Classed-Based or Skill-Based

The problem with class-based RPG systems is very simple. There is artificial growth in abilities that take time, training, and use to improve.

Take for example the classic Fighter and Wizard characters. At 1st level they both have a proficiency bonus of +2. While a Fighter is proficient in all weapons a Wizard has a very limited amount.

At 1st level a Wizard might use a weapon more than spells. But as that Wizard advances in his class level he become more and more dependent on the arsenal of spells. The weapon at 1st level gets used less and less.

Fast forward to 18th level. The Wizard and the Fighter both have a proficiency bonus of +6. The Fighter by nature of his class trains and relies on weapons. His bonus makes sense.

The 18th level Wizard hasn’t used the weapon in many levels. His spells are his weapons which are far more potent than any mundane weapon. Yet he has the same bonus as the Fighter.

It’s just an aspect of class-based systems that bothers me. It’s not realistic at all. And there needs to be some realism to make a game believable and to be able to rationalize any unbelievable or fantastic aspects of it.

This is why I like skill-based systems over class-based ones. Although I have and do play both kinds of games.

Forget Where’s Mitch? Where Are the Senate Democrats?

Recently a friend of mine asked me where the Democrat Senators interested in running for President in 2020 were during the current government shutdown. When you think about it, that is a really good question. There are a number of prominent Democrats in the Senate right now who are looking to get promoted from Kamala Harris to Bernie Sanders, and a whole slew of others wanting to crowd into the Democrat nominee clown car. Yet, where are they when leadership is needed?

A good question deserves a good answer, and I think I have one. The Democrat Senators interested in running for President have one thing in common: they’re used to demanding what they want done instead of persuading people to follow them. This isn’t unusual, as this is the Leftists’ MO for anything they want to accomplish. By virtue of being Leftists, they think what they say goes because they’re the smartest people in the room (just ask them). The problem is their egos write checks their intellects can’t cash because more often than not their intellects aren’t up to snuff.

Not that being smart is a requirement to be in politics. If anything, it’s a resume enhancer if you’re dumber than a bag of hammers because it means you can be lead more easily. However, there is a difference between dictating and leading, one that many figures in the public and private sector fail to recognize. Power is more than a title, the size of your office, and a name placard. It can be constructive or destructive, depending on how it’s used, and right now the Left is using it destructively to further an agenda that does more harm than good to the country.

This is where a Senate Democrat looking to beat Donald Trump in 2020 can make a difference. Instead of telling people what you want and expecting them to comply, make the argument that your way is better, especially with the shutdown. Ideologically, I know you don’t want to give Trump a W, but to be a leader you have to think beyond the current day. Being instrumental in getting the government back up and running would be a boon for any Presidential candidate at this point.

Unfortunately for Democrats, none of the Senators are stepping up and leading. They’re too busy Tweeting about what should be done to actually do something.

Shutdown Continues

The government shutdown continues onward without any sign of it being revealed. And this is total fault of Congress. It is the duty of Congress to pass a budget, this has not been properly done since 2006. That’s more than 10 years ago.

Since the US Government hasn’t had a budget, it operates on continuing resolutions that only last a short period of time. This way both parties and the Administration can shutdown the government in order to promote a specific agenda. This is used by both the Republican party and Democratic party.

President Obama demanded the passage of Obamacare in order to fund the government and remove the shutdown that was imposed. And then Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, demanded that Obamacare needed to be passed in order to find out what was in it. That is and was absurd.

All President Trump is requesting is a small amount for border security. But again Nancy Pelosi isn’t going to have her Leftist Democratic host pass such a message. And she is confused since this is the first Republican President who isn’t bowing down before the Democratic tyranny machine.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs to do her job and pass the appropriate funding to reopen the government.

All the Colors of the Rainbow…Except Red

The scuttlebutt in Washington, DC, right now involves Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Leftists have been circulating the idea Graham is being blackmailed by President Donald Trump to say and act in a different manner than he did prior to the death of Senator John McCain, suggesting Trump knows a dirty little secret about Graham’s presumed sexual preference. You see, Graham is believed to be gay and, although he’s never come out one way or the other, it’s a “known secret” like Valerie Plame being in the CIA was.

