Saturday, August 16, 2008
Really? It's tough to take anything Jerome Corsi writes with much seriousness (not that I was in the first place). That sounds like a line borrowed from a 5th-grade special ed student.
Seriously, who are these people buying copy after copy of "Obama Nation"? Even Levar Burton thinks the book is too childish to be recommended.
A few other notes about Corsi's latest contribution to conservative "scholarship":
1. The "Obama Nation" publisher is Mary Matalin, wife of dogged Democratic operative James Carville. And I actually like Carville, a passionate Democrat and devoted LSU football fan. One can only imagine the pillow talk that goes on in that bedroom.
2. John McCain catches a little flak for a seemingly off-handed remark directed at a reporter who asked a question about the book. I can believe his flak's contention that he misheard the question. McCain should crank up that hearing aid in the future.
3. Peter Wehner on how Corsi and Co. could prove destructive to both the political process and the Republican Party. In short, appealing to idiocy is not necessarily a smart tactic. Continue Reading »
Will Leitch, in his predictably snarky way, takes pains to explain why the Olympics are more reality TV than sports. In a way, he's sort of right: "After the Olympics are over, you’ll never think of Michael Phelps again. I’m gonna be stuck with my Arizona Cardinals forever." Leitch has a point ... we only really hear from Mark Spitz and Carl Lewis every four years or so.
I feel obligated to post the counterpoint to Leitch's essay. Since I'm not really into Michael Phelps' abs or checking out preteen Chinese gymnasts, it's sorta hard to feel Jessica Coen's argument.
More Olympics chatter, this time from the good folks at The Big Lead. They make a great point about the hypocrisy of the American reaction to the Spanish "slant-eyed" picture gaffe. Absolutely. It's awkward to be too critical when a racial slur adorns the name of the pro football team in our nation's capital. Concludes the Lead: "The Spanish basketball team’s picture exposed a problem rooted in ignorance. The last thing the situation needed was a generous dollop of our own."
Chinese officials are struggling to deal with the demands and expectations of the Western media, according to the WSJ. Big surprise there. A Columbia Law School professor says, "The Chinese government's idea of how you impress people is that everything is perfect, even if that means a little bit of deception. And that's exactly the thing that drives the Western media crazy, because it seems sneaky."
An extremely interesting blog post at Newsweek's spot about research that puts merit to the theory that great basketball players simply "feel" the game better than others. Apparently, the guy who yells "buckets" or "and one" before the shot even drops through the net at your pickup game is even better than you thought.
A high school buddy of mine who lives in New Jersey brought it to my attention that "Mike & Mad Dog" wrapped up their final radio show Friday after 19 years on the air. I never really had a chance to listen to those guys but it's tough to imagine the New York sports landscape without them. First the Fat Boys break up. Now this.
Somehow, it seems absolutely appropriate that John Lynch will be playing for the Patriots. And that's not a compliment. (As you'll come to know through football season, I detest the Belichick Boys).
Jason Whitlock is back, writing the only column of his that I'm really and truly a big fan of (we're just total ideological opposites): NFL Truths. But Whitlock has got to be delusional if he thinks Ball State is sniffing any part of the BCS.
I know this is old but I've been meaning to comment on it for awhile: kudos to UT (that's University of Texas for the uninitiated) for deciding to retire Vince Young's No. 10 at the season opener in Austin. Young, believe it or not, might be the most important player in UT's history since Earl Campbell. And, for me, VY will always be the most dynamic athlete I've ever seen with the ball in his hands.
And another set of kudos for Shreveport native Kendrick Farris, who finished eighth in his weightlifting event in Beijing. I had the pleasure of meeting Farris when he came to accept a certificate of some sort at City Hall during my time back in Louisiana. It's always nice to see great things happen to great people. Also, it's somewhat amazing that Farris could set two American records and still not medal. How weak is the U.S. weightlifting team really? Continue Reading »
Friday, August 15, 2008
Without a paternity test to settle this once and for all, John Edwards will always be subject to these sorts of suspicions and innuendo.
And Young, who is 42 and married, has apparently not demanded one to clear up the confusion.
Egads. Something seems amiss here, no? Continue Reading »
I must say, if I ever had any serious thoughts about becoming an engineer, this advertisement pretty much ended that. I mean, is it not possible to pursue both sex and an engineering degree?
Which is essentially a convoluted way of saying dead-last.
