Tuesday, August 18, 2009

An Explanation of Brett Favre

I think that at this point, it is fitting to break out this blog's first ever Star Wars analogy to explain Brett Favre's recent decision to join the Vikings. In Return of the Jedi Obi Wan explains the turn of Anakin Skywalker to the dark side saying, "Your father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed."

And so it goes with Favre. I have maintained ever since he went back to the Jets that Brett Favre is a retired Packers legend. And he still is. No number of games in a Vikings uniform will erase the happy memories of the Favre glory days in Green Bay. In fact, Brett Favre hasn't actually played an NFL game since the NFC Championship loss to the Giants in 2008. After Brett Favre's retirement, an entirely new character surfaced: Darth Favre. Just like Anakin Skywalker, Brett Favre was no more when he left Green Bay. He was reborn as a villain. Of course, I believe there is still good in this nefarious Darth Favre character. Just as Vader was redeemed in the end of Return of the Jedi after his son defeated him, so will Favre turn back towards the light after Aaron Rodgers and the Packers put a couple of whoopings on the Vikings this season. Favre will enter Canton as a redeemed Packer. A Packers legend, just like he's always been.

Oh. And after he dies, I think he gets to stick around as one of those cool blue ghosty things like in Star Wars.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just Watching the College Kids

I'm at work right now. I'm sitting at a desk again. The program I'm working for right now is a bunch of "high-level, mid career professionals" who are here finishing up work on their Masters degrees in International Relations. Some of them are lawyers, some are high up in big non-profits, some are successful in business. Tomorrow, they have a final exam. I guess most of them are panicking, worrying that they are not at all prepared for the test. A group of them is currently congregated around the front desk, anxiously gossiping about the exam. They are saying things like, "Ugh. I wish the professor had made that more clear in the lecture!" and "It's 9:30 and I haven't even started studying yet." and "Well, the exam should be over by 1:00 tomorrow, so I imagine we'll all be drunk by 2:00." I'm pretty sure that these people are all just undergraduates in disguise.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dear Me, I Think It's Time to Post Again

Inspired by the great blogosphere stalwart Jon Terrasi, I'm going to start trying to make more posts up in here. Here it goes.

I'm sitting at a lonely desk shift in Tilton Hall tonight. The only bonus, I'm Tilton is home to one of the summer English language programs, so there's plenty of magazines down here that the kids are theoretically supposed to read to help them learn English. Except you'd be surprised at the magazines that they use for this purpose. The selection includes among others, The Economist, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New Yorker, and The North Texan: The North Texas University Alumni Magazine. However, there are a couple of copies of Sports Illustrated down here, so those are the magazines I've been turning to (although I have nothing against The Economist and The New Yorker has the occasional story that interests me).

So I'm reading the latest issue of S.I. and I find a piece by Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch regarding Congressional intervention in the BCS. As I read, I was at first amused and shocked by the blatant hypocrisy in the article. It's linked here. Read it. Then continue reading the post.

So. Why does this register pretty high on my hypocrisy scale? Because Hatch's argument for the opening up of the BCS to allow a fair opportunity to all schools sounds like something a liberal democrat would use to argue in favor of healthcare reform or education reform or tax reform.

Just as Senator Hatch says that, "Because of their increased visibility and status BCS schools also receive an unfair advantages in recruiting top players and coaches." A democrat might say that public schools in rich neighborhoods have an unfair advantage over those in poor areas because their high real estate values mean higher property taxes which means that more money flows to the schools in those areas. He says that, "In addition, every team from a preferred conference automatically receives a share from an enormous pot of revenue generated by the BCS, even if they fail to win a single game. On the other hand, teams from the less-favored conferences are guaranteed to receive a much smaller share, no matter how many games they win. The numbers are staggering. Last year the Mountain West Conference had one team qualify for the BCS, Utah, as did three of the automatic-bid conferences. Yet under the BCS formula the Mountain West received $9.8 million—roughly half of what the three bigger conferences got. And despite having the nation's only other undefeated team, Boise State, the Western Athletic Conference received just $3.2 million in BCS revenue." Isn't that just a typical democratic argument for a "more level economic playing field" rehashed with some collegiate sports terms added. A Republican on the campaign trail say something like, Senator Hatch wants to redistribute the wealth in college football, thus changing the natural equilibrium that the market has created after 100 years of college football competition. The best solution to this problem is for the government to stay out of the way as the ingenious and hard-working Americans of the N.C.A.A. do their jobs. Of course, then, pundits would accuse Hatch of athletic socialism.

