Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gitmo Prisoners Living Better Than Some Soldiers In Ft. Bragg

This is an abomination. This is not the kind of living conditions that I was accustomed to, when I was in the US Army over 30 years ago. This video will shock many of my readers that are prior service members and I hope it motivates everyone that reads this blog to raise three different kinds of hell with their Congressman and their two Senators. I know I plan to.

(NOTE - If this video runs slow, it is because it is picking up a lot of traffic right now. ABC has picked this up. So, be patient.)

For the soldiers that just endured months of hell in combat conditions, this is a slap in the face and it truly makes me furious. This is no way to treat men and women that have put their lives on the line, in service to this great nation. I do not expect them to live in the Palmer House or the Ritz, but this is not the kind of environment a hog or a cow should live in. The prisoners in Gitmo have it better than this.

To contact your elected officials, you can click here for the House of Representatives.

Or you can click here for the Senate.

So, what are you waiting for? Do it NOW. (While you are still seething)

UPDATE (30 Apr 08 - 0530):

Evidently, this has been out long enough for some fecal material to roll downhill. See this report from CNN. But please, do not let up. This is an election year, let's pressure the Army to inspect all barracks in all four branches, everywhere in the world. If this is but one example, we can bet there are others, as well.

Write your elected representatives and put pressure on them, tell them you will not be voting for them if they let this continue.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Supreme Court Upholds Indiana Voter ID Law

Here is the story from the Indy star.

The Supreme Court, in a fractured decision, upheld an Indiana law today that requires voters show a photo ID issued by the federal or state government.

“States should have the ability to implement appropriate and constitutional steps to protect their electoral systems from fraud,” Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter said in response. “We can move forward in Indiana with a process that provides constitutional protections to its citizens protecting their vote from potential fraudulent activity.”

Naturally, MSNBC is reporting that Obama has weighed in on the decision.

Obama said he was disappointed today in the new Supreme Court decision that has upheld Indiana's voter ID law, calling it "wrong," and emphasizing that the law could suppress turnout among minorities and poorer voters.

"I am disappointed by today's Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana's photo identification law -- one of the most restrictive in the nation," Obama said in a written statement.

Translation: Now we will be disenfranchising the poorest demographic of all voters, the dead voters.

He referenced his decision to file an amicus brief when Indiana's voter ID law was first challenged, saying he did it because he believed that "it places an unfair burden on Indiana residents who are poor, elderly, disabled, or members of minority groups."


The state is offering state IDs to all that cannot afford them, for free, no charge. Nada, zip, none, zero. Just fill out a form, sign your name, and presto change-o abracadabra, you will have an ID card. You can then, take that card to the polls and vote, provided you are registered.

When you cash a check you need an ID. When you rent a movie, you need an ID. To get into a bar, you need an ID. Why is it so hard to accept the fact that voting requires one too?

But the saddest argument of all? Many of the opponents are saying this puts an undue burden on these "poor" people. Because now, they will have to find a ride to get the ID. They will have to take time out of their busy day (while waiting on the mail to bring their government checks) and go get it. They may even have to ask a family member or friend to drive them down. I know gas is high, but it only has to be done once.

I guess desperate people say and do desperate things, when they're wrong.

Good for the Supreme Court, for getting one right.

Tired Of The Nazi Comparisons

(Note-The following is a guest post from Greg, a PYY regular.)

America = Nazi Germany. The war on terror = eugenics campaign. Terrorist detention centers = extermination camps. Operation Iraqi Freedom = campaign of genocide.

The lunatic ranting of wacko protester? No, it’s “progressive journalism.” The kind of “independent thinking” that leads otherwise intelligent people to become deliriously stupid and shockingly ignorant of history.

For any history-challenged “progressives” who might be reading, the Nazis rounded up innocent people by the millions and literally exterminated them, first by machine-gunning civilians by the village, then by industrial means, so that the Nazi soldiers didn’t have to look into the eyes of the women, children and elderly they were murdering. At a time recent enough in our past that we should all know someone old enough to remember, the Nazis rampaged across Europe, destroying the world’s most beautiful cities, terrifying whole populations, and transporting innocent Jews and others to their mechanized murder camps.

In the past 5 years, US soldiers and Marines in Iraq have discovered dozens of buildings used for torturing and murdering Iraqis of all walks of life. They have fought against people who intimidated and murdered barbers, music sellers, liquor-store owners, teachers of girls, girls who go to school, and anyone other Iraqi who dared defy them. US soldiers and Marines have built schools and sewage treatment plants and police stations. They have given their lives, blown up at checkpoints set up to prevent the head-choppers and suicide bombers from exploding their devices of mass-murder in public markets. Our men and women in uniform, in reality, are fighting the modern day Nazis – people who, if they had the means of Hitler, would kill at least as many people as he did.

But in the “Bizarro World” of the idiot “progressive,” the good guys are the Nazis.

I know some French people who nearly have a nervous breakdown if someone uses the word “surrender” in the same sentence as “France.” Imagine if French bashing were anything as virulent and hateful as anti-Americanism….

P.S. – interested in more “progressive” viewpoints on America from the foreign media? Check out this helpful tidbit of information from The Guardian: America has a love affair with war Yeah, we love it. Like the Nazis.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sharpton's Solution: Shut Down New York City

From the AP comes this report.

Hundreds of angry people marched through Harlem on Saturday after the Rev. Al Sharpton promised to "close this city down" to protest the acquittals of three police detectives in the 50-shot barrage that killed a groom on his wedding day and wounded two friends.

"We strategically know how to stop the city so people stand still and realize that you do not have the right to shoot down unarmed, innocent civilians," Sharpton told an overflow crowd of several hundred people at his National Action Network office in the historically black Manhattan neighborhood. "This city is going to deal with the blood of Sean Bell."

I do not know enough about the facts to form an opinion on who is accountable in this case. Even the media has presented inconsistencies, sufficient enough to create some confusion. Is there a possibility that some policemen are trigger happy and out of control at times? The answer is yes. Is it possible that this man was drunk and may have intended to run over the policemen? Another yes.

The real question that should be presenting itself (at this point in the time continuum) is not hard to figure out: What will shutting down the city accomplish?

It will not bring the dead back to life and it will not change the verdict.
The policemen have been acquitted, they cannot be retried. There is nothing anyone in NYC can do about this and to suggest otherwise would be throwing out the Constitution, which protects against double jeopardy. So, it becomes somewhat unclear what a boycott against the city of New York would accomplish, unless the goal is purely punitive.

If this is accurate and becomes the case, what would the people that must live and work in NYC be able to do about this?

The answer is nothing. So, what recourse is left?

