Back to Bean Town

Going to see my Mom, SqueetlyBoink, LS + NY, JessicaFine and LEGAL FOLLIES back in my old stomping ground. This is going to be amazing. Oh, and I owe a link to AR: http://oddnow.blogspot.com. The man's brain has pathways the rest of just don't have - or are to afraid to explore.

I have to: "Oh Synapse!"


Strange But True Information Day

I have run into a lot of odd, but true, information today. The smattering:
  1. Sitting on my desk right now is the Volume 1 (of 10) of the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Rehabilitation of the Worked-Out Phosphate Lands of Nauru (Hey! Wake up! I'm not done!). I am researching a teensy island a world away and Gtown library has the actual report by the government of that teensy island, 5 blocks from my office. Amazing. Oh, and they also had a book reviewing the same topic by one of the three members of the Commission. Equally amazing. Add to that the help of JS, the super pre-JD, and a beer with lunch and you have the makings of a great day -- which might explain these next two:

  2. I read a blog by a kosher, vegetarian married mother of two who writes about fertility and lost pregnancy issues. It's not "ha ha" funny, but, c'mon, she refers to her segment of the population as "Stirrup queens!"
  3. And EZRJ passed along with nugget: http://theleilatexts.blogspot.com/ If you text L-E-I-L-A on the verizon system, they don't get to your Leila, they get to the this one. She posts them and comments. Amusing to a fault.

Political Tidbit

  1. For what it is worth, The New Republic editors and I see the same catch-22 for McCain and his finances. I still think the money will come/go elsewhere to move the campaign forward.
  2. Can anyone else see that the "McCain was born outside the U.S." story was an academic novelty? Lawyers love this stuff, and I think I can safely say that nobody in their right mind would press to have McCain declared inelligible for POTUS for being born on U.S. soil overseas. Sure, someone might bring the claim, but the only effect would be a clarification of the Constitutional language, "natural born Citizen," to include someone born in that locale. Prediction: the court limits the decision to these facts.


Political Tidbit

  1. Hillary looked like she was fighting for her life last night. It was not a position of strength, and I think it did little to quell fears about the central issue in this fight -- her electability.
  2. McCain secured a $4M loan from F&T Bank here in Bethesda, MD. If he used the federal matching funds as collateral, he can't withdraw from the matching funds program. The bank chairman says McCain did no such thing, offering instead as collateral "his long donor lists and his promise to raise it in the future."

    A promise to repay or, better yet, to do your best to repay is not collateral. It is a promise implicit in the loan agreement. Collateral is, by its very nature, there in case you can't repay, despite your best efforts.

    So, either the bank manager is lying - and the paperwork will show if that is the case - or it issued an unsecured loan. Either is bad. The first bad for the bank and will turn this into a scandal for the campaing; the second is just bad for the campaign, because the McCain-Feingold bill requires that loans to candidates be issued only where there is a reasonable assurance of payment. Nearly all loans have collateral, so I think anything less is not reasonable assurance.

  3. And finally, if this means McCain only has $6M until September, his own campaign will cast in ironic relief the shortcomings of his campaign finance reform. If and when he runs out of cash, it will instead flow to the part (who will run 'Vote Republican' ads) and to 527s, who will attack the dems and urge Republican support. I don't think it will make a huge difference.


Bad Mood.

I have been in a really bad mood for the majority of the past two weeks. I know at least one person who can tell - not sure about the rest of you. My lingering lung-wrenching cough is the likely culprit. The coughing isn't bad, it's the inability to start speaking without having something catch in my throat, the sudden loss of breath, and the spasmic reaction to spicy food. Suddenly, I can't breath, eat, speak, sing, laugh, or even sleep in peace. It's like riding a bike in slow motion over a speed bump every time I open my mouth. At best, it's uncomfortable; at worst, it'll buck you clear off the road.

Then there's the fact that, apparently, there is nothing I can do about it. Nothing like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for a pick-me-up.

Anyways, a string of good news from friends along with some fresh work on my plate has lifted spirits today. I don't know if it will last, but it certainly is a refreshing change. Amazing how quickly I forgot what it feels like to feel good.


Rock Band.

Mea Culpa. I have long joked that people who spent a lot of time on Guitar Hero could have used that time to learn to play a real guitar. All the more so Rock Band. That was before I played what turned out to be one of the most immersive and entertaining games I have ever laid hands on. I can't imagine I would buy it, but color me a fan.

Oh, and one more thing: at least for the drums, it is a really valuable tool to learn geography, use of the base pedal, and general beat patterns.

