2015-04-17

Far-left Metro Calgary is an enemy of liberty.

Metro Calgary, who's sodomite media members had no problem beating the drum for Faggot-Familiar Alliances in schools, sure didn't like me calling me out on it and deleting this comment.

Every single thing Russ Kuykendall said was true. That's why the sodomite activists so object to hearing him say it.

Between 2007 and now, we've witnessed numerous cases in Canada, the U.S., Britain, and elsewhere cases of this extremist lifestyle using government to force those opposed to it to retreat out of the public sphere. Russ saw what was happening 8 years ago, and now it's uncouth of him to have dared to be right?

So let's not be surprised when cowardly Metro managing editor Mike Donachie drummed up controversy by getting a pro-#GamerGate booth banned from the Calgary Comic Book Expo, and Metro locked down their site to prevent comments.

If Wildrose ignores social conservatives, then voting for it isn't a vote for better government

The Wildrose Party has taken a disastrous step this week with the announcement that Brian Jean has "no interest" in legislating social issues.
“We are not there to govern on social issues. We have no interest in social issues and we will be bringing no social issues forward to legislate on whatsoever,” Jean said in an interview.
This means a Wildrose Government would pre-emptively surrender to the faggots. Indeed they already have, with the decision to refuse to sign the Russ Kuykendall nomination papers because he dared to speak the truth about the faggot agenda.

There are a plethora of problems with a "fiscal conservative, socially liberal" mindset. For one, socially liberal is bad: it has you signing on to whatever ridiculous liberal cause is coming along without a moral compass to stop it. You end up not being very fiscally conservative.

bitterclingerpa at RedState.com expresses the social liberal mindset and how it is incompatible with fiscal conservatism:
Conservatism is not status quo ante but a belief that a free person in a free society is the best engine for freedom for all people, for economic growth, enabling the protection of rights by not infringing on them and allowing people to learn their life lessons by trial and error. Unfortunately due to it’s lack of structure it’s easily open to atrophy and dissolution.

Social Liberals view society as a field in which fairness does not exist but must be imposed. Where people are suppressed and not free to pick themselves up but need to be picked up and supported by others. It’s a society where others have “too much” and must be compelled to provide for others. It’s a Utopian vision of Society, leveling, a construct. Social Liberalism leverages “Social Justice”, redistribution of wealth (property) and Public Services as the means to an end.
The flip side is ridiculous bullshit like "Sex and Socialism" blogger Elisa peddles:
if you really believe in gay rights and what they represent - the idea that people should be able to make love with any consenting adult they choose - then you have to believe in (sexual) health services and want condoms and dental dams all over the place

Does Brian Jean believe we need government spending on dental dams for poofters while they blow hundreds of partners in their bar scene? If so, can he kindly come straight out and say that? I wonder how that will improve the voter turnout in pie-eating rural Alberta.

We tried going down this road with uranist-loving Danielle Smith, who insisted that the party faithful and the decent real people of Alberta have to change to meet the sick sexual mores of the group who commit suicide when they have their sick lifestyle exposed, waste away of venereal diseases when they don't. When Danielle was elected, the choice she made between Jeff Wilerton and herself was clear: Jeff will give you the party you want that expresses the wishes you have but will unlikely form government, while I'll give you most of the party you want and you'll actually get to form a government out of it. You can claim it's Craig Chandler or Huntsperger's fault all you wish, but the straight up reality is that Danielle Smith promised a bag of goods she couldn't deliver. No matter how much Wildrose capitulated on the fudge-packer file, the extra votes never came, and Wildrose supporters were left perpetually in a "worst of both worlds" scenario. They never become the "NDP of the right" exposing their moral and political philosophy daily on the public stage, nor do they end up forming government. They wind up in a "perpetual opposition" phase, but other than a few outrageous incidents like Sky Palaces or flying a fuck-buddy to South Africa and back, there's no philosophical disagreement over what they want them to do. Wildrose was looking to get into power, but to get into power they were having to sacrifice everything they believed in to do so. Turns out Prentice just got there first, and as a result Danielle "lost her fire". It turns out she didn't necessarily have a better idea for what to do in power other than "don't be as clueless as Red Redford". That position was filled.

Now Prentice is unpopular, not necessarily for being clueless, but for the Rachel Notley Budget that he passed. This I assume bolsters the Brian Jean argument that "fiscal conservatism" will win the day, but if Wildrose wins by just convincing enough voters that they would do a slightly better job with the finances, what has really been gained? Faggots will still have a special agenda in schools. Private education will still be under assault. Alberta hospitals will still be murdering babies. Property rights, including gun rights, will still be an endless pipe dream. And then the money managers won't end up being that good a money managers anyways. When wasteful and incompetent teachers demand more money or more hires (ie. class sizes), a "social liberal" can't really explain why it's abhorrent that the size of government be expanded, why productive people in private industry needn't have their incomes seized just because a bunch of teachers want more money regardless of the economic value of their role. Social liberals are in no position to stand up and say "no". They cannot make a moral or philosophical argument because they don't really have one. They have an immoral and philosophical argument in favour of raising government spending, but not one opposing it.

So when you hear that Brian Jean has decided "social issues" would not be debated by his government, it means that when social issues come up his plan is to let the left (the wrong side) just win without even mounting a fight? This is the principled conservative opposition to the Prentice PCs that he's offering?

There's no wonder Wildrose are stalling in the polls.

I leave you with the immortal words of Dennis Prager.
The entire American experiment in smaller government — and even in secular government — was based on the presumption that Americans individually would be actively religious. Unlike Europeans of the Enlightenment era — and unlike the Left today — the Founders understood that people are not basically good. That is a defining belief of Judaism as well as of Christianity. Therefore, to be good, the great majority of people need moral religion and belief in accountability to a morally judging God. In other words, you will have either the big God of Judaism and Christianity or the big state of the Left.

Social conservatives know that they need fiscal conservatives. They know that the bigger the state, the smaller the God. They know that proponents of the ever-larger state want their own gods, such as Mother Earth, to replace the Bible’s God. Fiscal conservatives must come to understand that they need social conservatives, too. They need them philosophically, as I’ve suggested, and they need them politically. There will never be enough Americans who are fiscally but not socially conservative to win a national election. Sorry.

Wikipedia pussies out on Cranberries

If you want a great example of why Wikipedia's lily-livered far-left NPR-style writing is a detriment to the truth (and there are lots to chose from you just need to look at this Wikipedia article about the Warrington bomb attacks during The Troubles.

In 1994 Irish rock band The Cranberries released the song "Zombie", which was written in protest at the bombings. The song went on to become one of their biggest hits.
One of? One of? "Zombie" reached #1 on the charts in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, and the U.S. Hot Modern Rock. It reached Top 5 in Ireland and Norway, Top 10 in Scotland, and Top 20 in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. It spawned countless Europop remixes, was performed on Saturday Night Live, won "Best Song" at the MTV Europe Music Awards, and been viewed 200 million times on YouTube. What are you saying was a bigger hint? "Linger" is the word most coming to mind, and while it charted higher in the U.S. than "Zombie" and was the band's breakthrough hit, can there really be any doubt as to which is the bigger hit?

But the Wikipedia/NPR method of smarmy ass-covering lazy writing ensures that the two people who thought "Linger" was a bigger hit than "Zombie" don't immediately slap [citation required] on the passage, while the rest of the readers instantly remember "oh yeah, Wikipedia is not necessarily interested with telling me things that are true."

Bonus Irish Wikipedia silly fact: Oliver Moran, a top Wikipedia admin, thinks it's condescending to think people can't learn the complex and silly Wikipedia hypertext language because people on Twitter "pick up the hashtags and @ signs right away". Does he have any idea how many mentions and hashtags are invisible because the complex "you need a space or punctuation mark before the symbol" rule?

