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Saturday, December 24, 2005
NFL Week 16

The playoff seeds filled in a little better on Saturday. The Chargers saw their bid to make the playoffs get stuck in the mud in Kansas City, while the Redskins moved one step closer to a guaranteed wild card and the possibility of a divisional title.



#1--Indianapolis (locked in)
#2--Denver (locked in)
#3--Cincinnati (could drop to #4 with a loss at KC and two wins by New England)
#4--New England (cannot drop)
#5--Jacksonville (locked in)
#6--Pittsburgh (not locked in but would need to lose to Detroit at home and Kansas City to win at home against Cincinnati to miss the playoffs)


#1--Seattle (locked in)
#2--Chicago (not locked in, but need only a win in the next two games, against Green Bay or Minnesota in the final game)

It's still something of a jumble from here, with the Giants, Cowboys, Redskins, Bucs, Panthers and Vikings duking it out for the final four spots. Tampa Bay looks in the best spot, needing only to win at home against the New Orleans Saints, while Dallas and Minnesota need to win and get lots of help from other teams.
Hoaxer Getting Helped by Journalists?

This story ticks me off.

Not the hoax itself; that's a typical antiwar college student being an idiot. But get this bit:

At the request of the two professors and the university, The Standard-Times has agreed to withhold his name.

That's absurd. He's not a child, he's 22 years old, which indicates he's probably a senior in college. He tried to become a hero to the left wing, but he's been exposed as a fraud. His name is part of the story.
Actually It Means the "Minutemen" Are Losing

Antiwar kooks are celebrating the withdrawal of some US troops from Iraq as a victory for their "movement".

Pat Salomon with Peace Action told Cybercast News Service that the announcement "really is a result of the unpopularity of the war and the unpopularity of this president." She added that the planned troop cut is "a wonderful victory for the people who are pushing towards peace."

Actually Bush's job approval rating is moving well up; Rasmussen shows him at 49%. Yesterday he was at 50%.
Friday, December 23, 2005
A Contrarian View on the Transit Strike

Our buddy Chris checks in with a union man's perspective.

I don't have a position on the strike myself, other than to be relieved that I'm not working in New York anymore, so I don't have to deal with the hassle.
Dr K On the Impeachment Talk

Like George Will, he believes that the better approach would have been to work with Congress to change the law. But his contempt for the impeachment chatter is pretty evident:

Administration critics, political and media, charge that by ordering surveillance on communications of suspected al Qaeda agents in the United States, the president clearly violated the law. Some even suggest that Bush has thereby so trampled the Constitution that impeachment should now be considered. (Barbara Boxer, Jonathan Alter, John Dean and various luminaries of the left have already begun floating the idea.) The braying herds have already concluded, Tenet-like, that the president's actions were slam-dunk illegal. It takes a superior mix of partisanship, animus and ignorance to say that.
A Tribute to the Pogues

Our buddy and fellow Mick, Patrick Hynes remembers the greatest rock band that most of you never heard of. Check out the picture here, which goes a long way towards explaining why they were unable to capitalize fully on their incredible talents. You can download the song that Patrick rhapsodizes about here; it is every bit as wonderful as he says.

Another tribute to the Pogues and Fairytale of New York at Bright (B)light Cafe.
Book Report: What's the Matter with Kansas?

I borrowed this from the library for the trip back east to visit my family. The author, Thomas Frank, sets out to explain why Kansas, which demographically he sees as a natural Democratic bastion, has become a solid red state.

The book is mostly descriptive, rather than prescriptive. Democrats looking for a way to break the Republican stranglehold on the state will find it only by implication. Frank believes that the reason for Kansas voting Republican is that the Democrats have abandoned economic populism (i.e., redistributionist policies).

The problem with this explanation is that Kansas has been Republican for a lot longer than the Democrats have renounced redistributionism. He admits that no Democrat has been elected to the US Senate from Kansas since 1932.

