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January 10, 2009 04:12 PM UTC

Weekend Open Thread

  • 69 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

“Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.”

–Henry Louis Mencken

Comments

69 thoughts on “Weekend Open Thread

  1. How about this?

    It is a 16 team playoff:

    • There are 11 conferences and the Independents- 12 in total.  The winner of each conference, and the best record of the independents, gets a bid to the playoff.  This would make the conference title a valuable asset.  

    • The remaining 4 slots are given to the remaining best four teams in the country.  The current BCS computer computation (or some other method) would be used to pick these four team.  This would provide some VERY interesting first round games.  For instance, this year it might have been Texas versus Oklahoma in round one.

    • The 12 total conference winners are seeded by random lot.  The remaining 4 teams are seeded at the lowest seeds by lot.

    • The team with the best record in the seeding hosts round one.

    • Round two is played at four of the five major bowls (for instance: Sugar, Rose, Orange, Fiesta, Cotton).

    • The Championship game is played at the fifth bowl location.  This rotates every year.

    • The remaining D-I teams that don’t make the playoff can play in the other lesser bowls (New Mexico Bowl, Humanitarian Bowl, etc.)

    It seems to me this is the ONLY way to have a REAL national champion in D-I college football!

    1. Set-asides for conference champs give me heartburn (think Cincinnati and Virginia Tech this year) but I can’t offer a better way.

      So does random seeding.  The teams with the best records should be seeded against the teams with the worst records.  You don’t want to blow a possible best matchup of the tournament the first week.

    2. Using conference champions wouldn’t work very well. You could end up with a lot ridiculous blowouts and potential injuries if you had teams like USC, Texas, Florida, OU, etc against teams like Mid-American champs Ball State or Sun Belt champs Troy.

      Why not just take the top 16 ranked BCS teams and use that to seed a playoffs? The current non-playoff BCS system sucks, but we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water.

      1. If you go to a pure computer model, you’ll have coaches running up the score against inferior teams just to manipulate the model.

        Neither way is perfect, but a damned sight better than the current system.

        How do they choose the teams for all the other divisions?  Whichever way they use for 1-AA ought to work for the big guys too.

        Maybe Ritter ought to appoint a blue-ribbon commission…

  2. Interesting:

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/S

    A WORD about Dr. Mads Gilbert: It turns out he’s no neutral medical man, but active in “solidarity work with Palestinians” for 30 years. Responding to 9/11, Gilbert didn’t rush to New York’s Bellevue Hospital to offer his services. Instead, he defended the moral right of the “oppressed” to have launched that attack.

    Too many news outlets have allowed their coverage of Gaza to be agenda-driven, to willfully disregard the duty of presenting news and images in context.

    Cynically thrusting pictures of dead toddlers at readers and viewers obfuscates truth, bedevils news consumers, and robotically demonizes those “who could do such a thing.”

    What a devious way of giving succor to the uncompromising fanatics who are really to blame for the horror of it all.

    1. Will always find a way in any situation to make things worse for themselves.  Always.  In any possible situation, they will make choices that keep them in poverty and at perpetual war.

      Very sad, but also very simple to discern responsibility for their situation.

    2. Of course if Israel let in journalists to do their job maybe the true nature would come out?

      Unless, of course, they don’t want more footage of them bombing UN schools and convoys.

            1. Libertad, you need to go back to harping on Amendment 48.  The problem isn’t “raghead values”, it’s the inability of an increasingly marginalized, but well funded, segment of Palestinians to accept the existence of Israel.

              Fatah has been trying to build a government infrastructure on the West Bank in order to provide a functioning nation to their people.  Hamas has been building armories to wage war, and done little else.

              Golda Meir said it best, “Peace will come when Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”  That progress is showing, but as long as Iran and Syria fall under the last part of that quote, there won’t be peace.

              1. as the paragon of compassionate, yet truly conservative values that you are.  Good job with the Front Page BTW, I voted for you but have been a bit absent of late.  But I have been checking in from time to time.

