One woman’s opinion on Planned Parenthood

I have to share this link, from Real Fit Mama, for two reasons:

  1. It’s so well done.
  2. It’s written by a woman and, as a man, I feel I lack a certain authority on the services offered by Planned Parenthood.

The House of Representatives voted recently to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization that has long drawn the ire of conservatives because it provides abortion services. It would be really easy to dislike Planned Parenthood if that was all they did – which it’s not. The cut eliminates, according to ABC News, “about $330 million through the end of September for preventative-health services, including federal funding for contraception and cancer screenings, at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country.”

ABC points out that they’re already prevented by federal law from using federal dollars for abortion services. The cuts, then, take away money for, among other things, family planning and birth control. It’s a curious attack being launched by the Republicans. “We want to stop a clinic from doing something that is legal, so we’ll cut off funding to programs that would help them lessen the need for that legal thing we want to stop.”

As Maria Sparks points out in her post, this will – among other things – lead to more unplanned pregnancies and more families eligible for and in need of government assistance, and we know how those on that side of the aisle feel about government aid. It reminds me of a Ben Kweller lyric: “The fetal girl seems to be much more important / Than the baby girl that’s born…”

But again, I’m a dude. I’ve never used the services offered by Planned Parenthood. Here’s a female who has used the…you know…female health services offered by Planned Parenthood and that’s given her an educated take on what Planned Parenthood means beyond abortion. Please read what she has to say.


Friday-adjacent Soundtrack, or my Twitter-brush with celebrity

Posting a Friday Soundtrack on a Monday? Yep. It’s been like that the past few days around here. Let’s focus on the positive, though. Let’s just say Wow, two soundtracks in a week! This’ll be a great week!

Mike Doughty is the subject this time around. The former front man of unclassifiable late ’90s band Soul Coughing has been doing the solo thing since the band broke up in 2000 – day that will live in infamy for me – and it turns out I actually like the solo stuff better. My ears have been on a Mike Doughty kick lately, specifically his 2005 release “Haughty Melodic” and 2009’s “Sad Man, Happy Man.”

But it was a track off of 2008’s “Golden Delicious” that brought me as close to Doughty as I’ll probably ever be (he doesn’t hit Springfield much on tour). At work Saturday, just as I was going to break, his song “27 Jennifers” came on over the speakers and I Tweeted something about Doughty’s music making cupcakes taste better – which is true. My jaw dropped hours later when I checked my Twitter feed and saw that Doughty – an active and entertaining Twitter user – had retweeted MY Tweet. I usually play it cool, but I had a few geek-out moments after that.

Doughty’s music, just like Soul Coughing’s, is an acquired taste, and I seem to be the only person in my general proximity who has acquired it. Which, by the way, I take as an indictment of their tastes and not mine. His syncopated guitar playing is a signature of his music, and he is a solid lyricist – no doubt benefiting from the fact that he also writes poetry.

It wasn’t easy to pick a song for this week’s Soundtrack, so I picked two. This video features “I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress to Keep On Dancing” off of “Golden Delicious” and  “Year of the Dog,” from “Sad Man, Happy Man” – a two-in-one of Doughty awesomeness. Enjoy, and check out his Tumblr blog here.


Mental Break

Think warm thoughts.

Maybe they should change the baseball in the logo to a snowball?

There’s a lot of gray in this photo, from the steel gray sky to the dirty gray snow that has been plowed into a pile next to the concrete gray sidewalk. There’s some white, too. The unblemished snow piled up in the background, the white glass atop the streetlight. Then there’s the baseball in the banner hanging from the pole. And just down the road, a white “C” wraps around the Slugger Bird on that banner.

Let’s focus on that shall we? Soon we’ll be watching some gray-uniformed nine squaring off with white-clad Cardinals just half a mile from where I took this photo the other day, at Hammons Field. The Springfield Cardinals will play the St. Louis Cardinals in an exhibition game March 29. Springfield opens Texas League play at Frisco April 7 before the home opener one week later against those same Rough Riders.

