Monday, October 31, 2005

A little Halloween Social Justice

American Rights at Work has a new campaign they're working on. Blue Diamond is a company that runs the world's largest almond-processing plant. That may sound insignificant, but they prepare the almonds in the candy that many of us are serving trick-or-treaters today. They've engaged in what Blue Diamond itself has called an "aggressive union-avoidance campaign." Workers fighting for a fair living wage and the standards that should be every American's right are being fired for their efforts.

Forming a union to protect yourself and your coworkers from being exploited by your employer is a fundamental right. It's one of the things that makes this country great, and keeps our economy fair, but that right is being assailed more than any other. If you don't fight for others' rights to form a union, then your rights in the workplace are in more peril as well.

Do something good this season: go to the ARAW link above and spend the 30 seconds it takes to send an email to Blue Diamond and tell your friends/family.

All the Vice President's Men

For those of you who are interested in the whole Valerie Plame affair, the forming of the case for war in Iraq, and the abnormally significant role of "the Veep" in both, Juan Cole, professor of modern Middle Eastern and South Asian History at the University of Michigan, has a refreshingly complete and detailed piece in on the subject. Here's the link (nota bene: to get into Salon, you have to watch a quick ad, but once you're in you can look around all you want). The Joe Conason article is pretty good, too.

And of course, you should take a gander at the indictment itself; there's a lot of myth-busting that takes place in the first 5 or so paragraphs, but if you have time then you really should read the whole thing. Don't rely on what the pundits are saying as to whether or not the charges are technicalities or whether Fitzgerald has a strong case or whatever. Read the indictment for yourself and tell me what you think. Me, I think Libby is SCREWED.

And by the way, Josh Marshall found this AP article that identifies "Official A" in the indictment as Karl Rove.

Speaking of Plame, I want to take a second to talk about some stuff from CBS News that I saw today, specifically about why this is a big deal, despite what shills of the Rush Limbaugh variety may claim. Let's start with the obvious: Valerie Plame was a covert agent for the CIA (as the Fitzgerald investigation has stated as fact), so blowing her cover mid-assignment could have jeopardized her safety. It most certainly ended her career. It also prematurely ended that assignment, and seeing as how she worked in weapons of mass destruction that assignment was probably pretty damn important (one would think especially to an administration so obsessed with WMDs).

But just how important was she, her career, and her assignment, you might ask? A brief explanation of the nature of her job is necessary. The CIA uses two kinds of agents: OCs and NOCs. OCs, or those with "official cover," are attached to an embassy or the State Dept. and have diplomatic immunity. The worst case scenario for them is they get caught and deported. NOCs, or those with "non-official cover" are unaffiliated with any government body. Like James Bond, if NOCs get caught, officially neither the State Dept. nor the CIA have ever heard of them, so their jobs are much more dangerous. Thus, an NOC's identity is an extremely closely guarded secret, and leaking it can be disastrous for that person and for others who associated with them, even those who never knew that person was CIA. There is an understanding between these operatives and the government, that if they're doing this incredibly dangerous work, that the least the government can do is protect their identities to the best of its ability. Ya think it might be a bad thing if other operatives out there see what happened to Plame and have second thoughts about their career choices?

Due to that lack of a direct connection, however, they can get into places OCs can't, and therefore end up with the more important missions. Such an assignment requires creating a whole other life in a sense; you have to get a job (or in Plame's case, build a network of contacts who knew her only as an ambassador's wife) at whatever place you're spying on, work your way up to where you can get the information and be trusted by the people there, make friends, etc., so it takes an average of 10-15 years just to cultivate a single one of these assignments. They then serve as our eyes and ears out in places to which no one else can get. Thus it's a huge loss for the intelligence community, and for our national security, when one of these is wiped out.

These losses are potentially compounded by the fact that Bob Novak, the columnist who first published Plame's identity, also published the name of her fictitious CIA-front employer. It is likely that a number of NOCs used that front as a current or past employer; they may have put that employer on their business card or resume. Now they're outed, too.

It also gives the world a glimpse at how the CIA operates. For instance, now everyone knows that they have on at least one occasion used an ambassador's wife as an NOC; do you really think Plame was the only one of those, and if she wasn't the only one, that the others aren't also suddenly being watched and probably investigated?

