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27 November 2002

Ana

Good gawd, how many more times is Jerry Wizig going to stick his tongue in the ear of Ana Imel (the man with no D)?

This latest is almost as embarassing as the one a week or so ago. Here's a quote from Ana, the martyr for future greatness at UH (in Wizig's opinion, at least):

"The 2001 season was a season that had to happen," Dimel said in reference to the redshirting of nearly the entire recruiting class. "I had to be the one to do that."
It's almost like Gawd chose him or something.

Ana, get over yourself! You laid a goose egg, okay? And you rebounded with four wins this year, when at least 2-3 more of those games were very winnable. You're a nice guy, but your run at UH was terrible.

Bye!

[Posted at 13:47 CST on 11/27/02] [Link]

Good News/Bad News

The Beast That Separated Me From My Money Yesterday
Crazy: I'm now a proud Jeep owner

So, I figured I would be on the road for Thanksgiving in OK by now, but I'm not. Callie's been down with a nasty cold since the weekend, so we're trying to get her well. The same thing derailed a trip to OK for Thanksgiving a couple of years ago (the main problem being that rural OK is no place to be for an asthmatic with a bad cold). I think we'll still make it eventually, but we've been delayed at this point. This also puts the plans to see the Counting Crows in St. Louis in some jeopardy, since we were gonna skip up there from OK. We'll see....

The good news (I think) is that somehow, I went and purchased a new Jeep Liberty yesterday. I've been in love with those vehicles for a while, but thought I would talk Callie into replacing her Cobra with one (something she's been talking about for a year). But after doing lots of research I finally decided to put out a few internet price requests and just see what would come through, not expecting to do anything unless I got an offer I just couldn't refuse. I did. From the dealership that's pretty much a long walk (by Houston standards; fairly short walk by, say, London standards) from my place. And I took delivery yesterday. Which is very cool, but still very much surprising. And the thing actually gets slightly better mileage than the truck I traded in, so take that you Environmental Weenies! Well, okay, the mileage still isn't great... but I'm an evil conservative anyway, so there ya go.

Anyway, if we ever DO make this roadtrip, there's new wheels for it. Although we shall have to putt along, since it's still in the break-in period (and you really can damage an engine long-term by ramming it during break-in -- do I sound like someone who has a mechanic for an uncle and de facto brother-in-law? Yeah, I guess I do).

So, depending on what happens in the next 24 hours or so, there may be lots of posting here by me, or just a little posting from the road (I'll have the laptop and wi-fi, pcs vision, and a number of other ways to connect -- but will I have time? Probably not much).

In any case, everyone have a good Thanksgiving and enjoy some turkey for me, since I may miss out on my mommy's! :)

[Posted at 09:06 CST on 11/27/02] [Link]

Keith Burns

My friend Dave emails to suggest that UH could hire Tulsa's Keith Burns for their head coaching vacancy.

NOOOOOOO!

Not funny, Dave. Not funny at all.

[Posted at 08:57 CST on 11/27/02] [Link]

26 November 2002

Ana Imel

So, Steve Logan of East Carolina is upset that Ana Imel (the man with no D) was fired:

You have a guy who comes in with marching orders to clean up the program," Logan said. "He lets 10 or 11 kids go his first year for various reasons, and he's redshirting his classes and had the table set, and someone gets stupid and fires him."
I tend to agree with Mark Vandermeer, who said yesterday on his talk show on AM 610 that there's no excuse for not winning ANY games at UH. You may have a rebuilding year from time to time (this year ought to be the exception, not signs of great "improvement" that Imel keeps talking about), but given the pitiful conference and the wealth of talent in this city (let alone state), you should not put up a goose egg. Dimel should probably have been let go last year, but Maggard was too new to pull the trigger. To suggest that Imel has been treated unfairly by administrators is over the top.

And here's a thought -- for the next coach, maybe, just maybe, we can hire a coach with a man's name? Kim and Ana just haven't been the answer. And get this:

"Louisville who?" Dimel said jokingly in reference to the atmosphere surrounding Saturday's game. "Sunday is when we usually watch film (of the next foe). I was too busy crying to worry about it (Sunday), so I came in earlier Monday morning."
I would also suggest, in addition to a coach with a man's name, somebody who doesn't cry quite so much.

I'm sure, of course, that Wizig is sad after his, umm, "friend" (for lack of a better word) was fired. I wonder if Wizig's snapped to the possibility of a 4-8 record yet? Probably too busy crying as well.

Here's a telling quote also:

Said Louisville coach John L. Smith, whose 7-4 Cardinals can win a share of the C-USA championship by beating the Cougars at Robertson Stadium on Saturday: "I feel bad for Dana. They're more talented than a lot of teams we've played this year."
Funny, but that's what a lot of coaches used to say about John Blake at Oklahoma after beating him. Ana Imel seems like a nice guy, but he didn't get it done with what he had, and even an opposing coach suggests that he had some talent to work with. I say it's time for the Tommy Kaiser era to get going.

[Posted at 09:55 CST on 11/26/02] [Link]

Oh The Comical

In today's Comical, Jonathan Feigen writes:

"For someone like me, it's definitely an adjustment," Taylor said. "I never had to come off the bench before. It's always a good problem to have too many players instead of last year, not having enough players. But it is an adjustment. It's a mental and physical adjustment. Your time out there is going to be shorter. Your room for error is a lot smaller.

It's always an advantage to have veterans coming in. It's definitely a plus. But it's definitely different."

He didn't say better or worse. For now at least, the most accurate answer might be both.

But he DID say better -- he said it's a "plus." Definitely.

Feigen may say it's not better. Kenny Thomas may not like it. But Mo Taylor definitely said it's a plus.

The sports page is no different than the rest of the Comical: largely unedited, poorly written crap.

[Posted at 09:46 CST on 11/26/02] [Link]

25 November 2002

The Comical Agenda

For those outside Houston (and maybe some of you who live here?) who think my occasional rantings about the Houston Comical and its agenda are too conspiratorial and over the top, go check out Owen's post.

He caught the Comical in a posting error that confirms: 1) yes, the paper does push an agenda to try to save us ignorant little people from ourselves and Tom Delay, and 2) they really ARE inept.

I just wish he had gotten a screen capture of the thing. Did anyone manage that before they took it down?

[Posted at 09:03 CST on 11/25/02] [Link]

24 November 2002

Big 12 Wrap: Week 14

Last Week's Wrap

Not much action in the Big 12 this week, but there was enough to settle the Big 12 South and set the teams for the title game in Houston. The games:

Oklahoma 60, Texas Tech 15
Because Texas Tech doesn't play defense, they must rely on gigantic games from Mike Leach's innovative offense to win. When they run into a buzzsaw like Oklahoma's defense, it just isn't going to happen -- especially when Oklahoma dominates on offense, defense, and special teams. Before this game, there was talk of Tech going to the Big 12 title game and Kliff Kingsbury winning a Heisman. Oklahoma will be headed to Houston to play for the title, and Kingsbury joins Chris Simms, Seneca Wallace, and Chris Brown as Heisman hopefuls who could have impressed voters against OU's D, and instead were fairly well shut down. Was it enough to get Quentin Griffin an invite to the Heisman ceremony? Maybe.

Kansas State 38, Missouri 0
After losing to Colorado early, Kansas State has been the most dominant team in the Big 12 North. That dominance was on display against Mizzou, as the Bill Snyder express rolls on. Unfortunately for K-State, that early loss against Colorado effectively derailed its chances to head to Houston.

Connecticut 37, Iowa State 20
A team that considers itself a Big 12 power should not lose to UConn at football. Because the Big 12 has 9 bowl-eligible teams and not that many affiliations with bowls, Iowa State may find this loss to be very costly when bowl invitations are issued. Seneca Wallace, who was a legit Heisman contender until the OU game, tossed 4 interceptions in a subpar performance.

Oklahoma State 63, Baylor 28
In keeping with previous policy, we don't write about Baylor games any more because, really, what is there to say? The Kevin Steele era is now over, and rumors of the next great coach will surely be circulating before Baylor inevitably hires another relatively unknown assistant. OSU's Rashaun Woods, the best receiver in the conference, set a Big 12 record for receiving yards in the season. Oklahoma State will likely edge Iowa State for the conference's final bowl bid if they can beat Oklahoma next week in the annual bedlam grudge match.

[Posted at 23:09 CST on 11/24/02] [Link]

Crows

Callie is a big Counting Crows fan, and got me hooked on the band a while back. We've seen them in some pretty cool places -- a venue that looked like a bus barn in Austin, San Marcos, Huntsville, Reno, Tahoe, London, and yeah, boring old Verizon in Houston (or whatever the hell they're calling the venue these days). And we've seen them every year for a few years now. Even heard them trying out the stuff on Hard Candy before it was recorded.

