Thursday, July 22, 2010

Virtual Runner 2010

This is one of many worthy causes, but it's one from which I can directly see the effects.

It's simple: I run some road races (and maybe a few cross-country), and whoever feels like helping out kids donates to the Epilepsy Association through my link. The donors are the "virtual runners" and I'm the actual runner they sponsor.

Why? My daughters have a friend named Lucy, who has epilepsy. A year and a half ago, it seemed that Lucy would never be able to return to school, play like any other kids, or even be able to learn her ABC's. Her seizures were that bad.

Thanks in large part to the Epilepsy Association, Lucy's parents (who are good friends of mine and Mrs. Pilgrim99) discovered a treatment regimen that includes a very strict diet which has transformed Lucy's life. Instead of life-threatening seizures, Lucy plays with her friends, is able to go to school again, and knows a lot more than just the alphabet.

If you are so inclined, please click the link to my donation page. If not, thanks for reading!

Epilepsy Association Virtual Runner

"I've Got Drugs" - by the Frogs

man, I gotta get some Frogs back into my rotation. perhaps the funniest band ever.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

sheeple? haters? barely-casual fans of B-Ball?

new poll!

"percentage of Americans who did NOT hate LeBron before he left Cleveland, that hate him now: 1.78%."

shoe fit?

Friday, July 16, 2010

America got better today! Another great achievement for Obama & the Democrats

This new financial reform legislation the Democrats passed yesterday is worth celebrating. It's a victory for those who prioritize fiscal responsibility, a victory for conservatives, progressives, libertarians, all Americans, really! This is what change looks like. This is what those of us who voted for Obama wanted. Like, fix stuff. He's delivered, with another campaign promise fulfilled, straight from the Democratic playbook (and platform). Again, thanks for NOTHING, congressional Republicans (w/ the exception of 2 or 3)! I've compiled a few of the best takes/articles on what the legislation means, what it doesn't mean, some of the people involved, and what's next. - sj

Wall Street Reform Passes
Ryan Grim
Shahien Nasiripour
Huffington Post

Nearly two years after major banks brought the global financial system to the brink of collapse, triggering a steep economic decline and crisis-levels of unemployment, Congress passed its Wall Street reform package, 60-39, with only three Republicans joining every Democrat (but one). The president will sign it into law next week.

The bill became stronger as the nation's focus moved from health care to Wall Street reform and became tougher still as the debate was held in the open on the Senate floor and during televised conference committee negotiations. Bank lobbyists were able to beat back the most serious threats to their business model, but enough significant reforms remain to earn the opposition of the American Bankers Association and other Wall Street titans.

When Democrats last reformed the financial sector in the midst of the Great Depression, they had several advantages that today's party lacks:
(click on title of this piece for more of the informative article)

FinReg Vote Passes, Will Become Law
by David Dayen

The Senate passed their cloture vote, as expected, on the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill. The vote was 60-38, with Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins supporting from the Republican side, and Russ Feingold opposing. Senatus says that the final vote will be taken up this afternoon, but I haven’t confirmed that. (UPDATE: It’s confirmed that passage will happen today, around 2pm ET.)

The bill is a landmark consumer protection and anti-predatory lending bill. It goes fairly far in that direction, though not quite far enough – the auto dealer exemption is a disappointment. But the mortgage reforms are actually pretty solid, and I have confidence that the consumer protection bureau can have an impact on ending a culture where certain predators in the financial services industry make their profits largely based on how well they can trick people.

As for the Wall Street part of the Wall Street reform bill, the public has no sense whatsoever that it will work. More important, most experts don’t either.
(click on title of this piece for more of the informative article)

FinReg vs Wall Street Reform
by Ezra Klein
Washington Post

Matt Yglesias calls it "the underrated FinReg bill," and I take that headline as a personal victory of sorts.

But he's right about the legislation. The desire for a bill that does more has obscured a clear picture of a bill that does a lot. "We’ve tended to focus much more on what’s not in the bill than on what is in the bill," Yglesias says. "What is in the bill is a consumer protection setup that would be considered a major progressive win as a standalone item. What is in the bill is a 'resolution authority' that will let future regulators avoid the bailout-or-crisis dynamic that plagued us in 2008. What is in the bill are regulatory tools that even Simon Johnson likes. The bill clarifies lines of regulatory authority and responsibility and should cut down on abusive 'competitive regulation.' "

I'd add a few more major wins. Bringing derivatives onto exchanges and into clearinghouses is a huge victory. In 2007, the over-the-counter -- and almost entirely unregulated -- derivatives market was worth about $700 trillion in notional value, and regulators had no idea what went where and few firms had serious capital or margin requirements. Those days are over.
(click on title of this piece for more of the informative article)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rockology - Part One

JT is an extreme artist, undeniably-hilarious, and one of the most creative people I've ever met. He's a friend, and also someone I've had the pleasure of working with in the recording studio. Original Sins (one of his bands), are, BY A MILE, the greatest rock band you never heard of. I will be posting some links to his website soon, and detailing more about him; including a list of records you have to go out and get. For now, enjoy this first installment of Rockology.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

¡ESPANA! Campeones del mundo.

