April 27, 2005


Quick hits...

I got my imported CD of Swagger by Gun today. I think I'll be driving to work tomorrow very fast.

In case any of you missed it, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the world ended in Missouri today because Governor Matt Blount (gratuitious guilt by association link - the son of US Congressman Roy Blount (R-MO), who is deputy majority leader under Tom DeLay) signed into law a bill to reduce Missouri's Medicare expenditures to the lower limit of the federally mandated law. Maybe the editorial page editors will put the phrase "Missouri's Shame" to rest for a couple of weeks now.

Or maybe not, as Missouri executed Donald Jones last night in their shiny, new, never before used execution chamber at Bonne Terre for his 1993 conviction for murdering his grandmother because she refused to give him money for drugs.

In other news, Randi Rhodes was dragged from her studio today, beaten, stripped and stabbed to death in the street by George Bush's jack-booted thugs after running a wildly hilarious audio clip of someone shooting the president. Gosh, this stuff is just so funny.

Gore blasts GOP bid to... oh, who cares?

And in two weeks, when the Senate resumes deliberations on John Bolton's nomination to be UN Ambassador, several people whom Mr. Bolton defeated in a staring contest will be brought forward to testify to his unfitness to represent the interests of the United States before that august body.

Meanwhile in Turtle Bay, Zimbabwe was re-elected to the U.N. Human Rights Commission! Good thing that Mugabe fellow is nothing like mean old Mr. Bolton.

Bill Moyer wannabe David Brancaccio claims he has found the Iraqi made famous for doing his Danial-san impossible to defend against crane move; albeit with a soapbox, a hood and a couple of wires attached for effect. Meanwhile, the Frontline episode celebrating the liberation of Iraq cannot even be found on the drawing board.

When the theocratic takeover of America happens, oh, sometime next month, how much fighting do you think there will be over which Puritan gets to go through Andrew Sullivan's closet?

You want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.

I read somewhere once that the fights in academia are so vicious because there is so little at stake.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005

Is the Pope Still Catholic?

I see Big Media's knowledge of the Roman Catholic Church is comparable to its knowledge of almost any other topic:

American Catholics are responding with support if not great enthusiasm to the selection of Pope Benedict XVI, and with a clear message on his first priority: addressing the issue of sexual abuse of children by priests.

I'm not going to go into it here, but if you read the article, this is what is called push polling. A list is presented of five progressive topics and the participant has to rate them. Jeez. Of course, while I agree that the Pope needs to deal with this, I am afraid it is just a symptom of a much greater problem the church has these days when it comes to manning its bastions and ramparts.

Eighty-one percent of Catholics in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of the pope's election; a quarter call themselves "very enthusiastic" about it.

How can that be? Didn't every Big Media outlet feature dissenting voices as soon as the anouncement was made?

His reputation as a traditionalist may be one reason: The vast majority, 80 percent, think Benedict will work to maintain church traditions — while nearly half would prefer, instead, that he modernize church policies to reflect the attitudes and lifestyles of Catholics today.

There is so much in that last sentence...

1. So, the catechism is just a policy handbook?
2. Whoa! Tradition is a good thing?
3. There seems to be some confusion, theologically speaking, between the sheep and the shepherds, and whom is leading whom.
4. ...reflect the "attitudes and lifestyles" of Catholics today? Attitudes? Lifestyles? (I thought that's what Big Media, Oprah and Dr. Phil were there for.)

Add your own absurdities in the comments. I've had enough.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:37 PM | Comments (1)

April 23, 2005

On the Streets Where I Live

Local kid makes bad. Very bad:

Darrell Jackson, a former prep football star and college recruit, will let a judge decide his punishment - a range from probation to life in prison - when Jackson is sentenced June 9 on five counts of statutory sodomy.

But lest you think Mr. Jackson may be getting a raw deal:

Jackson, a former Webster Groves High School standout and University of Missouri recruit, admitted that he molested a child five times between August 2000, when she was 8, and April last year.

But wait, it gets even worse:

Kendrick told Jackson on Friday to pay attention to his mother, who was in court with him, and to stay out of trouble as he remains at liberty pending sentencing. The judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation by the Board of Probation and Parole.

"Listen to your mother." No doubt these words of wisdom will have a profound effect on the young man. What exactly do you have to do to have bail denied? What could possibly explain this?

Jackson was twice the Post-Dispatch's high school football player of the year.

Oh. Please tell me this isn't why Mr. Jackson is being treated with, no pun intended, kid gloves. This is tragic. The kid was a local star, but he has been doing terrible, despicable things for five years now. I cannot imagine how a judge decides that allowing a confessed repeat child molester back on the streets is a wise move.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:55 PM | Comments (1)

Thoughts On the 2005 NFL Draft

Fifteen minutes (actually fifteen minutes plus another minute or two while Paul Tagliabue strolls up and reads his piece of flash paper that could be burned in a flash if the Feds ever showed up and questioned the antitrust violations inherent in the draft, but I digress) is way, way too much time to give these teams to make fairly obvious choices that they've been preparing for since at least February.

And why is it necessary to give the team making the first pick in the draft 15 more minutes? Jeez, what surprise is suddenly going to be discovered that might introduce more faux drama into an event that is sleep inducing for all but the most diehard NFL fans. Chris Berman was babbling incoherently before even this first "on the clock" period was over.

Ron Turner finally got the great back he never could recruit to Illinois in the person of Cedric Benson.

I enjoyed Carnell Williams comment when asked about being drafted after teammate (and backup) Ronnie Brown, "Well, he won the war, but the battle goes on." Man, this kids got a future on SportsCenter. But why did the Bears give all that money to Thomas Jones?

Given the Vikings problems in past drafts, is it possible, than Mike Tice said something like, "get that USC WR Williams on our next pick," and somebody wrote down, "USC WR Williamson"? Trojans and Gamecocks, there's gotta be another joke there somewhere.

Either Mike Williams is the most overhyped player in the draft or the Detroit Lions will have the best WR corps in the league in 2 or 3 years.

The local papers ahve been predicting the St. Louis Rams would take Jamaal Brown all week. Yeah. Too bad that Smith kid was already taken too.

Chris, we love you. Really, we do. So please don't try any more strained shake, rattle and Rolle verbal shenanigans.

Two words: Matt Jones. What a unbelievable physical freak, 6'6", 242 lbs., 4.3 40. Wouldn't you like to see how he could do in the Olympic Decathalon? Why isn't this kid considered a QB candidate at the pro level? He's as fast as Michael Vick, but bigger, and stronger; and I'd bet he probably throws as accurately. On the other hand, if he's going to be a WR/TE/H-Back, what's not to love. With apologies to Kordell STewart, Matt Jones is the true Slash this league has been waiting for. People are hyping smaller, slower WRs in this draft as future stars who will be dominant. I realize there are WR skills and technique to learn and master, but damn. Matt Jones is at least 3 inches taller, 20 lbs heavier, and faster than every other WR in this draft. Maybe Jack Del Rio will have him take snaps inside the 10 to cause defenses to change radically. If anybody could actually pull off an option attack in the NFL, this kid might be the one. If the Jaguars run the option 4 or 5 times a game, it would force every opponent to spend time and energy worrying about it. Then again, I might try to make him into a free safety if it were up to me. He'd be damn scary back there.

I would have loved to see Matt Jones go to Baltimore. Imagine having to face a 2 TE set with Todd Heap on one side and Matt Jones on the other, Derrick Mason split out and Jamal Lewis in the backfield. But the Ravens will be ok with Mark Clayton. It's taken six years, but Brian Billick may finally be able to reveal himself to be the "offensive genius" he's already professed to be. I wonder if the Rams might have taken Matt Jones, except for the fact that Eric Crouch didn't work out for them and their desperate need for a OT.

