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It's hard to defend Rick Perry

Not that I felt the need to defend him. But before clicking on this link that was preempted by Andrew Sullivan asking how dumb Perry is, I wanted to give Perry the benefit of the doubt that he wasn't dumb so much as he may have misspoken. Andrew probably wasn't being hyperbolic:

When told that the Supreme Court case struck down the Texas sodomy law, Perry said, “My position on traditional marriage is clear and I don’t know need a law. I don’t need a federal law case to explain it to me.”

The Texas governor referenced Lawrence v. Texas in his 2010 book Fed Up!, calling it one of the court cases in which “Texans have a different view of the world than do the nine oligarchs in robes.”
This was in response to being asked his opinion on the SC case that struck down anti-sodomy laws. He says he doesn't know the case, and that he shouldn't know it because he isn't a lawyer nor is trying to be one. Yeah, why would the president need to know the law in some capacity? It'…

Memphis Grizzlies home opener

It was a rematch of the fantastic playoff series from last year. And it almost lived up to those games. OKC comes into this season as a favorite of many to reach the finals. I can certainly see that given that they have three guys (Durant, Westbrook, Harden) who can consistently get their own shot and two good post defenders.

The Grizzlies enter this season with high expectations, at least for this franchise. Rudy Gay returns from a shoulder injury that prevented him from playing in the playoffs. Adding Gay's ability to a very good inside game has fans thinking the team could contend with OKC for the West.

The game opened on a downer for the Griz. On the first possession Mike Conley stepped on Perkins' foot and twisted his ankle. He didn't play the rest of the game. But the backup PG, Pargo, stepped in and played very well. Though initially this seemed to hurt the offense as they went 0 for their first 12 shots. But eventually Gay, Randolph and Gasol got going. The one p…

Summing up Obama's national security policy

Glenn Greenwald tweeted a link to this article from Michael Hirsh that discusses Obama's use of the CIA. This paragraph jumped out to me and I think one phrase in it sums up the way Obama has handled foreign policy and national security issues:

One senior official inside the CIA is forthright about the issue, at least when speaking anonymously. "It's a lot simpler and easier for a sniper to shoot or to use a Predator to launch a lawful attack than to detain and interrogate prisoners," he says. "Once they're dead, then Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International doesn't bring a habeas [corpus] case for them. If we're not going to hold them, we're 'pure.' We may not have information or intelligence, but we do ensure that no one in the human-rights community is yelling and screaming at us." In addition, the official says, not dealing with detainees has freed up the agency's resources to focus on the hunt for more terrorists.
It's…

Awards time at the Dish

Andrew Sullivan is giving out his year end awards. Go here to vote for each of them. I'll post the ones I voted for. Here is my Malkin Award Nominee courtesy of Rand Paul. My Moore Award from Orlando Jones. My vote for the Yglesias award to Lindsay Graham. I was about to give Andrew himself the Van Hoffmann Award. But I went with Jennifer Rubin instead. Here is my vote for chart of the year. My Hathos Alert vote goes to this couple's first kiss. My vote for Mental Health Break goes to the release of a seal into the wild. Adorable. And finally, my vote for face of the day is this photo of a boy killed by a drone strike.

Late anniversary

I missed my one year anniversary by a few weeks, well, more like three weeks. At that time I was busy thinking about the job interview I had coming up. That went well but didn't end up in me being employed. And my internship is done. So I'm back to being a bum and looking for a job. At least that should give me more time to blog.

I've enjoyed the past year of doing this blog. Its at least a little therapeutic to write down my thoughts, especially when something irritates me. And while they don't actually read what I write, I like interacting with the rest of the blogging community by responding to their posts and hopefully adding something to the discussion. I appreciate anyone who has stumbled across this place and taken the time to read something. Here is the shameless self promotion segment where I tell you to tell someone about this blog if you like what you read.

