I was once again wrong on my NBA Prediction of the Night. But in my defense, a starter was pulled from the lineup moments before tip-off, an event I could not have seen coming.
31 October 2008
I was once again wrong on my NBA Prediction of the Night. But in my defense, a starter was pulled from the lineup moments before tip-off, an event I could not have seen coming.
30 October 2008
29 October 2008
The Jazz start their season tonight vs. Denver at 7:30. They'll be without Deron Williams, who sprained his ankle in a preseason game and will be out for at least these first two games, maybe longer.
28 October 2008
Tonight is the start of the 2008-2009 NBA season, and it's Christmas as far as I'm concerned. Cavs/Celtics tip off at six on TNT, then we get Blazers/Lakers immediately following.
27 October 2008
BYU fans have forgotten how to watch a good football game. When BYU scores 40+ points, punts only twice (both times downed inside the 10), doesn't turn the ball over even one time, and wins a close game by picking off a pass in the endzone, that is quality entertainment, and if you didn't enjoy it, you're not a football fan.
24 October 2008
An open letter to the local daily paper — almost every local daily paper in America:
I remember reading All the President's Men and thinking: That's journalism. You do what it takes to get the truth and you lay it before the public, because the public has a right to know.
This housing crisis didn't come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.
It was a direct result of the political decision, back in the late 1990s, to loosen the rules of lending so that home loans would be more accessible to poor people. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were authorized to approve risky loans.
What is a risky loan? It's a loan that the recipient is likely not to be able to repay.
The goal of this rule change was to help the poor — which especially would help members of minority groups. But how does it help these people to give them a loan that they can't repay? They get into a house, yes, but when they can't make the payments, they lose the house — along with their credit rating.
They end up worse off than before.
This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party, in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.
Furthermore, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were making political contributions to the very members of Congress who were allowing them to make irresponsible loans. (Though why quasi-federal agencies were allowed to do so baffles me. It's as if the Pentagon were allowed to contribute to the political campaigns of Congressmen who support increasing their budget.)
Isn't there a story here? Doesn't journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren't you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?
I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. "Housing-gate," no doubt. Or "Fannie-gate."
Instead, it was Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting sub-prime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.
As Thomas Sowell points out in a TownHall.com essay entitled "Do Facts Matter?" ( http://snipurl.com/
These are facts. This financial crisis was completely preventable. The party that blocked any attempt to prevent it was ... the Democratic Party. The party that tried to prevent it was ... the Republican Party.
Yet when Nancy Pelosi accused the Bush administration and Republican deregulation of causing the crisis, you in the press did not hold her to account for her lie. Instead, you criticized Republicans who took offense at this lie and refused to vote for the bailout!
What? It's not the liar, but the victims of the lie who are to blame?
Now let's follow the money ... right to the presidential candidate who is the number-two recipient of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae.
And after Freddie Raines, the CEO of Fannie Mae who made $90 million while running it into the ground, was fired for his incompetence, one presidential candidate's campaign actually consulted him for advice on housing.
If that presidential candidate had been John McCain, you would have called it a major scandal and we would be getting stories in your paper every day about how incompetent and corrupt he was.
But instead, that candidate was Barack Obama, and so you have buried this story, and when the McCain campaign dared to call Raines an "adviser" to the Obama campaign — because that campaign had sought his advice — you actually let Obama's people get away with accusing McCain of lying, merely because Raines wasn't listed as an official adviser to the Obama campaign.
You would never tolerate such weasely nit-picking from a Republican.
If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.
If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.
There are precedents. Even though President Bush and his administration never said that Iraq sponsored or was linked to 9/11, you could not stand the fact that Americans had that misapprehension — so you pounded us with the fact that there was no such link. (Along the way, you created the false impression that Bush had lied to them and said that there was a connection.)
If you had any principles, then surely right now, when the American people are set to blame President Bush and John McCain for a crisis they tried to prevent, and are actually shifting to approve of Barack Obama because of a crisis he helped cause, you would be laboring at least as hard to correct that false impression.
Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That's what you claim you do, when you accept people's money to buy or subscribe to your paper.
But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.
If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.
Because that's what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don't like the probable consequences. That's what honesty means . That's how trust is earned.
Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time — and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.
Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter — while you ignored the story of John Edwards's own adultery for many months.
So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?
Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?
You might want to remember the way the National Organization of Women threw away their integrity by supporting Bill Clinton despite his well-known pattern of sexual exploitation of powerless women. Who listens to NOW anymore? We know they stand for nothing; they have no principles.
That's where you are right now.
It's not too late. You know that if the situation were reversed, and the truth would damage McCain and help Obama, you would be moving heaven and earth to get the true story out there.
If you want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.
Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation's prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama's door.
You will also tell the truth about John McCain: that he tried, as a Senator, to do what it took to prevent this crisis. You will tell the truth about President Bush: that his administration tried more than once to get Congress to regulate lending in a responsible way.
This was a Congress-caused crisis, beginning during the Clinton administration, with Democrats leading the way into the crisis and blocking every effort to get out of it in a timely fashion.
If you at our local daily newspaper continue to let Americans believe — and vote as if — President Bush and the Republicans caused the crisis, then you are joining in that lie.
If you do not tell the truth about the Democrats — including Barack Obama — and do so with the same energy you would use if the miscreants were Republicans — then you are not journalists by any standard.
You're just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party, and it's time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a news paper in our city.
I think Card makes his points well enough that he doesn't need much additional commentary, but here two of my thoughts:
1. The prevalent media bias is obvious to everyone except those who share the same bias.
2. I believe being completely unbiased is impossible, but newspapers and other news organizations around the country can do a much, much better job moving towards the center. Simply reporting the facts and digging until the truth is discovered, no matter who it helped or hurt, would be a good start.
23 October 2008
By way of ESPN's Truehoop blog:
First, the rat kitten is taught to grab the ball and to find it on the court. The next phase involves coaxing the rat to travel with the ball in its mouth. At first, the distances are only a few steps in length, but slowly they increase. The rat is guided by hand to travel to a particular end of the court, because each rat must learn to recognise their own hoop. The basketball rat teams are established by teaching half of the rats to put the ball in the basket on the right side and half on the left side of the court. How does the rat learn to score? Scoring a basket is not taught to the rat kittens until the very end of their training period. To start, a platform is used to enable the rat to simply drop the ball down through the hoop. Gradually the platform is lowered and the rat learns to lift the ball up and into the basket. Finally, the rat kitten begins to be ready for an actual game with another rat.Here's a short clip of the rodents in action.
I think I might be willing to pay to watch this.
22 October 2008
So apparently Glenn Beck is moving his TV show from CNN Headline News to the Fox News Channel.
Bad choice, Glenn. I've been searching for Glenn's thoughts on the move, but haven't found anything yet.
Bottom line, Glenn's credibility as a conservative talk-show host goes up dramatically because he's on CNN. People who normally hate conservative talk (Limbaugh, Hannity) are more likely to give him a chance if he's on a network not known for pushing a conservative agenda.
If it turns out Glenn is going to Fox for more money, boooo. He'll soon be lumped together with Hannity, Limbaugh and O'Reilly as just another right-wing kook who hates minorities and is in bed with Bush. Is that worth some extra cash?
I'm not saying these perceptions are true, but that's the perception for a lot of people.
21 October 2008
Exhibit A: I confused members of Congress and Senators while texting with a friend yesterday. (Note: Senators represent the entire state, members of Congress a district within it.)
Exhibit B: I'd been meaning to register to vote for a few months now, but hadn't gotten around to it. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I was under the impression that the general election was held on November 27 or so. Thanksgiving? Anyway, yesterday Mandi and I went to the county administration building (which is conveniently located about four blocks away) to register.
On arrival, we were informed that the deadline to pre-register had been over two weeks ago, and that in reality, the general election will be on November 4.
"Oh, that's right," I thought.
