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Nominal Me

I'm falling in love with my camera and taking photos everywhere I go. That, combined with my passions for politics, sports, religion and other things we all agree on, makes this blog persist.

My Photo
Location: Astoria, New York, United States

I'm born in Manhattan and raised in Queens.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Monday Morning Musings (1/31/05)

My Mom (pictured) and I met Hall of Fame former Buffalo Bills head coach Marv Levy Tuesday when he did a book signing at New York's McFadden's. Thanks to the Buffalo Bills Backers of NYC for setting it up.

Here's the future of America.

Miss Piggy, exposed!
(Warning, puppet nudity).

Here's a great way to use a Super Soaker!

Basement Cross says the U.S. has created Salvadorian-style death squads in Iraq. What are the consequences?

Young Pundits has a list of blogs you should be reading (snif snif, I'm not one of them).

In his Bitter Daze blog, Dr. Strangejazz reviews the Oscar nominations, and then talks about who got screwed.

Is this the Truth About Abortion?

Is Bush the Anti-Christ?

There is a real Dr. Doom out there. If that's the case, where is Mr. Fantastic?

Janet from the Art of Getting By is having a contest on who can guess what she looks like. It's very entertaining. I for one, have guessed Nicole Kidman, Carrie Fisher, and Heather Locklear. I'm really hoping she looks like one of my childhood crushes. After all, that's what the Internet is for. She could at least lie about it.

Why do Christians buy this junk?

Rodney Dangerfield still gets no respect.

Other Monday Morning Musings

Friday, January 28, 2005

NFL Tragedy #5: The Colts Leave Baltimore

We are continuing our top ten NFL tragic moments. Numbers seven through ten are here, and number six is here. Enjoy...and try to forget.

On March 29, 1984, in the middle of the night, the Baltimore Colts left town to go to Indianapolis.

Unhappy over playing facilities in Baltimore and tempted by an offer of a new 61,000-seat indoor stadium in Indiana, team owner Robert Irsay suddenly moved the Colts to Indianapolis.

What was worse, however, is that the move came without warning. Moving vans came in late one night to take records and equipment out of team headquarters, and the team was out of town before most the city was aware of it.

It was one of the biggest dumps a team could take on a town ever. Most teams at least give some notice.

But not Irsay and the Colts.

More sports.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

NFL Tragedy #6: You Missed THIS Field Goal?

Continuing our "NFL's top ten tragic moments, we go to #6, the Minnesota Vikings choking in the NFC title game.

NFL Tragedy #6: You Missed THIS Field Goal?

Minnesota Vikings placekicker Gary Anderson had not missed a single field goal attempt all season long.

It was January 17, 1998, and the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings were ahead of the Atlanta Falcons 27-20 in the NFC title game with just over two minutes remaining. A 30 yard field goal, in a dome, would seal the NFC championship for the team, and send the first black coach (Denny Green) / black quarterback (Randall Cunningham) duo in NFL history to go to a Super Bowl.

With offensive stars like Cunningham, Randy Moss, and Cris Carter, the Vikings were an offensive powerhouse all season long. In this game, they built up a 20-7 lead late in the second quarter, yet could not get it done in the second half.

But it didn't matter, because Anderson was perfect. All they needed as another field goal.

Anderson missed it.

The Falcons, led by journeyman quarterback Chris Chandler and running back Jamal Anderson, marched down the field and scored to fie the game at 27-27.

Minnesota won the overtime toss but in two possessions it went one first down and out. Appearing more unsettled as the game went on, Cunningham was a mere two for seven for 23 yards in overtime. In overtime, Falcons kicker Morten Andersen won the game with a field goal.

The fans were in shock.

The Vikings have not been to an NFC title game since, and have never won an NFL title.

More sports.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

What We Take For Granted


It seems like such a simple thing, yet elsewhere it proves to be a life or death matter.

A commute.

New Yorkers are up in arms when subways lines break down, with good reason, yet they do not have to worry about the daily threat of car bombs.

Electricity, food, safety, are all more things that are in abundance in our daily lives that we just don't need to worry about them. We are wealthy by any standard. One just needs to read the news every day to see that.

Yet are we happy?

If not now, under these circumstances, then what will make us so?

Less than 1% of our nation now serves in the military. I didn't. That means the vast majority of our nation has no part in protecting our wealth and security. Memorial Day and Veterans Day are times to cook burgers and go shopping.

We are given things on a silver platter.

Yet many of us are stressed out.

It makes me wonder why we take so much for granted.

Other stories on Religion, Science, and Philosophy

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

A Legend Lost

I was sad to hear that Johnny Carson passed away this weekend.

When Carson became the host of NBC's The Tonight Show on October 2, 1962, television changed for the better. MSNBC even goes as far to say as TV died the day he left NBC.

I will fondly remember when Julio Iglesias was a guest star, and was convinced to sing his hit duet song "To All The Girls I've Loved Before". Out with a silly wig on to play the part of Willie Nelson was Johnny Carson. It was one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

For a very long time, he was the king of late night television. America watched. America laughed. America now misses him.

