30 September 2008

Back in the saddle

Wow, it's been over a week since I last posted. This is mainly due to laptop issues... and before you start in with the "Macs are better" mockery, it was a hard drive failure, and last I checked, Apple hardware fails on occasion, too.

Anyway, the big story of the day is BAILOUT BAILOUT BAILOUT.

Before I attempt (and believe me, it will be an attempt, at best) to get into the nitty-gritty of the current financial situation of the United States, here is a graph that seems to accurately depict public perception of all bailout talk from Washington.



Whether or not this is fair or correct, let's remember that fairness does not factor into the realm of public opinion. Just ask anyone who works in public relations.

Now, the best way to get a handle on what the now-rejected Bailout Rescue Bill 2008 was is to read all 100+ pages of it. I admit I haven't. What I have read are others' criticisms of said bill.

Here is one, from a guy who mostly writes about sports and has a non-existent economic background.

Just One Bailout Thought: As Congress continues to debate whether they are going to hand over $700 billion of your money to the wealthy who screwed up Wall Street and the banking industry, you will be relieved to learn that top executives of the bailed-out firms temporarily will be limited to a strict $500,000 a year in tax-subsidized income. Surely you receive $500,000 a year in tax-subsidized income, don't you? Anyway, supposing we assume the bailout is required, here is what bothers me about the plan so far: Taxpayers don't get stock, what they get is warrants that can be exchanged for stock, and nonvoting stock to boot. This means that once media attention switches to the next crisis that everyone will claim in retrospect to have seen coming, the Wall Street rich can quietly lobby to have the warrants never called, thus keeping the entire bag of gold for themselves. Even if the warrants are called, taxpayers get no voting positions -- meaning the boards of directors of the bailed-out firms can do anything they damn please with taxpayers' money.

A week ago, Warren Buffett rescued Goldman Sachs by injecting $5 billion in capital. Did Buffett bargain for warrants that can be exchanged at an unknown later date for nonvoting shares? No: He is not a fool. Buffett gave Goldman Sachs $5 billion in return for senior preferred stock, the kind that votes and also is more valuable than ordinary shares. That is to say, he used his money to buy something. Goldman can now employ the cash to fix its liquidity problems. The United States Congress and the White House should use the public's $700 billion to buy something, namely senior preferred shares. Why are Congress and George W. Bush not simply following the road map laid out on this problem by the smartest investor of our era? Either Congress and the president are a bunch of blithering fools -- or what they actually want is to insure the public's money is never seen by the public again.


An interesting take on one aspect of the bill. People with more economic education than I have said he got it right, though.

And from Dave Ramsey, who does have a fairly solid economic background:

Years of bad decisions and stupid mistakes have created an
economic nightmare in this country, but $700 billion in new
debt is not the answer. As a tax-paying American citizen, I
will not support any congressperson who votes to implement
such a policy.

Instead, I submit the following three steps:

Common Sense Plan.

I. INSURANCE

A. Insure the subprime bonds/mortgages with an underlying
FHA-type insurance. Government-insured and backed loans would
have an instant market all over the world, creating immediate
and needed liquidity.

B. In order for a company to accept the government-backed
insurance, they must do two things:

1. Rewrite any mortgage that is more than three months delinquent
to a 6% fixed-rate mortgage.

a. Roll all back payments with no late fees or legal costs
into the balance. This brings homeowners current and allows them
a chance to keep their homes.
b. Cancel all prepayment penalties to encourage refinancing
or the sale of the property to pay off the bad loan. In the event
of foreclosure or short sale, the borrower will not be held liable
for any deficit balance. FHA does this now, and that encourages
mortgage companies to go the extra mile while working with the
borrower—again limiting foreclosures and ruined lives.

2. Cancel ALL golden parachutes of EXISTING and FUTURE CEOs
and executive team members as long as the company holds these
government-insured bonds/mortgages. This keeps underperforming
executives from being paid whenthey don’t do their jobs.

