Friday, February 29, 2008

We Don't Need Your Fancy Regulations

It's short, so here is a whole post from David Kurtz on TPM:

A sampling of the agencies currently crippled by impasses between the White House and Senate over nominations:

Federal Elections Commission
Consumer Product Safety Commission
Council of Economic Advisers
National Labor Relations Board
U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board
Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission

Just a coincidence that these are mostly regulatory agencies?

Always good to remember that the travesties of this administration have not been confined to the things we hear about everyday.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another Explanation

From George Will's column in the Washington Post:

Certain kinds of conservatives, distrusting Richard Nixon's ideological elasticity, rejected him -- until 1973. Although it had become clear that his administration was a crime wave, they embraced him because the media were his tormentors. Today such conservatives, whose political compasses are controlled, albeit negatively, by the New York Times, have embraced John McCain. He, although no stickler about social niceties (see below), should thank the Times, for two reasons.

For some reason Will ignores the equally plausible explanation that "certain kinds of conservatives" don't take their candidates seriously until they prove they can be sufficiently corrupt.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I am generally pretty skeptical of most of the TIF and 353 projects that get approved in the area. The TIF that was just approved to redevelop Hawthorn Plaza at 39th and Main gives me mixed feelings.

The corner is in my neighborhood, so I would love to see new projects going on. And this project is certainly a better fit for TIF than Briarcliff. On the other hand, there are 164 low-income apartments in the building today that surely have current residents. This will move those people away from public transportation they no doubt rely on. I'm not sure what can be done about that, but it would be nice if some of the TIF money could help with relocation. I'm sure that will happen.

Plus, someone is going to have to help move the porn store.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

80's Movie Quote of the Week

From the underappreciated Val Kilmer movie, Top Secret, which was well aware of what it was.

Nick Rivers: Listen to me Hillary. I'm not the first guy who fell in love with a woman that he met at a restaurant who turned out to be the daughter of a kidnapped scientist only to lose her to her childhood lover who she last saw on a deserted island who then turned out fifteen years later to be the leader of the French underground.

Hillary Flammond: I know. It all sounds like some bad movie.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Funny Stuff

The cartoon above via The Monkey Cage.

Onion Report: Man With Hammer-Induced Thumb Injury Appeals To Christ Almighty.

Creatively Titled Econ Paper: "An-arrgh-chy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization"

People Playing People

Previous reference to people playing people, in case you need to get up to speed are here and here.

In the biggest people playing people upset of all time, Cate Blanchett won neither Best Actress for playing Queen Elizabeth or Best Supporting Actress for Playing Bob Dylan. However, those playing the living were not shut out. Marion Cotillard won Best Actress for La Vie enRose.

The people playing people rule did rear its head in one other category. The makeup team from La Vie en Rose won for apparently making the quite striking Cotillard look like the bizarre Judith Piaf. Fine, but technically speaking, I can't see how that is more impressive than making Eddie Murphy look like an old Asian guy.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dan's Oscar Contest

Internet savvy SOB that he is, Dan over at Gone Mild has developed an online Oscar picks contest. My votes are in. I'd encourage you to join in the fun.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Full House

If you find yourself laid off in the next couple of years, don't worry. It looks as though we might be able to employ about 1/4 of the population at casinos very soon.

How many casinos will it take before someone decides it is time to offer the $1.99 steak and eggs breakfast?


The National Review Online blog has a post by David Freddoso commenting on the McCain/lobbyist story. The line that caught my eye:

Meanwhile — Rush Limbaugh, tongue-in-cheek, suggests that the Times is deliberately rallying conservatives to McCain. As expected, his callers are suddenly finding themselves much more sympathetic to the Arizonan. His biggest "I-told-you-so" goes to McCain himself — essentially that these people in the media will never be your friends.

That is the thing with conservatives. They never seem to understand that the media is not supposed to be your friend. If they are, they aren't doing their jobs very well.


I just turned on word verification for comments. Sorry if this is an annoyance to any of you who comment, but I'd like to keep a lid on the spam that has appeared a couple of times already.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

80's Movie Quote of the Week

Why not another Eddie Murphy movie? This one is from Trading Places.

Billy Ray: When I was growing up, if we wanted a Jacuzzi, we had to fart in the tub.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Obama Wins Again!

It now seems to be in fashion to predict an Obama backlash. I suppose it could happen, but it certainly doesn't look like it will happen before the primary is over. Tonight, he won Wisconsin for his 9th consecutive win.

