Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Gooch!

SPORTING GOODS

Oguchi Onyewu, probably the US player who showed the biggest ability to be a world class player at last year's World Cup, is joining Newcastle United.

This is a great move for him, and for US soccer, as he moves from the relative obscurity of the Belgian League to arguably the best domestic league in the world. As the US looks ahead to the next World Cup, getting Gooch significant time against some of the best talent in the world will only boost the US backline.

Now if only we could get some scorers, then we'd be in business!

Keep an eye out for Gooch on Fox Soccer Channel on the weekends.

PS - Interesting quote from the article. How much do you want to bet that Eddie Johnson didn't really say this about Gooch: "I just don’t like playing against him, full stop." Unless Eddie Johnson always speaks in British idioms when interviewed about his US national teammates.

The Libby Trial, cont'd.

MANIFESTO

Tim Grieve at Salon's War Room (which I believe is available by subscription only) has the best commentary on what's going on at the Libby trial I've found. He's at the trial daily and is blogging like mad to keep his readers up to speed. Viz.,
Judith Miller is having another rough go today on the witness stand in the Scooter Libby trial. Under cross-examination by Libby defense lawyer William Jeffress, the former New York Times reporter has been forced repeatedly to say that she doesn't remember much about her reporting about Joseph Wilson -- except what she says Libby told her ...

Jeffress ... played a clip from a TV interview in which Miller said that she'd talked to both "senior government officials and not-so-senior government officials." Miller said that she was referring to discussions she might have had about the issues Wilson raised in his Op-Ed piece and how it came to be that he wrote the piece, not about the fact that Wilson's wife worked at the CIA. So who were the "senior government officials" with whom she had those conversations? "I didn't say that I remembered their names," Miller told Jeffress. "That's all I'm saying -- I don't remember their names."
Wow. Talk about lame testimony. Miller, the queen of the Bush apologists at one time, has already served three months for refusing to name her sources when she outed Valerie Plame. Judge Reggie Walton ought to throw the book at her once again for flagrant obtuseness.

Changing America's Course

MANIFESTO

Three weeks ago, our Feckless Leader declaimed,
The Iraqi government will appoint a military commander and two deputy commanders for their capital. The Iraqi government will deploy Iraqi Army and National Police brigades across Baghdad's nine districts. When these forces are fully deployed, there will be 18 Iraqi Army and National Police brigades committed to this effort, along with local police. These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations -- conducting patrols and setting up checkpoints, and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents.
This morning, we find out that such a plan may be unrealistic given how such setups have gone heretofore.
The U.S. government wasted tens of millions of dollars in Iraq reconstruction aid, American auditors say in a report that raises alarm about the rampant corruption in the war-torn country.

The 579-page report – the latest in a regular series of updates to Congress – paints a grim picture of Iraq reconstruction efforts that have cost U.S. taxpayers more than $300 billion.

Thousands of unaccounted-for weapons and a never-used camp in Baghdad for housing police trainers with an Olympic-size swimming pool are among the examples cited in the quarterly audit carried out by Stuart Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.
Furthermore, a story this morning indicates that "the United States has botched the job by assigning the wrong agencies to the task [of training Iraqi police]."

Just when you think the situation couldn't get any worse ...

The Decline and Fall of Truth

MANIFESTO

I'm currently reading Frank Rich's outstanding The Greatest Story Ever Sold—a book detailing the duplicity of the Bushies from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina.

Rich, of course, is the award winning op-ed writer for the New York Times, who, in the darkest days of post-9/11 jingoistic McCarthyism, was relegated to the paper's Arts section as an entertainment writer. He was able to work around this motor pool assignment by writing about what he was seeing on television—which, of course, had to do with the prevarications of members of the executive branch.

The book is written as a chronology, and that relates to my fascination with it. Viz., as Rich writes about the various unbelievable (and I use that word literally) episodes from 2001 to 2005, I can't help thinking about blogging about many of the same topics. There's Rummy's "You go to war with the army you have" on page 157; there's GI George's ridiculous routine about looking for WMD in his office on page 117, etc., etc., etc.

If one wanted to review four of the most execrable years in US history, one could hardly do better than by reading Rich's book.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nannies

MANIFESTO

Digby blogged about this policy change, but he was so agitated that I couldn't really follow what he was talking about. Paul Kiel makes it much more understandable.

It's another sad day for the US.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Little Miss Sunshine

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

I really didn't think much of Little Miss Sunshine. There. I said it.

I've kept this secret for some months because everyone I know thought that it was just about the coolest movie they'd ever seen. Like Gertrude Stein's feelings about Oakland, I just didn't think there was much there there.

Case in point: The voluntarily mute Dwayne has a meltdown when he's informed by Frank, the Steve Carell character, that he, Dwayne, won't be able to become a jet pilot because he's color blind. This episode occurs in the middle of nowhere in a car. The news that Frank imparts is incredibly arcane and unnecessarily cruel, but the directors apparently had to get the kid talking somehow.

At any rate, I'm relieved that at least one other person didn't like the movie, either.

Getting worse by the day

MANIFESTO

What Josh Marshall said. Dr. Marshall's post just shows what an egocentric liability Connecticut's junior senator has become.

Holy Joe

MANIFESTO

I still find it hard to believe that half of Connecticut's voters voted for this idiot.