                1. But I also don’t think he really means some of the more ignorant things he posts, much like some others here.

                  If there’s anything anyone would like me to do differently (style-wise, not politically), please let me know.

                  1. how can he not understand that labeling a whole group of people as ‘rag-‘ and ‘towel-heads’ is offensive?  The guy–and I feel safe in assuming he is male–is an ass.  He severly undermines any cause he believes in, whatever the value of that cause, every time he posts.

                    1. to the winning and morally-superior team?  Oh well then, carry on, you’re doing fine.

            2. Got you all going didn’t it?

              Fact remains, these scumbags represented by Hamas aren’t accepted by Jordan and never will be b/c they are the bottom rung of humanity.

              Maybe M. Ali cares to educate us all?

              1. Why do you say “M. Ali cares to educate us all” – because he’s also Muslim and therefore must be 100% identical.

                Wow, does that mean you can educate us as to what is going on in the Rev. Ted Haggard’s mind as you are both Christians?

                Bigotry always makes the person spewing it very very ugly. Libertad – you owe everyone here an apology.

                1. I’d like to hear M Ali’s view, that is all.

                  Haggard is a closeted bisex drug head, maybe you have a better handle on his mind. I don’t think he was quite leading the Dobsonesque Christian life he professed. Again, your opinion please.

                  Apology Davey? Get real you whiny nit. http://www.urbandictionary.com

                  Typical tactic of yours, change the subject.

                  The Jordanians don’t accept these Palestinians, they’re the lower social class of the Arab world.

                  1. after all, you’re both douchebags.

                    What’s interesting is I don’t think you even realize that you’re a bigot – so I guess that makes you a stupid bigot – what a combination.

                    As to your reference to the Urban Dictionary – read the definition – it’s derogatory.

                    1. Really, what happened to you to make you such an utterly despicable creature?  

                      I’d say ‘as a boy’ but my guess is you still are–at least emotionally–a pre-adolescent.

                      Seriously, to equate all Palestinians with Hamas and then to use an offensive slur to describe them.  Bigot. Stupid. Ineffective at all you do.  That’s my assessment.

                      Other than bile and crap what have you contributed to this site?

                       

                    2. We do try to keep Colorado Pols racist spewing free around here, and if you have to descend to them to make a point, you  might be more comfortable elsewhere.  And if you feel that you have to personally attack everyone who is saying you are wrong about it, maybe the above applies as well.

      1. See, every action was preceded by something; you can trace it back to 1948 and before. If you seriously think this is like Dark Knight, with one side always right and the other always evil for no good reason, you won’t get anywhere in actually solving the problem. Which in the end is what most people want.

        1. They gave Gaza to the Palestinians for peace.  All they received in return was rocket fire.

          Here’s what solves the problem – no more support of terrorists from the Palestinians. No more rocket fire – none.  

          1. Why isn’t there any fighting at the West Bank like in Gaza?  Easy answer, there hasn’t been constant rocket and mortar attacks from there.  Six days after the previous “cease fire” was announced last June, Hamas was launching attacks on southern Israel from Gaza and those attacks continued through the “end” of that “cease fire”.

            I think that Israel made a mistake in not returning both Gaza and the West Bank to Egypt and Jordan respectively, when they made peace with those countries.  Though I doubt the PLO would have accepted that solution (especially Jordan).

      2. ….the British hadn’t let Zionists into Palestine starting about 1915, none of this would have happened.  And then the Zionists became terrorists and killed the British (See: King David Hotel, Haganah).  

        Both sides have so much blood on their collective hands it’s disgusting.  Both kill innocents, both are right, both are wrong, both retaliate, both claim historical right of residence, ad nauseum.

        I’m fed up with both of them.

        1. The San Remo Conference.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S

          Hindsight being 20/20, the arbitrary partitioning of the MIddle East was a bad idea, especially when the reason was (drum roll) OIL.

          Another interesting read, the Palestine Mandate.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P

          When we as humans see the consequences of our decisions, we can see the moment our decisions went wrong. When the pebble hits the water, decades later there’s a tidal wave.

