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Showing posts from January, 2013

Memphis Grizzlies trade Rudy Gay

We've known for some time that the front office wanted to get under the tax for next season. So it wasn't a surprise that the Grizzlies finally traded Rudy Gay to Toronto for Jose Calderon and Ed Davis. Toronto got rid of Calderon because his contract ends after this season. And for some reason they think Andrea Bargiani is better than Ed Davis, especially while Davis is on his rookie contract.

The only problem I had with this deal is that while Calderon is very good and Davis is pretty good, their positions don't fit with what the Grizzlies need. Davis should be a good backup to Zach Randolph and possibly Marc Gasol if he can play center. But Calderon is too good to be a backup to Mike Conley at PG, or vice versa since you could argue Calderon is better.

Just after I questioned who would play SF, the Grizzlies traded Calderon to the Pistons for Tayshaun Prince. Prince is making about 7-8 million for the next two years. So that, combined with Davis salary at about 2 mill…

Not all markets are the same

Josh Barro gives a good explanation for why Ramesh Ponnuru's (one of the sane conservatives out there) health care proposal probably wouldn't work, or at least wouldn't work as well as Obamacare (I usually avoid using that term, even though it's probably going to shift to be a positive term. I guess I'm just being lazy today). Give it a read. If you don't want to read the whole thing, he basically says that the plan wouldn't work in part because it would require things Republicans don't want to do, regulate the market and increase both spending (for high risk pools) and taxes. He mentions another reason very briefly:

If that pitch sounds familiar, it's because, with the exception of cost control through competition, Obamacare will already achieve these goals -- and Obamacare has its own cost-control strategies. (The idea of cost control through competition is also far from a sure thing in health-care markets.) Why should middle-class Americans who ei…

Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23 gets cancelled

How much did I love this show? It had moved all the way up to #2 on my DVR prioritizer (just behind Community). I went on a run from the start of the second season through about the time where ABC started running episodes out of order where I saved every episode because they were so good. I very rarely let an episode of any show stay on my DVR. So the fact that I have close to 10 episodes of Apt 23 saved says something.

Unfortunately, what that says is that this is more of a cult show than a big mainstream hit. The very fact that I like a tv show means it's different than most other shows. I hate cliche tv. I've seen every trope there is. And unless you can at least present a trope in a new way I don't care. Community is the best example of actively inverting cliches, which is why it's my favorite show. Another example is The Big Bang Theory. The show is rife with cliches. But I watch it because it's at least presented in a unique way, through characters that are …

Iranian nukes, again

I guess I'll just keep banging this drum until people change their minds. But at least I'll spare you the two papers I wrote on Iran's nuclear program in grad school. I'll just summarize for you. First, Dan Drezner thinks Tom Friedman's suggestions for the new Secretary of State's interactions with Iran are dangerous. He quotes Friedman:

Rather than negotiating with Iran’s leaders in secret — which, so far, has produced nothing and allows the Iranian leaders to control the narrative and tell their people that they’re suffering sanctions because of U.S. intransigence — why not negotiate with the Iranian people? President Obama should put a simple offer on the table, in Farsi, for all Iranians to see: The U.S. and its allies will permit Iran to maintain a civil nuclear enrichment capability — which it claims is all it wants to meet power needs — provided it agrees to U.N. observers and restrictions that would prevent Tehran from ever assembling a nuclear bomb.
Dan…

Memphis Grizzlies trade 3, cut payroll

There have been rumors for a while now that the Grizzlies would trade Rudy Gay in order to get below the luxury tax for next season. Gay was seen as the most likely to be traded because while he is a good player, he isn't a great player who justifies his big contract. Zach Randolph was seen as another player who could be traded because of his big contract and age. But he is less likely since he is arguably the most loved Grizzly and is a better player than Gay.

Those rumors were temporarily put to rest today when the Grizzlies traded Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington, Josh Selby and a future first round draft pick to Cleveland for Jon Leuer. This deal doesn't make much sense aside from a purely financial one, that of getting below the luxury tax. Here's a useful side by side comparison of all the players involved from The NBA Geek. In short, all of these players are below average.

Speights has amassed 2.7 wins in his 4 years in the league. That's just below average.…

The declining value of truth and justice

You've probably heard about the bizarre Mantai Te'o story in which his girlfriend was a hoax. You've probably also heard that after years of strongly denying cheating and suing people who said he was lying, Lance Armstrong admitted that he was cheating and lying. You might have heard about how the baseball hall of fame didn't vote in anyone this year despite the fact that Barry Bonds and Rodger Clemens are two of the best players ever. They weren't voted in because they are expected of cheating and lying about it.