The Libby Trial

MANIFESTO

"We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately."
—Benjamin Franklin, in the Continental Congress just before signing the Declaration of Independence, 1776

It's certanly not surprising that the Libby trial is disintegrating into an every-man-for-himself tohubohu. When one looks at the personalities involved, it couldn't be anything else. Every single one of the principals—Rove, Fleischer, Cheney, Libby, et al—has never done anything but evince a despicable egomania. These psychoses have certainly harmed the country for the past six years, but now we see them leading to possible jail terms for the individuals.

And I use the word "individuals" purposefully. Like all bullies, as long as they had the protection of the mob, they felt they could act with impunity. Now that cracks have appeared in their little cosa nostra, they're being shown for what they are: sniveling, callow, and cowardly punks. It couldn't happen to a more deserving group.

Ari Fleischer is scheduled to testify in the trial on Monday. It should be a very interesting day in Washington.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Snack Strong

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

"Mousetrap" gets my vote.

Wearing out his welcome

MANIFESTO

From Newsweek:
[M]ore than half the country (58 percent) say they wish the Bush presidency were simply over.

Friday, January 26, 2007

John Wesley Dean

MANIFESTO

A former Nixon Whiz Kid, who refused to take the fall for his boss's iniquities, explains why it's a bad day for the Constitution whenever Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testifies. Among his points:
With all due respect, Attorney General Gonzales needs to read an American history book—to avoid relying on arguments rejected in the 18th Century ...
But, then again, Gonzales and his ilk would prefer to go back to a monarchy, anyway.

The decider, cont'd

MANIFESTO

I know that any number of bloggers will go absolutely nuts over GI George's insistence today that he's the decider when it comes to Iraq, but let's face it: This is the way this monomaniac operates and will be ever thus. It certainly can't be a surprise that he's repeating this mantra:
"One of the things I've found in Congress is that most people recognize that failure would be a disaster for the United States. And, in that I'm the decision-maker, I had to come up with a way forward that precluded disaster ... [Critics] have an obligation and a serious responsibility, therefore, to put out their own plan as to what would work."
The latter statement is laughable on its face. We certainly saw how accepting he was of the ISG's proposal—a proposal created by a group that actually knew what it was talking about.

For Feckless Leader to maintain that the US and its Congress should accept his demented plan because it's the only one that's been introduced is the height of the psychosis he so skillfully evinces.

Another voice heard from

MANIFESTO

Remember the unfinished National Intelligence Estimate? Jay Rockefeller sure does.
Vice President Dick Cheney exerted "constant" pressure on the Republican former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee to stall an investigation into the Bush administration's use of flawed intelligence on Iraq, the panel's Democratic chairman charged Thursday.

In an interview with McClatchy Newspapers, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia also accused President Bush of running an illegal program by ordering eavesdropping on Americans' international e-mails and telephone communications without court-issued warrants.

In the 45-minute interview, Rockefeller said that it was "not hearsay" that Cheney, a leading proponent of invading Iraq, pushed Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., to drag out the probe of the administration's use of prewar intelligence.
I'm pleased that this kind of stuff is being published even though it's an example of what we pretty much knew already: Roberts is an idiot, and Cheney is a traitor.

Impeachment, cont'd

MANIFESTO

This article pretty much speaks for itself:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have taken impeachment "off the table," but House Judiciary Chair John Conyers (D-MI) is about to put it back on the menu.

Conyers may have been blocked by a timid Pelosi from initiating impeachment hearings immediately into President Bush's crimes against the Constitution, but he's taken the first step anyway, with the anouncement of plans to hold hearings into ... Bush's rampant use of so-called "signing statements." These are the documents the president has claimed give him the power, as a commander-in-chief, to ignore laws duly passed by the Congress ...

The first Judiciary Committee hearing is set for January 31.
It'll be interesting to see how far this sentiment goes. For example, there should also be plenty for someone like Tom Lantos and his committee to investigate vis-à-vis Iraq if he's so inclined. (I don't expect Biden and his crew in the Senate to do much; they're impeded by cretins like Warner who're afraid they'll hurt GI George's feelings.)

At any rate, fasten your seatbelts. The next two years may be a bumpy ride.

Defending Subterfuge

MANIFESTO

This morning's New York Times leads with a look at the extent to which the Bush administration has used secrecy while defending its domestic eavesdropping program. Some lawyers and judges are starting to push back and say that much of the secrecy is unnecessary and ultimately impedes lawsuits objecting to the program from moving forward. The first appellate argument in the lawsuits challenging the program will begin on Wednesday.

The Bushies certainly use interesting techniques in the program:
Plaintiffs and judges' clerks cannot see [the program's] secret filings. Judges have to make appointments to review them and are not allowed to keep copies.

Judges have even been instructed to use computers provided by the Justice Department to compose their decisions ...

Justice Department officials say the circumstances of the cases, involving a highly classified program, require extraordinary measures. The officials say they have used similar procedures in other cases involving classified materials.

In ordinary civil suits, the parties’ submissions are sent to their adversaries and are available to the public in open court files. But in several cases challenging the eavesdropping, Justice Department lawyers have been submitting legal papers not by filing them in court but by placing them in a room at the department. They have filed papers, in other words, with themselves.
Now, I'm no lawyer, but these practices certainly seem to constrict what should be a fairer process.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

John Kerry

MANIFESTO

It's old news by now that John Kerry won't run for president in 2008, but this is the primary item I'm taking from his announcement:
Kerry famously asked a Senate committee in 1971, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" He repeated that question Wednesday, telling colleagues, "I never thought that I would be reliving the need to ask that question again."
Mere words can't express how saddened I am at the veracity of Senator Kerry's statement.

