Saturday, September 23, 2006

I HATE Baylor Football

My Bears just GAVE AWAY another game.

We USED to be a good team.

Back when my knees weren't like bubble-wrap.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Good n' Bad

Rick Perry is running for re-election as Texas' gubnah.

The good news: Rick Perry looks like a Hollywood movie star.

The bad news: Rick Perry sometimes acts like a Hollywood movie star.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Rules Of The Game

Well, I have to do something I once thought I would never do; criticize another official’s on-field performance. I am doing so now A) because the official concerned has already admitted he blew the call, B) because of the consequences of that call, and C) because once again, a lot of people are demanding things which – if they understood the matter in context – they would understand would hurt the game much, much worse than a blown call.

I am speaking of the NCAA Football game last Saturday between the Universities of Oklahoma and Oregon. Oregon won the game 34-33 after a controversial call on an onsides kick.

A blown call, and the worst kind, because it affected the outcome of the game, by giving Oregon possession of the ball and a chance to take the lead. The official who reviewed the call on replay made matters worse by backing up the wrong call and giving Oregon possession of the ball. I would normally never make such a statement about someone else’s call, except that the official admitted he blew it.

This week, there were the usual stupid claims; that the officials were biased, or crooked, or that life as we know it is over since the “wrong” team won the game.

And as happens too often when people forget that a game is not real life, at least one of the officials has received death threats from some sub-human miscreant.

The officials in that game were suspended by the Pac-10 for a game, which is more serious than it sounds. You see, officials are scheduled according to their reputation, and whether or not Oklahoma fans believe it or care, even Oregon would be reluctant to bring that officiating crew back for another game. These men lost more than one game of work. When you consider that of the crew, all but maybe three of the officials had nothing to do with the blown call(s), which is a pretty harsh punishment just be being near someone who blows it. I mean, imagine if when one employee does something to get himself fired or written-up, everyone in his group or department gets it too. But no one seems to notice that injustice.

Which brings me to the next point about officiating NCAA games. To be an official means to be different from almost everyone else out there. You have to love the game, yet remain detached from cheering one team. You have to hone remarkable skills and maintain both mental and physical conditioning, yet you will be paid poorly for your work. And when the demands of the work are considered, with expectations of perfection and no notice of you unless and until you are believed to have made a mistake – at which time you will find yourself villainized and pilloried by people who don’t have the first clue what they are talking about. Officiating is always short of good people, because many of the best prospects – former athletes and coaches who have played the game and know what matters – are unwilling to take the abuse they so quickly delivered to the referees. And even those officials who were willing to train and work their way through the ranks of high school games, are not always able to take on the commitments that an NCAA schedule demands.

One suggestion was that officials should be formed into a national pool, rather than hired by individual conferences. Sorry, but that is a non-starter. The various athletic conferences in college football were formed because of regional agreements, but also because of different styles of play. In the North, for example, bad weather is more common than in the South, especially when snow gets considered. Also, the turf is different in different parts of the country, and so on. While it is true that officials’ organizations like to have officials who are experienced in different styles of play and who avoid getting attached to one place, it is also a hard fact that officials have real-world jobs and families, and too much travel would drive them away from the NCAA. You're just going to have to deal with conference officials, which sometimes means controversy.

Even though I hung up the whistle over six years ago, I still think like an official, and one thing which people are just going to have to get their brains around, is that an official is like a field condition – in fact the rulebook says so. That’s why the Oregon win over Oklahoma won’t be overturned or erased. Yes, officials made errors, and that is regrettable on many levels. But first off, it’s too easy and cheap to blame officials for how a game turns out, even when they blow a call badly. The Sooners still had their chances, after all. But even if you want to insist that the call decided the game, that is no more significant than a funny spot on the field where the ball bounces differently, or the turf is slippery, or any other condition that can affect the game. The officials did their job – badly in places, I admit, but they did their job – and in the end that’s part of the game. We all have seen, and will see again, calls we think were missed or blown, and some of the time we will be right to claim that. I wonder, though, how many of you would be able to stand having your mistakes played on national television over and over again? It takes a real commitment to be an official, and most of the whiners and cry-babies will never understand that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

When Madness Rules

As a rule, I take anything from World Net Daily with a large dose of salt. They are not, to put it bluntly, very careful about checking out their facts. I read them for a combination of amusement and thought-poking concepts. So it was that while doing some looking into anecdotal information about SIOP, the highly-classified war plan for America’s nuclear arsenal, that I came across an article about the Reverend Curt Tomlin.

