Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Predictions

10. Sometime in the first half of the year, the stock market will outrun the current irrational exuberance and sharply tumble back below 10,000.

9. At the end of the year, unemployment will remain above 9%.

8. At least one nation will default or nearly default on its debt.

7. A promising Green Bay Packer season will be derailed by injuries.

6. Democrats will avoid provoking controversy via legislation just enough to lose fewer seats than anticipated in the off-year election.

5. The newspaper industry will continue to disintegrate as at least two more papers halt their print editions.

4. Al Gore will pontificate about global warming during an unseasonable cold snap/blizzard (this should be a gimme).

3. Tiger Woods will return from hiatus before the majors begin.

2. There will be a significant terrorist attack on American interests.

1. President Obama's approval rating will end the year marginally higher than they begin the year. Marginally.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Go Bears

It is quite possible you will never see me write that anywhere ever again.

Blogging...

...I think I may just jump into this new fangled communications device in 2010.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Murder in Jefferson, Wisconsin

This weekend, an off duty police officer from Oconomowoc, and what appears to be her boyfriend, lost their lives to a gunman in the little town of Jefferson, Wisconsin. To their families, I cannot convey the depths of my sympathy. Their loss is tragic, and all the more so given the Christmas season.

At the same time, I hope that Jefferson Mayor Gary Myers retracts his statement on local TV broadcasts that Jefferson has not seen something on this scale since Dillinger. I don't enjoy the fact that I have to remind him that his is the city of Diane Borchardt. While Borchardt was only responsible for the death of one person, hers was such a sordid tale that it has been the inspiration of movies both factional and fictional. For him to erase that history with his statement is a disgrace to the family and friends of Ruben Borchardt.

Nagging Discomfort About the Afghanistan Plan

This is really eating at me. In Iraq, we attempted a "surge" and it worked quite well. As Afghanistan has deteriorated, President Obama has seemingly come to the conclusion that another similar "surge" (albeit with many fewer troops) is just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, Afghanistan isn't very similar to Iraq. Iraq was downright civilized in comparison to Afghanistan. While I think history has shown that massive (and 80,000 troops doesn't count as massive) buildups in Afghanistan do not work, I'm also quite skeptical that aping the Iraq strategy in smaller scale is going to accomplish anything but unecessary American deaths. I find this president quite lacking in military curiosity when it comes to this decision.

Monday, November 30, 2009

An NFL Thought

Wouldn't it greatly diminish the Patriots' perfect season of two years ago if the Saints and the Colts went 16-0 this year with the Vikings right behind at 15-1? (Don't worry, Packer fans...Viking 15-1 records have a good track record for ignominity.)

Half Assed...

...is no way to fight a war, Mr. President.

Fish or cut bait, sir.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On The Topic of Love, Lust, and Betrayal

I'm disappointed to see this story back in the news. I'll give the benefit of the doubt that it belonged splashed across the Milwaukee media this summer because there was something to the journalistic ethics angle. Now, however, it really doesn't. Now it is just salacious society gossip. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves, including Daniel Bice. None of the parties central to this 'story' are acquitting themselves well.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Palin, From A Distance

By my own choice, I've kept a healthy distance from politics for the second half of this year. At times that gnaws at me because I get an idea for a post, but I'm uncomfortable writing it because I haven't followed the topic as closely as I should have. At other times, though, it is nice to have the long view of things. Sarah Palin is one of those topics that it is nice to have the long view on. I know she has some ardent supporters on the right. To those of you, feel free to continue your ardent support. On the other hand, I think a much larger portion of her followers are caught up in the politics of this all. To you, I say reconsider before you make a mistake. She is not Presidential, not now. And she won't be by 2012. If things continue to trend the way they are in this country, she might be the only person Obama will be capable of defeating in 2012. So step back in the privacy of your own home and ask yourself, "Am I really comfortable possibly catapaulting this person to the 2012 Republican nomination, or am I looking for something else in that person?"

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Speaking of Bouncers...

...are there any other parents out there whose kids would bounce themselves past the point of exhaustion, and then bounce some more because they just couldn't stop?! My boy will actually lean his head down on the toys around the ring because he's so tired, but keep on bouncing.

Wherein My Contradictory Nature Kicks in on Parenting Advice

Through the mangled weave of links that is the web, tonight I ended up at a site called Let's Panic! Basically, it's a web page about surviving and thriving in pregnancy and parenthood. I'll admit, I didn't read a single article there, just the quick teasers on the main page. Just the same, some of the things the authors wrote on the main page were provocative enough for me to write about, but not enough to actually give a rat's ass what their opinion was. So here are my gut responses to incomplete information.

Your husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, sugar daddy, one-night stand, and/or gynecologist all have one thing in common: they want to be more involved in your pregnancy than you can possibly imagine.

I don't even know what that means. I wanted to see my baby in the ultrasound. I wanted to feel him kick. I wanted to take some of the daily burden off of my wife. Typical daddy to be things, I believe. I wanted to be involved in the pregnancy because I love my wife and my child. However, I have no idea how I could have wanted to be more involved in the pregnancy than my wife could have possibly imagined.

It's very important to never raise one's voice above 50 decibels, or, in case you don't have a decibel meter, the level of a half-heard murmur brushing past your ear as you cross a darkened threshold, or the sound of dozens of hooded acolytes whispering the lord's prayer backwards in a room lit only by candles stuck into the skulls of goats.

Seriously, you've got to be kidding me. Even when I'm sweet talking my boy, he doesn't pay attention to me until I hit 75 decibels, and even then it has to be in my deep voice. And that loud, deep voice doesn't scare him; he thinks it is funny. The context of loud can disturb him, but not loud in and of itself. I sing Rammstein in my deepest, darkest, loudest, scariest voice and the kid loves it. It is only when that loud, deep voice occurs in certain contexts that it bothers him. So what I'm saying is, occasionally be loud around your kid unless you want him or her to fear everyone that ever raises a voice in his or her direction.

Here at Let's Panic About Babies!, we believe that passive-aggressive acting out toward your child is the new spanking.

My boy is still waaaayyyy to young for it, but there is a place for spanking. There isn't a place for passive aggression, even though when you are tired and worn out, it might happen. You are the adult, act like it. So passive aggression is not the new spanking. It is probably worse.

That's my only critique of the site (and soon to be book) that I have for now. I could do more, but my boy has exhausted himself in his bouncer, and I have to amuse him with loud sounds before I feed him and put him to bed.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Predicting Failure for News Corp.

If you own stock, I advise that you sell. Why? Because apparently nobody has bothered to explain the internet to Rupert Murdoch:

News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch has suggested the company's online newspaper pages will be invisible to Google users when it launches its new paid content strategy.

Umm, Mr. Murdoch, if I were an agency for one of your advertisers, I wouldn't give you a red cent for placement on any of your paid sites. And good luck getting subscribers if something, oh, say, GOOGLE, isn't driving people to those sites to get the information they want.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Another Thought

I feel fortunate in that I realize how important I am as a father in my child's development. Too many males out there do not and never end up as much more than a baby daddy, much to their child (children's) disadvantage.

A Thought

I once felt very influential as a blogger.

Now, I feel more influential as a father.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Over Heard...

...outside the UW locker room after UW's 20-10 loss to Iowa:

"Umm, Mr. Tolzien, it seems your carriage in the parking lot has turned into a pumpkin."

Friday, October 09, 2009

Dear Nobel Peace Prize Comittee,

If that is all it takes to win the Peace Prize, I'll get to work on accomplishing nothing and I'll have my nomination to you for next year. I look forward to accepting your 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Jib

Monday, October 05, 2009

Post Favre Loss Packer Thoughts

*Dom Capers' strategy for this game was obviously to make Brett Favre beat them. He did. They need to find a happy median for the game at Lambeau.

*Many will see this game as a repudiation of Ted Thompson's strategy to not tie up money on the offensive line. I disagree. I think the Mike Sherman Packers proved that you don't need to spend your money on the line. This is a repudiation of Thompson's ability to evaluate offensive line talent.

*Favre fans will see this as justification of their belief that Packers should have kept Favre. It isn't. With his current lack of mobility, that game would have been very ugly with #4 under center for the Packers.

*At the same time, if the Packers don't want to squander what they have in Aaron Rodgers, they sure as hell better find a way to keep him upright.

*I said it then and I'll say it again: Ryan Grant owes Brett Favre for his big contract. He just doesn't earn yards on his own.

*The Vikings could be tough down the stretch, but I think the true test for the them will be after the game at Lambeau. Anyone who tells you that Favre didn't come back to stick it to the Packers is lying to you and themselves. He may very well fold down the stretch, screwing yet another team.

*This team has some problems that cannot be fixed in season. The o-line is atrocious and too many blown coverages are occurring in the secondary. 9-7 may be a victory for this squad.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Shut Up

You've got to be kidding me.

