going to crime scenes after the fact the police expect you to stop and get out if you find anything serious worth reporting. Liam Neeson, of course, also waits way too long to get the real cops in there. He may not realize there is a ticking clock present (we'll get to that later) but still, things are quickly exposed as very very very bad and not something two idiots should be getting into.
Regardless, not Liam Neeson explores and discovers the weird underground lair: an old cassette player has been recording for years and never stopped, there are photos and organs in jars and creepy bloody tools everywhere. There's a safe which of course is unlocked and a bunch of weird pipes going into a tub. As Liam Neeson goes out to get a better signal (I assume) not Liam Neeson messes with the stuff far more than he should have....and then he unleasehs Thale.

When she escapes from the tub, we can see pretty quickly that she's the infamous tortured girl. Not Liam Neeson figures the smartest thing he can do is try playing all the old torture tapes for her: Liam Neeson on the other hand just tells the cops to hurry up...but something mysterious is watching him from the bushes. At this part of the movie, we're exploring strange things about this girl: they find a long weird tale in the safe, they get odd sensations and flashbacks from her life when they touch her, and she seems to know about whoever is watching them from outside.

Creepy old dead Norwegian guy on the tape is talking about why she needs to be kept safe, and it turns out she's....not human. Playing the role of Mr. Exposition, the dead guy (who was killed, probably by the sisters but that's never 100% clear) talks about how millions of years ago humans broke into two species: homo sapiens (that's us: well, you at least, I'm no homo) and....oh, well I guess they never came up with a cool Latin name for what Thale is, though the promotional material explains that they are called sirens in Norway and are absolutely not trolls even though they have tails just like trolls have tales. Anyways, this movie isn't about trolls, it's about sirens, who I'm guessing the target audience (Norwegians) understands. In a way it feels like I'm feeling what a Somali blogger would face if he was reviewing The Don Cherry Story: they have to explain so much that what I'm dealing with that its hard to really bite into the movie as a movie.

So when Thale and her sisters were younger, creepy old Norwegian guy rescued them, or captured them, or rescued Thale, or captured Thale, or something. He decided to raise Thale like a normal girl rather than a siren, tussling her hair and clothing her and giving her dolls and a bed and all sorts of nice things like that. Meanwhile, inexplicably her sisters remained wild and feral and evil and camped out in the woods by their house. Since the sisters can sense each other's presence and constantly were trying to kill Thale or creepy old Norwegian guy or something again that isn't really explained, they had to hide in the bunker. But eventually the sisters would find them, so ultimately Thale was put into the respirator unit, dropped into the tub of milk, and hidden from the world.

I am left assuming that the tub of milk is what made Thale look human, because her siren relatives most certainly were not: they looked like the creatures from District 9 meets Gollum. After stalking Liam Neeson for a spell they successfully attack the bunker and decapacitate the cleaning crew with their evil spirit breath. Or something.

Okay a brief pause here: why did the sisters not enter the lair before today? Yes I know they can usually sense Thale and were able to attack as soon as she was out of the tub. But the sirens seem pretty powerful and amazing, so its not like they really had to be scared of creepy old Norwegian guy. We can assume they are at least moderately intelligent (seeing how Thale seems at least somewhat intelligent, but to be fair we`ve never heard her talk: creepy old Norwegian guy talked to her, but I've talked to plants and animals and even NDP supporters before, it doesn't necessarily mean they're intelligent), and they clearly already live in the woods right by the cabin, so why haven't they already found Thale? When you kill the creepy old guy or see him die or stop seeing him around, and you stalk the house and can sense your sister but haven't sensed her in a while, maybe it's time to do a little bit of exploring? Not Liam Neeson found her within a matter of minutes, and he wasn't aware she existed to be found. As the guys succumb to the evil gypsy breath curse, the movie goes off the rails. I'm sorry: it was sort of interesting and engaging to this point, but then things went crazy with a capital-K:

Not Liam Neeson wakes up tied to a chair out in the woods. Some evil governmenty/corporatey villainous guys with guns are there, and they've put bags over our heroes' heads and are explaining to us what the gypsy breath curse is all about, and now we learn that there's a big conspiracy out to...do something..to the sirens. Find them or kill them or capture them or something. Or is it just Thale? It sounds at first like the siren sisters in the woods are their employers, but then the siren sisters kill all the conspiracy guys and they are never seen or heard from or thought about every again! And they leave the two cleaning guys...why? Well, I guess so we can have the happy ending. Thale eventually comes and rescues them, and oh by the way Liam Neeson has cancer and some weird glow makes him feel better. Then she's gone, and they're at the police station filling out a report, and the report even mentions the siren possibility so obviously the conspiracy is neither powerful nor something to fear.

