Saturday, February 27, 2010


A ten-year old student told me that he felt prisons should be separated into different sections. Those who are innocent should be in one section and those who are guilty should be in another, because it wasn't fair to the innocent prisoners to have to be in the same place as the guilty ones. The guilty prisoners might beat up the innocent ones.

A profound, yet almost certainly unintentional, social critique.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Iran Bomb and the U.S.

There has been talk about whether or not the advent of the Iran bomb could be beneficial to the U.S. somehow. A few courageous analysts have argued that it would be. A larger number of analysts assert that the first group is crazy.

Slate's Fred Kaplan discusses a New York Times piece by Adam Lowther, analyzing it such:

Lowther argues that an Iranian bomb might be beneficial to U.S. interests: The Saudis and Egyptians would want us to protect them by pledging to retaliate against Iran if Iran attacks Saudi Arabia or Egypt; in exchange for this guarantee, we could insist that they institute massive economic and democratic reforms and make peace with Israel. Furthermore, Lowther claims, the Palestinians would also rush to make peace, because the radioactive fallout from an Iranian attack on Jerusalem would kill them, too.

Kaplan counters:

This is one of the nuttiest op-ed pieces ever published in a major American newspaper. Brief rebuttal: No American president is going to treat an attack on Cairo or Riyadh as an attack on the United States. Even if a president said he would, no Egyptian or Saudi leader would believe him.

They both miss the point. In most talk about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, there is the assumption that the bomb will inevitably be used. It's an erroneous assumption and a potentially dangerous one if it becomes a staple of U.S. policy. The same assumption was used when Communist China became nuclear. U.S. arch-enemy the Soviet Union never dropped the bomb. The same is true of the vaunted "Islamic bomb" held by the Pakistanis. The reasoning went, what if a rogue military dictator with ties to Islamic fundamentalists took control of Pakistan? Well, it happened, and no bomb was deployed. Even North Korea, led by eccentric autocrat Kim Jong-Il, knows better than instigate a nuclear attack.

The fact remains that only the United States has actually used a nuclear bomb. The U.S. retains the most powerful military in the world. No country in the world, let alone the self-preservationists that run Iran, are willing to engage in a nuclear war with the U.S. or its allies.

If Iran obtained a bomb, it would give them more clout on the world stage. That reality could curb unilateral invasions and attacks committed by the U.S. and Israel. In that sense, it could create more (albeit tenuous) peace than the current situation allows. If one country has a nuclear weapon, there is no deterrent in using it, as exhibited in 1945. However, if competing sides hold that power, there is a deterrent. Of course, the best possible chance for peace is if no country possessed the bomb, a goal every nation on earth should aim towards achieving.

(The HQT-IE)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dwyane Wade

Don't get me wrong. Dwyane Wade is one of the best players in the NBA. I ranked him as the 5th best player at the end of last season and as the 4th best player now. Yet, somehow, I believe he's overrated. First, let's talk about Wade's positives. He's a great scorer. His career average is an impressive 25.3 ppg including a league leading 30.2 last season. For his career, he piles up 6.6 assists a game (an assist per game more than Chauncey Billups). He grabs nearly 5 rebounds on a given night from the shooting guard position. He also adds 1.8 steals and a block per game.

He's made the All-Defensive 1st Team twice. He also was deservedly the 2006 Finals MVP, willing his team to victory, particularly late in the 4th quarter of Game 3. Of course, his team won the championship that season. In addition to the numbers and the awards, Wade has made a ton of spectacular dunks and blocks. He's also risen to the challenge for the national team in '06, '07, and in the Olympics in '08.

All of that is great. But it doesn't tell the whole story and, in some cases, is even misleading. Wade dominates the ball on offense. If Dwyane Wade isn't holding the ball for the majority of a particular possession, it's probably because Miami's on defense. As much as he has the ball, of course his numbers are going to be great.

The question becomes: Is Wade dominating the ball the best thing for Miami? The reality is that he should be more of a team player. He's often excused for his ball-hogging because it's pointed out that his teammates aren't very good. At this point, he doesn't have championship teammates, but the team should be better than it’s been. Michael Beasley is a good offensive player, who suffers in Miami's offense. Jermaine O'Neal isn't the star he used to be, but he's often ignored. The difference between Steve Nash's ability to make a player better and Wade's becomes obvious when you look at Shawn Marion's career path.

