Monday, April 30

In defense of timetables.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to . . . something something.

It's kind of ironic, I guess, that exactly four years to the day after our Mission was declared Accomplished by the president, he finds himself embroiled in a debate that mainly serves to remind all of us just how un-Accomplished it in fact is. Some might call that "karma," but that would be looking to the past, and I'm interested in looking to the future for a little bit. What if, rather than surrendering or declaring defeat, the Democrats' plan for a pullout timetable was actually the only real way to win in Iraq?

First of all, since I know individual opinions of what constitutes "winning" in Iraq could be as varied as snowflakes, let me tell you what my ideal situation is: My ideal situation involves an Iraq with a stable democratic government that can run its own legislative affairs and its own defenses -- and can do so by itself, without requiring a single American soldier on hand for any of it. That's not so wacky, you might be saying. And obviously I think you're right, but I think my scenario does sound wacky to a lot of the neocons in the Bush administration, because I think their intention from the get-go has been to rebuild Iraq as a forward operating base where our troops will be stationed in perpetuity. The fact that our "phased pullout" from Saudi Arabia began almost simultaneously with the invasion of Iraq is not, I think, a coincidence, and there's plenty of other evidence to indicate that our presence in Iraq is not something the Pentagon is in any hurry to end.

And I think even the most ardent supporters of Bush's Iraq policy, to the extent that he has one, would have to admit that he has taken a decidedly open-ended attitude toward our troop presence there, particularly as it relates to the Iraqi government. Obviously he hasn't given any indication of a date when our troops might be able to come home, and it doesn't even seem like anyone in the administration is leaning on the Maliki government particularly hard to take control of their own military and their own defense. That hands-offness has brought us to a point where Maliki is now actually purging security officials who are policing Shiite militias too aggressively.

How can Maliki get away with doing stuff like that, particularly at a time when the rest of his military is languishing in incompetence and disarray? Simple: Because the Bush administration has let him. Bush hasn't given any indication that U.S. troops are going to be leaving anytime soon, and he certainly hasn't exercised a lot of oversight over the Maliki government in terms of holding them to some of the goals that supposedly have been set, so as far as Maliki is concerned, he can just sit back and let the American troops do the dirty work for as long as he wants; he has been given absolutely no incentive to do otherwise. You'd think that the Bush administration would be upset about this, but apparently they're not. And again, it fits into the idea of the U.S. troop presence as being more or less permanent.

One way or another, someone's going to have to light a fire under the collective ass of Maliki's inner circle and get them to put some actual muscle behind the development of the national government and the training of the Iraqi defense forces. Bush doesn't appear much interested in doing so; in fact, the Pentagon has just de-prioritized the training of Iraqi troops. So maybe we're just at a point where someone's going to have to set a date. People on the right may look at a timetable as a "surrender," as a date until which the insurgents can officially stop waiting us out, but when you frame the debate in those terms, what alternative is there other than keeping our troops in Iraq forever? And if we don't give the Maliki government some kind of indication as to when we expect them to get their shit together, what makes us think they're ever going to do it?

Look, I'm not someone who considers the Democratic timetable plan a perfect option; anyone who thinks there are any perfect options left at this point is pretty much kidding themselves. Maybe you can quibble with precisely when they're saying we should have the troops out of the country (or at least out of the most violent central region). But when someone says that pulling the troops out of Baghdad would leave the region open to violence and chaos, I have to ask them, just exactly what the hell is going on there now? How much worse can things get, really? Why should we be forcing our military to chase their own tails in the midst of someone else's civil war when we could move them to the northern Kurdish territory where they could do some good -- keeping a closer eye on the Iranian border, perhaps? And given the choice between forcing the Iraqi government to confront this and letting them skate, shouldn't we be leaning toward the former?

I mean, if what you want is a permanent U.S. presence in Iraq, then come right out and say that. Certainly you wouldn't be the only one. But I think you'd also be in a definite minority, because the American public was sold on a quick, easy, fairly sacrifice-free invasion of Iraq, and if current public opinion is any indication, they've gotten pretty sour at the fact that that didn't happen. If we're ever going to start clearing a path for our troops to come home, then at some point we're going to have to tell Maliki and his government that the time has come to either shit or get off the pot. And again, while the Democrats' plan for doing that may not necessarily be perfect, they seem to be the only ones who are even looking in that direction at this point. It's time for Bush to ask himself whether he's going to sack up and actually hold Maliki to account for anything, or whether he's going to allow himself to be remembered as the president who slunk off with his tail between his legs and did everything he could to make sure he could dump the Iraq problem off on the next guy.

ADDED: Good freaking Lord. The irony . . . is . . . killing . . . me.

Sunday, April 29

Draft day recap.

Jenna responds to New England's selection of Brandon Meriweather with the 24th overall pick with a silent but deadly fart of disapproval.

· I'm still waiting for the angry e-mail from Josh blistering the Redskins for snaking LaRon Landry with the sixth overall pick. If it's any karmic consolation, though, this seems like the 64th draft in a row in which the Redskins have made a pick in the first round and then basically disappeared for the remainder of the weekend -- this year the 'Skins don't get to pick again until the fifth round (which is still at least six hours away as I type this). What, exactly, has been the impetus behind our policy of pissing away draft picks in exchange for geriatric free agents (or, in Steve Spurrier's case, ex-Gators looking for a last chance before washing out)? Did our personnel people just decide that sitting around in Radio City Music Hall was really boring and they wanted to get the hell out and start pounding Ultimate Margaritas at the Times Square T.G.I. Friday's as soon as possible? As excited as I am about Landry, I hope we've officially shelved this "strategy" in favor of grabbing players who actually have more than three or four years left to contribute before they qualify for Medicare.

"Help me."

· OK, I think I officially feel sorry for Calvin Johnson. Obviously I didn't feel terribly sorry for him while he was aggregating 9 catches for 71 yards in three years against Georgia -- and yes, that is a pretty great stat -- but even then I had to admit that a talent like Johnson deserved to have someone better than All-World waste of space Reggie Ball throwing to him. And now Johnson is being shuttled off to The Place Where Wide Receivers Go To Die, otherwise known as the Detroit Lions. On the other hand, CJ does have considerable experience playing with mediocre quarterbacks in an organization that rarely has any clue what it's doing, so one could look at this opportunity as being tailor-made for him, if one were so inclined. And if all else fails, he can always look forward to the day when Matt Millen trades him away (in exchange for a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and a fifth-round draft pick three years hence) to a team that actually knows what to do with him. I'm going to go ahead and set the over-under on this at 3.5 years.

