Saturday, October 11, 2008

Game of the Night

LSU at Florida. Unfortunately, I'm going to miss it because of prior obligations - a birthday dinner with a good friend and his wife.

But I'd like to go on record as saying that I believe Florida will win - despite no evidence that the Gators are actually capable of defeating LSU. Pretty much, I think desperation is Florida's only true advantage tonight.

Well, that, and blitzing freshman quarterback Jarrett Lee into complete and utter submission. Should the Tigers fall behind early, I don't think they have enough firepower to make up the difference. Therefore, the key for Florida is putting 8 or 9 defenders in the box and forcing Lee to make plays to win the game.

We'll see. If the Gators lose tonight, they're essentially out of the national title race.

UPDATE: Guess I was right. And how about those Cowboys? Those Oklahoma State Cowboys, that is. Continue Reading »

Wise man: McCain "playing with fire"

One of John McCain's three wise men, U.S. Rep. John Lewis, is offering him some advice: cool it now.

As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.

During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate. George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.

As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.

UPDATE: McCain got his feelings hurt. Continue Reading »

Game of the Day

A morning workout that ran too late and some technical difficulties means that my intentions of live-blogging the first half of the Oklahoma-Texas game kind of fell apart. But there's nothing keeping me from trying my hand at it after halftime.

For a number of reasons, few games interest me as much at the annual showdown between the Sooners and the Longhorns: I'm always reminded that UT had the last all-white national championship team (1969); I was a huge fan of those Switzer-era Sooners; I lived in Oklahoma City for a wonderful eight months; and, for the most part, I never really liked UT fans - that's sort of weird because I love Austin.

Anyway, I'm mildly unnerved that the Sooners are leading by only a point at the half. They should be ahead by a couple of touchdowns, which could portend good things for the Horns. We'll see how things go.

UPDATE: Great first defensive series for the Sooners. But why doesn't Colt McCoy just throw the ball away instead of taking the sack?

UPDATE 2: Manuel Johnson is a bad man. In fact, the Sooners are noticeably faster than the Horns. How does that happen, given the talent Mack Brown has supposedly been stockpiling?

UPDATE 3: Will Muschamp ... why blitz in that situation? And that has to be the fourth or fifth time, at least, that OU has run that delayed screen over the middle. When do you think the Horns will pick up on that one?

UPDATE 4: Even though I'm rooting against UT, Chris Ogbonnaya is a little source of pride for me. Gotta love those running backs from Strake Jesuit.

UPDATE 5: OU 28-27. Must admit: UT has more heart than I expected. That was a very gutsy drive.

UPDATE 6: Crap. Ryan Reynolds is out. Huge loss for the Sooners. More in coverage than in run D - UT really is no threat there.

UPDATE 7: For the first time in a long time, we see the gambler in Stoops. The fake punt didn't pay off but I love him for even trying it. Still, this could be a huge boost for the Horns.

UPDATE 8: You can see how much the Sooners miss Reynolds on drives like this. The middle of the field is wide open for the Horns.

UPDATE 9: UT 30-28. I should probably know this but couldn't Stoops have challenged that call on the dropped INT? ... Ok, that was a terrible call.

UPDATE 10: End of the 3rd quarter. For the life of me, I can't understand how the Horns are winning this one. UT looks like its gaining confidence and the Sooners look a little shaken.

UPDATE 11: Even I can admit that was a helluva acting job. But it breathed a little life into the Sooners ... they couldn't afford to punt to the Horns again without putting up any points.

UPDATE 12: OU 35-30. Credit Knall for the Sooners' 6. That might be the key play in this game. And Bradford made two great throws to finish off that scoring drive. ... Glad to see Stoops decided to kick the XP and not go for two. Always take the sure-thing until you have no choice.

UPDATE 13: It's official: both teams can move the ball at will against each other. This could conceivably come down to who was the ball last, assuming UT puts a touchdown on the board here.

UPDATE 14: I was just telling my father that the middle of the field has been wide open for the Horns. That, bam! Shipley takes in a pass from McCoy in the middle of the field. Losing Ryan Reynolds has really, really hurt the Sooners.

UPDATE 15: UT 38-35. Honestly, USC would throttle both of these teams. I can't imagine either one of these teams winning a national title. The defenses in this game are pretty suspect against other elite offenses. Particularly the secondaries.

UPDATE 16: DeMarco Murray has lost a lot of explosiveness. He just doesn't look the same. And that has really hurt the Sooners, at least, against teams with elite defenses.

UPDATE 17: Ogbonnaya!!!!

