Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sic Semper Tyrannus

Oh, Happy Happy Joy Joy, Happy Happy Joy....

Ding dong, the witch is dead, the witch is dead, the witch is dead...

When I went to bed last night, I had a feeling that the world would be a better place when I awoke today. And so it is. Saddam Hussein is gone, executed by the people he had so long terrorised. Wonderful.

Obviously, it won't end the war in Iraq. Nobody expects it to. But it eliminates one aspect of it, and pretty much ends the fear there of him returning to power. And it pisses off the Ramsey Clarks of the world, which is a bonus.

But trust the media in the West to find a way to spin it in a negative way. The AP story linked to in the title manages it well. Here's a little clip of the article, detailing the reactions among US troops there:

"U.S. troops cheered as news of Saddam's execution appeared on television at the mess hall at Forward Operating Base Loyalty in eastern Baghdad. But some soldiers expressed doubt that Saddam's death would be a significant turning point for Iraq.

"First it was weapons of mass destruction. Then when there were none, it was that we had to find Saddam. We did that, but then it was that we had to put him on trial," said Spc. Thomas Sheck, 25, who is on his second tour in Iraq. "So now, what will be the next story they tell us to keep us over here?"



Wonderful. A brief one sentence mention that troops cheered, and then the rest is a mention that undermines it all. As I mentioned above, nobody thinks it'll be the end of the war. So they reiterate that belief, and then follow with a quote from a disgruntled soldier (the only one mentioned in the article). Hmmm. I wonder if they just couldn't find a soldier "in country" that thought the death of the former dictator would be a Good Thing. Bet they're hard to find there, huh?


I also thought of another point. This guy, Thomas Sheck, is being played. It's fine to have doubts about what you are doing. After Gulf War I, a war for which I was sorta almost involved, (I was in the Reserves, but my unit never got called up because the War ended so fast), a friend of mine went to Kuwait to teach English there. The stories he told me about the Kuwaitis made me wonder why we spent any blood or effort to free them. Even by Middle Eastern standards, the Kuwaitis are rotten people. And I remember thinking that if this was what we went to war for, then I wanted no part of it. However, I thought more about it, and realised that I had signed up for the Army, and had been paid to do a job. Picking and choosing what you will fight for, when you're a professional soldier isn't a valid choice. So I swallowed my doubts, and went on. As another friend put it at the time, when I had explained my doubts and then the choice I made, "You took the King's shilling." Bingo. End of moral conflict.

Okay, so this joker has his doubts. Soldiers do that. And they express them to people, usually those with whom they have a sense of rapport: Normally, you don't tell someone how you feel if you believe that they will disagree. Human nature wants reinforcement. Also, the military tends to frown upon soldiers that criticise their leaders and the national defence policy. However, young Thomas here told the press how he felt. Obviously, anyone with a brain would know that a person from the AP will agree with anyone that criticises Bush, Cheney, the War on Terror, etc. So he complained about being lied to. Wonderful. The problem is, I suspect this guy will get called on the carpet for that quote. They might not actually go to that extreme, but I'm 99% sure, based on my knowledge of the Army, that a quote like that falls into the category of Article 15/Court-martial offenses.


Let's assume the worst. Specialist Sheck gets disciplined formally for that quote. If he has any plans for a career in the military, they have suffered, at best, a minor setback. At worst, he'll be done whenever his current enlistment ends. Actions, consequences. In the broad scheme, okay whatever. So he gets booted from something that he wants. What happens now? Why he's a victim! The Army and the politicians screwed him over because he stood up for what he believed in. So that would tend to make him even more opposed to the people that sent him there. His attitude would slip more, and he would get more criticism. Which would lead to more anger, etc.


And if he gets thrown out of the Army, then he is a victim of the Establishment, that wouldn't allow a simple soldier to say what he thought. Isn't it horrible that a member of the military can be punished for exercising his right to Free Speech?

I wonder if the AP reporters there will manage to find him the next time they want a quote about something that happens in Iraq. Bet they will. And think of the time they'll save, by not having to run around interviewing random soldiers, hunting desperately for one that will say what they want to hear (and print).

And people wonder why I hate liberals and the mainstream media so much.

Later.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

A wee bit misleading

Here's a story from Yahoo this morning. They say that Gerald Ford "Ford disagreed with Bush over Iraq invasion". Okay, fine. Makes it sound like Ford would never have invaded Iraq. Now first off, that's a matter of opinion. Secondly, it falls into the category of "appeal to authority", which I recall being listed as one of the primary logical fallacies.

And thirdly, it's not quite true. What he actually said is that he thought Bush over-emphasized the WMD argument. Which is of course true. (Remembering that the Senate resolution authorising force had twenty-some other reasons). Here's that quote: "And now, I've never publicly said I thought they made a mistake, but I felt very strongly it was an error in how they should justify what they were going to do."

Ford also said that he would have tried other means-sanctions, restrictions, etc- first.
Again, fine. Of course, we had tried sanctions, restrictions, etc before, and they never worked. But that's a minor problem, now isn't it?

Now here's an interesting thing: I first read the Yahoo article about 20 minutes ago. Looking over it again as I write this, I discovered that it isn't the same article. The newer version has things that I absolutely did NOT see in the original one. Things that I believe would have been slightly more favorable to Bush.

I hate to go all tin foil hat paranoid here, but why was this story changed in the course of 15-20 minutes? Either that or there are 2 versions of it.

This appears to be the case. Check this out.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061228/pl_nm/ford_interview_dc_3 (This is the original piece)

And here's the latter one:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061228/pl_nm/ford_interview_dc

Same headline, different article with different slant to it. Curious, isn't it?

(I hope that both links work. Now the original one seems to have disappeared entirely.)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Here it comes again

Just a while ago, while driving home, I passed a van that had the following bumper sticker on it:

Obama!
President 2008


Yippee. Already people are supporting him, and I doubt the woman (surprisingly, she was white) could name any solid reason to vote for him.

I assume that one would agree "He's Black" is not a valid reason to vote for him. On a less likely note, let's assume for the sake of argument that "He's a democrat" is also not a valid reason. The only thing I've ever heard of him doing is giving speeches. And over the last few months (at least leading up to the last elections), his most common theme seems to have been "elect more blacks to the Senate, since I'm getting lonely."

Wow. Brings a patriotic tear to your eye, doesn't it?

Ah well. Perhaps someday he'll propose a piece of legislation, or make a coherent and interesting speech that'll tell us more about him. At this point though, he seems to be running (or not. One never knows, do we?) [Note: I typed that last sentence with a straight face. I can do that for the bitch from New York also!] on the theme of "I'm young, black and charismatic. Elect me your next president because I deserve it."

Sadly, while I don't ever vote straight Republican, since I don't always agree with them, I never vote Democrat, since I swore them off after the clinton impeachment, when they lied their asses off about the lack of evidence, overturning elections, etc.. And at this point, it appears that we're gonna be stuck with liberal Republicans (read: mainstream Democrats), and whacked out leftists masquerading as mainstream Democrats.

Looks like '08 could be a Mickey Mouse kind of election, no?

Later.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Interesting thought

As I was meditating this morning on the death of Saparmurat Niyazov, leader of Turkmenistan, I had a sudden, largely unrelated thought. We all know, since the loonies constantly remind us, that Bush is Hitler redux. Right? Bush=Hitler, yadda yadda, from the geniuses on the left.

So today this thought came through. Who is the "worst" dictator, Hitler or Stalin? Yes, we know all about Hitler's hatred of the Jews, Roma (gypsies for the politically incorrect), Gays, etc. The Holocaust was the "final solution" for about 10 million people overall.

And Stalin? Who the hell knows what his numbers were? Most likely though, they were enough to show Hitler as an amateur. And while Hitler at least went out of Germany to find his victims, Stalin committed genocide against his own.

Little aside here. While I'm writing in kind of an offhand fashion here, I'm not belittling these deaths. It was horrible, though also a set of numbers that is largely incomprehensible.

Alright then. Hitler killed 7-10 million, not counting the dead of the War itself. Stalin killed 50 million plus. Mao probably more.


So who is the worst dictator? By this single measure, Hitler was a slacker. Isn't it then an understatement to compare Bush to him? Bush is the biggest mass murderer in the world, right? So why not write the formulation Bush=Stalin? Or Bush=Mao?

