While Dan Riehl and other wingnuts will be yukking it up over Christmastime crimes, I am off to Prague (Praha) for a week. I will return on New Year's Eve. I'm going to clear my head, think about 2008, and drink lots of beer. Nashledanou!
New Yorkers shouldn't act so shocked that Isiah is not accepting responsibility. This is a town that was built on passing the buck. This town is more Republican than you might think. Isiah is the perfect coach for the Bush era. He doesn't hold himself accountable.
But today he did say that discussion of his termination would be "fair" if he can't get the Knicks on-track by the first week in January.
What a guy.
Live with it, Knicks fans. You too, Spike. Live with your awful pro basketball team that will never win a second O'Brien trophy.
We have seen an increase in mass shootings in the USA as this decade has progressed. Here's a quick count as of this incident in Omaha, Nebraska:
- 2001: 0
- 2002: 0
- 2003: 1
- 2004: 0
- 2005: 2
- 2006: 3
- 2007: 4
When the story broke, I thought the news media was incorrectly calling the rifle used in the crime as an AK-47. Some of the first stories called it an SKS rifle, and I assumed that was correct. But knowing that the young shooter fired over 30 rounds, and as the video footage shows, it was indeed an AK-47. A military weapon in the hands of a disturbed, suicidal 19 year old boy had catastrophic consequences. And the gun can be legally purchased today thanks to the expiration of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban.
And the fans of old communist-designed rifles continue to encourage gun owners to stock-up on them before Congress eventually reinstates the ban.
The SKS, if you recall, is one of the least expensive military weapons you can buy today (sometimes as cheap as $50). Dubbed the 'poor man's deer rifle,' it preceded the AK-47 by two years. And it was a popular weapon to modify and reuse in the 1990s by members of the militant anti-abortionist / 'patriot movement,' as the Reverend Matt Trewhella famously told an audience in 1994:
This Christmas, I want you to do the most loving thing. I want you to buy each of your children a SKS rifle and 500 rounds of ammunition.
Since then, our favorite conservative blogger in Raleigh has written advice on how to survive a mass shooting in a shopping mall. Guns, real estate, and premium backyard charcoal grills seem to be his specialities
It couldn't be. He was discussing a massive failure by our intelligence agencies. Again. But he winked at someone on the way out. And gave a smile-smirk. Jesus, he's the guy at the end of the bar that just bought you a Mai Tai.
From our friends in Canada in 2005/2006. The WSIB - the Workers Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario. Who would have thought? The gentle Canadians have a thing for shocking depictions of workplace fatalities on free TV. Only on the website they say that the PSAs are not appropriate for viewers under 14. Now they tell us.
This is good.
This is better.
And this one takes the cake. Wow.
Outside of North America? Well the Irish are good at this as well.
TBogg sums it up as we close this story. Since Shaha Riza and her $193,950 salary (funded by the World Bank) has been dropped from next year's budget, the organization has brought back its annual holiday party after a 1-year hiatus. TBogg knows to to finish his post:
You'd be surprised at what kind of party you can throw for the same amount of money that it takes to get someone to fuck Paul Wolfowitz.
That's a favorite line of my girlfriend's. And it can certainly be applied to the bizarre hostage situation at the Clinton campaign office in Rochester, NH. My feeling is that the hostage-taker is going to be shot dead by police.
At the very least, the bomb is fake and the man has a serious mental disorder. A worse scenario means that this is 'suicide by cop.' At worst, the bomb strapped to his chest is real and this is an act of terrorism.
Watch the wingnuts blame 'Teh Muslims' or 'Islamofascists' for this incident. But chances are, the assailant is a wingnut himself. Maybe he's trying to avenge Vince Foster.
UPDATE, 19:00 EST: It ended well.
Photo courtesy of amy-wong.com on Flickr.
...the Canadian dollar surpassed the US dollar in value. In fact, it has risen up to 27% against the dollar since January. However, the loonie has fallen back to to parity this week. I meant to re-cap this development when it happened back in September. But procrastination and baseball delayed this post. But at least I can do a roundup as this news has sunk in.
We should begin with the best, so here's Paul Krugman's scary prediction that the dollar will be sharply devalued sooner or later as countries stop buying our currency.
Christy Harden Smith at Friedoglake has a little roundup.
And Tankwoman regrets throwing-away all those Canadian coins years ago.
