Saturday, July 28, 2007

Don't mess with offensive linemen

Especially female offensive linemen!

The Detroit Free Press reported that April Fowlkes, a 5-foot-9, 300-pound guard for the Detroit Demolition women's football team, nabbed a thief who allegedly stole a teammate's car.

Fowlkes spotted the car at a service station not far from the team's practice facility and started charging.

Two men saw her coming and took off running, but a third who was walking back to the car ended up getting pinned against it for 10 minutes until the police arrived.

"When he saw me, his eyes kind of got big," Fowlkes told the newspaper.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Better late than never

Justice was finally served this week as the execrable Ward Churchill, aka Chief Lies-a-Lot, was fired from the University of Colorado-Boulder on an 8-1 vote by the Board of Regents. What is disturbing is that he was there in the first place, and how many more just like him still infest our campuses.

Churchill’s entire career at Colorado was based on a lie. He misrepresented himself as an American Indian to gain a racial preference (aka affirmative action) position for which he would never have qualified as a white man. It’s not merely that he would have been “rejected for applying while white” (a close relative of “arrested for driving while black”). It’s that he was grossly unqualified for a tenure-track position at a major university. How many tenured history/[insert PC term here] studies professors do you know that have a MA in communications? This is a guy who should have been covering a couple of night classes at the local community college if he was involved in academia at all.

That alone would have been ample reason to fire him, but he was just warming up. What followed was an embarrassing body of “scholarship” that included generous helpings of plagiarism and outright fabrication. How did he survive so long with such a prolific record of dishonesty? Simple – political correctness.

One of his infamous lies is that the US Army carried out a genocide by deliberately infecting Indians with small-pox. Anybody who follows the preferred narrative that American history is one of evil white men trampling upon poor, righteous men of color can say pretty much anything he wants without being challenged. As long as it further advances the story that our universities want told, an outdated notion like truth is unimportant. And our historical record is increasingly tainted because of it.

How endemic is this kind of racist worldview? Have a gander at some of the rants on far left and/or academic blogs this week. They actually believe that he was wrongly fired, indeed that he was only removed for engaging in his hobby of contemporary anti-American hate speech (have to throw “contemporary” in there to differentiate from the historical anti-American hate speech that is his work), in particular his likening the victims of 9/11 to a Nazi who facilitated the Holocaust. That is undeniably deranged and disturbing, but if we start firing college professors for over-the-top hate speech there won’t be many of them left. Sorry folks, Churchill was fired for serial academic fraud, nothing more and nothing less.

Chief Lies-a-Lot’s demise was a very good thing for American education, but he’s only one of thousands pitching distorted and dishonest worldviews of hate to mostly young and impressionable minds. Removing one cell of a cancerous tumor can’t hurt, but the patient is still critical.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Fire sale

Phoenix has been furiously trying to avoid the luxury tax, moving out draft picks and assets left and right, but this seems a little extreme.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Socialism in action

A woman gives birth in a grocery line rather than give up her place and lose out her chance to buy scarce goods (are there any other kind in socialist countries?), and nobody comes to her aid out of similar fear:

A pregnant woman in inflation-ridden Zimbabwe gave birth in a queue for groceries rather than surrender her place to other shoppers, Zimbabwe's state newspaper the Herald has reported.

In an indication of growing desperation among Zimbabweans, the woman was reported to have gone into labour outside a store selling a rare stock of food and household utensils.

The Herald said no one in the queue had come to her aid as they were also desperate to access the shop.

"The woman was in the queue to buy groceries and some pots that were on offer. She started panting and sweating profusely probably because she was in labour, but no one assisted her," a witness told the paper.

Some security guards took her inside the building "where we understand she gave birth", the witness said.

The incident occurred in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo where food stocks have been badly depleted.

Hey, I've got a great idea...let's run our health care system the way Zimbabwe runs its grocery stores!

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Not since the heyday of Jordan...

have the Bulls put this bad of a hurtin' on an opponent.

