sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Monday, July 24, 2006

....I've moved. Please update blogrolls.

I was playing around with inserting images, so some of the posts don't have much to do with anything. But I'll leave them up anyway.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

....When it's your time.......

"......A 42-year-old woman on her way to Mexico for a vacation was killed about 5 a.m. today when her SUV was struck by an unattended tractor trailer that rolled onto Interstate 85.

"The truck rolled more than 1,000 feet down Cox Road, crossed the off ramp, then went down an embankment before breaking through a guard rail and entering southbound traffic. Maria Raquel Alvarez Gallardo of Cameron in Harnett County died at the scene, police said...."'s your time

....."A man who is legally blind accidentally shot and killed his wife while trying to balance a plate of fried chicken and a pistol, authorities said......."

Friday, July 21, 2006

....They don't know what they've missed.....But there's still time, because tomorrow's time trial will decide the Tour de Fance, although there's a slim chance Sunday's ceremonial stage could have the final say.

Interesting that the article on the Tour's ratings without Armstrong note the decline in France, where an average audience of 37.7 percent watched the race in the first 15 days of the tour compared with 44.7 percent a year earlier.

We know damn well the French weren't tuning in to pull for Armstrong. Must have been like watching the Yankees in the playoffs. We watch and pray they lose.

........Interesting discussion over at Cone’s on North Carolina’s now-unconstitutional cohabitation law. Guarino’s getting his two cents’ worth in. I’d rush to his defense, but he does pretty good by himself.

Thing is, there’s a law forbidding just about every other personal choice in this country, with only more to come. Mind you, the TRC hasn’t come right out and said there ought to be a law requiring every Greensboro citizen to read the report, but they probably don't think it's a bad idea, either.

The fundamental debate over any law governing personal choice is over whom the law does or doesn’t impact. Motorcycle and seat belt laws are perfect examples. Opponents say it’s their business if they kill themselves; proponents argue that when opponents don’t finish the job, society’s stuck with the medical bills. (Although I’m sure Big Ben picked up his tab.)

Guarino’s simply arguing that cohabitation does, in many cases, harm innocent third parties: kids. It’s a reasonable argument, and who in their right mind wouldn’t support any measure to protect kids, even if it technically infringes on the rights of the childless?

My girlfriend certainly would. I’ve never actually heard Dr. Laura advocate for cohabitation laws. She just preaches that cohabitation is the poorest personal choice a woman can make, especially when children are involved. It just comes naturally after taking hundreds and hundreds of calls from women wondering why their kids are messed up while they’re all shacked up with some strange dude.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

.....A nice spread, cold beer, pretty ladies, Rep. Harrison.

Looks like a good time.

.....Why Wal-Mart works.......

Federal judge Frederick Motz overturns Maryland law requiring the retailer to spend 8 percent of its payroll on employee health care costs.

Great quote, from Terry Lierman, chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party:

"Judge Fred Motz is clearly more worried about Wal-Mart's bottom line than the bottom line of average working families in Maryland."

Somehow I think Judge Motz has more to worry about than Wal-Mart's bottom line.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

....Correction..... this the man who was wearing the yellow jersey......

......I think this guy forgot something: Support for the arts. Everyone knows liberals support artists while conservatives are constantly censoring them through cuts in funding.

As it turns out, the N.Y. Times addressed the issue of conservative artists with a look at documentary filmmakers.

As it turns out, there a few conservative documentaries out there to counter the many liberal documentaries that have been released in recent years.

But why aren't there more?

Director Wash Westmoreland:

“The origin of the word conservative is about not changing, accepting what is. And that’s never a very interesting thing to make a film about. The thing that drives you to make a documentary is seeing it as a way to social change. Societies with little conflict tend not to make interesting art.”

But the article goes on......

"The notion that conservatism is essentially static would probably come as a surprise to some of the exuberant right-leaning thinkers who have upended the talk-radio world......"

True. And it's been working to a great degree as conservatives gradually have been countering the mainstream media message that our country is constantly going to hell. I know there are filmmakers out there who aren't content with accepting what is......

.....This is the man wearing the yellow jersey:

"..... Landis is slow. He walks with a limp. He sits as often as possible and cannot cross his right leg over his left. He takes elevators instead of stairs, valet-parks at the shopping mall and sometimes has difficulty sleeping. Running is out of the question. Like many of the 216,000 Americans who will receive hip replacements this year, his life is defined by chronic, debilitating pain."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

....Kruk said the Braves should go ahead and deal John Smoltz.