Before I go any further, let me just say there is nothing wrong with being gay. If you get your jollies with a member of your own gender, great! All I ask is you don’t force me to sanction it, and I won’t force you to sanction my heterosexual relationship with my wife. And it’s been my experience that most gay people are okay with that.

This is where things get tricky. From an ideological standpoint, gay Leftists demand loyalty to “The Cause.” And if you deviate one micron from their ideology, you’re “not really gay” or an enemy to “The Cause” or both. It’s amazing that the same ideology that gave us 5,376,891,239,134,148 genders (as of the writing of this blog) can be so binary in their ideology.

This dichotomy/hypocrisy of Leftist ideology leaves a lot of homosexuals with a Faustian deal: conform, or be cast out. (Subdivisions.) Some gays have even said it was easier to come out as gay than it was to come out as conservative (and, yes, there are conservative and libertarian gays out there). If you really think about it, and I have, it seems counterintuitive to preach diversity on the one hand because a person is homosexual and deny it on the other if that same person digs Ayn Rand. It would be like…oh, I don’t know…having a group of black Congresspeople deny inclusion to their group on the basis of race and ideology. Good thing such an organization doesn’t exist or else the Left might be seen as bigots!

There’s also a privacy issue at work here. Gays, by and large, don’t want their sex lives to become public fodder, which I can respect. Yet, there are some gays (who just happen to swing Left) who think it’s a duty for them to “out” gay conservatives. Regardless of your stance on homosexuality, purposely outing someone because of political difference is a bridge too far. Unless you’re going to allow them to open up your closet (so to speak) and drag out all your skeletons, you’re delving into an area you shouldn’t want to be seen in because it can easily boomerang on you.

So what if Lindsey Graham is gay? Doesn’t affect anyone in the grand scheme of things, so leave it alone. What matters are the policies he supports and the actions he takes in accordance with those policies. That’s it. Even if all the cool gay kids are snickering at him because they think he’s gay, it’s not an open invitation to make it a focal point of your derision, and it’s certainly not carte blanc to suggest he’s being blackmailed by Donald Trump because of it. Blackmail is still a crime in this country, and if you accuse anyone, let alone Trump, of engaging in it, you had better be ready to produce evidence or else you risk legal, personal, and image problems up the ying-yang. (Of course, if you’re into that kind of thing, you may enjoy that, but it’s not my place to judge.) In the meantime, cool it with the blackmail crap and focus on a long-term vision for the gay community, one that embraces ideological diversity as easily as it embraces racial and cultural diversity.

Or is that too radical a thought to consider?

Shut Up About the Shutdown

As we enter another week of the government shutdown, I’ve noticed more and more talk about it and its potential impact to our economy and to the furloughed government workers and service members and their families. Since we haven’t devolved into Thunderdome yet, I’m thinking we’re doing okay, but the media seem ultra concerned about the shutdown as though we’re one story away from total anarchy.

As both a freedom-loving individual and a lower middle class wage earner, I see both sides of the equation. On the one hand, living paycheck to paycheck is subsistence, not living. On the other hand, not having government worm its way into my life (and my wallet) as much is a good thing. Somewhere in between, there is a happy medium.

But since we have toddlers in Congress, we can’t have that. Republicans blame Democrats for not agreeing to $5 billion to fund a wall/barrier/fence/garden wall that President Donald Trump wants. Democrats blame Republicans for not doing anything about it when they had control of the House and Senate. Trump is blaming Democrats for not wanting to come to the table about the wall, after saying he would take full responsibility for shutting down the government.

Is anyone else tired of the shutdown talk?

Yes, I see the irony of writing a blog post talking about not wanting to talk about the shutdown, but the point is still the same. People are tired of the back and forth between sides that don’t want to be the first to blink. Take ideology off the table for a moment, folks, and look at what the core of the matter is. It’s not national security. It’s not amnesty. It’s not separating families or curtailing crimes committed by illegal immigrants. It’s not an allegedly racist President wanting to stroke his ego or a Congress whose approval ratings are lower than a snail’s belt buckle.

It’s about a wall. Period.

