Sunday, April 29, 2007

3 Strikes and Carol & I were out for Movies Yesterday

I'm up in Binghamton this weekend to visit my beautiful wife and to take her to the NSA Banquet which we did Friday night. Saturday was kind of a lazy day, ending with partying plans being cancelled the last minute. With not much else to do in Binghamton (I wanted to hike, but the weather sucked and I didnt want to be wearing mud when we climbed back into my car) we made it a movie day.


Carol and I went to see "Hot Fuzz" today. There were a few funny parts, but I was pretty disappointed by the movie. This was our pick over Nicholas Cage's new movie "Next." We should have gone to see 300 for the 20th or 30th time (yes, I exaggerate).

We got home after relieving our stress with some Cold Stone ice cream and decided to throw in one of our Netlixed movies "The Libertine." We got through about 10 minutes of that.

Finally we tried to watch "A Life Less Ordinary." Although I must admit that I did fall asleep through a good 15 minutes of it, I thought it was incredibly boring and had little to no interest in it.

That was pretty much the end of the day. It was certainly a short day, but Friday I was up from 3am to about 1am Saturday and was glad for the early night. Anyhow, a bad day for movies, yup.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


le sigh...

Find the original article here.

Australian PM says US Congress vote on Iraq aids Al-Qaeda

Apr 26 10:44 PM US/Eastern

The US Congress' vote to push for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq was wrong and will bring comfort to Al-Qaeda insurgents, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Friday.

The Democrat-dominated US Senate on Thursday passed legislation which set a timeline for the recall of US troops from Iraq, where the US has been engaged in a bloody war since March 2003.

US President George W Bush has vowed to veto the law.

Howard, a staunch Bush supporter who has also committed troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, said the vote by the US Congress was "probably not helpful to the general situation in Iraq."

"I think it is wrong, and I don't think it is doing anything other than giving great comfort and encouragement to Al-Qaeda and the insurgency in Iraq," Howard said.

"They are looking at all this, they read newspapers, they see it on television and they say, 'The American domestic resolve is weakening, therefore we should maintain our resolve.'

"If there is a perception of an America defeat in Iraq, that will leave the whole of the Middle East in great turmoil and will be an enormous victory for terrorism."

The US bill, passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday, comes against the background of plunging public support for the war which has claimed the lives of more than 3,300 US servicemen and women.

I don't understand why this is so difficult for some others to accept or understand.

"When, in the history of war, has a nation that decides to retreat, printed up a schedule of that retreat and handed it to its enemies?" [asks Rudy Giuliani] Giuliani said at the event, hosted by the Civitas Institute, a Raleigh-based conservative think tank.

Does this sound illegal to anyone else?

The arrest, not the homework...

Find the original article here.

Student discharged from Marines after essay(,CST-NWS-essay27.article)

April 27, 2007

One violent, profanity-laced English essay later and Allen Lee's future with the Marine Corps appears to be over.

Because of pending criminal charges stemming from his essay, Lee's recruiter told him Friday evening that the Marine Corps has discharged him from his contract, said Sgt. Luis R. Agostini, spokesman for the Marine Corps Recruiting Station Chicago.

''Basically he is no longer an applicant to become a Marine,'' Agostini said.

Police Thursday released portions of an essay used to charge a Cary-Grove High School student with disorderly conduct, leaving several experts puzzled at an arrest based on such schoolwork.
Asked to write about whatever he wanted in a creative writing class, would-be Marine and honors student Lee, 18, described a violent dream in which he shot people and then "had sex with the dead bodies.''

But then he immediately dismissed the idea as a mere joke, writing, "not really, but it would be funny if I did.''

A second disorderly count accuses Lee of alarming first-year teacher Nora Capron by writing that "as a teacher, don't be surprised on [sic] inspiring the first CG shooting,'' an apparent reference to Cary-Grove High.

Lee said Thursday he was "completely shocked'' to be arrested Tuesday for his essay, especially because written instructions told kids not to "censor'' what they wrote.

"In creative writing, you're told to exaggerate,'' said Lee. "It was supposed to be just junk. . . .
"There definitely is violent content, but they're taking it out of context and making it something it isn't.''

"I have no intention of harming anyone,'' said Lee, who has been transferred to an alternative school setting. "I miss school.''

Lee's father, Albert Lee, who emigrated from China 32 years ago, said his son has a clean academic and police record. He, too, insisted his son's essay was not threatening but authorities "drew a conclusion before the investigation. They didn't want to do the investigation.''

However, the father would not comment on whether he believed authorities acted quickly because his son is of Asian heritage, as was the Virginia Tech campus shooter.

Family therapist Michael Gurian, author of The Minds of Boys, said Allen Lee needs at least good counseling, but "If he was arrested solely based on those words, I don't see that as the most helpful course.''

Bernardine Dohrn, director of Northwestern University's Children and Family Justice Center, laughed when she heard the charge.

"You might want to talk to him, talk to his parents, but the criminal justice system seems to be the last thing you'd want,'' said Dohrn, a former Weatherman leader who lived for years as a fugitive.

Mike McInerney, former head of the Cook County Public Defender's Juvenile Court office, said he "wouldn't be happy'' if his son wrote such words but "I wouldn't criminalize free expression. . . . I don't think it's going to hold up criminally.''

Write or wrong?

Excerpts from Allen Lee’s essay• “As a teacher, don’t be surprised on inspiring the first CG [Cary-Grove High School] shooting.”• “Blood, sex, booze. Drugs, drugs, drugs are fun. Stab, stab, stab, stab, stab, s..t..a..b...puke.”• “So I had this dream last night where I went into a building, pulled out two P 90s [submachine guns] and started shooting everyone, then had sex with the dead bodies. Well, not really, but it would be funny if I did.”what do you think?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I want a telescope

There are very few things that make me want to forget the politics and issues of our world. This is one of them. Find the original article here.

Sorry for the bad formatting. The author of this article broke it up so much that fixing it for easy viewing here was not a worthwhile endeavor. If you're having that much of a problem with it, follow the link above.