I am extremely reluctant to quote much from Tomlin, who may fairly be called an extremist and a conspiracist. I mention him now, because of something I noticed in a WND article from 1998, which got me thinking. And those thoughts trouble me.

First, about Tomlin. David Bresnahan, the WND writer who put together the story, focused on Tomlin for his information, so everything he claims is no stronger than the credentials of Curt Tomlin. And Mister Tomlin seems to think very highly of himself. First off, while he claims to be a minister now, Tomlin also claims – and I quote – to have been “called out of retirement three times and has served in the Navy, Air Force, and Army for a combined total of just over 24 years. He has also been hired by government contractors to assist in computer intelligence systems designed to improve security for military computer systems.”

Just how many people do you know, who have served in more than one branch of the services, much less three? But wait, there’s more. Tomlin also claims – personally – to be the single person who “designed and perfected the Pentagon's first war games computer system, the top secret "Single Integrated Operating Procedure." He claims to be a retired U.S. Army Major, who served during the JFK Administration as a Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy.

OK, for those playing along at home, SIOP is called the “Single Integrated Operational Plan”; you’d think someone with intimate knowledge of it could get the name right? And if you think a single individual designed, programmed, and perfected SIOP, well, let’s just say that notion is more than slightly distant from the facts. While it is true that “SIOP-ESI” clearance is above “Top Secret”, there are quite a few people who hold it, and the heart of SIOP comes from field officers who can explain why ‘X’ or ‘Y’ will or will not work; the notion that a single computer systems engineer who never held command rank would hold comprehensive knowledge of the database, let alone the decisioning, is laughable. I will be blunt – Curt Tomlin is lying, not a good trait for a man of the cloth.

Basically, that 1998 article in WND is your basic pack-o-lies, written as near as I can tell for the express purpose of smearing Bill Clinton, to make him look like a desperate and reckless fool, likely to kill innocent people just to make himself look good. Kind of like the tripe we can read in ‘Newsweek’ when they start trying to smear President Bush. What bothered me was this section. I quote from the article:

“Clinton had tried to become an international hero by destroying hundreds of terrorists being trained by Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and a chemical weapons plant in Sudan. Those two missile attacks were chosen through use of the SIOP computer to which Clinton has access, according to Tomlin.

“The computer predicted the result of the attacks would bring about the death of hundreds of terrorist forces and eliminate a chemical weapons factory. Someone intervened to change the results, according to an intelligence source who spoke only on condition of anonymity.”

Think about that for a moment. If this claim has any relation to reality whatsoever – and it may not – then President Clinton correctly targeted a major training base for Al Qaeda and a chemical weapons plant, and someone who did not want him to look good changed the targeting and tipped off the terrorists. Let that notion sink in for a moment.

Did that happen? Probably not. But the idea that someone in the Intelligence Community would not only disagree with the President of the United States, but actually work to prevent an American victory, is chilling. It is chilling because we have learned that some in the Intelligence Community deliberately leaked secrets to the press rather than obey their sworn oaths.

We have learned that high-level CIA officials allowed an enemy of the President special access for the specific purpose of attacking the President at a crucial time and on crucial issues.

We know that the CIA gets involved in U.S. political debates, picking a side when it serves personal or department advantages.

Whether one is a Republican or a Democrat, a Conservative or a Liberal, this should make you think.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

God At War

“The Lord is a Warrior; the Lord is His name” - Exodus 15:3

I am not only a Christian, but also a Fundamentalist. Sometimes that requires me to step away from the comfortable platitudes of Conventional Christianity – you know, where Jesus never ever says anything controversial or difficult to understand, and is cool with whatever the society of the day wants to embrace – and seek out the truth. After looking through the Bible for direction on the question of War, it has finally dawned on me that just maybe God wants War sometimes, and when He does, we are obliged to obey.

Oh yes, this kind of thinking treads into dangerous waters. I have not forgotten the Crusades, after all – but actually that’s part of what got me started thinking that way. You see, while most people seem to believe that the Crusades started when a bunch of Christian leaders and kings decided to invade peace-loving Arab lands, in actual fact one motive for the Crusades was that the Muslims had been conducting a Jihad – not unlike the one they seem to want to start up again now – for several centuries, and this included raids and various marauding nastiness across Southern and Western Europe. It occurred to the leaders of a number of European countries that if they mounted an organized offensive, they might very well push back the Muslims from European land. To make a long story overly short, that goal was achieved. I say ‘overly short’, because the Crusades included chapters and events which have sullied the Church and shamed decent people who should have done better, and who will have to answer to God for choosing a dark path. Obviously, when we discuss War, the Christians will always find it imperative to sort out the justice in their course, because we know we will be held to account for our decision.