It might not have been the prettiest match, but the better team did win.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

LeBron, pro-sports, blathering & beyond...

I love LeBron James. I love watching him play. I love him because he flat-out dominates, and he does some things NO ONE before him has ever done on a basketball court. I love him because he's one of the best and most unique players to ever the play the game. And while I’ll concede that everything happening off the court currently is indeed nonsense, it doesn't take away from him having a lifelong respect for the game, being a true student of the game, a tireless worker on the court, a superb teammate and an extraordinary talent.

To be clear, LeBron’s #1 goal is to win a championship; preferably championships. It’s just plain silly to insinuate or think otherwise (he's apparently losing more than $20,000,000 if he leaves Cleveland, no matter where he goes). He’s already achieved pretty much every other goal there is in basketball, as well as life. He wants a championship like any other competitive athlete in any sport does. Can’t hate him for that. Feeding his ego and whatever other stupid assessments are being thrown about, with regards to his MO are either nonsense, or missing the point. Can we move beyond that now?

Since winning a championship is the goal, LeBron is simply looking at the best alternatives to facilitate that. In my opinion, if he goes to Miami or Chicago, he will most assuredly win at least one championship. If he stays in Cleveland he won’t; and if he goes to New York, it’s possible, however, it’s not a sure thing, like in the other places.

Personally, I SOOOooooo hope he doesn’t go to New York, for obvious reasons. Oh, not obvious? Okay, here’s why: because I love the guy, but I would have to stop supporting him and watching him play with the same passion I do now, because, well, he’d be playing for New York. And I, like the rest of America (NY residents excluded), hate all New York sports teams (although, I’ve always respected the Giants).

He’s a free agent, one of the best players in the NBA (as well as of all time), and he’s allowed to go (or stay) wherever he sees fit. These are the facts. Everything else is media & TV-induced mega-hype. Sure, he’s a star, and has an ego, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars, and is doing things a lot different than other people would, but who cares? With this ‘decision show’ he’s having, he’s also donating everything it makes to an awesome national charity. Let’s also not forget, that for every person who’s annoyed by the pomp & circumstance, there are ten who are WAY into it – or it wouldn’t be happening!

This brings me to my main point: I’m a bit shocked at all the whining and half-sincere blather I’m hearing this week about it all: LeBron not being a good role model, the NBA jumping the shark, “where are the league's values?,” “the game’s gone to pot!,” etc. These people talk about the current state of affairs in the NBA like it’s not going on in their favorite sport; like all other pro sports in America aren’t a mutated, dysfunctional mess also!

Peeps, news flash for you: every pro-sport in America is just as bad off and fucked up as the NBA, and has been for YEARS-ah. The games are a SHELL of what they used to be. Who you trying to kid? Don’t hate the players (unless they’re Kobe or NY players); first and foremost, hate the T.V. (and other mediums), advertisers, corporate sponsors and their desire to “win over the casual fan” of all these sports, for the sole purpose of making more money. After that, you can blame our economic model (capitalism), and the American people, themselves.

These are the entities who bastardized the actual game itself. The MLB, the NHL, NFL and the NBA have gone to shit the last 2 decades, and THIS is the real problem, not the pomp & circumstance, commercials, and dumb shows like LeBron’s having tonight. The games themselves have been compromised forever. The endless rule changes (for the worse), the post-season formats (and tv scheduling), the overtimes, and more, have turned all four major sports into an almost unwatchable affair.

If you still don’t think pro sports is more about entertainment than the actual competition, integrity of the play, and the game itself, then you don’t watch pro sports. The same goes for college sports these days. Hell, I have to go watch high school football games now, to see pure competition anymore. Enough with blaming the players, or whining about what sports are ‘becoming.’ They are ALREADY there.

Who are these people whining about LeBron and tonight’s show anyway? Are the throngs of people complaining even basketball fans? Probably not. Are they LeBron fans? Doubt it. Are they Kobe fans? Who are they exactly?

By the way, If they’re Kobe fans, they are hypocrites of the third kind: Kobe did the same thing in 2004 when he courted just as many teams, and took more time making a decision, for one. Even worse, the prima donna, selfish bastard did it when he was drafted by Charlotte, refusing to go anywhere but the Fakers. Why? So he could win championships! Worked out fine for him, no?

