Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How to do a College Football Playoff

With all the hype over a college football playoff spouting up again because of the perpetually fucked-up BCS, I will dust off my own proposal.

Right now, there are 11 conferences and the Independents:

ACC, BigEast, Big12, Big10, C-USA, MAC, MWC, Pac10, SEC, Sun Belt, WAC, Independents (Notre Dame, Army, Navy, Western Kentucky).

That means 12 berths, assuming one from each is eligible with at least a 7-5 record. No 6-6 teams allowed. (Independents, that means you!).

Here’s how you do it:

The 11 conference champions and the best of the Independents get berths into the playoffs. Each conference can determine its own champion its own way, and the Independents will do whatever it is they will do.

Use a Power Ranking, or some sort of ranking among the 12 teams to determine seeds.

The top four seeds get first-round byes.

If a conference winner is not eligible, the 2nd-place conference team gets the berth. If no Independents are eligible, then the #5 team gets a first-round bye. The same would be true in the occurrence of the bizarre case of a conference having no eligible teams.

The 11 games are played elimination-style, each one at a bowl, and each one except the championship has to be at a neutral site if possible. No Miami in the second round in the Orange Bowl, or USC in the national semifinals at the Rose Bowl, thank you.

First round starts the week after the conference championships, meaning the second week in December, and one round is played per weekend. Each round has a pot of cash attached to it, and the pot is guaranteed to each team in each round, doubling each time, starting with $1M in the first round.

The semifinals and final will rotate between the Rose, Sugar and Fiesta Bowls. Orange, Cotton, Gator, and Holiday get the second round games, and the first round games are at locations TBD. The other 23 bowls can be for the also-rans, provided they all finish at least 7-5. No 6-6 teams allowed in the postseason.

EXAMPLE: Based on this season, if it ended today, and based on strength of schedule to determine ranks, it would look like this:

Big12: Texas, SOS 1, Seed 1
SEC: Florida, SOS 6, Seed 2
ACC: Florida St., SOS 12, Seed 3
BigEast: Cincinnati, SOS 29, Seed 4
Pac10: Oregon St, SOS 36, Seed 5
Big10: Penn St, SOS 44, Seed 6
MWC: Utah, SOS 54, Seed 7
Independents: Navy, SOS 56, Seed 8
MAC: Buffalo, SOS 75, Seed 9
WAC: Boise St., SOS 90, Seed 10
C-USA: Houston, SOS 92, Seed 11
Sun Belt: Troy, SOS 102, Seed 12

So the first round of games on Dec 13 with $1M to each team would be these:

8 Navy vs. 9 Buffalo
7 Utah vs. 10 Boise St.
6 Penn St. vs. 11 Houston
5 Oregon St. vs. 12 Troy

The second round of games on Dec 20 with $2M to each team would be these:

1 Texas vs. lowest remaining seed, Orange Bowl
2 Florida St. vs. 2nd-lowest remaining seed, Holiday Bowl
3 Cincinnati vs. 2nd highest remaining seed, Gator Bowl
4 Florida vs. highest remaining seed, Cotton Bowl

The semifinals on Dec 27 with $4M to each team:

Lowest seed vs. highest seed, Fiesta Bowl
2nd lowest seed vs. 2nd highest seed, Sugar Bowl

The championship on Jan 3 with $8M to each team:

Last 2 remaining, Rose Bowl.

Now THIS makes Sense!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

On Proposition 8

The balloting is done, and it appears that 52% of Californians believed in the lying hype put forth by the bigots who put forth this crock of a Proposition.

So what now?

Three lawsuits have already been filed with the California State Supreme Court to block it from being implemented. They claim that Prop H8 actually made a far-reaching amendment to the state constitution that requires approval by 2/3 of the state legislature, which was not done, and therefore is invalid.

While that may be true, here’s better courses to take.

First, the state course.

The wording of Prop 8, which only defines marriage in California as being valid between a man and a woman, has many state constitutional problems. First, it invalidates all same-gender marriages made between June 17th and November 5th, which by definition is an ex post facto law, which violates Article 1 Section 9 of the state constitution:

“A bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts may not be passed.”

An ex post facto law is one that has retroactive force. Prop 8 attempts to undo what was legally done. The Attorney General is trying to avoid this by saying that the state will honor those marriages, some 16,000 in all, but he can’t dodge the plain wording. Second, the ruling by the state Supreme Court is not in any sense overturned by Prop 8. The ruling was that Prop 22 was unconstitutional because it denied equal protection under the laws as specified in Article 1 Section 7-a:

“A person may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law or denied equal protection of the laws;”

Well, guess what, Prop 8 still does exactly that! It does NOTHING to overturn the state Supreme Court ruling. All it really does is create a constitutional conflict. The current equal protection clause says that same-gender couples can marry. Prop 8, which would become Article 1 Section 7.5 if enacted, would contradict that, but IT DOES NOT say that it is an exception to Section 7!:

“Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

And that exception is REQUIRED by Article I1 Section 26:

“The provisions of this Constitution are mandatory and prohibitory, unless by express words they are declared to be otherwise.”

