2014-11-22

It's about the future, Madam Chancellor

Steve Tilley looks very very superficially about 2015 according to Back to the Future, Part II. He's covering Mr. Fusion, Jaws sequels, and hoverboards. Business Insider covered this a few years back, and ultimately a Miami baseball team and 3D sequels are the best that 1987 Hollywood could tell us about this mysterious time.

And Queen Diana was in that movie, remember. Whoops. Not only is Di deader than the Dodo, but both Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth are highly likely to start 2015 (and, almost as likely, end 2015) still alive. Hell, you can't discount the Queen out for 2020 at this point.

2014-11-19

Mental note to self: Whyte

Once we get a nice cold Whyte Ave day, show Scott McKeen some photos of the vibrant street scene.

2014-11-14

Lose All Honour for Conner

(Almost!) everything you need to know about last night's 4-3 overtime loss:

2014-11-03

Why isn't DND doing what the Slutwalkers do?

In the wake of the Quebec run-down of two CFB soldiers, and the Ottawa attack that left one dead, DND made an immediate decision to order soldiers not on active duty not to wear their uniform in public. Other than a admonishment on Twitter by John Williamson there hasn't been much controversy about it.

Contrast that with the infamous Slutwalk, with hundreds of loose (or hypocritical) women marching in the streets, upset that police officers pointed out that women who dress in revealing outfits (which are not, so far as we're aware, the military uniform of the nation) probably shouldn't be surprised when they get raped. Now when a group of mostly men [with the rest probably dykes. -ed] are the target of attacks, these same women are silent when the solution is "well, don't go out in public in your uniform".

Besides the obvious difference against the sluts that I note above, the other one is of course that soldiers are supposed to be protecting us. Unlike the United States, Canada's pledge of allegience doesn't vow to fight enemies foreign or domestic, though its certainly not entirely unreasonable to assume that the Canadian Military's mandate doesn't preclude using military force to combat attacks on Canadian soil perpetrated by foreign organizations -- even if they use Canadian citizens as happened in Ottawa and Quebec.

In his article on the subject, Rex Murphy provides a soldier's justification for the order:

I think I’m free to cite one very telling observation from a person who has served long in the military — and backs the order not to wear uniforms in public. In an email, he wrote "When [the] enemy is unknown, prudence dictates no uniform, especially so when enemy is mentally challenged, as is common these days. In these cases people in uniform become targets for individuals acting out from impulses of deranged minds."
While I'm sure the soldier is meaning well, he's almost certainly in the minority. Soldiers are mostly willing to be out in public in their uniforms, perhaps slightly aware that the risk of being killed while wearing that uniform (no matter which country your feet are planted on at the time) was a risk they signed on for from the get-go. It wasn't intended to be "unless the risk started to become too great", or even "only if there isn't a tiny risk that civilians will be in the cross-fire". Pace M in the movie GoldenEye, the military shouldn't have any compunction about sending soldiers to their death, so long as they aren't doing it trivially or without due cause.

Aren't soldiers standing defiant and implicitly or explicitly telling terrorists "come and get me, you pussies" one of those things that are "worth it"? Instead of telling soldiers to hide, the Canadian Forces should be asking more of them to be seen in uniform off-base: a reminder to both the general public and the violent Muslims that there are a lot of them, and it's not going to be possible to pick them all off.

That is, of course, except that it really is.

One of the things that John Williamson suggested for the Honour Guard at the National War Memorial was that the ceremonial guards be armed -- that is to say, be actual guards. It's not all that far-fetched, you know: the ceremonial Sergeant-at-Arms in Parliament was the one who used his non-ceremonial handgun to shoot Michael Joseph Hall. Yet the ceremonial guard is presently unarmed. Putting them back into that post without weapons is almost making it possible to pick them off: though its not necessarily evident how arming them could work in their current "stand still like they are at Buckingham Palace and pose for tourists" role. Perhaps they'd have to be supplemented with actual guards? They wouldn't necessarily have to be that intrusive: I haven't been to Parliament Hill in years, but presumably there are actual armed guards that walk the premises. Then again, regular police officers seem to be able to both pack heat and pose with the citizenry, often the drunk scantily clad kind that think the "slutwalk" is how the sashay between Billiards Club and Hudsons.