Frank gets around this by the usual Leftist claim that somehow modern Republicans are much more conservative than the brand that applied up until the early 1990s. There is some validity to this argument in that Republicans feel free to be more conservative than they used to be when they were the minority party. But to a large degree, Republicans are more conservative because the country is more conservative.

The book is replete with undiscovered and undocumented assumptions. Throughout, Frank states that by voting Republican, the people of Kansas are committing economic suicide. Why? Obviously it is because he believes that the Democrats' policies are far better for the working and middle class, but nowhere does he explain why. It is so self-evident to him that he ignores that this is far from settled.

The book is also suffused with ill-concealed disgust with Kansas and Kansans. Frank himself grew up in Kansas, although he now lives in Chicago. He apparently believes that Kansas was in a golden age when he lived there, but it has gone completely to seed since.

His thesis is essentially that there are two types of Republicans, which he calls the Mods and the Cons. The Mods are the wealthy moderates, who are uncomfortable with the Con positions on abortion and homosexuality, but go along with the program because the Cons deliver goodies for them in the form of tax cuts. The Cons don't get much for their support of the party other than lip service to their positions.

Perhaps the most revealing part of the book is when Frank describes his conversion to liberalism. Frank claims to have been a solid conservative as a youth, participating in the high school debate team as a free-trade, pro-capitalist firebrand. But then he went to college and wasn't selected for any of the exclusive fraternities. This awakened his class consciousness and he realized that he was not a member of the elite.

The book also contains numerous contradictions. For example, in one early passage he notes that in the past, colleges weren't known as hotbeds of liberalism in the past; they were considered finishing schools for the rich. But later, when he decries the attempt by modern conservatives to see themselves as similar to the abolitionists of the 1850s, he notes that the hotbeds of anti-slavery sentiment were the colleges and universities of the time.

Frank appears to believe that if the Democrats were to embrace a more populist and redistributionist policy, that many of the Cons would be forced to choose between their wallet and their beliefs. I don't buy it. Redistribution did not work in the Soviet Union to improve the living conditions of the working class, and it is not working in Western Europe today.

In American politics, because of the two party system, if an issue arises we can usually count on one party to take one side of the issue, and one party to take the other side. But if the issue becomes largely settled (take for example, free trade) then both sides deemphasize the issue and it becomes a fringe issue. The problem for the American Left, and Frank himself, is that the issue of redistribution has been taken off the table. He may want the Democrats to bring it back, but it sure doesn't look like that's a winning approach to me.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Transit Strike Blogging

Our buddy the Man at GOP & the City is on the scene.

My one transit strike story: When I was working in New York City, there was a strike on the PATH trains that took us from Hoboken to Manhattan, so I couldn't take the train to Hoboken, I had to take the bus. Back then there were smoking cars on the trains, so I had never sat next to a smoker. On the bus of course, there was no smoking section, so I often sat next to smokers. The aroma of tobacco smoke from their clothes was gag-worthy in the morning.
Important Stuff

Our buddy Chris catches a Brit journalist making a mistake while trying to embarrass President Bush for making another mistake. But he misses the real scoop in the story: the president's IPOD includes a song by the Archies? Of course, there is only one song that could be; Sugar Sugar! Gaaaaahhhhhh!
Tony Dungy's Son Dies

Stunning news obviously. It's tempting (and responsible) to ignore the aspects of this on the NFL season, but it's obvious that with that kind of grief going on he won't be able to concentrate on the task at hand.
Patriot Act Extended--Updated

Some good news here, but a six-month extension is just a bandaid. I have yet to hear of any real abuses of the Patriot Act; most of the complaints concern the provision regarding checking the books borrowed from the library by suspected terrorists, but that part of the act has rarely been used.

