Friday, January 20, 2017

Trump's Cabinet

Trump's not off to a very good start.

Many of his choices for cabinet posts are absolutely dreadful.

Rick Perry didn't even know what the department he now leads does. DeVos thinks the public schools should be used to pave the way for God's Kingdom and doesn't understand the basics of education. As for Ben Carson, maybe we'll get lucky and he'll lose his way trying to get to Washington.

Those are the total incompetents and I'll be surprised if any of them last a year.

Then we get the downright spiteful. Tom Price who would like nothing better than to dismantle Medicare, Steve Mnuchin who thinks swindling 80 plus year old grandmas in search of a profit is just fine and dandy, Scott Pruitt who thinks environmental regulations should be left up to the states and Jeff Sessions who seems to think they had it right back in the 1950s Jim Crow South.

On the plus side Linda McMahon for the SBA is probably his best pick and I think Rex Tillerson may turn out to be his most critical pick since he's about the only guy that might be capable of beating any sense into Trump's thick skull.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Clemson vs. Alabama

That was a great game. That was more than a great game. That was an absolute classic as Clemson took down Alabama 35-31.

Clemson trailed 24-14 as the 4th quarter began, They cut the score to 24-21 and then, with 4 minutes left, took the lead for the first time 28-24.

But we're talking about Alabama here and the Tide came roaring back sparked by a 24 yard trick play lateral and a 30 yard scramble by true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts for a touchdown to take the lead back 31-28 with 2 minutes left.

But Deshaun Watson and Clemson weren't done yet. They methodically moved the ball to the Alabama 9 yard line and called timeout with 14 seconds left.

The big question was how many chances would Clemson get to win it before going for a tying field goal remembering of course that Alabama was a team that lived by taking the ball away.

The next play was an incomplete pass moving the clock down to 9 seconds. The next pass went to the end zone and Alabama was called for pass interference which placed the ball at the 2 yard line with 6 seconds left.

Then, in a thing of beauty, Clemson ran a pick play to the right side and Watson dropped it into 5'11" 180 pound Hunter Renfrow for the TD.

Renfrow had been a thorn in the side of Alabama all night with 10 catches for 92 yards and 2 TDs but, perhaps bigger, was a huge tackle to prevent a recovered fumble from turning into an Alabama TD that would have made the score 21-7 early in the 3rd quarter. Instead the Clemson defense held and Alabama had to settle for a field goal.

But the game wasn't quite over yet. There was still one second on the clock. Clemson dribbled the kickoff and fell on it after it had gone 10 yards, The celebrations began, everyone poured out onto the field but there was still one second on the clock.

The zebras began to huddle. The field was cleared. Calls were made upstairs to the replay booth. The game announcers were confused and all half of America could think of was, "Oh no. They're going to pull out some obscure rule, give the ball to Alabama and there will still be a chance for them to win."

But it wasn't to be. Clemson's Watson took a knee from victory formation and the game was over.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The College Football Semi-finals

Wow. The Alabama defense is scary and the Clemson defense looked just as scary.

Alabama took care of Washington 24-7. Clemson utterly obliterated Ohio State 31-0 but it wasn't even that close. What impressed me was Clemson's defense which held Ohio State to 216 yards while the Clemson offense racked up 473 yards.

So January 9th we get the final. Alabama is a 6.5 point favorite but if anyone can calm the Tide I have to believe it's Clemson.

Should be fun.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Gender Neutral Pronouns

It seems the latest thing around the old student union is the idea of using a "gender neutral" pronoun if you don't know the person's "preferred gender pronoun." Some people even suggest that we let people come up with their own genders.

Now, if we're going to go down this road then we really need to agree on what's sex and what's gender.

According to the American Psychological Association your body determines your sex. Gender refers to the attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person’s physical sex. Obviously Gender is not arbitrary and is very heavily influenced by sex. But it is actually distinct. As for sex, the APA recognizes three sexes, male, female and intersex. Intersex consists of a series of physical conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn't seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. Intersex folks are believed to consist of about 1,7% of the population. In other words, about as prevalent as people with red hair. Then we get to Transgender. Apparently, the term covers a number of non-conforming psychological cases the best known of which are Transsexuals who feel their gender doesn't match their sex. But apparently there are other definitions which, to be honest, I don't really understand. The famous 51 or 58 or 71, depending upon who you ask, gender options that Facebook provides appear to contain lots of different ways of saying the same thing. For instance Cis Female, Cis Woman, Cisgender Female and Cisgender Woman all mean the same thing; a female who has a feminine gender identity. The latest estimates places the number of transgenders at 0.6% of the population.or about double the previous estimate of 0.3%. The 0.6% number came from a Williams Institute analysis (http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/How-Many-Adults-Identify-as-Transgender-in-the-United-States.pdf) Now as I understand it both intersex and transgender types may prefer gender neutral pronouns. I haven't asked all of them so I can't say for sure. Assuming the estimates are correct that would be about 2.3% of the population. According to Pew Research that's greater than the number of Muslims (0.6%), the number of Mormons (1.6%), the number of Hindus (0.7%), the number of Buddhists (0.7%) and the number of Jews (1.9%) in the US so it's not really a minuscule number. Does it seem a little silly? Sure, but I remember people saying the same thing about Ms. back in the 1960s and now it's pretty much standard usage in the business world. Maybe there's a happy medium which isn't completely crazy. The idea of "choose your own pronoun" is obviously nuts but I don't see much of a problem with introducing gender neutral pronouns. If nothing else it will keep me from grinding my teeth when someone uses "she" when the sex is unknown instead of "he" (or they) which are (or were) the traditionally accepted usage in that case.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Thoughts on Trump