Its probably a safe assumption that if you are a conservative you might not enjoy what I write. I…

The Ron Paul newsletters

I think Conor Friedersdorf nails it:

For me, the disconnect between the Ron Paul newsletters, which make me sick, and Paul's words and actions in public life, which I often admire, put me in mind of the way I reacted when candidate Barack Obama was found to associate with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, both of whom had said execrable things. I couldn't defend any of it. But I could never get exercised about the association in exactly the way that writers like Victor Davis Hanson wanted, because it seemed totally implausible that if Obama was elected he would turn out to secretly share the convictions of the Weather Underground, or hope for God to damn America. It always seemed to me that those relationships were the unsavory product of personal ambition. I don't mean to suggest that the two circumstances are entirely analogous, but I do find it hard to believe that if Paul were elected, he'd turn out to be a secret racist, implement policies that targeted minorities, …

The Dark Knight Rises prologue

Here is a link to it. Check it out because I wanted to talk about what I think Nolan wanted to get across with it.

The prologue is centered around Bane. He has himself get captured as part of a plan to kidnap some guy on the plane. Along with his henchmen he grabs the guy and escapes from a plane in midair. This is very similar to a scene in The Dark Knight where Batman jumps off of a building, flies into another building that is holding the accountant employed by the mob in Gotham City. Batman grabs the guy and escapes the building by latching himself onto a plane flying by.

I think what Nolan is doing is showing that Bane is a badass and very much on par with the level of badass that Batman is on. To pull off a plan like that is hard enough for Batman. But its made easier since he is a billionaire who has easy access to the tools you need. Bane, for all we know, isn't wealthy and thus needs to be resourceful. He has help from his henchmen. But it still takes a lot of planning …

Republicans in House oppose tax cut

I'm a bit stumped by this one:

Moments ago, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted 229-193 to walk away from a bipartisan compromise that would have extended for two months both the payroll tax cut for 160 million working Americans and long-term unemployment benefits for millions of jobless Americans, as well as stopped automatic cuts to Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors that are scheduled for Jan. 1, 2012. Seven Republicans joined every Democrat in opposing the motion to abandon the Senate’s compromise plan and instead move to a House-Senate conference committee.
As TP notes, this already passed the Senate 89-10. So this is something a lot of Republicans in the Senate want. And word is that Speaker Boehner gave Mitch McConnell the go ahead to negotiate a deal with Dems with the assumption Boehner would get it through the House. But the tea partiers don't want it so Boehner backed down. I can think of a few reasons why this happened.

One is the uncer…

The postmodern campaign

Kevin Drum thinks we are headed toward it, if not in it right now. Here is the quote from Mitt Romney that led him to that conclusion:

This is a president who fundamentally believes that the next century is the post-American century. Perhaps it will be the Chinese century. He is wrong.
A few things. What makes him think Obama thinks that? Where did he say that or what action demonstrates that belief? Notice the second sentence. That strongly suggests he just pulled that first sentence out of his ass. If Obama actually said something or did something he wouldn't say "perhaps" and then suggest a country. But Romney and pretty much every Republican since Obama was elected knows they can say what they want while rarely being called on their lies.

This is in big part because the press doesn't hold them accountable enough. Reporters should be asking the questions I just asked in the paragraph above. And if he doesn't have either a quote or can explain an action by Obam…

A matter of degree

A great point by Derek Thompson via Andrew Sullivan. Here is Thompson discussing Obama's socialist credentials, which he describes as not very good:

He signed a law expanding the health care regulations and requiring Americans to buy medical insurance, which I suppose you could classify as socialism-lite; although public decency and child abuse laws already require families to buy clothes and food, and nobody complains much about those. But when it comes to tax policy and redistribution, a not-insignificant part of modern democratic socialism, it's fair to say that President Obama is in the running for worst socialist in history.
I bolded what I thought was the great point. The gov't forces everyone to do all sorts of things. The ones he mentions is one of the more important ones. A few other off the top of my head are; you also have to send your kids to school, you have to drive at certain speeds, not kill or harm other people, pay even 1% of taxes, and any number of thing…

Assessing the Broncos

Aka, the most talked about 8-5 team with a negative point differential in team history. I'm doing this post because I was talking about Tebow and Cam Newton over at the Stadium Rejects forum and thought I would put my thoughts down here.