Assuming the latest report of a bump is true, I am begging you Britney......terminate it!
I'm writing to ya. You've got only a few weeks to do it, girl.
So far, InTouch says she is probably pregnant, but US Weekly and TMZ have not yet gotten behind this story.
Seriously, this is probably not true. The rumor was that she had an ultrasound last week, which would put her at 9 weeks.
I just want it to be true so I can encourage her to help us get abortion out of the closet. We need a positive celebrity pregnancy termination story!
Finally, the story of Joe Namath leading the Jets to victory in Super Bowl III will be told on the big screen. I'll pay to see it!
Jets fans most definitely deserve to see their finest hour portrayed in a feature-length movie, starring an actor who can certainly play the role. Hopefully the writer's strike will end in 2008, or else Jake might slowly grow too old for the role. Namath was an older-looking 25 year-old when he won the Super Bowl. Jake is about to turn 27.
Maybe someday I can write Impregnable: Tom Brady.
This old man weighs-in on male movie stars.
Without being explicit (of course), he argues that movie stars in the 30s and 40s were closeted gay men, who were driven to drink in their repressed state. Movie stars today.....well, they are just pussies.
The plain truth is that if guys like DiCaprio, Clooney and Robert Redford, were women, they’d be called bimbos.
And Dennis Prager, still trying to be relevant, beats-up on a big group of straw men who say America is "racist." He calls this mob the American Left and the World Left.
The answer is that the American left hates the America that believes in American exceptionalism, is prepared to use force to fight what it deems as dangerous evil, affirms the Judeo-Christian value system, believes in the death penalty, supports male-female marriage, rejects big government, wants lower taxes, prefers free market to governmental solutions, etc. The American left, like the rest of the world's left, loathes that America.
The 2007 UN Human Development Index has been released today. You can read a summary and download it here.
The Human Development Index calculates algorithms that factor-in life expectancy, literacy rate, school enrolment percentage, and GDP. The results classify nations as developed (green in the Wikipedia map above), developing (yellow), or underdeveloped (red), and also provide a simple scale measuring overall quality of life.
News reports today focus on the index itself, which is the ranking of nations. Iceland has taken the top sport for the first time since the report was created by economists in 1990. But the full 300-page report spends a great deal more time talking about climate change, as it is the biggest risk facing underdeveloped nations. Looking at the index, it is clear that the nations of the northern hemisphere consume far more resources than the nations in the south (Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand being major exceptions). And since most of the world's countries are north of Equator, let's try to be fair and say that the south begins around 10 degrees north latitude (so anything south of Nicaragua / southern India / Philippines is "south").
This report ties that division to the issue of climate change, which will drastically affect more people in the south than in the north. Not that the north will be unaffected, of course. But the entire sub-Saharan region, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, plus parts of southeast Asia and Micronesia / Oceania are at grave risk due to shortages in fresh water and a rise in ocean levels.
So the warning bells continue to sound for our planet.
I thought I had to wait until the 2008 New York International Auto Show. But Subaru in Japan have decided to make the unveiling a Christmas present to the fanboys and fangirls out there who have been begging for an updated Forester. It is the final car in Subaru's North American lineup that is due for an upgraded interior (in both design and quality), and obviously that had to wait for the complete re-design.
Spelling error aside, we'll be watching this space. The spelling error could have been more embarrassing. But still, it is inexcusable.
UPDATE 11/30/2007: The spelling error on the Subaru Japan wibsite has been corrected.
I will always love the 1968/69 Jets. They had a swaggering franchise quarterback, who stuck it to the NFL, raised the trophy, and kissed the girls. It was a glorious moment and historical milestone. Think about it. The Colts were 22-point favorites. And the Jets came, saw, and conquered. It never gets old.
But it absolutely sucks to be a Jets fan right now. As a son of Massachusetts, I'm thrilled. Good. Let the Jets' depression continue for years and years. It has been ongoing almost all my life.
And you know it can get worse. And last week, it did.
In the New York Times, a long-overdue story emerged. Sometime earlier this decade, the Meadowlands became Houston, Texas. Chants of "Show us your tits," now echo through the concrete ramps of Gate D.
What's next? Quaaludes and crystal meth? Shotguns? Confederate flags? It wouldn't surprise me. Nothing from the disgusting bunch of classless fans in green and white surprises me anymore.
