Friday, October 30, 2009

80's Movie Line - Halloween Edition

For Halloween, the lady friend and I will be dressing up as Zuul and Vince or Vinz (surprisingly there seems to be some debate) Clortho, or Dana Barrett and Louis Tully, or Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis.

To honor this historic occasion, the introduction of the two:

Louis: [possessed by Vinz Clortho] I am The Keymaster!
Dana Barrett: [possessed by Zuul] I am The Gatekeeper!

The Daily Show

Getting it right as usual.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Price Is...

Well I guess it's right. The AA alma mater picked up a $1 million donation from game show host extraordinaire and alum Bob Barker. For what? establish a professorship on animal rights that he hopes will lead to a full undergraduate degree program.
I have conflicting feelings about this.

On the one hand, I love the fact that Drury and Barker have decided to try something like this in Springfield, the middle of planet Conservatron.

On the other hand, I can't quite shake the feeling that this was one of those gifts that the university decided to accept because, hey it's a million dollars. I just can't imagine that anyone at Drury was sitting around hoping to create an animal rights program if only they could find someone to give them a lump of cash.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Governator

Via Kevin Drum, I read that Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto message for AB 1176 is causing some commotion in California. Why?

In tomorrow's edition, the governor will throw a pipe through the California Legislature and say "Hey Legislature, let off some steam!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The uber-Royals

I often like to think that the Royals might be the most cursed franchise in professional sports. It's always nice to have some other team that put things into perspective, however.

Blake Griffin's NBA debut has been pushed back indefinitely after the Los Angeles Clippers revealed late Monday night that their No. 1 overall draft pick has a broken left kneecap...Los Angeles was mostly healthy going into this fall, with point guard Baron Davis and center Chris Kaman both ready to play after missing chunks of last season. The Clippers actually have solid frontcourt talent with Marcus Camby, Al Thornton and Rasual Butler alongside Griffin.
Being a Royals fan, I can appreciate the hopelessness that many Clippers fans must feel.

On the other hand, at least L.A. fans have two baseball playoff teams and the Lakers.

The Royals have the Chiefs. We win... and by that I mean we lose.

Monday, October 26, 2009

How You Operate When You Don't Care

From Washington Monthly, explaining what Republicans are currently doing to help our country.

And it's not just judicial nominees. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, pointing to the difficulties of responding to the global flu pandemic, recently noted that the Senate isn't allowed to vote on a surgeon general, because Republicans refuse to let Regina Benjamin's nomination come to the floor. "We are facing a major pandemic, we have a well-qualified candidate for surgeon general, she's been through the committee process. We just need a vote in the Senate," Sebeilus said late last week. "Please give us a surgeon general."

Benjamin was unanimously approved by the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Oct. 7, but the Senate minority has decided to block all HHS nominees, flu pandemic or no flu pandemic.

People for the American Way reported last week that between 1949 and 2009 -- spanning 11 presidents -- there were 24 nominees on which cloture was forced. In the first nine months of Obama's first year in office, there have been five, meaning Senate Republicans on track to force more cloture votes on more Obama nominees than practically every modern president combined.
You could almost infer that they just don't care, couldn't you?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Silly Poem for a Friday

"Sonnet" Dan over at Gone Mild may have the territory of beautiful and thought-provoking poetry staked out, but I'll gladly take the short and smirk-provoking poetry territory he has left unattended.

On the Painter, Val Prinsep, by Dante Rossetti

There is a creator called God,
Whose creations are some of them odd.
I maintain, and I shall,
The creation of Val
Reflects little credit on God.

On Another Planet

An interesting study put out by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

Looking at the current political debate, it was evident in our focus group discussions that the divide between conservative Republicans and even the most conservative-leaning independents remains very, very wide. Independents harbor doubts about Obama’s health care reform but are desperate to see some version of health care reform pass this year; the conservative Republicans view any health care reform as a victory for Obama and are militantly opposed. The language they use further reflects this divide. Conservative Republicans fully embrace the ‘socialism’ attacks on Obama and believe it is the best, most accurate way to describe him and his agenda. Independents largely dismiss these attacks as partisan rhetoric detracting from a legitimate debate about what many of them do see as excessive government control and spending.
Matt Yglesias made the point that this fits in with this post that describes how Republicans are missing an opportunity to really pin the Democrats with successful criticism because they are letting their loony media personalities dominate the discussion.

