Quick Hit-Hostess is lying about unions

Real quick hit. Hostess Brands is currently involved in a Bankruptcy action, and owned by a Private Capital Firm (or firms). The baker’s union is striking because they don’t want to accept an 8% pay cut. Hostess Management says that if the union doesn’t return, they will just close the whole company by going into liquidation.

CNN Money has that version of  things, and it has been widely reported from that perspective.

The problem with that? This story points out that the bankruptcy filings (before the strike) point out that management was planning on closing plants long before the strike.

What is probably really happening? The private capital firm wants to sell the IP of Hostess, which it can’t do unless the company goes into liquidation. I haven’t researched it yet, but likely, the biggest creditor for Hostess is the private capital companies. The bankruptcy court will order Hostess to liquidate, sell the IP (Twinkies, Wonder Bread, etc.) and the money goes to the private capital companies. This isn’t “job creation” this is robbery.


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The secessionists.

It all started so innocently. Some redneck posted a petition on the White House website asking to allow their state to secede. Then a bunch of other reactionaries did the same thing for their state. Pretty soon most states had a version of the petition up.

Most people on the left just did a facepalm and let it go. But someone thought of a much more clever response. They posted a petition of their own asking for the forcible exile (and stripping of citizenship) of anyone who signed the petition. I find this to be a perfect retort to the petitions.

My facebook post (and some comments):


<- My own reactionary moment.



<- My thoughtful moment.


The idea that our country should split up has been forwarded before—and I think I did I much better job at discussing the ramifications.

Clearly, since I have asked for a split in the country, I am not asking for everyone who has that thought to ACTUALLY be deported. What I want is an honest reckoning for our country. I am tired of the binary politics, of the anger towards the opposition from both sides, and most of all, of gridlock. Our founding fathers did not design our government with its separation of powers so that the government would not be able to act at all. They were trying to avoid the tyranny of a king (the threat they were escaping). They also were protecting the future against the rabble; the founders didn’t think particularly highly of the masses.

We need to have a new discussion. Maybe what I really want isn’t a divorce for our country, what I really want is couples therapy.


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A college football aside–the SEC isn’t NFL-lite

I hate college football polls. More than I hate Notre Dame (which is a lot), more than I wish Colt hadn’t been injured on our first drive in the ’09 Season “Championship” game. But, most of all, the thing I hate most is the BCS.

Some housekeeping. I am a Die-hard Texas Longhorn fan (alumni, technically—B.S. ’02 & B.A. ’05), and in all sports. I love college football more than the NFL, in every possible way. I have three teams that I actively hate—over and above Notre Dame—and I respect two of them, more on that some other time1.

The final bit of housekeeping, Texas A&M is good this year. There, I said it. It hurts, stings and makes the BurntOrange blood in me run cold. However, since they bolted for the SEC, I’ve realized that mostly I hated listening to A&M fans, especially the T-Shirt fans2, talk about how good they were before we beat the piss out of them year after year3

Texas A&M’s switch to the SEC was fraught with danger for the team. They had not been terribly successful in the recent past in the supposedly weaker Big-12 4. They had, in the previous ten years, managed no better than 3rd place in the conference5 and had played in the conference championship game twice in 16 years, losing once6. Their best national rankings in the last THIRTY years at the end of a season were a #6 and #8 finish back in the eighties7. They were, without any legitimate argument, a middling Big 12 team.

So, going the the SEC, which has been described as alternatively the NFL-lite, the best conference in college football, or just the toughest conference. Whatever. They are a conference with a collection of good teams, no denying that. They are a conference that legitimately produces a best-team-in-the-nation caliber team, year in and year out. But, they are not that super-great. According to a SEC fansite, in 2010, they went 5-4 in bowl games, and in 2011 they went 6-3. In neither year were they the conference with the best bowl record. They have the second most BCS appearances, and they do have the best overall conference winning percentage—among the major conferences, the Mountain West Conference is actually better.

The SEC has great games, between great teams. But, they play very limited out-of-conference schedules and rarely, if ever, have major out of conference match-ups outside of the bowl season. They only look good because they are playing each other.

But, in a world of ranking by polls, that’s enough.

The college football world, and really here, only the Orwellian-named Bowl Championship Division, polls are everything8. They are also a complete load of bullshit. The fact that there is a pre-season poll, and that poll is ridiculously inaccurate and yet still sets up how every poll after it looks, should be your first clue that there is a problem here. The polls are reputation based, completely9. This benefits some teams more than others, and the Texas Longhorns are clearly one of the big winners here. Any team, including the Longhorns, that regularly finish as a two or three loss team after being pre-season ranked in the Top-10 are getting their rankings based on their reputation. The Pac-12 gets screwed here too, because pollsters (many of whom live on the East Coast) never see their games. But, if you were ranked in the 10-20 range or heaven-forbid, unranked, you will not win a championship in this system because you will always be below one of the teams who pollsters are “comfortable” with being number 1.

