Patterico's Pontifications

2/18/2008

Vince Young, Student

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 9:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Vince Young is a former quarterback of the University Texas Longhorn football team. He led his team to many exciting wins, a few exciting near misses, and a 2005 National Championship in which he was named MVP. Young left Texas after his junior year to be the 3rd pick overall in the 2006 NFL draft and the first quarterback taken.

I admire Vince Young’s ability to lead his team and to perform as a football player, but I respect him after reading this article in the Austin American-Statesman:

“Vince Young is making another comeback at Texas. This time, it’s in the classroom. The Tennessee Titans quarterback who led Texas to the 2005 national championship is back in class this semester, working toward his degree in education.

“I just wanted to come back and finish up because I wanted to show not only myself and my family, but all the people that have respect for me, that school is the key,” Young said Monday. He’s taking 12 hours this semester with still more to come.

“You can never stop getting knowledge, and the kids that left school early and went to the NFL, you’ve still got to come back and get your degree because you can always have that for life,” he said.”

Young said returning to school was his idea, and that he’s getting more out of it because he’s more mature and paying better attention to the teacher. He’s also getting “high Bs” but he hopes the As are coming.

As they say at UT, the Eyes of Texas are upon you … all the live long day.

— DRJ

The Infantilism of Anti-Americanism

Filed under: Buffoons — Justin Levine @ 8:21 pm

[posted by Justin Levine] 

I understand how some people might feel that they can live more fulfilling lives outside of traditional American/Western society. However, I am continually struck by the level of self-destruction and infantilism that pervades those who reject it with a certain amount of ‘relish’ if you will. If you look beyond the surface of their journeys, I suspect that Christopher McCandless and Johnny Walker Lindh shared a very similar mindset that could have easily allowed them to change places with each other in life had fate intervened as such.

I wouldn’t necessarily call the McCandless/Lindh mindset a form of mental ‘illness’ per se, but it is fair to say that it is a mental ‘condition’ – one that is far more common than many are willing to admit, and one that I don’t really have a proper name for at this point.   

This nameless condition that I am trying to articulate was brought to mind when reading about ‘The Sandalistas’ – people who became so personally invested in the Nicaraguan revolution that it warped their identity.

There is nothing wrong with being a personality type that enjoys living in a rural third-world setting. But there is obviously something more going on here. These people elevated a political movement into a form of deity worship that allowed them to hide from the fact that they carry a lot of irrational hatred in their hearts. Some (such as bodyguard Erik Flakol) learned the hard way that pledging every aspect life to a political movement ends in disappointment.  Events change. People and institutions become corrupted. It’s much like marrying somebody only for their looks. It will always be sure to end in disappointment because looks have no permanence as people age along with the world around them. 

But there are others who don’t even have the maturity to face up to this fact. These are the really pathetic figures. They bury themselves so deep into their ’cause’ and surroundings that they never have to confront the bile and hatred that really infects their hearts. It seems so obvious to me when I read their stories.

McCandlessLindhThe Sandalistas. Each suffers from the same condition that affects the modern affluent of the West. Some may ultimately end up channeling their ‘yearning’ mindset into paths that are more dangerous and destructive than others, but the broad mindset is similar. They all may plant different seeds in their lives, but they all start with the same foundation of poisonous soil.  

Sabotage Possible in Last Month’s Ruptured Undersea Cables

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 7:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

In the past three weeks, there were five instances of ruptured undersea telecom cables that disrupted internet and telephone links in India and the Middle East. Initial reports stated the ruptures were due to damage from boat anchors, but authorities now say they can’t rule out sabotage:

“Damage to several undersea telecom cables that caused outages across the Middle East and Asia could have been an act of sabotage, the International Telecommunication Union said on Monday.

“We do not want to preempt the results of ongoing investigations, but we do not rule out that a deliberate act of sabotage caused the damage to the undersea cables over two weeks ago,” the UN agency’s head of development, Sami al-Murshed, told AFP.

Five undersea cables were damaged in late January and early February leading to disruption to Internet and telephone services in parts of the Middle East and south Asia. There has been speculation that the sheer number of cables being cut over such a short period was too much of a coincidence and that sabotage must have been involved.