Hmmmm. I wonder if it might not have a connection to the fact that the latter two were Communists, and therefore "leftists". Hitler being a Fascist, was on the far-right, was he not? Notwithstanding that "Nazi" was an abbreviation for "National Socialist".

Bush, if I'm correct (and I am) can't be compared to Stalin or Mao because the people making the comparisons would regard that as a compliment to Bush. Bush=Stalin would belittle Uncle Joe, whom the really truly radical leftists still consider a hero. So you pick the man everyone knows to be evil, and equate Bush to him. After all, given the ignorance of most people in the US today, nobody knows Stalin was a butcher, so why not carry his picture and hold him up as a hero.

I'm pretty disgusted right now. Next time there's a pro-Kyoto march, sponsored by the hardcore Communists, and you see them out there with their Stalin, Kim Jong Il, Mao Tse Tung, and Che Guevara posters, perhaps ask them why they don't carry a Hitler sign. My guess is that he was much more a friend of the environment than any of that bunch.

Later.

No smoking allowed!

So it seems that the leader of Turkmenistan has gone to his final reward. One would question whether he believed it was possible, given his clear megalomania, but whatever. He was weird, but that's not illegal.

One thought came to mind as I read the article linked above. He had heart surgery a few years back, and thus quit smoking. Once he did, he ordered government people to follow suit. So that brings up a question in my mind: What would the wacko left think about that? They're anti-smoking, which is fine. So are most reasonable conservatives. The difference is that the latter believe that one should be allowed to kill oneself in peace, if they so desire. Leftists would favor banning all smoking, since they're opposed to it. "I don't like this, so you can't do it" is their motto.

So what would a Loonie think of this guy? On the plus side, he was anti-smoking. On the negative side, he didn't allow any dissent. Also tortured prisoners, etc.

I may try a little test. Find some leftists (not hard in my town), and ask them how they'd feel about a leader that made his closest advisors quit smoking. Then ask how they'd feel about the same leader banning dissent, and chasing opponents out of the country. My guess is that they'd shrug off the latter, and sing the praises of his brilliant anti-smoking policies.

After all, many of the pro-Kyoto nutjobs parade down the street holding posters of Stalin and Che, two of the most anti-environmental bastards of the last hundred years.

Guess we'll see.

Later.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Diplomatic genius

The Iraq study group released their report today. (No link, since I suspect it's pretty easy to find info on it). One of their suggestions is to try and negotiate with Iran and Syria to settle things down in Iraq, and if it doesn't work, then (one would assume) withdraw.

Are these people complete morons? First off, Iran and Syria are a sizeable part of the problem with Iraq. Iraq is unstable now largely because the neighboring countries are at best allowing arms and terrorists across the border, at worst directly supplying the terrorists with money and arms.

This is akin to (using a historical example) asking the North Vietnamese government to help negotiate a peace treaty between South Vietnam and the Vietcong. Sure, on paper the VC and the NVA were separate entities, but in reality they were one and the same. (Actually, I guess it would be better to say they were allies. But I'm not inclined to split hairs).

So these "statesmen" and "diplomats" want us to talk to the enemy to see if they can help us stop the fighting. Sure they can. But they won't. The chaos in Iraq serves their purpose. That's why they're playing such a big role in the fighting. And make no mistake, Bush and the US Military know it.

However, let's play a game of Pretend. We talk to these terrorist governments, and they make the demands on us that they obviously will: allowing Iran to get nuclear weapons, pushing Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians (because we know how well that's always worked), and giving Syria a free hand in Lebanon (again). Do we give in? Well, probably not. If we do give in, then we have blessed Iran's hegemony in the Mideast. And shown the rest of the region, along with everyone else in the world, that we aren't willing to stand up to them. Here's a newsflash: every concession we make, regardless of the reason for it, is held up by the Islamofascists as a surrender, and as proof of our weakness and fear.

So nothing comes of the negotiations, since at this point we're approaching them from a position of weakness (again, perception is the key). We need their help, so we have to give up more than we can demand in return. US weakness vs. Iranian strength. Once we make concessions to a country which since 1979 has been essentially at war with the US, everyone notes it, and we're hosed. We have no credibility in the Mideast- or anywhere else, for that matter. Osama would work openly with Iran, I suspect. Yes, there are problems between the Wahhabis, the Sunnis, the Shia, etc., but in the end they all want the US humiliated and defeated. Ally with the winning side- reality 101.

At that point, the US has no choice but to withdraw from Iraq. There would be no purpose in our presence there, since we can't stop the violence (unlike Iran). Once we're gone, then who's the big kid on the block? Why Iran, of course. And since they stared down the Great Satan, then everyone has to accept that they are the Major Power in the Gulf- and only Israel has any chance to face them down. Assuming of course that we haven't negotiated away Israel's existence. All the other countries in the area would have to accept that Iran calls the shots: they would control much of Iraq (if not all of it), Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian areas.

So it would be a huge defeat for the US. Not the "Oh we withdrew from Somalia because it wasn't worth the trouble" type of defeat. The "OK, we'll give you the Sudetenland, and the rest of Czechoslovakia, the Rhineland, Austria and Poland" type of defeat. And the neighbors- Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, etc- would have to either openly fight Iran (which they can't do), allow the US to base large forces there (politically difficult at that point), or come to an arrangement with them. Guess which is easiest, safest, and most high-percentage? And if they don't allow us to base troops there, we're limited in our ability to project force into the region. Which would make any hypothetical US war with Iran that much harder to win. If we have no troops there, and few options for deploying them in a timely fashion, what would stop Iran from invading Kuwait or Saudi-land?

Their inherent goodness, I guess.

Oh, and recall that Europe is pretty useless when it comes to standing up against Iran anyhow. So don't look for a lot of help from the Surrender Monkeys, for instance.

Ah well. The good news is that the dumb Iranians know none of this, right? It's a big secret that the geniuses on the Panel suggest negotiating with them and then, if unsuccessful, pulling out. So it's not as if their negotiation plan will be to delay and obfuscate. Heck, we know they would never do that- they're certainly not doing it now. No sirree. Nope, they'll negotiate in good faith, using their good offices to help the Great Satan- oops, I mean the US- out of a tough spot. With no thought to wasting time until the collective will of the American people gives out. And there's certainly no way they would ever conceive of the idea that the US media would work against Bush and any hard-liners.

God, sometimes I despair. Why don't we just mention to the Iranians that they either knock off their support for the Shia in Iraq, or we'll start sending patrols across their border to see what we can accomplish on their turf? A few "accidental" bombings of their military bases, and a warning that they're really pushing their luck with the constant "acts of war" they are committing, and perhaps they'll figure it out. If not, then let's see if they understand it when Tehran is a smoking hole in the desert.

Ah well, the democrats won't allow any of this. After all, it might be good for Bush and/or the US. Can't have that, can we? We must be more like France after all.

Sigh.

Later

Monday, December 04, 2006

Well well well

Interesting story from WSJ "Best of the Web" today:

Sen. Joe Biden, who is thought to be mulling a presidential run, showed up in South Carolina the other day, where he made a comment that ought to raise some eyebrows. The State of Columbia, S.C., reports: *** QUOTE *** The senator . . . pounced on a member's announcement that the club would hold its annual Christmas party at the state Department of Archives and History where members could view the original copy of the state's Articles of Secession. Biden asked, "Where else could I go to a Rotary Club where (for a) Christmas party the highlight is looking at the Articles?" Biden was on a roll.
Delaware, he noted, was a "slave state that fought beside the North. That's only because we couldn't figure out how to get to the South. There were a couple of states in the way." *** END QUOTE ***

So here's my question for the day: How long will it be before Biden is forced to resign from the Senate for making such a racist, pro-slavery comment?

Is that the sound of crickets chirping? Thought so.

Later.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A tale of two Michaels

Okay, we all know about the Michael Richards rant. He was out of line, no doubt. (Of course, we once again have to point out that he had the right to say it-free speech protects especially the stuff we don't like.) So he did the usual "contrition tour", going on TV to say that the person throwing out the N word on stage wasn't him. Whatever.

So we agree it's wrong for a white guy to use the N word. Great. I think we all know that, but he did it and should thus pay the penalty, whatever that may be.

