NFL Draft: Tracking the Comments of Experts (2014- )

I’ve done other threads, by draft year (2014, 2015 and 2016). I don’t really like that format, as I now prefer having just one long thread, making it easier to find previous comments. The idea, as I explained in those other threads, is to create a repository of comments and ratings from draft experts and track them over time. (For what it’s worth, I’m far more interested in the accuracy of the comments than looking just looking at the grades.) Please post comments from analysts of players that you’d like to track.

For this year’s draft, I’m going to start off with a comment about Malik McDowell, a DT, that went to Seattle. Continue reading ‘NFL Draft: Tracking the Comments of Experts (2014- )’

5Qs: Ode to Billy Joel

This thread is inspired by this Atlantic Monthly (which I would think Mitchell would enjoy, if not Don as well).

1. Favorite Billy Joel album
2. Favorite Billy Joel song
3. Bill Joel Song(s) you hate
4. Best memory/anecdote involving Billy Joel
5. The musician that accompanied your life (especially childhood and teen years) better than Bill Joel.

Bonus questions (for discussion):

Where does Billy Joel rank among other rock/pop musicians?
What is your opinion about Joel as to whether he is a serious (versus strictly commercial) artist?

Problems Relating to Government Apply to the Press

I wrote a post about why good work often isn’t valued in government, pointing to the nature of the consequences that occur as a result of performance, both individually and organizationally. What happens if the individual or organizations performs well or poorly? What types of behaviors get a strong response–negative or positive; and which behaviors don’t get much of a response at all? The answers to these questions will tell you a lot about the performance of the government agency and the individuals within it, especially over a long period of time. Moreover, if individuals want reform an agency, the consequences must also be in line with specific changes being made. To give a broad example, suppose the work of an agency is met with a great deal of indifference; that is, whether the agency performs well or not, the agency faces the same consequence–namely, virtually no consequence. An attempt to make big changes to improve the agency will be incredibly difficult, and almost certain to fail (assuming the objective is changes that aren’t temporary). No compelling incentives exists, which would leave a lot of disincentives to improve. Change is hard and uncomfortable without a compelling reason to change, change–meaningful and lasting change— won’t happen.

What I’m saying doesn’t just apply to government, but any organization. If you want to understand the performance of an organization and the behavior of the people in it, study the response to performance. Once you understand the response, you will understand the performance and behaviors in the organization. I want to apply this approach to the U.S. press, focusing on this video critique of CNN from Vox: Continue reading ‘Problems Relating to Government Apply to the Press’

Music For Every Major Holiday

On the past few Good Fridays, I’ve spent part of the day listening and reading Bach’s St. John’s Passion. I’ve been thinking about other types of music I could also listen to on that day. This also got me thinking music I could play for my kids on other holidays, with the objective of teaching them about the holiday, possibly getting them an appropriate frame of mind, and exposing them to culture and stimulating ideas. Given that context, I’d like to discuss possible music to play on the major holidays. And actually, I’d be open to expanding this to include movies, books, and other art forms. Here are a list of the holidays I’m choosing: Continue reading ‘Music For Every Major Holiday’

Notes on Brian Kenny’s Ahead of the Curve

Brian Kenny’s Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution was published last July, and I had it marked as a pre-order, but I had to put myself on a little restriction from new books in the second half of last year, so I didn’t get to read it then. I’m finally getting to it now, and it’s a fun read. Fun mostly because Kenny is coming out with his dukes up, and he knows what he’s talking about. I thought I’d put a few notes here, and maybe they’ll spark some discussion or maybe they won’t. My notes are mostly so I can keep track of some of the arguments presented in the book, since the book I’m really looking forward to is Keith Law’s Smart Baseball, which comes out in three weeks.

There’s a chance I’ll change the title of this post later, depending on how things move.

From the publisher’s website:

Most people who resist logical thought in baseball preach “tradition” and “respecting the game.” But many of baseball’s traditions go back to the nineteenth century, when the pitcher’s job was to provide the batter with a ball he could hit and fielders played without gloves. Instead of fearing change, Brian Kenny wants fans to think critically, reject outmoded groupthink, and embrace the changes that have come with the sabermetric era.

Rejecting outmoded groupthink is what I’m all about, so here we go.

Foreign Policy in the Trump Administration

What I have below is a compilation of various articles and quotes about foreign policy issues/stories that may have relavance during the Trump administration. (I probably should have started the thread a while ago, but I didn’t. I’m starting it now because I want to address the Syrian situation, involving the recent use of chemical weapons.