India’s Flag telecom revealed on February 7 that the cut to the Falcon cable between the United Arab Emirates and Oman was caused by a ship’s anchor. But mystery shrouds what caused another four reported cuts.

“Some experts doubt the prevailing view that the cables were cut by accident, especially as the cables lie at great depths under the sea and are not passed over by ships,” Murshed said on the sidelines of a conference on cyber-crime held in Gulf state of Qatar. “

Now that’s what I call prior restraint.

— DRJ

“Parent Shock: Children are Not Decor”

Filed under: Real Life — DRJ @ 5:25 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The title of this post was taken from a February 14, 2008, article in the New York Times. A few people might read this article and wonder if these parents should even be parents. I don’t feel that way. It takes all kinds of people to make a world, and each of these parents seems to genuinely love their kids. Plus, it sounds like each family ended up taking good care of their kids.

Nevertheless, reading this article did make me wonder a little why they wanted to be parents in the first place. Given the article’s title, I suspect whoever wrote the headline was a little conflicted, too.

The Brown-Friedmans:

“Ms. Brown and Mr. Friedman — who of course were thrilled to have a child, like all the later-in-life parents interviewed for this article — were also determined not to let Harrison “take control of the house,” Ms. Brown said. They went ahead with putting in flat-front lacquered maple cabinets in the kitchen, even though they soon had to watch a professional babyproofer drill 300 holes in them for safety latches. (Ms. Brown still cringes.) They put up silk Shantung draperies in Harrison’s bedroom, knowing that they might well end up stained, as they soon did — with yogurt. And they held onto the molded-wood chairs, which were not an easy transition from the highchair. “They have a very sleek bottom,” Ms. Brown explained. “He slides off it.”

The Stratton-McLeans:

“[McLean] also refused to babyproof furniture when the children were younger. She was “never one of those mothers” who put safety corners on coffee tables, she said. “That stuff is just gross, and I don’t feel you have to sacrifice living space to that degree.” And she decided not to install wire railings on the open side of the floating walnut staircase Mr. Stratton designed to connect the first- and second-floor living spaces.

“We couldn’t bear it,” she said. “It was too ugly. So basically what we did was we trained the kids to hold onto the handrail, and it’s worked. No one’s ever fallen off.”

The Jarecke-Chengs:

“Among the most troubling matters was the fate of the Barcelona chairs, whose “corners are basically razor blades,” Mr. Cheng said. After much deliberation, they put three in the garage and wrapped the corners of the fourth in foam so it could stay in the living room. “It was just sad,” Mr. Cheng said.

As for the coffee table, they avoided doing anything until Beckett gave them no choice: while learning to walk last summer, he used it as his main training prop. “He’d cruise and trip and hit his face on the table’s edge,” Mr. Cheng recalled.

Mr. Jarecke initially refused to discuss parting with or altering the table in any way, but they eventually compromised and decided to wrap the edge of the top in foam. “As I’m taping it,” Mr. Cheng said, “I’m saying, ‘I’m taping over what makes the difference between this being a Noguchi table and a Kmart table.’ ” Mr. Jarecke was even more distraught. “It transformed this beautiful modernist piece of furniture into a piece you’d find in a ’70s rec room,” he said.”

There used to be a time when parents bemoaned the loss of their “adult” lives in a humorous way. This article wasn’t that humorous.

— DRJ

Happy President’s Day

Filed under: Miscellaneous — DRJ @ 4:34 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

This is a good day for little known (at least to me) Presidential facts.

Did you know the oval office was first used by President Taft? An oval-shaped room was preferred by George Washington, who may have seen it as a symbol of democracy:

“On an early October morning in 1909, President William Howard Taft became the first President to walk into the Oval Office. Greeting the 27th President of the United States were silk velvet curtains and a checkerboard floor made of mahajua wood from the Philippines. Caribou hide tacked with brass studs covered the chairs in the room. President Taft chose the olive green color scheme.

The Oval Office was different from the office of President Theodore Roosevelt, who built the West Wing in 1902. Roosevelt’s office was rectangular. Taft relocated the office and changed its shape to oval, like the Blue Room in the White House.

