Archive for November, 2010

Bad Coaching Watch

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Ugh. Okie State had a chance to beat Oklahoma tonight and blew it with some bad decisions. First, they scored to draw within two points. Then, with under four minutes left and their defense on fumes, in a situation where Oklahoma only needed a few first downs, they kick deep instead of using an onside kick. Why?

They then played such shitty coverage on 3rd and long — with no deep coverage — that they gave up an 86 yard touchdown pass. Why was there no deep coverage on 3rd and 14? Who knows.

A kickoff return TD puts them back in it with 2:51 to play. Again, the kick booms deep in a situation where Oklahoma needs only a few first downs to ice the game. Why not onside kick here? If Oklahoma gets it, you’re no worse off. You still need to make a stop to get a chance. To my mind, an onside kick gives you two shots to get a potential game-winning drive: one with the onside kick and one with the defense. Whether you stop Oklahoma at the 20 or the 50 really doesn’t matter. Field position is not the important factor here — time is.

Then there’s another coverage breakdown and no deep man and Oklahoma gets a 77-yard touchdown. Because, apparently, it never occurred to Okie State that Oklahoma might play fake their exhausted defense in an obvious clock-grinding situation.

This is followed by a slow drive that gobbles up two minutes and gets a field goal. Now, with no choice, Gundy decides to try an onside kick. Which fails, of course, since Oklahoma knows its coming.

I don’t mean to pick on Gundy with regard to the onside kicks since most coaches would do the same thing. TMQ always goes on about how coaches eschew the onside kick until it makes no difference. This is to avoid criticism for “unconventional” decisions. And indeed, even the announcers didn’t criticize the decision.

But the refusal of teams to onside kick until the very last minute hurts their chances of winning. You will rarely see a better illustration of this than tonight’s game, which Okie State could have won with a bit more boldness.

Thanksgiving Linkorama

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Non-political links:

  • Jonah Lehrer on why expertise doesn’t translate well.
  • London.
  • Political Links:

  • Megan McArdle talks about Ireland.
  • El Paso, sisters city of the most violent city in Mexico, is the safest city in America. The reason? El Paso’s cops aren’t wholly-owned subsidiaries of the drug cartels.
  • Why the UN is a joke. A dangerous joke.
  • If I were liberal, I’d probably love Glenn Greenwald. Here he defends a libertarian from a nasty smear job.
  • Since I so rarely say it –or have a reason to — good for Obama.
  • HuffPo remain a bastion of pseudo-medical Nanny State lunacy.
  • How the government drives up the cost of healthcare.
  • Movie Cliches

    Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

    I don’t think I ever posted this, did I? Spurred by Cracked’s attack on injury cliches, I present a list of movie cliches I once sent to Roger Ebert for inclusion in his Little Movie Glossary (none have shown up; possibly because I accidentally abbreviated one that could be mistaken for a mis-spelled bad word and therefore tripped a spam filter). Several of these have appeared in cracked and on tvtropes.com. But I thunk of ‘em independently.

    (more…)

    Monday Linkorama

    Monday, November 22nd, 2010

    Non-political Links:

  • It pains me to hear about the ridiculous excesses people go to when pampering their pets. I love animals and certainly think people should be allowed to do what they want their money. But couldn’t we spend some of that excess on humans? Thinking about lonely people doting on pets in place of their fellow people just fills me with a tremendous and deep sadness.
  • Political Links:

  • The Problem of Government: Exhibit 6394C: a bill that supposedly creates paycheck fairness creates a legal nightmare.
  • There are some Republicans who scare me.
  • And sometimes the Religious Right scares me: here, one of them argues that we are “feminizing” the Medal of Honor by not giving it to people who perform aggressive acts in war (and making various irrelevant biblical references). Sullivan’s readers own him here, pointing out we have given awards for aggressive acts of valor. But he refuses to listen, doubling down on his bullshit.
  • You’re Full of It Watch: Dana Milibank. I agree that the opposition to New START is stupid. But the opposition to the nudie scanners and groping is not, as I’ve been blogging heavily on the other site. The ACLU is opposed to them. And to call out Ron Paul is incredibly dumb and ignorant; he has always been a civil libertarian and was vehemently opposed to Bush’s anti-terror policies as well.
  • We must be getting close to legalizing pot; the tactics of the pot-grabbers are getting more and more hysterical.
  • There’s not much hope of balancing the budget when either party insists on massive cash giveaways.
  • Thursday Linkorama