That’s, right, Springfield…we’re a mere 63 days away from regular season baseball. Warm nights, cold beer, green grass, Redbirds. Hang in there.


P.S. – Tickets go on sale March 22.

Keep your hands off Nick Reed’s lightbulbs!

Glamour Shots!!!!!

See that guy on the far right? Don't mess with his LIGHT BULBS!

Today was one of those rare days I decided to listen to talk radio in the morning, and – boy – am I glad I did! I just happened to luck into a Nick Reed diatribe on KSGF and ended up reconsidering my opinions of the President of the United States of America.

Reed was all worked up over this story, where people are stocking up on incandescent light bulbs before compact fluorescent lamps, or CFLs, take over the shelves. Incandescent bulbs, as you may remember, are being phased out because of an energy law. Now, consumers must buy what Reed calls crappy light bulbs.

“I say crappy ones because I don’t like ’em,” said Reed. “God forbid we live in the kind of country where you can choose the kind of LIGHT BULBS we want.”

Some people concur with Reed’s disapproval of the bulbs, but only because the light isn’t is good, or they take too long to turn on, or there’s some concern with the bulbs’ small mercury content and the clean up involved if one should break. Not Reed.

“Quite frankly that doesn’t worry me nearly as much as the fact that we live in a country where we aren’t even gonna be able to buy the kind of LIGHT BULB that we want,” he said, later adding:

“Do you not understand what this says about our country? I’ve explained this before, but I feel like I need to explain it again. The reason I get upset about it is because it is something that should be so…such a small portion of our lives, yet the government feels to even dictate THAT. And, to me, when the government’s dictating things as insignificant in life as what sort of light bulb we want, that’s when you get real trouble.”

Incandescent bulbs will still be available, just with a different capsule, and that’s not good enough for Reed. Nor is it good enough for a whopping 13% of Americans who, according to an Osram Sylvania survey, will stock up on the incandescents – like it’s Russia in the 1980s. And we know who was in charge in Russia in the 80s, don’t we?

“What fantasy world are we living in? Light bulbs.”

That got me thinking: Maybe I should re-think this president. Maybe Reed is right, this incandescent prohibition is the start of a slippery slope to “real trouble.” What kind of man would do that? What kind of communist, nay, socialist would want to tell us what kind of light bulbs we can or can’t use?

Ol' Mr. Light Bulb himself!

President George W. Bush signs into law H.R. 6, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the act that had Nick Reed all fired up!

Oh, right.

“Today we make a major step with the Energy Independence and Security Act,” President George W. Bush said at the time. “We make a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, confronting global climate change, expanding the production of renewable fuels and giving future generations of our country a nation that is stronger, cleaner and more secure.”

The bill passed 264-163 in the House, with 36 Republicans for and 159 against. It passed 65-27 in the Senate. It’s worth noting that Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill both voted against it, while Kit Bond was one of only seven senators that did not vote.

Let’s not let our political memories get too short. This light bulb edict came on Bush’s watch, as did the first Troubled Asset Relief Program – and he said this past November that he’d do it again. You ever wonder why some independent voters like me say there just isn’t enough difference between Republicans and Democrats sometimes? Here’s Exhibit A. Admit it. You totally thought I was talking about Obama.


P.S. – I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the bump music for this segment – which aired shortly after 8 a.m. – was a song called “Pony” by Ginuwine. It’s notable for two things: 1) Spawning the “Dancing Alone to ‘Pony'” meme and 2) Featuring this suave line, “If you’re horny, let’s do it / Ride it, my pony…” It was a classic moment. Ginuwine sings “My saddle’s waiting / Come on, jump on it…” just as Reed gave us the winter weather advisory.

Lecturing…or as some call it, pleading

I make no secrets that, in my political soul searching during the George W. Bush administration, I have found myself to be a bit left-of-center. But I also strive to be an independent, non-partisan thinker, weighing each issue, each candidate, each vote I cast, on its individual merits. Think it’s easy?

No. It’s not. In an attempt to stay well-informed on both sides of the issues, I make it a point to consume both liberal and conservative media. The problem with that? Sometimes I get whiplash from having my head jerked from left to right so fast. Last night was a prime example.