The first thing that jumps out to me is the number of pass attempts Tebow has, 198, which is the 32nd most in the league. That's a big reason he is 6th in TD% and 1st in INT%. I say that because the more you throw the ball the more likely you are to throw an INT. But he just isn't throwing the ball that much. And when he does its mostly going for an incomplete pass, as seen from his 48% completion %. That's also why is YPA is 27th. Though his AYPA is 12th because of the aforementioned TD and INT rates.

He is averaging 117 passing yards per game. That's unbelievably horrible. Though he does run more than many QBs. So you have to add that in. But that only adds another 47 yards per game. So in total he is barely over 150 yards gain…

Universal rights

I wanted to talk a bit about the concept of universal rights in relation to Obama's decision to not veto a bill that said law enforcement agencies can hold terrorist suspects in military detention indefinitely. Before Obama's veto threat, the bill was going to force the law enforcement agencies to place even suspects captured on American soil in military detention. Thankfully Obama cares about executive power enough to have them get rid of that. What a disgrace that he didn't care about the actual violation of rights of people it would have violated.

The reason the other part of the bill is still in there is basically because a majority in Congress and Obama don't believe the rest of the world enjoys the same rights as US citizens do. Both Obama and Republicans like to say otherwise. And when it comes to some rights they probably do. But at best they are wildly inconsistent in actually enforcing or respecting the concept of universal rights; something that great docum…

The Dolphins look for a new coach

I was a little surprised at the timing of it. But I fully support the firing of Tony Sparano. He was a good ole boy from the Parcells tree. I'm sure he is fine with the motivation stuff. But strategically I don't think he is up to the task. It took the owner trying to get Jim Harbaugh while he was still the coach to open up the offense a bit and get it out of deadball era. That doesn't win consistently in the modern NFL. That first year with Pennington as Qb was an aberration, which is why the team has been bad to mediocre each year since.

So now the search begins. I doubt we are going to look to the hot college coach, mostly because I don't think there is one like a Harbaugh out there. So that leaves NFL retreats and young coordinators. The retreads are easy rumor fodder since they are the easy story for the lazy writer. That's not to say its automatically wrong to speculate on that front or that it would be a bad idea. But unless that ex-coach can explain in det…

Slow blogging

I haven't posted in a while. I've been traveling. And then I got sick. So I haven't had the time and then wasn't in the mood. I started catching up on politics last night. Jon Stewart was good on the ridiculous yet predictable criticism of a show about Muslims on TLC. Some guy FoxNews had on actually said that the show should be taken off because it challenged his beliefs about Muslims. Seriously, with a straight face. What a piece of shit.

I'm way tired of the Republican presidential nominating process. They are all either crazy or too cowardly to make sense. Hey conservatives, just nominate Newt already so you can spend another 4 years screaming socialism and claiming you need to take your country back.

Will someone play a decent game and beat the freaking Broncos so that we can have at least one week of lesser Tebow mania. Jeez. Is that too much to ask, that someone scores more than 13 points against their defense? Seriously, 14 points. That will likely get yo…

Obama restricts emergency contraception

Scott Lemieux sums up the decision:

The Food and Drug Administration was on the verge of approving the emergency contraceptive known as "Plan B One Step." Access to emergency contraceptives is important to the reproductive freedom of women, and having to obtain a prescription or get past a pharmacist with reactionary moral beliefs can be a substantial burden on women.

As the FDA's decision reflected, denying over-the-counter access to emergency contraception increased unwanted pregnancies without any good medical reason. The two-tiered system that required young women under the age of 17 to obtain a prescription was also determined to increase unwanted pregnancies in the for whom they are most burdensome.

But in a decision that RH Reality Check's Jodi Jacobson calls "astounding," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has overruled her own medical experts and denied American women over-the-counter access to Plan B. This action is, quite simply…

How I Met Your Mother

I haven't written about the show in a while. That's probably because its been solid, or average, yet unspectacular. Tonight's episode wasn't quite great. But it was really good because they actually advanced a plot. And it was about my favorite character, Robin. Spoilers ahead for those who are behind in watching.

