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Saturday, January 08, 2005
Sunday's Playoff Games

Denver at Indianapolis. Jake Plummer is 1-2 in road playoff games, having beaten the Dallas Cowboys following the 1998 season and lost at Minnesota the following week. Most pertinently, he lost at Indianapolist last year. He has never played a home playoff game. Peyton Manning is 1-1 in home playoff games, having lost in 1999 to Tennessee and beaten Denver last season. He's 1-3 in road playoff games.

Shanahan obviously wins the coaching battle, as he's won two Super Bowls. But overall I see this one as an easy win for the Colts.

Minnesota at Green Bay. Green Bay's the obvious choice here. Dome team, cold field, Favre in the playoffs versus Culpepper, Sherman versus Tice. The Vikings could win, but there really is no reason to expect it.
Friday, January 07, 2005
Innocent of What?

Andrew Sullivan:

Up to 90 percent of the inmates at Abu Ghraib, who were by any definition protected by the Geneva Conventions, were innocent.

Many innocent men and boys were raped, brutally beaten, crucified for hours (a more accurate term than put in "stress positions"), left in their own excrement, sodomized, electrocuted, had chemicals from fluorescent lights poured on them, forced to lie down on burning metal till they were unrecognizable from burns - all this in Iraq alone, at several prisons as well as Abu Ghraib.

Let's agree that most of what Sullivan describes here, shouldn't be done even to guilty prisoners. But as long as he raises the issue, what exactly does he mean by innocent? Were they innocent in the sense that they had never done anything to deserve imprisonment? Or were they innocent in the sense that they had not been tried by a jury of their peers and found guilty? The Mudville Gazette says that the prisoners in the photos at Abu Ghraib were ordinary criminals who were transferred to that high security unit for fighting elsewhere. In fairness, Sullivan states that what he is talking about is not solely Abu Ghraib.
That Emerging Democratic Majority

Some of the comments on this post by Lorie Byrd at Polipundit amused me.

Dem gains in “red states” are also conveniently ignored here too….Dems did pretty well in Colorado and New Hampshire this last cycle… and anyone notice how Montana is turning bluer ????

Bush did not do as well in Montana last year as he did in 2000. He still got 61% of the vote. To give an idea of the magnitude of Kerry's defeat, though, Bush improved his share of the vote by 1% or more in 27 states. He declined by 1% or more in 8 states.
Ted Kennedy's Continuing Parody--UPDATED

From yesterday's hearings on AG nominee Gonzales:

Now, the Post article states you chaired several meetings at which various interrogation techniques were discussed. These techniques included the threat of live burial and waterboarding, whereby the detainee is strapped to a board, forcibly pushed under water, wrapped in a wet towel and made to believe he might drown.

Well, if anybody knows about making people think they might drown....

Hat Tip: Crush Kerry

Update: Kitty has a clip of Kennedy stating that as a human being he could not imagine making somebody think they were drowning.
The Democrat's Juicy Fruit Moment

Our buddy the Writing Partner over at Crush Kerry has a delicious article this morning on the continuing meltdown of the Democratic Party, and what they need to do to overcome it. (Don't worry, they won't take his advice).
Who Says Conservatives Aren't Hip?

Check out this thread over at Lucianne on the "controversy" over Kid Rock performing at a youth concert during the inaugural. Virtually all the posters have commented that those who don't want to listen to Kid Rock can pass on the concert.

Being an old fogey, I don't know a thing about his music. His persona, as expressed on several beer commercials, seems to be that of the sly rogue. His politics are certainly appropriate, although I suspect that some of his lyrics are not. But I agree with the vast majority of the posters on Lucianne: the concert ain't for me, and kids like this stuff.
Where Have All The Turkeys Gone?

Where have all the turkeys gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the turkeys gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the turkeys gone?
Conyers' staff have took them every one

Oh when will they ever learn?
Oh when will they ever learn?
Thursday, January 06, 2005
The Readers Are Idiots

That appears to be the conclusion of this, the other Columbia Journalism Review article to receive some attention in the blogs this year.

The embedded readers, who came across as an unusually thoughtful, engaged group, evidenced this tendency [to not want to read depressing news] themselves. At one session the APME attendees and those of the affiliated meeting of the Associated Press Photo Managers were asked to say whether they would have published certain grisly photographs on page one — a shot of Nicole Brown Simpson’s corpse, the burned bodies of American civilian contractors hanging from a bridge in Falluja, and so forth. Electronic voting allowed members of the audience to identify themselves by job (as editors or photo editors), and the embedded readers were also asked to vote. One of the photos rated was the iconic Abu Ghraib photo of a prisoner standing on a box, hooded, with wires attached to each hand. Of those who identified themselves as photo editors, 96 percent said that they either ran or would have run the photo on page one. But 71 percent of the embedded readers said it should not have been run on page one. Asked about the propriety of running photos of terrorists holding hostages, 60 percent of the photo editors were in favor of printing the pictures, but 78 percent of the readers were opposed.