Green Bay lucked out with Aaron Rodgers falling so far, if he turns out to be any good. Less han a week ago, Rodgers was considered to be the #1 pick.

Joe Gibbs is starting to realize how bare the cupboard is in Washington. Picking yet another Qb in the first round will give the fans something to call in to the sportstalk radio shows during their 2-1/2 hour commute home after the games at Ral-Jon-FedEx-Snydermegalomania field are over.

Anyone else notice how often the WRs are pushing off in the highlights ESPN is showing of them as they are drafted?

And the second longest first round in history (according to Chris Berman) is thankfully over. Otherwise, very few surprises in the first round and only one minor trade if I remember correctly. Hey, no Illinois players were taken. Hmm..., maybe that's why Ron Turner is once again the Offensive Coordinator for the Chicago Bears after an eight-year hiatus in Champaign, where he went from 0-11 in his first year to a Big 10 championship and the Sugar Bowl and than back down to 1-10.

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:18 PM | Comments (3)

April 22, 2005

Ladies, Start Your Engines

Daughter #1 got her driver's permit today. Alas, not possessing the writing ability to be found in James Lilek's last bit of clipped excess fingernail, I have nothing further to say about it.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005

I Was 70's When 70's Wasn't Cool

Time to lighten' up a bit so here's another 70's music quiz, to help once again dispel the notion that the 70's were a vast musical wasteland. Name the artist and the song title in the comments. As they are guessed, I will change the font color to red, while an asterisk will mean we have a partial answer. Full answers will be below the fold as they are discovered.

And Sweet Jane by Lou Reed closes it out Saturday at 1300 CDT.

Daddy's rifle in my hand felt reassurin'.

I said, "I'm so happy I could die," She said, "Drop dead," then left with another guy.

Then that low down Southern whiskey began to fog my mind...

Under my boots and around my toes, the frost that bit the ground below...

He ain’t sophisticated, nor well-educated, after all the hours he wasted, still he needs time. He needs time, he needs time for livin'. He needs time, for someone just to see him.

We may lose and we may win, though we will never be here again.

I said, "Wait a minute, mister, I didn't even kiss her. Don't want no trouble with you."

I can see the sunset in your eyes, brown and grey and blue besides.

Looking on, she sings the songs. The words she knows, the tunes she hums.

Little girls love to listen to him sing and tell sweet lies.

And all my friends turned out to be insurance salesmen.

Ringing no change in his double-sewn seams in his post-war-babe gloom.

You know that I care what happens to you, and I know that you care for me.

No bullet can stop us now, we neither beg nor we won't bow. Neither can be bought nor sold. We all defend the right, Jah - Jah children must unite.

Some people like to go out dancing, other people they got to work, just watch me now! And there’s even some evil mothers, well they’re gonna tell you that everything is just dirt. Y’know that, women, never really faint, and that villains always blink their eyes, woo!

I kiss her for the first time and then I take her home. I’m invited in for coffee and I give the dog a bone.

I was a high school loser never made it with a lady...

Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light?

Whatever happened to all this season’s losers of the year?

So you think you can love me and leave me to die?

It's breaking my heart you're leaving, baby I'm grieving.

Why are you in such a hurry to be lonely one more night? I know what it means to hide your heart from a long time ago...

Vengeance from the grave kills the people he once saved.

I'm young I know but even so, I know a thing or two I've learned from you.

People stop and stare, I can't see their faces, only the shadows of their eyes. I'm going where the sun keeps shining through the pouring rain.

Daddy's rifle in my hand felt reassurin'. -- Michele nailed it with Neil Young and "Powderfinger."

I said, "I'm so happy I could die," She said, "Drop dead," then left with another guy. -- Michele guessed correctly with Elvis Costello, but the title remained elusive until Kerry came up with "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes."

Then that low down Southern whiskey began to fog my mind... -- Michele named the tune, "Dixie Chicken", and Marc named the band, Little Feat.

Under my boots and around my toes, the frost that bit the ground below... -- Michele also "wasted" her youth listening to Frank Zappa do "Yellow Snow".

He ain’t sophisticated, nor well-educated, after all the hours he wasted, still he needs time. He needs time, he needs time for livin'. He needs time, for someone just to see him. -- Kitekatz comes through with "Rudy" by Supertramp. When I did this almost one year ago, I included the same lyrics. So, pay attention!

We may lose and we may win, though we will never be here again. -- Partial credit to Kevin. It is "Take It Easy", but I was looking for Jackson Browne instead of the Eagles who covered it. Kerry brings up an interesting point about Glenn Frey as a co-writer. I knew that Jackson and the Eagles and a whole bunch of other folks all hung around together during this time, but I had always thought that JB got the song-writing credits until now. Learn something new every day, Incidentally, this same sort of situation happened with another song in this list (fourth from the bottom) that has so far been unidentified, where two artists co-wrote it and then recorded and released it indepedently. In fact, they did it for two songs but only one is listed here. Double bonus credit if you can name them and the songs.

I said, "Wait a minute, mister, I didn't even kiss her. Don't want no trouble with you." -- Full marks to Kevin for "Gimme Three Steps" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I can see the sunset in your eyes, brown and grey and blue besides. -- Michele's on a roll with Peter Frampton singing "Baby I Love Your Way."

Looking on, she sings the songs. The words she knows, the tunes she hums. -- Tanya wins for "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John (and Bernie Taupin).

Little girls love to listen to him sing and tell sweet lies. -- Dr. Weevil knows his stuff, but y'all already knew that. Most of us are more familiar with The New Riders of the Purple Sage, but the original version of "Panama Red" was by Old and In the Way, as Grunter noted. I think I gotta go buy this CD now.

And all my friends turned out to be insurance salesmen. -- Kerry knew this was John Prine and "Illegal Smile." I think that's a good thing.

Ringing no change in his double-sewn seams in his post-war-babe gloom. -- Why does it seem that so few people remember Jethro Tull these days? Fortunately, Kerry does and knew that this was "Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll, Too Young to Die."

You know that I care what happens to you, and I know that you care for me. -- Same thing with Pink Floyd, while Michele hesitatingly guessed who it was, Kerry knew it was Pink Floyd and "Pigs on the Wing, Part 2."

No bullet can stop us now, we neither beg nor we won't bow. Neither can be bought nor sold. We all defend the right, Jah - Jah children must unite. -- Kitekatz comes through again with Bob Marley and the Wailers doing "Jammin'".

Some people like to go out dancing, other people they got to work, just watch me now! And there’s even some evil mothers, well they’re gonna tell you that everything is just dirt. Y’know that, women, never really faint, and that villains always blink their eyes, woo! -- Nash Kato gets the last remaining song with Lou Reed and "Sweet Jane."

I kiss her for the first time and then I take her home. I’m invited in for coffee and I give the dog a bone. -- Michele knows all the cool songs, especially "Cool for Cats" by Squeeze.

I was a high school loser never made it with a lady... -- Kevin wins with "Walk This Way" and Aerosmith.

Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light? -- Kevin's mojo's risin' with "L.A. Woman" by The Doors.

Whatever happened to all this season’s losers of the year? -- Check out your next high school reunion, Michele knew this was "Surrender" by Cheap Trick.

So you think you can love me and leave me to die? -- It's tought to come up with any phrase in this song that doesn't just give it away, as Kevin knew when he wrote "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen.

It's breaking my heart you're leaving, baby I'm grieving. -- Kevin again with Cat Steven's "Wild World." If you're lucky you haven't heard the recent cover by someone who sings flat and wrings all the joy and pleasant melodies from this tune.

