Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Imagine That

I'm stealing this from Matt Yglesias, who took it from John Holbo:

Suppose you have a two-party system.

One of these parties enjoys/enforces total party discipline, the other, not: members of the latter party side with their own, or cross the aisle, on individual issues/votes, as conscience or self-interest dictate. Let’s call the completely disciplined party the Partisan Party. The completely undisciplined, the Bipartisan Party (to reflect its principled commitment to always keeping the door open to the higher value of bipartisanship!)

Over time, both parties will push positive proposals/ legislation. Quite obviously, the Bipartisan Party will be at a tactical disadvantage, due to its lax discipline. Less obviously, it will have an ongoing optics problem. All the proposals of the Partisan Party will be bipartisan. That is, a few members of the other party will, predictably, peel off and cross the aisle to stands with the Partisans. None of the proposals of the Bipartisan Party, on the other hand, will ever be bipartisan. No Partisan will ever support a Bipartisan measure. In fact, all proposals of the Bipartisan party will face bipartisan opposition – as a few Bipartisans trudge across the aisle (there are always a few!) to stand with the Partisans. Result: the Partisan party, thanks to its unremitting opposition to bipartisanship, will be able to present itself as the party of bipartisanship, and be able to critique the Bipartisan Party, with considerable force and conviction, as the hypocritically hyperpartisan party of pure partisanship.
Takes an awfully big imagination... or access to any form of U.S. media whatsoever.

No Final Four

For, I believe, the first time ever, I have no teams in the Final Four on the bracket I filled out. As long as Duke doesn't win the title, I am fine with that.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I think I might write a post like this every year, but this is the time I love technology.

The fact that you can watch every NCAA tournament game from your computer, FOR FREE, is the kind of thing that makes technology totally worth it. Even if it does end up in robot domination of the world.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Just When You Think...

... you can stop hating Duke, they go and get the easiest bracket in recent memory despite theoretically being the fourth #1 seed. Classic Blue Devils.

What's worse is that because DUke is still pretty suspect despite that bracket, I have placed Baylor in the Final Four in my brackets. I can't even believe I just typed that.

Also, a pox on the committee for putting so many mid-major teams against one another in the first round. Don't protect the big boys!

Times Have Changed

This was the #1 play on Sports Center last night. It is Trey Starks, a player from Springfield's Hillcrest High School. When I played high school basketball in Southwest Missouri, I don't recall anyone ever flying over me.

If you can't see the video, go here. And get your browser updated... BSD!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Good God

I don't really have the heart to write about this on a friday afternoon, but here are the basics.

After three days of turbulent meetings, the Texas Board of Education on Friday voted to approve a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Father’s commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.
Read and be depressed.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The People Have Spoken

A little over a year ago, I posted on the most popular posts that have ever occurred on this blog. At the time the top 3 looked like this:
3. Premier League Fan Zone
2. Great Places to Eat in Kansas City
1. Movie Quote of the Week - License to Drive Edition

I mentioned that I was surprised at the fact that an 80's movie widely recognized as terrible could generate twice the traffic of a list of places to eat in my hometown.

Well, I am now more surprised. The top 3 today is very similar in content. Soccer fans have overcome Kansas City eaters, but they are still relatively close.

BUT... the movie about a couple of underage kids driving a fancy car has become the blog phenomenon. The License to Drive post now has over 6 times more hits than do either of the other top posts.

This was, of course, aided and abetted by the death of Corey Haim yesterday. This blog had its largest traffic day ever yesterday by a factor of about 4.

So I, and the other contributors to this blog, must now realize that we will never find glory and fame from any witty, thoughtful, learned, or creative writing on any interesting or important topics. Barring insanity (insanity more insane than the insanity of the overdose of an 80's teen star creating favorable conditions for blog readership on a blog not based on the lives of 80's teen stars), this post will forever be the most viewed post on the blog.

The people have spoken.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In Case You Actually Believed Him

Perhaps you thought that Representative Paul Ryan really was interested in balancing the budget when he proposed his widely discussed "budget roadmap."

You obviously have not spent enough time following the modern GOP. Turns out it doesn't really balance the budget. It does, however, do something far more important, namely further widening the gap between rich and poor in America.

So, if you're scoring at home, that means that about 90% of Americans would see both less government services and higher taxes. Those guys really do have brass ones don't they?

Monday, March 8, 2010

screwed by OSCAR

for as long as i can remember, OSCAR nominees for best original song have been allowed to perform their numbers on stage during the big show. however, this year for some reason they were not. instead, the audience was treated to a very lengthy dance montage that, while very skillful and entertaining, left this viewer thinking: huh?

here's what you need to know: up for best song were two lame randy newman songs, two songs from a high-powered musical, and one incredible song, "the weary kind", that was written by a virtually unknown songwriter named Ryan Bingham (co-written with T-Bone Burnett). Clearly, this category was decided long before the ballots were even issued.