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Some bizarre Big 12 action yesterday. What the hell happened to Tech? No TD's until the 3rd quarter? And Texas being down most of the game against OK State? I have to admit I didn't think either of those were gonna be games. I imagine Texas is gonna lose their no. 1 BCS place, but no worries: either way, they go to the Rose Bowl. And besides, we still got to look forward to a Nebraska/Oklahoma game that got the least hype and publicity in decades (the last time they were both unranked during that game, Kennedy was in the oval office).

On one final note, it sucks to be Georgia. I'm not a fan of the Bulldogs (you can't be and still be a Crimson Tide fan) but that loss yesterday to Florida shouldn't have happened. I can feel for teams that lose their starting quarterback halfway through the season, because unless your no. 2 is much better than your starter (which is almost never the case), it's still gonna screw up your whole offense's rhythm. Even if Shockley's ok to come back next week or the week after, it'll be too late to save their unbeaten season, and that sucks.

FOX News' Brit Hume: Stand-up Guy!

(from Atrios)
Here's the transcript of Juan Williams talking about the Libby indictment on FOX News this morning, followed by Brit Hume (FOX News head anchorman)'s amazingly insightful and dignified response. To preface, Williams is African-American:
JUAN WILLIAMS: You can try to minimize it, but the fact that you have Scooter Libby, so involved in justifying going to war, and in the posture of trying to smear a critic of that justification. I think is pretty revealing and pretty damaging to the Bush White House. I think they’re going to have to rebuild a sense of trust with the American People. And that’s why when Brit asked this question, why did he have to lie, he felt the need to lie if he did lie, but by all indications he’s going to say I didn’t remember it quite the way this person remembered and all the like. That’s not very strong in my book, and I think Fitzgerald did a terrific job on Friday. But the reason he felt the need was to make it clear that he was not involved in what really was a conspiracy to defame Joe Wilson.

BRIT HUME: Juan, somebody needs to hose you down.

Anyone out there unsure of exactly what the connotation was in Hume's little witticism, why he had to use that particular metaphor? I'll give you a hint:

(Birmingham 1963, from Cornell University Library)

Friday, October 28, 2005

The only thing that comes from Texas is steers and queers...

Looks like Saturday is not going to be all that interesting for most of us. ND is on a bye, Texas and Tech both play far inferior teams (OK State and Baylor, respectively) and no one else up in the rankings is up for a real challenge except Georgia (they play Florida, but even that doesn't look all that challenging, unless Shockley is still injured...). Virginia Tech already finished waylaying BC, so that's done. Oh well, the Tech game should be cathartic, at least. Besides, ya never know, we haven't seen many upsets lately...

By the way, in slightly more politically relevant news, Tech's superstar women's basketball player, Brownfield native, our own hometown hero Sheryl Swoopes... drumroll please!... is gay. Says Swoopes of her decision to come out: "I'm at a place in my life right now where I'm very happy, very content. I'm finally OK with the idea of who I love, who I want to be with." And she would like to one day be able to marry her partner of 7+ years.

Is she evil now? Does she not deserve hospital visitation rights for her partner, or inheritance rights, or a say in her partner's medical decisions?

Oh yeah, so is Sulu.

Budgets are Moral Documents

So I was talking to Nick earlier, and we got onto the subject of God's Politics, by Jim Wallis, an evangelical minister and political activist. I remember writing in an earlier post that I wanted to cover several parts of his book over several posts, and I have yet to follow through on that, and by chance I ran into this article from CNN (courtesy Digby) about budget cuts in Congress:
House Republicans voted to cut student loan subsidies, child support enforcement and aid to firms hurt by unfair trade practices as various committees scrambled to piece together $50 billion in budget cuts.

More politically difficult votes -- to cut Medicaid, food stamps and farm subsidies -- are on tap Thursday as more panels weigh in on the bill.
President Bush met with House and Senate GOP leaders and said he was pleased with the progress.

Wallis devotes a chapter of his book to budgets called "Isaiah's Platform: Budgets Are Moral Documents." You can guess where I'm going with this. The religious contribution to politics should not be excluded to abortion and gay marriage; on the contrary, religion informs and judges all political actions. One place where religion has the most to say, but is consulted the least, is in budgetary decisions.