Why are you in such a hurry to be lonely one more night? I know what it means to hide your heart from a long time ago... -- Ken Summers knew this was "It Keep's You Runnin'" by the Doobie Brothers. This song was also released concurrently by Carly Simon. They each also had 'You Belong To Me" on "Living on the Fault Line" and "Boys in the Trees" respectively.

Vengeance from the grave kills the people he once saved. -- I knew that Michele would get this one, "Ironman" by Black Sabbath.

I'm young I know but even so, I know a thing or two I've learned from you. -- Ah, teen angst, Michele says "Love Hurts" by Nazareth. Have you ever heard Jim Capaldi's version of this? Don't.

People stop and stare, I can't see their faces, only the shadows of their eyes. I'm going where the sun keeps shining through the pouring rain. -- Michele had the name of the song with "Everbody's Talkin'" followed by kitekatz and Ken Summers, and kitekatz had Harry Nilsson first.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:07 PM | Comments (26)

April 19, 2005

Habemus Papam

I'm not Catholic, heck, I'm not even a Christian as I understand the term, but the early Big Media reviews and the outright hostility and ill will generated by the Angry Left over the elevation of Cardinal Ratzinger to Pope Benedict XVI is stunning and profoundly depressing. What is wrong with these people? I seriously worry about the reeducation camps being just around the corner if the Angry Left ever assumes power. With apologies to Jerry Jeff Walker, it'll be, "Up against the wall red-state mother!"

As to Pope Benedict XVI, I wish him well. He has a difficult job that would tax any man, much less one who is already 78 years old. The most interesting comment I read about his selection today, though I cannot remember where it was, is that a European was selected because Europe is where the fiercest battles for Christianity will be fought in the next decade. Seems about right to me.

DOWNDATE: Listening to Sylvia Pujoli describe Pope Benedict XVI as divisive again this morning on Morning Edition, I began to wonder that had there been a Cardinal with a mean streak of anti-Americanism who favored the ordination of women, gay marriage, abortion on demand, euthanasia, stem cell research, the Kyoto Accords, and confiscatory tax rates; and further if that Cardinal had been elected Pope; would we be hearing that the new Pope might be a divisive figure for all those who suddenly gave up on the church as a hopelessly relativistic institution that fell for anything because they stood for nothing? Or is the infallibility of Big Media on politics less subject to challenge than the infallibility of the Pope on Roman Catholic dogma?

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: And with no apologies to Jacques Chirac, Andrew Sullivan and many others missed an opportunity to keep quiet.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:38 PM | Comments (3)

April 13, 2005

Live From RDU, It's Wednesday Afternoon!

Quick hits while I wile away four hours at Raleigh Durham Airport's not so fabulous C concourse. At least they have WIFI, for a small fee, of course. At least in this concourse.

The most obvious irony that has been missed, as far as I can tell, about John Kerry's charming solicitation of weepy war stories to inflict political harm on the administration (and, necessarily, America) is that he has to go looking for them. Gee, you'd think there was one on every street corner given the press coverage, wouldn't you?

This week's rental car had Sirius Radio. Last month's had XM Radio. Thus far, I much prefer XM to Sirius. Today's highlights: Long May You Run - Neil Young, Pigs - Pink Floyd, Magic - Pilot, West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys, Deacon Blues - Steely Dan, Aja - Steely Dan, and the Theme from Shaft - Isaac Hayes.

Austin Bay notes that Al Qaeda's Iraqi Tet is failing. He attributes the failure mostly to the differeing nature of the War on Terror compared to the defensive war in Vietnam. While this is undoubtedly true, another very important factor is that the determination of what is news is no longer controlled by a handful of men in New York. There is no longer a credible Uncle Walter capable of declaring the war lost, although there are many wannabes who continue to try.

It is too soon to have to spend so much time so close to the University of North Carolina.

Geopolitical Pessimism Haiku:
It's true, as Tears for
Fears sang, "Everybody
Wants to rule the world"

I just got my VHS tapes of Lord Clarke's Civilisation back from a relative after a rather prolonged absence. Expect many casual allusions shamelessly plagiarized from his brilliance to show up in this space in the coming months. And it's finally available on DVD, even if the Philistines at PBS don't know how to spell his name properly. Hey cool, Jacob Bronowski's Ascent of Man is also available on DVD. When I get home and order them, they can assume a place of prominence on my DVD shelf next to Ken Burns' The Civil War, Sister Wendy's The Complete Collection, and Simon Schama's The History of Britain. Alas, the same shelf also contains Carl Sagan's rather unworthy Cosmos -- it couldn't even withstand the passing of twenty years without looking rather silly. And, FWIW, you'll not find any other Ken Burn's DVDs on my shelf either.

Posted by Charles Austin at 04:36 PM | Comments (5)

April 12, 2005

Is There Anything More Tedious and Tendentious...

Than Bill Maher's show on HBO?

DOWNDATE: It hilarious, Bill Maher asks Mario Cuomo if the president shouldn't be careful what he says since he's the president of all of us? Ha ha. So the Left accepts that George W. Bush is, in fact, the president of all of us?

DOUBLE DOWNDATE: Jeez, who picks Bill Maher's clothes? Then again, anyone who takes Arianna Huffington ("Blogger") seriously... but what is Ian McShane doing with this bunch of losers who call the Pope "full of shit" for believing in ..., wait for it ..., Roman Catholicism? The sins of Cardinal Law don't rub off on the Pope. And now Arianna says that the proliferation of AIDS is the Pope's fault for opposing condom distributions, Catholics are all necrophiliacs, and George Bush hasn't been to military funerals -- and people in the audience are clapping (!). Man, what an amazing collection of assholes. This show really is unwatchable for anyone with any respect for people who actually have a shred of belief, much less people who actually have a fervent belief in Christianity.

TRIPLE DOWNDATE: And now Bill Maher shows a statement by John Cornyn with no fewer than six ellipsis to "prove" that Republicans want to kill judges who don't agree with them. Enough of this. Time to change the channel.

QUADRUPLE DOWNDATE: Sorry, didn't get to the remote fast enough. And now Bill Maher shows that he doesn't understand what the seperation of church and state means as he argues that having judges not accountable to the public is what the seperation of church and state means. Clearly we live in a time of great prosperity and security since we can tolerate such public, popular imbecility.

Posted by Charles Austin at 10:11 PM | Comments (5)

April 11, 2005

Rush Is Wrong

Driving to the airport today I heard about ten minutes of Rush Limbaugh's show, during which he wailed about the Left rewriting the US Constitution. Alas, Rush is 180 degrees out of phase here.

The process for amending the US Constitution is well documented and has been exercised repeatedly to bring about significant changes that have had wide support in the populace at the time they were passed. If there isn't a significant, broad consensus across the country to pass an amendment to the US Constitution, it is impossible to get enough votes in Congress and across the requisite number of state legislatures to make it a new basis for the law of the land. I desperately welcome the Left trying to rewrite the US Constitution, since the ideas they are currently promulgating have about as much a chance of making it into the US Constitution as an armadillo in Texas has of outsmarting Dan Rather, or something like that.

Now, if we can just get the judiciary to stick to the what's actually in the US Constitution...

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

Who Knew Mark McGwire Is a Catholic Priest?

Disgraced Cardinal Says Memorial Mass for Pope

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:33 PM | Comments (1)

Never Say Never Again

Whether it is pedagogically institutionalizing blood libel:

The new PA history books, among other things, present the infamous anti-Semitic forgery produced by Russian police The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as an accurate portrayal of the decision of the First Zionist Congress.

Or trying to dimiinish the supreme wickedness of it:

German prosecutors have provoked outrage by ruling that the 1945 RAF bombing of Dresden can legally be termed a "holocaust".