C. This backstop will cost less than $50 billion—a small fraction
of the current proposal.


II. MARK TO MARKET

A. Remove mark to market accounting rules for two years on
only subprime Tier III bonds/mortgages. This keeps companies from
being forced to artificially mark down bonds/mortgages below the
value of the underlying mortgages and real estate.

B. This move creates patience in the market and has an immediate
stabilizing effect on failing and ailing banks—and it costs the
taxpayer nothing.


III. CAPITAL GAINS TAX

A. Remove the capital gains tax completely. Investors will
flood the real estate and stock market in search of tax-free
profits, creating tremendous— and immediate—liquidity in the
markets. Again, this costs the taxpayer nothing.

B. This move will be seen as a lightning rod politically because
many will say it is helping the rich. The truth is the rich will
benefit, but it will be their money that stimulates the economy.
This will enable all Americans to have more stable jobs and
retirement investments that go up instead of down. This is not a
time for envy, and it’s not a time for politics. It’s time for all
of us, as Americans, to stand up, speak out, and fix this mess.

This plan seems to be favored by the one Congress drafted two days ago, if the internets are to be believed. :)

The point is that there are a lot of good ideas floating around the country. There's no need for Congress to hurriedly put together something, anything, to placate the American people. Let's do this right the first time.

Now, from my point of view, I'd prefer we didn't grab an arbitrary sum of money from the taxpayers and throw it at the problem. Obviously that's a simplistic view of the proposed solution, but until someone convinces me I'm way off base, that's where I am.

20 September 2008

Your political bearings

If you've never taken the Political Compass quiz, I recommend it. The site asks you to answer questions about thinks like economics, morality, the role of government, etc. and then shows you where you stand on a four-axis plane. Here's their take on it:

There's abundant evidence for the need of it. The old one-dimensional categories of 'right' and 'left', established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today's complex political landscape. For example, who are the 'conservatives' in today's Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher ?
On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It's not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can't explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as 'right-wingers', yet that leaves left-wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook.
That's about as much as we should tell you for now. After you've responded to the following propositions during the next 3-5 minutes, all will be explained. In each instance, you're asked to choose the response that best describes your feeling: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Agree or Strongly Agree. At the end of the test, you'll be given the compass, with your own special position on it.

Nifty concept, even if you disagree with the method. 
Here is the result of a test I took today: 

And here's one I took in 2006:
Now, I know this blog and most of my online writings have a very conservative slant, but I think that's because the left annoys me more than parts of the right do. I hear and read things from the Republican party that make me roll my eyes or shake my head... I need to do a better job of pointing those things out. 

I'll make a more concerted effort to do so in the coming weeks. 

Politics and offense

I have a theory. Bear with me.

When having a political discussion, things usually get heated. This can be due to one of two reasons:

1. Personal attacks and mean-spirited comments or

2. Differences in opinion.

I think it's important to distinguish between these two. Personally I think differences in opinion should not be offensive, while personal attacks should be, and inherently are.

And yet, we see people become offended at differing ideas all the time. 

For example, some people believe the government should take a big role in supporting its citizens by taking taxes and then providing healthcare, social security, etc. Other people believe this is not the role of government. 

Nothing offensive about either of those viewpoints, right? 

"Heck yes, there is!" you say. Okay, but what exactly offends you? Do either of these viewpoints attack you, personally? 

I believe we interpret opposing views as offensive because, if they are correct, our ideas, which may be closely held, are wrong. And being wrong is something we hate. 

I also believe we need to get past that. We need to be able to exchange ideas without hurting feelings. We need to be able to hammer concepts against opposing concepts in order to find truth. While this process is inherently confrontational, I don't think it needs to negatively affect relationships.

What do you think? Is this an unrealistic goal? Again, I'm not talking about real personal attacks... calling someone an idiot or evil for thinking a certain way is non-productive and a good way to cause someone emotional distress. 

But maybe, the next time you run across an idea that contradicts your own, explore it without getting riled up. You might just end up tweaking your opinion in a way that you find to be positive.

