Wednesday, January 11, 2006 bitches

I said I'd post my new whereabouts:

Friday, November 04, 2005

Gettin' a move on

I'm about to move my blogging operation elsewhere. Stay tuned. This may be my last post at

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

NBA players play _dress_ up

I'm watching the Lakers-Nuggets game on ESPN. Says commentator Bill Walton, "Kobe Bryant appears to be wearing tights." I'm not sure that wearing tights is fully in accordance with the NBA's standards on player uniforms or with the new dress code. I don't know Kobe's stance on the NBA's clothing policy, but if he's a guy who wears tights, I don't suppose he supports it. You show 'em, Kobe!

Last night I saw confirmed Bad Boy Dennis Rodman on CNBC arguing against the new dress code. It doesn't surprise me that he would come out against it. We all know Dennis Rodman's idea of a dress code:

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

An openly gay basketball star

I have much respect for WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes after her courageous decision to come out this week. As far as I know, she's the first openly gay player on a major American professional sports team. A lot of people, myself included, have been wondering when we would have an openly gay sports star. I don't mean to belittle the significance of Swoopes's announcement, but there are a couple of factors that make this announcement different from one by a MLB, NFL, NBA, or NHL star:
1) The WNBA is not nearly as high-profile as those four leagues--the nation's reaction might have been different if, say, the NFL MVP were to come out.
2) Swoopes is a woman participating in what is often considered a highly "masculine" activity, competitive basketball.

As for the four major North American sports leagues with male athletes, I'm going to guess that baseball will be the first to have an openly gay player. There's reason to believe that there already exists a gay MLB player: an AP sportswriter once claimed to have had an affair with an All-Star on the East Coast a few years ago. A top prospect in the Cleveland Indians farm system was in a gay porn film when he was in college (although he says he's not gay). But the real reason I think MLB will be first is that in baseball, there are fewer ways for homophobia to manifest itself in the form of extra violence against a player. And regardless of which sport, I think that when a player does come out, it will probably be a superstar player, for an MVP candidate's job and endorsements are generally more secure than those of the typical benchwarmer.

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Talk about subliminal advertising

Check out the Wall Street Jackass, one of the more under-appreciated blogs out there.


Monday, October 31, 2005

Wishing we had a wishy-washy nominee

I can't say I'm surprised. Bush took a lot of heat from his own party for his earlier nomination of a moderate Republican, Harriet Miers. (I once heard a Republican Capitol Hill staffer refer to moderate appointees as "wishy-washy types.") Bush also took heat from the whole world--pundits, bloggers, Congressmen--for his earlier appointment of a joke of a candidate, also Harriet Miers. (Note: I have nothing against Ms. Miers other than that she was a terrible nominee for the Supreme Court. I really have no idea what Bush was thinking when he nominated her, or what she was thinking when she accepted.) So now instead of an unqualified moderate, we have a qualified right-winger.

I'm not sure how I feel. On one hand, I feel a sense of relief knowing that the nominee has at least some basic knowledge of, and experience with, Constitutional law--copious knowledge and extensive experience, in fact. On the other hand, he seems ok with the strip-searching of 10-year-old girls. That's just plain scary. And you never know when you might need your civil liberties. Or an abortion. That's why I want someone more "wishy-washy" on the Court.

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Scooter Libby to the slammer?

An article in Time makes it sound like Libby is looking at some nontrivial time in a federal "pound-me-in-the-ass" prison.

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Brit Hume, habitual line-stepper

Since I got my cable installed a few weeks ago, watching Faux News has been my guilty pleasure, at least until my blood pressure reaches dangerous levels. Brit Hume once again stepped over the line between trashy right-wing punditry and straight-up racism. As Charlie Murphy of "Chappelle's Show" fame would say, Brit Hume is "a habitual line-stepper." Jaun Williams, a prominent journalist and author of a book about the Civil Rights movement (and who happens to be African-American), was discussing the political damage done to the White House by the Scooter Libby indictments. Brit Hume then offerred the ever so insightful remark, "Juan, you need to be hosed down." At best, it was a very rude and insensitive remark. At worst, he was telling Juan to get on the receiving end of a blast from a fire hose like those Southern civil rights marchers.

Watch the video over at Crooks and Liars.

It's especially shocking that Brit Hume would have the nerve to say that less than a week after Rosa Parks passed away. I'm pretty sure that if Brit Hume lived in Montgomery in 1955, he would've been the white guy on the bus telling Rosa Parks to give up her seat.