All of this macho posturing over a damn wall that won’t mean a thing unless there’s real change in the way we address illegal immigration. And, spoiler alert, only one side of this shutdown debacle is even talking about matters beyond a wall, and rarely at that. Meanwhile, the other side has members who want ICE abolished because reasons. Actually, they want ICE abolished because doing so allows more illegals into the country…to vote for Leftist candidates.

Put simply, the wall is a metaphor for the political aspirations of two sides who really don’t give a damn about us, but they care enough to shill for our votes and take our campaign donations. It’s political theater where you pay out the nose for a bag of popcorn and watch the crappiness play out. Wait. That’s the current movie-going experience. Nevermind!

You know what might stop the posturing and jockeying for position? If we stop paying attention to it. Fire doesn’t last if it’s deprived of oxygen, and so do political shenanigans like the shutdown/wall controversy. There are a lot better things out there to be spending time on than rehashing the same tired arguments about why we need/don’t need a wall. Like, and I’m just throwing this out there, reading a thoughtful, occasionally humorous, and well-written blog like mine. You know, if you’re into that kind of thing…

State of The Onion, or Journalism Dies in Dumbness

journalism as it’s being practiced today. There are some who excel at their profession, but there are far more who stink up the profession. (I’m looking right at you, Jim Acosta.)

Since we’re getting close to the State of the Union Address, I figured I’d give my own twist on it focusing on the state of journalism today.

Hey, media knuckleheads. I’ll bet you weren’t expecting someone to insult you right out of the gate like that because you’re important, but let me tell you something. You’re not as important as you think you are. If anything, you’re becoming more and more irrelevant by the day.

And it’s not a new phenomenon, either. For eight years, you rolled over like faithful lapdogs at everything President Barack Obama said or did and held him about as accountable as Massachusetts held Ted Kennedy. Now that there is a Republican in the Oval Office, and one that you find particularly nasty, you act like the watchdogs and guard dogs you claim you’ve always been. That notion may fly with your fellow talking airheads, but not with me. You have let your personal opinions poison your profession. Well, that, and you’re pretty much dunderheads.

By this time, you’re probably ready to write scathing responses to my statements. Good. It will give me much to laugh at while you fume. As brave as you think you are, it takes no courage to stand up against someone you hate. It takes courage to stand up against someone you love. And, yes, I know you’re fond of saying you don’t take sides, but you do.

Just take at look at how you’ve covered the border crisis. If your reporting were more ham-fisted, it wouldn’t be kosher or halal. And before you get indignant, let me point out you were caught trying to pass off photos from 2014 as photos from last year. And who was President in 2014? Why, it was Barack Obama! You know, the President you fawned over like women at an Ed Sherran concert while he was implicated in crimes and general incompetence that you should have reported? Please, go on about how you’re the real deal when you spent time covering Obama’s NCAA Final Four picks.

That’s one of the reasons people don’t trust you to report the facts: you’re dishonest. If you tell lies enough times and get caught, people stop listening to you. And, news flash kids, fewer and fewer people are listening to you for that very reason. Granted, some might stop listening because you’re not telling them the truth they want to hear, but most people stopped listening when they realized you lied about something meaningful to them. When the people charged with telling the truth get caught in lie after lie over trivial matters, they tend not to listen when the real news hits.

I know why you lie, and it’s not hard to figure out. You let your desire for fame, ideological purity, and egos get in the way of your job. You’re basically like Congress, only you have to pay your own bar tabs. You think you’re one story away from being the next Woodward and Bernstein, but you’re closer to Joanne and Leonard than you are to Bob and Carl. A huge part of that is you went into journalism for the wrong reasons. Journalists are not supposed to be the centers of attention on a story, or ever for that matter, because they are supposed to work behind the scenes to keep those in power in check. When you trade in the role of watchmen for that of media darling, it gets harder to keep the powerful on their toes because you think you become one of them. They will let you into their circles and talk you up, but only so long as they think you’re useful to them in some capacity. And no matter what kind of crap they do to you, you will go along with it because you like being noticed. But know this. They won’t lift a finger to help you if you can no longer help them. To them, you are just the hired help.