Okay, now I have a quick Toronto International Film Festival question: are we always seeing these movies how the director intended? Is this the film that is made before executive meddling and focus groups and all that jazz? Does Scott make a play for Meeka and fail in the Vatican in this version? Does Salt wind up captured in prison?
I ask because at this moment the movie seems to go somewhere totally different: in spirit and tone as well as direction. We cut to some new talk from creepy old Norwegian guy about Thale's need to be with her own kind and find love. Liam Neeson`s cancer is cured. And Thale is shown walking in with the rest of the sirens, who for some reason all know and accept her. It really makes no sense in the context of what creepy old Norwegian guy had done up until this point of the film. He'd seemed to do everything within his power to turn Thale from a siren into a human, and that would assume having her spend time with humans and live as a human and all the sort of things that he was seting her up for. So was this added in because of focus groups? Executive meddling? Or was this always their idea, and this is just another disjointed idea in the spirit of the conspiracy guys?

So at the end Thale is walking out with the other creepy siren monsters, the guys are...same and sound and happy, and the conspiracy guys are what conspiracy guys I don't have a clue what you were talking about.

The acting was fairly decent in Thale, the Liam Neeson actor wasn't as good as early Liam Neeson but he isn't as bad as late Liam Neeson either. Not Liam Neeson wasn't as good, but he was competent enough, as was Thale. She's good at smiling, but I think the nuances of the character were basically abandoned and left empty. Thale as a young girl actress is actually far better at conveying the character. The other actors don't apper enough for us to even know or care about their performances. The direction is good and the editing pretty well paced: the film flirts briefly with being a horror or a thriller during the discovery of the lair.

In the end though, Thale is a mess where the writing wants to explore numerous concepts without developing them fully, and introducing plot elements and layers without setting them up or ultimately paying them off. If this does go through a focus group before you see it in theatres, maybe that wouldn't be a horribly bad thing.


And now for a word about the Toronto International Film Festival itself: it's my first time attending, and I think the big mistake I made was attending the second weekend: by then, all the celebrities had left Toronto for better places to be: like Baghdad. The airing of Thale I attended wasn't really a TIFF event by that point: I paid $24 to watch a movie. And I don't like paying $11. The writers and producers and directors had already headed home, so the Q&A events that were the key draw of TIFF didn't happen. I understand this took place for most of the movies: Ben Affleck wasn't attending every showing of Argo by the end of the second week. Angelina Jolie wasn't posing for cameras by then either. It was a film festival without stars by the time I attended.

The TIFF website is also a little low on some of the 'around town' details: where do you go to see the festival itself? I was able to find little tidbits here and there: Robinson Hall was where Oprah apparently went, and that's where you could get your photo taken in front of the TIFF background like you were a big celebrity (I did too, but then of course I am a big-ish celebrity). It would be nice for some sort of guide letting people know where they could partake of this awesomeness. TIFF is supposed to lure in the out-of-towners, that's easier to do when they have some remote idea of what they can be doing for the festival and where. It's a shame to see the Jasper in January festival do a better job at this.

2012 Edmonton Fringe Village of the Fringed Review: One Man Macbeth

The works of Shakespeare, while today considered elite high culture, were not quite so at the time. The Globe theatre was filled with all classes of society, from the upper to the lower: even Queen Elizabeth was known to attend. Or rumoured to attend, at the very least.

It therefore seems an odd for the Edmonton Fringe, since pop culture and fringe theatre don't seem to go hand in hand, to feature Shakespeare's works (and rarely does it happen). In this case though, it does with a twist: it's a one-man Macbeth, told in roughly 35 minutes.

In a high octane thrill ride, NAME OF GUY dives, dances, lances, and prances playing all the major characters. It's a good and fun romp, and some of the prop choices form the major humourous elements of the story. The pacing is excellent, the acting quite good, and the story elements kept and abandoned mostly do the job of effectively condensing the story.

If there's a complaint to be made about One Man Macbeth, it's that you really really need to brush up on your Macbeth before going into the play: if the story is new or unfamiliar to you, then you won't be able to follow along much. Even a general familiarity of the story probably isn't enough. If you plan on checking this show out, make sure you know what you're going to see, or else you aren't going to know what you've watched.

Final word: One Man Macbeth is a worthy entry in the pantheon of the Bard, but first read the Macbeth Wikipedia page