A quick survey.

I promise there won't be a rash of these. Here is another quick survey -- in part so that I can understand my site stats better.


I haven't blogged about books in a while, though there is a long list of good ones I have been reading. Here is a smattering:

Sandman Chronicles: TheGameIAm lent these to me and, well, wow. If you haven't read the Watchmen, start there. But then come here. I don't count myself a comic "fan," but I like the genre. This is far and away better than anything else I have ever seen because of the choice in characters and the sophisticated weave of story-telling. RSC finished it even faster than I did and she never reads comics.

To give you the briefest of backgrounds, the series charts Dream's travels through the realm of Dream and the waking world. Plot lines involve the complex relationships that he has with his siblings, Death, Despair, Destruction, Desire, Destiny, and Delirium, who was once Delight. It is fantastic in every sense of the term.

Confessions of an Economic Hitman: "Hi, I made a lot of money at the top of a very succesful American company helping other American mega-corporations win development contracts in the second and third worlds. Early on, I had a crisis of conscience when I met these poor people in far off countries. I envied their passion for their countries and their dignity and hard work. But i didn't leave my job. No, no. I stayed another 10-15 years, going from country to country, womanizing with 'inspiring' dames, and complaining when my favorite five-star hotels were unavailable on return trips. But, really, I had a crisis of conscience. We are destroying these people's countries. Oh, and the NSA made me do it, after they sanctioned my entering the Peace Corps."

You can thank me. Now you don't have to read John Perkins's tripe. First, the State Department contests his facts without the histrionics or vague pronouncements that might raise eyebrows. Second, Mr. Perkins's lack of skill as a writer (it's ok, he's an economist) is overshadowed by his false indignation. Listen, man. If you really felt for the little guy, you should have stopped doing what you did, particularly if, as you claim, the work you were in charge of was so destructive. To write the "tell-all" (which is not news to any student of IR) after you made your money is, to put it mildly, tacky.


Thanks for your responses! I'll know to use the tool in the future for feedback.


A quick survey.

I post a lot, and many of you read a lot. I think that entitles to a bit of input. I'll post a list of surveys... if they get a critical mass of responses, I'll keep them. If not, I'll chuck 'em.

Political Tidbit

It's the financing, stupid. McCain applied for federal matching funds from the FEC before his fundraising machine took off, capping his spending for the primary season. Now, he has a head of steam and wants to withdraw from the agreement. Didn't this man respond to Barack Obama's Opinion piece by saying that the two men signed a piece of paper pledging to adhere to spending limits? This appears to contradict that sentiment, certainly in spirit if not by the letter of the agreement.


If She's Hot Enough, She'll Need to Be Able to Defend Herself

So, this is either the world's most expensive female self, defense tool, or it's a gentle, if somewhat expensive, way to tell your sweetheart that your feelings for her have, um, changed. Of course, once you hand her the "Killer Diamond Ring," you should probably turn and run. On second thought, run first. Toss if over your shoulder as you go. Or maybe you should just leave the country and have the ring shipped.

Political Tidbit

It's McCain day! First, an update to Obama's USAToday op-ed to McCain re: campaign finance, then on to the floosy!
  1. Apparently, Obama may be trying to squirm out of an agreement to take public funds for the campaign. That means $85m and no private donations in the general election. McCain claims that Obama "signed a piece of paper." Great. Let's see it. Obama raised $35m and likely will win the money war if he is the candidate. Clearly, this ain't over.
  2. "Iseman, this is Goose, punch out!" According to the NYT, that's what McCain's campaign mgrs told lobbyist Vicki Iseman when they felt she was spending way too much time with him. Everyone knows that. More interesting is the story behind the story -- namely, McCain's effort to kill it, NYT's decision to sit on it until now, and, most interestingly, the right wing conservatives' anger that the story didn't come out sooner. To wit:

Regardless of the paper's motives, conservative pundits were left fuming,
noting that the Times had, at once, spared McCain at the point of his greatest
vulnerability (when his campaign was still a long shot) and denied his primary
opponents perhaps the knock-out blow. Would the GOP have a different candidate
on its hands had things been handled differently?

"Oh, there's no question it would have impacted [the race]," Bay
Buchanan, a former adviser of ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, told CNN. "I
think John McCain would not have won this primary if there's any evidence
whatsoever that surfaces that these stories are true... McCain's lawyers went
into the New York Times and said do not touch this story. Do not move on this
story. And there's no question this was beneficial to McCain to hold the story.
No question. His nomination was very much threatened by this story if it broke
too early. So what they did was hurt the Republican Party by not allowing this
to be aired properly at the time they received this information."

