Monday, March 30, 2009

epic battle: star wars versus crosby, stills, nash & young

"America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts. It rests in the message of hope in songs of a man so many young Americans admire, New Jersey's Bruce Springsteen." -Incumbent Presidential Candidate Ronald Reagan during a campaign stop in 1984.

When I watch this political ad from a bygone day I am reminded at just how slow America is to change. It also illustrates just how long we have been working on many of the same economic and social justice issues that still confront this nation.

The campaign commercial is from the 1984 Walter Mondale/Geraldine Ferraro run against the Ronald Reagan/Pappy Bush re-election bid. Weird that it was almost 30 years ago and perhaps weirder still, the themes echoed in this spot aren't that much different than those brought forth by the Democrats in 2008. We're still fighting the same battles, the same view of how our country should look that we fought 25 years ago. At the time, many thought that surely the country would opt for teaching their children rather than building Star Wars weapons of mass-destruction. Actually when talking about the Star Wars missile defense system we should really be talking about weapons of non-destruction since they never seemed to work. Then the votes were counted and Reagan was reelected by the one of the largest landslides in history.

Sometimes I think we are fooled by how easy it seems to be to listen in on the candidates, the pundits who cover them, and the myriad of conversations from laypersons about America's problems. Just because people are constantly shouting at each other doesn't mean anyone is taking the time to listen to each anyone's rhethoric. And this includes their own, for if they were, many ought be embarassed by their own message.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

obamas dopey response

President Obama, who still thinks we can win a war in Afghanistan fighting terrorists, looks like a dope with his cookie-cutter response against legalizing marijauana.

Friday, March 27, 2009

pounded in the low post

Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser was the lone dissenting vote in yesterday's budget approval by the city council. Since finances are supposed to be the Mayor's strong suit, his failure to have much of an impact on the budget process is another sad illustration of his inability to lead the council. They pretty much decided after some of his earlier shenanigans to just go ahead and make decisions without him. Should the Mayor move to veto the budget, given that the council is solidly stacked in opposition, the council would quickly override it and this action could only serve to further weaken what little power the Mayor has left.

council pounds budget past mayor.

i love this country

Maria Kalman provides an antidote to political cynicism.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

hoi polloi: depression-era comedy

Pete Meade imagines Jim Carrey, Sean Penn, and Benito del Toro as the new Stooges. It might have been called You Suck at Photoshop.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

im alive!!!!

And you thought my posts were nutty. From the Daily Show archives.

03.20.09 at 09:34pm
hello world!!! I finally got a lap top and it works. neibhor must have wi fi. because here i am. 41 yrs old and i havent a clue what the hell i'm doing,like a kid in a candy store ive been surfin the last two days.the daily show with jon stewart/real time with bill maher is my favorite shows. i've longed to be apart of www, im so trying too make up 4 lost time its made me physically ill. e-harmony is next move maybe i can find a wife? lots a love fellow Dailyshowers/realtimers back from oblivion this is Paul V. aka(cash).from tacoma washington, im alive!!!!!!
by pbv426

bracket buster

Many conservative news pundits, who began slinging crap and labels like 'socialist' even before the new administration took office, seem to be disappointed in every thing the administration does these days. Sadly, if you listen to many of them, they seem to be saying the same things that liberals were saying about the Bush administration just a few short months ago. The administration is lying. The administration's plan for solving the war can't and won't work. We'll be mired in the Middle East for decades. There isn't enough money to do the needed tasks.

Last evenings White House news conference proved that it's generally a slow transition from running for office to governance. Running for office, especially if one can cast themselves as an outsider, is often no more difficult than separating oneself from the competition and making the vague promises that voters want and need to hear. If you make anything more than vague promises during an election cycle, you're wasting time and likely unelectable. Governance, however, is much more difficult, if only because more folks are involved in the decision-making process. The new budget process illustrates this quite well.

