Friday, December 01, 2006

 

Open Thread

After a turkey-filled "bye" week, The Notorious Open T.H.R.E.A.D. is back in bidness!

Rap away, homies!

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Pundit Faceoff

George Will and Peggy Noonan have very different takes on the Bush vs. Webb clash.

Will: Webb was a pretentious, uncivil, boor.

Noonan: Bush acted like an arrogant cable talk-show host.

I'm with Peggy on this one.

UPDATE: A thoughtful conservative friend writes:
Here's my dumb question for the day. What would Reagan have done? I don't know, but he certainly would have done better than to snap "that's not what I asked you." Some possibilities "Jim, he can come back when his job is finished," "I'd love to bring him back too, Jim, but I can't given the situation in Iraq . . . I'll be happy to sit down and talk with you anytime about your ideas for how to fix things". What this emphasizes to me is Bush's inability and unwillingness to discuss the merits of any issue, a problem that has always dogged him.
Second thought, I recall a distinguished speech given before the AEI dinner about "misplaced civility" by Clarence Thomas. Civility is great and good, but it should not be the religion of our government, nor should it be used to paper over serious problems. Note the pejorative "Gentleman named Civility" who lived in the "Village named Morality."

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

 

Giant Pains

Forgive me for stepping on McGon's toes, but I had to post this football entry.

The piece is so damn funny that it veered into my comedic area.

If you don't get all the in-jokes (especially the Kiwanuka line), you're either not a gridiron fan or you were blessed and didn't have to see the abomination that was last Sunday's Giants game.

Or had to hear DE Michael Strahan's hissy fit at an ESPN reporter who had the bad taste to follow-up on Strahan's attacking WR Plaxico Burress for dogging it last weekend.


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Promise Made...Promise Broken

Well, that didn't take long:

It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.

Because plans for implementing the commission's recommendations are still fluid, Democratic officials would not speak for the record. But aides on the House and Senate appropriations, armed services and intelligence committees confirmed this week that a reorganization of Congress would not be part of the package of homeland-security changes up for passage in the "first 100 hours" of the Democratic Congress.
"All" doesn't quite mean "all," I guess. And, of course, the easiest thing to jettison is anything that has to do with the way Congress takes care of its own business.

The Democrats are somewhat smart. Unlike the Republicans who decided to print their Contract With America
in TV Guide -- thus guaranteeing that their campaign promises would get a fair bit of wide circulation, in "the most expensive political ad" -- congressional Democrats have kept their "100 hours" agenda pretty much close to the vest.

Thus, when certain items start getting dropped, hey, it's not like the public will notice, right?

Of course, in the Democrats defense, they didn't exactly run on a fully-formed agenda of their own. Their main talking point was that, "We're not Republicans."

That was enough. Come January, of course, Democrats will have to do something other than make excuses and break promises.

Won't they?

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The Best of the Worst Quarterbacks

You are the owner of an expansion NFL team. The football gods have smiled on you, and said you can have any quarterback from any NFL team, with two important stipulations: the quarterback's passer rating must be below 80, and no rookie quarterbacks. That leaves you with the following choices:
1. Steve McNair - 79.9
2. Byron Leftwich - 79.0
3. Jake Delhomme - 78.7
4. Brett Favre - 78.1
5. Matt Hasselbeck - 77.7
6. Rex Grossman - 77.6
7. Brad Johnson - 77.3
8. Daunte Culpepper - 77.0
9. Eli Manning - 76.0
10. Ben Roethlisberger - 72.3
11. Michael Vick - 72.1
12. Joey Harrington - 71.6
13. Jake Plummer - 70.5
14. Charlie Frye - 69.5

Steve McNair would be the obvious choice for any team, EXCEPT an expansion team. For this scenario, you would want a young quarterback who can peak when the team peaks. McNair, in his 12th season, is on the downside of his career. If he is lucky, he may have 2-3 seasons left in him.

I certainly would not want anyone who is a statue in the pocket, like Byron Leftwich. Expansion teams are notorious for giving up a lot of sacks. Leftwich would get killed.

For the same reason, Daunte Culpepper gets excluded. Since his knee injury last year, his mobility has been missing. Until we can be sure he will get it back, he would be a bad choice for this team.