For my money, I'm not sure how you separate the two camps at this point. I know there are plenty of reasonable Republicans out there who probably have very excellent points and are likely very frustrated. But they have allowed the fringe to dominate for such a long time, that I don't know how they escape being tied to the sinking ship as well.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

An Argument as Old as the Country

How did the healthcare debate look in the colonies?

Health care in Colonial America looked nothing like what we’d consider medicine today, but the debates it triggered were similar. The danger of smallpox and the high cost of its prevention led to divisive questions about who should pay, whether everyone deserved equal access, and if responsibility lay at the feet of the individual, the state, or the nation. Epidemics forced the early republic to wrestle with the question of the federal government’s proper role in regulating the nation’s health.
Not encouraging.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Making it Official

To those of you out there, thanks for sticking around while I was gone for a bit. It was a rough 10 days, but we're getting through it.

No better way to honor the man I'm missing than to start back off with an NBA post.

The NBA will finally officially allow something they have been unofficially allowing for years:

The NBA has put into writing a rule allowing players on the move to gather the ball, after driving or catching it, and then take two steps. Throughout NBA history, the rulebook said players could take one step.

The new rule reads, in part: "A player who receives the ball while he is progressing or upon completion of a dribble, may take two steps in coming to a stop, passing or shooting the ball."
There is no word on whether Patrick Ewing and Micahel Jordan will come out of retirement to see if they can now get away with three steps.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Tragic Loss

This afternoon someone who treated me as if I was his own son was taken from us far too soon. Jim Sr. was a role model for anyone who wanted to know what it meant to be an outstanding husband and father.

I grew up with a father who was on the road Monday - Friday, and it meant the world to me to know that I could head over to my friend's house and his dad would be there to watch the big game, shoot hoops with us, or talk to us about life. He was the coolest "un-cool" dad you could have ever met!

The world lost a truly great person today who touched many lives. Here's to you, Jim. I will miss you dearly.

Is There A Nobel Prick Prize?

Look, I don't think Obama deserved a Nobel Peace Prize at this point either. Really, I would guess that he probably doesn't think so. But the right has predictably gone over the edge about it. A roundup is here. But this is probably my favorite (from consistent chucklehead Andy McCarthy).

I'm not all for Americans winning international prizes, especially the Nobel Peace Prize. In fact, I'm vigorously against it. The transnational progressives who pass out these accolades believe America is the problem in the world, the main threat to peace, the impediment to "progress," etc. The award is a symbolic statement of opposition to American exceptionalism, American might, American capitalism, American self-determinism, and American pursuit of America's interests in the world. That is why Obama could win it based on only ten days in office -- merely by capturing the White House and the levers of power, he stands to do more for the Left's "knock America off its pedestal" program than any figure in history.

After a number of years, the NFL renamed its Super Bowl trophy after its most fitting recipient -- it's now called the Vince Lombardi Trophy. I'd like to see the Nobel Foundation follow suit. If today's headlines said, "Barack Obama Wins Yasser Arafat Prize," that would be perfect.

These guys are all class.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Jesus Christ

Seriously. Conservatives (some conservatives more appropriately) have taken one more step towards the edge of the flat earth they inhabit. A new project on Conservapedia (yes, a conservative vehicle to combat the liberal bias of wikipedia) aims to create a new conservative Bible translation. To make that happen, they will create a Bible that will do the following:

1. Framework against Liberal Bias: providing a strong framework that enables a thought-for-thought translation without corruption by liberal bias
2. Not Emasculated: avoiding unisex, "gender inclusive" language, and other modern emasculation of Christianity
3. Not Dumbed Down: not dumbing down the reading level, or diluting the intellectual force and logic of Christianity; the NIV is written at only the 7th grade level[3]
4. Utilize Powerful Conservative Terms: using powerful new conservative terms as they develop;[4] defective translations use the word "comrade" three times as often as "volunteer"; similarly, updating words which have a change in meaning, such as "word", "peace", and "miracle".
5. Combat Harmful Addiction: combating addiction by using modern terms for it, such as "gamble" rather than "cast lots";[5] using modern political terms, such as "register" rather than "enroll" for the census
6. Accept the Logic of Hell: applying logic with its full force and effect, as in not denying or downplaying the very real existence of Hell or the Devil.
7. Express Free Market Parables; explaining the numerous economic parables with their full free-market meaning
8. Exclude Later-Inserted Liberal Passages: excluding the later-inserted liberal passages that are not authentic, such as the adulteress story
9. Credit Open-Mindedness of Disciples: crediting open-mindedness, often found in youngsters like the eyewitnesses Mark and John, the authors of two of the Gospels
10. Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness: preferring conciseness to the liberal style of high word-to-substance ratio; avoid compound negatives and unnecessary ambiguities; prefer concise, consistent use of the word "Lord" rather than "Jehovah" or "Yahweh" or "Lord God."

