Friday, February 26, 2010

Obama at the Bat


Don't know when I've watched anything as satisfying as this simple tale:




Friday Hot: Canadian Figure Skater Joannie Rochette

`
Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette lost her mother on Sunday, then skated on Tuesday and Thursday. Ms. Rochette earned her personal best figure skating scores, good for an Olympic Bronze Medal.

In last night's performance, Ms. Rochette had a slip early. The crowd gasped, and I was suddenly nervous, and moved to the edge of my seat: I did not want Ms. Rochette to melt down during her performance. It was okay with me if she didn't skate great, but I did not want a melt down. Ms. Rochette hung in, producing a gritty, gutty performance. Bravo.


photo by AP







Kim Yu-Na of South Korea won gold. She produced the highest ever Olympic score - in what the TV skating commentator called "one of the greatest Olympic performances I have ever seen". Here's what it looked like in the moment immediately after her performance ended.


all remaining photos by Getty Images




And, in the very next moment, tears began to spill. I think, when you do something great, and you become nakedly aware of who you truly are, there is nothing to do but cry.






The United States had young skaters finish in 4th place and in 7th place. Mirai Nagasu, 4th place, is 16 years old. American champion Rachael Flatt, 7th place, is 18 years old, and supposedly deserved better from the judges.


Mirai Nagasu is one of those persons who is blessed with effervescent personality. She sparkles from within. It's a gift.
























One more of Mira Nagasu ...

Can't even describe HOW MUCH I love this photo ...



the old coach and the young athlete: the last, last moment before the performance. He's coached her all the way to this point; has given her the knowledge he used up his life to acquire.

He can't help her any more after this. She is on her own.



It's also pure Norman Rockwell: the European man and the Asian girl - Americans both, through and through. Ours is a fabulous nation.







Thursday, February 25, 2010

Paddle as fast as you can!




Jay Nordlinger at NRO's The Corner:
Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Democrats’ Mistake

Let me try something out on you: This health-care summit was a bad idea for the Democrats for this reason: They have long benefited from a perception — a perception greatly abetted by the media: The Republicans don’t care about health care, they don’t know about health care, they are the Party of No. All the ideas and caring are on the Democratic side.

It is not so, and it has never been so. And now everybody knows it.

I agree with Jay Nordlinger's take. Question: did Barack believe the propaganda? believe Repubs would be unable to muster reasoned arguments in their favor? Was Barack taken by surprise? Or, conversely: did Barack know Repubs had solid arguments, and nevertheless count on Kabuki theater to help build national and Senate support for reconciliation?


Thursday Hot: Gay Conservatives; Cool Conservatives


CPAC spontaneously, vocally, definitively supported gay people's right to be inside the CPAC tent. It was, to me, the best moment of the weekend: public, definitive demonstration of principles and values.


Conservatives' CPAC reaction was good news for human beings and bad news for leftist politics. Something is in the wind. The left is losing it's previously unquestioned cool status: the cool people, more and more, are popping up on the right. Chuck Norris. Rudy Giuliani. Tammy Bruce. The Hill Buzz guys are (were?) left-center moderates who are being attacked, by the establishment left, for heresy; whose livelihoods are threatened by coordinated and false attacks on their reputations. Given their heretical views and their martyr status: I'm claiming them for the right.


The uncool establishment are now on the left: clueless socialist teachers/professors, establishment Hollywood who believe American military are villains and the American Dream is fantasy, establishment politicians who believe in a failed big government model, atheists who are in psychological denial about the discrediting of their global warming religion (and who are increasingly making public fools of themselves), screeching dishonest jerks who attack free speech and Hill Buzz guys.


The cool people, increasingly, are on the right. The cool people know free markets are the greatest solution to pain and suffering in all of world history; know American military is a historic force for good; know the American Dream lives; know small government is the nation's only hope; know humans "can go outside and spit and have as much climate effect as doubling CO2"; do not fear the free speech and ideas of their opponents.

The cool right says: bring it on and let truth prevail. The uncool left says: shut up, shut up, shut up, or we will falsely attack you and shut you up. Good luck with that, dinosaur left. The internet, and the communication it enables, is your death knell. And ice core samples. And ultrasound. And the failure, over and over, of Marxism, of Keynesian theory. Sniff the wind. Change is in the air:



the cool people,
increasingly,
are on the right =>


More cool hot conservative chicks. Cool hot conservative is the new gay, and conservative gay is the new gay.











Off topic musing: many things which are good news for human beings also are - almost by definition - bad news for leftist politics.




Additional:




Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two Obama Voters on an Escalator

`



`

You can go outside and spit


Marc Morano, of ClimateDepot.com:
Reid Bryson, the father of meteorology, said you can go outside and spit and have as much climate effect as doubling CO2.

"Climate Change" is constructed from anecdotal observations and scary predictions.




Monday, February 22, 2010

Sarah Palin & Family Guy: forgoing abortion deserves ridicule



My instinct was to lay off the Sarah Palin & Family Guy kerfuffle. First, the whole thing is boring. But, also: what was the joke? What I mean is: what was the concept which was supposed to be funny? I kept thinking the concept of the joke would eventually dawn on me. It didn't - and I never could figure out what in the joke was supposed to be funny - until I began writing and editing this post. Once I figured out the joke, had to delete everything and start over, b/c this originally was going to be a "What is the joke?" post.



Here's the joke:

Down Syndrome Girl says
"My father is an accountant, and my mother is the former Governor of Alaska."
What's funny? Do you know?



The joke was targeted at Palin's decision to forgo abortion. To wit: only a Sarah Palin type would be so stupid as to fail to abort a Down Syndrome baby. That's the joke, i.e.
Ha ha. She is such a stupid hick. Lets mock her and laugh at her: My mom is the former governor of Alaska, i.e. the only hick person stupid enough to 1)(speculation) forgo birth control, and 2) give birth to a Down Syndrome baby! Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha. Ho, that is funny!


Certain insecure women look at Sarah Palin, know they would not have made her choice to give birth, and feel guilty. The defense against their own feelings of guilt = Sarah Palin is a joke, b/c any woman who would give birth in such a situation is a joke. Family Guy was playing into that. That was the joke.



