Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sarah Palin in 2012

Sarah Palin tends to make gaffes. She said that North Korea was our ally. She made up a word "refudiate." And she recently pondered whether the war in Libya was a "squirmish." My spellchecker is not a fan of Palin.

But just because she says stupid things doesn't mean she's totally stupid. Certainly though, it shows a specific kind of stupidity. Palin also is apparently not much of a policy wonk. In the book Game Change (a book that relies extensively on anonymous sources), it is reported that the McCain team needed to teach Palin basic facts about World War II and other elementary information.

So, perhaps Palin isn't the smartest candidate running for the 2012 Republican nomination. She does have a unique ability to connect with a certain kind of person. That kind of person will be voting in the Republican primary. She no doubt has charisma. Many voters would want to have a beer with her. For those reasons, she is a serious candidate for the nomination, should she decide to run.

Here's the problem for her. She came onto the scene as a divisive vice presidential candidate. People have strong feelings about her. She has name recognition. Yet, she is not doing better or worse than anybody else in early polling. She would need to wow the electorate in the primary in order to win the nomination.

The Republican voters will appreciate the way she goes after Obama. Many will swoon after she gives a speech. But questions about her knowledge, experience, and her propensity to commit gaffes will hamper her chances. If she had a big lead, I could see her potentially holding on. But I don't see her breaking away from the pack.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chinese Buffet

I ate my weight in various kinds of Chinese chicken. Then, I ate about a pound of Jello. When I tried to get it all down by doing the Kobayashi shake, the Jello tickled my insides.

On the way home from the metro, the turnstile closed right on my groin.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dicky V's anti-VCU

Yesterday, Dick Vitale said that VCU's run to the Final Four was more improbable than George Mason's run five years ago. That may be. But Vitale's reason was that everyone thought Mason deserved to make the tournament five years ago. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Billy Packer and Jim Nantz were vocal in deriding the inclusion of Mason in the tournament five years ago. They favored including a team from a power conference instead. Jay Bilas felt that RPI was a bad statistic. Mason's high RPI was the reason they got in. Unfortunately, I couldn't find Vitale's sentiments on Mason at the time.

Vitale still claims that VCU didn't deserve to make it, spouting out anecdotal evidence like their losses against other Colonial teams. VCU was 12-6 in the conference. They've beaten five teams from power conferences on their road to the Final Four. Everyone still wants to leave out their early season victory over UCLA for some reason. Perhaps 12-6 in the Colonial is just that good.

Someone criticized VCU by stating that their tournament numbers are better than their regular season stats. VCU endured key injuries during the season, something that has been overlooked. Now, they're at full strength. But the fact is, teams in the Colonial are better defensively than the teams VCU has faced in the tournament.

Listen, the Colonial has some bad teams at the bottom, no doubt. But the middle is at least decent and we know how good the top of the conference is. The Colonial should get at least four teams in the tournament every year. If you think different, maybe you should watch a Colonial game at some point. You'd be impressed, Dicky V. "Oh baby! I didn't know they could play! They're awesome with a capital A!"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Vindication for the Colonial

Unfortunately, the NCAA is driven by money. The men's college basketball tournament is no different. It's why the teams from the power conferences on the whole are overrated and the mid-majors on the whole are underrated. It's not about fairness.

Teams should largely be ranked based on wins and losses. There is a thought that a team from a power conference has a tougher schedule than a team from a mid-major by virtue of which conference they play in. But who decides that's the case? You're telling me that beating Georgia Tech is better than beating VCU? Before the tournament, most so-called college basketball experts would've said yes.

If the Colonial had 8 teams in the tournament every year, we'd get a team in the Final Four at least every other year. Especially, if our best teams were given #1 or #2 seeds. George Mason's #8 seed was the second highest seed in the Colonial's tournament history. As it is, the Colonial has had two Final Four teams in the last five years without any of those advantages. Let's look at the Colonial in this tournament. The conference had three teams in. One made it to the Final Four. Another lost to a Final Four team. The third lost to the number one seed in the entire tournament. VCU, which finished 4th in the conference and lost in the conference tournament final, was the Final Four team.