2015-04-16

A Year and a Half in the Life of Metallica Devan Dubnyk

In the summer of 2013, Devan Dubnyk was on top of the world. On August 12th his son Nathaniel was born. The disastrous four year contract the Oilers signed with goaltending drunk Nikolai Ivanovich Khabibulin had finally expired, and that meant that Dubnyk was going to start off the season with the uncontested starting goaltender job of his dreams. There had been talk of the Oilers picking up another major name, but in a league where inexperienced goaltenders come out of nowhere to become stars (Ben Bishop, Dwayne Roloson, Jonathan Quick, Tim Thomas) while long-established guys can become punchlines for no apparent reason (Antti Niemi, JS Giguère, Khabibulin), the Oilers decided to go with the kid, who played 38 games in the "lockout-shortened season" and posted a .920 SV%. (League average was .912)

For the Edmonton Oilers, though, the season's brightest spot is the week before opening day. The season opened with a wild home match against the Winnipeg Jets, and then the Oilers traveled to Vancouver to play the hated Canucks. As I sat at The Tavern on Whyte, I experienced the end of Devan Dubnyk's career with the Oilers. He was completely lit up for four goals in 31 shots, including two easy must-saves shot from near the blue line. Not for the first time that season, Martok had to put down his Guinness for a "Jesus Christ, Dubnyk" exclamation. Then things went downhill. Here's how the goals against line looked for the Oilers in October 2013, and remember we're descending into another Dead Puck Era.
WPG 5
VAN 6
NJD 4
MTL 4
TOR 6
WSH 4
PIT 3
NYI 3
OTT 1
MTL 3
WSH 4
PHX 5
LAK 2
TOR 4

The average number of goals against in 2013-2014 was 2.56. You just aren't going to win a lot of games giving up 3 goals or more, which Dubnyk and the Oilers did 12/14 times in October 2013. You certainly won't win a lot of games giving up 5 goals or more, which they did 4/14 times. The Oilers season, which started with so much hope [they all do. -ed] was dwindling away fast. By November 30th the Oilers had only won 8 games (a 0.296 winning percentage) and the knives were out for Devan Dubnyk.

No one was exactly sure why. New smaller goalie pads were introduced that same season to increase scoring, and unlike the rules for skaters (where Zdeno Charo gets a size exemption that Mike Richards doesn't) shorter goalies and taller goalies faced the same size restrictions.

Devan Dubnyk is 6'6". Other tall goaltenders didn't see a huge performance drop like Dubnyk did, though many (like me) asked how much his height plus his playing style would combine to make him less effective. No matter what the reason, though, at the New Year's break (a critical time in Oilers recent history) the Oilers had only won 13 games, and had been scored on 5 times or more on a whopping nine occasions, including a 6-0 shellacking by the St. Louis Blues. Dubnyk had a couple shutouts to his name, including a 7-0 rout of Columbus, but had also had a 6-game losing streak in between those shutouts. The fans were angry and restless and yet to blame everything on head coach Dallas Eakins. Blood was demanded, and blood was a sacrifice the Oilers organization eventually would have to make.

On January 15th, Devan Dubnyk's Year of Hell began: he was traded to the Nashville Predators and the Oilers went with Ben Scrivens as their new starter. Nashville only agreed to the deal which also moved Matt Hendricks to Edmonton when Oilers GM Craig MacTavish agreed to pay half of Dubnyk's $3.5M salary just to get him out of town. At the time of the deal Dubnyk had been credited with only 11 wins (the Oilers had 15 total), and had a .894SV% with a ridiculously high 3.36 GAA. His role was going back to what it had been in the Khabibulin era in Edmonton, too: a backup goaltender.

He was even worse, actually. He was a backup-backup. Nashville starter Pekka Rinne was on the long-term injured reserve list due to an infection related to a hip arthroscopy, and young Marek Mazanec was temporarily the starter. He also had a capable backup in the form of Carter Hutton, though the week before the trade coach Barry Trotz found himself criticizing Hutton's play. Unfortunately, after the Dubnyk trade Hutton got a chance to prome himself and was solid, with a .910SV% in his 40 games that year with the club. Dubnyk only had two chances to prove himself in Nashville, and he failed miserably: he let in 9 goals on 60 shots over those two games, and once Rinne returned to the lineup there was no room for Devan Dubnyk. The most dreaded possible outcome was now a reality: starting the season as the bona-fide #1, less than two months after being traded away in desperation, Devan Dubnyk was no longer an NHL goalie as the Nashville Predators put him on waivers and there were no takers. He was looking at a stint in Milwaukee with the Predators' farm team.

That didn't happen, however. Instead, a bit of a white knight came to his rescue. The Montreal Canadians traded for him instead, in a gambit that ensured he could be sent to the minors when Carey Price returned from his injury. Another slap in the face for Dubnyk came when Nashville had to agree to pay 50% of the 50% of the salary Edmonton didn't take. Montreal only had to pony up 25% of his cap hit.

Indeed, they didn't have to worry about that cap hit at all. Devan Dubnyk never played a single regular season game with the Montreal Canadians, instead relegating him to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. It was official: Devan Dubnyk was in the AHL now. He didn't exactly inspire a lot of confidence there either, as he only played 8 games with the team and posted a sub-par .893 SV% in a league full of sub-par. Meanwhile the Montreal Canadians were in the Stanley Cup finals, playing great and poised to make a deep run thanks to the insanely skilled play of goaltender Carey Price, back from injury and looking forward to engraving his name on the Stanley Cup. It looked like Devan Dubnyk's team would be making great strides, while he looked on the sidelines from his AHL backup role as the Bulldogs failed to make the postseason. Accomplished NHLer Peter Budaj was Price's backup, so there was no room for Dubnyk on the big team.

Montreal swept Tampa Bay to open up their playoff push, and in a thrilling 7-game series they took down their hated rivals the Boston Bruins and kept Jarome Iginla from winning a Stanley Cup. Carey Price and a young kid named P.K. Subban were a huge part of that Boston series: Price only let in a single goal in a 1-0 loss in Game 4, and got a shutout of his own in Game 6. He made 29 saves and Montreal was into the Conference Finals. Their opponent, the New York Rangers, had recently upset the Penguins and was a surprise finalist. Compared to the powerhouse Bruins, they seemed like an easy target, and Montreal fans were looking forward to an appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals. It was hoped that they could do what Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and then Vancouver had tried and failed to do: bring the Stanley Cup north of the 49th parallel for the first time since the Habs themselves in 1993. Though the Rangers had scored a couple goals on Price, one of which should have been saved, the Habs were only down 2-1 going into the second period of Game 1. The series was far from over!

But the NHL playoffs are a game of attrition, and hot goaltenders have an unfortunate pattern of going down. Dubnyk's former club knew that well, having lost Dwayne Roloson to injury in 2006 and losing out on a Stanley Cup in the process. Habs fans familiar with the Oilers' history had to have the name "Roloson" running through their heads when Chris Kreider ran into Carey Price (there was no penalty on the play, as Montreal's Alexi Emelin tripped him up during a breakaway), though at first it seemed harmless, Price played the rest of the second period. Fans were probably curious why he let in two more goals in the last minute of play, but then really got nervous when Peter Budaj suited up in the third. He allowed another 3 goals on only 8 shots, and Montreal was down 1-0 in the Conference Finals. The morning of Monday May 19th 2014, head coach Michel Therrien had to tell the press and the fans the news: the gold medal winning Carey Price was out for the series, possibly the playoffs. That left a hole in the Canadians' roster, and for that the NHL club needed to look at their AHL Bulldogs and use an emergency callup to bring in...Dustin Tokarski.

Dustin Tokarski had been the Bulldogs starting goaltender, Dubnyk had been his backup. Because of his humiliating season, when it came time to replace an injured Carey Price Dubnyk found himself fourth on the depth chart. Tokarski had impressed at the AHL level, and despite Montreal having two goalies with significant NHL experience (Dubnyk and Budaj combined for 445 games at the NHL level, Tokarski had 3), they went with the kid. In his first ever playoff game, Tokarski was solid enough at home, but the Rangers won 3-1 and sent the series back to New York. In Game 3, Tokarski was brilliant, out-duelling all-star Henrik Lundqvist and making 35 saves on 37 shots to post an outstanding 0.946 SV%, a win for his down-but-not-out-team, and...sealing Dubnyk's fate as an outsider looking in. Barring another injury if not two, his season was done for the year. Tokarski looked much more shaky in Game 4 and this time Lundqvist would not let the kid upstage him. A wild Game 5 didn't help either goaltender look good, and though Les Habitants staved off elimination, that was the last time they put a puck past King Henrik. Game 7 was another goaltender duel, and Tokarski was almost flawless with a 0.969 SV% allowing in only one goal. Montreal's offense couldn't muster any counteroffensive though, and in the end Devan Dubnyk's team was eliminated from the playoffs.