But what about the regular soldiers out and about in public? Do we need to give them bodyguards as well? No, of course not...because as the entire planet seems to have forgotten, soldiers already are bodyguards. They are literally bodies who guard. Williamson's idea of arming the ceremonial guards was a good first idea. Here's the logical second idea: permit soliders who wear their uniform in public to carry their sidearm with them. This could even be modified to requiring soldiers who wish to wear their uniforms in public to carry a sidearm. If they want to de-uniform they certainly can (and have been able to do forever), and it can be a condition of leaving the base in the colours that the Browning be alongside for the ride. This would certainly solve the concerns about the soldier's safety, though the "soldiers in our cities with guns" crowd may get their feathers ruffled a bit. Of course, anybody who wants to claim that arming soldiers in public is a threat to public safety would have to answer the question the 2006 Liberal Party couldn't: then why are we arming them and training them to use tanks and machine guns and jet airplanes with missiles on them?

Allowing soldiers to carry their guns just makes sense: it's literally force projection. The anonymous solider in Rex Murphy's article gets his wish through the backdoor too, since now soldiers on the streets aren't targets anymore, and whether or not the enemy is easily identifiable or not, he's now the target, not the solider.

But what about the sluts walking around, targetted based on their fashion choices? Well, the same solution works for them (and for me, and for you): let us carry our goddamned guns out on the streets. The objections dissolve pretty much as fast as they do for the soldiers: if you can't trust us to have guns why trust us with anything at all? (Memo to Lefists: this is not a challenge)

Canadian soldiers and Dana Loesch are both yeomans of freedom. Both should be packing heat in public. That way, when they (or us!) are targetted by the next Michael Joseph Hall, they can be the next Kevin Vickers, and not the next Nathan Cirillo.

2014-10-31

You can't rape your wife (or batter your BDSM partner)

Further to yesterday's post about beleagured CBC host Jian Ghomeshi, a semi-serious thought of course comes to mind.

As you may recall, Ghomeshi is a self-proclaimed BDSM enthusiast (though he may just enjoy beating up chicks). One of the tenants of the BDSM lifestlye is that the abuse can take place as much as the two mutually agree to. As always with women, their consent is about as fluid as a bucket of water on a rollercoaster: the same girl who's okay with you slapping her ass in the mall then next day doesn't want you rubbing her thigh in her own kitchen. The day after that, she's letting you finger her on the dance floor at Blues on Whyte...while you're fingering her sister with the other hand. For the BDSM crowd, I'm sure the same rules apply: one day he wants to to step on his balls with high heels on, the next day he just wants to be cuddled. The day after that he's cutting your tit open with a box cutter. However you do it.

The point is, BDSM women can change consent on a whim the same as the rest of the crazy bitches do. As I noted about Ghomeshi, when they claim afterwards that they were totally against the sex and/or choking, they get cool physical evidence to show the cops and the rest of the female population doesn't.

So every time you see a woman who is in a BDSM relationship who has been roughed up a little bit but happily with her man, even if she was furious at him and broke up with him yesterday, it's all okay, it's all cool.

So...uh...how is that practically any different than the classic battered housewife?

Is it? From the external observer view, can we really tell the difference? They got into a fight, he hit her, they broke up, now they're back together. Is that really that much different than he hit her, they got into a fight, they broke up, now they're back together? The first one is Rhianna, the second one is lunaKM.

The battered housewife is always assumed to be the victim because she's assaulted. Who would want to be assaulted, goes the logic. In the twenty-first century, that's not a particlarly compelling argument.

Lucy



Context.

Halloween 2014

2014-10-30

What Excel can teach us about Jian Ghomeshi and his accusers

By now, even starving children in Cambodia have heard some of the sordid details about CBC Radio's Jian Ghomeshi's sex life. But for those needing a quick primer: Ottawa's version of "Bad Date Carla" published a tale of woe about a bad date with a guy who in retrospect could only be Ghomeshi, back in June 2013. About the same time, Ezra Levant and SUN media were hearing about sexual harassment issues at MotherCorp which earned them a (undeserved, it now seems) rebuke by CBC head Hubert Lacroix. Fast forward to this month: Jian Ghomeshi's father dies, and soon after the host (understandably) is given some personal time. Two days later, CBC surprisingly released Ghomeshi in an extremely odd (even at the time) press release. Later that day, Ghomeshi posted an extraordinary Facebook post putting forth his reason for the termination of their contract. He also hired a public relations firm and announced he was suing the Canadian taxpayer for $50M. The next morning, pointing out that the cat was now out of the bag, the Toronto Star started publishing allegations from reports they'd been collecting over several months from women claiming Ghomeshi sexually and physically assaulted them. Since then, a virtual tsunami of accounts have started coming forward, from CBC staffers he wants to "hate-fuck" to a non-anonymous account from Lucy from Trailer Park Boys. There are now 8 published accounts of 'inappropriate' behaviour floating around the news-world.

