Friday, January 30, 2004

OLD SKOOL LAYNE & WELCH BLOGGING: I forget to check in on Layne and Welch these days because Ken got all comic on his blog and Matt takes these month-long siestas every other month. But here's Matt throwing up Layne's 6 ways to beat Bush and then Matt himself taking himself some goofy anti-liberal arguments. Good stuff from two of the greats from the Early Warblog period.
MORE FUN: Andrew Sullivan doesn't know what "nary" means.
"PRUDENIZING": Fun with the Washington Times on TAPPED. Looks like I'll have to stop hating Kerry at some point. But not today--that living dead Botox-mainlining freak! Or something.
SONYA THOMAS TAKES WING BOWL: Beating Cookie Jarvis 167 wings to 165 wings in overtime.

"I feel great," she said as the way-too-big Wing Bowl crown fell over her head and onto her nose. She said she would return next year to defend her crown.

Contest officials said it was Thomas's overtime strategy - focusing on the drumsticks, which are easier to eat - that put her over the edge.

STRATEGY always provides the edge in competitive eating at this level--I've said it before and I'll say it again.

The sports radio station is all abuzz with people calling in saying "We're gonna make this the Super Bowl of competitive eating!" in that lovable neurotic Philly way. It was a huge crown--22,000--but still.

Oh, and Wingador was third and now claims to be retired. I don't think he'll be able to raise his game to the next level to compete with the pros, but he--as a four time champion--did put the event--supposed to be the best-attended competitive eating event in the world--on the map.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

WING BOWL XII TOMORROW: Here in the Philadelphia area. As my coworker Lee said--and I paraphrase--what was once a little local joke is now a BIG local joke. It's gotten big enough that probable IFOCE rookie of the year Sonya Thomas has been brought in as a special contestant. She will challenge local big fella and cult hero El Wingador for the title. Wingador is talking smack:

"She's a great eater for 12 minutes, but she's never proved anything for 30 minutes," El Wingador intones. "You have to have the will to go on. We'll see."

If Wing Bowl gets bigger I think guys like Wingador will end up constituting the Golden Age of Wing Bowl, local heroes who ended up winning in an era where you could just be a guy off the street--and not a 100 pound eating prodigy--and win Wing Bowl. Like all those early NFL teams composed of amateurs in places like Canton and Pottsville.

Al Morganti's odds:

Bill Simmons El Wingador 42 2-1
Sonya Thomas The Black Widow 36 2-1
Edward Jarvis Ed "Cookie" Jarvis 37 3-1
Don Lerman Moses 54 4-1
Khalil Masso The Beast from the Northeast 22 6-1
Fino Cachola Chili Dog 35 7-1
Eric Booker Eric "Badlands" Booker 34 10-1
Henry Goldey Hank the Tank 26 12-1

There you go. Somebody should tell Sonya that that Black Widow thing has already been taken....

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

TEE HEE: The once again permalink-free Steve Sailer on Bush:

The entire history of Bush's approval rating consists of three bounces -- 9/11, the Iraq Attaq, and Saddam-in-the-Hole -- followed by downward drift toward the exact same level of popularity he had on election day in 2000. (Here's Pollkatz's superb graphical timeline of hundreds of approval polls. Unfortunately, he hasn't updated it since 12/29, so the last three weeks of Bush going down the KRAPper aren't visible on it.) Worse, each of Bush's three bounces has been smaller and more quickly dissipated as the public becomes progressively less impressed with his act. He and Rove had better hope the Special Ops boys catch Osama on exactly November 1st, because the next bounce probably won't last long.

Next bounce: Pakistan! Yee haw.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

KERRY--AGAIN?!: Well, crap. Not only does this greatly reduce the possibility of a long and entertaining primary fight, it means the Democrats think their best hope is a member of the walking dead.
NEW HAMPSHIRE EXIT POLLS: Kevin Drum somehow has a whole bunch.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Saturday, January 24, 2004


To me, he's the Barry Goldwater of our time – that rare politician who speaks his mind honestly and passionately, without regard for the polls and the political technicians, and often too bluntly or clumsily for his own good. That doesn't make either of those two men the ideal politician or presidential candidate, but it sure endears them to me on a personal level. It is rare to find a politician who is not scripted. As a right-wing libertarian, I disagree with Dean on virtually every issue, including war (I go further than he does), but I would feel safer with him in the White House than with any of the standard-issue politicians in either party. He could be counted on to repeatedly make the "mistake" of leveling with me and the rest of us, rather than lying and concealing. It's in his nature. He hasn't been reconfigured by living or working in Washington, DC.

