Friday, August 31, 2007

Future Programming Alert

Starting September 5th and continuing on for a week and a half or so, the con of this site will be handed over to "B-Daddy" who will bring his unique observational and writing talents to bear. We are still trying to secure some East Coast representation to provide some geographical balance to this hopelessly West Coast biased operation.
Yours truly may chime in from time to time while out on the hi-ways of the spectacular American Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions.

'08 Beijing Olympic Update

(One in an occasional series provided during the run-up to the ’08 Summer Games in Beijing, China).

As you may be aware, China has a very robust population control policy. How robust, you may ask? To say they micro-manage the process is perhaps the only polite way to put it. And if they're not careful, continued practice of said policy may find China a spot on Emily’s List.

Click on link below for an uplifting story regarding completely free, pre-natal (just barely) care...... Chi-Com Style!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Its On!

Its cocktails and appetizers this evening and Friday night before Saturday's entree'.

There was a time when Labor Day weekend was a near-seismic event as the NFL kicked off its regular season schedule along with college ball. Now the NFL opens the weekend after and depending on where Labor Day falls, the first games on the pro schedule can start edging into mid-September. It was felt that attendance and ratings would be better after everyone gets back from Labor Day long weekend.

Never ones to question the marketing brilliance of the NFL, we just feel that Labor Day weekend or not, people will watch... a lot of people will watch.

Anyway, the most intriquing match-up of the evening won't be televised as far as can be discerned. Local listings have been checked and it doesn't appear that the Oregon St./Utah game will be on. ESPN2 will have, however, Tulane/Louisiana - Monroe so quit complaining.

Not quite sure why two respectable football programs that would greatly benefit from at least some regional cable coverage would play a mid-week game and not have it televised. Wasn't this the subject of some fuming about the Pac-10 a couple weeks back?

Never mind all that - life has meaning once again. Enjoy the games responsibly.

Our Number One.

Bernard Lagat won the 1,500 meter finals at the world championships in Osaka Japan yesterday… or was it today Japan time, or… ? Never mind. Point being, the victory was significant on two counts.

Firstly, it marked the first time an American won the 1,500 meters at a global event since Mel Sheppard won it at the 1908 Olympic Games.

(For a good stretch of time the near- equivalent distance “mile” was raced until its was phased out 20-30 years ago. Our crack research staff points out that Americans such as Jim Ryun, Steve Scott and Steve Prefontaine won international events when the mile was still ran. Regardless, this country’s showings in the middle distance events in recent years have been paltry).

Secondly, Lagat is a native Kenyan who became a U.S. citizen back in 2004.

Here is Lagat’s quote after the race: “This is a dream come true. I'm a champion for the United States of America.” “When you're carrying this flag, it means a lot, You're representing everybody, the victims of Katrina, everybody. Those who are serving in the war in Iraq. This is for everybody in the United States.”

Did you get that? His victory was for us… his fellow citizens and American brothers and sisters. Refreshing, huh? This dude gets it.

Congratulations, Bernard! Great to have you onboard. We are proud of your accomplishment and humbled by your sentiments.

Click here for story.

"Cruisin'... On a Sunday Afternoon. Cruisin'... Couldn't Get Away to Soon"

Wanted to jump into the fray but weren’t even sure where to start. Relevancy of any comment or comments regarding this subject would expire in half a news cycle anyway at the current rate.

The whole Craig gone Cruisin’ affair is so plainly bizarre on so many levels its damn near parody-proof. Craig who was arrested back in June on misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges in an airport restroom in Minneapolis, has been reduced to making the claim, “I’m not Gay!” Ya hear that? He’s not gay!

Link is here. Read it first. Drink the whole thing in before reading on.

How about the cop, huh? How would you like that beat? Sitting around in restroom stalls with your trousers around your ankles. And the quote about other persons using the restroom “… for its intended use.”? One can only assume in Minneapolis this is a point of distinction that is required to be made. As if, “… get this Sarge, while the perp was putting the moves on me, we were almost interrupted by a couple of freaks happening by to relieve themselves at the urinals AND THEN washing their hands before leaving the facility. Can you believe it?”

We’re still wondering what it is he actually did that caused him to be arrested. Apparently, cruising in airport restrooms is a problem in Minneapolis. Don’t be mistaken. Being unfamiliar with this whole cruising thing, its not clear whether he was arrested for lewd conduct or just lame execution of lewd conduct…. Swiping his hand under the stall…? What a dork.

Afterall, Minneapolis is supposed to be the de facto capitol of the upper-Midwest and the cultural seat of its more tolerant and liberal sensibilities so maybe this arrest and resultant punishment will be used as an opportunity to, you know, coach-up the Senator a little bit.

As far as its concerned, his biggest crime, perhaps his only crime was complete disregard for restroom etiquette which in our books is indeed worthy of arrest and possible jail time. No joke – this is a matter to be taken very seriously.

If a person enters a restroom and has the option of multiple open urinals yet chooses the one adjacent to an employed urinal… jail time. If a person while relieving himself at a urinal attempts to engage in conversation with another person employing a urinal… jail time with mitigating circumstances if other person voluntarily engages in the same conversation.

Restrooms are no place for trifling or frivolity and we sincerely hope the lessons learned by the Senator from Idaho are heeded by us all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What Silver Lining?

Don’t want to spend too much time pointing out examples of something that is a foregone conclusion. It really is too easy of a target and there are entire websites devoted to the same but from time to time we’ll throw news items related to this against the wall to see what sticks. That something, of course, is “Media Bias”.

Its not a conspiracy, though. Its anything but. When survey after survey consistently demonstrates around 90% of members of the industry identify themselves as Democrats or vote for the Democratic candidate depending on that particular election, this phenomena in the media can more accurately be described as “group-think”. (…and golly, just think of how much more these numbers would be skewed when you take Fox News out of the equation?)

… but 90%? Holy smokes. There is far more political diversity in our office… in the belly of the military-industrial complex beast.

Anyway, click on attached article below documenting a lowering of the poverty rate and continued low unemployment but where the “Yes, but…” caucus is in full throat and ask yourself if you really feel any better about the economy after reading it. Good news is simply an anathema to some people.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nazis and Other Left-Wing Hate Groups

(deep exhale) Aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…… Mission… accomplished. Dear readers, you have no idea how good that felt. With those few key strokes the list of “100 things to do before death” has been winnowed to a mere 96.

It has caused no small amount of consternation over the years to constantly see the descendants of the Nazis, be they Euro skin-heads, Aryan Nation, Aryan Brotherhood or latter day Nazis themselves be attached to the term “right-wing”.

On top of this lemming-like agenda-driven practice, it also represents total journalistic irresponsibility. Good g*d, just what is it about “National… Socialist… Workers... Party” that suggests right wing, rather than left-wing?

Let’s see. Nationalizing formerly private industry? Yep, definitely a leftie thing. Showing preference to one group of people over others based on racial or ethnic backround? Viva La Left! Blaming a class or classes of people for your nation’s woes? Straight out of the leftist playbook in this country. And hatred of the Jews? As noted in a previous post, you'll get no seat at the International Left's banquet table unless you are serving up generous portions of anti-Semitism.

But, hey. It does feel great to have finally done that. On to #95!

I was going to link to an article about Nazis protesting something or another in Nebraska or Missouri but I misplaced it. Apologies.

Yeah, but Can He Scheme Against the Blitz!

