Top tennis outfits of 2015

Talk about wasted opportunities.

Tennis blogger Marija Zivlak presented her "top five prints in 2015 WTA fashion this week, and...yuck.

There's a basic rule when it comes to talking about how hot women's tennis can be. It's a really simple rule, and I don't think I can stress it enough.

Do not include anything about the two massive shaved apes who make up the Williams sisters.

So naturally, she starts out with both of them.

Nike created the Greatness Collection to celebrate Serena Williams' absolute dominance in 2015 and to depict the American's supreme power the company incorporated animal and marble prints in footwear and apparel for the tennis icon's US Open campaign. The Nike Safari print was there to cater to Williams' penchant for animal prints, while the marble print symbolized her strength.
And, you know, that she's as butt-ugly as a black female athlete can possibly be. Serena Williams makes Grace Jones look feminine for crying out loud.

It also doesn't help that the HTML coding in the article is so bad that all of the non-Wlliams pictures are broken. Here's are a couple screenshots of how this article, the lead story on the website of a major sporting league, looks.

So since that article was such garbage, I figured I'd pick up where Zivlak left off and highlight the best outfits from the 2015 women's tennis season.
ana ivanovicgenie bouchardeugenie bouchardmaria sharpovakatie swanjulia gorgesmaria sharapovasabine lisickikristina mladenovicmonica puiganna ivanovicfrancoise abandamonika kilnarovageniearmyalize cornetaliona zadoinovnina alibalicajla tomljanovic
Bonus Women's Tennis Blog fashion link: An in-depth look at Agnieszka Radwanska's 2015 fashion looks, including that ridiculously nice metallic dress from the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Martok's brother once called Radwanska "the Polish paper-bag princess" for semi-obvious reasons.
agnieszka radwanska

Miss Worlds

Mireia Lalaguna Royo is Miss World 2015.

You remember Miss World, right? That's the beauty pageant with the recent controversy...no, sorry, were you thinking of the Miss Universe pageant? No, the "right" girl was given the crowd at Miss World, but the big issue was who didn't get to attend.

Not present was Miss Canada, Chinese-born Anastasia Lin, who had been prevented from boarding her connecting flight to Sanya from Hong Kong last month after China refused her a visa.

Lin is an outspoken critic of Chinese religious policy and a follower of the Falun Gong meditation practice, which was outlawed by China in 1999.

She said that after she won the Canadian title, Chinese security agents visited her father, who still lives in China, in an apparent attempt to intimidate her into silence.

China has hosted the competition seven times, starting in 2003, as part of its attempts to project a more modern, outgoing image. However, the controversy over Lin's attendance illustrates the authoritarian communist government's determination to do so on its own terms, regardless of the cost to the country's reputation.

Neither Beijing nor the London-based Miss World Organization has commented on the controversy.

It was the second consecutive year that outside events intruded on the competition. Last year's contest in London was marred by the murder the month before of Miss Honduras and her sister in that country.



Another week, another bombing in Istanbul.

The blast at Sabiha Gokcen, the city's second airport and located on its Asian side, occurred shortly after 2:00 a.m. local time, budget carrier Pegasus said, fatally wounding a cleaner on one of its planes.

The airport's owner, Malaysia Airports, referred to more than one explosion "at the tarmac area", adding that normal flight operations had resumed by 4 a.m. local time.
If you've been to Istanbul, you probably haven't been to Sabiha Gokcen: the airport serves regional Turkish cities so unless you used Istanbul as your base of operations for more Turkish destinations (or flew between Istanbul and Ankara) you never visted the airport or flew its biggest client, Pegasus airline.

Still, coming on the heels of the metro station bombing earlier this December, it's not looking particularly friendly in Istanbul these days. As often happens in areas dealing with violent Muslims, your canary in the coal mine is always the Jews.



The University of Missouri's The Language of Identity: Using inclusive terminology at Mizzou has a curious one-two punch in the "Race, ethnicity and national origin" section...

(hat tip to Small Dead Animals)

Boxing Day

Today was Boxing Day, and something about the holiday has always bothered me. This is, quite clearly, still Christmas. Even if it hadn't fallen on a Saturday, most people would have spent today off. Several of course would have been involved in the Boxing Day crowds at the mall, but many others would be going out to visit family. Especially in the modern days of multiple divorced families, you would expect that Boxing Day is another chance to spend time with family that couldn't be accommodated yesterday. I know myself, one aunt always hosts a Christmas family get-together and another hosts one on Boxing Day.

So why was it on the drive today we couldn't listen to Christmas music?

Edmonton had two stations this year playing Christmas music, and I believe both started on the first day of December (they may have started on the weekend of December 5th, I personally don't start listening to Christmas music until the 20th of the month). However, for some unfathomable reason both switched to their normal music this morning.

Why would they do this? I can understand ending Christmas music on December 27th and/or the next working day (so this year December 28th would be the switchover day), but for the life of me I can't understand the logic of ending early. Not only is there another day off where family get together for a Christmas dinner, but if you're a kid the day after Christmas feels more like a holiday than the actual Christmas.

It fits in a traditional sense, too. One of the songs you may have heard on either station was "Twelve Days of Christmas", and what you may not know is that proper Twelvetide starts on Christmas Day (ie. the "first day of Christmas" where you get the partridge in the pear tree). In other words, the Christmas season doesn't end on Boxing Day: if anything, it should start then.

While in North America we don't do extended Christmas like they do across the pond (though, as Mark Steyn notes, Canada is closer to England than America on this topic), Christmas season doesn't end on the morning of Boxing Day.

So please, next year keep playing the music for one more day.

Or perhaps not. One of the things I noticed was how few Christmas songs the radio stations were playing: Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Feliz Navidad, Jingle Bell Rock, All I Want for Christmas is You, Sleigh Ride, and that new Taylor Swift one. Half of the songs were just the same artists too, so not even any variety there. I didn't hear We Three Kings, White Christmas, or Marshmallow World once over three days. There's a huge catalogue of Christmas music radio stations keep missing.

The Force Awakens...whatever

This Boxing Day, why not enjoy some Star Wars music? After all, judging by the sellouts everybody else thought today would be a good day to watch The Force Awakens too...


A Very Cannon Christmas

If you want the bare minimum of Christmas content today, there's a 1/3rd Christmas episode of "Best of the Worst" recently posted.

The Christmas story

In all the craziness going on in the world, it's hard to sometimes keep Christmas in perspective. Mark Steyn mentioned as much on the Rush Limbaugh show yesterday.

Mike Jenkinson posts a reminder.

Merry Christmas from the Grabowski's

Obviously the censoring was done by the Alberta NDP.


Merry Christmas Eve from the Grabowski's

Santa Claus is coming to town...wrong

With Christmas music in full swing, a reminder that modern rock arrangements of Christmas carols are all horrible.


Shiny Pony's first hidden tax hike

Rat Bastard 2.0 is in a tough spot. He's made a ton of promises to other far-left politicians that he'll hook them up with free money. The problem is, he doesn't have much free money to give and he can't go too far into debt without looking crazy for being upset that the Conservatives went into debt at all.

So what is a brain-dead Liberal going to do? Easy, what they always do. Hike up taxes so that other people have to pay all the extra freight being promised. Bonus points if you can say you're "hurting the rich". This time, it's being couched as a "CPP expansion". Just look at how union thug boss Hassan Yusseff puts it.