Which brings us to that "awful" thing he did in his concession speech in Iowa. Am I the only person in America who can't comprehend what was wrong with it? It was a pep rally with his followers, for goodness sake, and he was letting them know they weren't going to accept this as a defeat and how much he appreciated what they had gone through together. It wasn't a tirade of a mad man, it was a real man caught up in the moment, and bonding with his mostly young and very enthusiastic and idealistic fans. As a native Texan, I even liked the whoop at the end. Heck, we whoop more than that at the contra dances I go to every weekend.

And on Dr. Steinberg:

Which brings me to the matter of Judy Dean. Last night I watched Diane Sawyer's Primetime interview of her and her husband, the first time ever that she's been on television, and I fell in love with her. She's as human as her husband. Not a mannequin for her husband, like Mamie or Jackie or Laura (and especially Hillary). These are two people very private people (very New Englandish in a Calvin Coolidge sort of way, and he's one of my heros), who really pay attention to family first rather than preach about it.

She explains that she has a private medical practice that she loves, that she doesn't have a partner so she can't easily turn her patients over to someone else, that she can rearrange her Thursday schedule (and thus appear on this interview) because she's not seeing patients that day. He explains that he doesn't feel a need to use her as a prop. They aren't consumed by consumerism; they aren't into giving big gifts because they have what they need, so she's not embarrassed that he gave her a rhododendron for her last birthday. For her birthday they usually celebrate – get this! – with a family bike ride!

And they don’t watch television. She doesn't want the kids to be distracted and influenced by it. (She says this to one of TV's top interviewers, who looks totally nonplussed and obviously doesn't know what to make of this strange woman – I loved that moment!) I can't think of any industry in America (even the movies) that has changed America more dramatically in the directions conservatives say they dislike intensely, than television. Yet, how many conservative families do you know where the TV is the babysitter?

This couple is too conservative for the conservatives. Most of today's conservatives are Babbitts, just like their liberal opposites, concerned with keeping up with the Joneses and what the Joneses think of them. This couple knows who they are, and they don't need the approval of anyone else.

Bottom line: I would love to know Judy and Howard Dean personally, and I can't think of any other political family today about whom I could say that.

Via Thrasymachus.
I LOVE THOSE CHEESY DITECH ADS: Sue me. Especially the ones with the dumpy guy playing himself and his mother. "MO-OM! Lost another loan--to Ditech!"

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

AT LEAST THE LAKERS LOST: Always look on the bright side. You know?
ONE LAST DEAN BITCH POST, I SWEAR: I mean--you're Howard Dean. You probably look at the Kucinich campaign and think, There but for the grace of God go I. You tapped into the legit Democratic anti-Bush fervor when the rest of the candidates were too pussified to say anything against Bush--and this made you the frontrunner, a situation you were probably not anticipating.

And so you go and lose Iowa but afterwards you're in this room full of supporters who believe in you. They've been putting in long thankless hours for you and you want to reward them with the full-on Howard Dean schtick they know and love. And you give them classic rabble-rousing kiss-stealing limousine-riding Howard Dean and they eat it up but it was absolutely past time to be giving the full-on schtick--a few hours after polls have closed. But you only felt the emotion of that room and not the consequences of being a credible candidate while doing your wildman thing--they don't mesh. In retrospect, you realize that policy speech you gave in New Hampshire the next day was the tone you should have been reaching for and all the non-weirdos are already writing you off.

I mean, he's a credible candidate with me--I could care less about the shriek. But my tastes tend to run counter to the rest of the electorate.

