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Showing posts from January, 2011

Bad Stats in football

Here is a really good article on some bad stats that are used in football and why people, specifically the media, like to use them.

A few that get on my nerves:

Official NFL passer rating

It so overvalues completion percentage that a completion that loses yards in any amount is rated at 79.2. Hitting 10 of 10 and losing 67 yards (or for that matter of 999 yards) is rated the same as hitting 5 of 10 for a gain of 67 yards: 79.2. If the 5-of-10 QB gains only 66 yards he has the lower of the two ratings in spite of doing 13.3 yards per attempt better. A quarter of the league's starting QBs had ratings below 79 this year -- they could have improved their ratings by throwing more passes that lost yards.
This should be an easy fix. People just want the one number as a proxy for performance, which I think why this stat is so popular. It shouldn't be a big deal to change it and give people a better measure.

QB win-loss record. I just saw a major sports web site going on in big head…

State of the Union

I watched but I didn't pay close attention. The only president it gave a significant bump in approval rating to is Clinton, and that can be linked to the Monika Lewinsky story beginning. So it doesn't matter on that front.

I highly doubt that just mentioning a policy proposal in the SOTU makes it much more likely to pass. Its not like he mentioned anything new. Everyone pretty much knows what policies he wants to pass.

It also sends the press into a frenzy trying to cover and analyze every detail of a relatively meaningless speech. Thankfully I've weened myself off of watching any coverage of the speech. Since there is no way to delve sufficiently deeply into any policies he proposed on tv I'm going to assume the coverage sucked and was a waste of time.

The only way in which I think the speech was important was that it could be a signaling tool used by the president. He probably wasn't going to spend much time on something he really didn't care about. Or he …

The latest TDKR news

It has been confirmed that Tom Hardy has been cast as Bane and Anne Hathaway has been cast as Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises.

I only know Tom Hardy from Inception. So I'll take people's word that he is a good actor. Plus I almost completely trust Christopher Nolan. But while I'm sure Hardy will be fine, its more difficult to envision what Bane will be like.

I think, and hope, we can assume it won't be the Bane of Batman and Robin. That character was as bland as that movie was ridiculous. Based on what I've read about Bane I think Nolan will use the fact that Bane is a smart, strong, and determined person and pretty much ignore the other aspects of the character.

Anne Hathaway should also be good as Selina Kyle, and presumably Catwoman. I think Anne is a very sexy woman, but not just because of physical attributes (not that she isn't pretty). She carries herself in a confident manner. She has a very pretty smile that doesn't seem forced. She just ha…

Why I should replace Keith Olbermann

MSNBC has fired Keith Olbermann, their highest rated pundit. Olby was their liberal version of Bill O'Reilly on FoxNews. They both have that domineering personality that served to deliver their ideology in bold, straight forward manners and to piss off people of the opposing ideology. They really didn't do much except to make people feel better about their own views.

That's fine to a certain extent. And it certainly works for the companies they work for since they are the most popular for their respective networks. But even though I can use some confirmation bias every once in a while I grew tired of Olby. And knowing how uniformed a lot of the country is about even basic things I think its more important to inform people than to simply shout in order to make people feel better.

So I'm offering to do Keith's job for half the price, even less. I actually have the credentials to talk about politics since I got my masters degree in political science. I'm a liber…

The effect of being uniformed on policy

Matt Yglesias linked to this article in which a Republican argues for repealing the ACA:

"The American people don't want it. It's personal.

"Here's my story, two days ago, I was in San Antonio, Texas, and my mother had a large tumor removed from her head. They wheeled her away at 7:20 in the morning, and by noon, I was talking to her along with the rest of our family. It proved benign, thanks to a lot of prayers and good doctors at the Methodist hospital in San Antonio. My mother's fine. I'm not sure that would be the outcome in Canada, the U.K., or anywhere in Europe.

"No disrespect to our President, but when it comes to the health of my mother, I don't want this President or any President or his bureaucrat or commissions making decisions for my loved ones. Let's repeal it today, replace it tomorrow."
As Yglesias points out, the representative is 53 years old, which means that his mother is on Medicare. Since Medicare is gov't provi…

Eric Cantor is right

The Senate does kind of suck.

Cantor and his fellow Reps have passed their repeal of the ACA in the House. And now it moves on to the Senate where he isn't even sure Harry Reid and the Dems will give it a vote. I'm too tired to look up the link and find his quote. But Cantor says something along the lines of the people deserve to have the vote.

