Friday, February 25, 2005

The Academy Awards are this weekend. You know the Oscars are the New York Times of Award Shows, old, tired, and less important every year.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

See y'all later...

Well, it's been a lot of fun over the last few months, but now that the site is up and running, I've decided to turn it over to Libertarian Hack. I've decided to adopt the new handle "Outlier" and move to my new blog: Skewed Left. Don't be fooled by the name - I'm going to post on more cultural stuff and lay off the politics for a while.

In my final act as Managing Editor of Yankee Madmen - I've decided to restore the site to it's original template, minus the blog advertising and roll, since they are really associated with my account. I may be back to guest contribute once in a while - that's really up to your new editor, L-Hack.

Please excuse any problems we experience over next few days while I manage the transition...If you came to read me, thanks, if not, oh well, thanks for coming to the site.

Best of luck to L-Hack and Leftist Wonk - stop over to SL in a few weeks when we're up and running. :)

"We're the new liberals of the Republican Party. Can you imagine that?" Barry Goldwater in 1996

I noticed this by Ryan Sager writing for Tech Central Station being commented on by left and right wing sites. His report on the attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC shows how completely the social conservative wing of the party has taken over. At CPAC, the Manhattan Institute and Log Cabin Republicans were booed! The gist of the article is that “We Christians can do this alone, y'all who ain't down with J.C. best be running along.” I’m certainly not qualified to tell the Republicans how to win elections they seem capable of that, unlike the Democrats. But I believe there are enough of us on the right who are unhappy with Bush's spending, do not give a shit about gays marrying and are none-too-impressed with the rest of the Bush presidency to sit the next one out. Unlike liberal blowhard I don’t hate Ned Flanders but their way is not going to hold on to the majority for long.

One of the few things the new Republican Party going for it is that it’s not the new Democratic Party. The left has shown weakness and lack of resolve when it comes to terrorism and foreign policy in general and democratic moderates have moved on to play shuffle board, you know its bad guys when HRC is the moderate in the party.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Even better than the Computer Relic Auction...

There's an upcoming auction at Christie's for vintage documents related to the information sciences - computer science, telecommunication, etc...There is some pretty cool stuff - works by Alan Turing, Vint Cert, John Von Neumann...I personally like the original COBOL specification available for bids.

Even cooler - the Vintage Movie Poster auction. The best thing are the Japanese posters for American films like Stagecoach & Breakfast at Tiffany's, but if you're going to by a film poster in Japanese, why not go for the gold standard...

GOJIRA!

The Real AARP Agenda - Come on, this is just plain stupid

From Talking Points Memo:

"Over the headline: 'The REAL AARP Agenda', the ad has, on the left, a picture of a soldier in desert fatigues with a big 'X' crossing him out and on the right a picture of two men (in tuxes and obviously just married) kissing each other. The gay newlyweds have a big green check mark over them."


This ad is running at the American Spectator.



Come on, is someone taking this seriously? L-Hack, you're a Republican, please explain this to me? The AARP opposes Social Security privatization because it's going to reduce their political clout. Without a government program to rally member support around, why do they need to exist? Without membership and vote mobilization ability, what other parts of their agenda can they enact? (I can almost assure you that gay marriage and gays in the military are NOT part of the AARP agenda. Think about it - why would old people be pro-gay?)

Is the AARP liberal? Yes. Do they like high taxes? Yes, because they like government programs. Are they a professional lobbying organization that raises lots of money and gets grant funding by the Federal Government? Yes.

The AARP is committed to one thing - raising taxes on younger workers to provide programs to retired people.

This social agenda stuff is ridiculous. I guess because Bill O'Reilly had some guy on his show that said something, it MUST be true.

If you want to hate the AARP for what they are, fine, but this is just plain stupid.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Juiced - An Ad for Steroids

From Slate:

"'Steroids, used correctly, will not only make you stronger and sexier, they will also make you healthier,' Canseco crows. 'Certain steroids, used in proper combinations, can cure certain diseases. Steroids will give you a better quality of life and also drastically slow down the aging process.' Then he helpfully adds, 'I'm forty years old, but I look much younger.'"
...
For Canseco, even steroids' most gruesome side effects have a silver lining. For example: "[O]ne definite side effect of steroid use is the atrophying of your testicles." Uh-oh. "But here's the point I want to emphasize: what happens to your testes has nothing to do with any shrinking of the penis. That's a misconception." Well, I suppose that's slightly less revolting. "As a matter of fact, the reverse can be true. Using growth hormone can make your penis bigger, and make you more easily aroused. So to the guys out there who are worried about their manhood, all I can say is: Growth hormone worked for me."