And now we are apparently stuck with that insufferable Kerry person. I HATE POLITICS. You didn't want Dukakis 3000, Demmycrats? Well now you got him--in spades. Good luck with that. I have to go find Ross Perot's number......
OH GAWD: Not Kerry. Anybody but Kerry. WAAAH....
HOWARD DEAN REMIXES: Right here. I've only heard the Barlowfarms one and it is great, though it needs to be longer--I want the extended club mix, I guess.
SCOURING THE WEB FOR SOME HAPPY DEAN NEWS: Netting bupkis. Can one wrestling promo kill a political campaign dead--even one with more money than anybody else? I guess so. Stupid Democrats.....
DEAR HOWARD: All the hack pundits on teevee last night are saying you're toast and John Kerry is the frontrunner now because he won Iowa. I don't believe them. You're still my boy because of things like the concession speech and the telling off the old guy and the way you yelled "SECURITY!" when the LaRouche people were messing up your speech yesterday: because you are one unscripted motherfucker who is running for president because you--Howard Dean--are absolutely convinced you are the best man for the job. You're not naked ambition like Kerry. You're not well-intentioned but lacking a certain fire in the belly like Clark and Edwards. Like all doctors--or most doctors; sorry, Maria--you have a pretty strong belief in your own intellectual abilities and this is going to get you into trouble sometimes. But I'm still going to vote for you if you're there in November.

Even if this doesn't work out just remember your wife is far cooler than any of their wives for not even faking an interest in politics. Unlike that Heinz woman--who seems to fit in well with my Kerry=Ambition And Not Much Else theory--and the deer-in-the-headlightsish Laura Bush. And Judith is smarter too. And I don't think you should try to browbeat her into coming with you to campaign stops either. Your campaign was started on principle and if it has to end on principle so be it, even if this would be a good time for a doctor husband/doctor wife powwow with the media.

Anyway, good luck in the debate tomorrow. Just try and go a little more positive and don't get too mad when Kerry takes your ideas and you'll be fine.


Glorious Leader
Insolvent Republic of Blogistan
BUSH IS RIGHT: Steroids in professional sports must be stamped out. It's the only way.

Remember what Steve Sailer said:

Bush isn't stupid, but he is extraordinarily intellectually lazy. [Bill] Minutaglio's book documents that the only topics that have ever engaged his interest for long are baseball and the study of how to organize and manipulate people.

The book is here. Just mentioning this in case, you know, you were wondering what that was doing in the State of the Union: it's one of the two things Bush is actually interested in. The rest is so much clutter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

THE DEAN CAMPAIGN MUST ADAPT: Or perish; Kevin Hayden has some suggestions.
AND IF HOWARD DOES, BY SOME COSMIC INJUSTICE, LOSE THE NOMINATION: He can be the Bill O'Reilly guy on whatever liberal news network they come up with. A BLOGISTAN WORLD EXCLUSIVE! Developing......
BUT IN MY CALMER MOMENTS: I listen to Arthur Silber and think John Edwards is pretty neat, especially in the anyone-but-Bush deparment. But not Edwards-Kerry. Ewwwww.....Dean-Edwards. Yes. I like the sound of that.
WRONG METAPHOR FOR DEAN: Ryan Lizza reports:

A Dean event is like a Grateful Dean concert, where the faithful show up and groove to their favorite hits. There is a knowing, insiderish connection between the fans and the musician. The applause is boisterous yet perfunctory. There's no expectation of hearing something new. (For all those Dean fans who think this analogy stereotypes Dean supporters as hippies, please direct your complaints to Dean media adviser Steve McMahon, who coined the Grateful Dead comparison in a conversation with me Saturday night.)

McMahon is way off base, though not because he's calling Dean-lovers hippies (which is probably untrue, but I have no information on that.) It's because Dean himself is about as far from hippieness as you can get. The only cultural precedent for Dean's combination of loyal fanatics, arrogance, manic intensity, and honest-to-god talent is......RIC FLAIR. WHOOOOOOOO!

I mean, the telling off of the 67-year old man was pure Flair. The speech he gave last night was an amazing pro wrestling promo, and Flairesque in the way Howard practically lost it near the end (the strange noise mentioned below.) The combination of arrogance and ability was a shtick Flair perfected and one that Dean is now borrowing, either 1. on purpose (and I would love proof of this) or 2. the Flair style has finally percolated out of the pro wrestling underground into the mainstream cultural matrix/zeitgeist dealie. And Flair fans just love to see Flair work, even if he's doing the same stuff every time. HEY--just like Dean!

