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Democratic socialist, actually

Ending MLK day with the strange but apparently necessary reminder that he was not a conservative.

By fnord12 | January 16, 2017, 7:21 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Civ 6

I've been playing the Civilization series since Civ 1, and i think the first three games are among the greatest computer games. When Civ 4 came out, i gave it a quick try but it was at a busy time in my life and i couldn't handle all the changes and gave up without giving it a fair chance. Civ 5 got universally bad reviews so i skipped that as well. But over the past few years Min and i have occasionally fired up Civ 3 for some local multiplayer marathons. And sometimes we'd run into little glitches or annoyances - most notably a problem with camera behavior in multiplayer - and whenever we'd complain we'd have to stop and remind ourselves that we were playing a game that was over 15 years old. So when Civ 6 was announced, we got excited. Surely all those little problems would be fixed, so it was time for us to take the time to learn the new game. And our winter break was the time to do it.

System Requirements
We ran into our first roadblock immediately. Our laptops are not "gaming" laptops. We have 20 gigs of RAM and processors that were the best available for the Thinkpad T450s at the time we bought them. Our computers can more than handle everything we normally do, including heavy multi-track audio recording. But they have integrated (i.e. not dedicated) video cards. And because of that, we didn't meet the minimum specs for Civ 6. Which is insane. Civ isn't a first person shooter where framerate and 3-D rendering should be important. It's a turn based, top down strategy game. Graphics-wise, i don't care if it looks like the Commodore 64. I can see taking advantage of better graphics capabilities if they're available, but you'd think they'd design it to degrade gracefully for people with regular laptops. A game like Civ has a different audience than, say, Doom, and it's weird to exclude casual gamers with heavy video card requirements.

The good news is that we have another computer attached to our television that we were considering upgrading, and this pushed us over the edge on that decision. So for now we wouldn't play multiplayer, but we could at least try the game together (and bicker about whether to build city improvements or troops!). A side note: once we had the game, i did install it on my laptop to see how bad it was. The load times were prohibitive, but once the game finally loaded - and we're talking several minutes - it seemed to run and look ok. I didn't keep playing to see if the time between turns got worse as the game went on and the AI had more to do. The game also comes with a Benchmark feature that seems to test your computer to see how well it can handle the game. But the feature took so long to run i assumed it was hanging and ended it. We also ran the Benchmark feature on the TV computer, and it turns out the results are incomprehensible to me anyway.

min: OMG people do not know how to make graphs anymore. Label your axes, people! And there should be a legend!

Griping about minor changes
Now on to the game itself. We knew going in that there would be changes. I was skeptical about some of the major announced changes, but they seemed interesting and i was looking forward to seeing how they'd work. I also knew from my Civ 4 experience that a lot of smaller things would change. On this front, i know that i really ought to just accept it. It's a new game, i should expect that things will have changed. But in truth i find these little changes to be very frustrating. What i am talking about here is not new features or changes to gameplay, but changes to how elements that have always existed in the game work. For example, changing what the benefits of building a temple are, or what a great wonder like the Hanging Gardens does, or what you get after researching a new tech improvement like Writing or Mathematics.

Just as examples, in Civ 3, Writing allows you to engage in diplomacy, and unlocks the new tech improvements Literature (which lets you build libraries), Philosophy, Code of Laws, and Map Making. In Civ 6, Writing lets you build libraries, and unlocks Currency (only). In Civ 3, Mathematics lets you build catapults and unlocks Construction and Currency. In Civ 6, Mathematics increases the speed of your naval units by one and is unlocked by Currency. I'm not even saying that Civ 3 is right and Civ 6 is wrong. Just that the changes seem entirely arbitrary, and serve mainly to make sure that people coming in from previous versions have to learn everything from scratch. And the whole point of me choosing to play Civ 6 as opposed to, say, Age of Empires or any other random similar game, is that i have some familiarity with the system and like it. I don't want to learn a whole new game. The Civ name is what brought me here.

To be fair, things have always changed between games, but in the past it's always seemed to be in service of making the game more balanced or accommodating larger rule changes. For example, i accept that Temples no longer reduce unhappiness in cities, because a) managing citizen happiness no longer seems to be a factor at all in Civ 6 and because religion has become a major new aspect of the game. But i can't see why they'd flip around the attributes of Mathematics and Writing, etc., in what feels like a completely random way.

Related to this is the fact that the country leaders have changed. This isn't super important since in my opinion the leaders should be eliminated or selected randomly anyway. But it's just jarring for Pericles, not Alexander the Great, to now be the leader of the Greeks. It's even weirder for the Romans to not be included in the game at all. In part, the idea seems to be an attempt at adding diversity; Gorgo, Queen of Sparta is also a choice for the Greek leader, for example. But not every country has a choice of male and female leaders. And i suspect that the real motivation here is the ability to sell expansion packs that include additional civilizations and leaders.

I also want to acknowledge that we're coming in from two versions behind, so maybe these changes felt more gradual to people that were keeping up. But imo that just pushes the source of the problem back. Firaxis should be very careful with every minor arbitrary change that they make if they don't want to alienate older loyal players. And if nothing else, it shows my state of mind (disoriented and cranky, which, granted, is nothing new) when it came time to evaluate the bigger changes.

min: He was so cranky. But the new tech tree is pretty bad. It seems bloated with lots of useless tech that don't give you meaningful gains. After spending 10 turns researching something, you want to get something useful in return. Not some crappy policy card that gives you an unimpressive +1 to a "Harbor Adjacency Bonus". Bwah.

The Bigger Changes
We knew going in that there were two major changes to Civ with this version: 1) the concept of districts and 2) the removal of the ability to stack military units. It turns out that there were some additional changes that i also consider "major". Again, some of them may have been introduced in previous versions but they were new to us.

This was touted as the major change in the promotional material prior to the release of the game. The idea is that instead of your city occupying a single tile, you build your central city in that tile and then you can zone the surrounding tiles as districts in which buildings specific to that zone can be built. So instead of building a marketplace directly in your city, you first zone a commercial district and then you can build the marketplace, and later a stock exchange, etc., in that district. This concept isn't inherently logical. Every town in America has main street that can include a shop, a church, and a library. They didn't have to designate a commercial district, a Holy Site district, and a campus district in order to get those buildings. But i was open to the idea since it seemed like it would give Civ a little bit of a SimCity flavor to it. And you'll notice i've been using the word "zone", which is what you do in SimCity. But in Civ you actually have to "build" the district, and the districts are very expensive/time-intensive to build. So whereas in earlier games of Civ you could pump out a temple very quickly after creating your city, in Civ 6 it takes a long time to build the religious district, and only then can you build the temple (actually, first you build a "shrine"; temples come later in the game, but i'm equating Civ 3 temples to Civ 6 shrines). The districts themselves provide a very minor benefit (see Great Leaders), but it's now a major investment to build anything. When weighing the cost of building a marketplace versus, say, pumping out some troops, you now have to factor in the time it takes to build a commercial district. And on top of that, districts have specific terrain requirements. The campus district, for example, for some reason gets a bonus if it's next to a mountain. And most districts can't be built on certain types of terrain at all. So even if your (core) city itself is on good terrain, you simply can not build a commercial district, and therefore a marketplace, if you are mostly in the desert (and have used up the good terrain on other things)(and in addition to districts, aqueducts also take up external tiles, and so do Great Wonders). There are also population requirements; if your city is of size 1-3 you can only build 2 districts. If it's size 4-6, you can only build 3 districts. So you basically can't have a barracks, a temple, a marketplace, and a library until your city has grown quite a bit. And your city basically just sprawls out in all directions. You're not really building Manhattans; you're building Jacksonville, Florida.

This is theoretically by design, the idea being that cities will now have to specialize instead of every city building every improvement. Kind of like how Detroit (in its day) was an industrial powerhouse but never became the financial capital that New York was (and vice versa). But ofc Detroit did indeed have some marketplaces and New York did have some factories. And Civ 3 managed to approximate all of that fairly well without making it explicit. I've had plenty of cities that, thanks to their locations, had better production and/or commercial power than others. But i was still able to marginally improve the abilities of other cities by building factories, marketplaces, etc..

An additional complication is that within districts you have more choices. The one that sticks out is that after building an Encampment district, you can either build a barracks or a stable. Barracks makes your ground troops better, whereas a stable improves your cavalry. So it's not even that you have to devote a city to specialize in building troops. You will actually need two such cities if you intend to have a mix of units.

min: because, apparently, you can't possibly have both a barracks and a stable in your encampment. either my horses have a place to sleep or my soldiers do but not both? this makes sense how?

I was open to this idea and i still think the concept could be interesting. I think the biggest blocker is the cost of the districts. I think in the future Firaxis should consider going with more of the SimCity "zoning" concept, but i think an even better idea is to come up with a way for districts to grow organically. For example, if i continue to emphasis commercial improvements, it may naturally occur that i get a commercial district, and based on terrain and population restrictions that may therefore cause me to forgo getting an industrial district in that city. So i like the idea, but in practice it was backwards and prohibitive.