First, the family could petition and lobby for federal civil rights charges to be filed. But with the inconsistencies already evident, this may be a tougher mountain to climb than it sounds.

Then, there is the possibility there is a case for civil action. NYC is full of blood-sucking lawyers that would love nothing more than to win a judgment like this, because it will mean money in their pockets. This will be easier than the state criminal and federal court course of action. But even so, it's still not a slam dunk.

So in spite of all this, shutting down NYC (as Sharpton suggests) is still not going to be of much value. The feds will need to make the determination whether or not there was enough evidence of a civil rights violation. Shutting down the Big Apple will not likely sway them. The family members of Mr. Bell are free to file a wrongful death lawsuit if they wish. Forcing the city to its knees will not make any difference either.

The only thing I can come up with in this is (once again) painfully obvious: Al Sharpton, being the media whore he has always been, has another golden opportunity to get his name in the news. He has another chance to flex his influential muscles and take attention away from things that are of much greater importance in this world and have the spotlight shine on him.

But that's not all, let us consider another variable to this equation.

By virtue of the fact that out of 10 million people that live in the city, only hundreds showed up at his little hissy-fit convention, it should be clear that not all people are going to think this is the proper way to handle this. Not all share his outrage, as is apparent in this NYT article. That being said, it is highly understandable that the family of Mr. Bell is hurting. Not only did they lose him once, they feel like they lost him again when the officers were acquitted. This is not an unusual occurrence in the course of the grieving process.

But Rev. Sharpton (being a minister) should also realize this and should have some compassion for them in this matter. Instead of counseling them how to best go about resolving the wounds created by this whole ordeal, he is doing them no favors by making a public spectacle of this case. His threats do nothing to heal, nor will their grief be eased by shutting down a city of 10 million people. Instead of facilitating the effective healing of these wounds, he is picking the scabs of those very same wounds.

All of this boils down to one very simple thing. Not only has Al long been considered a race baiter and a media whore, we can now add scab-picker to the long list of names he has acquired for himself.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

1967 and 1968 were two rock music renaissance years that many believe were the two finest ever. Those that remember those years remember the turmoil the world was in, but in spite of it all, it was a time that spawned a wide variety of styles and influences.

The range was wide, the messages were complex, and the songs were deep (and meaningful).

One such song still sparks memories of that day and can always shake loose a memory or two. Here is Mary Hopkin and the mellow song that entertained old and young alike, Those Were The Days:

Another song that took the listener on a tour of self-reflection was a mellow little tune by The Tremeloes. The song was Silence Is Golden:

Soft and peaceful was how one can describe this next one. Call it a different kind of love song, here are The Turtles with their smash hit of that time, Happy Together:

The late 60s was best known for it's experimentation with electricity. One such band had some success with a tune that featured the whammy bar as a necessary tool in the creation of that unique sound Here are The Electric Prunes with I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night:

Instrumentation and harmony was a feature of this next tune. Here is Strawberry Alarm Clock doing their big hit called Incense And Peppermints:

When we put all of this together, there is no better song to explain why I do this segment every weekend. Not being one for a lot of self-disclosure, I must resort to these little snapshots of the music that I have liked over the years, as a means of telling about myself. This song is from Marmalade, and is titled, Reflections Of My Life:

This installment is dedicated to a good friend of PYY, who has been a bit under the weather for awhile.

Welcome back Amerloque. To you and all that listen, I say:


Friday, April 25, 2008

Carter's Attention Seeking Behavior

There is an excellent article from the WSJ about Carter's recent meetings with Hamas. It even notes that Barack Obama has taken a stand opposite of the former President.

It's not that he met with them so much as it is, the total picture that Carter has painted of Israel in his later years. He has demonized that nation and beatified it's sworn enemy, with this latest folly being the"mother of all screw-ups" ever committed by an ex-president.

Check it out, when you get time.

Some Indiana Polling Data

The Indy Star has a new poll out for Indiana's upcoming primary.

You can check the entire article out if you are inclined, but there is one part I'd like to highlight. The part of the poll I'd like to discuss shows something slightly surprising. If the election were held today and it was between Obama and McCain, here are the numbers:

Obama - 49%

McCain - 41%

Undecided - 10%

Sample size was 384.
Margin of error was +/- 5 points.

Indiana has not voted for a Democrat since 1964. It is likely that this was not a good sample and was certainly not reflective of the total population's demographic composition. Unless others are produced that show these kinds of numbers, I am greatly inclined to not put too much stock in this one.

But if this is not an anomaly, McCain will need to do something to reverse this. There is certainly some possibility these are wind drafts from Obama being the Senator from next-door. And they could be polling heavily from Lake (Gary/Hammond/East Chicago) and Marion (Indy) Counties.

Even yet, if these numbers were to pan out as accurate, he might want to look at picking a running mate from the state. One name that stands out is a young man, is relatively clean (for a politician), and can help shore up some more of the conservative base (that may still be sour about the nominee). His name is Mike Pence from Indiana's 6th district.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

News In Brief (And The Usual Opinionated Commentary)

Some odds and ends from the world of news and commentary:

Parents Sue Over Use Of Dead Soldier's Name

An anti-war tee shirt company is making money off the war they claim to be against. But these parents are not going to have it and I think they may have a case.

VDH On The Second Coming Of McGovern.

Maybe he reads PYY?

Euro-Muslim Tensions On The Rise

Tony Blankley seems to think there is some friction between Islamic and European culture. Many from Europe will call him an idiot, but that's not so unusual. They call anyone who doesn't agree with their views idiots, bigots, right-wingnutted Americans, and nothing short of retarded cowboys. But the joke is on them, for there's no way they can deny there is tension. With numbers they way they are, there is no way there cannot be.

Comparing McCain To Bush

The LA Times is doing the only thing that Dems can possibly do right now, and that is tying McCain to Bush's policies. Most of the proposals of the two Dems are socialist in nature, most of them have little validity when completely vetted in a reasonable debate. But push them they do and lose the election they probably will. With the kind of weak and faulty arguments like the ones found in this slanted essay (by the Executive Editor of The New Republic, it won't be any great surprise.

Colorado Rep. Castigated For Remarks On Immigration

Rep. Douglas Bruce was ordered to leave the podium of the Colorado House of Representatives on Monday after calling Mexican workers "illiterate peasants."

Bruce, a Republican with a history of provoking controversy with his statements and actions, made the comment during a debate on a bill designed to ease a farmworker shortage in Colorado.

