Archive for March, 2008

Mics for Teachers?

March 31, 2008

Apparently its all the rage in suburban D.C.:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/30/AR2008033001643.html?wpisrc=newsletter

Whatever happened to telling the kids to shut up when teacher is talking?  Whatever happened to telling the kid to speak up when they were asking a question, answering a question, or giving a presentation?  College lecture halls have mics because those rooms are too large to expect a professor with normal vocal range to be heard through to the back of the room.  1st grade classrooms do not have that kind of size.  If the teacher is getting laryngitis trying to be heard over the din, there needs to be less din, not voice amplification.  Argh!

The Dilbert Strategy

March 31, 2008

I love Dilbert as a comic strip.  Less wild about it as a federal regulatory strategy.  Paul Krugman argues that today’s announced major reform of federal regulation of the banking industry is straight Dilbert management:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/31/opinion/31krugman.html?th&emc=th

Put another way, they are re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Opening Day

March 30, 2008

Technically was midweek when Boston and Oakland played two in Tokyo.  Atlanta is helping the Nationals open their new ballpark right now.  For everyone else its in the next couple days.  Indians open at home with the White Sox (no snow in the forecast!) and the Pirates open in Atlanta tomorrow night.  Baseball is back.  No Mitchell Report, no Roger Clemens, no Brian McNamee, no Congressional Committees.  Just actual baseball games.  Hallelujah!

Is Anyone Watching?

March 30, 2008

I refer to the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament.  The times I have turned it on I have been noticing a ton of empty seats.  That is one thing the first weekend, especially for games not involving the home team.  But I am seeing a lot of empty prime seats the past couple days for Regionals action.  I don’t know offhand the ratings that ESPN and ESPN2 have been getting for the TV coverage, but the lack of physical fans has to be a concern to the NCAA.  They need to do something if for no other reason than the fact it makes for terrible television to see all those empty seats.  Doesn’t exactly sell to the casual fan, or the person channel surfing, that this is an event that needs attention paid to.

Of course, the harder question is in trying to find a remedy.  I don’t know how much the NCAA charges for admission, but for levels below the Final Four perhaps they should slash ticket prices, let kids under the age of 12 in for free, that sort of thing.  On the opening weekend front, I think they should go back to the way it was until the past 5 years or so.  All Sweet Sixteen seeds had their pod at home.  16 different sites, 1st round doubleheaders, one game per site in the 2nd round.  That way (assuming the home team wins their first round game) two thirds of early rounds games feature a home team, which might help fill the stands a bit.  And, seeing as how we are now one Tennessee win away from all four Regional Finals being 1v2 on this format, its not like that would really create a competitive disadvantage.  Indeed, would be more fair than the current system where top teams could find themselves playing a road game in the early rounds.

Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio

March 30, 2008

So, you ask yourself, how improbable was Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak?  Turns out not all that improbable, though Wee Willie Keeler or Ty Cobb were more likely to have set the record than Joltin’ Joe:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/30/opinion/30strogatz.html?th&emc=th

Could a Black Hole Form in Switzerland this Summer and Eat The Earth?

March 29, 2008

A lawsuit has been filed in Distict Court in Hawaii to prevent the possibility:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/29/science/29collider.html?th&emc=th

One would assume these scientists would not build the collider if they thought this was a concern at all.  Then again, it would really suck if the Earth did get destroyed this summer.

NAFTA or Nafta

March 29, 2008

Most national news reports and editorial columns referring to this major treaty of the early Clinton years have been spelling it as Nafta.  I have no idea why.  Its not a proper noun, a term.  Its an acronym.  It stands for the North American Free Trade Agreement, not the North american free trade agreement.  Peyton Manning plays for the National Football League, not the National football league.  Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA.  Get it right people!

First Round of the Year

March 29, 2008

Got the golf clubs out this afternoon for the first time since sometime last fall.  Played the front 9 at Beaver Creek Meadows and actually struck the ball fairly well considering I hadn’t touched my clubs in months.  Hit a couple really nice wedge shots in particular.  My typical block out to the right crept in late in the round and the score faded to a 42, but it was still quite acceptable.  Of course, if you can remember your swing, March golf around here isn’t too hard because the rough hasn’t grown and you can play dartboard golf with the soft greens.

Will see how stiff I feel a couple hours from now; not exactly used to exercise.

Your Federal Government at Work

March 28, 2008

At first blush it would make perfect sense to deny green cards to immigrants that participated in terrorist organizations.  However:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/26/AR2008032603281.html?wpisrc=newsletter

Um, we wanted to get rid of Saddam, too.  We recently crossed the 4,000 KIA threshold of American troops in Iraq.  So to deny this man a green card because he served with Kurdish forces trying to topple Saddam seems a bit, um, silly to say the least.  To say the most absurd and idiotic.

Pennsylvania Primary

March 28, 2008

Is still 3.5 weeks away, but Clinton and Obama are already hitting the state hard with TV and radio ads, Clinton has been in the state numerous times, Bill was in State College yesterday talking about, among other things, Hillary playing football for Penn State in the late 30s (that was so long ago it was before Paterno was coaching), and Obama is currently in the Pittsburgh area starting a five day bus tour.

Clinton has gotten the lions’ share of the Pittsburgh area endorsements, including Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravehnstal and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorado.  The former might help Clinton bridge the age divide as Ravehnstal is 28 or so years old, and (according to my female co-workers) a hottie.  Of course, Onorado could hurt amongst the same demographic as he spear-headed passage of Allegheny County’s 10% tax on all served alcoholic beverages.  Obama looked to burnish his “ground game” appearing in Pittsburgh today with the backing of Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis.  He also snagged the endorsement of Senator Bob Casey, Jr.  Of course, Governor Rendell is a Clinton man.  Should be a fun 3 weeks!