Worse, they were eliminated in a way that ensured he had no place in their future plans. They had a Olympic-calibre starter and a rising star who had shown he could handle the pressure of a Game 7 Stanley Cup elimination match. Devan Dubnyk had never suited up for an NHL playoff game. His big contract, the one that not one but two teams found so outrageous they demanded the poor sucker they traded with take on half of it, was finished. Dubnyk had cashed in from the Edmonton deal but he was now an AHL backup chased out of the NHL's worst post-lockout team. If he was ever going to make it back into the salary-cap NHL he would need to suck it up and take a pay cut.

He ended up taking a pay evisceration.

Remember the $3.5M that Dubnyk was making? Instead, his agent could only land him a measly $800,000 on a one-year deal, far closer to the $550,000 minimum wage than his previous salary. Even that minimal investment didn't sit well with a lot of Coyotes fans, as the comments to that news entry will attest. Dubnyk was a toxic property, even at a cheap level for an NHL backup (James Reimer costs the Maple Leafs $1.8M/yr, Michal Neivirth costs the Islanders $2.5M, and $3.4M for the Oilers' Viktor Fasth; at the time of Dubnyk's hiring the Devils had just endured $4.5M for backup Martin Brodeur and Pittsburgh shelled out $2 for Tomas Vokoun). Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes Fans were not impressed that if anything happened to starting goaltender Mike Smith, the alternative was the second stringer for the Hamilton Bulldogs. Still, Devan was at the very least going to be going to games at an NHL arena, suiting up for a team, and at the minimum sitting on the bench.

Mike Smith had played a total of 325 career NHL games at the time of the Dubnyk signing. Strong play with the Dallas Stars in a backup role to Marty Turco in 2006-2008 led to a controversial trade deadline deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning for Brad Richards (Tampa Bay's new ownership ground demanded roster changes in the years following their 2004 Stanley Cup). With Tampa Bay, Mike Smith started the 2008-2009 season but fell to an early injury in November, and was replaced by Olaf Kolzig (and with now-Calgary Flame Karri Ramo as his backup). When Smith came back from his injury, Kolzig himself went down, but Smith's season stalled out in February when a concussion (which he had concealed from team doctors) put him back on the injured reserve. He played 41 games that season and despite the injuries posted a solid .916SV%. Smith started the 2009-2010 season as the Lightning's starting goaltender, but backup Antero Nittymaki quickly began outplaying him, particularly in road games. (Some suspect an off-season incident where Smith took a puck to the head and possibly got another concussion to be the culprit). Soon Smith was in a tandem starter role, but quickly was becoming the "1B" rather than the "1A" option. Smith did recover, and by the end of the season had played 42 games with a .900 SV%. (Nittymaki did slightly better in his 49 games with a .909). Nittymaki went to San Jose the following season, and Mike Smith was again looking at a starter role. Unfortunately he fell to the injury bug again, missing a couple weeks with a knee injury and watching Dwayne Roloson and Dan Ellis take his job away from him. Like Dubnyk, he found himself missing out on his NHL dreams after returning from injury, being sent down to the minors for what Tampa GM Steve Yzerman called a three game "conditioning stint" to get some playing time in. Unlike Dubnyk he didn't finish up in the minors, only playing 5 games for the Norfolk Admirals, but the humiliation of being the third string goalie ended up the factor that caused him to leave to join the Arizona Coyotes in the offseason after his contract with the Bolts expired.

The change of scenery (and a new bride) did wonders: Mike Smith posted a .930 SV% his first year with the Coyotes, playing a career-high 67 games, 8 of them shutouts. On April 3rd he stopped 54 shots to get a shutout against Columbus, an NHL record (since surpassed by Ben Scrivens, who replaced Dubnyk in Edmonton). Arizona made the playoffs, but faced the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round. Phoenix won the opening game, mostly on the strength of Mike Smith's stellar .955 SV%. Unfortunately, in Game 2 Chicago's Andrew Shaw slammed into Smith's head. The concussion-prone 'tender laid on the ice for 5 minutes before returning to action, and Chicago won the game. Shaw was suspended for the next three games, however, and Mike Smith won Game 3 and 4 for his team with a combined .942 SV%. He was even better in the 1-0 Game 6 loss, and then shutout the powerhouse Blackhawks on 39 shots to advance the Coyotes to the second round. In the second round the Coyotes continued to watch their starter get peppered with shots, but Smith endured, posting a .943 SV% over the five games it took Phoenix to win the series, and a .947SV% in their 4 wins. Unfortunately, the playoffs routinely feature top goalies coming head-to-head, and Jonathon Quick of the LA Kings was standing in Mike Smith's way. The LA team roared to score four goals in three of the five games of the series. Smith posted a Game 4 shutout, but it was too late, and the eventual Stanley Cup Champions eliminated the Coyotes. Smith's name was in lights, but Coyotes fans had to wait to see their starter until the end of the NHL's third lockout. Upon his return, it was clear at least some of the magic was gone. He allowed ten goals over two games to start off the season, and then left the third game with another injury. Jason LaBarbera took over the starting duties, but only had a 4-6 record as a starter. Smith came back to play, and posted another .910SV% which was actually lower than LaBarbera's, and Phoenix missed the playoffs. For the full-length 2013-2014 season, Mike Smith started with an 11-3-3 record and the Coyotes looked to be a powerhouse. Smith even performed a rare NHL feat in a game against Detroit when he shot the puck into the empty net with 0.1 second left on the clock, getting scored with an NHL goal (he later scored on himself, one of the few cases of a "goalie +/-" being 0 but not throughout the season). Mike Smith was named to the Canadian Olympic team, and immediately started a slide featuring only three wings over 18 games. Smith attended the Olympics in Sochi, but never got to set foot on the ice due to the Carey Price/Roberto Luongo duo that performed an historic Olympic shutdown. Arizona again missed the playoffs, though Smith had played to a respectable .915 SV% he missed the last ten games of the season with yet another injury. Going into the 2014-2015 season, Mike Smith was the hot Olympic-quality 'tender that the newly minted Arizona Coyotes expected to rely on. The intention was certainly for Mike Smith to play the majority of the games, with Devan Dubnyk his below-average backup and/or recovery project.

Arizona did not start the season well. Mike Smith had vowed in the offseason he would train and get back to the top level that the team expected of him, but in his first game Winnipeg steamrolled past him to a 6-2 victory. Smith's poor performance led to Dubnyk getting the start against LA, where he stopped 24 of 26 shots to a victory. The next game was against Dubnyk's old team for several seasons until this mess began: the Edmonton Oilers. It was Mike Smith who got the start, and though he got the win he still let in four Edmonton goals. His third game of the season came against St. Louis where the Blues walked over the Coyotes 6-1. Mike Smith had allowed sixteen goals over three starts and only had a .822 SV%. Dubnyk got the next start and a shootout loss, but Smith got the call against Minnesota where the Wild's hot goaltender (remember that for later) made a 26-save shutout to hand Arizona another loss. Smith began getting streaky: he was solid in two games in a week against the Panthers, but was replaced by Dubnyk against Tampa Bay in between. Dubnyk's play wasn't that much better (though, as Oilers fans began to grumble in late October, his Edmonton replacements couldn't even catch his anemic numbers from the previous season, let alone his almost-league-average current tally), losing a wild 6-5 game to Washington (though he did make 32 saves). Mike Smith began to show signs of improvement by November and allowed only 5 goals in three games, but Dubnyk shone in a 5-0 stomping of the Vancouver Canucks. Coach Dave Tippet was so impressed by his 35-save performance that he gave Dubnyk the nod against his former team. So, on Sunday November 16th 2014, Devan Dubnyk walked into Rexall Place where he had played so often before, but for the first time as the enemy 'tender. Devan had no idea what to expect: he had been chased away from Edmonton almost with pitchforks, but his former club found that without him in the pipes they didn't get any more success than with him in there: in fact, they had less. The game opened up with a video tribute to Dubnyk and fellow former-Oilers teammate Sam Gagner. Fans mostly boored Dubnyk and cheered Gagner during the game, but excepting a late Taylor Hall goal that prevented a second-straight shutout, Dubnyk put in another great .970SV% performance and earned a first star which he paraded around the fans who begrudgingly cheered his success. Dubnyk got another win in his next start, lost his next, and appeared to be much the goaltender who the Oilers rode in 2011-2012: solid but streaky, capable of good games but never putting together a particularly strong stretch run. Mike Smith didn't fare much better, but with the bigger salary and pedigree comes a longer leash. Despite Devan Dubnyk being 9-5-2 with the Coyotes (Smith was 7-7-2) and a .916 SV% (Smith's was .882), Arizona GM Don Maloney publicly declared that he was "married" to Mike Smith as an Arizona Coyote, and that Mike Smith's our guy". Therefore, on the afternoon of January 14th 2015 the trigger was pulled, and Devan Dubnyk was traded to the Minnesota Wild.

