Musings from Brian J. Noggle
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Why Stop At Meddling With NFL Owners?
Hey, maybe Congress, following Diane Feinstein's example, can give the Chicago Bears hope tomorrow:

    Durbin unveils legislation to start Griese at quarterback

    Sen. Dick Durbin introduced legislation today aimed at blocking the Bears from starting Rex Grossman on Sunday by giving the United States Senat the right to vote on all coaching moves.

    The measure, called the Bears Fan Protection Act, would require an exemption from common sense, which the United States legislature seeks to subvert instead of repealing entirely.

    Durbin, a Democrat who has claimed to be a fan of the Bears, was furious last week when he learned that the current Bears starting quarterback had admitted to underpreparing for the season's last game, a loss to the hated Green Bay Packers. Some fans had questioned Rex Grossman's ability as a quarterback, given his stunning meltdowns in certain games this year. "This legislation is designed to prevent coaches from inflicting suffering on fans, which leads to the financial and intangible costs of poor decisions," Durbin said. "Our football teams are more than just businesses. They are a common denominator that cuts across class, race and gender to bond the people of a city. They are a key component of a city's culture and identity. The city of broad shoulders should not tie its identity to a young, often injured quarterback prone to utter collapse when the pressure's on. Instead, the city more properly reflects the spirit of a journeyman whose name looks a lot like 'Grease' and who's probably somewhat rusty after a period of inactivity." As an alternative, giving other NFL teams the right to veto an individual coach's decision at least give the government the ability to lobby NFL owners to do what it deems politically suitable for its constituents. "We need to address the real costs imposed on communities by poor coaching that we have witnessed in the past 25 years," Durbin said in offering his Bears Fan Protection Act.

Thursday, January 11, 2007
Bainbridge on Thompson Bandwagon
Stephen Bainbridge wants to draft Thompson for the Republican presidential candidate in 2008.

But, wait, you say. Hasn't Tommy Thompson expressed interest? How can you draft someone who's expressed interest?

No, silly. Fred Thompson.

The First 100 Hours: Democrats Nationalize Football League
Hey, Chavez is nationalizing Venezuelan industry and Illinois legislators want to run the electric companies, so why shouldn't the new Democrat-run Congress jump into an industry in which its members have no knowledge and experience?
    Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation today aimed at blocking the 49ers from leaving San Francisco by giving National Football League owners the right to vote on all franchise moves.

    The measure, called the Football Fan Protection Act, would require an anti-trust law exemption.
Is it possible that our legislators take themselves too seriously, or is this evidence that they don't take themselves seriously enough?

I mean, seriously, what's the slogan here? "Government out of our bedrooms, out of our wombs, but into our sports"?

UPDATE: Added link to San Francisco Chronicle story about the actual legislation.

Everyone Wants to Cash In On School Vouchers
Mother's pride as first child to be born from frozen egg starts school

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
It's Not My Job To Cheer You Up
Remember, that worst case scenario you think you're ready for is just the worst case you could imagine.

Book Report: Dr. Kookie, You're Right by Mike Royko (1989)
Book Report: Dr. Kookie, You're Right by Mike Royko (1989) I bought this book for a buck at some book fair this year. I don't think I've read any Mike Royko since high school. Many people of Internet age won't know who Royko is, as they're steeped in Internet stars like James Lileks, Mark Steyn, Andrew Sullivan, and whatnot. The era of the mega columnist, with a string of syndication papers and inane commentary, left behind those like Royko, who seemed more of a Metro columnist than a humorist or a commentariat.

I mean, who does this any more? Here in St. Louis, there's Bill McClellan and the black guy. I don't know if either of them has written a book, but I tell you something, in 20 years, I won't have ever gotten a copy and I won't read it with pleasure.

Sure, Royko is what some would call a bleeding heart. But it's a very communitarian liberalism. He came from humble origins and kept the blue collar edge in his writing. I can sympathize with blue collar origins in a rust belt city. So although he obviously doesn't like Ronald Reagan, he doesn't alienate readers who perhaps don't.