Why don’t readers want to see these things? Why are so many people avoiding the hard task of keeping themselves informed about what is going on in their government and society? Why is ignorance so widespread at a time when higher education is more widely pursued than ever before?

Hmmmm. Well for one thing, the readers did not say they didn't want to see these things. They said they shouldn't be on page one. Now the logical thing to do would be to ask the readers why they felt that way. There could be any number of reasons why the readers didn't want them on page one which have nothing to do with avoiding becoming informed. They could feel that the photos were too disturbing for the front page where they are more likely to be seen by young children. They could feel that running them on the front page was encouraging America's enemies. They could just have felt that the pictures themselves were too offensive to be seen. But Evan Cornog, the writer, doesn't bother himself with any of those possibilities; it's that they're a bunch of ignorant savages who have to be educated by the media so they can know what to think.

Cornog doesn't come right out and declare his political persuasion, but it is not hard to guess.

While each kind of action might be covered in the pages of a local newspaper, clearly it is the world of the justice-oriented citizen that intersects most clearly with the world of journalism, since “root causes” of problems are what journalists seek to identify, and uncovering injustices is one of the raisons d’être of reporters.

He also devotes a paragraph to defending Jimmy Carter's disastrous "malaise speech" (during which IIRC, Carter never used the word malaise) as prescient.

Instapundit links to this rebuttal by Matt Yglesias of a comment by Max Boot in today's LA Times.

Boot said:

Yet I don't recall a single Hollywood feminist expressing gratitude to the U.S. military or its commander in chief for the liberation of Afghan women. No doubt Streisand, Sarandon & Co. were too busy inveighing against the horrors perpetrated by John Ashcroft.

Yglesias responds:

Thanks to the magic of Nexis, I found a December 6, 2001, Guardian article reporting that "Mainstream websites are fairly keen on self-censorship, and include the likes of Barbara Streisand removing anti-Bush remarks in the interests of 'national unity.'" Then there's the Associated Press' coverage of the November 2001 Emmy Awards:

Sunday's show featured a new tribute to entertainers who visit troops during wartime, and included a surprise finale by Barbra Streisand, singing "You'll Never Walk Alone" before a wall decorated with the names of Sept. 11 victims.

(Text that I am quoting is in italics; text that Matt quotes is in boldface)

I guess Matt thinks that removing anti-Bush remarks constitutes an expression of gratitude? And note that Streisand's finale was part of a tribute, not to the US military, but to entertainers who visit troops during wartime. Praising Bob Hope is not the same thing as praising the troops, however praiseworthy Hope was (very, in my opinion).

The rest of Yglesias' "evidence" of gratitude is more of the same. He mentions a SacBee article about Sarandon doing a benefit for the women of Afghanistan (and also, oddly, for the families of undocumented workers who died in the 9-11 attacks--were there a lot of those?), and a Feminist Majority page neither of which contain expressions of gratitude to the US military or the Commander in Chief.
The Reality-Based Community? Part XII

Steve Freeman thinks that we should go by the exit polls. However, oddly, his article includes this:

So why is the response rebellion in the former Soviet Union nations but passive acceptance here? It's not that exit polls are reliable everywhere but here. In fact, both of the exit polls in the Ukraine were flawed. One did not adequately cover the strongholds of the government candidate; the other used face-to-face interviews, thus asking respondents to risk retribution.

Hmmmm, is there any way of doing exit polling without face-to-face interviews? Were the pollsters in the US blindfolded?
Ninth Circuit Court of Pimps and Hos

The Leather Penguin pointed us to this hilarious article about a lawsuit between Evel Knievel and ESPN. Briefly, ESPN published a photo of Evel Knievel with his arms around two women (one of whom was his wife), with a caption that read, "You're never too old to be a pimp." and Knievel and his wife sued for defamation.

Now, I think we can all agree that it was a silly, insensitive caption, and that Knievel should simply have asked for (and received) a retraction. But listen to this "logic" from the Ninth Circus:

"The term 'pimp' as used on the Web site was not intended as a criminal accusation, nor was it reasonably susceptible to such a literal interpretation. Ironically, it was most likely intended as a compliment."