Oscar loves the little guy, and in this case, Ryan Bingham did in fact walk away the statue. however, instead of performing live on stage in front of millions of potential music buyers, he had to settle for a 30 second speech. on a night where his career could have been launched into another stratosphere, he was merely allowed to thank a few friends, his band, and of course, the academy.

now granted, it is still awesome that he won. for a small potato to walk away with such a huge honor is incredible. he will still reap many benefits, and will probably move from the bar circuit to the small theater circuit. but i still can't stop thinking of what could have been. i bet he can't either.

part of the reason i even care at all is that i had the privilege of being in the opening act for Bingham a few years back. just passing through town, he played to an enthusiastic crowd of about 10 people. there were actually more people there to see us than him. from the way he performed, however, you would have thought he was playing the Garden.

after the first verse of his first song that night, i leaned over to the guy next me and said, "this guy is for real. he has got the goods and he WILL make it someday." shortly after that he did make it. with a record deal from Lost Highway in tow, i was soon delighted to see bingham popping up on conan, letterman and leno. to top it all off, he sounded EXACTLY the same as the night i saw him in that dingy little bar. simply amazing.

in spite of my disappointment in oscar's decision, at least they made the right call and gave him the award. if nothing else, he will always be known as academy award winner ryan bingham. surely that will mean something down the road.

if you have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing this artist, please do so asap. both of his albums are great from start to finish, and if you like one of his songs you will probably like them all. while his gravely, growling voice sounds like it would come from a man twice his age, there is also a weary tenderness that make him a true original.

while "the weary kind" was written specifically for the movie CRAZY HEART, it was made possible by years of bingham's own hard-living, vagabond lifestyle. as a musician, i am always pleased to see an artist finally getting their due-credit, especially one as gifted as he. though he may not have been allowed to perform last night at the oscars, he has certainly begun his permeation into main stream society. unfortunately, it just may take a little longer to get there...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Well, At Least They Know It

The RNC held a fundraising presentation recently in Florida. Go here to read about it because it really is pretty incredible. To get a taste here is a slide demonstrating what they think of their own.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Been Awhile

Since something so stupid has made me laugh so hard...

UPDATE: Go here to see the .gif that I'm not smart enought to make work above.

So You Say You Want to Cut Government Spending

On what exactly???

Via the Monkey Cage.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Greatest Research Job... Ever

An article in the New York Times explains that movie makers are getting better at pacing movies to correspond with a rhythm that occurs all over nature.

This is something scientists are studying, and I believe I was cut out to help:

“For two days straight, I went through the movie, ‘Spies Like Us,’ with Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase,” said Christine E. Nothelfer, who worked on the project as an undergraduate intern. “I went through it frame by frame, I knew where every single cut was.” She added, “I still haven’t seen the movie as a real filmgoer.”

I think I could tell you where every cut was with my eyes closed! They have definitely hired the wrong person for this job. This whole thing makes me think of one of my favorite Spies Like Us quotes.

Austin Millbarge: Show some balls, man!
Emmett Fitz-Hume: I think it's too late to try and impress them.

College Basketball Update

A few notes about college hoops:

Syracuse is #1! Unfortunately, because they are a host school for a region in the NCAA tournament, that will not translate into the usual home court advantage during the tourney that #1 teams often receive.

I keep hearing that John Wall is the player of the year. I agree that he is awesome, and that he will probably make the best pro of the guys playing college basketball today. However, Evan Turner is having an unbelievable year and now has Ohio State atop the Big Ten. Ohio State really depends on him too. I say maybe he is player of the year at this point.

The Missouri Valley Conference is going to need Northern Iowa to lose in the tournament if they want more than one team in the Big Dance.

I haven't quite figured out the RPI still. Currently Kansas sits at #1 in RPI with a record of 27-2 and a strength of schedule of 17. Syracuse is #3 with a record of 27-2 and a strength of schedule of 10.

Joe Lunardi has 7 at-large teams from mid-major conferences. After a 6 year decline that culminated in only 4 mid-major at-large teams being selected last year, I'll believe it when I see it.

I hate the ACC. Lunardi has them slated to get 7 teams in the tournament (and I don't doubt it) despite the fact that Wake Forest and Duke are the only two that had any significant wins outside of the conference. Somehow, this is Billy Packer's fault.

I am afraid Mizzou is in trouble without Justin Safford... but I hope not.

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