Of course, one of the key questions is what is inappropriate. As per Ghomeshi's Facebook post, he's into the famed "BDSM" lifestyle. [the author of this blogpost, for the record, is not. -ed] This means that the sort of things that people in normal relationships would consider abnormal and inappropraite behaviour is in this context entirely normal. Hair pulling, face slaps, puncturing skin, even emotional attacks such as demeaning names, phrases, and commands are perfectly cool and normal for people engaging in BDSM. For other people, not so much. Also key is whether or not the girls were as into the BDSM scene as Ghomeshi was: and whether they were cool with the actions they are accusing him of before or while they were happening.

Ultimately l'affaire Moxy Fruvous is a potential rabbit hole full of pitfalls and considerations and conditional clauses. Which brings us to Microsoft Excel.

If you've spent any time with Excel using it for more than just a giant two-dimensional poster board to change the colours of (don't ask), you're aware of nested IF statements.

The IF() function in Excel allows you to evaluate a situation which has two possible outcomes (e.g. sales are greater than $1000) and calculate a different value for each outcome. However, sometimes you need to work with situations where there are more than two possible outcomes. That's where multiple, or nested, IF functions come in handy.
Nested IF statements are ultimately what we need to evaluate if we're going to make any sort of sense of this entire affair.

IF Ghomeshi is telling the truth about the girl from his Facebook post just trying to smear him, she's a bitch.

IF Carla Ciccone is telling the truth about Ghomeshi, he's a creepy non-faggy asshole. But then again, she did let him basically fondle the hell out of her.

IF the CBC employee who Ghomeshi fondled at work is lying, she's the only female CBC employee ever that most of the country doesn't want to hate-fuck.

IF Ghomeshi did the things the three five seven eight some number larger than 7 women talked about to the Toronto Star, he's a serial abuser.

IF Ghomeshi did the things that these women claim but they consented to it at the time (either implied or explicit), then they are a bunch of lying bitches.

IF Ghomeshi did to Lucy from Trailer Park Boys what Lucy from Trailer Park Boys said, he's guilty of violently roughing her up

IF Ghomeshi did that, but then she still went on dates with him afterwards, she has nobody to blame but herself.

IF more women come forward with their stories, we'll have what Ghomeshi promised in his Facebook post we would see: a pattern of behaviour.

IF the women exhibit their own "pattern of behaviour" of having no problem Ghomeshi's slaps and gropes at the time, but then change their mind after the fact, the bitches should rot to death in a jail cell.

Let's all remember the key bit of persepctive here: I didn't like Jian Ghomeshi three weeks ago. He's the classic pretentious far-left radio host. He has that holier-than-though sneer in his voice that pretty much defines what NPR hosts are supposed to sound like (and, not surprisingly, Q is circulated on NPR). He's totally cool with Omar Khadr, Neil Young, and Ellen Page. He's less cool on Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Ted Byfield, or Ezra Levant. His politics are disgusting, his sexuality is disgusting, we've known for ages he's an ugly figure in the Canadian media landscape. Unlike his longtime defenders now turning on him, I never was his defender. If this leaves another progressive like him off the airwaves, so much the better.

But before we chastize him for his 'crimes' against these women, let's remember the nested IF statements: the danger of the BDSM lifestyle is that if a woman decides after-the-fact that she wants to withdraw consent, the physical bruises and other pieces of evidence are still there. Women pull this sort of shit all the time: they're devious critters that absolutely are capable of stooping so low as to want to humiliate an ex: possibly even one who behaved badly during parts of their relationship. These women are totally capable of making up, fabricating, or falsely remembering things that happened between them and Ghomeshi. Ghomeshi is too, of course, and the mathematics start going against him as the number of accusers adds up. He's on his way to becoming Canada's Chris Brown, and he's being vilified by many as his own friends succumb to the "never trust a man" feminist nonsense. There's a reason "bros before hos" took off as a saying.

Of course, sometimes there really is a badly behaving bro.

