Tuesday, June 12, 2007


The real Baghdad

If you want a good feel for what's really happening in Baghdad, cruise on over to twocrabs.com. Mr. Crab has been in and out of Iraq since the war started and does a good job of relating what it's like to cover (and not cover) Baghdad, the war, and Iraq. Site like these are a must read. It's the only way to truly no what's happening over there.

Monday, December 18, 2006


NBA swallows the whistle on Isiah

The verdict is in for Saturday night's hardwood rumble. The NBA suspended Denver's Carmelo Anthony 15 games for sucker-punching Mardy Collins. Nate Robinson was suspended 10 games for being a jerk (I'm not kidding) and escalating the fracas. Collins was suspended 6 games for his hard foul on J.R. Smith, who was suspended 10 games for trying to beat up Collins and the jerk. But Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, who appears to have ordered the hit, won't miss a game on the sidelines. This is the same Thomas who told Anthony not to go into the paint because he might get hurt moments before the hard foul was comitted. This is the same Thomas who condoned his team's behavior after the game saying the Nuggets were insulting the Knicks by leaving their starters in the game. This is the same Knicks team (and same Knick player in Collins) that fouled an Indiana player hard near the end of the game because they were losing badly. And the NBA did nothing?!! Thomas claims that he was lecturing Anthony on sportsmanship, not issuing a threat. That's right, the same Isiah Thomas who challeneged Bruce Bowen to a fight and iced Michael Jordan in an All-Star Game. Yep, he's one the one lecturing about sportsmanship. And if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you in New York...

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Thursday, December 14, 2006


La migra crosses the line

I could get into trouble for writing this -- but I feel I have no choice. Some outrages must be reported. They must be seen. And they must be publicized. It's the only way to make them stop. Such is the case with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) raid of Utah meatpacking plant.

And please note, this isn't a debate about illegal immingrants. That's a topic for another place and time. This about the atrocious behavior ICE agents displayed in their raid, and how there is no place for that in the United States of America.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that when ICE agents entered the Swift & Co. plant in Hyrum Utah, they divided employees into two categories -- brown-skinned and light-skinned.

If only for a few minutes, Maria felt like an ''illegal alien'' in her homeland - the United States of America.
She thought she was going on break from her job at the Swift & Co. meat processing plant here on Tuesday, but instead she and others were forced to stand in a line by U.S. immigration agents. Non-Latinos and people with lighter skin were plucked out of line and given blue bracelets. ''I was in the line because of the color of my skin,'' she said, her voice shaking. ''They're discriminating against me. I'm from the United States, and I didn't even get a blue bracelet.''

That sort of racist behavior is so bad, even ICE is disavowing it. An ICE spokesman told TPMmuckracker that process was "definitely not standard operating procedure. . . that's not the way ICE operates."

Most Latinos would beg to differ. And so would most people of color. Regular readers of this blog know I was born and raised in the U.S., but am regularly harassed by ICE. Brown skin doesn't make you a criminal. And it doesn't make you an illegal immigrant. And until ICE recognizes that simple fact, this behavior will continue.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Does anyone in Congress have a brain?

Mark it down. December 13, 2006 is the day I officially gave up on Democrats in the House of Representatives. It is the day where I decided things are just hopeless. And the thing is -- I really wanted to believe. I was hoping that with Dems in office, our foreign policy would change and shape up. And we'd gain some respect in the world. But then I read how Rep. Sylvester Reyes -- Nancy Pelosi's handpicked incoming chairman of the House intelligence commitee -- miserably failed a pop quiz on Mideast 101.

Here's part of the quiz, administered by CQ's Jeff Stein:

We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And then we veered into terrorism’s major players.

To me, it’s like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland: Who’s on what side?

The dialogue went like this:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

If it was me writing this piece, the next sentence would have been: "How stupid are you!"

Stein was little more diplomatic (though not much more) with:

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.

Stein did give Reyes a chance to redeem himself:

And Hezbollah? I asked him. What are they?

“Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah...”

He laughed again, shifting in his seat.

“Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?”

“Poquito,” I said—a little.

“Poquito?! “ He laughed again.

“Go ahead,” I said, talk to me about Sunnis and Shia in Spanish.

Reyes: “Well, I, uh....”

And now you know why I've given up.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006


That must be some party

Spotted this on the pinnaclesports.com web site when I was looking for the goat odds (see previous post):

Due to our annual Christmas Party, all phone wagering will be unavailable from 05:00 PM Pacific Time December 12th until 04:00 AM Pacific Time, December 13th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Happy Holidays!

That sounds like one great party.


