Friday, August 31, 2012

Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, B of A, Credit Suisse

Just following up my last post regarding campaign donations. I think contributions to political campaigns are usually self-interested endeavours. We support a political party because we want them to represent us.

That being said, here are the top 5 contributors for Obama and Romney. I wouldn't identify as someone who entirely distrusts big banks, but having 5 big banks as Romney's top campaign donators is not confidence inspiring.


Campaign finances

The campaigns of people running for office, whether locally or nationally, are usually funded by their supporters in the form of donations. If a candidate has more money to spend on their campaign, they will have more opportunities to spread their message, become well-known, and increase their proportion of the vote. Political scientist Gary Jacobson has noted that increased campaign financing results in larger and more pervasive campaigns and increases a voter's recognition of a candidate. Greater voter recognition of a candidate allows a voter to more easily present an evaluation of a candidate. More evaluations usually means more positive evaluations in total, and therefore more votes. I made a splendidly diagram:


If you're interested in how the campaign finances of Romney compare against Obama, check out the screen capture below from www.opensecrets.org


Monday, August 27, 2012

The cost of university tuition, opportunity cost, rationalizing university, and cleaning puke.

Hello blog readers,

As a self-loathing university student struggling with the cost/benefit ratio of attending university, I found this video particularly interesting. In the video below a past university graduate rationalizes the positive effects of attending university against the costs; keep in mind, he is located in the United States where tuition costs are much higher than Canada. University is still a worthy pursuit despite the over-commidification of university degree programs and the exceeding commercialization of quickly turning out over educated people with undergraduate degrees :) Yippeeee!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bring your gun to the Republican National Convention. Why? Because you can!



On August 28th-30th The Republicans are having their National Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida. With such a large collection of political leaders and the Presidential hopeful himself, Mitt Romney, you can bet security will be at a maximum. All the standard potentially hazardous things will be banned from entering the convention; like knives, machetes, aerosol cans, long pieces of rope, mysterious liquids, and dynamite. But don't dismay: if you were planning on bringing your concealed weapon you can still attend. After all, thanks to the second amendment, it is your right to bear arms. The second amendment slowly blurs the line between idiot and ideologue, allowing any sane American to carry a concealed weapon if they have the corresponding permit in the State of Florida.

If you think this is stupid, picture this: the convention is going along cordially when the Queen of England herself comes in and starts bossing everyone around. We must expect, nay demand, Americans to defend themselves against tyranny accordingly... right

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

High-rises in Guelph

How high should buildings in Guelph be? Should we allow high rises (10+ stories) in the downtown core? The answers to these questions are highly contentious, depending on who you ask.

There are many benefits of tall buildings; they house lots of people in a dense space allowing efficient service delivery, they can provide affordable accommodation, they can bring people back into the downtown core and move away from Guelph's "bar driven" downtown economy, and they can offer students housing away from the student-centric neighbourhoods of Scottsdale, Ironwood, and Cole Road.

There are problems associated with high rises in the downtown as well; they disrupt the skyline, they cast foreboding shadows across the landscape, they may become large bland monoliths that fail to integrate with their surroundings. There is no correct answer.

Provincial pressures, such as the Places to Grow Act, mandate that Guelph must provide a certain amount of housing. One way to meet this demand and escape the sprawl of subdivisions (à la the Southend) is to intensify the accommodation of people in high rises.

I can't really say if I agree with the proposed high rise at the corner of Wellington and Macdonell. I don't live nearby, and my interaction with the space is limited to infrequent drive-bys. However, I do feel the scale of a high rise in that location is not keeping with the current trends of downtown. John Galt's original plan for Guelph was low-rise developments, similar to those of liveable European cities. I wonder if it is still possible to maintain that vision, while supporting growth.

Aerial view of Guelph
Aerial view of Paris



Sunday, January 22, 2012

SOPA is DOA



boy: I'm bored. I think i will go on the internet.
     boy: HELLO? INTERNET?!
          boy: I love the internet
          Congressman: Hello Ben,
          boy: Who the hell are you?! How did you get in my computer?
Congressman: My name is Lamar Smith, Texas Congressman. I introduced the SOPA bill. Your version of Beyonce's Single Ladies was pirated. Get off the internet.
     boy: THIS IS WHAT I THINK OF SOPA!

*The push for SOPA has stalled. Now we can all worry about ACTA* acronyms are oppressive.