The Obama administration can offer a road to balanced budgets all it wants, but ultimately Congress has to pass it. And the Congressional process, with its reliance on K street lobbyists and endless re-election financing is still ripe for pillaging the American dream. Everyone hates pork, unless it happens to be in their own district, and then it is a needed infrastructure enhancement.

There a saying in recovery, 'you didn't get in this mess overnight, so don't expect to get out of it overnight.' And it works on many levels. Personal and/or family relationships and/or hardships. The point being is don't expect this administration to solve our problems in the first 100 days. Hell, they'll be lucky if during the first few months of this administration they correctly identify the root cause of our problems and some reasonable approaches on how to solve them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

faceoff on facebook

Philip Seymour Hoffman discusses Facebook with Tom Cruise
Mission Impossible Facebook

Monday, March 23, 2009

tv time out? head back to sxsw

I don't look like I used to
I don't walk like I used to
I don't love like I used to
Oh I...
When I feel old

Can't do the things I...can't to the things I...used to,
'cause Oh I...I feel, feel, I feel old.

--Erika Wennerstrom, The Heartless Bastards
Next tv time out you might want to surf over and catch some of NPR's All Music Considered coverage of the recent SXSW You can only hear a handful of the nearly 2,000 bands that played at this year's SXSW festival but there's a decent sampling of indie music that's a lot more interesting than a mismatch.

Grinding Fat Possum rockers, The Hearless Bastards, turn in a charged set from Stubb's Bar-B-Q. The Avett Brothers throw down country cooking from North Carolian that'll put meat on your bones and a smile on your face. And Blind Pilot, the only band in recent history to tour on bikes, as in bicycles, serve sturdy, sweet pop songs for dessert. K'Naan provides some dancing afro-beat, rapping riffs from Mogadishu, Somalia by way of Canada with a detour through Harlem. A decent buffet at all-you-can eat prices.

As NPR's core audience ages, it's been trying new approaches (blogs, podcasts, and yes! even twitter) to attract younger audiences. Thus, for the past couple of years, NPR Music has been broadcasting, in cooperation with the Austin independent radio station KUT, live sets from SXSW. And NPR, likely thinking of that core audience who still writes checks, tends to focus on indie bands previously profiled on such stalwart shows as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air. If you want to discover bands on your own you still going to have make your way to the local clubs or take a road trip to Austin and stand in line. Sounds like a plan but in the meantime...

K'Naan image by Chris Holden in Ottawa, 2007

blind pilot rides hands-off bars
radio k (minneapolis) sxsw coverage
100 bands from sxsw

Thursday, March 19, 2009

how badly do you want it!

Either the world just keeps getting more hopeful, or stranger. Shepard Fairey, whose work, informed by constructivist, propaganda posters, frequently criticized the capitalistic notion of an unfettered free market, is designing the 2009 Saks Fifth Avenue Want It! campaign.

To Fairey's credit, the process began last September, before HOPE made everyone hopeful, and $15 of the $20 cost of one of his Want It! totes goes to the not-for-profit company HOPE (Helping Other People Everywhere). But don't you find it a little unsettling that someone who has made a reputation working around the edges of capitalism ends up making bags for a company whose idea of recreating itself revolves around trying to convince folks that rampant, wanton greed is a good thing.

I'm pretty sure we can expect Mr. Fairey to be making guest appearances on Gossip Girl in the near future.
a previous want it! campaign

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

how to win at everything, including march madness

Bracketology broken down to a hunch.
Don't bet the house. Unless it's already in foreclosure.

Seems as though betting on the office pool has done more to advance game theory statistics than most anything else. You can listen to those sports-talking blowhards drop hints about upset specials all you want, but just pony up your money right now 'cause I'm ready to take it.

My money and bracketology is backed by the combined power and wisdom of the Logistic Regression Markov Chain, Las Vegas odds, and a few secrets pulled from a hat. Are you ready for a schooling?