January 15th 2014 was the day that he was traded away from Edmonton.

Devan Dubnyk had just endured a year of hell.

Over those 364 days Dubnyk had been a member of 6 different teams (Edmonton, Nashville, Montreal, Hamilton, Phoenix, Minnesota) and had played in five different cities while his wife and young son waited for him in sunny Lethbridge, Alberta. He had to watch the team he had been with for years decide to replace him with fresh blood, tried and failed to make an impression with his new team, been traded as AHL fodder, watched his team go to the NHL Conference Finals without him, and then after trying for a fresh start found he was playing good to have trade value but not good enough to keep. It was an emotional rollercoaster. Under such circumstances, it was unsure what would happen in the next phase of his career as he joined a struggling Minnesota club.

Remember that Coyotes game where Dubnyk watched on the bench as Mike Smith allowed two goals as the Minnesota Wild shut out? Well, the winning goaltender in that game was Mr. Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper (who, like Dubnyk and Dustin Tokarski, hails from Saskatchewan) was the Wild'S #1 goaltender, and started the season off by posting back-to-back shutouts against the Colorado Avalanche. He only allowed two goals in his third game, and his fourth was the shutout against the Coyotes. He had a .980 SV% at the end of that game, and was looking unstoppable. (His backup, Niklas Backstrom, was 0-2 at that point after losing two 2-1 games). But that wasn't sustainable. Minnesota won 7/9 games in October, 7/14 games in November, and 4/12 games in December. They beat Toronto to start the new year, but then lost their next six straight. Wild coach infamous lost patience with his squad after a 4-3 overtime loss to San Jose where the Sharks kept retaking the lead after Minnesota came back to tie the game. It didn't help: the team kept losing, and on January 13th 2015 the Wild lost to the Pittsburg Penguins. Final score? 7-2. It was their sixth loss in eight games, and the second time in January where they had coughed up seven goals. Mike Yeo was the overwhelming consensus pick to be the next coach fired after Dallas Eakins in Edmonton and Randy Carlyle in Toronto, but Wild GM Chuck Fletcher had publicly given Yeo a vote a confidence following the dust-up. Something had to change, so just like a year earlier when fans in Edmonton called for blood and Dubnyk was gone, fans in the hockey heartland of Minnesota demanded change and Dubnyk was in. At the very least, it showed the Wild were trying, though it seemed hopeless. Minnesota was in 12th place in the Western Conference, and eight points out of the playoffs. Minnesota only gave up a third round pick in trade, but the message to the rest of the squad was clear: we're ready to start making changes, and you might be the next one. Devan Dubnyk didn't get a lot of time to prepare though, the very next night he was suited up in the green and white and though it was the dreadfully bad Buffalo Sabres if there's one thing his Nashville experience had shown it's that you don't get a lot of games to make your mark. Dubnyk fought off a moderate offensive rush early in the game and his team responded scoring two first period goals and three more in the second. By the time of the third period the game was essentially over, and despite only facing 18 shots from the abysmal Sabres team that probably couldn't have scored if Dubnyk had left halfway through the game to order a pizza, he earned the shutout and the win. This time it was Minnesota's turn to score seven goals in a game, and look forward to the next opponent. It was Dubnyk's old team, the Arizona Coyotes, and the first time that Dubnyk would play in front of the Minnesota crowd. He didn't disappoint them, allowing in only a single goal against as his new club beat his old club 3-1. Chants of "Doob" filled the arena after he was named the second star at the end of the game. For the first time since his glory days with Edmonton, Devan Dubnyk was being appreciated by the fans. He lost his next two games, and was pulled in favour of Darcy Kuemper in a 5-4 loss to Detroit. Was Dubnyk just a temporary boom? Did the Wild players who had responded to him over his first games already started regressing back to the form that led them to 12th in the West? Dubnyk was heading back to western Canada though, on a road trip that for the second time in the season featured him playing against his old team. He won that game, then shutout Calgary and beat Vancouver. Then he shutout the Blackhawks, shutout the Avalanche, and backstopped a stomping of Vancouver. Earlier we showed the Oilers goals-against line in October 2013. Here's the goals-against line for Minnesota from the Dubnyk trade until the end of February 2015:
BUF 0
ARI 1
CBJ 3
DET 5
EDM 1
CGY 0
VAN 2
CHI 0
COL 0
VAN 3
WPG 2
FLA 1
CAR 3
VAN 3
CGY 2
EDM 0
DAL 2
EDM 2
NSH 2
COL 1

A lot of differences between that line and October 2013! For what it's worth, Devan Dubnyk had changed too. He had learned a new "head tracking" method from Coyotes goalie coach Sean Burke (for comparison, after his 2014 Edmonton replacements made Dubnyk's 2013 numbers look good the Oilers fired their goaltending coach). He adjusted how he played in the crease. The technical why though wasn't what Minnesota fans were worried about though. Devan Dubnyk was keeping them in the playoff hunt, only giving up 4 or more goals once over twenty games. In February the NHL named him First Star, ahead of Carey Price and Alex Ovechkin. In March, Dubnyk was the third star behind Andrew "The Hamburglar" Hammond, another hot goalie leading his team to success. Dubnyk was the legitimate #1 starter again, with a career high number of wins and shutouts by the first of March.

That Detroit game, where he was pulled in a 5-4 overtime loss, is the only time the Minnesota Wild have allowed five or more goals since Dubnyk's arrival; before he arrived, it happened seven times. The same Wild team that was 12th place and 8 points out of a playoff berth with a 18-19-5 record (0.428 win percentage) ended the season in the Stanley Cup Finals, with a record of 46-28-8 (0.561 win %). Devan Dubnyk played 38 games in a row without getting a night off until the Wild's 81st game of the season on April 9th, 84 days after he was traded from Arizona. Dubnyk played his 39th game for the Minnesota Wild against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday April 11th, looking exhausted and being pulled for a second time after letting in three goals on only 14 shots. Wild coach Dave Tippet took some flack for playing Dubnyk at all: as both teams had clinched the playoffs and given several of their regular players the day off. By the time St. Louis won and the regular season was over, Devan Dubnyk had played for his new squad in 39 games, 2,293 minutes, faced 1,064 shots and stopped 996 of them. Along with his time in Arizona he had played 3,328 minutes and posted a .929 SV% (league average was .915). The previous season he only saw 1,802 minutes of play and posted a .891.

Tonight, Devan Dubnyk gets to experience something he's never before been able to experience: playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The 14th overall pick in 2004, he's spent every postseason on the outside looking in. That changes tonight from the unfriendly confines of the Scottrade Center, where an estimated 19,150 Blues fans are going to gather to hope they can watch a repeat of April 11th. It will be Dubnyk's third trip to that building this season (all with the Wild, Arizona only traveled to St. Louis after the trade), and the next few days and weeks will tell us what the future looks like for Devan Dubnyk.

Nathaniel Dubnyk will turn two years old in the offseason. Between then and now, his language skills will likely be growing to the level of transitioning from words to short sentences. He will likely also be potty trained, express a desire to do things on his own, and express a right-or-left handed preference. At the same time, his father will be experiencing in his professional career one of the sporting world's most mentally and physically grueling contests. Somewhere between 16 and 28 games are required to hoist the Stanley Cup, and in the playoffs goaltending is the difference between winners and losers. A goaltender that shines in the playoffs becomes a household name for years to come: just ask Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Dwayne Roloson, Jonathon Quick, Mikka Kiprusoff, Tukka Rask, and Tim Thomas. Goaltenders that falter in the postseason become whispered in hushed tones: just ask Corey Crawford, Jimmy Howard, Marc-Andre Fluery, Jose Theodore, and Evgeni Nabokov.

