Tuesday, September 30, 2008

All Five Tinleys

Introducing Malachi Wayne Tinley

Born at 10:26 p.m. on September 29, 2008, 7 pounds, 3 ounces:

Monday, September 29, 2008


No baby yet. Also, without playing this week, Vanderbilt is #19 in both polls and alone atop the SEC East.

Update: Game Day will be at Vanderbilt this Saturday.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sorry About the Length of That Last Post

It will be my last until the new baby comes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hold Up

Yesterday I wrote about a Louisiana State Representative's proposal to pay poor people not to have children and to pay wealthy people to have more. I referred to the idea as a "watered-down version of a Nazi-style eugenics program." This prompted the following comment:

A far closer parallel to anything smacking of a Nazi style eugenics program is the current ongoing holocaust of abortion that everyday destroys the lives of unborn children. If the idea of paying women to have their Fallopian tubes tied is morally repugnant, where is the moral outrage at the unrestricted killing of unborn children?

I rarely respond to commenters on this blog, but I wanted to respond to this one because I think it's indicative of a larger trend. First, to respond to the comment:

1) As I have already said, there is no lack of "moral outrage" at abortion. If you regularly visit any political blog, you'll run across such moral outrage on a daily basis.

2) Abortion is not at all a "far closer parallel to anything smacking of a Nazi style eugenics program." The Nazis sought to eliminate certain groups of people that they had deemed undesirable. The Louisiana representative's plan seeks to reduce the population of a specific demographic. It deems certain persons less worthy to reproduce than others and suggests that society would be better off if we had fewer of "those people." Abortion, by contrast, is available to all people, regardless of income level or any other demographic factor.

The commenter's strong opinions on abortion don't bother me so much; what bothers me is that he brought abortion into a discussion that wasn't about abortion. (I guess it wasn't exactly a "discussion" either, but whatever.) He seems to suggest that "moral outrage" is not warranted for any offense that he considers less morally repugnant than abortion. It's as if he's saying, "You have no right to be upset about this unless you are first and foremost upset about abortion."

I'm guessing that the commenter doesn't even know my feelings on abortion, because I rarely write about them. I generally avoid the topic of abortion on this blog for two reasons:

1) Lots of people talk about abortion. I have nothing to contribute to the discussion that isn't already being said elsewhere.

2) I have never seen a constructive and civil discussion of abortion on the Internet.

Here's my issue: I don't understand why abortion came up in the first place. Never in my post did I mention abortion, and my intent was not to compare abortion to the proposal I was upset about. (Since beginning this post, I've said as much in the comments.) This insertion of abortion into discussions that aren't about abortion seems to happen with some frequency on the Internet. It happened to me on my old Corrupt Generation blog whenever I talked about the death penalty, and it happens all the time on sites such as Beliefnet and Politico, regardless of the political, religious, or social issue that is supposedly being discussed.

Here's the thing: Plenty of bloggers and commentators talk about abortion all the time, and there is no lack of Internet forums in which to discuss abortion. I just don't understand why people keep injecting abortion into what should be unrelated discussions.

Apparently, 1999 Saturns Have Forgiving Bumpers

My little Saturn has been hit twice in as many days, in both cases while waiting at a red light. This morning a large vehicle—I didn't get a good look at it before it sped away—ran into the car immediately behind me forcing that car into me. The force of the impact suggested a few hundred dollars of damage, but my little old car had neither scratch nor dent nor any other blemish on its rear bumper. (As it were, my car brought an end to this chain reaction by not rear-ending the car in front of me. This probably has something to do with my manly calf muscles pressing down so firmly on the brake pedal.)

Yesterday, I was sitting at a long stoplight and the large vehicle in front of me grew tired of waiting and decided to trick the sensors by backing up. (I say that the vehicle grew tired of waiting; in reality the vehicle's driver grew tired of waiting.) The driver didn't notice the little car sitting behind her and hit my front bumper with her trailer hitch. Her assessment of the situation: No damage was done, and we could both move on. My assessment: There is a very small but noticeable dent in my front bumper, and the driver of the offending car was in no position to decide whether the damage was significant. Still, I can recall three occasions when I scratched or dented neighboring cars in parking lots. In call three cases, the owners of the cars that I hit decided that the damage was too minor to report; neither the police nor my insurance company are aware of these incidents. So I decided to pay it forward and not worry about the dent. Besides, my car is too old to warrant wasting a morning going back and forth with police and insurance agents.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh Dear

Whenever my inner Republican convinces me that we need to shift power from the federal government to the states, I run across something like this. A state representative in Louisiana is proposing a watered-down version of a Nazi-style eugenics program. From The Times-Picayune:

Worried that welfare costs are rising as the number of taxpayers declines, state Rep. John LaBruzzo, R-Metairie, said Tuesday he is studying a plan to pay poor women $1,000 to have their Fallopian tubes tied. . . .