Every year some computer science engineer, or more likely a whole group of them, announce they've recently developed the most sophisticated computer model for predicting March Madness outcomes. Last year it was the Logistic Regression Markov Chain (LRMC) which is a fancy name for a multiple regression analysis.

Logistic Regression Markov Chain was developed and refined by researchers Joel Sokol, Paul Kvam and George Nemhauser who are optimization and statistics professors at the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech. I think what that really means is that you should never, ever, play poker against them.

LRMC is fairly simple. The data that goes into the model are scoreboard inputs, meaning everyone has easy access to them. The most obvious example of this is who won and who lost the game. Won-loss record is the one of the best predictors of who will win a head-to-head match. The rest of variables just help to further define the difference between the teams. Teams who kick ass all the time by racking up huge margins of victory are more likely to kick a new opponents ass. Seems pretty obvious doesn't it. LRMC throws in some other factors, like how well the team performed against tough opponents, home record, road record, etc.

Basically though, LRMC isn't that much different than a slew of other rankings, all using more or less the same basic strategy built around won-loss records and each with a few bells and whistles thrown in to try to find the magic piece of the puzzle. You can see them all side-by-side here(massey ratings). One good thing about this site is that you can begin to see how each model compares to other models. Look closely, they all pretty much match up. Why? They have to; they all use pretty much the same data!

The ranking systems can give you the big picture. In general, any team ranked higher than another team, would be expected to beat the one ranked lower. Anyone picking the higher seeds to win will correctly pick about 70 percent of the time; but generally you have to do better than that if you want the loot. In reality, very little separates the top teams from one another. So pray, tell me, how to make the tough choices and move into the range of 75-80 percent correct picks in order to obtain office bragging rights?

Vegas odds. There's a reason Vegas is always in the black. The public, as a whole, is good at predicting a winner. The number of bets placed, determines the odds, so the team with the highest odds is the best choice. The problem with Vegas odds is that they are a constantly moving target, the odds need to be re-evaluated after each round and your complete bracket is due by 11 am ET Thursday. Vegas odds do have the advantage of incorporating some intangibles, like near-home court advantage, injuries, suspensions, etc. One problem with Vegas odds is that every booking agency in Vegas makes their own odds and the public interest can be fueled by a big star. For example, a lot of money is moving on Oklahoma because of the publicity around Blake Griffith, likely the college player of the year, and the odds are increasing they'll win the show. Does this make Oklahoma a better team? No. But it might get the crowd behind them which can alter games. Find the latest Vegas futures odds here.

Lastly, it turns out once the teams have been reduced to eight (regional finals) you can just guess at the winners. There's a 50/50 chance of each team winning. Ranking, odds, none of this matters anymore. One guess is as good as the next. But, here's the problem for you my friend. Your bracket is due Thursday, so your guesses for the later rounds have to be made before you know who'll be playing. Your chances on each game would be even if you got to pick again after each round, which you probably don't. So how do you insure that you have the best chance of having the top 8? You go back to the rankings and the odds. This is your best chance to be in the mix. But how good is that?

Turns out the best models predict about 75 percent of the games. Actually, the models are built in reverse. They don't predict; they calibrate to past data. We try to use them like fortune tellers but they are not. Models explain the past to give us insight into the future. And if you read the statistical papers carefully, they generally talk only about how well they do with getting the final four teams right. They generally don't talk about how well they did with actually predicting the overall winner, because if they could do that with any degree of certainty, they wouldn't be slinging numbers for a living, they'd be slinging cash money at the bar.

So now you are down to eight? Maybe you have all eight, but then what? You still want to win to office pool. Time to pull the rabbit from the hat. And what's inside?

Any one's guess. No shit. That's the secret. Just guess. It's luck at this point. Even if you have correctly picked all teams in the final 8, there are still 24 possible combinations to get to a champion. You aren't that good. So just guess. But here's a thought. At this point, since it doesn't really matter and the most you stand to lose is what, five or ten bucks, then root, root, root for the home team if available. They just might win it all.

