This date event in (blog) history

The 2016 NHL draft lottery is a little over an hour away, and the Edmonton Oilers have the second-best chance of landing the right to draft top prospect Auston Matthews.

In the 2015 NHL draft lottery, held April 18th, the Oilers had the third best chance but obviously won the lottery. It was scary though, as the city held it's breath worried that the Leafs would get the pick. They didn't, and now despite the worst record in the league they actually have a 47% chance of drafting fourth overall thanks to the new rules.

To celebrate, I whipped up a graphic that went viral on social media, and featured the second ever case of my content being stolen and attributed to another person (the first was my World War II/soccer post in 2006).

So now a city waits on baited breath again, hoping that the second-worst-case scenario of 29 every other NHL teams comes true, and that the worst-case scenario of 29 teams (including the Oilers) doesn't: namely, awarding a first overall pick to that horrible city out east.

The Flat Tax Strawman

Over at the Mises Institute, Laurence M. Vance has a 2009 article about comparing the flat tax with the FairTax. While generally a decent article, Vance describes "the flat tax" and then goes into not one but two misnamed proposals called "the flat tax" (one by Steve Forbes, another by the Hoover Institute).

Vance is right to complain about these two proposals being unfair compromises: they are rather similar to the "flat tax" Alberta had before godless socialists took over. Not particularly flat, though better than not flat at all.

Under a Flat Tax, everyone's income is taxed at the same rate (Forbes says 17 percent; Hall and Rabushka say 19 percent). And not only are there no tax brackets, there are generally no tax deductions other than personal and dependent allowances.
"Generally no deductions except for..." should be all Vance has to say on the topic. A proper flat tax not only has no deductions but no untaxed income level either. You only make $15,000/yr and the flat tax is 19%? Pony up $2850 every year to the government, and enjoy your twelve grand.

Vance is on his game though about FairTax, and includes a nice bit from Murray Rothbard about people who favour consumption rather than income taxation:
The consumption tax, on the other hand, can only be regarded as a payment for permission-to-live. It implies that a man will not be allowed to advance or even sustain his own life, unless he pays, off the top, a fee to the State for permission to do so.
No article about FairTax is complete, of course, without some pot-shots at former talk show host Neal Boortz, one of the major proponents of it. There's also a delightful proposal from the late Joe Sobran: a highly regressive tax where everybody pays the exact same dollar amount, and so every penny you make above that is gravy (and every penny below that, presumably, means your wages are garnished through the courts).

It would certainly be almost as good as the Flat TaxTM. Nothing, of course, is as good as a flat tax.

Then, a few months later, the NDP won an election

Neal is, more or less, a decent guy and I enjoyed listening to his show. He's wrong on the FairTax, obviously, but not so wrong on it that he necessarily needs to be the go-to pair of knees metaphorically capped every time somebody wants to complain about FairTax.


Certified Humane: I put that sh%t on everything

For the #BoycottEarls crowd and the far-left doubters and haters, a reminder that the label doesn't mean anything.

It's entirely possible to follow the steak from birth to the moment your plate is brought to your table and see no functional difference in how the animal was raised or slaughtered or cooked between "old Earls" and "new Earls". The only difference is one farm paid for a "promise we aren't evil" certification sticker and the other did. And so that means, like Frank's Red Hot Sauce, the certified humane badge can just be doused on absolutely anything, completely changing the complexion.


How to tell when your organization's bureaucracy has gotten out of control

Whenever people casually refer to form numbers and everybody knows what they're talking about.

A memo to Lethbridge area farmers

You have zero cattle.

They're all wild deer and just happen to be on your land.

When government agents come to count your cows on behalf of County Reeve Lorne Hickey come to your farm to count your cattle...

They aren't allowed on your property. If necessary, shoot them until for whatever reason they stop coming on your land.

Optional second step: Feed them to the cows



The faggot-loving totalitarians at the University of British Columbia are holding a political prisoner for fighting against the sick sodomite agenda.

This is the police state under Rat Bastard Justin Trudeau. Fink must be freed.