Whoa. When I was in college, my roommates and I were drinking away a Friday afternoon and indulging in some after-school special designed to deter kids from steroids. The main character gets 'roid rage, beats up his girlfriend, steals money from his mother...all the usual cliches (think Jimmy using them before the Special Olympics on South Park)

Anyhow...at the end of this thing, the first thing my one roommate says, "Did you see how big that dude got?" Within minutes, we all wanted to get on the juice. Heck, at 5'6", I thought I might be able to reactivate a growth spurt at 19!

I'm telling you, no matter how hard you try, it's tough to make steroids look like a loser. Even Jason Giambi - there's this subtle undercurrent of thought that maybe he just went too far. He got "too big", "too fast". You can't help but think, maybe if he'd had more control, he'd be fine.

The Public Mood of Tomorrow is the Television of Today

From the NY Times:

"L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Parents Television Council, criticized 'The Simpsons' for addressing the issue of gay marriage, though he cautioned that he had not seen the episode. A parental advisory preceded the broadcast.

'At a time when the public mood is overwhelmingly against gay marriage, any show that promotes gay marriage is deliberately bucking the public mood,' he said."


I would suggest that L. Brent check out the Freepers coming out in the defense of the Simpsons.

People need to face facts - this is strictly a generational issue. In 15 years, the opposition to gay marriage will be dead. Literally, in the ground and covered with dirt. A decade ago, there were almost no gay characters on TV. Since then, Ellen, Will & Grace & Spin City have been prime-time network sitcoms featuring gay characters as major players. I didn't watch TV last night, but in addition to The Simpsons, Desperate Housewives featured homosexuality in last night's plot. Besides, last night was nothing new for The Simpsons, they've had gay characters for years.

Even more telling, among youth-oriented TV, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson's Creek had regular homosexual characters and included their homosexuality in the storyline. MTV always has homosexuals in their reality shows. Friends had a lesbian couple raising a child, and cable TV shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Queer as Folk, and L-Word are prominently featuring homosexual characters and lifestyles.

L-Hack always says that Massachusetts moved too fast for most people. He's probably right - it might have been too much and it triggered a backlash, but as more and more kids get exposed to homosexuality through TV, they become more accepting of it. Tolerance will give way to the inevitable "gay marriage" or "civil union".

The funny thing is, the more successful the conservative agenda is, the sooner it's going to happen. The more people take personal ownership of things like retirement and health insurance, the less likely they will tolerate government interference in how individuals spend their money. Right now, the government definition of "marriage" is critical in Social Security, but not under a personal account system. The government is irrelevant - I'll share my money with whomever I want, and anyone that supports an "ownership society" will be opposed to any limits on ownership privileges. After all, what's the point of personal ownership if it's restricted? The more things move of collective goods to individual programs, the less impact government has in defining societal structures, and the less it will be tolerated. Give people "ownership" and they'll take it.

Individualism and government-sponsored social engineering (a.k.a - "Moral Values") are completely incompatable.

HST R.I.P.

"We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers... Also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls... But the only thing that worried me was the ether. There is nothing more helpless and irresponsible than a man in the depths of an ether binge..."

Hunter S Thompson died yesterday, two of his books, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Hells Angels are favorites of mine. One of my posts a couple of weeks ago referenced Fear and Loathing in L.V., it’s the only book I've read where the editor has to interrupt in the middle to explain what going on. Every alcohol and drug fueled road trip of my 20's used Fear and Loathing in LV. as a standard as how to behave when trying to be an out of control menace, if only we had Ralph Steadman to illustrate. The beating he took from the Hells Angels, after riding with them for a year, would have been enough to kill most people.

Taking his own life seems fitting; I did not see HST becoming a very old man complaining about his prostate medication giving him the shits.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Housing - Too hot, too cold, just right...

From CNN Money:

"These were the conclusions of study by Richard DeKaser, chief economist for National City Corp., who ranked 99 major real estate markets based on how much they are under or overpriced relative to what he deems "normal housing values."
...
His conclusion: 27 of the markets in his study are overvalued, 29 are undervalued and 43 are fairly valued, with prices no higher or lower than 10 percent of their fair value."