Who knows, next year's top model might just be Correlated Gaussian Methodology. But if you plan on being Top Office Dog, you'll still have to couple those fancy model predictions with a sophisticated Lucky Guess.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

it's st. pat's day: sue a fairey

Fingerpointing in the art world now means lawsuits and countersuits.

Another lawsuit to go with those already filed.

Why wait? file your's today.

Monday, March 16, 2009

march madness

You knew it had to happen. Spring is just around the corner and behind that Easter. So here to welcome in another season of life is the inflatable 10-foot tall chick-rabbit.

Forget for a moment that bunnies don't lay eggs, nor have wings and that chicks don't have large, floppy ears. The fact that chicks aren't sexually mature enough to lay eggs, and when they (chickens) are capable, they rarely lay eggs a third the size of their body, seems trivial. Instead, think of it like this. If folks are still spending money on such frivolities, there's hope yet that we can still rely on rebuilding our economy through mindless consumerism.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

why settle for anything less than world domination?

Stand up on your feet
'Cause your life is short as hell
You could be dead tomorrow
Today may be your

Last chance to believe in yourself
Your last chance to yell
Your last chance to be good to yourself
Your last chance to drink from life's well

Was the recent induction of Shooting Star into the Kansas Rock and Roll Hall of Fame timed to coincide with the announcement of the 25th anniversary Spinal Tap reunion tour “Unwigged, Unplugged, and Undead.”? Maybe not, but I think we can agree on one thing. What both bands hope to accomplish can be summed up in two words, "World Domination!" They've got the adoring fans, now they just need to find more sponsors.

Shooting Star, whose highest charting single was #82 on the Billboard Top 100 back in 1989, are frequently described by themselves and their fans as a band which verged on superstardom. The band recently released Live from Ameristar Casino.
So drink from the well
Oh yeah

Drink from the well
Oh yeah

Drink from the well

Saturday, March 14, 2009

jesus on the main line

Tell Him what you want.

Jon Stewart's much touted interview with MSNBC host of Mad Money, Jim Cramer came to pass this week with more hype than the return of the Friends cast to television. Stewart's show has been calling out Cramer in recent weeks for his role, or more precisely, his lack of a role, as an unbiased business reporter. Instead of talking about some of the writing on the wall, Cramer's show was more of a non-stop, razz fest on the joy of unfettered, free-market capitalism. Watching Mad Money is a bit like watching a young Louis Rukheyser, if Louis Rukheyser had spent ample amounts of his investment earnings on cocaine and dressed like a croupier.

Unfortunately, it's not as though MSNBC was a lone wolf in the land of myopic dreams and cars that get 20 mpg. The same argument, that journalist failed to do their job, could be leveled against most everyone (outside of Democracy Now) who covered the the war in Iraq and much of the Bush administration. It was only in about year six of Bush's two-term reign did the tide in the mainstream media shift against Bush. Many of them are still too scared to take on the war in Iraq, lest they offend our troops. Although doing a show from mid-town Manhattan in the shell shock of 9/11 made them initially cautious as anti-war activists, to the Daily Show's credit, they were on the stink earlier than most.

Here's what I find amusing, if not troubling. People are acting a though a great secret has recently been revealed to them -- capitalism is just a giant pyramid scheme. Have they just previously chosen to ignore the underlying premise of social security, retirement accounts, and houses that double in value every seven years?It's a system that can only work if more and more people come in at the bottom and support those who have gone on before them. There are enough pink Cadillacs still rolling on the streets to prove this point.

Everyone is fine and happy with this system so long as their 401k plans continue to earn 10 percent per annum. And if they earn 20 or 30 percent per year, then that earns them the right to buy bottle service and fuck who they want. Yet they rarely stop to ask themselves, is there some God-given right to double-digit returns on investments? Unfortunately many, especially many Americans, have come to believe this to be true.