Other Retro Moments

Links of interest:

Johnny Carson, E! Online

BBC: Johnny Carson dies

IMDb: Johnny Carson

CNN on Johnny Carson's death

NPR on Carson's death

USA Today on Johnny Carson

Another tribute.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Monday Morning Musings (1/24/05)

After four years of trying, the Philadelphia Eagles are the NFC Champions. They will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Here's the future of America.

Check out the Teen Girl Squad.

One blogger notes: Oh God, he's on Bush's side.

Another says: Liberals love America like OJ loved Nicole...ouch.

Some jobs just suck.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Retro Moment: Hulkamania

On January 23, 1984, Hulkamania was born in Madison Square Garden.

I was there to see it.

The dreaded Iron Sheik, who would do nasty things like wave the Iranian flag and pray to Allah during matches, was the World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Champion. He had defeated and injured all-American white boy Bob Backlund the month prior, knocking him out of the hunt for the title.

Hogan, fresh off appearing in Rocky III, was deemed the #1 contender. Apparently, if you have a minor part in a major motion picture, it makes you the next in line for a title shot in wrestling.

The Sheik, managed by Classy Freddie Blassie, entered the ring first to a loud chorus of boos, save for an entire section of ethnic Iranians who had taken over a portion of the upper decks of MSG.

When that was over, Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" began playing, and Madison Square Garden exploded.

In just about twenty minutes, Hogan would give the Sheik the dreaded leg drop of doom, and Hulkamania was borm.

Whacha gonna do?

More Retro Moments.

Links of Interest:
Hogan beats the Sheik in pictures

It's TJ's birthday too. TJmania is running wild.

Friday, January 21, 2005

The NFL's Top 10 Tragic Moments (7-10)

Football can give you memorable moments, but not all of them are good. Fans can recall the thrill of victory for at least a year, but they remember the agony of defeat all their lives.

This is the start of the top ten most tragic moments in NFL history, from a particular fan's point of view. As the Super Bowl approaches, we will give you more of these moments.

Enjoy, and try to forget.

10. Doug Brien, Wide Left.

I have to hand it to the "New York" Jets, they know how to lose. As I noted recently, the Jets would blow a golden opportunity to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last week...they couldn't score.

But an anemic offense would force the Jets to trot out troubled placekicker Doug Brien twice near the end of the game, with him missing both kicks. Brien's first kick, a 47 yard attempt, would clang against the goalpost and bounce off.

Had the Jets just gained one more yard, it would have been good.

In overtime, the Steelers would march down the field and kick a winning field goal, proving that JETS stand for "just end the season".

9. The Homerun Throwback.

It was January 8, 2000. The Rob Johnson era in Buffalo had started. He was about to become a Buffalo legend. Johnson would lead the Bills on an inspiring, go-ahead field goal drive that would advance the Bills to the divisional round of the playoffs with a 16-15 lead.

All they had to do was kick it off and kill the remaining 16 seconds off the clock. Steve Christie, the Buffalo kicker, high kicked it to the center of the field, straight to fullback Lorenzo Neal, who then hands it off to tight end Frank Wycheck.

Thus began the "homerun throwback" trick play. The Bills' coverage team converged on Wycheck, thinking he would just run up the gut as far as he could. The right side of Buffalo's coverage team left their lanes, and Wycheck threw a 30-yard "sideways lateral" -- Bills fans know it was an illegal forward pass -- out to wide receiver Kevin Dyson.

Dyson would run untouched for 75 yards and the winning touchdown with three seconds remaining.

I am a huge Bills fan, and I've had nightmares about this play. The truth is, however, I didn't see the whole play live. I was watching the game at Brother Jimmy's Bait Shack, along with about 300 other Bills fans, and we thought the game was over. So while a waitress was on the bar dancing and giving us shots, Dyson ran down the sideline.

I drank my shot, and looked at the TV and wondered why the Titans were celebrating. I was dazed and confused.

I still am about that play.

8. Mark Gastineau's Roughing the Passer Penalty

In 1987, the Jets benched starting quarterback Kenny O'Brien in favor of longtime backup Pat Ryan. With Ryan at center, the Jets would win a wild card game, setting up a divisional game against the Cleveland Browns on January 3, 1987.

The Jets appeared to be on the way to the AFC Championship game with a 20-10 lead with 4:14 left in the game. Yet on a second-and-24 play from the Browns' 18, Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau was penalized for roughing the passer on Bernie Kosar's incompletion, giving the Browns a first down at their 33. It was Gastineau's second roughing the passer penalty that game. Cleveland went on to score a touchdown with 1:57 left, kick a tying field goal with seven seconds left.

The Jets, would receive another chance in OT when Mark Moseley missed a 23-yard FG, but his 27-yard FG, 2:02 into the 2nd OT sent the Browns to the AFC championship game. It was an amazing way to lose.

7. The Drive

On January 11, 1987, the Browns had just pulled ahead of the Broncos and looked like they would make it to their first Super Bowl. Bernie Kosar had just tossed a 48-yard TD pass to Brian Brennan to put the Browns ahead of the Broncos, 20-13, with 5:43 left in the game.

Some quarterback named John Elway, who really hadn't done much in the game, was given the ball on the Broncos two yard line. If the Browns could stop him, they would go to the Super Bowl.