So, why keep doing it? Do you like to be treated worse than Louis Farrakhan at a bar mitzvah? Are you still struggling with self-image issues from high school because you weren’t one of the “cool kids”? Or are you so delusional as to think you can be the one to become one of the elite? Whatever it is, it’s not working. You are writing checks your egos can’t cash, and justifiably so. Whatever worth you once had is waning, and you’re stuck looking for answers.

Here’s a helpful hint from your ole pal Thomas. Instead of chasing celebrity, chase leads. And, no, whatever Beyonce and Jay Z are doing/wearing/hawking. Do some real reporting for a change. If you think there’s something to the Trump Russia story, do some digging and figure out where the bodies are buried, regardless of whether you agree with the outcome. There are some things more important than being allowed into exclusive parties, and one of those things is the truth. The reason Donald Trump keeps outmaneuvering your best efforts to bring him down is because he’s spent enough time around you to know your habits. Break those habits and hit the beat for a change, and you’ll find out more information about him and his political fans than you ever could by attending elegant dinner parties with celebrities and collectively looking your nose down at the rest of the country, as you are wont to do.

And as far as your haughty attitudes, dump those, too. You’re not better than us because of where you work or who you cover. You’re basically history’s steno pool, and you’re not even doing that right (which is ironic given how concerned you are about being on the “right side of history.”) Try being on the right side of the factual divide for a change. Write stories with actual facts and actual sources, not the scuttlebutt you might hear around the office water cooler, and people might start trusting you again.

Something else that will go a long way with people is to honestly apologize for your screw-ups and show them you’re working to fix them. And, yes, that means being willing to show multiple sides of an issue. Even if you think that side is bat-crap crazy, you owe it to your audience to show us that side and let us make up our own minds. We may not have gone to Columbia Journalism School, but we’re not dullards. Okay, some of us may be dullards, but that doesn’t remove your responsibility to deal straight with us as people, not as mindless sheep.

In closing, the state of journalism today is sorrier than a televangelist getting caught using church funds to get hookers and blow. The only way to fix that is to get better at what you do, and that starts with you. You tell us you’re only reporting on what we want, but that’s not exactly true. You’re reporting what you want us to think we want. That power corrupts absolutely, and you’ve abused that power like Ike abused Tina. Don’t shape our opinions for us; let us shape them.

And put a muzzle on Acosta, would ya?

Congressman King

I have no love for Rep Steve King. As the national co-chair for the Cruz presidential campaign in 2016 his actions against candidate Donald Trump and the other candidates during the Iowa Caucus has earned Mr. King permanent scorn. Thankfully he did not remain in the Leftist neverTrump camp after the election was won. And he has became a strong outspoken supporter of the Trump Administration. But I do not like Rep King.

Rep King has a lot of faults but being a racist isn’t one of them. This is part of the ongoing witch hunt against the President, his allies, and his supporters and base. Rep King’s remarks were taken out of context and skewed to fit a narrative of lies by the Left.

Unfortunately many otherwise good Republicans have fallen for this deadly trap. And the Left is salivating at the proverbial blood in the water.

Rep Steve King was speaking about how the Left labels its opponents as racists which makes things very difficult to defend. And in many cases the label is unfounded and unjust.

Rep King continued his talk and wondered how the term “Western Civilization” became an offensive term. After all he, and many others myself included, have sat through hours of classroom lectures on the merits of Western Civilization and all that it achieved.

These lines when taken out of context and the emphasis removed from the verbal speech can sound damning indeed. And the comment about taking a class is overlooked and glossed over. No one takes ore teaches a class on merits of racism. That is absurd.

This entire scandal is a fraud. The Governor of Iowa and our two Senators need to issue an immediate apology to Rep Steve King. And the rest of Congress needs to follow. Rep King’s positions on committees should be reinstated at once and any disciplinary actions should be dropped.

The longer this continues the worse it will backfire on the Left that started it and on any Republican that goes along with it.

Trump Secret Meetings

The Leftist media and the low information “useful idiots” on the internet are freaking out. It has been discovered that President Trump has had meetings with the Russian President. But the context of those meetings is not known to the media or public.

