Archive for November, 2007

Friday Linkorama

Friday, November 30th, 2007
  • Women like shopping. Gee, ya think? Next they’ll be telling us there are similarities to our mating process.
  • Take your kids to the park? $250 fine. There are a lot of people — left and right — who wants us to live like this. “Take your kids to the park or you will be punished! No, not that park or you will be punished! Take them home and read them a story! No, not that story!”
  • Vanity Fair on the batshit crazy governor of New York. Jeez Louise.
  • An outrage in Ann Arbor. What country are we living in?
  • When judicial activism is a good thing:

    It’s a powerful argument, and it may well resonate with the conservative justices who think that judges often overreach and “substitute their own policy preferences” for those of the people’s elected legislators. But I wonder if Helmke really believes that judges should respect the will of legislators and not strike down laws. Does he believe that the Warren Court should not have struck down school segregation, which was clearly the will of the people’s elected representatives–and no doubt the people–in Kansas, as well as in South Carolina and Virginia, whose similar cases were combined with Brown? Does he believe that the Supreme Court was wrong to strike down Virginia’s law against interracial marriage in 1967? The Texas law outlawing sodomy in 2003? The Communications Decency Act in 1997? Does he indeed think the John Marshall Court was wrong to invalidate a section of the Judiciary Act of 1789 in Marbury v. Madison? That’s the implication of his ringing words in defense of legislative absolutism.

  • Lips

    Friday, November 30th, 2007

    What the hell is up with actresses getting their lips blown up until they look like fish? Who finds this attractive?

    My wife likes to watch Las Vegas for some reason (my theory, she likes Josh Duhamel). Catching the occasional ep wasn’t so bad since it starred Vanessa Marcil and Nikki Cox. Then last year, I caught an episode, and Nikki Cox looked hideous. And she’s not the only one to get her lips exploded.

    If I looked anything like these women and some surgeon did this to me, I’d sue his ass off. But they think having scary trout pout instead of nice normal lips is attactive. Who thinks this?

    Write on Rice

    Friday, November 30th, 2007

    The baseball Hall of Fame voting is about to take place. Let’s look at two players, one of whom is on the ballot.

    Red Sox Outfielder A: 2452 hits, 373 2B, 382 HR, 1249 R, 1451 RBI, 670 BB, 315 GIDP, career line .298/.352/.502, 57 runs below average with his glove. Baseball Prospectus estimates he was worth 83.2 wins over a replacement-level player during his career and about 9.8 wins in his best season.

    Red Sox Outfielder B: 2446 hits, 483 2B, 385 HR, 1470 R, 1384 RBI, 1391 BB, 227 GIDP, career line .272/.370/.470, 68 runs *above* average with the glove. Baseball Prospectus estimate he was worth 120.2 wins over a replacement-level player during his career and 12.2 wins in his best season.

    No comparison, right? I mean Player A hit for higher average and slugging while driving in more runs. Player B matches player A in hits and homers. Player B beats the snot out of him in doubles, runs, walks, double plays hit into, on-base percentage, fielding runs, career and peak value.

    Player A is Jim Rice, whom the Red Sox nation has almost gotten into the Hall of Fame.

    Player B is Dwight Evans, who dropped off the ballot after three years from lack of support.

    Red Sox minions will tell you that Jim Rice was the most feared hitter in baseball. Even if that were true, which it isn’t, you would think that terror would show up in his stats. That he would have been walked a few times to pitch to the weaker, um, Yastrzemski? Fisk? Lynn? Evans?

    Dwight Evans was 1.5 times the player Jim Rice was. And these voters tell the fans they’re too stupid to vote for awards.

    On Santana

    Friday, November 30th, 2007

    It’s behind the subscription firewall, but Joe Sheehan today says what I’ve been saying for weeks:

    Like Alex Rodriguez in 2000, like Barry Bonds in 1992, like Greg Maddux that same winter, Johan Santana is an elite talent irreplaceable through normal means, and as durable as any pitcher can be in modern baseball. If the standard in six years and $140 million, or seven and $155 million, as ridiculous as those figures sound, they may be well worth it if the alternative is spending two-thirds of that over that same period for half the performance.

    No baseball team has benefitted from trading or letting go to free agency a multi-Cy-Young winning durable pitcher in his prime. The Cubs with Maddux, the Dodgers and Expos with Pedro, the Red Sox with Clemens, the Expos and Mariners with the Unit, several teams with Schilling. It has always been a disaster.

    HOF-caliber pitchers who don’t get hurt are rare. Pitching prospects are a dime a dozen. And when you’re moving into a big taxpayer-funded stadium, you don’t slap the fans in the face by letting your best pitcher since Bert Blyleven walk.

    He’s Our Baby Too!

    Thursday, November 29th, 2007

    Man, some lawyers are disgusting.