And Flair's been rumored to be running for governor for years in North Carolina. Which is a springboard to the presidency. And I would vote for him (God help me) for president. Which means--logically--I would vote for Dean for president. Soooooo....there you go. Dean in the 2-00-4. Cue up the Also Sprach Zarathustra.
C'MON, DEMMYCRATS: Don't make me vote for Kerry. Don't make me vote for Nader again. I mean--Kerry? He's, like, what "ambition to be president" looks like devoid of any individual style or distinctive policy. Somebody was saying on tv last night that he's a skilled debater and that may be true but he looks like somebody who can win a debate on points but not really help himself out at all in getting-votes terms. Because whatever he says he'll have to say in that droning, passionless voice that resembles one of Graham Chapman's stockbroker characters on Python.

And here's what Kaus said:

Some emailers--not many!--have asked about my preferences. Right now,they are, in order: Edwards / Dean / Gephardt / Lieberman / a Bush-Clark tossup / the complete telephone books of all major American cities / Kerry. ...I'm a character voter, not an "issues" voter. Candidates will change their current "issues" positions after the election. New issues will crop up. The best handle we have to predict how a candidate will actually perform in office is character.

And Kerry does lack character--he's a total cipher. Anyway, I'm not that worried. Haven't like the last three or four Iowa winners gone on to lose the nomination? Plus a long-term four-way Edwards/Clark/Dean/Kerry battle promises to be fun FUN television, leading up to a possibly meaningful Super Tuesday. In a competitve election year your NFL season merges seamlessly with the primaries, leading up to the NBA playoffs and then the Olympics. My tv viewing is alllllll set.

UPDATE: Two words (as Nick Gillespie reminds me): Comeback Kerry. A nation groans and slaps its collective forehead.

Monday, January 19, 2004

I LOVE HO-DEAN: But he just made the strangest noise on television. Remember when Lando got grabbed by the sarlac pit-monster in Jedi? It was like a more animated version of that.

UPDATE: Dean needs to go into full Ric Flair mode and start WHOOOing and openly insulting the other candidates for the cretins and cowards they are. Enough of this half-way stuff--only a full blown turn to arrogance and a reemphasis of the obvious mental superiority of one Howard Dean will win the nomination and the White House. It'll work, America needs a president we can all love to hate.
YOUR QUOTE OF THE DAY: Nick Gillespie on John Kerry:

It's partly a testament to Kerry's complete lack of identity--even after 1,000 years in the Senate--that nobody really knows what the hell the guy is about, other than having touched the hem of JFK's garment as a boy, getting shot in Vietnam, and marrying the massively rich widow of a dead senator cum ketchup heir. Indeed, Kerry's bizarre series of tough-guy stunts--e.g. riding a Harley on The Tonight Show--is a nearly open admission that the guy is a cipher who is desperate to create a public persona; I half expect him to bend iron bars and explode a hot water bottle with lung power during the Iowa caucuses[.]

Saturday, January 17, 2004

THE MOST INTERESTING PART OF SADDAM'S CAPTURE: Via Jim here's Gene Weingarten in the Washington Post addressing, with wit, and whimsy, the issue of the commerical products found down in Saddam's hidey-hole. The stuff I really noticed was the Mars Bars. MARS BARS! You can't get those anywhere anymore--I see the occasional Zagnuts in vending machines, but never Mars Bars. And now I know why.

Friday, January 16, 2004

A LITTLE POETRY ON A FRIDAY AFTERNOON: "To a Liberal Who Addressed a Panel of Neocons," published on the blog of Jim Henley.
REPORTS ON THE BIG WIESY ARE IN: I get the feeling people are cutting her some slack--note the constant "She's ONLY FOUR-TEEN!" in the reports--but everything I've read says that her 72 is respectable, although she has little chance at making the cut. This quote--from the AP story--was amusing:

Jesper Parnevik had a 65, and when told what Wie shot, his expression went from amazement to relief.

"That was my first goal today, to beat her," Parnevik said. "That's something you would hear about forever. Annika is one thing. But if you have a 14-year-old girl ..."

Note the differences between Annika and Wie:

When Sorenstam missed the cut, she said didn't belong on the PGA Tour.

Wie doesn't feel the same way.

"I think I learned that I can play here, but I have to work harder on my game to be in the winner's circle," Wie said. "I never felt out of place."