Some Chicago officials say anti-American resentment likely played a role in Chicago's Olympic bid dying in the first round Friday.

President Obama could not undo in one year the resentment against America that President Bush and others built up for years, they said.

This whole blame Bush thing was cute once upon a time, but really, it is just an excuse now. Go ahead and blame Bush, Chicago. You are only insulating yourselves from some uncomfortable truths.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Apparently Could Have Been a Genius

I doubt this:

Spanking can get kids to behave in a hurry, but new research suggests it can do more harm than good to their noggins. The study, involving hundreds of U.S. children, showed the more a child was spanked the lower his or her IQ compared with others.

Apparently, kids have their brains in their asses.

I, for one, will tell you that the spankings I got helped me form the discipline to actually use the smarts my mom and dad passed on to me. Even if this study is valid, give me a kid with a lower IQ and discipline and I'll show you a success. A high IQ with no discipline is no gift and no guarantee of success.

Winter Light Bulbs

While I applaud the good intentions of this, I still have a problem with it that really sticks in my craw:

The L Prize has garnered significant attention in the lighting industry because 60-watt incandescent lamps represent 50 percent of all the lighting in the United States, with 425 million sold each year. The Energy Department says that if all those lamps were LED equivalents, enough power would be saved to light 17.4 million American households and cut carbon emissions by 5.6 million metric tons annually.

The Energy Department fails to consider one very big thing, and that is winter. I will grant them the fact that in summer, current incandescents waste energy. But living here in Wisconsin, any time nighttime temps drop below sixty degrees, seasons known as spring, fall, and winter, that energy is not lost. Heat from incandescents is viewed as a waste of energy, but I will tell you unequivocally that the "wasted" heat from those bulbs keeps my furnace from kicking in as often during the colder two thirds of the year. The radiant heat that they give off also keeps me from turning my thermostat up to a higher temperature. If someone smarter than me can prove to me that the energy used to create the electricity for those bulbs is greater than the increased natural gas I'd use in a CFL world, I'll change my position. Until then, I will continue to warn that the "energy savings" that the government proclaims for new bulbs is a fallacy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Identifying My Malaise

I'm not real big on cults of personality. That would seem to make me a natural fit for the growing tea party movement. Unfortunately, I'm not real big on anti-cults of personality, either. I'm uncomfortable with the level of emotion in each.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tragedy At Grandad's Bluff


This is a tragic story, and I don't want to diminish how horrible this young woman's death is. But sometimes, you are prohibited from being in certain areas for a reason. We spent only a short time at Grandad's Bluff last fall, but we saw plenty of people flaunting Ordinance 3477. It is a little amazing that more people don't have tragic falls from this very scenic overlook.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

President Bush had...

...some of the chattiest speech writers in American history, didn't he?

Best #1 Search Result Ever

I doubt it'll last, but for the moment, I'm the number one Yahoo search for Jimmy Carter, sorry son of a bitch.

Jimmuh the Peanut Man

Is it just me, or has Jimmy Carter become the "crazy uncle" of the presidential family?

This is Your Brain on a Child

I keep coming up for great post ideas during the day. By the time I complete the 40 minute drive home, they are fuzzy but still there. After 10 minutes with my boy, I can't remember the damn things at all, let alone why I thought they were so brilliant. Right now, the most brilliant thing in my life is the little guy's huge toothless smile.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I Hate the Strikeout

The strikeout in baseball is a useless out. For that reason, it used to be stigmatized. Obviously, those days are long gone. Stat heads now say things like, "hey, at least he didn't create two outs that at bat" or "they come with a player taking swings that lead to more productive contact." Both are bunk, but that runs counter to current popular opinion, so be prepared to be shouted down if you say so.

Sometimes it is the players themselves that drive me the most nuts, though. Take Adam Dunn, for instance:

But it depends on when you’re striking out. If you strike out with two outs and nobody on, who gives a [expletive]?

You should, you dumb [expletive]. At least with runners on and less than two outs, it can at least be justified that you didn't hit into a double play. With two on and two out, you should be doing everything in your power not to strike out. By striking out, you give your opponent a free out. What a good hitter should be doing in that scenario is attempting to force the issue by doing anything they can to continue the inning. It is pressure on the defense that leads to rallies. Yes, sometimes even with two outs.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Debunking Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is not a man conservatives should hold in much esteem. Yet still to this day, when he writes revisionist crap like Did Hitler Want War?, some read and, rather than think critically about Buchanan's points, instead say, "hmm, could be," or "that makes sense." While I'd prefer not to address anything the man writes, in the case of the article previously mentioned, I feel compelled to fill in the many blanks that he creates in his piece.

Let's start with Buchanan's first point that the entire war started merely because of a small Polish town with German speaking citizens:

Why did Warsaw not negotiate with Berlin, which was hinting at an offer of compensatory territory in Slovakia? Because the Poles had a war guarantee from Britain that, should Germany attack, Britain and her empire would come to Poland’s rescue.

But why would Britain hand an unsolicited war guarantee to a junta of Polish colonels, giving them the power to drag Britain into a second war with the most powerful nation in Europe?

Buchanan sets this up be glossing over what lead up to this point. France and Britain watched on, at first disinterested but then increasingly uneasy, as Germany very rapidly rebuilt a military that was outlawed under Versailles and swallowed, sometimes at the allowance of both nations, to gobble up a vast tract of central Europe. As the the dominoes of Alsace-Lorraine, Austria, and Czechoslovakia tumbled and Germany became much more militarily bellicose, France and Britain had every right to be concerned about Germany's intentions. Taking a stand at Poland was not a Franco-Anglo hair trigger for war. Germany had already re-acquired many German speaking areas. If Germany did not have expansionist plans, Poland would have been a good place to stop, or even limit their Polish excursion to Danzig, which would have put Britain and France in an awkward position.

Next, Buchanon asks a series of questions that the answers to which he pretend don't exist in order to create the doubt he wants in his readers minds. Let's take them one at a time.

why did he spend three years building that hugely expensive Siegfried Line to protect Germany from France?

Germany was very well aware that it was vulnerable to a two front war. German doctrine was to stabilize one front while fighting a more vigorous battle on the other front. The Siegfried Line was part of that strategy. It was meant to stabilize the Western Front, freeing more supplies and men to fight on the Eastern Front. The fact that it never played out that role is due to Hitler's impatience and poor strategic thinking.

Why did he start the war with no surface fleet, no troop transports and only 29 oceangoing submarines?

One does not conquer the world in a day, even an impatient dictator such as Adolf Hitler. And even Hitler realized the limitations involved in one nation conquering the entire world, hence the alliance with Japan. The fact is, mainland Europe and the British Isles were the first targets in his sights. By quickly decapitating France, Britain, and Russia, Germany would leave their empires vulnerable in other lands. The fact is, in order to accomplish this, Germany did not need a huge surface fleet, at least not right away. If Germany had been able to quickly take out Britain through air warfare, they would have had the security on their western front to allow them to swing resources toward the USSR. They also would have been in unmolested possession of many advanced shipyards in Britain, Western Europe, and Northern Europe with which to build a fleet for future engagements far ashore.

Had Hitler waited until he had built a fleet to compete with the British, he'd have forfeited the advantage that he had built by quickly re-arming and shoving his way into new lands across the European Continent. He'd have also given France and Britain extra time to build up their own militaries in anticipation of a conflict with Germany. All Germany really need at this stage was u-boats to harass shipping and enemy fleets. And remember, the German U-boats and their fleets still did outclass anything the allies had. Additionally, Germany had a total of 65 U-boats at the outset of war. 29 were oceangoing, but they had a lot more about to go on line.

How do you conquer the world with a navy that can’t get out of the Baltic Sea?

You don't, but again, stage one wasn't about conquering the world. It was about conquering Europe. Germany, laying in the west-central region of the continent, did not need a massive surface navy. Not yet, anyway. In light of that goal, a massive Navy seems a waste of resources, no?

If Hitler wanted the world, why did he not build strategic bombers, instead of two-engine Dorniers and Heinkels that could not even reach Britain from Germany?

Again, he did not need strategic bombers, not yet. Germany clearly intended to quickly destroy Britain through bombings from France. There was no need for strategic bombers. If Germany does not hold France, then going after Britain is pointless. And Germany very well may have taken Britain out of the war had they not made a very significant strategic error-initiating war in the east.

Why did he let the British army go at Dunkirk?

Why did he offer the British peace, twice, after Poland fell, and again after France fell?

Nobody is really sure to this day, but the smart money is something that Buchanan himself brings up later in the article:

...and that meant war with Britain, whose empire he admired and whom he had always sought as an ally.

The Germans and the Brits are ethnic cousins. In Hitler's twisted ethnic world view, that made them acceptable, if subordinate, allies. He very likely was giving Britain a chance to seek peace by becoming a subordinate partner to Germany, saving the German military from having to expend money, men, and material on Britain.

