Friday, March 31, 2006

Too depressing for words.

No comments on this one, from P.Z. Meyers on Pensacola Bible College.

Just the link.

Alternate Economics: Bizarro World is Here

You know, I'm going to kick in the teeth of the next person who tells me global markets are getting more competitive. This hypothetical person is either A) deluded or B) a lying shithead. Which I know, because unlike said shithead, I have actually read a little bit about economics, including books 1-3 of The Wealth of Nations.

Now, what would Adam Smith say about this?

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- U.S. corporate profits have increased 21.3% in the past year and now account for the largest share of national income in 40 years, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
Strong productivity gains and subdued wage growth boosted before-tax profits to 11.6% of national income in the fourth quarter of 2005, the biggest share since the summer of 1966. See full story.
For all of 2005, before-tax profits totaled $1.35 trillion, up from $1.16 trillion in 2004 and just $767 billion in 2001.
Meanwhile, the share of national income going to wage and salary workers has fallen to 56.9%. Except for a brief period in 1997, that's the lowest share for labor income since 1966.
"It's a big puzzle," said Josh Bivens, an economist for the Economic Policy Institute. "If this is a knowledge economy, how come the brains aren't being compensated? Instead, the owners of physical capital are getting the rewards."
Despite the flood of cash coming in the door, corporations are investing comparatively little in expanding their operations. Capital spending has been below average, especially considering the strength of the economy, the level of profits and the special tax breaks given to boost investment.

Now, I may not remember too clearly, but in a competitive labour market, aren't profits supposed to fall? In fact, shouldn't they fall until the owners of capital have to manage it directly, as a full-time job? I'm sure there's some bullshit excuse people can come up with to explain the ever-increasing wealth disparity in the west between the workers and the owners, but I'm not buying it.

Could there be an explanation for soaring profits while real wages remain stagnant or fall? Could it be that big businessmen are colluding with one another and with their buddies in the government to create a favourable business climate (read: oligarchy of rich bastards).

On a related note, I just finished reading Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed, about working crappy low-wage jobs and trying to make ends meet. And this morning on CTV, I saw Jan Wong interviewed about how she tried a similar project, getting a job as a maid in Toronto and trying to live on $20 a day, for all expenses after rent, with her kids. They started getting faint from lack of protein, in case you were wondering. Her series of columns on the experience starts running tomorrow in The Globe and Mail.

Which, ironically, is part of a big media conglomerate with CTV, and which no doubt pays its own janitors such crap wages that their kids feel faint from hunger. Not that anyone will appreciate the irony.

We are all such fucking idiots to let this go on.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Book Review: StormWatch: Change or Die

A superhuman flys over New York City, alighting in front of the United Nations building. Tearing the flags of every member nation down, he burns them while television cameras roll.

"Consider this symbolic of our greater intention," he says. "Do please film this."

It's the defining scene in what is one of the best anarchist storylines in mainstream comics history. Yet because the words "anarchy" and "anarchism" are never spoken, it has passed without the notice given to it's more famous counterpart, V for Vendetta. I should warn readers that numerous spoilers will now follow.

The storyline, Change or Die, was written in the late 1990s by Warren Ellis for the conventional superhero comic series, StormWatch. It capped off the first segment of Ellis's run on the series, and was a key precursor to his much more famous series, The Authority.

The story is essentially a tragedy. Two groups of heroes face off against one another, while cynical manipulators from among their own ranks sabotage a chance for peace, and possibly utopia.

StormWatch was a comic created during the mid-1990s, and was one of many Wildstorm company titles which, frankly, were pretty derivative of each other and of Marvel's many mutant X-team books. StormWatch was slightly different, in that its heroes were employees of the United Nations. As superhuman blue helmets, they hailed from many nations and fought superhuman terrorists, alien invasions and so forth. When Warren Ellis, a thoroughly insane British comic scribe took over the title, he revamped it thoroughly. Many of the superfluous team members were axed, and Ellis began creating his own strange characters. The oddest was Jenny Sparks, a London-based superhero with the ability to transform into and control electricity. Born at midnight on January 1, 1900, Sparks is the "Spirit of the 20th Century." There was also Jack Hawksmoor, a man who could communicate with cities, and Rose Tattoo, a beautiful, mute female assassin.

