April 28, 2006

Perhaps demonstrating, once and for all, that the LA Times doesn't get the internet or the blogosphere, the Times has fired columnist/blogger (and Pulitzer Prize winner) Michael Hiltzik for...using a pseudonym when he comments at other blogs. Being a monopoly allows you to do stuff like that.
YBK, Revisited: It looks like we caught a break with the Housing Bubble. It burst alright, but at least it did so after the new bankruptcy law went into effect last October. My great fear last year was that people were going reach the limit as to how much they could borrow off their home's equity, and thereafter falling into foreclosure, at precisely the time that the expiration of the old bankruptcy law would occur. We ended up having a panic anyway, but it could have been a lot worse.

Now come these figures, showing that the foreclosure rate on homes has dramatically gone up nationwide immediately after the new law went into effect. The bankruptcy rates are starting to go up again as well, albeit nowhere near the typical numbers from recent years. [link via Sploid]
Now here's a name from out of the past...it's funny he's getting back into coaching, since I thought Todd Bozeman's entire raison d'etre at Cal was that he was a brilliant recruiter, and that the pay-to-play scandal that sank his tenure with the Golden Bears was a reflection of that skill. Should be interesting to see how the eight years out of coaching have changed the man.

April 27, 2006

Finally, a website devoted to mapping the impossible itinerary of Jack Bauer....
Our next President? Meet Sen. George Allen [R.-VA]:
George Allen is the oldest child of legendary football coach George Herbert Allen, and, when his father was on the road, young George often acted as a surrogate dad to his siblings. According to his sister Jennifer, he was particularly strict about bedtimes. One night, his brother Bruce stayed up past his bedtime. George threw him through a sliding glass door. For the same offense, on a different occasion, George tackled his brother Gregory and broke his collarbone. When Jennifer broke her bedtime curfew, George dragged her upstairs by her hair.

George tormented Jennifer enough that, when she grew up, she wrote a memoir of what it was like living in the Allen family. In one sense, the book, Fifth Quarter, from which these details are culled, is unprecedented. No modern presidential candidate has ever had such a harsh and personal account of his life delivered to the public by a close family member. The book paints Allen as a cartoonishly sadistic older brother who holds Jennifer by her feet over Niagara Falls on a family trip (instilling in her a lifelong fear of heights) and slams a pool cue into her new boyfriend's head. "George hoped someday to become a dentist," she writes. "George said he saw dentistry as a perfect profession--getting paid to make people suffer."

Whuppin' his siblings might have been a natural prelude to Confederate sympathies and noose-collecting if Allen had grown up in, say, a shack in Alabama. But what is most puzzling about Allen's interest in the old Confederacy is that he didn't grow up in the South. Like a military brat, Allen hopscotched around the country on a route set by his father's coaching career. The son was born in Whittier, California, in 1952 (Whittier College Poets), moved to the suburbs of Chicago for eight years (the Bears), and arrived in Southern California as a teenager (the Rams). In Palos Verdes, an exclusive cliffside community, he lived in a palatial home with sweeping views of downtown Los Angeles and the Santa Monica basin. It had handmade Italian tiles and staircases that his eccentric mother, Etty, designed to match those in the Louvre. "It looks like a French château," says Linda Hurt Germany, a high school classmate.
Allen, in fact, didn't even live in Dixie until he was 19, when his father became the head coach of Washington.

The similarities between Allen and the current President are rather eerie. Both namesake sons of famous men, who wear their dissolute youth on their sleeves, until becoming governor in mid-life. Both men have a rapport with some of the darker aspects of Red State culture that their fathers lacked. George Allen, the football coach, was a local legend in these parts when I was growing up, having led the Rams back to preeminence in the late-60's, and every post-season he always seemed to be candidate to return to the club that fired him in 1970; although a Nixon supporter, he always struck me as being a rather decent, interesting guy whose teams were fun to watch.

April 26, 2006

Excellent King Kaufman column on the "scandal" involving Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush. The problem with malum prohibitum regulations, whether we're talking about traffic, immigration, drugs, or the arcane standards the NCAA expects college athletes to compete under, is that if the regulations don't reflect at least some measure of what constitutes ethical or moral conduct, people will disobey them the first chance they get.

Thus, we have laws on the book outlawing marijuana, or restricting people from migrating from Mexico to the U.S., or setting a speed limit of 65 m.p.h., that few people don't think twice about breaking. If you want to smoke pot, you smoke pot. If you want to cross the border illegally, you cross the border illegally. The fact that it's against the law only means you take great efforts to avoid the constabulary, and not that you're going to lose any sleep due to an uneasy conscience over having done wrong.

What Bush (or should I say, his parents) is accused of doing is no different, morally speaking, than having coasted along at 75 m.p.h. on the freeway. It has nothing to do with the integrity of the game, it didn't effect whether he would give his best effort, either on the field or in the classroom. It's wrong only because it's against the rules, and since the rules do not reflect any moral or ethical code, it's hard to get too upset when someone violates them.

April 25, 2006

Cactus Rust: The second effort by Ken Layne & the Corvids will soon be out. Here's a sampling...as you can tell, no sophomore jinx here. And still, Bush lied.
Long lost Beckett Play Found !!!

April 24, 2006

I settled in this evening to watch what I thought would be a routine costume drama on HBO, only to witness, about an hour in, a graphic scene involving the drawing and quartering of some sixteenth century religious dissidents, replete with the sort of sadism and gore that would shock Tarantino. In the future, before watching scenes of people being gutted alive, and their internal organs being dropped on frying pans before their eyes, I'd like to be warned....