From now on, when my blood pressure level needs to be elevated, I think I'll go read RedState. Or stay up all night smoking cigars and drinking coffee, like the father of a high school classmate of mine did the night before his Army physical back in the Vietnam era (he achieved his goal, which was to "fail" due to high blood pressure).

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More thoughts on the Fed chief-to-be Ben Bernanke

The short list of candidates for the Fed chief appointment was a can't-go-wrong set of options. Still, I am relieved that Bush chose one of them--the frontrunner, no less--and not some unqualified, Harriet Miers-type crony. Ben Bernanke, the nominee, has brilliant academic credentials in monetary economics as well as experience at the Fed, and he has had a brief stint as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. During his days on the Board of Governors, he had a reputation for examining thouroughly and rigorously any economic news and reports that crossed his desk, and for asking very penetrating questions. Anyone who has met him (I met him once, about six months ago) will tell you that Bernanke has a razor-sharp mind. Given all these qualities, I'm sure he'll be a highly competent Fed chairman. Furthermore, he's uncontroversial, he is respected by virtually all economists, and he is not one to put politics above sound economic thinking, so he should breeze through the confirmation process.

I am puzzled by Monday's stock market rally which was attributed to Bush's nomination of Bernanke. The Dow jumped 169 points--its largest single-day increase in more than six months. And there was no other major news, such as statistical announcements, that could have triggerred a relatively large rally. So it seems that the stock market rally was due to the Bernanke announcement, very positive earnings reports, randomness, or some combination thereof. What I don't understand is, what is it about Bernanke, and his expected monetary policy, that could increase the present discounted value of companies' expected future earnings?

Perhaps this line from a corporate chief economist quoted by USA Today says it: "the main reaction will be a sigh of relief that he is one of the mainstream, qualified candidates." So, investors may have been expecting--at least to some degree--a quackish Bush crony, but now Bernanke brings credibility and stability to monetary policy, thus reducing uncertainty. It seems that Bush's selection of Harriet Miers and Michael Brown types has so lowered people's expectations that when he actually picks someone who is qualified and universally respected, he sets off a stock market rally.

Stocks rally on Fed chief appointment [USA Today]

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

From The Lion and The Donkey

From the official blog of the Columbia College Dems:

Naturally, we can always hope that Fitzmas can turn into “Fitzukkah” giving us one indicted felon in the Bush Administration per day for the next 8 days.

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Thorstein Veblen and the popped collar

A few weeks ago I purchased a copy of Thorstein Veblen's seminal book The Theory of the Leisure Class, which I've been telling myself, for a couple of years, to read. I haven't gotten around to reading the whole thing, as I'm presently trudging my way through The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz. Veblen was a professor of economics at the University of Chicago about a century ago, although if his work were produced today it would more likely be classified as sociology.

A former coworker of mine once claimed that the modern necktie is a Veblenesque symbol of status. After all, if your work outfit includes a long necktie hanging down from your collar, you're showing people that you don't have to (or that you can't) work with machinery, for the tie would probably get caught in something. [In addition, since the tie is tight around the collar, you're also showing that you don't--or can't--do anything that's physically strenuous or might make your body temperature rise. It's often said that high heels send a similar signal from women: if you're wearing high heels, you can't be hauling ass all day, so you must be doing something more leisurely.

Lately I've been wondering what Veblen might have to say about wearing your collar "popped," or flipped upward, like you're on a yacht and it's 1985. It's usually young, College Republican types who tend to wear their collars like that. The only thing I could think of was this reason: when you're sailing, or golfing, or doing other preppy outdoor activities for which you might wear a polo shirt, you need to prevent the back of your neck from getting sunburned, and that's why the collar gets flipped up--so if you're wearing your collar popped inside a Georgetown bar at 1AM, you're signaling that you're the golfing and sailing type. But my friend Peter in Brooklyn has a more interesting and insightful Veblenesque take on the popped collar. The popped collar, he says, is sassy. You wouldn't wear your shirt like that to the office or to any place where you have to show some respect. The collar itself is a symbol of leisure, and when you pop the collar, you're essentially saying, "I can take it easy. In fact, I can take it easy and have a sassy attitude, because I own the place." Peter's take on it makes a lot of sense, especially considering the types of individuals often spotted wearing their collars up.

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