Let's examine this a little. This is from Merriam-Webster:


1: having little or no education; especially : unable to read or write

2 a: showing or marked by a lack of familiarity with language and literature b: violating approved patterns of speaking or writing

3: showing or marked by a lack of acquaintance with the fundamentals of a particular field of knowledge


1: a member of a European class of persons tilling the soil as small landowners or as laborers; also : a member of a similar class elsewhere

2: a usually uneducated person of low social status

Illiterate peasants come in all colors and nationalities. Elitists have no trouble characterizing a good portion of rural America as such. So, where did this man err?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Winning A War

No doubt, you have heard of the book How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie. If I were to title this post out long-hand, it whould read How To Win A War And Make It Look Like A Loss or How To Lose A War, Even Though We Are Winning. Either one is fitting, or could be a subtitle for the other.

The writer of this book could be one of many: George Soros, Michael Moore, or even Barack Obama himself (just to name a few). They all subscribe to the same ideology. So. when we review the Left Wing's many statements/claims over the past five years, we can see many of these people that share this "collective" philosophy have been promoting this myth for the duration.

Even today with al Qaida Iraq and the Mahdi Army on the ropes, we hear that we are in a war that we cannot win. We hear that in a Hillary or Obama presidency, we can certainly expect immediate withdrawal, beginning within the first few months of either candidate's administration.

Well, here's something that doesn't happen when an enemy is winning the war. Take a look at this article about the al Qaida #2's latest recruiting drive.

Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri criticised Muslims for failing to support Islamist insurgencies in Iraq and elsewhere in a new audiotape posted Tuesday on the Internet.

What this says is not easy to decipher, if one is biased or incredibly dull in the critical thinking department. If there was no way to win this war, why would Zawahiri be chastising Muslims for NOT supporting jihad against the infidel Americans? Normally when an enemy (as given over to lies and propaganda as these are) is winning they proclaim it from the rooftops and from every corner. Even when they aren't winning, they usually proclaim that they are (SEE: Baghdad Bob).

But here, AQ sounds very desperate for volunteers. They seem to understand that many of their brothers have been killed or captured. They see the Iraqis purging the enemies of the Iraqi state and it is well-known they are doing it systematically, one by one, and doing it with less American intervention. First, AQ was severely weakened and now, we are seeing the Mahdi Army taking its hits. This cannot spell success for anyone other than the Iraqi nation.

Last year at this time, the Left was proclaiming the Iraqis were incapable of policing themselves and were in the midst of a civil war, created by George Bush's illegal invasion of a sovereign nation. Even I was beginning to have doubts about the ability of the Iraqis to take responsibility for their own security. But today, there is success despite the fact that there are still some setbacks from time to time. If there wasn't, we would not be hearing this kind of plea from Zawahiri or anyone else involved in international terrorism.

Additionally, there are threats coming from the coward insurgent leader al Sadr while he is based in Iran. Why? Because he knows that his cause is losing more and more influence, as more of his army is killed or captured for failing to disarm.

With all of this fragility abounding at the same time so much progress has been made in the critical areas, why the hell would any intelligent person even begin to entertain the notion of pulling out now?

A PYY Movie Review

There Will Be Blood

There will be boredom.

Other than a great acting performance by Daniel Day-Lewis, it's hard to understand why this film was nominated for an Oscar and why it has received the raves of so many critics. It could have been because of the scenes that portrayed the people of that era as a bunch of whacko Christians. Hollywood loves to paint Christians with a warped brush, you know.

Don't waste your time or money.

All Eyes Turn Toward Indiana

Listening to Pennsylvania returns, one gets the distinct sense that this will be going down to the wire, with the superdelegates becoming the ultimate deciders in this race. Don't get me wrong here, Obama may very well end up with the number of delegates needed to win the nomination. But the drama isn't over, and neither is the race.

Many of the pundits are (rightly) noting some interesting points that are worthy of some consideration:

1. Despite outspending Clinton by a margin of more than 2-1, he still cannot put her away.

2. Despite Clinton's negatives (to include her credibility problems), he still cannot put her away.

3. With the win in PA, Hillary has won every large industrial state's primary (with the exception of Obama's home state of Illinois).

With several hours to kill, the TV talking heads had lots of time to expostulate about many aspects of the contest. While many of them were analyzing the reasons behind the results, it was Obama's response that caught my attention.

I thought it was very interesting that Obama and his team had known there would be a significant loss, evidenced by his quick escape to Indiana immediately after the polls closed. Big name acts like Mellencamp don't just donate their time on the spur of the moment. It was obvious this was already set up well in advance.

But that wasn't all that stood out.

To respond to a ten percentage point loss, Obama returned to the valuable strategy that got him into this front-runner position to begin with. He gave a speech.

Unfortunately for him, there was nothing new in the way of specifics, no new proposals, and no new strategies. Just more of the same old tired "Yes we can" and "It's our turn" rhetoric.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Indiana Governor: Time To Get Over Reagan

From one of the Examiner blogs comes this piece:

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels elicited several hushed gasps and raised eyebrows late last week as he lectured a conservative crowd that it was “time to let Ronald Reagan go.”

He's right.

During the entire GOP primary season, all we heard from conservatives was Reagan this and Reagan that. Every candidate was measured against the Gipper, none of them were close.

What does this tell us?

Let's start by saying that I thought Reagan was the man we needed, for the time we were in. Carter had this country in such a mess in 1980. The nation's collective self-esteem was in the tank, with double digit inflation, double digit interest rates, and a foreign policy that is still haunts us. Despite Reagan's mistakes, he turned America's thinking around. His policies were tough sells and bitter pills to swallow.

But times have changed. None of these guys were like Reagan because we are not in the 80s, we are in the new millennium. Tax cuts are good, and he loved them. But with those cuts in taxes, came cuts in spending. A tough a negotiator he was (with the Soviets), but today's enemy will not negotiate in good faith. If they do, it's only used as a ruse to re-arm. So, using the same model with terrorists would not work either.

Conservatives simply must understand that not all of Reagan's ideas would work in 2008. Some would, but those aren't the kinds of things that the current GOP has the guts to implement.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Watch The Birdie

No, we are not taking sitting portraits for a photography special (with coupon). What we are talking about is the You Tube video that someone at the LA Times thinks may have been a one-fingered gesture towards Hillary Clinton, from Barack Obama. Watch it and see what you think here:

No one can say for sure what Mr. Obama's intentions were here. But in my analysis, I tend to agree with the writer of the LAT, on this one.

If (after he had scratched his face) he had stayed completely on message without batting an eye, I would tend to think it was an innocent thing with no ill-intentions, whatsoever. But he didn't do that. As the crowd picked up on it and mumbled, he paused, and gave a very sly smile as if to communicate the thought, "I wondered who would catch that".

But honestly, no crime has been committed here. The only thing we can say is this is one more observation we can use to evaluate the character of Sen. Obama, who has been presented to us as some prim and pristine soul, unaffected by the evils of Washington.

