Friday, September 14, 2007


Retro Record Moment

Reagan had film acting. Clinton had sax. Family Guy's Glen Quagmire Richard Nixon had the 88-Keys. As the
little girl once said, curiouser and curiouser. Admittedly, this being Nixon, I expected to hear the opening strains of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor as his fingers hit the ivories. However, ol' Milhous unveiled an original composition for the Paar audience. Who knew that the most paranoid president in recent history missed out on a supper club circuit career? The White House tapes would have been much more interesting with a musical soundtrack. Imagine Dr. Kissinger planning the bombing of Cambodia as the president plays Mancini's Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet in the distance.

Coming Soon: Jimmy Carter and his Smokin' Banjo!


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Open Thread

Nice threads you're wearing.

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Aid & Comfort

The above phrase is often used by pro-war individuals against their anti-war opponents, as in, "Publically opposing the war gives 'aid and comfort' to the enemy."

Well, after the last few days, anti-war people should be glaring at for giving "aid and comfort" to George W. Bush and his war effort. What began as a week when the administration should have been on the defensive because of the reality of Iraq vs. why the war was launched and its various changing rationales -- instead became a storyline of a radical left-wing group smearing a credentialed, respected general. And sure enough, Republicans -- despite their own misgivings over the war -- all united against the MoveOn/New York Times nexis. Conversely, Democrats were divided over whether they should condemnn MoveOn's ad or just ignore it. The president's speech, remarkably, is now an afterthought.

On top of that, the most aggressive (tempermentally, if not programattically) GOP candidate didn't waste time in, as The Weekly Standard puts it, "hitting the trifecta" -- going after MoveOn, Hillary and the Times.

Instead of debating Bush (failed?) policy, this weekend's Sunday talk shows (which are intrinsically skewed more toward politics than policy) will likely devote far more time to the MoveOn ad and what it says about an "anti-military" Democratic Party rather than the weaknesses of Bush's position and its impact on Republican fortunes next year.

The Petraeus hearings became an amazingly bungled opportunity for the Democrats that may have ripples for months to come -- all because of the rash action of an irresponsible ally.

UPDATE: Now edited to fix second-to-last "paragraph to nowhere" editorial screw-up.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007


Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 2 Picks

Time for our week 2 NFL game picks! My picks below are in red:

Houston Texans at Carolina Panthers: This is what is typically referred to as a "no-brainer".
Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns: Is this "no-brainer" week?
Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars: While the Jags aren't great, the Falcons still have Joey Harrington, who makes David Garrard look good by comparison.
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants: The Giants new motto: "Is there a doctor in the house?"
Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers: Expect the Bills to give the Steelers a tough time this week, but the Steelers should squeak by them.
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams: The Rams REALLY miss Orlando Pace, otherwise they might win this one. Regardless, it should be close.
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Expect the Saints to put a smackdown on the Bucs. After losing to the Colts last week, this should be a monster bounce-back for the Saints.
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans: The AFC South teams always seem to play each other tough. This game will be no exception. This game will be decided in the final minutes, and I lean towards Peyton Manning doing something spectacular to win it, although it could just as easily be Vince Young.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals: The Cards looked like a rebuilding team last week. The Seahawks looked like a savvy veteran team.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions: The Lions are a huge step up from the Falcons, as the Vikings are about to learn.
Dallas Cowboys at Miami Dolphins: If the Boys play Miami like they did the Giants, this one could get ugly.
New York Jets at Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens don't have an offense like the Pats, but they should still be able to put up enough points to slip by the Jets.
Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears: You couldn't pay me to watch this game. Rex Grossman might even look good against the Chefs (no typo).
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos: While I will be rooting for the Raiders in this one, I know the history between these two teams all too well.
San Diego Chargers at New England Patriots: The game of the week. Expect the "camera-less" Pats to fall to a revved up Charger team bent on revenge for last season's playoff loss.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles: Take the Eagles in a toss-up. On paper, these two teams are evenly matched. The Eagles need this game just a bit more than the Skins.

