1. Da Bears
2. Da Bulls
3. Da White Sox
4. Da Cubs
Now, back to studying for the bar exam.
Griping about Games, Government, and Guns
Donate to Honored American Veterans Afield by the end of March, send Linoge a enough of a copy of your receipt that he can verify you donated, and you’ll get one entry to win nifty prizes for every $5 donated!
I know A Good Day to Die Hard just came out, but instead of getting overpriced, overcooked movie popcorn, use that money to help returning veterans transition to life in the US.
Help veterans and win prizes!
Well, probably not so much winning prizes, but win-lose doesn’t sound as good. But who cares! After all, it’s only money! What else are you going to do with it?
I hope everyone had a good holiday season, and that if you lost power (like I did), it wasn’t out for too long.
I have a few posts percolating (including a review of the hilarious Wreck-It Ralph), but I’ve been “busy” (those video games I got for Christmas and during last semester aren’t going to play themselves (if you import gamers were curious, Tales of Xillia 2 is pretty good), nor are the case surveys I’m doing for the law review going to write themselves!).
Also, I have finally read Cold Days. Jim Butcher is my master now. Ghost Story, while good, was a bit sedate for the series, and Cold Days returns to the nonstop action and wham lines. Hopefully Butcher will be back to his ~1 year per book schedule, instead of the almost 1.5 year per book he’s taken for the last two.
Next on the pile is Iain M. Banks’s Consider Phlebas, the first in his SF series on The Culture.
I may have to start sleeping even less.
I’ll talk politics later.
RIP, Neil Armstrong.
The moon missions were NASA’s greatest triumph for many years (though they might be eclipsed by Curiosity); the Apollo program ran for roughly four years, and the agency has parlayed those early triumphs into 40+ years of taxpayer-funded largesse.*
One generation grew up with the iconic image of man playing golf on the moon.
The next generation got to watch the horrific results of incompetence live on national TV.
And the generation after that is lucky enough to see us pay Russia so we can get into orbit at all.
If this continues, we’ll be lucky if 2030 doesn’t see us climbing out of our underground lairs to feast on the unsuspecting Eloi.
Another Armstrong was not so fortunate, however.
Lance Armstrong, cyclist and cancer defeater, can now add a new epithet: USADA Whipping Boy.
Apparently, the government, in its limitless power (hooray for the commerce clause!), saw fit to establish a bureaucracy to oversee sports doping. And that august body has condemned Lance Armstrong, and wants to strip him of his many Tour de France titles (as well as ban him from cycling for life!) for daring to pass every drug test they made him take.
There are three possibilities I can see:
1. Lance Armstrong cheated, faking all 500+ (!) of his drug tests, and his wins are meaningless;
2. Lance Armstrong developed some otherwise undiscovered doping method, and swore his entire retinue to secrecy, allowing him to cheat with impunity, rendering his wins meaningless; or
3. Lance Armstrong is a training fanatic, and made himself over into the best cyclist in the world for as long as he could (through some combination of training and genetic predisposition).
If it’s #1, then the USADA is incompetent; how could they have failed to catch Armstrong even once over his entire career (spanning more than a decade); and if they’re that incompetent, why should we believe them about anything else?
If it’s #2, then Armstrong should quit his cycling gigs and take over national security; keeping one’s mouth shut is an important skill in intelligence.
And if it’s #3, then no matter how many people the USADA gets to testify, or how many tests they run on Armstrong’s old samples, they’ll never discover any evidence of cheating.
(Of course, that’s even assuming the USADA has the authority to strip Armstrong of his titles; France may tell them to go to hell.)
If Armstrong’s titles were revoked, who would take his place as the “winner” of the Tour for those years?
Not the next several cyclists; they were all doping.
Now, I don’t particularly care one way or the other about drug use in sports. If the sport makes everyone agree to the rules, and the rules say “no doping,” then sure, kick people out for doping. But if a sport were to allow doping, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.
After all, if everyone is doping, then you probably get to see the same relative skill disparity among the competitors (it’s only the absolute skill level that is increased); and in a sport like cycling, where you’re not racing the clock so much as you are the other cyclists, only the relative skill difference matters.
That’s enough meandering for now; one Armstrong (Neil) benefited from big government; another (Lance) did not.
That it was emphasized this past weekend is coincidental.
*I’m not saying that good tings haven’t come from the space program; far from it. After all, it helped bankrupt the USSR, freeing Russia and her
satellite states allies from totalitarian rule for what, ten years?
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
While visiting some friends in the NW corner of the state this past weekend, I went to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and wandered through the gallery (though I didn’t take advantage of their nifty app).
The collection is impressive.
And since they let you take pictures of every piece (save one picture of Davy Crockett, for some reason), you can take pictures of original pictures and email/text them to friends in large cities who are aghast that Alice Walton would dare buy all this great art and then take it to Arkansas.
If you’re in the Bentonville area, you should definitely take the time to drop in and check it out.
I didn’t get the names for most of the pieces I took low quality iPhone pictures of, but I won’t let that stop me from sharing them.
Does her pose remind you of anyone?
Edit: Resized the photos so they wouldn’t be cut off on the right side.
Edit 2: I forgot to post the photo I took of one of their two portraits of George Washington:
Yesterday’s storm seems to have fried my cable modem. I spent 30 minutes on the phone with tech support this afternoon.
Only to be told the soonest they can get someone out here to look at it is next Tuesday.
I don’t know if I can go that long without an always-on internet connection. I think the withdrawal might literally kill me.
I’ve got my smart phone (and the Internet on campus), so my posting/commenting/tweeting will be more sporadic than before.
The title of this post was an April Fools’ Joke.
Mwah ha ha!*
In my first year, I had just over 3,000 views and wrote just over 300 posts.
In my second, I’ve had more than 17,000 views, and 600 more posts.
Thanks to North and the GBBL for the traffic they drive my way, to everyone who clicks on my twitter links, to the dozen wordpress.com followers, and to the dozen people who subscribe via RSS (and to everyone Google leads here). Without you guys, I’d be just another guy who rails at everything while everyone else crosses to the other side of the internet to avoid him.
I look forward to continued griping about games, government, and guns, and hope the rest of you look forward to reading it!
*If you didn’t read the post title and first line in the style of The Count, you’re a horrible person.