Now, there's something else here that I haven't mentioned yet. Orrin Hatch is from Utah. This year, the University of Utah Utes were undefeated after beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, yet they were denied the chance to play for the national title because the B.C.S. did not place them in the national championship game. Maybe, as a college football fan, Senator Hatch doesn't like the B.C.S. system and would like to see it changed or gone. But does anyone out there genuinely think that he would have written an article in SI or called for Congressional hearings if it hadn't been a school in his state? If he was from Florida, home of the national champion Gators, does anyone think he would complain? Government regulation and oversight of the B.C.S. goes against everything that Hatch stands for politically, but attacking the B.C.S. for denying the Utes the chance to play for the national title is a great way to score non-partisan political points back home.

I guess the point is that Hatch can't have it both ways like this. If you think that the government should intervene in something as trivial as college football, don't you think they should also intervene in issues as critical as education and healthcare?

Saturday, May 16, 2009


So I'm sitting at a front desk in South Hall working the 12:00am-8:00am graveyard shift. I'm pretty bored. My only entertainment has been a 2 hour video chat with Rory, she's an extremely boring person. Anyway, I was just wondering where all the blog posts went. I mean, there used to be a stream of a few posts a week overall, and now, it's just Santera and my mom writing new stuff. People twitter a lot and stuff, but I was a really big fan of the blogs.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Jeff Peacemaker Fisher

Right now, I'm staying at a hotel in New York City with the whole Harrison family. By around midnight everyone was asleep, so I went down to the hotel lobby to do a little reading because we all know that midnight ain't that late. I sit down on a couch, the only seat available, next to a man wearing corduroy pants, a corduroy sport coat, wingtips, and a bright orange corduroy button down shirt. He was about 55 and had a beard that looked as if it hadn't been shaved in a couple of weeks. As I sat down, he was drawing crazy pictures on some paper he had in his hand, but he immediately took an interest in me and asked me where I was from, kicking off a fantastic conversation which I would be remiss not to detail on this blog.

Figuring his first question harmless, I told him I was from Wisconsin. He told me it was the best state ever, and that it would be even better once Brett Favre was playing for the Packers again. Suddenly, Jeff is seeming like an awesome guy. I tell him that it would be awesome if Favre played for the Packers again, but I wasn't sure it would happen. At this point, he turned to me and guaranteed that Brett Favre and the Packers would win the Super Bowl this year. I asked why he was so confident and he responded, "Because Brett Favre is the most driven born winner since Jesus Christ."

I had absolutely no way to respond to Jeff's statement. But it wasn't a problem. Jeff was very good at continuing the conversation. He went on to tell me about his close personal relationship with God, and at this point handed me the drawing he had made which I will post just as soon as I can get access to a scanner. Then, Jeff and I proceeded to talk politics. I decided to let Jeff do the talking and avoided telling him about my support of President Obama, which was a good decision considering the direction in which the conversation then turned. Jeff suddenly broke into a long speech supporting Ron Paul as the next Vice President of the United States in the 2012 election. I asked him why he had Paul in the VP spot rather than the top job. Who would be the President? He said that he would tell me who would be President but I had to keep it a secret. Jeff would be President in 2012. Then of course, in his 2016 reelection, Ron Paul would not want to seek another term as Vice President, so Jeff would run with Dennis Kucinich. I proceeded to ask Jeff why he thought Paul would make his a winning ticket and he gave me two reasons: one, Jesus; two, he cited the statistic that if the Presidential election of Ron Paul against Barack Obama were held today, Paul would win 38 million votes. I pointed out that 38 million votes wouldn't be enough to get the Presidency for Ron Paul, but Jeff insisted that it would be impossible for Obama to win another election; his political career ended as soon as he signed the PATRIOT Act. I let this point go.

