So it’s been a while, eh? Needless to say, life has become a little crazier as I’m approaching graduation. Are things still up in the air? Yes. Are things still progressing and looking promising? I think so, I’m not too worried about it. Coursework and busy-work have also been increasing, leading to my lack of writing. For the next month or so, the writing will be infrequent. So I’m going to throw out a bunch of things in this post for kicks, and because I have a little time…
1) Watch the NBA playoffs! I only watch the NBA during this time of the year because they ALL TRY. And when athletes like these guys actually put forth energy and effort, it’s pretty amazing. I haven’t seen a lot, but what I have seen is good. Mavs-Warriors, for instance…
2) Girls need to stop wearing goofy sunglasses! I guess I don’t really know for sure if they believe they look good in them, or if they just like them because they’re “fun.” Either way, 99.8% of them look bad and/or strange. It’s fine if they want to have fun, I’m just telling the truth. I looked at my roommate Karl the other day and said “Karl, do you remember when girls actually wore sunglasses that made them look nice?” He replied “Yeah, those were the days…”
3) The same goes for those tank tops that only have one strap going over one shoulder. You know what ones I’m talking about. 99.8% of them = bad medicine.
4) I’m glad A-Rod is tearing it up! I don’t care what anyone says about him making a gajillion dollars and being a choke artist. How about 2 walk off HRs already, Yankees fans? Oh yeah, and he said he would take a pay cut to go to another team after the Rangers, and the players union didn’t let him! So there!
5) As I’m proceeding through my class, History of Economic Thought, a few things have occurred to me: 1. Both FDR and Reagan should be seen as good presidents, they’re not mutually exclusive. 2. I’m worried that both parties for the upcoming election will be about keeping the government as large as it is, or growing it. We are not in a current economic situation that calls for large governmental involvement! Especially with our lovely deficit. 3. Neo-Cons like G.W. Bush are not attractive to me. (Apparently he’s supporting discounts for medication for the elderly that will be subsidized by the government!?? Why? Someone please let me know if this is true) 4. Republicans are definitely right about one thing: Reagan was the man (Thatcher was sweet too), and established the foundation for the booms that happened after him. Clinton definitely rode that wave well.
6) Here’s to having Kenny Mayne back! I believe he’s only on once a week, but he’s the best ESPN anchor they’ve got right now…(I am king of the diamond! Bring me all of your finest meats and cheeses!!)
7) Here’s a video for all the CWC lovers out there. Kevin Cragg is the one attempting to teach.
I told you so! If you scroll down a few blogging posts of mine, you’ll see Todd Lickliter listed as one of the names I wanted Iowa to look at. Well, they did, and he’ll be announced as their new head coach today. I think this is a very good move, and I hope he can gather more recruits than Alford. Iowa was set to offer it to Vandy’s coach, but he withdrew. I don’t really know if I would’ve trusted that guy any way…
NCAA Championship notes:
1. I’m really disappointed that Ohio State lost. Other than Oden and Conley (at the end), no one else showed up, especially in terms of 3 point shooting, which was the difference in the game.
2. I don’t like Florida’s guys, but man can they shoot! Every time Ohio State went on a run, Brewer or Humphrey or Green would knock down triples and distance the them again…it was disheartening.
3. Oden dominated 3 guys!! 25 points, 12 boards, a bunch of blocks…Donovan kept throwing post players at him to “wear him out” as Billy Packer mentioned about 1000 times, and Oden held his ground, got all of them in foul trouble and didn’t allow anything in the paint. (I don’t know if there’s a Youtube video of this, but his two handed stuff of Brewer against the backboard was amazing/hilarious) Anyway, I hope he comes back for another season so I can watch him and they can win a championship (if Conley stays, too…)
4. I could’ve used a little more class from Florida after winning. From Donovan’s “we are the greatest team ever” to Noah’s “we’re doing it huge, man! Big! Don’t nobody know how we do it!” comments, no one spoke about how well Ohio State played…
5. I’m glad Billy Packer is out of my life for a long time.
This academic school year has thrown multiple different questions at me that I haven’t had enough time to thoroughly research in order to find some sort of stable understanding or position about what I truly believe. One of these subjects concerns government, where its responsibilities are and how it should be run. This one might be kind of long, so buckle up!