Now let's talk about Michael Irvin. He's an ex-jock, who does "commentary" for ESPN. I thought he was a moron when he was playing, albeit a fairly talented one. And since he's been on the Network, he seems to be going out of his way to prove that, well, he's a moron, albeit not a very talented one. He was on the radio last week, and informed the listeners that Tony Romo of the Dallas Cowboys couldn' t possibly be as athletic as he apparently is, and be White. In his charming words
"Great, great, great, great grandma pulled one of them studs up out of the barn". Brilliant. Wayne Gretzky, Bruce Jenner, Mark Spitz, Lance Armstrong, Joe Montana, et al must all be part slave, correct?

I don't know jack-squat about Romo. But looking at the name, I suspect his family is Italian. And looking at his page on NFL.com, it says he went to school at Eastern Illinois. So we have (presumably) an Italian kid, probably from the Midwest- or at least someplace in the North. Since my family is Italian, I'm gonna take a stab at his family history, and suggest that his ancestors probably weren't even in the US until long after the Civil War. And even if they were, if I'm correct about him being a Yankee, it might be reasonable to guess they didn't own slaves. So Irvin's comment is A) Racist. B) Insulting in that it suggests the Romo family were slave-owners, unless that fact is known by Irvin. And C) Insulting in that it suggests Romo's ancestor was an adultress.

So while the other Michael has been apologizing profusely, and hiding the rest of the time, what has happened to Irvin? Not a lot. He did finally apologize, a week after the fact. He still has a job, of course. Unlike Rush Limbaugh, who you might recall was fired as a commentator for suggesting that Donovan McNabb might be overrated because of his race. (A view which, at the time, was supported by looking at his statistics, I'm told).

And then there was Jimmy the Greek. What did he say, way back in 1988?
"During the slave period, the slave owner would breed his big black with his big woman so that he would have a big black kid -- that's where it all started". Another stupid comment, which at the time some people stated was probably factual. Factual, but still wrong-headed. And certainly not something to say on TV. And of course, he also paid the penalty. Apology? Sure. But also out on the street from a long-time job.

So whenever a White male makes any sort of racist comment, he has to be chastized, fired, fined, etc. When a Black male does the same, well then move along, nothing to see here.

Profootballtalk.com has been discussing the Irving problem all along. They made a great point last week, before anyone was really saying much about it (certainly nobody on ESPN, who have still been ignoring it, I guess). It was, Irving said, something that he would joke about with Romo: locker-room humor. Fair enough. But is this a common thread in locker rooms? If so, then it shows a systemic racism, since most NFL players are black. Look at it this way- what would the attitude have been if someone had suggested to Jim Brown that his talent came from being part white? Hysteria, of course.

So if Irving's comment is nothing unusual, then we have minority (white) players in the NFL being told that their ancestors were slave owners, adulterers, etc. How do they react to it? Do they laugh it off? Or do they just swallow their anger? I assure you, if someone makes a comment like that about my ancestors, they'll get a lesson in History- both demographic and family. My ancestors didn't own slaves, and I refuse to allow anyone to suggest they did. If even one white player takes offense at this, which I think would be the case, then isn't that a climate of hostility? It is an overtly racial comment. And while it might be a joke, it' s still incorrect.

Just ask Michael Richards.

Later.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Surprised but not shocked

So I stumbled upon this news today. It truly doesn't surprise me. On a certain level, it makes some kind of sick sense. Mike Tyson as a "male escort"? First off, I think that's a pretty misleading term. He's becoming a gigolo. Period. No escorting required. I suppose that particular term came about from attractive women who were hired to go out and accompany men in public (or vice versa), for the sake of having a date. So no, Mikey isn't likely to be going anywhere with these women, except to the room that they pick.

Of course, I could be wrong.

But the thought that keeps coming to mind is that it truly makes perfect sense. Tyson says "
it's every man's dream to please every woman - and get paid for it." Which is more or less perfectly true. So from his angle, what the hell.

And from the perspective of Heidi Fleiss, well... I just wish I could come up with an idea like that. Very good publicity (in the sense of Wilde that "the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about"). And most importantly, I think she's onto something here. She says he'll be her "big stallion". No doubt in my mind that, if he can keep from biting women against their will, he'll be a success. Because deep in their minds, I think this is a fantasy come true for many women.

Why? First off, just for the notoriety: there are women out there that really would like to say they got it from Tyson. He makes an interesting "notch" on the proverbial belt. Share that with their friends at a bachelorette party, and see if anyone can top it. Further, he is, (how to be delicate here?) a large Black man. Many women will expect him to be large everywhere, and will be willing to pay to find out firsthand.

Also, it's still a certain taboo, I think- the delicate woman ravaged by the "big buck ..." (Fill in the blank on the last word. Hint: it starts with an N.) Look online- there's lots of web sites devoted to "interracial sex". Perhaps intended for men, but I don't know for sure. My hunch would be that the suburban soccer moms would be a pretty interesting client base for him. Curiosity, etc. Perhaps also overseas women-Asian for instance, who might have questions about Black Men, and limited opportunities to get answers.

And he's certainly a "Bad Boy". Look, he's a boxer, and in his prime a damn good one. Generally speaking, women aren't into that. It's violent and primal. Yes, there are techniques, strategy, and all that. But those are most apparent to the student of the sport. To someone that hasn't really watched it, it's still just two big strong men beating the snot out of each other, until one is beaten into unconsciousness. A man that has excelled there is a "warrior". And women are hard-wired to be attracted to that.

Not to mention the little thing about being a rapist. Again, it's the dominant, authoritative Bad Boy. Like the old movies where the hero grabs the woman, and kisses her while she resists furiously, until her body takes over and she willingly gives in. Many women- from what I've read (and I don't mean just Penthouse letters) do have submission fantasies- I've even known a couple. To be alone in a room with a man that is big enough, strong enough, wild enough and yes, even violent enough to just ravish you against your will can, in some circumstances, be an insane turn-on for a woman. (Again, just for the sake of clarification, I don't refer to every woman. But I think there are more of them out there than many people realize).

My guess is that there'll be a certain element of clientele that want to play-act an assault by Tyson. Of course, the idea would be to experience the fantasy of assault (or to cut to the chase and be perfectly blunt, rape) by him, in a controlled environment. Much ripping of clothing, protestations of innocence, mild resistance, followed by being taken in an animalistic manner. Don't believe me? Read some women's fantasy books-Harlequins and the like.

Of course, the key is in a "controlled environment". There'll have to be safeguards in effect to ensure that he doesn't get out of control. Even though the women are there for consensual sex, and there's no question that they truly "want it", there's also no question, given his background, that he could get carried away and go for his fantasy rather than hers. It happens. Just ask Kobe Bryant. It'll have to be very clear, and spelled out in advance, exactly what will happen. And then everyone'll hold their breath and hope he doesn't break from the script.

So I dunno. It could make Fleiss and Tyson a pile of money, or it could see Tyson back in prison, with Fleiss forced out of business by lawsuits. Hell, with him,there's no way to even be sure it'll ever happen. From the sounds of it, the "Stud Farm" won't even be open for a while. He could be in prison before then. Or he could just change his mind about the whole thing- especially if he finds himself servicing unattractive 50-something businesswomen.

I guess we'll wait and see. Like I said, it could be huge, it could be a disaster. On the good side, I suppose he'll have to be tested for STD, which is probably a plus.

Later.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Loss of a Legend

Yesterday, the legendary and beloved Bo Schembechler passed away, finally losing to the bad heart that troubled him for so many years. Sigh. Even as an alumnus of Michigan State, I grieve. But through it all, a couple moments of joy seep through. First, the joy of having seen many Michigan football games, albeit almost exclusively on TV. But at least I remember Bo, unlike too many today.

I actually had the chance to meet him once. "Had the chance" indeed. I didn't take it. I was working in a store in Ann Arbor a few years after he retired, and he came in with his wife. I wanted to go over and say something, but I couldn't think of anything. "Hello coach I'm a big fan" seemed too trite. I couldn't come up with a clever pro-MSU comment. "Thank you for it all" would have been the heartfelt thing to say, but how do you explain to a man that coached football- a game you never really played- at your Alma Mater's rival school, that you appreciate him beating your team so often? It would be a simple matter of "thanks for being you." But that just doesn't seem right either.

