New decal for my car:
New decal for my car:
Ole Miss is at South Carolina as I type this... Both look pretty bad. For what it's worth, I took the Gamecocks to beat the 3 point spread at home, if only out of defiance that Ole Miss is not a Top 10 team.
Not too many comments on this weekend's schedule. I probably won't be able to see much beyond the Bama game. I'll have my hands full.
[My Opera readers can see the schedule here.]
This throwback uniform is sharrrrrp! I wish Atlanta would use these for every game. Can the Falcons go into Foxboro and knock off the Patriots this weekend? Tune in to FOX at noon on Sunday to find out!
This is starting to get a little ridiculous with the rain and all.
Weather Underground says normal amount of rain for September is 3.54 inches. So far we've had 8.53...
Caught this on Marketplace on my way home yesterday evening. New York Times columnist Gretchen Morgenson makes two crucial points that I wish would be stressed to the American public more often.
Capitalism is a system that can benefit the greatest array of people, but it is a system that requires an ethical backdrop, a moral compass.
I think we had a two-pronged failure. First was the failure of people in positions of power to remember that they have a social contract. As you rise in an organization, you have a greater responsibility to do the right thing, to rein in practices, identify practices that are imperiling others. That almost got lost. But the other prong of this failure was the failure of the regulators. These entities, institutions from the highest level down to the very lowest really failed dismally at their jobs. And so you had a combination of failures here that really contributed to this disaster.
Capitalism is supposed to be a system in which there is little government intervention. We are now in a type of system where the state, i.e., the United States of America, has investments in much of the automotive industry, has deployed taxpayer money to enormous financial institutions, a great array of them, so we have a, right now in a position where capitalism is not in its sort of true form operating at all. It's really more the government stepping in. And the unfortunate aspect of that is that what has happened is that the gains that were made by reckless lenders, and people who were not overseen by regulators very closely, those gains have now been turned to losses that the taxpayers have to cover. And that is just anathema to a capitalist.
My point here is that all the anti-capitalists out there... don't hate on capitalism because of what you see going on in the U.S. This is not capitalism. And it's only going to get worse if things keep going the way they are.
Awful game for Georgia Tech last night... Bleh.
The ESPN coverage map says we're supposed to get Arizona @ Iowa on ESPN2 at 2:30, but that has to be wrong. I think they accidentally mixed up the color codes. There's no way that Arizona and Iowa are the only states getting Nebraska @ Virginia Tech.
And at first I thought it was a mistake, but no... Notre Dame isn't ranked! (zomfg)
Alabama finally gets another real game next weekend!
[My Opera readers can see the schedule here.]
A year and a half after my friend lost his battle to cancer, Victor Ellis is still recruiting for UA!
The UA System Board of Trustees will hear a resolution Friday for the establishment of the Victor Ellis Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of the late Crimson Tide linebacker.
One source of the scholarship? Ellis himself.
Through his last will and testament, Ellis contributed $33,589.99 to "provide scholarships for worthy, non-athlete students at the University of Alabama," according to the resolution set to go before trustees.
Ellis died of cancer on March 25, 2008. He was 28.
The money was the remaining balance of the fund established by friend and former teammate Ahmaad Galloway through Bryant Bank in Birmingham to help raise money for Ellis' medical care during his illness. In addition, friends and family have contributed $14,731.73 to UA in his memory.
Per conditions of the scholarship recommended by UA President Robert Witt, "Priority of consideration shall be given to students enrolled at UA who are not participating in intercollegiate athletics."
A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., Ellis played for the Crimson Tide from 1998-01, totaling 145 tackles in 40 games while wearing the No. 9 jersey. He was named permanent team captain for the 2001 season.
After graduating in 2002 with a communications degree, Ellis later worked as a regional recruiter in Charlotte, N.C., for UA's admissions office.
Not even death can keep you down, man. Bravo!