Is there a national housing bubble? Probably not. Are there localized bubbles - without a doubt, LA Metro is overheated. Oregon doesn't seem like a good bet right now either. The Midwest - Ohio, Indiana, Nebraska, Wisconsin - look like some bargains.

Is L-Hack really Rkkody?

Check here

My Older Member (Do), felt very strongly that recycling was imminent. How long do we have? Only the Next Level knows for sure.

There are presently only a few individuals left on this planet who are faithful to the Next Level. While I am still here I am committed to sharing their information about the Next Level with any others who might want a chance of surviving the comming recycling.


Who could forget Do?

The 3rd way

With all the hullabaloo over creationism and evolution why isn’t anybody talking about what I believe? That human life came from outer space. In the past, people who believed in astrobiology and aliens were dateless weirdoes who sat in front of a computer in their underwear (hey, wait a minute). But now even legitimate publications like National Geographic don’t mock the idea. According to the article “… the primordial soup theory is being increasingly disputed. Many geophysicists now say the Earth did not have enough gases, like ammonia and methane, from which organic material like amino acids could be produced. Many scientists believe there is increasing evidence that comets supplied at least part of the raw material for the origin of life on Earth”

Before you think that ‘astrobiology’ points toward evolution these guys say it strengthens the case for creationism “The fervent search to authenticate 'astrobiology' has generated much data, but to date this has, if anything, strengthened the Genesis record of the creation of life.”

And then comes the head of the spaceology department at Tijuana University who speaks the truth, aliens are responsible for humankind and built the Pyramids. Now we’re through the looking glass here people. How could the Egyptians possibly have built their pyramid facing the exact magnetic North Pole without even having a compass? FYI, a compass was not invented for a few thousand years after the ancient Egyptians were long gone? IS THAT LIKELY???? This is how it really worked: Those aliens, abundant in their knowledge and drowning in technology, came along and using their compasses, they landed on earth and found the actual magnetic north and south poles. THEN THEY BUILT THE PYRAMIDS!

So you people can keep your Darwin and your Bible I know everything I need to know.

Why we will never link to LittleGreenFootballs


Elimination is the only solution; I know that sounds bad, but that's the way it is. Forced sterilization, and full occupation to keep them under control until the problem solves itself in about 50 years.


At one time, I had this group in the blogroll. A darling of the right, including so-called moderates like Glenn Reynolds, this site's readership is disturbing, to put it mildly.

Their comments are filled with references to Muslims and Arabs as "surplus populations", in the term of Adams & Balfour. Genocide, forced sterilization, and other "Final Solution"-type rhetoric is thrown around there pretty often. I read the site before I read the criticism, but it only confirmed my belief that there is something very odd and discomforting about the site's general readership.

I'm a pretty forgiving guy - I don't think Larry Summers should be hung up by the left anymore than Ward Churchill should be hung up by the right for their comments. I like "Crossfire"-style discourse, and I promote and participate in hyperbole as a rhetorical device.

I abhore censorship of any kind, and obviously, this group has right to speak their minds, but I challenge you to take this quiz:
LittleGreenFootballs or Late German Fascists? (the LGF quiz), identifying quotes from either the LGF comments section or Nazi leadership.

It is groups like this that give me cause for concern. In the anonymity of the Internet, these people talk a good game and may be nothing more than talk, but the language and themes also seem to invite the idea of mass movements - movements that seize newspapers (the "MSM" they so often deride), jail reporters, detain academic intellectuals and opposing community leaders, and quash dissent through intimidation and threats.

The line between champion of the downtrodden and vigilante exterminator is very thin.

Intervention - Recipe for Disaster

From Pat Buchanan in The American Conservative:

"The world has always been afflicted with despots. Yet America has always been free. And we have remained free by following the counsel of Washington, Jefferson, and Adams and staying out of foreign quarrels and foreign wars.

Who is feeding the president this interventionist nonsense?
...
In his inaugural address, Mr. Bush calls 9/11 the day “when freedom came under attack.” This is sophomoric. Osama did not send fanatics to ram planes into the World Trade Center because he hates the Bill of Rights. He sent the terrorists here because he hates our presence and policies in the Middle East. He did it for the same reason FLN rebels blew up cafes in Paris and Hamas suicide bombers blow up pizza parlors in Jerusalem.