And do not discount an added little factor of envy which encourages some to mock Palin, and which was blowing in the breeze surrounding Family Guy's joke: Sarah Palin has a happy sex life with a hot husband. Trig is blatant advertisement of this.

Thus, from the perspective of a certain type of insecure person: Sarah Palin is throwing Trig in the faces of American women who hate her for it. They hate her for making them feel guilty; they hate her for having a happy sex life with an attractive guy when their sex lives were unhappy, are barely existent, and their guys got fat. The bitch. Their only defense: Sarah Palin is a laughable joke; let's laugh at her now.



Was anyone on the left embarrassed by the premise of the Family Guy joke? Hopefully, yes. Mostly, no. Mostly, the left cocoon in their self-unquestioned status as smarter and more virtuous human beings, and in their secure knowledge that the right are too ignorant to understand why the left are smarter and more virtuous. The left have no reason to concern themselves about the possibility of embarrassing behavior. Ha. As if.


Pitchers and Catchers Report!

1

Surprise, Arizona: bunch of guys who go about 6'4" and 220, who throw fastballs in the mid 90s, and who the Texas Rangers control for 6 big league seasons. Excepting Feliz, none of these guys are well known. Yet, they are close to being big league ready, and are getting closer all the time. Far right is Omar Beltre.



Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Hot: Ice Dancer Tanith Belbin

`

with partner Ben Agosto: they begin competition tonight.


Fun fact about Tanith Belbin: though born in Canada, she skates for the U.S.A.


Fun fact #2: she dated 2010 Mens Figure Skating Gold Medalist Evan Lysacek.


Fun fact #3: her mom makes many of her outfits

... though Mom did scrimp on the material for that Mens Health photo shoot.





Interesting note about the 2006 Olympic Silver Medalist: she and Ben changed coaches in summer 2008, and one of the first thing the new coaches said was
"Gain weight."
Tanith added
10 pounds.
It made her a faster and more fluid skater. It enabled her to control her body better when she was being held in the air.

NYT:
Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov, who were the 1980 Olympic ice dancing champions, began coaching Belbin and Agosto in the summer of 2008, when Belbin and Agosto left suburban Detroit for a fresh start.


Linichuk took one look at the 5-foot-6, 105-pound Belbin and said, “You need to gain 10 pounds.” She said more muscle would help Belbin skate faster and more fluidly.


“At first, I said no way, but then I started to understand that it needed to be done,” said Belbin, who is from Kirkland, Quebec, but holds dual citizenship. “I don’t feel like I had a safe, well-thought-out or well-researched diet until the past few years, until Natalia gave me that ultimatum.”

[...]

She never binged, purged or used laxatives, she said, but she restricted her calories to the minimum. She would eat a small breakfast, then later snack on celery or a few almonds to get her through the day. After practices, she was too weak to lift her arms. Once in her apartment, she would stare blankly ahead, sapped of energy.

When she could not control her hunger, she would eat a huge dinner and find herself two pounds heavier. It horrified her.

“I thought I was out of control and that the weight gain must be my fault,” she said. “I was like, I’m eating nothing and I’m still not losing weight. I swear, I’m not eating anything and I’m exhausted and cranky and stressed and all of those things that make you gain weight even more.”

[...]
Judges would pull Belbin aside. “They would say to me: ‘Are you O.K.? Are you eating enough?’ ” Belbin recalled. “But I never really understood what they were implying because they never came out and said that I looked too thin.”

[...]

Belbin began marveling at her new body. She had gained 10 pounds. Her waist size increased two inches because her core was so much stronger.

Agosto could see a huge difference in Belbin’s skating. During lifts, she was no longer a sack of potatoes, holding on for dear life. She could hold her positions much better, and that made it easier for Agosto because she did not move around as much.





Red cowgirl dress photo by Skate Today.


Roping photo by Alex, of Progressive Skating Gymnastics Spectacular, Dec 2008, Rapid City, SD



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

U.S.A.'s Lindsey Vonn Wins Gold Medal in 2010 Olympic Downhill!



U.S.A. Teammate Julie Mancuso takes Silver!


YES!!! YES YES YES!!!



Olympics Photos by Clive Mason of Getty Images




































Vonn ~ 16; Mancuso ~ 10





I am so happy about this - even emotional. I love the entire fight the pain scenario. NBC Olympic Blog reported that Vonn had tears in her eyes in the finish zone. Vonn had to wait through some top competitors' runs before being able to be confident of her victory.



NBC Slideshow of Lindsey Vonn in action, and of Lindsey and Julie Mancuso on the medal stand.



Previous End Zone re Vonn's injury:

Lindsey Vonn, i.e. the no doubt best American skier ever, the no doubt best woman skier in the world, the two-time World Cup Overall Champion, has a painful bruised shin, and might not be able to win any medal in these Olympics.


I have experience with playing through painful sports injuries. Yet, as an adult, when I allowed my son's batted one hop line drive to smash squarely into my shin, it turned out to be one of the sharply painful and lingering injuries I've had. I could not, for instance, have sucked it up and run full speed for more than a short distance. Even full speed for a few steps would have caused tears. The pain was intense.


Lindsey Vonn's injury, incurred last week, is in a shin location which must be pressed forward against the ski boot during a run. It's as if a stone is being compressed between the ski boot and an extremely swollen and tender bone bruise in the shin. Picabo Street made the salient point: you can press through pain once, but soon the body shuts down and will not allow you to do it again and again. If Lindsey Vonn is to compete, she must press through pain all the way down the hill - over and over and over and over and over, and a bunch more overs. If she involuntarily backs off the pain, even once, by accident: she cannot win.

[...]

One of her German trainers is a former World Cup skier. He told Sports Illustrated:
"The first time I saw her ski, I said 'This is a crazy girl. No one takes chances like she does, no one pushes every edge to the limit.'"
Born in Minnesota, Vonn retains traces of the Minnesota accent. Her family moved to Vail to further her career, and she currently resides in Vail. The town has rallied around her as it's official favorite athlete to root for.

[...]