I’ve grown up in a distinctly conservative, Republican environment. Every member of my immediate family, including myself, would say that the ideals of the Republicans were the ones that we adhered to in most cases. In what areas were my personal views most significantly grounded in? The same ones that most card-carrying Christian Republicans pull out and say “Oh yeah? What about this?!”, namely abortion and gay marriage. I took these to the bank and checked out of a lot of political debate that has since caught up with me. Do I still side with conservatives on these 2 issues? Essentially. Are these extremely important issues being dealt with by politicians? One yes (abortion), one no (gay marriage). (I may have to rant about abortion on another post in the future. I hope that one day history will look back and frown upon one of the largest, most hideous genocides in world history. Established fact that should make you want to fight: 85-90% of babies who test positively (often falsely positive) for Downs Syndrome are aborted! This is not an overstatement)
Moving on…experiences this fall and late summer enlightened me to some concepts that I needed to consider before truly aligning myself with the Republicans. Reading and listening to Greg Boyd and Jim Wallis about approaching this topic solidified my need to step back as well. What I truly struggled with in October I continue to contemplate now. This is where I’d like to hear some analysis from the poli-sci lovers out there. I don’t know how the United States should, in this day and age, define the government’s role in society.
I believe that approaches to governmental influence clearly forms around the historical occurrences of the day. Our government was enlarged significantly when FDR stepped forward and provided programs during the Great Depression. Even as one who believes that less government = less conflict (call me an econ lover, it’s true), I cannot blame their administration because economic systems and adjustments were done according to the conditions they were dealt! They did the right thing for what they were encountering. I gotta love the Libertarians out there, but do you think anyone would’ve backed them or even thought of such a thing in 1931?
The large government template has continued and now Neo-Conservatives are digging into it as well. Bush has done anything but make our government smaller and less intrusive. But how should we define the government’s role for this day and age? We have boomed through the 1990s, slowed marginally early in this decade and have recovered since. Here’s the heart of my struggle: theoretical truth vs. practical importance.
Theoretically, I believe that lowering taxes and reducing the government’s size significantly is how our society should be run. What would I love for the potential fall out to be as this occurs? Significant jumps in donation and giving from citizens to organizations they support due to the increase in their disposable incomes. A realization and recognition of churches across the nation that they should be leading the way in providing for the poor, disabled and needy. The removal of governmental influence in terms of which organizations survive, and which die. Families and neighborhoods, rather than the government, taking responsibility for caring for the elderly and supporting them financially when needed. This is how it should be. But, in all practicality, how can I expect this?
Realistically speaking, our nation has a very mixed government and economic structure with many programs. The U.S. has an incredible amount of influence (which we have extended too far in some instances, and I’m not talking specifically about Iraq here). We have the ability to help a lot of people and a lot of situations. How can I fight against my money being given to the government to use to provide proper program development and support nations that are in need? Should not our government use the significance it has to pursue good in social justice problems? I say, use my money to pursue peace in fighting, struggling or developing nations!
But then, the logical next step is to use my money for those with serious issues here in the U.S. as well. How can I fight against raising taxes in order to provide assistance to the impoverished (which is being proposed in MN), or a hike to deliver universal health care for children under 5?? Theoretically, this stuff shouldn’t be needed due to the donations of those who have the resources, but in our day and age, there is such a dependence on the government that it seems nearly impossible to count on. I mean, if we did accomplish the small government that seems so perfect, can we really rely on our individualistic, comfortable society to deliver the means for caring for those in need?! Maybe, maybe not.
This is my problem. How it should be vs. where our government is today. After I start to settle this question, I’ll be able to move on to thinking about which side best approaches how our country is run correctly, and which individuals can faciliate the U.S.’s needs properly…Please enlighten me with your thoughts!
I’ve come to realize that a lot of issues that I’ve been contemplating can receive some good insight through discussion from the solid minds of those that read my blog! Therefore, look forward to 3 posts that have some heft behind them, at least in my opinion. There may be some sports posts sprinkled around them, but I think this’ll be really good. Two of them I’m still wrestling with, and the third will just be a lot of sharing of what I’ve come to recognize as truth in the last year.
(By the way, I’ve got Georgetown and UCLA tonight)
As most of you know, Steve Alford left Iowa for New Mexico after a mediocre 17-14 season and rumors of being on the hot seat. There were a few highlights in his tenure at Iowa: 23-9 last year, a couple of Big Ten Championship runs…but, all that being said, we had a total of 1 NCAA tournament victory under him in 8 years!! 1!!! I say, good riddance! I’m glad he left. In his wake, I’ve got some mid-major coaches that are solid prospects if we can get them.
Chris Lowery – Southern Illinois: 29-7 this year, 22-11 in 05-06, and 27-8 in 04-05. The guy’s a winner and he can recruit!
Mark Fox – Nevada: 29-5 this year, 27-6 the year before…he’s on a long contract extension, but that’s ok.
Todd Lickliter – Butler: 27-6 this season, 102-54 in the five seasons prior.
Iowa should go after at least one of these guys! Anybody got any other feasible candidates?
My eyes are pretty blurry after filling out multiple brackets this morning, and although I changed up what my brackets looked like pretty significantly, I’ve definitely got some motifs running through all of ’em…
1) I don’t trust Big 10 basketball. Purdue is hot, Wisconsin and Ohio State are pretty good, but definitely beatable. I’ve got some mini runs going with Illinois and Ohio State, but I think decent teams in the ACC, Big East and Big 12 can beat them. And Oden is overrated.