A year ago was the height of that craze of compiling “A as B” comparisons, as in “’Cheers' characters as U.S. Congressmen” or “Simpson characters as College football programs”. Not wanting to be left out of this cultural phenomena, we tried our hand at “Godfather triology characters as College football programs”.

Disclosure: We made this list a year ago before the season but preserved it for posterity and to see which comparisons still fit.

"Connie" as Miami (Florida): A semi-attractive, sloppy-drunk irrelevant ho early in life suddenly transformed in the 80s to a high profile, ass-kicking, law-breaking loyal defender of the Family, even when some in the Family (Vincent in III) screw up. "Ain't nuthin' matters but this U!". (ed. note: Slipping a bit. Need to get the fire back under new head coach Randy Shannon)

"Fredo" as Rutgers: With everything going for him, should be way better than he is, other, than the fact that its, oh yeah, still.. just.. Fredo. Gets brushed aside by younger, more capable sibling. USC fans may readily substitute UCLA here, as well. (ed. note: This changed a bit, now didn’t it? Perhaps substitute Arizona St. for Rutgers and for this year at least, strike that UCLA comparison altogether.)

"Vito Corleone" as Notre Dame: Despite the occasional periods of mediocrity and the appearance of fading, the old fat-man can still throw his weight around when need be. He is afterall, the God Father. (ed. note: another thrashing in a Bowl game may get this one struck. Take heed Domers)

"Sonny Corleone" as Fresno St.: The brash, smash-mouth, hot-head who will take on anyone, anywhere (got garbage can?) but yet gets whacked unexpectedly (those late-season conference losses every year are a pain) denying him the mantle of greatness.

"Tom Hagen" (Corleone family counsel) as Iowa: Calm, cool, collected. Stays above the fray and just keeps winning, though, not in spectacular fashion. Is not possessing the blood lines (see instead Michigan and Ohio St.) so will never be head of the Family but very good just the same.

"Michael Corleone" in GF III as Florida St.: Former heavyweight who has slipped. Wants to go clean but can never quite make the break he has hoped for. Despite all the talent around him, he is beset by corporate indecision and mistakes made by those inside the family (Jeff Bowden as Vincent and/or Connie). (ed. note: Bowden is gone. We’ll see if new O-Con Jimbo Fisher can revitalize the stagnant Seminole offense)

Sofia Coppola playing "Mary Corleone" as Temple: "What the hell is she doing in this movie?" See also, Stanford. As in, "What the hell is the band doing out on the field?" All the while wondering whether Vincent hit his cousin Mary like Kevin Moen hit that Stanford trombone player some 25 years ago.

"Joey Zasa" in GF III as Pac-10 runner-ups of recent vintage: Ungrateful upstart with a chip on his shoulder. Thinks he deserves more (BCS) respect than is due which leads him to overestimate his capabilities and thusly to an unceremonious whacking at the hands of a perceived inferior opponent. "Joey (Blam!-Blam!) Za-sa" (Please see Oregon and Cal performances in two of last three Holiday Bowls).

"Senator Pat Geary" as Ohio St. - Powerful Senator from Nevada whose clean-cut, family-values image (did anyone actually buy into those ties and sweater vests Jim Tressel wears?) is belied by a culture of sleaze and corruption underneath the surface. "Fredo, is that thing for real?". "They don't call him Superman for nuthin, Senator."

"Anthony Vito Corleone" as Duke's hoops program: Michael's clean-living, good-looking son who wants nothing to do with the dreadful family business. In fact, wants to get away from it so bad, takes up and excels at an entirely different profession performing in front of adoring, enthusiastic fans.

Special non-Godfather Addendum:

Tawny Kitaen as Syracuse: "She used to be pretty hot - what the heck happened to her?"

Clint Eastwood’s character in his Spaghetti Westerns as USC: Bad-ass, no-name (on back of jersey) who rides into town, steals the mayor’s wife, wreaks havoc and destruction all around and just as calmly rides back out of town. (Status: Pending. Take care of business in-conference this year and kick LSU’s, Texas’, Michigan’s or whoever’s rear end in the BCS championship and the title is yours o men of Troy)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Playing the "J" Card

Disgraced dog-killer, Michael Vick, formally entered his guilty plea to a dog-fighting conspiracy charge.

The attached link contains Vick’s formal statement in its entirety. In it, Vick stated, “…through this situation I found Jesus and asked him for forgiveness and turned my life over to God. And I think that's the right thing to do as of right now.”

We really want to give Vick the benefit of the doubt, here. We sincerely want to believe that he stared into the abyss at some point these past few weeks and had a literal honest-to-God change of heart.

Our souls are genetically pre-disposed to “going it alone” until we get kicked in the gut by life’s circumstances or those of our own doing… and only then do we look upward for any divine guidance.

But, man…. We are a nation of cynics and in the PR campaign to rehabilitate Vick’s image that kicked off today at his sentencing, the timing of this statement put things out of order. Contrition, punishment and then… redemption is more what this country is comfortable with.

Again, none of us are equipped to sit in judgement on matters of the heart and we will give Vick the benefit of the doubt but it just seemed a little too easy to make that claim when he did.

Click here for full statement.

See! Gun Bans Work.

A University of Colorado freshman, Michael George Knorps, was stabbed with a knife on campus on the first day of classes this morning. Fortunately, Knorps only suffered mild injuries and was speaking coherently after the attack.

The assailant, Kenton Astin, turned the knife on himself after the attack and stabbed himself several times in the chest. Police didn’t think he was a student at CU.

Medical personnel responded quickly to the incident to treat both people. The police arrested Aston at the hospital.

On the heels of a school season-ending tragedy at Virginia Tech, we get this to open the school season. As at least one commenter to the attached article noted, it could’ve been a lot worse.

Pot, Meet Kettle!

Not ones to be bothered with the machinations of other countries’ political processes, Senators Hillary Clinton and Carl Levin of Michigan have called for the ouster of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who was elected to that post by the Iraqi Assembly, because of the ineffectualness of that same legislative body over which he presides.

This is amazing. Critics of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, like Clinton and Levin have based their reasoning, in part, on the hubris of imperialism, so al-Maliki was quite justified in firing back at his U.S. critics by saying, “There are American officials who consider Iraq as if it were one of their villages…” And he called out Clinton and Levin specifically in this retort.

And about this charge of ineffectualness? Are politician’s honestly that self-absorbed that they can’t see the irony of their words and deeds? Please don’t misunderstand, an ineffectual legislative body, particularly with this current group up on Capitol Hill is not necessarily a bad thing but members of a group that have an 18% approval rating might want to keep those rocks in their back pocket for the time being.

Click here for story on Al-Maliki

The image above is of a confronation during Shay's Rebellion, a violent episode between the end of the Revolutionary War and the Constitutional Congress and which epitomized this country's own struggle with the logic and practicalness of being a confederacy vs. a fully unified nation.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Wait a Minute. Did They Repeal That Whole Two Term Limit Thing?

The Presidential election is still over 14 months away but a couple of primary campaign trends have become noticeable: The Democrat hopefuls appear to be running against Bush and their potential opponents on the Republican side all seem to be running against Hillary.

Click here for story on Clinton campaigning in Martha’s Vineyard.

And here for story on Republicans hoping to see Hill’ win the Democratic Primary.

"As Sweet and Clear as Moonlight Through the Pines"

A dramatic walk-off homerun in extra innings gave the Warner-Robbins, GA team the victory over the team from Japan and this year's World Series Little League title. This makes 3 straight championships for the Americans and two straight now for the state of Georgia.