President Obama literally walked across the street to extend an olive branch to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Feb. 7. The president and the chamber don’t see eye to eye, you see. In fact, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent more than $30 million in the last election, 93% of it – according to the New York Times – supported Republicans or criticized their opponents. This was a lion’s den of sorts for Obama.

Rachel Maddow blog screenshot

So how’d it go? Depends on who you ask. First, I watched The Rachel Maddow Show, where she told me that Obama, “true to his style, did not say that anybody was wrong. …The president is on the other side of the Chamber in this, but he is not calling them his opponent, let alone, his enemy.  Can the president win a fight that he‘s refusing to pick?”

Screenshot from The Blaze. Same story, different take. Like, really different.

Wow. So the big guy took it easy on the Chamber, huh? That’s what I thought, until I got online to look at Glenn Beck’s news Web site The Blaze. That’s where I found this headline waiting for me: “‘Get in the game’: Obama lectures Chamber of Commerce on ‘mutual responsibility.'” The article tells me that

“…the president’s remarks seemed to demonstrate a continuing divide between the president and the business community. Throughout the course of his speech, the President stressed that businesses owe certain responsibilities to the nation.”

The Blaze’s commenters were more direct. Calling Obama’s speech a veiled threat, without the veil.

There you have it. President Obama lectured and threatened the U.S. Chamber of Commerce while, at the same time, pleading with them and refusing to pick a fight.

Whiplash, y’all. Who got it right? Neither of them, I’m sure. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle…and I’d find it if my neck wasn’t so sore.


This’ll be the best Mother’s day EVAR!

I try and leave important things to the professionals…or at least those who know better than I do. Brewing beer and interviewing people who brew beer are better handled by someone other than me, and luckily they’re both happening here in the Queen City of the Ozarks.

The news that the old Butternut Bread factory on South Grant was being turned into a production brewery was the best beer-related Springfield news in…gosh…since Springfield Brewing Company opened in 1997? That’s a heckuva dry spell, pun intended, and it’s about to be snapped by Mother’s Brewing Company some time this spring. The company has been all over social media, with an informative Facebook page and an active Twitter account. Mother’s Brewing also has a Web site, but it’s bare bones for the time being, save for links to their social media presence and a place to sign up for their e-mail list.

But what about the actual beer? What about the men behind the Mother? The Midwest Beer Collective has posted an informative Interbrew with brew master Brian Allen, owner Jeff Schrag and sales and marketing man Jeremy Wicks.

For an even more local spin on local beer, gives us Beer Buzz, with local blogger and home brewer Ben Stange. Dude knows his stuff, so it’s with great interest that I’ve read his three updates on Mother’s, including a mouth-watering account of his personal encounter with three flagship beers: “Towhead,” and American blonde ale; “Three Blind Mice,” a darker, malty beer; and “Li’l Helper,” and IPA. Well, Stange didn’t actually try Li’l Helper, because the sons of Mother’s had drank it all themselves – a great testimonial to the quality of the drink, as Stange points out.

Stange has also posted a series of Q&As with the team at Mother’s, starting with Wicks, and followed – today as a matter of fact – by Schrag. I can’t wait to read the Q&A with Allen.

Even more than that, I can’t wait to put Mother’s beer in my mouth. So until you can wet your whistle with an actual Mother’s, make sure you’re whetting your appetite by Liking them on Facebook, following them on Twitter, and signing up for their e-mail blasts.

Spring can’t get here fast enough.


Friday Soundtrack, or Relax…it’s the weekend

Emiliana Torrini

Emiliana Torrini

How messed up has this week – with all its snow days and kids at home – got me? I almost didn’t post a Friday Soundtrack because I forgot it was Friday. Unacceptable.

This week’s soundtrack fell into my lap at work tonight, when I heard the soothing voice of Emiliana Torrini. I fell in love with her music about four years ago, mostly because of her angelic voice. The Iceland native blends elements of folk, electronica and pop together, and does so beautifully. Her 2005 album “The Fisherman’s Wife” comes highly recommended by me.