2) I really like Kansas this year. I’m not really sure why, and they may lose in the first round AGAIN and screw me over, but if they get to the sweet 16, they’ll be strong.
3) Duke will make it to the Sweet 16 and lose. Kevin Durant is really good. Iowa stinks. Air Force should be in over Stanford. In terms of #1 seeds, Florida has the easiest path and Ohio State has the toughest.
4) Lower ranked teams that I think can make runs: Louisville, Nevada, Winthrop, Georgia Tech, the Zags, Vanderbilt (from Dickie V) and Tennessee. Again, I don’t have very many specific reasons why I chose them…I also like Texas and Texas A&M, but they’re pretty high…
5) Here are the teams that I think can/will make it to the final 4 (collected from my many, many brackets…): Florida, Wisconsin, Butler, UCLA, Kansas, Southern Illinois, Texas, North Carolina, G’Town, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Louisville and Texas A&M.
If I’m only picking 4 teams I’m taking: Florida, Kansas, Georgetown and Louisville.
Who ya got?!
I definitely have mixed feelings about graduating this year, but I’m glad that I’m going out during a year of great men’s athletics at Bethel. Here’s what they’ve done so far…
Bethel Hockey: MIAC Champions with an 12-3-1 record in conference (17-9-1 overall) and a series of crushing victories in the divisional playoffs. They’ve earned an automatic bid for the class 3 national tournament and are playing their first game tonight in River Falls, Wisconsin.
Bethel Football: MIAC Champions with a 9-2 record (and a beat down of St. John’s at their place) and an automatic entry into the national playoffs. They lost in the first round of those playoffs, but still a great season.
Bethel Basketball: Finished 3rd in the MIAC with an 18-8 record and only a couple of seniors on the team. They lost early in the playoffs in an overtime contest.
I didn’t get to a lot of basketball games, but I’ve seen a lot of hockey recently and they’ve been killing people out there. If they win tonight the next round is in Green Bay on Saturday…it’d be a pretty tempting trip.
I hope all you alums are at least a little pumped about it…?
**Update** Bethel (the #14 seed in the tournament) beat Wisconson-River Falls (the #4 seed) 2-1 and now are playing at St. Norbert’s (the #1 seed) this Saturday night in Green Bay. The tournament is now down to 8 teams. I’ll be there with the Bethel crew, riding on a fan bus for 4+ hours both ways. It’s gunna be sweet
The link above is to an article I read recently for my History of Economic Thought Course. The paper is written by a Harvard University Divinity professor, and I really enjoyed the article and thought you guys might, too. If you want to read it before you read the stuff I have to say about it, that might be a good idea.
Cox is very clever in this text, making a lot of interesting analogies and seemingly one general, important statement. Essentially, he discusses how God in the religious world is similar to “the market” in the realm of economics. He does this through the analysis of similarities between the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent aspects of both the market and God.
This article has interesting insights into the power that we can and have given the market as knowing what’s best and as the end-all to any discussions about how economies should be approached. The market is not THE answer to all societal framework issues, and we shouldn’t let the market necessarily pervade every aspect of our lives. Nor should we openly disregard or oppress those believing in different systems simply because they’re stupid to ignore or think differently about the almighty market!
The general point of the article, I believe, is this. Don’t simply accept everything that our open market brings about, and don’t grasp it as the perfection of economics that no longer needs to be questioned. I’m not saying that it isn’t the best system practically that we have put in place. But it isn’t infallible. The market, as Cox mentions, may be going in directions we shouldn’t go…like trying to sell a whole village, as was mentioned in the text.
This text would make my econ professor a high priest and me interested in potentially being one of those people looking at insights as an intermediary!(p.4).
“The market wills it! It is the market’s will!”
Go say some Hail Friedmans.
On Monday I had the opportunity to see a Nuggets vs. Bobcats game in the Pesi Center in Denver, CO. I was out there with some roommates to go skiing and see my bro (I’ll put up some pics pretty soon), and decided it’d be fun to see another NBA stadium. I didn’t really expect anything spectacular or even a good game, but we definitely got one. Though the Nuggets ended up losing, it was close all the way to the end and was a great show.
The thing that surprised me was the play of Allen Iverson. He is, by far, the best basketball player I’ve ever seen…at least that night… Basically, he PLAYED HARD the entire game, which surprised me, and had some incredible assists and steals. Iverson also showed the most passion and excitement out of anyone on the floor. He put up 31 points, 8 assists and 4 steals that game and was anticipating everything that was happening. He was incredible…not to mention about 5 inches shorter than the rest of of the players. Apparently he knows how to turn it on even if he doesn’t practice hard all the time. Nathan, especially, should go see this man play.