Update: As PCD points out in the comments, the Patriot Act has not been extended yet. However, as the Senate was the roadblock, I am hopeful that we will at least get the extension done.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Sorry For the Lack of Posts Today

I had the Christmas shopping day from hell. :(

Good news is it's over! Next year, I'm doing all my shopping early. (Yeah, right!)
LA Times: Rock and the Hard Place

I'm amused by this post about how the "progressives" (code for the far Left) are trying to get more of their voices in the LA Times.

Republicans and conservatives have criticized the Times in the past, particularly over their crusade against the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger. But I will admit, they are at least making an attempt to rectify their past sins. I get regular emails from their editorial page highlighting their columns for the day; I assume many other bloggers are seeing the same thing. They finally canned the odious Robert Scheer, whose firing seems to have angered the progressives described in the post.

We don't ask or desire that the LA Times become a right-wing publication. All we ask is that our ideas get debated honestly. We're happy to battle it out intellectually. The Left, of course, can't stand the addition of mainstream conservatives like Jonah Goldberg to the paper's roster; they would prefer out-of-the-mainstream moonbats like Tom Hayden and Airiheadda Huffington.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
How Can You Tell John Kerry's Lying

His lips are moving. Old joke, of course, but apropos today:

The Massachusetts Democrat, who lost to Bush in the 2004 presidential election, also said the alleged White House leak of a CIA agent's identity was more serious than the media's disclosure of the spying program.

Bush said Monday that it was "a shameful act" for someone to have leaked details of the program to The New York Times, and he suggested the Justice Department is investigating the leak.

Though leaking any classified information is against the law, "there is a world of difference between what the president's engaged in and what was leaked out of the White House," Kerry told reporters after addressing ironworkers at a local labor hall.

"The leak in the White House was an effort to destroy somebody and his family and attack them for telling the truth," the senator said, referring to former ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame. Her identity as a CIA analyst was exposed in July 2003 after Wilson challenged an administration justification for the Iraqi war.

It consistently amazes me that anybody pretends that Joe Wilson was telling the truth. The media covered the story of Wilson's lies after the Senate Intelligence Committee issued its report, and Wilson faded into the woodwork for awhile. But when it looked like Plamegate might result in an indictment of Karl Rove, the media cheerfully forgot that Wilson had been disgraced.
SGT Michael "Mike" James Stokely, Hero

Here's a moving tribute to a fallen soldier, by his dad.

My response is that Mike didn't die for a "just cause", he died JUST BECAUSE - just because he loved his country enough to want to serve it since the time he was in middle school; just because he loved his family enough to want to protect them; just because he loved his friends enough that he would rather fight a war "there" than here; just because he believed in our order of government whereby the civilian government rules and the military obeys, and when the President, with lawful authority, calls upon soldiers to go and fight, he believed it was not only his duty, but his honor to go; just because he wouldn't let his fellow soldiers - his guys - go it alone; and just because he wanted to do for others - the Iraqi people - what he would do for his own country.

Hat Tip: Instapundit.
NY Times Piles It Higher and Deeper

Michelle Malkin links to this article in the NY Times that tries mightily to stir up more indignation over the federal government spying on US citizens.

Counterterrorism agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation have conducted numerous surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations that involved, at least indirectly, groups active in causes as diverse as the environment, animal cruelty and poverty relief, newly disclosed agency records show.

Obvious question: what do they mean by "involved, at least indirectly"?

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, John Ashcroft, who was then attorney general, loosened restrictions on the F.B.I.'s investigative powers, giving the bureau greater ability to visit and monitor Web sites, mosques and other public entities in developing terrorism leads. The bureau has used that authority to investigate not only groups with suspected ties to foreign terrorists, but also protest groups suspected of having links to violent or disruptive activities.

Ohmigosh, they're monitoring websites? And protest groups suspected of having links to violent activities? The horror!

The latest batch of documents, parts of which the A.C.L.U. plans to release publicly on Tuesday, totals more than 2,300 pages and centers on references in internal files to a handful of groups, including PETA, the environmental group Greenpeace and the Catholic Workers group, which promotes antipoverty efforts and social causes.