Elway engineered a 98-yard game-tying drive after passing and scrambling the Broncos down to the Browns' 14-yard line. After a nine-yard run by Elway moved the ball to the five, on third-and-one he completed a touchdown to Mark Jackson with 37 seconds left. Rich Karlis' extra point tied the game.

The game went into OT. The Broncos stopped the Browns on the first possession, took over, and Karlis kicked a 33-yard field goal for the win.

The very words "the drive" can give a person in Cleveland flashbacks. It's not pretty.

Next week, I'll give to you more moments from my top 10 list. Have a great weekend!

More sports.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Retro Moment: Wag The Dog

Today is inauguration day, so I wanted to go with something political, but not political. Thus, today's Retro Moment is on one of my favorite movies, 1997's brilliant comedy, Wag The Dog.

In the movie, the president, just days before an election, is caught in a very scandalous situation, and it doesn't seem like he will be re-elected. A mysterious advisor, Conrad Brean (played by Robert DeNiro) is brought in to get him out of his predicament. What's a president to do to get re-elected?

Start a war.

There's no time to start a real war though, so Brean contacts a top Hollywood producer (played by Dustin Hoffman) in order to manufacture a war in Albania.

In this war, the president can heroically end just in time for the vote. It's a war created, conducted, and ended through mass media.

The movie has some incredibly witty dialogue; it has stuff that rang true to conservatives then and to liberals now, like:

Stanley Motss: The President will be a hero. He brought peace.
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: But there was never a war.
Stanley Motss: All the greater accomplishment.


Stanley Motss: Why Albania?
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: Why not?
Stanley Motss: What have they done to us?
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: What have they done FOR us? What do you know about them?
Stanley Motss: Nothing.
Conrad 'Connie' Brean: See? They keep to themselves. Shifty. Untrustable.

The brilliance of the movie is that while being anti-war and anti-mass media, it is neither blatantly liberal or conservative. That's almost an impossible thing to do when the subject is politics.

It's satire at its best.

The movie was so true-to-life that then president Bill Clinton was accused of "Wagging The Dog" while bombing Iraq and Bosnia, all during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Watching the movie now, you can see the reality of mass media whipping a nation into war, regardless of your view of it. But even if you don't care about politics or war, it's still a funny movie to see.

There are also some quotes from this movie that I use in everyday, odd situations, like:

"There are two things I know to be true. There's no difference between good flan and bad flan, and there is no war."

...which I use in various way, interchanging the second part of the statement with whatever I'm dealing with at the time, and...

"A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

...which is a great philosophy of getting things done.

The movie had a great cast. Then-lesbian-but-still-hot Anne Heche played a very believable advisor to the president.

This movie may have been the height of her career, which is unfortunate, as she showed some real acting talent here.

The movie also featured Willie Nelson, playing a near-brain-dead musician (hmmmm, maybe that wasn't acting).

The movie is funny, silly, and serious, all at the same time. It's a very rare combination that is truly intelligent entertainment.

There's really only one big problem with the movie: it's implausible. An American president would never lie about a war to hide scandals and get re-elected.

Not in our country.

Happy inauguration day!

Links of Interest:

Other Retro Moments

The Official Wag The Dog Page

IMDB Wag The Dog Page

Wag The Dog Photo Page


The Airing of Grievances

Power Line

Jib Jab

The Moderate Voice

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Random Quotes 5

"Fight on, my men," says Sir Andrew Barton,
"I am hurt, but I am not slain;
I'll lay me down and bleed a while,
And then I'll rise and fight again.
-- From the Ballad of Sir Andrew Barton

"It's OK when someone knocks you down, it's bad when you get used to being down there."
-- Al Sharpton

"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."
-- Philippians 4:5-6

"A monarch of the East once asked his wise men to tell him one precept which always would be true. The wise men conferred, then answered: 'This too shall pass.'"
-- Abraham Lincoln

"We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are."
-- Max DePree

"They said to another, behold, here cometh the dreamer... Let us slay him... And we shall see what will become of his dreams."
-- A plaque near the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot

More Random Quotes

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Q&A With Mike Dukakis

Former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mike Dukakis is the participant in our latest Q&A.

Do you have any advice for John Kerry, post-election?

I am the last guy to give anybody advice about how to win the presidency. But I thought John Kerry ran a solid campaign and was a darn good candidate. He certainly showed his stuff during the debates and on the campaign trail, and, frankly, I and a lot of other people thought he was going to win. We Democrats, however, failed to do one very important thing, and it cost us dearly. We really didn't run the kind of fifty-state, all precinct, grassroots campaign that we must run if we are going to win these elections. There are l60,000 precincts in this country. Every one of them must have a precinct and block captains who systematically make contact with their voters on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately, we didn't do it.

Do you miss politics?

Once you are in politics, you never get out. Although I teach fulltime at Northeastern and UCLA, my life continues to be full of politics. I don't do a lot of press conferences these days, but I am very much involved in a variety of ways.

What was your most cherished memory of the campaign trail?

My nominating speech at the convention with my Greek immigrant mother in the audience. It was a very special moment. Unfortunately, I peaked in Atlanta!

What do you say to young people who are interested in the political process?

One of the reasons I teach and do a lot of speaking on college campuses these days is because I want to do everything I can to encourage and inspire young people to get involved in politics and public service. Fortunately, we have a lot of them who want to be involved, and some encouragement from those of us who have been fortunate enough to have that opportunity goes a long way.