· In the always-satisfying Second-Guessing ESPN Department, I have a question: How the fizzle did Saturday get turned into Brady Quinn Redemption Day? I mean, we heard more about Quinn (#22 overall) than we did about JaMarcus Russell (#1), and hell, it's not like Quinn wasn't going to sign a contract for jillions of dollars regardless of when/where he was picked. At any rate, even a numbnut like myself knows the primary reason why Quinn slid as far as he did, and it wasn't because of a less-than-stellar combine or a notable lack of clutch wins in big games during his Notre Dame career (though both of those factors contributed) -- it's because he's too pretty. Look at him! Nice kid, but if you're, say, Miami, how anxious are you really to put him up against Shaun Ellis or Richard Seymour twice a year? JaMarcus Russell looks like the kind of guy who should be hurling Shawne Merriman off his back as he launches a 50-yard touchdown pass off his back foot; by contrast, Quinn looks like he should be getting a hug from Paula Abdul on "American Idol." But hey, good luck to him. I'm sure Cleveland is due to break out at any time.

"Enough about me; let's talk about you. What do you think of me?"

· Keyshawn Johnson, added to ESPN's draft-day broadcast booth for reasons not known to this correspondent, had two of the weirdest moments of the entire day -- first, when he chimed in on Pac-Man Jones's character issues (because if there's any NFL player who is a model in terms of character, it's Keyshawn); second, when he conducted a teeth-clenchingly awkward interview with a bewildered (and possibly stoned) Dwayne Jarrett, the sole subject of which seemed to be what a valuable and selfless mentor Johnson was going to be for Jarrett with the Panthers (because if there's any NFL player who is a model in terms of unselfish team spirit, it's Keyshawn). Seriously, I thought they'd invited Me-Shawn onto the broadcast team because he'd retired; it wasn't until the Panthers selected Jarrett that I realized he was still an active player. By the way, does anyone other than me think it's odd that fully one-third of Carolina's WR corps went to USC?

· On that note, it's a shame the Panthers didn't go with Jarrett's teammate instead and end up with two wide receivers named Steve Smith, thereby blowing up literally thousands of fantasy drafts come August.

· The other name I really liked from Day 1 was the Saints' third-round pick of Kent State cornerback Usama Young. I wait with giddy anticipation for the horrendous silence that ensues after the first time Young nails the ball carrier on a kick return or something and one of the booth announcers yells, "Usama just blew that guy up!" Good times.

Soon to repeat this pose many times wearing black and blue silver.

· And of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Bulldogs' tally from Day One, which is of course the only thing as important as the Redskins' solitary moment of glory. Only two Dawgs were taken, both in the third round -- Charles Johnson to the Raiders Panthers, Quentin Moses to the Panthers Raiders; kind of disappointing for them, I suppose, but let's not forget that Hines Ward didn't get taken until the third round, either, and nobody's exactly shedding tears over how his life turned out. Ex-Dawgs have a pretty good reputation for being important contributors at the next level regardless of where they're picked, so good luck to those two guys.

(UPDATE: And in the fourth round, TE Martrez Milner went to the Falcons, and thus has the tradition of the Falcons avoiding UGA products like the plague apparently been ended. Is it just me or was Milner far and away at his best when fellow current Falcon D.J. Shockley was throwing to him? Just asking.)

· Finally, did anyone else see the Under Armour ad featuring Steve Spurrier (and no hard feelings if you didn't, they only aired it like 5,347 times)? The first version of the ad they aired had Spurrier talking on the phone with some unseen guy about (I'm assuming) some NFL prospect, and he ended this call by signing off with "Yeah, click-clack." And I'm sitting there thinking, What the fuck? A few airings later, they were showing a shortened version of the ad that omitted the "click-clack" part, and I can only assume that somebody said, "Yeah, that 'click-clack' signoff sounds pretty stupid, let's go with the edited version from here on out." I'm still completely in the dark as to what "click-clack" refers to, anyway; if anyone has any idea, please enlighten me in the comments.

Saturday, April 28

Suck it, Florida!

The entire world of college athletics owes the University of Georgia, and more specifically the UGA gymnastics team, a hearty thanks today. The Gym Dawgs blew away the rest of the field to claim their third straight national title last night in Salt Lake City, and in doing so relegated the Florida team -- who had been #1 for most of the year -- to third place. Yes, Virginia, somebody has finally kept Florida from winning a national championship in something.

Mayor King at Dawgsports has a full rundown of just how badly Georgia beat everybody else. He says "red-headed stepchild"; my own assessment runs more along the lines of "rented mule," but we'll compromise and say "rented stepchild." Deal?

The guys at EDSBS, not surprisingly, have nothing to say about this. Complete radio silence since yesterday afternoon. That's right, pansies -- when you're ready to come take your lumps, I'll be waiting.

Congratulations, Gym Dawgs. We'll be rooting for a four-peat (quadrupeat?) next year.

Friday, April 27

Friday Random Ten: The H is O.

So a bunch of us at work were laughing over the Will Ferrell "Landlord" video that went up on the Web last week, and we got to talking about our favorite Ferrell sketches from "Saturday Night Live." I am of the opinion that SNL's "Celebrity Jeopardy" series is one of the funniest things put on any TV network anywhere ever, but there's a somewhat lesser-known -- or at least lesser-talked-about -- sketch featuring Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller that never fails to make me laugh out loud. Herewith, I bring you "The H is O."

You know, I think my favorite part of this video -- besides the thought of Stiller's character believing that the height of manly coolness is to have "Glenn Frey's stank" all over him -- is the interaction between the three guys at the bar. Which, as anyone who has ever hung out with a group of 20-/30-something guys can tell you, is scarily accurate.

Anyway . . . here's the Ten:

1. New Order, "Krafty" (DJ Dan dub remix)
2. Thievery Corporation, "Incident at Gate 7"
3. The Clash, "This Is Radio Clash"
4. Nine Inch Nails, "Head Like a Hole"
5. Fatboy Slim, "Next to Nothing"
6. The Clash, "Clash City Rockers"
7. The Strokes, "The Modern Age"
8. The Strokes, "Trying Your Luck"
9. James Brown, "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine)"
10. Wu-Tang Clan, "Tearz"

Your Ten, and any particularly memorable Will Ferrell sketches, in the comments.

Monday, April 23

Separated At Birth goes geopolitical.

Well, the ol' color scheme has gone back to normal. But because it would be pretty lame to waste a whole post informing the world of a color reversion, here's a very special French presidential election edition of Separated At Birth.

French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and former Kid in the Hall Kevin McDonald.

Sarkozy's main rival, Ségolène Royal, and "Being John Malkovich" actress Catherine Keener.

U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney and "Love Connection" host Chuck Woolery.

Disgraced Durham prosecutor Mike Nifong and UGA president Michael Adams.

Florida Marlins pitching ace Dontrelle Willis and former Georgia Bulldogs quarterbacking ace D.J. Shockley.

Friday, April 20

Hokie hi.