Update, April 27 11:47pm: Turns out "Brooklyn Marie Fink" isn't a woman: he's a delusional man who thinks he's a woman. He's even worse than the fudge packers.

Lock him back up.

Moody's likes Money Mart's financial outlook

It's a half tongue-in-cheek quiz and half serious question...of course the answer is clear. Rachel Arab and Shiny Pony are conspiring to steal hundreds/thousands/tens of thousands of your dollars away from you (and they're conspiring with faggy and fag-loving city mayors to steal even more).

Unlike payday loan houses, you can't go up to the government counter, hear how much they plan on taking from you, say "no thanks", and just go home without ponying up the extra cash. They rob you right from your paycheque. Payday loan looks like a step up from payday larceny.

Far-left extremists should be the last people to make a stink about Money Mart. The mote in the eye of a payday loan company is insignificant compared to the beam in the eyes of socialists. Likewise, how does this phrase being used by the CBC against payroll loan company not apply 1000% more to Rachel Arab's government?
Such access to money, however, comes at a cost. Consumer groups say the interest rates charged by payday lenders- typically as high as 600 per cent on an annualized basis - can leave borrowers trapped in crippling cycles of debt.
Taxpayers are trapped in crippling cycles of debt. When will there be a law forcing the government to give taxpayers a break?

This supposes, again, that the two situations are equivalent. Despite the efforts to hype these customers as victims, they in fact are scoundrels: they are demanding free money. There's no wonder the NDP are rushing to their defense: people bad at managing finances wanting free money are a natural voting bloc they take great pains to coddle.

Here's basically what happens when you show up at a payday lending company: (figures are from this paper)
Hi Id like some money please Do you have a job Do you get regular paycheques Yes I do Less than 2 weeks ago I got paid and spent it all Some of it even wisely When do you get paid again In a few days But I want to buy something now So give me money Youll pay me back right Because some people who come in here ask for money but then they never pay it back 1 7th of my customers default Are you him Uh sure Ill pay you back With interest Good First off 21 to cover the twin facts that 1 in 7 people default and defaults are 23rds of my outstanding loan amounts Plus an additional 2 to pay for this building youre standing in So that will be 23 interest That sounds like predatory pricing The bank will give me twenty seven percent Then why not go to the bank Oh well I tried But it turns out Ive defaulted on a lot of loans before And I dont make very much money Youre my last hope Otherwise I just have to go without a consumer good I want So theres a good chance that youll fail to pay back the money you want me to give you Do you realize this means I have to get it back from the guy in line behind you via high interest rates if you default Youre making excess profits you greedy bastard Now give me some of the money that you have that Ive done nothing to earn and which I might keep forever

This demolishes the myth that these evil companies are just preying on poor folks who have no other option. For one thing, you actually have to walk into the door to get a payday loan (imagine never having to pay taxes if you never entered a federal government building). For another, the poor guy running the store has to give up money in his pocket in order to give money to the vagabond off the street, and then incur even more costs having to track these people down and take them to court. Check out this reddit post from a pathetic loser who can't believe that these bastards actually expect him to pay back the money they gave him. He borrowed $500, didn't pay it, and now they want $1350. He's contemplating fighting it in court or even no-showing and going on the lamb. This is the "victim" being "preyed" upon by the paydown loan companies: a guy who got some money that he now doesn't think he needs to pay back. [again, big surprise this person would then think to complain to a socialist and demand regulation... -ed].

The moral argument about paydays loans is demolished by Matt Zwolinski, who points out that the seen versus the unseen -- always a big issue in economics -- changes a lot of the lies about payday loans being pushed by the NDP and their allies at the CBC.
1. If payday lending is so profitable, why isn’t everybody doing it? This is a good question to ask yourself anytime you hear a story about some company earning unusually high profits off the back of a vulnerable population. If investors could earn a 200% rate of return by investing in new payday lending operations, why are smart investors wasting their time and money with anything else? Perhaps there’s something more to the picture that we’re not seeing?
2. Payday lending is not that profitable. Well, we don’t have to guess. People have studied this. And according to one study, the average profit earned by payday lenders was just 7.63%. By way of comparison, the same study reports that the average Starbucks franchise earns about 9% profit. So, if that 400% APR isn’t translating into sky-high profits for payday lenders, where exactly is it going?
Zwolinski wrote a paper in Business Ethics Journal Review on the topic, where he notes that the notion that "usury equals theft" is a backwards notion [again, no surprise coming from the NDP... -ed] that has been thoroughly discredited going back to the 19th century.

