Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I Shall Have This Cake and I Shall Eat It Too!

Quote of the day from the hyper-consistent Newt Gingrich:

"I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mr. Bright(green)side

Food blogger Mark Bittman has a great post up about the positive things happening with food production and diets in our country. Check out the article. It is loaded with links, and tells me this interesting tidbit:
There are now more than 6,000 farmers markets nationwide — about a 250 percent increase since 1994 (significant: there are half as many as there are domestic McDonald’s), and 900 of them are open during the winter. They’re searchable too, thanks to the USDA. (Community Supported Agriculture programs — CSAs — and food coops are also searchable, courtesy of localharvest.org.) Furthermore, serious and increasing efforts are being made to get that food to the people who really need it: Wholesome Wave, for example, began a voucher program in 2008 that doubles the value of federal food stamps (SNAP) at participating farmers markets; that program has grown more than tenfold in less than three years.

A Helping Hand

When I was a child, I thought as a child. I remember actually watching John Stossel and thinking he was really good at explaining how things worked. Now that I am an adult, I realize that his childish thinking really only has the ability to explain how he would like things to work. How else to explain a statement like this?

"Why is there a Bureau of Indian Affairs?" he said. "There is no Bureau of Puerto Rican Affairs or Black Affairs or Irish Affairs. And no group in America has been more helped by the government than the American Indians, because we have the treaties, we stole their land. But 200 years later, no group does worse."

The Real Danger of Prostitution

Lawrence Taylor got into trouble recently for hiring an underage prostitute. In an interview on the subject he pointed out that you generally don't card your hooker. He also pointed to another very real fear associated with purchasing lady time.
"It's the world of prostitution," he said during the Fox News interview. "You never know what you're gonna get. Is it gonna be a pretty girl, an ugly girl or whatever it's gonna be."
Caveat emptor.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Comment On My Smartphone

I marvel constantly at what is available to me in the small electronic gadget in my pocket. But I also kind of feel like this too:

I worry that in our zeal to plan out and fill up our children’s lives with lessons, play dates, CV-building activities we are stripping them of the chance to experience untrammeled idleness. The mind alert but not shunted along a set track, the impulses not pegged to any productivity. The motionless bobber, the hand trailing in the water, the shifting shapes of the clouds overhead. Idleness is the mother of possibility, which is as much as necessity the mother of inventiveness. Now that our technologies so adeptly bridge the old divide between industriousness and relaxation, work and play, either through oscillation or else a kind of merging, everything being merely digits put to different uses, we ought to ask if we aren’t selling off the site of our greatest possible happiness.
There are no better days to test this theory than those of sunny spring weekends. I'm going to give it a go soon... when I can fit it into my schedule.

NCAA Tourney Blues

My favorite four sports day of each year have come and gone. The games in this year's NCAA tourney were particularly good. But now it's another 359 days until they happen again.

Also, I have the tourney blues because I am posting, by a wide margin, the worst bracket score I can ever remember. I am currently sitting at 29 out of the 48 games picked correctly, with almost the entire right side of my bracket decimated. I think next year I'll use the Magic 8-ball.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ocho Goalo?

Queen City Family Man informs me that Chad Ochocinco is having an official tryout with the onceWizards (now Kansas City Sporting). Listening to Soren Petro and Peter Vermes, I understand that #85 said he would be willing to race any man on the team. That should be no problem for a man that once raced a horse. Of course, horses aren't known for their soccer talent. I guess we'll see if Chad Ochocinco can be.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This Mic Is On!

So many things to love about this video. The rep seemingly checking out the lady behind him, the panicked staffer, the desperate "hatchet man." Of course, the actual payoff is the clear evidence that Republicans (at least these Republicans) know good and well what may be wrought by their crass political opportunism, but they plan to continue with it anyway.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Missouri - Where Lawmakers Save Us From Ourselves

Great but depressing column in the Star today by Barbara Shelly. The upshot is that lawmakers really don't care what voters say:


In what may be a Missouri record, the legislature is poised this year to overturn — count ‘em — four voter-passed initiatives.