          We could all go round and round on right and wrong, with opinions informed by a variety of sources. We as a nation are friends of Israel, just look at whose weapons they’re using.

          Their actions during this current Hamas offensive is hurting our credibility in the region, as nations and groups perceive Israel as acting in US interests using US weapons with US consent and support.

          Unfortunately there’s no easy solution, and there may be no real solution at all; just putting a bandage on Cancer.

  3. The Israelis have cut off water, power, family farms and other infrastructure.  Both sides are culpable and the intransigence of either side (or their advocates) to recognize that simple fact is the main problem.  Both sides need to come to the table, but both sides have to give some too.  

    1. Forever both sides have found it easier to fight than to compromise. The rare exceptions like Sadat/Began and Hussien/??? (Jordan) both showed that there is a way to peace – but it required both sides to compromise far beyond what was acceptable.

      I think Abbas/Sharon could have done it too.

      1. But it almost guarantees their assassination. Lincoln, Gandhi, Sadat, King. King Hussein of Jordan was targeted after his country recognized Israel.

        The thing about peace (or even cease-fire) talks is that no one wants to go to the table in a position of weakness; perception is paramount. So each side will try to beat the other so that one side walks to the table while the other limps. Their standing at the beginning of talks will be seen by the whole world, so everyone wants to look like Bush landing on an aircraft carrier, the conquering warrior. Mission Accomplished.

        In my continuing education, I’m trying to get more into domestic policy because foreign policy and international relations give me a headache. It’s like a car wreck. You know it’s horrifying, but you have to see what’s going on.

  4. For them, as a great power, to issue the following should not go unrecognized:

    ‘ “The Gaza conflict proves again that military means are not the way out for resolving Palestinian-Israeli disputes. Military force could only bring more hostility and enmity, without giving either side absolute safety,” he said. Sun said international society and relevant parties, when endeavoring to ease the tense situation, should also consider carrying out feasible actions to accelerate the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, to establish an independent Palestinian state at an early date, and to realize peaceful coexistence. ‘ (From the Chinese Special Envoy to the Middle East)

    “So China’s explicit position is the early announcement of a Palestinian state, and immediate talks to that end. At the moment, China is the Dennis Kucinich of Middle Eastern diplomacy. But as it rises as a great power, and given that it is the second largest petroleum importer in the world after the US–and so increasingly close to Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Iran, it may be come a player over time. China is usually so taciturn in these matters that I was surprised to see Sun Bi Gan speak out forcefully and before he had the cover of a UN Security Council resolution.”

    h/t Juan Cole

    So simple, LB? That’s an embarassing comment, even from you.

    Since the last ceasefire collapsed in April 2007, about 600 Palestinians and 18 Israelis have been killed in fighting between the two sides. The recent cease-fire, initiated, I believe, by Hamas, resulted in zero Israeli fatalities until it expired just recently. But hey, keep watching FOX and the apologist press, or listen to this recently retired Marine:

    “I recently retired from the US Marine Corps, but I saw service in Iraq. I do know something of military matters that are relevant to the situation now in Gaza.

    I am dismayed by the rhetoric from US politicians and pundits to the effect that ?if the US were under rocket attack from Mexico or Canada, we would respond like the Israelis?. This a gross insult to US servicemen; I can assure you that we would NOT respond like the Israelis. In fact, US armed forces and adjunct civilians are under attack constantly in Iraq and Afghanistan by people who are much better armed, much better trained and far deadlier than Hamas (I?ll ignore for now that the politicians seem to be oblivious to this fact). Israel has indeed taken a small number of casualties from Hamas rocket fire (about 20 killed since 2001), but we have taken thousands of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, including many civilian personnel. Hundreds of American casualties have occurred due to indirect fire, often from mortars. This is particularly true in or near the Green Zone in Baghdad. This fire often originates from densely populated urban areas.