    Thursday, November 18th, 2010

    Non-political links:

  • Catalog Living is sometimes blah and sometimes hilarious.
  • Political Links:

  • I’m not about to defend George Soros. But Glenn Beck’s jihad seems a bit much.
  • Again, I’m glad I don’t live in California. They just re-elected one of the governors who screwed the pooch in the first place.
  • You have to wonder if the people who screamed so loudly when Bush rewrote reports for his political purposes will scream when Obama does the same.
  • What are we putting X-ray backscatter devices in airports despite the minimal benefit and stuff opposition? Follow the money.
  • Obama’s DEA: just as full of shit as Bush’s. Notice also the craven reason given for senators not pushing her — because Prop 19 lost. What the fuck happened to leadership?
  • Slimeball Communist Danny Ortega is illegally running for President again and invading a peaceful country to drum up support. Let’s see if this gets as much attention as the Honduran “coup”. And never forget that, during the 80′s, Ortega was worshipped by many Letists (before he lost the first open election in his country and pillaged the treasury on the way out).
  • Defending Bush

    Monday, November 15th, 2010

    It’s hard to defend George W. Bush this week, given his new memoir. But I feel I must.

    I’ve slowly moved to a neutral position on the death penalty. I’m not against it but I think applying it should require an extreme burden of proof. This is, to me, a conservative view. I’m simply reluctant to trust the government with the power of life and death. And that reluctance grows stronger every time a story like this surfaces:

    Claude Jones always claimed that he wasn’t the man who walked into an East Texas liquor store in 1989 and shot the owner. He professed his innocence right up until the moment he was strapped to a gurney in the Texas execution chamber and put to death on Dec. 7, 2000. His murder conviction was based on a single piece of forensic evidence recovered from the crime scene—a strand of hair—that prosecutors claimed belonged to Jones.

    But DNA tests completed this week at the request of the Observer and the New York-based Innocence Project show the hair didn’t belong to Jones after all. The day before his death in December 2000, Jones asked for a stay of execution so the strand of hair could be submitted for DNA testing. He was denied by then-Gov. George W. Bush.

    A decade later, the results of DNA testing not only undermine the evidence that convicted Jones, but raise the possibility that Texas executed an innocent man. The DNA tests—conducted by Mitotyping Technologies, a private lab in State College, Pa., and first reported by the Observer on Thursday—show the hair belonged to the victim of the shooting, Allen Hilzendager, the 44-year-old owner of the liquor store.

    Because the DNA testing doesn’t implicate another shooter, the results don’t prove Jones’ innocence. But the hair was the only piece of evidence that placed Jones at the crime scene. So while the results don’t exonerate him, they raise serious doubts about his guilt

    A lot of people are bashing Bush over this, since the man was executed while Bush was governor. This is unfair. First, as we noted about a million times during the 2000 election, the governor of Texas does not have the power to stop executions, merely delay them by thirty days. More important, the Bush people were never notified that a DNA test had been requested. If they had, Bush would almost certainlyhave delayed the execution. He did this in case of Ricky McGinn, a man who raped and beat to death his 12-year-old step-daughter but requested a DNA test before execution. In that case, of course, the DNA proved the fucker’s guilt and he was executed.

    So, yes, this story can be used to criticize the death penalty and especially the death penalty in Texas, where a staggering fraction of the defense attorneys in capital cases are incompetent. But people using this as another opportunity for Bush-bashing need to get a grip. This wasn’t his fault.

