Campaign Finance and Lobbyists

Aaron touched on Royce's abject distaste for our current campaign finance process, and it's disastrous affect on US Politics, but I figured I'd let Royce respond to this Foreign Affairs piece on his own. Royce - you're up!

Where would you go?

If you had 7-10 days to travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go, and, of course, why?

Weekend Comedy Post 8/29

How important are coaches in the NFL?

Football Outsiders regularly does the BEST statistical analysis of the NFL before the NFL season. I have a BS in Applied Mathematics, and I am regularly impressed with the works these guys are capable of. Bill Simmons often features the creator, Aaron Schatz, on his podcasts and ESPN the Magazine used their work in their recent NFL Preview Issue.

This year, every metric Football Outsiders uses indicates the Chargers will have the best team in the NFL, having one of the best offenses and one of the best defenses and should have the best record in the NFL. Usually, the team with the best record (through a combination of being really good and having home field advantage) are the favorites to win the Super Bowl. However, Football Outsiders does not like to follow their own work when trying to predict the playoffs and instead become significantly more subjective. This year, Aaron Schatz cites Norv Turner's failings as head coach as why they are picking the Patriots to win the Super Bowl instead of San Diego. Does a difference in head coach make that much of a difference in the outcome of a football game?

Penelope Trunk on workplace creativity

Penelope Trunk's most recent blog on being creative at work struck me as interesting and fairly unique.

You may remember Penelope from both our Brazen Careerist feed and our discussion of her personal blog a long while back.

Africa - Demographic Dividend or Divide?

This lengthy Economist article kind of rambles a bit, but touches on one of the biggest issues we'll face over the next few generations: Africa's progression towards peace and stability.

Home Ownership vs Renting

In light of the current values of homes on the market, several articles have appeared recently discussing the merits of owning rather than renting, especially in certain competitive housing markets around the country. There is even a website where you can find maps of buy-rent ratios based on market research in all metro areas.

Athlete Drinks

I was just introduced to the John Daly cocktail and the LeBomb James (below) in Bill Simmons' most recent mailbag. He suggests a drink for himself, a spicy bloody mary, but I think that's an awful choice.

What's a good drink for a Bill Simmons? What other athlete drinks can we come up with? Any that currently exist that are as good as the Daly or the LeBomb?

Player X

ESPN the Magazine just debuted the first in a series by Player X, a current NFL star, who tries to explain the off the field lives of pro athletes. (ESPN Insider)

Smart Management: Chrysler and Starbucks

Two recent Business Week articles showed different approaches of companies managing in the economic downturn. The first is from Chrysler and its new CEO Sergio Marchionne of Fiat; Marchionne is moving quickly to increase competitiveness at Chrysler and is aggressively changing the management there. The second example is that of Howard Schultz re-taking his place as Starbucks CEO after vacating the position from the company he founded; he is looking for more efficiency within the company and opening the company to new ideas.

Karma's a Bitch, eh Dems?

A friend just linked me to this story about Massachusetts having to wait 5 months to replace Senator Kennedy due to a law they passed in 2004 designed to prevent Governor Mitt Romney from replacing Senator John Kerry with a Republican had Kerry defeated George Bush.

Fantasy Footbal Draft Day

Weeks of mock drafting, position rankings, keeper ages, providing false advice to Royce so he doesn't steal my sleeper... it all culminates tonight!

Protest Follies

Direct from the twisted Twitter feed of Shawn Elliott - a former games writer and oddball - comes a series of failed protests. (Warning: these links are okay, but many links in Shawn's feed are NSFW)

Brazen Careerist

Today there was a re-launch of the networking site Brazen Careerist, which is run by Penelope Trunk, a blogger who we discussed in the context of her very personal blog a while back. I already have a feed of our blog on Brazen which is linked to my profile there.

USC vs. OSU - Meet you at the Theater?

Just read this article about how ESPN plans to show the USC/OSU game in 3D this year to select theater audiences. So, I ask you this: would you be willing to watch a game in a movie theater just to see it in 3D?

Goldman Sachs as discussed in TIME

An article in the recent Time Magazine is titled The Rage Over Goldman Sachs, and addresses many of the same issues we covered in our previous Goldman Sachs discussion about their buying back warrants. At one point it also directly addresses the Rolling Stone article on Goldman which was the basis for our earlier discussion.

The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman

Last night I started reading The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman and I went through fifty pages before I could set the book down. I haven't been this invigorated at the prospect of learning new ideas from a book since reading Malcolm Gladwell. He starts with a visit to Bangalore, India, visiting call centers and engineering companies, only to learn that his CPA is outsourcing the tax-preparation to India as well. Technology has allowed for seamless globalization, so that whoever can do a job the most effectively and efficiently will get the job, regardless of the continent on which they reside. Housewives in Salt Lake City or taking reservations for JetBlue, a call center in Colorado is taking your drive-thru order from a McDonald's in Missouri, and Osama bin Laden can coordinate 9/11 without ever leaving the cave.