Canada, one of the world's largest and wealthiest countries, brought 332 athletes to China and has - literally - nothing to show for it but jet lag and some neat scrapbooks. Canadian swimmer Mike Brown has come the closest to bring home the bronze, finishing fourth in the 200-meter breaststroke. Meanwhile, countries like Togo, Tajikistan, Vietnam and Denmark had already produced at least one medal-stand moment.
Naturally, Canada performs much better during the Winter Games (which they will host in 2010 in Vancouver) than during the quadrennial summer version. But no medals? In anything? What gives?
This ineptitude hasn't escaped the notice of Canada journalists and other Olympic observers. This guy, for instance, considers this medal shutout a symptom of some larger societal decline. He refers to a "particular incestuous culture, that chooses mediocrity over pursuing excellence." That seems like a bit of hyperbole but there's got to be a kernel of truth in there, somewhere.
Maybe the problems all started in 1988 with Ben Johnson, who once raced to the title of "world's fastest man" and now is renowned as the man at the center of the largest Olympic doping scandal in history.
Johnson seems to have never really recovered from that swift fall from grace. Canada, too. Continue Reading »
This time, Jeffrey Goldberg unveils the secret Obama campaign e-mails. Continue Reading »
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Franklin Roosevelt said of the measure: "We can never insure one hundred percent of the population against one hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life, but we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age."
John McCain, himself 71 but having the good fortune to marry a heiress, calls this a "disgrace."
I think of it as a social contract that ensures the financial security of all the old people you love. And even a few you dislike.
I think that's a fair tradeoff, given that their efforts made it possible for us to enjoy our society as presently constituted. And I'll expect the future generations to do the same for me. Continue Reading »
Makes me wonder if Forbes knows that the Crimson Tide lost to Louisiana-Monroe last season?
But seriously, Forbes contends in the article that no other coach boasts Saban's "combination of money, control and influence." That's mostly due to the $32-million, eight-year contract Saban was given to come to Tuscaloosa.Saban will be the first college football coach to grace the Forbes cover since the magazine was started in 1917. The magazine hits newsstands Friday.
Should be an interesting read. As a fellow Southern-fried football fan, I only hope Forbes doesn't make Alabamans appear to be Neanderthals who have ceded control of their state's flagship university to an aloof egomaniac. But, hey, it is what it is.
Also, there's no No. 2 or No. 3 or Top 10 in this issue. Just Saban.
Without thinking too deeply about this, I've gotta figure Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, Ohio State's Jim Tressel and, say, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski figure somewhere in the top 10. Maybe Joe Paterno or Bobby Bowden should be considered.
Makes for some interesting conjecture, no? Continue Reading »
Kilpatrick, once dubbed the "Hip Hop Mayor," should, at this embarrassing point, take his cue from a country music standard: "Know when to hold'em, and know when to fold'em."
For goodness' sake, even Obama and Co. don't want Kilpatrick to bring his circus to Denver. Continue Reading »
At least I've got a banging soundtrack to get me through:
1. Morris Brown by Outkast
2. The Bird by Morris Day and The Time
3. U Send Me Swingin' by Mint Condition
4. Sex Appeal by Ray Cash
5. Paisley Darts by Ghostface Killah feat. Raekwon, Sun God, Trife Da God, Method Man and Cappadonna.
It might be awhile before I post again today. But I'll definitely have a something to say. There's too much going on - the 73rd birthday of Social Security, more scuttlebutt about affirmative action, the US men's hoop teams disposes of Greece - to leave this space blank today. Continue Reading »
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
"The goal is to defeat Obama. I don’t want Obama to be in office,” Corsi said.
Corsi is certainly doing his part to make it happen, picking up where he left off after his book "Unfit for Command" helped to sink Senator John Kerry's campaign during the 2004 election. "Obama Nation" is poised make its first appearance on The New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction hardcovers this Sunday — at No. 1.
But calling Corsi's latest release "nonfiction" might be a serious stretch. Here's how The Times describes the book: "(Corsi paints Obama) as a stealth radical liberal who has tried to cover up 'extensive connections to Islam' — Mr. Obama is Christian — and questioning whether his admitted experimentation with drugs in high school and college ever ceased."
According to Media Matters, Corsi cites conservative bloggers, right-wing Web sites, discredited news stories and outright lies and distortions to cobble together "Obama Nation."
This sounds a lot like "truthiness" to me. Or something worse.