Is the moment gone? No one knows, not even Lindsey Vonn. The injury is mysterious. She could wake up any day: tomorrow, a week from now, and suddenly have enough reduced swelling and reduced tenderness that she could compete at a high level. Or not. No one knows. That's part of what makes the story so compelling, so potentially tragic, so potentially breathtaking. We've become accustomed to doctors accurately predicting the timetables for returns from injuries. With this injury, even the doctors do not know. Everything is on the table: she could win everything, nothing, or anything in between. Drama.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Now, Lindsey Vonn has her most difficult turnaround: in less than 24 hours (beginning at 9:30 AM on Thur ~ Downhill; and 12:30 PM ~ Slalom), the two races of the Women's Super Combined, aka the "Super-G", begin. How much residual pain or swelling might or might not build up in Lindsey Vonn's shin as a result of her pushing against her injury in today's race? The answer remains unpredictable - and it remains unpredictable even to Lindsey Vonn and her doctors. The drama continues.


After tomorrow's Super-G Women's Combined, the remaining women's races have at least a day's rest time in between. This ought allow Lindsey Vonn's shin to recuperate between races; ought increase her chances of success in those races. It's tomorrow's Super-G Women's Combined, consisting of two grueling races less than 24 hours after today's Downhill, which poses the big challenge vis a vis recuperation after traumatizing the shin.


Note: the Downhill course, which will also be used in tomorrow's Super-G, is treacherous. 9 skiers crashed today.




At Jacob's final basketball game

Gary is in charge of the concession stand for the season, but has not successfully recruited other basketball parents to take their turns selling concessions, and thus has spent the season working most every game himself.

photos courtesy El Duke Degreaser

Last night, in the big rivalry game to finish the season: Grand Prairie vs. South Grand Prairie, Gary and two Moms were swamped at halftime; trying to wait on scores of people. So, I jumped into the concession stand, with the idea that I could help the halftime crunch, then Gary could go and watch the 3rd quarter of the game, and I would work for him.


Didn't work out. Gary never did leave the concession stand, due to continuous big business in the Hot Cheetos and cheese concession market. We sold almost everything we had; ran out of many items: pickles, popcorn, Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, about 5 Gatorade flavors, M&Ms, Snickers. The biggest crowd of the year slammed us like tsunami waves. Near the end, we were down to Water, Root Beer, Milky Way bars, and our gigantic supply of Hot Cheetos and cheese, the #1 favorite concession item amongst Grand Prairie high school students this year. And thank goodness. As long as we had Hot Cheetos and cheese (and we did!), we were able to prevent the concession crowd from rioting.


I'm so behind the times: I didn't even know what Hot Cheetos were until I served an order of them last night. They look horrifying. Worse, the damage they do to a human body must be immense - and concession "cheese" only makes it worse. You'd have to be age 16 to have the metabolism to burn it off.


The item is served by tearing off the top of an individual package, ladling concession cheese down into the package and atop the Hot Cheetos, then tossing in a plastic spoon. That'll be $1.00, please. We sold this stuff like it was crack. We sold it like it was vodka and the entire crowd were Russians. Dollars were flying at us; Hot Cheetos and cheese were flying out.


We served the 2 ounce bag. Per ounce, these things have 170 calories and 14 grams carbs and 11 grams fat. Thus, our bags began with 340 calories, 28 grams carbs and 22 grams fat ... and THEN we ladled concession cheese into it. Yikes. And these were small individual sized bags ... packing, with cheese, approx 500 calories.


I learned that basketball parents sell concessions and simultaneously watch the game. Sounds like this:

"That'll be $2.25, plea - THATS A FOUL, REF! (turning to other concession parents) Didjouguys see that call?"

One other concession parent nods yes.


Soccer parents and basketball parents tend to be hard on the kids on their own team. From the concession stand, sounds like this:

"That'll be $2.25, plea - PASS THE BALL! Dang it that kid drives me crazy. Selfish little .... (thought trails off into thin air, mercifully unspoken)."

And that was a concession Mom talking. A vicious basketball Mom. Do not mess with. Do. Not. Oh, and pass the ball - to her son - if you want to see your senior year. Seriously.


So, Jacob's high school basketball career is over, and Gary and I missed the last 16 minutes of it to sell Hot Cheetos and cheese ...


"...and we've some root beer to wash that down with, young lady. And please say 'please' when you order, cause I'm a cantankerous concessionaire that way."
"What's a concesson air?"
"Me. I'm a con-ces-sion-aire who sells Hot Cheetos in a con-ces-sion stand."
"Oh."


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bye Bayh


Tried to resist. It taunted me - like a piece of cherry pie. I am weak.

Update: Buh Bayh.

Update: Evan Bayh, today:
“[I]f I could create one job in the private sector by helping to grow a business, that would be one more than Congress has created in the last six months.”
Delicious! Still, Evan is slippery and vicious. Do not be lulled into thinking: What a wonderful guy. I'm not saying he's the devil. I'm only saying he's slippery and vicious, and do not be lulled, and today's quote is delicious!



If the tree of global warming fell in the living rooms of the media, and no one reported it, would it make a sound?


headline stolen from Brian at SixMeatBuffet.com

Chris Wood at The American Journalism Project talks about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) fraud which is not being reported in American MSM:
The real scandal here isn’t scientific. It’s journalistic.
[...]
In a twist on the old legal saw, it is the equivalent of failing to shout fire in a crowded theater that is slowly filling with deadly fumes.

To pass it off as journalism is professional negligence.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Latest AGW fraud/scandal round up + explanatory commentary:



Phil Jones, the (former?) head of East Anglia CPU, gave a media interview and


If Anthropogenic Global Warming(AGW) is real, if carbon dioxide is accumulating in a runaway Greenhouse Effect, then how can it be that an Earth which is filled up with people, vehicles, and factories is cooler now than during the MWP?

There's plenty more from Jones. Marc Sheppard at American Thinker:
Imagine a man [Phil Jones of East Anglia CPU] who has spent the better part of the past 25 years toiling to convince the world of CO2-forced 20th-century warming now admitting that the difference in warming rates for the periods 1860-1880, 1910-40 and 1975-2009 is statistically insignificant. Jones even acceded that there has been no statistically-significant global warming since 1995; that in fact, global temperatures have been trending to the downside since January of 2002, although he denied the statistical significance of the -0.12C per decade decline.