I don't plan on doing a chapter by chapter breakdown a la Royce, but I will try to share the thoughts it provokes within me.

Afghanistan - Did we Mess this up Again?

So, just started reading "The Forever War" by Dexter Filkins (NYT foreign correspondent), and after the first part, I fear we've screwed up in Afghanistan again.

Homes for $250k or $450k

From the NY Times, you can read about three homes on the market for $250,000 and three homes on the market for $450,000 in different areas of the country. You can also view the corresponding slideshow for $250k homes and the slideshow for $450k. Gives a nice snapshot of real estate values for different homes in different places.

You call this justice?

A friend made this absurd connection this morning: Stallworth gets 30 days for killing a man, Vick gets 18 months for killing dogs, and Plax gets 2 years for shooting himself in the leg.

Ross Tucker: Best Point of View Among NFL Writers

Ross Tucker is quickly becoming one of my favorite NFL writers. He's already a must read for me and always provides a unique, relevant point of view, that all other media members miss. He is a former offensive lineman who played for multiple teams. His angle is that of the players with the business and training side of football. Everything a player experiences that you don't see in the game. Take a look at some of his articles.

He explained that Pat and Kevin Williams were probably taking StarCaps, not to mask a steroid, but to make weight and avoid a fine. A closed-minded strength coach can injure a team. What rookies need to do to succeed. NFL players don't necessarily trust their team, especially when it comes to injuries.

ESPN Ombudsmen

I've always tried to read and communicate with the ESPN Ombudsman. Apparently Le Anne Schreiber moved on and it is now Don Ohlmeyer. Ohlmeyer wrote his initial piece and it includes a conversation with Vince Doria, ESPN's senior VP and director of news, about what ESPN chooses to report regarding criminal and civil news stories that may or may not be related to sports. It's actually very refreshing.

Bombs in Baghdad

Today was the deadliest day in Baghdad since America left the city earlier this year; tomorrow is the most important day in the city since America left.

The only Favre story I clicked on all year

I have specifically avoided clicking on all stories involving Brett Favre, until this one.

Electric Car MPG

There is an interesting article in Business Week about the difficulty of measuring MPG of electric cars and other green cars like the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt and all electric Nissan Leaf

Health Care: Obama vs Insurers

Two articles in the last week have done an interesting job of describing the current state of health care reform in Congress. The first is Obama's Op-Ed in the NY Times on August 15, laying out the basic principles of his coverage plan. The second is Business Week's cover article from August 6 titled the Health Insurers Have Already Won.

Both articles are informed by our previous health care discussion which focused on health care costs

NFL Predictions: NFC East

Our final division of predictions: the NFC East. This concludes our series of NFL previews which most recently featured the NFC North (links to other divisions there).

What's Next?

With Y.E. Yang's come from behind victory over Tiger Woods, what does this mean for golf? Asian men being a little more successful on the PGA Tour? Increased ratings even when Tiger isn't in the hunt? Will all-white replace Sunday red?

NFL Predictions: NFC North

We previously covered the NFC West and NFC South. Now the NFC North is up.

PEDs in the NBA

One day after I railed against Simmons' steroids article - the zillionth on ESPN - I am now going to prove myself a complete hypocrite. I want to discuss an NBA steroids article about Rashard Lewis which covered some very interesting points

NFL Predictions: NFC South

Next up for NFL preseason talk is the NFC South. We just did the NFC West, and you can see AFC discussion here.

Better by Atul Gawande: Intro and Chapter 1

To begin our discussion of Better, by author and surgeon Atul Gawande, I want to begin with Gawande's bio and a review of his article on health care reform

NFL Predictions: NFC West

Continuing our predictions of NFL divisions, we move from the AFC divisions along to the NFC South

Know your ABCs?

I challenge those out there to do in their own state/country as Rachel Young has done in the UK.

Simmons on Steroids... yet again

I know he wrote it because it involves his beloved Red Sox, but I'm really disappointed that Bill Simmons wrote YET ANOTHER column about steroids

FYI - It's Tuesday

Did you know that today's Tuesday, and not Monday? My week just got that much better!

ESPN's Fantasy Football Draft Manifesto

Matthew Berry's Draft Day Manifesto is now live on ESPN. Time to start mock drafting for the upcoming fantasy football season

America in Balance - Who Knew?

This lovely Economist video really shows how we were a country in balance...until the 80's.

Hypocrisy at its Greatest

Why would Congress pay its own way when they can get the taxpayer to do so?

Edit: Here's a link to the article that I was responding to.