Don't count us among the crowd that views this nationally-televised (in HD, no less) event of 12 yr. olds playing baseball as exploitation. Exploition is the YouTube video of 12 (13?) yr. old Pop Warner football player from SoCal, Cody Paul, being set to a hip-hop tune with questionable lyrics... and knuckleheads actually posting comments on the relative merits of Paul vs. other youth league football players around the country.

This, though. This was just fun.

Click here for story.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Racing.... Under the Lights!

Though not necessarily fans of the sport, we have followed NASCAR on the periphery for years in no small part because of Tom Wolfe’s epic “The Last American Hero is Junior Johnson, Yes!” that we read nearly 25 years after it first appeared in Esquire magazine in 1964.

Wolfe’s innate ability to provide his subject a context within the broader American cultural experience was a perfect fit for this curious Southern phenomena that has gone Main Street, particularly in the past 10-15 years.

And though, open-wheel racing is more visually appealing and appears to take far more driving skill, they can’t seem to get organized here state-side, so it’s NASCAR for our intermittent auto-racing jones.

We’ve never been to a NASCAR event but we aim to. These races have the feel of an NFL or major college football tailgate on HGH. And when it comes to completely unabashed, bold-typed, in-your-face American culture experiences, it doesn’t get any better than a tailgate. Tailgates make our list of the 10 places/events to which we would take a foreigner that would best describe/define this country.

An outdoor sporting event, cold beer, grilled meats, unapologetic flag-waving and halter tops. How could it get any better?

The boys will be racing under the lights on the high banks of the short track at Bristol, Tennessee this evening.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just a Week Away

Attached is Sport Illustrated's projected match-ups for this season's college football bowl games. Many of these bowl games are locked into taking teams depending on how they finished in the standings for their particular conference, so a couple things were noted. First, the Holiday Bowl here in San Diego got downgraded from being locked into the Big 12's #3 team to now having to take its 4th place finisher. The opponent will still be the Pac-10's #2 team.

And much has been made regarding the number of bowl games and thus the watered-down quality of the teams that play in all the bowl games. As big a fans we are of college football, even we blushed when looking at the lineups and seeing that the 6th place Conference USA team is assured a spot in something called the Texas Bowl. Conference USA? 6th place? yikes.

Also, in one of the worst kept secrets of this off-season, former high school phenom and Notre Dame freshman quarterback, Jimmy Clausen, admitted to having surgery in the spring to remove a bone spur in his throwing arm. Clausen, who played his high school ball in Westlake Village, CA, has come in with about as much hype as Ron Powlus did to Notre Dame nearly 15 years ago.

Powlus, who never lived up to the hype was under constant scrutiny from the media for being nothing other than the starting quarterback for Notre Dame. The expectations for any Irish QB are so great that we recall a story that took place at Powlus' press conference where he announced he was going to attend Notre Dame. After the announcement, a reporter came up to Powlus' Mom and as the story goes, apologized ahead of time on behalf of the media for, "... ruining your son's life."

Good luck, Jimmy.

Now He Tells Us

Just when we thought we were getting fully wired into the 21st century, Bazillionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban says the internet is "dead and boring".

Then again this is the same guy who hired Dan Rather and signed Devean George to a ridiculous free-agent deal so its possible his assessment of the 'net may be similarly misguided. Don't throw out your computer just yet!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

In Case You Had Any Doubts

President Bush came out swinging yesterday in defending the Iraq war to a gathering of Veterans in Kansas City and likening the conflict there to Vietnam and specifically the chaos that would ensue if the Americans withdrew. Of course, people went bonkers with the Vietnam comparison… its assumed that only the anti-war set can make comparisons to Vietnam.

But that’s not why we are here today. Wanna talk about something a little different but definitely related and that is this whole surge business in Iraq and who is being honest with themselves and the American public on their desire to see success in Iraq.

The Democratic Presidential hopefuls have been treading a thin line not straying too far from vague, bland, meaningless centrist-speak and only speaking out both sides of their mouths when they think no one is listening or their audience demands them to speak from a specific template.

But make no mistake about what they are really thinking. They were betrayed by House Whip, James Clyburn, who in a fit of candor admitted that a successful surge would be “a real problem for us”. One can assume that “us” meant anti-war Democrats, most elected Democrats and certainly Democratic Presidential candidates who are now faced with the reality of finding a new tact in which to criticize the war effort and the Administration’s conduct of the same.,2933,294245,00.html

But lets get back to Clyburn. A problem…..? A problem? Gee, sorry that the military is fouling things up for you. Our apologies, pal, that General Patraeus’ military-equivalent plan to put a cop on every street corner isn’t synching up with your Party’s political plans. Muchos mea culpas, you miserable sonofabitch, that our G.I.s and Marines are experiencing success in killing and capturing the bad guys while simultaneously stabilizing the situation there.

Honestly. Not sure that we’ve ever read anything so revolting, so disgusting…. so maddening in a very, very long time.

This quote exposed the fallacy of any of their good intentions. It laid waste to any of this “We support the troops but not the War” bullcrap that has become their own bumpersticker. Its been suspected all along but its blatantly obvious now that they don’t give a damn about the troops and they sure as hell would rather us lose than win.

And here is what is most disgusting about all this: There are many U.S. servicemen over there who are NOT down with this. They don’t agree with the motives and ends. They may not give a hoot in hell about the Iraqi people and the freedom and democracy that this county is attempting to provide. They don’t want to be there – they just want to get back home safely.

But you know what? They get up every single day and without complaint, they get the job done! And you know why? Because they are U.S. soldiers, U.S. marines, U.S. sailors and U.S. airmen who have sworn an oath to follow orders, carry out the mission and respect the chain of command.
And for their efforts – they get spit in the face. They are this nation’s finest, part of an all-volunteer military, who toil day in and day out in unspeakable conditions and yet they have elected leaders over here that would willingly sacrifice success in Iraq for their own selfish political ambitions. How sad. How very sad, disappointing and discouraging.

We wanted to leave you with an old adage we picked up back in Seminary but since this is a family program we’ll just say it involved: houses of ill-repute, family members and Party affiliation. Ask your Dad or Grandad….. they’ll know.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Your Zinger for the Day

As noted in an earlier post, we are big fans of Tony Kornheiser, sports columnist for the Washington Post and a frequent presence on ESPN and ABC. Of all the lame round-table, sports-guys-yelling-at-each-other TV programs, the only one worth watching is PTI (Pardon the Interruption) which he co-hosts with fellow Post-er, Michael Wilbon.

The freaks are really starting to come out now that Michael Vick has pled guilty to the dog-fighting charges against him. We won’t get into all the bizarreness of the past 24-48 hours by people coming to Vick’s defense… you’ll hear it yourself but we wanted to share a Kornheiser response on PTI this afternoon to something that Stephon Marbury, an NBA baller, said in regards to Vick. Star-bury attempting to minimize Vick’s involvement in the dog-fighting scandal said that Vick had merely “…fell into a bad situation”. TK shot back, “Vick bankrolled a bad situation.”
Good night, all.

Fool Me Once....

The recent crack-downs on illegal immigration is simultaneously encouraging and troubling. “Maybe they listened” is the optimist in us but that is competing neck and neck with a feeling that we’re all being set up.

As the country is coming up on harvest time for many of its crops, one can’t help but feel suspicious that the Administration and the pro-Amnesty crowd will leverage the complaints of the agriculture lobby and illegal immigrant advocacy groups along with possibly higher fruit and vegetable prices and images of crops withering on the vine to resurrect the Rube Goldberg Amnesty Bill or similar.

