Thursday, November 29, 2007

Fed Up

That's it! I've had enough!

I'm sick of that huge, mammoth industry.

The one that takes in significant revenue.
That gouges its customers.
That hurts the environment and doesn't care about the children.
That continues to do things the way it always has.
That keeps putting gobs of money into R&D, but doesn't really think outside the box.

Money grubbing pigs! Dirty rotten filthy stinking rich!

No, I'm not talking about Big Oil. I'm talking about Big Politics.

And I'm not talking about government, but about political parties and interest groups.

How much money is taken in for conducting polls? For PR? For demographic research? For identifying and retaining marginal political talent that won't rock the boat? For non-lobby lobbying groups?

What percentage of the GDP goes to politicking? How much is spent per year, per person? I don't know, and wonder if those numbers can be found anywhere.

How much money goes into reporting about politicking? How many cable television channels exist and talking heads are employed simply because of Big Politics? Ultimately, we are paying for their existence.

To heck with lowering taxes or changing the underlying tax structure. (Okay, I still want that, too!) Let's eliminate Big Politics and their accomplices in the media first.

(Photo is the cover art for Warrant's album, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

An Honest President?

I read this at the Populist Party website. I don't agree with the second to last line; I would rather vote for none of the above, or maybe even Mickey Mouse. But the article is interesting.

Idiot of the Month

I have two posts ready for public consumption, but I couldn't pass up this one. It is my first Idiot of the Month post.

The winner is:

If you don't know who this character is, I will give you a few clues:
  • He is a restricted free agent for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • No other team in the NBA tendered him a contract offer. Not one.
  • The Cavaliers tendered him an offer higher than what is expected for someone of his tenure, let alone his level of performance.
  • He rejected the offer.
  • He is sitting around, being all mopey in his homeland of Brazil.
  • Because of his being mopey, he couldn't even represent his home country in the Basketball Tournament of the Americas. Way to take one for the team!
  • He says the Cavs' GM, Danny Ferry, has not treated him fairly. Pretty good, considering the Cavs were offering him more than he is worth, yet he has no offensive skillz. (Shall I say those skillz were offensive?)
  • He wants a sign-and-trade, where the Cavs sign him to a "respectable" contract offer, then immediately trade him to another team. Yeah, right. Give him more than he is worth, even more than what the Cavs originally offered him, then trade him to a team that didn't want to afford him in the first place. BWAAAHAAAHAAHAAAHAAH!!!
His nickname, if you care, is "Wild Thing". His real name is MUD!, I mean, Anderson Varejao.

Congratulations, Andy! You win my first Idiot of the Month award.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A 'Must Read' Website

I don't care if you are a lefty or a righty when it comes to politics. Most of it today is all the same.

If you want to get your feathers ruffled, but for legitimate reason, I encourage you to visit The Tenth Amendment Center. Many of the articles make me cringe, until I read them all the way through a couple of times and really try to understand them.

This doesn't mean I end up agreeing with everything I read there. I do end up, however, with a much better idea of what our government should be, as opposed to what politicians and the media tell me it is.

Deja Vu All Over Again

I had my Idiot of the Week post conceptualized on Saturday evening. Operative word being "had".

Let me explain.

This time last year, I remember watching a superior OSU football team almost lose to the Illinios Fighting Illini, a miserable team that was the laughingstock of the Big Ten. The Buckeyes raced to a 17-0 lead at halftime, then proceeded to lose. Well, almost. The final score was 17-10. OSU survived a scare, beat That Team Up North, then got pounded in the BCS Championship Game.

At the start of the third quarter of yesterday's OSU-Illinios game, I got the feeling I had seen this act before. The Illini were energetic, prepared and eager to win. The Buckeyes were, well, business-like; no emotion, no spirit. Oh, and they looked slow compared to the Illini, too. It looked just like last year's game.

Then, it hit me: this looks like the BCS Championship Game all over again. The Illini defensive linemen were too fast for OSU's offensive line. Their special teams were popping harder. The kicker, though, was that the vaunted OSU defense could not defend against a multi-faceted quarterback who could pass, run, and orchestrate an offense based on misdirection.

Much like in the BCS game. Against Florida.