Why, when Paris fell, did Hitler not demand the French fleet, as the Allies demanded and got the Kaiser’s fleet? Why did he not demand bases in French-controlled Syria to attack Suez?

They were not critical and they were not going to be handed over as simply as Buchanan implies. The British sunk ships that they suspected were not Free French, and at times, French sailors scuttled their own ships.

Why did he beg Benito Mussolini not to attack Greece?

Germany was preparing for Operation Barbarossa, and any Italian failure in Greece could be problematic for the planned invasion of the USSR. It is tough to be preparing for war while at the same time wishing an ally not to attack because you want war to be over.

I do not for a minute believe that Buchanan is so dim as to not understand the facts on as they were in this period. I do believe that, because of his isolationism and his hostility towards Jews, Buchanan does want to diminish World War II in the eyes of the public. Unfortunately, for many with a thin understanding of the war, he does have some success.


Update

In light of Buchanan's Polish question, I did want to also share a snippet from the memoirs of Albert Speer, Nazi Germany's Minister of Armaments and War Production:

On May 2, 1938, Hitler drew up his personal will. He had already outlined his political testament on November 5, 1937, in the presence of the Foreign Minister and the military heads of the Reich. In that speech, he referred to his extensive plans for conquest as a "testamentary bequest in case of my decease." With his intimate entourage, who night after night had to watchtrivial operetta movies and listen to endless tirades on the Catholic Church, diet recipes, Greek Temples, and police dogs, he did not reveal how literally he took his dream of world dominion. Many of Hitler's former associates have since attempted to establish the theory that Hitler changed in 1938. They attribute the change to his deteriorated health resulting from Morell's treatment. It seems to me, on the contrary, that Hitler's plans and aims never changed. Sickness and fear of death merely made him advance his deadlines. His aims could only have been thwarted by superior counterforces, and in 1938 no such forces werte visible. Quite the opposite: The successes of that year encouraged him to go on forcing the already accelerated pace. [Albert Speer, Inside the Third Reich (The Macmillan Company, 1970), 106-107]

Doesn't sound like a man who was ready to settle for just the reconquest of German speaking lands to me.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Note the the Staff of Madison.com

Your new site is a disaster. Sure, it is pretty and it has bells and whistles. As a consumer of your website, however, there are two things I don't want. I don't want to wait for stories to scroll through on your home page, and I don't want to have to dig through multiple pages to find the news and sports. I come to your home page to quickly scan news and sports headlines and to quickly decide what I do and do not want to read. Since I will not be browsing through to find these things, expect many fewer page views from me.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Story Gutted by Reality

I believe the headline on Yahoo this morning for this story was, "Obama Not Getting Credit for Shortening Recession." Only a couple of minutes later, we learned that unemployment hit an unexpectedly high 9.7%. Unemployment is a lagging economic indicator, but until it bottoms out, you cannot say that Obama has shortened anything. It is going to be interesting to watch the media do an about face from 2004 and spin this miserable economy as one that's on the rise.

They can ban texting while driving...

but they sure as hell better outlaw signing while driving first. I was out and about during lunch on Thursday and saw a driver and passenger signing furiously. I'm not sure how the car was being steered.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Pardon Me While I Roll My Eyes

Obama photo evokes Kennedy moment

Please. The Kennedy might...might...have been spontaneous. Presidential photography today is all about creating the image.

But beyond that...should any good dad want to evoke any Kennedy moment?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Another Place Where Silence Is The Best Policy

Look, in politics, it is sometimes better to let your opponent tie their noose before warning them of the hazard. Currently, the right is giving their warnings all too early:

Key conservative voices have begun to charge in the day after Sen. Ted Kennedy’s death that Democrats are inappropriately politicizing the senator’s death, his memorial and his legacy.

To my friends on the right: The left seems somewhat compelled to do stupid things like this. It is best to just let them do it. Bringing up the "Wellstone Effect" may help you feel smart, but it only serves to prevent them from indulging their lesser instincts. Next time, keep it to yourself until they shoot themselves in the foot.

And Bush and the Republicans Were the Tyrants?

The first step to tyranny today is to have the power to shut down dissent on the net:

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They're not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" relating to "non-governmental" computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat.
What is most befuddling about this bill is that there is absolutely no clear and present danger that would justify the executive branch having these powers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

So She Wore Shorts...

...No big deal, right? I can see a lot of Americans actually identifying with wanting to throw on some comfy clothes. So what is the big deal? Well, when it is the office of the Presidency, the trappings are actually important. For the most part, Americans have thrown off formality. The formality around the Presidency is still a good insight on how the occupants view the office, though. I'll give Michelle Obama a sliver of doubt for now, but if the family views their public appearance so informally going forward, then it will tell me a great deal about how they view the office.

Cool but Weird

Is it just me, or is it kind of weird to watch someone outside your generation blog their love for someone else?

An Ass Would Have Been More Appropriate

But come January, I'll take a goat:

She planned to butcher the animal later but was passing through Winona on her way to St. Paul when the car broke down, Prusci remembered her saying.

The woman, and a man and child who were waiting for her outside, left while Prusci and other workers began the repairs.

After about 10 minutes, they could hear the goat crying.

"We cracked open the trunk, you know, so it could breathe," Prusci said. "And sure enough, there it was. It kind of poked its head up."

The goat had been painted Vikings purple and gold. Shaved into its side was the No. 4 - the number of Brett Favre, who was making his Vikings debut later that night in a preseason game in the Twin Cities.

What's the saying? What's good good for the goat is good for the Farvruh?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Reason Why People Loathe and Fear Unions

Any organization that can get its members to vote against their own self interests, as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Lodge 1947 just did at Mercury Marine in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, horrifies the average bystander. Your industry is in a beyond depressed financial state, and you effectively vote your job out of existence. Principle is meaningless when you are out of a job. Good luck to all the yes voters finding jobs as good as you just had.

Friday, August 21, 2009

It's the Intent, Stupid

Since Brett Favre signed with the Minnesota Vikings, I've many a sports report and blogger chide Packer fans who are upset by this. There logic is that he is free to play as long as he wants, and to be as indecisive as he wants.

They miss a big point.

Brett Favre's intent since sometimes last summer has been to exact his revenge upon Ted Thompson. He has as much as said that he wanted to play for the Vikings for exactly that reason. He has since backed off of that tact, but if you buy his latest drivel about not wanting revenge, then I have some nice beach front property to sell you in Augusta, Wisconsin.

The fact is that Brett Favre wants to stick it to Ted Thompson. The only way he can do that is by sticking it to the Packers. The fact that he thinks he is bigger than the Packers organization is obvious in the fact that he thinks "true Packers fans" will have no problem with this and will continue to have his back. Unfortunately, he's wrong. "Brett Favre Packer fans" may, but true, Packers-first fans do. They do because Favre's intent is to stick his thumb in the eye of the organization that he rode into the Hall of Fame. And when someone wants to stick their thumb in the eye of a sports organization, fans naturally feel like they are having that thumb poked into theirs as well. This is especially true when their dollars have enriched that person for years.

Make no mistake. This is not about Favre wanting to play for the love of the game. This is about Brett wanting to play for the hate of a man. Brett intends to exact his revenge, otherwise he wouldn't have retired, he wouldn't have asked for his release, and he'd still be playing for the New York Jets. The fans recognize this and they are rightfully repulsed by it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lazy Parents Who Want to Ban the Ice Cream Man

The New York Times brings us the newest rage in pop parenting: a movement to ban the ice cream man:

Ever since Katherine had an inconsolable meltdown about not being able to have a treat, Ms. Sell has been trying to have unlicensed vendors ousted from the park. She has repeatedly called the city’s 311 complaint hot line, joining parents nationwide who can’t stand the icy man or his motorized big brother, the ice cream man.

“I fall into the camp of parents who are irate,” Ms. Sell said. She has equal disdain for Mister Softee and the ice cream pop vendor outside the park, but since they are licensed, there is not much she can do about them.

Guess what? Parenting is not an easy job. When confronted with a temptation like an ice cream man, it is a parent's job to teach some lessons. The first is that you cannot always have what you want. Are the side effects of 'no' unpleasant? You bet your ass they are. But the sooner your child learns it, the better off you and the child will ultimately be. By banning the ice cream truck, all you accomplish is saving yourself a little trouble.

Second, the temptation of ice cream is also a perfect time to introduce your child to economic trade offs. I'll give you an example. When I was young, we had a regular visit from the ice cream truck. Once in a while, my mom and dad would spring for a treat. Most of the time, however, I was presented with a decision that I had to make: I could buy myself ice cream anytime I wanted, out of my allowance money or my piggy bank. But by doing so, it meant that I had less or no money for things I wanted more, like a toy or a pack of baseball cards. Again, the banners are abdicating their job to teach this lesson because it isn't always a pleasant lesson to teach, and that's plain lazy.