The other thing that we knew going in was that you couldn't stack military units any more. In older Civ games, you could build a hundred tank units, put them all on a single tile, and roll them up to an enemy city. In response, the other player would load that city up with a hundred defensive units. To me it wasn't a major fault of the previous versions, but i can see how some people might have thought it was unwieldy. And it definitely forced you into an arms race mentality, where you felt the need to constantly build troops. In Civ 6, you can only have one unit per tile (for the most part). So (since the tiles are hexagons) the most units that can attack a city at once are 6. And an interesting development is that the cities themselves have an inherent defense, so even if there is no unit in the city, it can still defend itself like a unit would (having a unit in the city does bolster the defense, ofc). The city's defense can be improved with city walls and similar. The city can even bombard nearby enemy troops, so it can "fight back", not just defend. The attackers can build siege towers and battering rams and other such supplemental units to circumvent or destroy the walls. I like the idea a lot. For one thing, you no longer feel the need to stack multiple troops in each of your cities (although a garrison can still provide other benefits). And the battles are therefore shorter and more intense.

You do eventually get to research tech that allows you to stack two units (and later more) into an "army" but we found two stacked units to be significantly less effective than two individual units (and that seems to be the general internet consensus). I think Firaxis should have just stuck to its guns here and kept it at one unit per tile.

min: What is the point of stacking my units if they're going to be worse than 2 separate units? Why even make that an option? Who would want to do that? Now instead of 2 units that can each attack once per turn and each do 40+ points of damage, i have 1 unit that goes once in a turn and does mebbe 50 points of damage. Do you see the problem here? Are you following me? Can you do basic arithmetic?

Ignoring the "armies", i think this was a good change, entirely in the plus column.

Here's the first change that we came across that we weren't expecting. In older versions of Civ, you can build workers, and they can mine the hills, irrigate the grasslands, clear swamplands, and build roads. Doing each action takes a number of turns depending on the action and the terrain, but workers last forever and by the end of the game you tend to accumulate a lot of them. Which is good because eventually they'll be needed to build railroads and clear pollution. But they can be hard to manage because you have to order them around one by one. You can automate them, but the automation (as of Civ 3) was rudimentary. You can tell them to go around and "clear swamplands" but then that's all they'll do, and they'll do it (basically) randomly. You can tell them to "build roads" (or later railroads) but, again, it would be random (i,e. just in random squares around your cities but not necessarily between cities), or you can order them to build a road or railroad from city A to city B. The problem was when you have 20 workers and you want them all to do like a big intercontinental railroad project; you'd either have to tell 20 workers one by one to build a railroad from city A to city E and hope they'd hit B-D as they went, or you'd have to direct them from A to B to C, etc., again, one by one. And if you wanted workers to embark on some new project, you have to catch them while they were in between tasks while on automation. If some worker was set to build mines and you now wanted workers to build railroads because that tech became available, you could either interrupt the worker in the middle of building the mine (and lose all that effort) or keep an eye on him every round until he was finished and then take him out of automation. Keeping track of that for 20 (or more) workers was impossible.

So what i would have liked to have seen is the ability to manage workers at a macro level. Set percentages for workers that are doing irrigation vs. mining, or whatever. Have a worker queue so that you could change orders but only after they finished their current jobs. Give orders like "build roads between all cities" to 10 workers at once.

Firaxis clearly saw that managing workers was a problem, but they solved it in a very different way. First, workers now only have a certain number of "charges". Three by default, can be expanded a bit based on tech and policies. Second, they don't build roads anymore. So a worker can irrigate a grassland and build two mines, and then he's gone and you have to build another one (and they aren't super cheap). There is no automation anymore (obviously, with only 3 charges, you wouldn't want the computer deciding what to do).

As for roads, they are built by traders, which is a truly bizarre decision. Managing trade routes in this game is a nightmare that deserves its own section (but this review is already too long), but the idea that you get roads by sending traders to a city is weird in and of itself. I didn't know that Marco Polo pooped out a road behind him when he traveled to China. And if i just want roads between my own cities, i have to send traders to each city? There is no indication of which of your cities have had traders sent to them already when you're on the trade route selection screen. It's impossible to manage. A later upgrade to the worker unit allows them to build roads, but then you are back to the problem of charges.

I don't know why "charges" were applied to workers but not to military units. The same logic that says a worker can only build three things before becoming exhausted should apply to how many times a soldier can fight, too. Not that i want that, but the selective application of this concept raises questions. This does "solve" the problem of managing a large group of automated workers, but in the same way that strangling your children in the third grade would solve the problem of paying for their college.

min: They stop being cute around age 5 anyway.

I can't say too much about this because it kind of caught us by surprise. But apparently religion is very important in Civ 6! Early in the game we passed on the decision to build shrines, thanks to the cost of first building a Holy Site and the fact that (as noted above) shrines no longer affect citizen happiness. The description said something about +2 Faith points per round and the ability to build missionaries and that all sounded like something we weren't interested in. But then later we saw Indian Hindu missionaries coming into our cities and converting our citizens and pretty soon India was well on its way to a Religious Victory. So we then looked into this missionary stuff and it turns out that you have to build your own missionaries to "fight" off "enemy" missionaries and this is all done without any kind of declaration of war (having a city converted to an enemy religion can be a "casus belli" for war later in that game, although we never saw that option). So ok, fine, we'll build some shrines and stuff. Except it turns out that in order to form your own religion, you have to attract one of four Great Prophets that exist in the game, and there are more than four civilizations in the game and by the time we figured all this out all the Prophets had been recruited and we simply could not form a religion and therefore had no way of defending ourselves from these missionaries.

min: goddamned missionaries! where's my Atheist Prophet? why couldn't i defend against missionaries with science!

So we simply attacked India militarily (hey, we were playing as Norse vikings) min: also der. you send missionaries, we send infantry.. If it weren't for other factors, i would say that we should play another game now that we understand the religious aspect and give it a fair shake min: no! no religion! *shudder* god talk gives me the heebie jeebies.. I'm a little uncomfortable with religion being so prominent in the game - i have a friend who for a while refused to build temples, etc. at all because he didn't want to drug his people with the opiate of the masses - but of course religion has been an important part of the history of civilization so i understand it being in the game.

For what it's worth, we tortured ourselves by playing through the tutorial before starting a real game, and the tutorial made no mention of all this religious stuff, so i don't accept 100% of the blame for missing how important religion was.

It was with Civ 6's government system that i realized how dumbed down the game has gotten. I was initially pretty excited because i saw that in addition to government, there was now a sub-concept called Policies. I imagined being able to select policies like "Universal Health Care" where maybe your population growth and happiness increased but so did your expenses. Or maybe going back a level and being able to choose policies like "Democratic Socialism" vs. "Capitalism" as Policies within the Democracy government with appropriate benefits and penalties for each. Turns out i was way overthinking it.

In Civ 1-3, there were only a few forms of government, and each one came with its own plusses and negatives. For example, Democracy increased economic growth but citizens became war weary much faster. Whereas in Communism production was spread out equally among all of your cities (itself a positive and negative). I'm oversimplifying and there were multiple benefits and detriments to each government type, which made weighing the differences between them a lot of fun and also fairly consequential. In Civ 6 there are twice as many governments, some of them very granular (e.g. Merchant Republic), but the choice doesn't feel very important. Each government type provides what feels like a minor bonus, and no negatives. Each government type allows for a different mix of policy slots. For example, Merchant Republic gives a bonus of "+2 Trade Routes and 15% discount on gold purchases", and allows one military policy, two economic policies, one diplomatic policy, and two wildcard policies (which can be filled with any of the other types or a special fourth type). For comparison, Monarchy's bonus is "+2 housing in any city with medieval walls and 20% bonus influence points" and has three military policies, one economic policy, one diplomatic policy, and one wildcard. Without getting into all the details of the game, i assure you that the bonuses of either government types are not game changers. And the policies are even less significant. A typical Military policy is "Logistics: +1 Movement if starting turn in friendly territory". That's basically garbage, so whether you get 3 of those or 1 in comparison to your number of economic policies ("Skyscrapers: +15% production toward Industrial era and later wonders") is meaningless. And you get new policies constantly based on the tech you research, so just about every other round we sat and agonized over these inconsequential choices. It eventually occurred to me that these policies - which are shaped like cards that you drag into your deck - are based on games like Magic: The Gathering or Munchkin. You're not really setting policies, you're just picking which (minor) bonuses you want.

So this was really disappointing. Not only did Policies turn out to be a dud, but the basic concept of Governments has been watered down to the point where it doesn't really matter.

Great Leaders
This is a new concept that feels almost redundant to Great Wonders, but i guess it adds a new facet to the game. The idea is that when you build districts and other improvements, you generate a certain number of Great Leader points each round. There are Great Generals, Great Scientists, Great Artists, etc.. Building an encampment earns you Great General points every round, building a campus earns you Great Scientist points, etc.. And the idea is that you are competing against the other civs to "buy" these Great Leaders. You want to earn your 1,000 points to buy, say, Charles Darwin before the Indians do. Which of course sounds just like real life. There's something very circular about it, too. You build campuses and libraries and the like to earn Darwin, but the main function of those buildings is to improve your scientific output. But the bonus for earning Darwin is also a boost to your scientific output. So it's a "rich get richer" sort of thing. In that sense, it's different than a Great Wonder where (in Civ 3 at least) you might build the Great Library because you are falling behind the other civilizations in science and the Library brings you back up to parity. So the Great Wonders are (potentially) a way to catch up, whereas the Great Leaders reinforce the things you were already good at. That's not a terrible idea, but, again, the Leaders turn out to not be all that important. Since old habits die hard, i made a point of building an encampment and a barracks in most of our cities, and therefore we recruited a lot of Great Generals, and they basically just provided minor, non-noticeable bonuses to our troops.

min: you could also "buy" them with any "Faith" points you've accumulated. why is there so much religion in my Civ game!?

