Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Doesn't Anyone Know How to Win Outright Anymore?
Today, a special election was held in NY-20 to replace Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand who took Hillary Clinton's seat in the Senate. With all the precincts reporting, and more than 150,000 votes counted, Democrat Scott Murphy leads by a mere 65. Cue the lawyers, the fight over the 5,000 or so absentee ballots, etc... Like with Al Franken, by the time it's all settled, it will probably be time for the next election.

Monday, March 30, 2009

What have you been listening to, reading, watching?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Our Long Regional Nightmare is Over
So long, Billy G.

I don't like rooting for anyone to lose their job, but the $6 million buyout should help cushion the fall I'm guessing. The guy just wasn't cut out for that kind of position. Given how easy that was to figure out from the beginning, I blame the AD for making one of the stupider coaching hires in recent memory.

It may make them/us crazy, but Kentucky fans don't just want a coach so much as a state leader, motivator, and larger-than-life presence, who oh by the way can direct a basketball team to 30 wins a year. The kind of person that would aspire to be Governor comes to mind. I had yet to see much indication that he could do any of those things, or even wanted to do any of them except win.

What kind of a person has the skills for that kind of a job? Beats me. Rupp had it. Hell, he invented it. Joe B. Hall didn't have tons of it but he could win for a while. Eddie Sutton wasn't even close. Pitino set the modern-day standard: writing books and giving speeches by day, executing 15 varieties of a full-court press by night. Tubby had it - charisma, class, coaching ability, and it is to their eternal detriment that he was let go, thanks to a combination of a couple of lackluster years and, let's face it, some racism thrown in. And Billy G came along with the nerve to not even really try any of the non-basketball stuff, and think he could get away with home losses to Gardner-Webb and VMI, a trip to the NIT, and generally being a public relations embarrassment.

Truth be told, the only time he actually tried to embrace the role of public figure, he went out to personally meet Dick Cheney when the Vice President flew into Lexington. That sealed the deal for me. The next coach may be truly awful, but if he's a positive ambassador for the University and the state, and treats the players well, it will be a step up. Even if they lose to lowly Indiana next year.

Industry [UPDATED]
Josh is right. The point of banks and financial services is to facilitate industry, not pretend like they are one.

[UPDATE: He adds these graphs to the discussion, which are powerfully telling.]

Thursday, March 26, 2009

An Idea
I sat through a replay of much of the same congressional hearing that LATimes columnist Michael Hiltzik watched. And yes, it was thoroughly painful. The only conclusion to draw is that the men and women representing us in the House are, for the most part, morons. And the ones that do have some ability to think clearly are often short-circuited by some internal fear that spewing anything but the cliches of the day just might have the disastrous result that they lose an election, as if the stability of the free world hinges on their ability stay in office, and therefore anything done in that effort is a good thing.

But never fear: I have a solution. Likely, each House member had the good sense to hire some legislative staff person that has a clue what's going on, what the issues are. I say from now on, House hearings should be attended only by those knowledgeable staffers, and not the Representative. They can be briefed later. Yeah, that means we would lose a few strong inquisitors like Henry Waxman. But that would be more than made up for by getting rid of the likes of Michelle Bachmann. She's already an embarrassment to her district; there's no reason why she must embarrass all of Congress by getting to ask ridiculous questions on TV. See for yourself at Kevin's blog.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Not The Way You Want Your City Making the NYTimes
My town gets a shoutout in an article tomorrow:
While encampments and street living have always been a part of the landscape in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, these new tent cities have taken root — or grown from smaller enclaves of the homeless as more people lose jobs and housing — in such disparate places as Nashville, Olympia, Wash., and St. Petersburg, Fla.
Bizarro World
Just a random thought. When did everyone start caring about the budget deficit again? President Bush rummaged through a surplus and exploded our national debt with impunity. Republicans were all over my teevee saying that deficits really don't matter all that much; growth does. Now suddenly even Democrats are bashing Obama for proposing a budget that yes will increase the debt in the short run, and may even increase it in the medium-short run as well, depending on what kind of growth we have.

For 8 years I don't remember anyone giving a rat's ass about the deficit. They ridiculed everyone who brought it up by pointing out what a small percentage of the GDP it is.

And now, now we face a legitimately frightening, indisputably significant economic crisis. And that crisis is NOT the fact that we have a national debt that is growing. It seems obvious to me that if we don't get the economy moving, and then growing again, the deficit will be the least of our problems and will surely expand, no matter how much we limit spending. We just had a historic election, in which Americans voted for fundamental change on a host of issues, and I don't remember the budget deficit being mentioned at all. Now suddenly everybody's a hawk. WTF? Of all the times to not give a shit about that, this would seem to be it. If we don't stabilize the financial industry, the downward economic spiral will simply get worse. But once we do that, if we don't also address our health care system and our oil dependency, we still leave the economy screwed. And yes it will cost some money to address these problems! Duh!

Why is he having to answer so many questions about this?!? And why are so many Democrats in Washington falling for it?!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

No Fun
First ever post from the iphone.

I want to like women's sports I really do. But the uconn team is not only undefeated,they have won every game by double digits. What's the point?

Waiting for the hockey game to start. Nothing else on tv.
You Too
...can own a slice of the low-risk investments (well, low-risk to investors...high-risk to taxpayers) Treasury is now planning to auction, your very own toxic debt asset! Sadly the buy-in for Pimco's mutual fund offering is a minimum or $25,000....
New Musical Instruments
Wired Magazine highlights a recent competition for musical instruments of the future. You can see a demonstration of each. Pretty cool - some of them pretty funny.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Public Service Announcement [UPDATED]
Yeah, I know, it's time for Media Monday, but I'm not really in the mood for that this week. I did see one film - Gomorra - which I recommend if you like your mafia movies realistic. But I'll come back to that next week.

