Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Professor Gets TV Time

My former roommate, fellow amateur boxer, occasional commenter here, and Townie was featured at halftime of Notre Dame's loss to Georgia on Saturday.  This video reminds me that maybe I should have gone and studied at the library with him instead of staying back in the dorm and watching TV.  However, if I'd have done that, I'd have missed countless Big Ten basketball games and quite a few good episodes of the Red Green Show.  Anyway, enjoy:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Chart of the Day - Religious Demographics Edition


Bad news for (white) conservative Christians. Just a tip: It might pay off to be inclusive.  Like that Jesus guy seemed to be.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Post-Labor Day Links

Here are some stories I intended to highlight this weekend, but I got a little lazy:

What Does It Cost To Start A New Farm? - Fast Company.  You really don't want to know.

The Myth of the Skills Gap - MIT Technology Review.  Business leaders are full of shit? Nooooo......

Why are New Zealand's waters so polluted? - Al Jazeera.  Spoiler: dairy farms.

It’s Time To Ditch The Concept Of ‘100-Year Floods’ - FiveThirtyEight

Harvey Wasn’t Just Bad Weather. It Was Bad City Planning - Bloomberg Businessweek  Note: Nobody was prepared for 50 inches of rain, but considering how much of Houston was built in the past 25 years, the drainage was still terribly planned.

How Washington Made Harvey Worse - Politico

Houston: A Global Warning - Rolling Stone

The Chemical Plant Explosion in Texas Is Not an Accident. It's the Result of Specific Choices. - Esquire

If you listen closely, you can hear Trump's tax plan shrinking - LA Times.  Good, it is a bunch of poorly packaged stupidity.

10 Things Most Americans Don't Know About America - Mark Manson.

Why a Republican Pollster Is Losing Faith in Her Party - The Atlantic.   Because it is a flaming pile of dog shit?

Where Corn Pollutes America Most, and Who’s Responsible - Bloomberg

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Yes, I've Been Terrible At This Lately

Sure, I haven't posted anything in over a month, but I have composed parts of a number of posts in my head.  Usually, it is after some terrible Trump action, and after a little while I get the feeling that if I posted every time he pisses me off, it is really going to be a long three and a half years.  I must say, though, that the Democrats have also been fairly frustrating this summer.  They appear to be trying to position themselves to lose to Lord Combover the Fuckup.  All is not lost,though.  Bannon (although I did find myself agreeing with him somewhat on taxes, Afghanistan and North Korea) and Gorka (ding dong the Douche is gone) are out of the White House, and not a moment too soon.  Anyway, I figured I would throw up a post to prove I'm not dead, and to share a few of the interesting stories I've seen recently.  Here you go:

Robert E. Lee at West Point - Andrew Bacevich.  Bacevich does a good job laying out the case for dealing with Lee's name at the service academy.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is no conservative and no hero, no matter what President Trump says - USA Today.  He is, however, a sadist and a total asshole.

These Sugar Barons Built an $8 Billion Fortune With Washington’s Help - Bloomberg.  Corporate welfare at its finest.

A Big Tobacco Moment for the Sugar Industry-The New Yorker.

A flood of problems - Washington Post.  On the danger posed by Peru's melting glaciers.

Climate change will likely wreck their livelihoods – but they still don't buy the science- The Guardian

Hell and High Water - Texas Tribune and ProPublica.  An investigative series from last year on Houston's lack of preparation for a direct hit from a hurricane.

The Moneyman Behind the Alt-Right - Buzzfeed.  Could be titled, "Reason #1 for an estate tax and higher income taxes."

The Critic Who Refuted Trump's World View - In 1916 - The New Yorker

How Moldy Hay And Sick Cows Led To A Lifesaving Drug - Joe Palca

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Day the Fire Came

I highly recommend that you read this very well written story about three of the victims of this spring's Great Plains fires.  It is very moving. Well done, Skip Hollandsworth and Texas Monthly.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Townball in Minnesota

This is something I wish we had here:
The uniqueness of the Stearns County League is that it dates to 1950 in what is basically its present form. Regal was an early member, as was Freeport. Meire Grove and Greenwald were Green-Grove until separate teams were formed in 1959.
For nearly six decades, it has been those two, plus Farming, Lake Henry, St. Martin, New Munich, Richmond and Roscoe. Of course, 1983 saw the admission of Elrosa and Spring Hill.
“Those teams had to come up with the expansion fee,” Schleper said. “They each had to buy a case of beer for the league’s board of directors.”
The 10-team Stearns County League forms a family, both in spirit and in reality. Herman Lensing is a reporter from Star Publications, the publisher of weekly newspapers such as the Melrose Beacon, Sauk Centre Herald and Albany Enterprise.
Herman is among the 222 residents of Greenwald. He’s famous for having his camera always at the ready. He has been chronicling the exploits of this league and other area townball teams (29 total in Stearns County) for decades....
There are generations of names associated with every team in the league. That’s a tribute to the large Catholic families of farmers. The farms are fewer and the families are smaller in current times. Still ...
“To be a true Stearns County town, you need a Catholic church, two bars and a ballfield,” Schleper said....
What astounds is standing at a ballpark in Farming, Spring Hill or Elrosa, looking across the prairie, and trying to figure out how Stearns County League teams renew themselves. Richmond is near Cold Spring and close to 1,500 in population, but the rest of these little places are a Catholic church, two bars (or one) and a ballfield.
The basic radius rule for player eligibility is 6 miles. The old saying was, “You should play where you go to church.”
The four 15-mile exceptions to the radius rule are still low by state amateur standards.
Most important, the SCL runs Little Dipper (Little League age) and Big Dipper (Base Ruth and Legion age) programs as a feeder system. Parents pay no fee, and the kids swing with wood bats to get ready for the town team.
Many of the bills are paid through pulltab sales at local bars, where the ballclub is the charity. There are also offseason fundraisers.
That is awesome.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Hot Dog Eating Record

On a lighter note, but no less a sign of American dysfunction, FiveThirtyEight gives us this:

Idiots At The Gates - The Future of the United States

I recommend this New Yorker article on the recently concluded session of the Texas legislature.  The second-most populous state in the union is almost under the control of complete morons.  Only a few somewhat sensible elected officials prevent them from riding roughshod over reason and logic.  As I sit here on the eve of Independence Day and contemplate the immediate and medium-term future, I have little faith that the sensible folks will win out.  I'm pretty sure we will see these cultists foist their ignorant bigotry and witch doctor economics on the rest of the nation, and only after their policies are complete disasters will we be able to vote them out of office.  In the meantime, I am concerned we will end up seeing unacceptable amounts of violence as regular citizens suffer under their doomed-to-fail rule.  I wish I could be more optimistic, but the last two years have rendered that almost non-existent characteristic in my personality extinct.