Spies and Traders
Spies and Traders aren't related, but we had the same complaints about both. Both spies and traders require major amounts of micromanagement. In Civ 3, once you got the Espionage tech, you could plant a spy in an enemy civilization. That automatically got you some intel on the civilization. The spy could then perform one of a few missions (see enemy troop locations, steal technology, sabotage production in a city), at a cost of money and at a risk of getting caught. In Civ 6, you first have to build a spy. Then you have to send the spy to a specific enemy city, and then wait for the spy to travel there. Then you have to tell the spy what to do (and actions are limited by what's in the city). Then you have to wait several rounds for them to do it. Then after a few rounds the spy is done and you have to give them a new job. It took forever and provided very little (we learned such important things as "this Greek city is building a granary").

I noted the weird road building aspect of traders above, but you also have to manage the routes for each trader that you build, and after they complete a route you have to choose a new route and weigh the very minor rewards of that route. And there's a weird limitation (that we never quite understood) to what cities you can reach. You can trade between your own cities or with other civilizations' cities, if you can reach them. So every few rounds you're dealing with a trade screen and after staring at it for a while we'd just pick something at random and it never felt like it mattered.

I have a vague recollection that you could build traders or convoys in Civ 2, but i liked the way it worked in Civ 3, where you just negotiated with other countries to trade resources. Actually, that aspect is in this game as well so i don't know why we also needed to build and manage traders.

min: i think it was so that we could get frustrated by more pop-ups blocking the board.

This is where it all really fell apart. I know that i'm cranky, i try to be patient and force myself to stay open to changes and keep playing. But some of the more basic elements of the game were a complete fail, making it not worth trying to get used to the changes.

This was the main reason we decided we needed to "upgrade" our Civ. In Civ 3 single player, the camera is pretty good about keeping focus on the right things. If you're in the middle of a fight with 6 troops attacking a city, the camera knows to stay on troop #2 after troop #1 attacks, instead of suddenly panning to troop #7 standing at some random place somewhere else. And if you're being attacked by an enemy civilization on its turn, the camera shows you that. Great! I mean, honestly, it's something you'd never even think needed to be mentioned. But in Civ 3 multiplayer, the camera did everything wrong, basically the opposite of what's described above. But, ok, Civ 3 is an old game and multiplayer was probably a bit of an afterthought. We should play Civ 6. Well, we can't play Civ 6 multiplayer because of the hardware issue. But i would have never imagined that playing Civ 6 in single player mode would have all the same camera problems as Civ 3 multiplayer. But it does! It's constantly panning away from the area that i've dragged the camera over to. The only way you know that you're being attacked between your turns is because of little notifications that come up on the sidebar. This is like basic stuff, but it's a disaster. Virtually unplayable because that alone.

Then there's the tooltips. Good god. In Civ 3, if you wanted to know the details of the terrain (e.g. how good is it for production, commerce, etc.), you could right click on it and get a little info. In Civ 6, wherever you put your mouse cursor, and annoying box pops up to tell you about the tile, no matter what you are trying to do.

What the? Get out of my way i just want to look at my city!

min: i blame Mac users with their stupid 1-button mouse. they were jealous of our right-clicking abilities.

There is a "tooltip delay" option in the settings, but the maximum time is 2 seconds, which is barely anything.
So there is just constantly a tooltip floating around, blocking your view. On top of that, the tooltips only tell you about the terrain info, which is useful information when you are first settling a new city and that's about it. In Civ 3 you could right click on a unit to learn the fighting capabilities of that unit, right click on a city to get options, etc.. The tooltips even have a higher z-index than other important information, so for example those notifications i mentioned earlier about how you might have been attacked between rounds can get covered up because the game thinks it's more important to tell you about the productivity of the soil underneath the message.

Barbarians where? Where?!

Different tooltips do appear on the city product screen, which mainly serve to obscure the other items on the list when you're trying to decide what to build next.

Can't... see... list...!

The tooltips are a big part of it, but generally speaking the UI is a lot messier and more difficult to navigate. A lot of effort was clearly spent to make the board look "better" (hence the graphics card requirements), but they therefore chose to eliminate a lot of the menu screens and do everything on the main board or with a few "reports". There is no military advisor view, for example, and you can't get a list of all your cities and what they are working on. Basically a ton of screens have been eliminated or replaced with less useful pop-ups that are overly rendered and hard to look at. I've seen that a lot of people dislike the more bright and cartoony look and feel of the board itself. I'm not sure if the cartoony part is the problem, exactly, but it's just kind of hard to tell what is background and what is important, since it's all rendered the same way.

Is that my boat over there or just an image indicating that i've enabled a fishing improvement?

In definite proof that i am a crank, i've seen very little of the above complaints in other reviews of the game. However, complaints about the AI are common, and i agree with them. One of the benefits of this game is that the AI is more upfront about what they are upset at you about. But they are still not very logical. We had Gorgo constantly popping up to yell at us because we were running away from barbarians instead of fighting them, when in reality the barbarians were running away from us and we just couldn't catch up. There's a new option in the game to raise an objection when a civilization plops down a city in the middle of what is clearly your territory, which is good. But in our game India created a city right in the middle of three of our cities, nowhere near their other cities, and when we complained about it Gandhi (Gandhi!) told us to fuck off. And this was on a low difficulty level. In general, the other countries pop up constantly and are belligerent for inexplicable reasons. And then there's the weirdness of having a little animated movie with the leader saying their line, and then loading another screen where their words are repeated and you only have the option of clicking OK. Either give me a chance to respond, or don't show me the same thing twice.

Other Stuff
We actually have a lot more complaints:

  • The city interior view has been replaced with some pop-up menus that suck.
  • No city production queue?!?!
  • Another problem in Civ 3 that we were hoping would get fixed around escorting civilian units actually got worse.
  • Sean Bean did not need to read a random quote to us every time we researched a new tech. Why on earth would you pay a celebrity to do that?
  • The Civilopedia seems greatly diminished from previous versions. min: the Civilopedia, once a great resource, is the most useless piece of crap in Civ 6. there's hardly any info on the actual thing the entry is supposed to be about followed by a 3 paragraph thesis on the history of the thing. i don't care about the history of cavalry units! i want to know what i can do with a cavalry unit in this game, what i need to get one, and what it can upgrade to. instead, we get what basically amounts to "Cavalry are military units". 0_o

What we liked
Ok, to end on a positive note:

  • The idea that there are little city states that you can either try to conquer or you can compete with other civilizations to influence and become their suzerain was fun.
  • Sea travel was always a pain in earlier versions of Civ. In this version, once you have a level of sea travel tech, your land units automatically can "become" sea units when they go into a water square. So you don't have to wait rounds to build a transport ship in order to travel across a body of water. As noted above, escorting units is still a problem, but being able to walk directly into the water is cool. min: he turned into a boat! the horse turned into a boat!!!
  • The fact that you can cite a "casus belli" when declaring war, which reduces or eliminates your warmongering penalty depending on the type, is nice. This is the sort of minor tweaking and updating that i wished Firaxis had focused on instead of the major sweeping changes.

I guess my overall thesis is that Civ 3 was great and just needed a few fixes and instead we got a very changed and kind of unfinished game.

By fnord12 | January 12, 2017, 3:39 PM | Video Games | Link

Corey Booker is a bad liar

Jezebel has a response from Booker on why he voted against the drug amendment:

I support the importation of prescription drugs as a key part of a strategy to help control the skyrocketing cost of medications. Any plan to allow the importation of prescription medications should also include consumer protections that ensure foreign drugs meet American safety standards. I opposed an amendment put forward last night that didn't meet this test. The rising cost of medications is a life-and-death issue for millions of Americans, which is why I also voted for amendments last night that bring drug prices down and protect Medicare's prescription drug benefit. I‎'m committed to finding solutions that allow for prescription drug importation with adequate safety standards.

Suuuuure. I'd be really concerned about importing drugs from that third world hellhole, Canada. Without looking anything up, i will guarantee that Canada's safety standards are much higher than ours, so Booker's position is bullshit. And of course the point of this bill isn't to actually do it, but to highlight how ridiculous it is that the same drugs that are sold here in the US are sold in Canada at a fraction of the cost. But i'll remember Booker's explanation the next time a real progressive is lectured about "making the perfect the enemy of the good".

By fnord12 | January 12, 2017, 3:01 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Cory Booker is horrible

Cory Booker was one of 13 Democrats who just voted against the Sanders-Klobuchar amendment to import drugs from Canada. Here's Bernie's (pre-vote) video on the subject (Facebook warning, but i was able to watch it without an account; just click "not now"). The vote was 46-52 and would have passed if it wasn't for these 13 "Democrats". (To be sure, might not have passed in the House, but as Sanders notes in the video, Trump is in favor of doing something about drug prices, and there were some surprise Republican votes in the Senate, like Ted Cruz).

