in a perfect world of yancies: March 2006

31 March 2006

Wait 'til next year . . .

With apologies to any of you who also read the Jayhawk Nation blog, I wanted to share this clip of Sherron Collins in the high school All-American game; Sherron will be attending KU next year. Fun stuff.

30 March 2006

I highly recommend

The song currently playing here—from the Inside Man soundtrack—is excellent. I highly recommend listening.


28 March 2006

Feathers, Films, and Final Fours

I know you've all been wondering what Chris Lee and a friend of his think of the world of cinema; now you can find out, at the site Chris, I believe, writes as the foreman. Good stuff. But when will they offer their ringing endorsement of The Inside Man? We saw it over the weekend, and it was great—good bank-robbery plot; great acting, especially by Denzel; and some nice reminders that, as Manohla Dargis of the Times put it in her review, race of course matters, and this is a Spike Lee film. A-plus.

I suppose you've also been wondering about those Basehor chickens—well, Jesse's follow-up story ran in yesterday's Journal-World, with this cute headline: Law Ruffles Family's Feathers.

Finally, according to ESPN, only four people out of three million picked the Final Four correctly this year on their bracket challenge. Amusingly, one of them meant to pick George Washington instead of George Mason—read story. Although I would have liked to see KU advance, it has been a great tournament, with no 1-seeds in the Final Four, and this amazing George Mason making their run, as an 11-seed, through Michigan State, Carolina, and Connecticut. Damn.

22 March 2006

close to the ground

Earlier today, Chris sent a link to some Andy Griffith/Don Knotts highlights from the Onion AV Club. Later—yeah, I'm on break, okay?—I found one of the clips on You Tube. If you have a few minutes, this is well worth it:

21 March 2006

A quick thanks

I offer this brief thank you to the business establishments that made my birthday quite a treat:
Ten Thousand Waves spa sells some excellent piñon and juniper scented shower gel, which Emily was kind enough to get for me; terrific stuff.

And Liberty Hall gave me a free movie ticket to the film CSA, a pretty good movie by a local filmmaker, AND a free rental—we saw Hustle & Flow, an entertaining and uplifting story of a pimp who dreams big. . . .

Thanks; and if there are any businesses I'm forgetting, all apologies and thank you too!

20 March 2006

In other news

I know it's absurd and maybe not worth your time, but Jesse told us about a story he may have to work on which, in his words, a person could not make up: a family in Basehor, KS, keeps chickens as pets (illegally, for now at least); to facilitate this 'domestication,' the chickens wear, that's right, diapers. This photo is--no joke, I swear--from the website The story from the Basehor Sentinel is available here.

Weather revisited

Today's Journal-World does a nice job of summing up the point I've been trying to get across to people since last week's storm, namely that it really wasn't that bad, whatever the national media may have said. Here's a bit of the story:
For all the broken trees, shattered windows, fallen barns and days of cleanup generated by last week’s microburst in Lawrence, experts say the incident doesn’t rise all that high in the annals of natural disasters to afflict the city.

The ice storm of 2005 did more widespread damage to trees and roofs. The tornado of 2003 gutted whole buildings. The floods of 1993 and 1951 sparked years of rebuilding and huge, expensive projects to alleviate the effects of hard rains. The tornado of 1911 killed two people on its path through Old West Lawrence.

Sunday’s microburst “was definitely significant,” said Paula Phillips, director of Douglas County Emergency Management.

But injuries were minor, and destruction — while widespread — was mostly limited in intensity.

Oh yes she did.

Finally, I love that Candace Parker dunked twice in a tournament game—video is available here, courtesy of espn.

16 March 2006

it matches my text color on the blog!

Here's the fabulous t-shirt Magen, Dave, & Braxton sent (& no, I can't wait until the 19th to open such things; and no, I don't photograph particularly well--jealous?).

A funny article from the Peoria, IL paper has been posted to the Jayhawk Nation blog; I recommend it--though only if you promise, you KU fans, that you won't go & burn down your local Peoria embassy (Peoria, by the way, is where Bradley U, KU's first-round tournament opponent, is from).

Thanks, all.

15 March 2006

Lee vs Lee (plus a little Yancy)

What follows are some of the comments I've received regarding the McCain piece, from Chris and Deron Lee.

Chris (aka Leeroy; also aka, by Deron, CR):
I agree with Krugman. Nothing, however, could help McCain more at this point, than an attack from Paul Krugman of the New York Times.