No, you're not on PCP -- this blog's color scheme has changed for the next few days so as to participate in the "Maroon and Orange Effect." The entire country has been invited to join this and pay tribute in a symbolic way to the kids at Virginia Tech, both those who were killed on Monday and those who survived and are soldiering on.

Brian at MGoBlog passed along info on how you can slather your own blog with Virginia Tech colors: the hexadecimal codes are #660000 (maroon) and #FF6600 (orange). I hesitate to give you any more instruction than that, because what I know about HTML can just about be squeezed into a thimble, but I'm sure there are qualified Internet professionals who can tell you how to fine-tune this if you're so inclined.

I'm sure that even my parents, both proud University of Virginia graduates, are shouting "Hokie, Hokie, Hokie hi" today.

Rock over London, rock on Blacksburg.

Friday Random Ten: If you see your mom this weekend, will you be sure and tell her . . . SABAN! SABAN! SABAN! SABAN!

Who's got two index fingers and wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire? This guy.

Yes, I know I already made that joke during the online chat for "EDSBS Live," but I'm making it again because I'll be heading to Tuscaloosa tomorrow to tailgate with some of the guys from Roll Bama Roll before the annual A-Day Game. Make that the Golden Flake A-Day Game. (Does G-Day have a corporate sponsor yet? If not, I say we go after Delta first, and then the Cheetah if that doesn't pan out.)

So this whole tailgating-before-the-spring-game thing is catching on. But more importantly, this may give me an opportunity to finally meet the infamous Nick Saban. The day just isn't going to be complete until I get him to call me an asshole. (Or until I plant a big sloppy wet one right on his face -- one or the other.)

But that's for tomorrow . . . for today, the Ten:

1. G. Love and Special Sauce, "Cold Beverage"
2. The Young Fresh Fellows, "Picture Book"
3. Underworld, "New Train" (Live at Benicassim)
4. Pet Shop Boys, "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk"
5. Folk Implosion, "Natural One"
6. DJ Shadow, "Midnight in a Perfect World" (Gab mix)
7. A Tribe Called Quest, "Crew"
8. The Beastie Boys, "Brass Monkey"
9. Naughty By Nature, "Hip Hop Hooray"
10. Pet Shop Boys, "The Sound of the Atom Splitting"

Your own Random Ten, and where you'd kiss Nick Saban if given the chance, in the comments.

Tuesday, April 17

Humpday Mystery Meat.

Did you guys just read the word "hump" and "meat" in the same sentence and giggle like five-year-olds? You immature little bastards! Don't worry, so did I.

· First of all I owe a heartfelt "thank you" to Orson from EDSBS and Peter from Burnt Orange Nation, who allowed me to have 90 of the funnest minutes I've had all month by participating in this week's EDSBS Live broadcast. We talked some Georgia football and some Bloggerpalooza, and then I got to answer their four weekly questions as follows:

1. After watching spring practice, who's your sleeper player of the season? Sophomore wideout Kris Durham. Didn't get much thrown his way in '06 but blew up like the Godfather on G-Day, catching six passes for 137 yards and two TDs. "Catching" being an important word here, given that many of our receivers spent much of last season looking like they might not be able to catch a pass from Brett Favre in the back seat of a Ford Focus. Durham will be the fastest white man on the field whenever he plays this fall.

Yeah, I know that's like saying the slimmest offensive guard. Just go with me here.

2. Name an incoming freshman or early enrolee who may help your team. Redshirt freshman RB Knowshon Moreno (11 carries, 68 yards, two TDs in the spring game). Having him, Kregg Lumpkin, fullback Brannan Southerland and potentially Thomas Brown in the backfield is a salivation-inducing prospect.

3. Did you tailgate the spring game? Yes, and since "Oscar-winning screenwriter" and "Angelina Jolie's babydaddy" are looking less and less likely with each passing day, I'm counting on "spring-game tailgating pioneer" to be the avenue through which I make my mark on history. I didn't invent it, of course, but maybe instead of being the Karl Benz of spring-game tailgating, I can be the Henry Ford -- the one who brought it triumphantly into the mainstream. (Without all the anti-Semitism, of course.)

4. Name a news anchor or reporter you'd bang. Well, the answer to this one was always going to be Melissa Theuriau, but let me give a shout-out to the hottest American news anchor and a woman who'd make a solid #2 in any ridiculously-hot-newsperson rotation, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer. Long before he was denigrating Rutgers basketball players, Don Imus made disparaging comments about Brewer's appearance when she was the news reader on his show, which should've been a sign right there that he was losing his marbles. This is what qualifies as a "skank" to the I-Man?

Might be time to follow Mel Gibson and Kramer into rehab, Don.

· On the subject of ridiculously hot women, I have a bone to pick with Playboy. In this month's issue -- the one that has conflicted 20-something men everywhere by forcing them to ponder Anna Nicole Smith's mortality even whilst ogling her enthusiastically naked Zaftigness -- Playboy features "Girls of Conference USA," so of course I was curious as to how many UAB students had found their way into the magazine. The final tally? Out of 37 coeds chosen to grace the magazine, only one was from UAB. Not cool, Hefner! This blatant show of disrespect for Blazer Nation has not gone unnoticed -- you're on my On Notice board. Good luck getting off this train.

· If you're wondering who the hell "Debbie Schlussel" is up there, she's a right-wing columnist/commentator who makes Ann Coulter look like Oprah. Exhibits A and B can be found here and here -- you really have to take in the entire thing, including Schlussel's hysterical ALL CAPS RESPONSES! to her opponents in the comments threads, to see just how wildly she lets her racist freak flag fly as she attempts to somehow pin the Virginia Tech shooting rampage on a Muslim. Simply breathtaking.

· Runner-up in the "How Big an Asshole Can I Make of Myself in the Wake of This Tragedy?" is National Review's John Derbyshire, who had the mind-blowing gall to write this:

As NRO's designated chickenhawk, let me be the one to ask: Where was the spirit of self-defense here? Setting aside the ludicrous campus ban on licensed conceals, why didn't anyone rush the guy? It's not like this was Rambo, hosing the place down with automatic weapons. He had two handguns for goodness' sake -- one of them reportedly a .22.

At the very least, count the shots and jump him reloading or changing hands. Better yet, just jump him.

Yeah, just jump him! What, you're too big a pussy to run headlong at a guy mowing people down with a semiautomatic?

Derbyshire goes on to ask: "Didn't the heroes of Flight 93 teach us anything?" I'll let Wonkette provide the answer to that one.

Yes: if you bravely fight back you will all die anyway.

Look for this and other essays, including "I Totally Could've Taken David Koresh" and "Why Didn't Some Jewish Person Just Kick Hitler in the Neck?", in the forthcoming collection If I Did It: The Hypothetical Heroism of John Derbyshire, due out this summer from Regnery Publishing.