Devan Dubnyk is riding high, and now considered the key to his team's postseason success and a dark horse candidate to go all the way and raise the Cup. If that does happen, Devan Dubnyk will be celebrating his son's second birthday as the league's success story. If not, he could find himself again struggling for respect in a league where goaltending is considered "voodoo". Either way, he'll be renegotiating a contract that will likely be far closer to his old $3.5M salary than his current $800,000 one. Over the next year nobody can predict what will happen.

But for Devan Dubnyk, it's hard to beat the year of hell.

Everything Russ Kuykendall said is true

And that's why faggots and their familiars don't like it.

What Russ said:

I'm told that St. Andrew Roman Catholic Church is one of the most conservative parishes in the city. Evidently, whoever rented the hall on behalf of the event was not entirely forthcoming with the parish priest and administration as to what event would convene. Then, apparently anticipating (wanting?) trouble, the event organizers arranged for two uniformed members of the Edmonton Police Service to be posted at the entrance to the hall. The parish priest is said to have advised parishioners who saw what was taking place across from the church sanctuary to pray.

What else could the priest advise? When the Knights of Columbus attempted to cancel a reservation for a lesbian wedding and offered to pay any costs associated with the change, they were brought up before the human rights commission.

The message that appears to be sent to Catholic Christians who don't accept this "lifestyle" as acceptable is that "equality" means that gay activists can take their agenda not just to your front door, but inside the door to places that are consecrated to the Catholic faith, with uniformed police officers (!) exercising state coercion to defend that right!
Now, will someone please tell me:
What happened to the separation of church and state?
Seeing how since Russ's 2007 blogpost and now faggots have used state coercion to force moral people to accept their disgusting immoral and illegitimate lifestyle time and time and time and time and time again, if anybody should be staying out of the Alberta legislature over these comments its anybody who opposes what he said who should be turning tail and running.

Calgary Board of Education demands a tax hike. Tell them to take a hike.

The Calgary Board of Education isn't very good at it's job.

That's the only conclusion you can draw from the news that they're predicting a $29 million dollar budget shortfall this coming year and are expected to pull money out of a [funded by others] reserve fund despite current funding being "new normal".

After all, the job of the elected school board is to determine how to spend the money provided by the provincial budget. Their job isn't to determine how to spend the money provided by the provincial budget plus another $18 or $29 million.

The public school board released its preliminary budget estimates on Monday.

Board Chair Joy Bowen-Eyre says the province has failed to take into account the number of new students entering the school system when it came out with its budget last month.
Who says that? Okay, I know Bowen-Eyre says that, but what is she basing it on? Public school boards are given money based on the number of students. In fact, the majority of the funding provided to students is on a per-student basis.

There is additional funding sources that isn't necessarily per-student based, but that's again where it's the job of the Board of Education to decide, based on the funding that the provincial government makes available, which services to provide in order to properly allocate the resources available. From the sounds of it, the CBE is completely abandoning this responsibility.

And it doesn't look poised to get better: on April 20th far-left "social advocate" Julie Hrdlicka will be sworn into a position where she has decided not to do the job she was assigned to be rail against the provincial budget.
“No one is happy about this budget at all. When we’ve been door-knocking, parents and principals and vice-principals have told us that they don’t know how many more cuts they can take,” she said.

“We need to starting standing up to this province when it continues to say 'more cuts, more cuts, more cuts.'”
Hrdlicka is completely wrong here. It's not her job to oppose cuts. She wants to administer the Calgary School Board, right? Well, that's what the administration of a subdivision of a larger corporate entity entails. Administer it. Work with the budget you're given, the goals you want to achieve, and prioritize accordingly.

Once Hrdlicka tries her hand at that (hint: as an extremist liberal she'll fail at it) maybe she'll find that the province actually gives out plenty of money, and that there's no need to rail against a budget set by her betters who actually hold moral and legal responsibility for all the tax revenue raised by the province. You see, Calgary Board of Education has a history of wasting money that is given to them. They aren't good managers. Giving bad managers more money isn't a bright idea under any circumstances.

For example, despite Alberta teachers being overpaid, in 2013 the Calgary Board of Education agreed to salary hikes for later this year, two years before knowing what this year's budget was supposed to look like. Were they hoping for an increase? You don't budget based on "hope". I'm sure they looked at the future under Red Redford and thought that provincial dollars were a gift that kept on giving. Hrdlicka wasn't responsible for that, but she should be taking her colleagues who were to task.

At the same time the CBE approved annual 2% wage hikes for their plumbers/carpenters/etc. What's the kicker from this CTV News article from the time of the agreement?
The CBE says funds for both agreements were set aside in the budget.
Apparently not!

Meanwhile the CBE has to pay millions in sick leave (it's sunny out, I'm not feeling well cough cough"). The average teacher is sick for 10.2 days a year...and remember that teachers only work a 10-month year. That's the equivalent of Joe Lunchbox taking a whopping twelve-and-a-half sick days on average a year. Meanwhile the Alberta average for full-time workers -- and please remember that also includes due to injury or disability, which you probably should know is far more likely to impact a warehouse worker or a machine shop operator than a goddamned lazy unionized teacher -- is a mere 6.1. When you consider that the Calgary teachers are included in this average and are probably the reason it's even higher than six, Calgary Board of Education is paying for twice as much sick time as they should be.

If you object to the "greedy" or "lazy" tags applied to union teachers, than I'm sorry, you're a moron.
The Alberta School Act grants teachers up to 20 paid sick days per year in their first year of employment. That increases to 90 paid sick days a year for teachers in their second and subsequent years, according to the ATA’s collective agreement with the CBE. A doctor’s note is required if more than three consecutive sick days are required.
On the bright side, even the slimy ATA agrees that sick notes are a good idea.

The Calgary Board of Education has been smarter (not smart, but smarter) in the past, cutting administration and operation costs in 2013. Of course, they've also been wasting time/energy resources on foolish "educator" nonsense like eliminating letter grades or embracing Faggot-Familiar Alliances (featuring Third Edge of the Sword favourite Sam Dyck who pretends she isn't a girl). Hey idiots, how much money would be around if you didn't waste the cash on stupid shit like that?

Ultimately Calgary gets the third-rate teachers and Board of Education they deserve. Julie Hrdlicka, the far-left activist who probably isn't talented enough to run a hand sanitizer stand in a whorehouse, won with a meagre 5% voter turnout. As long as Calgary voters continue to let their school board be retarded idiots and misspend money, the conditions that they constantly object to will continue.

I was resisting the urge to call her Julia Hard-Licka, but if you can believe it she's going to be on that board with a woman named "Trina Hurdman". Having both Hard-Licka and Hard-Man together on one board is priceless.

The Calgary Board of Education isn't good at their job. Because the people of Calgary let them continue to have these jobs that they aren't capable of, the public school system in Calgary will be a pathetic mess. No amount of government money can fix stupid. We've tried that.

2015-04-15

Alberta NDP announce plans to build the Rachel Notley Home for Mentally Deficient Voters


As you may know, an Alberta election is underway. Will godless socialists form government and/or opposition? Will Jim Prentice be the PC leader who finally breaks that hallowed "PCs look in trouble at the time of the election call and then handily win a majority" streak? Will voters remember their distaste of Danielle Smith/Alison Redford/Raj Sherman in the ballot box?

The Alberta legislature's most offensive politician, Rachel Notley, has announced that if her disgusting party became government she would waste $20,000 per bed per year on an ill conceived plan to increase the size and scope of a government that is way beyond any size and scope it should be having.

The NDP plan would see 500 new beds open in each of those years to help get the approximately 500 Albertans taking up acute care beds out of hospital while they wait for long-term care.

“For the time being, given the fiscal challenges we find ourselves being faced with, this is what we think is a reasonable number to start with,” Notley said Tuesday during the announcement at the home of Bernie Travis, an Edmonton woman whose 64-year-old husband Clarence has been waiting since August in the University Hospital for a long-term care bed.

“The wait for long-term care is incredible. There aren’t any beds available,” said Travis, whose husband was diagnosed with dementia in 2011. “He’s taking up a bed that’s really needed for someone else.”
Clarence Travis has dementia. Dementia is not treatable, leaving the only option available pallative care. Unfortunately, in the messed up economics which is a government-run healthcare system, there is no incentive for Bernie Travis or the leftists who were hanging around her during this announcement to stop wasting money by having Clarence taking up this bed.