UPDATE 18: UT 45-35. Yeah, the Horns are pretty much overwhelming OU in the trenches. And ABC showed a stat about the effect the loss of Reynolds has had on the Sooners - UT has averaged about twice as many yards a play since #8 went out for the game. It's so apparent.

UPDATE 19: What ever happened to Big Game Bob? You know, in many ways, this is a referendum on the improvement Mack Brown has made as a sideline tactician since the Vince Young Era.

UPDATE 20: And that's game. Of all things, Bradford was off on that fourth-down pass.

UPDATE 21: Remember when UT fans used to complain mercilessly about Greg Davis? Well, today he calle a helluva game. And he's doing all this without a lead running back - no offense to lil' C.O.

UPDATE 22: And that's game. UT 45-35. Another No. 1 goes down.

UPDATE 23: You know, if UT beats Mizzou next weekend, there's a serious case to be made that the Horns deserve to be the nation's top-ranked team. Regardless, USC is still the nation's top team in these eyes. Alabama and LSU, assuming the Tigers win tonight, are the next two.

That's all for the moment. The First Lady is going to join me in Houston and we've got some sightseeing. More tomorrow. Or later today, if I can convince her to let me have more computer time. But I doubt it. Continue Reading »

Friday, October 10, 2008

Foreign policy experience

Believe it or not, there's no mention of Russia in the 562 pages of daily schedules released by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's office. There's nothing there about trade missions with Moscow.

Even the Russians are clowning her about that one, calling her a "Mrs. Nobody Know-it-All."

But before Democrats gloat too soon, Mother Jones discovered that Palin and Alaskans have "always loved Israel." She also met with 10 foreign exchange students once. And, earlier this year, Palin had a 10-minute-long phone conversation with Canadian Minister of Industry Jim Prentice.

See. Guess we were all wrong to doubt her foreign policy bonafides, huh? Continue Reading »

Static

Sometimes, you just have to call a punk a punk:

If their suggestion really is that Obama is a sleeper radical, then they should be forced to articulate those views out loud. If they really think that on January 21, 2009, Obama is going to invite Ayers over to the White House so they can set off fire bombs throughout the West Wing, I want to hear them say it.

If they believe that Ayers is going to advise President Obama on matters of national policy, I want to hear them say it.

If they believe that the Ayers relationship signals that Obama will depart from his center-left legislative record and implement a radical policy agenda, I want to hear them say it.

If they're simply arguing that this association proves Obama is a poor politician, I want to hear them say it. If they believe the Ayers issue will manifest itself in other ways, I'm all ears.

I agree. Over the next couple of days, I think Obama supporters and other Democratic operatives should allow right-wing bloggers and conservative pundits to talk themselves into the noose. For only a second, don't shout them down or try to turn the topic back to the economy; simply pose the questions and don't let them squirm away.

In that regard, Obama and Biden are hitting all the right notes with the "say it to my face, nucka" meme they rolled out Thursday. McCain talked all that noise about taking off the gloves heading into Tuesday's debate but instead hid behind Sarah Palin and his wife. Well, Obama should take the chance to expose him in the third and final debate. Obama should call McCain out, make him articulate this garbage on stage for all the world to see.

Sometimes, the best way to handle a name-calling bully is to dare them to step in the square.

UPDATE: Maybe Obama and Co. are "playing mindgames with the old guy." Probably not, though it's not a bad idea. Obama probably would love for McCain to bring this up next week. Continue Reading »

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Honest mistake

Wasn't John McCain supposed to be most comfortable in the townhall format? I'd hate to see the results in a setting that actually unnerves him.

But in addition to getting his ass kicked by Obama according to the instapolls, McCain also managed to offend one of the undecideds in attendance that evening. Not surprisingly, the undecided was a black guy.

How did I feel about Sen. McCain stating “You probably never heard of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac before this"[?]

Well Senator, I actually did. I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent person. I have a bachelor degree in Political Science from Tennessee State, so I try to keep myself up to date with current affairs. I have a Master degree in Legal Studies from Southern Illinois University, a few years in law school, and I am currently pursuing a Master in Public Administration from the University of Memphis. In defense of the Senator from Arizona I would say he is an older guy, and may have made an underestimation of my age. Honest mistake.

You don't hear that much about McCain anymore. You know: honest.

UPDATE: Everyday, they're getting closer to dropping the n-bomb on us. Palling around with terrorists. That one. And now, courtesy of Frank Keating: "a guy of the street."