They also look at other issues of lazy parenting such as parents that leave their kids in strollers near the exhaust pipe or parents who don't want their kids eating ice cream. Well, I hate to say it, but neither of those items are the problem of the ice cream truck. They are problems of parents. It is a continuation of the trend for parents to not actually do a damn bit of parenting.

The article goes on to conflate several other issues that aren't pertinent to the core of this story. For instance, they talk about a Chicago ban that came about because of unsanitary situations and drug sales. Those are reasonable protections of the public and completely unrelated to their main issue of pop parenting. I'm willing to overlook that as poor writing as a result of a need to fill column inches. The focus of this article should not have been on the ice cream man but the weak willed parents, though.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One More Favre Thought

Brett Favre, who at his Viking introduction presser displayed a poor understanding of what legacy means, stands to become a sort of reverse John Elway. Over his career, Elway's reputation was that he couldn't win the big one. It wasn't all Elway's fault that his teams lost four Super Bowls, but as the leader of the team, it fell on his shoulders. Late in his career, when Elway's teams began carrying him to a certain extent, he won two Super Bowls and completely rehabilitated his image.

Favre, on the other hand, stands to completely destroy his reputation in just over two short years. Favre, of course, won a Super Bowl in his first attempt. Since that time, Favre's teams were notorious for coming up short in big games. Not all of that was Brett's fault, but some was. Yet he avoided the fate of have a reputation similar to Elway's because he did win that one championship early on and it over shadowed everything else. Had he retired after losing in the NFC Championship game at age 37, his reputation would have remained intact and his one last hurrah would have been celebrated.

He came back, though. He carried the Jets early in that come back year, but it was fully on his shoulders that they slumped and missed the play offs. People began to question his role in the NFC Championship loss the year before. Still, had he stayed retired after the Jets, it all would have faded out of the colelctive memory. He's put himself back in the limelight with another potential contender, though, and perhaps nothing short of a Super Bowl victory will prevent him from being known as the guy who didn't win the games that really mattered.

If the Vikings do not win the Super Bowl and he is viewed as at all culpable, his career will be thoroughly reviewed by football fans. Doubt will be cast upon the 1996 season and whether that team won primarily because of him or because of the extraordinary defense and special teams and the sheer number of offensive weapons on that team. And if his role on that team is revised, it will shed an all new light on the rest of his career. At that moment, Favre will learn that his legacy isn't about what he thinks of his playing days, but what others in the future look back and think of his playing days.

The Lefties Not In The Infield

The New York Times recently published a piece which pondered the extreme rarity of left handed catchers in Major League Baseball. In the course of the piece, they also take a look at the dearth of left handed third basemen, shortstops, and second basemen. Being an issue I've actually given a lot of thought to, I wanted to share a few thoughts on the matter.

As sought after as left handed pitchers, first basemen, and hitters are, baseball is not a terribly left hand friendly game, especially in the infield. It has been said that the measurements of a baseball diamond are as close to perfection as possible, with the number of bang-bang plays, particularly at first, being held up as proof. It is those bang-bang plays that make the infield an unfriendly place for lefties. Infielders, particularly on the left side of the infield, must get their throws off as quickly as possible. Good throwing mechanics dictate that the best throws will be made when you lead in some fashion with the shoulder of your glove hand. For right handed infielders, that is the left shoulder, which is naturally positioned in the general direction of first base. Left handers, meanwhile, must turn their body more to make good, strong throws. It doesn't seem like much, but over the course of 162 games, that turn might make the difference between a dozen, maybe two dozen runners being safe or out. That may not seem like much, but if it changes the outcomes of three games, it can make all the difference in the world.

Catchers are more difficult to explain. The entire game transpires before a catcher and as such, the angles of the game are not as detrimental. It seems clear that there could be successful left handed catchers, but why aren't there any? The scarcity of the left handed arm probably has a lot to with it. A good catcher is probably going to have one of the top two arms outside of the pitcher in your lineup. As valuable as left handed pitching is, if given the choice between using a power left handed arm on the mound or behind the plate, you are almost always going to choose the mound.

Now, what about that incredible left handed offensive talent with an average arm but solid defense? That player is probably going to end up at first base for a couple of reasons. Catcher is a brutal position. Most moms figure that out in Little League. Coaches at all levels will usually want to preserve the offensive production of a big time hitter by moving him out from behind the plate. Second, that hypothetical offensive talent with an average arm is probably going to be bested by a stronger armed right hander who can throw out base runners by high school. The safe place to put that player to accentuate his positives is first base, a position where it is advantageous to have a lefty and where the lessor arm strength can be hidden.

There are a lot of myths about left handed catchers and the Times looks at a number of them but never really gets to the nut of the problem. The fact is that the opportunity cost of playing a scarce, talented left handed thrower behind the plate is just too high. Whatever their mix of skills, there are better positions for them on the field. That is why you don't see left handed catchers in professional baseball.

I, For One, Welcome the New Vikings' Overlord

I feel a little like the proverbial kid in a candy store right now. If they stay healthy, I think the Packers will be good on both sides of the ball. But the return of Brett Favre to the Vikings is what really has me excited. Does anyone out there remember how Favre gets when he is personally jacked about a game? How poorly, even later in his career, he could play early in those games? How desperate his play became when teams would take advantage of his over-anxious unforced errors? He is going to give the Packers opportunities to beat him. All they are going to have to do is capitalize on them.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

No They Aren't

What the hell?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Leaders of the United States, Mexico and Canada -- also known as "the three amigos" -- begin a summit on Sunday in Mexico to talk about simmering trade issues and the threat of drug gangs.

Whomever "knows" them as that is an idiot, as is Mr. Holland for writing it.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

President Obama Channels His Inner Nixon

I must admit that I was wrong. I saw President Obama as a Jimmy Carter type. Who knew that he was more of a Nixon?

Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

How does this make you feel, America? At least Nixon's enemies list was born of his own paranoia. This administration, perhaps appropriately, wants to develop a wider ranging enemies list by have you all spy on each other and tattle, much like they used to do in the Soviet Union.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Don't Call It A Value Add Tax!

I implore bloggers, blog readers, and everyone interested to not indulge the Obama administration in their 1984-esque double speak. Do not refer to their newest pet money-suck as a value add tax. Please, please refer to it for what it is: A sales tax. Every time you discuss this idea, do not let the administration win the rhetorical battle. Call it the sales tax that it is, and explain it to those that may not understand that. It is unacceptable that, on top of all of the other ways that the federal government taxes us from the bassonet to the coffin, that they now start grabbing from the everyday action of the economy.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Now Where Near Ready foe Prime Time Leadership

Today's Democrats are starting to make Carter era Dems look sage and wise:

With thousands of "cash for clunkers" deals pending, auto dealers in Wisconsin and across the nation were working through a worry-filled night Thursday amid the startling news that the program is being suspended because it has likely run out of money.

Members of Congress confirmed late Thursday that the program is being suspended. It remained unclear whether the program had indeed run out of money or whether it was only close to running out.

Who couldn't see this cluster coming?

Quick Q to the P-folk

Parents, I need to know something. If your child starts shooting flames from his/her bum, is there the chance he or she is really a dragon?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Post Racial Era?

One of the goals of this society, at least as it proclaims, is to move into a post-racial era. The road to that era is a two way street, though. While the majority is not yet perfect in relation to the minority(ies), it has made large strides. Unfortunately, until such time that the minority can allow their blisters to callous, we will continue to experience open racial sores that are much the problem of the aggrieved picking as the "oppressor" causing.

Where is MADD?

Where are the modern day temperancists? Where are our nannies?

President Obama sat down for a beer at the White House Thursday night with a top African-American professor and the police officer who arrested him earlier this month.

They were joined by a previously unannounced guest, Vice President Joe Biden.

I'm not the first to say this, but where are the expected shrieks that this sends the irresponsible message that we can solve our problems with booze? I for one think that a moderate amount of social lubrication can help people find common ground, but I'm listening for our criers of "booze is the root of all evil" and all I hear is crickets.

A 100% True Parable

Back in my college years, I'd spend most of the year off at school, 3 1/2 hours away from home. But in the summer, I'd move back in with my parents. It was always good to come back and reconnect with my family and my friends. I worked hard in the summers, once finagling a way to work 27 straight days at my summer employer. When you combined those long hours with the fact that I spent all of my free time with friends and family, I'm a little surprised my parents' neighbors even recognized me.

The last summer I lived at home I was finally of legal drinking age. One Sunday, my long time best friend and I decided to partake in two of our favorite pastimes-drinking and a home run derby (think the 1960's TV show, only on a rustic softball diamond). I don't recall who won the nine inning affair, but I do remember that we finished our six pack on that humid, 85 degree day and decided that we wanted to head to a bar to get some grub and another ice cold beverage.