Disclaimer: I'm not saying that this happens at Reliant Stadium in Houston. I am saying that it has happened quite a lot in Texas. There is a quote from a band member of Styx on VH1's Behind the Music that went something like, "Performing Kilroy was not going to go over well at the Texas Jam. I mean, this was Dallas and Houston in 1983. It was all about Quaaludes and 'show us your tits.'
On another note -
The Jets will never understand that every time they throw big punches against the Patriots, they only make the Patriots stronger. It's like shooting yourself in the foot multiple times. First Bill Belichick wrote, "I resign as HC of the NYJ." Not exactly the Jets' fault, but maube they should have seen that coming. Later, when Moe Lewis injured Drew Bledsoe in the fall of 2001, it opened the door for Tom Brady to become the greatest quarterback of the decade. When Eric Mangini reported the Patriots for videotaping Jets coaching signals from the sideline, all he did was awaken a slumbering titan named Bill Belichick, who has since decided to employ a scorched earth policy while advancing through the schedule and breaking the will of every single opponent.
And on December 16th, there is going to be a lot of pain and suffering for the poor Jets. It could be a pain of epic proportions. The Patriots might be favored with a 28-point spread.
And even then, I don't think the Jets or their fans will learn their lesson. There will be no moment when a hooded, evil Belichick mutters, "Only now, at the end, do you understand!" Oh no. The evil emperor knows that for the Jets, it never ends.
Never-ending suffering. That's the definition of hell.
The kids calling themselves the College Republicans down at Columbia University took a page from radicalized students of previous generations and made a list of demands.
They wanted conservative professors hired and all land north of the campus to be seized (damn those Afros, Latinos, Jews, and Dhalgren's girl), establishing a little empire from 110th Street to Baker Field and the Allen Pavilion, the northernmost property in Manhattan. Since their demands were not met (nor were they expecting them to be), they decided to consume more Wingnut food (which we all know is Cheetos and Mountain Dew) as a show of protest. The eat-in was held yesterday (Nov. 14). Earlier this week, the following e-mail was leaked from their inner circle:
1. Administrative Reform: Mandatory, all-day "Don't rush the stage" training for all incoming students and faculty.
2. Conservative Studies: The hiring of 12 conservative professors.
3. Expansion into Harlem: Columbia expansion from 114th street to Baker Field.
4. Core Curriculum: An amendment to the Columbia charter to protect the ideals of the Core.
Hunger strike and direct action are not legitimate forms of campus discourse. Join the College Republicans this Wednesday 12-3 on Low Steps to *gasp* eat, drink, voice your opposition to the [liberal hunger] strike, and talk about the issues important to you.
My girl and I finished work late on Friday. Instead of meeting downtown for dinner as originally planned, we decided to meet at home and then head out to dinner in our own neighborhood. We decided to go to Mamajuana Cafe, which is a Spanish/Dominican restaurant specializing in mojitos, sangria, tapas, paella, and some Caribbean home cooking. A really nice mix. We never quite figured out the old world decor of stone floors, large wooden doors and spanish bar stools, but it is a nice place. There is always a wait to get in there.
We were seated in about 15 minutes, and got stools at the end of a big, high banquet table near the entrance. As we finished our 4-course tapas dinner, four big guys walked-in, bypassed the line, and stood at the hostess' podium, next to us.
My girl looked at me and exclaimed, "Baby! We know who this is!"
Just as she said it, I knew we had ourselves a celebrity sighting. I quickly knew it was a sports star, and not a musician. At first I thought it might be a basketball player, but these guys were too beefy. Then I turned my head to the right and looked up. I saw the close-cut, angular beard of David Ortiz, just a couple of feet away. The recognition was instant.
I looked back at my girl, giddy with excitement. "Oh! My! God!"
Ortiz was wearing dark jeans, a brown suede jacket, diamond stud (rock) earrings, and a tight royal blue long-sleeve t-shirt with sparkly plastic jems and sequins on the front and back. The front had a skull and crossbones design, with a Mexican headpiece (Aztec, probably) on the skull. Papi has a great smile, and he took his time to sign autographs and have his picture taken with the kids on our side of the restaurant. The people at the bar didn't seem to notice he was there.
Since I didn't have a camera, and I didn't want to bother the guy, I resorted to the option I thought was best. I started a little round of applause. My girl and I clapped, and then the Dominican girls at our table started clapping, and then others joined in. That was cool. It earned us a smile and a wink from the big man.