But it was starting to look a little bleak earlier this year. They were doing lots of European dates, and hadn't scheduled any Texas, southwest, or even midwest dates. Still no Texas or southwest, but they did add a St. Louis show. The saturday after Thanksgiving. At the Fox Theater. St. Louis is a skip up the road from my parents in NE Oklahoma, so we're headed up that way after thanksgiving. Seeing them in the Fox will be cool, and downtown St. Louis/LaClede's Landing will be a fun spot to go play also. So the Crows' streak is still alive. Barely.

Sadly, they've lost their drummer to family and other concerns. Blar.

[Posted at 09:20 CST on 11/24/02] [Link]

23 November 2002

The Big Uh

Dale Robertson says Dana Dimel is toast as UH football head coach.

They did set conference and school records in the latest effort. Unfortunately, they aren't the sorts of records you want to set (most interceptions by a quarterback in a game).

Here are Dimel's comments:

"We were right at the cusp with a chance at 6-6 and qualifying for a bowl game, but we just didn't take care of our opportunities," Dimel said. "I don't know many teams that were 0-11 and had a chance to go to a bowl game the next year. Think of where we were at this time last year."
Ah, yes, coach. The shit stank slightly less this year than last. And like John Blake, you've just got some mistakes to get corrected. Unfortunately, I don't think Dave Maggard can pull a Bob Stoops out of his hat like Joe Castiglione did when he ended the similarly stinky John Blake error era.

At least they lost to a pretty good football team (one that extended Oklahoma earlier in the year). Ray McCallum's men's basketball team can't use that excuse to explain its pitiful home opener loss.

But hey, we can count on Rayner Noble's UH baseball team this spring.

(11-24-02 Update) I saw someone on a UH message board refer to the coach as Ana Imel with the explanation "he has no D." That struck me as pretty damn funny.

(11-24-02 Update 2) Dimel was fired today.

[Posted at 23:25 CST on 11/23/02] [Link]

Sooners!

I think the Sooners probably played their best all-around game (offense, defense, and special teams) in two years earlier tonight, to clinch the Big 12 South and a place in the conference championship game here in Houston.

Hard to believe they were able totally to shut down an offensive genius like Mike Leach, and had so much trouble with that R.C. Slocum mess of an offense a few weeks ago.

Oh well.

[Posted at 21:51 CST on 11/23/02] [Link]

22 November 2002

Friday Night Blues

It's about to turn into an eclectic musical evening.

First off, Billy Joe Shaver doing an in-store appearance at Cactus just down the street. Shaver, of course, is a legendary singer/songwriter in this state, and I have to admit I've never seen him perform. He's promoting a new CD, and is also appearing at the Duck tonight.

But I won't be catching him at the Duck, because I'll be at the Firehouse for John Conlee. Yes, the John Conlee who achieved some momentary fame in the late 70s/early 80s with songs like Rose Colored Glasses, Back Side of 30 and Friday Night Blues (still, in my view, one of the all-time great country songs). It's different than the Texas/Red-Dirt/Americana stuff that is my usual fare, but when I was growing up Conlee was one of the few country artists I liked, and I've never seen the man. So I figured I should take advantage, because who knows how many more shows he'll be doing.

Of course, seeing Big John might be enough to give Callie the Friday Night Blues. We're about to find out. :)

(Update) There will be no Friday Night Blues after all. The Firehouse is a friggin' zoo tonight, and we're not in the mood. If I wanted to be packed in like sardines in a poorly ventilated venue, I would actually go to the Satellite to see a good band (Reckless Kelly) instead of a washed-up 80s novelty act. We did see Big John's tour bus in the parking lot. It's a very sad looking thing. In fact, it may date back to the 80s (Really - I'm not exaggerating).

[Posted at 17:02 CST on 11/22/02] [Link]

It Must Be A Joke

An ongoing feud in the NFL between a punter and a kicker?

That's funny.

[Posted at 09:32 CST on 11/22/02] [Link]

21 November 2002

Oh Those Greeks

It doesn't really seem like a year....

But it was like something out of that recent movie tonight, as the Greek family all got together and drank and ate. And drank.

No Ouzo for me, however. I think you must be authentically Greek to enjoy that stuff.

[Posted at 21:34 CST on 11/21/02] [Link]

20 November 2002

Connelly Needs A Blog

Kuffner has been way ahead of Richard Connelly several times on quirky local tidbits, so I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this item in this week's News Hostage column:

The second is from the November 11 Religion section, on a story about the Promise Keepers' plans to use hip-hop music and extreme sports to get in touch with the whippersnappers: "Evangelical Movement Turns Attention to Teenage Boys." (Insert Catholic joke here.)
Gotcha covered, dude. Over a week ago.

That's sort of the problem with little news tidbits like this. The instant response afforded by a blog makes reading the stuff in print over a week later a bit of a bore.

The Press should turn Connelly loose with a blog. THAT would be entertaining, I think.

(Update) Speaking of Kuffner, early today (well ahead of certain big-time bloggers and your humble host here!) he noted the latest in the K-Mart/Sonic/JCI police raid fiasco. Advantage: Kuff.

[Posted at 21:41 CST on 11/20/02] [Link]

Gaffney

Let me preface this by saying that I think Frank Gaffney is one of the most astute, serious defense policy intellectuals writing today, and that for the most part I agree with this column.

But isn't it just a little self-serving to write about "the utter bankruptcy of what passed for serious national security policymaking since the late 1980s" (that conveniently being the last time Gaffney was part of the policymaking apparatus)?

Here's another recent column of his that is interesting. The Jayna Davis story is nothing new to voracious internet news/blog junkies, but it's starting to get a little more mainstream play now. That's not to say that she isn't a kook -- she may well be -- but at least maybe her evidence will get some consideration now.

[Posted at 21:29 CST on 11/20/02] [Link]

19 November 2002

Football Problems

A few of us are trying to solve UH's football woes over at Greg's place.

It's really too big a problem for just 3 people though. So you smart football people should go add your $.02.

And rest assured, WHATEVER is done at UH, it can't get much worse. Can it?

(Update) I freely admit that unless Dave Maggard has a can't-miss coach in mind for UH, he should probably just keep Dana Dimel and hope for the best. But the Houston Comical's Jerry Wizig is practically on his knees servicing Dimel with this column.

And get this sentence:

UH is 4-6, and with South Florida this Saturday and Louisville on Nov. 30, both at home, the possibilities are a 5-7 or 6-6 record. The latter would make the Cougars, technically at least, eligible for a bowl.
Ummm... No, Jerry. The possibilities are a 4-8, a 5-7, or a 6-6 record, the most likely of those being the first given the quality of the teams UH is playing.

Up off your knees now, Jerry. Take a break.

[Posted at 19:51 CST on 11/19/02] [Link]

I Love It

McPain in the ass
John McCain (R, CNN)

CNN ran this headline earlier:

Democrats Question Items In Homeland Bill

And whose mug is featured prominently?

Tom Daschle? Nope. Robert Byrd? Uh uh.

It's John McCain.

Of course.

And just like in the primaries, he got rolled again by President Bush.

Ho hum.

[Posted at 19:46 CST on 11/19/02] [Link]

Server Probs

I *think* the server problems that people may have experienced yesterday are now taken care of (as the whirlwind tour of web hosts continues).

Incidentally, ZoneEdit is a very useful service.

[Posted at 18:47 CST on 11/19/02] [Link]

18 November 2002

Yao

Yao Ming had been pretty unimpressive for a #1 pick overall, until the Lakers game.

And after that, you would think he's on his way to league MVP after reading the coverage in the Houston Comical:

Taking his game to a level this hemisphere had never seen from him, Yao had the game on the line and the ball in his hands, and slammed the Rockets to a 93-89 win over the Lakers to announce his arrival.
Keep a little perspective, guys. As big men go, the Lakers have Shaquille O'Neal, Robert Horry, and a bunch of scrubs. And Horry probably comes a lot closer to the scrubs than to Shaq in terms of physical presence in the paint. So with Shaq out, one would hope that Yao would be able to best his previous (sad) efforts in the NBA.

But the Comical SO wants this guy to be TheNextGreatThing that it just can't help being giddy. And maybe he'll even BE a good player one day. But right now, he's a really slow, really tall guy with about a 4 inch vertical leap, who can score a few points against a team whose MVP is injured and whose other big men are scrubs.

[Posted at 22:08 CST on 11/18/02] [Link]

Big 12 Wrap: Week 13

Last Week's Wrap

A big upset and a minor upset in the Big 12 this week. Here are the games:

Oklahoma 49, Baylor 9
In keeping with previous policy -- Oklahoma is the best team in the conference, Baylor is terrible. Baylor loses again.