But before I discuss the present condition, I want to point out what the Bible says. I used to believe that the men who pleased God were peaceful, and if by that one means “peace loving”, that still applies. But throughout the Bible, God has often done violence and called men to violence. In Genesis Chapter 14, Abraham leads a band of specially trained men to rescue family and recover their property, against a military force from five invading kings. In Genesis 19, God personally destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Later, when the Hebrews come to the promised land, God specifically orders the formation of am army in Numbers Chapter 1, and when they come to the promised land, God orders battle. In Deuteronomy 2:24-25, for example, God commands “See, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his country. Begin to take possession of it and engage him in battle. This very day I will begin to put the terror and fear of you on all the nations under heaven. They will hear reports of you and will tremble and be in anguish because of you." From there the Old Testament is, well, pretty bloody. It has caused a lot of people to reject the Old Testament as a book speaking God’s truth. Warriors are praised extensively; it’s no coincidence, I think, that David is both Israel’s most famous Warrior and the king who received God’s promise of an eternal line of kings.

Why would this be? If one accepts, as I do, that God speaks truth to us through the Bible, why would War be something God would tolerate, let alone call good? Anyone who has seen a battle firsthand, to paraphrase Bismarck, would be slow indeed to desire War. It is a grave and irrevocable step to choose War.

But History tells us that War serves a useful purpose, indeed seems to be the only way certain conditions may be remedied. The tyranny of the Roman Catholic Church as it existed during the Medieval years could not end without the Reformation and all its chaos. And that came after the expulsion of the Muslim invaders from Europe. The nation which first stood for the rights of individuals rather than governments came into being only by revolution, and Slavery was expunged from most nations only through Wars, as was the case with open-sea piracy. Blackbeard feared only the Navy.

Hitler was defeated only by War. The same for Tojo. And those forces which were allowed to avoid Warm proved a pestilence on the world, like Pol Pot and the Soviet Union. And they brought their own Wars into being, anyway.

It is a naïve lie which some people tell themselves, that War will leave them alone if they just ignore it. War must be fought, or else it will seek out victims, often weak and vulnerable ones. Why else is Darfur such an abomination?

Here is where we see the virtue of War. Some of us know people in the military, and I will say with no embarrassment that there is nothing like the American soldier. They are strong and sure and smart, but most of all they understand their identity. They stand between all that is good in America, and those would harm that good. They stand for the rights of those unable to do so on their own. They are not policemen, because where they go there is no law but force and might, but they establish Law and Order. They are not government, because where they go there is only Chaos and Confusion, but they establish republics for the people who live there. They see things too horrible for ordinary people to bear, and they bear them. They face enemies more evil than ordinary people believe can exist, and they destroy them. They take on responsibilities which ordinary people think are impossible, and they succeed. Every nation which stands alongside America finds a sure friend, and every nation which stands against America, though it may take generations to finish, they are doomed.

This all comes by the grace of God. It would take a long time, and no doubt start an even noisier argument to explain why we are so blessed, and on what that blessing depends. But for here and now, the matter is simple enough to accept that, so long as we fear God and obey Him, this War against Terrorism and Islamofascism, is good, and we shall prevail.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday And The Obvious

With the fall elections bearing down on us, certain key issues should be considered by every serious voter. While there are local and state issues of importance, every House and Senate candidate will be required to address the questions which concern the public the most.

According to Polling Report, (August/September entries noted twice or more) the top issues are the War in Iraq, the Economy, Terrorism, Healthcare, Immigration, Gas Prices, and Education, in that order. So let’s check the basic condition in each area:

1. The War in Iraq – Republicans fall into two broad groups here; those who support the President and state that Iraq is the central front in the War on Terrorism, and those who try to evade the issue. Red States generally support the war, while Blue States generally want a timetable to pulling out troops, except in military communities, which continue to strongly support President Bush. In general, there is fatigue but continued determination. Democrats have failed to exploit opportunities, mischaracterizing the war and its purposes. Despite their best efforts in what everyone understands to be the top issue, Democrats have not been able to gain ground here, largely because extremists have convinced Americans that the Democrats do not have a constructive plan to offer.

2. The Economy – Unemployment (a key issue in 2004) remains under 5%, the GDP continues to show strong growth, and Inflation remains under 5%. Democrats have done an effective job of soft-pedaling the numbers, while Republicans for some reason have not pointed to obvious successes.