Fresh off the heels of my recent post about a state lottery, my mom recently gave me a magazine that The Montgomery Advertiser published called Coaches Confidential. It gives a brief biography of four of Alabama's collegiate head coaches: Larry Blakeney (Troy), Reggie Barlow (Alabama St.), Gene Chizik (Auburn), and Nick Saban (Alabama).
The last bit of the Saban bio is an article by Tim Gayle about how the Sabans support a state lottery for funding higher education. I can't find the text online, so I'm going to transcribe it myself below. I think it's interesting because Saban's wife Terry brings up a good point I had not made before about how a lot of Alabamians could theoretically get behind a state lottery, but didn't the last time it came up for a vote because of how the proposed law was ambiguously worded and how little of the proceeds would have been directed towards education. There are also some positive notes about the Louisiana and Georgia state lotteries.
I understand that all lotteries are not created equally. But the question I have is this: Are they divided into good and bad lotteries, or are there some lotteries which are just less bad than others? I'm not an expert, of course, so I can't really say for sure. But the one thing that bugged me about Terry Saban's argument for an Alabama state lottery is her omission of the facts I outlined in my previous post: that it's the lowest economic class of people who are spending the most amount of money on lottery tickets, and that lottery is a form of gambling, which can lead to some pretty heavy addiction.
The subject of the Sabans and the lottery is not new. The Capstone Report tackled it a couple of years ago, and he takes the same position as I do, that a lottery is a regressive tax on the poor. "It is the poor folks hopelessly lost in a cycle of poverty who take money from their own pockets to fund the educations of the middle class." I had this exact thought when Cayla brought up the Georgia HOPE program, but I didn't bring it up because I don't have any data on it. It would be interesting to know how economically depressed the majority of the HOPE scholarship recipients are and compare it to the group who buys the majority of lottery tickets.
After reading the article, I'm still not convinced a state lottery is a good idea. But I'd like to enter it into the record for consideration anyway.
by Tim Gayle
Terry and Nick Saban have made a habit out of helping kids. They believe one of the best ways to help kids in this state is to provide a state-funded lottery that can provide a free or cost efficient college education to deserving people who otherwise can't afford that opportunity.
"I think it's a shame we have so many deserving young people in our state who deserve a higher education, who would like to go to college and can't afford it, who have the grades to go to college but not the means," Terry said. "We have thousands of those people sitting at home who should be in school."
Nick Saban has mentioned the lottery before, but the Crimson Tide coach had in the past publicly refrained from endorsing a state lottery in Alabama.
"I try to stay out of the politics but I do believe in education and we do believe in trying to create opportunities," Nick said. "That's why we made the commitment to the first-generation scholarship fund (at Alabama).
"We have been in a couple of states where they have lottery programs that fund public education, college education for students that make it a lot more affordable for those that have the qualifications. It's been our experience that that is a good thing."
It's not the first time a high-profile person in this state has embraced a state-funded lottery.
In 1999, then-Gov. Don Siegelman ran for governor on an agenda that included a state lottery. It was voted down in a referedum that many felt was the right idea, but the wrong lottery because of the ambiguous language in the amendment and the fact that much of the money wasn't directed toward public education.
"I think you probably have some people riding the fence who maybe are for the concept but they don't trust their dollars are going to go to the right place," Terry said. "If the people who bring it up can prove they will have accountability, that the follars are going where they say they're going to go and that they really can impact the lives of young people, I think you're going to have a lot more people support it."
The Alabama football coach and his wife know a lot about a state lotteries funding education.
They moved from Michigan State to LSU, where the Louisiana State Lottery is one of the most highly regarded in the country. They left LSU and went to the Miami Dolphins, where Florida's lottery started a Bright Futures Scholarships fund for college education.
And they own a summer home at Lake Burton in north Georgia, where the HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) Scholarship Program provides all in-state high school students with a 3.0 grade-point average with tuition, mandatory fees and a book allowance.