2. Hmmmm: Phil Jones said: there has been no "statistically significant" global warming since 1995.

Same question: if carbon dioxide is accumulating in a runaway Greenhouse Effect, how can that be?

3. Phil Jones said: I attribute warming to man b/c I cannot attribute warming to either solar or volcanic activity.

Every aspect of this statement is bass-ackwards.

----- scientists are not supposed to attribute anything; especially are not supposed to then recommend the diminishment of economic wealth over something which is merely attributed; especially are not supposed to allow attribute to be widely misrepresented as settled science, thence allow misrepresented settled science to be used as justification for diminishing economic wealth.
------ warming. There has been, maybe, approx. 1 degree of warming (maybe .7 of a degree) since the cessation of the Little Ice Age at the end of the 19th Century, and this is perfectly normal for Earth. The notable warming - i.e. the warming which supposedly went significantly beyond 1 degree - and which was widely reported and relied upon for claims about warming such as Phil Jones is making here: was a lie. Thermometers used to record such warming were inordinately located near urbanization, and this skewed their readings towards too warm. Therefore, "warming", during the 20th Century, to any significant extent, is a lie. DID. NOT. HAPPEN. It's .... un .... freaking .... believable .... that the claim is a lie, yet it is. It simply is. It's one of the bald faced lies in all of history. And, there you have it: LIE.
------ b/c I cannot attribute it to either solar or volcanic activity. Where to begin? First, magma/volcanic activity has been understudied. El Nino, for instance, is beginning to be suspected of being caused by magma/volcanic activity. Second, Phil Jones is cavalierly dismissing solar activity which I suspect is the major cause of climate changes. Example: studies of sun spots show them tracking remarkably well with heating and cooling on Earth. More study is needed of both magma/volcanic factors and solar factors.
------- finally, Phil Jones neither enough respects the dynamic interconnectivity of the Earth's system of adjusting itself to stimulus, nor enough respects unknown unknowns. It's ludicrous to say: forget unknown unknowns, attribute warming which never actually happened to man, then destroy the world economy in response to this lying/fantasy/guesswork.



Ace of Spades:
Not only does [Phil Jones] say he doesn't agree that "the [AGW] debate is over," but that the vast majority of scientists (his words) don't think the debate is over, either.

So why do Al Gore and Barack Obama keep saying it is? Their boy -- boy! -- is himself saying that the debate is not over.

Ooops: I forgot a key admission. Phil Jones justifies his "hide the decline" tactics by admitting he includes tree ring proxies which are congruent with his theory and tossing out proxy series which undermine it.


More: Where is the American Media? Note that the BBC is doing actual journalism while the American media continues embargoing the story.

And note even the left-wing Guardian UK is writing balanced pieces here -- in this piece, they note that the "hockey stick" was thought badly flawed and cherry-picked even by the CRU.

And this continues to be incredibly important, because even as AGW comes apart under the very first scrutiny ever given to the "theory", the White House is planning on using inherent -- and invented -- executive powers to force a carbon-controlling regime on us that would never in a thousand years pass Congress.

And Oh Yeah: The Evidence That the Earth Has Warmed At All is In Serious Doubt: As related already by DrewM. A new peer-reviewed paper shows that temperature increases are greatly and consistently overstated, because the readings aren't properly adjusted down for factors like urbanization.


Lets depart from Mr. Jones and look at an IPCC which has been allowing unscientific speculation to be publicized as scientific conclusion. Some IPCC mistakes which have been admitted to within the last month:

--- claim that Himalayan Glaciers would melt by 2035. Oops. Lie.
--- claim that African agricultural production would be reduced by half by 2020. Oops. Lie.
--- claim that rising sea levels will imperil 55% of Netherlands which is below sea level. Except: 26% of the Netherlands is below sea level. Oops.


Now back to East Anglia, and it's promotion of Penn State University's Professor Michael Mann and his famous hockey stick graph. What of the Hockey stick methodology? Faked. The numbers were faked. Oops. Lie.


Staying in East Anglia, re it's promotion of MSM darling "NASA Scientist James Hansen!!!!" (constant MSM message: Ta da! NASA, BITCHES!) James Hansen's big contribution was analysis of surface thermometer readings which have now been admitted as inaccurate due to thermometer proximities to urbanization. BTW: "deniers" have been saying, for a number of years, that those thermometers were skewed by urbanization. James Hansen refused to admit it, and heaped media-promoted scorn upon the troglodyte, publicity seeking, mouth breathing, conspiracy theorist deniers. MSM may as well have been James Hansen's bought and paid for public relations firm.



More - Mark Landsbaum, writing in the Orange County Register, lists false claims which have been made by influential global warming advocates






Hitler gets the bad news about Climate Change fraud; doesn't take it well (link):





Monday, February 15, 2010

Gay marriage advocates believe disagreement with them is about ignorance and hatred


I'm changing my mind about yesterday's blogpost. Read this post! It sheds light on why gay marriage advocates believe the entire debate is about ignorance and hatred. Their opinion is an impediment to the success of their cause.



Evan Grant talks with Clint Hurdle and looks at tweaks to Texas Rangers batting approaches

Maybe there's hope for Kinsler. Evan Grant's in depth article. Now that's sports reporting.

Clint Hurdle is a macho, no bull kind of guy. He's not a spout off, blowhard type personality. He's a listener, yet he's also about no bull. Hurdle was, from the beginning, a good bet to be able to communicate with the personalities of Kinsler, Hamilton, Chris Davis.

And that was, in the end, Rudy Jaramillo's hill to climb. Kinsler and Hamilton, especially, were tuning Jaramillo out and were (unintentionally, yet definitely) sabotaging the entire offense. It wasn't necessarily Jaramillo's fault. Yet, when it began happening, and to such detriment to the team, Jaramillo needed to go. To his credit: Rudy Jaramillo knew it and moved on -to green pastures of Wrigley Field. Which he will love, I hope.



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Do not r Read this post [!]


b/c you will probably be bored it sheds light on why gay marriage advocates believe the entire debate is about ignorance and hatred.

