GESTURES OF APPRECIATION
Because we're all fans at heart
Es Es El
by The Phiend
June 18, 2019
In the interests of keeping up with the times, our site is now running over HTTPS instead of HTTP. So passwords are secure in transit, etc.
Now, this might
mean that you'll need to log in again, if you've been using the "Log me on automatically each visit" feature. But I just double-checked and our forgotten password feature is working correctly, so that shouldn't be a severe issue.
I'm sure everyone is aware by now, but just for posterity, here's the trailer that was revealed at E3. iframe
It does look pretty cool...but there's one aspect of this I can't help but laugh at.
This game started out as an early tech demo...for the PS3.
The question of whether the US should abolish our Electoral College system is a topic which has come up a number of times, and with particularly renewed fervor of late since our two most recent Republican presidents have won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote.
This is something I am adamantly opposed to for a variety of reasons, and author and legal scholar Tara Ross has presented a very comprehensive list of them, which was posted at PragerU
. While I am most definitely not
a fan of Dennis Prager, that's irrelevant to the subject at hand.
Tara Ross wrote:
The Popular Vote vs. the Electoral College
In every presidential election, only one question matters: which candidate will get the 270 votes needed to win the Electoral College?
Our Founders so deeply feared a tyranny of the majority that they rejected the idea of a direct vote for President. That's why they created the Electoral College. For more than two centuries it has encouraged coalition building, given a voice to both big and small states, and discouraged voter fraud.
Unfortunately, there is now a well-financed, below-the-radar effort to do away with the Electoral College. It is called National Popular Vote or NPV, and it wants to do exactly what the Founders rejected: award the job of President to the person who gets the most votes nationally.
Even if you agree with this goal, it's hard to agree with their method. Rather than amend the Constitution, which they have no chance of doing, NPV plans an end run around it.
Here's what NPV does: it asks states to sign a contract to give their presidential electors to the winner of the national popular vote instead of the winner of the state's popular vote.
What does that mean in practice? It means that if NPV had been in place in 2004, for example, when George W. Bush won the national vote, California's electoral votes would have gone to Bush, even though John Kerry won that state by 1.2 million votes!
Can you imagine strongly Democratic California calmly awarding its electors to a Republican?
Another problem with NPV's plan is that it robs states of their sovereignty. A key benefit of the Electoral College system is that it decentralizes control over the election. Currently, a presidential election is really 51 separate elections: one in each state and one in D.C.
These 51 separate processes exist, side-by-side, in harmony. They do not -- and cannot -- interfere with each other.
California's election code applies only to California and determines that state's electors. So a vote cast in Texas can never change the identity of a California elector.
NPV would disrupt this careful balance. It would force all voters into one national election pool. Thus, a vote cast in Texas will always affect the outcome in California. And the existence of a different election code in Texas always has the potential to unfairly affect a voter in California.
Because state election codes can differ drastically. States have different rules about early voting, registering to vote, and qualifying for the ballot. They have different policies regarding felon voting. They have different triggers for recounts.
Each and every one of these differences is an opportunity for someone, somewhere to file a lawsuit claiming unfair treatment.
Why should a voter in New York get more or less time to early vote than a voter in Florida? Why should a hanging chad count in Florida, but not in Ohio? The list of possible complaints is endless.
And think of the opportunities for voter fraud if NPV is passed! Currently, an attempt to steal a presidential election requires phony ballots to appear or real ballots to disappear in the right state or combination of states, something that is very hard to anticipate. But with NPV, voter fraud anywhere can change the election results -- no need to figure out which states you must swing; just add or subtract the votes you need -- or don't want -- wherever you can most easily get away with it.
And finally, if NPV is adopted, and winning is only about getting the most votes, a candidate might concentrate all of his efforts in the biggest cities, or the biggest states. We could see the end of presidential candidates who care about the needs and concerns of people in smaller states or outside of big cities.
Here's why all of this is of so much concern: NPV is more than halfway to its goal.
NPV's contract will go into effect when states with a combined 270 electoral votes have signed. To date, NPV already has the support of 10 states plus D.C. Together, that's 165 electoral votes, leaving only 105 votes to go.
It is time to stop this attempt to undo the way American presidents are elected, which will in turn undo America. The people behind NPV think they are wiser than every generation of Americans that preceded them.
I'm Tara Ross for Prager University.
In my opinion, the first two Terminator
films were truly James Cameron's greatest contribution to cinema. They told a compelling story in an original way, with truly spectacular action sequences and special effects, and pacing that may be unequaled in their genre, and they dealt with extremely dark, heavy existential themes without being pretentious about it. As you may have gathered by now, they are two of my absolute favorite movies of all time, and a major influence on my entire storytelling philosophy.