Certainly, the press has been soft on him until this past debate, where he was caught completely off-guard by tougher questioning than he has been used to heretofore. Because of his (and his camp's) perception that he was treated unfairly by ABC, he now he seems to be backing away from anymore Q&A sessions with Sen Clinton for the remainder of the nomination contest. So it comes as no surprise that we must use some measure of psychoanalysis through words, gestures, and body language to assess who this man is.

In addition to this smug little sophomoric gesture, we have learned much from Obama as he tries to tap dance his way out of some tell-tale issues:

We have learned that he has embraced an America-blaming pastor who preaches a racist doctrine of black separatism, for 20 years. Remember, this is the man who claims he wants to unite Americans and save us from the Bush policies.

We have learned that he embraces an unrepentant left-wing radical that was involved in terrorist bombings in the 70s. He sat on a board with this man and visited his house, before his Illinois Senate run. When asked about this connection in the debate, he did everything possible to side-step the question by questioning the validity of the question.

We have learned that he has very thin skin, as is evidenced by his unwillingness to engage in anymore debates for fear that he "might" be treated unfairly. He thinks he has some kind of mandate before the votes are even cast, yet when challenged, he makes a federal case out of it.

We have learned that he and his supporters will cry racism, when he is challenged on items of policy and ideological arguments. Look at the beating Geraldine Ferraro has taken over her remarks. Look at how they tried to twist her words into a racist remark.

We are now learning that he is being untruthful in his campaign, claiming to be free from special interests. Just take a good look at this list of contributors. Raising the kind of money he has, he wants us all to believe that none of it has come from George Soros or other wannabe king-makers.

We are learning that he plays fast and loose with the truth. As this article suggests, his claim of not taking money from oil corporations is accurate to a point. But how many people really understand that to do so would be illegal? Some sacrifice on his part, right?

The important thing we are learning about Mr. Obama is his political chin. He cannot take a political punch. He cannot answer his critics without employing typical politician tactics, which are right out of the political escape and evasion handbook.

He says, we have to get past the Jeremiah Wright thing, the Bill Ayers thing, and just about every little thing that doesn't sit well with him (or his handlers) He believes this because this is just typical politics and he is going to change the way we do things in Washington. My question then becomes, does this mean he will stop skirting relevant questions?

Folks, the Democrats are once again parading a double talking, power hungry, and arrogant elitist as their candidate. People are starting to see this with more visual acuity, each and every passing day. Democrats may think he's a better candidate than Hillary, but this doesn't mean he is any better suited to be President. As the electorate is quickly discovering, he really isn't much different than John Kerry or the other patrician politicians that insult our intelligence with their pompousness.

So if things keep going like this, we will learn much more about Obama before November. Much more will certainly surface (things he has done or been in involved with, as well as things he will say and do). By the time Election Day rolls around, the American people will finally be able to say with pride and confidence, "Bye Bye Birdie". And it just may prove to be the "fickled finger of fate" for the Obama candidacy.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

This week we feature a band that only had a couple of Top 40 hits in their run, but had a lengthy career as an album rock band. Unless one is in tune with the late 70s and early 80s progressive rock scene, their music would not be as memorable as others during that era.

At the height of their "moment in the sun", their music was considered a unique and avant garde sound that was both deeply emotional and somewhat spiritual, in nature. To put it simply, they were versatile, always fresh, and knew how to edify the senses.

Ahead lies just a few of the many sensual, vibrant, and intrinsic sounds of Roxy Music, led by Bryan Ferry and where Brian Eno got his start.

My favorite LP from these guys was their last big commercial success and was their only platinum, released in 1982 (and long after the departure of Eno). The name of the album is Avalon, the song is called More Than This:

From that same album comes another mellow tune that will soothe and relax a weary soul. Here is the title cut:

A song that made it to #30 on the US charts in 1976, many my age or older will no doubt remember this next one. From the 1975 release called Siren, here is the jazzy and artful Love Is The Drug:

Back to the Avalon album for this one. It reached #26 in the uK but was a chart failure in the US. But if there was a genre for new age rock, this would have been #1. This is the only video I can find, it's called Take A Chance With Me (followed by the sort and sweet, Tara):

Here's one from Bryan Ferry's solo work. It's off of the 1987 Bête Noire album, it's entitled Kiss And Tell:

Where the rock in all of this, you may ask? For an encore, check out this Bryan Ferry title cut remake of one of the premier rock and roll songs ever, Let's Stick Together:


Friday, April 18, 2008

Earthquake In Midwest

I was just sitting here about a half hour ago surfing the web, when suddenly I felt the house and floor started shaking. I asked Mrs. Sunsett if she felt it. Sure enough, she did. She wanted to know what it was. Being from California and having been in some real jarring jolts before, it wasn't hard to figure out.

They are now saying it was a 5.4 quake and centered near West Salem, Illinois. No damage noticed here in Indianapolis yet, just a sharp increase of adrenaline.


They are now saying the quake was 5.2 and there has been a 4.5 aftershock, which I missed because I was driving at the time. (It's amazing how well-protected from the environment a person is, when they are driving a full-sized gas-guzzling pick-up truck.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sarkozy l'embarassment

There hasn't been a good elitist French story lately, until this article surfaced the other day.

Nearly a year into his term, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has hardly mentioned the arts or culture. In late February, he said that French cuisine should be added to the Unesco World Heritage list.

De Gaulle had André Malraux at his elbow. François Mitterrand renovated the Louvre. Just before he left office, Jacques Chirac inaugurated an immense museum for non-Western cultures, designed by Jean Nouvel, which in its confusing, heart-of-darkness, overwrought layout, epitomizes a certain kind of French arrogance. Naturally, millions of tourists now flock to it.

Every French president since the Liberation has cooked up some such pharaonic new museum or opera house or library or initiated some legacy-minded cultural program, until now.

I found this rather amusing because the nation of France is saturated with art. In fact, their whole country IS a museum. There's more history in most towns than the entire state of Rhode Island, yet this doesn't seem to be enough as they clamor for more.

They call him Sarkozy the American (as a slur). And we all know how Americans are a bunch of brutish louts with little to no appreciation for the arts. We like our President to deal with real problems that affect people in adverse ways, not leave some cultural mark on American society. Here in America, most of us like to rely on private grants for arts and culture.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bridging The Gaps Of Racial Divides

Barack Obama (with the blessings of black civil rights leaders and many black politicians) has called for a national dialogue on race. What exactly does this mean, you may be asking? It means the senator, along with a significant number in the black community, want to air more of their grievances to whites - who they perceive to be the major cause of their lack of prosperity. In other words, they want to lecture.