Last week's episode ended with Robin telling Barney she is pregnant. Tonight's episode picks up at that moment, with Robin being worried and Barney being excited. What I like about the story is they didn't change who Robin has been from the start of the show. As previously stated, I like Robin because he is a beautiful, smart, motivated, and confidant woman who knows what she wants out of her life and doesn't define herself purely by her relationships with other people.

She broke up with Ted because she didn't want to get married. She broke up with Barney because the relationship changed who she was. And tonight she is worried because sh…

TDKR, with a Robin appearance?

I'm kind of stealing this idea from Jett over at batmanonfilm.com. Its a great site for fans of the caped crusader. In this article, he talks about the end of Nolan's Batman trilogy and whether or not it will be considered the "definitive" Batman story.

I already consider it so. I was a huge fan of the Burton films. And I've read many of the classic comics. The comics are great. But its hard to beat experiencing it on film. And while Burton's films were fun, they don't stack up to Nolan's. So when I think Batman I think Nolan, Bale and co. And TDKR would have to be a catastrophic letdown in order for me to not see the Nolan trilogy as THE Batman story.

But Jett has a really interesting question. How can a Batman story be definitive without Robin? He doesn't get into the meat of his answer in that article. He is saving it for part 2. But I wanted to be a dick and take the idea and tackle it myself. The reason you don't hear people clamoring f…

Community

I got to enjoy two of my favorite things Thursday night; Community and Batman. In true Abed fashion, he buys an exclusively exclusive edition of The Dark Knight which is signed by Christian Bale saying, "Abed is now Batman". It also contains commentary by Christian Bale. So needless to say, this is an awesomely special dvd.

Annie was being Annie when she accidentally stepped on the dvd and destroyed it. She tries to cover it up by saying someone broke in and stole it. So in true Abed fashion, he put on his Batman outfit and set out to solve the crime. I love Abed not just because he knows about geeky stuff like Batman, but also because he actually does things people who love that stuff want to do, like dress as Batman and try to solve a crime. He gets to live out geek fantasies.

The funniest parts to me were Annie doing the Bale Batman voice. And then when Abed jumps out the window, with Annie following him, Troy saying that Annie living with them was supposed to real them…

Duke v Ohio State

It was like the Arizona game in last year's NCAA tournament. They are more athletic than us and that gave us problems on offense. Curry, Dawkins, and Kelly were basically invisible. They couldn't get their shots off and when they did they weren't going in. I'm not sure that is the sole reason Coach K benched them for most of the second half. But that was a big reason we lost.

The only two starters that played fairly well were Rivers and Mason Plumlee. Rivers was his usual self, getting into the lane when he wanted and making a few contested layups. It was a typical game for Rivers. But he scored more because he took more shots. He still needs to develop a better jump shot and make better decisions. Mason did a decent job on Sullinger. He wasn't great defensively and he didn't convert the shots he got on the offensive end. The rest of the team, which consisted of a lot of bench players, didn't really add much. It was mostly Rivers and Plumlee. And they were…

Congressional oversight

Ezra Klein has a nice chart up showing how, since the 80s, the number of hearings in Congress has steadily declined. Ezra interprets this as a decline in Congressional oversight of federal agencies.

The political science research that I'm familiar with says that Congress generally takes a non-aggressive approach to oversight. Attention is called to an agency and a hearing is called when something grabs their attention, such as a big mistake or a scandal. So we might assume, like Ezra does, that because Congress isn't calling as many hearings they aren't overseeing agencies as much as they should be.

