85: 8 Can’t Wait

The protests about racial violence by police departments is all around us. I saw some incredible protests in the UK and Hong Kong yesterday. I have been wondering, what does police reform look like? What should police departments do? What are protesters asking for?

It seems like the best answer is we want, at a minimum, a massive reduction in police violence. After all in 2019 and 2020 in the US, a third of all people killed by strangers were killed by police officers. That’s crazy.

So, there’s a good answer for how we could reduce the violence and killings. In fact, there are 8 specific policies that could be implemented at each police department. There’s even a website called 8CantWait.org which highlights these policies.

If a department implements all 8 of these policies, there’s lots of data that shows police violence will go down 72%. Seventy-two percent. That’s a pretty good start. Continue reading “85: 8 Can’t Wait”

Man throwing flowers instead of bombs

78: More Protesting and Rioting

Police + Public

We’re now five days away from George Floyd’s death and we’re getting to a better place. On Saturday all I saw was police officers using batons, tear gas and rubber bullets. There was a lot of pain.

Yesterday, at first I saw something different. I saw people coming together and some police joining in with protesters to express their stance against police brutality, and to show solidarity with the anti-racism movement.

Continue reading “78: More Protesting and Rioting”

Thoughts on Rubio

The season starts tonight for the Timberwolves.  As part of that, this will be a defining year for Ricky Rubio.  


His contract is up at the end of the year and he has already rejected a 4 year $48m offer.  For the other positions they have:

  • Center: Pekovic and Deng – both above average centers in the league
  • PF: Thad Young – an above average PF in the league
  • SF: Andrew Wiggins – predicted to be the next Tracy McGrady
  • SG: Kevin Martin – pretty good 

Ricky is supposedly the leader of that group.  Looking at that lineup, if they don’t do well, it’s probably his fault and his inability to impact games.  If they do well, it’s likely because he has a great season.  As Rubio goes, so do the Wolves. 

They way I figure this goes is one of two directions: 

Direction ONE: the Wolves do well, i.e. approach 35 wins and compete for a playoff spot.  In this scenario, I think they pony up and pay Rubio more money

Direction TWO: the Wolves are a lottery team.  In this scenario, they don’t resign Ricky and draft a point guard in the lottery. 

That’s my guess.  Any thoughts?


Andrew Wiggins Era Begins & NBA Season Bet

I’m excited for the NBA season to start. On Monday night the Twolves had their first pre-season game and it looks like Andrew Wiggins could be the real deal.  A summary of his performance from the blog post

Andrew Wiggins. There is obviously a player here. He led the team in minutes (32) and points (18). He took some poor 20 footers and wound up shooting 4-11 overall, but got to the line 10 times and made both of his threes. He also blocked 3 shots and grabbed 3 offensive boards. There is obviously stuff to work on, including getting stronger around the rim and ball handling, but there was a lot to like.

There’s also a good YouTube video of his action here: 

As we do every year, we place a friendly bet in the office for the season.  This year it’s between Niraj and Ian.  Here is how our teams are projected to do: 

  • Timberwolves: Projected 26.5 games won
  • Nuggets: Projected 35.5 games won
  • Pistons: Projected 35.5 games won

The bet we’re making with each other is whichever teams performs the worst relative to their projected win count, the loser buys the winners a lunch of their choice at Rio Grande.   Now, let’s get it started!


My Minnesota Vikings vs. Lions Bet

Niraj and I just made a bet.  The Lions are projected to win 9 games this season and the Vikings are projected to win 6.  We have a bet to see who wins more and he is spotting me 3 wins.  The loser buys the winner some football paraphernalia (max price $30)

Bring it on!

On a related note, I really want a website to exist that allows you to enter in a bet, a prize for the winner and a date for it to be resolved and then this app notifies you when that date comes.  I have so many little bets placed but I need something to keep track of them.  Somebody please build this.

Also related: the new Vikings stadium looks amazing.

New Vikings Stadium is Awesome

The Vikings announced a while ago that they would build a new stadium, but just this week they revealed what it’d look like – and whoa is it beautiful.   The new stadium will be one of the advanced, state-of-the-art facilities in the world.  Some highlights: 

Clear is the new retractable: 
There is no retractable roof, but it will be made entirely of cutting edge materials and glass that will make the roof and the sides clear. There will also be five clear pivoting doors that will be the largest in the world of their kind:


This will be the most versatile sports facility in the US, capable of hosting Final Fours, World Cup or MLS soccer, concerts, baseball, or Super Bowls. It will seat 65,000, expandable to 73,000 for the Super Bowl.