We headed back to my parents' place. The 'cool' athletic shorts of the day didn't have pockets, so I'd left my wallet and keys there. Much to my surprise, they had a life. I tried the doors, only to find that they were all locked. Here I was, hungry and thirsty with no money or ID, and I had no keys with which to enter the house. But much like today, I was a problem solver. So I found the only way into the house without a key.

My solution had two significant problems, though. One, it was neither particularly quiet nor quick. Two, it was quite visible to the entire neighborhood and the very busy road in front of the house. Of course I was 21, so I was going to do what I wanted to do (eat and drink), consequences be damned. I'll tell you the truth, though, I was scared out of my mind that someone new to the neighborhood might call the cops on me. After all, here I was breaking into my own house. How was I going to explain that to the police? And they'd be right to be skeptical of my story. Who breaks into their own house for God's sake? Most people have a spare stored someplace or they call the locksmith, right?

I knew that if someone in the neighborhood didn't recognize me and called 911, I was going to have to be on my absolute best behavior because no good cop was going to believe my story without proof. With exceptional behavior, I might get enough patience from an officer to find a person or persons to vouch for me. But with obstinate behavior, I knew that the day was ultimately going to end with my parents vouching for me down at the local jail. The fact that I am 1/4 Chippewa never even entered into the equation for me. What I was doing was highly suspicious behavior for anyone, and I knew the police had the duty, if called, to get to the bottom of the story. Thankfully for me, my neighbors still did recognize me and did not call the police.

I think that my approach to breaking into my own house was enveloped with a lot of common sense (if disregard) as to the potential consequences. In fact, if the police found anyone, even my dad, trying to break into the house, I hope they'd treat the situation with extreme caution. But for some people, victimhood is their self identity, and common sense can't prevail. Their entire worldview is wrapped up in the belief that others are out to get them and they lose the ability to decipher between "protective" and "abusive".

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What Socialized Medicine Gets You

This post could also be titled, "And They'll Wonder Why Swine Flu Became Tamiflu Resistant." What follows is a message board post by a wedding photographer in a Flickr Group (I've highlighted a few things):
We were due to shoot a wedding this Saturday for a lovely couple who's cousin's wedding we shot last year. Unfortunately the last few days I have been starting (and continuing!) to feel ill with cold symptoms.

Because swine flu is so all over the place now in the UK, doctors are no longer actually seeing/testing patients, you go online or phone a helpine, answer some questions on symptoms and if you r symptoms match up to those for swine flu, you phone a dr and they arrange for you to get some tamiflu.

In short, I could have a cold, or bad hayfever (although I know it's not hayfever as antihistamines haven't worked), but I have cancelled the wedding as I don't want to risk infecting a whole wedding group with swine flu especially as there will be children there. Luckily for me, I have a friend who is a local photographer who is very good, and he is miraculously free and will be shooting for me.

The thing is though, with the rubbish non diagnosis we're having over here, what if this is only a summer cold and in two weeks time I actually DO get swine flu and have no option but to take it to a wedding?

There you have it. In order to "remove unnecessary costs" from the system, you may not even get to see a doctor or receive tests many would deem "necessary." And the worst part is even if Obamacare ultimately dies the death it deserves to die, this will likely still negatively affect us as this willy-nilly approach to Swine Flu diagnosis in countries with socialized medicine will greatly increase the likelihood of a Swine Flu that is resistant to medications that normally could reduce the virus's severity.

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 Years Since the First Moon Walk

I wish I could say that I was in as celebratory mood as the media is over the 40th anniversary of an American being the first human to step foot on the moon. The unfortunate fact is that it will be all too soon when the the 40th anniversary of the last human to walk on the moon will quietly come and go unnoticed (for the record, December 17, 2012 will be that sad date). The unimaginative ponder the waste of money that is exploring worlds beyond Earth. The visionaries wonder how this species will survive the day when nature (not man) makes this rock uninhabitable. Yes, that time is probably a long time away; there is no guarantee that man will continue this trajectory of technological growth that has occurred over the past 100 years, however. As it stands, we've not even scratched the surface of the knowledge we'll one day need for our descendants to survive beyond this lonely rock.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Thought For The 2009 Green Bay Packers

Viking (?) QB Brett Favre will only beat you if you're afraid of Viking QB Brett Favre beating you. In reality, even with a 39 year old Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson is that team's difference maker. If they stop Peterson, they beat the Vikings twice.

An Always Popular Not-News News Story

Some variation on this story pops up every few weeks to months. It is 'news' to people. I'm not sure why.

First World War veteran Henry Allingham, who became the world's oldest man last month, has died at the age of 113.

As tributes poured in, Lord's cricket ground fell silent at the start of play in the Ashes match between England and Australia as a mark of respect for Mr Allingham, who died in his sleep early yesterday morning.

Emphasis mine. This is not a record most people get to hold onto for very long. Each year typically see several oldest living men/women. Yet everytime one passes on, two stories rocket it up the popularity charts: 'World's Oldest Man/Woman Dies' and 'New World's Oldest Man/Woman (Fill in Background Story). That these stories are always popular even though they are typically neither newsworthy nor particularly interesting is kind of a quirk of humanity.

Walter Cronkite, 1916-2009

Walter Cronkite, the iconic American TV news anchor, passed away yesterday. There have been and will be a number of fine tributes to Cronkite. I would rather look at his legacy from a, while not critical, certainly less adoring way.

When people talk Cronkite, they talk trust. Part of the reason Cronkite came to engender trust in the American public is because he was the leading edge of the modern news anchor-he was emotive and had opinions. By today's standard, we'd consider him buttoned down in both regards, by the standards of his era, that made him different and a lot of Americans felt like they knew Cronkite, and that helped engender that trust.

This has left a mixed legacy in news reporting and journalism, however. Cronkite was the man who opened the door for journalists (so-called hard journalists, not opinion journalists) to let more of their political colors show through in their work. It is human nature to have opinions and beliefs, so it is impossible for any "objective" news report to be completely free of the subjective without the news becoming so dry as to be unconsumable. But there was a time where newsmen and journalists tried to keep that human influence on the reporting of the news deeply buried.

In one sense, this is good because it has made the reporting of the news much more transparent. Bloggers have shown over the years that you can now easily identify the spin that you are getting from any particular anchor or journalist. Unfortunately, it has also made it acceptable for some journalists to further their personal agendas through the way they present the news. In fact, Cronkite coming out against the Vietnam war may have done more to create the agenda driven reporter/journalist than any other single act.

When we remember Cronkite, we remember him as what he was during his era. For that, he deserves all of the accolades that he is receiving in his passing. Cronkite leaves a legacy that has been and will continue to be built upon by others, and we do need to strip away the misty feelings to examine that legacy because all of the consequences have not been positive.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reuters Panic Mongering on H1N1 Swine Flu

I was originally going to blame WHO for panic mongering, but I actually think Reuters is to blame.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that the H1N1 flu pandemic was the fastest-moving pandemic ever and that it was now pointless to count every case.

The United Nations agency, which declared an influenza pandemic on June 11, revised its requirements so that national health authorities need only report clusters of severe cases or deaths caused by the new virus or unusual clinical patterns.

Normal flus can move too fast to count, too. The difference is a lot of people never report or go to the doctor. This ancestor of the Spanish flu is worth keeping an eye on, don't get me wrong, but we've seen nothing from it to this point that makes it panic worthy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Congratulations, Minnesota

You've elected a clown to the United States Senate.

Sonia Sotomayor, under questioning by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee at her confirmation hearing on Wednesday, had to admit she could not recall a key point of law: what was the one case that TV defense lawyer Perry Mason actually lost?

"I wish I could remember the name of the episode but I don't," Sotomayor said after Democratic Senator Al Franken -- himself a former TV star -- pressed her on Perry Mason trivia.

Wow, Minnesota. Maybe next time you could just upgrade your cable subscription if you want a comedian. Having grown up in the Twin Cities media market, I can say that gravitas is a tough word for Minnesotans, what with the three syllables and all.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Top Ten Things I've Learned From 3 Days of Fatherhood

I'm not sure anyone can appreciate this except perhaps someone who is going through it.

