Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Is Oklahoma ok?

Two recent news items caught my interest this morning. The first is Slate's story about a study by the National Academy of Sciences that 1 in 25 criminal defendants sentenced to death in the United States are actually innocent. The other is this story about a botched execution in Oklahoma. As a result of the botched execution, Clayton Lockett "convulsed several times," spoke three times after prison officials tried to declare that Mr. Lockett was unconscious and according to USA Today eventually died of a heart attack 40 minutes after the execution began.

Friday, April 25, 2014

When a tattoo might mean trouble.

The poet Alan Ginsberg used the motto "first thought best thought" as his guiding principal on how to be a fearless writer. Should that motto apply when the writing in question is a tattoo?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A nice return on an investment.

In 1985, former Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl purchased the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team for $18 million. According to ESPN, Senator Kohl is now selling a majority interest in the team for $550 million. The Bucks had a record of 15-67 this year, which is the worst record of any team in the NBA. I know the value of an NBA franchise is not based entirely on the team's record but one wonders what price Senator Kohl could have gotten for the team if it had been good.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Being the champion and the nature of reality.

Given his love of basketball, I am a little surprised that Mr. Torvik has not already pointed out that our joint alma mater, the University of Minnesota, won the NIT men's basketball championship last night. Some might say that the Golden Gophers are one of two national champions in men's college basketball. Given that the other tournament, run by NCAA, contains 68 teams, others might say this means the Gophers are the 69th best team in the country. It's all a matter of perspective.