PETA, of course, has donated to terrorist groups like the North American Earth Liberation Front (ELF), which is an FBI-declared terrorist organization. ELF caused some $54 million in damage during August and September alone in a series of arson attacks. Greenpeace has also donated to groups with terrorist ties.

The Times and the ACLU attempt to laugh at the spying on the Catholic Workers' group:

"You look at these documents," Ms. Beeson said, "and you think, wow, we have really returned to the days of J. Edgar Hoover, when you see in F.B.I. files that they're talking about a group like the Catholic Workers league as having a communist ideology."

Yes, how silly of us to think that the Catholic Workers has a communist ideology just because they say:

In economics, private and state capitalism bring about an unjust distribution of wealth, for the profit motive guides decisions. Those in power live off the sweat of others' brows, while those without power are robbed of a just return for their work. Usury (the charging of interest above administrative costs) is a major contributor to the wrongdoing intrinsic to this system. We note, especially, how the world debt crisis leads poor countries into greater deprivation and a dependency from which there is no foreseeable escape. Here at home, the number of hungry and homeless and unemployed people rises in the midst of increasing affluence.

They advocate:

A "green revolution," so that it is possible to rediscover the proper meaning of our labor and/or true bonds with the land; a distributist communitarianism, self-sufficient through farming, crafting and appropriate technology; a radically new society where people will rely on the fruits of their own toil and labor; associations of mutuality, and a sense of fairness to resolve conflicts.

Of course, you know the Times' article is really just intended to do one thing: stop President Bush's poll numbers from rising.

See also Ankle-Biting Pundit's take on this story.
Byron York On the Eavesdropping Issue

The current meme of the Left on this is that the FISA Court has only denied something like five out of 17,000 requests, so why not go to the court?

Byron York points out the reason this is not a legitimate criticism.

People familiar with the process say the problem is not so much with the court itself as with the process required to bring a case before the court. "It takes days, sometimes weeks, to get the application for FISA together," says one source. "It's not so much that the court doesn't grant them quickly, it's that it takes a long time to get to the court. Even after the Patriot Act, it's still a very cumbersome process. It is not built for speed, it is not built to be efficient. It is built with an eye to keeping [investigators] in check." And even though the attorney general has the authority in some cases to undertake surveillance immediately, and then seek an emergency warrant, that process is just as cumbersome as the normal way of doing things.

Lawmakers of both parties recognized the problem in the months after the September 11 terrorist attacks. They pointed to the case of Coleen Rowley, the FBI agent who ran up against a number roadblocks in her effort to secure a FISA warrant in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, the al Qaeda operative who had taken flight training in preparation for the hijackings. Investigators wanted to study the contents of Moussaoui's laptop computer, but the FBI bureaucracy involved in applying for a FISA warrant was stifling, and there were real questions about whether investigators could meet the FISA court's probable-cause standard for granting a warrant. FBI agents became so frustrated that they considered flying Moussaoui to France, where his computer could be examined. But then the attacks came, and it was too late.

Rowley wrote up her concerns in a famous 13-page memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller, and then elaborated on them in testimony to Congress. "Rowley depicted the legal mechanism for security warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, as burdensome and restrictive, a virtual roadblock to effective law enforcement," Legal Times reported in September 2002.

Thanks to Allman and Smash in the Morning for having me on the show today to talk about this subject.
First Gay Cowboys, Next Gay Hockey Players?

This amusing panel comes to us from Action Comics #36, May 1941 issue, in the Pep Morgan story. Pep was kind of a cross between Chip Hilton and the Hardy Boys; the star athlete who also solves crimes.

Monday, December 19, 2005
This Sounds Like a Comic Book from the Early 1960s

Stalin tried to breed a race of half-man, half-ape warriors,
Here's a Cause for Mike Farrell

He can save a young man from execution, and all it will cost him is money:

According to the court statement, the relatives of the deceased have agreed to spare Fawaz’s life on the condition that blood money is given by a March 2006 deadline. The other condition was that Fawaz be banished from the area should the blood money be collected.