The next holocaust seems not quite so far away as "never again" would dictate.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

Did You Ever Notice...

That Andy Rooney is a cantankerous ass?

Leading a parade of celebrity witnesses who claimed they were stiffed by a speakers bureau, Andy Rooney began his testimony Monday by questioning the wording of the oath to tell the truth. The CBS newsman later got a lecture from the judge for trying to interrogate a lawyer while on the witness stand.

Just as an aside, now that the average age of everyone who is still appearing on 60 Minutes is over 70, are kids in college still watching and getting their righteous indignation all stoked up the way I did 25 years ago? Of course, this was before I figured out that all Morley, Ed and Mike were good at was poking sore points with sticks while theynever seemed to have any actual solutions and wouldn't take any real responsibility for trying to make the bad situations they reported on any better?

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)

Let's Check In On the Man Who Would Be King, and His Little Buddy

Just about every time John Kerry opens his yap these days, I wonder if some people don't lie awake at night aghast and ashamed of their efforts to have him elected president:

"Last year too many people were denied their right to vote, too many who tried to vote were intimidated," the Massachusetts senator said at an event sponsored by the state League of Women Voters.

Please, name one. One real person. And while you're at it, would you care to address all the fraud perpetrated by Democrats in the last election which greatly exceeded whatever "intimidation" there might have been. You know, if you have any real evidence then turn it over to a prosecutor somewhere and let them go to work on it, you know like someone did for these Democrats in East St. Louis who have since been convicted of vote fraud in the 2004 election.
Kerry also cited examples Sunday of how people were duped into not voting.

"Leaflets are handed out saying Democrats vote on Wednesday, Republicans vote on Tuesday. People are told in telephone calls that if you've ever had a parking ticket, you're not allowed to vote," he said.

And memo's were handed out to Republican leaders to exploit Teri Schiavo's situation as well, right? Again, if you've got any real evidence, turn it over to the proper authorities and let them go to work. Come on, you're a former prosecutor, you know how this is supposed to work. But seriously, if you weren't paying attention in your high school civics class and are taken in by something like this, maybe, just maybe you shouldn't be voting.

Kerry has never disputed the outcome of election, saying voting irregularities did not involve enough votes to change the result.

Hence the necessity to still be going on and on about it five months later. Meanwhile, John Edwards is gasping for the little air left in the room:

Hillary Clinton may be all but declared the 2008 nominee here in New York, but don’t tell John Edwards that. “I think talking about a front-runner four years before an election is ridiculous,” he tells us.

Unless, of course, someone was talking about him being the front-runner. Oh, and speaking of that "memo":

“We saw the memo that went out to Republican leaders about how they could take political advantage of Terri Schiavo. That’s disgusting. They will pay a price for this in the 2006 and 2008 elections.”

Little John just can't help himself. Either he's badly informed or he's a shameless demagogue, or both. Even ABC News now admits this memo never went out to Republican leaders. As to Democrats taking back the House and Senate by 2008, well, keep dreaming. But we've heard this often enough now that it must be on the memo that went out to Democrat leaders.

The Democratic acquiescence to the appointments of Condoleezza Rice and Alberto Gonzales? “I would have voted against them.”

Thirty-five Democrats voted against confirming Alberto Gonzalez for Attorney General and only twelve Democrats voted against confirming Condoleeza Rice for Secretary of State. If you are serious about running for President, you might want to get out a little more often and stop spending so much time in the echo chamber pandering to the Move On folks.

Would you oppose John Bolton as U.N. ambassador? “I would.”

Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would. Did he also mention that he'd rather nail the Hammer?

The easy passage of tort reform? “People have attacked my [trial lawyer] career ever since I’ve been involved in politics. But the attacks never stick. I think people fundamentally believe that those who have been wronged by powerful interests should be able to hold them accountable.”

I'd never really thought of OB/GYNs as powerful interests. Silly me. But has anyone noticed the congnitive dissonance of someone who got rich railing against powerful interests wanting to assume the most powerful position on earth?

The reports that you told John Kerry you wouldn't run against him? “The conversations that John Kerry and I have had are personal and private.”

Thank goodness.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:51 PM | Comments (1)

April 10, 2005

Keep Your Friends Close, Keep Your Enemies Even Closer

I wonder if President Bush started his request with, "It's foreign policy, smart guy":

President Bush solicited foreign policy advice from former President Bill Clinton at CIA briefings this week...

Nothing works on an egomaniac like flattery. And then, while biting his lip to maintain his fabled poker face:

... and even told Mr. Clinton that he liked his approach to reforming Social Security.

At this point, I'm sure President Bush had a difficult time not snickering out loud:

'It was really a lot of fun, Mr. Bush told reporters yesterday after spending three days with Mr. Clinton and former President George Bush in Rome.

See, I told you. I wonder if it was George's idea or Karl's idea to have Bill Clinton go to Rome where he predictably made an ass of himself likening his failures to the Pope's and questioning the Pope's legacy, and where he was then used to help sell Social Security personal savings accounts, which must be good since Bill had proposed them earlier. You want to know why Jimmy Carter wasn't on the trip? While he might well have managed to make a spectacle of himself and distract from the reason for going to Rome in the first place, there remains nothing from Mr. Carter's term in office that can be considered a good idea.

But y'all go on believing George is dumb. I don't mind and I don't think he does either.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2005

A Non-Cohen Scourge

Richard Cohen is such an easy, lame target that I 've decided to go after bigger, more agile game in this Scourge. But be careful, this New York Times editorial may cause injury as the reflexive Bush Bad knee-jerk action takes effect:

When a president picks his administration officials, the opposing political party can't expect to be thrilled with the selections.

So naturally, whomever is selected must be opposed, demonized, and destroyed.

Right now, Democrats in the Senate are trying to block the nominations of three men chosen by George W. Bush for important posts: John Bolton for United Nations ambassador, Stephen Johnson for head of the Environmental Protection Agency and Dr. Lester Crawford for commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

Obviously, the first problem with these men is that they are, ...wait for it ..., men! But I love the phrasing "trying to block." There is of course, no hope in actually defeating these nominees in a floor vote, so instead the tyranny of the minority will be substituted.

They have excellent reasons for opposition in each case, but some reasons are more excellent than others.

Conversely, and by definition, some reasons are much worse than others as well. But we won't read about that in these august pages.

Mr. Bolton stands out because he is not only bad in a policy sense, but also unqualified for the post to which he's been named.

In other words, we can't defeat your arguments, so we'll just declare victory and then engage in battle over his nomination. Mind you, as UN Ambassador, it will not be John Bolton's job to make policy, but to implement it. Hence the true nature of the battle is only peripherally about John Bolton. Except for a little snippet of dialogue I caught on NPR yesterday by someone from the Earnest Young Person Action League for Utopian Justice and Puppies, or some such organization, who happened to mention that John Bolton was being nominated for this post as a payoff for his role in stopping the vote recount in Florida in 2000. Ah yes, the gift that keeps on giving...

At a minimum, the United States representative to the United Nations should be a person who believes it is a good idea.

Define "it." A world body to have dialogue and work on world-wide problems in an open, free and democratic manner would seem to be a good thing. But, of course, that's not what the United Nations really is, now is it?

Mr. Bolton has never made secret his disdain for the United Nations, for multilateralism and for consensus-seeking diplomacy in general.

You say that like it's a bad thing. Anyone who doesn't hold the UN as it exists today in contempt has a serious inability to distinguish between a corrupted reality and utopian fantasy. And can we please dispense with the idea that one cannot be multilateral without the participation of, say, France?

When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee begins taking testimony on Mr. Bolton's nomination next week, it is also expected to hear other charges about his fitness, like allegations that when he was under secretary of state for arms control, he tried to distort intelligence reports by intimidating analysts who disagreed with him.