I do think McCain is different than Bush. He is more responsible, and more seasoned. But he's super trigger happy (even more than Bush) and his goals are not mine. He's also carried Bush's water on Bolton and in attacking Joseph Wilson.

>I agree with Krugman. Nothing, however, could help McCain more at
>this point, than an attack from Paul Krugman of the New York Times

Great line, CR, and unfortunately true. I agree w/ Krugman most of the time, but he has little or no credibility outside the liberal intelligentsia.

You don't have to convince me not to vote for McCain, and Krugman is right, but basically all he's saying is, McCain is a conservative, and he's a politician (i.e. he often tries to have it both ways). Duh.

But compare McCain to most other pols (in either party) on honesty and integrity, and he comes out looking pretty good--there's no escaping it. And if we have to have a Republican president, he's the only one even remotely acceptable from a liberal perspective (unless Hagel or Giuliani run). He's shown a willingness to work with both sides of the aisle, is a moderate on most issues, and he generally votes his conscience--yes, he sometimes caters to the religious right but much, much less often than most in his party, esp. Bush.

Contrary to Krugman's rather dubious-looking source, he is among the least conservative Republican lawmakers, as my magazine's vote rankings demonstrate (click here).

Deron again:
I shouldn't have said in my previous message that Krugman's source is "dubious"--I went back and looked more closely, and it seems legit. (Why didn't Krugman list the credentials in his article rather than just giving a random link to an amateur-looking website?) I tried and failed to understand the methodology; I still think the qualitative evidence shows McCain is not especially conservative as GOPers go.

Ah, but McCain is super aggressiive on foreign policy. He is a neocon's neocon. I don't mean he's as irresponsible as most neocons seem to be. But he wants to go toppling dictators and wants to transform the middle east with our muscle.

I believe in having force for the threat of force. I don't want to buy,
and McCain wants to break.

I don't see where you get the idea that he's MORE trigger-happy than Bush. Yes, he supports the war, like every Republican. Yes, he talks tough, but isn't that necessary if you want to apply the "threat of force?" You hit the
key point with your acknowledgment that he's not as "irresponsible" as the neocons.

(YHD, I may have told you CR and I have been over this before. He believes Pres. McCain would have gone into Iraq, I don't).

I'm not sure I can speculate on what Pres McC would have done, but I certainly am put off by his willingness to work w/this plan retroactively to legalize wiretaps, as well as by his recent comments to the effect that military intervention in Iran must be seen as a live option (my source is, which has some trust-worthy looking links to transcripts of television appearances)--the attitude on security and foreign policy may not sound obviously "trigger happy," but I'm not sure I'd trust him with MY missiles.

(his 90% rating from the John Birch Society, as an aside, does nothing to foster confidence among Yancies.)

I suppose I should know better with respect to Krugman & the rest of the country, but I must hold out hope that if he keeps saying true things, eventually some of it will filter down (I do agree, DL--is that what I'm to call you? this initializing of yours has me all a-flutter--I agree, that is, that PK's citing of that weird website did little for his case). . . .

And as for honesty and integrity, well, I guess I just don't care for them--nope.

McCain talks a good game. And as a talker, that's fine with me.

What about campaign finance reform? His bill only dealt with soft money (which gave the republicans a huge advantage) as if that were the root of all campaign finance problems. For all his heavy breathing on campaign finance in 2000, he only works on soft money?

from washington post:

*The Arizona senator was full-throated in his support for Bush on Iraq, Iran and even the now-defunct Dubai seaports deal. In doing so, he continued to establish his bona fides as the Republican most likely to defend and extend the president's controversial foreign policy record.

*from the 2000 campaign:

*Q: What area of international policy would you change immediately?
A: Our policies concerning rogue states: Iraq, Libya, North Korea-those countries that continue to try to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. I’d institute a policy that I call “rogue state rollback.” I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically elected governments.

*I think this highlights how he's MORE trigger happy than Bush. He thinks the only thing wrong with the Iraq invasion was its execution. The execution was just part of the problem. He - like other neocons- are pushing the old communist talking point of "the aims were true, but it just wasn't properly executed."