He had evidently come from uptown where he taped the Regis show and the Conan O'Brien show. I knew that Manny Ramirez would be visiting Washington Heights during the offseason to see friends and cousins. But to see Big Papi on 200th Street, in my zip code, was simply amazing. A great way to end a busy week, which started with the Sox winning the championship, of course.
Alex Rodriguez is either moving to Anaheim or Boston. Scary. He's out to destroy another club. But his agent, Scott Boras thinks that if A-Rod goes to a big club, gets hits, and keeps his mouth shut, he can be rehabilitated and actually have a fan base love him. Remember the rehabilitation of Richard Nixon? Here comes the resurrection of A-Rod. Anaheim would suit him well. He can be the Reggie Jackson of the next decade.
What the hell am I writing?
The Red Sox won the MLB Championship!! And John Lester barely got the win in Game four! He earned it with a solid performance, and it was sealed with a solo home run by the red-headed Bobby Kielty!
What an amazing comeback for Lester. He's going to be a competent starter in 2008. The Sox have won again, and this winter is going to be spent reviewing and reminiscing this incredible near-perfect season. We had unlikely heroes, incredible highs and lows, and an improbable no-hitter by Clay Buchholz.
This is one of the reasons I created this blog, to capture this incredible season. We knew it was going to be special way back in March. And the Red Sox will put together a team that will go deep into the playoffs for the next 2-3 years. It is the best time ever to be a Red Sox fan. Really.
And the Yankees will fade to the middle of the AL East pack for a while. Not sure how long that will last, but the Yankees are no longer the automatic AL East entry into the playoffs.
Some pundits speculated that once the Red Sox won it all in 2004, we would lose our identity as fans, and have fewer reasons to cheer. That's a narrative that never came to fruition. File that with 'We'll be greeted as liberators,' or 'Kosmo and Webvan are the e-businesses of the future.' Red Sox nation is doing very well in its new era of winning, thank you very much. And when it eventually winds-down and the Sox cool off, just watch how we remain loyal and keep filling Fenway Park. Compare our streak of home sellouts to the numbers for Yankee Stadium in its final year. We stay loyal. Yankee fans stay home and implode. I'm going to love the Joe Girardi era.
Bill Belichick is not as evil as Dick Cheney, but yesterday's post game press conference was downright scary. He was pretty much answering 'fuck you' to every question, just in a low-key, non-profane way. Bill Belichick has been doing this all season. But it was not as apparent as it was yesterday when he was taking questions from reporters regarding the merciless 52-7 smackdown of the Washington Redskins in Foxboro.
With 10 minutes left in the game, and the score 38-0, Belicheck ordered his team to keep driving on fourth down, resulting in a touchdown pass to Randy Moss. On the very next possession, with the score 45-0, the Patriots went forward on fourth down again, ultimately resulting in yet another touchdown. If that isn't running-up the score, then what is? And another question. What did the Redskins and veteran redneck coach Joe Gibbs, ever do to the Patriots?
A reporter called Belichick on his evil ways:
Q: At 38-0 you went for it on 4th down, on 45-0 you went for it on 4th down. What was the philosophy there?
BB: What do you want us to do, kick a field goal?
Q: I didn’t want you to do anything. I’m just asking what the philosophy is.
BB: It’s 38-0. It’s fourth down. We were just out there playing.
Then he shrugged.
The still photos do not do this moment justice. You need to see the video footage (a photo from a TV is below). Belichick is looking almost at the camera. Instead of the humble-looking guy shown above, the Belichick in the video was glaring. He didn't answer the question until after a pause, and he spoke in a low, mumbled tone. I had to replay the moment on my DVR a couple of times to understand what he said. He was in full Dick Cheney 'Fuck the World' mode.
Former Oregon congressman Les AuCoin has called Dick Cheney 'morbid.' Compare Belichick above to the AuCoin's May 1987 memory of Cheney below:
On our second morning in Moscow, my friend, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), and I rose early to jog before the start of a long day of meetings. What could be more indicative of the new US-Soviet era than two U.S. congressmen trotting through Red Square, past Lenin's Tomb and the Kremlin, without clearance from a party apparatchik?
As we circled in front of St. Basil's Cathedral for our return, a spectral figure emerged in the distant mist. If someone had said the hunched man in the overcoat was Karla, the ethereal cold-blooded Soviet spymaster in John Le Carré's novels, you wouldn't have gotten an argument from me.