This may be a shock to some people, but if dementia doesn't require acute medical care, then even if the suggestion is pallative care the alternative to putting Travis in a regular hospital bed is his own bed. WebMD may not be very good as a resource to self-diagnose medical issues, but they offer home care resources for treating dementia. That would be at Travis' home, not a hospital, automatically freeing up a hospital bed. The "rationale" for keeping Travis in a hospital bed just because no hospice beds are available is twofold:
1) hospital beds keep greedy unionized healthcare staff busy and in higher demand
2) healthcare is "free" so the medical equivalent of push-button starts gets graduated into "absolute fundamental right"

The structural problems with government healthcare isn't, of course, something Rachel Notley and the NDP even have a rudimentary knowledge of. In their world, your body belongs to Rachel Notley and she'll pander for your votes until she's pink in the face putting a warm fuzzy on the totalitarian way she would operate a healthcare system. She puts you in a nice bed after a lifetime of treating you like an ATM machine, and expects you to be happy for it.

Unfortunately, the financial implications of the Notley scheme is something they possibly have even less knowledge of.
Notley said she will unveil her party’s full fiscal platform within the week, which will outline how the NDP plans to find the $40 million to fund the new beds each year. She said the pledge is “fully costed” and will include a progressive income tax system and more revenue from “corporate Alberta.”
I'm sure we'll be covering more of how Notley plans to raise taxes and chase jobs and wealth out of the province, but for now let's instead look at the demand side of her equation.

According to the "fully costed" NDP plan, Premier Notley (*spit*) would spend $40 million annually on this plan to build 500 new beds annually, putting an annual per-bed cost of $80,000. Compare this to the October announcement that the Prentice PCs would be building 464 continuing care beds over the next year. These beds are cheaper than the beds at the Rachel Notley Home for Mentally Deficient NDP Voters, only $33.4 million in "total costs" ($71,982/bed/year). As usually happens with these announcements, though, the apples-to-oranges comparisons make any direct link almost futile.

Jim Prentice was actually in government and had to actually spend the money, so his figures had to be grounded in reality. They get "costed" every March. Rachel Notley just needs the spreadsheet to balance out in theory, while reality gets aborted in a private Morgentaller clinic.

Prentice's plan includes the annual cost to administer these beds. The Notley plan seems to only deal with the construction of the beds themselves (Prentice only was fast-tracking 300 beds already under construction, with the balance coming from existing facility space). In other words, it looks like the total cost for every Notley bed is double what she claims it is (we can charitably go with $80,000 + $71,982 = $151,982 = 89% cost overrun, which is about right for the NDP).

The Prentice announcement was not for the same type of bed as the Notley bed either. Notley's plan calls for "long-term beds", which is a champagne version of what Prentice was offering in October. So says "Wildrose critic Kerry Towle" (who joined Jim Prentice as a PC government member two months later):
“They need long-term care nursing beds. Putting people … into continuing care beds — which is a lower level of care — will only force them back into hospital.”
One presumes therefore that the long-term care beds Notley is proposing -- unless she's being deceptive about the level of service the beds are providing -- will cost more than $71,982 a year to run. Significantly more, since only 67/464 Prentice beds were "LTC beds" and Notley is claiming 500 LTC beds.

Prentice could be deceiving us about the costs of running his beds, I suppose, but there's no benefit in that. If he could announce more beds for the same price, he'd be doing that in October. Again, Prentice's numbers may be wrong but we have far more reason to trust his figures then we do to trust Rachel Notley's.

She's a liberal and she's a liar. So I'm going to tell you she's lying.

The lying devil is in her lying details. The NDP press release claims that the operating costs of these 500 beds is $40,000/annually, which pushes the operating expenses neck-and-neck with the construction costs and essentially means Rachel Notley is lying more than she's telling the truth. (The same press release also claims that "the PCs have invested zero dollars in long-term care for it's capital plan for 2015-2016" -- a moot point, seeing how they've spent $2.6 billion in their 2014-2015 capital plan and $2.1B in their 2013-2014 capital plan)

On May 5 2015, you can vote out Prentice's spend-happy government, humiliate communist Rachel Notley's lying NDP alternative and replace it with a market-oriented and sensible Wildrose alternative. Wildrose may be accused of not having solid enough numbers but you know they won't have Day 1 cost overruns of 100%.

2015-04-14

Jim Prentice vows to end the good times in Alberta

As you may know, an Alberta election is underway. Will godless socialists form government and/or opposition? Will Jim Prentice be the PC leader who finally breaks that hallowed "PCs look in trouble at the time of the election call and then handily win a majority" streak? Will voters remember their distaste of Danielle Smith/Alison Redford/Raj Sherman in the ballot box?

Recently on Twitter, PC MLA Kyle Fawcett made a surprise announcement. Under Jim Prentice, he announced, the PC party would "break the boom and bust cycle once and for all".


This is extraordinary! Apparently, Fawecett and by extension Prentice either don't know how economics works, or they have an unabashed evil plan to ruin Alberta by ensuring it never has economic or financial successes ever again. For those who are confused, let's just summarize by saying that the Alberta government strictly speaking doesn't have the power to "break the boom and bust cycle"; and any such power they do have is unlikely to result in the sort of paradise that would inspire voters to support their party.

Calm down, constitutional nitpickers.

Breaking the "boom and bust cycle", you see, involves two operations: breaking the boom, and breaking the bust.

Let's start with the first option: breaking the boom. That's really really easy to do, and good news for Prentice and Fawecett: governments, especially led by "progressives", are very very very good at breaking booms. Killing economic growth was easily achieved by President Monkey in 2012, Vladamir Putin in 2014, and Venezuela made their bust so much worse that now in retrospect it looks like a boom. And those are just examples from the 2010s decade. We can, of course, go back as far as you like for finding examples. The reason for this is there are many levers at the government's disposal for ruining good times. From John Marthinsen's book "Managing in a Global Economy: Demystifying International Macroeconomics":
There are six primary ways by which governments can impede economic growth. First, to fund their expenditures, governments must either borrow or tax. If borrowing rates raise the real interest rate, it can crowd out private investment (and also consumption) expenditures. Taxes lower profits (and/or disposable incomes), which also reduces investment (and/or consumption). This reduction in private spending can also lower economic growth.
Taxes may also diminish work incentives by lowering the opportunity cost of leisure. For example, someone who works eight hours a day, earns $20 an hour, and pays a 10% tax rate sacrifices $144 for each day off. If taxes were raised to 40%, the same day off would cost the worker only $96. Therefore, higher taxes make leisure cheaper.
Third, at some point, government spending begins to encounter diminishing returns, but this is no surprise. Why should governments be any different from private companies? The marginal returns on government projects, such as educational programs, roads, tunnels, and bridges, follow the same inevitable pattern of diminishing returns as private investment in buildings, factories, machinery, and tools. As more projects are undertaken, the return on government projects, as some point, is bound to sink below the return on private projects.
Fourth, governments are accountable to voters and constituents, but they are not accountable to bottom lines or shareholders. As a result, they are more likely to spend too much and unwisely. Government accountability is also diminished because there is often no way to measure the economic return on nonprofit government projects.
Another way governments can impede growth is by focusing more on the redistribution of assets and annual production than they do on increasing growth, wealth, and national equity. Often, issues of fairness and creating a level playing field become major considerations in many government debates, when increasing the size of the economic pie should be the focus.
Even though income redistribution and economic growth do not have to be at odds with each other, they often are. Similarly, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the extent of government regulations and the rate of economic growth. Therefore, balance and care are needed when changing or imposing rules, guidelines, and procedures.
Finally, markets of the remarkable power to increase a nation's wealth and well-being. This is not to say that markets are always right, but as Winston Churchill said about democracy, they are better than the alternatives. For this reason, governments that interfere with the national and international flow of financial capital, labor, goods, and services can cause more harm than good to their domestic economies.
As you can see, it's easy for Fawcett and Prentice to impede growth and end "booms". All they have to do is borrow a shit-ton of money (done), raise taxes (done, though some idiots want them to go even further), spend money in accordance to what the noisiest voters want and ignore the lack of returns (done), act based on backwards notions of "fairness" instead of improving the lot for everybody by inefficiently redistributing wealth (done), increase the size and scope of government regulations (done), and introduce protectionist policies to interfere with labour/capital/trade flow (to be fair to Prentice, so far he's done nothing of the sort -- that's Rachel Notley's wheelhouse).