    Americans do not, I repeat DO NOT, respond to that fire indiscriminately. When I say ?indiscriminately?, I mean that even if we can precisely identify the source of the fire (which can be very difficult), we do not respond if we know we will cause civilian casualties. We always evaluate the threat to civilians before responding, and in an urban area the threat to civilians is extremely high. If US servicemen violate those rules of engagement and harm civilians, I assure you we do our best to investigate — and mete out punishment if warranted. There are differing opinions on the conflict in Iraq, but I am proud of the conduct of our servicemen there.

    With that in mind, I find the conduct of the Israeli army in Gaza to be brutal and dishonorable, and it is insulting that they and others claim that the US military would behave in the same way. I know the Israelis are operating under difficult circumstances, but their claim that they follow similar rules of engagement rings hollow; I see little evidence for this claim given the huge number of civilian casualties they have caused from indirect fire.

    In particular, I am stunned at the Israeli explanation for the 30+ civilians killed at the UN school. The Israelis say they were responding to mortar fire from the school. Mortars are insidious because their high trajectory and lack of primary flash make it very difficult to trace the source of the fire; you have to have a spotter locate the crew. The Israelis claim that they traced the source of the fire precisely to the school; if so, they must have directly spotted the crew. Thus it is inconceivable that the Israelis did not know that the target was a crowded UN school, yet they chose to fire on the school anyhow. I say without hesitation that this is a criminal act. If the Israelis had said, ?sorry, it was an accident?, that could indicate a targeting problem, confusion, or inferior training. But to openly admit that they responded reflexively to the Hamas fire without consideration for the inevitable civilian casualties is beyond the pale. The Israelis blame Hamas for firing from the school (although UN personnel on the ground dispute this), but choosing to fire directly at civilians is far worse; it is tantamount to murder. US servicemen do not behave that way in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we face much deadlier adversaries (Hamas mortar crews are apparently not very effective: I believe that all but one of the total Israeli combat fatalities have been from friendly fire). In the rare and unfortunate cases where US personnel have willingly targeted civilians, they have been court-martialed and punished.

    The Israeli approach in Gaza strikes me as uncontrolled and vengeful. My objective analysis is that it has little tactical effectiveness; my opinion is that its main goal is to whip the entire Gaza population into submission. This is disturbingly similar to the Israelis? conduct in Lebanon in 2006, so I feel obliged to say that the Israeli military displays a concerted pattern of disregard for civilian lives. I am not a politician, but in my opinion the US should take some sort of political action in this regard. If we continue to formally condone Israel?s dishonorable and brutal military conduct in Gaza, I fear there will eventually be dire consequences for our country.”

    Sorry for the length…this is from an editorial in the NYT.

      1. I don’t think the rocket fire is justified, I’ll say that to begin.

        Hamas is, by their mission statement, opposed to the existence of Israel. That alone makes any attack on Israel justified in their eyes, as the Israeli response is in Israel’s eyes. Each side can justify its actions in relation to the other.

        Literally, from the moment of its creation, Israel has been threatened by its neighbors. I don’t see their military reaction as being heavy-handed so much as a standard reaction. Defend the homeland at all costs.

        From the Israeli perspective, they can never afford to hold back; if one enemy sees a soft response to another, Israel could be seen as weak. Consequently, everyone who attacks Israel gets the kitchen sink thrown at them.

        I won’t defend anyone’s actions. Some countries wait for any movement against them for an excuse to unleash their hounds. Others attack because they see it as their mission.

        When every action leads to a reaction, momentum will escalate the force of action until the momentum itself is unstoppable. Following that theory, the logical result is devastating.

        1. They’re intelligent, well researched, and sincere. The substance of your comments have weight.

          To follow-up on a medical metaphor, when a body has an infection, the rest of the body responds to defeat that infection….so, all the players in the Middle East must come together to solve this issue with resources, treaties, a plan going forward that is doable, productive economically and fair to all the players.

          War is not the answer. Brutality will spawn brutality in perpetuity. The profitability of war is counter productive. Profitability needs to be removed from war.

          1. Problem solved!

            War is not the answer. Brutality will spawn brutality in perpetuity. The profitability of war is counter productive. Profitability needs to be removed from war.

            All we need to do is change the basic nature of man, and this Gaza thing is a done deal!