It's a geeky continuation of a contentious conversation with roro80, whose moniker invokes the Indonesian goddess who is Queen of the South Seas and who controls violent waves. roro80 is smarter than the inevitably ignorant and hate-filled conservatives she encounters. No one disagrees with Nyai Roro Kidul and lives to tell about it!

And Roro has some company in her thinking - including from inside the White House.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



roro,


Here's how you are in a logical trap: the Pope.


Your intellectual integrity precludes your saying the Pope either is unintelligent, is uninformed about the plight of homosexuals, or harbors hatred for homosexuals. Your previous assertion, i.e. "it's always about ignorance and hatred", is therefore invalid.


You instinctively want to reach for a tried and true lifeline: you want to say the Pope obstinately, stubbornly refuses to forthrightly address data/facts. However, why would the Pope willfully act in bad faith? Your argument doubles back on itself: the Pope would only act in bad faith by reason of either being unintelligent, being uninformed, or harboring hatred. The Pope cannot simultaneously be informed and uninformed; cannot simultaneously act in good faith and in bad faith.

I hope you see this distinction between good faith and bad faith. You can
A] call a Pope decision an "ignorant" decision, thus asserting the Pope looked at data/circumstances and made a poor choice.
However, your integrity precludes your
B] saying the Pope either has a low IQ, is uninformed, or harbors hatred.

The distinction between A & B is the distinction between
A] acting in good faith
vs.
B] acting in bad faith, i.e. acting either out of low IQ, or out of some type of prejudice which is motivated either by lack of information, or by lack of empathy, by ill will, by hatred.



Here's the fallout: if one intelligent, informed person of good will (the Pope) can disagree with you, then many intelligent, informed persons of good will can disagree with you. Suddenly, it's a new day: those who disagree with you might not be ignorant haters.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



I've been thinking about how you (and many others) can believe every person in the U.S. who opposes gay marriage is acting out of ignorance or hatred. I think there are maybe two key things you cannot comprehend:

1. How could anyone think gay persons do not have the right?
2. How could any loving person want to deny gay couples the satisfaction of state sanctioned union? It seems, to you, such an unloving thing to want to do.

I address these below.



As best I understand, these are your and my rules: on your favored ground - marriage, you are arguing that traditional marriage advocates are so illogical as to only possibly be motivated by either ignorance or hatred; I am arguing that traditional marriage views are logical enough that intelligent, informed persons of good will can hold the opinions.

I have the easier task. I will immediately win the day, then dig deeper into your points - in hopes that your understanding will be expanded. An immediate winning statement:


In a macro sense, in American culture/society, marriage results in more births and in more success at rearing children who become productive citizens. Therefore, the state has a legitimate interest in promoting marriage as a special status.


Done. My task is accomplished.

I don't have to prove the truth of it. I merely have to show that intelligent, informed persons of good will can believe the statement is correct. Which is self-evident. Which means conservatives can disagree with you w/o being filled with prejudicial ignorance or hatred.

But, though the argument is over, lets break it down more, in hopes you can better understand the whys of the "rights" thing and of the "deny gay people" thing.



Reproduction

One cannot argue that unmarried cohabitation produces as many children as married cohabitation. The statistics show differently.

Reproduction is not a trivial concern. Demography is destiny. Conservatives say societies are not murdered: they commit suicide. Low birth rate is a method of suicide.



Effective Child Rearing

The key issue is not about comparative effectiveness of child rearing of gay people vs. straight people. Instead, here is the key point: if marriage is less special, then fewer marriages will occur, then fewer couples will stay together through the child rearing process, then more children will be raised by single parents. Expanding the societal disaster of single parenting is not good for the nation.


"Rights"

You argue that the state cannot promote marriage at the expense of the rights of gay persons. Traditional marriage advocates reply that gay persons have the right to be married to a spouse of the opposite sex. Gay persons can even marry gay persons ... of the opposite sex. Gay persons have every right that I have. Marriage is not discrimination between gay and not gay: marriage is discrimination between marriage and not marriage. Lets dig down on this.


You argue it's impossible for gay persons to be romantically attracted to opposite sex persons, therefore gay persons do not have all the rights I have. Your argument hinges on the definition of "right": is it a constitutional right to be romantically attracted to the person you are marrying?

Whichever way one comes down on this question, it's easy to see that traditional marriage advocates have an intelligent, informed, non hate based argument: there's nothing about romance/feelings in the Constitution, and there ought be nothing about romance/feelings in either the Constitution or in the laws of the U.S.
Down that path there be dragons.



Again, according to your and my rules, as I understand them, I don't have to win an argument about the righteousness of the conversation about "rights". I merely have to show that intelligent, informed persons of good will can disagree with your opinion. Which, in the case of a Constitutional right to romantic attraction inside state sanctioned union, is self-evident.




You like to say: Slippery slope! Conservatives are constantly saying slippery slope!

Okay. However, piling scorn upon "slippery slope" does not mean some slippery slopes are not both valid and dangerous. If we encourage reduction of birth rate, rear children less effectively, and tie rights into feelings, we are on some slippery and dangerous slopes.



"Denying" gay people

Which brings us to your Question 2:
How could any loving person want to deny gay couples the satisfaction of state sanctioned union? It's such an unloving thing to want to do.



Who will suffer if American society declines? Media typically say "women and children hardest hit". However, close behind will be all the rest of us. Traditional marriage advocates argue that gay people will suffer more from societal decline than from lack of state sanctioned unions. Therefore, staving off societal decline is the more loving action.



I'm certain you hate this argument, and that's fine. However, you can hate the argument and still notice it is an intelligent, informed argument which is not grounded in hatred of gay people. Rather, the argument is grounded in desire to stave off societal suicide and decline; is grounded in desire to keep birthrates strong and to keep children being reared as effectively as possible.

You might instinctively want to say the argument is a smokescreen for hatred. However, is every single American who makes this argument using it as a smokescreen for hatred?



You like to say that you've heard all the arguments before. Maybe you haven't HEARD them. Maybe you haven't allowed it to sink in that an intelligent, informed person of good will can disagree with your opinion on gay marriage. Their disagreement can be unwise. However, their disagreement cannot simultaneously be informed and uninformed; cannot be simultaneously based in good faith and in bad faith.