UPDATE 2: McCain's campaign? Disorganized? "Irresponsible"? Noooo. Continue Reading »

The Unthinkable

TNC hits this one out of the park, using a light touch on a subject that should give us all pause:

We remember Martin Luther King's murder as a sad and tragic event. Less remembered is the fact that ground-work for King's murder was seeded, not simply by rank white supremacy, but by people who slandered King as a communist. This was not some notion bandied about by conspiracy theorist, but an accusation proffered by men who were the pillars of the modern Republican Party.

Let me be clear--This is the ghost that McCain Campaign is summoning. This is the Ring Of Power that they want to wield. The Muslim charge, the "Hussein" thing is nothing more than today's red-baiting, and it is what it was then--a cover for racists. You may say I'm overreacting, and I really hope you're right. 999,000 out 1 million times we'll go on like normal and proceed to Election Day. But if some shit pops off, the thug and thug-mongers will not be able to throw up their hands and say "How could I have known?" Ignorance will not save them. Their stupidity is a scourge on us all.

Alma Powell, my parents and a number of folks who came of age in the Jim Crow South can not be written off as paranoid. They all lived the ugliness of those times, hold the chilling memories of those days in their hearts and know where this sort of rhetoric could lead us.

You can see echoes of those days at some of the GOP's most recent rallies. The Secret Service is taking this stuff very seriously; shouldn't McCain and Palin, too? Have they no understanding of the forces they're playing with here?

Let me recommend a book, if you're not clear about the danger here: Without Sanctuary. Continue Reading »

The MC in McCain

Check out that ice grill.

Think John McCain and T.I. have nothing in common? You would be wrong. Check out this breakdown of "Rubber Band Man" from Matt Yglesias:


That’s the McCain message. He’s a maverick (”wild as the Taliban”), endorsed by the NRA (”9 in my right, 45 in my other hand”), understands the need to cut marginal tax rates on the most productive Americans (”worth a couple hundred grand”), and owns thirteen cars (”chevys, all colors man”).


... And, of course, TI even hits the experience issue, arguing “check my resume n—–, my record’s impeccable.”

It fits nicely with the thuggish meme recently adopted by the McCain campaign. In fact, I think we may be seeing the rebirth of the age of the "Angry White Male," with McCain as the new leader of the movement.
Continue Reading »

Homecoming

If I seem a little incoherent today, it's probably because I'm still sluggish following a sleepless night and an early-morning flight to Houston.

It's good to be home. I'm here for a little more than a week, so I'll be hitting up all the barbecue and Mexican food joints, buying something "chopped and screwed" for old times' sake and making sure I have some Tony Chachere's to take back to Tampa. In between, there'll be some football, some sightseeing and some general idle time. And, of course, sporadic but regular blogging.

Thus far, I haven't had time to get out and assess all the damage wrought by Hurricane Ike but the Galveston coastline and the surrounding islands still look like wastelands - at least from the view I had flying into town this morning. To quote one of my former co-workers, the place is "a mess."

I'm hoping to check it out for myself this weekend. We'll see how things develop. Now, it's time for a nap. More later.
Continue Reading »

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bush-ed

For a couple of electric moments Monday night, Reggie Bush fooled everyone into believing that he had turned the corner quicker than he used to against the Washington States and Arizonas and Fresno States of the world.

Bush briefly reminded folks of the rep he built over three years at USC, where his speed was superior and his flashy running style created a legend that earned him a Heisman and the No. 2 spot in the NFL draft.

And it was a great game. But, as Mike Florio reminds us:

It's still only one game. Less than four years ago, Eddie Drummond returned two punts for touchdowns on the same day and is now out of the league. Jermaine Lewis did it for the Ravens not once but twice, and he won't ever get into Canton without paying admission.
Look, you all have no way of knowing this - and I have no proof at this moment to back it up - but I was a lone voice in a chorus of endless praise two and a half years ago. Bush was a wondrous college back but looked nothing like a franchise NFL runner or, especially, the No. 2 pick in the draft, to me.

I spent a lot of energy and time arguing with friends and colleagues about the merits of drafting Mario Williams over Bush. Not because I particularly cared about the future of the Texans but because I was surprised everyone had so easily fallen in love with a guy with obvious limitations.

His speed was a nice perk but would almost completely be negated at the next level - you're simply not going to beat guys like Brian Urlacher to the corner very often. His otherworldly cutting ability would be a drawback unless he was willing to do the hard work of disciplining himself to following his blockers.

Could Bush gain the tough yards that LenDale White handled ably enough for the Trojans? I didn't think so. Bush reminded me an awful lot of Eric Metcalf, not Marshall Faulk - a glorified third-down back. And thus far, I've been right.