Silly me. Having read a lot of things about him today, I don't think it would have mattered in the least. Whatever I could have mumbled, he would have been gracious.

In truth, I think that it was of course a fear of imposing, coupled with a fear of making a fool out of myself. I'm very much the type that wears my heart on my sleeve-credit my Mediterranean heritage- and I might not have been able to sustain anything for more than a second before I fell apart. The man represented strength, integrity, honor, hard-work, etc. And for a lesser man, it would be impossible for me to explain my feelings. And for someone like him, it would be hard to understand how he could be such an Icon to a grown man for no real reason.

Other thoughts came to mind today as I read every article I could find online. As my cousin mentioned last night, perhaps like Obi-Wan, he had to give up his life to pass his strength onto his protege Lloyd Carr and the rest of the Wolverine team.

Ohio State and the city of Columbus have a well-deserved reputation for hostility to Wolverines. A few years ago, I was in Ohio on a work project. It was a Friday morning, and I was talking to a customer and mentioned that I would be in Columbus the following week. I mused that, perhaps on the way home for the weekend, I would stop off in Ann Arbor and pick up some Michigan clothes to wear. The person said. "I wouldn't do that." I shrugged and said something about how it would be fun, and no big deal. She stopped, turned to face me, looked square in my eyes, and said "No, I REALLY wouldn't do that."

I took the hint. While in Columbus, I did mention sometimes that was from Michigan, but would also point out that I was an MSU grad, and therefore we kind of agreed on Michigan... Thus proving that we aren't as dumb as Wolverines claim. So I was kinda concerned, given that today's game is the biggest in the 100+ year history of the rivalry, that people in Columbus might be rude and obnoxious. Well, the game is, as I write this, about 3 hours away. Don't know what'll happen in the stadium, but to this point the locals there have been classy, and shown an understanding for Bo as an icon- part of what made the rivalry truly the greatest in college football. So I was smiling through my tears as I read the following statement:

"This is an extraordinary loss for college football," Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel said. "Bo Schembechler touched the lives of many people and made the game of football better in every way. He will always be both a Buckeye and a Wolverine and our thoughts are with all who grieve his loss."

Indeed.

Then there is the OSU favorite, punk band "The Dead Schembechlers". They announced the following on their MySpace page: TONIGHT'S SHOW WILL BE THE FINAL AS THE DEAD SCHEMBECHLERS: The band has announced that tonight's show will be their final under their name. If they do continue as a musical entity in the future, it will be under a changed moniker. They have also announced that all of their profits from tonight, along with those of Watershed and B.A. Baracus, will be donated to a charity of the Schembechler family's choosing

And also this post:

BO SCHEMBECHLER: OSU'S MOST VALIANT FOE

The band is crushed to learn of the death of Bo Schembechler. We named this band after Coach Schembechler to honor him as the face of Wolverine football. We have never wished ill will upon him in any way and have always wished him the best. When we learned that Bo had seen our web site and was amused by it we were delighted. We were simply delighted. He said to those with him as he read it, "See, I still matter in Columbus!" That may have been the greatest understatement in football history. We believe that he took the band's name as the compliment that it was meant as and that he was flattered by it. We wish to extend our deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to his family. We are truly sorry for their loss


There is hope yet for the world. Here's a nice article about Columbus yesterday, when the news broke. Again, kudos to the Dead Schembechlers, for requesting a "God bless Bo' sign be hung up Friday at their concert site.


One final thought: I read an article in the U of M newspaper, about reaction on the campus. It ended with a mention of a comment someone wrote on a board outside of Schembechler Hall: 'Let's win this one for Bo." All I could think was that the writer, while meaning well, doesn't understand the Essence of Bo: don't win the game for him or anyone else. Win the game for yourself, and for the school you represent: The University of Michigan. For Coach Schembechler, that's what matters.

Later.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Reaping the Whirlwind

So the democrats won the election. Great. People were fed up with Iraq, since the media made sure we all know what a disaster it is. Of course, the people actually on the ground there don't seem to feel the war has been a disaster of that magnitude, but hey- would the media lie about something like that?

(Eye roll and disgusted retching sound).

So now Pelosi et al will have their chance. I'm betting I know their plan: embarass Bush, and attack him at every turn. That way, after all, they'll remind us of his failures and thus win everything in 2008. Which I find scary on many levels...

By way of introduction, I have degrees in History and Political Science, and served many years in the Army. While I don't claim to be the ultimate expert, I do know a bit about war and politics, from an intellectual angle at least. So here's what I see coming down the road...

One of my favorite books is The Causes of War, by Geoffrey Blainey. Essentially, his central theme is that war is a decision made by rational people, based on a cost/benefit analysis. Both sides have to believe that the potential payoff to a victory is enough to offset the risk of defeat. After all, if you win big, you get all the marbles. If you lose big, then you're screwed. Furthermore, both sides have to believe the risks of conflict offset the benefits of inactivity. But of course both sides have the option of backing off, and giving the other side whatever is needed to avoid conflict. So they have to believe that the cost of capitulation is greater than the cost of defeat, even though in absolute terms it's likely less.

Put more simplistically, if giving the other country "A" will avoid a war, then the leaders of Nation 1 can either concede "A" to Nation 2, or they can fight, which brings up the risk of defeat; and the loss of not only "A", but potentially also"B", and "C"- and perhaps even their own national identity. So if Nation 1 chooses the "war option", then they must feel that giving up "A" without a fight is a worse choice than losing a war. Conversely, Nation 2 must feel that getting "A" is worth risking the loss of "Z", "Y", and "X".

Follow me? Good.

Now here's the other thing: how does a war happen? Well, Blainey mentions a number of requirements- there must be contention between the countries- whatever the conflict is about; there must be Propinquity- the ability to reach one another. (For instance, Finland and Zaire are unlikely to go to war. They have no grounds for dispute between them, and neither country has the ability to reach the other with enough military power to force a resolution. ( "Power projection" is the technical term.) The other main requirement is that the two sides must disagree about their relative strength. Nation 1 must believe they are stronger, and thus able to defeat Nation 2, while the latter believes they are stronger and thus certain to win. (There are other "requirements" but for my purposes here these are the most relevant ones).

This is fairly intuitive: if someone picks a fight, you'll wisely walk away if you doubt your ability to win, but if the aggressor is the proverbial 98 pound weakling and you are Mike Tyson, then you stomp him and move on.

Okay, so now our two hypothetical nations are at war. Eventually, the war will end. How and why? Well, there are three options. First, there's a political change in one nation, secondly, the two sides conclude that the war is costing too much blood and treasure, with no return on the "investment" (think the Korean War). Finally, one side is defeated so decisively that they realize they are, in fact, far weaker than the other, with no chance of victory.

The best example of this is WWII. In 1941, Hitler and his generals felt that they could defeat the Soviet Union and made the choice to invade. Stalin on the other hand, felt that he could defeat Hitler, and made the decision to resist, rather than surrender. Both sides felt they could win. By May of 1945, it was obvious which side was right. Hitler realized that, for whatever reason, he had been defeated. He committed suicide, given the (only) alternative was capture and execution. His successor immediately surrendered.

Japan and the US was another example. Once we dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Emperor of Japan forced the government to make peace. By that point, Japan's cities were being bombed into rubble, their navy was essentially non-existent, and the only option was to try and inflict massive casualties on the Americans, which would be more than offset by the horrible losses likely for the people of Japan. The Japanese were finally convinced that in fact they couldn't win.

In Vietnam, on the other hand, the US became convinced that (from a political standpoint) there was no hope of victory, and essentially gave up.

Again, this is all being explained in a simplistic manner. There are other issues, which I'm ignoring for the sake of clarity.

So all of this is background for the point that I'm finally getting to. Here's the big problem hurtling down the road. Iran. With the democrats able to play a more important role than previously, it remains to be seen what they'll do. As stated above, I think they'll attack Bush, since that is in the interests of their own party. However, I think that is a horrific mistake for the US as a whole.

Sadly, for numerous reasons, President Bush is badly wounded. His ability to make and carry out policy has been limited for several months, and now is hurt even more. The democrats have never been bashful about attacking him- remember that the two "idiots emeritus", Clinton and Carter, have attacked Bush constantly. (Note that prior to 2000, no ex-president had ever gone abroad and criticized his successor. It was bad form, but when you have no shame and no ethics, then anything goes.) So our foreign policy will be unsure. The democrats will have no problem, I suspect, undermining Bush for their own perceived gain. The problem will of course, get worse the closer we get to the 2008 election.