Why, I wouldn't be surprised if someone came forward and accused him of stealing classified documents in his pants and shredding them at home! Or so he may claim!

After the invasion of Iraq, complaints that top advisers to the president had attempted to make intelligence reports conform to a preconceived conclusion about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs were often aimed in Mr. Bolton's direction.

But John Bolton's opponents are belatedly discovering that attempts to mau-mau the flak throwers is a rather different game altogether.

All of this is very much to the point.

Oh my, there is a point to this after all.

When the country chooses an ambassador to the United Nations, it ought to avoid picking someone whose bullying style of leadership symbolizes everything that created the current estrangement between the United States and most of the world.

I do not accept the assumption underlying this statement. Unlike the esteemed, learned editorialists of the New York Times, I don't believe that the estrangement the United States is having with most of the world is the fault of the United States. In fact, it is the codependency problem the New York Times has with anti-American entities and their enabling of self-destructive regimes that is, dare I say it, the root cause of this estrangement. Acting like a responsible adult and not yielding to peer pressure to get along in the face of a determined enemy is exactly what I want in a UN Ambassador. Instead of asking, "Why do they hate us?", the New York Times should be asking them, "Why do you think the US ignores you?".

One of the goals of Mr. Bush's second term was supposed to be rapprochement with other nations, whose assistance the United States desperately needs to curb the proliferation of the real weapons of mass destruction.

My, my, the last time I checked the rapproachement (such a lovely French word) with the, ahem, French, was going swimmingly. Why Jacques Chirac and George Bush even agreed on Syria leaving Lebanon. Sacre bleu! Given the fact that any real enforcement of efforts to curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are going to be paid for and carried out by the United States, once again, shouldn't these other nations be trying to make up with us at least as much as we are trying to make up with them?

Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee are fighting to actually kill Mr. Bolton's nomination; all eyes are on Lincoln Chafee, the moderate Republican swing vote who has a record of being very supportive of the United Nations.

Once again, we can easily discern what the Democrats are opposed to, yet we still have no real idea of what they are for. Kill! Kill! And how about that Lincoln Chaffee? He is such a looker with all eyes on him.

In the case of Dr. Crawford and Mr. Johnson, a few senators are threatening to block what would be easy confirmations by putting a hold on each nomination before it goes to the Senate floor.

Ah yes, the tyranny of the minority again.

The right to block a nomination, like the right to filibuster a bill on the Senate floor, is one of the few tools the minority party has for affecting public policy.

And the Democrats desire to fight every battle with this weapon could in part be an explanation for why they find themselves in an ever shrinking minority in the Senate.

But it needs to be used with discretion.

Oh dear, the little Senator who cried Wolfowitz once too often is now finding himself ignored.

Mr. Johnson, in particular, seems like a bad choice for such a fight.

Don't you understand, it has nothing to do with him and everything to do with the fact that President Bush nominated him. Gee, I thought you people were really smart.

His main drawback is that he is unlikely to put up the slightest resistance to Mr. Bush's policies, which have not been helpful in protecting the nation's clean air and water.

Bullshit. The nation's air and water continue to get cleaner all the time. And despite your fervent wish that President Bush would appoint people who will constantly argue with him and fight him on everything every step of the way, well, that just isn't going to happen.

Unfortunately, that will be the case whether this particular nomination goes through or not, and the president clearly has the capacity to find a less qualified yes-man for the job.

And we all just know President Bush is only interested in yes-men. Jeez, you'd think in the interest of diversity he'd at least have the good sense to pick some yes-women. And right here and know I'd like to take the New York Times to task for its blatant sexism. The appropriate term is yes-person.

Senators Barbara Boxer of California and Bill Nelson of Florida are threatening to stall Mr. Johnson's confirmation unless he promises to end a suspended Florida study in which families would be paid to allow researchers to study the effects of pesticides on their children - a macabre investigation co-sponsored by the American Chemistry Council.

God, how I love publicity seeking, populist driven, Congressional micromanagement, don't you? And somebody better tell Senator Nelson that stupidity as dense as Barbara Boxer's is like a black hole that sucks the brains out of everything entering its stupidtational field. He better get as far away from her as fast as he can or he may disappear into her non-event horizon and never be seen again, which isn't exactly what potential presidential candidates are wont to do.

The idea that the E.P.A. would pay families to continue exposing their children to potentially dangerous chemicals is on its face outrageous - and made worse by the study's ghoulish acronym, Cheers, for Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study. But the study has already been stopped, pending a review. It would have been a good sign of independence if Mr. Johnson had called a complete halt, but there seems little likelihood that the study will ever be revived.

I have to believe that this is something less than a fair characterization of the study, otherwise the New York Times would have seen fit to hammer President Bush and his proxy, Mr. Johnson, with it ad nauseum.

This seems like a weak reason to stop a Senate vote.

Reason? Democrats don't need no stinkin' reasons to stop a Senate vote! At least, not any good reasons. It would seem even the New York Times is starting to be embarrassed a bit by the Democrat's behavior.

In the case of the F.D.A., Senators Hillary Clinton of New York and Patty Murray of Washington are threatening to keep the nomination from the floor unless Dr. Crawford prompts his agency to make a long-delayed decision on whether the so-called morning-after pill may be sold over the counter.

Even if it's an answer they don't like?

Their cause is righteous.

Damn, theology overruling science again! But I can't shake an image of half the table at the New York Times' editorial meeting at this point shouting, "Righteous! Righteous!", like Crush in Finding Nemo.

If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, the pills can end unwanted pregnancies - so making them readily available could drastically cut down on the number of abortions.

Of course, the fact that some consider this to be no different in substance than abortion is of no consequence. After all, people who think that way are Christianists, many of whom followed what the New York Times consider to be a flawed, conservative man.

Two committees of expert advisers voted overwhelmingly in favor of selling the medication over the counter, but the F.D.A. has failed to do anything.

Hey, at least they got to vote on the proposals, which is more than the Senate can do for these nominations. The irony is palpable.

Another proposal, which would limit its sale to women over 16, has also been pending.

I have a daughter who will turn fifteen this week. The fact that Senators Hillary Clinton and Patty Murray want her to be able to get this drug without her parent's consent, or even knowledge, makes my blood boil.

Dr. Crawford has been the deputy or acting commissioner during a very troubled period for the drug agency. He presided over fiascos involving cox-2 painkillers, antidepressants and other drugs.

Bad time for his turn in the barrel, but I don't equate the timing of a lot of publicity over these drugs with responsibility for having the problems occur in the first place.

He is clearly afraid to let his agency make a decision on the morning-after pill that will get him in hot water with social conservatives or with those who believe that the F.D.A. should be run on the basis of science, not theology.

Even if their cause is, ahem, righteous?

That timidity doesn't suggest that he would impose needed reform in other areas.

And after all, extrapolating from one or two data points is what the New York Times does best when it has a preconceived conclusion it is arguing in favor of.

The Senate should vote on Dr. Crawford and defeat his nomination on the merits.

Give him his vote and then run him out of town. They've got to make President Bush come back cowed with hat in hand.

If the Democratic senators are going to choose a disastrous Bush nomination to block, our choice is Mr. Bolton's.

But John Bolton doesn't even get a vote. No, no, no, defeat isn't enough for him. He must not only be opposed, but also demonized and humiliated. This is the only way to get at the true target -- President George W. Bush.

Correction: This editorial misidentified the senator working with Hillary Clinton to hold up a nomination by President Bush. He is Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, not Senator Ben Nelson. Senator Ben Nelson is from Nebraska and is not involved in this issue.

