Not Connected?

From CNN, “Spate of terrorism arrests not connected, analysts say,”

“The profiles of the people… generally speaking is much closer to what we see among European Muslims,” he said. “They tend to be less well integrated” into mainstream society, and in many cases have faced economic difficulties and unemployment, Bergen said.

If there is a link among the suspects, Bergen said, “it’s a feeling of exclusion from the American dream.”

Emphasis mine. I’m not sure why CNN needs to ask analysts. Isn’t the root cause of terrorism always the same? If only we could wring some more money out of the Haves, the Have-Nots would stop trying to blow things up.

Consider Najibullah Zazi. He can afford gallons upon gallons of explosive reagents. He can pay for a rental car to drive across the country. He has connections in Colorado and in New York. Seems like he and his pals could get by pretty well, if they’d invest their money in something other than bombings and spend a teensy bit less of their time planning the murder of infidels.

But no. If Muslims rich and poor are killing their neighbors all around the world, it only proves that we need to work harder not to exclude people.

Community is Great

Community is everything I hoped it’d be: a little cheesy, a little quirky, really funny. Chevy Chase is bearable! Joel McHale is great at being a lovable SOB. It’s sure to be on Hulu tomorrow if you missed tonight’s pilot.

And now, a decision: Leno, or Always Sunny? Haha – just kidding.

(If you haven’t watched Leno, let me save you some time: it’s a lame pop-culture snoozefest. Boring interviews with vapid people, plus boring skits that go much longer than they should. Five nights a week!)


The Obama Doctrine

President Bush wasn’t always clear about why he made the decisions he made. President Obama is better than President Bush, because he can give a 50 minute speech about any old topic but he can also summarize all the important issues into simple precepts.

Foreign policy: If they hate us, kiss their asses harder.

Domestic policy: Spend. Spend. Spend. Has anyone thought about, maybe, spending?

Freedom: No. Let the Government take care of that. Freedom is for racists.

  • Are you rich? You owe everyone who isn’t. President Obama will decide how much income is enough, and tax the rest of it so hard.
  • Are you a corporation? You’d better be unionized, by golly. Corporations are evil, but unions are the coolest.
  • Do you have health insurance? You’re going to. Do you like your private insurance? Pfft.

Out-Coached

As the losing streak against ranked out-of-conference teams grows, Jim Tressel looks less like a great coach and more like a good coach who took over the Buckeyes while the Big Ten was on a downward slide. I don’t know much about play-calling, but I know our offense was hamstrung by it tonight. Ohio State has too much talent to lose at home against a freshman quarterback. Then again, Ohio State has too much talent to barely beat Navy, so nobody should be shocked.

Pryor is good, but has not looked much improved over last season. Tonight’s interception was gift-wrapped for the linebacker, and Herron saved us from a fumbled shovel pass that Pryor tried to force on his way to the ground. His big gains on the ground – that 18-yard rush in particular – only served as a reminder that Pryor’s best skill is underutilized. And that’s fine, until we’re playing a team whose players have just as much skill and whose coaches take advantage of every facet.

Finally – Brandon Saine. WTF. Is Tressel trying to prove some kind of point, running Herron up the middle more times in a quarter than Saine gets to touch the ball all night? The defense did a heck of a job holding USC under 20. We have a good kicker; a big, fast QB; a variety of sharp receivers; two solid running backs; a great tight end. Somebody in a sweater vest is not getting it done, which I guess is something the coaches at Texas, USC, and basically every SEC school have known for awhile now.

Doorbells: Much Easier than Lighting

I am still terrible at electrical work. All I’ve really done is change light fixtures, but working on things attached to the ceiling is not any kind of fun. As a result, I’ve had trouble getting motivated to finish a couple really minor projects. They weren’t even ceiling-related, but I associate wiring with getting dust and fiberglass in my eyeballs – which makes me a little hesitant to wire things! Yesterday I replaced the rusty old polished brass number at the back door with something that matches the new door hardware:

Sweet hand-me-down lighting. Thanks, Amy & Alex!

Sweet hand-me-down lighting. Thanks, Amy & Alex!

A running joke at home is that mom always wants before and after pictures when dad works on a project, but we never remember the “before” ones. Dad will be replacing shingles or siding, building a barn, pulling out old shrubs, etc… and halfway through the job someone will say “this is going to look so much better – we should take before and after pictures!” True to form, I forgot to take a picture of the old porch-light.

