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About ThaBestPlaceOnEarth

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  • Birthday 12/21/1970

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  1. Obama really screwed us on this one. How long have they been purposely dithering on Keystone? Everyone knew those prices weren't gonna last and he wrecked our chance to get all that oil to market before the market conditions changed. Obama bends over backwards to help out Iran and all the while he's giving Canada the finger, you wanna talk about your skewed priorities.
  2. I mean, the parallel IS pretty decent. Even down to appearance. You've got the buttoned-down incumbent with the "conservative" (ahem) haircut, who's maybe worn out his welcome. You've got the hotshot young candidate with the inexperience and stupid hair. You've got the grizzled old hand with the scruffy salt-and-pepper look. And someone actually agreed! If this keeps up yall are gonna hear about my 2011 Canucks/World War One analogy, so be careful cause nobody wants that.
  3. The one thing I can't stop thinking about, and this being CDC I feel like this is a good place to discuss this without seeming too crazy, now when a government's been around as long as Harper's has been, there's a lot of pent-up "throw the bums out" feeling, it just accumulates over the years. That's natural. But the thing I can't put out of my head is, it's this traumatic memory I have of how the Canucks got rid of Vigneault and brought in Tortorella, right? "Throw the bums out!" is a natural response to have when someone's been around in a controversial spot for a while and grievances build up, it's an emotional response. But sometimes that reaction leads to the bums getting thrown out and there not being anyone better. Now I am not going so far as to say that Harper is Vigneault, and Mulcair is Tortorella, and Trudeau is Eakins. That would be unfair and premature, since we know how that situation panned out while in the political arena the jury is still very much out. But it COULD be like that. I am haunted by the parallels in that analogy and it tempers my visceral "throw the bums out!" line of thinking as an undecided voter.
  4. I did hear one interesting claim concerning the election just the other day, a theory that was put to me which I had not considered. We've all seen those damn commercials with young Trudeau getting rejected for a job interview. I found it baffling because the commercials are so annoying I figured they couldn't possibly be doing the Tories any good. Well the theory goes, polling shows those commercials are actually hurting the Tories slightly, because they make people feel sorry for poor young Trudeau, getting beat up by the Conservative media machine. The effect is weakening the Conservatives relative to the Liberals but strengthening them relative to the NDP. The media strategy is to divide and conquer by annoying us all with these intentionally stupid ads.
  5. I got a big problem figuring who to vote for in this thing. See, I've always believed and followed the old dictum "anyone under thirty who votes conservative has no heart, anyone over thirty who votes labour has no brain." Trouble is this election is taking place as I am thirty years old precisely. I figure I will therefore lean more towards the conservatives as the campaign goes by and I, in turn, grow older. However at the moment I am entirely undecided. None of the four major parties or leaders have displayed any governing philosophy, developed any platform, or announced any policy ideas that really appeal to me strongly. On the other hand all four have done, said, or proposed a variety of minor things that tick me off. If it continues like this it will be down to which of the local candidates for MP seems most competent and capable of representing the local interest to the chumps back in Ottawa, provided there is such a person and their party/leader doesn't do anything egregiously awful.
  6. It just bugs me so much when I hear the phrase "cold war" applied to Russia's relations with the west today. The Cold War was an IDEOLOGICAL dispute. Communists and Capitalists both believed that their ideology was right and correct, and destined to spread across the globe. That dispute is clearly resolved in favor of capitalism. China is the only major "second-world" state remaining, and their nation's success today is directly correlated to their government's willingness to embrace market principles and jettison hard-line Marxist thinking. What Russia's doing now is just ("just") great-power rivalry stuff. There's no ideological element to the rift over the Ukraine, or Syria. Not to say it's not serious but it's limited in scope. The issues involved are strictly realpolitik. It doesn't come down to systems of government or economic ideology. Russia may be more corrupt and less efficient, their political system may be dirtier, their actions more brazen, but there's no "Red Dawn" scenario here. Are the Russians gonna invade Texas and force us all to believe...what, the importance of bribing all our public officials anytime we want anything done?
  7. With the benefit of hindsight, sure, but you never actually have that ever and neither does anybody else. Decisions are being made in real time here. I've been guilty of it too, probably said once or twice that I'd rather we bottomed out completely than get in and lose to frickin Calgary. But, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. There's no way to predict how it's gonna go down, who would have said that LA would miss the playoffs? I mean, if we're playing the hindsight game, we should have played Miller an extra game or two at the end, taken a loss and gone in as the third seed. Home ice didn't work out for us, maybe if we start on the road we win that series, and even if we don't we'd be picking what, seven spots higher? If we're going by hindsight, I rest some of the older guys and get Miller in a couple games in that last week. Playing the string out hard for home ice is what ended up burning us.
  8. On a similar note... Christ says, "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God what is God's." Under the regulatory state and rule of law, there are very few commodities which remain outside the strictures of law and regulation. It's strange to me that people who are pro-marijuana, the counter-culture, anti-authority types, clamour to have it co-opted and brought into the system they supposedly despise. How many stoners are there out there who go out and buy a sack of dope from a guy their buddy knows, go and smoke it with some friends and say to each other, "this sucks, I wish instead of doing things in this informal, collegial manner we could buy our dope from an evil corporation and pay taxes to the government so that they can oppress us more effectively." Seems to me everyone on both sides has got it exactly backwards.