    All Politics Linkorama

    Saturday, November 13th, 2010

    All political links today, I’m afraid:

  • More on why our evil drug companies aren’t so evil.
  • I have to agree with Saletan. The Democrats won big over the last two years, getting huge pieces of legislation passed. Elections are temporary; big government programs are forever. By the same token, I think the GOP really lost in 2000. They won an election but completely screwed the pooch on policy. Unfortunately, much of the current GOP leadership can’t tell the difference.
  • Michael Bloomberg: soup nazi.
  • I really don’t know what to make of payday lending. The arguments against are obvious. But Reason point out that banning them may simply be making things worse.
  • This sort of thing, in which a reporter waxes rhapsodic about how romantic the Communists are, drives me nuts.
  • Torture update: the Brits say Bush is full of it; but Obama says he won’t go after agents who concealed it
  • If the Democrats sided with a foreign government against the President, I imagine we’d be seeing a different reaction.
  • Politics and TV

    Friday, November 12th, 2010

    I have a problem with this story that supposedly shows what Republicans and Democrats like on TV. The numbers don’t work out. On each side, a parenthesis supposedly shows how the other side ranks it. But the numbers don’t match.

    I would not be surprised to turn out that this list is shoddy, if not completely fictitious.

    Update: I also call BS on the supposed diary of a TSA employee. It plays too much to my biases.

    Wednesday Linkorama

    Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

    Non-political links:

  • My God. This sounds like the most boring video game ever.
  • Stories like this make me so sad. Whether you believe that government can help these people or not — you can probably guess my opinion — to see people fallen so low is heart-breaking. The photo of the child (and the story behind it) is really hard to see.
  • Google almost starts a war.
  • Political Links:

  • Who killed the electric car? Science did.
  • Jesus tapdancing Christ, what next from the Nanny State?
  • Radley Balko tries to find some consistency from Juan Cole. Good luck.
  • This nostalgia for President Bush is badly misplaced. All the policies people hate about Obama started under Bush. Never underestimate the power of self-delusion.
  • Cool It

    Monday, November 8th, 2010

    Cross-posted from the other site:

    Think of this as anti-matter to Algore’s stupid movie:

    What strikes me about the trailer (and Lomborg’s writing in general) is the sense of optimism: that the world is not ending; that we can solve our environmental problems. This is why I continue to argue the points on climate change: we need to get this policy away from the Left before they do something really stupid.

    Note also that Lomborg, long before Climategate, was the target of vicious and personal smear campaigns. Lomborg is not a climate “denier” by any means — he’s just someone who disputes the idea that global warming is necessarily disastrous and that collectivist carbon-rationing solutions are going to help. He has a track record here, dating from The Skeptical Environmentalist, of pointing out that the world isn’t ending, being vilified for it and then proving to be right. On pollution, overpopulation and biodiversity, his skepticism has been proven right and the panic-mongering has been proven wrong. It’s not that these things weren’t problems, it was that they were solvable problems and not nearly as bad as the media led us to believe.

    For that, he is literally called the devil incarnate.

    Update: Great review here. My favorite bit:

    For example, the issue of the declining polar bear population. An Inconvenient Truth would have you believe that this is a direct result of Global Warming. Cool It tells us that the polar bear population stood at around five thousand in 1950 whereas the current polar bear population stands somewhere between twenty and twenty-five thousand. So we are much further ahead today than we were some 60 years ago. He further contends that more bears are shot every year than bears who die from the effects of Global Warming. So if we are so concerned about the polar bear population, we should stop people from shooting bears rather than spending $250 billion on a climate change program that isn’t yielding results.