"We talk about it just about everywhere we go and I find it to be a real sore spot in the education system in Alabama," Terry said. "What I'm talking about is some sort of lottery system for higher education. I guess the reason we can be so adamant about it is we've seen both ends and see the effects it makes in the state, the impact it makes on individual lives in each state, in a state that has such poor statistics in education at the national level.
"We've seen it work in Louisiana. Having a lake home in Georgia we can see it every day working in Georgia. Having lived in Florida, we've watched the beauty of it working in Florida. I'm told Mississippi was fighting hard to keep us from passing our own lottery system because they're happy to take all the money that our people would spend in our state."
The Louisiana lottery allots 35 percent of every $1 sale to the state's treasury department, with at least 50 percent returned to the players and at least 5 percent as a commission to the stores selling the lottery tickets. Since the lottery began in 1991, more than $6 billion has been generated with more than $2.1 billion transferred to the state treasury.
In Georgia, the lottery has raised more than $11 billion for the education programs since it started in 1993.
In Florida, where the lottery started in 1997 and added additional games as it progressed, the initial $1 scratch-off "Millionaire" program quickly exceeded $95 million in sales and allowed the state to pay off the start-up costs in 17 days.
Forty-two states have a state-run lottery system and Mississippi and Nevada, two states that don't, have widespread casino gambling. Since Alabama voters turned down the lottery in 1999, Oklahoma, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and South Carolina have voted for state-run lottery systems and Arkansas, one of the eight states remaining that doesn't have one, recently voted in the lottery and is currently in a start-up mode.
That leaves Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming as the only states without one.
"In essence, it is a voluntary pact," Terry said. "If you don't want to buy a ticket, you certainly don't have to. If you're going to buy one, we'd just as soon send one of our young people to college as someone in Mississippi.
"I'm a teacher, I was teaching for 12 years substituted along the way. Nick and I are both first-generation college educated in our family. We've seen first hand what that does in a family, how it sets a new standard for the whole family. Your sister's children, your nieces and nephews, that want to be like Aunt Terry or Uncle Nick and see what that college education has done to improve the quality of our lives and the choices. It's all about choices.
"And certainly in today's economy this has been proven more than ever, what are your choices? If you don't have a college education, it's very slim."
The first lady of Alabama football, who personally raised money at Alabama's A-Day game in 2007 for tornado victims in Enterprise and for the university's library system in 2008, said she and her husband are adamant about their feelings.
"I think we can't give up," she said. "I realize there are special interest groups that are opposed to it for their own reasons. Certainly, I respect that but I think it has to push from the political mechanism. We need to get our politicians on board. My husband has said he would go speak to the House, to the Senate, whatever it takes. I would go with him.
"We have lobbyists for everything and these lobbyists spend a lot of money trying to get their point across. Nick is saying, I want to go speak. Nick and I would both go and talk to the right people if we thought it would make a difference.
"I think it's time for our Alabama population to see the success that Louisiana is having over time, that Georgia is having over time and then they'll begin to have some confidence and faith that we should do it."
Not much going on Saturday night besides the USC / Ohio St. matchup. But tonight we have Clemson @ #15 Georgia Tech on ESPN! I never get to the see the Ramblin' Wreck play in primetime and/or in HD, so I'm pretty excited.
Alabama hosts Florida International Saturday at 6pm. It's on PPV only. I won't get to see it because I'll be in Atlanta with my family. Why will I be in the ATL? I'll be attending the Falcons home opener vs. the Miami Dolphins, woo! Mom and I will root for the Falcons, while my uncles and cousins (who are originally from Miami) pull for the Dolphins. Should be fun!
As for the schedule... I only have two notes: The SEC lost only one game last weekend. That was Georgia, and they fell to #9 Oklahoma St. The ACC lost TWO games to teams in Division I-AA. Virginia lost to William & Mary, and Duke lost to Richmond. (The Spiders!)
One last thing - GO TROY!
[My Opera readers can see the schedule here.]