Booker also recently endorsed the Goldman-Sachs candidate for governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, over Assemblyman John Wisniewski (a Bernie supporter in the primaries). Anyone who remembers Corzine knows we don't need another Goldman-Sachs exec for a governor.

Our other horrible senator, Robert Menendez also voted against the amendment and endorsed Murphy. But i'll be surprised if his corrupt ass makes it all the way to his 2018 primary, whereas Booker is expected to run for president in 2020.

By fnord12 | January 12, 2017, 7:57 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

White Christmas

Just like i dreamed of.

By fnord12 | December 25, 2016, 1:40 PM | My stupid life | Link

Just in time

Santaur, Krampus, and Lederhosen Unicorn

We didn't think our new ornaments would get here before Christmas, but they arrived just in the "Nick" of time. Ha ha! Oh god, i'm sorry, please don't gore me, Lederhosen Unicorn!

By fnord12 | December 24, 2016, 6:05 PM | My stupid life | Link

My decree

If a video game must use autosave only (i.e. no ability to save whenever i want), then it must somewhere display how long it has been since your last checkpoint. I need to know if i can turn off the goddamn game without losing all my progress.

(Besides that, the new Doom game is everything i hoped it would be.)

By fnord12 | December 22, 2016, 7:33 PM | Video Games | Link

Formerly Grey Horde

This was going to just be the "grey horde", because while painting the last batch i spilled a lot of grey paint and had to quickly grab a bunch of miniatures to base coat (again).

And that worked out pretty well for my final Drider and another one-eyed lizardman:

And these beetles, because who really cares:

But when i got to these goblins, i decided that i liked their faces too much to do a total crap job with them. My original reasoning was that i have so many goblins that i didn't need to do anything special with these, so i was just going to let them be grey and do a black wash over the armor and not much else. But i couldn't let myself do it. And the grey paint was a little too dark for regular base coating (the colors weren't popping) and not quite dark enough for the "dry brush only" technique (see the 'again' link). So i ended up totally painting over the goblins trying to get something that worked and there's very little of the original grey exposed. I also intended to just keep using the brushes i used on the last batch since i don't think i'll paint any more on this vacation, but i pretty much destroyed the cheapo detail brush that i used last time and i had to break out a new one. As it is, i'm still not sure if i really did the goblins justice but they're better than my first draft.

Since i had to grab all of these quickly due to the spilled paint, i didn't have time to do the cold water / hot water technique, so the Drider and some of the goblins are bent at unusual angles. Not that the water technique works all that well anyway. I'm also realizing that i forgot to de-nudify the Drider this time; i think after the last batch i've become desensitized to it.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2016, 6:25 PM | D&D | Link

Lady Horde

I've been noting that i'm kind of getting down to the figures that i've been passing on. So this time i decided to just pull out all the female figures, many of whom i've skipped in the past due to "sexy" poses or nudity. My goal was to do these kind of quickly and not obsess over details; i basically let the washes do the work.

The worst offender is this giant. I guess the top-half boob coverings and the heart-shaped vagina covering mean that she's not entirely naked, but she might as well be. I love that the one place a giant has decided to wear armor is on her shoulders, because clearly that's where you're getting attacked all the time, not your legs. No need to even wear shoes!

Then there's the pose. Totally appropriate for a swords and sorcery adventure game. Just to really demonstrate the problem, here's her butt.

Next up we have our sexy demons. One is completely naked. The other is just sultry. Why can't female demons be menacing and threatening like male demons?

These next two figures are fine. I like having a valkyrie. I went with the wash technique that i've been using lately. In isolation it looks like they might have been better served with more solid colors, but this way they'll be distinct among the other armored female fighters (and i do have such characters, despite the offerings in this batch).

The next two are really fine, too. I clearly used Storm as an inspiration for the one on the right (the tiara probably gave me the idea).

The next two required a little cleavage reduction. The one on the right especially. I honestly don't know what she's wearing. It looks like a real pain to put on and keep on (not shown, but the entire back is bare, so it's all secured at the neck). This figure is actually not a Bones; she's from another game and was given to me by a friend. She's also got something weird going on with her face (hard to see in the scan). I think it's supposed to be like some of her hair is blown onto her face, but it looks like she has sideburns.

The next two are also sorceress types but i went with more of an earthy druid feel. I like the one on the left although (and i know this is kind of a subtle nitpick) the way she's posed, with the cocked waist and the extended leg, is not the sort of pose you'd see a man in. We need a Hawkeye Initiative for D&D miniatures. The figure on the right is just off the rails. I de-nudified her but she's basically meant to have her boobs hanging out and her legs bare. She's also barefoot (nothing i could do about that).

I also don't know what she's looking at. Hey! We're down here.

I get that the people making these miniatures must sometimes get bored and want to put the figures in nontraditional poses, but how are we supposed to use these figures? "You turn the corner and encounter a woman who is staring at the ceiling. She refuses to look at you, no matter what you do."

Finally, a medusa. Totally naked, of course.

By fnord12 | December 16, 2016, 11:11 PM | D&D | Link

Perception of Female Anger

An old HuffPo article that i just found.

Previous research suggests that women are not only stereotyped as overly emotional, but they're also perceived as less influential, competent and rational than men during group discussions. And women are particularly punished for behaving dominantly.

To investigate this dynamic, researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted a study to see how people reacted to women versus men who expressed anger in a group setting.

The Setup

The researchers gathered 210 undergraduate students to participate in a computerized mock-jury simulation that would take place over an instant messenger program. Participants were told that they'd be randomly assigned to virtual groups of six-person "juries" with other people in the study. They were first presented with evidence from a real-life murder trial and then asked to create a username for the jury chat room where they would "deliberate with their group until they reached a unanimous verdict." They then reported their verdict and confidence in their decision before deliberation began.

The chat room, however, was completely scripted based on that initial verdict given by each participant. In each chat, four of the other "jurors" would agree with the participant's verdict and one "juror" would disagree -- the researchers called this one "the holdout juror." The holdout juror was either a man (Jason) or a woman (Alicia). In the simulation, the holdout would either use no emotion or use "clear expressions of anger," like "seriously, this just makes me angry" and "OK, this is getting really frustrating," as well words in all capital letters. Over the course of the discussion, one of the "jurors" would switch their verdict to align with the holdout's.

After the discussion was over, participants reported their final verdicts and how confident they were in their decision. They also completed a survey about how they perceived their co-jurors: how emotional, angry, trustworthy, influential, likable, competent, credible, persuasive and rational they felt the others were.

The Findings

After analyzing the simulation, the researchers found that women's anger worked against them, while men's anger served as a "powerful" tool of persuasion. When the holdout was a male who expressed anger, participants significantly doubted their own opinion, even when they were in the majority. But if the holdout was a woman who expressed anger, she actually had less influence over participants -- so much so that it was the only scenario in the study in which participants became more confident in their own opinion that opposed that of the woman.

The post-simulation perception surveys shed some light as to why they found this dynamic. The male and female holdouts used the same exact typed language, so participants couldn't judge potential gender differences in communication style or facial expression. Even so, perception biases still cropped up. When the man was perceived as emotional, he was considered more credible for getting angry. But when the woman was perceived as emotional, participants became more sure of their own opinion, even if they considered the woman credible. As the researchers put it: "When a woman expresses anger, this does not just make her seem less credible, but seems to make assessing her credibility irrelevant."

I surveyed my emotional womb and my aggressive vagina and we are all in agreement that having our opinions discounted piss us off.

By min | December 16, 2016, 9:31 AM | Science | Link

Charles Will Never Inherit the Crown

Cause Queen Elizabeth is never going to die. She's going to be like Ida Lowry in Brazil, getting herself rejuvenated every 10 years or so.

By tweaking genes that turn adult cells back into embryoniclike ones, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies reversed the aging of mouse and human cells in vitro, extended the life of a mouse with an accelerated-aging condition and successfully promoted recovery from an injury in a middle-aged mouse, according to a study published Thursday in Cell.
The study adds weight to the scientific argument that aging is largely a process of so-called epigenetic changes, alterations that make genes more active or less so. Over the course of life cell-activity regulators get added to or removed from genes. In humans those changes can be caused by smoking, pollution or other environmental factors--which dial the genes' activities up or down. As these changes accumulate, our muscles weaken, our minds slow down and we become more vulnerable to diseases.

The new study suggests the possibility of reversing at least some of these changes, a process researchers think they may eventually get to work in living humans. "Aging is something plastic that we can manipulate," says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, the study's senior author and an expert in gene expression at Salk. In their study Belmonte and his colleagues rejuvenated cells by turning on, for a short period of time, four genes that have the capacity to convert adult cells back into an embryoniclike state.


With an approach like the one Belmonte lays out in the new study, theoretically "you could have one treatment and go back 10 or 20 years," he says. If aging starts to catch up to you again, you simply get another treatment.

They come out with a study every couple of years about how they've discovered yet another way to slow/reverse aging. They don't seem to go anywhere, though. I think they do it just to keep up my Resident Evil paranoia. It's working.