And looking at the highlights last night it seems to me like she's right--there were a couple of makeable putts that she missed. No golf fan I; she's more interesting for being part of the LeBron/Adu/Wie teenage phenomenon triumvirate who have suddenly caught on, apparently via word of mouth--sans marketing or promotion. I do not have an explanation for their status as phenomenons, or why all three are coming up right now. Lemme think about it before I issue my grand cultural explanation, from atop the highest peak in Blogistan.
A PRETTY GOOD CRITIQUE OF LILEKS: And warbloggers in general; not overly nasty or anything, though definitely from a left-leaning perspective. Here's something from near the end:

It's impossible in this small space to explore all of Lileks's ruminations, but there is a constant refrain: America must invade and occupy the Arab world to stave off our own destruction. To say this is paranoid is not quite accurate. After all, there are people in the Middle East who would love to see us destroyed. But then, that sentiment is not restricted to the Arab world, nor even to this period in history. People the world over have always chafed against great powers and imperial states, for good reasons and bad.

But Lileks's conceit, which is widespread in the warblog domain, is that this particular moment is in fact unique. That because al Qaeda desires to impose a 7th-century theocracy on others means they have the power to do it to us (Lileks likes playing the It's Their Terms or Ours card, as if we're down to house-to-house fighting). That Saddam Hussein was a real and tangible threat to our very existence, or might've been down the road, or whenever. In any case, we are presumably "safer" now that we're bogged down in Iraq. And so on. To Lileks, it seems that 9/11 exists outside of history (except for World War II, images of which have adorned many a Lileks rant). Therefore those who try to view subsequent events differently are guilty of either liberal naïveté or abject anti-Americanism.

Via Pandagon. The warblogger movement has sort of split itself into warbloggers and anti-warbloggers (or counter-warbloggers). The differences between the two camps are mostly political--I don't think you can point to too many stylistic differences between the two.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

AROUND THE WORLD AT LUNCH TODAY: One hot dog (the A&W Philly dog; it has peppers and onions); one cheeseburger; one taco. "Who are you?" "BARF!" "Your full name!" "BARFOLOMEW!"
ONE REASON TO VOTE DEAN: In the face of continued Republican domination of Congress the only way to stop the government from spending and spending is to get a Democrat in there--preferrably a Democrat the Republicans despise, like the good Dr. Dean. So argues Radley Balko with three easy-to-remember points:

1. Republicans are most principled when someone they despise holds power. President Clinton was in many ways a better limited-government executive than President Bush. President Clinton talked big government talk on the campaign trail, but once in office, many times acted quite differently. He signed the free trade agreements GATT and NAFTA, for example, and rolled out an initiative to gut federal bureaucratic waste.


It?s pretty clear now that the GOP of the 1990s acted not out of principle, but out of spite. It?s no secret that the Republican leadership in Congress despised President Clinton. Republicans in fact shut the government down in lieu of capitulating to President Clinton?s policies. They simply didn?t want to give President Clinton any political victories. In contrast, the Congress has been so kind to President Bush, he may become the first American president since James Buchanan to go an entire term without using the veto.

2. Divided government gets less done (always a good thing in Washington). The Cato Institute?s William Niskanen points out that in the last 50 years, the only two periods of extended fiscal restraint from the federal government came during the Eisenhower and Clinton administrations, both under divided government. The two eras when government expanded were the Kennedy/Johnson administration, and the current administration, both under united government. Note that party affiliation really doesn?t factor into the equation. A government that can?t pass laws can?t spend money. It can?t raise taxes. It can?t create new federal agencies or benefits.

3. Republicans are more principled when they?re not in power. Remember the Contract With America? (search) It was introduced in 1993. At that time, Republicans were in the minority, and had been, for the most part, for decades. The Contract With America proposed a radical downsizing of the federal government, including eliminating entire Cabinet departments. It was born of a ?nothing left to lose? mentality. It was bold, brash and refreshingly principled. Of course, as soon as the Republicans won, largely because of the Contract, they promptly abandoned its most controversial provisions. They feared offending mainstream voters. They now had something to lose ? their power.

So, back to Howard Dean. More than a year into the primary campaign, it?s clear now that of the nine candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, Howard Dean seems to irritate Republicans most. He?s been the subject of the most press releases from the Republican National Committee, and attacks on him have popped up in conservative publications like the Wall Street Journal?s editorial page, National Review and the Weekly Standard. The mere mention of his name spikes Rush Limbaugh?s blood pressure. His supporters seem to be the very kind of youngish, hipster, anti-war, Volvo-driving types that send red-tied GOPers into a tizzy.