But the nice lady at the courthouse went on to explain that we could register and vote on election day, or even register and vote that very second if we wanted. There were booths set up in the administration building and everything.
Mandi decided she'd take a voter registration card and vote at a later time, while I decided, "What the heck, I'll get it done right now."
Despite my appalling lack of knowledge about the specifics the democratic process, I had been researching the candidates for several months. The most helpful information regarding local political races came from my daily reading of the Idaho Falls Post Register, and I'd been spending at least an hour a day online reading articles and message board postings about the presidential race.
Without boring you with the intricacies of local Idaho politics (trust me, they are boring), I will tell you I voted for Bob Barr, or the Libertarian party, for president.
1. Economics. Obama's economic plans is thinly (if at all) disguised socialism and wealth redistribution. McCain isn't too far behind, in my opinion. Barr's stance is:
"Every area of federal spending can and should be cut. Entitlements must be reformed and welfare should be cut, including subsidies for business sometimes called corporate welfare. Military outlays should be reduced and pork barrel spending eliminated. Needless, duplicative, and wasteful programs, most of which
have no constitutional basis, should be terminated."
That's the libertarian way. Government should fund roads, courts, police and the army. That's about it. As I blogged about Sunday, I believe private enterprise is far more efficient than the government when it comes to taking care of people in all but a few instances.
2. Energy. Barr is for domestic drilling and nuclear energy.
3. Barr is for major tax reform. I agree that the tax code is far too complicated (almost comically so), and we should seriously consider a flat income tax.
4. The border.
There is no perfect immigration reform. The government must balance security and sovereignty concerns, which necessitate controlling the border, with the economic benefits of immigration. The best policy would be to stop illegal immigrant flows while accepting more of the world’s economically productive who want to come to America.
Very well stated, in my opinion. Meanwhile, neither McCain nor Obama are interested in doing anything with the border, perhaps because they fear losing the Hispanic vote.
5. And then we have the mustache. Way to rock it, Bob.
Now, I disagree with Barr about Iraq and privacy/government surveillance issues, though I can see where he's coming from and don't really begrudge him his positions on these points.\
As I live in Idaho, I realize the state will go to McCain no matter what. Idaho and Utah would vote Republican if Satan were running with an R next to his name. But maybe if McCain gets less of the supermajority he believes he is entitled to from these reddest-of-the-red states, it will send a message to Washington that they should consider nominating an actual conservative next time around.
19 October 2008
In my discussions with Obama supporters, one common belief they share is that the government can right the wrongs of civilization: poverty, inequality, racism, etc.
"Brad Pitt has done more for this community than anyone," Rahim said.
Brad Pitt is doing more than the government of the United States?"I would say 10 times more than the government," Rahim said.Pitt founded non-profit group called Make it Right, which aims to build new, energy-efficient homes in the Ninth Ward. Some people doubted that Pitt would follow through, but with few delays, homes started going up. The first homes were finished this summer.If Brad Pitt and Harry Connick, Jr. can work to build dozens of new homes, why does it take government so long to follow through on its plans?
Call me crazy, but if I find myself in trouble, I'll choose the help of private companies and non-profit organizations over assistance from federal government any day.
17 October 2008
Thoughts on last night's game:
16 October 2008
Wow, I've been very inconsistent in my posting lately. I blame the low-quality, knock-off power adapters I've recently bought to replace the one for my laptop that broke after three years. I've had two break on me in about as many months, leaving me without a computer at home while I wait for a replacement to arrive in the mail.
14 October 2008
The big story from the Jazz's perspective was Andrei Kirilenko's play off the bench. Even with Carlos Boozer back, Jazz coach Jerry Sloan opted to start C.J. Miles and have Kirilenko serve as the team's sixth man.
I wouldn't read too much into plus/minus in the preseason, when the lineups on the floor are unconventional to say the least, but Kirilenko's numbers were darn impressive.The Jazz outscored Portland 52-39 in the 24:31 Kirilenko played Sunday.
They were especially strong when it came to closing out quarters.