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And, when/if you become ready, I keep meaning to address a point from way back in our original conversation ...... about climate, "accumulation", and mass fantasy.



Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday Hot: Lindsey Vonn







Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy




Also Friday minor tragedy, b/c Lindsey Vonn, i.e. the no doubt best American skier ever, the no doubt best woman skier in the world, the two-time World Cup Overall Champion, has a painful bruised shin, and might not be able to win any medal in these Olympics.


I have experience with playing through painful sports injuries. Yet, as an adult, when I allowed my son's batted one hop line drive to smash squarely into my shin, it turned out to be one of the sharply painful and lingering injuries I've had. I could not, for instance, have sucked it up and run full speed for more than a short distance. Even full speed for a few steps would have caused tears. The pain was intense.


Lindsey Vonn's injury, incurred last week, is in a shin location which must be pressed forward against the ski boot during a run. It's as if a stone is being compressed between the ski boot and an extremely swollen and tender bone bruise in the shin. Picabo Street made the salient point: you can press through pain once, but soon the body shuts down and will not allow you to do it again and again. If Lindsey Vonn is to compete, she must press through pain all the way down the hill - over and over and over and over and over, and a bunch more overs. If she involuntarily backs off the pain, even once, by accident: she cannot win.


A shame. Lindsey Vonn is 25, and is generally considered the best conditioned female skier in the world - both aerobically and in muscle strength. She is 5'10" of power: a body like a big cat - a tiger. She is the first woman ever to use men's skis. Now, a couple more women use them, other of the best woman skiers tried them and rejected them. It's difficult for even the best woman skiers to have the strength to wield men's skis. Lindsey Vonn has the aerobic fitness to cycle on difficult mountain training rides with expert male cyclists, shoves barbells better than 95% of men ever will, and trains with German trainers who push her through exotic drills for balance, agility, flexibility. She has preternatural feel for the fall line of a mountain, and has ever since about age 3. She says:
"When you are going 85 mph, it's difficult to know where you will end up. I've just always been able to look ahead, down the mountain, and just know where I have to go. And then I just ... make myself go there."
One of her German trainers is a former World Cup skier. He told Sports Illustrated:

"The first time I saw her ski, I said 'This is a crazy girl. No one takes chances like she does, no one pushes every edge to the limit.'"

Born in Minnesota, Vonn retains traces of the Minnesota accent. Her family moved to Vail to further her career, and she currently resides in Vail. The town has rallied around her as it's official favorite athlete to root for.


Vonn has signed over a dozen endorsement deals in advance of these Olympics. She has qualified for 5 events which stretch over 13 days of the Olympics, and NBC had zeroed in on her as the Michael Phelps story of Vancouver. It's more difficult to win skiing medals than swimming medals: more variables. Lindsey Vonn, however has advantages Michael Phelps does not: she is beautiful; she has a personality and a smile which draw you in; she is, according to a friend in Sports Illustrated: "The girl everyone wants to go to the prom with." And, even more important than the acclaim, even more important than the $ Millions which would have resulted from the acclaim, this was her moment: she was at a peak of strength, conditioning, and ability which cannot be duplicated. Lindsey says she can compete in the next Olympics. Maybe she can be outstanding there. But she cannot be quite so outstanding as she would have been this year.


Is the moment gone? No one knows, not even Lindsey Vonn. The injury is mysterious. She could wake up any day: tomorrow, a week from now, and suddenly have enough reduced swelling and reduced tenderness that she could compete at a high level. Or not. No one knows. That's part of what makes the story so compelling, so potentially tragic, so potentially breathtaking. We've become accustomed to doctors accurately predicting the timetables for returns from injuries. With this injury, even the doctors do not know. Everything is on the table: she could win everything, nothing, or anything in between. Drama.


Back to Friday Hot (on Saturday): Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is out, and I'm getting old. The girls are just girls now. Too young. But I am intrigued by the athletes: Lindsey Vonn, Clair Bidez (snowboarder). I'm intrigued by the athletic bodies - especially in motion. I like to watch women move - even just walk - with coordination, agility, power, lithe gracefulness. I like when basketball girls break a time-out huddle and walk back onto the floor: a bit tired, but walking with power, coordination, and with purpose. I like that as an appreciation of the beauty of humanity. Just the walking is like great dance: it communicates.


Anyway, I love to imagine how Lindsey Vonn's body moves: the body of a big cat who is human; the lithe muscles extending and firing; the agility and balance. She is rare. Athletically, she is a knockout. And as a woman.

photos by Sports Illustrated


If Lindsey stood next to me, she would appear as an exotic species - as a different and uniquely powerful breed of human. I have seen actresses whom, in person, are pretty girls who would nevertheless be maybe the 5th prettiest girl in any Dallas restaurant on any weekend night. Actresses, often, are emotionally talented persons whom the camera just happens to love. They might have fortunately wonderful cheekbones which can be lit to advantage during a photo shoot, yet they wouldn't necessarily turn your head any more than any number of attractive women would. Lindsey Vonn, however, if she walked 5'10" of herself into a Dallas restaurant, would stop all conversation.
























Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Texas

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My family never yelled at referees

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But my cousins, who lived 6 houses down, were not shy about yelling at referees. Especially the oldest, Gary. And Gary married a girl, Martha, who wasn't shy about yelling at referees. And they have two daughters, Kathleen, senior in h/s, and Taylor, just graduated from college, who are not shy about yelling at referees.

Gary's younger sister, Patti, is not a shy person, but is sort of quiet. She'll never be the person who talks too much or too loudly at a party.

We all converged on cousin Jacob's basketball game on Tuesday night.

Jacob is the Gopher in blue ===>
He's about to Gopher 2, and 1.
See what I did there?
That's why you come to this blog!

Patti played basketball in high school, and spent 4 years watching her son play high school basketball - including playing his Senior year on a team which made it all the way to the State Championship Game. No small feat, that. Patti hadn't been inside a basketball gym since her son graduated 3 years ago.

One minute into Jacob's game, an opposing player hits the floor, referee blows whistle, my quiet cousin Patti exclaims, with feeling "That's a flop!" So, 3 years away from the gym didn't matter: like riding a bike, Patti was immediately back in the groove.

