Saturday, December 29, 2007


Open Thread

Perhaps consider this a New Year's resolution thread...

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Friday, December 28, 2007


A Life Less Bhutto-ful

Amir Taheri mourns the loss of "one of the few political leaders who could have helped it unite against terrorism."

A non-mourning Ralph Peters says, "She may serve Pakistan better after her death than she did in life."

Meanwhile, given that there is controversy on how Bhutto died, figuring out exactly who was behind the assassination is going to take quite a while. It's easy to say that Musharraf is "responsible" -- which, given that he is a military dictator who should be in charge of security, is a reasonable argument. But that doesn't mean that he ordered the murder -- or even wanted it to occur. At this point, a chaotic Pakistan where he is forced to reinstate martial law (after losing international support when he did the same thing a few months ago) seems hardly in his best interests.

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Thursday, December 27, 2007


The World Rolls On

To remind Americans that Iraq and Iran aren't the only dangerous places, Pakistan former Prime Minister Benazhir Bhutto was shot dead at a campaign rally a short while ago -- with a suicide bomb set off right afterwards. What does Musharraff do now? What does the United States do now?

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Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 17 Picks


It may be the last week of the regular season, but we will be continuing the Pigskin Pick'em through the playoffs and the Super Bowl, to give all you, I mean to give all you fine people a chance to catch up to my overwhelming YTD totals. Of course, you could still take the weekly "bragging rights" prize.

My picks (otherwise known as the correct picks):

New England Patriots at New York Giants: At least the NFL made the right decision to
simulcast this NFL Network game on both CBS and NBC. However, don't expect to see great football here. The Pats will get to 16-0, the Giants will rest their starters early, and the second half should be a yawn-fest.
Seattle Seahawks at Atlanta Falcons: Speaking of "yawn-fests"...
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears: Don't let the records fool you. The Bears are the better team here.
San Francisco 49ers at Cleveland Browns: The Browns need the win and a lot of help to make it to the playoffs.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers: This one could go either way. The Packers decided their own playoff fate last week, so this game is meaningless to them. The Lions, with a win here, could at least make it to .500 on the year. If history is any indicator, expect the Lions to choke here.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans: The Texans win this one for pride.
Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins: A meaningless game for two teams that disappointed their fans all year.
Buffalo Bills at Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have been playing with a lot of pride the last few weeks. The irony in this game is both of these teams may have new quarterbacks next year. This may also be Andy Reid's last game, since rumors about his retirement have been swirling for months. It is a shame that Reid's retirement might get lost in the hype over the Pats-Giants, although Reid has NOT made it official. But if it is his last game, let me say for the record, I'll miss you Andy. You were one of the great coaches of this era. (Of course, if it isn't your last game Andy, then you need to get off your duff and fix this team!)
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Meaningless game for the Bucs. But the Panthers are good enough to beat the Bucs IF the Bucs dog it, or if the Panthers play their best game.
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals: Did anyone get the score from that Paraguay-Ukraine soccer match? This game is about as interesting.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens: Remember how close the Ravens came to beating the Pats? I can just see the Ravens playing spoilers here.
Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos: The Vikes need the win, while the Broncos mail it in. (rhyme intended)
Kansas City Chiefs at New York Jets: In the "Herm Edwards Bowl", I will go with his new team over his old team.
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders: The "Norv Turner Bowl". I would love to see the Raiders win this one, but even the Chargers second string should give the Raiders some fits.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins: Don't think for a second that the Redskins wouldn't love to make it to the playoffs on the backs of the Cowboys.
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts: The Titans win, they're in. Add to that the fact the Colts will be resting their starters early, and the Titans should take it.


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Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Pigskin Pick'em - NFL Week 16 Results

It took him all year, but Bill Barker finally won a week legitimately. He even got his picks in on time. Congrats Bill!
Bill Barker - 13
EdMcGon - 12
Robert A. George - 10
Jay - 9
Audio Dave - 8
David Stefanini - 7
J. Mark English - 7

Now, to my favorite part: The YTD standings, where I increased my lead over Stefanini and George, proving my uncanny prognostication abilities. Fortunately, you guys still have the playoffs to catch up with me. And the Patriots might lose to the Giants this week too...
EdMcGon(4) - 140
Robert A. George(2) - 134
David Stefanini(2) - 133
J. Mark English(1) - 114
Bill Barker(1) - 112
Audio Dave(2.5) - 76
FunkyPundit(0.5) - 76
BL(2) - 74
SoloD(1) - 53
Dave O'Leary - 21
Rigel - 17
Jay - 9
Snave - 8
Mike - 8
Moose - 2


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Monday, December 24, 2007


Merry Christmas

Peace on Earth and Good Will to All.

Special good wishes to the readers and contributors of Ragged Thots!

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Rudy's Shuffle Into Irrelevancy

Andrew Sullivan quotes Giuliani supporter Patrick Ruffini on the state of Rudy's campaign:
Pretty brutal:

I hate to say this, but I don't think Rudy wants it badly enough. He has a bit of a Fred Thompson problem about him. He hasn't said anything particularly distinctive or memorable the entire campaign. His lows haven't been very low, and his highs haven't been very high. There is no one big thing his campaign is about - first, there were twelve, then there was a laundry list of his accomplishments as a Mayor; then, there were a series of issue spots that failed to move the needle in New Hampshire.
Nothing memorable? 'Sanctuary mansion'? The most humanizing thing Rudy has done this whole campaign is catch the flu.
Not to say that the past is prologue, but this isn't the first time that Rudy's commitment to a campaign has been called into question: The same speculation was raised back in 2000 when he was running for the Senate against, yes, Hillary Rodham Clinton.


But take a step back, and there are some fundamental problems with how Rudy is positioning his campaign with this strategy.

First, it gives off the impression that he doesn’t want to win. That he’s looking for a TKO rather than a decisive knockout punch. That he won’t go mano-y-mano with any of the opponents who matter. And that he doesn’t care about retail politics (in fact, the IA and SC blowback alone has probably contaminated him in NH). Perceived electability is not just poll numbers in the general, but how someone conducts themselves in the primary. Do they fight, or do they try and win on a technicality? That’s a proxy for how they will perform against the Clinton machine, and voters pick up on those kinds of signals.

Second, it ignores the fluidity of the race. Rudy was never the frontrunner in any traditional sense. A fifteen point lead in the primary is not like a fifteen point lead in a general election. It can evaporate overnight. John Kerry went from 15 to 40 percent in the polls after winning Iowa. It was clear from the beginning that the situation was simply too fluid for Rudy to simply run out the clock.

Third (and I’ll concede this can be temporary until Florida & Feb. 5 is upon us) but Rudy has missed out on the publicity surrounding the Iowa and New Hampshire contests. The coverage of Romney vs. Huck in Iowa has created centrifugal motion around those two, with voters nationally aligning on both sides of the Iowa proxy war. The McCain surge in New Hampshire is not confined to one state, but creates a rallying effect around him nationally. Missing in all this is Rudy. Just as voters tuned in to the race in November and December, he was totally AWOL in the early state-centric coverage.

It may be that we need to revise our theory of the early states. Momentum isn’t just about winning the early states, but also about competing in them. By building a proof-of-concept first in Iowa or New Hampshire, you demonstrate strength before the concentrated national press corps, and if it’s for real, word will spread nationally long before Iowa.
As for the "humanizing thing" to which Andrew mentions in passing, well, that occurred back in 2000 too: After revealing that he was suffering from prostate cancer, Giuliani withdrew from the race.

UPDATE: The campaign shares its own misgivings.

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