Sunday, June 28, 2009

George Will at His Best

A few great quotes from his latest Washington Post column:
The president says the health care market "has not worked perfectly." Indeed. Only God, supposedly, and Wrigley Field, actually, are perfect. Anyway, given the heavy presence of government dollars (46 percent of health care dollars) and regulations, the market, such as it is, is hardly free to work.

As market enthusiasts, conservatives should stop warning that the president's reforms will result in health care "rationing." Every product, from a jelly doughnut to a jumbo jet, is rationed -- by price or by politics. The conservative's task is to explain why price is preferable. The answer is that prices produce a rational allocation of scarce resources.
And then, my favorite part:
Regarding reform, conservatives are accused of being a party of "no." Fine. That is an indispensable word in politics because most new ideas are false and mischievous. Furthermore, the First Amendment's lovely first five words ("Congress shall make no law") set the negative tone of the Bill of Rights, which is a list of government behaviors, from establishing religion to conducting unreasonable searches, to which the Constitution says: No.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I could go on and on about how big of an icon this guy was to anyone born in the 1980's, but I would really just be rehashing everything the news networks have already said.

I was trying to think of a list of his best songs, but it looks like someone over at Only in America has already done that for me, and he's nailed it because those are my top 10 as well. ("The Way You Make Me Feel" comes in a close 11th).

Anyway, it's a very sad day. That's all I can say right now. I don't have anything creative or sarcastic to say. And I can't paste any other youtube videos here because for whatever reason it's not letting me.

Debating Obamacare

If we were back in college right now, I'd have plenty of time to write out a long, detailed argument against government-run health care. I would spend paragraphs explaining how the "public option" that Mr. Obama is pushing for would slowly but surely crowd out the private sector by forcing taxpayers to subsidize a "free" plan that private insurers wouldn't be able to compete with. And I would demonstrate how the real problem in this country is that too many people have too much insurance, and not the other way around like we always hear.

Whenever the vast majority of decisions are made by third parties (whether those third parties are insurance companies or government bureaucrats), markets aren't permitted to function. It's like if your car insurance policy covered your oil changes and all of your fill-ups at the gas pump: you wouldn't care how much these things cost because you're not paying for them, so you'd consume as much as possible while prices spiral out of control (the same is true, by the way, with college tuition - costs skyrocket as kids spend 5-6 years in undergrad because they aren't paying for their education; parents, federal grants, and subsidies are). Meanwhile, doctors spend most of their time dealing with needless paperwork and fighting with HMO's and insurers instead of doing what they entered the profession for in the first place: focusing on the needs of their patients. That is the fundamental problem with our health care system.

But thanks to ABC's John Stossel, I don't even need to make the case. Because he's already done it for me, in this superb hour-long special on 20/20:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beatles Albums, Ranked From Worst to Best

Let's go ahead and get this out of the way.

12. Magical Mystery Tour
11. With the Beatles
10. Let It Be
9. Please Please Me
8. Abbey Road
7. A Hard Day's Night
6. Sgt. Pepper
5. Beatles for Sale
4. White Album
3. Revolver
2. Help!
1. Rubber Soul

All of these albums are amazing, of course, except Magical Mystery Tour, which was downright awful.

Could it be?

I just heard on PTI that Johnny Depp left a $4000 tip at a Chicago steakhouse. Now, I'm not concerned with his immense generosity. What I am concerned with is the fact that he was in Chicago in the first place. Chicago has been the setting of Gotham City for both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and Depp has been rumored to have accepted the part of the Riddler in the next Nolan brothers Batman film.

Is this evidence?

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, June 19, 2009

Don't Know Much About Terry Pendleton.

To be honest, I still thought he was playing third base. But here's one thing I do know: we need to find a way to round up all of California's politicians and ship them to the far side of the moon. There are countless reasons why we ought to do this for the good of (what's left of) that state and the country as a whole. Here is the most recent:

True, there's isn't much to do on the moon, but I'm sure they'd still somehow manage to tax, spend, run deficits, mock the military, and brag about how hard they've worked to earn the right to spend other people's money. At least we wouldn't have to deal with the consequences of their behavior back on planet Earth.

Response to Firing TP

I didn't write this, but since I read it it changed my mind about the TP situation. From Chris Gesner at 680 The Fan:

The Bravos aren’t scoring a ton of runs and aren’t hitting all that well in the clutch. In fact, despite a few notable exceptions, the Braves aren’t hitting much of anything this year. Home runs, batting average, slugging percentage, etc. are all down. Damn you, Pendleton! Firing squad, enter stage right. Even certain 680 the Fan hosts have been calling for TP’s early retirement (I won’t name any names...John Kincade). Many callers during that Pendleton-bashing segment agreed with the unnamed host, save for one thoughtful listener who suggested that somebody among the Dickey Broadcasting staff be tasked with researching stats that would prove TP’s brilliance/incompetence. Since we are always fan friendly here at 680, your resident roadie is up to the task. Should Terry Pendleton be sent to the bread lines? No, and here’s why.