(I'm not good at math, can't swim or golf, have horrible study habits, was a middling football player myself and, for all I know, might be a very average writer and terrible boyfriend. But I have this gift - I have a good sense for what makes a good, average and bad running back.)

Bush has averaged a mediocre 3.6, 3.7 and 3.3 yards per carry in his three seasons in the league. He ran the ball 12 times for 29 yards Monday against Minnesota. Those kinds of numbers mean the Saints have had to turn to plodders like Aaron Stecker and Pierre Thomas - when Deuce McAllister was out with knee injuries - to do the job they thought Bush would be able to do coming out of school. His best move since leaving USC was making a play for Kim Kardashian.

More from Florio:

But running backs and punt returners aren't like quarterbacks, receivers and players at other positions who flourish after getting accustomed to the speed and flow of the NFL game. Running backs and punt returners play with instinct and raw skill. The light doesn't come on in Year 3; it's on from the moment the player joins the league. Or it isn't, and never will be.


Bush is not a bad player. Quite the contrary: he's a solid piece for any team lucky enough to afford the luxury. He can catch a few balls, return punts and take some handoffs when the workhorse has been ground down. Every now and again, he's capable of putting his imprint on a game as he did Monday night in the Saints' loss.

But that's not the stuff of a No. 2 pick. And certainly not of a guy everyone thought was the clear-cut No. 1 and future star. Back in the spring of 2006, former Texans' GM Charley Casserly hardly ever lived down passing on Bush. Fans howled and his subsequent exit out of Houston was roundly cheered.

So, what happened? Williams has become a star and Bush has become a complementary piece.

I think Houston owes Charley an apology. And, after all this time, my boys owe me some props.
Continue Reading »

Swagger like me

Maybe it's a product of good genetics or good living or simple blessings from God, but I still look a few years younger than my age. I turned 30 in May.

My regular barber, a 23-year-old aspiring gospel hip-hop artist and producer (who actually is very, very talented. No, really) and all-around cool brotha, couldn't believe it. He'd figured me for 24 or 25, which is what most people say.

Then he said this: "Yeah, but you always had an old-man swag about you."

I can only assume this is a compliment. Right?

UPDATE: Speaking of swag, this is ridiculous. This dude almost makes Making the Band unwatchable. Almost.

UPDATE 2: I should mention that my youngish facial features were no great benefit as a teenager. Lest we forget, the ladies are not checking for dudes who actually look like kids at that age. Continue Reading »

A fine time to write

Maybe only the journalists in the room will care about this, but Gawker has come up with a (tongue-in-cheek?) guide for those oh-so idealistic writers coming out of college who don't want to cash unemployment checks for too long.

In a few words, it's tough out there. Here's what Gawker has to say about my particular field - newspapers:

Forget it. Really. This is the worst place of all to either be employed, or be looking for employment. An easy rule of thumb: only the very top and the very bottom of the newspaper industry even have a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel. National papers—NYT, WSJ, Washington Post, USA Today—at least have strong enough brands to possibly pull through and prosper in the future. Tiny local papers are okay, since they have no internet competition to speak of. But every city paper in the population range from Spokane to Chicago is going to get slammed hard for the forthcoming future.

Not the best job prospect. (Except in India. Print is exploding there! If you like naan as much as journalism, buy yourself a plane ticket).

I might totally disagree with this analysis were it not partially true. However, I still think talent, versatility and determination will take you a long way in this field, which is true in a number of other ones with the possible exception of investment banking.

Journalism has taken me to almost every corner of the country, infused my life with people and experiences that I'll always cherish, allowed me to live out my lifelong dream of writing for a living (an honest one, at that) and paid me just enough for three squares (sometimes, only two) and a cot. That's more than most men could ever hope to ask for.

I wouldn't trade it - the experience - for anything. Any of it, even the days when I get twinges of paycheck envy directed at friends with more lucrative gigs. If you've got the heart for the biz, you'd do well to stick out the tough times, tilt at the windmills and, like a Boy Scout, be prepared for the changes.

And, most importantly, have a Plan B Continue Reading »

Halle Berry is the sexiest?


I'm not going to argue with Esquire this year, other than to note that I humbly submit the First Lady for serious consideration.

Over at postbourgie, however, there's a serious difference of opinion about this designation.

Some of it has to do with their interpretation of "sexy." Some of it has to do with doubts about Berry's relative lack of acting chops. And some of it has to do with, say, a lack of "rawness" that makes some women seem more salacious than others - Kerry Washington, for instance, is more alluring to me in that, uh, special way than Beyonce (I suspect "I Think I Love My Wife" has something to do with this).