Like all politicians he only says that because its his policy preference in question. But in general I agree that if you can manage to pass something in the House the Senate should take a good look at it and probably give it a vote.

The problem is that both Eric Cantor and myself are pretty loyal partisans. I don't want to see his repeal of the ACA get close to passing the Senate any more than he wanted the original ACA to get a vote. Though, he thinks it kills jobs and imposes tyranny on Americas (as does everything Reps disagree with) while I think repealing it just means that about 30 million less people will get health insura…

Debate on repealing the ACA

From Johnathan Bernstein:

What's in here? $500 billion cut to Medicare for our seniors. What else is in here? $500 billion of tax increases. What else is in here? Six years of benefits for ten years of costs. What else is in here? A new entitlement program. Our nation is broke. It is broke because of our entitlement program, and this law added a new entitlement. (My transcription).
I haven't watched this like Johnathan has. But I assume the GOP is saying these things while keeping a straight face. And for that I applaud them because that's quite the double talk separated by just a few sentences.

Why?, you ask. Well despite GOP logic Medicare didn't all of the sudden cease being an entitlement. Its single payer health care for people over 65. And the GOP has spent the past two years telling us that single payer health care is socialism and it will destroy America.

So they want to repeal the less socialist version of health care that is the ACA (no single payer) becaus…


Its been slow on the politics front aside from the Arizona shooting. Good to hear that Rep. Giffords has survived. Even though I don't think it caused the event, I hope we can use it to change some of the rhetoric we use.

One thing that hasn't changed is Sarah Palin. As if it weren't crystal clear to most people before her little internet speech, it should be a little more clear to a few more people after that masturbatory exercise that she has no business being elected to any political office whatsoever.

Shifting to things that actually matter, I'm interested in seeing the battle over the debt ceiling that should be coming up soon. Even by conservative economists' accounts not raising it would be ridiculous and its a bad policy to have a debt ceiling at all. Dems and Obama should call their bluff and not give them anything. Do like Clinton did and threaten to defend Social Security.

I'm not sure what will come of the vote to repeal the ACA. I guess it will p…

Maryland vs. Duke

When it comes to this rivalry I'm glad to get out of Cameron with a win even though it wasn't pretty. Duke had trailed all of 20 minutes all season long going into this game. And Maryland took the lead on numerous occasions, keeping it close until about a minute left.

It doesn't seem to matter how bad Maryland is or how good Duke is. This is always a close, hard fought game. And I think that is why its become such a good rivalry.

It also had the added benefit of both fan bases hating each other. Maryland hates Duke because they win all the time. Duke hates Maryland because they play us hard and treat players like J.J. Redick like shit. You don't see that with the Duke/Carolina rivalry. That's a much more friendly rivalry.

So given its recent history I'm not too worried about how poorly the offense played and how inconsistent the defense was. There are going to be games where the main guys, like Nolan Smith tonight, don't play well. Luckily we showed how g…

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I'm a huge fan of the show and subsequently everything Joss Whedon does. I bring this up because there are a few blogs out there that are watching (or rewatching) the show and commenting on it. Nik at Nite is rewatching it. She has written books about the show. So she can give you in depth analysis and talk about the entire show. Myles McNutt is watching the show for the first time and giving his commentary on it here.

I know what some people think when they hear about the show because I thought the same thing. How can a show named "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" be any good? The connotation of the name and then what the show is about is a just one of many ways in which its brilliant. Whedon constantly plays with your expectations. He is a master at drawing you in, making you expect something, and then doing the opposite.

Honestly though, the initial reason I started watching the show was that I saw Sarah Michelle Gellar and Eliza Dushku running around kicking ass while loo…

House Reps plan to vote to repeal ACA

This vote is a triple dose of hypocrisy.

Repealing it would mean reversing the cuts to Medicare spending that were in the bill. And Medicare is socialized health care. So in effect Reps would be increasing spending on socialist, big gov't program. The Tea Party would be outraged if they knew their ass from their elbow.

The other thing it would reverse is the individual mandate, which is something Reps proposed in the 90s as an alternative to Clinton's health care proposals. So by calling the individual mandate unconstitutional and repealing it Reps would be acknowledging that their big policy proposal for trying to reform health care over the past 20 years is bullshit. Not to mention that one of their likely presidential candidates, Mitt Romney, singed an individual mandate into law as governor of Massachusetts. Can't wait to hear Palin ask him why he hates freedom in those primary debates.

And the other thing repealing the ACA would do is increase the deficit. Those cuts …