But you'd still have to consider Old Dominion the best team in the conference. They beat VCU in the tournament final. Their NCAA tournament loss was to Butler, a Final Four team. Talent-wise Butler should have been a #1 or #2 seed. ODU should have been a #4 seed. It's a travesty that that was a first round game. I'm a George Mason fan. We won the conference's regular season. But VCU had our number in the conference tournament and beat us easily. Our problem was we peaked too early in the season. Still, we should not have had to play the tournament's #1 seed overall so early. That too is a travesty.

More at large bids for mid-majors! Better seeds for mid-majors! It's a question of justice and fairness.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Old vs. Young

Twenty nine years old is an odd age. You are acutely aware that you aren't as young as you used to be. Yet, you're not old in the least.

I'm old: I just realized that all of the Knicks and Bills jerseys I own feature players who retired 10 to 15 years ago.
I'm young: I can wear a jersey and it's not sad.

I'm old: I recently went to a Talib Kweli concert and realized that most of the other concert-goers were like 10 years old when I first saw him live.
I'm young: I can still go to concerts where there are no chairs and I don't get tired. Also, my presence there isn't yet sad.

I'm old: For the past three years, I limp around when I first wake up in the morning about 50% of the time.
I'm young: That limping usually goes away within five minutes.

I'm old: I have to stretch before engaging in athletic pursuits.
I'm young: I can still engage in athletic pursuits.

I'm old: I've gained weight.
I'm young: I can still eat whatever I want without being fat or unhealthy.

I'm old: My chest hair is lush.
I'm young: My back is devoid of hair save the occasional random wisp.

I'm old: Five years ago, I had a teenaged student who had never heard of the Oklahoma City bombing. More recently, I've had students who only had a vague knowledge of the attacks on September 11. Both are events that I remember vividly.
I'm young: Going to the bathroom is still an incidental part of my day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Defenders of Freedom

My fellow citizens, I acknowledge that many of you disagree with my style of leadership. We are not always going to agree and I can accept that. However, as you undoubtedly are aware, the shadowy Defenders of Freedom have decided to hack to bits anyone who disagrees with my regime.

Some have called for me to step down because my reign has not served to protect all of my people, a fundamental responsibility of any leader. Let me explain my motivations as to why I'm won't be resigning. A leader must be strong enough to make unpopular decisions. I don't ask questions; I make decisions. I'm the Decider. I'm not the Questioner. That would be ridiculous.

The most important reason is, as someone said somewhere, it's good to be the Dear and Fearless Leader. All I have to do is clap my hands and I've got two beautiful body guards fighting to go down on me because they know if they don't, they'll join their families languishing away in prison. It's pretty fucking sweet. Some might consider it rape, but I've discussed this with my Yessmen and we've come up with a solution.

Today's decrees
Rape is hereby deemed to be ethically ok.

Everyone donning a Jheri curl, the new national symbol of support for your Dear and Fearless Leader, will be viewed as a follower of the regime.

Everybody who supports me gets a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts!

The Jheri curl juice industry has been nationalized.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

No More War

The strikes against Libya might seem like a noble endeavor taken up by the United States and its allies to aid freedom-seeking rebels determined to rid themselves from the shackles of Gaddafi's authoritarianism. But the consequences will be detrimental to Libya and its people.

In the short term, the strikes have effectively pushed fence sitters into Gaddafi's camp. The West truly is invading. Gaddafi's decades-long claims that he was a pillar against the West's neo-imperialist interests is coming true. He has instantly gained credibility.

Should the U.S. enable regime change to occur, the prospects of a peace in a post-Gaddafi Libya has been compromised. No longer can the Libyan rebels claim that they own the overthrow of Gaddafi. Gaddafi's ouster wouldn't be determined by the will of the people, but would be precipitated by the West's invasion. Thus, should the rebel leaders take over, their legitimacy would be seriously compromised. As a result, Libya is likely to see violence in order to control its oil reserves for many years to come.

