My Down And Dirty Take On Michigan’s New President


I haven’t had a lot of time to read about Michigan’s incoming president, Mark Schlissel (actually I haven’t had much time to do much of anything and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change) and, truth be told, it’s nearly impossible to predict how the leader of a massive institution like Michigan will actually do. That said, what I have read about Schlissel is awfully promising.

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Go Red Sox…I guess


I did a Bloggingheads with Michael Brendan Dougherty, editor of The Slurve and all around decent dude. We talk baseball first and then politics (specifically the state of libertarianism in the GOP). At the beginning I also share my thinking on who to follow since the White Sox are gunning for the single worst athletic team in professional sports. Here's a snippet.*

So since I’m a big Jake Peavy fan and some of my friends are Red Sox fans and the Red Sox are poised to make the playoffs I guess I’ll root for Boston…reluctantly.

*For some reason I can’t get the video to embed on tumblr. Dumb.

(Yet another Angry Jake Photo via this ESPN story.)

That Time When Jeff Bezos Volunteered For George H. W. Bush


It’s funny, in all the coverage of Jeff Bezos after he bought The Washington Post, Mark Leibovich’s reporting on Bezos seems to largely have gone unnoticed. After the sale was announced, I picked up Leibovich’s book, The New Imperialists, which includes a lengthy profile of Bezos. There’s some good stuff in there. Leibovich writes:

In 1992, Bezos and [friend Kelsey] Biggers drove to New Hampshire to volunteer for President George Bush’s re-election campaign. They did this mostly as a curiosity; neither was terribly passionate about politics. But they found the Bush headquarter inert and stodgy, “filled with yuppies bused in from Boston,” said Biggers.

For some reason all the punditry and analysis of Bezos’s politics (which David Remnick appropriately described as “a puzzle”) missed this.

Leibovich’s profile also hints at the answer to why Bezos owns Blue Origin, a space transportation startup:

Bezos’s disdain for limits reflected a bent for adventure. He fixated on outer space, an interest first stoked by Pop Gise, “Star Trek,” and a NASA space camp he attended in Huntsville, Alabama. He had always been taken with far-off exploration and magical kingdoms —he had visited Walt Disney World seven times. Bezos believed that space travel would soon be a booming sector, and he wanted to start a shuttle service that would spare companies the cost of launching a booster rocket. It would travel between low Earth orbit and geosynchronous orbit, 23,000 miles up.

"Jeff was dead serious about his space tug business," said Carolyn McDaniel, a friend from high school. "He thought this thing could work, that companies would want it and that he could make a lot of money doing it. Knowing Jeff, he probably had some model scenario his head." Bezos confirms that yes, he did, but the business proved unfeasible in the end."

Maybe Bezos’s purchase of The Washington Post is similar to his ownership of Blue Origin. That is, a fulfillment of a longstanding passion.  Like space travel, Bezos showed an interest in media before: he was part of a $5 million investment in Business Insider.

Peavy goes to the Red Sox


I saw this coming. The White Sox traded Jake Peavy to Boston. This wasn’t a huge surprise. Rumors that Peavy would be traded were floating around for days. Well, better the Red Sox than the Yankees or Arizona (there was talk he might suit up next in a Diamondbacks uniform).

Peavy has been my favorite player on the White Sox. He has this workhorse high-sock-tobacco-chewing style you couldn’t help but love. But all too often Peavy was sidelined with injuries and even when he was healthy he sometimes struggled at the mound. When he was good he was good and when he was bad he was real bad. That’s actually a good way of describing the Sox these past few years.

On the bright side, we’re getting a promising hitter from Detroit, Avisail Garcia:

Garcia, 22, hit .241 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in 30 games with the Tigers and currently is playing for Triple-A Toledo, where he was batting .382 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 32 games. He will be assigned to Triple-A Charlotte.

(Photo via Yahoo.)

Update: Adam Dunn, presented without comment:

New Job


I always hoped I’d one day be writing this post. In a few weeks I’ll leave my job at The Hill and head off to Talking Points Memo. I’ve been a longtime admirer of Josh Marshall, David Kurtz and the rest of the TPM team so it’s hard to express the excitement and honor I feel about joining the site.

I’m still trying to figure out what this means for this tumblr. I always thought that if I went to TPM or an outfit similar to that I’d restart my extracurricular blogging. We’ll see though. This job is going to be incredibly demanding so, honestly, I may not have much time or energy for much else.

On the other hand, I’ll need a place to vent my thoughts on books, movies, t.v., sports, and Game of Thrones (both on paper and on HBO)…

Stay tuned.

The Illinois-Game of Thrones parallels

This was passed along by a friend:


From right to left:

Gov. Pat Quinn (D) and Robert Baratheon; Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) and Cersei Lannister; House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) and Tywin Lannister; former Sen. Paul Simon (D) and Ned Stark; Lt. Gov Sheila Simon (D) and Jon Snow; former Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and a villainous cartoon character*; Rep. Aaron Shock (R) and Renly Baratheon; State Treasurer Dan Rutherford (R) and Stannis Baratheon; former Rep. Joe Walsh (R) and Viserys Targaryen; Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) and Tyrion Lannister; former Republican Congressional candidate Jason Plummer (R) and Theon Greyjoy.

*I watched A LOT of t.v. as a kid so I can usually name any villain I come across but I don’t recognize this guy. Shrug.

These are the bowls I’ll be watching

Projections in parenthesis.

  • Belk Bowl - Dec. 27 - Charlotte, N.C. - Cincinnati vs. Duke (Cinci wins)
  • Holiday Bowl - Dec. 27 - San Diego, Calif. - UCLA vs. Baylor (UCLA wins)
  • Pinstripe Bowl - Dec. 29 - New York, N.Y. - West Virginia vs. Syracuse (West Virginia)
  • Capital One Bowl - Jan. 1 - Orlando, Fla. - Nebraska vs. Georgia (Georgia)
  • Outback Bowl - Jan. 1 - Tampa, Fla. - Michigan vs. South Carolina (Gamecocks. I hope I’m wrong!)
  • Rose Bowl - Jan. 1 - Pasadena, Calif. - Wisconsin vs. Stanford (Stanford)
  • Orange Bowl - Jan. 1 - Miami, Fla. - Florida State vs. Northern Illinois (Florida State)
  • Fiesta Bowl - Jan. 3 - Glendale, Ariz. - Kansas State vs. Oregon (Oregon)
  • Cotton Bowl - Jan. 4 - Arlington, Tex. - Oklahoma vs. Texas A & M (Texas A & M)

Dan Harmon on how money ruins everything

He kind of babbles for most of this but I think it’s still worth watching. 

I really wanted to put forth the fact that I was fired for money…It really had nothing to do with anything else and money will be the death of everything good in your life, I guarantee it. Except for maybe the first forty grand a year –you need that to buy potatoes and stuff.

Saw an advanced screening of This Is 40 followed by a Q & A with Judd Apatow and Leslie Mann. The movie was much better than I expected.

Here’s the thing about Apatow movies: while they’re roughly in the same disgustingly yuppie vein as Modern Family (there are problems but cutesy laughs too) Apatow films include more realistic problems like money and serious social disconnects. Not everything can be resolved. Sometimes you just have to live with things and sometimes that adorable couple isn’t right for each other. That’s not so in Modern Family. Everybody is rich and comfortable and those minor wrinkles that come up in life can be smoothed over with a whimsical scene of awkward hilariousness.

Oh and gay people aren’t nearly as deep a source of over-the-top-metrosexual comic relief in any Apatow movie.