24/04/07 - Science & tech section
Found 20 light years away: the New Earth

It's got the same climate as Earth, plus water and gravity. A newly discovered planet is the most stunning evidence that life - just like us - might be out there.
Above a calm, dark ocean, a huge, bloated red sun rises in the sky - a full ten times the size of our Sun as seen from Earth. Small waves lap at a sandy shore and on the beach, something stirs...
This is the scene - or may be the scene - on what is possibly the most extraordinary world to have been discovered by astronomers: the first truly Earth-like planet to have been found outside our Solar System.
The discovery was announced today by a team of European astronomers, using a telescope in La Silla in the Chilean Andes. If forced bookies to slash odds on the existence of alien beings.
The Earth-like planet that could be covered in oceans and may support life is 20.5 light years away, and has the right temperature to allow liquid water on its surface.
This remarkable discovery appears to confirm the suspicions of most astronomers that the universe is swarming with Earth-like worlds.
We don't yet know much about this planet, but scientists believe that it may be the best candidate so far for supporting extraterrestrial life.
The new planet, which orbits a small, red star called Gliese 581, is about one-and-a-half times the diameter of the Earth.
It probably has a substantial atmosphere and may be covered with large amounts of water - necessary for life to evolve - and, most importantly, temperatures are very similar to those on our world.
It is the first exoplanet (a planet orbiting a star other than our own Sun) that is anything like our Earth.
Of the 220 or so exoplanets found to date, most have either been too big, made of gas rather than solid material, far too hot, or far too cold for life to survive.
"On the treasure map of the Universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X," says Xavier Delfosse, one of the scientists who discovered the planet.
"Because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life."
Gliese 581 is among the closest stars to us, just 20.5 light years away (about 120 trillion miles) in the constellation Libra. It is so dim it can be seen only with a good telescope.
Because all planets are relatively so small and the light they give off so faint compared to their sun, finding exoplanets is extremely difficult unless they are huge.
Those that have so far been detected have mostly been massive, Jupiter-like balls of gas that almost certainly cannot be home to life.
This new planet - known for the time being as Gliese 581c - is a midget in comparison, being about 12,000 miles across (Earth is a little under 8,000 pole-to-pole).
It has a mass five times that of Earth, probably made of the same sort of rock as makes up our world and with enough gravity to hold a substantial atmosphere.
Astrobiologists - scientists who study the possibility of alien life - refer to a climate known as the Goldilocks Zone, where it is not so cold that water freezes and not so hot that it boils, but where it can lie on the planet's surface as a liquid.
In our solar system, only one planet - Earth -lies in the Goldilocks Zone. Venus is far too hot and Mars is just too cold. This new planet lies bang in the middle of the zone, with average surface temperatures estimated to be between zero and 40c (32-102f). Lakes, rivers and even oceans are possible.
It is not clear what this planet is made of. If it is rock, like the Earth, then its surface may be land, or a combination of land and ocean.
Another possibility is that Gliese 581c was formed mostly from ice far from the star (ice is a very common substance in the Universe), and moved to the close orbit it inhabits today.
In which case its entire surface will have melted to form a giant, planet-wide ocean with no land, save perhaps a few rocky islands or icebergs.
The surface gravity is probably around twice that of the Earth and the atmosphere could be similar to ours.
Although the new planet is in itself very Earth-like, its solar system is about as alien as could be imagined. The star at the centre - Gliese 581 - is small and dim, only about a third the size of our Sun and about 50 times cooler.
The two other planets are huge, Neptune-sized worlds called Gliese 581b and d (there is no "a", to avoid confusion with the star itself).
The Earth-like planet orbits its sun at a distance of only six million miles or so (our Sun is 93 million miles away), travelling so fast that its "year" only lasts 13 of our days.
The parent star would dominate the view from the surface - a huge red ball of fire that must be a spectacular sight.
It is difficult to speculate what - if any - life there is on the planet. If there is life there it would have to cope with the higher gravity and solar radiation from its sun.
Just because Gliese 581c is habitable does not mean that it is inhabited, but we do know its sun is an ancient star - in fact, it is one of the oldest stars in the galaxy, and extremely stable. If there is life, it has had many billions of years to evolve.
This makes this planet a prime target in the search for life. According to Seth Shostak, of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in California, the Gliese system is now a prime target for a radio search. 'We had actually looked at this system before but only for a few minutes. We heard nothing, but now we must look again.'
By 2020 at least one space telescope should be in orbit, with the capability of detecting signs of life on planets orbiting nearby stars. If oxygen or methane (tell-tale biological gases) are found in Gliese 581c's atmosphere, this would be good circumstantial evidence for life.
Dr Malcolm Fridlund, a European Space Agency scientist, said the discovery of Gliese 581c was "an important step" on the road to finding life.
"If this is a rocky planet, it's very likely it will have liquid water on its surface, which means there may also be life."
The real importance is not so much the discovery of this planet itself, but the fact that it shows that Earth-like planets are probably extremely common in the Universe.
There are 200 billion stars in our galaxy alone and many astronomers believe most of these stars have planets.
The fact that almost as soon as we have built a telescope capable of detecting small, earth-like worlds, one turns up right on our cosmic doorstep, shows that statistically, there are probably billions of earths out there.
As Seth Shostak says: "We've never found one close to being like the Earth until now. We are finding that Earth is not such an unusual puppy in the litter of planets."
But are these alien Earths home to life? No one knows. We don't understand how life began on our world, let alone how it could arise anywhere else. There may be an awful lot of bugs and bacteria out there, and only a few worlds with what we would recognise as plants and animals. Or, of course, there may be nothing.
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute uses radio telescopes to try to pick up messages sent by alien civilisations.
Interestingly, Gliese 581c is so close to the Earth that if its putative inhabitants only had our level of technology, they could - just about - pick up some of our radio signals, such as the most powerful military transmitters. Quite what would happen if we for our part did receive a signal is unclear.
"There is a protocol, buried away in the United Nations," says Dr Shostak. "The President would be told first, after the signal was confirmed by other observatories. But we couldn't keep such a discovery secret."
It may be some time before we detect any such signals, but it is just possible that today we are closer than ever to finding life in the stars.
William Hill said it had shortened the odds on proving the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence from 1,000-1 to 100-1.
Spokesman Graham Sharpe said: "We would face a possible eight-figure payout if it were to be confirmed that intelligent life of extra-terrestrial origin exists. We felt we had to react to the news that an earth-like planet which could support intelligent life had been discovered - after all, we don't know for sure that intelligent extraterrestrial life has not already been discovered."
The new planet, so far unnamed, is 20.5 light years away and orbits a red dwarf star called Gliese 581.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Virginia Tech Shooting and Gun Control

I don't mean to say that I'm the sharpest knife in the drawer, but damned if I haven't been saying this since the day it happened. It would take both of my hands to count the people that I know I said it to. Now, Anne Coulter and others, say it.

I do think that there was an error in the licensing system if indeed it is true that a background check for a concealed carry permit overlooked a history of, and continuing concerns of mental illness. That being said, the only other thing that could have helped the victims of this mass murder is the ability to defend themselves. The problem there is that under no circumstances I know of, can anyone but law enforcement bring a firearm onto school property as stated by campus policies.

Did any of the victims have licenses for concealed carry? If they did, then would the school be in danger of a wrongful death suit because they disallowed weapons to be carried by those who were given the privilege by the state?

No, but that doesn’t mean the threat shouldn’t still be made.

Each student and faculty member was well aware that firearms were not allowed on campus, and each individual had every right NOT to attend the school if they had a problem with the rule. One assumes the risk of being defenselessly executed while attending said institutions (notice the tongue-in-cheek).

There needs to be change:

1. Non-citizens who have a history of, and continuing concerns of mental illness should not be given pistol permits.
2. If the state says that I can carry concealed, the state should stand up for that privilege.

The reason (at least in NY, and at least as I understand the logic) for concealed carry is concealment. A gun will not create hysteria because it is concealed. The only time you’ll know if/when I have my weapon on me is in a life or death situation when I’d have no other choice – such as we saw last Monday.

I was told that “...the answer isn’t more guns.” I’m not suggesting that the answer is “more guns.” I’m suggesting that someone like the nut who shot up VTECH wants to do what he did, he’ll find a way. It may have made things more difficult, but I don’t believe that denying him the ability to legally purchase weapons would have prevented him from obtaining them. I think I read somewhere that he filed off the serial numbers – isn’t that an offense itself? If you can assume that my suggestion of a nut doing what nuts do (something undeniable even before now) is accurate, then what is the logic in preventing me from being prepared to defend myself? No, I’m not asking to be strapped 24 hours a day no matter what I’m doing. Asking to be allowed to carry my gun into an everyday place like my class is NOT asking to be strapped while meeting with The President (could you imagine the left’s new position on gun control if we could though?)

More questions: Does a student, fully licensed for concealed carry, break school policy and carry? Does he risk being caught with it for his own safety? I don’t think doing so would consist of breaking the law, but let’s just say it does, for the sake of argument. Should this student, now a lawbreaker, be allowed to maintain his license?

I wonder what impact we could have on American’s attitudes toward guns if we bombarded them from elementary school with gun use and safety the way we do with sexual education. Although I can’t cite any specific cases, I’m of the understanding that a parent has no right to prevent a public school from forcing sex-ed on their student. I wonder what the champions of this situation would say if we forced firearm education on our students., MMA, and Boxing

If I were to give myself to the lifestyle of the starving artist, I would be able to spend a lot more time fighting, and a lot more time writing. What a wonderful life it would be to be a sportswriter, and for a fan of MMA, a writer for you were independently wealthy and money was of no object. I am excluded from this endeavor because I am not independently wealthy, but I have every desire to be just that eventually. Working in real estate and going to law school will help me get there, not training and writing sport articles.

I do, however, love MMA and writing. I hereby applaud the life and give my admiration and respect to the writers of

That being said, I'd like to say that not only do I enjoy the articles, but the topics Sherdog's writers choose to write about are right on the nose with some of the things I wish people would say. So, without weighing this post down any more than I need to, I present to you "Boxing in MMA's Shadow by Jake Rossen, originally published on Find the original article here. BTW, on the opening survey this morning, I voted for Randy.

Boxing in MMA’s Shadow
By Jake Rossen [4/23/2007]

Fueled up with all of the bravado that comes with being an untouchable athlete, boxing royalty Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced to the press in recent weeks that the "UFC ain't sh-t," concluding that "anyone can get a tattoo and get into a street fight."

Mayweather's elegant, articulate overview of the sport was once common currency among mainstream media and its athletic performers -- now it seems almost quaint in its (alleged) ignorance.

Floyd's peers Evander Holyfield and Oscar De La Hoya have taken the opposite tact, championing the bastard child of boxing and imagining a world where both can peacefully co-exist.

The industry of boxing has become woefully divisive on the matter; it's likely little coincidence that the most malevolent comments have come from agitated promoters with future fortunes to lose, while athletes near retirement age prefer to keep an open mind.

The exception is Mayweather, who, despite being one of the most well compensated fighters in either game, feels the need to choreograph unsolicited outbursts about the mixed-style competition. (And let us not forget fellow naysayer James Toney, who has also decreed he would clean house against the likes of Chuck Liddell (Pictures).)

