The Angry Cyclist
A fleeting grasp of civil, well reasoned discourse.
This blog will comment on topics of interest like politics, business, taxation, the War with Islam / Islamofascists, road cycling, football, and others.
Opinion of The Angry Cyclist:
Grand Seigneur, University of New Hampshire
An idiot relative from Canada
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Saturday, September 27, 2003
NFL 2003 - 2004, Week 4
Home teams in CAPS:
Last week = 0-5 (ouch!)
For the year = 4-11-1.
Apologies for not posting much the past few weeks as the new place has overwhelmed me with repairs and upgrades, some major, that need immediate attention. I should be better in a few weeks. Thanks for stopping by anyways.
UPDATE - DEN is actually giving up 12 points; remove this game from consideration as noted above and avoid this site accordingly.
Saturday, September 20, 2003
NFL 2003 - 2004, Week 3
Home teams in CAPS:
Last week = 2-4
For the year = 4-6-1.
Thursday, September 11, 2003
About September 11th
I don't have too much to say about this unfortunate anniversary other than to say I'm not about to get sentimental or self-pitying about it. People need to understand that this was a declaration of war on Western civilization or explain otherwise. I don't feel sorrow, or remorse, only anger. Lots of anger.
The only emotion I will ever feel towards terrorists is pity. Pity the poor souls who are foolish enough to raise their swords against our own. Pity the suicide bomber who tries to blow himself up in a crowded bus in Jerusalem. Pity the poor Taliban who continue to try to terrorize Afghani civilians and prevent their women and children from attending schools, something we take for granted.
The only thing I pray for is our own resolve.
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
NFL 2003 - 2004, Week 2
Nice non-call on HOU (+14) last week, eh?
Home teams in CAPS:
NYJ +3 (again?)
Hou +8.5 (back on the bandwagon)
Last week - 2-2-1.
The Parking Nazis
Lawyers, Guns And Money
The RIAA sues and settles with a 12 year old's mother for illegally downloading music files over the Internet. Outraged individuals have created a site for Brianna LaHara.
Although I'm a capitalist at heart, I do not agree with the RIAA on a number of levels. Back in the day it was commonplace to record albums (you know, those vinyl things that you can throw around like Frisbees. Wait, maybe I'm dating myself with both of those references) onto cassettes, and we weren't hounded for it. There seems to be no serious effort to bring lawsuits against people who've copied CD's, so these lawsuits were finally issued because the culprits can now be traced. For an industry that's been nailed for payola and numerous other legal infractions, I find it impossible to sympathize with them. Brianna's situation is merely the last nail in the coffin.
Not that I'm big on sound bites, but this one's precious:
"Are you headed to junior high schools to round up the usual suspects?" Durbin asked RIAA President Cary Sherman during a Senate Judiciary hearing.
Call Me A Skeptic
...but the latest lame attempt at reducing teenage drinking by taxing the shit out of the rest of us is highly unlikely.
"More young people drink alcohol than use other drugs or smoke tobacco, and underage drinking costs the nation an estimated $53 billion annually in losses stemming from traffic fatalities, violent crime, and other behaviors that threaten the well-being of America's youth," the Institute, commissioned by Congress to write the report, said in a statement.
I tend to think that $53 billion figure was pulled out of someone's nether regions.
The report recommends concerted efforts to change the way society views drinking.
And guns, sex and smoking will soon follow. Right.
"We think it is reasonable to expect the industry to do more than it is now doing," Richard Bonnie, a law professor at the University of Virginia who chaired the committee, told a news conference.
It's not reasonable, it's ridiculous.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving praised the report,
Actually, that's an interesting point. Must ponder that over another Bass Ale.
But the Beer Institute said calls for tax increases were misguided. "Experience has shown that the only clear results from increasing beer excise taxes are higher unemployment and higher prices for responsible adults -- such measures do nothing to lower teen drinking," Jeff Becker, President of Beer Institute, said in a statement.
Friday, September 05, 2003
Darwin Award Nominee
When lighting a firecracker, remember to remove it from your ass first:
Man's horror firecracker injuries
Try lighting farts instead. Trust me, the risk factor's much lower...
An ambulance was called to Dapto's Reed Park about 2.30am on August 10 after reports that the man was haemorrhaging from the buttocks. He was transported to Wollongong Hospital in a serious but stable condition, and he is expected to remain in hospital for several months.
The cranial-rectal inversion, however, appears to have yielded permanent damage from birth.
Illawarra Health emergency surgeon Dr Robert McCurdie, who operated on the man when he was taken to Wollongong Hospital, likened the man's condition to "a war injury".
A new medical specialty. Beautiful.