That’s what album this song, “Nothing Brings Me Down,” comes from. It’s a perfect Friday night song, as Emiliana coos “…Home alone and happy / Nothing brings me down / My love for you is ready / Nothing brings me down…”

Here’s hoping nothing brings you down this weekend. It’s Friday. Let’s relax, y’all.


Mighty MO State Football Recruits, snOMG Class of 2011

Mighty MO StateThe Springfield News-Leader’s Lyndal Scranton reported the #snOMG-delayed Missouri State football recruiting class is 17 deep so far, with coach Terry Allen expecting to add a handful more, once schools are able to dig out and get back in session. Here’s what we know so far about the future Bears of Mighty MO State.

Note: This list will be updated when necessary. Missouri State has received LOIs from 21 recruits. They expect to sign a total of 24.


All-American left tackle David Arkin is gone to graduation, as are center Erik Dahl, right guard Bob Shapel and right tackle Jake Duron. It should come as no surprise, then, that Allen has inked six offensive linemen so far, including a pair of junior college transfers. There are also big shoes to fill at quarterback – though Trevor Wooden is the heir apparent to Cody Kirby – and tight end, though the Bears are set at wide receiver and running back. Offensive signees are:

Charleston Antwine, OL (6-foot 4, 290; Wake Village, Texas; Texas High): Be sure to watch this right tackle’s highlight video. He’s listed there at 6-foot-6, 300, and he can motor (claims of a 5.0 in the 40). Several times on the video you can see him finishing a block at the line of scrimmage, then moving to the next level in pursuit of a block. Antwine was a second team all-district selection in 2010 and led his team in pancake blocks.

Robert Booker, OL (6-foot-2, 290; Ozark, MO; Ozark High): A familiar name to local football fans, Booker was a key member of Ozarks’ line in their wing-T offense. Booker was named all-Central Ozark Conference-Large Second Team and Third Team All-State by the Missouri Football Coaches Association last fall. He also earned Academic All-State honors. How brains-and-brawn is he? The News-Leader reported last fall that nearly all Ivy League schools had inquired about his availability.

Richard Darden, TE (6-foot-4, 220; Memphis, Tenn.; Ridgeway High): There’s a lot to like about Darden, including a big frame and good hands. The first clip on his highlight video is a jaw-dropper, as he catches a pass, fights his way out of a quadruple-team tackle, then sprints 65 yards for a touchdown. Wow. He’s also a basketball player, so he’s clearly an athletic get for Allen and the Bears. Ridgeway went 10-0 in the regular season and finished 13-1 in Darden’s only year of varsity football. He was selected for the 2010 Liberty Bowl High School All-Star Game. Darden has a great pedigree, as both his father and grandfather have played FCS football and earned all-America honors, for Austin Peay and Tennessee State respectively.

Emerson DePeel, OL (6-foot-4, 300; Bentonville, Ark.; Bentonville High): DePeel is a Class 7A all-stater, who chose MSU over Pittsburg State and Southwest Baptist. His Bentonville teams were two-time state champions. DePeel also excels on the mat, earning all-state honors in wrestling.

Robert Fields, WR (6-foot-1, 189; Memphis, Tenn.; Memphis East High): The first two plays on Fields’ highlight reel show great elusiveness and speed, as he takes a bubble screen between the hashes for a long touchdown, then uses great speed -and a well-placed stiff-arm – for what appears to be at least a 98-yard TD catch-and-carry. Fields looks taller than 6-foot-1 on tape. He’s lanky and does a good job stretching to haul in some high passes on tape. Fields caught 40 passes for 705 yards and 11 TDs in his senior season. Scout lists him an inch taller and he apparently drew interest from some SEC schools (Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi) as well as Memphis. Interesting note: A Story in the Commercial Appeal claims he was part of a quarterback rotation at Memphis East.

Kierra Harris, QB (5-foot-11, 190; Texarkana, Ark.; Arkansas High): I would’ve loved to found some video on Harris, who lacks in size but could be a great athlete at the quarterback position (he also plays basketball at Arkansas High), as at least one report referred to him as a threat with his arm and his feet.  Harris earned the all-Southwest Arkansas Offensive Player of the Year award and was a two-time Arkansas Class 6A All-State selection. He threw for 2,238 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior and rushed for 959 yards and 12 scores. His career totals were 5,500 passing and 1,500 rushing yards.

Ryan Heaston, RB (5-foot-11, 175; Cordova, Ten..; Cordova High): This is an intriguing sign for MSU. Heaston logged time at running back and wide receiver, and was a return specialist for Cordova (Missouri State also considers him a potential defensive back). His on-the-field stats are great: 146 carries for 1,264 yards and 15 TDs; 11 catches for 237 yards and a TD; eight kickoff returns for 261 yards; six punt returns for 215 yards and a touchdown. Those stats earned him the Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year award for the state of Tennessee. He was selected from over 2,000 players in the state for that award. Heaston was also selected for the Tennessee East-West All-Star Game, where he was a team captain. Heaston wows off the field, too, winning the Liberty Bowl/FCA John “Bull” Bramlett Award, given annually to the Memphis/Shelby County are football player who”exemplifies academic excellence, outstanding on-field performance, community service and Christian character and values on and off the field.” Heaston is a junior deacon at Oak Grove Baptist Church, usher and choir member. He’s also involved with FCA, Bridge Builders and Youth United Way and is a two-time state champion in three different track events. Wow. He’s also an all-state track performer in events including the 200- and 400-yard dashes.

Maddy Johnson, RB (5-foot-8, 165; Webb City, Mo.; Webb City High): Johnson is a player I had the privilege to see in person, and I can tell you that he impresses with his toughness as much as his speed (4.37 in the 40). Those qualities helped him gain 1,800 rushing yards and score 35 TDs as a senior. Johnson was the COC-Large Offensive Player of the Year and was named First Team All-State by the Missouri Sportscasters and Sportswriters as Webb City went 15-0 and won another state championship.

Jake Lasater, OT (6-foot-6, 300; St. Charles, Mo.; Francis Howell High): Another big-bodied lineman, highlight video shows Lasater lined up at right tackle. I loved watching this kid move his feet and run block on plays to his side. Lasater’s award sheet includes First Team all-Gateway Athletic Conference, First Team MSSA All-District and Second Team Class 6 All-State (Missouri Sportscasters & Sportswriters).

Patrick Morse, OL (6-foot-4, 275; Springdale, Ark.; Springdale High): Morse was part of a stellar group of linemen at Springdale. How good? Three of his linemates also signed Letters of Intent, to Arkansas, Arkansas-Monticello and Tulsa. Morse was named a 2011 Arkansas All-Star. Fitness shouldn’t be an issue for Morse. He played every snap for Springdale.

Randy Richards, OL (6-foot-5, 300; Royal Palm Beach, Fla.; Royal Palm Beach High; College of Sequoias): Richards comes to Missouri State from Royal Palm Beach (FL) High, by way of College of Sequoias…fitting for a man of Richards’ size. There’s an interesting trail on Richards, who apparently committed to Florida Atlantic (perhaps out of high school), but did not enroll there. He then committed to Marshall last February, but didn’t play there either. New  Mexico State also expressed interest in him. My best guess is he’d have two years of eligibility at MSU. Clearly has the size and talent to draw interest from I-A schools. Clearly he fills a need for MSU. Will he play here?

Clay Spruill, OL (6-foot-5, 300; Mt. Pleasant, Texas; Mt. Pleasant High; Tyler Junior College): Another 6-foot-5, 300-pounder, he comes from Mt. Pleasant, Texas, by way of Tyler Junior College. Spruill was named 1st Team All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference this past season. He has played right tackle – another area of need – in the past. I wasn’t able to get confirmation on what position he played in 2010.


This was a senior-laden group for Missouri State in 2010, with seven seniors starting in the regular-season finale. The Bears must replace a pair of defensive ends, three linebackers, and both safeties. There are lots of holes to fill, meaning lots of opportunities. There’s just one JuCo on this side of the ball, and he should have a chance to play immediately.