The convicted murderer is currently being held at the Dar Al-Ahdath Juvenile Center in Riyadh. Asked if he thought the huge amount of blood money was a way of seizing the opportunity for financial gain, Owayid told Arab News that he was thankful that the victim’s family even agreed to blood money for a chance to spare his brother’s life.

“The original amount demanded was SR5 million. But with the intervention of good people, the deceased boy’s family agreed to lower the blood money to SR3.5 million,” he said. “I cannot say for sure what is in the mind of the deceased boy’s father, but we are thankful that he gave us a chance to spare my brother’s life.”
More Moonbattery Than You Can Handle

John Hawkins has his third annual "Worst Quotes from the Democratic Underground" up.
An Easy Prediction

There will be no calls from the HuffPo for treason prosecutions in this leak case.

U.S. President George W. Bush said on Monday he presumed a Justice Department leak investigation was underway into who disclosed a secret NSA eavesdropping operation.

"My personal opinion is it was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war," Bush told a news conference at which he was questioned repeatedly about the controversial operation disclosed on Friday by The new York Times.

"There's a process that goes on inside the Justice Department about leaks. I presume that process is moving forward," Bush added.

Of course, that's an easy prediction; you might call it a "gimme", for the simple reason that the Valerie Plame case represents the very first time liberals have seemed interested in pursuing a treason investigation.
Death of the Original Green Beret

Nice tribute to General William Yarborough here.

Yarborough was a gutsy combat leader, an indefatigable planner, and a rare military visionary. One of the more famous stories involving Yarborough came in the early 1960s, when he was a three-star general in change of the newly forming Special Forces at Ft. Bragg. In those days the whole concept of Special Forces was still a tough sell, particularly to the more conservative, traditional Army leadership who viewed elite units with suspicion. Some, like chief of staff of the Army General Johnson, commented that it was “inefficient to have that much talent aggregated into one unit,” and that the Army would be better served by “distributing the men among the regular Army.”
How to Write About Democrats and Republicans for the Mainstream Media

Time Magazine's "People Who Mattered" in 2005 provides a perfect example.

When writing about Republicans, always note that while they have won in the past, they have done a terrible job and are bound to lose in the future:

After winning re-election and claiming a mandate, the President and his No. 2 quickly squandered their political capital. Social Security reform, Iraq, Harriet Miers, Hurricane Katrina, the CIA-leak case, torture—on issue after issue, Bush and Cheney stumbled and saw their popularity drop. Although the team's numbers are improving somewhat, Republicans are facing next fall's midterm congressional elections with trepidation.

When writing about incompetent Democrats, like New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, hint at the incompetence, but find a way to forgive them:

Could he have done more to get his people out before Katrina hit? Probably. But once the levees broke, the mayor of New Orleans embodied the pain and frustration of his city, even cursing on the radio as he joined thousands of stranded residents in wondering why their government had failed them.

Praise Republicans only for criticizing other Republicans.

As President Bush tried to find his footing this year, these two Senators often proved to be more influential. McCain badgered Bush into backing his proposal to bar U.S. officials from torturing suspects abroad....

When discussing moonbats like Cindy Sheehan, undercut opposition to her by mischaracterizing it:

Who would have thought that this mother of a soldier killed in Iraq could spoil the President's vacation—and become spiritual leader of the antiwar camp? Keeping vigil outside Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch for nearly a month, Sheehan became a folksy celebrity: a hero to some and a villain to others.

I don't know anybody who considers her a villain. An idiot, yes. Far-Left moonbat, certainly.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Is This The End of the Era of the Black Quarterback?--Updated

That may seem like a startling thing to say considering that the NFL has an abundance of starting quarterbacks who are African-American. At least, it has an abundance of black quarterbacks who would be starting if they weren't injured. Looking at the NFL's top 30 QBs in passer rating here, there are seven black quarterbacks listed. Three are on injured reserve (Culpepper, McNabb, and Leftwich). One's been benched (Anthony Wright of Baltimore) and the others are Steve McNair, Michael Vick and Aaron Brooks.