Monarchies update

MANIFESTO

The Courant has an op-ed piece today on something I recently posted about.

Let's see ... You carry the one ...

MANIFESTO

Our 60-year-old Harvard MBA president speaking of his energy initiative in Wilmington, Delaware earlier today:
[W]e began a hydrogen initiative that -- where a lot of smart folks are beginning to research whether or not we can power automobiles by hydrogen. We think it's possible. But it's not going to be possible until I'm 75, which is probably 15 years from now.
Oh, that one could make this stuff up.

The performance

MANIFESTO

While someone on CBS radio this morning had the nerve to state that Feckless Leader evinced a "quiet eloquence" (thus violating the rule that states, "Never utter the words 'Bush' and 'eloquence' in the same sentence.") last evening, I couldn't help but think that this latest discourse was pretty much more of the same nonsense we've been hearing for the last six years. He did add a bit more whining to his usual smirking tone, but that was to be expected given his audience.

Overall, he reintroduced the idea of vouchers available to students so that they can transfer to private schools. (This is no doubt a reaction to the NEA's involvement in the many Democratic wins three months ago.) He'd like to get an extension to the tenets of the horrid No Child Left Behind Act (another anti-education move). He's still yammering about "guest workers" so that the new minimum wage can be paid. He discussed a hideous health care plan. And he'd like drivers to conserve gasoline, but he rejects an increase in fuel economy requirements for passenger cars. (Gotta keep those Big 3 CEOs happy, don't you know.)

Oh, and he did mention Iraq, asking the federal legislators to "give it a chance." It's clear that this "new plan" is one of the most half-fast ideas in the history of US foreign policy. Clearly, GI George has no idea as to what he wants the outcome to be. His buddy, Holy Joe, is as clueless.

Virgin birth

ESOTERICA

Bend the knee to the Blessed Virgin Komodo Dragon!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Classy

MANIFESTO

I hate President Bush as much as the next guy, and I think he is a fraternity boy punk (and I mean that in the best way as a former fraternity boy). But you have to admit that he started tonight's speech with a lot of class, with his public praise of Pelosi and comments for the currently ill representatives.

I'm sure I'll hate 90% of the rest of his words, but he showed some class as he took the podium tonight. I'm surprised and happy to write that.

Compassionate Conservatism

MANIFESTO

I guess George Bush’s social policy is built around convictions. Who would have thought that in 21st century America the life expectancy of the average citizen actually increases when sent to prison? A DOJ study claiming just that was released, ironically enough, on “National Sanctity of Human Life Day”; which, coincidentally, seems to fall on the Sunday before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade every year.

The Libby Trial

MANIFESTO

The more I read about the Libby trial, the more I'm convinced it'll be the trial of the (as yet, short) century.

Impeachment

MANIFESTO

Join the 400,000!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Today's irony

MANIFESTO

Perhaps someone can explain why the Bushies are so concerned that Venezuela's
National Assembly, which is controlled by the president's political allies, is expected to give final approval this week to what it calls the "enabling law," which would give [President Hugo] Chavez the authority to pass a series of laws by decree during an 18-month period.
I mean, it's not as if the US isn't trying to recover from six years of a similar situation. Comparitively, it doesn't seem as if eighteen months would be all that bad.

Ours is, after all, a government that condoned such undemocratic phenomena as "signing statements," spying on American citizens, and incarcerating Americans without charge.

Monarchies

MANIFESTO

Josh Marshall has a letter from a reader that has to do with a thought that's been in the back of my mind for a while. Viz., if Hillary Clinton becomes president for eight years, there'd be twenty-eight consecutive years of Bush and Clinton. As the writer states: This country is far too great to have to rely on two families for so much presidential leadership.

I think this phenomenon goes beyond presidential leadership, however. Is it really too much to ask the voters of Connecticut to elect someone whose last name isn't Dodd? to ask the voters of Indiana to elect someone whose last name isn't Bayh? to ask the voters of Rhode Island to elect someone whose last name isn't Chaffee? These are just a few examples of the treadmill-like nature of American elections. Maybe the sons and daughters of politicians have the same psychoses as their parents and are the only people who're willing to run in the bedlam that is the American electoral system. Nevertheless, it'd be nice to get a little variety in our voting choices.

Why the Pats aren't still playing

SPORTING GOODS

Well, now I know what I won't be doing the first Sunday in February.

It was a tough loss for the red white and blue yesterday as, for 33 minutes, they simply were powerless to do anything against the Colts' offense. With scoring drives of 76, 76, 67, 59 and 80 yards, the Colts piled up 32 points after halftime against a defense that was clearly winded. (The fact that deer-in-the-headlights Reche Caldwell forgot how to catch passes certainly didn't help.)

The word was that a number of Patriots had had the flu during the week, and it's possible that they simply ran out of gas. At any rate, we sure found out yesterday that Tully Banta-Cain is no Brian Urlacher as Dallas Clark was always open in the cover 2 defense that the Pats tried to employ. Once Manning discovered that weakness, the Pats were pretty much toast.