It turned out to be not Karla but Cheney, the second-highest ranking Republican in the U.S. House, the senior Republican on the trip, George Bush Sr.'s soon-to-be secretary of defense -- and, ultimately, the real-life American version of the funereal Karla.
Steam rising from our sweat suits, Dicks and I were anxious to share our exuberant moment with Cheney. "Imagine, Dick!" Norm exclaimed. "Here we are, standing in the middle of Red Square. What does it make you think?"
Cheney gave a thin smile and replied, "Just that I'm standing on Ground Zero."
I knew Cheney for ten years as a fellow congressman and for four years when he was defense secretary and I, a member the House Defense Appropriations Committee.
When people ask me to describe Cheney, I say, "morbid."
I tell ya, I saw Belichick emulating Cheney yesterday. It was really scary. The man is evil. Yoda he is not.
I gave-up American football. It is a war game with very little flow and too much gambling behind the scenes. When I found out that guys in London bet on the NFL, I knew something was amiss. Despite that, I did enjoy seeing the professional team that plays 15 miles from my childhood home win three Super Bowls. I loved Steve Grogan as a kid. Same with Irving Fryer. The Patriots are (or were) a very likable team. Their first Super Bowl was by far the sweetest. Getting poetic justice over Oakland, then destroying Pittsburgh, and then defeating St. Louis were three of the greatest and most fun American football games I have ever seen.
However, since losing to the Colts in the playoffs last season, the Patriots began their journey towards the dark side. And now their journey is complete.
No, I'm not talking about the cheating - the stealing of other teams' signals. It is well understood that the Patriots were caught doing what other teams have done. No. I mean their absolute disregard for sportsmanship and their obsession to go through 2007 undefeated while running-up scores. I can almost see Belichick telling his players that the one responsible for the first loss of the season will have his beheading videotaped and posted on the Patriots website. It's scary.
And it's not just Belichick. Tom Brady went through a transformation. Brady has gone from underrated Wolverine QB, to backup QB, to adorable boy-wonder, to the next Joe Montana, to male model, and now he's a devouring alpha monster who can't put on a fucking condom.
John Clayton, ESPN:
Welcome to Belichick's no-mercy policy...Although criticism and questions about Belichick's moves will further paint him as the bad guy in his showdown against Tony Dungy and the Colts next Sunday, the Pats coach simply doesn't care. He wore the black hoodie in the Week 1 spy incident and accepted his punishment. Now, he's making the league pay with blowouts
Redskins veterans Phillip Daniels and Marcus Washington, who have 18 years combined NFL experience, both said they had never seen a team run up the score the way the Patriots are doing.
Face it, folks, Belichick plans to lay waste to the NFL. Commissioner Roger Goodell took away a first-rounder, so the Patriots will take away your firstborn. Belichick has assembled perhaps the most dominating team in NFL history, and he's intent on destroying all opponents in his path...sending a message to the 31 other teams that the Pats will take no prisoners.
And the players? Why, they are just following orders!
"It's just something the coaching staff wants to do," wide receiver Donte' Stallworth said. "We're behind them for whatever they want to do. Whatever play they call, we are going to run it.
"We've been attacked since the start of the season, so we don't care. Whatever is going on out there, we just go out and play and try to execute what we are doing."
They are the executioners. They are running on rage, and a quality playbook.
This was the game the Red Sox should have lost. The Rockies bullpen did a fine job to hold the line for as long as possible. Terry Francona mismanaged his bullpen. And Hideki Okijima gave-up a 3-run home run to Matt Holliday, who finally came alive. But the fears of a Red Sox loss were short-lived, as once again, the bottom of their order saved them and tacked-on five insurance runs. This Red Sox team found a third way to win in as many games, and has won their sixth straight postseason game. I'm going to miss baseball. This World Series is happening way too quickly.
Meanwhile, A-Rod has oped-out of his Yankee contract. This means that the Yankees will lose the controversial cash from the Texas Rangers (some $21 Million I think). Excellent news. The Red Sox are going to be swimming in extra revenue when they wrap-up this championship series. They would have the money for A-Rod, but I hope they don't make a bid for him. We don't need him. He's cursed. The Sox need to spend on their farm, and develop young arms to keep the Yankees behind them for the remainder of this decade.