At the storyline's beginning, a masked vigilante tries to assassinate Jenny Sparks. She survives and demands a meeting with StormWatch's leader, Henry Bendix, the "Weatherman." Bendix is busy with his own crisis, however. The High, a former superhero who has been sitting motionless on a mountaintop for a decade, has vanished. Bendix believes The High plans some kind of attack.

The High has in fact joined a group of like-minded superheros for a major project. They want to end poverty and government at a stroke. Tired of fighting the same problems over and over, they want to strike at the root of what is wrong with society.
His message is simple, and not only needs to be heard, but needs to be incised into the Earth -

"Think for yourself and question authority."

And if you can think for yourself, what do you need authority for?

Comic book enthusiasts might not have recognized the underlying ideology of the story, but they recognized The High and his compatriots immediately. The High has all the powers, and a similar origin to Superman. His allies include the vigilante Blind (Batman), Rite, a female warrior (Wonder Woman), The Engineer, a nano-tech specialist who can make anything (Green Lantern) The Doctor, a shaman (Dr. Fate) and others. All are recognizeable comics archetypes, and together, they mimic the Justice League of America.

Ellis uses the comparison to both satirize the JLA (whose members have never questioned the authority of the world's governments) and to contrast the outsized idealism of Golden Age superheroes with the realpolitik of the StormWatch team.

The High and his league announce they will give away their power and knowledge - handing over the ability to make anything with nanotech, teaching magic and sharing new ways of living. Bendix, an idealist long since turned authoritarian, sends his team after The High's on a killing mission. Things go badly despite the efforts of some of the StormWatch team to defy their orders and ally themselves with The High. Rogue members of both teams have committed atrocities to reach their goals. In a violent confrontation, heroes are killed and the knowledge and promise The High offered is lost.

There are a few plot holes and artistic gaffes that mark the book. Ellis seemed to lose track of what some of the characters thought about Blind, in particular, and whether or not The High expected him to use torture. It's still worth reading. StormWatch: Change or Die is collected in the trade paperback collection of the same name.

I have no idea whether Ellis considers himself an anarchist or not, but he definitely has an anti-authoritarian streak that resurfaces again and again. Check out his Transmetropolitan stories too, they're the best thing he's ever written.

Update A quote attributed to Ellis, about Transmetropolitan (from Wikiquote): I have attempted to reflect this in TRANSMET: the understanding that the world can be neither perfect nor doomed. But that it can be better. And the people who get to decide if it's going to be better or not are the people who show up and raise their voices.

Monday, March 27, 2006

In which the godless commie throws in his lot with the capitalist running dogs

I've just added my name to an open letter to the people of France over at Brad Spangler's blog.

Spangler is supporting the students who have been demonstrating for the past few weeks, over a new proposed law that will allow employers to fire workers with little or no reason given during their first two years of employment. In France, job security is government-mandated, but getting a job in the first place is bloody hard. The idea of the new law is to encourage more hiring, because firing will be easier if a situation changes for a business.

Obviously, a lot of employers are going to abuse this law, by hiring and firing people within the two-year limit, then hiring again. It will save them having to keep the employees long term and give them little things like proper benefits and pensions. Hiring lots of new employees is also a tactic widely used everywhere to stave off unionization drives.

A few things of note: I consider myself a socialist, Spangler is an anarcho-capitalist. The letter encourages genuine free-market reforms and revolution in France. So why is Spangler supporting the students and workers on strike? Why sign on?