            SR, I agree, actually.  It’s a noble answer but not a very pragmatic one.

            Militant Islam is the problem, not a half-century-old UN Mandate.  Unfortunately, some people are savages, and won’t ever listen to reason or value peace.

            I heard a great line the other day from Alan Dershowitz – I’m paraphrasing:

            If Hamas and Hizbollah laid down their weapons, there would be peace; if Isreal laid down its weapons, there would be genocide.

            Here’s another from Golde Meir:

            “We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us”

            1. Support for the mandate or the countries they create (Israel) gives extremists the moral (in their eyes) backing of whatever action they take against the mandate or its supporters, including the US and its interests.

              I had a great book that was one of my textbooks for my Middle East Politics class, but I can’t remember what the title was. I’ll try to find out from my professor when I see him again. After reading it, I can’t trust anything the media says about the region, because their viewpoint is educated only by what they see now, with no historical reference.

              “If Hamas and Hizbollah laid down their weapons, there would be peace; if Isreal laid down its weapons, there would be genocide.” That was one of the points I was making, and I generally agree. Peace is impossible as long as someone with a gun feels threatened. That’s true the world over.

              Sir Robin made a good point about the profitability of war, and your response was spot-on. It’s optimistic, but not pragmatic.

              A solution would take a Herculean effort by every player in the region, including countries we don’t agree with. Engagement may not be ideal, but it’s necessary. A war started in that region would spread everywhere like wildfire.

              1. I think it’s very simple, but the Palestinians would have to choose prosperity over blind hatred.

                They would have to recognize that they are being used by every bad actor from the Saudi Wahhabis to the Iranian douchebags to justify a perverse, militant Islamic look at non-tolerance and that those folks are the main impediment to Palestinian success, not Israel.

                1. Who benefits from continued antagonism? No party or nation will own up to it, but the Saudis, Iran, Russia, and the US are just a few that would lose something if the region actually stabilized.

                  US – Would lose a major arms buyer in Israel.

                  Russia – Same for Iran

                  Iran – Would lose any chance of being a major power player

                  Saudis – Take your pick. Money, weapons, protection.

                  And that’s barely scratching the surface.

                  No one is willing to look for common ground because it doesn’t serve their own interests. More can be gained from continued violence.

                  I’m not a “blame America first” type. My rule on analysis is that it has to be objective for the sake of the integrity of analysis.

              2. Realistically, we can change the obscene war business. We can change the playing field significantly, especially those costs of playing outside the playing fielsd, where rules are actually enforced.  

            2. Before Israel was founded, there was plenty of political violence from Zionists. Take a look.

              In a situation where one group is vastly more powerful than another, there are essentially two ways for the weak group to resist: peaceful protest and terrorism. There’s nothing new about it, nor anything especially Muslim about it. Ideally groups would choose peaceful protest, and I’m not defending violence, but many of them do what they do for whatever reason. And they all have their martyrs. We had some too in the late 1770s.

              The answers are easy if you intentionally ignore history and human nature.

              1. Terrorism against civilians is practiced almost solely by Islamic groups. And large scale terrorism I think has been the exclusive provence of Islamic terrorists. The only non-Islamic group that has even attempted something on the same scale was that one group in Japan with the sarin.

  5. The most difficult problem of all for a final permanent peace between Israel and Palestine is how to handle Jerusalem. And the question is not what solution is acceptable to all – there isn’t one. Any solution will have gigantic reasons why it won’t work. The question is, are those reasons larger than the arguments against all other proposals.

    We also have to face the issue that there is more religious history in this location for three major religions than any other place on earth. And there are fist fights between sects within each group over who will administer their part of a building.

    So what we need is an entity to administer Jerusalem who is a strong democratic government that has experience dealing with multiple religious parties, but whose religion is not any of the three that lay claim to Jerusalem.

    What if we have India administer Jerusalem? With a requirement that the administrators they send may not be Christian, Jewish, or Muslim.

    India is not perfect but they are a large vibrant democracy. They have faced their own internal issues with religious schisms. Yes their primary enemy is Muslim Pakistan, but their largest minority in India is also Muslim.