10. Newborns can be stronger and inherently smarter than you give them credit for.
9. There is personality there right from the start.
8. Your brain conspires with the baby against your body from the start. Falling asleep? You hear his cry, even if he isn't crying.
7. It is possible to fart and burp multiple times simultaneously.
6. A good poop can be as exciting as an 99 yard touchdown pass.
5. Oddly, your own baby's gas smells sweet after the first few.
4. Just when you think you've got the little bugger figured out, he changes things up on you.
3. Early parenthood is like boot camp, and baby is your drill sergeant.
2. Poo on your fingers becomes less repulsive than it normally would be.
1. You can never prepare for how much that first one is going to change you and your life, no matter how much you know before hand.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Welcome My Little Co-Blogger

We shall call him Jiblette. His was a peaceful gestation, but his journey into this world was a long and painful one for his mom. He officially joined Jiblog at 6:54 on July 5th.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Short History of Chippewa Falls Baseball

I know that this article is going to have a niche audience, but given the fact that Chippewa Falls was a small, post lumber mill town at the time, I found this little nugget amazing:

Now referred to as “Captain,” Porter returned to Chippewa Falls as a player-manager in 1902, and within a few years was fielding one of the top independent teams in the Midwest.

Led by African-American pitcher George Wilson, regarded to be one of the best pitchers in the country, the Chippewa Gotzians were crowned the 1904 Northwestern Champions. The deciding game was a 10-2 defeat of Renville, Minn. at Lexington Park in St. Paul that saw Wilson strikeout 17 batters.

Not too bad for a small lumber town in Northwestern Wisconsin in 1902.

Practice Makes Perfect?

I wonder how many clippings and print offs of this article made it onto refrigerators around the world today?
Having sex every day improves sperm quality and could boost the chances of getting pregnant, research suggests.

In a study of men with fertility problems, daily ejaculation for a week cut the amount of DNA damage seen in sperm samples.
Of course, I suspect many woman will recommend self medication to their men.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Brazil Calls Off Search For AF 447 Victims

Sad.

Brazil's Air Force and Navy on Friday called off the search for additional victims and wreckage from Air France Flight 447, which crashed over the Atlantic on June 1 carrying 228 people.

I'm a simple man with what I think is a realistic view of death. As such, if I were to be buried in a cardboard box with a wood cross bearing my name, I'm cool with that. After all, what will I care at that point? But I realize that my absence would be felt in some peoples' lives, and I do want that postage stamp of land where they can find some peace. Every time I fly over the Great Lakes, I shudder at the thought that I could end up at the bottom of one of them, never allowing my loved ones that little bit of peace of mind. There are a lot of loved ones of Air France Flight 447 victims who will never have that place to mourn over their loved one.

The H1N1 Solution

Okay, so the CDC says that the H1N1 swine flu isn't going away. Yet we also know that, as currently constituted, it is virulent but not a particularly deadly flu. So I say we pucker up and take our medicine, chicken pox style. Everyone who doesn't have it right now has to go to a birthday party for someone who does have it. Spin the bottle will be encouraged. This way, the 299 million Americans who haven't gotten it will come down with it and build up immunities before the virus starts to change itself. Also, we'll save billions on vaccinations. Kiss a Swine Flu victim today!

And So The Seventies Begin to Die

This week, three household names from the 1970's died in a two day period: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. It was a stunning death triumvirate of the most well known from that ugliest of decades. For many of us who pontificate in the electronic realm, the seventies don't seem all that long ago; then again, most of us also ignore those rapidly reproducing gray hairs. The fact is the seventies is getting to be "a long time ago," and this week was a pretty sobering reminder for those of us who got our start in that decade that we aren't getting any younger.

Friday, June 26, 2009

If You Snicker At Subway, Then Give BK A Break

Lots of idle chit chat in the blogosphere about Burger King's ad for their new "Super Seven Incher." The opinions are running largely against Burger King's overt oral sex reference. If crassness was truly the measuring stick, then I say, hey, give 'em hell. But most people I know snicker at Subway's "Five Dollar Footlong" promotion. Everyone knows the connotations made by Subway's commercials (ever see the commercial where the construction workers hold their hands about a foot apart in front of their groins?), yet nobody gives Subway hell for it. Why? Because most people are self congratulatory when they get a subtle connotation, but feel free to preach at the obvious. When everyone starts taking aim at Subway, then I'll over look the rage aimed at Burger King. Until then, shaddup.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Obama Gives Fatherhood Advice

Read about it if you'd like. It isn't bad advice per se. Just the same, I don't think men out there should consider any politician a fatherhood role model. The sacrifices that must be made to attain great power always affect the family.

Jiblog Turned 5...5 Days Ago

Oops. Hopefully this is an indicator that my priorities are in the right place and not just a sign that I'm getting forgetful.

The Sex Scandal That Mildly Shook Milwaukee

So, this broke yesterday.

I've thought long & hard about it, and I guess I ultimately don't have much to say. I've no interest in defending either Flynn or McBride in any way, shape, or form. I've also no interest in raking Bice over the coals for his scandal sheet piece. The fact is, Flynn is a public official and McBride has made herself a public person. News coverage of their actions come with the territory, for good or for bad.

It is most unfortunate for the friends and families of these two that they must deal with not only the pain this has caused, but the very public dissection of it. My empathy is with them.

Any comment on my part beyond the issues above and possibly the status of their jobs would be little more than gossip mongering, something else I have little interest in partaking in given the difficulty this already presents to a lot of people who did nothing wrong.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Define 'Proof'

Tom McMahon claims to have photographic proof that Michael Leon peed on the grave of Joseph McCarthy in violation of Appleton, Wisconsin ordinances. Unfortunately, like Mr. Leon, I'm afraid Mr. McMahon's evidence falls short. First, there is no way of telling from the photo if there is a urine stream. Second, it would appear that Mr. Leon is not a big man as we have no evidence of his unit actually being public. If the evidence can't measure up to reasonable doubt about it's true existence, it is tough to convict. And that should be of greater embarrassment to Mr. Leon than an actual record for doing this.

Palin Ain't the Future of Conservatism

While I'm on the topic, I'd like to address the ongoing adoration in some circles for Sarah Palin. I like Sarah Palin, and I think that politically, she was the best that the DOA McCain campaign could hope for. She could not carry the ticket for him, though, and she is not the future of conservatism. She is a excellent voice to have as part of the leadership, but she isn't a realistic candidate for the presidency. The public gave her type a chance in 2000 and 2004. They aren't going to give that type of candidate a chance again for a while.

By all means, be supportive of Governor Palin. But if you are excited about Palin's prospects in 2012, you really are wasting your time. The ass kicking that the right has faced will continue unabated unless we all take a good, hard look at reality, and reality does not include Palin as a viable presidential candidate.

Time to Concentrate the Fire Power

I have a word of advice for some of my fellow conservatives. It will no doubt go unheeded, but what the hell.

Stop firing your bullets at useless targets like David Letterman.

You aren't the majority anymore. In fact, you're getting your asses kicked. We don't have the luxury of fighting these stupid battles. Concentrate your fire on the men and women that you can beat in Washington and your state capitals. There is ample material there. Focusing instead on David Letterman and his ilk only makes your cause look asinine to those who vote but don't follow the issues all that closely. In other words, the people that unfortunately decide a lot of elections.

Monday, June 15, 2009

May The Good Lord Help Us

My wife and I are watching Joe Buck Live and the intro to the Favre interview. I commented that he was the Paris Hilton of the NFL. The lovely Mrs. Jib said that the sex tape won't come out until nobody wants the media whore anymore.

May the Good Lord help us.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Odd Journalistic Paragraphs

This inaugural edition of "Odd Journalistic Paragraphs" comes from the Telegraph:

But Mr Kildee, who has lived there nearly all his life, said he had first to overcome a deeply ingrained American cultural mindset that "big is good" and that cities should sprawl – Flint covers 34 square miles.

By London or Manhattan standards, maybe. 34 square miles, for a town of once over 200,000 people, is not that large. That's a town that, if perfectly square, would be less than 6 miles from one end to the other.

A Quick Thought

When looking at companies to buy, only a government buys the crappy ones.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Only In Madison, Wisconsin

So, the city of Madison is thinking about how it is going to grow and develop over the years. They've already told developers that the city can't grow towards the sky because it might block the pretty view of the capitol. Now they're telling them they can't grow outward, either, because they don't want people driving.

The suburbs must be loving their neurotic urban neighbor.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Arab World Lectures Obama About Lecturing

Heh.
"Obama is just a prettier face. I'm sure his intentions are in the right place but I don't expect much from the man," a Cairo electrician said on Wednesday as US President Barack Obama began his much-anticipated Middle East trip.

Newspapers, analysts and ordinary Arabs warned Obama -- whose election was hailed across the region -- against emulating the policies of Bush by lecturing Muslims on democracy, and also urged him to be tough with Israel.

Democrat Presidents have this obsession with feelings for some reason, and all of them have to come to the hard realization that the only way this part of the world is going to send America glad tidings is if we do their bidding for them. Their naivete is touching, but hopefully this president learns quickly that doing so would be an odious and futile effort.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Conan is Outstanding!

He has a new skit on the Tonight Show called the Twitter Tracker. It is like taking "If They Made It" and translating it to the fad of the day. It's Miley! "Don't Crap On the Ap."