It is not known whether the man had been imitating the cult prankster film Jackass, a hit in
Trained professionals. I guess Mr. Colon Blow wasn't properly instructed in the fine art of firecracker flatulence.
They also stick toy cars up their buttocks, snort wasabi and apply electrical muscle stimulators to their genitals.
Snorting wasabi? These guys are fucked, no doubt about it.
Uh, you guys wanna come over for Buffalo wings next week?
The movie carries a warning not to imitate the actions.
Dr McCurdie said young people were particularly susceptible to imitating movies like Jackass.
Bob Dole once said "You cannot pass laws preventing people from acting stupid", and it was probably the only time Katie Couric could not respond with something reflexively leftist.
Tis Better To Be Feared
...than to be loved. We now know that Hillary Clinton does not fall into the latter category.
Run, Hillary, run. Please... Time to make some money.
UMass hit on parking revenue
Compared to $2 max at most MBTA garages, and I used to pay $1 at UMB back in the early 90's.
The school also plans extensive repairs to the old garage, but can't undertake many of them until there's another place for people to park during construction, Lewis-Kerwin said.
I tried finding my earlier post on this, to no avail. Hosed by Blogger.
While DeNucci's office was conducting the audit, part of the garage's floor collapsed, leaving a 2-by-4-foot hole. After that, 131 parking spaces were roped off and can no longer be used because the floor is considered too unsound.
I pointed out in that post that this stuff was noticeable during my tenure, eleven years earlier.
Employees and students complain that the holes and falling chunks of concrete are a serious hazard in the dingy, cramped garage.
Stating the obvious, but the hacks don't care.
"I don't think this in itself is a sign of corruption or anything," said union representative Tom Goodkind, a research machinist. "But people are always wondering if the money raised by fees is going where it's supposed to, and these things raise suspicions."
It's not corruption, but laziness and lack of accountability. The result is the same.
Marcella Bombardieri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, September 04, 2003
NFL 2003 - 2004 Week 1
Picks courtesy of The System, home team in CAPS:
Hou (+14) was left off the board this week, and maybe for the year, because they were not very good against the number last year (I've misplaced last year's paperwork, will find it by Week 4 and research it so I can post the actual results later). I'm not sure how to apply the expansion team rule because teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars won playoff games two years into their existence. But I do know Houston still sucks.
Last year = 50-38-3.
Always Something Breaking Us In Two
Lance and Kristin Armstrong are separating for the second time this year, most likely for good this time.
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Heh, Heh, He Said Mount
Maybe I've been missing out on the composition of Robert Kuttner's articles. This one looks like a Cliche Daquiri - throw a bunch of shit into a blender and pour it onto the editorial page. You'd think an 'economist' of his stature could do better than that...
Bush's reelection liabilities mount
Uh, haven't we used such a phrase in every election?
And voter mobilization will ultimately determine whether Bush gets a second term.
That's brilliant, Bob. Knowing how close the popular vote was in 2000, maybe if all those Nader votes were mobilized to vote for Gore instead, you'd be singing a different tune?
First, the issues. Bush's foreign policy is a shambles. The architects of the Iraq war have been proven wrong on every contention they made -- the imminent
The roll call, please...
'threat of' WMD?
'alleged Saddam-al Qaeda connection'?
'supposed ease of occupation and reconstruction'?
The first phase, US-led military rule, would last between six and 18 months after the war. It would be policed by armies from the 'coalition of the willing', including a big British contingent.
Check again next year, Bob. By the way, what makes you think Bush doesn't have something up his sleeve if and / or when this UN 'request' is actually made? I wouldn't call that bluff, would you, Bob?
Bush's vaunted Israel-Palestine "road map" is a path to nowhere
But a recovery nonetheless...
Corporations are in such a profit squeeze that they are cutting jobs faster than they are accumulating orders.
Is that a fact, Bob?
Even more seriously, the Bush program of serial tax cuts plus militarism has pushed the deficit into the half-trillion range for the foreseeable future. Not only does that kind of deficit force cuts in public outlays that voters actually value; at some point, it starts pushing up interest rates.
That's not what the Congressional Budget Office says about the reason for the federal deficit, and you're wrong for the second time in a month on the 'deficits cause interest rates' argument.
Mortgage rates have already risen more than a point since
That's because the Federal Funds Rates are short-term rates, Bob. That's not their job, or do you want it to be their job?
We have become complacent about living in an inflationless economy, but the spike in gas prices and health insurance costs is a reminder that inflation can suddenly break out. Rising interest rates could snuff out the stock market's tentative return to health.
Or they could not. Bob tries to create doubt when the facts won't do it for him.
An ordinary president would be reeling from these setbacks.
"Look, up in the sky!"
