Monday, July 31, 2006

What Did You do in the War, Daddy? 

Jesus' General proves that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Karl Rove's Fingerprints 

I wonder what Charlie Crist would say about his party using this sleazy tactic?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sorry Kids 

The Discovery of Global Warming is a website full of worthwhile information understandable to the layperson. Hardly an alarmist site, it nevertheless makes a persuasive case that what our children and grandchildren have to look forward to is not going to be pleasant (especially of they continue to live, as mine do, in coastal Florida):
Here are the likely consequences of warming by a few degrees Celsius --— that is, what scientists expect if humanity manages to restrain its emissions within the next few decades, so that greenhouse gases do not rise beyond twice the level maintained for the past few million years.

* Most places will continue to get warmer, especially at night and winter. Heat waves will probably continue to get worse, killing vulnerable people.

* Sea levels will continue to rise for centuries. (The last time the planet had been so warm, the level had been roughly 5 meters higher, submerging coastlines where many millions of people now live.) Although the rise is gradual, storm surges will cause emergencies.

* Weather patterns will keep changing, probably toward an intensified water cycle with stronger storms, floods and droughts. Generally speaking, regions already dry are expected to get drier, and wet regions wetter. In flood-prone regions, whether wet or dry, stronger storms are liable to bring worse flooding. Ice fields and winter snowpack will shrink, jeopardizing water supply systems in some regions. There is evidence that all these things have already begun to happen.

* Agricultural systems and ecosystems will be stressed, although some will temporarily benefit. Uncounted valuable species are at risk of extinction, especially in the Arctic, mountain areas, and coral reefs. Tropical diseases will probably spread to warmed regions. Increased CO2 levels will also affect biological systems independent of climate change. Some crops will be fertilized, as will some invasive weeds. The oceans are becoming more acidic, which endangers coral and much other important marine life.
A great inheritance we're leaving: perpetual war, a bankrupt country and underwater property.

Yabba Dabba Do 

I usually don't find myself in sync with Professor Bainbridge, but his take on Hugh Hewitt's backed-into-a-corner defense of Bush's strategic vision is pretty much on the money:
Hugh Hewitt notes that "Bush and his team ... continue to enjoy bedrock support at home and abroad" due to their handling of the war on terror. It's certainly true that Bush is down to his bedrock. . . .

The trouble with bedrock is that nothing grows on it. So even if Hugh's right that Bush's handling of the war is sound on the merits, a point I am prepared to concede only for the sake of argument, Bush's mishandling of the home front has left him with only bedrock support, which has been inadequate to advance a conservative policy agenda (assuming he even ever really intended to do so) or to build a durable conservative majority bloc.
Of course if Bush has, indeed, forfeited the conservatives' opportunity to perpetuate their power, it just goes to show you that every cloud has a silver lining.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

But Who's Counting? 

"Condoms and teenagers work about 50% of the time, if you count all of the studies up." –Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK
I don't know about condoms, but I think the percentage for teenagers working is a bit high -- maybe Coburn meant teenagers sleep 50% of the time, which sounds about right to me.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Jimmy's Journey 

One of the more tiresome threads on cultural conservative blogs is that urbanized, coastal liberals have unending disdain for "real Americans" -- those denizens of red states who embody the true values and lifestyles of our great nation.

A charter member of this club is James Lileks; he can hear the sneers from NYC all they way to Minneapolis. But what happens when Jimmy leaves his upper-middle class neighborhood and mingles with the heartland people?
I waited at the [truck stop]counter to pay for my gas. There was a young woman buying a liter of Mountain Dew. Tweety-bird T-shirt over a capacious gut, lank hair, smeared glasses. She picked up a lighter shaped like a beer mug and tried to light it. She couldn’t.

An older woman joined her; she was obviously the mom. Short, squat, grey hair, sweat pants, beady eyes. Whasat?

"Look ma, it’s a lighter in a little beer mug. But I can’t get it to worrrrk."

“Like this,” said the clerk. She showed her how the handle summoned the gift of Prometheus.

“Aaaaah,” said mom and daughter. The clerk gave the younger woman her change.

“New pennies,” said the clerk.

