April 30, 2011

The Toronto Sun goes full gonzo on Jack Layton

Filed under: Cancon, Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:52

In an earlier post, I was wondering if the mainstream media was going to give Jack Layton and the NDP the same kind of coverage that they had been devoting to the Liberal and Conservative campaigns. Instead of doing the same thing, one of Toronto’s newspapers decided to channel their British tabloid counterparts:

Jack Layton was found laying naked on a bed by Toronto Police at a suspected Chinatown bawdy house in 1996, a retired Toronto police officer told the Toronto Sun.

The stunning revelation about the current leader of the New Democratic Party comes days before the federal election at a time when his popularity is soaring.

When the policeman and his partner walked into a second-floor room at the Toronto massage parlour, they saw an attractive 5-foot-10 Asian woman who was in her mid-20s and the married, then-Metro councillor, lying on his back in bed.

Layton was cautioned by police and released without being charged.

So no crime was committed, no charges were laid, and it happened in 1996. Perfect time to pull it out at the very end of an election campaign.

“When police decide they need to make an arrest, he said, they find a way to make an arrest”

Filed under: Cancon, Law, Media — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 11:38

Not the finest day in Albertan justice:

Charges have been dropped against three Alberta men accused of shooting dead a pregnant wild horse and tossing its body down a hillside. For more than a year, the RCMP and the Crown were sure they had the right guys. They even charged the then-12-year-old son of Jason Nixon, one of the accused. But then, just as the trial began, the defence produced an important piece of exculpatory evidence: The horse hadn’t been shot.

The Mounties had assumed it had been. They were operating on a tip from a man named Dave Goertz. Mr. Goertz, as everyone involved in the case knew, was a crackhead and a meth addict. He reported the crime after a local group that defends Alberta’s wild horse population posted a $25,000 reward.

[. . .]

Apparently, the word of a drug addict was enough for the guardians of our justice system to arrest three innocent men and run them all the way to trial, costing them their jobs, a small fortune and untold grief.

[. . .]

The horse had been badly decomposed, apparently, by the time police found it, so determining whether it had been shot wasn’t possible. And yet, lacking critical evidence, the province proceeded with its prosecution for wilfully killing and careless use of a firearm. The three men faced a maximum of five years in prison.

This kind of thing, said defence lawyer Willie deWit, “is what happens in our system a lot of times.” When police decide they need to make an arrest, he said, they find a way to make an arrest. They ignore anything that might exculpate the accused, and seize on anything that feeds their assumptions of guilt.

Latest poll numbers

Filed under: Cancon, Politics — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 11:25

What looks like a weakening of the NDP surge may just be an artifact of the Nanos three-day polling window. We won’t know until Monday:

Click to see full size
Click image to embiggen (the table is getting too wide to show at full size)

Vikings take TE Kyle Rudolph with 2nd round pick

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 10:50

I didn’t expect the Vikings to pick a tight end until much later in the draft (if at all, given all their other needs), but according to Judd Zulgad, they picked the best player rather than drafting for need:

The Vikings were accused of reaching by some on Thursday night when they selected quarterback Christian Ponder with the 12th pick in the first round of the NFL draft. The selection seemed to run contrary to the team’s long-standing philosophy of taking the best player available.

On Friday night, the Vikings returned to their usual means of operation and stayed true to their board by selecting Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph in the second round. However, the decision was a bit of a surprise considering that of the Vikings’ many positional needs, tight end didn’t seem to be near the top of the list.

“We felt that he was too good of a player to pass up,” said Rick Spielman, the Vikings vice president of player personnel. “We felt that he has a lot of unique skills as a tight end and we wanted to stay true to our board. That was a situation where there was a player that normally, if he hadn’t had that hamstring injury [last season], we wouldn’t even had a shot to get. We feel that we got great value when we got Kyle.”

This week in Guild Wars 2 news

Filed under: Gaming, Gaming — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 00:08

I’ve been accumulating news snippets about the as-yet-to-be-formally-scheduled release of Guild Wars 2 for an email newsletter I send out to my friends and acquaintances in the Guild Wars community.

Part 1: Discussion of previous news

  • No significant news in this category for this week.

Part 2: Guild Wars news

  • Reminder: If you’d like to keep track of the upcoming “Winds of Change” and other “Guild Wars Beyond” material, keep this page bookmarked.
  • Game update, April 21, including some additional tweaks to several Dervish skills.
  • Official Sixth Anniversary page. “This year marks the sixth anniversary of Guild Wars! We couldn’t have made it this far without you, so we’re hosting a big party — and you’re the guests of honor! Come celebrate with us from April 28th to May 6. It’s going to be a weekend of games, sugary treats, and anniversary surprises!”
  • Guild Wars Sixth Anniversary. “The sixth anniversary of Guild Wars is here, and ArenaNet is celebrating in a big way with an update today [Thursday]. This sixth anniversary brings new content, some surprising new birthday tonics, and some big changes to PvP. That last item on the list comes courtesy of the Lunatic Court members and their efforts to free Mad King Thorn last Halloween. “While these events have long passed, the aftereffect of this plot has caused instability to seep into the land causing fluctuations. This Flux will come and go monthly and cause alterations to PvP that will encourage players to alter their playing style in order to take advantage of the current Flux.””
  • Celebrate six years of Guild Wars with prizes and an exclusive update interview “Characters celebrating their sixth birthday this year will find a surprise in their inventory, with the biggest surprise being what the gift is not: a minipet. That’s right — instead of sixth year miniatures, ArenaNet has introduced a series of over 30 different everlasting tonics. Tear off the wrapping on your birthday present to find a tonic to turn you into a familiar friend, an intimidating foe, or . . . well, it wouldn’t be any fun if we gave everything away, would it?”
  • Game updates for 28 April and 29 April.
  • Developers’ notes on the 6th anniversary game update. “Have you ever wondered where your friends were in the wide world of Guild Wars? With the new-and-improved Friends List, wonder no longer! If you and your friend are mutual friends — each of you has the other on their Friends List — then the game will now display your current locations on each other’s Friends List.”