Overall, these 30 QBs have a passer rating of about 83.4. The white players grade out at about 85.8, and the black players at about 78.6. And it's not like the black QBs are slipping behind in just one statistic; it's across the board. White QBs complete 61.1% of their passes, compared to 59.2% for the black QBs. Whites throw for an average of 6.81 yards per attempt as compared to 6.73 yards per attempt for black QBs (which is not a significant difference). But white QBs have thrown 4.3% of their passes for touchdowns, versus 3.6% for black QBs and only been intercepted 2.69% of the time as compared to 3.08% for black QBs.

What's going on? I suspect that black quarterbacks have reached their natural saturation in the NFL, and perhaps even exceeded it. There is a natural tendency to assume that blacks should make up a high percentage of starting NFL QBs the way they make up an extremely high percentage of running backs, wide receivers and defensive players. If this were the case there would not be six black starting quarterbacks but more like 23.

Well, you can see the problem with that, right? The notion that there are 17 black men who are not starting for NFL teams because of racism is ridiculous. And the fact that black quarterbacks overall are underperforming compared to white QBs indicates that perhaps black QBs are getting more opportunities, not less.

Don't get me wrong here; I am not arguing that blacks cannot play the quarterback position. Donovan McNabb and Daunte Culpepper have been great players, as has McNair. Vick can't be measured solely by his passer rating and is an astonishing athlete, clearly the fastest player I have ever seen. Warren Moon was a great QB.

But the notion that we are entering the era where black quarterbacks will dominate the position seems over. Indeed if you look at it, most of the good, young QBs in the league right now are white--Roethlisberger, Palmer, Brees. Leftwich looks like the good young black quarterback right now; he looks like a much better passer than Vick. I'm not sold on Eli Manning or Chris Simms yet.

I should mention here too that one of the reasons I come to the conclusion that black QBs may have exceeded their natural saturation at the QB position is because the question of racism at the position was a hot one in the early 1990s and so I began tracking the white/black passer ratings and was astonished to find that there was virtually no difference in passing statistics by race over a three year period. Indeed the statistics of black quarterbacks and white QBs were eerily similar in quality back then.

Update: An anonymous commenter asks, "Why even make an issue of it? Are you on Rush's vitamins?"

Answer: First of all, Rush was right on his major point, that the media are eager to annoint the "Great Black Hope" at quarterback. He was wrong on his minor point, that Donovan McNabb was never all that good. McNabb is a fine player who has had some excellent seasons, and anybody looking at McNabb's first three seasons (which were in the book when Rush made his comments), would have no trouble projecting McNabb as likely to develop into one of the best players in the league, which he certainly was in 2004. He's thrown more than two touchdowns for every interception in his career, a ratio that if maintained will be an excellent argument for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He's now won seven postseason games as a starting quarterback, which is four more than Peyton Manning at this point in their respective careers.

But I write about it because it interests me. Your results may vary.
NFL Week 15 Sunday Games

And then there were none--no undefeated teams, that is. I was watching the Indy-SD game and was stunned that the Colts kept Manning in the game after first couple series of downs; that was a risky choice for Dungy. You know how it is; if the Colts go on to win the Super Bowl nobody would have criticized him for resting Manning after the first half, but for sure they would have criticized him brutally if Peyton had gotten hurt.

The Cardinals once again lived down to expectations, losing to the hapless Houston Texans (who may have blown their chances for the first pick in the draft). Last year the worst team in the league was San Francisco, and the Cardinals gave them their only two wins. SF is still one of the worst teams in the league but they gave Jacksonville quite a tussle today.