Age has to be considered also. Guys like Brett Favre and Brad Johnson won't be around much longer.

We can also exclude guys who have proven they cannot get it done: Charlie Frye, Jake Plummer, Joey Harrington, and Michael Vick.

As Clint Eastwood once said, "I know what you're thinking...". Vick gets excluded because he will NEVER win a championship in the NFL. Vick is a "me first" player. While I like confidence in quarterbacks, even arrogance sometimes, selfish quarterbacks never succeed. Jim Mora was right: Vick is a coach killer.

As for the other young quarterbacks, Roethlisberger makes me wonder if he has lost the fire in his belly. You can say the Steelers as a team got over-confident after the Super Bowl. However, a true team leader would have rallied them. I see Roethlisberger as a product of the system, not a quarterback who made the rest of the team better.

Eli Manning might be a good choice IF you have a good quarterback coach (Kevin Gilbride ain't it). Eli is not, nor will he ever be, Peyton.

Rex Grossman has too long an injury history to make me comfortable putting him on an expansion team.

That leaves us the two experienced quarterbacks with strong histories, Jake Delhomme and Matt Hasselbeck. I lean towards Hasselbeck only because he spreads the ball around more. Delhomme seems to need a lot of talent around him, while Hasselbeck can work with what you give him.

As an owner of an expansion franchise, take Matt Hasselbeck, but draft a good young quarterback to sit behind him and learn the game.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

 

Chris Rock's Prophecy

RT Regular Moose put this in the Comments section of yesterday's Chris Rock item.

I immediately knew this deserved a post all its own. This is nearly ten years old:




Revealed at last! The REAL reason the O.J. projects were pulled: plagiarism!! Who the hell was O.J.'s ghostwriter -- Jayson Blair?

Reality has killed satire.


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Charlotte (VA)'s Webb

Oh, the junior senator from the Commenwealth of Virginia is going to be the source of much fun
over the next few years:
At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.
The Hill added some more color:
Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t. It’s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb won’t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.

“Jim did have a conversation with Bush at that dinner,” said Webb’s spokeswoman Kristian Denny Todd. “Basically, he asked about Jim’s son, Jim expressed the fact that he wanted to have him home.” Todd did not want to escalate matters by commenting on Bush’s response, saying, “It was a private conversation.”

A White House spokeswoman declined to give Bush’s version of the conversation.
As an erudite Washington friend of mine noted: "[What we] wouldn't have paid [to see the punch tossed]! The president floored by the former Naval Academy boxer. The Secret Service with guns drawn on the Senator-elect. A scene worthy of an Allen Drury novel!"

Don't get those Scots-Irish riled up!


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Another '08 GOP Candidate...

...bites the dust. HUGE surprise!

Not.

This sets up a likely battle now for the 2008 social conservative vote between Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback.

Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain will battle over the liberal-moderate-secular segment of the GOP.

What else can be said -- the George Pataki juggernaut just keeps rolling on!


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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

 

Kramer: Not A Self-Hating Jew...

...just a garden-variety anti-Semite!

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Monday, November 27, 2006

 

Chris Rock Wisdom

On Social Security: "You don't get the money till you're 65; meanwhile, the average black man dies at 54. We don't live that long," he observes. "Hypertension, high blood pressure, NYPD -- something'll get you!"

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Pick the NFL Winners - Turkey Day Results

And the winner of the First Annual Turkey Day Picks award is...(ok, I made that up):
ME!

EdMcGon - 3
David Stefanini - 2
Tom - 2
Robert A. George - 2
J. Mark English - 1

I guess that makes me a true turkey among giblets!

I'm not sure if that's a good thing...

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Ranking the NFL - Week 12

THE ELITE
COLTS: Edgerrin who? Joseph Addai just showed how expendable James was in the Colts offensive scheme. Now if they only had a Peyton Manning on defense...

RAVENS: The Ravens are starting to look like a Super Bowl contender. What they did to Pittsburgh was just ugly. Right now, the Ravens might be better than the Colts.

CHARGERS: I personally consider it a good sign that the Chargers can take the Raiders lightly and still win.

THE GOOD
BRONCOS: Paging Dr. Cutler...

PATRIOTS: The Pats are the snake in the grass in the AFC playoff picture.