It's difficult to ascertain whether these statements are simply part of the self-promotion game or not. Both Mayweather and Toney generate dollars by being belligerent, brash antagonists -- a financial lesson that extends from Ali to Tito Ortiz (Pictures). With press outlets and state commissions shaping new attitudes about MMA, it's hard to imagine fellow athletes not being able to discern between a bar brawl and a professional bout.

Or is it?

Try playing devil's advocate and recall your first exposure to the sport. Were you really able to appreciate the intricacies of the mat? Did the stand-up component look as polished and sharp as a pro boxing bout?

Now consider your business is pugilism: it's not hard to believe a passing glance at a bout as sloppily contested as Griffin-Bonnar wouldn't incite some kind of acid reflux.

I sympathize with boxers like Mayweather, who have spent their entire lives honing a specific craft until it's an elite-level display of skill. And now they're watching as fans and media are craning their necks over to a roughneck sport full of athletes who wear their hands at their hips and wind up punches from other states. It's like being Olivier and having to sit and listen to critics praise the latest Adam Sandler vehicle. Perception is reality.

Of course, we (the obsessive-compulsives who own third-generation copies of World Extreme Catfighting) know it's not as simple as that. MMA athletes aren't the strikers boxers are for the simple reason that not enough hours in the day have been allotted to become proficient at every aspect of the fight game. In addition to striking, cross-style athletes have to worry about checking leg kicks, avoiding (or initiating) takedowns, and getting acclimated to the deep waters of jiu-jitsu.

Mayweather doesn't see that. He sees wild swings married to some kind of bizarro wrestling match, a human pretzel of arms and legs on the mat. Toney sees Liddell's awkward stance, a squatting defilement of proper boxing technique, and believes he could take his head off … not stopping to think of what happens when you try and adopt pure boxing into MMA, not understanding what a leg kick does to your thighs, and not cognizant of the perpetual danger of someone trying to take your legs out from under you.

Observers would scoff at MMA's chances of succeeding boxing only a few years ago. The masses, they said, would never tolerate the ground game. Boxing would remain our premier combat sport, and fighters like Toney and Mayweather would never bother to even comment on the variation.

That scenario is changing rapidly, thanks in large part to the free-fight industry refusing to let people wander around with bovine complacency in the matter. National television exposure has altered everything. At the height of the UFC's old-school popularity, a quarter-million pay-per-views were sold; today, that number can exceed one million, despite the increased distractions available via the iPod, the Internet, and a 500-channel cable universe.

It's huge business, brimming with the kind of buzz and exposure that boxing used to enjoy. But the Tysons are gone and the De La Hoyas are nearly out the door. There appears to be no one on the horizon who will be boxing's great salvation, the Ali that stirs emotional investment in middle-aged housewives.

Boxing isn't going anywhere; no obituaries are needed. But I do wonder what happens 20 years from now, when the elder statesmen who grew up looking to that sport as an institution are gone, and the current generation will have been weaned on the likes of Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) and Matt Hughes (Pictures).

Perhaps boxing will devolve into the kind of fringe activity that kickboxing is today, a stand-up attraction that toils in the shadow of a more noble and respected sport.

Evolution isn't meant to be kind. Mayweather's not happy, but I doubt the theropods were, either.

In Brief

Mirko Filipovic (Pictures)'s anticipated run through the UFC heavyweight division hit a stumbling block in the form of Brazilian Gabriel Gonzaga (Pictures) on Saturday. Cro Cop's first-round knockout loss puts a serious damper on the mega-money matches that were on the table against Randy Couture (Pictures) and Chuck Liddell (Pictures). Both Gonzaga and Matt Serra (Pictures) seem to be signaling another change in the proverbial (perhaps literal) guard, where grapplers are getting up to speed on the stand-up game. … If commentator Mike Goldberg utters the exhausted phrase "meteoric rise" one more time, I might puncture my eardrums with a toothbrush. … In a performance that enforced his now 1-6 record in the UFC, Elvis Sinosic (Pictures) was again used and abused in an effort to make hometown draw Michael Bisping (Pictures) look good. Sinosic is a game fighter with a great attitude, but he's shark bait in the UFC, easily devoured from within his own guard. Let's move on already.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The month of the Underdog

Cro Cop almost had his head taken off last night. The kick that sent him to sleep looked a lot like one of his own. Gonzaga controlled the entire fight, start to finish. I knew he was a game fighter, but to make Cro Cop look like an amateur the way that he did was a huge suprise to everyone - except of course Randy.

Cro Dropped: Gonzaga Shocks Croat in UFC
April 22, 2007
by Paul Concannon (

[4/22/2007] MANCHESTER, England, April 21 -- In a crammed MEN arena, Gabriel Gonzaga (Pictures) became the latest in an ever-growing list of fighters to prove that in mixed martial arts, above all other sports, nothing is sacred.

Even those who felt that the Brazilian grappling standout had a chance to upset the odds against Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic had to have felt that no victory would be gained without the four-time BJJ Brazilian national champion walking through fire against the lethal hands and feet of the Eastern European dynamo.

As it turned out, "Napao" made the whole thing look relatively simple, controlling almost every second of the four minutes and 51 seconds the bout lasted, before finishing the Croatian powerhouse with a high kick to the temple.

"I knew I was aiming for a knockout in this fight," Gonzaga said. "I saw the opportunity and took it."

"Cro Cop" entered to an enthusiastic reception from a Manchester crowd of 14,921 that seemed blissfully aware of what manner of fighter was gracing the night with his presence.

Yet it was the confident-looking Gonzaga who largely controlled the feeling out process, repeatedly throwing, if not landing, a straight right hand while giving the impression he was looking at setting up something altogether bigger. More importantly, he kept the 2006 PRIDE Open-Weight Grand Prix champion from getting set for his lethal left hand and nuclear-powered kicks.

Absorbing Filipovic's first kick of the night to the body, Gonzaga scored a solid takedown to get the lighter man exactly where he wanted him.

Controlling from half-guard, Gonzaga unleashed a busy ground-and-pound attack, mixing in punches with nasty looking elbows. Gonzaga maintained position, and dealt out a solid, steady beating that almost inevitably led to bleeding, which appeared to be coming from a cut somewhere close to the hairline.

With the round over four minutes old, and "Cro Cop" pressed against the fence eating punches, referee Herb Dean (Pictures) requested a surprising and somewhat controversial stand-up. The arena crackled with excitement as the bout entered Mirko's territory. The crowd waited for a bomb to drop, and sure enough, it did -- but it was the Croat that was the surprising recipient.

As soon as Gonzaga's leg smashed against Filipovic's temple, one knew there could be no possible way back. Falling limply to the canvas, out cold, the force of the kick almost turned the southpaw inside-out; there were a few worrying moments until, thankfully, he was able to come round, sufficiently enough to graciously deliver a post-fight interview.

The ecstatic Brazilian had delivered an almost flawless performance, and barely taken so much as a punch in anger for his trouble.

"I was right mentally and physically and I knew the knockout would come," Gonzaga said afterwards.

Sitting ringside was UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture (Pictures), who had likely been licking his chops at the prospect of taking on "Cro Cop" later in the year, will now likely have to contend with the powerful Brazilian instead.

As for Filipovic, it's unclear where he goes next, a fact duly acknowledged by the MMA legend moments later.

I don't know," came his stoic response during the post-fight interview. It's likely he just had a bad night, but what is certain is that Gonzaga had a very good one.

View the original article in its entirety at by clicking here.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Only the Devils

How do you go from finishing in second place in the league to going down 2-1 in the first round of the playoffs?

Well, first you fire your coach for not preparing you for the playoffs...I guess the rest is yet to see. Thoroughly disappointing.

I suppose here would be a good place and time clarify...I think the reason that I root for the Devils is this: Everyone around me when I was younger was a Ranger fan. This was escalated when the Rangers won the Cup, but by then I was already a Devils fan. I have no connection to New Jersey whatsoever; in fact, I hate the state. I think it was just my youthful pain-in-the-assness that made me want to root for a different team than everyone else did. If that's not the reason, then I don't know what it is. There you have it.

Now they need to STOP SUCKING. Especially Brodeur. How do you give up two shit angle goals like that, two games in a row? Those were your mistakes. Your defensemen played those plays as well as anyone could have asked them to. Those goals can not go in even if you're just trying to get by a bottom seeded team in the first round of the playoffs. If you get tooled by Tampa Bay...I suppose I'll shut up here and wait for game IV.

"...there's no margin for error right now." ~ Ken Danyko

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Gee, didn't see this coming II

I think I'm going to have a "Gee, didn't see this coming series." All that really means is that there will be many posts with that title and a number after it. yay.