From the Battle of Algiers to the bombing of the Beirut Marine barracks, from the expulsion of the Red Army by the mujahideen of Afghanistan to the expulsion of Israel from Lebanon by Hezbollah, guerrilla war and terror tactics have been the means Muslims have used to expel armies they could not defeat in conventional war.

The 9/11 killers were over here because we are over there. We were not attacked because of who we are but because of what we do. It is not our principles they hate. It is our policies. U.S. intervention in the Middle East was the cause of the 9/11 terror. Bush believes it is the cure. Has he learned nothing from Iraq?"


Well put.

Smizik: Steroid stink doesn't taint records

From Bob Smizik in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"The point to all of the above is this: Steroids are a blight on baseball, no question. But they have neither ruined the game nor made meaningless its cherished records.

This column has defended Bonds in the past. It will not in the future. Still, what is the explanation for him batting .370, .341 and .362 in the past three seasons -- the highest three averages of his career? How do steroids improve your hand-eye coordination?

Bonds broke McGwire's record and McGwire broke Maris' record when steroids were not illegal in baseball. Their accomplishments are not tainted and should stand on their merit."


First, I agree that under the rules of the game at the time, Bonds and McGwire's records are legitimate. Steroids were not banned in baseball.

Secondly, Smizik's right about steroids and natural ability. I could take steroids until my heart explodes, but I'll still never, ever be able to hit Randy Johnson.

I take issue with one thing: Tony LaRussa defended McGwire as steroid-free, and no one has produced definitive proof of deliberate steroid abuse by Barry Bonds. He said he used a cream that he didn't know was doped. It was legal in baseball at the time, and he's passed tests since. Why can't we accept the man at his word?

Unlike most Pirate fans, I like Barry Bonds and I believe he was the greatest player to ever where a Pirates uniform (with all due respect to Roberto Clemente). Barry Bonds is in a class with the greatest baseball players of all time - so what if he's an asshole? (An image primarily perpetuated by the media and Jeff Kent - he may be a very nice guy.)

Anyhow, Smizik's right. Even if they used steroids - the records were earned under the rules of the time.

Did you know that Rafik Hariri was killed last week? Not Rafik Hariri! Yes Rafik Hariri the former Lebanese Prime Minister who resigned last fall amid a sharp dispute with Syria and its Lebanese stooges. You see, Hariri had the nerve to reject Syria’s insistence that his old rival, President Emile Lahoud, remain in office as president for three more years. Pro-Syrian allies of Lahoud accused Hariri of being behind the U.N. Security Council resolution passed in September that Syria was ignoring. U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 calls on Syria to withdraw its forces from Lebanon and stop interfering in Lebanese affairs.

According to this article, “The U.N. Security Council wants Lebanon’s government to investigate the killing and prosecute those responsible.” Thanks for the help guys, what would we do without U.N. resolutions? Hariri was close with French President Jacques Chirac who said the assassination “angered the international community and this requires that we shed the light on this heinous, indescribable act.” We all know how scared Syria must be of the “international community “for all of Frances “not inflaming the Arab street” positions it couldn’t keep one of the Arab worlds few good leaders from getting whacked.

Now that I’m done France and U.N. bashing, Hariri’s unfortunate death may yield positive results, like weakening Syria’s heavy handed meddling in Lebanese affairs. It could also remove a roadblock to the Israeli/Palestinian peace negotiations or reduce a source of funding for the Iraqi insurgency. France has joined the United States in the Security Council calling Syria out and demanding an end to the occupation of Lebanon. One French diplomat went so far as to tell the Associated Press that France and the U.S. were working "hand in hand" to resolve the crisis. If the outrage in Lebanon and Paris over Hariri’s death makes France grow a backbone, if only for a short time, it might make Syria straiten up for a while. If Syria is on its best behavior it can only help in de-funding the Iraqi insurgency of men and money and Syria’s support of Palestinian terrorist organizations is well known. If Syria and their EU apologists were to stop being part of the problem, if only for a few months, it may provide the opportunity to finally get something done.

Why it all fell apart...