Instead, take a look at this new study showing the relationship between consumption of red meat and early mortality. We knew, of course, that red meat - even in what is considered moderate amounts - is not good for us. But this "rolls royce of studies on this topic", surveying more than half a million people, spells it out pretty dramatically.
[T]hose who consumed the equivalent of about a small hamburger every day were more than 30 percent more likely to die during the 10 years they were followed, mostly from heart disease and cancer. Sausage, cold cuts and other processed meats also increased the risk.
In contrast, routine consumption of fish, chicken, turkey and other poultry decreased the risk of death by a small amount, the study found.
Note that, sadly pork, counts against you as a red meat and not "the other white meat" they like to advertise.

I have lots of strategies for cutting back on meat consumption: Meatless Mondays, etc., and I'm getting better at them over the last year or so. The smartest, though, is my decision to generally not keep any meat in the house, unless you count cans of tuna. And definitely no red meat stored in the freezer. Freezers are for bags of vegetables (aka ice packs in case of injury), ice trays (usually empty), and vodka. My resolve to eat healthily (which surely fades by 6 pm) pales in comparison to the laziness that keeps me from going all the way to the store, where the cows call out to me by name.

[UPDATE: In comments, Doug asks some good questions. Tracking down the actual study and looking at the stats seemed like a good idea for getting to the bottom of it, until I actually looked at the stats and tried to make sense of them. Would take me a while (10 years of studying statistics?) to figure it all out, but if you're any good at that sort of thing, have at it. Let us know what you discover.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Must-Read
Frank Rich. Hopefully, somebody passes the NYTimes opinion page on to the President.
What's Treasury Up To?
UC-Berkeley Economics professor and blogger Brad DeLong takes a crack at explaining it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Does the right thing in New Mexico. Amazing how the end of one's political career can bring that out, huh?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In Which I Coin a Term
If it isn't already, this phenomenon described in the NYTimes should be called a Mistroogle
I'm sure you heard the tragic story of the Illinois minister gunned down during church recently. And I'm sure that your first reaction was similar to that highlighted in my morning paper today: we need more guns in church to help combat all the violence!
Duane McGray takes his Bible to church on Sunday mornings.

He also takes his gun.

McGray, a former chief of public safety at Nashville International Airport, is a volunteer in the security ministry at First Baptist Church Hendersonville. He carries a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun to worship services to keep members and visitors safe.

"I have no problem in carrying a firearm in church," he said. "I just know that it is necessary to protect God's people."
Nice to know this guy was head of public safety at the Airport....

Monday, March 16, 2009

What have you been listening to, reading, watching?

I understand there is some basketball-related event going on this month, but I don't know much about it. The last I checked, Kentucky was crowned the champion of their tournament game against Ole Miss. #1 !!

Article 19 Poll

What are your favorite law-related films and novels? Hard to beat To Kill a Mockingbird, in both categories. What else?

Weekend Box Office

1. Witch Mountain
2. Watchmen
3. Last House on the Left
4. Taken
5. Madea Goes to Jail

Who's seen Watchmen? What's the verdict?

Friday, March 13, 2009

How He Did It
You have to be an especially morally challenged person to be willing to steal the life savings of the world's most famous Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, and all the assets of his foundation. I presume Hell is already making special preparations for the Madoff room. You can read Bernie's allocution explaining his brazen scheme here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why We Hate Science
It can't make up its mind about what's good and bad for us. On the other hand, it occasionally brings tough choices into fairly clear relief: if you're thinking of moderate drinking (less than 3 drinks a day for women) it's really a question of whether you want to lower your chances of heart disease (drink!) or lower your chances of breast, liver and rectal cancers (don't drink!), or lower your chances of thyroid cancer or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (drink, but just a little bit!) Sign up accordingly, I guess.

If you want to know which concern to be most freaked out about, apparently, look to the rest of your family to see where the genes say you are headed.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Jury Duty
Is over. This time, my service was not needed. What'd I miss?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Give it a Rest, Laettner
17 years is not *quite* enough to get over it, but this is almost funny, heading into March Madness - which will be without the Big Blue for the first time in many years.

Friday, March 06, 2009


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Pessimistic Dow Jones Thought
Even with President Obama's skills and smarts, and a Democratic congress, what if 6 years of Bush and Republican control of the House and Senate ruined the American economy for good?
If you stand next to 2 random Americans under age 65, chances are that one of the three of you will have gone without health coverage for at least 2 months during the last couple of years. That's not counting the underinsured, that's those with zero coverage. A visit to a doctor (not that he would see you without insurance), or a clinic would might make you dip into a credit card, an emergency might max it out, and a hospital stay would bankrupt you. One out of three. 87.7 million.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

They're back! For you locals...Ryman Auditorium on May 10. Tickets go on sale Friday. No word on whether mini sandwiches will be sold at the concession stand.
The stupid hurts sometimes. I guess there might be people who object to a higher tax rate so strongly they will keep the income down to avoid having to pay it on even one dollar. But really, if you make 250,005 dollars next year, you still get the Obama tax break on the first 250,000. It's just that other 5 that will see a higher rate. Some rich people might not get that, but you'd think reporters would.

Monday, March 02, 2009

What have you been reading, listening to, watching?

You Tube Symphony
I don't really get this.