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Scary Constitutional Arguments, \"Law & Order\" Style

I know getting your constitutional theory from Law & Order is like getting your medical advice from Scrubs, but, for what it's worth, here's how the Constitution looks to everyone's favorite DA, Jack McCoy:

The fact that the Constitution explicitly protects some rights and not others necessarily suggests that the framers did not intend to protect those rights they chose to omit. They chose to omit privacy; therefore it must be a legal fiction.

What scares me is how few people would find this uncomfortable.

Mr. McCoy, meet Mr. Ninth Amendment.

Gettin\' Our Swole On, Week 3

Starting weight: 118 lbs. (9.0% body fat)
Week 1: 121 lbs.
Week 2: 124 lbs.
Week 3: 126 lbs. Read more »

Gettin\' Our Swole On, Week 2

Starting weight: 118 lbs.
Week 1: 121 lbs.
Week 2: 124 (estimated; I did not work out today, or weigh myself on Wed., but my measured weight the previous days of this week ranged from 123-127; I'll be conservative) Read more »

Mid-Majors in the NCAA Tournament, One More Time

My last one, I swear.

I figured the percenatge of teams seeded 7 through 11 who advanced to the Sweet 16:

Seed BCS Schools Non-BCS
7 .172 (10/58) .167 (5/30)
8 .101 (7/69) .105 (2/19)
9 .021 (1/48) .050 (2/40)
10 .200 (9/45) .116 (5/43)
11 .214 (6/28) .083 (5/60)

Read more »

Sweet Sixteen Thoughts

Random observations, musings, and worthless analysis for the sixteen remaining college basketball teams...

Washington D.C. Region

Connecticut: Well things are shaping up for them quite nicely, aren't they? If they make it through the region, they will have done so without playing a team better than a 5-seed. They came dangerous close to becoming the first 1-seed to fall in the first round, and then let my mediocre UK 'Cats hang around and almost steal the game. What a thoroughly unlikeable team. The starting point guard is still playing despite being involved in a theft of laptops from UConn students (I'm all for second chances, but don't there have to be real consequences first?) and the most talented team in the country does not always feel like showing up to play hard.

In 1999, UConn advanced to the final four without playing a top-four seed (before, admittedly, beating the best collection of talent in the last 10 years). They did the same on their way to the title in 2004, this time a 6-seed being their toughest region game. This year, as above, 5-seed Washington is their biggest roadblock to Indianapolis. Unlikeable and lucky. I will be rooting against them.

(A quick note on my 'Cats here: It was a disappointing season for sure, but I did enjoy them going out with their best.) Read more »

Mid-Majors in the NCAA Tournament, Continued

With the exciting first two rounds of the NCAA tournament concluded, I thought I’d add some thoughts to my previous post Read more »

Mid-Majors In the NCAA Tournament

I wish I had gotten to this a few days ago when people actually were arguing about the NCAA brackets, for now focus is on the games themselves, but better late than never.

All-around jerk-off and awful college basketball commentator Billy Packer started a controvery last Sunday during the NCAA tournament selection show, along with partner Jim Nantz, by rudely criticizing the committee chariman (to his face) for their various selctions, notably a few teams from various mid and low-level conferences over squads from the BCS conferences:

Nance and Packer repeatedly pressed Craig Littlepage, chairman of the selection committee, on why the Valley received the same number of bids (4) as the Pac 10, Big 12 and ACC.

The CBS pair cited tournament records over the last few years and poor non-conference schedules by "mid-majors," specifically Bradley, as to why several power conferences should have been given a fifth or sixth bid.

The obvious retort is that you can't compare teams who, on average, are given low seeds, to team who usually are seeded higher. Packer's fallacy has been pointed out time and time again, but nobody, to my knowledge, has actually looked at the data. I don't care how the Missouri Valley Conference's collective tournament record looks against the ACC's - I care about how MVC teams do when seeded 10th in their regions compared to ACC teams seeded 10th. If everyone is right (which I find likely) and Packer is wrong (which is always likely), then the records of mid- and low-major schools will look simialr, seed-for-seed, as major conference schools. Here's what I found. Read more »

Gettin\' Our Swole On

Week #1

(Update: tomorrow I will be getting my hands on a "before" picture. We'll see if I have the balls to publish them at some point in the future. Brandon can do so at his own peril.)

Since Brandon and my personal challenge has gotten a little play, we thought we'd keep people up-to-date on our progress. Expectations were all over the place, and the significance has been debated. But, debate now is futile; we're not turning back. The word on the street is that we even got a mention on ESPN's morning talk show Cold Pizza. Maybe we'll be on the cover of Sports Illustrated when it's all over.

The goal: 15 lbs of lean muscle mass by June 18.