    I can give you a large number of reasons why this wouldn’t work. But… I think that list may be smaller than the list of reasons against any other administration setup.

    1. Not even the India part.  

      I suppose you could get a more general agreement, with the religions more involved.  Make Jerusalem kind of like DC, not in any state, and work out a system of leaders.  X amount from certain countries plus X amount from the 3 religions.  Like Vatican City for more people.

    2. run by a country with a long history of conflict with Muslims? Hindu nationalists have long been stoking anti-Muslim sentiments (and of course the reverse has happened about as much), and violence in India is frequently perpetrated against both sides.

      I think that’s one of the worst choices I could possibly imagine.

  6. Hi;

    I have a personal favor to ask. Does anyone know of any groups that meet regularly in Chicago, business professional, political, etc that are primarily people in their 20s?

    My 25 year old daughter has just moved there (yesterday – and I’m already missing her) and anything that helps her meet people her age would be very helpful.

    thanks – dave (david at thielen dot com)

  7. Supreme Court Rules Supreme Court Rules

    WASHINGTON, DC-In a landmark decision Monday, the United States Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that it rules.

    According to Monday’s Supreme Court decision, “the ability of the President and Congress to keep pace with us is not only separate, but most unequal.”

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing on behalf of the majority, noted that “while the U.S. Constitution guarantees equality of power among the executive, legislative and judicial branches, it most definitely does not guarantee equality of coolness, and in this regard, the judicial branch kicks that which can be construed as total and complete ass.”

    “In the case of The U.S. Supreme Court v. Everyone Else (1997),” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas, “this court wins by a serious landslide.”

    http://www.theonion.com/conten

  8. This is interesting for a paper that is supposedly going to be shut down any day now – at my King Soopers there was a person there selling subscriptions. And you got a free bag of coffee if you bought.

    So they’re definitely still trying hard to raise the number of subscribers.

  9. from Kausfiles

    But the resemblance ends at physical appearance. This [German] plant produces some 1,200 cars a day, more than the 1,015 that Ford planners had anticipated, and requires 7,762 workers. Its counterpart at Halewood, with virtually identical equipment and production targets, has averaged only about 800 cars a day this year, and 10,040 workers have been needed to achieve even that production level.

    ”Our standards say it should take something like 20 man-hours of labor in both the body and assembly plants to make an Escort,” said Bill Hayden, vice president of manufacturing for Ford Europe Inc., in an interview. ”At Saarlouis, they do it with 21 hours. At Halewood it takes 40 hours.”

    1. That was a comparison of two Ford plants — one unionized in England (lest some people think it was actually in America), one non-union in Germany — from a New York Times piece written in 1981. Whether that can still be considered an accurate comparison, I wouldn’t know. We’d probably want to know if the plants are still in operation and what their production is today.

    2. http://blogs.abcnews.com/polit

      Democrats tell ABC News successful private equity investor Steve Rattner of the investment firm Quadrangle Group has emerged as President-elect Barack Obama’s leading candidate to be “car czar.”

      Known for brokering investment media deals, Rattner began his career as a reporter with the New York Times before leaving for the greener pastures of Wall Street. There, he rose quickly at places like Lehman Brothers, Morgan Stanley, and Lazard FrГЁres. Mr. Rattner is highly regarded for his financial acumen — so highly that a year ago, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg put his fortune — estimated to be worth as much as $13 billion — in Rattner’s hands.

      The so-called “car czar” position does not yet formally exist; Congressional Democrats have been working with the Obama Team on creating it.

  10. from PolicticalWire

    Sources close to Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) tell CNN he will announce Monday afternoon he is retiring from the Senate.

    Voinovich plans to serve out his term, which expires in 2010.

    He will be the fourth Republican senator to announce he will not run for re-election in 2010, joining Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO), Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS).

    My guess is the GOP isn’t going to be putting much in to defeating Bennet as they now have 4 seats to defend in open elections. Ow!

    ps – Not up as a diary because I used up my 2 for the day 🙁

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