Let me say this now, for all the Kobe lovers/LeBron haters: NO one has more of an ego and selfish attitude off and ON the court, than Kobe (LeBron’s nowhere close to the personal dysfunction or terrible personality that Kobe embodies). While he is no doubt one of the greatest to ever play the game, and I’ll concede, more of a complete player than LeBron is (though I still think LeBron beats him one on one!), he is a total and undeniable punk and weasel.

And here’s another fact (and I suppose getting back to the root of LeBron’s decision today): If Kobe was on Cleveland, he’d have exactly no championships. If LeBron was on the Fakers, he’d have five championships.

In summary(!), LeBron is going to do what he thinks is best to get him some championships. It’s what ANYone would do, including you, reading this. You shan’t blame him for that. All the other absurdity and nonsense surrounding the decision is inconsequential. Completely. If you’re gonna be upset about all the hype, or ‘the game’ or what it’s become, be mad at those who made it that way. LeBron has nothing to do with that.

Friday, July 2, 2010

CA split evenly on Prop 19: the full legalization of marijuana

"..oh the times, they are-a changin'.." Bob Dylan said it best. Medicinal marijuana? Science has spoken; old news now. So here's where we are now with legalizing recreational use of weed, the same we all recreationally use coffee, beer, rum, whiskey, wine, cigarettes, prescription meds, and everything else (except, without all the the side effects and people dying). Once a state or two makes this law, the rest will surely follow. There just isn't a reason not to: it's safe, the legalization, taxation and distribution of it will save oceans-full of money on fighting the crime now surrounding it, and of course, most importantly, governments (local, state, federal, if it wants to) will make lots of money. Oh yeah, and the people like it (and the people are the government, right?). Here's an update from Firedoglake on CA's upcoming referendum to fully legalize marijuana (clik on title of this post for original piece).-sj

By: Jon Walker
June 30th, 2010
California Split Almost Evenly on Prop 19; Few Left Undecided about Marijuana Legalization

Proposition 19, the newly numbered California initiative to legalize, tax and regulate cannabis, would lose by a very close margin if the election was held today, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll:

"The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, also found that 48 percent of voters would support legalizing marijuana, compared to 50 percent opposed."

While voters who oppose Prop 19 slightly outnumber those who support it , the two-point difference is well within the poll’s margin of error, so the state is effectively evenly split on the issue. The numbers mirror the findings of a poll from the Public Policy Institute of California (PDF) taken back in May. It gave the pro-marijuana legalization side a slight edge, 49-48, also within the poll’s margin of error.

An interesting thing to note in both of these polls is how incredibly few undecideds there are. It seems almost all Californians have already taken at least a tentative initial position on the issue. Previous experience will tell you that persuading people to change their minds one way or the other is often a fairly difficult endeavor.

Prop 19 supporters’ best hope might be to find a way to increase turnout among young people (under-25 voters overwhelmingly favor legalizing marijuana, but tend to vote in very low numbers in midterm elections). If the issue remains this closely divided all the way through to November, Prop 19’s fate could easily rest on whether or not the issue gets young voters politically engaged in higher-than-usual numbers.

"I don't care - I want an iPhone 4"

just watch this. it's bleepin' hilarious. btw, I'm w/ the brown bear (if that's what they are), as all "appleheads" are!! (yes, u may need to sit thru a 30-second ad)- sj

iPhone 4 Vs HTC Evo - Watch more Funny Videos

Thursday, July 1, 2010

wow. she'll run naked through the streets if Paraguay wins it all? like woah.

I was pulling for Japan in their recent match against Paraguay, and I like Ghana and Netherlands, as well. But unless the Netherlands pull, what I consider to be a fairly big upset and beat Brazil, it will be an Argentina/Brazil final match for the biggest & bestest bragging rights ever. But nevermind them bollocks for now. Perhaps it might actually be best if Paraguay wins it all (though they have almost no chance of beating Argentina, even if they beat Spain this Saturday). Check this out. And don't you just love where she keeps her cell phone?!-sj

Paraguay's success at the World Cup continued on Tuesday, with the country's soccer team beating Japan on penalty kicks to advance to the tournament's quarterfinals. Now, with only eight teams remaining, the Paraguayans may have a few more fans to help win it all.

Larissa Riquelme, a curvy lingerie model who loves her national team, has been cheering the Paraguay squad on from Asuncion, clad in revealing outfits. The 24-year-old beauty has pledged to run naked through the streets "with my body painted with the colors of Paraguay" if Paraguay wins the World Cup.

The gorgeous football fanatic is not the first person to promise to streak in the event of a World Cup win. Argentina's coach Diego Maradona was the first prominent person to issue such a guarantee, and his team has also made the quarterfinals.

click title of this post for HuffPo story (and more pics).
click here for more.