After four horrible seasons, the Jacksonville Jaguars canned their general manager. The Bears missed the playoffs, and now Lovie Smith is unemployed. And now Andy Reid, once called "coach for life" by the owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, is out of work.
Why? Because their teams stunk. Their teams had losing seasons, so the coaches lost their jobs. Sports has a wonderful corollary to Isaac Newton's Third Law of Motion: For every action, there is an equal an opposite satisfaction. Lance Armstrong cheats; he loses his Tour de France titles. The scab refs blow a call in Seattle; the NFL ends the lockout. And the Eagles finish 4-12; the owner fires the coach who once took them to the Super Bowl.
If this were true in politics, we would have fired congress. Our lame duck congress is failing to get out of its own way long enough to prevent a self-induced recession, and the fan base known as the American people notice. In Aug. 2012, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll registered an 82 percent disapproval rating, the highest ever in the history of the poll. You think this country is divided along partisan lines? Bah. Everyone—Democrats, Republicans, independents, and the Eagles' hungover, grumpy fan base—hates Congress. Congress is only slightly less unpopular than Jerry Sandusky is in Pennsylvania.
By Steve Southwell Happy New Year, everybody! It's that time of year where everyone likes to do a little reflection on the year gone past, and dreaming of what to make of a fresh new year. For that reflection part, I thought I'd share some of our top stories of 2012, followed by a little recap of where LTJ has been and how we've done this year:
A Lewisville man faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty on each of three charges in a federal firearms case that uncovered over a hundred firearms and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition, The Lewisville Texan Journal has learned.
According to recently released court documents, Scott Travis Whittington, 38, possessed 122 firearms and 405,000 rounds of ammunition when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) executed a search warrant on August 7, 2012 on two Lewisville residences and an address in Farmersville. An inventory of the items seized in the three raids show that many of the weapons found in Lewisville are typically used for military or law enforcement purposes; among those possessed were an M60 machine gun, an H&K MP5 machine gun, grenade launchers, and training grenades. Other items included silencers, body armor, military helmets, military medic sets, and 1,328 30-round .223 caliber rifle magazines. Whittington also possessed 61 cases of MREs, "Meals, ready to eat" - shelf-stable rations used by U.S. troops. The documents also mention an unspecified "destructive device" which may refer to the grenade launchers.
As an update to the Camelot Landfill expansion story, I wanted to let you know that Farmers Branch has finally responded to the long list of deficiencies in their application. The document is huge at 93mb, since it contains the entire revised permit application. Download it here. Happy reading...
The gun debate is something I haven't written much about here-- not because I'm short on opinion about it, but because it's a very complex topic, a lot more nuanced than the two extremes. I think that Harold Cook's article pretty much nails my thoughts about the issue too. Neither the gun ban advocates nor the gun nuts of the NRA are helping the issue or elevating the discussion much.
For example, here is one way to make gun owners even more paranoid: Publish their addresses online, just like one would publish for instance a map of homes with sex offenders in them. Although the information is public information in New York, I think this fails the public interest test. These asshats think the public should be alarmed because someone in their neighborhood has a gun permit? Then you have a blogger, upset with them, publish the addresses of the journalists. The whole thing is just dumb.
What do you think about this tattoo? Would this look good on me?
Writing in The Atlantic, Charles Fishman talks of an insourcing boom - bringing jobs back to America as the pendulum swings back. The rationale makes sense, in that getting the marketing, engineering, and manufacturing aspects all under the same roof can reduce manufacturing costs by making it smarter rather than just throwing tons of cheap labor at it. I hope GE's experience touted here is really the beginning of a trend.
This textbook chapter is a great primer for anyone who would like to understand how renewable energy compares to conventional forms, in both price and physical properties such as utility, reliability, and portability.
What do you think about putting RFID chips in student ID cards in public schools? One family is suing a Texas school for requiring their daughter to wear "the mark of the beast". Are you kidding me? Mark of the beast? Call me back when the school wants to implant devices or you know, actually tattoo "666" on your student. This family's reaction is ridiculous. As long as schools are going to be funded based on attendance, it makes sense to let technology keep track. Lets free up teachers to actually teach class instead of taking roll. BTW, yes, there are some nut jobs out there who want to believe that somehow the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") is going to make Americans get RFID chips implanted. I won't link to any of these idiots' conspiracy theory websites, but I will share the link to Snopes' debunking of it.
Stupid things to sue for: How about sitting on a hot bench, and staying there long enough for your ass to sizzle and cause a 3rd degree burn? Sue the sun? No, sue the owner of the bench, and claim they should have put a sign warning about the bench getting hot in the sun. What is doubly frustrating about these kinds of suits is that the lawsuit abuse provides cover to corporate-owned politicians who would like to weaken our judicial system and give the plutocracy free reign to rip off the general public without fear of being held to account for it.
The Texas Tribune has a good rundown of the House Speaker's race for the upcoming legislative session. Unless a whole lot of people are really, really good at keeping secrets, it seems like Joe Straus has it in the bag. I think that is a good thing. There is very little that's right about how our legislature works (or doesn't), but I think that having both parties vote on the speaker's race is a good dynamic that should keep the extremists from being able to take the gavel.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot? How 'bout the presidential campaign, the 112th Congress and Newsweek magazine? Journalists usually favor year-end recaps of news but as a public service I'm going to focus instead on the glorious months ahead, in this handy precap of 2013:
JAN. 1: At a New Year's breakfast with Congressional leaders, President Obama outlines goals for his second term: creating jobs, reducing the deficit and ending war. House Speaker John Boehner tells reporters, "It sounds like the president is still campaigning."
JAN. 31: Congressional Republicans introduce legislation to make Jackie Robinson's birthday a federal holiday.
FEB. 3: Super Bowl XLVII is held in New Orleans and immediately establishes an NFL record for a Roman numeral that fewest fans are able to decipher.
FEB. 8: Hurricane Baby Girl threatens the Florida coast. Meteorologists explain that due to climate change, storms are arriving too prematurely to have proper names.
FEB. 15: Political guru Dick Morris tells Fox News that his analysis of the presidential election is "virtually complete," and shows that low turnout among Mitt Romney's family members hurt him in swing states.