Wade should be the go-to-guy for Miami, but he needs to learn how to make his teammates better. It was a slow process for Kobe Bryant as well, something Bryant has picked up only in the last three years. One of Wade's big problems over the last two seasons has been his determination to shoot an insane amount of three-pointers despite his paltry shooting average. Also, he can play great defense when the effort is there, which rarely occurs. He's a numbers guy on defense, often gambling for blocks and steals instead of being in position.

In a bit of revisionist history, some have considered the 2006 Miami Heat to have been "Dwyane Wade's team." Wade averaged the most amount of points, and his numbers were better, but the team was at the very least co-led by Wade and Shaq. It wasn't until Game 3 of the Finals that Wade put the team on his back. Shaq had a miserable Finals and Wade deserves a lot of credit for coming through in the clutch, but throughout the season, those roles were not nearly as defined. The bottom line is that Wade is a great player whose garish numbers are deceptive to a degree.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Next Georgia O'Keefe

It is my (recently discovered) dream to become the Georgia O'Keefe of painting abstract assholes. I can just hear the praise coming my way:

"He's managed to capture the true beauty and power of the asshole."
"I'll look at assholes in a whole new light from now on."
"His Made You Look Dirty Crook is a modern masterpiece."

Now I just gotta learn how to paint.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chauncey Billups

Following the '08 and '09 seasons I ranked Chauncey Billups as the 6th and 4th best player in the NBA respectively. Right now I have him as the 5th best. Those might be surprising rankings to some. Billups isn't a flashy player. If you judge NBA players by their number of 360 dunks appearing on SportsCenter, Billups won't make your top 10 list. Except with respect to free throws (he shoots a career 89%, good for 7th all time), Billups doesn't do anything especially spectacular.

But Chauncey Billups does everything well. He's a good shooter. He's a good three-point shooter, with 6 out of his last 7 seasons (this one included) above 40%. He's known as Mr. Big Shot for his ability to knock down a clutch attempt. He knows how to run a team from the point guard position. His assist numbers are low (they have been descending since his career high of 8.6 in '05-'06). He's averaging only 6.1 this season and has a career average of just 5.6 per game. However, the number of assists is not always an indication of how well a player runs a team. In Denver, Carmelo Anthony tends to dominate the ball, taking away assists from Billups. In Detroit, the team usually used more than one pass to score, also limiting Billups's assist totals.

Billups is a good on-ball defender. When he came to Denver, he changed the team's ability to defend. The Nuggets rivaled the worst defensive teams in the league before Billups brought accountability on that end of the court. That takes us to Billups leadership. His arrival in Denver changed the course of two franchises. The Nuggets thrived; the team he left, the Pistons, faltered. On the one hand, he was a great fit for both teams. Allen Iverson, the man he was traded for, and his propensity to shoot a ton, didn't work in either situation. But Billups's leadership was the real key. This leadership is also exhibited by the fact that he is the only player to have played in a conference finals each of the last 7 seasons.

Billups does have his shortcomings. He has been criticized for taking contested three-pointers early in the shot clock at crucial points in a game, usually after he's hit a few in a row. As happened in Detroit, Denver is notorious for laying an egg every once in a while due to a lack of energy. If Billups's ability to lead is responsible for his teams' successes (and I believe it is) then his leadership must be blamed when his team fails to bring energy on a given night.

Despite Billups few faults, he is one of the best players in the NBA today. It's been a while since he led the Pistons to the championship in 2004, garnering a Finals MVP in the process. But he is still the leader of a contending team. One fascinating statistic is that the Nuggets are considerably better without scoring-sensation Carmelo Anthony than without Billups. Mr. Big Shot is the best player on the West's second best team. he also deserves more respect than he gets.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Secularism in India

Previously I examined secularism in India with regard to the prevalence of religion in society. But secularism should not only be defined in terms of an absence of religion. So here I will examine the aspect of secularism which argues that each religion should enjoy legal symmetry.

Certainly, India's constitution is secular. It does not allow for favoritism for any particular religion. But India's societal make up is less clear cut. Hindu nationalists have gained a foothold into the mainstream. The BJP, a party that espoused a Hindu nationalist agenda, ruled India from 1998-2004, although the party never achieved anywhere near a majority of votes. but to have a ruling party promote an ideology of exceptionist nationalism on the basis of religion surely rocks the foundation of secular claims.

