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Archive for December, 2011

GOP Caves on Payroll Tax

If you follow politics the only question you can ask is: Why?

Why did the GOP House feel the need to push for a 1 year extension of the payroll tax?

Clearly the Dems had time on their side. The Senate side of the GOP was even tossing bombs at their brothers\sisters on the House side for not passing the 2 month extension and move on.

So, trying to read between the lines a bit, what does this show?

1) The Tea Party still hasn’t figured out how to fit in.

Just like folks who follow Religion, they stand on their principles based on faith that they are right and making a deal (any deal) is selling yourself short. Sometimes that’s OK. However, it usually means you are not going to get out of the way of the moving car when it’s speeding at you.

In the real world, there is give and take. Even more so in Politics. The Senate side of the GOP (who have 6 year terms and are less affected by the Tea Party) could see the car coming and was shouting for the House to get out of the way. Now they are all effected by the wreck.

2) Boehner can’t control the house.

If it wasn’t clear before, it’s clear now.

Boehner didn’t get to this position without knowing a train wreck when he sees one. The Tea Party just won’t follow the GOP leadership. So Boehner was stuck with either following the Tea Party or having the GOP looking like a house divided to the public. In the end, Boehner made the choice that fighting this and losing looks better than giving the GOP the image of fighting among themselves.

It’s clear to me that Barack Obama needs to win back the White House. He’s a weak President to be sure, but the best way for this country to get back on track is to pry the GOP away from the crazy folk and that’s the Tea Party and Religion. That’s only going to start happening if they lose to a weak President in a bad economy.

There’s a darn good reason that Bob Dole and George H W Bush support Romney, they are trying to move the GOP closer to the center as it was during Reagan’s time.

The issue clearly is the rank and file of the GOP has moved away from the center position. It’s going to take the GOP getting its butt kicked for them to start to see that their base is not going to carry them forward in the future.

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Sorry AronRa :(

Theoden (From Lord of the Rings): No parent should have to bury their child.

That goes double for grandchildren. Sorry for your loss.

The Hobbit (Trailer 1)

10 years ago my wife and I enjoyed going to the movies to watch The Lord of the Rings (LotR) while my parents watched the kid(s). A year from now, I’ll be able to bring my kids… *sniff*

The Hobbit is a lighter book then LotR. It will be interesting because they are dividing the movie up into two films. There is not enough in The Hobbit for two films so they will be trying to fill in the back story as well as they can without pulling directly from The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales since they don’t have rights to them.

Anyway Enjoy!

D&D and Dungeon Mapp Update

So I’ve played a few rounds of D&D…

As far as the 4e rules are concerned, I like them. The play is smooth overall and even as a newbie I know where to look when I have a question. I know a number of folks still play 3.5e, but having played a bit of both I like the simpler rules of 4e. Clearly YMMV and I can see why 3.5e holds appeal.

I also want to talk a bit about Dungeon Mapp (DM) and about the Pluses and Minuses of these iPad apps that take the place of minis in general.

I started the group off with the Forgotten Realm campaign in Loudwater as a starting point. I had a group of 6 first level players fighting 13 goblins. DM was a big timesaver in setting up the maps the players are going to use in advance and tracking initiative and everyone’s hit points. Just for that, it’s worth it. DM had some bugs tracking the goblins initiative, which has been fixed now, and flagging a goblin as dead, flags all the goblins running under the same object as dead (not fixed). So when they died, I just deleted them.

I still have some issues with DM which are not show stoppers: The hide room function has an issue of not hiding the monsters when you reload a map (revealing a hidden room, even one you already revealed, rehides the monsters) and the last update made DM crash anytime I reloaded an old map. Clearly, the old maps didn’t work with the new code, but a warning would be nice about that before I updated the code that I was going to lose the maps. Overall, as some who has written code for more languages then I would care to count, I just don’t get the feel that this code gets tested well enough before it goes out the door.

All that said, it was a huge timesaver and I wouldn’t trade it in for any of the other options out there right now.

Also, I want to give a warning to anyone using any of these apps and the more people you have in the group, the bigger this downside… Really only one or two people can look at the map at once time (unlike using minis), so that keeps players a little more out of the loop. My solution for this is that I got the iPad’s AV connector, so now I can show the map on the 50 inch TV. That’s an extra $40 cost and I’m not sure this will work on an iPad (I have an iPad2 and it works great), but I’ll use the AV for other things as well. Still it’s something to keep in mind.

Overall, the pluses outweighs the minuses, but there is room for improvement and there is no way I’ll start investing in minis. This is looks to be the best option going forward. It’s only going to get better from here.

Some options I’d like to see going forward:

1) More graphic art. Some more has been added and it’s animated art, which is nice. However art is key from giving each new location a different look and feel. It could use more. If memory is an issue then make ‘art packs’ that can be loaded and unloaded as needed.

2) Flag spell effects. If I’m going to put up an anti-magic spell or a wall of flame, I should be able to mark that on the map somehow.

3) Maybe some more movement options. If, for example, there is a building in front of you. Flag those squares so they don’t count towards movement.

I’m sure I’ll come up with a few more as I use it a bit more. Overall, it’s a good start!

Thanks to Christopher Hitchens

A great speaker has passed away. Not just for Atheism, but for other topics as well. You may not agree with all his views, but he did make you think and he will be missed.

I give you one of his best moments when he takes the Catholic Church to task on if the Church is ‘a force for good in the world’. Enjoy!

Being an Atheist during Xmas

No doubt I (and other Athiests) will get a few question on why we have Xmas trees, etc. For me, it’s just a time to celebrate family. There is no need to add superstition or today modern myths on God to enjoy it. This video did a good job of showing that if you go back in time, you will see that Xmas has nothing to do with God and, like many religions, just borrowed ideas from other myths that predated it.

Watts Up With That? and Lord Monckton

December 5, 2011 1 comment

Lord Monckton is a big name in the anti-science movement in reguards to climate change. Of course he doesn’t believe it. Potholer54 had a 5 part series on Monckton documenting his missteps and now Monckton replied to it on the website ‘Whatts Up With That?’.

Below is Potholer’s video reply and he shows why he continues to be one of the best channels on youtube. How anyone believes these guys I really can’t understand…


If you missed the series, here it is: