Saturday, April 21, 2007

MLP Round 011

Game Scores:

Garfield at Jefferson, 34-29 Jefferson
T Roosevelt at A Johnson, 34-19 TR
GW Bush at Hoover, 35-23 Dubya
Washington at J Adams, 35-30 Washington
Reagan at Taft, 37-30 Reagan
Ford at Truman, 34-32 Ford
Coolidge at McKinley, 37-25 McKinley
Lincoln at Jackson, 33-28 Lincoln
Carter at Kennedy, 32-21 JFK
Clinton at Polk, 32-23 Polk
Taylor at Van Buren, 28-23 Taylor
Monroe at L Johnson, 29-21 Monroe
Fillmore at Pierce, 32-18 Fillmore
Buchanan at Cleveland, 31-21 Cleveland
Eisenhower at F Roosevelt, 33-30 FDR
GH Bush at Nixon, 30-28 Nixon
Madison at Harding, 27-21 Harding
Hayes at Tyler, 29-28 Hayes
W Harrison at JQ Adams, 28-27 W Harrison
Wilson at B Harrison, 23-22 Wilson
Grant at Arthur, 26-22 Arthur

3 Presidents remain undefeated, another 4 have one loss, another 3 have one win, and 3 Presidents are winless

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Begone to Nothingness

The mass murder this week at Virginia Tech was a horrible, inhuman act by a madman. The suffering was made worse, however, by the mercenary and stone-hearted decision by the media at large to broadcast everything they could find about the killer. What started as a reasonable effort to provide news and relevant information, soon devolved into a vulgar circus to see who could make the victims' families experience the worst anguish. It must be said, before I say anything further, that the decision by NBC, Fox News, ABC, CBS, and CNN to flood the airwaves with sounds and images from the malignant narcissist, is effectively to promote the worst kind of voyeurism, and to display as cruel an indifference to the pain already endured by the victims' families, as to be worthy of criminal charges in any just society. I firmly believe that on the day when all men are judged, there will be a grim reckoning for the likes of Brian Williams, Steve Capus, Dan Abrams, Roger Aisles, and their cronies.

But for all the crude behavior by the media, the fault for the massacre rests with the gunman. Him alone. For all the efforts made to blame the crime on Gun Control or the lack of it, on administrators or the police, the hate and the decision to destroy so many innocent lives lies on the person who made the choice. I don't know, or care, whether or not he was "mentally ill"; even the mentally ill often know how to keep from hurting other people, and in the end there is no excuse, whatsoever, which justifies murder.

This particular monster wanted attention. He sent out photos, a "manifesto", a video comparing himself to every person he ever considered great, though he was - at best - a pathetic failure who wasn't man enough to accomplish anything more than to blame everyone and everything else for his failures. He is not worth remembering.

You have probably noticed I have not mentioned his name. So far as I am concerned, every evil act he committed took away something of what was left of him, and after so many murders there is nothing left to speak. A man, a real man anyway, is the sum of the good he does, and he establishes his name through honorable and virtuous acts. Heaven is by the grace of God, but a man's honor and name is something he can build and know might have a chance of surviving him. Like Dr. Liviu Librescu, or Jacob Russell Ryker. Maybe like Todd Beamer or Paul Ray Smith.

You don't have to do something bold and daring to earn your name, though. Millions of truly great men and women made their name by being good parents, by coaching or teaching kids, by helping neighbors and looking out for folks in need. Some earned their name through simple hard work, and the record of years of honest integrity. These kinds of people did not get the breaks others did, they didn't get plush jobs or easy lives, but instead of blaming others they persevered and made something of their lives, in some cases succeeding against all odds. A solid work ethic, compassion for the needy, and a focus on providing for their family and loved ones. Just such people, real people worth knowing, worked and saved so their kids could go to college. Virginia Tech, maybe.

You want to know how you can help? Look up these families, maybe send them a note saying you are sorry for them and will pray for them, maybe you look to your community and your schools, and you ask them how you can make a difference for kids. What you do not do, is give even an ounce of attention to the evil soul who did the murders. He wanted fame and attention, so he must be denied these things; he has earned none of it. He, and the jackals who feed off his malice, are nothing but waste. In his case, a wasted life and in theirs, a waste of effort and focus. What you do with waste, is flush the toilet and move on, never thinking about what was never worth a thing beyond its passing.