Here's a bit of the text of the letter:
Students and Workers of France,

Professor Roderick Long once wrote:

“When Marx called the French government ‘a joint-stock company for the exploitation of France’s national wealth’ on behalf of the bourgeois elite and at the expense of production and commerce (’Class Struggles in France’), he was only echoing what libertarians had been saying for decades.”

France and all other nation-states remain so today. You and we live in a world where freedom and economic opportunity exist only at the sufferance of a political class that allows us only some small amount of them for sake of their own convenience and take the rest from us by force and coercion for sake of their own parasitism.

Under such circumstances, state-sponsored market liberalization is a cruel joke. The legislation you protest and rebel against seeks only to increase the latitude given your overseers, while maintaining the overall restrictions on your own liberty that, if abolished, would empower you to seek your own prosperity. We believe you and we would be very good at that, mixing both cooperation and peaceful competition, if we were not slaves.

Spangler insists he is a capitalist, but he's of the agorist school of anarcho-capitalism, the one that has managed to work its way almost back into individualist anarchism. Along with many of the signatories, Spangler is a self-proclaimed member of the Movement of the Libertarian Left, which has been reaching out with an olive branch to the Old and New Left for several decades now. So, in the spirit of solidarity, I have signed his letter.

Which leads to the perfect opportunity to write something I've been thinking about for a while: my socialism includes capitalism.

In a free world, there will be people who choose to compete for their daily bread, and those who choose to cooperate. I am one of the latter, but I categorically refuse to aim a gun at anyone's head and insist that he or she join me. I would prefer to rely on non-market means of acquiring my food, shelter and health care, not because I think markets are inherently evil, but because I don't particularly trust them. If others wants to put their well being at the mercy of the invisible hand, that is entirely their business, and I wish them luck.

I'm hoping to expand on this in a future post. But next up will be a review of what I consider the other great anarchist comic book series.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A Wedding Toast

Today I raise my glass to my friends John and Kirstin, as they prepare to walk down the aisle. I know they will find happiness with each other, and I hope their happiness is accompanied by good fortune, good friends and long life.

To Kirstin and John!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Saint Ralph, and the story of the little oil-based economy that could

Yay! Thanks to the Alberta Advantage(TM) and the totally coincidental fact that there are 180 million barrels of proven oil reserves beneath it's territory, Alberta is well on its way to another massive budget surprlus this year. The Globe and Mail has the details.

Already it is projecting a record surplus — $4.1-billion, but government officials admit that figure will likely climb as oil and gas royalties flood into provincial coffers. Last year's budget finished out with a surplus surpassing $10-billion.

Awesome! Wow, I guess if every province adopted Alberta's economic formula, they would enjoy equal success! What's that, you say? Manitoba has no oil? PEI is made of sand, clay and compressed layers of Anne of Green Gables figurines which contain little to no petroleum reserves? The Canadian Shield is three billion years old rock, and notably deficient in tar sands?

Quitters! Did Albertans quit when the price of oil shot up past $60 a barrel, imperilling the finance minister's life with a tidal wave of cash? No. Did they quit when Hurricane Katrina drove prices even higher, and exports from Canada to the United States were permanently increased as a result? No. Did they quit when Stockwell Day was their finance minister? No!

Even the National Energy Program couldn't make Albertans quit. It just turned them into constant whiners, who apparently believe they live in the only part of Canada that was ever fucked over financially by the federal government. That's right, Albertans launched their own Quiet Revolution, but unlike those small-thinking types in Quebec, they dispensed with the culture, the gay-friendly society and the excellent music scene. Who needs that when you have a western alienation-based party to start!

And now that party is in power. What can we expect from the federal government, now? More Alberta Advantage(TM)! So our best information about the future of the country will be found in the Alberta budget. What'll it be, Globe and Mail?

The bulk of the tax cuts in the budget are for business, with the province cutting the general corporate rate to 10 per cent, costing the provincial treasury $265-million this year and $300-million after that. Alberta currently has the lowest corporate tax rate in the country.