So now that Fawcett and Prentice are doing their best to impede and destroy economic growth and prosperity in Alberta, we have to look at the other half of their equation. Can governments end busts? John Maynard Keynes thought so, and the way he thought they could do it was to....run deficits by borrowing and spending. Hey, notice that these are the things that make a boom less boomy. Do they also make a bust less busty? They don't, of course. Part of the problem is that (4) in the list of reasons the government can kill economic growth: Keynesian economics demands that governments vastly reduce spending during times of economic growth in order to dampen such growth and raise capital they need to spend during the next bust cycle. Neo-Keynesians like Fawcett and Notley are never so vocal about that part of the plan. Imagine the Prentice PCs announcing that if Alberta's economic growth exceeds 4% in any upcoming year, they will fire 50,000 teachers and nurses. Do you think this is likely to be popular? Keynesian economics as a political option is poison and won't ever be applied. This is one of the problems with this "we'll remove the boom and the bust" claims.

You don't have to take my word for it. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown insisted, much as Fawecett is doing now, that he would never again allow boom and bust cycles.
Remember the old days, what was called the British problem: stop go, boom bust, unstable cycles…Britain the country usually first in, worst hit and last out of any world downturn; invariably hit by an inflation problem that prevented interest rates falling when they needed to come down; and usually then by wage inflation that could not be afforded and prevented you making long term investment.

So I want to explain to you today the policy we - and the Bank of England - will continue to pursue to ensure the British economy entrenches our new won and hard won stability and continues to grow – ensuring we take no risks with inflation or stability generally, or with the fiscal position."
Needless to say, in reality Gordon Brown couldn't stop boom and bust cycles, and he was in charge of a larger and far more intrusive central government than Fawcett and Prentice could dream of.

Why? Why can't Brown and Fawcett stop the boom and bust cycles? Too much Keynes? Not enough Keynes? Fiscalism vs monetarism. That is not the problem.

This is:

Change.

Read it through again and you'll get it.

The economy of Alberta (or any economy really) is a rapidly changing place. There is, frankly, so much of it, every bit of which is continually on the move, constantly changing.

This is the Rachel Notley nightmare, as it were. For a scrupulous and conscientious government fiscal manager diligently striving to keep this massively detailed and complex economic tome abreast of all the changing circumstances and conditions that the market (read: the people of Alberta doing things) throws up every minute of every hour of every day, it would be a nightmare. The ultimate problem with central planning remember is the sheer complexity of the calculations to "run" it properly. A computer could, eventually, but not a person. And even if we develop the global processing power to operate Alberta's economy, it ultimately would have to be run on formulae and heuristics which means that cold hard math would be making the decisions. Centrally planned economies aren't "humanist" and "compassionate", they're the precise opposite.


None of this solves the Fawcett Change Problem, of course. His goal of "no booms and busts" is literally impossible, because change happens. This situation arose at a job I had a few years ago: we were manufacturing products for a couple of different large customers, who we were convinced were secretly colluding to make our lives miserable: they would request changes be made to the product seemingly in tandem but almost always precisely opposite. "Bigger handles" from one, "less bulky handles" from another, so on and so forth. Then, presumably just to get us, they would decide that they in fact didn't like their change but instead liked the change the other customer had requested. That was occasionally in tandem too. It gave everybody who was in charge fits. I wasn't in charge, I didn't get fits. In one exasperated moment in front of a lot of people, a manager actually demanded that the sales rep tell him when we could get a "final design" and not make any more changes. That manager didn't last much longer. The quick answer to when the "final design" of a product is achieved is the last product. The long answer is that market forces dictate change: customers want newer, better, improved. Nobody thinks that the 1973 computer should still be manufactured in a plant somewhere. Somewhere along the lines, the local area where 1973 computers were built entered a "bust" cycle. People didn't want 1973 computers anymore. As the bust came about, either quickly or slowly the economy had to change to adapt to the new conditions. In time, they learned to build 1976 computers or 1978 disco balls or whatever it took to get back to sales. Once sales were jumping, it was a "boom" until disco died or the 1979 computer took over or what have you. Change is a part of industry, it's a part of market forces, it's a part of the world we live in. Ultimately the Kyle Fawcett plan of "no boom and bust cycles" means a lack of innovation, change, and improvement.

Technically, a bunch of factories and oil refineries and cupcake stores and Walmarts and restaurants closing down and nothing new springing into their place is a "no boom and bust" cycle. Is that the Alberta we want? Death and decay? All busts, no booms? Because that's the only possible circumstance. All booms and no busts isn't possible, it implies that everybody will keep expanding in a way precisely aligning with the way we're doing things today and the near future. No manufacturing will go to China. No non-Alberta sources of oil will dry up or become politically unavailable. The things we're doing in the next few months are what the world wants the most in the few months after that. No, busts are unfortunately a part of life, as Gordon Brown already learned. It isn't just a "resource-based" economy, either. The Norwailers like to claim that booms and busts are a consequence of natural resources being used as a primary driver of the Alberta economy. Notice that this graph of GDP per capita of various south-central African nations, while it certainly has an overriding trend important to the author of the graph, also features mini "boom" and "bust" cycles. So does this graph of France, or Mongolia, or Uruguay or Nova Scotia.

Booms and busts are a natural part of having an economy. If you don't like boom-bust cycles, then you don't like having an economy. In which case, kindly slit your throat. No, I'm serious, that's your way to escape having an economy. Mad Max seems an improvement now, doesn't it?

You know what else is an improvement? Getting rid of neo-Keynsian fools like Kyle Fawcett and Jim Prentice. On May 5 2015, you can vote out their incompetent government and replace it with a market-oriented and sensible Wildrose alternative. Wildrose, or the economic equivalent of slitting your own throat. It's your choice. May 5.

2015-04-13

Six blocks is an unconsciously long and unpleasant bike ride

If you can actually believe it, the Edmonton cycling community is whining about bike lanes again.

The north-south 121 Street bike connection is one example of how the city is planning to go forward with bike connections as projects like neighbourhood renewal get started.

“It’s a staged implementation and it’s very opportunity based,” said Travis Pawlyk, senior planner with current planning at the city. “There’s not a specific bike budget for improvements yet, it’s trying to find ways to achieve an overall network over time.”

Cyclists are welcoming the plans, with some saying the need to get some type of bike network in the area to connect cyclists.

“It’s a nightmare in that area right now. There really is no north-south connection comfortable enough for people on bikes,” said Conrad Nobert with Edmonton Bike Coalition. “I’m really happy the city is looking into it.”
"There really is no north-south connection" says this worthless tax-absorbing asshole.

He actually said that. Presumably, the sicko actually believes it.

What's "uncomfortable" about the 127th Street bike lane (excepting, of course, when cyclists don't follow the rules and die as a result of their negligence) exactly? The only complaints I can find about it online (again, excepting angry commenters that I identified a deceased cyclist as being in the wrong) is that it was getting rough 4 years ago (it's since been paved), and cars park sometimes.

Indeed, the biggest gripe from area residents is that the 127th street bikeway is a wasted unused space that impedes the flow of cars, the real people interested in the roadway 365 days a year. With this in mind, why the hell should the city listen to idiots like Nobert who demand extra infrastructure (again, note in the picture above that there's already a bike lane running north of 121st along the old rail line, and that it goes within a block of 104 Avenue) that will take space and public works monies away from roadways that people use, for the pipe dream of bike lanes that Nobert claims (falsely) that people will use? Maybe. Someday.

Look, Edmonton's foolish "Share the Road" program is already...well...foolish. As Kerry Diotte has discovered and I've mentioned a few times before, the cyclist notion is "cars have to share the road with us and we can do anything we like". It's ridiculous, and a main reason that I so enjoy driving in the "designated bike lane". After all, the City of Edmonton assures cyclists they are legally allowed to ride anywhere, so surely it can apply to me as well?

You can't spell "funicular" without "waste of stolen tax dollars"

It's hard to narrow down the biggest thing wrong with this Paula Simons defense of the silly City of Edmonton funicular. There's just so much to chose from.