Warning: Not for the squeamish.


Monday, July 16, 2007

The value of role players

Forum Blue and Gold commenter Reed penned this, the best description I have ever seen for what veteran role players do and why they are vital to champions discussion about building champions:

The overwhelming majority of role players from [200-2007 champions] were over 30 years old and in excess of ten years experience in the league. Players like Horry, Bowen, Finley, Mourning, Fox, Harper, etc. These are players with diminishing athletic ability and low PER’s, but a wealth of experience and knowledge that bring subtle contributions not found in a stat sheet. When placed next to a sufficient core of superstars, these elderly role players are more valuable than their more talented, younger counterparts on other teams. For example, Bruce Bowen — he of the 7.12 PER that screams NDBL — is more valuable to the Spurs than someone like Vince Carter or Rashard Lewis would be. Or, look at it this way — Rick Fox was more valuable to the Lakers than Glen Rice. The flip side: a team made up of such role players, disconnected from the stars, would be simply awful.

What do these aged wonders bring to the table? Why do title teams almost exclusively rely upon them to the exclusion of younger, more talented players? They bring an understanding of the intricacies of the game. They understand proper floor spacing on offense and how to make the extra pass; they make the pass that leads to the assist. They defend the pick and roll. They pick up penetrating guards without fouling. They understand how to set meaningful picks; and how to fight through screens to avoid unnecessary switching and mismatches. They make intelligent cuts and defend the backdoor. They box out and generate offensive tip outs. They understand how to use pump fakes; and how to avoid being tempted by them. They know how to feed the post without picking up the dribble. They stay out of foul trouble and avoid putting the team in the penalty too early. They make open shots and force their opponents to shoot with a hand in the face. They draw charges. They move intelligently without the ball and do not get lost tracking their men through a flurry of screens. They have mastered the concepts of team defense, knowing when to double, when to stay home, and when to sag into the paint. They know when to shoot and when to defer to the superstar. They create perfect spacing on three on one fastbreaks; and are deft at disrupting such attacks. They are not scared of pressure, having been there before. Off the court, they encourage an environment of respect for authority and the coach. They promote unity, good practice habits, and discipline on road trips.

Think back on the glory role players of the Laker title teams. Think about Rick Fox roughing up Peja Stojakovic and cutting to the basket for a pass from Shaq (getting about 2 inches off the ground for an ugly left handed finish). Think about Derek Fisher being perfectly spaced on the perimeter to make an open three pointer after a double team on Shaq or Kobe. Think about Robert Horry frustrating Tim Duncan and Chris Webber with his post defense, despite being physically overmatched. Now, these players were not perfect, of course. They were seriously flawed. But they understood the subtleties of the game, didn’t make mistakes, were calm under pressure, and knew when to get out of Shaq and Kobe’s way. They were consummate role players.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Truth in advertising

As you probably know if you're reading this blog, global warmism is really all about stealthily foisting huge tax increases on and imposing more governmental control over the lives of an unsuspecting and unwilling public, who would call BS on the whole thing without the clever rhetorical sleight of hand of "saving the planet." It turns out that you can put a dress on a pig after all.

Kudos to ancient House Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D, Mi) for his honesty in proposing a direct tax on carbon emissions, instead of the usual end run of pretending they are taxing businesses, using them as a middleman to give the false impression not taxing the general public, as the Wall Street Journal reports:

This week's prize for honest liberalism goes to Michigan's John Dingell, who is having fun with his fellow Democrats while also making a useful point about the politics of global warming. [He] has announced that he plans to introduce as early as this week a new tax on carbon emissions.

Now, that's the way to clear a Capitol Hill hearing room. Americans are already miffed at paying $3 a gallon for gasoline, a fact that has the Members assailing oil companies on a daily basis. So the last thing Democrats seeking re-election want to do is pile on another dollar or two a gallon in taxes--especially in the name of "saving the planet" from the speculative danger of global warming 50 or 100 years from now. Their voters have to deal with the more immediate danger of missing the mortgage payment.

