Saturday, September 30, 2006


Both parties have had their share of perverts over the years. There's no point piling on either party. Foley is just a reminder that the bell shaped curve of human behavior shows up in Congress, just like it does in business, University or the Penitentiary. It's sad, if not particularly politically important.

The part that is unacceptable is that the Congress didn't have safeguards in place to prevent this behavior. A page comes to Congress and Congress is in loco parentis, which simply means that Congress must do everything to keep those kids safe from all kinds of harm that the congressmen would do for their very own children.

For the Speaker to draw an artificial line between the emails and im's and for for the democrat member of the Page Oversight Board not to be told about the emails is a failure of in loco parentis . I abhor violence but, if I were the father of one of these kids, I would be overcome by a desire to punch Hastert right in the nose! Without question, the guy put the protection of his party before the welfare of kids. Without regard to politics, that makes him a gutless puke.

And speaking of "Profiles in Courage", consider the irony of the other author of this cover-up being the congressman from Abe Lincoln's old district (Shimkus).

I make no political predictions as to what this will bring about. All I know is that it sure calls up the gag reflex!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


"The origins (of Shiism) lie in the grudge that rapidly grew, following the death of the Prophet in 632 AD, among the partisans (shi'a in Arabic) of Ali, Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law.

Passed over three times for the title of caliph, or worldly successor to Muhammad, Ali then reigned only briefly before being assassinated..."Until recently most Sunnis, most of the time, have given little thought to the challenge presented by Shiism...They have not had to because their brand of Islam has been so dominant. Sunnis make up 85 percent of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims. In solidly Sunni countries such as Morocco, Bangladesh, or Indonesia, few have had much idea of what Shias are, or how their practices differ..."In the first centuries,Sunnism found itself challenged not just by Shia uprisings, but by doubters of all stripes..."For most of the past millennium, conflict has been in remission. This is not to say that friction was entirely absent. But with perhaps half of the world's Shias living within Iran, and the rest, by and large, diluted within overwhelming Sunni populations, there was little room for contest..."But it is clear that something has happened to threaten, if not yet to shatter, the wary calm between the sects...perhaps the major impetus for the change, of late, has been the example of Iraq, where the utter breakdown of secular politics has pushed religious leaders and sectarian issues to the center stage."Max Rodenbeck, "The Time of the Shia," The New York Review of Books, August 10, 2006, pp. 45- 47

(Courtesy of our friends at

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

3000 BAGELS!

ESPN Gameday is going to be in Iowa City this weekend. ESPN just ordered 3000 bagels from a prominent Bagel Store for early Saturday a.m. Think they expect some early arrivals?

Sunday, September 24, 2006


You'll hear lots of psychosocial explanations why the Americans can't win the Ryder Cup. How about the Euros just have better players than us?

NBC honestly tried to go the whole weekend without telling its viewers that, due to the rain, the players were allowed to "Lift, Clean and Play" or, as it is known on tour, "Lift, Clean and Cheat." I'm not saying there was any other option and the Euro PGA made the right decision but it was dishonest to go like ten hours of telecast before they finally coughed it up. Silly.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


It wasn't that good a pass. Good thing the piggies gave two scholarships to Springdale Kids!

Sheesh, that was exhausting!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


The forecast for this biannual event is nasty, windy, rainy. Intuitively, one would think that would favor the Euros. Legend has it they play in the worst weather and in more spartan conditions than US players. Legend is wrong. They play links style courses in crappy weather but not US Parkland style courses in it. The K Club is about as American as a golf course gets.

Now, who is gonna play an American Style golf course in nasty weather better, some guy from Ireland who thinks seventy degrees and showers is a tough day or a kid from Cedar Rapids Iowa where horizontal snow is the norm? My vote goes to the kid from Cedar Rapids. Meet Zach Johnson. I'm not saying Zach will win four or five points. I'm saying he's symbolic of a new found American advantage, that American players actually play in worse and more diverse weather than Euros. This has been true for some years but Legend obscures it.

The American underdogs will win by about three matches (which will show up as a margin of six in the final score) and it will be good for the growth of the game.

Go, Zach!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


4. Agree in advance it will not be used; or

3. Both sides agree on a replay official (retired guys who are respected work well for this. You don't have to be in shape to be a replay official.); or

2. If both sides can't agree on a replay official, each side pick one and then the two officials agree on a third, who will be the tie-breaker (it's not like cost is an issue here, folks);

1. Accept that human error happens and take your missed call like a man!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


A five foot seven, two hundred pound nose tackle of a woman shows up at your door and you've just brought your baby home from the hospital. I can see "Stay here and I'll bring you a cordless phone/cell phone." I can see "There's a phone down at the church/ymca/community center/gas station." I can see, "I'm sorry. This is not a good time." I can't see "come in." Just can't see it.

