Monday, February 28, 2011

A Left Wing Argument

I've been attacking Democrats for failing to enunciate a left wing argument. Here's a suggestion:

Ayn Rand is wrong. No one accomplishes great things, becomes wealthy, or even invents a new kind of steel, by themselves. Everyone is a beneficiary of the state, and of their fellow man. Everyone is basically helpless for the first ten years of their life, and is a ward of their caretakers and their community. Even if you are educated by a private tutor on your survivalist compound, you still owe a lot to the country you live in.

It may be possible for private enterprise to replace most functions of the state, but that doesn't make it a good idea. Would you like your ability to travel to be contingent on the whims of a private company? Thanks to "socialized" roads, you can travel anywhere in the country. Do you want your water's purity to be determined by someone trying to cut every corner?

We all lean on each other for support. This isn't "learned helplessness", it's efficiency. If we all had to take care of our every need, we'd never get anything done. Civilization only works because we help each other out, even when there's not an apparent benefit. Republicans like to say that "a rising tide lifts all boats", but they don't realize that applies to helping the most vulnerable in society too. Someone trapped in the thrall of an insidious drug does terrible damage to himself, those around him, and society as a whole. The expense of helping someone free themselves from a drug is far cheaper than bombing Colombia, elaborate sting operations on dealers, and imprisoning a generation of "three strikes" violators. It's not just the most humane solution, it's also the best for the economy, and for the government's pocketbook.

PS. This is just something I wrote off the top of my head. Left Wing solutions have a lot of benefits, we just need someone to speak out about it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Canonicity Addendum

Just one other thing about Canon. Lots of people say that Star Trek and Star Wars violate their own canon. The problem goes like this: Worf says "A Klingon would never allow himself to be captured." Later, Worf gets captured. What a violation of canon!

This is rather silly. Just because Worf says something, doesn't mean he can't be exaggerating for effect, for example. Essentially, whenever someone says something that's later contradicted, it can be chalked up to a lot of things other than a mistake of the writers.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dragon Age: Bosoms

I didn't know whether to call it Dragon Age: Bosoms, or photoshop a picture to change the II in Dragon Age: II into the letters TiTs. In the end, the photoshopping would have been more work, so here you go. In the half an hour demo, you end up with this party of ladies.

I liked the characters of the first Dragon Age, and I'm sure I'll like the ones in two, but their attitude to medieval "armour" is just as bad as 1970's Dungeons and Dragons books. It's possible to have attractive ladies in a game without having huge breasts on display. See: Uncharted.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Posted by Picasa


I've decided to become the arbiter of canon. This came about largely because of Star Wars, which is determined to dig its own grave.

With this new power, I can dismiss any event I dislike in any work of fiction. In the future, when someone says that the podrace in The Phantom Menace was stupid, I can say, "That didn't happen. In fact, almost nothing in Episode One is canon."

If a show is good, everything in it is provisionally canon. If bad, then everything has to be personally approved by me. This means that most everything in Star Trek: The Next Generation and DS9 is canon, almost nothing in Voyager is canon, about half the things in The Original Series is canon, and so on.

All of the Star Trek movies are non-canon except Wrath of Khan. The only canon in Star Wars is episode 4, 5, and 6.

PS. Everything involving Section 31 in Star Trek is mostly non-canon. Basically, they're actually a faux-organization designed to satisfy other species' need for intrigue.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Abolish Military Branches

The way the US military operates now, it's stupid to have the Air Force, the Navy, and the Army as separate entities. I'd abolish all of them, (and the Coast Guard and the Marines) and make the chain of command operate in terms of regions. The different branches serve no function.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Obama Economics

I recently indicated that Obama is the best living president. He is, but this is largely because of the competition, which ranges from terrible to mediocre. Obama's recent decision to go along with Republicans' plan to cut the Federal budget is going to be disastrous. There's no guaranteeing anything in economics, but reducing the flow of money in an already slow economy will probably result in an even slower recovery, or even a second recession.

Not only will the cuts be bad for the economy, it will also harm the most vulnerable Americans. Cuts to social services will result in more hunger, more sickness, and ultimately, more deaths. Poverty kills, and not just the poor.*

This is the Republicans' plan for cuts to the federal budget. Take a look, and shudder for the future. Over a billion dollars cut from Community Health Centers alone. 1.5 billion cut from Global Health and Child Survival*.  They also want to cut NPR and PBS, the drizzlers!

*I could elaborate on this, if anyone cared.

**You'd think a program like that would be protected by the supposedly "pro-life" Republicans. "Pro-life" only applies when you are in the womb or on your deathbed. This is why Pro-lifers oppose abortion and voluntary euthanasia, but have no problem with executing children and the mentally handicapped.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Random Rankings II

Best to Worst:

Star Trek Movies: 2, 4, 3, 11, 8, 7, 6, 9, 10, 5, 1
Top Gear Hosts: James May, Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson
US Wars: Revolutionary, World War II, Civil War, World War I, Spanish American War, Mexican American War.
Living Presidents: Obama, Carter, Clinton, George HW Bush, George W Bush
Jeffrey Combs Star Trek Characters: Weyoun, Shran, Brunt, Kevin Mulkahey, Tiron, Penk

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Star Trek Miscellania

Star Trek is a great franchise. On average, you get a pretty good product. There's some garbage in there, but an average episode is good, and the best episodes are some of the best Television ever made.

The Original Series is good for multitasking. You can "watch" the show and read a book, make a blog post, or whatever, and not miss anything. For a show that was once radically progressive, the show seems ludicrously sexist. The skirts in particular are ridiculous, and the costumes for alien females are even worse. All the men wear little high-heeled boots, so it's not all on the women, I suppose.

I've been thinking about how you could make a Star Trek Draft game, where you draft a crew from the shows. Then each crew would go through challenges, like episodes of the show.'s analysis of the Star Trek movies says most of what I think. He gets pretty picky with little details that you wouldn't notice unless you were looking for them, but his complaints about the films' tone is the important thing. it's all violence and death, with no intellectual or ethical thought whatsoever. Star Trek can't win by being a half-assed version of other movies, it has to be what it is.

The new movie may seem to be a contradiction to this system. After all, it made a lot of money, and was pretty OK, quality-wise. The reason that it's successful isn't that it's all action-ey and stuff, it's because it has a huge budget. If they had spent all this money on something true to the spirit of Star Trek, they could have made something immortal, not just a generic Sci-Fi with the Star Trek characters thrown in.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Republican Presidential History

Republican Presidents have an interesting life cycle. Support, Amnesia, and Mythologizing

During their presidencies, Republicans support them unquestioningly. With Fox News creating an intellectual monolith, and central control of funding to campaigns, both political and social elements of the right-wing support their president one million percent. 

Once they leave office, Republicans erase all memory of the president from the world. This is George Bush's current status. This allows the Republican groupthink to overcome the problem of an unreasonable philosophy colliding with the real world. By forgetting all the times their politics didn't work, and had to be compromised for the sake of practicality, they lay the groundwork for the next Republican platform, same as the last one.

After a few decades, Republicans fill in the missing information with ridiculous myths. This is the status of Ronald Reagan, who reduced taxes, cut government, and balanced the budget, all without hurting anyone. They've created a man who won the cold war and rescued the Iranian hostages through pure force of will. Even Nixon has undergone this, to a lesser degree. Republicans will insist that we didn't lose the Vietnam War, for example.