Here's the fundamental problem. Trump doesn't take rejection well and he takes being outsmarted by someone even worse. His single biggest weak point is that he's too conceited to listen to the experts and that includes Intelligence experts. Putin is smarter than Trump and I think he has a good handle on Trump's personality foibles. The scenario I see is Putin leading Trump around by his nose while Trump remains convinced that he's actually in control. He will hold onto onto that opinion, despite what the Intelligence community is telling him, until it becomes impossible for even him to continue lying to himself. When that day comes it's going to get terribly scary. The basic problem with just about everything Trump has "promised," is that while many are laudable objectives, most have associated with them high risk implementations which could go drastically wrong. I suppose we shall see what we shall see but: - There's isn't going to be a wall. It's too expensive and too controversial.
- Any tax reform will make the already rich richer and do nothing for 98% of the country.
- Manufacturing jobs aren't coming back in any quantity. If he makes it too expensive to build stuff abroad through tariffs, any factories built here will be so highly automated that the number of manufacturing jobs will be minimal. Where the jobs will be is where they are now, high tech and engineering positions to design, build and maintain the robots.
- The vetting of refugees is already extreme. It's much easier to enter the country through any of the various visas.
- You can't repeal Obamacare without replacing it or removing the unfunded mandate that hospitals must treat the sick and injured regardless of their ability to pay which has been in effect since the early 1980s. The big issue with healthcare is the list of "stuff you might have and should be screened for" continues to grow and the cost of the treatments continue to balloon. It's a problem but removing health insurance from 12 million people is probably not the answer.
- Climate change is a real issue and even his Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson acknowledges that it's a problem. Tillerson however believes that it's not progressing as fast as the models indicate and that's it's basically an engineering problem. I hope he's right but the latest research suggests that it may be progressing faster than the models indicate.

As for the maniacs he may appoint to the Supreme Court, we'll have to wait and see.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

College Football Poll Final

No big upsets but as usual some perplexing changes. The final list.

#1 - Alabama (12-0) (beat Florida 54-16)
#2 - Clemson (12-1) (beat Virginia Tech 42-35)
#3 - Ohio State (11-1) (bye)
#4 - Washington (12-1) (beat Colorado State 41-10)

#5 - Penn State (11-2) (beat Wisconsin 38-31)
#6 - Michigan (10-2) (bye)
#7 - Oklahoma (10-2) (beat Oklahoma State 38-20)
#8 - Wisconsin (10-2) (lost to Penn State 38-31)
#9 - Southern California (9-3) (bye)
#10 - Colorado (10-3) (lost to Washington 41-10)

Dropped out of top 10:
#12 - Oklahoma State (9-3) (lost to Oklahoma 38-20)

I find it puzzling that Clemson moved past Ohio State. I can understand Penn State moving ahead of Wisconsin but why also move ahead of Michigan? The real puzzler is why Southern California, by not playing, jumped ahead of both Oklahoma State and Colorado.

Oh well, the top four are set and with the possible exception of wondering why Clemson is #2 rather than Ohio State they seem reasonable except of course one could argue that Penn State, the Big 10 Champion, should be included instead of Ohio State.

On to the playoffs!!! The semi finals will be on December 31st.

Washington will play Alabama in the Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. I think I'll go with Alabama.

Ohio State will play Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale Arizona. I think I'll go with Ohio State.

The Championship Game will be on January 9th at 8 PM at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Florida.

Friday, December 02, 2016

College Football Poll week 13

The big game was Michigan at Ohio State. It was a nail biter with OSU winning in double overtime thanks to "the spot." On 4th and one in the second overtime OSU QB J.T. Barrett made the 1st down by half an eyelash. On the next play Curtis Samuel took it 15 yards to win it.

The call was so close that some dude did a pixel analysis on the play and concluded the 1st down was made by three pixels. I saw it; it was close.

#1 - Alabama (12-0) (beat Auburn 30-12)
#2 - Ohio State (11-1) (beat Michigan 30-27)
#3 - Clemson (11-1) (beat South Carolina 56-7)
#4 - Washington (11-1) (beat Washington State 45-17)

#5 - Michigan (10-2) (lost to Ohio State 30-27)
#6 - Wisconsin (10-2) (beat Minnesota 31-17)
#7 - Penn State (10-2) (beat Michigan State 45-12)
#8 - Colorado (10-2) (beat Utah 27-22)
#9 - Oklahoma (9-2) (bye)
#10 - Oklahoma State (9-2) (bye)

So both Washington and Clemson hopped over Michigan while Colorado moved up by playing while Oklahoma prepared for Oklahoma State.

The only other teams from the top ten playing will be in the conference championship games but there are going to be some biggies that could easily shake things up. Week 15 there will be only the Army vs. Navy game (GO Army, BEAT Navy).

#1 Alabama will be at #15 Florida in the SEC Championship
#4 Washington will host #8 Colorado in the PAC-12 Championship
#3 Clemson will be at #23 Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship
#6 Wisconsin will be at #7 Penn State in the Big 10 Championship

Now, while one wouldn't think there would be any surprises one never knows. That's why they have to play the game. My guess is the best chance for an upset would be Colorado beating Washington. That could be a real mess if Wisconsin beats Penn State. Who then would be #4? Michigan, Wisconsin or Washington?