BEARS: Rex Grossman is NOT the quarterback who is taking the Bears to a Super Bowl victory. If the Bears make it to the Super Bowl, they will probably get stomped.

SEAHAWKS: vs. Green Bay tonight.

BENGALS: Made the Browns black and blue.

SAINTS: The Saints brought their whole team. The Falcons brought Mike Vick. 11-1 odds seems kind of unfair, doesn't it? In the Falcons defense, they only lost 31-13. Pretty good with those odds.

CHIEFS: If the Chiefs had not lost to the Broncos earlier this year, I might read more into their win over Denver. Frankly, I was not impressed with the way the Chiefs played.

COWBOYS: Assuming they don't self-destruct, the Cowboys are poised to move up in the rankings. But they have to beat a team better than the Bucs to do it.

PANTHERS: The loss to the Skins is a head-scratcher. It looks like the Skins defense shut down the Panthers. Not a good sign for a potential playoff team.

THE AVERAGE
GIANTS: The G-men aren't very good right now. Coughlin and Manning are both on the hot seat. While injuries have contributed, they really haven't beaten any great teams. The best team they beat was Dallas back in Tony Romo's premiere, a relief appearance. Next week, they get a full dose of Romo.

49ERS: Frank Gore will be a top 5 pick in fantasy leagues next year. He is THAT good.

STEELERS: It seems like years ago when this team won the Super Bowl. They certainly didn't look like a defending Super Bowl champ against the Ravens.

BROWNS: This team is sad to me, and I don't mean just their record. Just when they start to look like they might be turning a corner this year, they lay an egg against the Bengals. Now they are also starting to implode. Truly a shame.

JETS: Only bin Laden could think of a fate worse than holding millions of New Yorkers hostage to a Jets-Texans game.

FALCONS: Jim Mora's dad was right. Mike Vick IS a "coach killer".

BUCCANEERS: Rumor has it that Gruden is sending out job "feelers", much like he did when he was at Oakland. This is probably good, because the way the Bucs are playing, Gruden might not be there for long.

REDSKINS: To Jason Campbell's credit, he avoided most rookie mistakes and let the Redskins defense beat the Panthers. However, I hesitate to call this a turning point for the Skins.

RAMS: Splitting the series with the 49ers was nice. The five game losing streak they had prior to that was not so nice.

DOLPHINS: Joey Harrington, in his best Darth Vader voice: "Matt Millen, who's your daddy?"

TITANS: Vince Young already is what Mike Vick will NEVER be: a team leader. Granted, Young doesn't have Vick's shifty moves, but Young is no slouch running the ball. Plus Young has the leadership intangible that eludes Vick.

VIKINGS: Many years ago, they used to send people to Arizona for their allergies. Now, they send NFL teams like the Vikes there for wins.

JAGUARS: How do you beat the Giants one week, then lose to the Bills the next week?

EAGLES: Jeff Garcia did ok, but this team's lack of talent really shows without McNabb.

THE BAD
BILLS: After the Bills beat the Jags, you can almost imagine Jack del Rio screaming, "KHAAAAAN!". Seriously though, this team is improving, having won their last two games and three of their last four, with their only loss coming to Indy by one point.

PACKERS: vs. Seattle tonight.

TEXANS: I think the Texans went into "maybe next year" mode about two minutes after the last NFL draft.

RAIDERS: Even though they lost, the Raiders looked half decent against the Chargers. On the bright side, they get Houston next week.

CARDINALS: Beating the Cardinals is like having a job at McDonald's on your resume. It may not hurt you, but it doesn't exactly enhance your resume either.

LIONS: How many Fords does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. They keep waiting in the dark for Matt Millen to do it.

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"50 Shots"

In the wake of a horrifying weekend police shooting, it looks like Bruce Springsteen will have to update a rather unfortunate song from a few years ago.