I've put in my two cents at pb - yes, Halle has been in a few clunkers but she's done about as well as the material she's been given; on a pure eye-test basis, it's hard to argue with the pick; she's a better choice than going with Angelina Jolie again.

We could argue about this all day. And once upon a time, I actually used to do that. There's never going to be consensus on such matters. But for those who really, really can't cotton with Esquire's pick, fret not: like Cubs fans, there's always next year.

UPDATE: Since we're talking about dimes, here's a list of the "10 Hottest Canadian Female Celebrities of All Time." I want to get into a longer post on this topic but, in short, these sorts of lists remind me of the bottom-line importance of BET and Ebony magazine. If black folks didn't have their own outlets, you might think none of us were all that attractive. For the record, I might add these two names to the aforementioned list - Deborah Cox and Tamia.
Continue Reading »

McCain in Rolling Stone

For a number of reasons, I haven't had the chance this week to read this much talked-about Rolling Stone piece on McCain.

But, without having so much at glanced at anything beyond the headline, I found this review from Andrew Sullivan pretty significant:

The character Dickinson describes makes sense of both McCains - the contrite rogue committed to country and the preening, reckless narcissist who gave us Britney Spears ads and the farce of Sarah Palin. Some of his fellow Vietnam vets are the toughest on him. John Dramesi was an Air Force lieutenant colonel who was imprisoned and tortured in Vietnam and a peer of McCain's.

Dramesi attempted daring escapes twice and was brutally tortured and never cracked under the pressure. McCain himself called Dramesi "one of the toughest guys I've ever met." Dramesi also went on to become chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command. I'm not sure how you get to be a bigger hero than that but like most real heroes and unlike McCain, Dramesi didn't spend his life writing five memoirs commemorating his own heroism or running every single political campaign partly on the basis of being a POW. And here's what Dramesi now says about McCain:

"McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man. But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."

I would have dismissed that as bitterness six weeks ago. No longer. Go read the whole essay. Trust me. It's eye-opening.

I'll be having some reading time on the plane tomorrow. I'm sure I'll have some thoughts to share. Continue Reading »

What's playing in my deck...

It will never happen but I really should attempt a pivot from politics to sports and other topics today. We've got a huge weekend of college football ahead and I still haven't addressed all this nonsense about the rebirth of Reggie Bush. But, somehow, I'm sure I'll get dragged back into the fray:

1. This Can't B Good by Janet Jackson
2. Big Brother Beat by De La Soul feat. Mos Def
3. Drivin' Me Wild by Common feat. Lily Allen
4. Bitch Ass N*gga by David Banner (songs like this, certainly, will eliminate me from a future career in politics. I should apologize for iTunes here)
5. This Day, This Minute, Right Now by Mint Condition

More later. Continue Reading »

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Once again it's on

Well, we're underway from Nashville. Seems like Obama is winning this debate in a walk. Maybe, to borrow a phrase from Colin Cowherd, McCain is turning into a dumpster fire right before our eyes.

Obama just has a better handle on the economy and it shows. And McCain's claim that he will end cronyism on Capitol Hill is laughable - especially when his Senate Chief of Staff was once a lobbyist for Freddie Mac.

Even GOP operative Alex Castellanos (a Democrat in disguise, I think) is scoring Obama ahead - on points, so to speak - through the first few minutes.

We'll see where we go from here.

UPDATE: I hate those questions that essentially ask the candidates to commit to doing something - namely reform of Social Security within a couple of years - without knowing a thing about the economic environment at that time. Either way, Obama is knocking that answer out of the park according to the uncommitted women voters in Ohio (I'm obviously watching CNN, for the record).

UPDATE 2: It's not hard to fix Social Security? Really? Eh, the voters didn't like that response. And, for the record, it's hard to take on your party when you actually believe that they're on the right side of the issue.

UPDATE 3: Brokaw is the moderator and all but he's grandstanding a bit. And "that one"? That's not a good look.

UPDATE 4: Barack's reference to his mother's final days battling with cancer and insurance executives was quite a flourish. And it really seemed to register with the audience.

UPDATE 5: I'm fading in and out on this one. The debate is sort of, uh, boring. But I sprung to life when I saw that Cindy McCain accused Obama of waging "the dirtiest campaign in American history.” This must be a severe case of projection.

UPDATE 6: Wow, what a way to flip it on Iraq. Using the "I don't understand" line was a stroke of genius, likely something he was waiting to get back to tonight. Point, Obama.