Because no exception was made in Prop 8, section 26 is applied, meaning that Section 7-a remains fully intact, and the ruling by the state Supreme Court along those lines also stands. To resolve the conflict, Prop 8 must go.

So, in this case, opponents of Prop 8 have two strong arguments at the state level to toss Prop 8.

Second, the federal course.

In Colorado in 1992 voters enacted a state constitutional known as Amendment 2. It was an amendment to the state Constitution to prohibit all governments in Colorado from enacting laws or rules that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. The case found its way to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled, in Romer v. Evans, that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause prohibited such an amendment, and that homosexuals were considered a suspect class for discrimination, and more specifically that class-based legislation aimed at homosexuals was unconstitutional. That suspect classification was used as a foundation for the landmark Lawrence v. Texas ruling in 2003. Also, since the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Bill of Rights against the states, Romer applies to Prop 8 and is therefore unconstitutional. Also applicable is the landmark Loving v. Virginia, where the rejection of Virginia’s claim of equal denial of rights for both whites and blacks to marry each other is analogous to what the California Supreme Court ruled here. Even Planned Parenthood v. Casey addressed the issue:

“It is settled now, as it was when the Court heard arguments in Roe v. Wade, that the Constitution places limits on a State's right to interfere with a person's most basic decisions about family and parenthood,”

To say that marriage is not included in those most basic decisions about family would be ludicrous on its face.

And Lawrence itself gives the statements that make it a landmark and directly applies here, in its holdings:

“Petitioners’ right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in private conduct without government intervention. Casey, supra, at 847. The Texas statute furthers no legitimate state interest which can justify its intrusion into the individual’s personal and private life.”

Marriage is definitely such private conduct, and denial of the right to wed is definitely government intervention.

If the lawsuits go the federal route, this is the way to argue it.

Third, the state amendment route.

If the bigots can do it, so can we.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Post-election Thunks

After a long day of tracking, canvassing, and in general going ARGH!, the election is over. The new President-elect is Barack Obama, elected in a landslide, as predicted. More on that and its future here.

But I also was tracking ballot issues nationwide
and can’t figure this out at all:
  • Arizona voters got smart and voted to ban taxes on property sales or transfers, but then got stupid and banned gay marriage and shot down a Homeowners’ Bill of Rights.
  • Arkansas voters got really stupid and voted to allow idiots and the insane to vote (kid you not) and then banned unmarried cohabitating couples from adopting.
  • California voters…nevermind. We’re beyond fucked up here. Just call us Stupidfornia. We voted to build a railroad, ban gay marriage, give chickens bigger cages, and state mortgages for veterans. I voted no on all 12 propositions, so at least I can sleep well at night with enough booze to numb the pain. Now we'll see Stupidfornians riding the Springfield Monorail with free-range, hetero-only, married chickens to a veteran's house.
  • Colorado voters got stupid and shot down opening up union shops and banning mandatory union payroll deductions for state employees, but then they got smart and shot down five tax increases, the personhood amendment, saved TABOR, and added craps and roulette to Central City, Blackhawk, and Cripple Creek.
  • Florida voters had the sense to ban certain property improvements from being included in property tax assessments, but then they got stupid and banned gay marriage.
  • Iowa voters also got stupid and voted to allow idiots and the insane to vote. Must have been the Arkansas folks bussed in.
  • Louisiana voters got smart and voted down easing restrictions on blight to facilitate eminent domain takings.
  • Massachusetts voters got smart and decriminalized MJ, but then got really stupid and voted down a tax cut and voted to ban greyhound racing. 2000 hounds will need homes from that, adopt if you can, please!
  • Michigan voters got smart and passed MMJ.
  • Nebraska voters got smart and passed a discrimination ban. Colorado voters had one on the ballot as well but the totals aren’t in yet.
  • Nevada voters got really smart and passed a very tight eminent domain reform.
  • Ohio voters got smart and gave property owners their water rights.
  • Oklahoma voters pre-empted the PETA pukes and passed a right to hunt/trap/fish amendment (got 80% in the no-brainer vote of the year, why 20% voted against it is beyond me!).
  • Oregon voters got stupid and voted down deducting federal taxes from state income and refused to allow home renovations under $35K to not have a building permit (here in CA, we just ignore the permits and do it to code anyway).
  • South Dakota voters came to their senses and shot down its abortion ban.
  • And Washington voters got smart and decided to let people do us all a favor and let us help each other kill ourselves with assisted suicide.

There is no pattern here, save one: people are stupid.

Obama finished his victory speech with the traditional "God Bless America."

To that I add, "Gods Help Us!"