So what will happen? Other countries which dislike the US-which is most of them-a fact that no rational person can blame on Bush- will know that they can act without fear of US response. After all, at this point, does anyone believe that Bush could invade Syria, for instance? Even if the military is capable of it, the media and the left would go apes**t. Bush would almost certainly be impeached. (Unless of course Syria openly attacked the US, which they wouldn't do. Goes back to the whole diagreement about who would win.)

But other lesser acts against the US will be ignored. Anything short of open war will be tolerated. And this is the Wind that will be sown. Iran, a country which is openly hostile to the US, will push even harder than they have been. At this point, they believe that they have enough support in the Mideast, among both other states and especially among terrorist groups, that they could offset the overwhelming military strength of the US. And let's face it, Iran has some conventional strength also. They could probably put up a decent fight against a US invasion, if it were to happen. Certainly, they could inflict casualties, which would be their goal. After all, kill 3000 Americans in Iraq, and watch support for the War collapse. They've watched the US in Vietnam, Somalia, Lebanon, and now Iraq. And they've seen the consistent lesson. bin Laden preaches that if you inflict casualties, the US will run away (being a "paper tiger") and no doubt the Mullahs know it also.

And at this point, Iran has as much influence in Iraq as the US, and they didn't need to send in 150,00 troops. If Bush is weakened any further by a Party with a strong "bring home the troops now" wing, then Iran will be able to push even harder, which will cause more problems for the US, and inflict more casualties, thus increasing the demands to withdraw. Make no mistake, either: the Iranian leadership knows this. When they're ready, they'll ramp it up, as they've done before. And once they do, then Bush will have to make concessions of some kind. He'll have no choice. Once he does so, Iran gains a little bit more political strength, since to the rest of the Muslim world, the US will be grovelling before them, looking for handouts. Fear of the US will grow less, and more Muslims will flock to the Iranian banner, hoping to restore the Caliphate.

And let's not forget the whole nuclear issue. Every month that goes by brings them closer to the Bomb. Once they have it, they'll be able to threaten anyone in the Mideast, especially if the US is unwilling or unable to get involved for political reasons. And this is something that I see coming down the road, unless the US stops it. But Bush will lack the ability to stop them politically, leaving only military force. Which the domestic left will not allow...

So then what happens? Well, a more aggressive Iran, confident that they hold a better hand than the US, and have more options all around the region, will become more assertive yet. At some point, the leaders of Iran will decide that they can act without risk, confident that they have "home field advantage" over the US, and can bring chaos to the whole area, should the US try and act.

Guess what? This is the point where Iran will seriously believe that they can defeat the US. And the US will likely disagree. And that will be the last factor needed to cause a war. Sure, it could be a miscalculation by Iran, or on the other hand, it could be that the US miscalculates, being sufficiently weakened that Iran can win (God forbid). Either way, the end result will be a war. And that will likely push the cost of oil through the roof, just for starters.

Other problems will follow. Many of our European "friends" are willing to accomodate almost anything that Iran does, since if they stay out of the fight and make nice, then Iran will be nice to them. So France, Germany, Russia, China, and most of the mideast countries will either be neutral or pro-Iran. So it'll be the US and (hopefully) Britain pretty much alone. And that means a pile of trouble in the UN.

At that point, the US will either have to back down or go all the way. And by all the way, I mean a formal declaration of war, with increased-perhaps total- mobilization. And then the internal politics of the US becomes a major factor. Many on the left will oppose this hypothetical war just because it is (to them) the result of US arrogance. The media will probably concur. We'll unfortunately have to consider the loyalty of our Muslim residents. Some might actively work for Iran within our borders: internal sabotage by US citizens will, for the first time, become a real problem. Also, what about our borders? Will we stop all "Middle Eastern looking" persons from entering the country? Will it matter, or will Iranian agents already be here? Remember also that many non-Mideastern people are converting to Islam, (which is not an accident) both here and in Europe, so will we be able to trust anyone? If we try and limit entry into the US for everyone, what will be the economic and social implications? Will it even matter, given the porous nature of our borders?

Hard questions, and I don't have any answers. All I know is that time is on the side of the Iranians. Barring a catastrophic miscalculation by Iran, the US would go into such a war completely divided. The outcome to this scenario would be at best a stalemate, which would become an Iranian (read Muslim) victory. Which to anyone that has actually studied Islam on even a superficial level, would clearly lead to more aggression against the West. And Europe will undoubtedly then make even more attempts to ingratiate themselves with Iran. And it would get worse and worse. Having sown the wind, the US will then reap the whirlwind...

On the other hand, suppose Iran were to miscalculate, and got caught doing something which was either a " straw that breaks the camel's back", or was clearly an act of war- like, I don't know, attacking an embassy or something. (Frankly, I think it would have to be much worse. Seize an embassy and then slaughter the people inside, for instance). Then they would see how badly they miscalculated: when a country commits that kind of act against a western democracy (as Blainey also explains), then they tend to find that "Hell hath no fury like a democracy". At that point, Iran would have to fight for their life-indeed, the very existence of their nation. Nuclear weapons would be on the table then, and there's no question that the US has more and better ones than Iran. It would be Total War, 21st century style. And nobody wants to see that, I suspect. In this instance, Iran will be the party that sowed the wind. And guess what they'll reap?

Of course, if Iran miscalculated, then there would be a chance for a relatively peaceful solution: perhaps the government would be overthrown by the Iranian people, or some kind of resistance could arise. But I don't think the former is any more likely than someone giving me a brand new Lexus tomorrow.

So what next? I wish I knew. In a few months, I suspect we'll have an idea of what the Democrats have in mind, and also an idea of how Iran is playing their cards. I'm not optimistic about either. I hear the wind picking up, and soon it'll be time to sow. Whatever happens, I think that the US needs to force a resolution, sooner rather than later. Time is on the side of the Iranians. And unfortunately, they know it, far better than Pelosi and her friends.

Later.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Police Protection


On Halloween night, a couple that I know had their house broken into. They were out doing the Halloween thing with the kids, and somebody broke in, stealing a TV and a PS2. I was talking to the guy the following day, and what he said really kinda cheesed me off.

When they got home, they saw that the front door was damaged- the thieves tried to pry it open, but the door held. Fine. When that didn't work, they went around to the back door, smashed the window, and reached in to unlock the door. Once inside, they clearly stayed for a while- not only did they steal the items mentioned, but they also had something to eat.

Okay, so what do you do when that happens? Well you call the police. When the officer showed up, the guy was talking to the cop. He told the officer that he suspected the people across the street were the guilty party. And apparently, one of these jokers was walking down the street, holding his jacket closed, as if he had something hidden underneath. Something about the size of oh, say a PS2. He pointed the guy out to the officer. Who made a note of it. Then he pointed out to the officer that there was a very clear fingerprint on the door handle where the thieves unlocked the door. And also apparently mentioned that it would be a safe bet that there were more prints on the plate that the bad guys used for dinner.

According to what he told me, the cop was supremely uninterested. Apparently, collecting fingerprints "isn't like they show on TV", and it just wouldn't be possible to get any prints.

Well. Even if we assume that to be true (and I don't), wouldn't it make sense to actually try and get prints before concluding that it's impossible? But it would appear that the only task the officer was there for was to get a report, so that the victims can get the insurance money.

Now I am fairly reasonable. I understand that the police have limited manpower, and that investigating a robbery is probably a pretty low priority. But if the victim tells you who did it (and I would add that I and several other people all came to the same conclusion about the neighbors being the likely thieves, without any discussion). It would seem to me that a good way to stop crimes would be to arrest the criminals. It's called "prevention", or if you're a yuppy, "being proactive".

But no, nothing happens. My brother, when I told him this tale, commented that the guy should have asked to speak to a patrol supervisor or someone, since the cop apparently didn't care. However, I suspect that the problem is a bit deeper. I think it's probably just a policy, not to waste time on "unsolvable" crimes, when there are bigger ones out there.

(I would note here that the Feds just came out with a crime report, ranking cities according to their crime rates. My city was about number 275 out of 350- worse tha L.A. or NYC. Makes me feel great).

