Friday, May 28, 2010

The Story of Man

As presented by the Black Keys:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Stuff on a Thursday

You might be shocked to learn that Kansas City is not one of the top U.S. cities for green energy programs. Or not.

Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Joe Johnson are going to get together to talk about their futures, and whether or not they might join forces on the same team. I expect that conversation would be able to wrap up pretty quickly once one of them asks the others who volunteers to give up millions of dollars to make it happen.

Hart Seely noticed that Sarah Palin was a poet but didn't know it. So he took some actual quotes and set them in verse. A couple of favorites:

"On Mark Critz"

A Democrat, he won!
He was pro-life, pro-gun!
And he won there!
In a district where
Democrats outnumber Republicans—two to one!

—Fox News Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Blue Dog Peekaboo"

Blue-dog Democrats
Peeking under the tent.
You know …

and finding out,
And Holy Geez! I'm scared!

—Interview with Tea Party Nation questioners, CNN, Feb. 6, 2010

Police chiefs across the nation seem to think Arizona may hinder their ability to solve serious crimes.

Mmmmmm. Pretzels.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Pos Makes a Wise Choice

Longtime KC Star columnist Joe Posnanski was interviewd for a Slate blog all about being wrong. It's a great interview, and Posnanski makes some interesting points about why being wrong is an important part of being a sports writer.

But I mostly appreciated his answer to the question about who he thinks should be interviewed about being wrong next.

Let's see, who has really consistently been wrong? You know, Dick Cheney would be a good interview. I'm sure he'd be wide open to talking to you.

Arguing with Bill O'Reilly

This is how to do it:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Kansas City and Lebron

I live in Kansas City. I therefore know what it means to be perennially downtrodden about my sports teams. Cleveland is a lot like Kansas City. Actually, they might be in worse shape because they've got a lot more important problems than their sports franchises.

That is why I am rooting for Lebron to stay in Cleveland. I can empathize with Cleveland fans. Lebron is essentially the entirety of what is good about being a Cleveland fan. I would hate for them to lose that.

When I thought about this post, I wanted to find a comparison for Kansas City. You know like what if Kansas City lost Zach Greinke, or what if Kansas City lost... well whoever you can think of from the Chiefs. And then it occurred to me that is really the problem with Kansas City sports in what amounts to most of my life.

We have never had a guy you can't lose. Ever that I can remember. George Brett I suppose was that guy, but if you made a list of All-Time Can't Lose Guys he probably wouldn't be in the top 50, maybe even top 100. I can't even begin to imagine which Chief would be the can't lose guy of the last 30 years.

So I think until we get our Albert Pujols or our Peyton Manning, we're going to have to resign ourselves to a ceiling of a good year every now and again. And that is really hoping for a lot around here these days.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Loyal to the Royals

If you click on the pic above and look at the large version, you will see a depiction of the loyalty of fans of all the 30 MLB teams. If you look at the numbers in the chart (and not just the circles on the map, which are incorrect in the case of the Royals) you will see that the Royals have the 13th most loyal fans in all of major league baseball. This is, of course, despite being one of the worst teams in baseball since the early nineties.

The Royals fans have the same loyalty score as Twins fans who have endured nothing like what those who attend games at the K endure on a regular basis. Among the other teams with recent success but fans who are less die hard than Royals fans are Atlanta, San Francisco, Anaheim, Florida and Arizona.

There are two different ways to look at this information. The first is that David Glass should be public enemy #1 in the sports world in Kansas City. He has fans that continue to come to games despite his gross negligence and general cheap skatery. In response to this, he continues year after year to ask the fans to bend over one more time.

The other way to look at it is that the Royals fans in KC get exactly the kind of team they deserve.

Harder in the Movies

I love heist movies. It's always interesting to see the cat and mouse game, the planning, and the reveal of how they did (or did not) get away with whatever the caper happens to be. But one thing that is almost always true is that it is incredibly difficult to pull off a huge score.

Well, I guess in real life that may not be the case.

A lone thief broke into a Paris museum last night and stole five paintings possibly worth hundreds of millions of euros, including masterpieces by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, French police said today...

... The burglary was discovered just before 7am. A single masked intruder was caught on a CCTV camera taking the paintings away, according to the prosecutor's office. A window had been broken and the padlock of a grille giving access to the museum was smashed. The paintings appeared to have been carefully removed from their frames, rather than sliced out.
Broke a window? Smashed a padlock? Took the time to carefully remove the paintings?

Where is the laser grid? The floor sensors? Heat sensors? Just alarms on the paintings on the wall? Or at least a glass break on the windows? My God, my house is more secure than that. Maybe they should store the rest of the great works of art there until they upgrade.

Until then, Thomas Crown can just think about how much of a waste it was to set up that diversion with the fake robbery team.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Can I Start Over?