Stand by.

Campaigning: One Prius at a Time.

Former Democratic congresswoman from Colorado, Pat Schroeder is the President of something called the American Association of Publishers. Though a non-partisan group that did not stop her from opining that liberals read more books than conservatives.

As part of her reasoning and riffing off the bumper-sticker theme that liberals are fond of, Schroeder told the AP, “The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple of slogans: “No don’t raise my taxes, no new taxes”. “It’s pretty hard to write a book saying, ‘No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes’ on every page.”

Pat: as knee-jerk reactionaries that repetitive mantra is merely the response to the liberal playbook which appears to be page after page of, “Raise taxes, raise taxes, raise taxes” with the random “Kill the unborn” thrown in just to keep the unwashed off-balance.

She also claimed that liberals were more wonkish and because of that “can’t say anything in less than paragraphs.” Paragraphs! Of course, Schroeder is on to something as we will freely own up to the fact that our politics in practical execution be summed up as: “No thanks, we’re fine. Now just leave us the hell alone”.

Well short of a paragraph but will probably fit on a bumper sticker.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Wow. Apologies. Posts were bordering on serious there for a while. Anyway, you all will be bid adieu this evening by a few comments on last night’s Monday Night Football game. Well, not about the game itself as it was a preseason game but about the announcers.

First, a quick word on announcers and sports talk TV/radio guys in general. As they like sports and they like to talk about sports, we are pre-disposed to liking them. Yes, we like to keep our relationships simple and as such, you don’t have to do a whole lot to keep us happy.

That is why the person of Joe Theismann had to work so hard to curry disfavor. You see, there was probably no color commentator on the planet that made listening to a particular ballgame more of a chore. He just oozed pomposity and regal arrogance. We always pictured him in a tunic robe holding a gold-leafed scroll while in the booth. Rather than offering mere opinions, Little Joey-T, made proclamations… grand, bold, sweeping proclamations.

And that would not have been so bad if it did not seem like he was making these same proclamations…. every damn week!

Worse yet, the man had zero sense of humor and that was never more apparent than last season when ABC put Tony Kornheiser in the booth (along with Mike Tirico) for its Monday Night Football telecasts. The reasoning being that Theismann would play it straight to the wise-cracking indifference of Kornheiser. Uhh… no. Either Theismann was too dense to realize that was his role or he felt it beneath him.

Either way, its of no concern any longer. Enter Jaws! The Polish Rifle, Ron Jaworski. The man LOVES football, makes insightful and pertinent comments AND has a sense of humor and doesn’t take himself too seriously so he has been (from what little has been observed) a great foil for Kornheiser.

Bonus points for starting his career with the old Los Angeles Rams… the Los Angeles Coliseum Rams… the pre-Georgia Los Angeles Rams with the glorious blue and gold uniforms…. alright, we’ll stop now.

Combine Theismann’s mere presence with the Network switcheroo beginning last season which relegated Monday Night Football to second fiddle behind NBC’s Sunday Night Football, and thusly second-fiddle match-ups, there became scant reason to tune in. That’s all behind us now. Monday night has true life-affirming value once again.

Welcome aboard, Jaws!

Free Fidel?

Short of receiving a blood transfusion from the medical center on the grounds of the Reagan Ranch here in California, we’re confident we will not be casting a vote for Barack Obama in the general election should he win the Democratic nomination.

However, we’re going to give the man his due for calling out the Bush Administration for imposing stricter enforcement of the Cuban embargo with respect to family travel to and from and sending money back to Cuba.

In a larger context, it seems peculiar these embargos and sanctions we have levied against other countries on the basis of backwards-assed Socialist economic policies and deplorable human rights conditions (those two are always snuggling and necking in the corner, it seems) because, well…. they don’t seem to work.

Cuba and North Korea are the two prime examples of how these embargos are counter-productive as they give the miserable tin-pot dictator running the show ammunition to play the “us against them” card with the added benefit of keeping the citizenry that is absent exposure to foreign trade and thus, democratizing culture and ideas, even more dependant on said bastard’s cult of personality.

Of course the Clinton administration turned this concept completely on its head by giving the Norks, nuclear technology. We won’t even build nuclear reactors in this country anymore but will give it up to North Korea because they need it to uhhhh… generate electricity for their people. No, really.

Only South Africa comes to mind as a country where sanctions worked and in that case it was to bring about the end of apartheid. But South Africa was a different situation altogether. Contrary to most other countries against whom embargos and sanctions are imposed, South Africa was an open, Western democracy and as such they were sensitive and responsive to shame and humiliation from the rest of the civilized world.

We’re hoping that the whole tired, played-out concept of embargos and sanctions receives an extensive overhaul or perhaps better, a scrapping altogether.

Click here for story on Obama.

More Popular than Congress!

Just having some fun with numbers this evening. In the latest Gallup Poll, 32% of those polled approved of the job President Bush was doing vs. 18% approval for Congress.

As the article points out, the latest dip in approval ratings is shrinking support for Congress by those who identify themselves as Democrats (Republican disgust with Congress has been pretty steady).

There is growing dissatisfaction within the Democratic ranks caused by the feeling that Democrats in the House and Senate led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, respectively, have not done enough to stand up to the Republicans and President Bush, particularly regarding the War in Iraq and recent FISA legislation that sailed through Congress on its way to be signed into law by President Bush (this is a whole ‘nother topic we may try to tackle later).

The talking point on Rove’s legacy has been how his “base first” strategy has lost a generation of Republicans, so we are waiting for commentary on Reid and Pelosi’s “face first” strategy losing a generation of Democrats. Hey, now.......

However, we are encouraged by the appearance of some Republicans emerging from the primordial ooze of politics to join the ranks of vertebrates in the animal kingdom.

Click here for full story on this poll.

Monday, August 20, 2007

L'Affaire Beauchamp

Although the wheels haven’t officially come off the whole Scott Thomas Beauchamp affair, they are extremely wobbly.

Beauchamp, is a soldier stationed in Iraq and was writing under the (ahem) nom de guerre, get this, “Scott Thomas” for the The New Republic. His pennings, to no one’s surprise considering who he was writing for, were less than flattering towards the military and the mission in Iraq.

The story in a nutshell is that people both here and serving in Iraq began to question the veracity of some of his claims including witnessing a mass grave site and mocking a disfigured woman. The New Republic has issued some time and place corrections to at least one of his submittals but the jury is still out, though, on whether or not Beauchamp himself officially retracted parts of or all of his “diaries”.

Aside from the smarminess and condescension in his writing, Beauchamp would have you believe he was a formerly sensitive, caring and compassionate soul who had been transformed into an unfeeling savage by his experience in Iraq. Ahh…. We love it when transparency doesn’t try to be coy and just comes up and slaps us in the face.

Click on link below for an exhaustive look into this controversy that details Beauchamp’s marriage to one of TNR’s fact checkers, some inconsistencies/errors/lies(?) in Beauchamp’s stories and the “outing” of the whistle-blower at TNR (a recurring theme of late it seems for angered liberals).

At the end of the day, we are left scratching our head and wondering: with over 150,000 uniformed service men and women in Iraq to do their bidding, this is the best the Left could come up with?

"Seize Her" and Caesar

The illegal immigrant movement possibly gained its first “face” or “star” in the person of Elvira Arellano who was arrested outside a Catholic church in Los Angeles and deported to Mexico on Sunday.

Perhaps thinking she was in a remake of the 80s movie “Highlander”, she had spent the past year hiding out in a “sanctuary church” in Chicago. During this time, according to other reports, she was also speaking in other churches on behalf of the movement.