Yaaaawwnnn....


BYU steamrolled yet another MWC opponent. Ho hum.

I hate to sound spoiled, but when there's little to no chance of BYU's opponent winning the game, I get bored.

Wyoming came into this game with about a .5% chance of walking away with a win. After BYU's defense got their lateral return for a touchdown, that was it. Sure, the Cougar offense didn't look as sharp as it did last week, but when your defense forces six turnovers, you can overcome offensive sluggishness.

The last time BYU pitched back-to-back shutouts was 1985, when they beat Wyoming and Utah State. The scores of those games? 59-0 and 44-0. 

Weird.

The last time BYU pitched three shutout games in a row? It was actually part of a four-game series of shutout football, in 1937, when the Cougars blanked Western State, Wyoming, Utah State and Montana.

Next up? Division-II (at least they should be) foe Utah State, in Logan. I'm willing to bet the Cougars get three in a row for 2008. In a year when the defense was supposed to be a weak point on the team, I'd say they're performing pretty well so far.

19 September 2008

Sports Illustrated loves BYU...

even if ESPN doesn't.

SI posted an article about the Cougars today. Here are some excerpts:

So many gaudy statistics, so little time. Undefeated BYU, which hosts Wyoming on Saturday, is 2-0 against Pac-10 teams this season, including last weekend's paradigm-changing, 59-0 drubbing of UCLA, a result so surreal and stunning that it forced us to ask: which is the team from the BCS conference, and which the mid-major from the wrong side of the tracks?

Is parity coming to the NCAA? Is the event that the BCS was created to stop on its way anyway?

What has been terminated, officially, is Rick Neuheisel's Westwood honeymoon. While there is shame in suffering so lopsided a loss to a foe from what is widely (if mistakenly) considered an inferior conference, there is less shame than you might think in getting clubbed by the BYU Cougars. This is a smart, deep, superbly coached, well-disciplined club that has won 11 games each of the past two seasons, and is now sitting on the nation's longest winning streak, at 13 games.

Just win, baby, and everything else takes care of itself. You get noticed, you get opportunities for more exposure. And you can keep building.

ESPN, on the other hand, seems to have some kind of axe to grind with the Cougars.

During the Colorado/West Virginia game last night, ESPN put up a graphic showing the number of teams in the Top 25 by conference. There was no mention the MWC in that graphic, even though the Mountain West has just as many teams as the PAC-10 in the Top 25, for example.

Good times.

18 September 2008

Some context

My friend Stu has rightly criticized me for posting a political, agenda-driven Youtube video without providing any context.

So here here is the context of Obama's words during the speech where he says he did witness Jeremiah Wright say some controversial things. He gave the speech on March 18 of this year.
On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
And the CNN transcript of the Anderson Cooper interview from March 14 of this year.

It's a fairly short read, and nowhere in there does Obama say he actually, personally heard Wright say anything offensive. Not only that, but he claims no one ever told him about what Wright was preaching until Obama started running for president.

That is pretty far-fetched.

The double standard is appalling. If McCain had been attending a church where white-supremacist views were given from the pulpit, the media would have killed him.

Yet Obama gets free pass by saying, "Oh, I never heard anything like that during the several years I attended the church."

Gotta love presidential elections.

Obama caught lying



1. This is not flip-flopping. It's not changing your stance on an issue; it's a "yes or no?" situation that Obama lied about.

2. It's a terrible lie. You cannot claim you attended Jeremiah Wright's church faithfully for years and yet somehow managed to not hear anything controversial come from his mouth. It's a difficult situation, politically, to be sure, but the way out is not through lying to the media.

3. Obama supporters who refuse to even acknowledge that problems like these exist come across as shallow and kool-aid drinkers.

[/rant]

17 September 2008

Karma

This is what I get for posting about Arenas' latest knee surgery.

The Deseret Morning News beat reporter Dick Harmon blogs that BYU wide receiver Michael Reed sustainted a meniscus tear in his right knee during the UCLA game. 