Dondelaro Crosby, LB (5-foot-11, 200; Leesburg, Fla.; Leesburg High): Small in size for a linebacker, though not a lot smaller than Nick Canavan, who made quite an impact as a freshman for MSU in 2010. Crosby was another player I couldn’t find much on, though the former sprinter recorded 120 tackles, three interceptions, nine tackles and four forced fumbles. He could play inside or outside for the Bears.

Nate Davis, LB (6-foot-2, 215; Liberal, Kan.; Liberal High; Garden City CC): Another fun highlight video to watch. Davis appears to have good speed and the ability to shed blocks and get to the ballcarrier. I’m particularly fond of the play that starts at about the 2:38 mark, where he submarines a blocker and – with the blocker on top of him – makes a tackle. Davis, a KJCCC Honorable Mention selection, picked Missouri State over Southern Illinois, thanks in part to his future position coach, Wayne Chambers. “He played at Oklahoma for four years, he’s coached a few years and that to me showed that he knew what he was doing and would bring a lot to the table,” Davis told The Garden City Telegram.

Corey Feagin, DE (6-foot-3, 230; Cedar Hill, Texas; Cedar Hill High): I couldn’t find much on Feagin, other than he was Honorable Mention in District 5-5A and drew some interest from FBS schools Syracuse, TCU and Texas Tech.

Josh Hampton, DL (6-foot-4, 265; Benton, Ark.; Bryant High): One thing my research on Hampton showed me was that this cat won’t smile for a picture – and he got a lot of them taken after a great senior year. He was a finalist for the State Farm Award for defense in Class 6A/7A after he was the leading tackler for Bryant High. He also played some offensive line, fullback and tight end, leading the WarHawk Report to name him a “Natural State Player to Watch” at tight end. Another page credited his athleticism as a reason he projects to a couple of different positions. Hampton finished last season with 104 tackles, 12 for loss, five sacks and seven pass break-ups. He has 4.7 speed.

Christian Hoffman, LB (6-foot-1, 210, Webb City, Mo.; Webb City High): MSU also lands the COC-Large Defensive Player of the Year, in Hoffman – also an all-state selection for the state-champion Cardinals. Hoffman recorded 125 tackles, including a pair of sacks, last season, while forcing three fumbles.

Rufus Sullivan, OLB/DE (6-foot-3, 215; Lebanon, Mo.; Lebanon High): Another local signee for Allen and I’m intrigued to see where he ends up playing. He’s got good height, but 215 seems a bit light for a defensive end. Sullivan was all-everything last season, as he averaged 8 tackles and 1 sack per game.

Bernard Thomas, DB (5-foot-11, 172; Blue Springs, Mo.; Blue Springs High): This is an interesting get for the Bears. Thomas’ play apparently earned him an offer from Kansas. Thomas, ,who runs a 4.4 40 and has a 35-inch vertical, visited Missouri, went to Arkansas on junior day, and took unofficial visits to Colorado and Oklahoma. His Rivals page claims offers from Arkansas, Kansas State, and Tulsa. Hopefully his time at MSU lives up to the high-level attention he got. Thomas was named First Team Suburban All-Big 6 and First Team AP All-State.

Jordan White, DL (6-foot-6, 280; Alma, Ark.; Alma High): Boasting 4.9 speed, White earned Class 5A all-conference and all-state honors for the Airedales of Alma. White is also an all-stater in track


Eric Christophel, WR/DB (5-foot-10, 170; Nixa, Mo.; Nixa High): Full disclosure: I’m a Christophel fan. I covered him as a high school junior and senior at Nixa and love the kid. His father, Rob, is the Bears’ offensive coordinator. In my biased opinion, Christo has a great motor and fiery competitive drive that will give him a chance to contribute at MSU…somewhere. A second-team all-COC selection as a wide receiver, Christophel is really a utility player – you can plug him in on offense, defense, or special teams. He caught 14 passes for 330 yards and five TDs for the Eagles last fall, while totaling 700 return yards and picking off three passes.


Bachmann for President? This is what’s so funny.