Another acquaintance told me that he called the police to report a problem near a rental property he owns. They came, but apparently suggested that he only call them to that address in the future "if there's blood. Otherwise, we don't want to hear about it."

As someone put it to me last week, there's a pretty good reason to carry a pistol. But our leftist friends want less police, fewer criminals locked up, and nobody carrying guns. I don't know. Call me crazy, but I want the local criminals to fear my wrath and leave me alone. I've never yet actually had to draw down on someone (and I pray I never will), but if the police are that overwhelmed, then I guess Joe Citizen has to take care of himself. Or herself.

A society of what the loonies would call "Gun-totin-wackos". That's what we need. Thus the name of this blog. (Clever, huh?)

This whole thing bugs me on many levels. Looking at this robbery, it just strikes me that the criminal element has become incredibly brazen. First they try and break in thru the front door, on a night when folks are actually out and about after dark. Then, when they get in the house, they raid the refrigerator. I'm not a psychologist, but to my mind that's sending a message to the victim- we have all the time in the world here, and we can do whatever we want, so deal with it. Probably also some kind of a warning in there, but I don't know.

It just seems to me that the police could have cracked this case in about 2 minutes. If you know that neighborhood at all, it seems pretty obvious that it must have been someone right there. First off, these people have only lived there for a few weeks, but the thieves knew they had kids, and must have seen both parents leave. So they were watching. Further, almost every time I've been over that way there's been someone outside the neighbor's house. I'd guess that it wouldn't be more than 10-15 minutes when someone isn't sitting out on the little deck, and that's during the day. So I would personally figure that someone would be around in the evening, and would presumably be around to scare off any strange people fiddling around the front door. But they weren't, even though I would assume it took a few minutes to try and break thru that door. Finally, I think that the thieves had a lookout. Think about it. If you break into a house, there's always a chance that the residents will come home sooner than you think. So if you sit there and have a bite to eat, you're wasting time. Therefore, someone must have been outside somewhere to keep you from getting surprised. (Also, it would appear that the thieves wandered around the house a bit. Checking it out for other interesting things.)

All of this points to the neighbors. At least in my opinion. But I guess we'll never know, since the police couldn't be bothered to try and solve this case.

Ah well, I guess this is life in the 21st century.

Later.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bingo

Ah, through the magic of the "back" button, I found the email I sent. It might not be the most well thought out, logical, and concise email I've ever written, but it's probably the most heartfelt.

I just wanted to write and tell you what a despicable, slimy, disgusting piece of crap network you have become. Your piece about snipers in Iraq is so beyond the realm of "news", and so far into the realm of enemy propaganda as to leave me literally speechless. I cannot possibly communicate the contempt that I now have for CNN. How do you think this garbage is going to come across to the families of the US service members who have been killed by these snipers? How would you people feel if a member of your family were killed by a sniper, and then a few days later you find that one of the "news" networks is showing a video taken by a sniper there? It is incredibly insensitive. And we haven't even started on the seditious angle. This garbage is purely propaganda used to undermine the War Effort. Regardless of how the employees at CNN feel about the War, there is simply no need for you to shill for terrorists. Perhaps if they want to negotiate with the US, they could stop killing our soldiers, and find a way to make contact. But no, they are using you for their dirty work, and you are either too stupid or too anti-US to see it. In any case, I will never again allow your slimy, hateful network in my house. My only hope is that the next al-Qaeda strike is against your office building, so that you might finally understand the nature of your new-found friends.

I hope that I wasn't too subtle for them.

Later.

Unfriggingbelievable

Have you seen this? CNN has decided to show video of a terrorist sniper team in Iraq gunning down an American soldier. I am absolutely floored. I find this more despicable than words can communicate. Even worse than their actions is the fact that the terrorist group involved gave it to the network because they want to negotiate with the US. And good old CNN thinks this is necessary, and they're doing a Good Thing. God in Heaven, I hope that al Qaeda hits CNN with their next attack. I simply can't believe all of this.

I intended to copy the text of my email to CNN, but I'm so angry that I messed up and copied something else. But I can promise that I used words like "despicable", "disgusting", "henious" and so on. And I also swore never to allow that network in my house. I hope everyone else boycotts them also. This is too, too far over the line.

Later.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

America's Pastime

The Tigers are in the World Series. Amazing. I just finished reading about last night's dramatic win over the A's. What a team, what a year, what a memory.

Being a native Detroiter, I must admit that I haven't paid much attention to the Tigers for oh, about 22 years. Baseball is kinda tough to watch compared to football -even when the team "playing" is the Lions. Believe me, watching the Lions is pretty tough, and if you're an MSU fan, then watching football is sheer torture.

But I think this season has re-awakened something in me.


Three years ago, when the Tigers were historically bad, I remember thinking that I couldn't name more than 2 or 3 players. Yet I could still recall most of the players on the 1968 team that made the dramatic comeback to beat the Cardinals in the Series.

"The ball spun off Tim McCarver's bat..." The first line from "Behind the Mask", by Bill Freehan, recounting the final out of the World Series. (As an aside, I wonder how many people will ask McCarver about that if the Cardinals become the other team...?)

I was 6 years old when Detroit celebrated that World Series win. Just at the age when such an event can become a milestone. And I still can remember it- the family next door had a VW microbus, and they piled their two sons into it, along with several more of us, and drove around the area, horn blowing. And I recall the corner of Plymouth road and Outer Drive being full of cars, with Shriners standing in the middle of the street holding up celebratory banners, waving them as cars drove underneath the signs, horns blowing wildly.

I've long maintained that this is the happiest memory of my childhood. Quite a change from the year before, with the childhood fears that "they" (whomever they were) were coming to riot on the quiet streets of my neighborhood.

After that, there are other memories. Al Kaline, my all-time favorite player retiring. The 1972 playoffs, where Al Campanaris threw his bat at Lerrin Lagrow, after being hit by a pitch. A couple slow years followed, then I remember going outside one summer day, and all my friends talking about the game the night before, and how the Tiger's pitcher kept talking to the ball, patting down the dirt on the mound, and being charmingly eccentric. Thus was born the legend of The Bird, Mark Fidrych.

By the way, here's another question. 1976 was a wonderful year for baseball, just because of the presence of Fidrych. (read the quotes at the bottom of the linked article to see why). Then jump ahead to 1996, which was the first full season after the infamous strike. Baseball had a black eye, and a lot of fans were too angry to come back. I always felt that there should have been a "Year of the Bird" celebration, for Fidrych's 20th anniversary. Let people see clips of him in action, and remember the joy he brought to everyone for that summer. On the other hand, it might have been a bad thing, since trying to make fans overlook greed by reminding them of a player who had a terrific season while earning a whopping $16,500. Ah well. A better time for all of us.

I can still see myself painting the garage with my Dad on a summer day. My friend Luke appeared, and said "The Tigers want Les." Huh? He told me that Les Moss, who was in his first season as the manager of the Tigers, had just been fired. And replaced with Sparky Anderson. I didn't believe him.

Then there was that incredible 1984 season. 35-5 to start. And the memorable slogan "Bless you Boys" that became a cliche in almost no time. I confess that I wasn't as invested emotionally in that season as I could have been. On July 3, I went into the Army. By the time I finished my training, it was the Playoffs. I watched a couple games while home on leave, but that was it. Like I said, I wasn't as invested in it. The World Series was anti-climax. I honestly don't remember much about it, since I was back in Georgia by then. And let's face it, October in Georgia means football.

Actually, I do have one memory of that post-season. I went out to get a pizza at the local Dominos. I was wearing a Tigers cap, and the guy working there informed me, as if it was a newsflash, that the same person owned Dominos and the Tigers. Wow. Like I didn't know it.

In 1986 came a sad tale. I got a letter from my Mom, with an enclosed article about the death of Norm Cash, long-time first baseman. He fell off a dock and drowned. Since the letter was one of her legendary "form letters" to all of us, I still remember the words "if you don't know who he is, you won't care." I knew. I cared. And I even got the original article from her. My sisters got photocopies. Which was not a coincidence.