1. and 3. are kind of the same, but you get the idea. Vote Dean because given our political structure--and assuming limiting government is one of your priorities--he's a better choice than the other guy. Via Prestopundit.
YOUR "PATHETIC KNICKS" POST OF THE DAY: Lenny Wilkens hired as new head coach. The Post says it pretty well:

Isiah found one of the only guys who managed to lose more games than Chaney last season. Wilkens, 66, guided talented - but injury-plagued - Toronto to a 24-58 record before getting fired in what figured to be his final stint on the bench. Thomas still gave him what's believed to be a four-year deal.

Wilkens is known for his mellow personality, which resembles Chaney's, and his light practices. Wilkens was accused by insiders of running a "country-club atmosphere" in Toronto. Charles Oakley was said to be a big detractor and, ironically, showed up for last night's game. Vince Carter also ripped Wilkens when he was fired.

The upside is that Wilkens is from Brooklyn, out of Boys High, and Thomas feels his "relationship with [Stephon] Marbury will be very important in his maturity and continued growth." Wilkens' career record is 1,292-1,114.

So even though Don Chaney had a better record with comparable talent last year--and Lenny, by sheer intertia, has more wins and losses than anybody else--Lenny gets the job because he's from New York and he's be sure to pull a Hubie and turn young Stephon around. Never minding that Stephon was a model citizen during his time in Phoenix. BRILLIANT!

UPDATE: Marty Burns has more. Via Sportsfrog. I guess Isiah thinks if he puts enough New Yorkers on the court the silly Knicks fans will start filling up the Garden again. Poor li'l Knicks fans, always looking for that saviour....

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

ESSENCE OF PERLE AND FRUM: The Christian Science Monitor has the highlights:

France is really more an enemy than an ally of the US and that European nations must be forced to choose between Paris and Washington.
Muslims living in the US must be given special scrutiny by US law enforcement and other Americans.
The US must overthrow the regimes in Iran and Syria, and impose a blockade on North Korea.
Palestinians must not be allowed to have a state.
All Americans must carry a government issued identity card.
The US must explicitly reject the jurisdiction of the United Nations Charter.

Via Crooked Timber. I'm sure glad that the neocons have no power in this administration. And that "neocon" is just a slur for "Jewish conservative." Yep.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

KWAN RULES: I am late in mentioning this, but here's Eric pointing out Missy Schwartz's mention of Michelle Kwan winning her nearly-unprecedented 8th National Championship. I added my usual obnoxious figure skating comments at Missy's post:

Kwan skated her butt off at that thing and completely blew away the competition. It helped that everyone else had a Level 9 gag job. How did Sasha get a 6.0 on a performance where she not only fell, but fell u-g-l-y?

If Michelle sticks around until Turin and competes well, even if she doesn't win the gold she still redefines what it means to be a great skater. We are hopefully moving away from the era of adolescent screaming pixies who win gold and drop out/get pregnant/go to Ivy League school, and into the era of skating as an Actual Competitive Sport with Actual Competitive Athletes. And Kwan will be the first of her kind.

Mmmm, recycled content. It's always better the second time.

Kwan's the five-star athlete I have no problem rooting for--for the obvious dirty pervert reasons, no doubt, but also because of her natural, apparently unforced enthusiasm for the sport. The goofy smile she had when she got past the hard parts of her program. She's not the Michael Jordan of figure skating--Jordan didn't draw as much pleasure from playing as from humiliating his enemies. She's more like the Brett Favre of figure skating, just out there enjoying herself and blessed with the talent to compete at the highest level.

Yes, Sasha getting a 6.0 on a program she fell about as badly as she could on is pathetic. I can't wait for the new judging system to go into effect in this country; this opinion-based scoring has been keeping the sport at joke level.