Yusseff says coming cuts in business employment insurance contributions plus business tax cuts from 23 to 15 per cent mean businesses have plenty of room to contribute to what he calls an essential upgrade to a Canadian pension system that is now broken.

He points out that when it began, CPP was intended as a supplement to private savings and employer pensions. "It was supposed to be a three-legged stool," he said.

But as more people count on CPP (QPP in Quebec) alone, it just isn't enough. The CLC thinks the pension payout needs to double.

Yusseff says most of the planning work has already been done and with success at today's meeting, a new, expanded pension system could be in place as soon as January 2017.
The thing about the CPP is that you and your employer bear the costs, which hurts you and your employer.

But Trudeau doesn't care about you, or your boss. He cares about himself. And for himself, he wants to be adored by Provincial Premiers. And he's willing to bankrupt you to do it. It is, indeed, the reason PMs ever do these meetings, for the cheery post-meeting photo op.
By long tradition, provinces don't come to Ottawa without asking for federal cash.

No doubt that is why former prime minister Stephen Harper stopped meeting with premiers. His strategy instead was to cut federal taxes and transfers, allowing the provinces to raise their own tax money if they were unable to cut spending.

From the point of view of the provincial and territorial ministers, the really big-ticket issue is health care. With Canada's aging population, health needs are growing faster than budgets, and the policy of the former Conservative government pushed the burden increasingly onto the provinces.
Considering, of course, that "the burden" is:
a) Entirely the provinces' fault (they could each privatize healthcare tomorrow)
b) Entirely the provinces' responsibility
then I don't see why Stephen Harper (pbuh)'s plan wasn't a sound one. As Don Pittis's column notes, provinces just have to raise their own taxes to pay for a program they like. In the long term, doing it this way would be in Ottawa's best interests anyways. Provincial Premiers from Lougheed to Klein to Brian Tobin to Jacques Parizeau loved blaming the federal government for things, and that same federal government didn't exactly make it easy on themselves by saying "hey, we didn't create this program, fund this program, or run this program, why are you mad at us for the program?"

Meanwhile, Shiny Pony is going to increase your tax bill, and it's worth noting exactly how bad this scheme is going to be.
Perhaps more problematic, the evidence based on past CPP expansion suggests that when the government increases compulsory savings, households reduce their voluntary savings, leaving them no better off in terms of total savings. The reason is that Canadians choose how much they save and spend based on their income and preferred lifestyle. If their income and preferences don’t change, and the government mandates higher contributions to government-run pension plans, they will simply reduce their private savings in RRSPs, TFSAs and other investments.

Without an overall boost in retirement savings, the end result is a reshuffling, with more money going to forced savings and less to voluntary savings. The risk then is that Canadians will lose out on the choice and flexibility afforded by private savings in RRSPs and TFSAs.

(Car)jackpine savages

Two women were beaten and their car stolen after they stopped to help what they thought was a distressed driver in Saskatchewan.

Kristen Alm says she and Carolyn Benes were headed toward home about 3 a.m. on Saturday when they noticed a rolled-over SUV and saw a group of people waving for help.

But when the Good Samaritans pulled over, they were dragged from their vehicle and beaten by the group, who then stole the friend's car and drove off.

Five people, including three teens, face multiple charges in the carjacking.

The group is also accused in two armed robberies near Clavet before rolling the SUV, which police say was stolen.

They were arrested in North Battleford, Sask., following a police chase that started in the north end of Saskatoon.

Although an RCMP news release stated the women were not injured, Alm says she has two fractured ribs, a contusion on her knee and a scratched-up leg while her friend has a concussion from hitting her head on the pavement.

She says at first she thought maybe "it was an accident or a joke."

"I put one foot out of the car and I was pulled out, pushed down, kicked and I couldn't quite believe it," she says, recalling hearing her Benes scream.

"She had a gun pointed at her head. They were trying to take her cellphone and her wallet. She was pleading with them that she has little kids."

As the attackers sped away, Alm got on her cellphone and called police. Then, she noticed the car turn around and head back toward them.

The women ran into the ditch, making sure to stay close to a fence.

"I was just terrified thinking 'they're coming back! They're coming back!' and my friend, she was thinking in her head at that time that they know we've seen them, they're going to come back and they're going to shoot us," Alm recalls.

But she says the car drove past them because they were hiding as still as they could under some bushes.

The women eventually made it to Clavet and sought refuge in the motel, Alm says.
Have you ever been to Clavet, Saskatchewan? You may recognize the name from the Corner Gas episode featuring the "Clavet Cup"; many Saskatchewan towns received cameos on the show as last names. You might also think to yourself "hey, Clavet is along way from any Indian Reservation, maybe this isn't thuggish behaviour from the backwards culture that's always in the news?

But then you stop and think, and realize it's almost certainly going to be Indians.

However, the three teens are not the three violent Indians who shot a woman in the head at the Onion Lake Indian Reservation. No, instead they are a different group of Indians.
The five accused face 33 charges in total, including assault, pointing a firearm, flight from police and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

The five charged are from the North Battleford area and nearby First Nation communities.
Naturally, because this involves savagery from savage uncivilized Indians, the CBC has avoided allowing comments...

Milking taxpayers

The Wall Street Journal weighs in on the benefits of the WTO decision to scrap agricultural export subsidies.

The World Trade Organization agreed at a meeting in Nairobi on Saturday to eliminate some $15 billion of subsidies on exported produce from milk to sugar and rice.

Farmers from countries like New Zealand, Australia and Canada, who get relatively limited help from their governments, cheered the move, which should make their produce more competitive in global markets.

Yet those farmers who receive more generous subsidies—a costly practice often criticized for manipulating prices—could lose their edge. Some of the biggest beneficiaries have been both in developed and developing countries including Switzerland, India and Thailand.

“The decision tackles the issue once and for all,” said Director-General Roberto Azevêdo in a speech following the decision. “It removes the distortions that these subsidies cause in agriculture markets.”
It's a great start, a very welcome start, especially on the heels of the recent U.S. Congressional decision to not defy the W.T.O. and repeal the ridiculous COOL law in the U.S. that mandates country-of-origin labeling (which US companies are still free to do themselves to shill local-produced meat to American consumers).

It means that Canadian farmers in most industries just became more profitable. While Canadian consumers benefitted from the huge agricultural subsidies in other countries (think about it: your food was cheaper than it otherwise could have been and you didn't have to pay a dime: a French taxpayer was paying part of the cost of your breakfast), producers were always fighting an uphill battle, trying to be more efficient than a European farmer who could sell at a loss and just get his government to top up the difference.

There's still a long way to go, of course. Unlike that French taxpayer subsidy, Canadian taxpayers still subsidize farms: particularly in the specific industries not covered by the W.T.O. policy.

Which leads us to commenter Curtis Vaughan, who asked:
The Canadian dairy industry is heavily subsidized. You lost me there.....credibility gone
Dairy, of course, is heavily subsidized and protected through import restrictions (not covered by the WTO agreement) and supply management (not covered by the WTO agreement).

Like I said, much work to be done. But a positive step.
The agreement requires developed countries to eliminate subsidies starting Jan. 1, with the exception of some dairy, pork and processed products. Developing countries have until the end of 2018.

Export subsidies include any form of financial aid or support given by a government to a firm involved in exporting agricultural products.


"The 1% are hurting too, people"

The most expensive meat in the world is getting a little cheaper to produce.

Japanese farmers who raise wagyu cattle for 200-gram steaks that can fetch more than ¥30,000 at the poshest restaurants have been struggling to stay in business as their expenses rise faster than income. The young calves they buy and then nurture for 20 months cost more than ever before, and feed for the animals surged to the highest price in three decades.