I've also hated everything that's been made since. Jim Cameron may have become a pretentious jackass in the intervening years, but the entire Terminator franchise has sucked without him, and badly.
So you understand that at this point, I'm very hesitant to get my hopes up, having been burned way
too many times. But having said that...Cameron has finally agreed to come back and make one more Terminator movie, and one which pointedly ignores everything
after T2. And, well...maybe.
Anyway, here's the first trailer for Terminator: Dark Fate
I posted this comment
earlier tonight in response to the latest article in right-leaning media
crowing about the supposed demise of "#NeverTrump". In it, I intended to address the cult-like devotion to Trump that many of his fans display, but I also ended up summarizing a lot of my thoughts on Trump's presidency so far, so I figured I may as well toss it up here for posterity.
Just because you support the Trump administration's policies does not mean you have to support the man, personally, without question and 100% of the time. Conservatives should not be afraid to be honest with ourselves and each other, and the fact is that Trump, himself, remains an extremely mixed bag. At best.
He took the government's boot off the throat of the economy and has slashed many restrictive and unnecessary regulations, which has been an extremely good thing. He took the handcuffs off of our military and allowed them to do what needed to be done to liberate ISIS's physical territory and demolish their caliphate, which has also been a godsend after the horrors Obama allowed them to get away with, and for years. He has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and has also recognized that Iran is, and has always been, our enemy. These things are magnificent, and are worthy of unequivocal praise.
But however great these things are, they do not erase or make up for the undeniable flaws in Donald Trump's personal character. He habitually lies and exaggerates, and he does it all the time; that's just a fact, and it's a highly problematic one. He frequently indulges in extremely juvenile and often pointless flame wars on Twitter, and he does it in ways that often end up hurting his own cause. Also problematic. And he had an affair with a porn star while his wife was pregnant with their son, and he paid her to keep quiet about it during the 2016 election. That's simply disgusting.
"But those things have nothing to do with his administration's policies or the way he does his job," many say. That's a fair argument, up to a point; it's also, not coincidentally, precisely the argument Democrats made throughout the 1990s to defend Bill Clinton, and for exactly the same reasons. But character does impact policy, in ways great and small. More to the point, it makes it more difficult for Trump's defenders to argue on his behalf without being hypocritical.
But let's get back to policy. Trump allows his very liberal daughter and son-in-law, neither of whom were elected to anything, to decide the direction of his administration's policies far too often for my, and many other conservatives', liking. He has advanced extremely left-wing positions on international trade and gun control, and done it under a Republican banner, which has in turn had the effect of shifting the entire party's position on those issues to the left over the long term, if not permanently. This was one of the biggest fears of conservative, so-called "NeverTrumpers", and they have indeed been proven correct. He talks tough on border security and abortion, then he turns around and signs budget resolutions which completely undermine his own position. He has appointed one potentially decent Supreme Court justice, but he has also consistently failed to stand up to the out-of-control activist judiciary, and on matters where his own authority clearly supersedes theirs. He also failed to hold the Republican leadership to their campaign promises, most prominently on the repeal of Obamacare, and as a result the Democrats retook the House. And he totally gave away the farm in his negotiations with North Korea, where he elevated and heaped a humiliating degree of personal praise on one of this planet's most barbaric and cruel dictators, for which the US got very little in return. And last but certainly not least, he's spent money at a rate that makes even Obama look tight-fisted by comparison.
By all means, support the administration's policies, where they deserve to be supported. But don't let them blind you to the failings of the man.
A series of coordinated suicide bombings
at several Catholic churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have left at least 290 Christians dead, and an additional
While no one has, to my knowledge, claimed responsibility at this point, we have seen this scenario play out enough times over the past couple decades, all across the globe, to know exactly what happened here. And the scale and coordinated nature of the attacks was far too organized to have been the work of a few random crazies.
Some continue to insist that we are not witnessing a clash of civilizations, but those who do most of the killing seem awfully determined to prove otherwise.
*facepalms* I can't believe THAT is what they chose to name the movie. You trying to rub the salt deeper into the wounds, Disney?
Alright. Here's the damn trailer. iframe
Had The Last Jedi not been a thing, or ever existed, I might have been interested. But since The Last Jedi unfortunately DOES exist... I find myself not caring.
I've never cared so little
for a movie before in my life, and it's heartbreaking. Because the last movie ruined Star Wars forever. And the prospect of having Lando and the Emperor return in this movie just makes it worse. We all know, based on the patterns of the previous films, that Lando is going to die an ignominious death. And the Emperor?! His story was done! His story has a clear beginning, middle and end. Bringing him back isn't just lazy writing, it's a sleazy move to prey on our nostalgia!
