Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All the Pretty Grills

After several years of apatment living where I could not have a grill, I am now back in business in the new AA pad. I love grilled food, and I love the cleanup involved in cooking that way. I sometimes wonder, though, if I am doing everything with my grill I could be.

Fortuantely, the New York Times just printed an article with 101 easy ways to use your grill. Stuff like this:

93. An idea whose time has come: Halve and grill peaches, nectarines or apricots. Brush with barbecue sauce or, if you want to be sophisticated, a mixture of bourbon, sugar and mint, or simple syrup laced with basil.


That sounds pretty good to me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kansas City Kings

Please bring them back. I'm wrong a lot, but I think the Sacramento Kings just had the best draft in the NBA for the second stright year. Tyreke Evans was fantastic this year, winning Rookie of the Year honors.

And I think DeMarcus Cousins may turn out to be the best player in this draft. His floor is probably Derrick Coleman, but his ceiling is Kevin McHale. If he develops close to that, the Kings have filled the two most imporant spots on an NBA team.

If only I could head down to the Sprint Center and watch them play.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chart of the Day



From a new Commonwealth Fund report on how the U.S. healthcare system stacks up.

Short answer... well it at least it costs twice as much.

Via Matt Yglesias.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Local Man Acts Before He Thinks



What's your pleasure? Blatant hypocrisy? Firmly entrenched know-nothingism? A liberal dose of general honkeyness? Well, a farmer in Raytown has it all for you.

The Raytown farmer who posted a sign on a semi-truck trailer accusing Democrats of being the “Party of Parasites” received more than $1 million in federal crop subsidies since 1995...

Jungerman said he put up the sign to protest people who pay no taxes, but, “Always have their hand out for whatever the government will give them” in social programs.

Crop subsidies are different, he said. When crop prices dip below a certain point, the federal government makes up the difference with a subsidy payment
.See, it's all about being a producer in the free market. So there.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday Fun

Because it's Friday, I am stealing this in its entirety from McSweeney's.

7 Things Mario Games Have in Common With the Bible.
By Jake Ardoin
- - - -

1. Stars sometimes play important role.
2. One man saves everyone.
3. Hero comes back to life after dying.
4. Nationality of main hero is a minority.
5. Main hero has a trade unrelated to his role in story.
6. Women most often the cause of all the trouble.
7. Talking reptiles.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Families

I went to a family reunion with the lovely Ancillary Girlfriend in Iowa this weekend. It was fun. I have a family that generally gets along, but it has been awhile since we got a big group together. I forgot what an experience the extended family gathering can be, but this group helped remind me. The video below is evidence that AG's extended family is as big an experience as they come.



Two things I should note. First, I had a great time. Second, neither of those people had a drop of liquor.

Tea Party Angst

A pretty interesting entry on the Tea Party and the intersection of metaphysics and politics on the NYT Stone blog. J.M. Bernstein argues that our status as independent beings is mostly a construct, and that feeling dependent can make you angry.

This is the rage and anger I hear in the Tea Party movement; it is the sound of jilted lovers furious that the other — the anonymous blob called simply “government” — has suddenly let them down, suddenly made clear that they are dependent and limited beings, suddenly revealed them as vulnerable. And just as in love, the one-sided reminder of dependence is experienced as an injury. All the rhetoric of self-sufficiency, all the grand talk of wanting to be left alone is just the hollow insistence of the bereft lover that she can and will survive without her beloved. However, in political life, unlike love, there are no second marriages; we have only the one partner, and although we can rework our relationship, nothing can remove the actuality of dependence. That is permanent.
Bernstein goes on to argue that the Tea Partiers are really nihilists on the grounds that they seem to want nothing. I think he is mistaken about that; they seem to want everything. He acknowledges as much in the beginning of the piece. The problem with the Tea Partiers is that they want everything. They don't want to pay taxes, but they want their Social Security checks.

In that way, they seem to be the logical next step in a society that suggests you can have everything for nothing. Our politicians have helped create this culture by never talking about the tradeoffs necessary for a functioning government. The Tea Partiers have taken that idea to heart, and they are pissed about hearing otherwise.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Somebody Que Up Right Said Fred

As if I didn't have have enough to worry about:

Debrahlee Lorenzana made news this week with the unusual civil rights claim that her employer, Citigroup, has discriminated against her because she is a hottie... According to her lawsuit, Lorenzana is so smoking hot that her co-workers couldn't concentrate on their jobs. Her bosses eventually demanded that she revamp—or, rather, de-vamp—her wardrobe: They banned tight pants, pencil skirts, high heels, and clingy turtlenecks. When Lorenzana pointed out that other women in her office wore more revealing clothes than she did, Lorenzana says her bosses replied, in essence: "Yeah, but they aren't as hot as you are." And when Lorenzana came to work, still looking just as jaw-droppingly sexy as ever, Citibank fired her.