Huffington Post.



I have been spoofing some poetry recently, which has led me to discover that many of my compatriots have never read one of my favorite poems. Ah, whimsy!

The Naked and the Nude

Robert Graves

For me, the naked and the nude
(By lexicographers construed
As synonyms that should express
The same deficiency of dress
Or shelter) stand as wide apart
As love from lies, or truth from art.

Lovers without reproach will gaze
On bodies naked and ablaze;
The Hippocratic eye will see
In nakedness, anatomy;
And naked shines the Goddess when
She mounts her lion among men.

The nude are bold, the nude are sly
To hold each treasonable eye.
While draping by a showman's trick
Their dishabille in rhetoric,
They grin a mock-religious
grin Of scorn at those of naked skin.

The naked, therefore, who compete
Against the nude may know defeat;
Yet when they both together tread
The briary pastures of the dead,
By Gorgons with long whips
How naked go the sometime nude!

Welcome Home Atlantis.

Atlantis and mission 122 are safely home after 12 days in the wild blue yonder. The fact that they made it home didn't make the job any less risky. It's just a testament to the care they take every time. Welcome home, Atlantis.

Incidentally, your frequent flier miles for this trip: 5.3 million. Better cash 'em in. Program ends soon.

Political Tidbit

My poli posts have ebbed because the primaries are in what we might call the back straightaway of politics right now -- still fast, but way over there. Still, this morning's McPaper has an Opinion piece by Obama himself on campaign spending limits. Of note:
  1. Cui Bono? Why focus on spending limits now? I think the reference to "independent" campaign supporters is telling. I think Obama is saying to McCain and the FEC: I will hold you responsible if we see another swift boat campaign. There may be an implied threat too, "I am Obama and there will be a LOT of 'independent' money out there to support me. If you don't reign that it, neither will I."
  2. The piece is explicitly aimed at McCain. Obama is treating himself as the putative candidate. I don't know if that makes sense, but it avoids bloody infighting that'd hurt the Dems and McCain is going after both dems anyway, so why not?
  3. This is McPaper; will the readership have any idea what this means, or is this consciously aimed over their heads?


Economic Tidbit

This is a Political Tidbit dressed in Bayesian clothing.

The Nation has noticed that the President has no clothes -- they've been vaporized by the latest toys coming out of our bloated military-industrial complex. Defense budget for 2008: $700B, the largest % of GDP since WWII.

This might not be bad if, for example, the military industrial complex was simply an excuse to keep middle-American manufacturing jobs afloat for a while longer. The flip side of that is that we should use the products, which, lucky for us, means killing people in places that offer a lower cost of production than we could. But seriously, the real problem in that argument is that the additional money is not going to greater production volume but, instead, to higher prices. Lockhead, Northrup, etc. are simply running over-budget on contracts for the same number of items. The result is the corporation makes more and the American worker sees no additional benefit.

Oh, and I have been saying this for a long time: You know where you can find the money to overhaul this country;'s education, health, and infrastructure? It's being shot out of American-made rifle barrels into the Iraqi sands. Let's bring that money, and the people who can really benefit from it, home.


Pats Civil Suit Filed

Willie Gary and a class made up of fans have filed a class action against the Pats for taping the Rams walk-through practice prior to the 2002 SB, which the Pats won 20-17. First, it is really important to note that it is both the Pats' and the NFL's position this taping did not take place. Still, this will get a ton of press because it is so much fun to talk about a $100M (that's no joke) cheating suit. Here is more legal analysis than you might get elsewhere - and I promis it will be fun.

[ If you can't be bothered to read to the end, this case will fail for 1 reason: Causation. You have to show that the alleged breach, tort, or fraud actually caused the Rams to lose the game. Given the myriad variables in a football game, I think that's damn near impossible.]

The suit alleges:
  1. Tortious Interference With Business Relationship: Here is a normal case: I own a company; you own a competing company. You tell one of my clients that I am a fraud and he cancels a contract with me. You didn't do it to help your business, but just to hurt my business. The suit. The lawsuit makes the case that the Rams' ticketholders had a contract with the stadium and the NFL for seats to an honest game played by the rules. Pats cheated and interfered with the Rams's ability to deliver. Novel, huh?

