Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Week 4 results are up.

RET: 4, JCT: 4, VL: 2

Credit where credit is due.

The following is a nice piece of reasoning. If Obama can do so as President on a regular basis, he will have a lot of political power. At the same time, I find metaphors to be somewhat inadequate to describe the situation.

"There is plenty of blame to go around and many in Washington and on Wall Street who deserve it,” he said. “There will be time to punish those who set this fire, but now is the moment for us to come together and put the fire out.

“If your neighbor’s house is burning, you’re not gonna spend a whole lot of time saying ‘well, that guy was always irresponsible. He always left the stove on. He always was smoking in bed,’” Obama told the crowd of 12,000 at the University of Nevada - Reno. “All those things may be true, but his house could end up affecting your house.”

“We’ve got to make sure that we put the fire out and then go start making sure that these folks stop leaving the stove on.”

I especially admire the FDR callback.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

NFL Week 4

Put your scores in the comments and Pick 'Em!


Mon, Sep 29

Friday, September 26, 2008

King Crab Fishing Just got a little deadlier.

an obit to die for

Monday, September 15, 2008 2:05 AM MDT

DOUGLAS -- A celebration of life for James William "Jim" Adams, 53, will be held at a later date.

He died Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008 at Memorial Hospital of Converse County in Douglas.

Jim, who had tired of reading obituaries noting other's courageous battles with this or that disease, wanted it known that he lost his battle. It was primarily as a result of being stubborn and not following doctor's orders or maybe for just living life a little too hard for better than five decades.

He was born June 8, 1955 in Garrison, N.D. the son of James William and Ruby Helen (Clark) Adams.

He was sadly deprived of his final wish, which was to be run over by a beer truck on the way to the liquor store to buy booze for a date. True to his personal style, he spent his final hours joking with medical personnel, cussing and begging for narcotics and bargaining with God to look over his loving dog, Biscuit, and his family.

He would like to thank all "his ladies" for putting up with him the last 30 years.

During his life, he excelled at anything he put his mind to. He loved to hear and tell jokes and spin tales of grand adventures he may or may not have had.

He is survived by five sons, Jeremiah Adams and his wife, Nicole, Mica Olivas, Wade Olivas, Brice Simpson and Cole Adams; sister, Jerri Giegerich; two ex-wives, Vickie Harrison and Marilyn Williams; four grandchildren; two nieces; and two great-nieces.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother-in-law.

In lieu of flowers, he asks that you make a sizeable purchase at your favorite watering hole, get rip roaring drunk and tell the stories he no longer can.

Gorman Funeral Homes - Converse Chapel of Douglas is in charge of the arrangements.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Not only does Johnny Mac want to suspend Fridays debate, but he wants to call off the VP debate next week? This sounds to me like someone got a whiff of the current polls and is trying to pander to voters. When this campaign gets down to the actual issues, and not bullshit like lipstick, McCain can't win. Not after 8 years of Bush. A debate on these issues Friday would, in my humble opinion, effectively end McCain's presidential run. Not only does McCain dodge this debate, but he is trying to get a pass for his VP. I for one was looking forward to "Sarah Barracuda" meeting "Joey the Shark". I guess she needs more time for her crash course on foreign policy, or maybe for more interviews....

Obama should stand firm on his position that a President should be someone who can multi-task. There is no reason to suspend the debate. I am curious to hear the opinions of the conservative voices on this blog.

Football roundup

So I've sent copies of the worksheets to the relevant people. I hope I've gotten the numbers right and I'm going to try to have Chris help me with some of the setup. Let me know if you think there's a discrepancy. These are the numbers I have so far:

Week 1: CPN: 2, JCT: 7, RET: 2, VL: 0
Week 2: CPN: 1, JCT: 8, RET: 2, VL: -
Week 3: CPN: -, JCT: 2, RET: 5.5, VL: 7.5
total: CPN: 3, JCT: 17, RET: 9.5, VL: 7.5

In other notes, I find it interesting that we're seeing 1) the resurgence of the NFC (or at least a local maxima) and 2) a half-decent Reggie Bush. I find it fascinating that of the marquee members of the 2005 USC Trojans (a.k.a. The Most Powerful College Offense of All Time), very few of them have made serious impacts in the NFL. Indicates, I suppose, the very, very treacherous leap from college to the NFL.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


BREAKING NEWS: Megan Tung acquires Goldman Sachs in spit-stock swap

NEW YORK, NY -- Infant Megan Tung has, in a surprise move, acquired the famed investment bank Goldman Sachs. Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein stated: "Ms. Tung clearly has a surplus of saliva, which is literally a liquid asset. Considering that she has a surplus of these assets for the foreseeable future, we are more than willing to accept these drool-based securities in exchange for our currently illiquid mortgage-backed securities." Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson hailed the deal as a glimmer of success in an increasingly dark economic picture: "We are quite thankful for the intervention of Ms. Tung to the benefit of Goldman -- we sincerely hope that more Wall Street firms will be willing to trade toxic debt for body fluids."