Pigskin Pick'em Rules:
1. Pick the straight-up winners of all this weeks NFL games (excluding any Thursday games). Picks will be accepted in the comments section of the following websites:
Politics and Pigskins, Ragged Thots, and American Legends. All picks must be posted by 1 pm Eastern Time on Sunday, or by the kickoff of the first NFL Saturday game on weeks when that happens.
2. The winner gets...bragging rights! (you weren't expecting money, were you?)
3. And new for this year: I will be keeping a running tally for the season, so the person who gets the most picks correct for the whole season, including the playoffs, gets...even BIGGER bragging rights! (and still no money)


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Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Summer Reflections

I agree -- these were the best TV had to offer this summer.

In fact, they were good TV -- regardless. I would also add Damages and recurrent fave Rescue Me on FX. Nikki's wrong though that Burn Notice would make for a good replacement on broadcast networks. We now live in a niche entertainment world. "Burn" and Mad Men work well in a cable environment, but there's not enough of a lowest common-denominator element for them to survive in the ratings obsessed cultural wasteland of the "real" TV season.

If you missed any of these shows, pick 'em up on DVD when you can. Highly recommended.


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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Retro Music Moment

Just when I think my fascination with YouTube is about to wane, there's always something that I come across as a music fan that just makes me take notice. Prepare to throw out your copies of "Ebony and Ivory" (if you're not still using them as coasters) and listen up to a more truthful (and soulful pairing) of Stevie Wonder with a major "mainstream" artist.

Watching this, I was reminded of the documentary Baseball which I caught a glimpse of this past weekend on my local PBS station. I had to chuckle as the narrator told the story of how Major League team owners were scared to death that radio broadcasting of America's national pastime in the 1920s and '30s would kill stadium ticket sales. Instead of killing ticket sales, the broadcasts widened baseball's popularity bringing out MORE fans to stadiums. Tickets sales went wild, as women and whole families enjoyed a stadium outing, not just young, single men. Reminds me a lot of the present music and media industry and its inability to deal with music distribution of its vast (and often unreleased) catalogue, sales, and 21st century technology.

What the hell is wrong with record and media companies when they are sitting on material like this and refuse to make it available commercially, especially in a digital age when the cost to market is so minuscule? Then they get indignant when some person pulls a video like this from their private stash and makes it available on YouTube to a yokel like me. Yes, music industry, there are people who are actually fans of both Stevie Wonder AND Glen Campbell and would have payed a couple of bucks on I-Tunes for this! (Having been born an hour away from Clarksville, the subject of the one of the Monkee's first singles, this brother feels a connection to the Wichita Lineman who played guitar on many of their records)

With that in mind, I hope RT Regular (and Dylan fanatic) Rodak enjoys the cover!

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RAGGED Sports Break

1) Golden Dome in black and white. Those Notre Dame boosters who thought they were so Weis three years ago look fit to be Ty-ed right about now. Pat Forde nails ND perfectly.

2) Who'd a thunk it? Baseball isn't the only sport that uses the wonders of modern technology to, uh, "gain a competitive advantage" (AKA "cheat"). So
does the NFL!! So, if the Patriots weren't stealing signs, they might have only scored 24 points on the Jets!
Don't laugh, the Jets did beat the Pats up in Foxboro late last year -- admittedly, Randy Moss wasn't there.

It also appears that this isn't the first time the Patriots pulled this, given that Green Bay's GM claims they pulled something similar last year. Which causes more than a few people to wonder whether Bill Belichik is a true "genius" --
or just another boob tube junkie like the rest of us.

Rather than dunning New England
a few draft picks, how about just sending Tom Brady to the Jets? That sounds like a fair punishment!

Oh, and while we're in Beantown-bashing mode, one more thing: In light of this scandal, wonder if
Barry Bonds foe Curt Schilling has any choice words to say about Belichick, given the coach's "complicated" domestic issues?

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Six Years Gone

It is exactly six years to the day -- September 11. The big difference in 2007 is that it is a cloudy and rainy day. THAT particular day held a clear blue sky. Indeed, U2's "Beautiful Day" created the perfect soundtrack moment.

Then, as they say, everything changed.

