Sunday, April 26, 2015

Road Construction, 1973

My parents may have shot this, or one of my aunts or uncles. The slide indicates the photo was taken in 1973, presumably during the summer. The (I'm guessing) father and son at centre of frame seem oddly out of place, as if they were on a drive somewhere only to discover that the road was still being built. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sometimes it Takes Time to Sink In

It was only during the last couple of years that I learned the difference between rows and columns in Microsoft Excel. Columns, of course, go up and down, like...columns. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Alberta Leaders' Debate 2015

As I expected, tonight's debate wasn't particularly dramatic. No one made any lethal gaffes, no one landed any devastating blows. I thought the NDP's Rachel Notley fared best, with a warm, sincere performance; she painted herself as a moderate, sensible alternative quite effectively.

Premier Prentice was mostly pretty poised, though I found it interesting he focused most of his ire at the NDP. His condescending "I know math is hard" line was the low point of the night.

Brian Jean came off as hilariously robotic, but he stayed on-message the entire night, with few slips, and I was bowled over when he acknowledged the very real threat of climate change. Good for him.

My old friend David Swann showed a lot of compassion and handled himself well during the latter half of the debate, but his tendency to read from notes hurt him a little, I think; he didn't make enough eye contact with the camera, and knocking his own binder onto the floor at one point was a little awkward.

All in all, I think this debates helps the NDP a little bit, hurts the PCs a little bit, and leaves the Wildrose and Liberal parties right where they are. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Alberta Election Prediction 2 of 3

Click to embiggen Earl's wild-ass crazy election prediction map!

While part of me still believes that the polls must be wrong, they are at least consistent, giving the Wildrose and NDP an edge over the trailing Progressive Conservatives. It seems almost crazy to believe that Albertans might elect a government other than the PCs, but I suppose stranger things have happened in Alberta...if rarely.

In offering my second seat tally for Alberta's 2015 election, I'm also taking into account what I'm hearing from friends and family - and that is an exclusive determination to vote for anyone but the PCs, even from people that have voted Tory for decades. And finally, there is the failure of the Alberta Liberals to run a full slate of candidates, which leaves a substantial pool of supporters without Liberal candidates to vote for. If most of them decide to choose an NDP candidate as their next-best option, that could swing a few tight races.

This time around I reviewed each constituency before choosing a hypothetical winner and coloured in the map as I went. Green constituencies are Wildrose, orange NDP, Liberal red, blue PC and light blue Alberta Party. Even as I write this I have not as yet counted out the seats; I will do that right...now.

The Tally:
NDP: 32
Wildrose: 28
Progressive Conservatives: 21
Liberal: 5
Alberta Party: 1

As you can see, in this scenario the Wildrosers take almost all of the rural seats and score a handful in Calgary. The New Democrats dominate Edmonton and snag a couple of relatively progressive rural seats. The PCs hang on to Calgary and keep a small number of their rural seats. And the Liberals, somewhat improbably, wind up back where they started.

Wow. What a mess that would be, huh? I suppose in this scenario the PCs and the Wildrose would merge in order to hang on to government, infuriating half the population. In reality, I'm probably being a little too kind to the progressive parties here; the Liberals could easily wind up with two or even zero seats, probably losing them to PCs, and the NDs are unlikely to pick up those rural seats in western Alberta; these are my surprise/sentimentality picks. In reality they'll probably go Wildrose.

It's pretty foolish of me to throw this silly analysis into the world before the leaders' debate, but it was a fun exercise. One more prediction to go!