Quick Question

How do people blog, tweet, Facebook, and participate in other various social media like Myspace (spit) and Flickr while still maintaining a real life?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How Do You View Spending?

After work tonight, I stopped at a local watering hole to meet my former co-blogger Col. Ollie. While I waited for him with an ice cold Leinie's Honey Weiss in front of me, a corporate event of some sort came in. A well dressed older gentleman bellied up to the bar, tossed down a credit card, and said, "I'm opening a tab, and it is going to be a big one." As I watched on as the bar filled up, I figured I had two ways of looking at the situation:

1. I could think, "What a waste of damn money. How much better off would corporate America be if they weren't running up tabs like these to essentially buy a party for people? Heads should roll for this excess in these times." (I suspect that 80% of the public would fall in line with some variation of this critique).

2. I could think, "Wow, it is quite the crowd in here tonight. I know the owner, and I'm glad he's getting this boost in business. And I see that he's tossing a few free appetizers their way. I hope these people come back, because this is a net good for the community. If it buys the company some goodwill with these individuals they are trying to woo, good for them, too."

I chose the second, but I think that I'm uncommon in that regard. Too many people right now are quick to judge the spenders without considering how essential this type of spending is to both the establishments receiving the sales and the businesses trying to make their own sales, as well as the employees at both. And that kind of judging will only stand to slow the pace at which we try to get back to some sort of economic normalcy.

The Althouse Fallacy

At least, that's what I'm naming this statement:

When a white man gets onto the Supreme Court, it's because of his legal credentials, because he got no points for diversity, but when a woman or a member of a minority group makes it onto the Court, she (or he) will be forever marginalized as an embodiment of the quality or qualities that clinched the appointment, even though excellent legal credentials were required for her to make it into the pool of finalists. Don't you see how unfair this marginalization is?

What makes it a fallacy, you say? Well, there is no reason to marginalize a woman or a minority when they are considered amongst a diverse group of the finest legal minds around, regardless of gender, race, or creed. However, when a President chooses to only consider one demographic for his nomination, it is perfectly fair to wonder if that person was the best of the best, or merely the best of the best of a very small select sliver of the available options. Unfortunately, racial and gender politicization have thrived on misconceptions like those of Ms. Althouse.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Why does the universe exist at all?

That headline is part of what Stephen Hawking wants to understand in his scientific efforts.

Until science has discovered and proven the answer to that question, it cannot say that it has either proven or disproven anything about religion.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Q: How Bad is Republican Leadership?

A: A former Vice President who should be enjoying retirement and a talk radio show host are forced to lead the opposition against the majority Democrats. Both are quite capable in their roles, but neither should have to be leading the charge. Pathetic.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dems Lay Down Cover Fire for Obama

Guess what? President Obama was wrong about Guantanamo Bay. Not that it mattered-he got to milk the issue for all it was popularly worth during the election. But the Democrats are coordinated right now, and congress is laying down covering fire for him. In what is being portrayed as a setback for the President, congressional Dems are refusing to authorize the funds to shut down the detention facility at Gitmo. It is not a setback at all. It is clear that Gitmo must continue to operate, but Obama cannot leave himself vulnerable in 2012 to charges that he reneged on one of his most popular campaign promises. So congressional Dems play the part of sober and responsible leaders, co-opt the Republican position on the matter, and deliver "setback" that is nothing of the sort.

The way Republicans are being politically out maneuvered right now is stunning.

Disappoinment

I am very dispirited with the right at the current time. There are lots of reasons for it, but a number of those reasons come back to the leadership. The Republican party needs to start building a narrative around President Obama. A lot of people out there are bothered, disturbed, or angered by at least one decision he's made. These things need to be jumped on, they need to be repeated, and they need to be tied back to his campaign to show what false promise he sold the American people. I'm not seeing very damn much of that. Until it happens, the right is going to continue to get trounced, and the right will remain powerless against everything we revile about Obama's far leftism.

With New CAFE, Time to Invest in Horse Power

So, with the Obama nanny state requiring CAFE standards that exceed the current and near future technological/performance capabilities, what does this mean for those of you who own a boat, or a trailer, or any other heavy item commonly towed behind a vehicle? What does it mean to you small contractors whose livelihood depends on that powerful, low gas mileage vehicle? I'll tell you what it means. It means you'd better look at investing in a team of horses to move your gear. Don't forget to thank your President for the Hope he's given you.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Noah: Out of Power Republicans Bigger Babies than Dems

This is amusing:

As a Democrat and longtime resident of Washington, D.C., I've always found the capital more congenial when my party was out of power. Partly that's because I make my living as a journalist. Republican presidents tend to create a more target-rich environment, not just for liberals but (I think) for everybody. Mostly, though, it's because Republicans out of power go out of their way to make life unpleasant for the rest of us. When Democrats lose, they're pathetic. When Republicans lose, they're bitter and mean.

Heh. I clearly made some poor choices in life by trying to make good choices. Had I chosen to be vapid and ignorant, I too could've landed a gig writing for Slate. Mr. Noah is clearly blocking out how big of babies his side (and he himself) were during the 8 years of the Bush administration.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Photo that Made New York Soil Itself

I really, really hope that this is one of the throw-aways from the administration's photo shoot of Air Force One. Because if this is one of the "good shots," then they are going to need to do some serious Photoshopping on it. And if they are going to need to do a lot of manipulating, then they may as well have taken the photo someplace else rather than keeping New Yorkers in the dark and scaring the living bejeebers out of them.

Because this photo sucks.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Will Griffey Jr. Skate Past the Scandal of His Era?

He just might, and part of the reason is that people really, really want to believe that he's innocent.

Yet that would be a clich├ęd reaction, naive to the fact that in a game tainted by lies atop lies, Junior is bidding farewell as an honest-to-goodness ambassador; as a man who -- Please, dear God, let this be true. Please -- became a legend without the assistance of a needle or an under-the-radar bag of pills and creams.

All I have to say is this: Don't get your hopes up. Anecdotal evidence leans against Griffey being clean. First, look at that guy early in his career. He was a very lean ball player who thickened up considerably as his power numbers grew. Still, we could look at his father and say that was natural growth. But then look at the types of injuries that held him back during his years in Cincinnati. They were the pulled/torn muscle type of injuries that can inflict a person that becomes to strong for his skeletal structure-the types of injuries than afflict steroid users.

Until there is evidence otherwise, we have to assume that Grif is clean. But don't let that assumption make an ass out of you.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

An Early Post-Mortem on the Mexican Swine Flu

I've done quite a bit of reading on the recent swine flu, and I've come to some educated but unscientific conclusions. I share them with you because I think they run counter to the general coverage right now but I also think they are accurate.

First, the way this story evolved, this particular flu strain looked terrifying. We were getting reports of deaths from Mexico that were growing at a high rate to the number of confirmed cases that were being reported. It has seemed terrifying at times. Almost too terrifying to be believable. The death rate appeared to be incredibly high compared to even the 1918 influenza. But what we were probably seeing was an anomaly in the data collection. This flu has probably been spreading for over a month, possibly well over a month, but it wasn't being identified as anything other than a typical flu virus.

At some point, deaths in Mexico lead to the actual virus being identified. The new and unique nature of the virus led to a natural alarm, and attention immediately went to the cases where death occurred. Because of that increased attention to the cases where flu deaths occurred, those numbers began to rise at a faster rate than reported cases where recovery happened. As the focus shifted to containment because of the fear generated by the increases in deaths, we naturally began identifying more and more cases of this flu. Most of these cases appeared to be serious, so as this number has expanded, it has seemed to confirm suspicions that we were facing a deadly pandemic. But that may have neglected another part of this picture, and that is that many, many more people have probably been infected but the infection has been so mild that they A) Never sought treatment, B) May not have even thought it was the flu, perhaps even confusing their symptoms for that of a bad cold, and C) May have even been asymptomatic.

Two important pieces of information have appeared in the past couple of days, and as the tidal wave of this story has rolled on, I think they have been under reported. The first is reports that the confirmed death toll in Mexico may actually be lower than what we've been hearing. The second is reports from the scientific field that this virus appears to be no more deadly than the typical seasonal flu virus. If true, both of these pieces of data would indicate this panic was created by data collection that started with the most serious instance, cases that resulted in death, and worked backwards to the least serious, which would be cases so mild as to go unreported.

In all likelihood, this flu virus will be out of the news loop in two weeks. Many of us will be asking the question "how the hell did this virus become a panic," and I think it is going to be some variation of the above.