Budgets disclose the priorities of the parties involved, be it on the family, business, organizational, or governmental level. Isaiah reveals to us what our priorities should be:
"No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live a lifetime.... They shall build houses and inhabit them: they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit: they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen will long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear their children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord..." (Isaiah 65:20-25)

When tax cuts are lavished upon the richest among us and corporate welfare spending is bloated in record levels to the detriment of aid to the poor, protection for our children, and programs that level the playing field so that all Americans have equal opportunities, the government is guilty not only of bad policy, but of moral failure.

To put it another way, this type of behavior is not just impolitic: it is sinful. To quote Wallis: "And those politicians who utter the words of religion and faith, yet who supported this exclusion of the poor, deserve to be called hypocrites."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

"The Liberal Media"?

Olbermann got called out by MSNBC veep for having having too many liberals on his show. He had 2 in 3 days, out of a total of 9 guests. This article from FAIR talks about it, and about MSNBC's pro-conservative double-standard across the board. This is not by any stretch of the imagination peculiar to that network, either. Or to the medium of television. I remember reading in Al Franken's Lying Liars that if newspaper endorsements decided the presidency then every election since the '50's would've been won by the Republican candidate (with the possible exception of 2004).

Big news day

Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination today. Or, let's be frank, W withdrew her nomination today. Everyone's got something to say about that, so what do you think? What does this teach us? Was it her views (or the lack thereof) that sank her? Her qualifications (or the lack thereof)?

In more important news, however, oil companies are now reporting their 3rd quarter earnings, and the numbers are ridiculous. Exxon raked in $10 billion (that's for the quarter, mind you), ConocoPhillips' profits rose 89%, and BP's rose 34%. Think about that next time you fill your tank. Especially you libertarian types. This is what happens when private companies dealing in commodities that people can't live without are not adequately kept in check by a responsible governing body. This is the kinda thing that would be rampant in your small-government utopia.

This is not the fault of oil companies. They're private enterprises; they're designed to bilk consumers for as much as they can get away with. That's the whole point of capitalism. This is the government's fault, because it's their job to ensure fair play in the marketplace.

That's my take on it anyway.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

World Series

It's over. After a series (ha, get it?) of close calls, the White Sox win their first since World War I. Go Sox! (sorry Joe)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

You can pick your friends...

Ok, 1 more post on Prop 2 in the Texas elections. I've found over the last couple of years that it can be illuminating, when you're standing up for some idea, to take a look around at the people who are standing alongside you. Christ chose to stand with the poor, the destitute, the helpless, and the downtrodden. Who are you standing with?

For all of you planning on voting in favor of this superfluous ban on already-banned gay marriage, I want you to do just one thing for me. When you step into that voting booth, and you're marking up all your votes, I want you to stop for a moment when you get to prop 2 and reflect for a second on the people you're standing alongside.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Prop 2 bans HETEROsexual marriage (Texas electoral edition)

Early voting is going on in Texas right now, from what I understand, and there is a proposed amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage on the ballot. Not only is such an amendment superfluous, ineffective, and bigoted, but it's also poorly worded such that, so some say, it technically bans all marriage, heterosexual and otherwise. I'll let you do the math on this one, but I have to admit the language is ambiguous:
Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.

(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

Burnt Orange Report explains:
...But Section (b) says that nobody in Texas can recognize any status identical to marriage. Wha? That's right: if this amendment passes, marriage is outlawed in Texas. Other states had the good sense to say that no status involving "unmarried persons" or "any other status" in order to make it clear that marriage still existed. Not here in Texas! The same guys who couldn't fix our schools, couldn't figure out how to take care of sick kids and can't seem to figure out how to obey the law can't even screw over gay people correctly. Thanks Republicans!

Not sure how this would actually work out legally, and if such semantic snafus really derail the legislation's intent like this would, but hey, here's yet another reason to vote against prop 2. Oh, and by the way, nearly every major paper in Texas has panned it as well.

A Sad Day

Rosa Parks, who stayed sitting down on that Alabama bus so that others could rise up, has died. She was 92 years old, and she will be missed.

"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." --Rosa Parks

football (well, good for some I guess)

So it didn't go so well for Tech last Saturday. It's a bummer, but I have to say, I don't think there's any disgrace in losing to this year's Longhorns. Besides, it's Tech's first loss, and by far their toughest game, so there's a chance of them having a 1 loss season (which would be awesome, in my opinion). There will be no Big 12 championship game for them, but another decent bowl game lies on the horizon, should they not choke again.