But, in an ironic and appropriate twist, John Kerry is leading the counterpunch effort against Corsi and his slimy ilk, proving - once again - that it's never too late to make things right.
Despite the early sales for "Obama Nation," I have faith that Americans won't be suckered again by an unrepentant liar like Corsi. I really need to believe this. And I'm willing to help where I can because as my mother once told me, the truth is the light and the only thing that endures.
UPDATE: Obama's campaign issues a 40-page response to Corsi's best-seller. And not to moment too soon. Continue Reading »
Who knew the Games were a virtual Freaknik?
Obviously, the rankings are not based solely on what happens on the playing fields. Unless I've vastly underrated the football programs at Cal Tech and MIT, or the field hockey teams at Smith and Wellesley.
That said, just a couple of (not-so serious) complaints: I've always assumed Hampton was a more important rival to Howard than Morehouse and Spelman, and under any circumstance, I can't imagine why anyone outside of the alums would care about Guilford vs. Oberlin and Indiana vs. Purdue.
A few notable rivalries that came to me, just off top: Texas and Texas A&M, a rivalry steeped not only in football but in their tremendous campus lifestyle differences; North Carolina vs. Duke, almost entirely based on hoops and the whole public-private thing; and Grambling vs. Southern, which boasts a more sibling-like animosity than Howard-Hampton in my opinion.
As a note, TCU and SMU isn't a rivalry. SMU would have to win every now and again for us to really care. Continue Reading »
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
If there was ever any doubt about this before, let me assure you: Rush Limbaugh is a buffoon.
Limbaugh would be advised to do something productive with his mouth. Shut it.
UPDATE: Speaking of the Edwards fam, here's a link from The Root's Marc Lamont Hill. Adding that Big Boi sample was a stroke of genius.
UPDATE 2: Actually, UBM gets off the best line I've seen about this whole Edwards ordeal: "I can only assume Rielle Hunter is better at sex than she is at shooting video." Classic. Continue Reading »
Teams that are bad or getting worse or struggling to overcome their ineptitude usually face an inordinate amount of obstacles before they can turn the corner. On the flip side, contending teams usually catch all the breaks and benefit from a certain about of providence along the way - good and lucky are usually one in the same. Good teams make their own luck.
That's why I'm curious to see how the upstart Rays, holding a four-game lead in the AL East as of today, will deal with the recent losses of Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford.
The baseball season, of all pro sports, has the longest, most grueling race to the finish line. Things that happen in April don't necessarily have anything to do with what happens in the final week of September. Ask the Mets.
So we'll figure out what kind of team the Rays really are over the next couple weeks. Will they remain baseball's darlings and feel-good summer story? Or will they sink back to the bottom of the standings, where they've made themselves comfortable for the past decade? Continue Reading »
Monday, August 11, 2008
I'm reading this tonight. Here's a sample: "Above all, this irony emerges: Clinton ran on the basis of managerial competence—on her capacity, as she liked to put it, to 'do the job from Day One.' In fact, she never behaved like a chief executive, and her own staff proved to be her Achilles’ heel."
But there's yet another reason Hillary Clinton was bounced out of the presidential race, according to her former communications director. John Edwards. Some of us consider this an excuse rather than a reason. And, really, Howard Wolfson ignored the available evidence to come up with this one.
Don't look to me for many foreign policy discussions. You'd be better off trying Matthew Yglesias. But on the way home I overheard Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili tell CNN that his country "would never, ever surrender. We're willing to fight to the end." Looks like the time for compromise between Russia and Georgia might have already elapsed; Russia continues to advance and attack despite Georgia's retreat from South Ossetia. Now, I think, would be a good time for Obama to come back to the mainland.
Speaking of Obama, I think some people tend to forget that he's in the lead in every reputable poll taken on presidential contest. Some people like Glenn Thursh at Politico. To expect a blowout victory by any Democrat in any year is silly, given the deep political divisions in this country. The race is destined to be tight because of the simple math of the Electoral College. People should chill out. We've got a loooong way to go.
I had once hoped to cover a cockfight for my old news shop. But it looks like them days are over in Louisiana. I'm sure, however, the bloodsport will live on forever in some corners of the state. And others.
Ever heard of the "Preppy Killer"? Well, he's in the news again. Reminds me that Ralph Wiley once noted the nickname was shockingly inappropriate: "Not the murderer, the beast, the animal but a preppie who let sexual horseplay get a little rough. What power the prisms have!"