There’s little doubt her speeches in these churches were replete with the message of Christ’s compassion for the poor and less fortunate. What there is some doubt about, though, is if any of her sermons also invoked the story of Christ confronting the Pharisees’ lackeys when they challenged Him on the morality of paying taxes to the Roman government. Of course, Christ sent these lackeys packing by responding, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”.

Being suckers for the antiquated Constitutional notion of “rule of law”, we’ve always felt that one of the lessons from this story was to first obey the laws of the land before you start throwin' around Jesus’ name.

Click here for story.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

You Know You're Winning the Argument When........

With the assistance of Ward Connerly, a group of citizens in Missouri are attempting to use the state’s ballot initiative process to end the state’s use of race and gender preferences. This ban of institutional racism and the language proposing the same are similar to what was proposed and passed by the voters of California and Michigan.

State law dictates the language for the initiative is to be submitted through the secretary of state’s office.

The original language as submitted by the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative reads as follows:

“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prohibit any form of discrimination as an act of the state by declaring:
“The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education or public contracting?”

Problem is that Robin Carnahan, Mizzou’s SecState wanted to umm… tweek the language a bit. Carnahan apparently felt that ballot language being what it is, a tad dry and pedestrian, decided to pen this as an alternative and the one which would appear on the ballot:

“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
“Ban affirmative action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employment and education; and

“Allow preferential treatment based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin to meet federal program funds eligibility standards as well as preferential treatment for bona fide qualifications based on sex?”

What? Nothing about the drowning of little baby kittens and milk and cookies before bedtime for all minors? And how about “...preferential treatment for bona fide qualifications based on sex?” You get preferential treatment even after the bona fide sex? Excellent!

Seriously, what is stunning about this re-write is that the 2nd paragraph effectively cancels out the hopelessly slanted 1st paragraph. Talk about covering your bases.

Anyway, the folks at the MCRI are suing Carnahan over the re-write, though, as the attached article documents, she was undefeated in ’06 in suits involving her creative writing hobby.

So Just What is it About Those Jews?

If there was ever a common theme or thread among this planet's disgruntled, it has to be hatred of the Jews.

Whether its the anti-globalization/anti-capitalism Leftist set, certain factions of the global civil rights movement, the enviro-whacko types, etc. etc., one does not have to scratch below the surface of these groups' rhetoric too far to find a nice steaming pile of anti-Semitism. (And one can make the argument that all the above can be grouped under a single uber-umbrella of tantrum-throwing anti-Semites)

Even the more polite types among the aforementioned can't seem to help themselves from stepping in it from time to time. Its like a magnet!

Never mind that there does not even have to be a nexus between what is being protested and the Jewish people. Its as if espousing anti-Semitism alone gets you into the club and demonstrates how you are "keepin' it real".

Click on link below for "climate change protestors" bum-rushing an Israeli-owned warehouse near Heathrow airport in London and replacing the Israeli flag with a Palestinian one.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Our College Football Dilemma... and Hope for the Cure

The first AP college football poll came out and as expected, USC was ranked first followed by LSU, West Virginia, Texas and Michigan to round out the Top 5. So we’re almost there… a fortnight away from the 1st full weekend of the college football season.

So are we excited? You bet. But we will admit that excitement is tempered a bit knowing that along with the joy that college football brings us, it is a double-edged sword that can also cause frustration, angst, and utter disbelief because it seems that each week we are witness to a continuing litany of boneheaded coaching decisions.

A quick peak into our dark psyche: Last October we were watching UCLA kick Notre Dame’s tail all over the field in South Bend. UCLA’s two defensive ends, Justin Hickman and Bruce Davis were living in the Irish backfield and ruining any chance that Brady Quinn had at winning the Heisman. Joy, oh joy. And just when victory seemed assured late in the 4th quarter, UCLA did a 180 and got completely away from what had been successful and what had them at victory’s doorstep. Yes, friends… the Bruins pulled “a Republican”

They completely shut down the offense, effectively giving the Irish defense consecutive 3 and outs and when the defense needed to make a stand with about 90 seconds left in order to ice the game, UCLA went into that god-forsaken and completely un-redeemable “prevent defense”, whereby Notre Dame blazed down the field in 3 plays for the winning score.

To say we were apoplectic would’ve been a slight understatement. Things were thrown, invectives cast, and house guests politely excused themselves from the premises in the face of this glorious meltdown.

This coaching performance was followed the very next day by the Chargers doing pretty much the same damn thing in their game against the Ravens. Unbelievable. We had a headache for about 4 days afterwards.

For the first time, we didn’t want to watch any football for a while. We’d had it. We were spent. We were beat down - ground into the turf by coaching stupidity. Why was it that we saw it coming a mile away but men who are paid great sums of money to lead young men to victory by being able to see the same could not?

It was then that we came up with this theory: Coaches watch game film but they don’t watch football.

Its not as counter-intuitive as it sounds. You see here at BwD HQ, at the height of any given Saturday afternoon in the fall, we are tracking no less than 6 or 7 football games simultaneously. And in watching and processing all this info, we don’t care that the left tackle is taking a bad technique in chipping on the defensive end before getting up field to block for a screen pass. We’re tracking scores and we are tracking game trends. We’re monitoring the ebb and flow of numerous games and as such, we start to see and recognize general situations and on-field circumstances from week to week that will lead to victory and conversely, defeat.

This is something that head coaches don't do. They watch plenty of game film and they get down into the weeds to look for an advantage in way of seeing if the wide receiver, for example, is tipping off plays by the way he lines up or hold his hands prior to the snap. But they don’t step back and look at the big picture - in fact, it would be nigh impossible for them to do so because as we are gathering game trends real-time, processing it and coming to our own conclusions as to what basic strategy will and will not work, the coaches are out there coaching and continuing to make boneheaded decisions.

Sorry for the long post but the poll and accompanying article from the AP via Sports Illustrated is attached. Click here.

Slipping into Irrelevancy

One of our Vegas research items we didn’t get to reporting-out on was whether or not the Sports Books offered betting lines on WNBA games. Can’t speak for other books but at least the South Point did not. And with the way things are going, no one may be offering lines for NBA games either next year.

On Wednesday, Tim Donaghy, the former NBA ref who has been accused of betting on NBA games admitted his guilt in a New York courtroom. In addition to betting on games, he advised professional gamblers on which teams to pick and provided information regarding referee game assignments, ref/player relationships and players’ health.

And just when things couldn’t get any worse, there was a report on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York on Thursday that Donaghy was about to give up to prosecutors the names of 20 colleagues that may have violated league rules. It was not disclosed what the nature of these violations were but the mind reels at the possibilities.

Now David Stern, the NBA commissioner, has been swearing up and down ever since this story broke that Donaghy is the only one, a rogue ref if you will and that the system the NBA has in place to police such illegal activity is in fine working order. This, of course, begs the question that if the system is operating as it should, why didn’t they pick up on what Donaghy was doing?

The NBA’s gambling scandal makes the NFL’s Mick Vick situation look like child’s play. The NFL and the Atlanta Falcons have essentially washed their hands of Vick and what he has been accused of doing, though reprehensible, does not strike at the very credibility and viability of professional football.

The Association and David Stern have a lot to answer for. For years, players, coaches and fans have grumbled, hinted and intimated towards the fact that certain refs had it in for certain players and/or coaches. Fans, in particular, have been openly suspicious that the league had a vested interest to make sure that certain teams advanced in the playoffs.