Found here at The Smoking Gun. The original article has pictures and other stuff, check it out.

Duke Charges Dropped
North Carolina attorney general calls lacrosse trio "innocent"
APRIL 11--Meet Crystal Gail Mangum. The North Carolina woman, a 28-year-old college student/exotic dancer, last year claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a trio of Duke University students after she performed at an off-campus party attended by members of the school's lacrosse team. This afternoon, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that he was dropping all charges against the men, saying that there was "no credible evidence" against the "innocent" trio. Cooper said that, in fact, evidence gathered by investigators contradicted the accuser's claim, adding that the woman herself has "told many stories" that were themselves contradictory. Asked if she had lied about the attack, Cooper said that investigators think that she "may actually believe" the many different stories she has told. As for charging Mangum in connection with her claims, Cooper said it was "not in the best interest of justice" to file charges against her. He then made reference to "sealed" records--which apparently regard her mental health--about the woman that convinced prosecutors not to pursue charges against her. With investigators now formally repudiating Mangum's assault claims, we're publishing a booking photo of her snapped by Durham cops. She was arrested in June 2002 on a drunk driving rap (and other misdemeanors) and later copped a plea and was sentenced to probation.


Click here for the orignial article.

Report: Guillard Tests for Cocaine
By Staff [4/13/2007]

April 5 won't be the day Melvin Guillard (Pictures) remembers as the time he lost to Joe Stevenson (Pictures) in 27 seconds. Rather, the lightweight from Louisiana will likely remember the most recent UFC Fight Night for becoming the first mixed martial artist to test positive for cocaine metabolite in the state of Nevada, reported Thursday.

Guillard, 23, participated on the second season of The Ultimate Fighter and has since gone 3-2 inside the Octagon.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Another Example of NY Times Asininity

Condescension is one of the abhor able conditions human beings' personalities are vulerable to become afflicted with that anger me enough that I can't promise I won't make my first attempt at a reckless flying triangle so that I may transition into a gogoplata at some point in my life. The New York Times fills their payroll with pretentious snobs such as this.

Calling "300" "stupid" is like calling a hammer stupid after it's failure to perform as a screwdriver. The movie was not meant to be judged on something that stupidity would have any relevance toward. It is a romantic film. Tolkien's stories were just so, but you can't blame anyone for not being able to combine such storytelling with such intelligence; it is a gift so few humans have. For example, compliments to me for my uncommon good looks are appropriate, but insults to everyone else for not being as attractive are uncalled for.

Heh, ok...

Anyone who didn't know exactly what they were getting into when they sat down at the theater either didn't see any previews or have such poor perception that they have no business writing reviews.

Of course, if none of the above applies to you you're just a snob. In that case, a homemade Janicik gogoplata is just what you need.

March 9, 2007
Battle of the Manly Men: Blood Bath With a Message

“300” is about as violent as “Apocalypto” and twice as stupid. Adapted from a graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, it offers up a bombastic spectacle of honor and betrayal, rendered in images that might have been airbrushed onto a customized van sometime in the late 1970s. The basic story is a good deal older. It’s all about the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, which unfolded at a narrow pass on the coast of Greece whose name translates as Hot Gates.

Hot Gates, indeed! Devotees of the pectoral, deltoid and other fine muscle groups will find much to savor as King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) leads 300 prime Spartan porterhouses into battle against Persian forces commanded by Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), a decadent self-proclaimed deity who wants, as all good movie villains do, to rule the world.

The Persians, pioneers in the art of facial piercing, have vastly greater numbers — including ninjas, dervishes, elephants, a charging rhino and an angry bald giant — but the Spartans clearly have superior health clubs and electrolysis facilities. They also hew to a warrior ethic of valor and freedom that makes them, despite their gleeful appetite for killing, the good guys in this tale. (It may be worth pointing out that unlike their mostly black and brown foes, the Spartans and their fellow Greeks are white.)

But not all the Spartans back in Sparta support their king on his mission. A gaggle of sickly, corrupt priests, bought off by the Persians, consult an oracular exotic dancer whose topless gyrations lead to a warning against going to war. And the local council is full of appeasers and traitors, chief among them a sardonic, shifty-eyed smoothy named Theron (Dominic West, known to fans of “The Wire” as the irrepressible McNulty).

Too cowardly to challenge Leonidas man to man, he fixes his attention on Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey), a loyal wife and Spartan patriot who fights the good fight on the home front. Gorgo understands her husband’s noble purpose, the higher cause for which he is willing to sacrifice his life. “Come home with your shield or on it,” she tells him as he heads off into battle after a night of somber marital whoopee. Later she observes that “freedom is not free.”

Another movie — Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s “Team America,” whose wooden puppets were more compelling actors than most of the cast of “300” — calculated the cost at $1.05. I would happily pay a nickel less, in quarters or arcade tokens, for a vigorous 10-minute session with the video game that “300” aspires to become. Its digitally tricked-up color scheme, while impressive at times, is hard to tolerate for nearly two hours (true masochists can seek out the Imax version), and the hectic battle scenes would be much more exciting in the first person. I want to chop up some Persians too!

There are a few combat sequences that achieve a grim, brutal grandeur, notably an early engagement in which the Spartans, hunkered behind their shields, push back against a Persian line, forcing enemy soldiers off a cliff into the water. The big idea, spelled out over and over in voice-over and dialogue in case the action is too subtle, is that the free, manly men of Sparta fight harder and more valiantly than the enslaved masses under Xerxes’ command. Allegory hunters will find some gristly morsels of topicality tossed in their direction, but you can find many of the same themes, conveyed with more nuance and irony, in a Pokémon cartoon.

Zack Snyder’s first film, a remake of George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead,” showed wit as well as technical dexterity. While some of that filmmaking acumen is evident here, the script for “300,” which he wrote with Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon, is weighed down by the lumbering portentousness of the original book, whose arresting images are themselves undermined by the kind of pomposity that frequently mistakes itself for genius.

In time, “300” may find its cultural niche as an object of camp derision, like the sword-and-sandals epics of an earlier, pre-computer-generated-imagery age. At present, though, its muscle-bound, grunting self-seriousness is more tiresome than entertaining. Go tell the Spartans, whoever they are, to stay home and watch wrestling.

View the original article here.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bill O'Rielly Interview with Dana White and Rich Franklin

I'm gonna give Bill O'Rielly the benefit of the doubt here, not because I'm a fan of his, but because the statement regarding the fact that the only reason people watch MMA is for the brutality of it. That statement alone demonstrates an obvious lack of education on the subject matter. The fact that that statement wasn't attacked by White or Franklin leads me to believe that it was planned and intentionally overlooked. If the intent of this interview was to show a select audience what it wants to see and hear, perhaps the goal was achieved (I don't know what his audience is typically after). It is unfortunate, though, that someone who is as high profile as O'Rielly is chooses to encourage utter ignorance about the fastest growing sport in America.

To remain true to the tone of this post, I must say that I really don't know if my last statement is accurate (MMA being the fastest growing sport). It is true, however, that I have become a fan and participant of this sport within the last few years (although I have been involved in various martial arts throughout my entire life) and have met many people of whom could be said the same.

I have read one of O'Rielly's books, and found it to be very intuitive. This interview forces me to give pause about everything he says now. I hope this embarrassing failure to do adequate research is not a habitual of his work.

...and, to demonstrate Fox News' fair and balanced reporting (heh)...

Katie Kouric's Staff


Find the original article here.

CBS News Fires Producer for Plagiarism
Apr 10 07:24 PM US/Eastern

NEW YORK (AP) - A CBS News producer was fired and the network apologized after a Katie Couric video essay on libraries was found to be plagiarized from The Wall Street Journal.

The essay was removed from the CBS Web site and an editor's note was posted saying the item should have credited Jeffrey Zaslow of the Journal, the network said Tuesday.

The essays are carried regularly on "Couric & Co.," the anchor's blog on the CBS News Web site. Couric and producers meet once a week to decide on topics and the producers write them for Couric to read on camera.

An editor for The Wall Street Journal called CBS News to point out the similarities of the April 4 notebook item to Zaslow's article, headlined "Of the Places You'll Go, Is the Library Still One of Them?" The pieces talk about how libraries are seen differently by children from their parents.

"We were horrified," CBS News spokeswoman Sandra Genelius said. "It was almost verbatim."

CBS would not identify the producer fired for the transgression.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I found this on American Thinker. The original page can be found here.