"It's a bird!"
"It's a plane!"
"No, It's Super Bush!"
But while Bush's stratospheric popularity ratings have returned to the normal range, he is no ordinary president.
Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I don't want any U.S. President to be 'ordinary', especially when fighting global terrorism. Or has Bob forgotten about that already?
For starters, he will have almost limitless amounts of money and will massively outspend his opposition thanks to unprecedented business investment in Republican politics and a half-baked campaign finance "reform" that backfired. He also has an incomparable team of political strategists, speechwriters, and spinners. And the press is still cutting him a lot of slack.
Yep, he sure gets a lot of slack cut from the likes of Bob Kuttner, Maureen Dowd, Daniel Gross, Paul Krugman, Helen Thomas, Molly Ivins, Dana Milbank, Ted Rall, and dozens of others I could mention. The only 'slack' here is Bob's slacking to report the truth.
Second, the administration retains the capacity to time another "war of choice," as it did with the Iraq war drums on the eve of the 2002 midterm election. Another terrorist attack on American
Why would Bush want to 'exploit' another terrorist attack? Didn't he say his job was to prevent further terrorist attacks on our soil? Isn't that his job, Bob? Are you indifferent to additional terrorist attacks?
Yet this election will rouse the base constituencies of both parties like no election in recent memory. Democrats are in a state of rage about the
I need a paragraph to recover from that 'assault by cliche'...
All better now. Andrew Sullivan exposes this assertion that Bush is a conservative, vis a vis federal spending, or lack of restraint thereof. Compassionate conservatism costs.
Recent conventional political wisdom has it that elections are won by appealing to swing voters. But in the great defining elections of American history -- 1932, 1964, 1980 -- the winner rallied his base and then persuaded independent voters that he could be trusted to do the right thing for the country. The 2004 contest, I suspect, will be one of those elections. And here is Bush's greatest potential liability. His actual administration has been so unlike his moderate, conciliatory campaign of 2000 that even with the best campaign machinery, independent voters will be skeptical.
But didn't you say in the second paragraph, Bob, that voter mobilization would 'ultimately determine' the 2004 elections, and now you're saying you 'suspect' it? Which is it, Bob? Doing the 'John Kerry Fence Straddle'TM, are we?
After years of declining turnout and passivity, 2004 will very likely see a reenergized electorate. Ultimately, the election will be a test of democracy itself: mobilized voters debating real substance versus imagery and organized money.
Now Bob thinks these voters 'will very likely' be energized. With decisiveness like that, who needs columnists?
Robert Kuttner's is co-editor of The American Prospect. His column appears regularly in the Globe.
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Captain Hairdo Commentary
From Jonah Goldberg:
While I'm certainly no fan, I almost feel sorry for John Kerry. He's been planning on running for President for pretty much his entire life. He's honed his strategy and molded his biography for decades. And now some obnoxious New England transplant from Park Avenue is cleaning his clock. But one of the things that drives me nuts about Kerry is when he says -- as he did on Meet The Press last Sunday -- that he's running for President because he's angry about this or that Bush policy. Garbage. Bush could be doing everything perfectly and Kerry would still be running because that's his life ambition.
You Can't Handle The Truth!
The Boston Globe's James Carrol is proof positive that no editorial is too lame for them to publish as long as you get in enough swipes at the Bush administration.
Facing the truth about Iraq
What the fuck?
By most measures of what the Bush administration forecast for its adventure in Iraq, it is already a failure. The war was going to make the Middle East a more peaceful place. It was going to undercut terrorism. It was going to show the evil dictators of the world that American power is not to be resisted. It was going to improve the lives of ordinary Iraqis. It was going to stabilize oil markets. The American army was going to be greeted with flowers. None of that happened. The most radical elements of various fascist movements in the Arab world have been energized by the invasion of Iraq. The American occupation is a rallying point for terrorists. Instead of undermining extremism, Washington has sponsored its next phase, and now moderates in every Arab society are more on the defensive than ever.
It seems Syria has changed its tune a bit, and the situation in Iraq might improve if Saudi Arabia would cooperate with these efforts.
Before the war, the threat of America's overwhelming military dominance could intimidate, but now such force has been shown to be extremely limited in what it can actually accomplish. For the sake of "regime change," the United States brought a sledge hammer down on Iraq, only to profess surprise that, even as Saddam Hussein remains at large, the structures of the nation's civil society are in ruins. The humanitarian agencies necessary to the rebuilding of those structures are fleeing Iraq.