Texas Tech 42, Texas 38
All season, we've said that Texas Tech will struggle against the better teams in the country because they don't play defense and must rely on their offense to outscore every opponent. But when that offense is clicking, as it was Saturday, they can give even outstanding football teams all they can handle. Texas drops out of BCS contention, and QB Chris Simms, who headed Mack Brown's heralded first #1 recruiting class at Texas, will go out never having won a conference championship as a starter, much less the BCS. Texas Tech controls its destiny: if they beat Oklahoma next week in Norman, they win the Big 12 South. Texas fans must be wondering why Mack Brown can't get over the hump despite his recruiting success.

Kansas State 49, Nebraska 13
Nebraska had 97 yards rushing in this blowout. That's really all one needs to know to get an idea just how far Tom Osborne's football machine has fallen under Frank Solich. By all accounts, Solich is a really nice guy and a Husker lifer -- but one has to wonder how long the Nebraska faithful will tolerate being an average, second-tier Big 12 team before they demand his head. Then again, Oklahoma felt the same way when they canned Gary Gibbs and went into freefall under Howard Schnellenberger and John Blake.

Colorado 41, Iowa State 27
Colorado clinches the Big 12 North and a spot in the title game by dominating the fourth quarter, which is the way the Buffalos like to win games. The Colorado tandem of Brown and Purify combined for 301 yards on the ground.

Missouri 33, Texas A&M 27
One would think beating Oklahoma would have given R.C. Slocum some job security, but he may have squandered it after his team came out flat and lost to Missouri at home. Mizzou is an improving team and shows flashes of being a really good team, but no excuse for Slocum to lose this one at Kyle Field, where he's lost quite a few this year actually. Freshman phenom Reggie McNeal left the game early with an injury, but Dustin Long had a nice game passing for the Aggies. 37 yards rushing won't usually get it done, however. It didn't.

Oklahoma State 55, Kansas 20
In keeping with previous policy -- Kansas is just terrible. Every team should schedule them for homecoming. Until basketball season, that is.

[Posted at 06:45 CST on 11/18/02] [Link]

17 November 2002

Whirlwind

The Scott Melott/Dead End Angels show in Gruene was excellent.

Rick Poss, the band's guitarist, made his first appearance that I've seen, and it was well worth the wait. Aside from that awesome show with Gary Wayne Thomason (the original Groobees guitarist), Scott's been rotating guitarists while waiting for Rick to finish some other commitments. Rick really gives the band a powerful sound now, and they sound tighter every time we see 'em. They sound pretty awesome regardless, but for a band that's really only a few months old... wow.

Now if we can just get an occasional trip to Houston from them in the future....

Speaking of Houston, we roadtripped back home early this morning so I could go watch the Texans with my boss. It was perfect weather for a football game, but the Texans came up short again. They mounted a good rally at the end, but just couldn't make enough plays. Still, there are positives, and I think they're headed in the right direction. Unlike other NFL teams in the Lone Star state.

I'm TIRED.

[Posted at 20:09 CST on 11/17/02] [Link]

16 November 2002

Kevin Welch

I really enjoyed the Kevin Welch show last night. I don't own any of his music, but only know his stuff through LaunchCast, so most of the stuff was unfamiliar to me. I'm going to have to correct that by buying some of his stuff. He did a few covers along with a lot of his own stuff, and mixed in some fairly interesting stories; the guy has good charisma on stage, similar to Joe Ely (for those who don't know, that's quite a compliment). Pretty cool. Oh, and I didn't realize it, but he's another artist who got started in Oklahoma. Of the people I've been listening to heavily (him, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Scott Melott, Great Divide, Randy Rogers), four of those have Oklahoma roots. Which may prove, in my case, that you can take the boy out of Oklahoma, but you can't take the Oklahoma out of the boy.

That's all for now, as I'm off to Gruene later to catch Scott Melott.

[Posted at 13:27 CST on 11/16/02] [Link]

15 November 2002

And Now, Music

My goodness, the blog sounds much much too serious these last few posts. Almost as if I took off work for half a day, and couldn't turn off "serious" mode. Funny that.

But it's time for the musical part of the weekend to begin now: Kevin Welch at the Duck tonight, and Scott Melott's Dead End Angels in Gruene tomorrow.

Probably not much posting in between.

[Posted at 19:19 CST on 11/15/02] [Link]

National Security

I could quibble with a good number of points made in this article ("War Torn: Why The Democrats Can't Think Straight About Foreign Policy") by Heather Hurlburt, but I think her overall message is one that Democrats need to think about (especially given Tom Daschle's recent comments). National Security is one of those two "Big Things" that Daniel Henninger writes about today, and if the Dems wind up getting both of them wrong, they'll be in the political wilderness until they can get it straight.

When I was working on a masters degree in defense and strategic studies, I can't recall any students who were open Democrats in the program. There was one Spanish foreign exchange student who was a bit of a liberal, and plenty of professed conservatives or Republicans. But not one Dem that I can recall. It's kind odd, too, since the head of the program had been influenced heavily by Senator Scoop Jackson, who was a true Dem expert on national security (and also influenced people like Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, who didn't find later Dems all that hospitable to their thinking either). That's anecdotal evidence, of course, but then again, my blog is anecdotal as well. So there ya go.

[Posted at 19:05 CST on 11/15/02] [Link]

Odd Maneuver

This maneuver by Senator Leahy seems to have made nobody in his party very happy.

I actually am willing to give Senator Leahy a little credit on this. There was no good reason to hold up these nominees who were eventually going to be approved (Biden had indicated he would vote yes, but was absent; a GOP majority would move this next session anyway). But obviously the partisans on committee wanted their no votes recorded. So he used an unusual maneuver to have it both ways. I don't have a major problem with that, and his party would look petty if he had done otherwise.

[Posted at 18:28 CST on 11/15/02] [Link]

Peters

I can't help but wonder if Ralph Peters isn't letting his animosity towards Donald Rumsfeld and his affinity for his own branch of the military interfere with his judgment.

His columns have grown more and more shrill on the topic of Rumsfeld and Iraq, but it seems to me he's largely shadow boxing at this point. He refers to published newspaper reports and unnamed "insiders" for all of the "facts" he uses in his critique, but it's hard for the layman (or someone without a security clearance in DoD) to assess those "facts." I'm sure he's found some sources in the Army -- and maybe even other branches -- who don't like Rumsfeld's efforts to remake the military (this is largely driven by his decision to cancel Crusader, I would wager). But they may not be serving Peters, or this debate, very well.

Indeed, it's hard to take anyone seriously on this topic who compares Donald Rumsfeld to Robert McNamara.

[Posted at 18:08 CST on 11/15/02] [Link]

Two Complaints I Can't Figure Out

Critics of the Bush approach to the threat of terror seem to have settled on two main complaints:

1) We don't have Osama bin Laden's corpse. Therefore the war on terror is a failure.

2) Attacking Iraq will detract from the war on terror.

Even after having his head handed to him in elections, Tom Daschle continues to make complaint #1 (which confounds Peter Schramm as well). And complaint #2 is one that pops up in various spots.

Note I refer to these points as complaints, rather than arguments.

In the first example, it just puzzles me how people get from the assertion to the conclusion. Surely, one might reasonably criticize the Bush team's tactics, or even its broader strategy, in fighting terror. But to suggest, as Daschle does, that we have made NO progress is just a silly utterance from someone who apparently does not want to be taken seriously on foreign policy (and the voters indicated they don't, which apparently wasn't enough to get the Senator's attention). I just don't think it's true, and there's probably not room for reasonable discussion with people who think it is.

The second example often comes from the sorts of people who have long imagined criticized a vast military-industrial complex and defense bureaucracy. But suddenly this apparatus is inadequate to the task of rooting out terror globally -- even as a new Homeland Security Department is being created -- and conducting a regional military operation. It's reassuring to know that the military-industrial complex was never the threat it was made out to be, but I really would like to see more evidence that we don't have adequate resources to carry out these two missions. Granted, I'm a hawk, and I would like more resources devoted to the national security of the United States, but they have a LOT of resources. It seems to me those who complain we can't handle these two missions need to provide some evidence to the contrary.

Now, it's a very different argument, of course, to say that attacking Iraq is not integral to the war on terrror, and that we should concentrate on x,y,z instead. I disagree, of course -- and as a complete aside, I saw Con Coughlin (author of Saddam: King of Terror) on MSNBC (or maybe CNBC) being interviewed by Pat Buchanan earlier. He kept trying to get Coughlin to agree that war with Iraq might be a bad idea, and finally concluded by asking Coughlin point blank (I'm paraphrasing from memory): "In your research, did you find direct ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda." Without hesitation, he answered "Yes." Obviously, one can disagree with Coughlin and people like me who suspect he is right. But again, that's a somewhat different matter than simply dismissing American military and foreign policy capabilities. Those opposed to invading Iraq (if it comes to that) need a better argument than one of capabilities. In my opinion. :)

[Posted at 17:37 CST on 11/15/02] [Link]

$9.5 Million For "Free" Email?

