May 28, 2008

More Chalmers

Volume 4 of the "Speaking Freely" series of DVD's is featuring Chalmers Johnston. If you know me, you know that I think the world of this guy as a scholar and a person. Here are two clips from it:

May 27, 2008

Look out world: I can post videos

And to celebrate I thought I would post some street magic from an old post. Parts one and two were posted earlier. But now there is a part 3 and 4, which aren't even trendy yet.

May 26, 2008

The Alma Mater of Kings

An article in the Times yesterday points out that we've had 20 years of Yale grads for president. If Hillary ends up winning the whole thing, we'll have at least 24 years with two Bushes, two Clintons and all Yalies. So, why are all these media and political voices saying that the American people reject elite Ivy League eggheads as being unpresidential? Well, take a look at the tale of the tape -

Every US presidential election over the past 20 years includes at one or more Yale Grads and one or more Harvard grad as one of the people on the major parties' tickets.

May 25, 2008

Quote of the Day

Here's a little food for thought:

"I believe that consciousness is on the point of disappearing altogether. It is the name of a nonentity and has no right to a place among first principles. Those who still cling to it are clinging to a mere echo. The faint rumor left behind by the disappearing soul upon the air of philosophy."
-William James from Does 'Consciousness' Exist?(1904)

May 23, 2008

Appeasement Please

I want to take a few minutes to do some appeasing.

You see, political posts on this blog have had the historical tendency to devolve into arguments between myself and my brother, Diggs. While we these arguments are plenty fun for the two of us, they are probably boring or irritating to the rest of you. So, to help the peace process move forward, I'm offering up this ideological concession:

The mainstream media is not awful. In fact, it can be quite good.

Even though I've been know to rail against the mainstream media, I still respect it enough to turn to it for news. Further, I am willing to admit that their are plenty of instances in which they bring new information to light or call into question the false claims of various propaganda machines. Take Chris Matthews for example. He is someone whom I normally would not show much respect towards and yet I'd like to give in some props for this:

My enjoyment of this clip is not merely because a right wing radio host is being put in his place (that's an added bonus) but also because Matthew's is strongly asserting his role as an objective mediator. Granted, Matthew's did sort of ambush Kevin James but it was a trap that James walked boldly into and then proceeded to make much worse by boldly digging in his heels*. A journalist can hardly be blamed for demanding some facts to back up the assertion that Obama's policy toward Iran can be compared to Chamberlain's policy toward Germany. I heartily endorse Matthew's "Why are you yelling?" comment.

The clip doesn't include a comment by Mark Green which presages the embarrassment of James. He says, "I wish that the Republicans would argue on the merits and not engage in McCarthyite guilt by analogy." Turns out, it's hard to make an argument on merits when you don't know what you're talking about.

Green also drops a gem that I wish more people from all ends of the political spectrum would take seriously. He says "Anybody who the Bush people don't like is Hitler. Ho Chi Min was Hitler, Ahmadinajad is Hitler, Osama Bin Ladin is Hitler, and now Hussien was Hitler. Look, Hitler was Hitler." This kind of ridiculous Hitlerization of the opposition is an all too common political ploy.

On the word appeasement itself, I would just like to add that the word has developed an unnecessarily negative connotation. While these days the term is used to describe pointlessly giving a gift to an evil enemy, the old meaning of the word appeasement is: to make an offering in order to end conflict. I hope this post can be seen in the light of the original meaning.

The next post in my appeasement series will be entitled, "Why I prefer Obama over Clinton."

The Times has a short article about appeasement that mirrors a lot of what I've said here.

I just realized that the Hardball clip that I've praised in this post is actually one member of the media (TV host) bashing another (radio host). I think the main point, that I am saying something positive about the media, still holds though.

*Yes, Virginia, that is an Iraq metaphor.

May 21, 2008

Budget Balancer

Being the connoisseur of education video games that I am, I was somewhat ecstatic to find Marketplace's Budget Hero game. The game play is extraordinary simple: budget options are presented in the form of cards which the player can choose to play. The simulator then shows what would happen under your modified budget.

Even I was surprised at how effective my "eliminate tax cuts and boost social program spending" technique worked. It was a bit disappointing that single payer health coverage wasn't an option though.

May 20, 2008

Movie of the Day

Here's a movie to cozy up with the next rainy Saturday that comes along.

Tribute to Captain Awesome

The guy who revitilized the Mets organization and my love for Mets baseball retired today. Mike Piazza hung up the catchers gear for good after 16 amazing years. This guy should go down as the greatest right handed hitter of his era, and easily the greatest hitting catcher of all time.

If you simply look at the numbers, Mike Piazza is a sure fire, first ballot, hall of famer. His stats compare to the likes of Joe Dimaggio. Piazza had a career .308avg with 427hrs (most of any catcher) and 1,335rbi. Dimaggio had a career .325avg with 361hrs and 1,537rbi.
But outside the numbers, Piazza was the true leader of a Mets team that brought basball back to Queens. After years of highly paid underacheivers who were past their prime, Piazza came in and took over New York. The entire line-up revolved around him. In fact, I remember watching games with my brothers and we would be happy when a Met got out because that meant we were one player closer to Mike Piazza being up.