By min | December 16, 2016, 8:41 AM | Science | Link

I Hate the Name Calling "Criticisms"

I get the desire. I'm constantly calling people "asshats" (in case you haven't noticed). It makes me feel better. But i'm writing blog posts to fnord12 (and possibly some of our stupid friends). This is me having a conversation with fnord12 while we're at work and not sitting on our couch where we could have this conversation otherwise. I can say "asshat" on my couch! I think the media needs to do a little better though. Trump sexually assaulting someone should not get equal/less focus than his crazy tweets insulting the cast of a musical.

When John Oliver started his "Drumpf" campaign, it made me cringe inside. Every time Jimmy Dore says "Donnie Tiny Hands", i hate it a little more. There was a point where it stopped being amusing and started to feel juvenile and not particularly productive. Isn't this the sort of crap Rush Limbaugh does? Do i want to equate John Oliver with Rush Limbaugh???

Nathan J. Robinson argues that there is a better way to criticize Trump.

[S]urely it matters more that he has actually committed serious sex crimes than that he has possibly made some bizarre reference to Megyn Kelly's menstrual cycle. Likewise, his history of making it hard for his contractors to feed their families is far more reprehensible than his outlandish tweeting habits or his risible haircut. Trump's actions have hurt people in serious ways, and his behavior can be divided into that which is merely silly (such as his calling Rosie O'Donnell rude names) versus that which actively causes pain (such as his almost certainly having raped someone).

Unfortunately, media outrage about Trump frequently adopts a uniform level of outrage at his acts. Trump's history is treated as a set of bad things, meaning that few distinctions are made among which kinds of transgressions are worse. But there are lesser and greater crimes. Trump's constant theft of wages and payments from dishwashers, cabinet-makers, and servers is far more consequential than, say, his promotion of a failed mail-order steak franchise. But press coverage often treats such things as being of equal interest.


This is why John Oliver's mockery of Trump on Last Week Tonight was particularly toothless and pathetic. Having found out that Trump's German ancestors were called "Drumpf" rather than "Trump," Oliver led a campaign to "Make Donald Drumpf Again," wringing great amusement out of the apparent silliness of Trump's ancestral name. But what was the point of this joke? What did it say about Trump? Lots of people have foreign ancestors with unusual names. Do we care? Isn't progressivism supposed to have, as one of its principles, that foreign names aren't funny just because they're foreign? Isn't this the cheapest and most xenophobic of all possible jokes? Oliver's Drumpf campaign became extremely popular, but it was deeply childish. It fell into a common trap of Trump critiques: it descended to Trump's level, using name-calling and playground taunts rather than trying to actually critique the truly harmful and reprehensible things about Trump. (It is possible to do satirical comedy that is actually brutal. The best joke about George W. Bush was nothing to do with My Pet Goat or his choking on a pretzel, but was the Onion's devastating headline: "George W. Bush Debuts New Paintings Of Dogs, Friends, Ghost Of Iraqi Child That Follows Him Everywhere.")

The failure to distinguish between tone and substance afflicted coverage of the notorious Billy Bush tape. Multiple news outlets reported that Trump had been caught on tape making "lewd" or "vulgar" remarks about women. In fact, he had been caught on tape bragging about committing sexual assault. The problem wasn't the vulgarity. (After all, it would have been unobjectionable if he had been caught on tape saying "there's nothing I love more than when someone gives unambiguous and enthusiastic consent for me to grab her by the pussy.") It didn't matter that he had said the word "pussy," it mattered that he had admitted to a series of outrageous sex crimes. But the idea that "vulgarity" is what's unappealing about Trump suggests that if he did the same exact things, with a little better manners, his behavior would be beyond reproach.

Criticisms should be of the things that matter: the serial sexual assaults, the deportation plans, the anti-Muslim sentiment, the handouts to the rich, the destruction of the earth. These are the things that matter, and if progressives actually do care about them, then these are the things we should spend our time discussing. Forget the gaffes. Forget the hypocrisy. Forget the hotels. Forget the hair. And don't bother calling him Drumpf.

And also,

But mounting effective attacks against Trump requires caring about being effective to begin with. The more Democrats spend time talking about things like, say, Trump angering China with a phone call to Taiwan (isn't the left supposed to favor talking to Taiwan?), the less we'll zero in on Trump's true political weaknesses. Trump wants us to talk about his feud with the cast of Hamilton. He does not want us to force him to talk seriously about policy.

Cereally! Who isn't tired of the US pretending to not talk to Taiwan so that China won't get pissy about it? We should be talking to Taiwan! China needs to get over it. Coddling them is not going to help them move on. Buncha whiners.

By min | December 15, 2016, 9:33 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Winning the popular vote

The postmortems i've been linking to have been focused on policy issues, since i'm interested in seeing the Democratic party rebuild itself after a series of staggering defeats and move away from the DLC centrist philosophy that's been driving it since Bill Clinton. This Politico article focuses on the strategic and tactical mistakes. I don't think there are many lessons to learn from this sort of thing, except in a kind of narrow sense about who to hire to run a campaign next time. But since a lot of Democrats are resisting the need to change, citing the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, i think this is worth calling out:

But there also were millions approved for transfer from Clinton's campaign for use by the DNC -- which, under a plan devised by Brazile to drum up urban turnout out of fear that Trump would win the popular vote while losing the electoral vote, got dumped into Chicago and New Orleans, far from anywhere that would have made a difference in the election.

Basically, they deliberately ran up the popular votes in places that didn't matter (tactically speaking). I'm 100% in favor of eliminating the electoral college (and not during the month after a Democrat loses the electoral vote while winning the popular vote), but you can't claim that Trump is somehow illegitimate for winning by the rules everyone understood in advance. Or that everything is fine and we don't need to change anything for next time. You can argue that the people running the Clinton campaign were idiots for taking the Rust Belt for granted while trying to run up the score for bragging rights elsewhere.

By fnord12 | December 15, 2016, 8:48 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Recap 76

Thules Rush In

By min | December 13, 2016, 8:30 AM | D&D | Link

What we're up against

Russia is in the news lately, so i thought it would be good to warn you about their navy seals.

By fnord12 | December 12, 2016, 1:58 PM | Cute Things | Link

Words that make you go "der!"

The Obama administration -- perhaps anticipating a Hillary Clinton presidency -- supported these changes.

By fnord12 | December 12, 2016, 11:04 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link


For whatever reason, my inability to see pictures in my head came up a lot in conversations irl this weekend. I didn't realize until college that most people could actually see pictures in their heads, and i still wasn't sure if i believed that people could really do it. But we've been watching Falling Water recently, and so we've been talking about dreams. Min has very vivid dreams and she can actually control them, which is really weird in a different direction, and she's been asking friends if they can do that (no one can). But in talking about that, my lack of ability to see pictures at all has come up. I've googled about it before and found nothing, but apparently in the last year or so the condition (?) has been identified and named Aphantasia. Here are two news articles about it: NYT and BBC. And here's a really good explainer about it from the co-founder of Firefox, who has the same "condition".

I do dream. I very very rarely remember them, usually only when i've been woken up in the middle. But like the commenter at the bottom of this article, the dreams are like "narration", not a movie in my head.

No idea if this "explains" anything about me, since it's all perfectly normal to me. And it's not like there's anything weird about me that needs to be explained. Right?!

By fnord12 | December 12, 2016, 8:53 AM | My stupid life & Science | Link

It thinks it's people. *We* thinks it's people.

We're probably the last people in the world to see this but we wanted to end the week with something non political.

SuperMegaMonkey does not endorsing punching anyone or anything in the face. Especially creatures that look humanoid enough that they might one day rise up against us.

By fnord12 | December 9, 2016, 4:27 PM | Ummm... Other? | Link

Did You Know We Had a Labor Party Once Upon a Time?


The last major effort to form a national vehicle for working-class politics was the Labor Party (LP), founded twenty years ago. Under the leadership of Tony Mazzocchi, president of the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers union, the party's organizers gathered support from other major unions and grassroots trade-unionists and held its founding convention in 1996.

The Labor Party's history is not well-known in the broader progressive world. But as the most recent major effort by organized labor to form an independent party, it is a story that should interest anyone who hopes to see a revival of left politics, because on the Left only unions have the scale, experience, resources, and connections with millions of workers needed to mount a permanent, nationwide electoral project.

By all accounts it was an inspiring effort that seemed, for a moment, to portend a renaissance for the labor-left. But the party lost momentum just a few years after its founding. By 2007 it had effectively ceased to exist.

They never ran a candidate for fear of splitting the vote and ending up with a Republican, so it's no surprise if you didn't know about their existence.

The dilemma stands out clearly in the recollections of Labor Party veterans. "The Labor Party had to start with the assurance that it wouldn't play spoiler politics and that it would [first] focus on building the critical mass necessary for serious electoral intervention," former LP national organizer Mark Dudzic recalled in a recent interview. Yet, as Les Leopold of the Labor Institute told Brown, that path ultimately led to irrelevance: "It's not easy for Americans to understand a party that's not electoral. I think that that was just a difficult sell."

No shit.

I recommend reading the entire article. It goes on to talk about the problems of trying to make changes from within the Democratic party, which sort of seems like the only other option if there's no chance of a viable third party.

It's true that a number of sincere, committed leftists, or at least progressives, run for office on the Democratic ballot line at all levels of American politics. Sometimes they even win. And all else equal, we're better off with such politicians in office than without them. So in that limited sense, the answer might be "yes."