Crap like this makes the media reports of questionable travel expenses by City Council and the Mayor look pretty minor in comparison.

Councilman Tatro has been all over this issue, but hasn't been able to generate much momentum so far. I can't help but question the $9.5 million deal on its merits -- do we really need to spend that much money to make sure every Houstonian has access to email (when every Houstonian can, for free, go into the library and set up a yahoo email account)? But if it can't be killed on the merits, maybe it will fall because of possibly illegal bidding practices.

And that would be fitting for Mayor Pothole's administration.

[Posted at 07:27 CST on 11/15/02] [Link]

14 November 2002

Mean

I'm reading the Washington Post earlier, and ran across this Richard Cohen article.

I'll admit that I have great trouble taking Cohen's columns seriously. So when I saw the sub-headline to his column, my mind immediately wandered. Here's the sub-headline, and the photo is where I wandered:

As long as he can't be proven dead, he lives

Somebody check Warren Christopher's pulse

Okay, I'm mean. But at least I'm honest.

[Posted at 22:43 CST on 11/14/02] [Link]

Good Tunes

Good new stuff in the cd changer right now:

The Great Divide, Remain
Randy Rogers Band, Like It Used To Be
Cross Canadian Ragweed, Purple

and a bootleg of Scott Melott thrown in.

For all of you who bitch and moan about the noxious bile produced by Nashville and spun by Clear Channel, you could do a lot worse than these cds.

And if something a little more rocking is your thing, our Slobberbone friends keep getting good press. They're the best unknown punk/alt-rock/americana band going that nobody's ever heard of. That category doesn't exactly endear them to the Clear Channel idiots, of course.

On the topic of Scott Melott -- I'm missing my first Dead End Angels show tonight. They're playing in Austin. But another roadtrip to Gruene this weekend is on tap. He's got a nice bio page up now for his new band, but inexplicably neglects to mention that Craig Bagby was the original Groobees drummer.

[Posted at 20:13 CST on 11/14/02] [Link]

Uh Oh

Kuffner's discovered that my choice for the next Mayor of Houston, Orlando Sanchez, has had the city pick up travel expenses for trips that seem, at best, to have only a marginal *ahem* relation to city business.

Mayor Pothole has perfected this practice, even earning the nickname "Out-of-Town Brown." During a budget crunch, this is just a political non-winner, and something the local media has been having a lot of fun with lately. Sanchez ought to reimburse the city for the relatively small amounts and be done with it. The good publicity that would come of it would more than compensate him.

[Posted at 10:33 CST on 11/14/02] [Link]

Mattress Mac

I'm more troubled by the Houston Comical's headline for these letters than the substance:

MATTRESS MAC EXPOSED

My first thought was, "Gross. Someone cover the fool."

[Posted at 09:00 CST on 11/14/02] [Link]

Eugene and Beatrice

Callie is sharing fun domestic stories about Eugene and Beatrice.

I just wish Beatrice would quit calling.

[Posted at 00:18 CST on 11/14/02] [Link]

13 November 2002

Way To Go Houston

It's always nice when Mayor Pothole's city screws up badly enough to warrant mention from big-time bloggers.

Reynolds pretty much nails it, although his post gives the impression former Chief Bradford's indictment is related to the K-Mart arrests. It isn't, but instead ties back to a disciplinary matter concerning the infamous Captain Aguirre.

What a fine chapter in the city's history.

(11-14-02 Update) Kuffner revisits the issue, and his classic term for the fiasco.

[Posted at 23:57 CST on 11/13/02] [Link]

Missing Manhole Cover

For the third day in a row during my trip in to work (from upper kirby area to galleria area), I've noticed a missing manhole cover in the far right lane of Richmond. The City of Houston has been out to put a warning sign out, but why in the world should it take three days (so far) to put out a replacement cover? And why in the world was it easier to put out a cone on Monday, and then a bigger sign on Tuesday, but NOT just get a replacement manhole cover and be done with the signs?

Houston Public Works is an oxymoron.

[Posted at 07:00 CST on 11/13/02] [Link]

12 November 2002

Strauss Everywhere

It's more than a little surprising to me that non-political-theory geeks have even discovered Leo Strauss, let alone put all of the "evils" of neoconservatism (or sometimes conservativism -- take your pick) on him.

I do think it's fair to say that Strauss and Straussians have influenced some conservatives (or neoconservatives, if one prefers the term). But an essay on Strauss that Orrin Judd discovered might go too far, as might a newspaper column noted by the good folks at No Left Turns (Ashbrook's blog).

These theories of sinister conservative cabals of Straussians were really popularized (if such a thing can be said of an academic text) by Shadia Drury's books on Strauss, which had some good points sprinkled in the sensationalism run amok.

It's just really surprising to me to see them popping up so frequently. But I suppose it's a good thing, if people actually go and take the time to read the late political theorist. And might I suggest An Introduction To Political Philosophy and Persecution And The Art Of Writing, and Natural Right And History to get things rolling.

[Posted at 22:31 CST on 11/12/02] [Link]

11 November 2002

Reality Expander

There's a program from these nuts on the cable public access channel at the moment. They are making the argument that the Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion really isn't a hoax.

Nothing like a little anti-Semitic lunacy on the old public access channel, huh?

I can't find this one on their website, but here's a description of one of their other programs:

Ralph takes the viewer through 200 years of American History, ahowing how an international conspiracy planned the American Revolution, the war of 1812, the Civil War, WW I, WW II and the wars of Vietnam and Korea. Many who have viewed this series have praised him for his ability to explain complex materials so that anyone can understand.
Oh my.

They're currently advertising they need sponsors to put more programs on Houston public access. I don't think I'll be donating.

[Posted at 22:40 CST on 11/11/02] [Link]

Big 12/BCS Ranting

I noted in my latest Big 12 wrap that I didn't think Oklahoma would fall as far in the BCS as a lot of people were saying, and the latest BCS ratings confirm it. They're sitting in fourth, well ahead of fifth-place Texas, largely on strength of schedule. That will take a bit of a hit this week because they play Baylor, and rounding out the season against Texas Tech and Oklahoma State will only drop it further. But if they win out, they should still stay ahead of Texas by virtue of having beaten them (and the quality win deduction that entails).

They still probably need at least two teams to lose if they are to play for #1, and I don't really see it playing out that way. Plus they have to win all their games, which may not be an easy task if they have to play Colorado again in the Big 12 Championship.

And on the topic of the Big 12 Championship and the BCS, I have a rant that just has to come out. Oklahoma and Texas are clearly the two best teams in the conference. So why can't they play each other for the title? And why couldn't Nebraska and K-State play each other for the title when THEY were the best teams several years ago? Why this arbitrary north-south division? The two best teams should play each other. Period. End of story.

And what about last year's ludicrous spectacle of Nebraska playing in the BCS championship WHEN IT HADN'T EVEN WON ITS OWN CONFERENCE! Texas could take the same route to the BCS title game if Oklahoma stumbles in the Big 12 title game, and some other teams stumble. If a team doesn't win its conference, it has no business playing in the BCS title game.

The best solution is a playoff, of course. But ABC, the NCAA, and university presidents don't want that. Blar.

[Posted at 22:22 CST on 11/11/02] [Link]

Oh Dear

Callie called my attention to this article, and asked

considering all the brouhaha over catholic priests and their proclivities, shouldn't they have come up with a better title for this?
Ha! Well, yes.

[Posted at 22:09 CST on 11/11/02] [Link]

Daschle Sees No Shift

Confusion reigns in the Democrat party.

It kind of reminds me of the GOP in the early 1990s, when Bush had given away the tax issue and the party just seemed tired. And responding with Bob Dole in 1996 may not have been a whole lot different than trotting out Walter MonDULL in MN this time around.

[Posted at 21:23 CST on 11/11/02] [Link]

Steak

You know you're living in a great state when Republicans have just pulled off a clean sweep of state government AND you can grill steaks in the middle of November.

They turned out quite nicely, too.

[Posted at 21:19 CST on 11/11/02] [Link]

10 November 2002

Big 12 Wrap: Week 12

Last Week's Wrap

There was only one surprise in the Big 12 this week, but it was a big one, as the conference's best team suffered an upset. Here are the games:

Texas A&M 30, Oklahoma 26
Oklahoma will probably be happy not to see another Big 12 freshman phenom for a while. They barely survived an upset bid by Brad Smith at Mizzou earlier this year, but they couldn't survive Reggie McNeal at College Station this time. Before the game, Oklahoma defensive tackle Tommie Harris didn't sound too worried: "They only have like three passing plays, and they're bootleg or play-action." It's a good thing A&M doesn't have, say, FIVE passing plays, or the Sooner secondary that broke down so often might have really had some problems. Right. A win like this is probably enough to save R.C. Slocum's job for a while, and I must admit that A&M's offense is better than I thought. Oklahoma still controls its own destiny in the Big 12 with games remaining against Baylor, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State. That's not the case in the BCS, where Oklahoma will have to hope others lose (but their strength of schedule will probably place them higher on Monday than most people have guessed).

