Friday, January 21, 2005
Conference Championship Weekend
Gregg Easterbrook points out
that Conference Championships do not always go to the home teams; over the last 14 years the local teams have gone just 16-12. However, that masks what Easterbrook refers to as the Pennsylvania curse: during that time, the two PA (Pittsburgh & Philadelphia) teams have gone 1-5 at home in the Conference Championship game. And of course, that is relevant because this weekend the two games are being played in the Keystone State.
I'm with the oddsmakers on this one; New England seems likely to win, and Philly should finally get over the hump this year and make it to the Super Bowl. But I would caution that both games are really coin flips. Pittsburgh has beaten New England this season already, and Corey Dillon wouldn't have made that much of a difference, given that the Steelers jumped out to an early 21-3 lead and the Patriots were forced to play comeback football.
The Eagles will win if they can hold the Falcons' Michael Vick in check. Vick has not shown much ability as a passer (his passer rating was tied with Tim Rattay's), but he's clearly the most dangerous scrambler the league has ever seen. I agree with the folks who like to say that kind of running is not "sustainable"; sooner or later Vick will get hurt again and everybody will question Jim Mora, Jr.'s judgment in letting him run freely. But until that happens, Vick is going to cause havoc around the NFL. I would not be surprised at all if he (or running back Warrick Dunn) turns out to be the difference in this game. If Philly is going to win, they'd better take the early lead and force Vick to beat them with his arm and not his legs.
If the Protesters Have Bloody Ankles...
It's probably because the Bulldog Pundit
has been gnawing at them.
The actual headline of the story is "Cohesion Missing From Anti-War Movement". We think that by replacing the word "Cohesion" with a number of other words - such as "Sanity", "Logic", "Popular Support", "Common Sense" or "Opposable Thumbs" would have been the more accurate headline (OK, we were just kidding, partly, about that last one).
Nothing but net!
The Reality-Based Community?
Here's an article on folks planning
on moving abroad now that the election's over. Unfortunately, it's still prospective.
The process of becoming a Canadian citizen takes at least two years, and at the moment the authorities in Ottawa say it is impossible to estimate how many US citizens are currently applying. What is certain is that the re-election of George Bush, along with what many perceive as an attendant shift to the right in America's cultural and political environment, has led many desperate Americans to enquire as to how they might get out of Dodge.
Don't let the door hit you on the way out!
Another Liberal Patriot
First Guess Is He's Too Busy Laughing At Your Hair
It Just Wouldn't Be a Protest Without Giant Puppets
Thursday, January 20, 2005
But They Support the Troops
Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Due, right, a U.S. Army recruiter, is surrounded by protesters at Seattle Central Community College, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005, in Seattle. After about a 10-minute standoff during which protesters tore up U.S Army literature, the protesters were successful in getting Due and another recruiter to leave their table under escort by campus security officers.
But the Protesters Aren't Anti-American
They're just burning the flag to keep warm, I suppose.
Hey Gang, What Time Is It?
It's Dowdy-Doody time!
Slow Mo is back with another of her spinster schoolgirl columns
. It's even more insipid than her usual tripe, with Dowd "proving" that Secretary of State to be Condoleezza Rice doesn't know elementary subjects. Now, you might think that a woman who gripes all the time about how no man wants her because she's too smart might have a little sympathy for a super-intelligent, single woman. Guess again!
Her geometry is skewed if she thinks she'll now be more powerful than Rummy and Dick Cheney. Doesn't she know that the Pentagon has more sides than her Crawford triangle with George and Laura?
Two can play at that game. Hey, Maureen if only Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones had agreed to your suggestion of a menage a trois
, you wouldn't be a shriveled-up and bitter skank. Well, actually you would still be a shriveled-up skank, but you wouldn't be quite as bitter.