But electing individual progressives does little to change the broad dynamics of American politics or American capitalism. In fact, it can create a kind of placebo effect: sustaining the illusion of forward motion while obscuring the fact that neither party is structurally built to reflect working-class interests.


In this "party-less" model of politics, it's the Democratic politician who goes about trying to recruit a base, rather than the other way around. The politician's platform and message are devised by her and her alone. They can be changed on a whim. And there is no mechanism by which the politician can be held accountable to the (fairly nebulous) progressive constituency she has recruited to her cause.

The following is a proposal for such a model: a national political organization that would have chapters at the state and local levels, a binding program, a leadership accountable to its members, and electoral candidates nominated at all levels throughout the country.

As a nationwide organization, it would have a national educational apparatus, recognized leaders and spokespeople at the national level, and its candidates and other activities would come under a single, nationally recognized label. And, of course, all candidates would be required to adhere to the national platform.

But it would avoid the ballot-line trap. Decisions about how individual candidates appear on the ballot would be made on a case-by-case basis and on pragmatic grounds, depending on the election laws and partisan coloration of the state or district in question. In any given race, the organization could choose to run in major- or minor-party primaries, as nonpartisan independents, or even, theoretically, on the organization's own ballot line.

The ballot line would thus be regarded as a secondary issue. The organization would base its legal right to exist not on the repressive ballot laws, but on the fundamental rights of freedom of association.

I'm not sure i understand exactly how this would work. It sounds like a union or a really really big club. And i'm not sure that the national leadership would be as beholden to the members as imagined. In theory, the American Federation of Teachers union leadership is beholden to its members, but they have and can make unilateral decision to publically endorse candidates without consulting the membership with very little consequence to themselves.

And if they're going to run candidates in the primaries, why not just do that within the Democratic party as opposed to nominally being independent?

By min | December 9, 2016, 1:34 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Pardon my post-post mortem

I don't know if this violates my "no more post-mortems" promise, but i early linked to the first two parts of Ryan Cooper's four parter, and i've realized that the second two parts are now out and quite good. And they're really about rebuilding the Democratic party, so they're not post-mortems anymore anyway. Here's part three and the bottom of it links to part four.


As part of this, Dems should also shed their preening "wonky" self-presentation. Hillary Clinton had a whole office stuffed full of policy experts churning out papers on everything under the sun, and it was all for naught. Remember that the point of campaigns is to set values and priorities, not lay out hugely complicated policies that do little but flatter the campaign's sense of its own expertise. How many people were swayed by Clinton's last-minute plan to make the Child Tax Credit somewhat more refundable for certain parents? I'd wager it was in the triple digits at best.

That's not to say that realistic ideas are bad, or that one should be deliberately dishonest, but that the time for drilling down on the minute details is after the election is won.

remember how all the pundits kept criticizing Bernie cause he didn't have a "specific" plan for everything under the sun? and only had general policies outlined? GRR!

By fnord12 | December 8, 2016, 6:25 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Of course intersectionality includes class

I thought this was a good write-up by Katie Halper. I love that the Clinton campaign's final contribution to politics is an argument over the meaning of what the word "but" is. It has a certain symmetry to it.

I remember reading this exchange during the primary and how it made me feel queasy:

In an obvious dig at Sanders, who the Clinton campaign was deriding as a "single issue candidate," Clinton asked, rhetorically, "Not everything is about an economic theory, right? If we broke up the big banks tomorrow -- and I will, if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk, I will -- would that end racism?" When the audience responded "No!" Clinton took the call and response and really ran with it, asking "Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the LGBT community? Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight? Would that solve our problem with voting rights, and Republicans who are trying to strip them away from people of color, the elderly, and the young?"

The audience responded to each of these questions with... "No!"

I kept waiting for Clinton's plan to end discrimination and the policy differences she had from Sanders that necessitated abandoning his economic approach. But nothing ever surfaced.

By fnord12 | December 8, 2016, 8:51 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Welcome to the Monkey Cage

After Trump falsely claimed on Twitter that he would have won the popular vote "if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally", the media (rightly) demanded to know where he got that information. And Trump told them it was from the Washington Post:

In 2014, under the headline "Could non-citizens decide the November election?" the Post had run a piece from two social scientists, Jesse Richman and David Earnest, suggesting that illegal voting by non-citizens could be regularly occurring, and could even be prevalent enough to tip elections. As they wrote:

How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.

Richman and Earnest's thesis was extremely controversial, and was so heavily criticized that the Post ultimately published a note preceding the article, pointing out that many objections to the work had been made. But the Post never actually retracted or withdrew the piece.

In response, the Washington Post went in a weird direction:

Without actually linking to the Post's original article about voting by non-citizens, fact-checker Michelle Ye Hee Lee tried to claim that the study wasn't really in the Washington Post. Instead, she said, it: "was published two years ago in the Monkey Cage, a political-science blog hosted by The Washington Post. (Note to Trump's staff members: This means you can't say The Washington Post reported this information; you have to cite the Monkey Cage blog.)"

It was an embarrassing defense. The writers had explicitly said that a reasonable extrapolation from existing data was that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in the 2008 election. They had said so in an article that appeared on the Washington Post's website, displayed in exactly the same manner as every single other piece of reportage. And the Post had never taken the article down or retracted the claim, and had only noted that the piece was highly controversial. Yet instead of apologizing for the Post's role in spreading a dubious claim, Lee relied on ridiculous distinctions. She insisted that the Post had "hosted" rather than "published" the article. She attempted to enforce a made-up rule, that people aren't allowed to cite the article as coming from the Post, but must instead cite it as coming from something called the "Monkey Cage," which sounds far less credible. Yet on the article page itself, there is no such disclaimer to indicate a distinction between non-Post-endorsed "blog posts" and actual Post writing, and the words "Monkey Cage" appear in tiny letters beneath the ordinary full-sized Washington Post logo. There is nothing to make ordinary readers aware that the Post is not responsible for any claims made in these corners of its website.

I'll link directly to the original article and let you decide if you would cite that as coming from the Post. I would (even still).

Now (and this shouldn't need to be said) this is not a defense of Trump. That article clearly had major problems and should obviously not have been cited by anyone, let alone the President-Elect on a topic that undermines faith in our democracy and stirs up hate for immigrants. The point is how much the Washington Post sucks in a) publishing that without skepticism, b) not retracting it after it got multiple takedowns from experts, and c) resorting to the lame defense that it wasn't "really" them after Trump cited it.

This has relevance to another story. A few posts down i linked to a few discussions of the Washington Post's unskeptical article on PropOrNot, the organization that is pushing a list of "fake news" sites that, among other things, it advocates get investigated by the FBI (a list that features many legit, if non-mainstream, sites). After much pushback, the Post has put a mealy mouthed "Editor's Note" at the top of the article, saying that they don't vouch for PropOrNot and that it was only one of four organizations mentioned in their article. As Adam Johnson of FAIR says, that's bullshit. 90% of the Post's article was about PropOrNot, and it was the only part of the article that was new (i.e. "news"). PropOrNot had some very specific claims about the number of "planted" articles that were viewed. And when the Post's article first came out, it was widely cited by major pundits and Clinton campaign operatives on Twitter, all who have large followings. So talking about undermining faith in democracy, we now have a Post article shared by millions who think that it's proof that Russia hacked our election. The Post's belated editor's note won't get nearly as much coverage, and since the Post isn't actually retracting the article, it will still be there for someone to cite the same way Trump cited the election fraud article.

By the way, i did check the Post's PropOrNot article, and it says "Business" in the same place that the election fraud article said "Monkey Cage". Does that mean i should be saying that it's not a Washington Post article, it's a Business article?

P.S. The article i linked to at top also gets into the topic of fact checking sites and their flaws; it's worth a full read.

By fnord12 | December 8, 2016, 7:35 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Now That's an Ornament

That is a goddamned centaur Santa and a unicorn wearing lederhosen! Lederhosen!!! We don't put up a tree by we should buy those, right? RIGHT???

fnord12: Right!

By min | December 7, 2016, 2:13 PM | Ummm... Other? | Link

Taibbi Reviews Friedman's Thank You For Being Late



Take the chapter about Mother Nature, which opens with a story about a day in July, 2015 when the heat index in southern Iran reached 163 degrees. That news item gives the author an opening to introduce the concept of a "black elephant," an ominous (if you know Friedman) term apparently explained to him by environmentalist Adam Sweidan:

"[It is] a cross between a 'black swan' - a rare, low-probability, unanticipated event with enormous ramifications - and 'the elephant in the room': a problem that is widely visible to everyone, yet that no one wants to address, even though we absolutely know that one day it will have vast, black-swan-like consequences."

You would think he could just say, "The climate change problem is a cross between a black swan and the elephant in the room - or, as I like to call it, a Black Elephant."

Instead he leads audiences through drawn-out explanations of two everyday terms. Moreover his unnecessary definition of "the elephant in the room" contains the phrase "black swan," making what was originally a relatively simple idea now a kind of circular movie-within-a-movie image that is more than a little hard to follow: "A black elephant is a cross between a black swan event and the elephant in the room, which is an ignored but visibly obvious problem that will inevitably become a black swan event."

You're still grappling with that when you learn "there are a herd of environmental black elephants out there."