Earlier this morning, I read that the Illinois head coach, Ron Zook, was fired as head coach of - get this - Florida. Most of his Florida recruits were playing last year in the - yep - the BCS Championship Game against OSU. Maybe the guy knew what he was doing after all. Or, maybe he wasn't good enough to compete in the SEC, but is good enough to be a top tier coach in the Big Ten. Makes you wonder.

Looks like the rest of the "big" Ten will need to learn how to recruit to defend against the kind of team Illinois has. Maybe then the "big" Ten Conference will become strong again.

Deja vu

So, that was the post I mentally structured last night. Enough to identify some Idiots of the Week, right? I thought so, too. Then, Marie and I joined the Evil Genius and BrikWarrior at a local watering hole to watch the Browns-Steelers game. BTW, BrikWarrior would likely say it was the Steelers-Browns game. No big deal, just saying. :-)

We enjoyed the food and the company, and 3/4s of our party was enjoying the first half of the game. But, wait, I've read this script before. Browns have a double-digit lead, in Pittsburgh. Steelers make adjustments at halftime; Browns don't. Browns show they are learning to win instead of knowing how to win. Steelers, especially QB Ben Roth----burger, show they know how to win. Joshua Cribbs, Browns return specialist extraordinaire, makes matters worse by returning a kickoff for a touchdown, giving the Steelers the ball back, with our defense already on its heels. It's the second time in three years Cribbs has done this. Whodathunk returning a kickoff for a touchdown would hurt?

It did. Steelers scored again, and the Browns game-tying field goal attempt landed just short. On the mark, but short. Steelers won by three.

All over again

So, here it is, 6:00pm on Sunday evening in Cleveland. Two consecutive days of Groundhog Day, but with different scripts. Maybe Yogi Berra wasn't making a malapropism when he said, "It's like deja vu all over again."

That being said, it's time for the Idiot of the Week awards.

Win - Romeo Crennel, Browns head coach. Late in the game, he calls a timeout to determine whether to protest a touchdown pass caught by a Steelers receiver. He loses the reversal - it wasn't even close - thereby losing a second time out. Two time outs blown in no time at all. Give the Browns the time outs for their last drive, and they come back with at least a tie and OT.

Place - Darnell Dinkens, 3rd (or 4th) string tight end for the Browns. He made a dumb penalty on Pittsuburgh's final kickoff to us. Instead of starting with the ball at the Steeler's 38-yard line, they got it at their own 33-yard line. A 29 yard difference; not good. Without the penalty, the Browns at least would have the ball at mid-field, a 17-yard improvement from where they started. Take 17 yards of Phil Dawson's missed field goal attempt, and it's no longer a missed field goal.

Show - The Buckeyes, especially Jim Tressel. Looks like his folks are too slow to go against the strong and swift defenses. And his game plans do not have an answer for any team that has a quarterback that can run and pass successfully. Times are a-changing, and Tressel needs to show that he can change, too.

Honorable Mention - Willie McGinest, linebacker for the Browns. He had Roth---burger in his sights a couple times, and tried to tackle him high each time. If he tackles at the waist, he stops at least one Steelers drive, if not two.

The Browns' lessons learned should be too obvious to state: draft defensive linemen; get younger and faster in the linebacking crew; learn how to play offense against the Steelers (maybe let Cribbs get in for a few plays to loosen things up a bit); don't waste two time outs when the game is on the line; don't run the "prevent offense" in Pittsburgh; and assign someone to follow Roth---burger wherever he is.

The Buckeyes' lessons learned aren't so easy. How do you change what you've done for decades when it's always worked, and recently been the gold standard for the Big Ten? Now, that gold standard looks more like fools gold, especially since a coach who couldn't continue coaching in the SEC made the Big Ten's best look average.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ninety Percent Participation

Man, when I read this, I got jealous. I know I shouldn't get jealous, being that we are talking about church participation. But the number looks really good.

I thought variations of the 80/20 rule applied everywhere. I was wrong. Talk about enthusiastic people looking to grow.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pacifists, Peacemakers and the Difference

I was going to post another Definition Warp. The topic: "pacifists and peacemakers". To me, they were not the same thing. My perception was this:

* A pacifist is someone who is against war in particular, and against any use of violence in general.
* A peacemaker is someone who recognizes the need to make peace, but prepares for all possible circumstances.