Just for Fun
I thought I'd pay a little visit to the New York Times archives search
. Way back in the first post
on this blog, I checked the Times for the terms "moderate Republicans" and "moderate Democrats". Since then, the Howell Raines firing and the hiring of an ombudsman in the form of Dan Okrent have happened, so I thought it would be a good idea to look at how things have changed. I searched from 1/1/04 to the present. Results?
"Moderate Republican": 55 instances
"Moderate Democrat": 10 instances
The point, of course, is that Democrats don't require the "moderate" or "good doggy" label anywhere near as often as Republicans.
How about the old standbyes, "Liberal Democrat" and "Conservative Republican"?
"Liberal Democrat": 47 instances
"Conservative Republican": 63 instances
Actually that's a pretty good improvement over the bad old days. If we look from January 1, 2000-January 1, 2004 the bias is more obvious:
"Liberal Democrat": 191 instances
"Conservative Republican": 388 instances.
Gun-Grabber Michael Moore's Bodyguard Busted for Carrying an Unlicensed Weapon
pointed me to this one
Update: This post at Moorewatch
indicates that the story may have been overblown by Fox News; the security company that the bodyguard works for says that the man arrested was never a bodyguard for Moore.
Correction: They say "Though I realize a Michael Moore connection would be of interest to your web site, Patrick Burk is not Michael Moore’s bodyguard, and has never been employed by Michael Moore." I suspect that this is weasel speak for "Yes, he did act as Moore's bodyguard in the past but he was employed by us."
Airhead America A Success?--Updated!
That's what this article
in the Wall Street Journal (!) says. Of course, the news pages of the WSJ are not as reliably conservative as the editorial pages, and the article strikes an occasional cheerleading tone and uses questionable statistics like this:
In New York, Ms. Rhodes is tied with conservative Sean Hannity for the talk-show host that listeners spent the most time with each week in the fall season, according to Arbitron. Ms. Rhodes points out that she reached that level after just a few months of national exposure, and without the television show and book Mr. Hannity has to boost his public profile.
Obvious question: What do they mean by the term "listeners spent the most time with each week"? They don't mean that Rhodes' audience was the same size as that of Hannity, just that the folks who listen to Rhodes listen religiously (or should I say irreligiously?).
Update: Okay, I read the comment about Rhodes' audience again and it's even goofier than it seems. Basically the writer is saying that on average, Rhodes' audience members spent X hours a week listening to her, and that Hannity's audience members spent the same X hours a week listening to him. What's so goofy about that? Well, Hannity is on for three hours a day, five days a week for a total of 15 hours, while Rhodes is on for four hours a day, five days a week for a total of 20 hours. In other words, Rhodes' audience members listen to 25% less of her show on average per week than Sean Hannity's audience members listen to his show.
The Wisconsin Recount II
Back in December, I put up a short post
with a link to an article noting that there was no interest in a Wisconsin recount, despite the fact that it had gone for Kerry by a much smaller margin than Ohio had gone for Bush.
Well, interest in Wisconsin has been heating up over the last week or so. Captain Ed has been
doing a great job
of keeping track and moving the story forward with sharp analysis
; such a great job that he gets a mention in yesterday's Washington Times
At the same time, it's curious that Mr. Kerry should use Ohio as an example to trumpet his forthcoming legislation. Apparently, Mr. Kerry sees no evil in Wisconsin, where his margin of victory was 11,000 votes, and where the watchful bloggers at Captainsquartersblog.com have noticed some disturbing irregularities. Milwaukee County, which broke for Mr. Kerry 62 percent to 37 percent, saw voter turnout increase by just under 49,000 votes, or 10 percent, from 2000. For comparison, the national voter increase was 6.4 percent. A portion of that increase can be attributed to the 83,000 people who completed a same-day registration, which is more than 20 percent of all voting-age residents in the county. Blogger Captain Ed is rightly suspicious: "Now, Wisconsinites may procrastinate a bit, but in order to believe that number, you'd have to expect that 20% of the county had moved or became newly eligible within the past two years (after the previous election cycle)." The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also reports that now 10,000 of those registrations cannot be verified, or just under the number of votes that clinched the state for Mr. Kerry.