Then, Jeff sharply tacked back to football. He once again told me how great Brett Favre would be on the Packers. This time, he backed it up by saying that he knew a thing or two about football. "You know, I turned down an NFL contract from the Chicago Bears in 2006?" Remember, Jeff was about 55 by my estimates. I flat out told him that I didn't believe him. He said that he had since fallen out of shape, but back then he could kick field goals from the 40 yard line and never miss. Now he can only make them from the 30. Also, he could then, and still can fly. He claims to run a 4.7 in the 40 yard dash. Once again, I conceded the point.

Again, Jeff suddenly switched the topic. This time, he asked me when I personally realized that Jesus Christ was my lord and savior. I honestly responded that I had no idea how to answer that question. Maybe I had yet to be enlightened or touched by some higher power. He told me that I was living proof of Jesus. I didn't know when Jesus became my savior because I didn't remember. Because Jesus had been my savior since the moment of conception. Again, the point was conceded.

Jeff quickly swung the topic back to politics. He told me that he was a strict constitutionalist, his main reason for supporting Ron Paul. As I failed to respond to his questions, he assumed that I was a constitutionalist too and told me I should run for Congress to promote constitutionalism. He even promised to get me endorsed by Ron Paul. At this point, I sharply replied that the Constitution explicitly stated that you have to be 25 to run for Congress, so I was ineligible. I thought that I finally had him cornered. But he told me that there was an imminent Constitutional crisis in which Al Gore would rise to the Presidency and the minimum age for being in Congress would change to represent the voting age. I promised him that the moment Al Gore was President, I would throw my hat into the ring.

After talking about Jesus a little more, Jeff said he had to go use one of the public computers in the hotel lobby to tell the whole world about what an enlightened soul I was. I figured I should do the same. I checked out some of the youtube links that Jeff told me to go to. They are very representative of our conversation, so I'm putting them here.

Enjoy. Peace.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tufts at Dawn

Great night tonight. Stayed up all night doing work, but it was effortless. I was just sitting on top of the library roof, writing an awesome paper, I was feelin' it. Just about right as I finished, the sun came up. I had my camera in my bag so I walked around and snapped some pictures...

View from the Library roof.

Looking down at Miner and the Victory Steps.

Rising Jumbo.


Freshly painted cannon, courtesy of Tufts Mock Trial.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Some Thoughts on Progress

First off, congratulations to the entire state of Iowa. Kind of makes Wisconsin look even worse for the 2006 Constitutional Amendment. Let's hope that Iowa sparks us to turn that around.
Second, does anyone think that running on social conservatism could be a viable GOP strategy in 2012? Or ever again?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Peter and Dad Visit Boston

Peter and Dad came to pick me up from spring break and take me to Connecticut. We snapped some key pictures along the way....

Satan rests for no one!

"Boston, discovered by the Germans in 1832..."

An accurate description of the state of the financial industry.

We are Patriots.

Well. That's pretty much it from Boston. I'm going to be in MKE on Friday so hit me up if you're around. Peace.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

About the Filibuster

I think that in light of recent debates in Congress, it's time for Harry Reid to call Mitch McConnell's bluff. The agenda of President Obama, which is what is currently being stopped up in Congress, is favored overwhelmingly by the American people, as demonstrated by public opinion polls. The Republicans have been able to successfully use their filibuster power to slow the passage of the legislation and even make some changes to it, yet they have yet to take to the Senate floor to read out of phonebooks, cookbooks, or anything else that might be used to stall for time in the Senate. In light of the popular support for the Obama agenda, the Democrats don't need to back down when there are only 58 of them in support of a bill and the Republicans threaten to filibuster. If it's an important issue, they should all but beg the Republicans to spend 12, 24, 48 hours standing in front of the cameras wasting the nation's time in opposition to a measure that voters generally favor. It might work for a few hours the first time, and maybe the second time, but it won't be politically viable in the long run to stand in front of the country and almost physically block legislation that has widespread support. Maybe the Democrats don't want to do it because it seems fickle and partisan, but the debate I'm seeing these days seems pretty fickle and partisan too. Maybe it would make it too easy for the Republicans to tie a bad economy to the Democrats in 2010 if things haven't turned around by then, but then again, if they don't believe that what they're doing will actually help, they're screwed anyway.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ras Trent

Great stuff.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

They Cancelled Morning Classes for.....This?