He'll be out for 5-6 weeks.

Reed has been a solid receiver for the Cougars over the past two seasons. Even though he's not the go-to guy on offense, he's one more guy opposing defenses have to account for, and he has great hands. I liked that Hall could throw to Pitta, Collie, Reed, Unga and George on any given play. 

Nevertheless, I think BYU will be fine until Reed comes back, especially since their schedule isn't exactly challenging. 

It'd be nice to have him back for the Utah game, however.

Get well soon, Michael.

Perception test

video

Pretty amazing.

Gilbert out until December (and beyond?)


ESPN reports that the Wizards' Gilbert Arenas had knee surgery last week and be out until December.

Pssh. That's what he said last year after having knee surgery, and the man missed the entire season. 

Bad news for Washington fans.

16 September 2008

UCLA highlights


Links to UCLA highlights. As they are over 100 MB in size, I can't upload them to Blogger.



The download speeds are pretty slow; I'm not sure if that's because the host is slow or if a lot of people are attempting to download them at once.

Either way, worth the wait, especially if you weren't able to catch the game.

13 September 2008

Mmm, delicious crow


Boy, was I ever wrong.

14-10? What was I thinking?

In short, I was thinking that not much had changed with UCLA's defense or BYU's offense since last December.

And on paper, I was right.

But that's why we play the games on the field.

And that's why I love college football.

59-0 isn't just a win, it's a statement. A statement that the BCS means nothing. That there are great teams in all conferences. That BYU is back on the map, and they're not going away any time soon.

Well done, Bronco, Max, Austin, Dennis, Harvey, Fui, Jan. 

In other news, the MWC played four games against the PAC-10 today. Here are the results:

BYU beat UCLA 59-0
TCU beat Stanford 31-14
New Mexico beat Arizona 31-28
UNLV beat Arizona State 23-20

Combined scores? 144-62.

Outside of USC and Oregon, the PAC-10 is as sad as the ACC these days.

Playoff.

Looking to the future, I don't see anyone in the MWC tripping up BYU except for Utah. And after today, I'm not worried about them any more than I usually am.

So go Cougars! Just win, and everything else will take care of itself.

12 September 2008

Quick UCLA post

My laptop's AC adaptor died two nights ago (third one in four years), so I've been computer-less since then. Posting will be sporadic until I get a replacement.

UCLA is scary. While my readers seem to disagree (see poll), here are the two main reasons I feel this way.

1. UCLA's strength, their defense, is perfectly suited to stop BYU's strength, its offense.

2. Their weakness, the passing game, is perfectly suited to take advantage of BYU's weakness, the secondary.

UCLA displayed the ability to shut down Hall, Unga and co. in the Vegas Bowl last year. Their defensive line was very impressive against Tennessee, getting pressure on the quarterback and stopping run plays without blitz support.

If the Bruins' d-linemen can blow up Unga in the backfield (see: Vegas Bowl) and put Hall on his back 10 or 12 times this game, the Cougars are in deep trouble.

And if Kevin Craft can get the kind of time to find receivers that Locker did last Saturday, he'll look a lot more like the Craft from the second half of the Tennessee game than the Craft from the first half of that same game.

My recommendations for BYU:

1. Blitz Craft. Bring linebackers early and often. Rattle him, get the crowd excited so they can get loud and confuse him. If the Cougars play "bend-not-break" defense the majority of the game, UCLA will score a lot.

2. Use screen plays on offense. UCLA's defense will be bringing it full speed ahead. The best way to counter that are by screens, draws and misdirection. I have faith in our offensive line, but this is the best defensive front BYU will face all year, and it'll take more than talent to score on them enough to win.

In short, I see this game being a low-scoring affair. If there was ever a game where BYU's defense needs to create a couple turnovers, this is it.

Prediction: BYU 14, UCLA 10

10 September 2008

Democrats say the darndest things

Rep. Steve Cohen, Democrat from Tennessee:



Obama = Jesus.