Texas 41, Baylor 0
Texas is a good football team, and Baylor is terrible. I'm so tired of writing that about Baylor each week that I'm going to leave it at that the rest of the season. The only surprise was that Cedric Benson struggled a bit, which has been the case off and on all season.

Kansas State 58, Iowa State 7
After severe thrashings at the hands of Oklahoma and Kansas State, Iowa State clearly hasn't proven ready to challenge the big boys of the Big 12. This loss effectively puts both of these teams two games behind Colorado, which makes it highly unlikely either one catches the Buffs in the North.

Colorado 42, Missouri 35
The last 20 minutes or so of this game may have been the most entertaining football played in the conference this year. Mizzou staged a furious comeback, Colorado responded, and managed to win in overtime to all but sew up the North. The Buffs rolled up nearly 400 yards rushing with their power attack. It's hard to believe they've lost 3 games this year.

Nebraska 45, Kansas 7
I'm adopting the same policy on Kansas games as I am with Baylor games. Nebraska is a good football team, Kansas is terrible, and Nebraska spanked them.

Texas Tech 49, Oklahoma State 24
Every time Oklahoma State looks ready to turn the corner, they have a setback. That setback came in the form of Raider red this week. Oklahoma State rallied in the third quarter, but then Mike Leach stepped on the gas and left the Cowboys behind. Texas Tech probably clinched a decent bowl appearance with this win. OSU still has a shot with two very winnable games ahead.

[Posted at 21:27 CST on 11/10/02] [Link]

Blar

My friend Cathy's beautiful new mini got smashed up the other night, by a typically retarded Houston driver who pulled out right in front of her.

The mini held up really well, actually, as Cathy was a bit banged up, but the other car was flipped and its driver sent to the hospital by the mishap.

On top of all that, Cathy's dad passed away about the same time.

So if you know Cathy (or are just a nice person, as I suppose most of the fine readers here are), send some good thoughts her way, okay? Thanks.

[Posted at 13:59 CST on 11/10/02] [Link]

Not Davis

Matt Welch thinks Gray Davis has the inside track for the 2004 Dem presidential nomination.

I rather doubt it, because of the structure of the Dem nomination process and the fact that Davis is damaged goods (much more so than Nixon at a comparable stage in his political career).

Instead, a better bet is John Kerry (if, indeed, Hillary decides not to run; otherwise, she'll have the same advantages that would make Kerry the favorite if she's not in the race).

[Posted at 13:29 CST on 11/10/02] [Link]

El Campo

The roadtrip to El Campo last night was fun.

We had dinner in a really good local eatery, Greek Bros bar and grill, and then caught Randy Rogers.

I've become quite a fan of Randy Rogers in a short time, but his (rare) Houston dates just never seem convenient. Hence the roadtrip to El Campo.

It's kind of cool to retreat into small-town America from time to time (even better, small-town Texas). Greek Bros is located in some historic old downtown buildings that have had adjoining walls knocked out and such, and it's a cool place. In fact, you could probably sit it down in the middle of the tourist trap known as the Kemah Boardwalk and outdraw the "name" restaurants that anchor the place.

So, if you're ever in the El Campo area, pay 'em a visit.

[Posted at 10:26 CST on 11/10/02] [Link]

09 November 2002

Defensive Meltdown

After watching Texas A&M SHRED the Sooner defense, which has been guilty of many busted plays in pass coverage today, I can't help but think Oklahoma co-defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was more than a little distracted sifting through those potential job offers.

And aren't these assurances to the contrary just more proof?

So now it gets interesting for the BCS. There are now two undefeated teams left, Ohio State (who survived an upset bid today, but must still play #11 Michigan) and Miami (although the game with Virginia Tech could be trouble). You would think Oklahoma would be ranked ahead of most of the one-loss teams (including Texas, which it beat convincingly), but usually late-season losses to underdogs hurt more than early-season losses.

Personally, I'm hoping for Miami and Ohio State BOTH to lose, not because it gives Oklahoma a shot (they don't deserve a shot at #1 after their defensive performance today), but because it would blow up the whole system and make an eventual playoff system more likely.

Despite the Sooner loss, I really do love the Big 12. Any given Saturday, an upset can happen, and that makes things exciting. And R.C. Slocum may have just saved his job. Upsetting the #1 team in the BCS can help you that way.

I'm off to watch some music in El Campo, TX of all places. Should be fun.

PS Maybe the defense can take the game off against Oklahoma State again too, and send Texas to the Big 12 Championship a la 2001.

[Posted at 17:38 CST on 11/09/02] [Link]

Bootleggers

I've been meaning to post this for a while. Ages ago in Oklahoma, my family engaged in some bootlegging activity. Click on the graphic below for a very interesting search warrant:

Search Warrant For Intoxicating Liquors

I just love the gossipy nature of the complaint, right down to people being there "without any particular invitation." Isn't that also true of the snitch making the complaint (and most snitches)? :)

[Posted at 13:20 CST on 11/09/02] [Link]

KIKK RIP

I guess I should have noted the passing of KIKK FM when it happened last week, but it was such a sorry "Texas Music" station that it barely registered anyway.

Better off streaming Radio New Braunfels.

[Posted at 11:45 CST on 11/09/02] [Link]

Mayor PotSinkhole's America

Wouldn't it be great to drop the Mayoral Towncar in this?
A Symbol Of Public Works Under The Current Mayor

That sinkhole in southwest Houston (photo from a few days ago) just keeps growing. It's now 90 FEET WIDE AND 25 FEET DEEP.

No doubt the Houston Comical blames the mess on term limits.

[Posted at 11:17 CST on 11/09/02] [Link]

Making Sausage

I've long said that most American's don't really want to look closely at the inner workings of their democratic process.

The 2000 debacle in Florida helped demonstrate that (and Bob Dole's typically acerbic comments about "making sausage" were on the mark).

And these observations from Jason Riley are a more recent example. By the way, note the use of the term "intimidate" (which seems to be any effort to ensure that election law is followed). I'm sure poll observers would be regarded as "intimidation" by these folks, since that seems to have become the standard Democrat line on such matters.

Are there no principled Democrats who will denounce such shameful practices? Or am I simply trying to "intimidate" by asking that question?

[Posted at 09:23 CST on 11/09/02] [Link]

08 November 2002

Largent

Eugene Volokh speculates on the impact the state question on cockfighting in Oklahoma might have had on the governor's race.

No doubt, some of Brad Henry's support came from rural Oklahomans who were opposed to SQ 687 (turnout was especially high in eastern Oklahoma -- I noted their sentiment on the issue back in October), but Henry's natural base of support would have been rural Oklahoma Democrats regardless.

And SQ 687 was a constant. It doesn't explain why Steve Largent's huge lead in this race simply evaporated against what was weak competition. The variable that better explains it is Largent's monumental "bull----" gaffe described in the Edmond Sun article linked by Volokh, and associated behavior, which was pounded home the last few weeks of the campaign by Gary Richardson's extremely effective attack ad.

Largent's behavior struck a nerve with Oklahomans, Richardson's ad inflamed it, and Largent's lead evaporated. *poof*

That Largent, the seasoned pol in this race, would make such a blunder is surprising.

(11-09-02) A poll by the Carl Albert center indicates that independent Gary Richardson actually pulled more votes from Henry than Largent, and that many voters made their minds up late. The state lottery issue seemed to figure heavily, according to the poll. Hard to tell from this article where cockfighting figured, and it doesn't appear the question of Largent's 9/11 gaffe(s) was polled. But as a surrogate, Largent polled poorly on the question of which candidate was most like Oklahomans (consistent with my thesis that people were turned off by Largent in the last few weeks of the campaign, with the help of Richardson's advertising).

(11-09-02 Update 2) Taranto picked up on the Volokh post also, but gets the city name of EDMOND's newspaper wrong. Nothing like it when big journalism does a blog, huh?

[Posted at 22:49 CST on 11/08/02] [Link]

Icehouse Weather

Weather like this is just too gorgeous to waste, so I think it's gonna be an early West Alabama Ice House (isn't it time Pete put a website together? hmmm) day today.... Maybe I'll see some of you Houstonians over there.