Before I do that, here are the articles, quotes, and comments about different foreign policy issues: Continue reading ‘Foreign Policy in the Trump Administration’

Can Comedians Teach Journalists How to Cover Trump?

The following Vox video at least implies as much:

The video makes some really good points. Initially, I enjoyed a lot of the video, but I started thinking less and less of it as I thought about it more. In this post, I’m going to address the problems I had with the piece. Continue reading ‘Can Comedians Teach Journalists How to Cover Trump?’

“But This Time It’s Different”

Someone observed (and I can’t remember who now) that Presidents who were governors from small states often have a very rocky transition. I vaguely remember the troubles Bill Clinton had initially, and I drew some conclusions from that. For one thing, Continue reading ‘“But This Time It’s Different”’

Restaurants, Post-2016

Anybody went to the new tonkatsu place in Kapahulu? In the past, I’ve expressed a blase attitude about tonkatsu restaurants (although the kurobuta tonkatsu did intrigue me). But I saw some pictures of this new place, and it looked good. You know how Japanese tempura (versus local okazu style) is spiky? That’s how these looked.

Also, has anyone gone to the new Uzbek restaurant downtown? It looked good. (Don, the food looked like something you would like.)

How Should Journalists Cover a President Who Doesn’t Care About Telling the Truth?

In response to this tweet:

Here’s Professor Jay Rosen’s tweet: Continue reading ‘How Should Journalists Cover a President Who Doesn’t Care About Telling the Truth?’

Was This a Bad Call?

Continue reading ‘Was This a Bad Call?’

Duos and Other Musical Team-ups You’d Like to Hear

I thought of two musicians that came to mind as possible partners with Daryl Hall, so I’ll start with that: Continue reading ‘Duos and Other Musical Team-ups You’d Like to Hear’

NFL 2017 Off-Season

A thread to discuss NFL news prior to the start of the 2017 season. Let’s discuss free agent activity first. Continue reading ‘NFL 2017 Off-Season’

How I Use Twitter as a News Filter

From the past several months, I’ve been spending more time consuming (national) news than I’ve ever did in my life. In this thread, I’m going to describe the process I’ve developed to gather information. Continue reading ‘How I Use Twitter as a News Filter’

Greatest Cult Movie

I saw this question raised on twitter, and I tried to think of answer. Here’s the first film that came to mind: Continue reading ‘Greatest Cult Movie’

Trump Regime (4)

Trump Presidency (1)
Trump Presidency (2)
Trump Regime (3)

Administrative Personnel Profiles

The Press is Failing the American Public

When future generations look back on this time period, I believe they will be critical of the press coverage of Trump. “Why were they overlooking the dangers? Why weren’t they ringing the alarm bells?” I’ll try to share some of my thoughts on this in this thread. Continue reading ‘The Press is Failing the American Public’

This Time, Robots May Really Replace a Lot of Human Workers–What Should We Do About This?

This essay–A Warning From Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and Elon Musk
–includes several interesting short video clips of the specific jobs robots will do, displacing human workers. There are three proposals to deal with this displacement: Continue reading ‘This Time, Robots May Really Replace a Lot of Human Workers–What Should We Do About This?’

Sorry About All the Trump Posts

Guys, I realize that I’m posting a lot about Trump, and I’m feeling a little bad about that. I think it’s becoming too excessive, and yet, I want to both express my thoughts about this topic, as well as create a repository for articles and other information.

I have an idea to reduce the number of posts–or at least reduce pushing up Trump-related threads to the top of the list. Here’s the idea I have: Continue reading ‘Sorry About All the Trump Posts’

Thoughts on the Government Leaks That Have Been Going On

Rebellion Brews but But American ‘Deep State” is a Myth is an article by John Schindler, a former NSA analyst. I don’t take Schindler’s word as gospel (really, I don’t take any journalist’s world as gospel), but Schindler is credible to me. Having said that, some of his tweets, chiding Trump for insulting the Intelligence Community (IC) have unsettled me a bit. These tweets are warnings that suggests if Trump insults the IC, the IC would get their revenge. In the article above, Schindler not only attempts to debunk the notion of a Deep State rebelling against Trump, but also ostensibly defend the leaks. He doesn’t do that great of a job, in my view, as I think can be seen in this section: Continue reading ‘Thoughts on the Government Leaks That Have Been Going On’