Bill Simmons reviews the new movie Unidsputed, and the Shaq pay-per-view roast. He also gives his NFL picks for the week: Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, and New Orleans. He has four games, and I only have three, so I'll find another one. And last week he said he was never betting on a Chicago game for the rest of the year; What's the deal?
Now this is strange. Two fans in Chicago attacked the Royal's first base coach, Tom Gamboa. Here's one story, and here's another. Luckily, Gamboa wasn't seriously injured. Here's an audio link, where Gamboa talks to Dan Patrick.
You know, it had been a long time since we had any murder-bombings in Israel. As this article points out:
However, troops lifted the curfew in the town of Jenin for several hours on Tuesday for the first time in weeks, and there was some speculation that the recent days attackers may have come from the town, a hotbed of militants.
Give them an inch, they'll take a mile.
The PA says that the attacks are "totally against the national interest," but stops short of saying that they're maybe wrong in some kind of moral world where it's not right to target civilians.
Sooner or later (I bet on the latter) the Palestinian people are going to have to take steps themselves to root out the terrorist organizations acting in their name.
Well, if foreign policy is to be subjected to legal tests, here's a better question to ask: If Saddam Hussein managed to inflict a nuclear, chemical or biological attack on our population because the government failed to take pre-emptive action, would George Bush be liable to the people of the United States for negligence? Exploring that question provides a basis for predicting how the president will act.
The article details the price for not pre-empting a nuclear strike.
In May, The New York Times (a chronic critic of pre-emptive action) published an essay on the possibility of a nuclear explosion in Manhattan. Author Bill Keller asked a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council to run a computer model of a one-kiloton explosion in Times Square. One kiloton would represent an amateurish device, a fifteenth as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. According to the model:
"The blast and searing heat would gut buildings for a block in every direction, incinerating pedestrians and crushing people at their desks ... 20,000 [would be] dead in a matter of seconds. Beyond this, to a distance of more than a quarter mile, anyone directly exposed to the fireball would die a gruesome death from radiation sickness within a day -- anyone that is, who survived the third-degree burns. This larger circle would be populated by 250,000 people on a workday. Half a mile from the explosion ... unshielded onlookers would expect a slow death from radiation."
Yesterday Ari Fleischer finally spoke those famous blogosphere words:
Some people, to be sure, will believe anything--for example, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who hailed the offer as a great victory. And the Russians, who say Saddam's word means the Security Council needn't draw up a new resolution after all. And naturally the French, who want not just one new U.N. resolution but two, drawing things out long enough to let Saddam delay any action past the best invasion time of winter. Sophisticates call all of this a "chess game."
The White House had another, more accurate name for it--"rope-a-dope with the world," spokesman Ari Fleischer put it yesterday. And Mr. Bush urged that "you can't be fooled again." Saddam, he added, "is a man who has delayed, denied, deceived the world. For the sake of liberty and justice for all, the United Nations Security Council must act."
Nice to hear the administration say what many of us have been saying all along.
Has anyone heard them say this before? I haven't, but I don't catch most of the press conferences or press releases.
OpinionJournal today links to some past essays by Michael McConnell, whose nomination for the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Topic include Roe v. Wade, free speech, and Bush v. Gore. I haven't read them all yet, but the ones I have read are worth the time.
Slashdot is soliciting questions for an interview with one of the DrinkOrDie software pirates who was recently convicted (they participated in large Warez rings). If I remember, I'll post a link to the questions and answers when they are submitted. This could bring up some interesting copyright issues.
Here's a neat story from Washington, D.C. As some of you may know, Anthony Williams, the mayor of D.C., had some trouble with signatures required to get his name on the primary ballot (do a search on the Washington Post to get the details). So it was left off. He ran a write-in candidacy, and won the nomination. However, there are nine other Anthony Williams listed in the D.C. phone book, all of whom could claim victory. Read the story here on Slate, and continue on to the various parts. A Washington Post article started it all.
UPDATE: Here are the three parts to the story, in case Slate's links aren't working properly.
As for the NFL running stats I'm keeping, last week was a big week for the underdogs again. They went 11-5 against the spread, and 11-5 straight up. Every favorite that won also covered the spread. Underdogs are now 22-10 on the year against the spread, and 18-14 straight up. That's the same number of wins I have in my weekly pool, so I would be just as well off had I picked all underdogs. Home and away teams against the spread are pretty well split, 15 home wins and 17 away wins. Road 'dogs went 9-3, to climb to 14-7 on the year. Home 'dogs went 2-2, to go to 8-3 on the year. The over/under was 6-9-1 last week (18-13-1 on the year).
The AFC East has only lost one game outside of their division.
The AFC North has only one win, and only because Cleveland and Cincinnati played each other.
The AFC West only has one loss (KC to Jacksonville, although KC should probably be 0-2).
The NFC West only has two wins, and one was an intra-divisional game (AZ over SEA).
Most of the spreads for next week are large, and I find those the toughest to pick. I'll look them over and try to come up with something.
Tuesday Morning Quarterback mentions the 0-16 week the New York Times had trying to pick the final score of an NFL game. He doesn't mention the numerous other publications that do the same thing each week, which I referred to earlier. I also emailed him, but got no response. In case anyone still cares, the Harmon Forecast missed every game, as did USA Today Sports Weekly, and B. Duane Cross of cnnsi.com. I'll try to get the links to each of these guys next week, although I have to be out of town over the weekend and the picks may not be posted in time.