Palin = Pontius Pilate.

Got it.

08 September 2008

Holding so obvious, even kids can see it

Pictures taken during the Washington game, by a seven-year old kid. 


Holding 5c by abinsc
Holding 1 by abinsc
Holding 4c by abinsc
Holding 4d by abinsc
Holding 6 by abinsc

Just astounding. Zero holding calls on Washington all game. 

I don't think my esteem for PAC-10 refs can sink any lower. Those guys are scum.

BYU at Washington highlights

BYU at Washington highlight reel, courtesy of Furious Monkey, a poster on cougarboard.com

Note Fui's blocking, Hall's accuracy, and BYU's dominance on the offensive line. 

Oh, and the holding by the Huskies' defensive line. 

video


UCLA thoughts later this week.

07 September 2008

BYU at Washington


So BYU beat Washington today.

I'm not sure if you'd heard yet, seeing as to how ESPN's coverage of the game has unexplainably focused on an excessive celebration penalty assessed against Washington QB Jake Locker with two seconds left in the game. 

I'll cover that quickly before moving on to the more important stuff.

The college football rulebook states that after a touchdown, the player who scored must either a.) hand the ball to the ref or b.) place the ball on the ground where he was down. 

The rule goes on to explain that an example of how to break this rule is "throwing the ball high in the air." 

Note the rule is not about throwing the ball high (or how high, if you're a senile Lou Holtz). The rule is about giving the ball to the ref or placing it on the ground.

Locker scored a touchdown on third down with two seconds left by scampering past four BYU defenders who were apparently wearing shoes made of concrete (I'll rant more about this later). 

As he entered the endzone, he underhand threw the ball about 20 feet into the air and jumped around as his teammates surrounded him. 

Now, going back to the rule, did Locker either a.) hand the ball to the ref or b.) place the ball on the ground where he was down? 

NO.

As a result, the refs called an unsportsmanlike penalty against Washington, pushing their game-tying extra point attempt to a 35-yard field goal. 

This was apparently the biggest travesty in the history of western civilization. 

I'm going to make three points and be done with the whole thing.

  1. This was a call made by PAC-10 refs in a PAC-10 stadium. There is no way on earth they wanted BYU to win the game. What happened is the refs realized they had only called two penalties on Washington all game, despite obviously missing several egregious holds by Washington lineman. The needed to make the final box score look like they'd called a fair game, so an official threw the flag on the excessive celebration, figuring it wouldn't hurt the Huskies. 
  2. It shouldn't have. You're a PAC-10, BCS team playing an MWC team at home. A 35-yard, straightaway field goal is a chip shot. For your line to get absolutely destroyed and the kick easily blocked is embarassing. This is the play that won the game for BYU. Not the penalty. To say the unsportsmanlike call removed Washington's chance to go into overtime is simply incorrect.
  3. Those arguing that the call was "inexcusable," "pathetic" and "horrendous," (thanks, Mark May and Kirk Herbstreit) are way off base. The crux of the matter is that everyone is used to the old version of the unsportsmanlike rule, where factors such as "premeditated," "prolonged," and "taunting" come into play. The problem is that TODAY, not handing the ball to the ref or placing the ball on the ground is a penalty. Period. Completely independent of whether or not the celebration was premeditated or taunting or anything else. Those who have a problem with the play have a problem with the rulebook. Take it up with the NCAA and get it changed; don't take the credit away from BYU for a game they won.
[/soapbox]

On to game thoughts:

I still worry about Hall's long ball. His touchdown pass to Collie in the first quarter was visibly underthrown, and the only reason it was complete is because Collie had so thoroughly beaten the Huskies' secondary. 

Unga looked great. It's amazing what you can do when you're not hit in the backfield every down. Harvey isn't especially fast, or especially quick, but he's pretty darn good at both. It's a fun combination to watch. That said, his fumble on the .02-yard line early in the fourth quarter really hurt. I know he likes to run people over, but sometimes it's okay to step around them, too.