3. Terrorism – The 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks could not help but remind Americans about who we are and why we fight. Five years of lies by the Left cannot change that .

4. Healthcare – Hey, remember when Congress had that long, decisive debate about how to protect the healthcare needs of Americans, with both Republicans and Democrats making concrete proposals? ** Sigh ** No, I don’t recall that ever happening, either.

5. Immigration – America is an open country, where anyone who wants to join us is generally welcome. That does not mean, however, that we want to give away our services and resources to people who won’t pull their weight, and who think they have no obligation to speak our language, pay their taxes, and support our way of life. Immigration is not the problem; sneaking in and stealing things from people who worked to make their success is the problem. For some reason, the Republicans are having a hard time getting serious about this issue, and Democrats have decided to back the rule-breakers and the thieves.

6. Gas Prices – Check your pump. Gas prices are falling, and falling fast. Republicans have been too modest to point this out, and Democrats have been smart enough to shut their yaps about connecting the GOP to gas prices, now that their lies no longer help them here.

7. Education - Hey, remember when Congress had that long, decisive debate about how to improve Education for our kids, with both Republicans and Democrats making concrete proposals? ** Sigh ** No, I don’t recall that ever happening, either. “No Child Left Behind” was a nice promise, but I don’t see any follow-up, do you?

With these points in mind, the results for the fall elections should be predictable.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

History and More Bad News For The Donkeys

As Labor Day has passed, we are fully into the election season for 2006. And the news is getting better for Republicans, which means worse for Democrats. President Bush, whom Democrats have made the focus of every issue, is still rising in Job Approval polls, climbing above 40% in the consensus and he appears to be gaining strength. The generic poll that the Democrats found so cheering – even though it bears little connection to reality – has also turned to the Right, to such a point that it shows a statistical tie. And most head-to-head races indicate that while Democrats may gain a few seats, that’s it – they are increasingly UN-likely to gain control of either the House or Senate.

This means that the 2008 Presidential race will be even more important.

I took a look at recent History, and if you’re a Donk, History is not your buddy. To show what I mean, here’s a brief look at the last ten candidates to hold the Democrat and Republican nominations:


2004 – John Kerry. Ran once, lost.

2000 – Al Gore. Ran once, won Popular Vote but lost Electoral Vote.

1992 and 1996 – Bill Clinton. Ran twice, won twice, although never claimed a majority of the Popular Vote.

1988 – Michael Dukakis. Ran once, lost.

1984 – Walter Mondale. Ran once, lost.

1976 and 1980 – Jimmy Carter. Ran twice, won once lost re-election bid. Last Democrat to clear 50% of the Popular Vote.

1972 – George McGovern. Ran once, lost.

1968 – Hubert Humphrey. Ran once, lost. Some historians think he could have won in 1968 if the Democrats had not fractured.

1964 – Lyndon B. Johnson. Ran once, won. Fell out with his party, reportedly chose not to run in 1968 because party leaders warned him they would not support him.

1960 – John F. Kennedy. Ran once, won. Assassinated in office.

Summary: Ten candidates in the last twelve elections. Four out of ten won an election (40%), but of those four, only one managed to win a second term (25%, 33% if JFK is not counted).


2000 and 2004 – George W. Bush. Ran twice, won twice. Lost Popular Vote but won Electoral Vote in 2000, won clear majority of Popular Vote in 2004.

1996 – Bob Dole. Ran once, lost.

1988 and 1992 – George H.W. Bush. Ran twice, won once. Some historians think he could have won in 1992 if the GOP had not fractured.

1980 and 1984 – Ronald Reagan. Ran twice, won twice.

1976 – Gerald Ford. Ran once, lost.

1960, 1968 and 1972 – Richard Nixon. Ran three times, won twice. Resigned rather than face near-certain impeachment in 1974.

1964 – Barry Goldwater. Ran once, lost.

1952 and 1956 – Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ran twice, won twice.

1944 and 1948 – Tom Dewey. Ran twice, lost twice.

1940 – Wendell Willkie. Ran once, lost.

Summary: Ten candidates in the last sixteen elections. Five out of ten won an election (50%), and of those five, four managed to win a second term (80%).

Comparison : Historically, the Republican nominees are more stable, win their initial election more often than Democrats, and if a Republican wins election, he is very likely to win re-election. Also, of the last 10 Democrats only Lyndon Johnson can be said to have won in a “landslide”, while of the last 10 Republicans Eisenhower, Nixon, and Reagan all won landslide victories.

Those are the numbers.