Why Doesn't the Death Star Blow Up Planet Yavin?

You just knew somebody would find a way to blame it on George W. Bush (pbuh)

2014-10-28

Lochlin Cross's comments about Wildrose prove the need for a leadership review

With yesterday's Progressive Conservative sweep of all four byelections, news comes today that Wildrose leader Danielle Smith has requested a leadership review after numerous people online (and a couple at my work) expressed concern that the failure to win one of the seats was her fault.

In a way, it is. While it's probably a silly idea at this point to replace Danielle with another leader (especially with no heir apparent waiting in the wings, and the high-profile outsider being the guy who won his byelection), the results are a pretty strong indicator that the "mildrose" shift that Danielle pushed for so hard almost exactly one year ago was an abject failure. For more on that, Leigh Patrick Sullivan covered it today (and, also, predicted this result months back.

But for my money, ignorant off-the-cuff comments today by Lochlin Cross on 100.3 The Bear is a better indication of why the Danielle Smith method is a failure.

Around 5:30 during one of those segments where a local TV news anchor goes on the radio station owned by his media conglomerate to discuss the news of the day came on. The Danielle Smith leadership review was one of the topics they promised to cover. When the segment was over, Cross declared "God help us if the Wildrose ever get in". The problem with the default cultural positions feeble minded DJs adopt (far-left extremism is 'normal', slightly right-of-centre conservatism is 'extremist') is that they are the lazy stereotypes that I warned you about during the Fringe Festival. People like that are going to keep using their soapbox to spew such nonsense. You can't escape it by trying to change into what you think they like. Wildrose already did that, Cross ran his mouth anyways.

Instead, the only possible option is to stick to your principles. Don't cavort with the faggots: fight them. Don't implicitly provide the notion that your ideas are wrong any traction. They aren't, that's the facts that are on your side when you're a principled ideological conservative. Far-left extremist liberals like Lochlin Cross are the problem: don't cozy up to them, attack them back. You can't do that when you're "tweaking" policies and "pruning" parts of your policy which do the right thing, just because the people whose entire lives are made up of doing the wrong thing disagree. Mark Steyn has been talking about "moving the centre" this past week, Danielle Smith and the Wildrose party need to listen to him.

As Leigh put it, when the choice is between PC and PC-lite, what's the point of the choice? The Wildrose Party hasn't been in government, Prentice has. Given the choice, why not stick to the people with experience doing the job. Yes yes, Wildrose asked to "send the PCs a message" (which I disagreed with from the get-go), but the person people wanted to send a message to already got it: Red Redford resigned (twice) in disgrace. Prentice hit a reset switch upon his election so fast Hilary Clinton blushed, and like it or not it worked. Slogans only work if people are in the mindset behind it. During the Redford era they might have "sent a message". Now they're stuck with two parties who are basically identical, no message to send, so they decide to throw their support behind people who (and this cannot be said enough) didn't even attend candidates forums. Rob Ford attended candidates forums, for crying out loud.

PC-lite don't grab voters attentions, they just attract lazy stupid comments from the likes of Lochlin Cross. If he and his ilk are going to trash the party no matter what they do, maybe they can try going back to doing the right thing, and standing up for the right people? For that kind of a course correction, the grassroots need to make their voices heard, and communicate how Wildrose's failures to stick to their guns means you'll be casting a very jaundiced vote at that leadership review

2014-10-21

Did Naomi Klein sock puppet her own editorial literary defense?

There's a minor theory tonight that this bizarre "editor's" rant is actually Naomi Klein herself.

Now we're in no condition to actually say for sure: one of the best ways, getting a forensic linguist (yes, those exist) to compare the writing to Klein's own, is possible, but that means having to look at a second piece of her drivel, and frankly one potential piece is enough.

Instead, let's run it through the famed Gender Guesser and see what we can find.

For informal writing, the text comes out 62.47% male. For formal writing, the text comes out 50% even-steven, with the note that "Weak emphasis could indicate European." [that's very meta... -ed].

Let's compare with an excerpt from Shock Doctrine. You can read it yourself in the link if you want to. It's not recommended.

With this clip, informal writing analysis puts the text at 79.1% male. On the formal writing side, the analysis again says weak emphasis could indicate European, and slaps a 59.9% "male" label on it. It's worth noting of course that the other Klein excerpt is longer. Of course, it's less accurate, unless Noami Klein needs a more competent male ghostwriter to spew out her works.

