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Showing posts from April, 2011

Memphis Grizzlies advance

Game 6 went about the same way as every other game of the series. Memphis built a solid lead early. The Spurs cut into it at some point in the second half. But down the stretch the Grizzlies made free throws and kept playing the great defense they did the whole series.

Randolf was simply fantastic. Gasol was solid. Battier, Allen and Young were good defensively. And Conley did a very good job playing point guard. I went to the first two games at the Forum in Memphis and the crowd was great. I assume they were just as good tonight. So I'm really proud of the whole team and all of the fans. Memo to owners of small markets: If your team wins the fans will come and you will make money. Crazy stuff, right?

Its hard to expect Memphis to beat the Thunder. I think we can make things difficult for Durant. But they are a really solid team. But as along as we play hard I'll be happy.

Quick update on the Dolphins. They traded up into the second round to take Daniel Thomas, a running ba…

Dolphins pick Mike Pouncey

I think this is the first time I've talked about the Miami Dolphins on my blog. The Dolphins are my number one sports team. They are a frustrating team to follow but I love them.

They went with a safe pick in the center from Florida. Center was an uncertain position for us last year. There were a lot of injuries and inconsistent play. And I think that was a big reason why we were so bad at running the ball. I say its a safe pick because in general an offensive linemen is going to be a decent pro if he was a good college player, which I think most draft people would say he was.

The same was the case for Jake Long, who the Dolphins took number one overall a few years ago. Everyone thought Long would be at least a solid pro. He has turned out to be a great pro. And while many like to say we should have taken Matt Ryan, its far less certain Ryan would have been a good player than it was that Long would.

I have no idea if the Dolphins wanted to take a QB. But if they did I'm sure…

Sarah Palin, Independent candidate for President

This is where my mind wonders while I'm shaving. For her, its a way to stay in the spotlight without having to do all the legwork that a serious candidate would have to do to get the Republican nomination. As Jonathan Bernstein points out on his blog (linked to on the side of my blog as 'A Plain Blog About Politics), she hasn't been willing to do those things that a candidate typically has to do to get the Rep nomination.

And what else is Palin but non-typical? She also came into the national spotlight as a fellow maverick along side John McCain. Bucking the traditional path as the Republican nominee would fit with that narrative. She could sit by while the Reps are having their primary debates and pick her spots when she wants to insert herself into discussions. She would have the pulpit of Fox News to be able to do that effectively.

The big problem here is that she would have no chance at winning the presidency. Whereas if she were to somehow get the Republican nominat…

Is Obama a moderate Republican from the 90s?

That is what Ezra Klein says. Andrew Sullivan has a roundup of the discussion here. Ezra is certainly right that some of the policies Obama has embraced fit very well with what a moderate Republican at that time would have embraced. And Dave Roberts gets a lot right about the Republicans of today:

Republicans have mastered post-truth politics. They've realized that their rhetoric doesn't have to bear any connection to their policy agenda. They can go through different slogans, different rationales, different fights, depending on the political landscape of the moment. They need not feel bound by previous slogans, rationales, or fights. They've realized that policy is policy and politics is politics and they can push for the former while waging the latter battle on its own terms. The two have become entirely unmoored.

So it's not that they "moved right" on some policy spectrum when Obama took office. They just adopted a new political strategy, namely total, unre…

Update on the storms in the mid south

I woke up for the second time in three days to tornado warning sirens. It turns out that all of the sirens in Shelby county are linked together. So if one little part of the county is under a warning then every siren in the county goes off.

Today the southeastern corner of the county was under a tornado warning. So the rest of us got to hear a solid 15 minutes of a siren, which is about a 10 minute walk from my house. Its slightly odd that the sirens would be linked considering it would take me at least an hour to drive from Millington in the northern part of the county to Collierville in the part part of the county they had the warning today.

But I guess its better safe than sorry. While I haven't heard of any tornadoes touching down or causing any damage around the Memphis area we did get a ton of rain and I know the Mississippi is running very high.

What I'd like to know is why we are getting so much severe weather lately. Is this a symptom of global warming? Or is it ju…

Posting on things I don't want to post on

How do you discuss something that you don't think should be part of a discussion in the first place? Most of the time I choose to just ignore that issue and wait for it to go away. That is what Jonathan Bernstein advises about the whole birther/Trump thing lately which for some reason prompted Obama to release his long form birth certificate.

I think Jonathan is right. Trump is an egomaniac who is using the media's desperate need for ratings to kick up ridiculous conspiracy theories. I'm not sure why Obama chose now to address them. And I doubt it will change a lot of their minds.