Given the conservatives in charge during big chunks of this period, I think that's probably correct. But I'm not sure simply the number of committee hearings shows that point. I want to point out other political science research regarding the nature of committee hearings in Congress. The data shows that most hearings feature people who agree with the majority party th…

BSG

Poor Dee. She really gets the emotional shaft throughout the series. First Billy is killed right in front of her. Then she marries the guy she was kind of cheating on Billy with and he proceeds to go from a ripped, good looking guy to a overweight guy who isn't the soldier he once was. Now we find out that Lee cheated on Dee with Starbuck when they were on New Caprica. And now that they are back on Galactica and blowing off steam during a boxing tournament, we find out that Lee and Starbuck still have feelings for each other. Emotions can be complicated enough under normal circumstances. Being on Galactica must make them even more complicated. I hope Dee finds some stability. And I hope Lee and Starbuck finally sort out their feelings for each other.

Speaking of the boxing tourney, Adama uses it to send a message to the crew, which basically sounded like he got soft on them and didn't want it to happen again. This was played out by showing a lot of flashbacks to the crew on N…

Firefly: the Tams

I touched on this on twitter but I wanted to flesh it out a little more. I was watching the episode "Safe". The crew is taking some cattle to a far off planet. They get there and the non-muscle part of the crew go into town so Mal and the muscle part of the crew can make a deal for the cattle. Shepard Book gets shot and Simon and River get kidnapped. Mal decides to leave so that they can get Book some help, leaving Simon and River for the time being.

Throughout the episode we are shown flashbacks of Simon and River. In one they are kids. Simon is doing his homework. River is correcting the math in the textbook. Their dad gives Simon some computer type thing in exchange for him becoming a brilliant doctor. Another one is Simon telling his parents something is wrong with River. They brush it off as River playing a game and warn Simon about hurting his career by interfering. Basically they want to show how much Simon has given up in order to save River.

I'm not sure if it…

Obama's Thanksgiving speech

I didn't see it because who really cares. But someone saw it and is mad:

Critics of President Obama felt little holiday cheer after the president did not thank God in his Thanksgiving-themed weekly Internet address. They immediately took to Twitter and the Internet to voice anger and disbelief.

"Somebody ought to remind Obama (and his speechwriter) that when Americans sit down around a meal today and give thanks, they give thanks to God."
Someone ought to remind that person that not all Americans sit down and give thanks to god. Millions don't for one reason or another; whether they don't believe in a god or don't have the means to eat a nice Thanksgiving meal. And the president is under no obligation to acknowledge god in a speech. In fact, I'd argue that if he is obliged to do anything, he is obliged to leave religion out of the political arena.

What we, the president and these critics, ought to be thankful for is that we all live in a free country whe…

Why people don't like Obama

Andrew Sullivan ponders that question today. I'm feeling link lazy. So go to the Beast if you want to read it in full. Basically he makes the reasonable points that he helped keep the economy from being worse than it was, passed a form of universal healthcare, oversaw the ousting of bin Laden and Qadaffi, and has conducted himself in a more or less presidential manner. That's all true. And of course that hasn't prevented the right from completely freaking out over everything he has done.

But more than the outrage from the right, Andrew has a harder time pinning down why liberals aren't happy with Obama. I think a big part of the problem for liberals were our expectations for Obama coming into office. We had just suffered through 8 years of the ridiculous Bush administration. And at the end of that we suffered a big recession. On top of that Obama came in with the uplifting and hopeful rhetoric that suggested that he wanted to change things and implement strongly libera…

Devils and Dolphins

I was kind of looking forward to Duke playing Memphis in the Maui Invitational. Duke held up its end of the bargain by beating Tennessee fairly handily tonight. But Memphis lost to Michigan. I didn't see that game. But it looked like Michigan beat Memphis at its own game, using their athleticism to play up tempo. That could be a problem for Duke because we aren't that athletic at guard and struggle to keep athletic teams out of the lane, which happened tonight against UT.

The Dolphins put a beating on the Bills Sunday. The defense has been playing like I thought they could before the season. They haven't allowed a TD in 3 games and they are finally forcing turnovers. They did such a good job against the Bills that the offense didn't have to do much in order to score. But unlike the first seven games of the year, the offense took advantage of being in the red zone and scored more than enough to win.