This was never more apparent than a few years back as the regular season was winding down, Commissioner Stern was asked in an interview what, from the league’s standpoint, would be the ideal Finals match-up. Without missing a beat and without a hint of irony, Stern responded with a big smile, “The Lakers vs. the Lakers.”

Of course, Stern and the league office would turn right around and dismiss charges of preferential treatment as essentially the rantings of conspiracy theorists.

Can it get worse? We shall see but no doubt these are dark, bleak and despondent times for a league struggling to maintain relevancy as the NFL (along with its complementary sidekick, college football) stands poised to swallow whole the entire American sports scene.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Back from Vegas....... (earlier than hoped)

Nothing sexy like losing our shirt at the craps table or even losing our shirt to a long cool woman in a black dress, rather our early departure was the result of a logistical conflict back here in San Diego. It was a shame because after just 2 days there, we felt we were just getting comfortable... as if the initial scald of the hot tub had subsided and we were now fully immersed into the soothing rhythm of casino life.

Well, since Vegas is still on the mind, what better time to post appropriate than on the day after the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.

The man still dominates this nation's cultural conscience and sub-conscience more than any figure outside the political realm. We tread lightly here not wanting to trivialize the planet-altering, life-as-we-know-it-in-America-providing contributions of giants like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. However, the man whom Camile Paglia dubbed "America's first Protestant Saint", has left a legacy that continues to be interpreted and built upon, much as the 3 aforementioned Presidents, to this day.
(The picture posted above is of one of the finest books we have ever read and the image of Presley is evocative of Ms. Paglia's assessment. In fact, because the book was so unlike anything we had read and because it so effectively captured that "something" about the American experience and about American exceptionalism, we wanted to work the title into the blog name somehow. Alas, we failed to come up with anything remotely elegant that would not, in our eyes and minds, have been somewhat over-the-top and/or pretentious. So we settled for the image of corporate elites boozing it up with the True Believers in an effort to garner ratings points. Charmed, we're sure).

Anyway... Elvis as our best weapon against totalitarian oppression? Click on link below for full story.
P.S. Many thanks to The Substitute (aka Brother Mike) for his fine work in holding down the fort. The kid ought to get his own blog, dontcha think?

P.P.S. You heard it here first... Late, great NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt: "America's second Protestant Saint."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We're in the Wrong Business

Aside from being wholely unconstitutional, the wonderful and glorious Campaign Finance Reform Act was also supposed to curtail the amount of money that went into politics and also all that mean, nasty "negative campaigning".

Not sure if there has ever been a piece of legislation that has done less than what it had intended and in the case of "negative campaigning", been more counterproductive. The CFRA spawned 527s like that could not endorse any particular candidate but were not restricted from attacking any other candidate as they saw fit.

Won't spend too much time on this but we will never.... never.... ever... truly "get money out of politics" until we also get "power out of politics". After all, what is all that money going into politics but to purchase the power that politics wield. Its really that simple. Cut back on the powers we grant government and you will effectively cut back the amount of money that is poured into politics. But its obvious that no one is really too interested in that these days.

Click here to read USA Today article about the moolah rolling into the campaign coffers.

OK. Gotta jet. Have already missed first two races at Saratoga.

Vegas Dispatch I

An exacta on the last race at Del Mar kept us at about the break even point here at the South Point.

A couple of years back, we spent one of the evenings at the HofBrau House where they had an oompah band and which was filled with German tourists. The Germans would, of course, be singing along with the tunes being belted out by the hit machine that was performing on stage but there were one or two that got our ancestral homies out of their seats and singing in full throat. This got a parlor discussion going in our group on what songs would get a bunch of American tourists, expats, etc. off their rear-ends were the same in some bar or restaurant overseas and being serenaded by a Gallic Rick Springfield look-a-like fronting the great American 70s and 80s Rock'nRoll cover band, "Sweet Emotion".

We settled on a consensus that was confirmed, in part, last night at the bar adjacent to the Sports Book that had a dueling, sing-a-long piano routine, two sets of newlyweds, their respective entourages and parties from Florida and Ohio, who together were taking great pride in the fact that between their rabid football following and the two states being the source of no small degree of controversy and interest the past two Presidential elections, had elevated themselves to the pinnacle of dysfunctionality in the eyes of their fellow citizens in the other 48 states. They were truly quite proud of this apparent distinction.

Give it some thought and chime in with any suggestions. We may reveal what song we had in mind later. Hint: Think Stars'n'Bars.

Many thanks to the Substitute for filling in.

If a Colt plays QB on Oahu, does it make any noise?

So there sits one Colt Brennan -- arguably the hottest college QB prospect in the land (Those in Louisville may disagree) -- a respectable 6th place finish in last year's Heisman trophy race. A life redeemed. And not one casual college football fan outside of the states of Hawaii and Colorado could tell you who he is. Why?

As "Terminator II" taught us: This is no fate but what we make.

Right or wrong, Brennan and the UH Rainbow Warriors will toil in relative anonymity for most of the season -- a late season matchup with Boise State aside. That is the price they pay for being geographically undesirable (Only college football could make the islands of Hawaii geographically undesirable! In the NFL, it's a reward. Of course, it's a mandatory curfew for Oahu residents when the NFL makes their annual trip there. Any person caught on the streets after 9 p.m. is liable to get shot... by NFL players! But I digress...). Of course, Brennan had a prime spot lined up in football-mad Big XII Country with the Buffs at one point, and what he made of his fate there took him to a tropical paradise where UH Warrior football is important -- to the entire population of Hawaii and not anywhere else.

So what do you do if your Brennan? Zip off TD passes in record numbers against defenses like, well, Boise State. Now I'm not here to argue that Boise State had the greatest defense since the Fearsome Foursome. But whatever they had was good enough to win the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma (And, oh by the way, the Broncos figure to be even better this year). Brennan and the Warriors -- never ones to be shrinking violets -- also took on Oregon State and ASU (Schools that make LSU fans a little nervous) last year. So maybe that onslaught that Brennan put up last year should be looked at with more than just a passing, "Yeah, but that's just the WAC." The degrees of separation between doing it against San Jose State and doing it against Ohio State on any given day are, perhaps, not as wide a gulf as it appears.

And for Brennan's encore this season? Ya gotta run the table, bud. Anything so much as a stumble and east coast fans, east coast pollsters, and east coast Heisman voters will turn off whatever TV coverage they have of you and stop looking for you in the Monday papers (Hawaii is at such a disadvantage papers back in the Original 13 don't even carry so much as a box score of them until Monday, if they do at all). It's too bad, because the talent is there. Matt Leinart had a bad game and it was, "Well, you can't expect that guy to take down the Auburn's of the world single-handedly every game, every week". Brennan doesn't have that luxury. If not...

Hasta la vista, baby.

The Substitute

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The keys to daddy's Pinto

We interrupt this regularly scheduled tonguing of pro sports and skewering of The Saving Grace of America (i.e. the Democratic Party) to bring you -- well -- a return to the kinder, gentler approach to American political and social discourse.

Or so I thought that's how it used to be back in the Good Ol' Days of late 18th Century America. I thought that, back in those days, congressional business was all, "If you please... Will the distinguished gentleman from Connecticut yield the floor to the right honourable gentleman from Virginia?" "Happily, my good man." Maybe a bow or dothing of the cap thrown in for effect. Never a word said in malice.
Not so fast, my friends.
Recently, while watching a PBS (PBS, GOPers, is this TV channel... ah, never mind. We'll get to that some other time) American Experience episode on the Founding Fathers, it became quite clear that the way we do it today in the American political arena -- basically, bloodsport -- had its roots not with Nixon's CREEP, but with quill pens, bottles of ink, and guys running around in powdered wigs and tights.