Now a rational mind easily knows and understands that world leaders meet periodically on matters of national security and the context of those meetings is not publicly disclosed. It is classified information and generally released on a need to known basis only. And the press doesn’t need to know. Even members of congress will not be privy to the information unless it is directly impacts some committee.

But since the Left doesn’t have a rational mind among them and they all suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, this is the proof to their theory that the President is in collusion with Russia. Facts wont matter, they never do with those who suffer from TDS. President Trump is the boogeyman and now they have proof.

This is will be big in the House. This will be wildfire across social media. And this is total nonsense.

Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

The American Psychological Association recently issued direction on how to conduct their practice with regards to males. Normally, this would be as exciting as an Al Gore burlesque show, but a line in their report caught my eye. The APA stated “traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful and that socializing boys to suppress their emotions causes damage.” To be fair, I agree with the latter part of their statement, but the whole “traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful” bit reminds me of a current Leftist buzz-phrase that often is used interchangeably with “traditional masculinity”: toxic masculinity.

Whether it’s catcalling in the streets or eating meat, Leftists (and especially third wave feminists) have decided being a guy is harmful, and with the APA’s guidelines, they have some scientific heft instead of their usual “men are icky” justifications. How did we get to the point that anyone more masculine than Pee Wee Herman was dangerous to society as a whole? That’s a long and strange story…

toxic masculinity

What the Left thinks it means – the state where men dominate everything and infect society with outdated and cruel notions designed to keep women down

What it really means – men acting like men

In the late 60s and throughout the 70s, women started to come into their own as people. Society started seeing them as smart, capable, and just as competent as men, and thanks in part to first wave feminism, men changed their perspective and some of them…tried to become more like women. This worked for a while until men realized they were missing something (rhymes with “halls”) and started looking for ways to reconnect with their masculinity. Before you know it, men started acting, dressing, and looking like men again, which didn’t sit well with those who wanted us to believe acting, dressing, and looking like men was bad. To combat this, they created a new concept: masculinity wasn’t just bad, it was deadly!

If you’re reaching for the brown Challenge Bullshit flag, you’re not alone. Men have acted far less civilized than we do today for millennia and we survived, mainly because men…acted like men. They didn’t have GrubHub or Starbucks back in the early days of Mankind, so it fell to the men most of the time to find food and shelter while protecting their clans against others who meant to do them harm. In other words, masculinity in its more primitive form proved to be good for society because, without it, there wouldn’t be much of a society.

“But, surely you can’t think today’s society is as primitive as that of our ancestors,” the Leftists who think toxic masculinity is a thing might retort. Of course not. Society today is quite different, but that doesn’t negate the need for a masculine perspective in it. And as society evolved, so has masculinity. Today’s men range from guys who make Ron Swanson look like Pajama Boy to guys who make Pajama Boy look like Ron Swanson. Is it fair to say all of these variations on a masculine theme are toxic?

Seems the feminists don’t have an answer for that, but they do have a response based around the concept of whether men are “allies” to feminist causes. In other words, if feminists can use these men for their own purposes, as tools or just hunks of meat. You know, how they objected to being treated in the 60s and 70s?

Pro Tip for you male feminists out there: you’re not going to get any, no matter what you say or do, because third wave feminists hate men. They may not come out and say it, but they do. As long as they can lead you around by the nose, they will, and you will ultimately get nothing out of it.

Here’s the funny part. A recent survey showed women find manly men more attractive than the Pajama Boy types. That’s going to sting a bit for the “toxic masculinity” crowd because it shows something their ideology can’t overcome: genetics. Locked within the male and female DNA are instincts that may be suppressed, but never completely, that make both sexes want to act a certain way. It’s primal, but it’s part of us. Yet, feminists and Leftists only want to focus on the negative aspects of the primal male because it furthers the “toxic masculinity” narrative. Here’s a radical idea. Maybe if most women don’t find masculinity toxic…it may not be toxic at all. Unless you assume women who don’t agree with you aren’t capable of making their own decisions, which would make you…sexist.