On the brighter side, it was also a very bad day for Mormons, as BYU got beat down by a bunch o' dirty Catholics at Notre Dame stadium. It looked a tad bit worrisome in the 3rd, but the offense kicked into high gear (coupled with a pick run back for another TD) and it was over, to the tune of 49-23. ND's QB, Brady Quinn (next year's Heisman winner), passed for 6 TDs, a Notre Dame record (it's odd how similar my teams are looking this year).

In other news, the Sox are up 2-0 and the Colts continue to be unbeaten. Go ... midwestern-type-people!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Here it is: Tom Delay's booking photo.

I guess we're all smiling today.

World Series time!

It's official: The 'Stros are in the Series for the first time ever.

Get ready, folks, next week we're gonna see something that's never happened before: the World Series in the Lone Star State!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Myth of Environmentalism vs. Economics

Environmentalism has come under attack in recent years from the more right-wing segments of the populace, especially from the Republican party and its surrogates. The myth created during said attacks is that environmentalism gets in the way of economic growth, that environmentalism is bad for the economy.

This myth, however, is just that.

The Republican disdain for pollution regulation is a fairly new phenomenon. People seem to have forgotten that the Clean Air Act, possibly America's most comprehensive and effective anti-pollution measure, was signed by none other than Richard Nixon. It appears that the major turn might have been caused by the Republican party's increasing indebtedness to big business, who sees environmental regulations as a threat to their profits. Libertarians, now that they're righty, don't like it because, apparently, they just don't like anything "the government" does. The negative view of environmentalism has since filtered into other segments of the Republican electorate, like Christian conservatives (they still have trouble defending their newfound views, since "dominionist" theology is almost painfully inadequate as a defense for undoing Creation).

Now, there is one way in which pollution controls are arguably a drag on the economy: polluting companies have to invest in filters, scrubbers, and more efficient equipment, which cuts into their profit margins. However, there's a big flip side to this argument. For one, it would seem that someone has to make said filters, scrubbers, etc., and they do make a profit. So somebody makes a profit either way, and who cares if it's GE rather than American Electric Power who makes it?

The second, and bigger, argument lies in the collateral economic damage caused by environmentally reckless actions. This collateral damage has all sorts of manifestations, like the wetland destruction (and possibly climate change) that made Katrina so devastating. One side effect of pollution, in my opinion, takes precedence in its economic impact: rising health care costs. Health care is one of the biggest problems facing our country and pollution greatly exacerbates that problem.

Pollution causes a much greater health risk than most people realize. Pollution from coal alone (as in, not including petroleum, nuclear power, pesticides, pig shit lagoons etc.) is linked to heart disease and cancer, 2 of the most common killers in America, as well as asthma and emphysema. I'll use the example of Indiana (which, by way of comparison for my Texan readership, has a population smaller than that of Houston). Pollution from coal power plants in Indiana causes annually (c/o Clear the Air):
887 premature deaths
1491 heart attacks
21,500 asthma attacks
173,000 lost work days
Increases in these things not only are bad for the economy in themselves, but they also cause increases in health care costs and insurance premiums. And just how bad are health care costs? According to the National Coalition on Health Care, health care spending in 2003 accounted for some 15.3% of GDP, about four times the amount spent on national defense. That was 2003, mind you, during the Iraq War. Spending on health care is so high that it's bankrupting people at staggering levels. 50%, half of all bankruptcies in the US, are at least partially due to medical expenses, and get this, 68% of those who file for bankruptcy have health insurance.

Bankruptcies and out-of-control health care costs are bad for the economy. Just ask any airline CEO.

Delay et al.

I'm trying not to get too excited before people start actually getting convicted, but this is a headline that I've been waiting to see for a long time: Arrest Warrant Issued, Bail Set for Delay.

I can't wait to get my hands on that mugshot!

On another note, the media is awash in rumor and innuendo surrounding the Valerie Plame scandal. On the one hand, I like that, because it's keeping this matter in the forefront of current events, and I think the American people really do need to be forced to take this seriously. "Plamegate," as some are now calling it, deals with a number of serious problems facing the nation today, from the Administration's handling of dissent to the dubious nature of the case for Iraq to the level of duplicity and misinformation emanating from places that should be telling us the truth, nay, must be telling us the truth for our democracy to function correctly. When the government is "fixing intelligence," as the Downing Street Memos stated, to make its case for war, and some of our flagship news organizations like the New York Times are taking part in political reprisals against whistleblowers, the citizenry is ill-equipped to accurately assess what the hell is going on. And if the rumors are correct, then Judith Miller has done this country a great disservice, not just in blowing an agent's cover but also in engaging in selective reporting.