Friday, March 13, 2009

sports au naturel

Swiss golfer, Henrick Stenson, proves that golf is the only professional sport where one is permitted to play in your underwear. I really think he's just trying to get a Jockey endorsement.

However, there are several amateur sports where folks take the au naturel approach. For instance, there's the little known sport of ice chopping whereby naked men, wielding only an axe, courage, and a shriveled penis see who can chop the fastest route across a frozen river.

Then there's probably the craziest sport ever invented, naked skateboard luge, where, and this is no joke, people lie down naked on a skateboard and attempt to ride down steep and winding hills. A few summers ago, while walking home late one night, my friend and I heard the distinctive sounds of wheels on pavement coming in our direction. We stopped and waited. In a few seconds, around the bend came a person lying prone on a skateboard. They whizzed past us gathering speed and we marveled as they leaned and guided the streaking board expertly down the broad hill and evenly around curves. Once they went out view, we both looked at each other and asked incredulously, "was that person naked?" Sure enough. We found a spot near the top the hill and watched for the next hour as one after one crazed young adults stripped and took to the hill wearing only sneakers.

The fun only stopped after a car blindly approaching from the opposite direction nearly ran over one of the lugers as they passed each other in the middle of the road. The driver stopped when he got to the top of hill, jumped out of the car, and shouted, "you're going to get someone killed!"

To which I replied, "hey, did you happen to notice that person wasn't wearing any clothes?" The driver gave me a puzzled look, got back in his car, slammed the door, and burned rubber as he drove off. Spoil sport!

Henrick Stenson image Getty Images

Thursday, March 12, 2009

astana to ride 2009 tour of missouri

Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, whose most significant accomplishment in office has been what he's done to elevate professional cycling as a premier event in the state, announced today that Team Astana has committed to the 2009 Tour of Missouri. Astana is the most powerful stage-racing team in the world and includes Alberto Contador, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, and Andreas Kloden among its members.

The Kazakhstan Team Astana joins American teams Charmin-Chilpolte and Columbia High Road, Swiss-based Cervelo Test Team, and Italian Liquidgas as having committed to race come September. Ten more slots will be filled in the coming months but the stage is already set to have some of the best riders in the world competing in the 3rd annual Tour of Missouri.

It will likely be the end of the summer, after the Grand Tours, before Astana announces it's lineup. I'd be surprised to see Lance Armstrong ride this race, but you never know. It just might be the final swansong of his much ballyhooedcomeback training ride.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

peace officer

Josh Myers, Deputy Sheriff of Coffee County Alabama, offers one of the better arguments for controlling assault weapons on our nation's streets. Deputy Sampson's wife and 2 month-old child were killed by a gunman wielding among other weapons, an AK-47. The gunman was able to fire several thousand rounds at family members, former employers, and random encounters on the streets of Sampson, Alabama. Eleven people, including the gunman who eventually shot himself, died in the rampage.

Monday, March 9, 2009

skeptical of the skeptics

Just because the Bush Adminstration has left the building doesn't mean that science isn't still being obfuscated and politicized by ideologues. Case in point, the 2nd International Conference on Climate Change. The conference is being sponsored by the Heartland Institute, a group whose mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. One would have thought that the last 8 years would have dampened unfettered market love for most things, including science, but my guess is that most of those in attendance have taken huge hits in the stock market and are plenty pissed about it.

The groups real beef appears not to be with the science, but with the money. So in an effort to discredit the science, they label proponents to global climate change as "radical environmentalists" and "anti-business".

