Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dr. Ford vs. The GOP

So I watched the whole thing today and here are my thoughts.
First, my respect to Prosecutor Mitchell. I figured she was brought in to do a hatchet job but look like it wasn't one while providing cover for the GOP members of the Judiciary committee.
She was very professional, probably why they gave her the boot early into Kavanoughs portion. She did go after Dr. Ford in a few areas, like the fear of flying and who is paying her legal fees. I think the fear of flying was a bad move, most people have fears of something that they can overcome. So why attack her on her preference not to fly to D.C. even though she does fly sometimes?
The money bit was probably put in her list by the GOP to see if they could label Dr. Ford as a political operative, a fair attack that failed.

The Committee

Pretty much a bunch of political grandstanding by both parties as expected. Special mentions...
  • Senator Harris Solid questioning, one of the more professional members today.
  • Senator Klobachar: Wow!!! Kavanough got personal there. One of his worst moments, challenging her if she got drunk.
  • Senator Durbin Probably the best questioning on why Kavanough didn't want an investigation.
  • Senator Graham Rich with hypocrisy and hyperbole.
  • Senator Grassley: Really needs to go, embarrassed everyone today.
  • Overall Members: Pretty much a lot of partisanship on both sides, little effort to reach the truth. Most of their energy was focused on attacking or defending political turf.


Came across as smug, rude and ill tempered. Most people who spoke that way to a committee would be hit with contempt of congress. Like his earlier interviews he was evasive way too much for me to believe his overall honesty. Basically he talks like a politician, I felt even his crying was faked.
Republicans obviously want a conservative judge who is going to overturn Roe vs. Wade and restrict workers rights in favor of corporations. I dont like it but elections have consequences so fair is fair. Even though the GOP has proven they dont extend the same courtesy.
However the GOP can and should do better. Find someone with more maturity, self control, and who will be honest.

Dr. Blasey Ford

She came across as very credible, even FOX was saying so.
She was mature, respectful and so obviously not a prepared political operative. Her memory falures were reasonable, if unhelpful. I had wondered why she did not remember the party address and other exact details but she made it make sense.
I mean really do you recall the address of every party you ever attended? Maybe a regular place but this was a last minute, hey want to come to a party tonight?  Also trauma can explain a lot.
I am betting some on the Right will attack her memory lapses and not knowing dates, but perhaps because I can relate to a poor memory for such things myself it helped her case for me.  Much better than one who can recite chapter and verse and rattle off a bunch of names and dates, except when its not convenient.

Who was More Credible?

In my view, she was and significantly so.
  • She asked for an FBI investigation, he doesnt want one. An innocent man would ask for one and maybe force the Senate and Presidents Trumps hand by saying he wants a clear name so would withdraw if they did not give him one.
  • Her lawyers stopped her from speaking several times, that struck me as her being both confused by some questioning and wanting to be painfully open and honest. However, he did a lot of filibustering and bragging or otherwise proclaiming how great a guy he is.  Came off like a used car salesman or seedy politician.
  • She came across as honest and trying to help, he came across as evasive.
  • I find the Renate Alumnus thing as being very un-credible, A bunch of jocks all declare that statement as a recognition they respected her? Seriously who believes that?
  • The never drunk to blackout, but fell asleep line, Devils Triangle was just a drinking game like quarters, and the conspiracy rants all tell me he is a liar.
  • He blamed his roommates comments about his drinking habits on a dispute between that one another roommate. Wierd


I believe her but she did not prove her case. Had the Senate allowed her to provide her evidence and subpoena Mark Judge the outcome might have been different. But this was not an attempt to find the truth, it was a political maneuver so the GOP can say they let her speak, now lets get on with the confirmation.
I think he should not be confirmed based on his behavior. What we saw today was no proof of illegality but it reflects very poorly as a job interview for one of the most important careers in the United States of America. I would not hire him to work for me at a call center, I would be worried about his behavior on the job.
In my opinion no reasonable person, regardless of their political views would vote for him except as a vote for party over country.
Anyone who does vote for him should be recorded in your notes and voted out of office at the next opportunity. And he should be investigated and likely impeached.
Those opposed to him should make that clear to their Senators, the GOP wants a long lasting conservative on the court. Tell them to find someone likely to be their longer and without a cloud over their heads.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Ford vs, Kavanaugh

Republican stance (Specifically, Senators Hatch, Grassley, and Cornyn)

We do not believe you but come testify in front of us so we can grill and try to humiliate you on national TV. Oh, and no witnesses (including the other guy in the room) and no investigation ahead of time. So it will be just you vs. Kavanaugh.

  • The GOP is already playing the blame the victim card here. From its a shame and unfair to Brett Kavanaugh to calling her a mixed up woman 
  • The GOP is still in rush this through mode and demanded she show up on Monday. The committee refused to consider that some people have jobs, family, and other obligations and made their timetable and convenience the priority.
  • IF the GOP wanted the truth above all they would ask for an FBI investigation instead of doing it with Grassleys staff, at least one of whom is a personal friend and professional associate of Kavanaugh.
  • GOP seem to be out of touch and stuck in the 50s as regards women's issues, including that a lot of women are afraid to come forward after an attack. Largely in part to harassment and slander like Trump and the GOP have started doing in this case. The GOP is truly the Grand Old Patriarchy!
  • Other defenses range from it was a long time ago, Its not fair to destroy someones future because of things they did in the past, to Boys will be boys, no big deal/

Democrat Stance

  • The Democrats are definitely hoping this scuttles the confirmation, but that does not mean Fords accusations are true or untrue,
  • No woman should trust Feinstein or the Democrats to keep their info confidential, this is a repeat of the Anita Hill situation.