To use another U2 song, the question that has arisen now is: Are we still
"stuck in a moment" we can't get out of?"

Monday's USA Today raises the question of
whether it is time to "move on" -- whether the extended formal ceremonies, the reading of nearly 3000 at Ground Zero, are quite as appropriate as they once were. Local broadcast station WABC (Ch. 7) first announced that it was going to forego the reading of the names, in favor of regular programming. However, the backlash was apparently too much: They will do the reading of the names. That suggests that for a certain segment of the grieving survivor community, it's still somewhat too soon.

I think Channel 7 should have stuck with their decision: Yes, it is a financial one: They think it makes more sense to do their "normal" entertainment programming (with the advertising that comes with it). Fine. There are innumerable other stations -- primarily on cable or sattelite -- that will be doing business as usual. They are presumably getting a fair amount of viewership.

But, perhaps it is still too raw for some people to permit New York local stations to just move on.

Yet, today's New York Times
moves that view a bit further with a look at Michael Bloomberg's efforts to restore/create a "new normal."

This is the last year that a significant portion of the ceremony will actually be held at Ground Zero. To be exact, the families will walk by the pit, but not remain there: Bloomberg determined that with ongoing construction, it wasn't safe to hold the full proceedings at Ground Zero. Thus, the actual recitation will happen at a nearby park. Next year, there won't even be a "walk-by."

In a sense, this the most symbolic way to show a "moving on." The families no longer "stay" at the Pit. They approach, reflect -- and move on.

In many ways, New York as a city has already done that over the last six years. It is appropriate. The grieving time has become a thing of the past.


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Monday, September 10, 2007


Open Thread

Hmmm...somehow I wrote up this Open Thread on Friday evening, but only left it in "Draft" form. Oh, well, belated as it may be, thread away here on whatever non-Iraq topic you wish...

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"Surge On" General Reports

The Petraeus and (Amb. Ryan) Crocker testimonies to Congress start today. It would appear that everyone already knows what they will say: Finally, a relatively good military strategy -- without a parallel political improvement.

The upshot of this means? A "holding pattern" until the next "showdown over Iraq policy" -- sometime next spring. So, for those who are pro-war, this counts as a "win."

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Pigskin Pick'em - Week 1 Results

The first week's NFL results are in, as well as the results for our Pigskin Pick'em contest.

Even with two games remaining to be played, David Stefanini has already got enough wins to claim victory in the first week (tonight's picks are shown after the weekly totals):

David Stefanini - 9 (Bengals & 49ers)
EdMcGon - 7 (Ravens & 49ers)
Mike - 6 (Bengals & 49ers)
J. Mark English - 4 (Bengals & Cards)
Bill Barker - 4 (Bengals & 49ers)

I will be tracking correct picks for the entire season, so be sure to play when I post later this week.

I must admit that my Browns over Steelers pick was a truly bad one, for which I received a ton of grief. I overestimated the Browns, mostly due to the fact the team played with a lot of heart last year, even when they were losing games. On the other hand, I underestimated the Steelers because of Tomlin installing a new playbook. If you look at the Steelers on paper, they simply outclass the Browns as far as talent.

That said, I feel quite vindicated with my Titans over the Jaguars pick, for which I also received a ton of grief. Lest any of you forget, here is what was said regarding the Browns and Titans picks:
I should have stopped reading when you picked Cleveland...or Tennessee.

I understand the Falcons pick, but the Browns and Titans?

David Garrard is an upgrade over Byron Leftwich. I would wager that the Jags have the highest margin of victory this week.

luckily jax's d is about 500 tims better, and their RBs are 200 times better than their Tennessee counterparts.

The Jags aren't terrible and they have .... ah, screw it. Let Young's curse begin.

Admittedly, the Titans surprised me with how much their running game dominated the Jaguars defense (282 rushing yards), against what appeared to be a mediocre running game for the Jaguars (72 rushing yards).

Still, when I watched Tennessee in the preseason, I noticed how much better both their offensive line and defense were playing. The game against the Jags was NOT an upset.

The true test for the Titans will come this weekend against the Colts.


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