What are you doing in your free time these days?

I don't have any more free time today than I had when I was governor. But Kitty and I have three wonderful children and five-- soon to be six-- grandchildren, and what free time we do have is spent with them.

Here's a look at Mike Dukakis today.

I'd like to thank Governor Dukakis for his time in responding to my questions.

Other Nominal Me Q&A's

Links of Interest:

Mike Dukakis from Wikipedia

About's Recent Interview with Dukakis

Another Mike Dukakis bio


Eschaton's post on health care reform shows that the issues of 1988 aren't that different from the ones we have now.

The Moderate Voice's Around the 'Sphere

Monday, January 17, 2005

Monday Morning Musings (1/17/05)

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Some states have/will observe Robert E. Lee day (and I'm not kidding, get your Robert E. Lee Day electronic greeting card here).

Here's the future of America.

I know the future of America is funny, but check out the current rest of the world. The current of America isn't that great either.

Moulin Huge!

If you think you want to propose to your girlfriend in front of 20,000 people, take a look at this.

There will be a black starting quarterback in the Super Bowl this year, but forget all that stuff about a black coach. Both Tony Dungy's Colts and Herman Edwards' Jets lost this weekend. The Eagles will advance to play the Falcons in what should be a great NFC championship game.

I know guys who did this as kids.

Good morning

Other Monday Morning Musings.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Jets Need A New Quarterback

Before you blame Doug Brien for the "New York" Jets 20-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday, you should take a hard look at what Jets QB Chad Pennington did and didn't do in that game.

Pennington's 21 for 33, 182 yard and one interception game does not fully show the horrible performance he had today. When the Jets needed him to step it up, he either threw a duck into double coverage or grossly missed open receivers.

The play of the game that doomed the Jets was not Doug Brien's 47 yard attempt of what would have been the winning field goal just under two minutes, but the play right before it.

On a 3rd and three play, Pennington dropped back and threw to a wide open Wayne Chrebet, who was running a crossing route just ahead of the first down marker. Pennington threw is behind his receiver, making the catch impossible, and the ball hit the ground for a fourth down. A first down would have kept the drive alive, a catch would have made it a shorter field goal.

Instead, Brien went out to attempt a 47 yard field goal, missing it by inches.

Throughout the game, Pennington would throw short and behind his receivers all day. This was not the strategy of a bad offensive coordinator failing, it was bad execution by the Jets. They should not have had to rely on Brien's 47 or 43 yard attempts to win the game. The Steelers offense had three turnovers that the Jets could not capitalize on.

The bottom line is, the Jets offense only scored three points. Pennington just can't get the job done. It's time to look elsewhere.

Many Jets fans might not agree, but the proof is in his lack of execution.

That being said, it's safe to say Doug Brien will not be a Jet next year. I wouldn't be surprised if they cut him while he's checking his bags at the Pittsburgh airport.

I have to give credit to Jersey's finest...the Jets just don't lose, they lose in a fashion that can be remembered twenty years later. Perhaps it's the ghost of Jimmy Hoffa, or its their insult to New York by putting an "NY" on their helmet, or the fact that Joe Namath sold his soul to the devil to win Super Bowl III, but the Jets just keep finding awful ways to lose big games.

Two missed field goals? Damn. Even Scott Norwood would have made it if given a second chance.

I wonder if the Jets ever actually won anything, if Jets fans would know what to do.

On January 12, 1906, pro football legalized the forward pass. No one seems to have told the Atlanta Falcons.

The Falcons 47-17 beating of the St. Louis Rams was a throwback to turn-of-the-last-century throwback football. The Falcons ran for 327 yards on 40 attempts, only bothering to throw the ball 17 times.

The fact that Vick doesn't know how to read a defense did not stop his team from making it to the NFC title game. The Falcons just kept pounding the Rams with the run, and Warrick Dunn had a masterful 142 yard day.

I think they should change the name of Vick's position. He's not a quarterback, as those guys throw the ball for a living. He's not a halfback or a fullback either, as no one hands the ball off to him. Maybe we should just call what he does the vickback position, where's there's little expectation of forward passes during the game, and the guy gets the ball at the snap.

If we called his position the vickback, or VB, then Michael Vick would be praised for being the athlete that he is without having to worry about learning how to read defense and throw good passes. He doesn't do a good job of it, as he's no Chad Pennington, but you can't deny he is a big part in the Falcons winning.

As I noted in my previous post, the Falcons winning has insured that a black quarterback will start for the NFC in the Super Bowl this year. Times are changing.

With all of the attention that Vick gets though, you cannot deny how much of a force Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett are. Atlanta's kick returner Allen Rossum also blew me away.

They just powered through the Rams today. As FOX announcer Darryl Jackson put it at the start of the fourth quarter, "if this was a fight, it would have been stopped."

Amazing team performance by the Falcons. Truly amazing. I'd say they are the team to beat in the NFC.

Recently, Rams head coach Mike Martz said that Marc Bulger is a better quarterback than Kurt Warner ever was. I wonder if he still feels that way.

Kurt Warner took his team to two Super Bowls. Bulger has won one playoff game.

I'd take Kurt in his prime any day.