But the illadvised war in Libya is not the only error the U.S. government committed this week. The House rejected a vote to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year instead of starting the withdrawl in 2014 (H. Con. Res. 28). In fact, only 93 representatives voted to end the war, which remains a pointless stalemate.
(More at the HQT-IE)

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Superfluous Pound-for-Pound Best

Here is an updated version of my obnoxiously unnecessary and utterly superfluous list of the top 10 pound-for-pound boxers. The previous list was posted on December 21, 2010.

1) Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs), [Previous Rank: 1]
2) Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs), [PR: 2]
3) Sergio Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs), [PR: 3]
4) Wladimir Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs), [PR: 4]
5) Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KOs), [PR: 5]
6) Vitali Klitschko (42-2, 39 KOs), [PR: 6]
7) Timothy Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs) [PR: 10]
8) Nonito Donaire (26-1, 18 KOs) [PR: NR]
9) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (79-3-1, 43 KOs), [PR: 7]
10) Paul Williams (39-2, 27 KOs), [PR: 9]

Exiting the list:
Fernando Montiel (44-3-2, 34 KOs), [Previous Rank: 8]

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Recap of the Thrilling 32

It was sad to see George Mason lose. Ohio State just made everything. Mason left the three point shooters open early; they made it. Later, Mason was pasted to the Buckeye shooters; they still made it. Mason got off to the good start with a 11-2 lead. But Ohio State got a few lucky breaks, like the fasted 5 second call in the history of basketball, and never looked back. The loss of Luke Hancock may not have been the difference, but it didn't help. Mason has a young team though. Look for them to be back.

In the meantime, I want to send best wishes to Cam Long and Isaiah Tate. If you look at Long's face, you couldn't tell if he's in heaven or if the place is burning down around him; he exudes calm and composure. It's a wonder to behold. I really hated Tate's game when he first came to Mason. But he has improved every year. This season, whenever he entered the game, I always let out a sigh of relief, "Whew, Isaiah's in. Everything will be alright." He turned into a guy with one of the highest basketball IQs I've seen. It was a truly remarkable transformation. Good luck to both men.

The referees did the right thing in calling two fouls in the last 1.4 seconds of the Butler-Pitt game. The refs haven't done much right during the tournament. There's been more bad officiating than I can remember. But both plays were obvious fouls that needed to be called. The real story was the unbelievably stupid plays made by Shelvin Mack and Nasir Robinson. Both made legendarily dumb plays and all within a second of game time! I did like that Mack asked Gilbert Brown, "Where you from?" before Brown shot the free throws.

It looked like UNC's John Henson tipped Isaiah Thomas's last second shot, which would've been goaltending. Of course, Thomas shot a two instead of a three, so the point is moot. However, potentially rivaling the above paragraph for the two stupid plays in such quick succession award, Venoy Overton hurled a last second shot before it was the last second. Henson tried to catch the ball for some reason, but missed, and the ball rolled out of bounds.

Let's not forget that Scoop Jardin inexplicably jacked up a quick shot at the end of the first half against Marquette, instead of holding for the last shot. Jardine missed and Marquette cam down and scored. Another play involving Jardine occurred at the end of the game. With the contest tied, Dion Waiters threw the ball to Jardine, who caught it in the front court as his foot glided on to the halfcourt line for a backcourt violation with the game tied. Marquette won by 4.

Read the last three paragraphs and then try to tell me the college game is better than the NBA. It's not a purer kind of basketball. The issue is, in the NBA, the players are so good, it can become predictable. College basketball has the element of utter stupidity that gives you some excitement from sheer unpredictability. See above for examples. But the NBA is a purer game. The players know what they're doing. It's also a better game.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

More Thoughts on the NCAA Tournament

I was ecstatic after George Mason's close victory over Villanova. Nova was on their game, particularly in the first half. Mason is a second half team, but waited until rather late in the game to turn it on. Once Mason guarded the three and took the ball to the paint, the tide turned.

Ohio State is a good team. Sullinger is going to be difficult to defend. But Mason can make him a liability when the Patriots have the ball. Mason's big guys are adept at driving to the hoop from the elbow. The key for Mason will be defensive rebounding and guarding the three.

