Of all the many, many bad things I can say about George Bush, one of the few nods I'll give his way is that he seems to have (either through his handlers or innately) a maniacally attuned sense of politics. I got swept up when I saw him in the rubble just after 9/11, and he seems to always understand the best way to politicize a situation. (It's his choices of how to politicize these situations that are almost unilaterally awful.)
But this...this is inexcusable.
Forget about the fact that 3,000 National Guardsmen and women who would normally have been there to help evacuate and rescue citizens are instead fighting in Iraq.
Forget about the fact that the levees which broke had their budgets slashed before they could be completed -- because the money needed to be diverted to Iraq.
This photo was taken yesterday, two days after Hurricane Katrina smashed the Gulf Coast and really just one day into the country beginning to understand the horror of the damage. Also, he played golf yesterday as well. (Note: so did I. But, then, I'm not the leader of the free world.)
Just try, instead, to wrap your head around this photo. The United States has lost a city, it is our greatest natural disaster in any of our lifetimes, and...Bush is playing guitar? At a conference to talk about V-J Day? What the fucking fuck?
As someone who LOVES fantasy football to the point of obsession, I was delighted to see that many of the networks were doing fantasy football specials this year. Then, I realized...they had no idea what they were talking about.
Here was my first clue -- ESPN did their draft, and Suzy Kolber took Brett Favre with her second pick. She then followed up with Jerome Bettis in the third round, and the Pittsburgh defense in the fourth. There's simply nothing that can help her win with this team, aside from dumb luck. For those who don't play fantasy football, there's nothing wrong with any of those players, it's just that she passed on guys like Donovan McNabb, Julius Jones, Dominick Davis, and the like in order to take guys who would have been there in the 6th round or later. WAY later in terms of the Pittsburgh defense. I should also mention this was an EIGHT team league, which is preposterous in its own right.
Then, on the FOX show - lord knows why I had hopes for this - both Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman agreed that Favre was the #2 QB. Look, I love Brett Favre - how can't you? But in terms of fantasy football, he is at BEST the 4th QB, and much more likely the 6th or 7th. Terry Bradshaw was either drunk or bored, or both. Halfway through it, he started screaming out the defenses he'd rank higher than his "official" picks. He ranked Priest Holmes as the 10th best RB.
Fantasy football is NOT real football. In real life, I'd always want Favre leading my team over Trent Green, Marc Bulger or Kerry Collins. In fantasy? Maybe not so much.
All it would take is having a fantasy expert - and they are legion - host the show, and provide real fantasy advice. The only reason someone watches those shows is to get actual fantasy help, and currently, they provide NONE. So sad.
Bob Huggins has been asked to leave his post as the coach of the men's basketball program at University of Cincinnatti, a city I can't spell, let alone visit. That being said, this is long overdue. Forget about the fact that he seems to actively recruit felons - I'm a long-time fan of Jerry Tarkanian, so I'm not about to become judgemental.
It's the graduation rates, stupid.
Look - I'm the last one to begrudge someone like LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, let alone a Ronnie Brown or Randy Moss for leaving school early to cash in on almost certain financial success. But the reality is that even at a school like Cincy that competes in the NCAA March Madness pretty much every year, virtually none of the players go on to success in the NBA. That's why it's such a benefit to those students recruited - it's the cheapest way to get a college education. That's what being a student-athlete is supposed to be.
Clearly, a lot of responsibility falls onto the student-athlete himself. But a coach fosters an environment for a player to thrive in. A coach can suspend a player for academic failures, or at the least preach the values of a good education. Huggins did none of that.
Statistics aren't too hard to find here -- the average student graduation rate at University of Cincy is just under 50%, and around the country it's not much higher than that. (Sad, but true.) Huggins teams had graduation rates that were lucky to be at 25% some years. I remember a few years ago it was in the single digits.
That's criminal, in my mind. And by the way, it's not like boosters can point to national championships as solace, he hasn't won anything in years. How long can one coast on getting the team into the Final Four back in 1992?
Not much longer, it seems. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Huggsy.
It simply astounds me that as a matter of point, George Bush refuses to state what the U.S. definition of "success" or "victory" in Iraq is. The official position is that saying we want to leave by a certain DATE, this gives "comfort and aid to the enemy." Blah, blah...but fine. So don't set a date. Set goals - small ones, big ones, intermediate milestones, etc. Have a plan to work towards those goals, and contingency plan for those elements with the most risk.
In short, do what anyone with any sense for getting something done would do.
Can you imagine if your boss (in Bush's case, the American people) asked you how your project was coming along, and your response was, "It's fine...no idea when I'll finish it though. Setting a date would give aid and comfort to our competition."
OK, no one would say that. But the point, I think, is valid enough. It's actually quite a dumb thing to artificially set a date without working out the steps to completion. But to do that, you have to know what "completion" means - what is the launch date, the end date to the work that we're doing over in Iraq? What are the exact things that need to be done to reduce our troop level to...what? Zero? A small force akin to what we have in places like Germany and South Korea?
It's just the basic analysis like this that makes it evidently clear, to my addled mind, that the reason the U.S. won't publicly set a plan for victory or success in Iraq is for one or more of the following reasons:
The only thing more insane than this is that there is so little outrage about it. Democrat leaders like Pelosi and Reid have begged for this, but to no avail, and no one in the press seems to harp or even acknowledge this.