It's worth noting this because the left's entire case against payday lenders is purely a moral argument, and demolishing this anti-human notion is a key ingredient in stopping them. There's a non-moral argument available, of course, and it's a basic fact that the NDP and their ilk always ignore: the law of unintended consequences. First, Georgia, 2007:
If large numbers of poor people in need of short term liquidity find they will no longer be able to access it, the likelihood is that we will see an increase in the poorest people being unable to meet their bills and pay for services they need.

This not an entirely theoretical example; a 2007 federal reserve study showed that when the state of Georgia regulated pay day loan industries out of the state, consumers “bounced more checks” and “filed for bankruptcy at a higher rate”. An official study in 2010 concluded that pay day lenders provided a useful service covering gaps in the market.
Or if that's not enough for you, how about Virginia, 2008:
Four years ago, Virginia lawmakers cracked down on payday lending. They limited borrowers to one payday loan at a time, and doubled the length of time they had to pay the money back. It worked. Payday loans plunged more than 80 percent. A few lenders left the state completely.

But it also didn’t work. The reforms created a vacuum being filled by a new form of short-term lending: car-title loans.

In a payday loan, the borrower writes a post-dated check to cover the loan amount, plus fees. In a car-title loan, the borrower puts up a vehicle as collateral. Since 2010 the number of car-title lending companies in Virginia has more than doubled. Last year, they made more than 128,000 loans, worth an aggregate $125 million. They also repossessed nearly 8,400 vehicles.
What will private enterprise come up with in Alberta once they are banned from being profitable with their current business model? Will they come up with a clever equally profitable business model as in Virginia? Or will they go the Georgia route, and instead see a new demand on the NDP next year to demand electricity stay on when they can't pay their bill, or force other institutions to lend them money even when the underwriting tables tell them not to? It's hard to say...as Hayek said, the fatal conceit is deciding ahead of time what people will do when the market -- not retarded NDP MLAs -- has the relevant wealth of information required to calculate it.

So what we're looking at here is a "problem" that doesn't actually exist. It doesn't exist in a moral sense of "ridiculous profits" being racked up while "victimizing the poor". It doesn't exist in a technical sense of "we can stop this and make things better for people". It's an emotionally-charged debate devoid of reason and common sense: a call for "something aught to be done" when nothing aught to be done. It's cheap political pandering.

It's the NDP at work. A reminder to all Albertans: buy a gun. Buy lots of guns. Be prepared to use them.

The NDP are declaring war against a legitimate business. Next they might turn their (metaphorical) guns on you. It's better to have (literal) guns to point back at them.

A Conservative government runs up some debt so the media stops calling them heartless every time they make the slightest of cuts. Then a Liberal government runs up huge debts claiming they have to "make up for" the "brutal" cuts the media lied about in relation to the Conservatives. Voters get sick of the Liberal debt and bring in Conservatives to fix it...

Don't laugh, either. The former was temporarily instituted in Ontario (by Conservatives!) in 2003 and the latter of course is how Bill Clinton caused the 2008 financial crisis. Unintended consequences, man.

The only thing worse than Justin's truancy is when he shows up

Shiny Pony was never really a Parliamentarian.

You know this, I know this. It's apparently shocking news to The Globe and Mail's John Ibbitson though.

Constant travel is part of a prime minister’s job description, and Lord knows Mr. Trudeau’s foreign forays have been good for Canada’s international image. But they appear to be taking their toll on his time in the House.

Typically, a prime minister does not attend Question Period Monday or Friday, but is available the other three days, unless circumstances intervene. A study of Hansard reveals that Mr. Trudeau has been present for 68 per cent of the Tuesday-to-Thursday Question Periods during this winter sitting.