“I guess,” said the daughter. “Shiny.”

They waddled off, headed home. Where thirty years from now the daughter will still live, sitting in the same old chair, surrounded by the figurines Mom collected. Frogs. She loved frogs. Couldn’t get enough frogs.
Fortunately Lileks has satellite radio, so he doesn't have to listen to the rubes on the rural stations.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Second Verse, Same as the First 

Haven't we heard this line before?
This morning [Wednesday] on Fox, Bill Kristol continued to escalate his calls for war against Iran, stating, “We can try diplomacy. I’m not very hopeful about that. We have to be ready to use force.” Kristol claimed the people of Iran would embrace “the right use of targeted military force.” He added that military force could “trigger changes in Iran,” causing them to embrace regime change
Think Progress, via Alicublog

Sunday, July 09, 2006

That's All Folks 

A somewhat bizarre World Cup final -- a PK that wasn't deserved, and one that was deserved but not awarded; strange coaching decision to keep Henry alone at the top, thus wearing him out and requiring his subbing off; Zindane being shown the red card -- that probably left many viewers unsatisfied.

For much of the game France outplayed Italy, in my opinion. The French were able to keep possession and build an attack better than the Italians, who relied on direct play more than I thought was warranted.

The story, of course, was the French star losing his cool (or his mind) and head-butting Materazzi. How could someone who had played so intelligently throughout the WC display little thought for the consequences of his actions?

In any case, I picked the winner correctly, ending on an up note.

My final score: 30 - 21 - 11.

Just a little less than four years until it all starts again in South Africa.

I can hardly wait.

Finally, the Final Game 

Missed on the consolation game, but as I said, who cares about that?

Now for the championship -- one I doubt few predicted. I had expected Argentina vs. Brazil and a friend of mine had thought it would be Germany and Brazil.

Italy vs. France is a very tough call. I'm impressed that Italy has allowed only a single goal in this World Cup (to the United States), although France has allowed just two. Italy has proven to be the more proficient scorer, with 11 goals to France's 8.

France has Zidane, Italy has Buffon. In the end, it might come down to how well Barthez plays -- he looked a little shaky at times in the game against Portugal.

That being said, I'm going to predict Italy over France, 1 - 0.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Down to Two . . . and a Consolation Game 

OK, I got one right -- on the money. That's one win and five losses in the quarter and semifinal rounds.

Good game yesterday -- it's hard not to give Zindane the MVP award so far; for his leadership and knowledgeable play as well as his skill with the ball.

And for the record, I thought the PK was a correct call. Some people want to see blood and a bone protruding through the skin before they think one is warranted, but the Laws of the Game do not require it to be a hard foul, or that it's not deserved if the fouled player "sells it."

That being said, my prediction for Saturday's consolation game: who cares?

Actually, this is a tricky one to predict since I'm not sure how motivated all the players might be. Still, they are professionals.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Portugal beats Germany, 1 - 0. In spite of the loss, I thought Portugal played a strong game (and, in fact, had more shots on goal and corner kicks than France).

Of course, when you get down to the final four teams, there are no weak sisters. That goes double for the finalists.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Get Rich Quick 

Apparently the best way to score some big cash is to bet against my picks. Once again I got it wrong.

I thought Germany's offense would overcome Italy's defense, but I didn't count on the Italians taking 12 corner kicks and 10 shots on goal in the game.

Germany started out strong, but the longer the game went on, the clearer it was that Germany's best chance would be getting to the penalty kicks.

I'm still going with France in today's game.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

WC Semi-Finals 

I didn't expect any of these teams to be in the semi-finals, but her are my picks:

Germany over Italy, 1 - 0. The Italians are taking comfort in a 3 - 0 victory over Ukraine. If they think the German team is comparable to the Ukes, they are in for a long afternoon. Still, the Italians have a solid team that will be in the thick of things up to the end.

France over Portugal, 1 - 0. The French played spectacularly against Brazil; I don't think they will play that well in this game -- it may go to overtime.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Crash & Burn 

Thank God I didn't place any money bets on my quarter-final predictions.

Missed every single outcome (although helped along by horrible PKs on the part of England, which seemed to go out of its way to lose that game).

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