Jefferson and Hamilton, American patriots both, were not hermanos during their most productive years, claimed American Experience. The philosophical differences between them 200+ years ago were as stark, and their political henchman just as meanspirited and willing to take the low road, as anything you've seen in this post-Watergate political era. Speeches were written, entire newspapers created, political cartoons penned, and lies made up for the sole purpose of tearing down each other's moral character and (more to the point) political clout. It was Hearns-Hagler. An Eight Mile rap battle without the bad acting.

So go to it, American politicos (both professional and amateur). You have inhereted a grand tradition, blessed by no less than Jefferson and Hamilton themselves -- A tradition that says it is your god-given right to point out that Dems are wusses and GOPers are dunderheads -- for the good of the greatest country on earth. And just remember: An indictment is not a conviction.
The Substitute

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We Can't Believe It Took Us This Long to Post This Guy's Picture... umm... twice.

The obits on Karl Rove’s political career are starting to roll in and with that comes the predictable noise that we have heard about Republican administrations for years and years. These obits follow a pattern of crediting Rove with Bush’s Presidential victory in 2000, the stunning midterm Congressional elections in ’02 and the 2nd term victory in ’04.

These obits explain that because of “divisiveness”, “wedge issues”, “polarizing politics” and the like, the Republicans at first succeeded in exploiting the electorate but eventually, because of it, lost control of the House and Senate in the ’06 midterms.

As sure as the Sun rises in the East, when topics or issues are brought up that people are uncomfortable dealing with in an honest fashion like race-based preferences or partial-birth abortion, the terms above start getting tossed around.

Of course, this is not what lost the Republicans control of both houses in Congress last November. The Republicans got their ass kicked because they got away from what got them there in the first place. Republicanism as defined by Reagan and later by Newt Gingrich when Republicans took control of the House in ’94 involved a belief in minimalism and fiscal restraint as practiced by government.

Where did that go? The last 4 or 5 years in particular has seen a Republican-controlled Congress and White House absolutely blow-out the stops when it came to spending. This was Bush’s flawed notion of you-can-have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too “Compassionate Conservatism”. Everyone was still waiting for that “Conservative” part to kick in and we will fight anyone on the block for the right to throw the first shovel-full of dirt onto the grave containing that term.

A combination of this out-of-control spending with a complete lack of attention to the border and illegal immigration (perhaps, “inattention” is the wrong word. The events of this past June and July proved that plenty of attention was paid to it... just so happens that too many Republicans were on the wrong side of the issue), resulted in a large bloc of voters comprised of the conservative base of the Party along with the independent swing voters, who formerly delivered for Bush and the Republicans, scratching their heads while looking at both the Democrats and Republicans and asking themselves, “What the hell is the difference?” Hello, ass kicking!

It is our hope that Democrat strategists take to heart what has been offered up thus far regarding those hate-filled zealots in the Republican Party and that those of the Republican Party kindly remove their craniums from their respective derrieres and get back to the basics of Conservatism.

Programming Reminder

Tomorrow morning 4:30ish, Lord willing and the river don't rise, we will be on the road to Vegas. Checked out the weather forecast: 109 deg. and the rain icon... Our pea-brains are attempting to wrap around that concept. We are fascinated to see how these two physical weather phenomenas will play out together, real time. Will the rain explode on impact with the superheated asphalt and cement? Or will it simply flash to vapor in mid-air so that we are walking around in a steam bath for the next couple of days. Or.... will this meteorological oxymoron go completely unnoticed as we are held soothingly in the loving air-conditioned arms of the South Point Sports Book?

Brother Mike has primary responsibility for captaining the Beers with Demo ship the next few days but we may pop in if only to stem the tide of a bad losing streak. Or like the next post, just to get a few things off our chest that have been nagging for a while.

Monday, August 13, 2007

One Less Person for Volvo Drivers to Hate

One of the most controversial Presidential advisers in recent history called it quits. Karl Rove resigned on Monday, ending a relationship with President Bush that started in the early '70s.

Attached article points out that despite Rove's alleged brilliance, he didn't succeed in being able to push through 3 of Bush's top domestic agenda goals in his 2nd term: Reforming (the sadly unlaughable joke that is) Social Security, overhauling the tax code, and reforming immigration policy (via the Rube Goldberg Amnesty Bill).

So what happened? Did Rove lose his touch? Some would argue that Bush became distracted by the War in Iraq and could not devote as much energy as he should have to his 2nd term goals. Probably not. "Distracted" is standing over a map of Vietnam and personally picking out bombing targets a' la Lydon Johnson (and seriously, how cool would that have been?.... "Oops, did I slip? Is that the Eiffel Tower I just chose to bomb? Mac, you sly ol' dog, you. Sneakin' in a map of Europe like that.")

In the end, we thought Rove to be like the quarterback of a football team. Too much credit when things went well and too much blame when they did not. For a man whom many thought was responsible for the Chicago fire and the kidnapping of Lindbergh's baby, the truth lay somewhere in the middle.

.... and somewhere, Lee Atwater sniffs dismissively, "Piker."

Happy Trails, Karl.

"Tom Hansen is even responsible for the picture posting error!"

It appears that people are starting to catch on to what we have known for quite a while: Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen is a relic who continues to hamper the image and relevance of the conference. In fact, its to the point that whatever success the conference does enjoy is in spite of, rather than because of Hansen.

The attached list (scroll way to the bottom) takes Hansen to task for standing athwart any designs the BCS has toward employing a "plus 1" game to the current bowl configuration. Hansen has said that if the BCS chose to go with the "plus 1" format he was going to take his ball and go home, essentially withdrawing the PAC-10 from the BCS. Uhh... Tom, that horse left the barn when you signed on to the BCS. Forget the legality of withdrawing, he would be handing down a death sentence to a conference that outside of USC, has the collective Q-rating of the Big East.... oops, bad analogy. We actually saw a couple of highly entertaining, mid-week, prime-time games involving Big East teams last year.

And ESPN's Colin Cowherd had Hansen on his radio show a couple weeks ago. Cowherd's criticism of Hansen through the years on his show carried over to his interview, though, Cowherd couldn't help coming across as a bit of an ass with some of his sniping. Cowherd being Cowherd.

Many criticize the conference's weak bowl affiliation, although, we don't mind seeing the Pac's #2 team come down here to San Diego every December to play the Big 12's #3 team. However, its unfathomable that the conference that dominates the Pacific Time Zone does not have any national cable or network TV affiliation in either football or basketball. Led by USC's "anybody, anywhere" philosophy, the football programs have done an admirable job of scheduling challenging out-of-conference games to enhance visibility, no thanks to the conference office.

Because of its geographic locale and access to the high school football recruiting hot beds of the L.A. Basin, San Diego and to a lesser extent, the Puget Sound area around Seattle, there is no reason why the Pac-10 should not be more on par with the SEC. And similarly, with L.A., the Bay Area and Seattle, there is no reason why the conference should not be more on par with the ACC in hoops.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"Another 12 Hr. Workday.... but Hey, Still Time to Make it to Home Depot and Circuit City."

Stock market rocked by volatility…. Home loan market in turmoil…. Credit disaster looms….. (yawn)…. Doesn’t appear that we're all getting too worked-up about this impending meltdown. Why not? Not sure but maybe its because we’re just too damn busy working and spending.