Preferences for oval rooms date to the time of George Washington. At the president’s home in Philadelphia, Washington had two rooms modified with a bowed-end in each that were used for hosting formal receptions called levees. As his guests formed a circle around him, Washington would stand in the center to greet them. With no one standing at the head or foot of the room, everyone was an equal distance from the president. The circle became a symbol of democracy, and Washington likely envisioned the oval Blue Room as the ideal place to host a levee.”

There’s more Presidential info at the White House website.

— DRJ

Michelle Obama Is Finally Proud of America (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 2:53 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From Boston.com:

“For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,” she told a Milwaukee crowd today, “because it feels like hope is making a comeback.”

Video and a longer quote from Breitbart:

“What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback and let me tell you something, For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I have seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues. It has made me proud.”

UPDATE: I’m striking through the Boston.com quote because I think it’s misleading.

I’m sure it’s hard to campaign and speak frequently without misspeaking or conveying something other than you mean. It’s certainly true with blogging, and public speaking is even more prone to errors. I would also understand a young person like Michelle Obama who might be enthusiastic about American politics for the first time, but she sounded like she really meant this is the first time in her adult life she has been proud of America.

— DRJ

California Courts Remain Clueless About Prior Restraints

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law,Court Decisions — Justin Levine @ 12:09 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

Disturbing news here.

How do courts get away with this? Perhaps they actually think that corporate secrets should have greater legal protection than classified government documents(?).

‘Broken clock being right twice a day’ alert: Daily Kos happens to be right on the money here.

I at least understand the argument when the issuance of a prior restraint concerns classified information that could directly lead to people being put in physical harm. But embarrassing bank officials over misconduct? Please…

Will Obama Accept Public Financing As He Promised?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:29 am

Captain Ed discusses whether Obama will keep his pledge to John McCain to accept public financing if Obama and McCain are their parties’ respective nominees. If Obama does, he will be giving up a major fundraising advantage.

I don’t like the idea of publicly financed campaigns, but this is about keeping one’s word. If Obama goes back on his pledge, it means that he’ll keep his word unless it’s inconvenient to do so.

That doesn’t sound like “change” to me. It sounds like a lot more of the same.

Kosovo Declares Independence

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 11:05 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Kosovo has declared its independence and it has been recognized by France, Britain, and the US. On the other hand, Russia, Spain, Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Greece and (of course) Serbia have refused or are reluctant to recognize Kosovo’s independence.

Bad news for Russia and Serbia and it probably won’t help Bill Clinton’s legacy, but it sounds like the Kosovars are happy.

— DRJ

Juvenile Sex Offender Registration under the Adam Walsh Act

Filed under: Crime — DRJ @ 10:32 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 requires sex offenders as young as 14 years old to register with state sex offender databases. Legislators in some states object to implementing the law as to juvenile offenders, saying it is too harsh and costly:

Texas officials may soon begin ignoring a new federal sex offender law that would require some juveniles as young as 14 to register on a national Web site.

A federal community notification act approved by Congress and signed by President Bush is so sweeping, it’s raising concern among even those who traditionally have pushed for greater public sex offender disclosure. Scores of prosecutors, victims’ rights advocates and normally get-tough lawmakers say provisions of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 are Draconian and costly and may end up harming the victims they’re supposed to protect.

“We think our laws are strong enough,” said Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, a leading advocate of sex offender registration laws in Texas.”

States risk losing federal funding if they don’t implement the new law by 2009. In addition, some are troubled by the lack of local control:

“Texas’ sex offender registry has for years included juveniles. But it’s not automatic, giving judges broad discretion in deciding which ones are placed there. Of the more than 47,000 people listed on the state’s Department of Public Safety Web site, only 275 are under 18, while 3,853 are registered based on offenses they committed as juveniles, according to DPS data.

Judges would lose all discretion under the federal act. The national registry would include everyone 14 or older convicted of a sex offense. A 14-year-old boy convicted of having sex with his 12-year-old girlfriend, for example, would be treated the same as a repeat adult predator who attacked a 3-year-old. Both would fall into the most severe category, Tier III, requiring them to register four times a year for at least 25 years and possibly for the rest of their lives.

Unlike adults, juveniles could petition to be removed from the registry after a quarter-century.”

The article provides anecdotal evidence from both sides of this contentious issue. It will be interesting to see what the Legislature ultimately decides.

— DRJ

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