As I commented over at CQ, this is the second time that the Washington Times has run a "Captain Ed-itorial". Captain's Quarters
is the blog that all the smart conservatives are reading.
See If You Can Avoid Smirking
While reading this Thomas Friedman column
on the dismay in Europe over President Bush's reelection. This was the part that gave me a grin:
"Europeans were convinced that Kerry had won on election night and were telling themselves that they knew all along that Americans were not all that bad - and then suddenly, as the truth emerged, there was a feeling of slow resignation: 'Oh well, we've been dreaming,' " said Dominique Moisi, one of France's top foreign policy analysts. "In fact, real America is moving away from us. We don't share the same values. ... In France it was a very emotional issue. It was as if Americans were voting for the president of France as much as for president of the United States."
We often commented over at Kerry Haters that Kerry was better suited to be the president of France.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Michael King has some hilarious photos that Bill Gates
would probably pay to destroy.
Then Why Poll at All?
The report on the exit polling fiasco is out. Gerry Daly has some great analysis
, which appears to indicate that the problem was young people with advanced degrees (i.e., likely liberals) doing most of the polling.
I was amused at this paragraph in the report
(PDF file warning):
It is also important to note that the exit poll estimates did not lead to a single incorrect NEP winner projection on election night. The Election Night System does not rely solely on exit polls in its computations and estimates. After voting is completed, reported vote totals are entered into the system. Edison/Mitofsky and the NEP members do not project the outcome of close races until a significant number of actual votes are counted.
Well, that's like saying I'll make a prediction for the outcome of the New England/Pittsburgh game this weekend, but I won't release it until midway through the fourth quarter, after I've seeded in the actual score at that point in the game. And it sidesteps the fact that the incorrect exit polls resulted in the NEP members holding off on predicting some states that went easily for President Bush.
Note To Democratic Party Chairman Aspirants
Airing commercials like this
will probably not endear you to the party faithful
She has an amusing look at the hysterical blindness
of the liberals, which then turns serious as it shows the consequences of that blindness.
She also points out that the Donald doesn't have to pay retail
The Social Security Crisis
QandO has a great post
on how the rhetoric has changed. Suddenly the Dems are saying there's no crisis in Social Security. Anybody remember Al Gore's lockbox? I guess the Democrats are saying that it was never really needed.
Hat Tip: Captain's Quarters
Pat Hynes Debates Kos on Radio!
The program will be broadcast live
at 2:30 Eastern time. Tune in and listen to the Kerry Crusher steamroll a top liberal blogger.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Hugh asks for some reasons
the Democrats should elect Dean as their leader. I thought about it, and what a leader of a party has to be able to do is the following:
1. Recruit new workers and members to the party. Dean can argue that he did this.
2. Find new sources of money. Ditto.
3. Spend that money wisely and show solid results. Errr...
4. Not embarrass the party in TV appearances. Ummmm...
On #3, remember that Dean spent something like $42 million on Iowa and New Hampshire, for which he received a fourth place finish and a runner-up. In addition, Dean started a fund-raising effort for a group of politicians he called the Dean Dozen. There were several different Dean Dozens, but here's the first, and how they did:
Mary Ann Andreas for State Assembly, CA: Lost 42-58
Ken Campbell for State House, SC: Lost
Mary Chapelle for State House, MO: Won (Unopposed)
Scott Clark, Mark Manoil & Nina Trasoff for the Arizona Corporation Commission: All lost
Kim Hynes for State Representative, CT: Lost
Richard Morrison for US House of Representatives, TX: Lost
Barack Obama for US Senate, IL: Won
Rob MacKenna for Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections: Lost
Monica Palacios-Boyce for Massachusetts State Representative: Lost
Lori Saldaña for State Assembly, CA: Won
Jeff Smith for US House of Representatives, MO: Lost (in Democratic Primary)
Donna Red Wing for State House, CO: Lost
Now, Dean cheated here a bit; there are actually fourteen candidates (he counted the slate of three candidates for Arizona Corporation Commission as one), so overall Dean was three of fourteen. But one of the candidates was unopposed, and another (Obama Osama, as Teddy calls him) might as well have been unopposed, so really Dean was one for twelve, and that one was a state assemblywoman.