Point One: We Are What We Are For my opening salvo, I’d like to you all to welcome Rick Pitino. “Fred McGriff is not walking through that door. David Justice, Ron Gant, Mark Lemke, Andres Galarraga, Edgar Renteria, Marquis Grissom, Dale Murphy, and Terry Pendleton (ahem) are not walking through that door.” Thanks, Rick. If there is a disconnect between what the Brave’s roster consists of now and what came before, it needs to end. There are only three reliable batters in this lineup; Chipper Jones (178 AB, .303 BA, 31 RBI, 8 HR), Yunel Escobar (214 AB, .294 BA, 33 RBI, 6 HR), and Brian McCann (145 AB, .324 BA, 26 RBI, 6 HR). Three hitters out of nine on any given day. And the difference between these three and the rest of the roster can be equated with the distance between the Earth and Alpha Centauri. The trick is keeping them healthy, but we can hardly hold TP accountable for bad feet, bad eyes, and bad luck (Or can we?). NOTE: Brian McCann is our clean-up hitter. He has the fewest at-bats of the three and is tied with Escobar for the second most HRs on the team. Clean-up hitters on most competitive teams are in the double digits by now. Chipper’s eight HRs are the most any one player has hit for the Braves this season (McLouth has hit 10 for the year, but only one for Atlanta). That means that our very best power hitter has as many home runs in 2009 as Troy Tulowitski. That’s good for 32nd in the league. By comparison, Philadelphia has three players top ten in the league in HRs. Bottom line, we have no power and what little we do have is not very difficult to pitch around. You can’t teach power, they either have it or they don’t. Maybe if TP gave our guys some HGH (my bad, Jordan Schafer), he’d have a better chance of keeping his job.

Point Two: The Outfield Like my Pappy always says, “Cook the big fish first.” Jeff Francoeur needs to go. Corner outfield positions are usually reserved for guys who can flat out rake. Not so on this roster. Frenchie’s legend was born from local high school heroics, which pushed him fast through the farm system and a major league debut. Whatever glow he once had on him is now wearing off as evidenced by the AJC’s new poll question, “Should Jeff Francoeur be traded?” Absolutely, I say. Assuming any team would be willing to deal more than a set of old Jane Fonda workout tapes. I wrote recently of Mike Vick’s diminishing stats over the course of his career. That argument certainly holds many parallels here. In the beginning, Francoeur was an insanely popular and productive player. Under Pendleton’s tutelage, Francoeur hit .260, and .293 in his first two full seasons respectively. In those years, Francoeur drove in 103 and 105 runs. These last two seasons have marked a sharp decline in his production. Batting averages of .239 in 2008, and .253 so far in 2009. He’s also on pace to match last year’s 71 RBI total. Over his brief career, Francoeur has struck out a whopping 464 times and walked a piddling 125. Further damning, there are multiple signs of a player who just doesn’t get it. Without even a tweet to his teammate/hitting coach, Francoeur consulted the hitting coach of the Texas Rangers (That’s really paying off dividends, by the way). Jeff’s response to any possible insult to TP, “ is what it is.” Way to be disrespectful and classless at the same time, Jeff! Then there was the curiously unreported, profanity-laced, childish tirade during spring training that Francoeur unleashed upon a member of the Atlanta media who had been critical of the right fielder. Dismissive of his coaches? Check. Can’t take criticism? Check mate. He’s just a water bottle, a dead dog, and a bad outbreak of herpes away from drawing a real cult following in the ATL. Pendleton would have a better shot at teaching Helen Keller to recite the Gettysburg Address than he would at teaching Jeff Francoeur to be a patient, selective, consistent hitter to all fields. Nate McLouth? Hate to beat up on the kid since he’s new to the train wreck, but here it goes. A lot of the buzz surrounding him is that he was an All-Star with the Pirates. Let that sink in for a minute. The Pirates had one representative in the 2008 All-Star game. Each team is guaranteed at least one All-Star berth. He only hit .276 that year. He’s never driven in more than 100 runs in a season. Yea, Frank Wren! If McLouth never wins the triple crown, I’m sure it’s because Terry Pendleton is incompetent. Somewhere warm, Andruw Jones can't stop laughing. Left field has been been vacant since the departure of Gary Sheffield. Name me the team that has been successful without power, average, or run production from each, or any, of its outfield positions. Coming up empty? Me too! The Matt Diaz/Garrett Anderson platoon is cute in theory, but lacks common sense in actual practice. Heaven forbid the Braves make an offer to Raul Ibanez this past off-season, we might have actually had an outfielder that could hit the ball over the fence. That must be TP’s fault too.