My only hope is that if this continues, and Hillary Clinton loses, that by some miracle she will be treated with a little bit more respect than the hitsquad on the right has afforded her ever before. And I hope Obama can weather what they will begin to throw his way. For what it's worth, I think he can.


I wanted to share a couple of articles from this month's Harper's Magazine. Unfortunately, they have chosen to make all of their content unavailable online other than as full-page images. This irritates me although, I see their side of it. Trust me when I tell you there are some funny things in the Readings section this month, including a page out of a Catholic coloring book instructing children on the dangers of being alone in a room with one adult. No kidding. Hopefully, Harper's will reconsider their policy sometime in the future and I'll be able to share.


The Star has a story about a possible escalation in carjackings. I say possible because they apparently don't keep reliable statistics on the matter, but the police believe carjackings are up. That is disconcerting sure, but the weird part is this:

More recently, police say, more criminals appear indifferent to the risk of being identified. Those arrested for armed carjackings are likely to face charges of first-degree robbery and, sometimes, assault or armed criminal action. Those crimes carry stiffer penalties than an auto theft or tampering charge carries. Carjackings, though, often have little in common with auto theft for profit.

Independence police recently arrested three suspects connected to a recent string of carjackings. In those cases, Bullard said, it appeared the robbers didn’t care much about the make, model or year of the victim’s vehicle.

“The primary focus seems to be excitement,” Bullard said. “The secondary focus seems to be what’s in the car — a purse, credit card, things like that.”

What's deal with this? Why would criminals suddenly be unconcerned with the profit of a particular carjacking? Is it harder to sell stolen cars these days? Is the metro turning into A Clockwork Orange?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

NBA All-Star Game 2008

A few thoughts:

  • A great game. Probably the best one since Iverson and Marbury carried the East to an improbably win in 2003.

  • The national anthem and halftime show were a classy affair. First Petty and now this. Good taste is having its day in the sun.

  • Unfortunately, animated graphics are also having their day. Tonight, there was a Mardi Gras character that was only mildly less annoying than the Fox football robot.

  • Why were most of the West players wearing red socks?

  • Yao and Tim Duncan are ill-suited to this type of game.

  • Dwight Howard is incredible. I'm not sure if anyone that big has ever equalled his athleticism.

  • I said during last year's all-star game that I would like to watch Howard and Stoudemire play against one another every day. The game tonight showed why once again. Stoudemire's drive and dunk on Howard was serious highlight stuff.

  • It was good to see Chris Paul on TV for once. He may be the best point guard in the NBA right now, and he made a case tonight. He's one of those guys who is faster than everyone, but doesn't look like he is running that fast.
  • Guarding Allen Iverson would be horrible. He attacks everytime he gets the ball. He primarily passes in these games, but he always test you with the dribble first.
  • Kevin Garnett is even fun to watch on the bench. Dude is intense.
  • It's always instructive to see who is on the floor at the end of games. The West had Duncan, Nowitzki, Paul, Stoudemire and Roy. The East had Lebron, Wade, Kidd, Howard, and Allen. In an all-star game much of that has to do with playing time, but you aren't out there if the coach doesn't think you give the team a pretty good shot to win.
  • Awesome to see the Ray Allen of old.
  • The NBA seems to be handing over the reins once again. Jordan, Bird, Magic, Malone, Stockton, Thomas, Ewing, Olajuwon, etc. handed over to Shaq, Kobe, Garnett, Duncan, Iverson, Nash, Kidd, etc. Now it looks like there might be close to critical mass for a next handover to Lebron, Wade, Anthony, Howard, Paul, Stoudemire, and likely some guys yet to be determined. That should be fun to watch.

Friday, February 15, 2008

You Really Can Write Anything You Want

Charles Krauthammer actually wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post that criticises Barack Obama's campaign for selling hope. No joke, he did. Here is the best line:

And now, in the most amazing trick of all, a silver-tongued freshman senator has found a way to sell hope. To get it, you need only give him your vote. Barack Obama is getting millions.

Krauthammer's preferred candidates are the ones whol sell fear. He makes no mention of why that is preferable.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

80's Movie Quote of the Week

The non-compliment, compliment.

Jeffery: Todd is looking for you. He is really pissed. You know what he said? He said this is your worst f*ck up ever. Personally, I don't think that's true.