Jump ahead to 1987. The Boys are seemingly on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs (remember, no such thing as Wild Card teams then). And in the final days of the season, the Tigers and Blue Jays, owners of the two best records in the Majors, clawing towards the Division title that only one of them could win, played 7 games. All were decided by a run. And the Tigers won 4 of them, taking the Pennant on the last day. I can still feel the heat and humidity of the Army Reserve center in Livonia on that day. The weekend was over, but there were still about 10-15 of us sitting in the cramped office area, not wanting to leave while the game was still on. The heat was oppressive, but it didn't matter. Finally, the score 1-0 Tigers in the 9th inning, Frank Tanana got the last Jays batter to tap a little thing partway down the first base line. I remember the newspaper articles talking the next day about the huge grin on Tanana's face as he made the play.

Of course, that year didn't end well. We were beaten by Minnesota in the playoffs, and didn't get the World Series berth we deserved. After all, we were the best team in the Majors that year. In 1987, that mattered more, at least to me. Again, there was no wild card. Toronto had the second best record, and they stayed home. Losing to a team that barely won their division just seemed, I don't know, obscene. Still does. In my mind, the Tigers are still the best team in the 1987 season, the final outcome be damned.

Then came the lost years. The only memory I have between '87 and this year was watching the final game at Tiger Stadium, the place that still represents baseball to my mind. I hadn't even remembered that it was the final game there, until my sister reminded me. I watched the last inning on the TV in my bedroom... the cameras popping, players wearing uniform numbers of Tiger greats... and Rob Fick , wearing the number of Norm Cash, coming up in the bottom of the 8th inning with the bases loaded. And just launching one: over the roof in right field, just as "Stormin' Norman" himself had done several times. I remember thinking that Norm was watching it and smiling. Perhaps he even gave the ball a little push...

Then came the post-game ceremony. Former players coming out for curtain calls, and moving to their position on the field. Trammell and Whitaker coming out -as always in the memories of Tiger fans- together. Ron Leflore in Center Field, an act that would be somewhat embarassing to him, as afterwards he was arrested for non-payment of child support. (As an aside, I just looked him up on Wikipedia. He was informed of the arrest in advance of the ceremony, but was allowed to participate. My normal attitude would be that he was a fool to come back to Michigan with this hanging over his head. In this instance, though, I had a romantic image that he felt it was worth it. Not true. Sigh.)

But the real moment for me came when they announced Willie Horton. A Detroiter through and through, he had been hesitant to come to the event, fearing that it would be too emotional for a kid that used to sneak inside to watch games, and later had such a great career. But he made it, and I'll always remember him jogging out to left field, and fighting an obviously losing battle to control his tears. (The same battle I'm fighting as I type this). Tiger Stadium represented, I think, more to him than anyone. (As another aside, I should mention that he works now for the Team. Some credit him with a major role in their turnaround, as he did a review of the team's minor league system a few years back that told the bosses what they desperately needed to know: the system was in horrible shape, and had very few prospects of any worth. Needless to say, they fixed the problem, and that's why we're here today. Thanks Willie. I love you man. And for more than just that.)


So now we come to 2003, and the 119 loss season. In fairness, I should mention that I remember telling a friend before the season that I thought they'd have a decent year. Nobody expected much, so there was no pressure. And I believed that Allen Trammell would have them prepared. So much for my prognosticating. At the time, since I hadn't been following them, I didn't realize that my team was really a bunch of minor-leaguers playing against major-league teams. Heavy sigh.

And now, we're the American League Champs. What a year. And again, some great stories: Magglio Ordonez promising his son a home run for his 11th birthday. And delivering 2- the last coming in the bottom of the 9th, two outs, 2 men on, the game tied at 3. A blast that was apparent almost from the moment he connected. Magglio Junior will treasure that present forever. As will we all.

A couple more thoughts on this season, knowing there's much more to be written. While all praise goes to Jim Leyland, who deserves it for an amazing management job, I hope that some people will silently toast our old friend Alan Trammell. Let's face it, some of the kids on this team are here because of Tram. And I hope someone within the organisation will make an effort to make the point.

Also, I am here predicting the outcome of the American League MVP race. (after my prediction about the 2003 team, I should be wary, but oh well.) Kenny Rogers. He had a solid season- not great, but good. His first two games in the playoffs however, were great, against the Yankees and the Athletics. But it's even more- he's taught his younger teammates a lot about pitching, which helped the team put together the best team ERA in the Majors. It reminds me a lot of Kirk Gibson in 1988. He didn't have a great year, but he led his team, and put there into the playoffs. And a dramatic performance there made his value to the team clear. So Kenny, here's a nod to you. MVP at 41. Not bad for a guy nobody wanted.

There's a look back at my baseball team. Lots of great memories. I'll never be the guy painted from head to toe, and don't even know when I'll next make it to a Tiger game, but this season has been truly magical. It took me back to a special place in my mind, and I'll always treasure it. And I'll be watching more baseball in the future. Especially over the next few weeks.

Chico Esquela put it best: "Baseball... been berra berra good... to me."

Bless you, boys.

Later.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Reading Recommendation

Don't know if anyone has even read this yet, but if so, then I encourage them to read the best writer on the whole wide internet. The incomparable Mark Steyn. Funny, insightful, and best of all, he cheeses off the liberals world-wide. What more could one want?

Another great bit of reading is the blog Gates of Vienna. Truly insightful writing.

Just thought I'd pass that along.

Later.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A quick update

I see that the charming Anna Nicole and her "confidante" (or lawyer) have tied the knot. And the joker that was previously named as the father of her child is still claiming paternity, even after Howie Stern took the glory. Someone in the great inter-sphere pointed out the other day that apparently in the Bahamas, if a man admits paternity after a child is born, he's assumed to be the father. Convenient, huh? So now the other joker is out in the cold regardless of the truth. Howie gets the credit, the girl, and the baby. Oh, and whatever money she ever gets from her last husband.

Wonder if that little law had anything to do with the move to the beautiful tropics? My guess would be that Howie isn't actually the father. He just found out about the law, and once he and Anna started he-ing and she-ing, they decided to move there. Just to get the real dad out of the legal picture.

What a sleazeball.

Later.

A question about global warming

I don't believe in global warming. Rather, I don't believe that it's our fault. Are temperatures rising? Possibly. Is it just nature doing it's thing? Probably.

There is one big question that I've always had about the whole thing. Temperatures, we're told, are increasing, and (if I recall the factoids correctly) 20 of the 30 warmest years on record are in the past 30 or so years. Probably my facts are not precisely correct, but since the facts used by the Al Gores of the world are in the same boat, screw it. Unlike their arguments, it's not relevant to what I am saying.

So here's the thing. If temperatures now are so much warmer than ever before in recorded history, then riddle me this, Batman: Why isn't there agriculture on Greenland? The Vikings had it. No, they weren't growing rice, tobacco, corn or any of that. But they were able to grow hay and possibly some other basic crops. That's one of the things that allowed their settlement to survive. Now, as far as I can tell, there's nothing growing there. Even with our advanced agricultural knowledge.

Doesn't that seem a little backwards? Shouldn't we be growing things that they couldn't? But if the whole place is covered in ice, then having threshers, tractors, and all that won't matter. Even winter wheat doesn't grow in a foot of ice.

So that right there should shoot the whole global warming thing in the knee, right? If it can be "proven" that temperatures in Greenland were warmer in say, 1000 A.D. than in 2000, then clearly global temperatures aren't the fault of George Bush. NOr, and I hope any Loonies are sitting down for this one, Reagan.

Well, we have records from the Vikings telling us that they had agriculture on Greenland. That would seem to clinch it. They weren't Loonies, wtih something to prove. They were just keeping records of things like births, deaths, and crops. Useful things.

Case closed? It would seem that this presents a hell of an obstacle at least. My guess is that this is why our Loony friends never discuss Greenland and the Vikings. Try it some time. You can hear the proverbial crickets chirping if you ask about it.

Here's another little point. The Vikings (I guess I should say "Scandinavians", in the interest of semantics) were pretty literal people, when it came to names. Norway would seem to be an abbreviation of "North Way". Finland translates as "Land of the Finns". (Guess who lives there? Why Finns!). Russia originally was "Russ-land". Guess who lives there? The "Russ" or.... Russians. Wow. Clever, huh? Care to take a stab at what they found in Iceland? What did Leif Eriksson name the place he discovered in North America? "Vinland". Rumor says it had to do with all the grape vines he found. No focus groups testing to see what name presented a better image to sailors or settlers. Nope, he called it as he saw it. And by the way, Greenland was discovered by Leif's father. Care to guess what Dad's name was? (Clue above). And the old boy was called Erik the Red. Hmmmm. Suppose he had black hair?