    Once again, the combination of contingency fees and law enforcement spells trouble: an article by Tresa Baldas in the National Law Journal reports that controversy is mounting over the activities of private firms that go after noncustodial parents’ child support obligations in exchange for a percentage share of the bounty (“Suits collecting around child support collectors”, Sept. 17, no free link). “Critics of the industry — many of them lawyers — claim that private collectors of child support are engaging in predatory practices, such as charging excessive contingency fees as high as 50%, and using aggressive collection tactics that run afoul of federal laws.” The private agencies escape the scrutiny of federal debt collection laws and have been operating effectively without regulation, but state lawmakers are now moving to fill the gap, with 13 states having passed laws intended to protect the services’ clients (if not always their adversaries) by capping fees, prohibiting the agencies from collaring state-directed payments, and giving clients more leeway to withdraw from contracts.

    The National Council of State Legislatures details a range of complaints made against some of the collectors:

    * written and oral communications with obligees designed to look or sound like they are from the state child support agency or other government entity,
    * repeated harassment of employers, family members and neighbors of obligors,

    * keeping as payment for services 50% or more of support collected,

    * intercepting current support payments from the state agency to apply to back support they contracted to collect for the obligee,

    * charging a fee for collections made by the state agency,

    * refusing to terminate contracts when requested by the obligee, and

    * requesting income withholding from employers without proper authority.

    Literally taking money out of the mouths of kids. Nice.

    Emily

    Thursday, November 29th, 2007

    On the way home, I was hearing news reports about Emily Sander, a college student who was just murdered in Kansas. Turns out, she was posing naked (probably just topless) for her own website. The idiot news media called her a “porn star”, which isn’t even close to true. She was one of hundreds of young women who are making money on the side posing naked on their own web sites. I don’t have a problem with this. They’re doing it of their own free will and men get vicarious pleasure out of looking at women who aren’t surgically enhanced bulemics.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to these women. Many of them are — or claim to be — college students. Will their websites cost them future jobs? For some reason, I doubt it. I think our society is getting a lot less puritanical about such things.

    However, the “porn star” slur that has leaked into the media is a preview of what is to come in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy. No matter why Emily Sander was murdered, this will be blamed on her web site. And we will get all kinds of dire warnings and calls for legislation. Because, as I noted, there are a lot of girls out there doing this. And a nation of 300 million certainly has no shortage of monsters.

    I have a friend who, whenever I support the freedom of women to be nude models, porn stars, prostitutes or whatever, asks me if I would want my daughter to do these things. Of course not. But I do want her to live in a country that treats her like an adult and respects her freedom to do what makes her happy — as long as she doesn’t harm anyone else.

    Thus Spake Posada

    Thursday, November 29th, 2007

    Why is it news that Jorge Posada thinks the Yankees should get Johann Santanta? What’s he supposed to say?

    “No, I don’t think we would be a better team if we got the best young pitcher in baseball, a proven durable Cy Young winner who is not a head case.”

    In other news, Posada said we should bring peace to Middle East, end poverty and do something about sick people.

    Packers-Boys

    Thursday, November 29th, 2007

    I would love to be able to watch tonight’s Packers-Cowboys tilt. But right now, I’m happy that I can’t . See, I’m a Time Warner customer and … well, Gregg Eastebrook put it best:

    In other football news, the NFL began putting Thursday and Saturday night late-season games on NFL Network last season. Since then, 280 Park Ave. — league headquarters — has been hoping for a monster game only NFLN subscribers would see. Why? So everyone else would ring up their cable carriers and complain about the lack of NFL Network. Finally, the league’s wish has come true, as Thursday’s monster Dallas-Green Bay pairing is an NFL Network game, meaning it will air in only roughly 35 million households. The NFL is quietly happy most Americans won’t see this fantastic pairing, and that represents a reversal of the league’s nearly 50-year policy of doing everything possible to put nationally televised games onto every American TV set. But the cable carriers have proved so resistant to the NFL’s demands regarding NFL Network that the league has come to the point of hoping for an unseen monster game that might force the issue by causing viewer outrage.

    ,,,

    The problem is that the league is demanding too high a price for NFL Network. The league wants cable customers to pay for NFL Network, a seasonal product, almost twice what CNN charges for 24-hour, 365-day appeal. If the NFL simply cut its asking price, the rest of the pieces with the cable carriers would fall into place. There are egos involved, however. A couple of years ago, Comcast offered about $400 million annually for the slate of Thursday and Saturday late-season games. An owners’ faction led by Jerry Jones of Dallas contended the league could make more by keeping the games and marketing them to cable over NFLN. So far, though, NFL Network pulls in only about $250 million in cable payments. Jones and other owners who insisted the NFL would come out ahead by direct-marketing NFL Network don’t want to cut the asking price because that would be tantamount to admitting their original negotiating strategy was wrong. As we’ve learned, prominent people will pile fresh mistake atop fresh mistake to postpone the day when they admit their first mistake. The NFL’s insistence on asking too much for its channel is yet another example of how often big business, with zillions of dollars in executive-suite and economic-consultant spending, nevertheless acts as if it’s ignorant of basic economics. To increase revenues, cut prices; this raises demand. (A high price suppresses demand.) The modern globalized marketplace is relentlessly efficient at driving down prices, and has relentlessly, efficiently blocked the NFL’s attempt to charge too much for NFL Network. As soon as the NFL drops the NFLN asking price to the market-clearing level, the channel will air in all homes. Then the NFL can scramble nervously to make its money on advertising, just like everybody else in the broadcast business.