Mr. Dingell knows all this. His point is to force his colleagues--and the voters--to be more honest about the cost of their global-warming posturing. It's one thing to pay 100 bucks to hear Madonna at the "Live Earth" concert, or impress your girlfriend by wearing an "I reduced my carbon footprint" T-shirt. It's quite another to accept that energy prices would have to rise by many multiples to make even a degree's worth of difference to the world's climate. "I sincerely doubt that the American people will be willing to pay what this is really going to cost them," Mr. Dingell said on C-SPAN last week.

That's why most politicians prefer policy artifice that disguises the cost of raising energy prices. These policy tricks include higher automobile mileage standards and a "cap and trade" regime for swapping "credits" for carbon emissions. These schemes shift the direct costs onto businesses, which then pass them along indirectly to unwitting consumers. These policies still amount to taxes on energy use, but they allow politicians and green lobbyists to pretend that you can "save the world" for the price of a concert ticket. [...]

As it happens, neither cap and trade nor higher fuel mileage standards would reduce emissions all that much, if at all. Most of Europe has been busting through its carbon limits under the Kyoto Protocol, while the mileage mandates imposed in the U.S. in the 1970s didn't stop Americans from purchasing SUVs and trucks. The only thing that has slowed those sales is $3 gasoline--thus the policy logic of Mr. Dingell's tax proposal.

Regarding such a tax, Democrats already have some hard political experience. In 1993, Vice President Al Gore convinced Bill Clinton to propose an energy tax on BTU (British thermal units) usage. That would have added about 12 cents a gallon to the price of gas. House Democrats walked the plank and passed it, only to have Senate Democrats kill it. As much as anything else, that vote cost Democrats control of the House in 1994. Now Mr. Gore has embraced the carbon tax once again--though we still haven't heard him endorse a direct tax on gas or consumers.

Speaking for ourselves, we don't favor a carbon tax. In theory, such a tax might make sense if it were offset by lower taxes on income tax rates and capital investment--which would be a net plus for economic growth. However, there's not a chance in melting Greenland that the current Congress would offset any new carbon taxes; it would merely pocket the extra revenue to permanently increase the government's share of GDP.

If Congressional Democrats are really serious about global warming, they'd nonetheless have the courage of their professed convictions: Take the Dingell honesty test and vote to raise carbon taxes.

I'm with the editors on offsetting potential carbon taxes with pro-growth tax cuts, that would be the ultimate win-win if this was really about doing what's good for the planet and the people. But that's never been what any of this is about, has it (clean drinking water and sanitation around the globe are orders of magnitude more important environmental problems than anything to do with "climate change", for example), which is what makes Rep. Dingell's honesty so refreshing.

If an idea has merit, it can survive and even thrive in the marketplace of ideas. When proponents are willing to do pretty much anything to avoid honest debate on an issue, that should tell you all you need to know about it...and them.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bonds will only be keeping it warm

From last night's All Star Game comes this jarring list:

Home Runs at 31 years, 348 days

Aaron 398 (Finished with 755)
Bonds 315 (Has 751)
Ruth 356 (Finished with 714)
Mays 370 (Finished with 660)
Alex Rodriguez 494

Wow. The guy will have 500 by very close to his 32nd birthday. It's to the point that the only questions are

Will he suffer a career-ending injury?
By how many will he break the HR record?

As with Bonds and Tiger Woods (and as I said with Federer and Nadal), watch and go see this guy as often as you can, he's the kind you will tell them about when you're an old man.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

If only Bush had said it

Can you imagine the uproar if GWB had come up with a bit of genius like this?

"We are in a transition time in history when the only way we can get to where we need to be is by starting from where we are."

I know what you're thinking...either Dan Quayle is back in the public eye or his clone John Edwards is back on the campaign trail.