Point Three: The Infield Third base, shortstop, and catcher are good, as we’ve already established. Was it Meatloaf that said “3 out of 5 ain’t bad?” No. His percentage was much better than that. We have Casey Kotchman at first. A guy who, when not on the DL, had his best season with 12 homers. TWELVE HOMERS! First base, last I checked, was a power position (like the corner outfield positions, but I repeat myself). Was Rico Brogna not available? I like Kotchman’s defense, I do, but the man has never driven in over 100 runs or hit over .300. That’s with over four years in the AL before he came to Atlanta. He may not do worse here, but I don’t think TP (Or the ghost of Ty Cobb) could get him to hit much better. Kelly Johnson is not Ryne Sandberg. A bold statement, I know. Were it not for the grace of Bobby Cox (the guy that let him start his career 0 for 30 without benching him), this guy would be bagging groceries with kids still waxing poetic about the time they spent bagging with Kurt Warner. Who started the rumor that this gibrone deserved to hog a starting gig in The Show? He’d make a passable 8th hitter (.238 AVG), but we’ve stuck him at the top of the order for reasons passing understanding. He doesn’t have lead-off speed. He doesn’t work the count (Almost 2-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio for his career). He did, however, hit .287 last year. Not that TP had anything to do with that. The Braves organization was once stocked with talent up the middle. O’ Elvis Andrus, where art thou? Oh, that’s right, we traded him to Texas for a rent-a-player who didn’t have a single meaningful hit in a Braves uniform (I’m talking to you, Teixeira). Mark DeRosa, why hast thou forsaken us? Oh, that’s right, we let you go for nothing and now you are an integral part of the success of every franchise you are with (Then Cubs, now Rangers). I guess TP is making all of the personnel decisions too.

Point Four: The Real Culprit Roger McDowell is an amazing pitching coach. This year, the Braves are 4th in the majors in strikeouts, 8th in ERA, 1st in fewest home runs allowed, and 10th in fewest runs. He’s amazing. This year, he’s amazing. From 2006-2008, Roger was a terrible pitching coach. The bullpen couldn’t hold a lead and the starters couldn’t get out of the 6th inning. That is, of course, when they actually made it into the 6th inning. Bob Wickman, Chris Reitsma, Chuck James, Jo Jo Reyes, Kyle Davies, Mark Redman, and Joey Devine were among the many hurlers who peddled their dreadful wares during those years (To say nothing of the conspicuous absence of Mike Hampton). What magic elixir did Roger drink this past offseason to imbue the current staff with such great prowess? That’s right, we got rid of all those guys and signed professionals. You could rub a million lamps and wish that Kelly Johnson, Jeff Francoeur, Casey Kotchman, Nate McLouth, Jordan Schafer, Matt Diaz, David Ross, Martin Prado, Omar Infante, Gregor Blanco, Greg Norton, and Garret Anderson were forces to be reckoned with and future Cooperstown inductees. They’re not, they never will be, and the genie you wish upon will laugh in your face. Magic, it would seem, has its limitations. A coach, a manager, a boss, or whathaveyou, is only as good as the talent he is given to field. Frank Wren has done nothing to help Terry Pendleton in this regard. NOTHING. Nothing but trade away the only center fielder the Braves had in camp that had any record of success in the majors (Josh Anderson). Nothing but alienate both John Smoltz and Tom Glavine (Who are those guys, anyway?). Nothing but allow every capable left fielder in free agency to disappear before settling on the 36 year-old who’s riding the sharp down slope of a solid career (Sorry, Garret). No real attempt was made to address first or second base (That bit with Furcal made zero sense). No real attempt was made to address serious concerns in the outfield (The answer: Ken Griffey Jr. The question: “What player hasn’t been relevant in nearly a decade?”). Then again, I guess every team relies on their hitting coach to negotiate with Scott Boras. It was posited on this very station that if an employee doesn’t respond to the message preached by his or her manager, then the manager should be replaced. Funny, maybe it’s my military background talking, but every job I have ever held has taught me the exact opposite. If an employee is not willing or able to do the work, you hold the employee accountable. If an employee is incapable of making adjustments, you find someone who can. Barring that, you fire the guy that keeps hiring substandard labor. Frank Wren's previous GM credits include driving a wrecking ball into what was once a proud Baltimore Orioles franchise (With no small amount of help from Peter Angelos). Check the Turner Field parking lot, I think he's at it again. All Terry Pendleton has ever done is win the National League MVP Award, win a batting title, play in five World Series, be a vocal clubhouse leader and a major contributer to the reason people actually care about baseball in this city. He has also done his dead-level best to polish the turds that Frank Wren keeps leaving in the dugout. Bobby Cox has done his best too (Better than all but three major league managers in over a century). So, yeah, maybe we should follow Jeff Francoeur’s lead and hire that guy in Texas nobody ever heard of.

