Monday, 5 June 2006

Another sign of the apocalypse

My TiVo recorded NFL Live this afternoon on its own whim, but for some reason the show it ran around 2 minutes short and I was treated to the beginning of Jim Rome is Burning (a show I have mocked in the past under its previous, presumably untrademarkable title). But instead of Jim Rome, who I suppose is otherwise disposed with 6/6/06 approaching, I was presented with the balding pate of Jim Gray, the man who nearly rehabilitated Pete Rose’s reputation and spent much of the 2002–03 basketball season embedded in Kobe Bryant’s rectum. Oy vey.

Explaining the satellite trucks

The Duke administration officially reinstated the men’s lacrosse team today; Margaret Soltan greets the news positively.

While I agree the institution didn’t take the easy way out—something of a surprise to me, especially given the charges given the various and sundry committees convened by President Brodhead—I am rather unconvinced of the central premise that Demon Rum (and its relatives) is the scourge at the root of the “campus culture” problems of the modern residential college or university, either at Duke or anywhere else.

I particularly wonder whether the university will detect the difference between promoting the responsible use of alcohol with the neoprohibitionist agenda. Given universities’ general willingness to be deputized by the MPAA and RIAA already, adding MADD (née the WCTU) to the alphabet soup would be another easy—but wrongheaded—step.

RHCP: Petty plagiarists

BigJim alerts me to evidence that the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ latest hit “Dani California” is a rip-off of Tom Petty’s “Last Dance for Mary Jane.” I thought “Dani California” sounded pretty familiar when I heard it the first time, but I just chalked it up to RHCP imitating themselves à la Nickelback.

Abolish the conference?

Steven Taylor posts an interesting column on the strange beast known as the conference committee, probably the most secretive part of the contemporary legislative process in Congress. While I’m not sure I concur with Steven’s conclusion that conferences should be abolished, I do think making them more accountable to the floor of both the House and Senate, or instituting rules circumscribing the scope of the amendments that a conference committee can make to reconcile the two bills, would be a good thing.

Whole Foods as a fashion accessory

James Joyner has an interesting critique of a whiny piece from the New York Times Magazine on Wal-Mart’s entry into the organic foods market.

My general sense of the whole “organic foods” craze is that, like the $3 cup of coffee at Starbucks (or, better, the local “fair trade” coffee place), it is another way for the upper-middle class to avoid shopping with the riff-raff while proclaiming their moral superiority over those who can’t waste money on such accoutrements—in other words, the traditional conspicuous consumption of the well-to-do spackled with a thin layer of altruism.