Total Baller
This is probably the coolest stadium I’ve ever seen. The innovation with the largest pivoting glass doors in the world, to the largest clear roof in the world and the first on a stadium in the nation, to the bowl that is level with the street as you walk in, to the modern lines and glass ceiling just combines well and works


Totally awesome.

Ponder is going to bring it home this weekend

Christian Ponder was pretty awful for a two-month stretch this year, but with 4 games left, the Vikes had to run the table.  At that moment, a funny thing happened. While Adrian Peterson continued going absolutely nuts against opposing defenses and Minnesota’s defense continued to step up their game, Christian Ponder got better. How much better? ESPN.com blogger Kevin Seifert puts it into perspective.

But after a disastrous Week 13 performance against the Packers, Ponder quietly turned himself around and had the NFL’s second-best QBR (86.8) over the final four games of the season, trailing only Peyton Manning. Over the second half of the season, Ponder’s QBR on third down — measuring not only passes but also his scrambles — was the league’s second best.

Yep, second best QB after Peyton Manning. I’ll take that.

You know you’re in Minnesota…

…when you open up a menu at a bar (Bunny’s) and you can order Walleye Fingers.

On another note, I didn’t know that the bar Bunnys in St. Louis Park got its name because the owner needed a sign and the sign maker had a spare sign with the name “Bunny’s” on it.  So he got it for cheap and that became the name of the bar.  Funny.

Yes, I’m excited for the Timberwolves

I’m a big NBA fan.  Each year i get excited to see how the MN Timberwolves do and i’m especially excited this year.

The only way to become great in the NBA is through the draft.  It’s the only way to get the true superstar and you need the true superstar to win a championship.  You have no idea when you draft Dwanye Wade or Kobe Bryant if they are going to be All-NBA or out of the league in 5 years.  Some players fizzle, some grow to superstardom – you never know.  But one thing you do know is that if a player becomes an elite player, the Timberwolves will NEVER get them unless they already had them.

This year i’m especially excited because we have two new rookies that could be the next players that set the league on fire.  They are Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams.

Both were drafted high (Rubio at 5, Williams at 2) and both were touted to be one of the best in their class.  How they will actually perform, nobody knows.  But i’m pretty frickin’ pumped to see Rubio leading fast breaks with Williams and Wes Johnson on one wing and Kevin Love trailing for 3’s and rebounds.

Check out this video. Just a few years ago people were talking about Greg Oden as one of of the best draft picks in recent memory.  The number two pick – Kevin Durant – was considered risky.  Well, here’s a video of him taken yesterday when he went absolutely insane.  I’m hoping some of that similar draft luck comes to the T-Wolves.



Congrats to the Twins

Well done twinkies!

The Twins dominated the Central Division in the first decade of the new century, winning or trying for the win in the division in seven of those ten years (’02, ’03, ’04, ’06, ’08, ’09, and ’10).

What gets me is that every year the critics pick the Twins to lose. Every year. Each spring i pick up Sports Illustrated to read about how the Twins don’t have the hitting or pitching to take the division and almost every year we prove them wrong.

This year we lost former AL MVP Justin Morneau for the entire season in June and still managed the best record in baseball for the second half of the year. It’s our adherence to fundamentals, an amazing farm system and good solid baseball that allows us to plug the gaps and pump out win after win after win.

Check out some of these quotes:

In 2006, the Twins won the division but were picked by most to finish 4th in our division. One quote:

Boy, I bet the Twins are wishing they hadn’t cut David Ortiz right about now. This team has almost as little pop as the Dodgers, if that’s at all possible. Shannon Stewart was a third-round pick in CBS Sportsline’s Bizarro draft. Tony Batista – did he even play last year? (Yes, in Japan – Ed.) – was a second round pick. Luis Castillo was a fifth-round pick. Kyle Lohse was an eighth-round pick. You get the idea. These guys are stiffs, which is a shame, because they have some nasty pitching.

In 2008, they were picked to finish last in their division. Instead they tied for first. NY Sports Day said,

“the loss of Hunter in the outfield seals the Twins’ last-place finish. “

and also in 2008, another quote:

Minnesota has a decent young core of players, led by Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Delmon Young and Michael Cuddyer. But it’s quite likely that the Twins will take a big step backward in 2008

In 2009 they won the division again and one preview said,

I honestly do not believe that Minnesota has enough offensively to compete for a division crown this season. It’s never good when there is prolonged talk about your leading hitter and starting catcher having potentially severe back problems in his early twenties.

All those being said, congratulations to the team. Once again they delivered and let’s hope they put the smack down on the Yankees this year in the playoffs.