Other Sports.

Friday, January 14, 2005

History In The Making?

As Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend approaches, NFL history is close to being made.

With Tony Dungy of the Colts and Herman Edwards of the "New York" Jets leading teams to the divisional round of the AFC this weekend, there is a 50% chance that an African-American will head coach for a Super Bowl team this year.

With the Eagles' Donovan McNabb, the Falcons Michael Vick, and Vikings' Daunte Culpepper all starting for NFC divisional playoff teams this weekend, there is a 75% chance that an African-American QB will start for in that game as well. In fact, if Mike Vick's Falcons beat the Rams on Saturday, barring injury, it will happen.

And for that, you can thank a man who no longer coaches in the NFL, the NFL Commissioner, and a guy who never played for either.

The first modern black coach in the NFL was Art Shell. Shell led the Los Angeles Raiders to a 54-38 regular season record, leading the team to the playoffs twice.

His hire came as current NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue assumed his office in 1989. Tagliabue made an organized effort to recruit and hire black coaches in the NFL, and convinced the league to develop rules demanding that blacks get interviews for head coaching positions.

It is, what you would call, affirmative action, and it is a point of debate every time an NFL head coaching position becomes vacant.

There was no affirmative action for black quarterbacks though. For that to happen on a regular basis, the NFL had to be shamed.

Houston Rockets' guard Charlie Ward was a Heisman award winning (and national champion) quarterback for Florida State.

But in the 1994 draft, he was not picked at all. Despite the praises Ward received from college coaches, pro scouts it was said, felt he was too short and didn’t have a great arm.

Ward would go on to be a first round draft pick for the NBA's New York Knicks. "It's part of God's plan and part of life," said Ward, years after.

Others felt it was racism, and it became a huge black eye for the NFL.

At that time, only two black quarterbacks had been drafted in the first round in the league's history, Doug Williams in 1978, and Andre Ware in 1990. This is at a time when guys like Warren Moon would go undrafted and have to play in the CFL.

That is, if they were allowed to play QB at all. Even until the mid-90s, high school and college black QBs were converted to other positions to take better advantage of their "athletic ability".

Enough was enough. There was a problem here, and the NFL knew it.

The very next year, Steve McNair, a guy who could not get a QB position in any of the 100+ division I-A colleges (that's another story), became the third black quarterback in NFL history to be drafted in the first round. It would take a couple of seasons before he would make his impact on the field, but his signing was a PR coup for the NFL. If McNair had not gone in the first round, it would have been a disaster for the league.

It bought them time.

Also shamed by the Ward passover, and stung by criticism that guys like Steve McNair were not given opportunities to play as quarterbacks at the Division I-A level, the major NCAA teams started giving more opportunities to black QBs.

This led, directly, to the watershed draft of 1999, when Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith, and Daunte Culpepper all were drafted in the first round...doubling the number of blacks drafted then in league history. The NFL was now a place where black QBs could get a chance.

Months after that historic draft, Steve McNair became the first black QB to lead a team through an entire season to a Super Bowl. The glass ceiling was broken.

Two of those three drafted in '99 will play each other Sunday.

They have Charlie Ward to thank.

Maybe he was in God's plan after all.

"New York" Jets head coach Herman Edwards is two games away from making NFL history. If he, or Tony Dungy, can win a Super Bowl, it might open the flood gates for NFL coaches in the same way guys like Charlie Ward and Steve McNair did for quarterbacks.

We shall see.

More sports.

Ted Kennedy made an Er-a according to the AofG, calling Illinois Senator Barak Obama "Osama bin..." Way to go Teddy.

The Moderate Voice responds
to the Daily Kos being on the payroll of the Dean campaign last year.

Riasawn, a national guardsman, blogs on her views on the Iraq War.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Plugs, For My Friends and Other Blogs (1/13/05)

There's so much good stuff on the Internet these days, it makes me (and Barbara Boxer) want to cry.

Here's a survey of blogs and websites that I've found interesting recently:

Courting Destiny talks about being adopted, and reacts to a comment made on another site about the show "Who's Your Daddy".

Eclectic Blogs talks about the computer industry contributing to America's garbage problem, and what eBay is doing about it. If you have any old electronic equipment around the house, you should read this post.

Mike Morgan asks, why does the U.S. get to make all the rules?

Ogre says that for some, Christian = Criminal.

Here's an interesting discussion on evolution and creationism.

Other plugs.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"Weapons of Mass Destruction" Search Ends In Iraq

According to the Washington Post, the coalition's search for weapons of mass destruction, conducted by the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), ended in December.

The article, by WoPo staff writer Dafna Linzer, notes:

Four months after Charles A. Duelfer, who led the weapons hunt in 2004, submitted an interim report to Congress that contradicted nearly every prewar assertion about Iraq made by top Bush administration officials, a senior intelligence official said the findings will stand as the ISG's final conclusions and will be published this spring.

This comes as no surprise to readers of my blog, as I leaked the news of the absence of arms a few months ago (OK, maybe my sources weren't as good as the Washington Post's).

The finality of this decision is found later on in the article:

Intelligence officials said there is little left for the ISG to investigate because Duelfer's last report answered as many outstanding questions as possible. The ISG has interviewed every person it could find connected to programs that ended more than 10 years ago, and every suspected site within Iraq has been fully searched, or stripped bare by insurgents and thieves, according to several people involved in the weapons hunt.