This was Royko's last collection published in his lifetime. Man, if I had known that would have read this with a sad, sepia overtone.

Recommend it? Yes. Read more Royko. He's amusing, short, and often right even when he's left.

Books mentioned in this review:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Slippery Slope?
Compare and contrast:
  • Illinois House votes for electricity rate freeze

      In response to sharp increases in Illinois electric rates this month, the Illinois House voted Sunday to freeze rates at their previous levels.
  • Chavez to nationalize companies in move toward 'socialist republic of Venezuela':

      President Hugo Chavez announced plans Monday to nationalize Venezuela's electrical and telecommunications companies, pledging to set up a socialist state in a move with echoes of Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution.

      "We're moving toward a socialist republic of Venezuela, and that requires a deep reform of our national constitution," Chavez said in a televised address after swearing in his Cabinet. "We are in an existential moment of Venezuelan life. We're heading toward socialism, and nothing and no one can prevent it."
Very different, no? One is a national entity that is controlling electrical rates for the benefit of its citizens and the power-mad people who want the control, and the other is a state government. Also, the national entity will ultimately be responsible for production of the electricity or its decline, whereas the state entity will merely be responsible for holding hearings on why companies go bankrupt when pressed for increasing service for no increased revenue.

Sometimes Protocol Is Really Just An Obscure Goldie Hawn Movie
Buried in the story of another US submarine colliding with another Japanese merchant vessel (man, those Navy guys are still pissed about Pearl Harbor, ainna?), we get this nugget:
    The Mogamigawa was traveling from the Gulf to Singapore and was carrying a crew of eight Japanese and 16 Filipinos. It is expected to arrive in the port of Khor Fakkan later Tuesday, company spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.
Apparently, it's protocol in some companies that if you leak information about where your valuable ships and their valuable cargo are going and when, you must do so anonymously.

Odd the things those Japanese write into their employee handbooks.

Monday, January 08, 2007
Taser International Sets Its Scamming On Stunning
Hidden within the story that Taser, International will offer models of its patented drunk killing device to the general public, we see what kind of superscam this really is:
    Taser has however said that it will be sold inert, and activated after the purchaser takes part in an online background check.
That is, you, gentle reader, would spend your filthy lucre on a device that won't work until Taser, International, says you're okay to have a working Taser.

The next step, of course, is a Taser-As-Service model, where the self-defense tool only works if you keep up on the monthly subscription fee. Forget to tell Taser, International, that your credit card expiration date changed, and you're in for a big surprise on that underlit street where you encounter a couple ruffians.

Sunday, January 07, 2007
Book Report: Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen (2006)
Heather gave me this book for Christmas along with a number of earlier Hiaasen novels because she knew that I enjoyed (see also Strip Tease, Skinny Dip, and Basket Case).

This book, however, suffers from the same slow start that stifled Strip Tease. Unfortunately, it has a slow middle and a slow end, too. Whereas the normal whacky Hiaasen characters come out of the Florida backwoods to amuse, ultimately, interact. We have a half Seminole on the run from his own demons and the ghost of an unfortunate tourist whose body he sunk in the swamp; a philandering ne'er-do-well telemarketing salesman and the mistress who's above him; an activist and off-kilter single mother seeking revenge against the telemarketer for interrupting her dinner; a lecherous man lusting for the single mother; the ex-husband of the single mother; a private detective trailing the telemarketer; and so on.

Unfortunately, the book doesn't have a real central plot; instead, we're following along a set of subplots that will intersect on a small Florida key. When we finally got the whole crew onto the key, I thought it would be a quick resolution, but I still had 100 pages left, and I was disappointed.

The book isn't Hiaasen's best, and it's definitely the weakest of the four books I've read so far. Heather was disappointed at my disappointment, but I tried to reassure her that one book had to be the worst. I hope this one was.

Books mentioned in this review:


Oxymoron Discovered
Come on, I cannot be the only one to realize Dodge Ram is an oxymoron, can I?

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."