April 01, 2007
Send Me to GITMO!
By Janet Ellen Levy

Whenever I hear of rich people like Martha Stewart, Dennis Kozlowski or Leona Helmsley being convicted and sent to prison, I find myself wondering how these jet-setting sybarites withstand incarceration. In sympathetic identification, I project myself into their circumstances and embark on a mental sojourn of the accommodations and appointments found within the correctional facility.

My quest for the perfect incarceration location was satisfied recently on a visit to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which truly rates an entry in the Michelin Guide to Correctional Facilities. I've informed my lawyer, family, close friends and associates that if I'm ever convicted, send me to GITMO!

"Why GITMO," you ask?

The location is ideal, the climate sublime, food selection vast, the accommodations well ventilated, recreational opportunities abound and cultural sensitivity is king. Besides, I'd fit right in with the GITMO inhabitants. I'm a middle class college graduate, educated at a Western university. I'm not an explosives expert, but I did set off some illegal fireworks on the 4th of July once. All right, so I'm not a terrorist trainer, recruiter, aspiring martyr or financier, but my stint raising three boys has to count for something!

Yes, GITMO is definitely the choice for me. But I know my rights and have a few simple requests.

Let's start with my religious needs. I won't be needing the Koran that's given to other inmates with a gloved hand to hang on the wall with a surgical mask. You can handle my Bible, the Old Testament, but you have to promise to kiss it if you accidentally drop it. Instead of an arrow on my bunk pointing toward Mecca, I'll need a mezuzah on the cell door and will be forwarding directions certified by my rabbi indicating the exact location, angle and required prayer for proper mezuzah installation. I won't require the customary prayer mat, skullcap and prayer beads. I'll be content with a yoga mat and a block to work on my downward-facing dogs and chatarangas. I also won't be needing the five times daily calls to prayer and the cone with the "P" on it that you place on the floor to enforce 20 minutes of quiet respect during each prayer session. On second thought, the "P" cone may come in handy right outside my cell during monthly cycles when I'm hormonal and dangerous.

By the way, if you could tell the Muslims in adjoining cells that when they're loudly praying about what they're going to do to the "Yahoud" that I know that's the Arabic word for "Jew" and I'm grossly offended! I'm sure they'll understand and modify their incantations accordingly. Oh wait! That's part of the Koran, the holy word of Allah as told to Mohammed; it can't be changed! Well, life is certainly not a bowl full of ball bearings as my late father, PBUH (that's "peace be upon him"), used to say. It just goes to prove that life isn't perfect, even in an idyllic setting like GITMO.

Here's some advice for GITMO soldiers attending to my care. You won't need plastic face shields as I don't plan to toss fecal cocktails in the honored tradition of GITMO detainees. Also, I'm friendly and harmless and won't visit their families upon my release. So, tell the staff that the Velcro® nametags can remain on their uniforms in my presence.

Let's move on to discuss food and dietary needs. I know you provide inmates with six choices per meal. But those meals - regular, vegetarian, vegetarian with fish, soft diet, bland diet and high fiber - won't cut it for me. I'm not going to be pushy and demand kosher food, but certainly you can put together a low-fat spa entrée. I know that you bake fresh bread daily and hope that you can pop a challah in the oven for me on Fridays for my Shabbat observance. No thanks on the baklava for Ramadan but if you requisition a box of matzoh and a jar of gefilte fish for Passover, I'll promise not to report you to the Center for Constitutional Rights for cultural insensitivity.

Let's talk about my recreational activity requirements. Instead of soccer and stints on the treadmill, I'll require an elliptical and a set of weights. The Pashto class won't work for me, but Spanish will. I'm from Los Angeles where Spanish is the unofficial language and will need to keep up my communication skills. You're going to need to add the Classics to your literary collection in anticipation of my arrival. Incidentally, these must be in English, as I don't read Urdu, Pashto, Arabic or Farsi. Sign me up for the gardening project. I've perfected the art of growing exotic herbs and can be a great asset here.

I'm impressed with your 20-bed medical facility, your dental plan and your mental health services. Surely, I'll make good use of the facilities but have a few requests. As part of the twice-yearly dental cleanings, I'd like to schedule a whitening treatment and some Botox injections. I'll definitely require the psychotherapy sessions as I have issues with my mother, my father, my siblings, my husband, my colleagues, my kids, my neighbors, you name it! Don't despair about suicide attempts on my behalf. Unlike the other GITMO residents, my religion prohibits suicide; even homicide, for that matter. I must warn you that hunger strikes do not confer elevated status among my people and it is considered a sin to waste food. Where I come from, instead of psychological evaluations following nine missed meals, a rabbi makes home visits after three missed snacks! Please be advised that I might request an extra nosh now and then. While we're on the subject of hunger strikes, I'm horrified to hear that the average detainee weight gain is 18 pounds! That's worse than the poundage I put on during a recent cruise on the Mexican Riviera!

I must confess that the yearly detainee review process and nine annual Red Cross visits don't work for me. Instead, I'll need an annual meeting with my astrologist to chart my horoscope for the coming year. After all, I hail from Southern California and expect the same cultural sensitivity for our customs that are so generously conferred on the current GITMO inhabitants. As for Red Cross visits, (frankly, I'm surprised it's not the Red Crescent), I'll be meeting with the Mogen David Alom. I know that the Red Cross is charged with mail delivery, detainee-to-family communication and Geneva Convention regulation, but the Mogen David Alom not only gets word to the mispocha, it arranges for a nightly turn down service and chicken soup deliveries when you're ill.

In conclusion, if the occasion arises for an incarceration, I'll certainly look forward to an enjoyable stay at Guantanamo Bay. It certainly has all the amenities I'm looking for in a detention facility. The only downside I can see is that escape route choices are harsh. It's either hightail it through a minefield into the arms of a brutal Communist dictator or hijack a schooner or the GITMO ferry to brave the high seas to Jamaica.

Janet Levy is the founder of ESG Consulting, which provides conservative political causes with project management and development, event planning and promotion, and fundraising services.

I agree with Caesar

I'm not a pot smoker, but this is rediculous. They're messing with someone's career and source of income over weed. It's like taking away St. Pierre's win over Serra for drinking wine every day - oh wait, that wasn't just a nightmare. Nevermind....

NSAC Changes Diaz Win to No-Decision

By Josh Gross [4/10/2007]

The Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday changed the result of Nick Diaz's (Pictures) gogoplata victory over Takanori Gomi (Pictures) to a no-decision after it deemed that the use of marijuana aided in the Californian's Feb. 24 win over the PRIDE champion, NSAC executive director Keith Kizer confirmed to

Diaz's license was suspended six months, retroactive to the date of the fight, and he was fined $3,000, a sum equivalent to 20 percent of his purse.

According to, NSAC commission chairman Dr. Tony Alamo stated during Tuesday's hearing in Las Vegas that Diaz's Delta-9-THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) reading was an off-the-charts 175. A test is considered positive when THC levels broach 15, while Nevada holds its standard at 50.

"This creates a unique situation," expressed Alamo.

"I was there at this fight and believe that you were intoxicated, and that it made you numb to the pain," Alamo told Diaz, who was present. "Did it help you win? I think it did."

"I wasn't under the influence when I was fighting," Diaz responded. "I don't abuse drugs normally; it was a one-time thing. It was very embarrassing for me to test positive."

During an interview on the Sherdog Radio Network's "Beatdown," Diaz's manager Cesar Gracie (Pictures) questioned the NSAC's decision to change the fight result when it has not done so in previous "performance enhancement" related suspensions.

"Tim Sylvia (Pictures) kept his win when he tested positive for steroids, and because Nick tested positive for pot they're going to take his victory away, fine him $3,000 and suspend him for half of the year?" said Gracie. "I mean I think they just shot themselves in the foot. They didn't shoot Nick in the foot. They look like idiots out there."

In fact the NSAC has changed a result once before, after it amended regulation in December 2005 to allow for such a ruling. Following a positive test for methamphetamine stemming from a Nov. 2006 fight, boxer Omar Nino's majority draw with Brian Viloria was changed to a no-decision, Kizer said.

"Gomi is a great opponent, he's really tough," said Gracie. "You don't want to go in there high against a guy. You can't think, focus and react quickly. Obviously Nick won the fight. They were saying, ‘well you were going to tapout if you weren't on pot.' What was he going to tapout to? Nothing. Obviously they haven't seen Nick fight. When he's tested negative, when he's getting his head beat in, he keeps fighting. The guy's a warrior. For them to tell this kid, who is the main bread winner in his whole household, ‘you cannot fight anywhere in the world for six months, give us this much money and, by the way, it's a [no-decision],' it's more than Draconian, what they did."

Suspensions and fines were also handed down to Kit Cope (Pictures) and Joe Pearson (Pictures) for positive tests after the March 24 WEC card.