Ms. Tung had no comment, other than a soft "eh" and a quick hiding of her head in her mother's hair.

Monday, September 22, 2008

my setter

on a nonpolitical theme, here's a picture of my setter pup pointing a partridge.

and yes, that bird was tasty

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Football, week 3

Sun, Sep 21
KC @ ATL 1:00 PM
OAK @ BUF 1:00 PM
TB @ CHI 1:00 PM
CAR @ MIN 1:00 PM
MIA @ NE 1:00 PM
CIN @ NYG 1:00 PM
HOU @ TEN 1:00 PM
ARI @ WAS 1:00 PM
NO @ DEN 4:05 PM
DET @ SF 4:05 PM
STL @ SEA 4:05 PM
CLE @ BAL 4:15 PM
JAC @ IND 4:15 PM
PIT @ PHI 4:15 PM
DAL @ GB 8:15 PM

Mon, Sep 22
NYJ @ SD 8:30 PM

As Chris would say, pick 'em! Why don't you do it in the comments -- I'll take care of the coding for now.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm giving it up...  I just have to many things going on right now to try to keep the pick'em thing going.  If anyone else is interested in running it, more power to you, i happily cede power.  You all have access to the spreadsheets I used, feel free to modify and run with them.  I'll try to get picks in, but quite honestly its about 8th priority to me these days, and not moving up the list at all.  Happy picking.

Fun Facts

Fun fact #1: In the past 4 days,  the US government has placed a $85 billion dollar tax burden on the American people.  The sum total of the bailouts so far is $900 billion This dollar amount is roughly twice the deficit increase every year of the 8 years of George W. Bush.

Fun fact #2: Ben Bernake -alone- controls $888 billion of that dollar amount.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Graduate Student Erin Daly wins an ACS Predoctoral Fellowship

Erin M. Daly, a fourth-year graduate student in our group has been awarded an American Chemical Society, Division of Organic Chemistry Predoctoral Fellowship sponsored by Merck Research Laboratories for the 2008-09 academic year. This award is given to students in Ph.D. programs in their third or fourth year of study. Students applying for this award must prepare a short essay on a research area of their choice. Evidence of research accomplishment is an important factor in the selection of the fellowship holders. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent resident visa holders at the time of application. The American Chemical Society, Division of Organic Chemistry Fellowship Committee chooses the recipients of the award, for more information visit their website.

Daly’s current research project entails the synthesis of both diastereomers of 14-methyl epothilone D, which subsequently will be used in binding affinity studies with the protein beta-tubulin; the latter studies will provide comprehensive evidence towards the bioactive conformation of the epothilone class of natural products. The remainder of her graduate career will be directed toward biochemical research with polyketide synthases.


BREAKING NEWS: Taylor Group taken over by Fed

NOTRE DAME, IN - In an unprecedented action by government regulators, the Taylor Group of the Department of Chemistry of the University of Notre Dame has been purchased by the Federal Reserve. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke announced the stunning results to a crowd of shocked graduate students and two or three tired, bewildered postdoctoral fellows in the Taylor group room. Federal Reserve regulators reviewed the balance sheet of the Taylor Group and determined that, along with large drums of hexanes and acetone, Taylor Group purchasing agents had also unwittingly acquired $26 billion dollars of complex collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps. It is believed that they were purchased through Aldrich, which is known for their inaccurate and bizarre shipping and accounting practices. The securities were found in the bottom drawer of the group room computer desk.

Professor Richard E. Taylor expressed surprise at his group's purchage of mortgage-backed securities: "All this time, I thought we were buying precursors for Evans auxiliary -- I knew that D-phenylalanine and sodium borohydride couldn't cost that much. Well, I hope we can recycle these securities like we're supposed to recycle the cleaved auxiliary..." Senior Treasury officials believe that after the acquisition of the Taylor Group, there will be no more need for the government to keep propping up large financial institutions, total synthesis groups and your local 7-11.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Practice as you play, play as you practice.

One of the many reasons for the quality of the US Army's desert warfare is the National Training Center, which is basically a gigantic simulator for (as far as I understand) brigade-sized units to train. Cameras and observers are everywhere and there is a resident Opposing Force that kicks the butt of units that come in to train. Units are graded on their performance at the NTC; doing well or poorly can make or break the careers of senior-level officers and enlisted. TOPGUN is a similar setup for Navy fighter pilots; Red Flag serves the same purpose for the Air Force.* You learn from failure, you learn from the best.