Did you know that "megatoothed sharks prowled the oceans" the last time the CO2 concentration in the earth's atmosphere was as high as it was in Hawaii on May 3rd, 2013, an astonishing four hundred parts per million? You probably didn't, because things that prowl usually have feet - but anyway, back to the elephants...

It's almost too easy to mock Thomas Friedman, but he's out there influencing people with his make-no-sense words so he definitely deserves all the mockery that can be bestowed upon him.

And there are graphs!!! I'm dying!

By min | December 6, 2016, 12:36 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Ok, i found that radical center

They're willing to risk civil war to install John Kasich as president.

By fnord12 | December 6, 2016, 8:22 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

What a toaster oven should look like

I honestly started a regiment of scrubbing it every two weeks about a year ago but i clearly wasn't making any progress.

Ok, it shouldn't be so grody, but besides that...

Two dials: one for the oven temperature and another for toast level. And a button to initiate the toasting. You don't want the toasting to be initiated by twisting a dial because a) it means you have to re-choose your ideal toast level each time and b) dials are inevitably accompanied by infernal ticking (and don't get us started on this 'twist it past the toast settings and then back' business). You also don't need a third dial that somehow chooses between oven use, toasting, and a number of other things that you don't need from a toaster oven. Note that on this toaster there is no need to designate between oven and toaster; it just somehow always knew. In addition to not ticking, it also did not beep or ring. It just silently did its job.

We always took our little toaster oven for granted until it went out like a hero in a fiery death and we started shopping for a new one.

min: cereally. could you not have cropped out the gross looking door? now people will think badly of us and our hygiene. but YES! why are new toasters so stupid? i don't need a rotisserie feature! and i don't care what size pizza it can fit. i just want it to toast my bread, actually fit 4 slices as advertised, and warm things up.

and apparently, every toaster in existence had an exploding door at one point, so you might as well just ignore those negative reviews.

then there are the assholes who think that answering any question with "why do you want to do that?" is somehow helpful and in any way appreciated. shut up, douchebag. and when the answer to "does anyone know of a toaster that doesn't make a lot of noise and tick" is "just set it to toast and use a separate timer", there is something very wrong with the universe.

By fnord12 | December 5, 2016, 9:50 AM | My stupid life | Link

Russia stuff

I thought this Harper's article was just going to talk about the recent claims that Russia hacked our election and/or has been targeting us with "fake news". But it's actually a deep dive into our history of inflating the threat of Russia. It's a good, but long, read.

Regarding the "fake news", it's worth seeing this (and similar write-ups by the Intercept and Matt Taibbi and others) regarding the latest claim from the Washington Post, which has smeared leftie websites like Naked Capitalism (which we've read and linked to for years), CounterPunch, and Black Agenda Report, and right-leaning and libertarian sites like Antiwar and the Ron Paul Institute and even the Drudge Report, all with no evidence.

By fnord12 | December 2, 2016, 8:55 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Fixing our economy is a national defense interest

Emptywheel has some interesting thoughts on our industrial policy (i'd say "or lack thereof", but her point is that we actually do have one).

By fnord12 | December 1, 2016, 12:12 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Keith Ellison on the Democratic Party


Most importantly, he reminds all the blockheads that hey, you can actually fight for people of color and the white working class at the same goddamned time!

Well, the party needs to be very clear that we have to stand for a strong, populist economic message and we have to care for everybody's rights and uphold everyone's human dignity. If we try to trade one for the other, we're going to lose both.

The way the working class is always controlled is that it's divided. When you don't stand together in solidarity, the other side starts picking off groups, and they end up hurting everybody.

...many people in the white working class voted for Obama twice, and then they voted for Trump. The way I see it, the alt-right movement is parasitic, trying to insert itself into the legitimate grievances of the American working class. If they are allowed to be successful, everyone's situation is going to get worse. Once they turn us against each other, they get people competing against each other, our focus turns, and the economic situation gets worse.

Why is the south historically the poorest part of the country? Because when they held black people in slavery, they didn't have to pay white people much of nothing.

So we are all better off when we have solidarity. We need to unify because if we're together, we can make a common demand for more fairness and more prosperity.

By min | December 1, 2016, 12:07 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Follow-Up on Trump's Carrier Deal

Lest we get confused because Trump did something to save jobs that Obama didn't, Sanders reminds us why Trump's deal was a chump deal.

Loathe as i am to give WaPo traffic...Link.

In exchange for allowing United Technologies to continue to offshore more than 1,000 jobs, Trump will reportedly give the company tax and regulatory favors that the corporation has sought. Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to "pay a damn tax." He was insisting on very steep tariffs for companies like Carrier that left the United States and wanted to sell their foreign-made products back in the United States. Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut. Wow! How's that for standing up to corporate greed? How's that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?

In essence, United Technologies took Trump hostage and won. And that should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country.

Trump has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States. Why? Because he has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives. Even corporations that weren't thinking of offshoring jobs will most probably be re-evaluating their stance this morning. And who would pay for the high cost for tax cuts that go to the richest businessmen in America? The working class of America.


If United Technologies or any other company wants to keep outsourcing decent-paying American jobs, those companies must pay an outsourcing tax equal to the amount of money it expects to save by moving factories to Mexico or other low-wage countries. They should not receive federal contracts or other forms of corporate welfare. They must pay back all of the tax breaks and other corporate welfare they have received from the federal government. And they must not be allowed to reward their executives with stock options, bonuses or golden parachutes for outsourcing jobs to low-wage countries. I will soon be introducing the Outsourcing Prevention Act, which will address exactly that.

If Donald Trump won't stand up for America's working class, we must.

By min | December 1, 2016, 12:00 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Own it and be ready

Yglesias makes a fair point (warning: Twitter): "When Obama used leverage over contractors to get paid leave for *over a million people* it was a minor story." He means this in contrast to Trump's Carrier actions.

But two counterpoints: 1) First, Trump (unsurprisingly) knows how to promote himself. You can whine all you want about lack of media coverage. Trump makes his own. Why couldn't Democrats? In part it's because they're embarrassed about what they do because they're triangulating between opposing constituents. In part because they're meek and don't like getting yelled at by Republicans. Trump welcomes the fight with the "losers and haters" and makes sure his supporters know (and/or believe) that he's fighting for them.

2) Obama didn't start doing stuff like this until the Dems lost their third straight Congressional election after he was elected. We talked about this at the time. Suddenly Obama found out that he could do things. So very late in his administration he started taking executive action, and many of these things haven't even gone into effect yet. The thing that Yglesias is talking about was announced at the end of this September. By the time it would have gone into effect, Trump will have reversed it. Similarly, we cheered when Obama updated the overtime threshold. That has since been put on hold by a district court in Texas, and i guarantee Trump won't pursue the appeal. As we've said before, you have to have this stuff ready for the day you walk into office. Hell, Trump isn't even waiting until he's president. Whichever Democrats are looking at themselves in the mirror and saying "2020" had better have a long list of the things they are going to do in their first 100 days that don't need to go through Congress, both so they can tout them on the campaign trail and so we don't have to wait seven years before they start enacting them.

By fnord12 | December 1, 2016, 11:42 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Taibbi interviews Bernie

Where we go from here.

By fnord12 | November 30, 2016, 3:52 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Residents of Flint Can't Get Clean Water, But...

Nestle can pump whatever they want for practically nothing. It's only 10:30am and my brain's about to explode. I need to stop reading the news.

Michigan regulators were deluged with angry comments this week, after reports that the state had drafted a permit approval for Nestlé to nearly double the amount of groundwater it pumps from a plant in Evart, Michigan to 210m gallons a year.

The pumping increase is only expected to cost the Swiss food giant $200 a year, and possibly the price of a permit fee, because its bottling plant in Evart is considered a private well under state law, regulators said.

Don't forget the profit Nestle makes from people buying bottled water and sending it to the residents of Michigan so that they don't have to drink lead-filled water. Essentially, selling Michigan's water back to them. ARGH!

Groundwater should be a public resource. It shouldn't be fucking Tank Girl.


By min | November 30, 2016, 10:37 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Since We're Talking About Dems Refusing to Acknowledge the Real Problem with the Party

Here's a Naomi Klein article on why Clinton's loss shouldn't be reduced to "sexism".

Voters chose a loose cannon of a man with zero government experience over a calm, collected and supremely qualified woman. The root cause of this injustice, many have suggested, can only be sexism -- proof that the glass ceiling protecting the highest reaches of power cannot yet be shattered.

The reaction is understandable. It's also wrong and unnecessarily demoralizing.


This election needed a Democrat who could call out, again and again, the myriad hypocrisies and absurdities of Mr. Trump's claim to be a hero for the downtrodden working class. In the debates, Mrs. Clinton landed points when she exposed Mr. Trump's history of outsourcing and tax dodging. But by then Mr. Trump had already spent the summer mocking his opponent for her private parties with oligarchs, painting her own lifestyle as profoundly out of touch with ordinary Americans (which it is).

In short, she landed on many of the right messages, but she was the wrong messenger.

Similarly, there was much to be made of the scandals at Mr. Trump's foundation and at Trump University. But the Clinton Foundation -- and its various entangled relationships between private corporations, foreign governments and public officials -- made Mrs. Clinton's attacks far too easy to turn back at her.

We'll never know what it would have looked like for a woman who is outside the Davos class to have run against Mr. Trump, because voters were not given that option.