But a plunge in shipping rates during the global commodity slump is allowing Japanese beef producers to import the most European barley ever, because it is far less expensive than the crops from Australia the cattle normally eat.

While profit margins remain tight for wagyu — with its honeycomb of taste-enhancing fat embedded in the meat — the shift in feed supplies is providing relief for farmers like Toshio Sotome, who Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is counting on to help boost food exports.

If Dennis Campbell says the sun rises in the east every morning, look west

How's UK Progressive's "Arab Spring" coming along?

Mrs Hamdy was the council inspector who, five years ago today confiscated the vegetable stall of a street vendor in her dusty town in central Tunisia.

In despair, that young man set himself on fire in a protest outside the council offices. Within weeks, he was dead, dozens of young Arab men had copied him, riots had overthrown his president, and the Arab Spring was under way.

As the world marks the anniversary, Syria and Iraq are in flames, Libya has broken down, and the twin evils of militant terror and repression stalk the region.
Subsequent studies found that self-immolation had already become a common act in Tunisia, accounting already for 15 per cent of all burns cases in Tunis hospitals. Within six months, more than 100 Tunisians had followed suit, and scores more around the Arab world, from Morocco to Saudi Arabia and Iraq, had also set themselves on fire.

Still, not many observers could have imagined the chaos that would ensue, even when Mr Ben Ali gave way to weeks of protest and boarded a plane for Saudi Arabia with his wife and a large chunk of the country’s gold reserves.

Next Hosni Mubarak of Egypt went, after 18 days of telegenic demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Then Col Muammar Gaddafi was forced out, after protests turned into civil war and then international war, with the West’s air forces joining in.

By the time he was bayoneted and shot in October 2011, Syria was in flames, and the West was starting to vacillate about its role, with effects that can still be seen today. Libya, Syria and much of Iraq remain failed states. Egypt is on the brink.
In other words, Denis Campbell is a monster. Even as he tried to proclaim this a victory for the people, the warning signs were there. However, the pathetic little coward retreated into his far-left echo chamber rather than listen to the voice of reason.

Denis Campbell cheered as the Arab world turned to ISIS and Egypt turned into a backwater. He cheers even today.

As the bodies pile higher.

Bonus Dennis Campbell is a retard link: Mark Steyn is similarly on the case.




BREAKING: Area nun suspected of being some sort of Christian

Mother Teresa (not Mother Theresa? I thought for sure that was the spelling) is going to become a Saint.

Pope Francis has cleared the way for sainthood by approving a decree recognising a second miracle attributed to her intercession with God, a requirement of sainthood.

The nun, who died in 1997 at the age of 87, became an international icon but has also been criticised for trying to convert people to Christianity.

The late Pope John Paul II bent Vatican rules to allow the procedure to establish her case for sainthood to be launched two years after her death instead of the usual five. She was beatified in 2003, a mere six years after her death.

Beatification requires one miracle and is the last step before sainthood, which requires a second.

The church defines saints as those believed to have been holy enough during their lives to now be in Heaven with God.

Francis, who has made concern for the poor a major plank of his papacy, was keen to make Mother Teresa a saint during the church's current Holy Year.
Looks about as was expected. Mother Teresa was hugely popular and politically there was no doubt the Catholic Church would honour her so.

Hey, but did you catch that little throwaway line about "criticized for trying to convert people"? Wasn't that a little weird. Reuters continues...
In the years since her death, some have accused Mother Teresa and the order of having ulterior motives in helping the destitute, saying their aim was to convert them to Christianity.

The order rejects that, saying, for example, that most of those helped in the Kalighat Home for Dying Destitutes in Kolkata were non-Christians with just a few days left to live and noting that conversion is a lengthy process.
Let's ignore the Missionaries of Charity defense. What the hell does the first part say?

Of course their aim is to convert people to Christianity. That's what nuns are for, genius! They may also do some nursing, or some doctoring, or some lawyering, or some home construction on the side, but the primary duty of any Christian is to convert people to Christianity.

I think we can extend that to nuns.


Kids today are easily impressed

Sidney Crosby is "really impressed" with Patrick Kane's point streak.

Kane had a 26-game point streak broken last week, and the whole hockey work was impressed by it (with the possible exception of one tiny Gaulish village...), and rightfully so.

Even though 51 games is the NHL record (set, of course, by Wayne Gretzky with the Edmonton Oilers), 26 is nothing to snooze at especially in the dead puck era.

Since the 1992-1993 season (Mats Sundin, 30 games) no player has gotten a point in 28 games or longer. The closest was, of course, Cindy Crosby himself...

Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby knows all about point streaks. He produced a 25-game point streak during the 2010-2011 season, and he said he was impressed with Kane's performance this season.

"It's not easy to keep putting those games together," Crosby said. "You could see there toward the end, you're just finding ways and ride that wave as long as you can. What he was able to do with that consistency is not easy, so really impressed with him being able to do that. You need some bounces along the way, but it's pretty tough to do that."
That being said, 2015-2016 Crosby should be rightfully impressed by Kane's point streak. Come to think of it though, Crosby should also be impressed by...
  • Taylor Hall
  • Johnny Gaudreau
  • Tyler Seguin
  • Roman Josi
  • Leon Draisaitl
  • Daniel Sedin
  • Mikko Koivu
  • Vladamir Tarasenko
  • Kevin Shattenkirk
  • T.J. Brodie
  • 2/3rds of the entire NHL not named Steven Stamkos

Post #2600, Baby!

Can you believe it? On the heels of the tenth anniversary comes this, the 2,600th post on Third Edge of the Sword.

And again, let's review our liberal cowardly tweeter of the month. This month's candidate is Brittany Kustra (@whatbrittwrites), a little Brittney Le Blanc protege (quite literally, she's half Le Blanc's size) who similarly runs like the piece of chickenshit her kind is when confronted about her lies and deceptions in the #GamerGate incident at the Calgary Comic Book Expo.

Most of her stuff is relatively banal...

But when she starts going off on politics, look out. She's...clueless as a dead bird caught in one of those rotating air vents in a quonset.

Claiming Rachel Arab, the disgustingly evil author of Bill 6 and Premier of Alberta (to whose elimination no deed is too extreme) is classy and listens to questions and promises to take them under advisement? Stupid like this, no wonder she has to hide from principled conservatives!

Stamkos drama is entirely off the ice

TSN's Bob MacKenzie is pretty sure Stamkos is leaving Tampa Bay.

Some might suggest he's not been the same player since he broke his tibia on Nov. 11, 2013, but that would conveniently overlook his 43 goals and 72 points last season.

Whatever is ailing him now, or in an uneven playoff performance last spring, his interests and those of the Lightning are best served by him re-discovering his form.

He's basically auditioning for July 1.? The better he plays, the more he increases his value and the number of teams interested in signing him.
If Tampa isn't going to sign Stamkos, or at least get fully engaged in talks towards that end, the Lightning have three options:

1. Trade him as a rental on or before the Feb. 29 trade deadline. Grab a first-round pick and a prospect or two — the going rental rates at the deadline — and move on.

2. Sign and trade Stamkos.

It is, by hockey standards, an unconventional approach, but if Stamkos did designate a favoured landing spot, Tampa could do a contract extension on behalf of the new team and trade him there, presumably for a higher trade yield than rental prices.

