Things I Wonder About

Why is a tax credit for home purchases only good for first time home buyers? Wouldn’t making it available to everyone lure even more people into the market?

Doctors, lawyers, engineers, car salesmen, politicians, school teachers, reporters…the list goes on and on.  Is there any profession out there that isn’t loathed by anyone? I’d say firefighters and nurses–maybe. But even librarians irritate me. They walk around pretending Google can’t do their job 1,000,000 times more efficiently than they can.

What is the ratio of right-handed to left-handed pitchers in MLB? It seems like there are just about as many lefties as righties, even though there aren’t nearly as many left-handed people in the general population. The logical conclusion is that there are lots of right-handed people out there with good stuff, or at least the potential to have it. Why don’t I know any of these people?

When we played battleball/dodeball in middle school, why were you out if you hit someone in the head. It’s not like you were trying to hit them in the head. In fact, if you could purposefully hit someone in the head with one of those difficult to throw balls at such a young age, you probably should have been rewarded for your ability.

Mayonnaise–why in the world would anyone eat that on purpose?

If you can answer any of these questions, I’d appreciate it.

I Don’t Feel Like Writing

But these people do.  So go read their posts.

LissaKay on how socialism works.  Notice the guy at the top pays the same amount either way.

BillyMac has fun playing with John McCain’s tongue.  Strange fetish.

Why Libertarians and true conservatives don’t win elections.  Duh.

Seth Godin writes a post about me–too small to fail.  If I had a nickel…

Jen has some thoughts on Warren Buffet’s recent op-ed piece.  My big problem with it is that Warren Buffet has a huge financial interest in bailouts and market recoveries.  Do it because you think you should, not because he thinks you should.

An Anonymous Idiot is begging for more chicks with tattoos.

Just Sayin’ has some ideas on Money and Power.

Stolen bases= free tacos.  Bet on it!  Why can’t someone do this with sub-prime mortages?  What a great way to give everyone home ownership!

If you’re going to be a criminal anyway, don’t pay for the privelage.

Illogical Markets

From Fast Company:

“The idea that the market is always right is a crazy idea. Laissez-faire is over.”

Well, until the shit hits the fan, maybe. But it can’t be stopped forever.

Here are a few observations I’ve made in my few years…

1) Unregulated markets are illogical, emotional, impulsive, abusive, and reactionary…in the short term. But in the long term they are rational and efficient.

2) Government is smart, able, and well-meaning…in the short term. But in the long term it is idiotic, inefficient, and oppressive.

3) People who act based on fear, emotion, and good intentions and only think in the short-term tend to pay for it heavily in the long term. Almost always.

Short term thinking got Barry Bonds the home run record. It probably shriveled up his nuts and took a few years off his life in the long term.

Short term thinking got people to buy houses they could afford to pay for while their adjustable rate was low. It caused them to get foreclosed on in the long term.

Short term thinking will give institutions that made bad loans investments the ability to make more loans investments. In the long term, well, I guess we’ll see, won’t we?

Two Guys Who Get It

Brazilian President calls the bailout unfair to poor people…

“Why give $700 billion to the banks and no money to the poor guys who lost their houses,” Lula asked, according to local media. He referred to the troubled U.S. housing market.

I think he’s right, but for the wrong reasons. Poor people shouldn’t be given money either. But it’s the poor people who are going to have their precious few dollars devalued. It’s the poor people who are going to be taxed by allocating a larger portion of their income to pay for the mountain of regulation that will result in an increase in costs of goods and services.

Newt Gingrich is right too, well sorta…

“You have the former Chairman of Goldman Sachs asking for 700 billion dollars, and in his initial request, asking for it in such an un-American way that I think he should have resigned,” said Gingrich.

Paulson has to go. But he shouldn’t be given the opportunity to resign. I believe the correct term is “shitcanned”. Maybe Congress could investigate him on the possibility that he was in collusion with Wall Street too. That is, if they can squeeze it in between all the other important investigations.

Don’t expect either of the major party Presidential candidates to work towards anything but the status quo though.  They’re going to be busy convincing you that they are miles apart on this issue.

Man Up Nine-Year-Olds!

My buddy Greg sent me this article at ESPN about a 9-year-old boy in Connecticut who has been told his 40 mph fast ball makes him “too good” to pitch in his baseball league.  Teams have refused to play when he pitches, and his team is being disbanded at players redistributed to other teams.