The local police say the mother/victim is an innocent but something about this caper just doesn't smell right to me.

In the meantime, I hope the knife-wielding, shorts-wearing attacker takes good care of the baby.

Have you noticed that Sometimes you don't have to go all the way to Florida for maximum strange. Often, Missouri will do.

Monday, September 18, 2006


A judge Friday dismissed charges of attempted sexual assault against three men accused of trying to dig up a woman's body to have sex with the corpse, noting that Wisconsin has no law against necrophilia

The full story is in the Sun Times today, if you must.

These guys don't need to go prison. Can imagine the comments when they walk into their neighborhood bar?


....same political analyst vetted it for him as did the Prez's Niger "enriched uranium" speech.

Of course it was an accurate quote and of course Popey is an academic but one would have to absolutely tone deaf in the current context not anticipate a storm of fecal matter after reciting the quote. Where the heck was the Vatican's chief political officer when they needed him (I'm pretty sure it's a "him".)?

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Don't recall seeing anything quite like the "Big Box" ordinance and veto in Chicago. Defined a category of store and then told them what to pay their employees. Seemed to me to be guaranteed to prevent BB's from locating in Chicago. Mayor Daley vetoed it and it was barely sustained.

The idea that it was a City's job to tell a private retailer how much to pay employees seemed to me to totally misapprehend the role of Gov't. I understand Statewide and Nationwide Minimum wage standards but this was a lead pipe cinch to retard commerce in our State's Largest City.

It might eventually pass, after some WalMarts are already there.

Strange dance.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


We rejected a comment and what appeared to be a response to it (even though it was never published). Both revolved around personal attacks which didn't advance any inquiry in any post or comment here. I detest limiting speech but the folks who come in here are my guests and some of this stuff went past the boiling point.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Grandstanding right off the GOP talking points, Andrea Zinga continues to make it hard for me not to use my pet nickname for her. But I promised, so I won't.

But a couple of points for her to consider. First, All Muslims are not fascists. Second, all fascists are not Muslims. Maybe Andrea herself needs a Foxworthy "You might be a fascist if......"

Further, if she truly thinks it is poor policy to understand our enemies, she is doomed to perpetual ignorance. Perhaps she wants to lead a resurgence of the "Know Nothing" Party.

Finally, Was this really the week to grandstand and politicize the war on terrorism?

Monday, September 11, 2006


Watched with a very heavy heart the NY and Shanksville ceremonies. Very tasteful and moving but I could not get this out of my head: The vicious whack jobs who spawned this exercise are watching and getting joy out of every tear we shed. In some ways that's more depressing than the attacks themselves.

If we're all correct to believe in One God, our One God must be very disappointed with His children in this period of history.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


This is how the Cubs MVP and Catcher's season ended. It is, in fact, a metaphor for the entire Cubs year (Not just season, year).

The Cubs started this year with bona fide big leaguers at C, 1b, 3b and marginal big leaguers in CF and RF and at 2b. Every one of these except DLee has a historically bad OBP. Of these six arguable big leaguers, one was bound to have a calamitous injury. It turned out to be the brightest star and caused a borderline big leaguer at 2b to move to 1b and get all screwed up.

They had three Pitchers who were always a "wish and a prayer" WMiller, Prior, Wood. That none of them could get healthy was the worst possible outcome but it was hardly a shock.

Keep in mind that the Cubs have a humongous stash of minor league pitching talent. They also have hard-hitting third basemen stacked like cordwood in the minors, none of whom are ever going to play in front of the moody but talented Aramis Ramirez. To begin the season, Did the Cubbies move any of this Minor League talent to patch the screaming holes in LF and SS? Did they shop their coveted middle infielder with the big bat, Erick Patterson (Brother of Corey)? Did they Move one of the 3b (to Oakland, for example when their All Star 3b went down or to San Diego when they had a hissy fit and cut their overpaid 3b)? No, they did none of the above.

Did they allow their fragile, overweight righthander, JWilliams, to show he could repeat last year's second half? Nah, they sent him to the minors.

Well, then they probably made an absolute commitment to Matt Murton in Left, for better or for worse. Nah, they didn't do that either. For a while, John Mabry was actually getting starts in LF.