And just to clear things up, Judith Miller is not a whistleblower. Whistleblowers go public with an organization's misdeeds, jeopardizing their careers in the process. Joe Wilson, Plame's husband, qualifies as such. Miller took part in the retribution against him by blowing his wife's cover. Outing a CIA agent as part of the Administration's attempt to silence those trying to tell the truth makes her at best an irresponsible journalist, at worst a traitor. Nor was her career in jeopardy; it seems to me, at least, that newspapers don't fire journalists for protecting their sources.

The downside to all this media coverage is that there's an awful lot of rumor and faux information making its way into the media. The Fitzgerald team is keeping its lips zipped much better than Kenneth Starr did, so everyone's forced to rely on relatively distant sources, or just speculate (that's journalese for "guess") on who they're gonna indict and how far up it goes and whatever. So much is coming out that's difficult or impossible to substantiate, and there are other sources out there trying to obfuscate matters. My modus operandi right now is stick to credible media outlets (no Fox News, no Scott McClellan, no blog stories that don't link to reputable newspapers), and be skeptical. Make them prove it to me. I'd recommend you do the same.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Wow, what a weekend! (part 2)

Methinks I posted that last one a bit early. How 'bout them White Sox! 1st pennant since '59, and the Sox are off to the World Series, probably against Houston. The Sox haven't won the Series since 1917, so I have to say, I'm routing for them this year even though I'm not normally a White Sox fan (and I kinda like the Astros).

Any baseball fans out there?

Wow, what a weekend!

Holy cow, did anyone else watch that USC/Notre Dame game? As bitter as the defeat was, man did we give them a scare or what? For those of you who didn't watch, the Irish was ahead until the final seconds of the game after keeping Leinart's passing game in check (we didn't do half bad holding Bush and White back, too), picking him twice (something that hasn't happened to Matt Leinart in several years), returning a punt for a TD, and playing super-smart offense. In fact, we played so well against "the no. 1 team in the country" that the AP poll didn't even knock us down any ranks for losing. Notre Dame: #9, baby!

Speaking of rankings, how 'bout them Red Raiders? In the top 10 for the first time since 1977! Welcome to the big time, Tech! Of course, on a sadder note, they're almost certainly gonna lose next week vs. the Longhorns, but the rest of the season is theirs to lose. Tech can beat OU and A&M this year, and if they do so without choking against any of the Big 12 doormats left on their schedule, then they stand a chance at scoring a serious bowl game this year (BCS, anyone?).

What I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around at this point in time is that Tech is poised to have a 1-loss season, while ND is #9 and unlikely to lose any more games. Tech and ND are side-by-side in the polls. Could there possibly be... a bowl game... between Texas Tech and Notre Dame?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

So why can't we talk about abortion?

Abortion seems to be the ultimate "no man's land" of conversation. The mere mention of it in any politically mixed company is met with groans and rolling eyes. Conventional wisdom tells us that it's well-nigh-impossible to have a civil conversation about it, that it riles up all our emotions relating to politics and religion, but I can't help but wonder, is that really true?

I'm of the opinion that such a civil conversation can, and in fact must, happen, but it requires a reconsideration of the way we're taught to approach the issue.

First, how are we "taught to approach the issue?" We're taught that there's a simple dichotomy of opinion: you're "pro-life" or you're "pro-choice." I imagine all of us at some point or another have been clubbed over the head with those monikers: "Oh, well I'm pro-choice (implying: "so unlike you, I believe in women's rights")." So let's begin by pointing out the obvious: the two terms are not only fallacious, but also incendiary, because they're intentionally misleading.

It reminds me of an occasion last summer. I was walking down Wells St. in Chicago with a group of fellow trainees, when we passed the building housing the Anti-Cruelty Society. My buddy Gabriel then turned toward me and, mustering all his cheesehead snark, quipped, "so I wonder where the Pro-Cruelty Society meets?"

The same applies to abortion. Pro-lifers are no more "anti-choice" than pro-choicers are "anti-life."