I personally find this challenging, because much of their grievances are the same tired litany of complaints (only the names and towns have been changed). As a white man, what more can I learn that I haven't already? Some of it is tweaked a little, but in essence, it's not much different. The white man invented AIDS to infect blacks is now taking the place of, white politicians do not want to invest in inner city schools because they want to keep the black man down. And there's no way I can respond, because if I do, one or two things (or both) will likely happen.

First, whenever whites are prepared to engage in a discussion, they must listen. And listen. And listen. Because if they try to add to the discussion by communicating their perceptions, they run the risk of being branded as racists.

If self-proclaimed civil rights leaders like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton say something that is asinine and a white person criticizes it, they are branded as racist. If a sitting US Senator that happens to be white describes Obama as an intelligent, "articulate" guy, he is branded a racist. (Remember, when you call a black articulate, that is a racist code word implying that most blacks aren't.) If a former Democratic Congresswoman (one that has a long stellar record on civil rights) says that if everything was equal with Obama except for his race he would not be where he is at in this presidential race, she is demonized in such a hostile manner and branded a racist.

Well, if what I have said so far has you seething and you are ready to write me off as another racist, you may want to read what Robert Johnson has said.

Wading back into the Democratic presidential race, billionaire businessman Bob Johnson said Monday that Sen. Barack Obama would not be his party's leading candidate if he were white.

Johnson's comments to the Observer echoed those of former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro. She stepped down as an adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton last month after saying Obama wouldn't be where he is if he were white.

Bob Johnson is not some elitist billionaire white man, he is black. He is not some "Uncle Tom sell-out" that lives exclusively in a white man's world, he founded BET. So, just try and tell Bob he cannot make it in America because he is black. Just make an attempt to tell him the white man is keeping him down. See how hard he laughs you right out of his office suite. Better yet, let's hear the Obama hacks villify him and brand him as a racist.

The second thing that happens when a white person tries to engage in a discussion on race is not as hostile, but it is portrayed as some deep intrinsic concept. Whenever whites try to put themselves in the place of blacks and genuinely understand, they are told they can't possibly fully comprehend the suffering. Why? Because it's a black thing and there is no way a white person can truly feel the pain of a black person.

Never mind there are whites that have attended predominantly black schools and endured racist remarks and discrimination, along the way. Never mind that in the second grade LA Sunsett spent a year in Honolulu, going to school that had an overwhelming majority of Hawaiian students, and had to endure the term "haole" (Hawaiian version of honky) on a daily basis. None of us can possibly understand what blacks have been made to endure at the hands of the white man of European origin. We just can't.

Folks, here's my point. A dialogue on race can/would only be productive if the people that call for this kind of thing would be willing to listen in return. A conversation has two components, listening and talking. We learn more by listening than talking, and it's probably why we have two ears and one mouth. We cannot advance anything if one side is not willing to listen. We cannot make any real progress if once we hear something we don't like, it gets branded as racist. To resolve a difference we all must be willing to take some criticism with an open mind.

Until we see the day these things can be implemented in an honest and meaningful way, we will continue down the same old tired path.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Food Prices On The Rise

Here is the article reporting this.

U.S. food prices rose 4 percent in 2007, compared with an average 2.5 percent annual rise for the last 15 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the agency says 2008 could be worse, with a rise of as much as 4.5 percent.

Let's see if we can parse this a little for our edification, shall we?

Gasoline goes up, food goes up. In fact, when fuel goes up, pretty much everything goes up. It's called "the cost of doing business".

As necessary goods become more expensive, consumers buy less expensive durable goods (like electronics) and unnecessary non-durables (like computer games and CDs). Naturally, non-durable goods will go up faster than durable ones. The reason is not elusive, durable goods have a slower turnover. They last longer, so there are less deliveries. So if there are less of those, there is most certainly less need for delivery truck fuel. You cannot fax a truckload of milk or bread. It needs trucks with gas and a set of hands to pull it off of the truck, so it can be put on the shelves, ready for purchase (before it expires).

But spoilage being what it is, there is a solution that is not popular in some circles. It is a solution that the environmental lobby has fought against tooth, gum, and nail. It may not be a long-term solution, immediate problems do not respond well to long-term solutions.

It's time to drill in ANWR and build some more refineries.And while we are doing this, we must be searching for viable alternative energy sources. it's time to stop talking about this, time to start action. And if Greenpeace is unhappy, so be it.

Latest Poll Shows Hillary Up By 20% In PA

Here is the poll.

The numbers are Clinton 57%, Obama 37% with undecided at 4% and other at 2%. But another poll that can be offered as material, is this one.

10% of all likely Democratic primary voters say they would never vote for Hillary Clinton in the primary and 24% of likely Democratic primary voters say they would never vote for Barack Obama in the primary.

No doubt there's some measure of blowback going on here, mainly rooted in the "bitter" remarks Obama recently made. But I am not altogether sure how accurate this particular poll is. Obama's support is probably a bit stronger than it reflects and he most likely will still end up winning the nomination. This is certainly a valid assumption when one factors in, national polls.

But I seriously think the damage has already been done to his campaign. And as a result of missteps like this, it's becoming more and more doubtful that he can sustain his current level of popularity in the general election campaign. Furthermore, Obama is beginning to sound more like the "king of elitists", John Kerry. And we know the outcome of that farce of a campaign.

The problem is now two-fold. Genuine people of any political persuasion do not like arrogant patricians, they do not being treated as peasants or plebians. Not only is his "upper crust snobby" comments irritating to average Americans, his two-faced double talk isn't helping his cause either. No one likes being deceived, especially at the same time they are being talked down to. What Obama's handlers are not factoring in is simple, the average people outnumber the elite classes exponentially. Only elitists embrace other elitists, so he may want to reassess his approach a bit and crunch some numbers.

If this isn't registering yet, then let's consider another angle.

Obama tells the nation in speech after speech that he wants to unite this country. Furthermore, He he tells us all he wants to unite classes, cultures, and races under some wonderful panacea he calls an "Obama Presidency" Then in turn, he tells a bunch of elitists in SF that small town America finds some kind of dysfunctional solace in religions and guns - all behind closed doors where he thinks no one will hear it.

Now, you can correct me if you think I am wrong, but this isn't exactly embracing people that helped defeat Kerry in 2004. In fact, put this with the racist connections and you may find an even larger disconnect with the American electorate. (See: Howard Dean's comments on embracing guys with pickups and confederate flags.)

In short, it becomes an issue of a man's sin finding him out. Things like this have a funny way coming back to haunt a person. If a person talks to people out in the open in one manner and is overheard speaking about some of those same people in a another, what's that tell us? If we had a co-worker that did this, we'd call them a back-stabbing hypocrite.