It also could include tax incentives for college-educated, higher-income people to have more children, he said.

Especially frightening are the dozens (perhaps hundreds) of commenters who think that Rep. LaBruzzo—who, incidentally, serves the district that once elected David Duke—is on the right track.

Troy Anthony Davis Granted Stay of Execution by SCOTUS

Good news:

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a stay of execution for Troy Anthony Davis less than two hours before he was to be put to death by lethal injection.

Davis’ family and supporters, who for years have pressed for a new trial on claims Davis is innocent, broke into tears and song when they learned the high court had at least temporarily postponed the execution.

I hate that they always wait until the last minute, but good news nonetheless.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Tennessee Isn't Alone in Executing Potentially Innocent People

Read about Troy Anthony Davis, who is scheduled to die tonight in Georgia, here and here and here.

The Onion on Healthcare

DENVER—After years of battling crippling premiums and agonizing deductibles, local resident Michael Haige finally succumbed this week to the health insurance policy that had ravaged his adult life. . . .


Large Hadron Collider Disappoints

First, it failed to create a black hole that would suck up the entire planet and obliterate all traces of humanity, and now it's broken for two months.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Real Turntable

Meyer: I want a turntable for Christmas. A real turntable.

Mommy: How about a real CD player?

Meyer: No. I want a turntable. I will not take no turntables. That's not an option.

Mommy: Do you know what a turntable is?

Meyer: What?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Kids Like Daddy's Old Songs

Family Pumpkins

Drawn by Meyer on envelopes and taped to the wall:

Friday, September 19, 2008


Blogger's been out all day, so I haven't been able to tell you about the dream I had where George W. Bush asked me to be his running mate—even though I'm legally not old enough to run and don't agree with on much of anything. Maybe later.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Political Gaffe Too Awesome to Ignore

If you talk as much as a major presidential candidate, you're bound to accidentally misspeak from time to time. I won't give Barack Obama any guff for saying there are 57 states; and I won't give John McCain a hard time for saying that Iraq bordered Pakistan.

But Sarah Palin's recent blunder, as the title of this post suggests, is too awesome to ignore. From CNN.com:

“We’re going to do a few new things also,” she said at a rally in Cedar Rapids. “For instance, as Alaska’s governor, I put the government’s checkbook online so that people can see where their money’s going. We’ll bring that kind of transparency, that responsibility, and accountability back. We’re going to bring that back to D.C.”

There’s just one problem with proposing to put the federal checkbook online – somebody’s already done it. His name is Barack Obama.

In the grand scheme of things, Palin's gaffe isn't that big of a deal, though she and McCain probably need to rethink their assertion that Barack Obama has accomplished nothing in Washington.

Haumea Is Our Fifth Dwarf Planet

The International Astronomical Union yesterday "announced that the object previously known as 2003 EL61 is to be classified as the fifth dwarf planet in the Solar System and named Haumea." Welcome to the family, Haumea (how-MAY-uh).

I'm a little disappointed, nay, appalled with the lack of Haumea coverage from major news sources. If nothing else, I can usually count on CNN to make a dwarf-planet naming one of its lead science stories. I had to find out about this from Wikipedia.

Actually, I didn't even realize that astronomers had identified a fourth dwarf planet, but they have, and they recently named it Makemake. (That's MAH-kee-MAH-kee, not "make make.") Our roster of dwarf planets is now (in order of proximity to the sun): Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, Eris. Eris and Pluto are the largest, followed by Makemake, Haumea, and Ceres, which is really just a glorified asteroid between Mars and Jupiter.

In other astronomical news, "astronomers may finally have recorded the first image of a planet orbiting a sunlike star beyond the solar system." This planet is eight-times larger than Jupiter and eleven-times further from its sun than Neptune is from ours, so ain't nothin' livin' there. But still.

Ichiro Gets 200th Hit for an 8th Consecutive Season . . .