The national conversation on abortion has been driven into this rut because it's in the interest of the big two political parties to keep it there. The Republicans want this bipolar debate because it helps keep Christian conservatives on their side. As long as they can railroad religious discourse toward abortion, they don't have to worry about it veering off into territory that Republicans aren't as comfortable with, like Social Security, environmentalism, capital punishment, and tax cuts for the wealthy. The Democrats want such an abortion debate because they want to shore up the progressive vote, and hope to win more votes based on the fact that a majority of Americans favor Roe v. Wade in one form or another. Sticking to the old abortion meme means Democrats don't have to talk about religion. Both parties fear that they stand to lose votes if the conversation develops the kind of nuance that makes it more, well, honest.

The link above is especially useful in this conversation. What that survey does is allow for a multitude of viewpoints in the abortion debate, and it finds that most people lie somewhere between the pro-life and pro-choice poles, showing both to be straw men (in my opinion, at least). For instance, while most people (57%) believe abortion should be legal in "all or most" cases, that majority disappears in the cases of partial-birth abortions (23%), 3rd trimester abortions (11%), and abortions had solely "to end unwanted pregnancy" (42%; this is, by the way, the most common reason for abortion, according to the same article).

Thankfully, some national figures are starting to get the hint. Jim Wallis (the author of God's Politics) notes that it would be more productive for Democrats and Republicans to try seeking common ground, "that is, really targetting the problems of teen pregnancy and adoption reform, which are so critical to reducing abortion, while offering real support for women, especially low-income women, at greater risk for unwanted prgnancies" (300). Howard Dean commented on July 16, on the Democratic party being "pro-abortion": "I served on the board of Planned Parenthood for five years. I don't know anybody who's pro-abortion. Most people in this country would like to see the abortion rate go down. That includes Democrats and Republicans."

On the other side, Republicans in 2004 were actually more ecumenical in their approach to abortion than Democrats. A number of the speakers at the Republican National Convention were pro-choice, among them Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rudy Giuliani (in fact, if I'm not mistaken, John McCain is, too). If Republicans stop treating those politicians' stances like dirty little secrets then the national debate could really start getting somewhere.

So, brushing aside all the crap, how do we deal with abortion? I assume most everyone would like to see it happen as rarely as possible, but how do we make that happen? Criminalization (and if so, for doctors/women/both) or not? What kind of sex ed, and how much? What about availability of birth control? Programs to help pregnant women afford health care? Improving adoption programs?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Wow, blast from the past...

The NCAA rankings look a little strange this week. When was the last time we had Alabama, Penn State, Notre Dame, and UCLA in the top 12 (with the first 3 in the top 10)?

Also, Tech is hangin' tough at 13. How bizarre it is to see Tech ranked higher than BC, Ohio State, and Tennessee! Color me skeptical, but they're gonna have to play better than they did yesterday to keep that spot, especially considering that the back end of their schedule is so much tougher than the front.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Vengeance won and vengeance lost

Very satisfying football today, I have to say. All the right teams lost today in the Big 12, and ND had a bye this week, to get some extra practice in before the big game against USC. They're gonna need it.

First, vengeance won. It was served up well chilled and in abundance at the Cotton Bowl today as Texas massacred the Sooners 45-12. Young was fantabulous (14/27 for 241 yards, 3 TDs, and that's right, no picks) and OK, well, sucked about as much as I was hoping they would. They spent the entire game behind, and didn't make a single play over 9 yards until the 4th quarter. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: OK is nothing, nothing, without Adrian Peterson.

Quick side note: everyone's saying that Texas' only other challenge this season gonna come from... A&M? WTF? Why are people giving the Aggies so much credit, a team who, by the way, got their asses handed to them today by Colorado?

Now for the flip side. All you Tech fans (myself included) had quite the scare today. The Red Raiders had to go to Lincoln to face a Nebraska team that was both better than last year's team, and hellbent on revenge for being handed a 70-10 loss last season (their worst defeat in school history). And they would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for that darned Filani!

Seriously, though, this game yielded a quote that, as a Tech fan, just warms my heart. This was from Nebraska linebacker Bo Ruud (c/o Yahoo! sports): ``We've been wanting these guys since last year,'' said Ruud, who played on special teams during last year's 60-point loss to the Raiders. ``This is a team we've been dying to get after. We let it slip.'' Let it slip, heh, yeah 5 turnovers will do that, jerkoff! I had to listen to this game on Nebraska internet radio (it was all I could find) and it felt great listening to the utterly crestfallen tone of that irritating Cornhusker commentator after Hodges hammered in that last coffin nail.