Reading this week's TMQ, and the subject of lotteries popped up. The state of Alabama is one of only 8 states without a lottery, and I hope it stays that way. I don't have any fundamental moral objection to lotteries in general. When I'm traveling in Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, etc., I might buy a lottery ticket myself. The problem is how they are administered and how they impact the population.
Some background: In April, Gov. Bob Riley penned this column about the pro-gambling movement in this state. I agreed with him then and now. In it, he exposes the group advocating "legal gambling" as a "small group that will make millions of dollars off gambling," reinforces the state's anti-gambling laws, and (most important, in my opinion) reports the negative effects gambling has on a population, including addiction and higher crime rates.
It's true that the column does not specifically address a lottery - only "legalized gambling" in the form of bingo, slots, and casinos. But the two are closely related psychologically and both have negative consequences.
Cue this week's TMQ.
Nobody cares how much the Donald Trumps of the world blow at the roulette table, and $10 office pools are harmless. But most wagering only brings loss and sorrow to average people; gambling has ruined many lives. This makes it especially cynical that the NFL had decided to sell sponsorships to state lotteries, producing NFL-themed lottery games with NFL logos on the tickets. Since its inception, the Virginia Lottery has taken in $20 billion and paid out $11 billion in winnings. This means suckers fork over almost $2 for every $1 that comes back. Some $2.3 billion of the Virginia Lottery money has vanished into overhead, a fraction that will now rise as endorsement fees are paid to the Redskins. ([...] one reason politicians love lotteries is because traditionally there is substantial corruption in the form of unaudited "consulting fees.") Only about $6.7 billion -- a third of the overall pot -- has gone to the ostensible purpose: education.* [...] considering only about a third of state-run lottery revenue ends up serving a public purpose, lotteries are an extremely inefficient way to raise money for schools. What lotteries are good at is separating average people from their money. PBS says a person is 600 times more likely to be struck by lightning than to win the top prize in a state-run lottery. The lotteries the NFL is now embracing often prey on African-Americans, the poor and the poorly educated. Consider Texas, for example. This Texas Lottery Commission study shows black lottery players spend an average of $70 a month, while white players spend an average of $20 monthly; those with only high school diplomas spend twice as much on lotteries as those with college degrees; the unemployed as a group spend $40 a month, compared to $26 for the employed. Those making $39,999 or less annually spend $32 to $40 month on the state lotteries, while those making more than $75,000 spend $20 monthly. Part of the cynical nature of state-run lotteries is that substantial numbers of machines are physically located in lower-income neighborhoods -- especially convenience stores and liquor stores in poor neighborhoods. To top it off, considering the winner-take-all nature of top lottery prizes, the tiny number who win aren't even necessarily served -- studies show that as a group, lottery winners are less happy than the population at large. Lots of $1,000 prizes would be better for society than one $10 million prize. But the latter is what entices people into convenience stores to throw their money away, and now a taste of that money goes to the National Football League.*And as if that wasn't enough, there is zero proof that increased spending on education actually improves education at all.
|November 2013January 2014|
quote db for your amusement
WSJ.com: The Numbers Guy
carl bialik examines the way numbers are used, and abused
Yahoo! Finance: How Not to Ruin Your Life by Ben Stein
biweekly financial column by tv star and former economist for the u.s. dept. of commerce
A Bama Blog
"news and views from the right side of bama"
ESPN.com: Tuesday Morning Quarterback
weekly nfl column tastefully written by gregg easterbrook
Money, Matter, and More Musings
musings on money, personal finance, frugality, debt, and other matters
keeping a close eye on the opera browser
america's finest (fake) news source
awesomely hilarious celebrity news
a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language
WSJ.com: The Daily Fix
a daily look at the best sportswriting on the web
Campaign for Liberty
Campaign for Liberty
promoting and defending the great american principles of individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, free markets, and a noninterventionist foreign policy, by means of educational and political activity