During the Mason-Nova game, the thought that VCU was a better team than Nova entered my brain. When VCU went on a three-point shooting tear, they kept it up throughout the game against Mason in the conference tournament. Villanova's defense was effective early, but Mason eventually figured it out. VCU kept switching up its defense against Mason, which was far more effective.

I want to wish Chris Wright, Austin Freeman, and Julian Vaughn well. Georgetown's loss was sad. But VCU is that good. There's been talk that VCU's performance has been a surprise. As a Georgetown fan who watches the Colonial, I was very worried about this game. Some of the ESPN analysts who argued that VCU shouldn't be in the tournament will try and tell you that these wins don't change their initial point, that VCU didn't deserve to get in; once in, sure they are capable of winning.

It's a stupid argument. If they win two games, how can you argue they don't deserve to be in the tournament? It's nonsensical. Guys like Dick Vitale, Digger Phelps, and Jay Bilas should just admit they were wrong. They didn't watch VCU; they should've. They'll do better next year. Maybe they should stop questioning when a #11 seed from the Colonial is selected as an at large bid.

Spero Dedes made so many mistakes, it was embarrassing. I'm not a guy who dumps on announcers. Good announcers make watching the game better and I like most of the guys who do the NCAA Tournament. But Dedes is terrible. He went on and on about Akron's conference tournament final against Iona. I was virtually certain Iona wasn't in the MAC. But he kept talking about this non-existent game. I'm a Miami (Ohio) fan, but I felt the need to look it up (I was devastated after Akron beat Miami in the conference quarters, so I couldn't watch the final).

Of course, Akron beat Kent State in the MAC final. Iona is in the MAAC, which I was sure of as well. They lost to St. Peter's in the conference final. Dedes said that the Aggies were up by 7 when the Seminoles were and later that the Seminoles were up by 5 when they were clearly up by 7. He said that the Georgetown-VCU game had reached the midway point of the first half at the 15:00 mark. His partner, Bob Wenzel, who I like, made the unforgivable mistake of saying Mason made the Final Four in '05. Of course, it was '06.

They should get one of the litany of ESPN broadcasters (except for Brad Nessler, Dave O'Brien, and Mike Patrick) that are good. John Sciambi, Sean McDonough, Dave Pasch, or Dan Shulman would be better, just to name a few.

Wenzel made a great point when he said, "we'll learn about some of these cinderellas in the coming days." It's so true. Broadcasters have no idea about midmajors. It's ridiculous. It's why they thought VCU didn't belong in the tournament. They didn't see them play. How could they know? But they should watch the midmajors and not just Butler and Gonzaga. It's their job to be an expert on college basketball.

It would be like if a kidney doctor only knew some diseases involving the kidney. Or if a southern African specialist couldn't tell you a thing about Namibia. And if these bigwigs won't do it, I'd love to.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thoughts on the NCAA Tournament Thus Far

Like most, I hate the First Four. I always hated the play-in game and now they have four play-in games. And they're trying to call it the first round. Very annoying. But you have to give the NCAA credit where it's due. Putting every game on television is long overdue, but it's wonderful. It almost lets me forgive them for the First Four.

Seth Davis said that, though it was somewhat obvious, VCU had to shoot well to beat USC. Well, VCU shot in the mid 30s and still won fairly handily. When will analysts give mid-majors their due? Not yet apparently.

The Morehead State and Richmond games amounted to big wins for me. I saw Morehead State play in the conference tournament and was quite impressed. They have a tough press and a great rebounder in Kenneth Faried. I saw Vanderbilt play in their conference tournament and noted that they gave away a big lead and collapsed when the going got tough.