3. ?Don't trade Stamkos and play it out; go as far and as deep as they can with him in their lineup and then bid him adieu in the off-season, taking his current $7.5 million in cap space, or the $9 to $11 million they might've paid him, and spend it elsewhere next season.

Of course, the Bolts are not masters of their own destiny in the first two of those three options.

It's a good read. There's a brief mention of the Oilers in there, but nobody expects that Stamkos will go anywhere but Toronto.

Or maybe Montreal. Buffalo and Detroit are hunting for him too.

Outside chance of Winnipeg or Ottawa.

St. Louis might make a strong play for him.

Okay so basically Bob thinks he could go anywhere, even the Rangers. Still, the Stamkos drama is kicking up into the next gear. The same next gear his play is definitely not in.

Can I move to Japan? Sounds like an awesome country

Poison Pill Keypad

Laura Rosen Cohen on the latest Parisian attack:

Just "mildly" of course because nothing ever done to Jews is serious.

These are just random, moderate, mild attacks by individuals who have nothing to do with Islam of course.
What's a moderate and mild attack?

Oh, just a French synagogue's security pad being smeared with a poisonous substance that causes skin irritation.

It's another (presumably Muslim) attack in Paris, less than six weeks later. Barely cracks the international news. And if that makes you angry...well, don't read the rest of the article...

"Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store"

A mom in England got a rude awakening recently when she sent her son to kindergarten wearing a Christmas sweater ("jumper" in the local parlance).
At first glance, the festive photo looks like many others - a little boy smiling in front of a Christmas tree in his new sweater starring Santa.

The boy's mum said she took it before packing him off to school.

But look a little closer and you should be able to notice why the woolly pullover probably wasn't appropriate for a learning environment.

This particular Father Christmas is more Bad Santa as he appears to be urinating the words: "Merry Christmas", scrawled in a wee-yellow font.

For those looking for a more appropriate Christmas sweater for the holidays, may we suggest the violent one based on one of the most beloved Christmas movies of all time?


At least capitalists did something to create modern Canada

Why hasn't the CBC closed the comments for their offensive story about the Victims of Communism memorial?

The far-left state-owned broadcaster is quick to close comments once they speak negatively about Red Indians, but speak out in favour of a political and economic system that killed over 100 million civilians: almost nine times more than were killed by the Nazis (and 31250 times more than were killed at Residential Schools, most of whom would have died anyways).

The problem is that the disgusting and brutal communist murderers are worshipped by the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier of Alberta, two people the CBC sort of wishes could become the Pol Pot of the Laurentian.

So as long as it's attacking the free system of exchange that makes the world better, the CBC is in favour. Saying unkind things about a racial group that clings to its decrepit culture, and they shut the whole system down. And then liberals wonder why conservatives want this sick government agency defunded.

(Check out this sample of the offensive material)


Montreal Simon hated the GOP debate on Tuesday December 15th.

Can you think of a better reason to cheer on one of the men (ideally Trump) to become President? Simon had a pretty good 8 years spreading his far-left nonsense under President Monkey, it's time to see if he can handle a man in the White House.

That girl gets around

Big Bang Theory actress Kaley Cuoco is apparently dating one of the guys from Arrow in a comic book crossover that's sure to get the few remaining geek fans of her show up in a tizzy.

This comes just months after filing for divorce with her tennis playing husband (insert name here) where she even had to cover up her related tatoo. (Not covered up: her insistence that the marriage wasn't on the rocks).

Editor's Note: We apologize for a Kaley Cuoco post that doesn't lend itself well to pictures. To apologize, here are a variety of photos. To help discourage dyke readership, we have only included ones with her hair long.

Heather Mallick isn't very bright

Catherine "Kate" McMillan is one of the best known people on the Canadian right. She has routinely won blogging awards, has a strong and loyal fanbase, and has been referenced in mainstream media across Canada and around the world, even getting mentioned in the Saskatcewan Legislature. So naturally cowardly far-left Toronto liberal Heather Mallick doesn't know who she is. To make matters even crazier, Mallick apparently also doesn't know how to quickly click on a Twitter profile to see if the person connected to it has provided a name.

Heather Mallick is the Trichomoniasis of Canadian journalism. Readers know this, and that's one of the main reasons the Toronto Star has had to cancel comments. SDA reader Peter O'Donnell has come to much the same conclusion.

In general terms, there is not much point in considering oneself to be part of an elite, or smarter than others, if the existence of an interactive medium often demonstrates the untruth of that assertion.

Hence, to preserve the self-image, commentary must be either eliminated or managed (to permit accolades and notes of agreement). Sometimes one or two mild critiques can be accepted to give an illusion of objectivity.

The Force Awakens

Today's the big day: Star Wars: The Force Awakens has officially been released into theatres.

To celebrate, here's Mike Stoklasa and Rich Evans interviewing J.J. Abrams.


"This is an accident." "What, like... He tripped, you fell?"

One rule for rich people Muslims, one rule for the rest of us...

A London court has cleared a rich Saudi Arabian immigrant of raping an 18-year-old girl as she slept. He argued that he accidentally tripped and penetrated her with his erect penis, which just happened to be protruding from his underwear.

“I fell down but nothing ever happened, between me and this girl nothing ever happened” Ehsan Abdulaziz, 46, told the court.

The property developer and businessman, who is married with a child, invited two women back to his flat after a night out. He had paid £1,000 for a private table in a nightclub and promised to drive the two women home in his Aston Martin sports car.

After a change of plans he brought both women back to his fancy West London flat, where he offered them vodka before taking the older friend, 24, into his bedroom for sex.

He told the court he had never before had a one-night stand in the 20 years he had lived in London. Talking about the friend who he slept with, he said: “She’s a very sweet girl, a very nice girl, I see her quite often, I see these girls, they go out quite often.”
This isn't the first time that Breitbart has had to report on curious legal rights of Muslims in the United Kingdom. In October you may remember this article about how Muslims who falsely accuse innocent whites of crimes never have to face their accuser in court. Likewise this story from 2011 where a wild pack of Somali women were given suspended sentences after a brutal beating because Muslims aren't supposed to drink. Or how about this 2013 story about a British judge who gives a Muslim leniancy because he was unaware he couldn't have sex with 13 year old girls?

Bonus idiocy: Cory Doctrow claiming that it's the Tories fault for dismantling legal aid.

Don't eat the Carnegie Mellon

Finally the enviro-weenies are onto something!

Eat moar bacon.

Among the shock findings from a new US study for vegetarians, vegans and respected colleagues, lettuce is "over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon", and "eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken".

The study by Carnegie Mellon researchers found that switching to a healthier diet rich in fruit and vegetables and light on meat could actually be worse for the environment.
The results were "counterintuitive" because the fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood which the USDA guidelines recommend people eat more of have "relatively high resource use and emissions per calorie", the researchers said.

"What is good for us health-wise isn't always what's best for the environment", said study co-author Michelle Tom.
It turns out, as is so often the case, that you're always just better off doing as I do.

David Cameron's valiant efforts to save Europe from itself

The Europeans are promising "no deal" with the upcoming EU summit which only has one item on the agenda: Britain's demand for EU reform.

Speaking to reporters at the Council building in Brussels, Mr Tusk, the president of the European council, said parts of the British demands seemed "unacceptable".

"The consultations I have led with all member states shows goodwill of all the parties involved, but it doesn't change the fact that some parts of the British proposal seem unacceptable," he said.
So what are those unacceptable demands?