On a balance of probabilities, it could go either way it seems. Regardless, it does appear from the least rigorous of analyses that Noami Klein did write her "editor's" note.

Now who would do something like that? [wait, what? -ed]

2014-10-09

Socialist Don Iveson is out to lunch on photo radar

On Tuesday, in response to this (mostly) excellent petition, Mayor Coward and the rest of the dregs on city council addressed photo radar:

“I’m just tired of this sense that some people have that they’re better than the law. This is my kids’ safety, this is people’s safety that’s at stake here,” he said.

“These people that want to argue that they’re above the law, I have just had it with them, absolutely had it.”
The problem with "this sense" that we're better than "the law" is that it's true: drivers willing to flout the law are less likely to be in an accident. That drivers are capable of figuring out the safe speeds better than our useless lout of a mayor is a fact that's pretty much beyond reproach at this stage.

"People's safety" is, of course, a misnomer: speed limit decreases can mean increases in accidents and mortality rates! (not to mention the obvious, the "safest" speed that Don Iveson the Coward could set would be 0km/hr city-wide. Unsurprisingly, the City of Edmonton is unwilling to put this level of stake into "kids's safety"!)

And why on earth are Don Iveson's playing on the Whitemud or Scona Road? I realize that his children are the byproduct of him and the only (cowardly) woman dumb enough to hook up with him, but even they surely cannot be stupid enough to confuse a playpark with the intersection at 91st street and 34th avenue.

Cowardly Iveson, of course, put it all in a blogpost as well. Most of everything the asshole says is wrong, as you may have already guessed:
Last year, 23 people died in collisions on our streets. Thousands were injured in an average of 68 collisions per day, which altogether caused millions in damage and worsened congestion on our roads
What was the average speed during these collisions? Were they caused by drivers going above or below the speed limit? Were the drivers even at fault in all of them? Even at 50km/hr, a drunk Indian crossing the Hendy at night would be killed if he was hit by a car. Will the limit on the Henday be lowered to 20 to avoid this?

More to the point, do you know what's causing all of this ridiculous conjestion on the roads? Badly designed LRT intersections and artificially low speed limits. Hey, idiot! That's your department. There's a term for people who create problems and then make cosmetic changes to make it look like they are trying to solve those problems. "Cowardly asshole Don Iveson" is one of those terms.
The good news is that injury and fatality rates are coming down, thanks in part to a suite of integrated traffic safety programs including Automated Photo Enforcement. Back in 2007, there were 7.44 such collisions per 1,000 Edmontonians. Last year that number was 3.89 per 1,000 people
Remember the "superficial things" issue above? It comes back to a head here: the City has (to its credit) been looking at real things to prevent collisions: namely redesigning intersections to make them less likely to cause collisions (such as changing angles so that less extreme shoulder checking is required). This effort was mostly done in between 2004 and 2010. Kindly note that the "back in" bad old days corresponds with the time period in which the roads were being rebuilt to minimize accidents. So where does the coward come up with crediting photo radar? A city-commissioned study that, surprise surprise, tells the city exactly what they want to hear (and oddly seems to counter every neutral study ever conducted on the relationship between speed and accidents).
“according to Dr. Karim El-Basyouny, the City of Edmonton’s Research Chair in Urban Traffic Safety at the University of Alberta, the risk of a collision doubles at 5 km/h over the speed limit in a 60 km/h zone. The risk is four times higher at 10 km/h over and 10 times higher at 15 km/h over the speed limit.”
Is there an increased risk of collisions between two vehicles exceeding the silly random number posted on the side of the road? The "exciting" stats being peddled here is just the obvious notion that speed differentials cause issues. Studies have shown about 10% of the population are retards who blindly follow whatever nonsense the government tells them to. As per https://twitter.com/FACLC/status/519556711086964736my favourite (and always unanswered) question, if the city set the limit to 10km/hr on every road tomorrow, how many of these "just don't speed" whiners would actually do it?