Traveling through cities such as Agra and Lucknow, it is impossible to miss that the poorer "old cities" are largely Muslim in character and population. Muslims do not have a unique claim on poverty in India, but urban Muslim areas are often poor. But lower caste Hindus share the same economic frustrations with a large portion of India's Muslim community.

In 2007, a bomb went off in Hyderabad's famous Mecca Masjid. The Indian media assumed that the perpetrators were Muslim extremists aiming to cause friction between Hindus and Muslims. The prospect that the responsibility could lie with Hindu extremists wasn't merely dismissed, it wasn't even considered. This in an era where Hindu extremists destroyed the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992 on religious grounds, leading to intercommunal riots and the 2002 massacre of Muslims in Gujrat, just to name two internationally infamous instances of violence committed by Hindu extremists.

The increased political success of Hindu nationalists in recent years, the relative economic struggles of Muslims (admittedly, however, an unambiguous dichotomy involving Hindu prosperity and Muslim poverty is far from reality), and couplet of anti-Muslim violence with the media's portrayal of those events, are all threats to India's de facto secularism. Hindu extremists and their allies, a minority of India's population, hope to eradicate all notions of India's secularism. While they have not been successful, they have created challenges to the concept of religious symmetry.

(The HQT-IE)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

So Long Nate

The Knicks traded away Nate Robinson just before the deadline this past Thursday. Why, I have no idea. Maybe the Knicks just hate me and want to deny me of the one pleasure I get out of watching their no-defense-playing asses. The Knicks are coming to DC in a week too, which would've been a great opportunity to watch Nate and Earl Boykins match up once again. But no, the Knicks want to deny me of that too.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Some Thoughts on the Winter Olympics

In a room full of Korean students, I innocently referenced last weekend's short track speed skating race where two Korean skaters took each other out of the race and Apollo Anton Ohno glided in for silver. There was an audible groan from students of all ages.

American curler John Shuster chokes worse than Bill Buckner and Joe Pisarcik combined.

I've always felt that men and women shouldn't compete in separate competitions. Having only one competition will hurt women's sports in the short run, but I bet women will catch up soon enough. It depends on the sport, but in 50 years, I think you'd have half men and half women competing on the top level.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Top 5 QBs and RBs Now

This list takes more into account than one pass, one game, or even one season. But it's not a list one the best who happen to be active. It also isn't a prediction of what will happen either. Injuries are not ignored. The previous list was posted on January 25, 2009.

Quarterbacks (Previous Rank)
1. Peyton Manning (1)
2. Drew Brees (5)
3. Tom Brady (NR)
4. Brett Favre (NR)
5. Donavan McNabb (2)

Running Backs
1. Adrian Peterson (3)
2. Chris Johnson (NR)
3. Thomas Jones (4)
4. Maurice Jones-Drew (NR)
5. Ryan Grant (NR)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hating Kids?

Recently, I saw a license plate driving north on 95 that read "IH8KIDS." It made me think, what would drive a person to put that on a license plate?

I was able to deduce two possibilities. Either the driver is one of those numerous deposed dictators who seek refuge in the United States. Or, he's a pedophile and the license plate is a cover to try to throw off suspicions of his criminal affection for children. Either way, I'm onto you sicko.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Olympics of Racism

The Olympics are the last arena where it's socially acceptable to make wild and offensive generalizations about groups of people. "The Koreans just aren't strong and skilled enough." "The Swedes don't have the intelligence." "What are the Japanese doing?" "Canadians are pussies."

Monday, February 15, 2010

ELL, Season 7, Week 3

I think the amount of snow that fell on the DC area recently gave a few of our evil leaders some new torture ideas. Let's get to the results. As always, the Evil Leaders League site is just a click away.

Karzai vs Ahmadinejad
As Nelson Mandela famously explained, his tribe, the Zulu, have a tradition where boys are circumcised at age 19. The Popolzai, Afghan head Hamid Karzai's tribe, have a similar tradition where a 52-year-old's sack finally drops. Karzai celebrated by demanding a halt to the killing of Afghan civilians and asking for a handover of security to begin this year. He also has called for reconciliation with the Taliban. That might be good policy for Afghanistan, but in the U.S., that's about as evil as a gay marriage. Or a slight increase in government regulation.