[emphasis mine]
Here is the biggest problem with elevating sexism to the defining explanation of Mrs. Clinton's loss: It lets her machine and her failed policies off the hook. It erases the role played by the appetite for endless war and the comfort with market-friendly incremental change, no matter the urgency of the crisis (from climate change to police violence to raging inequality). It erases the disgust over Mrs. Clinton's coziness with Wall Street and with the wreckage left behind by trade deals that benefited corporations at the expense of workers.

In this version, it's all about sexism. And that is the surest way to ensure that the Democratic Party's disastrous 2016 mistakes will be repeated -- only next time, with a man at the top of the ticket.


That Mrs. Clinton could be defeated by the likes of Mr. Trump remains disgraceful. But Mrs. Clinton was too flawed a candidate for this disgrace to go down in history as a defeat for her gender.

Come January, Donald Trump and the Republican Party will have a great deal of power. Let's not hand them power they have not actually earned -- the power to crush the possibility that the right woman may one day become president.

Hear that, Madeleine Albright? The right woman. Speaking as a woman, we aren't just going to vote for someone because they are female. They actually have to represent the things we want. It's sexist to assume otherwise and appallingly sexist to scold women for feeling this way.

By min | November 30, 2016, 9:14 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Is Obama Out of Touch or Just an Asshole?

Cereally. WTF? Link

Donald Trump is in negotiations with Carrier to keep two Indiana air conditioning and furnace plants from moving to Mexico, eliminating 2,100 U.S. jobs. A video of executives informing workers of the plant closures went viral in February, leading Trump to vow to stop the outsourcing. Now president-elect, he is exerting his new leverage to make that a reality.

But someone else already holds that power. His name is Barack Obama. He just doesn't seem to care.

The most Obama has said about Carrier, at a June town hall in Indiana, is that some jobs "are just not going to come back."

This is all part of his new laissez faire attitude to everything, i guess. Just forget about those jobs. Let the DAPL situation play itself out. What's everyone so upset about?

Obama could have used those lucrative contracts as a condition of maintaining the Carrier plant, just as Trump is now being urged to do by Sen. Bernie Sanders. "I call on Mr. Trump to make it clear to the CEO of United Technologies that if his firm wants to receive another defense contract from the taxpayers of this country, it must not move these plants to Mexico," Sanders said in a statement last week.

It's precisely the kind of hardball Obama has consistently played with federal contractors in other contexts. He has signed executive orders to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour, ensure paid sick leave, and promote from within the company. He also signed an order to make companies ineligible for federal contracts if they violated employment and labor law over the past three years. He has no compunction against using the government's leverage as a large purchaser of goods and services to get better outcomes for workers. But this power has been set aside with respect to Carrier -- and outsourcing in general.

If we could only get Trump to listen to everything Sanders suggests...

Sanders, who routinely criticizes the excess profits and corporate welfare earned by companies that ship jobs overseas, recently vowed to introduce the Outsourcing Prevention Act, which would prevent companies that outsource from receiving federal contracts, tax breaks, grants, or loans, and would claw back a decade's worth of those federal benefits from any company that outsources more than 50 jobs in a given year. Sanders would also tax companies that move jobs offshore, and tax the bonuses, stock options, and golden parachutes of executives of outsourcing companies.

At that Indiana town hall, Obama did not show this kind of fight. "You cannot look backwards," he said then. "And that doesn't make folks feel good sometimes, especially if it was a town that's reliant on a couple of big manufacturers. But they're going to have to retrain for the jobs of the future, not the jobs of the past."

Retraining?? RETRAINING!!! WTF are people supposed to retrain for, you asshat? Who's going to pay for it since you took away their jobs, and they haven't got any income? And exactly which mythical company is going to hire a 40-50 yr old with zero prior experience?

He's got plenty of energy for things like TPP, but for anything else, he's basically put up the "Gone Fishing" sign. If you're not going to be useful, at least get the fuck out of the way. And stop creating situations where i have to blog a "look what Trump's doing that Obama couldn't be bothered to try" post.

By min | November 30, 2016, 8:37 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

In short: he's trolling you

Michael Tracey has some good advice for journalists, and everyone really, on dealing with Trump's tweets.

I did love how after Trump's latest flag burning tweet Clinton surrogates were all "See? See? He really is a bad guy!" (as if that were in doubt). And then when it was pointed out that Clinton co-sponsored an actual bill banning flag burning in 2005, the response was 1) well it was to prevent a constitutional amendment! and 2) yeah, but she wasn't going to revoke citizenship. On 1), this is the second time the "prevent constitutional amendment" defense was invoked - the first was over DOMA - and i love how when leftists want a constitutional amendment - say, Bernie's proposal to get money out of politics - we're told that we're asking for an unpossible unicorn, but when Republicans threaten it Democrats immediately shit their pants and hand over their (actually our) wallets. And for 2), i continue to marvel at how the Clinton people think being slightly less awful is a winning strategy. I know i sound like i'm re-litigating the primary but Clinton's campaign team, her supporters in the DNC, etc., aren't going away and we're going to be fighting these same battles in 2020 if we don't nip this stuff in the bud.

Aaand judging by how far i went off topic here, looks like i failed to follow Tracey's advice. How the fuck did i get sucked into an argument about flag burning?

By fnord12 | November 30, 2016, 7:49 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Tell me about that special place in Hell

Madeleine Albright demands mooooooaaaar bombing.

I thought this was telling:

Produced by a task force led by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a Democrat, and former U.S. National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, a Republican, the report amounts to a bipartisan rejection of President Barack Obama's decision to limit U.S. military engagement in the nearly six-year civil war.

Largely drafted before Republican Donald Trump's victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election, the paper, which has not been presented to Trump...

Albright was a surrogate of Clinton's on the campaign trail, and it sure looks to me like this report was going to be released as formal support for Clinton's planned escalation in Syria, and after Clinton's surprising loss they just decided to dump it out there anyway. You'd think that palling around with Stephen "Iraq is seeking yellowcake uranium" Hadley would give you pause, but this is Madeleine "we think it's worth it" Albright we're dealing with.

Title cf.

min: Ugh. You awful, awful woman. Just go AWAY!

By fnord12 | November 30, 2016, 7:29 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

All Things Monkey

Clearly, i had an obligation to blog about an article titled "Who's Top Monkey?". Clearly.

Life for female rhesus macaques is a little like being trapped in high school--groups have intense social hierarchies where those at the top spend more time socializing and those at the bottom endure passive-aggressive overtures from peers. A study published today in Science reveals that social status in macaques can actually impact their immune system, resulting in significant differences in immune function between high- and low-status monkeys.

In the study, which was a collaboration among scientists at Duke University, Emory University and the University of Montreal, researchers organized 45 adult female macaques into social hierarchies and measured the animals' immune functions. They found that high-status monkeys have more immune cells needed to combat viral attacks, whereas low-status monkeys have heightened activity in cells that respond to bacterial invaders. Moreover, when the researchers artificially manipulated the monkeys' social ranks, their immune functions changed accordingly. The findings suggest a causal relationship between social rank and immune function that is reversible based on changing social conditions.


Robert Sapolsky, a neuroendocrinologist at Stanford University who studies primates but was not involved in the study, wrote a perspective on the research also published today in Science. "We know that the most pounding, permeating form of social subordination in humans--poverty--produces poor health through a variety of mechanisms," he wrote in an email. "The study adds an important additional pathway by which this might occur."

For Tung, however, the outlook is not entirely bleak. "We've convincingly shown that chronic social stress by itself can change the way our body works," she says, "But the hopeful message is how responsive [immune] systems are to changes in the social environment. That's really different than the possibility that your social history stays with you your entire life."

So, if you're in high school and it sucks, you can continue to tell yourself that it gets better. And if you can find someone willing to groom you, it could get better even sooner.

By min | November 29, 2016, 12:10 PM | Science | Link

Universal Basic Income

It's made it to Vox.

By fnord12 | November 25, 2016, 6:07 PM | Liberal Outrage | Link

Give up the ghost

Not content to spend his final days in office allowing the police to crack the heads of Native American protestors (and see Min's post below), continuing to push the TPP, and, of course, bombing the Middle East, Obama is fighting the appointment of Keith Ellison to the DNC. The cover story is that they've suddenly decided - after being fine with Debbie Wasserman Schultz for five years - that the head of the DNC ought to be "full time". It's a curious definition of full time that excludes people who have a safe seat in the party that they will be running but is ok with people like Howard Dean, who is a lobbyist for the health care industry (but if you read the article, you'll see they'll take just about anyone instead of Ellison).

Schultz was forced out only because Wikileaks revealed that she was colluding to help Clinton in the primaries, not because anyone (in power) thought that she was doing a bad job or wasn't able to devote enough time to her job.

The real reason is this:

Some Democrats [who?], in Mr. Obama's orbit and beyond [seriously, go on the record you cowards], say that elevating Mr. Ellison would amount to handing the party to Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mrs. Clinton's primary race opponent, and his liberal followers.

You guys lost the presidency to a reality show host and you haven't controlled congress since 2008. Maybe it's time to admit that you're a failure and fade away already.

By fnord12 | November 23, 2016, 7:31 AM | Liberal Outrage | Link

No need to stop here. There's plenty more SuperMegaMonkey where that came from.