MLP Round 010

Game Scores:

L Johnson at Jefferson, 34-25 Jefferson
T Roosevelt at JQ Adams, 33-27 TR
GW Bush at Garfield, 36-29 Dubya
F Roosevelt at Washington, 36-34 Washington
A Johnson at Reagan, 31-21 Reagan
Taft at Ford, 35-26 Ford
Truman at Madison, 30-25 Truman
McKinley at Clinton, 37-23 McKinley
Arthur at Lincoln, 37-30 Lincoln
Kennedy, at GH Bush, 29-28 JFK
Fillmore at Cleveland, 31-30 Cleveland
Jackson at Hayes, 29-28 Jackson
J Adams at Grant, 31-25 J Adams
Polk at Eisenhower, 32-30 Polk
Taylor at Pierce, 30-18 Taylor
Nixon at Monroe, 30-29 Monroe
Harding at Carter, 28-26 Harding
Tyler at Buchanan, 26-20 Tyler
W Harrison at Van Buren, 28-23 W Harrison
Hoover at Wilson, 25-23 Wilson
B Harrison at Coolidge, 25-22 B Harrison

3 Presidents remain undefeated, another 5 have one loss, another 3 have one win, and 3 Presidents are winless.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

There is Hope for Journalism

In the wave of the horror at Virginia Tech, we should still not forget other important news. Jemele Hill, who writes for ESPN The Magazine, has a compelling column addressed directly, and honestly, to Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty, and Reade Seligmann, the three men falsely accused of rape at Duke University.

Her words are neither trite nor easy. They are exactly what needs to be said, and it shows promise for the future of Journalism. Ms. Hill has done a good thing, and not for her own advancement, nor for a cause, but in simple obedience to Justice and Decency.

Thank you, Ms. Hill. Especially since it would be easy for people to forget these young men, now that the spotlight has moved on.

MLP Round 009

Game Scores:

Jefferson at Nixon, 31-30 Jefferson
Van Buren at T Roosevelt, 33-25 TR
Wilson at GW Bush, 36-22 Dubya
Washington at Polk, 34-32 Washington
JQ Adams at Reagan, 31-26 Reagan
Ford at A Johnson, 31-19 Ford
Carter at Truman, 32-22 Truman
Eisenhower at McKinley, 37-30 McKinley
Lincoln at J Adams, 33-30 Lincoln
Monroe at Kennedy, 32-29 JFK
Fillmore at Tyler, 31-28 Fillmore
Madison at Taft, 30-25 Taft
Buchanan at Jackson, 28-24 Jackson
Grant at F Roosevelt, 33-20 FDR
Garfield at L Johnson, 29-21 Garfield
Cleveland at Taylor, 30-29 Taylor
Hayes at Arthur, 28-26 Hayes
GH Bush at Harding, 28-27 Harding
Clinton at B Harrison, 25-22 Clinton
Coolidge at Hoover, 24-23 Coolidge
Pierce at W Harrison, 25-21 W Harrison

3 Presidents remain undefeated, another 5 have one loss, another 5 have one win, and 3 Presidents are winless.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The White House 2009

Less than a year before the first primary races, and yet far too early in most people’s minds, the election race for the Presidency is accelerating to full speed, and we are beginning to get a clear picture of the field. There may be a horse or two which are still at the gate, but unless they start very soon they may be too far behind to have a chance at the nomination.

The race appears to be surprisingly predictable, given the unusual conditions. The sitting President ran for re-election in 2004, 1996, 1992, 1984, 1980, 1976 (Ford running for his first election), 1972, 1964 (LBJ running for his first election), and 1956. The sitting Vice-President ran for his party’s nomination in 2000, 1988, 1968, and 1960. Not since 1952 have we seen a race where the President was not running, nor was the Vice-President.

There is, therefore, a question of which model will be the winning one. Most modern Presidents ran successfully as a Southern Governor. That gives hope to Bill Richardson among the Democrats, and Jeb Bush among the Republicans, although Richardson is largely unknown and Jeb says he does not plan to run. This time, anyway.

The Vice-President is not running, so while that is a historically good choice, it won’t happen here. Obama is pinning his hopes on the Charismatic-if-Clueless-Senator-From-the-North-Wowing-Folks-So-Much-That-They-Don’t-Ask-Any-Hard-Questions plan, which worked so well for JFK. Of course, Obama never served so he can’t play up his service the way Kennedy did, and he won’t be running against Nixon.

For some reason, the Shrill-Scream-of-Outrage still sells well among Democrats, and Tom Tancredo seems to think such a plan could advance his own ambitions. Forgive my bluntness please, but God Forbid. Seriously.