That's more analysis than Digger Phelps has ever given. I guess I could've pulled a Digger and said, "Duke knows what they need to do and they'll get it done." They should have a contest to see if anyone can come up with more inane analysis.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sports Fan Misery Equation

Expectations - Results = degree of Devastation

Hopefully, we'll get negative devastation this season.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2011 NCAA Men's College Basketball Predictions

Upsets only until the Elite 8
First Round (First Four? Who we kidding?)
10 Penn St over 7 Temple
11 Missouri over 6 Cincinnati
12 Richmond over 5 Vanderbilt
13 Morehead St over 4 Louisville
15 Akron over 2 Notre Dame
9 ODU over 8 Butler
10 Michigan St over 7 UCLA
11 Gonzaga over 6 St. John's

Thrilling 32
8 George Mason over 1 Ohio St
5 West Virginia over 4 Kentucky
13 Morehead St over 12 Richmond
15 Akron over 7 Texas A&M
6 Georgetown over 3 Purdue
5 Kansas St over 4 Wisconsin
11 Gonzaga over 3 BYU

Sweet 16
8 George Mason over 5 West Virginia
3 Syracuse over 2 UNC
3 UCONN over 2 San Diego St

Elite 8
8 George Mason over 3 Syracuse
1 Duke over 3 UCONN
1 Kansas over 6 Georgetown
1 Pittsburgh over 2 Florida

Final 4
8 George Mason over 1 Duke
1 Kansas over 1 Pittsburgh

8 George Mason over 1 Kansas 75-52

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Athletes and Slavery

Adrian Peterson claimed that his situation as a football player is somehow similar to slavery. There is a stereotype that football players are dumb jocks who don't go to class. Peterson does nothing to disprove that stereotype.

I just wish Peterson had attended a history class during his time at Oklahoma. He would've learned so much. It would've allowed him to put the current NFL lockout into perspective, something that he clearly lacks.

One major difference between slavery and playing in the NFL is money. Slaves were not wage earners. NFL stars such as Peterson are paid millions of dollars. Another major difference is freedom of choice. It's true that a football player cannot choose which team he wants to play for. Well, unless he's a free agent. Or he can ask for a trade or hold out if he doesn't like his current situation or contract. A contract, by the way, which he signed of his own free will. But, if the player doesn't like his NFL contract, he can go to a different league. He also has the freedom to choose a new profession.

Slaves didn't have any of these choices. Their families could be torn apart at the slave owner's whim. Slaves were beaten if they didn't work to the overseer's liking. Female slaves were raped and there was no legal course they could take. Any slave could be killed without repercussion to the murderer. Slaves were not viewed as human. Football players fundamentally are.

Orlando Patterson has argued that slaves suffered a social death. They were not members of society. Football players are not only members of scoeity, they are honored members. They are celebrities with all the benefits attached. Slaves weren't afford a rub down by the team doctor after a tough day of work. They weren't given water to stay hydrated.

Though it won't replace attending a history class, I hope this short post has in some way educated Adrian Peterson and any other dumb professional athlete who thinks his situation in anyway resembles slavery.

Monday, March 14, 2011

ESPN's College Basketball Analysts

Every March, ESPN's college basketball analysts provide incompetent arguments when it comes to which teams should've made the tournament and which shouldn't have. This year most argued that Colorado and Virginia Tech should've been in, while VCU and UAB should've been out.

The selection committee made a clear and consistent statement with these exclusions. Both Colorado and Virginia Tech played weak non-conference schedules. In past years, most analysts, especially Dick Vitale, would condemn a team for playing a weak non-conference schedule. This year, it was a non-factor in Vitale's mind. The inconsistency is bothersome.

Meanwhile, VCU beat UCLA this season. The analysts didn't mentioned it. VCU also beat George Mason and ODU. Somehow these wins were discounted by ESPN's analysts. It's because there's a bias against mid-major schools at ESPN. Colorado and Virginia Tech were constantly being lauded for playing in a tough conference. What is the Colonial, chop liver? Jay Bilas went on the record saying he watched Mason and they're a good team. It was said in a way as if the others hadn't seen Mason play, which was probably true.

The analysts also claimed that these "less-deserving" teams could win in the tournament. That's not what they're saying. They're saying other teams deserve to be in instead, partly based on the eye test. But if the "less-deserving" teams can win in the tournament, isn't that part of the eye test? I think "eye test" is a pseudonym for "school from a power conference."