I Can't See

This is what happens when you let toddlers take the AP photos.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I spent some time in our state's cradle of power today. A surreal experience. I met with Democrats and Republicans and found most to be either truly thoughtful or quite effective at appearing to be truly thoughtful. Some were only half paying attention, but what I was speaking to them about was not the most exciting topic in the world. I (and those with me) did run into a couple of roadblocks. Those roadblocks are otherwise known as rural representatives.

I am a farmboy from a rural area, but the attitudes of those from places just like my own seem as foreign to me as Siberia. The inability or unwillingness of many rural people to consider the plight of those outside their world is astounding. I might refer to that particular political development as yokelism. The term is, of course, pejoritave. But I honestly cannot think of a better way to explain it.

There is a patent unfairness in my complaint because urban dwellers often have a similar ignorance of the problems faced by rural communities. All I can say is that right now the rural people are giving me far more headaches than the urban ones. This whole point could be made better if I could give specifics, but that isn't what this is about.

I mostly just needed to complain, even if doing so meant being a bit vague. Thanks for the indulgence.

p.s. Blogger's spell checker hasn't worked on my blog for about 3 weeks now. Anyone know why?

Monday, February 11, 2008

I'll Be Out of the Cave Until...

Dan Drezner posts a long excerpt from a Newsweek story about the problems Al Qaeda has faced in becoming a large organization. It's very interesting, but the final line is great:

"When they were in Afghanistan, al Qaeda really prided itself on its H.R.," says Hoffman. "It gave people annual leave and even a death benefits plan."

Yeah, but what they don't tell you is that you don't get death benefit until your one year probationary period is over and the strategic plan calls for new recruits to be sent on their first "assignment" within 6 months.

It's Over! It's Over!

Mike Sweeney signed a minor league deal with Oakland A's. It's a new day in Kansas City.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Little Man's Disease

Heard on the radio this morning that Stefhon Hannah and Jason Horton were involved in two incidents previous to the one last week that resulted in Hannah's broken jaw and Horton's arrest. Apparently, shots were fired in the previous incidents.

None of the shots hit anyone during the previous incidents surely making Horton a person of interest.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


The NYT has a story pointing out we are now virtually assured to have a Senator as president. That is notable because it hasn't happened since 1961 when JFK was elected. In the time since, 46 other senators have tried and failed to become commander-in-chief.

This, of course, makes perfect sense because nothing prepares you to lead the country more than being the governor of Arkansas or Texas.


In a post about the economic stimulus package filibuster and John McCain's role, Kevin Drum makes this good point:

Now, it's obvious that everyone believes a stimulus bill is a good idea, so no one voted against this because they believe it's a flawed concept. And since the last month's worth of economic news has been uniformly bad, no one who believes in stimulus has any real reason to balk at fattening up the package a bit. This wasn't a principled stand about letting the economy work things out on its own.

But what happened? Republicans filibustered the larger bill and then sustained the filibuster on virtually a party line vote. Why? Because it had a few billion dollars of spending targeted at Democratic priorities. There's nothing more to it.

The moral of the story is this: Republicans have no intention of ever working with Democrats on anything remotely like a bipartisan basis. Even on something as trivial as this, they filibustered and won. They will do the same thing next year no matter who's president. They will do it on every single bill, no matter how minor. They will never stop obstructing. Period. Presidential hopefuls, take note.

I would add to this point what is amounting to a running theme on this blog: Republicans can do this because their political philosophy does not require them to take governing seriously. It's why they have already set the record for fillibusters during a session just barely past the halfway point. They aren't trying to stop particular initiatives of government, they are trying to stop government period.

Important Primary Answer

Unfortunately, I received an answer to one of my important primary questions.

No, Cindy McCain did not peel back her flesh to reveal a titanium skeleton.

I talked to one of the Ron Paul supporters I know, fully expecting to hear that it was time to give it up. I should have known better.

What I learned instead was that the elections are rigged and there is a movement afoot to get Paul to run as an Independent. Awesome.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

80's Movie Quote of the Week

Just saw Uncle Buck again, and the weather outside makes this quote seem pretty timely.

Miles (witnessing his older sister make out with her boyfriend): That's a pretty stupid thing to do during flu season!

Like an 18 Wheeler in an Indy Race

The Suns are apprently trading for Shaq. This has to be one of the craziest trades in the history of sports. Shaq is old, hurt, and even previous to being old and hurt a poor fit for what the Suns do. The explanation given by Chris Broussard at is:

First, the Suns don't think they can win it all as currently constructed. Their lack of big, physical players scares the daylights out of them when they look at a Lakers frontline that features Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom (not to mention Ronny Turiaf).