Personal tax cuts are minimal — $10 a person from an increase to basic personal deductions — although Alberta is raising the income threshold for health-care premiums, a break for low income earners.

Well, there you have it. You'll be $10 richer, and your boss will have a shiny new car. Maybe he'll let you wash it someday, and you can surreptitiously smell the fine leather interior through the sunroof. That's the Alberta Advantage(TM).

Congratulations and thanks

First, to Harmeet Singh Sooden, James Loney and Norman Kember, rescued this week in Iraq after spending months as the hostages of a group of militants and/or gangsters. I'm not only pleased that they were rescued, but that it resulted in no loss of life to anyone.

Second, to the people of Hartley Bay. The fishermen of the tiny native community pulled the victims of the Queen of the North sinking from the water, brought them into their homes and literally gave them the clothes off their backs in some cases. The disaster has also left an oily slick on the water that may damage the seafood stocks that are their livelihood. I can only hope the government, owner of the ferry, will do the right thing and compensate them for any losses.

Monday, March 20, 2006

What I Did On My Spring Vacation

Well, I read a lot. I obviously didn't post anything for a week. I spent a lot of time with my girlfriend, She Who Is Both Wise and Beautiful. I saw the Brian Jungen exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which was fascinating, and suffered through the explanatory tour of the exhibit, which was not.

The exhibit was great. It gathered together all of Jungen's Prototype for a New Understanding pieces. These are the famous masks he made out of Nike Air Jordan sneakers, starting in the late 1990s. Jungen created items that, from a distance, look like authentic North West Coast aboriginal masks. The black, white and red Air Jordan colours and the round and oblong shapes of the sneakers lend themselves to coastal-style artwork.

Along with the masks, there were three whale skeletons made from plastic lawn chairs, a birdhouse made from IKEA magazine holders (with finches in residence) a teepee made entirely from 10 "skinned and dismembered" leather couches, and some cargo pallets handcrafted from cedar planks.

All of Jungen's work seems - to me - to be kind of funny. Making masks out of sneakers? Great joke! Teepee from sofas? Hilarious! I think the best one of all is the cargo pallets, lovingly varnished and joined together without visible nails.

Is any of this humour acknowledged by the VAG? Nope. Not a damn bit of it. I know there's a very serious subtext to everything Jungen is doing here. He's deliberately conflating Native stereotypes with consumer junk, or rebuilding cheap Canadian Tire furniture into works of fine art. But as far as I can tell, it's actually supposed to be funny. (Most of it, anyway.)

Look at the lawn furniture-whales. They are actually the least funny part of the exhibit. First of all, they are amazingly crafted sculptures in their own right. It takes a real craftsman (I prefer craft to art 90 per cent of the time) to take a pile of lawn chairs and envision them carved up and rebuilt into a skeleton. Instead, they are at first elegant. When you realize what they are constructed from, they are both funny and all the more impressive. Jungen has drawn beauty out of a pile of plastic junk. It's really worth seeing.

The museum spiel is all about consumerism and the natural world. And yes, I agree that you certainly can see it that way. But it's also possible to look at the whales as an object of great beauty, and to marvel at the materials used for its construction. Hell, maybe Jungen is trying to make us see what can be created from the detritus around us if we can see with fresh eyes. I'd like to ask him some day.

(At this point, there will be a brief digression for ranting. In a nook near the whale skeletons was a "kids corner" that contained a glaring scientific error. It was a series of ideas for discussion with children about the exhibit, which said that whales die, fossilize, and then their fossils turn into oil, which can then be turned into plastic, for example, lawn chairs. No, NO, NO! First of all, most animals don't fossilize at all. Second, the process of fossilization is one of mineralization. The matter composing bones [or skin, feathers, leaves, bark, fur, etc] is removed and replaced by minerals. Fossils of this type are made of stone. They do not, at any point, magically turn into oil! Most oil comes from microscopic animals and plants that decay and are compressed under seafloor sediment. Coal is composed mostly of trees. To the VAG: learn some fucking science, you goddamn arrogant liberal arts majors!)