As I mentioned the odd little Dance In Three Acts which is the Presidential campaign continues along generally predictable lines in both camps. The Third Party possibilities are even less impressive than in the last few years, which clears the field from having to deal with the annoying drone of a Perot or a Nader. The current leader among the Democrats is Hillary, although Obama is closing fast. An interesting contrast, the crafty veteran and student of Macchiavelli, and the man who would be JFK II. And the Donk base seem conflicted on who would be better. I do not believe they will join on the same ticket. Wanna-be's like John Kerry and Joe Biden have already faded to the point that they seem completely irrelevent to the race, so the Democrat contention appears to come down to Clinton, Obama, or a late entry with serious financial backing and a wedge issue. John Edwards is right out.

Among the Republicans, Rudy Giuliani leads the pack just now, and the GOP field appears quite crowded, but again in actual fact the number of serious contenders is already dwindling. After Giuliani, the race for the Republican nod comes down to McCain, Romney, and Fred Thompson. Tommy Thompson and Newt Gingrich are simply not going to grab the kind of support to contend. As with the Democrats, of course, the possibility of a late entry must be considered, but again that will require serious money and something to flash-start the campaign. And John McCain, while he is considered a 'front-runner' in the media, is losing more and more momentum. Unless he repudiates his former anti-freedom of speech stands, by next spring he will be less exciting than topsoil.

So for now, we are limited to a small group, basically Hillary and Obama on the Democrat side, and Rudy, Romney, and Fred for the Republicans. Given historical lessons (Bill Clinton, for instance, jumped in late in the 1992 race and came from behind to nab the party nod), we must consider the late possible entry of a dark horse, but at the moment it's difficult to imagine who would find the resources for the sprint needed to win; modern primaries are front-loaded, so that early victories canm become insurmountable, and candidates are judged more heavily on the mythical quotient of "electability" - the fictional depiction of appearing to be like Reagan or FDR to the party faithful. That filter will undoubtedly have its impact. For instance, Obama is closing fast on Hillary at the moment, but he - perversely - is likely to be held back by Democrats because of his race. Why? It has already been suggested that Obama is primarily successful with blacks, which could earn him the "black vote", another myth which presumes that an entire race can be swayed to vote for someone on primarily on the basis of skin color. The reason this would be held against Obama in garnering the party nomination, is the impression that blacks represent a much larger portion of the Dmeocratic Party machine, than of voters in the country overall. Therefore, goes the thought, if a candidate appears to be tremendously strong with blacks, that support must somehow be diluted when calculating the national vote. And therefore, unless Obama starts winning stronger support in places like Seattle or Miami or Norman, he will be presumed by party leaders to be suspect in his strength, so that even popularity will not be enough. Some of this talk is undoubtedly whisper campaigning by Hillary's network, but it is also aligned with past behavior of national political parties. As a result, Obama is likely to influence the statements and promises made by Hillary, but she is in a better strategic position for the Democrat's nod than the media suggests.

As for the Republicans, I have said many times that the biggest mistake made by the GOP in the last couple years, is the wholesale defection of party egos from support of the President. It's not just that I think President Bush is generally correct in his stance, especially on the most important issues, it's also the image projected to the nation, the difference between consensus and chaos, between a team and a bar fight. In the end, the race for the GOP nomination will not matter unless a candidate emerges who can re-unify the party. Fortunately, any of the group from Giuliani, Romney, or Fred Thompson is capable of the task, but I wonder whether they will get the chance.

In closing for here, both parties have a large task ahead of them in claiming the General Election. The national mood seems to lean towards the Democracts, but the fact remains that they are only going to win the White House if they can claim states which Bush won the last two go-rounds. And both parties should be well aware that there are a number of electorally important states which could go either way, depending on a number of factors.