So keep talking Barry, people are learning much from your speeches and how you approach the important topics. Every veil lifted gives us a clearer and clearer picture. President McCain will thank you for it and your country will thank you for it.

Recommended Reading

Journalists are a unique breed. It is often said that it takes one to know one. And since Ralph Peters is one, he certainly is qualified to describe them. You can read his well-written scathing indictment on journalists here.

Bloomberg is reporting the dismal numbers from corporate giant General Electric. These are the fine people that used to say they made" good things for life". With competition unlike ever before seen, GE has known to be in trouble for some time now. This is precisely why they are hitting this "global warming" issue so hard, they stand to make a lot of money if the GW cultists get their ways. If not, their future looks very bleak.

A local radio talk show host has some interesting thoughts about poverty. In fact, he goes as far as saying there is no such thing as poverty, here in America. Read and consider what he says, when you get a moment.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Another Blast From The Past

For some reason, some of the best one-hit wonders come from 1970. Just access any list of top 100 one-hit wonders and you'll notice several from this year. I think much of that comes from the period, status post late 60s psychedelic era; with the innovation that came our of that era, the pressure was on to commercialize it and thus, the race was to produce even newer avant garde sounds.

Here are a few of my favorites that caught my ear, during that year:

I always thought this tune was a contradiction of sorts. The song had a sad theme lyrically, but had an upbeat sound to the music and melody. The band was called the Looking Glass. The song was called, Brandy:

The next song was a Beatlesque tune. I think it did well, mainly because of the sadness that lingered after those four mop tops split up. Here is the Tee Set with Ma Belle Amie:

This next one was a little bubble-gummy, but it mixed well with the improved technology and got a lot of playing time. This one was from a band called Wadsworth Mansion, called Sweet Mary:

Finally, we have a song that I don't think did quite as well as the others. But nevertheless, it had a great early seventies edge that was a little psychedelic and a little bubble-gum, all rolled into one. The band was known as Crabby Appleton The song was, Go Back:


Friday, April 11, 2008

A Thought To Ponder

Listening to Jesse Ventura on Neil Cavuto today, he made a very simple but poignant statement. It's about the state of the two-party system in America today, I will paraphrase:

We have two candidates to vote for. That's one more than the Soviet Union used to have, along with Cuba and North Korea.

He went on to use an analogy of soft drinks, stating that if you have just Coke and Pepsi to choose from, it leaves a whole lot of choices out of the mix. Think about it, you wouldn't get 7-Up, RC Cola, Dr Pepper, Root Beer, etc.


Jimmy Carter May Meet With Hamas Leader

It has been announced that former President Jimmy Carter is planning to visit Syria next week. Well-known Democrats visiting a rogue state that sponsors terrorism is nothing new. Just review the passports of Nancy Pelosi and Jesse Jackson.

But if visiting a state that sponsors people who kill innocents for political purposes is not enough to provoke disdain, consider this disturbing thought. While Mr. Carter is in-country, he has also plans to visit with Hamas leader, Khaled Meshaal.

As you may guess, the State Department is not pleased with this idea.

The Bush administration has urged former President Jimmy Carter not to go forward with plans to meet with the leader of Hamas, the U.S. State Department said Thursday.

As you may guess, left-wing Carterphiles are not usually overly concerned about what the Administration wants (as they rarely are on a variety of issues). During the course, one must expect this type of hostile defiance from those that do not like the current President. But this issue may have far-reaching consequences for the presumed Democratic nominee, Barack Obama.

Carter's decision to meet with Hamas could have blowback for Obama. In Nigeria last week, Carter signaled his support for Obama, without officially endorsing him. Asked about that, sources close to both Obama and Carter told NBC NEWS that they are ducking a formal endorsement to avoid alienating Jewish voters critical of the former president's Middle East policies. Carter is a superdelegate and has long had rocky relations with the Clintons.

With Obama already in some controversy for suggesting talks with Iran (with no set pre-conditions), this would really weaken an Obama candidacy in the area of foreign relations, especially with independent moderate voters that tend to think rationally. People like Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers would probable give it two thumbs up and would receive Mr. Carter with a hero's welcome, after his return. But people who have the ability to think critically and analyze things with an open mind will not be impressed.

Because this may do some serious political damage to Obama's campaign, it is being reported that Obama's camp is not really to keen to this idea. From the same MSNBC article comes this update:

The Obama campaign provided NBC with a statement it released yesterday. "Senator Obama does not agree with President Carter's decision to go forward with this meeting because he does not support negotiations with Hamas until they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and abide by past agreements. As President, Obama will negotiate directly with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas."

Whether it's a sincere disagreement or a proactive political ploy to prevent an enormous amount of future damage control, it is the right thing to do. In fact, if Democrats are really smart, they would isolate Mr. Carter on the fringe - where he has conducted much of his ex-presidential legacy building, over the past few years. Whatever legacy he has left is now being neutralized by his statements, behaviors, and actions over this latest round of ideological blunders and missteps.

In the grand scheme of things, it just further illustrates the claim that the Democratic Party is impetuous and growing more reckless as time goes on. There is no consistency, there is no vision, except to undo anything that has be done in the battle against worldwide terrorism just to undermine the current President.

Furthermore, it solidifies my belief that JFK and FDR are currently rolling over in their graves. Even LBJ would have never dreamed of making such a foolish and subversive gesture, which now places him way above Jimmy Carter on the PYY favorability scale.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What They Said

I lifted these from the front page of the Indianapolis Star, Wednesday. They were sound bites from the first day of the Petraeus hearings. All three candidates were in attendance, all three had much to say (which is customary in this situation).

Hillary Clinton:

I think it's time to begin an orderly process of withdrawing our troops, start rebuilding our military.

The wrong plan.

A premature disastrous departure makes no sense for the long term stability of the region. She knows it and would have no trouble going back on this promise. She's just playing to the anti-war base. The trouble is, she'd leave them there only to screw it up worse than it already is.

Barack Obama:

I continue to believe that the original decision to go into Iraq was a massive strategic blunder.

No plan.

He's still arguing the case against the war. But it's not a valid argument for the present or the future, it's about what we cannot change now.

Even if it were the biggest blunder ever, the fact remains we are there. If we leave before the job is done, we risk certain instability and the further strengthening of Iran's influence. Now that we see Iraq's Army pushing back at the Mahdi Army, we can truly see some progress (however overdue it may be).

John McCain:

We are no longer staring into the abyss of defeat, and we can now look ahead to the genuine prospect of success.

A better plan than the other two.