UPDATE 7: I've gotta note that whenever Obama clears his throat, the lines start soaring. Believe it or not, these undecided voters seem to be leaning blue.

UPDATE 8: Over at TNC's spot, he answered my question about his use of the phrase "weak sauce." Check it out.

UPDATE 9: Uh, Obama saying "I will kill bin Laden" was not a good look. For some reason, it didn't feel right coming from him. That's McCain's bag. Let him come off like the homicidal president.

UPDATE 10: These guys really don't like each other. It's gone beyond politics at this point. They're the anti-Nino Browns.

UPDATE 11: By the way, McCain misquoted his other "hero" Teddy Roosevelt, quoting him as saying, “Walk — Talk softly and carry a big stick." The exact quote is: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

UPDATE 12: I don't necessarily agree with McCain but he gave a strong answer, for him, about Russia. I'm not quite sure that we need to "apply pressure" there, though. I still fault Georgia for some of that conflict.

UPDATE 13: The evil question was stoopid.

UPDATE 14: Don't touch me, kid. ... But I really, really dislike all this rhetoric about Iran - on both sides. As a country, someday, we're going to have to come up with legit reasons why other countries can't possess nuclear weapons other than "we don't like them and neither does Israel." Either way, Obama's answer seems to have gone over well. Diplomacy actually, you know, works.

UPDATE 15: I should mention that I'm not in Nashville, in case you're confused. I'm at home in Tampa, in the lab, watching it all unfold on TV ... Internet question was pretty, pretty weak. This is a serious debate, you know? ... I love Michelle Obama.

UPDATE 16: I can't imagine tonight's debate changed much of anything. Waiting to see if Obama and McCain will actually shake hands. If it were me, I might use the opportunity to throw a quick jab. But I ain't running for office. ... By the way, do you really believe there's uncommitted voters anywhere? Even in that room?

UPDATE 17: Yeah, they don't like each other. ... I might wait for a minute before I offer post-debate thoughts. I really, really want to address the biggest issue percolating in my inbox: Reggie Bush, whom I think is terrible.

UPDATE 18: A good friend asked me tonight "Is 'That One' the singular of 'Those People?'" Hmm. I think so.

Oh yeah, here's a little nugget that I overlooked today: the guy who referred to Obama as "that one" wrote to the State Department in 1991 on behalf of a former Alabama state trooper charged with murder at the height of the civil rights movement. Hmmm. I'd do well to just allow that story to speak for itself. Continue Reading »

Those bad-ass Rays

Matt Y on the lamer-than-lame Tampa Bay Rays:

Not only has Tampa become good, they’re not the Devil Rays anymore. They’re just the “Rays.” Like a ray of sunshine. I suppose you can’t argue with success, but this strikes me as a much lamer name. It used to be that no matter how bad the team, you could at least say “well, we’re still named after a bad-ass fish.” Now once their good players are all poached by other, higher-payroll teams what are they going to have left? Nothing!


Manta rays are mostly harmless but they do have "bad-ass" look to them, I suppose.

At the moment, however, I wonder if the Rays will have more fans at the Trop than those interlopers from Boston. The Tampa Bay area is full of Northeastern transplants, thus we are inundated with tiny pizza joints, people who complain incessantly about the mild summer heat and create a host of divided loyalties when the Red Sox come to town.

I should also note here that, while I have truly fallen in love with the area, I'm not sure that I can bring myself to root for the Rays. Not only out of loyalty to the Houston Astros but because I'm very, very interested in the prospect of Manny having to play at Fenway for the Series. The drama and the prospect of the Sox going down to the Dodgers is way too tempting. Continue Reading »

"Gloves are off"

And so are all pretensions the GOP presidential ticket is going to run a campaign of honor and decency in these final weeks before Election Day.

I'm so relieved that I wasn't in Clearwater to cover Sarah Palin's appearance yesterday. Looks like I wouldn't have been welcome, on a number of fronts:

Worse, Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."

In fairness, some parts of the Tampa Bay area have yet to evolve beyond 1968. But Palin - and McCain - have essentially tossed a burning match into field of embers. This sort behavior from the stump is irresponsible and is creating the sort of atmosphere that once worried Alma Powell. Summing up the mood heading into tonight's debate between McCain and Obama, here's Steve Benen:

The reckless and irresponsible rhetoric McCain and Palin have used has contributed to, if not practically created outright, an overheated political environment. It's in this environment that furious right-wing activists feel compelled to use racial slurs against journalists, and shout assassination requests at political rallies.

