A little reviewing of the weekend reading list. Looks like the dayjob will have me buried in coding, Census results, and some presentation work that may or may not spill over to the blog. So enjoy the condensed takes while they last …
» TNR: Slice the Demographics Any Way You Want, But Obama Is In Trouble (Bill Galston)
This is pretty much where I’m at these days. And that may not be much of a shock since I tend to track pretty closely to Galston on a variety of matters. Regardless, I find it difficult to suggest that demographics alone are going to be a savior for Obama. Or at least as much as sometimes get suggested. This is well worth reading for a different tangent on the Center for American Progress’ big report that suggests that demographics are at least a bit of a crutch for Obama.
» The New York Times has two-thirds of their three-parter on the late Derek Boogaard (Part One,
Part Two). Part three should be online late tonight or early tomorrow. So far, there’s been a fair amount of insight that’s been new – namely how Derek handled the transition to the higher paychecks of the National Hockey League. The insight from some of Boogaard’s connections to the Houston Aeros (Asst. Coach Matt Shaw and former Wild exec Tom Lynn) are also pretty interesting.
» NY Times: Some Cities Object to Being Carved Up by Redistricting
This is primarily a read on how Salt Lake City gets sliced up in Congressional Redistricting, but the overtones are certainly felt elsewhere. If the San Antonio court’s version of the Congressional map for Texas holds up, Austin’s situation seems to be resolved quite a bit more to city leaders’ expectations than the lege had done to it.
» NY Times: Health Official Takes Parting Shot at ‘Waste’
Two things: a) It’s not clear to me that Donald Berwick is really referencing anything that can be fixed legislatively despite his insistence that it is government regulations are to blame, and b) it’s not clear to me that the overly expensive “health care reform” that’s gradually being enacted will have much impact on the matter. Much of what Berwick seems to bemoan are the generic levels of duplication, over-testing, and over-prescribing. That’s not quite the same as saying “Here’s where money is going down the toilet” with regards to the Medicare and Medicaid programs that he oversaw for the past year and a half. If there’s anything specific that could impact those expenses, it’s just not covered in the story, which seems more about the fact that Berwick gave an interview rather than the particulars of what he was interviewed about. Details, please!
» NY Times: The Education of a Quarterback
» AZ Republic: Kevin Kolb’s triumphant return a big stepping stone for the streaking Arizona Cardinals
Somewhere in the wailing and moaning of a lost perfect season for my Coogs, I resigned myself to the fact that I might at least have the joy of watching Aaron Rodgers play some lights-out football in the Packers’ quest for a perfect season. And that came within 58 seconds of being challenged by the NY Giants on Sunday. But as bad as Saturday was for the Coogs, Sunday was a bit more thrilling with Kevin Kolb putting together a solid second-half of football that looked like the Kevin Kolb I recognize from his days as a Coog, plus a nice finishing drive by the Packers to keep their record spotless. Considering what the Coog loss left us with, I’ll take it.
» The New Yorker: Monday Night Lights: How Jon Gruden became America’s football coach.
I honestly do not watch a great deal of Monday Night Football since I have a general aversion to ESPN (which is insanely strange considering my addition to watching sporting events), so I’m certain that I don’t have quite as much appreciation of Jon Gruden as this article requires. But even from the perspective of seeing how coaches adjust to something close to the real world. And I swear … I never sat through an entire viewing of The Great Santini, so I’m not sure where the fascination comes from. Maybe it’s just from the parallels in seeing how folks who watch the same games as I do, but get so much more detail out of it that intrigues me. That at least makes sense when you consider that I keep re-reading this piece from The Atlantic about three or four times a football season since it came out.
» Yahoo: Web an increasing tool to link campaigns, voters
An interesting read if you’re fine with the fact that it’s basically free advertising for folks like Google. There’s not a lot of depth here, but it still strikes me as odd how few local candidates are doing online advertising. The Parker campaign did a bit of pre-roll video ads combined with display ads on the same site for a dual impact. That’s not the most cost-effective buy, but the fact is that most folks selling the service are overstating the benefits while the campaigns that do tend to devote some resources to it aren’t too particular to follow through on seeing what they do get from the ads. I know I’m spoiled since that was one of my tasks with the Bill White campaign. But I’m really curious what it’s going to take to make local campaigns realize how cost-effective the medium can be.
» Chron: Manvel silences La Marque 38-35 to advance
Easily, the most rewarding sports news from the weekend. Two Klinglers are a win away from playing for a State Championship in two weeks. My tickets are already procured, regardless of who goes. Here’s what my viewing options are down to so far in the Final Fours:
5A-I … Southlake Carroll v Dallas Skyline … Fort Bend Hightower v San Antonio Madison. Odd bracket on the DFW side since Allen was knocked off by Trinity and Trinity was upset by Arlington Martin. This is the first time since 2003 that the season does not end with a champion that is either Trinity or a team that beat Trinity to advance in the playoffs. I’m pulling for a Skyline/Hightower matchup. If the other teams win out, I may just skip this game. If it’s Hightower vs Southlake, I’m going in full Hightower apparel to root against Southlake.
5A-II … Mansfield Timberview v Spring Dekaney … Port Arthur Memorial v Cibolo Steele. Cibolo Steele made it to JerryWorld last year. Great school and a nice success for a new school, at that. They’re easily one of the bright spots out of the extended San Antonio region. It’d be nice to see if they can repeat, but I’m not opposed to seeing teams that are new to me play for all the marbles.
4A-I … Hewitt Midway v Tyler John Tyler … Lake Travis v Pearland Dawson. Midway is the only school I’m not familiar with. Any of the other three would be some great viewing in Arlington. My sense is that the championship really comes down to Lake Travis and Pearland Dawson, though.
4A-II … Aledo v Corsicana … Manvel v Calallen. I like Manvel’s odds this weekend, but the reality is starting to dawn on me that the “reward” for such a win is to run into the buzzsaw that is Aledo. Aledo had to avenge their season-opening loss to Stephenvill to advance to the quarters and all-world RB Johnathan Gray is tearing up everything in his way. At least when he’s not getting ejected from the game. One step at a time. But it’ll be pretty danged nice to see Manvel in the Championship game.
There’s also a final four pairing in the 2A-1 bracket that has Tatum and Hempstead deciding who goes to the championship. That’s an interesting matchup of two teams I might like to see.