Click here for story on Wall Street by Larry Kudlow

… and here for a story out of the AP on consumer… morale?

Norv Turner: 1 - 0

We weren't big fans of the Charger's hiring of Norv Turner as the head ball coach, in fact, we hated it. It was in large part because of the justification being "continuity" as he was the one that installed the offense back in '01 as the Offensive Coordinator which was lame window dressing attempting to disguise the fact that the Chargers were backed into a corner late in the hiring season after all the other "free agents" had been picked up.

Regardless, it pleases us to no end to announce that Norv Turner in facing his first big decision of the season, has aced it... nailed it.... just drove a stake through the heart of it!

The Chargers play their first pre-season game this evening against the Seattle Seahawks and as has been the case pretty much since he entered the league, LaDanian Tomlinson, will not be playing. Norv Turner is a newbie so he probably wasn't aware that... well, we'll just let Norv himself explain:

“I've never been around that, and it would have made me nervous if that's not what they've done here,” Turner said. “LT didn't play a down last year and had, I'd say, a pretty good year. So we're going to stay with that plan.” (Sunday's San Diego U-T)

Well said, Norv... well said.

As we have contended for years, there is no better sight, for Charger fans, than to see L.T. in street clothes on the sidelines during pre-season games.

The '08 Presidential Primaries and the War in Iraq

For being such an unpopular War, the Democratic Presidential hopefuls sure have a strange way of capitalizing on it. The 3 Democratic primary front-runners were stumping in Iowa this past week and staking out their respective positions on the War and no one, except for Bill Richardson, appeared to be advancing any sort of 'declare victory and pull-out immediately' scheme. The following from today's San Diego U-T:

"John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator, would keep troops in the country to intervene in an Iraqi genocide and be prepared for military action if violence spills into other countries.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York would leave residual forces to fight terrorism and stabilize the Kurdish region in the north.
And Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois would leave a military presence of as-yet unspecified size in Iraq to provide security for U.S. personnel, fight terrorism and train Iraqis."

Now realizing that these are what John Edwards himself would probably call bumper sticker slogans for a bumper sticker War and also realizing that the devil is in the details..... but collectively taking the 3 candidates' basic plans and justifications for doing so..... is that not essentially what we are doing there right now and why we are doing it?

Click here for full article.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

In With A Bang.....

Not sure this was post-worthy because we don't know whether it’s a trend or just a curious coincidence… but we'll talk about it anyway.

Over the past 19 years there have been 8 coaches to win a national championship within the first 3 years of taking over at head coach of their respective college teams, and in 6 of those cases, that coach never won another one (the exceptions are Urban Meyer who won it just last year so we will have to wait and see and Pete Carroll at USC who won it in his 3rd and 4th seasons. The rest of the lineup is as follows:

Lou Holtz – Notre Dame ’88 (3rd Year)
Gene Stallings – Alabama ’92 (2nd Year)
Lloyd Carr - Michigan '97 (3rd Year)
Bob Stoops – Oklahoma ’00 (2nd Year)
Larry Coker – Miami ’01 (1st Year)
Jim Tressel - Ohio St. ‘02 (3rd Year)

Obviously, each data point has a different backdrop and context from the others…. Holtz continued to field national championship caliber teams after ’88, though the last 3 years were mediocre (23-11-1) by Tying Irish standards. Stallings also, had very good on-field success after his lone championship, though he stepped down in ’96 after an exhaustive 2 yr. investigation of the ‘Bama program which did result in sanctions. Michigan coach Lloyd Carr, though, has not only not won another national title but is perceived now as heading a program in gradual decline.

Also in the 90s one has examples conversely of this alleged phenomena where ironically it was two ball coaches that had been at their respective schools for years before winning their first championships in the persons of Bobby Bowden at Florida St. and Dr. Tom Osborne at Nebraska. In fact, those two pretty much owned the decade by combining for 5 National Championships.

Things get a little juicier with this next set. Tressel won in his 3rd year and had a chance to win the title again last year before being upset by Florida and Urban Meyer, a 2nd Year guy himself. No shame, that. Larry Coker is the poster-old man for this post. After winning the championship in his very first season with the ‘Canes, his win totals declined thereafter until he was dismissed after last season. And though by no means is he in the hot seat, Sooner Nation, is getting a little anxious for Bob Stoops to get back to the BCS title game. (Ed. update: Last week's loss to Colorado is not going to help matters any).

Again… not sure if there are enough data points to lead to anything more conclusive than perhaps that each of the above won primarily with the last guy’s recruits.
We would be remiss if we did not hand out an Honorable Mention-type award as well: Kirk Farentz of Iowa has seen his win totals in steady decline after winning the Big 10 title in both '02 (4th season) and '04 (6th season). And both Ralph Friedgen of Maryland and Chuck Amato who was fired as HC at NC State shared similar career arcs starting at the beginning of the decade in the ACC.

It will be interesting to see how Tressel, Stoops and Meyer, coaches who man one of the 6 or 7 mega-programs in the nation, fare in the coming years.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Another Profile in Coaching Excellence

Earlier in the week, we had made the prediction that neither USC nor LSU would win the BCS championship. The logic behind USC coming up short was laid out but there was neither the time nor the space to get into why LSU would not win the whole shootin' match. And in the meantime, no small degree of doubt started to set in.

What's not to like about their chances? They return 8 starters (including 2 All-Americans on the D-line) to one of the top 2 or 3 defenses in the nation and 6 on offense... and that doesn't include the projected starting QB, Senior Matt Flynn, who won Peach Bowl MVP honors back in '05 before giving way to JaMarcus Russell. Any holes they have to fill will, no doubt, be done ably via the outstanding recruiting classes LSU has had the past few years.

And the schedule? By SEC standards, one could not be blessed with a more manageable one. Second game of the season, they get at home a Va. Tech team that will be coming off a hugely emotional home opener themselves and a team which will almost be guaranteed to be a bit flat (keep a close eye on that game's line). Aside from a trip to Alabama, all their toughest in-conference games will be at Death Valley: South Carolina, a re-building Florida, Auburn, and a defensively-depleted Arkansas squad. Even with one loss, if they take care of business otherwise, get to the SEC championship game, win that.... they're a virtual lock for the BCS title game.

But are we back-pedalling? Not a chance, my friends. You see, we've placed our faith in our main man, Les Miles. Yes, indeed. We've no doubt that ol' Les, the head coach, will find a way to screw-up this thing for the Bayou Bengals. Not sure quite what it is, but he just seems to have that "it" factor.... that ability to be able to completely choke away games from the sidelines. Saw it at Oklahoma State where if he wasn't beating Oklahoma outright he was giving them fits, but then could never capitalize on that by beating anyone else of note.

Never mind his moon-bat crazy rants about USC and the Pac-10, I first swooned for Clue-Les a couple of years ago during a game in Baton Rouge against Tennessee, in which the Vols made a stirring comeback to win. The game was in HD which allowed for some lip-reading and as the tide was turning against the Tigers in a frantic 4th quarter, there were two times where it appeared that Les, puzzled, turned to one of his assistants and said, "What just happened?" His assistants calmly explained that ".. well, yes, it is a Monday, coach and we usually don't play games on Monday and we're playing this other team in orange from Tennessee, and yes, coach, it is quite loud in here and yes, people are wondering very loudly why it is we are letting this game slip away...." At least, that's what it looked like. It was great television.

So Les, here's to you, brother. Don't let us down.