  2. Fraud: Simple enough.
  3. The RICO Act: Yes, the same act used to bust drug-traffickers. The Pats association is the mob, the phone calls, etc. used to arrange the taping is the concerted effort, and the purpose is allegedly fraud. And there you have it, racketeering. I am sure Congress had exactly this in mind.
  4. Violation of the Rights of Third Party Beneficiaries: This is alleged separately from the contract claim for some reason, but it is just a claim for breach of contract. A normal case: I make a contract with Bill to paint Bill's house if, in return, he pays RSC $10,000. I paint the house and Bill never pays. Even RSC did not sign the contract, she is named in the contract as a beneficiary (a third party) and can sue Bill. The claim here is that the Rams and Pats and NFL had a contract, from which the fans derive benefit. Breach that contract and you have to answer to the fans.
  5. Contract: This is even more remote. Plaintiffs claim that, as fans, they have an "implied or quasi" contract with the fans. To use the prior example, if Bill and I have no formal contract, but he just says, "Paint my house and you'll get $10,000," and I paint the house, a court will imply a contract because it would be unfair for Bill to get the benefit without paying for it. In this case, it is a real stretch. In the example, Bill indicated he would pay for the benefit of having his house painted. Here, what benefit are the Rams' fans claiming? The implied contract can't be that the Pats agree to lose to the Rams. It must be for an entertaining game. The 2002 was certainly that -- and the outcome was in question until the very end.
  6. LA Unfair Trade Practices: This is too esoteric for a blog post. Suffice it say that it reads a lot like fraud.

If you are going to shoot for silly claims, why not go all the way? How about?

  1. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress as a result of beating the Rams.
  2. Trespass. As ticket owners, the fans hold a stake in stadium and the Pats invaded that in an unauthorized manner by taping.
  3. Battery. Players assume the risk of playing a fair game of football. Yet, if you know the signals, you know where they were going to be, and players that otherwise would have run untouched down the field got an unwelcome and unexpected beat down.
  4. Why not include the city of St. Louis and all Rams's merchandise sellers? They all lost revenue when the post-SB sales bump didn't happen.
  5. Even more obscure battery or even assault with a deadly weapon. Stats indicate that spousal abuse is much higher the night a sports team loses a game. Clearly, the Pats must have known that their wretched ways would cause more beatings. Bring on the claims!


  1. As stated above, a football happened between the taping and the loss. It is an "Intervening Cause" preventing the taping from causing the loss, as required for these claims to hold up. It would be nearly impossible to show how any one play was affected by the Pats knowing the Rams game plan. I'd toss this out on a Motion to Dismiss.
  2. As for the contracts, I don't think that a reasonable judge would reach this, but one should make the argument that an opposing team cannot possibly owe a duty to Rams' fans. Their interests are totally at odds. More importantly, liability in this case would mean that fans of every team could sue them for losing claiming negligent coaching or play, etc. and cite lost profits from merch sales, etc.

Bottom line, this is silly.


Forty minutes isn't a long time. A quick read of the Post, an IM or two, a cup of coffee, finishing the Post article, and a trip to the loo (See, infra, cup of coffee) and voila, forty minutes. But when you broke your foot six months ago, twisted that ankle 4 months ago while rehabbing it, and an upper respiratory infection has left you with an inhaler-worthy cough, you can't even think forty minutes ahead as the pavement comes up to slam the balls of your feet.

About ten minutes in, things start to tighten up. You stop jogging in place at lights. You notice that other people are looking at you with a "man, that doesn't look like fun" look on their face. Normally, you're in an endorphin-filled wonderland by now, happily musing on the sounds pouring in through your headphones. Today, instead, you notice the glances. You can't help but remember that this first one-to-two miles used to be a warm up. You feel old, like you are marching up a hill you climbed but slid down.

The light turns green. You start again. Ten minutes later, you lose the will to live.

For Those Who Do Not Appreciate the Fart Joke.

The NYT laments American anti-intellectualism coraling a series of books that, well, lament American ignorance and its anti-intellectualism. While the article includes this gem about 2 men at a bar on 9/11, it is not news:
“This is just like Pearl Harbor,” one of the men said.
The other asked,
“What is Pearl Harbor?”
“That was when the Vietnamese dropped bombs in a
harbor, and it started the Vietnam War,” the first man replied.

A far better look at this ironically appears in "Lisa and American Anti-intellectualism," an essay from the surprisingly academic "The Simpsons and Philosophy." You can read most of the essay here or ask to borrow the book. The idea reaches back to the image of Americans as being enterprising with their hands and their common sense. Men like Henry Ford are praised not for genius, but for gumption and their down-to-earth sensibility.