By a vote of 20-14, the Senate on Thursday voted for a bill invalidating many of the provisions and protections of Proposition B, the initiative cracking down on abuses by puppy breeders that Missouri voters approved in November. Supporters bemoaned the complexity of the initiative and said they were pretty sure people didn’t realize what they were voting on.

The House has already approved a bill repealing a 2006 voter-passed initiative allowing the state’s minimum wage to rise if the cost of living increases; action in the Senate is expected soon.

Another voter-approved law in the legislature’s sights is the Missouri Clean Energy Initiative, which in 2009 passed in every county in the state except Osage. It calls for 15 percent of the state’s energy to be produced from renewable sources by 2021.

A move is also under way to undo a 1976 voter-approved law that prevents electric utilities from charging customers for a new plant before the plant begins producing energy.
And that is just part of the column. Read the rest for greater depression.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wrap It Up (In the flag)

I think electing Newt Gingrich would be a terrible idea for this country. However, it might result in some of the best explanations for U.S. actions ever. Here is Newt on his rather robust record of infidelity:

"There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate," said Gingrich. "And what I can tell you is that when I did things that were wrong, I wasn't trapped in situation ethics, I was doing things that were wrong, and yet, I was doing them."
I hate to even put the thought of Newt's bedroom behavior in your head, but what do you suppose he shouts in that one transcendant moment?

That's American as Apple Pie!
United, I Stand!
E Pluribus! You Numb?
Let Freedom Ring!
The Bomb's Bursting in There!
Liberty and Justice for You!
Old Glory... Long May it Stand!

I only kind of like any of those... better ideas?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Trouble in the Valley

ESL brought a good point in his comment on my last post. That point was that the Valley has a conference RPI of 12 right now, which will certainly not do Missouri State any favors. The question I have is what happened to the Valley? Their conference RPI over the last 8 years (as far back as I found info) goes like this:

03-04: 11
04-05: 8
05-06: 6 (ahead of the Pac-10)
06-07: 6 (ahead of the Big 12)
07-08: 8
08-09: 9
09-10: 9
10-11: 12

So what gives? Have Valley teams started scheduling soft? Have the big boys discrimnated against a conference that had broken into their territory? Is this a natrual ebb and flow of conference quality? I have no idea. Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dancing Bears?

It will most likely be another year before the ol' hometown Missouri State Bears return to the NCAA tournament. Despite winning 25 games, winning the regular season Missouri Valley Conference championship (the Valley champ has made every tourney since 1993), and an expanded NCAA field, the Bears lack of wins over tournament worthy teams will most likely keep them out of the field.

This is depressing stuff because Missouri State hasn't made the tournament since 1999 when they went to the Sweet Sixteen. This is despite having 3 of the highest RPI's (21, 34, and 36) ever left out of the tournament. As with my other favorite local teams, the Bears just don't have much post-season luck. Maybe all that changes and beyond all hope, the selection committee decides to put them in. But I'm not holding my breath.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Very Lionel Friday

I stole this from a friend on facebook. I have no idea where he got it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brauereisterben

This is most certainly not good news:

These days, Germany's celebrated brewing towns and atmospheric old taverns can feel like retirement homes. Visitors to the south of Germany today (where more than half the nation's breweries are located) find few of the ardent young beer lovers that crowd craft watering holes in Copenhagen; Brussels; London; New York; Portland, Ore.; and even Rome. And while it's true that last fall's 200th Oktoberfest was bigger than ever, using Oktoberfest to measure the health of German beer culture is like using Disney World admissions to measure the health of American cinema. Once a decorous wedding pageant, Oktoberfest is a hot mess, with cheesy carnival rides and hordes chugging cheap lager as if it were Hawaiian Punch. Paris Hilton even showed up for the anniversary celebration.
Oktoberfest is my favorite foreign holiday reappropriated by Americans to mean "day of the drunk." Did we kill Oktoberfest???

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Sounds Bad

A question: does anyone know what might be the cause of the recent rash of sound problems at major events? The Black Eyed Peas had all kinds of trouble at the Super Bowl. Rihanna was barely audible at the NBA All-Star Game, and Randy Newman's music was too loud at the Oscars.

Are professional sound people on strike? Did some change in equipment happen that has flummoxed everyone? What is the answer?
 

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