From the amount of times I've seen him huffing and puffing on foreign policy on tv, I am certain that he's more eager to start shit in the middle east. Iraq wasn't his mistake. If he gets elected, he will feel emboldened to remake the middle east - just without all the bush/iraq screw ups.

from the nation:

*In late September, as Bush's presidency tailspinned, McCain headlined a dinner of conservative intellectuals sponsored by /The American Spectator/ magazine. "Campaigning with George W. Bush was one of the proudest moments of my life," McCain declared. He downplayed his differences with Bush over immigration. (Both support a temporary-guest-worker program, but Bush wants illegals to return to their host countries after six years, while McCain advocates a "path to
citizenship.") He railed against government spending and urged a hard line on Iran and North Korea. "McCain spoke fervently and with obvious sincerity about how much he admires Bush and the job he has been doing," wrote Michael Barone of /US News & World Report/.
He's a lot more fun when he rails against the religious right. "The proudest moment" of his life?

I think the Bush administration now realizes that the army is overstretched and they can't invade Iran or North Korea. That's why the administration is working the diplomatic angles. They didn't have time or patience for diplomacy in the first term, but now they have no other choice.

I'm convinced McCain wants to be the guy to take down Iran and or North Korea. We like a maverick when he attacks Bob Jones. Do we like him so much when he tries to overthrow other leaders, no matter how loathesome?

I'm not trying to paint him as crazy. I just think that is his passion.

Deron, with the last word (although, dear reader, the debate continues in my inbox, I must by now have given you plenty to object to: feel free to comment and steer us all toward the truth):
I more or less agree; I wouldn't vote for McCain over any Democrat I can think of (maybe Leiberman, but probably not even him). I'm just saying he's no extremist--in a perfect world populated by Yancies he would be, but in our world he's not. The only Republicans I like better are Giuliani, Hagel (maybe) and a few of the northeastern blue staters. But I doubt any of those are going to run, and they wouldn't get the nom. if they did.

I like McCain because he genuinely cares about getting policy right (even if we don't always agree with his conclusions), he doesn't toe the party line, and he understands nuance. Honesty is important (duh) because it allows for open government; if Pres. McCain had wanted to invade Iraq he wouldn't have relied on faulty intelligence to talk us into it, and so we could have had an honest public debate on the merits. (Sorry, I just love these hypotheticals).

As I said, reader, your insight is priceless; please feel free to comment.

13 March 2006


Okay, I've decided to toss my qualms to the wind and offer this Times Select Op-Ed column for the sake of those readers out there who a) lack access to the Select pieces and/or b) insist on liking John McCain. Enjoy:

March 13, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist
The Right's Man

It's time for some straight talk about John McCain. He isn't a moderate. He's much less of a maverick than you'd think. And he isn't the straight talker he claims to be.

Mr. McCain's reputation as a moderate may be based on his former opposition to the Bush tax cuts. In 2001 he declared, "I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us."

But now — at a time of huge budget deficits and an expensive war, when the case against tax cuts for the rich is even stronger — Mr. McCain is happy to shower benefits on the most fortunate. He recently voted to extend tax cuts on dividends and capital gains, an action that will worsen the budget deficit while mainly benefiting people with very high incomes.

When it comes to foreign policy, Mr. McCain was never moderate. During the 2000 campaign he called for a policy of "rogue state rollback," anticipating the "Bush doctrine" of pre-emptive war unveiled two years later. Mr. McCain called for a systematic effort to overthrow nasty regimes even if they posed no imminent threat to the United States; he singled out Iraq, Libya and North Korea. Mr. McCain's aggressive views on foreign policy, and his expressed willingness, almost eagerness, to commit U.S. ground forces overseas, explain why he, not George W. Bush, was the favored candidate of neoconservative pundits such as William Kristol of The Weekly Standard.

Would Mr. McCain, like Mr. Bush, have found some pretext for invading Iraq? We'll never know. But Mr. McCain still thinks the war was a good idea, and he rejects any attempt to extricate ourselves from the quagmire. "If success requires an increase in American troop levels in 2006," he wrote last year, "then we must increase our numbers there." He didn't explain where the overstretched U.S. military is supposed to find these troops.

When it comes to social issues, Mr. McCain, who once called Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "agents of intolerance," met with Mr. Falwell late last year. Perhaps as a result, he is now taking positions friendly to the religious right. Most notably, Mr. McCain's spokesperson says that he would have signed South Dakota's extremist new anti-abortion law.

The spokesperson went on to say that the senator would have taken "the appropriate steps under state law" to ensure that cases of rape and incest were excluded. But that attempt at qualification makes no sense: the South Dakota law has produced national shockwaves precisely because it prohibits abortions even for victims of rape or incest.