So in a way the terrible trade the Grizzlies made (giving Gasol to the Lakers) is going to beget a terrible trade for the Suns. The Lakers meanwhile managed to take advantage of one team, and panic a rival into doing something stupid. I was really close to no longer despising the Lakers before all this.

The best comment I have read so far on the subject comes from writer John Hollinger:

In short, this deal feels like one of these movie scenes where the lead character has a plan and says, "It's crazy ... but it just might work!"

I'm not sure about the working part, but it's definitely crazy. I'm praying this trade doesn't really happen, because the Suns have been too entertaining for too long to screw up their title chances like this.


Important Primary Question 6

Cindy McCain -- robot?

Important Primary Question 5

Why does a conversation between Brit Hume and Bill Kristol make my eye twitch involuntarily?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Important Primary Question 4

Hillary just said "My mother was born before women could vote, and now she is watching her daughter on this stage tonight." Is it possible for her to do a better job of encouraging women to vote for her?

I don't think so. I voted for Obama, but I can tell you that I would be proud to vote for Mrs. Clinton in November as well.

Important Primary Question 3

Can I now possibly hope to no longer be pinned in a corner by a Ron Paul supporter and forced to listen to why he is the only one who understands the Constitution?

Somehow I doubt it.

Important Primary Question 2

Did Bill Richardson become a Republican strategist?

If not, what prompted him to grow that goatee?

Important Primary Question

Why do white Democratic Primary voting men going for Obama consitute a milestone in race relations?

If a majority (or even a slight minority) of all white men in Georgia vote for a black candidate then we can talk.

Ballot Question

Does anyone know how the order of names on the primary ballot is determined? I would have expected alphabetical order, but it looked more like they took a polling snapshot from earlier in the year and used that order. Is that not weird?

Premier League Fan Zone

For those of you who have any interest in soccer and Fox Soccer Channel, I must recommend Premier League Fan Zone. I watched PLFZ for the first time last night, and I was enthralled. It is a broadcast of an English Premier League soccer match with the broadcasters roles filled by two fans of one of the teams. They do commentary and field text messages throughout the match.

The match last night featured Fulham vs. Aston Villa. The two Fulham fans commentating spent the match figuring out who each player resembled, yelling at Fulham players who weren't playing hard, and despairing over the impending doom of the franchise. Best celebrity comparisons of the night: Bilbo Baggins, Leo Sayer, and "Maggie" Thatcher.

This show is also the final piece of the puzzle in making Fulham my second Premier League Team. I will still always root for Chelsea due to my first experience watching a match in an English pub with a bunch of Chelsea fans. Even though I later found out that rooting for Chelsea was akin to rooting for the Yankees, the experience was what it was. But I am now adding Fulham as my other rooting interest.


1. The team features enough American transplants that it is sometimes called Fulhamerica.

2. The latest American addition is former Wizard Eddie Johnson.

3. The are desperately fighting relegation (teams that finish in the bottom 3 are sent to the equivalent of Triple A the following season). Matches between bottom teams are often more thrilling than matches between top teams because no one wants to get sent down. American sports should find a way to adopt this rule.

4. Those two guys from the PLFZ.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Greatness is Subjective

Reading an article in Slate, I happened upon a website called Great Buildings. It seems to be loosely affiliated with Architecture Week magazine. The site lists great buildings from all over the world.

One Kansas City building made the list -- Kemper Arena. Kemper Arena?

I guess we better figure out something to do with it if it's the only "great" building we have in the whole town.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Bowl Thoughts

1. Bridgestone is the clubhouse leader for my company of the year award after bringing us the best halftime show ever and the screaming squirrel commercial.

2. The completion from Manning to Tyree was probably the most amazing play I have ever seen.

3. Kawika Mitchell and Lawrence Tynes probably aren't upset they had to leave KC.

4. The Giants defense was unbelievable.

5. Unless there was some misunderstanding, Belichek ended the game pretty classlessly.

6. I wish the Terminator would take out those stupid Fox football robots for good.

7. It was hard not to feel good watching one brother root for another on screen.

8. Moss was outran the Giants secondary on several plays, but Brady couldn't get enough on the ball to get it to him.

9. The other best commercial of the night was from Doritos of all people, featuring the mousetrap.

10. Charles Barkley is my favorite sports celebrity by a fairly wide margin.

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