And Ann Patrice McDonough's performance was actually painful to watch. The skating dorks at Goldenskate think she's the victim of a skating mom. I hope so--she looked like she's rather be anywhere but out there. And then she was laughing at the kiss & cry, not the actions of someone whose competitive aspirations had been crushed.
THE TRUE REASON FOR THE BUSH IMMIGRATION PLAN: Thrasymachus has photographic evidence.
WHY SOME SOCCER CLUBS DOMINATE: Franklin Foer's Soccer Vs. McWorld, on the global economics of the beautiful game. Via SportsFilter. We Americans should be glad we're the only ones who play our national game--our great football players aren't going to be signed by a German club or something.
I GET MENTIONED: Over at Off-Wing Eric highlights comments I left and adds a response from his reader Dave Smith:

Not for one microsecond do I believe that Alex van Pelt could've done what Manning did. If you actually watched the games, as I did, you would've seen one QB who did nothing exceptional to help his team win (and in fact threw some terrible balls up for grabs in both games, but especially against the Ravens)... and one QB who was so in command, he seemed to know what every player on the defense was going to do before every play, communicated to his teammates, and delivered the ball in perfect position for big plays time and time again. Or, audibled to just the right running play against the defensive scheme. It was amazing to watch. . .

[T]he MVP award is based on regular season performance. But both QB's had a chance to prove their "value" to their teams the last two weeks. One did, and one didn't.

But it's largely a subjective issue, so some people will never be convinced.

Who decides on the MVP, anyway? Votes by writers? It's not as if someone decided to make it a tie... it just worked out that way. But I personally have a strong disagreement with anyone who voted for McNair over Manning, Ray Lewis, Priest Holmes, or Jamal Lewis.

Man, I can't be rational on the subject of Peyton Manning, even after the two playoff weeks and no punts thing. Hopefully Dave is right and the MVP is a subjective thing, which means I have every right to my devaluation of Peyton as MVP. I can't take Peyton--that stupid hat he wears, the way he never congratulates anyone after a touchdown, the constant studying on the sidelines (and the announcers constant "What a good boy!"), the incessant, unnecessary audibles, the hissy fits when he gets sacked. He's the spoiled brat of NFL quarterbacks. AND--once again--the glorious Canadian hero VANDERJAGT has more competitive fire than Peyton does. Peyton's competitive fire is limited to situations where things are going absolutely right for him.

Monday, January 12, 2004

"THIS IS CLASS WARFARE FOLKS": PrestoPundit on the Bush immigration plan:

This is class warfare folks, and the elite classes in America are after privileges and power they can't have without the moral power they gain from paternalistically "caring for" an ever growing poverty class -- and the material privileges they can enjoy from the dirt cheap labor immigrants can provide scrubbing the floors, cleaning the pools, raising the kids, building the second homes, clearing the tables and cleaning the toilets, etc. Who else is going to do this work for dirt cheap wages? These are jobs "America's Won't Do" at illegal alien wages -- and they are also blackmarket jobs which avoid all the the burdens of income or social security taxes, OSHA regulations, ADA regulations, and government regulatory paperwork of every sort imaginable, etc.

Via Gene Expression. Godless also links to this Steve Sailer piece. Steve thinks there are two explanation for the Bush plan:

1. This is just Dubya's usual mental vacuity.
2. Dubya is thinking in terms of the long-term Bush dynasty by going for the Mexican vote, a large Mexican population in America, and the eventual promotion of his half-Mexican nephew, George P. Bush, to the presidency.

You should really read the whole thing. Godless said: "I really hope Clark wins the nomination" and I'm starting to agree with him. I mean--I really love the whole Howard Dean schtich: the anger, the rapid-fire patter, the breathtaking doctor-like "I am sorry--but I am smarter than you" arrogance. It's hugely entertaining but possibly not chief executive material (though I'm perfectly ready to vote for him come election time). And he looked really dumb last night when Al Sharpton had to drag the horrible truth out of him that he had no black people in his cabinet. In Vermont! I may be getting on the Mark Kleiman draft-Clark bandwagon.

Friday, January 09, 2004

FROM THE HALL OF BIZARRE SPORTS INTERVIEWS: Karl Malone interviews Michelle Kwan. Saturday night on ABC! Right before the long programs for the US Championship.