In November, PM Cameron sent a letter to Donald Tusk, the "President of Europe" listing four key demand areas: currencies, competitiveness, sovereignty, and immigration. These are the other they appear in the letter. They also happen, by fun coincidence, to (roughly) also be in increasing order of opposition from the rest of the European Union.

Their bit about economic governance is fairly straightforward. The key lines that the UK has an uphill battle for is:
Any changes the Eurozone decides to make, such as the creation of a banking union, must be voluntary for non-Euro countries, never compulsory.

Taxpayers in non-Euro countries should never be financially liable for operations to support the Eurozone as a currency.
But then, as we noted, that's the easy part of this whole deal.

To be fair, the competitiveness angle is probably something that there will be wide support for as well. The trade deals section may ruffle a few protectionist feathers (and, as a fair bit of insult, doesn't mention the EU's free trade deal with Canada) and I'm not sure how much European countries are game to cut regulation and unencumber businesses. But they should be able to finangle that one.

On the matter of sovereignty the Brits are certainly in a position to get Europe's gander up. Cameron starts off with an absolute bombshell.
First, I want to end Britain's obligation to work towards an "ever closer union" as set out in the Treaty. It is very important to make clear that this commitment will no longer apply to the United Kingdom. I want to do this in a formal, legally-binding and irreversible way.
Now it's no secret that Europe has been hungrily pining to get the United Kingdom into the European Union full-force (they specifically still grit their teeth that the UK got a permanent Euro opt-out in Protocol 15), and I'm sure they had hoped that this was a back-door process to bring the UK inexorably closer. Cameron's explosive declaration that England is already more European than it should be is going to go over like a lead zeppelin. Also, how well do you think this will play in Brussels?
while the European Parliament plays an important role, I want to enhance the role of national parliaments, by proposing a new arrangement where groups of national parliaments, acting together, can stop unwanted legislative proposals. The precise threshold of national parliaments required will be a matter for the negotiation.

Third, I want to see the EU' s commitments to subsidiarity fully implemented, with clear proposals to achieve that. As the Dutch have said, the ambition should be "Europe where necessary, national where possible".
There's a reason that "new world order / one world government" conspiracy theories have so much traction, and that's because central governments always like consolidating rather than dispersing power. The European Union is no exception, indeed it's almost the rule that proves the rule. (It doesn't help, either, that Britain's aim for "competitiveness" is similarly at odds with the statist desires of the elite in Brussels). Cameron finishes this section off with a play for the national security card to try and soothe the savage statist beast, but it's clear this is so much window dressing.

Which segues, of course, into the final item, the most contentious item, the one that has brother set against brother, elite vs proletariat, whites against nonwhites, believers in sovereignty versus believers in a higher power§...I'm talking, of course, about naming rights over wine producing regions.

No of course I'm kidding. The real contentious issue is, as always: immigration.
We need to ensure that when new countries are admitted to the EU in the future, free movement will not apply to those new members until their economies have converged much more closely with existing Member States.

We also need to crack down on the abuse of free movement, an issue on which I have found wide support in my discussions with colleagues. This includes tougher and longer re-entry bans for fraudsters and people who collude in sham marriages. It means addressing the fact that it is easier for an EU citizen to bring a non-EU spouse to Britain than it is for a British citizen to do the same. It means stronger powers to deport criminals and stop them coming back, as well as preventing entry in the first place. And it means addressing ECJ judgments that have widened the scope of free movement in a way that has made it more difficult to tackle this kind of abuse.

But we need to go further to reduce the numbers coming here. As I have said previously, we can reduce the flow of people coming from within the EU by reducing the draw that our welfare system can exert across Europe. So we have proposed that people coming to Britain from the EU must live here and contribute for four years before they qualify for in-work benefits or social housing. And that we should end the practice of sending child benefit overseas.
There's a lot in there (and I didn't include the preamble and the postamble to the meat and potatoes bits) and it doesn't even explicitly mention that EU immigration issue on everybody's mind: the "Syrian" "refugee" crisis. There are little hints here and there ("addressing ECJ judgments that have widened the scope of free movement", etc) but Cameron is mainly looking at migration mitigation that looks beyond just the headlines. You could take the argument that he's rationally trying to solve a temporary problem while also fixing a long-term structural issue, you could take the argument that he's an evil anti-Muslim conservative who's couching his racism and xenophobia in this benign language of stopping abuse, or you could take the (far more likely argument) that he's pretending to be tough on the fake Syrian refugees but in reality just doing some little bureaucratic nonsense so that he can claim that unlike the UKIP he actually can achieve results in negotiations.

Regardless of his reasons though, they remain sticking points that threaten to make the entire summit basically useless. There's the other theory about this, too: it's a poison pill, designed specifically to put Europe in a hard place: grant Britain their wishes, or else risk a negative public backlash in the upcoming EU Referendum, which by force of law will now take place between today and December 2017. By bringing his trump card into play, Cameron is now challenging Europe to play ball or go home. Of particular note is the bit about no welfare benefits for four years in England. Privately officials have said that Cameron may be applying them to British workers as well, which would end claims of discrimination and conveniently also cause young Brits to turn against the blind import of migrants to begin with. After all, if migrants didn't abuse the welfare system they wouldn't have had to close it down for everyone. This isn't even the "extremist" position you might think: poor Jeremy Corbyn had to play to his social justice warrior base by publicly denouncing his own party's position: Labour wants the same restrictions as Cameron but for only two years.

What we're seeing here is the end of the European Union as we know it. Either they abide by the British demands and become a loose confederation of independent nations again, or England is on it's way out. Pretty good for a UKIP party that the media despises and has never made a big jump in the polls. Albertan separatists should take note.

Which technically, as Bernard Woolley would say if he was here, makes it an agendum.

[Google isn't cooperating on all Third Edge of the Sword webpages, but I believe this may be the first time Feynman and Coulter's Love Child has ever used the word "proletariat" on this site. -ed]

§ "Higher power" in this case could mean God (for the pro-immigration churches) or the great god of globalism and/or "anti-colonialism" as the case may be

University of Toronto's War Against Alberta

If you're a University of Toronto student, or (more importantly) a prospective University of Toronto student, please be aware that the school is planning increase tuition rates.

The University of Toronto’s $1.8 billion endowment fund should divest from energy companies engaged in open-pit mining of bitumen in Canada, its advisory committee has recommended.

The committee was set up by President Meric Gertler in March 2014, in response to a petition from Toronto350, the university chapter of the larger 350.org movement, to completely divest from direct investments in fossil fuel companies within the next five years. University of Toronto reportedly has $32.4 million invested in fossil fuel companies, according to Saskatoon-based The Sustainability and Education Policy Network (SEPN).
In other words, for purely political posturing purposes, the University is planning to make less profitable investments which will impact their bottom line. Ultimately, both students and Ontario/Canadian taxpayers will end up impacted: by higher tuition rates, a University with fewer resources, or more tax dollars being needed to "invest in post-secondary education". But with half an eye to the Kate McMillan line "the opposite of diversity is university", let's see how the fossil fuel ban will be taking effect.
The endowment fund should determine a method to assess which fossil fuel companies “blatantly disregard the international effort to limit the rise in average global temperatures,” the committee advised.

The committee identified Exxon Mobil Corp. and Conoco Phillips, both of which have operations in Canada, and a number of coal companies as divestment targets.
In other words, as long as you have the politically correct views and opinions on a topic, you can be spared the dreaded punishment of having your stock value reduced by namby-pambys at the University of Toronto.