. . . and in so doing ties Wee Willie Keeler's 107-year-old record. I hate that Ichiro, one of his era's most interesting and incredible players and a master of the lost art of the infield hit, is stuck on such an awful team. The one year that Ichiro's Mariners were really good—2001, his rookie season when they set a record with 116 wins—the team was overshadowed by 9/11 and Barry Bonds hitting a record 73 home runs. Anyway, congratulations are in order for my favorite baseball player, even if he is on a last-place team.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tennessee Makes Voting Extremely Difficult for Out-of-State College Students

According to this NPR story and this article, Tennessee state law has no love for college students who are interested in exercising their right to vote. Tennessee is one of two states (Idaho being the other) whose law says that "students who don't affirmatively plan to live in the state after graduating cannot be residents for voting purposes." In other words, out-of-state students cannot register to vote in Tennessee unless they somehow demonstrate that they will remain in the Volunteer State after graduation. (I have no idea how one legally goes about doing such a thing.) Essentially, out-of-state students either drive home on Election Day, arrange for an absentee ballot, or don't vote.

Tennessee also makes it difficult for Tennessee students who study out of state to vote as Tennesseans. State law says that "first-time voters who register by mail are required to vote in person, making absentee voting impossible for students attending distant schools to vote in their hometowns." Again, Tennessee is one of only two states to have such a restrictive policy. (Michigan is the other this time.)

At some point, our state legislators decided to make voting as difficult as possible for college students who study outside their home state. Not surprisingly, Tennessee was among the "states with the lowest voter turnout among 18 to 24 year-olds in the 2004 presidential election."

At least one of these policies has to change before 2010. We must decided that a) a student becomes a resident in the state where he or she attends college and may vote as a resident of that state OR b) a student who attends an out-of-state college remains a resident of his or her state of origin and should be permitted to vote absetee even if he or she is a first-time voter OR c) a student studying outside of his or her home state should be allowed to declare residence in one of the two states and vote in that state without restriction. Voting is too important to be subject to so many constraints.

It'd Been Years Since I'd Played Super Mario Sunshine

Meyer has gotten into the habit of waking me up early in the morning and forcing me to play old Nintendo Game Cube games.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Vandy's place in this week's AP poll.

Obama Waffles: I'm Disappointed in My Fellow Middle Tennesseans

By now, you may have heard about Obama Waffles, a novelty item sold at the Family Research Council's Value Voters Summit. Basically, a couple guys from Franklin, Tennessee sold boxes of waffle mix depicting Obama "as a racial stereotype on its front and wearing Arab-like headdress on its top flap." Three things:

  • First, while I would hope that no voter would be swayed by a box of Obama Waffles, several voters have been swayed by racism in general, and several of Obama's opponents—including these two guys from Franklin—have used racism and false rumors that Obama is a Muslim extremist to their advantage. But plenty has been written elsewhere about racism in this year's campaign, so I'll move on to the next item.

  • "Waffles" refers to waffling, or being inconsistent on policy positions. Flip=flopping. Apparently, each box of Obama Waffles details ways in which the candidate has waffled. I'm on record as not being bothered by waffling, and I don't doubt that Obama has been inconsistent on some issues, but McCain supporters are in no position to cast stones at someone for flip-flopping. McCain has altered his stance on the Bush tax cuts, campaign-finance reform, and Roe v. Wade, among others, and has spent the past two years re-inventing himself to gain favor with the conservative base of his party. (Maybe I'm assuming too much. Maybe the two guys in Franklin aren't McCain supporters at all and are also developing an equally tasteless box of McCain Waffles. Maybe.)

  • I'm especially bothered that Obama Waffles were on sale at a "Value Voters" summit. I would think that honor, respect, and not being racist would be values that value voters could get behind; but I could be wrong.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Enjoy . . .

Hat tip: Purrington

Nashville Coaching Legend Recovering From Car Crash Gets Lead Story at ESPN.com

While I was sad to learn earlier this week that former Lipscomb basketball coach Don Meyer had suffered severe injuries after his car veered off the road on the way to a retreat with his team at Northern State in South Dakota, I was glad to see Meyer get the lead story on ESPN.com's college basketball page. Andy Katz pays tribute to the Nashville coaching legend:

Still, despite the horrific state he was in, with every minute waiting for help the potential difference between life and death, Meyer was still coaching.

No one expected anything less from the consummate "coach's coach," as he is termed by countless disciples. Meyer, entering his 37th season as a head coach, has 891 career wins and is just 11 wins shy of the all-time leader, former Texas Tech and Indiana head coach Bob Knight, who retired last February with 902 wins.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Worth Checking Out

And I Even Got a Photo Credit

Check out my latests article for the United Methodist News Service, "University Sees Positive Signs, Despite Economy." (It actually ran Monday afternoon; I'm just now getting around to linking to it.) It's about the financial outlook for Africa University, a United Methodist-related school in Zimbabwe, where the inflation rate has reached several million percent and where a bottle of Coke costs about three trillion (basically worthless) Zimbabwe dollars.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Do You Have Problems With Preschool Teacher Turnover?