If global warming is indeed a crisis, billions of dollars taken from taxpayers will flow into the coffers of radical environmental groups, giving them the resources and stature to implement other parts of their anti-technology, anti-business agenda. None of that money will go to actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This explains the paradox that even though the scientific community is deeply divided over the causes and consequences of global warming, every single environmental advocacy group in the U.S. (and probably the world) believes it is a crisis.
The conference suggests that elite scientists, economists and others specializing in climate issues will be in attendance - no doubt giving props to white folk who just can't get jiggy wid the notion that it's getting hot in here. Those other specialists will no doubt be quoted widely by the likes of Hannity, Limbaugh, and other fat cat mouthpieces in the coming weeks.
attack of the skeptics

Sunday, March 8, 2009

the zeitgeist: sarah palin explains life, love, and why she loves the jonas brothers

Everyone seems to be after the zeitgeist. Last year The Dark Knight was advertised as capturing the zeitgeist of our nation which I suppose was meant to suggest that everyone is corrupt and chasing evil, even if that means our own demons, so why not plunk down a 10 spot and forget that the End is Near.

But once the calendar flipped into '09, regardless that the economy had yet to follow suit, TDK quickly lost much of its vulgar charm. Suddenly it seemed everyone, even politicians who formerly complained about our sound bite culture, were all a Twitter. The book, due this the spring, will surely be more than 140 words.

But beyond the marketing campaigns to define cool, the moment does not stand still even as we are tempted to rest. Therefore, google to the rescue. The same software that allows the government and industry types to track your every whim provides an estimator of the moment, or the moment just passed. Look at the most frequently searched terms over the past the year and the zeitgeist is defined for you. I'll warn you though, it can be depressing. Here's the 2008 top ten list.

Fastest Rising (Global)
1. sarah palin
2. beijing 2008
3. facebook login
4. tuenti
5. heath ledger
6. obama
7, nasza klasa
8. wer kennt wen
9. euro 2008
10. jonas brothers

Even though Sarah Palin topped the 2008 list it's not completely depressing. The top two searches involving the string What is? were what is life? and what is love?. Apparently we haven't completely lost our minds although one is left wonder how many folks are in love with Sarah Palin and believe that she was sent her to explain the meaning of life.

Note that Tuenti, nasza klasa, and wer kennt wen are Spanish-, Polish-, and German-language social engineering sites along the lines of facebook. So it would seem that, the zeitgeist never really changes from year-to-year or culture-to-culture. People just want to hook up with one another and will use whatever tools are at hand to try and do so.

zeitgeist! from google

Saturday, March 7, 2009

when I grow up i want to save the world

"like let's say, let's say law school doesn't work out, this will probably be my second choice" middle school student Thomas Escarpeda speaking about an engineering career on KC Currents, 1 March 2009
The other morning, while consuming my daily dose of yogurt, granola, and radio news, I came upon a piece about a new program to increase interest in engineering as a profession. There's been a wealth of stories to suggest the US has fallen way behind in science and engineering education but the peeps coming through the door at the House of Many Rivers, Volcanoes, and Earthquake Maps is any indication, one needs a Master's degree just to be qualified for the tech position. Either that, or once hired, firms decide they really don't like the independent thinking that employing scientists brings to an organization so after a few years of questioning along the lines of "has anyone in this organization ever tested whether or not on-line safety training actually reduces accidents?" they are told that perhaps they are better suited for a career in 'sales'.

The radio piece explored a learning approach whereby middle and high school students are allowed and trusted to tackle open-ended problem solving. It makes for a noisy classrooms, provides higher-level critical thinking, and has been around, as a concept, for years. It works, but requires dedicated teachers, even more dedicated administrations, and students bent on learning. All skills which can be taught but the 'teach to the test' approach has to be thrown out the window which can make some teachers, not to mention parents and students uncomfortable.

Education programs designed to train engineers frequently seem to focus on building robots. Robots are cool, who doesn't love a robot, but this kind of thinking tends to perpetuate the idea that robots are going to save the world. Which is kind of at odds with the notion that perhaps it's going to be left to humans to save the world.

