Sunday, February 26, 2006
FINAL SCORE: RED WINGS 3, FINLAND 2
This win offers me a bit of redemption, and evens my medal round picks at 2-2. It is also the first time I have out picked the Hockey Goddess.
Read the entire story HERE
Saturday, February 25, 2006
THIS WAS SO PREDICTABLE!
Actually, every thing I predicted about this whole fiasco has come to pass. It has turned into a mini Viet Nam, a war of attrition we can't possibly win (unless we institute a draft and increase our troop strength there by 150%). 7 more US soldiers and couple of hundred Iraqis dead in just the last few days. I also predicted that Iraq's three major ethnic/religious groups would never be able to put together a stable government, and that there would be a civil war. That too appears to be an accurate assessment .
We have reached this point in history by once again underestimating our enemy. In this case, cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Al-Sadr, whom the US once sought to arrest on murder charges, has brilliantly out maneuvered all his religious and political rivals. To the point he now challenges Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani as the leading authority among the majority Shiite community. His party ran a brilliant campaign in the recent elections, and garnered a large number of seats in the parliament. He then maneuvered brilliantly behind the scenes to get Ibrahim Jafari re-appointed as Prime Minister. Jafari is politically weak and now owes his position to al-Sadr. And moderate Shiites, formerly aligned with US ally Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and angered by US demands that they compromise with the Sunnis, are now lining up solidly behind al-Sadr and his strong anti US stance. Which means the number of our friends, and our influence, is diminishing rapidly.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, has been facilitating negotiations between the Sunnis and Shiites. He is frankly pessimistic that civil war can be avoided. A civil war that could radically change the balance of power in the middle east, and make it a much more dangerous place than it is today.
THE PROFITS OF WAR from the Agonist
Note that Haliburtons profits from military revenues are up 293%, and Raytheon's profits are up 109%. This war may be bankrupting the country... but it sure as hell is enhancing the portfolios of "Dead Eye"Dick Cheney, and "the Donald" Rumsfeld!
AND FINALLY, THE HOCKEY PICKS:
First hats off to the Hockey Goddess, Karen, for being 100% correct on her Olympic hockey pics! I am in awe!
As for me, of the teams I picked to medal, only Sweden remains. As for my semi final picks, I went one for two, having changed my pick in game 1 to Sweden after I learned the Czechs were starting an NHL cast off in goal instead of Thomas Vocoun. However, I badly miscalculated on the Russians, as the Finns appear to be for real.
So my medal round picks. Russia over the Czechs for the bronze. Sweden over Finland for the gold. Before you run out to your bookie and place your bets, however, I should tell you that the Hockey Goddess is taking Finland. I guess she is betting that goalie Antero Nittymaki can play way over his head one more time!
Now cooking at THE CHURCH POTLUCK: Cajun Stuffed Peppers
Thursday, February 23, 2006
A VISIT FROM THE IDIOT KING
Yeah, we had a visit from King George today! His motorcade came within 6 blocks of my house. Someone at work suggested I should have walked up the hill so I could wave when when His Royal Highness drove by. I told him "nah, then my middle finger would have gotten cold."
His Majesty was here to attend a fundraiser for the presidential lap dog, Rep. Chris Chocopoodle, being held at my alma mater, Bethel College. Chocopoodle is an old fashioned Repugnican. He sold the corporation his grandfather built to Warren Buffet, then used the proceeds to buy a congressional seat. Last time I checked, he had a perfect 100% record of voting with His Excellency. To paraphrase Bob Casey; If two people agree 100% of the time, one of them is unnecessary. Actually, in this case...
Now, I hate it when Presidents and VPs I LIKE come for a visit. Bill Clinton and Al Gore both were fairly regular visitors here. Let me tell you, a presidential visit, or in Dumbya's case, royal visit, is a giant pain in the ass. About a half hour before the president's plane lands, they shut down all the roads that intersect or run parallel to the motorcade route. They leave them shut until the president arrives at his destination. Which means not only were all the north/south roads shut down for 45 minutes, but a section of the Indiana Toll Road , which runs parallel to part of the motorcade route, as well. So traffic has nowhere to go of the better part of an hour, and just continues to back up.
I was fortunate. As I left for work, I noticed the traffic backing up in time to make a very illegal u-turn in the middle of Jefferson Blvd., and take the back roads through the hood to get to work. I never feel threatened when driving through Doglife or Latin King territory. It can be a bit embarrassing though. My middle son was class clown in his high school. Because of that, he got along with all the gang bangers. A couple of years ago, I bought his car. If I drive through the south side, I will occasionally hear someone shout "hey look, it's Shorty's dad... Hi Shorty's dad!" It is very demoralizing to think that all I have accomplished in my life is to be known as "Shorty's dad".