After Katrina, some people (myself included) thought that local, state and federal officials should undergo the same process. Once every two years, obvious and non-obvious scenarios, results to be disseminated to the public. Today's reports of problems with coordination between DHS, state and local officials is more evidence for the idea.

This stuff (coordination among agencies that don't talk to each other on a regular basis) is HARD** -- that why they need to practice. Yeah, they run exercises all the time, but those drills are drills. When you get to decide that your fake earthquake is going to be at 10 am on Tuesday morning, you're going to be all prepped up for it. A recorded, game-speed simulation would be a much better measurement and learning tool for government officials at all levels.

* Air Force pilots described flying in the 1st Gulf War as being "almost as hard as Red Flag."
** An amusing point from Afghanistan: there was a funny story from the initial invasion where it was discovered (during the course of a desperate battle) that the Air Force uses degrees, minutes, and thousandths of a minute, whereas the Army uses degrees, minutes, and seconds. Now picture an F-15 backseater doing conversions on his calculator watch during bombing runs. (Everything turned out all right, read more here.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Posting/Comments question


is it possible for a particualr post/comment thread to be linked to the top of the page and a little notification or indication when a new comment or post is added (ie, our "teaching" thread)?

Not a request but rather a question.  If not, then we shall scroll down..


Week 2's up....

Week 2 picks are up on the Google Docs spreadsheet, coming soon to an inbox near you. Pick 'em there or here in the comments!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Walt Disney Presents.....

I like Rich's comment on teaching. So what can we learn from eachother.

So let's think of a good way to solve a crucial problem. How does one (or in the Socialized case, the Govt) go about giving people an opportunity when they are born into poor circumstance?

Can one fix this problem?

What's your solution?

I'm really stumped on this. I have always thought this is a problem of the individual. I have always believed that in the US anyone could make it to the middle class (make $45k-$250k a year, no debt, and retire with a net worth of $500k-$3 million).

Assumption: poor cicumstance = no family wealth, no physical handicap, poorly educated parents.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let's Play GOD!!

So Obama would like to take tax money and "create" new jobs. I of course think it is impossible for this to work for two main reasons.

One, how the hell does he know where/what is the best thing to "invest" our tax money in. I always say the free market is better, as most people are fallible (and so are our Presidents).

Two, the govt doesn't/can't create jobs. No one wants hurricanes to hit NO, even though it "creates" jobs. It may create jobs, but it sure doesn't create wealth, it just redistributes it.... and in the Govt's case takes a chunck for an administration fee.

Anyway, here's the question:

If you were Obama (our next Pres), what would you invest the money in? Let's look back on this post and see who actually was able to determine the next generations fuel.

I'm a free market guy, so I find this question completely absurd, but Obama thinks he can do it....


Once upon a time, on a farm in Virginia , there was a little red hen who scratched about the barnyard until she uncovered quite a few grains of wheat. She called all of her Democrat neighbors together and said, 'If we plant this wheat, we shall have bread to eat. Who will help me plant it?' 'Not I,' said the cow. 'Not I,' said the duck. 'Not I,' said the pig. 'Not I,' said the goose. 'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red hen, and so she did. The wheat grew very tall and ripened into golden grain. 'Who will help me reap my wheat?' asked the little red hen. 'Not I,' said the duck.. 'Out of my classification,' said the pig. 'I'd lose my seniority,' said the cow. 'I'd lose my unemployment compensation,' said the goose. 'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red hen, and so she did. At last it came time to bake the bread. 'Who will help me bake the bread?' asked the little red hen. 'That would be overtime for me,' said the cow. 'I'd lose my welfare benefits,' said the duck. 'I'm a dropout and never learned how,' said the pig. 'If I'm to be the only helper, that's discrimination,' said the goose. 'Then I will do it by myself,' said the little red hen. She baked five loaves and held them up for all of her neighbors to see. They wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share. But the little red hen said, 'No, I shall eat all five loaves.' 'Excess profits!' cried the cow. (Nancy Pelosi) 'Capitalist leech!' screamed the duck. (Barbara Boxer) 'I demand equal rights!' yelled the goose. (Jesse Jackson) The pig just grunted in disdain. (Ted Kennedy) And they all painted 'Unfair!' picket signs and marched around and around the little red hen, shouting obscenities. Then the farmer (Obama) came. He said to the little red hen, 'You must not be so greedy.' 'But I earned the bread,' said the little red hen. 'Exactly,' said Barack the farmer. 'That is what makes our free enterprise system so wonderful. Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants. But under our modern government regulations, the productive workers must divide the fruits of their labor with those who are lazy and idle.' And they all lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, 'I am grateful, for now I truly understand.' But her neighbors became quite disappointed in her. She never again baked bread because she joined the 'party' and got her bread free. And all the Democrats smiled. 'Fairness' had been established. Individual initiative had died, but nobody noticed; perhaps no one cared...so long as there was free bread that 'the rich' were paying for. EPILOGUE Bill Clinton is getting $12 million for his memoirs. Hillary got $8 million for hers. That's $20 million for the memories from two people, who for eight years, repeatedly testified, under oath, that they couldn't remember anything. IS THIS A GREAT BARNYARD OR WHAT? DON'T FORGET TO VOTE IN NOVEMBER