Having said that have I not now joined the discussion? Have I given credence to Trump and birthers that they don't deserve? I think I have. But as long as I'm writing about it I feel like the best I can do is to reiterate what Jonathan suggests and just advise people to ignore this type of stuff. Trump is just getting his rocks off. The media is just selling ads. The right is just makin…

Braves lineup

Just after I criticized Freddi Gonzalez for keeping Jason Heyward sixth in the lineup he moved him up to second where he belongs. Heyward has been struggling recently but its still the right move. What I'd like to know is why it took so long for it to happen. Did he really think McClouth could handle that spot in the lineup? Did he really think Heyward wouldn't get on base more often than McClouth and thus give more opportunities for Chipper and McCann to drive in runs?

I'm not sure but I'm glad he made the change. You can question a ton of decisions a manager has to make over the course of a game, series, or year. But this is the king of thing that shouldn't have been that difficult.

While I'm discussing sports, I have to mention how well the Grizzlies have been playing. They destroyed the Spurs last night and now only need one more win to move on to the second round. I've been really impressed by how well Mike Conley has played in his first playoff seri…

More storms come through

We've had some really severe thunder storms hit Memphis the past few days. Tonight we got at least an hour's worth of tornado warning sirens. I've joked before about those things being an infringement on my liberty. But damn they are annoying.

But not so annoying that I would say we don't need them because there isn't another reliable way to be warned. My internet goes in and out during severe storms. I'm kind of surprised it isn't doing it right now. And Directv is absolute shit when we get anything above a sprinkle. In fact, its out right now. I get to see the lovely Olivia Munn on The Daily Show and half the time I can't get a signal. I think we should be reimbursed by internet and cable/satellite providers for losses of signal.

Speaking of liberty, I wanted to briefly talk about Vermont passing a single payer health care system. Now, I'm not a big fan of states rights. There are many things states should be able to do on their own. But on a ba…

The debt ceiling and democracy

Matt Yglesias pointed out today that Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) won't vote to raise the debt ceiling unless we enact a cap on federal spending, which he believes should be at 20.6% of the GDP. I live in TN so I sent Senator Corker an email voicing my disagreement with his stance. Here it is:

Hi Senator Corker,

I just wanted to let you know that I disagree with your decision to not support raising the debt ceiling unless federal spending is capped at about 20% of GDP.

First of all, we are still at about 9% unemployment. I have a masters degree and I have been trying to find a job for almost a year now. There are many people like me out there. The economy is still on shaky ground and therefore now is not the time to worry about the deficit. Plus inflation is low and interest rates are low. So this talk about short term deficits from both parties is just hampering discussion on how to grow the economy.

But when it comes to the medium and long term deficit I don't think a spending c…

Jason Heyward still batting 6th in Braves lineup

This has finally been getting talked about this week. But the people on tv talking about it are still missing one big point. Most of them say they have talked to some stats guys and they tell them that batting 2nd in the lineup as opposed to 6th in the lineup would get a hitter about 80 more at bats over the course of a season.

That's an important point. Heyward is one of the Braves best hitters. You want your best hitters to get to the plate as often as possible. Some of the analysts agreed with my opinion on opening day that Heyward should be batting 2nd or even 3rd.

But Tim McCarver and the guys on Fox today pretty much disregarded what the stats say and sided with Fredi Gonzalez mostly because he has played the game and stat geeks haven't. To be a bit fair, they did acknowledge what the stat guys have found which is that lineups don't really account for a big difference in runs over the course of a season. But a few runs could lead to a game or two. And that game or …

The benefit of a 'Do Nothing Congress'

President Obama made a speech about a budget that he proposed. Here is a side by side comparison of his and Paul Ryan's. Obviously its better than Ryan's. And many liberals think its acceptable. But it still buys into this notion that we have to freak out about the deficit right now. And as I've said before on this blog, there is not a very compelling reason to do that.

Ezra Klein even makes a good point today by stating that even if a massive deficit reducing budget was passed tomorrow, actually implementing it would depend on congresses years down the road. And that's a shaky proposition at best.

One good thing from Obama's proposal is the idea of letting the Bush tax cuts expire for those making $250,000 and above (Remember, they would still get the cut on all income up to that amount. They would only see the increase on all income over that amount). I'll remain skeptical that Obama would actually go through with that. And of course as Ezra points out, it …

Slow starts in baseball

That was the topic on "1st and 10" today. Let me ask you who you trust more to have a good season. Here are the career averages for each player and their current ages.

Player A: .330 BA, .424 OBP, .622 SLG, 42 HR, 127 RBI, age 31

Player B: .313 BA, .384 OBP, .452 SLG, 16 HR, 80 RBI, age 37

Which player do you think will have a better season? Which one do you think will come closer to matching their career averages? I think the answer is easily player A. Player A is Albert Pujols and Player B is Derek Jeter. Sure Pujols is in a contract year. But that should be even more reason he will do better.

The biggest factor is their age. Pujols is just coming out of his prime, possibly still in it. Jeter is well past his which was evidenced by his worst season of his career last year.