The responsible thing for McCain and Palin to do would be to turn down the temperature a bit and insist, in no uncertain terms, that they have no tolerance for the kind of ugliness Americans saw yesterday from the GOP.


Continue Reading »

Monday, October 6, 2008

"Nailin Paylin"

Certainly, Rich "Little Starbursts" Lowry has already pre-ordered the latest offering from Hustler Video:

In a flashbacck sequence, "young Paylin's creationist college professor will explain a 'big bang' theory even she can't deny!" Radar Online also posted an excerpt of the script, which includes a late-night visit from the tanning bed repairman.

Alas, there is also a three-way with Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice look-alikes. Actress Nina Hartley, 49, has been cast as Clinton.


I imagine that Lisa Ann (pictured above) will do a lot more than wink at the screen.

UPDATE: The Daily News also compiles a list of celebrities, of the non-porn variety, that could reasonably portray Palin. I was most surprised that Jennifer Aniston sort of fit the bill.

UPDATE 2: Since I don't yet know the screen names for the characters of Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, let me do the childish thing and try to guess what they might be: Hillary Clitoris and Cunnilingus Rice.
Continue Reading »

The birth of the Barracuda

From this engaging profile about the political birth of the “Barracuda," here’s a few snippets worth considering:
"… when it came to garbage removal, what Palin seemed to have chafed against was less the substance of Carney's position than what she felt was his elitist, Ivy League bearing. And, over the next few years, she found ways to get him back."

"When he explained that a ban would be unconstitutional, Palin appeared impatient with such legal niceties. 'I would describe it this way: Sarah was not an in-depth person. Never has, never will be,' Deuser says. 'Her instincts are political as opposed to evaluative.'"

"She was kind of like that. She thought she was right."

"I was thinking--these are things she should know better. Why is she asking me these stupid questions?"

"And, in a move practically out of Karl Rove's playbook, she dwelled on how Stein's wife used her maiden name, going so far as to demand a marriage certificate as proof of their nuptials."

"'She wanted yes-or-no answers ... and he would give her more sophisticated answers,' recalls Anne Kilkenny, the local gadfly and author of an anti-Palin e-mail that became nearly ubiquitous after Palin joined the GOP ticket. 'She hated it. ... She'd get very irritated, really irritated.'"
Any of this sound familiar?

UPDATE: Joe Klein elaborately explains why he's dubbing the GOP veep nominee "Embarracuda."

UPDATE 2: I can't really comment on this dispatch from Palin's visit to Clearwater today, for obvious reasons. But here's Steve Benen to fill in the gaps: "Think about this -- it was a public event in which a public official, seeking public office, spoke at a public park. Journalists, bolstered by the First Amendment, were told they weren't allowed to talk to voters. And the rationalization for this is that a political campaign wanted to stifle media access in order to ensure more positive coverage. Unless there's some key detail the St. Petersburg Times neglected to mention, this sounds quite a bit like madness."

UPDATE 3: Timothy Noah points out the fallacy of the narrative that portrays Alaska as the American Heartland and Hawaii as some sort of exotic southeast Asian playground. Continue Reading »

More fun with geography


Map courtesy of Matt Y, who graciously offered to help Sarah Palin with geography in light of her recent observation that U.S. soldiers "are also building schools for the Afghan children so that there is hope and opportunity in our neighboring country of Afghanistan." Continue Reading »

Not funny

Chris Tucker used to do a comedy routine (starts at about 3:30) about what might happen if there was a black president - the yard wouldn't be cut regularly; junk cars would be in the driveway; and he wouldn't need a bodyguard because he'd have his own gun ("Daaaamn! The president fucked somebody up"), etc.

It wasn't groundbreaking stuff but it was sort of funny when I was a kid. Well, there's a McCain campaign operative in Virginia who's saying the same things now except it really isn't a joke.
A local newspaper columnist, in a spoof of Obama’s platform, wrote in one recent piece that the Democrat would hire the rapper Ludacris to paint the White House black (a reference to a pro-Obama song by Ludacris), and divert more foreign aid to Africa so "the Obama family there can skim enough to allow them to free their goats and live the American Dream." He joked that Obama would replace the 50 stars on the U.S. flag "with a star and crescent logo," an Islamic symbol, and that his policy on drugs would be to "raise taxes to pay for Obama's inner-city political base."
According to the supposedly satirical column, other Obama positions included mandating Americans learn to speak Arabic as a way to deal with terrorism, supporting reparations to the black community upon election and appointing Rev. Al Sharpton to Secretary of State and Jesse Jackson as a United Nations representative.