Well, hey, from now on I'm referring to them as the "Ninth Circuit Court of Pimps and Hos". But it's okay, because I intend it as a compliment.
2004 NFL Final Regular Season Power Ratings

Comments: Philly takes a dip on the basis of the game against the Bengals. The spreadsheet has no way of knowing that the starters were resting for that game. But the Eagles were dropping well before this; overall the game against Cincinnati only knocks them down by two points.

The AFC finished an incredible 24 games above .500 this season, the largest margin of games either conference has won the season series by. The best offense was clearly Indianapolis, which scored 49% more points than their opponents allowed in other games. Best defense? Surprisingly it's the Jacksonville Jaguars, who limited their opponents to 72% of their normal points. The league's worst offense was on display in Chicago, while San Francisco boasted the league's most inept defense.

Biggest home field advantage? Baltimore and St Louis tied at 8.3 points. Smallest HFA was Detroit, which actually played 3.3 points better on the road. Oddly enough, every team managed to win at least one game on the road, while in 2003 there were four teams unable to win away from their home park.

NE 112.0
Ind 110.9
Pit 108.2
SD 108.0
Buf 106.7
Phi 106.2
NYJ 105.2
KC 104.5
Den 104.4
Bal 104.3
Cin 101.7
GB 101.5
Jax 100.3
Car 100.1
Atl 99.8
Hou 99.2
TB 98.8
Min 98.6
Was 97.4
Sea 97.4
Mia 97.2
Det 96.2
StL 96.2
Cle 96.0
NYG 95.7
Ten 95.3
AZ 95.1
NO 95.1
Oak 95.1
Dal 93.8
Chi 92.6
SF 86.5
New And Interesting

I found this blog in my referring pages (probably through the "next blog" link); I'd call it a philosophical blog. I loved this post about the difference between love and marriage, and this one with various optical illusions.
The Reality-Based Community? Part XI

Lucianne characterized this as Japanese soldier syndrome.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) is considering launching a challenge to Ohio’s electoral votes when the Senate meets tomorrow to certify the votes of the Electoral College.

The challenge -- should Boxer decide to offer it -- would force a debate in the House and Senate over whether President Bush’s electoral victory will stand. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) is planning to issue a challenge in the House. Conyers and 23 other House members today outlined their reasons for opposing the certification of Ohio’s electors, claiming there were “numerous, serious election irregularities” in Ohio.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Matt Yglesias Then And Now

November 13, 2004:

I'm not sure it makes sense to take a position on Social Security privatization per se because "privatization" could mean any number of things, some of which might be better than the status quo and some of which might be worse. It occurs to me, though, to think of this. Say we didn't have Social Security or some equivalent program and you were a liberal trying to design some government programs to help out old people. What would you do?

snipped to one of Matt's suggestions (halfway through the fourth paragraph):

If you indexed benefit-growth to the growth in prices rather than the growth in wages you could make this "welfare for old people" program relatively insensitive to demographic shifts toward an aging population since wages grow faster than prices (barring severe macroeconomic problems that would stress any social spending program) thus making the burden something the economy could support more-or-less come what may.

January 4, 2005:

The Bush plan will call for a massive cut in promised Social Security benefits by switching from "wage indexing" to "price indexing" as the method of setting the initial benefit level... The true shell game only gets started, however, when the advocates of cuts get around to explaining that nothing's really being cut here because people can make up the difference with the earnings from their private accounts.

The ellipsis simply cuts out other folks' arguments against switching to price indexing, not Yglesias's argument, which we presume remains in favor of price indexing, at least in the event a liberal were to design a new system.
Corey Pein Disobeys the First Rule of Holes

He's still digging (looks like no permalink, so you may have to scroll down a bit):

Just because you can produce a documents similar to the Killian memos very quickly on the computer does not mean the Killian memos are fake. It certainly does not grant someone -- of any qualifications -- the ability to say that they are "100 percent" sure of the memos' origin.

This gets the actual criticism perfectly reversed. The point is NOT than you can duplicate the "Killian" memos with a computer. The point is that you cannot duplicate the "Killian" memos with a typewriter.

He also seems to be a very poor writer for a grad student in journalism at Columbia:

"...seems a week reed...", "...I eagerly await the report of the investigating comission."
From the National Review to Radio to Blogs

Patrick Hynes sums up the course of the Republican Revolution in a brilliant tribute to the National Review.

Loved this bit:

I would literally skip class in college and sit around the apartment drinking beer, reading National Review and The American Spectator and listing to Rush. I justified it by saying I was actually learning more by doing that than by going to class. And I was right.