I love to listen to Kathleen and Taylor heckle. Kathleen unconsciously heckles in 4 and 5 syllable words. That's her normal vocabulary, so that's what she uses to heckle. I always tell her: "Kathleen, those referees don't understand those 5 syllable words. Tone it down to 1 and 2 syllable words." She will yell stuff like this at the referees: "Did you get your certification online?!" or "Do you have macular degeneration?!"

Taylor becomes angry at unfair or ungraceful behavior. She will yell "Number 4! THAT. IS. RUDE! Someone needs to tell you that is RUDE behavior! Ref! How long are you going to let that rude behavior go on?!"

Patti, basketball expert that she is, focused on informing the refs of more technical aspects of their performance: "That was all ball!" and "You had no angle! There's no way you could see that!"

After the game, Martha and Taylor and Patti broke down the opposing players thusly: "Number 22 was a flopper, and God hates a flopper. Number 4 was rude. And Number 14 was just nasty." Probably the best scouting report ever.



Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Jason Kidd is a smart player: episode #1029; Roddy Beaubois


Update: 6 hours after I published on Roddy Beaubois, DallasBasketball.com published on Roddy Beaubois. Those guys, clearly, read this blog!

Unknown to me, last night, Cuban said "I'm not trading Roddy Beaubois. Except for one or two guys, he's untouchable." The issuance of that statement, oddly enough, makes me think Cuban might be close to trading Roddy Beaubois.


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Last night. San Francisco. 2:10 remaining in game. The Golden State Warrior whom Kidd is guarding makes his move. Kidd immediately fouls him.

Announcer: that's the 3rd foul on Kidd, and only the 3rd team foul, so Golden State will have to throw it in from out of bounds. It's fortunate that foul was committed now, b/c in only a few seconds it would've been committed inside of the 2 minute mark, and that would've put Golden State on the line.

It wasn't fortunate. Jason Kidd knew exactly what he was doing, when he was doing it, and why. Don't even doubt it. Watching Jason Kidd is pure basketball pleasure.




Roddy Beaubois is the fastest player ever to play for the Dallas Mavericks franchise. Ever. And second place - which might be either Tony Dumas or Gerald Green - is not really that close. And Roddy's speed translates to the short spurts and the quick first steps which are necessary for good basketball. He's agile. He's coordinated. He's exactly the kind of athlete you want to surround Dirk Nowitski with. He's a willing defender, and there seems little doubt he will one day be an outstanding defender. He can shoot it. He's a good kid. Other teams desire him in trade.





Now for the HOWEVER: he's 6'2"(or less), and he might or might not ever make it as a point guard - it's difficult, at this point, to predict. All we know, for sure, is that Roddy's head currently spins when he plays point guard in the NBA. He seemingly has little idea of where the ball ought be going. He'll maaaybe develop as a PG, over 4 years or so, but nothing is a given.


<== Left:
Wha choo talkin bout, Jason?
Can you say it in French?

(Getty Images)


Intriguingly, when Roddy plays 2-guard, he presents match up problems for the opposition: Roddy can guard the opposing 2-guard better than the opponent can guard Roddy. Roddy has long arms for his height: he defends taller than 6'2". Therefore, even if Roddy never makes it as a PG, he could be an intriguing 2-guard who drives opponents crazy. Roddy could be a type of Ben Gordon lightning scorer off the bench, only with better defense. It's easy to envision Roddy in that role.



Monday, February 08, 2010

Saturday, on the beach of a Prehistoric Ocean in the Texas Hill Country


Two things which, by fluke, I had never done: driven a four wheeler, and hunted deer. Saturday, I drove four wheelers - with great relish - up and down my friend's mountain on the northern edge of the Texas Hill Country. I had a big grin on my face, like Gretchen:





Some of the happiest adults in the world are people who either 1) have just squeezed a trigger, or 2) are driving a four wheeler. In both instances, you frequently see wide involuntary grins emanating from otherwise jaded and cynical adults.


Unlike Gretchen - I was bypassing the mud as much as possible, because going up and down the mountain was already enough fun as to not require adding mud to the equation. However, it was impossible to miss all the mud, so the mud added itself to the equation. Four wheelers fling mud into the air - sometimes machine gunning it, and sometimes flinging it up upwards and forward so that you drive splat into the mud which just got tossed into the air. By the end of the day - between riding four wheelers and planting trees up and down the mountain - we had mud splattered and smeared over us, which I loved. When you rarely take opportunity to get splattered and smeared with mud, you oughta fully embrace it when you do.


I didn't hunt deer, but did receive a college quality tutorial about deer, and saw, I don't know: a couple dozen deer. And I put out feed for deer, and checked deer feeders to ensure the good protein pellets were loose and available, and saw tracks for who knows how many deer(?), and intently studied photos of deer from strategically placed cameras up on the mountain, and tasted the finest venison steak and the finest venison/pork mixed sausage.


My married-to-each-other friends, JJ and CJ, have achieved nice financial success. On this day, JJ took me down to visit their ranch, which is just west of the back side of the largest military installation in America: Fort Hood. JJ and CJ have 800 acres which encompass and surround a small mountain: Franklin Mountain, elevation 1400 feet. The mountain has commanding views in all directions - including overlooking the Lampasas River Valley. JJ and his son run Black Angus cattle in a "cow and calf" operation, which means they keep most of their cows and sell most of their calves (for approx $500 per 6 month old calf).


It's deer heaven. JJ and his son are now deer experts. JJ said he doesn't want to bring in deer hunters in a for-profit operation, yet: he's erected 7 miles of 8 foot high fence to contain his deer population, he's eagerly shaping his deer population to a point where it will contain some of the finest trophy bucks in Texas, and he casually mentioned that a hunter typically pays $10,000 to shoot a true Trophy Buck (i.e. a buck which scores between 160-170 on the Boone-Crockett scale). Hmmm.


Conservation note:
Hunters, via eliminating the best deer, encourage smaller deer to breed and produce smaller deer. Therefore, in a new program, the State of Texas will survey your deer population and allow you to kill a specified amount of small and medium sized deer, with a goal of creating a population of larger deer. Texas has specified that JJ can kill 50 small to medium size deer this year. JJ has to measure the kills and send the statistics to the State.