We don't really need books to lament this. We don't even need to point to it. What are we going to do, draw more attention to an education regime that we all know is lacking? Instead, let's stop telling people there is something wrong and excite them about the prospect of being better. Inspiration (leadership when manifest in a person) is a disruptive solution -- more importantly, it doesn't contest our anti-intellectualist culture. Depending on how you look at it, it either steps right past it or it emphasizes the "can-do" aspect of our self-perception. Yes, this is starting to look like a political post. I'll acknowledge that, but I don't apologize.


Pop Culture Tidbit

Like the Great Black Hope did yesterday, I am taking a break from politics today to sound off on pop culture. John Grisham openly states that he doesn't take himself too seriously as a writer -- he just writes pulp for the masses and rakes in the dough. That puts him in with Coldplay, who often deflect criticism of their music as bland and unoriginal by saying that they aren't innovative -- they just give the people what they want.

Just two questions:
  1. If you are a fan, aren't they laughing at you? "Yeah, this isn't very good, but, then, you aren't very discerning."
  2. What satisfaction do you get from producing in a medium that is normally associated with artistic free expression, but which you have purposely wittled down to mere artisanship?

James Bond Scuba Car - For Real

Gizmodo has video of a real, working JB Submarine Car. It is built on the Lotus Esprit platform, like the Tesla -- God Bless Lotus. The machine cost a whopping $1.5M to build, but I think you will agree that a small part of you thinks it might be worth it.

I, for one, am saving up for my multi-billion dollar laire full of useless knick-knacks and slow, elaborate killing devices.


Sen. Specter, I Would Like My Money Back.

Mr. Specter, what happens if you are not satisfied with the NFL's answer regarding 'spygate'? What will you do? What, in all honesty, can you do? Will you revoke its antitrust exemption and enable another league to start up? We all watched the XFL. It wasn't very good. Will you sanction Goodell? Worse yet, will you dictate to the NFL how it must apply its rules? Worst of all, you might just trap someone in a lie and ruin their life with possible jail time all over questions I am not sure you have any place asking -- of anyone in football. I pay taxes, Mr. Specter, and I want you to refund that portion of your salary that you've wasted on this.

Oh, I get it. Waxman got to meet Clemens and you're jealous. How cute.

For those wondering about the nitty-gritty of the rules, check this out from the Sports Law Prof Blog. Basically, the NFL rule was badly drafted. It made clear that some taping was allowed during games but placed some restriction on what taping could be used "in-game". Turns out that Bill has a better argument than I thought. Well, at least until the start of the 2007 season, when the NFL sent a memo "reminding" people of the rule and specifically noting that the NFL viewed taping signals from the sideline as falling within the rule. Before that, the rule was really wide open .

May 22. You Know Where I Will Be.

Indiana Jones IV is coming out. Harrison. Check. Spielberg - king of the Jews. Check. Cate Blanchet in the role of throwaway sweetheart. Check.

This actually looks like classic Spielberg. Please, please don't disappoint!

Bootleg trailer available on www.gizmodo.com


2 Fun Images

This is a Great Solution.

The robot looks where you look, instead of requiring you to aim with a joystick. All the tech (the cameras, gyros, etc.) already exists in fully deployable form, so this is only a matter of time. Add some rich HUD (heads up display) data + sensors to eliminate the operators blind spots and the system may make up for the slightly slower-than-a-manned-vehicle response time.

Sports! (Hey, it ain't politics for once.)

  1. I am rarely jealous of others. I get what you have to trade to live the I-banker life (limos, helos, and 7-figure bonuses) -- crippling hours, intense risk, etc. etc. -- the executive life, the medical life, the stage life, and so on. But once in a while, when I look at the ages of football's finest, I just get that pang.

    Take Asante Samuel, 27. At my age, he is a multi-millionaire, superbowl champ (though not this year), star free agent, with cribs and wheels and cheeks and, most importantly, the chance to work out, outside, all week, only to emerge from a tunnel to fireworks, rock music, and flashbulbs of nearly 100,000 people who either love him or hate him. To run out of that tunnel just once and feel that rush would be amazing. Of course, he has football skills and is in football shape. Me? I'm, well, just me.