So what did they do at the big league level? They got Phil Nevin to fill the hole for DLee then didn't play him much at 1b. They got Cesar Izturis, a fine player but a disruption to their infield.

In short, the Cubs have shown a lack of ability to "cash" their minor league riches into big league talent. Indisputably, they have vast wealth in their minor league system and have had for about five years. Cashing that wealth into major league wins is a discreet skill. Nobody on the Cubs leadership team has displayed that skill. They can find young talent. They can develop it to a high professional level. They just can't either make it walk to the major league level or deal it for successful, winning major leaguers. Upper management lacks that discreet skill. Until the Cubs acquire that Skill they are destined to continue to fail. Until they acquire that skill, it is a little silly to talk about the talent or lack thereof of their field manager. Face it, until the Cubs turn minor league talent into major league wins, they will be the fan equivalent of an intrascrotal hematoma.

Do you think the Tribune Company wants to own an Intrascrotal Hematoma on the 100th anniversary of its last world series win? Two years and counting.


....They are useless b.s.

Democrats portraying the Repubs as stubborn adventurists (while perhaps true) is not constructive. Republicans posing the choice between "Stay the Course" and "Cut and Run" is, at best, intellectually dishonest. Finally, The Government saying it won't tie itself to a timeline, while correct strategically, really doesn't advance at all the inquiry of when redeployment should occur.

First, Boys and Girls, we are already there. Whether it was a good idea or not is for future voters and historians to decide and perhaps between GWB and his creator.

So how about we ditch the slogans and establish benchmarks leading to withdrawal? It is a basic rule of International Law: "You broke it, you fix it!" Just a few suggestions include: Operative, relatively secure oilfields; Expressed in Battalions, an acceptable number (probably five) which can operate as an independent force; Primary, Secondary and University systems staffed and operating; Public utilities supplying all Urban and cultural center populations; The highway system at the capacity it was when the war began; A public health system capable of basic innoculation and infectious disease response; Trained, Equipped Urban Police Forces with a ratio of about 1:1000.

There are probably more. Feel free to add your favorites.

The bigger point here is that Benchmarks are vastly different from timelines. Benchmarks are also different from "When our Mission is Completed", a totally unmeasurable concept. Everybody on all sides of this, from Ned Lamont to GWB is a freaking slogan factory. The biggest asset of Benchmarks as a way to trigger our departure is that are measurable. The politicians on both sides don't want to give us something that can be metered. It's our citizens who are getting getting killed. It's our Billion and Half every Week! It is not too much to ask for a metering device to decide when this exercise has come to an end. So, to the Stay-the-Coursers and the Cut-and-Runners, I say a pox on all your houses. Repent and become Benchmarkers!

Monday, September 04, 2006


.....Which public official or candidate supported their annual, vital fund-raiser. Also, hats off to Fire Chief Scott Walker of Quincy for supporting his brother emergency responders.

Great Job, Guys and Gals. Hope you made a bucket full of money. Lord knows you need and deserve it.


Don't know much about tennis. My sister was a good player so I watched her play some. Had a girlfriend in HS who liked to play, so I played. In later years, I watched some women's tennis for two reasons, it's easier to follow the ball in the women's game and also because the men's game doesn't have Maria Sharapova.

But I do know Andre Agassi. We have a mutual friend and I've probably spent maybe ten private hours with him over the last 15 years and two wives. Don't have the slightest idea what his historical place in tennis is. What I do know is that the sport is a lot better for his time in it. Any organization would be better to have him. Even during his "Image is Everything" period, he was just a genuine decent guy. If there's a guy who has accomplished as much as Agassi and remained as humble, I have never met or heard of him.

Sometimes retirement fuss is overdone. Not here.

Godspeed Andre, and I hope you fix that godawful slice!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Whenever I have no particular topic in mind, I check in on the Adams County Young Republicans' web page.

This self-described "dynamic and exciting" organization has no upcoming events scheduled. In fact, they have not even accounted for the existence of September!

Cue, "American Pie".

Good Night and Good Luck.

Friday, September 01, 2006


The concept of USA basketball took another body blow last night.

When one's opponent shoots 60%, one is not playing much defense.

College Coach, NBA Coach, doesn't matter. We need to find a way to keep a team together for a year at a time. We'd be better off taking BYU players on their sabbaticals. This is not surprising, but disappointing.

Somehow, I think James Naismith would be amused.