That's a pretty breathtaking indictment of Governor Dean's ability to allocate scarce time and resources to candidates with a chance of winning.
Twice a Hero
Who is Rick Rescorla
That story just blows me away.
His wife is trying to get a statue made
. I can't think of a more worthy cause.
Hat Tip: Hugh Hewitt
The Reality-Based Community?
Salon does a story on the "34 scandals from the first four years of George W. Bush's presidency -- every one of them worse than Whitewater."
I didn't feel like watching one of their commercials, so I only read the first scandal listed:
From 2001 to 2003, Republican staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee illicitly accessed nearly 5,000 computer files containing confidential Democratic strategy memos about President Bush's judicial nominees. The GOP used the memos to shape their own plans and leaked some to the media.
First of all, it should be obvious that the "scandal", to the extent it exists, originated with "Republican staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee". So how does it become linked to the Bush Administration? A very comparable scandal was the famous incident
when a couple of Democrats "just happened" to intercept a cell phone call from Newt Gingrich and the tape was leaked by a Democratic member of Congress; to my knowledge nobody tried to claim this was a scandal of the Clinton Administration.
Second, the old rule of thumb is that you lead with your strongest argument, your strongest case. If this is the top scandal that Salon lists, the rest have to be pretty weak beer indeed.
Monday, January 17, 2005
This Proves There's No Liberal Media
George Monbiot (possibly the inspiration for "Moonbat?") proves it in the Guardian
The first involves the broadcaster CBS. In September, its 60 Minutes programme ran an investigation into how George Bush avoided the Vietnam draft. It produced memos which appeared to show that his squadron commander in the Texas National Guard had been persuaded to "sugarcoat" his service record. The programme's allegations were immediately and convincingly refuted: Republicans were able to point to evidence suggesting the memos had been faked. Last week, following an inquiry into the programme, the producer was sacked, and three CBS executives were forced to resign.
The incident couldn't have been more helpful to Bush. Though there is no question that he managed to avoid serving in Vietnam, the collapse of CBS's story suggested that all the allegations made about his war record were false, and the issue dropped out of the news. CBS was furiously denounced by the rightwing pundits, with the result that between then and the election, hardly any broadcaster dared to criticise George Bush. Mary Mapes, the producer whom CBS fired, was the network's most effective investigative journalist: she was the person who helped bring the Abu Ghraib photos to public attention. If the memos were faked, the forger was either a moron or a very smart operator.
It's true, of course, that CBS should have taken more care. But I think it is safe to assume that if the network had instead broadcast unsustainable allegations about John Kerry, none of its executives would now be looking for work. How many people have lost their jobs, at CBS or anywhere else, for repeating bogus stories released by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth about Kerry's record in Vietnam? How many were sacked for misreporting the Jessica Lynch affair? Or for claiming that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear weapons programme in 2003? Or that he was buying uranium from Niger, or using mobile biological weapons labs, or had a hand in 9/11? How many people were sacked, during Clinton's presidency, for broadcasting outright lies about the Whitewater affair? The answer, in all cases, is none.
Heh, yeah, nobody was fired at CBS for passing along the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth's stories about Kerry, so that proves the media are conservative. Except of course that nobody at CBS actually passed along the Swiftees' stories about Kerry, so there was nobody to fire.
Field Goals at Heinz
Since the Jets lost due to two missed field goals of 40+ yards on Saturday, and since the announcer mentioned that nobody had ever kidded a field goal of more than 50 yards at Ketchup Field, I thought I'd take a quick look at the recent history of field goal attempts there.