I think you are kind of off to a bad start when two days into your stint as the official party candidate you have to release a statement declaring that you are not in favor of repealing the Civil Rights Act.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Reaping the Whirlwind

You know if you want to stoke fear, baldly lie, and generally whip up a frenzy amongst the rubes, you really need to make sure the rubes don't take control. Via everyone, Josh Green explains:

In my talks with voters on the campaign trail today and yesterday, the idea that the Republican Party is as complicit as the Democratic Party in what ails the country is something I heard again and again. I made a point of seeking out registered Republican voters, and the frustration with Mitch McConnell, Kentucky's senior senator and the Senate Minority Leader, seemed indistinguishable from--or perhaps better to say, "was a large part of"--the general frustration with Washington. "Republicans in Washington, D.C. are just playing 'follow the leader,' Janice Cox told me at a rally in Paducah earlier today, to which she'd brought her daughter, grandchildren, and a jumbo-sized American flag. "We need a true constitutional conservative."
I always knew that Mitch McConnell was a socialist.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Voters Don't Like Polarization, Except When They Do

Polls constantly show that voters dislike polarization. They often say they want their officials to work together to try and solve problems. Yet if the early returns are any indication, voters in this election cycle plan to intensify the polarization exponentially.

One of the most consistently conservative guys in the Senate, Bob Bennett, has just lost his seat in Utah for not being conservative enough. Meanwhile, Arlen Specter looks like he is in serious trouble in his Pennsylvania primary with the more liberal Joe Sestak tied or slightly ahead of him in most polls.

There really is more to this subject that I care to work through my entire lunch to blog about, but I do think it is important. I know a "throw the bums out" sentiment is running very high all over the country. And I would definitely say that just about every member of the House and Senate has earned whatever scorn they recieve.

On the other hand, I'm not sure throwing the bums out is the right thing to do if the alternative is to replace them with new bums who hate one another twice as much as the old bums.

So a question for all of you...

A Visual Representation

A few weeks ago I posted on a NYT article about the Tea Partiers and how much trouble they seem to have connecting their anger to facts.

Well, somehow I missed a great quote by Steve Benen at Washington Monthly at that time. I think it sums the situation up pretty well.

If you were to make a Venn Diagram of the issues Tea Party members care about, and the issues Tea Party members are confused about, you'd only see one circle.
Thanks to My Brain is Made of Things Made of Gold for bringing the quote to my attention.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Universal Truths of 12 Angry Men

Watching 12 Angry Men for the first time in several years last night, I was struck by how much more I recognized and categorized (and probably stereotyped) the politics of the characters. I was also surprised at how many lines I still remembered.

One great line reminds me of listening to right-wing blowhards on the radio or TV:

Juror #10: Six to six... I'm telling you, some of you people in here must be out of your minds. A kid like that...
Juror #9: I don't think the kind of boy he is has anything to do with it. The facts are supposed to determine the case.
Juror #10: Don't give me that. I'm sick and tired of facts! You can twist 'em anyway you like, you know what I mean?

Another line just reminds me of being a Royals fan:

Juror #7: You a Yankee fan?
Juror #5: No, Baltimore.
Juror #7: Baltimore? That's like being hit in the head with a crow bar once a day.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sizing Up Catatsrophe

2500 square miles is a lot of area. That is how big the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is, and this is what it would look like over our metro area.

You can map it to other communities using this tool by Paul Rademacher.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

From the Things that Never Change Dept.

Via Matt Yglesias, via Maria Farrell, here is Anthony Trollope in The Eustace Diamonds on the 1870's attitudes of Tories in Britain:

“It was bad to interfere with Charles, bad to endure Cromwell, bad to punish James, bad to put up with William. The House of Hanover was bad. All interference with prerogative has been bad. The Reform Bill was very bad. Encroachment on the estates of the bishops was bad. Emancipation of Roman Catholics was the worst of all. Abolition of corn-laws, church-rates, and oaths and tests were all bad.The meddling with Universities has been grievous. The treatment of the Irish Church has been Satanic. The overhauling of schools is most injurious to English education. Education bills and Irish land bills were all bad. Every step taken has been bad. And yet to them old England is of all countries in the world the best place to live in, and is not at all the less comfortable because of the changes that have been made. … To have been always in the right, and yet always on the losing side; always being ruined, always under persecution from a wild spirit of republican-demagogism – and yet never to lose anything, not even position, or public esteem, is pleasant enough.”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Epistemic Closure

A pretty interesting discussion has been going on in the Interwebs with last few days about idealogical cocoons, and the unwillingness (or inability) of groups to look outside their given worldview. It has ranged somewhat far and wide, but if you're interested, I would suggest you go here to see where it started, here to see where it has arrived at currently, and here to see some prescriptive advice.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tom Izzo to the Ukraine: F**k You! Sit Down!

Not satisfied with ranting at college athletes, Michigan State's fiery sideline stroller appears to have brought his hard-nosed antics to the Ukrainian Parliament:

Although the recent dust-up was blamed on a controversial political deal with former master state Russia, I have a different theory.

Tom Izzo, invited to Kiev to represent his hometown Iron Mountain, MI in a sister-city cultural exchange, is unable to control his emotions after a junior member of the parliament creates an obvious procedural gaff despite repeated reminders about the rules of order. A word to the wise Ukraine, when Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo starts talking to you about Robert's Rules, you better listen!


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