One other thing on the news coverage of this. I've been seeing more and more reporting that holds up the example of the 1918 flu that started mild in the spring and became deadly that fall as what we have to look forward to. This is lazy, fear mongering journalism that relies on the false belief that history repeats itself exactly. Could this flu come back more deadly in the fall? Perhaps, but it will likely be worked into next winter's flu shots. Unless it makes a radical genetic change, that vaccine will likely go a long way to tempering any increase in lethality. And remember, in 1918, we did not have the benefit of a vaccination routine. Additionally, the 'history repeats itself' model is incredibly irresponsible as the likelihood that this virus would follow the exact route of the 1918 virus is more remote than you buying a Powerball ticket and winning this weekend.

So, long story short, you can probably direct your worries in other directions. This flu is going to be looked back upon as much ado about nothing.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Absurdity Reaches New Levels

Yeah, ya know that ugly recession that's restricting our spending power? It's making y'all fat:
The recession that is shrinking workers' paychecks may also be expanding their waistlines, a survey showed on Wednesday.

One in 10 U.S. workers said they are snacking more during the day due to concerns over the economic situation, and nearly half complained of gaining weight in their jobs, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com, an online jobs site.

It said 43 percent of employees surveyed reported they have gained weight while in their present jobs. A quarter said they gained more than 10 pounds and a sixth gained more than 20 pounds.

C'mon now. This defies all logic. If this survey is at all accurate, then this is the first time in history that dire economic straits has led to increased obesity. And if that's the case, then we really aren't in that dire of economic straits.

Having a Child in Uncertain Times

I think having your first child is nerve wracking for any responsible father-to-be, but when was the last time it was this nerve wracking? The economic sky is falling and there is a flu nobody can predict erupting all around us. As a soon-to-be-dad, there is this giant protective bubble I want to put over my family, but there are so many things that I can't control for. It's maddening.

Choking the Golden Goose

Oh my.
The United Auto Workers union’s retiree health-care fund will own 55 percent of Chrysler LLC in exchange for cutting in half the automaker’s $10.6 billion cash obligation to the trust, people familiar with the matter said.

Under the terms of the contract, the trust would get representation on the company’s board of directors, said two people briefed on the deal, who asked not to be named because the matter is private.

One of two things will result from this. The 'new' Chrysler will be bled dry, or a certain union is going to get an up close and personal look at how unrealistic their demands on business are. I'm putting a larger wager on the former.

Pandemic Thought

We are currently in a situation where we have a flu virus that is rapidly spreading through the population and we have no clue what so ever about how serious the illness is. Is it a very deadly strain, as the initial Mexico evidence would indicate, or is that Mexican evidence somehow bad, giving us a skewed view of the lethality of this virus? Either way, we don't know, so shouldn't we be looking at taking some common sense precautions like shutting down sporting events and closing schools en masse while we figure it out? Because once we figure it out, it is going to be too late to do anything.

Or are we already past the point where any of that matters?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No Mas, Brett, No Mas!

Ugh.

Brett Favre was released from the reserve-retired list by the New York Jets on Tuesday night, making the quarterback a free agent if he decides to again come out of retirement.
[...]
The 39-year-old Favre, who spent one disappointing season with New York, had requested the move several weeks ago through agent Bus Cook, but insisted he has no plans to come out of retirement for a 19th season.

No plans to come back? Co-bullshit-ugh. Yeah, I'm sure he has no plans to come back, especially not with the only team in the division without a QB, the Vikings. Because most guys ask to be released after they retire.

An Auto Thought

If I were Toyota or Honda, and I could find a way to swing it in this economy, I'd buy Pontiac, or at least the brand. Keep the brands but re-engineer the models from scratch and re-introduce them in about five years. They've both already made huge inroads into the American market, but this just might buy them the goodwill of more loyal customers of the formerly Big Three.

Arlen Specter Turns Democrat

Interesting. I didn't know he was still a Republican.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Never Waste A Good Crisis

As we look at a potentially deadly flu pandemic, am I the only one filtering everything the Obama administration does through that quote by Rahm Emanuel?

The Tone Deaf Obama Administration

I know that the nation is still mostly in worship stage, but how insensitive and tone deaf is this administration that it decided it was Kosher to fly a commercial jet and an F-16 low over lower Manhattan with out giving the public a warning? This administration is looking frighteningly lightweight.

And speaking of lightweight, I know that Democrats are pointing out that Republicans fought pandemic funding in the stimulus, but what kind of an administration drags its feet on appointing people to the Treasury during a financial crisis and faces a potential flu pandemic without a Secretary of Health & Human Services or even a Surgeon General?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Now is the time to get concerned

I've been a huge critic of the new and old media for their panic mongering over the avian flu. It did nobody any good to be excessively worried about that potential threat to global health. This flu in Mexico, a bizarre swine, avian, and human flu combo, is something to be legitimately concerned about. Panicked, no, but concerned, yes.

At this point, it looks like this flu responds well to treatment with Tamiflu. There are also indications, based off of limited U.S. cases, that it may not be as lethal as some past flu pandemics. But it pays to take precautions. Now is probably a good time to swear off hand shakes and/or greeting kisses, to step up basic sanitization, and maybe even to stock up on some masks and gloves. It certainly would pay to have emergency stocks of basics. I don't think we'll need them, but this is a time where it is better to be safe than sorry.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Braden Looper for Cy Young

Seriously. The only other bright spot on this Brewers roster so far is Todd Coffey.

Happy Earth Day

The title to this post makes me giggle, because when was the last time you met a happy environmentalist? But anyway, do have a happy Earth Day. If you are celebrating Gaia by forsaking electricity or water for the day, I'll know by your slightly rank scent or mismatched clothes, so please don't be offended if I give you a wide berth for the day. As for me, I'm going to celebrate a little differently. I'm going to celebrate the bounties of this planet by taking an extra long, extra hot shower in the morning. Hell, I may sleep with the lights on tonight just to honor the powers we've discovered on this spinning ball of mud.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

California Cows Must Not Be Happy

Remember those commercials about California's happy cows? They must be as neurotic as their state's citizens can be, because they apparently aren't happy now:

California, the nation’s top milk producer, had a 3.8 percent drop in its March output.

The Golden State’s dairy herd dropped by about 20,000 cows, while Wisconsin added 5,000 cows in March.

The production per cow also grew in Wisconsin by about 25 pounds, while it dropped 55 pounds in California.

Maybe if those Cali dairy farmers get their cows some counseling and a good prescription, they'll start making happy milk again.

Huge Fraud Potential in Bailout

Huh. Thank goodness government let us know about that. I don't who would have ever predicted that.

Oh wait, that's right. I did. And I'm no seer. It should have been painfully obvious to all of us.

Monday, April 20, 2009

They Said if We Elected George W. Bush...

...political opponents would be castigated as terrorists. I guess they were right. It just took President Obama to realize the "hope" of the Bush administration. (Apologies to Glen Reynolds and his now defunct "They Said" series).

Mythbusters Wisconsin

Pay attention Badger Kari Byron geeks. Mythbusters was in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the geek club couldn't form a Byron worship service because, the best to my knowledge, their presence wasn't announced in advance. However, if you want to see Kari Byron et al in Wisconsin, look for the "Alaska Special 2." Bonus points to anyone that can name where they did the snow plow test.

Oh, by the way, if I didn't say so already, Kari Byron.

New Detroit Lions Logo

Not surprisingly, it is even lamer than the old one. I see that and think Detroit Cowardly Lions.

Wisconsin Prediction

To my Wisconsin reader: Do you remember 2006? At the beginning of that year, there was a real question as to who would be the best Republican candidate for governor. If you were within Southeastern Wisconsin proper, you were most likely a Scott Walker supporter. If you were outside of that region of the state, you were most likely a Mark Green supporter. Scott Walker removed himself from the race, but Green never really stirred the passions of former Walker supporters, nor did he garner outsized support "outstate".

Well, I see a similar scenario on our horizon. There is early support crystallizing around former U.S. Congressman Mark Neumann. Now, if you've read this blog or the Badger Blog Alliance at all, you know that I am a Scott Walker supporter, but this isn't about who I think is the better candidate. What this is about is what I see as a continued schism in this state's Republican party. While both Neumann and Walker are SE Wisconsin Republicans, I can see a similar split developing in the party where supporters of the loser never fully get on board with the winner. And if that happens, this state will concede another election to Jim "Ponzi Scheme" Doyle.

Go DOW Go!


Go DOW Go!
Originally uploaded by Jibby7
I was in Madison on Saturday when I saw this license plate. Someone is apparently long in the market, or damn close to retirement.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

And Fuel Economy Will Continue to Deteriorate

The gas mileage your car gets will probably drop in the future. Is it that dastardly American auto industry's fault for making shoddy cars? Nope, it'll be your government's fault:
The U.S. government will eventually allow higher levels of ethanol to be blended into gasoline, Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen said on Tuesday.

Ethanol is currently approved to make up 10 percent of gasoline, but producers have lobbied the government to increase the blend level.

The science is pretty clear on what ethanol does to gas mileage. I can only shake my head at the stupidity.