In contrast, Stephen Harper was in the House for 81 per cent of the Tuesday-to-Thursday Question Periods up to this point in the Winter 2012 sitting, the first winter sitting of his majority government.
Will Rat Bastard 2.0 fall back on his previous excuse why he never bothered to show up to the job that he unjustly held? Namely: that Parliament "just wasn't working for ordinary Canadaians"? While Shiny Pony was out taking selfies and trying to raise his IQ above 75, we was skipping work more than the sitting Prime Minister was. Did we think that when he had more excuses to run around like a retard that he wouldn't seize them?

Buried too in Ibbitson's story is how omnibus this sick government is being, and how illustrative a lesson it is for the next conservative government in both Ottawa and Alberta...go hard and go fast, enact the most extremist policies you can as fast as you can.
The Liberals are moving aggressively on a packed agenda: infrastructure, indigenous issues, fighting climate change, voting reform. And now, as Daniel Leblanc reports, Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly is planning a sweeping review of culture policy. This government shows no hints of drift

I cut out the parts where John Ibbitson blatantly sucks Justin's cock. You're welcome to click the link if you're that interested in seeing the spin placed on this evil party's actions in power.


Lots of things compare to you (many of them unfavourably)

Quick, name three Prince songs.

Easy, isn't it? Okay, name four Prince songs.

And here's where you all stumble. And those of you who didn't stumble probably have fresh in your mind one of the lesser Prince songs that newspapers threw in there since AP style guide dictates having to name three songs and it's cheating to also mention the Oscar-winning movie Purple Rain. It was an off year for the Oscars: Purple Rain was also nominated for a Worst Original Song at the Razzies. In fact, the award was discontinued the following year out of embarrassment for not giving it to Kris Kristofferson (or so my Mom vehemently claimed).

Everybody knows "Purple Rain", of course (even though a tiny fraction of those could identify it by sound), along with "1999" and "Kiss" (and even then you probably know it more from the Art of Noise cover version featuring Tom Jones). If I asked this question in 1992 I'm sure more of you would have said "When Doves Cry", but that song hasn't exactly aged well and nobody has listened to it since the "symbol days".

Of all the artists in the 100-119M records sold club Prince is more like Lady Gaga or Cher (known for ridiculous off-stage antics) than Metallica or George Strait or The Beach Boys. Prince's "total certified units" count is 62.8M, putting him behind The Bee Gees and barely ahead of Journey. He's in that regard awfully similar to David Bowie: a weird guy who has a couple big hits you recognize whose star-power has held on by weirdo personality as opposed to musical longevity. As much as the Bee Gees are a product of the 70s, Prince was certainly a product of the 80s.

And that decade is long-gone. Prince-mania is destined to be a short lived bump (already people have basically moved on from David Bowie's death), not like the bizarre Michael Jackson-mania that continues mostly because blacks are very tribal and can't let go of their spirit-animal. Prince just wasn't that big of a star, save for a brief period in the late 80s. He's not MJ, he's not even Madonna. He's the weirdo with the weird songs that with a couple notable exceptions you forget about soon after you hear them.

So not to speak ill of the dead, but Prince's tributes are already overblown. It officially reached peak ridiculous at the Dallas-Minnesota NHL game on Sunday where the Minnesota Wild held a tribute to their state's weirdest son. Think, briefly, in your mind about people who are fans of Prince. Now think equally briefly about people who are fans of the National Hockey League. Do you think there's any overlap between these two demographics?

So if you want to remember the infamous weirdo who notoriously threatened people with legal action if they looked at him and wanted to make a fake documentary with nothing but glowing tributes of himself (and, also, to murder a camel), go right ahead. Go ahead and make insane claims about him being the world's greatest guitar player (when every Prince song that charted was famous for having basically no fancy guitar work), or claim that he's a "musical genius" for a couple poppy numbers that were big hits and a bunch of overproduced pretentiousness that you honestly enough don't remember hearing, if that's what suits your fancy. Pretend that he wasn't a religious conservative even, if that puts a smile on your face. [just realize, of course, you're wrong: in that regard at least, Prince is more like Feynman and Coulter's Love Child than Lady Gaga. -ed]

Just don't try to pretend you're reflecting any sort of actual reality. Prince Rogers Nelson has died.§ We haven't lost the musical genius of the 80s. We lost a guy who had a couple songs you knew but who's position in your brain is mainly taken up by the fact that he was an egotistical loon who used gimmicks and called them innovations.