The standings going into the long programs:

1. Sasha Cohen, Orange County FSC
2. Michelle Kwan, Los Angeles FSC
3. Jennifer Kirk, The SC of Boston
4. Angela Nikodinov, All Year FSC
5. Amber Corwin, All Year FSC
6. Ann Patrice McDonough, Broadmoor SC
7. Beatrisa Liang, All Year FSC
8. Alissa Czisny, St. Clair Shores FSC
9. Jennifer Don, Texas Gulf Coast FSC
10. Alexandra Patterson, St. Clair Shores FSC
11. Jane Bugaeva, SC of North Carolina 12
12. Aanya Reiten, Lakewood Winter Club
13. Andrea Gardiner, Houston FSC
14. Danielle Kahle, All Year FSC
15. Stephanie Rosenthal, Utah FSC
16. Louann Donovan, The SC of Boston
17. Yebin Mok, All Year FSC
18. Suzy McDonald, SC of New York
19. Natalie Mecher, Wagon Wheel FSC
20. Erica Archambault, Colonial FSC
21. Felicia Beck, All Year FSC

Via Goldenskate. This could be the year Cohen finally beats Kwan. Which would not annoy me in the least; Sasha is absolutely unlike the screeching cretins who have beaten Kwan in the past. She doesn't screech, for one, and for another (and unlike Hughes/Lipinski but like Michelle) she seems like a gamer, somebody who'll be competing for awhile, not settling into Ice Capades (or whatever) at the age of 20.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

GOOD READ ON WAL-MART: Charles Fishman in Fast Company. Via OPENSEWER.
GOD HELP US: What--exactly--is pushing Vince Carter to the top of the All-Star balloting? Canadian patriotism? Nike propaganda? So inexplicable.....
OVER THE OVER THE TOP: I love the glorious Ralph Peters, but Howard Dean makes him plum goofy. There's this:

But Howard Dean and his Deanie-weenies do all they can to restrict the free speech of others. I can predict with certainty that Dean's Internet Gestapo will pounce on this column, twisting the facts and vilifying the writer, just as they do when anyone challenges Howard the Coward.

And this:

In Dean's alternate reality, everything the Bush administration has done and might do is a failure, no matter the facts. The president's even responsible for Mad Cow Disease. It's Goebbels again: Just keep repeating the lies until the lies assume the force of truth.

Then this:

Dean never deals in specifics on security issues. Because he doesn't know the specifics. It's all Big Brother Doublespeak.

Plus this:

Dean began his campaign as an uncompromising Lenin. Now that his Bolsheviks have been organized, he's trying to pose as Gorbachev for the masses. But for anyone who pays attention to what this power-hungry huckster says and does, he comes off as a down-market Brezhnev.

So--yes--within the same column, Ralph compares Dean to lots of Nazis, lots of communists, and George Orwell's own Big Brother. Well BOY HOWDY--that there is some restrained, rational debate. This column deserves some sort of prize for sheer breadth of goofiness; it's almost in the "So bad, it's good" category. I think Ralph either needed to make a deadline so he lapsed into Usenet-speak, or he's a misunderstood genius whose misfires are vibrant and colorful, even if they smell like crap. Or he's just goofing on us. Hey, it was in a Murdoch paper.

Via Dan Drezner.

Monday, January 05, 2004

SOME CHOICE BCS HATE: From Sally Jenkins.
SAAAAAAY: Why don't the non-BCS conferences just form their own playoffs? Huh? Some network is going to want to televise that. It's be an upstart American Football League to the ossified, changeophobic college football teams that form the BCS. Somebody get Scott Cowen on the line--he'll love this. We'll take the five non-BCS champions (plus the Big East champ whenever the BCS kicks them out) and the next three teams as determined by the media/coaches/formula/whoever. Granted, it'll be a hard sell in the beginning when you're pitting Miami of Ohio against North Texas and TCU against Utah in the opening rounds--actually, those are games that I'd watch, but I'm a freak.

But the BCS isn't going to change on its own--the issue must be forced. C'mon, non-BCS! SECEDE! America loves wide-ranging national playoffs, and college football needs a big old kick in the butt. Let's do this.

Friday, January 02, 2004

SPLIT CHAMPIONSHIP: And I don't really mind the split, you know? If you're not going to have a playoff in a sport with a bunch of different leagues, you're not going to have a good way of determining a champion--so you're going to get the splits sometimes, along with the constant nonsense and the arguing and debate "that makes college football so unique." At least this season there's two big games, not one "championship" and a bunch of irrelvant bowls.

I mean, isn't one effect of the BCS making all the other bowls useless? If there's one championship game--and nobody playing in all the other games has a shot at the championship--why am I going to watch Maryland play West Virginia? Well, I'm not.
MCNAIR, MANNING TO SHARE MVP: Well isn't that nice. Manning isn't getting the runaway MVP love until he does something with that team of his.