I'll take the goat plus the points

In perhaps the greatest Christmas tradition since spiked egg nog, the city of Gayle, Sweden, erects a giant straw goat in the center of town to mark the holiday season. And every year for the last 40 years, vandals have tried -- with astonishing success -- to burn it down. Vandals, hooligans and an American tourist have managed destroy the goat 22 times since 1966. This year though, the town is fighting back. The goat is made of flame retardant straw that won't wash off -- apparently, the last time they tried this, the chemicals weren't water repellent and they washed off when it rained. But wait, it gets better. A Swedish rap group has put the goat's tale to song on YouTube. There's a web cam watching the goat. And as of yesterday, the goat was a heavy favorite at pinnaclesports.com to survive until Christmas -- that's right, you could be on it. The online sportsbook has pulled the odds down for now, but hopefully they'll resume taking action on this great Christmas tradition shortly.


The old-fashioned trade

All of sudden, trades are back in vogue. Allen Iverson wants to be traded by Philadelphia. The D.C. United traded Freddy Adu to Real Salt Lake -- a blatant admission (though you'll never here the United brass say this) that Peter Nowak botched his development. And a Canadian guy turned one red paper clip into a house in Saskatchewan through a series of trades (I'm not kidding!).

Joining this trend (yes, I'm invoking the USA TODAY rule that three examples makes a trend) is Aaron Todd. Aaron was testing PKR.com's 3D online poker room when he finished 8th in a freeroll tournament and won 60 cents. But because Congress passed (and Bush signed into law) the ridiculous Unlawful Internet Enforcement Gambling Act, he can't play at PKR.com for real money. So in the great tradition of bartering, he's decided to try and parlay his 60-cent check into entry money for the World Series of Poker Main Event through a series of trades.

He's already traded his 60-cent check for GoldenPalace.com casino chips. He's working on his next trade now. No, the trade won't come from me. I'm his boss (full disclosure -- see, I'm ethical), so I'm not allowed to trade with him (I think). Plus, I really don't have anything to offer. But surely somewhere out there does. So help a fellow poker player reach the Main Event. If you have a fun or unique item to trade, visit sixtycentmainevent.com and propose a deal.

Monday, August 28, 2006


The politics surrounding John L.

One of things that is often discussed, but rarely written about is how the Michigan State football coaching job can be as much about politics as it can be about winning or losing. But Joe Rexrode takes a nice swing at it in yesterday's Lansing State Journal.

He (Smith) was asked Friday if he was referring then to one of two things: unfavorable media coverage or the political climate within MSU's walls. "A little bit of both," he said, before adding: "I don't think the media is much tougher here than anywhere else. I think 90 percent of the media is fair." But he also noticed the string of anonymously sourced assertions put forth this summer by a Detroit newspaper columnist: that MSU administrators have set eight wins as the mark Smith must reach to keep his job (a claim they vehemently deny); that MSU administrators have put feelers out to possible replacements should John L. stumble, including former player Pat Shurmur (no one will admit it); that a "power struggle" took place between the Board of Trustees and Lou Anna Simon over a contract extension for athletic director Ron Mason, who hired Smith. That one got the MSU people all fired up. "Nonsense. Flat-out baloney. I went ballistic when I saw that," said Trustee Dee Cook, R-Greenville. "It was a complete fabrication. Who is giving (the columnist) his information? It's bad information. "I wish I knew, but I know this: Someone out there is definitely trying to manipulate something."

The Lansing State Journal also note that John L. is getting along with Joel Ferguson these days.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Get ready to Sparty

Michigan State kicks off its football season Saturday with the usual melodrama -- coaching security. The Freep backs into justifying the speculation with this:

Nearly every preseason college football article has Smith as one of the Division I-A coaches most likely to lose his job if he doesn't deliver a winning season. The goodwill that he earned from turning around a turmoil-filled program to an 8-5 record in 2003 gave him a pass the following season, when MSU finished 5-7. But patience evaporated after the Spartans' meltdown in 2005. MSU started the season 4-0 before finishing 5-6.

Beat reporter Shannon Shelton does a very good job with the rest of the story, building a good case for why John L. is in trouble. And that makes the decision to introduce the preseason magazines disappointing. She doesn't need the cover that paragraph provides. She's the authority, and everything she reported is rock solid. And please, no anti-MSU bias rants here. I love my Spartans. And Shelton is right on the money with the speculation.

Spartan students, fans and alumni are all questioning the coach. I think he's a good coach who needed to learn the importance of recruiting Big 10 caliber athletes instead of trying to coach up MAC players. He's going after the right recruits now. And if he succeeds, MSU will be in very good shape. I'm willing to give him two more seasons to see how he does.

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