Pitta is outstanding. NFL scouts are watching this guy. 10 receptions, 148 yards and a touchdown is as much as you can ever ask from a tight end. He had some great, tough catches that kept drives alive. 

BYU's defense was embarrassing. I blame both the coaches and the players for this. Coaches: how can you not put a linebacker or two on Locker? The number of times the seas parted for him and he scrambled straight down the field for 10 or 15 yards drove me crazy. Several times the ref was in better position to stop Locker than anyone wearing a BYU uniform. 

Secondly for the coaches, if you're going to rush four and drop eight, check to make sure your secondary coverage is actually doing something. During the Huskies' last touchdown drive, apparently Bronco felt like going soft prevent would be a good idea. Sadly, no. Despite BYU having eight guys is coverage, Locker was able to find receiver after receiver running wiiiiide open down the field. Luckily, Locker either made a poor throw or the receiver dropped the ball on most of these ocassions, but BYU's defense was so consistently bad, Washington was able to score anyway.

Bronco, BRING THE HEAT. If your linebackers are doing jack squat for your pass coverage, bring them to pressure Locker. He eventually did so, but far too late, in my opinion.

As for the players, BYU's linebackers and corners overestimated their own speed and underestimated Locker's all game. Several times Locker or another Washington player took off running and Cougar defenders were in decent position to make the tackle. However, they chose terrible pursuit angles and ended up behind the play. A better angle might not have sacked Locker or taken the running back down for a loss, but often would have stopped them from gaining more than one or two yards. Play smart, guys.

The other problem with the defense is that they are just slow. Washington had better team speed overall, and it burned BYU more than once. Sweeps, end-arounds, crossing routes in man coverage, etc. BYU won because they outexecuted the Huskies; it certainly wasn't because the Cougars were more talented.

And to revisit an earlier whine: I cannot believe the severity of the missed holding calls by the PAC-10 refs. Prior to the unsportsmanlike penalty and an offsides call on a meaningless onsides kick, the Huskies were assessed two total penalties. Two. One for intentional grounding and one for an illegal substitution on a PAT for five yards. Somehow Washington managed to make that kick.

There were at least three egregious holds by Washington offensive lineman during big plays by Locker. At least. Now, I understand that refs have a lot of things to watch for on any given play. I understand that if there is a large group of players around the quarterback they can't catch holds that may or may not occur.

But these holds took place as an offensive lineman clearly held a BYU player (and in some cases tackled him from behind), and these two players were the only ones near Locker. If the ref was watching the play, he saw the hold. And chose to do nothing about it. 

It's no wonder every team in the country hates playing PAC-10 teams at home. Just ask Oklahoma. 

That's all for tonight. I may rant more tomorrow. For now, let's just say UCLA scares me to death. 

05 September 2008

The Associated Press is biased


I opened up yesterday's edition of the Post Register this afternoon and looked to see what was on the front page. After all, the paper ran the day following Governor Sarah Palin's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Minnesota. Surely there would be something about the historical nature of the address, much like there was with Senator Obama's address to the DNC a couple weeks ago.

Instead, the big national story on the front page was an AP story titled "McCain camp plays the sexism card." Subheading: "It appears the strategy is to entice the female vote and bash on the media for questioning Sarah Palin's past." 

I was stunned. The Associated Press is THE national news service for the country, and prides itself on being unbiased in its news coverage. Somewhere along the way they decided to abandon that principle. The headline reeks of bitterness and cynicism. 

Honestly, the AP? You really ran a story like that instead of, oh, I don't know, reporting on what Palin said?

In the interest of being fair, I did a search on their site for a story titled "Obama camp plays the race card," but came up empty. 

It's one thing to headline your story "Obama claims McCain camp of playing the sexist card," or "McCain camp accusses Obama camp of playing the race card," but it's entirely different to inject your own opinion into a news story like AP writer Ron Fournier obviously did here.

It's disgusting, and yet again I am embarrassed to be going into the field of professional journalism. 