    400 Win Linkorama

    Saturday, November 6th, 2010

    Non-Political Links:

  • The list of things we are afraid of but shouldn’t be continues to grow: add Halloween and BPA.
  • Is this political? I shouldn’t think so. I don’t think there’s much politics in thinking it’s disgusting when debt collectors break the law.
  • Political Links:

  • I agree with this rant to some extent. People who say “our country should take care of the poor/sick/infirm/etc” need to explain why we can’t do so with the $6 trillion we’re already spending. In the end, restraint on government spending is going to have to come from the Left (as it did in the 90′s). Because we can’t help people if we’re just burning money to no good end. We have to prioritize.
  • I think Eddie Izzard got it right. California is quickly becoming the Nanny State. Soon they’ll be going to the libraries for a wild time.
  • Charles Johnson describes how he came to view waterboarding as torture and as wrong. My progress was identical.
  • Ooops. This is one of those times, like with the CDCs bullshit obesity statistics, that I wonder if someone made the mistake deliberately in order to get a bogus meme into circulation. How many lefties do you think will site the bogus statistics without correction?
  • More horrors from the CPSIA, one of the stupidest laws to ever pass our Congress. Keep in mind while you read: Mattel, the company that poisoned our toys in the first place, was given a federal waiver to do their own internal testing.
  • Noonan on Palin

    Friday, November 5th, 2010

    I don’t agree with what Peggy Noonan says about Obama in this article. But there’s an important point she makes in re: Sarah Palin and some of the crazier (and thankfully, defeated) Tea Part candidates:

    Conservatives talked a lot about Ronald Reagan this year, but they have to take him more to heart, because his example here is a guide. All this seemed lost last week on Sarah Palin, who called him, on Fox, “an actor.” She was defending her form of political celebrity—reality show, “Dancing With the Stars,” etc. This is how she did it: “Wasn’t Ronald Reagan an actor? Wasn’t he in ‘Bedtime for Bonzo,’ Bozo, something? Ronald Reagan was an actor.”

    Excuse me, but this was ignorant even for Mrs. Palin. Reagan people quietly flipped their lids, but I’ll voice their consternation to make a larger point. Ronald Reagan was an artist who willed himself into leadership as president of a major American labor union (Screen Actors Guild, seven terms, 1947-59.) He led that union successfully through major upheavals (the Hollywood communist wars, labor-management struggles); discovered and honed his ability to speak persuasively by talking to workers on the line at General Electric for eight years; was elected to and completed two full terms as governor of California; challenged and almost unseated an incumbent president of his own party; and went on to popularize modern conservative political philosophy without the help of a conservative infrastructure. Then he was elected president.

    The point is not “He was a great man and you are a nincompoop,” though that is true. The point is that Reagan’s career is a guide, not only for the tea party but for all in politics. He brought his fully mature, fully seasoned self into politics with him. He wasn’t in search of a life when he ran for office, and he wasn’t in search of fame; he’d already lived a life, he was already well known, he’d accomplished things in the world.

    Here is an old tradition badly in need of return: You have to earn your way into politics. You should go have a life, build a string of accomplishments, then enter public service. And you need actual talent: You have to be able to bring people in and along. You can’t just bully them, you can’t just assert and taunt, you have to be able to persuade.

    Rush Limbaugh was off on this vein too, today, saying that Ronald Reagan “never compromised”, which is ridiculous. Reagan compromised on taxes, the deficit, abortion, government spending and regulation. The difference was that Reagan actually believed in conservatism and so he compromised from that position, getting some conservative goals accomplished. The failed Republicans of the last decade where only interested in self-aggrandizement and the accumulation of power. They liked big government — hence things like the K-street project. The evil “compromisers” — like John McCain — actually got some things accomplished. They got judges approved, spending cut and Medicare D limited, just to name three examples.

    The problem of the GOP was not a true blue conservative leadership that tragically compromised with liberal Democrats. The problem was a leadership that had no principles whatsoever, that saw every issue in terms of electoral politics. They ran on gay marriage because they thought they could win on it. They spent like crazy because they thought it could buy votes.

    We don’t need people in Washington who believe in “no compromise”. Everything in politics is a compromise. We need people who can fight the right compromise.

    Election Day Linkorama

    Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

    Non-political link:

  • The haunting first photo of a person.
  • The City Paper owns NPR. I think.
  • Political links:

  • McArdle makes the case for eliminating the corporate income tax. She’s right, but there’s no chance it would happen while Democrats (and some Republicans) still exist. Too easy to demagogue.
  • You’re Full of It Watch: The once and future Governor Moonbeam.
  • Oh, come on.