Who is Telling the Truth?

  • Kavanaugh, I never did this. Hard to prove or disprove
  • Kavanaugh, I was never at a party. One could expect him to deny being t that party which would require finding witnesses to prove or disprove, but since her note did not specify the date and him claiming one would have tipped his hand he went all in and said he was never at any party at all. That is easy enough for the FBI to prove one way or the other.
  • Ford is not in politics and has nothing to gain here but a lot to lose. Death threats and harassment have already begun. Women know that if they come forward with sexual assault, rapeor domestic abuse charges they will rarely see justice done and suffer personally and often professionally for bring charges, even if those are in fact proven true. The Patriarchal nature of our society strongly discourages going up against white men, especially rich ones. 
  • The GOP had a letter signed by women from that time period ready to go within 24 hours. Imagine finding 65 women from your high school days, especially since you attended an all boys school and getting them to sign a note with 24 hours. Its clear the GOP had this prepared ahead of time. Not conclusive, they could have been prepping for a woman backlash because of his stance on abortion and other women's issues, but why did they happen to focus on that time period?
  • The FBI normally investigates these things and has done so before with many Judaical appointments when new things come up. This is in fact pretty standard for even basic security clearances. So why do the GOP and Brett Kavanaugh not want one but Ford does? This would only take a few days to at least confirm or deny major parts of each persons story.
  • Also to consider, if you were accused of something like this and were innocent wouldn't you demand an investigation to clear your name? Is he afraid of them proving the truth, or just finding other unsavory activities of that time period?
  • Why did Ford put Kavanaugh's friend Judge in the same room if shes lying? She knows he would deny it, if only to protect himself and not just his friend. Odd choice if shes lying. Also noteworthy that Judge refuses to testify under oath unless forced to.
  • Kavanaugh has credibility issues based on his under oath testimonies. Watch his answers during the confirmation hearings and according to his government emails he lied to congress in denying any knowledge of getting Democratic


The Supreme Court is one of the most powerful institutions in America and it is a lifetime appointment. We do not know for sure one way or the other what really happened here but the above would disqualify most people from most corporate jobs. I think the GOP owes it to America to find another nominee. It wont even be hard, they already have a list of other conservative judges vetted by groups that oppose Roe vs. Wade, Privacy Rights, and corporate agendas over employee rights.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Mapping Utilities For Your Gaming Pleasure

Creating maps can take a lot of time, especially digital maps.
So lets discuss some options.

Shadekeep Mapping Tool

This newcomer is what inspired this blog entry. The Fantasy Trip just finished a great kickstarter and among the many discussions it inspired one guy who created this handy utility.
Its a free online clean and simple tool for making hex maps. Start with a blank hexmap, name it and set your size and zoom then pick a palette and start filling in the hexes.
You can save your own copy as a text or PNG file. For a quick dungeon crawl or building layout its great. Even do some outdoor battle maps.
The components tray lets you fill in part of a hex so you can have straight walls,or any non hex shaped boundary, including corridors using the Channel and Junction components.
This is a great tool! I give it an A+


This creates pretty overland maps but is not very intuitive.  Worth a look for a fancy or artistic map like you might find inside a fantasy novel. It is free and lets you save your maps.


Fairly inexpensive this is an updated version of Hexographer and will eventually include Citygrapher and possibly Dungeonographer. Reasonably priced but can get expensive with all the addon sets for different icons. Some of it is pretty intuitive but a lot will require practice or actually reading the manual. Large maps can be hard on your computer but smaller ones load quickly.  It has two options to create a map. Paint using icons as brushes which is pretty easy and fast or randomly generated maps which you can then alter with the paint tool. He does have some Youtube videos to teach or demo it. You can imbed notes to locations and it has built in logic for populating cities and nations.
I prefer this one for most of my maps, especially ones I plan on reusing.

Hex Kit

Another paint brush style mapper rather than a CAD type tool.  It is less sophisticated than Worldographer in that it has no data sets or population mechanics. It is just a drawing tool,but one with a lot of icons.

Campaign Cartographer

This set has been around awhile and creates some very good maps.  It has a lot of nifty and powerful features but many find it very unintuitive to use so it has a steep learning curve. It has a world, city and dungeon version
My copy pretty much sits around unused,however other who invest the time find it a great tool.


Each of these tools have their own niche, with Worldographer and Campaign Cartographer being more direct competitors. 
  • Shadekeep is great for fast simple maps
  • InKarnate for your artistic overland maps.
  • Worldographer and Campaign Cartographer for more sophisticated and extensive mapping. The choice between them is based on budget and time investment.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Chalice World race, the Jotun

So several years back I thought about making Toons for GURPS.  They can be fun and what if someone wanted to play a game based on Jessica Rabbit or something?
I came up with some ideas and a rough draft but never really got it exactly right.  Then Kelly Pedersen came along and wrote a much better article that did the job.
Pyramid #3/101 Humor gave us Animates which included a template and short list of powers for toons in GURPS, Now where to use them?

Chalice world has Jotun which are chaos spirits manifested, sure most are monsters for the players to kill but the other night inspiration struck. I now allow them as a player race in that setting. At 205 points for the template they are expensive and I may never see a player build one but I have known a few jokesters that would love the idea given the chance.

Think about it for your game if you have forces of Law and Chaos, what is more chaotic than a Toon?