While we're at it, does this University of Toronto policy negatively impact their home province...?
While the committee made exceptions for fossil fuel companies that are demonstrating an effort to reduce their carbon emissions, it highlights "open-pit mining of natural bitumen in Canada, Arctic extraction or exploration, and thermal coal mining in Canada and the United States" as examples of companies the fund should steer away from, especially those that generate more than 10 per cent of the revenues from fossil fuel-mining activities.

"It’s true that there is some wiggle room, and the devil will be in the details," said Lascaris. "The 10 per cent of revenue threshold suggests that the major player from the tarsands sector would have to be divested by the endowment if the president accepts the recommendation."
So see? There's "some wiggle room"...as long as you're not one of those "embarrassing cousins from Alberta". Seeing as how the UofT receives money from the Province of Ontario, and that the Province of Ontario has long been the beneficiary of equalization payments stolen out of Alberta's coffers, Albertans have suffered to help the University of Toronto out.

So how do the little shitheads thanks us for all of our toil and sacrifice? By divesting from our economy and implying that we're ruining the planet (which, of course, we ain't). Meanwhile, the students who attend this university are instead contributing to a culture of imposition of freedom that actually does damage the planet...at the very least, that facet of the planet that we like to call human society.

Divest yourself of that, first.

A Requiem for The Elephant and Castle

The last English pub on Whyte Avenue -- the Elephant and Castle -- is closing its doors.

There are lots of people to blame for this: Rachel Arab's high alcohol taxes combined with her destruction of the province, Mayor Coward for his obnoxiously high property tax hikes, and...well, management of the E&C over the past decade.

Back in the 90s the E&C was a hugely popular place to go: they had great beer, was a great place to watch the game, and a killer plate of nachos.

So what sank the Elephant and Castle into the swamp? Change.

I mentioned that E&C was a great place to watch a game. I didn't say, notice, that it is a great place to watch a game. Why isn't it anymore? Change.

Specifically, the change in what a great TV to watch a game on was. It really wasn't that long ago that watching TV in a bar was done on CRT monitors broadcast in standard definition.

As other bars in the area like Hudson and The Pint started looking more like the bottom of the picture (not with nearly as big a TV, mind you, but the concept was the same), Elephant and Castle put a couple HD TVs behind the bar, and eventually did replace the smaller TVs on the ground floor. That giant 4' wide TV upstairs that I don't even think works anymore has been there for two decades, though, and in the same way it made watching a hockey game at E&C great in 1999 makes it horrible in 2015. So in that regard, E&C fell behind.

They fell behind on the sexy waitress measure as well, and before you flood my comments with a rash of "sexist pig" nonsense please be aware of two key points.

  1. I've actually dated a girl who was an Elephant and Castle waitress
  2. Whether it offends your liberal sensitivities or not, sexy girls still sell more beer. "Breastaurants" are big business in the U.S. (the Daily Mail, bless their soul, has more pictures).
However you may wish it not to be so, the 18-35 demographic that makes up the bar crowd wasn't lured in by the short stocky pseudo-goth girls that make up the majority of E&C waitress staff. There were other things here and there that contributed to the downfall, of course. For the longest time I couldn't believe that E&C's patio, which by far is my favourite one in the city, was never open on nice spring days (they waited until mid-June) and was shut down by the second weekend in September. This year they introduced one of those "on the street" patios, and on Dominion Day were literally using it to store furniture. And those infamous nachos? Yeah, you ain't gonna be seeing those again anymore. They did a decent job of bringing in Brit-pub inspired menu items, but it just didn't seem to be a reason to go. The prices only recently have become reasonable: and they didn't do this by lowering their prices, but instead waiting until everybody else is charging the same overpricing. The bar ended up just becoming a dank place to watch European soccer with ex-pat Brits, which can only be fun for so long. I usually would suggest Elephant and Castle when friends wanted to go on Whyte, but was almost always overruled. You'd think there would be a quality market for a nice British style pub, but perhaps not (after all, British pubs are closing down left right and centre in Britain).

Whyte Avenue is having a rough time. The ridiculous bar-size-cap brought in by Faggot Phair was pretty much the gong that started this gong show. The number of bars and bar patrons have been going steadily downwards. Suite 69 (the main victim of the bar cap) is closed. The revolving door of bars that have gone into the old Urban Lounge have all failed and now the site is a deserted husk. The revolving door of bars that have gone into the old Monkey Island (and all failing to realize only black people ever wanted to go there) have all failed and now the site is a deserted husk. The revolving door of bars that have gone into the old Savoy Lounge have all failed and now the site is a deserted husk (about to become a yoga studio). The Tavern is up for sale and the owners are willing to lose money just to unload the property. The strip has degenerated into a bunch of shitty spots with inexplainably constant lineups (The Roxy, The Buckingham, Squires, Billiard's Club), Mexican-themed bistro-pubs (Julio's, El Cortez), soulless sports bars (The Pint, Hudsons, Boston Pizza), hipster breeding grounds (MKT, Black Dog) dance clubs that are either packed or deserted (Twist, Funky Buddha), and the aging specialty music specialty spots (Cook County, Filthy McNasty's, Blues on Whyte).

When the Oilers make a Cup run again, I'm not sure the "Blue Kilometre" will even be worth writing about. Not that we would have wanted to watch the games at Elephant and Castle anyways.

Now this is the time as SDA Third Edge of the Sword where we juxtapose!

The U.S. Federal Reserve hikes interest rates, something that they haven't done in almost a decade.

The Federal Reserve raised the range for its federal funds rate to between 0.25 and 0.5 per cent on Wednesday, the first time America's central bank has raised its benchmark rate since 2006.

In addition to its benchmark federal funds rate, the Fed also hiked its interest rate on excess reserves and its rate on overnight reverse repurchase agreements by the same amount — 25 basis points.
Hmmm, let's see. A Trudeau in power with plans to tax Alberta energy producers extra to benefit Ontario taxpayers. A worldwide drop in the price of oil. An Alberta Premier spending like a drunken sailor. The Oilers and Flames are the best in the NHL. And now rising interest rates.

So let's compare. A Trudeau in power with plans to tax Alberta energy producers extra to benefit Ontario taxpayers. A worldwide drop in the price of oil. An Alberta Premier spending like a drunken sailor. The Oilers and Flames are the best in the NHL. And rising interest rates.

It's not just nostalgia, Alberta: the 80s are back. And just like before, we'll need a strong fiscally conservative leader to get us back out of the gutter. Maybe this time can we try to get a strong social conservative too? We were so close!

The Indians of Hobemma

Whites kindly taught us to read and write to join the civilized world which apparently were unable to do We demand restitution for this

There's been another murder in Hobemma.
A 28-year-old woman from Maskwacis was charged with second-degree murder in the death of a baby after the 15-month-old was found dead at a home on the Samson Cree Nation.

Emergency Medical Services responded to a report of a child in distress at approximately 8:43 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5. When they arrived, they determined the baby was dead.
This is the second murder and third death on the Red Indian Reservation in the past three weeks. A 25-year old woman was found severely injured on the side of the road and later died (police haven't yet decided to label the death criminal), and in late November a squaw named Kirsten Cutknife was killed by a fellow member of her race: Joshua Crier. Of course, when the Indians at Hobemma aren't killing each other, they're cutting out the middle man and killing themselves.

