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Thursday, August 23, 2007

For my 250th Post, a blast from the past:

Arthur Herman Bremer, the man who attempted to assassinate George Wallace (D-AL, d. 1998), will be released some time this year, according to the Washington Post, having served 35 years of a 53 year sentence. Wallace was the last, greatest hope for segregationists around the nation, and this assassination attempt put an end to his bid for our nation's highest office.

What Mr. Bremer did more than 35 years ago was reprehensible. There is absolutely no excuse for attempting to murder someone just because you disagree with their views, no matter how heinous and indefensible. Voltaire once said, "Monsieur l'abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write." His was a sane and rational view, and one that perfectly summarizes the most critical cornerstone of any free society, one that is liberal in the 18th and 19th century sense of the term. While I disagree vehemently with the tactics the coward Mr. Bremer used, I cannot think that, though it should have been done electorally, the United States is much better having not had him as a president. As awful as Nixon was, at least he wasn't George Wallace, a man I find disgusting not only for his expressed views during and prior to the 1970s, but also for the fact that he didn't even believe in what he said. He was, and I hope I can manage to fit in the deep contempt I have for the term and most of its adherents, a populist, a parasite of the lowest order, and one of the least fit men to ever run for any elected office. If he truly repented of his ways, I hope he's in the heaven he believed in, though I hope he had to do some recompense for the sins of his past. If, as I suspect, he merely did so for cynical political reasons, I hope the opposite.

Now, onto sports: I rate the SEC's football coaching staffs as follows:
1) Urban Meyer, Florida, defending NCAA Div. I-A and SEC Champion
2) Tommy Tuberville, Auburn, one of the most fortunate and talented coaches in the SEC
3) Nick Saban, Alabama. He has one hell of a lot of rebuilding to do after years of neglect by Mike Shula, but can be counted on to pull off a few upsets. He should really come into the height of his powers during the 2008 season.
4) Steve Spurrier, South Carolina. I may hate his little smirk, but he's still one of the most dangerous coaches in the SEC, with 1 national title and 7 conference titles under his belt. His team may not look like much, but he has one of the sharpest minds in all of college football.
5) Houston Nutt, Arkansas. After a spectacular 2006 season, he's still very much on the bubble after a particularly dismal 2005 season. Still, I expect great things from him.
6) Les Miles, LSU. This season will really determine if he has a future in the SEC. Still, he's a fitting replacement for Nick Saban, who led LSU to a national title.
7) Rich Brooks, Kentucky. He's really done well in his efforts to build a solid football team at a school more frequently associated with basketball. He's shown fairly consistent improvement, and I expect this to continue.
8) Mark Richt, Georgia. If he's to continue to build his team into an SEC power, he has his work cut out for him. In any other conference, especially the grossly overrated Pac 10, he would be a star. In a conference loaded with current and former national title holders, though, he has to do more.
9) Philip Fulmer, Tennessee. I think he's the fucking Antichrist, and he's still very much on the bubble after a couple of disastrous seasons. Still, his coaching woes have been ameliorated somewhat, although team discipline seems very much an open question.
10, 11, and 12) I honestly don't know which one of the three is worst, so I'll give a brief description. Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State has shown exactly why Alabama was right not to hire him, even if they were wrong to hire Mike Shula. His teams have been consistently awful, and have shown little to no improvement over that of his predecessor. Just when his teams have started to show promise, other problems have cropped up. Bobby Johnson at Vanderbilt is, well, a Vanderbilt coach and seems almost allergic to success, or at least, unable to grow it in the infertile soil that is Commodores Football. Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss has, during his tenure, managed to prove that, even with very successful recruiting, it is possible to be one of the worst teams in the nation. He should be demoted back to offensive coordinator, a job better suited to his talents. I honestly can't say which of the three bottom coaches is the worst.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Enough with the fluff: The Automotive X-Prize

I've given some thought to the original X-Prize recently. While it led to some amazing innovations in the funding of spaceflight, increases in cost efficiency and improving the environmental impact of space flight, it didn't touch the average person. While space flight is nice, and, I believe, vital to the continuation of the human species, it lacks an immediacy, an impact on their daily lives. However, given its successes, it can be viewed as a proof-of-concept for the much more immediately important Automotive X-Prize. The final draft has yet to be released. However, over 30 teams have already signed letters of intent to compete. The goal of this is to produce a commercially-viable automobile capable of a fuel economy of 100 mpg or equivalent. It is my belief and my hope that this venture will be able to do through the power of human ingenuity and the competitive spirit that drives very nearly all meaningful change what government regulations have thus far failed to do, and do them in a much faster manner than the, ahem, hallowed halls of government bureaucracy are capable of achieving.

When people purchase a car, they typically ask themselves if it looks good, if they can afford it, and if it can do what they need it to do, not necessarily in that order. I think if a car is capable of answering all three of those questions satisfactorily and achieve a fuel economy exceeding 100 mpg, the age of the gas guzzler will well and truly be over, and the environment will be improved as a result.