Funny, right? Continue Reading »

Sunday, October 5, 2008

In a word: "Wow"

As someone who grew up rooting for and suffering with the Houston Oilers, I've gotta tell you: watching the Texans completely unravel in the 4th quarter against the Colts reminded me of a modern-day interpretation of the Kevin Gilbride-Jack Pardee era.

Those clips are still painful to watch today, more than 15 years later. My goodness.

Thanks for the memories, Sage. Continue Reading »

Where the Friday Night Lights shine brightest

Over the past decade or so, there's been a lot of talk that Florida has overtaken Texas - and California - as the nation's leading producer of blue-chip football players and quality programs.

Good to see that Katy, a longtime Houston-area power and defending big-school state champ, quieted some of that noise Saturday in an emphatic way. And Katy had been pretty mediocre so far this season.

Not to mention, with the recent descent of college programs like Florida State and Miami and the ascent of Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and LSU (the latter two schools rely heavily on Lone Star recruits), one could reasonably argue that Texas has reclaimed its No. 1 spot.

Of course, I'm really, really biased here. And you don't want to read too much into one game between a pair of high schools. Still, I'll take my talking points where I can get them.

UPDATE: Now seems like a good time to mention that Katy's vanquished foe, Cypress Bay High in Weston, FL, was host of "The Paper," MTV's reality series about a high school newspaper. Maybe I should be ashamed but The First Lady and I were semi-regular viewers of this show. It reminded us, only a little, of our days on high school and college newspaper staffs. We'd definitely like to think we didn't act so geeky and self-important back then. Meh ... Continue Reading »

The death rattle

TNC has asked folks to link to this clip of Sarah Palin, so I feel obliged to abide his wishes this afternoon.

I'm conflicted about what this so-called gaffe actually means and whether it's worth my or TNC's outrage. I don't take it literally that Palin believes women who don't support other women will have a front-row seat in Hell. But who really knows?

At this point, the Republican ticket has resorted to nudging awake those dwindling numbers of dogmatic neoconservatives who were initially reluctant to support McCain. From here on out, we should expect the worst from McCain and Palin in their flailing attempt to claw back into the race. Gutter and identity politics will be their play, pure and simple.

It's just sad: I think it's the death rattle of a nearly lifeless campaign.

UPDATE: Speaking of death and such, Andrew Sullivan is shooting poison darts at the GOP: "Palin is the aroma that rises from the corpse of American conservatism. And they find it invigorating."

UPDATE 2: For all we know, Linda Hirshman might be bound for Hell. Continue Reading »

In praise of Tecmo Bowl

Since it's NFL Sunday and I'm in an old-school mood, here's some clutch YouTube footage of Bo Jackson and Christian Okoye on Tecmo Bowl - the most revolutionary video football game of all-time.

Anyone who grew up, like me, playing Intellivision Football, 10-Yard Fight, or John Elway's Quarterback knows exactly what I'm talking about. Kids really don't know how good they have it now.

Anyway, here's also a list of the best players in Tecmo Bowl history here. Whenever possible, I always played with the 49ers on Tecmo Bowl because they had a crossing route with Jerry Rice that could not be stopped.

UPDATE: The rebirth of "Punch-Out" might be reason enough to finally convince me to buy a Wii - the First Lady has been seriously lobbying for one. I've been resolute about not buying another video game system. But that's definitely subject to change now.
Continue Reading »

Get Maverick-y in there

Improbably enough, Jason Sudekis came pretty hard in his send-up of Joe Biden. But, once again, Tina Fey killed last night on SNL.

Here's a sample:
"Gwen, we don't know if this climate change hoozie-what's-it is man-made or if it's just a natural part of the 'End of Days.' But I'm not gonna talk about that I would like to talk about taxes, because with Barack Obama, you're gonna be paying higher taxes. But not with me and my fellow maverick. We are not afraid to get maverick-y in there and ruffle feathers and not got to allow that. And also, too, the great Ronald Reagan."

A link to the rest of the transcript is here, on Jake Tapper's blog.

More than anyone else this fall, Fey has taken some of the meaning out of "maverick." I wonder if Palin was watching the show with the volume up this time around?

UPDATE: Politico.com, on the real Palin's performance Thursday: "To the contrary, it is hard to count any objective measures by which Biden did not clearly win the encounter. She looked like she was trying to get people to take her seriously. He looked like he was running for vice president. His answers were more responsive to the questions, far more detailed and less rhetorical. On at least 10 occasions, Palin gave answers that were nonspecific, completely generic, pivoted away from the question at hand, or simply ignored it." But other than that, she did fine. Continue Reading »