MLP Round 008

Game Scores:

Kennedy at Jefferson, 34-30 Jefferson
T Roosevelt at Pierce, 33-18 Teddy
McKinley at Washington, 36-33 Washington
GW Bush at Coolidge, 36-22 Dubya
Reagan at Van Buren, 35-23 Reagan
Ford at JQ Adams, 32-27 Ford
GH Bush at Truman, 32-30 Truman
John Adams at Hayes, 31-28 J Adams
F Roosevelt at Lincoln, 37-31 Lincoln
B Harrison at Eisenhower, 30-23 Ike
Polk at Grant, 32-25 Polk
Fillmore at Jackson, 32-28 Fillmore
Nixon at L Johnson, 27-21 Nixon
Harding at Monroe, 30-26 Monroe
Carter at Taft, 30-21 Taft
Madison at A Johnson, 22-10 Madison
Taylor at Tyler, 31-28 Taylor
Hoover at Clinton, 24-23 Hoover
Wilson at Garfield, 29-23 Garfield
Cleveland at W Harrison, 32-25 Cleveland
Arthur at Buchanan, 30-20 Arthur

3 Presidents remain undefeated, another 5 have one loss, another 4 have one win, and 5 Presidents are winless.

The new Rankings are as follows:

After Eight Rounds

.1. Jefferson (8-0) beats Taft, Truman, Harding, Kennedy
.2. Teddy Roosevelt (8-0) beats Jackson, Tyler, Cleveland, Pierce
.3. GW Bush (8-0) beats Washington, Eisenhower, Clinton, Coolidge
.4. Washington (7-1) beats Hoover, B Harr, McKinley, loses to GWB
.5. Reagan (7-1) beats Tyler, Cleveland, Pierce, Van Buren
.6. Ford (7-1) beats Cleveland, Pierce, Van Buren, JQ Adams
.7. Truman (7-1) beats LBJ, Monroe, GH Bush, loses to Jefferson
.8. McKinley (7-1) beats Hayes, Lincoln, Grant, loses to Washington
.9. John Adams (6-2) beats Taylor, Fillmore, Buchanan, Hayes
.10. Lincoln (6-2) beats B Harrison, Polk, FDR, loses to McKinley

.11. Eisenhower (6-2) beats Wilson, Hoover, B Harr, loses to W Bush
.12. Polk (6-2) beats Buchanan, Hayes, Grant, loses to Lincoln
.13. Nixon (6-2) beats Harding, Garfield, LBJ, loses to JFK
.14. Kennedy (6-2) beats Garfield, Nixon, LBJ, loses to Jefferson
.15. Fillmore (5-3) beats FDR, Arthur, Jackson, loses to J Adams
.16. Monroe (6-2) beats A Johnson, Monroe, loses to Taft, Truman
.17. Madison (4-4) beats Pierce, Van Buren, A Johnson, loses to JQA
.18. Jackson (4-4) beats W Harrison, Taylor, loses to TR, Fillmore
.19. Taft (4-4) beats Monroe, Carter, loses to Jefferson, GH Bush
.20. FDR (4-4) beats Buchanan, Hayes, loses to Fillmore, Lincoln

.21. Quincy Adams (4-4) beats GHBush, Carter, Madison, loses to Ford
.22. Garfield (4-4) beats Coolidge, Wilson, loses to JFK, Nixon
.23. Carter (4-4) beats Van Buren, A Johnson, loses to JQA, Taft
.24. Taylor (3-5) beats Arthur, Tyler, loses to J Adams, Taylor
.25. Cleveland (4-4) beats W Harr, loses to Ford, Reagan, TR
.26. Grant (4-4) beats Hoover, B Harrison, loses to McKinley, Polk
.27. Arthur (3-5) beats W Harrison, Buchanan, loses to Taylor, Fillmore
.28. GHW Bush (4-4) beats A Johnson, Taft, loses to JQA, Truman
.29. Tyler (3-5) beats W Harrison, loses to Reagan, TR, Taylor
.30. Clinton (2-6) beats Coolidge, Wilson, loses to GW Bush, Hoover

.31. Wilson (2-6) beats Coolidge, loses to Eisenhower, Clinton, Garfield
.32. Hayes (3-5) loses to McKinley, Polk, FDR, J Adams
.33. Hoover (1-7) beats Clinton, loses to Grant, Washington, Ike
.34. Harding (1-7) beats LBJ, loses to Nixon, Jefferson, Monroe
.35. LBJ (2-6) loses to Truman, Harding, JFK, Nixon
.36. B Harrison (1-7) loses to Lincoln, Grant, Washington, Ike
.37. Buchanan (1-7) loses to Polk, FDR, J Adams, Arthur
.38. Van Buren (0-8) loses to Carter, Madison, Ford, Reagan
.39. W Harrison (0-8) loses to Arthur, Jackson, Tyler, Cleveland
.40. Pierce (0-8) loses to Madison, Ford, Reagan, TR
.41. Coolidge (0-8) loses to Clinton, Garfield, Wilson, Dubya
.42. A Johnson (0-8) loses to Monroe, GH Bush, Carter, Madison