· Fortunately, not everyone was in such a hurry to be a complete asshole. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine basically said something similar to what I did yesterday, only a lot more succinctly (of course), which is appreciated.

· Finally, I'm way overdue with this, but here's a link to the blog started by Angela, one of my best friends from high school. Longtime readers may remember her from me singling her out as the happiest-looking person from our 10th high-school reunion a year and a half ago, and her blog is every bit in keeping with that characterization. I'm sure she'd blush and deny it if anyone said she had it all figured out, but it sure seems like she's got it more figured out than most of us.

· Enough seriousness or seriousness-like content? Yeah, you're probably right. Here, watch this shit.

Back into my comfort zone.

Not to sound flip in light of yesterday's events, but after a week of issues ranging from the serious (campus massacres, bogus rape charges, troop surges) to the seriously overdone (Don fricking Imus), it's going to be really nice to be able to talk football again. Which I will be doing tonight on "EDSBS Live," the Internet radio program started by Every Day Should Be Saturday and Burnt Orange Nation.

The show gets started at 7:30 Eastern/6:30 Central; I'll be on around 8:17/7:15, talking about Georgia football, Bloggerpalooza, Darryl Strawberry, the long ball, no big whoop. All with the unmistakable flavor of my sparkling wit, of course. You can listen here.

With any luck I'll refrain from doing anything that would get Orson and Peter kicked off the Internets or move Neal Boortz to come rushing to my defense.

Monday, April 16

When my wants trump your life.

Well, how much more tragic can it get? You always think you've seen the worst you can possibly see -- we thought we saw it at Austin; we thought we saw it at San Ysidro; we thought we saw it at Killeen; given the ages of the people involved, we thought we saw it at Littleton. But there's always someone waiting around the corner to do worse, and he accomplished it today. I don't know where this fellow is now; all I can say is I'm glad it's God, and not me, who is saddled with the responsibility of being the sole arbiter of whether people go to Heaven or Hell, because if it was left up to me, I don't think this fellow would be very happy with where I put him.

So why did he do it? Why does anybody do anything like this? That may be a futile question to ask, since even if we knew the answer, we probably wouldn't be able to do anything about it. But it seems to me that any murder, any act of violence, comes down to one thing: selfishness.

Because nobody's yet been able to come up with a better explanation, let's assume the most popular early rumors are true and this guy was pissed off about being dumped by a girlfriend. If that's the case, what he basically did was assume that his pain was so important that it gave him the right to do whatever he wanted to whomever he wanted. He placed a higher priority on his pain than on anyone else's life, and so to relieve that pain, or at least make sure it was shared with others, he killed 32 people.

Why does a carjacker kill somebody? Because he wants a car, and the driver is merely an obstacle to him getting it; his want for the car is more important than that driver's life. Why does an abusive husband kill his wife? Because he wants to be in control, he wants to snap his wife in line, and that want to be in control is more important than his spouse's life. Why does a suicide bomber walk into a café with dynamite strapped to his waist? Because he's angry about some political issue or conflict that isn't going his way, and he thinks that getting his way is more important than the lives of dozens of people he's never even met long enough to be able to judge them (assuming it was his place to judge them at all).

It's selfishness. We get to the point of killing when we believe that what we want is so important it gives us the right to take it out on whomever we choose. Who the hell do we think we are?

I use the word "we" on purpose here, because I've seen a lot of selfishness today, long after the gunman did what he should have done from the start and put a bullet in his own head. I've seen people go from hearing about the news straight to exploiting it for their own purposes, without so much as a rolling stop in between to actually acknowledge the tragedy of anyone dying at all.

The most popular thread at Free Republic went all of seven replies before someone suggested the shooter was a Muslim; other threads were devoted solely to blaming gun-control laws or tut-tutting liberals for not arming themselves more heavily. Instapundit's first post at least made a terse reference to the magnitude of the tragedy before suggesting that Virginia Tech's gun restrictions were partially at fault; the same cannot be said of the perpetually execrable Michelle Malkin, who couldn't even be bothered to say "how awful" or "pray for the victims" before starting in with the NRA talking points. Not to be outdone, Democratic Underground -- in keeping with its official policy of never taking an opportunity to be the bigger man when there's an equal opportunity to be embarrassing -- started right in with declarations that this proved we need stricter gun laws, comparing it to the Iraq war, and coming up with yet more inane conspiracy theories.

There are bodies that haven't even cooled off yet and we're already exploiting this to inflame the gun-control debate again, to try and beat the other side over the head with accusations that they caused the deaths of 32 college kids and they don't care about people's lives. Some people can't even acknowledge the tragedy of the deaths themselves before starting right in with the political assault. And it's selfishness all over again -- not nearly as severe as the kind that drives people to kill, but selfishness all the same. My political point is more important than your life. I could take five seconds to mourn your death and pray for your family . . . but sorry, I've got more important things to do right now.

Look, I know I'm about as political a person as has ever walked on this earth. As I said in a comments thread on another blog this afternoon, I've even analyzed the political implications of my choice of breakfast cereals at some point in my life. But even I'm disgusted by this. Is this the face we want to present to the rest of society? Or to God? The killer placed his wants ahead of the lives of several dozen people; do we really want to emulate that in any way, shape, or form?

All I'm asking is that we spend 24 hours to actually pray, to ponder how we can keep from being part of this, to think about all the times we've committed acts of physical or even emotional violence out of selfishness -- and to make a pact with ourselves that next time we'll pay a little more attention to that voice of conscience inside our heads asking us what that violence is going to accomplish. Twenty-four hours to, for crying out loud, ponder the victims as people and not as potential tools for demonizing someone we don't agree with. There will be plenty of opportunity later on for arguing over the political issues, and plenty of people lining up to do it. Do you really need to join that queue?

I realize I'm not blameless here. I know that I've engaged in exactly the kind of behavior I'm decrying here in the past. But what if I just stopped doing that? What if we all did that? Just put someone else ahead of ourselves for a change? Do you think that maybe if this gunman had done that this morning, we wouldn't even be talking about this right now?

I don't know exactly what to say here . . .

Chief: Gunman kills at least 21 at Virginia Tech

· NEW: Police chief says at least 22 people are dead, including gunman
· NEW: Attacks mark deadliest school shooting in U.S. history
· Officials tell AP that more than 20 people were wounded
· Student describes situation as "mayhem"; says 2 students jumped from window

(CNN) -- A lone gunman is dead after police said he killed at least 21 people Monday during twin shootings on the Virginia Tech campus -- the worst school shooting incident in U.S. history.

"Some victims were shot in a classroom," university police Chief Wendell Flinchum said during a news conference in Blacksburg.

Police believe there was only one gunman, Flinchum said.

"Today the university was struck with a tragedy that we consider of monumental proportions," said university President Charles Steger. "The university is shocked and indeed horrified."