Anyhow, if a presidential visit by someone you like is a pain in the ass, think how much worse it is if you despise the guy! Actually, it could have been worse. As vocal as I am about my hatred of all things Bush, I am really surprised I didn't get a visit from the State Police or Secret Service. Maybe I'll have that to look forward to next time!
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
US, CANADA ELIMINATED
Remember when I said I couldn't figure out the Russian hockey team? That they would be either brilliant or horrid, no in between? Well, guess what! They have been brilliant. After loosing their first game to Slovakia, the Russians have won 5 in a row. Their goaltender, Evgeny Nabakov, who is having a sub par year in the NHL, has been very solid, and their defense, in spite missing two starters due to injury, has tightened up considerably. Today, Russia knocked mighty Canada out of medal competition, with a 2-0 victory!
Meanwhile, the US was knocked out of competition by the unbeaten Finns, 4-3. US star Mike Modano was highly critical of the way this team was put together and treated, and justifiably so. The US's best goaltender wasn't chosen to be on the team. Many players had to make their own travel arrangements. It was just a sub par performance by those responsible for putting the team together. In the end it showed.
Slovakia went through the preliminary round undefeated. And our friend Dave over at Red and Black Hockey was very high on them. But the medal round places a premium on goaltending, and a quick look at Slovakia's roster shows no NHL caliber goaltender. That caught up with them today, as they lost to the Czech Republic 3-1.
BEAR BREAKS DOWN THE SEMI FINAL ROUND
Game#1 (Friday) Sweden vs Czech Republic: This may very well be the best game of the Olympics! The goaltenders, Sweden's Henrik Lundqvist and the Czech's Tomas Vocoun, are world class goalies, and Lundqvist in particular has been outstanding. This game will be a contest between the offensive firepower of the Czechs, led by Jaromir Jagr and Robert Lang, and the defensive prowress of the Swedes, led by the world's best defenseman, Niclas Lidstrom. This game is really a toss up. The only thing guaranteed is that Lidstrom will log at least thirty five minutes ice time. Since I picked the Czechs to win the gold, I'll stick with them. My prediction: Czech Rep. 4 Sweden 3
Game #2 (Friday) Finland vs. Russia: On paper, this should favor Finland. The Finns only allowed two goals the entire preliminary round, on their way to a 6-0 record. But the Finns, who have been without their #1 and #2 goalies, allowed 3 goals to the previously impotent USA today. And goalie Antero Nittymaki has been up and down all year. If goalies Mikka Kiprisov or Keri Lehtonen were available, I might pick the Finns. However, Russia's goaltending is solid, they have a veteran group of defensemen, and more firepower than anyone in the Olympics. Pavel Datsyuk, Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexi Kovalev, Alexi Yashin, and Alex Zhamnov will just be too much for the Finns. My prediction: Russia 5 Finland 2
BRONX IN BLUE, REGIME CHANGE DEJA VU
from the temporary site
Sunday, February 12, 2006
INCREDIBLE NEW MUSIC WEB SITE!
Vault Radio regularly adds and removes songs from it's playlist, so the music is always new and exciting. Right now, I am listening to Bruce Springsteen doing a live cover of Manfred Mann's BLINDED BY THE LIGHT. All the songs on vault Radio are live recordings, and they are FM quality.
If you are fan of live music, you HAVE to check out this site!
GOD DAMNED CBS!!!!!
Friday, February 10, 2006
on LOVE MONKEY, smoking OLD DUTCH CLEANSER, and various and sundry OTHER MATTERS
Note to Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA): I'm pretty sure that Old Dutch Cleanser isn't smokable. We'd have discovered it in the 60's if it was. However, just in case you're onto something, anybody out there still have your old hookah? Let's raid the cleaning supplies!
Seriously though, this is not a good time to be Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Besides the accusations of being a closet smoker of sink cleaner, another senator of his own party, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also strongly challenged the AG's assertions that Congress implicitly approved warrentless surveillance when it passed the statutory force resolution. The "argument that you're making is very dangerous in terms of its application for the future," Graham told Gonzales. "When I voted for it, I never envisioned that I was giving to this president or any other president the ability to go around FISA carte blanche." Further, Sen. Russ Feingold is seeking an investigation into whether Gonzales deliberately lied to the senate during his confirmation hearings.
it also appears that the AG may be caught up in the Abramhoff/DeLay scandal. Senate Democrats hare demanding a special prosecutor be named to over see the scandal, in part because of the appearance that Gonzales is implicated. See the whole story here and here.