I much enjoyed getting JJ's take on what their land was like when they purchased it, and on what improvements have been made, and on what his vision is for the future of the land. For instance: the mountain has hundreds of trees spread across a number of thick groves, but JJ is shaping his land to fit his vision, and his vision includes certain pretty trees in certain locations up and down his mountain. It's a man at his best thing: throughout history, man has looked at land and said: I can make it better. And man has gone about doing just that. And has succeeded. JJ stands in a long line of men. The line stretches back through all of human history.


Maybe the coolest thing about JJ's and CJ's property: south of their mountain, the ground is covered in sea shells. It's not Sanibel, but I thought of Sanibel as I walked amongst and atop tiny shells. North of their mountain: no sea shells. We know prehistoric Texas was largely covered by ocean. Could an ocean, for one section of history, have come right up to the northern edge of the Texas Hill Country, right up to Franklin Mountain, yet no further?

Not Lampasas County ========>

But, Lampasas County might've looked like this, 30,000 years ago. Imagine a mountain which is just out of camera range on the right.


From the southern base of the mountain, JJ's and CJ's land gradually falls away to the south, and the fall away encompasses a wide area. Could that gradual fallaway be part of a miles wide topographic fallaway? From the base of their mountain, they command a long view to a distant southern horizon. When a Texan says a horizon is distant, it's best to take the descriptor seriously. Texans know long horizons. It seems logical that the land on the south side of the mountain was the beach of a prehistoric ocean.



Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday Hot: Gene Tierney

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Ms. Tierney married Oleg Cassini, had a romance with a younger JFK, and married Texas oilman W. Howard Lee (who had been married to Hedy Lamarr) and happily lived out her last decades of life in Houston as an excellent contact bridge player. Despite her romance with JFK, Ms. Tierney voted for Nixon in 1960, saying: "I thought he would be a better President."

Ms. Tierney experienced a famous tragedy: while pregnant, and entertaining troops, she contracted rubella from a Marine who had sneaked out of the infirmary to see her show. Her second child, a daughter, was subsequently was born prematurely, blind, and with cognitive limitations. Ms. Tierney and Oleg Cassini had three children in total.

H/t to "If Charlie Parker was a gunslinger...." for the photo.


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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali at University of Wisconsin, Madison


Photo by The Badger Herald, which has a good article about the event.


These quotes below are quickly cobbled together, on the fly, as I listened to the video. These quotes eschew the proper ellipses [...] which I usually use.

The video. On the upper right of the video page, you can watch video of Ms. Hirsi Ali entertainly entertaining hostile questions from the audience.



Ms. Hirsi Ali:
The Muslim mind needs to be opened in the 21st Century. Today, 1.75 Billion persons identify themselves as Muslim.


Muslims make up 1/5 of the world population, yet Muslims commit 2/3 of the violence in the world.


The Muslim mind today is in the grip of Sharia and Jihad.

What I want to make clear is that Islamic values are incompatible with American values. Note: Islamic values, Islamic theology - not Muslims. Muslims are diverse - they are individual human beings, they are adherents, they can change their minds.

[...]
Freedom. Contrast the Declaration of Independence with Islam. The accurate definition of Islam is submission - specifically submission to the will of Allah as related by Muhammad.

Freedom and responsibility vs. submission.

Islamic scripture is clear: women are inferior, and do not enjoy equal rights with men. An individual man can take the law into his own hands and punish a woman, including stoning and lashing.

The Koran is clear about homosexuality: the punishment is death.



Is Islam a religion?

Many people offset Islam against Christianity. I think it's more accurate to offset Islam against other political theories, b/c Islam is a political theory.

The concept of America is also a theory. It's a defined relationship between the state and citizens.

Similarly, Islam provides rules for relationship between the state and subjects, between men and women, and provides punishment for breaking laws.

I find that Christianity, after many centuries of questioning and criticizing, has evolved over centuries. There is separation of state and religion. Islam has not evolved. The ideas and expressions of individuals are narrowed to what the Prophet Muhammad deemed to be moral. Any ideas or expressions outside of what he said are forbidden. Islam retains the cruel punishments of medieval times.


If there are Christians who want to kill, such Christians are stopped by other Christians, by the rule of law, and they are condemned. This does not happen in Islam.


Can Islam be reformed? is perhaps a question we will hear more than any other question this century. But if we cannot question, if we cannot look at what is happening today, then Islam cannot be reformed.

What should we do? We should approach Islam as a political system. It is a political system. We should debate it as we debate communism and democracy.

Currently, Islam is exempted from scrutiny, for instance, by feminists. To me, it seems as if feminists only work for white women. By abstaining from condemning the terrible principles held by men of color, western feminism has become a force that protects only white women.

What of Amina and Sarah in Texas?


Greg's Notes:

Sarah (left) and Amina (right) Said ==========>

Good girls, good students at Lewisville, TX High School, athletes. Murdered, by their father. Their bodies left in their father's taxicab in Las Colinas. He had preplanned his DFW Airport escape flight to Egypt, from whence he will apparently escape American justice, forever. His actions do not violate Egyptian law; do not shock the Egyptian conscience.

Possible Honor Killings in Lewisville, TX, Part I; Part II






Aqsa Parvez, of Toronto, was murdered b/c she would not wear her hijab. She would wear western clothes under her hijab. Upon arrival at school, she would remove her hijab in the school bathroom, only donning it again before taking the bus home.

Aqsa Parvez and Western Denial, Part I; Part II






Return to Ms. Hirsi Ali:
How many have heard of them[Amina and Sarah]? Please raise your hands. 6 persons in a room of 1003 people. They were 16 and 18 years old, and were killed by their Egyptian father b/c they were dating American boys. Imagine if they were Christian, and their names were Ruth and Mary? Would more of us have heard of them?


Muslim women are forced to live in tall apartment buildings, and to never leave the apartment.

When well-meaning westerners, eager to promote respectful minority religions and cultures, sweep practices like forced marriages and confinement under the carpet in order to stop society from stigmatizing Muslims, they deny countless Muslim women and girls their right to press their freedoms from their parents culture and religion. And we, by being silent, become complicit. And harm the same vulnerable minority whom we all seek to protect.


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