"the first thing we do is hire all the lawyers to kill the engineers. Then we kill the lawyers." [paraphrasing Henry VI, Part 2 | Act IV, Scene 2]
Now generally I'm a nonviolent person, but one would have to agree that many of the messes that we find ourselves in can be traced back to either shitty engineering designs by folks who apparently never take a walk in nature, or attorneys suing for the right of unfettered capitalism to profit from toxic materials (and assets). I think if we're going to train a new generation of more robust thinkers, then science and engineering programs ought to spend as much time having students explore other ways of thinking, such as art, as they do with the 'facts'. Facts are really the best approximation given the data at hand. Science is the story that binds these elements together.

Why do you never hear a child say, "you know, when I grow up I want to be a poet, and if that doesn't work out, then maybe a playwright." If the world is to be saved, who would you have save it?

kc currents
project lead the way

Friday, March 6, 2009

what to give up for lent on a friday in march

There's a great scene in Doubt where Sister Alyosious has invited Father Flynn to her office to talk about a 'situation'. Tea is served and the Father asks for sugar, which takes the stern, uncompromising Head Mistress a few minutes to find because the the sugar bowl is hidden in the back of her desk. To the sister's surprise the Father takes 3 lumps of sugar and when he asks the Sister if she'd like some, she remarks, "no, I gave it up last year for Lent."

To which the Father replies, "well, it mustn't have been much of a sacrifice."

What are you giving up for Lent and OK, if you're not of that persuasion, for the economic stimulus plan?

I suggested giving up insanity, at least until Easter or the economy turns, but my friend was against it. Instead, she recommended something considerably more pedestrian yet sacrificial, like reading. Seems a bit severe, if not entirely problematic. Movies? I might give up movies. I've watched more movies in the last 3 months than books I've read. A sure sign that something might be amiss in the universe. Recently I've been catching up on some interesting television dramas that are now on cd, "Mad Men" and "The Wire". Proof that if you build good dialogue around chain-smoking or heroin addiction, you've got yourself a winner.

Maybe I'll give up Brussels sprouts. I just recently learned to love them, so maybe I could live without.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

picking cotton, finding forgiveness

The act of complete forgiveness seems to be one of the more difficult human struggles. I think most of us have something, or someone, that we just can't quite forgive of their transgressions. Once you hear the story of Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson-Cannino you may come to realize that if these folks can forgive one another (and themselves) and become friends, then true forgiveness is possible for everyone.

joint this i believe essay
picking cotton, the website

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

war is over

John Stewart and Computer G analyze the end of Iraq War, formerly known as "Mission Accomplished". The answer might surprise you.

Monday, March 2, 2009

homer simpson explains the financial crisis

AIG, known affectionately by those who care as American International Group, posted the largest quarterly loss, $62 billion, in history last Friday. If that seems like a lot of money, it is. Total AIG losses for the year were $100 billion. And how much money is that? $100 billion is larger than the gross domestic product of 70 percent of the world's countries. Seventy percent of them!

To prevent the collapse of AIG, the government infused them with another $30 billion today. That money is in addition to another $150 billion already given to AIG in the past year by the US government. According to experts, of which I am not one, we must help AIG lest the entire western way of banking collapses at our feet. Given the way things are happening, maybe it's time it did.

one of the experts?

So the government now owns 80 percent of the assets of AIG and we (read: the government) apparently don't know where the money went in the process because AIG isn't talking. And for those keeping score at home, 80 percent would seem to be sufficient to classify this transaction as 'nationalization'. Now if I only get myself to tell my other self, whether or not nationalizing this company was in my own best interest then I can be satisfied that I made the right decision. Until that happens, I'm placing my trust in Homer.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

post-apocalyptic brunch plans

I don't know who has a more compelling argument these days for the end-of-time, the Republicans, or Pastor Bob, but are you ready? And more importantly, are your children ready? Here's how you can make certain.

In our next installment we'll examine some nifty brunch ideas for a post-apocalyptic world.