[Posted at 15:08 CST on 11/08/02] [Link]

07 November 2002

Eye-Rubbingly Amazing

Here's an interesting bit from Jay Nordlinger's column today:

Reading an article in the New York Times entitled “Black Turnout Could be Critical for Democrat” (and, by the way, that “be” was in the lower case, and I don’t think it should have been), I started at the following statement: “Although Mr. [Jeb] Bush has alienated many blacks in the state with his policies on affirmative action and his role in the 2000 presidential election [what was that?], in which African-American voters were disproportionately disenfranchised, Mr. McBride [the Democratic candidate] has not been entirely successful in shoring up the black vote.”
This wasn’t an opinion piece, but straight news, in the belly of the Times’s political-reporting section. And here, the “disproportionate disenfranchisement” of black Floridians is as factual — indeed, matter-of-factual — as that Lansing is the capital of Michigan.

Eye-rubbingly amazing.

The New York Times is just embarrassing these days. Thing is, they still do some good reporting (if only because of reputation and resources) -- but the ideological agenda of the editors just ruins so much of that good reporting.

[Posted at 22:34 CST on 11/07/02] [Link]

Ha

The comments that have been posted to Michael's latest column are a hoot.

I don't think the commenters intended them to be, but they are.

[Posted at 22:32 CST on 11/07/02] [Link]

Texas Politics

Greg Wythe has done some really useful analysis of the election in Texas on his blog.

Just start at the top of this weekly archive page and scroll down.

[Posted at 06:59 CST on 11/07/02] [Link]

06 November 2002

Hmm

My fortune today from the Chinese restaurant: "Someone thinks you are wonderfully mysterious."

There ya go.

[Posted at 23:54 CST on 11/06/02] [Link]

Jokes

It's been a busy few days, and I've neglected this silly editorial from the Houston Comical.

It's so awful it's hard to know where to begin. But two things stand out:

What is up with the use of the term "crepuscular?" (memo to the editors: turn off the thesaurus and write for your audience, not to mention yourselves)

And they don't seriously want us to believe that all of the problems they document with Mayor Pothole's administration (and many more they don't) are caused by term limits? Because I read it that way. It must be a joke that I'm too tired to understand at the moment.

Speaking of jokes, Thom Marshall (one of the Comical's many jokes who pose as columnists) also criticizes Mayor Pothole (big joke). At least he doesn't suggest a repeal of term limits as the solution (I don't think; I must admit my eyes glazed over about halfway through). But any column that quotes a Kenny Rogers song definitely falls into the joke category, I would think.

(11/07/02 Update) Of course, the biggest joke is that the Comical twice endorsed Mayor Pothole (or should I call him Mayor Sinkhole now?) in the last election, when major problems were evident and a credible challenger (likely to be Houston's next mayor) was on the ballot.

[Posted at 23:50 CST on 11/06/02] [Link]

Jerruh

Halloween is over -- take off that scary mask!
Jerruh

This is one of the funnier references to Jerruh Jones I've seen in a while:

Dave Campo doesn't deserve to be fired as Cowboys head coach. And Campo won't be.

The owner hasn't said that, but read his factory-refurbished lips. In stumbling to their 3-6 record, the Cowboys have been victimized by untoward circumstances, a turn of fate that Jones sounds resigned to.

Factory-refurbished lips. Ha!

I agree with LeBreton on Stoops: he has a better job already at Oklahoma, and is making more money than Jerruh pays his head coaches anyway.

[Posted at 23:00 CST on 11/06/02] [Link]

UT

I guess it's easier to win an NCAA Baseball championship when you cheat.

[Posted at 22:58 CST on 11/06/02] [Link]

Reed

Late last night, I was discussing Ralph Reed with the political gang and commending him for his efforts in Georgia.

It's good to see that other (read: "important") people also noticed:

Winner: Ralph Reed, the Republican chairman of Georgia. He promised not to be outdone by Democrats in turning out his party's voters--and he wasn't outdone. Georgia produced two huge upsets against popular Democratic incumbents, ousting Sen. Max Cleland and Gov. Roy Barnes. You may remember Reed from his former life as the brains behind the Christian Coalition when it was important political group, which it no longer is.
And on Kudlow and Cramer earlier, both John Fund and Larry Kudlow agreed that Ralph Reed would make a fine RNC chairman. Since Mark Racicot's made it pretty clear he wants only to be a half-time chair, I think Reed would be a fabulous choice.

And no, I'm not a member of the religious right, nor do I want that component of the GOP to dominate the party. Rather, I would like to see the national party utilizing Reed's superior tactical and strategic political skills. The guy is GOOD.

[Posted at 22:32 CST on 11/06/02] [Link]

Sport?

Two birds trying to cut each other to death
Why don't they send out videos of their bloody "sport?"

What a great quote:

A day after the election, cockfighting supporters said they needed more money and more time to educate people about the sport. They spent about $120,000 compared to about $550,000 for the anti-cockfighting coalition.
Yeah, education. That's what's needed. Because there's lots of ignorant people out there who think it's just a little, oh, BARBARIC to strap knives on animals and wager on their killing each other.

Yep. Education is needed.

About the SPORT.

Here's a proposal -- let's strap knives on the liquored-up folks gathered in these cockfighting pits and let THEM go at it.

THAT would be a much more entertaining sport, I think.

Any takers?

[Posted at 22:25 CST on 11/06/02] [Link]

Intimidation

I'm getting tired of reading these sorts of idiotic comments about the GOP:

Their schemes to intimidate voters were appalling, but didn't provide the margin of victory in places like Florida and Texas.
What schemes?

Using poll observers?

Sorry, but that's provided for in Texas election law, and in the election laws of most states. In Texas, poll observers are NOT allowed to "intimidate" voters in any manner, and precinct judges can remove poll observers who do not obey the law (which is very specific). And candidates/parties can send their observers to any precincts they want, so Democrats could just as easily go "intimidate" folks in Republican precincts under the law (though I can't imagine any more boring task than being a poll observer at a suburban Republican precinct). So what harm is done by poll observers? Is it a little sunshine that makes people like Conason so nervous? If the election laws and procedures are being followed, why would it be a problem? Once upon a time (Watergate?), Democrats favored sunshine. It's odd that sunshine is now "intimidation."

Or maybe Conason is referring to efforts to bust up organized voter fraud in places like Miami-Dade and St. Louis (or South Dakota and Oklahoma this time around, to name a few instances)?

Count me guilty on that one. I would like to "intimidate" those who would violate the integrity of the ballot and the democratic process, whatever their party affiliation.

Surely Conason can't find THAT problematic.

So what's with these "intimidation" smears? Is this just a more subtle way of playing the race card, or am I missing something?

[Posted at 21:58 CST on 11/06/02] [Link]

Thoughts On The Election

If you're a conservative and live in Texas, election day couldn't have gone much better. The GOP continued its dominance in the state, took back the Senate nationally, and fared much better in gubernatorial races than most analysts predicted.

Locally, I was pleased that Debra Danburg, who tried to run as a conservative (*snicker*), was sent packing by Martha Wong.

Nationally, I was happy to see Jim Talent win in Missouri. He was a good Congressman in that state when I lived there, and he will make a fine addition to the Senate. And perhaps poor Jean Carnahan, who was clearly out of her league, can spend some quality time with her family (now that the Missouri Democrat Party is through using her).

I was also happy to see Norm Coleman win. I think he'll also make a fine addition to the Senate, and brings experience in municipal government (real government) that the GOP should draw upon. Mon-Dull just seemed confused during the few days he was back campaigning. It was kind of sad.

And what about Steve Largent blowing it BIG TIME in the Oklahoma governor's race? Largent had a solidly conservative voting record in Congress, but at times he's had a tendency to say stupid things (and to take his voters for granted). He blew a double-digit lead in his race in a matter of days by saying and doing stupid things (stuff no seasoned politician such as himself should ever have happen). I guess he'll have to put his ambitions for national office on hold for a while. But the fact that creepy David Walters somehow managed to win the Democratic nod to take on Jim Inhofe for the Senate (albeit only to lose, badly) means that Largent probably still has a political future in Oklahoma. If Walters can keep on coming back, anybody can.

I enjoyed this year's election night routine. I took in Will Kimbrough at the Mucky Duck with John, Cathy, Callie, and Alex, and then the group moved to watch election returns and celebrate.

[Posted at 18:30 CST on 11/06/02] [Link]

05 November 2002

Distractions

Like a true political geek, I can never concentrate on anything but elections on this day.

But I've built in a few distractions for the rest of the day:

First, the usual post-work trip to the gym in just a few minutes.

And second, Will Kimbrough at the Mucky Duck tonight.

Mind you, I may cheat at the Kimbrough show, since my friend John will have his wireless Visor setup so we can keep an eye on results. But a few glasses of wine and some tunes should get me in good shape either to celebrate the returns or... not care so much. :)

[Posted at 15:45 CST on 11/05/02] [Link]

Voting

Polls open at 7 am in Texas, and I was at my location at 5 minutes past 7 this morning -- and already had a small line to wait in.

The new electronic voting machines in Harris County worked beautifully, which may not be the case in some parts of the country if Drudge and a few other sites are to be believed.