And what is most fascinating about this correction is that it is all wrong. Senator Bill Nelson is working with Senator Barbara Boxer to oppose Stephen Johnson's nomination, not with Senator Hillary Clinton. Senator Clinton is working with Senator Patty Murray to oppose Dr. Lester Crawford's nomination. If the New York Times can't even get it's corrections right on the more trivial aspects of their editorial opinions, how can I trust their judgment on the important matters?

Posted by Charles Austin at 05:03 PM | Comments (0)


Ricky West found this statement from Cynthia Tucker, op-ed page editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

It’s clear that Republicans nationwide have become obsessed with wiping out voter fraud, but it’s not clear why.

Racism? Colonialism? Sexism? Carnivorous Captalism? Militarism? Strict Constituional Constructivism? Unilateralism? Personal Savings Accounts? Blood for Oil? Hey, I'm stumped.

Posted by Charles Austin at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2005

The Most Credible Antiwar, Anti-Iraq Critic Globally

Who else, but history's greatest monster?

"The White House is making a blunder by not having Jimmy Carter come with them," said Douglas Brinkley, author of the Carter biography, "The Unfinished Presidency." "Carter has taken a real tilt leftwards. He's the most credible antiwar, anti-Iraq critic globally, and I just don't think Bush and Rice really feel like being in his company."

Well, this ought to prevent the anti-Iraq crowd from being taken seriously, given who there most credible mouthpiece turns out to be.

But for fun, go read the whole article and learn how a formal invitation offered by letter doesn't count because it wasn't offered in spirit as well. Or how Jimmy Carter himself says there is no issue about his not attending the Pope's funeral, even though everyone around him continues to insist that there is. Or how unnamed sources say that the White House is telling the truth, but not the whole truth.

My God, what the hell is wrong with these people. Even the Pope's death is an opportunity to try and score political points. Of course, not even Jimmy C's crew goes quite so far as Bill Clinton:

En route to Rome, Clinton told reporters the pope “centralized authority in the papacy again and enforced a very conservative theological doctrine. There will be debates about that. The number of Catholics increased by 250 million on his watch. But the numbers of priests didn't. He's like all of us - he may have a mixed legacy.”

Yeah Bill, you and the Pope are on the same moral plane. It really is all about you, isn't it Bill?

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:25 AM | Comments (5)

April 06, 2005


As some of you may have noticed I finally succumbed to blogtation, or bowed to blog etiquette and added a blogroll.

As Timothy B. Schmit once sang, I can't tell you why.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:02 PM | Comments (5)

April 05, 2005

I Didn't Know They Made Barn Doors That Big

U.S. to Tighten Border Controls by 2008

I can only hope they mean 8:08 PM.

In related news:

Volunteers who have converged on the Mexican border to watch for illegal immigrants are disrupting U.S. Border Patrol operations...

Given how well U.S. Border Patrol operations have worked in the past, perhaps some disruption could be a good thing. To be fair, I understand the legitimate complaints about the minions of the Minutemen Project trippping sensors and whatnot, but at the same time it must be clear that the current modus operandi for border protection is unacceptable. Maybe it would be better to coordinate and enlist the help of citiznes on the borders as is done in our cities, rather than act in a hostile manner to folks who share the same goals. They do share the same goals, don't they?

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

Note to All Basketball Talking Heads

The game was tied at 70 with 1:32 left. I agree that Illinois couldn't stop Sean May and that he was the dominant player on the floor, but if North Carolina is such a great team, as that huge chip on Roy Williams' shoulder kept emphasizing after the game, then why did North Carolina need such an obviously dominant player to pull out the victory? And anyway, couldn't we have waited for Sean May to get to the NBA before he started to get NBA calls? If, if Illinois had pulled it out, wouldn't the story line have been what a great team Illinois is and that despite having great talent, North Carolina just couldn't jell as a team. I only bring this up to indicate how such a thin margin changes the story line. Considering how close the game turned out to be, it is clear that too much credit is given to the winners and too much, well, something other than credit, is dished out to the losers in these games. Gee, sometimes you'd think Big Media would like to even the playing field a little more. Nah.

Over on ESPN News, Bruce Weber is mentioning the calls going a little one-sided now as well.

Enough sour grapes.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:56 AM | Comments (10)

April 04, 2005

Live-Blogging the NCAA Championship

May be somewhat intermittent....

Earlier pre-game thoughts are in the previous post. Tonight's comments in the extended entry.

Oh jeez, Bruce Weber just gave the "big toe" speech.

I've heard an awful lot about what Ilinois has to do to stop North Carlina, but next to nothing about what North Carolina has to do to stop Illinois. Methinks, Illinois' offense is being sold a little short here.

Illinois wins Pontiac's game changing performance of the tournament. Woo hoo!

Oh goody, it's Billy Packer's and Jim Nantz's 15th straight performance. Almost makes me long for the days of Brent Musberger. Almost.

I hope Illinois remains disciplined enoough to let May have his points when he gets inside position. Avoid the foul trouble and the extra point.

Man, wasn't Roger Powell Jr.'s followup of his own missed three against Louisville something?

Do you have to be from Big 10 country to be annoyed at talking heads feeling sorry for Roy Williams not winning the big one or Mike Krzyzewski having to make due with only four McDonald's all-Americans?

For all the talk about North Carolina being vastly more talented, they are only two point favorites.

The stadium is either all orange or orange and blue. Even if it is a powder blue, I take it as a sign.

Man, is this Hoosiers all over again? That big "H" on ESPN looked a lot like an "I".

And we're off!.

Deron's rattles out and Rashad's rattles in. It's early.

Illinois is trying to get it in low. Keep it up.

Calls are all going to UNC early.


Good defense.

Going into the first TV timeout it looks like a game of runs.

Felton has 2 fouls. Let's see how Roy want to play it. He's staying in.

Deron misses 2 free throws.

Bad defense off the missed free throw.

May charges and gets away with it. Deron has the basket waived off. The calls continue to go North Carolina's way.

Second TV timeout. UNC up 18-17. I like the way it is going to far. Illinois is getting offensive boards, and they are moving the ball well. Carolina better start doing a better job going around screens, if they keep giving Luther open threes he's going to start dropping them. Illinois just has to stop the break, the half court defense is pretty good. Just don't give up the fast easy baskets. And Deron Wiliams better start hitting his free throws.

And Augustine gets the charge and his second foul. Ok, call it both ways.

Man, tickle fouls on one end, and not the other. And the loose balls are luckily going to UNC. Let's hope it all evens out.

So far, Illinois just isn't shooting well. Just get a couple to drop and we have a very different story. The quick three by Deron is not part of the offense.

I despise the "aerial timeout." Sorry, but if you don't establish your feet on the floor after grabbing the ball you do not have control. Oh, the official made the right call, but the rule sucks.

Illinois is outrebounding UNC 13-12. Surprising. Offensive boards 7-2 Illinois.

Uh oh. Nick Smith is in.

The thrid TV timeout. Come on guys, a 22 foot shot by Powell is a bad shot to settle for. What's worse, it looked to me like Luther had a shot and didn't take it. Loss of confidence or a hamstring problem? Illinois should enjoy playing against the zone, we'll see. If Felton gets his third, North Carolina steps down a notch, just like Illinois does when Williams has to sit.

So far, Illinois is playing good half court defense and forcing some loose balls, but not getting them yet. Illinois seems cold more than UNC stopping them.

Nick Smith is showing his deficiencies rather quickly on offense and defense.

Deron does not shoot well from the side, only out front.

And now Deron gets his second foul. Not that big a deal, Deron's been good at playing with fouls.

Bad move on the three on one. Dee should have taken it to the basket.

UNC 25 UI 20.

Ingram nails it.

Three fouls on Manuel now on the play that Bilas diagrammed earlier.