It occurred to me that Bernie Mac and the word "motherf*cker" will forever be inextricably linked. Thanks to him, I'll never be ashamed of the word again. Sorry, mom.
And, to commemorate the upcoming football season: the top 20 touchdown celebrations. Continue Reading »
But as we've seen with Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes in recent days, there's only so much control that you can have over your health. And that's when, as a black man, I begin to worry.
The statistics are daunting: black men in America are at an increased risk for about every single health problem. The average life expectancy for black men is 70, six years behind white men, seven behind black women and 11 behind white women.
The anecdotal evidence is troublesome, too: for example, my childhood idol, Ralph Wiley, died of heart failure at age 52 despite a relatively clean bill of health. Not to mention tales of other black men in my life - and others - who died too soon.
I've got a fighting chance to make it into my 70s since I come from relatively healthy stock - both my grandfathers surpassed the age of 80 and my father is 61 but could easily pass for someone 15 years younger.
But I wonder if something else is at work besides my genes and mere lifestyle choices. I often joke with family members and friends that I'm cutting years off my life by worrying about run-of-the-mill discrimination. And it seems funny until I read this in the LA Times: "For a black man, a stress response to discrimination can be triggered by something as subjective as feeling suspicious eyes on him in a department store."
Considered me stressed out.
Example: I was stopped by the cops last weekend. No traffic infraction or anything. Just, you know, Officer Bruce was running my plates because "I have that right," as he told me later. As I waited on the shoulder of the road, another officer pulled up behind my car. The officers commiserated for about 15 minutes before deciding to ticket me for failing to register my vehicle in a timely manner. I asked him, "how did you pick me out - of all people - on such a busy street?" Officer Bruce and Office Pigu didn't have an answer for me other than it was their right to run my plates.
And this was the second time something like this had happened in the past month.
All told, I've probably been stopped by cops about 40-50 times in the 14 years that I've been driving. I don't think I'm a particularly bad driver - I've had two accidents that were the fault of other motorists and I'm no speed demon. Over that time, I've had officers ask to search my car (they were surprised when I told them no), for looking lost while driving through the neighborhood (only a block from my mother's home) and for trailing a white female co-worker too closely after midnight (this happened in somewhat notorious Jasper, Texas).
To perceived slights - why didn't anyone say hi at the party? - to outright insults like being called "nigger" at an IHOP in Bossier City, the incidents add up in some imperceptible way. Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me. But my body eventually pays the price.
So, what's a brotha to do? As Jay-Z might ask, can I live? Continue Reading »
Hardly anyone should be turning to host Howard Kurtz for nuanced NFL talk. But things promised to be interesting with popular sports media personalities Will Leitch and Gregg Doyel as panelists on the segment.
Leitch and Doyel were certainly interesting. But for all the wrong reasons.
Both men seemed intent on cramming as many insults and snarky remarks as possible in their brief appearance on Kurtz's show. Elevating the discourse or providing honest critique about the media coverage, they were not.
Doyel made several references to Favre's low Wunderlic score (a general test of problem-solving ability given to prospective NFL draftees) from the long-ago days of 1991. Doyel neatly summed up his complaint about Favre's offseason flip-flop thusly: "I really get sick of people that behave like losers."
Ok. Thanks for coming. I'm sure Howie had some nice parting gifts.
Leitch was a tad more coherent in his appearance but went out of his way to take a shot at ESPN on a question that was about, specifically, the Tampa Tribune's embarrassing gaffe. It's important to note that in Leitch's most recent book, "God Save The Fan," there are at least four chapters about how much ESPN sucks, including one titled "Ten Examples of How ESPN Is Ruining Sports."
Kurtz, somewhat predictably, failed to gain control of his guests. No one could have possibly learned anything about Favre or the Green Bay Packers or the media coverage of both. It was a disappointing effort all the way around.
All things considered, I have a lot - a lot - of respect for Leitch and Doyel. But they missed a great chance to go beyond the snark and crude soundbite that the new sports media leaders are sometimes renowned for. Instead they came off looking small and petty and mean.
And I really hope that's not the lesson that "Reliable Sources" viewers took from the show. Continue Reading »
A black Scientologist? Almost unheard of.
That said, Fox News reporter Roger Friedman offers some insight in the last couple years of Hayes' life, his relationship with Scientologists and why his death Sunday may not have been so surprising.