The essence of many jokes is the sudden and unexpected juxtaposition of two unrelated, concepts. If one of them is scary or "unclean," even better. That fits what Jungen is doing perfectly. My first reaction when I see his stuff is to laugh. And then to think. But it's the laugh that draws me in. Without the humour, it's just another pretentious museum exhibit.

The Power of the Mind!

Clearly, this is the most amazing thing going right now. Forget all the advances in materials science, in nanotech, alternate energy, computer networks, all of it.

This is awesome.

For those of you too lazy to click the link, it's an article in New Scientist about the latest mind-controlled computer. These things have been around for about a decade now, in increasingly sophisticated versions. This one is just the latest in the phylogenetic tree of mind-machine interfaces, but it looks like the one that could break out into wide use. It allegedly takes 20 minutes to acclimate to a user - watching what areas of the brain are trying to control a cursor - and then is fully operational. The system could allow people to type, operate games or click through the net without touching a thing.

The major use for the tech at first will be for individuals with severe paralysis - spinal cord injuries at the neck, motor neuron diseas sufferers and so forth.

But how much would you like to bet that everyone from fighter pilots to game console geeks owns one of these helmets within 20 years ?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Some Clarifications, for Peter MacKay

Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay says the government stands behind Canada's troops in Afghanistan and won't do anything to cast doubt on that support.

"The last thing that we want to show is any wavering or any backing away from the commitment of our Canadian troops," MacKay said on CTV's Question Period on Sunday.

"We have to be 100 per cent behind them. We have to demonstrate in every way that we support the important work that they're doing. And to that extent, this government is 100 per cent behind our troops and appreciative, incredibly appreciative of the effort that they're making."

MacKay was responding to critics who suggest Canada's commitment to Afghanistan should be taken to a parliamentary vote.

It seems Mr. MacKay has some misconceptions about when a debate would or would not be appropriate on a military deployment. Let's clear this up right now. When is it the right time to debate a life and death military mission?


It is always appropriate. To debate the nature of a military mission, to examine whether circumstances have changed, to talk about what the role of Canadian troops is or should be, about what resources they have or need, about the effect they are having on the daily lives of Afghans, about what long-term psychological impacts the mission is having on the troops themselves. We can't solve a damn thing without first talking about it. We can't even know if there are problems if we don't talk about it.

To hide behind "supporing the troops" is cowardly. Calling for the troops to come home could be supporting them. Calling for more money, more troops, new training, better gear, a change in mission; all these things can be legitimately supportive of the troops. Leaving a bunch of guys in the desert half a world away, with no public political discussion of why they are there is not supportive.

But wait, there's morale! What if talking about the mission, maybe even raising serious doubts about their ability to impose peace on a fractious landscape (one with the British Empire twice failed to subdue, followed by the Russians, followed by the Americans) weakens their resolve?

What is morale, anyway? It is the common spirit of a team, and its members willingness to do their tasks. So yes, I can see how actually talking about their chances of success might damage that crucial element of readiness.

If we were talking about a T-ball team, that is.

These are soldiers! They aren't six fucking years old, people. They're grown adults who chose a profession that involves being shot at. They've been attacked with roadside bombs, mortars, grenades, by the friendly fire of their allies, and most recently, with an axe. We expect them to take daily danger, harsh living conditions and seperation from friends and family with equanimity, but a little bit of talk about why they're there will have tears pouring from their eyes? Give me a goddamn break.

You know what would be good for their morale? Giving them some input in the debate. Bring soldiers who've served in Afghanistan and let them speak to Parliament, directly to the MPs. Let them talk about what they really need, what they think the mission is, what they believe in. Let's listen to the privates and corporals and the front line officers. Let's hear from their mothers and fathers, and their husbands and wives, too. Let's hear from Afghans, not just the ones they've helped, but the ones who want them the hell out of their country.