Yeah. This snow got all classes before 10:30 canceled tomorrow. Unfortunately, my first class is at 10:30. We went on adventure to the Campus Center and I took this picture which captures the moment fabulously...

I woke up this morning to find an email in my inbox saying the entire University is closed. ALL DAY, for the aforementioned amount of snow. I'll take what I can get I guess.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baseball, Ray

I just remembered what an awesome movie Field of Dreams was.

"The one constant through all the years Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steam rollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. People will come Ray, people will most definitely come."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More on Bobby Jindal

All this stuff is just cut and pasted. But it was interested reading.

From mydd.com:
"JIM LEHRER: Now that, of course, was Gov. Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, making the Republican response. David, how well do you think he did?

DAVID BROOKS: Uh, not so well. You know, I think Bobby Jindal is a very promising politician, and I oppose the stimulus because I thought it was poorly drafted. But to come up at this moment in history with a stale "government is the problem," "we can't trust the federal government" - it's just a disaster for the Republican Party. The country is in a panic right now. They may not like the way the Democrats have passed the stimulus bill, but that idea that we're just gonna - that government is going to have no role, the federal government has no role in this, that - In a moment when only the federal government is actually big enough to do stuff, to just ignore all that and just say "government is the problem, corruption, earmarks, wasteful spending," it's just a form of nihilism. It's just not where the country is, it's not where the future of the country is. There's an intra-Republican debate. Some people say the Republican Party lost its way because they got too moderate. Some people say they got too weird or too conservative. He thinks they got too moderate, and so he's making that case. I think it's insane, and I just think it's a disaster for the party. I just think it's unfortunate right now."

And of course, the great contemporary philosopher Walter Sobchak:

"Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos."

- The Big Lebowski

Let's Talk About Bobby Jindal's Speech

Just after President Obama finished his address to Congress, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal stepped up to deliver the Republican response to the Obama speech. In effect, it was the Republican Party's chance to state their case to the American people.
In his speech, Jindal used the current debate over issues like the stimulus package and health care to underline key differences between Democratic and Republican ideologies. What Jindal's message boiled down to was this: Democrats want to take power from the people and Republicans want to give power to the people.
Superficially, the argument makes sense. Take the stimulus package as an example. We just spent $787 billion of the taxpayers' money. But they didn't get to decide where the money went, Congress did. Of all the money spent on the stimulus, 50 cents of it might have been directly contributed by me, but I didn't get to decide how that 50 cents was spent.
This argument fails, however, to take into account the fundamental nature of our government. We are not a democracy, at least not technically. For reasons of practicality, true democracy hasn't been used to govern a nation since ancient Greece. If Bobby Jindal thinks the bureaucrat in his Katrina story made government inefficient, it's clear that he would agree that 300 million Americans couldn't possibly debate and sign off on every policy issue. That's why we have a republican system of government. That's republican with a small "r". We are a republic. We elect representatives to advocate for us within government. So, I did indeed have a voice in how my 50 cent contribution to the stimulus was spent. Two United States Senators and One Congressman work for me. I sent them to Washington. Granted, I didn't vote for any of them. I wasn't of voting age when my Senators last stood for election. As for my Congressman, Jim Sensenbrenner, I didn't vote for him last year because I don't believe in his approach to governance. He opposes measures like the stimulus package, I support the stimulus package. But, a majority of my peers in Wisconsin's 5th Congressional District disagree, they support Sensenbrenner. By voting against the stimulus bill, Sensenbrenner was doing more than voicing his opinions, he was voicing the opinions of his constituents to the best of his ability. If he hadn't opposed the stimulus package, he might not be a Congressman two years from now.
In late 2008 when the economy began to do very poorly, Americans responded across the country by electing representatives who, among other things, promised to take action not unlike the stimulus bill. In passing the legislation, our government translated the voice of the people into law.
Jindal therefore misrepresented the distinction between Democrat and Republican. It is not a clash of people vs. government, but a clash of two different theories on how government should be run. The stimulus passed because people wanted it passed. The stimulus passed because at this moment in history, the majority of Americans favor an active domestic government. If the Republican Party wants to gain more control over governing, they can either shift to the political left to garner more votes or wait until the American people swing back to the right.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

In case you were unsure....