Cope was suspended for nine months and fined $1,167 (20 percent of his purse) for testing positive for the anabolic steroid Boldenone. Pearson, who also tested positive for Delta-9-THC, got an $800 fine (20 percent of his purse) as well as a six-month suspension.

Read the rest of Josh Gross's article on by clicking here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

American Thinker has become my new favorite website

I hope I'm not violating any copyright laws here...Hopefully citing the work will be good enough. ~Sean

April 09, 2007
Europe: Let Uncle Do It
By James Lewis

Europe gets forty percent of its oil through the Persian Gulf. But by an accident of history (and civilized policy -- ours, that is) it is the United States that guards the Gulf from madmen like Ahmadinejad. Well, so be it. We gain from world peace and free trade, and it is better to keep the maniacs far away from our shores.

But it is now way past time for Europe to step up to the plate again. They have the economic might, the population, the brains -- but not the guts -- to behave as a decent actor on the world stage. And the British "hostage crisis" -- which was not a crisis at all, but a staged provocation, an invitation for the Brits to kowtow, which they did -- should spell the end of our patience.

Europe's response to Ahaminejad's game tells us all we need to know. Tony Blair tossed the hot potato to the UN, which tossed it right back again. Then he tried his good friends in the EU, and they ducked it altogether. Then, secretly, he got George W. to trade Iran's Quds thugs, who were imprisoned in Iraq for directing IED attacks on Americans, in trade for those 15 clueless Brits. Result: The West looked helpless against the ruthless blackmailers of Qom.

So in the end, Europe got away again with letting Uncle Sam do it.

We can shrug off the screaming anti-American hate mongering of the media in Germany, France and (on the Left) in Britain. We can ignore the fact that Britain is selling its sovereignty to the EU, about as feckless a bunch of political con artists as ever exploited a badly indoctrinated population. What we cannot allow, over the long term, is to get stuck with all the adult work of maintaining the peace around the world, while the Europeans exploit our generosity and we pay the price in blood and treasure. It's past time for Europe to grow up.

That includes Britain. Tony Blair has tried his best to maintain the Anglo-American alliance in the face of rising nuclear proliferation among the mad hatters in the Middle East. Good for Tony Blair, but his socialist party long ago walked away from him. So Blair has been out there on his own, and even the Tories are now pretending to be Mahatma Gandhi, whose lifelong principled pacificism, incidentally, led to some 4 million dead people in 1948. In the real world, pacifism kills, and the mere pose of pacifism is just another front for cowardice.

The United States must be prepared to rethink our alliances. Europe has been on a US-paid vacation from reality now for sixty years. We are subsidizing its welfare state, and its grandiose and fraudulent poses. One moment the EU is a grand new Empire, then it's the new incarnation of Marxist hope for mankind, then it's the self-righteous denouncer of American warmongering, and always, without fail, it's a fraud. Sane Europeans know that.

If Britain wants to throw in its lot with the phony-baloney EU farce, it must be willing to take the consequences of permanent weakness in the face of serious adversaries like the aggressive jihadis of the Sunni or Shi'a variety. As Mahmoud puts it so plainly, you must 'You must bow down to the greatness of the Iranian nation.' Well, friends, you have a choice.

Alternatively, Britain and its new continental masters must get serious. Sometimes we see a little sign of that -- Angela Merkel is potentially serious, and so is Blair -- but it just gets swamped by the self-indulgent hoopla from the socialist demagogues who really run the place. Europe is on an endless drunken spree, and we are its enablers.

How do we get serious?

First, we must make strong alliances with other serious powers who share our values and understanding of the world. Australia, India, and Japan are the obvious candidates. All are currently helping to develop anti-missile defenses (while Europe is moaning about the free defense systems we are offering to Poland against the Iranian ICBM threat.)

In the Middle East, besides Israel, the Sunni Arabs need our help -- and in exchange, we must get their commitment to stop Wahhabi anti-Western hate propaganda around the world, including in the United States itself. No more anti-American games from CAIR and its ilk.

The Iranian people, who have been terrorized by the mullahs for thirty years, deserve as much support as the oppressed Poles and Czechs did during the Cold War. Eastern Europe is sandwiched between the growling Russian Bear and the hopeless EU. The Poles and Czechs are therefore a pretty sober lot. Those are our real allies, not the grandstanding demagogues of Brussels.

Second, we must make it very clear to Europe, including Britain, that we expect their serious help when we are attacked, as on 9/11, and whenever we risk our military assets to protect their oil supplies. One way to send that signal is simply to stay passive the next time they are assaulted -- when and if another Madrid or London Underground bombing happens. We can send them our best wishes, and do absolutely nothing. If they will not even spend enough money to build a usable defense force, if they keep pretending to have a military without putting them at risk, we can simply let them find their own way to perdition. NATO must be more than an excuse for milking Uncle.

Third, we must insist on a much more serious effort by Europe to fight nuclear proliferation to terrorists and their sponsors. That includes a major economic squeeze against Tehran, even if Europeans have to reduce their profitable trade with the terror sponsors. That is the very least we must expect from them. If not, they can try to defend their own oil supply.

Fourth, we have to insist that Europeans fish or cut bait when they are confronted with a public challenge from an enemy. No more hot potatoes tossed between national capitals and the EU. No more hiding behind the hopeless UN fraudocracy as a front for imaginary "international law." Publicly proclaiming "international law" means nothing if you cannot enforce it, or if you lack democratic legitimacy to make it in the first place.

Fifth, we cannot conceded the propaganda war -- the narrative of our time -- to the fantasy-prone Left. The Left is merely European imperialism in another guise. It is too destructive, too exploitive, and too wrong about the nature of the world. Serious powers don't live in fantasy land.

So the next President of the United States will have to voice our national vision just as Reagan did: With clarity, eloquence, and honesty. Our UN Representative, following Jeanne Kirkpatrick, should shock the dizzy dips of the UN by simply telling the truth. With a rising blogosphere in the United States, Europe and the Middle East, truth-telling can become our single most effective instrument of policy. Reagan told the truth to bring down the Berlin Wall. Nobody thought it would work, but he appealed to what everyone on the other side secretly knew to be true. That is how a democratic leader should act.

All that comes down to electing a new president for 2008. It should be someone who can articulate the American vision and back it up with grand strategy. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are the obvious models, but human beings are unique and not cloneable. The next Reagan won't look like Reagan, but he or she should be clear and firm and courageous, just like our soldiers in Iraq. We have the right stuff here at home. We only need to discover it.

The challenges we face are Reaganesque. With the right leadership, the American people will know how to act. And Ahmadinejad will go the way of Marx and Lenin. With only a mad 7th century ideology to peddle, he has long outlived his sell-by date.

This article courtesy of American Thinker. The original post can be found here.

James Lewis is a frequent contributor to American Thinker. He blogs at

Monday, April 9, 2007

Mike Sloan is good at his job

A Collection of Damp Feet
By Mike Sloan

[4/9/2007] Nobody - and I mean nobody - picked Matt Serra (Pictures) to triumph in his quest for the UFC welterweight title. Not against the seemingly invincible Georges St. Pierre (Pictures).

Literally every single person I spoke to in my daily travels and literally every single e-mail/MySpace message I received pertaining to this match-up were all in favor of a GSP victory. More people had Randy Couture (Pictures) pulling off the upset over then-champ Tim Sylvia (Pictures) than there were people picking Serra to win.

And, boy, did Matt Serra (Pictures) win!

My pre-fight prediction was that St. Pierre would have some trouble with the bullish Serra but would wind up scoring a unanimous decision victory. I didn't foresee St. Pierre having too much trouble keeping Serra away with his smoother striking and several inch reach advantage. I didn't envision Serra submitting GSP, either. I also didn't concede that Serra would have enough air in his lungs to compete at the highest level of warfare for five full rounds.

I also didn't think that Serra would decimate St. Pierre in less than a round and walk out of the Octagon sporting the same belt that graced the waists of such legendary fighters as Matt Hughes (Pictures), Carlos Newton (Pictures), Pat Miletich (Pictures), B.J. Penn (Pictures) and St. Pierre.

It's not that I thought Serra was some sort of jackass off the street who didn't belong in the same Octagon as those mixed martial arts icons; it's just that I thought Serra's best days were behind him. He had come up short in the previous three biggest fights of his career (Karo Parisyan (Pictures), Din Thomas (Pictures) and Penn) and I still firmly believe that Chris Lytle (Pictures) deserved to win when they fought in the grand finale of TUF 4.