The shootings mark the deadliest school shooting incident in U.S. history, topping attacks at Columbine High School in 1999 and at the University of Texas in 1966.

The Associated Press quoted officials saying more than 20 people were wounded. A hospital spokeswoman told AP that 17 Virginia Tech students were being treated for gunshot wounds and other injuries.

As some of y'all know, both my parents went to the University of Virginia, but I've got numerous relatives on both sides of the family who are Virginia Tech grads, and as a child I lived right down the road from Blacksburg. I can remember numerous trips with my dad down Peppers Ferry Boulevard to Montgomery Regional Hospital or the VT campus.

Obviously I don't have as close a connection with the town or the campus as a lot of people do, but still, it's kind of chilling to see places where you distinctly remember being and imagining dozens of people getting killed there. Please, please pray for the victims and for the whole community, because there's no telling how long it's going to take them to recover from something like this.

Friday, April 13

Neal Boortz, upstanding libertarian.

It's not easy being green . . . it is, however, slightly easier being a total douche.

I was kind of hoping I'd be able to make my Wednesday post on the Don Imus affair the last thing I'd have to say on this subject, but so-called libertarian radio host Neal Boortz wrote a screed on the topic so ridiculous and ill-thought-out that I couldn't let it go.

I enjoy ripping Boortz because Josh likes him, and I like fucking with Josh every bit as much as he likes fucking with me. But I also enjoy ripping Boortz because I believe him to be about as phony a "libertarian" as there is, for reasons I've probably delved deeply into on this site or at my old blog. And Boortz's piece on Imus was so head-slappingly dumb, I think, that it deserves a dismantling every bit as comprehensive as I always used to give Ann Coulter on that blog. So in the spirit of Ann Coulter is a Lousy Writer and She Isn't Even That Hot, here's what may be just the first of many installments of Neal Boortz, So-Called Libertarian, Doesn't Know What the Hell He's Talking About. Or NBSCLDKWHHTA, if you'd rather.

Well, another Boortz prediction down the tubes. Yesterday I said that CBS would fire Don Imus after his show today. Well, they didn't wait. Couldn't stand up to the pressure. The [sic] fired him yesterday afternoon.

When the history of this whole affair is written we'll see that the biggest mistake Imus made, other than uttering his ridiculous comment in the first place, was to add to Al Sharpton's aura of legitimacy by groveling before him on his radio show. Sharpton is a race hustler. That's it. One issue ... race .. and exploiting the sense of black victimization for his personal aggrandizement.

Well, I'm curious as to Boortz's stance on just exactly how victimized African-Americans in this country are permitted to feel. But because I'm a nice guy, I'll even give him a pass and stipulate to every criticism Boortz makes of Sharpton.

I absolutely believe that Al Sharpton is a man with blood on his hands. His role in instigating racial violence in the Freddie's Fashion Mart incident and the Crown Heights riots has been largely ignored by the media. So here we have the spectacle of the management of CBS falling to their knees to lick the boots of a man who's [sic] words very well may have helped to send innocent men to their graves. You're really looking good, CBS.

OK, now's where I have to stop Boortz in his faux-libertarian tracks. Has anyone gotten a hold of the letters of dismissal issued to Imus by MSNBC or CBS? I haven't seen them myself, but I'll make you a bet: Al Sharpton's signature does not appear anywhere on them. In the end, I would also be willing to bet that the size of the shit either one of those networks give about Al Sharpton's opinion is relatively tiny. Here's whom they do care about: advertisers. Advertisers like American Express, Staples, and Procter & Gamble, just to name a few. These companies yanked their advertising because they didn't want the public to perceive any association between them and what Imus said.

If you don't think these advertisers, not Sharpton, were the ones really driving Imus's firing, consider that MSNBC's initial punishment for Imus was merely a two-week suspension. It was only after the advertisers started dropping out that they pulled his show. CBS's internal deliberations aren't quite as clear, but they didn't fire Imus until the advertisers started bolting, either.

So I'm curious: What exactly is Neal's prescribed remedy for this? Force MSNBC and CBS to put Imus back on the air? Force all those corporations to reinstate their sponsorship? My goodness, Neal, that doesn't sound very libertarian to me. Blame Reverend Al all you want, but in the end this was a market decision: The market, for whatever reason, decided they didn't have any use for Imus anymore, and now he's gone. Even Fred Barnes and Mort Kondracke, those noted left-wing pinkos on Fox News, have managed to grasp this.

That makes a nice little segue into this next bit of nonsense:

This is only the beginning. Sure, Imus is a liberal.

Mmm-hmm, and what's Boortz's proof of this?

You can measure the depth of his vapidity through his endorsement of John Kerry for president.

Yes, Imus did endorse Kerry in 2004. So did noted far-left commie sympathizers such as Andrew Sullivan, Lee Iacocca, former New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith, Dwight D. Eisenhower's son John, and former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Shalikashvili. It should not escape your attention that Imus also endorsed far-left Texas Gov. George W. Bush for president in 2000, and has vocally backed the equally liberal John McCain for 2008.

Some of you have asked how in the world I can say that this is the beginning of an all-out push to damage or destroy conservative talk radio when it was a liberal who bit the dust. Simple. Imus was sacrificed. A "proof of concept" exercise, if you will. Now the left knows that race hustler Al Sharpton can move large corporate mountains with his racially charged dialogue ... so it's time to use him to go after the real nemesis -- talk radio.

. . . Aaaand that's the part where Boortz snatches up Occam's Razor, dashes it to the ground, and breaks it into a million tiny pieces. Seriously, can any of y'all explain this theory to me? Boortz portrays Imus, who isn't actually a liberal, as a liberal because then it will fit better into his theory about liberal interest groups targeting . . . conservatives?

Sharpton is feeling very impressed with himself, I'm sure. Yesterday he told an anxiously awaiting media that; "It is our feeling that this is only the beginning. We must have a broad discussion on what is permitted and not permitted in terms of the airwaves."

Yup .. you heard him. "What is permitted in terms of the airwaves." Big Al is just the man to decide. Somewhere soon Sharpton will sit down with some cronies to review the talk radio landscape to figure out who needs to be the next to go. In the meantime he'll give some lip service to the cause of cleaning up rap lyrics, but know this ... talk radio is the target. Conservative talk radio. Liberals can't succeed at the medium ... so it must be destroyed.

Whoo! Close your eyes and feel the melodrama!

The thing is, I actually agree with Boortz that Sharpton's statement was a dumb one, and that nobody should be appointing themselves high arbiter of "what is permitted" and what isn't in terms of free speech. But Boortz is so busy wetting his drawers over fanciful conspiracy theories that he has once again forgotten (or conveniently ignored) one thing: Sharpton, by his race-baiting lonesome, doesn't have the power to fire anybody. All he has the power to do is pressure advertisers -- the money men -- and then hope that they cave. Which is not even remotely different from what guys like, say, Bill Donohue do every time one of those secular Hollywood Jews comes up with something he doesn't like. (Yet, strangely, you hardly ever hear Boortz talking about what a pernicious danger Donohue is to our precious freedoms. Wonder why that is?)