Officially, however, nobody at the City can take a position that the speed limit is anything other than the speed limit.

lim·it

'limit/

noun

1. a point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass.
This may be a bit of a shocker to somebody as dense as Don Iveson, but we extend or pass this point or level every goddamned day. Excepting for a few insane people, and the brief pause when we pass a radar van, it's a constant that happens all day every day. Speeders are national benefactors, and leeching mayors aren't quite as much. The random number that is posted on the side of the road is just that, and we ignore it quite happily thank you very much.
To me, the solution is simple: the most effective and principled way we can put photo radar out of business is to stop speeding.
Yes, this is true. However, the only principled way to do this is to eliminate speeding as a thing. "Speeding" is just "driving faster than a sign says to". The signs can change, and of course need to. Coming down is just the perfect level of change.

Iveson made the following idiotic comments:
"I'm a law maker, I make laws not to be casually obeyed as it suits you, I make laws so that they get obeyed. We are going to enforce them and we are going to make them stand."
I don't obey your laws, you statist twit. I never will, and everybody will fully understand why you chose cowardice when I confront you if you ever dare stop me. Your enforcement by corrupt cops is laughable: you'll never stop us. We outnumber you, and we're smarter.

The comments on Iveson's post, which are usually a series of dreck by whichever pro-sodomy group has retweeted him lately, is refreshingly positive. Here are a few highlights:
If you set all speed limits to be realistic with the flow of traffic, I will cease complaining about photo radar. Until then, photo radar in my mind is unreasonable criminalization of the normal actions of everyday working people. Going 115km/h with the flow of traffic on Henday should not be against the law.

Also concerning is the fact that you still don’t understand why people still think photo radar is a cash grab. People are now well aware where the money goes, what grinds our gears is how photo radar is run like a for-profit company. For example, does hiding a photo radar van behind bushes or on top of overpasses make the road any safer than placing it in plain view? No, but it makes the program more money. Especially now that city employees at running the program, I wonder if they’re more interested in justifying their existence than anything.

I would also prefer not to hear the “well, stop speeding” argument from you anymore. You’re here to represent the people of Edmonton and address our concerns. As soon as you start lecturing people like that, your case for keeping photo radar loses a lot of credibility. People don’t like being talked down to, especially when they feel like they’ve been wronged in the first place
Do you think this a joke MR Iveson. You think 17K+ people just decided one day, “Hey I’m gonna sign a petition for photo radar….” Open your eyes and your mind Mt Iveson. This is an awakening. An awakening from people representing all ages, gender, race, profession. This has only begun
Except photo radar should not be set at a threshold that seems unfair. Then it is correctly seen as a road tax. It’s simplistic to say just don’t speed. Ask any enforcement personnel who have done radar/speed enforcement, unfair enforcement ie using a low threshold, getting people in a transition zone, down hill. In an area that doesn’t have traffic accidents but is just a convenient “fishing” hole actually causes people to go faster elsewhere. Photo radar is perceived as a road tax grab by many drivers.
there is a photo radar truck on 132 Ave which is a 4 lane wide road with good visibility that is only 50kms an hour. While driving on this road it is VERY easy to increase speed to 5 or 10kms over the speed limit to go with the flow of traffic. I have now started setting my cruise control to 50kms because I can’t trust myself not to speed on that road. My partner and I received 6 photo radar tickets (within a period of 2 weeks) all around the 60kms/hour mark (what we thought the speed limit was, but no posted speed equals 50kms, and I know we should know better, but we didn’t). As it is we both now use the unsafe practice of using cruise control to ensure the speed is adhered to to the letter on a road that as I mentioned is wide and with clear visibility.
Also to note, if the risk of accidents has decreased over time, why take away something that is working? Ironically the moment the thresh hold was decreased below the 11km/h window, accidents have actually increased in intersections and on regular roads. At least thats what the city of edmonton website shows.
Honestly I don’t think Iveson is a bad person, but he’s honestly blind about all this Photo Radar stuff. The issue isn’t speeding (Sometimes when the flow of traffic is above the speed limit, then it’s actually safer to stick with the flow of traffic). The real issue is that drivers aren’t properly educated here in Edmonton. Too many people tailgate, drive non confidently, recklessly (even slower drivers do this), and at times people just don’t know how to drive (don’t even get me started on merging onto highways). Those are the things that the city should be dealing with. Not people which go lets say 10km over the speed limit especially in zones which require higher speed limits.