In a recent speech to Hashish Partiers, Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadienjad was caught with notes written on his hand. The notes read: 1) Arrest political opponents 2) Get nuclear weapon 3) Lower Jewish spirits. Most conservative Iranians found the act to be "folksy."

Click to view the winners at the Evil Leaders league's only official site. All your friends are doing it.

Berlusconi vs Kim
On a recent trip to Israel, Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister of Italy, didn't notice that a wall separates it from Palestine. He also didn't notice that, at the checkpoint, he had to get out of an official Israeli car and into an official Palestinian one. He said he was concentrating too hard on what he was going to say at an upcoming press conference. He should use the same excuse with his wife. "Sorry honey. I was so focused on my speech, I had no idea I was fucking that girl."

Kim Jong-Il calls the charge that wild swings in North Korea's currency are responsible for the country's mass starvation, "Western lies and propaganda." The bespectacled autocrat claims with a good bit of indignation that his currency policy has had nothing to do with the crisis; his people have been starving for years!

Obiang vs al-Bashir
Eve, the rapper, and her boyfriend are in trouble on suspicions of money laundering. Eve's boyfriend happens to the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in Equatorial Guinea. The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry happens to be the son of President Teodoro Obiang. In other news, Missy Elliot is dating the Minister of Relations with the Parliament and Judicial Affairs of the Government Angel Masie Mibuy, Da Brat is with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation, and Francophony Micha Ondo Bile, and Foxy Brown is tied to the Minister of Justice, Cults, and Penitentiary Institutions Mauricio Bokung Asumu. What can I say, '90s female rappers are into Equatorial Guinean ministers.

Sudanese Omar al-Bashir's Chief of Staff reportedly called moderate Islamic fundamentalists "fucking retards." When asked if he should lose his job for the comment, a random woman from Darfur said, "Oh my word, that's a terrible thing to say. I haven't eaten for 8 months, the government-funded Janjaweed militia cut off my nose and raped me 17 times, but that's objectionable. The feelings of a particularly sensitive person could've been hurt. What a tragedy."

Shwe vs Morales
Myanmar's Burmese ruler, Than Shwe, asserts that his country's upcoming elections will be as "free and fair" as Fox News is "fair and balanced." He added, "They'll be free alright. But just remember, you get what you pay for." Not only is Bolivian president Evo Morales a trouble-making indigenous leftist, but he's also one of those feminazis, as he has been promoting women's rights. If the women aren't in the kitchen, who's going to stick his political opponents in the oven?
winner: Shwe

click for Standings

Sunday, February 14, 2010

All Star Weekend Recap

What can you learn from an All Star Game? Well, we saw the best of Dwight Howard. He had an impressive block and an amazing alley oop finish. He hit a three and lit up a big smile. But he also had a couple of goaltending calls against him and one particularly stupid foul towards the end of the game.

That foul was one three at the end of the game. Deron Williams committed a bone-headed intentional foul a la the Mavericks Derek Harper against the Lakers during the playoffs in the 1980s. While the free throw shooting at the end was a little unsatisfying (not that I blame the refs, I like the game to be as true to life as possible), it was less sloppy than in years past. it also had an edge-of-your-seat ending. Wade ended up being the MVP as the East won. I thought LeBron, who had three incredible dunks in the 3rd quarter, should have won the award. Bosh also played well for the East.

For the West, Carmelo Anthony thought it was an Olympic game and took it seriously. Chauncey Billups dominated in the fourth. The Knicks David Lee didn't get to play much and didn't play particularly well when he did get in. The crowd set a record for attendance at a basketball game. If everyone chipped in a dollar, they could have had Sarah Palin speak at halftime.

Last night, Nate Robinson won his third Slam Dunk contest. Three of his four dunks lifted me out of my seat. Only DeMar DeRozan's catch off the side of the backboard a la Dwight Howard created the same result. I was impressed by Shannon Brown's switching hands in mid flight, even if was largely maligned by others.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

All Star Saturday Predictions

Personally, I think they should add a free throw shooting contest and inbounds pass challenge, but maybe that's just me. Predicted winners in bold

Skills Challenge
Brandon Jennings, Steve Nash, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams

3-Point Shooting Contest
Chauncey Billups, Daequan Cook, Stephen Curry, Channing Frye, Danilo Gallinari, Paul Pierce

Slam Dunk Contest
Shannon Brown, DeMar DeRozan, Nate Robinson, Gerald Wallace

If Gallinari does jack up a bunch of airballs, he'll win.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Top 10 NBA Players Now

While this list consists of the top 10 players now, the past is taken into account, but it is not a list of the best players who happen to be active. In parentheses is the player's previous rank posted on June 24.