The Cornhuskers won't be calling the Tech game on their schedule a gimme for a long time.

Friday, October 07, 2005

American people don't approve of torture? Well, maybe they just need convincing...

As some may have already heard, yesterday the Senate voted 90-9 in approval of an addendum to an appropriations bill "setting interrogation limits," aka. banning torture. Here's the article on it in The Washington Post. The bill was introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and supported by all but 9 senators. Guess which party claims all nine pro-torture senators? Why, the same party of all the senators (excepting "Douchebag" Inouye) who voted against armoring humvees, of course!

Here's the list of 9 senators who apparently believe in that "ends justify the means" rubbish (c/o War and Piece):
Allard (R-CO)
Bond (R-MO)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Stevens (R-AK)

Special props to Oklahoma for having 2 pro-torture senators, and Texas for having 1 senator and 1 president (W has threatened to veto the whole bill if the anti-torture addendum passes).

9/11? bin Laden? Terrorists? Welfare Queens? Uhh, Social Security? Anyone listening?

Check out the latest CBS news poll. It's beautiful, really. One can almost sense the general American sentiment, "wait a sec, hold on... I'll be damned; he really is out to lunch!" Kos is claiming that he was right in his theory that the nomination of Harriet Miers alienated enough of his base to help him break through that 39% floor he's been lying on for the last couple of months (it hurts W worse to alienate conservatives because they're the only ones who are still convinced he's even literate, let alone competent). I'll just show the first question to give you a sense of how the whole survey went (and yes, the whole survey looks like this):
Right direction
Now- 26%
9/2005- 31%
5/2004- 30%
3/2003- 52%
11/1994- 30%

Wrong track
Now- 69%
9/2005- 63%
5/2004- 65%
3/2003- 41%
11/1994- 65%

That there November '94 stat is significant, of course, because that month saw a midterm election in which the Republicans gained 52 seats (thereby winning the House).

Democrats only have to win 17 to regain control.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

fun with brainwashing!

So while screwing around on Sadly, no!, I came across a thread on the Creation Evidence Museum in Glen Rose, TX. It has some, ahem, interesting tidbits of, ahem, "scientific" theory at work, to say the least (the illustrated creation model on the right side of the linked page is hiii-sterical).

The part of the site that's the most fun, however, is the "Creation Exploration" kids' page! Here your child's burgeoning intellect can be exposed to neat new "facts" to confound the evil Islamofascistevildoerpinkocommieleftistcanookbillyyankevolutionists, such as this little tidbit from "Lesson 14: Before the Flood (cont.)":
But before the Flood, there was a canopy of water that stretched around the entire Earth like a huge bubble.
The sun rays had to go through that canopy and the other layers of our sky before it could reach Earth. The canopy was colored magenta or pink and it blocked the bad rays of the sun but only let in the sun rays that would be helpful for our body. Humans, therefore, did not have to worry about getting sunburn.

Also, the good people at the museum have given us a whole new sense of the scope of Noah's ark. From Lesson 11:
Dinosaurs were created on the sixth day of creation along with all the other land animals. Did you know our great-great-many great-grandparents, Adam and Eve, were also created on that same day? Read Genesis Chapter 1 in your Bible. Dinosaurs lived in peace with the rest of creation, and they were even on the Noah’s Ark during the Great Flood.

(thumbing through Bible) hmm... t-rex on the ark? separate the sheep from the stegosauri?... nope not finding it...hmm... well, perhaps we should send Amber and the other medievalists on the hunt for this alternative to the St. George vita:
Humans also hunted dinosaurs. When you hear stories of knights killing dragons, the dragons that are described sound a lot like dinosaurs. There are many tales in almost every ancient land telling of the sighting of huge reptile-like creatures roaming the Earth. In France a city was named to honor the killing of a “dragon” which they said had three long, sharp horns and was bigger than an ox. This sounds like the description of the dinosaur Triceratops.

So, this of course leads to the question...
So could any of the dinosaurs breathe out fire?

Nobody knows for sure, but there are many facts that may prove that there was at least one dinosaur that could.

Riiiiiight. So it's not that "creation scientists" don't believe in dinosaurs, it's that they also believe in dragons. I'm not sure which idea I'm less comfortable with.