My other issue with all of this is how the Photo Radar program is a cash grabbing program. Not a safety program. If it was about safety then Photo Radar vans wouldn’t be hiding in the bushes, behind signs etc. Instead they’d be out in the open which would actually get speeders to slow down. Plus the amount of Photo radar now being used due to the councils horrible budgeting skills is just ridiculous. They’re just trying to compensate for going over the planned budget.
I used to be like you are Mr. mayor. A limit is a limit, anything over is exceeding the speed limit. Then I started wondering, why aren’t tickets given out for 51 in a 50 zone. I would think most people would agree that getting a ticket at 51 was silly. Then what should be an acceptable over-the-limit variance?
I also wondered about the safety argument. Are the photo radar units put in places of high accident rates or in places where speed limits are low or change a lot. Here’s a location I see a lot. The 107 ave and 142 street traffic circle. That is a high collision spot. Three entrances to the circle have 60 kph limits, one has a 50. Where is the photo radar unit placed? Not entering the circle, where the collisions happen, but on the 50 kph exit. I can give more examples where the photo radar is placed in areas that catch speeders than in areas of high collisions. I am leaning toward the side that says photo radar is a cash cow
It is good news that injury and fatality rates are coming down. I am sure that safer cars, better brakes, tires, better road surfaces, improved signage, better lighting and visibility all contribute to this positive change.

The city’s active photo radar enforcement program correlates with this change, but likely has done little or nothing to cause this change.

The #1 and #2 causes of fatal collisions are 1) following too closely and 2) making left turns into oncoming traffic. These collision causing factors are not something that photo radar enforcement can directly affect.

In the Edmonton Police Service’s Citizen Satisfaction Survey, people ask the EPS to deal with these problems. Instead, what we get are photo radar trucks hiding in bushes and overpasses on freeways. Nothing at all to do with educating drivers and reducing fatal collisions.
However, you make reference to the police survey citing traffic as a major concern. However, speeding is only a very small part of this concern. People failing to signal, changing lanes without shoulder checking, turning illegally, tailgating, cutting people off, cutting corners, and running red lights are all a much higher concern to me than speeding. On my drive to work I have 3 curves where I have to be extremely careful on because people cut the corners so much that they would run me off the road if I was next to them. Outside of that, I have to react to bad drivers on a weekly, if not daily, basis in order to prevent accidents. These are not caused by myself or the other driver speeding, but rather by, failing to shoulder check, running stop signs, turning illegally, or failing to signal. Essentially, it’s lazy driving. Speeding is such a small issue on the roads as it has been addressed over the past handful of years. What now needs to be addressed is driver training and licensing (I realized this isn’t a city matter) and enforcement of the traffic laws outside of speeding.
I really should commend you on your audacity in taking baby diaper scrapings and serving them up as pudding. Like Ryan, I nor my colleagues have a fundamental problem with photo radar or red light cameras. However when these devices are employed there is some expectation of ethical enforcement. What is disgustingly apparent within your fair city is that the technology has been leveraged to maximize income in the laziest way possible with a guise of “Public safety”. This is not even to discuss the glaring conflict of interest involved in a city department that can cover it’s financial incompetence by tightening the screws and self funding. Asking the administrators pointed questions hahahaha I’m sure that is like asking an alcoholic if they drink too much. It comes out after 5 years that there where cost overruns but nobody noticed since the bottom line was all fine and dandy.
Sorry to here you think photo radar is not going anywhere. Perhaps you can tell me how you seem to think you have so much power ? While riding your bicycle maybe you could think about how much you contribute to our roadways ? The petition is not some trumped up bull and whether you care or not that is only the tip of the iceberg. People in this city are fed up with this cash cow, show me how the safety of the public is served with the location of these traps.You said photo radar is not going away, neither are the people that signed the petition.
Secondly, if zero tolerance is the way forward then we need to take a serious look at the speed limits and where the traps are. You can’t expect people to drive at artificially low speeds because it’s the law. Spend the money and re-evaluate the limit on each road and set it according to it’s design. No more widening Scona road to freeway proportions and keeping the limit at 50. Fix the Whitemud so that it can have a higher limit that is safer because of the flow of traffic and the design. Put traps in places that make a difference, and not just make money. For example I have had many near misses on rowland road around Dawson bridge. This is a road that needs enforcement. There are about half a dozen residential roads and alleys that abut it with no lights and residents coming and going and yet people frequently barrel down this road in excess of 70 Km/h which is too fast for anyone to safely turn out onto the road given it’s curves and reduced visibility. I see a sign that says that the road is radar enforced and yet in 3 years of daily frequent use I have not seen a single photo radar trap or officer enforcing the limit. I did however experience months where good old Scona had traps in one direction or the other most days of the week with it’s one intersection which is controlled by lights and numerous lanes.

