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Meditations - ta eis heauton

Location: Austin, Texas, United States

I'm a software engineer / partner working for a young company in Austin, Texas, USA. I spend most of my free time hanging out with friends and family, eating out, and partying in the Warehouse District. I should spend more time working on my house....

Friday, March 24, 2006

Go Horns!

Wow, what a great end to the Texas-West Virginia Sweet 16 matchup. Texas dominated the first half getting ahead by as many as 15 before leading by 12 at the half. West Virginia came out in the second half shooting great and breaking down the Texas defense. Texas regained its composure shortly after West Virginia took a late lead and the game went back and forth until West Virginia tied it on a 3 point shot with around 8 seconds left. AJ Abrams tore down the floor and found Kenton Paulino a solid 3 feet outside the 3-point line on the left side. Paulino put up the shot with less than a second left and it rattled home as the clock expired. Awesome.

Amazingly that wasn't the only great game last night. The top ranked Duke team was overwhelmed by a stifling LSU defense and Gonzaga's win was snatched from their grasp by poor ball-handling (and IMHO poor officiating). I'm not terribly interested in the other side of the bracket although I have always like Georgetown. My Final Four matchup assumes the #1s, UConn and Villinova, win out so I hope that happens, but after the loss of Duke and Gonzaga some of the best storylines of the tournament have lost their thread.

Then again I think it would be a great storyline to talk about Texas holding the National Championships in Baseball, Football and Basketball all at the same time. That has never happened before. :-)

Hook'em Horns!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Arresting drunks.. in the bar

A friend sent me an article on CNN's website about how the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is now sending undercover agents into bars to arrest people for public intoxication:
Texas has begun sending undercover agents into bars to arrest drinkers for being drunk, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said Wednesday.

The first sting operation was conducted recently in a Dallas suburb where agents infiltrated 36 bars and arrested 30 people for public intoxication, said the commission's Carolyn Beck.

Being in a bar does not exempt one from the state laws against public drunkenness, Beck said.

My gut reaction is I don't like it, but I understand the logic behind it. As they mention in the article:
The goal, she said, was to detain drunks before they leave a bar and go do something dangerous like drive a car.

"We feel that the only way we're going to get at the drunk driving problem and the problem of people hurting each other while drunk is by crackdowns like this," she said.

"There are a lot of dangerous and stupid things people do when they're intoxicated, other than get behind the wheel of a car," Beck said. "People walk out into traffic and get run over, people jump off of balconies trying to reach a swimming pool and miss."

I think this is an abuse of power. Bars are public places and thus drunks in them fall under the public intoxication statutes, but I think it is just wrong. Unless the management of the bar (or other patrons) complain, the individual should be left alone. Obviously measures should be taken to ensure that the individual doesn't leave the bar drunk and certainly doesn't drive drunk, but pre-emptive action seems unjust.

A more reasonable action, IMHO, was Austin police asking drunken driving suspects where they last drank, then if over a long period of time specific bars showed up again and again work to reduce that problem from the specific "trouble" locations and if necessary consider specific undercover actions at that location. Care must be taken to recognize that the number of patrons at the bar will cause this number to naturally be higher for a bar that holds 500 than a bar that holds 50.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Defenders of the Faith

A cool editorial in the NY Times by Slavoj Zizek, the international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, is the author, most recently, of "The Parallax View." The editorial is primarily about the importance of the atheist legacy in Europe and how that legacy can inform the concerns about Muslim integration in Europe and the rest of the world:
During the Seventh Crusade, led by St. Louis, Yves le Breton reported how he once encountered an old woman who wandered down the street with a dish full of fire in her right hand and a bowl full of water in her left hand. Asked why she carried the two bowls, she answered that with the fire she would burn up Paradise until nothing remained of it, and with the water she would put out the fires of Hell until nothing remained of them: "Because I want no one to do good in order to receive the reward of Paradise, or from fear of Hell; but solely out of love for God." Today, this properly Christian ethical stance survives mostly in atheism.

Fundamentalists do what they perceive as good deeds in order to fulfill God's will and to earn salvation; atheists do them simply because it is the right thing to do. Is this also not our most elementary experience of morality? When I do a good deed, I do so not with an eye toward gaining God's favor; I do it because if I did not, I could not look at myself in the mirror. A moral deed is by definition its own reward. David Hume, a believer, made this point in a very poignant way, when he wrote that the only way to show true respect for God is to act morally while ignoring God's existence.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Whitlock is witless

This idiotic hit piece on the espn website is annoying me. In the article Jason Whitlock, a columnist for The Kansas City Star, basically rips into Vince Young who, if you follow Whitlock's logic, should probably not even be drafted. Whitlock argues that Vince's choice of Agent and Wonderlick score are evidence that Vince lack's "humility", shows questionable "willingness to prepare", is "arrogant", "foolish", and has questionable "decision-making and maturity".

I do think the Whitlock article makes a few salient points. Vince's choice of agent that is a family friend and not an experienced professional might be a poor decision. However, Major Adams is a family friend, a lawyer and someone Vince trusts. He is not some idiot entertainer/businessman/promoter like Master P who's disastrous agent work is still affecting Ricky Williams career. Vince's choice at least makes sense. He knows he can trust his agent, something someone with his fame will have a hard time with for the rest of his life.

I also think Vince's Wonderlic troubles are unfortunate, mostly because of notoriety rather than the actual score he ended up with. Hopefully he will study for it more and end up with a decent score.

For a little more detail about Wonderlic scores:
NFL past and present quarterback prospect Wonderlic scores
Taking your Wonderlics
A true look at Wonderlic results

The rest of Whitlock's column is crap. "Humility is the No. 1 ingredient." to being a great NFL quarterback? Tell that to Joe Namath.

"Young's success in the NFL will hinge almost exclusively on his willingness to prepare." Does Whitlock know anything about Young's training regimen and preparation for the game? Does he mention quotes by anyone that does? Then he should shut up about it.

"Didn't Redskins running back Tim Smith and Cowboys cornerback Larry Brown have big games on football's biggest stage and later prove to be frauds?" This line is proof that Whitlock knows nothing about Vince Young. What about the Ohio State game? What about Michigan? What about Oklahoma State comebacks? This guy seems to have zero knowledge about Vince's actual experience and success.

Whitlock was doing a hit job on Vince Young. I wonder how much Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler's agents are paying him. Or is it just ESPN trying to bring down Young since they desperately wanted USC to win the Rose Bowl (Threepeat!). What a load of crap.