I know people who are pacifists. I know people who declare themselves peacemakers. I know people who declare themselves "pacifists and peacemakers". To me, peacemakers are people who desire and strive for peace, but are aware that other options may be necessary.

When I looked up the definitions, I learned I was wrong:

Pacifism (from the American Heritage Dictionary):

1. The belief that disputes between nations should and can be settled peacefully.
2a. Opposition to war or violence as a means of resolving disputes.
2b. Such opposition demonstrated by refusal to participate in military action.

Peacemaker (from

A person, group, or nation that tries to make peace, esp. by reconciling parties who disagree, quarrel, or fight.

What did I learn? First, that my definition for "peacemaker" was incorrect. Second, that a peacemaker kind of sits above it all; they are not necessarily part of the fray, but are involved in stopping the fray.

What does this mean to me? It means that those labeling themselves as "pacifist and peacemaker" are not being redundant. They are against violence at all costs and find themselves not to be in the middle of the fight. If I thought that of myself, I could justify my idealism, too, and refuse to acknowledge the reality that I may have to prepare to defend myself. Or allow others to defend themselves.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What Idiots?

Can you declare someone derelict in their duties if there was no duty?

My beloved "idiots", the Cleveland Browns, resemble a pretty decent football team right now. I have been tentative at the beginning of each game, but turned generally excited as each game progressed. So, what's to do with an "Idiots of the Week" post when you are not in the mood to nitpick? :-)

Hence, those of you looking for an "Idiots of the Week" post have been profoundly disappointed. You haven't mentioned this to me yet,! You know who you are.

I take the defense to task practically every week. Looks like the loss of playing time to Ted Washington has improved the defensive line, ever-so-slightly. Our safeties, who still can't figure out how to play pass defense, have excelled in stopping the run in those fourth-and-short situations. Opportunistic defense, indeed! They have not reached the level of "good" yet, but I can say that they are improving.

Wazzup with the special teams, though? There is need for improvement there. I did not think that would be necessary coming into the year. For the most part, they are decent, but they had some pretty bad miscues last Sunday.

So, here we are, at Big Week #2. I won't mention what happened in Big Week #1.

Maybe I will.

Charlie Frye stunk. The offense was a mess. The defense was better than the offense, I think, but I didn't have a frame of reference since the starting point was "negative infinity". (I officially declare my love for the SEC, BoSox, Yankees, Wolverines, Pistons and Steelers to be at a "negative infinity", too.)

Things have looked up. I have a strange sense of confidence in the offense, and this odd feeling that the defense might actually step up for a series or two each game. Joshua Cribbs is always exciting to watch, and I can't wait to see what weird contortions Winslow and Edwards will make with their bodies in order to catch an otherwise un-catch-able ball. (Is that a woid?)

So, here we are, at Big Week #2. (Didn't I say that already?) Going into the game, I don't know what to expect. Embarrassment on the football field would be a disappointment. Anything else...tune in next week to get my thoughts.

You still want Idiots of the Week? Okay, here goes:

Win - Shaun Alexander, running back for the Seattle Seahawks. Granted, he played injured for a quarter or so, but looked tentative in everything he did. That really changed the Seahawks' game plan. I give him credit for trying to play injured, but against a porous Brown's run defense, he still could have made them pay had he given any effort at all.)

Place - Mike Holmgren, Seattle's head coach. If you know you can't gain a yard on fourth down via a rushing play, why not try something different? Hasselback can run; why not try a bootleg instead?

Show - The Brown's special teams. They missed an extra point, pooched a kickoff out of bounds, and gave up a touchdown on another kickoff. Browns win by three in overtime, but could have one by eight in regulation. I know, it would have killed the "feel good" story if it had happened that way. I no longer care about gutting it out to win the close games. I want blowouts all the way, man. No more of this stressful stuff. Not until after one Cleveland team wins a championship.

Honorable Mention - Whoever owns the #2 spot in the BCS rankings from week to week. It looks to be the kiss of death to be ranked #2. Maybe that means another SEC team will blow it this week, eh? (LSU currently holds that highly regarded, highly coveted #2 ranking.)