But no, this one comes from...the Reverend Albert Arnold Gore Jr, at Saturday's worldwide fundamentalist religious revival known as Live Earth.

How scary is it that this dolt spent 8 years being a madman's bullet and was later only a few hundred votes away from the presidency? It's a sobering thought.

UPDATE 7/9/07: The best synopsis of said revival comes from, oddly enough, front man Matt Bellamy of alt rock band Muse: "private jets for climate change."

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Must see TV

Before yesterday, the most compelling sporting event I had seen this year was the French Open Final, where Rafael Nadal continued his mastery of clay despite Roger Federer basically devoting his entire year to finding a way to beat him there.

That was before yesterday. Now that must take a back seat to the Wimbledon Final, where the exact opposite scenario played out in even more dramatic fashion, with Federer continuing his mastery of grass and Nadal falling ever so short, unable to recover emotionally after letting Federer off consecutive 15-40 hooks on his serve at 1 -all and 2-all in the 5th.

Tennis history, particularly in the open era and the age of superior equipment, is littered with players who were awesome on grass or clay but utterly helpless on the other. That is what makes this so special, these two guys are all time greats on their own surface but able to compete at that level on their off surface, raising each other's games even higher. If you ever get a chance to watch them play each other, don't miss it. This is the kind of thing you will want to tell your grandchildren.

While watching I was trying to think of a similarly stirring rivalry, and could not come up with anything without going back to the 80's Lakers-Celtics. Tiger and Jordan's Bulls, to name a couple of candidates, never had the requisite foil.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

Greatest headline ever

From Scotland's Daily Record:

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Most accurate headline ever

From the Boston Globe:
Paris Hilton and Larry King Provide Little Substance


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Some great Independence Day reading

Up at Power Line, to mix in with your beer while the meat is grilling:

The Eternal Meaning of Independence Day

The Eternal Meaning of Independence Day, Part 2

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The real "root cause"

Having rejected the silliness that it is poverty, racism or whatever other cliche may be used to refuse to hold terrorists responsible for their actions, can we also dispense with the equally silly notion that terrorists are motivated by US and other Western foreign policy? A former jihadist with the unfortunate name Hassan Butt sets the record straight in London's Daily Mail:

When I was still a member of what is probably best termed the British Jihadi Network--a series of British Muslim terrorist groups linked by a single ideology--I remember how we used to laugh in celebration whenever people on TV proclaimed that the sole cause for Islamic acts of terror like 9/11, the Madrid bombings and 7/7 was Western foreign policy.

By blaming the Government for our actions, those who pushed this "Blair's bombs" line did our propaganda work for us.

More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.

I know the idea that the responsibility for terrorism lies solely with the terrorists themselves and with their ideology will be elementary to most readers, but blaming Western policy or popular social bogeymen is common enough in the shallow end of the pool that it needs to be said anyway - you never know who might check in.

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Fighting them there or here

One of the common arguments against a surrender in Iraq is the notion of "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here." The premise being that if we stop fighting the jihadist/Iran coalition in Iraq, it will free up a ton of jihadists to continue their war against Western culture elsewhere, including Western Europe and the US.

This position is roundly scorned on most of the political left and on the isolationist right, who believe that the jihadists in Iraq will...well, I'm not really sure what they believe there, I guess that they will lay down their arms and start flying kites or something. It is the idea that you can just disengage from those whose stated goal is to kill you and that they will just stop trying to achieve their goals.

Well, the idea that jihadists in Iraq will take the fight elsewhere now has some compelling support. It now appears that the terrorists in London and Glasgow were directly recrutied by the current leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, and that the mission was ordered by former AQiI leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

It's also interesting that they used professionals, in this case medical students who became physicians, because they are easier to get into other countries via fast-tracking visas. The old saw that terrorists are a product of poverty, grievance and discrimination has to be dead by now among serious thinkers; they have consistently tended to be much more prosperous and much more highly educated than the Muslim populations at large.

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