You can read some great similar attacks on the coward's silly ideas from Lorne Gunther, with another excellent set of comments below. Iveson's fellow coward David Staples weighs in as well.

The biggest problem, sadly, is that people not properly connecting various events together: the disaster of the bloated photo radar program, the way photo radar isn't geared towards safety at all, the crazy speed limits on Edmonton's roads, and that speeding itself is not nearly as dangerous as commonly believed. Judging by the speed we drive, people understand this deep down but not explicitly enough. Education needs to happen, and once that starts gaining critical mass, statist cowards like Don Iveson will crawl into a hole to hide, or get run over. And no, that last bit isn't a metaphor.

2014-10-07

The only possible response the Secret Service should be giving

Secret Service Director Dame Judy Dench Julia Pierson is coming under fire for the inadequate security measures that allowed a guy to hop the fence and enter the White House before being nonfatally apprehended:

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers from both parties on Tuesday assailed Julia Pierson, the director of the Secret Service, about security breaches at the White House, including an intruder who earlier this month breached multiple security measures and evaded capture as he ran around the first floor of the mansion.
Ms. Pierson said in opening statements before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that she takes full responsibility for the breaches and she pledged that “what happened is unacceptable and it will never happen again.” But her promise of a comprehensive review of the incidents appeared to do little to satisfy members of the committee.
Representative Stephen Lynch, Democrat from Massachusetts, lashed into Ms. Pierson, saying that he does not believe the Secret Service takes seriously their duty to protect the president. He said he has “very low confidence” in her leadership.
I ask you to all join with me right now in sending a very very very clear message to these lawmakers:
Oh come off it.

The saga of Omar Gonzalez is a fairly minor one in retrospect, and proof that both Americans and their lawmakers need to calm the fuck down. First off, let's look at the NYT "timeline" of the incidents:

Hey, don't you remember another "recent incident" involving White House security? Oddly enough, the NY Times doesn't seem to think this one quite makes the grade.... Instead, officials are so anxious to highlight Tareq Salahi being a Vince Vaughn inspired "wedding crasher" at a White House reception, which on balance wasn't much of a slag about the Secret Service's vetting capabilities as much as a slag about the vetting process entirely. These people aren't out to cause harm to President Monkey, they're out to attend the swanky parties. The Times also seemed to leave this guy off the roster, probably in the interests of "racial insensitivity". Hey come to think of it, don't Thamsanqa Jantjie and Miriam Carey have something in common?

As Ben Franklin would have put it, a lot of essential liberties along Pennsylvania Avenue have been sacrified for what somehow became not a temporary security but a permanent security apparatus. Delusional black mothers driving past checkpoints getting gunned down may make security sense but not so much in the broader picture. That heads of state need protection in some form is obvious, but perhaps not as obvious as it would first appear. The Queen of England is the head of state of a major first world power who lives in an iconic building that lots of people want to visit. Her guards, like the Secret Service, are legendary in their own right (with distinctive costumes). Also like the Secret Service, they've had some well publicized screwups. Yet I've been to Buck House, and in fact got a full tour of the building (well, "full tour" being the tourist tour, but still). The White House used to be available for this purpose, and technically still is if you feel like getting a Congressman's recommendation, but it's not easy. In New York a few years ago I chanced upon a man who actually got to visit the White House: he thought it was insanely ridiculous that a fellow visitor thought he'd be allowed to carry his knife with him inside the facility. My first response is "why do you think that's crazy"? Ever-wider security "perimeters" are forming around the White House, while those enforcing the perimeter are increasingly less capable at actually doing their jobs anyways. Inexplicably, this calls for a bigger and tighter security fence that can be even less effectively guarded.

If this is going to be the end result of all this security, isn't it time to ask whether or not it's even necessary? Can the 40-car motorcade be scaled back? Can a pathetic embarassment of a President who's convinced America's stature in the world needs to be reduced not admit that under such a circumstance his own stature, and the stature of the security detail around his office needs to be scaled back alongside? Okay, if your plan is for President Monkey to develop a human brain, your plan has an obvious flaw. But how about getting "bipartisan" support on both sides of the aisle to smarten up and not keep insisting that every possible dime is spent to prevent a situation that arises the more and more dimes you throw at it?