Dee forced a three. Settle down and work the offense. Man the breaks keep going UNC's way.

UNC 30 UI 25.

No alley oops yet, but UNC is hitting their threes.

No fouls on Powell on three consecutive offensive rebounds and shots?

And the ball goes off Deron's ankle. Every break continues to go UNC's way. Maybe I should stop saying that as we come back from the fourth TV timeout.

Illinois is not playing well the last four of five minutes. Who took this timeout? Weber?

UNC 35 UI 27.

May walked. And the refs called it! Yeah, I'm a homer, so what?

May walked again, no call. This sucks. So UNC gets to lucky and good.

Come on, stop the break.

Illinois doesn't get a shot off. This is not good.

Halftime UNC 40 - UI 27. The problem is that Illinois is not scoring. I'll settle for keeping UNC to 80, but Illinois has to start taking better shots and making the ones that are open. If they panic and start taking quick shots the game is going to look a lot like UNC's second half against Michigan State. Conversely, maybe this is just setting up the drama for the best championship comeback in history. Stop the secondary break, get some of those loose balls and almost steals, have Sean May called for charging and walking every time he does it, start hitting some of those open shots and we got a game. The half court defense is still good. Just start scoring some.

Shooting percentage 55.1% to 27.7%. Threes 6-11 and 5-19 respectively. It's amazing the lead is only 13. The highlights CBS just showed has Illinois missing open threes. Lowest total at the half for Illinois this year. That's not great defense. This is looking like a choke. Gee, is it too early for me to give up hope and invoke the reverse metaphysics?

Maybe Pontiac would do better if they had better commercials and weren't quite so impressed with their four-part folding roof. BFD. Just something else to break down. And jeez, even Jim nantz is embarrassed about The Locusts.

CBS is using HBO's Deadwood theme song. Strange. This is a pretty weak feature on free throws.

Well now, let's see what kind of adjustments are made coming out of the half. Twenty minutes to remember the rest of your life.

Here we go...

Cheap third foul on Augustine. And now 4. I wouldn't mind so much if they called the fouls on Sean May.

Man, Illinois keeps knocking the ball away but UNC keeps possession.

And the ball falls right to May for a dunk. Come on. Let's get some breaks. I see a Technical coming up soon if something doesn't change.

UNC 49 UI 42. Different game when the shots are falling. First TV timeout. Yeah baby, I like it UNC takes quick shots, now it's Illinois turning those misses around for quick scores.

Only 7 turnovers each.

UNC 51 UI 45.

Manuel has his fourth.

UNC 51 UI 48. Cut to 3.

And of course, the 53% shooter makes his free throw, but then amazingly, Sean May has a foul called on him. Don't believe me, just ask Bily Packer.

What is this the NBA? Sean May shoves his guy underneath and gets the and 1.

UNC 57 UI 53.

See, if Illinois will be patient, they can score. UNC is going to score, as well, but you only need one more point, and the three will give Illinois that.

UNC 60 UI 55. Illinois timeout. Just imagine if Illinois was able to play with all its starters in the game.

Definitely a game of runs.

May is awfuly good, 10-11 from the field. If UNC wins, he is clearly the reason why. Maybe he can miss his next 6 to match his dad.

UNC 62 UI 55.

Powell's having a hell of a game.

Deron's gotta hit those.

Will Sean May get tired?

Drive and dish. I like it. Dee this time, Deron needs to do it more. Luther must be hurting a little or he'd be penetrating more.

UNC 65 UI 59.

Again, this would be a very different game if Illinois had been just a little more efficient in the first half.

8 minute TV Timeout.

Time to dig deep. Imagine how hard they are going to be on Roy if he loses after being up by 13 at the half.

And Augustine's gone. Jeez. Come on. This is the kind of stuff that makes us think it's not fair. And you gotta love Mr. Negative's comments.

UNC 65 UI 61.

Gee is that a makeup call for Augustine? Sorry, we need about four more to make up for it,

UNC 65 UI 63.

And Dee Brown to the line. Felton gets his fourth.

UNC 65 UI 65.

This is the drama everybody wants. Felton hits a big one.

UNC 68 UI 67.

Man, I hate to see the NBA game win at the college level. If Ingram goes out the game may be over, because Smith can't stay on May. Too bad Brian Randle broke his hand.

UNC 70 UI 67.

TV timeout under 4 minutes. Turnovers: UNC 8 UI 7.

I assume Powell is going to have to come out on Sean May now. The game is now going to turn on how Illinois shoots threes. So what else is new?

Illinois will not give up.

Bad quick shot by UNC

UNC 70 UI 70.

Timeout UNC.

Let's see if everybody's got nerves of steel now. We know Illinois does.

2:32 remaining.

Deron cannot shoot from the side. I've said it before.

1:59 remaining.

No alley oops tonight.

What luck, all night. McCants throws up garbage and it gets tipped in.

UNC 72 UI 70.

1:04 remaining. Illinois timeout and the ball.

0:50.6 remaining. Illinois timeout. Just get the three to fall... Need to get a quick score to get two for one here. Despite what Billy Packer just said.

Oh Luther. You have to foul now.

UNC 73 UI 70.

0.25.8 remaining. Timeout UNC.

I see a tie coming. Will UNC have enought time to get a shot off or will we see OT. After all, it has been that kind of tournament. Remember, UNC has fouls to give.

Luther had two good shots, but neither fell. My third eye needs a checkup. But Luther still had a good game.

Oh well.

UNC 75 UI 70.

0:09.9 remaining.

I don't think even Illinois is good enough to make up this deficit.

North Carolina wins 75-70. Or did Illinois lose it in the first half? Iliniois did not score the last 2:30 mintes. Not an instant classic game. Considering how far the breaks fell North Carolina's way and with James Augustine being removed from the game so quickly, I think Illinois did rather well. Listening to Dick Vitale now, it's as though North Carolina dominated the game. And Digger Phelps just said North Carolina destroyed Illinois. Oh really? Sorry if I seem a little bitter now. But the game's over and nothing will change that. Alas, I expect a lot of "what if" commentary now. It's what Illinois fans do.

Congratulations to Roy Williams and North Carolina.

And thanks to Illiniois for a great season.

Just one more note, Rick Pitino was a lot more gracious in losing than Roy Williams is in winning. Gee Roy, who was it you were playing again? And how well would you have done without Sean May on your, as you say it, TEAM?

Now the race for Jon Scheyer really begins for Bruce Weber.

Posted by Charles Austin at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

Final Four Thoughts

Of course there was no way the three games of Final Four were going to live up to the drama and excitement of the four regional finals. But if tonight's game is as good as any of those last week, this may go down as the best NCAA Tournament ever.

I didn't make it to the game Saturday, but Illinois won anyway. My reverse metaphysics continues to work perfectly. As others have previously noted, someone who is wrong 99% of the time can be just as valuable as someone who is right 99% of the time. I did go down to the Ed on Saturday and looked around with a huge wad of Andrew Jacksons in my pockets, but for the first time in history I was not able to find a ticket available at any price. The market for tickets to this Final Four has exceeded any sporting event I've ever witnessed. Tickets for tonight's game were going for $800 -- if you could find one. Fortunately, I can still get a seat at a local establishment immediately in front of their plasma screen to watch the game.