So here's the point: if they named things as they saw them, then why call an oversized iceberg "Greenland"? Was it the old "bait and switch"? Were they trying to get folks to move there rather than the yet-undiscovered Vinland? No, I think they called it that because... well, the land was kinda greenish when Erik spotted it. Like maybe covered in, oh I don't know, plants or something.

Try this fun little trick on your Loony friends. Ask how the Vikings had agriculture on Greenland when, even after 50 years of global warming, we still can't grow anything there. And ask why they called it "Greenland" rather than Snowland". Bet the answer leaves a little something to be desired.

Later.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ethics for Dummies

This morning when I first sat down at the ol' computer, one of the first things I saw was the big news that Howard K. Stern (the lawyer) revealed that he's the father of Anna Nicole Smith's new baby.

Leave aside for the moment that this is huge news, bigger than, like, Pearl Harbor, September 11th, or the fact that Clinton did not have sex with that woman. I don't care all that much. I think that when she's down to her "fighting weight" ANS is fairly hot- at least from the neck down. Also leave aside that she, along with Jenny McCarthy, is a charter member of the "Way hotter when they kept their clothes off and their mouths shut" club. This latest news bugs me.

I'm not a lawyer. Don't have much interest in becoming one either. But I'm thinking that at some point in the 3 years of law school-probably 8:10 a.m. on the first day- the professor mentions something along the lines of "Oh, and by the way. Don't sleep with your clients. It comes across as slightly unethical."

I'm also guessing it comes up again at least one more time before graduation. And maybe even on the licensing test....(I know there's a real term for the test, but damned if I can think of it)?

So at what point did he decide to screw the ethics and the client both? Is this guy even a decent lawyer? I don't know anything about him, but I'm guessing his fame comes from A) Anna Nicole Smith and B) Being named Howard Stern.

(Sorry. I mean Howard K. Stern. Sorry for mixing up slime-balls.)

All of which makes me wonder if their move to The Bahamas is everything it's claimed to be. Privacy? For ANS? This woman is only slightly more bashful than Paris Whoreton. I'm not making a big theory of this, but if I were a lawyer (especially one fighting an ex-stripper on behalf of her ex step-son), and I heard even a whisper that the lawyer on the other side was banging his client, you can bet that I'd mention it to someone from the Ethics Board.

So what's the deal now? Will anyone else come to this conclusion? Does anyone out there care? Do I care enough to mention them ever again? Not really.

Unless of course it turns out that I'm right. Then I'll crow at the top of my lungs.

Cuz that's the kinda guy I am.

Later.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Shame, Shame, Shame

I've just been reading where our old friend, Pete Rose (aka Charlie Hustle- is that a fitting name, or what?) has been at it again. This time, he's hawking autographed balls that say "Sorry I bet on baseball". They're even personalized! How awesome!

Oh, but wait. He apparently only signed 300 of them, and never thought they'd be sold. Yeah right. I suppose he thinks everyone in the world is stupid, except him. What hubris.

So this got me thinking about an old topic. What is the right way to deal with people who are so slimy and contemptible that it staggers the mind? People like, oh say, the Clintons? Those who think, "well some people might think this is wrong, but what do they know? I like it, so I'll just do it. Nobody will care."

I have a theory. One that I came up with years ago, just for the above-mentioned family of crap-balls. There should be an amendment to the Constitution just to allow us to deal with them. And it should say something to the effect of "Given that some people are so slimy and so worthy of contempt from every reasonable human being, it is therefore permitted for ordinary people, when passing them on the street, to bitch-slap them senseless. Further, since the above mentioned punishment is too precise, let it be understood that bitch-slapping is only a suggestion. Kicking them in their deformed little willys is also allowed, and any other form of abuse the average citizen wishes to subject them to."

Just a nice little reminder to these crap-balls that there are some things too despicable for society.

And here's a little thought about it: How many of the Looney Leftists would take this opportunity if it were offered to them? I bet more leftists that conservatives. After all, they favor violence against police, attacking politically incorrect people and speech, and advocate arson against businesses that they think are harmful to the environment.

Not terribly likely, I concede. But a boy can dream, no?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Gas Pains?

Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that we were cautioned about the imminent climb of gas prices? I remember hearing about the problems with a pipeline in Alaska, and hearing rumors of skyrocketing prices. I made sure to stop and top off my tank, at $3.12 a gallon, in the hopes of saving a few bucks. Within a couple days, the price had gone down a few cents. As of today, it's as low as $2.17 around here, with the average being a few cents more. What the hell happened? Now they talk about it possibly going below 2 bucks. Not complaining, but wow.

The big issue that comes to mind though, is the lack of complaint from the Loony Left. Not necessarily about lower prices (though that could be an issue with these clowns, since low price=higher consumption. Another example of why I hate liberals- but I digress).

Think about it: there's an election in just over 6 weeks, and the Loonies haven't (to my knowledge) said Word One about Bush manipulating prices for the election. I mean, we all know that Bush controls everything, and especially oil prices (after all, he does everything to help his oil baron friends, right?), so why aren't our Loony friends accusing him of this already? Maybe they're just waiting for the election to get closer, so that Bush will have less time to respond- think of the infamous DUI leak in.... crap, I can't recall which of his (stolen) elections that one came up in.

Anyhow, I guess in the next few weeks, if the price of gas keeps dropping, the Loonies will come out, and launch into yet another conspiracy theory of how the Stupidest Man in History is controlling everything, while putting up a front of incompetence and corruption.

And most likely, The Unenlightened People That Don't Understand will then go out and vote for the conservatives again, thus throwing the MSM into fits of rage.

I can't wait!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Islam: The ultimate Cult

I just read The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) by Robert Spencer. Fascinating read. A couple thoughts came to my mind as I read. The first is that Islam is, unlike every other "great" religion I know of, a very sensual (or sensuous) system. Christianity, for instance, paints a picture of the Afterlife as being completely spiritual: at most, it promises the chance to hear unending harp music. Buddhism views life after death as being either rebirth or, if you achieve Enlightenment, an end to desire and all earthly struggles.

Islam, on the other hand, makes Paradise a completely materialistic place. Unending fountains of water, milk, honey, and wine flow. Now some have pointed out that to a desert-dweller, that is Paradise. Fair enough, I guess. But according to the Koran, if you get there the correct way (i.e. killing infidels), then you also get a harem of virginal women (if Spencer has it correct, you can "opt out" of this part, and get a bunch of handsome young men instead. In the words of a famous Jew, "not that there's anything wrong with that".) This is a concept that's a little tougher to handle. Not very spiritual, but very materialistic. And this is the centerpiece of a religion- "Kill your neighbors and get all the women you want"? Sorry, but while I don't adhere to any religion, I don't buy this tenet.

The other problem is that Mohammed sometimes seems to receive revelations from Allah that are awfully convenient for him. For instance, he might announce in one spot that he received a "thou shalt not" law regarding a certain matter. Fair enough. But then at a later date, he might suddenly inform his followers of a new revelation- one which reinforces the first, but also makes a noticeable exception- for the Prophet himself. And only for the Prophet. Great way to lead your people, huh? This is expressly forbidden by God, except for me. So bring me your daughter so I can take advantage of this new Perk, which was just given to me.

Also, I think it's convenient for Mohammed to start it all off by announcing that there won't be anyone to ever come along and contradict him. Again, I invoke the "That's awfully convenient" clause. Not only does it make him (literally) the Last Word, but it has the other effect of ensuring that Islam will never rise out of it's medieval dogma.

So once upon a time, a new religion was born. A charismatic leader comes out, and builds upon the writings of his predecessors, but adds new twists. These new twists promise his followers earthly riches, and eternal pleasure. But they have to give blind and complete obedience to a leader that is not bound by the same rules, and who they are expected to share their Goods with. All I can say is that Jim Bakker and Jim Jones had the wrong "role model". Christianity was the wrong venue for them. Had they built their churches on an Islamic foundation, they'd likely still be in business. Unless of course they were killed by a peaceful, tolerant Muslim.

Not that there's any chance of that happening, right?