The far left has its own ways of trying to squeeze out people they don't agree with; the far right has plenty of theirs. And maybe that sucks, but as long as the government isn't getting involved, it ain't censorship. As I've said before, it's actually quite a bit closer to that capitalism thing I thought Boortz was such a big fan of.

Silver lining? I think there well might be. Perhaps hundreds of thousands of people -- maybe much more -- are going to be tuning in to their local talk stations to see if the situation is really as hideous as Sharpton and his sycophants allege. Leftist websites are going to drive even more people our way. What will these people hear? They'll hear logical and fact-based arguments against the anti-individual, anti-liberty cult of liberalism. They'll hear ideas and concepts presented that they haven't previously been exposed. They'll hear information about Democrat schemes and dreams in Washington that will make their blood curdle.

OK, I kind of started to doze off here, sorry.

Here's just one example: Read the mainstream newspapers and listen to liberal talking heads on television and you'll soon generate a burning hatred of those evil people who constitute the mysterious "richest Americans." Listen to talk radio and you'll soon learn that a huge percentage of these people vilified for their income levels are actually the small businessmen and women of America .. and that they are considered to be rich because all of their business as well as personal income is reported on their personal income tax returns. You'll learn that these people -- the people targeted for huge tax increases by the left -- actually provide between 70% and 80% of all jobs in America ... perhaps your job. And then you're going to start wondering what a tax increase might do to them ... and to the people who work for them.

When one of those mean nasty liberals actually proposes an income-tax increase, one of y'all be sure to let me know. (I'm really touched, by the way, for Boortz's concern for "the people who work for them.")

This, of course, is not healthy for liberals. There [sic] recourse is to shut down these channels of dangerous information. Sharpton is showing them the way.

Just a few more thoughts .... I want to make sure to give Sharpton and his goons as much to go over as possible.

You would have thought that "Rev." Sharpton and Imus would have gotten along famously! After all, they have the same hairdresser. (Ohhhhh. That's not a racist statement, is it? I mean ... after all ... one of them is black and one of them is white.)

I see that Obama had to chime in and call for Imus to be fired. A little late to the party, weren't you Barack? I guess he just couldn't sit back and watch that fool Sharpton suck all of the oxygen out Barackobamamania.

Why is Boortz suddenly dragging Obama into this? As much effort as conservatives have undertaken to make it look like Obama and Sharpton hate each other, didn't you think Neal would be sitting back there shouting "Go, Barack, go"?

Rutgers Coach Vivian Stringer says it's time to "go forward and let the healing process begin." Healing process? What healing process? I'm not buying any of this nonsense that the Rutgers woman's basketball team was egregiously hurt by Imus' comments.

I hope none of you have missed the industrial-strength irony here: Neal Boortz, self-proclaimed champion of the individual, the guy who doesn't want anyone in the government telling you what to do, is now presuming to tell the Rutgers basketball players how they should feel about being called "nappy-headed hos."

Tennessee wins the championship and Rutgers gets all the publicity. It wasn't the Tennessee girl [sic] that were allowed to sit before the national TV cameras a few days ago. And how many of you can name the Tennessee coach?

"That were allowed to sit." Christ. Yes, Neal, I'm sure that the Tennessee players are all sitting around thinking, "Man, those lucky Rutgers players got to be insulted and degraded on national radio, and all we got was this stupid-ass national-championship trophy." (By the way, Tennessee's coach's name is Pat Summitt. And I didn't even have to Google that!)

Let's face it .. the only people really, genuinely hurt in this episode are those connected with the Imus show who are now going to lose their jobs. Maybe those were the people Stringer was talking about with here [sic] silly "let the healing begin" comment. (Uh oh. Stringer is black ... I think ... and I just called her comment "silly." Do you think I should resign?)

Well, you managed to stop short of calling her a "ho," Neal, so I guess not. But may I officially call for a voluntary moratorium on this practice of people calling attention to how controversial or scandalous they are in their own writing? This is almost as bad as laughing at your own jokes in print. Here's a rule of thumb, Neal and whoever else might be listening: If you have to set aside a snarky parenthetical to drive home how funny/scandalous something you just said was, it probably wasn't that funny/scandalous.

So anyway to recap, Boortz's three main points are: 1) Corporations should be left to do whatever they want, unless it's withdrawing advertising from prominent broadcasters who are proven to be complete assholes, in which case they should be FORCED to continue publicly supporting complete assholes nobody likes; 2) Taking down a "liberal" was the first part of Al Sharpton's fiendish plan to take down . . . uh, conservatives (and steal your precious bodily fluids, or something); and 3) The Rutgers basketball team should just shut up and stop being offended, because I said so. Neal Boortz, ladies and gentlemen. Book him for your child's birthday party today!

Seriously, if this guy's a libertarian, I'm a fucking Rutgers women's basketball player. But Boortz did accomplish something very clever with this little rant, as rambling and flimsy as it was: Did you notice how he took a situation where a group of unassuming college girls were debased on national radio and managed to turn right-wing talk-radio hosts into the victims? Kinda hypocritical from someone who slags off the "victimization" complex of blacks and nearly every other minority group, but then again, hypocrisy is hardly virgin territory for our man Boortz. Again, I think a much bigger deal is being made out of this Imus thing than it probably merits, but it's funny how Boortz starts in on a rant that outwardly shares that view -- but then proceeds to make an even bigger deal of it just so that he can push his Can't sleep, liberals will eat me conspiracy theories.

So much irony I can hardly stand it! But hey, it's the weekend.

(Hat tip: Andrew Sullivan.)

Friday Random Ten: Motorin'!

Yes, I know I flaked on the Random Ten last week. I just didn't think anybody would call me on it (but somebody did). Look, it was Good Friday -- I didn't think it was appropriate to put up a songlist that, given my music collection, could've conceivably included such reverential, respectful tunes as "The Humpty Dance," "Profesor Booty," and "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthin Ta Fuck Wit."

Or maybe I just forgot . . . yeah, that's pretty much what happened. Anyway.

1. 3rd Bass, "Microphone Techniques"
2. Common, "The Food"
3. Fatboy Slim, "Next to Nothing"
4. Pet Shop Boys, "Break 4 Love"
5. The Chemical Brothers, "Marvo Ging"
6. Elton John, "I'm Still Standing"
7. U2, "Mothers of the Disappeared"
8. Pet Shop Boys, "Party Song"
9. Iggy Pop, "Nightclubbing"
10. The Police, "Message in a Bottle"

And a bonus 11th (this is literally what came up) . . .