Really, that’s what third wave feminism is. Sexism disguised as an equality movement. And the concept of toxic masculinity is equally as deceptive. Sure, men do suck sometimes…okay, a lot of the time, but even so we have redeeming qualities that more than make up for the crappy things members of our gender do. To ignore the good men do in an attempt to make them appear to be monsters is the truly toxic part, but it has nothing to do with masculinity. It has everything to do with Leftists and feminists wanting to make it bad to be a man.

Screw the APA’s analysis of masculinity. It’s okay to be a man, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed of being one. Just be the best one you can. Whether you’re a lumberjack type who spends hours carving a piece of wood into a perfect toothpick or a guy wearing skinny jeans who can’t get through the day without a soy milk chai tea latte, take pride in your manliness.

Of course if you’re that last guy, we might need to have a talk. And by talk, I mean intervention.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Economic Jugger-Not

Yep. It’s one of those blogs about everyone’s favorite Leftist, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This time, I’m tackling her latest economic idea, raising the marginal tax rate on anyone making over $10 million to 70% of each dollar above that threshold to help fight climate change as part of her Green New Deal.

Leftists are already jumping on board because it combines two of their favorite causes: environmentalism, and socking it to the rich. And, as Leftists are quick to point out, the marginal tax rate was much higher in the 50s and 60s when we had tremendous growth, and Ocasio-Cortez’s suggestion is lower than the marginal tax rates back then. So, it has to be a great idea, right?

Not even close.

The problem is the way her critics are striking back isn’t effective either, as it fails to make a distinction between tax rates and marginal tax rates. I, however, will do my best not to fall into that trap.

Here’s how a marginal tax rate works. There is a threshold set where any income above it gets taxed at a different (and usually higher) rate. You are still being taxed for the income made below the threshold, just not at the higher rate. Under Ocasio-Cortez’s plan, the normal tax rate applies up to $10 million, and then the 70% kicks in at $10,000,000.01. Imagine trying to take 70% of a penny. I’m sure the IRS already has.

This is where critics fail or attempt to deceive people, depending on how much you trust your politicians. Republicans and conservatives insinuate the 70% marginal tax would apply to all income above $10 million, when it only applies to a portion of it. Even so, the same person is being taxed twice for the same income, one at the “regular” rate and one at the higher rate, all because of some arbitrary threshold set by someone who has an economics degree, but can’t tell her assets from a hole in the ground. This is where the argument against Ocasio-Cortez’s idea should start. If you want to throw in that last part about her assets, be my guest.

The key flaw in her idea is it ignores the source of the income from the marginal tax rate: the people making over $10 million a year. Thanks to lobbying, accounting tricks, and tax loopholes big enough to drive a Brinks truck through, it’s entirely possible the only people paying the marginal tax rate are those who do it voluntarily or those who don’t know how to avoid it. And, contrary to Leftist belief, there are a lot more in the latter group than there are in the former.

That may be one of the reasons Ocasio-Cortez is linking this marginal tax rate to her Green New Deal idea. The concept of protecting the planet may guilt more people into paying the tax than might normally do it. Even then, the question becomes what happens to the money. Will it be distributed to tech companies to develop cutting edge green energy technology? Will it be used to incentivize more people to use alternative fuel sources? Or will it just go to environmental subcommittees and organizations with track records of inactivity and/or failure? That’s just it. Nobody knows, least of all the young woman proposing the marginal tax rate. And the Green New Deal initiative is poorly drawn out to the point of being little more than a proposal in search of an action plan. It’s like trying to build a race car by telling people how fast it will go once built. At some point, you’re going to have to learn how to build a car, and right now, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t even have the help of Mr. Horriblewrench, let alone Mr. Goodwrench. But she does have an idea that will throw a wrench into our economy.

Raising the marginal tax rate for any reason when we have evidence of wasteful spending that needs to be addressed is folly and reveals the true intention of Ocasio-Cortez’s idea. It’s not to help the fight against climate change; it’s about taking people’s money all because they committed the great Leftist sin of making it one way or another. And if your rebuttal involves anything resembling “paying their fair share,” let me remind you there are close to half of American adults who pay little to no federal income tax at all. When these folks start paying into the federal coffers more than they’re taking, then we can have this talk.