Though vertically-mounted lighting is much, much easier than mounting friggin’ ceiling fixtures, I still bungled around twisting wires together and getting them to fit nicely into the wall. So, I was glad when I pulled out the old doorbell and remembered that low voltage stuff is a cakewalk.

new-lighted-doorbell

Why put in a brushed nickel doorbell when the front door is bedecked with polished brass? Well, I hate polished brass, and the old doorbell was good and broken.

old-broken-doorbell The plastic disappeared from the button a few months ago. I don’t know if it fell off, or what, but it’s gone. I was not crazy about the button at the front door looking like some tiny cyclops robot from an 80s movie, but I put off changing for fear that whatever I bought wouldn’t fit right. The new mount was a bit short; thankfully its self-driving screws were nice and sharp. I don’t think the drill driver would have worked so well with the bricks sticking out right in the way.

Oh yeah – I forgot to take a picture of the old unit until after I was finished putting in the new one. Fail.


Boy, do I love this time of year

It’s football season, with highs in the mid-70s – what’s not to love?

It doesn’t hurt that Joel McHale’s new series Community starts next Thursday night, and Dollhouse will be back the week after. You’ve watched the additional episode of Dollhouse from the Season 1 DVDs, right? And, have you heard that some of Joss Whedon’s favorite ladies and roughly half the cast of Battlestar Galactica are joining the show in season 2?

Don't let her fool you - that's a yawn, not a roar

Don't let her fool you - that's a yawn, not a roar

I’ll be rooting for Michigan today because Notre Dame is annoying and the Big Ten needs to get its act together. I’d like to hear the phrase “a resurgent Big Ten Conference” peppered in sometimes among all the (entirely valid) comments about the Big Ten being a joke.

I really hope the Bucks can… er, buck this trend of flailing helplessly against ranked out-of-conference opponents. USC is going to be tough – but then, when aren’t they? If you’re going to the game by any route that crosses under 315 within 5 miles of campus, you might want to leave home around, oh, 4:00.

Go Bucks!

All you need know about Thomas Friedman

Bestselling author Thomas Friedman maintains the appearance of a respected thinker, or at least what passes for a respected thinker on the New York Times opinion pages. It’s difficult to see how he manages, given that he’s utterly insane.

One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But…

Whoa, Tom: whoa. This paragraph is not off to a good start.

…when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.

China: Reasonably Enlightened Communists. Friedman goes on to wheeze and whine about Republicans hating the earth and ruining President Obama’s glorious, centrist future. This quote would be the standout, if it were in some story that didn’t praise communist China’s autocratic rule:

With a few notable exceptions, the Republican Party is standing, arms folded and saying “no.” Many of them just want President Obama to fail. Such a waste. Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist.

Mr. Obama is not a socialist! He just wants fossil fuel usage, health insurance, mortgage lending, and every other thing on earth to be managed by a centralized bureaucracy. See? Centralized. Centrist.

Democracy is oh so bothersome when you’re smarter than everyone else, like Thomas Friedman is. I wonder if other environmentalists are embarrassed when his op-eds read like the ambling drivel of a hemp enthusiast in a 100-level PoliSci class. Or is it the standard position of tree-hugging types that all other freedoms are optional, so long as carbon usage [Ed. – output, it’s carbon output that will kill us all] is restricted?

Bears. Beets. The first half of Battlestar Galactica.

As the first season of Dollhouse came to a close and we became fully convinced of Tahmoh Penikett‘s awesomeness, my roommate pointed out that Agent Ballard was also part of the Battlestar Galactica cast. Since I didn’t get Sci-Fi (er, “SyFy,” since somehow they haven’t realized that name sucks) when Battlestar Galactica premiered, I knew the series only as the go-to reference when you wanted to call someone a nerd. Given the plethora of nerdy things I already watched, there wasn’t a compelling reason for me to add it to the list.

Having now seen the first two seasons via Netflix, it is so good. Really, the best way to describe my enthusiasm for the first half of Battlestar Galactica is “Schrute-like.” After watching the pilot – basically a feature film unto itself – I expected the entertainment value to drop. It did not. Through the first season and nearly all of the second, the characters (even the sleazy ones) are convincing and their relationships are interesting. The action is great, the bits of over-the-top science fiction goofiness are few and far between, and the drama is… dramatic.

Then you get to the last 20 minutes of the season two finale. I’ve read mixed things about seasons three and four, and the way season two ended inspires no confidence. Let’s say you have a believable love triangle – involving several major characters – that’s picking up steam, sparks of romance between two other characters, and a huge shift in the roles of warring political leaders. Would you fade to black and begin the next scene with “One year later?” Me neither. It almost felt like the writers had gotten tired of the whole wandering through space routine, and wanted to move on to something lamer.

So, like a Schrute (or a lady), season two of Battlestar Galactica left me feeling as though I’d missed a whole lot of important events in the lives of the characters, left me much less excited for the Season 3 disc that arrived today, and made me glad I resisted buying the crazy-go-nuts series box set when DeepDiscount.com had it on sale.

[Update: Typo. First paragraph. Corrected.]