. . . and just for poops and giggles, the scene that re-made this song famous back in 1997, quite possibly the most uncomfortable scene in any mainstream movie released in the last decade:

Your own Random Ten in the comments, por favor.

Wednesday, April 11

Imus be dreaming.

Let me get this straight -- this is the guy who's making fun of other people's hair?

Allow me to do something completely out of character here and take the contrarian position: What if we actually are making a bigger deal about this Don Imus/nappy-headed hos thing than we need to be?

Before I get into this, a few disclaimers:

1. I do think Imus is an asshole. Yes, being an asshole is kind of his shtick, but equating a group of young women whose only crime was being really good at basketball to prostitutes goes even beyond the level of assholishness typically granted to talk-radio hosts as a matter of course.

2. NBC or MSNBC or whoever should have the right to fire him for this if they want. Anytime some controversial commentator gets the boot from some network, whether it's Imus or Dr. Laura or Michael Savage, there are the usual cries of censorship and blah blah blah, but the First Amendment only pertains to the government silencing people. When the government clamps down on somebody because they think that guy's criticisms are cutting too close to the people in power, that's censorship; when a corporation clamps down on somebody because that person has become a hot potato no sane advertiser wants to touch, that's capitalism.

Now then.

Yes, Imus is an asshole, and yes, he's pretty much asked for whatever misfortune has come his way. But now that he's been booted from MSNBC, so what? Have we really come that much closer to eradicating racism in this country? Is anything he said that much worse than the filth that people like Savage and Sean Hannity spew with relative impunity on a regular basis?

In case your NetNanny has blocked access to this site for the last seven months, let me remind you that I'm the guy who got so pissed about a football game that he deliberately destroyed a toaster, so it stands to reason that I've screamed stuff worse than "nappy-headed hos," both in the privacy of my own home and in public stadiums, at various athletes. None of it had the racially charged element of "nappy-headed hos," mind you, but be that as it may, when all is said and done, I am kind of an asshole. Are any of you going to criticize me as hard as Imus?

I completely agree with ACG that "But look at all the other people who say that!" is no excuse for someone's pointlessly abusive behavior. Imus deserves to be criticized irrespective of what any gangsta rapper out there says. But does Imus's transgression mean that those rappers should be immune from criticism? I don't think it does. My point, which I may not be making very well, is this: The more we put on the blinders and make this only about one asshole radio host, the more we miss out on a chance to have a real dialogue about how racism, sexism, and whatever else are spoken of in this country. "There are a lot of people doing much worse stuff than Don Imus" may not be an excuse for what Imus did, but neither is "Don Imus is an asshole" an excuse for the rest of us to ignore everything else that's still wrong with our society -- or for us to wear ourselves out patting ourselves on the back just because we managed to get one Neanderthal douchebag kicked off the air.

I come here neither to bury Don Imus nor to praise him; I come to ask for some perspective. Let's criticize Imus to the extent that any average schmoe on the street has the right to criticize someone, but beyond that, I leave it to the Rutgers basketball players and their parents. In the end, I'm less worried about the Imuses of the world, whose racism/misogyny just can't help but make itself publicly known, than the Congressman who has much more hateful ideas but is smart enough to keep them relatively quiet. Even once the former has been sent off to radio Siberia, the latter will still be there -- and don't kid yourself that they won't.

Sunday, April 8

Thirteen things I learned at Bloggerpalooza '07.

1. This is just a weird time of the year for weather in the South. Last year it was reasonably warm but rained cats and dogs; this year the skies were completely clear but the temperatures barely crept up into the low 40s. By comparison, it was in the 70s the day of the Georgia Tech game last year, otherwise known as the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

2. That said, given the choice between sitting inside a concrete parking garage on a normal day and hanging out on the North Campus quad in the mid-40s, I'll take the quad. We really do have a kickass campus.

3. The best-laid plans of mice and men really do go astray. Trying to avoid the various disasters of last year, I sent my cell-phone number to those who had expressed an interest in coming, and . . . my cell phone promptly died right as I was parking my car.

4. The more really does = the merrier. In spite of the cell-phone screwup, a bunch of people managed to stop by -- altogether we probably had about a dozen people show up for Bloggerpalooza over the course of the morning/afternoon, which by my calculations represents a 300-percent jump from last year.

5. It's also fun when you have a group of Sigma Pis tailgating right next to you and adding to the head count, and one of them has been drinking since 7:30 a.m.

6. Drunks aren't good at climbing trees, yet are hilarious when they try to do so.

7. Paul Westerdawg is a mountain of a man. I'd never met him in person before, and only talked on the phone with him once or twice; unlike me and Kyle, he scrupulously maintains his anonymity on his blog, so neither of us knew what to expect when he showed up. But the dude is like seven feet tall, 350 pounds if he's an ounce, and showed up gnawing on a turkey leg the size of one of Lou Ferrigno's biceps. Right before we packed up and headed over to the game, he filled a Big Gulp cup full of Maker's Mark and shotgunned it. I asked him, "How much Coke was in that cup?" and he replied, all confused like, "Coke?" All I'm saying is, do not fuck with this man.

8. Krispy Kreme donuts are actually fried. I had made a big deal about bringing them, and figured they would be the perfect tailgate treat for someone who had given up fried food for Lent, and then baby sis has to go and explain to me exactly how they're made. Great! Wonderful! I still ate 'em.

9. For all our faults, Georgia's fan base is a devoted bunch. More than 20,000 people (21,407 to be exact, according to David Ching's story in the Ledger-Enquirer) showed up to watch what was basically a glorified practice. Which, at $5 per admission, means more than a hundred grand went to the Hope Haven center for people with developmental disabilities. They also came from a long way: Our tailgate alone had guests from the Atlanta metro area, Birmingham (of course), West Palm Beach, and Roanoke, Virginia.

10. We also collectively know more about Aqua Teen Hunger Force than probably any other fan base out there. Maybe this has a lot to do with Cartoon Network being right down the road in the ATL, and I'm sure Georgia funnels a bunch of grads into that organization, but still, damn.

11. Georgia folks party harder for G-Day than most people do for games that actually matter. You know, I'm thinking of putting that on the T-shirts for next year.

12. Also a good idea for next year: more chairs.

13. And sunscreen.

Seriously, we had a blast. A sun-drenched, booze-soaked, fried-chicken-and/or-donut-eating blast. Thanks to everyone who showed up -- particularly those like Universal Remonster and others who came a long, long way to be there. I don't want to presume to speak for Mayor Kyle here, but I'm definitely planning on doing it again next year.

More on Bloggerpalooza -- including highs and lows from, you know, the actual game -- to come.

Wednesday, April 4

Thursday Mystery Meat.

She's on the market, fellas!