We'll see if Urlacher, who SI has called the quintessential cover 2 middle linebacker, lives up to his hype in two weeks.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

SOTU, cont'd

MANIFESTO

At this point, I can't exactly say I'm waiting with bated breath.

Friday, January 19, 2007

SOTU

MANIFESTO

Feckless Leader's penultimate State of the Union address (Tuesday at 9:00 pm on Fox News) should be fairly interesting since it'll be the first time he's made the address in front of a primarily hostile audience. Add to that the fact that his approval ratings are in the toilet, and we may be witness to a man drowning.

At any rate, at least one source indicates that the address will focus on five areas. Viz., the war on terror, energy, health care, immigration and education.

It's hard to believe how the Bushies could have screwed up these issues any more than they have, but Incurious George is going to keep plugging away at them. It looks like the Iraq mess will get short shrift since he said all he has to say in the lunatic speech he made on the 10th.

It's kind of interesting to look back over the past six years and see what we've heard in these January exercises.

2001 — All the Republicans wanted to hear had to do with tax cuts, and an obliging oil man recommended $1.6 trillion worth. It made the country go broke in almost no time, but, what the hell, billionaires could keep more of their money and give it back to the Republicans.

2002 — The SOTU delivered four months after 9/11 and GI George was really feeling his oats.
In four short months, our nation has comforted the victims [of 9/11], begun to rebuild New York and the Pentagon, rallied a great coalition, captured, arrested and rid the world of thousands of terrorists, destroyed Afghanistan's terrorist training camps, saved a people from starvation and freed a country from brutal oppression.
He hadn't quite started to overreach his grasp yet.

2003 — Iraq, Iran, and North Korea were identified as the axis of evil. And, of course, the speech featured the famous sixteen words.
The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa. Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production.
Unfortunately, the British intelligence had already been discredited by, among others, Richard Wilson. This speech was pretty much the beginning of the end of rational thought in the Executive Branch. From this ideology came the Plame affair and the Iraq invasion less than two months later.

However, this was the same speech wherein the compassionate conservative asked
the Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years, including nearly $10 billion in new money, to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean,
and we all know that that program has been a stunning success. Oh, wait ...

2004 — A president who was trailing in the polls tried to make the Iraq situation—which was already a shambles—look promising. This was also the SOTU where Feckless Leader didn't mention a Mars mission he'd been so enthusiastic about a mere week earlier.

2005 — More of the same, except he'd actually been elected (most people assumed) for this one.
We will not set an artificial timetable for leaving Iraq because that would embolden the terrorists and make them believe they can wait us out. We are in Iraq to achieve a result, a country that is democratic, representative of all its people, at peace with its neighbors and able to defend itself. And when that result is achieved, our men and women serving in Iraq will return home with the honor they have earned.
2006 — More of the same, but he was really in Fantasyland by this time.
And we are on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory. First, we are helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased, and the insurgency marginalized. Second, we are continuing reconstruction efforts, and helping the Iraqi government to fight corruption and build a modern economy, so all Iraqis can experience the benefits of freedom. Third, we are striking terrorist targets while we train Iraqi forces that are increasingly capable of defeating the enemy. Iraqis are showing their courage every day, and we are proud to be their allies in the cause of freedom.
Well, it sounds like GI George won't be beating that drum again Tuesday night (especially since none of his claims were true). He'll just go back to the old reliables of eviscerating Social Security, public education, and other social programs while lining the pockets of his fellow oil producers.

Art Buchwald

MANIFESTO

An American icon, Art Buchwald, died on Wednesday. In the 1970s, he was the best American satirist going, and he wrote a book that's still near and dear to my heart.

I don't know how he'd succeed in these days, when apparently satire is dead (See previous post; you can't make this stuff up.), but, in his prime, he could skewer American politicians like no one else.

Requiescat in pace.

Libby Trial, cont'd

MANIFESTO

For another riotous look at jury selection in the Libby trial, click here.

Shell Game

MANIFESTO

Both Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum see through the change to the NSA's domestic spying program. The program is clearly not over, and the episode is too reminiscent of the shifting of charges against Jose Padilla when the legal heat became too intense for the Bush totalitarians.

Ah, those crazy Brits

UNIVERSAL REMOTE

Apparently, a mammoth controversy is occurring in England right now as a result of race baiting on the hugely successful television program, Celebrity Big Brother. Details are here, and some political ramifications are discussed here.

Tell it to the Marines

MANIFESTO

Four retired generals had their say before Chairman Joe Biden's Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, and it wasn't encouraging.

Especially strident was former Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Hoar, who stated bluntly that the Bush
administration's handling of the war has been characterized by deceit, mismanagement and a shocking failure to understand the social and political forces that influence events in the Middle East.
This may or not be the kind of testimony that former chairman Richard Lugar would have sought.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Aiding the terrorists

MANIFESTO

Remember how the Bushies thought that the likes of Murtha, Kerry, et al, gave comfort to the enemy every time they opened their mouths? As Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sees it, a new duo is now supporting the terrorists.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki voiced frustration with President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday, saying their recent criticism of the Iraqi government probably helped the "terrorists."

Al-Maliki, whose relationship with the United States is strained, was especially upset about Rice's comment last week before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when she said that al-Maliki's government is working on "borrowed time."