# David (PR) - Mike (Previous Rank)
1. Kobe (1) - Kobe (1)
2. LeBron (2) - LeBron (2)
3. Duncan (3) - Howard (5)
4. Wade (5) - Duncan (4)
5. Billups (4) - Wade (3)
6. Howard (8) - Paul (6)
7. Dirk (9) - Carmelo (7)
8. Carmelo (10) - Durant (NR)
9. Nash (NR) - Garnett (9)
10. Paul (7) - Dirk (10)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Snow

I know what you're thinking. A Jewish guy, living in the Washington DC area, covered by two successive storms probably accumulating around 50 inches, been shoveling snow every day since last Friday, lost power on Saturday, been cooped up in the house for the better part of a week, and you're expecting me to complain. Well, I'm not here to fit your little stereotypes of Jews, you filthy bigoted parasite. Why don't you take off your white hood and say that to my face or are you too much of a neo-nazi son of a semen guzzler. Oh, I'm sorry you can't fit me in your warped box of sick generalities. People like you disgust me. You can't for one minute challenge your own preconceptions of others. Why don't you just drop dead.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Give Palin A Break

Sarah Palin's been getting a lot of flack for writing notes on her hand before a speech to the Tea Partiers. In her defense, for a Republican leader, remembering to "Lift American Spirits" can be more difficult than a third grade science test.

But, as a Republican, she probably should've remembered about cutting taxes. It's pretty much their solution for everything. Recession? Cut taxes. Two wars? Cut taxes. Sore throat? Cut taxes.

What is not being reported is the reminder Sarah Palin wrote to herself on her other hand, "Don't say 'retard' unless it's satire."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

2009-2010 All H-duk Team

This is the fourteenth annual NFL All-H-duk Team. The numbers beside the names indicates how many times that player has made the team. If there is no number, this is their first selection.

Head Coach: NO - Sean Payton

Quarterbacks: NO- Drew Brees 3rd; Ind- Peyton Manning 9th; Min- Brett Favre 7th.

Running Backs: Ten- Chris Johnson; Bal- Ray Rice; Min- Adrian Peterson 3rd.

Fullbacks: NE- Kevin Faulk.

Wide Receivers: Ind- Reggie Wayne 3rd; Dal- Miles Austin; Phi- DeSean Jackson; Ari- Larry Fitzgerald 2nd;.

Tight Ends: Ind- Dallas Clark.

Offensive Line: NYJ- D'Brickashaw Ferguson; NO- Jahari Evans; NYJ- Nick Mangold; Min- Steve Hutchinson 4th; Phi- Jason Peters 2nd.

Defensive Line: Min- Jared Allen 3rd; Bal- Haloti Ngata; Min- Pat Williams; Phi- Trent Cole.

Linebackers: Bal- Ray Lewis 8th; NO- Jonathan Vilma; Cin- Dahani Jones; Dal- Demarcus Ware 2nd;

Secondary: NYJ- Darrelle Rivus; GB- Charles Woodson 2nd; Ari- Adrian Wilson; Ind- Antoine Bethea.

Kicker: NYJ- Jay Feely

Punter: Min- Chris Kluwe

Kick Returner: Cle- Joshua Cribbs 2nd

Punt Returner: Phi-DeSean Jackson

Special Teams Cover Men: NO- Courtney Roby; SD- Kassim Osgood 2nd

Monday, February 08, 2010

Recap of Super Bowl XLIV

This game came down to one courageous coach. Towards the end of the first half, with his team down 10-3, Saints coach Sean Payton kept his offense out on the field on 4th and goal from the 1. The move failed. I thought it was the wrong decision only because there wasn't enough time on the second quarter clock to affect field position if they came up short.

It's 3rd and 1 deep in Colts territory and less than a minute to go in the half. Payton takes a risk and calls his team's second timeout. I thought it was the wrong decision again. If Peyton Manning throws a 30 yard completion, the Colts are in business and Payton looks like a moron. Instead, the Saints stop the Colts running attack. The Saints get good field position on the ensuing punt and, after a couple of pass plays, get a field goal out of it.