UPDATE: Two very different columns crystalize the difficulty in figuring out what exactly happened early Saturday morning. My Post colleague Murray Weiss, with very good sources in the police department, sketches out the sequence of events from the police perspective:

Dramatic new details of the deadly mayhem include the undercover cop at one point climbing onto the hood of Bell's car - his gun drawn and his police shield around his neck - screaming, "Police! Turn off your car!
Let me see your hands!" said sources who talked to some of the cops involved in the shooting.
When Bell then tried to run down the plainclothes officer - twice - the cop began shooting, with some of his 11 bullets piercing the rear window of the man's Nissan Altima, the sources said.
This left the cop's backup unit - which was just arriving on the scene amid shattering glass and the undercover's shouts of "He's got a gun!" - thinking they were being fired upon from inside the vehicle. That's when they returned fire with another 39 bullets.

One 12-year veteran, a narcotics detective, pumped 31 bullets, authorities said.

The sources recounted step-by-step how quickly things spiraled out of control after a dispute inside the club involving one of Bell's associates. According to the sources, two undercovers were at the strip joint as part of the NYPD's new Club Enforcement Initiative. The program was started after the July slaying of 18-year-old Jennifer Moore of New Jersey, who partied at a
Chelsea club before being abducted, raped and killed in a Weehawken hotel.
The undercovers, who usually worked in Manhattan, were on the last night of their two-month Queens job to try to nail the Kalua and other clubs on such violations as drugs and underage prostitution.
Inside the club, one of the plainclothes cops sat next to a woman he thought was a hooker and might proposition him, the sources said.
Suddenly, a burly man approached them and told the woman that he had heard she had gotten into a fight with a group of guys earlier in the club. It was unclear what it was over.
The man said, "'Don't worry, baby, I got you covered,' and he takes her hand, and he rubs it
across [the gun in] his waistband," a source said. "Then he tells her, 'That's
what I'm here for.' "

It's unclear how the man smuggled his weapon past the metal detector outside the club. He likely was a regular who knew the bouncer at the door and may have worked there part time, helping with security, the sources said.
The undercover then went outside the club and radioed his backup to tell them there was a man inside with a gun. It was around 3:30 a.m.
While the undercover was outside, the suspect came out along with the girl and others,
since it was around closing time.
The undercover watched as an argument erupted between Bell's group, which included three male pals and the beefy man with the gun, and four other men - with the woman in the middle of them, the sources said.

The woman was overheard saying to the men arguing with Bell's pals, "I'm not doing you all. I'll do one or two, but not all," according to the sources.
Around the same time, the undercover said he heard Bell's friend Joseph Guzman tell his buddies, "Yo, get my gun! Get my gun! Let's get my gun from the car! Yeah, we're gonna f- - - him up!" the sources said.
The undercover, thinking there was about to be a drive-by shooting in front of the club involving Bell's group, followed Guzman, Bell and two others to their car.
"It's getting hot! Something's going to happen! Something's going down!" the undercover radioed to his backup.


He hurried to the front of Bell's Altima, which was parked on the side of nearby Liverpool Street, and jumped in front of it.
That's when the undercover put his right leg up on the hood of the Altima and began screaming that he was a cop, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the Daily News' Michael Daly, a pretty good columnist himself, finds a man-on-the-street account:

Everything from the number of shell casings around the car to the absence of a gun inside it to the witness accounts suggests the police officers who shot three unarmed young men early Saturday morning did so in the mistaken and panicked belief they were in mortal danger.
The same facts and statements suggest the three young men in the car who repeatedly tried to crash past an unmarked police van did so in their own mistaken and panicked belief they were in mortal danger. One was climbing into the back of the car when he saw a tall figure in street attire approach in the early morning darkness.

"Yo, my man, come here, my man, let me holler at you," the figure was heard to call out.
The tall figure was holding something black by his side.
"He's got a gat! He's got a gat! Be out! Be out!" the young man climbing into the car shouted.

The figure was an undercover cop, but by one witness account neither he nor his comrades announced themselves as police officers until after Sean Bell tried in vain to drive away and six to 10 shots were fired.
"That's when somebody started shouting, 'Police! Police! Put your hands out! Put your hands out!'" recalls witness China Flores.

The shooting only intensified. "That's when all hell broke loose," Flores says.


The cops say their man identified himself as an undercover police officer -- and the groom tried to run him over. Another witness says that there was no identification -- and the groom and pals thought they were being jumped by someone with a gun (a reasonable reaction given the alleged altercation that had previously taken place).

And there you have the seeds for a tragedy.

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