But Vidro says he didn’t quit and the team refuses to disband. Players and parents held a protest at the league’s field on Saturday urging the league to let Jericho pitch.

It sounds like there are some political shenanigans going on beneath the surface because the kid isn’t playing for the team league officials wanted him to play for.  My initial reaction was, “This is an outrage!  He’s pitching amongst his peers.  They should adjust to his speed and become better batters.”

Yeah, but…

He’s not pitching against his peers.  The age groups in little league are set up as a guideline for skill level.  His skill level is greater than most people his age, at least in this particular league.  Why don’t his parents let him play in either a tougher league or with older kids?  Those are his peers.  Are they afraid for him to have to compete too?

I don’t see either party as being in the right on this one.  The league is in the wrong to punish a kid and his teammates for being good at the game, but if the kid and his parents truly believe he’s on his way to becoming the next Randy Johnson, maybe they should consider having him play with kids who can challenge him.  If they don’t, everyone’s may catch up to him in a few years, and he’ll be left reliving the glory days of striking out second graders.

Baseball in 2008–meh

I never thought there would come a time when I would care this little about baseball.  The All-Star game is tonight, and I don’t think it’s possible for me to care any less.  Baseball really has no soul left for the most part.  There are a couple of exceptions–a few weeks ago I was in Chicago for Friday’s game between the Cubs and the White Sox.  Cubs tickets are always a hot item, but tickets to this game were going for more than $250.  I had a chance to go, but the price wasn’t worth it, and I opted to go play poker instead.

I did take the train up to Wrigleyville for pregame festivities, and it was so fun being in a city where so many people care so much about baseball.  These were real baseball fans, and the trip up (we took the red line from Sox-35th to Addison) was really fun, just because of the fans and the trash talking.  In contrast, I was in Atlanta for three days before I went to Chi-town, and nobody…NOBODY cares about the Braves.

Apathy–that’s pretty much how I feel about baseball in general.  I just heard that Barry Bonds is irritated that no team wants him, even though he’s willing to play for the league minimum.  While I really don’t care at all, that at least gives me a little joy.  It’s not that I care so much about his juicing, I just don’t like the guy in general, mostly because of his inability to throw out Lonnie Smith–the only man who’s “ass to rest-of-body” ratio is greater than mine–in the 1991 NLCS, costing the Pirates the pennant.

You’ll recall that the Braves went on to perform the first of their many choke jobs that year in the World Series.

Instant Replay in Major League Baseball?

Yeah.  That’s the real problem with baseball.  It’s not their looking the other way with steroids a la the WWE.  It’s not the designated hitter (why not have 9 offensive player and 9 defensive players?).

The problem is that there is no instant replay?

George Will is a lot smarter than me, and he’s way better at getting people to agree with him than I am.  You’re better off just reading his thoughts.

In the NFL, coaches’ challenges, which trigger replays, contribute to the sense that a game consists of about seven minutes of action — seriously: Use a stopwatch, and you will confirm that — encrusted with three hours of pageantry, hoopla and instant-replay litigation.

My 2007 Year in Review

Unlike everyone else, I slacked off and waited until 2008 was officially here to do my review. 2007 was my first year of full on blogging. I’d messed around here and there with different blogs before, but 2007 was the year I drank the Kool Aid and went at it for real. I’ll keep this list confined to what occurred on this blog. You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m somewhat guarded about the personal life. Enough about me…here are my thoughts on my 10 most notable posts of 2007:

Ron Paul’s Presidential Run
At times it seemed to me that Ron Paul news was taking over this blog. On one hand I feel like I need to apologize for that, but on the other hand, it’s my blog and that’s what I was interested in. Luckily, I wasn’t the only one who was excited by Dr. Paul’s message, and I hopefully played a small part in helping him get elected. More on that later this year, as I have some thoughts on what is realistic, and what is for the best.

Knox County Scandals
There were more in 2007 than I can even count. That makes you wonder how much stuff is going on that we haven’t even heard about yet. Last week I saw a t-shirt that read, “Miami: A sunny place for shady people.” Knox County seems to have the market cornered on shadiness this year.

Steroids in Sports (and Non-Sports)
My bottom line–WHO CARES? Next topic.