Georgia Theater is no more

The Georgia Theater in Athens burnt to the ground this morning. I've seen a lot of shows there. Never more, never more.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Seinfeld Quote of the Day

"Every day it's something else with you. I don't know anything about you any more. Who are you? What kind of life are you leading? Who knows what you're doing? Maybe you're making porno films."
"Yeah. I'm Buck Naked."
- George's mother and George, in "The Outing"

Fire Terry Pendleton

I've never been one to call for the firing of any coach, mainly because I'm not that smart about that stuff. I let the big boys handle their business, and I accept my role as the simplistic fan who just wants to win. However, I need some counterargument for why Terry Pendleton should continue to be the Braves' hitting coach. Yes, there are other players and staff who seem the more obvious choice for being discharged, but I'm just thinking pratically here.

Wikipedia defines the hitting coach:
A hitting coach, as the name suggests, works with a team's players to improve their hitting techniques and form. He monitors players' swings during the game and over the course of the season, advising them when necessary between at-bats on adjustments to make. He also oversees their performance during practices, cage sessions, and pre-game batting practice.

From my view from the couch, it appears that TP isn't good at his job. And I'm not just talking about Francoeur, Kelly Johnson, and the other underachievers of the 2009 Braves. Think back to Andruw Jones and even Mark Teixeira, who really was just pretty good with us. Think about how Andruw and Francoeur went to work with the Rangers' hitting coach in the offseason. Now Andruw's hitting much better, and Francoeur's improvements dropped off after the first month or so. So, I say fire TP's lazy ass. What's the worst that can happen? Could the replacement hitting coach really make this team be anymore impatient at the plate?

*I googled "fire terry pendleton" and came upon this recent write-up at the AJC about the very same subject. Mark Bradley says that TP should not be fired, and argued that Francoeur's and Schafer's problems existed before they came to the big leagues. Then shouldn't it be the hitting coach's job to help fix those problems? What else is he expected to do?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Damn Confounded Technology!

Dear Stephen,

I know you are very scared and confused right now. You came home after a sweat-filled day of hard labor last Friday, turned on your picture box, but it was all fuzzy! You banged it a couple of times. You adjusted the rabbit ears - still nothing.

It's going to be okay, Papa Bear. Just follow this clicky-linky,, and carefully follow the steps!

St. Patrick's Day Conception Celebration

Join us tonight at Kevin Barry's as we celebrate the conception of our favorite holiday. In nine short months, we will give birth to a liquor-drinkin, green-jacket-wearin, hows-your-mom-an-em-in middle-aged man named Ted Brogan.

Mom, it's me, Teddy...Gaga, etc.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


So we are back to .500. It is a brand new start. Braves are 5 and a half games back of the Phillies; 3 games back on the piece of trash Mets. We got one of the top 5 starting rotations in the majors. We just added a 30/30 all-star in "Nasty" Nate McClouth. The top half of the lineup will make an opposing pitcher sweat: McClouth, Escobar, Chipper, and McCann. I would even say our set up dude and crazy closer, Soriano and Gonzo, are at least top three in the National League. Shoot, even Moyland and O'Flaherty have been showing up to PLAY.

We need to win tonight. When Greg Counsel was asked how the Brewers got to the postseason last year he said, "We just beat up on the Pirates." If you want to win your division or get a wild card birth in the playoffs, you HAVE to beat the bad teams. We can't split a series with the Pirates, lose a series to the Rockies or Diamondbacks. We should win every single game played against the Nationals this year.

Braves need to beat the Orioles in the series this weekend. Starting next Tuesday, they go on a 15 game stretch where they play Cincinnati, Boston, Yankees, Boston, and Philly. They even have to make-up a game with the Cubs sometime in there.

Will the finish above .500 this year?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tech Terrorist

I thought I would put this up before the Only In... network got to it.

Ex-Ga. Tech student convicted of video terror plot.

Monday, June 08, 2009

There Goes $50

While we usually spend our time lamenting the garbage that Hollywood produces on a monthly basis, I have to say I'm quite excited about this summer's releases. There's lots of great stuff either out already or coming out soon:

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Terminator Salvation
The Hangover
GI Joe: Rise of Cobra

Have I missed any?

Friday, June 05, 2009