Over here, Michele!

S.E. Cupp thinks the idea of Michele Bachmann isn't laughable. I swoon at S.E., then respectfully disagree.

Full disclosure: I have a major crush on S.E. Cupp. I can’t really explain it…maybe it’s like that thing where the good girls have crushes on the bad boys. So even though I don’t have a lot of political common ground with S.E., I still follow her on Twitter, still tune in to shows I know she’s appearing on, and still wind up frustrated by her. Why do I keep falling for it every time?!?!?!?!?

So when Ms. Cupp Tweeted “My Daily News column today: ‘Bachmann For President! (What’s So Funny?)'” yesterday, I fell for her siren song once again. I gave her column a fair read, but still can’t figure out why I pay attention to anything she says. Michele Bachmann for President is both a laughable idea and my dream come true. (Can you imagine her debating with Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee? Comedy gold!)

Cupp feels that Bachmann’s political beliefs and personal story make her a perfect Presidential candidate – no more laughable than Huckabee or Tim Pawlenty. I contend that Bachmann is actually much more laughable as a serious candidate. Bachmann reminds me a bit of Palin, which is why I laughed so hard when Meghan McCain – my other political commentator crush – called Bachmann the poor man’s Palin. It’s absolutely true.

Both candidates are clearly shrewd politicians. They’re clearly skilled at rhetoric. They know how to fire up the fan base by feeding them a steady diet of red meat. But do they really know how the cow gets turned into the steak they’re serving their fans? I don’t think so. As a former coworker once said of a relative, “She doesn’t know what she doesn’t know!”

Bachmann’s public file is littered with missteps that  make it hard to take her serious. My introduction to her came when she accused the Obama administration of trying to move the United States away from the dollar and into using a “global currency.” I know nothing of economics, but even I knew how badly she misunderstood the issue. China wanting to use an international currency for its reserves and protect itself from inflation of the dollar has nothing to do with the currency you and I use to buy our groceries. A serious presidential candidate should understand that.

And that’s only the beginning of Bachmann’s botches. She opposed stimulus because we’re “running out of rich people” in this country. Even the Wall Street Journal, hardly a liberal rag, said she was off-base. Frank Rich said, basically, we’re not running out of wealthy people, those wealthy people are just running out of taxable income. Those are very different things. It’s worth pointing out here that, at a combined wealth of $1.37 trillion, the 400 richest Americans saw their wealth increase by 8% from 2009 to 2010, so they aren’t doing too bad, right? No need to sound the alarm.

Want more? I’ve got all you can handle. Since CO2 is a “natural byproduct of nature,” the threat of man-made global warming doesn’t make sense; Swine Flu only seems to strike when Democrats are in the White House…except for the fact it first hit when Ford was President, not Carter; the “Hoot-Smalley” Tariffs signed into law by Herbert Hoover are how FDR turned a recession into a depression. Etc., etc., etc.

She also provides plenty of political fodder for left-of-center moderates like me to get worked up over, like quoting an article that blames the 2008 financial crisis, in part, on President Clinton pushing “homeownership as a way to open the door for blacks and other minorities to enter the middle class”; she calls hate crimes legislation the “very definition of tyranny.” She’s also called for the news media to do a “penetrating expose” and take a look at the views of the people in Congress to see who’s “pro-America” and who’s “anti-America.” I assume, then, she’d want them to use her own standards to define both pro- and anti-America. As if she’s the one who gets to decide that for everybody.

Have I made a case here? Cupp, late in her column argues that “the staunchly conservative Condoleezza Rice does not attract such visceral animosity.” And I agree with that. I have no such disdain for Rice. Though I disagree with her, I find her to be a thoughtful, respectable person. Her appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart backs that up. I wouldn’t be so quick to laugh at her for having presidential aspirations.

But that is not who Michele Bachmann is. She is brash, outspoken, confrontational and – as I’ve shown above – wrong too many times to be taken seriously. That’s what’s so funny, S.E. But don’t worry. I still have a crush on you.


Who were those Bears?


This photo, courtesy of the Evansville Courier-Press, pretty much somes it up, right?