Or, you're a fan of the 1989 Batman film.

It's hard to figure which is the more ridiculous demographic juxtaposition: the NHL and Prince, or the NHL and sodomite child molesters.

§ He died almost exactly two months after Vanity died which is a weird-ish thing that not enough people have noted.

Lunch Lady Premier and her retarded cabinet can't do math

More #LifeWithNDP.
Moody’s Investor Service announced Monday it has downgraded Alberta’s long-term debt rating to double-A1 from triple-A and has given it a negative outlook.

It’s the second downgrade from a rating service since the province released its budget on April 14 that included removal of its debt ceiling and a forecast of $58 billion in debt by 2019.

Moody’s says the downgrade “reflects the province’s growing and unconstrained debt burden, extended timeframe back to balance, weakened liquidity, and risks surrounding the success of the province’s medium-term fiscal plan given the outlook for subdued growth.”
Look, this doesn't surpise anybody. Rachel Arab is a socialist, and she doesn't understand how reality works.

Moody's does.

They know the NDP must be eliminated, at all costs. Albertans must start immediately arming themselves. Rachel Arab has destroyed so much in 11 months.

It's time it ends.


Well, it was fun while it lasted

Marmot Basin has announced they will be closing a week early on Saturday, April 23rd.

Maltz was in Marmot last weekend because he saw powder in the forecast and got all excited. However, the "fresh snow" melted away by 11:30 and got stuck in...

a big patch of..."Where do I go now?"

(Hike back 20 feet and avoid the snow covered tongue surrounded by grass)
The Knob and the Eagle were apparently still good, but the main run from the Rocky Mountain was already more than a little iffy.

Quite the contrast to last season when your humble correspondant got to experience one of Whistler's worst ever seasons while Jasper was the toast of the nation.

Meanwhile, Sunshine Village is still hoping to stay open until May 23rd. And while northern Alberta won't be skiing into May, guess who will be skiing in June?

Southern California? Yep. Mammoth Mountain will be open until Memorial Day weekend. Or, says an anonymous representative of the company...even later.


Vivat Regina

Today Queen Elizabeth II turned 90 years old. It's a good number, and rightfully impressive (though if a random Canadian turned 90, that's still not old enough to get a letter from the Sovereign: you have to be 100 years old or married for 60 years).

She has been the oldest UK monarch for quite some time now (and surpassed Queen Victoria for the longest-reigning monarch last September). However, being 90 in 2016 isn't quite the same as being 81 in 1901, is it?

When Queen Victoria was born in 1819 the average British life expectancy was 40.8. When she died in 1901 the life expectancy had grown to a whopping...46.93. Meanwhile, when Queen Elizabeth II was born in 1926 the British life expectancy was already 59.57, and currently it's at 81.50. It's worth noting, as well, that both monarchs were women (who live longer), and the 81.5 is the figure for women (which wasn't really recorded in the previous years).

So once you graph the years lived based on life expectancy [and ignore the "survive childhood" problem -ed], you can see that Queen Victoria really was a step -- nay, a giant leap -- above.

Also worth noting...

Queen Elizabeth II:
CT scans: Approximately 1.2
Assassination attempts: 1.5

Queen Victoria:
CT scans: 0[citation required]
Assassination attempts: 7

As always when talking about life expectancy, there's a myth that if the life expectancy was 50 in a given year, very few adults were older than 50. This is of course a blatent failure to understand history and/or statistics. If humans died off at the same rate each year of our lives, then this would be mostly true (but not entirely). However, high infant mortality rates mean that since so many human died at age "0" then the remainder had to live proprotionally beyond the life expectancy. Furthermore, there are two kinds of life expectancy tables, cohort and period. Period tables are the ones we usually see, and are the ones used in the blog calculations above. Cohort tables are light years more accurate, but as Andrew Whitby explains, basically impossible to use in practice.