· Britney Spears and Sir Kevin of Federline have finalized their divorce settlement, and K-Fed is getting custody of the two boys for four days out of the week. Think about that, Britney. You're so fucked up that Kevin Federline is technically getting greater custody of your children than you are. Is this starting to sink in yet?

In Brit's defense, I think $25,000 a month in child support is a little extreme. Now, when I first read that, I thought Kevin was going to have to pay her, and I was like, there's no way he's gonna be able to make that on a Domino's Pizza salary. But anyway. Look, I know K-Fed's future earning potential is probably slightly less than the amount I could pluck out of my couch cushions at any given moment, but does he really need 25 large a month to raise those kids? That figures out to $300K a year, and I know plenty of people who've done a bang-up job raising two kids on substantially less than that (my own parents, f'rinstance). All I'm saying is you put too much money in Fed's hands and he's going to get careless, and before you know it he's driving around in a gold-plated Navigator with a PlayStation 3 but the kids have no shoes. Think about it.

Also on the market again, just in time for Scary Movie(s) 5-XXVII.

· Speaking of divorce, but shifting slightly to women who only play airheads in the movies, is it bad that I'm kind of excited about Anna Faris becoming single again?

· Now that the oh noes!! Nancy Pelosi went to Syria!!1!!!1 meme is finally, mercifully losing traction, the right wing has settled on something new: oh noes!! Nancy Pelosi went to Syria and wore a head scarf11!1!!!1 My question is this: If Hillary Clinton gets elected president next fall and the Democrats maintain control of the House, how will you knobs ever find time to launch these kind of smears against both of them?

Audrey Hepburn, Islamonazijihadifascisist appeaser.

· Now here's a political stumper: If Rudy Giuliani is for public funding of abortions, are any of y'all really all that confident that the evangelical right are just going to hold their noses and vote for him anyway?

· Andrew Sullivan also keys us into an apparently sincere editorial in the New York Sun that will hereby be known as The Worst Idea Ever. And yet, I hope they go through with it. Yes, Republicans, please nominate Dick Cheney for president in 2008. Preferably with Tom Tancrazy or Captain Macaca as his running mate.

· The Brushback has released its mock NFL draft for 2007, and the emphasis is definitely on the "mock." To give you a taste, here's his take on Cal running back Marshawn Lynch, whom he predicts will go to the Giants with the 20th overall pick . . .

The worst player in the draft. But Tom Coughlin should be able to coach him up to the second or third worst player before he gets fired in November.

. . . and Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny, who is predicted to go to Denver with the very next pick:

They can pick anybody here because they really don't have any holes. Actually, when they pick this guy they’ll have a hole at linebacker.

Good stuff. I'm actually kind of hoping the draft ends up going exactly like this; it'd make those ridiculous 15-minute waits between picks far more entertaining.

Paul Posluszny, hole.

· Have any of y'all been inundated lately with MySpace friend requests from anonymous chicks who basically just want to post messages on your site advertising their porn site or slutty Webcam or whatever? They're not even doing a particularly good job of it, either -- the first time I got one of these messages, there's this picture of some hot girl in her undies in my "friend request" queue, and I'm like "Hey," but then three or four more showed up with different names but the exact same picture. I mean, I like boobs just as much as the next guy, if not more, but liking boobs hasn't made me completely stupid. Just partially.

Damn! Do we have to take them?

The 15 British sailors captured by Iran have been freed -- just freed, without a skirmish or a full-scale invasion or anything.

Strangely, I have the sense that some people are very disappointed by this.

(Hat tip to Digby.)

Monday, April 2

Bloggerpalooza update.

I've been receiving scattered inquiries about the hopefully-big Bloggerpalooza tailgate for the G-Day spring game this coming Saturday, April 7. The latest information: The game is kicking off a little bit later this year than in previous years -- it's scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday -- so we'll be getting started about 10:30 a.m. Assuming the weather holds up, which seems to think it will, we'll be setting up on the North Campus quad, as close to the front of the Main Library as possible (only about a 5-minute walk from the stadium). Visual aid:

Our fallback position in case of rain, tsunami, or plague of locusts will be the North Campus Parking Deck, a venue with which Bloggerpalooza co-founder Kyle King and I are all too familiar.

Anyway: E-mail me right now, this very instant, at (at) gmail if you plan on attending -- let me know if you have any questions and also what you might be able to contribute to the festivities. If memory serves, we've got fried chicken, beer, Mimosas, and donuts locked down, but if you want to bring anything else, by all means feel free. In particular, you can never have too many chairs or camp tables for stuff like this, so if you've got any of that, bring it on.

Unlike last year, I'll make sure everyone has my cell number so that we can get in touch with each other and hopefully still meet up even if all hell breaks loose. Hope to hear from you soon!

Sunday, April 1

Your so-called liberal media at work.

Yes, I'm cute and I have six grandkids, but that ain't an invitation to f$#! with me.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi takes off this week to lead a bipartisan delegation to Israel and Syria. She's going to meet with the Israeli Knesset and then convey a message from them to the Syrian government regarding the Middle East peace process. The White House, for whatever reason, spoke out against this, saying that they "discourage" members of Congress from going to Syria, period.

The trip was a frequent topic of conversation on CNN's "Late Edition" with Wolf Blitzer this morning. It came up in a segment in which Blitzer talked with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Republican Sen. Kit Bond; it also came up during the show's Sunday-morning talking-head recap, in which they played a clip of presidential counselor Dan Bartlett condemning the trip on ABC's "This Week."

Now, how many times was it pointed out that Pelosi's trip was a bipartisan delegation -- or that the Republicans had already sent their own delegation to Syria? It certainly wasn't mentioned in Dan Bartlett's sound bite, which was played by CNN without any rebuttal. Wolf Blitzer never mentioned it. The story on CNN's own Web site didn't even mention it. The only person who bothered to bring this up at all was Feinstein, who referred to the trip as "bipartisan" on "Late Edition."

Look, I'm not trying to say that Nancy Pelosi should be put on a lofty pedestal where she is invulnerable to any criticism. There are legitimate disagreements (from both the left and the right) with the policies she's pursued in her short time as speaker, and the media have every right (not to mention a responsibility) to air that. But dammit, if you guys are going to criticize her, shouldn't you have to do better than this? So far you've helped propagate a 100-percent-false story in which Pelosi was said to want an upgrade to the equivalent of a commercial airliner to fly her home to her California district (a plane which, it should be pointed out, ranged anywhere from a Boeing 737 to a "jumbo jet," depending on who was flogging the story), and now you're basically sitting back and repeating White House spin verbatim on a trip that, so far as I can see, is hurting precisely nobody. This is the best you've got?

Personally, I think Pelosi has done a pretty respectable job of kicking ass since taking over the speakership in January, a tradition that I hope continues. And I hope the next time she's on Wolf Blitzer's show, she makes him cry.