Monthly Archives: February 2010

Quick offseason footblogging

Dear Ravens:




Big Fan

What happened to Change(tm)?

One of the very few great things that could have come out of Democratic control of Congress and the Obama Administration would have been rolling back the Patriot Act.  They say they are for protections from invasions of privacy, that violating civil liberties was a ‘failed policy of the Bush Administration.

Well, don’t hold your breath, they reauthorized it without significant changes.  Showing again this is about power and control, and neither party is really interested in giving any of that up.

What’s most frustrating?  In committee, there was bipartisan agreement to scale it back a bit.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., noted that the bill with privacy protections had been approved in committee by a bipartisan majority. He said the measure “should be an example of what Democrats and Republicans can accomplish when we work together, but I understand some Republican senators objected to passing the carefully crafted national security, oversight and judicial review provisions in this legislation.”

But they couldn’t get it through the entire body.


It’s Hockey, not Figure Skating

After the Canadian Womens’ hockey team won gold, they celebrated, quite as one would expect.

The players stormed back onto the ice half an hour after beating the United States 2-0 on Thursday and staged a raucous celebration – smoking cigars and swigging beer and bubbly.

Haley Irwin poured champagne into the mouth of Tessa Bonhomme, gold medals swinging from both their necks. Meghan Agosta and Marie-Philip Poulin posed with goofy grins.

Goalies Charline Labonte and Kim St-Pierre posed at center ice for Poulin, lying on their stomachs with a giant bottle of champagne resting just above the Olympic rings.

Rebecca Johnston actually tried to commandeer the ice-resurfacing machine.

Poulin, who scored both goals for Canada, doesn’t turn 19 – legal drinking age in British Columbia – until next month. The drinking age in Alberta, where the Canadian team trains, is 18. Photos showed Poulin on the ice with a beer in her hand.

Well, yeah.  They’re hockey players.  They won a gold medal against what most consider the best team (and best womens’ hockey program) in the world.  It’s just shocking that someone 19 might swig a beer afterwards.

Apparently, though, the IOC doesn’t approve.

Gilbert Felli, the IOC’s executive director of the Olympic Games, said the antics were “not what we want to see.”

“If they celebrate in the changing room, that’s one thing,” he said, “but not in public.”

Did I mention they are Canadian hockey players!!!

Steve Keough, a spokesman for the Canadian Olympic Committee, said it was “quite an emotional moment for our team” and added: “It was not our intention to go against any IOC protocols.

“In terms of the actual celebration,” he said, “it’s not exactly something uncommon in Canada.”

I wonder what the IOC reaction would be if it’s the Canadian mens’ hockey team.  Different?  Would the team apologize?  if there was some of this in figure skating, I might be more interested.

In their own words

Democrats pointing out how important the filibuster is… when they are the minority.

Tyranny of the majority is only bad when they aren’t the majority, I guess.


How can you not like this

I just got the CD

A Question Everyone Should be Allowed to Answer

This is a repost from my old blog from February, 2006.

Which of the following choices would you prefer:

$75,000 cash at age 35 and an additional $9,500 of income every year for the rest of your working years (assuming your salary doesn’t change), or
$1,386 per month starting at age 62 for the rest of your life, or
$2,015 per month starting at age 67 for the rest of your life, or
$2,500 per month starting at age 70.

For me, its a no brainer. I bet most people would take the cash now. Unfortunately, the government won’t let you decide. They have decided you may pick only from the last 3 choices.

This example is based on the remarkably helpful letter I got this year from the government.

F(n) = F(n-1) + F(n-2)

This is a repost from my old blog, from January of 2008.

This could possibly be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I’m a huge music fan. Tool is one of my favorite bands, and Lateralus is one of my favorite songs.

This video combines Lateralus with images from the Hubble Telescope, and points out the relationship of items in the song with the Fibonacci Number Sequence.

Lateralus sends chills down my spine when I listen to it. This video did that, and brought tears to my eyes as well. This is art in the new age.

Ride the spiral to the end.

Seth Goodin on Pennies and Dollars

This is an outstanding read!  Well said and concise.

My perspective is similar – although I think from a personal finance standpoint, sometimes you need to start with the pennies to learn good habits.

To those who want to give the government more power and control

I suggest you read this.

Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.

Horrifying.  Ought to be enough, but probably isn’t.

Via Radley Balko

Economics and Wine Prices

Robin Goldstein (author of The Wine Trials 2010) in the New York Times Opinion section, responds to some criticism regarding his position that high wine prices are often unjustified.

While certainly price and quality are not necessarily related, Mr. Goldstein shows a common ignorance of Economics in his argument for pricing wines based on the cost of production.

One might divide wine pricing theory into two rough schools of thought. There is the camp that believes wine should be priced from a supply-side/cost-plus perspective–you take the cost of production of the wine, you add reasonable costs and a modest profit for the producer, you factor in markups for distribution and retail, and you arrive at more or less what the wine should cost. The other camp believes that wine should be priced from a demand-side perspective–that a wine is worth whatever the market is willing to pay for it.

The reason I’m in the first camp, and not the second, is that I don’t subscribe to the neoclassical model of consumer rationality upon which the demand-side pricing theory is built, a counterfactual universe of stingily hypersensitive, quality-sniffing consumers. My sense is that, especially when it comes to hazy markets like wine, real human beings — within certain constraints — generally anchor themselves to market prices that are imposed upon them, and generally pay for things what they’re told those things are worth.

That there is a ‘first camp’ at all is an indicator to me that too many people don’t get enough (any?) exposure to fundamental Microeconomics. You don’t need to take an advanced price theory course (although that was the most fun I had in a college course, with everything taught in terms of beer and pizza) to understand how prices are set. Continue reading

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