On the good news front, it appears the low fat diet is officially dead! A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes there is no evidence that a low fat diet leads to a lower incidence of heart disease or cancer. Which is exactly what cardiologists like Dr. Robert Adkins (Adkin's diet) and Dr. Arthur Agatson (South Beach diet) have been telling you for 15 years. So you wanna be healthy? It's not those fatty meats that are killing you, it's those empty carbs. So eat that steak, and all those veggies, but pitch that baked potato! Good news for us carnivores, not so good for you vegetarians out there!
Is anyone else already as bored with the "betting scandal" in the NHL as I am? A bunch of rich athletes bet big bucks on football. Now there's a surprise. Rich, competitive guys gambling! Who would have thought that? But so far, the evidence is that none of the bets were on hockey. So, until that changes....YAWN!
Speaking of hockey, today will be a historic first. Venerable Lambeau Field, home of the Green Bay Packers, will host the first hockey contest in its illustrious history. The University of Wisconsin Badgers and the Ohio State Buckeyes will play in the first outdoor game in the history of either school. About 45,000 fans are expected for the game.
MY OFFICIAL TAKE IT TO THE BANK (OR RICK TOCCHET) OLYMPIC HOCKEY PICKS
Gold medal: CZECH REPUBLIC - Great goaltending with Dominic Hasek and Tomas Volkoun. Great goal scorers in Jaromir Jagr and Robert Lang and solid defense.
Silver: CANADA - Very deep team with goaltender Martin Brodeur finally getting healthy. A solid shot for gold, but Gretzky's legal problems may be a team downer.
Bronze: SWEDEN - probably the most talented team, but playing with an NHL rookie in goal. Henrik Lundqvist has had a brilliant rookie season with the New York Rangers, but can he stand up to the pressure of the Olympics? Still, this is the best team at the blue line of any in the Olympics. But the loss of Peter Forsberg will put a huge burden on the shoulders of Henrik Zetterberg to score early and often.
Can't figure: The Russians. This is a team with explosive offensive talent, both up front and at the blue line, and goaltending that should be as good as any. Any team with Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk and Sergei Zubov is gonna score a lot of goals. But it's goaltenders have badly under achieved this year, and the team is in disarray with little chemistry. This team will either be brilliant and take the whole thing, or suck pond scum. There will be no in between.
And somebody please explain this to me. How is it that the USA's best goaltender, Ryan Miller, is only an alternate and can't play unless one of the stiffs in front of him gets hurt? Understand that Miller's .925 save percentage is thirty points higher than USA starter Rick Di Pietro's .895. Miller, the former Michigan State star, has been brilliant for the Sabres this year. He should have had the chance to carry the load for Team USA. He would have given us a fighting chance at a bronze.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
QUOTES, LIES, AND DAMNED LIES
from the AND HE SAID THAT WITH A STRAIGHT FACE DEPT: The Republican Party has been and continues to be the party of reform. Rep. David Dryer, R-CA, on lobbying reform.
In his STATE OF THE UNION speech, President Forked Tongue said: Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.
The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly 10 billion dollars to develop cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources -- and we are on the threshold of incredible advances. So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative -- a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy.
However, from today's NY Times:
The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget.
A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush cited on Tuesday night as holding the promise to replace part of the nation's oil imports.
The budget for the laboratory, which is just west of Denver, was cut by nearly 15 percent, to $174 million from $202 million, requiring the layoff of about 40 staff members out of a total of 930, said a spokesman, George Douglas. The cut is for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.
From the STATE OF THE UNION: Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025.
from today's NY Times: One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally..... Bush vowed to fund research into better batteries for hybrid vehicles and more production of the alternative fuel ethanol, setting a lofty goal of replacing "more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."
He pledged to "move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past."
Not exactly, though, it turns out.
"This was purely an example," Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said.
He said the broad goal was to displace foreign oil imports, from anywhere, with domestic alternatives. He acknowledged that oil is a freely traded commodity bought and sold globally by private firms. Consequently, it would be very difficult to reduce imports from any single region, especially the most oil-rich region on Earth.
In his STATE OF THE UNION speach, the President promised broad new education initiatives. Meanwhile, he is about to sign into law a bill that cuts $12.7 billion from student aid programs.
REPUBLICAN SEX: FUCKING GRANDMA AND CHILDREN
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the $29 billion in reductions to Medicaid/Medicare just passed by Congress will force removal from the rolls or cuts in benefits to 13 million of America's poor and seniors.