Most "experts" rolled their eyes at Serra landing a crack at St. Pierre's title, scoffing at the notion of him challenging for a championship when all he did was basically land the shot by default. He had won a game show, really, and what exactly had this Long Island lobster, who made a career on MMA's B List, done to even deserve a chance to become a fistic immortal?

Well, the answer to that series of questions was keep to himself, train his ass off and remain patient, that's all. Serra knew this had to be the last chance he'd ever get at becoming a legitimate champion and the New Yorker had never felt better in his entire life.

It was all or nothing and all the negativity and doubt that surround his once-delayed title shot only festered deeper within his soul. His conquest of St. Pierre was the ultimate result of years of dedication, falling short of achieving championship goals and having the opportunity to finally - finally - flip the bird at everybody who doubted him.

When Serra asked if there was some humble pie in the back room for everybody, I could tell that was probably more satisfying than stopping his opponent with a dizzying barrage of punches. I know as much as anybody that there is almost no greater feeling than proving someone wrong and Serra proved virtually every single person involved in MMA wrong. He made us all insert our stinky, damp, corn-covered feet into our collective mouths.

Congrats to Matt Serra (Pictures), the new UFC welterweight champion. It's times like these, when a massive underdog overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds and finally lands his hands on a world title belt, that make this sport so great. Nobody thought he'd win, especially in the manner that he did. That is what makes the fightsports the most entertaining sport on the planet and that is why I continue to come back to it no matter how corrupt it can be at times.

A nightmarish defeat.

I have one question for both Diego Sanchez (Pictures) and the world: What on earth was "Nightmare" doing for 15 minutes? The answer is simple: he wasn't fighting. He allowed Josh Koscheck (Pictures) to handle him from start to finish and not once did he ever show any signs of desperation. What was he thinking?

Obviously it's much easier to say this when I'm the dope writing the column and not the one actually putting my life on the line, but how many times do I and others have to witness a talented fighter simply give a fight to his opponent? Time and time again I have to witness some brave warrior walk around the ring or cage round after round after round doing absolutely nothing in order to win.

I can sit here and rattle off three dozen boxing matches that have gone this way but this is an MMA column so I won't. But come on, Diego. You had to know by the middle of the second round that you were losing to a guy whom you despise. The capacity crowd was hissing and booing lustily towards the end of the first round and by the midway point of the third, the boos were so severe that it was actually difficult to hear Mike Goldberg agree with Joe Rogan.

Sanchez threw few punches, attempted a few paltry jump kicks and I honestly don't recall him ever shooting in for a takedown. By the start of the third round, Sanchez had to have known that he wasn't even coming close to winning the fight on the feet, yet he never shot. What boggles my mind is at the 3:00 mark (roughly) of the third round, Sanchez got close enough to Koscheck and actually grabbed him. Sanchez applied double under hooks and it looked like he was going to try and bring "Kos" down, but seconds later he let go of the under hooks, backed away from his foe and proceeded to do nothing.

I've said this countless times and I'll continue to say it, fighters need to understand that you have to try to win your fights. Don't sit back and do nothing. Greg Jackson, trainer extraordinaire, had to be coughing up bile watching his master student give the fight away. I don't know if Sanchez was injured, mentally distracted or just too damn stubborn to actually try Plan B but either way you slice it, he got tooled by Koscheck.

And Koscheck, even though he won hands down, shouldn't be jumping for joy too much. He played it too safe and lost a cargo ship's worth of potential fans. The crowd was angrily booing both fighters, not just Sanchez. Koscheck scored an almost too easy takedown in the first and never once tried it again.

Sure he was winning the fight clearly and it's usually wise to keep that up, but how much honor is in winning a fight when the crowd is on the verge of storming the cage because you play it way too safe while your opponent just follows you? And Tim Sylvia (Pictures) wonders why many fans don't like watching him.

View the entire article on by Mike Sloan by clicking here.

A New Yardstick, By Nathan Hale

A New Yardstick

By Nathan Hale

At a very young age I had the good fortune to learn a life lesson that appears not to have taken hold among the Democrats' elite, nor much of the legacy media and only scarcely among academics.

As a very young child I was fascinated by all things military. In my free time, I read of the great campaigns, famous generals and the development of military technology. In reading the histories of wars, I noticed a consistent pattern: there always seemed to be many more wounded than killed in combat.

In WWI, for example, some 204,000 Americans were wounded and around 53,000 were killed. WWII saw 292,000 killed Vs. 670,000 wounded. Korea and Viet Nam saw similar statistics in that roughly three times as many men were wounded as killed.

Being a future commanding officer of, oh, the 82nd Airborne (or so I planned) I had an unusual resource in my uncle who had been a West Point classmate of Pete Dawkins and Rocky Versace. In addition to serving in the Korean DMZ and Viet Nam, my uncle was a graduate of the U.S Army War College, the elite school for officers who were slated for eventual promotion to General.

The War College teaches the philosophy of war and is a challenging intellectual proving ground for the men (and now women) who must provide leadership that extends far beyond the basics of supply, ordnance and training. To lead great armies, generals must be great thinkers, so the War College prepares rising officers for the responsibility and duty of leadership not of squads, platoons or even companies, but of armies.

As my uncle was something of a scholar and intellectual, he took to the War College challenge as a natural. He was a combat-hardened artillery officer who had then been moved into the sensitive job of providing nuclear artillery support to our German allies during the Cold War. It seemed only natural to pose my insight to him in the form of an obvious question.

If the objective of war is to slaughter the opponent, wouldn't it make sense to destroy their ambulances, their medical support and their hospitals? That way, those who were merely wounded would die and the casualty counts would be higher and victory for our side assured.

My uncle's response was simple but significant. We do not target medical resources, because the objective of an army is not to slaughter the opponent but to break his will to fight.

That bears repeating: The objective of military action is not to kill the enemy, but rather to break his will to fight.

Years later, in an academic study of "conflicts other than war", terrorism and "low intensity conflict", I learned that this principle is actually taught at all levels of our military. From the lowest level squad tactics to the curriculum of the War College, military people are repeatedly taught and seem to simply understand that their job is to break their opponent's will to fight.
If this thought is so obvious to our military leadership and extends to the lowest level Marines and Soldiers "stuck in Iraq" as John Kerry would say, why is this concept so foreign to the leadership of the Democrat Party? How can our media "experts" fail to understand this simple thought mastered by privates and corporals who didn't attend Ivy-League J-Schools?
And any rugby fan who has seen the Maori dance performed by the New Zealand All Blacks, or any sports fan who has witnessed the trash-talking before a big game or boxing match understands intuitively that the concept of beating your opponent mentally is often as important as beating him physically.

Setting aside several obvious answers for why so many seem so clueless, let us simply establish a conscious yardstick by which to measure our leaders' actions in the war on terror: Does this action weaken or strengthen our opponents' will to fight?

And the corollary is similarly straight-forward: Does this action strengthen or weaken OUR will to fight?

How does announcing a pre-determined withdrawal date affect our opponent's will to fight? It seems obvious that it gives them a goal to aim for. They merely have to hang on until this date and victory is theirs. Ask any athlete which is easier - to run a known distance or to simply start running until the coach tells you to stop? And further, ask anyone who has experienced it how psychologically debilitating it can be to be told you must run a certain distance, only to have the coach (or drill instructor) decide to make you keep running after you reach the "finish line".
The simple answer that any high school athlete, every soldier of any rank and most everyone else understands is that giving al queda a timeline for our withdrawal from Iraq strengthens their resolve.

In the months ahead and the all-important run up to the '08 elections, I would argue that this yardstick will help us differentiate between those with legitimate differences of political opinion from those who seem intent on surrendering to the murderous thugs of al queda and their various government sponsors.

Al Qaeda and the other terrorists and their sympathizers will to fight can and must be broken if we are ever to be safe and free. A fixed pull out date as envisioned by Congressional Democrats strengthens our opponent's will to fight. It encourages the car and roadside bombers to persevere until America quits and goes home. How many more Americans will die (or be wounded) because of this renewed will to fight?

Surely the least we can expect of our elected representatives is that they do our country and the men and women who fight for us no harm.

Nathan Hale is the pseudonym of a professional whose firm serves many liberal clents.
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Sunday, April 8, 2007

The UFC's Welterweight Division

I watched this live on PPV and I'm still angry the next morning. Anyone can say this, I suppose, but I was a GSP fan from the first time I watched him fight The Heat. I must say that I'm still a GSP fan, but this is a terrible, terrible loss.

First, he looses his first title defense. Secondly, he lost it to someone he should have annihilated. My money was on a first round TKO, but not for Serra. Who does he get now? Well, let me tell you what I would like to see for upcoming UFC welterweight fights.

1. Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra: I want Hughes to get the first crack at him. I would have said Chris Lyttle, but Hughes already dispatched of him since the controversial decision between Serra and Lyttle. I would hope that Hughes would run right through him. If it was jitters that got to GSP, we know that wont be a problem with Hughes who has 46 fights under his belt.

2. GSP vs. Diego Sanchez: GSP and Diego both just lost. This means that for both of them, their next fight is HUGE. They both have a lot to loose in their next fight, which would make for a very interesting fight.

3. Karo vs. Josh Koscheck: Karo lost a decision to Diego, but Diego just lost himself. Karo is a game fighter, as everyone knows, so he needs something high profile to get him back on his way up the ladder. Koscheck, who just beat Deigo is perfect for him. Big fights for both of them. I really don't know how this one would go down. I think it would be fun to see: wrestler vs. judo/jiu jitsu. Neither one of them will bring much to the table, but if both of them come looking for a war, we'll get to see some great grappling. I don't think the grappling will be like it was in the Karo/Diaz fight, but this is still something I think both are line for.

The nice thing about these three fights, is that none are a rematch. I think rematches should take some time before they happen, not like Couture & Liddell or Sylvia & Arlovski. The time it took for BJ, GSP, and Hughes to have their rematches was perfect. The welterweight division was FULL of suspense before last night. Now I'll be reeling with disappointment before I get excited for the next thing (in the 170lb division; There's plenty in other divisions to get excited about, especially now that the Heavyweight division is STACKED!)

Also, I would really like to see BJ Penn stay in the welterweight division, but I think the hype behind him is gone at 170lbs. At 155lbs, he is a major threat to everyone in the division. At 170 he's lost his first two comeback fights. In general, his record doesn't seem to be all that impressive, even though any serious MMA fighter knows he aught to be considered a favorite in 99% of the fights he goes into. Let's see...split decision loss to GSP, split decision win over Serra, 1-1 with Hughes. Now, these guys are at the top of the food chain, yes, but for BJ to become the next big thing in the UFC, the lightweight crown is what he should be seeking next. BTW, I think that's just what he's doing, starting with Jens Pulver.

Ahh, so those are my thoughts. Now, back to my homework.


Reign of Terror: Serra Stuns GSP by Greg Savage

Reign of Terror: Serra Stuns GSP
By Greg Savage
[4/8/2007] HOUSTON, Texas, April 7 -- Matt Serra (Pictures) was the proverbial snowball and UFC welterweight ace Georges St. Pierre (Pictures) was supposed to be Hell if you listened to most mixed martial arts fans and pundits in the weeks leading up to their championship match.

Serra defied the odds and sent the Toyota Center crowd of more than 15,000 into a state of disbelief when he knocked out St. Pierre with a barrage of punches and elbows from the mount at 3:25 of the first round.

The 25-year-old Canadian looked stiff from the start, throwing one punch at a time while Serra moved in and out lobbing powerful strikes at his heavily favored foe.

"I got into the fight and I was kinda stiff," St. Pierre told "I trained well and everything. I just felt stiff. I didn't let my body go. It was weird. I have no excuse. I lost. I lost, period."

The beginning of the end came when Serra landed a right hook that stunned St. Pierre, left him wobbling and trying to regain his faculties. Serra seized the opportunity and refused to give his stricken opponent any time to recover.

Serra continued his assault, winging punches as St. Pierre, in survival mode, retreated. Overwhelmed, St. Pierre (13-2-0) finally fell to the canvas after Serra plowed a right hand into his chin.

"Normally when I go to fight I fight like there is no tomorrow," said St. Pierre. "I let everything go. And that fight, it was like I felt like I had some stuff to do after the fight. So I didn't fight like I had no tomorrow. It was weird. I just didn't fight well."

Serra quickly followed and straddled the fallen champ. The undersized welterweight fired away with heavy punches until referee "Big" John McCarthy came to St. Pierre's rescue.

The first technical knockout victory of Serra's career completed a journey the New Yorker embarked on when he made the trek to Las Vegas to compete on The Ultimate Fighter 4. Winning the reality show's welterweight tournament earned "The Terror" the right to fight for the strap he will now be toting back to Long Island.

Serra (9-4-0) also had some words for those who doubted him coming into the fight, namely UFC color commentator Joe Rogan and the Las Vegas-based company's president, Dana White.

"Joe, I'm really hungry, man," Serra, 32, quipped in his post-fight interview "I was wondering if you and Dana had some humble pie in the back?"

View the rest of the story on UFC 69: Shootout here.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Gee, didn't see this coming...

06/04/07 - News section

Blindfolded Britons tell of the moment the guards' guns clicked

* We were blindfolded and subjected to interrogation
* We were told we faced seven years in prison if we did not 'confess'
* Iranians entered Iraqi waters deliberately to detain us. Fighting back was not an option
* We were 1.7 nautical miles away from Iranian waters
* We were under psychological pressure and mind games
* Faye Turney was isolated in a cell away from the rest of the crew
* Iranian state TV says crew's comments were 'dictated' by British Ministry of Defence

All 15 of them had been blindfolded, handcuffed and pushed against a wall by their Iranian captors.

Then they heard the sound of guns being cocked - and believed they were about to be shot by firing squad.

The most terrifying moment of the British hostages' 13 days in captivity was revealed yesterday as seven of them faced a press conference.

The mock execution happened the day after the Navy sailors and Royal Marines had been seized while patrolling at the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway, which divides Iran and Iraq.

Lieutenant Felix Carman, 26, of Swansea, said that on their first night in captivity their treatment was not too bad.

But the following morning they were flown to Tehran where the "atmosphere changed completely", he said. "We were blindfolded, our hands were bound and we were forced up against a wall."

All 15 prisoners, including young mother Faye Turney, heard the Revolutionary Guard cock their guns.

One of the hostages screamed out: "Lads, lads, we're going to be executed - do something."

Another was physically sick, said 21-year-old Royal Marine Joe Tindell, who believed he was hearing the sound of a colleague having his throat cut.

"I assumed we were all going to be executed. We were all standing there waiting for it to happen.

"I just thought that was the end of it. It was the only time in my life I really felt scared.

"From there we were rushed into a room and then stuffed into a cell and didn't see another human being for six days."

The men said the hostages were subjected to "constant psychological pressure" which Lt Carman described as amounting to "torture". While it stopped short of physical abuse, it helps explain their apparent willingness to appear in Iranian propaganda broadcasts before their release on Thursday.

Their captors said the choice was clear - admit they had strayed into Iranian waters or face seven years in a Tehran jail.

Leading Seaman Turney, a 26-year-old mother, was not present at the press conference at the Royal Marines Base at Chivenor, north Devon.

But her fellow prisoners described how she was put in solitary confinement and, for four days, told by her jailers that the rest of the group had been sent home and she was the only captive left in Iran.

The moment when the hostage drama began was described by Royal Marine Captain Chris Air, 25, from Altrincham, Cheshire.

He described how the British troops spotted two Iranian speedboats approaching. He explained to an officer on one of the boats that they were conducting a routine patrol but when they tried to leave they were blocked in.

"Some of the Iranian sailors were becoming deliberately aggressive and unstable.

"They rammed our boat and trained their heavy machine guns and weapons on us. Another six boats were closing in on us."

He said fighting back was "simply not an option - had we chosen to do so then many of us would not be standing here today.

"The Iranian Navy did not turn up lightly armed. They came with intent, heavy weapons, and very quickly surrounded us. We were not prepared to fight a heavily armed force who it is our impression came out deliberately into Iraqi waters to take us prisoner."

After their mock execution ordeal, the prisoners were for six days kept in solitary confinement in stone cells, sleeping on piles of blankets.

The group defended themselves from mounting criticism that they should not have allowed themselves to be paraded on Tehran television and make "confessions" that they had strayed into Iranian waters.

Lt Carman said: "At no time did we apologise." He said that they always qualified their statements when interviewed, saying things like "according to the information you have presented to us". It appears these qualifiers were edited out of the versions broadcast.

The head of the Navy, First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, strongly defended the conduct of the hostages saying they behaved with "considerable dignity and a lot of courage".

He added: "They appear to have played it by the rules. They don't appear to have given anything away.

"I think you will find out that they were actually a brave set of young people.

"I think, in the end, they were a credit to us, the way they dealt with the situation when they were said goodbye to by the president."

He said accusations that they "surrendered first and apologised later" were "extremely unfair", adding: "I would not agree at all that it was not our finest hour. I stand by what they did."

The admiral dismissed suggestions that the hostages should have restricted themselves to merely telling the Iranians their name, rank and serial number. "They weren't on combat operations. They weren't like people shot down in Tornados in the Gulf War."

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