  2. Getting off the couch for a moment, lets move to racing. NASCAR has 3 "rookies" this year coming over from "open wheel" (Formula-1, Indy, etc. -- for those who don't know, these are the spaceship looking cars that shatter if they so much as scrape, top out 230 mph, and turn both right and left). They follow Juan Pablo Montoya, who made quite the splash last year in his rookie season. I know nobody will say it, but Juan is hands down a better driver than any man out there. Now Sam Hornish Jr., Dario Franchiti, and Jacques Villenueve are coming over. These guys are even better. I know NASCAR will resent them, but you should watch them -- see how real men drive --who knows, it might even make the sport more watchable.
  3. The plaintiff's lawyers deposing Reggie Bush walked out (SI says "fled") when his bodyguard flashed a pistol. Brian Watkins, who represents the sports marketer suing Bush for the return of loans he made to Bush's family, freaked when he saw the gun, which the bodyguard apparently has a license to carry.

    First, I agree that it is bad form to both carry and flash a weapon at a deposition. Second, I have heard a lot worse (lawyers jumping over the table to attack others, etc.). I mean, does anyone seriously believe that this was anything other than a power play? And third, Dear Brian, shut up. You just landed a ton of additional free exposure for yourself in a story that will surely make the rounds and paint your client as a victim. More important still, you now have that greatest of all lawyer assets: the best depo war story at the dinner table.

    (That said, I think it might have been a good tactic to walk out and make a lot of noise to the judge. If you thought of that BW, I commend you.)


GM Living Up to the Satire

The folks over at the Jalopnik Blog (www.jalopnik.com) note that the Onion of all places scooped the GM layoff story.

Feb 8 Onion Headline: GM Introduces 2008 Line of Layoffs
Feb 10 CNN Headline: GM Offers Buyout to 74,000

Among the Onion's gems:
Urging consumers to forget everything they thought they knew about job
security, Wagoner described the cutbacks as "a major breakthrough in
downsizing," and claimed GM had set a new benchmark in letting people go.

SnapShots Added

Saw that TheGameIAm (http://thegameiam.livejournal.com) had SnapShots and wanted to try them. Do you like them, hate them, care at all?

Political Tidbit

Huckabee said something yesterday that made a lot of sense: He isn't in this to win before the convention, he's here to prevent McCain from obtaining ~1,100 delegates needed to lock up the convention.
  1. What happens if the Republicans go to the convention? There is no way Romney pledges his delegates to Huck, which is about the only way he can win. Romney is a conservative, but I think he is a party man first and the party says McCain. So, if Huck takes this to the convention, can he win?
  2. On the other hand, will conservative Rep. stay home or even create a faction candidate if McCain is the candidate? If so, McCain should kiss Huck's feet. With him in the race, the Republicans stay engaged within the party. If all campaigning stops, the talking heads take over and a third party candidacy becomes more likely.
  3. If Huck doesn't win, what does he gain by staying in? I can't imagine he wants the convention speech. I can't imagine McCain will give him the Veep spot.
  4. I hear rumors that there are McCain dems out there. I see that among hawkish dems, but does anyone have any numbers on that? For the record, there are also Rep who think the Iraq policy is forever flawed and want a pull out. They support Hillary, though not too vocally as you might imagine.


Six Point-&-Shooter

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (http://www.jpfo.org/) just filed an amicus bried if DC v. Heller, the 2d amendment case headed to the Supreme Court.

What's the point of my saying anything further? You've already clicked on the above link and are staring agape at their homepage.

p.s. To me this reads like: Jews for the Preservation of Commercial Mixed-Use Zoning

They All Have Guns. This Should Have Worked Itself Out Already

The U.S. Capitol Police and the Library of Congress Police are merging. You mean they were totally separate? The two institutions are literaly across the street from one another. Of course, this never would have happened if 9/11 hadn't created an "urgency" about it. Really? Seven years to cross the street?

Apparently if we want to slow down the terrorists, all we have to do is give them badges. Then they couldn't coordinate their way out of a paper bag.

The capitol has (and I'll forget some) numerous separate forces: DC, U.S. Marshalls, U.S. Mint, FBI police (not to be confused with the agents themselves), Pentagon, Library of Congress, Supreme Court, Secret Service (uniformed and plain clothes), and the Parks Department police. I believe that Justice also has their own force. That's around 10 different forces. Shouldn't there a move to combine them all, except maybe SS?

Political Tidbit

Patti Solis Doyle is out of the presidential race. Who, you ask? PSD is/was Hillernaut's campaign manager dating back to 2000. She's run just everything since then. Hill lost 4 states this weekend, and, boom, Ms. Doyle gets the ax. This seems a little harsh.

I know other campaigns won't pick on this because it is a little inside baseball for most voters, but this is a concern. If PSD finds herself on the outside after all this work, that certainly feeds the "Hillary will do anything to win image," no?


This is What We are Working To Preserve.