Washington flattened the Cowboys in the afternoon game, putting the 'Skins in decent position for the playoffs. They win any tie-breakers over Dallas and the Bears based on head-to-head wins and have a great 8-2 conference record which should serve them well against some of the other teams. They lost to Tampa Bay, so they don't want to be tied with the Bucs for the last slot. It would help them greatly if Chicago could beat Atlanta in the late game tonight.

Here's the playoff picture as it appears now:

AFC Playoff Seeds

1. Indianapolis (locked in)
2/3. Denver/Cincinnati Right now Denver has the better W/L percentage in the conference at 8-2.
4. New England. Cannot move down; unlikely to move up.
5. Jacksonville (virtually certain; they are a game ahead of the other teams contending for wild card spots and still have about as easy a schedule as can be imagined, despite their lackluster performance today).
6. Pittsburgh/San Diego/KC. The Steelers beat the Chargers in San Diego, so they have the edge. They also have a comparatively easy schedule, at Cleveland and home versus the Lions. The Bolts have to travel to KC and then host Denver. Kansas City is a game behind, but they could slip in if they win out and Pittsburgh loses a game.

NFC Playoff Seeds

1. Seattle: (virtually locked in; they need a win or a Chicago loss).

Still a scrum for the rest of the five playoff spots; nobody's in and a whole lotta teams are contending for five spots. The Giants and Carolina have 10 wins, which puts them in a much better position than Tampa Bay with 9 and Dallas, Washington, Minnesota and Atlanta (pending tonight) with 8. Chicago will have either 9 or 10 after tonight.

Controlling their own destiny: Chicago would take the #2 seed by winning out. As I write this though, that's a harder prospect for them because they have to win tonight's game as well. New York and Carolina look like they could get down to something called "Strength of Victory" which the tiebreaker rules shown here don't define.

Washington looks in good shape if Chicago beats Atlanta; otherwise they need help. If Chicago loses tonight, then Minnesota would be still alive for as high as the #4 seed.

Update: Chicago seems to be winning, so Washington now controls its own destiny; if they win out they will be in the playoffs.
NFL Week 15 Saturday

The NFL's playoff contenders all must have shuddered as they watched New England thoroughly demolish Tampa Bay yesterday. Tom Brady looked like postseason Tom, the defense did not allow a point. Tampa Bay's longest drive in terms of distance was 30 yards, in terms of time 4:50, and in terms of plays was 9. Their furthest penetration into Patriots' territory was the New England 33. The scary thing for Indianapolis is that if things go the way they look, they will be hosting Brady and Company on Divisional Weekend.

The positioning of the teams did not change much yesterday. The Giants look a little more secure for the NFC East and the Chiefs a little shakier for the final wild card spot.

The intriguing matchup today is San Diego at Indianapolis. This might be the last time the Colts play a team with something to fight for before the postseason. Next week's opponent, Seattle, could have home field advantage wrapped up after today with a win at Tennessee and a Bears' loss to the Falcons.

The Steelers and Vikings play what looks likely to be an elimination game for the losers, with the Steelers having a slightly better chance of surviving a defeat.
Steyn: Defeaticrats or Zarqawi? Hard to Tell Them Apart

At the top of his game:

One day Iraq will be a G7 member hosting the Olympics in the world's No. 1 luxury vacation resort of Fallujah, and the Defeaticrat Party will still be running around screaming it's a quagmire. It's not just that Iraq is going better than expected, but that it's a huge success that's being very deftly managed: The timeframe imposed on the democratic process turns out to have worked very well -- the transfer of sovereignty, the vote on a constitutional assembly, the ratification of the constitution, the vote for a legislature -- and, with the benefit of hindsight, it now looks like an ingeniously constructed way to bring the various parties on board in the right order: first the Kurds, then the Shia, now the Sunni. That doesn't leave many folks over on the other side except Zarqawi and Dean. What do the two have in common? They're both foreigners, neither of whom have the slightest interest in the Iraqi people.


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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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