Kudos to those of you who have directly participated in American democracy today (or will do so later in the day).

[Posted at 10:37 CST on 11/05/02] [Link]

04 November 2002

The CIA's Secret Weapon

Some Houstonians are upset that Mayor Pothole is spending so much time socializing with the various dictators of the Middle East.

But I figure it's a lot safer than having the Mayoral Town Car wreaking havoc on Houston motorists.

And just think -- maybe the CIA could have him take out some WahhabiFascists simply by encouraging him to drive himself around the various sheikdoms.

It could work....

[Posted at 22:30 CST on 11/04/02] [Link]

Some Legend

Stephen Hayes recounts a memorable moment from a rather unmemorable man earlier today:

MINNESOTANS WORRIED about an anthrax attack at the Mall of America can relax. Walter Mondale is on the case.

"Don't worry about me and terrorism," he declared in the Minnesota Senate debate Monday morning. "I'm opposed to it."

I watched the other half of Malaise carry on like this throughout much of the debate via a C-Span stream at work this morning, and all I can say is that Minnesotans deserve the doddering old fool if they have the bad sense to elect him.

I don't think they are going to.

And for the record, I'm not worrying about Fritz and Terrorism. Are you?

[Posted at 21:47 CST on 11/04/02] [Link]

College Football

It's hardly surprising that Baylor's AD had to be hospitalized.

Hell, I'm surprised watching their football team hasn't killed the poor SOB.

But it could be worse. He could be overseeing the mess at Michigan State.

BTW, yesterday's Big 12 watch probably should have placed R.C. Slocum on the official Coaching DeathWatch. It's hard to argue with his record in the 1990s, and maybe if he had won a national championship (or even a big game), that would save him. But he didn't, and the program has settled into the second tier of the Big 12 South. With a new President who doesn't seem to be a fan, and the AD who has supported him over the years being shown the door, R.C. Slocum looks to be gone after the season. I think the only way he saves himself is to beat Texas AND Oklahoma. That's unlikely.

And I'm not sure what to make of the Dana Dimel situation at UH. He has a great shot at winning at least two more games, which would give him a 6-6 record at worst. A 6-game improvement ought to be enough to save his job -- but his AD has already killed recruiting this year by not giving him an immediate vote of confidence when reports surfaced that he was out. Dave Maggard doesn't impress me all that much as an AD, but that's par for the course at UH these days. *sigh*

[Posted at 21:29 CST on 11/04/02] [Link]

Remembering Carter/Mondale

It's the anniversary of America Held Hostage -- Day One.

Some readers here will be too young to recall (ahh... I'm officially old now that I've written THAT), but on 4 November 1979, Iranian radicals took over the U.S. embassy in Teheran and captured the Americans inside. And America did nothing. For days. And weeks. And months.

It made Ted Koppel's broadcasting career, as every night his program would advertise the impotence of American foreign policy during the time of Carter/Mondale malaise by incrementing the number of days America would suffer this barbaric act of war by sitting on its hands.

Orrin Judd memorializes the day appropriately:

The long road to 9-11 is littered with numerous corpses and more than enough blame to go around, but surely America's failure to act when its citizens were taken hostage in Teheran in 1979 must be considered a significant contributor to the perception of Islamic radicals that they could strike us with impunity.
Such are the ideas by which Nobel Prizes can (eventually) be won, and maybe even Senate campaigns in Minnesota.

[Posted at 21:03 CST on 11/04/02] [Link]

03 November 2002

Big 12 Wrap: Week 11

Last Week's Wrap

It was another good week of Big 12 football, as the powers of the South wreaked havoc on the powers of the North, grabbing 2 of the top 4 spots in the polls. Here are the games:

Oklahoma 27, Colorado 11
Turnovers killed Colorado in a mucky wet mess in Norman, but so did Oklahoma's ability to capitalize, and to run out the clock with a power running game that was nonexistent during Bob Stoops' first three years heading the Sooner nation. Colorado coach Gary Barnett didn't sound very impressed with Oklahoma's victory afterwards. Buff fans probably aren't very impressed with his 3 losses. These two could very well meet again in the Big 12 title game, but I'm not so sure Barnett wants that rematch as badly as his comments suggest.

Texas 27, Nebraska 24
This was a great game that swung back and forth until the very end, when Frank Solich's decision to try for the end zone one more time instead of lining up for a field goal attempt cost Nebraska big time, as Nathan Vashar pulled off a game-saving interception. Frank Solich may be back next year, but it is hard to imagine that Nebraska defensive coordinator Craig Bohl will be, considering how far the defense has fallen off from the days of Charlie McBride. Kudos to Chris Simms for picking that defense apart, for a career-high 419 yards passing. And credit UT for winning 3 tough games after the OU loss. Wouldn't it be interesting if Miami and Ohio State stumble, and OU and UT won out for a Fiesta rematch? Probably won't happen, but you never know.

Kansas State 64, Kansas 0
If only Bill Snyder could apply a few of those 64 ridiculous points to the Colorado and Texas losses. The Colorado loss is especially tough, because K-State is effectively two games behind them in the North race. Iowa State, Nebraska, and Mizzou are all winnable games -- but it won't matter if Colorado doesn't stumble.

Iowa State 42, Missouri 35
Missouri is just good enough to be dangerous, and they made a game out of this one. Brad Smith had a fine day rushing and passing (over 300 total yards) , but was overshadowed by Seneca Wallace (nearly 500 total yards). Iowa State has two losses in the conference, but controls its own destiny in the North with games remaining against Kansas State and Colorado. Problem is, both games are on the road -- but win them, and they win the North.

Oklahoma State 28, Texas A&M 23
It's probably too early to say Oklahoma State has turned the corner, given their history of stops and starts, but back to back wins against Nebraska and Texas A&M are big wins for this program, even with those two teams having down years. They should beat Kansas and Baylor, and can play with Texas Tech. A second straight upset of Oklahoma is unlikely, but winning 3 of 4 will send the Cowboys to a bowl.

Texas Tech 62, Baylor 11
The Kevin Steele deathwatch is officially over, as Baylor announced his firing after the latest Baylor debacle. Against Big 12 opponents this year, Baylor was outscored 213-56 (ouch!). It will be interesting to follow the hiring process, as Baylor has a habit of advertising it's in the hunt for all sorts of big-name coaches, only to wind up with little-known assistants. Meanwhile, Texas Tech stands at 6-4 with Oklahoma State, Texas, and Oklahoma left on the schedule, giving next week's game with Oklahoma State bowl implications.

[Posted at 23:00 CST on 11/03/02] [Link]

Campo Death Watch

Jerry Jones has never fired a coach in the middle of the season.

He waited until the end with Barry Switzer.

He waited until the end with Chan Gailey.

But Dave Campo makes those guys look like Lombardi.

And with a bye week following the latest brilliant Cowboys effort to snatch defeat from victory, I'm wondering if he won't be unemployed by the time Dallas plays again.

My guess would be that Joe Avezzano would be interim coach if that happens, giving him the distinction of being the only head coach (interim or not) in the NFL who also is a head coach in the Arena League.

And isn't that fitting for the Cowboys, who increasingly resemble a professional wrestling outfit under Jerruh?

[Posted at 15:20 CST on 11/03/02] [Link]

Great Divide

I finally caught The Great Divide on Friday at the Firehouse. I've been meaning to see those guys for a while, but somehow just haven't managed.

It was a good show. They play like a band that's been doing it for a while, and if you're a fan of Texas/Red Dirt music in general, then you definitely need to get out to see this fine band from Stillwater, OK. I picked up their new CD Remain (technically not released yet), which has a cool Gary Wayne Thomason/Scott Melott tune on it. Can't wait to give the CD a good listen (have been a bit too busy with football so far this weekend).

We also enjoyed the trip out to the Firehouse. It seemed a little less crowded and less smoky than some of my other trips over there, but it has honestly been a while since I've been there. And that's a shame, actually, because I think the Firehouse has become about the best place to catch Texas/Red Dirt/Americana artists in Houston over the last year or so (at least in terms of sheer quantity). I still like the Mucky Duck, of course, but Rusty tends to stress folk over more rockish Americana artists, and a lot of good artists (Cross Canadian Ragweed being one) just can't get a gig there for some reason.

We also met up Alex, who helped us close down the place. Those buckets of beer made for a bit of a long day Saturday, but I guess that's what Saturdays are for.

[Posted at 14:25 CST on 11/03/02] [Link]

Huh?

Mickey Herskowitz has a puff piece in today's Dreadful Chron on Texans' backup QB Tony Banks.

That would be career journeyman QB Tony Banks.

The guy Dallas signed to be their starter last year, and then cut before training camp even ended because they didn't like his practice habits (he had a nasty tendency to disregard his coaches and his progressions, and just throw deep every play). The guy the Cowboys deemed worse than the current mess at quarterback (Quincy Carter last season, and now Chad Hutchinson).