Illinois was able to beat Louisville primarily for one reason: defense. With defense and 40% shooting from three-point territory, ... two reasons. Illinois was able to beat Louisville primarily for two reasons: defense, 40% shooting from three-point territory and winning the battle of the boards, ... three reasons. Illinois was able to beat Louisville primarily for three reasons: defense, 40% shooting from three-point territory, winning the battle of the boards and committing only thee fouls the rest of the game after picking up seven in the first eight minutes, ... four reasons. Illinois was able to beat Louisville primarily for four reasons: defense, 40% shooting from three-point territory, winning the battle of the boards, committing only thee fouls the rest of the game after picking up seven in the first eight minutes and because Rick Pitino found out that if you manage to stop two or three guys on this team somebody else always steps up, ... five reasons. There are others, but I'll stop here. In a private e-mail that is posted here, I noted that Roger Powell was going to be the key to this game. I swear, I should have put money on the games this year.

Rick Pitino was quite gracious after the game, saying that if they played ten times, Illinois would win eight or nine. He really seemed at peace and happy to have made it to the Final Four. I can only hope that Illinoisans will exhibit the same sense of grace if North Carolina should win tonight.

I've read a lot of stories this weekend saying that Deron WIlliams is Illinois' best defender and that he always get's the other team's best player. Wrong. Bruce Weber has said on many occasions that Deron's defense has been a problem this year and that he generally hasn't played defense this year as well as he did last year. Since the Big 10 Tournament, Deron has turned it up a couple of notches (because he's going to the NBA?). But Illinois' best defender this year has not been Deron Wiliams, nor Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year Dee Brown, but Luther Head. Luther Head is the guy who has consistently been given the assignment of the opposing team's best player. But after Luther tweaked his hamstring in practice last week, Deron has been asked to step up and take over the defensive stopper role that Luther has played. And to his credit and the team's success, he has shown that he can play defense at a very high level. Incidentally, I love Dee Brown and he gets more ESPN SportsCenter type highlights, but the best defense generally doesn't make ESPN SportsCenter's highlight reel nor does it show up in the box score.

In Saturday's second game Michigan State played one excellent half and then, well, it is kind of hard to explain what happened after that. North Carolina isn't as good as they apeared in the second half, nor is Michigan State as bad. I feel good about my pre-game assessment that this game was a tossup based upon the score at the end of the half, but I'll also give credit where it is due and say the better team won.

Which brings us to the championship game tonight: #1 vs. #2. It doesn't get any better than this. I don't know who will win, but I expect Illinois will win by at least ten or North Carolina may win by as much as twenty. I don't expect a close game. Whichever team and style prevails will prevail relatively big.

Bracket update heading into the NCAA Championship game with number of teams remaining in parentheses:

Kirkwood Illiniwek: 39-23 (1)
Kirkwood Illlini: 37-25 (1)
St. Louis Illini: 38-24 (1)
St. Louis Illinois: 47-15 (2)
St. Charles Austin: 42-20 (1)

The St. Louis Ilinois bracket is now tied for 3,936th place out of 2,800,000 entires in ESPN's Tournament Challenge. I have selected Illinois to beat North Carolina 78-72. If this happens, I expect to move into the top 2,000 or so entires, but I have no hope of actaully winning anything in this contest. On the other hand, had I entered any of the office bracket pools I had been entering since time immemorial, I think I probably wold have won this year. Then again, with my reverse metaphysics, maybe my not entering and therefore not picking Illinois to win it all is what got them this far. Who knows? Pshaw, tell me you don't think that your minor, inconsequential choices and actions regarding your sports teams don't have some butterfly effect on the outcome of events.

Oskee Wow Wow baby!

Posted by Charles Austin at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)

April 02, 2005

Oh Yeah

About that Presidential Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, I mean, it's not like everyone else in the government was on the ball when it came to terrorism:

Tipped they may have missed evidence a decade ago, FBI agents searched the former home of convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols and found blasting caps and other explosive materials apparently related to the 1995 attack, officials said Friday. FBI officials said the material was found buried in a crawl space of the house in Herington, Kan., which wasn't checked by agents during the numerous searches of the property during the original investigation of Nichols and Timothy McVeigh.

Agent Johnson 1 in 1995: "Hey Chet, whould we check out this crawlspace?"
Agent Johnson 2 in 1995: "Nah, they'd never hide anything down there. It looks kinda icky and full of spiders."

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:33 AM | Comments (3)

If I Had Done It When I Held a Security Clearance I Would Have Went to Jail

I guess it's good to be a friend of Bill:

Former national security adviser Sandy Berger, who once had unfettered access to the government's most sensitive secrets, pleaded guilty Friday to sneaking classified documents out of the National Archives, then using scissors to cut up some of them.

And it's only a stadium full of voters in Ohio that kept him from perhaps being Secretary of State. What the hell is this? France?

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:18 AM | Comments (3)

Kinda Fonda Fonda

Because, you know, this sort of thing went over so well in the worker's paradise:

Jane Fonda, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of a prostitute in the 1971 film "Klute," solicited call girls for three-way sex with her husband Roger Vadim, the actress revealed in a television interview.

(The title is an homage to Neil Young and the Shocking Pinks.)

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:12 AM | Comments (0)

No True Scotsman... Fallacy

Welcome to the un-freaking believable EU:

EUROPEAN bureaucrats will push forward legislation today to force the Scottish Executive to change place-names that offend or discriminate on the grounds of race and gender. In a move the Nationalists described as the "ultimate madness in political correctness", it has taken only a quorum of four Euro commissioners from Italy, Germany, France and Spain to redraw Scotland’s map.

Where's William Wallace when you need him? Especially on April 1.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:07 AM | Comments (2)

I Sing This Song Because I Love the Man

I know that some of you don't understand:

Neil Young was treated for a brain aneurysm this week and remains hospitalized, although doctors expect a full recovery, his publicist said Friday.

Get well soon Neil.

Posted by Charles Austin at 12:00 AM | Comments (2)

April 01, 2005

Obscure Thought

I think we'll see an Archbishop of Canterbury from Africa before we see another Polish Pope. Though given the great good John Paul II has done and the apparent need for greater reverence in the Anglican Communion -- I would welcome both, even if I'm neither Catholic nor Episcopalian.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

I Genuflect to Ronald Reagan for Bringing Down Communism in Europe

But Karol Wojtyla had a lot to do with it as well.

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:48 PM | Comments (1)

The Cubs?

Cardinals Differ on Who Will Succeed

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

He's a Good Man, But I Can't Resist


The morning was cold and lonely
City lights old and grey
The sun arose trying to smile
Gave it all away
The honky-tonk called a stranger
The stranger couldn't pay the bill
Made a stand, raised his hand
Sang a song, no time to kill

I said, Hey, hey, hey, St. Peter
I've got a tale to tell
I've just been down in New York town
It really feels like hell
It really feels like hell

Billy was out of fashion
Manhattan was years ago
Yesterday he wasted time
Money was kind of slow
Billy had friends of glory
Billy was a friend of fame
Took a chance, raised his hand
Sang a song, now he's back in the game

Hey, St. Peter
Before you ring your bell
Just been down in New York town
Done my time in hell
Done my time in hell

I said, Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, St. Peter
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, St. Peter
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, St. Peter
It really feels like hell
It really feels like hell
It really feels like hell

Posted by Charles Austin at 11:43 PM | Comments (0)

I've Seen It a Hundred Times and It Just Keeps Getting Better Every Time

Courtesy of Illinois Loyalty:


Yeah, Arizona choked, but Illinois was prepared to take advantage of it. The courage and grit they showed by not giving up was first rate. It's that determination and the fact that Illinois is the best defensive team in the Final Four that lead me to believe that Illinois will beat Louisville tomorrow. I think the North Carolina - Michigan State game is too close to call, but if forced to pick I will go with my heart and pick Michigan State. If these predictions come true perhaps it will force some much needed changes in the RPI.

This is great!

DOWNDATE: Time is running out if you want to save the Illini's season by sending me to the Final Four tomorrow.

Posted by Charles Austin at 08:50 PM | Comments (0)