Monday, July 17, 2006

......Yet another hiatus....What can I say, I've had projects to finish and places to be.....Longer days mean more time spent outside, which in turns means I don't have much to say when it's all over.

And what's to say? Hoggard had it right over at Guarino's when he told the fellas to carry on the horn-locking over various functions of the anus and the mouth.

Hey, we're on the verge of World War III anyway, so that matter might come up before a higher court real soon. And if all that's not bad enough, we're not far away from another November 3 in Greensboro.

Speaking of courts, gay marriage has taken a hit in the courts recently, most notably Nebraska's ban, which was approved by 70 percent of voters in 2000.

James Dobson said it best:

"This ruling is a textbook example of how courts should discharge their duties to interpret laws, not make them. The judges showed respect for the will of the 70 percent of Nebraskans who voted six years ago to keep marriage defined as the union of one man and one woman, noting in their decision that they were `highly deferential' to those who approved the amendment."

Other notes:

The N&R could use more articles and columns about family life.....

I'm damn glad I watched the replay World Cup final given everything that's been written about the Zadane head-butt. I would have felt left out....

The great Mel Allen spent some of his childhood here in Greensboro, according to a 1962 Sports Illustrated piece that's part of this collection......

The Reds may have fixed their bullpen problems. But now the Cardinals are playing well, though they stumbled tonight against the Braves....

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Major league shake-up in postseason baseball telecasts……

Fox announced yesterday that it would likely carry only one League Championship Series in 2007, slashing its annual rights fee from $417 million to $257 million.

The reason? Fox is tired of having to delay its fall primetime lineup to televise baseball:

“Fox’s new deal is a reflection of its growing success in prime time, where the network has finished No. 1 the last two seasons among adults 18 to 49. It shed the division series, and at best, will have a part of the other L.C.S., giving Fox’s prime time more nights to showcase its fall season.”

Who would televise the other LCS? TBS, home of the Braves:

“TBS, the onetime superstation created by Ted Turner, might swoop in to buy the second L.C.S., the first time that one of baseball’s semifinals would not appear on broadcast television, but negotiations have not ended.”

Here’s the future, baseball fans:

“With more postseason games going to cable and the prospect of an L.C.S. leaving broadcast television, baseball appears to be following the model of the National Basketball Association, which increased its rights fees by shifting more of its games to cable in 2002. Cable networks like ESPN and TNT, which share N.B.A. rights, have revenue streams from cable subscribers and advertisers, giving them a major advantage over ad-supported broadcasters.”

Is it possible that, one day, the World Series will be not televised by a major network?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

......Quite the cultured denial from an uncultured futbol player...

Marco Materazzi on the comments that prompted Zinedine Zidane's head-butt:

"I did insult him, it's true. But I categorically did not call him a terrorist. I'm not cultured and I don't even know what an Islamic terrorist is."

If he says so.

Monday, July 10, 2006

.....No money in Tanglewood:

"The expenses at Tanglewood Park are expected to exceed its revenues by nearly $2 million this year, according to the 2006-07 budget that the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners approved last month.

"That deficit would be its largest since the county took over the park's operations in 2000....

"Doug Joldersma, the park's general manager, defended Tanglewood and said it is unreasonable to expect a park to be profitable. Tanglewood generates more revenue than many other state and county parks.....

"The emphasis of the park should be on providing services to the community, not on financial profitability, Joldersma said."

I guess some things just aren't meant to generate a profit...parks, bus systems.....

Sunday, July 09, 2006

....Beaufort County in spotlight of Voting Rights Act debate, says the N&O:

"...A provision known as Section 5 expires in 2007. Its extension faces opposition from some Southern Republicans in the House of Representatives.

"Section 5 requires some Southern jurisdictions -- including 40 counties in North Carolina -- to get special approval from the U.S. Department of Justice before making any election changes. Those include everything from moving polling places to redrawing lines for school board or congressional districts. The requirement results in reams of paperwork that some officials say is burdensome and others see as necessary to ensure minority representation.

"The act helps determine how elections are conducted, whether districts are drawn to favor minority candidates, and where voters will cast their ballots......

"Beaufort County exemplifies the effects of the law and the continuing questions about minority voting rights. Of 66 local elected officials in the county, 11 are black (17 percent of the total). Blacks account for about 28 percent of the county population, according to a 2005 Census Bureau estimate."