Of Freedom Fries and Friendship with France:

Recently, I saw on the news that Presidents Bush and Sarkozy (sp?) met, and there was no talk of "freedom fries". The first time I heard that term, I recognized it for the utter dipshittery that it is. Actually, the first time I heard that term, I thought it was a hilarious example of Monty Pythonian humor, but stopped laughing when I realized some people actually took it seriously. The second time I heard the term, I recognized its complete and utter dipshittery. Well, I announce that, long after those voices have been quieted, those people having found several other meaningless ideological battles to fight, I am finally opposed to the term "French fries". To use such a term is a slight against the Belgians, who first perfected the art of frying potatoes. Also, the very process of making "French fries" in the American sense of the term is a complete abortion, geared more towards mass production than quality. The Belgians have perfected this art, and create such wonderful homages to the humble potato in the process. In addition, the English have done quite well for themselves in this area, making their "chips" and dousing them with malt vinegar. So while I do enjoy french fries on occasion, I'm largely opposed to their existence. Instead, I believe they should be called "pommes frites" and prepared as such. To do less is to demean a great vegetable.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I hope you are all mad as hell at this.

I watched Dateline tonight, about the case of David Lemus and Olmedo Hidalgo. For a summation of the story, click here. Summed up even more succinctly, we have two guys who were proven to be nowhere near the scene of the crime imprisoned for 15 years, and two men who were guilty, neither of whom will ever see any time for that crime. Two of New York's finest police officers ended up resigning in disgust, as did an Assistant District Attorney who handled the reinvestigation into this crime for the Manhattan DA's office. Evidence was suppressed, and later ignored. Witnesses unfavorable to the prosecution were ignored and not reinterviewed. Other horrific examples of prosecutorial and police misconduct occurred, and two men lost a huge chunk of their lives as a result. Upon release, Mr. Hidalgo was put in cuffs by Homeland Security and deported to his native country, and Mr. Lemus is facing a retrial at the orders of the Manhattan District Attorney in October of this year.

I'm mad as hell. I'm furious that a system designed to protect and defend the innocent is so obviously and horribly broken. I'm sickened that, instead of striving to correct injustices, these two men and many more like them face a system more interested in preserving convictions than in insuring that justice, whatever that may be in a given case, is served. When I see these cases, I ask myself, "What if that man were my brother, or uncle, or cousin, or father? What if they were someone else I loved? What if that man were me?" In this case, I also ask myself what would have happened with these men were it not for the bravery and integrity of retired Detectives Bobby Addolorato and John Schwartz, men who brought far more honor to their offices than those who finally ended their careers. When faced with such men as Mr. Addolorato and Schwartz, our system should celebrate them, mourn their retirement, encourage them to continue doing what they did so well. This just makes me absolutely sick. I hope Mr. Lemus and Mr. Hidalgo sue those rat-fucking cocksuckers in New York City Hall for everything they have, and especially in the case of Mr. Lemus, I hope justice, delayed though it may be, is preserved. FUCK!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

My endorsement for President:

I know this is a bit late in the game, but I've finally found a Presidential candidate I can support without reservation: Dr. Ron Paul, who, although he's a Republican, more closely embodies the ideals of the Founding Fathers and who more consistently favors a vast reduction of government than any of the other candidates from the two major parties. I disagree with him substantially on social issues and on immigration, but far from being the least of all evils, he's a man of integrity. I often say that I would rather honestly disagree with someone than dishonestly agree with them, and this is such an instance, though even the disagreements are not as significant as with other candidates. I know he will never be President, but if he were elected to that office, our nation would be in excellent hands indeed.

The end of an era:

First, I note with sorrow the passing of The Weekly World News. The absurdist humor and entertainingly fake stories were a source of much amusement and mirth. Sadly, they found they could no longer compete in the fake news business with the leader in the field of manufactured and falsified headlines in print media, the New York Times.

Second, I note with sorrow the acquisition of Dow Jones by Rupert Murdoch, the current leader in manufactured and falsified headlines in the televised media. I think I tried to read the Wall Street Journal, once. I found it a wonderful sedative. Rupert Murdoch is much like the Borg Queen of Star Trek fame, except Alice Krige is far hotter and charming, and the Borg Queen character was an infinitely more sympathetic and cuddly figure. And this is the point where I realize that Ms. Krige is around my mother's age and go to the shrink... Hell, she's still a very dignified-looking hottie.

Third, some bridge up in Minneapolis collapsed, killing 9 and injuring 60. While I also note this with sorrow, I'm even sorrier that CNN (and, I'm assuming, Fox News though I haven't watched it in ages) couldn't find a more relevant story to the nation as a whole. This reeks of the type of "bystander of a roadside accident" drama that has taken the place of actual reporting over the last few years, and I for one am sick and goddamned tired of it. There's more important things going on in this nation than a bridge collapse, such as the impending collapse of Social Security and the near-exponential ballooning of the national debt.

Finally, R Kelly is finally getting his day in court. Although he is entitled to the presumption of innocence in this matter, I believe he's completely guilty of another misdeed that has made him quite rich: Creating shitty music. Jesus GODDAMNED CHRIST ON A POGO STICK!!! "I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky." I didn't know Christians tripped on acid. Fuck!

Thankfully, I have some real music. Enjoy.