The Jazz outscored Portland 10-6 to end the first after Kirilenko checked in with
4:34 left and 10-2 in the third quarter after Kirilenko checked in with 1:52
Kirilenko was all the difference in the first quarter - - he factored into all five of the Jazz's scoring possessions - - and came along for the ride in the third - - when Kyle Korver's three-pointer and Deron Williams three-point play drove the Jazz.
The biggest thing that can be said about Kirilenko was he even made Kyrylo Fesenko look good. Fesenko and Kirilenko have lockers next to each other and Kirilenko made a point of looking for Fesenko whenever he drove the lane.
Fesenko had a 10-point, 10-rebound performance, which Sloan said afterward was the game of his life. Another interesting thing was how much Kirilenko's postgame comments suggested that he was truly thinking about the game as he sat on the bench.
Kirilenko said he wanted to spark the Jazz in the first quarter by getting inside and trying to throw some quick passes around the basket. He also talked to Brevin Knight about taking advantage of the Blazers' overplaying defense and got two backdoor alley-oop dunks.
There's still four preseason games left, but I think Kirilenko is destined to start the season as the Jazz's sixth man.
13 October 2008
07 October 2008
I do not understand the sense of entitlement that has become so prevalent in our country. We demand nice cars and expensive clothes. And if our income is not enough to afford such things, well, that's what credit is for.
You’ve got only a couple thousand bucks in the bank. Your job pays you dog-food wages. Your credit history has been bent, stapled, and mutilated. You declared bankruptcy in 1989. Don’t despair: You can still buy a house.” So began an April 1995 article in the Chicago Sun-Times that went on to direct prospective home-buyers fitting this profile to a group of far-left “community organizers” called ACORN, for assistance. In retrospect, of course, encouraging customers like this to buy homes seems little short of madness.
"In one of the first book-length scholarly studies of ACORN, Organizing Urban America, Rutgers University political scientist Heidi Swarts describes this group, so dear to Barack Obama, as “oppositional outlaws.” Swarts, a strong supporter of ACORN, has no qualms about stating that its members think of themselves as “militants unafraid to confront the powers that be.” “This identity as a uniquely militant organization,” says Swarts, “is reinforced by contentious action.” ACORN protesters will break into private offices, show up at a banker’s home to intimidate his family, or pour protesters into bank lobbies to scare away customers, all in an effort to force a lowering of credit standards for poor and minority customers. According to Swarts, long-term ACORN organizers “tend to see the organization as a solitary vanguard of principled leftists...the only truly radical community organization."
04 October 2008
03 October 2008
BYU looked like the seventh-best team in the country for about twelve minutes tonight.
01 October 2008
It's the first day of October, and you know what that means. 28 more days until Robert Swift plays the season opener with his new team, the Oklahoma Thunder!
If you're new to the Frozen Wasteland, you may not know that I'm a die-hard Jazz fan, despite hating the color purple and not really liking Carlos Boozer.
So while I'll be ranting about many different NBA topics, it'll always come back to Utah.
My general sense about this Jazz team is that they'll once again be good, but not great. They'll win 50 games, struggle through the first round of the playoffs, and lose in the second round or the Conference Finals.
1. There were no major changes to the team in the offseason. Get handled by the Lakers in 2008 Playoffs + Make no offseason changes = same result. Besides getting rid of Jason Hart (thank heavens) and picking up Brevin Knight, this is the exact same roster the Jazz trotted out last May.
2. You cannot win an NBA championship with Okur and Boozer as your four and five. Winning it all requires interior defense, and Boozer and Okur are possibly the worst starting power forward and center, individually, in the league. Combine them and it's a disaster. If I'm an opposing coach, I tell my guys to drive into the lane every single play. Either the Jazz will foul you or you'll get a layup.
3. The Lakers are going to be better. Courtesy of the Ball Don't Lie blog:
1. Kyle Korver had surgery to rid himself of a bone spur in his foot back in June. I liked the trade when it happened, and if we can get Korver shooting 40% from the 3 this year, the Jazz offense will be ever harder to stop.