My gut reaction is releasing the electoral system from the stranglehold of the federal bureaucracy will not restrict voter accessibilty but will improve it. Opinion Journal makes the same case in reaction to race-baiting in the N. Y. 11th District:

"Ironically, such rhetoric is one reason so few minorities are able to seek and win higher office. Once you're appealing to people on completely racial grounds in order to win a House seat, you have a hard time making the broader appeals necessary to win statewide.

"But don't expect any of this to matter as Congress ramrods through another extension of the provisions that feed these bad outcomes. A House vote is due any day, and the Senate is expected to follow sometime prior to the July 4 recess. Congress has never let balkanization of the electorate get in the way of protecting its own political hide, especially when it can claim to be siding with the 'voting rights' angels. "

Saturday, July 08, 2006

......Brief hiatus......Went to the dentist, packed little people off to Charlotte, had a big night at Fisher's, watched President Bush's news conference, saw The Break-Up (definitely a rental), took a few dips in Floyd Stuart's pool, watched the Reds break their losing streak, drank some beer.......

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

....I spent some of July 4th holiday reading this:

"There was a period in this country, from the 30's through the 70's, in which government caring seemed to ease away some of the muck. We think of it as the Great Society, and we recall people and politicians who voiced hope for it without irony. It's clearer now that the middle class — the great force that made Dickens's England more benevolent — is in retreat. We are getting back to them and us, in a country that has earned little but shame in its foreign affairs. We are not liked, we are not trusted, we are not respected — and all those shortcomings are eroding our domestic souls. Katrina, that gust of nature, was the rehearsal for the revelation that 'they' now have neither the means nor the intent of looking after us. We are on our own, and we may need to find our on Sinclairs...."

......and this:

"James Carroll....sees the American half-century from the end of World War II to the fall of the Soviet Union not as a tale of hard-won triumph over an evil foe but as a nightmarish, paranoia-fueled sleepwalk from which we were darn lucky to have emerged in one piece."

Didn't let it ruin the party, though. I'm still cleaning up.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

.......I’m a little late on the Ann Coulter controversy….Still, there was an interesting discussion on O’Reilly about Coulter’s personal attacks on the Jersey Girls.

O’Reilly dismissed Coulter’s attacks, saying she was out of line to call the four 9/11 widows the “Witches of East Brunswick.” But he also noted that Coulter has some valid points that are being undermined by her shrill tone.

I didn’t know what to make of the Jersey Girls when they first started making the rounds on the TV news shows, mostly the Today Show, where Katie Couric, herself a widow, was more than sympathetic. But how can you not feel sympathy for the Jersey Girls? Their husbands went to work on what was supposed to be an average ordinary day and didn’t come home.

Grief is a very powerful motivator. But the tricky part, as we’ve seen right in Greensboro with the TRC, is when that motivation not only crosses into the political arena, but seeks accountability from people other than those directly responsible accountable for the catastrophic events responsible for that grief. That’s where the Jersey Girls opened themselves up for criticism.

Coulter can’t understand what makes the Jersey Girls so special when women are widowed every day in less spectacular fashion. Granted, the demise of your average American male doesn’t spark a worldwide war on terror. But mind you, the left made the point that dying in a terrorist attack is nothing special during the 2004 election, when the Bush administration was supposedly running a “campaign of fear.”

Here’s the bottom line: When you’re dead, you’re dead.

Monday, July 03, 2006

.....NYT and me, part II.....

So I spent the weekend doing yardwork for my mother, getting up Sunday morning and driving back just in time to make it to my Sunday shift. But I was already looking ahead to the evening's activity: drinking a cold beer and reading the Times' sports section.

But when I got home, I noticed the the clear plastic covers that wrap the N&R, but the blue NYT bag was missing. I searched the porch and found nothing. My evening would be ruined. I hurriedly changed clothes, dug up the Times' customer service number, hopped in the car and began running through the options on my cell phone.

The last prompt informed me that no replacement paper would be available. I took a deep breath and figured the carrier had quit. That stuff happens.

Then I get home and start reading through the N&R. On Saturday's editorial page, Cal Thomas reamed the Times:

"Let the administration refuse to speak with Times reporters on grounds they cannot be trusted. For too long, the Bush administration has tried to play cozy with the media elites. It has gained them nothing. Times reporters should be publicly ridiculed and verbally flogged because they richly deserve it for giving aid and comfort to America's terrorist enemies."

Boy, would I have felt silly if I'd wrecked my car on the way to work.


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