Although his 2000 Mets didn't win the world series that team had no business being in it. Without Piazza that team had zero 0ffense outside of Edgardo Alfonso. We had an outfield of Timo Perez (currently playing minor league baseball), Jay Payton (on his very best day he was just below average), and Benny Agbayani (in 2002 he went to Japan). Nuff said.

My favorite Piazza memory was a game I went to at Shea. It was the first home game after 9/11 and the Mets had come out of nowhere to compete for the division. The Mets were down 2-1 to the Braves in the bottom of the 8th. Piazza came out of the on-deck circle and everyone in the Stadium went nuts. He promptly hit a 2-run game winning shot and the stadium was so loud I swear the ground was shaking. For 5 minutes it was nice to forget about the tragedy in NY and escape into my love for baseball.

Other great Piazza moments include: Piazza charging the mound after Mota hit him with a pitch and watching Mota literally throw his mit at Piazza and then run for his own dugout. Thanks unbeatable. Hopefully Mike will continue to be involved in the Mets organization in some capacity. THANK YOU CAPTAIN AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

via catcher photos

May 12, 2008

Working with him would be a dream come true

Make sure you watch this at least one minute in.

May 10, 2008

I'm back and here to stay

Since I haven't been an active participant in my favorite #1 blog, I'm not sure if this video has been posted previously.

"Can I take this tie off? I feel like a banker." Hey a-peel how's that for pulling the rabbit out of the hat? Rick uhhhh Vaughn, guns in the holsters

May 7, 2008

Scientific Poll 2

via abcnews

UPDATE!!!! Wow what a high turnout. We have 4 votes for Obama, and one stupid jerkface.

As predicted, Unbeatable would rather ruin the fun than pick an AVAILABLE candidate. It clearly states (although as an attorney you can always make things more clear), "If you plan on commenting without picking one, simply don't comment." And despite being used as THE example of how NOT to play, he chose to fall in line with my prediction. I bet if I asked him who he thought would win the super bowl, the Giants or the Patriots? His response would be something like, well actually the Brazilian soccer (oh sorry - football) team is the greatest sports team in the world. DAMN THOSE GRASSFASTERS - THEY'RE SO FAST!!!!!!

Just to quickly discuss Lisa's non-American status, I live in London, and my LLM program has lawyers from all over the world (with yours truly being the only American). In every single class, there are several students from each of the populated continents. In just about every political discussion I have had, (which happens each time I tell people I am American) almost everyone has an opinion of the candidates and almost everyone likes Obama. One of my friends from Canada likes Clinton, but as far as I can remember he is the only one. I wonder if her experience outside of the US is similar to mine.

"HEY BARTENDER!!! JOBU NEEDS A REFILL." ----Best line in the whole damn movie. KD gets the award for pulling the rabbit out of the hat. Nice job.

May 6, 2008

Scientific Poll

In light of todays primary contests, I figured we could run a little scientific poll of our own. Especially since all you need is a tiny sample for the media outlets to consider the poll credible.
Pick one of the following two candidates: Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.
This option does not include a vote to abstain (unbeatable...), nor does it include a vote for a candidate not listed ( Kucinich). To participate without actually picking one of the two candidates results in me forever labeling you as a jerk. If you plan on commenting without picking one, simply don't comment. But please feel free to choose one of the two options and proceed with whatever comments you deem appropriate. IE, feel free to write, "Obama. Major League is my favorite movie of all time."

As for me, I choose Barack Obama. I will give reasons later (too much studying to do).
If we can pull off a sample of 3, I think one of the cable news shows would find the sample sufficient to report the results and invite 4 political experts to discuss the ramifications.

May 3, 2008

Instead of Studying

Instead of analyzing the various legal theories on whether an umbrella clause contained in a bilateral investment treaty elevates a breach of contract into a breach of treaty... I decided to locate and watch the best catch I have ever seen...thank you D-Wright. Although the Endy Chavez catch was pretty sweet (but since the mets lost game 7, I cannot make that catch number 1...too many tears).

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Fran Healy's voice on the commentary. I sure do miss that tired old dinosaur, and his 9million references "confidence" in baseball.

May 2, 2008

Spice Up That Baby

A headline from today's Orlando News reads:

Man Pepper Sprays Infant Son In Face
Police: Never Seen Anything Like It

I guess that they've never heard of this police action and read this quote about it in the Press Statement released by the Portland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild:

It was clear to me that the police could see that there were young children in strollers within the crowd, yet the police ignored that fact and continued to spray pepper spray indiscriminately so that the spray hit the children and their mothers.

Maybe, the subtitle of the Orlando News article should be - Police: Never Seen Anyone But Other Police Do It


I'm wondering how people that read this blog feel about tipping and acupuncture. I ask these questions knowing full well that their is probably an entire web site dedicated to the social conventions of tipping.

Should you tip your acupuncturist (does anyone tip their doctor)?

As an acupuncturist, should I accept tips (and by "accept" I mean "not reject" as opposed to "actively elicit")?

Just Embarrasing

I understand that people make mistakes all the time but seriously, confusing Fredrick Douglass with Stephen Douglas is enough to make even the heads of a cable news team hang in shame.

Irony is making fun of your intern's knowledge of history while prominently displaying your own ignorance by confusing one of the most powerful white voices of slaveholders rights with a famous black abolitionist.

May 1, 2008

Franz Kaftka Rock Opera

I promised my infant brother awhile ago that I'd post this video.

Metaphor fists - Metamorphosis