I'm ashamed to admit that I was a late convert to Rush; although I converted to Republicanism in the 1984 election, I mostly listened to NPR when I wanted talk radio. It was only when NPR decided to ignore the biggest story of 1998 (the impeachment of Bill Clinton) that I decided to listen to El Rushbo. Before that, I'm afraid I had bought into the mainstream media's caricature of him as a blowhard and a know-nothing (even if he was on our side).
Powerline Takes Down Pein

The definitive body-slam on the ridiculous CJR piece on Rathergate.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Will Eisner Passes

As I commented on Lucianne, he was the greatest artist of the storytellers, and the greatest storyteller of the artists. I remember vividly the day in high school when I was walking past a classroom and saw a bunch of people reading comic books. I went in and found in the pile Harvey Spirit #1, probably the single comic that impressed me the most on first reading.
Better Milkers

Here's an interesting comic from ebay. The seller thoughfully scanned a bunch of pages so you can get a good idea of the storyline. The interesting thing about this is that the bad guys, the Pine Tree Milkers, were made by the same company.
Will This Column Sink Campos?

If it doesn't, nothing will. He's snarky all throughout, but this part might be just a bit over the edge:

American Muslims are not the first group to have their loyalty questioned merely because of their religious affiliation. Neoconservatives ought to keep that in mind.

Obviously Campos is falling for the canard that neoconservative=Jew. As a Catholic neocon, I find that pretty offensive; I can only imagine how conservative Jews feel.
Damning Bill Burkett with Faint Praise

Lorie Byrd at Polipundit pointed to this ridiculous article in Columbia Journalism Review. I am sure others will correct the factual errors in the column (Lorie corrects some of the mistaken assumptions here), and the writer does have a few good points (that some blogs treated assumptions as conclusions), but the part that made me chuckle was this:

In November and December the first entry for “Bill Burkett” in Google, the most popular reference tool of the twenty-first century, was on a blog called Fried Man. It classifies Burkett as a member of the “loony left,” based on his Web posts. In these, Burkett says corporations will strip Iraq, obliquely compares Bush to Napoleon and “Adolf,” and calls for the defense of constitutional principles. These supposedly damning rants, alluded to in USA Today, The Washington Post, and elsewhere, are not really any loonier than an essay in Harper’s or a conversation at a Democratic party gathering during the campaign. While Burkett doesn’t like the president, many people in America share that opinion, and the sentiment doesn’t make him a forger.

Bill Burkett, no loonier than your average Democratic party gathering!
Monday, January 03, 2005
Playoff Thoughts

Looking at the Rams-Seahawks, one thing stands out. This is a matchup of two QBs who suffered devastating losses in the playoffs in 2003. Matt Hasselbeck was 25 of 45 for 305 yards, not bad totals. Only one interception, but it was horrific--returned for a TD by Al Harris in overtime to end the game.

Mark Bulger, who also lost in overtime, was 27 for 46 with 332 yards, but he threw three picks, so between the two, you'd probably have to go with Hasselbeck, especially since he was on the road at Green Bay while Bulger started his day with HFA throughout the playoffs.

The Jets are at San Diego, where they won 34-28 in the second week of the season. It is difficult to get excited about their chances otherwise in the Super Bowl tournament. The game against the Chargers was one of only two they won against playoff-bound opponents (they slaughtered the Seahawks at home, 34-17 in Week 15).

Drew Brees had a great regular season. But Brainster's rule #2 of quarterbacks is that they have to establish themselves in the postseason. Chad Pennington has beaten Peyton Manning in a postseason game. He has not won a playoff game on the road, though, and that is significantly harder. (Joe Montana was 1-3 in road playoff games as a 49er, 3-5 overall, and three wins on the road is one of the highest totals of all time).

Coming Tomorrow: The Sunday NFL postseason games preview.


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Brainster in the Media

Howard Kurtz's Media Notes: May 27, 2005

Slate Today's Blogs:

March 16, 2005

May 9, 2005

June 3, 2005

Cited for Breaking the Christmas in Cambodia story (at Kerry Haters):

Hugh Hewitt: KerryHaters was on this story a long time ago. How could the elite media not have asked these questions before now?

Ankle-Biting Pundits: Our friends Pat and Kitty at Kerry Haters deserve the blog equivalent of a Pulitzer for their coverage of Kerry's intricate web of lies regarding Vietnam.

The Weekly Standard

Les Kinsolving

Greatest Hits

What If the Rest of the Fantastic Four Were Peaceniks?

Lefty Bloggers on Gay Witchhunt (linked by 16 blogs including Instapundit)

Kitty Myers Breaks Christmas in Cambodia

Brainster Shows Brinkley Says No Christmas in Cambodia

Explanation of the Blog's Name

Power Ratings Explained

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