I examined all field goal attempts at Heinz Field for the last two years. There were a total of 63 attempts, of which 53 were good, for a success ratio of 84%. That is above the league average, which is about 82%. Some of that may be due to Pittsburgh's kicker Jeff Reed, who's 31 of 34 for a success rate of 91%; opposing kickers have gone 22 for 29, or 76%. I don't know if there is a home/road advantage to field goal kicking percentage, but it is likely. Visiting teams are more apt to be behind and therefore more likely to attempt longer field goals in an attempt to get back into the game. There is some evidence for this in the record at Heinz Field. Opponents attempted their field goals from an average of 36.2 yards out, while the Steelers attempted theirs from an average distance of 32.6 yards, 3.6 yards closer. And this differential was higher in 2004 at 4.2 yards when the Steelers were more likely to be leading at home than in 2003 at 2.8 yards.
There were only two attempts in the two years of 48 yards or longer; both missed. However, there were 7 attempts from 46-47 yards, and 5 or 71% were good. Let's just present it as a table:
50+ 2 0 0%
46-50 7 5 71%
41-45 11 9 82%
36-40 8 8 100%
31-35 13 12 92%
26-30 8 6 75%
17-25 14 13 93%
This includes the Jets game, so going into that contest, the kickers had made 5 of 6 from 46-50 and 9 of 10 from 41-45, so we can estimate the likelyhood of the Jets making one of those two kicks at about 98.3% going into the game, at 94.8% using the percentages that applied after the two misses. Ouch!
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Anti-Racist Math Inaction
Here's the story of a school district that instituted a new kind of mathematics
In 2001 Mr. Young, Mrs. Wyatt and an assortment of other well-paid school administrators, defined the new number-one priority for teaching mathematics, as documented in the curriculum benchmarks, "Respect for Human Differences - students will live out the system wide core of 'Respect for Human Differences' by demonstrating anti-racist/anti-bias behaviors." It continues, "Students will: Consistently analyze their experiences and the curriculum for bias and discrimination; Take effective anti-bias action when bias or discrimination is identified; Work with people of different backgrounds and tell how the experience affected them; Demonstrate how their membership in different groups has advantages and disadvantages that affect how they see the world and the way they are perceived by others..." It goes on and on.
The bad news is that test scores are down. The good news is that racism in math class is at an all-time low.
Hat Tip: The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
This Will Solve the Bias Problem at CBS
Word is they're looking at Katie Couric
Saturday's Playoff Games
There is a tendency to say that the Jets should not have even been in the game against Pittsburgh; take the two long returns out and the Steelers win easily. But really there is not a lot to chose from among the teams statistically. Pennington had the better passer rating (65.5 to 57.8), making this the only game of the playoffs so far where the lower-rated passer won. The Steelers did outgain the Jets on the ground, but by less than half a yard per attempt. The big difference is that they rushed a lot more--43 times to the Jets' 27.
Of course, the big news on the day was that Ben Roethlisberger suddenly looked like a rookie. He will have to play quite a bit better than this next weekend if the Steelers are going to get to the Super Bowl, and I would not be surprised to see the Steelers as home underdogs for the AFC title game.
As for the Atlanta/St. Louis game, what can I say? The Rams let the Falcons run all over them. You won't lose many games where you get 327 yards rushing at 8.2 yards a pop. Barring injury, it will be a white quarterback versus a black quarterback in the Super Bowl, and to a certain extent you could say the white quarterback style versus the black quarterback style. The black quarterbacks can beat you with their feet as well as their arms, while the white quarterbacks are slower and not as stocky, but pass just enough better for the scales to come out reasonably balanced.
Lest you think I'm engaging in racism here, look at the black QBs remaining compared to the white guys. The white guys rushed 124 times for 210 yards. The black QBs rushed twice as often (249) for seven times as many yards (1528). Ben Roethlisberger was the most effective rusher among the white QBs, averaging 2.6 yards per carry. Daunte Culpepper was (arguably) the least effective rusher among the black QBs at 4.6 yards per attempt.