Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Weekly Highlights from our Conservative Overlords

Monday, November 19, 2012

All Over the Place - Week 81 - Nov 12-19

I've been feeling a strange feeling the last few weeks.  And this isn't just a problem with Stephen Harper.  Why are we continually talking about the lack of money?  Sure, there was a recession.  But there were years of boom times when we should have built up a nest egg.  Why do we have crumbling infrastructure?  Why are people ending up dead because we have no mental health services?  Why is it just kind of accepted that things are worse than they used to be?  From service on airlines to general corporate culture, it seems like it is a given that there isn't enough money to properly do a job and that's just the way it needs to be because we need to save money.  What the fuck are we saving our money for?  To pay for shit that's worse?  And...kind of related, but not really...why do we accept a strange story about two girls in Thailand ingesting DEET and dieing, and then just stop talking about it?  What is our government doing to get some answers on this?  Why is a bullshit story just accepted?  What the fuck do we have a government for if they can't even ask a few questions about why two citizens are dead?

Hmmmmmmm...The Conservatives aren't polling too well in the lead up to the Calgary Centre by-election.  If they can't win this seat...holy shit.

This is my favourite article so far about the US election.  And it comes from a hockey blog.  Anyhow, it details the meltdown of Romney's Project Orca.  And it includes:
- A Canucks playoff meltdown reference
- A Tim Thomas the Tea Partier reference
- A Kevin Smith "gretzky" reference
It's pretty awesome.

Don't worry everybody.  Real Estate is going to be fine.  Record debt loads growing at an even faster rate?  No problem.

Holy Fuck!  This newspaper is psychotic!  First up, a story about racism rising in Greece results in crazed racist lunacy in the comments section.  And this article about "support for unrestricted abortion"...my goodness.  It's like a pro-life reunion in the comments section.  I love the new term though.  "Unrestricted Abortion".  Like doctors are just going to drive around, randomly aborting things.

I like this.  Stephen Harper suggests that, wow, just in time for the next election, the budget will be balanced...probably until right after the next election.

This article...oh man...this article.  So it talks about how Thomas Mulcair is a crazy communist for suggesting that Canadian oil be processed in Canada.  And then it talks about how we'd be better off shipping our oil outside of the country for world market rate.  And that we'd be better off bringing gasoline in from China and India because it's much cheaper.  Which...I don't know.  Seems a bit contradictory to me.  And it's a bit short sighted.  Okay.  RIGHT NOW, we can sell our oil for more outside of the country.  RIGHT NOW there are some cheaper gasoline markets.  But does it not seem insane that we ship one thing out at a lower price, only to buy it back with a bit of processing at a higher price?  Why don't we look long term?  Okay, 10 years to build a refinery.  And then...we're golden.  We don't have to worry about "world markets".  We don't waste crazy amounts of energy shipping things around the world in the name of maximizing profits.  But no.  Thomas Mulcair is an insane communist and Alberta should be allowed to do whatever they want, even if it involves digging up the rest of the country.

I haven't followed this temporary-chinese-mine-worker story all that much, but it sounds kind of sketchy.  Apparently the jobs were advertised for a ridiculously low wage in Canada and when there were no takers they went offshore.  And the government is doing all that it can to avoid transparency.

Stephen Harper doesn't care that the CBC has no money.  In fact...I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that he's pretty darn happy about it.

11,000 Federal Government jobs have disappeared this year.

Can't wait for John Baird to grandstand about the latest UN "outrage" - declaring contraception a universal human right.

Oh boy.  A comedy of errors in the Federal Governments efforts to entice internationally known (Rob Base?) scientists to Canadian Universities for obscene amounts of money.  First, they hired the guy but made him languish in immigration hell.  Then, they offered his wife a job but balked at giving her an extra 11 days off.  Unpaid.  Then, well, then he actually went to Edmonton and tried to live there.  In the end, he went home.  And millions and millions get sunk into high profile scientists while homegrown programs are cut in the name of cost savings.  Sometimes fairly trivial amounts of cost savings.  Interestingly, some of the other famous science chairs is actually doing climate change research.  Surprised that was allowed!

This is an interesting article from Slate suggesting some real world ways to combat climate change.  I agree with these, for the most part, and appreciate that they don't dwell on trivialities like "buy a new refrigerator".  These all make sense.  Except cap-and-trade.  But maybe I can be swayed.  See, as an engineer, I'd probably be one of the people called upon to calculate the actual outputs of "polluters".  Having participated in exercises similar to this I can see how pointless and difficult and bureaucracy creating something like this is.  It's so, so difficult to even get an accurate representation of things like liquid effluent pumped into a pipeline, let alone an accurate idea of the amount of gases escaping into the air.  I just cannot see a meaningful measurement system that would work in any meaningful or reasonable form.  Perhaps you could make something work for the largest of large corporations and perhaps having something in place for the...I don't know...60%(?) of emissions that this would cover would be good enough.  But it just doesn't feel workable to me.  Too many workarounds and loopholes.  Honestly.  A carbon tax with some sort of low income reimbursement mechanism is probably the way to go.  Make energy more expensive and watch the "free market" stumble all over itself to save energy.

I didn't talk about this last week, when the data was published that supported "P2P users spending more money on music than non-P2P users".  Michael Geist dug into it a bit.  And discovered that the arithmetic presented in the chart supplied by RIAA associated group that published the study is way, way off.  They added a bunch of numbers into a subtotal, and then included the subtotal and the original numbers to get their sub-total.  When you do the proper math, P2P users actually spend 50% more than non-P2P users as opposed to the 30% claimed.  But how can you trust anything that these bozos produce anyhow?  And why are they trying to discredit their own study?

In other copyright news, House Republicans released a paper suggesting some sensible rollbacks on the psychotic copyright laws that exist in the States....and promptly retracted them due to (speculative) pressure for lobbyists.

Once again, stories from unlikely places.  Here is a story of a 1-percenters making of a fortune.  Long story short - buy a baseball team with borrowed money and interest free loans.  Run the team into the ground while dangling the promise of a "winner" to the fans.  Blame your woes on a poor stadium.  Threaten to leave town until your government subsidized stadium is built.  Fund your portion with government provided interest free loans.  Reap the profits.  This isn't a story of "working hard".  This is rigging the system to make a fortune on the backs of regular joes.  And then charging them to watch your shitty team.

As a cyclist, I feel like I have some perspective on Lance Armstrong that has been formed by more than just a few headlines over the last 6 months.  Friends and relatives seem to get a bit confused as to why I so passionately hate this man and why I get riled up about any defense of this terrible human being.  The comments of "they were all doping so it was a level playing field" or "it's their bodies, why can't they do what they want" completely miss the point.  I don't want to get into it too much, but read through an article such as this one and you might gain perspective.  If it was simply a matter of Lance Armstrong doping and admitting his malfeasance when finally caught, I would probably be okay with how things have unfolded.  Indeed, I have a lot of respect for past dopers that admit their past wrongs and work towards a solution.  But Lance Armstrong bullied and intimidated his way to all of these victories.  He ruined careers.  And now he's acting like a smug little baby.  This tweeted photo sums up how much of an asshole this guy is.  It's like OJ Simpson showing off the receipt for the leather gloves a few weeks after his acquittal (okay...not that bad).  It would be pretty awesome if USADA got a special court order, busted down his door and took back those 7 jerseys.

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