Oh, and in the case of the Post Register, I checked today's front page to see if there was anything about Palin's speech there. 

Nope.

There was a nice story about an Idaho Falls attorney helping to evict a couple anti-war protesters at the convention, though, effectively giving said protesters the coverage they wanted. 

Oh, and there was a great opinion column by Ellen Goodman, decrying Palin's lack of experience and criticizing the governor for being anti-abortion. 

Good grief.

A quick note on experience: Neither Obama nor Palin have resumes typical of presidents of vice-presidents. For either side to scream about the other ticket is appallingly hypocritical. 

I don't see why McCain made the pick, as it completely undermines any argument he can make against Senator Obama re: experience, while any time Obama brings up Palin's lack of qualification I cannot believe my ears. 

Yay politics.

Keys to a Cougar win

If BYU wins at Washington tomorrow, it will be the first Cougar win against a BCS team on the road since Doman and Staley beat Mississippi State 41-38 in 2001. 

That was a long time ago. 

I personally believe it'll be a BYU win tomorrow, but I thought the same thing about Tulsa last year, and look what happened there.

If Hall, Unga, Collie and Co. win this game, it will be because of three things:

1. Unga gets holes. Unga is not the kind of back who can create something out of nothing. If the play doesn't develop like it should, he's down in the backfield almost every time. And if the offensive line can't get the run game going, Washington's defensive backs will force Max to beat them long. As I mentioned in my thoughts about the UNI game, I don't think Hall can do that. 

2. BYU needs to contain Washington quarterback Jake Locker and make him beat them with his arm. Locker is a fast and quick, but he can't throw worth beans from what I've seen. If the Cougars stick one or two linebackers on him and prevent the scramble, that will stop the Huskies dead in their tracks offensively.

3. If Washington brings the linebackers on every play, essentially denying BYU the ability to run the ball, Pitta will be the key, much like he was against UNI. Hall will need to look for him early and often.

That's it. We'll be able to see pretty quickly whether or not BYU can do these three things or not on Saturday.

Go Cougars!

04 September 2008

The surge has worked? Welcome to the bandwagon, Mr. Obama

Senator Obama met with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly today. I respect that... it's impressive to have an interview with someone who so openly opposes you. 

As part of the interview, Obama finally conceded the surge, as proposed by Senator McCain and President Bush, has worked, and Iraq is moving closer and closer to stability. Momentum is definitely on our side.

It's amusing to watch both presidential candidates make the traditional slide to the center as they court the votes from moderates across America. 

McCain spent decades voting with the Democrats, standing against the Bush tax cuts, and criticizing Mitt Romney for managing a company for profit.

And starting tonight, he'll sound like Ronald Reagan.

At least until the general election is over.

03 September 2008

Google Chrome


Last night I was perusing Cougarboard.com, the fount of all knowledge, and came across a poster talking about Google Chrome. I'm a sucker for anything Google does, and so once I found out it was a new browser, I downloaded it and gave it a shot.

In short, it's fast. My friend Jimmy was quick to point out that this is because it's based on Webkit, or the same application framework used for Macintosh's OS X and Safari web browser. Jimmy is kind of an Apple fanboy.

Anyway, my page load times are at least twice as fast as they were in Firefox 2 and 3, and it seems to take less system memory to run. It's like I doubled my internet speed for free.

Can't argue with that.

Download it here if you'd like.

In other computer news, my five-year old laptop has been giving me bluescreens with messages about "unmountable boot volumes" lately, so I've been thinking about a backup solution. I wasn't really interested in a giant external hard drive, so I decided to give Carbonite a shot.

Carbonite is a program that uploads the files on your home computer to an off-site server. It's nice because the process is automatic, and therefore very low-maintenance. Plus it's only $50 a year, less than $5 a month.

Since upload speeds are ridiculously slow compared to download speeds with residential internet, the initial backup can take several days. Once that's complete, however, daily backups only take a couple minutes.

I'm running a 15-day trial now, and I'll post an update on how it's going in a week or so.