We do. As soon as one of our kids gets comfortable with a preschool teacher, that teacher—almost without fail—leaves. I don't know that a semester has gone by during which one of our kids hasn't had to adjust to a teacher leaving abruptly. I don't know if this inconsistency is having a negative effect on my children's development and ability to form meaningful relationships, but it can't be having a positive one.

Monday, September 08, 2008

The Most Merciless Drubbing in Sports History

Slovakia beat Bulgaria 82–0 in a women's hockey pre-Olympic qualification game (James Mirtle via Deadspin). Click here for the boxscore.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Open Hearts Don't Gamble

I learned yesterday that United Methodist Communications (UMCom) has terminated its relationship with Buntin Group, the company responsible for the Igniting Ministry "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors" campaign, because of Buntin's work with the Tennessee Lottery. I applaud UMCom for having done so. The United Methodist Church and its predecessor denominations have long been opponents of gambling because of biblical teachings on stewardship and not being motivated by a love of money along with the obvious damaging effects of gambling on individuals and families. I don't know that all UM agencies are so discriminating when selecting the companies they work with; if they aren't, UMCom is setting a good example for others to follow.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Presidential Election Odds and Ends

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Quick Question

When was the last time Vandy was ranked in football?

Thursday Twittering

I've been doing a lot of Twittering tonight for someone with only seven followers.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

"Thunder" Is Now Official

The former Seattle Supersonics are now officially the Oklahoma City Thunder, possibly in honor of the great Thunder Jones. Those who follow the NBA have known for several weeks that this would happen, but I was hoping they'd change their mind before making it official. Then again I can't think of anything more exciting, so I probably shouldn't even be blogging on this subject. (Someone suggested the Oklahoma City Slickers. That would've been slick. The Oklahoma Joads also would've been nice.) I suppose I should be happy that they didn't keep the Supersonics (they signed an agreement not to), thus becoming the latest NBA team to relocate and end up with a geographically inappropriate nickname. I'm talking to you Los Angeles (Minnesota) Lakers, Utah (New Orleans) Jazz, and Memphis (Vancouver) Grizzlies.

Let's Leave Bristol Palin Out of This

If you don't know that Sarah Palin's seventeen-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant, you haven't been following the news, and I envy you. The Palin pregnancy was even the lead story on Entertainment Tonight yesterday. (I only know that because ET follows Jeopardy.)

For many of Palin's supporters, this unplanned pregnancy is simply an opportunity for Bristol not to have an abortion, thus bolstering her mother's pro-life credentials.

For many of Palin's opponents, Bristol's out-of-wedlock conception points to her mother's shortcomings as a parent and to the failures of the abstinence-only education her mother supports.

Both approaches are out of line. Using a seventeen-year-old girl as a pawn in a nasty game of election-year politics is dehumanizing and unacceptable. I agree fully with what Barack Obama had to say on this subject. Too bad his message didn't get through to many of his surrogates (or adversaries).

Also—and this is where I become part of the problem—does anyone know if there is any truth to the rumor that Bristol Palin was named for the city in Connecticut that is home to ESPN's headquarters? I know that Governor Palin dabbled in sportscasting back in the late eighties. (She had awesome hair but mispronounced the name of Purdue's basketball arena.)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Meyer At the Movies

Read Meyer's thoughts on Clone Wars here.

  • I think I'm going to wait at least a year before I again take Meyer to a movie theater. That, or I'm going to bring a car seat so that I can strap him in. To Meyer's credit, he was able to stay relatively quiet for all 98 minutes of Clone Wars; I don't even think many people noticed him dancing on the floor at the front of the theater. (As it were, I know for a fact that, by the time I was Meyer's age, I'd sat through the entirety The Muppet Movie and Empire Strikes Back.)

  • A quick word to George Lucas: If you're going to make an animated Star Wars movie aimed at children, you better find a way to work Chewbacca into the story. I don't think the artistic vision of a movie about rescuing Jabba the Hutt's infant son whose kidnapping had been arranged by Jabba's flamboyant uncle would be compromised by a quick trip to Kashyyyk. I'm just saying.

  • Matinee prices at Regal Cinemas now end at 3:00, rather than 6:00. Also, a small popcorn is now $5.75; and, when you go to the movies with a four-year-old child, the concession stand is hard to avoid. I know that prices at the movie theater are easy targets for complaint, but it's reached the point where Ashlee and I have to work extra hours or pick up freelance assignments to justify investing in an afternoon at the movies.