How one can both eliminate liberal wordiness and also not dumb down the Bible is not explained. Nor, is it explained how Mark and John's open-mindedness fits in with the rest of the close-mindedness presented here. But all in all a pretty good explanation of what they want to do. The question is, why would they want to? Well, there is an answer for that too.

    • mastery of the Bible, which is priceless
    • mastery of the English language, which is valuable
    • thorough understanding of the differences in Bible translations, particularly the historically important King James Version
    • benefiting from activity that no public school would ever allow; a Conservative Bible could become a text for public school courses
    • liberals will oppose this effort, but they will have to read the Bible to criticize this,
      and that will open their minds

I particularly love the final reason here. Lest you think they don't have compassion and concern for the wicked, they want to let you know that those heathen liberals might be tricked into reading the Bible. What a plot.

There's a lot more interesting stuff to read on the Conservative Bible Project page. There is also a lot you could say about the effort. But the Huffington Post article about it contained the best quote from a conservative but sane columnist from He believes this to be...

"just crazy ... like what you'd get if you crossed the Jesus Seminar with the
College Republican chapter at a rural institution of Bible learnin'."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hey World, We're A Bunch of Hicks!

As if it weren't enough that we're forced to endure a Garth Brooks sing-along during Royals games (to that family fun classic, I've Got Friends in Low Places), now the Chiefs have made Trace Adkins their new spokesman.

He joins the ranks of Kevin Costner and the guy from Garozzo's as dudes the Chiefs think might inspire you to go drop $100 to see your hometown team beaten like red-headed stepchildren by whatever team they happen to be playing that week.

What is it about this town's athletics franchises that makes them want to portray themselves as the Official Teams of Hee Haws everywhere?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Co-ops: A Compromise... of Effectiveness

A great report on NPR this morning about healthcare co-ops, the supposed replacement for the public option.

Conrad's bill calls for expanding health care cooperatives into all 50 states. There's hardly anyone, anywhere who has studied whether adding more co-ops would make any difference.

Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, is one of the few people who have researched them. Jost suggests that the expenses involved in starting a co-op and the struggle for market share would kill off most of them before they got going. He says it's unlikely they'd make medical care any cheaper.

"Where I've seen cooperatives in operation, they don't really compete on price," he says. "They compete on quality, on customer satisfaction. That's good. We need more quality. We need insurance products people are really happy with. But what we need most is cost control."
Follow the link and listen to the whole report. And then marvel at the lameness of Kent Conrad and Congressional Democrats.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ardi - The Devil's Bidness

Satan is hard at it again, using fool pawn scientists to distort the Bible's obvious truth that the world was created seven days.

Human origins is a field with high stakes and small bones, and the elaborate roll-out of the Ardipithecus research probably will trigger debate about the message contained in fossils so fragile they had to be excavated with dental picks and porcupine quills. If the scientists who found Ardi are correct, she represents a transitional figure, almost a hybrid -- a tree creature who could carry food in her arms as she explored the woodland floor on two legs.

Political Science!

Some people might read the Thomas Friedman column mentioned yesterday and think about how depressing it is.

Other people read it and wonder how to operationalize his hypothesis. Those people are political scientists.

As a political scientist, my response is that, OK, all of these seem like credible explanations, but how would we know if any of them are actually correct? After all, we’ve got five explanations here for what is essentially one observation: the current state of the US political system. To be fair to Friedman, he’s probably got an implicit N (the number of observations) of 2 in mind: the US now, and the US in the past. This would at least get us variation on some of the variables he has proposed (e.g., the 24 news cycle, the blogosphere, and the permanent presidential campaign), but would still leave us with more explanations than observations.
It's actually a pretty interesting blog post at The Monkey Cage, and a good reminder that there is a hearty band out there trying to make sense of it all.

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