My starting weight on Thursday, March 9, was 118 lbs, with a body fat of approximately 9%. I alternated upper body and lower body for the past week, with just a little bit of running here and there (one day of sprints, one day of distance). It's been too cold in the mornings for me to really get motivated to run around. I've been eating as best as I could - three good meals, good snacks throughout the day, a protein/nutrition shake every evening, and a protein shake some mornings before my workout. It's actually been a bad week to start - I've been on call the whole time, making it hard to keep my eating schedule, and bad sleep almost every night. So, I actually feel really good about my relative progress so far.

Current weight (3/16/06): 121 (from 118)

As for Brandon: He claims a starting weight of 193 lbs, with 12% body fat. After a week of heavy lifting, he reports a few nagging problems here and there, which I certainly sympathise with.

Current weight: 195 (from 193) Read more »

\"You Can\'t Gain 15 Pounds Of Muscle In 100 Days Without Drugs\"

Via Baseball Musings, an excerpt from the coming book Game Of Shadows scoffs at the notion that people can put on 15 pounds of lean muscle in 3 months without a little shot in the ass (as it were), as if this were proof that such-and-such ballplayer is doing steroids.

Bullshit. Read more »

In Defense of Deductability of All Health Care

Arnold Kling, Tyler Cowen, and Hit & Run all are wary of Bush's plan to give tax breaks for income spent on health care. Says Kling:

Evidently, the Administration believes that health care is a Giffen good, so that if you subsidize it, total spending on it will decline.


Pet Peeves

Sebastian Mallaby's recent effort on health care reform features two of my biggest pet peeves. First, the idea that cross-national differences in overall mortality is a good indicator of which kind of health care system is best. This one is ludicrous, but even smart guys like Mallaby and Krugman don't seem to understand how silly it is. One, of course, would be better served to look disease-by-disease, adjusted for age, for mortality differences. Read more »

2005: The Year In Books

My good friend SJB looks back on literary excursions of the year that was, both those that were successful, and those left uninished. How about me? Read more »

Competitive Balance

Dave Pinto at the indispensable Baseball Musings writes about competitive balance in baseball here. This reminded me of a post at my old blog. I don't know how many baseball fans hang around Catallarchy, but I'll reprint it here for any thoughts:

Last week, Rob Neyer wrote that the "problem" of competitive balance may not be such a problem after all:

If by "competitive balance" we mean that a significant number of teams have a fighting chance to win the World Series, then we're probably at an all-time high. In any given season since 1994, roughly four out of every 10 teams finished the schedule within five games of either a division title or the wild card, and that's a lot of teams.

And yet, the Commissioner continues to prattle on about "competitive balance" and, even more cloyingly, "hope and faith." Well, he and his fellow owners solved the "problem" 10 years ago when they created two new divisions and four new postseason berths. In the face of the evidence I've presented above, I'm led to one of two conclusions: that the Commissioner won't be happy until 1) MLB is like the NHL and the NBA, with more than half the teams not only having the chance to make the playoffs, but actually making the playoffs, or 2) the Commissioner's own team, which hasn't played a postseason game since 1982, actually makes the playoffs.

Then again, maybe those two things are one and the same. All I know is that among all the other things that make this the greatest time to be a baseball fan, is the fact that most baseball fans this winter could reasonably harbor high hopes for their team in 2004. Almost everybody is happy, or will be soon.

Kentucky Votes

My friends at the Bluegrass Institute have set up to allow the state's citizens to scrutinize the actions of their legislature. From their website: Read more »

Maggiore on Primetime Live

As a follow-up to my HIV posts: ABC's Primetime Live did a segment on Christine Maggiore and her daughter's death last Thursday night. I thought it was just going to rehash many of the arguments seen here and elsewhere; but I was pleasantly surprised by the value added. First, they had the medical examiner explain why he was led to the diagnosis of AIDS. I had figured that he may not comment, but I'm glad he did. Second, they actually showed the slides from the lung and brain on TV. The lungs showed large colonies of P. carinii in the alveoli of the lungs (a place that is normally sterile, regardless of what other non-pathologists might say). It's pretty uneqivocal evidence for PCP. Before they showed this, they asked Maggiore:

Q: What would it take for you to acknowledge that your child died of AIDS?

A: She would need to show evidence of fatal pneumonia. If there is such evidence I welcome that being brought forward.

There is no better evidence for this fact, but it did not sway her.

Third, ABC's website actually posted the ME's report. An independent pathologist was given both the ME's report and Mohammed Al-Bayati's report; he agreed with the ME. (I wish they had actually intervied this guy, or another uninterested party from the pathology profession.)

Lastly, we heard from Maggiore herself that the child was much sicker than I had been previously led to believe. Many denialists will have you believe that she could not have had PCP because it was her first AIDS illness, the X-rays showed nothing, it happened quickly, etc., etc. This is nonsense; PCP is by definition an atypical pneumonia - pneumonias can be separated into typical and atypical based on their signs and symptoms. PCP (along with viral pneumonia, Legionairre's disease, and a long list of others) presents atypically (especially in children) which means the lack of any certain signs or symptoms has no value in ruling out the diagnosis. The definitive diagnosis is made by biopsy/autopsy. Read more »