Here's a passage from the story about a Hayes concert in January 2007: "The show was abomination. Isaac was plunked down at a keyboard, where he pretended to front his band. He spoke-sang, and his words were halting. He was not the Isaac Hayes of the past." Continue Reading »
In a sign of my utter cluelessness when it comes to computers, I had no idea that the settings on the blog didn't allow comments from readers who wouldn't register with Blogger. So I've now corrected that oversight. I don't know if this means there will be more comments in the future but I'm willing to give it a shot.
Also, there's a couple of changes in store for my spot. Hopefully, positive changes. We'll see how things play out over the next week.
Ciao. Continue Reading »
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I'm starting from scratch tonight - I've misplaced the notebook where I make notes about interesting items I've read throughout the week. Hopefully, it'll turn up at my desk tomorrow.
Long story short, I'm not working with much at the moment. Anyhow:
As the ill-named "Redeem Team" rolled to a tougher-than-expected victory over host China this morning, I couldn't help but think the NBA is seriously overestimating its sway with the next generation of hoopers. Earl Boykins continued the march of NBA veteran role players overseas, signing a contract this week that will make him the highest-paid player in Italy. Kobe and LeBron openly mused this week about the possibility of someday playing in Europe. And why not? The U.S. team's struggles in international play since 2000 have shown the gap between Americans and the rest of the world in James Naismith's game has nearly been erased. At that point, then, it would make sense for a top-flight NBA star to pursue the most money possible. Maybe I'm naive. But I like the speculation about this sort of shift. I believe in maximizing your options, folks.
Zen passed this item along from Fortune about an ambitious attempt to merge Facebook with fantasy football. I might be the last holdout in the male 18-34 age bracket when it comes to fantasy football. For years, I've had friends and co-workers attempt to lure me into a league and I've rebuffed their efforts each time. I just can't see how tracking the touchdown count of, say, LenDale White, is going to make the games more interesting for me. But I'm addicted to Facebook and football and for the first time, I'm open to becoming a statistical nerd this fall.
There are some quarterback troubles in Los Angeles. First, USC. Now UCLA. As the LA Times notes, UCLA really has nowhere to go from here. But the Trojans, they'll be fine. Mitch Mustain is next in line after Mark Sanchez. He was 8-0 as a freshman starter at Arkansas and certainly won't face tougher defenses out West than he did in the SEC. And, really, that's the difference between USC and almost everyone else in college football. I stand by the Trojans as my national-champ choice.
If this is true, I think Tyson Gay is running for third place in the Olympic 100-meter showdown against Jamaican speedsters Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell. Maybe fourth if you throw Walter Dix into the mix. And that might have been the case had Gay been at 100 percent. The Olympics can be cruel in that way.
Damn. I hate to read stories like this about kids on the cusp of NFL riches. Keep your spirits up and get well, Cornelius Ingram. It's the reason why I always lean toward advising guys to leave school early, given that the move makes sense.
Brock Lesnar is a beast. He might fully convert me to a MMA fan. Might.
Ok. That's plenty. And, really, I can't express in words (bad for a paid professional) how excited I am about the dawn of football season. I've spent nearly $100 on preseason annuals, including my beloved Texas Football magazine, to study up for the fall. I'm not gonna be caught sleeping come September.
UPDATE: I had to mention that Ahman Green is hobbled again, after only one play in the Houston Texans' preseason opener. Doesn't look good for the Texans' perenially porous running game. In early August. But if it makes them feel better, Reggie Bush wouldn't have helped much either. Continue Reading »
1. Hey, Lookaway by Questionmark Asylum
2. In My House by The Mary Jane Girls
3. Fu-Gee-La by The Fugees (God, what happened to Lauryn Hill?)
4. Thief's Theme by Nas
5. Mr. Telephone Man by New Edition Continue Reading »
Hunter on Elizabeth Edwards: "I've only met her once. She does not give off good energy. She didn't make eye contact with me."
UPDATE: I'm not normally one for fanning the flames but this link was pretty good. I mean, if you're going to go down (so to speak), make it count. And, no, Hunter doesn't make the cut. Continue Reading »
This absolutely heightens my anticipation for the The Atlantic's upcoming take-down of the Clinton campaign. Politico's headine pretty much sums it up: "Clinton told to portray Obama as foreign."
Mark Penn = Karl Rove? Maybe.
Continue Reading »