So the Saints came away with the three points they would've had otherwise. But. Manning was reduced to three handoffs in the interim. Always a positive for any Colts opponent.

To start the second half, Payton made his biggest call of the season. A surprise onside led to a Saints recovery. I didn't agree with that decision either. In resulted in quarterback Drew Brees waking up and driving his team to the end zone. The Saints took a 13-10 lead. Brees ended the game by tying a Super Bowl record 32 completions. It was the first attempted onside kick before the 4th quarter in a Super Bowl.

When Manning came back onto the field, he hadn't completed a pass in 70 minutes of real time. That didn't matter. His team scored a touchdown on the drive. Running back Joseph Addai has an uncharacteristically strong game. Dallas Clark was Manning's main receiving threat on this day.

The Saints offense didn't wither away. Brees had gained his rhythm by that point. New Orleans closed the lead to within one with another field goal. After some possession trading, the Saints finally broke through with a touchdown and a two point conversion halfway through the fourth quarter. That set up a familiar scene. Peyton Manning with 6 minutes to go, his team down by 7. Was there any doubt that he'd take his team in for the game-tying score? Only Saints cornerback Tracy Porter questioned the outcome. After sustaining a predictably effective drive, Porter shockingly broke on a Manning pass, picked it, and took it to the house.

New Orleans was up 31-17 faster than you could google "Tracy Porter." Things were looking down for the Colts magical ending. Manning drove down to the Saints goal line, but wasn't able to punch it in on 4th and goal. He had called a timeout late in the drive, which sealed the outcome.

Drew Brees was named Super Bowl MVP. The Saints tied the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history (10 points). And Sean Payton earned a bit of job security.

Favorite commercial: I liked the promo with David Letterman, Oprah, and Jay Leno the best.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Super Bowl XLIV Preview

New Orleans Saints (15-3) vs. Indianapolis Colts (16-2)

Both teams started the year 13-0, so this is a contest between the two teams who have been the best in their respective conferences for the entire season. The Colts have a good number of holdovers from their Super Bowl victory three years ago. They make the playoffs every year. For the Saints, this is all new.

Sometimes experience can be overrated. But, practically, it's about comfort level. If you've been in the situation before, it's less likely to get the better of you. That doesn't matter if the inexperienced team is that much better than the one who has been there before. But that's not the case here.

The Saints offense is proficient because there are so many weapons. The defense can't key in on one Saint if it hopes to curtail the New Orleans attack. But here's the thing, if you rep[lace the word Saints with Colts, those last two sentences still work. The Saints have a better running game, but defensively, struggle to stop the run more than the Colts do.

The Saints defense creates more turnovers, but gives up more big plays. It could come down to a matter of big plays when the Colts have the ball. Peyton Manning doesn't make many mistakes, however. The game could also come down to dirty play. Publically, the Saints defensive strategy seems to be revolving around hitting Manning, even illegally. But Manning is aware enough to avoid the big hit. And even if he is tagged, he's just about the most durable quarterback there is.

The Colts will win 31-24. Manning will be MVP. It's still rare for a team to win a Super Bowl and then for the same team to lose in a few years later. In the Super Bowl, championship experience tends to matter. And so does having the best player in the league.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Rickles in Hot Water

Don Rickles is in trouble for comments he made last week at a comedy club. Rickles was quoted as joking about famed terrorist Osama bin Laden. "That bin Laden is a hockey puck. He eats cheese like a Puerto Rican," Mr. Rickles joshed.

The condemnation was immediate. Several audience members booed. One man stood up and walked out, yelling at the stage that Mr. Rickles had "crossed the line" The comedian reacted by making a goofy face and asking the man, "What, is your short bus about to leave?"

Former head of Focus on the Family, James Dobson, called Mr. Rickles's comments, "deplorable." Senator Scott Brown asserted that they were "classless." A representative from the ACLU said, "This is why there should be limits on free speech."

The Council for Concerned Puerto Ricans put out a press release reading in part, "Puerto Ricans eat cheese in the same fashion as any other group of Americans." Mike Green, a hockey player for the Washington Capitals, asked that Mr. Rickles "respect the line separating hockey and politics." Actor, director, and producer Mel Gibson said Mr. Rickles's comments were "typical of a Jew."

