Friday, September 13, 2002

IT'S ABOUT TIME: Nevada is attempting to pass legislation becoming the first state to legalize marijuana.

Well, it's about time.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

AND NOW FOR A LITTLE FUN: Check out this hilarious site known to fans as "Emotion Eric". Let Eric show you how to react to certain, shall we say, interesting situations. Quite possibly this is the funniest site on the Net.
INEXPLICABLE: A remarkable story about a seemingly impossible coincidence. Some things just can't be explained...

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

A TRIBUTE: Here's a wonderful tribute to the events of last September 11th.

Never forget.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

WHY THE A'S ARE BETTER TO BE LUCKY AND GOOD: Here's a strong argument in favor of the recent labor agreement passed by Major League Baseball. While the argument may not be directly in favor of competitive balance, (the author might even be against it for all I know), it shows how lucky a small market team must be in order to be successful to keep up with the Yankees of the world. Here's the key point:

That's true; Beane is smart, probably the best GM in the game. And they may finish with a better regular-season record than the Yankees for a third straight season. However, there is one significant portion of luck behind this success story: Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson.

Luck? The three pitchers, all drafted by the A's, are freaks. Not freaks because they're good, but freaks because they're good and young all at the same time. Because of this -- Hudson is the veteran of the group, debuting in 1999, a year before Mulder and Zito -- Beane is paying the threesome a combined $1.97 million this year (the Yankees are paying 10 different pitchers more than that sum). And because of that, Beane can spend his limited payroll in other directions.

How unusual is it for one team to produce three starting pitchers of this quality all at the same time? The results are so shocking that, while Beane and his scouts obviously deserve credit for drafting and developing the Big Three (Hudson was a sixth-round pick in 1997 from Auburn, Mulder a first-round pick in 1998 from Michigan State and Zito a first-rounder in '99 from USC), luck has to be considered a large part of the label behind Oakland's success.

Billy Beane is likely the best general manager in baseball. However, Billy Beane is quite likely the luckiest as well.

1. Building your pitching staff around cheap homegrown starters is an extremely risky idea. As the Braves and A's have proven, it happens successfully about once a decade.

2. Teams like the Royals or Padres who are trying to duplicate the Oakland method aren't likely to achieve the same results. Some young pitchers don't pan out, they get hurt or they get traded and then develop.

3. Small-revenue teams are at a huge disadvantage since a team will have to eventually invest in some high-priced pitching (either their own or free agents) in order to win.

Billy Beane is a rare mastermind. He'd be the first GM I would hire to run a team.

But Barry Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder -- a trio of freaks -- are even more rare.

The article does not even mention injuries. Consider that Zito, Mulder, and Hudson have not had any significant injuries since Mulder had arm surgery in 2000, a year in which he was quite terrible anyways. Also consider that the Oakland lineup has managed to avoid any significant injuries to its top hitters as well, with Jermaine Dye's injury in last year's playoffs being the only real blow in the A's 3 year playoff push.

What does that say about competitive balance? It says this: The A's are the exception, not the rule. They come along once in a best. Their fellow Minnesota Twins, another successful small market franchise, are merely a good team in a bad division. The A's may be for real, but they're also very, very lucky. They're even more lucky now that there is greater revenue sharing in baseball, and anyone who says otherwise, is kidding themselves.

Monday, September 09, 2002

HOW TO SPEND SEPTEMBER 11TH: A great article from a Duke University student on how you should be spending your September 11th anniversary.

Choke back your identity politics for a day. Do not ask me to conclude that the transformation of American passenger planes into missiles resulted from U.S. policy in the Middle East. Do not tell me that America brought this on itself. Just for a day, make me feel like I live in a community as an individual, not as an automaton among other vastly different and disconnected automatons. Do not make me attend sensitivity or diversity training. Save it for the next time you have class on Veteran's Day, Memorial Day or the Fourth of July, or for the next time you cancel class on MLK Day.

And if you can't, then I'll rehash Jesse Panuccio's final statement:

On Sept. 11, give me a prayer service with a discernable prayer, not a political message or an interfaith citation of every religious figure ever known from Abraham to Zarathustra. Host a forum about grieving and healing, about community and about helping. Give me a commemoration that commemorates and a remembrance that remembers.

And if you cannot do these things, then please, do nothing at all. Just leave me alone. Just for a day. I'll call home and talk about what matters. You can program me again on the twelfth.

DEN BESTE CONTINUED: Here is the full transcript of the Steven Den Beste fisking of Paul Treanor, an extremely radical Dutchman who believes that, in addition to hard work being immoral, the European Union should declare war on the United States.

Den Beste ends the piece reminding Mr. Treanor, (who is either a complete whacko or a really good poker player) why no one has never directly attacked the continental United States in nearly two centuries.

He's got that right, at least. Ain't no one gonna remake the US in Europe's image. If Europe could somehow defeat the Navy and cross the Atlantic, and then fight against the Air Force and Army and Marines and beat all of them, they still have the problem of tens of millions of American civilians who would spontaneously form "well armed militias" and would use pistols and hunting rifles (and a lot of other interesting things) to resist any attempt at foreign occupation. There are legitimate reasons why no one has even considered an invasion of the US for the last 185 years.

Personally, I'm not the biggest gun advocate. Not even close. But it's in the Constitution and so I respect the law as written. And those "well armed militias" could really come in handy sometimes.
REMEMBER KIDS, DON'T WORK HARD: Steven Den Beste was directed to a radical web page the other day, but he's not sure if the guy is kidding, or completely insane. Expect this article to find its way into an edition of "The Onion" near you. And remember kids:

Don't work hard. It's immoral.

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. And you simply can't even argue with someone so stupid. I can only pray this man is kidding... for his sake.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

NOT ENOUGH SEX: In Sweden, there are talks of broadcasting porn on national television in order to encourage more couples to do the dirty deed. The reason? Swedes are not having enough sex and the population is suffering.

CELEBRATING SEPTEMBER 11TH: Not all people will be mourning on September 11th. Some radical Muslim clerics in Britain will instead be celebrating.

The conference, entitled, "Sept. 11, 2001: A Towering Day in History," will discuss the "positive outcomes" of Sept. 11, which delegates perceived as a battle against an "evil superpower," he said.

Nevertheless, despite the "positive outcomes", Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed apparently doesn't celebrate death.

"I did not praise Sept. 11 after it happened but it becomes more clear now why they did it, although I personally regret the loss of life," he said.

Perhaps the Sheikh should tell us how he really feels. One of the "outcomes" of September 11th was the death of 3000 people, and this was considered "positive". I believe in tolerance, but no multiculturist should accept such barbarism as equal to his or her culture. Such as an attitude is not only stupid, but dangerous.