Cohort tables, on the other hand, require mortality data for the entire period of a cohort’s life. This may be hard enough for historical work (try assembling any data set over 100 years), but to produce such tables for any cohort which still has living members is harder still, requiring forecasts of future mortality.


A guide for the Philadelphia Flyers

Great 8, meet the Legendary (something) 7

As we all know, going into the playoffs, Alexander "The Great 8" Ovechkin got 50 goals in the regular season following a critical hat trick against St. Louis. Tonight he fights for a series win against Philadelphia.

But there's one thing about the story that is still bothering me.

What's with the guy in the Oilers jersey?

At first I thought the CBC put an old file photo in place of a still shot from the game, and that the caption writer just didn't notice. But look again: everybody else is wearing their St. Louis Blues colours/jerseys, and you can even see one Blues fan covering her eyes in shame as Ovechkin raises his arms in victory. [it would be the most inaccurate CBC story ever that wasn't about Stephen Harper... -ed]

So what's the deal with this guy? The upright holding the two panes of glass up is obscuring his arm, but it looks like the last (only?) digit on the jersey is a "7". That could mean he's in a vintage Paul Coffey jersey...except Coffey never played for St. Louis (or Washington). He could be wearing a McDavid "97" jersey, which sort of makes sense...far less likely he's wearing a Adam Clendening, Benoit Pouliot or Oscar Klefbom jersey. None of these players have any connection to Washington or St. Louis.

The most likely jersey is for him to be wearing the jersey of former St. Louis Blues (and, for that matter, former Oiler) David Perron (#57). Former Oiler/Washington Capitals draftee Boyd Gordon (#27) is probably third most likely (McDavid being second-most).

Going further back we're reminded that Dustin Penner (#27) played for Washington before "semi-retiring". Earlier than that we have to go all the way back to former Washington centreman Adam Oates who last played in the NHL with Edmonton in 2003-2004. Back then, the Oilers were made up of Steve Staois, Jani Rita, and Eric Brewer.

We're further ahead, but still not at the destination. What's with the mysterious Oilers guy? Is he David Perron's former roommate out to celebrate his team? A Connor McDavid-obsessed Oilers fan just going around to other teams sadly trying to troll them? A hardcore Adam Oates fanboy who got a retro Oilers jersey on the cheap just to cheer on his beloved Capitals every time they come to St. Louis?

If you're out there, mysterious Oilers guy, please leave info in the comments.


The NHL playoffs

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

That's right, NHL playoffs start tonight. More importantly, the Edmonton weather forecast is off the charts which means it's time for that pure sweetness known as hockey and BBQ, together.

Yes, yes, no Canadian teams, yadda yadda yadda. You can blame our useless asshole of a Prime Minister for that. He'll probably accuse the Rt. Honourable Stephen Harper (pbuh) of being responsible...then he'll want to take credit for the nice weather.

So since the playoffs are starting, I slid over to the NHL playoff bracket calculator to make my picks. Just for the interest of transparency, here's me starting off predictions.

Not a ton of surprises, at least in the beginning. I do think that the Rangers can hang on against Pittsburgh, and I think/hope that Detroit will see an early exit, even though the Lightning aren't going far without (Stamkos/Stralman/Callahan/Johnson/anybody that Greg Pateryn can come across in a dark alley). I'm also going on a bit of a limb here, and mainly to piss off a chick from Chicago that I'm not happy with at the moment, and predict that St. Louis will indeed finally beat the Blackhawks, and indeed beat their second round opponent as well. The problem, as always, is that it's really really really really really hard to bet against L.A. in the playoffs (especially when you don't project them to have to play the Hawks). Indeed I was tempted to put the Rangers as the Cup winners...and then I remembered that I've seen this movie before.

Will Devan Dubnyk win a playoff series? Will Nashville pass by the red-hot Ducks? Will Washington go all the way? Uh, nope.

Also for fun I even included the number of games I pick each series to go, so in June when every one of my picks was correct and none of the series length picks panned out, you can flood the comments with telling me how wrong I was.

Now go fire up the BBQ. It's playoff time.