Bill Simmons as he so aptly does most of the time, sums up the NHL problem precisely:

"This was a blue-collar sport for middle-class fans -- a quality dive bar with one good TV, a few solid beers on tap and a ballbusting bartender named Fitzy. Then they tried to retool into an upscale joint with $15 beers and bartenders in bow ties. Suddenly, the price of NHL tickets rivaled that of the NFL and the NBA. Does that make sense? Would the WWE charge $200 for a WrestleMania pay-per-view? Would Jeff Foxworthy charge $150 a seat for the 'You Might Be a Redneck 2005' comedy tour? How could the NHL misunderstand its audience so badly?

Now the owners are pushing for massive pay cuts and a salary cap. It's like dropping 10 grand in a casino and then calling for the abolition of blackjack. Still, it's the right idea. I believe NHL players should make $10 an hour, maybe $12. And we should be able to buy two tickets, park, throw down some beers and dogs and brawl in the bathroom for no more than $70 per person. Everyone would live happily ever after.

Tragically, the owners lack the resolve and leadership to undo the damage. Basically, they need to bring on a hockey apocalypse and start over. Since that will never happen, hockey is doomed"


I remember a time once when the Pittsburgh Penguins were the greatest thing in Pittsburgh sports. EVERYONE loved them, and the Pirates were one of the best teams in baseball at the same time. Then the ticket prices started going up, the backlash started, and if you watched what happened in Pittsburgh from the time I started college in 1992 (right after back-to-back Stanley Cups), until it all fell apart when I left in 1998, you could have seen this coming a mile away.

Of course, this article was written about two weeks ago, and "hockey apocalypse" is upon us now. We'll just have to wait and see if they remember their roots.




Sidenote: About a year ago, a young belle I know through a mutual friend was lamenting how NASCAR is no longer a "Southern" sport. She was commenting about how tracks like North Wilkesboro and Rockingham have been closed in NC, and replaced with races in Chicago and Las Vegas.

Will NASCAR suffer the same fate in a few years, with the closing of Darlington and other older tracks in the South? Will it forget its roots like the NHL did and suffer a collapse in another decade?

I think the marketing aspect of NASCAR (my boss says, "It's a advertisment that happens to involve cars going around in a circle") will never let detachment threaten the enterprise, but you never know. People are fickle - in 1970, would anyone have thought the NFL would supplant baseball as the National Pastime?

In time, all things will be revealed...

The Future of the NHL

From ESPN.com:

"Even with the two most influential hockey figures of this generation, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky, at the table for the first time, the two sides could not get it right."


Talking with my friend in Maryland tonight, the last remaining hockey fan in the U.S., he thinks the NHL is still going to salvage the season!. I think he's nuts, and if he ever wants to see hockey in North America again, he better be wrong.

They could cobble together a last minute deal like MLB did a few years ago, but it still wouldn't address the core issues of a necessary salary cap and overexpansion of the league.

The NHL must be destroyed so it can be rebuilt much stronger. First, at least 6 teams should probably fold coming out of this. Unfortunately, this would probably include the Pittsburgh Penguins and Carolina Hurricanes. Secondly, a re-evaluation of the rules of the game needs to occur - faster, more scoring, less ties. You can maintain "the goon" and "retaliation" as a part of the game, but the useless defensemen that do nothing but hold wingers the whole game - get them the heck out of there. Lastly, shorten the season. By purging teams, basically everyone's going to make the playoffs. The regular sesaon is just a race for seeding and they don't need 80+ games to figure that out. Cut the season or cut the playoff teams, but something has to give. They might even be able to make some TV money by reducing the supply of available games.

I feel bad for the people really hurt by this: the rookies, the vendors, the parking attendants, but in the end, if hockey is going to be a viable sporting event in this country, the thing has to dramatically change.

Yankee Madmen - Once Again, Looking for New Bloggers

Let's be honest, keeping up a blog is a lot of hard work.

Libertarian Hack runs his own business, Leftist Wonk is an attorney, and I work full-time and I'm a part-time PhD student.

We don't have the time to keep this blog as vibrant as we'd like, so we're interested in bringing some new voices to our site.

Obviously, we talk a lot about politics, but we also blog about other things (sports is my favorite non-political topic).

Ideally, we'd like a conservative voice to balance me and Leftist W., however, we're open to anyone really. Northern transplants to the South would keep with the theme of the site, but as I said, we're really open to anyone.

One warning - read the site first. We're more like "Crossfire" than "Meet the Press", and it gets vulgar and heated from time-to-time. If you're not interested in continuing to lower the level of political discourse, this probably isn't the place for you. :)

Drop us a line here if you're interested in joining our cabal.