The bottom line is that Mr. McCain isn't a moderate; he's a man of the hard right. How far right? A statistical analysis of Mr. McCain's recent voting record, available at, ranks him as the Senate's third most conservative member.

What about Mr. McCain's reputation as a maverick? This comes from the fact that every now and then he seems to declare his independence from the Bush administration, as he did in pushing through his anti-torture bill.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Guantánamo. President Bush, when signing the bill, appended a statement that in effect said that he was free to disregard the law whenever he chose. Mr. McCain protested, but there are apparently no hard feelings: at the recent Southern Republican Leadership Conference he effusively praised Mr. Bush.

And I'm sorry to say that this is typical of Mr. McCain. Every once in a while he makes headlines by apparently defying Mr. Bush, but he always returns to the fold, even if the abuses he railed against continue unabated.

So here's what you need to know about John McCain.

He isn't a straight talker. His flip-flopping on tax cuts, his call to send troops we don't have to Iraq and his endorsement of the South Dakota anti-abortion legislation even while claiming that he would find a way around that legislation's central provision show that he's a politician as slippery and evasive as, well, George W. Bush.

He isn't a moderate. Mr. McCain's policy positions and Senate votes don't just place him at the right end of America's political spectrum; they place him in the right wing of the Republican Party.

And he isn't a maverick, at least not when it counts. When the cameras are rolling, Mr. McCain can sometimes be seen striking a brave pose of opposition to the White House. But when it matters, when the Bush administration's ability to do whatever it wants is at stake, Mr. McCain always toes the party line.

It's worth recalling that during the 2000 election campaign George W. Bush was widely portrayed by the news media both as a moderate and as a straight-shooter. As Mr. Bush has said, "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

Copyright 2006The New York Times Company

that's some wind; that's some win

Here's the view out our bedroom window; yeah, that trunk on the left used to stand a little straighter . . .

the storm was pretty serious, but we're fine, and Lawrence made it through much better than places in MO and IL . . .

some trees, however, didn't make it

and a brick wall was blown right onto this car

the Replay just doesn't look the same without windows; here's hoping they're on their feet again soon

these last 4 pictures are courtesy of the Lawrence Journal-World; for a full gallery of storm pictures, click here

also, I just love the play of Julian Wright; so please enjoy this video of him helping KU win the Big 12 tournament championship; you might also notice a crawl along the bottom of the screen, indicating that the storm damage was so serious on campus that they actually cancelled today's classes.

11 March 2006

birds & babies

So Aaron's been in Venice lately, and he's put some videos up, including one of a pigeon attack . . . all of which reminded me of my visit to Venice many years ago, and of my attempt to make the pigeons love me; keep in mind, in terms of quality, that this is a photo of a photo (we have, alas, no scanner).

and Magen & Dave sent us a few photos of our handsome nephew Braxton, of which these are my favorites:

Braxton and his "Nanna"

great-grandpa Larry helps B. out

Mimi & Braxton

08 March 2006

funny because it's true?

I've been for a while enjoying the Colbert Report, but last night's Word was especially good, so I thought I'd try to post it here; thanks, Colbert Report.

06 March 2006

um, hey baby

Mr Braxton

wouldn't you know it? most of the pics from the weekend are on Magen's camera; hopefully some will make their way to us in time . . .
anyway, good weekend--time with Mimi's grandparents, a hotel stay w/Braxton, and a rapidly-healing black eye from a fall here in Lawrence . . . fun for all

he and I

Even Garrison Keillor

Just a quick note: Garrison Keillor's column pushing for impeachment is worth a read, I'd say:
When the emperor has not clothes, it may be time for impeachment

cheers, and I'll try to post a couple more Braxton pics soon

03 March 2006

hats off!

Well, just minutes before Magen & Braxton got in, I finished the hat. Although he's not exactly a hat guy, he seemed okay wearing it earlier today:

Braxton in his new hat


more pictures will surely follow as we end our week with Braxton, Magen, and some St Louis folk . . .

And how about this: Max Falkenstein has broadcast KU basketball and football games for 60 years now (!); he has attended and broadcast every single game ever played in Allen Fieldhouse, the basketball arena built in 1955. He's retiring this year after an incredible career. In that same Allen Fieldhouse hang the jerseys of several former KU players, from Wilt Chamberlain to Danny Manning to Nick Collison; now, there's one more up there--here's some video:

thanks, Max