"Such statements give moral boosts to the terrorists and push them towards making an extra effort and making them believe that they have defeated the American administration, but I can tell you that they haven't defeated the Iraqi government," he said during a meeting with a handful of reporters.
This is hilarious and shows once again how FUBAR this whole Iraqi venture has been.

Too many teardrops ...

ESOTERICA

One of the more successful one-hit-wonder garage bands of my youth was in the news recently.
Community support has poured in since a fire destroyed the home of rocker Question Mark, who with his band, the Mysterians, had a No. 1 hit in 1966 with "96 Tears."

The singer lost 40 years worth of memorabilia, including a gold record award and an organ believed to have belonged to Pink Floyd ...

Four Yorkshire terriers and a cockatoo also died in last week's blaze at the Flint-area home in which Question Mark had lived for nearly four decades.

Members of the community have pledged their support, offering money and talking about a possible benefit concert. He's taken a slew of calls from fans and fellow musicians.
Here's the stupid part: The singer didn't have insurance in a house he's lived in for over thirty years. It's no wonder this bozo's name is ? since he's obviously clueless. Given his stash of stuff, who in his right mind would be without insurance?

This situation is similar to a local one, where an uninsured restaurateur lost his place because of a fire. Locals in the community have turned themselves inside out in raising money for this buffoon.

I don't understand how a restaurant owner—where he's got gas stoves and other flammable items—could be so foolish as to go without insurance. Likewise, I don't understand how ?, with his trove of cool stuff, could have been so cavalier.

I don't plan on contributing to either cause.

I'm with juror #1980

MANIFESTO

The jury selection for the Libby trial is off to a rollicking start.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A blow for truthiness

MANIFESTO

Here's a move that should surprise absolutely no one.
After last year's White House Correspondents Association dinner host Stephen Colbert drew mixed reactions to his sharp critiques of President Bush, event organizers appear to be going for a less-combative approach, choosing aging impersonator Rich Little for the pending April event.
Rich Little? Rich Little?? Cripes, the WHCA oughta just dig up Bob Hope. He could always be counted on to toe the party line.

UPDATE — Apparently, Little isn't even going to mention the word "Iraq."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fascism redux

MANIFESTO

In German legal theory Hitler’s law was a shield to those who acted under it ... In German legal theory, Hitler was not only the Supreme Legislator, he was also the Supreme Judge.
&mdash From the United States of America v. Alstötter et al. decision, Nuremberg, 1948

The PATRIOT Act strikes again.

Why the Pats are still playing

SPORTING GOODS

The Patriots were 4.5 point underdogs this past weekend when traveling to the home of the best team in the NFL. And in the end, they somehow won. And it wasn't because the Charger kicker is a choker, or because Tom Brady sprinkles himself with magic fairy dust, or because Bill Belichick has no class.

And although these things didn't help, it wasn't solely because the Chargers lost their cool or made a couple dumb plays, or wasted a time out with a dumb challenge.

LaDanian Tomlinson, the best football player in the world in 2006/2007, and the best player on the field, had only nine touches in the second half of the game.

I expect that I was joining Pats fans across the nation who got a terrible feeling in their stomachs every time LT touched the ball, as we helplessly yelled, "Get him! Please stop him!"

Tomlinson averaged 5.3 yards a carry, and took the ball all the way to the end zone twice. He also averaged 32 yards a catch. The Pats could not stop him, and only seemed to slow him down when he ran directly at the pile in short yardage situations. But he only got the ball nine times in the second half (compared to 16 in the first).

The funny thing is the talk is that Chargers head coach Schottenheimer may lose his job, and one of the lead candidates to take his job is offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Cameron put together a hell of an offense this year. But in the end he only called #21's number 9 times in the second half, and that is why the Pats are still playing.

Loathsome Behavior

MANIFESTO

GI George doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want to and neither does Holy Joe.

God, I hate these people.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Rush to Judgement

MANIFESTO

Mike Nifong is a liar and an idiot.

George Bush's Amerika, cont'd.

MANIFESTO

Rice won't rule out military actions in Iran.

Pentagon abandons active-duty time limit.

You'll pardon me if I now go shoot myself.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A New American Idol?

SPORTING GOODS

I have never thought about what Simon Fuller does during the time he’s not being an ass, or at least being as ass on Fox's American Idol. That is until a paragraph in this story caught my eye:

Beckham's pay packet far outstrips what could normally be afforded by a team whose stadium holds just 27,000 spectators, and it has taken some creative thinking from American Idol creator Simon Fuller, who represents Beckham, to achieve such a huge sum.

The part of the story more relevant to sports is what side Beckham has decided to join when his tenure with Real Madrid is up: the L.A. Galaxy, as in Los Angeles, California. The deal is worth £128 Million, or roughly $245 million US. A number which represents a little over two-thirds of the $350 million the league has lost over the last 10 years ...