And speaking of exposing children, just in case anyone out there was wondering if there would be any weird, Freudian moments, here ya go. From Lesson 13, in reference to Dr. Baugh's "hyperbaric biosphere":
It was a huge, long, metal, tan-colored cylinder that was dotted with many tiny circular windows where people could look into it. Dr. Baugh had given the girls special permission to enter.

Yes, folks, both the "scientist" and his huge, long, tan-colored, dotted, slightly right-leaning biosphere are real. Here is an artist's penetrating portrayal of his evolutionist beater:

(insert caption with double entendre here)

Iraq + Terror= ?

I bet you can't guess what was invoked in the speech regarding Iraq today? Is this for real? Do people still really buy this @#$%? How did Bin Laden become a part of this? Is this 1930's Germany? Am I being propagandized? I really am not looking forward to getting any closer to 30 but I can't wait till 08'.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

good tv

So for those of you who don't know, there's a great new sci-fi phenomenon out there called Firefly. It's by the guys who did Buffy and Angel (not selling points for me, but there you have it), and it's very good. Anyway, there's a movie version of the series in theaters right now, it's called Serenity. You should go see it. Thanx for the tip, Mick.

The other big phenomenon on tv right now is, of course, the fantastic series LOST. If you haven't caught on yet, check it out, the first season's out on DVD. For those of you who are into it, Melinda in SB found a website dealing with all the questions that the show has decided to leave us hanging on. There are serious Lostistas on here who have spent way too much time thinking about the show, so they've come up with some neat stuff. Behold The Fuselage.

Harriet Miers

Alright, I know several of you have an opinion on this, so give it up. What's your take on the new Supreme Court nominee? Why her, and not someone more... well... Scalian? Thomasist?

I don't really have much on this one. Just passing around some shallow points, I think this shows that Roberts was more the beginning of a precedent than a one-time political choice; it looks like the vaguely conservative type really is W's kinda nominee. Other than that, it's too early for me to making serious observations about whether this was W "caving" or whether this will neutralize the conservative base in '06 or whether Miers is some sort of "crypto-conservative" super-evil corporatist crony in disguise (well, actually she is a crony, I guess I can make that observation) or whatever.

So what do you think?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

football past and present (ok, just this week and next week)

Alright, I'm sure you all watched your respective teams play. A good day on all counts, with blowouts dealt by Tech, Texas, and ND. Glad to see Tech can play against conference opponents this year (I have to admit, I kinda sweated that one). On my side of the Mississippi, the Irish cleaned Purdue's clocks 49-28. And I feel confirmed now in scoffing at hearing the commentators talking up Missouri's chances for an upset. What's it gonna take for the 'Horns to get their due respect?

I'll tell you what: next week. Oklahoma is Texas' nemesis; no matter how well Texas is doing, for the last 5 seasons they've walked into the Cotton Bowl and played like they were still drunk from the night before. Texas doesn't have to beat the Sooners this year; they have to abosolutely destroy them. If they do that, then sports commentators and coaches and everyone else will start to realize the truth that should've been proven undeniable in Columbus, Ohio: Texas is the best team in the country. They can post points as fast as USC, but they don't have to spend the entire first half gaining their rhythm, and they have the all-important defense.

Speaking of the Trojans, next week they will have what is quite possibly their most difficult regular season game: they come to South Bend to take on Notre Dame. 61% of ESPN respondents said this will be the Trojans' toughest game, and it makes sense. Anyone who watched us play Purdue yesterday knows that this ain't last year's Irish, and anyone who watched them play Arizona State yesterday knows that, frankly, they ain't last year's Trojans (in fact, I'm of the opinion that there are at least 3 superior teams: Texas, Virginia Tech, and Ohio State). If USC is gonna choke this year, chances are it's gonna happen here. That being said, I'd put my money on USC, no doubt about it they're a better team, but if ND holds them within a TD or 2, and Texas does to OK what I think they're gonna do, there should be no more doubt as to who's the best team in the country.

As for Tech, next week is their season maker, too. They took a huge step yesterday towards making people confident in their abilities, but if they beat a resurgent Nebraska next week, their chances of scoring a sweet bowl game will be hightened significantly. I know, Nebraska's not even ranked, but I stand by this: footballers always pay attention to you when you beat teams like Nebraska, even in their off years. Besides, they beat a ranked Iowa State team yesterday. Their other big game is OK: they can do it this year. If they do, they'll take a giant leap toward being considered one of the big dogs in the big 12, and in my opinion, would all but guarantee a decent bowl game.