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Friday, August 15, 2008
 
Preacher John McCain

Another inspiring story from the Senator's POW days:

About six months later, they were back in the ironically named Hanoi Hilton, and Day, the senior officer, chose McCain as the group's chaplain. His first lesson — he doesn't like to call them sermons — recounted the biblical story of the man who asked Jesus whether he should pay taxes. Jesus replied, "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and render unto God what is God's."

McCain's point was that the prisoners should not pray for freedom, nor for harm to come to their captors.

"What I was trying to tell my fellow prisoners is that we were doing Caesar's work when we got into prison, so we should ask for God's help to do the right thing and for us to get out of prison if it be God's will for us to do so," McCain said. "Not everybody agreed with that."
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Thursday, August 14, 2008
 
NY Media Bias Alert

I was flipping through the August 4, 2008 Sports Illustrated today, which includes a long feature on the amazing play in the Super Bowl, where Eli Manning avoided the sack, heaved the ball downfield, and David Tyree caught the ball against his helmet. The play set up the Giants’ touchdown to win the ballgame, one of the great upsets in Super Bowl history.



I had the feeling, as soon as Manning broke free, that this was going to be a legendary moment in the history of the New York Giants. But of course, since New York is the center of the universe, I underestimated:

“It’s the greatest play in Super Bowl history, says Steve Sabol, the NFL films president who has been chronicling the league since his father, Ed, started the company in 1962. Considering the play’s stage and subplots, perhaps it’s fair to see Sabol’s claim and raise him: Call it the greatest play in NFL history.”

That is nonsense. It was a great play, no denying that. But there are two plays that I consider to be the greatest in NFL history, and both of them dwarf that one in terms of significance:

1. Franco Harris’ immaculate reception. This was the defining play of the 1970s, and it is arguable that without it, history would have been vastly different. First, it got the Pittsburgh Steelers their first postseason win ever. Up to that point, the Steelers, not the Cardinals, had been the laughingstock of the NFL. More important, it got them over the Raider hump; this was crucial because the Steelers would face the Raiders in the AFC Championship game during their first two Super Bowl-winning seasons. It also helped the undefeated Miami Dolphins complete their perfect season, as the Raiders regularly defeated the Dolphins back then, and the Dolphins staggered through the playoffs.



2. Dwight Clark’s The Catch. A play that started a dynasty, and announced that Joe Montana was going to be a force to reckon with.



And an equally terrific play was Kenny Stabler to Clarence Davis in 1973. Not finding a YouTube video of it, but on fourth down, with 8 seconds left on the clock, Stabler was being tackled from behind. He was almost to his knees when he hurled the ball towards Davis, who was surrounded by Miami Dolphins. Somehow, out of the sea of hands, Davis caught the ball and held onto it, ending the Dolphins reign as two-time defending champions of the NFL.

So, no, this is not the greatest play in the history of the NFL. It was a spectacular play, one of the finest ever in a Super Bowl. But the other plays were equally spectacular and historically important. If Eli Manning goes on to rack up some more titles and the Giants become a dynasty, then maybe we'll look back at this as the moment, and then maybe it will qualify for the short list. Until then, no.
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008
 
Wottle's Kick

Those of us who are old enough will probably never forget this terrific race from the 1972 Olympics in Munich:



I was a cross-country runner my freshman year of high school. The first couple of meets we had, I tried to keep up with the leaders at the beginning of the race, and found myself unable to contend late, dropping back as I became exhausted. The first couple of races I finished next to last, only beating one poor guy on our team who was hopeless.

So when we went to a bit meet in Iona, NY, with something like 500 runners, I decided not to wear myself out early. I was last or near last as we entered the woods, about 1/4 of the way into the race. But I was running easily and not fatigued like I had been in my earlier races. And I started passing people. Lots of people. When we came out of the woods and headed towards the finishing line, my coach was yelling at me to run harder. I still had a little bit of energy left, and passed a couple more people. At the finish line they had the runners were funneled into a rope-line. I looked ahead and was startled to see that there were maybe 20 boys ahead of me in the line.

So after that, I always took it easy in the beginning and made sure I had something left to give at the end. Unfortunately before the end of the season I pulled a muscle in my lower leg during a meet and was out for the season, so I didn't keep up my running. But I was thrilled at Wottle's victory because it confirmed that my strategy had been right.

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It's All About the O

Heheh, the creator of the O symbol still fantasizes that it's going to take the world by storm:

He also E-mailed me last night to say that the hits on the artwork have inspired him to push even harder to build a movement around the hand signal. Here's what he wrote: "Our symbol 'O' is about much more than Barack Obama. It's a symbol of unity, hope, solidarity, and an end to the divisiveness that has plagued this country for too long. It is the peace sign of our generation; a sign for those who are tired of the fear, the hatred, the greed, and the ignorance. There will be resistance, democracy requires it, but we believe that the good in the American people will persevere.