  9. Benning has had just the one season on the job. If you ask me, he did a fine job, exceeded expectations. He was in a tough spot, needing to find a new coach, deal with the Kesler situation, and all the other fallout from the end of Gillis' tenure. And let's be honest, it's not an easy job being involved in this franchise. You can't please everyone. You can't even please most of them. If you do passable well by a few of us Canucks fans you must be doing a bang-up job, I say. Benning hasn't really put his stamp on this team yet. All he's done really is put out the fires left after the previous regime crashed and burned. As a rule we Canucks fans don't have a great deal of patience. But when it comes to management and coaching, the benefits of having long-tenured personnel are obvious. Look at the difference between Chicago, where they've had one coach for so long, and Edmonton, where they have a new one every season. It's better to have a decent plan, better to even have a bad plan, than to change plans at the drop of a hat until you got no plan at all or a dozen different conflicting ones. It's simply too early to have an informed opinion on this management group, they are still putting everything together.
  10. More and more people are coming forward with support or corroboration for parts of Hersh's story. I think that the controversial elements of Hersh''s allegations are going to prevent people with influence, congressmen in particular, from coming out in support until there is more clarity on this issue. Nobody is going to risk their neck at this point, not when things are still up in the air. It could take a couple months yet. All the same, as someone who pays close attention to military/intelligence matters, there is the ring of truth to many elements of Hersh's story. Not to mention, the fervent denials and just as importantly WHO is doing the denying, well, methinks they doth protest TOO much. The rush to judgment by those with the most to lose if this continues to play out is something in and of itself. So, it might take a couple of months but this could go two ways. It's discredited with actual facts as opposed to rhetoric and messenger-shooting, and it goes away, or enough of it gets support and confirmation that the administration's foes are willing to stick their necks out and demand some answers. If that happens, this could be to Obama what Iran-Contra was to Reagan/Bush I, or Watergate was to Nixon. It could be a very big deal, and it could happen just as the lead-up to 2016 gets started. It could be a very, very big deal.
  11. Things are rarely what they seem over there, the mysteries just seem to pile up over the years. We see Bhutto up above, who killed her and why? Who killed Zia, and why, or was it just an accident as it appeared? Who killed Abdullah Azzam, and why? What was the real story behind the Soviet incursion? Was Amin really a CIA asset or was that story itself a fake-out to try and induce Soviet action? Bin Laden's death is really one of the more straight-forward ones. Good on Hersh for at least trying to add a few more layers to it!
  12. This might be buried under the 9/11 truth telling down here, but there's something very interesting about Hersh's allegations, which I have just read in full and followed up on somewhat. This is not the first time such allegations have been raised. In this blog post from May 2011, shortly after the Abbotabad raid, rabble-rouser/talking head Larry C. Johnson parses the same USG "cover story" as Hersh does, and reaches many of the same conclusions. It does not appear Mr. Johnson followed up this lead quite as extensively as Hersh did. Here, in August 2011, Dr. RJ Hillhouse follows up with much more detailed and penetrating analysis. Again, we're talking more than four years ago here, and essentially the same thing Hersh is saying now. He obviously laid out his argument much more carefully but the main points are the same. The question I ask myself is, does this show that Hersh was just picking up some loose threads of conspiracy talk, stitching them together into something more compelling? Or does it indicate that there is more to this than mainstream commentators are acknowledging? The official reaction has been incredibly dismissive, and well-connected media types like Peter Bergen have really thrashed Hersh before this thing is even a day old. But this background makes me think there might be more to it than meets the eye.
  13. What it comes down to is whether you look at science first as a methodology, a way of thinking about things, or as a set of beliefs you hold about the world. To take the present scientific consensus as your immutable guide, that's not a scientific way of thinking, because the fundamental basis of science is falsifiability, and therefore, the imperfection of human knowledge. Religion too, all religion, takes this view at base. Not all religious people are quick to acknowledge this, because there's a kind of circle-the-wagons, aux barricades mentality - especially these days, and especially on the internet - we don't want to show weakness or admit uncertainty because we're in a hostile intellectual environment. You can't have a reasoned theological discussion without someone coming in and saying "actually, everything you believe is a total load." But show me where it says in any faith that human knowledge, the human mind, can know the mind of God, and approach the divine? Like God says to Job, you can't even begin to fathom those depths and to think you can is the utmost hubris. We try, because it's our nature to be curious and inquire about the nature of our selves and the world around us. That's what religion is, that's what science is, it's an exploratory initiative. Like it says on The North Face slogan, you never stop exploring. Knowledge is not perfectible (it's verified by science!). Science, yes, absolutely, I'm for it...scientism, no, it's an anti-scientific way of thinking, science or scientism, that's what it really comes down to.
  14. What about black holes? Black holes are an actual astronomical phenomenon that we can observe using radio telescopes, they are singularities that exist in nature according to current well-developed theories. Many of the assumptions made about the presumed big bang singularity derive from the study of black holes. So you can do the equations in a way that removes the presumption of an initiating singularity but what are the implications of that for the way we think about cosmology? Are they claiming that we need not think of black holes as singularities? Are they claiming that inflation didn't take place? If so those are very big developments for how we think about the universe. Maybe it's just a little bit of fudging the numbers, introducing some quantum terms to avoid uncomfortable outcomes - singularities are obviously major problems for any system that we want to address mathematically. If we can find a legitimate way to avoid the singularities and have everything still compute more or less the way it would otherwise that's a huge development. The question then becomes what are the implications, especially around early-universe inflation and black holes I expect there would have to be a pretty big re-imagining of those areas
  15. As good as Hodgson was/is/may still become, Kassian has quickly become one of my favorite players. Sure, Hodgson showed some terrific skills but there are always a ton of good young offensive players coming in to the league. Guys with Kassian's size and grit who can skate and make plays like he does are rare. If there's even a chance that he can reach his full potential here it's a risk worth taking. To me the trade was won when he punched Eager in his face, and everything else is just gravy.