And then, let's have that debate.

We can let Peter MacKay sit this one out. He wouldn't want to be seen wavering, after all. I'm sure total, blind-eyed ignorance is the best way to stand behind the troops.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Book Review: The Cassini Division

The Cassini Division was the first Ken MacLeod book to be published here in North America, so I suppose it's strangely appropriate that I'm reading it last, out of all of his so-far published novels.

The Cassini Division is one of the four Fall Revolution novels MacLeod wrote, and is the only one of the four that is a direct sequel. It follows directly on the events of The Stone Canal, in which a pair of uploaded humans on anarcho-capitalist New Mars travelled back down a wormhole path to the Solar System. Those humans - Jonathan Wilde, aka Jay Dub, and his artificial intelligence wife - get a walk on at the beginning of the novel, then vanish. The torch is passed to Ellen May Ngwethu, a 200 year old leader in the titular Cassini Division. The elite of an egalitarian future, the division guards humanity from what is left of a civilization of superhumanly intelligent uploaded minds that fell into the atmosphere of Jupiter during the events of The Stone Canal.

While this kind of thing - superhuman AI and uploaded humans, threats from godlike posthumans, wormhole travel - are relatively familiar to SF fans, the milieu isn't. The Solar Union that Ngwethu fights for is a communist utopia, in which the state really has withered away and humans are prosperous, free and happy.

MacLeod is, by his own admission in many forums and interviews, a long-time socialist and former Trotskyist. He has taken the various criticisms of central planning made by people like Mises very seriously, however, and the Fall Revolution books never shrink from alternate political points of view. Indeed, Ngwethu is probably the least political of his protagonists in the series. Jonathan Wilde, of Stone Canal, is an individualist anarchist shit-disturber, Myra Godwin of The Sky Road is a Marxist politician, and Moh Kohn of The Star Fraction is a Trotskyist himself, living in a libertarian enclave. Along the way in MacLeod's various other books, everything from anarcho-syndicalism to agorism to various forms of townhall democracy show up, often in wild combinations.

The communism of The Cassini Division is presented both very sympathetically - I wouldn't mind living in such a system - and with its few flaws readily apparent. Although 30 billion people live under the Solar Union, there are a fringe of "non-cooperators" or "non-cos" who live in a grubby free-market society on Solar Union fringes. The Solar Union mostly ignores them or co-opts their best people. In a typical American SF novel, the non-cos would be the heroes, fighting against the monolithic Solar Union. Here, it's a lot more complicated. (There are jokes about this, of course. A solid gold statue of Mises stands in the chamber the Solar Union once used for central planning meetings.)

Ngwethu, like Clovis in The Sky Road, is a character who seems to be living in one of the times when humans have convinced themselves that history, per se, is over, and the right side has won. As is always the case, she is proved wrong. The Jovian intelligences have become more active and organized, and Ngwethu is convinced they are a threat. She enlists a famous non-co physicist to try to solve the mystery of the wormhole the Jovians created, then travels through it to the other side. The anarcho-capitalists of New Mars begin to flit back across, looking for new markets - something that is anathema to the Solar Union.

Meanwhile, the Jovians have resumed contact with humans, and claim they are no longer hostile. Ngwethu wants them exterminated anyway, saying beings that think and live a thousand times faster than humans can't be trusted to keep agreements. Only life can hold a real consciousness, she believes, never a machine.

Many reviews of the book have found it dissatisfying, and I've seen it ranked frequently as the least interesting of the Fall Revolution series. I have to disagree. Except for the ending - which seems to go against everything MacLeod was aiming at - I found it very gripping. The milieu is fascinating, and is one that I don't think has been seen much outside of hopelessly utopian political fiction. It was a lot better than The Sky Road, which never really came together as a coherent whole, and which I felt left dangling plot threads all over the place.