Satellite photos show that entire facilities have been dismantled, possibly by scrap dealers who sold off parts and equipment to buyers around the world.

"The September 30 report is really pretty much the picture," the intelligence official said.

The cost of the search -- forgetting the war for a moment -- is classified, and will remain so. The WoPo article estimates that it ran in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In the end, is may have been Saddam Hussein's attempt at being coy about the weapons that ultimately led to the current coalition occupation of Iraq; support for the sanctions against Iraq were waning, and Hussein was trying to have his cake and eat it too. He wanted his neighbors to think he had weapons, so they would not invade his country, and he wanted the U.N. to think he had none, so the sanctions would be lifted.

At least that's the latest theory.

Hussein being coy came at a great loss to him, and us.

We are now officially at a loss to say why we invaded Iraq in the first place, and now as a nation have to cling to the hope that the end will ultimately justify the means.

If democracy takes hold, and a peaceful Iraq is created, then we may ultimately forget why the war happened in the first place.

In reality, the question of whether the weapons were there was answered long after it became moot. We are there, and the outcome of our presence there will have an affect on us for some time to come.

Those who were against the war before it started win nothing for "being right".

Those who were for it from the start, may never have to explain themselves.

But all is still well in the home front. While the search for weapons of mass destruction has ended, OJ's search for the real killer continues.

More politics.

Links of interest:

Direct link to the cartoon above.

October 2, 2003 update on the weapons search.

The comprehensive report, dated September 30, 2004

CNN story on the weapons search ending.

Eschaton's comment about the search's end.

Pro war's comments.

Waveflux's comments.

Running Scared's comments (a "former Republican").

Samuel Johnson says that now that Bush is re-elected, there is no need for a weapons search.

Old Fasioned Patriot's comments.

Dohiyi Mir chimes in.

FreedomDrone says "I told you so".

Fresh Paint piles it on.

Esoterically says Bush lied.

I'm looking for a conservative point of view, but can't seem to find one. If you know of one, please put your links in the comments section.


Bush says it was worth it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Things To Do In New York: Build The Stadium

This post probably should be titled "things we should do in New York". For the future of the city, we must build the West Side Stadium.

Make no mistake, whether or not to build the West Side Stadium is the question of the decade for New Yorkers: should we invest in the future of the city to keep it great or simply rest on the laurels of the Rudy Giuliani administration?

This is this decade's equivalent of Giuliani cleaning up 42nd Street. Building the stadium will show that we as New Yorkers still believe in investing the city and expanding economic opportunity.

Not building it will mean we've given up on making the city better.

Here are some reasons why the stadium should be built (and on the West Side):

- It is a disgrace that the only team that plays in New York State, the third largest in the country, is the Buffalo Bills. I don't care what people say, New Jersey is New Jersey. If the Jets and Giants had any pride being there, they'd have an "NJ" on their helmet. The only reason why they don't call the team the East Rutherford Jets is that the name is about as lame as playing there in the first place.

- With the creation of the NYSCC, New York will finally have the capacity to host the biggest events-from international business gatherings to national championships. Because the stadium will have multiple seating capacities, it will be versatile enough to host a broader range of events (events that cannot currently be hosted in New York City). That means jobs, and a facility that will be used for more than eight games a year.

- Bringing new events to New York City not only means energy and excitement, it also means new visitors whose spending will help to create over $70 million of new tax revenue for the City and State. These events could include annual Bowl Games, a Super Bowl, conventions, the Olympics, NCAA Final Four, and Star Trek conventions (OK, we could do that without the stadium, but not one with William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy on at the same time).

- It will be better for the environment. That's right. Better for the environment. Right now, when an event occurs at the Meadowlands, nearly every visitor - 97% -arrive by car because there is no viable transit alternative. Based on extensive polling of Jets season ticket holders, 70 percent of fans will arrive by public transportation leaving only 30 percent - or 7,000 vehicles - on the road. The West Side stadium will have various forms of public transportation, leading to smaller, less frustrating, and less gas guzzling commutes. The stadium itself will take energy conservation and the environment into account unlike any stadium in the tri-state area.

- Building the stadium in Shea Stadium helps no one. Anyone old enough to remember going to Jets games there will recall jam-packed subway rides on the dilapitated 7 train. Also, there is no service industry there, as it's an area filled with junk yards and auto repair shops. It is also so far out of midtown Manhattan that all of the benefits of having a convention there, one of the main non-football/non-sports uses of the facility, are not valid. The West Side is the only viable place to do it.

- The West Side is the only location in close proximity to nine modes of public transportation. The West Side is the only location which requires zero condemnation or relocation for existing residents and businesses. The West Side is the only location adjacent to the existing Javits Center allowing it to serve as a true multi-use facility instead of a stand alone stadium.

- The project, which includes renovating the Javitz Center, will be connected by an underground walkway, and will create approximately 42,000 construction jobs and close to 16,000 new permanent jobs, on top of the 16,600 jobs currently generated by Javits. The Javits Convention Center expansion and the creation of the New York Sports and Convention Center will contribute $126 million dollars in additional tax revenues annually to the city and state. The development will attract hundreds of thousands of out of town visitors to New York for conventions, tradeshows, cultural and art shows, as well as major sporting events.