Acting out of character

WHATEVER

Apple is peerless when it comes to creating products, perhaps better still at marketing those products. Elegantly clad, eminently functional, sleek enough, shiny enough, and always just plain “cool” enough to make me overlook the fact that my MacBook just runs too damn hot to rest on my lap. It doesn’t matter that my iPod’s battery/hard-drive isn’t really built to last; by the time it dies they will have released something I want more. (When it comes to digital music players Apple’s only competition is itself.) End this codependent relationship? Never, the “Jobsian” notion of creating the consumer-electronics equivalent of an ecosystem just works too well. This week Apple seems to have bet the farm on this model, and expanded its digital ecosystem with its first foray into the living-room (iTV) while simultaneously redefining the mobile phone. Apple dropped the “Computer” from its name to underscore the transition away from being just a PC maker, AAPL is up over $10 and marketing groups are reporting that 75% of Cingular sales-people report customers inquiring about the new mobile device 6 months before it’s released. Oddly enough, after years of development, rumored personal involvement by Steve himself, and so much hype, I wonder what they’re going to call it. You know that new mobile iThingy.

Number Two with a Bullet

MANIFESTO

While Feckless Leader may have looked into his eyes and “gotten a sense of his soul” or been reassured with his “trustworthiness,” European heads of state seem far less comfortable of late with Vladimir Putin. After a 3-day halt Russian oil was once again flowing into Germany Wednesday, and an energy crisis in Europe seems to have been staved off. With oil prices once again on the downward slope Americans are sure to feel comforted at the pump and this incident will fade into our collective unconscious – much like Putin’s penchant for political killings. However, taking a quick look at the numbers shows that when it comes to oil exporters there aren’t many reliable Western allies in the top five. The gap between number two and number three is pronounced. This fact is surely not lost on President Putin as he consolidates his control of Russia’s natural resources with little regard for the tenants of democracy or free markets.

We'll meet again

UNIVERSAL REMOTE/MANIFESTO

Digby quotes Chill's favorite movie.

"... regardless of yer race, color, or yer creed." I can still hear Slim Pickens saying those hilarious deathless words.

Stay the Course, now with Extra Crap!

MANIFESTO

Is it because I think of many things in sports terms, or is there really some parallels between the current Bush strategy and that of the Giants' owners? (And yes, I realize the importance of the two things are incomparable.)

In the face of one-sided public opinion (see: recent chants at a Giants home game, any current political poll) the brilliant men in charge decide that they are not going to change direction (keeping Coughlin, no troop drawdown). But not only that, in seeming defiance to everyone who claims to know better (the American public and the new Democratic majority, the fans and the press), they actually decide the best thing to do is add on more of the suck (new troops, an extra year extension).

I guess that makes the Giants "America's Team!" Sorry Dallas.

Unacceptable and unencouraging

MANIFESTO

I've only looked at news reports regarding GI George's speech last evening (I haven't looked at the blogs yet.), but this is what I'm inferring:

The situation in Iraq is "unacceptable," and so more troops are needed or else "radical Islamic extremists [will] grow in strength" and come marching right down Main Street USA.

There is no exit strategy.

There is no timetable for withdrawal (even though "America's commitment [to Iraq] is not open-ended").

There is no quid pro quo with the Iraqi government.

While I think the "subdued" nature of the speech was as fabricated as his National Guard records, Feckless Leader at least looked every bit like the little boy who'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

At any rate, this all sure sounds like "stay the course" to me.

UPDATE — Kevin Drum pretty much sees it this way too.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Oh no!!!!!

Surge Suit

MANIFESTO

Mere words can't describe how disgusted I am with GI George's latest plan to increase American fatalities in Iraq. Josh Marshall puts his finger on this "new way forward" by stating that
the most appropriate name for what the president is planning is neither 'surge' nor even 'escalation' but rather 'punt' -- a strategically meaningless increase in troops meant to allow the president to avoid dealing with the failure of his policy and lay the ground work for getting the next president to take the blame for his epochal screw-up.
And more than one source is indicating that this is being billed as the most important speech of Feckless Leader's life tonight. Who's billing it as such? The speech certainly isn't going to make or break his presidency. That opportunity passed some time ago. With an overall approval rating of 26% and nearly two-thirds of Americans disapproving of sending additional troops to Iraq, tonight's discourse seems like so much wasted breath.

Of course, we can always count on morons like Mitch McConnell to carry water for the Bushies' homicidal plans, that "increasing American troops 'gives us a chance' at victory, which he defines as a stable Iraqi government that is an ally in the war on terror." Please.

The elephant in the corner, of course, is the fact that tonight's speech is an admission that the Iraq policy of the Bushies has been an utter failure for the last 45 months. Of course, it's unlikely that either Feckless Leader or the national media will utter that truth this evening.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Refighting another war

MANIFESTO

In yet another attempt to alienate a sovereign nation—and piss off more Muslims—the Bushies performed a little air raid over the weekend.
The United States hit southern Somalia on Sunday, targeting what they believed to be the "principal" al Qaeda leadership in the area, the Pentagon and State Department said.
And, indeed, it's possible that an
al Qaeda member suspected in the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania may have been killed.
However, it's certain that
Somali officials said "many" people were killed by the U.S. air strike but U.S. officials declined to give casualty figures.
Today, there may have been another raid, but this doesn't seem to have been substantiated.

At any rate, The European Union seems to have this foolishness about right.
"Any incident of this kind is not helpful in the long term," a spokesman for the European Commission said.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday Dog Blogging


Whatever

Here's my obsession of the New Year, our little Coco in the doggie hospital with pancreatitis. Despite the pathetic look, the doctor says she is doing great. I think she was just mad at us and really wants to go home.









Here she is in happier times. May they return soon.