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Tuesday, August 12, 2008
 
Obama's Age Problem

Covered here.

I found the lead anecdote amusing:

"Kids today have been given everything they want, and don't have to work for it. They have no respect for authority," said Rutherford, standing at the bar at the Elks lodge here. "They'll make remarks right to the face of the [mall] cops. I get to the point where I want to do something," he said, cocking a fist as if to threaten a punch. "But the police say we can't, that we just have to stand there." It makes him worry for the country. "I see it going the Roman way."


So old folks hating on punks is the reason Obama's going to lose? And this is just wrong:

Even as younger voters are showing signs of breaking with years of lackluster turnout to support him, Obama is facing singular resistance from voters over 65. That age group turns out at the highest rate on Election Day and is disproportionately represented in the swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania; Bill Clinton and Al Gore both relied on it in winning the Democrats' only popular-vote majorities of the past two decades.


In fact, neither Bill Clinton nor Al Gore had popular-vote majorities; Clinton in 1996 got 49.23% of the vote, while Gore in 2000 managed 48.38%.
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Monday, August 11, 2008
 
McCain Plagiarism Scandal?

Oh, boy are they scraping the bottom of the barrel today:

A Wikipedia editor emailed Political Wire to point out some similarities between Sen. John McCain's speech today on the crisis in Georgia and the Wikipedia article on the country Georgia. Given the closeness of the words and sentence structure, most would consider parts of McCain's speech to be derived directly from Wikipedia.


Most? Most what? Most liberals with an axe to grind? Check out these purported instances:

one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion (Wikipedia)

vs.

one of the world's first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion (McCain)


And that's the best one. Now you can argue that maybe McCain's speechwriter culled the basic factoid from Wikipedia (or from a common source), but there are a limited number of ways to enunciate that fact once you have it.

Here's a real stretch:

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Georgia had a brief period of independence as a Democratic Republic (1918-1921), which was terminated by the Red Army invasion of Georgia. Georgia became part of the Soviet Union in 1922 and regained its independence in 1991. Early post-Soviet years was marked by a civil unrest and economic crisis. (Wikipedia)

vs.

After a brief period of independence following the Russian revolution, the Red Army forced Georgia to join the Soviet Union in 1922. As the Soviet Union crumbled at the end of the Cold War, Georgia regained its independence in 1991, but its early years were marked by instability, corruption, and economic crises. (McCain)


Again at worst, the McCain speechwriter has taken some fact from the Wikipedia entry, and reworked the writing. Hey, they should hire this guy as an editor; his prose reads much better than Wikipedia.

And the third one is completely ridiculous:

In 2003, Shevardnadze (who won reelection in 2000) was deposed by the Rose Revolution, after Georgian opposition and international monitors asserted that the 2 November parliamentary elections were marred by fraud. The revolution was led by Mikheil Saakashvili, Zurab Zhvania and Nino Burjanadze, former members and leaders of Shavarnadze's ruling party. Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as President of Georgia in 2004. Following the Rose Revolution, a series of reforms was launched to strengthen the country's military and economic capabilities. (Wikipedia)

vs.

Following fraudulent parliamentary elections in 2003, a peaceful, democratic revolution took place, led by the U.S.-educated lawyer Mikheil Saakashvili. The Rose Revolution changed things dramatically and, following his election, President Saakashvili embarked on a series of wide-ranging and successful reforms. (McCain)


Wonkette is similarly unimpressed:

What kind of idiot thinks he can use the unique phrase “the Soviet Union in 1922″ or the archaic term “economic crises” and, somehow, get away with it? If anything, he’s damn lucky that people didn’t call him out for stealing the term “Cold War” from Wikipedia, too.


And Blog PI puts it well:

Pretty soon they’ll be accused of doing research.
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Retard Alert

At the HuffnPuff, Blake Fleetwood:

What is most interesting is that McCain's chief foreign policy aide, Randy Scheunemann, has been advising/ lobbying for pro-western Georgia for the last four years.

Can't your just imagine what happened.

Randy lets it be known to the Georgian President that this would be a good time for Georgian troops to invade South Ossetia, which had been an autonomous territory for more than a decade. The Georgians didn't take much persuading, as they had been wanting to crack down with their troops for a long time.


And Fleetwood is not one of the airhead celeb bloggers; his bio notes:

Blake Fleetwood was formerly on the staff of The New York Times and has written for The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, The New York Daily News, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Village Voice, Atlantic and the Washington Monthly on a number of issues.
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