The only thing I would say different is, the
can should be replaced with may. Other than this minor deviation, this is certainly a more sensible way of looking at what we have in our hands right now. It is much more accurate account.

Question: How far can you run into the woods?

Answer: Halfway. Because then, you would be running out of the woods.

The Growing Trend Of Teen Violence And The Questions It Raises

By now we have no doubt seen or heard of the video of the six teenage girls kidnapping and beating another, which authorities believe took place over 30 minutes. I will not link to it, if you want to find it, just do a search, it's everywhere. But I will note that shock, shocking, and shocked are all word forms that have been tossed around, when describing this act. It's deplorable at best, cowardly at worst.

But can we say we are really shocked? Or are we just so sick of the election, we must focus on one instance of something that has been happening for years, making it sound like it is a new phenomenon?

Let's think about this a second. Does anyone believe that there's anything new about an ambushing of someone for the specific purpose of causing harm to another, save for use of the video camera for the purpose of posting it on the internet? Even at this, since teenagers have discovered some pretty gross misuses for You Tube and My Space, they have been pulling these kinds of stunts as a game or a means or gaining notoriety.

But as you may surmise, the media is just now catching up this and
they are now asking why this could have happened?

There are still many unanswered questions about the case in which sheriff's officials say six teen girls filmed a brutal, profanity-ridden beating of a 16-year-old schoolmate while threatening to post the video on MySpace and YouTube.

Why would something like this happen? Anger? Jealousy? Peer pressure?

How could "trash-talking" on MySpace, as Sheriff Grady Judd has described what preceded the events, lead to such violence?

The article makes some valid points about the many reasons, but the most poignant of them all is:

Parents and teachers must dive into the depths of cyberspace, learn more about the Web sites their kids are using, and teach them to have empathy for others, as well as themselves, he said.

So out of seemingly nowhere, after a "shocking" video gets much national attention, we have the media suggesting that parents ask themselves: What are the kids are doing online? Brilliant world we live in when we have become reactive, instead of proactive.

The victim in this beating up was apparently no angel, herself. This comes per her father. According to him, she has had her share of problems with anger to include some physical scuffles with her mother in the past. The girls that perpetrated this crime have also accused her of posting insults of them on My Space, but that is being denied by the victim's family. They are alleging that her My Space was hacked into.

Whatever the case, if she did write those things, it still doesn't excuse the girls that were seen committing this crime. They bear a large portion or the responsibility here. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me is a little saying that needs to be reinforced here. No amount of name-calling is worthy of this kind of response.

But in the interim, here's a noble thought to ponder. If the parents had known what their kids (all of them, to include the victim) were doing, just maybe this would have never happened. If they would have been more involved in their lives, this may have been averted. This is not a judgmental statement here, it's just the truth.

Now that it has happened, what will the responses of the parents be?

Some may assume defensive postures. My kid doesn't deserve this, the girl provoked it, may very well be their response. And they'll make excuses like this until the day they die.

Others may say, the girls were wrong, BUT, the girl shouldn't have posted the insults in the first place.

I seriously doubt many (if any) of them will look inward to see, how THEY could played an integral part in preventing something like this from happening? Maybe they couldn't have, who knows? But their reactions (as they become known) will tell us the real story.

I know one thing in all of this, these girls and boys that had any part in this premeditated scheme should be inherently glad that I am not their parent. Because life as they know it would end for a long time, after they serve the terms of their sentence. And you can rest damned assured I wouldn't be defending their actions. Instead, I would be counseling them on how to adapt to life in jail.

In addition, I would use this as a teaching moment to reinforce some things. I have often told my kids (and still do), a great part of your reputation is built on the foundation of the type of company you keep and if you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas. They may have a lot of time to think about this little principle, while they stare at the four walls they will soon call home.

Today, we live in a society that seeks to justify its actions, by blaming everyone else but ourselves for misfortunes and unintended consequences. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming weeks and months. But the question that we may never learn the answer to is, how many parents will use this as a wake-up call? My guess is, not enough.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Inconsistency And Common Sense: The Battle Of Basra

While analyzing the recent Basra confrontation in which the Iraqi Army confronted al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, the usual assessments are flowing from those associated with the anti-war movement. Take Juan Cole's recent essay that appeared in Salon Magazine (which is considered one of the more liberal publications) for instance.

Negativity permeates this article, much as we would expect from anyone that is critical of the Iraq War. I think this is mainly because Mr. Cole has made his name by communicating his belief that the current Iraq is a failed state. His commentary is well-known and respected in the circles that are against the war and to backtrack now would embarrass him greatly, in his academic circles. So, he continues to march, in the hope that he can influence perceptions of the outcome (if not the outcomes, themselves).

In his essay and speaking of the cease-fire, Mr. Cole expostulates:

By the time the cease-fire was called, al-Maliki had been bloodied after days of ineffective fighting and welcomed a way back from the precipice. Both Iran, which brokered the agreement, and al-Sadr, whose forces acquitted themselves well against the government, were strengthened.

As any person that is predisposed to certain biases, Mr. Cole communicates his assessment without regards to the analysis that directly contradicts his own. Take this recent column by Jack Kelly of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette into consideration, and you'll see what I mean.

Speaking of the cease fire called for by al-Sadr, he both poses and answers this question:

Why might Mr. al Sadr have sought a cease fire? "Sources in Basra tell TIME that there has been a large scale retreat in the oil-rich port city because of low morale and because ammunition is low due to the closure of the Iranian border," TIME reported Sunday.

"They were running short of ammunition, food and water," a U.S. military officer told Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal. "In short, (the Mahdi army) had no ability to sustain the effort."

That sure doesn't sound like al Sadr's forces were winning.

It doesn't sound that way to me, either.

How hard was the Mahdi Army getting hit? Mr. Kelly goes on to say (citing Mr Roggio):

His sources in the U.S. military tell him the Mahdi army was getting pounded, Bill Roggio said. "According to an unofficial tally... 571 Mahdi army fighters have been killed, 881 have been wounded, 490 have been captured, and 30 have surrendered over the course of seven days of fighting." "The U.S. and Iraqi military never came close to inflicting casualties at such a high rate during the height of major combat operations against al Qaida in Iraq during the summer and fall of 2007," he said. The Mahdi army has won by surviving, media analysts say. But it seems apparent the Mahdi army survived by quitting.

By lumping the number of casualties into one number (hoping the reader will not ask the pertinent questions that most critical thinkers would in this case), or by making a biased and inaccurate assessment (as Mr. Cole does in his essay), one thing rings true. Who you believe may be dependent on who you want to believe. If you want the Iraqi state to fail so you can blame George Bush, you will subscribe to typical media accounts and those essays put forth by people like Mr. Cole. if you want the truth, you will wait and read all accounts, before jumping to conclusions.