This, of course, comes on the heel of the infamous release of the final TRC report yesterday which tries to blame all this violence on white people who tried to educate this backwards culture out of the filth (but failed). PM Shiny Pony has made the ridiculous claim that he will "implement all 94 TRC recommendations" even though many aren't in his jurisdiction and absolutely every TRC recommendation is a pile of dogshit.

Meanwhile, the famed #MMIW inquiry is apparently steamrolling towards it's own inevitable and inaccurate "blame whitey" final report. Do you want to know who's really murdering Indian women? Just scroll up. I've continually noted that Indian men are killing so many of their girls.

Now Indian women are responsible too.


"Attack dogs" vs. "Assault weapons"

Ken "Popehat" White has a great post about how to demonstrate how little gun control advocates actually know about guns.

He created a great little analogy to show ordinary folks how gun control advocates sound like when arguing with gun owners.

Me: I don't want to take away dog owners' rights. But we need to do something about Rottweilers.
You: So what do you propose?
Me: I just think that there should be some sort of training or restrictions on owning an attack dog.
You: Wait. What's an "attack dog?"
Me: You know what I mean. Like military dogs.
You: Huh? Rottweilers aren't military dogs. In fact "military dogs" isn't a thing. You mean like German Shepherds?
Me: Don't be ridiculous. Nobody's trying to take away your German Shepherds. But civilians shouldn't own fighting dogs.
You: I have no idea what dogs you're talking about now.
Me: You're being both picky and obtuse. You know I mean hounds.
You: What the fuck.
Me: OK, maybe not actually ::air quotes:: hounds ::air quotes::. Maybe I have the terminology wrong. I'm not obsessed with vicious dogs like you. But we can identify kinds of dogs that civilians just don't need to own.
You: Can we?
But Popehat goes a little further, talking about the general breakdown on rights:
I hear "my right not to be shot outweighs your right to own a gun." This strikes me as perfectly idiotic. But it's no more idiotic than an imagined right not to be criticized or offended, which is far more popular in modern America.

We've lost the plot. We don't know where rights come from, we don't know or care from whom they protect us, we don't know how to analyze proposed restrictions to them, and brick by brick we've built a culture that scorns rights in the face of real or imagined risks. It is therefore inevitable that talk about Second Amendment rights will be met with scorn or shrugs, and that discussions of what restrictions on rights are permissible will be mushy and unprincipled.
This is hardly unfamiliar territory for anybody who talks about real negative individual rights. After all, look at the difficulty I had recently trying to explain that the right to free speech is more important than restricting speech to maybe delay the suicide of mentally unstable people.

McDonalds Holiday Warmers

Christmas is here, and you know what that means: chickenshit media calling it the "holiday season", Christmas carols using the wrong arrangement, and McDonalds Canada creating two new Christmas-themed burgers.

Okay, you may not remember that last part ever happening before. That's okay, it hasn't really happened this year either. But having tried both of the McDonalds December Taste of the Month 'sensations' I'm here to give you a rundown of what you can look forward to.

The Jolly Burger:
McDonald's beef burger for December is something called the Jolly Burger. It's a plain beef burger with white cheddar cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, and "creamy peppercorn sauce". The first thing you taste is the onions, which are a very overpowering flavour to hit you with. I generally like fried onions when I fry up a burger on a chilly Saturday afternoon when I can't BBQ, but this really does make the Jolly Burger taste too much like a homemade burger. I'm not much for food ratings, and this is YMMV territory, but I wouldn't rate this any higher than a 3/10, and even that's generous.

The Chicken Celebration:

WHY ARE BURGERS SAUCED BADLY SIDEBAR Okay this shouldnt be too hard to figure out but for some reason nobody in the restaurant business seems to understand this Do you know where your tongue is Yes thats right its on the bottom of your mouth Yet for some unfathomable reason burger joints never put sauce on the underside of their meat patty Instead they put it between the burger and the toppings or sometimes just over the toppings The problem with this system is the sauce the key ingredient in giving you the flavour of meat that isnt cooked in any special way becomes an afterthought a little saucy essence you get long after youve enjoyed the taste of plain beef in your mouth
McDonald's chicken burger is generally much better. Called the "Celebration Chicken" (because we want alliteration but we don't want to mention Christmas) the piece of chicken you get with it is fairly decent: it's thick but still processed rather than just being a plain chicken breast, which makes it a fair bit denser. It's sort of the chicken equivalent of the patty you get on a Fillet-o-Fish. The real beauty of this thing: they put sauce on both sides of the burger. Finally: it's like pulling teeth to try to get it at KFC like that (see sidebar). Like the Jolly Burger this comes with lettuce and spicy sauce but no tomato, which like the Jolly Burger is much appreciated. Again food ratings aren't my thing but I think a 7/10 sounds about right. This would have been way higher had they put on a real piece of chicken breast.

McDonalds has several other menu items available for their winter warmers menu, but these are the only two main course items, and I gotta say it's quite a letdown. The Celebration Chicken is good, but is roughly equivalent to their regular chicken menu items. The Jolly Burger is probably their worst burger on the menu, which means that if you find yourself wolfing it down you won't be particularly jolly. And this is supposed to be a Christmas promotion yet they never thought to put cranberry sauce on their chicken burger? Granted cranberry sauce is more of a turkey thing, but I'm not sure a grilled piece of processed turkey would be the smart move either. But at least it would be Christmasy. And I'm afraid we're a long way away from a real Christmas burger from McDonalds: goose.

My Marvel Cinematic Universe progress

The helpful folks at CNET have come up with a complete guide to Marvel's cinematic universe (which should help Jay Bauman out a ton).

The reason, of course, is that Captain America: Civil War is coming out "soon" -- May 6, 2016 to be precise, which isn't really remotely soon unless you're a computer animator stuck trying to actually make the movie (which wrapped up filming on August 22nd).

The insane gap between the film's photography and release date is probably worthy of a mini-rant. CGI of course is a big part of the problem. Major motion pictures can have lengthy post-production times (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves wrapped up principal photography on December 22, 1990, almost six months before its June 14, 1991 release date) regardless of modern technology, but Civil War is going to take 258 days between photography and release (versus 174 for Prince of Thieves or 166 for The Matrix)! 258 days of post-production is a little ridiculous.

Anyways, back to the Spotter's Guide to the Marvel Film Universe, I'm a little behind. I've got no interest in watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. either, but here's how I rank in the CNET "how far into the Marvel Film Universe are you?" quiz.



As by no doubt you've heard by now, on Tuesday December 8th conservative human rights activist Mark Steyn testified before the United States Senate in a weird exchange where it turned out that no US Senators expected they'd have to listen during their hearing.

That Steyn had the good lines shows that this isn’t a debate so much as performance art. Scientists, like Judith Curry, spoke but few listened. Steyn’s argumentative skills forced Senator Ed Markey to respond, but such exchanges have no more political impact than speeches at a high school debate — providing exchanges that Left and Right cheered and booed.

Markey appeared to have been briefed by activists and didn’t listen to the testimony, so not only does not understand the other side of either the science or policy debates, he does not even know there is an other side (he just sees error). He ignored material that contradicted his belief. He illustrated the “dogma” side of the “Data or Dogma” debate.
You can read Steyn's entire testimony here (minus the YouTube links) where he manages to bring it back full-circle to his musical theatre reviews. No, seriously:
I have been around the theatre my entire adult life, and once in a while one runs into an example of an official government musical. There was the celebrated socialist operetta, The State Department Store, which was produced in Hungary and other Warsaw Pact countries after the Communist regimes banned all the old-school operettas for having too many singing princes and countesses as the principal characters. There was also Zabibah and the King, a musical version of Saddam Hussein’s allegorical novel in which the nubile virginal heroine represents Iraq and her manly yet tender expert lover the King represents Saddam. Unlike the NSF-funded Great Immensity, it got rave reviews from the Baghdad critics – because, if you gave it two thumbs down, you got one head off. The National Science Foundation does not yet enjoy that power, although clearly Dr Mann, Senator Whitehouse, Congressman Grijalva, Attorney General Schneiderman, and those scientists demanding that climate justice trump democracy are moving in that direction.