    Right now, Austin radio is filled with ads from both sides. The NFL’s ads are so insulting and infuriating, however, that they have pushed me into Time Warner’s corner. They basically consist of some guy with a Texas hick accent complaining that he can’t watch his “fuut-bawl” while the know-it-all NFL lady patiently explains how evil Time Warner is. It ends with a clarion call to phone up the legislature and demand … something. Inspired by this, I e-mailed by legislator and told him to stay the hell out of it. They have no business telling a cable company what tier they will put an expensive network on.

    Hollywood Birth

    Thursday, November 29th, 2007

    Noun – a birth process that only takes place in movies and TV. It proceeds in three stages.

    1 – water breaks
    2 – woman starts screaming in pain
    3 – within ten minutes, gives birth to a baby that is about the size of a six-month old (no wonder she screamed!).

    It’s infuriating. The only movie that I know that deviated was Knocked Up, which had things like bloody show, not knowing if your water has broken, spending the first few hours of labor at home, not being able to get an epidural late, etc.

    The worst case I’ve seen in a while was this week’s terrible episode of SVU. Egads. Isn’t it time to retire this cliche?

    Thursday Linkorama

    Thursday, November 29th, 2007

    Inspired by my daughter learning to play peek-a-boo:

  • Take a stand against fat. This is probably even worse for me as I sometimes work while lying down with the laptop on my belly.
  • Trim some trees? That will be $347k please.
  • Uh-oh.
  • Reagan v. Bush

    Thursday, November 29th, 2007

    Brilliance from Lee over at Right-Thinking:

    Here’s one VERY important distinction. Reagan had been formulating his plan for dealing with the Soviets for about 40 years. You can hear it in his radio commentaries for GE, which are available for download on iTunes if you’re interested.

    This is an issue he thought and thought and thought about. He didn’t get into office and say, “Okay, what do we do about the economy and the USSR?” He was elected with a solid purpose and plan for dealing with these two issues.

    This is the POLAR OPPOSITE of Bush. Bush had no idea what he wanted to do about terrorism, other than basically continue the policies of the Clinton administration. Then, after 9/11, every discredited and debunked national security idea that had been floating around was slapped together and called the Patriot Act. We went from widespread global support for the invasion of Afghanistan into a global pariah for our invasion of Iraq. Bush rolled the dice on Iraq because he was convinced that democracy would magically spring out of the ground.

    Comparing Reagan and Bush is apples and oranges. Reagan knew what he wanted to do, he just wanted the opportunity to do it. Bush wanted the power, and 9/11 gave him a reason to grab it.

    Um, We’re Out of Silva

    Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

    Priceless. A Minnesota columnists suggest that the Twins trade a player that they, technically speaking, don’t have.

    Doh!

    Tuesday Afternoon Linkorama

    Tuesday, November 27th, 2007
  • I missed the report that food and obesity are giving us cancer. Turns out, I didn’t miss anything. It’s garbage.
  • Why an “energy Manhattan plan” is a bad idea. Read the whole thing.
  • Want do donate toys to kids? Or kids to toys for that matter? Be sure to bring your lawyer.
  • 35 million hungry Americans, say the Fetus Whisperer. Garbage says the Department of Agriculture.
  • Shame on Princess Cruise Lines. They all do this. My wife and I got quite nervous about our honeymoon. That’s why we booked our own airfare rather than go through their travel agency slime engine. I just wish they ID’d the woman so people could give her money for an actual trip — on someone other than Princess
  • Illegal immigrants are gobbling up our health care! Nope. Let’s see if Boortz or Hannity link to this study.
  • Conspirators

    Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

    Greg Gutfield says it best on conspiracy theorists (see my JFK-conspiracy bashing below):

    The flaw in that, however, is even if we wanted to pull off a conspiracy – we are incapable, because an inside job requires total silence, and America can’t shut up. But as long as you have Brian DiPalma, Oliver Stone and Charlie Sheen assuming the worst about humanity, you will have to deal with nutjobs who think they’re smart, but aren’t.

    Conspiracy theories require an ability to connect the dots, not the facts – all propped up by a desire to feel smarter than everyone else – because you have it all figured out. That’s probably the biggest conspiracy of all – that these theories only exist to make people think those who spout them have brains – when in fact they wouldn’t know reality if it sent them an instant message on their mom’s computer.

    Preach it, brother.