An attractive lift that could ferry people — their strollers, bikes, walkers and wheelchairs — from the water’s edge to Jasper Avenue would make the park and the river valley pathways more accessible and make it easier for people to get from the south side into the downtown. It would be enticing for daily commuters and for visiting tourists.
Funicular Defense #1 is that it will be like a Walmart is for a mall area: the anchor tenant bringing people in. Is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? Not in the slightest. The corollary to that defense is #1A, that people from the southside would love to get downtown, but having found themselves at the bottom of the river valley they are physically incapable without a funicular of getting to the top of the northside banks. Without such an option, they will simply have to climb up the equally steep south slopes and waddle themselves back to Terwilligar or Wild Rose or wherever they walked over from. Once there's a funicular, everybody will have a grand olde time riding the funicular up to downtown, spending the money that they were tightly pinching when they spent their time southside, and then riding the funicular back into the river valley...where they will again have to climb up the equally steep south slopes. Unless Simons wants a southside funicular to be built with hard-earned tax dollars too, of course. Don't laugh, that column is coming to your Edmonton Journal app by no later than February 2017.
And funiculars themselves are just so quirky and cute. Such a signature installation might give the river valley the natty flair of a European mountain resort, turning the Mac into our own Grand Budapest Hotel.
The Grand Budapest Hotel was a fictional scene in a movie. There wasn't only no funicular there, there was no hotel either. It's all a mockup, about the same size as Paula Simons' desk. Looking at movie props and thinking "why can't we build these in our town?" eventually ends with downtown Edmonton looking like Joel Schumacher's Gotham City.


Finally Simons addresses the criticisms of the program: namely, it's a huge waste of taxpayer's money.
But that $24-million price tag? It’s steeper than the river bank. The original budget to replace the 102nd Ave. bridge over Groat Road was just $32 million.
Actually, the original budget to replace the bridge was $20.6 million and under Mayor Coward's incompetant 'leadership' the budget was raised to "just" $32 million, but let's not quibble over $12M wasted dollars here and there. Simons does also raise the important issue that the build price tag isn't the whole story: there's maintenance and operational costs that the City of Edmonton will need to endure lest the funicular decay to...well, how it looked during some of the later scenes of The Grand Budapest Hotel. How much is that projected to be? What's the total cost amortized over the expected lifespan of the funicular? Who knows! Having personally ridden on the Tünel in Istanbul (the second-oldest subway on the planet) I am somewhat aware of funiculars, how handy they are in the City of Seven Hills, and am dimly away that Tünel was opened in 1875 and operated until 1971 -- 96 years running the original steam cars. Judging how Rexall Place -- newer than the 1971 electrified funicular -- is an embarassing old eyesore that needed to be replaced at great public expense, I'm confident that we'll need to spend money sometime between Opening Day 2017 and 2113.

Istanbul is indeed the City of Seven Hills (and only two funiculars). I've climbed every one of them.

So with a projected build cost of $37M (applying the 102 Avenue bridge multiplier), that's the end of the argument, isn't it? No funicular for us. Well, it's been a fun post, hope you enjoyed it. Stay tuned tomorrow for another one, probably about the Alberta election.

Oh, wait, Simons isn't done yet.
Yet city council has little choice but to approve the funicular when it comes back before councillors next month.
Yes, you read that right. Even though this is an unnecessary waste of money and will almost certainly tie up city funds for no particularly good reason, city council according to Simons "has no choice" but to say yes. Why? Well, it turns out it's "free money".
The project is fully funded. Rob Marchak, director of strategic projects in the city’s urban planning and environment branch, says $8 million is coming from the federal government, $8 million from the regional River Valley Alliance, and $7.5 million from the province. The city is kicking in just $552,000. Of that, 25 per cent is coming from the park reserve fund. Only $414,000 comes from the city budget.

“It’s a unique opportunity,” Marchak says. “These are highly leveraged dollars. We don’t usually get to access this kind of money.”

But the money can only be used for this project. If the city doesn't spend it by January 2017, the funding disappears. It can’t be used for something more utilitarian like filling potholes. The city either spends it on the funicular and associated boardwalk or forfeits the cash.
Hoo boy, now it's getting ridiculous. I want you to re-read this passage and see what first strikes you as being crazy as a justification to approve this project.

Is it the part where she discounts money from the River Valley Alliance as just being a free gift from God? It's not. It's directly funded by shareholder municipalities which includes the City of Edmonton. The River Valley Alliance is dedicated to putting money into projects along the River Valley. It's true, they won't be funding any pothole repairs. They would, however, be funding other projects in the river valley. If the money doesn't go to this funicular it will either be spent on some other rivery valley project in the City of Edmonton or a better program in a different municipality. Presumably, if the River Valley Alliance decided it did everything it wanted to do and had money left over, the shareholders (including the City of Edmonton) would get the money back. So this isn't wasted money in any way shape or form, even limiting our scope to the City of Edmonton as an entity.

Maybe you thought that it was equally absurd that 25% of the city's contribution coming from the "park reserve fund" was washed over. After all, that means the park reserve fund would have $138,000 less in a funicular world as a non-funicular world...and that assumes this same fund wouldn't have to be tapped into for funicular maintenance. "Only $414,000 comes from the city budget" rings hollow when the City of Edmonton seems to have so many "outside the budget" funds, all of which of course came courtesy of taxpayers.

If you didn't think the above were farcical though, I'm afraid you're not going to find any outrage in this next bit, even though you should. The province and the federal government contributions to the project aren't "free" either: they come courtesy of the Canadian and Albertan taxpayer. Note, of course, that all Edmonton taxpayers are also Alberta taxpayers. Note, of course, that all Albertan taxpayers are also Canadian taxpayers. Which means that Edmontonians will be paying for this funicular anyways, just now we've agreed to bilk our neighbours for the tab as well! Don't get too excited, by the way, they're all agreeing to bilk us for their ridiculous urban projects as well, and this Prison's Dilemna situation is untenable. Left-wing governments bilk the taxpayer for these projects, then create a structure where left-wing columnists like Simons push the line that we "have" to take this money lest it be "lost". But it wouldn't be lost or wasted. It would be not spent on this. That means that it would be available to spend on some other expense the federal or provincial government has to face, like building a courthouse or an embassy. Or, barring a critical constitutional function of these governments, it would be a surplus that means next year taxes could be reduced and people would get to pay less.


After all is said and done, Simons thinks we're "throwing away" money unless we...throw away money. She also stresses via the selection of quotes picked from city planner Rob Marchak that the funicular "only" costs $5M, and that we're supposed to buy that $19M is needed for all the other elements of the funicular, like a bridge and a boardwalk and a couple viewing platforms. You're supposed to ignore that the Edmonton funicular will only be 10% the size of Tünel (or 9% of the Kabatas-Taksim Funicular, also in Istanbul, which is a more recently built system and a closer comparison) which literally makes it about as useful as the moving sidewalk at the airport. She also throws in a couple quotes from the people at the city's open house (again, the City of Edmonton schedules its open house in a way that ensures that nobody who works for a living and could object to wasting tax money can attend), first the supporter and then the tentative opposition with his own pet project idea. I can't blame her for the heart-tugging picture I ripped apart above, but it speaks to the general nature of the piece.

A horrible defense for a horrible idea. I just know she's right, City Hall won't be able to say yes fast enough.

2015-04-12

Sweden vs Saudi Arabia (bad news for Sweden, not contested on a hockey rink)

Saudi Arabia has entered into a diplomatic fracas with a European Union member over monkeys.

Yes, you read that one right.

The pygmy marmosets at Skansen zoo in Stockholm had been destined for a Riyadh zoo.

"They didn't want the monkeys anymore because of the political situation," said Skansen zoo boss Jonas Wahlstrom.

Last month the Saudi ambassador to Sweden was recalled, after Sweden ended an arms deal in a human rights dispute.
Okay technically the Saudis were just doing a little diplomatic quid anti quo after a female Swedish politican criticized the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for not letting sluts behind the wheel.
A co-ordinated campaign by Muslim nations against Sweden is not a fanciful notion. There is talk that Sweden may lose its chance to gain a seat on the UN Security Council in 2017 because of Wallström.

Look, aside from the benefit of not letting women drive (hint: they're all terrible at it, we might consider a similar move here), there's nothing here that should really offend the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However, Sweden does $1.3B a year with the Saudis, and that they're throwing money around while other governments aren't hasn't escaped the notion of policy makers everywhere: notice Sweden just last week apparently greased some wheels some but not enough.

Meanwhile, another Middle Eastern country is entering into a diplomatic fracas with a monkey...

Bonus observation: Note the name of the "Islamophobic" politician and the name of the zoo curator. Is that like Johnson/Johnston over there?