I guess I better not wear those stretch pants I just bought.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Music 2010 - So Far, So Awesome

2010 is shaping up to be a fantastic kick-off to the next decade in music. I'm looking forward to including several 2010 albums on my best of the decade list in about 9 1/2 years. Here are some of the albums that I am loving so far (in no particular order):

High Violet, The National
Destroyer of the Void, Blitzen Trapper
Contra, Vampire Weekend
Astro Coast, Surfer Blood
If I Had a Hi-Fi, Nada Surf
Transference, Spoon
Brothers, The Black Keys
Foxy Shazam, Foxy Shazam
Realism, The Magentic Fields
Big Echo, Morning Benders
Hippies, Harlem

Still on the way are albums from The Walkmen, Tom Petty, Johnny Flynn, Sun Kil Moon, Arcade Fire, Interpol, Ryan Bingham, and The Strokes among others. Un-freakin-believable!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

World Cup Mania

Seth Stevenson says this is the best ad ever made. I think that is a bit much, but it is awesome. And it is one of the many things making me really excited for the World Cup.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Why To Elect People Who Do Believe in Government

President Obama made the case very well yesterday:

But to be fair, a good deal of the other party’s opposition to our agenda has also been rooted in their sincere and fundamental belief about the role of government. It’s a belief that government has little or no role to play in helping this nation meet our collective challenges. It’s an agenda that basically offers two answers to every problem we face: more tax breaks for the wealthy and fewer rules for corporations.

The last administration called this recycled idea “the Ownership Society.” But what it essentially means is that everyone is on their own. No matter how hard you work, if your paycheck isn’t enough to pay for college or health care or childcare, well, you’re on your own. If misfortune causes you to lose your job or your home, you’re on your own. And if you’re a Wall Street bank or an insurance company or an oil company, you pretty much get to play by your own rules, regardless of the consequences for everybody else.

Now, I’ve never believed that government has all the answers. Government cannot and should not replace businesses as the true engine of growth and job creation. Government can’t instill good values and a sense of responsibility in our children. That's a parent’s job. Too much government can deprive us of choice and burden us with debt. Poorly designed regulations can choke off competition and the capital that businesses need to thrive.

I understand these arguments. And it’s reflected in my policies. After all, one-third of the Recovery Act we designed was made up of tax cuts for families and small businesses. And when you think back to the health care debate, despite calls for a single-payer, government-run health care plan, we passed reform that maintains our system of private health insurance.

But I also understand that throughout our nation’s history, we have balanced the threat of overreaching government against the dangers of an unfettered market. We've provided a basic safety net, because any one of us might experience hardship at some time in our lives and may need some help getting back on our feet. And we've recognized that there have been times when only government has been able to do what individuals couldn't do and corporations wouldn't do.

That's how we have railroads and highways, public schools and police forces. That's how we've made possible scientific research that has led to medical breakthroughs like the vaccine for Hepatitis B, and technological wonders like GPS. That's how we have Social Security and a minimum wage, and laws to protect the food we eat and the water we drink and the air that we breathe. That’s how we have rules to ensure that mines are safe and, yes, that oil companies pay for the spills that they cause.

Now, there have always been those who’ve said no to such protections; no to such investments. There were accusations that Social Security would lead to socialism, and that Medicare was a government takeover. There were bankers who claimed the creation of federal deposit insurance would destroy the industry. And there were automakers who argued that installing seatbelts was unnecessary and unaffordable. There were skeptics who thought that cleaning our water and our air would bankrupt our entire economy. And all of these claims proved false. All of these reforms led to greater security and greater prosperity for our people and our economy.

So what was true then is true today. As November approaches, leaders in the other party will campaign furiously on the same economic arguments they’ve been making for decades. Fortunately, we don't have to look back too many years to see how their agenda turns out. For much of the last 10 years we've tried it their way. They gave us tax cuts that weren’t paid for to millionaires who didn’t need them. They gutted regulations and put industry insiders in charge of industry oversight. They shortchanged investments in clean energy and education, in research and technology. And despite all their current moralizing about the need to curb spending, this is the same crowd who took the record $237 billion surplus that President Clinton left them and turned it into a record $1.3 trillion deficit.

So we know where those ideas lead us. And now we have a choice as a nation. We can return to the failed economic policies of the past, or we can keep building a stronger future. We can go backward, or we can keep moving forward. And I don't know about you, but I want to move forward. I think America wants to move forward.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

People Still Take Her Seriously... Seriously

Sarah Palin is either very stupid or very dishonest... or both.

Now:

"Extreme Greenies:see now why we push"drill,baby,drill"of known reserves&promising finds in safe onshore places like ANWR? Now do you get it?"


Two months ago:

"[L]et's not forget," she wrote, "that while Interior Department bureaucrats continue to hold up actual offshore drilling from taking place, Russia is moving full steam ahead on Arctic drilling, and China, Russia, and Venezuela are buying leases off the coast of Cuba."


I say both.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Worst Thing About the NBA

Regular readers of this blog know that I spend a considerable amount of time promoting and defending the NBA. I think most critiques of the league are misinformed at best.

That said, one of the few things most people seem to like about the NBA is something that drives me crazy. That is the historical lack of parity. The NBA is the worst of the four major sports in terms of the percentage of teams in the league who have won a championship in the past 30 years.

NBA 8 out of 30 - 27%
NHL 13 out of 30 - 43%
NFL 15 out of 32 - 47%
MLB 18 out of 30 - 60%

This is the downside to the factor that I mentioned as a positive a few posts back that one player makes a disproportionate difference in the NBA. What that can result in is that through a few lucky personnel turns, we get to watch the Lakers and Celtics again this year for what feels like the 218th time.
 

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