Here's the only reason why it should not:

The Jets suck (Just End The Season).

Links of interest:
What if Bruno and Silver were around when other iconic buildings were built?

New York Sports and Convention Center Homepage

West Side Fan Page

West Side Stadium 101

Hudson Yards Coalition

Frequently asked questions
, including about taxpayer money and tailgating.

Supporters of the West Side Stadium

Detailed convention plan.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Monday Morning Musings (1/10/05)

It was a very exciting weekend of football.

Ah, the future of America.

Here's a guy with a really dimented sense of humor.

Here's a guy with a good collection of rants.

Here's an exclusive look at Washington State voters.

The Queen of BE, Crystal Clear, has another detractor.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

A Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...in terms of class.

The Minnesota Vikings put to rest the "Lambau mystique" by convincingly defeating the Green Bay Packers 31-17.

Randy Moss would use the occasion to simulate mooning the home crowd during the game and declaring "we kicked their asses" on national TV shortly after it.

Meanwhile in Indianapolis, the cream rose to the top, with the Colts destroying the Denver Broncos 49-24 with players and coaches politely declaring that the Broncos were a tough team to beat.

It's as clear as black and white...and I don't mean that in a racially, but rather a "white hat" and "black hat" old Western style movie way.

Tony Dungy and his team acted like best examples of talent and class the NFL could offer, while Randy Moss displayed its worst.

It was appropriate that the two blowouts would happen on the same day, so that the contrast in sportsmanship could be so acutely on display.

On the FOX post-game TV show, Howie Long put it right, saying "it proves that talent and class do not always go hand in hand."

Luckily, with guys like Dungy, Manning, Marc Bulger, Curtis Martin, etc., I'll have a group of people to root for this coming weekend.

Bret Favre was defeated in many ways today.

His post-game interview was sad to watch. He's had a tough couple of years, and in terms of his on the field play, I don't think things are going to get any better for him.

Football has been his escape from a range of problems, including a drug addiction, family health issues, and the passing away of family members.

He won't be able to play football forever.

I hope he can find peace in some other way.

More sports.

Update: AofG has the video.

Three Teams That Didn't Want To Win

Four teams played Saturday in the first day of NFL Wild Card playoff competition. Only one seemed like they deserved to be there.

The "New York" Jets beat the San Diego Chargers 20-17 in overtime in a game that neither team really wanted to win. The picture above says it all, as it is from a key fourth-and-goal do-or-die moment for both teams.

Lining up behind center was the worried and tentative Chargers quarterback Drew Brees, who looked like a deer caught in headlights throughout the fourth quarter.

This was it. One play to tie the game. Score a touchdown or go home.

Did Brees have that John Elway/Joe Montana ( or hell, Doug Flutie) look in his eyes? That "this is my team and we're going to score" focus about him?


Luckily for Brees, he was facing a Jets defense that seemed confused as to where to line up, with players holding their hands on their hips. In one of the most exciting moments in sports...the potential last play of the game, most of the guys on the field seemed scared as to what was going to happen next.

Drew Brees drops back to pass and is pressured immediately by two Jets defenders. The QB lofts a pass in the end zone, which falls to the ground in an apparent incompletion. Game over right?

Nope. This is Jets football. The choke tradition must live on.

Jets linebacker Eric Barton decided to do his best Tito Santana impression, hitting Brees with a flying forearm and committing a roughing the passer penalty. It's first down Chargers with only a few seconds left.

Only the Jets. Really. Only the Jets.

Brees would throw a touchdown on the next play. The game would be tied up, and it is going into overtime.

So would the Jets collapse, as per tradition?

Nope. Because the Chargers are one of the few franchises in the NFL that can match New Jersey's finest in the choke factor.

Overtime would begin with the Chargers winning the coin toss. I thought the Chargers were in trouble when Brees came onto the field with his head down, like he was very nervous. They do nothing with the ball and punt.

The Jets would get it, and go nowhere as well.

Then things began to get interesting. The Chargers would rely on the only guy on the field who seemed to be playing with any kind of energy...LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson ran inside and out, as well as caught some impressive balls. The Chargers marched down the field, getting to about the 20 yard line.

Then the really bad coaching began. With eight or nine guys in the box, the Chargers ran up the middle twice, going nowhere. On third down, being right of center on the field, decided to send Tomlinson right, giving rookie kicker Nate Kaeding a really bad spot to try to win the game.

Why not, in three attempts, at least take one shot at the end zone? Or, at the very least, with the Jets defense stacked against the run, go for a slant route that might have led to a touchdown?

Instead they relied on Kaeding, who looked younger than Anthony Michael Hall did in 16 Candles. He barely warmed up for his winning kick attempt.

A second or two after he goes for the kick, I have a flashback, hearing Al Michaels say the words "wide right". (F you Parcells, where ever you are.) The Chargers miss their chance.

At this point, the Chargers decide to give up the game.

The ghost of the not-dead-yet Wade Phillips emerged. Phillips, the Chargers defensive coordinator, decided to play a soft zone against Jets QB Chad Pennington...which is about the only defense Pennington really plays well against.

