02 August 2016

2016 Eagles projected 53-man roster (training camp version)

The last two seasons (2014, 2015), I made predictions on the projected 53-man roster for the Philadelphia Eagles. Both seasons I correctly predicted 49 of the 53 final roster spots. Now that I feel comfortable understanding Chip Kelly's selection process, we get to start over with Doug Pederson. This is Andy Reid, Part II.

As I said last year at this time, the Eagles roster will undoubtedly undergo a number of changes between now and September due to any number of factors. A half dozen or more names could change. But if the team had to pare its current roster to 53 right now, based on players that the team currently controls, what would that roster look like? Here's my look as training camp is underway. The five players in bold are my last five (bubble) players.

QB (3): Bradford, Daniel, Wentz
RB (3): Mathews, Sproles, Smallwood
WR (5): Matthews, Agholor, Randle, Givens, Huff
TE (4): Ertz, Celek, Burton, Pantale
C (2): Kelce, Wisniewski
G (4): Barbre, Gardner, Brooks, Seumalo
T (3): Peters, Johnson, Tobin

DE (5): Barwin, Curry, Graham, Smith, Braman
DT (4): Cox, Logan, Allen, Martin
LB (6): Hicks, Kendricks, Bradham, Walker, Goode,
CB (7): McKelvin, Carroll, Rowe, Brooks, Mills, Rice, Shepard
S: (4) Jenkins, McLeod, Reynolds, Maragos, Watkins

P: Jones
PK: Parkey
LS: Dorenbos

Next five: Barner (RB), Vaitai (T), Tavarres (LB), Evans (CB), Countess (S).

27 June 2016

Ten post-hoc rationalizations for holding a new EU referendum

1. Since turnout was 70%, the 52% that voted to Leave didn't actually represent a majority of voters. [This is not how this works. This is not how any of this has ever worked.]

2. 52% is in the margin of error. [Polls have margins of error. Elections and referendums count actual votes. There is no margin of error.] See also: people lied to the pollsters.

3. A woman was interviewed on TV and said she had regrets about voting to Leave! [So? Voter regret has never been a valid reason for having a new election or referendum. This is not how this works. This is not how any of this has ever worked.]

4. 106 people on Twitter said something mean or racist! They're no different than Trump voters! [So?]

5. The stock market went down! [Yes, it did. You also noticed, perhaps, that the market was steadily increasing before the vote in the expectation of a Remain win. In fact, the FTSE is 10% higher than it was in February and higher than it was when the referendum was announced.]

6. Old people voted to take away the rights of the younger generation! [Generally, votes are not weighted according to age. Did you know many of those older people were the same ones who voted in 1975 to join the EU? You probably weren't alive then, or if you were, you probably couldn't vote then. If you did, you're one of those old people. Exactly how much should your vote be worth?]

7. 2 million people signed a petition! [Yes, 2 million online people did. Most of those two million people were probably among the many millions who already voted to Remain the first time. Many more of those people weren't eligible to vote anyways, or were trolls. Even so, the petition is worthless and is now being investigated for fraud. Even if 100,000 actual voters sign it, Parliament will debate the EU relationship starting today, which should be plenty to satisfy you.]

8. But Nigel Farage promised money to the NHS! [Yes, he did make a vague promise of returning money pledged to the EU; and yes, the Leave camp took this and ran with it and plastered it on the side of a bus; and yes, Farage later said he couldn't guarantee it. For reference, Farage represents UKIP, which has exactly 1 MP. Either way, if elections and referendums could be invalidated because of broken promises by politicians...]

9. Technically, the referendum wasn't binding! [Yes, you're right. How willingly would you embrace this argument if you were on the other side? If the people had voted to Remain yet Parliament voted to Leave?]

10. The UK government should renegotiate a new deal with the EU and then put it up for another referendum! [Have you been following the news? This was the basis for the first referendum. Anyways, the EU has said it won't deal again.]

Unspoken 11th post-hoc rationalization for holding a new EU referendum: We are enlightened and know better than the (pick one or more of the following:) old/racist/uneducated/ people who voted to Leave. Therefore we will do whatever it takes to undermine the legitimacy of the vote and do whatever it takes to justify overriding the will of the people; see #'s 1 through 10.

14 June 2016

On civility in political discourse

Part of the header on my blog says "promoter of civility in political discourse." I take that seriously. It's the standard I set for myself and it's what I expect of the people I associate with. This means forgoing the friendly confines of the echo chamber and engaging with people of all political persuasions. My list of friends and followers reflects that choice. I believe respectful discussion of issues from all different sides, especially sides we don't necessarily agree with, makes us all better because it exposes us to different perspectives and allows us to hone our own arguments. Underlying this exchange, of course, is civility.

The recent tragedy in Orlando has brought this approach into sharp focus. While most have continued to be civil, others have been less so. In particular, I am disappointed with incoherent attempts at arguments based solely in emotion, ignorant of history, circular in reasoning, and accentuated by ad hominem attacks. This does nothing to advance your position; it's quite the opposite. This does nothing to promote civility; it's quite the opposite. This does nothing to promote healing. It encourages the very echo chambers we ought to be avoiding. It does nothing to bring us together; it does everything to push us apart.

I welcome well-reasoned arguments in opposition. But please do so civilly. If you can't, I have no time for you.

13 June 2016

The Orlando shooting and the FDA's blood donation policy

I don't like the FDA. I really, really, don't like the FDA (but that's a subject for another day). Nonetheless, the FDA, as advised by the FDA Blood Products Advisory Committee and the HHS Advisory Committee for Blood Safety and Availability (now the HHS Advisory Committee for Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability), determined in December 2015 that it would only accept blood donations from men who have had sex with other men (MSM) if they did not have MSM contact within the last 12 months (the previous policy was an outright lifetime ban on such donations). It's unfortunate that such men who are willing to donate are not permitted to donate blood under the circumstances, but those committees that advise the FDA are made up of practicing doctors who specialize in these issues. They presumably have very good reasons for making these recommendations. Good medical reasons. You know, like science stuff. As much as I really, really, don't like the FDA, I trust the recommendations of these doctors more so than I trust the well-meaning recommendations of random people on social media. If you believe you have compelling reasons why the FDA should change course, I'm sure they've love to hear from you.

02 June 2016

Book Review: Sudden Mission by Guy L. Pace

My friend and fellow veteran Guy Pace is an author and I recently picked up the Kindle version of his first book, Sudden Mission. I don't often read fiction and I had no idea what this book was about! I don't write many reviews either, but I thought this one was worth it.

Sudden Mission is a story about a group of teenagers on a journey across the United States to complete a mission for God. I found myself reading the book in one hand while following along the journey on Google Maps in the other.  It's a Christian story set in modern times and designed for young adults. I genuinely enjoyed this book, probably more so because it is much different from the sometimes dense non-fiction that I often read.  As a result, it was easy reading and I finished the book in a few hours.

None of this detracts from the powerful message that Guy has interwoven into the story. The teenagers' friendship and relationship with God is pivotal to their mission. Most importantly, Sudden Mission is about their faith and how it guides their journey.

I'm looking forward to the next book: Nasty Leftovers!