This is all why Bush won't entertain the idea of missing a scheduled nap and meeting with Cindy Sheehan. All she claims to want to know is why we're in Iraq, why her son was over there in the first place. In short, what is the U.S. goal in being there? If it was the WMD, that alone defines the war as a failure. We went in based on mistakes we weren't alone in making, but they were mistakes nonetheless. If it's freeing the people for democracy - freedom is on the march, by the way -- then we might have something to say about the fact that women's rights are now officially worse off than they were under the brutal reign of Saddam. (This does not mean Saddam was a good guy, but there's also no denying that his country was not a theocracy, electricity and water flowed freely in Baghdad and women had a lot more rights than they are about to have under the new Iraqi draft constitution.) If...if...
It's been over two years of us being at war with Iraq, and it's still a reasonable question for someone to ask the President why we went in there in the first place. That virtually defines insanity to me.
Remind me the next time I write something about the NFL, to wait for a few days, or at least until Peter King sends in his next MMQB. What I said about Terrell Owens? Peter King says it much, much better in his latest column:
Here's my bottom line, and it's what I told Mitchell: In 2004 Owens signed a contract through 2010 with the Philadelphia Eagles, his dream team with his dream quarterback. The contract makes him the third highest-paid receiver in football over the first three years of the deal. In 2005 he can't live with the contract. Owens gets no sympathy from me.
Go back to the Eagles on Wednesday, T.O., shut that massive piehole, play football and try to prove to some of us who think you're the worst kind of problem with American sports today that we're wrong. Please.
There’s a lot more, but that pretty much sums it up.
That was a fucking amazing show. Nothing really beats an amazing live concert, and for that matter, not much else beats sitting in the throne seats at the Greek for a White Stripes concert, especially when they put on a performance like last night.
I could have lived without someone breaking my $150 Oakley sunglasses, but they are probably repairable...hopefully. Still, fucking incred.
It would almost be irresponsible for me to not discuss T.O. in some way. I watched him develop from the suprise recipient of Steve Young's beautiful game-ending playoff TD against the Green Bay Packers in January 1998 to a selfish prima donna, yelling at coaches, disrespecting the game and his teammates, and generally getting away with it at all times because he is, and remains, one of the greatest wide receivers in the game.
But what he's doing in Philadelphia seems, to me, to go beyond the pale. Let's break this down. First and foremost, T.O. is in Philly because he insisted on it. He wasn't traded against his will, he's not serving out a rookie contract for a team he didn't want to be drafted by. He and his former agent blew their Free Agent signing, which allowed the 49ers to trade him to Baltimore - and he cried and whined and threatened to dog it until Baltimore refused the trade, and then allowed the 49ers to trade him to Philadelphia for a backup lineman and a cheap draft choice. As a 49er fan, I'm glad they got something for him - but again, if Owens had been a serious human being, he could have gone a bunch of other places. He wanted to play with Donovan McNabb and for Andy Reid, and he got his wish.
Owens signed the contract a YEAR AGO. It's one thing to watch the market change on you so that a contract you signed years ago no longer rewards you appropriately. In my opinion, that player should still honor his contract, but I recognize the reality of that situation. (Say, for Javon Walker currently.) What appears to have happened is that Owens had a bad agent - he either didn't negotiate the deal to T.O.'s satisfaction, or he misrepresented the facts to him. (I'm not expecting that Owens, or most non-lawyers, would understand what I would assume is a very lengthy and complex contract.) This is still Owens' fault. He's rectified that by firing his agent, but he definitely picked the wrong team to threaten with a holdout. No other NFL team has been as consistent in refusing to renegotiate a contract.
My biggest fault with the moron is that instead of holding out, he came back to camp and by all accounts dogged it, refusing to work out with the team because of an injury - but then working out right in front of those same teammates, making it clear he was healthy enough to work out, but he just didn't want to practice with the team. He apparently didn't talk in meetings, and didn't listen to coaches.
These are the actions of a child. And T.O. needs to be treated as such. Go back to your million dollar mansion, take a drive in your Escalade and think about how awful your life is. If needs be, workout on your front driveway to get the attention you crave so much. But don't expect one iota of sympathy from...well, anyone.
It just boggles the mind sometimes. President Bush gets re-elected, largely because some people [read: idiots] think of him as a strong, consistent leader. He's not a flip-flopper! (Never mind the ridiculous amounts of examples of his flip-flopping.)
Let's look back, for instance, at his 2004 State of the Union, where he barely mentioned the war and instead focused on...steroids.
To help children make right choices, they need good examples. Athletics play such an important role in our society, but, unfortunately, some in professional sports are not setting much of an example. The use of performance-enhancing drugs like steroids in baseball, football, and other sports is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message -- that there are shortcuts to accomplishment, and that performance is more important than character. So tonight I call on team owners, union representatives, coaches, and players to take the lead, to send the right signal, to get tough, and to get rid of steroids now.
OK. Hm...not terribly relevant to what I personally think our President should be worrying about, but fine. FINE. Hard to argue with that message. But then, when Rafael Palmeiro gets busted for steroids, how does our strong, consistent leader react?
President Bush -- who owned the Texas Rangers while Palmeiro played for the team -- called Palmeiro a "friend" in a round-table interview with reporters from several Texas newspapers. "He's testified in public, and I believe him," Bush added.
Meanwhile, Palmeiro on his own said the following:
"I made a mistake and I'm facing it," [Palmeiro] said. "I hope that people learn from my mistake and I hope that the fans forgive me."
Palmeiro sort of faced the music. (OK, speaking frankly, he still insists he has no idea how he got busted - er, how the roids ended up in his bloodstream, but he admits he made a mistake somewhere along the line.)
Leaders admit when they've made a mistake. Leaders admit that they've had to re-evaluate issues. It is unsuprising to me that in this same casual press gaggle, Bush also defended Karl "Turdblossom" Rove and intelligent design. No further comment necessary.
RIF! Reading, It's Fundamental.
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