People Getting Nekkid and Almost Nekkid
I got a ton of traffic this year writing articles about Vanessa Hudgens, along with a couple of articles about the Inskip teacher who had arguably inappropriate photos on MySpace. I don’t really care who gets naked and takes photos of it, I just wonder how people can do that and not retain ALL digital copies of the material. Idiots.

Barbie Cummings and the Highway Patrol
This was just a funny local story that ended up causing me to exceed my bandwidth when it went national and I ended up ranking #3 on Google for “Barbie Cummings Blog”. Since then, Ms. Cummings life has apparently changed dramatically, much for the better. How do I know that? I’m resourceful, and it didn’t take much digging anyway. Nevertheless, it seems like she wants to leave that part of her life behind her, so I think it’s time this story finally died and went away, never to be mentioned here again.

Tennessee Smoking Ban
Thank you to our state’s elected leaders for writing and enforcing personal choice laws on private property. If you really want to look out for me and mine, stop wasting our tax dollars on this crap. Next thing you know we’re going to have to provide health care for people who would’ve otherwise died if you’d not spent millions trying to keep them from smoking.

Buddies Blogging
Some people I know IRL also started blogs this year. It’s funny that you can go months or years without talking or emailing with someone, and this medium puts you in the position to “converse” with them every day. Even when it isn’t dialog, you read what they write and they read what you write. Very cool. Not to mention the countless other blogs I’ve begun to read that I never would have learned about if I’d not started blogging for real this year.

The War On Education
Also known as the public school system. I feel like I don’t spend enough time or energy talking about this because I think it’s the number one problem facing our country. Solutions are anything but clear and simple, but one thing I’m very excited about for this coming year is that I’ve got an idea that may help a little, at least for individuals. I’m finishing up some other projects, and then I’m going at it full force.

Blogging About Blogging
As I said, 2007 was my first year blogging full throttle, and boy did I learn a lot. I posted a ton of stuff about monetizing, driving traffic, building networks, linking to other people, and I’m sure lots of other stuff that annoys people. I can’t help it…my interest is peaked. Another project I want to tackle for this year is keeping that stuff off of this site and directing it to a different blog that is dedicated to that subject.

The One I Wish Was More Popular
Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about The Wire. I really wished more people watched this show, especially the season that starts next week which will address the media. I’ve had several great conversations with people who watch The Wire, and I’d love to bring more of them to this venue. In fact, I think I’m going to, despite the fact that most people don’t know about the show. At least I’ll have the bragging rights that a couple of people heard about it from me when they are finally turned on to it.

More on Steroids and Baseball

After yesterday’s post, I’ve had a chance to read a little more and think about the issue. This is so obviously a free market issue to me. If baseball fans demand a clean up, we’ll have one. Frankly, I don’t think many of the baseball fans that are left really care one way or the other.

HungryMother brought up health issues in yesterday’s comments. Admittedly, a health issues exist, but are the health issues of baseball players a concern of Congress? Should Congress also step in and do something about the years shaved off of pro football players’ lives? Average life expectancy for football player is 55 years, and only 52 years for linemen, according to this article, and the NFL has arguably the most stringent drug policy of all the professional leagues in the U.S. Consider boxing and stock car racing.

Should Congress investigate every time someone’s chosen occupation is a risk to their life and health?

People make personal choices, some of which shorten their lives. Athletes are people too. Some choose to use steroids and risk their health and lives in doing so. Others choose to participate in a sport that takes years off their life by itself.  How much resolution to we really need in federal regulation and oversight?

Steroids and Baseball–Let The Records Stand

The report everyone’s been on the edge of their seat anticipating was released today.  Of course, there were the names you’d expect to see (Bonds, Giambi, Sheffield, and McGwire), but there were some surprising names on the list:  Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Eric Gagne, among them.  Notice something here?

The pitchers are/were juicing too…not just the hitters!

This changes everything in my mind.  I’m more than happy to let any records a steroid user attained competing against a bunch of other steroid users stand.

Ask not why these players were juicing, ask why the rest of the league wasn’t! 

The report culminated a 20-month investigation by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, hired by commissioner Bud Selig to examine the Steroids Era.

The real question should be, “why the hell are my tax dollars being spent to fund a 20-month investigation into a kids’ game?”

Note to Congress:  this is why we have a media.  If When the truth comes out about steroid use in baseball, it will be baseball’s problem to deal with.