So, SEC teams, who are well-thought of, will do well in a polling system. Their games are nationally televised by a major network, they are the “traditional” powerhouses and they will get to play lots of ranked opponents. But, those opponents are in their own damn conference. This isn’t how to determine how good they are on a national scale.

But, all of this will shortly come to an end.

The coming college football playoff system will end lessen the importance of polls. Starting in the 2014 season, a selection committee will pick the top four teams and have a three game play-off. You can quibble about the two best teams, but the arguments usually are going to be harder to make about the top four teams10. It’s at the very least a start. If we end up with another f-ing SEC vs. SEC championship, at least they will have earned that nonsense.

Combined with this playoff system, which will make champions a bit more legitimate—an eight team playoff, a certain eventuality, will finally make them truly legitimate—and the entry of a middling team from another conference, should finally crumble the myth of the SEC into history.

They will be forced to prove that they are as good as everyone says that they are. My take is that A&M’s success in the SEC11 shows that some of the SEC’s “dominance” is based on the echo chamber effect. They play each other, everyone assumes that all the teams are good, so the winner must be really good, they are playing “ranked” opponents aren’t they? But, when they have to play someone else, ehh, not-so-much. So, let’s see what happens when you have to earn it.

Unless of course they win every championship from here out. In which case, I will start watching more basketball.

UPDATE:  I found this article after I wrote my post. It pretty much says what I said. Except he gets paid to write his, so there’s more detail 😉

  1. Hate-Oklahoma, USC, A&M. Respect-ou and aTm, it’s gruding respect, what do you want?
  2. A T-shirt fan, for the uninitiated, is someone that takes an inordinate about of pride in a college football team, but did not go to that school. Not even for a semester. They tend to be the loudest, most obnoxious kind of fan. Alumni of even the worst offenders are always more respectful and serious about their teams and college football in general.
  3. A&M fans, I know that it wasn’t every year, just most years. 76–37–5 is all I am saying.
  4. The 1st place South Division finish in 2010 is overrated. They were ranked #19 in the country, and in a three-way tie for the division, and they didn’t own any of the tie-breakers. They were, admittedly far better than the Longhors that year who were ineligible.
  5. See previous note about the “1st” place finish in 2010.
  6. The year they won the conference championship game, they did lost to Texas, BTW
  7. However, like the argument is about to show, rankings suck.
  8. Every other division in college football has had a playoff system for years
  9. For a perspective of how polls effect a system with a playoff, I found this article on NCAA basketball. It’s not much, but it’s a thought starter.
  10. Of course, if your team is considered the fifth best team, you will argue pretty loudly that this sucks too.
  11. Let’s quickly deal with Missouri’s role in the SEC. I have no idea, other than to give them an even number of teams. They were even worse than A&M in the Big-12, and they are about as crappy in the SEC, currently 2-5 in conference and 5-5 overall. But, that in conference record makes them as good as the other cellar dwellers in the SEC. If the SEC was really worlds better, they would have been kicked around a bit more, IMHO
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Obama thanks Supporters

I have never been 100% happy with Obama as President. I think he could take a stronger, more strident, approach with the House Republicans, I would like more disclosure about the drone strikes, and I would like an honest appraisal of his administration’s role in the drug war. However, I have never doubted the man. It is strange to me that the opposition to him on the right is so often related to character attacks on the man, when from the left, that is so clearly pointless.

Barack Obama is a good man.

Watching this video of him thanking the Chicago campaign team, I am reminded of why I wanted him elected in the first place, and how lucky we are that he has been able to be the “stone in the lake.” It’s not the tears, it’s how his voice breaks that does it.

I am hopeful for the next four years, and more hopeful for what the ripples of his presidency might do.


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Quick update: Hutchison agrees with me.

This from an interview (first read here) with Kay Bailey Hutchison, someone I rarely agree with1:

“I just think people have personal beliefs, and what we need to do is fashion a party around the economics and the long-term viability of the economy of our country.  And I think when people start trying to go into such personal issues and then try to form a party around it, it’s very difficult.

And I think the Tea Party, for instance, started by focusing on the debt and the deficit and the fiscal cliff. And then, I think, it got all mired in other issues, the myriad of issues, that sort of muddled the message that we’ve got to do something about the economy.”-Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison

This was my point in the last post. The Tea Party isn’t about economics anymore, and maybe that’s because it never was.

Video embed:

EDIT: Horribly mis-spelled the Senator’s name. I am so sorry. Corrected.

  1. Except about football. Hook ‘Em and R.I.P. D.K.R.
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