More and more I hate Disney for retconning the Extended Universe, because it had some great stories that the directors could have taken inspiration from, instead of copy-pasting the original trilogy. They could have done the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion, where an extragalactic enemy with organic ships and major technophobia invade the Star Wars galaxy. Or they could have introduced the World Devastators, giant nigh-invincible mobile war factories built by the Imperial Remnant that consume entire cities and planets to build more ships, more fighters and upgrade themselves. Or the rise of Grand Admiral Thrawn, a military genius with a great love for art, who nearly destroys the New Republic in its infancy.I'm so fucking angry how they've squandered this universe.
April 9, 2019
A few months ago we got test footage of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker, which I'll show first before we get to the meat. iframe
So, a lot to cover here. I was hesitant to put this in the DCU category, since this is a stand-alone film. Not just that, it doesn't play like a superhero(villain) movie at all, but a psychological thriller. It feels too grounded to be a comic book movie, and instead has a Scorsese feel. I get the feeling DC might finally have learned their lesson, and are starting to move away from universe-spanning epics, because let's face it, they fucked it up.
If they want to compete with Marvel, THIS is how they do it; produce quality, stand-alone films, much like they already have done in the animation department. More than that, it appears that DC is willing to take risks and go in more experimental directions if Joker is anything to go by.
From the looks of the trailer, I'm encouraged. So far they've hit the right notes. I'm seeing a lot of inspiration from The Killing Joke, and that late night show scene looks like they might replicate the infamous massacre the Joker commits in The Dark Knight Returns.
Man, I am absolutely stunned by this news. I just found out
that our own kuroitora
died of pneumonia today.
I've known this guy since the mid-'90s. I met him through the online Bubblegum Crisis fan community, then met him in person during my visit to Baltimore in '99. I considered him a very good and loyal friend. We didn't agree much on politics, but so freaking what. He was the best artist I've ever met, and I hoped I might find a way to collaborate with him on something, someday...but I guess not.
I really can't believe this...it's just awful.
Well, well, well... iframe
I didn't think we'd ever
get another Masquerade game, but here we are. The original game from 2004 is one of my all-time favourites, a cult classic with a moody environment, fascinating lore and moments of bloody horror. Though if you ever want to play the original, I'd recommend getting the modded patch because the game was released... half-finished and buggy as hell... how times have changed? iframe Please Paradox, don't fuck this up.
So now Google is jumping into the gaming market with a cloud streaming platform
, and their controller looks like a cross between a PS4 and Xbox controller.
I'm just gonna leave this here. iframe
It's been a while since I was here, and I wish it were under better circumstances.
As you can tell from the title, Christchurch was just this afternoon the target for a co-ordinated attack on our Muslim community by white supremacists who invaded two mosques during prayer and opened fire with AR-15 assault rifles. One of the shooters was sick enough to film as he gunned down dozens of people. The current death toll is around 49, and may yet grow as many more are critically wounded. Bomb squads have also disabled several IEDs found in one of their vehicles.
This was a mass shooting the likes of which New Zealand has never seen before. It's also our worst ever terrorist attack, and before today I could only look at the Rainbow Warrior bombing that killed one person for past reference. I'm still not able to completely accept this just happened. This kind of thing just doesn't. Happen Here
. I feel I needed to emphasise that. It doesn't. Happen. Here. We're one of the most peaceful countries in the world, far from any civil strife or foreign invasion. No emoticons or words can describe how I or anyone else is feeling right now.
Christchurch can't catch a break anymore. First an earthquake damn near destroys it, and now this!
Arthur C. Brooks
has authored an interesting article in the New York Times (of all places)
on a topic that's come up in our own discussions a number of times over the years. I have to admit, he makes a pretty compelling argument.
Arthur C. Brooks wrote:
Our Culture of Contempt
The problem in America today is not incivility or intolerance. It’s something far worse.By Arthur C. BrooksMr. Brooks is a scholar of public policy and the president of the American Enterprise Institute.
March 2, 2019
I live and work in Washington. But I’m not a politics junkie. To me, politics is like the weather — it changes a lot, people drone on about it constantly, and “good” is mostly subjective. I like winter, you like summer; you’re a liberal, I’m a conservative. In the 2012 presidential election season, my wife and I had a bumper sticker custom-made for our Volvo that read “Vegans for Romney” just to see the reaction of other Washington drivers.