Carrol implies that we bombed Iraq back into the Stone Age. Precision munitions were designed to do just the opposite, such that our troops can paint military targets instead. Humanitarian agencies are leaving because of the al-Queda and Saddam loyalist remnants are targeting them and refusing our protection. All other blame about the 'lack of infrastructure' should be blamed squarely on Saddam, who was too busy building gold palaces and not doing anything to update it.
The question for Americans is, Now what? Democrats and Republicans alike want to send in more US soldiers. Some voices are raised in the hope that the occupation can be more fully "internationalized," which remains unlikely while Washington retains absolute control. But those who would rush belligerent reinforcements to Iraq are making the age-old mistake.
Oh, yeah, just rush the UN troops in instead. That's worked rather well in the past, hasn't it?
When brutal force generates resistance, the first impulse is to increase force levels. But, as the history of conflicts like this shows, that will result only in increased resistance. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has rejected the option of more troops for now, but, in the name of force-protection, the pressures for escalation will build as US casualties mount. The present heartbreak of one or two GI deaths a day will seem benign when suicide bombers, mortar shells, or even heavier missile fire find their ways into barracks and mess halls.
Coming from the crowd that predicted tens of thousands of dead soldiers and a half a million dead Iraqi citizens, I think the ball's in Carrol's court to show us why he might be right this time.
Either reinforcements will be sent to the occupation, or present forces will loosen the restraints with which they reply to provocation. Both responses will generate more bloodshed and only postpone the day when the United States must face the truth of its situation.
The old 'cycle of violence' theory. How do we break it?
The Bush administration's hubristic foreign policy has been efficiently exposed as based on nothing more than hallucination. High-tech weaponry can kill unwilling human beings, but it cannot force them to embrace an unwanted idea. As rekindled North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs prove, Washington's rhetoric of "evil" is as self-defeating as it is self-delusional. No one could have predicted a year ago that the fall from the Bush high horse of American Empire would come so hard and so quickly. Where are the comparisons with Rome now? The rise and fall of imperial Washington took not hundreds of years, but a few hundred days.
Washington fell? I can only describe this writer as 'seriously unhinged'.
Sooner or later, the United States must admit that it has made a terrible mistake in Iraq, and it must move quickly to undo it. That means the United States must yield not only command of the occupation force, but participation in it. The United States must renounce any claim to power or even influence over Iraq, including Iraqi oil. The United States must accept the humiliation that would surely accompany its being replaced in Iraq by the very nations it denigrated in the build-up to the war.
So four months after enforcing 17 UN resolutions and removing a sadistical dictator, Iraq hasn't developed into Sweden. Therefore James Carrol asserts that we lost miserably and should completely abandon further efforts in Iraq and pull our troops out. No wonder the Democrats have zero credibility on matters of defense.
With the United States thus removed from the Iraqi crucible, those who have rallied to oppose the great Satan will loose their raison d'etre, and the Iraqi people themselves can take responsibility for rebuilding their wrecked nation.
God, how fucking naive is this guy? That the US would again turn tail and run is precisely what they want. Didn't he listen at all to Osama bin Laden, who exhorted his members to wage jihad, saying that in Somalia and other conflicts, we turn tail and run?
All of this might seem terribly unlikely today, but something like it is inevitable.
As soon as we elect Dennis "Department of Peace" Kucinich...
The only question is whether it happens over the short term, as the result of responsible decision-making by politicians in Washington, or over the long term, as the result of a bloody and unending horror.
Nice little smear there, that Republicans aren't capable of 'responsible decision-making'. It worked well during Carter's administration, right?
The so-called "lessons" of Vietnam are often invoked by hawks and doves alike, but here is one that applies across the political spectrum.
Yeah - when you fight a war, don't lose and be ready for a long-term committment.
The American people saw that that war was lost in January 1968, even as the Tet Offensive was heralded as a victory by the Pentagon and the White House. But for five more years, Washington refused to face the truth of its situation, until at last it had no choice.
I saw 55,000 mentioned in the local commuter paper this morning. No distortion too small for this dimwit to use to make his heavily biased point.
The war in Iraq is lost. What will it take to face that truth this time?
You might start by telling the truth yourself, James...
James Carroll's column appears regularly in the Globe.
NFL 2003 - 2004 Preview
I'll be doing the point spread posting thing again this year for you football junkies. Don Banks gives us his take on the upcoming season (and no, his citing the Patriots winning the Super Bowl this year was not the reason I'm mentioning it).
In other football news, Greg Garber at ESPN.com discusses the implications of last year's finishes on this year's schedules, the Patriots release Lawyer Milloy to save on some cap room (note to Ty Law - you're next in the crosshairs), but the Buffalo Bills might scoop him up in time for Sunday's Patriots game at Buffalo, and Brian Griese just can't get a break (sorry, bad pun there).
Monday, September 01, 2003