I'm a little surprised that Herskowitz wasn't calling Banks a mensch before the end of the column, but I guess even Tony Banks isn't as swell a guy as Andrew Fastow.

What a sad little newspaper.

[Posted at 14:11 CST on 11/03/02] [Link]

Not Goofy

I find I have to disagree with Scott's category heading for this post.

It's not goofy in the least.

[Posted at 11:00 CST on 11/03/02] [Link]

Sooners and Buffs

I think Gary Barnett has just about displaced Mack Brown as the coach in the Big 12 who annoys me the most. Mack is a whiner, to be sure, and a bit of a windbag. But he usually deflates after his teams lose. And then there's Gary Barnett, who tends to remain full of bluster even after a solid ass-kicking. Here's an excerpt after the thrasing he received in the muck at Oklahoma:

"Our guys are ready to go play," said CU coach Gary Barnett, whose team remains a heavy favorite in the Big 12 North. "If we could play tomorrow, we would. We didn't feel like we got out-athleted today. We got beat. No question. But not to the point where there was a major difference between the two teams."
That pretty much sums up Gary Barnett's problem. Truth be told, the ATHLETES at Colorado are every bit as good as those heralded recruiting classes of Mack Brown at Texas, and yes, the boys in crimson and cream at Oklahoma.

But shouldn't someone be asking Gary Barnett how he's managed to take all that talent and LOSE 3 GAMES already this season?

And shouldn't he be able to come up with a better answer than this:

"It wasn't their defense making great plays," Barnett said. "It was Robert [Hodge] throwing the ball right to them. Whatever anyone wants to attribute the errors to is fine, but we made a lot of mistakes."
Classy, Gary. Blame it on your QB, and don't credit your opponent at all. Even Mack Brown is better than that.

The Big 12 North is weak this year, and for that reason Colorado may well make it back to the title game. They may even win it.

Which makes you wonder why Gary can't beat teams like Colorado State and USC.

In any case, this game marked a turning point of sorts for the Sooners. In the four years now he's been at Oklahoma, Bob Stoops has really not had to deal with bad weather. And that's been good, because when the Sooners were running Mike Leach's spread offense, there was no running game (and hence no offense if the weather turns bad). But Stoops brought on Kevin Wilson to revamp the blocking schemes and running game this year, and just in time -- the last two games have been played in the muck, and the Sooners have been able to play ball-control with their running game and let their defense help them out. It wasn't pretty yesterday, but it was damned effective.

And just in time. Berry Tramel is right: Stoops leads a charmed life.

[Posted at 08:40 CST on 11/03/02] [Link]

Sorry Dale

Texas receiver Roy Williams pushes off on damn near every play. And if you can get away with it, it's not a bad way to make a living if you're a big wide receiver (ask Michael Irvin).

And so, on a critical third down in last night's Nebraska game, Roy Wiliams did it again. But it was a little too blatant. On replays, you could see that he literally FLUNG THE DEFENSIVE BACK TO THE GROUND.

And the refs called it, negating a Williams catch that would have ended the game and giving Nebraska a chance. It wasn't a "homer" call -- it was a good call, despite Mack Brown's whining.

But I guess Dreadful Chron columnist Dale Robertson wasn't watching the same game:

Never mind that he'd fought his way free with what he called "a swim move," resulting in routine incidental contact, the kind you'll see on every play of every game.

Williams was flat on his back -- ready, he said, to shed tears of joy -- when he heard the commotion, and his worst fears were confirmed.

You know who else was flat on his back, Dale? The defensive back that Williams THREW DOWN!

What I wouldn't give if the Dreadful Chron had one decent sportswriter. But at least Dale seems to have written his own copy, unlike some writers at the Dreadful Chron.

[Posted at 08:23 CST on 11/03/02] [Link]

01 November 2002

Doomsday Scenario

Israel should be scared to death of this report that the PLO may be giving up its aspirations for a separate state, and instead may accept Israeli citizenship.

It would be a brilliant move for the PLO if they could only find enough doves idiots like Shimon Peres to approve such a scheme, since it would (given Palestinian demographics) eventually ensure the demise of Israel as a Jewish homeland.

And that has been the goal of many within the PLO since its inception.

[Posted at 17:15 CST on 11/01/02] [Link]

No Sunshine For Miami-Dade

Given the electoral shenanigans that Miami-Dade was known for well before the infamous Presidential election of 2000, it's really not that surprising that Florida Democrats led by Janet Reno (who has a long history herself with shady Miami-Dade electoral procedures) would sue to keep poll observers out of Democrat precincts.

I've worked as a poll observer once in Texas, and I can't imagine the procedures are all that different in Florida. I saw some minor violations of election law in the heavily Democratic precinct in which I worked, but I suspect my very presence kept those violations minor. I didn't have to confer with the precinct judge on any serious irregularities, nor call anyone involved with the campaign I was observing for. But had the rules violations become serious, I would have called attention to them.

I think most serious politicos would agree that Miami-Dade (along with precincts controlled by the Democratic machine in St. Louis) is probably incapable of running an election by the strict letter of the law. Observers will call attention to that fact. Is that what Janet Reno fears?

Speaking of St. Louis, I hope Mr. Talent has plenty of volunteers to observe polls there, because there will be surely be lots of dead people and other "irregular" voters attempting to cast a ballot for Mrs. Carnahan and other Dems on Tuesday, just as there are every election. That's one reason Talent, despite being a superior candidate and person, has a tough fight on his hands.

(Update) Here's an excerpt from a recent George Will column, detailing the problems in St. Louis in 2000. Will, however, only scratches the surface on what is basically a long-time problem of illegal electoral practices there:

In St. Louis in 2000, Gore's post-election campaign began on Election Day, when his Democratic lawyers found a friendly judge to hear this argument: The Democrats who run St. Louis, and particularly the Democrats in charge of elections, are responsible for long lines at polling places in certain heavily Democratic precincts, and hence the Democratic officials are violating the rights of Democrats who want to vote for Democrats. Bowled over by the force of this analysis, the judge ordered polls in certain heavily Democratic precincts to stay open later than the law allowed. The suit was filed in the name of a St. Louis congressman's staffer, whose claim that his right to vote was being denied was weakened by the fact that he had already voted.

The registered voters in St. Louis included Ritzy Meckler, who was only 13. Still, that is old for a springer spaniel, which Ritzy is. Registration rates in St. Louis are wondrous. In most cities, the number of persons registered is about 65 percent of the city's voting-age population. In St. Louis last year the number of registrants was a remarkable 99 percent. Surely most were bipeds.

[Posted at 15:04 CST on 11/01/02] [Link]

Early Voting

So much for early voting.

The place on West Gray had no parking, so I parked across the street at a shopping center. But the estimated 45-minute wait was way too much for me, when I can pop by my precinct before work Tuesday morning and probably take five minutes.

I've never seen the early voting place so busy. I don't know what that means for the races.

[Posted at 14:21 CST on 11/01/02] [Link]

Lazy Friday

I just got back from having breakfast at the 59 Diner a bit ago, but there was no Ken Hatfield sighting. Oh well.

I'm rather enjoying this lazy day, which is lazy because I decided to use a vacation day and get some errands done (including early voting). Our fiscal year rolls over at the end of the month, so I need to use up some remaining vacation time.

Tonight, I'm finally going to catch The Great Divide at the Firehouse. Finally. I've been wanting to see these guys for a while. I don't actually own any of their stuff, but have been listening to bits and pieces. The show tonight should be excellent. Stoney Larue and his band (more Oklahomans!) were scheduled to open originally, but now they've been dropped. That's too bad, as I'd like to hear them live also.

[Posted at 11:19 CST on 11/01/02] [Link]

Answer: France?

What might America look like had there been no Ronald Reagan to stomp on Walter Mondale in 1984?

Orrin has some thoughts.

[Posted at 09:45 CST on 11/01/02] [Link]

Jonni

Jonelin was looking cool last night for Halloween.

[Posted at 09:36 CST on 11/01/02] [Link]

Very Impressive

Ken Hatfield's homophobia, however, is pretty minor stuff compared to this Brazoria County Judge, who's been caught on tape using obscenities and racial slurs to berate inmates.

Impressive.

[Posted at 09:12 CST on 11/01/02] [Link]

Ken

Rice's football coach Ken Hatfield is such an enlightened man. Rice must be very proud.

I've seen Coach Hatfield chowing on breakfast a few times here at the 59 Diner here in Montrose. I wonder if he realizes *shock* that gay people have breakfast there too?

He might have to throw his waffles off the team or something.

(Update) Current Rice student and local conservative blogger Owen Courreges comments.

[Posted at 09:08 CST on 11/01/02] [Link]

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