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hand to God answers wanted.

Let's play a game. No fair Googling. Just answer with your snap reaction.

1) Where in the income distribution do you (either you (unmarried) or you and your spouse) have fit in order to be called "rich"? I'm looking for a percentile here.

2) What annual income do you have to make in order to be called rich?

There's no trick to this question. Just reply with whatever your gut tells you.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Reagan, Bush, McCain...a lot in common.

In previous posts we have argued about economic policy of McCain and its similarity to Bush. He believes we (which needs to be defined) are taxed too much and has proposed extending the Bush tax cuts and additional tax cuts for the upper % income earners and big businesses. Now it is hard to have this argument even with economists because there are lots of ways to look at statistics. Last week, we heard comments like "the upper income earners are paying a higher % of the tax burden than ever before." Of course that was a comment on Fox News and it may be subjective.

Mike has previously defended Bush's influence on the deficit as minor if you consider % of GDP. Thus, the graphic above shows a clear difference between supply side economics (Reagan, Bush, and potentially McCain) and the Democratic Administrations. Notice how under the years of a Republican Administration the deficit as a percentage of GDP increase drastically. But under Clinton, a balanced budget agreement actually lowered the deficit over the eight years.

Now during the Reagan Administration there was a Democratically controlled congress which was blamed for over spending when Reagan only want to increase spending on defense. And the 6/8 years of Clinton had a Republican controlled Congress. The real test was the first 6 years of Bush where the Republicans also controlled both houses of congress and despite their platform of small government, the opposite occurred.

My main reason for this post is to learn from Mike and Jim, who understand these issues better than I, why should I support McCain who has offered a tax policy that is projected to increase the deficit by trillons of dollars.

The picks...

To those of you playing along with the pick'em league, thanks for getting things entered on your own.  makes life SO much simpler, and allows me to focus on really how badly my team played last night.  (That implies that my team showed up...)  Anyway, trying out an automatic scoring algorithm, the person in red for each game should have the winning score based on the system.  PLEASE look critically and let me know if you see errors.  its not foolproof, its just excel code.  Congrats to jim on a great start....

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Country First Bank...We'll work with you.

Jims comment about "Country First" made me laugh and think of an old SNL commercial that is still funny despite the lack of rude sexual innuendo or "bleeped" curse words (Peyton Manning's "Catch the ball you little sh&t".

Friday, September 5, 2008

14 reasons why Barack Obama should be our next President

If you have considered yourself a serious scientist...


and by the way, John McCain has said he will answer the questions, no word on when.

Thursday, September 4, 2008



10:23 PM ... I'm so glad President Bush is president. Now, let's win this election and get this country back on track.


Before frothing at the mouth at the lady from Alaska, don't forget to submit your scores for tonight!

RNC and Palin...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wow! Sarah Palin ROCKS!!!

Any doubts this Conservative had are gone.... McCain and Palin, what the country needs!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

the onion nailed this one


Monday, September 1, 2008

Regretting not Vetting?

I know Obama has said that Palin's family is off limits, but this pregnancy story is just amazing. How does McCain pick a VP who is an advocate of "abstinence only" education, yet has a 17 year old preggo daughter? I am not condemning her daughter, but I do have to question the judgment of her mother and McCain. Her mother should not have accepted this job knowing that her family would be ridiculed and any skeletons in the closet would be revealed. In this case her daughters name is being dragged through the mud on a national level. In addition, you need to seriously question McCain's thought process on picking Palin. It almost appears that she wasn't vetted at all. With all of this being said, I still believe that Palin's family should be left out of this. However, her values and hypocrisy can be questioned.

(Jim, as always, was right on the money with this pick. It was a "hook and ladder" type play to try to score a touchdown at the end of the game. This play has a .0001% chance of working and usually ends with the team fumbling the ball. The "hook and ladder" Palin pick seems to be failing miserably.)