Now that is what I call a Goliath grouper. The ones I have seen are teensy in comparison. Want to be floored before the weekend? Check out more at the Wildland Smith Rice Nature Photography Awards.

Boston Legal

Per WSJ, this is creepy:
Here’s a scenario: You’re a law clerk in Boston looking for a job in
international commercial litigation. People claiming to be associated with a
British insurance business contact you about a $90,000-per-year in-house counsel
job with the company. An interview is conducted in your home, where the
individuals question you about your relationship with your judge. Then, for some
reason, they insist on flying you to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a second
interview at which they reassure you that your speech impediment won’t be a
deal-breaker because, they say, they’re primarily interested in your writing
skills. A third interview takes place in a New York City hotel.

After all that, it’s revealed that the interviews were fake — a ruse
concocted by lawyers who were trying to prove that the judge you worked for had
fixed a case that went against their clients, a group of litigants that had lost
control of a family-owned supermarket business.

Oh, and the judge involved? She's now TV's Judge Maria Lopez.

Political Tidbit

2 Things:
  1. What will Romney do with his delegates? Pat Buchanan made a compelling argument on Fox News last night (don't worry, it was on when I got on the treadmill at the gym) that he will pull an Obama: Trade the delegates for the keynote convention speech and blow everyone away. Rep. think, "Hey, we nominated the wrong guy," McCain loses to a Dem, and four years later Romney walks into the election as the favorite son. The Obama story dates back to 04, but you get the picture.
  2. In response to David, who asked why Romney wouldn't make a good veep, given the policies....I point you to the electoral map from Tuesday. McCain is from the West. He needs someone who can connect with the South, and Romney didn't do that. Second, even if you argue that the South is given for Rep., I point you to the fact that (a) Romney only won Michigan and Mass. because he lived there and (b) McCain needs to toss a stick to dyed in the wool republicans who -- like their pundits Coulter, Buchanan, and Limbaugh -- might sit this one out if McCain is the candidate.


If Only.

This is to follow the prior GIANTS themed Pepsi ad....like SB t-shirts, there are always 2 versions. Enjoy!

Political Tidbit

Romney is out. He had a lot more delegates than Huckabee, which gives you some idea of that man's chances. What happens to Romney's delegates?

Per Yahoo! Answers: He gets to keep them. Mitt suspended rather than ended his candidacy, so he retains the delegates until the convention, where he can use them as leverage for policy positions, political office, or a veep of his choice (he wouldn't want it, and he is not a good choice).

If the sky falls and Huckabee picks up a head of steam down the stretch, Huckabee could pull a deal to get the delegates from Romney and be a contender at the convention. That's unlikely, given that Romney would have pulled out while in 2d position only to hand the candidacy to the man in 3d position.

More likely is that McCain will just go in there with a HUGE lead and take the delegates without much in the way of concessions given that he can counter Romney's leverage with the threat of a protracted runoff.

Political Tidbit

More on Superdelegates, because I am learning more about them. TNR's Dayo Olopade (whose name is SO close to a palindrome - Olooyad would do it) argues that they won't matter. Why? Because even in a close race, they tend to vote with the candidate that conventional wisdom says is the front-runner. Oh, and they will be wooed by both sides to endorse before the convention, so perhaps we'll know ahead of time.

Um. To me that sounds a whole lot like they will matter. At 800+, they are 20% of the total 4000+ Dem delegates. Tangent 1: That's like winning several states! Tangent 2: an endorsement and a pledge are two different things. The former is reversible when it matters most. But the bottom line: If the Superdelegates are 20%, then they can determine any race that closer than 20% coming into the convention. That is the outside limit of their power, so they can certainly affect a 5-8 point race.

DA-YO! That is huge. Da-a-a-yo. Del-e-gate votes coun' fo much much mo!


Political Tidbit

Super Tuesday is over and nobody really knows who the front-runner is on the Dem. side. Most places can't even agree on delegate counts.

CNN has Clinton at 825 and Obama at 732
WaPo has Clinton at 845 and Obama at 765

If you take out the superdelegates (Clinton has about 90 more), the race is a dead heat. There is no indication of how the remaining 100-200 superdelegates [ EDIT: There are 800 superdelegates, and only around 3000+ delegates, so they are a huge factor], will pledge or how Edwards's 26 pledged delegates will vote. Ergo, no dominant candidate. You can ignore the rhetoric.

As for the Republicans: I said it after the Reagan Library debate. I thought Huckabee was great. Last night showed the effects of that. Of course, the winner takes all model means he has zero chance at prez. I think he has zero chance at VP under McCain too. Too bad. Mitt, go home. This is over.