Part 3: Guild Wars 2 news

  • I was wrong in assuming that there were no further updates when I assembled last week’s update. Arenanet did post a bit more Charr information on Friday: The Legions of the Charr. “In the year 1090 of the Mouvelian calendar, King Adelbern, last human ruler of Ascalon, released the Foefire. The human residents of that land succumbed to the terrible magic, only to rise again as ghosts. By 1112, the High Legions of the charr reclaimed the entirety of Ascalon. Only four years later, Kalla Scorchrazor of the Blood Legion came before Forge Ironstrike, the imperator of the Iron Legion, and challenged him to help her free their people from the shamans’ control. Together, Kalla and Forge led a rebellion against the Flame Legion, overthrowing their tyrannical rule. The three legions, Blood, Ash, and Iron, then reassembled a nation from the ruins of the past.”
  • More on the Charr reveal from last week. “The charr paid for their success dearly, for the old High Legions (Ash, Blood, Iron) were put under the yoke of the Flame Legion, who researched forbidden magics and worshipped dark, false gods. The Flame Legion also subordinated the charr females, who had previously been equals to their males. As the war lengthened, each success was attributed to the inherent rightness of the Flame Legion’s crusade and each failure was used as an excuse for others to sacrifice for the good of the Flame Legion Shamans.”
  • GuildMag summarizes the rank and title structure of the Charr Legions. “Today marks the last day in a week full of charr and as with every race week so far, that means an awesome new blog entry by Ree Soesbee. In this post we learn a bit more about the hierarchical structure within the charr race, a look at the Imperators of the three charr legions: Smodur the Unflinching of the Iron, Bangar Ruinbringer of the Blood and Malice Swordshadow of the Ash; and last but certainly not least, we’re treated to a nice story of an Ash Legion scout and a Blood Legion warrior.”
  • Talk Tyria reviews what we got to learn about the Charr last week. “One of the greatest things about the lore updates is the balanced view that it gives to the charr nation as a whole. Yes, they are indisputably warriors. They are fierce and vicious and seem to pursue victory with a whole-heartedness that is almost terrifying. But they are also strictly disciplined and hold honor in high regard. They will give up anything to protect those they love and serve with. Ree’s story, interwoven with the post about the ranks and orders of the charr infrastructure, was quite touching and revealed a wholly necessary softer side to the hell-cats we met in the world of Guild Wars 1.”
  • A fan-made video for Guild Wars 2.
  • Role Playing in Guild Wars 2? “This is kind of been a hot topic all around since the dawn of gaming. In general, there’s always been a sort of unspoken rivalry between people who play MMOs for the game and those who play for the RP (and then of course those who do both) which has led to some pretty interesting / entertaining conflicts. At the very least, the idea is that in any RPG video game, you are a playing as someone else (or an incarnation of yourself), and in some sort of role. So in essence, everybody is already technically doing it. Many like to take this to the next level, though, and actually act out as their character. Some do it jokingly, some seriously, and many somewhere in-between. And lets be honest, most of us, dedicated RPers or not, have dabbled in it at least once (don’t lie).”
  • An introduction to the environment art of Guild Wars 2. “Environment artists grow up wishing they could wander through and explore the elaborate sets of their favorite movies: the steaming, miserable swamps of Dagobah from The Empire Strikes Back; the neon-lit, rainy streets of future Los Angeles from Blade Runner; that immense, biomechanical derelict from Alien. These settings existed ephemerally on studio back lots or soundstages before being torn down or redressed for another project. You only ever see them from certain angles, for mere minutes of screen time. Game worlds aren’t movie sets. Though the sprawling world of Guild Wars 2 has no physicality, it’s a persistent place that will be experienced again and again, from multiple vantage points. In the original Guild Wars, a map artist could “cheat” in places they knew a player could never reach, using unbacked facades or hollow props, but there are few parts of this new game world that are inaccessible. Players are going to swim to the bottom of that flooded cavern or jump the counter of that pub to sneak into the back room. So, no cheating this time.”
  • Peering closely at random screen shots can provide unexpected insights.
  • 90 facts about Guild Wars 2. “As we looked at all the articles the bunch of us have posted over the year or so about Guild Wars 2, we realized we put a lot of stuff out there. Covering topics as important as death/leveling to as miniscule as the dye system. All of this we have covered and found out great information about the game. Most of this stuff still gets viewed on a daily basis, but we feel that the time has come that we organize it all in a nice article and allow you to refer back to it at any point. So if you get into a nerd debate, you can pull up the facts and tell them to stfu.”
  • Guild Wars 2 fan video contest. “Are you a Guild Wars 2 fan? Do you think all your friends should play Guild Wars 2? Summon all your creative and persuasive powers and make your own one-minute Guild Wars 2 promotional video that explains why you think people should play the game at launch. Keep in mind that all entries must be in English. Two lucky fans will win a Grand Prize trip to ArenaNet’s brand new studio near Seattle, Washington, and spend the day playing Guild Wars 2 with the ArenaNet dev team!”

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