Breaking News

Universal Remote

Looks like Cingular is going to provide service to the highly anticipated Apple Phone, and that an announcement detailing the phone may be made tomorrow. I can't wait.

If only Cingular worked in my apartment and I wasn't tied to another year with my service provider.

Check this out

Sporting Goods

I didn't notice this before because I stopped watching SportsCenter months (years?) ago, but the Lakers have completely dimmed the house lights at the Staples Center this year, leaving only the floor lights on the court. Check out the ESPN Motion clip to see it. Man does it look cool. Now if only the Knicks would do the opposite at MSG.

Seriously

Manifesto

How is this a good idea?
The Bush administration is expected to announce next week a major step forward in the building of the country’s first new nuclear warhead in nearly two decades. It will propose combining elements of competing designs from two weapons laboratories in an approach that some experts argue is untested and risky.

The announcement, to be made by the inter-agency Nuclear Weapons Council, avoids making a choice between two competing designs for a new weapon, called the Reliable Replacement Warhead, which at first would be mounted on submarine-launched missiles. The effort, if approved by President Bush and financed by Congress, would require a huge refurbishment of the nation’s complex for nuclear design and manufacturing, with the overall bill estimated at more than $100 billion.
I'm not going to go on an anti-nuke weapons tirade here but are we really developing more advanced nuclear weapons? This technology hasn't been perfected yet? Seriously, how can you further develop bombs whose sole purpose is to destroy everything? And spending $100 billion ... c'mon guys, if you want to give another handout to your buddies in the military/industrial complex, fine, but can't we at least do it with something that could actually help us with the wars that we are fighting now and not the Cold War? How about $100 billion for advanced body armor or even maybe some kind of super advanced explosive detector.

Query

Sporting Goods

Why should I care about a national championship game where:

(a) one team hasn't played a football game in over 50 days;

(b) the game is taking place more than a week after New Year's day and a day after a long weekend of playoff football, and long after I stopped caring about bowl games; and

(c) the game is broadcast on a network that hardly covers college football during the regular season, which means announcers whose analysis of particular players sounds like they are reading from a press guide. It wasn't enough that I had to listen to Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long (who was actually decent) for the 20 minutes that I could stand watching the Notre Dame debacle, now I have to feel like I'm watching the Little League World Series? Seriously, before the end of the night I expect to know that Troy Smith's favorite food is hot dogs and his favorite movie is Gridiron Gang.

Somebody please wake me up when spring training starts.

Patriots' Index

SPORTING GOODS

Catches Jabar Gaffney made in Patriots' regular season: 11

Catches Jabar Gaffney made in yesterday's Patriots' win: 8

Yards receiving Jabar Gaffney totaled in Patriots' regular season: 142

Yards receiving Jabar Gaffney totaled in yesterday's Patriots' win: 104

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Feckless Leader's Amerika

MANIFESTO

For an overwhelmingly depressing look at how a US citizen has been treated by the Bushies, take a look here.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Auto Legislation

MANIFESTO

At the risk of sounding libertarian, I think this is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard of.
Nearly four years after state lawmakers voted to ban smoking in Connecticut bars and restaurants, an East Hartford legislator wants to stop people from lighting up in their cars.

State Rep. Henry Genga, D-East Hartford, has submitted a bill that would prohibit people from smoking in cars when children are inside. Genga said he got the idea from a 9-year-old constituent who e-mailed him last year.

"It's coming from the young people and you've got to listen to the public," he said. "And this is coming from the public."
This last disingenuous statement reminds me of former Senator Roman Hruska's famous comment about morons needing representation on the Supreme Court. That is, Rep. Genga can be counted on to represent the third graders—a real feather in his cap. Besides the fact that such a law would be unenforceable, it's yet another attempt on the part of do-gooding legislators to invade our privacy. They're in our bedrooms, in our mail. Can we keep them the hell out of our cars?

Furthermore, "Motor vehicle smoking bans took effect in Arkansas and Louisiana over the summer." The least Connecticut can do is not aspire to benighted legislation of the type found in the less-than-progressive states of Arkansas and Louisiana.

Friday, January 05, 2007

This Modern World


MANIFESTO

As fans of This Modern World, written by the irrepressible Tom Tomorrow (aka Dan Perkins), may know, The Village Voice has recently dropped the strip from its print edition. A petition to get the strip back into the paper (which probably won't do any good, but will be good for the soul) can be found here.

Query

MANIFESTO

Is it too much to ask that our Feckless Leader, who is so insistent on holding foreign entities accountable, stop promoting freaking convicted felons in his own administration?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Neither snow nor rain ...

MANIFESTO

The story of the day has to do with Feckless Leader's December 20th signing statement indicating that he and other government officials have the power to snoop through people's mail without a judge's warrant.

This story, which the New York Daily News appears to have broken, certainly has Atrios in an uproar, but the administration says not to worry.
White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said today that the signing statement was meant merely "to clarify that he already has the authority" to open mail in certain emergencies.

"The president is not claiming any 'new authority,'" the White House said in a new statement. "The signing statement merely recognizes a legal proposition that is totally uncontroversial: that in certain circumstances — such as with the proverbial 'ticking bomb' — the Constitution does not require warrants for reasonable searches."
Which, of course, raises the question that if this "legal proposition ... is totally uncontroversial," why Gorgeous George felt the need to add the signing statement in the first place.