I guess the economy is getting pretty bad. I mean, when beer is getting hit, we're in for some tough times.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

3:43 AM

This is the scene as I complete 7 hours of work on a 5 page philosophy paper at 3:43 AM. I feel that the image does a splendid job of capturing the moment.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Looking Ahead

I'm beginning to think that California will be the state to watch in 2010. It almost has more contenders than the 2008 Presidential Primaries.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Looking Back

Every couple of months or so for the past couple of years, I have made a point of watching this speech. Tonight, I watched it for the first time since November 4th. I'm putting it up here because I think that looking back, we can now recognize this moment as the most influential event in American politics since, well since I don't know when.

Monday, February 2, 2009

My New Dream Job

There is nothing I would rather do for a living than be a philosoraptor.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Whatever happened to The Darkness?

I was sitting around today having a little blast from the past. I was listening to Permission to Land by The Darkness. Man. That brought me right back to the glory days of the eighth grade. At this point, I asked myself, why did they never make another album? That first one was so cool back in the eighth grade. So I went on wikipedia and did some research. So here's the deal:

- They actually did make another album, One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back in 2005.
- It was total crap and didn't sell well at all.
- Some stuff happened and the bassist left the band, they got a new bassist.
- They decided to make a new album.
- The lead singer got checked into rehab for cocaine.
- He quit the band.
- The new bassist became the new frontman.

In this, I learned several things.
1. The Darkness now sucks because the amazing lead singer is no longer there, so they are no where near the same (the band is now called "Stone Gods")
2. The Darkness was soooooo good in the first place because the amazing lead singer was on coke all the time.

That's all I've got on the subject. Though they are now officially a one-hit-wonder, that one hit is still wonderful.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Oh how I love the dismal science

"Jonathan Livingstone Yuppie is a prosperous lawyer. He has, in his own words, "outgrown those confining two-commodity limits." Jonathan consumes three goods: unblended Scotch whiskey, designer tennis shoes, and meals in French gourmet restaurants. The price of Jonathan's brand of whiskey is $20 per bottle, the price of designer tennis shoes is $80 per pair, and the price of gourmet restaurant meals is $50 per meal. After he has paid his taxes and alimony, Jonathan has $400 a week to spend."

such a vivid example from my problem set.

This is Why I Love Pandora

Monday, January 26, 2009

And speaking of new media......

I just became the 147th follower of United States Senator John McCain on Twitter. Cutting edge.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Change They Still Need

After reading this article just now, I realized something else that President Obama needs to do during his four to eight years in the White House: he needs to embark on a massive updating of the technological infrastructure not just in the White House, but throughout the government bureaucracy.

I am a pretty big fan of the TV show 24. For those of you who've seen the show, you will remember that Jack Bauer always seems to track down the bad guys and save the day not due solely to his general badassness but also due to some crack tech support from the computer people back in the CTU office, who always seem to have science fiction-like technology at their fingertips. When I read about the actual technologies they are using in places like the White House, I hear things like "Windows '98" and "no instant messaging."

What the Obama team needs to do is completely take apart the existing technology infrastructure and replace it not only with the most modern technologies, but make it adaptable so that when the next great revolution in technology arrives, our government can easily take advantage of it, all as a part of moving towards more efficient governance.

The lack of instant messaging in the White House is an issue that will become more pressing as time goes on. The biggest problem blocking IM in the White House is that all the chats would have to be recorded, just like all other correspondence within the White House. I don't think that it is that complicated to record instant messages. All of my gchats get recorded. I'm sure they can figure out a way to make that work. Additionally, with each successive administration, its staffers will have come of age in an increasingly technologically advanced era. This administration represents the first that comes into the White House with facebooks, BlackBerrys, and the comforting familiarity of the internet rather than the daunting newness of the internet. In ten to twenty years, people of my generation will enter the White House as staffers in some new administration. I cannot vividly remember a time when computers weren't connected to the internet. If you told me to go work on a massive group project (say, saving the country) without Gmail and instant messaging, I would fall utterly flat on my face. 

While the preservation of tradition is an increasingly lost art in our modern society, technology is the one place where it is absolutely wrong to be traditional. When you talk about wanting to streamline the government bureaucracy, there is no better way to do it than with technology. And there is no better place to start than at the top.