And just to take it a step further, I will pose another question for consideration in your pondering calculations: Why would al-Sadr offer a cease fire if the Mahdis were winning?

Common sense would dictate that the one that offers the cease fire is usually the one getting hit, the hardest. Wouldn't it?

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Lesson In Victimology

When he is not entertaining children at parties dressed as a clown, my good friend Mustang is a very prolific writer. At Social Sense, he has penned a great post worthy of some consideration. It is entitled, Creating Victims.

His writing skills come as no surprise to those of us that know him well. But the real news in this plug is, Mustang is now a blogger over at Townhall. Here is the same piece, posted there.

If you have the time, check them out at both sites, and if you desire, leave a comment or two.

And if you have a little one that has a birthday coming up soon, as his manager, I am now scheduling appearances by "Uncle Mustang". Forget the balloons, the prizes, and the gags. He offers more practical entertainment that is also educational.

He will teach the little ones how to field strip an M-16, throw a grenade, and fire an M-60 machine gun. And for a little more, he can show them how to properly clean and store an M-109 Howitzer artillery piece, per regulations. Worried about the mess afterward? No problem. "Uncle Mustang" will teach the children how organize an effective military-style police call to clean up the entire mess afterward. No fuss, no muss, just leave it all to us.

Don't wait too long, as dates are filling up fast.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Final Fabulous Four (It's Not Easy Picking This One)

With history being made (in the form of all four #1 seeds making to the 2008 Final Four, for the life of me, I cannot tell you who will not win anymore than I can tell you who will. Usually, there's one "Cinderella" team that slips by more talented teams to make it this far (and has no real business doing so). In these cases, it is this team that is usually gone by close of business tonight.

This year, all four teams have a viable and realistic chance and any one of these remaining four are more than capable of cutting down the nets Monday night. In the end, the story will depend on who played their style best and who could exploit the match-ups, better.

Memphis - UCLA

Naturally, growing up in So. Cal, I can claim some obvious emotional ties for UCLA (and I do). Despite this, I still have a certain affinity for underdogs. But this is not to say that Memphis is an underdog. The point is, Memphis is the one team in it that has the least amount of success at this level. UCLA has eleven titles, Memphis has none. So at least historically, I would call this an "ever so" slight disadvantage. But in the grander scheme of things this means very little, especially when you consider there are other pertinent factors in this game.

UCLA's defense is second to none in the NCAA. The Bruins are holding teams to an average of 53 points per game, which is impressive within itself; because with good defense, you can have an off shooting night and still be in the game and compete in the game down the stretch. Their style of defense can best be described as relentless and swarming pressure. Not many can overcome this. Just ask Mississippi Valley State, who could only manage to muster up 29 points against them in the first round.

Yet, despite my "strong" bias for both UCLA and strong defense, I think Memphis does have a good chance to win this game. Why? Because they field the most athletic team in the tourney. When they click on offense, they click on offense. When this happens, they win. They've only lost one game this season, against intrastate rival Tennessee. And the biggest reason they lost that game was a poor FT shooting performance, 8-17 or 47%. Even so, they were in the game up until the very end, mainly because of their defense (which is not too shabby either).

In essence, this game is about power offense against power defense. Since I cannot make an emphatic claim in this game, I will resist doing so (to a degree). But I will say, the team that wins will be the one that can shut the other offense down. And since Memphis is a scoring machine, I must give the advantage to them (despite my obvious bias).

North Carolina - Kansas

Both of these teams are mirror images of each other in some ways. The edge in speed must go to NC, based on their earlier tourney performances. But the other areas are pretty equal. The only team that has given NC any kind of a work-out is Louisville, who are quite athletic in their own right. But even in that game, the Tar Heels seemed to always be a step ahead of the Cardinals. They had the talent, capable of turning the level of play up a notch or two, when they needed to.

Kansas big man Sasha Kaun may be able to wreak some havoc on NC's Tyler Hansbrough, but it will take a stellar defensive performance with few fouls to even have a hope of containing him. I say this becaise, I do not think it's possible to completely stop him. As a result of this, containment becomes the only realistic goal for Kaun. That match-up aside, Kansas will need to find a way to get back on defense and slow the NC fast breaks, in addition to scoring on the Tar Heel defense.

One of the side of the drama to this game is Roy Williams' dreaded encounter, with his old team. Many people in Lawrence are still harboring some resentment for him leaving their school for his alma mater. I can understand some hurt feelings, initially. But as for me, I think it's been long enough now. It's well past time to put on adult pants and act like big boys and girls. (I think the media has perpetuated some of this for the purpose of generating both interest in the name of the almighty ratings.)

The other way to look at this is the old coach vs. the old team approach. Many times, the old coach will will win that battle, because he knows the strengths and the weaknesses of his old players, and can effectively prepare his new team to exploit them. But again, it's been too long for this scenario to be a factor, because all of these current Kansas players belong to the new coach.

With all of this said and despite the fact that I picked Kansas to win it all in my bracket, I feel that NC has the best chance of winning this one.

Update (8:25 PM):

Memphis 78


UCLA had plenty of opportunities to keep this close and be in a position to win. But in the end, it was the Memphis Tigers' superior athletic ability that forced the pace of the game. The Bruins just could not buy a basket when they needed one.

I thought Memphis ran their offense very well and shot the ball well. They have the ability to get down the court quickly, finding the seam, and accelerating well toward the basket. When they are hot, they finish their plays with emphasis and authority.

Unless, Kansas or NC comes out in supernatural form and shows far greater heart and grit than Memphis did this evening, I will go out on a limb now and say that they are the team to beat. Dick Vitale can sing the praises of North Carolina, all he wants. LASunsett says, "It's the Coach Cal and the Tigers all the way, baby!"

Update (11:35 PM):

Kansas 88
NC 66

Call this shock and awe.

This was a three part game that covered two halves. Kansas had NC thoroughly demoralized when the score was 40-12. But to their credit, the Tar Heels didn't quit and eventually regained the momentum in one of the greatest comebacks I have ever seen. Despite this gutsy surge, the Jayhawks were able to settle down and run their half-court offense with some success to close it down.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why Roy Williams didn't have them fouling, while they were still in it. Kansas was not shooting the ball well from the FT line, this would have given NC some much needed rest down the stretch, after they had expended so much energy in that phenomenal comeback.

Both teams made some mistakes, both teams got rattled when the other had the momentum. Kansas must be careful not to get cocky and reckless when they get a good lead, if they are to have any chance against Memphis. Memphis likes to capitalize on an opponent's miscues.