And in fairness neither the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe nor the Baathist tyranny of Saddam Hussein had their scientific bodies invest in musicals. That grotesque innovation came from an agency for which you are responsible.
He also borrows from my verbage a bit, and openly refers to fraudulent "hockey stick" scientist Michael E. Mann as "cowardly".
If you’re a professor emeritus, you’re told you’re senile. If you’re one of the few women in this very male field, you’re told you’re whoring for Big Oil: The aforementioned Michael Mann of Penn State, who is too cowardly to be here today and has instead sent his proxy, approvingly linked to an Internet post accusing Dr Curry of sleeping with me. This is how a supposedly distinguished climate scientist treats those who disagree with him.
But Steyn throws in the best in his jabs at the US Senate itself. Some of them are subtle:
The case was assigned to Natalia Combs Greene, a since reprimanded landlord-and-tenant judge appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by this honorable Senate. After a botched ruling in which she confused the parties, she said the case was “complicated” and shuffled it off on a colleague, but not before procedurally mangling it so that, for a while, two different trial judges were ruling on the case simultaneously – something that’s a big no-no in functioning jurisdictions
And some not so subtle:
Nevertheless, this Senate confirmed Judge Ruiz. Under the Home Rule Act, the District of Columbia operates in a constitutional no-man’s-land whereby it enacts legislation for which this honorable body is ultimately responsible. In practice, that means they pass slapdash, poorly drafted laws, and you guys rubber-stamp them. The constitutional limbo allows serial plaintiffs like Michael Mann to use the DC courts to torture non-DC residents: this is a disgrace, and ultimately it is the responsibility of you and your colleagues.
Steyn doesn't really pepper these with a lot of the quick tweet-able notes he's known for, so if you want quick soundbyte-able aspects you're best dealing with his more off-the-cuff remarks. He does manage gags like "House UnEnvironmental Activities Committee" though. He also touches a bit on the fact that Nature and Science have decided to ditch science and instead deal with "advocacy":
In our view, sound climate and energy planning should not treat all stakeholders in the same way. Instead, preferences and roles should be weighted to consider criteria related to equity, due process, ethics and other justice principles.
So the fake 97 per cent consensus is no longer enough. These scientists are saying that, because there’s a supposed 97 per cent consensus among climate scientists, they don’t need a 51 per cent consensus from the electorate.
This is a key and fundamental shift, and it's important to note that as soon as they start with "advocacy" instead of research they no longer get nor deserve any "weight" to their roles. (This is precisely why the infamous Tony "Harperman" Turner was such a dangerous loony: you get the distinct impression he'd gladly falsify his research in order to obtain his pro-liberal policies). As I wrote once before, science itself can't even tell you that global warming should be stopped/slowed/fought.
And if the answer is "deal with climate change and keep doing what we're doing", what should the scientists have against that? They can tell us if X is happening or not (which you may find several of them lose interest in doing without the ability to tell us to do the Y that they wanted to do anyways), and should let us know about ramifications and paths to take in the various Ys we consider so that we know what the end result Z would look like, but the decision on how to act is rightly in the hands of the people.
Notice I didn't say "government", and probably best to ignore the parts in that post about Danielle Smith, but the key point remains: science can't be advocacy.

Let's look at my favourite example. Can we burn asians for fuel? The science on the subject is fairly clear. Burning humans is (back of envelope calculations) only 30% as efficient as burning coal, if you assume a 7500 BTU/lb and remove the 50% body weight caused by water. Removing that water can be relatively low-energy within 16 weeks, which isn't a huge lead time as long as fuel goes (this is why the enviro-nuts at Mother Nature Network can be safely disregarded when they complain about Glenn Beck). The average weight in China is about 135lbs, apply our 50% formula and the biomass BTU, and we find that science says we can burn the entire population of China and generate 1.3739 x 1015 BTUs of heat energy. That's 4.03 x 1011 kWh! That's a lot of energy! But let's not stop there...Chinese people are renewable! They keep on making more, and have recently begun to phase out their one-child policy. Fittingly enough for a Mark Steyn related post, if the Chinese could get their birth rate up around the 3.26 births per woman in nearby Pakistan that would translate to 23.19 births per 1,000 people or 31.469 million kids per year. Now that's a renewable resource!

Now at some point of the past paragraph you may have gone from impressed to queasy to disgusted to outraged to sickened to who-knows-what, and I'm sure that at least 73% of my readers would be opposed to slaughtering a billion or so human beings, drying them out on barges, and then burning them for fuel. (It's because of the CO2 emissions that would result, isn't it?) But whatever motivation or rationale or basis for your outrage, you know who isn't upset? Science. Science heard what I just said and nodded quietly to itself. At the very most, it would set out to verify and if necessary tweak my numbers. It would determine the accuracy of my Fermi assumptions and ultimately come up with a more accurate number. Maybe it's only 8.72 x 1010 kWh generated. That's what science can tell you. What it can't and won't tell you, though, is whether or not we should burn all asians for fuel. (Feel free to post pros and cons in the comments). Science, strictly speaking, is 100% neutral on the subject. As with all matters of public policy (or even private action) there are pros and cons which have to be determined, but science can't tell you jack shit about them. You'll need to start making value judgements. Which would you rather have: five therms of energy (almost exactly 1 USD of natural gas at current to this blogpost pricing, as it happens), or a living Chinese man that you didn't kill? Again, science isn't going to be able to answer this question for you. You'll have to go out on your own into the big bad world in search of an answer.

So in other words, once we've used science to give us the figures as discussed, the scientists themselves are no longer in any position to bear extra weight in the rest of the problem: what should we actually do? Science magazine thinks that if 200 people are in a room and 150 of them are asian, if 180 people vote against burning the asians for heat and 20 vote for burning asians for heat, the democratic decision should be to burn them if the 20 people who vote yea are scientists. You can perhaps see why Science's editorial team thinks this is a good idea (likewise I'm sure the editors of Dirt Rider would love the idea of dirt bikers getting five ballots every election), but you may be sensing that it doesn't necessarily speak well for democracy, or even necessarily good public policy. After all, despite their moral preening the mad scientist wasn't a standard trope in fiction for almost 100 years. Science has done some pretty sketchy moral things over the years. Indeed, the same folks who freak about global warming also are absolutely scared shitless about GMOs, turning to those same tropes ("Frankenfoods") into reasons to never trust scientists about how to grow a tomato ever again. As soon as science turns against them, then it's "funded by evil corporations" which is, of course, the worst thing a scientist can do. (Getting funded by evil governments, though, is just peachy).

Judith Curry came armed to talk about the science, Mark Steyn came armed to talk about the culture. Ultimately, science may or may not be able to come up with an answer on how the planet warms and cools itself and what role our little species might play. What it absolutely won't be able to do is tell us what to do about it. For that, Mark Steyn or me or you are just as much allowed our voice as Michael Mann.

For more, see Steyn's first post on the subject.