My passion is ideas, especially policy ideas. While politics is like the weather, ideas are like the climate. Climate has an impact on weather, but they’re different things. Similarly, ideas affect politics, but they aren’t the same. When done right, policy analysis, like climate science, favors nerds with Ph.D.s. And that’s me. For 20 years, I’ve been a professor of public policy and president of a think tank in Washington. (For a decade before that I made my living as a musician, but not the cool kind — I played in a symphony orchestra.)
But even a climatologist has to think about the weather when a hurricane comes ashore. And that’s what’s happening today. Political differences are ripping our country apart, swamping my big, fancy policy ideas. Political scientists have found that our nation is more polarized than it has been at any time since the Civil War. One in six Americans has stopped talking to a family member or close friend because of the 2016 election. Millions of people organize their social lives and their news exposure along ideological lines to avoid people with opposing viewpoints. What’s our problem?
A 2014 article
in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on “motive attribution asymmetry” — the assumption that your ideology is based in love, while your opponent’s is based in hate — suggests an answer. The researchers found that the average Republican and the average Democrat today suffer from a level of motive attribution asymmetry that is comparable with that of Palestinians and Israelis. Each side thinks it is driven by benevolence, while the other is evil and motivated by hatred — and is therefore an enemy with whom one cannot negotiate or compromise.
People often say that our problem in America today is incivility or intolerance. This is incorrect. Motive attribution asymmetry leads to something far worse: contempt, which is a noxious brew of anger and disgust. And not just contempt for other people’s ideas, but also for other people. In the words of the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, contempt is “the unsullied conviction of the worthlessness of another.”
The sources of motive attribution asymmetry are easy to identify: divisive politicians, screaming heads on television, hateful columnists, angry campus activists and seemingly everything on the contempt machines of social media. This “outrage industrial complex” works by catering to just one ideological side, creating a species of addiction by feeding our desire to believe that we are completely right and that the other side is made up of knaves and fools. It strokes our own biases while affirming our worst assumptions about those who disagree with us.
Contempt makes political compromise and progress impossible. It also makes us unhappy as people. According to the American Psychological Association, the feeling of rejection, so often experienced after being treated with contempt, increases anxiety
, depression and sadness. It also damages the contemptuous person by stimulating two stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. In ways both public and personal, contempt causes us deep harm.
While we are addicted to contempt, we at the same time hate it, just as addicts hate the drugs that are ruining their lives. In an important study
of political attitudes, the nonprofit More in Common found in 2018 that 93 percent of Americans say they are tired of how divided we have become as a country. Large majorities say privately that they believe in the importance of compromise, reject the absolutism of the extreme wings of both parties and are not motivated by partisan loyalty.
So what can each of us do to make things better? You might be tempted to say we need to find ways to disagree less, but that is incorrect. Disagreement is good because competition is good. Competition lies behind democracy in politics and markets in the economy, which — bounded by the rule of law and morality — bring about excellence. Just as in politics and economics, we need a robust “competition of ideas” — a.k.a. disagreement. Disagreement helps us innovate, improve and find the truth.
What we need is not to disagree less, but to disagree better. And that starts when you turn away the rhetorical dope peddlers — the powerful people on your own side who are profiting from the culture of contempt. As satisfying as it can feel to hear that your foes are irredeemable, stupid and deviant, remember: When you find yourself hating something, someone is making money or winning elections or getting more famous and powerful. Unless a leader is actually teaching you something you didn’t know or expanding your worldview and moral outlook, you are being used.
Next, each of us can make a commitment never to treat others with contempt, even if we believe they deserve it. This might sound like a call for magnanimity, but it is just as much an appeal to self-interest. Contempt makes persuasion impossible — no one has ever been hated into agreement, after all — so its expression is either petty self-indulgence or cheap virtue signaling, neither of which wins converts.
What if you have been guilty of saying contemptuous things about or to others? Perhaps you have hurt someone with your harsh words, mockery or dismissiveness. I have, and I’m not proud of it. Start the road to recovery from this harmful addiction, and make amends wherever possible. It will set you free.
Finally, we should see the contempt around us as what it truly is: an opportunity, not a threat. If you are on social media, on a college campus or in any place other than a cave by yourself, you will be treated with contempt very soon. This is a chance to change at least one heart — yours. Respond with warmheartedness and good humor. You are guaranteed to be happier. If that also affects the contemptuous person (or bystanders), it will be to the good.
It is easy to feel helpless in the current political environment, but I believe that is unwarranted. While we might not like the current weather, together we can change the climate to reward leaders — and be the leaders — who uplift and unite, not denigrate and divide. Watch: The weather will start to improve, and that will make America greater. I am dedicating the rest of my professional life to this task.Mr. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute and author of the forthcoming book “Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America From the Culture of Contempt,” from which this essay is adapted.
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