One analyst argued that RPI should not be a factor. It should be determined by who you play and who you beat. Not by whom you play and who they played and beat. But that's nonsensical. How would you know how good a team that you played is unless you know who they played and beat?

I know! If they're in a power conference, then they're good and if they're a mid-major, then they're bad. Maybe ESPN will hire me now.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reaction to NCAA Seedings

George Mason was expected to get an 8 seed. That sets up for a potentially tough second round game (I don't count the first four games at all). The first round game is against a very talented, but slumping, Villanova squad.

Georgetown fell to a 6 seed because of sluggish stretch due to Chris Wright's injury. The Hoyas, who will likely have Wright back, will face the winner of VCU and USC. I'm pleased that VCU made the tournament. The Colonial is a conference that deserves a lot of respect. The bottom of the conference is admittedly weak every year. The middle is usually between mediocre and pretty good. But the top 4 or 5 are always quality teams who could, at worst, go .500 in a power conference.

VCU would be a tough matchup for Georgetown. VCU has big conference-like size. But the Rams are very streaky. So is Georgetown for that matter. But with Wright back, the Hoyas are a much better team. At full strength, the Hoyas have everyone in their perfect role. Without him, too many players are asked to do more than their capable of.

That Butler-ODU game should be a great one. Butler has a lot of fortitude. But they lost Hayward tot he NBA and ODU's grind it out style is tough to play against. Either team could beat Pitt. This year's tournament should see a ton of parity.

I don't understand the first four system. It's illogical and inconsistent. Two of the first four games are between 16th seeds. The other two involve the last at large bids. It should be 4 of one or the other. And really, it should be 4 16 seeds. Really, there should only be 64 teams, but I digress.

Colorado should not have made it in just because of the conference they participate in. They played a very weak non-conference schedule. Colorado isn't playing George Mason, St. Mary's, or Missouri State. They lost to Harvard and San Francisco.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Home of the Pussies

In other countries, there are terrorist attacks regularly. A bomb here or there. Some people die. If it's not from terrorism, something else will get them. What's the difference?

Those countries don't hold hearings against a particular group because members of that same group committed a terrorist act ten years ago. That would be stupid, nonsensical, and a waste.

In other countries, people just on about their day after a terrorist attack. Sure, there's sadness and grief, but there's no whining. Life goes on.

Not in America, land of the pussies. We still hold to the logic that if 19 men who are Muslims committed a terrorist act ten years ago, we need to persecute people who are Muslims now. We can't get over it. Our foreign policy is consumed by what happened on one day ten years ago. So is our domestic policy. Any reasonable argument can be discounted by mentioning that we should still be afraid because of what happened on that fateful day.

Does that sound like this is the home of the brave? People are willing to give up their freedom because of their fear of Muslims, an illogical fear. America used to be filled with hardworking children. Tough men and women. Those weren't better days, but the lessons they provide shouldn't totally be discounted. People were tougher then. They didn't buy a bunch of duct tape out of fear. Let's stop being pussies.

- The 2011 John Wayne

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Commission

My fellow citizens, I know that almost all of you love me more than you do your family members. I appreciate it. But certain elements of our population take umbrage with the prosperity I have provided to the populace. I call these people "Christians."

We don't know much about these people. What are they plotting in their so-called "churches" every Sunday? What's with those weird necklaces? Just yesterday, I saw a bunch with dirt on their foreheads. Freaky. And they're so damn sure that their worldview is right. That type of certitude is scary.

One thing we do know about them is that they worship the son, the father, and the holy ghost, which puts their nation in fourth at best. Does that sound like a patriotic group to you? To me neither.

Today's decrees
I will set up a commission to investigate these "Christians." It will be headed by Congressman Pedro Sultan, who is not exactly the most open-minded dude.

Let me be clear that the hearings which will take place as a result of the investigation has nothing to do with McCarthyism. McCarthyism condemned people based solely on their political ideology; these hearings will condemn people based solely on their religious beliefs. See, totally different.