Those are all stories that really don't mean a whole lot in and of themselves. In the end they are just about sports, except for Armstrong suing people. He needs to compensate those people. But I think those stories demonstrate a larger tendency in our country, which is the declining value of truth and consequences it that arise from it. Those sports stories are pretty straightforward in why the truth was ignored. They all wanted fame and fortune. An…

The charter school push in TN

I came across this article on school reform in TN via LeftWingCracker on Twitter. Here's what's going on in TN:

StudentsFirst political contributions to candidates for the Tennessee state Legislature and local school boards totaled $470,000 at last report -- with a final report on November and December spending due to be filed with the state Registry of Election Finance later this month. That surpassed the total of the state's teachers union, Tennessee Education Association, which had political contributions totaling about $327,000 during the same period.

Most of the StudentsFirst money distributed in Tennessee went to Republicans. StudentsFirst gave $40,000 to the House and Senate Republican caucuses, for example, versus $10,000 to their Democratic equivalents.
What's the legislative goal of the StudentsFirst group and why do they tend to give to Republicans?:
The top priority for StudentsFirst in the 2013 session, Rhee said, is a "statewide authorizer" for ch…

Awards season

Tonight was the Golden Globes. I only know this because it was all over Twitter. For the most part I avoid award shows, especially those for music. Music award shows are particularly terrible in that they honor a ton of horrible shit while ignoring the hard rock and metal genres. Don't get me started on country music. Those vain assholes have an award show every other month.

I don't care about movie and tv award shows for similar reasons, mainly that they ignore the genres I care about. I get that my tastes aren't very mainstream, especially when it comes to tv. So it doesn't bother me that much that a show like Community doesn't get much love. But something that bugs me about the movie side is the fact that some of the stuff I love is mainstream, thus is ignored for other reasons. Take The Dark Knight Rises or The Avengers this year. Those were the most popular movies of the year. And they were widely acclaimed by both critics and audiences. But neither of them g…

The debt ceiling and the platinum coin

There have been many arguments made on the blogs that the platinum coin is a legal way to avoid default on the debt if Republicans in the House refuse to raise the debt ceiling. I'm largely sympathetic to those arguments, and to those who say it's a crazy idea. It kind of is. But it's not more crazy than the idea that the Republicans shouldn't raise the debt ceiling simply for the sake of it without getting something in return. So it makes some sense to want to respond to a crazy tactic with a crazy tactic of your own.

But Ezra Klein makes the case that the way to solve the problem isn't with your own crazy tactic (the platinum coin):

The argument against minting the platinum coin is simply this: It makes it harder to solve the actual problem facing our country. That problem is not the debt ceiling, per se, though it manifests itself most dangerously through the debt ceiling. It’s a Republican Party that has grown extreme enough to persuade itself that stratagems li…

America, Fuck Yeah!!!: torture edition

Jose Rodriguez, formerly of the CIA, tries to come up with some bullshit justification for torture, saying that they just had to talk and the "techniques" would stop. That prompts Paul Waldman to ask people like Rodriguez to give a definition of torture that wouldn't include the "techniques" we used. And that prompts Kevin Drum to ask:

...if you think the CIA torture program was OK, presumably that means you wouldn't be outraged if the same techniques were used on U.S. soldiers in order to extract information from them. Right? It can't possibly be the case that it's OK for us to do this stuff, but not for anyone else, can it? Given that, the only sensible interpretation of Rodriguez's position is that the CIA program wasn't torture and therefore should be thought of as the new baseline for treatment of enemy combatants throughout the world.
Presumably Kevin is right. But that's not the way these people work. To them it is ok for the US t…

Slow blogging

I've been in a blogging slump lately. There hasn't been much politics to talk about. The fiscal curb deal was too annoying to devote too much time to discussing. The deal they made wasn't terrible. Though it's further proof that Republicans, and to some extent Democrats, don't care at all about non-rich people that they let the payroll tax holiday expire without batting an eye while they fought long and hard for to raise the income level at which income taxes went up.

Another reason blogging has been slow is because of the holidays. I'm not a big fan of christmas. It's nice to get free stuff. But all of the other stuff surrounding it is annoying. Plus it's the time of year where it seems like everyone gets sick, including me. When I'm sick I revert back to being a little kid, helpless and whinny.

I'm also frustrated with another round of job hunting that hasn't gone anywhere. I don't know what the hell I'm going to do. I'm stro…

Has the GOP reached peak anti-Muslim?

Adam Serwer and Tim Murphy have the reporting. First, just in case you didn't think Herman Cain was really as crazy as he appeared, there's this:

One private intervention came during the summer of 2011, when then-GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain attended one of Norquist's weekly, off-the-record breakfasts, a gathering for DC's conservative elite. The assembled big-shots were disturbed by some of Cain's comments on the campaign trail about Muslims. A Think Progress reporter had captured him boasting that he would never appoint a Muslim as a member of his cabinet. Weeks later Cain had argued that cities like Murfreesboro, Tennessee—where activists were attempting to block a new Islamic center—should be allowed to outlaw the construction of mosques.

"It really bothers me when you say this, because that's scary," Norquist recalls one of the participants, who was Jewish, saying. Cain sought to reassure his hosts that only Muslims would be subjected to…