Don Rickles has been defiant in the wave of criticism pouring down on him. He has refused to apologize. "If I say sorry to every schmuck I've offended, I'd have to apologize more than a Chinese traffic cop." Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Hu Jintao responded, "A 'Chinese people drive poorly' joke? How original! What is this, 1953?"

Congress has been mulling over whether or not to issue an apology to the true victim of this incident, Osama bin Laden. Some have asked privately whether an official apology would be enough or has the damage already been done.

Mr. bin Laden did not immediately return an email for comment.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Take Over Haiti?

A recent Washington Post article claimed that Haitians want the U.S. to take over the country. The story originally ran as Haitians Implore U.S. to 'take over' but was changed to As food distribution improves, Haitians want U.S to 'take over'.

The original article claims that Haitians want the U.S. to take over based on a couple of quotes from people on the street. It portrays the U.S. as reluctant helpers, in Haiti for solely humanitarian reasons.

Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia claim that the U.S. is using humanitarian aid as cover to take over the country. Those three countries have used every opportunity to paint the U.S. as an imperial power, but the history of U.S.-Haitian relations fits that narrative. Between 1868-1990, U.S. gunboats were sent to Haiti 28 times (Williams, US-Grenada Relations, pg. 8. He cites Musicant, The Banana Wars). The U.S. military has been in Haiti since then as well. From 1915-1934, the U.S. military ran Haiti.

There is no doubt that the Haitian government is incapable of providing desperately needed services to its beleaguered populace. The U.S. is the most able entity to fill that gap. After emergency aid is given, the question becomes, what will the U.S. do next? Will the U.S. use this tragedy to exploit Haiti as a cheap source of labor, or will Haiti be given a chance to succeed finally free of imperialists, interventions, and irresponsible leaders?

(The HQT-IE)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Roundtable of Haitian-American Athletes and Speidi

Moderator: Welcome to our roundtable. Today we will be discussing the Haitian earthquake. With us are Haitian-American athletes including football players Pierre Garçon and Jonathan Vilma, who are both participating in this weekend's Super Bowl, boxer Andre Berto, and basketball player Samuel Dalembert. Sam was born and raised in Haiti. Also joining us are Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag for some reason. Welcome all.
Everyone: Thank you.

Moderator: This has been a horrific tragedy. How have you all been holding up since it happened? Let's start with Andre.
Andre: I am mentally and physically exhausted.
Samuel: I basically feel helpless. I’ve been trying to reach family, friends, and other people to know to see if they’re OK. But Haiti isn’t like here. Getting a hold of people isn’t always that easy. Knowing what has happened, it’s even harder.
Pierre: Tell you the truth I sleep with CNN on. Every time there's breaking news, I'm trying to find out.

Moderator: What have you all been able to do to help?
Pierre: We're still trying to get food, medicine and water. They need a lot of rice, lot of clean water, lot of medicine. Probably medicine is the most important thing right now.
Samuel: I'm doing my best. I'll take another trip with UNICEF. So we can try to get all those children out there. You know, we have parents who have been trying to adopt for two or three years.
Jonathan: I’m so focused in on doing something that feels almost selfish, because I can’t be helping and I can’t help my family.
Moderator: It must be tough to have to keep going on while so many people are suffering?
Samuel: It’s so tough because I’m here and there hasn’t been much I can do.
Pierre: I try to use it as motivation. The people would be mad at me if I went out there and played terribly, had a bad game. I'm representing them.

Moderator: I'm almost scared to ask, but Spencer and Heidi, I heard you made a trip to Haiti. What were you thinking about when you went there?
Heidi: It's kinda like a spa vacation without the spa.
Spencer: I'm too rich and I'm too famous to be sitting with these people and cleaning up their shit.
Heidi: My husband is a very new Christian, so he is working very hard on his temper and stuff.
Moderator: I understand. And once you got there?
Heidi: I thought I was walking into Punk’d or getting killed or something.
Spencer: This is what Hell looks like. I actually feel like I'm hallucinating, but Heidi really wanted me there for backup. She was like, "This is a setup."
Moderator: Um. Thoughts, guys?
Samuel: I saw somebody's leg amputated in front of me. Surgeries performed on a kitchen table. I'm talking about a folding kitchen table. I have some disturbing pictures. And it hurts. There was no surgery room. You heard him screaming. Not enough alcohol. Things we take for granted, you know. They try to make one bottle of alcohol last.
Andre: I lost several family members to the earthquake.
Heidi: This is borderline torture. I would do this to Al Qaeda.