If those persons who are interviewed as part of this investigation do not renounce their Christianity, they will be burned at the stake to see if their "Heaven" really does exist. They must come back and tell us their findings within three days or we'll punish their families.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Letter to Gadhafi

Dear Muammar,

We've had some good times. I'll never forget sticking it to those bloody thirsty imperialist Americans. Blowing up that plane in Scotland gave us a sense of pride. We wouldn't be dictated to by the powers that be.

But things have changed recently. Forty two years is a long time. And you're not as young as you used to be. You don't look like when we first met. We wanted something new. Yet, you couldn't handle that. You've decided to beat us. You won't let go.

Muammar, it's over. Let's break on amicable terms. Let's always remember the good times and forget about the torture and oppression. Muammar, if you're love is real, it's time to let go.

The Libyan People

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Picking on the Big Countries

Except for the massacre of a staggeringly sad number of Hutu refugees as retribution for the genocide of Tutsis, I like that a tiny country like Rwanda swept through a giant one like the former Zaire and decided the run things.

It's fun when a small country pushes a big one around. If I was a little country, I'd punch a big country in the face right now!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Foreign Intervention of Congo

Often it is argued that people get the leaders they deserve. Not so for the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been victimized by foreign aggression, particularly from the West, since the colonial period.

Belgium ran Congo in a brutally autocratic manner. Africans were repressed to the point where they were not ready to assume the responsibilities of independence when it came in 1960. There were fewer than 20 African college graduates in Congo at the time of independence.

Belgium hoped to continue to extract resources from Congo as was the case during the colonial period. So, Belgium supported Moise Tshombe and the secession of the mineral-rich state of Katanga. Belgium was responsible for the death of nationalist Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, who was killed in Katanga with top Katangese and Belgian officials present. The U.S. also wanted Lumumba dead, even plotting to poison his toothpaste, but ultimately responsibility lies with Belgium and Katanga.

After a botched UN attempted to settle the Congo Crisis and bring Katanga back into the fold, resulting in mass murder, the U.S. supported Mobutu's coup in 1965. For the next 32 years, Mobutu led an autocratic kleptocracy with the backing of the U.S. The international financial institutions continuously gave Mobutu, who changed the name of the country to Zaire, tons of money, which he and his minions promptly stole. Without the support of the U.S. and the IFIs, it is difficult to see how Mobutu would have stayed in power so long.

Rwanda and Uganda invaded Congo in 1997 in the hopes of removing Mobutu. The Tutsi-led Rwandan government feared attacks from Hutu extremists, responsible for the 1994 genocide, stationed on the border. Uganda also invaded because of security concerns. Both countries hoped to exploit the resource wealth in Congo. They propped up a rebel group, the ADFL, led by Laurent Kabila, which swept across the country to the capital of Kinshasa in no time. Kabila changed the name of the nation to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

When Kabila turned his back on his Tutsi allies, Rwanda and Uganda staged another invasion. Zimbabwe, Angola, and Namibia came to Kabila's defense for various reasons. These two Congo wars are considered Africa's first world wars. France's nefarious role in Africa was exposed once again when it attempted to back Mobutu at the end of his reign.

This sustained foreign intervention in Congo has led to nothing but devastation and death.
(more at The HQT-IE)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

George Mason

Mason has been a slow starting team in most of their games this season. If the game is close in the first half, there's a good chance that Mason will win easily when the second half comes around. In the quarterfinals of the CAA tournament, Georgia State took a double digit lead in the first and were still blown out. Mason ran out of steam against VCU today in the semis after trailing big early.

While Mason doesn't have a player who would've started on the '06 team, they do have a balanced attack and a deeper bench. Those are two reasons why Mason tends to struggle early and thrive late. It takes time to figure out who has the hot hand. There isn't an obvious go to player on each possession. But the opposing team is worn down having to focus on all five Patriots on the floor. It doesn't help that Mason has a couple of guys on the bench talented enough to start.

