Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rest in Peace, Earl Scruggs

History's most famous banjo player passed away at the age of 88.  He was always a class act, and his contributions to one of America's homegrown musical genres cannot be overstated.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I want to pitch a reality show.

It's called Real Quarterbacks of New York.  Should I call Bravo or ESPN?  Or maybe CBS.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

More Questions About Those New Orleans Saints Bounty Payments

This Sports Illustrated article points out "The bounties violated the league's $120.3 million salary cap as extra off-the-books compensation."

Was that compensation taxable income?  If so, did the players report it to the IRS?  If not, will the IRS levy penalties more severe than the NFL?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

You Can't Have It Both Ways

If you really want to prevent abortions, you need to stop stigmatizing single mothers and restore funding to Planned Parenthood (which allocates far more resources to pre-natal care than to abortions).

Of course, if you care more about punishing women for having sex outside of marriage than you do about saving those unborn fetuses you pretend to be concerned about, then carry on with what you're doing, social conservatives.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Legalized Murder

Last weekend, an underage drinking party in Slinger was busted. When the police arrived, the guests fled. Twenty-year-old Bo Morrison apparently tried to evade the police by hiding on a neighbor's porch. The homeowner came out of the house and shot him to death. He was not charged, since he claimed that he mistook the young man for a (presumably housebreaking) intruder. Wisconsin's new "castle doctrine" allows deadly force to defend one's home (which evidently includes the porch).

Drunken wandering and trespassing is a nuisance and a crime. However, it is not a capital crime. Should homeowners be allowed to impose the death penalty without due process, when they are not really in danger?

I was appalled when I read this story, but I took some time to think about it. I told myself that I should not judge a man when I haven't worn his shoes.  Then I realized that I have been in his shoes.

Over the years, numerous drunks have wandered onto our lawn and left behind beer cans and/or articles of clothing.  On one frightening Friday night, someone tried to open our front door and, finding it locked, went around and tried the back door (also locked). My husband and I stood near the phone, weapons in hand, to see if our mystery visitor would try to force the door or break a window. He or she did not.  It could have been an opportunistic burglar or rapist (there have been several cases in Madison of such criminals who take advantage of unlocked doors). More likely, however, it was just a drunk who confused our house for another or thought it was a good idea to go on an inebriated parade of homes. We waited to find out if there was an actual threat before escalating the situation.

We are not anti-gunners. There are several firearms (and one concealed carry permit) under our roof. But we believe in being responsible gun owners.  That man in Slinger is a murderer, in my opinion, who took the opportunity to act out a Clint Eastwood fantasy. Given the demographics in Slinger, he probably considers himself a Christian, and he may even be a churchgoer.  I wonder if he feels any remorse for what he has done.  I wonder how safe his neighbors feel knowing this man will shoot first and ask questions later.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

This Is Appalling

The New Orleans Saints paid bounties to defensive players who sent opponents off the field with injuries.

I was happy for the Saints when they won the Superbowl. I was glad that New Orleans had something to celebrate after the years of disaster, tragedy and economic contraction. I rooted for the Saints in their playoff games this year (not only because I was rooting against the Lions and the 49ers).

No more. They have sunk to the level of the Patriots in my esteem, even lower than the Cowboys (whom I actually began to pity this past season).

I am not alone in that opinion:
The Saints will now rank alongside the Spygate Patriots and cocky Cowboys among the most despised teams in the NFL. This story will follow the Saints for years. It's not going to go away after the league hands down its punishment...Their punishment will be harsh. It will be extensive. And it will be just.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Farewell, Davey Jones

I can't remember the first time I watched The Monkees; I was so young, that those memories are vague. But I always enjoyed their music, and Davey Jones was my favorite back then. Although I later came to appreciate Mike Nesmith's art-rock sensibilities, I never lost affection for Davey Jones.  It helped that he saw himself as an entertainer and never displayed the bitterness and outsize ego of David Cassidy and some other pop stars of that era.  He was always willing to laugh at himself and let us enjoy him as a nostalgia act. He famously guest starred as himself on an episode of The Brady Bunch, and later riffed on that bit in The Brady Bunch Movie.  This is perhaps my favorite Davey Jones performance: