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Texas Longhorns 2014

I guess I didn’t even bother with an overview last year (at least I couldn’t find it in my archives), but I’m pretty pumped this season:

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Charlie Strong has brought some absolutely necessary changes to the culture of the program, especially after what we’ve seen the last 4 years. I’m especially looking forward to the changes on defense now that Manny Diaz is gone after spending all of last season getting paid to do nothing (which technically he did in the couple of preceding years as well).

Texas finished the 2013 season 8-5, including a loss to Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. I’m optimistic and expecting a better record this season lead by better defensive play. I think there will definitely be wins against North Texas, Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, West Virginia and TCU. 

BYU will set the tone for the season, as it did last year (mainly because last year Manny Diaz’s defense was completely exposed by a QB with a bum knee). I expect the Longhorns to come out and punch BYU in the mouth. That should put the number of wins at 8.

That leaves Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and UCLA. I think Texas wins at least 2 of these games, though I’m not sure which ones, because honestly, I didn’t expect a team lead by Case McCoy to beat Oklahoma last year. That puts the total number of wins at 10.

Maybe I’m being overoptimistic, but I’ve been impressed by what’s going on with the football team this year. Can’t wait for August 30.

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We came across this plant while we were hiking up to Lower Dewey Lake in Skagway. Pretty interesting plant, especially to a former 4-H Forestry contestant and brief forestry major, so I took some pictures so I could identify it later. I finally got around to doing that today: Devil’s Club.

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Voter Error in Top-Two Primaries

This may not be the best time blog about elections, but I can’t offer any commentary on the issues in Ferguson, MO that hasn’t already been said, so I’ll stick with commenting on elections.

Fair Vote has conducted a study comparing voter error in California’s top-two primary to voter error in California’s ranked choice voting elections. The results of the study show a higher rate of voter error in top-two primary races. Specifically, Fair Vote found that California voters chose more candidates than they could vote for in top-two primaries, also known as overvoting:

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They also found a higher number of undervotes, i.e., when voters skip a race, in top-two primaries than in ranked choice elections - suggesting voters are more engaged in ranked choice elections.

Bottom line: of the two systems, ranked choice voting is better.

In other news, two consultants (one Democrat and one Republican) discussed their efforts to aid an independent candidate with the Sacramento Bee.

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lbjlibrary:

October 12, 1967. LBJ sends a telegram to the “Impossible Dream” Boston Red Sox, facing off against the St Louis Cardinals in the final game of the World Series. (Being a consummate politician, LBJ also sent one to the Cardinals.)
Alas, it was not to be. Sox fans would have to wait a few more years—well, 37 more years—to finally defeat  the Cardinals and win the championship. 
Photo: Carl Yastrzemski at Fenway Park, via Wikimedia Commons. 

Two of my favourite things: LBJ and the Red Sox

lbjlibrary:

October 12, 1967. LBJ sends a telegram to the “Impossible Dream” Boston Red Sox, facing off against the St Louis Cardinals in the final game of the World Series. (Being a consummate politician, LBJ also sent one to the Cardinals.)

Alas, it was not to be. Sox fans would have to wait a few more years—well, 37 more years—to finally defeat  the Cardinals and win the championship. 

Photo: Carl Yastrzemski at Fenway Park, via Wikimedia Commons

Two of my favourite things: LBJ and the Red Sox

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Apparently, Mark Strauss forgot that Texas was already a part of the United States (annexed in 1845) at the time of the Mexican-American War, so even without the Mexican-American War, this “what-if” United States would include Texas.

Apparently, Mark Strauss forgot that Texas was already a part of the United States (annexed in 1845) at the time of the Mexican-American War, so even without the Mexican-American War, this “what-if” United States would include Texas.

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Some pictures from Galveston’s Moody Gardens Aquarium and Rain Forest.  Very nice; however, I would recommend going on a weekday rather than the weekend (especially in the summer).

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Fundraising Number Fun in Texas

Living in Texas, I’ve followed - with obvious interest - the reporting regarding the recent fundraising totals in the gubernatorial race. The good news for Wendy Davis: she’s been raising money. The bad news for Davis: it appears she’s overstated how much she raised (Source).

The campaign originally claimed they had $13.1 million cash on hand, but it’s more like $12.8 million. The reason for the drop was Battleground Texas’ numbers (which Davis’ camp is apparently including in their total).

Aside from the discrepancy in claims versus the actual amount on hand, the real problem lies in the fact that she has $500,000 in in-kind contributions, including a $250,000 in-kind for a Willie Nelson concert.

Why is that a problem? Well, because she’s at a 3-1 cash on hand disadvantage, and the in-kind concert isn’t going to help you going to stay up on statewide tv and radio or help you do much of anything else (though I’m sure the concert was awesome - it was Willie after all).

The Texas press hasn’t really been that impressed with Davis’ campaign for things like what’s described above, and apparently neither is the Washington Post's Reid Wilson, who called Davis “the most overrated candidate this cycle.”

Speaking of fundraising, I wonder how much money the President raised while he was in Texas last week (that’s money that is flowing out of state rather than into Wendy Davis’ campaign coffers).

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Now if I could only take off from work and go.

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We made three stops in Alaska: Juneau, Skagway and Tracy Arm Fjord. Great experiences all around. We toured two breweries: Alaskan Brewing (Juneau) and Gold Rush Brewery (Skagway), as well as visiting other local brewpubs, such as Skagway Brewing for great local craft beers. We were the only people on our cruise visiting the state capitol (but given my interest, I have to see how things operate in other states). In Skagway, we met a dog sled team and their handlers, as well as hiking up to Lower Dewey Lake.  And finally, we got to see the awesome splendor of the Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord. Along the way we saw whales, harbor seals, eagles, etc. The cruise was nice, but when we come back, we’re going to do things on our own time table so we can experience more that Alaska has to offer.

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We had a great time in Seattle as part of our vacation.  We stayed two days in town (one day prior to our cruise and one day after). We got to visit Pike’s Place Market, the Underground, the aquarium and the Space Needle.  Lots of great food and awesome things to do. We’re already planning for a trip next summer, so we can experience more of the town, such as the zoo and some of the museums.

More vacation photo spam headed your way (this trip kinda inspired me to buy a new camera and maybe take a photography class).