Size is a problem. But Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison up front play bigger than they are. Luke Hancock is the Folarin Campbell-type player. He's a good ball-handling forward who also rebounds fairly well. Cam Long is the best player. Andre Cornelius is the spark. I didn't like sixth man Isaiah Tate's game when he first came to the team. He'd constantly make the wrong play at the right time. He's the opposite player now. He's a glue guy who always comes up with a rebound, a steal, or a bucket when the team needs it most.

The team's win streak, the nation's longest, was snapped earlier today. All they need is to start another six game winning streak the rest of the way.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Hank Gathers

Today, as is customary on March 4, I went out and shot a left-handed free throw in honor of Hank Gathers, just as Bo Kimble did 21 years ago.

Hank was not a perfect person; no one is. But he was man who did what he loved and always gave it his best effort. In that sense, Hank was an inspiration and should not be forgotten. Shooting a left-handed free throw is one way to acknowledge that he hasn't been.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Doug Fischer and Golden Boy

Ring Magazine writer Doug Fischer becomes very angry when you question his objectivity about Golden Boy Promotions. The Ring, boxing's preeminent publication, is owned by Golden Boy. There's no doubt that a it's a conflict of interest. To argue otherwise is ludicrous.

But, this isn't a matter of national security; it's boxing. Many pro sports teams own their own networks that hire the announcers who cover the team. The Nats fired announcer Rob Dibble last summer after he merely criticized pitcher Stephen Strasburg for not pitching through an injury (Strasburg needed Tommy John surgery and Dibble was generally incompetent, but that's beside the point).

I always took Fischer at his word that his reporting was influenced by literally being on Golden Boy's payroll. But a recent comment changed my perception. In the comment section of this weekend's preview, someone named Migs Arte wrote at 1:04 pm, "Golden Boy Promotion suck monkey nuts."

Now, most people would just ignore the comment as an inarticulate vent from someone with an unexplained disdain for Golden Boy Promotions. Not Doug Fischer. For some reason, he took it personal. Ten minutes later Fischer commented, "Kiss my ass, Migs." Very professional.

You have to ask, why would a boxing writer take a diss directed at a promotional company as a personal insult? It is odd.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Middle Eastern Revolutionary

I'd like to be a Middle Eastern revolutionary right now. I don't care so much about freedom or democracy; I just like yelling.

If I was in a Middle Eastern capital right now, I would be downtown, screaming my head off with all the other people trying to cast off the straps of oppression. But I would be shouting absurd and inane things. "I like Cheetos!" and "Except for the orange dust left on your fingers after you eat Cheetos!" and "They should do something about that orange dust!"

Eventually, I'd get tired of yelling nonsensical sentences during such a profound protest. So, I would offer my ability translate the demands of other screaming protestors to the cable news networks.. The only problem is I don't speak Arabic.

So, I'll just make it up. "This man is Muhammad the barber from Cairo. He says that he is very angry. He hates when people bypass a line of cars waiting to enter the highway and dive in at the front. He says, your time is not more valuable than mine. He says, if Mubarak doesn't stop this phenomenon, the streets will run red with blood."

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Paying Full Price

My fellow citizens, I want to thank you for leaving Liberation Quadrilateral, so that we can try and renovate it into a Square. I can't stand those Bahrainiacs laughing at us. You see, dolling out $20 to each protestor and utilizing a gang of spontaneously hired thugs are two ways to quell protests.

As you surely remember, I decreed last Thursday that my book, The Tiny Teal Book, would be 20% off. Many of you took advantage of the sale to purchase the mandatory work of genius the New Yorker called, "Certainly, it is in book form, the cover is teal, and it is tiny."

What you clearly forgot was that it is a felony to buy it for less than full price. I apologize for my apparent deception, but it was necessary to weed out the frugal followers from the truly devoted. Now, here are more excerpts from the book.

Quotations from The Tiny Teal Book
"Lonely criminals break the law just so they can be wanted."

"When you protest against your leader, you are really just protesting against yourself."

"Democracy is a lot like women, I tend to rape them both."

"I have a dream that one day little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and accept the will of their oppressor. I have a dream today!"

"I fancy curvaceous posteriors and I shall not fib."