On the politics of the book, I'd say that it was long past time that someone started writing science fiction in which socialism matters, whether it's triumphant or simply at the margins. (Kim Stanley Robinson can't do this alone!) I've seen people argue that The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress created more libertarians than Atlas Shrugged ever did, simply because it's a better book, and because it's lessons go down easier with a nice coating of adventure, fun, and likeable characters. Similarly, I'd love to know how many people will find their attitudes to socialism changed by The Cassini Division. The Solar Union is attractive enough that a vast majority of humanity has joined, but it is flexible enough to allow dissidents and outright criminals to avoid it. It has no laws and is fundamentally a huge, voluntary organization. But MacLeod is honest enough to point out the flaws of his vision - it's a bit dull and parochial, and its people carry around prejudices that they don't often recognize as such. The Union also has a "might makes right" approach to solving external problems: there is the unspoken assumption that if the non-cos ever became powerful enough to be a threat, the Union would have few qualms about wiping them out.

The book has also added a few phrases to the Standard SF Quote Lexicon. The most frequently repeated is the one about uploading being "Rapture for the nerds." My favourite, though, is MacLeod's description of humans as "fish wearing space suits."

My last word is: read The Stone Canal first. Despite the fact that it uses MacLeod's dual-track narrative, which drives me crazy, it is the better book of the two. And it will help you understand what happens in the second half of Cassini Division.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A better blog than mine...

Most of the blogs I frequent are political, scientific or science fiction-related. This one is not.

It's the ongoing story of a superhero called the Velvet Marauder, who lives in a suspiciously Seattle-like Evergreen City, where he fights crime, has a crush on a co-worker and shares his unique insights into life, superpowers and everything. It's well written, often funny, and feeds my need for superhero related stuff. I'm slowly working through the massive backlog of entries, in chronological order, as it tells an ongoing story. Will he ever get together with Margo, his attractive co-worker? Will the Exploder return to blow up another one of his cars? Are his bosses really supervillains, and what is their diabolical plan?

In between saving the world (well, not the world, but the greater Evergreen City area), Velvet Marauder drops in little nuggets of superhero info like this one:

When you've got mid-range super strength like me, it affects your entire physiology. I weigh a good thirty pounds more than a normal guy my height and build, because I've got thick bullet-resistant skin and dense muscles. A lot of people don't think about this, but when you've got super-strength, every part of your body is super strong. You see where I'm going with this? For instance, if I want to I can pee a good twenty, thirty feet. Seriously, I can piss from one side of my back yard to the other because of my powerful internal muscles.

The main page of the blog is here, but I recommend you start here, with the first post.

Someone, get this man a comic book writing job!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dear Albertans, what is wrong with you?

Why do you re-elect this man over and over and over again?

Premier Ralph Klein has apologized for throwing a booklet at a teenaged page in the legislature during a debate yesterday over Alberta's health-care reforms.
The 17-year-old page, Jennifer Huygen, had delivered a soft-covered, 80-page booklet of Liberal policy proposals to Klein's desk in the assembly, when the premier grabbed it and tossed it at her. It wasn't clear if it hit her.
Klein was heard to say, "I don't need this crap," referring to the Liberal booklet. Klein later rose and apologized to the page and to the Liberals for calling the booklet "crap."
The incident occurred during question period, in front of a packed gallery of schoolchildren.

It's not like you have't had enough excuses to kick him out in the past. Like that time he drunkenly yelled at a man in a homeless shelter. Let's repeat that: He drunkenly yelled at a homeless man. And yet I think this one has actually topped the old record for Crazy Ralph's antics. The presence of the schoolchildren pushed it over the top for me. It's a definite winner if it hit the girl.

Are you worried that you will see your economy take a sudden downturn? You sit on a fucking lake of oil! It would take an army of fuckwits to ruin your economy! In short: what is wrong with you? Can't you even find a Conservative more competent than this moron?

Up next: Alberta wants in, the rest of Canada wants you to shut up.