Basically everyone is playing better. Both lines are doing well. Dans…

The super committee: I called it, kind of

It appears the 'super committee' didn't reach a deal for deficit reduction. So now the spending cuts are supposed to be triggered. And the Dems seem to be on board with letting them go through. Here is what I said when they cut this deal:

So the more I think through this the more inclined I am to agree with Kevin Drum (who I cited in my previous post) that its unlikely whatever comes out of the committee will be agreed upon. The interests competing against each other are strong and have leverage within this divided gov't. Given that and an already agreed upon solution if they don't sign off on the committee's plan, I think it will be very difficult to avoid the trigger. And because Obama and Democrats didn't do too bad of a job in the debt ceiling deal, that trigger will actually cut stuff that needs to be cut.
I wasn't completely right. A lot of people have come out since then and said that it will be difficult to really cut certain things in the autom…

Authority in the US

What is the deal with authority in this country? It seems like across the country there are people in power who are using force to try and harm the Occupy movements. Here is one example that seems to be similar to others I've heard reported:

Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.

What happened next?

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of th…

Balanced Budget nonsense

The House debated the Republican proposed Balance Budget amendment to the Constitution. And I had to listen to the nonsense for most of the day. Basically, its a bad idea because it would require ridiculous majorities in order to increase taxes. So bringing in the proper amount of revenue in order to balance the budget would be very difficult and would force huge cuts in spending. And they are trying to implement this while arguing for more tax cuts.

That's ridiculous in its own right. But even more so is the fact that Republicans believe they have to change the Constitution, that sacred document they value and claim we must strictly adhere to, in order to get the budget under control. Putting aside the merits of balancing the budget, why do they feel its necessary to amend the Constitution to do it? For most of the post war period the budget hasn't been balanced. Even during the great conservative utopia that was the Reagan administration there was a big deficit. Yet there w…

Community

In case you haven't heard, NBC has left Community off its spring schedule. Apparently that doesn't mean its cancelled. Its just getting some time off. Still, that doesn't seem like a good thing. I understand it doesn't get good ratings. For some reason mass audiences don't like smart tv. That or NBC hasn't used Alison Brie enough in its advertising. Suffice to say, I'm extremely disappointed by this news. I love the show. Despite its uneven season thus far, its still my favorite show on tv. I hope it gets a chance to continue its run.

On to tonight's episode. This episode was right up the show's alley. They have Abed do another documentary, this time in the mold of Heart of Darkness, which is the documentary of the filming of Apocalypse Now. Jim Rash (the Dean) and Joel McHale were really great. The Dean takes on the role of directing a commercial for the school. And Jeff plays the Dean. I've heard a lot of people complain that Jeff never grows.…

Congress' unpopularity

A lot of posts are making the rounds on blogs regarding the extremely low approval rating for Congress. This one in particular from Ezra Klein is amusing. The polls are telling us something important. But I'm not sure its as simple as Congress is doing a really crappy job right now.

Though that is true. Congress is at a very partisan and deadlocked point. The Republicans in the House are really far out to the right. Thus the Democrats in the Senate won't pass their extreme bills. And the Republicans in the Senate are taking advantage of the rules of the Senate in order to prevent anything Democrats wants from getting passed. This is certainly part of why its doing a bad job and thus why people don't approve.

But Congressional approval ratings are rarely very high. I think its important to keep that context in mind because I think it helps explain whey they are so pathetically low right now. Even if the economy was growing quickly and we were clearly on track almost half …

Life has meaning because its meaningless

Andrew Sullivan recently posted something from a reader who was a former atheist who converted to christianity. Most of the time I enjoy when Andrew posts things along these lines. He makes it no secret that he is a catholic. But he also presents all different kinds of opinions. One such opinion in response to the converted person was this from Will Wilkinson. First the person's reason for converting:

If everything that we call heroism and glory, and all the significance of all great human achievements, can be reduced to some neurons firing in the human brain, then it's all destined to be extinguished at death. And considering that the entire span of homo sapiens' existence on earth wouldn't even amount to a blip on the radar screen of a 5-billion-year-old universe, it seemed silly to pretend like the 60-odd-year life of some random organism on one of trillions of planets was something special. (I was a blast at parties.) By simply living my life, I felt like I was livi…