Glad We Won That War.

Narco-traffickers have turned increasingly to submersibles (boats just beneath the surface that put up a snorkel for air) to move cocaine to the U.S. The vessels can costs up to an estimated $2M each. And they are built in the jungle. And they are made of fiberglass to make them invisible to sonar.

Maybe we should just spend money supporting other industries in Colombia and even more than that combating the demand at home. Clearly, what we've done up to now is not working.

300 Posts.

Just thought you'd want to know. We've hit 300 small thoughts.


Hey, They Deserve It.

Do Not Try This At Home...

...unless your home is on fire and it might be your only hope to save your baby and yourself. Still ...
It is crazy that this is not a doctored photo. A family in Germany hucked an infant to rescuers waiting below who caught the little bugger.

Recession watch.

CNN cites the drop in the services sector as an indicator (to many economists) that we are in a recession. The only problem is that the score, which is a complex average not unlike the NFL's QB rating, is based on assumptions different from those previously used. Thus, there is no 1:1 comparison to be had. That said, they cite negative growth, which combines with job losses in Q4 of 2007 to indicate larger losses.

I personally think we are there. Yes, we need 2 quarters to prove it, but that doesn't change whether you are or are not in a recession for those 2 quarters. There is also a notion of a "flat growth recession." I'll pass along what I learn about that.

Bottom line, recession watch is moving from "Are we in it?" to an attempt to stay ahead of the game with, "How should you manage your finances in a recession?"


Can You Hear Me Now?

This was supposedly Pepsi's new SB ad. I watched close to every (agonizing) minute and didn't see it. It is posted here because it is wonderful.

Did anyone see it?

Stuck in the Middle with ... Everybody?

Apparently, I am not in the middle class. CRS (Congressional Research Service) doesn't think so, placing the top of the middle class at an income of $91K a year. On the other hand, CRS admits that, of American's polled, only 1-3% said they were upper class, leaving the rest in the middle, with incomes as high as $250K. Crazy? I think that really depends where you live.

$250K in South Florida is enough for a house and perhaps a boat. In Iowa, it might be enough for a manse and a porsche. In New York City, that's barely enough to pay the mortgage on a 2-bedroom. That's why they pay so much in New York, half in Florida, and even less in Iowa. Without a weighted COLA adjustment, these numbers are misleading.

I certainly don't have the trappings of an upper class existence. Heck, I'd argue I'm not even upper middle-class. But that might raise more eyebrows.

Pats Past Perfect.

A lot of ink will and has been spilled on yesterday's incredible superbowl. Congrats to the G-men on keeping the Pats offense off the field, executing on defense when they were on the field, and making the big plays in final 2:40 seconds.

One note: A lot of people are placing the blame that feet of the Pats' defense. I think we should instead place the credit for the win on G-men's defense. The game 5 weeks ago indicated that we'd see a high score. The spreads echoed that, as did Burress's 23-17 prediction and Brady's reaction to it (i.e. "Really? You think we'll only score 17 points?!"). The Pats defense held the Giants to less then half that former score while spending nearly twice as long on the field. Kudos to that squad. On the other hand, it was the Giant's offensive line that kept the pressure on Brady time and again, sacking him some, but hurrying him often, that kept the Pats' score lower -- most importantly, lower than the Giants.

18-1. Can't tell if this is more or less of a big deal than the alternative.


Political Tidbit - NOT about the election

...it's about the budget. I was surprised to see that the White House is looking for a domestic spending freeze to attempt to balance the budget by 2012. I could rant for a long time, but instead, I'll leave it to a few questions:
  1. Now the Bush administration thinks it is a good time to cut back spending? Well into his lame duck years?!
  2. Spending on border security is going up. This is purely political. Has to be. There is no evidence that the border is any more broken than it was last year and spending on it went nowhere then...so why now?
  3. Will less government spending improve the economy or make it worse? I don't know and clearly the WH doesn't know, given that it just endorsed a several $B tax rebate and now wants to slow spending. So which is it?
  4. The cuts are coming from domestic programs, largely Medicare ($170B). With Doctors alreay under a huge crunch turning away medicare patients, do we really need to be injecting more stress into this system? Further, the amount cut from Medicare nears the amount spent on the tax rebate. Mr. Bush, you have my permission to take that money and re-task it from those of us unable to afford our $60/mo HD + DVR + sports package cable/internet packages to those of us suffering under long wait times, hassled care givers, and poor insurance coverage.