A "Balanced Budget"

MANIFESTO

Feckless Leader has thrown down the gaunlet again to Democrats.
President Bush on Wednesday challenged Democrats taking over Congress to join him in balancing the budget within five years and urged them to cut thousands of pet projects from future spending bills ...

"We face a spending problem, not a revenue problem," said White House Budget chief Rob Portman. "We're not undertaxed right now."
This is obviously just another effort to starve the beast, and Democrats seem to be seeing through this subterfuge.
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said, "Democrats are ready to work with the President to address our record deficits and restore fiscal discipline," but said Bush would have to cede ground when submitting his budget Feb. 5.
It's clear that the Harvard MBA will draw a line in the sand and allow no tax increases to help the goal of a balanced budget by 2012—a date that falls well without his last days in office.

The major problem facing the fiscal conservatives is Iraq. As long as the federal government is expending $177 million per day in Iraq, the public works projects that the Deficit King alludes to will remain a drop in the bucket.

Moreover, in order to achieve this "balanced budget" by 2012, the Social Security Trust Fund will have to continue to be ransacked. Just another way to starve the beast while the oligarchs feed on their fat government pensions.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Remaking Iraq in Our Image

Manifesto

I have to say that I agree with Monocle that the I don't really care about the hubbub surrounding Saddam's execution.

That said, I still think the whole thing has a couple of interesting elements that sum up many aspects of both the Bush Presidency and our little adventure in Iraq.

First, you've got the generally poor timing with the Ford funeral, effectively knocking that off the front page for a couple of days.

Second, you've got the clearly political nature of the timing, like all decisions of this administration, coming as it did just before the President is going to propose an escalation in the number of troops in Iraq despite the fact that only 11% of Americans support such a policy. (Hell, even the troops don't support it.)

And, of course, you've got the degrading conduct of the executioners, who, as many have noted, with their ski masks looked much like the terrorist killers of Daniel Pearl, but, in my estimation behaved more like the torturers at Abu Ghraib.

But the thing that strikes me as the most amusing corollary is how the actions of the Iraqi government in responding to this crisis have almost exactly mirrored the crisis management strategies employed by the Administration.

As soon as the video surfaced showing the degrading treatment of Saddam, the Iraqi government began an investigation ... into how the video got out. The problem isn't the degrading treatment, but the fact that evidence of that treatment made it to the public. Sure, it looks like one person may be publicly reprimanded, but the stories make clear, the problem that needs to be addressed isn't the bad conduct but the fact that those responsible got caught. As such, the messenger needs to be discovered and properly punished.

We've seen this story too many times over the last six years to count. From the aforementioned Abu Ghraib scandal to the warrantless wiretaps to Richard Clarke to Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson, the Bush Administration has made such behavior their calling card.

Well, at the very least we can consider this evidence that we really are exporting our brand of democracy to Iraq. Way to go!

Code Orange! Code Orange!

MANIFESTO

He doesn't know what, he doesn't know when, he doesn't know where, but, by God,
Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson predicted today a horrific terrorist act on the United States that will result in "mass killing" late in 2007.

"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said during his news-and-talk television show "The 700 Club" on the Christian Broadcasting Network. "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."
I can't explain why I'm wasting valuable bandwidth in discussing the Christian Cretin. I guess I just want people to know what we have in store for 2007.

GI George to Congress: ...

MANIFESTO

Ah, Feckless Leader ... as conciliatory as ever.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Query

MANIFESTO

Is it callous of me to admit that I don't really care about all the hubbub concerning Saddam Hussein's execution?

His Way

SPORTING GOODS

Bobby Knight showed what a sick pup he is at his press conference yesterday. Viz.,
"I've always thought that if there's ever an occasion for a song to be played on my behalf, I wanted it to be Frank Sinatra singing 'My Way,'" said Knight, whose usually glaring facade showed hints of cracking during the outpouring of emotions.

"I don't expect you people to have agreed with what I've done - and, if I did (care), I would have asked your opinion. And I have never asked the opinions of very many. I've simply tried to do what I think is best in the way that I think you have to do it. I think I've put myself out on a limb at times, knowingly, simply because I thought what I was going to do or say was the best way to get this kid to be the best player or the best student."

"I've simply tried to do what I think is best," Knight said. "Regrets? Sure. Just like the song. I have regrets. I wish I could have done things better at times. I wish I would have had a better answer, a better way, at times. But just like he said, I did it my way and when I look back on it, I don't think my way was all that bad."
For those counting, that's 24 "Is" and 5 "mys" in only 211 words. It's hard to believe that anyone could be any more egomaniacal.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Shooting Blanks

MANIFESTO

One of the most ineffective senators of the past twenty years, Richard Lugar, has indicated that
President Bush should consult with the incoming Democratic-led Congress before announcing plans for Iraq.
Now whether or not this advice is on the level is problematic. At any rate, Lugar asserted that members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee should
be allowed to study Bush's proposal before the president addresses the nation this month. Bush can expect "a lot of hearings, a lot of study, a lot of criticism" if he doesn't, Lugar said. The debate could get ugly, "and it need not," he said.
What a moron. It's the height of incompetence for Lugar to refer to the oversight of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee now that he no longer chairs it. Where was he when the first 3000 American troops died in Iraq for no good reason?