A serious conversation about Iran

That's what John Johns wants from Republican presidential candidates. Here are some of the issues he raises:

The problem with these arguments is that they flatly ignore or reject outright the best advice of America’s national security leadership. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, former congressman Admiral Joe Sestak and former CENTCOM Commander General Anthony Zinni are only a few of the many who have warned us to think carefully about the repercussions of attacking Iran. Two months ago, Sestak put it bluntly: “A military strike, whether it’s by land or air, against Iran would make the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion look like a cakewalk with regard to the impact on the United States’ national security.”

Meir Dagan, the recently retired chief of Israel’s Mossad, shares the assessment of the Americans cited above. He noted earlier this year that attacking Iran “would mean regional war” and went on to say th…

Coach K on Paterno

As a Duke fan I obviously love Coach K. He is kind of the Paterno of basketball, or was until the whole Penn St thing blew up. But while I think his talents can be applied outside of basketball, I don't worship the guy as a person and think he is some Ghandi-like human being. Here is proof that he has his own biases and shouldn't be worshiped as someone above the rest of us:

“Well, I think, unless you’re there, it’s tough to comment about everything,’’ Krzyzewski said. “I just feel badly for him and whatever he is responsible for, it’ll come out and hopefully it’ll come out from him.

“I think one thing you have to understand is that Coach Paterno’s 84 years old. I’m not saying that for an excuse or whatever. The cultures that he’s been involved in both football-wise and socially, have been immense changes and how social issues are handled in those generations are quite different.

“But as we judge, remember that there’s just a lot there. There’s a lot,lot there. I think he’s a …

BSG

Its a little weird how relevant this show still is to current politics. I just watched the scene where they are about to execute Gaida for helping the cylons but found out at the last second that he was actually helping the rebels on New Caprica. The small group that was putting people on "trial" let him go. And the next scene was Adama and Roslin being told about the group and objecting because everyone has the right to a trial with representation.

That was just minutes after I posted on Michele Bachmann, many in the GOP, and Obama not upholding the rule of law in much the same way they weren't on BSG. What I didn't mention that was said during the debate by some candidates was that they supported Obama's death panels and their decision to kill an American citizen living in Yemen, not to mention his 16 year old child. This is basically what they were doing on the show. On the show they are literally fighting for their survival. And even then it isn't right.…

Just making things up

Not that I would have expected anything less from Michele Bachmann. But its still something to behold when a person running for president just flat out lies, or is so delusional that they can convince themselves of this kind of crap:

"[Obama] is allowing the ACLU to run the CIA" Bachmann asserted. "We have decided we are going to lose the war on terror under Obama." The ACLU, which issued a scathing report on Obama's civil liberties record earlier this year, would probably disagree. The ACLU concluded that "most [Bush-era] policies...remain core elements of our national security strategy today." Bachmann also said the CIA was no longer interrogating anyone, which is false. The CIA is part of the interagency High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG. Also, prior to 9/11, the CIA didn't actually have an interrogation program.
As Adam Serwer points out, if the ACLU really ran the CIA things would be a lot different. The ACLU actually values the …

Duke vs Belmont

That was a lot closer than I would have liked. But everyone insists Belmont is a good team. And for the most part I agree. Not many teams can go into Cameron and consistently come back from double digit deficits and make it a single FG possession at the end. Not only that, they did so with Duke playing fairly well. So I think its safe to say that Belmont isn't just a cake walk of a team. We'll see that more definitively when they play Memphis next.

As for Duke, I think everyone expected things to be a bit rough. Finding a new point guard is tough. Seth Curry is naturally a two guard, or a scoring point guard. Now he has to balance running the offense for the benefit of everyone else and finding ways to get his own shot. Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith had to make this transition the past two years. I'm not sure Seth is quite as good as they are. But given time I think he can make it work. He did so fairly well tonight.