I’ve mellowed a bit in my 30s. I don’t get as worked up about my favorite teams as I used to (though I still really don’t like Wichita State). That said, I’m incredibly bummed about Mighty MO State’s 77-65 loss at Evansville Feb. 2.

This was the bad loss that the Bears had to avoid. All the good Karma they built up during the regular season is likely gone. Yeah, they snapped UNI’s homecourt winning streak, then went into the Roundhouse and knocked off the Shockers. Good things. But how could any Bears fan win a “What has MSU done to deserve an at-large bid?” argument with this loss at UE. I don’t care that the Purple Aces have now won four in a row. This is a game that Valley-championship, NCAA-caliber teams need to win.

But what’s really frustrating about the loss is that I didn’t recognize these Bears. Maybe that was because I had to watch it out of the corner of my eye while attending to a sick toddler, but a couple of things popped out at me as out of character:

1. Turnovers. Taking care of the ball has been a crucial part of Missouri State’s success. They coughed it up an above-average 15 times to UE, including some unforced errors (one was a traveling call in the lane that wiped off a bucket). The Aces made good use of those miscues, scoring 22 points off turnovers.

2. Weems Drought. Yes, the Valley Player of the Year in waiting finished with 16 points and 10 boards. That’s to be expected. The unexpected was his silence over the game’s final 16 minutes. He is Mr. Clutch for the Bears. They need him.

3. O-for-Leonard. For the first time in 38 games Adam Leonard failed to make a 3-pointer. Okay, whatever. That happens. People have off nights. What hurts is he was 0-for-3 from inside the arc and failed to get to the foul line. Leonard is a good ballplayer and a key offensive cog. When it’s not happening from the perimeter, he’s got to find a way to contribute somehow, and the foul line is a good place for him to do that. Oh, and he also fouled out.

4. Defense? The 77 points UE scored is the second-highest total allowed by MSU all season, second only to the 84 Oklahoma State posted in early December. What’s more troubling, though, is how they got them. The Aces scored 30 points in the paint in the first half alone. There are only 20 minutes in a half, so they scored more than a point in the paint per minute in the first half. The finished the night with 42, more than half of their offensive output. While the Bears were heaving up well-contested looks in the second half, the Aces were consistently getting good looks at the rim. Unacceptable for a team that prides itself on defense.

It’s even more unacceptable when you realize the Aces’ own Dunking Dutchman, Pieter van Tongeren, is the only player on the UE roster listed above 6-foot-9. MO State has three of them, in Will Creekmore (6-foot-9), Isaiah Rhine (6-foot-10) and Caleb Patterson (6-foot-11). There’s no way the Bears should get outscored 42-20 in the paint.

Missouri State is now up against it if they want to win the regular season Missouri Valley Conference championship – something Bears’ play-by-play legend Art Haines feels will be enough to get an at-large bid. The Bears must win out now, including a win over Wichita State on the final night of the regular season.

If the Bears can do that, they will either be tied with the Shockers or Northern Iowa for the regular season title (WSU and UNI square off in Frostbite Falls Feb. 12). Mighty MO State, with the sweep, would hold the hammer against the Shockers. If UNI is even with the Bears, then it goes to a comparison of non-conference schedule strength as calculated by The RPI Report. That may not end up well for the Bears.

But that’s getting ahead of things a bit. Missouri State needs to get its swagger back. They need to rediscover the identity that had them sitting pretty in first place just days ago. Of course, MSU coach Cuonzo Martin is way ahead of me, telling Haines on his post-game radio show that the Bears need to “get back to the basics.”

“It’s that simple,” said Martin. “Just doing what we need to do to be successful. It’s not so much getting caught up in ‘let’s win a Valley championship,’ but just playing the way we’re capable of playing, and then the championships will come.”

Mighty MO State is back home Saturday, Feb. 5, to host Indiana State. Tipoff is 2:05 p.m.


Required Reading

Loss to Evansville drops Bears into second place in MVC (Springfield News-Leader)

Aces hit their stride, stun Missouri State 77-65 (Evansville Courier-Press)