Yet both Jamelle Hill and Skip Bayless said they were more concerned about Albert Pujols. Most of their reasoning has to do with the contract thing with Pujols. But I think part of it is the Derek Je…

Random thoughts from Monday night

Alyson Hannigan gets more beautiful with every passing episode of "How I Met Your Mother". Decent episode tonight. Glad Marshall finally quit his job.

"Chuck" does just enough with Sarah and Chuck's relationship to keep me coming back. Cute moment tonight was Chuck giving Sarah a pre-nup stating that she had to love him and she couldn't think about divorce. And yeah, Yvonne Strahovski continues to be incredibly sexy.

I hate the Patriots and the way the media talks about Tom Brady (who is overrated as a QB). But his interview on Sportscenter about being drafted in the 6th round was really good. He talked about how he waited for so long and teared up when mentioning how his parents were there to support him. That and the fact that he worked his ass off to become a great player make me like him as a person. Plus he is rocking the long hair, which I respect and currently envy.

I totally agree with this Matt Yglesias post on the importance of grades in colleg…

Shutdown avoided

Both parties have agreed to fund the gov't for this year. Apparently Republicans agreed to drop the controversial 'riders' attached to the funding bill and Democrats agreed to cut more funding than they initially said they wanted.

So while both sides conceded things, which is how negotiations have to end, it seems like Republicans got more of what they wanted than Democrats did. And certainly conservatives got more of what they wanted than liberals did. Though I'm sure conservatives think it still wasn't enough. After all, many conservatives don't think the federal gov't should do anything at all. So they would have been happy with a shutdown.

I say conservatives won because they believe that the deficit is the biggest problem we have right now. And a lot of why they believe that is they use the size of the deficit as sort of a measure of how big gov't is. If there is a big deficit, as there is now, that means the gov't is too big. Of course, when…

Joss Whedon's feminist cred

Natasha Simons has a post up arguing that Joss Whedon isn't quite the feminist icon that the fans make him out to be. Shani Hilton has a response arguing that while Joss isn't a great feminist he is still pretty good.

I'm not a feminism expert by any stretch. But I agree with Hilton. And I'd direct you to that link to address most of the shows, characters, and situations that Simons brings up. One point I wanted to address is Firefly and the character of Inara.

Inara is a companion. In the world of Firefly, this is a job that is essentially a prostitute. Modern prostitution is not a glamorous job. Here in the US it is not a morally acceptable job aside from in Nevada. And even then the vast majority of women don't really want to have it as a career. That is even more so the case in states where its illegal. And across most of the rest of the world its even less the case that its not a good job. Its actually something that many women are forced into by either poor…

You can't divorce politics from policy

Andrew Sullivan has a post up complaining that Obama and the Dems are going to use the Ryan proposal in campaigns instead of taking it seriously as a policy proposal and working on a negotiation or counter-proposal. Part of why Sullivan is disappointed with Obama and the Dems is that he believes reducing the deficit is very important for the immediate future. Thus neither side should be playing politics with this serious issue.

But as Matthew Yglesias points out, the deficit isn't that serious of an issue at this moment or in the immediate future. He likens it to the effects of climate change. Those effects won't become an immediate threat until a few decades down the road. Because the threat is so far off not many politicians take it seriously and have the will to do something about it now. In much the same way, the deficit is not an immediate threat. The country isn't going to "go broke" and inflation is still low while unemployment is still high.

Obviously t…

Paul Ryan's budget proposal

A short version of the proposal is here.

The problem with his proposal is that its a typically Republican view of what gov't should do. Its all about making sure taxes for rich people are as low as they think people will tolerate while spending as little on entitlements that they also think people will tolerate.

I don't support the proposal for two reasons. One is I don't think its necessary to cut spending right now. In fact it can be argued that we need more spending in the immediate future. And the second is that I think we can reform social security, medicare, medicaid, and the entire tax code without draconian cuts that hurt poor people while not asking the rich and the currently old population to sacrifice anything (aside from the old people that would be hurt by the medicaid cuts).

I'm not thrilled with the way anyone has handled the budget. Obama continues to add to an unnecessarily costly defense/foreign policy budget all the while extending tax cuts for ric…

What has changed in the post-crash economy?

A few years ago we had to give banks money so that they wouldn't collapse and thus threaten to send the entire global economy into chaos. These banks and the entire financial industry had played a big part in causing the recession. So after giving them money, a lot of which was paid back, and having technically come out of the recession they helped cause how are things going with the economy and the financial industry now?

Last year CEO pay went up 27% while worker pay went up 2%. And in the financial sector, the 25 highest paid hedge fund managers earned $22 billion last year.

So things seem to be back on track for the rich and for most of the financial industry. But apparently it isn't enough. Bankers are still complaining about the financial regulations that were passed after the crash.

Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, launched a broadside against financial regulation on Wednesday, warning that new capital rules could be “the nail in our coffin for big Ameri…