Perhaps the biggest question mark coming into the season…

Community

Tonight's episode, Annie's Move, continued the somewhat seesaw tendencies of this season. The previous episode, Advanced Gay, fell a bit flat. But just like Remedial Chaos Theory, this episode got things back on track in an awesome way. I'll try not to give away spoilers by recapping everything that happened.

The focus is Annie's move to live with Troy and Abed. Its hard to go wrong with those three. Annie was her typical sweet and adorable self. Troy and Abed were slightly less awesome than usual, but effective. The rest of the characters were used effectively, specifically the Dean and Jeff. They were the funniest parts of the episode. And after Advanced Gay it was nice to see the show move away from lazy stereotypes (which Dan Harmon apologized for) when doing a story about a gay person.

It was also nice to see Britta provide a counterpoint to Shirley's religious evangelization, which she didn't do last week. One thing I miss from the first season is Britt…

The ACA gotcha question

Adam Serwer spells it out:

What the law's critics will seize on, however, is Silberman's observation that although the government argues that "the Government does stress that the health care market is factually unique," it "concedes the novelty of the mandate and the lack of any doctrinal limiting principles."

While "novelty" isn't inherently an issue when it comes to the constitutionality of a given law, the "lack of any doctrinal limiting principles" is the most powerful argument critics of the ACA have, the idea that if the government can force you to buy health care, it can force you to do anything. Silberman describes this argument as "troubling, but not fatal," because of prior legal precedent supporting the ACA. The law's defenders unquestionably have legal precedent on their side. But its opponents have an incredibly effective political argument based on constitutional first principles.

More importantly, althoug…

Israel, Iran and nuclear weapons

Andrew Sullivan has a post on the argument for and against Israel attacking Iran. There is sufficient reason for Israel to feel threatened by Iran, and Iran's allies that border Israel. And for some reason, Iran feels threatened, or maybe just doesn't like Iran. Israel has nuclear weapons and the support of the biggest military in the world. So it never made sense that Iran would directly attack Israel.

But Iran seems dedicated to obtain nuclear weapons. And Israel seems to be firm in the belief that it would be very bad if Iran did so, which is why there is so much speculation on whether Israel will attack them. But is Israel correct to assume that it would be a bad thing? I don't think the answer is clear.

If you side with Israel, your thinking is either that Iran will use nuclear weapons or they will use the increase of power the weapons would give them in order to be more aggressive in the region. If you think Iran will actually use its nuclear weapons, give them to …

Rick Santorum on gay marriage

I normally wouldn't give Santorum the time of day. But he was on CSPAN for a while today and I had no choice but to hear some of it. And while his position is not surprising, I wanted to talk about his logic. When asked about his opposition to gay marriage, he talked about how its best to raise kids in a traditional male/female household. So because its probably favorable to raise a kid in a heterosexual household, Santorum wants to deny marriage to gay people.

The topic of what type of household environment is best for children is a separate issue from gay marriage. I've talked about this before but I wanted to drive home the point again. Marriage is simply a social contract between two adults. And aside from the declaration the contract entails, there are some fairly minor legal implications that go along with it. That's all marriage is. It has nothing to do with having and raising kids. You don't have to get married in order to have kids. Nor do you have to have kid…

BSG

I haven't posted on the show since the end of season 2 and the beginning of the cylon occupation on New Caprica. As always, the show tackled difficult issues head on. They went from abortion to voter fraud. Baltar goes against his scientific opinion and calls to occupy New Caprica for the sake of getting public opinion on his side and thus win the election. Roslin sticks to her principles and doesn't pander to the masses.

Baltar gains in the polls and looks to have won the election. Roslin calls her contacts within the military, which is an odd choice to oversee an election (which is addressed), and gets them to alter votes. Roslin then tells Odama what she did and explains that she thinks Baltar is working for the cylons. Oddly its Odama who rejects the fraud for the sake of democratic principles. I forget his exact reason, though do remember that he doesn't want Baltar to win. Perhaps his experience and endearment to Roslin has shaped his views and values the importance…