I received this email from a colleague, contemplating Rep. Coble's replacement as chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property:
Lamar Smith Has Edge In Jockeying For Judiciary Spot
Two House Republicans have been jockeying to replace retiring Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., as chairman of the House Judiciary Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee - and committee watchers say that Texas Rep. Lamar Smith currently has the edge over Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte. High-tech lobbyists told National Journal's Technology Daily that the ascension of either Smith or Goodlatte to the chairmanship - assuming the Republicans retain control of the House in November - would be positive for the industry, and have declined to lobby for one or the other. Smith, first elected in 1986, is currently chairman of the Judiciary Crime Subcommittee. In redistricting, his seat was altered to include more high-tech companies in the Austin region, such as Dell Computer. Industry lobbyists said he also has demonstrated a strong interest in Internet issues over the past year - such as urging the Justice Department to more strongly enforce laws against piracy and cyber terrorism.
Still, Smith has supported some measures that make the high-tech sector uneasy - such as his backing for a bill that would exempt copyright holders from anti-hacking laws when they use technologies designed to halt the illegal distribution of their copyrighted works on peer-to-peer computer networks.' addition, when Smith previously chaired the Judiciary Immigration and Claims Subcommittee, he expressed strong concerns about the expansion of the H-1B visa program for skilled workers from other countries. High-tech employers have used the program heavily.
Goodlatte's record is more consistently supportive of the high-tech industry. He is co-chairman of the Congressional Internet Caucus, and successfully led the drive to pressure the Clinton administration to curtail restrictions on exports of encryption software. He has less seniority than Smith - he was first elected in 1992 - but has strong relationships with the House GOP leadership. Both Smith and Goodlatte declined to comment for this article, except to say that ultimately House Judiciary Chairman Sensenbrenner will choose which lawmaker would chair the subcommittee. If Republicans lose control of the House - they now hold a slim six-seat majority - Rep. Howard Berman, D- Calif., would be in line for the subcommittee chairmanship. Berman, who represents a Los Angeles area district, is currently the subcommittee's ranking member. However, committee sources said Berman also has his eye on the chairmanship of the International Relations Committee, where he is currently the second most senior Democrat behind International Relations ranking member Tom Lantos, D-Calif. Should Berman pass on the Judiciary subpanel, Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., would be in line to chair it. Boucher currently co-chairs the Internet Caucus with fellow Virginian Goodlatte. - by Bara Vaida
I think either Smith or Goodlatte would be OK choices to chair the Subcommittee. I don't like the P2P hacking bill, and I'm unsure about H-1Bs. Berman, however, is a different story. I've seen him at committee hearings and read his comments, and the guy has absolutely no idea about technology. I doubt he uses a computer, and I know damn well he doesn't understand the first thing about the technology. I watched him at a DRM hearing on June 5, 2002 (full report here). He was completely unable to comprehend why movies stolen before they are released in theaters could not be encrypted to prevent copying. As one of the witnesses kept saying, "If they fall off the back of a truck, there isn't much we can do about digitally protecting the content." Unfortunately, I can't find transcripts or audio of the hearing. You could actually hear for yourself how stupid he sounds. And then he comes out with his insane P2P hacking bill.
Boucher would actually be my personal choice to chair the Subcommittee, but that would mean the Dems gain control of the House, a frightening thought indeed.
PETA tax-exempt status at risk: a few groups are taking them on for their sponsorshop of the Earth Liberation Front. The ELF gets a pass from big media most of the time, and their funding does as well. I don't know how much attention the FBI pays to them, but it apparently isn't enough, because they still operate. The ELF's terrorist tactics are probably not going to be ignored anymore, and the American public will no doubt condemn them if they try any more stunts. Looks like they're going to have to alter their mission statememt in the wake of 9/11.
Looks like Iraq will allow weapons inspectors, unconditionally. I think Saddam is going to try his own rope-a-dope, but I doubt it works on us. Of course, he has most of Europe and the American left on his side. Here is the White House response, and some words from Kofi Annan.
Mark Helprin has some criticism for President Bush in today's OpinionJournal. Excerpt:
U.S. intelligence learned six years ago that Saddam had at least four nuclear implosion devices lacking only fissile material to make them operational. In light of Iraq's multi-billion-dollar bankroll, its accomplished intelligence services, its longstanding relationships with the former KGB and Soviet military, the multiple and recurring traces of fissile-material smuggling, the fact that almost everything in Russia has at one time been for sale, and the successful clandestine transfer to Iraq of SSN-18 guidance systems, how likely is it that six or more years after Saddam got his implosion devices he would not have their cores? And in light of Saddam's history and the destructive potential of nuclear weapons, should not the burden of proof rest upon those who assume his innocence of such potential?
We fought for a year to save Saudi Arabia from Saddam Hussein. Why will Saudi Arabia, if it is not an enemy, not allow us the same bases from which we protected it, to protect ourselves? What relationship with them, exactly, do we wish to preserve? They are used to buying whatever they need, and over many years they have bought us in many ways. Immediately after Sept. 11, they dropped oil prices. This was more than anti-invasion insurance, it was blood money, and there is only one decent way to return blood money. Ask the widows, widowers, grieving parents, and orphans of Sept. 11. Ask them how grateful they are for the five-month $6 reduction of the price of a barrel of $24 OPEC oil. Ask them if they want to preserve the status quo and stable relations with the country of Osama bin Laden and 15 of his hijackers. And when you have their answer, which you already know, ask the president. Ask him whether he has run a war or built a mountain of paper. Ask why he stopped short after Afghanistan. And ask why, a year after Sept. 11, he is a president more of word than deed.
I went 2-1 on my NFL picks yesterday. Bill Simmons went 1-2, so I gained a game on him. I think I'm one behind right now. I'll run some statistics later, but it looks like underdogs won about 11 games, and covered that many as well. I should have stayed away from that Dallas/Tennesse game, with a spread like that it was probably a false line. And the bookies probably nailed it.