Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fun With Wordle

I still have trouble with the concept of word clouds. I understand they are supposed to be a nice visual way for me to see what is important, but I still like an old-fashioned ranked list. Anyway, Wordle provides word clouds that at least look really cool. I decided to Wordle this blog and see what we could come up with. I'm still not sure what the criteria are, but this is what it gave me:

Need? Not sure about that one. I'm pretty sure I only wrote about the OECD once, and a Republican from Columbia seems to be getting a bit too much run. I suspect maybe it is pulling from the main page only, but I don't know. What I do know is that the subject matter seems right.

To check it, I threw Gone Mild in there...

For any of you who know Mr. Mild, the accuracy is astounding. And I appreciate being one of the featured words...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Inequality Chart of the Day

This is from an OECD report. It shows inequality in member countries before and after social spending. We go from third from the bottom to fifth from the bottom with that added in. Eat it Poland and Greece.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Then They Come for the Hairspray

The Tennessee House just passed a bill protecting teachers who want to teach Creationsim and anti-global warming theories. You might think that this is about a bunch of people who want to instill right-wing views in classrooms. You'd be wrong, however, this is about high school beauty:

Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, said when she was in high school, “we gave up Aqua Net hair spray” because of fears “it was causing global warming.”
So it all makes sense now (other than the confusion between global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer). This is, like most things, about high school popularity contests. If she could have kept that hairspray, she could have been prom queen... and then who know where she might be today.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Recipe for Disaster

Dear Taco Bell,

I am not a scientist, but I do know that "Signature Recipe" does not appear on the food pyramid. I believe you should consider not putting out PR that informs people that your ground beef is 12% "Signature Recipe" if you don't already know that "Signature Recipe" is something people enjoy and are comfortable with. That is all.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Rules

In a piece on the 2011 NBA non-playoff teams, Bill Simmons provides a simple and yet profound explanation of what makes a good team.

You only need eight and a half guys to win in the NBA: five starters, three bench guys, then an 8½th man who doesn't mind playing 0-10 minutes a night and being on call if a rotation guy gets into foul trouble, gets hurt or whatever. Of those eight and half guys, ideally, you need two scorers, one ball handler, one perimeter defender and one rebounder. You need to be able to play defense. You need everyone to know their roles. You need to know who's playing crunch time and who gets the ball in those last few minutes. And you need a coach competent enough not to screw things up. That's it.
That is exactly right, and it kind of makes you wonder why so many NBA GM's are so bad at putting teams together.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Supreme Jerks

Reminding us why appointing Judicial nominees is one of the most important roles in politics, an article from Slate talks about the two most conservative Justices' indifference to the apparent suffering of someone wrongly accused.

But this week, writing on behalf of the five conservatives on the Supreme Court and in his first majority opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas tossed out the verdict, finding that the district attorney can't be responsible for the single act of a lone prosecutor. The Thomas opinion is an extraordinary piece of workmanship, matched only by Justice Antonin Scalia's concurring opinion, in which he takes a few extra whacks at Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent. (Ginsburg was so bothered by the majority decision that she read her dissent from the bench for the first time this term.) Both Thomas and Scalia have produced what can only be described as a master class in human apathy. Their disregard for the facts of Thompson's thrashed life and near-death emerges as a moral flat line. Scalia opens his concurrence with a swipe at Ginsburg's "lengthy excavation of the trial record" and states that "the question presented for our review is whether a municipality is liable for a single Brady violation by one of its prosecutors." But only by willfully ignoring that entire trial record can he and Thomas reduce the entire constitutional question to a single misdeed by a single bad actor.

Both parties to this case have long agreed that an injustice had been done. Connick himself conceded that there had been a Brady violation, yet Scalia finds none. Everyone else concedes that egregious mistakes were made. Scalia struggles to rehabilitate them all.
The whole article is just shameful. And it is an important reminder of the power that comes with appointing Justices.

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