Moderator: Wow. Wow. People are pouring out their heart... I don't know who... well, let's bring this to a close. Do you have any finals thoughts on the tragedy in Haiti?
Pierre: Haiti is a tough country, they are tough people.
Andre: I'm devastated by everything currently happening in Haiti. As everybody knows, I have a lot of family members in Haiti and proudly represented Haiti in the 2004 Olympic Games. I have seen the pain in my parents’ eyes as they attempt to understand what has happened to our homeland and recognize a place they once called home. I hope that everyone will continue to keep the Haitian people in their thoughts and prayers as we work to rebuild this proud nation.
Samuel: One thing really touched my heart the most is all the children. A lot of homeless children. The situation is so critical.
Jonathan: It’s tragic to hear what happened, but the best thing I’ve seen or heard or read about it is everyone’s really trying to come and help.
Spencer: It’s so organic. And this is just the...
Moderator: Ok, thank you, that's enough, good bye.
Heidi: I’m ready for a nap.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Obama's Apology to Jeb Hensarling

Hi, you've reached Congressman Jeb Hensarling's office. We are unable to take your call at the moment. Please leave a message and either I or my staff will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

Uhhhhh, look, Jim, I'm sorry I called you by the wrong name at the, uhhhh, Republican caucus up in Baltimore. I hope we can come together in the spirit of bipartisanship to work on cutting down the deficit in the coming years. Alright? Thanks, Jim. And may God bless the United States of America.

Monday, February 01, 2010

ELL, Season 7, Week 2

I wonder what percentage of evil leaders had big titties when they were little boys. Maybe there's some kind of little boy titties to evilness correlation. Somebody's got to do a study on this. I nominate Kansas State.

Shwe vs Kim
Burmese ruler Than Shwe recently decreed that, when it comes to elections, it's Myanmar not Youranmar. He has the sharing habits of a kindergartener. However, Shwe has said that he will release democracy advocate and former candidate Aung San Suu Kyi in November. Just in time for sweeps! And just in time for Suu Kyi to congratulate the winner of Myanmar's first election since she won twenty years ago. North Korea, led by Kim Jong-Il, is going to test missiles yet again. This does nothing to counter the stereotype that Asians love tests.

In debt? Maybe viewing the winners of this week's Evil Leaders League contests will cheer you up. But probably not. Good luck with that.

Berlusconi vs Morales
The Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi, who's had more cosmetic surgeries than the cast of The Hills, is in the middle a of corruption scandal. Jay Leno is the host of The Tonight Show. What is this, 1994? Well no, 'cause then Berlusconi's mistress would only be 4 years old. While watching Evo Morales's second inauguration as the president of Bolivia, I forgot he was a radical anti-American socialist. Mostly because I was focusing on how distinctly Indian he looks. Plus I don't speak Spanish, so who knows what the hell he was saying.

al-Bashir vs Ahmadinejad
Everyone knows Omar al-Bashir and Tiger Woods have had PR problems of late. But did you know they both hired the same publicist? Unfortunately the publicist got confused, which is why Omar al-Bashir recently checked himself into sex rehab and Tiger Woods declared that he would honor the results of a referendum on southern Sudan's self-determination scheduled for 2011.

As was the case with George W. Bush, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president amid controversy over hanging chads- especially if chad is a pseudonym for Iranian opposition activists. Ahmadinejad's just lucky he hung people and not dogs, or else PETA would be on his ass. And he'd have to serve jail time, too.

Karzai vs Obiang
Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai reinstated human rights violator Abdul Rashid Dostum over the West's objections.
THIS JUST IN: General Dostum reportedly has inappropriate pictures of Hamid Karzai. An inside source familiar with one photo claims that, in the depiction, Karzai has exchanged his trademark karakul hat and emerald green cape for a sequined one-piece, sunglasses, and a jheri curl in an apparent tribute to Michael Jackson. In the snapshot, Karzai is grabbing his crotch with his gloved hand and saluting with the other, tears streaming down his cheeks.

In granting Haiti aid after a devastating earthquake, Teodoro Obiang is quoted as saying, "Although our two countries are separated by an ocean, Equatorial Guinea stands with the victims in Haiti in this time of distress and chaos." On receiving aid from a nation with a life expectancy of 42.8 years, Haitian officials have called it the country's "Joe Pisarcik moment."

click for Standings