Lots of stuff that’s just dandy today. First, my daughter dropped her first load of spit-up on me about an hour ago. It was the cutest damn thing I’ve ever seen. We’ve been feeding her more and more often, and she seems to have calmed down a little bit. Tricky stuff, this parenting racket.

Big props to the state of Missouri for passing the gay marriage ban! Now neither my native state of Kansas nor my current home state of Indiana has to take the credit for being first! I’m sure when Missouri residents woke up this morning, the massive state budget deficit was wiped out, teachers who were planning their lessons for the coming year threw out the “Timmy’s two mommies” lesson and are now able to concentrate on the important stuff like how to properly clean and store your concealed weapon, and I-70 was suddenly safe to drive at a speed above 45 MPH. All because those damn gays can’t marry in the Show Me State. Yes, the people of Missouri have tackled the tough, important issues first!
As I’ve said before, the whole gay marriage issue didn’t get me fired up either way until the zealots took over. I tend to think taxpayers deserve equal rights and protection, provided they’re not committing any crimes. Unless we’re willing to make anyone proclaiming their homosexuality exempt from all sales, income, payroll, and property taxes, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed to do the same things the rest of us can do. (That would be fun! How many arch-conservatives would suddenly come out of the closet to avoid the oppressive tax structure that’s inhibiting their entrepreneurial spirit?!?!) Some may feel the simple fact of being gay is a crime, but I believe two people making a conscious decision to share their lives together can be slotted under the Victimless Crime banner. What’s so silly about this is that in five, ten, 15, years, all these gay marriage bans will be swept away like Prohibition. Two men or two women being married doesn’t change, cheapen, or destroy the love I have for my wife and daughter.

While feeding, burping, changing M. yesterday, I watched the second half of the US-Italy basketball game. That was about the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen. I know Larry Brown is a break them down to build them up coach, but I don’t think a 17 point loss to a team that snuck into the Olympics is what he had in mind. It was frightening to see how poorly most of the US squad plays team basketball. Throwing no-look passes through the lane against a zone defense. Dribbling into trouble, then jumping and throwing blind passes. Taking dumb shots. Not getting the ball to Tim Duncan until there were five guys hanging on him. What’s most troublesome is the swagger the team has. If they played together for three months, I have no doubts they would easily win the Gold Medal. But they’ve been together two weeks. Of this year’s roster, only Tim Duncan would have been considered for the original Dream Team had he been in his prime then. This isn’t a team that can impose its will on opponents who are no longer afraid of Team USA.
With that in mind, I think FIBA and the IOC should institute rules for basketball similar to those under which the Olympic soccer tournament is run. Rather than compete with the World Cup or the big regional championships, Olympic soccer limits teams to a roster of players under 23, with three exceptions. So rather than seeing the same teams that played in Euro 2004 a month ago, European fans will see their brightest young stars, with a few veterans to anchor the team. Changing basketball to that structure will even the playing field, eliminate the hand wringing of NBA stars from all countries that may not be interested in playing, and provide for a more exciting tournament. If those rules had been in place, Team USA would have qualified with a team made up from a pool of the best college players and the best young NBA stars. Not All-Stars destroying Canada for no good reason.
The Dream Team concept served its purpose. The rest of the world has made great strides in quality of play and NBA players are no longer interested in spending their summers overseas. The US should start the initiative by announcing the 2008 Olympic team will be comprised according to the Under 23 rules and leave it to the rest of the world to follow.