With no pressure on the Jets QB, and some inspired running by Lamont Jordan, they marched down the field and scored the winning field goal.

Two teams with no recent winning tradition battled it out, and one of them had to win.

In the playoffs, they don't let you tie.

The San Diego Chargers turned out to be a very average team, and one could say they were the most over-rated team in the NFL.

Except for the third team that didn't seem to want to win today...the Seattle Seahawks.

Clinching the St. Louis Rams' 27-20 defeat of the Seattle Seahawks, Bobby Engram failed to catch what would have been the tying touchdown in an uninspiring performance by the "sure bet" Super Bowl Seattle team.

Seahawks star wide receiver Darrell Jackson dropped so many key passes, it made me wonder why Jerry Rice hardly got any attention. It also made me wonder why so many people, myself included, thought the Seahawks were a sure-fire bet to go to the big game.

The St. Louis Rams played with fire and intensity, like a team who knew how to win in the playoffs.

The other three teams just seemed happy to be there.

Nevertheless, it was an exciting start to the NFL playoffs. I'm looking forward to Sundays games.

With guys like Favre and Manning on the field, I know I will be watching players who believe they can win.

More sports.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Has The J.P. Losman Era Begun?

The Buffalo Bills season is over. Will Drew Bledsoe be back?

Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News says yes, and that it's not a good thing.

Sullivan writes:

Bledsoe will probably go into next season as the starter. It's hard to imagine the Bills yanking him now. Tom Donahoe, the president and general manager, believes in Bledsoe and wants to show the world he was right to bring him here.

The Bills have a big investment in Losman, too. They'll argue that he didn't have a real rookie season and needs a full year of practice. It's a good point. Donahoe created a situation where Bledsoe is his best chance to win, and that's not likely to change by the start of next season.

Bledsoe's skills are declining, and he is not the reason why the Bills had a winning season this year.

J.P. Losman will probably stink up the joint the first year he plays, but he needs the experience. Drew Bledsoe just doesn't have it any more.

I like Bledsoe. He first couple of years as a Bills QB he played very well. But it's only going to get worse for Drew, and there is a #1 draft pick sitting on the bench.

He is a class act, and a great athlete. But he is probably a backup quarterback now.

Losman's got to play. It's the only way he'll learn.

The future is now.

More sports.


A Hooker Turned In Her Client, According to the AofG

The Moderate Voice talks about Oliver Stone's Alexander, a movie that was previewed on this site.

The Moderate Voice also has a great post on Social Security. Is it the big problem we make it out to be?

Paul Katcher has an NFL Wild Card Weekend Preview.

The I Love My Soldier Blog, done by a woman who is engaged to a soldier, posts about saying good-bye to her fiancée.

This is not what a U.S. Senator should do. The people of California should be embarrased.

If the New York Times charges for its website, bloggers will be hurt.

Life in the Shadows has a great post combining a personal story and galatic imagery. Very clever post.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Random Quotes 4

"When two elephants fight, it's the grass that suffers."
-- African saying

"It's only after you've lost everything
that you're free to do anything."
Tyler, Fight Club

"What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner, 'I stand for consensus?'"
- Margaret Thatcher

"As every American knows, General Sherman said that war is hell. I disagree. In hell, sinners are punished; in war, it is usually the innocent who suffer."
-- Al Haig, Inner Circles

"An eye for an eye and soon the whole world will be blind."
-- Mother Theresa

"Adapt. Improvise. Overcome."
-- Marine Motto

More Random Quotes

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Two National Champions?

It should have been Auburn and USC last night. I think Auburn would have won.

Yes, I know that after USC's trouncing of Oklahoma last night that it might be unusual to say, but Auburn wasn't going to be blown out.

USC proved it was a great college team last night, crushing the Oklahoma Sooners. Auburn, who went undefeated in a much better division should share the national championship.

Oklahoma, in the end, should have been on the field against Utah.

Auburn, because it's an Alabama school, will not get the recognition it deserves, especially up against a team located in a media capital of the U.S.

Can you honestly say that USC, in the PAC 10, faced the same level of competition than Auburn, in the SEC? It might be fair to say that the ACC's Virginia Tech, who only lost one game, had a tougher schedule than USC.

This is not to say that Matt Leinart, whose blog sucks by the way, proved that he is a really good college quarterback (does he even write the thing?). Oklahoma gave him a lot of pressure, and Leinart showed a lot of poise when moving in the pocket.

Jason White on the other hand stunk up the joint. I think he hurt his chances of being drafted last night. He just made poor decision after poor decision. I know that the Sooners' wide receivers were having trouble sliding on the field, but that doesn't explain this...

White's pass into four USC defenders proved that Oklahoma beat itself time and time again last night.

Jason Campbell though proved he is a NFL caliber quarterback, winning a pressure packed Sugar Bowl game against a really tough Virginia Tech team.

The fact is that I shouldn't even be talking about this. There should be a playoff system that allows the top four teams to play each other for the title. Pretty much every sport does this, and it would all but guarantee that all undefeated teams would play each other (although not this year, as there were five).

But the NCAA won't do it.

Until then, we'll continue to give out dual national championships.

We should this year. That's for sure.

The BCS has failed. We should have a playoff.

It worked in the video game world.

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